From ‘Cole: Week Eight Response

I know Music Monday is supposed to be about the music, but really, I can’t talk about this track without talking about the video.

I agree with whichever redditor posted this in that thread about gratuitous violence. I just can’t pinpoint why. It’s not like we even see anything…there’s a shot fired at one person after the first minute, and after that, no violence against anyone else that we can see. Just drugs, guns, the usual rap fare. But still it feels more violent than any other video because it feels so real.

It’s the opposite of the Jackie Chan effect. Jackie makes his stunts ridiculous so you know they’re fake. He doesn’t want anybody to suspend their disbelief so far that they’d be willing to try what he does on an everyday basis. But everything in this video looks legit. I fully believe he has those guns in his posession. I believe he can cook coke. I believe he set up a mic in the back of his crack house. It’s not far-fetched; this guy is shooting a documentary.

Gangsta Gibbs

This all comes back to how important credibility is in the rap game, and how fragile it is. Rappers are constantly having to reinforce and enforce their machismo, their masculinity, which means one small infraction and all of a sudden you’re a (female body part here). This video definitely reminds me of that, in a way that was unexpected. If you look at it lyrically, it is very subtle. Nothing in his tone is overbearing, he just speaks his rhymes and he sounds so formidable. It’s like Weezy says, “real G’s move in silence like lasagna.”

As for comparisons to Pac, Gibbs is pretty spot on with his voice. His timbre somewhat reminds me of Pac, but in general his rhyme scheme, his lyrical progression throughout the song, is honestly softer than what Pac did. Pac did a lot of heavy emphasis on certain syllables (being the poet that he was, I’m sure it was intentional) to drive his point home. But Gibbs…there’s definitely something in the way he speaks without him having to do that. Something more subtle.

Which is interesting, because the video waves his thuggishness in your face. It all but pushes the trigger. Very cool, very intriguing, and different from most of the others we’ve seen thus far.

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From Sky: Week Eight Response

rap

Noun

–a type of popular music of US black origin in which words are recited rapidly and rhythmically over a prerecorded, typically electronic instrumental backing.

a piece of music performed in rap style, or the words themselves.

That’s that Oxford shit.

Frank Ocean raps very rarely. His verses include “Super Rich Kids” on his Channel, Orange album, his murdering of Earl Sweatshirt’s “Sunday”, Tyler’s “She”, as well as his verse on the rap collective Odd Future’s track “Oldie”, and a year ago he released a single track, “Blue Whale”, which was entirely rapping. I promise you I’ve listened to every Frank Ocean track I could find.

Frank Ocean

I mean, every word out of that man’s mouth is glorious. To me, and I’d argue to many others, “Oldie” proved to the world that this kid, who, hot of the high critical praise of his freshman mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, whose album Channel, Orange was slated to drop only a couple months later, could rap.

Here’s his verse. Go ahead. Listen.

Listening to Sail Out for the first time made me realize I’d been sleeping on Jhene Aiko. Sleeping hard. Of course I had heard her on Gambino’s tracks and back on Kendrick’s Overly Dedicated. I had liked what I had heard. I thought the girl could drop great hooks. I looked at her in the same way i look at a pop star. Think about Kelly Rowland. Miley Cyrus. They’ve done hooks in various rap tracks but I never look at them as having any real control over their involvement in it. So, I listen to her second mixtape Sail Out, then I scope all her features on Ab-Soul, Kendrick, Drake, Schooboy Q and J. Cole. After this I download her freshman mixtape, Sailing Souls. Girl can sing. I dig it.

Jhene

Then Music Monday’s come around and your asking me if what she does is rap. I can honestly say that idea had never crossed my mind until you introduced it.

I go back and listen to all again. I was even changing out Frank Ocean at night for Sail Out. Again–girl can sing… but rap?

You gave me three verses to examine. Kendrick’s verse in “Stay Ready”, Jhene’s verse on the “What a Life” portion, and Drake’s on “From Time”. Well I did. In my opinion they illustrate the diversity of various styles artists bring.

It’s clear Kendrick’s verse is rap as well as Drakes. Now, examining the lyrics only, Jhene’s verse looks as if it could be something rapped. But it isn’t. I listened to “Comfort Inn Ending (Freestyle)” from Sail Out. Now that. That is a track where she comes dangerously close to rapping. The same goes few her track “Hoe (feat. Miguel & Gucci Mane)” from Sailing Souls, and “From Time” on Drake’s Nothing Was The Same. Did you notice I only said “dangerously close”. I do not believe Jhene Aiko is a rapper or that what she is doing on some tracks is rap. As I said, she’s close at times. There lines in “Comfort Inn Ending (Freestyle)” that tell deep, intimate personal stories,

“‘Cus my brother was dying
And you gave me a shoulder to cry on
It was nothing, it’s nothing, it’s nothing, it’s nothing”

much like rappers do. Her fourth verse in “What a Life” shows great flow and interesting rhyme schemes. Again, much like rappers do. There is one thing that is prevents classifying her as a rapper in my book–harmonic inflection in her voice. She is singing, not rapping. Does she have many of the elements that make her a rapper? Yes. But she lacks the biggest quality. They’re not rap songs their rap tracks. Why? Because rappers don’t sing. I’m not saying Bino isn’t a rapper because he sings, or Drake. They have released rap tracks where they don’t sing, they… rap. There is not harmonic inflection in their voices. They straight rap. Jhene has yet to do this. She has yet to put out a rap track. Therefore she’s not a rapper.

I would say that Jhene Aiko is as much as a rapper as Frank Ocean, but plot twist, Frank Ocean is a rapper. The verses listed about showcase his rapping. No harmonic inflection. Straight bars. Until Jhene can completely drop that harmonic inflection in her voice, she won’t be a rapper. Personally, I hope she doesn’t drop it. I love it. It’s what I love about her music. I don’t think of her any less because she’s not a rapper. I do however, no longer look at her a pop star either. She is much like Frank Ocean is, hard to nail down genre-wise. Frank sings, Frank raps. Jhene sings. Jhene sing-raps. Their genre? Hip Hop.

Isn’t taxonomy fun?

-S

From Sky: Week Eight – Thug Shit

Week eight already huh? Seems to be flying by.

This week I chose an artist that I think a lot of people have been sleeping on. I’ve mentioned him a few times in my posts before and my write ups and it’s about time I introduce you to the hardest muthafucka in the game. I swear, this dude, and Gary, Indiana legitimately scare me.

Dude could be straight out The Wire.

I first discovered this track on reddit after someone posted: “What music video is the most gratuitously violent?” But I believe there’s serious depth here. He’s also been likened to the modern day Tupac. I realize that’s a lot of live up to, so I’mma just post this riiiggghhhtttt here

Enjoy.

From ‘Cole: Week Eight – Cop Out Week

I say this is a cop out week because this week isn’t about trying to introduce you to something new, but really, to examine an artist you already know. It’s too hard for me to introduce you to things you don’t already know, considering you know EVERYone and EVERYthing. It’s like trying to buy a rich kid a birthday gift. So hopefully it’s fun and you get to explore something you find compelling in an already-familiar track.

We already know you’re in love with this girl:

In an interview once she talked about how her intro to “From Time” is her way of rapping. The interviewer sort of glossed over that, like it wasn’t legit, but really. Is what she does here (especially in the “What a Life” portion) any different from what Kendrick does (examine his verse), or what Drake does (especially the emotional points in “From Time”?) Is it hard to believe that she is also a rapper?

Discuss.