Category Archives: Rants & Raves

[Rants and Raves] The Local Rapper’s Manual

It’s the beginning of the New Year which usually means a fresh start for a lot of people. A small handful of those people being aspiring rappers. In high hopes to help local talent this year I put together the Local Rapper’s Manual. This article is to give you a few tips on how to build a buzz from a listener’s perspective. It’s also useful for casual reading. So whether you agree or disagree with the tips my wish is that you enjoy.

Remove the H-Word From Your Vocabulary
The very first thing I want to address is the words “hate,” haters” and phrase “hate on.” Every aspiring emcee should be able to distinguish the difference between someone hating on you versus never hearing of you. There is a possibility that someone hates on you but then again there is an even higher possibility that you are just misusing the word. Maybe you received some constructive criticism. That certainly isn’t hate. It’s normal to be sensitive about your art but not everyone is going to like what you put out. That doesn’t make them haters.

Have  a Personality

Maybe you are in the studio everyday but you’re not a machine that just cranks out music daily. You have a favorite sports team, a movie you’d like to see, a favorite food spot you like to hit. Let people know that you live a life outside of music. It makes you more personable. If you give off the impression that all you do is rap you’ll come off boring to us regular folk. You don’t have to tweet about everything you do in a day but let us know that you like to hoop or you have a sense of humor as well as a knack for picking dope beats.

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  • Stick With One Name

One way to guarantee a stunt in your musical growth is by changing your name. Whether it’s changed on Twitter, Instagram or on your mixtape cover, changing your name is a bad idea. Stick with the same name so when people hear of you they can find you. We all have been put on to someone’s music by word of mouth. Changing your name makes you harder to keep up with. Same thing goes for social networking sites. Changing your name on twitter often could effect your buzz. It would be difficult to keep up with what you got going if you’re changing your name every month.

Productivity

One of my favorite underground rappers didn’t put out a single song last year. He plugged his new project he planned on dropping this year but he didn’t release any work at all last year. No videos, no singles, no features. He definitely has the talent to bounce back but his next project will definitely be make or break with a lot of listeners, especially with this joint being a year in the making. As an aspiring rapper your job doesn’t stop. You want to meet as many ears as you possibly can. You should be doing shows, shooting videos, dropping freestyles  or doing something that will have people anticipating your next album.

Network

Everybody is doing something now. Everyone has a tool that you can use. Show your face at events. You could possibly link up with photographers, videographers, web designers, bloggers, fashion designers, etc. There are all kinds of tools at these shows and events. Showing support also will get you some support when you need it. Look at other aspiring rappers as peers instead of competition. Work with one another to achieve goals. There is nothing wrong with having a trusty circle but networking and building bridges will help more than hurt.

I know I didn’t cover all of the bases but these are just a few helpful tips you could utilize this year. Good luck chasing your dreams.

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[Desultory] Dear Santa…

I thought it would be dope if shared some of the items that I think would be great gifts this year for Christmas. Below is a list of a few things I wouldn’t mind seeing under the tree. Ladies, this could also be used as a Gift Guide for Him.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2
I don’t buy games on the day of the release. I wait. Two games that get purchased every year are the Call of Duty series and the 2K series. I skipped Modern Warfare 3 last year because I found out that those don’t have the zombie mode. I decided to wait on Black Ops 2. Maybe somebody in the fam will hook me up with the game or a gift card to put something on it. If not I’ll just go ahead and peel for it.

You can purchase Call of Duty Black Ops 2 HERE

Dark Knight Rises DVD/Blueray
Everyone was wondering if the Dark Knight Rises would be available on DVD/Blueray before Christmas. Fortunately, it did release. The Dark Knight Rises is the best movie to release this year. I paid to see it three times and I even Google’d and read Bane’s script. The Dark Knight Rises DVD would complete my collection of the trilogy. This DVD/Blueray would make a great stocking stuffer for comic book movie buffs.

You can purchase The Dark Knight Rises DVD/Blueray HERE

10.Deep Bruisers Jacket
10.Deep just recently released their Holiday ’12 line and there is plenty of heat on there. The Bruisers jacket in silver and black stood out to me most. The colorway and design is LA Kings meets Mighty Ducks. The simple silver, black and white keeps it from being too flashy. 10.Deep is my favorite street wear brand and I’m trying to start a collection of varsity jackets by them. I’m at a strong three right now. I’m sure any guy would love to be unwrapping this on the 25th. Hook him up with the Bruiser Jacket.

You can purchase the 10.Deep Bruiser Jacket HERE


New Balance 1300 “Grape”
The shoe is just simply dope. The grey and purple colorway on them are sharp and in season. They would look great surrounded by dead leaves on your Instagram if used with the right filter. Made in the USA. You can never go wrong with the quality on a New Balance sneaker. These have had quite the buzz lately. You might want to grab them fast.

You can purchase the New Balance 1300 “Grape” HERE

Converse Jack Purcell LTT OX
These were released during the summer. They are definitely a summertime shoe. These would make a great gift. Give him something he could put up until it’s time to bring the shorts back out. If you enjoy Bape’s camo but don’t want to pay the price this shoe is for you. Since the shoe is a few months old you might want to jump on these while you can find them. Karmaloop just restocked them.

You can purchase the Converse Jack Purcell LTT OX HERE

Hopefully this list could help moms, aunts and girlfriends find something for Him. Some honorable mentions would be Xbox Live Gold Membership cards, clothing store or restaurant gift cards or his favorite team apparel.

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Cruel Summer cover

[Rants & Raves] 10 Things We Expected From Cruel Summer

1. Big Sean’s Escalation to Superstardom.
Either Big Sean has really stepped his bars up or his music has really grown on us. His latest mixtape, Detroit, featured all original material sounding very similar to his debut album as far as content and skill. We now know that it was definitely the latter. That’s cool, though. He raps with a lot more confidence now than he did on Finally Famous. Cruel Summer won’t do anything but boost Sean Don into the stratosphere. Rapping alongside Jay-Z doesn’t hurt either.

2. Common and Q-Tip Collaborations.
After reading their Complex interview I expected Q-Tip to be on the album. Whether it was producing a record or spitting a verse. Then the track list leaks and guess what? No Q-Tip. Damn. The rumors about him and Common making an album together have been circulating for quite some time now. You would think that they had some work already put together if the rumors were true. I guess they’re not; and oh yeah, there is only one Common verse on the entire album.

3. A Bundle of KiD CuDi Hooks.
CuDi seems like the would-be hook man of the group. Cudder isn’t one to try to go bar for bar with the rest of the group on posse cuts so you would think he would serve as a hook and bridge guy instead. CuDi has his own song on Cruel Summer and has a bridge reminiscent to his work on “All of the Lights” before Kanye’s verse on “The Morning” and that’s about it.

4. A Verdict on Kanye’s Recent Raps.
When we first heard “Cold” it was called “Theraflu” and we weren’t surprised. We were impressed but we weren’t surprised. Kanye was clearly on some cocky shit and he wasn’t pulling any punches when it came to his Hollywood peers. Then there was “Mercy.” Personally, I don’t know what the hell Kanye was doing on “Mercy.” If I had to guess I’d say he was dumbing us down in preparation for Tity Boy 2 Chainz. “New God Flow” leaks and it’s just as crazy as “Theraflu.” Then Kanye returns on the “Birthday Song” from 2 Chainz’s album and I’m just confused. Luckily for the stans, Yeezy glides all over Cruel Summer, upstaging just about anybody on a track with him.

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5. A Dream collab from Kanye and Ma$e
I expect too much from music. That’s why I’m always disappointed. When I heard Ma$e was going to be on the album I thought Ma$e and Yeezy were going to bless us with one of those back and forth joints, a la Styles P and Jadakiss. We weren’t that fortunate. As a matter of fact, Kanye doesn’t even appear on the song featuring Betha. I didn’t think ‘Ye would pass on an opportunity to rap with one of his idols. Oh well. At least Ma$e spazzed.

6. 20 Tracks
I mean… No Limit wouldn’t have left us hanging with just 12 measly songs. They would have squeezed every nigga on their roster into all 30 songs. Am I wrong for thinking Cruel Summer is supposed to be a compilation album? Once again, if we go back to the Complex Magazine interview, the group talks as if they were working on so much material as a whole and then they give us an EP. I liked the variety and diversity of the album but with only 12 tracks those attributes don’t blend well. You can’t follow up Velvet Blazer Music with Chief Keef. It just doesn’t work that way.

7. 2 Much 2 Chainz
Since dude isn’t really in the group he shouldn’t appear more than Common or CuDi right? Well guess again. 2 Chainz pops up here and there and even delivers some pre-verse ad libs to give us that uneasy feeling about what we were going to hear next. After a few spins you get used to it. I’ve never gave Tity Boy 2 Chainz an honest chance and I must say he’s not that bad. I actually wish his verse on “The Morning” was longer. He was floating for a good 9 seconds.

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8. Show and Prove: CyHi the Prince
Cruel Summer is probably everybody’s first CyHi album (or first CyHi anything for that matter.) We just said he sucked without really giving him a fair chance. By “we” I mean y’all. I don’t really recall dissing dude’s raps. I actually like the Valentine’s Day, May, April line he had on “So Appalled.” I never gave any of his tapes a listen because I just wasn’t interested and I can’t take a nigga who wore thigh high boots seriously. Cruel Summer is basically CyHi’s make or break. I’m sure he knew that so it is expected of him to bring it.

9. Pusha T to Shine.
Has Push not been on fire? The power is in his hair. If he cuts those Xzibit braids off he’ll become Malice. Not that that’s a bad thing, I’m just saying. Pusha T’s braids are the only rappers on the G.O.O.D roster that can go line for line with or exceed Yeezy’s shit talking. It’s hard to say who had the better verse on “New God Flow.” We just know it wasn’t Ghostface.

10. Styles to Clash.
Not in a bad way. I’ve always admired Kanye’s creativity. Imagine Common and 2 Chainz on a joint or a John Legend and 2 Chainz with no one else to bridge them together. Q-Tip and 2 Chainz. It sounds challenging but it could have been done. These records are nonexistent to our knowledge but damn that would have been interesting.

And where the hell was Charlie Wilson?

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[Music] Best of 2011: Albums/Mixtapes

Coop: 2011 brought so many good projects, I couldn’t bring myself to cutting my list down to ten.

12. Gift Raps – Chip Tha Ripper x Chuck Inglish: Chip spit some of his best rhymes/flows in a while and Chuck should be seriously consider as one of 2011′s best producers. (Light One Up, U.A.F., Everyday Chillin, The Coldest)

11. Lost In Hollywood – Yonas Michael: The former half of U-N-I succeeded in making a genre defying album work. (Big Body Benz (Coochie Max), Lead The Way feat. Polyester & Phil Ade, Ms. Popular, Scorpio Lover)

10. Watch The Throne – Jay-Z x Kanye West: Everything surrounded the album overshadowed the actual project, but it was still very good. (Gotta Have It, Primetime, Who Gon’ Stop Me)

9. Live For, Die For – Overdoz: Party raps filled with girls, life, and weed never sounded so good. You need to soul search if you can’t have a good time to this album. (December, Pasadena, It Girl)

8. The DiV – Pac Div: The Knuckleheads’ chemistry and versatility is comparable to some of rap greatest groups. This long awaited debut was worth the wait. (Top Down feat. Skeme & Casey Veggies, Brown, Move On)

7. House of Balloons – The Weeknd: What started all the XO hype, and it was well deserved; emphasis on was. The Weeknd’s latest efforts haven’t been as good as HOB, but that is asking for a lot. (The Party & The After Party, What You Need, The Morning)

6. Covert Coup – Curren$y x Alchemist: Production wise, Alchemist made the best album of 2011. Spitta spat that Pilot Talk better than the albums of the same name. (The Type, Life Instructions feat. Smoke DZA, Smoke Break)

5. From The Westside With Love II – Dom Kennedy: The Summer’s best album makes you feel as if you’re smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles. This album may have the most quotables of any project this year. Dom stated, “I got the most game, never said I had the best flows.” It was definitely shown and proved it with this album. (Platinum Chanel, Money Don’t Stop, Ice Cream Truck, Mr. Champagne Intermission feat. Polyester)

4. L.A. Riot – Thurz: The other former half of U-N-I dropped what may be the most cohesive album of 2011. The way the album cliques is similar to Jay-Z’s American Gangster. Thurz focused on giving us an album with the seriousness of L.A. in ’92 and succeeded well in it. (Rodney King, Riot feat. Black Thought, Prayer)

3. Section. 80 – Kendrick Lamar: Snoop Dogg passed the West Coast torch to Lamar for good reasons. Section. 80 showed why he’s one of the rap game’s best lyricists. (The Spiteful Chant feat. Schoolboy Q, Ronald Reagan Era (His Evil), A.D.H.D)

2. TGTC – Fly Union: If you haven’t heard of Fly Union, you need to take a listen now. The production here is top notch and Jerreau is seriously one of the rap game’s most underrated players. Not too many albums can mesh the subject matter Fly Union does, as well as they did. (Salutation, 5000, Love For You, Don’t Call, Who You Wit)

1. The Brilliance – Jalin Roze: Roze dropped a true classic here. It gets better with every listen, it meshes together so well, and is just flat out good. Roze’s growth from “Few & Far Between” is highly evident and amazing. This is one for the ages. (F^#k That Hilfiger, Trumpets Please, For The Love, Soul Searching)

Bonus: Late Nights & Early Mornings – Marsha Ambrosius: Hands down the best R&B album this year. (With You, Far Away, Sour Times)

Song of the Year: “Party” – Beyonce x Andre 3000

 

Ace:  My list consists of what I’d like to look at as timeless material.  All of the selected albums/mixtapes is music from 2011 that I’m sure will continue to hold high ratings on my itunes.

10. Ambition – Wale:  Although this album received generally favorable reviews and music critics deemed this album as average,   I think that it was very well put together.  I’m not the biggest Wale fan but I definitely think that it helped him to cross into the mainstream market.

9. Talk That Talk – Rihanna:  This definitely was not one of my favorite albums from Rihanna but i still believe it deserves a mention.

8. Dreamchaser – Meek Mill:  Probably the best addition to MMG.

7. Watch The Throne – Jay-Z x Kanye West: The Promo Gods went hard with this one and many questioned if the dynamic duo could deliver.

6. Femme Fatale – Brittany Spears: Call her the Comeback Queen!  B. Spears broke her own record with this album making her still the youngest female with the most album sales. Ms. Spears is definitely one to give both Rihanna and Lady Gaga a run for their money.

5. TM:103 – Jeezy:  There was a lot of doub that surrounded not only the release of the album but many questioned the content as well.  Jeezy showed up and showed out.  Definitely the Jeezy I missed!

4. Section 80 – Kendrick Lamar:  K. Lamar proves why he’s been called a lyrical genius.

3. Sailing Souls – Jhene Aiko:  I was almost tempted to put this mixtape as my number one pick (as it should have).  Jhene really set the standards for herself with the Sailing Souls mixtape.  The production was dope, the lyrics are unmatched, and her voice is heavenly!  I am so anxious to see what Ms. Aiko has for us next!

2. Take Care – Drake:  There was a lot of hate with the drop of Take Care especially via twitter. But the album sales speak for themselves.

1. 4 – Beyonce:  Need I say more?

Song of the Year: “Racks” – YC & Future

 

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10. 1977 – Terius Nash: We don’t get free R&B projects everyday. Terius blessed us with a quality album earlier in the year that would have been worth purchasing. Although The-Dream was airing out his ex-wife at the beginning of the album there weren’t many misses on the project at all. Standout tracks like “Ghetto” and “Wedding Crasher” kept 1977 in heavy rotation in the whip.

9. The Brilliance – Jalin Roze: We have to show love to the hometown hero. Jalin set ablaze in 2010 and now we’re ending 2011 with the house on him. The Brilliance was true to Roze with introspective raps with that soul feel and his production was A-1. His ode to Pimp C on “Polo Fuck That Hilfiger” is the standout track on this project. Roze used Houston slang on a crazy instrumental that is not south-driven. Even though Jalin is unsigned his project is still thorough enough to be mentioned in this countdown.

8. Finally Famous – Big Sean: A lot of the hip-hop heads would say I’m being blasphemous by putting Sean on the list but I think his debut was pretty good. G.O.O.D Music is known for having a lyrical group of rappers on their roster. Big Sean is not one of them. The expectations were low for the album and Big Sean found himself being the punching bag of the internet before it’s release. When the track list and production credits dropped people began to sing a different tune. When Finally Famous dropped a lot of people were converted. Even though the album was riddled with features, (another beef critics could have with a debut album) the standout track on this album was “Ass (Dance)” which had no features. An excellent song for the club. A dope beat and a simple hook is the perfect formula for club bangers. It’s also produced by Da Internz. Most of the album was produced by No ID, which would give one the assumption that he would give Big Sean his first hit. Finally Famous is an album that every rap fan can enjoy.

7. House of Balloons – The Weeknd: House of Balloons was one of the most popular projects this year. His first installment to the trilogy made websites crash when the other two were released. Thursday and Echoes of Silence don’t compare to House of Balloons. It’s a completely different sound from what you’re use to as far as R&B. The drug references gives The Weeknd his own lane. The standout track on this project is “The Party & The After Party.”

6. Live.Love.A$AP – ASAP Rocky: Live.Love.A$AP has a noticeable Houston and Bone Thugs influence. Rocky also keeps the flashy Harlem tradition alive. All of these things were well balanced throughout the project. ASAP Rocky had everyone calling themselves ‘Pretty Motherfuckers’ out of habit. All it took was a few spins. My personal favorite joint is “Houston Old Head” but the standout joints are “Bass” and “Pesos.” ASAP Rocky came out of nowhere and is looking at longevity in the game. New York has been quiet in hip hop for a while. Live.Love.A$AP has shown signs of life.

5. From the Westside With Love II – Dom Kennedy: The west really made a strong comeback in 2011. With artists like Kendrick Lamar, Overdoz, Casey Veggies and of course Dom Kennedy, the west coast is back and here to stay. Dom is coming in at #5 for his independent release, From the Westside With Love II. This album had a collection of summer anthems and feel good music. The standout tracks on this album were “Grind’n” and “Platinum Chanel.” My copy of Westside II is on ice for the winter but it will definitely resurface around the spring.

4. Section 80 – Kendrick Lamar: Kendrick Lamar is the best lyricist from his class. Section 80 was conceptual and clever. “Keisha’s Song” and “Tammy’s Song” are not your everyday misogynistic raps, giving Kendrick Lamar an edge on originality. On the track “No Make-Up” his character, Keisha raps “It’s the beauty in me but what he don’t see is that I had a black *bleep*” and Kendrick Lamar says “To be continued. Eleven.” If you skip to number eleven it’s “No Make-Up’s” sequel, “Keisha’s Song.” I felt like I had to mention that because it took me so long to catch it. The standout tracks on this album are “Hol’ Up” and “Rigamortis.”

3. Late Nights & Early Mornings – Marsha Ambrosius: My timeline on Twitter was a buzzing when Marsha’s album dropped earlier this year. It’s usually about a rap project so after seeing her name flash across my screen a few dozen times I had to see what the hype was about. Marsha did bring it with this album from the very first song to the last. With great songs like “With You,” “Your Hands” and all of the singles that she released from the album it’s hard to choose some standout tracks. My personal favorites from LNEM are “Your Hands” and “Stay.”

2. Charity Starts At Home – Phonte: Phonte has been around for a while now and he still doesn’t get the attention that he deserves. Charity Starts at Home was released around the time J. Cole’s Sideline Story dropped and was kind of lost in the sauce. Even though Phonte only moved under 8,000 first week units he managed to drop quality music for his fans. Charity Starts at Home has wit and some comedic value. The album also shows that Phonte is just as good of a singer as he is a rapper with the standout song, “Ball and Chain.”

1. Lincoln Way Nights – Stalley: Stalley had another one of those projects that was hard to believe it was free. Lincoln Way Nights had a strong boost from it’s production. Producer, Rashad Thomas, complimented Stalley’s Common-like flow with beats that were made to rattle trunks. This mixtape has popped up in conversations all year after releasing on February 8th. The entire project can be played without skipping but the standout joints are “Pound” and “She Hates the Bass.”

Song of the Year: “Zan With That Lean” - Soulja Boy

Chalee

10. Inglorious Bastard – Gunplay Once the BAWSE’s right-hand man Gunplay has seemed to turn into the redheaded stepchild of MMG, but that didnt stop him for putting out one of the best street tapes of the year. High quality, high energy music with features from Rick Ross, Diddy and Waka Flocka. Dopest Tracks: Rollin feat. Waka Flocka; Another One Feat Diddy & Rick Ross, & Mask On isnt on the tape, but go download that anyway.

09. Settle 4 Le$ vol 2 - LE$ L-E-Dolla has the best beat selection in the game. His production squad Da Shit Factory always laces him with something so smooth it makes me want to try my hand at rapping, but i’mma leave that to the Boss Hogg Outlaw. I must admit that even though this tape gets daily rotation it doesn’t quite seem up to par with his last two releases The Quik Tape and The Beautiful Struggle. Settle 4 Le$ vol 2 is most definitely a fitting title because it seems more of a throwback to his earlier material. Regardless it still bangs and is worthy of the a download. Just know if you like this you’ll love his other shit. Dopest Tracks: Get What You Give, Havin’ Thangs, Smokin’ Exotic, Want It All

08. Finally Famous - Big Sean “Oh shit! We finally famous i’m ridin w/ the muthafuckin’ top down!” That is my jam! and I really should probably post this album higher on the countdown but oh well. Before this album I loathed Big Sean, but songs like A$$, Dont Tell Me You Love Me, Marvin and Chardonnay, Memories and So Much More have helped change my opinion. Sean dropped a cohesive feel-good album in the midst of all this depressing hipster rap. The dopest tracks are highlighted above.

07. Spaced Out - Marcus Manchild At the forefront of the “New Houston” movement stands Marcus Manchild. His 13 track ep Spaced Out is probably the most overlooked and under-appreciated albums of the year.  The classic Houston sound minus the repetitive bravado, Marcus managed to make one of those albums that you can just pop-in and ride to, never having to hit the “skip” button. Dopest TracksShe Can Roll feat. BC, Never Low feat. Devin The Dude-Korey Blues & We R Not The Same feat Short Dawg & Killa Kyleon

06. Dream Chasers – Meek Mill I read that The Source crowned Ricky Rozay “Man of The Year.” If so his MMG signee deserves Rookie of The Year. One of two guys from XXL’s freshman list actually worth something, Meek did his thing with Dream Chasers. High Energy, solid production and full of hits. I mean two-words, “House Party,”  the “Meet me in the bathroom..” line is most definitely go down in history. Meek’s headed to the top and Dream Chasers was his springboard, I just hope he doesn’t ”dumb it down.” Dopest Tracks: House Party, Tony’s Story, Imma Boss, Im Me

05. Ashtray - DJ Burn One Dj Burn One aka Mr. Country Rap Tunes aka The Savoir of Indie Rappers dropped a free instrumental album this year. Burn One has produced for some of the most buzz worthy artists including Yelawolf, Rittz, KD, Jackie Chain & Starlito but his roots go as far back as Gucci Mane’s first mixtape “Chicken Talk.” An album you can either ride, roll-up or rap too, full of classic, southern influenced beats. Dopest Tracks: Live, More Mashed Potatoes, Bobbie Cox, The Last Doobe

04. Take Care - Drake I honestly dont feel like I need to explain why Take Care is on my list; he’s a platinum selling artist so i’m sure the general opinion is the album is dope. I love r&b and Drake does a good job of not letting the genre die. Too soft? Nah, you niggas just aint getting enough pussy. Dopest Tracks: Look What You’ve Done, We’ll Be Fine, The Real Her, Cameras

03. Sailing Souls – Jhene Aiko I’ve been in love with Jhene’s voice since she sung “Santa Baby” on B2k’s Christmas album. Sailing Souls fills that r&b void that has been open so long. SS is an album full of beautiful, relatable lyrics, and years from now it will be looked upon as the coming out party of one of r&b’s greats. Features include Gucci Mane, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, H.O.P.E. and Kanye West. Dopest Tracks: July feat. Drake, Hoe feat. Miguel, Higher, Growing Apart Too feat. Kendrick Lamar & H.O.P.E.

02. Section. 80 – Kendrick Lamar – The best album that dropped this year, I say that because its the only album that all 4 of us have in common. You’ve read the accolades 3x all ready no need for a 4th. Dopest Tracks: Hol’ Up, A.D.H.D., Blow My High (Members Only), Rigamortis, Spiteful Chant

01.  Step Brothers – Starlito & Don Trip My favorite tape of the year, hands down. To me this is the perfect rap album. Stepbrothers manages to mix great production, content and lyrical ability with pretentious street swag. The contrast between Lito’s nonchalant flow and Trip’s aggressive, accented articulations leaves no room for boring songs. I’ll be playing this tape for years to come. Dopest Tracks: Life, Hate You 2, In Her Mouth, Pray for Me, 3rd Song

Song of The Year – Kirko Bangz “Drink In My Cup”

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[Review] Wale – Ambition

Wale’s first album, Attention Deficit, was extremely slept on. It had great production, it was original and it was an even balance of introspection and fun… in my opinion. But, of course, a lot of people don’t share the same opinion as me. Besides, I was outside of Best Buy along with a crowd of people waiting to get their hands on Call of Duty Mordern Warfare 2 on the day of his debut. Attention Deficit was the beginning of a spirally slope for Ralph Folarin. The album was under-shipped and probably the cause of his disappointing sales. Fast forward to 2011 and Wale is now affiliated with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group.

As a Wale fan, I was nothing less than nervous when he signed to MMG. Considering the fact that the biggest song of his career was “No Hands” and the biggest song on his album featured Gucci Mane, I assumed Wale felt defeated and desperate to bounce back. I expected nothing but trunk music with content based on strippers, weed and tattoos.

Ambition drops and well………. I was kinda right. You won’t find any clever concepts like “90210” or any introspective content like “Shades” on this album. This is one of the project’s bigger flaws. The heads appreciated Wale for songs like “The Eye of The Tiger” or “Ice and Rain.” Instead, Wale took a more shallow route this time around. The DC emcee was obviously more focused on selling his album than he was on putting together quality work. It was said that Attention Deficit didn’t flow together like an album. You can say the same with Ambition. The album is split in half with joints for the ladies and songs about how underrated Wale is.

1. “Don’t Hold Your Applause” (Produced by Tone P)

The album starts with Wale demanding praise. My first thought was”Hey! This sounds like it could have been on A Mixtape About Nothing.” Wale basically touches base on where he has been and where he thinks he is. Not a bad way to start the album.

2. “Double M Genius” (Produced by Mark Henry)

This track was placed after “Don’t Hold Your Applause” perfectly. The instrumental keeps the same feeling going and Wale is still stressing his point about being underrated. Wale spits a few clever punches like “A modern day Goodfella, I’m Ray Liotta/Loud smoking so pass the L like a semi-colon.” This is vintage Wale music. The references to sports and shoes and Vic repeating his name dozens of times brings me back to those 100 Miles and Running days.

3. “Miami Nights” (Produced by Mark Henry)

[youtube odGt53AkqzY]

Mark laces Wale for my favorite tracks on the album. Wale is assisted by random grunts here and there from Rick Ross as he paints a picture of the nightlife on South Beach. I could definitely see this being a single, eventually. If you’ve never been to Miami this joint will make you want to go.

4. “Legendary” (Produced by DJ Toomp)

There wasn’t much effort put into the hook on this joint. With that and a much darker feel in the production it’s almost unbearable to listen to this in it’s entirety. Much like Don’t Hold Your Applause, Wale still feels the need to defend his ability to rhyme and says that thinks he’s “literally top mmmm… and I’m being generous.” Ok, Wale.

5. “Lotus Flower Bomb” featuring Miguel (Produced by Jerrin Howard)

*Sigh* I mean… He needed a single and “Bad Girl’s Club” wasn’t about to work.

6. “Chain Music” (Produced by Tone P)

Wale flips the bliss of ignorance. Coming up with a conclusion of your opinion on this joint in the first minute could lead to embarrassment. I could easily see someone saying “There he goes selling out. Rapping about chains over a trunk beat.” Totally missing the point. You can’t front on homie’s wit to pull off a joint like this one.

7. “Focused” featuring KiD CuDi (Produced by Kore)

I just don’t understand this song. I mean, I get the concept and that’s cool but the beat and the hook are just too much for me to even enjoy the song. You can’t create chemistry over gmail. I feel like if both artists were together in the studio the song would have turned out much better. I also think that Wale was just desperate to show the fans that CuDi “fucks with him musically.”

8. “Sabotage” featuring Lloyd (Produced by Cloud Eater)

Lloyd sounds dope with the live band sound. It’s a joint for the ladies but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it. Wale proves that he is serious about this No Days Off movement. His voice was nearly gone when he recorded this joint. Must have been after this phone call.

9. “White Linen” featuring Ne-Yo (Produced by Deputy)

From Rick Ross to Fabolous you can’t go wrong getting a hook from Ne-Yo. It’s a different sound for Wale. Ne-Yo singing about being large and in charge gives me the feeling that this may have been a Ross throwaway. Too bad we couldn’t have got this joint a few months ago when it was a little warmer outside. This is definitely top back music.

10. “Slight Work” featuring Big Sean (Produced by Diplo)

Instead of “Chillin’” you get “Slight Work.”

11. “Ambition” featuring Meek Mill & Rick Ross (Produced by T-Minus)

[youtube iXttQ3D9T44]

When I saw the title on the track list I assumed that it was going to be a song about girls who go to college and don’t go to clubs. I’m glad I was wrong.The beat is a little harder than what we’re use to from Wale but he is a accompanied by Ross and Meek Mill so he gets a pass. As Meek and Ross speak on why they became drug lords Wale speaks directly to his opposition.

12. “Illest B****” (Produced by Tha Bizness)

Tha Bizness laces Wale with a dope beat to help him simp a little more on the album. Nice instrumental but this is were we could have used a “Shades” or “Diary.” I mean Lotus Flower Bomb, Sabotage, White Linen, Slight Work and now this. We are all simped out at this point of the album.

13. “No Days Off” (Produced by DJ Toomp)

I remembered Wale talking about how hard he worked on “Don’t Hold Your Applause,” “Double M Genius,” “Legendary” and “Ambition.” We’re starting to get a little repetitive in content. After a few more listens I don’t know what Wale was talking about on this song.

14. “DC Or Nothing” (Produced by Tone P)

Here Wale puts on for DC. This is what “Uptown Roamers” sounds like after Wale made progression. I’m not even a DC native and I appreciate this track. Black Cobain appears to spit a few bars at the very end. If the album ended right here I wouldn’t have been mad at all. What better way to go out than repping your hometown?

15. “That Way” featuring Jeremih & Rick Ross (Produced by Lex Luger)

This song was smooth all summer long but after hearing it on Self Made and Eleven One Eleven Theory I feel like it has ran it’s course. I understand that it’s a big record and they are trying to push it as far as it can go but I’m pretty sure that “That Way” met it’s peak a few months ago.

16. “Bait” (Produced by Tone P)

[youtube UKQ_sCGYpwI]

The originality in “Bait” is unmatched. Wale finally got his own club banger. I have yet to hear it in the club but I could pretty much guarantee that I will be sweating and going hoarse when I do. The hard beat and repetitive hook is meshed with DC slang and braggadocios lyrics.

Above is the official track list order. Below is how I listen to Ambition.

1. “Don’t Hold Your Applause”

2. “Double M Genius”

3. “Miami Nights”

4. “Miami Nights”

5. “Miami Nights”

6. “Legendary”

7. “Chain Music”

8. “Chain Music”

9. “Sabotage”

10. “White Linen”

11. “Ambition”

12. “Ambition”

13. “Illest B****”

14. “No Days Off”

15. “DC or Nothing”

16. “Bait”

17. “Bait”

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[Sports] The Break Down: UFC Live: Cruz vs Johnson

*NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED ALL MEDIA IS OWNED BY ZUFFA, ALL RIGHTS ARE RESEREVED*

October 1st marks the UFC’s  6th free show on the Versus Network. This time for the Bantamweight Championship. Like MOST “free” fights this card isn’t stocked full of jaw dropping action but there is some interesting bouts being made.

Here are my main card predictions.

Light-Weight Match: Matt Wiman (13-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) vs Mac Danzig ( 20-8-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) 

This fight is a rematch after the controversial UFC 115. Recap: Wiman had Danzig in a choke. Danzig didnt tap, nor pass-out BUT the ref stopped the fight? 0_o.. Someone should have kicked that ref’s ass!! But they didnt, instead they will have a rematch a year in the making.  Danzig hasn’t fought since December 2010, where he won Knock Out of the Night honors, and Wiman is coming off a lost to Dennis Siver.  Danzig loses to just about everyone good, and Wiman hasn’t truly been tested. I guess the question is Wiman good? I don’t really think so, but he’s probably better than Danzig. Wiman by unanimous decision.

 

Welterweight Match: Anthony  Johnson (9-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) vs Charlie Brenneman (14-2 MMA, 3-1UFC)

Charlie Brenneman got catapulted into the spotlight after his last-minute-replacement-victory over Rick Story at UFC Live Kongo vs Barry. Rick was starting his campaign for a title shot & Charlie, who shouldn’t have been a problem came and shut all that shit down. Now on to a bigger test. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Mr. I fight at 170 but I look like this when I’m not training.

Seriously guys he goes from THAT to this every time he fights…

GROOOSSSSSSS!!!!! But more importantly 6 outta 9 of  Big Ant’ny’s wins comes via knockout.  Yep Heavyweight Knockout power in a 170lbs frame (though he probably weighs more like 190 when he finally steps inside the ring). Good Luck to Charlie, but I think his luck has ran out. Fat Boy via 2nd round KO.


Heavy-Weight Match: Pat Barry (6 – 3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) vs Stephan Struve ( 21-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC)

I thought the UFC didnt do “freak show fights”  0_o  I kid, I kid but hey, with 1ft height difference, what type of joke am I supposed to make? Pat Barry is coming off one of the craziest knock out losses of ALL TIME. You totally cannot watch it by clicking on the video below. And the password isnt mma. Struve is pretty much in the same boat, losing via Superman Punch at UFC 130.

[vimeo 25677147]

Pat Barry is most def a cool guy, and one of the most celebrated and lovable characters in MMA today. I always bet on him and I always lose. He has great “potential” his kickboxing record boasts 18 wins & 6 losses, but when it comes to stringing together wins in the Octagon, he’s more than a little iffy. Struve has 3 losses in his UFC record which include hard-headed Roy Nelson, Heavy-Weight title challenger Junior Dos Santos and undefeated Travis Browne. 3 losses I wouldn’t be ashamed of.

So whose gonna win? Well this match-up is tailored for Barry. If he takes a deep breath, and let go of all the nerves he should be able to kick the shit outta Struve until his footwork and movement are slowed to a crawl. Once that happens Barry’s heavy hands should make short work of the rest. Is that gonna happen? If you watched the video above then you know that anything can freaking happen. If Struve uses his height and reach to his advantage, Barry might be in for a long night. Pat is due for a win if he’s tryin to keep his win/loss pattern going but he has hurt my pockets way too much. I’m gonna have to go with Struve via 2nd Round Submission….

Bantamweight Championship: Dominick Cruz (c) (18 – 1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs Demitirous Johnson (9 – 1, 2-0 UFC)

Now this is the first free Championship match since UFC 95. Which is yaay in its self. I just watched Dominick Cruz avenge his only loss to one of my favorite fighters, Uriah Faber at UFC 132. With that being said, I still wasn’t very impressed. Outside of the Brian Bowles Doctor stoppage in early 2010, Cruz hasn’t finished a fight since ZZzzzzzzzzzz… *yawns* Oh I’m sorry, Cruz hasn’t finished a fight since 2008. Is the least respected UFC champion getting any respect here? Nope. Will he? Sure, if he puts on a show against. Demitirous Johnson.

Cruz is arguable the fastest fighter in the UFC quick, crisp stand-up with great faints and footwork. Mighty Mouse, in the odds-maker’s eyes doesn’t stand a chance. I’ll look at it like this. Dominick has 11 decision victories, 6 knock out victories, one submission victory & one submission loss. Demitirous has 4 submission wins, 3 decisions and 2 knock outs, his only lost being via decision. If the fight goes the distance, Cruz remains the Bantamweight Champion. If Johnson can cut through the stand up, be aggressive and use his grappling to his advantage, I see a submission victory for Johnson.  BUT I wouldn’t bet on it. I see this being a back and forth battle Demitirous wearing on Cruz during the later rounds, but not enough to pull off a decisive victory. Cruz by Zzzzzzz… I mean, Split Decision

 

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carter-iv

[Rants & Raves] Tha Carter IV: The Gift & The Curse

As of today, Tha Carter IV is the best selling rap album this year. CIV is the fourth installment of a series that shows us the evolution of Dewayne Carter. It went on to sell 964,000 copies it’s first week. Topping the highly anticipated, Watch The Throne. But is Tha Carter IV worth the hype?

In my opinion, Tha Carter IV is a parody of predecessors. The once self proclaimed “best rapper alive” shows us that it is pretty much factual that his prime is up.

Weezy teases us with mere silhouettes of former self on respectable tracks such as “It’s Good”, “Nightmares from the Bottom” and “Blunt Blowing.” Then, unwittingly, humiliates himself by being upstaged by just about every feature. Mostly reputed on the “Outro” and “Interlude” where Wayne doesn’t even appear. The lead single, “6’7” was an insulting to the fans’ intelligence. It was nothing more than “A Milli” taken apart and rebuilt.

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So what happened to the old Weezy F. Baby? If you look back to 2007 you will remember Wayne had one of the worst year of his career. Tha Carter III saw countless push backs mainly due to leaks. The Drought Is Over series sucked Wayne dry (no homo) of his creativity. Remember when Wayne said he’ll never do a mixtape again? Vibe magazine counted down the top 77 Lil Wayne songs of ’07. Seventy seven songs in a year. That’s longer than Jay Electronica’s discography. The Leak, an EP that was suppose to work as a holdover for CIII, dropped around Christmas ’07 and collected dust on shelves across the globe. That was probably due to the fact that everyone had those songs earlier that year. All of these things, as well as the valet attendant rumor, play a part in why Wayne doesn’t deliver like he use to. I don’t think Wayne had much gas left after his continuous effort in putting together Tha Carter III.

So if Wayne is out of his prime who purchased Tha Carter IV? I’ve seen a few accusations of the numbers being fixed or the label bought them. That just goes to show… Ignorance is bliss. Why can’t an artist of Wayne’s stature have a successful first week? Again? Weezy’s albums in between the Carters III and IV, The Rebirth and I Am Not A Human Being sold 176K and 110K respectively. Birdman Jr. bounces back selling 964K, proving that the Carter is a very celebrated series. Maybe people are just fans of the series or Wayne more than they are fans of the material on the album. The first two were fan favorites and the third sold over one million it’s first week. We assume that we know what to expect when we buy a Carter album.

Even though some of us weren’t impressed with Tha Carter IV, we shouldn’t be surprised by the amount of success it is seeing.

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SAVAGELIFE

[Rants & Raves] Why Webbie’s “Savage Life” is the DOPEST street album of the 00′s

When I first said I was going to write a post on why” Savage Life” was the best street album of the 00′s I got two responses, “Trap Muzik” and “TM 101″. In short, fuck both them niggas. But to explain, “Trap Muzik” was the sophomore effort of a light-skinned nigga backed by Atlantic Records, which nix’s its qualifications. The next is TM 101 which… yeah yeah street classic, whatever.  But that nigga look like a ninja turtle, ain’t had a hit since  ”I Put On”, and got called a FUCK BOY by a correctional officer 4+ times and ain’t do shit. He couldn’t even remix BMF better than the impostor, so that leaves Webbie. I know you niggas is out there like “Webbie aint have no Kanye feature,” “Webbie aint have no #1 ablum.” NIGGA I KNOW, he’s a street nigga, MY POINT.

Savage Life was a muthafuckin classic.   Lets go down the list.  G Shit, the intro track is as good as any, setting the tone of the album.

… Fuck another niggas business imma mind my own, ‘fore I get in another nigga’s shit imma find my own, yeah. Play wit me and bullets slang like stones. Aint no sense in wearing vests cuz them bullets catch domes. But cha know my vest i’ll never leave without that, since them pussy ass niggas try and shoot in my chest. You want that real gangsta shit, thats what the real niggas stress. Put the SAVAGE on the mic & its a a bet! Forreal…

Next up is “How You Ridin’” bad bitch, hair did nails, feet too? This was a trunk banger. Nigga, Savage Life dropped summer of ’05 I just graduated High School & this was the official swerving song of our class.

When it comes to back and forth buddy raps “Boosie & Webbie got the crown, you other niggas bow down” #BoosieSaid. I always imagined them taking shots Hennessy between verses. “Full of That Shit” is one of my fav tracks from the album.

The award for Songs I can go another 5 years without hearing goes to “What Is It”

If thats wasnt the most popular song on the album then “Laid Way Back” was.. If you’ve ever been in the hood watchin’ tv on mute, then this track was prolly playing in the back ground.

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Lets see… You got the quintessential basic Bad Bitch anthem featuring Trina… Features from N.O.’s finest  & B.G. and arguably the hardest song ever made…

If you listen to this song and dont wanna break shit (and by break shit I mean throw on the girbauds, retrieve the throwaway from the alley and commit several felonies) you have no soul

PLUS! I aint even mention Gimme That. That song had every hole-in-the-wall club cracking open the back door & pulling out the extra fan.

Most good albums have about 6-7 solid songs.. I literally fuck wit about 12 songs.. Cars, clothes, money and hoes were thoroughly covered. Gunplay bravado, features from Underground Kang Bun B and Hoe’s Choice Award recipient, Trina, as well as 4 other tracks introducing his crew to the world completes a well rounded album.. Savage Life is the blueprint of the Hood Classic.

DOWNLOAD this shit. BURN it TO DISC. And go ride around on a suspended licnese…. or without insurance… or atleast without a seatbelt…. Whatever you gota do to get closer to the #thuglife

DOWNLOAD HERE

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Who are “Dem White Boyz”?

Dem White Boyz Beats

When PIDVKY first came across Dem White Boyz we were immediately impressed with their talent.  The southern hip-hop beat crossed  with a rock-n-roll attitude led us to believe that these boys were definitely on to something.  So we recently caught up with the rap group to figure out who are “Dem White Boyz” …

AcePIDVKY: Where are you all from and how did you get started?

DWB: Payne (middle)  is from Oxford, AL; Sikk (far right) is from Oxford, AL ; Skataboy (far left) is from Munford, AL

AcePIDVKY: Who are some of your musical influences and who would you like to work with the most?

DWB: Some influences are Eminem, Beastie Boys, Michael Jackson, pretty much different artists inspire us in different ways. We rock with everyone really.  We would like to work with Young Dro, Drumma Boy, Cool and Dre, Justice League, Rick Ross, Boosie, Fantasia, Mary J. Blidge, there’s too many to name lol.

AcePIDVKY:  Thats an interesting and diverse selection of artist, what do you feel sets you apart from other rap groups?

DWB: Of course our skin color, we are very diverse, each of our personalities are different which when combined brings something different to the table each and every project.

AcePIDVKY: What are some of your previous projects? Continue reading

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PIDV x YP #Interview

This year I was unable to attend the festivities of SXSW, but I heard all about it. Young Scolla, Wiz & Bun B all gave memorable performances and the “Put The A in Austin” showcase was the shit! But there was one name that kept being mentioned with all the SXSW talk, YP. I never like being outta the loop, so I had to do my research. Conclusion: I like this guy, being a Chicago native, YP is another mark on my laundry list of reasons why the Midwest is next to blow. I recently caught up with the young phenom to get a deeper understanding of the east-side standout.

YP, whats behind the name?
Well when I first started I took the name Young Prince and I remember there was a guy from Chicago that ended up droppin with the same name. After that someone called me YP and it jus stuck with me.

Your music has a very realistic, almost dark tone to it. How did being raised in Chicago affect your subject matter?
This city and the experiences we go through are my means of motivation. I feel as though the topics I discuss are EXTREMELY real here. My city was on CNN multiple times due to the crime and poverty. It’s nothing to brag on but it’s something that definitely should have a light shined on it. These are the things we go through. These are the things we see on a daily basis here. It’s much more than the bright lights and skyline have shown people.

Describe your style in 3 words
Real, Emotional, Relateable

Who are your musical influences?
You always have the GREATS Jay-Z, Nas and those guys but I feel as though I was influenced by Chicago artists more than anything. We all grew up listening to pioneers like  Twista, Crucial Conflict, Common, Ye, and then you have Bump J and the GoonSquad and where I’m from in Chicago, to say they had a heavy influence is an understatement.

Your music is a pretty stark contrast from what Chicago is known for, how did you find a home in Chicago’s music scene? Was it hard? Were you easily accepted?
I started with just trying to get my name out there the best way possible. I don’t think it’s hard because I was always taught you get what you put into something. So if you dedicate yourself to your craft and go as hard as possible then you should see some type of result whether it’s negative or positive. If you keep pushing, eventually you will knock that door down. I don’t really worry with being accepted because at the end of the day these are my expressions. I want you to buy into me not me trying to please the world. I would never get anywhere thinking like that. I would forever be trying to please an audience. I don’t believe you should have to do that.

Speak on the album Classified: Whats behind the title? What roll did Fakeshore Drive play?

Well I named it CLASSIFIED after the section in the newspaper. When you look in the classified section you can find basically ANYTHING. I just wanted to show versatility. FakeShoreDrive played a real key role. Andrew believed in my vision and was behind me from the jump. He did whatever he could to help promote it and get the word out to as many people as possible. He is owed a great deal for that!!!

You had a couple of great features on the album, most notable was “Words of Wisdom” with Mikkey Halsted. Its a great song! How did the collaboration occur?
Thank you!! Well it turns out Mikkey had been watching what I was doing. There was this interview I did at a local college radio station and he came up there. We spoke there and exchanged info. Also, he is good friends with my manager which made it a smoother situation. I told him I respected him as an artist. From then on it just happened. Mikkey really looks out for me. It’s personal with him and me. I look to him for advice on more than just music.

Do you have any special things you do to get ready for a studio session?
Nothing in particular. I just like to have a clear mind and know what I’m goin in for. I didn’t come in the game as a person that just goes to the studio and kicks it. I’m all for work. Time is money.

Whats the biggest hurdle you’ve faced so far?
The biggest hurdle I’ve faced is patience. I have to understand that good things come to those who wait. To me, that’s easier said than done. I’m learning as the days go by that things don’t always happen when you want them to but just be prepared for when they do.

Whats your biggest accomplishment?
So far my biggest accomplishment was a co-sign from Q-tip recently. He just did an interview where they asked him about up and coming artists and he spoke my name and said I was nice. That was HUGE to me.
[vimeo 8324980]
[youtube Mc1w4N1pWmQ]
Follow YP on Twitter: @YP27
check out his site http://yp27.com
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