Tuesday, August 23, 2016

WORST JEANS IN RAP


"quality rap pants" - dj drama

Now I know u be flocking to PRAM MUSIC HYSTERIA! for intellectual discussions of da highest echelon, but we gonna take a break from our regular programming to talk about pants. Rap has a checkered history with denim. Here are some of the worst offenders.

MOZZY
Following Mozzy on Instagram inspired this post. This guy's jeans look like a mid-life crisis creative directed by Vivienne Westwood. Mozzy wears jeans that Adam Ant and Johnny Depp would see and be like, "Nah, them shits is too gaudy." These are the pants you wear when you decide to kill yourself, but only after emptying your bank account and flouting the rules of nature in one final Abu Dhabi blow-out bash.

FETTY WAP
Fetty rocking the "single mom in the bondage club" look. If you Google worst jeans in rap, he is literally the first result. The Arizona Balloon Festival sweatshirt is dope tho.

2CHAINZ
The legacy of 2 Chainz will always be tarnished for popularizing the Jon Gosselin look. Polo's popularity in the '90s had journalists trying to reconcile why inner-city black kids would want to dress like preppy white kids. More perplexing: why rappers (or anyone) would want to look like Sunset Boulevard trash.

ASAP ROCKY
That said, if I had to choose between ASAP Rocky's Eurotrashaloons and True Religions, I'd have the whole world romping around rockin the Buddhaman like gay choo-choo conductors.

JAY-Z
Bragging about not wearing skinny jeans on record, while conspicuously reducing his denim footprint, is the story of why Jay-Z has sucked since 2003. It's hard to believe this tool is the same guy who composed the greatest ode to the greatest rap jeans of all time.

ANYONE WEARING OVERALLS AFTER 2PAC
"Let the late great veteran live," he says to the performer striking a Christlike pose.

WIZ KHALIFA
Skinny jeans reduce sperm count, so how many lives does Wiz have to answer for? Pittsburgh's Pol Pot of Pants.

HONORABLE UN-MENTION: SOULJA BOY
Soulja Boy deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award in Rap Jeans for his '07/'08 work. When you're trying to get the right fit, a good rule of thumb is to try looking like Dikembe Mutombo doing that thing where you put your knees on your shoes and pretend to be a midget. His output has slowed down, but Soulja is a true god of large pants.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

MAKE MEXICAN-AMERICAN RAP GREAT AGAIN



The artistic merits of "Fuck Donald Trump" were secondary at best, irrelevant at worst. It received critical acclaim for satisfying provisions of an unspoken agenda: hunger for political rap in the mainstream, historically the easiest way to legitimize the genre, and the desperate need for an anti-Trump anthem. Fuck Donald Trump, sure, but the rhetoric of "FDT" falls too often into The Donald's own talking points. The only Mexican mentioned by name is El Chapo; even then it's in the context of violence. After Mexplaining so hard on the original, you'd at least expect Nipsey and YG to get a Mexican rapper on the remix. Instead we have G-Eazy and Macklemore making me want to build a shrine to Lord Jamar.

Where are the Kid Frosts of today? Like Christian rock, Chicano rap is a megalith outside the mainstream, consumed by the thousand despite minimal-to-nonexistent press. YG made overtures in the right direction featuring Sadboy Loko on My Brazy Life. Whereas Sadboy is an extension of Chicano gangbanger rap, King Lil G is a sensitive street rapper softened by pop instincts, a cholo take on the J. Cole formula of conventional lyricism, polished song structure, and Millenial narcissism.

"Cold Christmas" is more along the lines of A-Wax's sad dopeboy mope-alongs, without the hard scumbag edges. When Wax recollects, it's usually about stabbing someone in juvie or an ex-homie or lover who eroded his trust in humanity. In contrast, Lil G's voice cracks with vulnerability when he remembers his mother's cooking: She made me happy with Mexican food...she made the greatest food. Unctuous as he sounds, Lil G's underlying moral core sells better than Wax's white-trash fatalism (I been bangin so long even moms says brazy), where the past is dark and innocence is irretrievable.

Cloying theatrics aside, it's still a pretty good song. A collaboration between Lil G and Kap G called Mexican Gs? Ándale!

Monday, August 8, 2016

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS MAN IS FOR THE BIRDS!



Smack smack, bitch! HD's last couple projects was aight but a li'l generic, gave me some real Oakland mixtape rappers circa now is the new New York mixtape rappers circa 1998 type heebie jeebz. Chuuuch. Ain't gonna front like I listened to Pianos & 808s in its entirety; let's be real, that title is a little too earnest for its own good, you'd think he'd be on the cover sitting at a grand piano staring at his hands looking real contemplative and shit, black & white photography and whatever w/ some fuckin Chico DeBarge and Carl Thomas collabs.

This "Chicken Nuggets" tho, I fuck with it. Really I'm an easy mark when it comes to any food-related raps. I could even stomach :) that novelty album MF DOOM made when he was at his most hipster gassed up. And chicken nuggets? Yo, I eat those! So I'm all over this shit like a healthy slather of BBQ sauce on some chix nugz. Lest you think HD was dollar-menu rappin, he spells it out for you that this is a metaphor for something more illicit than breaded poultry: I ain't talkin bout no chicken nuggets ;) ;) ;). I say...what a rogue!

All this chicken talk takes me back to the days when I was working at the box factory, coming home late nights and copping some wings and fries from the fellas at Crown Fried, then slidin over to the Moroccan bodega to cop some Coors tallboys to help me better neglect my BM. Chuuuch! Ay, speakin of chicken talk, Lil Blood and 12 Gauge Shotie got a mixtape called Chicken Talk, thus bearing out my prediction that Guccistalgia is nigh. As with most Lil Blood projects, there is one good song. Peace!!!

Friday, August 5, 2016

BATON ROUCH

 

My shooters got 'em drenchin like a mop
Then step on a nigga in some socks
She ask me for some shoes, I bought her Crocs

Does any region make punch-you-in-the-face music sound as joyous as Baton Rouge? Steel drums and acronyms haven't got shine like this since "P.I.M.P." More significantly, Sherwood Flame is the first rapper to name himself after a stately Japanese maple. Preserve a leaf between some wax paper and stick it in the Book Of Thugs. RMH Sam gives this one five bags of popcorn and a pair of flip-flops.

The video for "Cross Me" is unremarkable except for the way it typifies a popular underground aesthetic, a downsized cinéma vérité take on the "Ha" video's ghetto reportage: frenetic use of handheld cameras, laser-equipped assault rifles as accoutrements, an ensemble cast of peers who get equal screen time as the putative stars. Blame budgets, parallel thinking, a lack of imagination, or whatever, but it's a style of filmmaking you'll see in every other street video from the Bay to the A (shouts to Kreayshawn). With the possible exception of Detroit, the energy of Baton Rouge rap pairs best with the point-and-shoot minimalism of the style. When Fear played SNL in in 1981, luminaries of various regional scenes took it as an opportunity to prove who went hardest in the pit. If there were some comparable forum for today's regional rap scenes, I like to think Baton Rouge would show and prove.

Friday, July 29, 2016

YID AND YEE: NOT A JEWISH-CHINESE COMEDY DUO!



Earlier in 2016, Denzel Curry went on record as a gook. A rapper from the Bay is now calling himself Yid. And while he may be Black Hebrew Israelite or a member of the Stoudemire sect, he has yet to cover Judaic matters in his work. Until further notice, I have to assume that Yid is not a yid.

Before we charge this young man with the crime of cultural appropriation, let's go beyond the moniker. "Keep It On Me" revisits the early '00s trend of vaguely Asiatic production, commonly associated with visionary jocks of the guzheng like Timbaland and Ja Rule. What might have been dismissed as cultural appropriation in another context was celebrated for expanding the possibilities of rap music. And it did. Culture runs on appropriation; people only care when the appropriation is executed poorly. In this case, "Keep It On Me" is so catchy it would have even the students of Oberlin dabbing muskily around the compost heap.

We talkin yins 'n' yangs in this transcultural mash-up: Yee with the lilting rap-sanging, Yid sounding like he's rapping through a bullhorn into a cheap computer microphone. As Richard Gere once said, Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. You can't have the sweet without the sour, the Yid without the Yee. It's a combination so winning I only wish they'd gone full yellowface like Jin in the "Learn Chinese" video instead of blowing their budget on a pricey Lil Blood cameo. Somewhere in the ether, Bruce Lee is sippin Heem and nodding in approval.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

RAP WILL EAT ITSELF (OR: TO SERVE GUCCI MANE)



No Limit nostalgia may have reached its fever pitch with Usher and Young Thug's Billboard-charting paean to the golden age of The Tank. Time to move on. Today's accelerated culture is ripe for an outbreak of Gucci Mane nostalgia. If "Swing My Door" is any indication, it's only a matter of time before young rappers, no longer content to merely run with his style, sink their talons into the themes, titles, and ad libs of his back catalog.

No Limit and Cash Money nostalgia consisted mainly of millenials reaching out toward a faded era of their youth. That the artists and music were accessories rather than actors is obvious if one remembers that people still don't give a shit about what Turk is doing. Gucci is as wanted and desired as he's ever been.

What fuels the nostalgia? Retrospective appreciation for his 2008 and 2009 hot streak? Anxiety that the drug-addled pudgeball we all loved is irrevocably changed? Or is it the persistent suspicion that the original model Radric Davis was murdered and cloned by the Bilderberg Group? Soon, perhaps, our nostalgia for the Original Gucci Mane will be all that remains
assuming, of course, they leave our memories unaltered. Hang on to your tinfoil snapbacks, folks.

Nostalgia trip #2: In the song's latter half, a bunch of MPA Weed Carriers trade verses like they're taking it back to the leather-man era. Rap: the only context where finishing each other's sentences isn't totally lame.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DANCEHALL MUSIC HYSTERIA: INTERROGATING DA NATURE OF KONSHESNESS



Wa gwan, penisclots? DANCEHALL MUSIC HYSTERIA! back in this bitch. Like you, I ignored Konshens for a hot minute, solely on the account of his poorly chosen name. Konshens sounds like some Soundbombing reject shit you'd find in a Fat Beats .99-cent bin circa '02. Ima pass on that one, B.

Turns out he actually got some jams! The riddim on "Bruk Off Yuh Back" sounds kind of like that Gyptian candlewax melter from a while back, except the lyrics is more saturnalian than gooey. Chuuuch. Wassup with the video tho? It begins with a minute-long episode wherein a young, jean-shorted man is led into a remote swamp by hoodlums with a machete and handgun, like a strange marriage of Deliverance and Shottas.

Fortunately, Dread Beatty manages to escape his would-be anal pillagers. Avoiding potential death and certain butt rape, our boy stumbles upon a random dance in the middle of the forest. They got a big-ass speaker cabinet, and no obvious power sources, so I guess they got a generator or something? It's a feast of flesh, and I ain't just talkin about the curry they barbecuin. Skinny broads, thick broads, and everything in between let dem cheeks clap while Konshens looms nonchalantly in the background, croonin his lil slick talk while dressed like a Goldman Sachs associate on a Hamptons summer retreat.

 If he wasn't in the dancehall game, he'd probably have a key knee-deep in investment management.

Everyone's gettin loose until our protagonist's hatin' ass dream-killing buddy pours water on his face and clips the gossamer strands of this divine reverie. Bubble-bursting dickhead with his capri-pant jorts, let my man concuss in peace. Was it all a dream? Did homeboy actually get violated? Do faeries and forest nymphs exist? Over two minutes of outtake dancing close out the video on some Inception shit, and we're left with the kind of ambiguity critics be bustin nuts over.

 We don't talk to capris.

For any of my degenerates who find "Bruk Off Yuh Back" too puritanical, there's a more explicit version called "Bruk Off Mi Cock." Finally, the penile fracture has its own anthem; if you squint your eyes a little, "Detachable Penis" has its successor.