“I know there won’t be any repercussions behind what I did. I know for a fact music is about perception. You can’t do anything but perceive what you hear. I know that for a fact. So I can’t ever be upset about someone’s reaction.” —Lil Wayne says something about facts and perception when asked by Vibe about dissing Jay-Z on his new song, which samples the title track from The Alan Parsons Project's 1976 album, The Cask of Amantillado.
Who will win the Superbowl this Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers? If the comparative performances of the teams' high profile rap-star fans can be used as a predictive gauge, Green Bay will win. Lil Wayne's Packer's-boosting remix of Wiz Khalifa's hit Pittsburgh anthem "Black and Yellow" is better than the original.
Lil Wayne was released from Rikers Island this morning. He'll now head to Las Vegas, where he'll apparently join his protege Drake on stage Saturday night, and then to Miami, for the traditional welcome home party at a strip club Sunday night. According to Mack Maine, another rapper on Wayne's Young Money label, the crew plans to "just treat him like a king, like the royalty that he is and make him feel like we really missed him and welcome him back to the family, basically."
"This is not a mashup album, this is an album about Wayne." That's the tagline accompanying a new mixtape circulating around Tumblr that mashes-up the lyrical stylings of Lil' Wayne with the soundtrack from (500) Days Of Summer. The biggest shocker of all though is probably that it's kind of awesome? I mean, for goofy looking white people, Lil Wayne was already pretty great, but now here he is rapping over a Zooey Deschanel sample and The Smiths (at the same time!). Go download this and then think for a long time about your life and wonder if it should be legal to rap over Hall And Oates. [...]
HIPAA privacy rules may prevent Miami dentist Dr. Virgil Mongalo from getting into the specifics of the dental procedure that resulted in the start of Lil Wayne's jail term being pushed back to today, but he's more than free to brag about how much bank he made: "When asked about the $150,000 price Wayne is quoted to have paid, Dr. Mongalo paraphrased Don Quixote: 'A tooth is worth more than a diamond.'" What this means for the relative value of a Google Trends-hopping press release remains maddeningly unclear.
God, the news is bad. Bin Laden is calling for "drastic solutions." (More drastic?!) The Italian mafia has been sinking cargo ships full of radioactive waste in the Mediterranean. Paul Krugman should basically start ending his pieces on the administration's economic policy with "but I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance." But know hope: I think we may have found the answers to all these problems, and more: New Orleans rap kingpins Ronald and Bryan "Baby" Williams Williams, cofounders of Cash Money Records, have started an "environmentally friendly" energy company, Bronald Oil & Gas.
I never enjoy relaying this stuff. But: there is a feud between high-level rappers. Last week, Pusha T—formerly of the Virginia duo, Clipse, currently signed to Kanye West's Good Music (that was Pusha rapping on Kanye's 2010 masterpiece, "Runaway")—released a new song called "Exodus: 23" that he made with R&B star The-Dream. It's great; an ice-cold diatribe against an unnamed rival who raps tough but lacks genuine street cred and hides behind other people and is "signed to one nigga who's signed to another nigga that's signed to three niggas." A lot of people assumed the song is about Drake, who is signed to Lil Wayne's Young Money Records, [...]
The venerable Busta Rhymes shows us what people mean when they talk about an MC "blacking out" on a track. He rhymes so fast, enunciates so clearly, without pausing to take a breath, you'd think he'd lose consciousness. In so doing, he steals this song—with it's huge and spacious beat, which was produced by club music maestro Diplo and sounds like it will explode dance floors like the Yin Tang Twins "Wait (The Whisper Song)" did six years ago—from proprietor Chris Brown and fellow guest star Lil Wayne both.
Here are a bunch of other good rap songs that came out this week.
Oh, man! Bob Dylan is going to write six more books for Simon & Schuster! That's great, because his first one was so totally excellent. But also, six more? Really? Six? When am I going to have time to read six more books by Bob Dylan? (Especially seeing as I have to spend so much time watching his old music videos on YouTube.)
Here's a good new rap song from New Orleans rapper B.G., who was Lil Wayne's partner on Cash Money Records when they were both still in their teens, and one of the millions-selling Hot Boys crew that led the label's rise to national prominence in the late '90s. Most importantly, probably, in world-historical terms, B.G. is credited with popularizing (if not the inventing) the now ubiquitous term "bling bling," an ideophone meaning "jewelry." B.G. was a heroin addict for a while, and I like the way his voice sounds with the woozy nod of the horns on this track, which was made by local producer Big Ro, [...]
It's always worth checking out Houston's Bun B. Here he is, joining Reflection Eternal's Talib Kwelli and DJ Hi-Tek on a new song called "Strangers."
How rap builds itself on itself: Brooklyn MC Red Cafe has a new song out called "I'm Ill." I like it. But not everyone does. (The Pigeons and Planes website says "This track might be Mr. Marty Mediocre's favorite new song." Ha! Marty Mediocre must hang out with Plain Jane McLame and Norman McNormalson.) The song is interesting, though, at the very least, as a study of how production trends work. The beat is built around a vocal sample of Jay-Z saying "I'm Ill" on a record he released last year called "A Billie." "A Billie" featured Jay rhyming over the beat from Lil Wayne's hit "A [...]
I watched too much "Growing Pains" when I was a kid to ever hear Robin Thicke sing and not imagine that it's actually Mike Seaver on the mic. (I watched too much "Growing Pains" as a kid full-stop, I know.) But he has become a real, legitimate R&B artist—and a good one! He's always at his best with Lil Wayne, too. Robin Thicke! Who woulda thunke?
Proclamations that a certain era is "good" or "bad" for music are always specious. There's both good and bad music being made all the time, of course, in all different genres, and that's been true even during eras accepted as either "golden" or "dead" for whatever style you might be talking about. What's easier to talk about, what I think people are actually assessing when they talk in this way, is what's popular at a certain time in history—stylistic characteristics of the music that happens to be selling the most, or being played on popular radio stations. Of course, people often disagree about stylistic characteristics, too, whether they make [...]
There's a new Lil Wayne song out. New new, recorded after he got out of prison a couple weeks ago. It was produced by Atlanta's Bangladesh (that's funny to type, I wonder if there's a producer in Bangladesh named Atlanta? There might be) who used a sample of Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" and a big, rubber-bandy sounding 808 bass beat to construct the same kind of minimalist wonder that made "A Milli" such a favorite from Wayne's last proper album The Carter III. The Carter IV will be out in February, reportedly. Psyched. Wayne sounds to be in fine form.
Despite the fact that he has one of the most distinctive voices hip-hop has ever known, it's hard to root for Mystikal. Recording for Master P's No Limit Records, the Operation Desert Storm veteran played a major part in putting New Orleans rap on the map in the late '90s-remember "Here I Go," or "It Ain't My Fault" or "The Man Right Chea?" Then, even as No Limit went into decline, he rose to greater stardom with a string of hits produced by Neptunes that more effectively channeled the spirit of James Brown better than any rapper ever did before or since. "Shake Ya Ass" is [...]
A two-alarm fire at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse has resulted in the sentencing of Lil Wayne, which was already postponed for dental-related reasons, being delayed once more. (The "Fireman" joke that you wanted to make has probably already crossed the Twitter transom, but there's still time to get in a "Tha Block Is Hot" pun or two!)
Well, Lil Wayne is scheduled to go to jail today, the result of a 2007 gun possession charge. He's pretty much the biggest rap star on the planet right now-well, after Jay-Z, I suppose. He's going to Rikers Island, which is not known for being a nice place. And he'll be there for at least eight months. But with the recent incarcerations of folks like T.I. and Gucci Mane as precedent, this sort of thing is starting to seem pretty normal (again). As Wayne himself told Rolling Stone, "I just say I'm looking forward to it."