Posts Tagged ‘K. Michelle’

Greetings all,

As promised, I’m dropping my review for the Fly Rebel Society’s newest collection reFRSH (finally). For those who are unfamiliar with the collective, check out some of my previous coverage of them.

 

The first track, “reCAP,” serves as an introduction and, well, a recap of who they are (Lega-c, Ryda Black, Cooley, TeeJay, and godlymC), what they bring to the game (five distinct, but well-meshed sounds) and why listeners should pay attention to them. The next two tracks from the collection, “Wake Up” and “Introverts Theme Song” feature some sick jazz-rap production. Perfect for that smoking session (that I don’t necessarily promote, but if that’s you, do you), both tracks still drop some gems of knowledge and overall dopeness. One sampling of lines that stands out to me goes as follows:

Need more ‘Good Times’ ‘fore I’m cancelled/
Need to clear my head like a sample/
Dismantle each beat, I’ve got problems I can’t handle
[Shoot], with the Scandals, I don’t watch TV unless I’m on it…

That group of lines in some ways summarizes the album as a whole: fun rap, emotional rap, and retrospective rap all in an hour-plus collection.

From the jazzy Tribe-like flows, listeners are blown away by bass and bravado-heavy tracks such as “Grind,” jazz-meets-heavy-rap tracks such as “She Hearts Raps,” and tracks that fans of artists like J. Cole will rock with such as “Rearview.” This project has a song for every type of listener. Also, with FRS, listeners are given a cohesive group that shines individually and collectively. reFRSH is no different from this formula, considering there are “solo” tracks and posse cuts, and both shine just as bright as the previous track. Overall, the collection has something for everyone, and is a great early summer release. The only grievance I can think of is that the constant switch between styles may take some listeners by surprise. But, at least it’ll keep listeners on their toes.

#SkiesAintSafe.

K. Michelle vs. Perez Hilton and Iggy Azalea (Or Something Like That)

iggy-azalea-billboard.com

Now, I usually try to stay away from gossip and the like. But, since it does deal with some things I feel are big issues in music, I’ll speak on it.

For those who missed it, K. Michelle got a bit heated about Iggy’s southern rap flow (and subsequent Australian accent). Perez came to Iggy’s defense, which sparked a war of words, including some not-safe-for-work terms and suggestions. Now, I’m not a big fan of Iggy Azalea. Big KRIT warned us about impostors jacking Southern ways and appropriating them for their own use. Secondly, Iggy’s got some moments, but it’s nothing I haven’t heard before from a slew of other artists. But, she’s a character, exaggerated for “Joe Listener” to both identify with and laugh at/with. With that said, I’ve got to ask a few questions:

  • Should we be mad at Iggy for adopting a Southern persona?
  • Should we be mad at executives who feel that parading a woman from Mullumbimby playing the role of Southern pop-rap-meets-gangsta-rap princess as “authentic” is the right thing to do?
  • Or…should we shut up and enjoy her brand of pop-rap–or turn it off if we don’t rock with it?

Honestly, I’m a bit “ugh” or what-have-you over her appropriating what she views as southern culture. But, by the same token, she’s not representative of Southern culture as a whole (just one eschewed subset of it). And, if listening to Iggy Azalea can introduce a legion of teenyboppers to “real” Southern artists and “real” rap, I’m cautiously, for it. Notice, however, that I removed race from the equation. Yes, part of Iggy’s appeal is that she is a blond white Australian woman who raps like Diamond from Crime Mob. But, these days, I’d like to have a conversation about a black person and a white person without their race being the reason why I’m discussing them.

Maya Angelou Passes at 86

maya-angelou

I know, I should have saved this for another post, but I’d rather not overwhelm people with Speed musings. Dr. Angelou’s impact on myself and artists worldwide can never be measured. I could take up pages upon pages upon pages gushing over Dr. Angelou’s amazing gift(s). However, I’d like to talk a bit about her late 1950’s album Miss Calypso (which, unfortunately, you can’t find using typical means and either have to buy from third-parties or stream from YouTube). Considering a lot, it’s a pretty unique find. It’s both haunting and just “cool” to hear/see a different side of such an esteemed person. Haunting because her poetic voice shines through and makes even a “simple” calypso song resonate and “cool” because it’s Maya Angelou singing.

Chuck Brown lovers have to appreciate her cover of the song Chuck covered himself, “Run Joe.” While I prefer Chuck’s cover, it’s amazing to hear Dr. Angelou’s voice do this song justice.

 

Until next time guys.

(Disclaimer: The thoughts in this post are the views of Speed on the Beat and do not necessarily reflect the views of all involved with Thee Arteest, even though I hope they do. Seriously, there’s got to be a better way)

It seems that this year is the year of the Duck(worth), as Mr. “I Tuck [Sensitive] Rappers Back into Pajama Clothes” has yet another headline-stealing week.

Hii-Fivver

The K Dot Hii-Five. The rap equivalent of the “YES!” chant.

Hot on the heels of avoiding a potential split of Black Hippy (read: as real as Santa Claws), Kendrick pulled his best Kanye West impression and, per reports, decided to ditch the GQ Man of the Year Party. You know, the same “award” that he just won a little while ago and looked quite uncomfortable on the cover for? His decision stems from the rapper feeling (potentially rightfully so) some type of way about how the magazine portrayed him and his image. This seems to be a constant theme with the BH camp – and rappers as a whole these days. Sheesh! What happened to the days when outsiders – not [just] those outsiders, Lord Jamar – observed and kept it at that. Oh, wait, they never happened. But, I digress.

Uncomfortable smiles show the deepest disdain

Uncomfortable smiles show the deepest disdain

This whole thing stinks of some sort of post-racism racism (if you want to read more about my thoughts on that as a whole, check out this link). I mean, let’s look at some of the things the interviewer said about Kendrick and hip-hop as a whole. During his time with Lamar, Steve Marsh states that “[he didn’t see] anyone roll even the thinnest spider leg of a jay, nor did [he] see Kendrick so much as glance at the many, many girls around him.” Essentially, the writer is surprised–flabbergasted, even–that this group of young blacks didn’t revert to their “tribal” roots and attempt to have sex with every woman within earshot and/or get blitzed out of their minds while toting “gats” out the windows. Now, I don’t know Steve Marsh. I have nothing to go off of his knowledge of rap music–or, hell, even black people–other than what he’s giving us here (and his profiles of NBA players’ style choices). And what he’s giving us is stereotyped-seeped drivel that’ll do nothing but further the idea that blacks are dangerous (and those who aren’t are one in a million). And let’s not even get into the Kendrick/Suge Knight comparison or I’ll drop more four-letter words than K. Michelle’s body suit dropped jaws. But, we, to a degree have to wonder: is it up to Steve Marsh to write a piece on Kendrick Lamar that presents him accurately? Or is it up to Marsh to present him in a way that is easy for the majority of the GQ audience to get into (in other words, the “non-threatening, but still threatening, negro boy from the ‘hood that’s trying to be respectful of people’s sensibilities while still showcasing ‘real n-word ish'”) and then either rally around or reject?

I wish it was the first one.

Inversely, and not even rap-related (but still related to the problems I’m speaking on here), there’s a big brouhaha brewing about this “knockout” game. I’m not going to go into specifics, but it involves groups of teens stalking people to attempt a one-hit knockout on. Most of these groups are, per reports and videos, groups of young black kids. This isn’t a new thing! Similar situations, such as the Bum Fight videos, snuff films, and so on, have been in existence for years! But, the media will show–and then focus on–young black kids hitting old Jewish guys, children, and women because it allows for a more “victim versus aggressor” picture. If it were a group of white kids, it’d still be promoted/pursued, but seemingly in a way akin to those prankster kids who were throwing milk jugs at people, based on reactions seen in similar instances of civil disobedience. Groups of young black men scare people. Groups of young blacks hitting people? Exponentially more so.

Now, I want you to know this: I do not dislike white people. I’m part white myself on my father’s side. Some of my best friends are indeed white and have been there for me in trying times even more than my black friends. I think that black people sometimes allow for these stereotypes to continue. I also think that black people sometimes focus on the wrong things in our community. Ultimately, I want peace and unity and all that warm and fuzzy stuff. But, enough is enough, from both sides of this debate! How many more Trayvon Martin’s and George Zimmerman’s (on any and every side) will we have to go through before people finally stop acting like morons about race? It’s a touchy subject, and one I didn’t expect to get into on this level in this post, but it’s one that needs to be talked about.

Am I the best person to talk about it? Probably not. But, someone’s got to start the talk, lest we all just let our society fall, fail, and falter.

P.S.: Check out the GQ Article here and let us know how you feel about this issue.