Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Return of Bandana P

Having come of age in New York's mid-90's era, you can bet good money I was into some vintage Mobb Deep. Memories include my man having The Infamous on CD the day after it hit stores (In 9th grade back then, that meant you had money) and begging him to let me borrow it so that I could dub it on tape, which was met with 15 seconds of skepticism and a "You better have it back tomorrow, with no scratches!"

Fast forward through the rest of that decade and the Mobb (along with the rest of their Loud labelmates) pretty much had the hard street flavor on lock, while Def Jam and Bad Boy battled for jiggy supremacy and Rawkus became the Mecca for disgruntled white boys. Then came a little known rapper with a little known Casio keyboard produced ditty named "Money, Cash, Hoes", with a little known line about New York being soft due to Calvin Broadus being the precursor to Osama Bin Laden. I remember listening to Funkmaster Flex the night the Dogg Pound video was being filmed, as he laughed about guns going off between rival crews and told everyone to chill. Prodigy's involvement in the East/West feud circa Capone & Noreaga's "L.A., L.A." remix found him spouting off in The Source, taking high offense to the little known rapper's proclamation that Death Row had turned the Rotten Apple to "shook ones".

As fate would have it, time told the tale of beef festering to the point that a little known event took place at Hot 97's Summer Jam 2001, something about a photo of someone in ballerina gear, maybe you've heard the story at this point. As if that wasn't bad enough a little known dis track called "The Takeover" came out (it's a rare gem, but worth finding if you can hunt it down), which rendered Prodigy nearly obsolete in the grand scheme of things. I say he was rendered obsolete not because of verse 1, 2 and 4's particularly scathing boasts of money that stacked higher than P's stature or jabs referring to dunn as Twinkle Toes, but because history will forever associate the song with the third verse that wasnt even about him.

An awkward chain of events followed where Prodigy made empty threats on the life of his little known adversary, and the past few years his catalogue has ranged from good (Amerikaz Nightmare/Free Agents/H.N.I.C) to in between (Return of the Mac) and awful (Infamy/Blood Money), amidst all types of controversy like gun charges and violent confrontations with other rappers, not to mention a self-leaked NC-17 tape of him and his wife. Just when I abandoned most of my hope, Prodigy has channeled the spirit of the great Ray Benzino and come back on a f*cking horse. The recent video for "ABC" featured P back on his grimy tip over a villainous Alchemist beat, and the other 3 new songs that have surfaced online (all linked below) have upped my anticipation of his next release, the sequel to H.N.I.C. I've recently developed a deeper appreciation for not only how cold he spits, but how he puts his phrases together.

Download Prodigy's 4 newest songs

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Weekly Knock - Edition 4

De La Soul - Watch Out off of AOI: Bionix produced by Supa Dave West

Torae: Daily Conversation - @@@@ 1/4

Hip-Hop's golden age of the late '80's to mid 90's is often smiled upon and remembered as a time when New York had the dominant foothold and supreme cultural reign. While most of today's MCs (and fans) are complaining about the Southern takeover or (even worse) changing up to accomodate the radio's adaptation to the country's nether regions, a select few have taken it upon themselves to make a change and rep the east coast's essence. Coney Island's Torae saw his buzz go through the roof as he teamed up with Skyzoo for one of recent history's best 12 inches "Get It Done" b/w "Click" both produced by the ever so legendary DJ Premier. With the famished masses hoping for Tor to establish himself as a leader of today's new school, (no offense to Cut Monitor Milo, Charlie Brown or Dinco if they read this, but it's been a wrap for yall) his long awaited debut Daily Conversation has hit the streets for consumption.

Torae displays signs of being one of New York's next great MCs as he carries the complete package of flow, lyrics, confidence and topical material. The lead single "Callin My Name" is anthemic for all seriously aspiring MCs, detailing Tor's endless determination towards making himself known, while "Get It Goin" would fit perfectly if a whole genre arose from the Jay-Z coined term "black superhero music". One of his main strengths lies in versatility as he manages to sound at home on anything he's given to spit over, from Khrysis' homage to west coast bounce on "Somethin To See" to newcomer Eric G's channeling of M.O.P's energy on "Think About It" and "Switch" where he has fun flipping a variety of flows.

Overall, Torae is heavily gifted and making an indelible impression at a time when the east seemed headed down the path of obscurity. The only flaw to be found on the album is the overage of guest appearances, the majority of whom he outshines. Daily Conversation is a thorough introduction for Tor, with a return to great production accompanied by MCing that can lead to a restoration of prominence for the Rotten Apple.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Weekly Knock - Editions 1, 2 and 3

In hopes of keeping folks checking this blog, my plan was to drop a song that represented the term "knock" to me every Friday of this year. If I stay dedicated to this goal, I will have put up 52 songs by the end of 2008. I'm a bit behind so here goes Weeks 1, 2, and 3

Week 1: Slum Village - We Be Dem (Freestyle) - From Fantastic Vol. 1, produced by Jay Dee (you gotta love lines like "Hoes is givin me blows cause I'm a sexy man" from Baatin)

Week 2: Fat Joe - Part Deux - Off of Joe's sophomore effort Jealous One's Envy, produced by Domingo

Week 3: Lords Of The Underground - No Pain Off of LOTUG's sophomore effort Keepers of The Funk, produced by K-Def

There you have it The Weekly Knock Editions 1-3, see yall approximately next Friday if I can manage it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The number one rapper Young H doesnt care about in 2008

drumroll please...

This guy

My distaste runs so deep that I cant bring myself to type his rap non de plume. But you know him, he's made a career riding the coattails of respectable acts and making annual recap songs (this year's was particularly grating). I take this music shit too serious to continue giving him a pass when he once had such potential. I understand needing to keep your name hot in between albums, but he came out over a decade ago and has only had two albums to his name. You cant be serious, dude is written off with me unless he drops an undisputed classic this year and the chances of that are slim.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dear Haters: Hurricane Chris is nice

This is reminiscent of Lil Wayne before he oversaturated himself and drugs had him thinking it was okay to say anything in the booth. I'm almost interested in hearing this dude's album now.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Top 10 rappers Young H doesnt care about in 2008 Part 2

Continuing where we left off

5) Lauryn Hill

What is there to really say here? No one should care about Lauryn anymore. She was one of the best MCs in the world when The Miseducation dropped, but that was a decade ago. She ripped the hell out of the two songs where she rapped on the Unplugged album, but that was 7 or 8 years ago. People are holding onto hopes that she’ll come back and be as strong as she once was, it’s good to dream but she has more kids than solo albums at this point. I’m not a Byron Crawford asshole type blogger, so I say the following in all seriousness: let’s pray for her good health instead of having selfish demands for new material that could put a stain on what was once a great career. Ms. Hill lost her passion for making music, I've accepted that and you should as well. Kanye wishing her heart was still in rhyming and song dedications from Talib Kweli are good and dandy, but let's let sleeping dogs lie here.

4)Wyclef Jean

The Carnival was that shit, I even bought the album that came after that in good faith and I wasn't disappointed. I dont remember how the song sounded from a few years ago where he was riding around in a cab with Queen Latifah in the video but I think it was heat. That much said, it’s a wrap for dude at this point. He comes off as a confused Haitian who needs to be reminded he isn’t Jamaican (the T.I. “You Know What It Is” record), and one day watching VH1 Soul I saw he had a new song with Lil’ Wayne. I wasn’t shocked because that’s today’s industry standard if you need to appear relevant, but I think it was over a Wu-Tang beat (I’m not double checking youtube for that trash). He’s made his money and I guess he’s content having fun doing records with Shakira at this point, but that doesn't exactly fly with your man Young H.

3) Fat Joe

For the record I never heard his debut album with “Flow Joe”, but Jealous One’s Envy and Don Cartagena got heavy rotation from me when they dropped. I understand having to carry your crew after Pun’s passing, but jumping in pools with a blue chinchilla and lipstick on your cheek is decidedly not what’s hot in the streets. Ever since becoming a household name, he’s been another one on the long list of rappers who cant decide if they rep the streets or women, while Jay-Z was the only one versatile enough to wear both hats and maintain credibility. The past few years he’s been in a beef with 50, had “Lean Back” which was the biggest song the year it was out but that Terror Squad album still flopped, linked up with DJ Khaled (further indicative of how he’s stranded New York) and just become this cocky Latino who’s “hot” every few seasons, but Hot is the prefix behind radio stations who play bullshit. Joey Crack gets props for longevity but the second half of his career to date has been basura, papi.

2) Cassidy

I guess he has “the streets” locked down but that means absolutely nothing to me, because he doesn’t spit fire like some people give him credit for. He’s always been corny to me since “Hotel”, I guess “I’m a Hustler” was a club banger but he wasn’t saying much on it. "Drink & My 2 Step" would have become catchy if I allowed myself to hear it more than thrice. He had the nerve to fix his face and say Jay-Z needed to worry about their albums dropping on the same day this past November. I have homeboys who were impressed by bars like “Last dude tried to body Cass wound up with a body cast/I chop more bricks than a karate class”, yes those are actual bars he spit. STOP TELLING ME ABOUT THAT FREEWAY BATTLE, I'M NOT IMPRESSED. Swizzy worked heavily with The Lox and DMX, he knows what good street MCs are but I guess he’s invested in Cassidy to cash in with the 106 & Park audience.

The next entry will feature the esteemed title holder for the # 1 rapper Young H doesn't care about in 2008.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Top 10 rappers Young H doesn't care about in 2008 (Part 1)

Simply put, this list of people still generate public interest on some level and I don't understand why. For example Nas will make the list next year if Nigger isn't incredible, and Common is one more less than stellar album away from me feeling the same way about him.

Start the drumroll, and we're off...

10)Mos Def

Perhaps the biggest waste of potential we’ve seen in the post “Bad Boy vs. backpacker” era, Mos Def went from leading the underground to barely mattering after blowing up. I gave Mos the #10 slot because I still care about his career more than the other nine names that will follow. Black Star? Classic. Black On Both Sides? Classic. He’s a champion of sorts for black manhood, having proved you can get your money without being a jigaboo who sells destruction to your people. I’m not mad at the direction Black Dante has taken towards acting and hosting weekly celebrations of boho pastimes for HBO, I even applauded how he spread his musical wings on The New Danger, and his community outreach with Katrina efforts and the like has been truly commendable. But Tru3 Magic? That shit right there? That shit right there? © Katt Williams, dude completely lost me. It was an unfocused effort that came without artwork, he’s shown no signs of wanting to make groundbreaking music again, and that was 4th quarter of 2006. To paraphrase the great philosopher of our time Sean John Combs, “If Mos don’t give a fuck, fuck it why should I?” Supposedly he’ll be coming out again this year with at least a few songs produced by Kanye West, but I’m not holding my breath for a miracle.

9)David Banner

It truly hurts my heart not to care about David Banner anymore. His debut Mississippi: The Album really impacted me on a personal level when it dropped, as it was pure concern for our race and a conscious voice mixed in with the crunk music I had come to love attending college in the South. He intended for "Cadillac on 22’s" to change the world, and when that didn’t go over as planned he changed direction to become the sex crazed killing coon that the industry wants to see him be. I’ll give him one more shot with this next album he’s about to put out, but I don’t foresee Banner coming back with anything I’ll really be able to feel.


I know a good rapper when I hear one, and I’ve never been impressed by Ludacris like that. Don’t get me wrong, he makes possibly the best songs of any rapper that I don’t like and I’ll grant the audience that he’s one hell of an entertainer. Entertainment value is cool for what it is, but I don’t place a premium on that when it’s used to bamboozle people into taking you serious as an artist. Lyrically he doesn’t say a whole lot, his career has functioned as the dude who makes memorable songs for crowd participation when a DJ briefly mutes the record. He’s pretty much worn thin with me because I can’t see him doing anything he hasn’t already pulled off (the club record, hype record, girl take them panties off record). I know he did the “Runaway” song that won him the Grammy, but saying that a brief hiatus from comedic records qualifies Luda as a good MC is like giving Nore props for making a serious record (for the record I love Nore, but no one upholds him as one of the best doing it). Perhaps this all stems from the South not having many mainstream lyricists and people settling for lowered expectations. The new Usher record that I’ve heard all of 1.5 times isn’t making a strong case for your boy either.


I used to really dig this woman. Even though Black Thought wrote her lyrics on “You Got Me” she sounded fly, and her appearance on the "Butterflies Remix" was some dream wife shit. I enjoyed her debut album and appearances on the early Ruff Ryders compilations. Her introduction to rap was an incredible joint off of the Bulworth soundtrack, “Let Me Blow Your Mind?” Forget about it, that’s one of my favorite post golden age female records ever (Kim, Foxy, Eve, Trina, Jackie O, and whoever else). Taking on acting career and trying to come back hasn’t worked in her favor. The “Tambourine” record doesn’t ring bells over here (but I guess I'm with it if women like it in the club). Forgetting the streets and going the silly route, she’s earned her place in the “I don’t care” category.

6)Lil Kim

I haven’t really felt her after Hardcore, every album after that she’s been as good as the beat she’s given. “I Came Back For You” was heat, “Lighters Up” was a club banger, but she cant make complete albums anymore. Kim won’t fade away for anything, as she has a loyal female audience that rides for her no matter what. I guess she’s been good for sexual liberation (97% of black women age 24-30 know “Not Tonight” verbatim, I’ve seen it with my own eyes) but the quality of her music has greatly declined over time, and now she’s just coming off as an artist struggling to maintain relevancy not to mention a damaged woman with image issues. The song I heard from her forthcoming release produced by The ARE isn’t hitting to me at all.

Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The results of the Top 11 things I wanted to see happen in 2007

As posted up a year ago

11) Another old head drops a classic - Jay-Z is technically an old head but American Gangster fell a little short of a classic. Grand Daddy I.U. put out an album this year with production from Marco Polo and Large Professor but I didnt hear it. I doubt it was a classic though.

0 for 1

10) Eminem goes back to being the best in the game - He was nowhere to be found in 2007 except on T.I.'s album, supposedly he's about to come back out though.

0 for 2

9) Talib Kweli makes a believer out of me again - Eardrum was damn good.

1 for 3

8) A new Joe Budden album that was worth the wait - I played Mood Muzik 3 once and I recall liking it, but there was no way it could have lived up to the hype.

1.5 for 4

7) Little Brother gets mainstream success - I love Getback, and I'm glad them boys didnt give up amongst all the adversity they faced. They put out an artistic winner, but industry bullshit kept them beneath where they should be.

1.5 for 5

6) Saigon & Just Blaze to be the 2007 hardcore Gang Starr - Moral of The Story was a great precursor to the album probably dropping this first quarter. Setbacks prevented my wish from coming true.

1.5 for 6

5) Kanye West tops Late Registration - I love Graduation, but no.

1.5 for 7

4) T.I takes his rightful place at Hip-Hop's helm since Jay-Z doesnt care for it anymore. - This was supposed to be the album that took Tip to new levels, his Blueprint if you will. I dug the album, but it fell a little short of his better work.

1.5 for 8

3) Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 to be better than Swift & Changeable (Ghost & Doom's album) as well as every Raekwon LP since the original -Neither of those albums came out.

1.5 for 9

2) We Got It 4 Cheap Volume 3 - Nope

1.5 for 10

The number one thing I want to see happen in 2007 (drumroll...)

1) Lupe Fiasco listens to Midnight Marauders - *sigh* He was so stubborn that he stuck to his guns on OKP and wound up messing up the words to "Electric Relaxation" on national TV. I know women that dont rap who wouldnt have dropped the ball like that.

1.5 for 11, that's 13.64%
The top 12 things I want to see happen in Hip-Hop this year

12)Game causes more controversy – The rap game needs this man to keep things interesting, for two albums he’s received incredible production and been a brash unpredictable asshole. I can stand for him to not say Dre’s name anymore though.

11)Rappers stick to rapping – Acting careers, clothing lines, running record labels and whatever else takes the focus away from you getting busy in the booth. "If you’re a rapper, rap motherfucker." – Lyor Cohen

10)Foxy Brown puts out a release that is worth the wait – Between Inga’s loss of hearing/legal troubles and Eve’s acting career, Lil Kim undeservedly ran away with the mainstream female crown by default. For my tastes, Kim makes weak music nowadays and Foxy deserves a shot at proving she still has it. Ill Na Na and Broken Silence were bangers for their time and “Come Fly With Me” was the jam two years ago. I believe she can come back.

9)A new album from Juelz Santana – He’s quietly the most charismatic Dipset member when it comes to song making. He doesn’t show out in online video clips or get into beefs with anyone; it’s just his music that’s spoken volumes for him. When he’s in his zone and has chosen a good beat, his braggadocio is second to none.

8)Young Dro gains the respect he’s deserved – He’s one of the best new rappers going slept on. A lot of the Hip-Hop world blames the South for supposedly ruining music and just lump him in with every other run of the mill one hit wonder coming out these days. But if you listen to lyrics like I do and have an understanding of Southern culture/slanguage you’d have no choice but to respect this man’s spit game, in an interview he said his influences were Nas, Jay-Z and The Lox. The press needs to stop playing up his affiliation with T.I. and focus on the fact that he can rap. He’s a bit of lyrical content away from being up there with whoever we presently consider great.

7)Anything new from MF Doom – He’s been gone for far too long, and he’s left a nation of diehard followers thirsty for his return. The recent scandal involving him putting someone else in a mask at his shows has added to his mystery. Whenever he resurfaces (The Ghostface collab and Madvillain sequel albums are rumored to be next), we should be in for a treat.

6)Jay Electronica lives up to half of his buzz and potential – Just read this article, all of the praise heaped upon this dude and pay close attention to all of the projects he’ll supposedly be putting out. That’s a lot of pressure with proven acts we respect bowing at his altar, it almost reminds me of the pre Voodoo hype and we see how that’s worked out in the end. It’s been a week since Act II: Patents of Nobility was supposed to drop and it’s nowhere to be found. I’m holding on to faith that he isn’t another in the long list of “talk the talk” artists because he’s actually talented.

5)More respect for women – Let me start by saying Young H is a reformed pr0n connoisseur who still loves seeing asses shaking in clubs, I’m all for that. I’m also cool with a “bitch” or “hoe” thrown around in songs every now and then, but it’s recently become a lot worse than I can recall in previous years. Perhaps “Get Low” was the resurgence but this was the final straw for me. Yes there are women out here carrying themselves without much self-respect, but I don’t need you to make light of the bleak reality that you had fun while she hit you and your whole crew off. I’m getting to be a little too old to do anything more than frown my face when I hear things like this. Pac, the ever conflicted soldier still had enough sense to drop that Since we all came from a woman/got our name from a woman and our game from a woman… scripture on “Keep Your Head Up”

I also think that while club records were made for us to dance, they could use a little more substance than “Shake that fat ass and drop it to the floor girl/hoe/lil’ mama”. Dana Dane started off the classic “Nightmares” with Well I walked into the office, what did I see? A well shaped body with its back to me, that was a descriptive line in telling a story. LL explained to a series of women that he had to leave because their competition had bigger rear ends, it was a humorous concept and clever record that took at least a little bit of thought to write. 2 Live Crew was a group who made their name off of booty shake music, if that’s all your song is going to say in this day and age then you probably wont get props over here. I’ll give you the respect that it gets the women loose, but I can’t take you serious as an artist. I’ll contradict myself and say this much though: Yung Leak’s “Jiggle It” is still the JAM, I respect that he stayed in his lane and brought the rest of the world to Baltimore without sounding like the same regurgitated song over and over. For the record, I don’t see this changing because I have a working theory that says corporate suits live, die and thrive off of black ignorance and dissension. So I guess I’ll be a jigaboo dancing along and having fun knowing within me that it’s at least a little wrong.

4)Lil Wayne drops a classic – Okay Dwayne, you’ve made yourself the most prolific rapper in history doing more guest appearances and beat jackings than Busta Rhymes. But can you gain my respect and drop an album that will make the world stand on its ear, or will you just say whatever comes to your mind over whatever beats you’re given? Supposedly Kanye is executive producing this next album, so we'll see what it comes out sounding like. But I'm not holding my breath for a miracle.

3)The end of youtube rap – Most of the world is looking to be distracted and entertained by idiotic material. If your song has an accompanying dance that people can film themselves doing, chances are I don’t want you to have a career this year.

2)50 Cent keeps up his comedy routines – If you’ve missed it, there’s recent footage from Curtis being on tour overseas cracking jokes on the likes of Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Wu-Tang, Ja Rule, and Irv Gotti. Golden age backpackers are upset by this, but he has a natural knack for humor and I love it.

1)Detox to change the face of music as we know it – The way it’s been hyped, this album is supposed to be the end all be all. But if you know better like me, it will just be a lot of epic sounding beats by Dre’s ghost producers, with him and a gang of guest stars rapping about weed, bitches, cars and whatever other niggerish topics they can come up with. That’s if it even comes out this year.