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Nas “King Disease”
“I made the fade famous, the chain famous
QB on my chest match the stainless
Amazing Grace, I'm gracefully aging
Without masonry I made more paper to play with
No rap in my playlist, sold dimes on my day shift (King)
So, can I breathe? Can I walk? Can I speak? Can I talk?
Can I floss without you wanting me outlined in chalk?”
Nasir Jones!!! I want to start off by saying this is a wonderful album. I felt he brought it back to the essence. Like Nas said “That's generational curses, they said they want the old Nas back, play the Clue tapes for old verses”. Many people doubted him because of his last two projects he dropped. I never counted him out. I will admit; I was hesitant about his features on his new album “King Disease”. The features include Charlie Wilson, Big Sean, Don Toliver, Lil Durk, Anderson Paak, Brucie B, Fivio Foreign, Asap Ferg, and last but least The Firm! All the features actually fit the process of the album. Every feature is really good. We normally don’t see features like this from Nasir Jones. Nas be in a lane of his own and he showed the new generation of artist some love.
Hit-Boy went straight to his Nas bag. I said that because he tailored his production to Nas’s previous work and cadence. This album felt like royalty. People should put some respect on Hit-Boys name after this album. Also, many producers do not get to produce a whole album for a legend. Hit-Boy definitely did his homework. Hit-Boy orchestrated some of the features of the album. Hit-Boy has worked with artist such as Jay-Z, Nas, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Asap Rocky, Drake, and many more.
This would be Nasir 13th album. A lot of artist cannot say they are on their 13th album, still staying relevant, and spitting like the he has not lost a step. I felt like this was supposed to be the Kanye West produce album. Nas mentioned he does have other albums done with other producers. Back to “Kings Disease”; the only song that I personally do not like is “Spicey” but its not a bad song. Its just not my type of vibe My favorite songs are “Kings Disease”, “Blue Benz”, “The Definition”, and “The Cure”. Az murdered that “Full Circle” Verse. He hasn’t lost a step. It was good hearing The Firm altogether, that was a breath of fresh air. The beat change on “The Cure” is really dope. We don’t hear Nas on that type of production.
Overall, this album is.. I’ll say it again ROYALTY! Best project he put out since Life is Good. He feels comfortable and he took it back to the essence with this album. I’m rating the album an 8.4. Side note, the length of the album is perfect and we usually see Nasir having 50-hour long albums if not longer. Thank you Nas for taking me to the gold teeth era. Peace King, Peace God.
8:30am: Floyd was accused of trying to use “counterfeit” money to buy cigarettes. Police were called and he was “resisting arrest”. Officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to George Floyd neck for approximately 8 mins and 46 seconds. Floyd was pronounced dead at 9:25pm.
9:00am:City of Minneapolis is in a uproar and rightfully so. Senator Amy Klobuchar asked for a comprehensive investigation of George Floyd death.
2:00pm:Chief Arradondo announces that all four officers involved have been fired at this time
5:00pm:Protest starts in Minneapolis and begins to damage the Third Precinct.
6:00am:Rioting and looting throughout the whole city.
4:15pm: Protesters are outside of the house of Derek Chauvin.
12:00pm:Derek Chauvin taken into custody
1:00pm:Charges filed against Chauvin included third degree murder and manslaughter charges.
3:00pm:City announced 8pm curfews.
9:00pm:Riots become intense. Fires and chaos become worsen.
Spirit of George Floyd
I was not expecting to be killed over a counterfeit 20-dollar bill. How they know it was fake anyway? Was the force you inflicted on me necessary? 4 trained officers to detain me? Help me understand. I told you officer Chauvin I could not breathe. I asked for my mother. Isn’t that a sign of despair?
I am identified as a biracial male. To the majority I am black. I only seen the picture. I will not watch the video. I was brought to tears looking at the pic. I want to help, I want to change the system. Your death was traumatizing. The whole world felt this in their soul.
What can we do to change systematic racism?
I do not know. We have a racist president in office. We have racist cops all over the United States. I do tell you one thing. We have been protesting since your death. People around the world has also been rioting and looting. I know looting sounds horrible and God please forgive them. But can I asked a question?
Please keep the peace and Yes you may ask a question.
I’m not justifying the looting but where do you think these museums get their artifacts from? They were stolen from White America. The United States stole from every culture you can think of. They stole land from Native Americans. The United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Harlem Renaissance which African American had their own business, music, literature, art, and sports. European Whites were constantly burned their churches and establishments. The end of the Harlem Renaissance was a result of WHITES RIOTING. Let’s not forget about the Black Wall Street burnings. Whites were scared that Us “colored folks” were going to take over the capital and finally be the majority of this world.. Slavery, hmph where do I begin? Tamir Rice? Sandra Bland? Eric Gardner, and countless others. Oh… my… Trayvon Martin. SO keeping the peace is far from peoples minds. We want JUSTICE!!
I know I am deceased. This is heartbreaking for my family. I pray to God or any higher power that my death would be an example of change in our country. Maybe we could can have social justice and distribution of wealth amongst everyone. It took my death to realize the systematic racism in our country is a major issue. I do see everyone of you protesting in my name. Please be safe.
(Phillip Roberts). Change is starting to happen worldwide. We as an culture will have to be consistent and prepared for what’s going to happen next…..
TO BE CONTINUED
To say the 2010’s was an interesting period for Hip-Hop would be a ludicrous understatement. The 2010’s opened up an endless number of new lanes for artists to experiment and express themselves within their music. One of the major game changers that the era opened up for Hip-Hop was stressing of importance of mental health through music.
Prior to the 2010’s, rapping about emotions was immensely scarce. There were anomalies in artists such as the legendary Tupac; however, Hip-Hop was not mainly a music genre that could address one’s mental state directly. It was, however, a genre where artists could conceal their emotions through braggadocious bars, masquerading facades, and opulent lifestyles. That’s not to say that Hip-Hop artists prior to the 2010’s did not have an introspective view on political/societal issues, but rappers tended to stay away from “emotions” in their lyrics at the risk of being labeled “soft.” The 2010’s opened up a new conscience sub-genre of Hip-Hop that demonstrated vulnerability, and the consumers ate it up. According to Forbes, as of July 17, 2017, Hip-Hop/R&B usurped rock as the most consumed musical genre becoming the most popular genre in music for the first time in U.S. history. (1)
My theory is that this newfound sincerity in Hip-Hop is more relatable for audiences. Artists such as Drake, XXXtentacion, Juice Wrld, Mac Miller, J.Cole, and even Kendrick Lamar exposed their hearts to the world through their art. Other music genres such as rock, jazz, country, and pop have always depicted emotions in lyrics, and since Hip-Hop is solely lyric-based, rappers are able to evoke images of pain, anxiety, and depression in an intensely vivid way. This sort of message in music has extended to even the most cold-hearted lyricists, such as Jay-Z. If you listen to earlier Jay-Z albums such as Reasonable Doubt or The Blueprint(s), there are only a few songs that expose Jay’s emotions. I think to understand this sort of growth that has transpired, one could look at the album 4:44for an example. This is arguably Jay’s most personal album where he discusses his issues with his marriage, his guilt, and his unsteady relationships with family and friends. This sort of lyrical content was unheard of in the 90’s with only few exceptions.
With this being the case, listeners are able to gravitate to a voice that they relate to and this could also be why the Hip-Hop is so divided among fan bases. Many people who enjoy Hip-Hop are very quick to choose sides. For instance, many Kendrick listeners try to discredit Drake because he expresses his art in different ways. However, Drake fans argue that his versatility (i.e. singing, switching flows/delivery) is what makes him so listenable. What I argue is that we, as listeners, should not choose sides, and instead appreciate artists for their compositions. It is perfectly fine to have differentiating opinions but calling someone else’s favorite artist “trash” shows closed-mindedness. It is a fair argument to say that some artists pander to audiences to exploit their emotional well-being; however, if the listener finds enjoyment in it, then you can’t discredit their interpretation.
At the end of the day, mental health plays a pivotal role in Hip-Hop. Music can be immensely therapeutic, and everyone can find some sort of relatability to any artist. Recognizing and being cognizant of the fact that music is subjective is extremely important as well. I urge you, as the listener, to not let the masses tell you what type of music is good for your mental health. If you find enjoyment or solace in an artist that has received an abundance of major criticism, do not let the critics influence your listening experience. Think for yourself and enjoy what you enjoy.
Drake Dark Lane Demo Tapes Review:
Drakes announces a new album for summer 2020!! I know people are extremely excited to hear Drake (Or someone else penning these raps). In the meantime, he gives us an Ep or mixtape or whatever hell you want to call it. Honestly…. Its typical Drake copycat, singing, sounding like everyone else bullshit. The media and everyone else let’s him get away with the shit but not I captain. It’s probably 4 hard songs which are “Deep Pockets”, “When To Say When”, “Chicago Freestyle”, “Losses”, and “War”. The rest are throwaways but but but Drake fanatics will say “This Drake firreeee” “This only a demo tape and this goes hard” and blah blah blah bullshit. Its not much to really review. Before Drake fans attack me, answer me this… What makes this tape good? *crickets crickets crickets*. The features are star studded on paper but the quality of the features is horrible. No substance. Just a bunch of harmonizing. The Playboi Carti features was absolutely useless…When will Drake give us a full-length rapping LP? CL 4/10
Bridging the Gap in Hip-Hop
⁃ by Jonnie Hopkins
Hip-Hop is easily the most debated music genre in existence. Since the genre is constantly evolving, the fan base for it will always be divided. The main division can be found between the fans of old-school Hip-Hop, and the new wave of the genre. Many fans of the old Hip-Hop sound are quick to discredit what the new wave of the genre has to offer because of the multitude of trends that take place. In my opinion, the current state of Hip-Hop triumphs over previous generations (even though the older sound is my favorite). Before you are quick to consider this opinion as invalid, check out my reasons.
1. The Production
⁃ When you think of late 80’s and 90’s rap, the main element that resonated with listeners was lyricism and the one-dimensional boom-bap production, not that there is anything wrong with that. However, in today’s Hip-Hop, many artists tend to pay closer attention to the details behind the boards; which isn’t such a terrible thing. The production on your track can be just as important as the lyrics for depicting the mood, tone, imagery, etc. There are a great number of artists who come to mind when talking about production, but two artists in particular have taken the current wave of Hip Hop by storm with their ever-changing styles are Kanye West and Travis Scott. Both artists continue to top the charts with by focusing their attention on sound quality. Projects such as Travis Scott’s Astroworld, and Kanye West’s various works such as Jesus is King, Ye, and Kids See Ghosts demonstrated that production and sound quality play a pivotal role in today’s generation of Hip-Hop.
⁃ You look at other artists like Tyler, The Creator, J.Cole, and Kendrick Lamar who are chopping on their own records, and it makes you realize that the game has immensely evolved since the 90’s. Before Nas’ Illmatic, most rappers only had one producer (or DJ) mixing/mastering their albums. Now, if you take a scroll through the production credits on any album, you’ll notice a plethora of various producers on every track. In my opinion, this keeps content fresh and brings out the best sound and energy from artists.
2. Lyricism is Alive and Well
⁃ Contrary to popular belief, today’s generation of Hip-Hop artists are not just “mumble rappers.” Mumble rap is definitely something that exists, but if you look at some of the top selling artists, and the up and coming ones, the majority of them have substance in their lyrics. Kendrick Lamar is the prime example of this. Kendrick has been a figurehead in Hip-Hop since his classic album Good Kid M.A.A.D. city hit the streets. This album shook the game as Kendrick demonstrated that having booming production on the boards doesn’t mean you can’t have substance in your lyrics. Kendrick’s ability to tell stories, depict imagery, stick to a concept, and overall articulate his thoughts on wax has rubbed off on the genre, and we can see mainstream artists such as J.Cole, Drake, Meek Mill, Pusha T, and the late Nipsey Hussle reciprocate this attention to lyrics on their projects. Kendrick’s lyrics are so complex, in fact, that he was the first Hip-Hop artist ever to win a Pulitzer Prize with his 2017 album DAMN. This goes to show that yes, the new wave of Hip-Hop can favor sound over lyrics, but that does not mean that there aren’t artists who focus on their lyrics first and foremost. Which leads me to my next point.
⁃ Versatility in today’s Hip-Hop is what makes it the most popular genre in the U.S. With a variety of never-ending sounds in today’s game, I would place my bet that you could make a Hip-Hop fan out of just about anyone. Looking back on the roots of Hip-Hop, it has always been a genre that could fuze itself with any other music genre, such as rock, jazz, alternative, and even country. This is extremely prevalent in today’s game. You look at artists like Chance the Rapper, Earl Sweatshirt, YBN Cordae, and Anderson .Paak who are capable of combining soul, jazz, and your traditional Hip-Hop production on one track; then you look at artists like Drake and Travis Scott who embed infectious melodies all over booming 808’s, while still spitting clever bars, and it shows just how versatile today’s artists are. In fact, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” over the summer is a testament to all of this. Him absolutely destroying the charts with the fusion of Rap and Country demonstrates that Hip-Hop today is essentially a combination of every music genre. In fact, many artists are criticized for blending their sound with Pop because of this strict “no softies” rule in Hip-Hop. But if you ask me, guys like Post Malone, Tyler The Creator, and Childish Gambino, have some of the most well-crafted projects of the decade despite many doubting that they are even considered Hip-Hop artists. Understanding that the culture of Hip-Hop goes beyond just rapping is the first step in appreciating the most versatile music genre ever.
4. The Potential in Young Artists
⁃ In my previous points, I tried to stick to only talking about mainstream artists in Hip-Hop to beat the stereotype that mainstream Hip-Hop is a “problem.” However, the younger, up-and-coming artists are something we should be extremely excited about. Young talents who have yet to drop a debut album like YBN Cordae should get the lyricist-heads foaming at the lips. Other artists like Polo G, Roddy Ricch, and Joyner Lucas have been creating huge waves for the younger wave of Hip-Hop, and each of the aforementioned artists have immensely different styles. Other young artists that have solidified themselves in the game such as Denzel Curry, Vince Staples, and Joey Bada$$ are all household names to be excited about as well. These artists have all dropped an awesome project or two, and still have the potential to grow and develop their sound even further.
5. LEGENDS STILL RELEASE MUSIC
⁃ Although these artists are passed their prime, let’s not pretend like many of the legends that established the classic Hip-Hop sound don’t release music. In the past two years, Jay Z has released two fantastic projects, Nas dropped a dope album last year with Kanye chopping the boards, and Eminem has released two, albeit subpar, albums in the past year. The underground is still cooking as well. One of my favorite projects of 2018 was Czarface Meets Metal Face, which was a collaboration album consisting of Czarface(Group that Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck is affiliated with) and the legendary MF DOOM. Speaking of Wu-Tang, back in 2017 they even released the highly anticipated The Saga Continues. The Game is set to release his final album pretty soon too. So, to say that legends are still around is an understatement, because they are still involved and making great music, even if it isn’t charting.
The current state of Hip-Hop is far from stagnant. Being that it is the most popular genre of music in the United States, it is constantly changing and evolving. The sound of Hip-Hop has drastically changed since the days of its rise on the scene back in the 80’s and 90’s. But has it changed for the better? That’s for you, as the listener, to decide, and that’s for music appreciates to respect.
If you’re a fan of the older sound, that niche is still there for you, and no one is going to tell you that it’s wrong to listen to that sub genre of rap! However, as Hip-Hop fans we need to find common ground and at least take the time to appreciate what the new wave has to offer. The game is ever expanding, and if you haven’t found a sound in today’s Hip-Hop that you like yet, odds are you will eventually.
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