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Aggresive Huh?

10 Jul

Here we have 2 celebrities, 50 Cent & Floyd Mayweather, who have predicated their careers on  an image of aggression and violence.  As you can see a photographer took a picture of them sharing drink.  Is it me or does it seem suspect that these two are posing “hard” as ever while drinking a Strawberry daiquiri.  Let me repeat for emphasis, they are “grilling” the camera with daiquiri’s in their hand; not beer, not malt liquor, not cognac but a fruity mixed feminine beverage.  Now don’t get me wrong I’ve had a few daiquiri’s in my day, but I have never sold myself out to be a violent/ uber-aggressive alpha male or made a career out of it.  I’m not questioning their manhood, I’m questioning the image.

I just thought it was funny to see this picture and witness these two “grimey” fellas enjoy a choice beverage.  Maybe just maybe someone in their camps will inform them its okay to lay off eating gangsta cookies for a while.  I think it would be a great idea to post this picture in every club/bar as a reminder for all the “party thugs” to let it go and act normal.  Wouldn’t it be nice?  Enjoy that strawberry in your drink tough guy!

Thank Me Later

24 Jun

Finally Drake released his debut album, “Thank Me Later” on June 15th and I’m prepared to provide my review. I’m giving this effort an 8 out 10. This is a good album not great nor classic, but he is clearly on his way and knows how to make good music.

Where he excels in creativity, melody, charisma, wit, and metaphors he falls short in lyrical prowess. His beat selection is dope, however this album is slow & has the effect of taking an ambien & benadryll. Overall this album is easy to play through but one must exercise patience. That withstanding he has a sure hit in “Miss Me”, a strong performance in “Lights Up”, lastly “Unforgettable” is clearly where Drake feels at home in between R&B and Hip-Hop.

What makes him most appealing is his candor, people want authenticity from recording artists as they’re a lot of frauds in the entertainment (mostly hip-hop). While some have complained about his singing I don’t mind it.  Drake has found a way to channel the vulnerable insecurities that males experience into his music. Perhaps this is reason enough for everyone to “Thank Him Later”.

Just Wright Night with … Common

11 May

Saturday evening I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite hip-hop artists hold court for 2 full sets by himself!  He easily moved through his catalog or records without a hitch and had everyone rocking from start to finish. The high points included him picking up a 192 pound female and putting her on stage to perform “Come Close”, he interweaved hip-hop classics into his songs, and during the brief intermission his DJ & keyboard player put on shows of their own.  Queen Latifah did join him on stage for a track they did together for their upcoming movie “Just Wright” Soundtrack.  Lastly at the end of the his show he left the audience with an impromptu 5 minute freestyle.  He hit all the classics and the crowd loved it … “The Light”, “Go”, “The People”, “I Want You”.

This show only affirmed why he is one of the top 5 favorite hip-hop artists out right now.  I’ll be more than glad to have that deabte as well, so come prepared if you’re going to speak up. His lyricism and musicality put him a cut above 95% of the other “artists” currently out right now. If you missed this show, you missed a quality evening of real hip-hop. I would rank this as the 3rd best hip-hop show I’ve seen only behind Kanye West’s “Glow in the Dark” performance and Jay-Z’s 9/11 benefit concert.  Enough words from me … here are some moments I captured to share with you.

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Steppin’ Lasers

18 Apr

On Saturday (4/10)  I had the privlege to see one of my favorite hip-hop artists out right now, Lupe Fiasco. The show was nothing short of amazing as the 2 albums he has put out are masterpieces.  The new up and coming artist B.O.B. opened up for him and put on a good set.  The only suprising aspect of the show was the amount of Rock infused band instrumental sets he chose as opposed to the traiditonal DJ sound.  He weaved between track’s from “The Cool” & “Food & Liquor” seemlessly & held a crowd the whole the night.  The last time I saw Lupe was on the Kanye West “Glow In the Dark Tour” and he has certainly grown as an entertainer since that point in time.  My personal highlight from that evening was the imprmoptu 9 minute freestyle at the end of the show (I’ve included the youtube video below).

Here are some moments from the night:

Live Freestyle at the end of the show:

Who’s Next Live: J. Cole

4 Apr

I was introduced to him through:

The Come Up

The Warm Up

This past week on Tuesday evening I had the opportunity to see a new and much hyped artist at SOB’s, by the name of J. Cole.  I’m familiar of his music through his mixtapes and guest appearances on other artists records.  Much like Drake, he is a “buzz” artist who has made his was way visa vie the mixtape circuit and heavily relies on his lyrical prowess.  I was skeptical initially about his ability to entertain and perform, but I left SOB’s impressed.  Far too often there are artists who are merely rappers with the inability to entertain & move a crowd; J. Cole does not fall in this bunch.

The show did have a few minor glitches & waiting in the rain/cold for 30 minutes outside wasn’t fun.  Minor un-pleasantries aside, he proved to be a star who is clearly on his way.  Most of the show’s material came from his mixtape “The Warm Up” and he relished in the benefit of a friendly crowd.  The crowd loved his rendition of “Dead President’s II”,  “Grown Simba”, ladies loved “Lights Please”, & everyone was surprised when he introduced a new record “Who Dat”.

It went something like:

In addition to his own music we were treated to other hip-hop luminaries such as Young Chris of  the Young Gunz, Talib Kewli & Hi-Tek.  We got to see Talib Kweli perform “Get By” which was preceded by J. Cole’s mixtape version.  I will not go as far as some; who have called the show a “coronation” but let me be clear, Jay-Z knew he was onto something  when he signed the artist & perhaps another “star is born”.  If you’re unfamiliar with this hip-hop artist I would highly recommend you download his mixtape “The Warm Up”.

I was a part of:

J. Cole

Young Chris

Talib Kweli, J. Cole, & Hi-Tek

“Nothin’ On You”

16 Mar

This record has really grown on in the past few weeks and the chorus reflects the vulnerability of the songs message.  Any guy that has ever been “in love” can to speak on a moment where no other female out there can compare to what she brings to your life.  Despite the “friendships”, “looks”, “cat calls”, “numbers”, “dancing” … she’s the standalone object of it all. The opposite of contentment is comparison, with that being said they got “nothin’ on you”.

The Greatest Rapper of All Time

12 Mar

It was all a dream…

On March 9th each year we (hip-hop fans ) celebrate the passing of Christopher Wallace aka The Notoroious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, aka Frank White. Growing up as a child in the 90’s he was my favorite rap artist and still is to this day. His peers have dubbed him the greatest of all time & his music changed the rap game forever. As a trailblazer he put a burrough, a city, and consequentially a coast on his back at time when hip-hop was dominated by West Coast artists & soul funk beats.

Biggie’s favorite subject matter in his songs was clearly women, money, & the pursuit of “the good life”. Whats remarkable is that it really takes a transformative act to paint being 300 lbs, charcoal black, with a lazy eye attractive. Somehow Biggie accomplished just that & moreover proved to be quiet the womanizer. This was best on display in “One More Chance”.

What made him so talented was his ability to make the grimiest lyrics seem acceptable. He was unrivaled as a lyricist & is the best story teller in hip-hop.

His post humous album “Life After Death” displayed his versatility and without question is the standard for all albums. Unlike most hip-hop acts there was a consistency between the man Christopher Wallace and the rapper Notorious B.I.G., his songs were autobiographical & touched on the harsh realities of the Bed-Stuy projects in Brooklyn.

My favorite Biggie song is “Sky’s The Limit” & perhaps the exclamation point on a career unfortunately cut short. We can speculate on how great he would been had he not been so violently taken from us. One thing is certain and that is that his music remains timeless and over a decade later it still moves us.