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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Not feeling hip-hop right now...

Look I know the few readers I have are probably pissed off at my hiatus right now. I get it, there are plenty of places to go and get some hip-hop news and highlights but not very many where there are places to get an actual discussion about issues and how they relate in hip-hop. The problem is, there hasn't been a lot to talk about. There are like a bunch of mixtapes and I can't get through them all. I get a lot of independent music and the truth s most of it is garbage and people who haven't read a thing I have written if they think I'm going to like the next Future rip-off. It's frustrating and I'm trying to balance but I will keep up the good fight.

With that said, i was on world star and I saw the kid from X-Factor a couple of years ago, Astro had a new video. I decided to give him a shot and kid can spit. I mean like taking it back to the late 90's when we just knew A+ was going to take off.

The beats are a little odd and the hook is just other words exactly like the 90's. So while thinking there might not be enough life left in music to keep sustaining something to talk about, I got a glimmer of hope. In other news Rick Ross got shot at...or maybe he didn't who knows.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Love And Hip Hop is not a good look

I'm not a fan of the vh1 reality shows in all honesty. Ever since the Flava of love part whatever, I've felt they have been trafficking in ratchetness and absurdity, highlighting the worst parts of people, and especially urban artists and wanna-bes. Even more specific, the black woman has been a target of their degradation. Now, this isn't to really say none of you should watch it, I'm just stating how I feel about it. This is the water cooler talk, the conversation on 'black twitter', and in high school lunch rooms around the country. As a half an hour or an hour of escapism, it is what it is, but the problem is it is serious and not just a moment to release. These people become the new idols and role models in our culture.

Now I wasn't intending to talk about the young ladies on the show or their effect on the culture overall but rather the effect on the careers of the rappers who are regulars on this farce of a show.  The first season featured Jim Jones and Juelz Santana in limited roles. We can both see where the careers of those two are right now, down the drain. In taking it to Atlanta, we witnessed the ending of what was left of Lil Scrappy, Stevie J, and Benzino. and now one of my favorite rappers, Joe Budden has shown up to embarass himself amongst this mockery of television programming.

Why is this a mockery? First off the situations these people are put in are so unlikely and unbelievable. Just about every episode there are two women talking to each other about where their personal relationships went wrong, usually at some mid-level lounge with a conspicuous amount of fellow customers who are halfway paying attention yet don't seemed alarmed by the raised voices. It's this, while I'm trying to go to sleep, I see my wife watching this nonsense with Joe Budden and Tahiry going over their failed romance once again. The entire exchange is so forced it's almost hilarious as Tahiry throws her glass down and storms out, knocking dishes over in the process. It's bad enough to be stormed out on, but the pitiful acting job Joe does of trying to feign surprise is just awful. Then there are the vests. The entire episode has a plethora of vests of failure.

When you look at it, reality tv from artists doesn't do anything for their careers because it forces us to acknowledge their flaws and over exposes us to the things about them we had an inkling that we might not like. Through music, we get snippets of their lives and it is presented in a package that puts everything in a 'past light'. On a Reality show, these things seem much more immediate and to see the artist going through the warts instead of just telling us of how they overcame said issues. It brings them down from the pedestal that we put them on. Watching Stevie J scrunch up his face or go and ask Benzino for advice (in the most unmanly way as possible) isn't the image of masculinity that an artist, especially in the arena of hip-hop, that needs to be seen because it isn't what's expected. Does that mean it's wrong? Nope. It's just awkward to watch and while women may enjoy watching Scrappy fight over a woman on TV, the male fans whom he relies on see him as making a sucker move. No one wants to support the sucker.

Trying to use a show like love and hip-hop as a platform for a mix tape or album just isn't the proper channel. Just showing up there reeks of desperation and attention whoring. It's even more confusing to see Budden, who is at the highest point of his career, on the show truly airing out what same may consider his 'suckerness' that he normally channels into his music. From the cheesy set ups to listening to the people on the show struggle to recite 'lines' to make things interesting it all serves to ruin the fragile image he has been able to craft over the years. It really shouldn't be that different, but it is.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Some Mixtapes that recently dropped

So the latest big mix tape is from DC's Wale who's signing to MMG has been a mixed bag. While he has still possessed his bars the popularity hasn't translated as much as one might have thought. Wale is still the best rapper in the collective and with Folarin, he's out to build upon his buzz. Straight up, You are well into the mix tape when Wale takes a chance to really just go in on the "Fa We We Freestyle". That joint is fire. I am not going to pretend like I'm a Trinidad Jame ssupporter but "Flat Out" is that other side of Wale that makes him an excellent rapper. His ability to be street and conscience is a true skill. Of course anything with Scarface is classic material and "Limitless" fits that bill.

Nipssey Hussle's deature "chun Li" was a disappointment. "The Show" with Ricky Rozay is a good start to the tape as well. For me, this joint was up and down though, some of his more poetic tracks were a little flat and trying too hard to recapture that Lotus Flower Bomb feel. I like some of the songs on this rather long mix tape but I felt like at times it was a lot of things thrown at the wall to see what pops. Hopefully Wale can find a balance between Ambition and Attention Deficit for his next project.

So It's always hard to talk about an artist objectively when you've been a friend of this person since high school but I'm going to try right here for a couple of reasons. Number one I need to be more proactive with local and unsigned artists and number two, it isn't that bad. In Fact, if you're a fan of Fabolous' Soul Tape 1 or 2 and Wale's latest release, you will definitely like the feel of the homie Japiro's newest project, "The Climb". The Intro. is an example of the ability Piro has shown in rapping for years. He has some good lines and the flow is always on point. While I'm not the biggest fan of the hook on "4 More Years" the verses say something so it's worth checking out. "Mistakes!" with VIP Gutter and Eddie Numbers is straight and Japiro steps up on "Too Long" which also has Al Great on the track.

Overall, it's a quality compilation but for me I missed some of the more uptempo high energy tracks Japiro normally has on his releases. The chorus' might be too much of the Future/Kirko Bangz mold for me as well, however it fits right into the pocket of what is popular in the industry right now. It's still tough when you have a huge collection of music that will probably go unheard that you have built an impression of. Download from right here

The third project I'm going to talk about is a new release from Youtube Celeb's the Twerk Team. Now one of my first blogs ever on As is Hip-Hop was about watching your daughters to make sure they aren't being negatively influenced and exposing themselves. It might have been presumptuous but it still stands, every one isn't going to be comfortable with their daughters being so outwardly sexual and there is a huge chance they will not be able to turn it into a success and Lady L and Ms. Twerksum have. So don't take that as a diss, take it as a warning that everyone can't do it, and that just because a girl is shaking her ass or twerking online doesn't mean they cannot transform it. On the positive side, they don't actually strip or do porn and they are making moves to get into dvd's and calendars. Now onto the mixtape, "Already Dope" which came out on the 1st day of the year.

This isn't the mix tape for someone who is looking for content, but the Twerk Team has leveraged their popularity and connections to get a very crisp and professional sounding set of songs for their first release. "Super Mojo" sounds like a hit for real. It's not the best song but it fits into rotation like a glove. In fact this is both better than I expected yet just what I expected. There are straight party songs you can see the girls will be twerking to in their videos and some that are more strip club sounding. The one thing I will say is Lady l is better than Twerksum. Twerksum also has this huskiness to her voice that doesn't always fit. It's cool but the the ladies still need to continue to work on their overall styles, lyrics, flows, and way to create songs, a signature style like their dancing. Some of the tracks are a little bit too over produced trying to fit too many dfferent things and it's not cohesive. "Razzle Dazzle" is pretty good as well. Head over to for Twerk Team's Already Dope.


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