Posts Tagged ‘Rappers’

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

So, there are about two weeks until Christmas. And, because of this, you’re probably buried under an insane amount of inane Christmas songs. Some are epic, and some are epic…ally bad. As with the Halloween Version of TWIHH, we’re focusing on the latter. There is no ranking of the sadness/badness of these songs, just a collection of SMH-worthy songs. Since this is hip-hop-related, however, songs such as “The Christmas Shoes” and “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer” will be spared my wrath. Besides, we’ll have enough earsplits with what we’ve got below. I’ll also (try to) keep from being biased towards bad West Coast Christmas-esque songs.

Before, let’s share this epicness from David Banner. It’s, to me, a great Christmas song in a political/speaking on commercialism and black poverty type of way (Make sure your headphones are in, though. It’s gritty).

Now…let us begin.

Derek B – “Chillin’ With Santa”
Now, I had no idea who Derek B was before this, as he was more of an exclusive to the UK. But, I do know that some of his other songs were less cringeworthy. For “Chillin’ With Santa,” the chorus breakdown was probably the best part of it. The bad? It’s five minutes long. Whenever you think that it’s done, Derek B continues his late-night story time/potentially drunken rambles about the time he was “chillin’ out with Santa.” It’s like “Children’s Story,” if Slick Rick attempted to shill out some holiday-friendly buffoonery in that classic song instead of, you know, cautioning people of the dangers of trying to be a thug. Sadly, Derek B died in 2009 of a heart attack.

Gorilla Zoe – “It’s Christmas”
Ummm, I’m all for dope boy rap. But, not on Christmas. ‘Nuff said.

Jim Jones – “Dipset X-Mas Time”
This comes from the same album as the remix of “Ballin’,” so it has that awesome 2006 rap vibe. But, something about Jim and company shouting out what they bang on a Christmas song just…makes me sad. It’d be like a rapper talking about eating pork on a song about Ramadan. It’s uncalled for and pretty disrespectful. But, the A Dipset Christmas album kind of captures what Christmas has become to some (an exercise in extravagance for no real reason), so maybe Jim Jones was making some sort of covert social commentary?

…Nah.

Jim Jones and JR Writer – “Ballin’ on Xmas”
Jim…please stay away from my holidays! Plus, it just took “Christmas in Hollis” and made it some sort of insanity. Now, part of Dipset’s “genius” was/is the fact that they were able to take the most random samples/beats and make songs that were halfway fire. Cam’ron sampling The Golden Girls theme song on his Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 mixtape is a prime example. Here, however, it just doesn’t work for me. This song, lyrically, is nice. But, it suffers from the same craziness as the last song.

Tha Dogg Pound – “I Wish”
This song is actually not that bad, compared to some of the other ones. However, with lines like “’cause if I die today I’m going to hell,” it’s not exactly something you want to go around caroling with your kids/family/random work buddies. You’re probably wondering, though, “Speed, why is this one ‘bad,’ but David Banner’s song is ‘good?'” Well, simply put, “I Wish” comes from a similar vein as “Crossroads.” It’s a great song, its message is somewhat kumbayah and “let’s chill on the killing and such.” But, it’s hokey (or has become hokey through its overuse and overplay over the years). Again, that’s not to say that “I Wish” or “Crossroads” aren’t good songs; they’re classics (“Crossroads” especially). But, both songs have that same mid-1990s “Stop the Violence, even though I’m still rapping about it three songs later” vibe.

Ying Yang Twins – “Deck da Club”
If you’re like me, you’re probably not going to be in the booty club for Christmas. The week before, eh, that’s debatable…but not actually on Christmas (I have some morals, people). However, for these brothers, seeing skrippers and seeing them twerk and such seems to be the highlight of the year. Sadly, if you zone out and just listen to the beat–even though it’s typical early-2000s crunk-bounce–it’s not that bad of a song. That is, again, until you remember that this is a song that someone’s probably performed a “Wicked Games” to. And, yes, I did have something a bit less safe-for-work that I wanted to say, but I bit my tongue.

And this concludes another edition of TWIHH. Next week? Winners and Losers of 2013. Don’t get pissed at me if your favorite artist is on the list. Get mad at them for having such a wack year.

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.

It's this guy again...

It’s this guy again. Can you just get back to (good) music.

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.

How It Began (Rappers turned Actors)

Rapper and Actor. Two careers that were the furthest thing from one another 20 years ago. But today, in 2011, seem almost synonymous. I’d say it began on September 10, 1990 when a young up-and-coming rapper from Philly took his skills from the studio to the television screen with his mega-hit, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The rapper I am speaking of, is of course present day Hollywood superstar Will Smith, best known then as The Fresh Prince. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air went on to air 148 episodes over the course of its six year span, solidifying not just Will Smith as an actor, but Hip-Hop as a possible pool for leading sitcom roles. It’s high fan base and viewership quickly translated into dollar signs for Hollywood and an increase in roles for black actors. On April 10, 1995 a suave, future Hip-Hop icon by the name of James Todd Smith, took the moniker LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James) and made it a household name with his hit tv series In The House. The success of these shows took rappers from the radio to the small screen and eventually to the big screen. Will Smith went on to star in the box-office hit Independence Day (1996) which solidified his position in blockbuster films like Bad Boys (1995) , Men in Black (1997), Ali (2001),  I Am Legend (2007), Hancock (2008) and most recently Seven Pounds (2008). Today he is Hollywood’s highest paid and most sought after actor. LL Cool J went on to star in blockbuster hits like Deep Blue Sea (1999), Any given Sunday(1999),  Charlies Angels (2000), S.W.A.T. (2003),  and now has a starring role in the television series N.C.I.S. Los Angeles alongside Chris O’ Donnell. Garnering monetary success for the movie industry, LL Cool J and Will Smith have proven that the inclusion of a Hip-Hop figure’s image in a project on the small and big screen can do big things for television and cinema. As a result, within the last ten years we have seen a huge increase in rappers appearing on t.v. shows (most of them are reality shows these days though) and movie screens across America.

What it is Now

Some famous rappers who have been in movies are:

50 Cent (Get Rich or Die Trying, Righteous Kill), Andre 3000 (Semi Pro, Four Brothers, Idlewild), Big Boi (Idlewild, ATL), Busta Rhymes (Higher Learning, Shaft, Halloween Resurrection), Common (Brown Sugar, Wanted, American Gangster, Street Kings, Smokin’ Aces, Terminator Salvation, Date Night, Just Wright), DMX (Belly, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 The Grave, Romeo Must Die, Never Die Alone), Dr. Dre (The Wash, Training Day), Eminem (8 Mile, The Wash), Eve (Barbershop 1 & 2, Whip It), The Game (Street Kings), Ice Cube (Boyz n The Hood, Friday, Higher Learning, The Barbershop 1 & 2, All About The Benjamin’s, Torque, XXX: State of the Union, Are We There Yet?, Janky Promoters, Lottery Ticket & many more), Ice-T (Breakin’, New Jack City, Tank Girl, Johnny Mnemonic), Ja Rule (The Fast and The Furious, Half Past Dead, Assault on Precinct 13), Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious, Hustle & Flow, Crash, Max Payne, Fred Clause, RocknRolla, Gamer, Fast Five), Mark Wahlberg (The Happening, Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, The Big Hit, Shooter, Invincible, The Italian Bob, Four Brothers, The Fighter and many more), Master P (I Got The Hook Up), Method Man (How High), Mos Def (Bamboozled, Brown Sugar, 16 Blocks, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Be Kind Rewind, Cadillac Records, Next Day Air), Nas (Belly), Nelly (The Longest Yard), Queen Latifah (Set It Off, Sphere, Chicago, Brown Sugar, Bringing Down The House, BeautyShop, Last Holiday, just Wright & many more), Redman (How High), The RZA (American Gangster, Due Date , Ghost Dog, Repo Men), Snoop Dogg (The Wash, Baby Boy, Bones, Starsky & Hutch, Training Day, Soul Plane), T.I. (ATL, American Gangster, Takers), TuPac (Juice, Poetic Justice, Above The Rim, Gridlock’d, Gang Related), Tyrese, yes he raps too (Transformers 1 -3, Baby Boy, Waist Deep, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers, Annapolis, Death Race, Legion, Fast Five), Will. I .Am (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Xzibit (8 Mile, Gridiron Gang, Derailed, XXX: State of the Union), and many many more.

Here are some lists and ratings of rappers turned actors that can be found on IGNMusic, FirstShowing.Net, and VH1.com.

Role Reversal (Actors turned rappers)

Drake as Jimmy Brooks aka Wheelchair Jimmy

With that said, it is no longer a surprise to see a rapper turned actor these days. But, it is however, a shift in conversation when actors take on the role of rappers. With Hip-Hop being one of the most dominant genres in music and one of the highest grossing, some familiar faces in television are beginning to cash in on the opportunity and translate their skills from the screen to the mic. Case in point, one of the biggest names in Hip-Hop right now: Aubrey Graham, best known as Drake. This budding actor went from his semi-popular role on Canadian television series Degrassi: The Next Generation as Jimmy Brooks or a character many of us refer to as “Wheelchair Jimmy” (he rolled around in a wheelchair in the series and even occasionally rapped on one or two episodes) to currently toasting it up with some of Hip-Hop’s elites on sold out tours and award shows everywhere. In an unprecedented event, his critically acclaimed third mixtape So Far Gone launched him from Hip-Hop nobody to having his voice heard every hour on the hour on all major Hip-Hop radio stations in the country. Garnering record deal offers from various top label execs, he eventually signed an alleged $1 million+ deal with his good friend Lil Wayne to become a member of Young Money and later released his now certified platinum album Thank Me Later. Since his introduction to the Hip-Hop scene, Drake has worked with music heavyweights like Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Mary J, Blige, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kanye West, Trey Songz, Timbaland, Rihanna and Alicia Keys, to name a few. As a result of his success, other actors are starting to follow suit.

Case in Point, may I divert your attention to actor recently turned rapper Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino. This star of the NBC series Community and writer for the critically acclaimed NBC series 30 Rock is making waves in the Hip-Hop scene with his self titled EP. Although it only has 5 songs on it, the Childish Gambino EP is filled with great production and great lyrical content, proving that actors can rap as well. And while there are some similarities to Lil Wayne’s style of delivery and Drake’s lyrical content on the EP which may challenge the integrity of who he is as an artist, it is still a project to lookout for and it is gaining him a lot of buzz. With six music projects currently under his belt, an ever-growing fan base, a mini tour in progress, a Comedy Central special and countless appearances, Childish Gambino is setting himself up to be a breakthrough mainstream artist. So to answer my own question, “What happens when Hip-Hop moves to the big screen and vice versa?” Well, so far it seems to be: GREATNESS!!!