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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

What's music worth?

So when you get to the end of this clip after the Dream has made some decent points he announces that he won't be doing any more albums because people don't appreciate music. Really Dream? You're lying. Not one musician who has said they're going to quit has actually done that. You are not Jim Brown, not even close and I'll tell you why. You suck. You're not that good. If I look at the greats in r and b you wouldn't come close to cracking the list. The Dream is like Keith Sweat, you put up with him but you don't know why. Marvin Gaye was a great singer and artist, Barry White, The Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross, even R. Kelly but not you buddy.

Now let me take a second to address his other point about people not appreciating music. He's right, music has lost its value tremendously because there is virtually no barrier to entry and everyone and there mother is "making music". Not enough people are taking the time to put out quality songs, the goal is quantity. Every mixtape that you give out for free diminishes the chances you're going to actually get paid for something. All of the features where we keep hearing your voice diminishes the desire to hear you do something fresh.

Example, TI went to jail and we heard nothing from him,when he was released everyone was at the edge of their seats to hear something from the man and now he can re-establish momentum. Jay-Z does an album every 16 months but in between you don't hear him on every album, on every remix and freestyling on every hot beat. He leaves you wanting more. Conversely Lil Wayne has been in jail 2 months and it sounds like he is running free. It's so many Wayne songs and videos out that no one is going to feel the vacuum caused by his lack of presence so it's not going to be special when he gets out.

I said this before all these mix tapes hurt overall if you plan on actually making money off of sales. I'm still a little older so I'm not going to see anyone's show based off of a mix tape especially when everything is original material so it might as well be an album where you get actual promotion, receipts and get closer to ending your label obligations. Constantly recording and putting out music without taking the time to edit and make it the best possible are the biggest issues with today's generation of artists. Now the Dream is complaining about unfinished leaks but I can bet the full song is just going to be fully mixed. He's not going to go through and change his key, or lyrics, or speed so stop complaining. This is the industry that you have created.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Big Boi aka Sir Lucious Leftfoot

So Big Boi is about to prep his first album without Andre 3000 and that isn't a package deal. A moment of truth perhaps to see how he can truly hold his own without his mate from Outkast. The bad part is, it's probably not a good time to venture off on your own as an artist with about 2 decades in the game as he is. The youth movement is all about the trap and while he has always been somewhat street, Big Boi isn't one of the new breed of trappers. His music is a reflection of that, Shutterbugg is a decent single with a nice beat and a mellow vibe. Unfortunately, the younger audience isn't going to play this nor are they going to have it forced down their throats by an urban radio that refuses to play anything even half way out of the mold. The only thing that could get him some spins is saying it's an Outkast song, which it isn't, and that's too bad.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Mother's Pride...

So I guess I have to touch on (figuratively only mind you) this Kat Stacks situation shit. So she has an altercation or whatever with ummm every Southern rapper in existence under the age of 28 it appears and her mother left a message for Young City formerly of Da Band, the big ugly suit, aka Mr. extend that 15 minutes of fame at every opportunity. That could make sense that she was angry and wild this dude out, however, to have her.

 This shit is ridiculous I can see why Kat Stacks doesn't have the brain she should have been born with. As a parent I wish I would go and co-sign my child's whoring on webcam with them especially with them talking like that. Really, like there is nothing wrong with this child's behavior? Then at the end (I know, I actually watched the entire shit) she has the nerve for criticizing Chopper City for saying that he fucks bad bitches all the time (Kat doesn't fit that category however) when that's her own daughter's bread and butter/ claim to fame. This woman is just as lost as her dimwitted daughter is.

Look at her head doesn't she look like the lil sick boy that was rapping the Eminem lyrics?

The worst part is that people are still fucking this broad and having her in their presence. Honestly, if I'm worth a couple dollars why would I put myself in the same room with her intentionally? It's one thing to be a groupie that gets passed around, it's another thing to be a talkative whore who is now out to 'expose' everyone's private business.

Why is anyone still giving her the time of day is beyond me. Then they want to brag about it, look this isn't Taraji Henson you bagged, it's a chick who is damn near paying you to hit it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Breaking Down the B.E.T. Awards- Nominees part 4

Now on to one of my favorite categories, the best new artist category. Unlike past years, all of the artists nominated this year actually have put albums out in some form. The most surprising thing is the fact that Justin Bieber is nominated, you know the label is kicking out some cash for that.

Justin Bieber - I'm going with Bieber just because he is in the category and he seemes birthed in a lab to be successful at this level. He is candy coated sweetness like the Jonas Brothers with an urban flavor like Justin Timberlake.

Nicki Minaj- Nominated both alone and with Young Money it's hard to consider her a new artist and hard to not consider her one. It's a serious catch-22.

(this song is terrible)

Young Money - Aside from Drake and Nicki what's the point? Everyone else is terrible including Millz.

Melanie Fiona - Another multiple nominee who is looking to get the courtesy "at least she got nominated" accolades.

Wale - It's hard to believe Wale is one of these new artists. He has the ability to have the flash of Young money et al, yet his deep album is leading him on the course to be under appreciated in the mold of a Mos Def, Q-tip, or Lupe Fiasco.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Do the John Wall...

I saw this and immediately thought that this Southern shit is getting out of hand. I know that John Wall is a phenom and he is from the South and he is going to be a top 3 pick in this year's draft. But to make this song about the guy is just desperate. The worst part is that there is nothing unique or new about this dance at all. It's just a lame version of a "dougie". The beat is annoying but at least the first guy was rocking off a little bit. He was the only one who had some wordplay about basketball that made some sense etc.

Breaking Down the B.E.T. Awards- Nominees part 3

the next category is always one of the worst because most times there aren't enough artists to actually qualify or who have done anything worth being nominated. This year is no exception and with so few females being promoted in the world of hip-hop it seems especially barren. (note-I did say promoted because there are plenty of women in hip-hop toiling away underground.)

Nicki Minaj- She is going to win hands down with no album but a couple of mixtapes and a slew of guest appearances to her name. At one time, you had to actually have accomplishments to be nominated for an award, yet along win one but that's no longer the case.

Trina - Umm, she's female, just released an album and um yeah she's breathing.

Lmao I can't even find a recent video with Lil Kim...that's sad.

Lil Kim- Ummm we know her name and she's one of the late 90's female icons in hip-hop.

Rasheeda- To me, one of the more disappointing and lazy artists out there to be able to do as much as she can independently to push herself, she is just lazy when it comes to her stuff. It's saying something when You have less of a shot than 2 people who haven't released albums.

Ester Dean - drop it low drop it low is all I know....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Breaking Down the B.E.T. Awards- Nominees part 2

The Next Category is the best Male R and B category and to me there are some surprises as to the nominees however, I doubt Raheem Devaughn is going to win. Let's get to it.

Trey Songz is the favorite in the category to me. He has had the hottest year in r and b since Ne-yo debuted about 4 years ago. With the amount of spins he is getting now he really is killing it right now.

Usher- This new Usher disappoints me because he seems to be gravitating towards the more 'thuggish' side of r and b that has become popular. The songs he has come out with don't have the same smoothness but his career isn't hurting at all through the change of styles.

Maxwell- The smooth soul singer has made a strong resurgence after disappearing from the scene for several years. Hopefully, somewhere D'angelo is taking notes and not trying to pick up any more tutes.

Raheem Devaughn has worked long and hard to get some recognition in the game and recently has been more vocal on his desire to hear more of a message in music and to go back to the classic style of the 70's.

Chris Brown - How B.E.T. has the nerve to nominate Chris Brown after how he has been treated in the past year is beyond me. Blackballed the entire year Chris may be leading in online voting right now but that isn't necessarily going to hold up. I'm sure he would give up this nomination for some spins. Here's hoping the dark horse shows up and takes the title.

Friday, May 21, 2010

French Montana

I have to say French Montana is probably the king of Worldstar. He has at least 2 videos of some sort every week whether or not he's just yapping or shooting another street video for yet another song.

I'm not a big fan of French because I don't think he is really that nice of a rapper but thats probably because he's constantly rapping and recording all the time. Now a lot of folks would say that proves he's nice because he always has new shit, but that's not true if all of your songs are the same damn thing. Which, French's songs all are.

The other thing that bothers me is his lack of enthusiasm while he is shooting his videos/ performing. I understand that is part of his style/appeal/swagger, but it gets lame to me. Look you are a performer and you need to bring that across in some sort of energy if you want someone to come to your show and do anything other than stand there sipping their drinks and ice grilling.

plus it's funny how much weight he has gained.

Honestly, I don't think he should ever do an album because he is obviously making money off of these mixtapes and dvd's. His verses on this song are better than Bun B's but the hook is asscheeks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Breaking Down the B.E.T. Awards- Nominees

I'm going to start with the best Female R and B category. The nominees here aren't surprising in the least excpet for Melanie Fiona who hasn't got a chance to win.

Beyonce-Predicted winner easily. B is the queen of the hip-hop generation and her myriad of appearances just solidifies her position at the top of this list.

Rihanna- The second biggest act behind B right now is Rihanna who drops a video every 2 weeks. I liked the old "pop" Riri better but apparently this new darker more adult version is what's popular now.

Alicia Keys- Scandal non-withstanding she might be the best songwriter for women around right now. Problem is she keeps all the good stuff for herself and though they have sexed up her image she is still boring.

Mary J. Blige- Mary isn't ready to let go of the throne just yet but it doesn't mean that no one is going to drag her from it. Hopefully she can mentor some of the young superstars as she enters the twilight of her recording career.

Melanie Fiona- The best all around aside from dancing (I don't know if she can do that) Melanie is the representative for the 40 and over/incense burning crowd by default. Pigeon-holed by her 'soul' sound hopefully she can get more support to be like Ms. Keys up above.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What the hell is wrong with Lloyd?

I understand, you joined Murder Inc. at the wrong time, and yes you were on a label called Murder Inc, but you never been on that thug shit dog. Honestly, i always felt it was messed up that lloyd didn't get the career he deserved because of timing (Damn you Curtis Jackson!). He has had songs that have had huge pop potential but never got off the table because of his affiliations.

So Lloyd is now back being the first to bring Mystikal back (whoop de doo) but the problem is he is talking extra reckless on this song:

Why is he calling himself young Goldie? Is that his thuggish alter ego. The beat is slick however with its use of the horns. The Mystikal verse is cool so I'm not mad at that. But why is Lloyd threatening to bang me with the chopper is not what I want to hear from the guy. He's too talented for that.

Then there is this wack ass song that doesn't fit in with his character either. As an aside, when it's our song and you have Lola Monroe in the "power slot" rapping last is not a good sign. It's your song, you should have the best verse, her verse isn't what I would call hot but it was better than Mr. "So Fresh" and Lloyd so that is saying a lot.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Album Review- Nas and Damien Marley- Distant Relatives

Nas is one of the more star-crossed artists in hip-hop. Almost everyone agrees he is a great MC, by that same token damn near everyone has said Fuck Nas at some point, artists and fans alike. Artists because of his opinions, and fans because of his inconsistency. In the face of his last major label release, "Untitled" or "Nigger" as it is really called, the commercial failure it was, seemed to ring a bell of sorts for Esco's career. It seemed that he was finally going to go the way of the dinosaur and become extinct. However, Nas has gone more the way of the Ghost(face) and prepped an album that is more directed at his core fanbase which happens to coincide with that of Damien Junior Gong Marley with whom he decided to make this album with, and it fits.

The album starts off with "As We Enter" an up-tempo song that finds Nas and Damien going back and forth to bring in the album. "Strong Will Continue" has a beat that sounds like the soundtrack for a movie while "Count Your blessings" is a song that will fit right in behind the Frankie Beverly and Maze at the family cookouts this summer. The good thing about the songs on the album for the most part is the titles speak for themselves.

"Dispear", "Nah Mean", and "Patience are all solid songs. Features include Dennis Brown on "Land of Promise", and Stephen Marley on "Leaders" and "In His Own Words". K'naan also shows up on two strong songs, "Tribal War" and "Africa Must Wake Up", however, the strongest song on the album for me is the anthem "My Generation" which also features Joss Stone and Lil' Wayne.

I'm not going to pretend I know or understand the most of reggae due to the accents and cadence so most of my critique of the album is based around Nas and the feel of the album. The feel however is decidedly reggae however it does have good beat selection which means it must be obvious that Nas was just told to come in and spit his raps. If you're a fan of conscious reggae and you like Nas this is an album for you, Gucci and Wacka Flocka fans need not apply.

Rating: 3.5/5

"Back-Packers" and "Hipsters" confuse me.

One thing i have never been able to understand about the latest backpack or hipster movement is the fashion. It seems that these guys who support the Kid Cudi's and Lupe Fiasco's of the world are constantly worried about the mental elevation and true realness when it comes to soul in hip-hop culture; yet at the same time, they revel in being ahead of the latest trends and exclusivity of their material possessions.

Now I'm not hating but it just seems that a lot of the guys who fill their ipods with the latest J. Dilla mixtapes are even more concerned about their image than Plies or Gucci Mane ever have been. You check their blogs and all you see is weird hipster jargon to describe the latest exclusive combination of "Stussy X Nike X Goodfellas dunks" (i know those references are kind of old and yes I am out of the fashion loop so this is just an example) and what boutique store they are in and how ill they are.


It seems as though it's not enough for these guys to feel their musical tastes are superior because every Little Brother cd I have ever heard has put me to sleep faster than some unisom and they can put up with the long loop of an album with scratchy soul samples and no hooks, but they also have to be stylistically superior too. yeah I'm probably just popping off a little bit but it is honest because I am confused at how the theme of excess and exclusitivity is reconciled with the themes in the music they listen to.

I know I'm weird because I haven't been worried about how I dress to anyone outside my household in about 8 years so maybe its the fact a lot of these people are single and trying to impress the opposite sex but I don't think that's the whole story, someone help me out.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's about damn time...

Now if you look at the video and still press play you will be as appalled as I was at the content off this "music". I posted this because finally niggas got some just rewards for being utterly negligent and reckless. Apparently these goons are from South Carolina and the police saw this video on youtube and has gone and arrested the participants for what should be called a crime against music and common sense.

Ever since Stop Snitching came out a few years ago I have steadily noticed the lack of "thug sense" amongst the new generation of the streets. It's one thing to be mad at people for snitching on you, but to incriminate yourself in this manner is down right idiotic. I understand you don't fear the police and you're so real, but be smart, who do you think you're fooling when they come to arrest you and then you claim it's just toys or replicas? This is just another case of when keeping it real goes terribly wrong.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Will Smith- G.O.A.T. Status?

I know you're reading the title and ready to fall out of your chair and come through the screen and do something to me because you're like there is no fucking way that Will "Big Willie Style" Smith is a great rapper. I mean the dude is an actor by default now. If you think that you would be wrong because Will is the ultimate entertainer.

Let me say this, while listening to music I find it hard to find current artists whose songs can be played around the family. My choice was to go back to older hip-hop to find beats that are serviceable and songs that rock but that are not obviously too explicit for young ears. While doing this I have been listening to more of the Fresh Prince and I realize his resume stacks up nicely with the best of them.

First of all for the late 80's and early 90's he was decently lyrical with some clever quips and an uncanny ability to describe situations, especially those of late teens dealing with life which wasn't involving crack sales. See, most teenagers don't actually sell dope or cook it up and for that to be the only images shown as depicting the urban lifestyle is just wrong. Yet we no longer have that in the game, or humor.

Yes, humor was once a big part of the game. Rappers weren't just serious, angry, scowling masks since their 'inception', at one point they were allowed to have fun without ever throwing it in that they are "G's" on the low like Soulja-boi, or the New Boyz.

Now those songs are fine because they were unique and had a different perspective than the average joint. Today, all of the songs sound exactly alike. The teenage perspective has totally turned into an event where everyone is just hanging in the streets. The Fresh Prince reminds us that there is more to growing up than trying to move some rocks to get fly. Then there was the greatest Summer song of all time that brings Will Smith checks every year like clockwork once the weather heats up in Northern states:

Now from this point her really shed his Fresh Prince persona and still laced us with big budget movie title songs that were maybe a little bit corny but they still managed to be "head noddable". He also managed to create the only serious song that is nationally known (shout out to Xzibit for also have one) about a father speaking to his son. Then he went and made the transition to mega-movie star, and tell the truth what rapper wouldn't want that? Just check these out and let me know what you think about Will's legacy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You never gonna be successful with this management....

So Wacka Flocka's manager/mother is a little upset with the likes of Gucci and Nicki Minaj both of whom she used to manage. Notice the phrase "used to" as that is important.apparently. Just looking at this video this is the type of management that is going to get you screwed. Her claim is that Nicki put out a cease and desist letter for the management services she was being provided with and the response is "I was fired indirectly"....

What? See this is a major fuck up and apparently someone got in Nicki's ear and said you need to get some real management, lawyers and paperwork to protect yourself and this lady is a fool for not having a signed contract in the first place. She can "keep it real" all she wants with her handshakes but at the end of the day this is a business. Has she never heard of Sean Puffy Combs aka the "Paper Gangster"? This man has owned several people in his illustrious career off of pure paperwork. You may not be hurting for money but if you're in the management game what is it for if it isn't for the money?

Now she's working with....French Montana...pause. This guy is never going to have an album worth listening to. In fact I might have to do a post about French but this guy doesn't seem like he is going to blow, especially with this kind of representation.

The money for a show doesn't come to you first and you're the manager and you're getting artists 50k a show? Lol.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ready For

So finally coming up next month is the debut from Hip-hop's Young Money Darling, Drake. He has peppered the airwaves with singles over the past 18 months and had a "critically acclaimed" mixtape (yawn) now it's time to see if he can put it together for an actual studio album. Sales are going to be incredibally easy to come by i think just because of the machine and hype behind him since Weezy F. Baby is in jail and the public today especially his target audience is looking for material to suck up. Not since the Roc was pushing out cd's by the case has there been more of a setup for strong sales just based off of the name.

Honestly people, Drake has some skill I cannot deny it, but he annoys me as a person. Number one, he wants people to support him yet he complains about all of these haters. I just don't believe it. Secondly, he doesn't seem comfortable in his position (i don't believe he smokes weed for one hot second), and too much Wayne is creeping into his style and his singing is almost as bad as The Dream.

Now what do I expect? I'm not sure. I think a lot of this album is going to be the same, he can make you feel better buy buying you something and he balling on the haters for 14-16 tracks with he and wayne auto-tuning. I hope there is no song with Baby on it but that might be a futile wish.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Album review- B.O.B. - The Adventures of Bobby Ray

Okay, so it's been quite a road to travel for B.O.B. . A couple of years ago he had a surprise smash with "Haters Everywhere" - a generic Southern rap song that didn't paint an accurate picture of what B.O.B. could actually do and was one of the featured artists on last year's XXL Freshmen 10. Being signed to T.I.'s Grand Hustle records while the main artist was in jail didn't help his status as he dropped a single that I loved but went in an entirely different direction in "I'll be in the Sky".

After that, B.O.B. seemed to have disappeared for quite a while until the newest single, "Nothing On You" dropped and has absolutely exploded as a precursor to his album. The album isn't perfect but it is the album Kid Cudi should have made.

The album starts off with "Don't Let me Fall" an orchestra piece of music that has many layers during the hook, then simplifies for the verses and reminds me a lot of Bombs over Baghdad by Outkast in that sense. He is also solo on "Ghosts in the Machine" which is alright but the verses just shouldn't have been sung in my opinion. Had he rapped more or at least some on the song to really drive it home it would be more cohesive as a 'rap' effort. "Fame" reminds me of a Ludacris song with simpler lyrics, and "Lovelier than You" is the song done as "Ghosts" should have been and is more well put together.

Features are in abundance, with Bruno Mars on the lead single, and B.O.B. holds his own alongside Lupe Fiasco on "Past My Shades" which is another example of the good blend in this hybrid of hip-pop-blues-r and b that B.O.B. is putting out with this album. "Bet I" the next single, with T.I. and Playboy Tre bangs to get in the D-boy whips however, it seems like a lazy song to feature Tip on. Janelle Monae, another newcomer lends her vocals to "The Kids", and Rico Barrino handles the hook on "5th Dimension" a tight composition where all the elements again work perfectly. The song that is the most controversial has to be "Magic" with Rivers Cuomo as the song the average hip-hop consumer is going to hear and have a quizzical look because of. The song is straight pop-rock in it's DNA. Another stand out is "Airplanes" which features Hayley Williams of the rock group Paramoure (one of my wife's favorite bands) and the remix which includes a seemingly refreshed Eminem.

This B.O.B. album isn't for everyone especially fans of normal Grand Hustle fare like Young LA and Dro but it has the potential to reach a vastly greater audience. Picking up seemingly off of the heels of the "Love Below" portion of the last Outkast album, B.O.B. expands upon the boundaries of what hip-hop is defined as with a variety of sounds and styles that manage to be cohesive. The D-boys aren't going to rush out and get this but the album breaks up the general monotony of hip-hop and deserves to be promoted and pushed opposite of the likes of Rick Ross, and Wayne's of the world as an alternative and view into the potential  of what the genre of music can be. That said, I would have loved for Bobby Ray to take a song or two and just put his lyrics on display without all of the pageantry around them, sort of in the vein of "Bet I" but maybe a little bit more substantial. However, I can't fault him for what he did and look forward to a long career for B.O.B.

Rating: 4/5

Should Kid Cudi get a refund?

I was talking with a friend and he asked me if Kid Cudi should ask for a refund. I was confused as hell because the comment was from left field it seemed. He then proceeded to remind me that according to Proffessor Griff (the DJ from Public Enemy) had also implicated Kid Cudi in his documentary about how the Illuminati had taken over hip-hop (because apparently they don't give a fuck about country) as well as Jay-z, Beyonce, and Kanye West. Kid Cudi's album was a terrible failure both critical and commercial so shouldn't he get a refund on selling his soul to the devil and his worshippers?

But seriously, is there a minimum of success for all of these conspiracies and where were these people when Jay was worming his way into becoming our most beloved rapper to try and stop him. Did the Evil Masons approach him when he was rich and make him get down or was he approached when he was broke and how was it able to remain a secret until now? (as a side note was Tiger Woods down and did he piss someone off to get exposed?)

The thing that gets me is that people really get with these conspiracies so easily. It's like the guy who smokes weed yet tells you not to eat meat. I'm sorry buddy but you can get high but I can't have a burger-eff you bruh. People have family members who are masons, yet don't get what they do. People don't even know what Masons are yet they automatically believe that these guys control everyone who happens to be successful but no one who is a failure...hmmmm.