Tag Archives: Hip Hop

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 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, AllHipHop.com), 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 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 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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