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, July 29, 2009

Where are the Albums at?

Honestly, this is a short blog sort of because I was looking on the horizon to see what new joints i need to be looking for to check out and I see...nothing. Beyond Slaughterhouse the second week of August, there are no albums worth looking for until one full month after when the Blueprint 3 drops.



So after Loso's Way came out on Tuesday, there exactly two albums that might pique the buying public's interest between now and October, with unfortunately, the Slaughterhouse album probably being overlooked by the majority of the buying public. I mean an "Internet Soldier" like myself might be excited for it, but then again I was excited about Blackout 2 and look where that went.



It was a dud. I feel bad for Red and Meth because they should have at least 80 thousand dedicated fans who would be willing to get their cd. Labels have basically given up. Young Money compilation-pushed back while Drake gets pushed forward but his joint isn't ready. The Lil Wayne Rock album- laughably shelved. Big Boi's album- shelved. Maino's album- not good enough. the Ludacris and Shawnna album

I remember when the summer would have at least two hot joints come out a week because all of the C and B list artists had to get theirs in before guys like Jay and DMX took over the 4th quarter. Plies didn't even put out an album this year and he dropped one every 9 months over the last two! WTF is going on here? I know labels don't want to spend the promo dollars but this is absurd.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Lil' Mo Effect

Now Lil' Mo may not have had the strongest career of her own as a solo artist even though she has the pipes that many singers would die for. What she has done has co-signed some of the biggest hip-hop acts in recent memory in several ways.

I just found this remake? of her hit with Ja Rule, "Cry" with LL Cool J. Maybe it's a Defjam remake thing or something. Take a listen:



Who can forget the radio, or good version of "Put it On Me"


They may argue but no way Ashanti could have pulled this off. Ja admit it, you needed Mo when she was around, y'all used her and moved on, but that's the industry.







I mean I remember this video...and not being mpressed by it. Looked like a rip-off too much of the Missy, "I can't stand the rain" video concept.


LMAO I know none of you all actually knew about this did you? Keith Sweat and Lil Mo...wtf.



Of course, we have to bring it all back with Superwoman pt. 2. If anyone has a copy of Superwoman pt. 1 for some reason (i dunno u slid it out before mixing) pass that joint out man!



Mo-Here is a shout out and let's hope that you can continue the success that you have had independently because close to 100k is success even on a label these days!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hip-Hop Love Songs 4

Now Puffy aka Diddy isn't the first person who comes to mind when you;re thinking about love songs in hip-hop. Everyone knows Puff is an asshole. However he has done a couple of songs for the ladies. "Last Night" with Keyshia Cole is from the Nelly school of love songs, where Puff rap-sings about a woman.



However for Me, Diddy gets on the list for the "I need a Girl pt. 1" track. His first verse is cool, Loon is aight, and Usher smooths the track out real nice. But it doesn't really get good until he starts almost crying in the last verse about J.lo. I saw this the other day and i realized this song didn't pop off cause no one likes seeing Puff beg.




You cannot tell me the dude was not about to break down during that song like a lil punk. Then his other baby momma had to be heated hearing that shit, after all she did have them kids and he crying to this puerto rican broad after she left him as he was facing some time. I can bet that at the time Kim Porter was ready to be a "down ass chick" as Ja Rule put it. lol. Cheers to you diddy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hip-Hop debates

Now anyone who likes or loves rap/ hip-hop also loves the hip-hop debate. From which verse is hotter, to what album is better, to which rapper is better, there is endless discussion in high school cafeterias, barbershops, basements, and college campuses across the country. The hip-hop discussion is probably second only to basketball related conversations in the black community.


The best of both worlds?

I enjoy the debate myself, but recently, since more of my debates have been of the online variety, I find that positions are much harder to determine. The problem is that most people on message boards either don't have an established criteria on how they judge hip-hop, or don't care to actually type out what said criteria is, whereas in a normal face to face interaction, it can be done within minutes.

You see, I just heard the "House Nigga" diss of Joe Budden by Inspektah Deck. I have no problem with it, do your thing Deck, hip-hop needs people to compete, however, when talking about the two rappers people jump to either side without much though. Most of the Deck/Wu supporters are people who are going with the idea that because it's the Wu, they are all nice, they aren't all nice, and then Budden supporters are saying the Wu is old and washed up, not true either. No one is sitting down and saying what things actually make a good artist or song.

In my personal opinion, the most important thing to me is lyrics...to a point. Let me explain, see Canibus had lyrics out of the ass, however, he was never able to make them fit into a compelling song or narrative. Most of the bigger artists today, don't have lyrics at all. But wait, what are lyrics to you?



Lyrics to me are a combination of a vocabulary, rhyme scheme, and similes and metaphors, which are now called punchlines, as if they are juvenile and "real" rappers don't use them. In truth, similes and metaphors are supposed to be used to enhance the reality of the verses and further draw the listener into the world of the artist. I also want to hear something about the artists life for real, so for Rick Ross to do four albums that all are about the exact same thing is annoying to me. Most people i am finding, prefer to listen to something that gives them a fantasy and delusions of grandeur but that is more of the cyclical nature of hip-hop.



But if that's what you like, say it. I can't tell you that you are wrong for what you like. However, don't dare tell me that Gucci spits the truth when he raps terribly. You can however, admit that you like his beats and the way he flows over them. You can even like his style, but topically, he is severely lacking and I can't get with that. If I wanna party without thinking I'll grab some Mase or Young Joc lol. The fact is be ready to admit what it is you like about a person, don't inflate what they do so you don't sound like a shallow idiot, because in the end that's what you'll look like.

The next part of the debate is determining what makes a good song or a good album and being able to determine the external factors involved in why "success" happens and what success can be defined as. For instance, Jim Jones has massive radio airplay, promotions budgets, and exposure; yet he barely sold more records than Slim Thug who had considerably less buzz and exposure.



Looking at it, he is actually more successful than Jimmy, though some people will say that because Jim's total was higher that he is better or that his album is better. The false argument is that sales= an album's greatness. Looking at it that way, the best rappers ever are Pac, Eminem, DMX, Hammer, and Nelly. I don't think that is a truly compelling support for the case, especially in the new-media era where albums are downloaded as soon as they are mixed. Just because a bunch of people are running around saying it's hot, but not saying why, is not a reason to just go along with the program.

This was a little longer than planned, but let me sum up my thought like this. When going into a discussion, have some standard discussion about the rules by which you will measure and compare artists, songs, and albums. Once you and your fellow debaters decide where you will place the most value, then the debate can begin and a possible conclusion be reached.

Yes NY is Killing Hip-hop

Okay, so many people have seen the trifling video of the guys performing "I eat the P" in front of kids onstage and several in the audience. Here is the horrendous footage if you want to subject yourself to it.


So now, instead of just coming, apologizing , saying my bad it was in bad taste let's move on, ude comes out and makes this following statement:


Let me turn on my NY slang for a minute. Doggie, you wildin' B. This makes no sense. Fine, if it was only two kids there (which it wasn't) you still apologize say their mothers shouldn't have put them up there and in hindsight you feel you messed up. Cool, we accept it and move on. The song wasn't appropriate for anyone in that audience if they were 17 and 18 year olds as you claim anyway. Then you use Lil Wayne as an example...were you the only nigga who missed the BET awards and the backlash when he performed raunchy music with kids on stage? Just because someone else has done it doesn't make it right.

Your final argument is that people are having sex in front of their kids. Really, so that makes it okay for you to explicitly describe sex acts in front of large groups of impressionable youngsters? Once again, just because someone else does dumb shit, it does not make it alright for you to go and do something just as dumb if not dumber. This is especially true when you have no status that would allow for said dumbass event to be overlooked.

Point blank, this shows a generational problem with young people and their refusal to accept any amount of responsibility for their actions. You messed up, instead of trying to deflect blame and show how everyone else is wrong, just man up.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Autobot Movement

I know it sounds corny but regardless of how it sounds, understand this, there is a huge problem right now. Wayne is a fool. I think the guy has some real problems a lot of which involve his drug use and his feelings that he is bigger than reality. The guy has been put into a position and because of his money and status, he is starting to believe that the things that come out of his mouth actually make sense. The guidance he has around him is beyond questionable and downright laughable. I would love for him to understand the foolishness of his words but he won't.

The leader of the movement is Charlamagne the God of PHilly's 100.3 The Beat. He makes a lot of good points about what the youth are getting from this guy. Wayne has been deemed Megatron, the lead Decepticon, here is a conversation that Charlamagne recently had with Dr.Boyce Watkins about Wayne and some recent statements he made.



Here is a link to Dr. Watkins' blog where he leads in to his thoughts about the conversation:
Click Here

Visit this blog to support some positive reinforcement for our young girls out there and teenagers. I am Not Every Girl . Now I think there need to be more positive songs on the radio especially if you're going to play this negativity. It's a shame that I like the song however they should have been able to make a real freaking clean version.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Artist Arrogance

Now arrogance and hip-hop go hand in hand. To some extent if you want to be in this game and be successful at it, you have to feel a certain way about yourself. You also have to be able to make other people believe it, but these days, shit is getting out of hand. You have a lot of artists who haven't done anything as of yet and carry themselves with no sense of humility. You have artists who while commercially successful, have not proven themselves quite completely in the hip-hop arena, and who give themselves titles which no one questions.

To start I'm going to post this clip from Nicki Minaj:


Now I like Nicki as filling a slot where no one exists right now. I do have a problem with the way she is 'carrying' herself at the moment. She looks like she's already made it, like success has already hit her. Yet with no releases she truly is a nobody. The affiliation with fellow arrogant for no reason Lil' Wayne has undoubtedly taken some of the hunger from her. Older clips she shows the hunger and attitude, not the laziness complacency that I see here.

Then you have people Like the aforementioned, Weezy F. Baby, who calls himself the best rapper alive yet won't prove it. I mean honestly, his last album was subpar, he doesn't have a variety of subject matter and he raps so much his good lines are few and far between. Then he wouldn't get into any type of altercation with 50, leaving it to Ross who showed how you can benefit from rap beef. Don't forget this performance from a few weeks ago.



Now someone who deserves to be arrogant, it's Ludacris. Let me tell you why, he doesn't make any ridiculous claims about being the king of anything, he just goes out and puts out his verses. Consistently, whoever is considered "hot", Luda does a song with that person and rips their track to shreds, making the artist look foolish. Yet he doesn't get the respect he deserves because he isn't "street enough". His albums are no worse than anything put out by Wayne, or Plies, Or Ross.



I understand, to get to the top you have to feel a certain amount of pride, Jay wouldn't have gotten there, Puffy wouldn't be the man that he is to day and 50 cent, Cam'ron, and Jim Jones are just some of those who wouldn't have made it this far. The thing is for the most part these guys have at least earned it. They have put in work on multiple fronts to get their "props" so to speak.

What is your idea on earning the right to be arrogant?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Album Review - Loso's Way





First off let me say i am terribly divided on Fabolous. He can rap. I mean dude spits some fire at times. He is a remix killer and he can pop singles like no other NY rapper, however I have been disappointed by every single album of his. In fact each successive cd makes me like the first one even more.

Fab's biggest problem is that he can be too trendy and he has no depth to his "story". I mean he stays giving us the slick gangster talk and dope references but it always comes off as forced to me. It's like everyone goes, it's alright because I like the way he says it, sort of like Wayne. Speaking of Wayne, he guest raps on "Salute" a boring song (to me at least) that talks about leaving brains out and being gangster, topics both of these guys use all of the time without some unique perspective, and with a decent track but nothing that excites me.


Lol this is soooo not believable

So let's examine the highlights, the intro "The Way" is vintage Fab. He spits over a stirring beat with no hook, just letting it fly with his normal swagger gun talk. He also does alright with "When the Money Goes" which features Jay-z on the hook and provides a nice sonic change after all of the songs before which sound like a southern smoke mixtape. I also enjoyed "The Fabolous Life" which feature Ryan Leslie and is one of the better "chick tracks" on the album. The most different and introspective song on the album is "Stay" featuring Marsha Ambrosius.

This song is about experiencing Fatherhood and Fab's own past without one (who knew he had a kid? Good job keeping that from the bloggers.) It also is an interesting because after all of these albums and songs, Fab still has yet to show the real Jay Jackson. So to consistently hear him rap almost exclusively about selling drugs and taking women shopping is disappointing when he shows flashes of potential.



Now as for "Put it in the bag", I find any song with The Dream to be sub-par. He sucks ass. Fab also slows down and makes his style more comparable to today's hot southern artists on "My Time" with Jeremiah using auto-tune (wack), and "Imma do Me", and the whole act is tiring. Going away from his strengths isn't a good idea because you want to hear Fab be Fab, not try to be Jeezy. The hooks on the album are lacking in general and I don't know who's fault that is ultimately. The songs "Makin Love" and "Last Time" which feature Ne-yo and Trey Songz run together and fail to stand out. This might be because he has too many attempts to get that R and B/ rap combo going so there isn't much ground that he covers in the different tracks.


Does this guy honestly believe this?

Fab ends the album good with "Lullaby" and the drug story rap "I Miss My Love" where he spits without worrying about hooks which is what he does best. Overall, Fab fails me once again. Though there are several songs that showcase his skills, he once again fails to put out a complete album. There are a lot of moments that make you want to skip and it shouldn't be that way for a veteran artist of his caliber.

This review is tough because I want to give Fab a better rating than Ross, but I can't. They get the same rating, however, Ross' album is slightly better as it is more cohesive better produced and more consistent.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SMH @ My boy Budden

Now I'm a Joe Budden fan and I believe that this entire Method Man/ Wu-tnag shicm is over blown way out of proportion because at no point did he just single out Meth in the Vibe "Bracket" video. Dude talked for 10 minutes and all anyone got was anger about Method Man, when the guy was pretty much right in everything he was saying. I don't hear Plies complaining about it, he's getting his money. But see because it has been blown out of proportion, we now are getting more and more ridiculous responses.

Check this latest one out from Joey:


Now this is what gets people about Joe, sometimes it's better to just shut up. You were just talking about keeping shit on wax and no one talking about fighting. You dedicated a couple of bars to it on the D.O.A. freestyle. Now you're talking about beating someone up at a show....like come on, don't be 50 Cent. The "media" is trying to bait you, asking everyone in the Wu what they think about Budden like it even matters, we already know the answer, they support Meth and eff Jumpoff Joe. Let your rhymes do the talking because you're ill and the Slaughterhouse album might just be the best one of the year. Don't ruin it before it happens.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NY Minute

Some people know or heard of this guy French Montana. Me, I only know of him through Worldstar and that he has beef with Jim Jones, makes Dvd's apparently titled Cocaine City (and he hasn't been indicted yet? He must be a liar or an idiot), and rolls with Max B.

Seriously though, the song isn't bad at all. I haven't heard much of his stuff but he isn't the worse rapper though I don't know how much depth he actually has. Something tells me not much but I'll wait until I hear more, but here is the video:



My biggest problem is that this sucks ass. I mean why the hell is "Snoop from the Wire" in this video? What is the purpose of this little intro? I understand he wants to make sure he gets the title of the song in but come on if someone in this era tells you they will be somewhere in a New York Minute you're going to laugh at their ass. Thats just corny, even if it is the name of the song.

But French just doesn't seem interested in being there. I think that he gets a little bit too high or something. Just look at how he delivers his lines, he looks like he is talking and nothing is coming out of his mouth. I know he is a laid back guy but when you're rapping, as a performer I need to feel some energy from the guy. It's sort of like he doesn't even believe what he is saying. So note to all artists say it like you mean it and let the people see it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boss?



The big trend now is calling yourself a "boss" and creating your own record label. On the one hand I don't have a big problem with it, if you know what you're doing. Running a record label is empowering and the different types offer varying levels of independence balanced with exposure.

Here is my biggest problem with rappers running labels, if you don't have a solid career yourself, why would you think that you can control someone else's? More importantly why would an up and coming artist sign to the label of someone who cannot handle their own business. Take Jae Hood for example, starting as a young kid, he followed behind the Lox, looking up to them as neighborhood heroes, signing to their imprint, D Block records. He could have never known at his young age that things would not work out, even though adults knew the Lox had tremendous problems with Puffy. Undoubtedly they spun the story to him so that they were the victims.

However, Papoose didn't have the same excuse. He signed to a management deal with Busta Rhymes who was on his third label in 5 years and had an entire squad that was hoping for a second release and DJ Kayslay who had a limited sphere of influence at its very best. Why would you sign to these guys when they have no track record of success? Why not hit up Violator Management?



They have represented LL, 50 Cent, Mase, Mysonne, CNN, Busta himself, and countless others over the years with a large record of success. (as a note Paoose is now listed directly as an artist under violator management giving him a better chance at success.) Murda Mook was signed to Bow wow's record label. Nicki Minaj, Tyga, Jae Millz, and Drake are signed to Young Money which is distributed through Cash Money/Universal, meaning if these guys ever come out their money is getting divided up an extra slice for no reason at all. Big Kuntry Kang didn't get a hot 1/2 page ad in The Source, so what is his label supposed to be doing?



Realistically, signing to the label run by an artist who still wants to be an artist is a bad decision. There is no way that hip-hop artists who are all self-serving can direct your career and their own objectively. Look at Kanye West, he hoards the best tracks for himself and then tosses some good, albeit leftover joints to people like Common who deserve the cream of the crop.

More recently, Aubrey "Drake" Graham, turned down a deal of his own at Universal, which he probably could have used to create his own imprint to sign a deal through Young Money. This is a case where being your own boss should have been an advantage since he got to this position on his own in the first place.




Unless he figured that there were a lot of things that he cannot do on his own then it makes sense, however anything he can get from Young Money, he can get directly from Universal without having to cut in an extra person on the deal. Most people just aren't qualified to start out as their own boss. It is actually best to get with someone who knows the game and watch what they do to market other artists on their label and learn from it; not just sit down and wait to see what will be done for them.

You see the game has changed, it is all about marketing in different ways and driving incremental (I learned that term from work) listens in order to give your performances value because that is where you're going to make money these days. I'm not against guys taking control but you have to take your time and do it right if you're going to be your own boss. Everyone isn't ready for it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hip-Hop gone Republican?





The title is hilarious isn't it? Makes you want to know what I am going to say out of my mouth with this one. Rest Assured, there is a method to the madness and it has to do with Jay-Z, D.O.A., (yes I know it's been weeks already let it go),Kanye etc... The fact of the matter is, i agree with Jay on that song, everyone shouldn't be using autotune and trying to make every song sound the same so that it gets on the radio. It's all about money right, nothing personal (thats another problem in itself).


Now this is coming from a friend of mine who noticed that no one had a problem with Wayne running auto-tune into the hole, or Kanye and his entire garbage ass album of auto-tune (808's and Heartbreaks has some decent tracks and the lyrics might not be bad, but that shit sounds like and elephant who is constipated recording a record), or 50 Cent's brief foray into auto-tune.



Point blank, the idea that now that Ron "No Talent" Browz and DJ "Don't forget Im the clown that made Chicken Noodle Soup" Webstar using auto-tune makes it wack is fucked up. No other way to really put it. The same way Jay threw a shot at dudes who started wearing throwbacks and saying everyone making it is what made it corny. See, it's not when average people rock it that makes it wack, it's when you get a bunch of industry dicks who decide they want to get all the jerseys and then regular cats all end up looking like followers when they do it. Personally, I'm mad because they drove the price of them shits up so high I couldn't afford them and I like jerseys because I don't like to iron and I don't dress a certain way because rappers dress that way.



See the point is, these guys have a corporate mentality, (told you guys I was going to get there somewhere), it's fine as long as their small group of friends is doing it, but the minute regular dudes start doing it, there is a problem. Jay never said to Kanye, "Hey man maybe you should let T-Pain have his style and you do you do". He could have said it to Wayne. That's what makes it annoying.

Then there is this idea that no one else can do something because he did it. I bought a Lacoste polo shirt ( the alligator joint) the week that the Fiesta remix video came out, I had been looking for it for a while, going so far as to try and read french to order from their website, the next week before I wore my shirt, everyone had them joints because he rocked it in the video, so I guess I helped make it wack huh. Yet it was fine when he and R, Kelly and the rest of Roc-a-fella bought all the Mitchell and Ness jerseys available. Was it wack then? These guys start to have the corporate attitude that they have to do things that everyone else isn't doing so they can be the center of attention.


Look at Me!!!!!


So while I fully appreciate the fact that Jay can recognize that some of his peers do need to take a hard look at themselves, I have to question the timing. He really isn't hurting his political connects because he goes out of his way to shout-out and appease people who might be potentially offended and who actually matter.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gotta Get Ya Groove on! pt. 2

Now the last time i referenced dancing it was in a more social sense, out at the club doing ya thing. This post is more about the aspect of competitive dancing. The wife has me watching So You Think You Can Dance and I notice that a lot of the top pop lockers and hip-hop dancers are not black folks. I'm no racist, but it's crazy that in our most serious forms of dance, and this includes breaking, we aren't at the forefront. People from other races are really taking over and pushing the limits.

Let's check the examples:

Jabbawockeez



In this next clip from the Red Bull BC One Competition, skip about 3 minutes in to see some ill moves:



Quest Crew (again From America's Best Dance Crew)


I mean it's even in half of the hip-hop dance movies out there. "Save the Last Dance" starred Julia Stiles. "Honey" was Jessica Alba (she might be mixed but that's a cop out)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sort of album review

So I been slacking I know. I really didn't find much inspiring to talk about for the past week or so and I didn't feel like writing but I'm back now with three sort of album reviews because in my opinion, none of the three albums that came out last week truly merit a full review of their own.

I'll start off with Willy northpole who is one of the most overlooked "new" gangsta rapper types to come out. At one point he comes out and says "Don't compare me to Lil Wayne", I'm sure they won't.



It's hard in this game to make a mark especially amongst all of the crowd and one would think the DTP alliance would help do that for Willie but it doesn't. "Body Marked Up", the first video from the album which came out last year some time isn't a bad song at all. But that is the brightest spot on an album that is full of boring gangster rap cliches which I guess should be taken as original because Willy is from Arizona. It's not, and the boring, almost talking flow that Willy has doesn't help. He isn't smooth enough to pull that off the entire album. The production doesn't help either and neither can an appearance by Ne-yo. Overall, I was very very disappointed with what I thought might be a sleeper of an album.

Secondly, I forced myself to listen to Ace Hood. When announcing my intentions everyone I spoke to either laughed or asked why? I don't have a good answer.



Now Ace Hood gets a reprieve because that Willy Northpole album was so bad. That doesn't mean that Ace is worth your hard earned dollar. I see what he is doing, trying to copy the Rick Ross formula and maintaining one sound and two topics for his songs Ace aims to continue the formula Miami artists have used for the past three years to grab a hold on the industry. He also takes in one step further by putting out a new video online every day, however, I will not be confused by shiny lights and trinkets.

Ace yells for some reason on every track, it's like he can't hear himself or something, about going out on the grind to get money and how he will bust your head on every track and from the first verse it gets really old. After all, he said the exact same thing on Gutta and it was old then. He has decent production, though every beat sounds exactly the same, he also wastes hooks from both Akon and Jazmine Sullivan with lame lyrics and shows that unlike Lebron James who he seems to think he is, he doesn't have a deft touch with his verses. Everything blends into one long melange of noise, but what did I expect?



Finally, we get to the guy who I was looking forward to the most, Maino. I was awaiting "If Tomorrow Comes" because I look at Maino as a real person who isn't going to sugar coat you or constantly tell us how he is gonna blow our brain out. In some respects I was right, in others, his lack of actual lyrical ability hampers any potential he might have had to add some depth to his debut.



Maino has decent production, and it is varied allowing him to show differing emotions if you will, but the songs lack depth. I mean the concepts are good, the idea is there as is the overall theme but the execution is lacking. There isn't many more ways I could say it, and the skits are too numerous and don't hold enough weight to them to be such a main part of the album. He attempts to have a meaningful chronology but it gets confusing. I just don't know, I wanted to like Maino and in the end he seems to me to be the real version of what Plies dreams of being. I wish I could be like Charlamagne the God and recommend you go cop ten copies of the album but I just can't. Sorry Maino, Hi Haters.