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, November 30, 2012

Album Review- Wiz Khalifa- O.N.I.F.C.

Wiz is one of the most laid back people it seems you might ever happen upon meeting which makes his ascension as a rapper even more remarkable because most rapper are generally more aggressive, and that includes the back pack genre. Wiz on the other hand makes laid back music that I'm guessing you can also party to and while he blew up a couple of years ago, he has been mostly absent from the scene, avoiding multiple mix tape releases as he has readied his sophomore album. The single has been out for months but finally the entire accompanying album is released.



Wiz gets into the album after a short intro pretty much how you would expect with "Paperbond" which has a space age laid back beat but the first forty seconds where Wiz just says "yuh yuh yuh" before getting into standard verses about how much money he has and how good the weed is that he smokes. "Bluffin'" is more of the same, with a heavier bass line. The first guest feature is Akon on "Let it Go" thats the same thing only with an attempt to make it an introspective song. The hook really doesn't fit with the 'subject matter' though.


Oddly enough there is also a song called "The Bluff" with Cam'ron. "Got Everything" with Courtney Noelle singing the hook actually is a good little song that I would say is directed to his girlfriend, Amber Rose about how she holds him down and takes care of home. It's a cute little song, something I would expect Diggy Simmons to have recorded. 2 Chainz appears on "It's Nothing" in what is one of the worst songs I have ever heard in my life. Pharrell channels the ultimate oddball from N.E.R.D. on "Rise Above" which also features Tuki Carter and some vocals from Amber Rose herself. Tuki's attempt to be lyrical falls flat.


One of the few infusions of energy on the album comes from Lola Monroe on "Initiation" where she goes in over one of the few times on the album it rocks off while Wiz just wastes time on the track. Juicy J shows up on "The Plan" with his new boss while Chevy Woods joins Juicy on "Medicated". Hot shot crooner The Weeknd is on "Remember Me". "Fall Asleep" is a different direction with a simple beat for the most part before the bass hits during the hook however it allows you to hear Wiz' struggle to put together compelling lyrics.



The single is "Work Hard, Play Hard" and the track is very radio friendly and catchy. This is easily the best song on the album which is rare to find. "Time" is more of the same that covers the album and "Up In It" isn't bad but it's mostly because the beat is cool and apparently the only thing Wiz can rap about is weed, money and women. "No Limit" is overdone and confusing. Sounds like a reject from a Kid Cudi album or something.



I understand this, you don't go to Wiz Khalifa when you want content but this entire album is flat. It's one note about how much he spends money and smokes and nothing in between. The vibe is very laid back and mellow, which is cool, but I just don't get where this album gets played. There isn't anything for the club and nothing is aggressive enough to be listened to in the car in any form. It's just really an odd feel but I guess thats what the kids are into these days. The lyrics laughable and the tone is just so boring that the 16 songs just bleed into one another like one big parade of nothingness.

Rating: 2/5

Friday, November 23, 2012

Saigon and Master P

So I was thinking about this latest interview with Saigon and The Breakfast club for a couple of days now as I was thinking about how to approach my thoughts on it. Part of this was due to a small part of his interview where he said he would love to punch guys like Rick Ross and 2 Chainz for what they are doing to the youth with their music. Now I don't think this was literal, but more about a slap at the culture.



You see Saigon is one of the guys who gets it as he talks about his life and the truth that music is powerful and so many people could use their platform for something bigger and better. He also had an interesting idea that if these guys want to make these records they should be separated from the major section where the music could be heard by people of all ages. It is crazy because that's how I look at the music industry right now, anyone with a message isn't going to make it and there is no real reason for it.

That leads me to Master P and his re-emergence on the hip-hop scene with the Louie V Mobb, his new crew which features Fat Trel and Alley Boy as well as a song with Chief Keef. It was a severe step back for Percy miller as he tries to reclaim relevance. Just about four years ago he was telling David Banner why the music needed to change and become cleaner and more positive. He was talking about forgoing a lot of this street stuff because he has been to the other side and seen things and been where he rubbed shoulders with some business titans. How does this make any sense?

 

This is worst than when he was making MP Da Last Don and putting out C-murder albums. I thought he was trying to be progressive and move towards something positive. Instead, he's back trying to be relevant to a young hip-hop crowd instead of being and icon or something they can shoot for as far as changing their lives and crossing over.

Rap music is so confused now because even the forerunners who laid such groundwork are allowing themselves to be dragged backward instead of pushing the culture and directing the newer generation. It's just like having the kids have the adults following them. We have to get some course correction going on and have things move in a more positive direction. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nicki Minaj is an Ass

Now I am going to receive some hate if any Nicki minaj fans happen to stumble upon this but it's cool because something needs to be said. Now I wasn't sure at first if during her interview with the Breakfast Club this week Nicki was just in character or whatever but by the end of it I was pretty sure that she was indeed being an asshole. I understand, you're probably the hottest artist in the game next to Rihanna and Beyonce but you don't handle yourself as she did. Check the video while I break down my issues:




For one thing, Nicki is demanding they play basically her entire album like she doesn't understand how it works. They push your singles, it's what happens every time so you want to pretend it's just the station and they should just be jumping to flip into each of your tracks, it doesn't work like that, though they have the ability to play each of them. By now everyone knows radio stations aren't into breaking records anymore, the music director is playing whatever is sent to them by a clearing house. Her attitude sucked right then. Then there is the little jabs at Angela Yee for not buying her silly ass perfume, come on no one has to buy every product your shilling and to try and shame someone is fucked up. Then the way they acted scared of her in order to remain in her good graces was annoying.


Going further to talk about her three part series on E!, it sucks that she gets the right to approval over what was put out and complaining of what the agenda was and making excuses for why if she could wield that power, why the image was what it was. A major part of this was her constant lateness apparently though Yee tried to make excuses for her. There was no excuse for being late to "The View" and no one on her team being on top of that. You're a superstar, those are the things that happen and no one feels sorry for you having to work hard to maintain that fame.

A huge annoyance for me was watching her scroll through her phone the entire time as if she was too good to be on the radio and constantly accuse the guys of being unprepared. They Breakfast Club always has good interviews and they always seem prepared but because they let her dictate the tone and direction of the conversation they came off as amateurs and it was really unfortunate. At some point I really think she should have been asked to leave because she was uncooperative and unwilling to go in their direction some of the time and share the direction. She may want to focus on the music but Nicki fans already know every song line for line, this is a chance to talk and give more insight into herself like damn near every other artist they have interviewed. Point blank, up until today, I was disappointed in some of her music though I respected her talent. Now I have less respect for her as an individual and someone who is in the music industry dealing with others in it as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Album Review- Saigon- Greatest Story Never Told 2

Saigon has been mostly an afterthought ever since he was signed to Atlantic records and banished to the purgatory which is their rap division with the exception of T.I. . Finally over a year and a half ago, the much delayed, Just Blaze produced album, the Greatest Story Never Told, was finally released and it was a solid album. Had it ever come out on time, it would have been even better. Not content to let the same length of time go between projects, Saigon follows up with Greatest Story Never Told 2: Bread and Circuses.

The album starts off with "Plant The Seed" where Saigon says he hopes 'you got what you paid for' as he spits about the majority of rappers today who aren't adding anything to the culture and speaks on everyone being clones of one another. The idea is to set the tone for the rest of the album and it reinforces what Sai stands for. He then goes into "Rap vs Real" where he compares a lot of generic topics covered in most rap songs and whats real life. "Not Like Them" with Styles P is more of that how they are truly what they are supposed to be compared to the average rap caricature. "Brownsville Girl" starts off with a generic topic about hood violence and how unnecessary it is then transfers to a specific example using a girl who joins a gang.




Marsha Ambrosius lends her vocals to "The Game Changer" as Sai talks about his initial signing with Atlantic and the type of music he makes and the original intentions he had. "Blown Away" is about the martyrs and soldiers of the struggle for progress and how for the majority of them they ended up dead. However, Saigon mentions Marvin Gaye as if he was murdered due to politics when it was drugs that led to his demise. Adreena Mill sings the chorus on "When Will U Love Me" as Saigon asks whether hip-hop or the church will ever accept him. Lecrae drops by on "Best Thing That I Found" along with singer Corbett (who is on multiple songs) as they talk about their relationship with God.



"Relafriendship" is about a relationship where there is a line that can't be crossed to make it a serious one. "Let Me Run" is alright but not a huge stand out, and "Yeah Yeah" is Saigon's throw back to his older style. "Forever Dreamin" with Tony Scott is about his intent to continue progressing. "Intervention" is about letting go of old problems, issues and beefs and moving on. "Our Babies 2 (Cold World)" is about all of the craziness going on and Saigon tries to switch up the energy on the song but the hook still falls flat. Chamillionaire surfaces on "Keep Pushing" and there is a remix of "Blown Away" with Stic.Man of Dead Prez and it's better than the first version.



Saigon is an above average rapper who has potential to really be influential, however, this album falls slightly short of its potential. There are a couple of times when Saigon focuses more on being critical of other rapper's messages instead of delivering his own. Rap vs Real doesn't have anything remotely energetic in it and is run of the mill. He also stays a little bit too conservative and doesn't have any one song that really brings home the bread and circuses message with authority, nor does he have something that is totally out of format. The sound also tends to lag and there isn't a switch in the tone to break up the monotony. All of that may sound negative but in general, he is what he is, and does what you expect for the most part. He just doesn't bring the "wow" factor enough to really get you excited.

Rating: 2.5/5

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mix Tape Review- Don Trip - Help is on The Way

Cool & Dre's artist Don Trip has been out the scene ever since he made it to the XXL 2012 Freshman list, but he is back and with some real "Trap Shit". With a new mixtape called "Help is On The Way" Trip is ready to refresh us why he made it to The XXL List.

 On the intro to the mixtape Trip spits some thought provoking lyrics explaining how he had to pull those jack moves and flip them birds to survive not just for him but for his family. The beat was produced by Cool & Dre and even though the glorification of drugs and gangs seems to be a standard form for most of today's rappers, Trips delivery is fresh and takes the subject to a deeper level then most of the other rappers on that "Trap Shit". The Intro "Shelter" is the perfect song to give people an idea of Don's ability to paint a story with his lyrics.



"Prolly" features Yo Gotti and they let us they never go anywhere with out that heat. This track reminds us that Don is still a trap nigga and loves to stunt and will handle a fuck nigga. Gotti also kills the beat.
Keeping to his Trap house experiences, Trip brings us to the kitchen where he is "Whippin It". On this track he makes sure we understand that he is a Trap Nigga no gimmick. Next up is the Justice League produced "Brake" where Don takes the time to get Fresh to death and brag about the bitches and other typical rapper ish.

From balling to fucking all his girls - friends. "Conflicted" finally slows down the vibe of the mixtape. But instead of the usual, Trip talks about a girl who seems to be in love with him but he just can't stop fucking all her friends, but don't worry... he knows it cold.

Man this nigga Don Trip is a dirty nigga. With Young Berg and singer Mia Rey, trip continues his "how he don't love these hoes" mentality and while she loves him, he just wants one thing. "Still Got Love" continues the slower vibe of the middle of the mixtape. The track starts off with a Guy "Lets Chill" intro which Trip explains how he was not ready to settle down even though he still misses her sex he is not in love with her anymore.

"Too Little, Too Late" is another Cool & Dre produced track with an old school vibe. Here Don explains what happen between him and his girlfriend after he broke up with his baby mama. This track reminds me of the Ace Hood "Dreamer" track.

Next Trip takes it all on him with "All On Me" which he continues letting us into what drives him to go hard in the trap and the booth. When Don Trip dies make sure you dip him in gold. the Danny Brown feature "Gold" lives here and you either like Danny's voice or not, but he rips the track... If you don't think so, he will leave you bloody. Period! Now Don Trip takes the time to "Pray". He just prays a nigga don't get in his way and as a warning he raps about his guns on this track. They say it ain't tricking if you got it, but Trip says it ain't tricking if you got HER. The "She Want" track features Juicy J and is one his hardest verses.

And now we back to that "Trap Shit"! Trip looks back to his trapping days. Next Trip wants us to watch him doing him with "Watch Me". Here Trip is still in his trap shit mode talking about drugs and balling, which is the goal of every real trap nigga. Right?

We are at the end of "Help Is On The Way". The second to last track is "Hold Back Tears" and Trip talks about an abusive mother and how now that he finally made it, but all she want is the money. Trip also touches on his dysfunctional relationship with his brother. Closing out the mixtape is "War". Here Trip declares war on anybody that wants it. You can only think, is this track meant for someone?

Don Trips "Help Is On The Way" is a solid mixtape, he opens up and lets fans learn more about him. The topics are the usual Trap Nigga problems.. But trips delivery and lyrical ability gives us a different look to the everyday life of a real Trap Nigga.


Rating : 4 out 5 Louis Moore III HipHopJunkiez.com