Posts Tagged ‘Music’

A week or so ago, I decided to, for the first time in forever (no Frozen), check out HipHopDX to see what they had to offer. While perusing through the troll comments, I saw Fat Trel had released a couple new freestyles. I listened, and they had some quotables–most of which unfit for the site (if you want to hear it, click here. Be forewarned that it is NSFW). But what really shocked me was a comment on the song. Some dude made it about appearance rather than verses, saying that because “[Trel] look like a monster” (sic), he couldn’t rock with him. This, of course, brings me to this week’s TWIHH discussion.

When did it become about looks versus artistry? Is this a modern social construct based on the (oft-quoted, but often-misappropriated) “feminization of the black man” theory. Or has appearance been just as much a part of hip-hop culture as the graffiti, turntables, and bars?

As far as I can remember, artists have attempted to distance themselves from the pack. Often, that’d involve some sort of image, some sort of look. Some artists reflected what they felt was gangster culture while others reflected afro-centricity. Artists such as LL Cool J made a career out of showing how much more attractive they were to people when compared to, say, an ODB. Heck, LL made a career out of showing his chest to his audience and he is still one of the most-respected artists (even though he’s had his miscues).

So, for someone to say “oh, hip-hop’s gone soft; it’s homoerotic now because dudes are commenting on how a guy looks” is flat-out silly. I’ll agree that the focus on looks has become more intense over the years, with commentators teetering between critique and general creepiness and artists wearing skirts as fashion (a la Young Thug). But, at the core, hip-hop has always been about looks (and marketability). Perhaps now, since we’ve been brainwashed (somewhat) by reality television, social media, et cetera, an artist’s appearance is becoming more prominent in regards to how they’ll be perceived. But again, it’s always been about a look. If you look different, people will want to know more about you (even if it’s in a “WTH are you doing this” sort of way). But inversely, an artist must still look a part.

Artists are, typically, groomed (either by their surroundings or by their team) to look a certain way to fulfill a role. In the case of a Fat Trel, you wouldn’t expect him to appear in a video in skater shoes, clean-shaven, with a big cheesy smile. That’s not the image he represents, nor would it be a believable image. And then listeners would call him fake. This brings me to another point.

Hip-Hop is, in some ways, a stereotypical art form. I’m strictly talking appearance here.

As an artist, I’ve spoken on this once before, as I’ve been stereotyped as being a “college rapper” a la Asher Roth because of my demeanor and dress. It’s one of the reasons why I tend to stay out of the “spotlight,” per se. I’d rather let the music speak for me and then have people see me and say “whoa, that Speed guy looks like that but he speaks on real issues. Kudos.” If I went about it inversely, I’ve been told that I probably wouldn’t be heard, because I’m a shorter guy with a mental illness (shameless plug) who prefers bars to clubs and a Corona to Patron. And that’s even before people got through the “no-fi” approach.

So what can we, as artists and listeners, bloggers and critics, do?

Open our minds, plain and simple.

From the Icon himself:

Now I’m sure you don’t wanna hear a boring ass write up or something from anyone else explaining this project besides me so I’ll give you exactly what you want… 2007 I took a leap of faith and decided that I was gonna pursue music full-time with little to no experience in the music business. My goals have been to connect with teens like me who’ve been abused (physically & sexually) and give them inspiration by showing them that no matter how rough life can be, you can channel your energy into something that is positive and prosper. Over the past few years I’ve release[d] a number of projects that represent different stages in my life reflecting on what I’ve experienced and ICON is no different…” (Nike Nando)

SNN_ILOTF_ARTWORK

Nike Nando – ICON: Lord Of The Flyy
Tracklist:
1. Kingdom [Prod. Drew Beats]
2. Super Nike Nando II [Prod. Nike Nando]
3. Glow (Feat. Cayan) [Prod. Drew Beats]
4. Put Me On [Prod. Nike Nando]
5. Majin Vageta [Prod. Johnny Juliano]
6. The Low Down [Prod. NightRyder]
7. Caught In Lust (Feat. Dugee F. Buller) [Skit]
8. You Don’t Own Me [Prod. Sparkz Beats]
9. StarFox [Prod. Nike Nando]
10. Luh Me Doe (Feat. Rolls Royce Rizzy)
11. Hillfiger (Feat. Cayan)
12. M.O.B. [Prod. DeuceTheMusic]
13. What It Takes (Feat. Prince Akeem & Valleo) [Prod. Friendzone]
14. There She Go (Feat. Robbie Celeste) [Prod. Robbie Celeste]
15. Story Of My Life (Feat. Pop Smoothe) [Prod. Just Misfit]
 
Executive Producer(s)
Nike Nando x DeuceTheMusic
[Audiomack]
[Livemixtapes]
Social Media
Follow Nike Nando on Social Media: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube!

 

Warning: Both video clips use excessive language in the lyrics. NSFW!!

(Contains NSFW lyrics)

Long ago, when rappers didn’t rock with each other (keeping it PG-14 here), and it hit a fever pitch, they ended up on a Beef DVD and engaged in RAP BEEF (Hence the obviously NSFW Boondocks clip). The series, for those that don’t remember, spoke on some of the biggest beefs in hip-hop–and some not so much. Beef III, per Wikipedia, was released in 2005, followed by a short-lived BET series, then left in the early-to-mid-2000s like snap music.

(But, even snap music had beefs. Contains NSFW lyrics)

These days, when rappers don’t rock with each other, instead of dropping diss tracks and/or appearing on camera slugging it out, they’ll usually hop on Twitter and spew their disdain, then drop the bars. Part of me is like “cool. If it keeps dudes from killing each other over stupid ish, let the boys cook on Twitter, drop some IG bars, and keep it at that.” But, I’ll be honest. I miss those old days when rappers would actually go at each other on tracks if there was animosity. Heck, I even miss the days when artists would knuckle up, beat their differences out of each other, then get back to their business(es). Now, I’m not condoning violence in music. Nor am I saying that artists should beat the crap out of one another every time they’ve got a problem. There’s enough black-on-black violence in the world. But artists should–oh, I don’t know–hash out their differences artistically!

Twitter Novels and “artsy” selfies (ugh) be damned, we know that Twitter isn’t (that) artistic, y’all.

Perhaps the root of this “Twitter Beef” rap era still falls upon the deaths of so many hip-hop artists because of overblown beefs, rivalries, set trippin’, etc. Artists, as angry as they are at each other, they don’t want to live and die for their music. That’s commendable, as it’s often not that deep of an issue to kill over someone going at you on a track or whatever. But, at the same time, wasting energy to tweet “oh I don’t eff with Rapper B” when they could’ve used that time to make music or what-have-you? It comes off as sneaky and disingenuous, kind of like a troll in a message board who types racist ideologies just to get a rise from people.

I’m the type of artist that’d rather use whatever fuel you give me to go harder on a track, so I just don’t understand tweeting about not rocking with someone. Can someone out there explain it to me?

…”or nah?”

Until next time.

Speed on the Beat

SqueezeDontTease

Click Artwork Above for Full Event Details

Mark your calendars folks!

Delegation Music and Electric Squeeze join forces for a live Hip-Hop and EDM party that’s sure to keep the DMV moving ’til 2AM.

SATURDAY, JUNE 7th (9:30PM – 2:00AM)

ZEBA BAR (3423 14th St Northwest, DC)

21+|FREE

Yogi Nando, DJ DimLit (of Sounduo) and The Delegation Music Collective

Presented by Electric Squeeze

Artwork and design by LoveTagLA

Greetings, all.

Monday, I was informed by my handler over on Boi-1da.net, the lovely Erin Ashley, that Jay Z dropped a DJ Khaled song (and that we were prohibited from posting about it because of the Drake barbs, which makes absolute sense. It’d be like me posting a True God diss track on my page). But, I decided to listen to it myself. I mean, it couldn’t be that bad, right? It’s new Hov! New Hov always disgraces everything!

“They Don’t Love You No More,” featuring Jay, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, and an auto-tuned French Montana, is, to put it lightly, a cluster****.

On this one, Jay? You may need to take that L back for a little.

On this one, Jay? You may need to take that L back for a little.

I like the artists featured. Meek and Rozay usually hit on all cylinders. And many of Jay’s “dumbed down” bars usually trump what’s hot on the radio. But, the track just comes off as an attempt to recapture the catchiness and anthem nature of “Started from the Bottom.” Perhaps that’s because of the topics covered in this epic. Or, maybe it’s the fact that “SFTB” and “TDLYNM” both feature production from OVO signee and affiliate Mike Zombie.

Jay’s verse in particular stands out to me. Granted, Jay can probably end my career thrice over with the push of a button, but that doesn’t mean he gets excused for lazy couplets. Examples of such include “Got hella options, like a college team/Hit these bootleg n***** with the Heisman.” It ain’t “rocket science” Hov that we’ve grown used to, which brings me to my question.

Even though he’s still doing big things, has Jay lost (lyrically)?

Listening back to some of his latest projects, especially MCHG, he still has moments of greatness. The title track of that album still gives me goosebumps, even when I skip over Justin Timberlake’s chorus(es). But, it seems that Jay’s gotten comfortable in his crowned spot, rehashing what we’ve grown accustomed to from him (gun talk, richness, his taste in fine art, et cetera). There’s limited growth at this point, perhaps because he’s pretty much done it all.

You know how a one-hit wonder continuously tries to recapture that glory? Jay’s beginning to come off that way. But from some, he’ll forever receive a pass due to the legacy he’s created. This is kind of like the man Jay’s often compared to, Michael Jordan.

But even MJ knew when to walk away, even if he still had the fundamentals down pat.

I have all the respect in the world for Shawn Carter as a businessman and an artist. But it may be close to the time for him to walk away from the mic. But, that’s just my opinion. And like mics these days, everyone has one. 

Turk Drops a New Mixtape

Well, that’s something I didn’t think I’d say again. But, in 2014, we’ve got a new collection of tracks from Turk, The Da Real Thugga From what I’ve heard (I’ve only given it a once-through), Turk’s still got it. It is, however, kind of weird that the EP has the radio edits on it as well as the uncut versions. Be sure to check out my brother True God and the rest of #TeamDAR interview Turk over on TeamDAR Radio (accessible by clicking the logo below; interview considered NSFW). In it, he clears up the rumors of Turk dissing Young Thug among other questions.

#TeamDAR Radio Interviews Turk

#TeamDAR Radio Interviews Turk

Lil’ Jon Lives!

Lil’ Jon, your favorite crunked-out DJ/rapper/hypeman has found new life as, well, a DJ/rapper/hypeman (this time, with more of a trap-hop dubstep-influenced feel). His newest track, the “Turn Down For What?” remix, is, as a good friend of mine said, “happy ignorance.” It makes you want to just, you know, do wild and crazy stuff, but not kill everything within a ten-block radius. We need more “happy ignorance” in rap. Can we get a new album, Lil’ Jon? The streets world needs one more crunked-out tape. (Track has some NSFW lyrics, especially French Montana’s verse)

K.R.I.T. Iz Here (to climb “Mt. Olympus”)

As long-time followers of me know, I’m a big Big K.R.I.T. fan. Heck, his music inspired me to do tracks such as “Death of The King,” the title track from the upcoming Death of The King album (double shameless plug alert; NSFW as well).


So, when I heard his newest track, “Mt. Olympus,” my eyes legitimately lit up and I had the screw face on the whole time. The first single from Krizzle’s Cadillactica album, “Mt. Olympus” goes hard. And when I say it goes hard, I mean it goes hard. Considering he pretty much eviscerates “Control’s” impact on him and rap in a few bars, it’s safe to say K.R.I.T.’s not playing around. I think that these few bars sum up the feeling of the track, one where The King Remembered in Time is making sure we remember him, in spite of some listeners downplaying so-called “country rap.”:

“God could physically come down and say ‘he the greatest/
My favorite, y’all should listen, he have potential/
To outlive the heatwave I’ma send through this mother[…]/
And rebuild for a whole ‘nother other culture’/
And that wouldn’t be enough…”

(NSFW track)

Man, it’s been a busy week in hip-hop. And I didn’t even get to Lord Jamar talking about blacks and the need to buy the Clippers from Donald Sterling. Since I’m sure Mr. Sterling’s remarks will still be in the news, perhaps I can save that for next week.

Greetings, all.

So, after last week’s WCW-influenced cluster-you-know-what, let’s switch some gears here.

August Alsina’s proper debut Testimony dropped this week. To be honest, I’d somewhat forgotten about Alsina’s ghetto gospel-tinged tracks since “I Luv This S***” didn’t get as much play as I thought it would thought that his style was a bit too gritty for R&B. I mean, Tha Product 2 was a beautiful mix of real life themes and hip-hop-based bravado. It’s like someone took The Weeknd’s honesty, took the “fun” from it and added in the story of, for instance, a Yo Gotti (who Alsina worked with, coincidentally enough, on Testimony). So, I put Alsina on the back-burner, because as much as I looked forward to his full-length debut, I feared it. Why? Well, tell me the last time an R&B album that wasn’t really a traditional R&B album, but instead steeped in hip-hop, came out as well as it should have.

And no, Kiss Land doesn’t count. That album was on another level. Plus, it wasn’t exactly “steeped in hip-hop.”

Testimony begins with “Testify,” an atonement of sorts. It sets the mood for the album (so-called real n**** s***” sung over strip-club-friendly production) and acts as Alsina’s “Dreams and Nightmares” intro. But, after lofty expectations from the intro, the album stays in neutral for a lot of the sixty-one-or-so minutes it exists. It doesn’t steer too far from familiar topics and doesn’t really offer that much more insight into this young man’s life. Essentially, if you’ve heard Tha Product or its sequel you’ll have heard this album. That’s not to say it’s not worth a listen. It’s a solid full-length debut and he’s improving in his songwriting…and not relying on four-letter-words to get his point across all the time. Just don’t expect anything “brand new.” I still recommend you check it out though, especially the Pusha T-assisted “FML.”

(Album stream is the edited deluxe version on Spotify.)

 

On another note, of course, it’s the 20-year-anniversary of Illmatic, the GAWD CD. I’ve nothing to say about this except, if you’ve never heard this CD and call yourself a rap fan, I feel ashamed for you and your family. The XX edition features some remixes of the original album (mainly three remixes of “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”) and is pretty cool to see this CD hasn’t exactly aged horribly, as even the boombap feel has started to come back (thank you Joey Bada$$ and more). I think it’s safe to say that Nas has not–and will not–lose with this one. If you put out an album that’s still heralded as a classic twenty years later–and still inspires artists to drop some bars (shameless plug), you win.

(Album stream below is NSFW; edited version not available on Spotify at the moment)

 

To stream Future’s new album Honest courtesy of MTV.com simply click the album cover art below. Unfortunately it is unsafe for listening on your office speakers, so you may want to plug those headphones in if you’re at work. The album is surprisingly good. Although, as with Alsina’s album there isn’t much new ground broken, but it keeps you intrigued. I mentioned this on Twitter, but Future’s Dungeon Family heritage is starting to shine through with this one, as it’s a great mix between turn-up anthems, lover-man Auto-Tune rap-sung songs (although “I Won” is a bit too pandering for my taste) and hood stories. In some ways, it complements Alsina’s Testimony perfectly, as one tells the story of the young man trying to make it (Testimony), the other tells the story of the older man who’s already made it, but still sees the world as ripe for the picking (Honest).

vibe-future-honest-cover

Wow, three thumbs up in one week. Either I’m losing my touch or music’s starting to just get better.

Until next time.

-Speed on the Beat

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, 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.

Hii-Fivver

…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.

Related Articles

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.

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.

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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.