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, September 30, 2009

Blueprint 3 vs The Carter 3

Here is the latest blog from my West Coast homie NC-17:

I’ve heard it all, The Blueprint III is grown folk rap, a lyrical opus, Jay-Z changing the game… bullshit. The Blueprint III is a lazy effort full of Old Man Logan, cough cough, excuse me Shawn, still talking about not wearing Throwbacks and Cristal being racist. Last time I checked it was 09, and neither of those topics are relevant.

Yeah he took aim at Autotune, but it seems like a ploy to get attention, the rest of the album never truly goes deeper into that subject or ringtone rap. More importantly, if this is the BLUEPRINT for Hip Hop, show us what needs to be done Jay Hova. The first Blue Print made soul samples a way of life; this one doesn’t have any style or substance that could be used as a blueprint for new artist to work with. When Hova tries to go all Back To The Future with Drake on ”Off that”, the result is one of the worst songs ever recorded. Now to the average reader this could seem like hate, but it’s honesty. The best song on the album is “Empire State” a song so powerful I replay it at least three times in a row every time. And “Venus Vs. Mars” is a witty take on the boy meets girl songs, but cuts like “Reminder” and “Young Forever” are just painful to sit through.

Anyway. I listened to Carter III and then Listened to Blueprint III and went TRACK FOR TRACK to see if Lil Wayne has replaced Jay-Z as the King of Hip-Hop. Here are the Results:



THE BLUEPRINT III
1 "What We Talkin' About"
2 "Thank You"
3 "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)"
4 "Run This Town" (featuring Rihanna & Kanye)
5 "Empire State of Mind" (featuring Alicia Keys)
6 "Real as It Gets" (featuring Young Jeezy)
7 "On to the Next One" (featuring Swizz Beatz)
8 "Off That" (featuring Drake)
9 "A Star Is Born" (featuring J. Cole)
10 "Venus vs. Mars" (featuring Beyoncé)
11 "Already Home" (featuring Kid Cudi)
12 "Hate" (featuring Kanye West)
13 "Reminder"
14 "So Ambitious" (featuring Pharrell)
15 "Young Forever" (featuring Mr Hudson)



THE CARTER III
1. "3 Peat"
2. "Mr. Carter" (feat. Jay-Z)
3. "A Milli"
4. "Got Money" (feat. T-Pain)
5. "Comfortable" (feat. Babyface)
6. "Dr. Carter"
7. "Phone Home"
8. "Tie My Hands" (feat. Robin Thicke)
9. "Mrs. Officer" (feat. Bobby Valentino, Kidd Kidd) 10. "Let the Beat Build"
11. "Shoot Me Down" (feat. D. Smith)
12. "Lollipop" (feat. Static Major)
13. "La La" (feat. Brisco, Busta Rhymes)
14. "Playing With Fire" (feat. Betty Wright)
15. "You Ain't Got Nuthin" (feat. Fabolous, Juelz)
16. "DontGetIt"


TRACK 1-“What We Talkin About” is a decent intro, but it feels a tad bit like the same old song and dance he gave on the intro to Kingdom Come, i.e. Real life vs rap life, record sales over swagger, etc… It’s not one of those intros you play over and over again like the epic Volume Three “The theme song to the Sopranos plays in the key of life on my pianos”. Now that was an intro. “3 Peat” on the other hand is just a dumb out go hard track that finds Wayne at his peak in terms of flow, even if it’s not as lyrical as "A milli", it does a match better job of setting the tempo for the rest of the album.
WINNER: CARTER III

TRACK 2-“Thank You” is a like a sequel to Encore, and I enjoy the laid-back vibe and Dynasty throwback flow. Wayne's “Mr. Carter” is Jay-Z at his finest, and I would agree with anyone who says Jay had a better verse than Weezy. The beat from Swizz is bonkers, and as a song it’s as classic as “Brooklyn’s Finest”.
WINNER: CARTER III

TRACK 3 & 4-It’s no mistake that “DOA” and “Run This Town” fall exactly where “A Milli” and “Got Money” are. It’s called A&R track listing 101. “DOA” is a good statement song and the third verse is incredible, but "A Milli" changed the game in terms of swagger on record and is Wayne’s Anthem much like “Get At Me Dog” was X’s calling card. “Run This Town” is an average track heightened by Rihanna, but the song belongs to Kanye who totally annihilates Jay-Z. Jay brought a gun to a fight with Magneto, and the results are pretty obvious. “Got Money” is as popcorn as it comes, while not a huge fan of either song, I give it to Wayne because everyone in club loves singing “clap your hands if you got a bank roll”.
WINNER: CARTER III

TRACK 5-“Empire State of Mind” is one of the greatest songs ever made, and no song on Carter III can touch it musically, sorry Babyface.
WINNER: BLUEPRINT III

TRACK 6-“As Real as it Gets”… I want to like this song but it fails terribly. Jeezy and Jay-Z should have made a classic, a call to arms for the D-boys past and present, but this songs comes off as a bland by the numbers collaboration between to icons who didn’t seem inspired to test themselves creatively. On the other hand “Dr. Carter” is Wayne’s homage to the concept song, and while his effort isn’t Nas-like by any means, it’s a decent song and great idea.
WINNER: CARTER III

TRACK 7-This is the closest Battle. “On To The Next One” is my favorite track lyrically off the album, and Swizz manages to get the subdued Hova to come out of his Rocking Chair and once again rock the mic. Wayne's “Phone Home” is a classic track that pushes the boundaries of rap music. It’s more Andre 3000 than anything on the album and the ultimate Car song.
WINNER: CARTER III slightly.

Track 8 on both of these albums SUCK ASS. How could Jay-Z underutilize Drake in this fashion? The hook is beyond lame and the beat is incredibly corny. “Tie My Hands” isn’t much better, but at least you can listen to it without wanting to stick a pen in your ears.
WINNER: CARTER III

TRACK 9- I wanted to like J Cole after all the hype but he comes off sounding more Lupe Fiasco Lite than the second coming of Memphis Bleek. I enjoy Hova going through memory lane (yes a Ma$e reference) but “Mrs. Officer” is a hit song… “A Star Is Born” is not.
WINNER: CARTER III

TRACK 10 &11-“Let the Beat Build” and “Shoot Me Down” are the weakest spots of Carter III, the beat never builds and nor do the lyrics. “Venus Vs. Mars” and “Already Home” aren’t the best of songs in the Roc Nation Catalogue, but I give it to hov, “I’m a mac, she a pc she lives in my lap”. Daddy Went Hard (nohomo).
WINNER: BLUEPRINT III

TRCK 12 & 13 -“Lollipop” and “La La” destroy “Hate” and “Reminder”, which are total ass tracks. Just when I thought “Off That” was the worst Jay song ever made, “Reminder” comes to take its place.
WINNER: CARTER III

TRACK 14- anyone who knows me personally know I’m a big fan of Rock (pre 2002) and “Playing With Fire” is full of Metallica esque rage from which Wayne does a great job of doing his best-spoken word impression. The Jay-Z and Pharell Track “So Ambitious” is anything but. Another played and sappy Neptunes Pop beat with Jay-Z going through the motions.

WINNER: CARTER III

TRACK 15 &16-“Young Forever” is horrid, it’s some faux Coldplay bullshit that no one in their right mind would listen to. Let’s say you add “Jocking Jay-Z” to the track listing just to make it an even 16 tracks, and it still couldn’t compare to Carter III’s “You ain’t Got Nuthin’” which is features Juelz and Fab at their best and Wayne going nuts after watching a bit too many capital one commercials. The last song “Dontgetit” shows more heart than any song off of Blueprint III and cements Wayne as more than just a rapper, he moves into MC status on this one.

WINNER CARTER: III

FINAL SCORE:
BLUEPRINT III – 3 Tracks
CARTER III – 13 Tracks.
Winner by TKO Lil Wayne’s The Carter III

If I want the old Jay guess I should do as he say and buy his old albums...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Album Review- M.O.P. - Foundation

Now for those of you young heads out there who might fall into this blog mistake, you need to know something, and it's this M.O.P. will stomp the shit out you. 95% of rappers are true frauds or actors for lack of a better term and the other 5% is real and just sucks, except for M.O.P. . Lil Fame and Billy Danze have been around the block and back, through several labels and popularity cycles in hip-hop. Through the entire time, they have been the same Mash Out Posse, hardcore to the bone and the true kings of the street in my opinion. Nevertheless, I was still wary about hearing them yell about how I would get stomped out, mashed, and treated by real niggas from the street. But, this isn't quite the normal bruising M.O.P. . They are an older, matured group.



Don't get it twisted, M.O.P. will still bash your head in and throw in a "mothafucka" just so you know who it was who did it to you, but this album shows actual growth from the duo. Need an example, check out "Blow the horns" which exhibits their energy while toning down the yelling just a notch yet remaining at a level to get their point across. This ain't for Kanye West fans folks. "Stop Pushin" keeps the volume amped up to just a ten instead of the normal 15 but it's still got enough caffeine to hype anyone up.



But the newer M.O.P. drops in on "Street Life" which features Demarco. Now Fame and Danze aren't ever going to be confused with any of the best orators on wax but trust they get their point across. The title track, "Foundation" lets everyone know that the Posse still holds it down in the streets and they have an intention to bring back hardcore NY hip-hop. I'm not mad at them. Jay-z could have used some of their anger on Blueprint 3.

Features are relegated to Termanology who puts in servicable work, Styles P on "Bang Time" another classic M.O.P. joint, and Redman pushes the best lyrics out of Fmae and Danze on "Riding Through".

Honestly, some of these reviews have a lot of adjectives I try to use to give you an understanding of the feel. This one is straight forward, M.O.P. makes the type of music that gets people hurt in clubs and the Foundation is no different. This hip-hop isn't for everyone but this is what I was expecting Maino to bring to the game. Hip-hop still has hope.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Album Review- Ghostface - The Great Ghostdini

One of my Twitter peoples laughed when I said I thought that Ghosts new album would be better than Raekwon's newest release. Well, it isn't better by say the lyrics or the songs but it is an interesting concept that only Ghostface, out of anyone from the Wu, could pull off. First off, the album is called in it's entirety: "Ghostdini the Wizard of Poetry in the Emerald City". I know, a big wtf goes up in my brain as well.


If you're regular to the blog, then you might have seen my post a few weeks back about whether or not there could be another Best of Both Worlds hybrid hip-hop and r and b album. Instead of teaming with one singer to do an album, Ghost brings several together to co-star with him on this effort which is a collection of potential singles in my mind for any normal artist. This is hip-hop for you and your down chick as you leave the M.O.P. concert lol.


My Favorite Ghost picture ever!

Let me run down the features first, Shareefa on "Not Your Average Girl", Raheem Devaughn gets two songs, John Legend, Fabolous, Lloyd, Adrienne Bailon, Vaughn An, and Ron Browz. Ghost recently acted angry about D.O.A. because of the song with Browz however, if the radio were not a popularity contest, Ghost definately would not need that song with it's autotune to get some airplay. "Do Over" the first of the tracks with Raheem would be a perfect single. So would the second song with Devaughn "Baby" although I am disappointed someone with talent like Radio Ra would resort to using the autotune himself.

It's not all love on the album though "Guest House" is a story rap where Ghost is looking for his cheating girl who is with Fabolous as the Fios guy with whom she is having an affair. "Let's stop Playing" is another great song with a John Legend hook.



This album is another one that is hard to describe but you have to listen to it. Ghost's lrics are uncharacteristically on topic but they are still as sharp as ever. The production is even better. Ghost should have helped Rae more with his beat selection on OB4CL2 because in this album it's on point. This is not the typical rap album but it works very well. This is a suggested buy.


Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Album Review- Playaz Circle - Flight 360

Few people outside of a small area around Atlanta are Playaz Circle fans. Titi Boi and Dolla are more known for their names than their music even though they had a real hit single two years ago with Duffle Bag Boi. However, the song garnered more attention for Lil' Wayne's hook than anything the duo did on the song. Back with another album that you probably weren't aware of is Playaz Circle, don't worry though, you're not missing much.



The theme of Flight is front and center throughout the album where on just about every song mentions some lame punchline about a plane or being high. Honestly, these guys are a wonder to me. They must have held Luda down to get on because they don't possess the talent or personality to pull off being rappers. Every song is about balling and how much swag they have and they also mention "Duffle Bags" on every single track. We know that was your song but come on, you cannot live off of that forever.




Even their few attempts to do something different fail miserably like on "Hold Up" where they eschew the traditional verse structure to try and be different. The beat knocks but the quasi-chorus they use becomes annoying after the first time you hear it. The lyrics of course, don't even begin to help. Ludacris trys to help on the oh-so-original song "We Gettin Rich" - yawn. Young Dro also shows up and offers up - nothing, as do Cee-Lo and Raekwon. They also try to recreate their only hit by getting Wayne to do the hook for "Big Dawg" which is even more annoying than Duffle Bag Boi. It gets really bad on "Stupid" where you realize you are actually looking forward to hearing OJ da Juiceman just because of the dumbass noises he makes. When that happens quit rap for real.


The features may not have been a-list efforts but why would you when you have to compete with lines like:

"I'm tryna get the cheese like Nacho"
"I get high for the fuck of it/ I get high and say fuck a bitch/ Your crew stay on some sucker shit"
"I'm what the game made me/ Mashed potato nigga so gravy"
"The Way I move weight call me Ruben Studdard"


Look I understand some people like "Trap Music" but this is terrible. These two have no personality and use every current cliche in music on an album that wont ever crack rotation. So why not at least try to do something different than rap about how money is the only thing you think about and your lame "swag". This is what kills hip-hop, people who shouldn't be in the game who waste time, money, and beats just because they know someone. I'm sure Luda could have found something better for them to do other than waste studio time and resources. Please don't buy this album.

Rating: 1.5/5

Friday, September 25, 2009

Has R and B become a one trick Pony?

Now I was feeling nostalgiac and listening to probably the greatest and most pure voice in r and b ever, the one and only Luther Vandross. Now it wasn't just the voice that got me, it was his style and flair. We all know the rumors about Luther being gay but the moment he opened his mouth and started singing, you no longer cared anything about that, you just knew that something great was coming.



Woooooooooo!!! That gives me the chills. Now here is what I was thinking about while listening to Luth, I would have loved to see him perform. And Luther didn't do anything but sing. It's like seeing Jay-z, dude has a skill that is so great, he can stand absolutely still and sing and people would be riveted by the vocals. Now, I'm not going to knock the new generation of singers on vocal skills because some of these guys actually do have the talent to sing, however, the market dictates that they sing different types of songs and make different music where they don't bring out some of those skills. However, I could never ever go see most of the artists today actually perform.




See I'm a fan of Usher's music. I also think he is an incredible performer. But I cannot go to an Usher concert because this dude takes his shirt off too much and grinds across the stage too damn much. It's not homophobic either, I just don't feel comfortable with a dude chest naked focusing on an audience I am part of and rubbing his nipples. It's not going to work. Now Usher is the example of a seasoned veteran, but I thought about it and every r and b act does some ultra-sexy-for-the-ladies dancing around and I can't get with it.




See, you got C. Breezie grinding and air-humping his mental image of Rihanna while thousands of little girls scream wildly. Thats fine for him and them, but I cannot be a part of that. Pretty Rickey....well we all know how those dudes get down when you got "Sexy Spec" going so far as to challenge other singers to a grind off. Shit, Trey Songz ass doesn't even dance but all his songs are about sex and 90% of his pictures involve him with his shirt off(pause and no-homo) so Im pretty sure that after he finishes singing "I Gotta Make It" his shirt comes off without ever seeing him perform.



Now this isn't new, but the difference is all the while Jodeci, the Bad Boys of R and B were running around and grabbing their crotches through their leather pants and pouring baby oil and water on their chests, Boyz II Men was wearing slacks and slippery earls and straight up singing their lungs out. Even though Jodeci was a group of fake ass Bobby "Indecent Exposure" Browns with more vocals, you had Johnny Gill, and the rest of New Edition who stayed clothed. Keith Sweat was a shirt open type of guy and Brian Mcknight always wore a shirt, although many of them happened to be made of mesh, there was a variety. There were singers whom you could take your girl to see and know you wouldn't be the only straight man there. You could sit back, drink your soda and enjoy the performance.

Today, I have reservations about going to see a rapper like Plies because he's only gonna be talking to the ladies about everything sexual he could imagine doing to them from the filthiest pornos ever made. I guess I could go and see The Dream but that fool can't sing so why would I actually give him my money? What happened to the singers that anyone could enjoy without having a weird feeling and getting odd looks when you walk to your seat?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Local Spotlight- Get em Mamis

Now I don't normally take a stand on local hip-hop but that is basically because in my mind, most of the "artists" suck. That's not trying to be disparaging or mean but the truth is most of these guys are run of the mill sound like-the-next-man rappers who don't do much to expand what anyone thinks about Baltimore or the "hood" in general. With that said, I first saw this group on You Know you Dead Azz Wrong so I have to give a shout out to DurtyMo over there for putting me on with them.



The Get em Mamis are a huge surprise for me just because I wasn't expecting too much because like I said, they are from Baltimore. The duo of Symph and Roxzi have above average lyrical ability and a good ear for beats if you listen to their mixtape/album TerAwesome. (Follow them on Twitter Here) They manage to successfully fuse Baltimore Club music, Hip-Hop, and House into a great sound, especially for partying.

Listening to their single "Work" certainly makes me wonder why they aren't on radio period, forget spinning locally.



Though I'm not going to go in about the video production, it is clean and pretty good compared to some local joints I am just excited about the song. The group is hot. The one concern I would have is with the cursing, there are times when they seem to just fall back on saying a curse word when cleaning things up would serve them better in the long-term.



Look for the most part there aren't many decent women in hip-hop and if I find some more I will definately give them some shine, but the Get em Mami's are a great start for someone looking at the future.

Nicki Minaj

Now I posted before about How Nicki the ninja has the swagger of someone who has accomplished something already and she hasn't earned it. I do like the potential that she has shown although I do not think she will reach it with her new Young Money deal. I just don't see these guys as being able to pull off these signees as credible artists but we shall see.


(NSFW)



If you watch this entire video you will see she looks lazy all of the time, whether she thinks it's a cool swagger or not I guess is up for debate. As a potential fan or listener, it turns me off to see her lack of energy and listening to the verse, she is trying to rely too much on the gimmicks and sound effects to extend her verse just like Lil' Wayne. You need to carve your own identity in order to be accepted.



Then I was on sohh and read this quote from her:

"The sexual and sexy stuff is really not who I am," Nicki explained in an interview. "I think all girls can take a sexy picture. Me, the core person, is more about making dope music, saying cute things and having fun. And being young and free-spirited so I'm focusing on just being me and what I do is, you know, I rap, I sing, I act. I combine all of those because I never feel like I'm the same person. You know what I mean, I feel like I'm different. My movement right now is based on all the girls in the world, no matter what their age is, race is, whatever, just coming together and having fun." (Boom Box)


If your not gonna be about being sexy and that is the image you are presenting from the beginning you are going to fail Nicki. Word of advice, people are looking for you to be the new Kim, the new Lil' Boss Lady who uses her feminine whiles to get what she wants, abandon that and you can call yourself Nicki Lewinsky, and Harajuka Barbie all you want and we aren't going to believe you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Album Review- Skyzoo -The Salvation

So a lot of people don't know Skyzoo, hell I don't really know Skyzoo myself but with the fact that nothing is really coming out when I see something new I'm going to try and jump on it. So from his accent I can tell he is from NY and the flow is straight so let me tell you about the actual songs.



The production is decent for the most part and the sound is very crisp and clean. On a soulful note (what else with an album title like Salvation) the album starts with an into/song that serves as the title track. Now Sky raps decent but it is evident that he isn't really that soulful of a guy. I mean, if you are going to title your album something like Salvation that evokes something emotional and seems like it is going to have some serious depth, then you need to reach down and bring that out, especially in a track of that title. Let us know what "your story" or the story of the album will be. That doesn't happen so I felt left down.



"The Beautiful Decay" doesn't make sense in a concept to me because his verses are just on the verge of "taking me there" to understanding his life and style. "Popularity" is a normal rapper bragging track but the beat switches up what could have become a stagnant feel on the album and Sky comes with decent verses. "Under Pressure" is a pretty good song about the trouble of having a relationship and trying to make it in the game (which one you choose) when it comes time for you to have to grind it out. This is what I expected to have more of on the album because it feels natural for Sky. "Dear Whoever" fits in that same mold.

One of the biggest complaints that I would have is that Sky's songs all have the same "soul" feel that is in vogue now but he doesn't come across as a guy who has experienced the depth of the hood talk he wants to exploit emotionally. He also has some average verses but he finishes almost every song on a strong note which is frustrating to hear some great stuff after some generic rhymes.

I like the horns and drums Just Blaze provides on "Return of the Real" even if Sky doesn't actually talk about anything in general. "Metal Hearts" is another banger with a beat that thankfully switches up the sound of the album and provides a chance for Sky to show some NY energy.



It may seem like I was being hard on Skyzoo about a lot of things, but I actually think the album is okay. It could be better if Sky reached down into himself for more emotion to fill the soul-backed beats, or instead had more tracks by Just Blaze that brought the hard NY heat out where the content wouldn't need to be so "soft". Sky showed me potential though and I will be eagerly awaiting more projects from him as his career continues. With just a little more direction, he has the ability to create a true classic at some point.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The New Industry

Now everyone knows I'm not a fan of most artists, especially a lot of newer artists, but there are several who I am following closely, waiting for an official release to drop. As each day goes by however, I notice that many of them are taking part in what has to be "the new industry". These guys aren't really laying the groundwork for albums with some features and what i would consider a 'true' mixtape. What I am seeing is that people are just recording and putting out music, maybe getting a few hits on itunes and Myspace, but their goal is to get it out into the blogosphere and let it bubble from the bottom up.



A recent example is a new song from Snoop and Nipsey Hussle, well that's backwards because it is Nipsey's song. The point is that radio is no longer necessary for guys like him to make music into a career. Getting a solid fan base that may be smaller is a benefit to this guy because thye know his music regardless of what medium it shows up in and are wiling to pay and see him perform. While he may not have the amount of "fans" as a Lil Wayne or Snoop, he manages to have people who are dare I say, Die-hard so he has a bse to make sales when he does eventually release an album.




A good example of harvesting this power is Slaughterhouse. While they aren't going to break the ringtone sales records, they managed to pull off decent sales with no promotion other than themselves on the likes of Twitter, Worldstarhiphop, Myspace, and their own websites, most notable JoeBuddentv.com . They also put together each of their own groups of fans and brought them all together to create support for the group and have been touring almost constantly since the group was announced and formed, all while flying under the radar of radio and the Viacom Conglomerate, though they do have a video in rotation on MTV Jams.

Previously, on this blog, there was a discussion on whether or not the internet was helping or hindering hip-hop. At this point it is helping it, however the music is so fragmented right now that it is crazy. There was a time when you heard everything except music from the South (yeah that was wrong, there are Southern artists that should have gotten some shine) but now the media is dominated by music that all sounds alike. The net has allowed people like The Cool Kids to really get some sort of buzz. The one problem is with so may sites just promoting random songs there is no "trust" of who you should be listening to. The Source used to have the credibility to predict artists, but now they just try to jump on people after they get a single in heavy rotation.


GS BoyZ where art thou now?




The question of who do you trust and what blogs should an artist target still looms heavily. Who are the opinion leaders that can keep a rapper, singer, or group from wasting their time hopping the internet to get the maximum exposure. If you know of any, get at me because I would love to see some blogs that actually have more than
songs on them but some actual content. List away.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jay-z is full of you know what.

Now I have refrained from blogging about the Kanye nonsense because frankly, it is nonsense and I am tired of his bitch tendencies and the attention that he garners with each of his ridiculous stunts and attempts to get eyes on him. They say the only bad attention is no attention and though personally I don't agree, I think in general people are right about that, but there is a line and it was crossed at the VMA's.

My problem is Jay's hypocritical nature on BBC radio ( he couldn't have spoken to US radio since Sunday?) where he says Kanye's outburst wasn't that bad because no one got "hurt" and Kanye is just passionate. Here listen for yourself:




Funny, just earlier in the week though, Jay was digging in on Lil Mama for "T-Painin" and coming on stage during his performance. So that was bad, yet Kanye was okay because he was just passionate? It's bullshit Jay and I'm calling you out on it like my man NC-17 did with you and D.O.A. . It's lame that dudes like you and Fab cannot be man enough and let Kanye know that this outburst shit isn't cool.



You see, had Kanye not been "known for his outbursts" it could be said he just felt passionately. Had he not been caught passing the Henny to Joe Jackson, you might be able to say it was passion, but when you have both of those things put together you have something different, it's called being an asshole. We need to stop allowing this type of behavior as a "part of his personality". Honestly, I'm not a hood dude, but I know in the hood, you will get punched in the eye at the very least if you continuously behave that way, so when a "hood certified" guy like Jay tries to co-sign or downplay some bullshit it pisses me off. Especially when you try to joke on on drop mean bombs on someone who stepped across a line, but not in the same ridiculous manner as Kanye.


the caption under this video was asking what if Lil Mama had crashed this stage...how about what if a punk like Kanye crashed this stage.

I felt bad for Lil Mama because she actually did make a mistake of feeking herself, her city, and position at MTV giving her access to step on that stage and getting played. But even more because now she feels like she let down her idol a dude whom she looks up to and even says she was giving "praise to".



Eeven Alicia Keys tries to go in on Ol' girl, like we haven't forgot she fucked up Swizz Beats' marriage. Just because you thick and light-skinned doesn't mean that you won't feel the wrath especially on this blig with your "rice and honey" eating ass.

Though he took it back, the only prominent black person really stepping up was the President, of course. I guess he ahs to save the country and Hip-Hop.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Being Underground is like being in the ghetto

So the underground vs commercial debate is an ageless one. There are plenty of people who would swear by an underground rapper like Tek 9yne and cannot stand a more mainstream artist like Jay-z (for ease of comparison mind you). But it's sort of like how guys from the hood swear ts better to be in the hood and keep it real, than move to a better area of town.


Hip-hop fans, especially those who prefer the underground/ dungeon rap scene act as if when other people start to like your music as an artist, it no longer holds any value. Just because your favorite artist finally is able to achieve a measure of success doesn't mean they lost their soul to do so. Granted, once an artist does get to a measure of success, the label does expect to have the same success from subsequent projects.


NYC Projects

However, for artists who remain underground or less successful, and fans of said artists they treat their more successful peers as if they are lepers. Being unknown allows them to hold an air of superiority; a feeling that they are more in tune with the will; mood; and feelings of the people. So because they aren't able to get out of the underground they claim they want to be there.


Where 50 Cent lives now

This is just like guys in the hood whose main claim to fame is keeping it real in the hood when in truth the only reason they are there is because they can't go anywhere else. As Jay-z recently said on D.O.A. :

"I don't be in the project hallways talkin' bout I be in the projects all day"


The same mentality persists in music as it does in our neighborhoods. Our jealousy overtakes our reasoning and ability to understand. After all, why are you making music if your goal is not to be successful and to be able to expose your music to the most people possible? What is the point of working to the bone every day to live in the same jacked up neighborhood? As Jay said, that sounds stupid to me. Or as Joe Budden said:

"You like I'm on the third floor and I gets it poppin'
You wack nigga you ain't got another option"

Only a person who feels insecure with what they are doing tries to put someone else down for actually being halfway successful at what they are trying to do.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jay dropping knowledge



Honestly, we need more of these interviews. We also need to make sure that more of our artists are making sense. You notice Jay actually attempted to give thoughtful answers to some thought provoking questions. I don't see a Jeezy or a Wayne giving an interview like this because frankly, they don't have the depth to answer such questions.

I also like the fact that Jay has grown up some and begun to study the artists of the past and really weigh in on his place amongst them. However, I would have liked to hear him give an answer about why a rap artist might not be able to have such a lengthy discography like Sinatra or the Beatles.

Going too far...

Look these guys are bubbling right now, but Drake is going too far and seriously tripping for this statement right here.



I will give Trey songz his credit due as a great talent and an artist, however the best of their generation? Maybe I don't know who is in their generation because Trey is a distant third right now behind Ne-yo and Chris Brown, though he is catching Chris. My generation I guess would be the group of artists before these guys like R. Kelly, Usher, and to a way lesser extent maybe Joe since they all came out at that time. Whatever, I'm not ready to call Trey Songz the best of anything yet.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hip-hop Movie Review - A Day in The Life




So i got a bunch of new stuff lately and one thing that I have is a movie called "A Day in The life". The movie is by Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones of Onyx and first looking at a movie by a rapper with that bland title and an idea of what straight to video stuff normally results in I wasn't thinking ti was going to be worth more than some good laughs. i was mistaken.


While the movie doesn't attempt to have an original story for the most part, it is a drug tale point blank. It is told entirely through rap, sort of like Carmen on MTV from a while back, but better. That's right, Sticky and his cohorts have crafted a movie that makes sense, uses all rap lyrics, with pretty good beats and a good cast which includes Mekhi Phifer, Omar Epps, Michael Rappaport, and Bokeem Woodbine. Also in the movie is newcomer Melinda Santiago.


Umm...Melinda Santiago.

Basically the movie doesn't have a huge plot twist however it does have enough action and turns to keep you attentive. I don't want to get into details you can check it for yourself and I highly suggest that you do.


Rating: 4/5

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This is why I'm a 50 fan...



If you watch the clip, at some point 50 cent responds to someone in the crowd and syas that Lil Wayne is talking about things that he has only seen on tv or through others, not really experienced because he has had a record deal since he was 13. 50 also talks about how he can still listen to rap as a fan and hear people who can write a great punchline but not a good song (which is when someone brought up wayne).

Honestly, I like the fact that 50 can actually speak his mind without the fear of being black-balled or discriminated against. How can he be the only person who has the nerve to call someone out whom I know is a fraud. I mean from being a gangster to becoming a blood sometime in the last three years, wayne has created a story and image and people believe that it is real or authentic now.

The reason I will always give a listen to what 50 says is because there is always some truth behind it. Just check this one out:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Best of Both Worlds - Can it work again?



So I remember when the Best of Both World's cd dropped. Shit was hot fire nah mean. You had Kells and Hov doing an entire album and pulling it off with great results. It still sort of amazing how it went down. Trackmaster's pulled off some good production and Kelly did more than just sing hooks.



After the initial album, R. Kelly's legal troubles kept the duo from promoting, shooting any videos or a tour. Subsequently they went and remade the album, titling it "Unfinished Business". It wasn't as good as the first however, this time they did get to tour and make money off of the album. The relationship deteriorated due to ego and soon Kells was talking about doing another album only this time featuring Baby from Cash Money as the rapper. This never reached fruition and Kells legal troubles again put him out of commission until recently.

So since the initial success of the 2002 album, others have tried unsuccessfully to recreate the magical formula. None have had any commercial success and most have been announced but haven't come to fruition. what's up with that?



You see I actually liked the Bow wow and Omarion album. The beats were knocking and good for dancing, the lyrics were what they were and the concepts were what you would expect of two young guys who have had a lot of money thrown in their laps. Yet, the public didn't pick it up, maybe Bow wow doesn't have enough credibility to pull off the rap portion though he is comparable to more than half of the mainstream industry today.

We also had the rumored Wayne and T-pain album which I don't think can work. This is for a couple of reasons, first of which being it isn't special. They do enough songs on the regular basis that an album from the two as a duo would not be special. Second, as long as Wayne is using autotune he is taking away one of Pain's main weapons.



Then we had a rumor of a Ne-yo/ Fabolous album. This made sense, both are on Defjam and the success of "Make me Better" made this seem feasible. The biggest problem with this is the rapper once again. Fabolous doesn't make you want to rush out and pick up anything he puts out. He isn't the "best" of any world to be blunt. Which in the end is probably the biggest reason that a "Best of Both Worlds" type of collaboration can rarely if ever again work.

You see Jay-z and R. Kelly are both rappers basically. Everyone knows Kells basically raps. They both were dominant at the time of the album's creation and had been that way without a doubt for a few years at least. There could be no real argument in R and B, and within rap, it was either you were a Jay fan or a Nas fan that was it. Right now, there is Wayne who might be at the top, but then again, you also have T.I. who would be more likely to actually pull it off. Then there is Kanye but we all know he isn't going to share the spotlight. In R and B you know you have Ne-yo and maybe even the Dream or Jamie Foxx at this point, or it could be Trey Songz depending on what day it is and how you feel.

Unfortunately, there is no group of two that would actually bring excitement to the game and make you want to run out and make a purchase. The friendly competition that Jay and the R had is hard to duplicate and there seems to be a dearth of talent to pull it off. Who do you think could actually do a new "Best of Both Worlds"?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

T-pain done lost his mind...

Now Death of Autotune should have ruffled some feathers, but not t-pains. I mean I think Jay's intention was not to knock t-pain for bringing the style back. I thought that he specifically said that "Get back to rap/You t-painin' too much" line to show that everyone else needs to let "Teddy Pinned Her Ass" do his thang and stop stealing.




So blam I hear the rumblings on twitter. Fabolous is really a funny guy I must say, he got mad jokes, and I head over to worldstar where the ghetto comes online and see a video of T-pain dissing Jay. You might be watching it right now as you read this. I have to wonder, why is he so mad at Jay? He isn't mad at any of the guys who have been killing the autotune sound by jacking it and running into the hole.

I mean at 2:55 seconds he says rap is dead because people trying to be him...wait, didn't jay-z say the exact same thing in the line I quoted above? Yeah, he did. So instead of taking shots at Jay, T-pain needs to go counsel the failure that was Ron Browz, get at 50 for that wack ass attempt he made at using it, and definately talk to his boy Wayne and tell him to stop it, because if anyone has helped make that shit wack, it's Lil Wayne. (and to a lesser extent DJ Webstar cause he's a clown)

Everyone needs to address the real problem (lil' Wayne) and stop beating around the damn bush just like my man NC-17 said in his post "Jay-z is a Hater". (check back in the archives for that one)

Monday, September 7, 2009

The best Jay-Z Album covers

So in preparation for the release of the Blueprint 3, I'm going to dedicate a set of posts to Jay. To start things off, I'm going to rank Jay's album covers.

1. Reasonable Doubt



The original cover that started Jay on the path of the smooth gangster-like hustler from the PJ's that has held form to this day. Even better than this cover is the original cd artwork of a 9mm laying in the street. Subsequent releases are plain black with words.

2. The Blueprint



In what is one of the more different of Jay-Z album covers because it isn't a full on frontal assault of Jay's visage, the Blueprint cover shows some artistic merit at least in the photographic sense. The blue theme worked well.

3. American Gangster


This cover is better than the album to me. Even if it isn't like an original idea from Jay or thematically.

4. The Dynasty



I'm not a fan of the bandanna but the Roc sign and the Rocawear chain are working. Then you have the overlay of the word Dynasty. I think this might be the best cover artistically when you look at those additional components but the photo itself is blazay.

5. In My Lifetime: Volume 1



I still think they should have called it heir to the throne, but the basic look of it gives you the Hustler's ambition in a way. No jewels, nice watch and a simple leather jacket.

6. The Black Album


The original idea behind dropping a "black" album was ill. To drop a record with no promotion, but to have people walk by and see a new Jay-Z album and see how many copies it sells is arrogance at it's finest. This, was a good album with an average cover.

7. Kingdom Come


Okay we give you a half a point for the lame hologram. But you lose it for using Red.

8. Volume 3: The Life and Times of S. Carter



My favorite album but a weak cover.

8. Volume 2: The Hard Knock Life


LMAO, I don't even believe you in this one. You're trying too hard Jay.

9. The Blueprint 2


I know they did an entire photo shoot and this is the one they picked? It's like he didn't even make it to wardrobe.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Album Review- Kid Cudi- Man on the Moon: The End of Day





Now a lot of people have been talking about Cudi as being one of the best in the 'next' generation of hip-hop. He got credit for helping Kanye craft 808's and Heartbreaks, though I'm not sure why. His first single, Day-n-Nite, came out a few months ago and has since burned and died and I don't know what is so hot about it.



So it's a safe bet I am already jaded against Cudi. To tell you the truth, I was expecting a rapper but I go look and see that he considered one of those genre mashers who doesn't fit into one category. Fine, neither does Andre 3k. Unfortunately, Cudi is not Andre.




Nope, not Andre...


Let's try to find the good. "Day-n-Nite" was a hit single. The song was catchy. "Make Her Say" with Kanye and Common is the best song on the album. Common just so happens to have the best verse on the album, which isn't a bad thing if you actually make him try a little bit. The album has decent alternative/neo-soul hooks on songs like "Sky Might Fall", and "Heart of a Lion". In Fact, most of Cudi's songs have decent choruses.



When we get to talking about verses, which are important to me, is where Cudi falls not flat, but off the face of the planet. His lyrics are simple and don't have much depth to them. His flow isn't unique in anyway, and his attempts to have a unique delivery come off as corny. The album also feels the same, like stale soul samples, and walks in the park on a Neo-soul video, nothing feels exciting. I now fully understand what people mean by "emo-music". I know some people may want a more in-depth breakdown, but for me, there isn't anything actually there to dissect. I don't like his "singing", the beats, his concepts might be there but I can't stomach his awful lyrics to find them.


Look, I have to admit, I was biased before I heard the album because I haven't heard anything from Cudi to make me want to look out for him. After listening to this, I was right. In trying too hard to do too many things he ends up doing nothing right. His effort to be the new Andre 3000 fails because Cudi cannot hold his own when it comes to his lyrics, energy, or song structure. Cudi is a guy who should probably work and help out other artists rather than actually trying to be a feature artist by himself.

Rating: 2/5

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When keepin it Real Goes wrong...

I have to shout out Prophet Nelson for this topic because it's something he told me a while back when we were discussing "Making of the Band". Sometimes you can expose too much of yourself to the public when you are in entertainment.

We may not want to admit t, but we like our celebrities to be better than us. We need them to be because if they are the same as us, then why am I watching them, going to see them, or listening to them? Yet, as the fickle public, we want them to real and accessible to some extent. For the artist or entertainer, it's better to err on the side of ridiculous excess than to be too normal when looking at ones career.

I bring this up because it seems one of my favorite rappers, Joe Budden, is now catching flak for being a normal video blogger/ chatter. Recently, there is speculation that he and Tahiry are no longer together. Truthfully, I don't care either way. His hardcore fanbase isn't going to really care either because they or I should say we, like the fact he goes through and talks about the same things that we go through as opposed to some other rappers who talk about Maybach's and flipping coke etc. .

He also takes heat for having and expressing an opinion on hip-hop which led to a bunch of other random videos, culminating in some sort of scuffle where he gets punched in the eye by a member of Raekwon's entourage. Truthfully, that's real. People get punched in the eye every day and live to talk about it. Most of them you wouldn't call punks afterward, however, since this guy is a bigger than life character who ahs bragged about his hand game, the perception is totally different and as blown out of proportion as everything else in the rap game.



You see things like that bring you down to the public's level which in the end defeats the purpose of being celebrity in a way. The idea is that you have experienced our life and now can reflect on it from a better place, not that you are still the same, as much as we try to tell you that is what we want.

An even better example is the failure of P. Diddy's making the band group, Da Band. They did everything you would expect them to do in their position including walk to Brooklyn for Cheesecake in the middle of winter and no one can fault them. However, by doing that and making everyone watch them, it took away some of their credibility as being larger than life which is what a celebrity has to be (i take it you notice the trend here). None of us wouldn't have done it (and if you say that then you're not that hungry!) but to actually see it was something else entirely.



In the new media, it normally takes a couple of years for a person to create enough saturation that the public begins to turn against them. Look how long it took for Ja Rule to fall, Master P, Death Row records...they all had their time but just imagine if they had the internet as it is now? The window now opens and closes in under a year. Be very careful what you share with the public.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Album Review- Jay-z- Blueprint 3

So the most highly anticipated album of the year's release is finally upon us as Jay-Z's the Blueprint 3 is just around the corner. Jay is looking to once again dominate the hip-hop headlines and charts, and judging of fof the buzz both good and bad from D.O.A. and Run this Town he is well positioned to do just that.


Now I earlier wrote a blog about having high expectations for artists like Jay-z who are iconic and who have a history, or the perception at least, of putting out great material, and so in listening, I am looking for something that is head and shoulder better than the other releases of the past year.



The first thing is the production is of course, top-notch with a variety of sounds and styles yet they all mix together. The best in my opinion are "Venus vs. Mars" a more than decent track comparing Jay to a fictional female using some colorful metaphors to represent each of them. The crisp drums and bass make this a whip banger and a potential freestyle staple track on a J. armz mixtape in the near future. "Off that" which is another Timbaland produced track is more pop and uptempo but Jay manages to work with it for the most part except for the first verse which i don't like more for it's ending and how Jay chooses to flow more than the lyrics. This song also features Drakes much-hyped appearance on the album but he is only on the hook which is disappointing for people who want to hear if the hype can really hang with the top emcees.


I am also partial to D.O.A. because of it's darkness, and the idea behind it. "A Star is Born" is another solid track where Jay uses his time to run down the big artists of hip-hop of his last 10 years, which is I guess to show artists whom he respects and so the newer generation maybe goes back and tips their hat to people who were in the game for a while while showcasing some wit:

"Luda moved digits after he moved bitches
Drake's up next, see what he do with it
Rule had a run couple of movie parts
T.I. literally wanted to shoot up the charts"

The song features another newcomer in J. Cole, but he doesn't do anything to justify his presence on the album either. His verse isn't bad, it just doesn't stand out. Bleek could have been on that slot instead and it would have been a welcomed treat.



A couple of songs have better beats than the actual song though, like "Haters" which is another Kanye West joint and seems to fit more with Ye's corny image than Jay's smoothness and swagger. I would like "Run This Town" if the screeching cat that is Rihanna were eliminated. Whoever thought she sounded good really needs to lose their job, and if it is Jay, then so be it. "Reminder" is Jays shot to talk a little greasy and he wastes an opportunity to go in on some people I think. The track would ahve been perfect to really do the "Hip-hop" thing and dig in on Jim Jones, Budden (on more than one line), and anyone else who has been popping off. Instead Jay wastes bars running down years he had the top albums.



For me, "Young Forever" is the worst song on the album. I'm not feeling the concept, hook, or the track. "Already Home" featuring Kid Cudi could have been omitted and I wouldn't care. It doesn't do anything for me and I am still at a loss as to why Cudi is so popular. "As Real as It gets" with Jeezy sounds like another wack Jeesy song to me, it's rather boring and lame attempt to make a song the "thugs can smoke too". I like "On to The Next One" just for the Swizz sound and the fact it brings some energy to the otherwise laid back album. Jay also gets dirty lyrically on the song which doesn't hurt. "Empire State of Mind" could have been better, as it stands its little more than the average "it's so hard to make it in NY" song and it doesn't utilize Alicia Keys like it should have.

Overall, D.O.A. led me to believe the album was going to be a lot harder straight hip-hop type of album. Only a couple of songs continue that feel on the theme (On to the next One, Venus vs. Mars, and Reminder). "So Ambitious" A Pharrell joint is a cool laid back track that maintains the hip-hop feel and actually is a coherent story with a point so I can't hate that. I also have a problem with the intro, "What you Talkin about" because Jay references how he is moving forward with his music yet it sounds like a throwaway track from American Gangster where he went backwards to something similar to Reasonable Doubt. It is inconsistent with the ideas he is trying to present with BP3.


Jay tried to come with an album that both recaps his past and moves the game forward to something different but he slips up and focuses too much on actually pointing out what he has done, instead of making music that had the old feel while touching on new topics, or even old ones in a new light. An example of his success in that area is "So Ambitious" if you are trying to get what I'm saying.

Fact is, I expected too much and I know this, yet I still came away disappointed at this as a Jay-Z album with the lack of execution of the concepts. However, it is probably the most solid album of the year beating out Relapse (I am still hoping Relapse 2 drops before the end of the year).

Rating: 4/5

Positive Posse Cuts

Rappers are always talking about how they are just speaking about the experiences in their environment and that their music isn't for kids. They always disown the fact that they are indeed role models whether they choose to be or not. These artists have major influence amongst the youth and though they don't regularly make music that shows a positive light, or give direction in something other than cooking up, they could at least lend their talent and influence to the occasional positive posse cut. Let's look at the two most well known.



Self destruction was popping as some of the top artists came together to let the younger generation know that some of the things that they were doing were just ruining their neighborhoods.



We're all in the same Gang is mad long however it is pretty good. Even Eazy-E manages to spit a verse that eschews the violence, yet pays repsect to the youth struggles growing up with the gang violence in L.A. .

There was one attempt that I know of...



That's right, as they squashed their 'beef', Nelly and KRS-One got together and tried to bring some of their partners with them to make something positive which seems to be newer than I remember because Ne-yo is on the hook. Unfortunately, this song didn't get any promotion or notice, probably because they were actually trying to make a dent in all the negative hip-hop energy that is created and promoted.