If you watch Silicon Valley and if you’re anything like me, you stopped dead in your tracks when you heard the song playing during the end credits of this past weekend’s season premiere. If you’re not like me and didn’t look it up immediately, the full song is right here for your enjoyment.
Larger-than-life MC Quadir Lateef has been nice for years, which is something I can say, having been acquainted with the man since Howard University, where his penchant for spoken word and writing were apparent. While I’m always glad to see a Statik Selektah joint getting burn, it really feels good to see the Ruff Ryders imprint back on the scene putting out the same gritty and true-to-hip-hop material they were known for when they initially kicked in the door on the rap game.
A personal selection off of this month’s The Art Of Rock Climbing, on “Liquid To A Solid”, former Cool Kids guest Boldy James delivers his standard monotone wit-and-grit combo over sinister production to cook up a crime anthem that rides beautifully.
The once reclusive Ukrainian-American MC Your Old Droog is back with a banger for the top of the year with “G.K.A.C.”, an alarmingly gritty telling of a police shootout in the vein of Slick Rick’s classic “Children’s Story”, but off a dust blunt. Clearly, Droog is not messing around on his sophomore album Packs, due out March 10th.
While a ragtag band of some of the sorriest excuses for rappers of all time squabble in what constitutes “rap beef” in the modern day, it’s good to know that in 2017, real heads can still count on the art to sometimes win out over the business of rap. In addition to Run The Jewels’ 3rd album currently in rotation, we now have this to rock to for a while. On Shadow The Jewels, DJ Skarface takes some classic DJ Shadow cuts and blends them with Run The Jewels’ first LP.
I absolutely and without question consider my 2011 interview with Camp Lo a feather in my cap when it comes to writing about rap music and pushing the culture forward, so I always check for new music from the Bronx duo both on the strength of them being dope and for giving me that opportunity as an up and coming (and still there, honestly) music journalist. On “Piece of the Action”, we get a version of Camp Lo very similar to the Camp Lo we got in 1997 on the critically acclaimed Uptown Saturday Night. Even in 1997, Geechi Suede and
This isn’t a review. It’s more of a “you know what grinds my gears” moment regarding young music fans/critics and today’s mainstream music consumption. Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love is getting some tremendous buzz currently and the social media snowball effect is in play, right alongside J. Cole’s new album. Praise for both at times just has me looking at certain critics and wondering when their appreciation for music started and if they’ve actually heard anything before that date.
While I was slow in being put on to this (it was out in 2014), it’s not entirely my fault. I realize we’ve come to a point where music videos aren’t life-changing events the way they used to be. We don’t talk about them the way we used to. In the visual for Chet Faker’s “Gold”, in what seems like a throwback to when alternative rock videos used to be uber-cerebral, the viewer appears to be peering out of the back of an old car driving down a deserted highway at night. The scene is perfectly set for horror until
The War Report excels as one of those albums that transport you to its setting without the musician deliberately trying to paint a picture for outsiders or being obligated to shoe-horn some godawful “for the ladies” record onto the album to appease the label. Where Nas’ raps depicted Queensbridge from the perspective of an observer, Capone-N-Noreaga spoke directly from the fray, reporting live from the very thick of the story Nas was narrating.
As I jam through this A Tribe Called Quest album, I can’t help but share this gem. I’m listening to it front to back like in the olden days, but I haven’t even made it past track 6. Q-Tip is a genius and Andre 3000 really needs to put a solo LP out and put the kibosh on any doubts that he’s a top tier MC.