Saturday, December 08, 2007


Finally, I feel like a few really quality rap singles have surfaced in 07, and it only took until December to realize them. The first is from an unexpected source given recent mixtape material and sporadic, underwhelming appearances popping up over the years; not to mention an ill-advised G-Unit alliance and the unanimous and embarrassing freestyle battle loss to Cassidy a while back. Regardless, Freeway beats the odds and drops a surprisingly strong sophomore album titled Free At Last. The first single illustrates Free's "hood on smash" delivery he nailed on past glories like "What We Do" and "Flipside", this time with the assistance of Jay-Z who provides the necessary swagger to balance things out. Roc-A-Fella Billionaires is below.

Secondly, we have an odd-couple pairing of Diplomat Jim Jones with classic beat maker Pete Rock. It blows the mind a bit to wonder whose idea this was and who would've approached who - the two are in such drastically different worlds within rap to begin with. However, as unexpected as a good Freeway album, we have "We Roll" and the collaboration highlights what each party does best here. Pete Rock isn't trying to sound like The Heatmakerz, and Jim Jones...well, Jim Jones can only be Jim Jones. "We Roll" is below.

Our last track comes from underground contender Styles P, mixing it up with one of the most underrated lyricists in all of rap, AZ. Strategic wordplay in the chorus really does it for me on this track as the two strike up effortless chemistry and produce one of the catchiest underground hits of the year. Check out "The Hardest" below.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Glitter's My Name - Two New Cam'ron Songs

It's been a long time since I've heard anything from Cam'ron, but this week he seemed to be back at the centre of attention. After his beef with 50 cent in the spring I was hoping for more ridiculousness from Cam to keep me interested this summer. Unfortunately he kind of disappeared which resulted in numerous rumours and my own waning interest in hip-hop controversy. In the last week Killa has re-emerged and filled everyone in on his summer absence (his mom had a number of strokes and he set her up in a nursing home in Florida) as well as announcing the Nov. 7 release of his double mixtape entitled Public Enemy #1. Now, I know a lot of people lost interest in Cam'ron with Killa Season The Album (probably more upon first viewing of Killa Season The Movie) but I have high hopes for this mixtape.

The two songs that have surfaced so far are OK, promising compared to what could've come out (we don't need another Suga Duga, as momentarily entertaining as that rhyme may have been). First up is the most promising, Glitter, which mixes the sluggish tempo of live-ish drums and simple jazzy minor keyboard punctuation over a descending synthesized chimes line to bring a new sound to Killa's library. Cam'ron is mid-game in this song, the chorus is fairly uninspired aside from his claim that "Glitter's my name, I shine", though his wit shines through at times without ever hitting the highs that he was hitting 2-5 years ago. There's still some of the laziness that has pervaded the last few years of Cam'ron's writing but overall it's pretty funny and has some more complex if not awkward writing, I think all of these things are summed up in the following excerpt from the second verse:
"Fuck work, I'm Biggie Smalls, I Lazy/ No lazy eye though I may be high / Dipset is Delta Airlines / Every day we fly/ How could I be so fly? / I don't care, negro die / 3 seater Coupe, shit, I can't believe your lies / I take the bank, trips, and then cee-lo five / But I'll fuck your system up like E. Coli"

There's still some of the almost nonsensical word association, but can Cam still keep with this style now that it's been stolen and mastered by the re-invented, and ubiquitous Lil Wayne? What do y'all think of this song? I feel like there's a lot more to be said as it is certainly a departure in style from the Killa norm, but i also find it hard to write about due to that difference. As well, the second verse aside from one or two lines is throw-away, and who is it that is rapping on this verse? Its mediocrity is so prevalent that the line: "I'm the new leader of rap" is more like a punchline than a serious boast.

Next up is the second release off the mixtape, Just Us, which is funny and totally weird. His rhymes are excellent and juvenile and the message is so confused that you have to wonder what he was shooting for with this song. It's got a Journey sample which flows well though Cam never takes it to the climax of the song, leaving things feeling unfinished. The song seems to be a love song but he still touches on his absurd pre-occupations; the chorus boasts a love for all types of women ("a straight girl, a dyke one") and in the first verse Killa even becomes a somewhat approachable character; exhibiting an unprecedented amount of empathy and understanding which is quickly erased by the end of the verse and totally obliterated by the chorus where he is back to affirming his toughness and love for diamonds. I'd like to hear what others think about how scattered this song is. At one point he's wishing the best of luck to a female who's been having a really hard time with the death of her father and the sickness of her son, next thing he's talking about getting her high and "sanchezing her" (which is a theme he re-visits in the third verse with, presumably, a different person: "She thirty one / gave her a sanchez/ yes a dirty one").

This is how the song proceeds, jumping from toughness boasts: "It's just us, I'm so tough", to drug talk, to being a nice guy with actual feelings: "Her problems big as hell...I ain't a doctor, but your son, I wish him well", some real insight: "Tell you the boy's amazing /I show some poison patience / Lack of communication / That right there destroys a nation" to straight hilarious nonsense: "She said she hate a pusher / I said I hate a booger: / A snotty attitude / She laughed, I Purple Hazed then Kushed her". Overall this song is confusing and confused, but now that I've written about both songs I've decided that Just Us is the more promising song, it hearkens back to Cam'ron's Purple Haze period though without the novelty and polish. Overall, two solid efforts from the rapper I love to hate and love to love. It'd be nice to hear other people's opinions on these songs as I feel there's a lot (at least for staunch Dipset fans) to discuss.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Playaz Circle are a Georgia duo (Dolla and Tit [not kidding]) who have recently released a collab with Lil' Wayne called Duffle Bag Boy. Lil' Wayne steals the show of course but the soulful production plays a close second - all in all, this track whets appetites for the Playaz Circle album, to be released October 30th.

the lyrics are alright and all but seriously, don't cuss:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Back By Thug Demand

I love a thug. Like, a real thug. Like a Trick Daddy. I know just about every rapper claims to be a thug, and claims to have been a drug dealer, and a brawler and a gun toter. Trick Daddy is for real. This is a man who had relative success ("I'm a Thug" and "Take it to the house") and was still carrying guns and coke (I think he was arrested in 2002/3 for firearm and cocaine possession),while sponsoring inner city youth basketball teams. Trick Daddy is the first rapper, to my knowledge, aside from 2 Live Crew that gained popularity/notoriety as a Miami rapper. In addition to this he's been around forever and made a number of albums (with a consistent theme), went to jail for coke dealing, was a coke addict, and went through the aforementioned prison bid; and all from the man who released and repeatedly claims to "love the kids"in a father-type way. Anyway, this is a half-baked entry, I just got excited about that new Kanye/Trick song and wanted to post up my fave Trick Daddy songs, I think it'll put everyone in an aggressively good mood.

One last thing to discuss is the ongoing theme of "thug" in Trick's songs, let me list the album titles since his second album: "WWW.THUG.COM", "BOOKS OF THUGS: CHAPTER AK VERSE 47", "THUGS ARE US", "THUG HOLIDAY", "THUG MATRIMONY: MARRIED TO THE STREETS", "BACK BY THUG DEMAND". Is anyone as impressed as I am? He also claims to have "originated pussy-suckin" and we all know that "Trick loves the kids". One disclaimer: I don't like Trick Daddy's albums that much, I like his voice, and about half the time I like his lyrics, but his albums are fairly inconsistent with a couple of hits. It's these hits that make me think Trick Daddy is good, he's got talent but like so many rappers he panders to popular taste and ends up with inconsistent and watered-down albums.

The song that has me so excited is:

I Can't say No - Kanye West feat. Trick Daddy

Kanye is a bit phony in it, talkin all street life (wasn't his mom a professor and his dad was a minister?) But Trick is amazing on it, and the beat is just so good. I love songs like this, it's got the fast dancey back beat, it's got a soul sample for the chorus, it's got heavy-thug lyrics, it's what I want right now and I haven't been excited about rap in a minute.

And others that I like:
Fuckin Around - Trick Daddy
Take it to the House - Trick Daddy Feat. Trina


I'm a Thug - Trick Daddy feat. Ghetto Youth Choir

Mike Deane

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"I'm the ghetto Doctor Ruth!"

After a ridiculously dry year where even the mediocre-to-good TI's 'KING' stood as the lone contender for rap record of the year, it seems we're now hit with a flood of quality releases as the year comes to a close. Clipse and Jeezy are a case in point, but now we have the new Project Pat and Ghostface.

Project Pat has always been an unofficial member of Three 6 Mafia and is actually the brother of founding member Juicy J. To me, Project Pat actually sounds like a cross between Juicy and other founding Three 6'er DJ Paul. Pat also lives in Three 6's newly bought mansion in California - their roots always remain intact though, and their Hypnotize Minds label and production crew (consisting of J and DJ Paul) always scream Memphis. Project Pat's new record "Crook By Da Book" has this stamp all over it, my favourite example being "What Money Do", found below.

The new Ghostface, More Fish, sometimes seems more like a mixtape than a well thought out full length record, but the individual tracks are good enough that it's not too much of an issue. Below is the Redman and Shawn Wiggs (Theodore Unit) assisted "Greedy Bitches".


Saturday, December 02, 2006

BAAAAALIN on Christmas: A Very Dipset X-Mas

Well guys, Christmas is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate this holiday than the Kufi Smacker himself, Dipset Capo Jim Jones. Jim Jones recently announced that he would be releasing a Dipset Xmas album because of his overwhelming love of Christmas. Besides being one of the most unintelligible and seemingly retarded men in hip hop, Jim Jones also works for Warner Brothers A&R, he has scored himself a reality show on VH1, and his well-timed feud with Jay-Z has lead to Jay-Z unwittingly entering into a Jim Jones, Juelz remix of "We Fly High". Jim Jones' goofiness (if you don't know, just search on youtube to find the video interview of Jim Jones simultaneously rolling and smoking a blunt while singing along to his own song that comes on the radio suring the interview) make him the most likeable out of any of the dips. His monstrously stoned eyes make him seem very gentle and his incredibly stoned demeanour makes him seem good-natured; weed has made Jim Jones's love of Christmas seem very genuine. How could you not trust a man who is in love with his music, whose threats seem like playful jokes, and whose public statements about Christmas show a very extreme and innocent love of the holiday. I have heard two of the tracks from this album. One of the tracks is more like a Christmas Carol while the other is more like a modern jazzy version of a classic Christmas song.
The first track, "Dipset X-Mas Time", discusses Santa and trying to live everyday like it's Christmas, as well as the obvious connections between snow and coke, trees and joints, Range Rovers and one horse sleighs etc. and features Stack Bundles and other Dipset mid-level players. I think that one of them calls Christmas "Brismas" which I don't understand. The song ends with wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
The second song "Ballin on Xmas" is a little more street, and tackles the same comparisons between icicles and rings, reindeers and Range Rovers. Santa, mistletoe, and all that makes Chistmas glorious feature prominently. The chorus even involves Fa-la-la-la. This song also discusses making Christmas money off selling grams and the less-than-glorious experience of Christmas in the hood.
Both songs are very sweet and confounding. I think this can be explained when considering jim Jones's recent interview on where he claims:

"It’s Christmas, man, I love Christmas. For the last 10 years, I been watchin’ how Christmas is declinin’ with the decorations in the street and all that, the whole Christmas spirit is dead, man. I look at my son, man, and I want him to really feel Christmas at least until he’s eight [years old], and knows what’s goin’ on. The whole spirit of the city, just everything when it comes to Christmas is wrong, man. There’s no soul. I need that unity. I need to feel that eggnog flowin’ and things like that, so [the album] is just my contribution to make it an old school Christmas this year, man. I got special things I’ma do for Harlem, just to make it old school Christmas. I can’t save the world, but I know I’ma try to give back to where I came from, ‘cause I love Christmas to death, I swear to God."

It's heartwarming to see that Jim Jones is doing what he can to bring Christmas back to its roots, for the kids. As well, these songs are radio-edits so feel free to blast them during the present opening on Christmas morning.

Jim Jones - A Dipset Xmas

Jim Jones - Ballin On Xmas

By Mike Deane

Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Jeezy!

Still shouting JEAH! YEEEEEEEEEEEAH! and EY! every bar, the new Jeezy is sounding good on first listen. Here's the first track from The Inspiration-Thug Motivation 102, "Hypnotize". Not sure how I feel about the 'devil' voices backing him up on the chorus and I'm pretty sure he's saying "Hypmotize" but I dig everything else about this one, especially the production.