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Monday, June 25, 2012

Tupac Back, Tupac Back

You may say I'm late on this entire Pac at Coachella thing since that was oh solong ago, but in a way I'm not. Let me explain and lets see if you can follow through on my thinking. See probably last year or the year before some time, I reminisced on the fact there aren't many great performers anymore. I mean Busta used to be the shit when he had his hair, was ten years younger and 40 pounds lighter and could bounce around on stage. Kanye still does great things on stage but thats because he's such an asshole which is cool since it will justify paying 150 bucks for a ticket if everything is all white and covered in eagle feathers. Outkast I still would pay to see and probably Common at this point but the list pretty much stops there.

The thing I took from this is that pac is such a compelling person and talent that a hologram of him would create such an uproar it would embed itself into the hip-hop consciousness and have people buzzing about an actual tour featuring said hologram. I know it's not like its a reality or even a strong rumor at this point but you have to think and wonder how long it is before he (and Michael Jackson) are brought back to the masses using modern technology. Now we all know that people my age would love to get to relive the moments with Tupac but would the younger generation be receptive? I think it would and here is why..

There is no one who is anywhere near as compelling interesting or with as good of a stage presence as Pac had back in the day. While he wasn't a dancer or more than a guy who jumped around on stage and had massive videos he was still better than 90% of what you get today. Drake should be taking the Kanye route because his music isn't personal enough for it to work with him just standing on a stage looking fresh out of the marshall's ad. Wayne hops around and has the hair but all the performance footage I've seen is just a bunch of everything going on and no direction. Not only did Pac make better music after he died than most people but he's a better performer? That's just crazy.

Writing this makes me lament the days of the big tours. I don't think anyone will ever put up that huge spectacle again except for Ye and maybe Nicki Minaj. Most artists don't have enough compelling music to create an elaborate stage show, nor do they care. They only look at live performances at ways to get money no matter what they say publicly. Just look at how they behave at award shows. After Pink or Usher performs you know you're going to go see them because they have given you a great sample of what they do. Wayne and Ross, not so much. Guys standing around, posing and reciting with nothing special in the performance is not the way to go. Even worse, dudes who won't edit themselves live or who have the entire song playing and being totally louder than their mics are. I can't get with that even if XXL wants to say that Wayne is the best performer in a live show.

I never got to see the Up and Smoke tour or the Hard Knock Life tour and I don't think I'll ever get something like that. All of the artists I grew up on are either still trying to hang on and perform new stuff and not just do a respectable performance of the classics. Could be a good idea and I'd love to see it cause the new artists don't do it for me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Album Review- Maybach Music Group - Self Made Vol. 2

Rick Ross is one of the hottest artists in the game now and of course when you're on top you have to establish your own label and last year, Ross officially did that last year with Self- Made Volume 1. On it he officially introduced Meek Mill, added Wale into the fold and also featured Miami artist Pill as well. A new year and some slight changes have been made, Meek has an album coming up and huge buzz, Gone is Pill whom you can say has been replaced by Stalley and his super beard, and also a welcome comes to Omarion in an unlikely pairing. Simple to say there is a bit riding on this for some of these guys to see if they deserve the new spotlight.

Ross' voice is the first thing heard after the trademark 'Maybach Music' lady on "Power Circle". The track has a toned down Ross style beat that is designed for the artists to get their shine on. While he isn't officially a member of MMG, Gunplay aka Don Logan gets the first verse and he is slightly subdued. Stalley drops a very strong verse especially for those who are unitiated in his style, Meek Mill holds the song down as the clean up artist but Wale's verse is the strongest as he comes into the album with a lot to prove. Kendrick Lamarr ends the track with his unique style. "Black Magic" a Meek Mill solo track features the standard Ross hook and backdrop. "This Thing of Ours" is a mafioso wanna be song that features Rozay himself and Nas. Wale also handles a verse and Omarion sings the cliched chorus.  French Montana is a guest on "All birds" which is a mostly Ross song, and Frenchie is ok on there. He also features alongside Wale and Meek on "Actin Up" about women getting too big for their britches.

"I Be Puttin On" has the required southern album Roscoe Dash hook and includes Wale, French, and Wiz Khalifa. This song could have been just tossed onto a mix tape somewhere or just deleted altogether. Omarion has his 'song' with "M.I.A." and Wale shows up again to offer assistance. Stalley is the main MMG artist on "Fountain of Youth" but Ross opens it up and it closes with an appearance by Nipsey Hussle. The verses from Stalley and Nipssey are solid but the hook is lazy and awkward even for a 'rap hook'. Stalley and Wale continue their verbal assault on "The Zenith" and Ross gives his best verse of the album on the song and even that's pretty average. By now, everyone has heard the lead single "Bag of Money" and Ross opens it with the phrase "money over everything" which I hate to my core. The song is redeemed slightly by my boy T-Pain.

Gunplay pops up again on "Black on Black" with support from Bun B and Ace Hood. There also was a video for "Let's Talk" with Omarion and Rick Ross which has a mean track and use of a Biggie sample. This would have been better with Trey Songz but Ross found a way to keep the money in house. "Flourescent Ink" is a track designed for the soulful styles of Wale and Stalley. Wale throws MMG into too many verses now, we believe you, you're signed to them we get it. The album ends with "Bury me a G" which features T.I. and Rick Ross and Tip does his normal flow thing and outshines Ross who is doing his best Gunplay impression and fails at it.

Albums like this are inherently uneven as they often force some combinations together in an effort to manufacture cohesion. This compilation manages to avoid most of those pitfalls but thats mostly because it's a Wale album featuring everyone else. His album sales were lackluster but Wale is only challenged by Stalley creatively within this collective. Meek Millz has plenty of energy but he could have been on a couple of tracks instead of Ross who tries excessively hard to keep selling this image of a gangster type kingpin. It goes overboard and takes away from his talented proteges who truly can shine on their own. It's not a bad album but it also isn't completely memorable. It's too many verses I wish to skip around to pretty much get to the Wale or Stalley parts. The other thing is Wale has to focus on keeping to his point and not try to make himself be more like Ross or Meek and for god's sake stop dropping the MMG letters in every song.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Come Nicki Minaj's Starships isn't hip-hop?

So I was thinking about this after the whole Hot 97 thing. Why is it that Nicki Minaj feels the heat for doing so much pop and crossover music from some members of the hip-hop community? This little concept further intensified while I was watching some video from the musical duo 'Karmin' who crossed over for doing covers and especially for their rendition of Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" and the lead singer's ability to rap along to all of the songs verses especially the Busta Rhymes one.

Some people hate on these two because they think they are profiting but that's what everyone is doing now right? Getting in on the trend, it's not really their fault it was crazy because she didn't look like she would be able to do this song in that manner and they have parlayed that into their own record deal. Here's the thing, since they have signed, pretty much all of their songs involve Amy rapping in some way. Just check out their lead single "Brokenhearted".

Now Nicki Minaj we know has crossed over from just hip-hop to the pop realm, but I would say the biggest problem is that "Starships" just isn't that great of a song and doesn't stand out amongst even that genre, while "Broken Hearted" has a more natural feel and doesn't seem as processed. Does Nicki have pop songs that can pass more naturally? Yes she does, but unfortunately her lead single sounded like something that missed the cut on Katy Perry's album.

The other problem for Nicki is that we know she can spit. She started out in the public eye spitting. Go back to the smack dvd's and the warning video when she was straight New York rap. The heir to the Foxy Brown/Lil kim throne. She took that credibility, went down South, switched up some things, some of which are better, some are worse, but she made herself even more outstanding by being different with her cadence and look. The thing is, we expect more of her when she is putting a rap verse into a song. We want at the very least that reason I listened through the entire "By My Side" to be the tightest possible and validate it. The cop outs are not acceptable on that front, because we know she gets the culture and the history. She isn't allowed to pretend she hasn't spent those years we know she has reciting Biggie lyrics in her bedroom.

The thing I personally don't like about Nicki and Chris Brown is that they sort of have an attitude that when someone questions them specifically about hip-hop, or questions their capability in the genre, they get irritated but they haven't really proven anything. If Jay-z suddenly wanted to do a singing album because he had accomplished everything he could do in hip-hop, it would make sense if only for that reason. You can't question his rap credibility. If LL decides he wants to do a house album, you'd say ok. Hell, Wayne did a wack ass rock album but at least he's been around 12 years, he can dabble in other genres. Kanye did a lame auto tune album but he can do that, he makes certified classics no matter how much I don't like his attitude. You're just getting into the game for the most part getting recognition, you aren't a legend yet. It sort of like a guy going into the NBA writing a hall of fame speech, talking trash and he hasn't won a title yet.

I consider that line jumping, or putting the cart before the horse. However you phrase it, you have to get to the peak of the mountain or top of your field and craft before you start focusing your energy elsewhere. If you do want to do other things, don't be mad when people question your dedication. I have no problem with Nicki deciding that she wants to do an album that is mostly pop, but the standard for her, beginning more as a hip-hop artist is that her people, those of us who still listen to and like rap and rappers need to hear those vicious bars we know she is capable of. Besides, she doesn't need to sell out completely just yet, they are taking her style and applying it to Amy of Karmin anyway.

Quickly, why don't I hold Karmin to the same standard as Nicki? Because they sort of stumbled onto this during their covers and the label figured out how to capitalize. They pretty much watered down the Nicki rap cadence and expressions and applied them to Amy like it was photoshop. but we all know this isn't really 'her' in that sense where she came in trying to be a rapper, She and her fiance are musicians who went to school for arts, and while this isn't saying Nicki isn't an artist per se, this duo was coming in to sing some upbeat music. Has the label influenced Nicki, sure has, but we know she can rap and that in the end is going to be the big difference. Just like B.O.B. puts some work behind his rap bars in his similar songs, and Andre 3000, they put so much effort into their verses to remind you at no point have they lost it. At the end of the day it seems, everyone who is multi-talented and who raps and sings, is going to end up constantly having to prove to the public (in hip-hop) that they still have their incredible rap skills. Can you blame us for not getting enough of good rappers when we're inundated with Waka flakas?

 Couldn't Help Myself

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Album Review- Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music

Killer Mike is one of those slept on artists who manages to have street sensibility with somewhat conscious lyrics. He has struggled to go beyond the underground however, but his most recent affiliation with T.I.'s Grand Hustle imprint looks to improve upon his success. He dropped an album last year and 2012 brings us a new EP from the man who once changed his name to Mike Bigga in an attempt to become more mainstream.

The EP starts off with "Big Beast" with Bun B and T.I. who also handles the hook. The sing is pretty much about how trill or real they all are individually. The beat is cool and the verses have some decent energy. "Go" is alright but Mike seems to just ramble on with no purpose in one long verse. on "Untitled" Mike once again goes over some of his feelings about religious institutions and the government. It's fine but doesn't add any new depth to his previous statements which have been better. On "Southern Fried" he relives some southern stereotypes such as being fresh and clean in a slab and smoking etc.

"JoJo's Chillin" is a unique story-telling track over a break beat about a dude named JoJo escaping from Atlanta to New York. "Reagan" is a much better example of Mikes ability to be street savvy and political as he chastises rappers for not focusing on the issues we need o while instead glorifiying the street life before then going into the policies of the former president. "Don't Die" is another story this time from the first person perspective of Mike and his escape from dirty cops. "Ghetto Gospel" balances the idea of the classic church prayer with verses that are about actual actions.

El-P is a featured guest on "Butane (Champions Anthem)" where they two put out some general verses about their illness and the respect they get from the underground. "Anywhere But Here" is pretty much summing up how life isn't fair. (I think to be honest it's a cool song but what its saying to me as a theme isn't readily evident to me.) Mike talks to the male role models on "Willie Burke Sherwood". The title track "R.A.P. Music" is about how hip-hop is so much to Mike and those who appreciate his music.

Killer Mike is a good rapper but this set of songs is a little bit too long. While he has several songs that have a real purpose and a couple with tracks that carry them, overall it's more of the same from Mike without any of the support he should be bringing to his positions by now. I'm aware he doesn't trust police and on Don't Die he addresses it creatively but on other tracks he brings it back up plainly and it begins to sound like a broken record. I'd like to have seen more direction from this set of songs but they seem to run together.

Rating: 2.5/5

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wayne creates excuses for Nicki

Get More: Lil Wayne, Music News

So If you watch the above clip you will see Lil' Wayne give his reasoning behind why he pulled Nicki Minaj from Hot 97's summer jam. Now he could have some business reason thats not utter pansy assness but he doesn't but at least he was able to calmly speak on the situation. However, with that said, his reason is bullshit for a couple of reasons.

Number one, Nicki Minaj is an artist. An artist puts their work out for the public consumption and as such there is going to be commentary on it at some point. Not all of that comment is going to be what the artist likes or wants to hear because others are allowed an opinion of said works. For Nicki to say she was disrespected so much and call Wayne who decides if she feels some sort of way she doesn't have to perform. This sets a bad precedent whereas if at any point she is not accepting of the opinion that another has of her work, she no longer has to face the music about it. This type of thing leads to the hip-hop climate we are in now where members of the media feel beholden to artists and no longer question or push them and they feel free to 'yolo' with no consequence.

The second thing is how dare this dude right here talk about he feels like you should have the utmost respect for women and never disrespect them. Have you heard his lyrics? When does he ever respect or hold women in the highest regard? His actions need to be the same as his words. I don't care if he pulls out shairs on dates if he promotes the images he doesn't care about women and is on a mission to "fuck every girl in the world". See my memory isn't that short and I hear him in every song talking about someone's girlfriend giving him head and swallowing. Or leaving after he has banged them in a bathroom stall or something. How often does he just talk about having sex and not having any depth to his male female relationships. But it's ok because he disrespects them in songs and in a sexual nature and not a professional one.

Album Review- Waka Flocka Flame- Triple F Life: Friends, Family, and Fans

So I'm not a fan of Waka Flocka, cause he can't rap and just exacerbates every thing wrong in hip-hop, talking about killing with no remorse, getting people amped up and not having any lyrics. He is all about getting people rowdy and there is a market for this type of noise. So I'm giving this a try because at least he can admit he isn't nice and sort of knows his place in the game.

The first real track is "Let them Guns Blam" which features Meek Mill and is going to set you up for the feel of this album. The beat will bang in every club and trap boy whip across the country while inciting people to act recklessly as they are encouraged to be rowdy and someone is going to get murked due to this song. Waka tells you to throw up your sets and lets you know what is going to happen in the hood. "Round of Applause" is the official stripper anthem and we've all heard he and Drake if you have been within the vicinity of one within the past year. The new single features Trey Songz and is called "I Don't Really Care" and is probably banging in clubs every weekend. Flaka keeps the song energized with is over dubs and ultra-easy to follow lyrics. The latest video is "Rooster in my Rari" which I'm thinking is about some chick in his whip but I wish someone would have told him that a rooster is a male chicken.

Flocka aims for the spring break crowd with "Get Low" with Nicki Minaj, Tyga, and Flo Rida. The beat is painfully obvious with its synths and it's even mixed lower in the vocal department to tone down Waka's loudness. B.O.B. is a guest on "Fist Pump" which has a similar awkward feel as they try to expand Waka's appeal and it doesn't quite fit. "Candy Paint and Gold Teeth" features Bun B and Ludacris. Waka again is forced to try and restrain himself and it takes away his appeal. He gets back to his thing on "Cash" with Wooh da Kid but this is bad even for Waka. Everything crashes together especially after being so subdued on the songs just prior. Plies comes from out of nowhere on "Lurkin" and does his best thing and since he can rap better than Waka he shines on the song more than the original artist.

Arare solo song is "Clap" as Flocka talks about how he gets money and the hook is laughable but it's so bad people are gonna love it. On "Power of my Pen" Flocka talks about how he can make it with his rapping and his influence with his rap career. Travis Porter, the deceased Slim Dunkin, and D-bo all feature on "Flexin" where they talk about flexin or stunting and aim for the strip club crowd again. In a huge system this will do the job but it seems extra sparse. On the outro Flocka does his best to be introspective and it isn't bad for Waka but by this time the album is just tiring. So much energy is expended early this song feels like you're resigned to it.

I won't be a friend of Flocka and I don't think he is meant to be taken in large doses like in an album because it's so tiring listening to much of the song. You have to get your adrenaline up so high to get into this it's impossible to keep up throughout. Then there are the songs where they aim to extend the shelf life for Flocka and they sound more like they belong to the feature artists than him. It's forcing a square peg into a round hole and it takes away the little appeal he does have. When it comes down to it Waka is much like Plies someone who has to get it now because pretty soon there will be someone else with the energy that replaces him. But hey at least his album is better than Kid Cudi.

Rating : 2/5

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Album Review- Big K.R.I.T.- Live From the Underground

I am behind slightly on the album reviews but I'm trying to really get into these joints when they do actually drop. Today's review is from Big Krit who has been getting a strong buzz over the past few years as a Southern artist who isn't just drug dealing and pimping, he's more of a newer David Banner. He has street smarts yet can be more than just another hood rapper.

The intro is more of a song reminiscent of an 8ball and MJG album where Krit talks over a southern style classic beat in a poetic manner. He uses the titles of his popular mixtapes as lines and it leads into the title track, "Live From the Underground" which has a soulful vibe as Krit does a straightforward rap that isn't much about anything but shows what his ability can be lyrically. "Cool 2 be Southern" is more of a cohesive song as he talks about how be southern is now popular and why it is that way. The single is the infectious "I Got This" which reminds me so much of an old joint from Memphis.

Ludacris is the guest artist on "What U Mean" where he brags to a chick out at the club and tries to figure out why she is out with him if she says she isn't nasty and going to let him hit. The song is okay, Luda's verse is better but nothing new there. "My Sub Pt 2:The Jacking" is about Krit getting some dudes chick who then turns around and sets him up in the end as he sits outside her place. The beat is full of bass and after the jacking there is an interlude of sorts. Anthony Hamilton handles the hook on "Porchlight" where Krit is telling his lady to leave the light on while he's out doing what he has to do. "Pull Up" is that classic southern style rap as Krit and feature artists Big Sant and Bun B talk about the reaction when they pull up is. Devin the Dude is the guest on "Hydroplaning" as they rap about tipping - drinking that lean and getting high.

The album also features "Money on the Floor" with 8ball and MJG and 2Chainz. This is some classic Memphis shit right here, and while it isn't heavy on content if this is your style you have nothing to complain about with this one. Melanie Fiona is yet another guest on "If I Fall" which is a solid little song about KRIT explaining his issues and the hook is the question of will you be there to help me. "Praying Man" features the actual BB King, in person not through a sample. It's another solid song. I especially like "Rich Dad Poor Dad" where Krit talks about lessons his father taught him even though he may have not been wealthy in money. Only problem is this song is way too short. "Yeah Dats Me" I could do without as a general song but it does provide some more upbeat balance to the album. "Don't Let Me Down" is another of the more introspective songs on the album. (please be aware the following video is NSFW)

Krit is alright to me but I have a problem feeling he is as good as a lot of people put him out there to be. He has the feeling down pat on this album and it sounds more like a Tennessee album than a Mississippi album with the sort of dark feel to it. However I feel like some of his verses could reach a little deeper to be more detailed and really draw you in and take advantage of that feeling the beats give you. The one song I feel really does that is Rich Dad Poor Dad and I'm left wanting more. Overall its a good album you can just cruise and listen to and hear a little more than how to start trapping and bang chicks.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How do we really see women?

I'm starting to think a lot of guys either really don't respect women or don't care who they are at all. Look I understand that often times music is oversimplified but it's getting ridiculous to the point where every song that is meant for the radio that is designed to appeal to women is only about them as relation to money and how much you can give them or if they're worth a certain dollar amount.

Maybe this has something to do with the current fascination with strippers and strip club women and a lot of repressed issues we have within the black community about money and what the definition of being a provider actually is. I'll try to get in depth about as much as possible but it is more than partially annoying to see the main females promoted in the urban or hip-hop world are overly obsessed with labels such as Jimmy Choo, back in the late '90's Burberry, Louie Vuitton, or the now ubiquitous "Red Bottom" or Christian Louboton or however that damn thing is spelled. Between that and the current deification of strippers, we might have an image problem. Now I'm not going to say stripping is inherently bad (hell i don't know a guy who doesn't enjoy an occasional trip, okay maybe one but that's it) or that desiring nice things is negative (who doesn't want some luxury in their lives), but the obsession with these things is what the problem is and hip-hop has a huge problem with showing depth beyond that. Too much of our music is doing nothing but pushing this same imagery out at us.

For instance, take the Maybach Music Group's single from the upcoming Self-Made Volume 2 , "Bag of Money".

Besides the fact Ross is saying his "Bitch" he is talking about her looking like a bag of money as if that is the only thing in the world. Like a bag of money is the ultimate accomplishment. This shows how our culture has become ultimately completely twisted to the pursuit of the almighty dollar.  So confused are we is that it becomes the ultimate measure of a woman, but not her personality, just her looks because that is what matters the most, being able to show off a trophy to your friends. Now let's also ask, what does he mean by a bag of money? is he talking about a liquor store or crown royal bag full of change? A scrooge Mcduck money sack? Dollar bills falling out? Why are we so obsessed with money and the pursuit of it in and of itself. Then in support of this Warner and MMG are giving dancers at three Atlanta clubs a chance to win 500 dollars each.Why aren't they giving this to students going to school, or someone struggling at a dead end job?

The other issue I have is with the idea that all you have to do for a woman is take her shopping and throw a lavish amount of money her way. I probably talked about this months ago, but it's important to go over again. For a young lady, she should do more than just be attractive on your arm to be showered with gifts. A man should be desiring a woman who is supportive, helpful, attractive to him, and do the other subtle things that make successful relationships workable. Then you get a guy like Drake crooning about not finding love in the strip club. You're damn right, they're there for the money not to be a friend with you. Women need more than money, they need attention, support, and time as well. If you think you're going to just send her shopping in Paris and have her be happy you're going to find yourself alone, but then again if you listen to rap these days, women are just like the latest accessory, when you're done with them you can just get a new one to keep it fresh. That may be how men want to feel because they feel a need to reestablish some kind of control and dominance they may feel professionally is lacking, but it isn't a healthy view. There needs to be a back and forth, give and take and to push the idea that relationships between sexes are limited to sex and gifts is a negative development.

Right now all music is lacking in subtlety and variety, but hip-hop is especially having a real problem right now. There is only one major female rapper and thus you only get one perspective, and while there are plenty of male artists, there isn't any depth. If they're not telling someone how "they're going to take their bitch", "send her back", they're just going to go buy Red bottoms and take her shopping and that's it. Is that really where we need to be? Look, Nas just dropped a song about his daughter and his influence and how seeing her grow up suddenly hit him. You would think he could talk to some of these guys or they would have realized this since many have their own children and totally provide a stronger example of what a man should do, other than be able to buy them things.

In the end, I can only hope we can get more positive music that is empowering for the next Michele Obama and not just the next wanna be Buffy the Body or Cubana Lust. Maybe these male artists don't think women are smart enough to want something more or understand anything deeper within their music. If that's the case they are surely mistaken. And for the women, I must leave you with a quote from my man Jermaine Butler which seemed to perfectly fit this theme:

Random thought: How can someone find a "Good Man" when they aspire to be a "Bad B**ch"? A person whom I respect immensely says, "Make yourself the 'Product of Choice'," Well, ask yourself who wants a "Bad B**ch" & I doubt you'll answer it with, "A Good Man."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Album (EP?) Review - ASAP Rockie - Goldie

So ASAP Rockie is one of the hottest new artists on the scene right now and has been getting a buzz for well over a year. Coming on the heels of a successful year with a mix tape or two, he drops an EP that is built more like an album around the single 'Goldie'.

"Goldie" the title track has a solid beat with a heavy throwback Miami style bass line and a screwed hook. The song is the typical 'swag rap' (I hate that term but it best describes this) many of today's artists focus on where it's about getting money, copping fresh gear and women. Lloyd Banks features on "Make it Stack" but it's more of his song than Rocky's and he is kind of grating to listen to now since his voice is different and he doesn't have as good of lyrics as he used to. General, this is a get money and live lavish track. ASAP's verse over the beat works pretty well though. "Leaf" is the first song with an attempt at content as ASAP talks about what he's tired of to start the song however, it quickly gets tired and deteriorates into nothingness.

"Demon Child" featuring Cinos is an attempt to justify and explain the street life. Smoke DZA  starts things with the fast delivery on "4 Loko" which is an outdated reference at this time. The pre-chorus by Rocky is unoriginal as well. "CEO" has more energy than a lot of the previous songs and uses a Ludacris sample as the hook, though the second part of it should have probably been left off. However, it's too short comparatively. The "Purple Swag" remix is chopped and screwed so I can't get with it so Paul Wall, Bun B, and Killa Kyleon can get a pass on that one. Unfortunately Swizz is allowed to do slightly more than a hook on "Street Knock". Who keeps letting him near the mic? The track sounds like something Drag-on was supposed to get, but ASAP gets in on it and does it some justice. I also think "Big Spender" is a good joint, though it isn't about anything, Rocky shows some energy while talking about Purple Lean and the track is well put together with a sample from Theophilus London.

The track for "Palace" is dark and it makes you feel like you're in exactly that. On the track ASAP talks about his southern influences but thats the extent of the depth on the song though he switches it up with a couple of Bone-esque bars. "We Are God" is the yang of Demon Child's ying because it carries the same theme over but the verses seem to try to hard and still remain sounding like generic statements that are still somehow empty. I was also very disappointed by "Yao Ming" with Chris Brown and David Banner - Breezy should be banned from his arrogant raps and David Banner never lived up to his potential but has the best verse on this. The beat bangs though. The album features two 'freestyles' which might as well have not made this 'official' release and the EP ends with "Out of This World" where he speaks on his haters, critics, and detractors as he also discusses the comparisons to some of his contemporaries.

Last year Peso dropped and was one of the big hits of the year but I wasn't impressed. Yet off of that success, Rocky has been grinding away and doing shows all over. The hype I have to say, is not real. There is no substance there and his persona of being a Harlem cat with a Houston style doesn't really mean anything. He lacks charisma and the lyrics to make you think so he's not even as believable as someone like Rocko. I was very disappointed by this. (I know theres gonna be some angry comments on this)

Rating: 1.5/5

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Music from Mainstream (sort of) artists

So if you don't know by now, Mysonne is one of the few gangster rappers I can still stand to listen to. Now his full mixtapes get repetitive for me but he can give me some good music in short bursts. Now he is releasing some new West Coast inspired Pac music freestyles and 'I Get Around" was cool, but this "Ambitionz Az a Rider" freestyle verse is straight murder.

Mysonne has good lyrics, he knows how to flow and he can structure a verse around both a salient point and have a reasonable movement from beginning to end without taking too many left turns or detours. You know what the point is when he's rapping.

My second joint is "Lehhhggo" from Noreaga featuring Busta Rhymes and Waka Flaka Flame. Now I don't think Nore and Waka should ever 'rap' on a song again because that's the least amount of actual lyrics that will ever be in a rap song. I was also disappointed that Busta only handled the hook duties because this track is sick. Someone needs to kill it. Now, even if you going Nore (who looks a lot different now that he's started to live a healthier lifestyle) and Waka- not my thing- fellas, at least watch this video. turn the volume down if you must. You will enjoy it.  Nore does get his spit on at the end as it transitions into another song I guess but he does show off a bit there.

Now I almost forgot that the video from Nas dropped for "Daughters". This is one you're not going to hear on the radio though you should. It's a song with a message and a purpose that is positive and supportive at the same time.

Now I'm going to end this with something nice and ignorant because I have been bumping this Pusha T Exodus 23:1 so hard this week. Pusha is putting something real good together right now.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Generation of Love - No Beef, No Criticism, and YOLO

I almost forgot I wanted to give my take on what happened with Nicki Minaj, Wayne, Rosenberg, and Hot 97 at the Summer Jam over this past weekend in New York. The reason why i really remembered and got irritated was because Angela Yee and DJ Envy of Power 105- possibly the best interview and morning show crew just because of Charlamagne the God who speaks his mind- decided to give their competitors the Donkey of the Day. Now I'm cool with it because that's their opinions, but as much as C calls people out about being bullshit or not coming correctly, it seemed very hypocritical they would be so overly eager to jump on that bandwagon and mischaracterize what was said about Nicki as taking a shot at her. So let me post the link to the breakfast Club's comments about it first:

Now let me say this, Funkmaster flex is a habitual line stepper but he should have his radio homies back. The reaction by an overly sensitive Wayne and Young Money was uncalled for, dissed the fans and reminded me of the NBA right now where there is no balance or shared power between owners, front office personnel, and players. Right now, artists have the power to do whatever they want without being truly held accountable by radio, television, or print/online media members. This is even more puzzling when you look back at Charlamagne who was fired for 'stirring up controversy' in Philly by trying to keep it real. Makes me wonder who the real donkeys are.

Now, on to what actually happened.

Much quicker I know, pretty much what Rosenberg did was while introducing Kendrick Lamar to the audience as real hip-hop, he called Nicki Minaj's song "Starships" bullshit, which it is. No one is really dying to hear that song or ready to defend it and I'm pretty sure thats not the first time someone has uttered that phrase in reference to it. As a result of those comments (with the actual audio included in that clip) Lil Wayne organized an entire Young Money boycott which included Nicki, Drake, DJ Khaled, Wayne himself, Baby I have to assume, Gudda Gudda maybe, Fat Joe, and T-pain who were both collateral damage as a result of Khaled (thankfully) canceled performance. Tyga did do his set because he didn't get the word in time. There are a couple of issues I have with this.

Number one - can T-pan ever win at Summer Jam? I mean damn dude is one of my favorite hook singers and he once again is collateral damage for no damn reason. But honestly, what was said wasn't even that harsh, for Wayne to spazz out and take his ball and go home was lame and he needs to be called out on it. He could have easily spoken to Peter about what was said, or just went on had the crew perform and then address the issue. This is pretty much what he did on Thursday when he attempted to get into the OKC Thunder's playoff game at the last minute and when no one was running to jump to accommodate him and his demands. He pouted and looked to deflect from his ideas of celebrity entitlement.

It's not just Weezy either, plenty of others have acted the same way, just look at the train wrecks of Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Jaoquin Phoenix. but it's odd to see it in rap to this extent back to back, especially from someone who proclaims to be such of a thug or gangster.

Some of the criticism from this incident is because Rosenberg isn't black. I've seen the posts where it's regardless of whether or not his is correct, people don't think he has the right to say it. Some just feel like an employee or a DJ shouldn't speak out and risk offending an artist. But where is the line for that, when does this person initially become untouchable? Someone should have grabbed Kanye before he went up on stage but they didn't and we all saw how he had to deal with it. You don't get passes because you're talented. Especially when you're not living up to said talent. But you know what, those are opinions and everyone is allowed to have them, even people whom pay you to perform, so obviously it wasn't that much of a problem for everyone. At the end of the day, he said one song wasn't hip-hop, and hell even Nicki would admit that that particular song isn't even though she has it in her repertoire.

Going back to DJ's for a second, I believe they do have a responsibility to be the gate keepers of what is good and direct, though not completely be the arbiters of opinions in music. They should be challenging artists and most of them won't ever step on artists toes even when they do something that is wack. That's one of the reasons I respect Charlamagne and support his ventures. It is a very thin line to walk and I'm not that aware of this guys leanings but what I have read is that he has been critical for a while of some of Nicki's pop music and is a true 'hip-hop' head so it shouldn't be a surprise what he said. Now there can be a point when a DJ becomes a Kay-Slay or a Flex and wants to be bigger than the music, but the system is built with checks and balances, there is a fine line and few can walk it but thats a huge reason we have so much cronyism and so much nonsense in the game right now. Dudes hold loyalty to those who kiss their ass instead of those who have the skills.

Let me wrap this up because it's running a little long, but at the end of the day, some people have to get over themselves. When you start believing the hype, you get caught up and the truth hurts. Ask OJ, Tiger, MJ, Mike Vick, Mike Tyson, hell Mel Gibson okay. You can't get into a pissy mood when someone says something that you don't like and it isn't even that serious of a remark for you to get your draws up in a bunch and screw up your and a bunch of other people's programs because you can't take the heat.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

New Artists and Music

So I am going through my e-mails and trying to pick out the good from the bad and what is really astounding from what is just average. In today, average doesn't cut it and some of you who submit have some ability but you don't have the personality that comes across on the track. For those people, I hope you're not banking on rap, even if you're doing the normal average trendy 'get money swagger' rap that is popular right now.

Matth Damon is one of the better artists I have heard in this period. He has a solid flow, it's sort of a throwback and the track I was sent "Golden Gloves" and while it's just a set of bars, at least he isn't talking about banging my girl and shooting me while selling coke. I only hope that he has some different sounds and isn't just going with this 'throwback sample sound" too many underground artists demand on sticking with. You have to switch it up or else you will put folks to sleep.

Another artist I decided to check out who also happens to be from Maryland is a DC product who goes by the name of Bradley Russell. My favorite song from him so far is "They Call it murder" which you can check here . Brad talks about the problem with so many of today's artists over an energetic track. This song stands out from some of his others because it isn't as laid back as some of his other recordings. He also exhibits a strong flow and control of the song itself. Now don't be alarmed when i tell you that Brad is mostly a clean rapper. he doesn't use a lot of foul language but it isn't corny and using obvious phrases in place of the expletives but he writes in a way that you won't realize it until well after you have started nodding your head.

While you're checking out Mr. Russell who is one of the top rated artists on the independent site, Ourstage, be sure to vote for him in the Coors Lite Search for the Coldest Competition.

Lastly for this edition, we have Seattle artist Raz and his new song "10 Feet Tall". This song has a good drum track and a mellow melody supporting it as he talks about life and the some of the crazy things going through the minds of young men. The first two bars draw you in immediately and then he continues to bring you into his mind with his lyrics throughout the song. While his flow isn't the most orthodox it isn't so awkward as to make you confused. It works well with the beat itself.

I also checked out "They'll Speak" where Raz uses his voice mostly to develop the rhythm through the early part of the song. Now it can be difficult to follow but what is easily caught are the more poignant parts. He then slows it down and lets out his frustrations and settles any questions that I would have had about his 'authenticity' with some strong lyrics. He reminds me of a younger hunger Saigon in a way because he may be street based but not promoting that activity himself. Please check out these artists tell me and more importantly them what you think about them and what they're doing right now.


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