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 will.i.am 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Motives & Thoughts


Alright ... here it is. My first kinda personal post thing on here. Click through if you dare, but be warned that there will be no music attachments ahead. Crazy, right?

Today is my second day back on campus. And even though nothing for real has happened yet, I'm nearly as happy as I've ever been. Now while nothing can prolly ever top my 2006 Cincinnati World Changers experience, life on UK's campus usually comes very close. As soon as I hit this majestic city of Wilcat pride, I'm different. I smile easier. I stress less. I forget the things that shouldn't matter in my life. And that's all I really need, for real.

I saw my dude brandUn DeShay comment me back on something I wrote on his blog about a post he just made. It was about how he just recently realized how his blog that he's been running for a while now slowly turned from kinda diary-based entries to straight business observations. And that struck a chord in me because that's exactly what happened with me as I transitioned from my MySpace blog to this BlogSpot that I run. Everything used to be deeply emotional and questioning of all things existential. It was heavy and it's somewhat painful for me to go back through some of them. Some crap went on the verge of emo-lite. I hate that it was like that, but that's exactly how it was. I couldn't deal with stuff very well and one of my only vents was to drop a load of prose and poetry on the social network of choice back then. But eventually, those entries went from being an every-other-day type thing to a ... once-a-month type thing. And it was far less effective. While I used to seemingly cope with stuff and evolve over the course of multiple posts in a single week, I couldn't match the emotive importance when they became less frequent.

What brandUn mentioned was that maybe we just realized that we didn't matter as much as we thought we did. And I think that hits it on the head. Once it crossed the point where I didn't know if the blogging personally helped me accomplish anything, I let go of it. A lot of the stuff I wrote was downright depressing, and I straight didn't want anyone to read and assume it was a "woe is me" pity party type thing. So I let go. And I let my opinions on music and sports take it's place. Lessumat was conceived. Lauryn Hill had a poem she performed on one of the seasons of Def Poetry that was called "Motives and Thoughts". And her line of closing was simply, "check your motives and thoughts". Well I checked mine. And I decided that my personal motives and thoughts shouldn't be completely released anymore. They should only be slightly ... less suppressed. Just a lil' bit. And that's my life motto now. Nobody's really heavy in my business anymore, I'm much more selective about any emotions that I choose to bare, and I'm kinda to the point of being numb to a bunch of stuff. Not all of that means positive life results, but I'll just say that I'm in a slightly better spot mentally. Everything will take care of itself and I just gotta make myself selectively available to go along for the ride. All of that flooded me today when I woke up at school and had the sounds and sights and smells of the city that I love invading my senses. It only made it even more real (or possibly surreal) when I played ping pong in the Wildcat Lodge and DeMarcus Cousins was screaming and cursing a little ways away over some FPS video game. And Eric Bledsoe was there laughing his butt off every time, so I can only assume he was the one who kept killing him. That's the kinda stuff that brightens my psyche. There's no other situation in eternity where I could be around some of my idles and hear them be so rawly ... normal. I love it. Man. I don't know how I made it the whole summer away from here.

You can't recreate this feeling. It's impossible. So I gotta soak it up while I'm here. And I will.

... but do take my word for it.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Comeback #1: Either Wish Me Well, Go to Hell, or Go to Yale


I'mma start a series on here chronicling Andre 3000's rise from the ashes in hip hop. Now while I personally never felt his eternal emceeing presence leave, a lot of heads kinda got sideways about the dude after he released his half of Speakerboxx/The Love Below. He did go off heavy on a Prince tip with his singing and outrageous musicality on that diamond-selling album. But maybe I was the only one who noticed that beyond all of the catchy pop brashness of most of his tracks, Three Stacks finished the album on an incredibly raw rapping opus in "A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre". But I'll save that for a flashback installment in this series at a later time.

Regardless, that album was released in 2003 and OutKast hit their astronomical peak as the single most versatile and accessible rap act of any and all time. I mean, white people were at least accepting of the style of music a little bit once Aerosmith gave Run-D.M.C. their nod of approval and Vanilla Ice came on the scene, but OutKast finally blew the whole thing off the roof. Eminem always sold big numbers, but parents still weren't accepting of his violent, mysogynistic, drug-riddled, or cultish lyrical themes. No one of any age was offended though by the joyous "Hey Ya", no matter if Andre didn't want to meet your momma. A funny thing happened after that glorious rise to public prominence, though. Andre stopped performing and the group seemingly had unofficially disbanded or altogether disappeared ...

Well, at least Big Boi kept himself noticeable a little bit by appearing on a number of mainstream singles, but Andre seemed content to let his musical genius rest on the laurels of two Gwen Stefani cuts and a couple singing features on tracks that were never even formally released. Had every southern hip hop fan's posterchild and inspiration for all things progressive and successful just become bored with his art? Everyone understood that he had balanced a crazy tightrope when he attempted to maintain artistic integrity yet appeal to the greatest common denominator of all radio play, but no one knew if he even cared about hip hop anymore. He even dropped little quotes here and there about how he didn't wanna be that guy in the industry who was still rapping when he was forty. And while that's kinda understandable, it still wasn't fair! Hip hop needed Andre 3000. We'd almost taken him for granted since OutKast burst on the scene in 1994. Now, over ten years later and counting, we needed Andre 3000.

Thankfully, he eventually entertained our cries. In the middle of 2006, seemingly lightyears from their last album, word had come out that Andre had taken just enough time out of his vegetarian/movie star schedule to create a soundtrack with Big Boi to an HBO-sponsored film that would star none other than both of the two dope boyz (in a Cadillac). And before we knew it, this Idlewild production would spawn the single that would immediately launch 3000 back into the consciousness of every hip hop head who was still willing to listen. The first of three different rap-laced verses from him on the soundtrack was the powerful "Mighty O". In this song, Dre not only gifted us with a return-to-his-roots linguistic dissection, he gifted us with 28 bars of a return-to-his-roots linguistic dissection. And for that, we were thankful. Little did we know this was only the first stop on a hip hop tour of world domination, with each and every vocal new bar lending a little more insight into the genius of a man that is from a time still 991 years ahead of the current ...

OutKast - The Mighty "O"

You ain't a hater? Can't tell
Either wish me well, go to hell, or go to Yale
Study human behavior so that you know who the hell
You dealing with ain't nutty but the study gon' unvail
My relative in jail (Ha) stay engaged
To whatever make money now he married to that cage
Divorce is not an option and prenuptial is void
Eat up whatever after but I'm tangled in my cord
(Huh) Bored, kind of like a night with the sword
Without dragon to battle, so I'm running from a shadow
An immpossible feat and I repeat
An immpossible feat and I repeat, an immpossible feat and I repeat
The damsel's in distress but they a mess
They only like my armor, and that I'm a performer
They read one magazine and wanna think they gettin warmer
They only getting colder, hell, maybe I should throw a
Double diamond party in the north pole
Invite all the writers and journalists, even biters will tournament
To see who can be me better than me, it's a permanent
Smile on my face because you say you don't like my style
But that's ok, but just make sure you don't touch that dial
And we'll be cool, touch it and you's a fool
Look, I'll get ya hooked, y'all crooks might even move
To Atlanta, Georgia, get a wife and daughter
Start a new life, and all that wrong you do you make it right
But hell, all a dream, I wear the crown I'm king
Respect is mandatory, end of the story, go fly a kite
Category? Ain't got none. You know I'm right


... but do take my word for it.

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You Don't Know What You're Talking About


Alright, now I'm pissed. This story has been so slanted and misreported that my neurons are in a tizzy. Now I just gotta flex poetic on the subject for a minute and get all this crap off my chest, because I gotta let you know that I've probably followed the story closer than you have. And as long as Pat Forde is spewing bull ish on the world wide leader of sports about every subject he can have an ill-conceived opinion over (besides Rick Pitino, of course), you've been misinformed.

John Calipari did literally nothing wrong in his dealings with Derrick Rose, nor anything different than any other coach in the country would have done with the information he was given. And you're a gun-jumping prick if you think you know otherwise.

Now let's also set the general record straight. The University of Memphis didn't even do anything wrong in their dealings with Derrick Rose. You got that? The entire burden of blame should be placed solely on the NCAA Clearinghouse and they should have reported their actions and ruling timelines in a more clear and distinctive fashion than the general accusatory press reports that were actually released. I'll now make my individual points.

1) Derrick Rose was never even proven to have cheated on his SAT exam. It only came under investigation after it was found that he strangely signed up to take the national exam in the city of Detroit after failing it in his hometown of Chicago three times as an underclassman. His reason for taking it in Detroit was that he was already planning on going to the Palace of Auburn Hill to see his hometown Bulls play against the Pistons in 2007 and he was running out of opportunities to take the SAT before college deadlines. Even then, there was only a single handwriting guru who questioned the legitimacy of his test, not a panel who explicitly invalidated it. Rose, though already in the NBA and free of any personal consequences were he to admit anything either way, maintains that he himself took the test and here's his official legal quote: "It is satisfying to see that the NCAA could find no wrongdoing on my part in their ruling. It is important for people to understand that I complied of everything that was asked of me while at the university, including my full cooperation in the university's investigation of this issue, and was ultimately cleared to play in the entire 2007-08 season by the NCAA Clearinghouse and the university. I look forward to putting this behind me." So let's get this clear in everyone's mind ... there is no actual proof that Derrick Rose had another person take his SAT for him.

2) Derrick Rose was cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse who looks into and validates all incoming college athletes as being eligible to play. What John Calipari and the University of Memphis athletic department knew from the NCAA going into the actual season was that there was a pending investigation to take place looking into Rose's SAT matter. But since Rose maintained that he was innocent and that nothing would be found of his guilt if an investigation was even to occur, Calipari decided to play him. So what happened was that Rose played the entire season and the NCAA never mentioned another word about the situation. The Memphis Tigers played out the season up until April 7, 2008, when they lost to the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Championship game. The Tigers couldn't make free throws, fans were pissed, and Calipari was disappointed that he let another chance at a title slip away. It was only then that something funny happened. Rose's final attempt at the SAT exam, and his only passing grade, was canceled by the NCAA's Educational Testing Service. In May of 2008. After the entire season was over. The University of Memphis then got an official notice that Derrick Rose, the point guard who had already waived the remaining three years of his college eligibility to enter the next month's NBA draft, was now ruled academically ineligible. Does anybody see the slight issue of culpability there?

3) Derrick Rose was ranked by Rivals as the third best prospect in all of high school basketball and Scout as the fifth best. Both had him as the consensus top point guard. Something that was also consensus was that Rose didn't care about earning his college degree. He was labeled as a one-and-done player from the get-go who would have gone straight to the NBA if he was allowed to. Yet he was forced to either play one season of college basketball or, as then unprecedented, go overseas into a professional league. Rose, like fellow incoming freshmen Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, Eric Gordon, Jarryd Bayless, Donte Greene, and Bill Walker, decided to sweat it out one season in the collegiate ranks and see how far they could spark their respective rental ball clubs in the 2007-2008 season. Now boggle your brain for a second and ponder if your respective team's coach could land a top five recruit with whom he knew the clock was ticking on his stay there, yet would have the audacity to not play him over a non-solid investigation sitting on the NCAA's desk that they may or may not even look into and rule on before your player has his name called as the number one overall draft pick in the pros. Do you think your coach would choose to not play maybe the most talented player in all of college basketball after the NCAA Clearinghouse has officially declared him eligible and continually allows him to suit up and play every single game of the entire season? Do you? Seriously, answer that.

4) The charges from here on out became a legal wording formality that the NCAA selectively chooses to enforce. Though Rose was never proven to have actually cheated on his SAT, the mere fact that it was canceled (even a year later) meant that Rose was retroactively ineligible to play. And by NCAA rule, no matter when it's processed, the games that a player who is found ineligible plays in have to be stricken from the record books. As Rose stood by his innocence in the matter, the University of Memphis could have acted in no other foreseeable way. They treated him as the legitimate student athlete that he was ruled as for his entire one year tenure. But this is where the bothersome hypocrisy comes into place. The NCAA has ongoing investigations on other student athletes from prominent colleges that they've either not enforced the same rules or inexplicably left open with no imminent consequences. Corey Maggette from the hallowed Duke University has admitted that he took large cash payments from a former AAU coach and crack dealer during his one and only year in college in which he played in the national title game. Even the man who gave him money admitted so under oath. Yet Duke's 1999 Runner-Up banner still waves with no sign of ever coming down, even though accepting cash in that fashion explicitly rules that player as ineligible to play in college athletics whatsoever. Then there's the case of former Kansas Jayhawk Darrell Arthur who was recently confirmed to have had his grades changed on the eve of two high school state championship games to prevent his record from showing that he was failing out. He was never even academically eligible to graduate from South Oak Cliff High School if it weren't for the instantaneous, adamant rewritings of his transcript. Yet he still played two entire seasons in college, including the championship game opposite Derrick Rose, and Kansas is in no danger of ever suffering any ramifications from it. Shouldn't he be retroactively ineligible since he had a falsified high school diploma which would have prevented him from entering any university in the summer that he did? I'm not here to tell you if the rules are right or if they're wrong, but I am here to share with you that the NCAA pretends that these kinds of issues are black and white when, in fact, they favor certain situations, programs, or players over others of the same.

I'll prolly do another whole post about Calipari's history that's been labeled as "shady" and how he supposedly jumps to bigger and better jobs as soon as things get rough or an allegation comes up. All I have to say without delving into it any further at this moment is that this man spent eight and nine years respectively at his only other college head coaching gigs. Come on now. The dude ain't Larry Brown, yet.

... but do take my word for it.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

It's a Terrible Thing to Waste Your Love


Back-to-back. Kanye sampled this crazy old 1976 joint by The Masqueraders called "It's a Terrible Thing to Waste Your Love". But once wasn't enough cuz he kept a version for himself and gave another one to someone else. Ye originally dropped a song over his version of the beat and made a song called "Apologize" which contains one of my favorites hooks of any and all time. And it's Kan singing it pre-autotune. It's amazing and was only released to the public through the first of his Freshmen Adjustment mixtape series. But then he flipped it again (for money) by catering the instrumental for Monica's song "Knock Knock". The solo Kanye version is a hundred times better though with the sampled crying mixed in more frequent. It's one of those dead honest story-telling verses where he laces about his insecurities while doubling it with his self indulging ego. Either way, J. Cole's got a freestyle aptly titled "Knock Knock" that he kills it on, too, and I wanted to link it up as a pseudo double sample so you can here dueling emcees floss poetic over it. Check for yourself. Oh, and I don't wanna waste my love ... which happens to be that woman on the left.

Kanye West - Apologize
Monica - Knock Knock
J. Cole - Knock Knock Freestyle

... but do take my word for it.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wildflower


I'm always happy for lesser known dudes getting shine on epic releases. I can't lie, the first time I heard Lupe flow was him spinning Kanye's "Touch the Sky" over something crazy. I guess with The Blueprint 3's construction, Jay Hoffa decided he would take on that role in full force. The tracklist was just released yesterday and while it has some expected collabos for old times sake in Kanye, Swizz Beatz, Young Jeezy, Rihanna, and Pharrell, it also has relative newcomers Drake, KiD CuDi, Mr. Hudson, and newly signed Roc Nation man J. Cole. The difference in that latter group is that spitters Drake & CuDi have their hit singles "Best I Ever Had" and "Day N Nite" respectively that have put them into the mainstream conscious. J. Cole, though, doesn't even have a defining song that you can point to and say "that's him", yet. Consider him about to be put on.

I'll probably go full length on a post about him later, but for now, here's a double sampled joint between both Kanye's classic "Drive Slow" joint and Cole's mixtape fodder "Dreams".

Kanye West - Drive Slow (feat. GLC, Paul Wall, & Tony Williams)
J. Cole - Dreams (feat. Brandon Hines)

The original sample is a joint called "Wildflower" by an old jazz performer named Hank Crawford. It's gorgeous and has been re-churned for a couple other songs, but most recent and prominently as these two. Oh, and I just thought I'd mention that my wife Alicia Keys is also slated to be on The Blueprint 3. It's the first collabo between the two and I expect amazing things. And lastly, I got another double sample coming up later with the same two offenders. Except this time, it's old school Kan in what may be my favorite non-album cut ever from the man. And J. Cole chose another rip off beat. Ha.

... but do take my word for it.

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Surprise Team


So I just thought I'd dedicate a few minutes to talking about a surprise NBA squad that I like going into next season. They are one of last year's punchline teams: the Wizards. And I think they'll possibly challenge the Magic/Celtics/Cavs.

Don't look at me crazy. I know they won a beyond paltry 19 games last year. And I know that's crazily nice enough to tie them for second worst in the league. And I also know that they only completed a single trade this offseason and don't even have an impact rookie coming in. But I still like them to surpassingly crush all expectations even though this is a season where I fully expect twelve of the fifteen Eastern Conference squads to compete for those eight playoff spots. Just for the record, I think the Knicks, Pacers, and Nets are those three unlucky teams who are consistent enough to maintain as the East's resident bottom feeders. But on to the Wiz.

Before even discussing their one monster trade, the Wizards simply improve exponentially from last season's nonexistence because of the health of both Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood. These men aren't going to be recovering while coming into training camp, either, because both came around fully right at the end of 2009's regular season. The team's starting point guard and center both had full and complete summers for rehabilitation and contact training. So even more than anyone who's been healthy, they should specifically come into the season in peak condition after not being on their feet most of last year.

And while Haywood is deftly important to this team's interior defense and gives them a (pretend) post scorer to distract some from the perimeter, Arenas is the pivotal cog that will reemerge and bring the Wiz into the upper echelon of East threats. Gilbert has been away from us for so long that all NBA fans have already started to forget or underestimate his floor impact. This man stands right behind Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony in the ranks of pure scorers in the league. He may seem to go games at a time where he shoots unconsciously and detrimentally to the team, but that reputation was gained more out of necessity and lack of team structure than out of pure ballhoggedness. Under Flip Saunders and with a full compliment of offensive weapons, Arenas will show amazing efficiency on the offensive end. Just trust me. And this same principle applies likewise to Antawn Jamison. Last year's team was purposeless on both sides of the floor. The club was marred with injuries and was infusing too many inexperienced pieces with a pitfall of uncertainty. With Arenas back at full capacity and some definitive upgrades at two key positions, this incarnation of the Wizards will show up on a nightly basis and perform.

And now the trade. For three less-than-proficiently talented forwards and the fifth pick in the draft, the Wizards acquired Mike Miller and Randy Foye from Minnesota. And though both players were rather nondescript last season, their skill sets will be highlighted on this team. Miller is instantly infused into the starting lineup and paired with Caron Butler to provide two big and strong wings which will dually cause problems for defenses. On the obvious front, Miller positively replaces a great deal of the 3-point attempts that Deshawn Stevenson, Mike James, Butler, and Jamison have been chucking the last few seasons. He'll knock them in at more opportune times and at a better clip. This also allows the free roaming of Butler and Jamison to become even more of a threat than it already was. You have to cover both of those forwards on the perimeter anyway, but now you have to even tighter and with more urgency since the ball could get dropped off or swung over to Miller at any point. And while he's not a premier defender by any means, his size gives a more versatile look on the defensive end of things when alternating between all the wing D schemes. Foye, on the other hand, provides a greatly talented scoring combo guard to be the first man off the bench for either Arenas or for the position shuffling of any combination of Miller/Butler/Jamison. In his short time at Minnesota, he became a more than adequate floor leader who can pick his spots to be a distributor or prime time scorer. In all honesty, he's a poor man's Gilbert Arenas. Funny how that happens. With Foye in the fold, the points will never drop off between the starting lineup and the bench. The Wizards with these two new players now have five guys who could realistically score 20+ points on any given night.

Once you add the peripheral players in, this team can exceedingly flourish when given the right direction. Nick Young is a big guard with as pure a stroke as you'll find in someone with so much untapped potential. Andray Blatche is a stylized big man of the future with every conceivable skill on the floor who simply needs to tame his shot selection to understand how versatile he can be in literally any system. Javaris Crittenton is a pure point guard, as well as a former Laker, who I fully believe can still develop into an absolute stud whether it's with the Wizards or a future team. Newly signed Fabricio Oberto is one of those veteran big men who, while not a big stat contributor, provides a calming influence and never provides anything negative while on the floor.

So all in all, I would be willing to throw some money on the Wizards being a big time crew next year with an epic bounce back performance. I like what both the Celtics and Magic did to improve their rosters, but I wanted to acknowledge the team that seemingly no one has on their radar right now. I witnessed the game live three years back when Gilbert Arenas laced up the Lakers for 60 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and a win while Butler and Jamison dropped an extra 27 and 25 respectively as well without missing a beat. It was a thing of beauty in the face of my own beloved Lake Show. And I'm not counting on that ever happening again, but I'm counting on everyone being able to score as much as they want and for Arenas to settle back in as a complete threat and floor leader for this overly talented team that will surprise you.

... but do take my word for it.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Past the Infatuation Phase

I'm trying to learn John Legend's "Ordinary People" on piano cuz ... that's my song. And that's what that is. Thought you might possibly enjoy the beautiful music video as well as someone's hardcore remix to it. I don't know if it's just a blend or an outright remake, but someone killed it. In a good way.

John Legend - Ordinary People Remix



... but do take my word for it.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

New New-ish: Wafeek


I've decided to revive my New New series on another new-ish artist. I mean, he's been around a minute, so I'll just claim that he's new to me to cover my bases. And his name is Wafeek. Try and forget that name.

In actuality, his first mixtape was released in 2006, but he didn't get much shine off of it. I guess neither the mainstream nor the blogosphere had much of a lane for an indie artist from St. Louis. Nelly has been the only notable hip hop influence from Missouri and even he wore out his welcome in recent years. But I think Wafeek can keep the fans he gains as long as he stays away from the roids and body oil for album cover photo shoots. Has there ever been a more masculinely insecure attempt at a cover besides Brass Knuckles?

Wafeek -
The Aristocrats Mixtape
Feekee & The Flux Capacitor

After a few years in between, Wafeek came back with a new pair of mixtapes. Now I must have just been sleeping on the posts about him, because his first return venture was The Aristocrats Mixtape which was exclusively pushed and promoted by The Smoking Section, which is my personal second favorite rap blog after 2dopeboyz. And I didn't even cop that free download until I accidentally stumbled upon his newest project earlier this year which featured some awesome Kanye 808s remakes. And I know darn near every tape this year had some Kanye ode, but this one seriously stands out above the rest right up there with Charles Hamilton's super long-titled one. Wafeek goes in with no sense of abandonment, aided by the undeniable forces of autotune. Yet he doesn't use it as a crutch like every single Yung Burg or Weezy song dropped within the last year. He uses it as a selective weapon. He uses it creatively. He uses it in context. He uses it when it sounds good. That's why autotune probably won't just kinda die off after The Blueprint 3 drops. It'll fall off the hooks of the mainstream singles, but it has a legitimate lane where it can sound good, and Wafeek explores that lane and thrives in it when he chooses to use the hated plug-in.

But what really sticks out to me about Wafeek's music is that he effortlessly breaks the mold on the subject matter he touches. I listen to a ton of CDs and mixtapes that I enjoy sonically, yet the rappers don't lyrically stand out in talking about anything that everyone else hasn't covered. Wafeek takes his concepts there and keeps your attention. Whether it's a crazy balance of self-deprecation mixed in the same bag as unconscious braggadocio or a less than comfortable dissection of racial relations or the heart-wrenching detailing of a girl discovering something on a computer, Wafeek isn't scared to go there. To me, it's the anti-SHow TuFli thing that I've been talking about. While I enjoy TuFli's mixtapes, I don't feel him pushing any real boundaries or separating himself from any strong-headed emcee. Wafeek's tapes are enjoyable and then even further up their replay value by being crazy original stylistically and conceptually from song to song. Some individual standouts to me in that way are "Instant Gratification" off the former tape and "Day in the Life" off the latter tape.

So I'm impressed. I really hate when I discover people super late. I wanna be there from the opening bar of someone's career, but that's not often possible. So I just gotta pick up on Wafeek from right now and go with him for the rest of his future music catalogue. Hopefully you will, too.

... but do take my word for it.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Don't Mean Ish

I was feeling a little empty today so I decided to dust off my Def Poetry collection DVDs. I got all six seasons that I got through super fast until I tailed off on the sixth and final season when chemistry and physics lab reports started busting my butt and my GPA. I'm glad I through it up on my big old living room TV screen on this select night, though. As soon as I conclude this entry I'm also gonna be dusting off my rhyme book. Here's a dude, Saddi Khali, to tide you over till I jump back on here with something to write. I'm prolly gonna rip the audio of this poem and make it a hook on one of my songs cuz I sweat it so much. I have to marry a poet. I don't know how I could happily make it through the rest of my life without a woman that can out-speak me on paper and in front of an open-minded, perceiving audience.



... but do take my word for it.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

And Another One


Now me seeing the title on this first one while I was skimming through my music just blew my mind.

Ali & Gipp - No God but You (feat. Novel)
Rakim - Holy are You

I was freaking out so much when the Rakim single just dropped a little while back that this Ali & Gipp track from a few years back was completely obliterated from my memory. Now neither the ATLien or St. Louisite are dropping Ra schemes, but their track holds up crazy nice. While a bunch of tracks on their Kinfolk album were dedicated to busting down women and/or the paint on their whips, this one switches it up crazy nice and actually speaks on something with the eloquence demanded by this David Axelrod sample. I'm impressed and can't believe I saw no mention of this track when the new Rakim song popped off everywhere. Oh, and I have absolutely no confirmation that it's Novel on the hook, but it darn well sounds like him and mentally that adds a whole other dimension to the song for me. So I'm sticking with it.

... but do take my word for it.

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Why Would She Do That to Me?

I don't know if this is some suppressed childhood thing or something, but this SNL skit of Rosario Dawson playing Princess Jasmine from Aladdin just does something for me. And I don't feel comfortable talking much more about it on this blog. Now Rosario's one of those women who would be perfect to me even if she had just crawled out of a swamp, but this is on some other insane level of pure attractiveness. I gotta stop.



... but do take my word for it.

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Reacquaintance with Destiny


I can't wait to go back to school. Only time in my life I've ever said that. Besides the obligatory paranoia of feeling cooped up whenever I'm in Louisville, I just need to be around Lexington people. That city's the kinda place where you drop something and as someone bends down to help you pick it up, you can start and finish an entire dissertation on the state of college basketball with this total stranger by the time you've been handed back whatever you dropped. The people are so insanely passionate about the sport in a way that can't be said about other large groups I've been around. And I don't believe there are other people like that at such an inordinate level besides like certain foreign countries with their soccer teams. And UK fans can be painted in whatever light anyone wants to put them in, but I just really enjoy being around people who genuinely cared and are dedicated to something. Anything, really. It's the simplest human emotion, yet one that way too many people guards themselves from. Unconditional dedication. Lexington folk were brought up living for and singularly representing for these young men in the blue and white jerseys. And not dirty Duke blue. Kentucky blue. Like the grass. Except the jerseys are ... actually blue looking.

And you know what's got me super psyched even more than I have been since just days after we were booted from the NIT and hired our grand Poo-bah of a coach? John Wall dunking all over Jerry Stackhouse.



While it's true that he's yet to even don a UK uniform or drive into the teeth of a collegiate defense strictly aimed at halting him, I feel comfortable saying right now that Wall is the best player in college basketball. I hold no ill feeling about declaring it. I'm confident that every single game this season that he plays will back that up. Time and time again you will see him cramming over guys twice his size, getting into the paint with ease, improving his jump shot, making perfect passing decisions, and just overtly dominating in a system that plays off all of his immense strengths. If you don't believe me, I don't care. Cuz you're the one who's going to be wrong.

To me it's like last year right when the NBA season started up, I bet a dude $35 on the championship. Lakers vs. the field. Guess who I chose. And I'm stingy with money, too. Only other thing I've ever for real bet on was poker. Cuz I'm a fiend at poker. But that's beside the point. All I'm saying is that John Wall will destroy every defender in his path this year and play off of guys that are also ridiculously talented. We're not losing more than 5 games next year. It's just not happening. I'm not guaranteeing a championship like I did with the Lake Show or like how a lot of the UK faithful are with this squad, but I'm just telling you not to bet against it. Kentucky fans are confident for a reason. It's infectious. When I stepped foot on campus and walk the same paths that Dan Issel, Jamal Mashburn, Tony Delk, Tayshaun Prince, and Chuck Hayes walked, I was immediately adopted into the culture. I've been a UK supporter all my life, but now I actually am the University of Kentucky. I never felt like there was ever an actual reason to take pride in any of my primary education schools. But when I'm on campus, I'm a part of a unified goal with like-minded individuals who truly and genuine care. It's special and just simply one of those things you have to experience to understand.

Our fan base, when inspired, is the best there is in sports. Even in a mentally grating season like last year's, I wish everyone could have felt how the building shook during our defining home game against Florida. Summoning our entire history into defending three free throws by a guy who had shot 11-for-12 on the night, we succeeded. Three times. The difference is that, this year, we'll have the players and a coach who could succeed regardless of us. We're just the intimidating and overflowing icing on the cake that will throw this party over the hump. I mean, I'm getting a great education in the insane field of engineering to set up the rest of my life and all ... but let's not kid ourselves. This joint is about basketball. The tag line is undeniably for real this season. "Respect our past. Fear our future."


... but do take my word for it.

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Since You've Been Gone


Who knows where Charles Hamilton is? I for sure don't. I just have this strange inkling that maybe like ... Dave Chappelle has prolly seen him recently. But that's just me.

Thankfully, for all us remaining fans of the dude who dissed Soulja Boy, may or may not be hated by fellow freshmen Wale and Cory Gunz, got punched in the face by his girl/assistant, may or may not have accidentally "stole" a beat, claimed to be involved with Relapse, Blueprint 3, and Detox, and got all of Detroit ready to body him over typing out the name "J Dilla" on his unreleased album tracklist ... he put in even more booth work than we knew of before he went on an unexplained public hiatus. And on the same level of thankful, there's a dude who's been digging like none other and compiling tapes on the regular of CH joints that aren't outright on any of his solo projects. And while I considered myself an avid Hamilton follower, this guy Chris Rivera has some other kind of connections to pull out the tracks that he's got leaking that I've never even remotely got a sniff of.

Here's what the world's been missing out. Who knows if these were just throwaway studio sessions or recording that Charles wanted to keep unreleased or just his crock pot of 2Pac material, but here's three tapes worth of whatever it is compiled by Where Is Charles Hamilton???

Charles Hamilton -
|charles~hamilton|
Abbreviated Dreams|Extended Nightmares
|charles~hamilton| Volume 2

... but do take my word for it.

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Genre


As it stands right now since I sent all my intros, interludes, outros, and production kits to the recycle bin, I got 18,518 songs sitting in the iTunes. And since I'm one of those OCD organizers who gotta have everything straight and accessible, I got each song labeled perfectly appropriately according to my mental categorization. As you can imagine, the rap/hip-hop tag was just simply not gonna work for me to tag as the genre for darn near every joint. So initially I split it up like any reasonable hip hop head would and got my compass on. East Coast, West Coast, Dirty South, Midwest, and Foreign. But that even got too cluttered. For real, Bay Area joints should not be mixed in with So Cal joints. That kinda stuff don't quite mix right. Or at all. And while I could have microcosm-ed the genre's down to boroughs in all honesty, I finally settled for a mixture of state, city, and general region dichotomy. It works. As long as you know where everybody's from of the top or got Wikipedia on your favorites bar. So just because I wanna, here's a list of my top five emcees (where applicable if I care about five whole people) from each of my hip hop genres on my personal overloaded iTunes.

Alabama: Rich Boy
Atlanta: Andre 3000, Cee-Lo, Big Boi, Bobby Ray, Killer Mike
Boston: Termanology, Guru
Canada: Shad, k-os, Drake
Carolina: Phonte, J. Cole, Joe Scudda, Median, Big Pooh
Chicago: Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Common, brandUn DeShay, GemStones
Detroit: Royce da 5'9", Eminem, Obie Trice, Elzhi, Big Sean
European:
Houston: Scarface, D.O.C., Chamillionaire, Devin the Dude, Bun B
Kansas: XV
Kentucky: CunninLynguists (group), Nappy Roots (group), Chris Campbell
Los Angeles: 2Pac, The Game, Crooked I, Blu, The KnuX (group)
Maryland: Wale, Sage Francis, Marky, Oddisee
Miami: QuESt, Smitty
Minnesota: P.O.S, Brother Ali, Slug, Young Son
Mississippi: David Banner
New Jersey: Lauryn Hill, Joe Budden, Wyclef Jean, Redman, Serius Jones
New Orleans: Jay Electronica, Lil' Wayne, Curren$y
New York: Rakim, Jay-Z, Charles Hamilton, MF Doom, Pharoahe Monch
Oakland: Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Boots Riley, Lateef
Ohio: KiD CuDi, Ilyas, Donwill, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (group)
Pennsylvania: Wiz Khalifa
Philadelphia: Black Thought, Jedi Mind Tricks (group), Asher Roth, Beanie Sigel, Freeway
Rhode Island:
Seattle: RA Scion
St. Louis: Wafeek
Tennessee: GRITS (group), Three 6 Mafia, Young Buck
Virginia: Praverb, Tonedeff, Clipse (group), Trey Songz, Skillz

... but do take my word for it.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

All New is Good New


New brandUn DeShay feature. Cop it and soak it in.


This song is sooo killer. And not just cuz I heard this band Phony Ppl for the first time and completely got a for real, for real Andre 3000 vibe (like 10 thousand times more than even Bobby Ray). brandUn's verse is just icing on the cake. This song on the very first listen is one of my favorites of the year. The instrumental is crazy gorgeous, inspiring, and sticks with you. bD's verse is tight and straight no-nonsense heartfelt. The vocals are insanely catchy and smooth. The lyrics are dead up vivid and brilliantly constructed. I can't get enough of the track. And it's sooo OutKast. You just gotta hear it to understand.

I'm downloading their mixtape, WTF is Phonyland, right now to hopefully find a bunch more music just like this joint and beyond. And swear, I'm not trying to pigeonhole Phony Ppl as a Love Below rehash. Their sound, from just this small sample, is too beautiful and original for that. I'm just saying that like ... this band has the type of far-reaching eye for musical progression that 3000 spewed out over every track of his soulful pop opus. I'm an instant fan and hopefully just this post will hook you, too.

... but do take my word for it.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

If Ya Take Me, Ya Don't Hate Me


Way back in my hip hop upbringing, I was devastated when Cee-Lo left Goodie Mob. It didn't matter that I was finding it out around in its contextual history about a whole year later than it happened in everyone else's timeline. With Soul Food and Still Standing spinning in constant rotation just screaming out "classic" each and every time, I didn't know how I was gonna be able to handle if the group proportionally dropped any lower than they already did on World Party. It didn't help either that while this revelation was happening to my psyche in 2006 that I was actually the one who originally created the Wikipedia pages on two of these three albums back when I sorta knew wiki-script. Why weren't there hip hop fanatics out there that wanted the internet's encyclopedia to have a linkable page about these records? They've since been crapped on and pretty much destroyed so I guess that specific hip hop head still isn't even out there to give these pages the treatment they deserve.

And then came One Monkey Don't Stop No Show. While the title obviously alluded to the mild hostility held by the remaining three members of the group at that point, I was just worried about how Gipp and the Lumberjacks were going to be able to hold up without the distinctive crooner who was long gone into a solo foray. It came as quite the pleasant surprise to me that could, in fact, hold their own on a full length LP. At that point in the grand scheme of things, it was an impossibility at that point that any of the four original Mobsters could ever achieve crossover appeal anyway, so I was solely interested in how the album spoke to me. And they sure knew how to start talking, as Big Rube provided a signature piece of epic spoken word poetry that could cut straight to the soul of any human being with a semblance of one.

And then right after the Dungeon Family's resident poet took my mind on a minute-and-a-half spiritual journey, the fellow DF member Witchdoctor greeted me while already midway into a prayer. "God I wanna live to be an old man, but I understand ... if ya take me, ya don't hate me. No, no ... no, no."

Goodie Mob - God I Wanna Live (feat. Witchdoctor)

And the rest of the album progressed with some well chosen production (even a Cool & Dre joint!) and a familiar balance of consciousness with street relativity that made the first two albums so pivotal in the second half of the nineties. They even threw in a few absolute bangers that, even thought they wouldn't ever get a taste of the radio, you could definitely still knock a dude back if you drive by with the speakers blasting. While it didn't quite round out into the end-to-end classic to compete with the aforementioned records, it let me firmly believe in the other three members of Goodie. And that's all that I could ask for. It then gave me the faith to cop Gipp's solo joint, the Lumberjacks record, and the determination to never give up until I discovered both of Khujo's Mercury and Gun Club Goodie albums. And I've had complete faith in the Mob ever since. And even though I say all that, it still gives me chills to imagine what the fully reunited collective has churning. I know a brand new foursome Goodie record has been rumored since 2006, but I still have my faith. Shoot, if Slaughterhouse has enough time to throw together a full length group LP, then Gipp can ditch Nelly's crew for a minute while Cee-Lo turns down a featured chorus or twelve to get this thing fully completed. I have that kind of faith in them. All of them.

... but do take my word for it. iTunes Goodie Mob One Monkey Don't Stop No Show link

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Soundtrack Diva


No, that's not Whitney Houston in the picture.

I really enjoy Macy Gray. I don't care what anyone else's opinion is of her. I got all four of her albums, search for all her loose tracks, and randomly throw on her playlist all the time while still holding my man card. All you may know of her is her global smash single (that you know all the words to), "I Try", and maybe that she sang the As Told by Ginger theme song (for all the former Nickelodeon-ers around my age), but who really cares about that? To me, she's forever an icon ... simply because she played a role in my two favorite movies of all time, Domino (with my wife, Keira Knightley) and the OutKasted Idlewild.

Speaking of those two movies, Macy also performs a featured song on each one. And luckily for me, they were em-pee-three'd on the respective soundtracks as well. Majestically drawing the curtain on Domino's elaborate, explosive, and intensely provoking conclusion, Macy softly lays her vocals on a song simply entitled "Real". That deeply cemented the flick as my favorite and most personally impacting film I've experienced so far in my short life. It opened on a stellar note with a thumping Xzibit/Anthony Hamilton collabo and held every morsel of my attention and dedication until Macy's signature croon completed the experience. And this is another thing ... I don't give a flying anything what you think about Domino. That's my ish for the rest of eternity.

And soon after I updated my iTunes with a few secretive gems that I had to search down from Ms. Gray, I realized that she for real, for real brings her A-game on movie soundtracks. I love most all her music, but she's got some serious hits on a couple random big screen projects that I've never actually seen before. I thought I'd share them with you tonight if you can handle the raspy vocal repertoire of one of my elite R&B songstresses. You can say what you want, but let me tell you that there is no mistaking a Macy Gray joint. And I'm not even talking about the still smoldering one that she just put down. If those pipes (and I'm not even ... forget it) are broadcast over some speakers, then everyone knows what's up. "I Try" is a purely classic landmark of the turn of the century, so you should have respect for this woman. Now I ain't saying her last name is Keys or Hill or anything, but give a few of these soundtrack songs a chance and get a taste of some miscellaneous Macy goodness that you may find out you can secretly enjoy, too. And just to reinforce everything I've already said, I really, really, really love Keira Knightley ...

Macy Gray -
"Real" from Domino
"Coming Back to You" from Deja Vu
"Time of Your Life" from 8 Mile
"Don't Forget Me" from Confessions of a Shopaholic

... but do take my word for it.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Duet


One of the things I hate the most in all of rap music is the fans who either because of lifelong placement or stupid fanboyism become single-coastal. I don't want to hear that you think the five greatest rappers of all time are Snoop Dogg, Nipsey Hu$$le, Ice Cube, Ice-T, and The Game. I don't want to hear that the five realest street emcees out are Unk, Lil' Scrappy, Gucci Mane, Yung Joc, and Andre 3000. And most of all, I don't want to hear that you think the five greatest rapping duos of all time are M.O.P., EPMD, Mobb Deep, Run-D.M.C., and ... Wu-Tang Clan. Just so you can be a [insert curse word here] hip hop single-city elitist. Which is what happened over at Unkut. It makes me hate that geography is even a subject in school.

I know the tagline for the entire website is "A Tribute to Ignorance (Remix)", but it's just so damn ... ignorant. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. If you don't think OutKast is even a contender for the greatest rap group/duo/anything to ever come out of hip hop, then you are a complete idiot. Or else you've never listened to an OutKast record, whatsoever. Or you are a complete idiot. It irritates me so much worse than it should, but it legitimately does. It's worse than any basketball argument that I'd frequently participate it. Karl Malone is the greatest NBA power forward to have ever lived, but I really don't care if you agree with me or not. I might write a column on it, but I don't for real care if I convert everyone's thinking in the world. Kobe Bryant is the greatest basketball player to have ever lived, but I gave up a long time ago on worrying if anyone else realized it. But the thing with OutKast is just ... it's inarguable. I don't care if Dre Three Stacks circa 2001 dropped his afro in your soup. I don't care if Big Boi took your woman while you were at someone in your immediate family's funeral. OutKast is still the single greatest duo ever and has countless hits of universal music with indisputable artistic integrity and progression in an industry full of stagnancy and trend-followers. I will outright say that hip hop would be boring and uninspired without them and their incalculable influence on all of their peers and future offspring. Ugh. I hate it when people are homers.

I'm not gonna sit here behind my glowing Mac computer screen and try to convince you Michael Porter should have been in the consideration for 1st Team All-American last year. I actually have a brain capable of logic and pride simultaneously. Just because you live in New York does not give you the entitlement to disregard any and all emcees who don't claim a familiar burrow. And similarly, just because you were raised in the Dirty South does not excuse you for claiming crunk was in it for the long hall. Or snap. Or crank. Or whatever other crap is coming out now. The East, West, South, and Rhymesayers are all guilty of it. And it's crap. You are why hip hop is ever accused of dying. Homers. All of you. And I'm so blindly enraged by it at this very millisecond that I can't even write anything else about it. But, yes, I do happen to know that Wu-Tang isn't a duo ...

... but do take my word for it.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jealousy #3: How a Brain Conceives Things


I'll let these lyrics just sink in on their own. I simply cannot add much to it. Excuse the language, but it's too perfectly descriptive and necessary in it's essence that I'm not gonna half-way censor it. And that's a first on here.

Lupe Fiasco - Theme Music to a Drive-By

Uh, I can't feel a field nigga pain
Devious skill to make a strong-willed nigga wane
Since a little nigga hang with the killers and distributors of
caine
They dismemberers of
swishers then refill it with the Jane
Then they tilt it and they
lit with a flame
Then they took a pull of killer to the brain like ... *
sniff* ... ah
Evil minded like
Krang they became
They
deranged like the Rover that I rolled that was the Wayne's
That I drove when I was a little bit older, mayne
Declaring
war on the deck like they the Joker
All while ducking from
Bruce Wayne
While they
poker with the devil
In our
moon-litten ghetto
"
Hello my name" stickers on the stickers of the veins
In rehab remembering the feelings when they used to get mellow
When they was on back of a nickel like
Monticello
When the underworld had to be smarter than
Donatello
No honor amongst fellows
It's harder than
sitting with a blind man and trying to describe yellow
Got me feeling like killer Joe
My life the album
Know the classics by heart and exactly how the filler go
Repeat it on my way to
the liquor sto'

Cuz I can't feel the
field nigga chains
Though I covet mine, so I
covered mine in bling
Then I bumped into
a bum and covered mine in shame
Then I bumped into
a hun and uncovered mine again
Diamonds done undermined it, mayne
They give a nigga with no
mac another kind of game
See money talks in another kind of slang
Detectives can't decipher as they listen through the wire
As I accept the call and listen to the life of
Getting religion, making
wudu in the sink of your cell
Reciting
Al-Fatiha in the kitchen
Indeed
on his dean in addition to doing dishes
Listen as I get schooled on the rules to rule
The fuel of fools, the obstacle is
the cool
Had to slow it down homey, chopped and screwed
He said blow it down for me
Sticks and stones make the homes
Only God's words can stop the wolves
And don't fraternize with
pigs, them kids'll think your stool
Not at the bar but trying to put him
behind the bar like a bartender
He laid the law
like the bar so I put it in a bar for dude
He said borrow my jewels and bar the fools
Cause they'll play ya like
the space bar and twos
Theme music to a drive-by, put it in your car and cruise


Most well-written lyrical piece ever. No exceptions. It blows my mind and I'm jealous.

... but do take my word for it.

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This Flew Life


I chronicled the first mixtape in his "Fox 5" series and then eventually threw up the next two ... and finally here's the final two I forgot to post!


SHow TuFli -

The former is a collection of music inspired by the one and only poster boy for hardcore nonsense word association, Cam'Ron, and the latter is inspired by the man, the myth, the inexplicably disappeared Charles Hamilton. I really like the feel of entire collectives of homage mixtapes. The production is always on par when it's coming from Demevolist producers if you have the same kind of instrumental preference that my ears do. For each track they rework either the original samples of songs or just the actual songs themselves from the rapper to create a familiar yet completely independent sound for TuFli to rap over. So the tapes are very easily enjoyable, but you just have to decide point blank whether or not you feel SHow TuFli or not. Like I've mentioned before, he sometimes ceases to venture outside of the box at all with his song topics, but he does have some alright wordplay if you really get into it. I've spun all the tapes and definitely found some songs I like, but I'm not personally convinced on the dude as being a big rap force that needs to be reckoned with like I was forcefully converted to thinking simply by absorbing CH's music before him. I don't know. You might find something in his sound that triggers your brain waves more so than me. But regardless, I'll always give someone involved with Demev a listen.

... but do take my word for it.

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#9: Heroes Chick


And not the one you'd think ...

This is Dania Ramirez from the second season of Heroes. Just because.

I think I missed the entire third season. Hmm. I really liked that show. I don't know why I missed it unless it was a subconscious thing cuz Dania was written out of the show ...

... but do take my word for it.

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Unexpired

I cannot tell a lie. I never got tired of "Buy U a Drank". It was impossible for me to. I don't know why. It's ridiculous. How could I put up with that God-awful drunken Mother Goose rhyming by Yung Joc over and over again? Was it because I knew that it was shortly leading into the think-about-it-walk-it-out bridge that I so dearly had the desire to act out and slow snap into conclusion? I'd need a lot of therapy time to discover why this song was so integral to my high school livelihood.



T-Pain - Buy U a Drank (Remix feat. Kanye West, UGK, & Trey Songz)

"Excuse me, but ... this verse has not been Russell Simmons approved ... uh uh." For everything the original represented to me as my clear cut second favorite song on the high school dance floor (first is "Walk It Out" cuz ... best believe I can walk it out ...), the remix represented the exact same to me in my car. I knew every Kanye line including the dumb intentional slur rhymes of hoe is/po' is/low is/Lois/bogus and standin' there/cameras/Amerie and Rodeo/day oh/monorail/ay yo that literally make me laugh out loud to myself when separating them out linguistically in context. I knew just enough of the UGK phoned-in verses to stall until I burst out belting the immaculately perfect Trey Songz intro of "what's yo name? I'm Tremaine" that amused me way more than it should. This song was a staple of my car rides with the women that got spun to death on my original iPod along with the two Unk remixes of "Walk It Out" and "2 Step". But the chant of "you know my bankroll gotta lotta zeroes" is a classic novelty to save for another time. Say what you want about the caricature he has become and the evils you may think he represents for R&B and hip hop as a whole, but Thelonius Pain [(c) Phonte] struck a chord with the entire world and me personally with this joint. And for that, I will eternally respect him. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw, SNAP."

... but do take my word for it.

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