SPECIAL DELIVERY: The Voice

Gangstarr

Gangstarr had a song that spoke about how the uniqueness in your voice is one of the things that got you attention in hip-hop. A distinct voice is just as important as a distinct style (i.e. Q-Tip, B-Real, Kendrick).  Sure there have been rappers with similar vocal tones but, in 2013/2014, I feel like there are waaay too many.

Each rapper brings something to the table that separates him or herself from the other.  It’s just hard to tell when they sound so much a like.  They target the same audience.  Somebody’s not going to eat. It  doesn’t matter who came first, they all came up together.

I was listening to Childish Gambino’s new album when this became ever so clear. Nothing against him but he sound/feels like Drake, Big Sean, & Lupe Fiasco all rolled in one. Maybe that’s the hook? IDK. It becomes increasingly hard to tell the difference for the uninformed.

Nobody has bass in their voice? Only in interviews? I don’t understand. Unfortunately, it all comes down to the marketing of this style. Everybody wants what is charting. Once upon a time artist would get signed because they had a  unique sound.  Now they get deals because they sound the same.

I will always remember Russell Simmons saying he didn’t sign Nas back in the day because he sound too much like Kool G. Rap.  If that were today, not only would he have signed him, he probably would have a roster full of them.

It all just sends a uninspired message to the up and coming hip-hop artist. “Why be you when you can be them?”

Here is that Gangstarr song I talked about (side bar- I didn’t like it but it’s the truth. Lol!):

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Forgettable

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With all the hip-hop music we get over the course of a year, a lot of it is forgettable. I’m not just talking about the wack sh*t. There are a lot of solid releases that I have all but forgotten. It’s this time of year when we begin to reflect on all that has happened. My process for selecting albums/mix tapes of the year is simple.

I put the remarkable ones on my phone and who ever survives the daily, weekly, monthly rotation…comes out on top. Then I think to my self, for example, “Oh sh*t. I forgot about that Czarface album.” Not to single them out but I was big on that album when it came out. It just got lost in the shuffle.

Or like, that Game mixtape. It was really good but, others overshadowed it. Sh*t, Pusha T. I forgot that even came out after a while, and that wasn’t half bad. So you see what I’m saying? None of the mentioned projects were wack. They just didn’t have a profound impact on a brother.

I go back and listen to everything to see what impact it has on me now. Some still rock, while others don’t sound as good. It’s a crazy process for a fan like myself who listens to it all. The worst (or good) part of it all, is the fact that there are STILL some dope releases this month.

Yes, I consider everything that actually drops in 2013. Look out for my Top Albums/Mixtapes of the year on New Year’s Day!

Re-Release Tuesdays “Grindin’”

clipse

What can I really say.   This track is a classic.  More so for the beat but the Clipse give the track that extra grit. A hard record that banged in the club, hearing this song makes me nostalgic. Dope debut album too.   Would you say that it is a classic? Idk. But this? This song is in the record books for sure.   This week’s Re-Release is Clipse “Grindin“.

Rap and drugs. The somewhat unholy marriage is now decades deep. Not surprisingly, the conjunction has produced some dynamic musical results that have been readily smoked, ingested, and snorted by the mainstream music listening public. Back in the late ’80s, Ice-T was one of the first rappers to blur the lines between the rap world and the underworld. On his single “I’m Your Pusher,” which tastefully sampled Curtis Mayfield‘s “Pusherman,” Ice-T compared his whole album (Power, 1988) to drug weight, proposing that his music would be something rap fans would fiend for the same way a smoker fiends for nicotine. In the early part of the 21st century, after the Virginia-based production team the Neptunes‘ had splashed their electro-synth beats everywhere, from songs with hardcore rapper N.O.R.E. to pop sensation Britney SpearsPharrell Williams and partner Chad Hugo created their own label, Star Trak. The first act signed to the Star Trak label was a pair of Neptunes cohorts known as the Clipse, a sibling duo of highly skilled VA transplants (by way of the Bronx) with some obvious nefarious connections to the world of drug hustling… - Allmusic.com

In My Rotation 4-25-2011

There is a lot of hip-hop to be had out there. Here’s what I’m currently rocking:

Pusha T “Fear of GOD” Mixtape

“Always been a fan of The Clipse. I personally think that they wouldn’t be able to connect with the fans as solo artist. Consider me connected. This mixtape exceeded my expectations. Original tracks, unreleased songs, and freestyles are all here for this hot mixtape. Get this one.”

Big K.R.I.T. “Return to 4EVA” Mixtape

“Heard a lot about this dude but I didn’t jump on the bandwagon until now. This is how mixtapes should be done. Conceptual with an overall theme. This is how real southern mcs get down. Lyrics. Topics. Beats that wrap it all together. I came away impressed. Oh btw, he produces his own music as well. Add this to your rotation…NOW!”

Dj Premier “Guru Tribute Mix Live on Hot97

“THIS IS THE ONLY GURU TRIBUTE YOU WILL EVER NEED! TRUST ME. NUFF SAID…”

Cam’ron & Vado “Gunz & Butta

“If you know me, you already know that I’m not a strictly lyrics and concepts hip-hop fan. I need variety. I need to balance out my hip-hop habit with some straight shit-talk, club ready music. This album kind of exceeded my expectations. Lyrically it is what I expected, but I was surprised how much I liked it. This is not for everyone though. Cam still isn’t as good as he has been in the past, but he isn’t as careless with the lyrics. The beats are dope. As the weather starts to get warmer, this is the kind of music that makes you want to hit the streets.”

Prodigy “Complex Presents: Prodigy-The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP

“I can’t front. The only reason I even thought about checking this out was because I’m currently reading his autobiography (review coming soon). I was satisfied with what I heard. I’ve come to realize what made Prodigy so dope back in the day was his honesty. There was a point in time when you could tell he didn’t care what he spit. It’s funny how jail can adjust your attitude. This EP samples a lot from the movie “Hoodlum“. The beats make this release what it is. Prodigy is hit and miss, but mostly hit. If this is a prelude of what’s to come from the Mobb Deep camp…I’m all in. Check it out.”

Fabolous “The Soul Tape

“I had to add this one to the list. This is a dope Fabolous tape. One of his best in a while as far as I’m concerned. The beats are more soulful (hence the title) than his other releases. It just makes me wonder why this doesn’t happen with his major releases. I think we all know the answer to that. The lyrics are on point as always. This is a good look for Loso. Time will only tell if we’ll see it again.”

Peace…