“The black-white rift stands at the very center of American history. It is the great challenge to which all our deepest aspirations to freedom must rise. If we forget that — if we forget the great stain of slavery that stands at the heart of our country, our history, our experiment — we forget who we are, and we make the great rift deeper and wider.” – Ken Burns
I don’t understand people who can’t show empathy. I thought it was just a given, if you’ve been through something similar to what someone else is going through, then you empathize with them. I love being Irish. It’s why I’m blue collar til’ I die, and why I’ll forever be rebellious. It’s the reason I’ll forever empathize with African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, Jews, gays, and any other minority in America who has faced oppression, or who continually face ignorant prejudices. It’s the reason why I’ll almost always side with the players or workers in any labor dispute because just because you inherited a shit ton of money, doesn’t make you or your investment more important than the actual work that goes into building the business. It’s the reason why I won’t ever judge an addict who acknowledges their disease, but just doesn’t have the support, personal will power, or sense of purpose to get over the hump to recovery.
But maybe that’s not why I feel those ways. Because obviously there are other Irish, or similar previously oppressed minorities, who still do not show empathy to the struggles of others today. Maybe it’s just my father who instilled in me REAL christian-like morals and values, including love and acceptance. Maybe it’s my mother who instilled in me the the spirit of speaking my mind, no matter what other people thought. Kinda reminds me of a Common line; “Waiting for the Lord to rise, I looked into my daughters eyes and realized I’ma learn through her. The messiah might even return through her. If I’ma do it, I gotta change the world through her.”
After emigrating to America, The Irish were once called “green niggers”. For a while, when seeking work, they continually read signs stating “Irish need not apply.” Before that, they were oppressed by the English in their homeland, until their successful rebellion finally gained their independence. Yet some Irish-Americans still can’t empathize with the struggles faced by black people and other minorities in America. I realize most did not witness this themselves, but their heritage tells the tale. Some ignorantly believe that the Irish simply used hard work and their blue collar nature to get themselves out of their situation of oppression, so why can’t others? But while I do think we should empathize, I also know the situations are actually extremely different. I’m not an African-American studies major, but I do know that there is a difference between choosing to come to a new land with your family (or at least having access to them) and then being refused work because of your last name, and that of being captured and removed from your home country, enslaved in a foreign land with a culture unlike anything you’ve ever known, treated as/believed to be property, losing all sense of home and family, and THEN once someone says they can’t technically treat you as property anymore they still refuse your human rights and attack you without justice because of the color of your skin. But that was before the civil rights movement a whole 50 years ago, America isn’t racist anymore….okay. There’s no lasting effects from that, right? Just like there are no lasting effects in a girl who was raped or molested as a child as she develops into a woman. To add to the subject of empathy, the same confusion arises when black people proactively refute gay rights on the basis of religion and the bible, just as they were once persecuted. I just don’t get that shit.
This isn’t meant to be anti-American, or anti-anything for that matter. Every race, religion and nationality has ignorant, hateful, and wasteful people. But it’s the fact that we seem to turn against each other and seek out these downfalls to prove that we are different from one another/better than the other. It’s like in our hopes to attain “The American Dream,” we feel the need to bring everyone else down around us to climb over them and get to the almighty upper class. Why are we okay with money & status dictating our moral system and entire way of life? And if pointing out these facts and acknowledging America’s downfalls makes me unAmerican, then I don’t know if I want to be the opposite. Why can’t we hope to be better than we are?
“If you feel how I feel, then I rap some more”…..http://www.vernonjohns.org/vernjohns/sthimpct.html
Ok, I’m done. But I hope I made you all feel super uncomfortable while reading this. Just because it’s a touchy subject and it might seem like there’s no real solution, doesn’t mean that ignoring it is gonna accomplish anything. The most fucked up thing about me sharing this is that I second guessed myself for sharing, like my friends/co-workers would look at me differently. Fuck it, this is the shit I think about it.
Anyway, back to the music. This Macklemore dude represents everything I love about rap and the form of poetry it has evolved into. His words help provide the confidence I feel like I need to share my true feelings. I have never needed someone to look like me to be able to feel connected, but it does intensify the feeling when you are truly able to identify with the individual and their past, and not just metaphorically. This might not be for everyone, but dude can spit, real talk at that. And if you’ve been able to relate to some of the other introspective hip hop I’ve posted in the past, I think you’ll be just as pleased with one of my new favorite rappers, and Irish brother, Macklemore. This is the realest shit I’ve heard since Joe Budden’s Mood Music series, plus some. I guess this shit is way back from ’09. But like I always say, better late than never.
“I was put here to do something before I’m lying in that casket
I’d be lying on the beat if I said I didn’t know what that is
The world’s a stage and we play a character, I found him
It took me twenty something years and a bunch of shitty soundchecks”
Life has always been described as a story as it involves various plots, conflicts, settings, characters, and themes. Some are tragedies, some comedies, and some a combination. But what if you look at life like a mashup. A bunch of different elements all scrambled together to form “your life.” Now, talented mashup artists know how to put together what seem like totally different musical elements, all the while creating a harmonious combination of music in the end. Now if one element is way off, it can ruin the whole mashup. You know when it’s off too, because shit just doesn’t sound/feel right.
Now look at life. You got a lot of different things going on in life. Maybe school or work, family, friends and relationships, hobbies and pastimes, all mixed in with your spiritual and moral self image. Now if these elements don’t fit well together, even just one, you’re finished product isn’t gonna be all that it could be. Especially if something like work, often the most prevalent element in your life since you spend the most time doing it, doesn’t fit, you’re gonna end up with a shitty mashup. I don’t want to look back at the mashup I created and have regrets about the beat I used, or the vocals I added. I just want that shit to be beautiful, and natural, like music.
Weekend Rap Up: Chip tha Ripper, Fabolous ft Trey Songz & Red Cafe, Asher Roth, Crooked I, Main Attrakionz ft ASAP Rocky + L.S.D ft Phonte, King Mez & Charlie Smarts
Got my fantasy football draft tonight and I haven’t done any research yet, so I apologize for some of the short descriptions but I just don’t have time to get too insightful. As far as fantasy goes, I’m not too worried about my unpreparedness though, most of it is luck. And anyway, the best part of fantasy football is just gettin with the dudes during a live draft and then constantly talking shit from then on throughout the rest of the season. It helps when you have a good team but I’m really not the best fantasy manager. This is because, like music, I find it hard to draft (or get into musically) a player (artist) if I don’t like/respect them as a person. Was never very good at separating business from personal feelings….or anything and personal feelings for that matter.
Chip. tha. Rip. Reeeeeeally diggin this one right here. I’m lovin beat and especially the way Chip’s vocals match up with the overall vibe. Sounds like something to unwind to during the after-party, or maybe the opposite to kick the night off with the dudes. Probably follows a similar mantra as “Two goin’ at once. I like my girls like I like my blunts.”
“I was uncool before the uncool became cool”
(MP3): Chip tha Ripper – Great Time
This one can keep the party going as well. Fab is one of the most underrated rappers in the game. He consistently produces quality verses no matter the type of feature. The B.I.G. sample and Trey Songz hook make for an ear pleasing, easy listen.
Asher continues to impress me more and more this summer. He just went from an afterthought, to a “I’m definitely going to check out that album as soon as it comes out” type rapper in my book. Beat smooth, sample dope, rhymes tight. Real talk.
(MP3): Asher Roth – Ampersand
Slaughter in the house. I mentioned underrated earlier about Fab, but if that is the case, then Crook must be considered invisible. Even when people talk about Slaughterhouse I feel like Budden, Royce, or even Joell get the majority of the credit. While Joe Budden is close to my favorite rapper, I still gotta say that lyrically, as far as flow and punches, Crook is actually #1 out of the group. Talk about a group of rappers that really fit together on a lyrically conscious level, though.
I really have a hard time paying attention to the lyrics in this one for two reasons. One, I don’t expect to be impressed with anything rapped because these dudes are not lyricists. But more importantly, the other reason is because this sample is one of the coldest of all times. And I’m not talking the U.G.K. vocal sample, I’m talking about this Art of Noise (how creepy is this video?) beat sample. Took me a frustrating amount of time to remember where I knew it from, but the word “Freak” was the clincher that came to mind.
(MP3): Krayzie Bone – 2 Many Freaks (ft Play n Skillz & Adina Howard)….CLASSIC!
I’m not a huge fan of Little Brother, but mostly because it’s hard for me to get into 9th Wonder’s production. You know, kind of similar to the J. Dilla type shit. I know both dudes are respected to the utmost, but I just never really got into it. I still think Phonte is a sick spitter though, and while this beat is of the same soulful spectrum, this time shit’s got me bobbin’ back and forth without a doubt.
For your hands-free listening pleasures…
Wifey Wednesday: David Guetta ft Jennifer Hudson, Futurecop! ft Christian Rich, Major Lazer ft La Roux + Naughty Ne-Yo
In case anyone was curious, “Does Nicki Minaj like white guys?” is still a regularly occurring search bringing folks to the funk. However, this is NOT the most trending. That of course, would simply be “Nicki Minaj ass.” I can’t be mad at that, I’ve done my fair share of booty searches in my day. Most trending all time = Vida Guerra. Oh, you don’t know? Who are you kidding, yea you do. Ass took her to the top…of the most likely names to be searched before the word “ass”.
Hmmmm. This song sounds eerily similar to Rihanna’s “Only Girl”, no? David Guetta: King of the recycled club jam.
Futurecop! = Heavily electronic based version of the Black Eyed Peas B squad….or maybe E squad?
Not gonna lie, actually kinda excited to see what Major Lazer has in store at Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival. Slightly less than Common….just slightly.
I think Lil Jon could go over Kelly Rowland’s “Motivation” and I’d still dig it. Put the kiddies to bed for this one. Damn, Ne-Yo. This song makes Tweet look like Mother Theresa. Oops…keep them legs shakin’ ladies.
Am I really the only one who thinks of Kevin Bacon when they hear Jackie Wilson? Classic basketball flick. I mean, don’t tell me you saw the limo driver/”prodigal son” brother coming in as the ringer in the African version of East vs West Baltimore. They even got a fat dude to coach the bad guys, just like Prop Joe. Anyway, these are two of my favorite….I don’t know how to classify them….absolutely amazing classic jams of yesteryear? Just good music, no Jesus piece. Gotta like the little kick provided to each, right? Diggin’ it. Now hit the dance floor and do the Jimmy Dolan shake n bake!
Monster Mixtape Monday: Wale (Eleven One Eleven Theory), The Weeknd (Thursday) + Big K.R.I.T. (Last King 2: God’s Machine)
So we had some heat released at the end of last week including new Wale, Big K.R.I.T., and the long awaited (not even 6 months, but still too long) follow up from The Weeknd. I finally got through my first full listen of em all, so you know I had to share with everyone. I probably should have split these up in their own posts because I just realized it won’t let me post my play button, so you’ll just have to take the extra 5 seconds to open Hulkshare and take a listen. Don’t be lazy….like me.
First up, we had Wale’s mixtape titled The Eleven One Eleven Theory, as in the release date for his upcoming album Ambition. As you all know, Wale is my dude. Not only is his flow and word play better than most rappers out today, dude is smarter than almost all of them. He creates songs, not just verses. He touches on subjects that others wouldn’t even think of delving into. And he does it all with a style unlike any other dude in the game. You know I respect individuality, especially when It’s not something that is often rewarded. When Wale makes it, and he will, not only does he have something to be truly proud of, but he sets an example for the next generation of up and coming spitters who want to make it, but who might have given up because of their reluctance to succumb to the ignorant subject matter that seems to be a contributing factor in the quick money making formula. Check the highlights from the tape (outside of “Ocean Drive”, “Lacefrontin” and “Bait” which were already posted) and go out and purchase Ambition when it comes out to help change the game.
(MP3): Wale – Fuck You
(MP3): Wale – Chain Music
(MP3): Wale – Barry Sanders
(MP3): Wale – Varsity Blues
Next up we got The Weeknd and his latest project titled Thursday. Why this came out on Friday, I’ll never understand. Regardless, this dude is the epitome of originality in RnB. Hell, I haven’t heard something this unique in ANY genre in the past couple years. I don’t know if he handles his own production or what, but his voice and melody is absolutely perfect for the vibe his instrumentals provide. Not to mention his subject matter is deeper than the typical “I can fuck you better” type shit. Why does it always seem like the deeper you get, the darker you get? I told you back when House of Balloons dropped, this dude is goin’ places. I still prefer the first tape, but this is definitely no consolation prize. I also like how he keeps a low profile too. Keep it real, and keep putting out beautiful music dude. Check some joints fresh to the funk, and use the search to look up the previously posted gems “The Birds Pt. 1” & “Rolling Stone.”
(MP3): The Weeknd – Lonely Star
(MP3): The Weeknd – The Birds pt. 2
(MP3): The Weeknd – Gone
Last but certainly not least, we got the newest Big K.R.I.T. project. I don’t think I could ever say I’ve had enough Krizzle, but this should hold us over for a little bit while we wait for the debut LP to drop. This mixtape is nothing compared to Return of 4eva, but it’s still got that same K.R.I.T. vibe I’ve come to love. You know, the kind of soulful jazzy type instrumentals run over by that pimp talk mixed in with real life. Too many features in my opinion, but that’s to be expected from a tape consisting mostly of features from himself on other dude’s joints. Already posted jams like “On the Corner” and “Happy Birthday Hip Hop” but here are the next best off the tape.