Tag Archive: jay z


 

T.I.

A hip hop day on the playlists.

On top of having four of the best of their generation, I especially like how the way the song is organized, thematically and lyrically, it sounds like a ‘one up’ contest.

And good Lord, Tip brought it home at the end.

Enjoy!

 

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Louis_Armstrong_(1955)

Hope everyone had a good 4th.  I’ve mastered the art of not obsessing about work when I don’t need to be thinking about it, so I remain in my good place.

Quick thought on the new Jay-Z album.  Is it a masterpiece?  Eh, I think we need more than a week before we give it that.  But it’s definitely the best Hov record in a long time.  May turn into a turning point for hip hop (genuine grown folk lyrics).  But as I’m saying, we will see…

Been enjoying the blues the last few days, so we’ll start the short work week with two of the masters.

Enjoy!

 

‘Lemonade’

lemonade

Wow.  Everyone is going to come at this from different angles.  I’ll touch on what struck the biggest chords with me.

Most artists (yours truly included) like to dance that line between what you definitely know about them, and what you think you know, but really can’t prove.  So when the short started, and a lot of the poetry and music was about a cheating man…sure I understood jumping to the conclusion, but mentally I was still fully into ‘this is what she wants us to think.’

Then, came, what was it? Track 3?  With the direct callback to ‘the hottest chick in the game wearing my chain?’ and the ‘God complex’, by the time we made it to the end you got Big Pimpin caressing ankles?!?

None of us can still ‘prove’ anything today that we didn’t know last night.  But…MAN.

Speaking of Track 3, when she broke out the Malcolm reference and cut to the clip of him chastising us because the black woman is the most disrespected and abused person on Earth…I’m very comfortable where I’m at in terms of ‘part of the solution or part of the problem?’  But still, it was enough to hit that Shame button and ask myself ‘Am I doing enough?’  And within the context of that song, not about me at all.

The past few days, a lot of us have been having the conversation of ‘we will always have pop stars, but who’s really going for it artistically?’  I’ve always appreciated Beyonce as a pop star, but these last couple of videos and live performances…I’m here for this evolution.  ‘Lemonade’ really, really works as a ‘visual album’. I don’t think I looked away the whole hour; my film geekness for the imagery mixed with the music was completely peaked.

If you haven’t gotten to it yet, carve out that hour before HBO takes it down.

 

hov

My other favorite part of last week. Not that I’m ever too worried about it…

But for the various cracks I get daily about either the range of my ‘appeal’ or the heights of my ambition, it does give me peace that I know you all know you never have to worry about me ever going full Ben Carson on you.

Salut!

 

ti-salute

You all know how I feel about the ‘group’ rap song where it feels like everyone is trying to one up each other.  I’ve been wearing my ‘movie star’ uniform a lot more lately so this one has been on my mind…

[Intro/Chorus 4X: sample of M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”]
“No one on the corner has swagger like us”
“Swagger like us, swagger-swagger like us”

[Chorus]

[Kanye West]
(“No one on the corner”) Mr. West is in the building
Swagger on a hundred thousand trillion
(“No one on the corner”) Aiyyo I know I got it first
I’m Christopher Columbus, y’all just the pilgrims
Thanksgiving, do we even got a question?
Hermes pastel, I passed the dressing
My attitude is tattooed
That mean it’s permanent, so I guess we should address it, huh?
(“No one on the corner”) My swagger is Mick Jagger
Every time I breathe on a track, I asthma attack it
Why he so mad for? Why he gotta have it?
Cause a slave my whole life, now I’m the master
Naaaaa-na-naaaaa
How it feel to wake up and be the shit, and the urine?
Naaaaa-na-naaaaa
Tryna get that Kobe number, one over Jordan

[Chorus]

[Jay-Z]
Yeah..
(“No one on the corner”) Got a bop like this
Can’t wear skinny jeans cause my knots don’t fit
No one on the corner got a pocket like this
So I rock Roc jeans cause my knots so thick
You can learn how to dress just for checking my fresh
Checking-checking my fresh, checking-checking my fresh
Follow my steps is the road to success
Where the niggas know you’re thorough when the girls say yes (yes!)
(“No one on the corner”) But I can’t teach ’em my swag
You can pay for school but you can’t buy class
(“No one on the corner”) School of hard knocks I’m a grad
And that all-blue Yankee is my graduation cap
It’s Hooooo-vahhhhh
Dippin-dippin Rovers, whippin with the soda
Hooooo-vahhhhh
Did you even have any doubt after doubt it was over?

[Chorus]

[Lil Wayne]
No one on the corner has swagger like moi
Church, and I’m too clean for the choir
I require, but I desire
I got stripes, A-di-das
Mami scream, “Papi no mas!”
Run up in your shit just me, no mas
Running this shit like I got four thighs
No one has swagger like these four guys
Now when it comes to styles, I got several
Sharper than the swagger, dagger all metal
And my jew-els, blue and yellow
The type of shit that make ’em call you Carmelo
rules as follows stay true to the ghetto
Write your name on the bullet make you feel special
Ha! What the fuck you boys talking ’bout?
I know it’s us cause we the only thing you talk about
And I’m gone… bye… yeah

[Chorus – during last line]

[T.I.]
Hah, you see? That’s right
Ay, you know see Weezy for the wordplay, Jeezy for the bird play
Kanyeezy for diversity and me for controversy
all my verses picture perfect, only spit to serve a purpose
You ain’t living what you kicking then you worthless
Lookin from the surface it may seem like I got reason to be nervous
Been observant, work to see if my adversity was worth it
Verse is autobiographical, absolutely classical
Last thing I’m worried ’bout is what another rapper do
Ain’t nobody hot as me
Even if they rap they ass off, blast off and have outstanding qualities
Sell a lot of records, I respect it and salute that
But spin real life on hot beats, I’m the truth at
You kick it like me, no exaggeration necessary
Living revolutionary, nothing less than legendary
Gangsta shit hereditary, got it from my dad
Flow colder than February with extraordinary swag

naitch

(That pic is always my reaction to T.I.’s verse.  Salute!)

 

jayzrkelly

A summertime jam to take you into the weekend.  Have a good one!

 

jayz-grill

I’ve heard from a couple of my aces the past 24 hours; I was reminded of one of my favorite ‘phony/jackass’ moments…

This had to be the last year of school.  I had come back from NYC so I had my fair share of New York swag.  Mixtapes, a Knicks jersey, a Brooklyn skullie.  Me and a couple of the boys were in Dillons one night buying…whatever.  The old white lady checking us out noticed my cap…

Checkout Lady: ‘Oh, you’re from Brooklyn?’

Me: (not missing a beat) Yeah, yeah.  You heard of the Marcy Projects?

Checkout Lady: No, that sounds rough!

Me: Yeah, that’s me right there yo!

I had enough sense to not even try to make eye contact with my two homies until we were outside.  To this day, those were two of the best ‘THIS MUTHA!’ looks I’ve ever gotten in my life!

Anyway, enjoy!

Art of Rap

 

I saw somewhere that Ice-T said don’t waste time with the ‘TV version’ of this doc, so I waited until it came out on Netflix.

This isn’t a must see doc for everybody, BUT if you love hip hop (Africa Bambataa is the first of many to break down the culture versus the music), and if at any point you loved the lyricists on display here, the Art of Rap is a must see.

Ice T takes advantage of a lifetime of connections to get interviews with nearly every living lyricist of note in hip hop history (noticeably absent is Jay-Z and L.L., and Ice-T makes reference to their beef in one of the interviews.)  Nearly everyone gives insight into their love of being an MC, and the true entertainment value of the doc is hearing everyone from Rakim to Eminem to Nas to Redman to Q-Tip to Yaslin Bey (Mos Def) to Joe Budden just spit.  For everything that’s associated with ‘Kanye’ now, his flow might have been my favorite, just as a reminder that yes, Kanye West can actually flow.

The only glaring flaw of The Art of Rap (in my opinion anyway) is there is NO representation from the South.  We all acknowledge the East created it and the West innovated it, but no Big Boi or Andre 3000?  No Geto Boys or Scarface?  Hell, even a Ludacris appearance would have at least acknowledged the South’s style.

I digress, that’s obviously the complaint of someone who watched hip hop go from ‘it’s just a fad’ to ‘gangsta’ to ‘bling’ to ‘corporate machine’ (another post for another time.)  Bottom line again, is The Art of Rap is a must see for fans of rap music.