Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Your Favorite

Christmas-time mixtape number two! This time from the former CH understudy.

In all of 12 hours, brandUn DeShay started and finished this side project to hold all of us over until Volume: Three! comes around in approximately February. He says at the end that this is kind of like his version of Lupe's Enemy of the State and it's definitely got that vibe going for it. He goes the old route of simply going in over other rappers' beats and lyrically demolishing them. Not a lot of hooks. A couple features. And some dopeness. That's what you'll get here. And once you see the tracklist, you can guess for yourself which instrumentals he's going over. I'm partial to the "Good Kanshay West" joint since I thought I was the only one who knew how insanely classic the original "Apologize" joint is. All of it's great, though. brandUn raps better than your favorite rapper raps. And he can produce better than your favorite producer, but that ain't what this tape is about. You should download it, regardless.

brandUn DeShay -
Your Favorite! MixTape

1. Gucci DeShay
2. Shayke
3. Lil' Shayne
4. Good Kanshay West
5. LupShay Fiasco (feat. Cameron Ryan)
6. Shay-Z
7. New KanShay West (feat. Merciless)
8. D*E*R*D (feat. H! Cl@s)
9. LL Cool Shay
10. camdUn

... but do take my word for it.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bringin' Normal Back

So I got three Christmas-time mixtapes that I need to update my occasional readers on. They're all insanely dope and if you don't download each of them, then [insert fatal threat here].

The first one is ... Charles Hamilton. Finally. It was only over six entire months since his last project. Which is absolutely no deal when discussing anyone else, but this is CH we're talking about. His blog is still deaded so there's no daily unfiltered updates, but he's on Twitter. For whatever that's worth. Regardless, this is all Charles rapping over all Charles production. Who knows what else he's working on at the moment, but I'll take this any day. It doesn't disappoint. I don't wanna say it's "growth" exactly, but you can definitely tell a slight direction shift in how he put his music together for this project. Any previous connoisseur of his catalogue will be able to tell. DOWNLOAD IT.

Charles Hamilton -

1. New Music From Charles Hamilton
2. Enter The Scope
3. WorkinInTheLab
4. Coodies
5. August Rush
6. Air Agains
7. Loserville
8. She's Purrty
9. Laptop Therapy (Jackie Blue)
10. Suicides
11. Baby Says I Want
12. See & Say
13. 20Hamilt10

... but do take my word for it.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Classic: Exhibit C

I just bought this two seconds ago. So I think you should too.

Literally the only reason that Jay Electronica isn't the most hailed emcee out today is because, for whatever reason, he doesn't frickin' release full projects or anything for purchase. Welp, him and Just Blaze put this single up for sale. And it's monstrous. I swiped a picture of Jay Elec transcribing the lyrics himself off of Rappers I Know. Some people don't get what the dude's about and some people would kill someone for talking sideways about his music. I mean, half his appeal though is the mystery surrounding his surreal presence on the mic. So maybe it needs to be like this for him to keep that cult presence. On the other hand, the other half of his appeal is better-than-everyone-elseness, so it's all good.

Jay Electronica - Exhibit C [iTunes Link]

... but do take my word for it.


Love on a Two-Way Street

Hey, you heard of Macklemore? ...

I don't know if Ryan Lewis used the original "Love on a Two-Way Street" by The Moments or if he straight messed with Jigga's Al Shux beat, but I do know that I sweat it. The very first joint off the instantly classic The VS. EP is called "Vipassana" (... which is an insight into the nature of reality, courtesy of the all-knowing Wiki ...) and it's tinged with the same notion of gorgeous accompaniment that made "Empire State of Mind" the most anthemic single of the year. It's gotta completely different aura to it, though. You know Macklemore ain't gonna be on the same wave as Hov. Psh. Decide for yourself which one you like more. You might be surprised.

Macklemore - Vipassana
Jay-Z - Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)

... but do take my word for it.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Thing Out in Years

Easily, the best new artist that I've been introduced to this year is Seattle's Macklemore. He's a straight poet. I feel like I'd be degrading the dude by calling him a rapper. He brings the gruff voice of a weathered spoken word artist and crafts the most important stories you're going to hear this year onto the interpolated compositions of his producing counterpart Ryan Lewis. He's got some older material, but I've never heard it before. All I know is that this VS. project is pretty much better than anything else you're listening to. Experience it. And then attempt to talk about it afterwards. I'm having trouble doing so.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The VS. EP

It's absolutely insane. Spoiler: I thought that nothing could possibly eclipse the impact that Cudi's Man on the Moon had on me this year. But I was wrong. And that will be reflected in my "Top Ten" features this month or whenever I write 'em up. This is musical crack and hits on every topic you could ever imagine telling a story about. Cuz Macklemore doesn't rap. Rappers don't make music this good. Damn. I gotta get myself caught up. If his catalogue is anywhere near as impressive as these seven tracks, then I might have a new favorite ... poet.

... but do take my word for it.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Build Me Up Buttercup

In my book, no one beats an ODB hook. No one. But a similarly acronymed artist decided that he'd give a pop classic chorus a rendition, even though Dirt McGirt already had pretty much retired it to perfection years before. B.o.B (interchangeably noted as Bobby Ray now, I guess) dropped what could possibly be a joint off of his proper debut album The Great Adventures of Bobby Ray. I've already chalked the LP up as a classic simply from the perfect "Nothing On You" that you should search for and obtain right now. Back last year and earlier in this one when Hi! My Name is B.o.B and Who the F#*k is B.o.B? dropped, this man was up in my essential newcomers category with Charles Hamilton. And that's about as high praise as I can give him. Uff a hater. It all comes back to CH, doesn't it? And that doesn't even take into account that the first joint below is from Rhymefest ...

Rhymefest - Build Me Up (feat. Ol' Dirty Bastard)
Bobby Ray - Don't Break My Heart

... but do take my word for it.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Let Your Hair Down

You know I don't usually like to, but I gotta post a freshly leaked joint. Here's a "Sampled" post featuring two songs, kinda on a double-take. The sample in question is Yvonne Fair's "Let Your Hair Down" from 1975, and the first sampling culprit is Jay-Z's "Where I'm From". Early, gritty stuff from Hov. But then there's the fresh new K-West wannabes [(c) Shad] single "Angels", which probably just samples the Jay track, but explicitly the part of it sampled from Fair's original. They are Dirty Money, by the way. While I'm not feeling Diddy's crew too much, luckily there was someone who thought he could improve the song. And he did. And he wasn't Rick Ross, damn it. Lupe tha Killa, Killa, Killa ... oh, and for all future reference, if I'm titling the post a random generality that can somehow be about a woman, Keira Knightley will be the accompanying picture. Just saying.

Jay-Z - Where I'm From
Lupe Fiasco - Angels Freestyle

... but do take my word for it.


Guess Who's Back Back Back

The blog is nowhere to be found, so I guess we'll just have to take it from his Twitter 140 characters at a time. But regardless, Charles Hamilton is back.

Charles Hamilton - Charles Hamilton is Back

I love reading all the comments on other sites about this track. People have been told that this joint is heat by the blogging powers that be. Acting as if this isn't the exact same stuff he put out all of 2008-2009 before his hiatus. So all the sudden, people are talking about how hard he went in over this beat. I'll give you 350 of the 370 tracks I have involving CH, and all of them are just as dope as this. So while I'm happy everybody likes it, I'm sitting here hysterical at the notion that this is any different from the flames that he'd been putting out. I just think that people don't have enough time for "concepts" in their life. Everything's gotta be an easily accessible single that you don't have to go in with any background on. Oh well. Charles Hamilton is back. What am I complaining for?

... but do take my word for it.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This is the funniest "Sampled" pairing up ever in my opinion. brandUn DeShay and Sage Francis. Though the emcees couldn't be anymore different, that's not what makes it hilarious. You'll have to listen to the songs for that. These joints sample (or are just freestyled over) "Heartbeats" by the Swedish techno group The Knife. And I will now write the details of that exact sentence again, as I trust no one's inference skills ...

The Knife - Heartbeats

brandUn DeShay - Heartbeats Freestyle
Sage Francis - Who Farted? Pt. 1
Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats (Cover)

Plus I'll throw in an acoustic cover by Jose Gonzalez that's pretty sweet. I know you'll love me for it. This post is a classic one for the ages. I don't care what no one says. And this is all inter-connected by the fact that brandUn sampled Jose for the joint "Behind The Mirror" on my No Really, I'm a Rapper EP. But you already knew that, right?

... but do take my word for it.


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Other Man

Donuts records are still popping up this many years later. To me, not much that could be better. The emcees that actually go in over his joints are genuinely trying to honor him. No harm in that. I think Jay Elec wins this round, but you judge for yourself. If Wiki is to be trusted, this record mainly samples off of Luther Ingram's "The Other Man", but in my short spin of it, I couldn't find this joint's sampled part. Oh well. CH mixed the sample a little different, but you can still definitely tell what it's inspired from.

J Dilla - Gobstopper

Big Pooh - Plastic Cups (feat. Chaundon & Joe Scudda)
Charles Hamilton - Cable In The Classroom
Jay Electronica - Abaracadabra

... but do take my word for it.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not in TN No More

I told you to call me crazy. I hope you did.

After three games, Allen Iverson has asked for a leave from the Grizzlies. Read this gorgeously and stupidly constructed column from a little earlier in the summer and see why I am unequivocally disallowed from here on to ever believe or put faith in an athlete I haven't met personally. That's why I trust John Wall. When you walk into your dorm the same time as him after his first collegiate ball game and get to break down what happened with him on the way down the stairs ... well, let's just say I believe in John Wall. Never again, though, in the artist formerly known as The Answer.

And while we're on Wildcat legends ... Jodie Meeks dropped 5 threes on the lowly Knickerbockers and was good for 19 points. Yeeeah. He got in at the end of the first quarter and proceeded to swish three perfect long shots to close out the period and drain another one to open the second. That's a way to force your coach to give you an extended run for the first time in your career. So there's my important basketball notes in the early season. And who cares that the Lakers are 5-1 (tied for the league's early lead) without Pau at all and now with Bynum temporarily down? I sure don't care. Well ... that's a lie. I was screaming bloody murder at my League Pass Broadband for the champs somehow allowing the junior high Thunder and the Chuck Hayes-lead D-League Rocket squad take them to OT on consecutive nights. Oh well.

... but do take my word for it.


Classic: Eternal Sunshine

No one has a grasp on what it is that makes Jay Electronica ... Jay Electronica. You're lying if you say you do. He's abstracted abstractness. He has masterful skill over crafting interestingness. I spend all of my time trying to understand the genius behind it all while I'm listening to his music more than actually listening to his music. It's popular amongst the heads to label him as the third incarnation of the God MC. And while I balked at it at first, I've held my tongue ever since I heard the following song. It's perfect. I don't know what makes it perfect, but it's perfect. How can this man be the next to walk the footsteps of Rakim and Nas before he's ever put together a comprehensive album or even a real single? Just listen and you'll know. He's Jay Electronica. What else do you need to know?

Jay Electronica - Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)

... but do take my word for it.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

BP3 Tour Footage

I meant to write about this like the day after. Man, I've been terrible on the interwebs recently. I saw the Jigga Man last month at Northern Kentucky University. It just made it perfect that though NKU is a pretty little-known school, I got an amazing friend who goes up there. This show changed my life. There's no two ways about it. I've always been pretty tough on where I hold Jay amongst the all-time greatest in rap, but now it's crystal clear to me. He's number two behind Andre on my list now. This man's staying power is unparalleled and he put on the greatest live set I've ever had the privilege of seeing in my life. Beyond epic. Wale skipped out on us for the BET Awards, but J. Cole and N*E*R*D held it down.

... but do take my word for it.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Do It, Do It

I'm halfway crazy-hyped and halfway crazy-disappointed with this new Wale joint. The former because it features the vocally perfect Melanie Fiona and the moster-in-waiting J. Cole. The latter because I recognize the sample from Lupe's "Theme Music to a Drive-By", which I'm pretty sure wasn't placed on his debut album because they couldn't clear the sample. And "Theme Music" is easily one of my favorite songs ever, as detailed in this past post. Oh well. I guess Roc Nation has its privileges after all. The beats utilize the song "(Do It, Do It) No One Does It Better" by The Spinners.

Wale - Beautiful Bliss (feat. Melanie Fiona & J. Cole)
Lupe Fiasco - Theme Music to a Drive-By
Young Gunz - Future of the ROC

... but do take my word for it.


Monday, October 19, 2009

You Talkin' Bout Brenda?

Just was on LaV's blog and checked out a new song he dropped. And I was very happy about the instrumental. Check 'em out. And just for the record, one of the most elite lines crafted of any and all time is: "There's only one girl on my agenda./You talkin bout Brenda?/Naw, I'm talkin bout Linda, from last Septemba ..."

LaVish - Reminisce, Pt. 1
Consequence - Getting Out the Game (feat. Kanye West & John Legend)

... but do take my word for it.


Tom's Diner

I can see why this song's been spun back so many times. This probably has the catchiest completely bland vocals and songwriting ever. But who am I to talk? If it possibly inspired 2Pac, even if like twelve years after his death, then it's all good by me. We'll just focus on three different interpretations of Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" joint.

DNA - Tom's Diner (feat. Suzanne Vega)

2Pac - Dopefiend's Diner
Mike Dreams - Tha Diner
Charles Hamilton - Ghosts

All these attack the sample completely different. Pac took the melody and retold a ghetto tale that a fitting posthumous backdrop to match the emotional invocation of his (gasp) CuDi-esque sing-rapping. Mike Dreams, though uses the vocals as a story set-up in which he fills in the detail gaps between Vega's verses. And then there's Charles, who unconventionally almost disregards the sample altogether in his song composition. He cuts the sample and slows it down a smidgen while heavily lays over an unrelated tale of his struggles in ... not letting a ghost stress him out. And I like all three of them.

... but do take my word for it.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Comeback #5: You'd Think They Hated Tofu

And it wasn't to cease. While Lloyd and Weezy had a monopoly on 106 & Park for like a year with their original incarnation of the Spandau Ballet-sampling "You", Andre decided he could one up everyone's new favorite guest emcee. With (barely any) help from Nas, a remix quickly became an epidemic on the blogosphere. Who knew that he had it in him? He'd just finished getting the streets up out their seats with "Walk It Out" and now he was talking smooth to the ladies outside of Whole Foods.

Lloyd - You (Remix feat. Andre 3000 & Nas)

I said, "What time you get off?"
She said, "When you get me off"
I kinda laughed but it turned into a cough
Cuz I swallowed down the wrong pipe
Whatever that means, you know old people say it so it sounds right
So I'm standin there embarrassed. If we were both in Paris
I would have grabbed her by the waist and kissed her, but
We in the middle of Whole Foods, and those foods
Ain't supposed to beef, but you'd think they hated tofu
Check-in line got rowdy, my vision got cloudy
I started seein circles like some audi
Emblem, I'm hearing them say, come on man
Do this own your own time, get the hell on, man
I walked out. (Hm) I got bout
Half-way to my car when I heard shawty shout
"3000, forgot your credit card. Smart move
And by the way, my little sister loves your cartoon"
Well, here's my name and numb ...
If I ain't the one, lose it, if I am, use it
If a man chooses, and he can, lose it
And he don't, don't take it personal, he might be might be swamped
With makin mozzarella, no, makin worlds bettter
Cheese will come. Believe me, I'm, never focused on the cash
Ask Mel Gibson. Jesus Christ, I'm bout the pass ... ion

How could you not love it? Not only did he prove he was eternally street savvy, he proved he could crush any R&B joint like Luda and Fabo wish they could. But all we had to do now was wait on an almost weekly basis. There was another summer jam waiting in the wings that needed to be twerked from annoyingness to having the renewed dopest emcee in the game on it ...

... but do take my word for it.


Classic: Riot

I'm a Wyclef stan. While on The Score he pretty much just made me laugh with his crazy off-kilter and free barely-rhyming. But I loved it. While Pras was off ... um ... doing whatever he was doing every third verse and Lauryn was redefining the art of intrinsic rhyming, Clef played the role of the court jester who obviously had skills, yet seemed bored with any and all semblance of convention. And once the Fugees split, he's been on an absolute tear ever since in regularly providing his fans with new product.

Wyclef Jean - Riot (feat. Serj Tankian & Sizzla)

He's got six (and soon to be seven) solo albums to go with the two and a half Fugee records. And I proudly own a physical copy of every one of them. His latest offering from '07 was The Carnival, Vol. II and he capitalized on all his amazing music connections with this one. Don't hold me to it, but I'd say Clef's got a better collaborative posse than Wayne, Akon, or any other hip hop artist out there. Besides collaboing with those two titans I just mentioned, do these names mean anything to you: T.I., Shakira, Paul Simon, Mary J. Blige, Chamillionaire, Norah Jones,, or Raekwon? That's just this one album ...

But this "Riot" song specifically, that's what kills me. I'm an undercover System of a Down junkie and I think Serj has one of the greatest voices in all of history. And when two musical geniuses come together like this who are 100% different stylistically and still produce a classic product, it makes me very, very happy. It should make you feel like that, too.

... but do take my word for it.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cuz If You're Not Really Here ...

So this girl made me go and see the movie Fame. I thought it was gonna suck and be some unholy kind of cheesy, but naw, it was actually alright. The music choices were essential. From "Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp minor" by Frédéric Chopin (which I only know cuz Alicia Keys gorgeously interpolated it for the intro to her last album) to "Ordinary People" by Johnny L. But my favorite was the insanely perfect rendition of "Black & Gold". Now I'd never heard this joint until I was introduced to the cover version by Phony Ppl, but it's a perfect song. I still got it stuck in my head.

So why don't you enjoy a few versions of it right here and decide for yourself who killed it the best.

Sam Sparrow - Black & Gold
Phony Ppl - Black & Gold (Cover)
Adele - Black & Gold (Live Cover)
Katy Perry - Black & Gold (Live Cover)
Guillemots - Black & Gold (Live Lounge Cover)

Now while there's gonna be 2% of the dope music in this next movie, I'm going to see Couples Retreat tomorrow night with the girl who I hope's gonna be my girl shortly after. Peace out.

... but do take my word for it.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

This is a Poem

Life changes. A week ago ... I possibly had swine flu and my laptop was stolen. This week ... I don't have swine flu and my laptop was returned. Oh, and I moved into the Wildcat Lodge (the UK basketball players' dorm) and I might have a girl. Literally nothing better could have happened over the last seven days.

So here's a poem I wrote a week ago at the height of everything going terrible. It was just in case. And I now feel comfortable sharing it. Even though I'm going to blur the names. You can connect the dots yourself if you know me.

This is a poem ... in case I die of swine flu.
God, I loved You the most.
Yeah, I know it's hard to believe and over the years it seems like I wrote more love poems for A____ and B_____ and S____ and A____ and T___ and J____ and T_____ and C_____ and K_____ and A_____ and K______ and L_____ and S____ and A_____ and C____ and, unfortunately, Caroline than I ever did for You,
But that's only because I knew that You .... loved me back.
And I know it seemed like I had more passion for Kobe's fourth ring and Coach Cal's hiring than I did for Your Word,
But that's only because You brought a contentedness over me that allowed me to actually sit still.
And I may have screamed at the top of my lungs louder for a "foul" on a near-daily basis than I ever screamed Your beloved name,
But that speaks nothing to the tingling of my skin and the vibrancy of my soul when I thought of You.
And I may have taken too many pills of my depression medication every once in awhile,
But that's only because I couldn't cope with the fact that there weren't more hours in the day that I could train to be willing to spend those newfound hours doing things that pleased You.
God, I'm sorry for what everyone perceived through me to take priority over You.
I don't know why I stressed so much over my Calculus III and Materials Engineering tests.
I was gonna get a "C-" regardless and I coulda spent over half that time praying.
And if I'd've dedicated less time amassing an iTunes catalogue of over 20,000 songs,
Maybe I could've helped J__ come to grips with the fact that You do exist.
And God, I wish I didn't cuss so much,
Cuz those were just cop out rhyming words for the rapper in me when I gave up in delving into more potentially beautiful linguistics.
I have all these regrets and, moreover, the wish that I'd've found the words to better convey my emotions in any given situation.
And I wish life was the stage of a forever-looping slam tournament so that I could've been more confident of when it was my turn to speak.
But that's the funny thing, God.
You would've let me speak whenever I'd wanted to.
But all that's over.
I'm now standing in front of You at these gates trying to remember where I left all my burdens at.
Oh, yeah ... Jesus is over there and has an extra backpack on today.
But God, If I don't die of swine flu,
I swear to you ...
I will NOT be afraid to read this poem.

... but do take my word for it.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Runnin' on Walls

So my laptop got stolen for a minute. My bad.

Since I've been M.I.A. (no "Paper Planes") for a lil' while, I just wanna throw up a crazy nice collabo joint that you should prolly already have in your collection. If you aren't already a huge fan of one of the dudes on this track, then you don't like anybody. And I don't know about you, but I just really like this song.

XV - Mirror's Edge (Benzi Remix feat. Mike Posner, Bun B, & GLC)

... but do take my word for it.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Clash of the Titans

Me and my new best friend Daniel Orton! HAHAHA.

I swear, he's the coolest guy ever and he's now instantly bound to be my favorite basketball player ever once he gets his NBA chops. This picture also got me a post on KSR (my favorite website ever). So I'm crazy pumped. And I'm not even gonna mention how I beat him in ping pong, too ... whoops.

... but do take my word for it.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

No Longer Inna Scope

So ... anyone who's been following Charles Hamilton over his short career had prolly already threw their detective hat on and figured out that he wasn't going to have a smooth go once major label politics got involved. Well, major label politics got involved. And it hasn't been a smooth go. Three months into his self-imposed internet exile, CH has been released from Interscope. Word is that it was mutual thing that's been in the works for a while now, but I couldn't care any less. I just want him to come back to his blog and talk. Regardless of any of that, we were given a gift out of this situation, good or bad.

Charles Hamilton -
This Perfect Life

This is an album I would've preordered on Amazon the very second it was available, but oh well. Given that Interscope decided they weren't gonna release it in any capacity, someone got on their grizzy and leaked it out for public consumption. And it's everything I could have hoped for in a major label, fully-backed project. What started off beautifully in the form of a perfectly conceptualized, funded, and produced video for his buzz single "Brooklyn Girls" has now ended in nothing. But at least now we got what would've been a proud accomplishment for an underground rapper who got his name out there solely by himself, relying on absolutely no one to pave any kind of way for him.

Charles spent years in the studio producing and recording as much music as he could, never settling on anything but fully conceived projects that he wanted his fans to have on a frequently regular basis. He had this philosophy about Sonic the Hedgehog that literally no one could come to grips with. His Charlie Brown-sampling "Stutter" track got the attention of some blogs and put his name in some more peoples' google searches. He was a New Yorker who at one point had been homeless and was once on heroine. His blog was highly personal and provocative, causing him to become an extremely polarizing figure for an up and coming rapper. He appeared on radio stations and would aptly freestyle about anything for way longer than any studio rapper had a right to. He then prepped and promoted his Hamiltonization Process 2008 beyond what anyone could imagine and gave us a brand new album-quality project every two weeks off of a different major hip hop website. He even got on the cover of XXL. His recording methods struck people. He was almost exclusively a sampling producer who had a penchant for a heavily vintage and almost lo-fi sound. His rhymes were crazy out there, often self-deprecating, and he sang heavily on a lot of his choruses even though he'd let everyone know he couldn't sing. Everything about him was historic and impacting to his fans while offsetting and grating to his detractors. But the main thing was that Charles was forcing the world to pay attention as he was going places.

And then a bunch of crap happened. Whether it was his own arrogance and trouble-causing nature that fueled it or simply a mischaracterization by the powers that be and a general misunderstanding from the listening public, Charles' buzz made a turn for the worse. People who seemingly hated him turned out in droves and he quick became an easy hip hop punchline. And then he disappeared. And his infallible idon'tgiveauff attitude, the one thing that had previously always shown through, disappeared with him.

But finally, months and months after waiting, we got the first major finish line that Charles was heading towards all during his short career. We have This Perfect Life, the major label album that was supposed to blow open the iron-clad doors that permanently separated the mainstream and the underground. This musician, who created all of his extensive catalogue for the love of the music and released it for free to anyone who wanted to experience it with him, was finally on the heels of releasing his proper debut. But ya know what? Maybe, for him, that wasn't proper at all. Maybe, just maybe, this is how it shoulda gone down this whole time. In this perfect life.

... but do take my word for it.


2010 Los Angeles Lakers

I'm so ready for basketball season.

... but do take my word for it.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Instant Classic

I really like it when I find dope music accidentally. This time it was off of brandUn DeShay's twitter. Just happened to click on some dude's site that he was complimenting and I found one of my favorite songs of the year. Yeah.

So now I'm an instant fan and advocate of all things ChRis BaRz. I'll give the Maryland representer a proper post once I've had time to digest his debut project and learn up on his style, but for right you'll have to get this single joint up on your iPod and find out what you(& I)'ve been missing. Class[Sickz] Out The Dark coming soon ...

ChRis BaRz - When the Stars Come Out

... but do take my word for it.


Hold On: LaVish

It's fitting that transitioning from brandUn DeShay in the "Hold On" series is LaVish. I first heard this Los Angeles native rap next to brandUn on the song "Confidently Modest" with Casey Veggies, too. I decided I needed to get familiar with more of his music as the new class of emcees out of LA seem to be bringing some other kind of energy breaking away from the Snoop/Pac/Dre stereotype of the coast. And he was. Funny thing I found out was how young the dude was. And regardless of that, he still was well on his way to establishing his signature.

While his big time Hometown Hero mixtape hasn't dropped yet, LaVish has material floating all over the web including the aforementioned DeShay collabo, a place on ReUpSpot's Bailout mixtape, and other featured spots on various artists' projects. And while we're waiting for that proper defining release, his talent's perfectly apparent on every freestyle and HH leak that makes its way onto the internet. You can hear his influences in his strong flow, whether it's an ode to the Native Tongues or productively stylized like the Justus League. His voice, to me at least, is reminiscent of something halfway between Wale and Kanye, but his flow and lyrics are fully his own. And you already know that, cuz we don't mess with clones around here. My favorite song I've heard him over is the Mike G feature that I got linked down below. When LaVish settles in on a beat, he stands out and can go through a crazy aggressive verse like it's nothing. And that's what he's gonna bring to my song coming soon. So go ahead and browse through the links below to prepare yourself. And hold on.

LaVish songs -
Tops Come Down (feat. B. Allan)
Mrs. International
Baby Girl (by Carmine)
Exhibit A (Transformations by Mike G)
Blog - MySpace - Facebook - Twitter

... but do take my word for it.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Classic: Whatever You Say

I'm cheating on this one. I'm using it as a "classic" and a fake "sampled" joint. But you'll forgive me.

Little Brother - Whatever You Say (Pete Rock Remix)
Maxwell - Whenever, Wherever, Whatever

The middle of this remixed Little Brother joint has one of my top three Phonte verses of all time. I'm not gonna ruin it for you if you haven't heard it, but it has one of those closing lines that can instantaneously make you an annoying mixtape DJ ... "BRING THAT ISH BACK!!!

And Pete Rock beautifully laced it with a remix beat utilizing a song off of Maxwell's debut album. [As an aside, I don't think Urban Hang Suite is even a fraction as ridiculously and amazingly perfect as BLACKsummers'night. But that's just me.] You'll like it. You'll even sit through Big Pooh because you'll like it so much. I'm just joking. But not really. I don't have much else to say about it. It's classic and is one of those hip hop moments that you just need to know.

... but do take my word for it.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Hold On: brandUn DeShay

First up was me introducing Mike Dreams on my blog, but y'all should already know this cat. I've been the biggest fan of his from the very first beat of his song "Go Fly a Kite" that played on his MySpace once I curiously clicked on his Blogger profile from a comment on a Charles Hamilton blog post. He's one of the most original and insanely witty emcees in the rap game today and has a genius ear for production. And when I say genius, I really mean it. The sounds that he creates, whether with sampling or his monstrously original keyboard skills, are simply incomparable to any other beat crafter in the game. But he doesn't make beats, he makes compositions. He'll make sure and remind everyone of that. And he's agreed to contribute to my "Hold On" remix. He's brandUn DeShay.

brandUn's from Chicago, my favorite hip hop breeding ground at the moment, but he has aspirations for the L.A. limelight. But I don't care where he's setting up residence as long as he's got a project in the works. Like I said earlier, I looked up to the dude creatively from the second that I first heard his music, but on top of that, he was the first emcee who ever reached out to collaborate with me. I put up my MySpace Music page a good while back and those original songs weren't quite the smoothest tracks, to say the least. But once I friend-requested brandUn, we struck up good convos right then and there and he had confidence in my rhymes enough to lend me some beats. Just because. Now that's a good dude right there. Two of the tracks on my iTunes album ("Hannabella" & "Kinda Fly") were produced by this man and he even lent the only rapping feature on the whole project. So I feel indebted to him over this music stuff forever. An additional two joints on my pre-album EP ("Behind the Mirror" & fOR No one") were exclusive compos from him.

If you don't have this man's entire catalogue of his young career, then you need it. There's no way around it because I absolutely swear that there's a song that he's crafted that you'll find was written for your life. This dude makes "feel good" music without a hint of corniness. His flow is straight powerful and his metaphors are as purely dense and beautiful as you'll find. Simply put, he raps better than your favorite rapper and produces better than your favorite producer. So I'm crazy glad that we get to extend our collaboration catalogue onto this new epic remix. So if you ain't already recognized that ... recognize that. And hold on.

brandUn DeShay -
Volume: One! for the Money
Volume: Two! for the Show
The Sup3r DeShay: The EP
Blog - MySpace - Facebook - Twitter

... but do take my word for it.


Comeback #4: If Ya Say Real Talk, I Prolly Won't Trust Ya

Then my world was rocked.

I remember first catching this on the once formidable Spine Magazine site. On paper it looked like one of the most random and uncalled-for collaborations ever. Hand-in-hand with that I thought it might even be a blend of an old verse or something. I know Unk is from Atlanta, but would both of the original ATLiens really jump on the most annoying dance track of the summer along with the newest crap NY trend rapper, Jim Jones? Turns out ... yes they would.

Unk - Walk it Out (Remix feat. OutKast & Jim Jones)

Walk it out like a usher
If you say real talk, I prolly won't trust ya
If you want to go to war, the gun's my pleasure
Even Jesus had twelve disciples on the level, trigger, whatever
Peyimmmmp, you don't want nah dayuh Three Thou
I'm like jury duty; you're new to this part of town
Your white tee, well to me, look like a nightgown
Make your momma proud, take that thing two sizes down
Then you'll, look like the man that you are, or what you could be
I can I give a damn bout your car, but then I would be
If it was considered a classic befo the drastic change
In production, when cars were metal instead of plastic
Value, is what I'm talkin bout, take two of these and walk it out
You'll be the reason they chalk it out, you can't be the king in the parkin lot
Forever. Not sayin I'm the best but til they find somethin better
I am here, no fear, write me a letter. Til then
I walk it out, I walk it out, I walk it out, I walk it out
I walk it out, I walk it out, I walk it out ...

Y'all could catch me in the middle of a dead sleep and I'd still know every half syllable of this verse. This song defined high school for me. It was already my favorite dance song for a full year up to that point, but it was cemented as such since this was the very first song that was played once I walked out onto my prom dance floor. And my legs still hurt from those couple minutes of losing it.

But even if you flipped this song off the very millisecond Dre's verse it over to avoid Jimmy's bullish verse, you still had to pay attention to how powerful this joint was. From the opening bar, Andre blew the doors off the feature game from then on out. Lil' Wayne was no longer the sole poster child for when people thought, "you know what ... I really wanna hear _____ go over that song." And while everyone knows the weight was held on the opening, Big Boi still dropped a solid closing verse to wrap up. I walk it out like that last shot of 'gnac at the club ... ain't nothing to mess with, either. So while this was a formality engraving into your skull that OutKast wasn't breaking up, it also served as a statement by the South's G.O.A.T. that he wasn't letting the A-Town become a complete hip hop punchline on his watch in the new millennium. And it wouldn't even remotely stop there.

... but do take my word for it.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

AI in TN

Call me crazy right now.

I think it's gonna work.

Of course this team is gonna give up virtually 200 points per game, but that doesn't really matter. Offense puts butts in the seats. Excitement puts butts in the seats. And the Grizzlies this year will have both of those tenfold. Now they're not gonna compete for a championship, obviously, but I'm gonna give them tons more credit than any analyst or random fan will. I'm confident that the Grizz are gonna make the playoffs. Now.

So the starting lineup prolly looks something like this: 1) Allen Iverson 2) OJ Mayo 3) Rudy Gay 4) Zach Randolph 5) Marc Gasol. But this is completely amorphous with the fact that they have the almost-good point Mike Conley and standing log Hasheem Thabeet. So anyone can be moved anywhere to fit the starters appropriately, but the big deal is that they have four renowned ball hogs (who each legitimately need X amount of shots per game) out of their top seven players in the rotation. But I got AI pinned down as a very balanced floor leader this year with this brand new squad. Kind of in the way that I have confidence in Gilbert Arenas making all the right offensive decisions this year, I think the same of Iverson. While Z-Bo is utterly incapable of ever passing, the other big timers will be able to adjust. Mayo's the dead-eye shooter and Rudy's the elite-aspiring slasher, but each also has a little bit of the others' qualities to their game, so that's a hardcore threat when there's also gonna be primed scorers on both sides of them. Quad 20+ ppg guys is the new dynamic duo. It's 2009-2010, y'all.

And Iverson is going to fit in because he chose this team. I mean, he would've preferred a different situation than the gutter Grizzlies, but in the end, he actually did decide to sign with this here squad. There's going to be a full training camp with a full preseason and a full arsenal of weapons at his side once the season starts (... and please keep your stupid practice jokes to yourself ... we off that ...) He's not going to be asked to fill in and improve upon Chauncey Billups' Detroit-tenured shoes. His teammates won't immediately hate him because he doesn't play the exact game as everyone's now-departed best friend. His sole responsibility for this team is to make them relevant with his renewed "chip on my shoulder" mentality. And I think that relevancy will lead them into the playoffs.

The way I figure ... the only teams they have to leap frog are the Suns and Jazz. No other non-playoff team besides maybe the Thunder have much of a chance at breaking out of the lottery. Only the top three of the west is guaranteed, and that's the Lakers/Spurs/Blazers. Fact. So ... yeah. There's no way Memphis gets any worse with this move. This team will gun like none other and freakishly surprise teams in the way the Warriors surprised in their one dream playoff-advancing season. It's not like Conley's growth is gonna get stunted or anything, so there's no real long term negative consequences. Conley'll have primary ball handling duties for like 30 minutes of the game regardless, so I see no for real downside even in the short term. And even if this team combusts ... they're the Grizzlies. They would have sucked whether or not they signed anybody. Come on now. Thumbs up, Grizz, I will now be catching you regularly on my League Pass Broadband.

... but do take my word for it.


Hold On: Mike Dreams

I've had this song that's been "under construction" for a good while now. It's my "Hold On (Remix)" joint, revamped from my debut album lead single by the masterful London producer Charlie Hilton. The seeds of this song go all the way back to the very beginning of the summer and is still nowhere close to being done, but I wanted to start a short series highlighting all the contributors to what will become of this epic song. And here is me doing that.

The newest emcee to come into the fold is Mike Dreams, formerly Young Son a.k.a. Sean Kingston's twin brother a.k.a. Gravy's second cousin, removed.

My man right here is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. That alone holds him in good company with beast MN emcees like Slug, P.O.S, and Brother Ali. You can catch all over the 2dopeboyz c-section and thankfully that, along with his dope music, has got him some features on one of hip hop's premier blog sites. As a frequent c-section arguer myself, I first caught ear of his sound from his promptly released "Run This Town" freestyle.

Mike Dreams - Run This Town

Mike's just a straight positive emcee. His flow is completely effortless as he takes on all kinds of beats and makes them easy, head-nodding jams. With his relentless storytelling, relatable subject matter, and genuine delivery, any song he jumps on is set to improve. I personally think he's at his best when he goes in slow-flowed and heavy on a thoughtful instrumental that lets him wax poetic on something crazy inspirational. Not too many rappers can pull that off without coming off corny. I can't front on his hyped joints either, though. And while we'll all forgive him for being a Drake fan (just joking, man), Mike Dreams definitely is a force to be reckoned with. Dude's got an extensive live show resumé and is fit to be recognized on a bigger stage real soon. And on another refreshing note, Mike doesn't curse in his rhymes. I've been tryinna tell people I'm not the only one. Ha. And if all that along with his QuESt and XV cosigns aren't enough to convince you of how dope this emcee is, then you take your time scouring over these links and get yourself familiar. And hold on.

Mike Dreams -
Soul Inspired: Hip Hop's Revival
Forever Words
Counting Sheep: Countdown To Dreamer's Poetry
Blog - MySpace - Facebook - Twitter

... but do take my word for it.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Comeback #3: My Life Gon Be a Bowl

Stop number three on the 3000 comeback tour actually came when the album came. Andre utilized this crazily titled R&B joint, that happened to have a rap verse tacked on the end, for the Idlewild movie itself. It's a great scene with the cuckoo clocks aptly explaining what "chronomentrophobia" actually is a fear of. The fear of clocks. The fear of time.

And only Dre could put together this spoken-wordish slow-flowed dictation and still seal it as dope. It seems like he was just trying to do as many variations on his flow as he could muster for his three different rhyming ventures on this album, and they all worked. That's a crazy rare feat.

Andre 3000 - Chronomentrophobia

Lord be havin mercy on my soul
I'm havin' the impression that my life gon be a bowl
Of cherries, but it's very hard for me to cope, got tired of bein broke
This ATLien ain't got no time to sit and mope
Made up my mind while y'all made up y'all beds
On a cold wooden floor is where I lay my head
Born in 1975, never thought I'd make it this far
Still battlin in this racial war
Tryinna find solutions to the situation I'm facin
Only thing that's free is my flow that y'all be chasin
Lettin my aggins know before I go, I drop that knowledge
Like dropping books. Let's stop the crooks
From robbin you of your brains and such, usin welfare as a crutch
I'm in it for good. You into my hood? You won't be findin much
Hope that when im gone, y'all remember this
What we stood for, f*** that fame and that glitz
It's, beginnin to look a lot like the ending
Got to be more careful, know what corners you be bendin
Revalation's gettin impatient, now i'm dead
Remember what I said. I'm gone, bow ya heads

And that's it. On that syllable, Andre's done rapping for the LP. Whether he was being literal or metaphorical is immaterial. Right then, there was a legitimate curiosity as to if he would rap again any time soon. He dropped three songs worth of rhymes for The Love Below and there were three on here. Man. I don't know about you, but I've remembered what he's said, regardless if he's gone or not. But thank the same Lord that be having mercy on his, this was actually only an appetizer for when Andre would take over the mainstream feature game to critical heights that have never been seen. Who'da thunk it?

... but do take my word for it.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Comeback #2: Don't Like What I Write? Shoot Me a Bird

Stop number two on the Andre 3000 tour came due to another leak a little while after "The Mighty O". This song was a modern day super group cut in the vain of "Swagga Like Us" or the newly crowned "Forever". While hip hop history doesn't seem to quite recognize it as such right now because Idlewild is wrongly ignored in general basically, it definitely delivers quality on an insane level. The emcees involved? Andre 3000 and Big Boi, of course, plus Lil' Wayne and Snoop Dogg. That's as close to owning the world that you're gonna get without an NY emcee in the mix.

OutKast - Hollywood Divorce (feat. Lil' Wayne & Snoop Dogg)

What completely blows my mind on this track is that Weezy's verse actually kills. I don't know if 3000 demands such a crazy amount of respect that it brought the best out of Wayne or what, but Weezy usually blows on his big name features. Weirdly, he's also the trivia-worthy link between the two collaborations I just mentioned and this song. Hmmm. Whatever.

After Wayne's dissertation and the following chorus, Dre steps up to bat starting off on a ABC blooper. No one's really a big fan of alphabet rhyming, but he quickly steps it up and lays down a heavily cautionary street tale laced with metaphoric humor that commands your attention. Cuz that's what Three Stacks does. And he doesn't give a flying ... bird.

A is for Adamsville
B is for Bowenhome
C if I give a f*** if you like me. You know I don't
If she ain't got a good head on her leave that ho alone
If she do got some good head on her let her sing a song
D is for what I serve, I don't be on no curb
She ain't no junkie neither, I ain't no dope dealer
But she keep comin back, 3-stacks must be some crack
Put that pipe in her lap, she ain't know how to act
Now that I've got your un-, divided attention I'm
Gonna say this and run, under condition one
Promise me you gon' stack, promise me you gon' ball
Promise me you'll invest three fourths of it all
For what? So your kids, kids, kids can have some cheese
Can't get with it? Get get get get get on your knees
Cuz wealth is the word
Rich is round the corner from the curb
Don't like what I write? Shoot me a bird

Big and Snoop valiantly wrap the second half of the song up with their different perspectives on how they live and deal with the spotlight of Doggy Dogg's hometown. To me, it's a classic. Features or not. Andre produced the song himself, crooned out the hook, and even spoken-worded the outro, so he's in full effect here. And he was bringing the whole rap game with him.

Hollywood divorce. All the fresh styles always start off as a good little hood thing; look at blues, rock, jazz, rap. Not even talkin about music, everything else too. By the time it reach Hollywood, it's over. But it's cool, we just keep it goin and make new ish.

... but do take my word for it.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Sonic the Campbellton

After a hundred years since my official debut album hit an mp3 site near you, I finally finish another complete project! Here's Sonic the Campbellton!!!

In case you've missed me explaining it before, this is a concept project that I scribed into life over beats produced solely by Charles Hamilton. I'm the biggest fan of Demevolist instrumentation for any and all occasions and I thought I could hold my own over some of my favorite CH compos that he so generously released for free (like everything else his entire career). So yeah ... download it and link it up to everyone you know in every way of social networking you know how! Maybe I could get it on 2dopeboyz ... that would be a dream ...

Chris Campbell -
Sonic the Campbellton (Mixtape)

1. I Don't Even Car (feat. Aaronn Ralph)
2. Infinitely Interesting
3. Remotedly (Empty Meaning)
4. Evil-Minded Games
5. For You (Outta the Sky)
6. Took Our Time
7. All She Wants to Dance
8. You Really Are
9. 175
10. Forever on Hold (feat. Charles Hamilton)

... but do take my word for it.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Classic: Heaven Somewhere

While there's a few bloggers who I've stumbled upon that share the feeling with me (most notably, Pinboard), everyone else seems to absolutely hate Common's Electric Circus album. It's the one that knocked him into near hip hop obscurity as a general outsider in the years before Kanye and Be rescued him. But you know what? Screw everyone else's opinions. It'll say right here and now that EC is my favorite Common album. Yeah, suck on that one.

I may write a full length review one day on it, but for now I just wanted to post one of the most classic posse cuts that has ever been assembled. And the super crazy thing is ... it's all R&B singers ... and the song ain't even a "We Are the World" remix.

Common - Heaven Somewhere (feat. Omar, Cee-Lo, Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, & Lonnie "Pops" Lynn)

Com did an amazingly crazy thing when he assembled his chorus-singing features for this album. He retained each one to record a powerfully personal verse on the album's closing track, singing about what "heaven" means to them. And it turned out beyond perfect. The Soulquarians collective, who helmed nearly all of the electro-soul-funk production of the rest of the album, took this song and tweaked it masterfully to highlight each singer independently and reflect their message of heaven. All this comes after a strong spoken word-styled intro by Common that sets up the opus. It's an extensive track, but trust me when I say that you need this joint in your life.

... but do take my word for it.



Talib Kweli jumped on the Novel wagon super quick. And I'm crazy disappointed this man hasn't blown up in the public conscious since releasing stuff all the way back in 2002. Just goes to show you that life ain't fair ... cuz this man has more talent and vocal ability than Omarion, Mario, Mario Winans, Marques Houston, Jeremih, Lloyd, and Day 26 rolled into one nasally pop&blues act. But, regardless, I just really like this song. And it's produced by Dilla back when he was still around to hear the final product.

Talib Kweli - Stand to the Side (feat. Novel & Vinia Mojica)

... but do take my word for it.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fear Our Right Now

John Wall. Darnell Dodson. Daniel Orton. Jon Hood. DeMarcus Cousins. Eric Bledsoe. I see your Fab Five and raise you my Kill Your Dreams Six.

... but do take my word for it.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Snippet #2: Obamamania?

Question: Everyone knows that every rapper and their momma hopped on the Obama bandwagon come election time, but do you know the very first artist to lend bars in support of our current president?

Hint ... it's not or Jigga or Crooked I or Ludacris or anyone who put out a mixtape tribute to the man recently. What if I told you it was all the way back in 2004?

"Why is Bush actin' like he tryinna get Osama?
Why don't we impeach him and elect Obama?

That couplet is from Jadakiss' remix to his (only?) smash single "Why". And they come from Common. This was Com just months after Kanye single-handedly resuscitated his public perception with a feature on The College Dropout while Be was still just "under construction". How many people actually followed politics close enough in 2004 to know who the newly-nominated United States senator from Illinois was? Certainly not me. Barack didn't gain national steam until well into 2007. I just wanted to let you know who started the movement in case ya didn't already know. Hidden sneakily in between references to his ex-boo Erykah Badu, religious ponderings, and Britney Spears dissing while also in the mix of Jada, Styles P, Nas and Anthony Hamilton, it could have slipped by anybody.

Jadakiss - Why (Remix feat. Styles P, Common, Nas, & Anthony Hamilton)

... but do take my word for it.


And It All Comes Out

So it all leaked. All of it except for two bonus joints that are supposed to be Rhapsody exclusives. I'm talking about Jay-Z's album of course. And I'm sorry, but you'll have to look elsewhere for those links. Not on my site. But after maybe possibly sneaking a listen to BP3 myself, I'm definitely gonna buy it. It's (obviously) not as focused as the great American Gangster, but so many of the individual cuts are ridiculously dope that I'll be forced to support it. Every Kanye and No I.D. cut brought the heat, as I expected, and J. Cole's feature is super straight. Add in the powerful Alicia Keys hook on "Empire State of Mind" that got me all hot and heavy and you got yourself quite the repeatable iTunes selections. I could listen to that woman all day. Her voice even looks sexy, if you can conceive that. The album ends on a great cut too with Mr. Hudson singing over a "Coldest Winter"-esque beat on "Forever Young" while Jay gets back in full on "Beach Chair" mode. Oh, and ... my album's on Rhapsody, too, in case you forgot! Jigga can't hog all of that site.

But he sure can put together a commercial with them that gives me chills. If you don't realize everything going on then ... I don't know what to say.

... but do take my word for it.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where's Chronic?

Somehow he's still doing it. Chris Rivera has released two more freshly put together volumes of unreleased Charles Hamilton music. This now makes five full length collectives. Wow.

The only reason we even know Charles is still alive is because there were pictures of dude at the rapper Esso's release party for his Off the Wall mixtape a lil' while back. [For the record, Demev producer Woody went all out on his Michael Jackson beats for that tape, but Esso is such a boring emcee that it didn't really matter. Sorry.] And CH was still full on in his usual pinkness and Beats headphones, so that let's you know he's still for sure himself. Then there was more recently a heavy video with his former boo Briana Latrise where she discussed that he was doing really well. She said it was a personal and executive decision for him to stay away from the internet and straight focus in on his music.

So who knows if This Perfect Life is ever gonna get a proper physical release, but, knowing Charles, he's gonna come with mad material fully immersed in conceptual projects lined up for awhile. So until then ... here's the unreleased ish.

Charles Hamilton -
Chronic the Hamilton
Where's Charles?

... but do take my word for it.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tanya Morgan. Don't Ask

So last night I saw Tanya Morgan live. I hate to admit it, but I didn't know a lot about their music before last night. I studied up on their bio and main rotation singles so I could at least vibe heavy on their choruses and just absorb the rest of the performance. After three different local Lexington acts, two of which were crazy dope (Kuntry Noize and Divine Carama) and one which was some respectable white dudes (Loose Change), Tanya Morgan came out with crazy energy to knock the roof off.

Ilyas started off by immediately hooking everyone on a double-time flow verse that he straight dumbed out on. He became my hero right then and there.

From the opening moment until their hilariously raunchy Snoop Dogg cover to end the show, all the emcees showed crazy stage presence and brought a calculated hype that just had me zoned out in my element. I swear, the only times I feel for real complete are either when I'm at a rap show or a poetry slam. That's pretty much it. It's just my thing.

Each of them were interactive and hyped the entire time. They simply were hip hop. From Von Pea rocking his permanent NY cap to Donwill's tore-up impromptu jean shorts and glasses to Ilyas capping his crazy long dreads with a triple-oversized cap and just smiling full blast the whole show, they were the epitome of performers. The live set lyrical pass-offs, the running jokes on songs that had features who obviously weren't there, and genuine interest in the audience who showed up were all just super refreshing to me coming into the first weekend of my sophomore year. I couldn't have been more impressed. I talked to Von Pea for a minute after the show and I was saying how all of his Justus League collabos are insanely great and he mentioned how he was hoping they'd get that home base Justus crowd when they do a show in North Carolina this same weekend, and I wished him the best. Rappers are the only equivalent in my life to my adoring loser fandom of UK and NBA basketball players. It absolutely kills me if I'm within actual sight of them, much less talking to them. Kinda like how earlier yesterday when John Wall asked how my day was going as he passed me while I was playing basketball. I almost fell out.

I'll prolly highlight each emcee on his own at some point, but for now I have to link up their mixtape and lead you to their purchasable stuff too. Man. I was so content coming out of that show. And that was hard knowing the circumstances that afterwards I had to walk a mile back to my dorm at 12:30 at night. But it's all good. Tanya Morgan. The name means nothing. And everything.

Tanya Morgan -
Tanya Morgan is a Rap Group
Brooklynati [iTunes link]
The Bridge [iTunes link]

... but do take my word for it.


Soundz of Spirit

One of my favorite and most rewarding things I've ever bought was this DVD I randomly found in a Wal-Mart or something called Soundz of Spirit. It was right when I was heavy getting into hip hop and pretty much all I knew was that Andre 3000 and Cee-Lo were my heroes. Now guess who two of the folks on the cover of this DVD are ...

This DVD was a documentary of the inspiration and creative process behind the music writing, poetry, and other forms of art by urban artists. And it may actually have been the initial seed that sprouted me into my full fledged writing. I certainly have nothing specific to directly reroute it to prior to when I watched this documentary the first three times. In addition to 3000 & Mr. Green, the film featured my first iteration I'd heard of KRS-One's infamous "MC vs. rapper" speech. I absolutely loved how he dissected it then, but the 27th song/sermon/interview where I heard him explain it is another story. Sprinkle in some absolutely gorgeous singing by the likes of Goapele, Hope Shorter, and Jennifer Johns along with all the mental hip hop exploration of emcees such as Common, Talib Kweli, Del, and the Nappy Roots crew and I had an hour full of defining soul moments.

Another amazing aspect of the DVD was that it came with a soundtrack that infused many new faces into my budding music collection. While even the little known Cee-Lo cut called "Beautiful Fool" would have made my heart content, I also was introduced to groups such as Dilated Peoples and Blackalicious. But just for the sake of this post, one of the heavy hitting tracks on this collection that I wanted to link up is Hope Shorter's "Rain Don't Last". It's simple and elegant and powerful and I just really like this song.

Hope Shorter - Rain Don't Last

... but do take my word for it.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mismatched: Jigga Man & Timbaland

So a lot has been said and contemplated of all the leaks from Jay-Z's new album that are almost coming on the daily. And the general consensus has been pretty negative. It's quite unfortunate. What the internet has been able to get its hands on are the two lead singles, "D.O.A." and "Run This Town", as well as the three joints produced by Timbaland on the album. That's the good news. Well ... honestly that's great news.

I've never been a Timbo fan. I think the majority of his beats get by solely because they're different-ish sounding. And while that may have worked for "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" (which inevitably endeared Jay to Timbo for forever) or a bunch of random bouncy R&B joints, he doesn't actually cut it for hip hop anymore.

First song off the Jigga/Timbo train was the unfortunately dull and plodding of "Off That". Most fanboys were looking crazy forward to what Drake could do on a song with Jigga, but it turns out all he could pull off was a hook. And while I appreciate that Jay wished to inform the world that he is way more advanced than us in all forms of livelihood, it's just too bad he couldn't have put a single line in the song that was memorable. And Timbaland throws in his familiar little Justin Timberlake ad-libs, but unfortunately ... the listening public was off that about four years ago. Maybe the only saving grace of the song is the fact that the term "fid-uck" is pretty humorous. I wonder if they have to bleep that on the radio. Hmmm.

Then was "Reminder", but that served a lot more as distracting techno nagging than it did as a serviceable backdrop to support Jay's lyrics on. One of the comments I saw that I laughed at was someone saying that Timbaland must've hacked into their Fruity Loops library. And that might be what happened. The beat is crazy annoying. It's some sonically unpleasing violin-ish scraping and random heavy effects on some run of the mill drums with a random sproing thrown in. And the worst part is that Jay kills it on here. He comes off sounding heavy and lyrically straight, especially on his third verse culminating in a hilariously non-hidden Joe Budden subliminal. But every time the vocodered chick on the chorus comes in, you wanna shank yourself in the ear. It's honestly that bad. I need a remix of that one pronto so I can enjoy Hov's lyrics more often on it, cuz this one as currently slated is definitely getting the skip button treatment on the iPod.

The latest was "Venus vs. Mars". Now this one I actually super enjoy. But that's prolly just cuz Jigga uses the same low and punctuating flow that he did on his first American Gangster single, "Blue Magic". I sweat that song, and the look works on here too if you appreciate his continuous line-by-line cultural references and uber word play. And while the laid back and almost yawning beat works pretty well with it, I can see how some people would hear this and just get kinda bored. There's no lush instrumentation behind it. Really, there's not much inspiration detectible at all and its lack of a for real hook sucks pretty bad, too. I've never been a fan of the anonymous throw-in female voice trying to seduce me on any given rap song. They usually come off more annoying than sexy. That said, I really like that this is a different kind of joint, which keeps it fresh for me, and I think it will fit in great under the context of the rest of the album. All in all, most people's complaints involve Timbo on this one, not Jay.

So basically ... Timbaland doesn't inspire Jay-Hoffa anymore. That's what it comes down to. Either he gave the Jigga man a second rate beat tape or Timbo's fallen off altogether from the peak he had reached with Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, and JT. At least in the public's eyes. I personally have had a grudge against Timbaland ever since Cee-Lo tried to run with his collabo "I'll Be Around" track as the Soul Machine single. It sucked and was completely unrepresentative of the rest of the album's geniusness. But whatever.

Regardless, I have definitely not lost hope for BP3. I mean, the Swizz Beatz joint is most likely guaranteed to completely blow, but I refuse to believe that Kanye and No I.D. could forsake the people any further. It's unfortunate that they didn't helm the entire project as reported ... but hey, Timbaland said he was taking care of the entire thing before Kanye did. Thank God that didn't happen. I firmly believe Jay-Z's still got it on the emceeing tip ... but apparently only while in studio sessions with certain people.

... but do take my word for it.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Classic: Transformer (Live at Abbey Road)

This would definitely be right up there in my list of all-time greatest songs ever. Its presence is undeniable in how it hits my soul. Which is made even crazier by how ... kinda annoying the original was.

Gnarls Barkley - Transformers (Live at Abbey Road)

This joint was completely reworked from the ground up when Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo decided to revamp it for a short recording session at Abbey Road. On the tails of the worldwide hit "Crazy", Gnarls Barkley had become a cult phenomenon that could do no wrong. Their experimentation would always venture down the road of creative genius to their fans. Even when the St. Elsewhere cut "Transformer" came flooding in with its jumping, noisy instrumentation and rapid-fire lyrics full of modulation and vocal shifting, most of us appreciated it anyway. But once the Abbey Road rendition made its way to a YouTube channel near you, a classic was born. Danger Mouse stripped all of the busyness of the original and went full swing with the bare essentials. Cee-Lo slowed down his semi-rapping and turned each and every word of the song into a gospel-like rejoice. Everything came to a screeching halt and a social doctrine came out of the resulting hymn. You can interpret it however, but this may be the greatest remake of a song by any group to ever ... remake their own song. It's genius and any other positive adjective you ever use loosely. Trust me.

... but do take my word for it.