Hate Triangle

I’m overjoyed to report that there’s new rap beef in town and I couldn’t be happier about who it involves.  And this isn’t just some regular one on one rapper beef, this is two vs. one made up of three of the radio’s biggest stars.  It involves Detroit newcomer Big Sean, Toronto semi-newcomer Drake, and Southern rap veteran, Ludacris.   I can’t express in words how much is thrills me to have rap beef between new rappers and old ones, time to teach these kids a lesson, Luda.
In a recent allhiphop.com interview, Drake was quoted saying this referring to how he believes he and Lil Wayne started a specific style of rap: “Then a bunch of rappers started doing it and using the most terrible references in the world. I don’t want to offend somebody… I wish they had left that for people that know how to use it. [They go like] “It’s a parade! MACY’S!” Now we all know this is a line from Ludacris’s incredibly successful single My Chick Bad.  And here’s what Big Sean has to say on MTV.com: “I created that one word rhyme style…I think some artists just did it so wack, man…Don’t get it wrong I’m not trying to diss Ludacris or nothing…But even though that style got so overused, there was a lot of people who did it great and there was a lot of people who didn’t do it so great. I feel like I changed hip-hop…So that goes to show me how powerful my mind is.”  I can’t even handle that last sentence.
So why have these two teamed up against Ludacris?  Not so sure myself, but it’s about to go down.  Listen to the new track History Lesson & Bada Boom off Ludacris’s most recent mixtape and you’ll hear exactly why you don’t go running your mouth about rappers who have been rapping since before you were born. He raps “Let me explain, nothing’s been new since Big Daddy Kane/ Flows will get recycled passed around to different names/ But what’s the same, that every verse I spit is insane/ Got more styles than any rapper in the game, 11 years and still counting/And ya’ll get a couple hit records, make some noise and have the nerve to start shouting” And it’s on.
I think we all know whose side I’m going to take on this one.  Let’s compare.  Big Sean, a mediocre rapper at best, has experienced success with a few radio hits off of his first and only album, Finally Famous.  Although he is signed to Kanye West’s label, that won’t give him a pass in my book.  He gets good beats, gets good featured artists on his songs (it’s nice knowing Kanye, right?), has had a few interesting rap lines, and that’s about all the nice things I could possibly say about him.  Drake, more talented than Big Sean and most popular new artists, has experienced his success with his first mixtape, So Far Gone, and first album, Thank Me Later, and has now just released his second album Take Care.  Before I heard about this whole Ludacris thing, I really respected Drake.  He was never one of my favorite rappers, but I have seen him in concert (for free) and he’s besties with Nicki Minaj so I never had a problem with him…until now.
Now let’s get to Ludacris’s accomplishments.  Let’s see here, he’s the founder of Disturbing tha Peace record label, has won several Grammy awards along with a Screen Actors Guild award, BET award, Critic’s Choice Award, and an MTV award.  He’s released 7 albums and 6 mixtapes since the year 2000, and plans for a new one to be released in 2012.  He’s starred and made cameos in countless movies and television series, and is just generally one of the most famous, talented rappers of all time.  Drake and Big Sean wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for veterans like Ludacris who helped transition hip hop into mainstream culture.  They paved the way for these ungrateful new rappers who have half the talent and half the passion that Ludacris has for rap music.  How can Big Sean say that he “changed hip hop”? Does this disgust anyone else?  If he’s done anything for the music world, he’s changed it for the worst.  And Drake saying that he invented his style of rapping is like saying he invented the PB&J sandwich.  Well guess what Drizzy Drake, many rappers have been eating sandwiches and using that rap “punchline” style for years so take a seat.  And how many times do I have to say this…don’t go around dissing people who have a lot more power, success, and money than you! But also just show love for the people who made it possible for you to even have a career.  The rappers who brought rap into pop culture when most people were hating on it, saying that it was music for thugs and criminals.  Pay your respect and listen to Luda when he says “See I’m ya past, I’m ya future and ya present/ So watch ya f-cking mouth when you speak about a legend.”

-Zoe Rich

Posted in hip-hop | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ricky Rozay vs. Kreayshawn

Move over Tupac and Biggie, there’s new rap beef in town and it could get ugly. Newcomer Kreayshawn recently dissed Miami’s finest Rick Ross, a.k.a. Ricky Rozay, in one of her freestyle raps, using his name as a metaphor “fake as Rick Ross”. She also recently has made comments about his weight and poor rapping ability (according to her), and it’s safe to say Rick Ross is not taking this lightly. In a recent interview, Rozay used some colorful language to describe the female rapper from California, calling her a “Dirty B*tch”, and stating “you better know the f**k you talking about. I’ll pay 50K to mess up your whole week.” Yikes. It might be time for Kreayshawn to upgrade her security.

Before everyone starts fearing for Kreayshawn’s life, let’s rewind a little here. In one corner we have, Kreayshawn, the new female rapper from Oakland, California. She is best known for a song called Gucci Gucci, where she raps “I’m rolling up my catnip and sh*tting in your litter/ Why you look bitter? I be looking better/ The type of b*tch that make you wish that you ain’t never met her/ The editor, director plus I’m my own boss/ So posh, nails fierce with the gold gloss/ Which means nobody getting over me/ I got the swag and it’s pumping out my ovaries.” Not so gangsta. In the other corner we have Rick Ross, a multi-platinum rapper representing Miami, Florida with four albums and countless collaborations with some of raps finest artists, under his (very large) belt. So why is Kreayshawn calling out this famous rap veteran? I’m not so sure myself. Seems it’s probably a bad idea to diss a person who is well-respected in the rap world and has a history of violence. Do your research, Kreayshawn. Back in 2008, Ricky Rozay and his entourage were involved in a little “altercation”, let’s call it. During an awards show, members of the entourage assaulted DJ Vlad, a radio DJ, who had questioned Rick Ross’ authenticity and credibility after it was revealed that Ross had previously worked as a correctional officer before becoming a rap star.

I am all about hip hop beef. It can be done in creative, intelligent, and safe ways that result in better rap music. However as we all know from the Tupac/Biggie story, it can take a turn for the worst when it turns violent and someone loses a life.

But besides the actual physical threat to Kreayshawn, she should be respecting the rap game instead of calling people out for attention. Ross has platinum singles, Kreayshawn has one song that has only become popular because fans think it’s a funny joke (if you don’t believe me, watch the music video). Show some respect and make a name for yourself, you could even start with putting out an album, before you try to take down hip-hop’s biggest boss.

-Zoe Rich

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Collaboration Albums

 

This month two of raps biggest stars came out with a long-awaited, top secret (zero songs leaked before the release date) collaboration album called Watch the Throne.  Jay-Z and Kanye West produced what is sure to be one of the best albums of 2011, and maybe one of the best rap albums ever.  Each song on the album features verses from both rappers plus some guest stars like Beyonce and Frank Ocean. With the release of Watch the Throne, I have taken an interest in collaboration albums, and why they don’t happen more often.  They seem like a great idea to me, you get two artists for the price of one! But besides being frugal, I also like that you get to listen to two talented people on the same song, feeding off each other, and sharing their creative juices. So, in the spirit of collaboration albums, I’ve come up with my own list of albums that probably won’t, but should happen.  Just FYI, the list doesn’t necessarily include my favorite artists (though some are definitely on there), but more of the most interesting ones as a collaboration.  Enjoy…

  • Beyonce and Alicia Keys – I don’t think this one really needs an explanation because both women have undeniable talent.  Their distinctive voices would sound amazing together, plus they pretty much run the music world when they have albums out, it’d be like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James singing a duet.  There would be so much female empowerment in one album I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
  • Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj – The two best female rappers of all time.  Sorry Lil Kim. Plus Timbaland is obligated to produce the album just by association to Missy. Imagine how crazy the music videos would be!
  • Jay-Z and Eminem – If you don’t already understand why this should happen, then look up the song Renegade.
  • Rihanna and Katy Perry – It’d be like Pop music heaven!  Despite both of their questionable singing abilities, I respect both artists because they continuously put out quality, real pop songs, not this new dance/techno BS that seems to have become the radio’s new obsession.  Respect.
  • T.I. and Ludacris – Despite the beef that previously existed between these two southern rappers, they really need to get over it and become friends so they can make an album together.  But only if Ludacris raps like he did on Chicken-n-Beer and T.I. stays out of jail.
  • Akon and Tinie Tempah – For those of you who don’t know, Tinie Tempah is a new British rapper that is really winning me over.  I love what he raps about, how he raps it, and although it took me a while to get used to his accent, I now like that too.  If you add Akon’s insane, unique voice in between a few verses from Tinie…I think I smell a hit record.
  • Amerie and Beyonce – Amerie wins the award for most underrated R & B singer of all time.  She gets no love on the radio or on the charts; however she still has one of the most amazing voices ever.  Her energetic performances and real talent would work in perfect harmony with Queen Bey.
  • And for the finale: Jay-Z and T-Pain – Not only are these two very different from each other but they don’t even like each other either.  However they share an extraordinary talent and love for what they do. Which is why they would work perfectly together!  If both artists brought the same creativity, energy, and effort to one album together that they do separately on their own, it would honestly be the best album ever created, bold statement I know.  It’s time they put their differences behind them, make up a cool nickname for their collaborative efforts like T-Jay, and unite their two super powers.  Let’s do this.

- Zoe Rich

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Loving, Hating Rihanna Out LOUD

 

Since the North American part of the LOUD Tour came to a close this past Sunday in my fair city of Boston, I find it very appropriate to write about Rihanna, someone I’ve had a love/hate relationship with for a very long time now.  And by “relationship” I mean admiring/hating from afar.  I’m not going to lie; I have all her albums and listen to them relatively frequently.  I’ve followed her career from her younger days with Pon de Replay, through her dark days after the infamous “incident”, right up to today with her latest album, LOUD.  For someone who has a love/hate relationship with her, I know it seems like I’m a pretty dedicated fan, leaning more towards the love side.  But what can I say, she makes catchy music with a little bit of island flavor and I like it!
I get why other people like her too.  No matter what color of the rainbow her hair may be, she is very nice to look at and I think many of her male fans will agree with me (my boyfriend has a poster of her in his room).  Her Barbados accent gives her voice a cool, metallic-y quality to it when she talks or sings, and she just generally seems like a fun person that people would like to hang out with.
Now brace yourself, here comes the hate part of the “relationship.”  I believe that the reason why I was into Rihanna in the beginning of her career was because I had never heard her perform live or seen any live video.  All I had to go by was the CD tracks that I’m now learning are probably incredibly enhanced.  Over the past few years, I’ve YouTube-d her performances, watched every music awards show she performed at and I must say I wasn’t impressed by any of them.  The nicest thing I can say about her performing live is that she has nice costumes…which says something, because as a singer, I feel like your voice should be what is complimented.  Let me just be up front about this, Rihanna is no Beyonce.  And if you disagree, I challenge you to YouTube a Beyonce or Mariah Carey live performance, then do the same for Rihanna and try not to laugh.  Her vocal skills pail in comparison and her energy on stage is similar to a wet mop. I recently watched a performance where Rihanna was brought on stage at a Nicki Minaj show to sing her part of their duet Fly.  The first time the chorus came around, Rihanna attempted to sing and completely messed up the high note (that sounds pretty epic on the CD track and part of what makes the song so cool in the first place).  The second time it came around to her part, she changed the high note to a much lower one, and the third time she completely vetoed singing altogether and pointed the mic to the audience to get them to sing her part instead (a great trick used by artists when they are tired or a fraud).
Anyway despite all this negativity I feel towards Rihanna’s pipes, I admit I did try to get tickets to her concert on Sunday.  I thought it could be entertaining, plus I’m a fan of her opening act, J.Cole.  I decided against it at the last minute because spending hundreds of dollars on mediocre seats and mediocre vocal talent didn’t strike me as the right decision.  And I’m glad I didn’t, because the Boston Globe reported the next day that her concert lacked energy and excitement, saying “it seemed she was barely holding on to being Rihanna.”
Now let’s give a little credit where credit is due.  The show was the last of the North American part of her tour which means she was probably extremely exhausted and perhaps tired of doing the same songs over and over again each night for months on end.  I would be ready to throw in the towel too. However, I wouldn’t be getting paid millions of dollars, so actually Rihanna, step your game up.  This is exactly why she will never be the best in the game.  Because there are other singers such as Beyonce and Alicia Keys who give 110%, all of the time.  Who put on the best show of their lives for their fans and will do it again the next night, and the next, and the next and make sure their fans love every minute of it.  Even Katy Perry’s less than dazzling vocal skills can be overlooked for the amazing, energetic show she puts on.  So I guess for now Rihanna is content with living in the shadows of other iconic female R&B divas.  As the Globe says, “If nothing else, we know that Rihanna wasn’t lip-synching.”  Great work, RiRi.
-Zoe Rich

Go here for the original Globe article by Marc Hirsh:  HYPERLINK “http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-25/ae/29813356_1_rihanna-california-king-bed-cee-lo-green” http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-25/ae/29813356_1_rihanna-california-king-bed-cee-lo-green

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Check out this live in-studio performance. O.Amsler- Motivated http://ping.fm/mjNo4

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stopping the Fun

Due to the arrival of the internet and MP3’s, the recording industry has been in a long-lasting slump, steadily losing more and more money as more and more people discover illegally downloading music. This week, an article in Rollingstone by Mathew Perpetua, described the new plan from internet providers to stop the illegal downloading of music, movies, and games. The new system gives six warnings to customers suspected of digital copyright infringement (which they are allowed to contest). If the customer ignores the warnings, punishments become more severe, resulting in an ultimate loss of internet service.
I see both sides of the argument to this infamous issue that’s plagued the recording industry for many years now. Of course people should get paid for their hard work that gets put into creating a song or album, including the people who aren’t in the spotlight like the producer or songwriter. You wouldn’t steal a car from a car dealership because it’s morally wrong and just plain illegal, so why should stealing the new Lil Wayne single be any different? But I also completely understand the argument that paying for music takes a backseat to paying for other (sometimes) more important things in life like food or electricity. This is what makes paying for music seem like such a silly thing, especially when there are so many sites and so many ways to illegally download that are basically being dangled in the fan’s face. It’s like leaving a juicy steak on the edge of the kitchen table while no one is in the house. You come home to find that your dog has devoured it and you get mad. But shouldn’t your anger be directed toward the person who left it there? The dog was just doing what was expected, how could it resist a steak so close to its eye level? Since the bate for humans (music) is so readily available at all times, why should the fan be the one who gets punished? Shouldn’t the internet providers or a higher up in the recording industry world punish the people who are initially leaking the songs to be downloaded? Now of course I know that sometimes artists leak their own music to promote their upcoming album or even just to be nice to their fans, however most of the time the leaks come from an anonymous person who wants to make money by releasing a song before the album comes out.  Either that or they just really take pleasure in spoiling a surprise.

Whether I agree with monitoring illegally downloading music or not, I do believe this could be suicide for the internet providers who probably think they have a brilliant plan set up. They hope to annoy the fans with the warnings to a point that they will just stop downloading, and if not then they shut the internet service off. Well I personally know a ton of music fans who are incredibly stubborn and willing to fight for free music, I can only assume that there are many others out there who would do the same. Which makes me think, if the internet service cuts off access for the (probably millions of) people who won’t stop downloading, won’t the providers be losing service and eventually run themselves out of business? Also, with customers being allowed to contest each warning, won’t this cause an even bigger headache for the providers? There are a lot of angry people who aren’t willing to back down that easily. And I know I’m not alone here (the men out there have to feel me on this one) when I say that it seems like an invasion of privacy or a tad creepy to know that Verizon, Comcast, ATT, etc. will now be monitoring all the internet sites we visit.  Just for the record, I am in no way promoting stealing or downloading music, it just seems as if The Man might want to take another few years to think this one through.

 

-Zoe Rich

To view the original Rollingstone article, click here:

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/blogs/gear-up/internet-providers-to-punish-customers-who-pirate-content-20110708

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mindless Behavior’s Mindless Behavior

 

I’ve never been much of a kid’s person. I don’t go all goo-goo-ga-ga when I see a baby and I don’t think it’s funny or cute when someone’s kid starts making a scene in public places.  What’s even more annoying to me than kids in general is when kids act or look like grown up adults (i.e. Ralph Lauren clothing advertisements & that disturbing television show, Toddlers & Tiaras) Which is why I get especially angry whenever I see Mindless Behavior, an R&B singing group made up of four boys who, at some point in their 12 years of life, were told they had above average singing ability, good looks, and big enough egos to make a popular singing group.  These four boys, Ray Ray, Princeton, Prodigy, and Roc Royal (um, what?) are quickly becoming girls’ new obsession.  Their most popular song, My Girl, is regularly featured on MTV Jams, and they’ve been seen opening for big name tours like Janet Jackson and Justin Bieber. Where do I even begin…?
I won’t even address the subject of their individual names because I could write a whole other article about that alone.  So let’s start with the fact that they are making a mockery of hip hop and R&B.  Not only do they represent everything that’s wrong with young hip hop artists today, but they’re biggest hit song is about texting…I completely understand that technology is a huge part of our world nowadays.  I see 5 year olds playing on iPhones everyday, however I grew up with texting too and I do not feel the need to sing about it.  I mean just listen to these lyrics, “When I say hey, then you say what’s up?/ And I’ll be like baby, do you miss me?/ When you say yes, then I’ll say ditto/ Then you hit me back, with the less than symbol number three.”  Thanks for telling us your entire PG rated text conversation.
But maybe I shouldn’t blame them for singing about such trivial topics, after all their record label probably paid a team of people to write that song for them.  Maybe it’s just simply their age.  Most tweens probably don’t have enough life experiences to sing with feeling and soul in their music like R.Kelly or Uncle Charlie Wilson do.  Now I know some of the older readers are asking themselves right now, so what? You’re only 23! Well touché, you make a great point.  I’m no wise old grandma who should be giving out life advice to the youngsters, but I do like to think that I have a few more life experiences than a 7th grader and could drop some knowledge on a tween if they asked me for it.
Although I’ve spent most of this article hating on four young children, the last thing I want is for people to think that I’m a heinous person who hates children, it’s not like that.  I’m not really disgusted with the actual kids, I’m more directing my anger towards the people around them who think it’s a good idea to dress them as a 30 something year old R&B artist (for example Usher) and teach them dance moves that should only be seen at a Chippendales show (see their powerful, gyrating hips in the My Girl music video).  Well this is my message to those people: be original! Why don’t you just let a kid be a kid, send them to school where they can actually experience the times in their lives that they’ll be able to sing about later. And if you absolutely positively need to force them into a singing career before high school, let them act their age!
I guess in the end, I am completely aware that I am not their target audience. I’m not a 10 year old girl who can’t go to concerts without a chaperone. It’s just depressing that this is what hip hop has become.  When I was younger, I had quality R&B music like Boyz II Men or Destiny’s Child, so it’s hard for me to wrap my head around a group of strangely named boys who sing about using their cell phones.  But I guess if this is what keeps the young’ns happy and listening to music, then maybe I’m the one who should change.  After all, isn’t that what our parents said when my generation first discovered the once new, scandalous, vulgar genre of hip hop music in general?  Hip hop is clearly changing, I’m just sad to see the older version go.

-Zoe Rich

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

4-Ever A Beyonce Fan

No one does it better than Beyoncé.  There… I said it.  There has been no other artist that has consistently put out exceptional music and entertained their fans to the maximum, than the queen of hip-hop, Beyoncé Knowles.  Her music has made such an impact on my life; I still remember the first time I bought a Destiny’s Child album at Sam Goody’s (an old music store that went out of business after people realized they didn’t really have to pay for music).  I forced my father to drive me there so I could pick up a copy of Destiny’s Child, their debut album, thirteen years ago.  I still remember the excitement of buying the CD, ripping open the plastic packaging, peeling off the sticker that held the CD case together with intense frustration (anyone born before MP3’s, you know what I’m talking about), and immediately playing it on full blast through the speakers in my old Volvo station wagon.  So you best believe I hauled my butt to

Target on June 28th to get Beyoncé’s fourth solo album (yes, the actual CD and case) appropriately titled 4. And this time, at the ripe old age of 23, I drove myself.  However that was the only difference between the two experiences.  It truly amazes me that I’ve been listening to this R&B diva sing for over 13 years now, following literally every single step of her career along the way, and can go buy her album as a 23 year old college graduate with the same excitement I had as a 10 year old, fourth grader.  There aren’t many artists who would have that affect on someone; therefore Beyoncé deserves all the respect and the acclaim that she gets.  Though some criticize this most recent album for not having enough “radio friendly” hits, through the ears of someone who looks for quality music and powerful soul, Beyoncé fails to disappoint once again.

It’s hard for me to pick just one or two songs to mention, because I love every song off of 4.  Though Run the World (Girls), admittedly grew on me over time, other songs like I Was Here, Countdown, End of Time, Schoolin’ Life, Best Thing I Never Had, and I Miss You, were instant favorites.  The way Beyoncé’s voice flutters over an electric guitar solo in I Care, would stun any non-believer.  And the low-key Party track featuring Andre 3000 showcases her natural vocal tone and abilities, featuring a chorus of Beyoncé singing backup for herself, creating unbelievable harmonies that sound like a party in my headphones. However I Was Here is the song that touched me the most.  Beyoncé sings about wanting to leave her mark on the world and all that she has accomplished so far, “I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted/ And it was more than I thought it would be/ I will leave my mark so everyone will know/ I was here…” The moving lyrics and powerful music result in one of the most inspirational songs I’ve ever heard.

Since 1998, Beyoncé has put out hit after hit, album after album, with the usual praise from critics and fans alike.  However it seems this album has gotten more bad reviews than the total of her entire career.  While some, like the Boston Globe, can recognize the uniqueness of the album, “This album is also one of Beyoncé’s most natural efforts, standing out for the simple fact that it doesn’t try to stand out.”  Others aren’t as kind; the Washington Post calls her “dull” then reports, “It’s also her fourth-best album, as in her worst.”  The Chicago Tribune agrees, saying, “Maybe next time she’ll get in the lab with some better songs.”  The common theme from all the negative reviews is that the music is not the usual, infectious songs she regularly puts out…but why is this a bad thing?  Just because she doesn’t have a song playing every 5 minutes on the radio means the album is a failure?  I couldn’t disagree more.  I know popular upbeat, hip hop songs are what we’ve come to expect of her, but why would we want an artist to make the same type of song every time they record?  Beyoncé did her own thing on this album, which to me, is immensely more admirable and respectable than using the formula for a perfect radio-friendly song to make money (dance beat + verse from mediocre rapper à la Pitbull = $).  Let’s be honest, she doesn’t exactly need the extra cash when she comes in on the Forbes list for highest earning females every year- or for that matter, the popularity.  She’s already established herself as a well-respected, international artist who dominates the entertainment industry, so why not make an album that truly reflects her own ideas and visions without caring about sales or radio time. Beyoncé makes music with a purpose, and that’s been clear since she first set foot on stage with Destiny’s Child.  Therefore giving her bad reviews when she chooses to not make songs about alien sex or repeating the phrase “I like it, like it” until it gets stuck in people’s heads so they’re forced to sing along, seems hardly fair.

No matter what your opinion about 4, it seems almost impossible to deny the talent and power of Beyoncé. Though she knows how to make a hit, there’s much more to why fans are so obsessed with her music.  Every girl can relate to her songs no matter who you are or where you’re from (not trying to get all Backstreet Boys on you), and that’s the best thing about Beyoncé.  Never mind her modesty, incredible singing pipes, good looks, rap star husband, 16 Grammy awards, and fierce dance moves.  Her songs include every possible emotion a person can feel, and the soul in her voice is simply undeniable.  I can’t say there are too many Beyoncé haters, after all a few bad reviews over 13 plus years of work seem like a miniscule bump in the road.  But to all the people who doubt her talent, show me another artist who continues to entertain with class, humility, and grace and I’ll take Beyoncé off my pedestal.  However, I think (and hope) you’ll be hard pressed to find one.

-Zoe Rich

Posted in hip-hop | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bad Meets Evil…Meets Too Nice?

 

        Eminem has been a force in hip-hop going on 15 years now. His skill, (combined with his skin color) created a monster. When he came around in the late 90’s, he was the anti pop star; vulgar, unapologetic, and didn’t play well with others. No one was safe, just by virtue of being alive, you were one of his potential targets. Eminem famously took himself off drugs, and last year released the critically acclaimed Recovery and is following up with Bad Meets Evil, a joint project with newly signed Royce Da 5’9” of Slaughterhouse. One song in particular off of this CD caught my interest and made me worried that Eminem had become too nice.

        First, let me say that we all know that Eminem is nice, or sick, or any other adjective to describe someone who can really flow. But that’s not the kind of nice that I mean. When Eminem first showed up in the public eye in the late 90’s, I think the reason so many people were intrigued by him was not only his incredible talent, but maybe just as important, his anger. Most hip-hop that went pop during that time was bounce that shit, toast this liquor music and it was in a weird way refreshing to hear Eminem talking about murdering his wife and accidentally making a girl OD on shrooms. He consciously differed himself from the other pop stars of the time and was totally unwilling to identify with the other music on the radio. Back then, he was our mole in the music industry, out to expose everyone that was having there limited talent shoved down our throats.

        Cue Bruno Mars, (ahem). It’s 2011, Eminem has ditched the drugs and developed a new attitude and is looking for collaborators for Bad Meets Evil, and they felt like the CD wouldn’t be complete without Bruno Mars? Of annoying haircut fame? I actually like the song ‘Lighters’ which is essentially an ode to achieving your dreams, but I hate the idea of Eminem and Bruno Mars on the same song. I hate the fact that to me, it’s showing that Eminem has grown up. It probably wasn’t rational for Eminem to be so angry at N Sync and Christina Aguilera back in the day, it wasn’t really there fault that the labels were force feeding us there music, and we didn’t love Eminem because he was rational, (‘I’m bored out of my gourd, so I took a hammer and nailed my foot to the floor board of my Ford’). We loved him because he’s crazy, and took no prisoners ‘women all grabbing at my shishkabob, bought Lauren Hill’s tapes so her kids could starve”.

        Look at his career up to Recovery, you won’t find too many collaborations with people outside of his label, and you won’t find him featured on too many other artists albums either. He had that ‘if you’re not with me, you’re against me’ mentality, and it forced him to continue giving us an original sound. He was never plugging himself into the hit record formula that’s something like (producer X + hook from r&b star Y = song Z we’ve heard a million times) Maybe I’m overreacting, but I call bogusness on this song ‘Lighters’ (and I’m not talking about when Royce raps “I’m something you don’t wanna see like a hairy box’ (like why are you talking about hairy boxes, it’s an emotional song fam)). This song sounds suspiciously like every single other one that came out this year. It’s not as if Bruno Mars is the ultimate pop star, he probably needs a dumb marriage and some nerdier glasses before he’s pop royalty but I see him as a ‘gateway drug’ of sorts for the now clean Eminem. Why would Eminem stop at Bruno Mars? Is there a Britney Spears remix with a verse from Eminem on the way? (‘Oops, I Did It A Third Time’?) After more than a decade of fuck you’s to his pop competition, Eminem has given in.

        Don’t get me wrong, since he has decided to work well with others, some great music has come out of it that wouldn’t have existed otherwise, i.e. Roman’s Revenge alongside Nicki Minaj. But I think we’re on a slippery slope. Eminem is still a monster on the mic and an as fans we are all glad he’s healthy and working on music, but his new found attitude towards pop stars he would’ve once parodied is leaving a sour taste in my mouth. I just sort of feel like The Riddler just said ‘Fuck it, Batman, let’s clean up Gotham City together.’

 

-O.A.

Posted in hip-hop | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’ve got our eye on you

Welcome to ionhiphop. If you make a song, we listen, if you shoot a video, we watch, and if you can’t hack it, we cut you down to size.

-O.A.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment