Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Best Rapper Alive?

The steaming pile of crap known as Vibe Magazine has created a "bracket" for Best Rapper Alive. You can download the printable bracket here.

Let's take a look at the list of some of the MCs on the list:

First of all, the four #1 seeds are Jay-Z, Eminem, Andre 3000 and Li'l Wayne. Um, okay. They have the regular list of characters that go into these discussions, such as Nas, Method Man, Common, Ice Cube, Black Thought, Redman, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, et al.

There are some interesting choices of people that I like but wouldn't consider in the Greatest Rapper Ever category, such as Q-Tip, Raekwon, Scarface, etc.

And then they have some MCs on the list that defy all logic. First of all, the "play-in" matchup is Jim Jones and Diddy. DIDDY? F**king DIDDY???!?!?! You are telling me that Diddy is one of the 65 best MCs alive?

Let's look at some of the other MCs on the list: Soulja Boy Tell'em, Nelly, Twista, Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss, Joe Budden, Li'l Kim, Flo Rida? Let's remember this is the BEST RAPPER ALIVE. Whether the songs that these MCs make are good is a matter of taste; I don't think that there is a person alive that would contend that these people are even very good rappers, let alone the best alive.

Most infuriating, however, is the list of MCs that are omitted. Just take a quick peek at this and try to keep yourself from vomiting.

  • Rakim
  • Kool G Rap
  • Lord Finesse
  • MF Doom
  • Aesop Rock
  • El-P
  • PMD
  • Big Daddy Kane???
  • Pharaohe Monch
I'm sure you can come up with a lot more. Feel free to contact Vibe and tell them how you feel.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kwest the Madd Ladd - 101 Things to Do While I'm With Your Girl

Kwest the Madd Ladd was a very unique and skilled MC of the early 1990s who had a bit of a speech impedement and lots of filthy things on his mind. He had a song called "Skin Care" that began with someone singing "I love p***yyyyyyyy" and then going into a torrent of filthy sexcapades. What made this song fascinating was that Kwest actually censored himself with a Family Feud-style "Buzz" whenever a dirty word would come up.

Forget for a moment that Kwest's voice was identical to fellow obscure early '90s rapper Diamond Shell, and deal with the fact that this guy had some serious lyrics, but he was just a little too out there, and I don't know that this video helped.

There are some interesting elements to the video that make it as timeless as it is moralistic. The pink backgrounds were included in the video, we can assume, because they are pleasing to the female eye, and therefore even more seductive than Kwest's gold fronts. The nose ring adds to his already rugged handsomeness.

Kwest also is interested in helping the children read, which is why he adds so many Batman-like graphics to key lines of the song. But instead of "POW!" or "BIFF" you get "I'll Bag Your Lady." Additionally, the cutaway shots looking up at Kwest as he is standing on glass brings to mind the glass ceiling that so many people in urban areas have encountered. It's a political statement!

I think the one thing we learn from this video is that Kwest tha Madd Ladd is not the kind of person to bring your girlfriend, fiancee or wife around. He will not only try to have sex with her, but he will then tell you, "don't take it personal."

Of course not, Kwest, how could I?

Now money grip peep it you think you so fly
But on the real I'd like to deck you in the motherf**kin' eye
You think that you so flavor, but if I roll on you kid, huh
Nothing can save you, cause you know I never did like you
Everytime you came around I didn't wanted to fight you
Talkin' bout you get p***y, huh, that's dead
The last time you were in some ass the doctor screamed "I see the head!"
You too busy planning scams with your piece
To realize the wife you have is mad sweet, freaky, tight and naaaasty
So now I guess you gots to know, this here bone is sticking your hoe
On the down low, I did it kind of to get you back
To prove that no one can master the hottie snatcher, punany catcher
And that shit is good like a motherf**ker
Now who's the sucker, ran your girl, go get another
Bet she made you choose a bag evertime you did her
Guess what? I raw dog the first time I did her
While you on the block slangin' rocks, bustin' shots with your glock
Your wifey is playin' with my c**k
So I suggest you go get another b***h, cause this one is made to switch
Cause like the Pepsi challenge she chose me
And last night, guess what? Your girl rode me
UP and down, down and down, south and north, north and south
I even got to put this dick in her mouth
So if you wanna try to play me
Come on kid don't even try to be a baby

Friday, July 04, 2008

Masta Ace Inc - Jeep Ass Nigguh

Tell you what, this video is awful hard to find on YouTube. (Eventually I will begin making a list of videos I can't find anywhere and offer cold hard handshakes for anyone who can find them for me.)

Masta Ace Inc's 1993 opus Slaughtahouse is one of the most underrated and underappreciated albums of the '90s. It was really the first hip hop album that I can think of that dared to actually criticize the state of rap music -- particularly West Coast and "gangsta rap" -- at that time. The songs do a great job of taking artists to task.

So naturally, the best song on the album is the one about how awesome his car stereo is.

But it's a hell of a song, and it's one of the songs that gets me pumped up whenever I hear it. If there is a cooler three-word line in hip hop than Ace saying "Hey Mutha-f**kaaaas!" I don't know what it is. (Is "mutha-f**kas" one word or two?)

There are three basic movements to the song: First Ace speaks eloquently about how much bass his jeep has. Secondly, he gets into a cross-cultural confrontation with a man of Latino origin; the racial tension is simmering, with Ace calling him a "Puerto Rican Latin Chico Rico Suave." [Note: in the video, the man looks nothing like Gerardo. If he did, Ace should have just shot him.] The third verse is a reference to how white people -- police in general -- hate his music, and would probably be just fine with it were Elvis Presley. He does have a point: I always get annoyed when I am walking downtown and hear loud Dem Franchise Boyz songs, I get upset, but when someone is pumping "Hound Dog" out of their Escalade, I start dancing in spasmodic glee.

Also, his follow-up, Born to Roll, is a steaming pile of bass music that is all about his love of cars. Whither Masta Ace, Inc.

Drivin down the block like what else should a brother do
It's Saturday, it's Saturday, the heat might smother you
Rollin down my windows yeah I have a air-conditioner
But I got the sound I want the whole world to listen ta
Waitin at a red light, Kentucky Fried Chicken in
Low End Theory tape in, bass crazy kickin in
See this Puerto Rican Latin Chico Rico Suave
In a red Corolla eh yo does he wanna play
Pullin up beside me, lookin like he want it
Show me what ya got then watch me get up on it
Holdin up traffic but we can't hear they horns
Cause he music a grande yeah he got it goin on
Bit I think I better school him cause he don't know the time
So I'm turnin up the boom cause he cannot f**k with mine
Brothers hear me hittin from like 50 blocks away I
Wanna turn they heads so you know I gotta play
High decibels passin through a residential district
See a few cuties and I turn it up like this quick
Mira, mira man don't sleep, I got tha, I got tha, I got tha woofers in my Jeep

Monday, May 05, 2008

Yo! MTV Raps 20th Anniversary

Looks like someone at MTV got an interesting idea to show old rap videos. Am I the inspiration? Who am I to say? But yes....

They are showing a bunch of videos from 1992, which I think it can be safely declared was the single greatest year of hip hop music. Give it a look. (Although the vids on this site, though seldom is it updated, are far superior.

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's been a while since I dropped a new post, so what better way to get back on the horse than post this video of 20 Hip Hop songs you "need to hear." By and large it's a very solid list, highlighting album tracks and more obscure songs rather than the trite-and-true knee-jerk playbook that most mainstream rap fans will throw out there.

Here is Part 1

And here is Part 2

What do you think?