Monthly Archives: May 2011

Throwback Thursday: “Chain Gang”

State Property Presents: "The Chain Gang, Vol. 2"

After purchasing Maybach Music Group’s “Self-Made” this morning at my local Target, I went to my car to do my usual ritual of opening a new album and playing it immediately. You don’t get the full appeal of an album unless you play it “in the whip.” As I reached over and ejected “The Doggumentary” out of my cd player, I noticed a cd case laying on the floor of my 2006 Toyota Camry. “State Property Presents: The Chain Gang Vol. 2.”

Until that moment, I had completely forgotten I ever paid cash for that album. Released in 2003, it was the second album from a group of rappers that I didn’t care about at the time. Beanie Sigel(You feuded with Jadakiss, you were feuding with me), Freeway(didn’t care), Oschino(no thanks), Sparks(no thanks again), Young Chris(I liked his verse on the single “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop”), Neef (I didn’t like his verses on said single) and Peedi Crakk(never heard of him at that time).
Charter Cable’s rap channel featured a few of the songs and ironically enough, I enjoyed the small sample of songs. Even though I may not like an artist, if I hear good music I’ll buy it. After spinning this cd in my car for the entire day, I realized something: this album is/was a banger!

Playing almost like a glorified mixtape, “Chain Gang” sports at least 12 out of 17 possible heaters. It’s amazing this album peaked under “Gold” status. Not only did I gain respect for the rappers featured, I also became fans of Young Chris and Peedi Crakk. I wanted to give to some time to spotlight my top five favorite tracks and give the LP a moment in the sun.

In Descending Order:

5. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop – The lead single from the album makes this list because of catchy, vibrant raps from Young Chris. Completely overshadowing Neef, Chris just takes control of the song and leaves his partner in the dust.
4. Just Another N**** – Perfect cruising song. You would have to have a heart of stone if you listened and didn’t have the urge to belt out this smooth chrous. Only problem is the rappers on the song, Beanie, Oschino and Sparks provide forgettable verses. Chorus is so strong I’m willing to forget the forgettable.
3. Temporary Relief – Sparks is on this song but lets forget about that for a second. Peedi shines on this joint! Quotable lines galore, the energy that Crakk shows is contagious. Definitely a standout track that Crakk should have fought to put on that album of his that never came out.
2. Blow – Twista comes through with a show-stealing verse on a great song. If you want to see how to knock a verse out of the park, look no further than this track. If you can rap this verse like I can, use it to impress your friends. Side Note: Young Chris had the weakest verse I’ve heard from him.
1. When You Hear That – FLAMES. Beanie Sigel started the track out with a great verse that ended up being my least favorite on the song. The real stars are Dirt McGirt(the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard RIP) and Peedi Crakk. The police sirens are a little weak but you don’t notice too much because of the charisma of ODB. It was one of his last and best appearances and if you ask anyone about the best verse to rap along to, most will say this verse. Peedi comes through and gives another standout appearance. “Respect Mine, the tech nine ain’t my thing, I defeat the purpose of teflon with one – riiiiing!!! Make the place vacate, I can’t wait…” There is magic all over this track.

Give this album a listen sometime, whatever way you know how. Or better yet, give all of your old albums a listen sometime, you might discover a gem in a pile of rocks.

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“Macho Man” memories

Macho Man Randy Savage: 11/15/1952 - 05/20/2011

Yesterday, the world lost one of the most recognizable faces in the history of professional wrestling. Randy “Macho Man” Savage died yesterday after having an apparent heart attack while driving and crashing into a tree in Seminole, Florida.  Although his wife was a passenger in the vehicle, she survived after receiving only minor injuries.

In a business where you grow up either “hating” or loving a superstar, Randy Savage was one of those guys that I never had a problem with. I enjoyed his many battles with Ric Flair over the years, along with his tension with arguably wrestling’s biggest star Hulk Hogan.

Savage felt like one of the legitimate crazy guys in wrestling, a guy who may have not been acting all that much.
Besides his many unique promos, I have a couple of favorite memories of Macho that I’d like to share:

  • Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior in a retirement match, back when you actually thought you would never see the wrestlers again. Most people remember this match for the reunion afterwards between Savage and his real-life wife at the time, Miss Elizabeth. As memorable as that moment was, I remember the match because of the five elbow drops that Savage delivered that would not put down the Warrior. FIVE.  The funniest moment though, belongs to the finish, in which Warrior delivers what seemed like 52 shoulder blocks at the time. With each shoulder block, Savage would go flying out of the ring. After the final block, Warrior put Savage in the middle of the ring and stood with one foot on Savage for the three count. I looked at it as a complete slap in the face of Savage at the time.
  • On the January 22th, 1996 edition of “Monday Nitro,” Savage won his second WCW World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Ric Flair. This was a big moment for me, as I hated Flair and loved Savage. I was glad anytime Flair lost, once cheering for Alex Wright(If you don’t know him, look up pictures prior to 1999) to defeat Flair on Saturday Night Main Event.  After watching Savage never being able to defeat Hogan cleanly, it was refreshing to see him defeat Ric Flair.

Although he is gone and I no longer care as much as I did for wrestling, the Macho Man will never be forgotten in the hearts of wrestling purists and fans alike. I imagine Savage is probably coming off a top rope in heaven as I type this post. Let’s just hope he can get the three count this time.

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Chris Brown and the 2011 BET Awards

Has the world finally forgotten about Chris Brown and his incident with a certain ex-girlfriend? Probably not but it seems we are willing to forgive as the superstar leads all artists in nominations at the 2011 BET Awards, airing on Sunday, June 26th, 2011 at 8 p.m. on  BET.

Brown leads the show with six nominations, ahead of artists such as Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Kanye West. I’m going to take a look at the six categories that features the controversial singer and give my forecast for the results. Winners highlighted in bold.

Best Male R&B Artist:
Chris Brown, Cee Lo Green, Bruno Mars, Trey Songz, Usher
MJ – First off, this is the BET Awards. This automatically disqualifies Cee Lo and Bruno Mars. This is going to be the awards show that helps establish Chris Brown again as a major R&B artist. Whether you like him or not, he’s set up for success with this award. His only real competition here is Trey & Usher. Trey has spent a good amount of his 2011 touring whereas Usher has been dealing with his other big money ventures(Justin Bieber) along with a performance here and there. Chris Brown takes this award and yes, he cries.

Best Collaboration:
B.o.B/Hayley Williams – “Airplanes”
Chris Brown/Lil Wayne/Busta Rhymes – “Look at me Now”
Chris Brown/Tyga/Kevin McCall – “Deuces”
Waka Flocka Flame/Roscoe Dash/Wale – “No Hands”
Rihanna/Drake – “What’s My Name”
Kanye West/Rihanna – “All of the Lights”

MJ: STIFF competition here. B.o.B. and Waka Flocka are the automatic “not a chance” nominees here. The Rihanna/Drake and Kanye/Rihanna are strong choices for a win here, and if “Look at me Now” didn’t exist, I’d probably go straight for Kanye/RiRi. In my opinion, “Deuces” could have been the better song if not for a very mediocre appearance from Young Money random Tyga. Brown, Wayne and Bussa Bussa go home happy with this one.

 
Video of the Year:
Marsha Ambrosius – “Far Away”
B.o.B- “Airplanes”
Chris Brown – “Look At Me Now”
Keri Hilson – “Pretty Girl Rock”
Willow Smith – “Whip My Hair”
Kanye West – “Runaway”


MJ: Sorry BET, Will Smith probably won’t be attending but it was a good try with the nomination for Willow and all. B.o.B. and Marsha Ambrosius are just there to beef up the category. If the category was “Video of the Year” according to Mos Jones, Keri Hilson would have won this category. But “Runaway” is going to take the cake here.

Best Actor:
Laz Alonso, Chris Brown, Don Cheadle, Idris Elba, Jamie Foxx

MJ: Okay, what is Jamie Foxx going to win for? Voice-over work in “Rio?” There are really only three choices here because if Chris Brown wins then the network might be set back 10 years. And this is coming from someone who enjoyed Brown’s performance in “Takers” and hated T.I.’s. Even though I find Cheadle to be the superior actor above all, I’m going to go out on a limb and say he will not win and Idris Elba wins his fourth BET award. Special shout-out to Laz Alonso though.


Best Movie:
“Death at a Funeral,” “For Colored Girls,” “Takers,” “The Book of Eli,” “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I get Married Too?”

MJ: This category just seems like a win for Tyler Perry. Why? Because he’s a double nominee! The best actual movie out of the bunch is “The Book of Eli” but at this awards show it stands no chance. Although “For Colored Girls” was pretty much critically panned due to the writing, the acting performances from Loretta Devine and Anika Noni Rose are enough to win this award.

Coca-Cola Viewer’s Choice Nominees:
Chris Brown/Lil Wayne/Busta Rhymes – “Look At Me Now”
Lil Wayne/Cory Gunz – “6 Foot 7 Foot”
Mindless Behavior – “My Girl”
Nicki Minaj/Drake – “Moment 4 Life”
Rihanna/Drake – “What’s My Name”
Trey Songz/Nicki Minaj – “Bottoms Up”

 MJ: Automatic “not a chance” songs here are Mindless Behavior and the ear-jerking Trey Songz/Nicki Minaj collaboration. My favorite song on the list is “What’s My Name,” 100 percent due to Rihanna’s vocals that help save the song from the mediocre verse Drake provides(The square root of 69 is 8-something, cuz ive been trying to work it out oooowwwwww……really? You’re  better than that Drake!). Although it may be my favorite, it definitely will not take the cake in a category featuring Lil Wayne. Even though I want to say “6’7,” the hot collaboration between three of hip-hop’s finest will take this award.

That leaves three awards for Chris Breezy, which is very good and something he should be very proud of. Maybe this is another step on the “Free Breezy” campaign that some people seem to be riding.

Before I go, let me mention this: Could BET have made it any easier for Nicki Minaj to win an award? Best Female Hip-Hop Artist features Minaj nominated along with….wait for it…Diamond(credible, I guess), Cymphonique(ummm….), and Lola Monroe(what…). Noticeably absent is Slip-N-Slide queen and one of the most consistent female rappers in the game, Trina.


The Diamond Princess didn’t take too kindly to this as she responded with a tweet that I won’t repeat. But lets see, Trina released an album last year that charted at #13 on the U.S. Billboards and #2 on the Top Rap Albums section of the U.S. Billboards. She also released a mixtape in March. Now what exactly has Lola Monroe, Cymphonique and even Diamond released? I rest my case.

“Red Nation” banned; Maybach Music makin’ moves

Compton’s favorite nephew Game has a new video banned from television. Can you guess what may have caused Viacom to ban the controversial rapper’s new video? 

Game "Showing his colors"

If Game’s affiliation with the infamous Blood gang was any part of your guess, you were correct. Now this isn’t the first time Game has had these issues, his “One Blood” video was banned until the Youtube video received over a million plays.
Funny thing is, Game finds the whole ordeal funny.   “Guess ya single gotta be called ‘Bubble Gum’ to get love ha ha ha…” Game said.

No Game, it doesn’t have to be called “Bubble Gum.” Maybe it just needs to not be associated with a universally frowned upon group that is associated with the numerous amount of crime cases in the United States.

These rappers that love to openly support gangs because they feel it boosts their street credibility, should find a new image, nobody wants to support a rapper who openly supports a street gang(Don’t even get me started on Lil’ Wayne). Considering I like Game and find him to be one of the more talented rappers in the hip-hop world, I hope he can find himself because right now he’s drifting off into lost territory. 

 

Today also marked the release of a new song from Maybach Music Group’s debut compilation album, “By Any Means.” The song features some nice verses from new signees, Meek Mills, Wale, Pill and a chorus from C.E.O. Rick Ross himself. 

Maybe this will start a trend. Some of the more lyrical rappers in the game(Joe Budden, Canibus, Cassidy etc  I’m talking to you), why not get on some better beats. As a huge fan of the more lyrical rappers in the game for the most part, I don’t think it would hurt to hop on some better beats.