Dear Katy Perry

Dear Katy Perry,

I’m not a fan of yours but I can appreciate a pop sensation when I see one. Having said that, if you think you are powerful enough to remake “Ni**as In Paris,” you are sorely mistaken. Your rendition makes me cringe — cringe in a way that I want to cover my face because I’m embarrassed for you. At the beginning of your performance, you note “this is about to get real embarrassing!” That should’ve been your cue to not indulge in your instinct to redo this record-breaking single. If you ain’t Lykke Li, don’t do it. (See everyone’s favourite crush, Lykke Li, showing hip hop love after the jump.)

You wish you could be lyke:

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Dear Jai Paul

Dear Jai Paul,

I’ve been reluctant to attempt to produce a “best of” list for 2011, but whenever I do think about it, you’re right up there with….well, no one else. If anyone were to disagree with my dubbing your BTSTU single “Best song of 2011,” I would encourage them to remember their reaction to the first time they heard your single. For me, it was nothing like its contemporaries. It was a “new” sound. Spreading across the BBC and becoming viral for those who could find it. Sure, you made the single in 2007, and it was released worldwide in 2010, but it didn’t really “matter” ’til 2011, right? But when it was understood that it mattered, it was on!

Back then, it was a new sound — today, it’s so “Now.” You did it first. Who could compete with BTSTU when it was released? Nobody. You’ll never make a single that can top or even match the level of success that this song brought you, which is a shame, but you can now be proud that Ohh-Dear sites you as “The Best Single of 2011.” It’s an easy choice and easier than making a list of ten or one hundred.

It was nice knowing you. Thanks for your one song. You can always make money as a Sean Paul impersonator.

Sean Paul's brotha from another mutha.

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Dear Talib Kweli

Dear Talib Kweli,

You and Yasiin Bey (aka The Might Mos, aka Dante Beze, aka dream lover for most ladies in the late 90s) have announced to Black Star fans everywhere that you will be releasing a second album together in 2012. This is exciting. Even though you performed a song on Jimmy Fallon last night was actually recorded, released, and produced by Dilla over ten years ago for The Hurricane soundtrack (movie with boxer-Denzel Washington). And even though your performance doesn’t get me so much “excited” as it does “reminiscent,” it’s definitely more hopeful and promising than your project with Res called ‘Idle Warship.’ This duo is a good idea on paper, but really really bad live (I saw you live in Brooklyn a few months ago…really bad). I’m not sure what happened. Res is awesome, you are a proven lyrical force, but together, Idle Warship is less than lacklustre (see video after the jump).

Black Star was epic. It has a place in music history that remains comparable and relevant. So I hope your performance last night does not act as an example for what we can expect after waiting fourteen years! Making a mixtape that is a tribute to Aretha Franklin is a good start, but let’s try and ensure a strong finish, shall we? (The track produced my Oh No is an “ok” start. Keep it moving.) Keep Idle Warship idle for a while. (Sorry. That was too easy.)

your first video for this duo is called ‘Laser Beams’? Really?


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Dear Grande Marshall

Dear Grande Marshall,

So, I’ve taken a very long (perhaps not so deserved) holiday break, but I’ve been summoned back with your new track E&J, released 02 January, 2012. The still taken from Boyz ‘n’ Tha Hood, which serves as the single’s cover on Bandcamp, coupled with the “Planet Rock” sample, is just the ‘Out with the new and in with the Old’ type of aesthetic I’ve been craving. Though I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most of the entries from the many “year-end” lists that have been circulating (i.e.. M83, A$AP Rocky, Drake, The Weekend, Flying Lotus), this single is the perfect beginning to what I can only hope will be a year filled with headbangers — headbangers that don’t need an off-tempo, electronic filter to make my neck hurt, but still gives me that young-I don’t give a f**k-attitude. Thank you Grande Marshall. And thank you Philly, for still producing sounds to be reckoned with. No doubt.

Shout out to Heinz!

Download that “Ol’ Young Ni**a” here –>  Grande Marshall, E&J

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Dear Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino

Dear Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino,

I just put my name into the Wu-Tang Clan Name Generator, and it came back “Respected Dreamer.” Not as interesting as your Wu generated rap pseudonym “Childish Gambino.” Thanks to Netflix, I watched about four seasons of Community in two days. You’re funny. You’re also an interesting rapper. I say interesting because you sound dope, but also a little like Drake wrote your songs and Kanye  lent you his cadence.

You’ve had two mix tapes and three albums — none of which I listened to. But I have listened to a few tracks from your, fourth album, “Camp” (to be released November 15th). Congratulations on being signed to Glassnote Music, by the way. I missed your performance this year with Rock the Bells. Hopefully I’ll see you perform live, soon. I can only imagine the comedic interludes and hilarious freestyles?

Watch CG perform four of his new tracks here –> Childish Gambino: Rolling Stone Live Performances

Childish Gambino, Heartbeat

Childish Gambino, Freaks and Geeks

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Dear Bernardo Winits

Dear Bernardo Winits,

All I know about you is that you were born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1984 – and I’m not entirely sure about that.

Your manner of “laying down the track,” as they say, sounds crisp. If you were a painter, you’d be a Minimalist pop icon.

I love your love of humanism (i.e. your affection for Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman). And you’re so Meta on everyone’s favorite, ThatHipsterPorn: a post of your video that uses pictures of THP posts.

What are you doing right now? Perhaps you or one of your interns can reply and update your new fan.

Bernardo Winits,, Digit

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Dear Jay-Z and Kanye

Dear Jay-Z and Kanye,

The nation has beed geared up to watch you reign since the launch of your tour on October 28 in Atlanta. And New York City is excited about the two concert dates at Madison Square Garden, tonight (Noveber 7) and tomorrow night (November 8), which were added to the tour later in the game. Well, those who can afford the tickets that range between $150 and $10,000 USD (!!!) are excited. It costs over $9000 for a floor ticket via the Madison Square Garden ticket site, and you are obliged to purchase at least TWO tickets at a time.  So, for those who might like a night out with a friend or significant other, I’m sure they will have a great night. Or, they can get a mortgage for their first home.

In Paris, plotting to take my money.

The tour has been getting good reviews (see Rolling Stone, XXL Mag,, but I’ll probably have to watch you both, on your throne, from some concert-goer’s phone recording. I know that as performers you have both surpassed the normal hip hop party price (ie. $10 in advance, $20 at the door), but I feel like purchasing a ticket for this tour would only prompt Kanye to laugh in my face while taking my money to purchase a woman’s Chinchilla shawl and wear it over an emerald silk jumpsuit. And then I’ll want to go out and buy the very same outfit – I don’t have enough money to do both. But, break a leg!

He told me so!

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Dear Shtreimel

Dear Shtreimel,

I have yet to see a fashion trend emulate you so, I can only assume that it is beyond blasphemous to do so. But what about all of us Atheists and Agnostics – surely the fashion industry has their fair share of non-believers? Well then, perhaps there is some sort of copyright or patten to the exquisite hats and jackets worn by many married haredi Jewish men on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

I would like to wear one of these hats. Unfortunately, the real deal costs between $4000 – $5000 USD and  I wouldn’t be able to purchase one on my budget. I’d have to settle for shoddy craftsmanship, made from material that malts, and not worth the evil-eye stares. I would settle for the fur fedora-esque hat that ex-Bad Boy rapper turned Orthodox Jew, Shyne, has been seen sporting, or one of the beautiful, ankle length silk coats (Bekishe). I’ll keep my eye out for a celeb-trendsetter to pave the way, then I’ll follow suit.  Ya, I’m no trailblazer.

Shyne at the West wall in Jerusalem (photo: New York Times, Nov 10, 2010)

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Dear Justin Bieber

Dear Justin Bieber,

I think you spit hot fire…well, you need to dig for more original lyrics, and limit the amount of lines you bite or “pay homage to” from the very song you’re rhyming over. But you’re only 17 and you definitely have some swag (sorry, I promise I won’t use that word too often, “swag”).

When you first popped up on the pre-teen RnB pop sensation radar, I appreciated that you seemed to really love music and truly respected, or were coached well enough to show respect for, the likes of MJ and Stevie Wonder…not only referencing them by name but dropping album titles and b-sides.

The ladies love you. You’re definitely “on your cool-J.” You’ve even collaborated with Chris Brown and will be collaborating with Tyler the Creator on an upcoming album (ha). This interview on Power 106, “where Hip Hop lives,” confirms for me your future in the music industry that will no doubt end in some mogul-type-ish á la Shawn Carter.

Just before you were signed, at the age of 14 in 2008, Usher and Justin Timberlake were fighting, bare-knuckle brawling, for you. They both wanted to work with you exclusively. And what a compliment: two highly established and idolized pop stars in their own right. Don’t be surprised if Round 2, of the ongoing creative control boxing match in your life, shapes up to Lil Wayne v Jay Z. Or maybe they’ll send in substitutes: Drake v Kanye. Whatever the match-up, GO CANADA!!

Justin Bieber, Rhyming over “Otis” (watch original with Jay-Z and Kanye here.)

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Dear Syd the Kyd and Matt Martin, aka The Internet

Dear Syd the Kyd and Matt Martin, aka The Internet,

Kudos on your vocals here — I was pleasantly surprised — and congrats on your new project. This song sort of sounds like Rhian Benson remixed by Pharell, in a good way. The tune is catchy and would actually be a whole lot better without Tyler spitting his four scary-drug-voice bars, and it could also do with a baseline. But the video…?? Aside from the annoying OFWGKTA attitude at the end that has you throwing this poor girl out of the truck for being unresponsive, have any of you actually tried cocaine? I know it’s the song’s title but, why the blurry vision, and hallucinations in slow motion? This is not the cocaine I know.

It looked as though perhaps you chased your line of cocaine with ecstasy. Cool. What would really be cool is some interesting and new concepts. Away from and OF style (ie. drug rapping, raping, hating women, doing it) and on to the next.

The Internet, Cocaine.

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Dear Adele,

Dear Adele,

You’re so talented. So can you please try and regulate who remixes your songs and how many remixes of your songs appear.  I mean, I think you have more remixes with your name attached than song titles on your own albums. I admit, I had my way with the Jamie xx remix (see after the jump) but this Nadastrom & Sabo one, put out by Mad Decent, is pretty horrible. As far as remixes go, it sounds lazy — about as lazy as this letter.

LISTENT TO THE SONG HERE –> Adele – Set Fire To The Rain (Sazon Booya Remix)

Adele, Rolling In The Deep (Jaime xx Shuffle)

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Dear Azelia Banks’ Video

Dear Azelia Banks,

I just wrote you but I’ve since seen your video for 212.  I love you even more.  I love your cut-offs and close-up-mouth-shots — I find myself staring at your teeth and the sparkling powder on your cheeks.  More importantly, can I join in on your brick-wall-caravan!?  It looks like fun.  Also, I’d like to talk to the guy in the Oliver Peoples, who I can only assume is the producer, playing in cool with his “yeah, this is me” face.

Who needs wardrobe changes, hair, and make-up when you have mickey mouse, and a nineteen year old rapper/singer from Harlem who looks like she’s having as much making the video as I’m having watching it.

nb. maybe a little less visual enunciation next time around.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO HERE –> Azelia Banks, 212 Video

^^^Links to this video are being taken down fast so, watch it while you can.

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Dear Azelia Banks

Dear Azelia Banks,

You’re awesome. You sound like Santi (gold, that is) mixed with some Kid Sister á la Atrak days, RyeRye and Trina (House remix 2.0). I also like your use of the word “cunt.” Mostly because people will be either offended or thankful for your feminist holleration!

Well, I’m no feminist so, maybe that’s a bit inaccurate. But, I do know that the stigma of the “c” word can only be given new meaning by a woman. So, use it good! I want to be able to rap along with a song that uses the word “cunt,” just like I want to be able to rap along with Tyler in his song French (see video after the jump). Even if he is proposing to violently rape a c-word. No Ohh Dear readers, I do not condone or advocate any sort of violence against women or derogatory comments. But (big BUT) I am an advocate for artistic freedom of expression and music that sounds good. Does aural pleasure usurp sexist lyrics? I think (at least today) that it does. (You’re welcome Akinyle “Put It In Your Mouth,” Luke (see entire catalogue), Necro (see entire catalogue), NWA “A Bitch is a Bitch,” Ice Cube “It’s A Man’s World” fans. I could go on but, you get the point.)

“I guess that cunt gettin’ eatin’!”

Shouts to Brandi A.

CHECK OUT THE SONG HERE –>  Azelia Banks, 212


Tyler, French

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Dear Drake

Dear Drake,

Are you sponsored by Nike now?! Why the gloves? Is that so you don’t leave finger prints when you “catch a body” ?
Your new video is beautifully shot and edited, seriously!! But your hooded-sunglasses-wearing-posse? Who are those guys? And why does everyone at your dinner table need to smoke an extra long El Presidente cigar while looking surprised that they know not to inhale? And a tire-spinning-motorcycle-shot…really??

I still like the song, though – in case you were worried.

Drake, Headlines

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