Monthly Archives: September 2012

GET IT IN

Having exclamation points in your rap name is the new having dollar signs in your rap name.

Danny! – Misunderstood (feat. Lil’ B & Blu)

Iamsu! – Get It In

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TAKE MY ADVICE AND SEE YO WAY OUT THE GROVE

A few weeks ago Matt hit me with an email simply containing his 5 favorite songs at that moment, and asked me and a few of our friends to reply with theirs.  I’m not the kind of dude that picks favorites usually, but I enjoyed the challenge of selecting just a handful of songs out of the infinite music in the world as my favorites, at least for the time moment.  I’ll spare you the full list, even though I gotta say it was pretty good, but I wanted to post this one because it’s really remarkable on a lot of levels.

B.G. – From Tha 13th To Tha 17th (feat. Baby D)

The first thing you need to know about this record is that the D in “Baby D” is short for “Dwayne”, and the second thing you need to know is that the rapper you and I know as Lil’ Wayne was born with the name “Dwayne Michael Carter”.  The album this song was lifted from was from a time when the rapper you and I know as B.G. (known as “Lil’ Doogie” on this release) was in a group with the rapper you and I know as Lil’ Wayne, and the name of their group at the time was “The B.G.’z”, which stood for “Baby Gangstaz”.  In this case, the “Baby” part of their name was not a reference to the co-owner of their soon-to-be iconic label, it was more likely a reference to the fact that B.G. and Wayne were only 14 and 12 years old, respectively, when they recorded this music.  That’s young even by young rapper standards.  But they don’t let their limited time on this Earth keep them from having a surprisingly masterful handle on the genre.  Their styles are both remarkably similar to the styles that made them famous, and you can hear the characteristic elements of each of their flows starting to emerge out of their obviously Bounce-influenced rhymes on this album.  Hearing this album really made me realize just how much of Lil’ Wayne’s style lies in his pronunciation of individual syllables.  He’s possibly more conscious of that one parameter than any rapper I can think of.  You can really hear, even in this super early example, how he’ll exaggerate, downplay, elongate, or shorten certain sounds and syllables throughout his verses and the dramatic effect it has is undeniable.  The sheer musicality of his pronunciation is really a remarkable feat, especially from a not-quite-teenaged kid from Hollygrove.

The other thing about this song was something I didn’t notice quite as quickly: the piano part in the background of this track is actually not a repeating loop or sample, it’s really someone just soloing on the piano setting on some cheap keyboard for the entire songAnyone that knows anything about hip-hop (or dance music in general) is that it’s built on repetition.  Bass lines, chord progressions, melodies, rhythms, whatever the song is built from, it’s built from short patterns that loop.  Not here.  Usually, we only get hip-hop songs with prominent improvised solos in specifically branded “jazz rap” subgenre stuff, the fans of which would most likely turn their noses up at this less refined Southern version of the identical concept.  I mean when it comes to raw elements and approach, what’s the real difference between “From Tha 13th To Tha 17th” and, let’s say “Black Ego“?

Digable Planets – Black Ego

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SWERVE

It’s been while since I heard anything from Kanye where it was in any way apparent that J Dilla was one of his foundational influences.

Kanye West – Mercy (feat. Big Sean, Pusha T, & 2 Chainz)

You gotta hand it to Kanye, regardless of how you feel about his music, he’s put out some really cool-looking videos lately.  It was real crazy to hear sounds that I’m used to experiencing in the outro of this track on mainstream rap radio.

Jaylib – Champion Sound

Bonus track:

Kalyanji Anandji – Dharmatma Theme Music (Sad)

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RAP JOURNEY #19 – FROM THE GAME TO ANITA BAKER

Check out these 5 pop rappers reviving some old Bone.

The Game – Celebration (feat. Chris Brown, Tyga, Lil’ Wayne, & Wiz Khalifa)

Just between you and me, I think those ladies were letting Tyga win that b-ball game.  Don’t you think?

Here’s a little context for those of you that have never heard me DJ a New Years’ party.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – 1st of tha Month

It’s interesting how both Game and Tyga start out really trying to do their best Bone Thugs impressions, but both end up slipping into the same currently popular slow syncopated flow that everyone from Gunplay to Ab-Soul to 2 Chainz to Buddy to Jay Ant has sported in the past year.  Bone impressions and references pop up in some of the most unexpected places.  There are the high profile instances like Wayne’s sly nod at the end of “It’s Good” all the way back to Biggie’s famous “Notorious Thugs” verse, but sometimes you’ll hear a little Bone peeking out of some more unexpected corners.  It’s cool to hear such an obvious backpack-rap instrumental track that revolves primarily around an Aaliyah sample and a Bone Thugs sample.

Count Bass D – August 25, 2001

And if you’re like me and need to know where DJ U-Neek got the inspiration for this anthem of new beginnings, check the chorus of this tune.

Chapter 8 – I Just Wanna Be Your Girl (feat. Anita Baker)

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ACTION BLASTIN’ BACK WHAT BACKWARDS BACKIN’ ACK-WORDS

This video brings me a mental calm I usually only experience after a period of deep sadness, and I have no idea how or why.  This will always be my favorite Lil’ B video.

Lil’ B – Im A Fag Im A Lesbian

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SLUMPIN’ IN THE MEANTIME

Living in the bay area is giving me the perfect excuse to do all the deeper research into bay area rap that I’ve been meaning to do since I first heard In A Major Way.  I mean I’m sure you’ve seen the silly amount of Main Attrakionz posts over the past year or so, Spice 1 had his day, E-40 is definitely no stranger, and B-Legit made his first appearance just recently, but the music in this part of the country goes much deeper than the few artists I’ve had a chance to cover on here.  Today while on a very typical YouTube suggested videos trip (which might be a better way to find awesome rap music than listening to any rap blogger out there), I got a great opportunity to fully experience an artist whose name has floated at the periphery of many bay area rap discussions I’ve heard but has always been just out of reach from my ears.

Celly Cel – It’s Goin’ Down Tonight

The boat I live on is named after the town this dude is from.  Rap is becoming less and less remote all the time…

Something told me that the music in this beat had a little more history, but for some reason my ear couldn’t identify it.  Luckily, the internet is a little smarter than my ears sometimes.

Keith Sweat – How Deep Is Your Love

Maybe my ear is just more used to this version.

DJ Screw – How Deep Is Your Love (Keith Sweat)

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STREETS IS WATCHING

You all should probably watch this real soon, it’ll probably get taken off YouTube at some point because of all the nudity, but it’s actually a really interesting portrait of the young Jay-Z before he became the household name he is today.  This is the Jay-Z I fell in love with.  Includes cameos from Biggie and DJ Clue, Jay-Z’s first music video ever, some really great non-album verses, a LOT of blurred out logos, and a weird postmodern moment where the story being depicted in the first half of the movie is suddenly and blatantly abandoned, replaced by a voice-over-narrated history of Jay-Z’s career as of 1998.  It’s Jay-Z’s Moonwalker, or Hard Day’s Night Or maybe, more accurately, Jay-Z’s For My Foes.  Anyway, it’s a trip.

Jay-Z – Streets is Watching

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RAP JOURNEY #18 – FROM HALL & OATES TO B-LEGIT

This one’s been sittin’ on the sidelines for a while; I got tipped off on this Journey on the very day that I posted a different Rap Journey that prominently featured Main Attrakionz and UGK, so I figured it’d be a good idea to let this one sit out for a bit to not bore you all with the same artists over and over.  I couldn’t just let it slide by though, this one’s really good.

My good pal Sarah laid this one out for me (I love it when that happens), I put in no effort of my own into this whatsoever, so I gotta give credit where it’s due.  See she was working one day, and this track came on the stereo at work and she “FLIPPED OUT”, you’ll see why in a second.

Hall & Oates – Sara Smile

No, it’s not because the song title shares her own, it’s because of her love for Main Attrakionz (that you can tell I share if you follow this blog at all).

Main Attrakionz – Elevate Ya Name

Like a true lover of rap and sampling though, she didn’t let the discovery end there, she also unearthed some other really sweet tracks that use that same sample.  I’m surprised I never noticed that Main Attrakionz song and this one sharing the same sample, I’m a really big fan of the album this one’s from.  I guess I need to sharpen my focus a little better.

UGK – Feds In Town

There are some even more far out examples too, Vanilla Ice got ahold of it in ’94 and Soulja Boy rapped over a later section of that original Hall & Oates song just last year, but Sarah felt a special fondness for this one (that interestingly features Daryl Hall on the chorus), and I have to say I feel the same way.

B-Legit – Ghetto Smile

Thanks for the education, Sarah, it most definitely made me smile.

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PULL UP IN THE POLKA-DOT BLUE RIVIERA

Wow, looks like Kool Keith isn’t just hosting the weirdest features in rap right now, he’s also a contender.

Mr. Sche – G Something (feat. T-Rock & Kool Keith)

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ALL THE STARS LOOK REAL POGO STICK WHEN YOU SEE ‘EM 2 FEET HIGH

And I thought U-God‘s 4-word chant on the Blu/Flying Lotus track from last year was a weird feature.

Kool Keith – Heavy Champagne (feat. U-God)

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