Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Few Bests, A Few Worsts, A Few Links To Better Lists

"Dear Kanye, I like the 808s, cannot stand the heartbreak. Please revise."

I hate comprehensive end-of-the-year lists. THE best 5/10/25 songs. the absolute WORST 5/10/etc. Which rapper had the Bestest Year Ever? Which one fell off the hardest? (Although, in fact, AllHipHop's List Of Who Took The Biggest L In '08 is hilarious and on point.)
Overall, hip-hop in 2008 kept me entertained, but not too many groups or artists really blew my mind. only a half dozen releases this year had me on that whole press rewind, memorizing the lines, bump in the whip daily tip. here they are, in no particular order:

The Recession was, to my surprise, my favorite album of the year. Maybe it was the excellent time of the album's theme. Maybe, like Tom Breihan, I love Jeezy's crazy hoarse/creaky/old man delivery so much that it overcomes my distaste for his corny (at times) punchlines. I wasn't a big fan of his first two albums, tho I had love for several bangers on each.
But you can bump the Recession all the way through, it's an old school long-player like that,like College Dropout or One Day It'll All Make Sense. The similar production style on nearly all the tracks enhances this effect. And Jeezy really hangs with the Clipse on the coke rap here, especially all the paranoid end-of-Goodfellas stuff in "What They Want" and "Who Dat." And "Circulate." Actually, maybe I just love it like I love coke rap in general. Mr 17.5 has never been shy with bird flipping specifics, but he really goes in on that stuff throughout the album. Favorite Joints: "Who Dat," "Circulate," "By The Way," really everything except "Put On."

Prodigy released H.N.I.C. Part II in several versions, and I got all four; like his first solo tape, Alchemist went crazy with all kinds of old skool never get cleared for release types of samples. Some of them are missing even from the official-ish (linked) release; "My World Is Empty Without You" is a five mic masterpiece, and whoever denied that sample hates good music, pure and simple. But nearly every song on the tape went in. Favorites: "ABCs," "New Yitty," and most of the rest.

Scarface says he's hanging up the mic after this final drop, Emeritus, and it's a sad day for hip hop. First week sales confirmed dude is in a post-commercial situation right now, but on at least a half dozen tracks here he absolutely owns that Texas/depressed/paranoia/gangsta mindset that "Mind Playing Tricks On Me" arguably invented. Forgot About Me with Weezy and Bun B. spittin fire, and High Powered viciously putting snitches on notice, are bangers despite AND because of their downbeat lyrical content. And "Soldier Story" passes that particular torch to Z-Ro as both dudes hold it down for rappers with clinical depression and sick, sick flows.

Favorites: Those three tracks, "Emeritus," "Redemption." More?

I'll pick this up later tonight...if I can. Lots of drinking to be done! But my worst and most surprising of '08 are yet to come! Stay tuned, my 3 or possibly 4 readers! There will be more.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To Young Berg: Fall Back, Fam! Love, The Go.

barry's kickin back with his feet up. me too...

Three weeks have gone by since that crazy, awesome election. It's hard to believe, even now, that our own skinny, nerdy Senator from Kenwood (post gentrified Kenwood, but STILL) has taken over. A dude who came up in the wild hunnets is now PRESIDENT!
It figures, this being Haterville, that a playa from the chi has made it all the way to Commander In Chief, and STILL! We don't have one real homegrown hip-hop success to claim.

Common And Kanye are the biggest names repping the CHI. And they grew up here, it's true. But they don't count.

Rashid & Ye Tudda weren't stacking paper when they stayed around the way. They had to move to NYC to get their careers off the ground - haha, Newark, in 'Ye's case.

That's how it is here in Haterville. Chicago can't support a scene for some reason. Philly has a dynamic local scene where rappers get money and build their reps. Miami has that crazy nightlife supporting them, Khaled et al. LA and SF do they regional thing. Even St. Louis was able to break Nelly, Chingy and Murphy Lee! And they never had to move away. But Com and Ye couldn't make it at the crib. They honed their skills here, but they both skipped town as soon as they had the money for tickets.
"...chunk up a deuce and let's be out!"

Who else could claim to put the city on their back? Rhymefest went gold, I think. He also relocated to the East. Da Brat? Haha ok, but she left out to the west real quick once she got the chance, even if she broke out initially at home.

The biggest name never to leave? Twista. Lyrically, dude's an unrivalled underground legend, always my top five. His career, tho? A one hit wonder initially - saleswise, dude fell off post Adrenalin Rush. Then, he made the best of that John Travolta esque career revival, thanks to Kanye's collabos, cameos and beats. After that, dude tried to make it with cheaper producers, and that album went brick. Last I heard, he was banking on an endorsement deal with McDonalds, and then that fell through. Ouch.

Haterville haters, please!
Calm yourselves!

I know, there's fifteen to twenty dope, semi-popular local MCs that could go on this list. Several have or had deals. But none have emerged nationally, not yet. Cool Kids & Mickey Halsted have shown, but have yet to prove.

Which brings me to Yung Berg. Sadly, until Obama, Berg was the biggest thing from the Go in 2008.

(This picture of Berg is from a few years ago, when he was a Bad Boy draft pick - before he hit puberty?)

At first, I didn't hate the little dude. I starting hearin him back in February, when that "Sexy Can I" joint bubbled. At the time, most people I know dismissed his Juelz-lite flow and appearance. He seemed forgettable, a baby ja rule with less wailing.

He fell off my radar until May. I wake up one afternoon to find the hip hop gossip blogs all aflutter, cuz Berg got all caught up in some fake YouTube beef nonsense, takin shots at Brisco and Flo Rida? It's a hip-pop-soft-rap civil war! LOL. Somehow, Berg actually came out looking worse. We hoped he would stay gone for a minute.

But joe returned to public embarassment in July, when he told a talk show host on the radio that prefers light skinted ladies, hates seeing "dark butts". Fall back, fam! No one needed to hear about your racial sex fetishes. He tried to clarify his nasty statements half-heartedly, but still sounded like an immature clown. By August, people were done with Berg's silly ass.

In a case of terrible timing, his debut dropped August 12th.

"Sexy Can I" was a platinum selling single. His album, "Look What You Made Me," did 19,000 in the first week.

DAMN. Those are Hell Rell numbers.

So things can't possibly get any worse for Berg, right? (He had to be thinking, anyway.) He's got a show in Detroit Saturday, August 23rd. Decides to show up in Detroit Friday, and start drinking. Runs into Trick Trick, Eminem associate, a hardbody individual. Trick sees Berg's hilarious Transformers Chain, and takes it away, D-Bo bike style.
This was all over tha internetz within hours.

("It's like it's both ours, D-Bo!")

Following this episode, Berg lay low for a few weeks. Then, in early October, Maino ("Hi, Hater!") encountered YB at the club out in ATL and delivered up some hot, fresh, humiliating pimp slappery! Berg apparently just sat there and took it.

So what does IceBerg Jr. do now? Sales have bricked, his rep is ruined....he need to see if UPS is hiring. Is this the right time to
drop an Alfamega collabo and attempt to SPEAK on your recent experiences?

NO! No, it is not. Fam, fall back. Lay low for a minute or five. Step away from the microphone. The Go don't need this right now. We're in the global spotlight thanks to the election! We need to defend our hardbody Capone era rep, so people know Barack is not to be trifled with. The President, joe! You're embarassing the President!

Lyrically, this track is a new low. Previously, dude had sex rhymes, boasts about his hustle, and...more sex rhymes. Now he's got...boasts about being bitchmade? "I told Flo Rida I was wrong, dog that's the bottom line..." WTF? "Y'all like the raps, just wait until you hear the R&B." Career change in the works there?

"No need for pistols, my success gon kill em." Hahahaha, bruh....that platinum plaque wasn't lost in the mail. "Ninjaz hate on young'n but these bitches fuckin' wit me" is your punchline? My dude. Take a hiatus, seriously.

RHYMING ABOUT HOW YOU GOT PUNKED? Even Officer Ross, for all his denials, never tried to justify his bitchmade nature IN RHYME. Don't speak on that chain or that slap, ever again. I beg of you. For the city on your back.

For your own good.

Happy Holidays, kids!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Barack Tha Mic - The Mixtape

Stream The Entire Set

1) Nas - Black President
2) Freeway - Change (Obama)
3) Kidz In Tha Hall - Work To Do Ft. Bun B
4) Rosco - Stressful Politics (B.I.G. Sample)
5) Jin - Letter To Obama
6) LL Cool J - Mr. President
7) Young Jeezy - My President Is Black Ft. Nas
8) Tyga - Obama (First Timers)
9) Will.I.Am - Yes We Can
10) Mims - Barack Star
11) Joell Ortiz - Message To Obama
12) Ludacris - Politics (Obama Is Here)
13) Ying Yang Twins - Obama
14) FMB - Vote Obama (We Hood, We Votin)


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

guiltiest pleasure of the year: "Pop Champagne"

i hate autotune. as budden memorably named it, "that funny voice shit." let me qualify that; it was cool when Cher first showed us how robots rocked the mic. Since she's got a freaky synthetic face, the freaky synthetic voice made sense. After that, I remember 'N Sync rocked it a few times, and then they were gone forever, and I thought that the end of it.
Fast forward to T-Pain, rappa ternt sanga, etc etc. The slope was getting slippery, but failed rappers gotta pay the bills somehow, and there are worse humiliations...just ask X To Tha Z. Then Weezy, that dumbass Martian, had the terrible idea to start singing dumbed down raps with autotune keeping him tentatively on key.
And now we have the hideous spectre of every wack producer/uninspired rapper/low-selling R&B singer hittin the booth with those damn strings trailing out their mouths. And the music is 98% worse than Soulja Boy. But there's always one exception to the rule.
Ron Browz is best known for producing Ether, which was....decent? Solid B for the track? No one was paying attention to that beat, dude, sorry...Nas stole whatever shine you may have provided at the moment. So now he's back! And he's got funny voice shit going for him! And it's....INCREDIBLE!
This is the first remix with rhymes, featuring Jones+Santana, the crown princes of Dip Set. I know Browz got 8 more versions out there, but Swizz/Luda et al don't work wit the awesome stupidity of the subject matter. Juelz and Jim were BORN for this type of dumb club rap. "No sex in the champagne room/says who, baby I break all rules!" ahahahaha...and yet Browz rocks the vocoder well. "Tell 'em Ron Browz here, hottest in America..." Of course he is. Listen and see if you don't agree.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

bored by elzhi? wtf, me several months ago?

hey kids. it's me, your blogfather! remember? i stepped out for a pack of smokes seven months ago, never to return?

i'm back son! (no nelson muntz)

i kept a political blog for a few months, and i won't post the link here as frankly i am ashamed of it. politics= music for folks who can't sing, theater for suits who can't act, standup comedy for humorless drones. vote your conscience. if you're voting for Crazy War McOld, i hope you're excited about gettin drafted and dying in one of those hot new wars dude's been planning.

on to the music. just noticed my last post here takes a side swipe at none other than Elzhi, third Slum Villager, dilla muse, and a damn good MC. i was almost more impressed by the original SV lineup, and i guess it wasn't nothin for me to clown his bars when the bishop killed that particular track so thoroughly.

pon de replay, L had some fire there. not to sell dude short, he had a handful dope 16s in 2007, but he's really stepped it up in the last 6 months while dropping both Europass and the Preface. Half a dozen bangers on each. for anyone who found el too abstracted in the past, he's more about painting pictures now, a la tony starks.
on this first track, literally, as his deft metaphors shine droppin colors all throughout some hood stories.
the second joint is a robbery gone wrong from the perspective of three different people involved. the imagery is ill. "smackin into the rack of Lifestyles..." et al. check it.
http://www.badongo.com/audio/11380910 Elzi - "Audio Cinematic"

Monday, February 18, 2008

bishop lamont baffler

any of you hip-hop blog hounds remember the "no homo" crazy of 2006? followed by the "nullus" and "pause" followups?
i still see nullus on xxlag dot now & then, correct me if i'm wrong.
well, i was flippin through that caltroit mixtape last week and and this time i let "goatit" run all the way through. in the past, i think elzhi bored me into skipping the end early.

Bishop Lamont - Goatit Ft. Phat Kat & Elzhi/
bishop brings fire. dude spit one particular tongue twister so hard i had to google for some lyrical help...this inside rhymefest decodes to:

"ask how i flash, mash, smash, slash,
gas half-assed fags fast with the axe just like tonto!"

hmm. you "flash & mash," as well as "smash," people you call "half-assed fags"? in the words of cam'ron j. giles, can i get a no homo? (not that there's anything wrong with that) (c) Seinfeld

i know i know. money also said he would "slash" and "gas" em. "with the axe" no less. that could be some other slang but i'm not gonna. still, fags. unusual choice of words. reminds me of the marshall mathers lp.

in fact, remember back in 2000 when eminem lost his rhyme book and as far as we know, never recovered it? maybe it's been in the aftermath lost & found this whole time, and bishop came across it while dre was making him mop & vacuum one night.

hey, it does explain why caltroit's such a dope tape.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


in the sky, etc.

it's way past time i dropped some new..the sign on the wall does say "leaks on tap."

Re-Up Gang "Show You How To Hustle"(CDQ/NODJ)
hot fire straight out the gate! #1 banger on got it 4 cheap vol. 3, in my opinion.

Re-Up Gang "Dey Know Yayo"(CDQ/NODJ)
this is a sleeper, grows on you...pusha t's nice with the crack rap glamorizations: "party on south beach, pregame at madonna's/we ain't worry bout nothing, hakuna matata/pay your lawyer well, reassure yourself!"

The Cool Kids "Action Figures"
finally a fresh drop from Chuck & Mikey - it's been four months since that Weezy collab.

Yea Big & Kid Static "The Life Here"
opened for rhymefest, rep chi town hard on the track. i'm feelin the second half of this one, the whole first verse loses me. still haven't made my mind up overall.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

gangstalicious still swishes

the Boondocks gets mad love from tha hip-hop blogosphere, right? i'm no exception- the cartoon network's lone attempt at diversity keeps me amused. oddly, i know no one else that watches the show. I have lots of rap nerd friends, and lots of cartoon nerd friends (I run wit nerds! What?) and NONE of them care for it. is the netluv an internet phenomenon, like lolcats or Joe Budden? (i know, too easy.)

who knows. well, the ratings would be an indication, but i'm too lazy to look them up. in any event, the show tackles hip-hop subject matter way more than the comic strip ever did, with mixed results. the first gangstalicious episode was funny when it satirized frontin wannabe thug MCs, but the contrived plot bored me. thugnificent started out great and crested at a predictable rapper-fish-out-of-water plateau....ooh, grandpa resents the hood rich rappers moving in down the street. didn't p. diddy make a music video about that, like, eight years ago?
now there's the return of gangstalicious (watch it here), in which aaron mcgruder & company seek to satirize lil wayne's mankissing tendencies, cam'ron's flamboyant fashion sense, and fifty's skintight clothing line. gangstalicious is all three, and apparently, he's the legendary Gay Rapper Wendy Williams talks about.

pretty funny episode, but it lacks focus. shots are fired in all directions - homophobes and tolerant liberals both take fire. what point is mcgruder trying to making here? yeah, some rappers act mad gay, but so do athletes (football locker rooms?) rock stars (see the movie Rock Star sometime) and other entertainers. andre 3000 and LL have established that metrosexual/gay-seeming style is popular with the ladies, and somehow they keep their credibility. why is it just the thug/dboy rappers who get called out for acting flaming?

finally, despite the disclaimer at the start of the episode, is there a chance the boondocks are tryin to expose someone specific? for what its worth, i'm convinced weezy is sugarfree, mankiss or no. no way you could string along lauren london for so long like he did without layin some pipe. likewise with 50 and vivica fox/ciara/etc. cam'ron, curiously, is never seen with hoes, hi-profile or otherwise. a little googling turns up an alleged girlfriend by the name of toy "queenta plum" dawkins. sounds like a tranny to me...anyone know more about this?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i am back. why the hiatus, you ask? simple. this is a hip hop oriented site, and hip hop has sucked in recent months. yeah there were decent fourth quarter drops from the Wu, Lupe, GFK, Styles P, and Scarface. but all those joints went wood. those performers all have their dedicated fan bases, but none seemed to draw new fans.
bored? i was. none of the Q4 drops beyond Big Doe Rehab really got me open. of course, not only the music has been weak sauce lately. writer's strike? is this the Soviet Union? television permanently on reruns. no new celebrity scandals, even, so far this winter. nothing out of the ordinary. britney epilepsy, overdosing caucasian hearththrobs, MTV fake lesbian shocker, yawn.
politics are the only entertainment left.
This Democratic nomination race is ten times better than some tired Raekwon vs. RZA beef. Obama's been holding it down for the chi on an unprecedented nationwide level, fighting the Clintons off against all odds.
Now of course Chi City produces its share of superstars - but historically, rappers n singers n such have to move to the coasts to get their big break. (oprah and jerry held it down but that's a different hustle.)
yet barry o went superstar as a purely regional act, in his successful 2004 run for the senate.
other than jordan, only kels did so well for himself based out of the go. and that business with young girls and water sports makes it hard to take pride in kels.
vote rhymefest/obama 08. (you didn't hear rhymefest is showing support? i'll touch on that tomorrow.)