Posts Tagged ‘Kendrick Lamar’

Greetings, all.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple days, you’ve probably heard the news about Macklemore taking home everything but the kitchen sink quite a few Grammy Awards this past Sunday. This post isn’t about Macklemore’s win. More power to the guy, even though I’m not the biggest fan of The Heist. This post is more about two things. First, the Grammy system and then the average hip-hop fan. This is going to be a mouthful, so bear with me.

Welcome to Speed on the Beat's "Understanding the Grammys."

Welcome to Speed on the Beat’s “Understanding the Grammys (Kind Of)”

In order to speak on the Grammy system, we must know how it works. I won’t go into every nook and cranny, but here’s the gist of the main process. The Recording Academy indicates that, for this past cycle, the eligibility timeline was between 10/1/12 and 09/30/13. After that date, the Committee filtered through the submissions and began the nomination process around November (these sorts of things are usually capped off with a big concert shown on CBS). After the nominees are picked, over the next few weeks, nominees are voted on again (a person can only vote for 20 individual fields and the “Big Four,” Album/New Artist/Song/Record of the Year). Once all votes are cast, ballots are “tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Deloitte,” to have the winner revealed at the Ceremonies.

Personally, I’d like to see the timeline changed to reflect a calendar year. For instance, the 57th Grammy Awards in 2015 would showcase releases from the calendar year 2014. That way, albums that were released at the end of the year can be considered just as much as ones from the beginning. Sure, it’d push the awards back a few weeks, but a simple Google search shows earlier ceremonies (even up until the early 2000s) took place anywhere between late-February and early April. So, it (potentially) wouldn’t take much to allow this change. Heck, CBS could even show the nominees show around the Super Bowl season to maximize on viewership (that time is usually a dead time for broadcasters anyway, due to midseason breaks, etc.)

Secondly, after the overhaul of 2012, many awards were merged together. For instance, most R&B album categories were combined to create the blanket “Best R&B Album” and “Best Urban Contemporary Album” categories. What that means is that Rihanna will appear in a category with Tamar Braxton (Urban Contemporary). This is not meant to be ageist, even though it undoubtedly will sound such, but Tamar and Rihanna are on different planets (no matter how much Tamar you hear on WKYS). Heck, you could even argue that Rihanna’s album(s) have been more pop than anything. This argument actually gets to the root of my issue with the Grammys. They’re not racist, per se, but the way categories are voted on and put together is archaic. Yes, we can lump ten categories into one to save time, but it ultimately perpetuates a mindstate of conformity. It also paints artists with broad strokes, rather than honor them for what they did with their works. It limits the open-mindedness of the audience, as listeners will begin to believe that all “urban contemporary” sounds like Rihanna (or even a Tamar) and shun acts that don’t conform to that idea.

Thankfully, almost any artist can register to become a member. So, if you’re an artist that doesn’t like the way things are going down. Make sure your liner notes are on Discogs (that’s something I need to do myself) and that your albums are available for worldwide consumption. After that? Submit your application, hope you get accepted, then enact that change.


…and hopefully, you’ll get to high-five your way to success(fully changing the mindset of our world)

Now, my next point? I’ll keep it brief, but I’d like to talk to my hip-hop heads. Yes, you, the ones that are fake mad at Macklemore for beating Kendrick Lamar. Let me break it down to you like this. Even if we get a Grammy Selection Committee that’s full of people like me and you, there’s a chance that your favorite album will still be ignored. Why? Well, to be honest, it’s a numbers game. You, my friends, have to support your favorite artists (buy their music, tweet about them, tell others to buy their music, etc.) or no one else will. These artists, they’re doing fine with or without a Grammy. But, if we, as fans/fellow artists, want to see change and see more recognition for “The Real,” then we’ve got to recognize it ourselves. Plain and simple.

Finally, be sure to check my own new song “Thanatos (Stories Through Music)” out. A portion of all sales/paid streams from it will be donated to charity efforts in the DMV, such as Will Rap 4 Food, Inc., and to promote education efforts in the area (including a college fund for my own little one). Like I’ve said time and time again, we’re all we’ve got. So, be the change that you seek.

Until next time.

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Greetings, all.

In between the snow, wind, rain, and so-on of the past seven or so days, I legitimately haven’t had much time to peep some of the hip-hop happenings of this week. Add in the fact that I’m also working on my own musical projects at the moment (Ed. Note: #Thanatos128 is the first single from my next album, and it drops everywhere on 1.28.14) and I’ve had my eyes and ears away from most music that doesn’t contain a “Speed on the Beat!” dropped in there somewhere. Thus is the tragedy of a hip-hop blogger/artist/brand manager. Sometimes, you get overwhelmed and miss some stuff.

But, enough about me (I’ve got all next week to rave about me). This week, I want to talk to the aspiring artists out there. No, this won’t be a retread of my “Dear (Internet) Rappers” series. Because those, well, those are for the rappers who just started out, or those who have the business sense of a fresh-in-the-booth artist. Today, I want to talk to the rappers who’ve done everything right, but still find themselves losing out.

You may find yourself asking, “Why can’t I get on?” especially if you’ve dropped tape after tape after tape of halfway solid material. This can lead to a lack of faith, resulting in you switching your style up completely (in other words, you go from Kendrick Lamar to Gunplay in a matter of seconds) because you feel that style B is more complementary to what’s “hot.” That is the first step to failure. If what you’re doing isn’t reaching an audience, perhaps you should try a different audience.

Take for instance, myself with the whole “no-fi” thing. A lot of traditional rap blogs/fans were a bit hesitant to embrace it. Heck, who can blame them? I was making music that intentionally sounded like I recorded it underwater in the 1990s with 1980s equipment. I was distraught when I received my first couple rejection notices. But, then I thought to myself “hey, since ‘no-fi’ is more of a grunge-type of approach to music, I should find bloggers that know about grunge and hip-hop.” Surely enough, I began seeing my name appear on more blogs and saw the Speed on the Beat brand grow as a result of fine-tuning my efforts. Yes, casting a wide net is cool, but you’ll often end up with more water instead of fish. If you’re as dedicated as you say you are, you’ll find blogs and fans that are more likely to be receptive to you. If you can amass a large enough following from the so-called “little guys,” eventually the bigger fish will have no choice but to follow suit.

Simply put, the indie artist is Daniel Bryan to many a “big blog” (Ed. Note: I would’ve said CM Punk, but Bryan’s appearance is more “everyman” and therefore further illustrates the connection).

And just like DB, the indie artist may very well want to kick someone's head off.

And just like DB, the indie artist may very well want to kick someone’s head off.

Sure, the indie may be technically sound. The indie artist may have a decent fan base and a small amount of recognition from some prestigious places. The indie artist may even be the so-called antidote to what ails “mainstream” hip-hop. But, some bigger blogs feel that they’re just like the next small guy to approach them. This is often because many indie artists do exactly the things that I, and others like me, advise against. If those faux pas aren’t committed, then it’s up to the artist to make an effort to get himself recognized, if even for a catchphrase, by the big boys. Then, it’s up to both the artist to make himself known and accessible and the bigger blogs to find smaller acts to replace/complement the bigger ones. Let’s face it: Lil’ Wayne still draws views and hits, but Lil’ Wayne will not be around forever.

However, if this route doesn’t work, even after you’ve followed the “Dear (Internet) Rappers” posts to a T? If no one, and I mean NO ONE, has responded to your inquiry about hosting your song on their site, then it may be time to give it up. And while many of you may not want to hear that, it’s a simple fact. If you follow the “rules” and “etiquette” to a fault, build a fan base, build a rapport with artists/bloggers/etc. and still can’t get an iota of shine, you wouldn’t have been long for the music world anyway.

Most of us have it in us somewhere to be great. Others, well, don’t.

(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.


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.

Ok, guess who’s bizzack, even though you can’t smell the crack on my clothes. Nor do I have to relapse on hoes. Thankfully, of course. That’d just be messy. It’s the No-Fi King back with another edition of This Week in Hip-Hop on Thee Arteest!

In the same week that Diddy says that hip-hop’s gotten too soft, Ja Rule talks about his love of prison cheesecake. No, that’s not some sort of euphemism. He really made cheesecake in prison. The game done changed, Sean. People don’t want to see gangstas or “hard” music. Hell, they barely want to see artists go at each other. People’ll say they do (see: “Control”), but when the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, the internets go crazy for a bit and no one else really responds (or if they do, they don’t come correct). For instance, with “Control” and that TDE Cypher, they’ve got people hyped up–for now. Most artists have forgotten about “Control” as, while it said a lot, it still didn’t say much–in a long-term sort of way. Inversely, and I’m not championing the kid, but someone like a Chief Keef comes out talking about “bang-bang kill kill” and people are ready to call him the scourge of the earth. But, wait! I thought that’s what you wanted, more “realism” to counter the backpackers and such.


Anyhow, before I have to take this to my own blog, looks like Lupe’s going to get some Cadillatica for his new album. Big K.R.I.T is slated to appear (in some way) on Lu’s Tetsuo and Youth. Now, long-time followers of me know that I have my reservations about Lupe, but this could very well be a dope combination–especially if K.R.I.T actually spits on the track as well as produces it. Now, some of you may ask, “Weren’t KRIT and Lu on the same song before?” No. As far as I know, and as far as The Google’s told me, they appeared on separate versions of Trae’s “I’m On,” but not on the same song (aside from some random Soundcloud remixes).

Suffering from Success, or “How I Made the Same CD Twenty Times”

DJ Khaled has released another monstrocity I mean hellacious I mean weedpl–OK, you know what? They say if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it. DJ Khaled released another CD this week. If you liked his other work, you’ll probably still find something on this one you like–unless you’re tired of hearing the same people do the same song for the umpteenth time. If you grew tired of his mixtape-albums back before LeBron won a championship, then you should stay away. Stay far away. I know, “Speed hates Khaled but loves Jean Grae’s album. He’s such a snob.” No, I’m just a fan of good music. Khaled and his team have been doing, legitimately, the same song since I was in high school. I don’t care if the song’s talking about guns and butter, the socioeconomic decline of middle-class Black America, or watching a stripper do pole tricks. Just make it good, and I’ll give it a chance. That’s all I ask of music, is that it actually try to be good. Even if it fails, even if it sounds more no-fi than anything I’ve put out, even if it flops–just try. That’s what gets me about the Khaled album-tapes. There’s no sort of effort anymore to even try to make it good.

Well, I’m out until next time. Hopefully, this time next week I can actually be on a full episode of #TeamDARRadio.

So I’m sure we’ve all seen the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards Ciphers. But, I bet you haven’t seen what actor, comedian, writer and YouTube sensation Justin Hires has cooked up to parody some of pop culture’s biggest music icons of 2013 in his own version of a BET awards Hip-Hop cipher. His cipher features a faux Drake, Chief Keef, Macklemore, Miley Cyrus, and Kendrick Lamar. Although I, like you, stumbled across this while searching for the real 2013 Kendrick Lamar BET Cipher (which can be viewed Here), I was pleasantly surprised to find this hilarious parody and I felt that I just had to share it with the rest of my lovers of hip-hop and comedy. So check it out below and as usual leave a comment in the comment section to let me know what you think of the vid. (WARNING: Probably Not Safe For Watching at work…vulgar language.)


The weekend of September 28th, over forty phenomenal hip-hop acts will hit multiple stages at RFK stadium in Washington DC as Rock The Bells hip-hop festival celebrates ten years of bringing historical live performances to the masses. As a hip-hop enthusiast who has never attended a Rock The Bells festival, I am truly looking forward to this. And, as if celebrating their tenth anniversary wasn’t enough excitement for me, it’s happening during my birthday weekend. CaptureThat’s right! September 28th “x” number of years ago this lover of hip-hop was born. And “x” number of years later on that very day, this lover of hip-hop will be doing none other than celebrating his love for such a creative and influential genre at the one-and-only ROCK THE BELLS!!!! Just check out the confirmed artist lineup below and try to tell me it doesn’t make your TurnUp scales explode due to the extreme level of talent and anticipation.

Confirmed Artists

Action Bronson | Big Krit | Black Hippy ( Kendrick Lamar | Schoolboy Q | Ab-Soul | Jay Rock ) Big Daddy Kane | Bodega Bamz | Bone Thugs N Harmony | Brother Ali | Chase and Status | Common | Currensy | Danny Brown | Dilated Peoples | Dizzy Wright | Dom Kennedy | Earl Sweatshirt | Flatbush Zombies | Freeway | Girl Talk | Hit Boy | Hopsin | Immortal Technique | J Cole | Jhene Aiko | Kid Cudi | LeCrae | Mimosa | Prof | Pusha T | Rapsody & 9th Wonder | Ratking | Riff Raff | Sean P | Snow Tha Product | Supernatural | Talib Kweli | Tech N9ne | Tyler the Creator | Wale | Wu Tang Clan


And if you don’t know who a single artist in this lineup is, YOU DO NOT KNOW HIP-HOP!!! You should also probably have your vitals tested to make sure you’re alive and not some orchestra zombie who’s been feeding on harps to a tune of violins and flutes their whole life. Not a shot against classical music. Just a shot at you for not diversifying your ears. lol Anyway, some of the artists I am most excited to see perform are Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, Big Krit, Curren$y, Tyler The Creator, Pusha T, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Wale, Action Bronson, Kid Cudi and J Cole. I’m actually excited to see Riff Raff and Danny Brown perform as well. But that’s just for laughs because those dudes are some characters. With that said, I hope to see you at RFK stadium on the 28th and 29th. Click the images above for the full details of the event.



Real – Lil Wayne “How To Love”

Cool – Kendrick Lamar “A.D.H.D.”

Provocative – Beyoncé “1 + 1”