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.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lyricist of the year 2010

So it's that time to really take a look at what people are saying in their rhymes for 2010. I know I'm going to get flack because these are going to be mostly mainstream types of artists but it is what it is ok. This is the one area where I feel you can excel as a rapper without actually having an album, and where I could possibly consider a mix tape for judging.

6. Rick Ross- I don't normally have a 6th entry but i have  a friend who is going to cryif he feels I fail to acknowledge Ross in some way lol. Truthfully, Ross has a flow and he can be very descriptive which I like, but his lack of variety is the one thing that kills him for me. If it ain't about money, hoes, and clothes it ain't gonna be in a Ross verse and that's what's sad.

5. Pusha T- Pretty much the same follows for Pusha though he does manage to put more responsibility in his raps and show a slightly more well-rounded picture than Ross which is what made me really take notice and enjoy the Clipse' last album. Various features and a move to get with Good music have just solidified Push's position.


4. Royce da 5'9- Slightly overlooked in Slaughterhouse, Royce has stepped up his bar game more in 2010 proving to be more aggressive in attacking the beats he is out to prove he belongs in the elite lyricist class. He has had some fairly humorous punchlines and has had a more varied delivery in the recent months.



3. Drake- I like Drake as a rapper I just wish he would do more of it. I also would love for him to be with anyone other than Cash Money. The big disappointment was that his album was too mellow, and one-dimensional so I don't know if he can truly go and get em so to speak. Getting outshined by both Jay-z and Nicki on the album in the few chances he had to really go in didn't help.

2. Joell Ortiz- J.O. is very hungry and it shows. I'm really waiting on an album to come out to see if he can hold 2/3rds of it down with a variety of topics, flows, and lyrics. To date, he has shown he can do it, but some of the freestyles over this year were slightly repetitive. However, he is still nicer than 90% of the other rappers out there.

1. Jay-Z - The king of mainstream rap knows when to show up. His few features this year have been strong and he still has momentum from last year's album going. Hell he once again took the highlights from two of the more anticipated albums of the year dropping the best verses on both Drake and Ross' lp's. Don't sleep on the old dude, the wiley veteran saves his best for the playoffs.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Runaway - the video

Now let me start by saying this young man right here, Phonte( I hope I'm spelling this right) hit it on the head in my opinion with what his opinion of the short film is. Now I talked to another person about this week and it did give me some insight from an artistic (more than myself) person's perspective but first:




So for those who have yet to see it:



Now let me say this, i am not a Kanye fan yet this shows the good things he is capable of but falls short of I guess you would say greatness by falling victim to Kanye's biggest problem his ego and the idea that because you physically can do something you think that means you have to.

Talking to my homeboy, he said as an artist why wouldn't I do it if I feel I have the means to do so and the expertise. (I'm paraphrasing here) There are several reasons, one, who tells you that you are an expert or that your vision is so 'great' in the first place? Second, which is my friend's biggest issue, how can you know when there is that fine line of overdoing it and knowing when to actually finish the project and move on. Artists have a tendency to want to continue tweaking when at some point there has to be an overall business decision to release said project. Third, being ingrained or accepted enough where you can release something with decent production value and have it accepted is not always the best thing.

Example, 808's and Heartbreaks. Kanye had an idea, and no one had the balls to tell him that it was a bad one. To this day, I am convinced that the public's follower tendencies played the biggest part in this album's success. The album sucked ass, Kanye should not be singing, and though it did have some good artistic points, its merits were outweighed by cliched concepts and freaking autotune galore. From the music in the short film, this album is setting itself to be much better the only thing that can derail it is Kanye's hubris.

The thing is, an artist needs someone to tell them when they have crossed the line of understanding. There are plenty of times when someone creates something that others will not be able to understand. That doesn't mean they shouldn't necessarily continue, but understand that not everyone shares their vision, and they cannot bitch and moan when that is indeed the result. As well, let me reiterate, just because you as an artist thinks that your vision is great, does not make it so. Sometimes its not that the people don't understand it, it can be that it sucks. Hopefully Puffy is reading because that Last Train To Paris-shakes my head and laughs- will probably go gold because people are ass kissers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

As is Hip-Hop Awards for 2010- Biggest Letdown

So for this year I was expecting some people to have some big albums and as always I was disappointed. Not as much as last year but truthfully, it's the biggest albums that failed to meet expectations. In fact the best albums of my 'calendar year' were in fact at the end of 2009. Let me just dive into it.

5. Big Boi- Sir Lucious Leftfoot the Son of Chico Dusty.

I know, it's Big Boi, you can't knock him but what did you expect is what you're thinking. Well, I was expecting more solid funk based tunes and his usual variety of street wit mixed with under rated wide-range insight. Aside from the single, nothing stands out on this album at all and that's saying something being he wasn't being judges against the ultra-artistic Andre 3 stacks. This was the big chance for Daddy Fatt Sax to really set himself up as a legitmate solo threat and unfortunately, he didn't really deliver.



4. 50 Cent- Before I self Destruct



When I reviewed this I remarked that I don't know what I was expecting from 50 but he didn't quite deliver and I still can't put my finger on it. He had some tough beats in Crime Wave, and Then The Days Went By, a hit single in Baby By Me but the album still felt a little flat. I guess it's more that 3 or four songs were true misses and 50 isn't the kind of person who can whiff on beat and concept and make up for it in lyrics, or vice versa. It wasn't a bad album or the worst by far, but it didn't live up to what it could be.


3. Drake- Thank Me Later

I don't care what you say this album is a flop. What's the second single? Why was the first single Drizzy singing and not rapping at all? Why is this album softer than Kanye's scarf? It didn't make any sense for this album to fall off 2 weeks after dropping after all of the hype that Drake had coming into the summer. With all of that momentum, you would have thought that songs from this album would still be in the top 3-5 in multiple positions. Instead I'm wondering what day Nicki's album actually comes out. This sort of proves Baby isn't really that smart or good at what he claims to do.


2. Eminem- Recovery

Em had some strong singles and some songs that were a lot better than Relapse but it still lacked the panache to really draw you in. "Not Afraid" was probably true to him but the video turned it into commercialized garbage. Even when he went back to the old eminem on some songs, it wasn't believable and was forced making it a lot less than what it could have been. Em needs to listen to the first album to get some inspiration if he plans to continue recording.


1. Ludacris- Battle of the Sexes


How Low was a hit but the entire concept of the album was that in every subject it was going to be the male and female perspective between Luda and Shawnna. However, that never came to fruition and what happened was when a label says they already spent money on a project and it was going to be released no matter what. Overall it was a huge fail, I expect big things from Luda and he let me down this time. At the very least, they should have had a female feature on every track if they were gonna screw Shawnna over.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hating is natural if you want to be the best...

I was listening to albums from the past year as I get ready to give out my 'awards' from 2010. One of the candidates, Wale, on his intro song talks about the "crabs" in the DC area. I am now going to hypothesize that if you want to be the best in your area or city and make it to a national stage, at some point, you'll probably be a hater.

The first reason is the simplest, rappers are egotistical bastards. All of them. You have to in order to be successful. It's all a game about who is the loudest, especially now. Your skills can and should help, but you have to be able to stand out, step up to challenges and generally desire to be the best in order to make it. For all of those reason I hate Kanye, it's what makes him so popular and well-known. But an ego-maniac is just that, so when someone else achieves success before them, they cannot accept it and generally will point out the other's flaws which these days is hating.

Then there is the money and opportunities afforded the first artist to break out from an area. After the intial burst, there is a lot of scrambling for positions that might not ever materialize. Look at when No Limit broke out. No one else could get into the game from N.O. for a minute until NO Limit basically handed things off to Cash Money and you don't see anyone else from that region doing anything major. Look at Atlanta, for years it was Outkast and people who sounded like them or nothing. Guys like T.I. were busy trying to make their natural sounds more amenable to the nation ear although their vision of the area was drastically different. I remember meeting some guys from St. Louis years ago at a recording conference and having them talk about how difficult it was to break out from beneath the shadow of Nelly.

No one wants to be Chingy or J-kwon...they want to be Nelly, the person who defines what the sound of the area is like. Because if you don't fit into that mold it takes forever for someone to allow you to shine as a different vision of an area/city/or region because the first impression is normally what people assume everyone in that area sounds like. Ray Cash does that sound familiar?

You see there is a lot running on this competition to be the first out of the city and even in the sub-genres. Look at the Jeezy and Gucci 'beef' from two guys who sound so similar and have the same subject matter. The third part is guys are competitive by nature and at the end of the day, the male pride can drive men to do a lot fo the things that aren't driven by the chase for women.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The world needs more Skillz



Have to watch this video and see how my man Skillz just takes the concept and rips it. This is hip-hop and lyrics for that ass.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So let's talk another stupid list

BET dropped its list of the top 10 rappers of the 21st century (like we don't know that it's only been 10 years). Once again we have a bunch of people who are kissing ass and not being critical enough of their peers. Taking away Jay-z for no apparent reason other than to not have be named number 1 at something else. Fine I can take that but when i looked at the rankings I noticed that it is skewed a lot more to what is happening right now in every one of the pollster's lists. It would be fine if it weren't all of the lists and at the end of the day, this is a farce.

Here is the B.E.T. list:
10. Rick Ross
9. Jadakiss
8. Young Jeezy
7. Drake
6. Ludacris
5. T.I.
4. 50 Cent
3. Kanye West
2. Lil' Wayne
1. Eminem

First off if you're going to have Jay-z not on the list, then how does Em make it? He definately came out in 1999 and you may think he blew up with the Marshall Mathers LP, but the first album really set him apart from the others. Secondly, Wayne at number 2? How when the first half of the decade he was considered a joke. I remember when Cash Money first came out, no one even liked Weezy. Then there is this idea that because he puts out a lot of music that he really is good. He's not.

The most disturbing fact is that Drake with one album under his belt has made the list and isn't on the bottom of it. Drake may have a huge buzz and had every feature this side of Fabolous between 2009 to 2010 but there is nowhere near enough there to call him one of the best rappers of the past 10 years.

Now I understand lyrics are a part of this as well as current trend and song ability, but when I look at a couple of the artists who were in the top 15 (as picked by the internet of all places) some notables were left out of the top ten including The Game and Nelly. Gucci Mane, Eve, and Fabolous also missed the cut. fuck that, Nelly ran the top of the decade and that has to count for something, 10 million records for Country Grammar, numbers only 50 Cent and Eminem can come close to counting, mad singles and a very very solid 3 year run, yet he doesn't make the list for a guy who was known as wheel chair jimmy until the middle of 08.

This is why people like BET suck. They are not creditable when it comes time to evaluate. There are too many hands in the pot, too many egos they want to coddle, too many sensitive rappers whose feelings they don't want to hurt.



The other problem is opening anything up to the internet. BET's demographic has to be 12-23 and it allows everything to be skewed towards ridiculousness because that's what they play and what these people like. So when you even have Gucci on the list.  The people who generally are going to take the time to go onto the website and vote are not the ones who are going to come with a critical analysis to get the best possible list, they just want the names that they know.

One of my biggest issues with hip-hop publications and channels is that they don't do enough critical analysis to let fans and burgeoning artists know what the expectations are and should be. Movie critics watch the classics to see what new films should include to be considered in relation to those already established as classic. You read why someone who has studied or been involved before you considers one work to be a success while another is not so you can understand the qualities great works all include.

My list (using only the people allowed using BET's criteria)

10. Rick Ross- Ross has shown growth in his flow and album creation though he has a lack of substance. He also made the most out of beefing with 50 Cent to gain popularity.

9. The Game- The Game used the success of Eminem and 50 Cent to be the most well-known west coast artist outside of Snoop and that counts for something. All of his albums have also been solid and he too made the most out of beefing with 50.

8. Nelly- Nelly may not be making a lot of noise now but in the beginning of the decade he has sold more records than damn near everyone and can still create a sort of anthem. His sing-song delivery also opened the door for Drake,t-Pain, and others who wanted to incorporate that sound.

7. Jeezy- Jeezy motivated the thugs and opened the door for people like Ross, Gucci, Shawty Lo and the new generation of trap-rappers. He still has a loyal following.

6. lil' Wayne- Wayne is this far down because his recent popularity is just that, recent. It would be convenient to forget that Wayne was around in the late 90's with Cash Money, back when everyone from there was a joke. Should that move him higher? No, because the Wayne people love now is a drastically different character than the one who helped launch CM in the late 90's and I don't know which is the real one.

5. T.I.- See the fact that you can have a career that nearly dies every 18 months is a testament to skill and charisma. His first album was garbage, he got hot and has stayed in and out of jail more than Gucci who is know for doing just that.

4. Ludacris- Few respect Luda because of his lack of street cred but he has had some huge hits, witty wordplay and was the first guy from Atlanta not involved with Outkast or JD to make it on his own.

3. 50 Cent- 50's units aren't moving like they used to but Get Rich or Die Trying is a classic and no one else on this list save Kanye has one of those. He is still one of the most polarizing figures in hip-hop with his statements attracting attention especially if you 'beef' with him. He may not break the artists like he used to but his buzz remains strong.

2. Kanye West- Easily the biggest asshole on the list and also the most talented. Ye turned me off years ago with his attitude and his music is love it or hate it with me but he is a strong presence in the game. He changed hip-hop from thugging to metrosexual and still makes classic beats.

1.Eminem- Point blank, he has had the greatest impact on rap music with the mainstream white audience. While he doesn't talk selling dope he has been one of the realest artists ever. Unparalleled skills and Dr. Dre backing put Marshall on top every time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

29 songs in 29 days

I told you once before head on over to www.Thepizzlereport.com and check out my man Japiro and his latest major event/project. He's put out some good music over the past fortnight and this might be my favorite so far-
Do What You Like . The beat bangs on this one and the hook is hot.


The Source Power 30 for 2010

So i was perusing the hip-hop magazines at the market, cause I refuse to pay for these ass kissing editors and writers; and this month's Source featured the power 30 issue. I generally don't have a problem with them doing this, I'd prefer if they dig into the details of this more during the year and really dig into what makes these people worthy of being the barometers of hip-hop success.



This became an issue for me because as I looked at the top 10 and I see 4 or 5 entities that are closely related to one another and I am left to wonder who really is making the big money decisions and who should get credit. For instance, number one this year is Jay-Z. Not a big stretch of the imagination to have him there he is the top rapper, biggest name and most marketable commodity. However, Im 100% certain that some of his accolades come from having Kanye West in his camp, that's also fine if he is making major decisions in Kanye's career.

However, also in the top ten are Kanye West himself and his managers, "Hip Hop Since 78", made up of Gee Roberson, Kyambo 'Hip-Hop' Joshua, and Al Branch. They also manage Lil Wayne and Drake apparently. Hoaving that much power should get them on the list, however, if they are in the top 10 off of those names, then how did Baby and Slim of Cash Money make it into the top 3 and Wayne and Mack Maine of Young Money make the top 6 as well?



I'm not going to say that none of these guys are involved but there is no way everyone can get credit for the same thing. Give Kanye credit for being Kanye, making beats and generally keeping his name in the news while running amuck and for getting GOOD music off to a good start. But you have to take some of that away from his management. If you're gonna give Wayne credit then Baby and Slim can't get credit for making the same decision that Wayne and his management have made you understand? There can only be one boss, and some partnerships you have to have multiple signatures but at the end of the day you make one phone call to get shit done. In congress you go to Nancy Pelosi to get people on board and she has the weight.



Then looking at Cash Money- who the hell is even on that label? How do they get credit for Mack Maine's work with Young Money if their only artists are Wayne and Baby but Wayne is also the lead on Young Money. It just doesn't make sense. That's why I need to see some criteria. It seems like once again the hip-hop media is playing to the emotions of tough guy artists and business men.

I'm sure some of the rankings are accurate but I really need to see a documentation of what some of these guys are doing to believe they really are powerful. Other questions I had were about Snoop being in the top 20 when he hasn't broken another artist ever, isn't acting much and isn't a business presence as much as some of the others. Soulja boy at 22 could be accurate but he's an idiot like Baby just lucky. Check out the power 30 and let me know what you think of the list.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So T.I. is going back to the bing again...

Big surprise considering his recent legal troubles right? Anyway this possible publicity stunt did nothing to reduce the time he received from the judge. It's funny because he has long been one of my favorite artists but when is enough enough? This sense of entitlement by artists and athletes is sickening me now.



The annoying part is he jacks Chris Breezy for this new "don't judge me" track. Listening to the end where he is talking it shows how out of touch he is with himself. "To all you who thought I was perfect I'm not". No shit fucktard. You just got out of jail like 4 months ago. We are all pretty sure you aren't perfect it's the third time you been sentenced since you became popular. Don't try to look at the fans and people who have gotten to the point they call you an idiot after you fuck up yet again. You don't have to be perfect but you can try to at least act like you reasonably intelligent and not do dumb shit right after you screw up. That isn't asking much Clifford.


All this talk of haters passing judgement, get over yourself homeboy. I can say whatever I wish of you at this point whether or not I make mistakes because dammit thats just how the world works. Opinions can be had regardless of what I do or mistakes I have made. People don't want you to tell them they're stupid so they can try to act like it never happened. It hurts their feelings to have to deal with the way they get looked at, oh well. It's called consequences and repercussions. Clifford let me say this to you and everyone else right now, deal with the shit, that's life no one is going to keep feeling sympathy for you when you're not going to grow up and behave like a man and accept that you're a fuck up. Don't try to turn it around and try to make me feel bad for being tired. You have had more chances than any normal person.








Friday, October 8, 2010

Something new for me...

As I stated before I do want to promote new music on my blog whenever possible. So my man Japiro is going in for the next 20 something odd days up until his B-day on November 4th(yeah i figured that out). So I'm going to give you the link to his blog www.thepizzlereport.com and I want you to make sure you check back every day for what new verses he is dropping.


For the first two days he has attacked the "The Dougie" and "No Hands" so be sure to go to his blog, drop a comment or leave it here and come back for more. Baltimore is in the building.