Food for Thought: Poetry Edition Part II

Different things seem to provide inspiration for my posts.  It could be a song, something I see, or my surroundings, but today’s post was inspired by a video.  This video led me to post more poetry but only this time, the words come from some familiar faces.  I hope that these poems inspire you like they have inspired me to keep on, no matter the circumstances.  Peace & Love!

“Friends, Fans, Artist” by Erykah Badu  (Erykah’s new album drops Tuesday!!! “New Amerikah Part Two” Go GET THAT!  I am…)

“God is Freedom” by Common  (Be on the look out for Common’s new mixtape dropping this Spring!!!)

“I was born” by MC Lyte

“Motives and Thoughts” by Lauryn Hill  (PLEASE DROP ANOTHER ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Erykah Badu “Window Seat” WOWWWWWWWWW!

I had to post this video for 2 reasons: the concept is dope & I had no idea Erykah was doing it like that!!!  When I wasn’t looking at Ms. Badu undress, I was listening to the lyrics which are really deep.  It seems as if no one had a clue that she was about to shoot the video in that location.  If so, that makes it that much better.  Honestly, I’m still at a lost of words after watching this joint.  Check it out and let us know your thoughts…

“Window Seat”

I can’t say that this is something that I expected from Ms. Badu, but I like it!!!

Saturday Soul Selection: Sometimes

Life can be quite contradictory at times. It’s about as natural of an occurrence as breathing and blinking. The 2 songs I picked for today’s Soul Selection are great illustrations of how life can sometimes cause you to erase that thin line that exists between two extremes. And sometimes, after that thin line disappears, life forces you to put things in their proper perspective. Both, Bilal and Cee-Lo, lyrically paint the perfect picture of life’s subtle (and some not so subtle) contradictions, moral discrepancies, and mental pitfalls.

Bilal – Sometimes

“Sometimes I wish I could be like Moses, round up my people…and live a better life”

Cee-Lo – Sometimes (Ignore the visual…LISTEN to the words)

“Sometimes you fail trying…and sometimes happiness hurts worse. Sometimes people live dying. Sometimes it’s the last person that makes you first”

Sometimes, I wish all music was this dope! – Gee_O

Fresh Produce(r): DJ Toomp Edition

Since the 80’s, DJ Toomp has been holding it down in the music world.  Toomp is definitely a product of hard work, persistence, and loyalty to one’s craft.  It took the world a minute to get the picture, but please believe, we see it crystal clear now!  Toomp got his start as a tour DJ for MC Shy-D and the rest is history.  Most people didn’t recognize Toomp’s sound until he hooked up with an upcoming Atlanta artist by the name of T.I.  Whenever these 2 get together, the music industry is almost certainly to be blessed with classic music.  Toomp produced 6 songs on Tip’s solo debut, “I’m Serious.”

  • 01. “Intro”
  • 03. “Dope Boyz”
  • 06. “Why I’m Serious (Interlude)”
  • 08. “Do It”
  • 15. “Heavy Chevys”
  • 17. “Outro”

Toomp went on to produce more classics for Tip like, “Be Easy,” “You Don’t Know Me,” “What You Know,” & “Motivation.”  After his collaborations with Tip, Toomp really started working.  We would be here for days trying to go through the God’s catalog, so I’m just gonna post some joints that you are familiar with, but probably had no idea Toomp produced or either co-produced.  First, peep Toomp making a beat on the spot in less than 3 minutes

DJ Toomp Making a Beat

“Can’t tell me nothing” Kanye West… Toomp co-produced this joint and “Good Life.”  Toomp also produced “Big Brother” on Graduation

“Say Hello” Jay-Z

“2 miles an hour” Ludacris

I’m pretty sure that Toomp will be all over Tip’s next Lp as well as B.O.B’s.  At any rate, if you aren’t up on Toomp, I hope that you are now!  This brother is dope and definitely has some heat.

We solute you Toomp!

Hip Hop: Culture or Cash Cow?

To avoid making the assumption that everybody knows the story of Hip Hop, I’ll provide a really brief history lesson to catch you up to speed. In the late 70’s, legendary DJ Kool Herc would bring his equipment out to the park in the South Bronx and literally just rock all day. The whole thing was improvisational, yet very intentional. But nobody knew that those block parties would be the beginning stages in the creation of a billion dollar industry. See, back then it was about bringing everybody together – grandkids to grandmothers. It was about the culture. It was about creativity.  It was an art…an art that was rejected by mainstream society.

That rejection was where the mystique was. That rejection made it more sacred. It made it to where we had to do it. We had to get involved. We finally had something that really represented us. We finally had a way to express ourselves. Graffiti, break-dancing, DJing, and MCing.  Those elements made up our new art form. The artists were our newscasters. Every song, every backspin, every tagged up train reported a story. We were finally being represented in ways that we could relate to. We saw people that looked like us all of a sudden become stars.

Regardless of how much they wanted to, they couldn’t stop it. Couldn’t deny this art form that was exploding and spreading like wildfire. It was growing beyond the confines of NY blocks. With Wildstyle and Krush Groove, Hip Hop was on the big screen now. There was nothing they could do to contain it. And as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them…join them.

By “join them”, I don’t mean grabbing a fresh can of Krylon and spraying up the nearest abandoned building. I don’t mean copping a new Adidas track suit with the matching shell toes (no strings, of course) and jumping in the closest cipher. The reality of it was that by joining this new, previously rejected art form, corporate America actually  just figured out how to properly monetize it. Along with this monetization came stakeholders. And with stakeholders come structure. Structure that this free art form hadn’t seen before. Realistically, these stakeholders and their machine opened up a lot of doors for Hip Hop and in the process made a lot of people rich.

Fast forward 20+ years, and the phenomenon that is Hip Hop has turned into a whole new monster. It has grown to a point that most people that were around during it’s infancy don’t even recognize it anymore. It’s no longer a local treasure that represented a forgotten culture. It’s now an international giant that shows up everywhere from fashion to movie scripts to the pages of the dictionary. It went from being this obscure somewhat abstract thing, to being used as a noun, a verb, and an adjective. People who’ve never spoken a word of English are now rocking Hip Hop (adj.) fashion and carrying on like true American Hip Hoppers (n.).

Since its inception, Hip Hop has experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a culture, we’ve taken it and transformed it into something very different. The stakeholders have made it to where they will only invest in what’s profitable and because of this, artists will only create what stakeholders will invest in. While this relationship has done some good in taking this art form all over the world, it has also created a mainstream pool of puppets. A rare form of puppets that have the power to become puppet-masters themselves after heavily influencing their audiences. It’s rare that a day goes by that you don’t see Hip Hop’s influence. Whether it’s hidden somewhere subtle in the music now known as “rap” or blatantly plastered across the TV via the latest McDonald’s commercial.

The question I pose to you is: Is Hip Hop still about culture or is it just the latest cash cow?

Gee_O

If I could get over that HUMP!!!!!

I know that we are coming up on Wednesday which is regarded by many as “hump day;” however, for the sake of this post “hump” will refer to any obstacle that stands in your way and has to be crossed for you to achieve your ultimate goal.  My suggestion, pray to whoever you pray to, keep grinding, stay focused, and make the necessary sacrifices.  Besides, without those “humps” the end goal would not be cherished.  With that said, Erykah Badu has provided the soundtrack for us to get through these difficult times.

“That Hump”  Erykah Badu

Does HipHop miss West Coast Muzik?

From the mid to late 80’s through the early 2000’s, west coast hiphop had to be the leaders along with the east coast of what we call hiphop music.  NWA (Cube, Dre, Eazy, etc), MC Eight, DJ Quick, Too Short, Spice 1, PAC (although he is from the east coast), Ras Kass, E40, Celly Cel, Tha Dog Pound, and many others held the west coast down for years.  Right around ’02-’04, I saw the industry making a turn and beginning to shy away from the West.  It definitely wasn’t from a lack of music, but more so because the “powers that be” began to gravitate to whatever was popular.  This left the Left Coast on the outside looking in.  Of course, you’ve had your Ice Cube, Snoop, and Game albums, but that “West Coast” sound that we were accustomed to has faded due to money hungry CEO’s and trend following A&R’s who don’t know and understand hiphop.  How can you shy away from this:::::::::::::>

“Still Dre” ft Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog

This is West Coast to the fullest in my opinion.  6-fo’s with hydraulics, beautiful ladies, blue’s, red’s, and a zillion people showing up for the video.  I LOVE IT!!!

“It was a good day” Ice Cube

Gotta love Cube!!!!!!!!!

“It’s going Down” Celly Cel

Gotta rep that Yay area!   (Shout out to @NeNepop and the Lost Kids)

So that was a look at the past.  Today, there are several artist that deserve mainstream attention on the west coast.  For the reasons mentioned above, these artist don’t get there just due.  Several artist sign deals, but not too many get around to putting out albums.  The game is messed up when your own coast doesn’t play your regions music on the radio, and from what I’m hearing, this is the case out west.  People always wonder how the South came up.  The South always supported the South.  When no one was messing with them, they did their own thing.  The same has to happen with the west.  Peep some artist from the new school out west::::::::>

“Hussle in the House” Nipsey Hussle

I’ve been jammin this for a minute.  He reminds me of a young Snoop.

“All My Life” Jay Rock ft Lil Wayne

I love this song!  I hope you can see how much the west coast influenced lil Wayne… (Sorry if it doesn’t play, Warner Bros records is tripping with the footage)

It’s evident that the West Coast has talent (Blu, Jay Rock, Glasses Malone, Crooked I, Nipsey, Ya Boy, Mr. FAB, and many more), but to some, their brand of music is no longer popular or profitable.  So in closing, I ask the question, is hiphop about the Culture and the talent in it or has it become a Cash Cow in search of whatever makes a dollar?

 

 

Artist of the Week: Black Thought

It’s day 2 ladies and gentlemen and I have 2 bangers for ya’ll to vibe to. The first joint is 75 Bars from off The Roots eighth studio album “Rising Down”. ?uestlove provides the track and Thought goes in like Speed Racer. Listen, take it back to the top and listen again. Number 2 on the list is one of my personal favorites – Silent Treatment from their first release, “Do You Want More?!!!?!”. This song is nothing short of classic. The beat is crazy. The flow is crazy. The topic is definitely relatable. And the album?? The album is…it’s…it’s classic.

75 Bars from Rising Down

Silent Treatment from Do You Want More?!!!?!

Artist of the Week: Black Thought

How do you measure success in the music industry? Is it album sales? Number of awards won? How many times you’ve heard it on the radio? Or is it longevity? Or the amount of respect that an artist gets from their peers? For me, it’s about substance. It’s about growth. It’s about consistency. It’s about creativity, wordplay, and lyrically skill. Not many artists right now can score points in all of these categories. This week’s AOTW definitely hold’s his own though. Black Thought hit the scene in ’93 with The Square Roots, now known as the The Roots aka The Legendary Roots Crew. And since they debut, he’s been attacking beats like a real menace to society. Thought and The Roots might not have the commercial success that they deserve, but don’t get it confused – their Legendary status is solidified.

Ladies and Gentlemen…Black Thought

J. Dilla ft. Black Thought – Reality Check

Please peep the wordplay! I bet money you won’t just listen to this once…

This For That: The Posse Cut Edition

What up world! And welcome to another edition of This For That. Today, my focus is on the “posse cut”. The concept of the posse cut is pretty simple: 1. Get a beat 2. Get a posse 3. Record a song. History has given us countless classic collectives so I have a few tough choices to make. From an artist’s perspective, being a part of this collective presents a certain level of friendly competition. Everybody wants to have  that “that’s the best verse on the song” type of performance. And that, my friends, is what makes the posse cut so dope!

So let’s get into it…

1. What in the World?!

I’ll give you the 2010 We Are The World and a year’s supply of autotune for the original We Are The World.

I understand the relevance of the song. I get that they wanted to update it to reflect the current issues and speak to a different generation. I get that in order to really appeal to this newer generation, they had to fish some talent out of the current pool o f entertainers. But, come on!! Autotune? Jamie Foxx as Ray? Stop playing. They filled the studio up with too many quasi-talented people and even gave a few of them solos. But then as the camera panned across the room, you could clearly see some real talent was there. Just out of respect, some of those artists should have just clicked “No, thank you” when they got their evite.

2. Just another average Joe…

I’ll give you every Fat Joe appearance on a posse cut since 2006 for the  John Blaze Fat Joe

I can’t really speak for the general public, but I feel like the post-Big Pun (RIP) Fat Joe isn’t the same as the Jealous Ones Envy and Don Cartagena Joe. As a member of the DJ Khaled’s Posse Cut All-Stars, Joe has appeared on countless collaborations with some of the best artists in the game. And those songs definitely serve their purpose. They get you pumped up when they drop in the club, on the radio, or randomly on the mp3 player. But if I just have to listen to a Fat Joe-featured posse joint, I gotta go with the pre-Lean Back Joe before he was extra iced-out and all that.

John Blaze – Nas, Big Pun, Jadakiss, Raekwon, & Fat Joe

3. And the winner is…

I’ll give you Khaled’s All I Do Is Win for the Wu classic Triumph

This might not necessarily be a fair comparison, but it is what it is. I will admit, Khaled’s All-Stars showed up. They did what they do best. They put a club anthem together that will have the whole audience bouncing and waving their arms in unison. But you can’t talk about winning without mentioning Triumph. The way the Wu came back with that should’ve been against the law. The fact is, All I Do Is Win can come on in the club and everybody could lose it and the crowd participation could be at 100%…but if they drop Triumph, I’m making my way to the nearest window and I’m jumping!! I might literally slap somebody just out of pure adrenaline and excitement. I don’t care what part of the map you represent, if that beat drops you become a zombie for like 49 seconds. The only thing you can do is say “I bomb atomically. Socrates philosophies and hypothesis…”

All I Do Is Win – DJ Khaled feat. Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain, and Snoop Dogg

Triumph – Wu-Tang Clan

4. Buddies in Bedrock…

I’ll give you Young Money’s Bedrock AND Every Girl for De La Soul’s Buddy remix

Times have definitely changed. No disputing that at all. Yesterday’s subtle flirt is now today’s blatant solicitation. I can’t take away from the impact that these Young Money love songs have had on the culture. It’s undeniable. But De La and their Native Tongue cohorts managed to get the same message across without flat out saying “we wanna f*ck all of ya’ll”. As old school as the subtle approach may be, it makes for a much better posse cut!

Now, I want to take this time to just salute a few classic posse cuts:

Marley Marl feat. Craig G, Big Daddy Kane, Master Ace, Kool G Rap (The Juice Crew) – The Symphony

This song really laid the blueprint for the “posse cut”. CLASSIC!

Tribe Called Quest feat. Leaders of the New School – Scenario

One of my favorite joints of all time!

N.O.R.E. feat. Nature, Big Pun, Cam’ron, and The Lox – Banned From TV

These last 3 joints are the redefinition of the Posse Cut:

Outkast feat. Cee-Lo, Erykah Badu, and Big Rude – Liberation

This is that soul food…

Common feat. Omar, Cee-Lo, Bilal, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, and “Pops” Lynn – Heaven Somewhere

This is pretty heavy right here! Pay attention…

Raheem DeVaughn feat. Jill Scott, Algebra, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Chrisette Michele, Ledisi, Citizen Cope, Shelby Johnson, Dwele, Chico DeBarge, and Rudy Currence – Nobody Wins A War

What up Jon Boy! Salute!

– Gee_O