Artists on repeat these days: Kanye, Cudi, and Cole. What sets J.Cole apart is that we don’t know what to expect from him, Ye and Kid Cudi never disappoint. J. Cole is yet to drop an album but right now it doesn’t matter cuz he is coming out with some serious hits. I got a good feeling about this one, grab it while it’s fresh. Spin the Track.
The music industry is a dog eat dog world. Any aspiring artist will concur that getting recognition and making a living as a musician is a near impossible endeavor. Although myspace revolutionized the path to success for countless artists, we can’t all be as fortunate as Soulja Boy and Cassie.
4 years ago Lupe Fiasco managed to rise from the ashes of mediocrity and establish himself in the music industry. Lupe received instant recognition and praise for his lyrical complexity and vicious flow, rooted in his debut single Kick-Push. In an era where many proclaimed hip-hop to be dead/dying, Lupe’s debut album Food and Liquor seemed to counter this pessimistic outlook.
For the few musicians that attain fame, even fewer reach their desired level of popularity staying true to their artistic integrity. Once one has “made it,” its equally challenging to hold on to this stardom and continue selling records. The hip-hop world is one of the more difficult genres to maintain relevance in. Everyone thinks they can rap or produce these days and whats “hot” to the fans changes at a rate that is difficult to follow not only as a listener but as a musician.
Lupe’s success was based on his unique sound. What made Lupe so noteworthy was his defiance of the growing trend of making pop songs with catchy hooks and bass-bumping beats. 2006 gave rise to songs like “Throw Some D’s,” which certainly signified a fatal demise to hip-hop. Lupe spearheaded a revival of rap. Take a look at the top 106 Rap Songs of 2006. Lupe is on the list several times and happens to hold the number one spot (Day Dreamin’…classic!).
It’s 2010, a new decade of hip-hop has begun. 4 years, 2 albums and millions of dollars later where is the Midwestern Messiah? To countless fans, Lupe is dead and gone. His sophomore album The Cool received mixed reviews. Food and Liquor reached No. 2 on Billboard’s chart and although “Superstar” was a hit for Lupe, his sophomore album was a disappointment to many hip-hop enthusiasts. Critics debate whether Lupe went out of his element by becoming more “pop-like” or whether it was actually a critique of the game’s pop renaissance through irony. Personally, I feel Lupe didn’t “Dumb it Down” with The Cool but the production and style (not lyricism) deviated from the original album.
For the year and a half, Lupe has been in a dispute with Atlantic Record Label. His album LupE.N.D, set to be his last, was rumored to be in the works for a 2009 release. Apparently, this didn’t sit well with the label and up until January of this year no one knew what was going on with Lupe Fiasco. To everyone’s pleasant surprise, Lupe and Atlantic reached an official verdict earlier this month. Lupe will be releasing his 2 additional albums (Lasers and The Great American Rap Album and then L.u.p. E.N.D. within the next few years. 3 more Lupe albums…I can dig it. Unfortunately my optimism was completely squandered after hearing Lupe’s debut single off of the new album.
As I stated earlier, staying true to one’s origins is a difficult demand in the music industry. Lupe has failed to do so. His latest single is bound to be a radio hit found in the same playlist as Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga. It’s a catchy tune and I’m sure my 12 year old sister will love it, but it’s not Lupe. Its easy to point the finger at the record label and make excuses for an artist who diverges from his foundations but at the end of the day Lupe f*cked up. Lupe dropped two tracks this week, listen to both and make an assessment. To my disappointment, the first track is his album single.
P.S.- I’m not saying this song is bad…I just hate that its by Lupe Fiasco and find it more fitting for B.o.B.
Mark Ronson is a crafty producer who is slowly gaining the attention and recognition he deserves. He is incredibly versatile and can go from working with artists like Q-tip and Wale, to producing hits for Amy Winehouse. He strikes me as a young Timbaland, but better. This song has been around since early summer and I’ve been waiting to hear it at a party or see it get some love on iTunes but it’s yet to blow up so spin the track. It’s pretty electro-pop (Ronson is European) but anytime you have a member of A Tribe Called Quest on a beat its bound to get some hip-hop cred. Props to my boy Doug at Yo!BC raps with the drop. Happy Friday.
For the past year or so, social networking has been Ye’s best friend. I even created a Twitter just to follow this guy and see for myself what the rest of the world was always buzzing about. Kanye and the folks at G.O.O.D Music have exploded into the music lime light with their weekly FREE releases. Although Kanye has managed to climb back to the top of the food chain in the rap industry after a one year hiatus, I’m beginning to feel the level of transparency he has reached is becoming increasingly hazardous.
G.O.O.D Fridays have been a gift. Not having to sift threw a bunch of posts or youtube videos to find some quality music has been a luxury for bloggers and fans alike. Kanye has stayed true to his word and posted a new song (and will continue to until Christmas) on his website for the past 10 weeks. We all love free music and mixtapes however, artists are still best defined by their albums. Originally titled Good Ass Job, Mr. West’s 5th studio album was suppose to drop in early September (after already being pushed back) along with several other artists from G.O.O.D Music (Kid Cudi, Consequence, Big Sean) in a highly-anticipated G. O. O. D. Music Day. Album push backs are no surprise and are often used as a marketing technique. In respect to Kanye’s new album, this is not the case (Kanye swears they’ve been working on mixing and finishing tracks). In addition, whoever is in charge of album sales/marketing of Kanye’s album, whether it be the label Def-Jam/ Roc-a-Fella or Kanye himself, has been far too charitable. If you take a look at the album tracklist, you’ll see 7 of the 12 tracks have already been released. If you are an avid follower of the blog, or a loyal fan of Kanye… you’ll probably know all the songs on the album largely because of my primary subject of interest; Kanye’s short film Runaway.In a recent interview with MTV, Kanye acknowledged this concern by saying that people may think they’ve heard the songs but they haven’t heard the finished album versions. Well there is no denying that some of the songs I’ve heard off the album were poisoned with DJ tags and scratches and were certainly not CDQ. Conversely, regardless of the quality, if you can decipher the lyrics and melody of a song you’ll have a gist of whether you like it or not. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything I’ve heard and it is Kanye at his finest. Simply put, I just wish there was more mystery as to what was on the album thus creating more anticipation for its release. For many people the album will just be an organized, finished version of Kanye’s releases in the past year. Ironically, all of us somewhat disappointed fanatics go out of our way to find leaks and early previews of albums. Kanye bascially leaked the album himself and the blogosphere pretty much got a slap in the face. Be careful what you wish for right?
Last Saturday, Kanye released a 35 minute film which he wrote and directed, inspired by his corybantic imagination and music from the new album (now titled My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). In summary, the movie is a well-directed music video with a strong artistic undertone atypical to urban culture but distinctly Yeezy. It deviates from the traditional music video in that it contains ample dialogue, snippets and remixes to songs off of the entire album, and has a obvious plot with a deep underlying message which I’m yet to decode. After reading several reviews about the film and watching it a few times (not only because I didn’t wholly comprehend it but also because the music is phenomenal) I’ve come to the general consensus that Kanye West is a rare talent who exudes genius in just about everything he dedicates himself to [no ‘mo]. Whether he is making music, building a music label, revolutionizing fashion, or being an asshole, Kanye always makes a statement. This impression goes beyond this short film and to be honest my thoughts on the film itself aren’t spectacular (found it entertaining but a little weird). It’s not the content of the film that struck me, but the concepts and mentality that inspired the film and doing something so bold, so lurid, so…Kanye. I hate to hop on the bandwagon and praise the infallible Kanye West but all in all he is one of the most influential musicians of my generation. 10-15 years from now people will make their lists for top 10 hip-hop MCs of all time and I’m curious where Yeezy will fall in those ranks. I highly doubt Kanye will be remembered as the ostentatious megalomaniac he is often portrayed to be by the main stream media, so it’ll come down solely to what matters: the music. I apologize for the dick riding but I spit the truth…take a listen for yourself. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy drops Nov. 22.
Honestly, this guy is becoming more and more tolerable as a rapper. I’m a fan but I’ve always been critical of the hype Sam Adams gets as a hip-hop artist, especially with all the dick riding that goes around here in Beantown. Regardless of what anyone says dissing this guy, its pretty evident he’s got some talent. This is another track off of his Party Records mixtape and I deff fux with it. Spin the Track!
This is one of the many songs that I had on repeat during my summer hiatus. Hoodie Allen has been picking up some hype lately with their recent mixtape Pep Rally. I’m not a big fan of the NYC duo but they have a couple songs that bump. Spin the Track!
Another slow week…my bad. The good people at Yo!BCraps have been spinning Colin Munroe for quite a few months and I apologize for posting this not-so-new track. This song has been ringing in my head for a couple days now and its a solid track. Wale spits a couple bars to compliment the soulful Colin Munroe. Props to DougJGreig with the find. Spin the Track!
Fact: the past 2 months in the music realm have been bleeding G.O.O.D music. Kanye West and his entourage of artists have surged into the spotlight of hip-hop supremacy and are currently the most downloaded and discussed MC’s in urban culture. However, I am fairly certain this Kanye craze is simply due to the absence of hip-hop’s reigning monarch Lil Wayne. The incarceration of Dwayne Carter sparked a “Free Weezy” campaign that has touched all corners of the world wide web. I’ll be honest, I love Lil Wayne and his music. His new album is bound to go platinum (if it hasn’t already) and The Carter IV is going to be the most anticipated album of 2011. I’ll leave this post relatively short although I have about a million and one more things to say about Young Money’s CEO. For all of you missing Weezy or simply tired of Kanye, here is a little something something curtsey of The Baker’s Dozen.