“Don’t get caught up in no throne/ These devils out here lyin/ Actin like the people ain’t dyin/ They silver and they gold/ they never saved no soul” -Yasiin Bey
The forces of Good and Evil in Hip Hop are at battle again…or maybe more accurately the forces of “Conscious” and err “Unconscious”. Here’s the thing, it’s a fight people like and one the people need. On one side of the ring we have Hip Hop/Pop juggernauts Jay-Z and Kanye West, Will Ferrell, money, conspicuous wealth and questionable values. On the other side we have Mos Def turned Yasiin Bey, Malcolm X, lyrics that reflect the financial situation people who aren’t the 1 percent are in now, and the ghost of Mos Def’s classic “What’s Beef?”
So who the fuck is Margila? Yasiin Bey may know but he doesn’t care cause he’s trying to reclaim his “Man of the People” status. Jay-Z and Kanye’s Watch The Throne track “N*ggas In Paris” is actually so ridiculous a song it seems an easy target (and a device for getting Alec Baldwin in trouble when that’s the last thing he needs!), but in today’s Hip Hop climate people don’t even take shots at the easy targets anymore. Bey hit the dynamic duo in their Achilles heel: Lack of spirituality, lyrics that reflect how regular people live or their pain and political/resistance content. Hard to argue with whee Yasiin is coming from.
“Niggas In Poorest” isn’t as easy on the ear as I would like it to be and yet it’s still music to my ears. Ready for that new Black Staryet?
One thing I must say I enjoy about the overblown, super glossy rap video era fading is the fact that not only is the playing field more leveled but for rap the medium is forced to use stronger concepts. I liked this one from lyricist Illtone of Port Huron, MI and producer Shade Cobain of Pittsburgh, PA whom I interviewed before. Together they form (no, not Voltron) Blacktivity. They make a nice duo and as you can hear each one holds up their end of the bargain here. Download “Knuckle Sandwich” and check out more of their work below.
I almost took a pass on this album. The frankly underwhelming “dreams” of “Ghetto Dreams” and the rant at the end of “Sweet” left a sour taste in my mouth. Although the beats had my head nodding, I just couldn’t get with the superficial and banal lyrical display on “Ghetto Dreams”. Common raps “I want a bitch that cook good and look good” while Nas raps “call me a pro in the pussy category.” This was the best two of Rap’s greatest wordsmiths could come up with for their dreams? Bah. Continue reading →
Bronson’s first track of the new year showcases the Queens native rhyming over an audio collage of 80s hits so dazzling I barely listened to him on my first listen. By the time this varied Party Supplies produced beat switches to Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam’s “I Wonder If I Take You Home” you’re nostalgic for music that feels that good again. Give it a few more listens to give Bronsolino’s now standard lyrical potpourri some attention too.
Maybe the Black Star documentary trailer wasn’t enough to get you all hot and bothered about a Black Star reunion, so this week Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) performed “You Already Knew” live on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. I liked this this performance and it sounded great. The single will be on Black Star’s upcoming mixtape Aretha. They also performed Oh No and there’s even bonus footage of ?uestlove explaining how producer J. Dilla worked magic on Black Star’s track “Little Brother”. Check it out. Even my Momma likes ?uestlove. Continue reading →
TMZ reports: “…and a long flight back to L.A. from a Michael Jackson memorial concert may have been a contributing factor. A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of one or more arteries in the lungs — most often caused by blood clots which travel into the lungs from other parts of the body. In Heavy’s case, the clot was formed in his legs. Officials from the L.A. County Coroner’s Office say Heavy also suffered from heart disease, which could have been a contributing factor in his death.”
There were earlier reports of the rapper having pneumonia. He was 44 years old.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Christmas songs can get a little played out this time of the year. But, never fear Monka Only has cooked up sixteen holiday themed tracks served up for free. Pass the eggnog, turn this up and drown out those off key carolers. Merry happy Holydaze. Ho ho ho.