“Great rap should have all kinds of unresolved layers that you don’t necessarily figure out the first time you listen to it. Instead it plants dissonance in your head. You can enjoy a song that knocks in the club or has witty punch lines the first time you hear it. But great rap retains mystery. It leaves shit rattling around in your head that won’t make sense till the fifth or sixth time through. It challenges you.
Which is the other reason hip-hop is so controversial: People don’t bother trying to get it. The problem isn’t in the rap or the rapper or the culture. The problem is that so many people don’t even know how to listen to the music.”
There are so many different types of MCs out there, but the ones I have a tremendous amount of respect for are the ones who make me listen to what’s being said instead of just hearing it. These are the types of artists whose music allows me to understand something different with each new listen. The first few artists that come to mind are Nas, Lupe Fiasco, Geo from Blue Scholars or Nomi from Power Struggle.
But there’s also a fine line between being a thoughtful, eloquent writer vs. complexity for the sake of being complex. You can use all kinds of big words, but what’s the point if no one understands it?
…a lot since I last attended church which, with the exception of a friend’s wedding, has been years. I’m crackin’ up at all the tweets and facebook posts that my friends are doing while at midnight mass!! Lmao.
Anyway, Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to you all!!
I saw a homeless person at a freeway off ramp this morning with a sign that said “Smile”. She was going from car to car, pointing to her sign and getting people to smile back. When I offered to give her some change she said “I don’t need money. A smile in return is payment enough.”
That’s the type of person I would’ve loved to chop it up with, but of course I had to rush off to work in my pursuit of the dollar. We can learn a lot from a simple enough gesture. Sometimes the smallest things can go a long way.
I just thought about doing this post last week, so I’m probably missing a lot of other good videos. But for now, here’s my list:
Top Picks (in no particular order):
Fatgums x Bambu - Peddlin’ Music
This was one of my favorite songs from their Peaceful Riot EP in ‘09. I’m definitely glad that Fatgums decided to make a video for it…I just didn’t know the dude had skills like that! I can only imagine how long it took to do all that stop-motion stuff.
Dumbfoundead - Jam Session 2.0
This is probably the most inspiring video out of the bunch. It’s amazing to see how all these musicians/artists came together and created something through the wonders of technology.
Dumbfoundead - Up in the Air
This is the winner that Dumbfoundead selected for a fan-submission contest. This might also be my favorite song of the year (it’s been in constant rotation the last couple weeks).
Lupe Fiasco - I’m Beamin’
I’ve heard people (aka Underground Backpacker Elitists) say that Lupe went too “mainstream” with this, but I disagree.
Grynch - My Volvo
I posted this video last week, but this is just a real ass song/video. A lot of rappers don’t even own the cars they have in their videos, but this guy just put it all out there. Ain’t no shame in his game.
I was going through my previous posts and noticed that I either put up a lot of youtube videos or go on super long rants about music or some issue that gets me fired up, so I just wanted to switch it up a little.
I’m in a pretty good place in Life right now. Some people don’t like the idea of feeling “content” because they associate it with “settling” or not striving to make things better, but it’s important to just slow down once in awhile and appreciate the little things.
Here’s a 2007 holiday song from Phonte (formerly of Little Brother). With the exception of the “trifling” part in the intro, it’s a pretty good track. His rant about the Nintendo games, and especially Track & Field, brought me back!! Anybody else remember that game? You had to put the controller on a flat surface so you could bang the hell out of it in order to make your person move fast. My personal favorites were the Shooting and Taekwondo events since it didn’t require the fast tapping (my older brothers had a significant advantage so I didn’t stand a chance).
Being stuck in traffic gives me a lot of time to think, so today I was thinking about just how much time I spend in traffic. You ready to do some math? (hopefully it’s correct)
A.) Everyday I commute approximately 2 hrs & 15 min round trip from Long Beach to Mid-City LA (1 hr there, 1 hr & 15 min coming back).
B.) 2 hrs & 15 min x 5 days = 11 hrs & 15 min per week
C.) 11 hrs & 15 min x 4 weeks = 45 hrs per month
D.) 45 hrs/month x 12 months = 540 hrs per year
E.) 540 hrs/year [divided by] 24 hrs = 22.5 days
So, on average, I spend 22.5 full days commuting each year. That’s over 3 weeks, damn near a month, that I spend sitting in my car. That thought is Scary, Semi-Depressing, and somewhat Amazing all rolled into one. A lot of you have similar commutes, possibly even longer! Daaaaayum!!
1.) I need to practice “writing” rhymes in my head like Jay-Z.
2.) I need to practice freestyling a hell of a lot more.
3.) My head hurts just thinking about it, but I don’t feel like getting in my car to buy some Advil. I spend enough time in there as it is…and I didn’t take into account weekend traffic.
“B4 The Night Is Thru” is about looking for someone to share love in rhythm. When producer Machine Drum and I created this tune it started as conversation on how you go out just to party and dance the night away; but how hard it is to find that someone to move with because of culture of the time we’ve living in. The song is merely reminiscent of those times when you could dance with someone you didn’t know all night with no pressure, no expectations… just the rhythm and movement. – Jesse Boykins III