August 07, 2011

Watch the Throne (Album Review)

So about 1 hour and 19 mins ago, the greatest album to hit the music landscape in 2011 dropped, and let me tell did not disappoint.  I sat on Facebook like a cracka and reviewed each track for people who probably don't even like me, much less care about my reactions to the tracks on WTT.  Oh well, the following are my initial reactions to each track (except Otis):

1.  No Church in the Wild (f/ Frank Ocean): Thought provoking...certainly gonna raise some eyebrows with the content lyrically. To each his own, watch the throne. Grade: B
2.  Lift Off (f/ Beyonce):  Kanye semi-singing...Beyonce adds the beautiful touch to this track. This one you can bump without ever hearing Jay or Ye. The piano and the synths are amazing. The drums are pretty powerful. Very Beyonce "Countdown"-ish. "we gonna tak...e it to the moon/take it to the stars/too many scars/bout to take this thing to Mars." Mission command brings it back to the chopped hook. Very "grown folks" type music. It'll certainly be a fave if you love poppy tracks. Grade: B-
3.  N***as in Paris: Interesting beat selection. Very Southern rapp-ish. Jay goes in referencing the holy trinity of Mikes...Jackson, Tyson and Jordan. Haven't heard Jay go in this hard since his Vol. 3 album. Not feelin it much, but it'll grow. Kanye: "Prince william ain't do it right if you ask me/he shoulda married (Mary) Kate and ASHLEY" Sick...the end of the track the beat switches up. And Kanye says "don't let me get in my zone..." Grade C+ (the last fifteen seconds, B+)
4.  Gotta Have It: Start out with white America talk by Kanye...I love it. This beat is also very UGK-ish (peace Pimp C). The sample is interesting. Haven't check the credits to see who produced this one yet. Lovin it, very hip hop. Lots of "sound raps" in this one. "I remain Chi-town, Brooklyn til I die." They split the bar. They split the bar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sick. Jada and Styles style. Grade: B
5. Otis: Not Reviewed
6.  New Day:   Produced by the RZA. Oh man, this is some deep Kanye. Very introspective. He wants his son to have an easy life. "and I never ever let him hit a strip club/I learned the hard way, that ain't the place to get love." Oh man, tear drop ri...ght there, no lie. These lyrics are heart-wrenching. If you hated pompous Kanye West, you have to listen to this song. Period. Jay in on verse 2. No hook. More introspective raps. Both emcees are speaking to their unborn sons. Wow. Jay closes it out with something that 75% of minorities can relate to...missing fathers. Including myself. Oh man, what a great track. Super emotional. The RZA gave us a 90's feel type beat. Gotta love it. "it's a new life for me..." Grade B+
7.  That's My B**ch: This one has the best lyrical prowess. Contrary to the tone of the title, there are some very high regards for women in this one, particularly to Beyonce, "now back to my Beyonces" Kanye wyles out no doubt. This song was leaked months ago, so nothing exciting here. Grade B-
8.  Welcome to the Jungle:  Swizz Beatz produced (thumbs down) but the tone of the song isn't bad. Jay calls himself "Black Axl Rose." Introspective lyrics from Jay. Kanye lets the world know how he felt when his life fell apart. Jay is killin this one. Awesome, too bad I hate Swizzy. Basically all Jay. Awesome. Grade B+ (only cuz of Swizz).
9.  Who Gon Stop Me?:   Interesting beat. Love it. The power here is sick. Think about all thos old bass CDs you'd bump (Booty Bass Vol. 9 for example) and this is the feel of the beat. But with Jay and Ye. Hahaha, Jay killin it. Kanye goin Pig Latin...hahah...ahah. LOVE IT, my favorite song of the whole album (to this point). Tempo switch about half way. Jay and Ye goin in "I show up in all white, no socks" ahhahaha, #drugreference. OH man, JAY IS GOING IN AT THE END>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>​>>>>>>>>>>>>> Grade: A
10.  Murder to Excellence:   I'm pumped for this one. Starts out with Jay singing, "bloody murder." Kanye singin about black on black murder. Jay spittin bout black man murdered in the streets. Acoustic guitar on the track, love it. 41 souls murdered in 50 hours......Kanye the stat man. This is epic. KRS-One and Public Enemy EPIC. For yall old schoolers that hate these two, this is the song for yall...takin it back to hip hop. I am in love with this song. Also, do your research on the murder rates in Chicago. Bout HALF WAY through the song, "excellence" sets in and Jay starts rappin to the kids about how he made it. "only spot a few blacks the farther I go." Kanye comin in now. Both talkin about how they represent the black community. Sounds like the dopest black after school special message ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!​!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Grade: A+++++++++++++++++++++++++ (social awareness is always perfect in my book)

11.  Made In America:   Love it. There are a bunch of clowns saying how the Watch the Throne deal is a shot to Jesus and him being king. This song is almost religious in nature. Givin props to black pioneers and the son of God himself. Kanye is telling his sto...ry. I am literally sitting here with tears in my eyes. This song alone was worth the wait. The wait for Watch the Throne. Wow, what a song. and I'm only half way through. Jay is hittin it now. Wow. This song is amazing. Not an A+ but certainly gonna get there the 50th or 200th time I hear it. So I'll let you know next week, hahaa. Grade: A (The most anticipated track next)
12.  Why I Love You (f/ Mr. Hudson):  "I love you so, but why I love you I never know." I could leave it there and you would get it. But this is amazing. There are synths and guitars but no drums in the verses and Jay murders it. I love it. Can do without the Chipmunk sou...nd. Jay is killing this song. Oh man, second verse Jay and Ye trade bars for about six bars and it's amazing. Some 80s feel to this. Verse three is amazing. This song is deep too. The strings. and then POOF, it's over. Grade: A
13.  Illest Mother****er Alive:   For those that got the standard edition, yall won't hear this....but the track begins about 5 miins into it (hidden track style). Beat hittin hard, Ye is killin it. Hahaha, sounds loaded and drunk, which is funny, cuz that's Kanye. Oooh,... it's the Russell Crowe rap from the documentary!!! haha, love it, this thing hits hard. Ye is killing the verse with the cleverness. This song is madness, bananas. And just when I thought Ye had Jay...JAY COMES THROUGH WITH THE MEANEST VERSE OF THE ALBUM.....................​.........WOW :) Wow, the ending with the fat lady singing is amazing. Chills, I got chills three different times in this song. CHILLS. Grade: A
14.  Primetime:  This beat is mean, the kind of ish you're gonna hear on Second Serving, piano heavy. Oh man this track is sick, very different sounds on the beat. I love it, the beat is soooooooooooooo sick. 'Dropout' KANYE!!!!!!!!!!! I just got taken ...back to Feb 2004....This beat is sick did I mention that?!?!?!?! I don't think I did. Hahaha, oh man, get the deluxe version just for this track. SICK. Grade: B+ (lyrical content a little shallow after the first four bars of Jay's verse)
15.  The Joy:  This song's been out for a long time, back to 2010's "G.O.O.D. Friday" releases by Kanye. The beat is Pete Rock and is one of the sickest beats in hip hop history. Again, very introspective Ye and Jay, talking about kids they never had....deep stuff. Not too excited here because it's been out almost a year now. Grade: B
16.  H.A.M. : The "first" single off the album....hard criticism from many...I like the song. The Kanye verse is on point while the Jay verse is EVEN MORE on point. The song infuses some opera singing and its production is amazing. Very hard hitting..but most critics hated it, but it def is one of the better tracks on the album...just listen to Jay's verse. Grade: B
SUMMARY:   The album has lived up to its hype. Of course I am biased in every which way, but I tried to be as honest as possible with the song grades, as I know that I would have otherwise graded everything "A." I love this album. I can already fee...l the controversy, the love/hate, and the emotion that it will invoke amongst many people. I personally LOVE the album. I love hip hop. I live for times like this. I shared my thoughts as I got my first listen of Watch The Throne and I hope someone will read them, at least give em a shot. I will be posting these comments on my blog as well so we can get at these linearally. If you haven't done so, go cop your personal copy on iTunes and remember...these are the two kings of hip hop, so WATCH THE THRONE.

July 22, 2011

Jay + Ye

It’s hard to find the words to describe to those who just don’t get it. I can explain until I am blue in the face and it wouldn’t matter. Some people just don’t get it. I’ve met lots of people in my life. I’ve met people who are extremely passionate about certain things. Just for a couple of instances, I know people who love to game; love Bruce Lee movies; run like it’s a religious service; watch football; watch themselves on home videos from their glory days in high school; being cheap; flying; religion; politics; you name it….

My “obsession” with Jay-Z and Kanye West isn’t an obsession. It’s a passion. It’s a feeling of joy that I have when I hear the music of these creative types. It has nothing to do with the men themselves. I hate that Jay calls himself HOV. To me that’s disrespectful to the Almighty Supreme. I hate that Kanye wears chains of the Eye of Horus, something that goes back to the mystical Egyptians and their numerous pagan gods. I hate that I have to filter through the cursing, the immoral sexual content. There are lots of things I hate about the two and their music. But at the very core, the very, very core, it’s beautiful. It’s amazing. It’s art at its finest. There are few people in the world that have created art like Jay and Ye have. I love their art. Some people don’t get it. That’s fine. It doesn’t take away the artistic value of the art. It never will.

Kanye West, to me, is the epitome of an “I CAN” attitude. He has made his career grow exponentially by believing in himself. He is the epitome of great self-marketing. His attitude is hated by most but I love it. If you’re not your own biggest fan, can anyone else buy into who you are? Kanye taught me that it was ok to be different. It was ok to not fit into one stereotype. It was ok to not be labeled just one type of person. It was ok to be all things to all people. In the Bible, the apostle Paul was like this. He was preaching all through the then known world and he said that he had become all things to all people. In many ways, Kanye West has done the same. It’s amazing. But the most amazing part of it all is that no one really gave him a break. They thought he was too cocky. They thought he couldn’t rap, he couldn’t hold an album, etc, etc…until Jay-Z, one of the generations greatest business minds figured out that Kanye West was more than just a dude who hyped himself up. Kanye West was a genius; a musical genius; someone who was far ahead of his time.

Jay-Z: the greatest rags to riches story ever. Jay grew up in Marcy Projects, the worst projects in the country. Jay started selling crack at 12 and did it, not out of a love for the “thug life” but out of a respect for his mother, for his family. He sold crack and helped pay bills. Something that his runaway father couldn’t provide…Jay provided. As he got older, Jay made a lot of money as a drug dealer. But as he explained, there is nothing that could bring more sense to life than hustling crack. It was just the thing to do in an environment where you couldn’t excel otherwise. It’s the “fight to survive” mindset that most people from middle America don’t get. Jay made it. And despite the odds that he had to overcome, Jay fronted the money for his first album Reasonable Doubt, and did so because he could not get a record deal. They told him, like they told Kanye, that he would never amount to anything.

Now here we are. 2011 and Jay-Z and Kanye West are about to release one of the most anticipated albums in history, Watch the Throne. The title is so fitting because there aren’t any two rappers in the world bigger than Jay and Kanye. Sure, you might argue Lil Wayne, but honestly, Wayne is popular among little kids and commercial types. Jay and Ye are the kings, the top of the rap food chain, and they are coming together to make quite possibly the best album ever. There is a lot of reaction to it. Some think it’s going to be amazing. Some are already counting it as a flop. Either way, August 2nd can’t come soon enough.

If you know me, you know I love the music of these two. I’m very passionate about it and there are multitudinous reasons why. But honestly, ask yourself, why are they so great. If you don’t know, I would suggest making the way through each of their music catalogs and seeing what is out there. Watch the Throne is going to be amazing. Period. Why? Because there are two amazing artists that made it. Long live the kings….

July 05, 2011

This is Justice (Regardless of What You Think)

The prosecution failed her.  That is not the jury's fault.
I don't care what you think.  Casey Anthony is a liar, a slut, a whore and quite frankly a dumb stupid b**ch.  She knows what happened to Caylee. She is in some way responsible for this heinous ending to such a beautiful life.  But let me reassure you...this is justice.  You might not agree with the verdict, but that is irrelevant.  This is how it is.  Period.  Whether YOU like it or not, this is it.  It's over.

Stop for a moment and think of yourself in Casey Anthony's shoes.  You're charged with a crime (in fact, over charged by the State).  Whether you were responsible or not, you are charged with the maximum.  If the state does not present a case that leaves not an OUNCE of doubt in your mind, would you be upset?  Would you be outraged?  If you would, you, my friend, are an IDIOT.  A grade A moron.

I want to assure people that what happened was not cute or funny or anything to scoff at at this moment.  Caylee Anthony was a beautiful and innocent young child who had her life taken from her much too soon.  Casey Anthony might be the Devil incarnate, but she was found not guilty OF THE CHARGES AGAINST HER by a jury of her peers.  That bimbo Nancy Grace might have you now believe that the jury was stupid, incoherent and just plain dumb, but the reality is that these were 12 of the most cognizant people that could have been on this jury.  They spotted the "Swiss CHEESE" that was the prosecution's case and made the right decision.  ReGARDLESS of what you might think, these people were spot on. 

I could go into the reasons that I feel this way.  In all reality, though, there are going to be disgusted people everywhere.  And no matter how illogical their arguments for finding Casey Anthony guilty are, these same people will tinker with emotion again and again.  They will leave all logical thought behind.  Believe me, the prosecution was retarded in this case.  Downright idiotic.  Nothing, not no man, woman, or child, could have been led to believe that this woman "WITHOUT A REASONABLE DOUBT" committed murder in the first degree.  If you believe that she did, you need to get socked.  The evidence was not there.  Again, I'm not saying she isn't guilty of something, she's just not guilty of what that dumb prosecution brought upon her.  Way to go idiots representing the State of Florida.  Y'ALL are some real geniuses tonight.

If you want to blame anyone and be outraged at anyone...blame the prosecution.  Go to Florida and shake these numbskulls until they get it.  Jeff Ashton's EGO proved to be the detriment of this case and nobody should deny the law prowess of Mr. Jose Baez.  You might not like it, but the correct verdict was reached today.  But remember, life in Casey Anthony's shoes will NOT be easy.  That blonde bimbo Nancy Grace might have you believe it will.  But then again, she also declared someone innocent VERY guilty before her day in court.  That, my friends, is the biggest joke of this whole thing.  The media.  The crud.  The ego.  The propaganda and the premature conviction.  We saw it with OJ.  We see it with Casey Anthony.  Maybe next time someone will shut up and let justice be served rather than hindering it with "fantasies."

July 04, 2011

Flying Lotus - Lover's Melt 2 (Mixtape)

Found this over at the Dopeboyz and wanted to share.  Download link can be found there as well.  Wow, what a day of musical fireworks.  I haven't seen or heard this much good music in months.  Summer is here.  I just wish that the whole year could be filled with these gems that have bestowed themselves upon us during the past week.  From Beyonce's best album yet, to the pre-order of WATCH THE THRONE, all is good in the world if you ask me.

Songs in A Minor (10th Anniversary)

Wow.  Where has the time gone?  Ten years ago this past week, Alicia Keys released her debut album, Songs in A Minor.  The album was an instant classic and is regarded by many to be one of the greatest albums in music history.  I would agree with many.  I remember the night I bought Songs in A Minor.  It's funny, I just went to the store and forgot my wallet, but I can pretty much remember the moments that I bought all of my favorite albums (and that's a lot).  I purchased Ms. Keys' debut album at a K-Mart in Raton, NM.  It was the summer after my freshman year of high school and R&B music was basically dead at that point.  There was a lot of Jay-Z (weak, poppy Jay-Z) and Ja Rule and circus acts like him.  So hearing Songs in A Minor was a highlight of that time period.  "Fallin" was the debut single off the album and was the first time I heard so much soul in my lifetime. 

Needless to say, Alicia Keys has come a long way from that debut album.  iTunes has re-released the album and for those that need a little kick in the musical rear end, I would HIGHLY suggest investing in the album.  If not on iTunes, peep your local music stores for a used copy.  Believe me, it was worth it then and it's worth it now...the beginning of greatness. 

Watch the Throne....

It's here.  August 2nd the greatest collaboration album in music history will be upon us!  Not only are these my two favorite rappers, but their words and music has contributed to some of the happiest moments in my life.  I have seen Kanye three times live in concert.  I have seen Jay once.  Hands down the best four shows of my life.  Now, after years of killin the game flyin solo, the two kings of hip hop will finally drop the sickest 10 tracks since quite possibly the beginning of time.  Watch the Throne is set to be the biggest selling album without much press.  While Eminem, Drake and even Wayne announce their release dates more than a year in advance, Watch the Throne is due out in 28 short days.  More to come....

November 30, 2010

VotD: Scarface, "This Can't Be Life" (by Jay-Z)


"Yeah.. uhh..
Now as I walk into the studio, to do this with Jig'
I got a phone call from one of my nigs
Said my homeboy Reek, he just lost one of his kids
And when I heard that I just broke into tears
And see in the second hand; you don't really know how this is
But when it hits that close to home you feel the pain at the crib
So I called mine, and saddened my wife with the bad news
Now we both depressed, countin our blessings cause Brad's two
Prayin for young souls to laugh atlife through the stars
Lovin your kids just like you was ours
And I'm hurtin for you dog; but ain't nobody pain is like yours
I just know that heaven'll open these doors
And ain't no bright side to losin life but you can view it like this
God's got open hands homey, he in the midst.. of good company
Who loves all and hates not one
And one day you gon' be wit your son
I could've rapped about my hard times on this song
But heaven knows I woulda been wrong
I wouldn'ta been right, it wouldn'ta been love
It wouldn'ta been life, it wouldn'ta been us
This can't be life,"

November 29, 2010

Modern Day Racism--A Real Thing?

Kanye's line in the College Dropout says the following:
Racism still alive, they just be concealin' it
Imagine.  2010.  Racism still alive.  Huh.  Makes you wonder if that statement was said back in 2003 out of sheer ignorance or if there was actually some merit to what Ye spoke on that album. 
Racism is still alive all over the world.  How do I know?  Look around.  Watch the news.  Go to KMART and ask where the Obama Chia Pet is located.  Sadly we live in a world today that is just as racist and bigoted as it ever was in decades past. 
I hate it when someone who has no idea tells me that racism and the race card shouldn't be an issue in 2010.  Bullshit.  Racism is as alive as it's ever been.  Here's the problem, though, for people that contend it's over: they don't see that racism is actually a different game now.  Instead of the "white" and the "colored" segregation and slavery we have seen in years past, the current racist acts occur on a smaller scale but in a wider gamut of society. 
Sickening.  Britney Spears has one too but she isn't the President of the United States either..
J. Cole put it like this in his song "Problems:"
"Hey, Dear Mr. Policeman
Hey am I wrong, aint you suppose to keep the peace man?
I coulda swore I was driving pretty peaceful
So why the hell is you pullin over me fo’?
Is it this black Mercedes? (Oh now I get it, I get it, I get it)
Or cause I’m black? Hmmm, maybe
Hey, tell me why my hands start sweatin and I hold my breath everytime that you get behind me
I turn my music down, so you won’t hear a sound, man I’m nervous like I got a couple pounds on me
You pulled me over, you frown on meWith your flashlight, tell me what do you see
Thug niggas, drug dealers, its a trip, every nigga in this whip got a mothafuckin college degree"

Think about the power of those words?  We live in a different world yet the same situations are occurring on a daily basis.  Even people who don't consciously act racist can make race stand out as a subconscious factor in their actions.  It's amazing some of the words and the actions that so-called "Tea-Partyers" are letting the world into.  It's amazing that during an economic boom, ethnicity, diversity and inclusiveness efforts were at an all time high in the world's largest that times are more difficult, there are more and more "minorities" with college degrees (legit degrees) that can't get a job to save their life. 
Chris Rock put it best.  He said (about affirmative action in post-secondary education) that he didn't want anyone to do him a favor just because he is black.  He made it known that nobody should receive anything because of their race.  However, he said that in a neck-and-neck race to see who gets into college (meaning all things equal), that he should be chosen.  Why did he say that?  Because opportunities don't reach underprivileged folks every day.  In fact there are some serious drawbacks to being Latino, African-American, Native American or any other underprivileged group in society. 
Chris Rock: A Solid Affirmative Action Viewpoint (Even in 1994)
Is it racist if someone hires the white kid instead of the Latino?  No.  Is it racist when that same kid gets a faster, more expensive promotion than the Latino does even though they're at the same level of ability?  Yes. 
I bring this up because I was talking to a friend earlier who was in tears because he was up for promotion and didn't get it.  Stronger performance reviews, no administrative discipline and smile on his face all the time..and they gave the promotion to someone who is less educated, less informed, less "PC," and less liked.  The boss who chose the promoted employee has been known to make "Mexican" jokes and "Arab" jokes in front of employees who fit those ethinicities.  It sucks to hear this.  It sucks for him; however, not only for him but for our cultures and our hope in this crazy world.  I told him to be cool.  Don't quit.  Things will work themselves out.  Those weren't just words though.  I meant it.  Good people always prevail.  Even in the short run it might seem hopeless but the fact is goodness always prevails. 
The key to that prevalence is a good attitude.  Every day, no matter who it is, treat people with respect, with empathy and with love.  Regardless of race, religion, social and/or economic status...we all have to do our part to make this still biased world a better place.  Don't fool yourself.  Racism still alive. 
This is part one of my series on racism.  I hope you will come back and visit to read the next section of this post where I will focus on racism in schools. 

Verse of the Day (VOD): Pharoahe Monch - "Desire"

"My book is a ovary

The pages I lust to turn
My pen's the penis
When I write the ink's the sperm
Desire, the fire that ignites the torch to burn
This is not rocket science
This easy to learn
My mic's the gavel
When I talk courts adjourned
Respect, even if you were ashes you couldn't earn (urn)
I embody antibiotics
You are infected with germs
Rap's fatally ill, please get concerned
Players, pick turns to play, get burned
I color commentate the game like chick perms
This is the moment of truth for my opponents & liars
Talk is alone invoke the emotion of black choirs
Fire, you don't wanna get burned like Rich Pryor
Move back, who's that, there, the live wire
You will feel me
You will admire
(My) Struggle
(My) Hustle
(My) Soul, Desire"

November 28, 2010

The Roots -- The Greatest Band in Late Night: EVER!

The Roots You the Love of Late Night
If you haven't seen The Roots on Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon, you're stupid.  I personally like Fallon but for those who don't, please, watch the show if ONLY for the Roots.  Yep, Black Thought and ?uesto make late night TV fun and entertaining.  In particular, on Thursday nights, listen to "Freestylin with The Roots."  Incredible musicianship!  Hands down the greatest band ever in late night.  Fallon should be grateful that he has such an incredible group creating audible beauty night in and night out.
Watch it here!

Chrisette Michelle- Let Freedom Reign f/ Talib Kweli & Black Thought

Ms. Chrisette comes to the game with a fresh new track with Kweli and Mr. Black Thought.  Fresh as heck as we'd say here in the Rocky Mountains

Cop it Here

B.O.B - F*ck tha Money f/ Wiz Khalifa (prod. by Kanye West)

Here is a classic track.  The original has Asher and was better lyrically.  This is Kanye produced though....CANNOT beat that. 
Cop it Here!

The Perfectionist Scores Perfection...A Great Debate

ABC News brought up an interesting discussion and debate concerning the new classic from Kanye West.  I would love to hear the thoughts of those who have heard the album.  What did you think?  Was it a classic?  I felt the album lack in some ways, which would take it out of contention for "perfect album" status.  Let's hear the thoughts...

Welcome Back!

My Homie -- Franklin

From what?  Well for me, from the sticks of Southern CO.  Yep, went back to visit the fam.  No internet at home down there so I have been fiendin for some internet for a few days.  It feels like life is very slow when the internet is not (readily) accessible.  Oh well...LOTS to talk about in the world of music.  Many, many great things in music this week.