From ‘Cole: A Response to Week Four’s Response

Good reading Sky! I thoroughly enjoyed hearing your take on it. “Keys” = Kilos is something that blew my mind when I first heard it, so it’s definitely something I wanted to share if I could.
I’m really really glad you enjoyed “Keys.” ^^ It has a soft spot for me because it’s one of the first tracks I ever examined in a classroom setting. When discussing it with my prof at the time, he spoke more about the production of the track–the idea that the crescendo reminded him of the upward/downward movement of the stock markets, and how the track mimics the capitalist leanings that Pusha discusses in the rap– it’s all about the lifestyle as the driving force for making money.

But Mr. Me Too is about capitalism too! I think that’s why I put them together this week (although it might just be because I love the production–simple, in the best way).

The rhymes point to the movement from simple street violence and survival to magnificence and opulence–it’s no longer about the street, but about making the street life into the lavish life. “Pyrex stirs/ turn into Cavalli furs” is one where I had to just sit back and say–whoa. It’s no longer about getting by. It’s about rising up.

I love how the tracks point to different things than what Biggie wrote about– it’s evolved from “super nintendo/ sega genesis” to name-dropping Cavalli (and we see this continue with Hova–TOM FORD, Yeezy–Louis Vuitton Don, etc.) If we were going to speak of this in a linguistic-centric discussion, I’d have to bring up the idea of representation and how it works in language. But for right now, I just want to look at how Mr. Me Too is really into the idea of “keeping up with the joneses” in a way that previous rappers were uninterested. I mean, Biggie would never have been like “Yo I got that PS4, you still on that PS3 shit.” All the comparisons he made were about his past/present. This one’s about one-upping each other in a way that takes you off the streets and into consumerism.

And that’s what is interesting about this time period in specific– the idea that it’s no longer about having a car, it’s about having that car. Not about having champagne for breakfast, but Cristal. The brands carry significance and meaning that point to their place in consumerist society– it’s not about survival, but prestige. And those are the kinds of doors that Clipse is interested in opening. Kind’ve more refined than it was previously.

I know that Clipse isn’t the first to do this sort of thing, but it’s definitely one of my favorite albums to examine in this light.

From ‘Cole: Week Four Response

I have to say, I was not looking forward to this week–hence why it’s taken me so long to do a write-up. But I thoroughly enjoyed it (as much as it can be enjoyable, I mean, I felt like it was SAW III for my ears).

But that’s totally what I expected, so I guess I got what I came for. ^^

My favorite fucked-up line might surprise you–it’s really pretty tame, but the delivery just gave me chills:

“Take em to the top of the mountain/have them drink the punch/ Mmm watch the bodies drop.”

I mean, I think most kids listening to this wouldn’t get the reference to the Jonestown Massacre, but in the context of this religious bashing it makes sense that he’s referring to Jim Jones and the cyanide-laced kool-aid.
It’s pretty sick where at the break you can just hear him relishing the suicide of (presumably) all his followers. Chills.

I think that was my favorite line because it’s so subtle– everything else about him is not subtle. I’m pretty sure the shock value he’s going for is inherent in a lot of new “horrorcore” hip hop (OFWGKTA not excluded). But the way he does it here, formally, is pretty effing great.

I mean, he’s making a character that sounds a lot like people’s conception of Satan (when you think of evil in your mind, it definitely has that high pitched voice). And he’s also creating a character even more sinister than Slim Shady (if you could believe that– I mean, Slim has rapped about giving women abortions, that shit ain’t light.) Formally, he’s doing an amazing thing by taking Biggie’s alter egos into a reality. I mean, the last track on this mixtape he features himSELF. That’s pretty cray (and a nod to Em, but in a really twisted way).

Second favorite was in “tattoos of baby jesus burned in my foreskin/ I fuck with God”
I mean, shit. That even sounds painful. But the fact that he is inflicting pain on others AND himself for no reason is the sickest thing about it.

I think the style in itself speaks to the apathy of current generations (I don’t mean to get all preachy– I don’t think there’s a cause and effect to this at all, I think it’s more of “art imitating life” than anything). He’s trying to isolate the listener in the way that he feels isolated and disjointed from the world. Mac Miller had a problem with the purple drank too– which leads me to believe he was in that same disconnected state that a lot of kids feel, they just want to escape.

But the escape is sometimes worse than the reality.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need some ear bleach.
^^

From Sky: Week Four Response

EVERYTHING PUSHA T!

I have to thank you first off–I had been meaning to listen to Hell Hath No Fury for a while now. It further reaffirms my love of Pusha T… and Pharrell… but we’ll get to him in a minute.

Now, straight up, this track. I mean… damn. Okay, let’s start with the verses.

There are two lines that are absolutely brilliant in Pusha T’s opening verse. The first, “Who gonna stop us? Fuck the coppers! The mind of a kilo shopper / Seeing my life through the windshields of choppers”. It took maybe two or three listens before I really grasp the complete aspect of this one. I think it’s pretty common to associate the word ‘choppers’ with various things. It could refer to massive guns, motorcycles, or helicopters… or a really white middle class male as described in this wayyy out there UrbanDictionary entry(just for fun):

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Chopper&defid=3948552 .

When I first heard it I was thinking firearms, probably due to Pusha’s ‘Million’ track on his Wrath of Caine mixtape that came out at the beginning of last year. The line didn’t make sense, as there’s no ‘windshields’ on any type of guns. The next listen I thought of it as motorcycles. It kind of made sense, but since I had never seen Pusha on a motorcycle, or rather any rapper for that matter. Illuminati? I didn’t find myself too impressed with the line. It was another listen or two before I thought to equate it to helicopters. The line begins with ‘Who gonna stop us? Fuck the coppers!’ This got me thinking of police chases and shoot outs with the cops (thank’s Biggie) which when viewed from that perspective can show a real rank in power and classicism. Here we have the police following someone, or ones, that is probably resisting arrest and refusing to pull over. Here we have the police covering the LA Riots from above. (Although Pusha and Malice are from Virginia, the LA riots would still be an event that would have been very angering as well as empowering for men of their age). Here we have the police following a young black male as he jumps fence after fence in an attempt to evade the authorities… in a helicopter. The police had the power and the resources and the technology to patrol from the skies; to have complete authority over. On the flip side, however, helicopters can be the epitome of luxurious. Flying in on your own private chopper to the hotel in Miami. Flying in your chopper and impressing two or three prospective hook-up hoodrats. Either way, both of those scenarios are accompanied by Dom Pérignon. From up here Push is above all them others in the hustle game, both metaphorically and literally. Mind blown.

The next line is more straight forward. As a mater of fact, it couldn’t be more straight forward: “The realest shit I ever wrote, not Pac inspired / It’s crack pot inspired.” Pusha is saying that his lyrics are not inspired or influenced by others in the rap game, including the legendary 2Pac, but rather inspired by the life of a cocaine manufacturer and dealer. It is him. It is his life. This correlates well with ‘Mr. Me Too’, actually…but we’ll get there. I don’t have a lot to say about this line. I think it is Pusha’s delivery of it also really hit the line home.

All in all, Pusha illustrates the life of drug dealer reminiscing how he made it from the projects to the luxury of helicopters and excess. In many ways it seems oddly motivational. So selling kilos (KEYS) of cocaine can lead you to (OPEN DOORS) a glorious life full of extravagance. There’s your answer.

I dig it.

Malice furthers the idea of drug dealing being a way to acquire wealth. “The kids are happy, the perfect picture”, he spits, painting the image of the future that can be lead by escaping the hood. There’s really just one line that really hits me as brilliant in Malice’s verse: “Throw it on the scale, feed your God damn self / Get it how you live, we don’t ask for help”–the first line. The delivery is powerful. Malice says get your coke and sell it if you need to survive if there’s no other way and that you are responsible for you, and shouldn’t except help from others to survive. Much like he describes in the ‘Intro’ to Lord Willin’. That’s right, I did my listening. Powerful stuff.

No Malice

Now… ‘Mr. Me Too’.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it. I understand the meaning of the title, as it is a nickname dubbed to a hater who is constantly comparing himself to Pharrell, Push or Malice, by mimicking their style and making the same monetary acquisitions. Benzs, yo. But I don’t know if I like… it, the phrase. I was impressed by Pharrell’s rap. I really like his slow and melodic tone and flow. I also get he was behind the majority of the production on the album as well. I don’t have any problems with the verse’s, I even kind of admire Pharrell when he spits the meaning of the title on the tracks’s bridge, or his cheeky line about him and Sean. Puff. Diddy. Whatever the fuck we’re calling him now.

Pusha’s verse doesn’t stand out to me at all, and it is the same with Malice, with one exception. Malice’s last line, “Tomorrow ain’t promised so we live for the moment”, really helps to further illustrate the luxury he’s living in. He’s living like each day was his last. But… I don’t care for the track too much. It was their first single off the album, which could account for the substitution of substance for catch. Shots fired.

However you were right. It was awesome to watch blitzed. And I admit it would be a dope song to grind to in the club. #YOLO

-S

From ‘Cole: Week Four Opens Doors

So, this week I thought about taking you out of your comfort zone, but I’d rather do a little throwback to one of my favorite albums.

Everyone knows Pharrell (and for good reason) but very few know that Clipse (and The Neptunes) are much more than just a jump-off for Pharrell’s career. I have such a penchant for “Hell Hath No Fury,” but instead of making you listen to the album, I’ll focus on these two tracks:

This week’s query: Explain the significance of the titles.
That’s it! Should be easy enough for ya.

Also: I chose the second track because I imagine Mr. Me Too would be fun to watch when high.
^^

From Sky: Week Four – Time to get Delusional

Before we delve into the darkness I want to give you another Lil B track that I remembered. It’s one of his rare features. I think you’ll enjoy it!

Now.

I am warning you. This week is going to be dark… and by dark I mean, fucking dark.

On November 1st, this artist dropped his first mixtape. There was no hype, no anticipation, because nobody knew it was coming out. Think Beyonce’s new album. With some solid features, including Earl Sweatshirt and Mac Miller, the self titled album was critically acclaimed and a favorite of many on r/hhh. This week I am doing two songs… but wait, they’re both under three minutes and follow each other on the tape. I fell like these two tracks are hand’s down this artist’s best. Remember, it’s dark as fuck. Next week will be happier–guaranteed!

My question to you is: what is your favorite fucked up line? As normal, feel free to do a little write up. I know the last few have been quite long, but this is in no way a standard so don’t feel pressured to write so much if you don’t feel like it.

Enjoy. I’ll be waiting on the other side.