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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”

Continue reading

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The 70 Best Hip-Hop Tracks of 2012….According to me (70-35)

A common phrase on the internet is “Nas Lost.”  The phrase is usually seen in the comments section of any article about Nas that indicates bad luck for him, and sometimes the news doesn’t even involve him.

Well I think Nas won.

In 2006, Nas’ album Hip-Hop is Dead was released to critical acclaim as well as criticism. The title was thought to be a shot at Southern Hip-Hop and many rappers such as Ludacris, Lil’ Wayne & Young Jeezy spoke out against Nas. Six years later, I think we can say Nas won as I could argue that that album was a landmark in hip-hop music. I’m crediting the release of that album as the moment that hip-hop music began an uphill climb from the fiery pit of snap-rap.

At this point, we should be proud of this past year’s crop of hip-hop songs. The year started off with a excitement and ended with new hope for a better 2013. I’d like to present the 70 best hip-hop songs of the past year according to me.

I ranked these songs according to how much I enjoyed the songs, not lyricism or the quality of the artist. If I thoroughly enjoy a song so much that I expect to be listening to it two years from now, it made this list.

Here we go.

70. Kirko Bangz – “Walk on Green

Labeled a Drake clone by some, this feel-good single for the summer shows Kirko just might be closer to killing all of those comparisons to his Canadian contemporary.

Best line: “Throw about twenty grand in the air / Told her walk up on that green”

69. Action Bronson – “Hookers at the Point

There might not be a better rapper in the game at the moment who could craft together the world of a hooker so effortlessly. A take on the HBO documentary of the same name, the second verse features Bronson doing his best Ghostface Killah impersonation as he raps as the vicious pimp Silk aka Montel.

Best Line: “The name Silk but all my bitches call me Montel / spit the marvel with the soft top not the hard shell.”

Continue reading

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Lost Rapper of the Month: February

It can be hard to be a long-term, successful rapper in the music industry today.

In today’s age, you have to get buzz by releasing mixtapes. You still have to gain more and more fans through the use of the internet and tours, but the difference between 2012 and 1998 is you can make great show money off of a mixtape. A gift and a curse.

The structure of the music industry is why most rappers don’t stick around for too long. After achieving some sort of buzz or recognition, most rappers eventually flame out. Jay-Z, Eminem, Snoop Dogg are all exceptions to the rule, mostly due to their ability to change with the times. Most emcees drift in and out of a “lost” phase where they can’t seem to generate buzz for their music or just flat-out disappear.

And so brings me Continue reading

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Lost Rapper of the Month (December 2011): Gucci Mane

It pains me to do this.

I mean it really causes me extreme discomfort to do this to a man who admittedly, is one of my favorite rappers that I’ve had the pleasure of being a fan of.

But it’s time to induct the man who had a good run as my favorite rapper from 2008-2010, Radric “Gucci Mane” Davis.

Remember this Gucci?

This was 2007-2008 Gucci Mane. Underground sensation. Creative legend in Atlanta. As Radric gained more and more success, the hits kept coming. If you were a fan of Gucci, you appreciated his work ethic. You appreciated that he never sold you any garbage;everything Gucci was saying was possibly true. From chickens cooking in the kitchen to an asphalt-colored Aston Martin being washed by a crew of crack junkies, everything coming from his mouth was believable. Secretly though, fans were worried that success might turn Gucci Mane into a lesser artist.

These fears were realized when this new “Gucci Mane” emerged in 2010:

A perfect example of what I’d like to call, “The Gucci Mane Theory.”

The Gucci Mane Theory: An artist who is loved before reaching mainstream success but hated once they reach the mainstream, even though the music quality has gotten better or hasn’t changed

Gucci wasn’t the first, but one of many artists to have this same issue. Gucci’s problem? The penal system of the United States. Gucci Mane left prison for the 47th time in January of this year and walked out into a new chapter of the book entitled Radric Davis’ career. A new chapter where he had lost most of his popularity. Where he was no longer regarded as the future of trap music, but as another troubled waste of a rapper in the eyes of “purist” fans.

Thus the ice cream tattoo…

Thus the quality of his music dramatically declining; There was a time when although he had his critics, there was a significant portion of rap music who viewed him as incredibly creative and consistent…

And now, we have a collaborative album with V-Nasty. And no I’m not lying.

I’m sure Gucci probably wants a check, Warner Brothers want a Gucci record and V-Nasty wants some fame but did this need to happen? And the worst part about it is I’m going to have to at least listen to it. Mostly because of the magic of Zaytoven beats & Gucci Mane, I’ll give it a listen. Will I like it? Probably not. But if Gucci doesn’t care enough about his career enough to stay out of a correctional facility and make better music, I doubt it if he REALLY cares if he sells more than 50,000 copies.

At this point in his career, the former So Icey boss is more concerned with a check than achieving real relevance in the rap game. This lack of passion has led me to induct Radric “Gucci Mane” Davis as the Lost rapper of the month for December.

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W.I.L.T. – What I’m Listening To 8/11/11

It’s been a big week for music. This Tuesday saw retail releases from hip-hop heavyweights Jay-Z and Kanye West, Atlanta trappers Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame and another release from DJ Khaled’s protegee Ace Hood. Today, I’d like to share some of the songs that have kept my Ipod burning over the past week in a series I’d like to call, WILT. What I’m Listening to. Continue reading

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Derrick Rose adidas; New Gucci Mane mixtape; Watch the throne

Over the weekend, I finally saw this Derrick Rose-Adidas commercial that I’ve heard so much about.
“Remember this number….9.8
That’s not the time on the shot clock…
Or the seconds left in the game…
It’s not the number of times I will light you up…
Nah, 9.8 isn’t any of that. It’s ounces. And that makes this (adiZero Crazy Light shoe) the lightest ever.” Continue reading

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