A blog about hip-hop, rap music, its trends, and an overall thought about the music an culture, without indulging in gossip. A real set of opinions and discussions, not based on the popular sentiment, but examining and challenging it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Don't dare try to tell em Soulja Boy

So it's been a new Soulja boy controversy. This young guy has put out a video where he attempts to discuss hip-hop issues. This is me trying to portray it in a positive light and make it seem deep. His first statement that Lil' Wayne is going to be called the best because he says it. I don't know who Soulja is asking but I don't know anyone who is going to say Wayne is the best rapper alive, dead, int he South or otherwise. Then he blames Nas or give him credit for Hip-hop is dead. Because this kid is around a bunch of young whippersnappers who don't know a thing about hip-hop history. The entire basis or logic of his argument is that if you say it everyone is going to believe it. In his own example he says that if he claims he is the king of the internet then people will believe him and agree.

That whole entire premise is asinine. Part of this is the reason that people from the East Coast or New York say that hip-hop is dead. Lil Scrappy summed up the Southern idea on one of the Beef dvd's when he referenced LL Cool J and T.I.. In his view because people challenged LL (and he took them all out) he wasn't respected as a king like TI is even though TI has faced fewer challenges (and if you were paying attention, Ludacris ate his ass alive).

The problem here is the Southern mindset that competition undermines authority. Look at Nas and Jay-Z. It is widely considered that Nas won the battle but Jay is as strong as ever. In fact, he is better for it. 50 Cent bodied Ja Rule and it catapaulted him to stardom. Southern artists are scared to be the loser so they rather kiss each others ass and put out the same lame mindless nonsense that isn't advancing hip-hop. Hip-hop was built on competition, until Wayne steps up to a true challenge he will never be the best rapper alive. TI gets my respect more because at the very least he went at Luda and Shawty Lo for his respect. In the 90's if you had claimed a title you would have to defend it. No one would have allowed TI to be king of the South while at the same time, Paul Wall was the People's Champ, and Wayne as the Best Rapper Alive.

This boils down to the point that Soulja boy needs some album sales or some acting lessons so that his career can last beyond 2008. He can only hope that 15 years in he can have a name that is remembered as much as Nas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saigon and I are disappointed with hip-hop




So as that plays just feel me on this, we all know that the celebrities and people we see play a huge role in popular culture which in turn influences our kids. Just like Saigon says you have all these kids getting arm sleeves worth of tattoos and wearing little tight jeans and sagging them just because they see everyone else doing it. Remember what happened to jerseys when Jay-z said he doesn't wear them anymore, a whole entire industry collapsed. Me I wear what I feel and I don't like to iron so I will still rock a jersey, eff what anyone thinks. Having style and being in tune with the latest fad are different things.

But it is so crazy that marketing people want it handed to them, if you don't have a gimmick they don't like you. It's like the Undertaker in wrestling vs Hulk hogan. Now you have to be a super thug like 50 Cent or a silly ass kid like Soulja Boy, taking it to the extremes. If you are normal or try to actually put a message in your song the label acts as if they cannot understand it, or they treat the material as if the entire audience is made up of morons (which can be argued) who can't understand the basic concepts of put your hands in the air and toss money.

At the very least here is one artist who gets it and has a mix of the skills and abilities needed to be able to make listenable songs with solid content.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The nerve....

I'm all for getting your hustle on and making the best of your situation when it presents itself. But there a couple of things that come to mind looking at this latest worldstar clip. Before I get into it, shout out to them for providing me with endless material.



Now if you had the stomach to watch that shit, you know what happened. If you were smart enough to turn it off, it's video girl Angela "Lola" Love, performing her song in the club. :/ You get that emoticon? it's my face going "what the fuck?". I mean on the one hand it's good that she can try to make additional avenues for herself and extend her career, I'm not hating on that. However it proves that video girls are not special, that is chickenhead shit she is rapping about. It also shows the rap game ain't what it used to be because in '94-'95 that shit wouldn't be tolerated. In 1999 she would have been laughed at and anything before 1990 she would have never been heard at all.

For real, no serious female rapper/entertainer/m.c. worth their weight in pantyhose should allow that shit to go unresponded to. I know unresponded ain't no word and I don't care. Someone please go find Rah Digga and tie some meat around Loal's neck and let that bitch at her! Find Eve and take her back to Philly for a week then let her get at her. Bust Remy out of jail! Dig Lady Luck up, Lady of Rage, send fucking Missy Elliot at her ass for Pete's sake. Just don't let this nonsense get a pass.

Matter of fact send this one at her ass:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Are the lyrics alive?



In the above video, the hoods "Favorite Street Lyricist" Styles P talks about the lack of creativity and lyricism in todays hip-hop. I feel him to a certain extent. This is a huge problem of course in today's hip-hop. Too many people are striving to get to those hit singles and crossover appeal. Most of this comes from label pressure and the desire to make money over all things including the culture.

However I do have a problem with Styles as he isn't the great lyricist that he is proclaimed to be. On the one hand it's cool for him to consistently rap about how much coke he has on the block, how real he is, and how niggas ain't real yet on the next hand be upset about the other rappers who talk about their "wag" and money habits all of the time. Both lack diversity and depth to their "character". It is quite ironic that Styles can make this observation yet not see the lack of growth in his own rap style.

Before I go, let me shout out some of the remaining lyricists, Ludacris, Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Eminem, Nas, and Cory Gunz who might be my favorite young rapper out there.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shaun Boothe

I checked this out at Knowgood Music. This is a dude named Shaun boothe who took Nas' Unauthorized Biography idea and went to the next level. From what i've seen he has done James Brown, Bob Marley, and Muhammad Ali. I applaud stretching the concept and how he worked it but I don't think he is skilled enough to pull it off at it's best. I think his flow could use work because it just seems rough sometimes, but like i said, I have to love the effort. check him out:

Innocent Man-Mark Morrison and DMX

Mark Morrison and DMX - Innocent Man, dedicated to my man Mr. Vic newman. 2 of his favorite homies together.



and the oldie but goodie- return of the mack.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hip-hop History

One thing that I have noticed that in hip-hop we don't celebrate our history or heritage. Not to say we don't have an understanding of it, but we don't pass it on to the youth the same way as fans of other genres. Rock fans are sure to play classic songs for their kids and their stations have a wider mix of music being played together. When does that happen on urban radio stations? During the mid-day mix and it is usually a commercial friendly song.

The second thing is parents passing the music down. In rock, you have younger generations desiring to be musicians and thus have to learn the old songs as they learn their instrument. In Hip-hop you don't have that same process. Most of the time if your child wants to be a rapper you have no idea until after he or she has been doing it for a while. There isn't the same type of interaction between parent and child. It is also the same when listening to the music. How many parents are actually listening to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx with their child? The first issue is that it is considered something that the kids don't need to be listening to in the first place. Parents aren't going to explain to a 10 year old what is going on in "Heaven or Hell". These are the formative years when a love for the music begins and the future tastes shaped. For the aspiring artist, one gets to see where the music has grown and evolved and what has been done. When this doesn't happen you have a generation which feels that everything that they do is original, no matter how true or not that is.

The solution is to share with the youth, hopefully at an age where they are able to understand the rich history of hip-hop music. To explain to them the meaning behind the songs and let them gain an appreciation for the sound and work that has been put in. It's up to everyone who is a fan of the hip-hop culture to do their best to pass on the history of the music they choose to be apart of.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Watch you Daughters part 3- thanks MSNBC



More evidence of what I told you guys earlier.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Soulja-beef?




Now I'm not a fan of Charles Hamilton. The songs I have heard from him haven't done anything for me, so i'm not too biased here. What is interesting is two things, first soulja boy takes the time to comment so he can promote his new album. Classic tactics in ww-hiphop these days. But he is really bold ain't he? He is talking somewhat reckless.

The other thing that i don't like about this is his obvious ignorance. He doesn't even know that he is making club music. I don't have a problem with the style of music he has decided to make. It's cool, somebody has to make it. But the fact he calls it "Gettin Money music" pisses me off. It's like all that hip-hop is being boiled down to is getting another dollar. I understand coming from nothing you want to celebrate, you want to have something to show for yourself. If you don't have anything to tell as a story however, you have to wonder what is it all worth.

As for whether or not it's Soulja boy's fault other artists can't move on or progress in their careers, he is right and wrong. As long as he is successful, no A & R's will look at other young artists in a different way, especially at the same company. These guys have a real lack of imagination and lack of ability to actually do their jobs which is to market and develop artists. So I'll be on the lookout for more in this brewing controversy and might even swipe soulj'a album offline to ridicule.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Aint No Love in the Heart of the City




If you have seen this video or heard a synopsis, it's like this, Joe Budden says "Fuck New York". Now let's look at the context of what he's actually saying. He's saying fuck the New York attitude. And he's right for the most part. Stack Bundles said it best "If more niggas was workers and more rappers was fans/ the game would be like 88 records would move like grams". In New York they are the self-proclaimed "epitomes of cool". Everyone has their own "swag" and it's better than the next man's swag so they can't get excited for artists from their own place unless they come from their exact neighborhood or block. They don't show support for anyone. Now in J.B.'s example he spoke about Maino-wack, Red Cafe- semi-wack, and Ron Browz-extra wack. But in the end its the same problem all around the country.

When you look here in Baltimore you have different factions who all don't support one another. The small cliques who are able to cross over and support one another are no match for the power hungry few who are out to divide and conquer.

While for the moment it seems as if the South is immune to this disease, there are signs that that might be changing as a few people start to get some money. Where you would in the past just have hot songs from an area getting played locally, now people are getting blackballed because of affiliations. Artists are hating on each other and dividing cities into neighborhoods, neighborhoods into blocks, etc. Just look at Shawty Lo and TI, it's to the point where their fans won't support the other even if they do something hot.

If you can't get the people behind you you cannot get a movement going, you can't get any music out to the masses and your message across. Even if people like you but act as if they can't support what effort are you going to put into your work. Part of it is because they think they can do the same thing but thats why you have to show your best effort at all times if you are an artist. To raise expectations and not fall to their level. The crazy thing is that guys who seem to have the most dope money are the ones who can afford to create a following buy purchasing advertising and air time. The cycle that starts is one where more and more apathy begins until no one is willing to show that they care.

So for the love of hip-hop, have a heart.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Watch Your Daughters part 2!

I'm back with another note to the people with children of the female gender. This time the topic is about watch who your daughters are looking up to. Watch their friends too. But look at who they emulate and show them a wide variety of people and different sides of those people.

Just look at beyonce. You cannot let your daughters just listen to the chickenhead music that she puts out on the radio. "A diva is a hustler"- nah I seriously doubt that. A diva is a damn bitch who thinks she is special cause she dresses well or looks cute. You have to show her the business side of Beyonce. Have examples of how she handles her business and the intelligence that she possesses if you can. You have to be able to provide your children with examples of the people who helped her to her current position; managers, stylists, promoters, songwriters, etc. You can't let them see this caricature of a person and think that the bottom line is the music.

Same thing with all of the wannabe models. London "Deelishis" Charles or however the hell she spells it is not the ideal way to go. I know, the model industry does need some different sizes and shapes to promote healthy self-images. But how many people actually can be models? How many people from Next Top Model do you actually see out there? You have to be realistic with your kids. The majority of women in these videos do a couple of magazines, show their butt for a little while, get a website for a week or two and then fall off the face of the earth. It's not the most stable career choice if you're not doing it right. That goes back to showing your daughters the other sides of the business and not just the King magazine cover.

Shit just let Superhead tell it. I mean you wouldn't want your child to have that nickname would you?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Watch Your daughters!

This is an important blog right here. I have a daughter and a lot of you out there have children. Now it is truly important to have strong role models for young boys, don't get me wrong, but you really have to watch out for these young girls today. let me break it down for you....

Check youtube, put in any popular song and chances are you're going to find some underaged girl dancing to it in her draws. I'm hoping this doesn't get flagged for being obscene content by the way. Shit you can come up on it unintentionally just depending on the suggested viewing option on youtube. I would link the videos but I don't want to promote this nonsense. Point blank if your daughter has a computer in her room, take it out. She has a laptop, put tape over the webcam. She doesn't need it. An internet rat like myself comes upon a lot of troubling sights (and sites). Most of the time i just click and keep on moving but everyone doesn't. Your daughter will end up on someone's message board or in an e-mail as an example of bad parenting.

Even worse, some lil knucklehead is going to be sending her im's and text messages until eventually in some cases he gets her to dance,strip, get naked, all types of crazy shit on camera or send camera phone pics to him which will then get posted online at some point. Girls can be so trusting no matter how much they have been told. Trust me they will feel better if you keep them from becoming a member of the "Girls Gone Wild" Club. It's a new trend online for "homegrown" or "Stolegrown" pics of regular girls instead of professionals who are getting paid. Be on the lookout for this stuff. It's hard to keep up so take this as a warning if you keep hearing "She got a Donk" played from in that bedroom over and over with the door closed. She is probably in there trying to get the angel and lighting just right.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Theater of the Mind- Ludacris




So Finally an album I can get somewhat excited about as Ludacris finally drops Theater of the Mind. One of the most underrated artists of today's age is out with what i believe is his 6th album. Coming out with a concept where every song is based off of either a television show or a movie for it's theme. The concept works and it is great to see some innovation...for the most part.

From the beginning of the album, Ludacris brings true wordplay and lyricism in "Undisputed" which co-stars Floyd Mayweather. Co-starring is another theme of the album instead of "features" and don't worry Floyd is just talking shit not actually rapping. Further example of Ludacris' verbal talent is on "Last of a Dying Breed" where he spars with Lil Wayne whose syrup induced verse (at least I hope thats the reason) is confusing to say the least. "MVP" features production by Premier and Ludacris sounds at home on the classic New York sounding track. The Highlight of the album has to be "I do it for Hip-hop" which co-stars Nas and Jay-Z on what I could consider the better sounding "Swagga Like Us". The blueprint for the posse cut as it features a topic that gave the rappers something to point their lyrics too and each of the artists sets a high bar and brings something unique to the track.

Unfortunately, as with any Luda album, this one has it's missteps. While "Call up the homies" and "Southern gangster" aren't the worst songs, they show Ludacris forcing himself to try and produce street credentials to appeal to the "gangster" crowd. "Everybody hates Chris" uses the show title to produce yet another song about flossing, although the track is reminiscent of an 80's sitcom intro. "Nasty Girl", "Contagious", and "What them girls like" all end up being filler tracks to fulfill the female friendly quota for the album when Luda could have been better utilizing his talents.

"One More Drink" fulfills the one t-pain slot per southern album requirement and it is a decent song but nothing spectacular, as is "Wish you Would" which only garners a mention because it features one time foe T.I. .

Overall, any Ludacris album is probably going to be better than most albums that are released in general. The maddening part is his wildly inconsistent material. While at one moment he showcases an impressive array of lyrics and wittiness, and others he puts out something lazy that you can tell he thought of while taking a piss. It is still better than a lot of recent releases but it falls short of the classic status that could elevate Ludacris from one of the most slept on to top 5 without a doubt.

Rating: 3.5/5