This week…Nas talks early inspiration, Hip-Hop worst than Racism?, Breaking down Wu-Tang Clan albums, and more! Subscribe via Stitcher Radio & Soundcloud.com/HipHopolitic
2013 will soon come to a close, and I will post my annual top projects of the year. I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and I have covered a lot of hot music. Out of all of my “Top” albums from year to year, what has survived the test of time so far? Here are 5 albums/mixtapes that I still rock like they are new, along with what I said about them at the time:
I like the song Drake did. I’m saying. It would have been corny for him to try and redo it from a rap perspective. It was it’s own song and it brings to light a classic Wu-Tang track. I loved this song the minute I heard it. Dope beat. Typical Wu slang. Plus it dropped during the summer. You know how we love our Summer Anthems. This week’s Re-Release is Wu-Tang Clan’s “It’s Yourz”.
If you grew up in the NYC area around the 80s and 90s, Video Music Box was king! They just weren’t a hip-hop video show like Yo MTV Raps or Rap City. Often times, you could tune in and catch a live performance at a local NY club. Raw video footage! Everybody knows the Tunnel freestyle featuring Biggie and 2Pac but some of us saw it before we heard it. Ralph McDaniels and The Vid Kid brought you unlimited coverage of some of today’s hip-hop legends. Salute…
So Rolling Stones magazine named their Top 50 Greatest Hip-Hop songs of all-time (with the help of notable producers/artist like Rick Rubin, Pete Rock, Talib Kweli and more). Here is 50-40 with my thoughts:
So what passes as a classic these days? Is it that instant gratification you get on that first play through. Or does it depend on how often you listen to an album over time? The latter used to be the standard, but now it seems that fans toss that word around like it’s nothing. Have there been any albums you can call “classic” within the last ten years? I don’t know but I will give you my theory on it…
Let’s just start with a couple of examples: Pete Rock vs. Lupe, Dmx vs. Drake, Common vs. Drake, Ice T. vs. Every Young Rapper, Trapped in the 90s N*ggas vs. Every Young Rapper, and now Lord Finesse vs. Mac Miller. It’s a frantic situation, yes it is!
As a fan of the culture as a whole, I’m not mad at any of it. It is basically nature taking it’s course. Some of the old dudes are down with it, while others are down right furious. Why? There isn’t one obvious reason for why the older generation (yes, you 90s ninjas are included) has such a beef with today’s hip-hop. There is just a blatant lack of tribute being paid. Period. A lot of “older” rappers/fans feel that this generation of young hip-hop stars aren’t doing anything to advance the music. They also feel, that what’s being created now can hardly be classified as “HIP-HOP”.
On the flip side, the younger generation of hip-hop feels as if they do recognize the old school. They respect skill, but this is a different time. They feel they make the music of “their” generation, and at this moment in time, skill is not necessarily a prerequisite for success/popularity. In 2012, the rules are just different from the 80s and 90s. Between low cd sales, the rise of social media, and the marketing saturation that blankets actual talent…what more can they do?
Rakim’s respect in the rap game goes without saying. His style was so ahead of it’s time when he came out…he, unintentionally, ended the careers of the “Yes Yes Ya’ll” rappers of the 80s (i.e. Melly Mel, Kurtis Blow). Nobody wanted to hear that type of flow anymore. The original “God MC”, he inspired the careers of artist such as Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, and others. He would know a thing or two about what the future holds. I totally agree with him in regards to there being a need for rapper’s like Kanye.
This is old but still true. Let’s not pretend that this is a hip-hop only issue either. Most artist come from poor backgrounds and they’ve never been taught how to manage their money.
I’ve been waiting to see this film for a while now. A lot of interesting views being touched on in this trailer. A lot of younger artist will look at this and thing one thing… “HATING”. Open up your vocabulary, ears & mind…and understand what this information means to your existence as a hip-hop artist or fan. Check the trailer…
Ever wondered what the f@ck your favorite rapper was talking about? Are you one of those hip-hop fans that loves a rap artist for their voice and cadence but get lost in the lyrics? Well, somebody has made a site for YOU.
Rap Genius is a Wikipedia for rap lyrics. The site is run by, well, US the fans. There are verses and songs with lyrics broken down into “simple” terms. Now ya moms will understand why you say Lil Wayne is the best….or maybe why people say he is trash.
Check this breakdown of Lil Wayne’s hit single “A Milli”
I think a site like this is good idea, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a cheat. Part of the allure of hip-hop music is figuring out the lyrics on your own. I’ve gone as far as to research things myself. I guess this site will make it easier for the casual hip-hop fan. Here is one of Jay-Z’s greatest lines for which I think needs no explanation: “…Like short sleeves, I bare arms.” – Brooklyn’s Finest
Anyhow, here is a quick breakdown of what the site is all about:
You can listen to songs, read their lyrics, and click the lines that interest you for pop-up explanations – we have thousands of canonical rap songs explained (2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z – even the beginning of the Torah..)
I wasn’t big on Ghostface before this album, but this is one of the songs that made me a lifetime fan. If you go by the lyrics of this song, Ghostface had one of the poorest childhoods I’ve ever heard of. eating off the same spoon?! Damn! Lol! All is better now (I assume). I’m also a big fan of Mary J. Blige so this track was money.
Autobiographies/Memoirs by hip-hop artist aren’t a new thing. There are a number of books out there giving you the behind the scenes goods on your favorite rapper’s life. I, personally, was never attracted to reading about a rapper’s life because I always felt that listening to their catalog was the same thing. This is not true.
“Us hip-hop fans are watching…closely.”
Join me every Thursday for a tribute to Hip-Hop. Come in and dj with me as we celebrate the music of Wu-Tang Clan and it’s Affiliates! I play songs…YOU play songs. Bring ya sh@t!