Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jean Grae is a Jenius...You Idiots!!

Check this out because Jean Grae is fucking awesome. Definitely the best female lyricist I've ever heard, and definitely up in the running with any male MC you could name. She's fucking amazing. If you haven't heard 'Cookies or Comas' you're really missing out on some great Hip Hop this year. 'Cake or Death' (hopefully) coming soon - but, I do not have the attention span of a gnat, so I'm still enjoying the rest of her catalog!

Action Bronson Makes a TV Appearance

What do you all think of Action Bronson? I got into him for a while. That Dr. Lecter album is pretty nice. Haven't felt some of his stuff lately - a joint called "Muslim Wedding" and a feature on MarQ Spekt & Kno's album for a song called "Roadhouse" had me underwhelmed. I tweeted about it, and he found it and retweeted it. I'm not sure why. I guess some people think it's funny to retweet negative comments about themselves - Kweli and 9th Wonder come to mind. And, some others probably hope their "yes men" fans will defend them publicly. I did get one guy respond with "you buggin'!" Yeah, whatever. It's my opinion. But, some people latch on to someone and suddenly feel like they can do no wrong.

Anyway, I like Action Bronson. I wish him success. And, I'm exicted about the project he has coming with one of my favorite producer/DJs as of late, Statik Selektah. And, by the way, I love that more producers are bringing back this producing an entire album (or close to it) thing.

Below is a video from Carson Daly's show (yea, thankfully the Internet exists, right? I literally know one person that watches the show) where Action talks about some shit and freestyles. He used to be a chef too? Nice. Maybe we'll see him make an appearance on Chopped one day and knock out one of those annoying, pompous judges.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Talib Kweli at Occupy Wall Street

This is too dope not to post up here. It's nice to see that our best and most loved and appreciated street poets in this Hip Hop genre are still out there spitting that real shit and representing for the average hard working people of this world.

But, the average people have allowed themselves to be brainwashed. Why? Because they're fucking busy. And, they're stressed. And, they need an escape. Bullshit feels like it grants that escape into a world that's more fucked up than our own. But, it's doesn't. And, it sucks too many of our good people into it, and makes them complacent. That's how those in power control us. And, they have. For too long. We trusted this 'representative democracy' to lead us using our will. But, it has failed us. Special interests with deeper pockets than our own took it over long ago.

But, it looks like people are finally starting to rise up, and stand up, for themselves. It's a beautiful thing. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. And, the bravery of citizens in other countries has inspired a lot of us here in America. If we keep it up, our elected officials are going to have to start truly answering to us. The true majority.

This right here from Kweli is beautiful...and it almost brings a tear to my eye. Check it out. Occupy Cincinnati is tomorrow. Peace. Love. Share. Change.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Hip Hop Releases From North Carolina

This week saw the release of several notable albums that are sure to be on the top of a lot of people's 'Best Of' lists at year's end. And, another cool thing is that three of the artists are from North Carolina. That's something when a single state can dominate a week with three highly anticipated releases. Of course, I'm talking about 9th Wonder, Phonte, and J.Cole.

9th Wonder's project The Wonder Years was probably the most impressive to me.  It definitely had 9th's signature production sound. But, it also had range. It had depth. He tried new things, and really built on what he has done in the past to make the most cohesive project I've heard all year. 9th hosted an impressive array of talented MCs and singers, and did a really good job of strategically sprinkling in his Jamla artists throughout. What really put The Wonder Years over the top for me was 9th's work with Terrace Martin, whose jazz sax added the perfect element to 9th's musical backdrops. On the negative side, I still have to say that I don't get Mac Miller's appeal. He shows up here spitting rhymes that I find boring and forgettable.The good news is that even though this track didn't hold up lyrically, the beat and vocal arrangement still make it bearable.

Phonte's Charity Starts at Home is another great album from one of my favorite MCs of the last ten years. His flows are dope, his rhymes relevant and relateable, and the beats are always hittin' whether they come from 9th, Khrysis, Nicolay, or anyone else. Te has an ability to understand how words relate to each other which few can match. My complaint with this one? "New Tiggalo, New Tiggalo, New Tiggalo, New Tiggalo". That little saying was humorous the first time or two, but got extremely old after hearing it on every track. It even wound up coming off as a little pretentious in my mind.

The collaborations between Phonte & 9th Wonder on this and The Wonder Years just make it that much clearer to me that Little Brother needs to continue existing as a unit even though the members also pursue music individually. I felt Pooh was missed on these projects and it would have been nice to have them all on at least one track between the 2 albums.

I was also anticipating the debut album from Jay-Z's NC investment,  J. Cole, especially since his verse over Kanye West's "Devil in a New Dress" ("Villematic") last year (or, was it earlier this year?). Cole seemed to get off to a slow start on Cole World to me, new tracks that were just ok and didn't really stick out to me were placed in between more well-known songs from previously released mixtapes.I like Cole because he spits like a young guy, but still has a depth to his content that makes him interesting. I didn't see this throughout like I did, on say Fashawn's debut. The deeper layer seemed to not appear until the later part of the album. "God's Gift" and "Breakdown" were solid, but was it weird for anyone but me that he referenced old Bone songs on two songs back to back like he did on these two? Was it weird for anyone else that he sang Paula Abdul lyrics on the next track "Work Out"? All of these things just made the album less than impressive to me. Not to say there isn't good stuff to be found here. I just hope it gets better the next time around.