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.
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.
I’m tired of hearing people hate on shit. I know I’m guilty myself, but I’m consciously trying not to be such a fucking hater. I do hate on dudes like 2 Cainz and sometimes Rick Ross, but I don’t usually go out of my way to bring them up or point out there downfalls. Usually. So I’d like to take this time to CHAMPION an artist. That artist, of course, is Big K.R.I.T.. Today marks the release day of his debut LP, Live From The Underground. Download it at iTunes. I’ll have something to say after I get a full listen through during my commute tomorrow. But before I do that, take a listen to a new one from TheBlkHands featuring Big Krizzle to go along with my personal Best of Big K.R.I.T. playlist/mixtape. Happy Birthday hip hop.
NPR on that Krizzle, I love it. The official release is slated for June 5th, and you can now believe it. I haven’t had a chance to take a listen yet, but honestly, when I know I’m going to buy it anyway I usually like to wait until after I can purchase the official copy. But if for some insane reason you’re still not sold on Krit, and still need to check it out before contributing to the save hip hop foundation, by all means take a listen……you may also need to reevaluate your taste in Hip Hop as well.
Follow Link to Listen: Live From The Underground Album Stream
Memorial Weekend Rap Up: A$AP Rocky, Swizz Beats, Big K.R.I.T, Dom Kennedy, Aesop Rock, Juicy J, Freddie Gibs, 2 Chainz, Mac Miller, Asher Roth + More
In the words of the legendary Timbo, “It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you without a dope beat to step to.” I don’t feel like getting into the excuses for my hiatus, nor can I say it won’t happen again. But I will say this; If someone wants to pay me for the hours I spend looking for legit, quality music (especially rap, which is like trying to find classy wifey material out at the club. You can do it, but shit, listening to some of that garbage can take a toll on ya), not to mention writing something halfway intelligent about it, then by all means let me know and I’ll never take another day off the rest of my life. Any who, let’s get right into this cuz I got plenty of material for ya’ll all week long…
This dude A$AP is blowing up fast, and so far he hasn’t swayed from his original style. One can’t count on that forever, so enjoy the early material while the gettin’s good. Attention all producers: Please keep making bangers for this dude. ***Updated: This was previously featured on the Funk back in April, but this guy is wayyy behind still… and it’s that good***
Joe Budden has a line in the forgettable club anthem “Fire” from his early years that goes, “I’m glad producers charge so high for they tracks. Now they do it all, you just applying the
wrap rap.” In most cases, it couldn’t be more true. Now I don’t know how much “La Musica de Harry Fraud” costs, but I bet he makes a pretty penny. I can’t get enough of this hypnotizing masterpiece right here. Thankfully, Action and Rif don’t fuck up the packaging.
I just came up on this one this morning, so I haven’t listened to it long enough to determine if it has any replay value. But Gibbs and Tip rarely disappoint, and the beat is decent enough for a “ridin’ round the city” mixtape.
Add this one to the aforementioned “mean muggin’ in the whip” mixtape. I had this one blasting with the windows down last night, ooh wee.
I usually rip on artists with unimaginative slow motion flows, but none of that matters if the beat is right. And this my type of banger. Seriously though Dom, “money give me a boner?” Really?
I’m more embarrassed that I’m sharing a song with 2 Chainz rather than Justin Bieber. I just don’t understand why 2 Chainz pops up everywhere nowadays and has a stan-like following? While I may have just answered my own question, still, It’s slightly more annoying than the Gucci Mane phase. At least Gucci came out on the scene and from the start made a name for himself earning the right to bank off the stupid noises that came out of his mouth over hood beats. 2 Chainz on the other hand, literally had to make a new name for himself so no one would associate him with his worthless early years as Tity Boi. It’s just more evidence of rap being overcome by the business suit strategy. Seriously, here we have an artist simply renaming himself yet providing the same garbage, just as a company would rename themselves after a scandal or something yet producing the same shitty product. And people buy it! What the fuck people, we as consumers have the power to demand better. Fuck, I’m just getting myself upset. But seriously, this instrumental is a problem and Justin
Timberlake 2.0 Bieber kills the hook.
Another remix featuring some artists that should not be allowed to spit more than one verse at time. One of my favorite cuts off 4Eva N A Day. Live From The Underground finally on the way!
Never heard of this Bas dude, but I’m definitely feeling the flow and the way he flips Rihanna “You Da One” into what most respectable dudes would probably now say to Rihanna after years of showing us just how little respect she deserves/demands. But damn, she fine.
Hopefully you made it all the way down to the bottom cuz I had to save the best for last. I’ve been rocking this on repeat for almost a month now and until today, only the below lines really made any sense to me. Aesop Rock does not make easy-listen songs for first grade level listeners to be able to follow along. I suggest you do as I did, which is enjoy the impeccable flow over the adrenaline fueling instrumental for a while and then take a gander at Rap Genius’s line by line interpretation : http://rapgenius.com/Aesop-rock-zero-dark-thirty-lyrics#note-697016. ”
“Are we supporting the artist or enabling the addict
I mean, I guess it matters to me
I wish it mattered to you
How a thousand virtues
Kick the same bucket like Chinatown turtles”
“I talk about pussy a lot and gettin’ money when I get unfocused shawty
cuz I’m dealin’ with the pain of the game and it’s getting harder to keep copin’ shawty”
Wow. Talking about pussy and money is actually an afterthought for Krizzle? Either way, just as he does with all of his lyrics, he keeps it real as fuck in that category of thought. The reason I haven’t posted anything all week is because I haven’t had any interest in finding any other new music with this new Krit in my iPod. I thought Return of 4 Eva couldn’t be fucked with, but now I know dude is on that D. Rose; he’s only getting better and better. Man, this mixtape is so mean. He really does have it all; Lyrics are real, flow is stupid, production (all done by Krit himself) is amazing, southern drawl is in full effect on all the catchy/well written hooks, what else can you ask for from a rapper? It was hard as hell for me to pick out just one favorite, and this will probably change many times as I keep listening over and over and more closely, but right now this my shit! Guitar is killin’ it. If you haven’t copped the
free album mixtape, get with it. Front to back, I don’t know if anyone can fuck with K.R.I.T. right now. Get ready rap game.
Big K.R.I.T. – Insomnia (Listen/dl @ hulkshare)
My Brain and My Music: Wale, NORE ft Busta+Game+Waka, J. Cole, Schoolboy Q ft Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T. [Clams Casino remix] + Outkast [Urban Noize remix]
I oftentimes find it difficult to organize my thoughts. That’s why you’ll see me jump from subject to subject like a lil kid with ADD. So let me outline my thoughts for a second so that I don’t forget to mention the random but semi-related thoughts that had originally popped up in my head on my commute home from work: MTV’s Hottest MC’s list, fads, and hipsters. Go.
To me, being one of the Hottest MC’s is nothing more than being the flavor of the week. The logic that goes into naming someone “the hottest” is the same logic that currently has television producers making god knows how many Kardashian or Jersey Shore reality shows. So please, if you’re excited that your favorite MC made the cut, just realize it really has little to do with their lyrical pedigree. It’s gonna be fun to find out who on that list becomes the next Spencer & Heidi…
Basically what that list is describing, and paying respects to, is how much hip hop is all about fads nowadays. I can’t really get mad at MTV though, because fads dominate our entire culture. Look at all those damn NBA stars with their fucking non prescription black glasses. It’s kinda sad when you look at rap or NBA stars as whole, but then you come to find a guy like D. Rose (or in hip hop terms, Big K.R.I.T.) who stands unfazed as his own man when everyone around him dances like a clown. It’s not so much him being different than most stars that makes him so fucking awesome. It’s more so him being his own awesome self that makes him different…
It’s hard for me to put my finger on the whole “hipster” movement. I wouldn’t consider myself a hipster per se, but I definitely have some hipster qualities. Do I like some things more for the mere fact of being different? Possibly. But more than that, I really just have different tastes and thoughts than what is pumped out to the masses. But honestly, do I hate on Young Jeezy and Rick Ross more than I actually dislike their music? Yea. Do I try to convince Bulls fans to give Boozer more credit despite actually despising many facets of his game myself? Yea. But in a day and age when everyone seems to comply with the same thinking, ideas and tastes that TV, radio and other media outlets constantly shove down our throats, I feel it necessary to implant myself in the opposition to make sure I am still thinking for myself. And while doing so, I figure I ought to provide that other perspective to those who have probably had the same agreeable conversation with eachother not wanting look like the lone fool who actually owns a different opinion. In the end, I will like what I like because I like it. I think it’s just as stupid for someone to like (dislike) something ONLY because its’s unpopular (popular), just as much as for someone to like something ONLY because it’s popular. So don’t call me a hipster because I rag on shit that gets too much praise, and I won’t call you a poser for liking shit that isn’t all that great in the first place. But in the end, I’d still rather be different and labeled a hipster than be the same black frame wearing (mine are prescription) dancing clown (only on the dance floor) that safely fits in with the crowd.
Oh yea, here’s some new hip hop shit I didn’t get a chance to put out this weekend….
Wale – Purple Swag Freestyle (right click, save-as to DL)
N.O.R.E. – Lehhhgooo (ft. Busta Rhymes, Game & Waka Flocka Flame) (right click, save-as to DL)
J. Cole – Grew Up Fast (right click, save-as to DL)
Schoolboy Q – Blessed (ft. Kendrick Lamar) (right click, save-as to DL)
Big K.R.I.T. – Moon & Stars (Clams Casino remix) (right click, save-as to DL)
Outkast – Royal Flush (ft. Raekwon) (Urban Noize remix) (right click, save-as to DL)