Thursday, July 30, 2009
As you can probably tell, the ongoing deterioration of hip-hop is a constant theme on this blog. It is the common opinion among old schoolers that the new class of emcees are the ones who are ruining the the art form. Whereas that believe might hold a little truth, many of these pioneers and legends must share the blame. I think much like in sports, it is hard for a veteran to watch some young buck come up and do it better than he or she did. It has to hurt a little to at one time be on top of the hip-hop world and the next day be considered irrelevant.
I apologize beforehand for the constant hip-hop and sports comparisons, but under this topic I feel they are a necessary tool to help my readers understand. Lets take baseball's Greg Maddux for example. He just finally retired last year after 22 mostly successful years in the big leagues...all as a STARTING pitcher, very little if any time spent in the bullpen. In his youth, he was untouchable. He had speed on the ball that nobody could touch. As he grew older that velocity left his pitch, and his fastball wasn't as untouchable. So what did he do? Did he blame the management for not giving him the proper tools he needed to succeed? No. Did he blame the younger pitchers in the league for ruining the game? No. Did he continue to throw the fastball even though it wasn't working for him? No. He just got smarter. He adjusted his game to be successful among the new breed in the league, and was probably more dangerous in his later years than when he burst on the scene.
That is exactly what the old school rappers who still intend on making music need to do...GET SMARTER. You are not going to appeal to teenagers and young adults like you did when you were their ages. Youngsters like music made by artists that they can relate with. Don't try and hop on a Bangladesh, Ron Browz, Timbaland, or Neptunes beat because they are what's hot right now. The beat doesn't equal success, there has to be some substance behind what you are doing. Those youngsters that adored you before are now in or reaching their 30's, and they still love you, make the music for them. Didn't it always sound silly when New Edition tried to comeback making music that sounded like B2K or Pretty Ricky? Look at Madonna trying to collaborate with every young musician that is hot today, but when people go to her shows all they want to hear is "Material Girl" or "Holiday."
Jay-Z got lost with trying to keep up with Kanye for a little bit ("Kingdom Come"...ehhh), but he soon realized just to stick to his roots and make music for his fans, not Wayne's, T.I.'s, Kanye's, or Soulja Boy's. I came up listing to hip-hop where lyrics carried the beat, and now it seems to be the complete opposite. Listeners that came up in my era appreciate gritty lyrics, so give it to us, we still want to hear it.
Thats why I love it when I hear that Ghostface is going to drop a R&B album, because he always had a soulful, R&B-esque sound to his music so I think he can pull that off. To all my other favorite old school artists, instead of being bitter and making up excuses do like D.L. Hughley and Too $hort and "come back home" and "get in where you fit in."
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Wow, I bet you didn't think you would hear this name being spoke of on a platform other than a cheesy VH-1 '90's countdown show. Born under the name of Darrin O'Brien on October 30, 1969 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he started performing, his mentor handed him the name Snow, which was an acronym for Super Notorious Outrageous Whiteboy (awesome, huh!?). MC Shan, who was still reeling from KRS-One's knock-out punch known as "The Bridge is Over", liked what he heard from the non-Caribbean reggae singer and decided to co-produce Snow's debut album. He was obviously still punch drunk. He even appeared on his first single, the heavily rotated "Informer". This song was a huge hit in the United States, being that this was the only country that it went platinum in, (no wonder our education system is lagging behind). After "Informer" ran it's welcome out on radio stations, Snow tried to drop some more shit that wasn't successful and nobody heard, blah, blah, blah... Listen the only reason I'm writing this is because I just want to know what the hell he said on "Informer", or if it was even words at all. So Snow, if you are out there and you got Google alerts, get at me with the real lyrics because all I can come up with is "Informer! Youdfhaldsfhldfdslfh;sdlfh;slghsfadl....I lick you boom boom down...ldsfhlasdfhldghlsfkgjlskgjals;dgjsdlgjslkgjsalgjlsgjal.....I lick your boom boom down!"
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Well guys and gals, June just ended and it's time for me to reflect upon who rose up from the ashes to be in this months Redeem Team.
Kobe Bryant - Kobe got redemption this month on so many levels. He finally recovered from the rape accusations from 2003, and won back the hearts of the public by winning his first Shaq-less championship. Me, personally, I wouldn't piss on him if he were on fire, but I got to give credit where credit is due. Kobe did his thing in June, and finally solidified his legacy. Props.
Kanye West - Mr. Arrogance himself held a free concert in Chicago for kids, in the name of education. Real good look, Mr. West. Did that South Park episode really have a positive affect on your attitude? We'll see if there is more of this behavior in the future.
Fight Night 2009 - When this EA Sports title was introduced as Knock-Out Kings in 1998 it was hailed as the best boxing game ever (well at least since Mike Tyson's Punch-Out). But soon it seemed the engineers got too cocky with their success and tried to improve it too much, even though it was perfect as is. They changed the name to Fight Night, and complicated the controls and the world lost interest. Now its back, with a bigger roster (including "Iron" Mike Tyson") and more relaxed and less complicated controls...I like.
Now, if losing was the new winning, these people would have earned several rings last month:
Charles Hamilton - Back to back months making the list. Now you are lying about getting Dilla on your album, and pissing off Detroit. If I were you I'd fake my own death too. Detroit doesn't play, ask Yung Berg and Trick Daddy.
The Orlando Magic - First you fuck the world out of seeing a Kobe and Lebron final, then you don't even show up to play with the Lakers...thanks.
The Minnesota Timberwolves - Somehow you guys got 4 first round draft picks in this year's draft and got absolutely nothing. Rubio will not wear a T-Wolves' jersey ever...you hear me...ever!
Michael Jackson Haters - Nothing was ever proven, parents continued to send their kids to his house after the allegations so blame them. Whatever did or did not happen at Neverland Ranch, it is not our judgement to make. Let the man rest in peace. There is only one being that can make that call now, and Jacko is probably pleading his case to him as we speak. R.I.P. King of Pop.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Now normally I don't do this, but Imma go on ahead and hit ya'll with an exclusive. This is from a fellow Midwesterner/Illinoian/Chicagoan named Young Blaze. I like this track, and I know all my old school house heads will recognize the beat. Its a classic house cut that I don't know the name to, but I remember spilling many a drink to bouncing when it came on. Those horns just make you want to move. Blaze's smooth flow carries really well on this beat, but you should have known that already because Chi-Town comes with nothing but quality. He's got good humor in his message, which always makes for a quality MC. Enough is enough check it out for yourself, I'm gonna dig through the net to see what other jewels Young Blaze has dropped recently...you should to. Check out his site at www. youngblazesite.com , or for those of you that still fuck with MySpace, www.myspace.com/youngblazeofchitown .
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Hip-hop is a complicated creature. The members of this culture are looked at as a whole by the outside world, but on the inside there are various sub-cultures. You got East Coast, West Coast, Gangsta, Dirty South, Hyphy, Crunk, Emo, and etc... Even in each sub-culture lie even more sub-cultures. For example, Florida, New Orleans, and Atlanta are all considered in the Dirty South category, but each region generates a very independent style and sound from its country cousins. None the less, it took time for each of these components to emerge and become recognized in the world.
Where am I going with this? I want to pioneer new styles of music I hear emerging. I want these "genres" to be recognized for what they are. Here are a few I have noticed.
SLUT POP: This is any song that is belted out by a woman who really can't sing, but they look good doing it. Another criteria of this genre is that upon hearing the first notes of one of these songs, women instantaneously stop what they are doing and move and sound like sluts. Dance floor or not. Pioneers of this type of music are Britney Spears, the Pussycat Dolls, Lil' Kim, and Cassie.
DOUCHE BAG HOP: This genre is growing more popular by the day. This is basically any song that makes a douche bag feel empowered by his douche bag-ness, usually resulting in jumping on the dance floor as they loudly recite the wack ass hook. Members of this category are LMFAO, Flo-Rida, and any thing that Spencer Pratt or K-Fed have or may produce musically. Jim Jones is quickly falling into this category.
IWANTTOBETAKENSERIOUSLY!!! MUSIC: This sub-division holds music made by artists who nobody really cares about, but 10 year old girls. These artist held on to that demographic a little bit too long, and now the consequence is no matter what they do they can't be taken seriously by an adult audience. These are artists such as Bow "I don't care how many episodes of Entourage you star in you will always be Jermaine Dupri's Mini-Me to me" Wow, Soulja Boy, Brooke Hogan, and DJ Webstarr. Britney Spears also does work in this category too.
PSEUDO-DEEP ART: Music in this category is made, excuse me, conducted by "artistes" that believe they are deeper than their music really suggests. Also, in the slim event their music actually sucks, then that just means it was above the audiences' heads and before its' time...WE DIDN'T GET IT, because it can't be garbage. When not on stage or making music, many artists in this culture hold on to a dark and overly philosophical persona, and their sometimes strong opinions are always right, even when proven wrong. Artists in this sub-culture are Kanye "Gayfish" West, Lupe "Tribe Who?" Fiasco, Lil' "Wobbly Wobbly" Wayne, Kid Cudi, and Charles "You Got Knocked The Fuck Out...By A Chick!" Hamilton.
STRONG-ARM MUSIC: This is just that shit that makes you want to bust somebody's god damn head in for no particular reason. Upon hearing the first notes, testosterone levels rise above normal levels instantaneously. You already know who's in this category. Maino, M.O.P., DMX, Redman, and early 2pac, Wu-Tang, and Ice Cube.
You got more categories? Hit me up in the C-Box or post a comment.
Friday, May 22, 2009
There is always a few characters in the limelight that fall from grace, but they work their way back into the public's hearts with a redeeming move or two. Sometimes they do it on purpose, other times its completely accidental and coincidental. Here is my Redeem Team for the month of May.
RON ARTEST - The man who filled Dennis Rodman's shoes in the basketball world. From breaking Michael Jordan's ribs in a pick up game to jumping in the stands to fight a fan, he has stayed a figure of controversy. He has even had his team ideology questioned when he requested time off to promote his rap album (ya'll remember Tru Warier?). When he was traded to Houston in the off-season many believed it was his last chance to stay in the league, being that he would be going to his fourth team in four seasons. It seemed like a good fit, with already two superstars in Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming present in the line up. T-Mac went down with an injury in the regular season, and Yao let his persistent leg problems dead his season during the playoffs, leaving nappy headed Ron Artest to lead the Houston Rockets through their series with the West favorites Los Angeles Lakers. Many thought the Rockets were finished after game 2, but Artest helped lead this rag tag team of sixth men all the way to a game seven with Kobe's Lakers; doing it all somewhat quietly. His press conferences were funny and charming, instantly making him a playoff sweetheart for the media. Welcome back, Ron.
NICK CANNON - This may seem like an odd choice, but I think after the way he stood up for his wife and told Eminem that he would molly-whop his ass for his remarks about Mariah, I gained a lot more respect for "corny-ass Nick Cannon." That is what a real man is supposed to do: threaten to kill a cat that disrespects their woman. Much props for putting your nuts in your hand, Nick.
AL DAVIS - Maybe the old man is not so crazy. He caught hell for the way he treated and unceremoniously fired Lane Kiffin. Lane Kiffin went on to land the head football coach job at the University of Tennessee, and has acted a damn fool ever since, without even having one game coached under his belt. Talking loud about Urban Meyer, recruiting violations, and Twitter controversies have already sullied his first year. This behavior leads at least me to believe that maybe there was more going on behind closed doors, and Al Davis actually got this one right.
MIKE TYSON - No need to go into his history, the name speaks for itself. He has a new documentary about his life and career out, he allowed himself to be used in EA's upcoming video game "Fight Night: Round 4," and he makes a guest appearance in the new comedy "The Hangover" (which I think looks damn hilarious). All this and not a single tiger or piece of ear cartilage in sight. Good look, Mike, just lose some weight now.
Best believe that with winners also come losers. Here's a short list of those on the decline this month.
Charles Hamilton - Getting snuffed hard by a chick right before your album drops is not a good look, especially when you are wearing all that damn pink.
Los Angeles Lakers - Going seven with a Yao-less and T-Mac-less Rockets squad? C'mon, Kobe, Lebron would have swept them.
Eminem - Album was ehhh.
Lane Kiffin - See Al Davis above.
Joe Budden - When you get on Meth's level, then have an opinion. That "Pump It Up" money has to be all gone now.
Lil' Wayne - Seems like you trained your replacement. Since Drake came on the scene, you have become an afterthought.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I know everybody must remember back in the day, whenever you would put on that Dre or Snoop tape while cleaning your room so you could go outside without argument, your parents always had a snide comment about your choice of music. "Aw boy that ain't music...they stealin' from Parliament...they ain't even sangin'!" Then they would proceed to drown you out with The Isley Brothers or Earth, Wind, and Fire. I've began to think recently, am I turning into my parents? With all my rants about the Golden Era of Hip-Hop, have I become so stubborn in my listening ways that I can't even give this new era of music a chance? As I reflected upon this revelation, I came up with a single answer: "Hell naw!! Majority of hip-hop (if you can still call most of it that) today is straight garbage!!"
I'm a pretty open minded dude, I think I give everything a fair chance (even "808's and Heartbreak") before I decide that it is not for me, and most of the shit out there ain't for me. I don't even turn on the radio anymore unless I want to catch a game. This weekend was one of my guy's bachelor party, and I didn't know any of the songs the girls danced to at the strip club. Strip clubs play everything that's in heavy rotation and I did not recognize not one "Yung," "Big," or "Lil'" that was played over the speakers.
The average new schoolers answer to criticism of their peers is usually one of two things: 1) "Fuck them old school niggas!" or 2) "Niggas is hatin' cuz we gettin' money and they can't no more!" There are more answers, but they all boil down to disrespect of the previous class. No matter who it is, even the most respected new schoolers slip up with the disrespect (ask Lupe). I will agree with them that they are more marketable than say a Redman, or a Rakim; but fuck, so is Britney Spears, and who much actual talent does she possess besides looking cute and being able to grind on people and other objects. She's nothing more than a smart stripper.
So I guess the question I am trying to pose here is am I and other people who think like me out of touch with the new direction in hip-hop? I would have to say no. You see in my parents case, they did not want to like hip-hop or give a chance; I am nothing like that. I search out for new and innovative artists everyday through the Internet, most of the time I come up empty handed, but I have found some diamonds in the rough like Wale, Asher Roth, 88 Keys, AC, Kid Cudi, Mikkey Halsted, and etc. Money made will never equate to talent. My message to all these new schoolers who think people like me are just haters: Step your game up! Quality music will shut my mouth.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
There has been a lot of talk about these new "freshmen" that were sent here to save hip-hop. Sounds like a BET episode of "Heroes" if you ask me. Maybe I am old and set in my ways, but is all this hype needed?
Yes, I admit that hip-hop is in a tailspin. It is more profitable to be commercial rather than artistic. The Current School has a total lack of respect for the Past School and the Old School pioneers, and the so-called best rapper of the era is nothing more than a punchline and metaphor slinger.
Can this new class really take the culture on its back and reach new heights? No...not really. I say this because nothing ever lives up to its hype (i.e. Hatton-Pacquiao, Kimbo Slice, Blueprint 2, any Joe Budden album). So far only a few of these new names have shown me something new.
Charles Hamilton is definitely not living up to all the talk, at least in my mind. Is he scared to release an album? This cat must have like 300 mixtapes in rotation, sorry Weezy looks like theres a new mixtape king. He sounds like the spawn of a reproductive session between Ma$e and BG. He just really hasn't impressed me yet. How come he can drop a diss record on Soulja Boy, but back down to Rhymefest and Wale. Anybody can out-rhyme Soulja Boy, come at a real spit kicker.
I really haven't heard too much from Blu or Cory Gunz. Mickey Factz, Big Sean, Nippsey Hussle, Mistah F.A.B., OJ Da Juiceman, and Nicki Minaj haven't really said anything to catch my ear, so I'm not going to make the effort to search them out. First impressions are everything to me, you got to have me at hello. I still remember the first time I heard B.I.G., Nas, Wu-Tang, L.L., The Fugees, etc... Classics get you from the first line they utter.
Fear not folks, there are a few I think have promise. If there was someone I can say could be the voice and fill all the gaps, that would be Drake. The cat can sing and rhyme over any music. His only drawback for me was that he is a Wayne protege, but now it seems like the student is better than the teacher. Wale is extremely dope, I just hope he finds his niche. Asher Roth can spit his ass off when he's not fighting Eminem comparisons. Bobby Ray seems like he is budding into a genius like his ATL mentor Andre 3000. Kid Cudi, I'm still 70/30 with him. I like most of his material, but he hasn't had that one for me.
All in all, who the fuck cares. Music works in a cycle. One person is hot for a second then gets bumped from their pedestal by someone newer and fresher. I think this has been a hot topic because hip-hop itself is still so young, and for so long it was thought of as art and more than music. Every form of musical expression has gone through that metamorphosis, and now hip-hop fans must come to terms that its only entertainment.