Tag Archives: hiphop

“Phoenix” by ASAP Rocky

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Happy Birthday Drake!

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Drake is definitely my favorite rapper and he is certainly in my top five favorite music artists of all time.  I can listen to his music on repeat at any given moment with no complaints, but I can assure you it is only because he has earned that spot with his talent.  I think Drake is arguably one of the best lyricists making music right now and, if you don’t think that, then I will have to blame the Young Money mainstream stigma for deafening your ears.  Drake is mainstream and he does have his fair share of pop rap songs, but there is no denying his ability to write genuinely good lyrics.  There’s a reason why he’s so sought out for ghost writing.  On top of that, he is the musician that I can relate to the most. Not only is he vulnerable and a human with emotions, but he’s also an eager young adult, hungry to prove why he deserves to be successful.  “Lust for Life,” “Say What’s Real,” “Fear,” “The Motion,” “The Calm,” and “Worst Behavior” are only some of the songs that I can quote and relate to my life, my mindset, and my character.  I may sound cheesy, but Drake really could write the soundtrack to my life because rearrange tracks from his past projects and you already have it.

People can hate on Drake all they want, but there’s something to be said for the fact that his albums debut at the top of the charts, he’s recognized as one of the top rappers of the moment, and has already won a Grammy before his 27th birthday today.  Honestly, he is one of my inspirations in life and I have no shame in saying it.  He is one of the few artists who have been able to maintain my interest for so long and that’s because of his talent.  I really don’t think Drake is anywhere near being done, but I can’t wait to see what he does next.  For now, happy birthday Drake!

Getting to Know Drake

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Tomorrow is Drake’s birthday and, in honor of his special day, I thought it would be appropriate to give you all the opportunity to get to know Drake a little bit more.  As my hands down favorite rapper and as one of my favorite music artists of all time, I’ve been able to understand Drake’s mindset and character as a whole through his music including everything from Comeback Season all the way up to his latest album Nothing Was the Same.  If you haven’t had the chance to listen to Drake’s music, I highly recommend it, especially NWTS.  I can seriously listen to that entire album without skipping any songs on repeat without getting tired of it at all.  It tells a story that reveals a lot about Drake and can help you understand a lot about yourself, while also creating an ambiance that relaxes and excites you at the same time.  I personally feel like I can relate to him, which is why I vibe so well to his music, but I also believe that his music is fairly universal and that it can resonate with so many more people than just me.

Drake recently did an interview on Q in Canada where he opens up about his NWTS project, his feedback from listeners, and his background among other things.  The entire interview is about an hour long, which is a pretty serious time commitment for a video, but I watched it and I thought it was really interesting.  I definitely learned a lot about Drake that I didn’t already know; however, you can also find a five minute clip of the interview here, in case you don’t have that kind of time for the whole interview.  Enjoy!

Is Real Rap Back?

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A couple of days ago, the public got word of Big Sean’s latest track “Control” from his sophomore album Hall of Fame; however, it’s Kendrick Lamar’s verse that is causing an utter uproar among all hip-hopheads.  Many people are perceiving Kendrick’s lyrics as a diss track to his fellow MC’s, but my honest opinion is that he is simply being real.  It’s been a while since the rappers of this new generation have been professionally threatened, allowing them to get by on commercializing their rhymes rather than producing genuinely impressive lyricism.  Thus, I would call Kendrick’s words a call to action before I call it a diss track.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a few rappers who do display their talent properly, while there are even more who could do so but choose not to and that’s the problem.  Rappers are getting too comfortable.

Since the verse was heard around the world, social networking sites have become billionaires with everyone’s two cents (yes, I made my own donation, as well) and even a few “responses” are beginning to make their way into the viral world.  So far, I must admit that I’m most impressed with Bad Boy’s King Los, a rapper I had never even heard of, who delivers a classy rebuttal to Kendrick’s infamous lines.  He says his piece, proves his point, and still manages to respect his colleagues all at the same time.  In my opinion, he directly reflects Kendrick’s own tone on Big Sean’s track.  With that being said, my favorite response comes from none other than Joel Ortiz, who, despite his clear rage, is able to deliver a top notch set of bars in record time.  Yeah, Ortiz sounds mad, but I guess he had to be inspired by something.  I think Joel did what he needed to do to win round one of this debate by including egotism, passion, and references to the original source of Kendrick’s verse.  Point to Ortiz.

However, like most of the hip hop world, I am definitely looking forward to the responses of some big names in the rap industry.  It is way too early for Joel Ortiz to be the biggest name with a response to Kendrick.  But I’m not interested because I want to see music artists antagonizing or belittling each other.  I don’t see this revival of lyrics as an excuse to bash one another over a beat, but I think it should be taken more as an opportunity to prove why they deserve to be a player in the game.  I’m interested to see how far these rappers can push their creativity and vocabulary to the point where their intelligence and innovative instincts are what make them get noticed.  Kendrick wasn’t trying to diss anybody.  He was trying to keep people on their toes.  He clearly states that he has love for the rappers he calls out, but that he’s also trying to beat them.  The music industry is a competition and Kendrick singled himself out as a lyricist who wants to compete.  Now, it’s up to others to defend their place as competitors as well, but what Kendrick did is remind the world that the competition is based on talent and not commercialism, at least the competition of rap.  He may have gotten a lot of people mad, but he also may have taken lyricism out of retirement.

Crooked Smile

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J. Cole’s latest album Born Sinner has certainly revitalized my faith in him as a talented and honest rapper.  The North Carolina native MC doesn’t seem to be holding anything back on this project and I, for one, greatly appreciate it.  He even takes some bold moves and speaks about his thoughts on his boss Mr. Hov himself.  Personally, I love the album and would recommend it to any Hip Hop head who is looking for something new to listen to.  One of my favorite tracks calls upon the unforgettable R&B group TLC for support, which only makes me love it even more.  “Crooked Smile” continues with TLC’s message of loving yourself and boosting your own self-esteem.  It’s nice to know that J. Cole is setting himself up to be a positive role model in the Hip Hop community.  Hope you enjoy “Crooked Smile.”