Sunday, October 30, 2005

R.I.P Jam Master Jay....

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Three years today. Damn, how many murders in the hip-hip world will go unsolved. If he wasn't a hip-hop star this murder would have been solved by now and he could rest in peace. Instead three years later, and nothing.

Forever a legend.

Run DMC - Jammaster Jay


Run DMC - It's Tricky

One of the greatest groups of all time.

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If life was simple....

If only life was simple, then:

  • The Bomb Squad would reform.
  • Outkast would drop an Outkast album.
  • No I.D would get back in the game in a major way.
  • Tribe would be recording a new album.
  • Half the artists on Aftermath/G Unit/Random label name, would disappear.
  • Jay Z would make a comeback, and finally record something that does his potential justice.
  • Prince Paul would get more shine.
  • De La would hook up with aforementioned Mr. Paul for one more album.
  • Method Man would finally drop something worth listening to.
  • Primo would make good beats again.
  • 9th Wonder would switch his drums up.
  • People would stop jocking artists that are 'underground' because it gives them some bullshit street cred.
  • People would stop saturating the sped up sample thing. Leave that shit to like the people that do it well.
  • People would stop raving about Chopped and Screwed music, if I don't like it then I don't like it.
  • Pete Rock and C.L Smooth would realise that neither have been as consistent as they were together.
  • AZ/Nas/Mega would do an album together.
  • Native Tongues would do an album. I'm talking Tribe/De La/Black Sheep and JBeez, yeah playa.
  • Busta Rhymes will go back to making music like he used to with L.O.N.S.
  • Dre will start producing again.
  • Eminem will start mc'ing again.
  • Cypress Hill would give up on the rock tip.
  • I would do a blog post worth reading.

Peace.



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Friday, October 28, 2005

I'm out for presidents to represent me...



So the streets are buzzing, the internet is buzzing, no doubt New Jersey and New York are buzzing, and well hip hop is buzzing.

In case you've been hiding under a rock, shit is buzzing because what everyone predicted would happen; happened. Last night at his "I Declare War" concert, Jay Z was joined on stage by the one and only Nasir Jones. Now I'm not going to insult you and tell you why this is a big deal.

So now everyone is buzzing, what could it all mean? Is Nas signing to Def Jam? Is he joining El Presidente Carter for an all out war against the powerhouse that is G-Unit? Are they prepping an album together? Did they do it to just get people talking? All of these?

Well it's pretty obvious that what most people are hoping. For years now heads have been talking about what an album featuring two of hip-hop's finest over the last ten years would sounds like. Since B.I.G died heads love to talk about a dream pairing between New York's finest, well now those people must have soiled themselves. So I want to break down how it would be if they did finally record an album together.

Firstly, it would be a disappointment. Not necessarily because the music would be wack, but purely because after this much anticipation and hype it will always be a letdown. Now that's out of the way, let's think about this properly.

Jigga and Nas over the years have developed their own styles, styles which are quite different. Back in 96 when Jay dropped "Reasonable Doubt", this shit would have been amazing. Jay's style and Nas' style were similar enough yet different enough to make it work. They both could rock the fuck out of a Primo beat and shit was on fire. Then gradually Jigga defined himself as the ultimate crossover rapper. He became known for rocking Timberland beats, and then later Neptunes, Blaze and Kanye beats. He left that East Coast sound behind and established himself as the king of hip-hop and a king of picking dope beats. Nas on the other hand took his style and tried to do the same thing as he has always done (despite trying new shit every now and then), but suffered from a terrible taste in beats. So over the years they have carved out their own niche in hip hop to the point where they might not even sound right together on the same track. I'm not saying they won't, but it won't be as natural as it would have been a decade ago.

Possibly the most important thing about this project would be the choice of producer(s). I don't want to put too much emphasis on this, but it could make the difference between it being wack or being an all time classic. Word on the street is that Kanye has been in talks to produce an entire album for Hova & Nas. Now I'm a big fan of Kanye's board work and have the utmost respect for his production. However he's the wrong man for the job. If this was to happen it can only happen one way, take shit back to the nineties. I'm talking Primo son, I'm talking Pete Rock, and I’m talking Large Pro. Yeah there is room for a Kanye beat or a Blaze beat, but shit has to have that sound. Just sit back and imagine Jigga and Nas over Kanye, Blaze, Neptunes and Timbo. Now imagine them over Primo, Pete Rock and Large Pro beats? Yep, that's that classic ish right there.

Either way, the fact that after all that went on, they can share a stage and perform "Dead Presidents" makes you love hip-hop and what it's all about. Shit, this should make every hip-hop head feel warm and fuzzy.

At the end of the day, Jigga will sound a shitload better over those beats than Nas would over Kanye, Blaze etc. For what it's worth; "We Major" sucked. I have no idea how heads are claiming it's one of this years best tracks, shit was boring.

Who wants to bet we see a "We Major" remix in a couple of weeks with jigga jumping on and dropping a verse....

Edit

Damn, this review surely will make every hip-hop fan feel all warm and fuzzy. Seriously, I might have to watch "Fade to Black" tonight because this man is going to be a legend. This shit is the kind of stuff we'll be talking about in twenty years. Pure Dopeness.

/Edit


So what can I drop for this post? I had to hit you with something because that's how we roll:

Threat is Like (Blend)

From the "Carry the Cross" mixtape.

Nas - Dead Prezidence

Yep, Nas over the beat for "Dead Presidents", from the Nas & Statik Selektah mixtape; "The Prophecy".

Nas - 1 plus 1 (Ft Large Pro) (unreleased)
This one is a bonus. Also from the Statik Selektah mixtape.


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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Edit
Yeah and we lost out muthafuckin comments...bastards.
/Edit

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Just Blaaaaaaaaaaze....

So we live in the time of the Super-Producer right now. At this stage in hip-hop, producers are what it is all about. Being with or without a certain producer can make or break your career and it seems people are willing to buy whole albums based on who produces it. The prime example of this being that when Jay Z announced "The Black Album" he stated it was going to be "Twelve tracks, twelve producers". Jigga seems like an artist that tapped into this idea early, and he certainly knows that if he has a dope instrumental by Kanye or The Neptunes then it's going to blow up so make it a single. Anyway, I'm deviating from the point as per usual.

Everybody has the producers they jock, for me over the last year or so it's been mainly 9th Wonder. However, one producer I've come to realise is a legend in the making over the last year or two is Just Blaze. In the last couple of years, Kanye West has been getting mad props both as a producer and as an mc. Now I love Kanye's beats (not so much his rhymes) so I liked the fact that people were jocking him hard because in turn it meant he was producing more as people wanted a piece of him. Unfortunately all this Kanye jocking (as justified as it was) meant that the other big producer at camp Roc-A-Fella was going a bit un-noticed by the hip hop crowd.

I'm going to be blatant with this next statement so you're going to have to roll with me. Over this last year (well since "College Dropout"), Just Blaze has been producing much doper shit than Kanye West. Fact.

Seriously, I do not get how people aren't talking more about Blaze, the man has been on fire (no pun intended) for a minute now and people need to realise this. He can do the whole sped up sample as well as Kanye can at times, but the beauty is that he does a lot more. Not that I'm saying Kanye doesn't, but that's his bread and butter. Just Blaze seems to be able to create magic no matter what vibe he's going for. He even managed to tap into a R&B vibe with “Never Been in Love” off Kweli’s "The Beautiful Struggle".

Over the least year and a bit the man has produced so many dope tracks that it isn't even funny. "Breathe" and "Safe 2 Say (The Incredible)" are up there with Kanye's best work (bar "Guess who’s Back"). He produced probably two of the best beats on "The Documentary", gave Jay Z a chance to shine and drop subliminal on "Dear Summer" and killed it with the emotional "Straight Path" off Bleek's" "534". I can go on again and again, like how recently he blessed Joe Budden with "Pop Off", but I won't.

The sort of level Just Blaze has been at for the last year has been incredible, and he was already dope before that. If people are going to give; Kanye West, 9th Wonder, Madlib and Dangermouse their props then Just Blaze deserves his dues as well, because right now, he's better than all of them.

So as always, I have to roll with some gems:

Fabolous - Breathe (remix Ft Jay Z)
I could have upped the original but everyone and their mother has that. I'm not sure where this came from. You just can't front on the "Breathe" beat though, that was butter. I wish Jigga had that instead of Fab.

Memphis Bleek - Yes
This cut has so much energy it's stupid. It's so good even Bleek sounds decent on it.

MF Doom - Kookies (Just Blaze remix)
Not as dope as I was expecting, but I had to throw it up anyway as I know people are going otbe curious of Doom over a Blaze beat.

Memphis Bleek - Straight path
Once again, he makes Bleek sound dope.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

‘I Ain't Dealin With Another Fuckin Politic’


Reading ‘NBA Bans 'Hip-Hop Dress', Players, Coaches React’ again proves the politics behind Hip Hop.

This act may just seem like an act of making basketball players appear ‘more professional’ in fact it’s an attempt to deny a culture, a group of people, their right to be themselves.

Hip Hop has always been about self expression, through Graffiti, breaking, the music itself… Hell what’s one of the most popular terms in Hip Hop? ‘Keep it real’…

"The players have been dressing in prison garb the last five or six years,” Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune earlier this week. “All the stuff that goes on, it's like gangster, thuggery stuff. It's time.”

Analyse that statement.

Phil Jackson is using the stereotypes about Hip Hop most people (and probably some of us hold as well) to try to ‘criminalise’ Hip Hop.

How many times have any of us seen or heard of prisoners in designer clothing, fat gold chains round their neck, platinum and ice chains/watches/rings, driving a Hummer/Merc/Lexus/etc?

What you’re really looking at in that statement is in fact a racial stereotype, a belief that Hip Hop fashion comes from prison, that black culture and prison culture are so tightly linked that Hip Hop has decided to adopt the attitude and appearance of criminals.

While some of the top selling Hip Hop artists may help fuel the stereotype, it’s not quite that easy is it?

Look at society, what are the main goals we’re all told to aim for? Money, power, respect. Buy your own house, own an expensive car, have plenty of money in the bank.

How are working class people supposed to achieve these goals when there are glass ceilings put up to stop the majority of us getting it?

We’ve been sold the belief that we live in a classless world, that there is nothing stopping any of us from being ‘successful’ but that’s not true at all. The reality of the matter is that this belief of ‘classlessness’ has in fact turned us all on each other.

From petty squabbles about so-called ‘scroungers’ who claim unemployment benefit to internal beefs in Hip Hop about what’s ‘real Hip Hop’, we’ve missed the point and the establishment loves it.

Fiddy may be iced up in his videos, Juelz may talk about crack dealing, both may make reference to guns and the sex industry but this glamorisation of working class crime is nothing new and nothing Hip Hop should be held responsible for.

The manner in which the Krays are held with reverence and respect still goes some way to prove this. Their reign of terror over the East End of London is infamous but regardless of all the bad they did people still (rightly or wrongly) respect them.

Look at the popularity of Gangster movies, is that purely Hip Hop people watching them? Would the entire audience in the 50’s watching Gangster movies have listened to Hip Hop? Probably not. Does everyone with a copy of ‘The Godfather’ on DVD listen to Hip Hop?

Crime in one form or another is appealing to most people. The acts of people like the Krays are in fact revolutionary acts, not necessarily in the Marxist definition of social revolution but they are clearly acts of raising a fist against the establishment. “You tell us we should have x y and z but then don’t provide us with the means to get them. Well fuck your laws I’ll get them my own way.” Many of us do not have the balls to go down this route, therefore we watch/listen/read tales of such acts.

The NBA’s ban on Hip Hop is really a ban on poverty and fashion that has evolved from poverty, rather than an attack on crime. It’s just using the negative stereotypes to keep us quiet and passive about their motives.

Wearing baggy clothing isn’t a head nod to ‘incarcerated hero’s’ instead it’s something that came from hand me downs. Wearing jewellery isn’t a symbol of crime; it’s a declaration of “Hey! I’ve made it!” The ‘fuck you’ attitude isn’t criminal it’s a symptom of a society that breeds and thrives on competition rather than unity.

Hip Hop bucks the system, it celebrates the ‘we’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got’ mentality, being poor and/or being from poverty isn’t a bad thing (in fact it’s highly important in terms of credibility) and while you have some artists who celebrate living the capitalist dream, many have done it on their own terms and tell tales of other ways in which you can buck the system to achieve the capitalist goals. For every artist who’s like that though there are probably 5 who are dissecting society further and calling for change. All this is what scares the establishment and why institutions like the NBA want to try to sweep the culture under the carpet and forget about it.

Check this out, moms, I said time bomb
And they sit in your house and remain calm
Till you feed'em lies and the flip
Start talkin' crazy shit (Fuck you!)
Might call you and pops a fool
Tell ya that's why they hate school
Been offensive and askin' questions
Give your brain indigestion
Why? Why? Because I have indoctrinated the youth
Yhey're mentally intoxicated with truth
So they know the noise you talk are lies
Pretty damn soon they'll be by (I'm outta here)
They listen to me and i give'em the real
And every night caps get peeled
And every night a ho gets smacked
A fool gets jacked
Now, whose fuckin' fault was that?
The home invaders...

Ice-T – ‘Home Invasion

Tags - Hip Hop, NBA, Politics

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It doesn't make any sense.....

You know one thing I've realised is that every hip hop fan likes an mc they shouldn't. By that I mean they like an mc where you can't honestly say "they're a dope mc because...”.

For me that mc is B Real. Yep that nasal whiny sounding muthafucka, I'm a big fan of his. When I first heard "Cypress Hill" I didn't like his voice, but I fucking loved the album. Then gradually I started listening to more Cypress, but it was mainly for Muggs; as he is one of my favourite producers.

It was only this year I really got into B Real (no homo). I was listening to "Temples of Boom" one night (underrated album but that's another post for another day) and I realised this man is dope. I don't know what it is, his voice should annoy me and he's not amazing lyrically, but I think he's fucking dope. His flow is nice as hell so maybe that is it, but I honestly couldn't say. This year I've been in the frame of mind where if I see he's on a track I have to check for it that minute.

By the way; he has been killing nearly everything he has been on this year so I'm going to carry on jocking him for just a minute. As an aside, I haven't been feeling an entire album By Cypress since "Temples of Boom".

The point of this post? B Real is dope so fuck you :-) I think that sums it up nicely.

Now my favourite bit, I could have upped half of "Cypress Hill" or "Temples of Boom" but instead:

Dj Quik - Fandango (Ft B Real)
This is straight up one of my favourite joints this year. If you can tell me B real doesn't kill this, then....well you're wrong.

Warren G - Get You Down (Ft B Real)
Completely different track, but again B Real comes off nice. Which is surprising considering the type of track it is.


B Real, Coolio, Method Man, Busta Rhymes & LL Cool J - Hit Em High

One you might not have heard in a while, IIRC it's from the Space Jam OST.


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There can be a fine line between RnB and Hip-Hop...



…And that line was certainly crossed by Terrence “TQ” Quaites in 1998. Whilst these guys reminisce about Hip-Hop of yesteryear, I figured I’d rant and rave in favour of one of the most solid albums in my collection – still in almost daily rotation 7 years after copping. ‘They Never Saw Me Coming’ was criminally overlooked by Hip-Hop heads, and equally neglected by the RnB crowd. When 50 Cent spat “I wanna stick TQ but his shit ain’t sell”, he wasn’t lying. The problem seemed to be TQ’s position on the cusp of two genres, Hip-Hop and RnB. His debut single ‘Westside’ saw a fair amount of commercial success, but it was perhaps too ‘hard’ for contemporary RnB kids listening to Usher, Ginuwine and Dru Hill, and Hip-Hop heads weren’t fucking with it. TQ was singing, after all, and few people knew exactly what to make of this “RnB Thug”. The concept of a singer lending a hand to Hip-Hop wasn’t exactly new, with West Coast hook man Nate Dogg already having held down the 90s, but the difference between Nate and TQ is that Nate had earned his paper from his distinctive voice and countless guest appearances on rappers’ records. Even having made several solo albums, Nate is still synonymous with West Coast Hip-Hop. TQ, however, burst onto the scene with a decent – yet not particularly distinctive – singing voice, and a solo single of his very own. What sets TQ apart from other male RnB singers – and what makes him HIP HOP – is his ‘message’.

Anyone who heard ‘Westside’ blowing up the radio must’ve thought ‘damn…’. Not because the song was dope – which is undeniable – but because here is a cat singing on the radio the same sort of material that could be found on any given gangsta rap album. He’s repping Compton, nodding to his brothas taking long vacations in the county jail, drinkin’ 40s, blazin’ weed, and even throwing up his dubs in the video. And with the rest of the album following suit, it’s easy to imagine these same songs rapped rather than sung. In fact, every track on the album covers ground which has long since been considered the domain of Hip-Hop, including:

- gambling (‘If the World was Mine’)
- weed/drugs/drug dealing (‘Darling Mary’, ‘Remembermelinda’, ‘One More Lick’)
- cars/money/excess (‘Paradise’, ‘Gotta Make that Money’)
- murder/death (‘Bye Bye Baby’, ‘The Comeback’, ‘Better Days’)
- jail (‘When I Get Out’)
- sex/nastiness (‘Your Sister’)

A distinct lack of love songs – unless you count his heartfelt dedication to marijuana – and the absence of RnB club bangers solidifies TQ’s position as a Hip-Hop artist who just so happens to sing rather than rap. He even goes as far as straight up dissing his RnB contemporaries:

We don’t ride no ponies, just roll on Goldies, nigga please/
Get off that shit, this is a new era/
Straighten up your sideburns, stop wearin’ mascara/
I hope it’s for the sake of sellin’ records/
Either way you need to check yourself for not being a real nigga

(‘They Never Saw Me Coming’)

What’s more, there is no shortage of Hip-Hop guest spots, with appearances from Tray Dee, Too Short, E-40, Daz and Kurupt, as well as Mike Mosley handling the production on 5 tracks.

Nowadays, TQ is making even less noise commercially. His debut was followed up with the ‘The Second Coming’, which was fairly solid, but was easily forgotten, and was also much more RnB oriented, with love songs aplenty creeping into his music. ‘Listen’ was released last year following a short, productiveless spell on the Cash Money roster, and was also re-released just this week on 17th October, with a revamped track listing and a guest spot from Mike Jones. ‘They Never Saw Me Coming’, however, remains a masterpiece, and is a surprisingly cohesive piece of Hip-Hop that plays almost like a movie. Listen to these, and then cop that shit:


Remembermelinda
One More Lick (ft. Tray Dee)
The Comeback (ft. Daz & Kurupt)

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Queen Liz got no butt, and no chest!

Funniest story of the day comes from the daily Mirror (newspaper, www.mirror.co.uk), which revealed that Prince Harry's penchant for gangsta rap shocked guests at a party. HRH's song of choice? Ice Cube - 'Cave Bitch'. When he's not rocking Swastikas, he's going in the complete opposite direction...

For those unfamilair with the controversial track, the lyrics are below (from Ohhla.com):
(or click for the .wma download)

Artist: Ice Cube
Album: Lethal Injection
Song: Cave Bitch

Intro: Dr. Khalid Muhammed
Give me a black goddess sister I can't resist her. No stringy haired, blonde
hair, blue eyed, pale skinned buttermilk complexion. Grafted, recessive,
depressive, ironing board backside straight up and straight down. No
frills, no thrills, Miss six o'clock, subject to have the itch, mutanoid,
caucazoid, white cave bitch...

Verse One: Ice Cube
Ease back white bitch, I don't play that
Just because I got on my L.A. hat
Stalkin' walking in my big black boots
Is my jingle, now you want Mandingo
Big, black and handsome
I should hold your devil ass for ransome
Sorta like Patty Herst, but I'll burst first bitch
And you know what's worse
I'm coming from the land where the choppers roam
So phuck you bitch and your Coppertone
Stringy hair - no derrier - frontin' and fakin' with your silicone pair
Do I wanna phuck? Not hardly
That's kinda like Barbie phuckin' Bob Marley
It ain't gonna happen, I keep rappin'
Muthaphuck Teniell, but see I'm the Captain of this ship
And I'm true to the game
Ya all look the same
Standin' by my backstage door, hopin' that'll switch
Spread out you little cave bitch

Verse Two: Ice Cube
Why everytime we get famous
You wanna play us like Andy and Amos?
The devil sent you to try and tame us
But you can't tame me, with no bitch named Amy
Lookin' for the dark meat
But ho, I ain't tryin' to go out like Barkely
Cuz everytime I turn on the TV
I see several brothers with she-devils
Smilin' cuz you out on a date
But sooner or later, the bitch'll yell rape
Soon as daddy found out you a jigaboo
He'll kill like he did Emmitt Till
Yah, he tried to kick bass
But the bitch probably threw it in his face
Sargent Bale ain't nothin' but a trick
Nasty as hell, stanky little cave bitch

Verse Three:
Now don't think that I hate you
Cuz I won't date you, bitch I gotta stay true
You can be a fan, but don't expand
And try to get my dick in your hand
You better run to the minute man
Pale as snow, so act like y'know
Cuz if I slap it, flip it, and rub it like that
Yeah, it gotta be black
Plus yo ass too flat
I need a butt big enough that can clap
Rat-a-tat-tat
You can't get mine ho
I'd rather phuck an albino
Atleast I know, she's comin' from the Nubian
And not the Ku Klux Klan that you be in
And I don't give a fuck if your family is rich
You're still a little cave bitch

P.S. I don't know what's going on with Blogger's profiles, but I am not 19 and am not a Sagittarius. I may, however, be an Ox ;)

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Flowing off the top of the dome...

There was a time I really used to enjoy that staple of a solid mc, the freestyle. In fact a few years back I used to check for every freestyle I could. There was something dope about hearing your favourite mc flowing from the top of the dome, nothing but a mic and maybe a beat.

Then for some reason, I got bored. Now I just don't really care that much anymore, maybe I'm getting older, maybe mcs don't put much emphasis on it anymore, I don't really know to be honest. It seems like now every time I hear someone on the radio, they drop one standard freestyle over whatever the hottest beat of the moment is. That seems to almost always contain most of a verse from one of their tracks anyway, which is weak.

There are still exceptions, Common on Radio 1 a few months ago being a good example, not to mention when Mad Skills dropped by on Westwood. It's just the quality of freestyles seems to have got weaker for some reason to the point where a lot of mcs just do it for the sake of doing it now. I've heard some dope ones this year; a lot from the Dipsets, Jeulz Santana, Skillz, Common and a couple of others, but I've heard a hell of a lot of weak ones as well. I know a lot of heads will just say that I missed the best ones, but I’m talking over the whole spectrum, there are less dope ones.

So for your listening pleasure I've got a couple of dope freestyles for the last few years, just a random selection. Some very well known, so maybe not so well known, if you check for these, drop us a comment with your thoughts:

Big L & Jay Z - 7 Minute Freestyle

It's now legendary and you all have heard it at one point or another. Big L and Jigga just flowing crazy shit for 7 minutes.

A Tribe Called Quest - Freestyle
Being the Tribe fan I am, I had to hit you with this. One of my favourite of all time with Tip, Phife and Consequence flowing for 8 minutes strong.

Krs-One & Common - Freestyle
One that might have slipped your radar. Now this is some of that serious dope shit that I miss. Krs and Common flowing over "Who Shot Ya". Not to be missed.

AZ - Freestyle (b/w Ski Mask)
One from this year I've been feeling. AZ drops serious gems over the instrumental for Ski Mask.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

A certain level of hip hop snobbery is needed....

It really is sometimes.

So one of the biggest things about hip hop heads is hip hop snobbery. You know the kind; if you don't rate (obscure album) by (underground artist) then fuck you etc etc. Yeah it's fucked up but it's true. For example I know people that this year refuse to listen to Common's "B.E" because it's too mainstream and it can't be better than One.Be.Lo's "S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M". Whether or not it is better or not is down to the dopeness of the music, not the fact that One.Be.Lo doesn't push numbers and roll with Kanye West. I also know people who won't listen to "The Mouse and the Mask" because it's getting too much hype which means that Doom has sold out. So yeah hip hop snobbery can be a bitch, and it seems to mean that people again stay in their comfort level like Carlo was saying.

However, having said that, I say a certain level of snobbery is needed. The reason I say this is because earlier I was having this conversation:

Other Dude:
So you're a hip hop head?
Me: Yeah man, I love hip hop.
Other Dude: That new Jeezy album is fucking awesome, what you listening to right now?
Me: Umm, right now I'm listening to "Shut Em Down" the Pete Rock remix, but if you're talking about albums, I've been listening to Little brother's "The Minstrel Show" a lot today, and the first Viktor Vaughn album.
Other Dude: Man, that shit ain't hip hop. That's crap, public enemy isn't relevant to hip hop.
Me: Ok, so you mean they're not relevant in 2005 right?
Other Dude: No in general, it's not like anyone buys their music, they pretty far from being Fifty or Jeezy.

Needless to say I wanted to explode. So in this case, yeah I say a little hip hop snobbery is needed. If someone is claiming to be a head and spouting that shit, then they need to be educated in my opinion. If that makes me a snob then fuck it, I'm a snob. If you hip hop to a serious enough level to read blogs, comment and debate with other heads, then you should be willing to listen and learn. If you're going to be spouting shit and refusing to learn the basic shit you should know then I'm sorry I have a hard time respecting your opinion.

Does that make me a snob? Yeah probably, but at it could be worse; I could be missing out on "B.E" or "The Mouse and The Mask".

Tags: Hip Hop, Hip Hop Snobbery

It's not what you want baby, it's what you need baby...

Remember the time when everyone was pretending to be Gangsta’s, fronting over the G-Funk CD friendly music with their tales of gangbanging and pimping ho’s?

Shit… OK I’ve basically described what’s happening now haven’t I?

Well think back to ‘The Chronic’ era. The West had won and was dominating the culture with Death Row basically running the show, with the rest of the West riding on their coat tails. The East Coast wasn’t exactly silent but Suge had a vice grip around the neck of the industry and most of the heads.

Then seemingly out of nowhere came the words:

I smoke on the mic like smokin Joe Frazier
The hell raiser, raisin hell with the flavour
Terrorize the jam like troops in Pakistan
Swingin through your town like your neighbourhood Spiderman

Backed with a dark, grimy anti-G-Funk beat… The Wu had arrived and the Hip Hop world was never going to be the same again.

(Yeah I’m rolling with the Wu for my first post as well, sue me.)

Now I’m not gonna lie, I was as hooked on Dre, Snoop and the West as much as the next man but the East Coast has always been the sound I’ve loved. Being from a poor Northern English town where there’s more rain and dark days than there are sun kissed ones may have played a part in forming a relationship with the NYC artists more so than the Cali artists, who knows, one thing was for certain though ‘Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ was a perfect musical backdrop for here. It was aggressive, gritty and just straight up raw.

In the days before P2P my copy of the album must have spent more time in other people’s homes than mine for the first six months of owning it, everyone wanted a copy. The most requested 12” when we were messing around on decks doing mixtapes? ‘Protect Ya Neck’ (more so the flip, ‘Method Man’, in our circle of teenage heads.) Even with the shite state of the UK pressing of the album we’d make do, rhyming over the top of it along with our favourite member of the Clan.

Gone were the days of calling our shitty herb ‘Chronic’, it was now ‘Meth’ or later, for more comedic value, ‘Ticallllllllll!’ We had no idea what the hell we were on about but damn we’d signed up to the Clan mentality.

At that awkward age of 13/14 where formal education means little, the Wu provided us with about as much education as we needed or wanted.

‘C.R.E.A.M.’ was easily identifiable with our surroundings and the prospects we thought we had. Who cares about some mathematical theory when you could be learning the Shaolin kung-fu philosophies? Well ok that really means watching some Kung-Fu films for the violence but roll with the idealistic approach. ‘Bring Da Ruckus’… Well that amped up vibe was our night time, encounters with the Police, the vigilante residents wanting to kick the crap out of us for making too much noise and the houses we trashed when there was a house party. The torture skit providing the inspiration for many a drunk/stoned conversation about how we’d harm each other and any of the fools we knew at school.

As the solo albums began to drop we became more immersed into the whole ethos, as we matured so it appeared did the Wu, each album representing a different angle or approach to life, Hip Hop and the world we live in.

When ‘Return To The 36 Chambers’ was released my English teacher bounced into the room saying “I saw Old Dirty Bastard’s album last night, it looked better than I thought it would”, with a look on his face suggesting ‘I may have finally found a connection with this kid’. He hadn’t because he hadn’t bought it – therefore immediately getting the gas face – but it showed just how evident our Wu and Hip Hop attitude had become, they had to deal with us on our terms or face disruption. (See ODB at the Grammy's for a Wu example.)

This connection with the Wu will not be a unique one, behind the Kung Fu samples, golden fangs and white masks was the voice of the Hip Hop generation and possibly the last time that this connection was made on such a unified scale within Hip Hop.

By the time of ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ saturation point had almost been reached, thanks to all the affiliates and solo albums. Although it’s not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, the raw energy present in ‘Enter…’ was diminishing. As I had grown apart from my school ‘clan’, it felt like the Wu had begun to separate as well due to them being stars in their own right. That was fine though; it still shit on a lot of albums at the time and provided many people (including myself) with more walkman material to study.

The Hip Hop industry owes a lot to the Wu; every successful artist since them has basically followed their model – with clothing lines, their own record label, the manner of their contract, bringing all their crew through to share the shine and also their disrespect of UK audiences… That’s not to say any of what they did hadn’t been done before (well except for the contract), just that the Wu really went at it and managed to make it work (to varying degrees of success.)

The last great Hip Hop group? The Wu without question…

Now for your listening pleasure some Wu-Tang material that may have slipped under your radar...

Rza, Method Man & Cappadona - Wu-Wear: The Garment Renaissance
Prince Rakeem - Sexcapades (Wu-Tang Mix)
Wu-Tang Clan - Let Me At Them

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Sub Divisions in Hip-Hop...

So you know what fucks me off?

The fact that there is a sub-genre of hip-hop created every day. It seems like every time some reviewer or exec can't think of anyway to classify something, they invent a new division.

Take emo rap for example. Apparently Atmosphere is emo rap these days. As far as I can tell, anything that deals with any sort of emotion or relationships is 'emo rap'. Now the big problem I have with this is well you can take that to any lengths.

My boy Prop was talking about Wu Tang earlier, now they talk about a whole load of emotions and nobody is calling them emo rap. What about Common, he knows how to get emotional, is he emo?

It's all bullshit man; it's just a way of pretending something isn't hip hop. At the end of the day, the more you put things into sub genres like this, the more you'll end up taking the focus away from dope music. It promotes small minded fans who only listen to shit inside their comfort level. I was chilling the other day and threw some Primo instrumentals on, straightaway my boy says "yo is this jazzy hip hop or emo hip hop?". Why does it matter? It's dope, end of story.

So I can tolerate this defining everything up to a level but it's got to the point where people only stay within those boundaries which is just straight sad and messed up.


Tags: Hip Hop

Wu Tang ain't nuthing ta fuck wit....

So what is it about the Wu Tang Clan that makes them hold a special place in so many people’s hearts?

While not being my favourite group (A Tribe Called Quest hold that honour), they do hold a very special place in my heart. Now I wasn’t into hip-hop when “Enter the Wu Tang: 36 Chambers” dropped (there go half the readers), so I came back to it. In fact I first heard “Wu Tang Forever” from my brother, who was a casual hip-hop fan, and loved it. Then while I was away in Germany on a school trip I saw “36 Chambers” and all I was sick of people telling me I had to own it so I ended up buying it to shut people up.

When I got home I put it in the changer and waited to be blown away…and I fucking was. I couldn’t believe how raw and rugged the whole thing was, the rhymes hit hard and the production hit harder. After listening to it solid for about two months, I decided to figure out what it was about the album, and the crew, that was so special.

Now let’s get this out of the way; “36 Chambers” is one of the finest albums ever made in any genre. The whole album is littered with martial arts samples and moody backdrops created by the RZA for his crew to spit over. The lyrics create vivid imagery about the streets and the hard life and are some of the most powerful you will find in hip hop. The mcs are brimming with energy and ruggedness, ready to blow the fuck up. It’s almost like when they made the album they didn’t care about what you thought about it, they had to say what they had to say. The production is flawless, every time I listen to it I still notice something I didn’t before; a drum, a certain sound…something. It’s timeless and Rza has created so many layers to his production on this that it still sounds fresh. The whole album has an “I’m going to say what I want, how I want and fuck you if you don’t get it” vibe. Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be a review of “36 Chambers”, it’s about what makes the Clan special.

I mean they have chemistry, of course they do, but that’s not just it. The fact is that there is nine of them, all with different solo deals, all different lives…it should be chaos and unorganised, and it is. That is exactly what makes them so special, sometimes you just get the impression that they haven’t rehearsed anything, written anything down, or even been around during the making of the music, they just popped in to drop some vocals and smoke meth. It is precisely this that makes them what they are, the fact that they’re not polished, they’re rugged as fuck. They say what they want on a record, if it doesn’t make any sense then fuck it, they’re not doing this for you, and they’re going to say what they say regardless. Their live shows are chaotic, they regularly forget the words, they don’t rehearse, they insult the crowd if they get annoyed...they’re just real as fuck. As a group, to me they are second only to A Tribe Called Quest.

On top of this, they all have strong qualities in themselves. Ghostface and Raekwon can drop drug tales like no others, Rza can drop gems you need an encyclopaedia to understand, Method man can flow to anything and everything, ODB (R.I.P) made no sense but was a demented genius…I can go on but I don’t need to. So when they come together they each add something, it’s not a case of you can get rid of half the crew because they are all the same. Each mc is like an actor in that they all bring something different to proceedings. The fact that so many dope solo albums came out of the Wu Tang family is testament to this.

On top of this, they made hip hop cool. What a load of crap I hear so many people cry, well it’s true. I remember seeing so many kids wearing Wu Wear, spending some ridiculous money getting a Wu Tang logo for their phone, calling themselves Johnny Blaze…it was cool to like the Wu Tang and be down with it. I can only speak for the U.K but that is exactly how it was where I am, people still rock Wu Wear and buy martial arts films purely because their titles have been mentioned by the Wu. They make you feel like you can do what the fuck you want, say what you want, like you are hip-hop.

So have I answered the question? Probably not in all honestly. There is something special about The Wu Tang Clan. The fact that they’re an unorganised bunch of muthafuckers, that they have so many aliases that you have no idea who is who sometimes, that they can invent their own slang and kids are still speaking like it are all part of the magic of the Wu Tang. They have one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time, some of the greatest and most memorable mcs, a clothing line, a computer game, a comic book, books, nine different solo deals….not bad for nine unorganised muthafuckas. They dropped one classic, one very good double album and two above average albums, yet they are sacred to so many. The fact that they have dropped countless dope solo and affiliate albums adds to it, but it wasn’t always what they did, it was how they did it. It shouldn’t have worked but it did. They must have something special.

I obviously couldn't do this without upping some of Wu Tang gems. I purposely didn't include any solo tracks, and only tracks from the first two albums:

C.R.E.A.M
Still my favourite Clan track of all time.

Protect Ya Neck
Probably the one everybody and their mother knows.

Shame On a Nigga
ODB steals this track, he just does.. Not to mention one of my favourite Method man verses as well.

Da Mystery of Chessboxin'
You cannot front on this track. This is actually my favourite ODB verse as well which will surprise some people. He fucking kills it for me.

Triumph
A bit of history. All nine members of the Wu Tang (plus Cappadonna) on one track. That opening verse by Deck is dope as hell.

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We live baby....

Welcome to Peace, Prosperity and Paper. What is it? Yet another Hip-Hop blog? Well yes it is, but we hope you will still read our rantings and ravings as we have a shitload to say.

Basically we're about hip hop, that's about it. Reviews, artists, the state of hip hop, what's dope, what's whack etc.

Everyone is welcome to comment so please do, although as always if you want to take the free music and bounce, well we can't stop you.

First up a bit of a Wu Tang Clan special....

Tags: Hip Hop

Sunday, October 16, 2005

New Hip-Hop Blog...

Coming soon, so sit tight....

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