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.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

So I had a post removed...

Due to the DMCA. You may or may not have noticed but my post about new songs I'm feeling was removed. I have a good idea that it was because of the song by young Chris featuring Wale. Im pretty sure it wasn't due to the Sticky Fingaz song, but I can't be sure actually. I'm sort of bummed about it because it's not like I was hosting the joints myself or had even uploaded them. I don't have any industry connections so it's crazy that I feel like the fall guy for wanting to share some actual new songs that I liked.

Even worse I didn't get a warning to remove the link to a song or anything, Blogger could have asked me to remove the offending material and not taken down the entire post which still had merit on its own. In all, i just feel it wasn't an opportunity given to me to leave a critical opinion of the product. So does that mean if I link to a companies website they can argue that I am profiting from a critique? That happens in the public arena and it's crazy that at this early juncture of this blog and hopefully my online journalistic career to have this happen. But you live and you learn.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My first cd's

I remember my first cd player, a sony walkman I had to share with my little 5 year old sister. Some bullcrap right? My first cd's were Young M.C. and MC Hammer and I still have them both to this day.Her first cd was Vanilla Ice....lol I know hilarious right. The first cd I purchased with my own money was Naughty By Nature, "Poverty's Paradise". I love the name of that cd and it was a solid offering from the boys from Jersey.



One thing I think I appreciate from my parents was the fact that I had to write them a letter and explain to them why I should be allowed to buy and listen to cd's with the parental advisory sticker. I really had to think about it and show that I was capable of not being negatively influenced by rap lyrics. After proving my case I was rewarded with Tupac's "Me Against the World" which was probably his most complete album.



After that I could have been considered a cd machine, especially when I started working. I actually still have my original issue of Reasonable Doubt with the gun on the asphalt, not the solid black one that most of y'all probably got.

It's like I remember when buying cd's was an event. Going into the record store or even the big Best Buy and Circuit City would be a pleasure just to see which four cd's of guys you had heard a little bit of were out. CRU- was underrated man. I liked their cd a lot. I used to be excited looking at the ads for the likes of All City and their album "Metropolis Gold", Tracey Lee one of the original Philly artists with "Many Facez".

I probably got tired of it for two reasons, One was wack albums by Mil an artist from Philly who had the beard and dropped on Jive records right after Beans. Dude had no promotion and I see why. The second wack album was Benzino and the "Made Men". "Classic Limited Edition" broke no new ground and was dumb boring. Then it came out all the ads in the source promoting him were because he owned the shit. Yet he had the nerve to say the system promoted people like Eminem and was killing hip-hop, yet he was pumping Ja Rule who was popularizing bubble gum crossovers by the likes of J.Lo . The times got hard and the internet blew up making it much easier to get the shit for free and I haven't bought a cd in like 4 or 5 years. I can't even remember the last one I purchased that didn't say "Memorex" on it. But those early years were great memories.

Let me know, what were your first cd's and why?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tee Smif

Now I want to have a discussion about hip-hop videos and I am working on it, but right now a guy that i haven't seen much major stuff by is Tee Smif. It seems that he is from Kings County in NY somewhere (i guess that's a real place) but I like what he is doing so far. Just check this video he did for Corey Gunz:




Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hip-hop Moments...

When was the last big moment that you remember in hip-hop? It seems to be a lack of truly memorable moments that just bring you a great memory. Like Snoop dog at the old Source awards asking NY if they had love for the West Coast.



I mean you think that was ill...just look at the performance:



that was when hip-hop was raw and still saying something. This was also the period in which it started making money which has led to the downfall where it is today. But these 95 Source awards were probably one of the best moments, there was a lot of variety and people were keeping it real. It wasn't overproduced and full of people worried more about their perception than their true self. I can appreciate that. The honesty isn't readily available in today's music from what I can hear in the big artists today. Just look at BONE they look like they came to clean up after the show and yet put together a hot medley.



The one clip I want to find now is Snoop at the Soul Train awards when he came out in the lowrider, when i get it I'll be back to post more of the good ol memories. Don't forget to leave a comment and let us over here know what you think.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rap Beef...

Now hip-hop beef and battles have long held a place within the art. You gotta believe me I love it. I mean LL has had many battles, the one with Canibus being a "not quite old-school" classic. BIG and Pac even though it had a tragic ending was worthy of listening to. 50 cent and Ja Rule was epic as 50 ended all of murder Inc. and they showed real animosity. The last actual decent one which ended up with good music was probably Ludacris and TI, where on one unreleased song Luda showed his lyrical superiority. You can never forget about Jay-z and Nas even though they made up. Jadakiss and Beanie Sigel seemed forced, frivolous and false. TI and Shawty Lo doesn't really count because Shawty Lo sucks ass and can't rap so TI got to show off some skills against him.



But this new Joe Budden and Saigon beef shows a big problem with the new generation. It is way too much access to outlets to get records out quickly. Saigon makes a video blog and hours later Joe Budden has a song out. 8 hours later there is a diss song from Saigon who had the time to get snippets from Prodigy (who isnt even relevant) talking about my man Joe. Now I'm a Budden fan but he makes it even worse by coming back hours later with another 4 minute diss record. I'm overloaded like wtf.

I mean you used to be able to count on a couple of weeks of subliminal disses that you had to listen deeply for. Then if you were lucky you got an all-out go hard blitz that ended up only on a Clue tape because his shit was the hottest. Now you got the joints on 3-6 sites within the first hour of it's posting and critiques of it. It's no build-up, no anticipation no time to absorb and dissect each record and discuss amongst your friends. Man You would be listening to a diss record for a week before you heard a reply and had digested every possible innuendo, now, you take it for granted. Let's make the beef worthwhile fellas. By the time Budden album drops at the end of February we will have forgotten about him and Saigon.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why Jeezy why?




Now the above is the video for Young Jeezy's "My President is Black" which features Nas. On the one hand I am grateful for the effort and lyrics jeezy was able to put into this attempt. It solidifies his position as the next generation's Ice Cube. Yes, I am going to go ahead and let him have the title he is working towards, I do see where he has some improvement in the area and is making an attempt to be more positive. However, Jeezy isn't nice enough to pull off this song. Listen to the hook "My president is black, My Lambo is blue"....wtf is that? If you are going to be political, at the very least, have some consistency in it. Nas isn't much better as he starts off his verse talking about the size of some rims. We all know he is conflicted but where is the unified theme of doing something different. There is nothing political nor positive about candy colored whips and big rims.

Where is the true political voice of this generation of rappers? Whenever someone does something or makes a statement that is political it always seems to me that it is more in the way of creating some personal buzz for themselves rather than making some progress. Look at Kanye Wests asinine political statements. They come across as arrogant statements without a factual basis. One of the smartest things I've heard was from TI who said that artists and celebrities need to tell the press "I'll do some research and then get back to you" in response to political questions. I would love for rappers and urban celebrities to be able to lead the wave for change, but I only hope they can move beyond the normal rhetoric and propose/ support solutions that at times may not be the "popular" or conventional choice. Meaning not just go along with saying there needs to be a change politically, but supporting change in the form of getting drug dealers off of the streets and truly show the youth different avenues to make it other than entertainment or athletics.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What Happened to Soundtracks?

Does anyone else remember the day when you would cop a soundtrack before you saw the movie? At this moment I'm listening to the Jason's Lyric soundtrack, specifically LL Cool J's "Candyman". The cd was solid from front to back with mostly a West Coast feel but it was hot. The soundtracks used to have joints that you couldn't find anywhere else but it was worth it. It was a tight mixture of rap and r and b. Both of the Nutty Professor soundtracks were hot featuring method man, Redman, and even Eminem.

The Bad Boys soundtrack which featured Biggie and Da Brat along with Diana King, Ini Kamoze, and Xscape. Soundtracks brought back some fond memories. I remember going to see Bad Boys and then buying the soundtrack in the mall afterwards. And who can forget the soundtrack to Dangerous Minds with Coolio's "Gangstas Paradise".

What's your favorite hip-hop soundtrack songs?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Going in on R and B

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned soul music? The hottest R and B artist of last year was who? T-pain or Chris Brown? Neither of these dudes can sing. Our generation has to be the worst at actually following people who can sing. The Karaoke generation. I think i'm going to do a blog on that idea, but back to the task at hand...

The biggest problem in R and B right now is that people who need to be writing songs think that having that talent entitles them to get on record. People like the Dream need to remain behind the scenes. Rihana needs to do dance pop songs-stay the hell away from ballads. Ne-yo isn't that bad he actually has ability but he would have been a niche artist like Keith Sweat 15 years ago. I mean no one would have called Keith one of the greats but he had his lane.

There was once a day when Luther and Whitney ruled the stage. After that era basically ended we endured Mary J. Blige finding her "voice" so to speak but now she has things together. Things were cool and you felt that the singing wouldn't get any worse than that. But we were terribly wrong. Now everyone doesn't suck. Keyshia Cole was rough around the edges but she has skills and natural talent. Mario has been around for a while and is just looking for that hit to put him over the top.

The reigning kings, Usher and R. Kelly both have been knocked down a couple of pegs. Usher was expected to have a drop after the greatness of his last album but bad management advice from his new wife has hurt him, "In this club" was wack. Kells on the other hand just has issues.

here is my main point, people like Dream shouldn't be on the radio. They force guys like Musiq to try to do crunk songs to remain relevant. Jaheim is not adult contemporary, that's Gladys Knight territory. It's a shame that a guy like that with a huge voice and all of the talent in the world cannot get regular airplay. Look up Tank as well, because these guys are well under the radar. I feel like India.Arie is going to get shoved under the rug as well and she doesn't deserve it. She should get support from her label but she won't.

I'm just tired of having the real good artists relegated to the "oldies" stations when they deserve to be exposed to the mass audience. Prime time MTV and not 2 am on VH1 soul.

and now for my main man singing the national anthem, I present Mr. Marvin Gaye:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The worst artist of 2009


Point blank I'm calling it right now, Ron Browz is going to be the worst artist of 2009. He got started late in 2008 but unfortunately this guy is going to keep getting play in 2009. So far this annoying Pop champagne keeps getting played. The lyrics are horrific and the auto-tune isn't slick. T-pain was right, Browz is really fucking up. The saddest part is that he was doing his thing as a producer. Just look at the beginning of the song, "Ether Boy" owing to the fact he produced the song for Nas a few years ago.

I'm not hating on dudes getting their money but come on fella stay in your lane. Arab money is trash and his new solo song is enough to make you want to url. I just want someone to take the mic from this guy, send in sandman simms or something. In 2009 I'm starting the campaign to take music back.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hip-hop and Style

Welcome to 2009, there's a lot going to happen in this year including the opinions expressed in this blog. For the next year we're going to be more controversial and adversarial when it comes to challenging the established opinions in music.

So let me get right into it, Hip-hop and style. For years rappers have brought style to the forefront, whether it was track suits, shades, adidas, hammer pants, you name it, hip-hop has helped influence the style trends. Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane were huge dapper dons in rap. It fit their personas, but however it didn't make them. Guys like LL could rap and have a style that fit their personality. It doesn't be the same today. I mean Kool G. Rap could mention how fly he was without that being the entire "reason" for his existence. Today you have guys like Rocko or Jim Jones whose entire existence is based around their "swag" or style. Everyone is so outlandish and cartoonish in their attempts to try and seen as the leader in style. The problem is they don't have anything else to do with themselves. The idea that they have a style overshadows anything that they may do as far as hip-hop.

The potential for these guys to become fashion icons doesn't really bother me as much as the fact the style they represent doesn't go along with the lifestyle that they present in print and on wax. Jim Jones talks about how much he is a hustler and stays on the block yet he is wearing scarves and skinny ass jeans. That's not the hustler look. That's Kanye West and we know he doesn't have any hustler credentials. DMX is the hood, always has, always will be. I mean Puffy is a suave guy but he wears suits so it fits his business mogul image. The crazy thing is that everyone has this idea that they have to create this super image but they put nothing into their music. Look at Lil Wayne. Look at Soulja Boy. All obsessed with things.

As fans, most of us aren't any better. What happened when Jay-z said he didn't wear jerseys anymore. You can't find a throwback anymore. I have to feel that more now than ever, what rappers say and do affects the culture. More fans refuse to have their own ideas and identities outside of the people they idolize. Look at how Kanye has influenced Lupe, Kid Cudi, and Charles Hamilton. All clones. The worst part is they look just like Juelz santana, wayne, and Ace hood and none of them sound alike. Let's take 2009 and find our own identities.

These dudes right here, their gear fit their style for real son. I present to you: Mobb Deep.