Tupac: The Greatest?

It’s Tupac’s birthday and of course across the Internet I’m hearing fans touting him as the greatest rapper ever, the best to ever do it, and so on and so forth.  Years after his death, Pac fans still reserve the title of “greatest” to Tupac in terms of lyrical ability, influence, and apparently just being the man in general.  I personally grew up in California at the height of Pac’s popularity and have never been as much of a fan as seemingly everyone else.  There, I said it.  However, that opinion doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge the man’s contributions to hip-hop and respect his ability…just wasn’t my cup of cognac aside from certain songs (see videos included below for two examples). 

While Pac undeniably wrote some classic joints and put out some classic albums, any hip-hop fan knows there’s a huge difference between being able to write songs to present a quality, finished product and freestyling, battling and/or writing a hot 16 bars…ask Canibus.  To me, Tupac didn’t have that “rewind factor”…there wasn’t much he said that blew me away in terms of wordplay.  There will be those who totally disagree with that, but whatever….to each his own.  In an obviously hypothetical freestyle battle situation, do I see Pac going toe to toe with a Black Thought or a Big Pun, for instance, and not getting eaten?  No, I do not.  I see a battle worth watching 100 times over, ultimately resulting in a loss on Pac’s end.  [Kanye Shrug]

A large portion of Tupac’s fanbase also consists of females who practically love the man and would fight you tooth-and-Lee-press-on-nail if you say he isn’t the greatest to ever pick up the mic, yet these are some of the same people who have never heard of Big L and haven’t even listened to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx in its entirety.  I absolutely hate when people say you have to have heard this or that to be a “true” hip-hop fan or a student of the artform, but to go out on a limb and say someone is the greatest ever is to also imply that you have a wide range listening experience, not just what mainstream urban radio has spoon-fed you.

To be fair, some of the same things can be said of Biggie, though to me Big was the full package in terms of lyrical prowess, wordplay, storytelling and even humor.  Both are legendary, both had classic albums, but it’s important that we as fans don’t romanticize the memory of deceased MCs to the point we reserve the superlatives only for those MCs, who we attribute to another time out of stubbornness and/or nostalgia.  There will always be those who mimic or draw from the influence of Pac or Big or others, but hip-hop has always built on itself, so while we can’t forget what has come before, it’s important to remember why the ones we consider great are considered great.  Pac was a star and he built a persona that was both alluring to mainstream America and was something that the Black community could get behind: an N.W.A. who just did not give a f*ck.  But he did give a f*ck, and that internal conflict is what made his work compelling.  Greatest lyricist of all time?  No, but I will hand it to Pac for giving us a body of work that will arguably hold more longevity and influence than anything else ever put out.

“2 of America’s Most Wanted” by 2Pac f/ Snoop Doggy Dogg

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIqVuvjVriM&feature=related

“Ambitionz As A Ridah” by 2Pac

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOaw6w648qM

Continue Reading

Drake: Thank Me Later Is So Far Gone

The buzz of the past couple days has been the early online leak of Drake’s debut album Thank Me Later.  While a few bloggers are taking a stand against the leak, vowing not to post any more downloadable tracks, this one frankly does not give a damn…no, I mean, I don’t give enough of a damn to either post a link for download (though you’ll find some videos available for a listen down bottom…these will most likely get pulled in a day or two, so enjoy while you can) or to care about Aubrey Drake Graham’s record sales as a result of the leak.  If I’m going to “take a stand” on anything, it would be to ensure people go out and buy more underappreciated artist who actually need the support…the kids will support Drake regardless.  I’m not a fan myself, but I know a jam when I hear one, so I won’t front like Drake has never made a good song, though.

This photo is more Aubrey Graham than Drake...jackin' New Kids On The Block's swag...

In the current state of the music industry, how smart is it to sit on an anticipated album like Thank Me Later for as long as he has?  People aren’t buying CDs to begin with, so to have people waiting over a year (the 2009 EP So Far Gone was a slap in the face to real Drake fans who already had a lot of those songs, so it doesn’t really count) is a little arrogant…no wonder people jumped on it the first chance they got.  If we have learned anything from the recession and decline of album sales in recent years, it’s that if people can get it for free, they will, and technology being what it is, it isn’t hard for the majority of people to download your whole album, track by track, free of charge.  Stop disappointing those that are pressed enough to find a store and actually purchase the physical copy by pushing your album back to kingdom come.  Sh*t’s corny, B.

I'm barely one to talk about thick eyebrows, but tell me Drake & Eddie Munster don't share some similarities.

And let’s be honest…it’s not like Thank Me Later was supposed to be Illmatic or Reasonable Doubt.  It’s Drake, for God’s sake, not Dr. Dre.  It’s hip-hop’s Al B. Sure.  And for the record, I don’t hate Drake, but the dude is grossly overrated, which is in a way to his detriment; if people weren’t fawning over the guy as if he was going to completely change the game (aside from basically perfecting the stardom-from-the-mixtape-grind formula), he might just fly under the radar as a decent entertainer…but people love to bandwagon and overexaggerate a person’s skill level.  Drake writes some of the simplest, rappin’-after-school-in-your-friend’s-garage-on-a-karaoke-machine bars ever, which is fine, but when people start crediting you as a formidable MC (the YouTube comments praising Drake from kids who obviously were born after 1992 are hilarious) when you’re really just marginally talented as both a singer and rapper and know how to put together a song, it becomes a problem.  There is a difference between a dope MC and those who just make good songs that suit the audience he does it for. 

I understand wanting to perfect a project, label politics, etc., but Drake’s album pushbacks have become a joke at this point.  “Drake’s album will drop when” was even a trending topic on Twitter for a while, with Twitterers speculating that Drake’s album will basically drop so late it won’t even be relevant.  Look…all anyone should really expect from a Drake album is a handful of disposable jams…for the club, the car, etc…it’s not supposed to be an artistic masterpiece, so why not drop it when it was supposed to have dropped and start working on the next one?   Accumulating a largely estrogen-fueled fan-base and letting them languish in pushback purgatory is just arrogant and asking to have your sh*t leaked.  I guarantee hotel maids all over America have been scouring his hotel rooms for months looking for anything that resembles a CD hoping to get their hands on an advanced copy.  So cry me a river on the whole leak thing, though I wish him the best.  Drake’s done something unique in acquiring the fan base he has over time (and losing a few along the way due to over-saturation and the questionable Young Money association…ugh), so that’s not to be overlooked, but artists tend to mistreat their fans by making them wait too long for a project, especially if you don’t already have an LP under your belt.  You are not Raekwon or Dr. Dre, following up one certified classic with another one.  Get over yourself.  You’re Aubrey Drake Graham…you make music for chicks to get moist to.  Pause.
Here’s a couple songs I found on YouTube from the album to give you a taste of what’s to come…or rather what you can probably get fully packaged down on Canal Street from a dude named ‘Tunde with a daishiki and Air Maxes on.
“Fall For Your Type” by Drake.  This one’s for the ladies.  I felt my chest hairs shriveling up and falling out as soon as I played it.
“Unforgettable” by Drake f/ Young Jeezy…not bad.
“Up All Night” by Drake f/ Nicki Minaj

Continue Reading

Rappers & Actors: The Rick Ross Dilemma

Rick Ross’ beef with rap’s Lex Luthor 50 Cent last year when it was revealed that the rotund southern MC had once had a job as a correctional officer for 2 years in the early 90’s.  He has been mocked as “Officer Ricky” and of course had his credibility questioned as a result.  What made matters worse was Ross’ denial of the whole thing before it was revealed, but still remains a very prominent artist.  50 even went so far as to bring Ross’ baby mama on camera and have her talk sh*t about him…yeah, cuz she would have no incentive to speak poorly of him.  Womp.

Anyway, this is an old beef, but it got me thinking about street cred and hip-hop.  Is Ross really the first to lie on record or to embellish his own past for music’s sake?  We all know that the answer is no.  Ross’ handling of his own situation was of course poorly thought out, but let’s be real…Ross does his damn thing.  Am I gonna just stop listening to his stuff because he used to be a corrections officer?  [FYI: anybody can tell you that C.O.s are probably responsible for most of the drugs in our prison system, so being a C.O. doesn’t necessarily mean he was a complete square or even that he wasn’t a career criminal at some point…but why even argue this?] 

People who are honestly vigilant about making sure the rappers they listen to have done everything they said remind me of people who think the WWF isn’t scripted.  If every rapper did everything they said that they do, half of them would be dead (probably due to AIDs or gunplay) and the other half in prison.  I mean seriously…why would a rapper whose face can be seen all over the web and on TV be involved in cocaine-traficking, especially after having made his first million?  Stop it.  This is entertainment. 

The fact that Ross’ career is still afloat despite all the hate and ridicule is proof that people other than me feel the same way: rap is entertainment…f*ck a rap sheet or a professional resume.  Nas was always considered an observer and not a participator in criminal activities in his native Queensbridge, but his strength and the reason people listened to what he said was that the dude painted a beautiful picture in his lyrics while talking about things he had seen or experienced through others.   The way other rappers rap, you would think each had moved a ton of coke apiece…sooo how many kingpings can there really be in NYC?  Aren’t there some gangs and various mobs to deal with?  I think MC casualties would be a lot more frequent if any of these dudes were really doing as much as or anything at all they say they are.  Just enjoy the music.  Damn.  {walks off like that annoying mofo from the Everest College commercial}

“Super High” by Rick Ross f/ Ne-Yo (I usually hate R&B artists on rap joints, but this one rides) off the upcoming Teflon Don.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=TjKx-HNS-a8&feature=related

Continue Reading

Beyonce Is Not The First Black Entertainer To Drop It Like It’s Hot

 

Hatin’ is an American pastime.  The term is definitely overused, but my definition of it is being vocal about something or someone that (a) you have the option to not deal with on any level and (b) that you don’t really have a valid reason for hating on.  I’ve had people argue before that they dislike Beyonce because of the fact that she shows skin and dances and performs provocatively.  So yet again, I must take it upon myself to pull some cards…

Again, we come to a place where people are taking issue with the wrong things.  While somebody like Britney “Daisy Duke” Spears is free to run buck-ass wild through LA hopped up on coke, Marlboro Reds and Red Bull in her real life (granted with her fair share of ridicule, although her fans refuse to wake up and say “look, I’m not paying for tickets to your concert til you get custody of your damn kids”), Beyonce gets blasted for being provocative on-stage.  But is that not entertainment?  Does Beyonce not draw a bold-ass line between herself as an entertainer (i.e. the Sasha Fierce alter ego) and as a person?  Sure, she might have an inflection in her speaking voice that makes you think her family might get all of their cotton on an employee discount (cotton balls, Q-tips, cotton candy…word to The Chris Rock Show), but Beyonce behaves herself and represents herself well in public, harkening (yeah I said harkening…my ghetto pass is still intact, so go to hell) back to the days when celebs kept their business private and cut loose when it was time to perform.  I would much rather a future daughter draw from Beyonce that there is a time and place for everything (i.e. at the Grammys, not at Magic City) than to draw from other celebrities that it’s OK to act a ass in Us Weekly, on TMZ, Twitter, Safeway, Burger King, gas stations, and everywhere else.  There is a huge difference between performing for the stage or screen and performing for the streets.  One entertains people and gets you paid while the other just makes you a public ho.

The father of Janelle Monae's whole steez

I’ve even heard some go so far as to bring up artists like Janelle Monae and Jill Scott, stating that they don’t need to show skin to sell records.  In either case, I don’t think anybody wants to see that.  I love Jill Scott, but I think her type of music speaks to a different audience; I don’t wanna hear Jill in the club, but you tell me the club doesn’t really get poppin’ when a Beyonce joint comes on and I’ll call you a damn liar.  Jill makes contemplative and romantic music, not music to dance to necessarily.  As far as Janelle Monae, who I’m not really a fan of (not hatin’…just seems pretentious and preachy to me…just not for me), I don’t think anybody’s clamoring for her to put her gams on display, so she can use the same hairstylist as Mary McLeod Bethune and dress like Rich Uncle Pennybags from Monopoly all she wants.  The point is, different artists will do different things based on the image they are projecting in conjunction with the music they make. 

Josephine Baker

So since people are condemning Beyonce for brown-flesh-peddling, can they also throw Josephine Baker into that mix?  Lola Falana?  Dorothy Dandridge?  All of these women have been touted as important musicians in Black entertainment history and all sang, danced, p-popped on a handstand and showed a whole lotta skin.  I don’t see the difference…especially since Beyonce probably gets a lot of influence from these legendary entertainers.  I suggest people do the knowledge before acting like Beyonce is the first Black woman to put an African undercarriage on display for all of mainstream America to see.

The fact is, no matter how undeniably talented and successful a person is, there is always going to be someone out there that will find something to be mad at.  To find fault with the idea that sex sells is to find fault with human nature since the beginning of time.  The question is whether the artist using their body is using it tastefully and artistically, which I think Beyonce is.  While you won’t find her whole catalog in my iPod, that “Video Phone” beat knocked…go to hell.  Check out this Rick Ross remix to it and tell me it ain’t…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAEy9PrLyWs

Continue Reading

Hip-Hop: Alive & Well

Hip-Hop Is Alive (oil & canvas) by Andrea Casey @ www.andreacasey.com...sick piece!

Despite what these screw-faced, so-called hip-hop “purists” will try to tell whoever will listen, hip-hop has never died.  To me, saying hip-hop is dead based on what you see on the radio and TV is preposterous.  Hip-hop didn’t start there, so why would you expect to find it there today.  Sure, Yo! MTV Raps was the business back in the day and made history, but it’s a new day and that show is no longer on the air.  Too many hip-hop heads are so deeply ensconced in what hip-hop used to be, that they’re not willing to break out of that shell and do the legwork to find what’s being made today that appeals to them.  Part of the problem is that too many fans separate the business from the art.  Sure, the two can coincide every now and then, but for the most part in today’s game, artists (with the coercion of their major labels) are putting out what the buying audience wants to hear.  I emphasize “buying” because if you’re like me, you’re quick on the download.  Others are quick to cop a bootleg.  The problem is that lyrical prowess and diverse content doesn’t necessarily move units in all cases, so as a record label, it doesn’t make sense fiscally to back a project that may not sell to the masses.  As in politics, the majority is usually ill-informed and doesn’t always go beyond the surface.

That being said, I believe there’s a place for everything in hip-hop.  I like Talib Kweli, but I don’t necessarily want to throw that on while getting ready to step out to the club.  I like Mos Def, but when I feel like puttin’ a Timberland in somebody’s ass, that isn’t what I like to hear.  I enjoy Gucci Mane and Rick Ross, but that isn’t the move when I’m in chill-mode or if I’m feeling contemplative.  I’m also open to all types of hip-hop, regardless of subgenre or region…I mean how many people would put A Tribe Called Quest and UGK next to one another on their list of favorite hio-hop groups?  Understandably, being musically adaptable isn’t everyone’s strong suit, but to say an artist “isn’t hip-hop” because they talk about wood wheels and syrup is silly…it just ain’t for you.  Hip-hop is organic in that it reflects on where it originates from.  NWA made the west coast a factor not by emulating anything that was going on in NYC at the time, but by going totally against the grain, which opened the door for other regions to shine by just doing them instead of trying to look and sound like New York MCs.

My philosophy is that when I listen to hip-hop tracks, I look for the positive and note the negative as it appears…I don’t go into it arms crossed waiting to hear some bullsh*t…approaching it that way, you’re bound to find something to hate.  Listening to the radio for “real” hip-hop is like walking into the food court at the mall looking for good Mexican food.  Hip-hop lives online nowadays, so I would suggest doing some blog-crawling, because good music isn’t gonna just fall into your lap.  Check out 2dopeboyz.com, which I use.  They cater to all different types of hip-hop and provide downloads of songs as well as full mixtapes, not to mention exclusive interviews, trailers, and videos.  They also update daily, ensuring that you can find something new there every day.  I could wrap this up by saying we all need to work together and speak up to change hip-hop, but I don’t think anything needs changing.  Hip-hop’s evolved and grown to cater to a larger demographic.  Those that are still yearning for the olden days of hip-hop are thinking about a time when the audience for hip-hop was only so big and not as diverse as it is today. 

Below, I posted a few vids that prove that hip-hop is still alive today in multiple forms.  Hip-hop knows no location, dialect, or one definitive style and I feel like that’s a beautiful thing.  Enjoy…

Murs collaborates with Kurupt & the soon-to-be-legendary 9th Wonder for an LA anthem that I can’t stop playing on my iPod.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29k85TGrjW4

This is “Up” by Braille (surprisingly a Christian MC), an artist I was only recently put on to and downloaded this track on a whim.  His album Weapon Aid just recently dropped.  Shout out to 2dopeboyz.com for always keepin’ me up on the newest & freshest.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBKe7_4bBDM

“BossCo2” by Blu, a personal favorite of mine from the West.  If you ain’t familiar, get with the program.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQS47kNDWno

Hip-hop lives down south too…it just sounds different, ya dig?  Check out up-and-coming Carter from Houston, TX. 

 

Continue Reading

Get Familiar: Ceewhy

I’ve always been confused by the phrase “hip-hop is dead”.  When asked what he thinks about the alleged demise of hip-hop, up and coming MC Dominique “Ceewhy” Suttles says “hip-hop can’t die…[hip-hop] is a way of life and a people so if its dead we are dead and I been breathing all day!”  He does state that hip-hop is currently lacking originality, balance and inspiration, which is what he is trying to bring to the game.  Ceewhy hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota and grew up listening to his father’s record collection, which included everything from Bach to Nina Simone.  He attended Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, where he pursued his budding music career, winning rap battles but also improving his song-writing ability, since we all know battle MCs don’t always have the most longevity in the rap game.

Ceewhy provides a long list of influences from the obligatory Big & Pac to the Clipse and Slum Village to Jimi Hendrix and even Langston Hughes.  He even jokingly adds Grey Goose to the list.  Far from arrogant, Cee admits to being a “very influenced artist”.  “I just want people to believe in me because I believe in them thats why I do what I do.   I am an artist and musician and growth is paramount to my survival and evolution as an artist,” he says.  “Nas once rhymed that ‘no idea’s original’, and he was right. When it comes to music, let’s be honest: few recreate the wheel. The great musicians haven’t necessarily created something brand new. They gave us the right balance of entertainment and thought-provoking material. Think Michael Jackson, Prince, Nina, Stevie and a score of others. Their catalogues aren’t just comprised of solely ‘dance’ tracks or ‘conscious’ tracks. Mike’s catalogue consists of tracks like ‘Rock with You’, but also ‘Black & White’.  Whatever happened to that balance?!?”  Ceewhy is poised to bring that balance to the game. 

While he isn’t necessarily trying to “re-invent the wheel”, he’s introducing a new way to roll.  Both of his projects, Dreams Are Bulletproof and The Sickness: Designer Drugs & Disease Meets Panic are highly conceptualized…more than what you would expect from a new artist.  While still having fun, Ceewhy also gives you food for thought to snack on, mixing what you want with what you need without being preachy.  Look out for the homie in the future and enjoy his music…oh and kill your radio.  You won’t find too many artists with such a clear direction and innovative approach there.  For now, just visit his bandcamp.com site linked below and download both projects…then tell your whole ‘hood to get familiar.

Download & listen to Ceewhy’s Dreams Are Bulletproof and The Sickness: Designer Drugs & Disease Meets Panic

 

 

Continue Reading

R.I.P.: GURU of Gang Starr

We lost a legend last night in the form of Keith Elam a.k.a. Guru (an acronym for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) of the classic hip-hop duo Gang Starr.  Guru, alongside superproducer DJ Premier, is known for having perfected the hip-hop/jazz crossover.  In honor of the loss of an architect of this thing we call hip-hop, I leave you with some classics.   

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3nYV1PX0HM

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wpD_S_iEE8&feature=related

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNj-m_s0ngA&feature=related

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZvisvIUZfY&feature=related

Continue Reading

The Essence: Capone-N-Noreaga

I’m gonna take some time out today to write a short piece on two dudes I feel like don’t get the props they really deserve in the hip-hop game.  The category “The Essence” is designed to bring up various people, places, and things that made me love hip-hop.  Capone-N-Noreaga get a lot of respect from myself and other hip-hop heads, but as far as truly being recognized, I think people don’t give them enough credit.  The War Report was a stellar debut and The Reunion was to me an ill follow-up. 

CNN have always made the type of music that almost inspire you to rob somebody’s mama for a box of baking soda…and then use that to cook up some crack.  That may sound horrible, but I did say almost.  I’m California born-and-raised, but CNN are one of few acts that really put me in a New York State of Mind, so to speak, taking listeners from Riker’s Island to Queensbridge and Lefrak City with their unique brand of thuggery.  When I heard CNN was signing with my favorite MC Raekwon’s Ice Water imprint to release The War Report II, I almost spontaneously combusted.  Here’s a few classic joints and some new material to hold you (and me) down until the release.

“Illegal Life” by CNN

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7LiaIxzgl4

“Phone Time” by CNN

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8EV-FLkg6M

“The Reserves” by CNN f/ Raekwon:

  httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGvmkpAZMyM 

“Steets Got A New Face” by Noreaga

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyuCXbOUoSA

 

Continue Reading

Nicki Minaj & The Harajuku-Hate Epidemic

I hate the idea of the safe bet…the easy target…the common diss.  Nicki Minaj has come under fire since the start of her mainstream career for a number of reasons: her allegedly fake “assets” (because that’s never been done before), use of sexuality in her music and performance (because that’s never been done before), and other aspects of her style.  Even Li’l Mama kinda sneak dissed her saying she “doesn’t represent what Nicki Minaj represents…I represent young women respecting their bodies”.  OK, I just want for Li’l Mama to respect her own body by not dressing it in the worst of the worst…and by keeping it off the stage when it doesn’t belong there.  Minaj spoke on it briefly in the “5 Star Chick” remix, but didn’t seem to give it too much attention.  Brilliant.

As some of you may know already, a female rapper named Keys has decided to put out a low-quality video on YouTube calling herself dissing Nicki Minaj.  I listened to it once…….listened to it twice……..and it’s pretty garbage.  First, the beat is playing on a [low quality] speaker that seems to be about 20 feet away from the camera.  Second, there’s a bunch of dudes milling around in the background who are obviously obligated to nod their heads and hype it up like the girl is really doing something because they know her.  Honestly, the girl had a couple of clever bars, but if the first anyone has ever heard of you is dissing another artist, sorry, but you’re hustling backwards.  All I know about this person as an artist is that they don’t like Nicki Minaj (someone they don’t personally know)…congratulations…you’re still listed in Google pages and pages after Alicia Keys, housekeys, the Florida Keys, and oh…”Keys Under Palm Trees“, an early Nicki Minaj joint.  All this video (which I won’t disgrace this site by posting…it’s on YouTube, y’all) really looked like was a butterballish tomboy chick with a chip on her shoulder because she caught her man wiping his mouth after watching a Nicki Minaj video and to make matters worse, I’m sure she knows as a female rapper she’ll never make it without improving her own look.

It’s interesting that people are pointing at Nicki Minaj like she is what’s wrong with the state of female hip-hop.  No.  What is wrong with female hip-hop is that as soon as a female rapper comes out with enough skill/clout/connections/appeal to actually make it out of the underground, other women (and dudes frontin’ for said women) tend to come out of the woodwork to hate, feeding into the stereotype that women can’t let other women shine.  Someone even said Nicki Minaj needs to give Li’l Kim her style back…okay, if that’s the case, then Li’l Kim should have given Christopher Wallace that whole book of rhymes back.  And Li’l Kim can also give Donatella Versace her look back, but that’s another story for another time. In Keys’ case, the “I’m going to go at the top rapper in the game to make a name for myself” schtick is just as much of a gimmick as Nicki Minaj’s ass and I doubt it will work.  Mediocrity is sad.

There’s nothing new under the sun and you’re bound to see some of the same gimmicks used, but it’s a business.  As many struggling artists can agree, “respect” doesn’t pay any bills and certainly doesn’t move units.  To put it simply, there are rappers who thrive on “keep it real” and feel like image is not important.  They will forever be underground because they don’t understand the business…which is fine, just don’t complain about it, since that’s the direction you decided to go in of your own accord.  There’s more to the business of hip-hop than putting together a decent 16…mastering the business is a whole other animal and there are aspects one might consider “fake” or whatever, but if you feel that way, the business side (and being successful) probably just ain’t for you.

Continue Reading

Think B.I.G.: The Notorious XX Project by wait what

 

It feels like it’s been ages since Christopher Wallace left us, yet his influence is still very prevalent in hip-hop and the world at large.  Most recently, we’ve heard his voice on the (arguably wack) Biggie Duets project, seen him on the big screen in the film Notorious, and heard new life breathed into an old verse on the very recent “Angels” by Dirty Money.  Charlie Kubal, 24, (recording under the name “wait what”) capably adds a fresh perspective to your Biggie memories with his project, The Notorious XX, which mixes classic Notorious B.I.G. joints with the unique production style of wait what (Kubal).  From the intro, a mix of “Dead Wrong” with a surprisingly-contrasting (but it works), almost ethereal backdrop, you know you’re about to get into some next-level sh*t.  It’s different without being pretensious and it pays homage while adding in a completely fresh sound.  The Notorious XX adds and does not subtract, sparks nostalgia while inspiring one to spark other things while still being progressive, and delivers on all fronts. 

 “I’ve been a Biggie fan since I was eleven,” says Kubal, bringing up some of his own Biggie nostalgia.  “I saw the video for Mo Money Mo Problems, and was hooked. I had a tape recorder that I held up to the screen and hit record when they started the video, so the first couple hundred times I heard the track it had the voiceover of Puffy at the golf tournament that they had in the video — I finally got the CD single, and had no idea before that that wasn’t actually part of the song”.  Kubal is from San Francisco originally and attended Columbia, where he moonlighted producing and recording hip-hop.  He’s currently inspired by a wide range of music from underground hip-hop to indie rock.  

For your downloading pleasure and to learn more about wait what, visit waitwhatmusic.com and become a fan of wait what on Facebook here.

the notorious xx by wait what

 

Continue Reading