Thursday, February 25, 2010

Impregnate The World When I Come Through Your Speaker

Obviously Tracy Morgan is one of the funniest people on Earth. I rarely venture to comedy clubs due to finances but I try to make it to Carolines whenever Tracy is in town, as he will be the last weekend in March. This dude's live show is off the fucking charts, you get a G Rated version whenever he shows up on a Late Night couch but you seriously have no idea until you've heard him tell a white girl tourist in the front row that he'll leave her butthole looking like the stretched out sleeve of his Coogi sweater. This is another stupid Autotune spoof but it's worthwhile as a monument to Tracy's running gag obsession with spreading his seed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hip Hop Tweets: Joe Budden Lets The Great World Spin

Around the time I was accumulating accounts for this segment, one of my great disappointments was discovering the insane and insanely entertaining first citizen of Jersey City protected his Tweets. On a lark, I clicked a link this evening and discovered Mouse has unlocked the wardrobe leading to a Twitter Narnia that is every bit as magical as I'd dreamed it would be. For your unadulterated pleasure I present, the best Joe Budden Tweets typed over the past 10 hours.

wowwwww.... really worldstarhiphop ???? a stripper from Kansas with 1 leg ????? i've seen it all, lol
about 10 hours ago via web

#imtiredof chics w/ no body wearin stretch pants... fuck yo' comfort, we don't wanna see that shit
about 7 hours ago via web

i'm tired of chics buyin their bra too small 2 make they tits look bigger... quit the fuckin mind games alright ?
about 7 hours ago via web

#imtiredof chics lyin about their measurements.... bitch, your chest look like mine, u a 36c where ??
about 7 hours ago via web

rappers w/o lyrics rationalizing them not having lyrics.... how bout u just can't THINK of anything lyrical ?? (makes sense 2 me)
about 6 hours ago via web

what r u, a thugged out soccer player ? go get circumcised b4 u type 2 me young nigga... smfh
about 4 hours ago via web

CSI marathon.
about 4 hours ago via web

i thought we discussed this b4... i'm deep as shit.... but thats not 4 twitter 2 see, by choice...
about 3 hours ago via web

i think i learned something new about me, i don't really like 2 many people.. or i'm not liked by too many people.. same shit *jordanshrug*
about 3 hours ago via web

Ladies, only "cute" stretch marks are acceptable, u know, the really really light 1's placed in an area we don't mind, can only b 2 or 3 tho
about 2 hours ago via web

other that that, go sleep in cocoa butter, lol
about 2 hours ago via web

i think if u have REALLY bad stretch marks then u should only wear clothes with stripes, no point in fooling men, let'em know rite off bat !
about 2 hours ago via web

some say Katt Williams went crazy.... is his word about to be the deciding factor ?? (i'm just joking, i swear) lol
about 2 hours ago via web

i'm bloggin, fuck niggaz....
about 2 hours ago via web

Fat Tuesday

I know it isn't (2 weeks late), but I've seen and been salivating over this Treme trailer so often lately I had to track down the song. Here's a live rendition of Wynton Marsalis and company's angry/celebratory "Ring Shout (Peace of Mind)" at the Montreal Jazz Festival. I'm a veteran of many a Cajun Halloweens and Mardi Gras, and I say this every year, but maybe due to this performance I'll finally make it down to New Orleans for the World's Greatest Jazz Fest.

You Speak Spanish?

Most days the girl on the train whose music is blasting out of her ear buds with boom box power serves as little more than a nagging annoyance, a barrier between my book and I. This morning it was a reminder of Albe Back's "Mira Mira", one of the hardest anthems that came out last year. This video is pretty amazing as well. Can't wait for the annual "shocking" reports of harassment at the Parade and what should be an awesome performance of "Ha Ha".

Monday, February 22, 2010

How To Follow Up Your Divisive Debut Album In America

Love him, hate him or really hate him, Kid Cudi doesn't appear to be going anywhere. His new TV show is awful, (the only highlight being his dose of non-pussified reality as that guy drinking a fifth of Jamie at a highfalutin party full of fags and slags. I only hope the profile expanse he will receive thanks to this shit bomb will not result in a negative connotation) but the tracks he's released and appeared on since his album did respectable numbers for a rook reveal an artist emboldened with increasing conviction in his sound and direction. He's continuing to move away from the more traditional Hip Hop he's never been suited for and toward more eclectic genre blending. The notable change since he's experienced modest success is an element of fun that is elevating his harmonies and playful verses to a new level. Self-assured stoner zen replacing his hurt and mopey insecurities. It's still Hipster bait for sure, but the talent is undeniable. He's the best thing about all five of these wildly diverse tracks and you get the feeling he's just beginning to test the limits of his potential. A new album is probably a ways off but there are a lot of demos and half songs floating around so fingers crossed for a mixtape by Summer.

Kid Cudi- Cudder Is Back

Snoop Dogg ft. Kid Cudi- That Tree

Kelis ft. Kid Cudi- They Say

Friday, February 19, 2010

Laying Down the Law in a Stuttering, Insecure Manner

This probably isn't what you come to this blog for, but if you get HBO and don't check for The Life & Times of Tim (second season premiers tonight) you're fucking up. Not sure if this clip is the best introduction but it's seriously one of the funniest shows I've ever seen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Miss The Old ATL

Hip Hop Tweets: Feb 18

A semi regular roundup of the best Tweets in and around the Hip Hop Community.

Mistah F.A.B.: don't U hate da niggas dat sit n first class acting like they better then every1 else ugh! dat shit make me sick. I cn't Stand me 4 dat haha

Styles P
: Lighting theif was a dope movie!

Harry Allen: *American Masters: Carol Burnett*, PBS.
Harry Allen: *Enormous* Carol Burnett fan.

Paul Wall: I just found out that somebody got stabbed to death at magic yesterday right after we left

R.A. The Rugged Man: @RealTalibKweli and you aint gunna mention how dope the RUGGED MAN show was? Just about the racist bouncers? Whut up? haha.

: #imfromhouston where the rockets keep makin dumb ass trades

(Editor's Note: Late pass on this one, I scooped it from Sean Fennessy's reposting shit he comes across on the internet blog Split Infinitives. This is a video of Harriet the Spy spitting Nicki Minaj as recorded by Dawson Leery on their way through the Holland Tunnel. Sometimes I don't hate the internet.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You too can sign a million dollar Def Jam contract

I won't front, Moses Michael Leviy had his moments, none of which are provided below, but at the end of the day he's a generic Biggie knock off. Is this really the state of Hip Hop? A semblance of cache gets you seven figures? Is it just for shooting some asshole in the club for Puff? Does this have anything to do with actual ability? Here's a sampling of awful official music videos. What can I say? Jews stay winning.

Love In The Time of Nicki Minaj: Hip Hop Tweets V-Day Edition

I'll give Hip Hop credit for this much, in the Twitter realm there weren't many who went for the Hallmark Holiday this year. If this had been a special edition dedicated to the lackluster dunk contest or who had better seats than David Stern in Dallas I would've had a much easier time garnering content. Still, love was in the air for some, so without further ado: A semi regular roundup of the best Tweets in and around the Hip Hop Community

Asher Roth: DMX - How's it goin' down - happy valentines day

Dorrough Music
: On the video set with @YoGottiKom for "Hood Chick Fetish"!!!

Ace Hood
: Women need a keeper and a pleaser! Not a nigga who cheaper and gone teaser! any man can TELL her he love her next man might SHOW her rt..

: #Shoutout to all my dudes who just KNEW they was getting some ass today and got the Christian Side Hug at the door after ...

Crooked I: Rappers, spittin' a hot V-day 16 is not a good gift fool! #VdayLaw But again, If she appreciates it #UgottaWinner

DJ Clue: hey fellas yo main chick is texting me happy valentines day......just thought u would like 2 know

Wale: My "valinetine" is prolly in the club not thinkin bout me, at all #sadbuttrue

Pill: Face it baby, you've gained a few pounds and the wrinkles in your face are showing..

Royce Da 5'9
: Yo is 2day Mothers Day or sum shit?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As Good As Our Options

So this song should be a momentous occasion. Two of New York's finest, two of our only established working artists in their primes getting together over an Earth mover, so why does "Beamer, Benz or Bentley" make me nervous? Well it's coming on the heels of


So what's the issue? New York is a struggling market at the moment. We have very few viable artists left and even less hits to those artists' names that have potential to play outside of the region. In an environment so dire, it's easy for rappers to fall prey to trend-watching, trying to capitalize on a current sound or style. Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana, two rappers who were running this city when Red Cafe was fighting for play at the back of Kay Slay mixtapes, have clearly taken that route over this sound alike Ky Miller production, not to mention Banks' suspiciously simple club hook that he wants so badly to be chant-able.

I covered "I'm Ill" a few weeks ago and in my review compared the beat to Neptunes style instrumentation, but listening to these three tracks in succession with the subterranean super echo effect I'm leaning more toward a dumbed down Dilla on his murky "Lightworks" shit. Whatever the sound is it's beginning to dig it's claws into the Gotham market. Both rappers have their moments here (with Juelz the clear show stopper) but the lack of courage on this street single is disconcerting. It's easy to look back and say "A Milli" was a slam dunk, but who knows what that instrumental sounded like the first time in the studio? Innovating goes beyond spit, it has as much if not more to do with the beats you select and the general style in which you approach them. (As any Nas hater will scream at anyone who will listen) If our best artists don't have the courage to step out, New York's current Hip Hop Depression could become a Nuclear Winter.

Hip Hop Tweets: Feb 10

A semi regular roundup of the best Tweets in and around the Hip Hop Community.........(Editor's Note: In the couple of months I've been running this segment I've never seen a topic as universally commented on as the already infamous Mayer Playboy Interview. I did my best to avoid the chatter.)

Questlove: does supernat have a twitter? if so? emergency.

Harry Allen
@danicapatrick on CSI:NY tonight...sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Busta Rhymes
Just woke up outta my rest and caught Notorious on HBO...Great fuckin' movie...RIP BIG!!!!

Royce Da 5'9:
I 4got to tell yall I watched Gi Joe on the plane and it sucked BALLS!! Damn.. Bad acting and bad story.. Double Whammy (2Homey thumbs down)

Warren G: I wouldn't mine putting juelz Santana under a Warren g track

AG: kanye played me some new joints he's working on...he is a real musical genius....reminds me of showbiz..

(Sorry, but this is prophecy)-
Jean Grae: Expect "my heart is / my dick or vagina is" quotes for 3 weeks.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

ROD: G-Unit- The Medium Is The Message

Rapper(s) of the Decade is a mixtape series curated by myself that will span 2010. Each month I'll be dedicating a mixtape to the 12 Rappers and Groups I felt proved most instrumental in shaping the last decade in Hip Hop in no particular order. February's installment belongs to G-Unit.

Download: The Medium Is The Message

And so Curtis Jackson turned his back on an Industry that had turned its back on him. The powers that be could hardly be blamed. From his first words the MC from South Jamaica who jacked his moniker from an infamous Brooklyn stick-up kid courted controversy. His first track was enough to kill careers far more established than his. Using his rap name as a concept, he stole another Brooklyn product’s fantasy of fucking divas and skewed it. By Jackson’s hand it became a day dream about robbing rappers, it was the very first time 50 displayed his practice of using conflict to earn buzz, and it worked with the song being featured on the soundtrack for a little seen LL Cool J vehicle. More than a few of the individuals named weren’t pleased. Then he got shot.

But it wasn’t “How to Rob” that almost killed 50 Cent and resulted in the death of his mentor Jam Master Jay. It was “Ghetto Qu’ran”, one of the best tracks off his still phenomenal debut, Power of the Dollar. The song is vintage 50, effortlessly lyrical in the way he once was, not punchline heavy but possessed with a distinct, authorial voice. It’s a ruminative look back on Queens Street Legends, the death and ugliness that followed them, the hard wars fought and lost retold with a kind of awe and sadness at the dark history witnessed. It cut too close to truth for some, particularly Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff who felt the song was dry snitching and had 50 blackballed and nearly killed. 50 miraculously survived being shot nine times at close range but his career was in far worse shape. A young rapper who appeared to have little appeal beyond the street and was apparently into business serious enough to warrant homicide was too much for the decision makers at Columbia. Jackson was dropped from his label.

It’s easy to forget that the turn of the century was one of Hip Hop’s darkest moments. The medium had reached its commercial peak and creative valley. One could sense something along the lines of a hangover following the deaths of Pac and Biggie. The major labels had an iron grip on the industry and a guy like Nelly, who proudly proclaimed the lack of balance or personality in his music, was a platinum posterboy for the commercial state of the genre. There was music approximating traditional Rap grime available but even that felt (and looking back especially feels) like a caricature, and was littered with pop concession. It was in this environment that 50 re-emerged and his music provided a dose of something that felt refreshingly raw, personable. He was an underdog, anti-establishment and locked in a blood feud with what seemed like his inverse, Ja Rule, then peddler of wildly popular 106 & Park monster hooks.

Early G-Unit is a study in subversion. It had been common place for an MC to drop a 16 on a popular beat of the moment, a snippet amidst a DJ compiled showcase of bootleg tracks and previews. 50 took the formula a step further, remaking the entire song, complete with hooks and cameos. He didn’t settle for an 80 second interlude lumped in with the also-rans of the mixtape game but began releasing his own full length albums featuring himself and his artists, wrestling control from taste making payola whores like Clue and Kay Slay. He recorded a verse on Missy Elliot’s “Work It”, basically saying she’s gross and he would only fuck her for money, and incredibly it became an official remix and radio hit. A vanilla LL Cool J panty dropper is a reprimand to gold diggers, a big budget Busta Rhymes Janet Jackson collab becomes a blowjob anthem, an Angie Martinez novelty piece of shit about going on tropical vacations is suddenly a decidedly unromantic ode to brief sexual interludes at a telly up the block. These are some of the genuinely funniest Rap songs ever made. And what’s more, the addictive remixes consistently improved on their source material. 50 mastered in satire, poking fun at the originals yet creating superior songs out of them that work on their own merits.

With his rhymes, both on Power of the Dollar and on those seminal mixtapes, 50 is great at showing us the hood stripped of its drama or glorification and infused with biting black and blue insider humor. His debut featured several small vignettes, waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning to go sell guns, re-upping at the neighborhood bodega, he’s not just listing detail or using it to press emotional buttons but locating its place in a familiar universe through disaffected eyes. Regardless of the severity of a given situation he never loses his cool or levity.

But 50’s biggest asset has always been his ability to convey his personality, through his rhymes but perhaps more importantly around his rhymes. With the small snippets of chatter moving into or out of tracks, ad-libs and skits 50 reinforced his asshole wit. On “It Is What It Is” 50 delivers lukewarm Murda Inc. indictments over Talib Kweli’s “Get By”, but saves the real devastation for a rambling series of on point character assassinations post verse (If you make it to the McDonald's Apple Pie ditty you will crack an "oh shit" between gasps). His mic persona is a brutally mean spirited, quick witted hood, the guy on the block no one wants to fuck with in the dozens. 50 is laugh out loud funny here as he absolutely pulls Ja’s card, and it’s exemplary of the lightheartedness that these tapes assumed even at their most vicious, an essential aspect of G-Unit that was never quite recaptured on major label releases.

2Pac showed us the value in a posse, how a couple of so-so handlers can turn half a CD worth of content into a double album magnum opus. Weed carrier releases had become a pervasive industry trend, it seemed like every established rapper had a crew to put on. An LP for fans to get a little something more from an artist in between albums. While this formula enabled 50 to release a staggering amount of material over the course of a few short years, it would be a mistake to overlook the importance of Lloyd Banks, and to a lesser extent Tony Yayo in 50’s success. The banner “G-Unit” became a vital part of 50’s identity. At one point his catchy crew calling card rang out from city to suburb. And in terms of actual quality, at least in New York, Lloyd Banks owned the two crucial summers that built 50 into the artist deemed worthy of a bidding war and 7 digit contract.

Banks was the street cred, the substance behind 50’s swagger that made those mixtapes essential material. He’s a gifted if not extraordinarily innovative rapper in the mixtape tradition, a descendant of Kane and Big L and Big Pun. His bars are filled with intricate structure and humorous wordplay that toys with our notions of pop culture figures or items and how they can be employed in rhyme, getting blown like a Nintendo cartridge and busting down competition like a Marlboro. Tony Yayo best served the crew as a comedic foil. He had his moments of inspiration (particularly his hilarious curveball on “Fat Bitch”) which are chronicled on the accompanying mixtape but his greatest contribution may very well have been his absence. His incarceration only reinforced G-Unit’s authenticity and resulted in a culturally pervasive t-shirt campaign.

Another feature of “Ghetto Qu’ran” that you’d be foolish to ignore is its fantastic hook, a sweet little chorus stays with you. During his reign 50 proved to be one the all-time great and most prolific writers of Hip Hop hooks. Even as he’s following the basic structure of the songs he’s making his own on his G-Unit Remixes, the talent for melody is apparent in the musical cadence he brings to his verses and hooks in endearing slightly off key rasp. When 50 got his Aftermath contract it was an exciting time. One got the sense that the inmates were finally running the asylum and Rap would return to the music you’d missed so badly during the Bling era. That with his sudden elevation from street urchin to sultan 50 would infuse a pristine mainstream with his distinct brand of brow arched gangster. Then you heard “21 Questions” for the first time and realized the new boss wasn’t so different than the old one.

The mixtape game became College Basketball, a farm system, the street suddenly got a position with every record label as an unofficial A&R. This game change had its positive aspects. Who knows where Lil Wayne would be right now if we only had his studio albums to build on? More importantly who knows what those studio albums would sound like if he didn’t have Squad Up as a training ground? On the other hand, Shamele Mackie got 1.5 million dollars. The real lasting contribution G-Unit has made is changing the face of the mixtape. Showing how the underground can be utilized as a viable, valuable place for a popular artist to market himself as well as experiment. In the street album, rappers have been given their own spaces where samples don’t need to be cleared, execs have no say and the only people that need be pleased are the artists themselves, with the upside of receiving wide ranging feedback on their progress and the ability to change perception or make a name for themselves. In short, for G-Unit, their impact on the last 10 years certainly was in what they said, but perhaps more importantly, it was in how they said it.

1. Mind Playing Tricks God’s Plan (2002)
2. Bad News 50 Cent Is The Future (2002)
3. I Smell Pussy Beg For Mercy (2003)
4. The Banks Workout 50 Cent Is The Future (2002)
5. Short Stay God’s Plan (2002)
6. Round Here DJ Clue Stadium Series Part 1: Mixtapes for Dummies (2001)
7. Elementary (ft. Scarlett) No Mercy No Fear (2002)
8. It Is What It Is G-Unit Radio 2: International Ballers (2003)
9. 187 Yayo God’s Plan (2002)
10. Symphony 2003 (Bank$ excerpt) DJ Famous: The Best of Lloyd Bank$ Part 1 (2003)
11. Fat Bitch No Mercy No Fear (2002)
12. 50 n Bank$ 50 Cent Is The Future (2002)
13. Kick In The Door DJ Whoo Kid: S.W.A.T. (2004)
14. After My Cheddar No Mercy No Fear (2002)
15. Thicker Than Water (Remix) New York City Edition (2003)
16. Hot 97 Funkmaster Flex Freestyle Part 2 The Best of Tony Yayo (Free Yayo) (2003)
17. Banks Victory No Mercy No Fear (2002)
18. Just Fuckin Around 50 Cent Is The Future (2002)
19. Baby Get On Yo Knees G-Unit Radio Pt. 1: Smokin’ Day 2 (2003)
20. It Blows My Mind Lloyd Bank$- Rookie Of The Year (2004)
21. Doin My Own Thing Automatic Gunfire (2003)
22. Gangstad Up God’s Plan (2002)

Hip Hop Tweets: Feb 8

A semi regular roundup of the best Tweets in and around the Hip Hop Community.

Freddie Gibbs: I just seen Stevie Wonder in a volkswagen commercial, I wonder if they let him test drive

Yelawolf: Mayonnaise ; or Mayunaze : an expresiion of surprise or excitement translation : man there is, example : mayunaze allotuh' beer backstage

: I haven't slept in 78 hrs. I'm going sleep now

Scarface: is sade album good somebody tweeted not so hot?????

Slim Thug: Dam I ordered a stuffed lobster but I'm already full off the appetizers

Crooked I: I luv it when everybody goes crazy over a song and then when I listen to it tha shit is trash..

G Mane
: Wayne is cool and all but dead that Free Weezy shit. he did a crime. time to back up all that tough talk and do his bid

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hip Hop Tweets: Feb 5

A semi regular roundup of the best Tweets in and around the Hip Hop Community.

David Banner: whats a stan

Freddie Gibbs
: All y'all niggaz from Gary that know y'all grew up as BEAR fans please stop dick ridin' the colts cuz they in the super bowl

Noz: @notrivia you can donate but if any of the bills have xd out doodles of diplo or the word "pomo" written on them i am scanning that shit.

Peter Rosenberg
: Hot 97 officially added Exhibit C by @jayelectronica .. shout out to @djenuff ...woo hoo...we got one

Talib Kweli
: Just finished Catcher In The Rye. First time I read it. Holden Caulfield was kind of a lil b*tch huh? Did he end up in the psych ward?

Bow Wow: I'm ready for a new Nas Album


Memories of my Melancholy Ho's

Nicki Minaj used to rap like a bored phone sex operator. Now she spits wildly, a flow filled with affectations, groans and rumbles not so far from the excesses her label CEO practices. I have yet to come across an opinion I respect on the internet or amongst friends who doesn’t universally revile her. That’s not to say she’s without her fans, at the moment Minaj is the Pop cameo du jour, she’s a part of 3 certified hits(Young Money’s “Bedrock”, Usher’s “Little Freak” and her own “I Get Crazy”) garnering regular rotation and has a fanatical cult of young fans. For what it’s worth I haven’t made my mind up. We're here today because what struck me, almost from the first verse I heard from her in her new incarnation, is how much Minaj reminds me of vintage Lil Kim. In her flow, in her style, in the controversy she spurs.

Biggie- Queen Bitch Reference Track

There was a time when first Biggie then Jay-Z were enemies of the Hip Hop state. Highbrow critics and Jeru Da Damaja didn’t like them for the too easy critiques of content and message, Raekwon didn’t like the lack of originality, everyone hated Puff. Jay-Z was reviled for his insistence on relentlessly working name brands into his rhymes, if Biggie’s crack rap wasn’t bad enough, you have to take what little substance the music has and infuse it with advertisements and the endorsement of hollow materialism? These critiques were largely alarmist, ignoring the true popular pulse of the moment and faded pretty quickly. But the point is that even though now it seems logical for Biggie and Jay to promote artists and have said artists received with universal acceptance by an adoring public, there was a large audience ready to hate their side projects, Hard Core (Biggie) and Foxy Brown's Ill Na Na (Jay-Z). And a large audience did.

Before Kim and Fox, the tradition of the female MC had been wildly different, and it would never be the same again. Traditionalists point to the Roxannes, the Lytes, the Latifahs as an old guard, a sacrament which these two scandalous bitches had violated. For all intents and purposes, these MCs rapped like men, they wore their influences on their sleeves and even as they discussed women’s issues, delivered in hard boom bap spit. Salt-N-Pepa provided something like a bridge, introducing sexuality to the conversation and rapping in a style that wasn't trying to ape a dude. Still, you get something very different from the flows of Kim and Fox, both of whom had men writing their rhymes and guiding them through their verses. In the casual lisp, the way words are dragged or even moaned, the women push the envelope further, flaunt sexuality and embrace a less (or more?) empowered sense of femininity.

I’m not going to get into the heady stuff of what this all meant, whether they were whores or feminists, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith because I don’t have the patience, framework or particular interest in the question. What I can say with conviction is Hardcore and Ill Na Na are great albums. My favorite Hip Hop records ever made by women, and two of my favorites made in the late 90s period. Hardcore is the masterpiece. It came first, it’s the lost Biggie record sitting in broad daylight, and like Ill Na Na it features great, exemplary production from the period front to back. Biggie and Jay challenged our sense of decency, writing rhymes in which girls proudly displayed their cunts and bragged at sexual proficiency in ways men were once only allowed to. It sparked debate over whether or not these chicks were actually good. If they were good, is this good for Hip Hop?

Another question I won’t go near with a ten foot pole. What I can tell you is what happened. The female MC has remained a disparaged minority in the Hip Hop community. The girls who have gained small measures of brief success have been more heiresses of Kim and Fox than Latifah and Lyte. I’m thinking Remy Ma, Trina or Shawnna with all respect due to Rah Digga (who borrowed from both traditions) and Jean Grae (Who does not). But Minaj, if she can capitalize on her buzz, is poised to become the biggest female MC since Fox and Kim. She's part of a team that's currently making taste in Hip Hop and already has achieved a level of success comparable to if not exceeding any of the femCs I just listed. Drake is probably writing her rhymes and coaching her through her verses. The verses themselves are pretty elementary punchlines and gags with vocal fireworks, she raps about bisexuality and like a hypersexualized 12 year old having an occasional temper tantrum. She refers to herself as Barbie and encourages her young female fans to show their tits. Is this a good thing? You decide. But it’s certainly not the end of the world, nor is it without precedent.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Subconscious Art of Occasional Blogging

Can no longer remember who pulled my coat to this eight odd years ago so I'm unsure who to thank, but to me this is an absolute classic. It's a spare, quirky, beautifully shot and paced 15 minute documentary about, true to title, the unintentional art that has arisen from the act of painting over graffiti. Matt McCormick, the film's writer and director, saw Rothkos in the paint blotches used to buff the stylized public signatures on the streets of Portland and by the end of the film you will too. It's a quick primer on a particular approach to modern art and could very well affect the way you look at the everyday ephemera clotting your neighborhood, wherever that may be. Tragically, there is another form of graffiti removal now popular on the other side of Brooklyn, shown below, once again proving that by the end of his administration, (assuming he ever leaves office) the tandem of Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg will have succeeded in killing everything fun and interesting in this city, conscious or not.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hip Hop Tweets: Feb 1

A semi regular roundup of the best Tweets in and around the Hip Hop Community.

Soulja Boy: All my fans I got a question, What would be the perfect Soulja Boy TV show that you would watch?

Skillz: I'm it what you want...but will some1 please put Being Bobby Brown on dvd?!?! PuuuuUlleeeeese! Shut up..just shut up..shut up!!

Styles P
: that ginger ale ain't help at all! and why am I this sore and where did that lump on my knee come from?and I'm missing some money damn yack

Talib Kweli: Watching There Will Be Blood. Paul Dano plays Paul & Eli Sunday as brothers, but it would have been iller if they were the same person

G Mane: listenin 2 bun b new mixtape-no i even need 2 explain?

Ace Hood
: Ima fool for oldskool musik! Relaxes my mind!! Pattie,luther,teddy p,marvin,earth wind and fire, just to name a few..oldie goldies MR.HOOD

Just Blaze: Attn Joe Budden. Again, I have all the files from your first album. I don't want to throw it out but its gotta go. Holla.

You Must Love My Catalog

So let's start by saying Reasonable Doubt is Jay-Z's best album. We've heard it enough times at this point that the spoken word that opens "Can I Live", the cool headed menace of "Fried or Foe", the wise beyond his years, resigned, dutiful weariness permeating "D'evils" and "Dead Presidents", the pitch perfect production that complements it all is familiar to us as The Happy Birthday song. It's one of Rap's very few perfect albums but it's a consensus favorite. The album has lost all its excitement and mystery, so what we're really debating as we hash out Blueprint vs. The Life & Times of S. Carter or Roc La Familia vs. Hard Knock Life is what album gets the silver medal.

For me the winner just might be it's chronological successor, In My Lifetime. At the time it was released, I was not alone in thinking Hov had hit a Sophomore slump. (Jay-Z himself conceded to The Source the album was disappointment on the eve of Hard Knock Life) But it has aged incredibly well. The balance isn't so much in juggling street singles and pop as he did pretty masterfully on Hard Knock Life and The Blueprint, a majority of the album warrants a video. The balance comes in the singles themselves. The witty "A Million and One Questions" might be his best work with Primo, "Streets is Watching" and "The City Is Mine" are glossy Usual Suspects stylized Goines dramas but Jay carries both and they're classics of their genre. "I Know What Girls Like" and "(Always be my) Sunshine" are two of Jay's worst songs that aren't on BP 2 but they're more than balanced by one of his best pimp anthems "Who you wit 2" and the slick "Imaginary Player".

But it's his hood concessions "Where I'm from", "Face Off", "Real Niggas" and today's feature "You Must Love Me" that make this album my favorite to dust off every few months and burn through. It's some of Jay's best writing, a lofty sentiment for an artist so consistent and prolific. "You Must Love Me" was his first, and best introspective song, taking three difficult anecdotes from his life and writing to theme, a model he invented here and would revisit many times. "You Must Love Me" feels raw, is detailed in a way "Song Cry" and his contribution to "This Can't Be Life" aren't. The song carries a self admonishment, an admission of guilt that separates it from the others. There's still the obvious, self serving wailing Jay has always practiced, even when in the wrong he wins the shoot-out and has the girl who's willing to play mule, but he's doing his best job explaining his remorse, where he fucked up exactly. There are so many moments, particularly in the vignette dedicated to the mentor he faces off with. The verse has an immediacy, he puts us in his shoes and head ("High off, more than weed") in ways he'd never accomplished before and has not since. It's drama that doesn't feel forced or contrived and gives this great album the send off it deserves.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hip Hop Tweets at the Grammys

A semi regular roundup of the best Tweets in and around the Hip Hop community. Today's installment is dedicated to last night's Grammy ceremony I didn't watch.

Pill: Ricky Martin? How da hell did u even get to the Grammy's?

Jim Jones
: My vote goes to pink for the Grammies she went in wit her stripper outfit wow

: i really truly want "Im On A Boat" to win the rap category.

Wale: Lady gaga could wear an astronaut uniform with a banana peal on her head..and these paps would still worship her outfit

: Y were none of the hiphop categories on t.v. For grammys?

Freddie Gibbs: While u dick-ridin at the grammy parties I'm in the lab.