Posts Tagged ‘twihh’

::cues up Kanye’s “FEELS GOOD TO BE HOME!” outro from “Touch the Sky”::

Greetings, all. Did you miss us?

Earlier this week, I came across Bauce Sauce’s “0 to 100” freestyle, the aptly titled “0 to 140.” If you’re not familiar with Bauce Sauce, he’s a writer who’s made some pretty big waves these past couple of years. Using his irreverent humor and his website, Mostly Junk Food, Mr. Sauce has worked his way to a pretty sweet gig at Complex. So, what better way to announce to the rest of the world that you’re here than to let them hear you spit hot fire…or something. While Sauce has been rapping for a while, apparently, this track is what’s got him dealing with the masses en masse.

BAUCE

The song “0 to 140,” sarcastically, was called the hip-hop killer, possibly because Bauce Sauce is a kind of nerdy-looking white guy going ham over a Drake song about how his blogging contemporaries just can’t see him. Kind of like John Cena, but replace wigga-like mannerisms and a can-conquer-anything attitude with self-depreciating humor. And that’s all it took for some of the hip-hop world to turn on this guy quicker than, well, the WWE “Universe” has turned on John Cena (unless, of course, you “get” it–but even still). Which brings me to my point: in hip-hop, sarcasm and parody tend to not translate that well.

Weird Al got into a long-standing beef with Coolio over the “Amish Paradise” song. Heck, I have been in some weird confrontations because what I said went over people’s heads. Is it because hip-hop, even with its long list of metaphors, is an art form where people still take things at relative face value? Perhaps, considering there are individuals who believe Rick Ross actually has a billion dollars. It’s also potentially that, and I really hate playing the “race card”, because Bauce is a nerdy white dude, some purists unfairly attack this (somewhat out-there) comment of “I [messed] around and ruined hip-hop.” Is it out of line? Kind of, considering that hip-hop, to some, is considered sacred (in other words, no one can make fun of it, unless you’ve been accepted in the culture. And even then, it’s still looked at sideways). But, did it warrant the guy getting threatened to be robbed for being a clown?

In the immortal words of Keith Cozart, nah. Plus, it gives me a reason to post this gif:

Until next time, guys and girls.

****

(Shameless Plug Alert)

For those who forgot, I do actually dabble in this rappin’ thang myself (woot, woot). With that said, be sure to check out Death of The King when it drops Sunday, August 17th over at SpeedontheBeat.Bandcamp.com and on iTunes and all that fun stuff.

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.

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

Greetings all,

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

 

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

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

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

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

#SkiesAintSafe.

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

iggy-azalea-billboard.com

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

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

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

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

Maya Angelou Passes at 86

maya-angelou

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

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

 

Until next time guys.

Live from Bethesda, Maryland. It’s This Week in Hip-Hop, hosted by The No-Fi King K.I.N.G., Speed on the Beat!!!

 

Ok, so let’s get this show on the road. I can’t believe that I missed this one, but 2 Chainz dropped a new album/mixtape (the words are so interchangeable these days, so shrug it), Freebase, recently. The above track, “Trap Back,” shows what you can expect from this collection. Unfortunately for my working people, I couldn’t embed the MTV edit of the track. So bask in its uncut glory–with headphones on, of course. Chainz dropping bars over somewhat oddity-laced beats in a way that some consider more “experimental” than before. “Trap Back” also showcases a more lax 2 Chainz than what we’ve seen in recent times. The bite’s still there, but the bark’s subdued and lends itself to more of a “let’s go get messed up and do dumb things” type of vibe. In other words, the track and most of the tape is what we’ve considered “Happy Ignorance.” While the rest of the tape is more “typical” Chainz, it’s not a bad thing.

Rick Gonzalez-Between The Stars-hnhh

In other news, rapper-turned-actor-turned-rapper Rick Gonzalez dropped a new collection (note: In lieu of the words “mixtape” and “album,” I’m going to start referring to them as “collections”) Between the Stars. It’s like a combination of Blu and J. Cole with some grimy beats. He’s got some dope bars and an ear for beats, but his flow is stilted at times. That’s a problem that I’ll always have with a lot of these non-“mainstream” rappers. They’ve got it all down pat, but the flows can be cures for insomnia. But, I mean, not everyone has to be 2 Chainz. Check it out at the link below.

Rick Gonzalez – Between The Stars

Hip-Hop Fail(s) of the Week (So Far)

In light of “that video,” I’ve decided to bring back my TWIHH Fail of the Week award. We’ve got a few to pass out this week. First, in case you haven’t heard, will.i.am got kicked out of first class on a United Airlines flight (kinda) and then ended up having a pilot request a selfie. For that, I’ve got to give a joint FotW to will.i.am and United. Why? Well, United attempted to brush the whole thing under the rug with a press release, referring to will.i.am as just “the customer.”

Our second FotW goes to Jim Jones and his “2 On” remix. Now, I rock with Jim Jones at times, but he’s showing much rust in his once-impregnable armor. I’ma let you finish, Jim, but OB OBrien and Drake have the best “2 On” remix of (possibly) all-time (at the moment). Mercifully, Jim’s remix clocks in at just under a minute.

Until next time, guys. Stay tuned for my “Worst Summer Songs” list coming soon.

I’m going a different route this week. My normal “TWIHH” will return next week.

Let it be known, first and foremost, that I love lyrical music. I love being able to think on a bar or a verse and come up with several annotations on it. I enjoy learning something with the lyrics I hear. And, obviously, I love to impart wisdom through my own bars. It’s partly why I love sites like RapGenius. But, A few years ago, Waka Flocka (Flame)–now of Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta (see, it’s still kind of related to current events)–said that “nobody wanna hear that damn dictionary rap.” This interview may be a bit NSFW, so viewer discretion is advised.

 

But is he right? Do we, as artists and fans, want to hear more simplistic lyrics or something that sounds like it’s taken from a graduate school-level philosophy textbook? Do we want “smart rap” or “dumb rap?”

It’s a question I’ve thought of a lot as an artist. Let’s dissect a bit. Some of these so-called “dictionary rappers” will spit bars that are mechanically impressive, but stunted. Why? They get so wrapped up in proving their knowledge, they start to lose the audience (“intellectual” or otherwise). I’ll probably get a lot of flack for this, but a prime example of this is Canibus. While he pulls references to Greek mythology, space-time, and so on out of thin air, he doesn’t really say or do much with it outside of a simple simile–or rattle off alliterative lyrics for the sheer fact that he can. Case in point: his 2010 track “Pine Cone Poem” from C of Tranquility.

 

All in all, the song refers to an elevated state of mind, but that sometimes gets lost in his tangents. This sort of “anti-‘mainstream'” lyricism has created some great lyricists. ‘Bus, even with his flaws, is head and shoulders above some of his contemporaries. When he’s making sense with his lyrics, of course. Inversely, because so many so-called “underground” artists are quick to embrace “anti-mainstream” philosophies and approaches, we get a bunch of artists that feel that this sort of thing will get them noticed.

They’ll rattle off alliterative, multi-syllabic lyrics such as this (and these are real bars I’ve heard):

“My animalistic atrocities, rock these ‘metamorphosized’ philosophies/
Like the eye of Horus, explore this, man-made camaraderie.”

Again, it’s a nice couplet, in terms of thinking outside the box. It’s dope in regards to the wordplay and the twisting of words. But, intellectually, it doesn’t make much sense. It’s fundamentally flawed.

The Eye of Horus is representative of the “third eye,” if you believe that sort of thing. If you’re elevated mentally, you’ll not have animalistic tendencies, much less commit animalistic atrocities. Also, the belief of the Eye of Horus being representative of the “third eye” is, in itself, a man-made philosophy. It’s derived from “metamorphosized” thoughts, new age wisdom and healing, and anti-“Illuminati”/pro-awakened mind teachings and thought processes (also presented in the above Canibus song). Hell, try spitting that in a verse. You’ll possibly outrap the beat and sound incompetent. You’ll force it out and it’ll sound unnatural, flow-wise.

In other words, if you really think about some of these dictionary bars, they’re worse than a rapper that spits “ignorance.” Even if it’s not elevated or “smart”, something like: “I rock the boat…Aaliyah/Mess with me, I got the Eagle on ‘heat seaker'”still makes sense on a fundamental level.

So is “dictionary rap” or “super smart rap” bad?

Simply put, no. It’s fun and impressive to think of new, outside-the-box ways to speak your thoughts. But, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. If you sacrifice common sense for squeezing a million tangent-worthy microthoughts into a verse, you’re performing a disservice to hip-hop. If you’re focusing more on your rhyme schemes than what you want to say, you’re performing a disservice to hip-hop. If you’re an artist and you want to get on/get noticed, be sure you know the basics before you start rattling off so-called “smart rap.” If you don’t, you’ll look dumb.

As artists, we always want to make ourselves better than the people out there. But, if you lose focus of the fundamentals, you’re screwed and destined to be clowned for it. Don’t dumb down, but don’t try to be overly smart and just sound like a jacka** when it’s all said and done. It’s all about balance, people. You can be “smart” and not alienate, just like a person could spit “dumb” rap and have it so lyrically impressive.

Not too many artists have this, though. But, as always, that’s just my opinion.

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. Hope I don’t drive too many of you away from here. I promise it all comes together in the end.

So, this week, I was all pumped to write a post on the evolution of Chance the Rapper (or talk on the evolution of Drake’s fanboy-like nature when it comes to sports). Then, I got the news that the Ultimate Warrior died suddenly a few days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (and delivering a prophetic promo on Monday Night Raw).

This shocking news, which I’ll speak on a bit more on my personal site in the coming days, got me thinking about one of the worst angles in my twenty-some years as a pro wrestling fan. In case you don’t know, your [butt] better call somebody (this will pop up again) and listen up before I have to open a can of whoop-you-know-what.

In the late 90s, the Attitude Era had taken over the WWE, at the time known as the WWF. What this meant for one of the main competitors to the WWE, WCW (or World Championship Wrestling) is that they’d have to up the ante on storylines, marketability, and straight-up ridiculousness to keep people tuning in. Heels (bad guys) and faces (good guys) flipped sides more than a three-sided coin. David Arquette won the “Big Gold” belt. And, guest stars begin to litter the WCW landscape.

One of those guest stars was none other than Mr. “Age in Rap Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Numba” himself, Master P.

Master P decided to sign into a partnership with WCW. If Master P lent some credence to wrasslin’ in the hip-hop community, then WCW would lend some credence to hip-hop in the wrestling community. Oh, and there was something about Master P’s possible cousin “Swoll” being able to wrestle and get screen time.

What came out of this relationship is a storyline that many wrestling sites consider to be one of the worst in the history of WCW. And this is coming from a sports entertainment federation which employed Robocop at one of their pay-per-views.

(See what I mean?)

In the sometimes nonsensical world of pro wrestling, you expect stuff to not make sense. That’s part of kayfabe. You’ve got to suspend some reality to get into it. But, Master P’s inclusion in WCW, as part of the–wait for it–No Limit Soldiers was insanely abysmal. Not only was his stable (group of wrestlers) booed ad nauseam, they were brought in as faces. Translation: the good guys got the [stuffing] booed out of them because:

1) WCW brought in a bunch of non-wrestlers to take time/money away from actual wrestlers (Master P got paid about a million dollars for a month)
2) A lot of WCW’s fan base quite possibly thought that “rap was crap,” agreeing with the heel faction that sprung up to feud with the “No Limit Soldiers”
3) The actual wrestlers in the NLS stable were either glorified jobbers or had no business in a rap-centric stable–and yes, that includes Brad Armstrong, the brother of Road Dogg (Jesse James) of the New Age Outlaws and DX in WWF/WWE (who eventually resurfaced as, to a degree, a spoof of Road Dogg).
4) The NLS stable came off as a straight-up parody of hip-hop and was kind of stereotypical in nature (and not even the “funny” kind of stereotypical. They were almost booed out of Washington DC during their debut).
5) This was one of the most-awkward celebrity appearances in professional wrestling

(See what I mean?)

Essentially, it was the result of WCW trying to reach out to “the blacks” the hip-hop community in a pandering effort that was half-cooked. Of course, this isn’t the first time wrestling and hip-hop have meshed. We have wrestlers such as R-Truth, to this very day, poppin’ and lockin’ in their entrances. Silkk the Shocker performed a WWE theme song. We had the tag team of JTG and Shad known as “Cryme Tyme,” which, in some ways, was even more stereotypical than Master P’s bunch (But, at least everyone was in on the joke…I think).

(BROOKLYN BROOKLYN!)

But, for me, the No Limit Soldiers gimmick stands out as one of the worst marriages of hip-hop and wrestling–and there have been some odd ones.

For kicks, I’ve included the No Limit entrance theme, “Hoody Hoo,” which, of course, is NSFW (I mean, it’s old-school No Limit).

Until next time. I promise that next week I’ll keep it strictly hip-hop. No piledrivers or Stone Cold Stunners.

Ok, maybe a stunner or two (contains some middle-finger-flipping action and some minor NSFW language)

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