Weekend Rap Up: Kendrick Lamar, DJ Drama ft 2 Chainz & Meek Mill & Jeremih, 1982 ft Big K.R.I.T., S-Preme, Bas + Jon Connor
You know, I get really frustrated with rap music sometimes. First of all, there are way too many rappers nowadays. And second, way too much money and fame gets credited to undeserving/untalented assholes. But it’s dudes like Kendrick that keep me coming back. You see, there will always be the business aspect corrupting the game. And there will always be wannabe rappers over-saturating the internet. But there will also forever be masterful young talents coming up under the radar that eventually, with enough push from the true hip hop fans, will get their chance to shine and rep the genre the right way. Exhibit A…
I couldn’t NOT post a 2 Chainz song if I even tried. The dude is literally EVERYWHERE. I gotta say though, this is probably one of the more respectable verses I’ve heard from him. Although, I do try to avoid him at all costs, so what do i know. I will say this also; I don’t hate what the dude is doing. I know I hate on him, but it’s more of me hating on the game. Is hip hop really turning into a hype machine likened to fashion trends decided by some clown overseas (exec) who passes that down to someone famous (rapper) who then leads the sheep of the world to follow suit? Regardless, I like this song. Thank you Meek Mill and Jeremih.
I’m a big fan of the sound that Statik creates for Termanology to showcase his lyricism. It seems only right for Big K.R.I.T. to jump on that same canvas and deliver his “indestructible flow.”
This dude is a spitter, period. He’s not your typical “hard” gun/coke/money rapper. It’s crazy to think about in today’s ego-infalted materialistic rap game, but get this; dude lets his rap skills do the talking. Waaaaoooooooowwwww.
I just recently discovered this Bas dude, and I think more than anything I just like his vibe. He seems like a chill, lighthearted dude with a nice flow and natural content selection. He’s not reaching like some of these clowns trying to make up for their insecurities. I dig that shit. This joint is pretty smooth btw.
Sometimes I get sucked into looking for new songs for hours on end. It’s like a nervous addiction that can’t be stopped once begun, or at least until I find that joint that finally satisfies my hunger for the day. I almost gave up this morning, but told myself I’d give it one more page of listens before I call it a day. Much to my delight I found this Jon Connor link at the bottom of the page (page 17 to be exact) and took a listen with hopes he would quench my desire. Oh, and it was good. With a little help from BRIX’ utilization of a sample from one of thee GREATEST RAP SONGS OF ALL TIME (along with the chipmunked Gavin DeGraw hook, as pointed out by the wifey), JC and his uncanny lyrical prowess comes through in the clutch.
It’s been a minute since I posted some new hip hop, so in order to hold you over until I post my next Rap Up, check out this dude Jitta in his Lumberjack. Really diggin the vibes in this one, so “when I sink two cups better run it back.”
Twisted Tuesday: The White Panda ft. White Town x Dorrough, DOSVEC ft. Gotye x Biggie + Star Slinger ft H-Town
I got alliteration for days, ya got wack for weeks! Don’t fuck with The Funk….
This original White Town song is kinda creepy, but in a good way. Not in a gay way (there are definitely some gender role/sexual orientation issues that need to be cleared up in that one) I just like the quiet creepy dude’s voice over the quaint instrumental. But if you’re feeling a little unsure and insecure (like Andy from The Office) when listening to the lyrics but really like the beat, then The White Panda solves all your problems with a little help from their favorite mashable rap vocals.
I know, I know. If you listen to the radio on a regular basis you probably want to blow your brains out whenever that Gotye joint plays every 30 minutes. And if you’re constantly exploring the blogosphere you’re probably in the same boat based on the amount of revisions shat out of remix artists’ asses on a weekly basis. But in my opinion, DOSVEC does just enough to the beat in this one to keep it super fresh without abandoning what made the original so hypnotizing. And who can say no to Diddy when he says he wants a remix again?
Search for Star Slinger on The Funk and you’ll see we’ve been up on a couple solid joints of his. I found this one on Pigeon and Planes (great blog btw) top 10 of said remix master. On another note, remember how cool R&B groups of 3-5 dudes were in the 90’s and early 2000’s? Can’t we go back to that? Who am I kidding. Dudes’ egos are through the roof these days. And it’s a COT damn shame.
Mixtape Monday: Childish Gambino’s “Royalty”, Terry Urban ft. Nas x Amy Winehouse + Chi Duly x The Weeknd
I was out of town all weekend and still adjusting to life back at work so I haven’t been up on enough new music to share any specific jams. But it’s been too long since my last post, so here’s a couple of mixtapes I’ll be paying closer attention to over the next week that I think you might find appealing as well.
Donald finally released his latest mixtape effort on the 4th (I think) after weeks of leaks. Definitely looking forward to diving into this one to uncover what’s been running through Mr. Glover’s mind. Good thing I have a 45 minute commute to and from work….
Terry Urrrrrrrban has created what I can only assume to be another masterpiece, as I have yet to get into it. But the thought of Nas’ lyricism over some Amy Winehouse melodies has got me pretty excited. I have a feeling this will be one of those tapes that just doesn’t get old. Just press play and let it ride.
Chi Duly gives The Weeknd a little bit of a kick with this next one. It’s been out for a minute but I just came up on it, so in case you haven’t yet…
Rhymefest Likens Chief Keef to a Young-Mind-Killing Machine + My Opinion + The Greats’ Conscious Rap Jams
So I found this short Rhymefest piece via my go-to blog (TheHipHopUpdate) about a week ago and I’ve been trying to figure out the best way/words for me to express my feelings here on The Funk. Hopefully you take a few minutes to read my reaction, and then 30 more to listen to hip hop’s response in song. Not much controversy gets by me without my opinion coming out, but I’ll save it until after you read what Rhymefest had to say about some of today’s most popular rap acts….
Chief Keef Is The Bomb
Chief Keef is a “Bomb”, he represents the senseless savagery that white people see when the news speaks of Chicago violence. A Bomb has no responsibility or blame, it does what it was created to do; DESTROY! Notice, no one is talking about the real culprits, the Bomb maker or the pilot who is deploying this deadly force (Labels, Radio Stations). Its easier to blame the bomb. Bombs are not chosen for their individual talents, they are tools used for collateral damage.
To think of the persona of Chief Keef as a person would be the first mistake, he will more then likely come and go without us knowing much of anything about his personal pains, struggles, great loves and ambitions beyond rap. He is a spokesman for the Prison Industrial Complex. Every corporation is expected to grow at least 4% each quarter, many prisons are privately owned with stock being traded on the open market. If these corporations were to do commercials, jingles and promotions who would they hire? You got it, most of the main stream rappers we salivate over like Rick Ross the former correctional officer turned Drug Lord Boss rapper. Waka Flocka Flame gang bang “GO HARD IN THE PAINT” and Chief Keef the newest lottery pick in the “Get paid to destroy young minds, like we destroyed yours” Sweepstakes.
Many people will say “Chief Keef is a young black man making money who wouldn’t have had any other opportunity, why isn’t this a good thing?”. Which brings us back to the question, who is bank rolling this operation and why? This could only be described as an opportunity for this young man if he was recieving artist development, responsible mentorship and counseling for his obvious trauma. By the way, Major Record labels always put million dollar life insurance policies on artist of this nature so that they get paid one way or the other. My suggestion to the rest of us who would love to see the mushroom cloud from this explosion, BE CAUTIOUS! The affects from this type of Bomb can last for centuries. Lets stop giving our intellectual power resources and admiration to destructive forces while ignoring and starving out the good that is being done,sung and rapped about by artist like Killer Mike, Lupe Fiasco, RhymeFest, Dead Prez, Brother ALI, Maimouna Yusef, Invincible, Jean Grey, Mikkey Halsted etc.
In case you haven’t read anything I’ve ever written, I agree with Rhymefest 100%. Since I’m not black I guess it kinda makes it awkward to talk about the social implications of rap and how it affects those who listen to it. But I still have a point of view, and not only would it be bogus as hell for any black, white, or any other color person to tell me my opinion is worthless in the debate, they’d also be misunderstanding the importance of my particular point of view as it relates to the overall goal.
You see, I enjoy intellectualism in rap (and in basically everything else, but we’re talking about music here). Now, intellectualism could be defined based on many different avenues of thought, but overall, I think it would be safe to say that the most prevalent topic covered by intellectual rappers, or in what most would consider “conscious” rap, is black struggle.
….quick necessary tangent: I love the term “conscious” rap. Did you ever think about the derivation of that term? The word conscious is defined by The First Dictionary That Popped Up On The Google Machine as:
1. aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
2. fully aware of or sensitive to something
3. having the mental faculties fully active
4. known to oneself; felt
5. aware of what one is doing
I especially like that last one; aware of what one is doing. As if the opposite would be considered unaware, or ignorant, to what one is doing. And that is precisely why I consider the opposite of conscious rap, to be put simply, ignorant rap. So if we make it a point to classify some rappers as conscious, can’t we rightfully get away with classifying those clearly with the opposite agenda as ignorant? I mean, really classifying. Like when a radio DJ introduces an artist it would go a little something like this: “next up we have one thee HOTTEST ignorant rappers of 2012….” fill in the blank for your favorite radio artist. End tangent….
Consequently, I have been exposed to a fair amount of material related to the thoughts and feelings and lives of some really smart black dudes. So even though I’m not black, and even though I’m not from an underprivileged urban neighborhood where most of their inspiration stemmed from, I am able get a small glimpse of what that life is like. Ultimately, if you can’t put yourself in someone else’s shoes, if you can’t understand where they’re coming from, or if you can’t empathize with any of their everyday pains, then you’ll forever look at those as different people. But that’s precisely what rap has done for me, as I’m sure many others too. Some say “it’s only entertainment” and it’s not the “artists” problem for the way their music is perceived. But it’s not just music. It’s a bridge. Ice-T was probably accurate in saying the reason Barrack Obama is president is because of rap music.
But as much good as it can do in bridging the gap between what people believe to be, and what really is, it can also maintain and enhance negative attitudes in the minds of listeners. I’m not even talking about the affect to the minds of young black kids. I’m talking about what it does to white people (not ALL white people obviously, but I do know a lot of white people). Not because that’s more important, but because that is the perspective I am able to directly reveal. It just reinforces what some subconsciously, as well as happily, prejudice people already expect/want to hear; something stupid that makes them laugh or something that shows how dangerous and reckless they are in their pursuit of money, fame, or sex. They don’t want to hear about what makes them human (aka the underlying factors and feelings that arouse the majority of those actions which actually translate across all humanity), they want to see that extreme character that is easily distinguishable from them. That’s not totally true; they might not even necessarily want to hear that, but it’s been fed to them from the television and their not-so-racially-inclusive parents for so long that they’ve grown accustom to it and now expect it. Unfortunately, people get paid a lot of money to play that extreme character which only magnifies upon accumulating more money.
But some rappers won’t sell out and let the labels and radio corrupt their music. Some are just so talented and special that they are able to balance making hits and spreading intellectual ideas; all the while avoiding selling their soul to a label that has little concern for the casualties of making money. In my mind, those are the only rappers who deserve the title “Great”.
As promised, here are a few of the greats who’ve helped me close that gap between ignorant and aware. Obviously, not everyone is like me and would automatically be attracted to songs like these. But I gotta believe that if these were in heavier rotation and considered more the norm as opposed to the exception nowadays, American’s views of each other, and themselves, would evolve even more significantly.
This first one could possibly be the most intelligent rap song ever, and it fits almost perfectly with what Rhymefest was alluding to in his op-ed. Nas leaves little mystery to the meaning with his prefacing monologue in this one, but listen to how easily he personifies the weapon. It’s as if he, himself, knows what it’s like to feel like…a bomb?
What’s the word for something with a name that doubles as its literal definition? Or am I just thinking of onomatopoeia where something is named after its literal sound? Anyway, if there is a name for the former, Black Thought is that. The dude was trying to put an end to this nonsense before it even really got rolling. Utmost respect for one of the G.O.A.T.s.
“The principles of true hip hop have been forsaken
It’s all contractual and about money makin’
Pretend-to-be cats don’t seem to know their limitation
exact replication and false representation”
“Peacocks strut because they can’t fly. Nobody wanna be an Eagle. Why? Because they shoot Eagles.” I love that intro….Here, Fest asks his listeners what type of dramatic life events they’ve been through to see how much that might allow them to empathize with his own. He also asks one of the most important questions in this entire discussion; “What do you know about the power of the subconscious mind?”
Another Chicago native who Fest actually gives mention to at the end of his piece for leading the way in providing the type of sincere lyricism the game is lacking in the mainstream today. Here, Lupe takes you along his conscious, and sometimes hypocritical, journey through youthful hip hop adoration, while questioning some of the most adored aspects of the genre along the way.
It has to be something about this city for producing all this consciousness, right? It’s probably one of the greatest city’s in the world, and I feel like it’s overlooked even in it’s own country. There’s something that makes it its own though. It’s not too cut throat like New York and it’s not so vain like Los Angeles. Located in the outward facing upper left of the country’s body, Chicago has got heart (i.e. Derrick Rose).
My opinion and views were pretty well set by the time these next two came on the scene, but they undoubtedly represent the promising future for not only a genre, but a generation of kids and up and coming rappers.
As close as Nas may have come, there will never be another 2pac. He’s done more for his particular genre than I think any other artists/band can say; even the Beatles. He found that coveted balance in the rap game between intelligent thug and street prophet, having as much an impact socially as he did musically. Revolutionary.
Weekend Rap Up: B.o.B.,The ILLZ, YONAS, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, Dave Raps, Nas ft Rick Ross, Pusha T ft. Swizz Beatz, French Montana ft. Drake & Wayne & RossMeek Mill & Wale & MMG + More
How unnecessarily long is that title? Lots of featured appearances in this week’s Rap Up, and more than a couple different styles and sounds at work as well. One particular sound that stands out from the rest is The ILLZ. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a BIG fan of the indie rap movement. You know, that introspective shit over simple guitar strings, piano, and other indie rock samples. They really are a perfect match for eachother. The lyrics are meant to be listened to intently, and the musical backdrop is one that not only eliminates unnecessary distractions but also elicits emotion in of itself. That’s why I dig The ILLZ. The dude reeks of realness. B.o.B. is the same, when he’s at his best at least. Unfortunately being at your best and making money are two separate things these days in the music biz, or at least in hip hop. So you might not find many more like this off Strange Clouds, but that doesn’t take away from great pieces like this.
The ILLZ – Closer (Temper Trap sample)
Yonas is another up and comer you should already be mindful of. He’s been doing his thing in the mixtape game for a few years now, and eventually he’ll have built up a distinguishable enough rapport with his fan base that he can put out pretty much any type of record and he’ll sell some. That’s the name of the mixtape game, right? Love the pre-fame mixtape game (see B.o.B.). YONAS really isn’t on that level yet, but he definitely knows how to take someone else’s hot beat, and no matter how played out, make it his own so that you can listen again.
Freddie deserves a considerable amount of respect for his lyrical game. He’s not flashy, he doesn’t have a tag line to repeat 12+ times a song, and he doesn’t spit so utterly simple and slow that you could teach a 2 year old to
be ignorant as hell follow along. Sometimes it does take a beautiful soul sample like this to truly appreciate him.
Dave Raps delivered one of my favorite songs of 2011 in “Alive” off his mixtape H.Y.P.E. So I copped his latest effort AKA Dave Ruffin and spotted this lil gem. Take a listen.
Ohhhhh boy! Life Is Good is almost here. Nas drops his latest studio effort on July 17th and I can’t wait. Nas is my favorite rapper, hands down. There’s no one like him. We’ll talk more when his shit drops and I get the full effect. In this one, Nas calls out all the fakers out there that really aint shit. Ross delivers an excellent verse by the way. I’m serious. I might be too hard on him. I just can’t get over the fact that he literally only raps about 4 things; cocaine, cars, money, and girls he would never fuck without the first 3.
Since I’m on the subject of Rick Ross, I might as well just jump head first into that m-m-m-m-maybach music. I like this mayback music…kinda. The Meek joint is off his mixtape Dreamchasers 2 and dude does justice to one of the greatest instrumentals/songs of all time; The Fugees – Ready or Not. The Power circle joint is off Self Made vol 2. I must say, that’s a helluva lineup MMG is touting.
I know, I know. I’m not supposed to post shit I don’t truly listen to. But even in this next one’s case, there IS a time and a place. It just so happens that that time and place doesn’t fit into my usual listening patterns. This Pusha joint I can fuck with on the regular though. Does Swizz Beats do anything but drive around in his fancy cars anymore?
The overwhelmingly sense of summertime is upon me and this song is just too perfect in that regard to ignore. The Hood Internet does it again with their insanely smooth mashup bringing together two perfectly dissimilar artists/genres to create a beautifully chill summertime jam. Definitely something to ride out to with the top down. Enjoy. Life.