From Sky: Week Twenty One – BBRRRRRIIIIIIICCCCCCCKKKKKKSSSQQQUUUUAAAAAAAADDDDDDD!!!! Week

This week is going to be…. different.

The thing I love about hip hop is how far stretching the genre reaches. From frat rap to nerdcore to drill, hip hop covers so many bases it’s amazing. It also takes so much influence from other genres. I also firmly believe that if you like music whatsoever, any genre, there is hip hop out there that is similar enough to that genre that that person may enjoy.

As you can tell from the title this week, we’re going to be talking about WAAAAAKKKKKAAAAA!!! However, who I’m going to ask you to compare Waka Flocka Flame, maybe be quite out of your comfort zone. So let’s just get into it.

Here is the Waka track I want you to listen to:

…..and here’s the other track:

My question for you to examine and think about is this:
What does Waka and Slipknot have in common?

Keep in mind, I’m not necessarily look for you to nail down anything suppper specific, but more about as a whole. What does Flocka have in common with metal?

Ha. Enjoy!

From Sky: Week Twenty Response

Iggy, Iggy, Iggy. She fancy.

I was stoked when I saw this was your pick for week twenty. We’ve talked about a few female rappers on here before, but I think Iggy Azalea is quite different from Lil Debbie, or V Nasty, or Chanel West Coast. A lot of times I feel as if female rappers are simply grouped into a singular category based on their gender. It’s obvious that Iggy’s style is different from that of Debbie’s or Kreayshawn’s. Unlike those other female emcees, Iggy has achieved the highest of fame. This week she joined the Beatles, that’s right, the fucking Beatles, as the only act to have simultaneous hits at #1 and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. That’s pretty impressive.

Iggy

But why is it that Iggy has achieved this fame while other female rappers haven’t? Well, at one point she had “No money, no family. 16 in the middle of Miami.” Iggy struggled. That first verse tells us so much about who she really is.

3 jobs, took years to save
But I got a ticket on that plane
People got a lot to say
But don’t know shit bout where I was made
Or how many floors that I had to scrub
Just to make it past where I am from

She put in work. Iggy busted her ass to get where she is now. She really worked for it, or at least that is the persona she conveys. That last line is interesting, “Just to make it past where I am from”. Here we have an Australian girl, rapping like an American, with no hint of an Aussie accent. The odds were already stacked again her in succeeding in the world of American hip hop. Yet she has… at least in pop she has.

White chick on that Pac shit
My passion was ironic
And my dreams were uncommon

I feel that. I feel she’s genuine. She’s real, and that’s why she works. (See what I did there?)

Rappers like Lil Debbie and Chanel West Coast don’t have that struggling artist feel to them. I am a firm believer that hip hop fans require a level of struggle in their reputable hip hop artists. This is why one will never win a reality competition like X-Factor or American Idol. We don’t want our hip hop stars given to us. We want them to earn it. I mean, Chanel was a fake secretary on an MTV reality show. That isn’t much of a struggle. Not like being alone at the age of 16 with no money in the middle of Miami.

When it comes to my favorite line? It might surprise you, but it has to be the very first line of the track: “Walk a mile in these Louboutins”. It was right from this first line that I gained a respect for Iggy’s lyricism. First off the line can have a couple meanings, first, and maybe obviously, she’s saying that she’s worked really hard, blood sweat and tears (after all Louboutin heels cannot be comfortable to walk any distance in, especially a mile!) suffered the pain to get where she is now. Like another way of saying she’s been thorough hell and back. Secondly, I see the line also standing as a rebuttal. Iggy’s saying, “hey, you can’t talk shit, because you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes”. She’s straight up telling you and you don’t know shit about her struggle. This idea can be backed up by the following lines, “I’m not hating, I’m just telling you / I’m tryna let you know what the fuck that I’ve been through”. Iggy is saying that if you want her success then you gotta work for it–like she has.

I like her.

From Sky: Week Twenty – Skitzo Week

So the XXL Freshman Class was announced a couple weeks ago and since I’ve been trying to go through discographies of the freshman. We already discussed Chance who made the list, but I think I’m going to try and go through some of the freshmen class here on our music Mondays.

This week I want to talk about influence. We’ve touched on it some in earlier weeks, and this week I want to look at one of the freshmen.

My question this week is: what rapper do you feel Jarren has been influenced by the most in terms of flow and style.

Enjoy.

From Sky: A Response to Week Nineteen’s Response

Here’s the most recent video documenting DOOM and Bishop’s work on NEHRUVIANDOOM

Bishop Nehru is an interesting kid. I say kid because he is only 17 now. Yet, despite his age, Bishop Nehru is teaming up with mysterious and enigmatic underground legend MF DOOM for a compilation album entitled NEHURVIANDOOM which is slated to come out later this year. Nas, in his AMA, said that an artist he’d love to work with who he hasn’t yet is Bishop Nehru. There’s been so much buzz around this kid it’s crazy. It took me while before I bought into it and downloaded his two mixtapes, Nehruvia and Strickly Flowz. On a first listen I can’t say I was too impressed. I was more like, okay, kid’s alright.

When it comes to DOOM, who I’ve written about extensively on Rap Blog, Rap Blog, he had three up and comers who it seemed he was eyeing for future work. One was Earl Sweatshirt. DOOM had always been an idol to Earl and he got to meet his last year for the first time on a European tour and the video is gold. He nearly cries he’s so overjoyed. Even Nardwar gave him some DOOM gifts including an original cassette of Madvilliany. DOOM inspired a lot of Earl’s style. DOOM even ended up doing a track with Earl on a Flying Lotus tape when FlyLo was rapping under the Captain Murphy moniker.

The other was Joey Bada$$. Now, I don’t know how much Joey Bada$$ you’ve listened to, but he is very similar to Bishop Nehru. If the two of them had a track together I think you’d have a real hard time tell them apart. What did DOOM do? Well, I think there’s always been a desire from Joey to make an album with DOOM, but instead DOOM gave him a couple beats for Joey’s Summer Knights tape that came out last year. No album.

“Lemon Grass” and “Elder Blossoms”, both DOOM produced tracks, appear on Bishop Nehru’s first tape, Nehruvia, when Bishop was only 16. Sixteen! I mean, come on now. These beats are actually off of a compilation of DOOM’s Metal Fingered Villain beats called Special Herbs. What was it about Bishop Nehru that made DOOM say this was the kid he was going to make an album with? Well I don’t think that’s such an easy answer. When it comes to Nehruvia, there isn’t a single track on that tape that I skip when listening to it straight though, which I’ve done a lot recently. Also on Nehruvia you’ll find beats from J Dilla, DJ Premier, and even Madlib. That’s a pretty solid lineup of some of the greatest producers of all time. What attracted them to this kid?

Maybe it’s the fact that Bishop Nehru just sounds so good on those beats. His flows are solid, and for being only 16, I mean, that’s pretty impressive. Not quite as impressive as Nas one-timing “NY State of Mind” when he was 16, but pretty impressive. Maybe Nas sees a little of himself in Bishop Nehru. Both New York artists, maybe Nas is not only inspiring Bishop, but Bishop is inspiring Nas, hence the reason why Nas wants to work with him. At the same time, I feel like after listening to a Bishop Nehru tape or track, a listener might feel like he needs a little work. Get some experience under his belt. Which is exactly it! I feel like DOOM and Nas can both see the oozing potential in Bishop and they feel like they can bring the best out of him, while at the same time, brining out the best in themselves. NEHRUVIANDOOM is both a DOOM album and a Bishop Nehru album. Nas wants to work with Bishop. These artists, absolute legends, feel like they can too shine while making him shine.

MF DOOM and Bishop Nehru

It’s hard not to admit that Bishop has flows. “Lemon Grass” is a superb showing of that. Over a DOOM beat too boot! So here’s this kid who sounds so great on a DOOM beat, for a mixtape, for a 15 year-old. This tape, Nehruvia, came out in 2012. “Lemon Grass” was recorded when Bishop was 15. When NEHRUVIANDOOM drops Bishop will be 17 going on 18. Those two-three years might just be enough for him to turn around a drop one of the greatest albums of all time with one of the greatest emcees and producers of all time. Who knows, maybe even Nas will have a feature. DOOM is refining Bishop.

Ultimately, I feel that is why Bishop is so hyped lately. We saw what he could do at 15-16 and now we’ll get to see what he can do when he’s older and working with one of the most sought-after producers. I have to say that along with Jay Electronica’s Act II, (even Jay wanted to make an album with DOOM!) NEHRUVIANDOOM is my most anticipated album of 2014… or whenever we’ll get it. Bishop took to twitter last week and said we’re “extremely close” to getting it. We’ll see. DOOM fans know that could mean years. Either way, I’m hyped. You should be hyped. Everyone should be hyped. We saw what happens when dope producers get with up and coming emcees earlier this year with Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s Piñata. It can be classic and GOAT, if you will. Will NEHRUVIANDOOM live up to the hype? We’ll just have to see.

From ‘Cole: A Response to Week Nineteen

You know how they say fashion is cyclical? I believe music can be cyclical. We’ll eventually come back around to the old Hip Hop standards that we adored in their golden age.

I feel like Bishop Nehru belongs in a different time. And, in that time, he would have had potential. But in the present age, it’s hard to find a place for him. I could see him rapping alongside Lupe Fiasco or the like. But not in the main mainstream, not (oddly enough) anyone like Kanye or Kendrick or Drake or Weezy. As out there as they all are individually, they still feel like they have a place in today.

Bishop Nehru

But that’s what’s beautiful about today–it’s not about catering to the mainstream anymore. If anything, he is lucky to have a way to find his audience that appreciates him as his self in the here and now–so he doesn’t have to wait for his time to come.

I definitely dig it, it’s just not as compelling to me as other things in the zeitgeist right now.

That’s all.

From Sky: A Response to Week Nineteen

First off, it’s undeniable how Logic takes the style of Nas, Em and Drake in those tracks. The Drake one especially is painfully accurate. Artistic plagiarism? I don’t know if I’d go that far. If that’s the case Hopsin needs to be locked up for jacking Em’s style on “Sag My Pants“. There are many artists that mimic other’s styles and flows. Think back to Dedication 5 and remember how Weezy did a lot of it on that tape. I even remember reading articles about how Tune’s flow was sounding more and more like Rick Ross. I think it’s part of the evolution on rap. There are really only so many original ways to say something. I’m not saying originality is dead, I’m just saying that, well, it’s hard to be original when someone already beat you to the punch.

Logic

For you next two questions let’s get deeper into Logic. Now, I’ve always been kind of a Logic hater. There were a few tracks of his I like when he first was coming up that I enjoyed, but never really fucked too much with him. On his newest tape that come out last year, Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever, there was only one track I liked, “Ballin’ [feat. Castro]“. It’s not the only track I enjoyed, but the only one I’ve come back to again and again. The only one with replay for me. I feel like if you listened to that track you’d think he was jacking someone’s style in that track too… though I can’t quite put my finger on who. It’s a lot like Drake minus the singing.

Is it impressive? Not to me. To me it shows that he hasn’t found his voice yet. He’s still mimicking others. Think of the best of the best today. They’re original because they have their own styles and flows. I’m not saying Logic can’t find his own voice, I’m just saying he hasn’t yet, and being the parody guy isn’t a thing when it’s not serious. It’s like the guy who does impressions not to be funny. Is that art? I don’t know. Any rapper can replicate other’s flows and styles. That doesn’t make them good. So when it comes to the real that we’ve been talking about, and looking for in hip hop, this is not it. Real is the Nas who inspired Logic so much that he jacked his style. Real is the Eminem who inspired Logic so much that he jacked his style. And I can’t believe I’m gonna say this, but, Real is the Drake who inspired Logic so much that he jacked his shit. Logic is just mediocre. That’s why there isn’t the buzz around him anymore. People still bump his tracks, but there isn’t a huge following anticipating a Logic album. This could be because he’s on the fringe of frat rap, but that’s for another week.

Logic

I’m a Logic hater. He has yet to do anything that has really jumped out and impressed me. I don’t know if he ever will. The tracks you sent me were good. I mean, “Young Sinatra III” is the closest track to one with replay for me when it come to Logic. Now, if Logic wanted to be real, he’d combine those flows and styles, the Em, the Nas, the Drake and do it in a way that was Logic. They have to be broken down enough that when people listen to him they don’t say that he sounds like Drake or Nas or Em, but rather he sounds like Logic. He has not done that yet, in my opinion. Again, I don’t know if he ever will.

On a little parallel side note, think about how similar Ghostface and Action Bronson are. I mean, Ghost was famous for saying, straight up, don’t jack my style, and yet here’s Bronson pretty much doing just that. I mean the sound so similar. Maybe that’s why Bronson isn’t or hasn’t blown up. When I mean blown up, I mean like, radio play, big shows, household name. I think this is an example of why Logic is in the same boat.

But what do I know?

From Sky: Week Nineteen – NEHRUVIANDOOM Week

These two tracks are from a 16 year old kid from New York.

I don’t want to tell you too much more about this week. I want you to listen to them and tell me if there’s anything special about him.

In your opinion does he has potential? Pretty much what I want to know is what do you see in this kid?

That’s all.

From Sky: A Response to Week Seventeen

“It runs through the neighborhood of Chinatown, and forms the sourthern boundaries of SoHo and Little Italy as well as the northern boundary of Tribeca. The street acts as a major connector between Jersey City, New Jersey, via the Holland Tunnel (I-78), and Brooklyn, New York City, via the Manhattan Bridge.”
– Canal Street (Manhattan), Wikipedia

When I first gathered that he was taking about Canal street, there are two cities that I thought of, New Orleans and NYC. Now, Ratking, who turns out to be more than just one guy, but rather a collective, certainly didn’t sound as if they were from the South, so it kind of narrowed it down to NYC (not to mention the video makes that pretty obvious). The two guys spitting, Wiki and Hak, really have interesting flows. At first I wasn’t too drawn to it, but I feel like it’s a grower.

Ratking

There’s a couple lines towards the end that really help to answer your question about where we are in the track. Now the surface level answer would be we known we’re in NYC based on the video, the title of the track, and lines about how they slice cold cuts, but I don’t think that’s what you are going for.

“Think the city has let up?
Yeah-ha wake up
Open your eyes
Wake up!”

On the bridge we have these lines telling us to wake up to the city and that is hasn’t let up. We’ll get to the meaning of that in a minute.

“Think the city has let up?
Better check up
Kids that is fed up Instead of
Bitching and moaning, the get bucked and get up”

Here in the outro we are again told that the city has in fact not let up. Well what does that mean? It could mean a couple things, first in terms of poverty and life in general. NYC’s crime level has famously dropped over the recent decades and Ratking could be saying that just because the crime levels have dropped doesn’t mean that people aren’t hustling and still on their grind. That there is still poverty in NYC and that kids are doing whatever they can to make them some money. Or it could be looked at in terms of hip hop. If it’s looked at in this light it means that the City’s hip hop artists are still out there trying to become big. With all the famous rappers that have come out on NYC in the past, Ratking is making it known that there are still up and coming rappers.

Ratking

But where are we? Well we’re from the outside looking in. Either we’re people who don’t live in NYC and who aren’t aware of the hustlin’ and grindin’ that are still going on, or we are New Yorkers who are oblivious to this side of their city. It’s easy to put on those rose tinted glasses and ignore the shittyness of your favorite place, or your home. Ratking is making sure that they, along with the rest of the NYC on their grind are not being ignored.

From Sky: A Response to Week Sixteen

Before I get too far into this I want to drop another video of RiFF and Lil Debbie which I think can be included with the discussion of “Brain Freeze” and (a track I personally love) “Squirt”. If you haven’t peeped “Michelle Obama” you need to!

First, you’re totally right. Why is it that it “works” for RiFF RAFF, but doesn’t for Lil Debbie? Their lyrics are damn near identical. “I should’ve worked at KFC / Rap game Mona Lisa, Masterpiece”? I mean, you can just see that line coming from RiFF’s iced out mouth. Let’s be honest, the fact that their lyrics sound so similar is probably because RiFF RAFF helps her write them. Did you ever think you’d see RiFF RAFF as a ghostwriter? That’s my answer to that.

When it comes to believability, due to the similar nature of their lyrics, I feel RiFF and Debbie get grouped together as “bad”. To put it simply. RiFF is far from “bad” in my opinion, however… Lil Debbie on the other hand? She is bad. I don’t think it has anything to do with her lyrics, which, yeah, some are totally clever, “Stop hating like the cops before I connect all the dots / When it comes to houses, I’ve got more spots than a dalmatian”, and from “Michelle Obama”: “Tint look like the first lady, gettin’ brain in stretched ‘cedes”. Now are these “good” lyrics, per se? Not really, yet in the same track RiFF can drop shit like, “I could glow like the sun at noon / Might change my government name to jody 3 moons” (“Michelle Obama”) and “Ice water on the band with the somersault slam / Body slam competition, frostbit air conditioning” (“Brain Freeze”). [Bonus points if you can tell me what that last line even means]. Why does it work for him and not for her? Well I think it has to do more with a movement than anything. Get ready for some shitty hip hop!


This was a big guilty pleasure hit when it came out. You can even spot Lil Debbie in Kreayshawn’s video. This is just a bonus thing, but here’s how much money Kreayshawn made off her album which only moved a rumored 3,900 copies.

Also, and goddamn, even worse is V Nasty. I mean dat name.

What I find… interesting, I guess… about V Nasty is she drops the N-bomb in her raps despite being a white girl. Here’s her speaking on it… oh and who is that in the background???

This is a fad. Well, maybe I should say was a fad. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Rob Dyrdek, the professional skateboarder who has such popular Mtv shows such as Rob & Big and Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory. Well I don’t know if you ever watched Fantasy Factory but his “secretary” on the show was a cute little blonde girl named Chanel. Well, Chanel wanted to be a rapper. With enough publicity and, come on, her looks didn’t hurt, and I’m sure with a butt-load of money, she achieved her dream. Chanel West Coast.

(Check that 2:56 mark!!).

Chanel West Coast is awful. V Nasty is awful. Kreayshawn is awful. Lil Debbie is awful. They’re just awful. What Lil Debbie has going for her is her looks.

Chanel West Coast is the same way. (She’s also Young Money) I mean, just look at her video there for “I Love Money”. She’s dressed all sexy and shit. I mean, on the cover of her album Now You Know she’s wearing a see-through top. Go ahead and Google image search for Lil Debbie. So many promotional photos, model photos and twitpics of her being all sexy. I mean, what’s sexier than a girl in lingerie eating pancakes?

Lil Debbie

I think it’s real interesting how involved RiFF RAFF is with these girls. He has connections to all of them. I don’t think he’s ghostwriting for all of them, but I’m pretty positive he does for Lil Debbie.

I guess what I’m saying is that the only reason these female rappers are in our zeitgeist is because they’re bad. Bad not as in terrible rappers, but bad as in mixing syrup, smoking blunts, dropping F and N bombs, acting “ratchet”, dressing slutty.

After all, like Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said, “Well-behaved women seldom make history”.