I’m going to cover three topics in this short blog: My own humble opinion regarding why hip-hop sucks. Ryan’s (a good friend) new single and EP, and my main man E.Color’s and I Twitter/Hip-Hop Digest’s “disagreement”. I may get at King Killa also (Hip-Hop Digest Show).
Lets do it...
What do Rakim, Biggie, Chuck D, World Supreme Team, Redman, Common, Wu-Tang, Latifah, and MC Lyte ALL share? Greatness, adoration, and classic hits. Agree? Okay, so now what do Chief Keef, Wale, Soulja Boy (Tell ‘em), French Montana, Bow Wow, Migos, Odd Future, Izzy Azeala, and quite a bit of everyone you hear on WPGC nowadays share? They’re wack. Then again there are the intermediate negroes such as Drake, Snoop, T.I., Naughty By Nature, and so forth. The state of music is in-flux, radio (save for sports talk) is something most from my generation can’t listen too, we consume music as different as night and day nowadays, and hip-hop (a favorite genre for many of us) is simply down the toilet except for a lot of the good underground stuff coming out of NYC and Western Europe.
There is more than enough blame to go around just as well a great many cats to attach said blame to, but the majority of the blame must head toward the “artist” e.g. Chief Keef, Bobby Smurda, and say French Montana. Let’s take Sousa (Chief Keef’s doppelganger) for instance. Here’s a kid who doesn’t TRULY love hip-hop in any form or fashion. He didn’t study Common, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye a.k.a. MR. KARDASHIAN, Kool G, or Plug One. Chief Keef only started rapping because it was cool and it was a time-killer between house arrest stints. Trust me. This kid wouldn’t be capable of naming you three tracks off of Lupe’s first album let alone “It Takes a Nation of Millions”. Chief isn’t wack solely because he’s unfocused and his production is trash; he’s mostly wack because he’s lazy, doesn’t study the masters, takes no time to take a seat and compose a coherent rhyme, and lacks reverence for culture of hip-hop.
So what about a cat like D.C.’s own Wale? Why is a guy who has access to high-class production and a reasonably large budget wack? *sighing* I dropped a blog two years back addressing the state of DMV Hip-Hop and got my Twitter and email blown-up. Cats here in Chocolate City just loathe to hear the truth which is: DC IS SO THIRSTY TO HAVE SOMEONE “RELEVANT” ON THE RADIO THAT THEY’LL BACK ANYONE. Wale is simply not a dope MC ... The young man is wack. Now this is not to assert that Wale is a bad guy or is without talent, but I know better MC’s here in DC who aren’t making an attempt to enter the commercial scene that spit better. Wale doesn’t know if he wants to become an Ibex Go-Go Rapper or a truly dope MC, that go-go style rap cadence only works when backed by a go-go band. He’s overrated here in the city in my humble opinion.
Another glaring issue with hip-hop today is that there is no artist development by the labels anymore. Back in the day labels took time to groom an LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Fugees, Tribe, and many others. Long gone are the days of an established act taking new label mates “under their wing” and “showing them the ropes”. As Pop Walker would say “Boy, the blind can’t lead the blind”, what type of advice could Meek Mill give Wale aside from who’s the very best weed man in South Philly? Seriously. At the risk of sounding my age, you just can’t replace many of the old, reliable conventions if you desire sustainable success. But that’s the business model for hip-hop and most musical genres ... Give a kid 750k advance, surround him with 21 of his boys (long hair, skinny jeans, ass and draws hanging out, dancing with one another), shoot a video, and feed him to the wolves. If they become hot and drop ONE hot single Interscope have recouped their money as there are no big budget videos, big-budget promotion, cost-consuming artist development and such.
We can keep on about radio (Clear Channel, Ebro, Sirius, Etc.), old school vs. new school but what's the use? With the Jay-Z's and Hip-Hop Digests of the game taking the coveted 360 deals (I kid, I kid, E.Color!!!!) and Mac Miller having the independent game on smash together with those of his own ilk. The MC's in-between, and especially the underground MC's, get to be held hostage by a combination of politics, fuckery, laziness, and not being properly schooled in the art-form. Furthermore, petty squabbles and beefs don't move the culture along either. Game vs. Lil Durk, French Montana vs. Migos, Drake vs. Chris Brown ... who gives a fuck? These petty beefs detract from the quality of the music. Speaking of the quality of music, the quality of the content of the tracks we are hearing is another reason for the recent slump in ALL GENRES of music. Drake's whining, Wayne's whatever he does, and French Montana just not being capable of flowing period (yes, Wale is in a better condition ... waaaay better.)leads me to contend they aren't writing any rhymes -- everyone thinks they can "come off the top". Get the fuck outta here. We can continue but I don't have the solution, and I don't think a particular one person does. Personally, I think it's gonna get a lot worse before we consistently start hearing product of quality as we did in the 80's and 90's.
E.Color and Curt G. *sighing* man-o-man ... how are you not going to have "Fiddy" in the firm? Look, I'm not a "Fiddy" dick-rider but you cats are going on personality and not qualifications. "Fiddy's" CV can stand-up to any one of the present members of the HHD Firm. I think there's some hateration taking place in the lab. "Fiddy" should have gone into the firm before the good doctor. Two words: Vitamin Water. "Fiddy" has been living that 100mil. life for quite a while now, and his dough isn't on some #360 shit. Two more words: Diverse Ventures. "Fiddy" is getting record money, ACTING money, Vitamin Water money, headphone money, t-shirt money to name several. You can't deny his CV and portfolio, Color! He can be that joker who works from home and just gets to quarterly and emergency meetings. *laughing* The other "partners" don't have the obligation to see your boy. Y'all was on some old gang-up on Killa shit. SPEAKING of Killa, I ain't saying ... BUT i'm just saying whatever happened precisely to the PHANTOM Questionmark Asylum VINYL he was supposed show us? ...take your time, I'll wait.
Lastly, I was blessed, by my good fellow Ryan, with the distinction of hearing one of the better EP's this summer. It's a mixture of several different styles in view of the fact that he has lived in very different regions of the states (He has a track titled PAULA DEEN!). The production is on-point and is better than a lot of the drill and trap track i hear coming out of the south and Chicago. I would say the album isn't perfectly balanced but i suppose this is due I was given a very early copy of the work. When it's finally mixed-down and engineered we will be looking at a solid product. The stand-out track is titled "Light it up" which I'm positive will bang on radio and in any club, strip joint, rented Bentley and side-piece's home in america. I will have more info on the album title and release date in the coming weeks.
Well, it's roasted chicken, cauliflower, stuffing, and iced-tea this evening along with some football (and maybe Madden) this evening. I'm back now, Cadets! All it took was for me to write one, shake-off the dust, and get the blog bug once more. I'll return next Sunday...
Be Peace and God Bless,
Atticus Bojangles (The Hedonist)
Twitter: Just_KrisBoogie (Atticus BoJangles)