7 Days of Funk (DâM FunK + Snoop Dogg aka Snoopzilla) – Hit da Pavement
7 Days of Funk (DâM FunK + Snoop Dogg aka Snoopzilla) – Hit da Pavement
The other day Matt sent me this video with the simple commentary “no limit era snoop: the most under-appreciated era of snoop.”
C-Murder – Down For My N’s (feat. Magic & Snoop Dogg)
I probably don’t know enough about other people’s opinions of Snoop to confirm or counter Matt’s assessment, but I think that song is pretty interesting in light of this one.
Kendrick Lamar – Tammy’s Song
I think the relationship between these two songs is a nice microcosm of what Kendrick Lamar is: his roots, background, and inspiration are unquestionably in the street, but he adds a level of nuance and balance by subtly shifting turns of phrase (and also introducing a genuine interest in a female perspective), and then occasionally goes a little off track with it (the whole “turnin’ dyke” direction). That part just feels a little too late in the game to make a joke, or at least that joke. Don’t get me wrong, you can ask my girlfriend, my blog, or my iTunes play count if I like Kendrick Lamar a lot and the answer will be unanimously “yes”, but every now and then I remember that he also particularly turns me off sometimes. Usually not though. Usually he’s doing something cool like turning a C-Murder song into a relationship analysis or a Janet Jackson song into a complex reference to a Janet Jackson movie.
Snoop Dogg interviews the RZA on GGN
And here’s a link to part 1 of The Show (follow related videos for later parts), the documentary that Snoop mentions in the interview that began Snoop and RZA’s personal relationship. It’s a disarmingly raw, honest snapshot of the 1995 rap world, with a lot of good insight and information. Definitely as worth watching as the interview above, if not more.
Just in case y’all missed this.
REINCARNATED (official trailer)
Snoop Lion – La La La
I never thought I’d say this, but I kinda wish Snoop wasn’t in this video at all and it was just these little kids rappin’ the whole time.
Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Rock (G-Mix) (feat. Jay-Z)
When I first saw that this video was out, my reaction was: “wait wait — MORE “Freaky Tales“??” Too $hort’s been workin’ this concept for over 20 years now, and while $hort is proven himself to be able to sustain his original rap style for a weirdly long period of time with continuing success, I was still surprised to see him jump back into this series after all this time. Needless to say, I was really excited. I love how true to himself he’s stayed over the decades, never compromising for anybody or anything, and continuing to make awesome music and command the respect of pretty much everybody in the rap community the whole time. Too $hort is a great example of the kind of artist I talked about in my previous post, the kind that understands that it isn’t his job to be an upstanding moral character for the youth of America. He tells the story of the streets he knows, and for the people that live in that environment he’s lived in, his stories have resonance.
As it turns out, this is actually not exactly a continuation of the “Freaky Tales” ethos, it’s a remake of the original “Freaky Tales” from the 80s, but cut down by about 2/3 and has Snoop (who maybe should have gone by “Too Tall” for this video) rapping half of the time. I can’t pretend like I wasn’t still captivated the whole time though, who wears a Langston University T-shirt with no chains on in a rap video in 2012? And where does Snoop do his flannel shopping? Damn!
Too $hort – Freaky Tales (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Anybody else notice the “Clicc Here To…” link at the top of that video at the beginning? It’s pretty crazy that Snoop is still keepin’ up with all the old traditions after all these years. I guess he’s not the only one, though.
I first heard about “Freaky Tales” back when I first discovered Too $hort’s super early material a few years ago, and if you want a complete breakdown of the “Freaky Tales” saga, with full versions of all the songs included, check out Andrew Noz’s in-depth research. And if you wanna see the man himself lay out the history of the original track, you have to watch this interview which clearly happened on the same day that video shoot did.
I had no idea ’til I saw this that Too $hort was producing that shit too, I wonder if he produced the stuff I put up in this post a while back too? Wouldn’t be surprised. Keep it up, $hort.
One thing a lot of rap detractors like to pretend and insinuate is that the problematic ideas expressed in many rap songs (violence, misogyny, materialism, etc.) are only newly problematic. No one can deny that these ideas are present in rap music or that they are problematic, but I feel like I see more and more evidence all the time of the antiquity of these ideas in our culture as well as our music. Why can Johnny Cash shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die, but when Weezy empties his clip, then rolls his window up, people start raising their eyebrows? Why can Robert Plant claim that “the soul of a woman was created below“, but when Dre, Snoop, and Daz assert that “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks“, they’re being offensive and destructive to society?
The materialism present in some rap music is probably not as hot-button an issue as these previous two, it’s usually at the end of a long list of complaints by people that want to disparage this music and is framed as more of an annoyance than a full-fledged indictment. But today I found a really great example of even this more minor evil of rap having its predecessors in more “wholesome” music.
The Majorettes – White Levi’s
Name-brand dropping in rap songs definitely a lot more widespread than it was in 60s pop, but it’s good to be reminded that it wasn’t absent. It reminds us that our culture really hasn’t changed that much, certain parts might have grown and expanded recently, but the issue itself is not at all new. The Majorettes’ attitude toward name brands is the same as Rick Ross’s. But how many people do you know that would scoff and turn their nose up at a rapper named Gucci Mane, but would find this song completely harmless, aesthetically and morally? The point isn’t whether you want to be an advocate for materialism or not (or violence or misogyny for that matter), it’s whether or not you truly believe that the music we’re making is creating or bolstering these societal problems. There isn’t a single one of us that doesn’t have a violent side, a bigoted side, a greedy, materialistic side. But are we really going to believe that hearing a song where an artist channels that particular part of him or herself for a few minutes is going to make people that hear it drop everything and completely indulge that part of themselves? When I hear a song like Waka Flocka’s “Bustin At ‘Em“, I’m no more likely to murder anyone after listening to it than before because I’ve been raised in an environment that teaches me that things like murder aren’t good things to do, and I live in an environment that doesn’t push me to abandon my morals to survive. It’s when we create situations where there is little or no choice but to do things you know are wrong or when people start getting relaxed about teaching the youth these moral lessons that they can begin to be affected by something like a song in this way.
But I don’t believe it’s the artist’s role in society to always take the moral high ground and set a glowing example for the youth. That’s not their job. That’s why we have parents, grandparents, teachers, elders, priests, rabbis, shaman, monks, imams, chiefs, presidents, and countless other societal roles that are charged with the occupation of being examples to follow in ethical matters. These are the people that need to be stepping up to do that job, it’s their job to stand on a hilltop or behind a podium and make sure you know that it’s not OK to steal from people, or to persecute people, or to murder people. It’s the artist’s job to whisper in your ear that if you happen to have a passing thought or urge that defies these moral absolutes, you’re not alone, or crazy, or sick. As long as our moral leaders are doing their jobs and our society isn’t pushing big groups of people into desperate circumstances, then it’s safe not to fear our artist’s whispers, because all they are doing is comforting us in our times of weakness and imperfection, allowing us to be comfortable with being human. Flocka himself explained how his music plays that role in our society.
It’s for people that’s going through or living what I’m talking about. It teaches them how to relieve stress verbally instead of physically.
You don’t have to love the vices, you just have to admit that you’re susceptible to them like everybody else is. I think we could all get along a little better if we all admitted that to ourselves, and each other.
Ok, now that you’ve had a little time to absorb all that old school flavor from yesterday, here’s the continuation.
This track is reeeal dirty, especially for a New York rapper from the mid-80s. I might expect some shit like this from Too $hort or somebody like that, but I feel like the east coast is a little more timid to go this far on record, but Just-Ice fuckin goes there.
Just-Ice – That Girl is a Slut
The most obvious track to bring up in relation to this track is Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di” (yes, the inspiration for Snoop and Dre’s “Lodi Dodi“) which it seems came out just a little before the Just-Ice track did. But what’s especially exciting for me is knowing where the drums came from on this track from the great King Geedorah.
King Geedorah – The Fine Print
Yeahhh, 2/3 slow, 1/3 amazing. That’s a formula I can get behind.
And if you just can’t get enough Just-Ice-inspired music, here’s a Redman track that reworks the song that got all this started in the first place.
Redman – It’s Like That (feat. K-Solo)
So after I saw the video for that “Strugglin” song by Rich Boy (in case you missed that one, just check out this post, it was one of the first posts I put up) I decided to look a little deeper into his work. It seemed to me like he didn’t just get lucky on that one, I had a good feeling he had more shit I was gonna want to hear. Turns out he does. I was vibin’ to this track on my way to pick up Matt to get some tacos and recognized the sample in the background from something I’d heard before… maybe a Ghostface song or something?
Rich Boy – Ghetto Boy
I ended up being pretty much right, it was a song from Wu-Tang Forever with almost the exact same title, but a very different feel, in my opinion.
Wu-Tang Clan – Little Ghetto Boys
I still felt like there was more to be uncovered on this journey though, it seemed like I’d heard that sample someplace else too, in a third (totally separate) context… y’all are probably way ahead of me already.
Dr. Dre – Lil’ Ghetto Boy
Yeahh, can’t forget that one. Here’s where I start getting sidetracked though. I was re-listening to this track after I figured out its significance in this journey, and a line from the Dre verse stuck out to me, it comes just a little before the 2:00 mark. I DEFINITELY know where that gets used.
The Notorious B.I.G. – Things Done Changed
OK now hold up hold up a second, I kinda left you all hangin on that Ghetto Boy stuff though. We chased that sample through east coast, west coast, AND southern rap spanning a couple decades almost; but where’s the SOURCE?? Behold.
Donny Hathaway – Little Ghetto Boy
Yes. Mission complete. Yeah, I know a lot of this stuff isn’t crazy underground or obscure or anything, but hopefully even seasoned rap fans were unaware of at least one of these steps. Or at least enjoyed being reminded of them. I know I had fun.
That’s a rap journey, y’all. Dig
Damn, schooled again.
I’d just posted up what I thought was a complete discovery yesterday involving the original sample from Busta Rhymes’s “Woo Ha“, but I very soon got an email from Amber thoroughly schooling me on that sample, letting me know about 2 other songs that use it that I had NO idea about. Wow. Thanks, Amber!
Snoop Dogg – Loosen Control (feat. Butch Cassidy)
Faith Evans – I Just Can’t
So to redeem myself for letting these crucial tracks slip by, I buckled down and found that MF Doom song that samples the bridge section of that same song that I was talking about not being able to think of in my previous post.
MF Doom – Elder Blossoms
Man I’m liking this, I’m learning so much from you all! The past 2 Rap Journeys have come from readers, that rules. Keep it up!