Sunday, May 31, 2015

GREAT MOMENTS IN GAY RAP VIDEOS


The Cash Money kiss will go down as rap's version of Jerry Lee Lewis's cousin-bride, and subsequent viewings of the "Still Fly" video wouldn't placate the puritanical outrage directed at a father/manager figure who just wanted to kiss his contractually obligated son on the lips, is that really so much to ask for?  The market still hasn't welcomed an openly gay rapper, so who knows what Baby was thinking when he tried kicking the doors open for NAMBLA.

Whereas the kiss was a disquieting glimpse into Cash Money's tourbus ca. '96, the eros of "Still Fly" is a playful wink wink in the direction of the Paul Lynde school.  It's a great video for many reasons, but its progressive stance on gay relationships was unique for the time.  Baby and Mannie live next door to each other in adjoining houses.  In the course of the video, they wear at least five matching outfits.  Big Tymers on some Bert & Ernie shit, 4 real (obviously Mannie is Ernie). Maybe it's a New Orleans thing?  Jazze Pha gets in on the fun and rocks a pith helmet with his urbanized safari gear, proving once again that videos were better in those days.

On a side note, if Mannie used ghostwriters to the extent commonly believed, it has to be one of the most successful examples of such a relationship: collaboration rather than ventriloquism.  His personality is represented to well for him to simply be reading a script.  We at Reap Music Hyseteria could give a fuck about a ghostwriter, but that's a different story for a different day.

Friday, May 29, 2015

TRE+19 YEARS


If Tre+6 are remembered at all, it's probably for their appearance on the best song of last decade.  Other than that, they put out a promising LP on Slip-N-Slide that never got a follow-up even after some profile-raising appearances on Trick Daddy's commercially successful early-mid '00s albums.  Trick blames Slip-N-Slide's Ted Lucas for that, and I been inclined to take his word since the Cribs episode where he sold a generation on the hygienic virtues of wet wipes.

Tech Life suffers from the same thing that has plagued most Miami rappers since the demise of the bass scene, namely the lack of a definitive regional sound.  While the underground cribs moves from the drill scene and Hypnotize Minds YouTube playlists, the aspirants on South Beach drink whatever Jim Jones is putting in their flute (pause?) or follow the MMG corporate handbook to the point of sterilization.  But despite obvious debts to the West Coast, Money Mark (no piano) and C.O. (no Rohzay) were building toward something they never saw through.

Video courtesy of Money Mark's YouTube channel, where the curious will also find his recent work.  The VHS dub is v "authentic" if u into that, but ya boy can never be mad at a quality take on the "Genius Of Love" sample.  I be watchin this video seein overpasses and shit and I'm like, "Yo, that's my overpass. We made it, son!"

Bonus beat: Da godz flip Metallica's "Fade To Black," I reach for my Spanish Ibanez.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

THROWBACK INEPTITUDE: THE ATLANTIC JUST KINGED THIS CLICK-HATE SHIT!



Sometimes everything's goin OK in my life and I think, "Yo, I could really use a nice shot of rage mainlining thru the bloodstream."  This afternoon I seent an Atlantic article touting ASAP Rocky's new album as prog-rap or some shit, with a tagline that had me pissin driblets I was so mad: "Rocky’s previous work has proved influential and other buzzed-about rappers have lately been name-dropping acid, so maybe the culture’s moving on from molly and its revved-up, day-glo aesthetic."  Oh no you didn't, Atlantic!

I held off reading it cause I wasn't about to start throwin bows in polite company, but now in the comfort of my padded cell I can bounce off the walls n shit without fear of hurting old ppl (still wear my helmet tho, safety first).   This shit is a minor masterpiece in its own way, mainly as a callback to an older era.  The Internet changed tha music writing game with all its hyperfragmentation, an incalculable advancement in terms of quality.  Back in the day tho, there were fewer voices in this wonderful rainbow, O, this gossamer tapestry!, of conversation, maybe one or two pop music critics at ya local paper, usually middle-aged white guys who loved the era's version of Wilco, and their shitty coverage had the gravitas of appearing in newsprint.

The Atlantic is bringin that back, boy!  This mufuh talkin bout how ASAP Rocky's new album is proggy because drugs, even though it is obviously the rap equivalent of melodic post-grunge (cf. Hum, Superhog, Cracker, Smashing Pumpkins, Toadies, New Radicals [tho they ain't real post-grunge if we bein strict about it]).  Dis article seems deliberately engineered to rub anyone with a more than casual interest in rap the wrong way, so Ima tell myself it's a "happening" like the Dadas used to do before they were hunted into extinction by the Native Americans (p/k/a Indians), otherwise I would let an automatic drill burrow deep in my brain. Yo Atlantic, sign me up! I got a great idea for a thinkpiece on Kanye as the post-racial Bob Dylan! Y'all wanna see my essays on Beyonce's secrete feminism?

Related question: Has ASAP Rocky switched his focus from rapping to being a bottomless resource of enraging news stories?   Maybe he's the true media prankster!   Cloud-rap will never die, beeyoch!  Catch me in the pit wit my cloud-rap vest on, I'll trade u my Main Attraktionz patch for your Yung Lean iron-on.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PILL'S "TRAP GOIN HAM" REVISITED Y'ALL!!!


We movin' in time so fast.  Sometimes I feel like da recent past is at a further distance than the recent past's recent past was back when the recent past was the present.  The chasm of time is widening, the unit of the year is expanding, 365 days has stretched, a day is inflated, an hour in 2015 is longer than an hour in 2009, ya feel???  I know u do!

Case in point, the "Trap Goin' Ham" video, released to much fanfare and controversy in 2009.  Pegged as a descendent of Juvenile's "Ha," the footage received the usual accusations of exploitation and poverty tourism from well-meaning scolds.  The kerfuffle was such that Killer Mike, erstwhile weed carrier trying his hand at ownership by subcontracting to Pill, felt compelled to defend the video when asked about it.  So did the Gray Lady's Jon Caramanica, who wrote, "teeming with substance-addled folks acting erratically, it’s the sort of document that was once de rigueur in hip-hop and now feels appealingly anachronistic."

Da fuck?  I say that with empathy, 'cause I agreed with him in the '09.  Just speaks to how quickly and profoundly YouTube changed the whole game.  Back then we was still accustomed to all them polished post-Hype videos, so the "griminess" and "authenticity" of early YouTube vids like "Trap Goin Ham" was something refreshing.  We wasn't used to any mothafucka with a digicam bein able to upload whatever fuckin visuals they wanted to accompany their dumb music.  Now every other trap video follows the exact same script, which also speaks to the fact that trap wasn't really a thing at the time.  The concept was well established, sure, but no one called it that, and it hadn't yet tipped over into cliche.  A few dilweeds tried pushing terms like trap-hop and trap-rap when Jeezy came out and Clipse were gettin hoovered by the meeja, but God was good then and shot that shit down with great mercy (amen).  I blame EDM for bringing that blight-word back, cause I blame EDM for a lot of my problems.

Who was shocked by this video anyway, unpaid interns from the boonies of Massachusetts?  Let's see.  We got some fat bitches, poor ppl, Yelawolf, dancing old ppl, drunks, marijuana enthusiasts, and an angry bum throwing juice.  Look like the usual krazy kharacters in any low-income urban neighborhood south of the Mason-Dixon.  Only thing missin is the tranny hooker tryin to sell u her booty.  Other than that it's just regular-ass people and the crumbling concrete edifices common to the urban Souf.  The most "shocking" thing is da bitch smoking crack, and that shit make me yawn itz so banal.  Cuttin off a fuckin head and wearing it as a mask, now that would be shocking.  Betta yet, show me a man I need, am I right ladieeees?!?

I miss Pill.  He could rap.  Last I heard he was making decent guap selling aluminum siding in Alpharetta, so good for him. At least he can rest easy knowing his video gave birth to Noisey's ghetto-gawkin' reportage.

Monday, May 25, 2015

SPANISH GUITAR FILES: MEMORIAL DAY EDITION


I revisited The Carter shortly after I started writing about Spanish guitars.  As the mournful yet sultry notes of "I Miss My Dawgs" cut the air, I remembered that this was the song where I first located Spanish guitars as a common feature in a certain style of rap musics.  Although Spanish guitars can be potent signifiers of gettin arriba wit it, they are often deployed when a rapper takes a sensitive turn and acknowledges the ultimate toll of street life.  However, the use of acoustic guitar on such a track does not guarantee the guitar is Spanish.  On paper, Scarface's "What Can I Do?" is a Spanish guitar enthusiast's wish fulfilled, but its thug passion is of a different cultural origin, more Delta blues than flamenco.

2Pac is the ur-sensitive thug, and arguably the progenitor of Spanish guitars as a trend.  Perhaps his time in the Bay was his first exposure to Spanish guitars and their expressive potential.  In the initial log of my Spanish guitar peregrinations, Mr. Si Mane Price of The Martorialist recommended songs by The Jacka, Mac Dre, and Baby Bash as evidence of the Bay's contribution to the oeuvre.  Considering its formidable Mexican population, the Bay is a strong candidate as the ground zero of Spanish guitars in rap music.  The appeal of Mexican culture to the existential thug is easily understood.  The mutual preoccupation with death provides a natural affinity between Mexican art and gangsta rap.  The narcocorridos of today, the anointment of Morrissey as token Anglo amongst Mexican-American youths, only confirm death obsession as a continuing thread within the culture.

The Jacka made music for the thinking thug - arguably better than anyone ever has.  From "Innocent Youth" and "1, 2, 3" to "Gang Starz," he was an active participant in the Spanish guitars subgenre and an architect of its future.  Few rappers have availed themselves of Spanish guitars and integrated them so seamlessly into their artistic vision, as if the Spaniard who first plucked the strings of passion only did so to provide a worthy bed for the Jacka's future raps.

This Memorial Day, as you chug your Miller Lite and suck chicken bones and ribs like a sorry heathen, listen to Jacka rock some Spanish guitars and think about the dead.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I'M GOING TO DIE ONE DAY: 50 CENT'S DECLINE IS UR DAD GETTING BEAT UP



Well this is sad.  50 was the Biff of mid-'00s rap, and time is a McFly punking him in the end.

The '00s were a good time for heels. Fif, Cam, and Jones all donned the black hat with aplomb, doling out wedgies as Jay incubated his increasingly self-important corporate incarnation. Well before that, 50 perfected the art of shitting on careers as a perverse form of entertainment, blackballing Ja Rule and The Game with a charisma that made hating someone look like the kind of fun you wanted to join. Ironically, The Game now assumes the role of rap's Sandman Sims, a transparent attempt to make up for the hiding he took as 50 just flashed his gap-toothed pearlies, but the sense of fun is absent from his witch hunts.  He's a sourpuss licking his paws.

50 wasn't just the bad guy, he was also a pop culture phenomenon.  He was Andrew Dice Clay selling out the Garden in 1990, a commercial titan whose extreme divisiveness couldn't be explained by rote formulas of high and low culture. There was no snobs vs. slobs logic to the feelings he inspired.  But after years of fading gradually, he's now mired in his Bless This House era.

"Get Low" is more of the same.  His use of autotune is a midlife crisis on wax, as awkward and embarrassing as Jonathan Lipnicki in his studio gangsta period.  The overreliance on features - T.I. and 2 Chainz, Jeremih on the chorus - has the desperate air of a failing restaurant trying out promotional gimmicks for a last resort bailout.  It's a shit song made worse by excessive cosmetic surgery: Jeremih's the fake tits, 2 Chainz the butt implants.

I hope 50 gets his Blue Jasmine one day, as much for myself as him.  His decade-long slide into irrelevance is a most unwavy reminder of my own mortality. Everyone wants to see the mighty fall, but 50's descent seems to have no end.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A SMALL STEP TOWARD BREAKING THE COLOR BARRIER


I like to think I'm an open minded guy.  Outside of rap, I like everything from John Mayer to Jason Mraz.  But despite that, I've always been a vicious racist when it concerns rap music's mayonnaise coalition.  In the contemporary "smells like wet dog" scene, A-Wax is the only devil I can get behind (nullus), and even then he had to put out a record as perfect as "Maury Dance" to overcome my intolerance.  Can you blame me? Whiteface stooges like Machine Gun Kelly and Asher Roth have set their people back at least 15 years. By co-signing that, I'm co-signing hate :(.

This kid Pouya appears to be of Caucasian extraction (con sabor latino), but the eyeball test is not conclusive proof of Pouya's T.R.I.B.E.  Maybe he got 1/128th of aborigine like Sista Azalea does.  In his favor, he looks like the kind of creep who cleans up used paper towels in a porno theater.  He is also associated with the remnants of Raider Klan, a crew that typically rubbed me the wrong way.  In most cases they seemed to take the reblog aspect of Tumblrcore a little too seriously, but maybe that's what happens when your leader plays out his complacency of influence on record.  If we talkin nadir, their druggy sub-Based sketches are on some "Let me tell you about my mushroom trip" hippie shit.   Cocaine raps are the only drug raps for me.

His South Side Slugs mixtape is a mixed bag of familiar associations run thru a bedroom filter: quotations of trap bangers, Raider Klan generica, obligatory nihilism.  A skinny white nerd making any form of rap music is something I am predisposed to hating, but I fucks with "Suicidal Thoughts In The Back Of The Cadillac," cause it strays from the usual '90s Memphis/Based God axis that so much Raider Klan material revolves around.  The raps aren't quite there yet, consisting mainly of the Bone Thuggery and Lordly Infamy one would expect, but the songwriting makes this'un stand above the others.  It's the kind of hook-driven country-blues rap that the James Vances and Raymond Belknaps of today might blast as they blow off their heads. Catch me in the hoopdie bumpin this n tattooing disembodied E cups on my arm with a stick 'n' poke.

Friday, May 22, 2015

TGIF, Y'ALL! WE MADE IT THRU ANOTHER WEEK! FINNA HIT MY WALK NOW, BLACK OUT AND SHIT


We just like you over here at Rap Music Hysteria, maybe even below you.  It's hard out here for a playa.  Whether that bitch u hate ate your flavorful ham sandwich, or your boss yelled at ya ass for being incompetent, oversensitive, and entitled, we all go thru the struggle on a daily basis.  That's why on Fridays we all hit up TGI Friday's and destroy some jalapeƱo poppers while gettin wasted a la Caucasoid offa them Miller Lites, ya feel?  Unstarch ya khakis, loosen up the boat shoes, and use ya outdoor voice inside - it's the freakin weekend, baby!

Even if you in your office right now you can put on this new "Finna Hit My Walk" jam, maybe open up that bottle of Calvados you been keeping in your desk for a special occasion (it's never gonna come), or take a key bump if you a snorter like that.  Here we got Yung Gordon and T-Time lacing a jook track, a worthy follow-up to Gordon's undeniable "Bobble Walk" (RIP DJ Ghost).  There's a slower original version, but I prefer DJ 8Tee 9yne's fast version with a blown-out bass worthy of underground era Three 6.  It gives me such convincing delusions of omnipotence I gotta make sure I don't roundhouse the waiter when he tries to cut off my Miller Lites. There's even an instructional video demonstrating the dance, but ya boy's gonna stick to his two-step and violence. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TO THE INSURANCE AD CHARACTER WITH THE PLEATS, YOU'RE FAKIN' THE FUNK!


We in the thick of the NBA playoffs, which means anyone who enjoys a good game of baloncesto will be inundated with State Farm's indefensible Cliff Paul campaign.  Although the remarkably unfunny series now includes other players like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard, Chris Paul was first, and he continues to be the most visible face of the campaign.  The premise is simple: each player has a long lost twin who is obsessed with insurance, a bizarre form of psychosis that manifests in a maniacally cheery and aggressively swagless disposition.  If this campaign could take on a physical form, I would stab its brain with its nosebone.

It's been a rough week.  First I find out Zach Randolph's nickname Z-Bo is not a play on C-Bo as I'd long thought (D-Bo, Friday).  Now I'm gettin my YouTube on and I notice Cliff Paul is a dead ringer for Large Professor in the "Fakin' The Funk" video.  The subject of the latest Cliff ad is identity theft, and now my brain is buggin out on whose identity he really thievin when I'm just tryna kick back and watch some bball, ya feel?  The "Fakin' The Funk" vid even got a basketball theme via being on the White Men Can't Jump soundtrack.  This ain't just divine coincidence.  Like Frankie & B-Real been saying, "Pay da producer!"

Cliff Paul, you a shark, and if I ever have the misfortune of buyin a policy from ya poindexter ass, I'ma imprint my Timbs on ya mug for Extra P.

Monday, May 18, 2015

PEAK '90S: DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE (FT. SLASH)


If you too young to remember the late '90s, fear not: all you gotta do is watch the video for Blackstreet's "Fix" remix and peep game.  Some lovely potpourri here.  We got cats rockin Oakleys with sepia lenses, Yankees apparel in non-regulation colors, flagrant rap goggling, and a member of Blackstreet in overalls with no shirt on.  There's also hip-hop line dancing with girls dressed in questionably distressed denim jumpsuits.  Slash is in the mix for another gratuitous collab, as usual finessin the axe like he waitin for the money shot; ODB raps on the toilet eatin cereal; and Fishbone somehow get shoehorned in for all the ska fiendz who felt underrepresented in this cluster expletive. This was how we lived.

Trigger warning for all my ex-nicotine fiendz, 'cause if you watch this you probably gonna need to smoke a cigarette to wind down.  Apparently no one had the chutzpah to talk Teddy Riley down from making this fever dream of late '90s pop culture. Dis da kind of abomination Frankenstein was warnin us against!

For your viewing (dis-?)pleasure, the Clinton era in all its optimism and excess.  If da terroristz ever need a refresher on what they fighting against, all they need is to play this video.  They hate us for our freedom, hubris, and Fishbone. You maniacs! You blew it up!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

BOOSIE IS THE NEW "REAL HIP-HOP," THIS IS NEITHER GOOD NOR BAD


 While y'all criticizin my name, I'm on a camel in Dubai

Boosie been on his Diary shit since freedom rang (God bless tha dead n America, ya feel?).  You imagine ya mans traipsing through a graveyard in the rain, holding a black umbrella high as he gets mad introspective wit it, contemplating love and loss, demons within, the sum total of pain in this world.  This is great stuff and I love it to def, but it also signals a conscious shift toward Serious Artistry, the same kinda deliberate legacy-making that motivates Kendrick and Jay's misguided pandering to the Rolling Stone set.  Fortunately, Boosie don't give a shit about making next month's Fricke's Picks, but don't get it twisted: he makin album-oriented music for southern rap classicists.  Somewhere during his incarceration, Boosie went from one of the more divisive voices in rap to a paragon of old rules integrity, a role solidified on the near-perfect Life After Deathrow.  Consider the packaging alone for Touchdown 2 Cause Hell and Superbad.  The former puts him in the pantheon of brooding artists, too plagued by life's ills to wear a shirt, along with Pac and X; the latter is a goofy rapper showing off an absurd chain and a pinky ring.

The concept of a radio hit feels dated, but there are at least four demographics who still listen to the radio, covering a wider swath than you would think: construction workers, poor people, normal people, commuters stuck in traffic. I'm not sure if "All I Know" will be the single for Touchdown 2 Cause Hell, but it seems to be doing well on the Internet.  While it would be a welcome challenge to Drake's terrifying Clear Channel monopoly, "All I Know" is proof positive of Boosie's assimilation into the conventional rap world: Kane Beatz at the helm, R&B cooing on the chorus.  "Zoom" was like a transmission from an alternate reality when it came out, a B-movie mutant-insect screeching over a symphony of crickets.  I didn't like it at first, but Boosie had my full attention after that.  For all intents and purposes, the raunchy regional identity and tossed-off levity of earlier Boosie are gone, replaced by a determination to etch his name up there with the greats.  I am glad he exists.  No one who has his level of ambition is making better music.  Still, sometimes an artist is most dynamic in the ugly act of becoming.

TOUCHDOWN 2 CAUSE HELL DROPS MAY 26, GO COP THAT SHIT YA FEEL!  SUPPORT REAL HIP-HOP, NONE OF THESE FETID WOPS OR RICH THA HOMIE KWONY MAY CASHOUTS!

Friday, May 15, 2015

MEEK MILL DEADIN THE YEAR, YA FEEL? Y'ALL CRUMBS CAN FIGHT FOR SCRAPS

  
(Thanks to Wale's YouTube account for the hook up!  This will be the only time we link to one of your videos, my doogalah)

The narrative for 2015: Meek Mill been havin a hot year.  After gettin out of jail, he went up to Safaree on some "I challenge you to a duel" shit and probably even got Nicki to rummage his pants at some point.  Chuuuch.  He also been rappin his ass off with the kind of focus that got me thinkin, "Damn, maybe I should hit the clink for a bit.  Do some meditation, rediscover the delights of drawing with crayons, duck the baby moms for a bit."  But then I realize how ridiculous that idea is.  I'm way too pretty to get beaten with a bar of soap in a tubesock, and I still have my own goals to accomplish before I give in to the comfortable life of a prison wife.

Anyway, I was kinda down on Meek after Dreamchasers 3.  I was with him for the first two installments, but ya boy can only take so much inspirational emo-rap.  I half expected Meek to get Elton John on a duet and record a video treatment where he wears a white suit and releases a dove into the air as the sun rises on Sandals Resort.  It's a relief to hear him back on his flossing shit, the kind of "eat a dick" exuberance that is rap music's high water mark.  First he dropped a song called "Monster" that wiped the floor with that Kanye song where Nicki does her irritating Bobcat Goldthwait impression.  Now comes "Basic Bitch," the kinda joint that makes me wanna get my Jameis Winston on in public (Ed. note: not rape).

Meek doing a 10-14 song album consisting solely of Spirit of '85 Rubin/DMX/Smith electrofuturist funk is the recipe for a classic. Unfortunately it's the kind that doesn't sell any records, and I'm more interested in saving the bootlegging industry than the record industry.  Still, I fucks with this style so much I can almost forget how stupid overexposed Migos have become, and remember how a young boy fell in love with "Chinatown" in the simpler times of 2013.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

BATTLE RAP REVISIONISM: SKITZO GOT ROBBED, BUT WE STILL BANGIN HIS SHIT IN THE 1-5!


Forget about Cassidy and Freeway, the best rap battle of the '00s was Jin vs. Skitzo!  This was back in the days of Jin's Freestyle Friday reign of terror on 106 & Park, before he won the Ruff Ryders deal and got his Charlie Chan on with "Learn Chinese."  Jin had his 15 minutes and we ain't gonna debate the politics of his brief media blitz. Nah, we here to shed light on a rapper who, at least by Judges Mannie & Baby's reckoning, lost the rap battle, but whose subsequent contributions to the game won the rap war!

Now I loved when Jin compared his dingaling to dumplings and an egg roll, but like Chinatown in July, something don't smell right in this particular instance of corporatized battle rap fury.  Word to God, only thing Jin won that day were sartorial points for his baby blue sweatsuit and matching hat combo.  Skitzo ethered the god with lines like, "You fake Eminem / You should be on the Tampax Tour with Free, cause you act feminem!"  I thought duke was steppin outta line and dissin the host with that zinger, but Free thanks him for the acknowledgement when he's done.  I guess she was out on tour slangin da bloodclot at the time?  He then says he got naked pictures of Jin's sister, gettin his Carrot Top on like a true showman and pullin out the ill censored pin-up that look like it was printed in a high school computer lab circa 1997.  But yo, the coup de grace is when he channels Radio Raheem and asks, "What you wanna do / Battle me, or sell me dollar batteries?" pullin out a Duracell 9 Volt to complete the hip-hop/prop comedy cipher.

Jin will go down in history as the Wat Misaka of rap, but Skitzo went on to produce extensively for Cam and Dipset, including none other than the certifiable, undeniable, mad styleful classic "Get 'Em Girls."  Now he back behind the mic gettin his Rap Game Billy Joel on under the Rod Rhaspy alias, playing pianos in the Uptown outdoors like Jones and his mans in the "Purple City Byrdgang" video.

BONUS JOINT: Skitzo recounts his road to Freestyle Friday fame, and Jin catching feelings, around the 5 minute mark.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

WHO'S MORE GANGSTA: VINCE STAPLES OR YG? PHIL SPECTOR, HE KILLED SOMEONE


Vince Staples got me all fucked up, mane.  He should call himself Vince Cellulose, 'cause he hard to process!  I wasn't really checkin for his shit since Odd Future jumped the shark, 'round the time Tyler dropped Goblin and everyone realized he was less teen RZA than new-wave Bam Margera.  Maybe when a decade passes, and Jasper Dolphin appears on a Celebrity Rehab/Fit Club crossover swagged out like W.A.S.P.'s guitarist in Decline Of Western Civilization: Part II, his raft sinking beneath the flab of countless late-night Taco Bell runs, we will all be able to acknowledge that Odd Future were the Insane Clown Posse for ppl who hate poor white trash.  Until then, let's all forget how earnestly we shat our drawers in 2010.  When I die, I'll have to account for all the time I spent listening to Hodgy Beats.

As a historical curiosity, Vince is the most intriguing artist to come up under the OF umbrella.  Earl is straightforward.  He's a smart kid making weird music, and rap history is riddled with weird nerds.  In a subtle way, Vince is doing something new.  Notwithstanding cursory nods to Doom and Madlib, Earl's music is ahistorical.  No matter how popular it gets, it's niche music following a generic template of underground rap.  You hear it and think, "Oh, that's underground rap," but you couldn't say if he's from L.A. or New York or Detroit.  Vince's music is tethered to a geographically specific rap tradition that was culturally and commercially significant - L.A. gangsta rap - which means he has a broader base of references to quote and subvert.  But he's also not being ironic.  He's the first (kill me now) post-postmodern gangsta rapper.

I been peripherally aware of Vince's subsequent work, mainly cause the cover for Hell Can Wait reminded me of the one for SufferThat's the kinda historical continuity I likes to see in my SoCal subcultures, and it seems that Vince is of the same mind.  Like YG and Kendrick, he's conscious of his place in L.A.'s gangsta rap tradition.  Kendrick never goes further than weaving G-funk signifiers into his Boyz N The Hood meets Fences drama-club raps. YG updates the genre while working within it. Vince, on the other hand, straddles gangsta and backpacker rap without committing to either.  He engages both, but never fully.

YG's persona is more convincing more than Vince, and not just cause he was (supposedly) a gangbanger.  Gangsta-rap is the unique genre where the authenticity of a persona really matters, and as far as I know, Vince grew up hard knock.  This is where the OF association works against him.  Gangsta rap requires a suspension of disbelief if it's going to work.  It's a relationship between the artist and listener: you gotta be willing to give in to the fantasy, but the artist has to do his job and convince you.  (Paradoxically, that's why Straight Out Of Compton is more compelling than Bangin' On Wax).  The price of Vince's come-up is he'll always have some association with the Fairfax kids lined up for the limited Supreme shoetree.

Why should it matter?  Wayne Perry was a gangsta.  I read his profile in Don Diva and felt sick to my stomach.  From the comfort of his TriBeCa loft, Jay-Z celebrates an unrepentant psychopath who murdered more black men than the cracker in Ferguson ever will.  We all believe De Niro as Jimmy Conway even tho his artist parents both fucked this man, and what is gangsta-rap if it ain't the most lucrative form of performance art?

It shouldn't matter, but it does.  Jay can't rap about hustlin no more.  Cube went from AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted to nostalgia act in the time it took to make Are We There Yet? (dope movie).  Rick Ross only lives cause no one believed him in the first place.  But Vince is fashioning a a new kind of persona, one centering on the tension between gangsta and backpacker.  YG is far and away the better artist right now, but he's limited himself to being a pitch-perfect formalist.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  The solution is simple: judge them not on the color of their bandana, but the way they fold it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL, YOU THE RAP WRITER OF THE YEAR!



We ain't anti-cop over here at RPA MUSIC HYSTERIA, we pro-human!  So when an NYPD cop died after taking a bullet to the dome, I went lookin for some pro-cop rap songs a). to honor a senseless killing and b). to see if such a thing actually exists.  Like my main mellow Bono said, "I stilllll cannot find, that for which I was searching!"

What I found was a number of conservative blogs clutching their pearls over Obama's daughter wearing a Pro Era tshirt on Instagram.  I objected to the tshirt for different reasons, but when I read this bad bitch Debbie Schlussel's shrewd mothafuckin analysis, I started wondering if I was missing something.  Fuck N.W.A., ol' girl makes Joey & the gang sound like the next coming of GG Allin!   Makin me wanna reconsider a numbingly orthodox group (collective?) playacting an era they spent in shortpants is no small feat.  Shout out to ya rhetorical skill, girl!

DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL, 2015'S WRITER OF THE YEAR!  ALSO SHE GOT THE ILLEST NAME, TOO!  THREE CHEERS FOR SCHLUSSEL!

SONGS I LOVED AND LOST: A LISTICLE WITHOUT THE -ICLE


I've gone through four or five computers since I first started downloading the MP3s.  Ya boy ran thru Napster to Kazaa, Soulseek to Megaupload, but those desk- and laptops weren't strong enough to hold up to my relentless sensual appetites.  Was it porn or pop music that ultimately stopped my 'puters from 'putin?  IDK, but whatever it was, Tipper Gore would not have approved.  In any event, I didn't have the presence of mind to save my precious filez until my last switchover, so I always had to start my illicit library anew.  I guess I thought it was v que sera, sera and Buddhististic, e.g., "If I don't remember to download it again, it probably wasn't worth it," but now I'm realizing I lost a lot of gemz in the process.

For reasons I don't even understand, I been running Last.fm (formerly Audioscrobbler!) since '08, which means I have a semi-comprehensive document of everything I listened to during that time.  I had to lie to my girlfriends when they asked what it was, but this cathedral of OCD has finally proven its use: reminding me that these great songs exist (and why I'm single).

Young Bleed w/ Money Waters - Bac Road Mississippi
Z-Ro - Made
De La Soul - Wonce Again Long Island
Gucci Mane - Hurry
Juvenile w/ Mannie Fresh - Who Can I Run To?
MF Doom - Deep Fried Frenz
Rich Kidz - Wassup
Anquette - Shake It (Do the 61st)
Big Daddy Kane - Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now
DJ Khaled w/ Clipse & Freeway - Where You At
Lil Boosie - Ain't Coming Home Tonight
Young Dro - Gangsta Shit
Torae & Skyzoo - Click
50 Cent - Smile (I'm Leavin')
Young Dro & Yung LA - Black Boy, White Boy
Ice Berg - I'm The Shit 
Plies - Plenty Money
I.G.T. - Street Music (also "Stay Bent" - literally forgot this group existed)
K-Rino - Step Into The Mind
Queen Pen w/ The Lost Boyz - Party Ain't A Party
Styles P - Holiday

This was such a productive exercise I gave myself the warm 'n' fuzzies.  Sheeit, finna skip the warm glass of milk when I tuck myself in tonight, cause Styles P will do it for me.  Good night, J to the mwa.  Good night, Sheek.  Good night, Styles.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

REAL SHIT FROM A REAL BLOGGA


Wussup y'all, I gotta write this shit fast cause I'm on my break right now.  Got this job guarding a sausage factory, it's pretty cool and I don't wanna fuck it up like I always do.  I get to eat all the sausage I want!  My clothes aren't too bloody when I come home, and pig blood isn't that hard to get out of upholstery if you don't let it clot.  I have a sneaking suspicion the sausage factory is a front for some devious activity, but who am I to judge?  Righteousness never paid the bills.  Here we go, y'all!

1.  Every year has its standout rap lyric.  It's not the best lyric, just the one that sums up "the times" or whatever.  Last year it was "I been sellin' crack since like the fifth grade" from Bobby Shmurda's "Hot N-Word," and the year before that it was Rick Ross's Darren Sharper/Bill Cosby shoutouts on "U.O.E.N.O."  This year's contender is "Remember when you had to take the bar exam, I drove in the snow for you?" from "How Bout Now," because it is the Drakiest lyric ever, and 2015 is the Year Of The Drake (Pt. II).

2.  Speaking of Drake, I read the Ernest Baker piece that 'pposedly set the Innanet on fiyah.  I'ma take a bold stance and say it's pretty a'ight.

3.   If we talkin 'bout gonzo journalism, FrankieThaLuckyDog is the god of this shit.  He reviewed P.I.R.'s Who I Are mixtape embedded in an abandoned psychiatric facility in upstate New York, and wrote what is probably the Blog Line Of The Year: “‘Bout” quite a bit on tha 1st verse, ya feel me? I’m “‘bout” abandoned psychiatric centers; how “‘bout” dat?

4.  Not to get all Charles Murray on ya ass, but could it be that white ppl have a genetic predisposition for archiving the shit out of shit?  This dude Eric Brightwell seems to be a nerdy menswear enthusiast from Iowa, but his writing on New Orleans rap is invaluable.

5.  Finally getting into the White Gzus joint that dropped this year.  It's such a traditional mid/late-'90s style rap record that I'm starting to feel like Yung Methuselah up in this mu'fuh.  If they ever release new music, I hope it doesn't fall into Freddie Gibbs/Big K.R.I.T.-style hero worship.  For now, tho, I wish I had a 'Lac to bump this shit in.  Big ups to David Drake, whose review brought this disque into my life.

This post ended up bein long as fuck and cut into my meal time, so I'm runnin back to the factory stuffing sausages in my mouth.  LMAO, sausage game crazy!

Monday, May 4, 2015

WOOPSIES: I JUST REALIZED DAVY D IS DAVY DMX :/


Context rules everything around me.  Long before I knew anything of Davy DMX's sundry contributions to hip-hop, I found his Davy's Ride LP in the creepy vinyl section at my neighborhood Goodwill.  Mostly dusty junk bequeathed by dead and ancient emigres, the shelf had apparently been visited by the baddest local DJ of the Jheri Curl Era.  Along with 12"s for "Clear" and "Follow The Leader," there was an LP by Davy D, featuring DJ Hurricane, called Davy's Ride.   I'd never heard of it, but the year and label were right (1987, Def Jam), Hurricane looked like he'd just stepped off the Raising Hell tour bus, and Glen E. Friedman's righteous flicks of Davy & 'Cane pressed up against a police cruiser's hood had me amped for some N.W.A.-style cop bashing.  Could it be I'd found a lost gem?

By the time "Ohh Girl" came on I'd probably thrown the sleeve across the room.  Davy's Ride is not really a rap album.  I decided I'd played myself, like the time I bought that terrible Arkansaw Man EP just 'cause it came out on Subterranean in '82, and forgot about it for the next decade.  Until last night!  Curious about the disappointing record I'd plucked from the Goodwill grime back in my schoolboy daze, I dialed up the deets and eventually discovered Davy D and Davy DMX are one and the same.  I understand SEO wasn't a priority at the time, but I can't understand why Davy would ditch the brand recognition of the DMX handle.  IDK.  Is there a marketer in the house?

Unfortunately, some tweakers stole my turntable years ago, and I have no intention of buying a new one.  I embrace the immateriality and hyper-acquisitiveness of the filesharing era, and eagerly await shedding this inefficient flesh when the singularity arrives.  Thankfully, there is YouTube.  Fairly or not, I find myself being more generous now that I know who's behind the electro R&B crooning that so disgusted me as a young'n.  A frame of reference can work wonders.  It's a producer album, so obviously it's going to be scatterbrained and wanky at times - a slab of unchecked self-indulgence where there's no collaborator to push back against the knobtwiddler's dumbest ideas.

It goes without saying that the production is impeccable.  In particular, "Keep Your Distance" and "Bring It" showcase the sample 'n' scratch collage style that - at least for '80s Ivory Tower types tryin to come to terms with this rap shit - seemed to share a grammar with the institutional avant-garde.  Hurricane handles most of the rapping duties, and his lack of presence as a makes today's model of feature-driven producer albums seem attractive by comparison, even tho most of those still suck anyway.  As an avowed rap chauvinist, I can't critique the proto-New Jack Swing/quasi-freestyle numbers objectively, but I will say that Davy's Ride would have benefited from some organizing structure.  It's a baffling listen for someone who doesn't know the name Davy DMX: a mixed bag of instrumentals, rudimentary raps, and syrupy R&B, all doled out without any pretense of unity.  Like a double feature playing Fried Green Tomatoes next to The Driller Killer, Davy's Ride can't decide which demographic it wants to pleaseAt times it seems like an excuse for Davy to try on different costumes: loverman with the baby oil, king of rock, dance-floor facilitator.  It's the best part of the album, but also its greatest weakness.

Although not one of my favorite songs, the "Ohh Girl" video is a classic of the '80s form.  There are a lot of great moments - Davy, Hurricane, and the gang clocking studio time, preening and mugging like Rick James and Eddie in the "My Girl" video; the love interest sleeping with a framed copy of Davy's publicity shot by her bed - but my favorite part has to be the shabby cabdriver look Davy rocks as he ferries his girl around a park.  The mainstream wasn't ready for Davy, but maybe Davy wasn't ready for the mainstream either.