Greetings, Earthlings. It is I, the No-Fi King with another “This Week in Hip-Hop.” This week, we will focus on the following: Kanye’s At It Again(?), Lupe’s Story Time, and Paul Walker’s death (yes, Paul Walker has hip-hop connections aside from just appearing with Ludacris).
Now, I know that you’ve all seen Kanye’s dissertations/rants/fails at escaping anti-blackness over the past few days/weeks. Most of which, while funny, have kind of painted a potentially tainted picture of what Kanye West represents and who he is as a person. Kanye has, to a degree, come to represent the angry black male who thinks they know about “The Problem,” but when questioned on their beliefs, they’d rather “revolt” (take note of the quotes on that word) than answer the question and facilitate actual growth. You tend to see this with some pro-black groups these days. But, that’s not what this post is about.
Yesterday, Kanye West put himself in the shoes of one of the Original Rap God(s), Christopher Wallace, by saying that Biggie probably would’ve disliked the beats for “Juicy” and “Big Poppa” as much as Yeezus Khristdashian does. Now, call me the Devil’s Advocate, but I don’t think that Biggie would’ve signed off on a track if he didn’t mess with it even remotely. We know the “story” that Puff pushed Big into making more mainstream songs. But I’m pretty sure that Big was just as cool with it once he saw the money and the buzz it got him for his non-“Juicy” songs. And regarding the beat selection? ‘Ye indicates that he personally disliked them because of their non-ATCQ sound. Now, I like jazz rap as much as the next guy. I’m kind of a backpacker. But, you can’t really dislike those beats and call yourself “hip-hop,” solely off the strength that they’re simplistic enough to get everyone intrigued with what you’re saying. That’s the criteria of a classic song. A decent beat, amazing lyrics, and a relatable situation/story. If that’s not hip-hop, Arteest, I think I should just leave here or change this post to “This Week in Chicken and Waffles” because I don’t know what’s wrong with the world.
Next, rapper/preacher/activist/potentially gifted (no Wale) person Lupe Fiasco announced that he was dropping a new project on Twitter. That project is…a novel…on Twitter, that’s some sort of neo-noire meets otaku meets hip-hop project. Essentially, Samurai Champloo without (pardon the pun) The Cool and more LASERS. When I read the words “robotic Kevlar jellyfish” in reference to faux female anatomy, I knew I was stepping into something…not good and potentially conceived from a scattered brain. Now, I applaud Lupe on trying something different. But, at least make it good. This seems like something that I would’ve written in high school and thought was genius, then got to college and trashed five times over.
But that’s just me.
And, finally, on a sadder note (as I’m sure you all are aware), actor Paul Walker and his friend/business partner Roger Rodas were killed this past Saturday when the Ferrari they were driving in crashed and burst into flames. Walker was 40 and Rodas was 38. My condolences go out to those directly effected by this tragedy. On a more music side, the Fast and the Furious series has put a lot of people on to hip-hop in a sense. For instance, before the second installment, I would have never thought I’d see Ludacris in a movie. And then, he appeared in Crash and blew me away. I think his casting had something to do with the fact that he’d shown some potential in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Furthermore, the franchise and its use of hip-hop has allowed for a gateway into the culture. May you both rest in peace. The below video was taken from Tyrese’s Instagram on Walker’s 40th birthday.
And this concludes another week in hip-hop. In light of the whole Paul Walker thing (and some other personal concerns), I want to leave you all with one thought. Live every day as if it’s your last. Yeah, I know that we hear “YOLO” every day, but many don’t.