"A recent news story claims that Tim Dog 'may be up to his biggest scam yet'—faking his own death. WREG in Memphis interviewed Esther Pilgrim, one of the women featured in this Dateline story back in June of last year, who had been one of many victims reportedly swindled out of money by the rapper, and she alleges that a death certificate for Timothy Blair (the Dog’s government name) has not been found by a private investigator she hired. The news station also did some diggin’ and supposedly didn’t come up with anything either. And here’s the kicker: their P.I. did, however, locate an Atlanta address 'active' since last [...]
Opening up for a Ghostface Killah concert last week in London, mysterious underground rap legend Doom found himself short of breath because those pasty Knifecrimers were "breathing up all the oxygen." He still did a great version of 2009's "Ballskin," though. And, as our friends at ego trip point out, the audience reaction shots in the video are really funny.
This song is great in the way that many of Maybach Music Group songs are great, which is to say: a behemoth beat made of 808 bass, piano and church bells, Rick Ross's baritone sounding good while saying nothing interesting, and Meek Mill's higher register sounding urgent and ever better while saying sharp, slick, clever rhymes. When Ross says that he has "that Justin Bieber," I'm pretty sure he means that he is selling cocaine. (Cocaine being white like Justin Bieber.) But it's fun to think of other stuff he might be talking about. A funny haircut? Perfect teeth? Or maybe Justin Bieber himself, bound and gagged in the [...]
In one part of rap right now, lots of rappers are publicly expressing their disappointment about MTV's recently issued top ten "Hottest MCs" list, which is specifically designed, each and every year, to make rappers publicly express their disappointment. So, in the manufactured-content and conversation-fodder department, job well done, I guess. In a different part of rap, one that has more to do with things that I think should matter to people, Odd Future's prodigal son Earl Sweatshirt continues to make the argument that he is about as skillful a lyricist as exists in the world right now. With an elevated visual sense, too. That shot [...]
Well, this is very disturbing. In an apparent effort to challenge his old Three 6 Mafia partner Juicy J for the title of hip-hop's "No. 1 get-high rapper," the self-proclaimed "King of Memphis" DJ Paul does so many drugs in his new video that he has a heart attack and dies. (Kids don't follow!) Calling oneself the "King of Memphis" is pretty cool, though, in that it places DJ Paul in the line of Old Kingdom Egyptian pharaohs like Menes and Djoser, under the protection of the god of carpentry and metalworking, Ptah, or "Lord of Truth."
Here is a good new rap song from Pusha T of the Virginian duo Clipse, and more recently, Kanye West's Good Music collective. It has a guest verse from Rick Ross on it, which I think neither adds nor detracts from its quality. The best part is the beat, made by Kanye and 24-year-old Atlantan producer Southside—despite the fact that it might remind you of Europe's "The Final Countdown."
I'm not loving all the new A$AP Rocky music so far. Of the two songs he performed on David Letterman's show last night, I definitely prefer the first one—the syrupy title track to his new album, LongLiveA$AP—over the hectic techno squawk of the second one, "Wild For the Night." But even if the stuff doesn't grow on me, or you, it's worth watching him start his rhyming while reclining on a golden throne (a nod to '80s great Big Daddy Kane.) And DJs Clark Kent and A-Trak cutting records behind him. And the lightning-quick fingers of producer Araabmusic as he types out the beats on an [...]
Once when I was driving on Route 80 in Pennsylvania, I passed a car being driven by a man holding a book open between his two hands on the steering wheel. It was a thick book, like a big novel, and he was reading it while driving 65 miles per hour on the highway. This seemed like one of the more dangerous things I had ever seen. So I hope Gunplay doesn't try to, like, look up any particular passages of scripture while he's rolling. But this is a great song.
Good ol' N.O.R.E. is very happy to be rhyming over a beat made by the revered Main Source producer Large Professor. "You're a genius," he says to his fellow Queens rap vet. "And with them grays in your beard, you look even more like a genius!" This song sounds like it was recorded twenty years ago. But in a nice way.
"SUNY paid him $3,000 to 'partially supplement the artist’s production costs for the music video.' The 'SUNY Anthem' will be incorporated into broader marketing and outreach efforts, Doyle said.The video carries the official SUNY logo and Martin says to look for him on a SUNY tour. According to his website, some of his other ballads include 'Drippin’ Wet' and 'Shake it from Behind.'” —Thanks a lot, Drake. This is your fault, you know. [Related.]
"Conservatives who talk that way don't just forfeit the chance to influence the social norms surrounding the genre. They reinforce the perception that their views are shaped by little more than cartoonish stereotypes. One needn't dig deep into obscure rap albums to find 'human feeling.' Multi-platinum singles will do. Try 'December 4th' by Jay Z or 'Stan' by Eminem. All across America, kids are listening to rap lyrics that resonate with them more than anything else in their lives, capturing the way they feel about their absent father or the bliss of a long afternoon spent in the park with friends or how parenthood changed their perspective or the effect [...]
"Well-meaning white people who like violent rap music will argue against the notion that it inspires real-life violence among those who listen to it. I will argue this. But what are we to say when a black person says, 'Someone sees Waka and then kills Treyvon.' And we know that she sees Trayvon’s face on the TV news and can’t not see her own face in his, and thus see her own face in Chief Keef’s, because she believes, she knows, that much of her country sees, still sees, all black faces as the same. We want it to be different, us well-meaning white people. Maybe that’s even part [...]
There's been plenty written about how great Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar's album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city is. So much that I'm left with feeling like I have little of value to add to any conversation about it. But the video for "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe," came out today and it inspired in me a thought(!) First of all, it's really good. Watch it. Secondly, jumping back and forth in tone as it does, it makes a nice point about how complex everything is—death, religion, fashion, mourning, partying, solitude, unity, nature, all this stuff. All sorts of paradox. Which starts to come as close to truth, I think, [...]
When Awl pal Sacha Jenkins was a teenager growing up in Queens, he was into graffiti and rap music and, more than anything perhaps, the Washington D.C. hardcore legends The Bad Brains. In the early '90s, with help from his friends Elliott Wilson and the artist and graffiti documentarian Henry Chalfant, Sacha started a music magazine called ego trip. Then he wrote for a bunch of other magazines, one of which gave him an assignment of interviewing Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jennifer. The interview didn't go so well. They didn't get along. "He was kind of a meanie," Sacha says. But through subsequent interaction they became [...]
The cover to Alabama rapper Yelawolf's new mixtape exemplifies two schools of artwork that we've investigated here at The Awl. 1) The prominent-sunglasses album cover and 2) Rappers with American flags. But, oddly, the above image is reminiscent of nothing so much as traditionalist troubadour Leon Redbone.
Directed by Coodie and Chike, the new video for the collaborative effort from upstart Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ and '90s rap legend DJ Premier is like a hip-hop version of Richard Linklater's Waking Life. It's fun to watch! But if young Joey really wants to consider himself unorthodox, he might want to reconsider those dollar signs in his name. At this point, a regular old "s" is more iconoclastic.
"In 1991, great rappers were a dime a dozen, good ones weren’t good enough to compete, and sucky ones made hits. But what about rappers who weren’t skilled, but immensely entertaining? Twenty years later, 'personality rap' pays the bills and that term usually applies to the majority of likable rappers that can’t really rap worth a shit (insert just about any current acclaimed rapper here). Tim Dog got points for being both bold and the poster child for Mayor David Dinkins-era NYC – an NYC overrun with robberies, racially-charged fights, and hair-trigger violence – but most people back then said the same thing with regard to his skill level: [...]
In town to perform on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend (where he hopes to be written into a comedy sketch), Los Angeles rapper Kendrick Lamar visited Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 show yesterday. Watch how he twitches his right hand when he raps. It seems like a device he's developed to help him remember his lyrics. Like some kind of muscle memory thing or something. It's cool. And he's really, really, really good.