Probably one of the four of five most prominent hip-hop producers of all time, Pharrell Williams turns 40 today. The new Myspace is celebrating with a nice collection of 41 of his greatest hits to listen to. (One to grow on, I guess.) But right here, please enjoy his latest, with the very-blue-eyed soul singer Robin Thicke (the one who's dad was on "Growing Pains") and T.I. It's a perfect little remake of the gorgeously slinky beat he made for Jay-Z's "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It To Me)" thirteen years ago. The video borrows style from 1980's Robert Palmer videos, and there's [...]
Rapper and novelist T.I. seems to have come out of prison in top form. His newest song, "Here Ye, Here Ye" simmers over an excellent, vintage-sounding Neptunes beat, and he's made a good, back-to-Bankhead video for the one that Big K.R.I.T. helped him with a month or so ago. He says his forthcoming album will be called Kill the King or Trouble. That red car sure looks fast.
The whole notion of album cover art seems sort of silly these days, what with so few people actually buying albums. (Though I'm very interested in seeing what kind of numbers Drake puts up this week-half a million is projected, and 20,000 people is a lot of people to draw to South Street Seaport.) This makes me all the more pleased that Atlanta rapper T.I. put the effort he did into the picture which will adorn his new King Uncaged when it hits stores come August.
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 have long been a proponent of the idea that the Notorious B.I.G. is the best rapper of all-time. (This after having long been a proponent of the idea that Rakim was the best rapper of all-time. I have been proponentizing for a long time. I am very, very old.) But I am starting to consider a different idea. Is Andre 3000 the best rapper of all-time? I think he might be! The body of work he amassed with his partner Big Boi across the six OutKast albums that came out between 1994 and 2006 already made for a strong case—Andre expanded the breadth of rap-lyric subject matter with [...]
Gucci Mane picks his nose with inimitable style, and T.I. delivers another "melodious, swinging" verse to add to the list of strong performances that are not on his new album No Mercy. But this track—produced by Beat Billionaire and anchored by that great old-cop-show bassoon blast—belongs to Dro. Best known for his preppy wardrobe and the words he chooses to describe its many colors, he gets a nice snarl in his voice here, and holds his own with the kings of his city, Atlanta.
I'm not a big fan of The Game. He's always seemed like he's trying very hard to be something he's not. And his raps rely far too heavily on name-dropping and rehashing petty hip-hop gossip. (Also, and sort of speaking of which, did you ever watch the clips of his appearance, pre-music-career, on the dating show "Change of Heart"? Totally ridiculous.) He gets some good beats, though. Like the one, made by Miami production team Cool & Dre, for his new single, "Shake"-which samples Sam Cooke's classic 1964 hit of the same name.
Six Alternates For Time's "Person Of The Year," Five Good Rap Videos, And One Great Heavy Metal Video
People that would definitely not be named "Person of the Year" by Philadelphia rappers Black Deniro and Freeway: 1) The "Twitter Thug" 2) The "Fake Baller" 3) The "Bougie Chick" 4) The "Phone Gangster" 5) The "Goon Rat" 6) The "Sneaky Groupie"
Oh, man. T.I.'s new song is terrific. Which makes it that much sadder that the Atlantan rap star is headed back to jail for another 11 months next week, after violating his parole by getting busted for pot in L.A. last month. And it makes this bit of lyrics in particular—which are good lyrics! T.I. is an excellent rapper!—seem really very unfortunate in hindsight: "Them suckas wanna see me caged up/That chapter's over, pass the mic and set the stage up/Throw your A's up/Tell my P.O. I don't blaze up/Peewee, fire the haze up…" Oy. Here's wishing him well and hoping that this is his last trip [...]
Here is T.I.'s new single, "I'm Back." Here is a quick alphabetical list of 92 rap artists who have previously released songs called "I'm Back."