Tag Archives: hip hop

Make no mistake about it, Wheelchair Jimmy can rap: The 11 Best Lines from “5 a.m. in Toronto”

 

Man, has Wheelchair Jimmy made a name for himself or what?

Ever since he hit the scene, Aubrey “Drake” Graham has been on a quest for greatness. By his carefully planned tours(notice who he invites on tours and what they have in common,) his methodical approach to his albums and the strategic releases of his singles, it’s easy to see Drake is aiming for more than just critical acclaim – He wants to be great.

Although I may question his behavior and his sometimes monotonous voice, I can’t deny his ability the rap. He’s one of the most lyrical mainstream rappers out, so when he drops a single, most will listen. “Started from the Bottom” is okay and a pretty decent single but it doesn’t do too much for me.

“5 a.m. in Toronto” though? Flames.

Over a nasty Boi-1da instrumental, Drake takes a bushido blade and slices and dices his way through the murky piano loops, taking subtle but vicious jabs at his foes. Rumored lines towards Common(!), Chris Brown(!!) and the Weeknd(!!!) may have the internet buzzing, but what caught my attention is the amount of quotables present in this track. Drake was coming for the crown when he stepped in the booth and recorded this one.

With that said, here are the 11 Best lines from “5 a.m. in Toronto.”

11. “A couple albums dropped those are still on the shelf/I bet them shits would have popped if I was willing to help/ I got a gold trophy from the committee for validation…”

Meaning: Drake’s throwing shots at The Weeknd, allegedly for falling back on signing with Drake’s label. The Weeknd’s “Trilogy” could have done better with some real Drake features, just ask the Grammy committee.

Although it’s another example of the hyper-sensitive nature of rappers, it’s still a vicious statement from Drake. Why? Because if you think about it, he’s right.

10. “Without me, rap is just a bunch of orphans”

Meaning: Drake’s style has birthed a lot of rappers in the game *cough*Kirko Bangz*cough*

I tend to agree with this line as it seems to me that Drake has become a very influential rapper in the game at the moment. There are some rappers who take elements of his gameplan and make it work for them, while there are others…who are clones. Once again, *cou— No I’ll just say it, KIRKO BANGZ.

9. “B*tches loving my drive, I never give it a break”

Meaning: Girls love his ambition and how he never takes a break….Can also mean his sex drive….can also be driving as in a car and braking a car.

Amongst all of the other great lines, you might have missed this gem of a triple entendre. I swear, in between the corny sweaters, poses and public incidents, I forget Drake can rap sometimes.

 

8. “Cuz I show love, never get the same out of n*ggas, guess it’s funny how money can make change out of n*ggas”

Meaning: Once people get a little money and fame, they change. A play on the word, “change.”

Is this the realest statement Drake’s ever wrote? Although I’m quite sure there are some people who will tell you the same thing about young Aubrey.

7. “Wildin, doing sh*t that’s way out of your budget, Owl sweaters inside her luggage you gotta love it”

Meaning: Drake’s treating your girl to things you could never do for her.

I like Drake as a rapper, but he’s a known hater. “Marvin’s Room” was the thirstiest song of all time and he hasn’t changed since. If your girl is so tacky that she’s leaving Drake’s Ovo sweaters in her luggage, you need to drop her immediately. The fact that she’s slipping out on you with a guy who wears Owl sweaters should be the only excuse you need.

6. “I could load every gun with bullets that fire backwards, probably wouldn’t lose a single rapper”

Meaning: No real rappers are taking shots at Drake so he’s not worried.

Drake trying to get philosophical on the fans. Once he figures out how to make bullets that fire backwards, I’m sure the U.S. government will be knocking down his door.

5. “Give these n*ggas the look, the verse and even the hook, that’s why every song sound like Drake featuring Drake”

Meaning: If you listen to most of what’s out now, Drake has had such a hand in the music industry that everything sounds like his song.

He’s got a point, he’s everywhere. Outside of 2Chainz, Drake is everywhere. Which is why I found Drake’s position at #5 on MTV’s Hottest Emcee’s List absurd.

4. “Sinatra lifestyle/ I’m just being frank with you/ I mean, where you think she at when she ain’t with you?

Meaning: Shots at Chris Brown. Frank as in Frank Ocean, another person who dislikes Chris Brown.

Drake’s hurling shots at Chris Brown like fireballs. Another hater line but if there is anyone that deserves everything coming his direction, it’s Chris Shakur himself.

3. “The part I love most is they need me more than they hate me, so they never take shots I got everybody on safety”

Meaning: As much as people hate to admit it, Drake dominates the charts. So no one ever takes real shots at him.
Like him or hate him, check the billboards, he’s EVERYWHERE. “No Lie,” “Pop That,” “Amen,” “Poetic Justice,” “F*ckin Problems”….do I need to go on?

2. “All them boys in my will, All them boys is my Wills, anything happen to pop then I got you like Uncle Phil”

Meaning: Playing on “Will.” If anything happens to Drake, his closest friends will be in his will, he’ll take care of them like Uncle Phil did Will on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Sure, I’m giving this line more props because I love Fresh Prince. But who doesn’t love Fresh Prince? Plus, the line was actually clever.

1. “You underestimated greatly, most number ones ever how long did it really take me?”

Meaning: People doubted Drake but in 2 years, he’s already achieved the most number one rap songs ever, ahead of Diddy & Jay-Z.

Very impressive. Drake is a sure thing for hit, more so than any artist in recent memory. And more so than his lesser talented boss Lil’ Wayne. The opening line of the track is it’s best line, starting off the song reminding people who really runs the rap game, despite what some people say.

 

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I Hate Sensitive Rappers

 

I hate sensitive rappers. As a fan of rap music ever since I can remember, I can say with full confidence that I like my rappers tough. You don’t need to be the toughest Joe Schmo on the block, you just need to seem like every statement you spit on the microphone could be true. I don’t find people like J. Cole sensitive because he doesn’t rap over hard-hitting Mike Will/Lex Luger/Young Chop beats. Yet I find Kanye West sensitive for crying over MTV’s Hottest Emcee’s list and bringing up how he gave Sway a TV back in the day. :facepalm:

Sad thing is, it took me 10 years to realize that this is what I like most about rappers. I had always thought it was just mainstream radio that bothered me but it turns out I’d just rather not hear Drake talking about “busting a gun out” or “catching a body.”

Which brings me to the topic at hand today..your favorite rapper is sensitive. Super sensitive. A few weeks ago, Lil’ Wayne, upset that while sitting court side at Miami Heat games the players don’t acknowledge him, decided to go postal and dismiss Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He saved his harshest words for Bosh, claiming he slept with Chris’ wife…before they were married.

Now Lil Wayne being sensitive is no surprise. Who cares if you slept with her, you’re a superstar. For someone who claims to be a G, that was definitely not a gangster move.

The bad thing about liking my rappers tough, is that they realize that most people do. And because of this, they feel a need to over-exaggerate their personality. Remember Bow Wow’s “I might be from Atlanta, I might be from Ohio” stage? Chris Brown working hard each and every day to make me like him even less?  Rappers want attention and fame so they act tough, simple as that.

Once you realize this, you’ll be much better off as a rap fan 🙂

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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….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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Come and have a good time with G.O.O.D. Music: “Cruel Summer” Review

After releases from two of the other major camps in Hip-Hop music, Kanye West presents his crew’s offering to the world with: “G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer.”

Weird album covers aside, the 12-track LP actually features some great production, clever lyrics and classy features as well. Opening with Kanye West and a re-energized R. Kelly singing “To the World.” Listening to the first song, you get the impression that Kanye feels as he and his crew are on top of the world and everyone else can only look in admiration. Never short of big boasts, Kanye proclaims himself “the god emcee” while R.Kelly proclaims “The whole world is a couch/B*tch I’m Rick James and I’m not giving a f*ck tonight.” Any Dave Chappelle reference is going to be a hit to me.

Some of the more known songs follow as Big Sean gets a feature with his two idols ‘Ye and Jay-Z. We all know “Mercy” but one of the other standouts is “New God Flow.” The original leak only showcased Pusha T & Kanye. The album cut features the man whom the song samples, Pretty Tony himself Ghostface Killah. Ghost comes through and puts the nail in the coffin with a verse reminiscent of his Supreme Clientele days.

Directly after is “The Morning,” where another legendary Wu-Tang Clan member “The Chef” Raekwon comes through and provides one of the best verses on the entire album.  On a beat that sounds more complex than you would imagine, The Chef spits some of his more hard-hitting rhymes of the past few years. “They yellin’ Chef, kill the plate with the cooks/I said ‘Ye with 2 chainz on, we Common let’s push”…..if you can’t get it, I even spelled the names out in the line.

While “The Morning” is great, it also showcases one of my biggest criticisms of the album: Common has maybe seven bars on the entire album and they’re on this song.  SEVEN BARS ON THE ENTIRE ALBUM. And here’s another shocker: Mos Def has none. How Chief Keef finds his way on the album Mos Def doesn’t is beyond me. Two of the best rappers on the roster need a little more time on the album. Not even a Q-Tip showing! And there was plenty of space for them as the album is only 12 tracks long. On my first listen, I was completely caught off guard when the album ended. If I’m going to continue to buy more albums, I’m going to need a bit more than 12 tracks.

All-in-all, the album is very solid from start to finish. Ma$e shows up with a surprising stand-out verse on “Higher” and John Legend and Teyana Taylor actually sound really good together on “Bliss.” The only artist on the roster to receive a solo track, Kid Cudi gives you another offering of basic Kid Cudi. While I’m a fan of his work and this short hymn was enough to get me excited for future releases, “Creepers” seemed more like an interlude than actual track. I felt as if on a 12-song album with no Mos Def and not enough Common, a 2 minute Kid Cudi hymn could have been left for a mixtape.

The album won’t break any new ground but it’s a nice beginning offering from the G.O.O.D. camp. I don’t think it necessarily places them above or below any other rap crew but it’s a good sign of things to come. As arrogant as Kanye West seems to be, there is no denying that the guy is a genius when it comes to music. Cruel Summer doesn’t disappoint.

4/5

Three Standouts:

Mercy
New God Flow
Bliss

 

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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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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: January

It’s that time again. I know it’s been close to a month since I’ve dropped some knowledge and truth about some of these rappers and their careers, but after going through an old Dipset mixtape of mine, I was immediately inspired to add to the Lost Rapper Hall of Fame……..

Juelz Santana.

At one time considered the next platinum-selling superstar of Roc-A-Fella Records, Juelz Santana started his career with two features off of Cam’ron’s “S.D.E.” album and gripped that into a record deal as a member of the Diplomats in 2002. After generating buzz by being prominently featured on Dipset mixtapes and his own solo tape, Santana rode a wave of praise and released his debut album, “From Me to U” in 2003, receiving a Gold plaque in the process.

After another Gold-certified album release(2005’s What the Game’s been Missing”) and a rumored collaboration album with Hip-Hop’s it-boy Lil’ Wayne, Juelz seemed to be on the top of his game and ready to make a splash on the game.

Until somewhere along the way, Juelz became lost.

In my opinion, the disbanding of the Diplomats is what put a dent in the career of Santana. While Jim Jones and Cam’ron continued to butt heads behind closed doors, Juelz aligned himself with Jimmmy and even performed on stage with 50 Cent, a sworn enemy of Cam’ron. Meanwhile, Born to Lose, Built to Win, the third album of Santana received numerous delays as proper singles couldn’t be found for the album.

“The Second Coming” was one of these “singles” that actually received attention and buzz within the Hip-Hop community. Juelz couldn’t seem to capitalize on this as he seemed more concerned with launching I Can’t Feel My Face, a collaborative effort with Lil’ Wayne, than launching his own album. As Wayne gained more and more popularity, it seemed as if the project would never be released and to this day, it hasn’t.

In 2009, Santana teased his fans by releasing a horrible single with upcoming rapper Yelawolf titled, “Mixin’ Up the Medicine” before getting in legal trouble after having his music studio raided by police. Charged with possessing a firearm, handgun and possession of a controlled substance.

For 2012, Juelz Santana can find himself and his career with the release of more music. He has a very steady fan base full of people who still think he can come out tomorrow and run New York. Juelz should forget about the project with Lil’ Wayne, focus on his album as well as music for the upcoming Diplomats album. Until Santana figures this out and stands out as his own person instead of following behind Cam’ron & Jim Jones, he’s lost. The hunger is still there(as evidenced by his hungry performance on the Lloyd Banks smash hit, Beamer, Benz or Bentley, but it will take more than a feature or two to join rap’s elite.

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Rap’s Most Valuable Player: 1987

1987 has been called a pivotal year in Hip-Hop music. Almost as if we were seeing the passing of the torch, several influential acts began their careers by launching projects in 1987.

LL Cool J released "BAD: Bigger and Deffer" in 1987

One of the most polarizing figures of the 1980s, LL Cool J welcomed BAD: Bigger and Deffer to the world. Although the album is colorful, fun and features one of the most well-known and boastful songs in hip-hop history(I’m Bad), it’s a step down from the pure, unadulterated rawness that was Radio. Though with the power of “I’m Bad” and the original hip-hop love ballad “I Need Love,” LL Cool J still scored another hit as the album achieved mainstream success once again.

Not everything was good for Cool J though. Kool Moe Dee, a member of the pioneering Hip-hop group The Treacherous Three, began denouncing LL Cool J for plagiarizing his style and being a bit too cocky after his mainstream success. It was in 1987 that Kool Moe Dee released “How Ya Like Me Now” which featured LL’s trademark red Kangol hat being crushed under a jeep. Continue reading

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Rap’s Most Valuable Player: 1986

Where 1985’s selection of LL Cool J may have been an easy choice in the eyes of some, 1986 proved that this series may not be as easy as I think.

LL Cool J is another nominee for the title of Rap’s MVP for 1986 as he is still riding the success of Radio. LL might find his name mentioned throughout the 80’s and possibly the early 90’s. We haven’t even made it to my favorite album(Walking with a Panther) yet and I’ve already mentioned LL twice.

Another option for me was The Beastie Boys. Three white boys who came and revolutionized rap music with their brand of punk-rap. 1986 was the year that the trio released their debut album, Licensed to Ill(If there was an award for best album title of 1986, Beastie Boys would win hands down IMO), and became a worldwide success, achieving the first and only 5 microphone award from The Source magazine. Five mics was a big deal back then and to gain those type of props is definitely MVP-worthy.

As worthy as the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J are, the award for MVP of 1986 goes to….

….

………Run-D.M.C!

From Left to Right: Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, Darryl "D.M.C" McDaniels, and Joseph "Run" Simmons

Sure the group had been around before 1986, but it was the release of their masterpiece of an album, Raising Hell that allowed the group from Hollis, Queens to change the perception of how successful hip-hop music can be. It can be argued that before the release of this album, hip-hop was regarded as a passing fad that would eventually fade away with time.

Certified triple-platinum and receiving five mics from The Source Magazine, the album was benefited by the addition of Rick Rubin as a producer. Rubin, who had previously worked with LL on his Radio debut, helped popularize hip-hop music with his work on this album along with the works of the Beastie Boys. The single “Walk this Way,” which featured Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, became one of the first fusions of rap and rock music to rock the charts. The video for the single also received heavy rotation on the MTV video network(Videos on MTV….seems so stone-age) and helped to Aerosmith find a resurgence in their careers.

There is has also been talk of this album being the start of what is known as the golden age of hip-hop music. The commercial and crossover success of Raising Hell may have helped to influence an incredible period of financial success for hip-hop music. During this period, it seemed as if the music of every credible artist was bringing something new to the table and to the ears of fans everywhere. This is the era that produced some of the best lyrical tyrants, from a Big Daddy Kane, to a Rakim or Nas, surpreme lyricism and political messages loomed within the music. Bars of Black nationalism were also present in many of the songs released during this day and age.

Raising Hell inspired an entire generation of music. That’s more than 98% of rap artists will be able to say in their entire lifetime. For that, I salute you Run-D.M.C. as the Most Valuable Players of 1986.

1985: LL Cool J
1986: Run-D.M.C.
1987: ?

R.I.P. Jam Master Jay

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