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.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nas is back

Right now I want to talk about the enigma of hip-hop Nas. Well the original enigman, because while he has many many fans, there are those of us who feel as though he is very uneven and erratic as an artist. This is a guy who could easily have been the best but a couple of missteps have made him more of a top five of all time, yet he is still a huge question mark. About 2 years ago he made some steps at getting back to the height he was in the late 90's with his duo album with Damien Marley, however, as is his custom he still had questionable moments on the album where you kind of weren't sold on whether or not he was back.


In preparation for his new album, Nas, who has yet to drop a mix tape as just about everyone else has done, first released The Don which is a good song. It's a throwback to the good Nas of old that once challenged Jay-z for rap supremacy, however, I am more impressed with the most recent song to drop from Nasty  "Daughters".



On this track, Nas talks about seeing his daughter grow up and enter her teenage years, doing things that he has seen guys of his ilk do to young girls such as getting them to write to them in prison. He tackles a tough discussion on how to reconcile his public image and persona with the reality that he doesn't want the same for his baby girl. He also hints at the new troubles from social networks and such that come with being the child of a celebrity which magnifies the crazy things that you try to teach them to avoid.



Let me tell you some of why I love this song. One, it is where rap music needs to be right now, a growing up stage where the grown men start to realize things that they have done come back to affect them. It's also a message for young guys who are just having kids about things they portray now and how it will come back in the future for them to deal with.The other thing I like is very nuanced, on the hook he makes mention that he's 'not saying that our sons are not important' which is a great way to say he is talking about a daughter because he has one, but at the same time, take this time to talk to your sons as well. This is responsible rap music and while I may feel like this seems a bit late overall, it's timely for Nas just as it was timely for Jay-z's open letter to his daughter just after her birth.




Now he may not have said it in the most eloquent manner, but this is a song and purpose that should hit home for more artists (I'm looking at you Snoop, Puff) who have older children who are starting to step out on their own independent of their parents. Whether you as an artist think you did enough and can't understand your kid, or if you think you didn't do right, we the public need to hear about it. This is the stuff we really relate to no matter how much we say we feel Ross talking about flying in g5's and flipping coke. This represents way more of our lives. Now if only we can get their female role models like Nicki Minaj to promote more positive and productive images and we can get rid of some of the bickering Bad Girls Club stuff that girls are thinking is legitimate we would really be going somewhere. So what do you think about Nas' new single "Daughters"?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Local Flavor - Baltimore

So Baltimore isn't much known for it's rappers unfortunately, unless you count the short lived success of B. Rich and the even shorter shot at the mainstream for Bossman, but there are some decent rappers, some of which I have covered before like Japiro and Skarr Akbarr. More well-known at least for those who pay attention to Sean Puff Daddy' Comb's signings is Los.  Now I'm not a Los fan but this song, featuring his boo Lola Monroe (who i mentioned before ight want to go back to posing and put the mic down) actually rocks pretty much. So i will give the dude credit where it is due so check out "King Los"



Speaking of Japiro, he recently put together a new video for his single "I Hustle" which reminds me of an old school AZ video from Rap City only in higher quality.




I also recently listened to Syncere aka Homicide (click to request on twitter and get his mixtape) who is just releasing 21225, a mixtape he has been working on for a while. It's a decent listen but it does take a while to build up and get going, older tracks like "Ice Cream paint Job", and his freestyle over "Gucci, Gucci" don't really work as well because they aren't classic tracks and he doesn't absolutely murder the beats. However, "The Curse" which is a freestyle over the 'Mafia Music' track is well above average and shows SynCere's best type of track and tempo to rap to. "Ray Rice" is more of what's hot today in hip-hop trendiness where someone just uses a celebrity and some superficial aspect of their life to represent what they're trying to get across on the hook. The beat will knock your trunk though if thats what you're looking for.



"Fast Lane" would be the single since it has a video and features local mainstays Test Me and Nick Rich who don't do anything outstanding or negative. I can't say the same about 10 Hunnit who cleans up the track. "Bill Cartwright" with Tec Diamonds and NC-17 is what the mixtape should have had more of when talking about freestyle type material. All three rappers deliver good verses though 17's deliver is an acquired taste. "MOB" also rocks and Syncere does his thing over the Niggas in Paris track on "Niggas in East Baltimore". "Chasing Paper" is a bit different from the rest of the material as Syn goes more the 2Chainz route with his verse on normal subject matter but it will fit right in with radio songs today, with a little bit of work on the hook it would be a certified radio single.  "Forever Freestyle" should have been an original song because I think it would have been a better impact for what he's saying.

Overall, there are some decent cuts on the mixtape and it picked up for me after "Ray Rice". I felt like there were probably five more tracks than were needed especially some of the older tracks. Todays mixtapes have to be more original material but for a first time to be putting out a project it is solid. I would suggest that he focus on getting more of his own material and eliminate some of the features which take away from the product at hand. Syncere isn't a bad rapper and has a lot more polish than another rapper I showcased named Rock Solid and more potential as well. However he has to bear down and be focused on staying true to the things that he does well and not jump around to try and please everyone.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What's Happening...Iggy, Slaughterhouse, what I'm feeling.

So I profiled Iggy early on and got a lot of hits as she was obviously blowing up. Following her freshmen 10 cover I think she might be the breakout this year, not only is she white...she can rap a lil bit, but she signed a new deal with Grand Hustle and everyone's favorite felon since DMX fell off, T.I. She has a street single out now called Murda Bizness- check it out:



Now I watched a video of them performing this live at some hole in the wall in Atlanta and your boy Clifford gets so pumped when he's on stage. He's like the new Busta Rhymes when it comes to energy. This seems like a good move for TI to move the label forward although I'm going to need him to make something decent, get B.O.B. back on track and help Young Dro put the damn auto tune down so he can get back to doing what he does.


Now my favorite song at the moment is the new single from Slaghterhouse, "Hammer Dance". This beat is mean and they manage to make a song that can play in the clubs, keep their verses gutter and make you look forward to more. Hell a remix where Royce actually drops a verse and maybe an Em appearance or Yelawolf  has to be sitting on the shelf for when the release date gets closer.






Speaking of remixes, this "Shot Caller" remix from French Montana is fire, but mainly because of the way it is produced with the beat switches so shouts out to the guy who produced it. Unfortunately Red Cafe and Uncle Murda are on it, and I'll even give Fat Joe a pass cause he is way better than those two.

Catch it here: (Courtesy of 2Dopeboyz.com)

Shot_Caller_NYcMIX_1.mp3

Monday, April 2, 2012

Diggy Dissing?

Now this popped off yesterday on April 1st, so of course plenty of people had to think that it was a joke being played upon us. Diggy had a diss record 'leaked'  about the young berg of the south...J. Cole. It's funny  cause he's just corny like Young B only maybe a little more corny. So while getting to the bottom of it, it came to my attention that a song everyone seemed to be loving by Cole called Purple Rain was the reason for the track to be made in the first place. I'd say skip to verse two if you're unfamiliar so you don't fall asleep.




Doggy says his diss was created a while ago and he was at the movies when it leaked- yet for some reason after only 20 thousand sold in the first week, I have to think this was a calculated move.



So today there was an interview with the better rapping of all the Simmons' and he handles the controversy like a pro.



One thing I must say is Diggy knew this was going to pop off he is too prepared and polished with his response to it. Secondly, his verse (also the second) actually has some heat to it when you get past the fact that it is Diggy. I mean the shots about Cole not being popular at school so thus pushing to invalidate the entire premise of Purple Rain wasn't a bad idea at all. However, he says his sister came to him preemptively to say that he was going to hear some things that were untrue about her from J.Cole I have to call bullshit on that one. No reason for her to do that if something isn't true- now is Cole exaggerating - probably- he probably never got head from her in church but maybe she told him that she had done it before.

Either way, J.Cole needs to take advantage of the situation as well because the last time I looked, his career wasn't anything to write home about. He didn't move many units and no one really cares about him except for his hard core stans who are just as confusing to me as those who love Waka Flaka Flame. I don't get the thing with this kid but at the very least they could provide us with some entertainment since Drake failed to deliver anything against Common and no good albums are even on the horizon.