Tuesday, September 29, 2015
I like groups that hit upon a unique signature sound and then run that shit into the ground with minute (and ultimately inferior) variations of the original thing, provided they've articulated something singular or sui generis. Better to strike genius once than spend ya whole career being competent in new and impressive ways.
I think Doughboyz Cashout have that something. So pleezbelieve I'm not really hating when I say "Raw Shit" sounds like they been gettin high on their own supply (and we ain't talkin bout that Amy Adams). New Doughboyz is better than nothing, but with each release it's increasingly apparent that they're doomed to making good but inferior revisions of "Da Mob," their urtext and manifesto, on which their collective youth and bravado added up to a hustler's "93 'til Infinity." Hurts, too, when that song's video, a vignette of Detroit life structured loosely around the Slacker frame, is a minor classic in the age of Final Cut hacks. Yeah "Raw Shit" bangs, and I like HBK's "It's ironic how I ball and I'm travellin" line, but that ineffable quality is missing. Could be the Boyz came upon their "Ante Up" too soon. As it stands, ya boy would rather continue banging "Down Bottom" on repeat until the rest of the tape drops. Real hip-hop, kidd!
Monday, September 28, 2015
Slug Christ forgive me, but I'll never love Rakim as much as I respect him. Yeah you might see me twisted off the peppermint schnapps flexin on "Microphone Fiend" with some fierce and fabulous pantomimes, but I've accepted the sad truth that I'll never relate to him in the same way as someone who remembers the days of dookie ropes and Dapper Dan. It's the same wit a cat like Moses. I can read up on his movement and respect all the mainey shit he did, but it's a triflin' substitute compared to the visceral trouser shitting enjoyed by the fruitflies who actually saw him part those seas. I'll never be able to step outside the reality where a group of elders put The R on a pedestal when my moms was still shovin a spoon of Gerber at my face tryin to tell me it was an airplane. It is what it is.
So in spite of the obtrusive guiding track, it's a revelation to see him rock the Apollo in his prime, as a tangible figure who put on his jean ensembles one arm and pant leg at a time, whose primary concerns were crotch thrusts and moving the crowd. Much love to the reverential white guys and old timers attending his shows today, but a rap show ain't supposed to resemble Sunday mass. It's glorious to behold: the only person standing still is Eric B, and you're allowed to look like a gargoyle when you're as heavy as that MF. That's word to G. Rap and Extra P.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Buckwild is the dark horse of the '90s super-producers. Maybe it's his name, so generic it could be a self-referential parody of the East Coast ruffneck style, but he's the kind of paradox who's so consistent and omnipresent that he can fade into the background, until one day you pull out an old chessnut, peep the credits, and bug out: "Oh shit, he did that?"
I didn't know, for example, that he produced the best song on The B. Coming. A couple years later he was working with Playaz Circle. If you heard anything from those sessions it was probably "U Can Believe It" off Supply & Demand (co-produced with JR Rotem, a riddle who deserves his own debunking). You'd be forgiven for not knowing "You Ain't Got Enough," which appeared on a DTP comp fated to rot in dusty corners of FYEs across the nation, absorbing the exhaust of the Cinnabon and Wetzel's Pretzels stalls as Fast & Furious movies came and went. Lines like "My ring look like I peed on my pinkie" are why I consider the erstwhile Tity Boi to be the greatest bad rapper of his generation.
Looking back, although it already seemed like New York had been dead forever, the mid-'00s were more textured than that - a strange transitional time when Primo hit the pop charts, Buckwild worked with 2 Chainz, and Ego Trip had a show on VH1, before the formalists closed the borders and became a micro-concern unto themselves.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
I'm drowning in all this content, mayne. First Barter 6, then Rich Gang got hax0red on some Johnny Lee Miller shit; now Slime Season drops in the same week Future and Drake subject the world to a friendship bracelet on wax? Too much is too much when it's too much! Pretty soon you find yaself wild-eyed, screaming,"The Unabomber had a point!" to the drive-thru crew at Jack in the Box, until you fall to your knees in your supervillain moment of self-realization, arms reaching toward the heavens in bewildered supplication like, "What have I become?"
Remember when a leak could compromise an entire project? A guy like Dr. Dre might have scrapped the whole thing and shot some more steroids into his butt, but Yang Thurg just goes ahead and puts em on his new 'tape - six of the joints on Slime Season are reprinted courtesy of the Rich Gang Liberation of 2015. Some might see this as a sign that the artist has effectively liberated himself from the commercial apparatus, that it's just about the music now that records don't sell, but I don't know. I'm no economist, despite the numbers I'm doing slangin meringue, but I do know this: commodification don't die, it multiplies.
Since Young Thug killed words and inaugurated a post-verbal order, each post on this website will now be a series of baby noises recorded in .wma format. Googoo gaga, bitch. Also, does anyone care about Rich Homie Quonset Hut anymore? My man needs to kiss 'n' make up with Yurng Thag 'less he wanna end up like Shelley Long when she left Cheers.
Saturday, September 19, 2015
DJ Chose: "Where you're from is who you are." MC Beezy concurs: "I'm just a product of my environment." This the same shit Naturalists was pushin in the 19th century. Basically, these funboys jocked Darwin & Rous to the I.Z.Z.O., and said it ain't a person's fault if they're a lame or a Herbert or even a thot - they just a product of their environment. Nature vs. nurture.
In Vol. 2 of his My Struggle mixtape series, Karl Ove Mausberg is like, "Naaaah, Ion really fuck with that bruh." That kind of thinking might sound humanistic at first glance, like we all born equal until society comes out to hate on us, but later on you realize it's just a fuckass "expression of a mechanistic attitude to man, who, born empty, allows his life to be shaped by his surroundings." Boom, hot fire. He quotes his weed carrier Geir quotin some Scandinavian MF quotin the OG Bergman as saying, "...he would have been Bergman irrespective of where he had grown up, implying, in other words, that you are who you are whatever your surroundings. Yung Lean would have been wack no matter where he was born, his wack rapperness is intrinsic. By no chance could he be rare or secrete." Jay-Z follows this line of thinking on "Public Service Announcement" when he goes, "Man you was who you was 'fore you got here."
This argument can be traced back to the dawn of time, when Rakim declared, "It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at." In the New Testament, Havoc flipped it with the ill rejoinder: "Fuck where you at, kid, it's where you're from." DJ Chose & MC Beezy contradict themselves cause they sound less like H-Town constituents than DJ Mustard affiliates, with a little ATL glitz thrown in the fondue pot - specs on factory setting like they grew up in a Clear Channel focus group. It ain't where you're from, it's wherever motherfuckers are spending money. These rappers are lyin to you, mayne, but it's all good - they gave me a hot single and helped me deal with some deep-ass questions I be askin when I talk to the Holy Ghost from my Bugatti bunkbed.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Though ultimately a reminder that JT and Trick were the first *great* rappers to come out of Miami, Induce's mix of Miami rap obscurities adds some new swatches to the big tapestry. For instance, I wasn't aware that boomshackalacka! rap ever took root down here. In what must be evidence of the universal language of aggressive onomatopoeia, the "I HIT SKINZ IN BLACK TIMS!" subset of '90s East Coast rap somehow carved a niche in a city that has never been shy about its love for the color pink. Raider Klan may literally owe its existence to the emissions of G-Shorties.
Don't know anything about I.B.M. except the backronym (Innovation Brings Music), but the street content and horn-y loop of "It's All In The Game" is more representative of Miami rap's eternal East/South dialectic than certain refugees of the Fat Beats budget bin. Thanks to Drew Huge for liberating this enjoyable yet overpriced rarity. Collecting random rap: not even once.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
YouTube killed the video star, and that's aight with me. I was tired of seein the same cheeseburger in paradise visuals, bunch of dudes hangin out on the beach wearin wifebeaters and plaid shorts, presumably poppin boners from watchin all them callipigeons saunter by in pieces from Satan's summer line. I'm only interested in one thing, rarely answered by the waist-up framing: Are they rocking sandlogged Air Forces or the effete open toe? Cam don't get enough credit for ending an entire footwear's career. Nigh ten years later, ya boy still dealin with unresolved sandal issues.
Today there's 100 sub-minor masterpieces in place of every gauche cumshot of the Clinton era. It's better that way, provided you're on the side of quantity. In spite of the apparent sausage party in the hotel room, the video for "Way I'm Acting" faithfully transposes the narcotic slop of its source with the modest workmanship that now defines the independent rap featurette - real people, real stories. In addition to the fantastically arrogant and hateful break-up jam "Mr. Perfect" ("Bitch left me for a spot on the couch, at her baby daddy momma house!"), Down To The Wire 3's one-two punch of "Way I'm Acting" and "Finessin & Twistin" got ya boy sloshin his Vicks, screamin "Izzo Kizmet!" at the Brazilians next door. A come up and come down for sloppy nights of unspeakable activities. Central bookings is thatta way, man!
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Cash Money and No Limit homages might be the easiest way into the hearts of rap enthusiasts of a certain age and sensibility. Call it pandering if you must, but I'll gladly lap it up until Post Malone drops a shot-for-shot remake of the "Ha" video in ironic blackface.
Having grown up knowin nothin but Esham, Royce, and revolting D12 side projects, I can almost forgive myself for ripping my Van Winkle on the D. Now I lay in wait for the day Officer Morton descends upon the city, washing all the trash and scum off the streets one comical juxtaposition at a time. So what if the commissioner thinks he's a loose cannon? That's the kind of guy who'll earn a shield or die trying.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
What mean the world to Pimp? / My paper, steak and shrimp
The semiotics of Surf-N-Turf. The signification of Steak & Shrimp. I know y'all been clamoring for a mix showcasing the shifting valences of rap's favorite dish. Y'all in ya whips puttin ya swerve on the lil mama who works the counter at Rite Aid, or you're tryna get some of that salciccia from Jose down at the bodega, and you want them feckless little impoverished miscreants to know you got that paper, that shrimp and steak money, but ya ain't got the right mix to show off how your prodigious Surf-N-Turf consumption barely registers on your itemized income report cause you're paid like that.
Well thank me later, cause ya boy done cooked up the hardest Surf-N-Turf bangers out there. None of the weak shit over here - we strictly eatin Pappadeaux's or better, praise Lil Cease for correcting LL's déclassé Red Lobster indiscretion on the OG "Big Ole Butt." Some of these joints take Surf-N-Turf as the central theme. Sometimes it's mentioned only in passing, a shorthand signifier for the spoils of success as contrasted with the basic slop they was eatin before they got crabcaked up. Gastroeconomic metonyms, ya feel? On occasion it's a significant background detail on which the narrative depends. Surf-N-Turf: rap's secret hero.
You'll notice that the Spirit of Sweet Jones suffuses the mix. Only right cuz he remains the Surf-N-Turf King. If he were alive we'd be putting a $50 Pappadeaux certificate in the mail right now. Since he ain't, we gonna let that shit devaluate and watch Fredo and Dolph scrap it out for the title of Surf-N-Turf Dauphin. Enjoy it, cuzzo, and try not to let another chilling-in-retrospect South Park Mexican song fuck up ya chi.
GET IT HOW U LIVE
1. GETO BOYS - "1, 2, The 3"
2. PUFF DADDY - "Big Ole Butt" (ft. Lil Cease)
3. DAVID BANNER - "Like A Pimp" (ft. Lil Flip)
4. LIL ROB & LUCKY LUCIANO - "From SD To H-Town"
5. GUCCI MANE - "Damn Shawty" (ft. Young Snead)
6. PLIES - "I Got It"
7. TRAVIS PORTER - "Aww Yea"
8. YUNG NATION - "Pimp" (ft. Beatking & DJ Chose)
9. CAM'RON - "What Means The World To You? (Remix)" (ft. Ludacris, Juelz Santana, Trina, UGK)
10. SPM - "Runaway"
11. MAC DRE - "Fortytwo Fake" (ft. PSD)
12. RICH THE KID - "Goin Krazy (Remix)" (ft. YG)
13. YOUNG THUG - "Foreign" (ft. Hellacoppa)
14. FREDDY G - "Paper, Steak & Shrimp" (ft. Kevin Gates & King J)
15. GUNPLAY - "Numbers On The Board"
16. CURREN$Y - "Talk My Shit"
17. AUDIO PUSH - "Do It All" (ft. James Fauntleroy & Vic Mensa)
18. UGK - "The Pimp & The Bun" (ft. Ronald Isley)
19. RAPPIN' 4-TAY - "Playa 4 Life" (ft. Master P)
20. LE$ - "Steak N Shrimp" (ft. Paul Wall & Slim Thug)
Friday, September 4, 2015
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Bun B vs. Bol. Heems vs. Noz. Tyler, The Creator vs. Eskay & at least 1 of the Dopeboyz. Guess you ain't no one in this blog game until you earn your first beef. As Stanley Crouch said before suplexing Harry Allen for the honor of Wynton Marsalis, "If you can write, you can fight." And while my offers to fight everyone from Jay Electronica to Joey Badass still stand, these MFs are just too chickenshit to knuck up 'gainst tha kidd.
But with Louis Logic, People Under The Stairs, and Jean Grae comin for that ass, Oliver Wang remains the beefmaster - that AZN backpackers love to hate. So what if these names ring more bells in a food co-op than the streets? After all the anemic Drake-Meek e-thuggery, it's so necessary to revisit the days when hate was hate and beef was more than a marketing strategy. Here's hoping O-Dub got a sharp No. 2 in his pocket if Jean ever catches him slipping.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Plies will never be a critic's darling, but he has something infinitely more valuable: co-signs from Star and Lord Jamar. Although often painted as a homophobe, L.J. didn't seem to mind when Star got handsy after Vlad plied em with orange juice and vodka like a creepy upperclassman.
Anywho, Plies test-drives some Jahlil Beats on Ain't No Mixtape Bih, but them shits is like ascots and cravats: great if you can pull em off, but they ain't for everybody. The best songs are produced by Shawn T. "I Got It" is G-funk meets Miami Vice - one hand on the strap, the other on my Keytar. Plies rides the wave with goon exuberance, cause this one's for the ignorant MFs riding Sea Doos into bridges (apologies to Sean Kingston).
Apropos of nothing, Plies could have had a second career as a horror movie villain if 40 Glocc had successfully kicked down the mens room door. It's the end of the movie. Our protagonist is in bed, finally safe. They never found Plies's body, but surely nothing could have survived that kind of immolation...Or could it? He blows out the candle and closes his eyes when he hears a voice braying against the silence: "Pussy ass..."