Tag Archives: frank ocean

2013…What I’ve liked and disliked (so far)

Personally, 2013 has been a wonderful year for me. New relationships, good times, decent money, new ideas….I can’t complain. So far this year, we’ve seen the Golden Globes, new hip-hop albums from A$ap Rocky and Joe Budden, the National Championship and the Super Bowl.

The news hasn’t disappointed either with interesting and sometimes sad stories filling our television screens.Here’s what I’ve liked so far:

 


 

Artists I support racking up Grammys:
Watching the 2013 Grammy Awards was like one triumphant fist bump after another for me. After an entire year of singing the praises of Frank Ocean, Miguel & The Black Keys, all three collected awards at this year’s show.

 

The actual Super Bowl game:
Although I could care less about either team, I was surprised to see a competitive and hard-fought game. I found myself leaning towards the Ravens but being non-committed to either team, my emotions wavered the entire game. Did Joe Flacco take that invisible next step this game?

 

Beyonce Halftime Performance:
Not the biggest fan of her music as it seems to not be catered towards my demo….but….she killed it. I even enjoyed the Destiny’s Child mini-reunion. If you hate Beyonce at this point, accept your invitation to next year’s Playa Hater’s Ball.

 

ASAP Rocky’s First Week sales:
Normally having your album leak a month before it’s due would be a death curse….not for one of Harlem’s own. Rocky sold around 140k his first week. I even bought the deluxe best buy copy as I’m a sucker for t-shirts.

 

Season Four of Justified:


One of the best shows on television continued it’s fourth season this year. If early action of the first half of the season continue, this could be the best season of the series yet. The acting is as good as you’ll see on television.

 

Watching Sloane Stephens defeat Serena Williams in the Australian Open:
As much as I support Serena, it was good to see her eventual successor as best American female tennis player get her first big victory over such a polarizing figure. More wins will come Sloane.

 

The Silver Linings Playbook; A Haunted House:
I was pleasantly surprised by the The Silver Linings Playbook; great cast, interesting story and even slight and not overbearing humor. I’ll listen more often to movies a special person recommends to me from now on. Meanwhile A Haunted House was exactly what I expected it to be: not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination but gets the job done by making me laugh. That’s all I ask from the Wayans Brothers.

 

Mixtapes keep getting better:
We are all spoiled by the hip-hop mixtape game. Rappers are putting out album quality tapes and because of the quantity of music released in this day and age, most of the music only has replay value for a week or less. Gucci Mane kept pushing with Trap God 2, Pusha T might have reignited his buzz with Wrath of Caine and Kevin Gates threw his name into the Newcomer of the Year hat with the Luca Brasi story.

 

Mike Will Made It Breakfast Club Interview:

 

This interview not only let me get a look into the mind of one of the hottest producers out at the moment, but also showed me that Mike just sees music in a different light than anyone else doing it in hip-hop.

 

JT is back:
When Justin Timberlake announced he was returning to music, I had no idea he meant so soon. He dropped “Suit & Tie” to rave reviews before releasing “Mirrors.” With artists like Frank Ocean, Miguel & The Weeknd, maybe this will be what R&B needs to return to relevance. At best, maybe it will help Trey Songz put more thought and emotion into his music.

 

 

Chris Brown:
Just when you think it’s safe to like Chris Brown, he does something to make you remember why you don’t care for him in the first place. Until further notice, Chris Brown will be referred to as “Chris Shakur” since he seems to think he’s thugging. This year so far has seen Chris Brown get into a fight with Frank Ocean over a parking spot(allegedly) and injure his hand. We don’t know who started the fight but I think I’d rather spew my venom to the woman-beating, gay-slur screaming psycho Chris Shakur.

 

Lupe Fiasco kicked off stage at an Inauguration Party for anti-Obama remarks:
Now even though the real loser in this situation is whoever invited Lupe, Lupe is going to take the blame here. Whether you like President Obama or not, the event was in support of the President. Instead, this idiot comes on stage and starts to preach his alien nonsense before being thrown off stage. Are you really going to trust a man who dressed as Whoopi Goldberg for the Grammy’s?

 

Beef in Hip-Hop:
What a sad day we live in when 2013 beef consists of Meek Mill vs. Cassidy & Drake vs. Chris Brown. Does anyone care about Meek & Cassidy? Instead of focusing so much of his attention on Cassidy, Meek Mill should focus on making a better second album after setting a new standard for mediocrity with Dreams and Nightmares. 

And I can’t be the only one who feels as if Drake vs. Chris Brown is equivalent to Letoya Luckett vs. Kelly Rowland? These are two guys arguing over the affection of Rihanna. RIHANNA. Not a good look for either of them.

 

Steve Francis sneaking into All-Star Weekend looking fresh off a 30-year bid:

 

Let’s see….we’ve got up-and-coming rapper French Montana. NBA Legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving. And what looks like Dr J’s cracked-out older brother…oh wait…that’s just Steve Francis.

I have no desire to see any of my favorite players after a certain age. After watching Mitch Richmond in the celebrity all star game last year,  I was scared for life. Steve Francis is only 35 years old.  And he already resembles a junkie. The years have not been good to Stevie Franchise.

 

Manti Teo: A Catfish Story
Whether Teo was really Catfish’d or not, one thing is clear: the guy has the IQ of a potato. How do you get duped for three years? The worst part of all this? I was all in on Teo winning the Heisman and a big reason for this was what he had to overcome during the season.

 

The Lakers sink to new lows:


Here’s your starting five: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. How can you be so bad? Old, yes. Slow, definitely. Injury-ridden, of course. But a team with three MVPs and too many all-star appearances to count shouldn’t be this terrible.

 

People complaining and arguing Kaleidoscope Dream over Channel Orange:
Do I prefer MIguel’s album to Frank’s? I do. But do I feel it was a big urban misjustice to see Frank nomimated? Not at all. Both great albums with their  individual flaws, but Frank winning more isn’t a slight to Miguel. It’s a sign of more good things to come from music.

 

Lil’ Wayne finding new lows for lyricism:
“Beat that p**** up like Emmett Till”
This is an actual line from the remix of Future’s “Karate Chop,” an otherwise great, high-energy song featuring Lil’ Wayne. This is the problem with music: too many yes men. I’m sure during the process of recording, someone  heard this lyric and hated it. Yet no one said anything because he’s Lil’ Wayne. Even Stevie Wonder had a problem with this.

 

The existence of Azealia Banks:


She makes headlines for her controversies more so than her music. You forget the chick can actually spit because she just doesn’t know when to shut up. I can’t support artists like this. If you’re going to constantly let trolls such as Perez Hilton continue to bait you, you’re never going to get anywhere.

 

Lost rappers remain lost:
Who told Master P it was a good idea to keep rapping? Oh yeah, someone with an ice cream cone on their face. Master P,trying to rekindle magic from the mid-90’s recruits Alley Boy & Fat Trel for a mixtape titled, “Louie V Mob” and no one checked for it. Kris Kross is apparently considering a comeback. For the last time, would someone let lost rappers know the truth! I’m more surprised Kris Kross are even still in contact with each other, much less considering a comeback.

 

Stay tuned for my next blog post concerning the next artists to blow….

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The 70 Best Hip-Hop Tracks of 2012 (34-1)

The first edition of this list was met with praise and also some scrutiny. Here’s the second and final installment.

34. Game – “Heaven’s Arms

game2_full

Game had a big 2012 as he managed to put together an album full of features that actually sounded pretty good. My personal favorite was this track which featured Game putting on a lyrical clinic over a smooth Michael Jackson sample.

Best Line: “He be where the summer be, I be where the winter go”

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I’ll support you, Frank Ocean.

It’s a taboo subject within a genre that emphasizes masculinity at every turn. Although it’s known that the music industry is filled with people who identify themselves as homosexual, some people refuse to acknowledge that it exists. It’s like some people truly believe that every artist is straight and it’s blasphemy to think otherwise. As if every hip-hop artist is toting pistols and gang-bangin’ like they try to portray in their music. It makes no sense.

As of a couple of days ago, we may be on our way towards more openness in music.

On his tumblr page, Odd Future’s Frank Ocean posted a letter that was intended for the closing thank you’s of his upcoming July 17 album, Channel Orange. In the letter, the singer admitted that his first love was in fact, a man.

Ocean immediately received support from fellow Odd Future member Tyler the Creator, Russell Simmons, Solange Knowles and many others. Even co-author of Jay-Z’s book Decoded, Dream Hampton, wrote a letter in support of Frank Ocean’s decision. But where there is positive support, there is negative criticism. Many people decided to call Frank Ocean gay slurs and claim that they can’t listen to his album. Bombarding the man’s twitter timeline with negative comment after negative comment, showing their true colors as bigots.

If the man’s own mother supports him, why should we as fans say anything different. It’s his personal decision to love whoever he wants to love behind closed doors. If anything, I admire Frank Ocean. Hip-hop culture is and has been homophobic for ages. In taking a risk as big as this one was, he essentially slapped conventional wisdom in the face and allowed himself to be free to write whatever music he feels like writing. He has complete artistic freedom in the writing of his songs.

It’s hard enough just trying to be a black man in America. But as a heterosexual black man, I can’t imagine being a bisexual man would make things much easier. But I’ll still be supporting Frank Ocean on July 17th. His sexual preference changes nothing; the guy is still a genius songwriter with an incredible ceiling. And if someone wants to call Frank Ocean names for having feelings for either sex, maybe you take a look in the mirror and think about who you are. Real, confident people could care less what another person does in their private life.

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No Church in the Wild: Why can’t more rap songs be like this?

Jay-Z & Frank Ocean diligently at work

It took almost eight months and a lonely drive back from Chattanooga before I finally came to appreciate the masterpiece that is “No Church In the Wild,” a song by legends Jay-Z & Kanye West(yes) and newcomer Frank Ocean.

I had heard the song on a countless number of occasions but why did it take this one listen for my ears to adjust to this excellent piece of music? The same reason why anyone likes a song months after they originally heard it: they weren’t listening to begin with.

After 37 or so more listens, I’ve become convinced that the track is a modern day classic. How many times will we see a mainstream rap song played across radio stations with references to the Holy Trinity, Plato’s Euthyphro, AND the Great Chain of Being?!?!

Illustration of The Great Chain of Being

Just think about this for a minute. At the height of his fame, veteran rapper Canibus was criticized for being too “intellectual” in his rhymes or “complicated.” I’ve heard friends shun Immortal Technique for this same reason. But two big time rappers just did the exact same thing and are preparing to release it as the last single for their album!

The main lyrics of the album that have me so fascinated are apart of the hook:

“Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a God?
What’s a God to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?
Will he make it out alive? Alright, alright, no church in the wild”

A.K.A.

King > Mob
God > King
God vs. Non-Believer??

Although I am a believer, I can appreciate it when music can make me think about my beliefs in life, and not just based on religion. The hook was so powerful to me that it has inspired my first movie script, which I will be posting in its entirety on One Brother to Another unless I decide otherwise.

But the major point of this post? A message for rappers today: I enjoy clubbing and losing my mind and going H.A.M. but why not switch it up every now and then and change the content of your lyrics? If you really want to be appreciated(as the waves of support and positive feedback this song has received shows), maybe you should try and make us fans want to pick up a book or do a Google search every now and then rather than pick up a bottle of Grey Goose.

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