Posts Tagged ‘Lil Wayne’

This week in hip-hop saw yet another salvo fired off in one of the longest-running quasi-feuds in hip-hop. After Drake, in a Rolling Stone interview, called Jay Z’s many, many, many references to Basquiat, Warhol, and other visionaries–a word thrown around way too much for way too many people, but that’s another post for another time–“wack,” Jay fired back on Drake’s own Soulja Boy’s song. Judge for yourself, but as is typically the case, the lyrics are pretty NSFW. Although, we do get an appearance from hip-hop’s resident hermit, Jay Electronica–that’s coming from a Jay Elec fan, by the way.

Since at least 2007, Jay and YMCMB/CMR have traded bars with each other. Honestly, I enjoy the “shots” because it takes hip-hop back to those old-school days when Big and Pac were still living–or even when Fiddy went at everyone. You know, the days when rappers weren’t afraid to just throw shots at each other in a competitive nature to keep their competition on their toes–and their own buzz up. As long as it creates some “DAMN! REWIND DAT!” moments, without, you know, the fisticuffs of a Source Awards or something I’m all for the back and forth. It doesn’t seem to really be anything more than friendly competition at this point–unless we start getting “Control”-like responses from people.

Man, that song got on my nerves.

*****

Cole Alexander Hates Drake and Loves His Rap “ignorant, ratchet, and ghetto.

This is Cole Alexander, guitarist for Black Lips, a rock group out of Athens, Georgia.

cole-alexander-black-lips

I’ve never bothered to listen to Black Lips that much. I remember they had a song on the Scott Pilgrim movie soundtrack and had a sort of southern punk vibe to them. They’re the type of band hipsters love, as evidence by Alexander being chosen to talk to A.V Club about his “hatesong.”

Here’s the thing: there isn’t anything inherently wrong with a white guy liking “ratchet” rap. That’s fine and dandy. People are allowed to like what they like. What is kind of crappy about Alexander’s opinion is that it places a white, male gaze on a genre created by “minority” artists. That, plus his whole, “white people now usually don’t have to deal with racism, so they allow blacks to make racist jokes as ‘payback’ for their ‘white guilt’ and stuff” diatribe on Macklemore, whom he seems to channel in the above photo. I’ve got two sets of three words for this guy, but I can’t say them on here. So…Why The Face?

I guess I’m going to have to bring back my “Fail of the Week.” Also, Modern Family FTW.

*****

Elle Varner Doesn’t Want Anyone to “See [Her] Tonight”

Back when Elle first came out, I had a bit of a Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) going for her. She, musically, had that Chrisette Michelle thing going for her, but “cooler.” Now while her debut didn’t move the numbers some predicted (honestly, it was epic, but still had a lot of boring and/or misguided moments), it was a decent debut. Her second album, slated for a late-2014 release, seems destined to silence doubters–or die tryin’. This song captures her “Only Wanna Give It To You” vibe, splashes it over a song about rejection, and succeeds. It, in some ways, sums up her first album in about five minutes. “I’m attractive and relatively famous, but I still get antsy about being rejected. And when/if it happens, like anyone else, I get kind of sad about it. And when I get sad, I may shed a tear or two…and I don’t want people seeing that because they see me as strong and powerful and stuff.”

 *****

Indie Spotlight of the Week, “Art in Reality” by True God of #TeamDAR (Prod. by Speed on the Beat)

(Lyrics NSFW on both of these) Yes, yes, I’m tooting my own horn on this one. Sue me. The first track I’ve worked on myself since my own #MoneyWhereYoMouthIs, it speaks on True’s journey through music and music’s state as a whole. It’s a pretty awesome track that utilizes a slightly unexpected sample. Also, this:

(Sorry, Arteest, my dude. I had to. Everyone, #SupportIndieMusic)

Until next time.

-Speed

 

Greetings, all. It’s been a while–or at least, it feels like it. In the past week or so, a lot has happened in the world of hip-hop. However, instead of creating another post on Lil’ Boosie’s release and the ramifications of celebrating his release, or a post on his track with C-Murder, I’ll direct my attention to two more big happenings this past week or so.

boosie1

Sorry, Boosie. Not today.

Pharrell dropped G I R L. Yes, the album with possibly the most catchy song this side of “The Macarena,” the 24-hour-video-inspiring “Happy.” I went into this album with low(ered) expectations. Why? Well, as much as I love Pharrell’s music–and I love his music–I find sometimes that his production overpowers his lyrics (rap and otherwise) and makes the lyrics seem somewhat simplistic in comparison. This album, in some ways, is no different. It focuses more on the production than, you know, “deep” songs. But, that’s what makes it work.


(Spotify stream of G I R L. Songs are pretty safe for work.)

G I R L is, well, songs about and for women. Women aren’t complicated, regardless of how much men try to make them seem. In some ways, I’d compare it to John Legend’s album from last year–only because both albums were conceived and released around the time that both artists were tying the knot. Plus, they’re both solid albums that deserve to be checked out. However, where John Legend’s somewhat syrupy musings still draw you in because of his conviction, Pharrell’s falsetto wears thin from time to time. Plus, as mentioned, the production values, while amazing, overpower the lyrical content (or lack thereof, at points). But, as I said, it’s not all gloom and doom for this album. I loved Pharrell musically flipping conventional thoughts of women on their head. For instance, with the song “Gush,” it starts out like one would expect it to. I won’t go into many details (let’s keep it PG-13 here), but you probably know what I’m getting at. And then it switches into more of a sensual, almost Prince-like feel. Pharrell isn’t a lyrical genius on this one, but he accomplishes so much.

Overall, I’d recommend checking it out if you’re a fan of not-so-heavy soul-pop music and a fan of R&B that probably won’t get played while a dancer is twerking in front of you. I just wish that Pharrell didn’t use the word “bae” in one of the songs.

On the more gritty side of things, Rick Ross released Mastermind, an album that, in some ways, spits in the face of Freeway Ricky Ross’s lawsuit against The Grunting One. I mean, the intro track pretty much says “hey, a ‘mastermind’ can take other people’s experiences and get rich off them.”


(Spotify stream of edited version of the album)

My gripe with Rozay’s music is that Ross has a few subject topics: drugs (selling and using), sex, and violence. Oh, and money. Lots and lots of money. What made God Forgives, I Don’t an almost classic album is that he spat every bar with conviction and power. Even though it was way past album one, he still sounded hungry. On Mastermind, it seems that even Ross doesn’t really believe what he’s speaking. He sounds bored almost. The production is still pretty solid, but that’s expected. It’s “M-m-m-maybach Music!”

At least Ross teams up with The Weeknd for a pretty decent track, “In Vein.” Considering Ross’s history with date rape-like lyrics (the “UOENO” bar wasn’t the first time) and Weeknd’s history of making music that sounds like he’s under the influence of a few molly’s and whatnot, the song creates an uncomfortable vibe. It’s Weeknd at his finest, honestly. And that’s what keeps Mastermind from completely failing: guest appearances from artists such as Scarface, The Weeknd, Kanye, Jay Z, a reunion collabo with Jeezy, Mavado, Lil’ Wayne and more.

Listen for the guest voices and don’t expect Ross to break new ground.

Until next time.

-Speed on the Beat

Greetings and salutations everyone. For this edition of “#TWIHH,” I decided to switch things up.

As I perused through my email recently, I noticed I’d received a notice about a new Master P song. My first instinct was to laugh maniacally at the thought “hmm, I really wonder why Master P continues to put out music years after his popularity fell to the wayside?” I mean, it’s not like he’s flat broke completely hurting for the money (legal troubles aside). Ultimately, I put my thoughts aside and began to listen to the track, “We Poppin’,” which featured Eastwood (formerly of Black Wall Street Records) and everyone’s favorite Auto-Tuning rap-sanga not named Teddy Pinnedher***down (that’s still a nickname I shake my head over), Future.

To be honest, I found myself bobbing along with it with the screwface a couple times. As you’ve probably seen, it takes a lot for me to be like, “Yoooo! This ish cray.” on the first listen. For it to come from a Master P song made me curious about what he’s been doing since Romeo left USC and started appearing in ICDC College commercials his last full-on mainstream release (aside from the following video).

While the original Ice Cream Man hasn’t been as workaholic musically as he was, he’s actually put out some decent stuff over the past couple years. Sure, some of his verses are on some “so bad, it’s good” stuff (like “Brick to A Million,” featuring Fat Trel and Alley Boy). But, when he gets on a roll, he still puts out halfway listenable music. This is more than I can say about some of our…younger artists. Now, I’m not saying he’s putting out classics. But, his reemergence still begs the question: Is age really nothing but a number in hip-hop these days?

If it is, throwing down, in the musical sense, really may be nothing but a thang (RIP Aaliyah). If we look at some of the biggest acts recently, a lot of them are elder statesmen. MCHGYeezus, and other albums by some of these elders haven’t really been the greatest collections, but they’ve still been able to drum up numbers and fans. Some of this is based off the familiarity factor alone. If we have an option between Artist A (who’s dropped three CDs) and Artist B (a newcomer with a few mixtapes to his name), we often go with Artist A. But, familiarity alone can’t keep an artist relevant. It can sure as hell help, but familiarity alone isn’t enough.

master-p

The second part of the puzzle is the (idea of the) element of surprise. Part of the fun of a new CD from a vet is wondering what will be pulled out of the proverbial (and cliched) hat next. Will they retread bygone eras and familiar topics for a new generation (Master P, Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, etc.)? Will they recreate themselves as a party rapper who finds himself featured on songs with Bieber (Juicy J, 2 Chainz) or a Mafioso-like BAWSE (Rick Ross)? Will they come out of jail overly hungry, but still deliver a song that’s not exactly the greatest work they’ve done (Lauryn Hill, DMX, Mystikal)? Will they make complete fools of themselves in trying to connect with the younger generation (Will Smith with “Switch,” LL Cool J with “Baby”)? Will they put over a new(er) talent (Jay Z in his “Mr. Carter” and “Light Up” verses–even though he kind of buried both Wayne and Drake on their own song)?

The possibilities, even the sucky ones, are almost endless. And that’s what makes seeing a Master P return to music interesting (even if he never really left). It’s also what makes hip-hop interesting, for as many times as people say it’s a young man’s game, the veterans still make noise.

Drugs have really gotten to a point where children and teens are dying left and right. The drug that has been receiving a lot of attention lately is called Molly. How in the world did this drug become popular? How is this drug so easy to get? Well, let’s look at what is boosting this deadly drug’s popularity. Today’s artists are making this drug seem like it is the best thing in the world. You have Trinidad James, Miley Cyrus, Lil Wayne and other artists, who these teens and children look up to – which I don’t understand – advertising it.  These kids love these artists and everything they have to say. But, the artists are not looking at the fact that everything they talk about seems cool to this highly influential group. I just want to say that these artists need to realize that the thing they claim “will make the party hype” will, and is, having a detrimental effect on these kids. Why don’t these same artists get on YouTube and take the same pills they talk so highly about in their songs? These same artists still do not understand how many teens have died from this drug. Yet, they insist on talking about it all the time.

Now, I want to discuss these people who feel like they have to do everything these artists say whenever they party, but then say “I’m grown I can do what I want” and end up dead or in the hospital. Why do you feel like you have to imitate what these artists say in their songs, knowing that they don’t even do the drug themselves? Because, let’s briefly look at the facts. Well, there is only one fact: Those artists are not dead. You don’t see or hear about them sweating and running all over the place doing something ridiculous or out of the ordinary because let’s think about this for a moment, they are celebrities and they are always being followed. So yeah, they are not doing that drug. I just wish that people would understand that you don’t have to do whatever these artists say or try to be like them on a daily basis. To put it simple: anyone “popping a Molly” is displaying stupidity at its finest.

MJS_Molly_drug


This week in music has kind of been like this. And I’m a huge Daniel Bryan mark. Better things will come, I hope.

It’s me, it’s me. It’s the guy you probably love to dislike to a certain degree, Speed on the Beat back with another exciting (perhaps) entry on This Week in Music. It’s a doozy of Chris Brown-Pinky proportions (link features some Pinky twerking and stuff)–if that’s your sort of thing. Pinky’s body goes from halfway skinny to hyper-thick to losing control (in either direction) randomly. Here’s one of the only safe-for-work photos I could find. It (obviously) doesn’t show the body.

Anyway–before Arteest revokes my contributor status for rambling about pornstars (I’ve always been more of an Aurora Jolie fan myself)–Paris Hilton has released the CDQ version of her surefire Grammy hit Kim Zolziac-esque “Good Time” featuring Weezy F. CoochieMonster (and the F is for “no one really effin’ cares anymore”). The song sounds like what you’d expect, so pretty much the same song we heard in 2011–Top 40 EDM-influenced pop–but now with a Tunechi Tunechi Tuna Fish verse that refers to having sex in a myriad of ways. Just like their other collaborations. At least we get to see Paris in a bikini. That’s still a thing, right?


Anyone? No? Ok, then. Moving on.

The “Cousin Terio” meme seems to not be going away, at least if HipHopDX-featured song “Ooh Kill ‘Em” by J-Doe has anything to say about it.  As much as I probably shouldn’t like this song–y’know, because I blog about music, therefore I must be some sort of music snob–it’s goofy as hell, brain-rotting, but infectious. I think it works better in a “why so serious?” way versus Meek’s use of the meme.

MA$€ (I assume that the Euro is to show that he’s international and trendy–or something) seems to be pissed (potentially rightfully so) over this track. I don’t know what’s worse–the bastardization of the legacy of Biggie and Pac, or this convoluted mess of a song? Personally, I’ve got to say that the song itself is worse. For starters, you’ve got Swizz Beatz and Diddy ad-libbing through the whole damn thing like this is something from 1999. The beat knocks, drums-wise, but it sounds like your typical MMG beat.

For all the “backpackers,” Papoose decided to hop on that song that’ll make Lorde rich, but she’ll probably denounce when she’s 25 as some sort of label BS and go all Miley Cyrus on people, “Royals.” The song won’t go away, nor will Papoose. Thanks Kendrick, for making him relavant enough to post on DX again. No, that’s not “shade.” I’m serious. Believe it or not, I rock with some of Papoose’s stuff.

Aside from that Nipsey Hussle tape, we have new album/mixtape releases from Danny Brown (shoutout to The Diamondback for the review, so I wouldn’t have to. #Terping), Killa Cam, and Game. So, there’s something for everyone.

And finally, in our indie/not exactly mainstream spotlight of the week, we’ve got Baltimore Club (sorry, I’m from B’more originally. Club music will almost be referred to by me as “Baltimore Club,” even if it’s Jersey Club. No disrespect intended; it’s just a force of habit) producer DJ KMillz. Listen to his “All Me” Jersey Club and his “I Be on It” Jersey Club mixes, especially.

Here’s hoping next week goes like this, I mean the Stone Cold aspect of it…:

Ok, before you go off calling me a hater, I just want to forewarn you that I actually do usually like Drake‘s music and have been listening to his sound evolve since his first mixtape Room For Improvement. With that said, I’m not too fond of three of his four latest singles: “5 AM in Toronto“, “No New Friends” and “Girls Love Beyoncé“. The mediocre beat combined with Drake’s lackluster monotone rhyming in “5 Am in Toronto” makes for a less-than-memorable musical experience.  Although the tagline to his recent release of “No New Friends” is sure to replace his so very annoying 2012 motto YOLO (You Only Live Once), Drake’s verse is sub-par and his harmonizing “No New Friends No No New” repeatedly is honestly quite annoying. On the bright side the production doesn’t fail and Rick Ross owns the beat and does the song a little justice so it isn’t a total bust. Moving on to the main song of discussion: “Girls Love Beyoncé”. At this point we all know that Drake loves r&b. If his freaky obsession with Aaliyah didn’t tell you, his constant attempt at singing on his songs should. It is this failing singing attempt combined with the semi-depressing lyrics of the song and the buzzwordy title that makes me dislike everything about “Girls Love Beyoncé.” I’m sure that just as girls love Beyoncé they will love this song because it speaks about a lot of emotional want-to-be-in-a-relationship mumbo jumbo that so many women on twitter tweet/complain/obsess about. And I’m certain they are his key demographic and the inspiration for writing the song. I mean, even Drake said it himself at some point, he does it for his b*tches. (Yes, he uses the B-word in his music…quite often actually.) But, as a true hip-hop enthusiast I think I am just tired of his constant singing efforts. He should just leave the singing to James Fauntleroy and stay in his rapping lane.

untitled

It also doesn’t help to think that this song is gimmicky and honestly, inartistic. Naming a song “Girls Love Beyoncé”and then not even mentioning the icon in the song or explaining why girls do, is like me picking a buzzwordy or controversial title for a blog post and not elaborating on it. It’s meant to draw people in and I feel like at this stage of his career he doesn’t need to do that. His name alone should speak for itself. But, I guess he’s just following the lead of his attention whoring muse Beyoncé, a woman who is at the plateau of her career, making insane amounts of money and highly revered by some of the most influential people in the world, yet she still dances half-naked at every opportunity she can and continues to sell sex and her appearance more than her talent. (In my opinion). With all of that said, on the positive side, the song is catchy as hell due to the fact the hook is taken from a Destiny’s Child song that all of us already know, James Fauntleroy’s great harmonizing on the hook and the beat is just one of those beats that gets stuck in your head. My final word of the song is that it isn’t terribly dreadful, but it isn’t amazingly artistic either and it makes me wonder how his junior album “Nothing Was The Same” will fare when it is released later this year. But, don’t just take my word on this song. Click the YouTube video below and rate it for yourself. And as always let me know what you think. Am I being too harsh? Too judgemental? Or am I telling it like it is?

A great “Girls Love Beyonce” guitar remix cover

Click this to hear a Great Chopped & Screwed version of “Girls Love Beyonce”

Real – Lil Wayne “How To Love”

Cool – Kendrick Lamar “A.D.H.D.”

Provocative – Beyoncé “1 + 1”

Sexy: Kelly Rowland – “Motivation” Ft. Lil Wayne

Kelly Rowland will forever = S.E.X.Y!!

Weird: Katy Perry – “E.T.” Ft. Kanye West

For once, omitting Kanye from a song would have actually helped.

Cool: Chris Brown – “She Aint You”

Although this video has nothing to do with the song other than the songs use of the Michael Jackson “Human Nature” sample, I think it was a great tribute to the King of Pop.

Introduction

Hello ladies and gentleman, boys  and girls, lovers and most certainly haters. Today we are going to talk about the word SWAG. Now I know some of you may be looking at the screen, with that head tilted to the side puppy-dog puzzled look right now. And if you are, you sir or mam have been withheld from pop culture for at least the last five years. And that, is just sad. But today we are not here to reprimand or commend you on your knowledge or lack thereof  of the word Swag. We are here to discuss why I do not like the word. No! Not liking it understates the pure nails-on-a-chalkboard hatred that engulfs my ears every time I hear the word. I utterly and totally despise the word SWAG. If swag was in a desert and needed my saliva to survive, I wouldn’t give a spit. Its mere S.T.I. image inducing phonetic, grinds my gears to a borderline systems overload and a “Hulk Smash” reflex. To explain why I hate it so much, I really just need to say two words: Soulja Boy. Ughhhhh! But, to solely blame him would be irresponsible and wouldn’t hold accountability to the countless other influential pop-culture culprits who have used and continue to uphold that God-awful word. Names like Lil B, T.I., and Lil Wayne come to mind.

What Is Swag? (Past)

To get to the basis of why I’d like to r.i.p. the word Swag, we must first discuss exactly what it is. If we were to go back in time on a Magic School Bus we would probably see pirates heisting ships to get “booty” and “swag.” Now now everyone, settle down. Let’s not confuse these words with the words in Soulja Boy’s atrocious and utterly degrading single, “Booty Got Swag.” Starting to see why I also hate Soulja Boy? Oh, you will. “Booty” back in those days referenced the “loot” or the items of value that pirates stole. And swag in that sense followed the Wikipedia spawned acronym: Stuff We All Get. It is my understanding that the two words were pretty much synonymous.

What is Swag? (Present)

Now, blasting back into the present, we look at today’s meaning of the word swag. Oh and by the way, I know that today’s swag also references free promotional gear that companies are known to give away. That is not the swag I wish a violent, ceremonial death upon. The swag I am referencing is the Swag that is an abbreviation for the word “Swagger” and is also often referred to as “Swagga.” According to urbandictionary.com, Swag in its simplest terms refers to, “the way one carries their self.” This definition is close, but not the same meaning as what you will find for the word Swagger on merriam-webster.com. That’s right, Swagger is in the real dictionary. Anywho, merriam-webster says “Swagger” is, “to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially : to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence.” They also write that it is synonymous with the words “Boast” and “Brag.” Ah Ha! We’re getting somewhere ladies and gentleman. It is this definition that gets to the core of what swag really is; An uplifting phrase for the braggadocios, low self-esteemers who need to label their cockiness in a way that attempts to make them seem less cocky, but in my book, fails. Me being a person who finds arrogance to be a very negative trait, you are probably beginning to see why I hate the word so much.

Don't Hate Me, Hate My Swag

Where Is Swag?

With swag being what I like to refer to as the most overused, overrated word in today’s pop-culture, it has to exist everywhere right? Right? Here are some places you can find the word Swag.

Song Titles: Been Had Swag, Check My Swag, Dope Boy Swag, Found My Swag, Get My Swagger Back, I Got Swag, My Swag, Peepin Swagg, Pledge Allegiance to the Swag, Pretty Boy Swag, Swag, Swag Back, Swag FluSwag Me Out, Swag Sex, Swag Surfin, Swag Through the Roof, Swag OD, Swagga Talk, Swagga on 100, Swagger Daggers, and Turn My Swag On and many more. (Can you guess how many of these songs feature Soulja Boy?…It will surprise you…or not. LoL)

Artist names: SWAG, Cali Swag District, King Swagg, and more.

Websites: Autoswag.com, Detroitswag.com, Swagevents.com, theswag.com, swag.com, SwagQueen.com, and many more.

A few songs that actually almost redeem Swag/Swagga/Swagger: Swagger Like Us, Swagga, and Swag Surf.

My Case Against Swag

Reason 1: Most people who use the word swag don’t actually have any. Swag is associated with money, riches, luxury, being fresh, flashy, and F.L.Y. (Pun Intended) Like the majority of the songs emphasize and flaunt, swag has a direct correlation to money and owning things that having a lot of it can buy. I don’t mind these rich people talking about they have swag. Because if swag is associated with money, than they really do have swag. It’s the no-name rappers, the college kids (who in most cases are broke), your average person basically. If you are not in an upper level tax bracket, I feel as though Swag should not be a part of your vocabulary.

Reason 2: I am not a fan of fads or trends. When the phrase “Bling Bling” was popularized in the late nineties  it basically dominated the airwaves and television screens. And it was good until we realized it would remain in pop-cultures lexicon for the next four to six years. I treat the word Swag in a similar case, except I think that because I’m a lot older now and less influential, what is associated with swag doesn’t appeal to me. If I were materialistic or full of myself and always trying to keep up with the latest trends like most of today’s youth is, maybe I’d throw the word swag around as if it were my life’s blood. Just blurt it out at random times in a fashion that some people whose names I will not reveal do.

So there you have it. Swag sucks! Originality is king. Get a new motto people. Stop being sheep! Unless you’re a rich sheep. Then you can brush your teeth with swag, smack peons with swag, and get it tatted on your chest like Tupac if you fancy to. But until then, upgrade and update your lexicon and think of a new, better catch phrase. NO SWAG FOR YOU!