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.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The DJ





"Say go DJ, cause that's my DJ
Say go DJ, cause that's my DJ
Say go DJ, cause that's my DJ"

Quick, name that tune! Aight I'm pretty sure anyone with half an ear who has been listening to hip-hop the past decade knows that this is the hook from Lil' Wayne's "Go DJ" off of the Carter, the album that catapaulted him to stardom. Though in the song, there was no actual DJ, this song echoes the common idea that the DJ has always been important when it comes to rap music.



Back in the day it was Robb Base and DJ EZ Rock, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Kid Capri, Tony Touch, Mr. Cee, Funkmaster Flex, and of course DJ Clue all were some of the important and notable DJ's in the early 90's who helped hip-hop become the monster that it is today. This is not to disrespect any earlier DJ's I ain't that old lol.








Now being a DJ used to be some exclusive shit. Everyone didn't do it nor call themselves a DJ. You had to be able to mix and battle against other people just like in rap. Then the mixtape scene really started to pop off as technology allowed things to spread and people were able to get more access. Down in Baltimore, now that people didn't have to call a cousin from NY or travel up there to get some new music. Clue is the guy who basically took the mixtape nationwide at that point, however looking back, there wasn't any mixing on it. It was just a dude with a bunch of unreleased joints and some freestyles, it was hot for sure but not mixing.


(listen to this Canibus freestyle from CLue in 1997, you don't hear rap like this on tapes anymore)




In doing what he did, Clue changed the DJ's job and what people thought a DJ was supposed to do. Now DJ's were even more important as the guys who could break you by putting you next to the hottest artists of the day. If a guy was on a Clue tape, you had to respect him. Things have changed, and I'm going to say the guy who "DJ'ed" and got me to really stop liking mixtapes was KaySlay.



Not to say that Slay had bad tapes, but his were the first that to me were questionable, and after him the market began to get flooded with a bunch of crap. Guys who were unsigned yet had an entire mixtape. That's not a mixtape, that's a bootleg album and most of it is garbage. The ease of making these became so much that now the market is ultra-saturated with random "albums" by unknowns and they all sound the same. But back to Slay, the second thing about him that bothered me was his personality. While Clue just dropped you occasional overdubs so no one could steal his exclusives, Kay Slay started the tradition of just straight blabbering all over the hot songs. "Mr. Slap ya Favorite DJ" aka "The Drama King" also tried to incite the hood by making beef records his niche. For a minute it worked then he started throwing every random lame diss out there, and of course the copycats followed making it even worse.

Marketing-wise, Slay was probably one of the first who understood how to market himself really well and what kind of positions were possible to put himself in. All of that is great for Dj's in general. I'm the type of person who thinks that it also influences a lot of young dudes who are great marketers to actually call themselves "DJ's" in order to market their beatmaking or A&R services instead of actual DJ ability. I'm all for making yourself more well-known and profiting from your skills but you have to also have the passion for DJ'ing as an art and be able to understand the business. To me it is disrespectful to those who really love it to just jump out there and position yourself as a DJ because you think it's the quickest path to a label job.



In this area, I have to say DJ Quiksilva who is on WKYS 93.9 in DC is one of the best who have done it in the area. Quik did every prom in Baltimore just about from like 1997-2002 and still DJ's in his current job, normally putting out a hot mix. On the other station, you have my man DJ Reddz (both of whom graduated from the same high school as me) who does his thing alongside Big Tigger on WPGC.

(DJ Reddz)



You see, (this is a long ass blog), DJ's can be the door to success for any artist. Today, these are the only guys you van go through to try and get your song on the radio most times even though it may be only in a mix a couple of times a week. What I learned is that these guys now abuse the power they know that they have and try to force artists into one sided management and/or production deals so they can start the "raping" of an artist early. It's crazy because I know they get a lot of material handed to them everyday but it's obvious that a lot of them are giving up that payola play. (how else can you explain OJ da Juiceman?) I don't like to seem like I'm always complaining but where are the DJ's who stand up and are willing to play some real music so that people can hear something new and good?


To all of the DJ's, you guys are too important in hip-hop to just ignore you and the god and bad you can bring to the game. Keep it real and be a gateway, and not an obstacle.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Saigon...




Now this is the good shit that makes people like Saigon. This is some real hip-hop that is more witty than it is lyrical. I never heard the songs originally but this was cool. We need more of this.

A nice R and B Collab

This video down here is one I like. I never listened to the song before because I don't like the slow songs (it must be the testosterone). This instance is exceptional because it has my girl Monica, still reppin and keeping it real, with the heir to the Mary J. Blige throne, miss Keyshia Cole. Check it out.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Is an Opinion a bad thing?

This whole Joe Budden issue has brought up something interesting. Quite a few people say that they agree with Joe but because he happens to be an artist in the industry he was wrong for speaking out about it. What ever happened to rap and rap fans?

I have held several conversations with people who believe that anyone who wants to get in the game should be allowed to be in the game and rap how they feel. Fine, there is freedom of speech, however these same people cannot understand when someone like myself speaks out about these people being straight up butt crack aka ass.

examples:









Okay, that's enough for now. Why is someone, especially another artist who puts in years of work and time to make his lyrics tighter wrong for speaking out about something they aren't feeling? When did we become so sensitive and emotional that we cannot take some criticism. The first thing artists do now is start doing videos and talking about anything but music. What ever happened to going in the booth, putting down a hot verse and letting it be what it is.

Remember this:


Ludacris killed T.I. on this song, yet T.I.'s career hasn't died. You can take an L and keep it moving. These guys never pretended to like each other until recently and everyone knew it. You see people feel that you have to beef to dislike something. This is really big in rap circles. If I say I don't like an artist, or album, or a song, I'm labeled a hater regardless of what reasoning I have. It's like the majority of people fail to think and expect you to do so as well.

Just like most people say they can relate to a Rick Ross or Jadakiss more than and Eminem. Most people have never sold drugs. Most of those who have were not successful, moving weight or being bosses. Ross and his kind appeal to your fantasies, what you keep wishing your life was like. Joe Budden speaks about his actual life and real problems. You may not be facing depression however, you have actual feelings that you need to deal with. I understand for most people, rap is like a fantasy, we want to feel something grand and great just like watching a movie. Myself, I am a realist, but there is more on that to come later.

To make a succinct point in all of this, whether I agree with it or not, I want to see more artists having actual opinions and not being afraid to actually express them regardless of whose feeling might get bruised.



Now you have Busta and Redman here, with Ed Lover fanning the flames, but Redman is right, he saying keep it on wax let it be what it is. That is good for hip-hop. But Busta, I been trying to stay with you since you cut your hair, but you are the second most inconsistent rapper behind Nas. How is it disrespectful to speak your opinion and then say if you feel differently prove it? To say someone needs to be smacked then say you don't promote violence makes no sense. But to keep talking like there was no reason to pick Meth is just getting lame to me. Someone could easily pick Busta Rhymes who is nowhere near that good lyrically nor topically. For someone to talk about being a man and having respect then saying one should not have an opinion about another rapper. Being a man is taking criticism whether you like it or not and understanding it is that man's opinion and he is entitled to it.

In the end the most bothersome thing is the idea that if you speak out or do not conform to what the 'status quo' is that everyone finds you at fault, especially when it isn't that serious. We have become so used to people just saying things for shock value that we won't even try to think that someone might actually have a genuine opinion.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just Give up...




Now I listened to the beginning of this song and I was like this might have potential. Maybe if Ace Hood has something to talk about he isn't a flop. Maybe he can be better than i thought. The video had the look of struggle in it, high quality, smart emotional hook by Akon...and Ace Hood fails miserably after about four bars. He immediately starts talking about himself being in your city or something or other. Look this is just wack and he is one of the people in the song only not successful. It's about time to get back to working on cars, or at the port (legally) for Ace. He is just not good enough to be a rapper even it today's game.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Album Review- Crime Pays- Cam'ron

After a two year hiatus-which is an eternity in today's rap game, Killa Cam is finally back on record with "Crime Pays". Cam has been leading up to this for a few months now since he popped up with "Get in in Ohio".



No one has ever doubted Cam's "swag", Just check the video above for "Cookin' Up". No one can knock his skills. Listening to his flow shows what Juelz is striving for. Cam is the natural however, and he creates slang on the fly that seems even more natural than most artists.



While sometimes, he seems to pick beats that are too gimmicky for his own good sometimes and it can drag him down as he tries to rap along the track. His peculiar sense of humor is still evident on the intros to several tracks and the "grease" skit which has got to be a real conversation and proves that 50 isn't the only person who has less compassion than the average person. He is also weird, with songs like "Chalupa", "Cookies and Applejuice", "Curve",and "Silky (no homo)".

His choice of features is limited to his new Dipset? or is it Byrdgang? members who cost him less. It is obvious that Killa is being smart with his money. Even the majority of his production is being handled by newcomers or local talent.



Listening to Cam however makes me feel bad for actually nodding my head. This album is full of so much blatant negativity and a tremendous lack of sensitvity for anyone but himself. The arrogance, while it works for his persona, is personally bothersome for me a sit exemplifies what is wrong with the generation that has followed Cam. So though lyrically, the album isn't bad, the subject matter is even more of a turn off than other coke rappers because of the way it is presented, entirely unapologetic. Sonically, Cam attempts to blend too many awkward sounds at times and cops out in order to make the hooks catchy enough for the ear, when he could have done them differently to make the song fit together better. Even with the mistakes I can't help but rate the album decently, though i loathe to do so.

Rating:3/5

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Album review- Blackout 2


Oh the irony, not that Joe Budden mentioned Meth right as this album was dropping, but that Meth seems to be at the height of his game right now as the debate begins and hope (at least from me) that they will get to go at it one on one to settle their differences. Now I ended up with a few new joints this week but I feel that this one is the best and most important of them. First of all, this proves that Red and Meth are still relevant.

The first thing I noticed after listening to this is either E. Sermon has stepped his beat game up tremendously, or Defjam helped them get some better tracks for this effort. Lyric wise Meth seems more energized as does Redman who disappointed after his last solo effort. The first single "A-yo" dropped a good while ago and it shows the duo still has it. In fact I have highlighted it before, and here it is again:



My favorite song right now is "Hey Zulu" which is just catchy as hell, expecially for "underground" rappers like Red and Meth. The song makes me without any rhythm at all get my jig and two-step on.

Also featured on the album are UGK, on "City Lights" which features a Pimp C sample for the hook and a Bun B verse. Redman who drops at least 2 similes in every verse rips the track to start things off, and Bun B ends it on a lower note unfortunately. This song could easily have beat out "Ms. International" as the first official single.



Keith Murray also shows up on "Errybody Scream", as do Raekwon and Ghostface on "4 minutes to Lockdown" where Ghost once again steals the show with his energetic storytelling style. Roc and Streetlife also make an appearance on the album on "How Bout Dat".

Now topically, Red and Meth don't talk about anything coherent. The hooks on the album have a general frame of reference of what the song is about for the most part, but the duo is so abstract that in the end it doesn't matter. The fun part is just hearing the two rhyme about mostly nothing and it is hard for you to realize that is what is actually happening. Overall, the addition of tracks that are more lively are the biggest overall change for Red and Meth. This album is much tighter and more consistent than the albums that have preceded it.

Rating:3.5/5

Friday, May 15, 2009

Joe Budden done started a firestorm!




So it's official, Joey B. has been labeled a trouble maker and a whiner. It seems to me that some folks have started to blow this whole thing out of proportion, thanks a lot Vibe magazine for this garbage beef. Hopefully I can get some new music out of this.

I posted Joe's video earlier with his interpretation of the Vibe bracket. From what i could tell, the video was not created to knock any one individual but rather to mock the magazine's attempted tournament. I have to go with him claiming the list is bullshit. For instance Bow wow, Lil Kim, and Foxy Brown are all on the list and they don't write their own verses for the most part. Now back to Joe, He brought up Method Man, which is cool because at the very least it could be seen as a reasonable comparison, Meth is not the worst nor the best on the list. Due to the controversy, Joe went on Ed Lover's show to explain himself :



Shortly after, the Mr. Mef called in and spoke to Ed as well:



Now I must issue a disclaimer, I am a Joe Budden fan. I like his music and what he talks about because it's not all drugs, balling, and general stuntin'. I think Meth either skipped the video to the part where it said his name or didn't watch it at all. Now it's not like Joe was just thinking, 'I need to beef with someone how about Method Man', it was based off of Vibe's brackets so for Meth to insinuate that Joe did it because Blackout 2 is scheduled to drop is slightly ridiculous.

Secondly, Ed has just talked to Joe about how rappers always sya they want to get physical when they think they can't win on wax. Just like when you and your friend were playing Madden in 1995 and you were beating him so he says "You can't beat me for real though". The shit is annoying and very immature, so I wonder why Ed didn't say something when Meth gets to the end and says "I wanna see him in the streets" after Meth just claims he is willing to put the verses down and let the public decide. Thats what hip-hop is, and Ed failed by not talking to Meth the same way he spoke to Joe and in my opinion, he should have told Meth ignore the street part because it isn't that serious. This sin't Ja-Rule and 50. This is strictly hip-hop.

So I go over to Worldstar today and see this:


Dog........

Why the hell is Melle Mel making comments? The dude said he was a pioneer, what more do you want? I mean really, dude must be on them roids all swole up on the internet. It's like as a pioneer, 50 year old man, should be above that and not come down to the level for something that is so childish. Then to draw a picture and call someone the ass crack of hip-hop...Is everyone getting dumber by the day?

The funny part is there are people that should be speaking about feeling disrespected, like Plies. I mean Too Short now has a reason to talk since Joe and Ed Lover both have said he isn't a lyricist worthy of the 6 seed. I agree, but there is a difference when you start adding in legendary status whihc isn't just based off of lyrics. That's what makes this Vibe tourney so bad, no one knows what the criteria is to even judge who made the list and where they were ranked. I can't believe this is getting so carried out of proportion- a new blog on that later.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cookies and Some Apple Juice

Yo Killa Cam is back son. I mean Get it in Ohio was classic Cam but I wasn't feeling it. tired of the thuggery and gun talk, but this one, the dude Cam is flowing and doing his thing this time around. This song reminds us of why we like Cam and his style.



Then watching the video, is like wow. He has some of the best video hoes I've seen in a while and he is doing it uncut style, only better. Hands all over the chicks, some dude wildin in the club pouring apple juice and feeding them cookies. Cam is off his rockers man and I'm loving it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More from Rawse...



I must admit, this guy has managed to stay in the news almost 24-7 the past couple of months, from licking his bracelet, to ignoring the C.O. pictures, to warring with 50 and his baby mommas, Ross has been mentioned almost every day. They say the only bad promotion is no promotion so right now he is killing.



Now there is the Louie Vuitton deal. The reps for the company have made a point to come out and say that the sunglasses are not official. The big question is why would they say that? Most likely a bunch of monkey looking niggas are running to boutiques around the country trying to drop hundreds of dollars on some effing sunglasses (I'm trying to watch my language). This in and of itself is stupid as hell.

Now we get Ross' excuse or reason behind the alleged false glass conspiracy, you can see it here@ allhiphop.com. According to sources :

According to Ross, the sunglasses worn on the cover of the May 2009 issue of XXL Magazine were customized with solid gold accents by Jacob Bernstein, AKA “The Sunglasses Pimp.”



"It’s the same thing as buying a Rolls Royce and having it tricked out; just because the product has been customized by me doesn’t take away from the fact that the frames are authentic Louis Vuitton Millionaires," Bernstein told AllHipHop.com.


This may be the case, but then why the fuck (screw watching my language) are niggas going out and buying 500-1000 dollar sunglasses then getting them customized even further. If this isn't a gluttonous waste of money I don't know what is. Niggas really don't deserve a damn dime when they do shit like this. Money could be spent paying child support in Ross' case, or bettering the neighborhood, creating generational wealth, anything but doing this. Bill Gates, one of the three richest men in the country, rocks some regular wack ass frames and some beat up decks.

I am sick of the "stunting" culture right about now because it shows how messed up our priorities are. Someone out there has to feel me on this one.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vibe does it again...

Okay, thanks to Joe Budden this second year of Vibes greatest ever tournament is getting publicity. Someone twittered him (follow me on twitter), the link to the bracket which can be found right here.

Now here is what Joe thinks about this bracket. While you read this you might want to scroll down and read what I have to think about it.




You may not Like Joey's arrogance in this aspect but he is right in a whole lot of shit here. There is no reason this "bracket" should have been created. I mean I would get offended to be in a tournament or list of some sort and be considered worse than Bow wow and he doesn't even write his own raps! Now anyone who listens to verses and lyrics knows that Joe is better than Plies any bias of mine put aside.

Now this whole idea is preposterous because if you continue following me (i have been working on my own list) I am going to go into detail as to why these attempts to have all encompassing lists do not work. There can never be a best of all time especially looking at all of these artists. You have to break it down by some periods of time to even have a shot at doing this. But i digress...

For one Eminem has no oen to go against because they have a "play in" bracket which includes :

Wale
Jay Electronica
Asher Roth
Bobby Ray
Drake
Blu
Kid Cudi
Charles Hamilton

Half of those guys don't even have albums out. How the hell do they even make the list? Then they have to go against Eminem for votes to attempt to win the tourney. This makes no sense and Vibe needs to stop doing it. I know I'm doing them a favor by giving them promotion and hits which is what they want.

Meanwhile, Shock G, and E-40 don't even make the list. I cannot even think of what is more laughable when it comes to matchups:

vs.

perhaps that might just be one of the worst. Check out the brackets and let me know which one you think which one is the worst.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hip-Hop Love Songs 3

Welcome to the era of Ja Rule. The main artist on Murder Inc blew up "singing" to women with the female of his label. I'm not promoting these as the same type of strong images in my previous two posts in the series. Ja is more of the hood love type of artist. Actually, he is a blend of LL's "I Need Love" and maybe some of Common's material, so for that i have to give Ja a pass. He really made his mark in the genre with his recordings, they were all simplistic and extra radio friendly but i think they do have an artistic value.


Okay, problems with some of the video so I have edited and included some of Ja's many other hip-hop love songs.




"Down ass Chick" is probably the best example of that as he refrains from making a song that is about just having sex with his woman. It's about he feels about her holding him down. Now the formula is copied in this manner by the more current rappers.




Now "Put it on Me" was a bit more raunchy, but it wasn't so explicit that it overshadowed the fact that Rule was doing a duet with Lil Mo about a relationship. This was at Ja's heyday and he could do no wrong. I miss this from Rule, damn you 50 Cent.

check out the second post in the series
here is the first post in the series

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lola Love is upset



Now I am one of the main people (not a big time or big name mind you) who has ragged on Angel "Lola" Love about her burgeoning rap career. As you will see in this clip, she wants to know if being on covers and appearing in videos makes her less credible as an artist. Hear listen for yourself:




Here is my point, I don't think just because she is a video girl that she shouldn't rap. I don't think she has a passion for it, she just knows people in that industry who can connect her with radio and video. The first part of her interview says it all, she is trying to do whatever she can to get what she wants monetarily and material wise. It is offensive to me as a fan of hip-hop. She is right, people will be skeptical until she proves herself as being worthy as an artist. From what I have heard so far, she isn't. To compare herself to women who started rapping as their way to fame first then segued into modeling isn't valid to me.



I am also confused as to why she would decide that her name or video name are not good enough, but she must become "Lola Monroe". I don't feel that she has the connection to Marilyn Monroe. When she says it, it doesn't come to me as natural, it just looks like an excuse to do something for attention. If you already have a name why would you use one you have no equity in? I mean it's like me calling myself sonny gambino, at the very least she could have something that looks like it might actually fit. I'm sorry but to me she seems extra false, fake, artificial, and superficial.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tweet and her legacy

So you all remember Tweet right? The Southern Hummingbird who made the song about touching herself "Oops".



Here is Tweet herself and her daughter talking about a new album and singing "Smoking Cigarettes"


Here is her daughter "Starchild" and her son singing Knock you Down with the freestyle at the end being the one she referenced in the video above this one.


They both have some talent, dude can sing and sounds just like Ne-yo. Good job on them kids Tweetie.