Thursday, 22 May 2008
In today's industry, where people no longer value albums anymore and even when they do, the lifespan of such album is probably that of 2 weeks, I have decided to slow things down a lil', and carefully pay attention to music that has influenced us, as we were growing up. Not only that, I will also be giving my 2 cents/pence on current music and also be using this blog as a means to showcase what I believe will be big artists in the near future...
One thing I've noticed whenever I'm at work, or ANYWHERE for that matter, is that music has to be playing. It doesn't matter. I literally cannot function for too long if there's no beat, rhythm or ANYTHING in the background. My current (and past employers) will testify for this. At my 1st 9-5, it was likely you'd find me serving customers with the iPod mini on me back in '05. Same thing in university, my lecturer talking too much, iPod video (30GB baby, ballin' outta control) was me. So, it comes to no suprise that this remains the case at my current 9-5 yet I'm doing it with a lil' more purpose. I'm sorry to say that I AM still young and I have fallen victim to the iPod mentality (Apple BEST hook me up, this is product placement at it's finest). When I'm rolling around with my 'mp3 player' or at home listening to errrmmmm...
Listening to errmmm, (X)Tunes....
When I'm listening to music, it's hard to pay attetntion to an LP, without getting bored and fienin' for an 808 or some sort of synths playing so what I've done now, is bring these LP's to work and listen to them whilst I am at the 9-5. That way, I'm actually paying proper attention to it. Probably because I have no choice.
Now, the 1st album of choice is my Nostalgia album...
''I don't know god, I don't know god, I don't know why, I really don't know check the flow...''
Ill-ass intro (lude)....
Right, I'll give you a quick professional breakdown (Translation: Lemme go on a copy & paste mission on Wikipedia)
''CrazySexyCool, the second studio album, is a bestselling R&B/hip hop album by the group TLC, released on November 15, 1994. The album's sound is a blend of R&B/soul and hip hop music that became the commercial and critical high point of the group's career. CrazySexyCool is one of the most successful R&B albums ever released, shipping over eleven million records domestically and selling over fifteen million worldwide. It is the best selling album by a girl group in America. The album features two Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits: "Creep" and "Waterfalls". Other successful singles included "Diggin' On You" and "Red Light Special". The final track, "Sumthin' Wicked This Way Comes," guest stars André Benjamin, of OutKast fame. "Kick Your Game" is the only TLC song in which Left Eye has two verses, instead of the usual one. The album title represents each girl's personality: Left Eye is "Crazy", Chilli is "Sexy" and T-Boz is "Cool". The three words together create one word, "CrazySexyCool", which describes all women's personalities.''
Now that we have the nice, structured breakdown, lemme give you my barefaced, Stan-like, outrageously biased view on what I believe was one of, if not THE best modern LP from a female R'n'B group. In terms of songwriting, production, impact, style & cohesiveness (let's not even talk about the sales), there's not ONE record I believe surpasses this. Hell, the album was SO GOOD, that it's incredibly standard vocals can't take anything away from it. Absolutely NO fillers whatsoever. Every track coulda been a single and a successful ones at that. Major props to Dallas Austin for his overall direction aswell as Jermaine Dupri. We also had the presence of Sean 'Puffy' Combs on the record. Safe to say, I'm a fan of this album, lol....
Next up is the one of the gazillion different we've had over the last couple of weeks....
Tha Carter III
The first thing I wanna address is, classic or not?
My pet peeve with this whole debate is, is this record being a classic, actually significant at this point in time? Because if there is ONE thing I know, which ISN'T up for debate, is NO supposed 'classic' will be labeled such within 1 month of it's release. It seems like a lot of people have allowed this whole thing to stop them from fully appreciating this album which I believe is a very good listen.
More than anything, I think it's a refreshing listen. I mean, we do have the odd occasions of nihilistic talks here and there but that isn't the main theme of the album unlike it's predecessor Tha Carter II which many Lil' Wayne fans believe was a superior LP. I do have to say, after listening to CII straight after CIII, he does go in harder lyrically but in comparison to CIII, it's not as innovative, musically speaking...
Bar Lollipop, I'm not too sure what choices they're gonna go with for his singles. I mean, they have just shot the video for 'Got Money' and I think they're currently shooting 'Mrs Officer' which I guess could work considering most of the females I know love that song. Some people wanna see a video for 'A Milli' but I think in this case, it's done what it's needed to do. It's had enough exposure as a street single anyway and even if a video was shot, it wouldn't add anymore exposure than it's already had considering it's probably the main sing he performs live...
See the BET Awards perfomance or even better, check this performance for the MTV 'FN'
show. Absolutely disgusting. A Milli + a live band=heaven, no homo....
I think my main pet peeves are that with the ridiculous amount of tracks he dropped before the album's release, there were some stand-out gems that if were on this album, would have made CIII THAT much better. For example, imagine if he replaced a track like 'Got Money' with 'I Feel Like Dying' or had thrown on the live version of 'Gossip' on there. I mean, I ain't even including most of the catalogue is because it's too extensive but you lot get the point.
All in all, what I appreciate the most about this album is not the actually content. But I appreciate it for bringing a breathe of fresh air to the game. It was an event album. Everyone was talking about it. Everybody was bumping it. It had the fans excited. It had his peers excited. Hell, even the haters were somewhat excited. Dwayne Carter definitely came in and did his job.
Now, we'll be takin' a look & a listen to some new material from established and some not-so established artists. One girl who's caught my hear is a certain Ms. Knowles. No, not Mrs. Knowles-Carter (who saw the way Jay tried to avoid that question on Jonathan Ross, lol) but her lil' sister Solange.
I'll start off by saying I think it was a GREAT move by not following big sis' direction musically and not only that, but style-wise too.
Her music comes across as some sort of Motown/Techno hybrid apparently which kinda irks me because this House music bandwagon is gettin' out of hand. More and more of R'n'B's major players are heading in that direction but at least with Solange's shit, she's added a lil' more flava with it. And we're not speaking in terms of the music only. Unlike her sister's more glamorous image, she's gone with a more 60's/70's oriented look and even assembled some cronies/band to accompany her called the 'Hadley Street Dreams'...
Reminds me a lot of Janelle Monae though who some of you will know, was at one point rolling with Big Boi and his Purple Ribbon outfit but last time I checked, she's signed with Bad Boy. And Janelle was on this vibe since '06. Hey, maybe having Daddy Knowles in your corner will have doors opened for you that wouldn't be the case for another up & coming artist....
Anyway, can't take anything away from the self-proclaimed 'Sol-Angel'. Her single 'I Decided' is doin' very well. It's reached 2 #1 spots in Billboard's 'Hot R'n'B's/Hip-Hop singles sales' & 'Hot Dance singles sales' at the same time which is no easy feat for a debut single. It'd be interesting to see how it does in the UK and Europe in general. I think if she's given some good support, it has the potential to do very well personally...
Anyway, I'm outtie. I start pre-season training in 9 days and I'm developing the gut of an out of work bricklayer. Need to fly off, burn some calories, do an infinite amount of sit-ups and maybe some pilates for good measure...
Peace & chicken grease mothafuckers...
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Well, first and foremost, I love H.E.R. Looking back it makes me laugh when I think about when I first fell in love with H.E.R because it was my Mum who put me on H.E.R. We'd be driving around whilst she had ''The Score'' by Fugees blaring. Sometimes I feel guilty because there are other genres that I mess around with (Grime, Rock, Dancehall & Reggae etc) and I got a lil' thing on the side that I still fucks with and which I been seeing since I was a young 'un (R'n'B & Soul). I think I was only 6 years old when I picked up that Bobby Brown album and my Mum would come into the living room with me dancing like a mad man to ''Two Can Play That Game''...lol...
Damn near 14 years later, I'm still bumping that same record (minus the crazy gyrating) and damn near 14 years later, I find myself stuck between 2 places; The Old Skool and The New Skool...
I just wanna find that balance. Imma 80's baby (technically), Imma 90's toddler (raised in the New Jack era) but now I'm in the infancy of adulthood in the new millenia. I feel music from all 3 era's so it's kinda hard to identify with anyone period, ya feel me?
For anyone who knows me personally, they'll have some sort of idea of where I wanna go with my life. They'll know that people such as Berry Gordy, Russell Simmons, Will Smith, Oprah, Fab 5 Freddy, Michael Jordan are some of the major role models in my life (ignore what I say on my MySpace page, lol) and that I wanna contribute to the progression of Black Music and H.E.R progression as musical artform and more importantly as a CULTURE, whether it be through the music, the clothing, the visuals, the graffiti, the whatever! Don't get it twisted, I wanna get paid whilst doing it (my aforementioned role models are all millionaires if ya didn't notice, lol) but like I mentioned before, I wanna find that balance.Mike
Sunday, 27 April 2008
I was going through my old XXL magazines and I stumbled upon this amazing piece on the relationship between crack/cocaine and Hip-Hop/Rap...
What I've done however, is throw my proverbial drums on this incredible piece of writing and shortened it ever so slightly, (shoutout to all my semi-literate fans) for your reading pleasure...
This could be seen as Hip-Hop's early fascination of rap's long & conflicted relationship with cocaine. Rappers, like DMX & ODB have been involved with high-profile arrests in which they were discovered in possession of crack cocaine that was allegedly for personal use. If DMX's BET reality show 'Soul Of A Man' and post Def Jam album 'Year Of The Dog' was anything to go by, it's safe to say that DMX must've put Amy Winehouse on...
In today's scene, it seems that the world revolves around the trade of crack and all the highs and lows to a marriage of unbridled aspiration and deep despair. From rappers such as Lil' Wayne, who having been under the wing of Cash Money since he was knee-high to a brick and has no verifiable trafficking history to others such as Juelz Santana who's given himself the pop-friendly moniker as 'Human Crack In The Flesh', it seems cocaine rap aswell as stripper rap (Apple bottom jeans, boots with the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuur), is the choice of the new generation.
Authenticity, of course, is put at a premium in Hip-Hop. But while today's iceman MC's have their legitimate records of drug dealing, their rhymes relay the honest truth. Real or not, the stories told in the music don't often delve past the fiduciary gains of the drug trade. From form to function to focus, cocaine rap has fallen foul to the mentality style and design. Flows trump subject matter, thrills beat insight and the return is more important then the lives lost. The game has become trapped in the trap, and it's dope boy magic.
In the wake of the aforementioned albums, and other post-millenia albums such as The Clipse's 2002 release 'Lord Willin', Crack Rap 2.0 has produced artists such as Young Jeezy, who manages to reveal details of the trade, running out of rubber bands, product wrapped in duct tape hidden in dirty laundry, without ever exposing those around him. Then there's Rick Ross, whose music captures the highs & expansiveness of the country's major drug port without ever reaching past generic descriptions of bricks and more cars, more clothes and more money to blow.
However, sometimes we have to forget the thrills, and the flossiness (yes, I made that word up in light of my sleep-deprived state) and acknowledge that crack rap is a sinister conspiracy. The victims of the mutually exploitative drug trade are rarely regarded in rap's action adventure version. Instead, they are treated like a lingering fraction of the equation, rounded up to the next thrill. Every crack rock that is sold, is sold to a real person, simple as that, but we have substituted that compassion into a punchline (albeit, I've heard excellent ones in my lifetime). Same could be said for the collateral casualties of the violence that accompanies the drug game, not the snitches, not the rival dealers, not the bad guys but the 13yr old yout caught up in the senseless turf wars or maybe that stray 5yr old girl who gets hit with the stray bullet.
In conclusion, rappers cannot be held solely responsible. We as consumers of the product have all agreed that, when it comes to our entertainment, we value aesthetics and fantasy over responsibility and reality. We can deny this all we want, but the covers, releases and charts don't lie. We all love that White Girl...
(Yes, I was finding any sort of reason to put her picture. Dammmnnnnnnnnn)
Why is modern R'n'B so fucking bitch-oriented? And I don't mean the word 'bitch' in a derogatory sense (honest, Oprah) but it seems as if Hip-Hop & R'n'B have come at such a contrast where Hip-Hop on one side is utter machismo and R'n'B ridiculously soft & tender. R'n'B just sounds SOOOOO 'light'. There was a time when dudes could roll up, sing to a betty in falsetto, make 17.5K off a ki and still keep it trill. I mean, look at dudes like Bobby Brown. This guy came out with Don't Be Cruel, My Prerogative but at the same time, he had that edge about him (no homo to the Nth power). Who else, D'Angelo, R. Kelly, Jodeci, the list goes on.
Thing is, I don't wanna go into nostalgia mode. I've always said, it's about innovation but there has to be a point where people appreciate BALANCE. Taking what we've learned from experience and creating a melange with today's trends. Saying that, it seems like today's R'n'B is a likkle TOO polished. Flawless fades, both ears pierced, eyebrows tweaked to perfection...
[Pusha T]''ERGCHKK''[Pusha T]
And that's just how they LOOK. Don't even get me started on how some of them SOUND or the music they put out. I mean, I realise they're making music that tailor mostly to girls/women but hasn't that ALWAYS been the case? Saying that, I'm sure A&R's in the 60's/70's, weren't there telling the likes of, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Sam Cooke etc, to totally miss out the male demographic and cater to females only. However, men back then didn't feel NO way about listening to that shit even when he was alone. But NOW, I dare ANY heterosexual man to bump a Bobby V record without a female in the vicinity, and not questioning his own sexual orientation shortly afterwards.
Personally speaking, the only male MODERN R'n'B singers I can really listen to at the moment are the likes of Chris Brown, Lloyd & The Dream. Now, I know what you're thinking. I am 100% aware that these dudes are very much 'R'n'B Poster Boy' material bar 'Jazze Pha' lookalike Dream, but I can appreciate the way they've gone about their images and their musical styles. Look at Mr. Charlie Brown for example. He dropped 2 singles off his debut album with rappers like Lil' Wayne & Juelz Santana who aren't exactly mainstream friendly (which isn't as valid NOW with Lollipop's current success). Same thing could be said with Lloyd plus he had that Murder Inc. affiliation from jump.
Hmmm, like I told you lot, I'm freestyling so pardon me if my argument sounds like it's all over the place but I'm sure you get my overall gist. Some betty has literally just called me, and she's put me off so it'll be another 3 weeks before I write another blog, lol... Anyway, till next time.... Peace & chicken grease mothafuckers...
Friday, 4 April 2008
Honestly, this show right here beats anything on television be it from the U.S or the UK...
I mean, comedy at it's finest. Jamie Foxx smacked it with this idea. Basically, he's hooked up with Sirius Radio and set up a comedy variety show with a cast including Claudia Jordan (I'm in love with this woman), Speedy, O.G. Poetess (Ooooooooh shit), Scott 'White-Boy' Steele (what happened to this guy) and this other guy. Errmm, he's light-skinned, seventeen timed convicted felon Johnny-MOTHER-FUCKIN'-Mack. Sometime guests, Diamond DD (I seen the pictures, my gaawwddd), Chris Spencer and some other heads I can't be bothered to give free promotion to right now...
I, feeling in a good mood this fine Friday morning will drop a MAJOR drop with shows dating from July, Deuce Double O Seven...
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Superhead (Classic)
- Foxxhole Radio (John Salley gives his 2 cents on Superhead, Shaq & the Isaiah Thomas situation)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Paul Mooney
- Foxxhole Radio (T.I. Discussion)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Kevin Hart & Rico Love (Classic)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Rickey Smiley (Part I)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Warren G
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Snoop Dogg
- Foxxhole Radio (The Thanksgiving Show)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Teddy Riley & Layzie Bone
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Regina King (And some other people)
- Foxxhole Radio (Jamie's 40th Birthday)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Diddy, Cee-Lo, Teddy Riley & Queen Pen
- Foxxhole Radio (Best of 2007)
- Foxxhole Radio (The New Year's Special)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Rickey Smiley & Ledisi
- Foxxhole Radio (Almost FoxxLESS, C-Murdah Hosts...)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Trackmasters
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Tatyana Ali, Karen Bass & Maxine Waters (Real political...)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Cedric The Entertainer
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Nas
- Foxxhole Radio feat. John E. Depth, Diana DeVoe & Them B2K Nuccas
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Earthquake
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Jalen Rose
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Money B. (Digital Underground) & Jason Taylor (Miami Dolphins)
- Foxxhole Radio feat. Natalie (Floetry)
- Foxxhole Radio 28th March Deuce Double O Eight
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
between your life or mine,
I'd pick you,
without a second's thought,
i say this, not from a place of envy, but i mean,
i'd gladly die, for you to be able to fly,
am i a fool?
for investing so much of my soul's currency,
in love. the world's most volatile industry.
a risk i'm willing to take, nevertheless.
a proud man, a condition?
or better yet, life's ills have caused this to come into fruition.
but, whilst my core remains dormant,
you treated my ailment.
pride is here no longer.
this king longs for a princess.
in his queen's image.
but for now, in this time. presently?
my queen and my princess remain faceless.
so alas, i wait.
i know you're there, yet i ask myself,
is the feeling mutual?
one day, hopefully,
now? not yet,
as i recite this ode to a woman i have never met.
Thursday, 27 March 2008
1987s: A year where Hip-Hop was blessed with debut LP's such as Eric B. & Rakim's 'Paid In Full', Public Enemy's 'Yo, Bum Rush The Show' & Boogie Down Production's 'Criminal Minded'. Prince dropped the classic double album 'Sign 'O The Times'. Soul was out, funk & disco were in. Eddie Murphy destroyed the stage with 'Raw', a template of masterpiece stand-up comedy. Women started to ask their men, ''What have you done for me lately'' thanks to a certain Ms. Janet Jackson. The DeBarge brothers helped to get light-skinned brothas in style. Dookie ropes, Knightrider, Madonna, bright fuckin' colours, new wave, beeper, crack & oh yeah...
The kid was born, 17th March 1987. *does The Wop*
But yeah, the 80's was fuckin' great. At least, I think it was great.
Shiieeeeetttt, who am I kidding? I'm barely 21 years old, I can JUST about remember what life was like in 1992. Hol' on a sec, lemme just reminisce on that HORRIBLE Gumby 'Bobby Brown' hair-do I used to rock in year 1 with my Sonic The Hedgehog t-shirt & shorts combo'
Friggin' ell, what was my mother thinking when she took me to the barber's...
But I digress (shout out to Tariq Nasheed), this isn't about my infant fashion sense. but more about culture. Or better yet, the way in Deuce Double 0 Eight, we've basically recycled 80's culture in terms of music, fashion and shiieettt, even cocaine is finding it's way back into our hearts. I mean, coke was never really OUT but it's definitely had a bit of a resurgence in the pop culture sense. Just look at the way Hip-Hop has been moving in the underground sense. Acts like The Cool Kids, Kid Sister are gaining heat. New tracks from major R'n'B acts Ne-Yo & Beyonce would have you think they'd be chilling in famed 1980's New York club Studio 54 for the past 6 months. Janet Jackson was obviously taking a trip down memory lane with 'Control' when she was cutting her new record. We got crews like The Retro Kids who literally do nothing. I know that sounds cold, lol, but it ain't even like they dance, sing, rap, do reality shows or ANYTHING. They're just famous for dressing like a bunch of mini-Run DMC's & MC Lyte's.
Not to mention the musical direction Timbaland (modern day Nile Rodgers, say suhen!), Justin Timberlake & Rihanna have taken. Shit, even Chris Brown has decided to re-package his sophomore album 'Exclusive', and the single he's about to drop 'Forever' has a more European, house-driven appeal. He's readily admitted he wants to be crowned the 'Prince Of Pop'.
Argghhhh, this is pissing me orf.
I mean, don't get me wrong. I don't mind it too tough, in the cultural sense. I mean, I like the way The Retro Kids have gone about it, in a sense. It's kinda cool to revisit a phenomenon that you were a part of in a sense, but never got to experience. Nah, 'revisit' is the wrong word. They weren't there in the 1st place, really so it's a fresh experience.
But me PERSONALLY. I'm just waiting for the New Jack Era to come back. I wanna go to parties dressed like Nino Brown and shit. We'll have songs that sounds like 'Poison' by Bell Biv Devoe & 'Groove Me' by Guy. Producers will have jacked Teddy Riley's style. Rappers will be BROKE (hopefully), be PROUD of being broke & rap as if they were broke. R'n'B will be smooth again. R'n'B will be the kind of R'n'B that a man can feel no way of bumping LOUD from his whip without fear of looking soft. I mean, c'mon. What R'n'B music in this day & age, could a man having blaring out LOUD without being afraid of people thinking he rocks open-toed cowboy boots? That wasn't the case in the 90's. We had Guy, Blackstreet, Jodeci, Montell Jordan, Joe, H-Town, 112, Dru Hill, Silk and I KNOW I'm forgetting some others. Fuckin' ell, I'm feeling rather nostalgic right now. Man, I watched New Jack City when I was like 7 years old! Lol. Argh, there's no point me starting because this will go from a blog post, to a frikkin' novel let's just stay there. Actually, lemme just post this video. Lol.
Now what, I can't keep writing. Imma play FreeCell, and bump nothing but 90's classics until next time...
Peace & Chicken Grease.