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Monday, August 31, 2009

A 360 deal does it make sense?

Since Drake is the most recent big name signing there has been a lot of talk about his deal. As well, if you read the most recent copy of XXL they had someone talking about picking a deal and she explained that she didn't see why anyone would choose a 360 deal. I can, they're lazy.

Let me first clarify, and give an overview to what the 360 deal means. That means the label gets a cut out of every piece of the pie. Record sales and spins, Merchandise, ringtone, and tour revenues. To a varying degree this can be lucrative for the label depending on how much extra income the artist can generate. The bad part is that it limits what the artist gets from his hard work or effort.

This used to be a decent deal for just about everyone because labels were interested in finding and developing talent. They would do everything for you with no problem. However, now we are in a more independent era, the labels are used to finding artists who have the ability and desire to do their own marketing and promotions (most learned out of a necessity because the labels would not give them a shot initially). So why would an artist take one of these deals unless they don't know any better?

The Poster Children for Not Knowing any Better

One reason might be in order to learn. Especially if one has the ability to have a career that lasts more than 3 albums. Being able to gain the experience and connections from watching major label people at work could prove invaluable. If you are someone who has the talent to pull off several albums, this could also benefit as you become a huge star to not have to be hands on in every facet. The label also has more of an incentive to make sure that you are successful because they have a lot of income riding on it.

Now is this the most beneficial arrangement? No. However in life some sacrifices need to be made to get anywhere. I would much rather from my standpoint as a fan be able to have an artist put out great material because they aren't trying to save money on tracks or promotion and cannot focus. However, as a business man, I would consider the 360 depending on my freedoms to do certain things. For instance, I could sell shirts of my own design out of my home but the effort it would require would be counterproductive. Thus, I use a hosting company that does the work and I just toss up designs and when they sell, they sell. It works for me in that facet.

I have a concern that a lot of people take on things they are not capable of just because they want to be in control of everything and close everyone else out of the "loop". There are plenty of people who could be good executives if they could focus on that, but instead they attempt to be hybrids and the other aspects then suffer.

Sometimes you should to give up control and maybe some money in order to produce the best thing possible, not just enough to get by.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't forget...

We have just about reached the halfway point in T.I.'s jail sentence if as we expect he gets out in about 10 months. This blog is partially for my man Avery who got pissed that T.I. was making such a big deal about doing a year when as he said "Gucci is in and out of jail every other 6 months". I might be embellishing a little bit on that quote but that's what he meant. This isn't a 10 year bid luckily for him. But I'm going to remind you anyway, Remember T.I.P.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trey Songz - The Kellz parallel

The big release this week coming up is going to be Trey Songz' new album Ready. I have no problem with that, I mean the guy has worked pretty hard and is extremely talented for sure. The biggest knock on Trey has to be his extreme confidence a.k.a., arrogance. The funny part is everything he does is more than a mirror image of the man he has to be basing his career around, R. Kelly b.k.a. Kellz.

You would not believe how many of his pictures
I refuse to post because he is chest naked

It is very funny because in so many ways, Trey tries to mirror the worst aspects of R. Kelly's career. We all know about the "R's" recent legal troubles and his attempts to bring back his career. We also know about his more recent "hits" which all seem to be more "Hood" than the earlier hits and sophisticated sexy of 12 Play. Then there is the classic ballads he made like "I Believe I can Fly" and "The World's Greatest".

Those classic hits have all given him the leeway to make songs about having sex in the kitchen like " two gorillas in the jungle making love" as he has said before. We love "Step in the Name of Love" because it makes us feel legit for liking "Thoinga Thoing" and "Snake". We put up with "Trapped in the Closet" both because it is entertaining, but because we hope for another "1/2 on a Baby". We want to ignore his personal indiscretions now because we want another "Same Girl" or for him to write another huge hit for our other favorite singers.

I know I can't help it because this is hilarious. The nerve of this guy.

Trey Songz however does not have this catalog or cache. So while "I Need a Girl" rocks as an R and b song that you can actually play for your grandmother, he feels like he is forcing himself to appeal extra thuggish on "LOL Smiley Face" and by mean mugging in every video and making sure he shows his chest tat at every turn. Vocally, he is much more powerful than Kelly could hope but his lack of direction hurts his overall ability. I mean it's like he's Vince Carter when he could be Kobe if he just toned down his attempts to look hard and worked on his actual vocals. A little more class in some of his content couldn't hurt either.

That was fire for real. The bad thing was he came out the same time as a pure entertainer in Chris Brown and a technically sound, pure singer in Ne-yo in back to back releases. Perfectly positioned to have vocals like Usher and the writing ability of Kellz and Trey could really be the biggest thing on the planet if he would put his pride to the side and get under the wing of a Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, and LA Reid. Look what a few years leading up to Confessions did for Usher. This isn't the path that Tremaine chooses to take, instead he follows Kelly on songs like "Neighbors Know my Name" off of his new LP.

One other problem persists for Trey. He's a singer who doesn't seem to be comfortable actually being a singer. He is always scowling in his videos, dropping "freestyle" mixtapes and changing his voice when he talks on his record like Christian Bale in batman. You can tell that it is forced to a point where you stop believing it.

To actually have a point, Trey songz like R. Kelly is full of untapped potential, but the only thing holding him back is himself. I just want him to refine his skills so that his talent rises to the top and he creates the classics like R. kelly and elevates himself to the next level.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Posse Songs used to be Hot

Now I actually have a cd of "Posse Cuts", songs where you have a group of people who aren't in a group on the same song. What has gotten me upset you might say? For one this new song from Drake, Wayne, Kanye and Eminem is a pure disappointment. Take a listen for yourself.

This might not be here for long, but what I get is a jumble of mess. There is no big theme to the song or point to it, just some guys rapping, but even then all I get is a jumble of noise. Drake's verse is the best on my initial listen but the song doesn't pass the muster.

See there was a time when guys would get on a song and truly compete to spit the hottest verse. The beat would be ill enough that you would get hype but allow the lyrics themselves to shine through. Want an example Scenario 2000 which was a Ruff Ryders remix to "Jigga my Nigga".

You see lyrics and having a topic actually meant something. A rapper was going off of more than just his name when he stepped into the booth and did a song with another rapper. Maybe that is a key there, instead of being together and vibing on the feel and mood, gus just e-mail beats and verses back and forth to one another. This can lead to that disconnect and the feeling that these aren't really songs, but instead, random verses thrown together.

There was actually a time where guys whom you didn't see together actually got together, made records and then shot videos. Now you have the songs from the "Southern Collective" of Wayne, T-Pain, Plies, Baby, and Rick Ross produced by DJ Khaled or Cool and Dre but they do it so often that it's like listening to the Goodie Mob. They sound like a group, and not like they are doing anything special which is what these tracks are supposed to be; a treat for the fans. Instead you have the same guys recreating the same song over and over and no one saying anything that is truly breathtaking.

To me hip-hop is something special and when you have the chance to be in the same booth, on the same song with guys who are considered to be the top or upper echelon, or even guys who are considered your equals or peers, you have to take that opportunity to actually stand out and truly make your mark. The Swagger like us track was a great chance that Lil Wayne and Kanye basically failed with lackluster verses and especially weezy.

I want some consistency and hot verses when you're with your peers. You cannot get by on "swag" in these cases. What you say actually counts. Do you think posse cuts are any better or worse than the previous generations?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Something Ignant I realized about Puffy

This was a funny ass revelation about Puffy today. Some of y'all might just feel me on this one right here but you might not want to seeing as though Puff has become Diddy the superstar.

Look at the Red Leather Pants. Think he still has them?

Puff left the Madd Rapper on the Life After Death album. I know you're questioning this like so what? It was an interlude...but you have to remember, the Madd Rapper is Pac.

Anyone who knows their hip-hop knows the Madd Rappers was initially modeled after Tupac. So this album was made after Pac was killed and released after Biggie died and Puff still left this interlude on here before Kick in the door. Take a listen.

Tell me that's not supposed to be Tupac. I just found it funny that after all of these years I just caught that Puff did that foul shit right there. Now D-Dot went on to make the Madd Rapper into a real character, dropping interludes on every major Bad Boy release up until Shyne and even dropped his own joint, but I will always remember this character as being Pac whether or not anyone ever actually admits it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When Hip-hop was hip-hop and not R and B 2

The remix used to be the truth. It was actually worth hearing a song to hear a unique collaboration between artists that you didn't normally hear. Today, when remixes go down it just sounds like another song the same artists just made. If I hear one more song with Rick Ross, Wayne, Plies, and T-pain I am going to url.

Rand B was the same way. Now you just have Ne-yo on everyone's album, as is the Dream, and I guess Jeremiah will be next. All of the songs sounding alike, but let's remember some classics:

When the rap verses on this joint came in it was pandemonium. This joint got everybody hype.

Without Puff, this next joint would have never happened:

and If you remember this Mariah remix, then you really aren't surprised by her doing a song with Gucci.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Want to Improve Sales? Make Better Albums.

One of the major problems facing the record industry in the new millennium is album sales. The labels are scrambling to try and find a way to keep revenues flat at the very least while they try and find new ways to increase their revenue streams. Some point the blame at itunes and their a la carte pricing system.

Part of that is true, I mean if I like Ice Cream Paint Job by Dorrough what is going to make me actually listen to the entire album? Especially if like a lot of artists these days, the single is out a full 3 months before the album itself. Why do I want to hear that after that long of a time? I have forgotten about most people by then. There is always the preview option you say; sure I can listen to those but in that one shot, do I really get a good idea of what that album is about?

Why don't we look at the real culprit. It isn't the internet, it isn't the new systems of acquiring music, it is the alleged "music" itself. Looking at this year, there haven't been a lot of releases period, never mind quality releases. People do not know how to make albums anymore and labels seem to have forgotten the purpose of singles.

Singles are what were used to drive people to buy the album material, which costs less to make in general and spreads the cost of production for the label and allows them to make money. However, the label no longer spends money on helping people craft quality albums. The attempts are all about making singles and hoping a couple of them stick. Look at Soulja Boi's last album. He hasn't sold many units but the individual songs he has seem to turn into ring tone sales and single downloads.

Albums used to have a cohesive theme and told a story, just look at Ready to Die and even Life After Death. Those two albums both told stories about BIG that you became emotionally invested in.

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Immobilarity also fit into the mold. The last couple of albums that I think come close to fitting that classic mold might be Get Rich or Die Trying and The Fix from Scarface.

Jay-z sort of attempted that with his American Gangster album however, that was a lame attempt to do a concept but it was something he had already done. Ludacris also tried to do a concept album with Theater of the Mind which was slightly more of a concept though he pressed with some of the concepts while trying to make singles. To hear a concept album check out "Black Trash:The Autobiography of Kirk Jones" for a true concept album that works cohesively, makes sense and shows both lyrical ability and good production with songs that could be singles in a different environment.

To sum things up, and this would be obvious looking at my reviews of the year's albums, rappers need to take more time to put together quality material if they want to continue making money. The labels need to put an emphasis on album quality if they really want to leverage their costs and get those sales to boost their bottom line.

Radio is Bull...

I got a new angry rant today and it is based somewhat off of Drake. Now I like the fact that Drake is a normal guy and is proving that you don't have to be some gun-toting thug gangster to actually make it in the industry, much like Kanye West did but a lot less feminine. However, it exposes another issue with the recording/music industry. If the label is going to put money behind you and you grab the right people by the arm, you are going to get exposure. Not to hate on Drizzy but what has made him as so special to get all of this airplay, with songs that don't even fit into what seems to be the normal sound on the airwaves.

I'm talking about the Trey Songz - Drake collaboration, "Successful". The song is incredibly slow and more geared toward the thinking man than say a Gucci Mane or Rick Ross. Look at these lyrics:

The young spit it and everybody in rap fear
A lot of yall are still soundin' like last year
The game needs change and I'm the motherfucking cashier
Nickels for my thoughts
Dimes in my bed
Quarters of the Kush
Aint the lines in my head
Take my verses too serious ya hate me
Cause Im the one to paint a vivid picture no HD

The track is slow, not really energetic and frenetic like most of the joints on the radio are. Look at the number one song in the countdown for DC recently, Gucci Mane's "Wasted" one of the worst songs I have ever heard.

But it begs me to ask, why can't more guys get on air with similar, or different songs like my favorite examples, Dead Prez:

or maybe even Slaughterhouse:

Look I'm not asking for much, the radio has added Mary Mary to something other than the Sunday playlist for "The God in Me" which after playing this song I have heard "Freaky Gurl" by Gucci Mane, "Lollipop" by Lil' Wayne, and even "D.O.A." by Jay-z which I am surprised even gets played to be frank.

Point blank the radio is bullshit and should be ashamed for constantly giving us the same boring drivel every day and then making excuses on why they play what they play. That flat screen that Sony sent over didn't have anything to do with it right?

Let me be like the radio and send you out with some garbage:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Young Money Young Money Young Money...

So the downfall of Young Money begins before the label even really begins. That's right I am going to be the first to say Young Money is done. See I was going to just drop some laughs about Bow wow signing to Cash Money/Young Money or whichever of the two he is signing to but then I thought about it. This is the same thing that happens again and again with rap labels.

You have a lot of labels that are built around one artist who is the face. The problem is that none of the secondary artists is ever allowed to shine brighter or even as bright as that artist and thus the label is a "one trick pony" as the phrase goes. Look at Murda Inc. They had every opportunity to build and promote other artists outside of the shadow of the main artist yet failed to do so. Cadillac Tah had POV City Anthem that was hot but no album followed the single. Charli Bmore and Vita both got shelved when they had some semblance of popularity.

Roc-a-fella had some secondary artists established with Beanie Sigel, Cam'ron, Memphis Bleek, and Freeway yet still couldn't manage to create sustainability and now the only artist left under the banner is Kanye West. M.O.P., the entore State Property (who incidently are the only rappers from Philly worth an actual cd from what I have heard) was left to blow in the wind.

The same thing happened with G-unit and the empire of 50 Cent who signed M.O.P., Mobb Deep, Freeway (in a management deal), Lil' Scrappy (in some weird split deal), Hot Rod, The Game, Young Buck, Tony yayo and some assorted other guys who you can find regularly on Worldstarhiphop making more videos than actual records.

Fact of the matter is, trying to expand and incorporate all of these different artists under a banner because it seems "hot" at the time is a recipe for failure. Even No Limit went down during the time Snoop was there. The resources are spread too thin and office talent not enough to overcome and do more than build off of the hype of the various main artists, especially when the public perceives that artist as having a hand in the daily operations of the company. Defjam works because Russel Simmons wasn't a rapper and his brother who was, didn't call any shots. You cannot truthfully count on your boss to look out for your best interests when he is competing against you. Just look at Bad Boy, no one will be bigger than Puffy.

That leads me back to the current situation over at Cash Money/ Young Money records. The number one artist on CMR is Wayne point blank. The only other artist is Baby, I don't care what their website says. Young Money has a large roster of artists but guess what, none has put out anything other than mixtapes in at least two years of existence. True, we know who the core artists are, but we knew that with the aforementioned examples and having an idea that some dude named "Gudda Gudda" raps with Lil wayne isn't going to sell much of anything.

remember us?

At this rate, Drake is going to come out, but anyone else is a crap shoot. Nicki Minaj probably has the best shot but Jae Millz-nah, Gudda-nah, Mack Maine-nah, freaking Omarion- do not make me laugh. Now Bow wow signs to join this conglomerate like he forgot what happened last time he tried to let someone other than Jermaine Dupri make decisions for him.

At least I think he was writing his own raps

The point I'm trying to make here is that the mass signing of these "hood" rap labels never really bodes well for the people attempting to use the label and it's star to find success. Inevitably before you get your career started, the public gets tired of the artist and they lose credibility and you lose your shot...and yes Freeway is actually thinking of signing to Young Money which would probably make him the equivalent of the rap version of the number 13.

Album Review- Certified Hot Chick- Rasheeda

Do not ask me why. Okay fine I'll admit it, I generally like this ATL chick's features. She is extremely regional and I can see why listening to the album. It's not just the accent though.

Rasheeda isn't bad looking at all so of course that is her in with us men and women generally aren't going to listen to an ugly broad rap about her life cause they all feel they are attractive themselves. So she has that going for her. Secondly, she has pretty good production especially when compared to regional artists from say the Northeast or West Coast.

Now the good stuff, other than production, the album is consistent. The theme is about Rasheeda being a "Bad Chick" or "Official Boss Chick" and how she will take your man and demand respect at the same time. I know, very conflicting. The album is very "dancable" however, "Fire" which is a Reggae themed track really stands out sonically. Diamond, formerly of Crime Mob, guest appears on "Sweep the Flo" and provides a different flow than Rasheeda which is a needed break with 21 tracks with no interruptions.

Shawnna also is a featured performer on the album, on the less risky than it should be "Juicy Like a Peach" and Cherish, yes the girls apparently are still around, provide vocals on the boring "Don't Let him Get Away".

The most well-known feature won't be because of her singing though I still remember Xscape, but Kandi of Real Housewives of Atlanta fame, is featured on three tracks,"Bamm","Non-Believers", and "Thing For You" which is the best of the three as she actually shares more than the hook duty with Rasheeda.

The problem with Rasheeda is that she isn't raunchy/explicit enough. Her flow is the same and basic almost talking on each track but the lack of filth in her lyrics is what makes the album boring. She sort of leads you to think she is going to be really nasty and graphic with song titles like "Drip Drop" but it's all a tease that leaves you very unsatisfied. Had she put more of Lil' Kim's Hardcore into her album then maybe it would be better. Until then I'm stuck waiting on Nicki Minaj.

Rating: 1.5/5

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Album Review- Escape Route - Joe Budden

So I'm checking twitter on updates on Joe Budden's beef and subsequent eye punching by Raekwon's entourage and I see a link on Joey's twitter to amalgam digital. I wasn't really paying attention because I was too busy watching Royce punk one of the Ice Water guys who seemed to be confused by what Royce meant when he said the incident wouldn't have happened if he was there. Let me clarify- he is saying you wouldn't have punched shit, stop acting confused.

Finally I get around to it and see Joe has another album out. I'm like wtf, what kind of promotion is that? Escape Route seems like a Joe album title but to tell you the truth, I have mixed feelings about this. We never really question Joe's lyrics. What I do question at time is the way he attacks his songs and the consistency of each track as well as the variety and mix of music.

I have no problem with his general depressed state however the beat selection could use work although it's still better than Nas. The hooks also could use some energy and inspiration behind them. "Never Again", "World Keeps Spinning" and "Forgive me" all end up sounding like one long song. The second and third songs of that trio however feature some good introspective verses, including addressing the "deading" of the Method Man beef.

"No Comment" and "Anti" are classic Budden tracks but seem better for mix tapes than to actually put on a normal release. Which would have been good for Budden to do, kill some established industry beats and concepts and mark your territory. "We Outta Here" gives the album a different sound as Joe brings out Slaughterhouse (Joell once again steals the show) and does some different things with the verses to draw your ear to the track. I could however, do without the autotune on the hook.

That moment on the album seems to be a spark. "Freight Train" follows "Clothes on a Mannequin" a song with a strong hook to support the theme. "Freight Train" is a song where each verse is a different short story and gives the album some flavor. Young Chris of Young Guns fame pops up on "Connect 4" for a rather average song but it is a surprising feature for me.

Honestly, how many pics of Joe Budden do you need to see?

Overall Jumpoff Joe doesn't really have enough unique perspectives on this album nor enough different sounds on hooks or beats to make the album "pop" for its first two-thirds. There are some good bars but he would have been better off tightening up the Slaughterhouse album verses even more and using the rest for a post-release mixtape or something.

Buy the Album Here

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guest Blog- Taylor Swift killed Rap music

Once again the big homey NC-17 is here to say the things you don't want anyone to know you think and to basically piss you off with something sort of like the truth.

As I search best buy for Taylor Swift’s Fearless CD, I walk through the Rap aisle. Maybe I’ll buy Fab’s Loso’s Way CD… nah that 12 dollars can go towards a bottle of Ciroc. Oooo look its Maino’s CD, I like Maino… not enough to spend 13.99. Okay I got a twenty in my wallet, and this is reserved for Taylor Swift, rap will have to wait until I’m in the mood… wait, when will I be in the mood to buy a hip hop album? Fuck when’s the last time I brought a hip hop album? Oh yeah, Eminem and it sucked. So here’s to you Miss Swift, I know you won’t have three good songs, some shitty skits, and mostly filler. You make hits, and my wallet respects that.


5) Cam’ron: Crime Pays came and went just as fast as the Will Ferrell movie, Land of The Lost. A soundscan disappointment is nothing new to Killa, Purple Haze and Killa Season both went double WOOD. Cam use to fresh, innovative, a breath of fresh air ready to usher in a Dipset nation. These days he’s a caricature of himself, the double rhyme pattern and pink have gone stale and what’s left is a humbled Cameron Giles who’s been forced to go recruit Ma$e in hopes of reclaiming past fame. Yeah he’s still my personal favorite of all time, but… um even a Cam fan as big as me didn’t bother to buy his last CD. OUCH.

4) Eminem: Let’s not try to sugar coat this… Relapse sucks ASS. Marshall I don’t care about your drug problems, your mother, Kim, or Christopher Reeves legs, this isn’t 1999 and the same old two step left a bad taste in my mouth like that sham wow guy after that hooker burned him. Stick with the Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon disses, that one track was more entertaining than the entire album.

3) Ludacris: Remember when Ludacris was fresh and exciting… yeah when George Bush and Al Gore were battling for the White house. Luda’s animated rhymes are as stimulating as a taser to the nuts, yeah you pay attention, but it hurts. We get it Luda; you can be just as lyrical as TI… Busta Rhymes could be just as lyrical as Biggie in his day. The point is, that’s not your lane. Your lane is making songs about asses that sound like the same shit you put out in the late 90’s. Innovation has left the building Chris.

2) Nas: I loved Hip Hop is Dead… Nigger not so much. I’m not going to verbally abuse Nas, he’s the rap version of Ted Williams, you love him at first, grew tired, loved him again after a bit of drama, then forgot he existed. Wow, when Nas dies people are going to make him a Saint and talk about his music with the utmost passion. Too bad he’s not dead yet.

1) Busta Rhymes: He sucks. Remember those remixes where Busta would come on and murder the track… yeah and I also remember when Titanic was the number one movie in America. Well, people have tossed Leo Dicaprio aside for that vampire on Twilight, and the world has tossed Busta Rhymes aside for anybody who isn’t Busta Rhymes. Don’t Gimmie some more… I'm full, thanks.

.. ..

So who do I fuck with? Better question is who should you be fucking with and the winners are:


10) Andre 3000: Andre is a Rock Star, his disenfranchisement with Rap makes him even more sought after, each verse is examined over and over again because it’s so rare to hear one. If we ever hear a new “rap” CD from 3 stacks, I guarantee you it will be a masterpiece.

9) Pitbull: Do you listen to the Radio? Then you know Pitbull is in rotation on every station with a new song every two months. I can’t remember the last time I went a day without hearing an old or new Pitbull song. Does he put out albums? I doubt it, but who needs to when you get this many spins? All you “I bust my gun” rappers need to pay attention to the real Mr. M.I.A; he knows how to make a hit.

8) Soulja Boy: I know you hate him, but it doesn’t matter because he’s a better song writer than you are. The hardest thing in music, any genre, is to make something Catchy without being Corny. Soulja Boy knows the secret. Do you?

7) Nikki Minaj: Listen to Itty Biddy Piggy and name one person besides maybe Wayne that flows better than Nikki the Ninja aka Nikki The Harajuku Barbie. Hip Hop has been waiting for an heir to Kim’s throne since the night Biggie died and took his ghost writing with him. Not only has New York embraced Pretty Nikki, every girl fashions themselves a “minaj”, girl power exists, and if it’s honed properly this Barbie’s not too far from being something special.

6) Young Jeezy: Jeezy doesn’t have to rap again, like ever. He’s done for Southern Rap what Cobain did for Seattle music, even if you don’t own up to it, Jeezy is in your blood.

5) Drake: Talk about relevant, Drake hasn’t even dropped an album and could put more asses in seats than Jadakiss and The Game combined. Top that mixtape rappers.

4) Rick Ross: Boss. 50 claims to be bullet proof, but its Ricky Ross who is the real Teflon don. You can have a picture of Rick in a clown suit blowing up balloons at a Jewish Bat Mitzvah and he’d still have enough street cred to hit number one on the charts the next day. Is he really Rich off Cocaine? Who cares?

3) Jay Z: Remember when Obi Wan Kenobi was struck down on the first Death Star by Lord Vader and became stronger in death? I imagine Shawn Carter’s fate will be the same.

2) Gucci Mane: I will probably never buy a Gucci CD, well maybe if they have one of those Willy Wonka golden ticket contest and I get to visit a day in the Trap House where Ompa Lumpa’s cook crack and sing. But other than that, I won’t be paying money for Gucci Mane. But he’s taken swag and wit to another level, sure he’s more style than substance but so was the band Kiss, and people still pay to see them. Go ham Gucci, Go ham.

1) Lil Wayne: You don’t have to like him. But you will respect him. Little Wayne is the measuring stick for which everyone shall be measured until the next “great one” arrives. And that next “great one” will have studied the shit out of the Carter III, I guarantee.

**the thoughts expressed in this blog are that of the author and in no way reflect my personal opinion that Wayne is over-rated, Drake has the worst voice in rap since Chingy, Nicki Minaj hasn't done anything, gucci is an idiot, and that souja Boi is terrible.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When Hip-hop was Hip-hop and not R and B

Thanks to TheTesha for the topic today. These days there is a merging of hip-hop and R and B, and not just Ne-yo being on everyone's single. Today's artists can be considered more well rounded especially when it comes to hip-hop. They have the ability to make radio songs and morph their styles to whatever is hot at the moment. It's all good, but too many of them are forcing their vocals into the r and b range. Look at Lil wayne on Lollipop. Even better, look at the attempts to do both by Trey Songs and the new phenom, Drake.

Personally I like Songz' singing voice more than Drake's although Drake is a better rapper from what I've heard so far. But this is nothing new for singers to cross over. The older r and B groups often had rap breakdowns or bridges where a member came out with 4-8 bars of "rapping".

I know LL jumped into the smooth r and b territory with "I Need Love" but dude was crooning. Other than Mase who I assumed was sort of joking on Harlem World when he started singing "Jealous Guys" but now I'm not so sure. What I do know is that Nelly really took it to the next level with "Ride with Me", then "Dilemma", and yet again with "Over and Over again". Ja Rule did it and 50 Cent bodied him for it then proceeded to do the same thing. Even T.I. and Gorilla Zoe of all people are doing it now.

Now I don't have too much of a problem with it if the song is decent, but this is just another example of rappers not being able to rap and doing something else. Problem is they aren't singers either. Just because you can do it in the studio like 808's and Heartbreaks doesn't mean you should. Put the time into getting your bars tight. If you can't spit anything close to being fire, then I don't want to hear you whispering a "chick track". It's lame and as a man you should have more self-respect and pride than to resort to such gimmicks to sell ringtones cause you damn sure aren't selling albums with this nonsense:

That sucks terribly. Let's get back to the days when bars actually mattered. Let Ne-yo or some other unsigned dude sing your hooks and focus on putting out good music.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Album Review- Slaughterhouse

Now I have been anticipating this album for months now. So have a lot of "internet"/underground lyricist lovers who have reached for every bit of Slaughter since the group was announced. For the most part, the album does what it's supposed to do, and the second listen through helped it's cause.

To dive into it, I'm feeling the intro "Sound Off" where each of the members uses a format where they start off rather 'normal' then move into a rapid fire flow, "Microphone" where as expected, the emcees talk about their lyrical prowess, and "Onslaught 2" where Joell readily kills his verse.

In fact, the stand out of the album is Joell who I think had a lot to prove. Joe Budden has a huge internet fan base, Royce has the streets of Detroit, and Crooked is from the West Coast so he has that entire base to work with. This seems to be an opportunity for Joell to make some new fans and he takes every chance seriously.

Royce is my least favorite out of Slaughterhouse but he seems to have stepped it up as well as far as base lyricism although he brings more of his well-known street tough talk, though he isn't alone. Crooked I also shares his lyrics about gun clapping and running the streets . The album has it's share of good if not spectacular tracks like "Cut You Loose" and "Not Tonight" which sort of blend into the background except for some exceptional quotables on each one. However, I would have liked to see a more in depth concept like on "Cuckoo" and the single, "The One".

Along with those two songs, "Raindrops" which features Novel (yeah he is still around and doing his thing), and "Pray(It's a Shame)" showcase the more emotional side of the group, exposing why they feel their brand of hip-hop actually has more value than that of most artists today.

Overall I enjoyed the album but I feel as though the group members sort of tried to save some of the best material for solo releases with the exception of Joell who is in a zone right now looking at the past year's worth of music from him. The three skits and 12 actual songs also were a sort of letdown. Those skits could have been either really hilarious or replaced with some more thematic songs, like maybe a story track, or just something like the D.O.A. freestyle. I plan to actually make this the first cd I have bought in about 4 years on Tuesday so I suggest you do the same and support lyricism to hopefully lead the game in a different direction.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Countdown to Slaughterday 8-11-09

The hottest lyrical group this year i have to say. Still checking out an early copy of the album, but in preparation for the official release here is some Joell and some Slaughterhouse. 8-11-09

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rock City

These two dudes from the V.I. are doing their thing musically anyway. Everything I've been hearing from them is really solid. I was awaiting the album after the single hit the video rotation last summer. Why it never ended up in radio is beyond me. They got the fire for real and ability to hit every genre.

Hot and shows mad respect to hip-hop.

Here is the audio of I'm Losing it.

Now I watched a video with Akon telling the guys not to worry about radio cause they were trying to figure out why Interscope wasn't letting it get any movement on the radio and he didn't give them a reason. He told them basically to be content with radio and touring with him, however, what is the point of touring if you're not going to have anything come out ever? Especially when it's this hot. This song should have been number one everywhere last year,a nd still no album. I'm rooting for these guys.

Check the video for yourselves but Akon didn't make a good case at all in this conversation about the group's album prospects. I think this song could have given them good first week sales.


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