You may’ve heard about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s fifth wedding anniversary trip to Cuba and the ensuing mini-scandal brought on by two Republicans calling for an investigation into the legality of the trip. We know that tourism and traveling to the Communist island’s restricted for Americans, but why The First Couple of Hip-Hop are being questioned for their sponsored and planned-out trip is pretty weird. Then, this morning, on SoundCloud, Jay-Z unleased a friggen’ nasty response called “Open Letter” and It. Is. Sick.
And maybe it was Stacey Dash’s dumbass tweet that sent Jay over the edge (probably not). But Dash’s used her Twitter to express lame views in the past, including a Mitt Romney endorsement and other inane conservative tidbits in 140 characters or less (often with less-than-savory grammatical attention to detail, one of the many dangerous pitfalls of trying to communicate something serious via Tweets).
Here’s what she tweeted:
Here are some of they lyrics from Hova’s venomous track addressing many different kinds of haters:
“Politicians never did shit for me/ Except lie to me, distort history/ They wanna give me jail time and a fine– Fine, let me commit a real crime/ Obama said, ‘Chill, you’re going to get me impeached’/ You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach,” and “I woulda moved the Nets to Brooklyn for free/ Except I made millions off you fucking dweebs/ I still own the building, I’m keeping my seats/ You buy that bullshit, you better keep your receipts.”
The Swizz Beats and Timbaland-produced track is pretty much straight-up fire. And the fact that it seems like he whipped it up in a matter of days is an even more impressive feat. Let’s hope it slays a thousands-strong crowd in Philly this summer with it if he decides to get on the mic at his Made In America festival on the Parkway.
I don’t know about you guys, but I thought the 2010 mixtape, I Am Not A Human Being, was totally awesome. The thing about Lil Wayne is that he’s kind of a joke and yet Tha Carter IV, from two years ago, was the biggest selling hip-hop album of the year. His notoriety’s come, gone and come back again with various guest spots, videos, stunts, tour antics and moments in the news. Naturally, you’ve heard all about his check-in at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles for seizures. Mad people speculated that it was too much sizzurp (you know, that cough syrup/codeine/juice shit), but naturally, he and his people say he’s just been working too hard. Well, mere hours after making headlines, his newest piece of work is ready for consumption; download it on DatPiff or stream it on Spotify.
Now, let’s get down to the real question – Is it any good? As the mixtape nearly comes to an end, the garbage track “Hello” is a bit of a red herring. This record isn’t full of poorly-conceived genre mashups. The guests spots are pretty austere and none of the tracks where guests show up are entirely based on their feature spot (the way it often happens). Thing is, Lil Wayne’s not reinventing the wheel or himself here. None of these tracks are exceptionally surprising or leaps forward toward elevated artistry. In fact, it kind of reduces him to a little bit of a one-trick pony. However, that one trick is just so much damn fun.
How many songs can you take that are entirely based on sex and swagger? MANY if they’re good. It’s hilarious to hear song after song about beating up a pussy with your big fat dick. And yet that’s what he does simply with variety and humor. He’s gotta know the joke’s on him, or at least, he clearly knows that he should probably stick to what he knows best; rapping about pussy, weed and “pussy-ass n*ggas.” I use those quotes because it doesn’t look okay when I write it but it’s a phrase he uses probably 25 times in this collection of tracks. Who are these “pussy-ass n*ggas” that he’s so concerned with? Or, not necessarily concerned with, but, feels the need to separate himself from.
Some of the most absurd moments come from raps on “Days and Days” (”She swallow so many nuts / You fuckin’ round find a squirrel in her throat / I go tapeworm in that ho / Let my snake squirm in that ho”), “Beat The Shit” and the stunning Trina-guested “Wowzerz” (”My tongue is a oozy / My dick is a AK / My tongue brrrrrrrr / My dick go bah! / Bitch, lay on that bed / Open that twat / I french kiss that pussy / Like mwah / Sit on my face / M U A H / Before I eat that pussy / I say my grace”).
Lil Wayne enjoys the idea of him being an alien: a huge dick-having, pussy-eating expert, dank weed-consuming and tough as nails real-ass n*gga (in direct opposition to a pussy-ass n*gga). And he just may be from a different world, but his talents in the hip-hop arena lie mainly in pushing the envelope on how ridiculous raps about heterosexual desire can be before we stop taking you seriously.
UPDATE: Pitchfork reviewed it today and gave it a 3.9.
This Saturday night, you’ll get a chance to shake it like you mean it. There’s much to be said about the music born in the year 1993, but let’s just say it’s a rich-ass year: SWV, Dre and Snoop, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Prince, Jodeci, Janet Jackson, 2 Pac, Gin Blossoms, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, R.E.M., The Pharcyde, Tribe Called Quest, Xscape, Ice Cube, Take That, Toni Tony Tone, and many more, they all had huge hits. In fact, take a look-see here at a list of songs that defined 1993 and you will be saying ‘Alright, who’s coming with me to Johnny Brenda’s?’ We asked the party’s host, Reef the Lost Cauze, for some thoughts on the big year and the party inspired by it.
PW: How did these year parties start?
Reef: The Its The Year Parties started in July 2008 by longtime Philly party promoter Justin Weileski, with Bo and Emynd, as sort of a tribute to nostalgia and the music of our youth. I guess they figured they needed a host to shout drunkenly at folks, because they asked me to join on about a year later. I think my first party was in July of 2009. I say, to this day, that this is those guys’ party; I’m just along for the ride.
Q: 1993 was a most fascinating year in music, especially hip-hop. Which was more influential – Wu-Tang’s Chambers or The Chronic?
A: For me personally, it’s Wu all day. I’m an east coast kid and there was nothing more east coast then the WU, like EVER [LOL]. But if we are talking total impact, there’s no denying The Chronic changed everything: the sound, the landscape, the slang and even the style of clothing. Everyone wanted to be in Cali with Dre and Snoop, and 20 years later they are headlining Coachella like fuckin’ Prince or something [LOL]. So it’s obvious everyone still does. They won that battle.
Q: Is this basically just a straight-up dance party? Or will you be spitting anything or using a mic at all?
A: It is a stone cold-dance party, my man. There are no breaks, it’s music from start to finish. I usually just try and keep the crowd active and excited; I might sing or rap along to a few lines here or there, or even encourage the audience to sing along with us. We are having so much fun up there and the crowd can tell it’s sincere, and that energy reaches out to everyone there. Security, bartenders, sound guys, everyone jams out in there.
Q: The Bodyguard soundtrack was the #1 selling album of the year? THEN KENNY G.?! What in the hell?
A: [LOL] Well, hey man, knowing Bo and Emynd, you will definitely hear some Whitney. We did ‘93 already and that night ended with a packed, sloshed-up dance floor singing loudly to “I Will Always Love You” [HAHA]. It was the last song they played and it was epic.
Q: Do you have a favorite artist/track/album/video/moment from 1993 that comes to mind? How would you characterize the year or, more generally, the early ’90s and what was going on in music?
A: I mean, for anyone in their early 30s (I just turned 31), the early ’90s were our teenage years. So that point in our life has a very important soundtrack playing behind each moment: first kisses, first fights, first dances, first bong hits. These songs were all a part of that. For me, to try and give credit to just one song or artist would be a disservice to all the music that shaped me, but I will say it was a beautiful time. Pop was as big as pop could get, hip-hop was a teenager as well and spoke directly to me. Hair metal was dead and rock felt fresh. It was just a time when everything was fresh and new and we can’t get that back, except for a moment this Saturday.
Tickets at the door will be $7 and it goes from 9p-2a.
Photo c/o Philly.com’s staff photographer, Alejandro A. Alvarez.
This is sad. Details emerged late last night and early this morning about a shooting outside the Holiday Inn Express on Columbus Avenue. Montana’s tour bus was en route to the hotel with an entourage and rooms booked inside for an after-party. Fans were following, too, in cars and, most likely, hoping to get in on said after-party where Meek Mill was sure to be. He was a surprise guest at the sold-out TLA show last night and French and Meek Tweeted and Instagrammed about it. In fact, one of the most tiresome moments of Instagram throughout the whole ordeal was when Montana posted a photo of Philadelphia police questioning a man in the lobby of the hotel with the text: “ain’t nobody got time for this shit.”
See, it basically sounds like a drive-by shooting. Shots were fired from a sedan that pulled up alongside the bus into the crowd hanging out around the tour bus. It was a mix of fans, entourage, artists, management and groupies, presumably. And when shots were fired, guns were pulled from the crowd around the bus and a car was found near Jefferson full of bullet holes. It seems that the police are confident that the shooting was not aimed at Montana or Mill but was more of a conflict between groups of fans.
As the cops arrived, everyone started to get questioned. I can only imagine what that process was like. One of the bizarro details from this Philly.com story is that drugs were found stashed in hotel lobby cushions. Once witnesses to the shooting were corralled into the Holday Inn lobby, looks like they realized they might be taken to a police station.
26-year-old Juwann King was shot in the abdomen and pronounced dead in the hospital late last night. Another 28-year-old, whose name hasn’t been released, was shot in the shoulder and is going to be fine/alive.
This is brutal on many fronts. A shooting after a show that seems kind of pre-meditated? Frightening, and makes us all a little more paranoid. That a 26-year-old is dead as a bystander? Tragic, and our thoughts and prayers go out to King’s family. Montana being glib and ignoring this tragedy in his social media? Crass, and unbecoming behavior from a young, up-and-coming “star.” Meek Mill being involved in all of this? Man, when is he gonna stop playin’ with his probation game? This situation just sucks.
This one’s a funny one. See, Wale used to be one of my favorite up-and-coming rappers. Back in 2009 he put out Attention Deficit on Interscope after a relatively loose sponsorhip/signee relationship with Mark Ronson. His first proper LP was a really fun record and had some totally awesome singles on it that brought you into the record and then the rest of the tracks on it would lure you in and keep you from beginning to end. “Chillin,” “Pretty Girls” and “World Tour” were just a few of the featured tracks that brought you closer to stellar cuts like “90210,” “Shades” (that shit is awesome!) and “Mama Told Me.” There was a lightheartedness in this one. A tone that, regrettably, I feel he’s lost and/or abandoned for a harder, more hood mentale that reflects his signing to Maybach Music Group and working under Rick Ross.
Nevertheless, his 2011 sophomore (of course, with many EPs and mixtapes in between), Ambition, has done exceedingly well for itself. And won himself another horde of dedicated fans. They may, in fact, look at Attention Deficit with scorn or shade. And if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t paid much attention to his eight, count them EIGHT mixtapes. For whatever reason, maybe because I’m drowning in records to listen to, I don’t very often get down with mixtapes (save for Nostalgia, Ultra, natch). The mixtapes may be, in fact, where he’s hooked a legitimately loyal following. Hard to tell.
What’s easy to tell? This show should be a pretty excellent one. He’s got good energy and now clearly has huge chunks of content to work with. If it were me, though, I’d just want hear AD from cover to cover (especially if he could get Chrisette Michele or Jazmine Sullivan on stage).
Tickets are $35 and it looks, I think, like Freeway’ll be there to open up the night. SCORE.
It’s a frightening prospect, writing about Jay Dee AKA J Dilla AKA James Dewitt Yancey. He’s a legend. And he’s gone. To say that he’s one of the most influential figures in hip-hop history is an understatement. He’s touched nearly every legendary record of the mid-’90s and early 2000s and basically did it all without even desiring credit for his work. For me, when you think about the best hip-hop there is, it starts around when Jay started making beats with an analog tape player in his Detroit basement. He wanted to be like Pete Rock (and ended up working with him later in his life, too). Well, he ended up being in Pete’s elite company; creative fathers of thoughtful hip-hop.
Name some others and chances are, Dilla had his hand in the pot (like these): Pharcyde’s Labcabincalifornia, Tribe’s Beats, Rhymes and Life AND The Love Movement, Busta’s When Disaster Strikes, De La Soul’s Stakes is High, Common’s Like Water for Chocolate, D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Q-Tip’s Amplified, The Roots’ Things Fall Apart, Badu’s Mama’s Gun, and Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope (”Got ‘Til It’s Gone”). And that’s just a few of his production credits. He also blew people’s minds as a part of Slum Village, a humble threesome of friends who became tight in high school in Detroit who loved to battle rap.
They were a-little-too-quickly-for-Jay’s-liking pegged as a next Tribe. But while Tribe’s audience and following had a phrase to use to describe it, “backpack rap,” Dilla said he didn’t wear no backpack. He just liked making beats and hip-hop. And he was DAMN good at it. Born to musical parents, an opera singer mother and a jazz bassist father, his mom claimed he had an impeccable ear for harmony and syncopation at two months. And as he started ceaselessly collecting vinyl and spinning records whenever her could, he became obsessed.
Unfortunately, at the ripe age of 32 he succumbed to years of illness. He suffered from thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare blood disease, and seemingly lupus as well. He’d started to lose weight and perform in a wheelchair as his health dwindled. And next week should be a unique and exciting way to channel his monstrous musicality and celebrate his outstanding catalogue. DJs Questlove, Rich Medina and Mike Nyce will spin some of THE MAN’s best; which means sophisticated breakbeats, refreshing percussion runs and danceable jazz. It’s $17 in advance and $20 at the door and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Lupus Foundation on behalf of J Dilla. Pretty awesome.
P.S. There’s a ton of Dilla on Spotify. Take yourself to school.
There’s a growing strain of nearly absurdist hip-hop artist and emcees. Back in the day, there used to be so much more influence and interest in the vanguards of hip-hop; melody, samples, and lyricism about the black experience, the ghetto, and growing up poor. In this newest generation of hip-hop artists are pretty plainly obsessed with the same handful of things: collecting paper, the trap and drugs, and labels/fashion. There’s even rarely a diversity of beats and samples used – seems like so much hip-hop uses the same drum machines and synth rolls. Regardless, there’s still some entertainment appeal in these ovoer-the-top hip-hop youngbloods. One of em’s Chief Keef.
He’s a pretty successful YouTube sensation at this point. “They Know” has racked up almost three million views. “Kobe” has over five million views. And below, check out the over 10 million-viewed “Everyday.” Not sure this is actually a thing? Check out Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything.” Keef’s Finally Rich came out just two days ago.
Joining him is a slew of guests: BlondeGang, Frat, Lee Mazin, Ar-AB, Young Savage, Ground Up, and Tiani Victoria. Tickets are a whopping $30.