My Radio

My attempts to channel what's playing on the many stations of my mind

Archive for the ‘Hip Hop’ Category

Rappers & Black Women

Posted by and1grad on June 8, 2010

Seems another rap artist said something dumb & insensitive about black women & caused a shitstorm on Twitter Island. Somebody unimportant, named Slim Thug, made some comment about his (wife?) being mixed and that it is the reason she treats him well. Interesting. The only thing odder than the fact that anyone gave a damn about what this dope said is the fact that he said it at all. Even if you DID believe that, which btw makes you a FOOL, why say so? Just to tweak Black women? I’ll admit, tweaking Black women can be entertaining, since so many of you are so easily worked up, but when I do so, its mainly in jest.

Also, I’m not one to make that kind of joke since I don’t spend that much time uplifting Black women either. Doesn’t make sense to me to come down so hard on someone if you cant even counterbalance some of it with positive reinforcement. I don’t really understand why rappers have always felt SO compelled to demean Black women. There’s PLENTY of other women to demean, if that’s your thing. Why keep putting down your own? That’s weird and dysfunctional. Leave our Black women alone…since apparently they leave YOU alone.

And if you still feel the need to be so critical, do so without being spiteful or worse. Act like a grown-up.

ps Can you imagine if a Black female MC said something ubercritical about Black men? SMH

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Posted in Black, Hip Hop, Relationships | Leave a Comment »

The Greatest MCs: Part 1

Posted by and1grad on April 15, 2010

Within the last week, on twitter, I’ve read, and at times participated in, several hip hop debates regarding the “Top 5 MCs of all time.” As someone who has tried to keep up with hip hop, to some degree, since the late 80s, I LOVE these debates. I NEVER get tired of hearing who people like and why. Sometimes, I even enjoy the impending battle over MCs that HAS to take place whenever such a list is even presented. I mean…you HAVE to defend your choices, right?

One of the myriad issues that arise when trying to come up with this list is that there is no real set criteria. Most of us are just going on who our favorite MCs were/are and, often, IMO, where they come from. Make no mistake, where the artist comes from has a direct effect on their rap style, BUT I believe certain rappers are given MORE credit than they deserve simply because they’re from/in New York, the birthplace of the art. Personally, I give NO credit for that. You’re from New York? Big deal. I’m about impact on the genre, lyrical content, subject matter, catalog, beats (including your ability to rhyme on that beat), individual style, and longevity. There may be a factor I’m missing but those are what come to mind. I should say that these are not equally weighted factors…but they do all matter.

Here are my Top 5 MCs (G.O.A.T.s), in order: 1) Jay-Z, 2) Rakim, 3) 2pac, 4) KRS-One, 5) BIG

MANY people have, do, and will beef with this list. I’m ok with that. I honestly hope that in a few years, there will have been rap songs/albums that will make me change this list. As of right now…nope. So why does my list look like this?

Jay-Z. It starts with Hov. Lot of hate towards having this cat ahead of BIG, let alone Rakim…but to that I simply say this: Look at his catalog. The sheer amount of hits this dude is responsible for simply CANT be denied. Look at the fact that he’s been considered the best in the game and for how long. Even if you dont believe he’s the best right now, you did at some point…and it was probably for SEVERAL years. How many classic albums does Jay-Z have? 4? 5? How many rappers can claim that? Lyrically sound. Good beats, DIFFERENT beats, and he can actually rhyme ON said beat. Etc, etc, etc. To me, there is no other choice.

“Hov on that new shit, niggas like ‘How come?’
Niggas want my old shit, buy my old album
Niggas stuck on stupid, I gotta keep it movin
Niggas make the same shit, me, I make the blueprint…”

Rakim. Does this need explaining? Didnt think so. Next.

“Thinkin of a master plan…” (DO I EVEN NEED TO SAY MORE?)

2pac. Oh people BEEF with having 2pac in a Top 5. He isnt lyrically sound enough for yall. I understand that. Lyrically, he wasnt mesmerizing. Thats obvious. But I DARE you to name me another rapper that had his level of IMPACT. People will FIGHT YOU over 2pac. Lost among the fact that his lyrics were not complicated, and his obviously unmatched impact, was the fact that the guy rapped on SO MANY more topics, including social issues, than most rappers and they were great songs. You’re foolin yourself if you say you didnt like “Dear Mama” or didnt vibe with “Keep Ya Head Up,” etc. The guy had hit songs/records coming out posthumously. You dont know a rapper that could rap over an R&B track like 2pac. Not even LL. 2pac is a once-in-a-lifetime rap artist and I’m not convinced we will ever see another like him. If you cant understand THAT, well…good luck to ya.

“Sellin my soul for material wishes, fast cars, & bitches
Wishin I lived my life a legend, immortalized in pictures
Why shed tears? Save your sympathy, My childhood years
Were spent burying my peers in the cemetary, Here’s
A message to the newborns, waiting to breathe
If you believe, then you can achieve, just look at me…”

KRS-One. I mean. What do you wanna say about KRS-One? I STRUGGLE to encapsulate all he’s meant to hip hop. I couldnt do it justice. The ONLY beef I have w/KRS-One is that sometimes he’s just DETERMINED to go off the beat. I dont understand why. Drives me crazy. Anyway, an all time legend. No. Doubt.

“In rap tournaments, I reign permanent; 
Dont you think by now the number 1 spot, I’m not concerned with it; 
The course of rap, I’m turning it;  
Back to that good old fashioned way of getting cash money, by earning it…”

Notorious B.I.G. was a great rapper and during his time was the King Of New York. BIG could put 2 bars on a track and it was INSTANTLY better. Plenty of classics for such a short career and small catalog.  This essentially why Jay-Z passes him, IMO. I was never a BIG guy…but I believe that given more time he could’ve been the best. I just really wish he had a broader subject range. He stayed on the player/thug, money-bitches-drug theme. Thats also part of why I consider Rakim & 2pac to be better. BIG is a great great MC. But, unlike MANY, I do NOT consider him the greatest OR second only to Rakim.

“Live from Bedford Stuyvesant, the livest one
Representin BK to the fullest, gats I pull it
Bastards duckin, when BIG be buckin
Chickenheads be clucking in my bathroom fuckin…”

Anyway…thats my Top 5 list of MCs. Honorable mentions include Eminem, Lil Wayne, and 3 Stacks. IMO, these guys are like 1 or 2 dope albums from HAVING to be on this list somewhere.

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For Old School Bball Heads

Posted by and1grad on November 23, 2009

If you dig basketball, and remember the 80s, you should dig this

Posted in Hip Hop, NBA | Leave a Comment »

This isnt about Kanye

Posted by and1grad on September 15, 2009

Not really anyway. This is about the people that have been CONSTANTLY talking tough about what would have happened if Kanye would have done that to THEM. People, settle down and be real. ALL of us would have reacted almost identically to how Taylor Swift did. Utter shock. Stop acting like you knew what he would say when he went up there. And yeah yeah yeah, I know you’re WAY too physically imposing and intimidating for him to have done that to you…you know, b/c drunken jackasses are taking that into account before engaging in jackassery. Some of you really need to get over yourselves. He would’ve done that to anyone. He was drunk.

Having processed all of that, and it being over 24 hours since the incident, I’m entirely over it. However, and someone (Prez?) mentioned this to me before, Kanye never slowed down to sincerely grieve the loss of his mom. That is CRITICAL. I’m gonna tell you right now, when I lose either of my parents, I will be an absolute mess and completely nonfunctional for some time. The dude is obviously still grieving and acting out. People love the phrase “you need more people.” Hopefully he has some people that will slow him down or stop him before he does something that doesnt just go away with an apology.

Lastly, and I know that this has been said to death but, that little shrug he does before handing Taylor back that microphone was absolute hilarity. Fin.

(p.s. Ok it WAS a little about Kanye…so sue me)

Posted in Hip Hop | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

The Death of Hip Hop?

Posted by and1grad on September 1, 2009

Recent comments, with fam and on twitter*, has me currently reflecting on hip hop. There’s been myriad blogs on the status of the culture of the hip hop world but the topic came up and I enjoyed the discussion. Hopefully, I can relay to you all what I thought was interesting.

First, I know I titled this death of hip hop but I dont believe its dead. I think its more in a coma. The cause of which being the lack of love now on display. Hip hop is an art. Art demands that it be nurtured with love and is often driven by hunger and passion. There is almost none of that in hip hop today. No love, just lust. No hunger or passion…just flash in the pan “artists” with zero content but a beat you can bob your head to. Remember when we used to hold artists to a certain standard? Lets think back to the Renaissance Era. Think Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo…people who originated the term Renaissance Man. Do you remember them for substandard meaningless works? No. They took their time at their chosen form of art and made sure what they produced had meaning and was a masterpiece. Let me extend that on a lighter level to how hip hop used to be. A simple example is 2pac and his numerous unfinished tracks. By no means was he a lyrical giant, but look at the time and love he put into his work. Who would you say matches that now? And that was just the 90s.

Allow me to build on 2pac as an example for a minute. 2pac also references back to a time when up and coming emcees had to EARN their time on a mic while coming up under established emcees. For those that dont know, 2pac came up under Digital Underground. Another of my favorite emcees, Redman came up under EPMD. Examples to lesser extents include Snoop coming up under Dre and Nas coming up under the likes of Main Source and MC Search. There was a time when you established your credibility to a certain extent BEFORE you were given your own album. That time has passed. 95% of current artists couldnt get a deal in the 90s. Fresh Prince was barely taken seriously and he would DOMINATE this rap world. These new emcees are shoved into the spotlight, hot for a summer, and then gone again. So who do we blame for that?

Unfair as it might be, I blame the South movement. With the exception of Outkast, and few others, the majority of rap from the South was/is completely DEVOID of content and reliant on a beat. The prominence of Master P showed that you didnt need rhyme skills or content to make a lot of money and since then thats all its been about. There was a time when if you didnt have lyrical content, you were wack…PERIOD. That is no more. Hell, sometimes we cant even understand what the rappers are saying. Might as well be reggae. I digress. Most of rap is like that Southern rap now. Diversity is severely lacking. There was a time when there were rappers that represented each region. Now who represents for the East & West? We rely on rappers that would be considered aging or just plain old. Jay-Z & Nas on the East. The West? Who…Snoop? Maybe Ice Cube?

Another thing that I think is hurting hip hop and maybe music in general is that there’s no anticipation for it anymore. Everything is leaked early. There was a time when we’d go to a music store to listen to or purchase new music when it came out. Release dates were like events. I think this was a significant part of the experience of available new music and its lost. I guess the quality is so low now that release dates are trivial. I’m guessing eventually we’ll even be able to watch streams of artists actually experimenting with, and recording, songs. Also, how many of us grew up watching Yo MTV Raps and/or Rap City? Now, I cant even tell you the last rap video I watched on purpose. We used to debate what songs those shows had listed and the order. Now…who cares really.

So how do we fix things? PERSONALLY, I think more attention needs to be paid to the artists that still perform real hip hop. I can name off a list of them but you know who they are. They were probably at some point featured on the Rock The Bells tour, to give you an example. I think those artists from before the rampant dilution of hip hop started, need to step in and save it. A lot of them are still around…performing to lesser fanfare than should be the case. We’ve spent this last decade watching our best rappers turn into actors and its left us with people who act like they can rap. I’m getting tired of watching hip hop languish away with assisted breathing tubes into a seemingly inevitable oblivion of nonsense and rampant buffoonery. Unearned rap sales & popularity has enabled uninspired mediocrity. Hip hop used to be “ill.” Now it just makes me sick. Hopefully we dont reach the point where its just too late to save it altogether.

*special shout out to @Ron_Julio for inspiring the discussion

Posted in Hip Hop | 5 Comments »

Lyricist Lounge Show w/ Cee Lo

Posted by and1grad on February 24, 2009

I LOVE this one!!

Posted in Hip Hop, Jokey Joke | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Stuck In My Head: Triumph — Wu Tang Clan

Posted by and1grad on November 25, 2008

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Trapped in the Cupboard

Posted by and1grad on November 16, 2008

I forgot about this skit. I CHALLENGE you to find something MadTV did thats funnier than this!

Posted in Hip Hop, Jokey Joke | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Stuck in my head: Smile — Scarface ft. 2pac

Posted by and1grad on September 23, 2008

Posted in Hip Hop, Stuck In My Head | 2 Comments »

Rock the Bells

Posted by and1grad on August 13, 2008


You know how sometimes it seems like you’re one of the only people in the world to NOT do something yet…well that was me and concerts. Never been to one. Why? The shows I wanted to go see…tended to end in fights and shootings. I’m allergic to that mess. So I passed. Missed a lot of great shows and a lot of great stories BUT…that day has passed. Your boy has finally…I mean, FINALLY been to a concert…and it was THE BUSINESS. Let me tell you a story.

A very good friend of mine is getting married at the end of the month. Actually, calling him a “friend” feels like I’m doing him an injustice b/c this is part of my core group that I consider “fam.” But I digress. For his bachelor weekend, we decided to treat him to an EsQ-type weekend. One of the events was…tickets to the Rock the Bells concert. Let me hip you to some of names on this event’s card. Actually, no. Let’s play a little game called “Do you recognize my pic?”
RakimKid Capri

De La SoulMeth & Red

NasMos Def

Tribe
Q-Tip

These are some of the heavy hitters in old school hip hop. In fact, if you love hip hop and what its SUPPOSED to be, this was the place to be. THIS is the real hip hop. Not that bullshit they play on the radio nowadays. I dont know the words that would describe this concert well enough to do it justice. So I’ll stop.

Posted in Hip Hop | 2 Comments »