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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


So after a long hiatus from posting, I want to inform all of you that I am back!  Sorry about the leave of absence but there are a lot of albums coming out, I just downloaded Terius Nash's (formerly known as The-Dream) free LP 1977, and the NFL season is just about ready to begin.  Don't lose faith, I'm still here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kickin' it with...whom?

Wale in "TV in the Radio" featuring K'naan from his album Attention: Deficit, "I kick it, I kick it like Olindo."
Hoodie Allen in "Party at the Beach House" from his mixtape Pep Rally, "We doing this for kicks, I'm Matt Stover."  (For those of you not physically dependent on the NFL and fantasy football, see: Olindo Mare and Matt Stover)  I don't have much to say about this, I just found it amusing that not one, but two people have given shout-outs to NFL kickers.  The scrawny looking guys at the end of the bench.  The unidentifiable ones.  The guys whose jerseys aren't in the stores.  Good for them though, lord knows they aren't going to be on SportsCenter anytime soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Best Femcee Alive, Since The Best Femcee Retired

While everybody fawns over Nicki Minaj, and pays mild attention to Lil' Kim in case she ever releases anything worth listening to, I have been following the career of a female rapper about three leagues out of Nicki's or Kim's leagues. Dooming herself to underground success with little hope for a more widespread fan base, she allied herself with lyrical demi-god Talib Kweli and his label Blacksmith Music, and has been releasing top notch albums since her 2002 debut, Attack of the Attacking Things.  If you haven't gotten it by now, I'm talking about none other than Jean Grae.  On June 23rd she released her latest project, Cookies or Comas, as a free mixtape as a prelude to her upcoming album Cake or Death.  (see: Datpiff.com for the download)
Gaining popularity amongst the more informed hip-hop crowd is something Grae has been doing since the 90s, and that trend continues with Cookies or Comas.  Her guest list reads: Kweli, Styles P, Pharoahe Monch, Boogie Blind and Royce Da 5'9".  Her production list includes Boogie Blind, Ski Beatz, and other predominantly underground names.  The closest she gets to anything mainstream, is her remix of Kanye's recent song "Blame Game."  However while the mainstream may never get its hands on this tape, it doesn't mean those who listen won't love it.
Jean Grae is easily the most talented active female emcee, and in my opinion could sit as high as fifth on the all time femcee list (topped by Eve in my opinion, but that's a discussion for a later time), and she seems to know it too.  Unlike seemingly every other femcee, Grae is opposed to raunchy rap, and lets her natural gifts flow both rhythmically and lyrically.  She touches on love, instead of "pussy poppin.'"  Socially critique instead of the club scene.  And fun rap instead of trying to be the most ghetto, or "hard."
One asset that cannot be overlooked in this tape is Jean Grae's humor.  Both in her raps, and in spoken portions of her songs, she has some quotable lines that will make anyone laugh.  Often times at the expense of the stereotypical femcee.  For instance in "I Rock On," she ends her song with "I rock on, and on, and on and on, and we ain't leaving until six in the morning...well probably five, because six is entirely too late."  To end her final song, "You Don't Like It," Grae follows her final line of rap, "gun tucked in the rear pocket, ducking the fuzz" with a mock conversation with a police officer about how she does not actually carry guns, and in fact has not brought knives, or even her fists with her, begging the officer to let her go because she has no weapons at all.  Purposefully poking fun at the widely accepted image of a female rapper, or rapper in general, Grae genuinely sounds like she had fun making these songs, and it puts a smug grin on the face of any self declared "knowledgeable" listener.  A little hipster, I know, but oh so much fun.
Bottom line: don't sleep on Jean Grae.  If you aren't willing to spend any money on her music, at least download the mixtape, it has ample replay value, and is easily in the top three mixtapes of this year, if not #1.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Original Lazy Song

Almost everyone in America has heard Bruno Mars' latest single "The Lazy Song" and seen the clever music video.  Not everybody has heard Sublime's "Burritos" from their classic eponymous final album.  "I ain't gettin', I ain't gettin' out of bed today" sounds a lot like "Today I don't feel like doing anything/ I just want to lay in my bed" doesn't it?  Not to say Bruno Mars stole anything from Sublime, or knock "The Lazy Song," in fact I really like that song and love its music video.  But it's not a novel concept.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Free Vs. Pirated

I am part of a dying breed, an endangered species.  I buy CDs.  I don't pirate any of my music.  I either buy the CD myself, borrow it from a friend, or download a mixtape that the artist put out for free.  There is something so satisfying about having a CD collection, I can't bring myself to download music, even legally from iTunes.  Crazy right?  What's crazier?  People who pay for mixtapes that are meant to be free.  Go on iTunes, look around the hip-hop section, and you will see mixtapes from the likes of Drake, Chiddy Bang, and many others.  Only problem is there is a pricetag.  Then go on sites like Datpiff, and see that the artists themselves have made these mixtapes available for free download online.
So why did I think of this?  The free album of the week on iTunes this week is I Love You (A Dedication to my Fans), the newest mixtape by Jadakiss.  Ignorant people think they are getting a sweet deal, but anyone with half a brain knows that the mixtape is FREE on any hip-hop blog or mixtape site.  That's the point.  Absolutely baffling.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Eminem in the Rap Game

I just listened to "Rap Game" by D12 featuring 50 Cent from the 8 Mile soundtrack again, after a long hiatus.  It's a great song, D12 and 50 have absolutely dirty verses.  But the clear shining point of this track is Eminem's verse (see: Rap Game Lyrics).  
Some excellent excerpts:  "Now put that in ya little pipe and bite down/ Think for a minute cause the hype has died down/ That I won't go up in the Oval Office right now/ And flip whatever ain't tied down upside down."  I believe him.  I really do.
"Can't tell me shit about the tricks of this trade/ Switchblade, with a little switch to switch blades/ And switch from a six to a sixteen inch blade/ Shit's like a samurai sword or sensai." Great flow from line to line, leading to a very clever ending: "I'm this way, still tell that utslay itchbay/ Ucksay my ikcday, 'scuse my igpay atinlay/ But uckfay you igpay."
Dude rapped in pig latin, how many people have done that?  With a C. Delores Tucker reference to boot, I would put this among Eminem's top verses of his career.  Only down side?  Makes me miss the old him.  Don't get me wrong I enjoyed Recovery but that flow, lyrical content, swagger, all gone.  He has resorted to punchline rapping nearly exclusively, the style prevalent in the music of Lil' Wayne.  He may be lost for good at this point, only time will tell.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sean Kingston Injured in Jet Ski Accident

Yesterday, Sunday May 29th rapper Sean Kingston was jet skiing with a female passenger in Miami when his jet ski struck the bridge between the McArthur Cswy and Palm Island.  His passenger was uninjured, while Kingston was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and is currently stable.  My thoughts go out to Sean and his family.