Wednesday, December 28, 2011


You know how when someone is a witness in court, the bailiff asks them to put a hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them God?

No one can really do that.

The kind of pure truth the court is asking for can't exist if its coming from one POV. Pure truth requires a kind of objectivity most people don't have. Personal beliefs shape how we see the world. Heck, journalists have a hard time separating themselves from a story completely. Some just said "F^%k it," and let their beliefs flat-out manipulate facts (see MSNBC and FOX NEWS).

Truth is often the hardest thing to hear. That's why we lie. That's why we delude ourselves. We're not God, or Allah, or Jesus, or anyone in their league. We look at someone who is completely honest with a mix of respect, and a feeling that somethings wrong with them. That's the truth.

Then again, I'm not a reliable source, am I?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Supporting Artists

Today I just spent $14 on Little Dragon's Ritual Union and Median's The Sender... and I legitimately fell good about doing that.

You see, I'm the kind of person who's unfortunately hypocritical about how I spend my money. I'll whine and moan about having to spend a few dollar's on something I actually need (like socks or laundry detergent), but will see no problem in using my last six bucks for a large value meal and wonder why I'm almost 300lbs.

This was different, though. When I decided to spend my money on these albums, I felt good. I didn't feel like my money was going to two guys whose best work happened when they were beefing with Nas and were still that goofy kid who made beats but could rap. I still come back to Median's Relief on occasion, and Little Dragon's music just sounds cool. That's what I want from my albums: less buyer's remorse and more satisfaction. I want more of that.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Big Sean's Finally Famous...But What Does It Mean?

Congratulations, Sean Don! After three mix-tapes under the same title, Finally Famous: The Album is finally in stores. Have a glass of cold Spades on us!

But what have you really accomplished, Mr. Westside (Detroit)? If we're being honest with ourselves, this isn't the perfect album every artist wants their debut to be.

It's great, don't get me wrong. The overall feel of the project is that of a man finally getting his due after grinding for so long, and I commend you for that. Songs like "Wait For Me" and "Memories (Part 2)" make me appreciate "My Last" and "High" that much more. Much to my own surprise, my favorite track features Roscoe Dash, an artist who's sing-song rapping style I personally can't stand by itself. Then again, that's where Roscoe shines: great, lightweight hooks tailor-made for the clubs.

Then you follow the incredible "Marvin and Chardonnay" with the fucking "Ass" song. MC Hammer can't help you, boi, that track sucks. Other than that, though, the album's good.

Good, not great. It's a perfect hip-pop album: accessible enough for the Top 40 crowd, but hard enough for cats who hate everything on the radio to still dig it. It's a strong 3.5 or a weak 4 out of 5 stars. It's not Illmatic, but for real, nobody's made anything close since Nas did it the first time, and you're not trying to. This is a album for the summer: fun, happy, a little melancholy, and the kind of thing that'll put a smile on your face.

Plus it's better than Thank Me Later, so there's that.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Song 10: To All Those Gone

I'm going to try something a little different. Whenever I have my Zune or Windows Media Player on random, I'll do a write-up on the tenth song that plays. Its kind of like The Smoking Section's iPod Shuffle except, you know...Zune

Song Title: "One Mo' Time"
Artist: Freddie Gibbs
Album: midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik

TSS described Freddie Gibbs' style for their Freshmen 10 of '10 as a mix of Tupac Shakur and Bone Thugs n' Harmony because he can blend gansta with intelligence while rhyming like he was from Cleveland circa 1995. I'd describe "One Mo' Time" as his "Crossroads" (at least for now) since its dealing with the death of loved ones. The first verse has him lamenting the death of a close friend who he personally saw go from dealer to one of Freddie's customers. (Basically what happened to Pookie, but the he fell farther.) The second verse is about his inability to really cope with lose, even though he knows those he lost are in a better place. It's a heartfelt ode to those that are gone, but not forgotten by Gibbs.

I'm not that emotional of a person, but I feel where he's coming from when it comes to loss, as I'm sure everyone else has experience loss themselves.

To me, death never really seems...real, if that makes any sense. I know I won't be seeing friends and family that have gone on anymore in this world, but I can never seem to really let go. I'll see a car like the one a friend used to drive and expect to see them in the driver's seat; I'll sometimes see someone that looks a little like them, and I'll be reminded that they're gone and, even though I don't think it's right, my day will be a little ruined because they died. I can't help wanting those who went on to still be here, even the ones who were sick. I hoped that they would get better when they were here, and I still hold out for Hollywood endings when I hear someone's in a bad way.
I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't go to anymore funerals after a friend of mine past in 2008. Its the open caskets, the body of someone who only days before I was talking to about band or relationships or whatever, lying there made up while their mothers, fathers, sibilings and friends cry out for them, that I can't stand. Not everyone's strong enough to remember that their loved ones have gone to someplace better. They just want them back here, now.
I don't know what it says about me as a person or my mental health, but I've never cried at the funeral or the grave. When I cry its days or weeks later, in the middle of the night. Tears running down my face as all the emotions I don't show rush out, and I try to push them back in without waking anyone up.

When I die, I want a New Orleans style funeral.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Don't "Like" The Song, "Like" The Album

Right now I'm listening to Pl3dge, by Killer Mike. I'm on Track 5 ("Burn"), and I can say that the album's certified Tony Montana dope.

And I haven't "liked" one song.

I did this as an experiment to see if I was able to just enjoy an album as a complete work without any obligation to rate each track. I read an article in Esquire that said that this is the Era of the Good Song because we are forced to make instant criticisms on songs as we hear them. Albums don't really sell like back in the day because we've become conditioned to only really respond to instant gradification. We don't have time to take in an artist's or group's whole body of work so we buy the dollar single over the ten-dollar album.

Maybe we need to change this. Maybe if we had the option to rate the album like we do the single LPs would be of better quality. Sure you can "like" an album on Facebook like you "like" a single, but on your iTunes and Zune only ask if you like the song, not the whole work. To Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, the sum of the parts outweigh the whole. Maybe someone needs to fix that.

"Like" Pl3dge.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The New Business of Music

I don't like to pay for music.

Scratch that.

I don't like to pay for something I could get for free.

Now we can sit here a argue about whether or not downloading without paying is really a crime for hours, but that's not my aim today. I'm here to talk about how the business of Hip-Hop has changed since I was a kid.

Think about this for a second: Shaq is a platinum artist. Multi-platinum, I believe. It used to be that any Joe Spitkicker could at least get a gold album. Skills mattered, of course, but back in the 90's you could get away with being wack and still do numbers because of marketing.

O.K., that hasn't changed, but the ones who got the most shine usually had the most skill.

At least that how I remember it.

Now, former multi-platinum artist struggle to go platinum once in a month's span. Lil' Wayne doing a million in a week off of The Carter 3 (Carter 2 was better, IMHO), it was considered a grand achievement. Meanwhile, arguably better albums sometimes can't even go gold.

But there's hope.

Mixtapes are starting to sound like albums now. (Kush & Orange Juice) They sound so much like studio LPs now that some artists are re-releasing them on iTunes about a month after their online release, either in their "untagged" form (a plus if DJ Scream's on the tape), or as stripped-down EPs (Str8 Killa > Thank Me Later EP IMHO). You can actually build a decent catalog around a artist consisting of free material they put out.'s kind of cool being a Hip-Hop fan today.