The other day Shyne called into Hot 97’s Cipha and Rosenberg show to discuss his thoughts on the new Rick Ross mixtape The Black Bar Mitzvah after going on a rant on his Twitter account. As you can see the cover of the mixtape features Ross’ face in the middle of the Star of David. Shyne takes offense to this and sees it as a sign of disrespect to his faith. He at times comes across as the typical “mad rapper” whose career is pretty much over and is mad at the dude whose making all the moves in the industry. However, he does bring up some valid points concerning Rick Ross as a rapper whose music is highly fabricated. It is widely known that he served as a corrections officer in Florida prior to his rap career taking off. This brings up the dilemma of what we expect from our rappers.
Rick Ross is clearly a character that William Leonard Roberts II is playing out through his music, but is the quality so good that we can just see it as entertainment and choose to look past it? It’s a question that I have often asked myself. I do think Ross is a talented MC who has a great ear for beats and knows how to use his voice and cadence to deliver hard-hitting songs. But I always just look at him as a joke like M.C. Gusto from the movie CB4. Ultimately, I decided I would listen to his music but never buy any of his albums or go to his shows to support him with my money. Obviously, Cipha and Rosenberg take the side of Ross because he is such a huge presence on the radio and they need that money coming in rather than the dude who isn’t making any noise on radio at all.
I appreciate Shyne for stepping up and calling out Ross because it seems people brush over the fact that Ross is a fake and just accept his music for what it is at this point. I don’t think the hip-hop community should forget that and I think more importantly Ross needs to be aware of it. It’s as if he’s so consumed by this character he is portraying he has become them. It’s just like method acting where an actor completely becomes the role he is playing in order to give the allusion of the performance. I just thought the cover and name of the mixtape were a shout out to all his brand new Illuminati business partners.
Gucci Mane comes across as both hilarious and menacing in this recent interview with Power 105.1. The reason I love it so much? Because that’s exactly what his music sounds like. Gucci is one of the rare dudes in the game where I believe most of the stuff he raps about. “Keeping it real” so to speak. There are too many great moments to name here: from him making DJ Envy shook within the first minute, calling Jeezy out, or talking about past girlfriends. Whatever you have to say about his music, which I am a fan of, there’s no denying that this man is a character. The rap game needs people like Gucci to keep these fake industry dudes in check. I salute him for that.
Young Jizzle drops this scorching new track to get people hyped from his oft-delayed forthcoming album TM 103: Hustlerz Ambition set to drop on December 20th. He hooks up with two of New York’s hottest MC’s Jadakiss and Fabolous for a seemingly odd tribute to O.J. Simpson but is really just about cocaine because really what else would you expect from Jeezy. The self proclaimed Snowman has built his repertoire on being a hustler since as he puts it he’s not a rapper. Backed by a hard-hitting beat from frequent Jeezy collaborator Lil Lody each rapper displays how they maneuver with their white chick aka cocaine. Listening to the leaks coming out from TM 103 I am a lot more optimistic than I was before. This album has been delayed at least a handful of times over the past two years and for a minute I thought it would be the new Detox that would never come out. Def Jam seemed to be playing games with Jeezy and it is true that he is not like many industry rappers because for him he has to get in the mindset of back to the days when he was really living that drug-dealing life. He needed to be surrounded by that again in order to be inspired to go out and make more music because ultimately those are the people that Jeezy really speaks to through his music. I have a feeling that all of that time will have paid off but we’ll all know in just a week if it was all worth it.
“I’m clockin’ ya/Versace shade watchin’ ya
Everyone knows that rappers throw out name brand clothing left and right in their verses to show big their balling or how fly they are. It’s practically a trope of the genre at this point. Well, the late great Biggie was no stranger to this as he rapped about wearing Coogi sweaters and rocking Versace shades. Well recently Donatella Versace spoke in an interview with Fader about what Biggie’s love for Versace meant to her and the overall brand:
” I think Biggie was amazing. He came to my shows in Paris many times, and we’d see each other often. He always used to talk so nicely about my family. I think he was so smart, so intelligent. He had such a mind. So I loved what he was doing and how he was giving people a way to know about Versace—I do think he was giving people a way to know about Versace—I do think a lot of people started to know about Versace because of him.”
You don’t know how happy that makes me to read that. Finally, one of these high class brand owners acknowledges the impact that artists have on their products and that it isn’t a bad thing that a rapper enjoys the things you make. Too many times you hear people of that stature put down the art of hip-hop music. Donatella could see how important Biggie’s voice was for his generation and the people living his life. Many of these companies should thank all of these rappers for free promotion of what they sell rather than bash an entire culture because they just don’t understand it.
Now that’s a house party I want to get invited to! Meek Mill recruits his fellow Philly partner in rhyme Young Chris to get their Kid ‘N Play on for the single from his highly touted mixtape, Dreamchasers, released earlier this year. This seems like they had a lot of fun making this video from the bottle popping to all the sexy ladys littered throughout. There is even a cameo by the hilarious comedian Lil Duval thrown in as well as Philadelphia 76er and part time MC Lou Williams. I’m interested to find out whose house they filmed this at and what the budget was for the video. There’s nothing too special about the video or song but it definitely works well as a single that can get airplay on the radio and on T.V. I am interested in how much mainstream appeal that Meek Mill will hold in the hip-hop world given that he leans more towards a hardcore street sound. If anybody can figure out how to market an artist who seems hard to connect with a large audience it would be Rick Ross and his MMG label. There’s already evidence in Wale that he can help someone turn nothing into something. Meek Mill has the unique voice and a varied styl that i believe can succeed in this industry and I’m just interested in what the future holds for him.
To commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the mixtape that catapulted him into the hearts of the streets and super stardom in 2002, 50 Cent Is The Future, 50 Cent has released a brand new mixtape titled The Big Ten. Never mind that it has only been nine years since his oft-heralded mixtape was released and the fact that the mixtape has more than ten songs. When 50 Cent says it is it is. 50 truly pioneered the mixtape game back in the day making them seem more like albums than a collection of throwaway verses and freestyles. The blueprint that he laid down can be seen mimicked by every single new rap artist coming out right now. It’s almost as if your mixtape now has to be better than your album and that’s all thanks to 50. He was releasing mixtapes at an alarming rate back in the early 2000s with his fellow G-Unit brethren. One of those tapes struck the ear of Eminem and the rest is history. Now, 50’s much more content to sit back and play the businessman than act which you can’t blame because he is a smart man who has made a lot of money in his various business ventures. He no longer can match the hunger and intensity with which he spit his rhymes back in the day which was part of the appeal. I just can’t take him seriously when he’s talking about the same things he was back ten years ago before he owned a Maybach. To me, 50 was never a skilled lyricist and I still think that Get Rich Or Die Tryin is overrated even though all of my friends hail at as some great rap classic. 50 never had much depth to his rhymes and those weaknesses are now amplified at this point in his career. This new mixtape is trying to bring back the old 50 but it’s not possible when you never switch your subject matter your whole career. 50 will always be stuck trying to be a gangsta rapper even when he’s clearly out of that element at this point in his career. That continues to be his biggest downfall.
Download The Big Ten here
I have been a longtime fan of Mr. Folarin and when the original version of this song came out towards the end of the summer it had the whole of Washington, D.C. on smash. There wasn’t a club you went to that didn’t play this record so naturally Wale decided to make a remix with some of his industry friends. Backed by a go-go inspired beat from Tone P and the legendary go-go band UCB this had all the makings of a hit locally. The record never really took off in the rest of the country due to its sound and lyrics focusing so hard on D.C. slang, (bait means someone of the opposite sex you are attracted to and want to have some fun with), and references so I’m guessing this is Wale’s way of allowing it to reach to a wider audience. 2 Chainz has been tearing it up recently on a string of guest verses and Rick Ross is his boss so you know he had to put him on the track. I could definitely do without the awkward rapping/singing of Trey Songz though. But of course Wale ends the track fittingly by killing the beat and outshining his guests. This song gets me hype everyday and motivates me to want to do something important. I mean how can you not when you’re being told “Work, Work, Work, Work!”