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.
It's tedious and tiresome to write reviews of boring and unimaginative hip-hop. I don't want it to become "work". However I took a minute to listen to the new album from One half of the Cool Kids, Chuck Inglish and I am very impressed.
Pharoahe Monch is a unique artist in the fact that he has solid skills and concepts and could have probably built upon his commercial success years ago but instead has maintained an underground king status.
This song by Tru-Life a few years ago I came back across today and it pissed me off because Tru is now locked up and he showed great potential and growth with a song like this. Let me explain, see Tru-Life took something that could seem just so simple and gave it a little twist by making the verses from two different perspectives about rap and it's effects on the people who listen to it and the artist's perspective. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.
Now while I admit it is great to hear him say that and that he is just in it for the money. Most people are in it for that reason and i have no problem with it but where do we go from here? Once a dude just admits he is making little catchy hooks for the money how can the public just accept that and keep giving him money? I can't.
The problem is that there are too many guys like him just in it for the quick dollar and who stubbornly believe that they can actually spit bars. The public then chooses to believe them or go along with it so they do not become the dreaded "haters".
However Wocka seems to be a charismatic guy, as evidenced by his reaction and talk about OJ Da Juiceman getting booed onstage in NY. He knows the Wu-tang crowd isn't the Flocka crowd which is good.
What's good people? I hopo you all been paying attention to the blogs. drop some comments man and show some love there is a lot of room for discussion here. I don't want people to think I'm too much of a hater, but sometimes we get caught up into following in hip-hop and not innovating the game.
One trend that a couple of people started that now need to stop. The first one I would like to address is "in studio performances". There are also a couple of variations of this like the "In whip" performance, or the "In the Crib" performance. all of these deviated from the "In the Club" performance which is fine because it is in front of a crowd and shows how people react to your music etc.
Look at this shit. I mean I understand you feeling your music, you want to expose it and get some publicity for it but let's stop being lazy. Act out a script, or better yet, just put the song out. Get some archived actual performance footage but you prancing around your house or studio like these songs are actual hits is annoying.
Ugh, there are waaayyy too many rappers now. Dudes are saying absolutely nothing and don't even have any slick ideas. You know how many videos are on worldstarhiphop? What makes you think I'm actually going to watch you do an in-studio performance of these wack ass "I'm a Gangster" songs? The bad part is the Butta the prince song is better than most of the garbage but it still isn't anything exciting that's going to make me go run out and look for his mixtape.
After writing this I saw the following:
Now you're not going to tell me that Rasheeda is dumb rich to be shooting videos for her mixtape but guess what, she is doing it and I would much rather listen to her than any of these other lazy ass rappers.
Let's see if we can get some serious discussions going on here about the truth with hip-hop. Why have we gotten so complacent since Barack has made it to the White House? During the time leading up to election and inauguration days, it was all the rage to be involved and to talk about politics. Since then however, the momentum has died just like Puffy's failed Vote or Die movement.
I have to think a large part of the problem is that a lot of the younger generation doesn't know how the political process works. The thought is that if you elect the President then things would just automatically be different. hip-hop in general, and this includes the fans, writers, and critics haven't done a good job of following up and paying attention to things such as the house and senate in Congress, nor have they paid attention to local politics as much as we would have liked to see after the historic victory of November. Too many people, not just hip-hop, just have no idea how laws in this country are made, how and why bills are made, and what they are intended to do.
Even without having a degree in government, there are things that we could be doing to better our communities and further build upon the activism that made the Obama campaign so great. Radio personality Michael Baisden (though his audience is the 35-50 year old age bracket) is embarking on a national tour to promote mentoring in all of the markets where his show airs.
We need a lot more of that to happen with our hip-hop artists who have made it out of the hood and begun to see the finer things in life. Instead of Gucci and Jeezy talking about keeping it real in the streets, we need them to start the campaign to keep kids out of the streets.
We suddenly have all of these stars trying to guilt us into giving to Haiti but they don't represent for their own communities in the same manner. Why isn't Jay-z providing some type of housing or fresh food markets in or around the Marcy neighborhood in brooklyn to improve the plight there? Where are the massive unveilings of youth centers and grants for troubled high schools by hip-hop artists to spur creativity in kids and keep them in the schools?
I have a few suggestions:
1. The big players need to get together and form an action committee that actually takes action. Jay-z,Russell Simmons, Master P, J. Prince, Puffy, Missy, Mary J. Blige, Tyler Perry, Will Smith, Spike Lee etc., with membership dues actual meetings and a board.
2. This Board or action group should have concrete objectives on what they intend to do such as build computer labs, recreation centers, housing and even schools and actually do it. Another objective should be to provide rehab programs, work training programs and possibly even become a Venture Capital group with a focus on creating small to moderate sized businesses in the urban environment.
3. Actually develop some type of standard for rap music. This isn't to say they should have broad censorship or creative control but there needs to be some sort of standard and mentoring program to help new artists develop and to have a standard editing procedure for radio. They need to lead the charge in personal responsibility for artists and their labels and truly become role models.
Those are three steps off of the top of my head that I would like to see done and I hope to address this topic more in-depth in the future. If you have any suggestions and ideas, please feel free to drop them here as well.
Finally, my man NC-17 is off his ass and is back with another blog designed to piss you the hell off...or maybe not.
Soulja Boy Is Better than Mos Def
People love to shove dirt on Hip Hop and consider it dead and buried. Most of these people are old school fans… yes old school. Its 2010, old school no longer refers to Rakim and KRS One, it refers to Biggie, Tupac, Nas, Wu-Tang, Common, and any rapper whose best work was pre 2000. Food for thought, Soulja Boy says the first rap CD he brought was 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying… of course it was he was born in the 90’s. My first rap CD was Dr. Dre’s the chronic. I am so fucking old school. Some of you will argue, well Jay-Z isn’t old school. Yes he is. Comparing Reasonable Doubt to Blueprint 3 is like comparing LL Cool J’s Radio to Head Sprung. Some artist will continue to make music regardless of the years in the game, but trust me Hova’s best days were back in the late 90’s to early 2000’s.
As much as I loved Cam’ron and Ma$e, listening to their newest song, which is a good track, reminds me of Guns and Roses forcing Chinese Democracy down people’s throat. It’s artist from a different era in time trying desperately to stay relevant. It’s kind of depressing hearing someone who use to ROAST DJ Clue mixtapes rapping about “Cookies and Applejuice”, but still lyrically the weakest artist from ten years ago will murder the top artist from last year.
It’s not about lyrics these days. Someone recently told me and I quote "Soulja Boy is better than Mos Def". And I'm not a Mos Def fan at all, but it made me angry... then I thought. this kid's not talking about lyrics. When I was growing up listening to Wu-Tang, Nas, and Mobb Deep, I had no idea what the fuck they were talking about; I was a kid who liked the beats and the flow. It didn’t matter if I didn’t understand what the fuck Raekwon meant when he said:
“Say peace to cats who rock mack knowledge Knowledgists, street astrologists Light up the mic God, knowledge this Fly joints that carried your points Corolla Motorola holder Play it God, he pack over the shoulder “.
As I got older and listened to Jada, Hova, and Eminem I became obsessed with the PUNCHLINE, I thought if you can’t give me a punchline that blows my fucking mind you’re not a real rapper. In my mind, what killed the west coast was the inability to feed the late 90’s rap fan lyrical lobster. As cool as Snoop and Cube was their punchlines were nonexistent.
Remember No Limit? I hated that shit. But all of my boys loved it. I remember the most asked question on month was you got that new P? No, I don’t got that new P, that new P, like the old P sucked. But I listened to Silk and mystical and … fuck it. I admit it-- was peer pressured into liking No Limit. I knew Soulja Slim sucked but when we piled into my mother’s car for a joy ride and a blunt session, I had it on tap because that’s what my degenerate friends wanted to listen to. I left the hood. I went to college and discovered new rap music that I would never listen to. My college homies put me on to underground rap, backpack rap, rap so complex you needed a graphing calculator to figure it out; yeah these guys were lyrical but it was to a fault. I always though there had to be a thin line between commercial rap and lyrical rap.
The clubs took over. Kids these days start going to the club at age 15, and they don’t go to drink or smoke, they go to dance and party. You can’t play Capone N Noriega in the club. You don’t want to be grinding on a girl’s ass and be like “Damn son! Did you hear what he just said?”. I had to realize a long time ago, not every place has bmore club music, they have to dance to regular rap music, therefore that regular rap music must do two things: Have an up-tempo beat that bumps loud and hard, and simple lyrics that you can sing along to while drunk, high, or screwed up.
When I think about the Ying Yang twins “Get Low”, I think about this girl I use to smash. When I think about ”hot in here” by Nelly. I think about this girl I use to smash. When I think about The Lox’s we are the streets album, I think about smoking weed while sitting in the dorm with my boy Cello. The point is, this new school hip hop, for the most part, isn’t about lyrics it’s about having a good time. You go to the club and listen to Jeezy and it makes you wanna floss ya money, buy some liquor. You go to the club and listen to Soulja boy you want dance get silly. There’s nothing wrong with that type of music. Everyone likes to have a good time and as a man I’ll admit, the prettiest hoes may not dance all night until that ONE song they love comes on. Shit; I still owe Juvenile for all the whores I booked off of “Slow Motion”.
Yes Soulja Boy may make more relevant tracks these days than Mos Def. But In the long run, most people who strive to be rap artist don’t want the ringtone sales, they want the acclaim. Every Rapper wants to be known as the best, not the guy who came up with jerking. Yes we’ll always need the club music, but if history is any proof-- rap will always return to who’s lyrically hot.
If it is one thing the black community is known for is it's churches and ties to organized religion. Hip-hop artists much like athletes and political figures try to incorporate this into their lives. However, most of it seems to be hollow gestures that are done more so just because it is expected. Take a look at songs then look at awards acceptance speeches and album liner notes.
You have the majority of artists who talk about how they are blessed by God when they win an award or receive an acknowledgment from someone but they don't carry any of the ideals of religion across in their music. This pertains to both Christian and Muslim artists for the most part. The most notable exception of this is DMX who does take the time to dedicate at least one song on each album to God.
X is one of the few artists who can successfully cross over from the gangster talk to telling how the Lord has affected his life. It's not the contradiction that keeps most artists from pulling this off, but the passion and truth in their voices. X truly feels it.
Then you do have some contemporary gospel artists who can be considered hip-hop or at the very least hip-hop influenced. However, unless your name is Mary Mary and you slap some auto-tune onto your latest song, don't expect it to be played on the radio.
(I feel another regular series coming on)
Hey it was the first thing I saw on youtube and Diamond Dog sounds just like Ed Lover.
This guy seems to be more subliminal with his message but it's there.
Where is all of this coming from? Honestly the entire "Jay-z is a devil worshipper" movement has me pissed off. We're quick to start following a conspiracy theorist who is telling us what a song sounds like backwards when no one else can even listen to it backwards. Ipods don't do that buddy. Yet it is once again a sign of us looking for the negative instead of trying to find the artists who are seeking to show the light and positivity of their particular faith.
Would a Catholic rapper be accepted? What about a Jewish rapper? We already know there are many Muslim rappers though the main proclamation about their faith we seem to hear is that they don't eat pork and that they use Allah in some songs in addition to the usual "only God can judge me". Will these artists ever be allowed to spread the tenets of their faith outside of using them as excuses to sell drugs and shoot each other?
Apparently, only dealing with Puffy can make you find God
I'm back and once again showing a renewed focus on helping to promote and expose new artists or less familiar artists to those who may visit the blog. Today I'm going to focus on Baltimore artist Mullyman. Mully has been one of the brightest 'stars' of the "Baltimore Movement" (because everything is a movement now). He has been featured on MTV's Hoodfab across from DC's Wale, and also had his video in rotation on MTVJams.
His newest joint "She Hurtin Em" is also directed by another DC native, Tabi Bonney.
Now I am always skeptical of Baltimore rappers but I think by now Mully has earned my trust. I have liked what I have heard but I haven't heard an entire album or "mixtape" from Mully myself. This song has a decent party beat however I thought that they over-thought the hook. Using the title of the song in rapid succession would have been better to me than the way it was done. I also think the focus should have definately been more focused on the women in the video during the hook since it is "She Hurtin Em". Sorry, I had to offer some criticism because Mullyman is actually an artist that has a story to tell and the ability to actually be successful at it.
Now this is funny, I showed someone my list of upcoming topics and he asked me why you keep asking about Tracey Lee? I couldn't do anything but laugh because I had the Many Facez album back on tape (do people even know what those look like anymore?) and he was one of the earlier guys to use the multiple personality concept and he worked with it. You remember his single, "It's Party Time"?
Ironically, I was over looking at Da Jaz 1's blog this morning and lo and behold what do I see but a Dirty Money (you know the group with the bootleg Estelle, Knock-off Keri Hilson, and tired Puffy) remix of that "Love Comes Down" song with none other than the man, the myth, the legend himself, Tracey Lee. Check it out here:
Wikipedia doesn't have too much information but it seems Tray Lee graduated from Southern University Law School in 2004 and if you can believe his verse, he now is some type of sports agent but he still has some decent rap ability. I wonder if his boss and professors knew about this song though,