Check out my latest hip-hop commentary: HIP-HOP BLOGGIN’
Some of you rap fans can be uptight standard junkies. So much so that you forget the days when dudes like Slick Rick told humorous stories. Devin is the same on every album. Weed smoking, goofy looking, story telling fool….and I love every bit of it. Look at this video. He’s say people be tripping on me…and then he has a person literally “trip over” him in the grocery store. I love it! Sure it’s silly but it beats the hell out of watching a million rap videos with the same broads, same chains, same cars. Variety people, variety. This is hip-hop whether you like it our not. WORD. This week’s Re-Release is Devin The Dude’s “What I Be On“.
“The AC/DC of trashy stoner rap, Devin the Dude had released a fat set of like-minded and like-sounding albums by the time he got to this 2010 release, but just like those metal gods, Devin’s redundancy is the reason fans keep coming back. They won’t be disappointed by Suite #420, which features the usual set of chilled-out weed anthems, sex jokes, and old-school R&B beats, along with those great oddball numbers the Dude uses to break each album up. Here it’s the new wave-flavored, heartbreak song “Where Ya At?” along with the crooked and appropriately titled “Funky Little Freestyle,” where Devin offers “I baffle the minds of workers at the Laundromat/They think my clothes have been worn by a walking ganja plant”. Best of the standard joints is “Still Comin’,” where producer Mirawge gives Devin a crip-walking beat over which he proves he’s still “got it” when it comes to out-sleazing the competition (including a “peach fuzz” reference that makes the phrase incorrigible). That’s what you pay for and that’s what you get in abundance, and without any guest shots from other artists. As the Dude would say, Suite #420 got it all rolled up, and you just gotta put a light on it. ” – Allmusic.com
Grand Puba Maxwell! Debut solo album. I wasn’t too happy about the initial Brand Nubian break up, but it did produce some classic Grand Puba solos. This one being the starter. This week’s Re-Release is Grand Puba’s “360 (What Goes Around)“.
“In a sense, Grand Puba really never was a genuine member of Brand Nubian. He was several years older than Lord Jamar and Sadat X, and had already recorded with the old-school crew Masters of Ceremony several years before finally hooking up with his younger mates. And even the mostly collective-minded One for All featured a couple Pubasolo joints. Based on the sophomore Brand Nubian outing, it is pretty clear that Grand Puba‘s carefree verbal play, completely unencumbered by ideology, tempered the more in-your-face manifestation of Jamar and Sadat X‘s radical politics since In God We Trust which, as thrillingly polemical as it could be, was also rather severe and uncompromising, even apocalyptic, in its outlook, and therefore off-putting at times. Likewise, based on this debut solo album, it’s clear that Brand Nubian created precisely the right context in which Puba‘s self-reflexive braggadocio could flourish without wearing thin because Reel to Reel, as much fun as it is, has little in the way of substance… ” – Allmusic.com
This is a Mos Def album (now known as Yasiin Bey) that everyone should check out. He returns to the emcee on this one. This wasn’t one of my favorite records but the video enhanced it for me. This week’s Re-Release is Mos Def’s “Sex, Love, & Money“.
“During the first several years of the 2000s, it wasn’t unreasonable to want Mos Def, one of the most dazzling living MCs, to make a rap album. After he released 2006′s True Magic, his first all-rap release in seven years — following the back-to-back instant classics Black Star and Black on Both Sides – it was easier to understand why he had been devoting much more time to acting and diversions like The New Danger. It was evident that he was not inspired, no doubt prompting a fair portion of his followers to think, “OK, maybe we should have been more specific: please make agood rap album.” On The Ecstatic, it’s not as if Mos Def makes a full return to the lucid/bug-eyed rhymes heard on decade-old cuts like “Hater Players” and “Hip Hop.” Instead, he comes up with a mind-bending, low-key triumph, the kind of magnetic album that takes around a dozen spins to completely unpack. Oscillating between cerebral gibberish and seemingly nonchalant, off-the-cuff boasts, it’s obvious that Mos Def is back to enjoying his trade. ” – Allmusic.com
A yo. The original 50 Cent debut. Yeah, the album (some say) got him shot. Whatever. Dope debut. And this song?! I loved it the minute I heard it. The beginning of the end for Ja Rule. This week’s Re-Release is 50 Cent’s “Your Life’s on the Line“.
“You can say this much for 50 Cent: The man knows how to make an entrance. Before he released the uproariously cunning single “How to Rob,” few knew this Queens, NY, native even existed. But by naming names and placing his own persona deep in the middle of a non-existent battle (specifically, casting hip-hop stars as targets for 50 Cent‘s hardcore, comedic robbing spree), he assured himself a place among the industry’s most illustrious performers. After all, a challenge rarely goes unanswered in hip-hop circles and when that gauntlet is raised, the best retaliation is a lyrical one. Thus setting the stage for his own legend to emerge, 50 Cent recorded a powerful debut CD to prove he was no one-hit wonder. Tracks on Power of the Dollar utilize penetrating wit and funk-infused beats, accompanied by grand orchestrations of commanding horns, pronounced percussion, and various string elements. .. ” – Allmusic.com
I like a lot of the new hip-hop just as much as the next man, but every now and again…you have to revisit the classics. Nuff said… This week’s Re-Release is Run Dmc’s “Run’s House“. It wasn’t just a reality show.
“At the end of 1986, Raising Hell was rap’s best-selling album up to that point, though it would soon be outsold by the Beastie Boys‘ Licensed to Ill. Profile Records hoped that Run-D.M.C.‘s fourth album, Tougher Than Leather, would exceed the Beastie Boys‘ quintuple-platinum status, but unfortunately, the group’s popularity had decreased by 1988. One of Run-D.M.C.‘s strong points — its love of rock & roll — was also its undoing in hip-hop circles. Any type of crossover success tends to be viewed suspiciously in the hood, and hardcore hip-hoppers weren’t overly receptive to “Miss Elaine,” “Papa Crazy,” “Mary, Mary,” and other rap-rock delights found on the album. Thanks largely to rock fans, this album did go platinum for sales exceeding one million copies — which ironically, Profile considered a disappointment. But the fact is that while Tougher Than Leather isn’t quite as strong as Run-D.M.C.‘s first three albums, it was one of 1988′s best rap releases. ” – Allmusic.com
“Wake yo punk a$$ up!” This song right here! One of the realest records ever recorded. Truth. Not even glorifying it. That’s just the way things were. West Coast classic. This week’s Re-Release is Compton’s Most Wanted “Growing Up In The Hood“.
“Though N.W.A got most of the recognition, Compton’s Most Wanted also did much to popularize and proliferate early-’90s West Coast gangsta rap. Led by future solo artist MC Eiht and legendary West Coast electro producer the Unknown DJ, this Compton, CA, group (also known as CMW) reveled in themes involving primarily guns, women, gangs, and drugs, setting the precedent for what would eventually become cliché. More importantly, the group possessed a knack for writing laid-back gangsta ballads characterized not so much by aggression but rather by languid production laced with ’70s soul motifs and reflective lyrics. CMW scored their breakthrough hit in 1991 with “Growin’ Up in the Hood,” which was included on the popular Boyz n the Hood soundtrack. ” – Allmusic.com
It’s 2 degrees out here in the Tri-State area, NO WAY them dudes are down on the corner! I wasn’t a fan of his previous album Electric Circus, but with the help of “Yeezus”, Dilla and No I.D., Common made an all time comeback. This album should be considered a classic. This record right here though?! Maaaannn. No words. Just listen and watch. This week’s Re-Release is Common’s “The Corner“.
“Electric Circus cost and won Common some fans. It was very exploratory, especially so for a rap album released in 2002, containing developments — some of which soared, some of which sank — that few longtime followers could have foreseen. Listeners either felt Common was picking up fresh, new inspirations, or that he was just being distracted by a whole lot of ill-fitting nonsense. With Be, it seems the MC has realized that not every album that’s sprawling and eclectic is as good as Electric Ladyland or Songs in the Key of Life. More notably, he might’ve been struck with the fact that a high percentage of excellent albums are around 40 minutes in length and are built on a unified sound. Be ishighly concentrated, containing 11 songs and involving two producers and a small number of guests. It’s a 180 degree turn from Electric Circus, and in a bizarre way it’s both a progression and a back-to-basics move. Kanye West andDilla are key to the album’s steadiness, rooting the sound in ’70s soul and soul-jazz. That’s no shakeup, but the two producers deserve some form of award for stringing together a consistent sequence of productions that is never monotonous, dull, or all that flashy. Even lead single “The Corner,” heard well before Be‘s release, falls into the fabric of the album on first listen, as if that were where it belonged all along…” – Allmusic.com