Opinion: DJ Akademiks is a fool for this one

Let these words be the last to my unborn seeds

Hope to raise my young nation in this world of greed

Currency means nothin’ if you still ain’t free

Money breeds jealousy, take the game from me” – 2Pac – ‘Hold Ya Head’ 1996

Sometimes it is like the current generation thinks they are better than the previous ones. There are all these metrics and these sorts games to scale it. While not acknowledging the founders, the ones that built it and the ones that made it possible for others. There are very few that legends and a part of the legacy of an art-form. However, those that are should be respected, acknowledged and given credit too. Not being dismissed, disregarded or mocked. It isn’t like they didn’t do anything. If they didn’t grab the micks in the park or listen to DJ Kool Herc. Some of the current recording artists, producers or DJs wouldn’t have a place to perform to begin with.

Just reading these words from Livingstone Allen aka DJ Akademics. The YouTuber, Hip Hop Influencer and Hip Hop News caster in his own right. Has carved his own niche and platform on Twitch and YouTube. As he has reported and been part of the culture for a “long” time now. However, these words are disrespectful.

DJ Akademiks is in hot water after some of his comments about hip-hop’s pioneers. While live on Twitch, Akademiks referred to the legendary rappers as ‘dusty,’ He says, “them old rappers, man. Have you seen any of these old rappers who be like, yo, they’re the foundation of Hip Hop really living good?” he said. “Them n****s be looking really dusty, I kid you not. And none of y’all try to come for me ’cause I don’t f**k with y’all n****s either, so I’m just telling y’all the truth. Every time there be like an old, old n***a talking about Hip Hop, you be like, ‘Yo, bro. You sure you invented this? ‘Cause everybody else is looking better than you.’ Facts!”” (HOT 97 – ‘DJ AKADEMIKS TRENDS AFTER HE CALLS HIP HOP PIONEERS ‘DUSTY’, LL COOL J RESPONDS’ 22.09.2022).

There has always been competition between the “old” and the “new”. There has been that since the beginning of the art-form. That’s why Kool Moe Dee battled Busy Bee at Harlem World. That’s why Nelly challenged KRS-One. We can go on-and-on about these sorts of beefs, battles and their significant values to the culture. They are all a part of Hip Hop and wouldn’t have happened. If it wasn’t a time or change of the spectrum of it.

Kool Moe Dee challenged the then “old-school” party-MC scene and went in more lyrical. Just like that things has changed the art. There are people like Red Alert, DJ Kay Slay and others who has furthered the culture. It is plenty more and should be dozens of books telling the stories of the recordings of Sugarhill Gang. The rise of Def Jam and how other record labels became a thing. Just like producers who has changed the sounds, making regional differences and even unique beats to bring a certain type of heat. All of them hasn’t been appreciated, but their time and energy should be acknowledged.

Everyone won’t know Coke La Roc, neither will everyone know who Marley Marl is. Nevertheless, these has had a say and did significant things in this here game. More people might know about MC Shan or others who hit the charts at one point. Though everyone who participated and dropped their verses on wax has made a difference. It is a reason why the old-heads at one point wasn’t nodding along to the one-note-whacky fruityloopes beats. That was because it wasn’t boom-bap and the “golden era sound”. Everything has it’s moment and sudden a fad hits. However, the art and the music will move to the next.

That’s where DJ Akademiks forgets a simple fact. The real old-school wasn’t getting labels, signed by big corporate record companies. No, they were on the trenches and performed at clubs. Certain ones never hit the charts or ever became well-known personalities. Still, their performances and their flows inspired others who in the end did. If they didn’t perform and made entertainment. Others wouldn’t have emulated or created their own path.

Just like there are plenty of legends and heroes I haven’t mentioned. Neither has I have even touched the surface. It is just the loss of ideals and deeper understanding of it. DJ Akademiks is just disrespectful. That is the general assumption I have. It’s like he doesn’t value the people before him and the ones that has made it possible. Someone had to be there before and open up the gates. At one point… no one would believe this sort of art-form would ever go outside New York. Now it’s world-wide and even the K-Pop group Blackpink has a rapper as a part of their group. So, it’s not like they didn’t change or make a difference.

What the predecessors did was to open an avenue. Use their creativity in all parts of the culture. They embraced it and showed a way. Some prospered as lyricists, others as producers, others as graffiti-artists and others as breakdancers. They all played their parts. Calling them dusty in 2022 is just wrong.

I don’t expect everyone to go back in time and check up the early recordings. Neither does everyone look up to or see into the work of the predecessors even. Nevertheless, to just speak so ill of them and not give any sort of credit. That’s just wrong by all accounts. DJ Akademiks wouldn’t have a platform or place to speak off. If it wasn’t for the culture and how it has progressed. That’s because of others before him and who also did speak on the matter.

DJ AK has clearly a jaded vision and is only about the currency. His only about the coins and fat bank-accounts. However, some of the people before him will forever be respected. Their achievements and their participation will be reflected with time. They don’t need to be in a “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” or a Star on the pavement in Hollywood. No, their craft, their flow, beats or whatever will be part of it to this day.

Everything isn’t about the money. Money doesn’t change everything and it doesn’t make everything better even. That’s why still the rawest and most consistent parts of hip-hop is the underground and their releases outside the main-stream production. This is still where you can find the purest and the hardest bars. Therefore, DJ Akademiks forget a vital part of the industry and the culture itself. Everything isn’t for the Billbords or Nielsen Soundscan. Some parts are for the streets, the “RapGodFathers” and WorldStarHipHop. There are so many avenues and means to an end.

That’s why DJ Akademiks needs to re-assess his stance. I know he will be defiant. Nevertheless, he should be a bit more humble. Who says his name will forever ring or be relevant? Who couldn’t do his job or stream Hip Hop related content on Twitch/YouTube or have a Podcast on Spotify? Not like his the only one. Jay Smooth should have even a bigger platform than him on the sense of quality and resounding arguments on current topics. However, we cannot expect that in the current time. Because the loudmouth is getting more eyes and clicks, not the wits or the wise.

This is why I even had to write this to get a piece of mind. Peace.

Opinion: My thoughts on the Jay-Z verse on ‘God Did’

There been a lot of talk and hyping up the DJ Khaled project ‘God Did’. Yet another year, another DJ Khaled compilation album filled with hooks, radio-anthems and some harder tracks for the streets. That’s how this game usually goes and this time around there been talk surrounding the DJ Khaled ft. Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, John Legend, and Fridayy.

The track is around 8 minutes and 20 seconds. That’s a lot of content and needs to be consistent to be energizing. It has to a unique and special record to be able to keep your attention for that long. The first rappers like Rick Ross and Lil Wayne gets the standard 16 bars. While Jay-Z get a four minutes long verse and about 84 bars (unofficially counted myself).

The start and the 16 bars was strong, but when you continue to beat the bullet. The bars needs to vibrant and should be interesting. In this regard the first 16 bars are actually very appealing. It’s isn’t anything out of the usual. The sort of common “luxury” rap format, which we have gotten used too. The sort of rags-to-riches in a few bars story. Where you tell one thing and tell what your doing now.

The same sort of continues and the braggadocios lines are coming steady. That’s why it’s not that brilliant. It just looses steam and the story-telling isn’t really there. It is only mentioning what he has done and did in the past. He wants to be epic, but just sounds self-glorifying.

That’s why it’s all “HOV DID” and not “GOD DID” which is very deliberate. Not shocking or surprising. Maybe because he dropped an album called “Magna Carta – Holy Grail” at one point. So, he likes this sort of magnificent over his own work.

I am a listener of Jay-Z. Done since since the early 2000s, so have several of albums on my playlists. Jay-Z is a good artist and to say otherwise is foolish. However, this is not dunking on Jay-Z, but more the hype surrounding this record.

If this had been the worse on the T.I.’s “Swagger Like Us” or the “Run This Town” where it was more flavour for your ear and competition to show excellence. Because, here Rick Ross went into safety mode and Lil Wayne autotune verse was “mediocre”. So, it wasn’t like Jay-Z needed magic or be solid. He could skate on this one and not even bother actually. Both Rick Ross and Lil Wayne has dropped better guest appearances themselves. If you have followed these too… they have and even on older DJ Khaled records as well.

I expected more from the hype, more finesse, cadence and sort of word-play. In such a way that it played a bit with your mind. Here was just a A-Typical vibe and such “humble” brags that we are accustomed too.

Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z can do more. We know that and to say otherwise is nonsense. They hyped this up to get Spotify-plays and get more eyes on the newest DJ Khaled album. That’s seems like it. This verse isn’t all of that. Initially, if it was like many said on Twitter and on Social Media. I would have been hyped and over the moon. However, after listening to Black Thought’s “Cheat Codes” project. He got better bars and better verses than this. That’s just a fact and Jay-Z doesn’t have the verse of the year. Not even close… maybe commercially and with ratings.

Nevertheless, on the down-low… we know it’s not that unique or special. It was just “another one” and that’s fitting. When he did release this verse for a DJ Khaled record. Peace.

Opinion: Ma$e is a walking publicity stunt

The irrelevant rapper and former Bad Boy MC is now seeking headlines. That’s why Ma$e aka Mason Betha. The flashy and shiny suits head honcho. The famous side-kick and close associate of Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy aka Diddy. He made his career with Bad Boy records and the “Harlem World” (1997) was the project that signified him. It went four times platinum!

Mase has fallen off since then. He has dropped two more projects. The sophomore LP was released in 1999 called “Double Up”. Later in his career he became a Pastor and had a church in Atlanta, Georgia. While returning with the LP “Welcome Back” in 2004. However that didn’t give him the success and the results of the past. Both these projects only got certified as gold, which was a far away from the success of “Harlem World”.

Since he returned from his tenure of being a pastor to the rap game. He went as far as relaunching “Murda Mase” and tried to get signed to the G-Unit and 50 Cent in 2005. That was certainly to get more leverage and be part of the new powerhouse of New York. However, his former label head Diddy didn’t allow that to happen. Therefore, he was only featuring on records, but never really signed to the label. Though he followed 50 Cent around for a while.

Now in 2022 he suddenly said his in Los Angles and signed to Death Row Records. The company which was in a vicious battle with Bad Boy Records in the 1990s. That infamous battle of the most prolific MCs Notorious B.I.G of Bad Boy and Tupac Shakur of Death Row. This will always signify that era and the outcome of these records labels.

So, that the former Bad Boy rapper claims or alleges to be signed to Death Row is sort of a big deal. The Death Row today is owned by Snoop Dogg. That would be a weird start to go back in time and sign an irrelevant rapper. It isn’t like Mase has made any records worthy of the streaming era. His only talked about because of interviews and sudden outrageous acts.

The 46 year rapper and former Pastor is acting all out. It is like he has to create fuzz. Just like he did with the contract situation of Fivio Foreign lately. Now he does this and says his signed. The man who wasn’t vouched to go to G Unit. What will he do at Death Row in 2022? What value would Snoop see in Mase?

Mase would fit a tax-write off and a liability, but not a credible project. There only been two projects dropped from the new Death Row and they have both been Snoop Dogg heavy. The “Bacc on Death Row” and the Death Row Summer Album. So, in 2022 the releases and the production of music has been in the lane of the label in the past. Which Mase isn’t fitting into or sounds just outlandish really.

Ma$e just wants the vibes, to be the talk of the town and be the centre of the universe again. Surely must miss the days of “Harlem World” but those days are long gone. That is proven and his momentum is gone. Unless, he all of a sudden makes a hit independently and it’s played everywhere. However, I don’t see that coming anytime soon.

I’m just wondering if he gets anything out of it. Yes, it create headlines and little press, but not something worthwhile. Instead of trying to create proper records and tracks on wax. His just being a loudmouth.

What is striking at one point he was on the trajectory of something great within the Bad Boy era. He instead wasted that and has since then worked to get back to that. Which seems impossible and the fad has moved on. That’s why even Diddy had to reinvent himself and his record label even went poppy with the likes of Danity Kane at one point.

So, Mase should either become an record-label executive in his own rights or try to drop songs that matters. Though he doesn’t seem capable of either things. Since, the last few weeks only been a shit-show. Not a good look, but then again. We are talking about him. Peace.

A review of Black Star’s ‘No Fear of Time’

This here moment…. This here moment… felt like a Detox moment. An album or an LP that would never exist. That is how this appeared to be. The original or the first instalment of Black Star was a gem and a masterpiece. So, the build-up to this one wasn’t all that and neither the choices of promoting or avenue to listen to it.

Talib Kweli and Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey are two seasoned veterans MCs. I have listen to their solo projects and enjoy their lyricism. Therefore, this here review is no disregard of their talent or their skills. That they have and only a fool would deny them that.

What made the first LP so special was the manner of which they played on each others bars. The way it was a blend of their characters and how they where a voice of reason. They showed their conscious and we wanted to hear more. Black Star was bright, witty and smart about their bars. In such a way that you didn’t mind anything.

Now over this Madlib production and with few guest verses. The duo should shine and be there. They are showing sincere approach and trying to send a message. Some of it feels forced and others are just “I am a veteran” so listen too me. For me… even some of the songs feels phoned in and not intentional at all.

It is maybe by default that the expectations versus delivery is lacking. That’s like the Dr. Dre album “Compton” which came out in 2015 and his latest project was released in 1999. So, people wanted greatness, but got contemporary sound. The same could be said Black Star this time around.

The joint with Black Thought was a refreshing song. However, the whole project as a whole isn’t as impactful or as brilliant as it could be. Just for reasons mentioned earlier. I am a fan of both artist and enjoy plenty of their body of work. That’s why a second instalment should be up my alley. But in the regard to this. I just rather put on the original where the chemistry and the tenacity is there.

Now, it feels forced and like a breezy. Only moments of excitement… and it’s really tragic man. The potential was enormous. These two are calibre MCs and are wordsmiths. So we know they can do it. It is just that product and the moment isn’t fitting. Neither is the perception or the total package. That’s why it’s not coming through as it should.

Talib Kweli has on his run dropped gems over the years. Mos Def or Yasiin Bey have been more or less retired. So, bringing him back was refreshing, but… it wasn’t no Ecstatic from him this time around.

This was “just to get by” and we the listeners ending up to “hunger for more”. Peace.

Opinion: Jack Harlow isn’t for me…

Kentucky’s own Jack Harlow might break someone’s heart, but I don’t care for his style or his music. By all means, good that his hitting up them charts and becoming a staple in the music industry. However, after listening to “nail tech” and saw the huge hype surrounding it. I knew that this guy, act or rapper wasn’t for me.

Jack Harlow fan-base is maybe female dominated and that wouldn’t be shocking. Nevertheless, if he showed some emotions and heartache. Both genders would listen to the tracks. If he had solid beats and rhymes to back it up. We wouldn’t mind the softer side like LL Cool J did in the past. He catered to all parties on his LPs.

However, what I have heard from Jack Harlow haven’t been it. I just don’t care. The singles and the videos isn’t even inspiring to listen to the newest full length album of him. I couldn’t care less that he has been in the past signed to Don Canon and DJ Drama. They surely must have picked up the bag and earned a fortune on the act. Because, he has blown up.

Come Home the Kids Miss You” was maybe supposed to cement his status in the public eye. Maybe get new fans and show his levels of popularity. That’s why he has tried to snag and create headlines while simping for famous woman. Even doing that with a song to Dua Lipa on the LP as well. When we know that his been around the way and it’s not shocking.

That people compares him to Macklemore and Mac Miller is to be expected, but his not even close to any of them. Just by listening to “Nail Tech” and “First Class” his subpar and mid at best. His not a lyricists or a man of bars. No, his just mediocre and not that interesting. He has a style and been able to cater to someone, but not to the likes of me. I am not alone, as Shawn Cee and Cufboys on Youtube makes similar statements as mine.

Jack Harlow has potential and could become an inspiring fella, but at this very moment. His just mediocre and boring. The singles are not banging and that’s why I don’t even care to pick up the LP. There is no reason or incentive to do so.

I am just not the demographic his trying to hit or trying to convince. That’s why his hitting up the red-carpet trying to snatch Saweetie and other famous acts. Because, that’s how he becomes more interesting. Well, he cannot drop bars or be funny about it. He has little to no visible charisma or swagger. That’s why it’s astonishing to see him get this big. Unless, the fan-base wants a water-downed and less flavourful Post Malone minus autotune. That sort of thing makes sense.

When Spotify writes this about him: “Flaunting sleek flows, nimble wordplay, unpredictable rhyme patterns and vast ambition, Jack Harlow raps with old school dedication and raw individuality”. I wonder if these guys actually did listen to the same dude I did, because even Shawty Lo or Maino has more inspiring flows than Jack Harlow.

Jack Harlow can have all the success or platinum plaques he wants. Be my guest, but I won’t be part of the parade. No, his a water-downed Drake and has no sort of story-telling abilities worth a damn. Neither does he has the personality or the lyrics to bring me up to speed. There is no story, no beat or no vibe that catches me of guard. It is just “hot-air” and catered to radio. That’s maybe enough for some…

But for me… well… Jack… I will not come back. Peace.

Opinion: Will Snoop Dogg be able to revive the Death Row?

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. aka Snoop Dogg aka Uncle Snoop has acquired the legendary Hip Hop record label Death Row for an undisclosed amount. For a hot minute the Toy Company Hasbro owned it before selling to the Blackstone Group, which today is revealed has sold to the Hip Hop Legend, entrepreneur and actor Snoop Dogg, which is a unique day for anyone who follows or has interests in this.

Snoop has bought the label, which made him prominent and gave him a career in the first. The record label where he dropped albums, features and part-took in the G-Funk and Gangsta Rap era of the 1990s, which was dominated by Death Row. That’s because of its rooster of skilled MCs, Producers and genius marketing, which made the LPs, Singles and everything was selling.

The whole Death Row was smoking fire. All artists at some point became wealthy and could get good royalties. It was the place to be and to prosper. However, the whole premise of the gangster and thug life was also it’s downfall. As the co-founders split, court-cases, shady-business practices and the early demise and unresolved killing of Tupac Shakur has always followed the label. Therefore, it is special that Snoop buys it and possibly revives it.

As Daz Dillinger sued the label to get his ends. Dr. Dre left the label and started Aftermath. Crooked I was left behind and Kurupt had to return. There been so many stories and backstabbing, as the label lost relevance and others took it’s place in hip hop. However, the era and the classic albums lives on. The discography and the catalogue of the Record Label must be one of the unique assets and recordings, which will stand the test of time.

However, Snoop has big shoes to fill and have to market the label in new era. Which the labels and the record companies are fighting for revenue in new aspects, as the streaming and short-sighted fandoms quickly moves. The quickly produced and released tracks to stay relevant, as well as the social media push is more vital than ever. It is like another world since the first inception of Death Row.

Snoop has connections and is a beloved character now. Who can sell and be used in any sort of product. That’s why he has voiced over GPS Systems to be recently selling BIC Lighters. Therefore, you know his good at branding and selling his character at this point.

However, the Death Row to be revived… it need both the spirit of the past and also new breed of acts to be viable. That will be a refreshing thing. As the West-Coast needs a star on the horizon. Yes, Kendrick Lamar is the biggest name, but his not in the realm of Death Row. K.Dot is more in is his own lane and closer to J. Cole’s of the world. Nothing wrong with that, but that is the reality here. The Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) brought similarities to it, but not as successful as Death Row. However, who could think of getting into those levels of success and respectability…

Death Row doesn’t have to be big, but the ones remembering it. It was everywhere and the artists was everything. They were inspirational and was it. Not just some random blokes, but the rappers and MCs who inspired you to write and imagine their world.

Let’s hope Snoop Dogg will bring some of it back with the purchase of Death Row. He is seemingly the one and his team can bring the best out of it. There is a need for it.

Now am just waiting for THA ROW to return and hear new tales of that THUG LIFE. Peace.

2021: The albums I have enjoyed this year

Last year I was able to make to lists and separate the ones who was Hip Hop and the ones who was Pop & Afrobeat. However, this year I will make a joint session. Since well, music haven’t been as prevalent for me. Neither has the music been as vital or been as close as before. The lockdowns and quarantine has stopped a lot of time listening time for me. Usually, I listen to the most music in transit or watch music videos at home. Therefore, I lost a lot of space and opportunities to it by default by being home during lockdowns this year.

That’s why I will have one simple list and all genres will be represented here. The albums I did appreciate and can see myself bumping in the future… and the ones that was lost on me… the famous dishonourable mentions, if you may.

Well… here we go.

Mr. P – “The Prodigal” was a fun afrobeat album from the P-Square alumni. He really showed swag and wished more people had talked about it. There is nice joints on here and it’s underwhelming how little that has been pushed about this album.

HRSMN (Canibus, Kurupt, Killah Priest & Rass Kass) – “Last Ride” was a dope hip-hop album made by old-school heroes. It was really fun and not with tracks fit for modern radio. This was the finesse and funny bars from a collective of wordsmiths. All of these gentlemen have proven their skills in the past and this was just a gem to listen too.

B-Real & Scott Storch – “Tell You Something” was a shocker of a release. Not that I have anticipated or awaited anything produced by Scott Storch in a decade or so. Storch fell off and seemed to be lost .B-Real has been on joint LPs with Xzibit and Derrick of late, which has been super awesome to listen too. So, his just following up on that and is having a great time on the beats of Storch. FYI: “Never Go Home” has a terrible beat and it should have been forgotten on whatever Nintendo Gameboy Game he sampled it from. That’s the only downer on this one and is an instant skip.

Rudeboy – “Rudykillus” is the other P-Square alumni album of the year. Where he starts of the album reminiscing and reminding everyone of his past hits. His swagger is cool and all. This is an album worth listening too and tracks like “Focus” shows his star-power and talent.

Talib Kweli and Diamond D – “Gotham” is another wordsmith and hip-hop album, which I felt has gone under the radar. Not shocking, as it been years since Talib was a main-stay and relevant for a broader audience. Still, he deserves credit and can produce nice of bodies of work to this day.

Joell Ortiz – “Autograph” is the A-Typical project of the Slaughterhouse MC at this point. He can tell stories and paint pictures with his words. The beats are refreshing and vibrant. It’s an absolute gem of a LP. These are the sorts that should be higher on rankings and get acknowledged, but the game is rigged. That’s why it’s not there…

Fashawn & Sir Veterano – ‘All Hail The King”. The F is finally returning and off Nas’s Mass Appeal. He shows why his a cool dude and an artist. Here his just brazen and direct, as there is steady and funky beats by Sir Veterano on the production. This is a real underground, but he should get credit. As he has continued to push out his craft and with this LP his showing that he is a force to be reckon with.

Dax – “Pain Paints Paintings” was an album which grow on me. Dax hasn’t changed or anything. Listen to him thanks to YouTube and the videos there in quarantine. He dropped a few EPs before and it was evident there was skills there. Now with a full project it was fun to listen too. Not it is revolutionary or has any sort of traditional hip-hop over it …. NO. But, it is a fun joint and easy-listening, as Dax never goes to deep.

Saigon – “Pain, Peace & Prosperity” is the album of a man I have followed since the Yardfather mixtape series in the early 2000s. It is nice seeing him shining on this one. It is clear that Just Blaze isn’t as involved or have production on here. Though, it is refreshing to see Saigon deliver a full project and get support from all across the board.

Remedy – “Remedy Meets Wu-Tang” is the most out of left-field album of the year for my part. It was just so amazing to see the Wu-Tang Collective shine on a album in 2021. This was like the golden age returning and nothing had changed. The beats, the bars and the whole setting was made for this. Remedy, which I haven’t heard of and maybe I lost the memo. Was showing his skills, but there was plenty of times where the Wu-Tang MCs out-shined him, but who cares? It’s an awesome project!

Lloyd Banks – “The Curse of the inevitable” with the return of the G-Unit wonderkid. Well, Banks isn’t a kid anymore and been a long time coming for his return. The G-Unit rapper dropped an album which fits into the Griselda era and could easily been dropped on that imprint. This wasn’t sounding like any of his previous LPs or even having the production of a G-Unit album. However, his word-play and bars was obvious on this one. That was what made this one unique. Not like he was pressured by Interscope or G-Unit to make a radio-friendly jam to be played on Hot 97.

Tiwa Savage – “Water and Garri EP” was a fun instalment, a very short one, but a worthwhile one. This is what you expect and as always, Tiwa does deliver. There is no skips and just a jolly atmosphere until the project is over. Nas even featured on the first track and he phoned it in sadly, but at least he wasn’t speaking of “crypto-currency” on this one. Tiwa had deserved a more fitting rapper on the track, but she maybe wanted someone who is celebrated and gets recognized world-wide.

This here is my list and it’s subjective. There was several of albums that I still enjoyed, but didn’t play like did this. Others that I have in my “tape-deck” but haven’t gotten into. Which would be another list. Albums I tried to listen too, but never caught on or had the rush to bump again. There is a few of those. However, I don’t feel the need to drop those… Peace.

Opinion: Don’t sleep on Fashawn

The Fresno’s own King has dropped another album called “All Hail the King” fully produced by Sir Veterano. This a new project and it sort of came out of nowhere. I picked this one up in the same manner, I picked up “Boy Meets World”. Ironically, both was distributed through The Orchard/Sony Music and released independently.

Now, Fashawn is on the Fresh Yard Records. He has gone away from the record label of Nas Mass Appeal. That was a short stint and “The Ecology” was really the only real project dropped on there and “Manna” if it was released there. It didn’t really matter in the grand schemes of things.

Fashawn did more with the collaboration with Murs “This Generation” than with the last project. It is positive that his dropping independently and on a Cali label. His going home and it’s looking fresh for him.

It is the fun boom-bap with a bang. There isn’t a moment of silence or hectic mess. The new album got 9 bangers and they are hard hitting. It is like the return and we all should just salute the King. This is what Fashawn needed and his proven his skills over the years.

It is hard to know why the “Boy Meets World” and “The Ecology” didn’t hit up the charts. The rapper should have gotten more than tokens of respect. Fashawn, the F should be put higher. I felt he was the underdog and Kendrick Lamar got all the glory. The dropped the same time and he got under the radar.

Fashawn should get credit. He got the skills and the ability to poetically craft a song. On this album he has the steady beats and the production behind him too. I wish he had a bigger label and a more solid distribution. He should have been a major force and not for the ones who knows about him already.

Fashawn is a King in his own right. He deserves the throne and has the bag of work too. It is not like his some son-of-gun with no skills or finesse. No, this man has the capabilities and should be recognized. I am just sad that the deals and record industry isn’t giving him his dues. It is good that the Fresh Yard Records has signed him.

Santiago should be crowned, but not by like me. He should be in the main act at the Madison Square Garden and such. Tours with him as the act to see and the ones who gets internationally known. His name should shine and now his back to where he was years ago.

Fresno’s F deserves so much more. This album, which was released recently should be blasted. Songs played on radio and put on playlists on Spotify/Tidal etc. Fashawn is slept on and it’s about time that changes. Peace.

Opinion: Kanye don’t Deluxe this

This Sunday Kanye Omari West aka Ye aka Yeezy dropped his newest project “Donda”. This is following up the 2019 “Jesus is King”. The 2021 Kanye is no difference from this. I have listed to Kanye since the College Dropout, which dropped in 2004. So, at some points of time I couldn’t wait for his releases. However, with time that has ceased with time.

Not like the “Jesus is King” which was totally a holy and Christian project. This one is a mixed blend of both Christian and Secular music. However, as a Christian, I can only all call the music and texts used in the Christian songs as superficial. It is like a staged faith based project.

So, many of the songs is a continuation of the “Jesus is King”. It is artificial Christianity and this shouldn’t be awarded on the Dove Awards. However, they did this with the previous one and could easily do it again. Still, for a guy like me… I don’t get it, but the amount of units and headlines. He makes the awards more relevant, I suppose.

What is striking is that the secular songs are filled to the brim with features. There is a lack of Kanye on them. That is really showing and the album is so long as well. So many songs and plenty of filler tracks. It is filled with the “Life of Pablo” rejects. A bath of autotune and the features are stealing the show like Roddy Ricch, Jay-Z and The Weekend. These artists outshine Kanye on his own project.

I have a feeling Kanye misses the writing credits of Consequence. Because, the bars isn’t as hitting and there is very few to mention, if any. This isn’t an album made for bars and neither is it filled with sampling. Only one song I could taste the sample and felt an old Kanye vibe for a second. However, that was a short-lived enterprise.

I am used to on a hip hop album that the intro or the first track is savage. That the artist shows all parts of his or hers craft. Where all the flows, metaphors and proves to the world why we should listen to this project at all. Here, it’s singer Syleena Johnson saying “Donda” what feels like an eternity and a bad idea. However, the self-proclaimed “genius” thought this was a profound exercise.

Well, I am shocked that he did that, but it is just as his repetition like he did on that Lil Pump track a few years ago. It feels like the “Good Ass Job” album came back in to rotation. That’s what we are listening to now.

It is either splendid or grandeur, but a mixed fortune of artists, styles and modernity with a fashionable blend of Christianity. It is making Christian Dior into Jesus Christ. There is no deep or profound messages. Neither, is it taken anything from ancient psalms or biblical scriptures. Just posturing, which is degrading it really. The same was the thing with “Jesus is King” and “Donda” is a 2.0.

That’s why this sort of music isn’t for me. I know Kanye can make wonderful music and have done so in the past. He has made albums and records I listen too till this day. That being the fist three LPs and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. Since then there haven’t been a project from me. This is not changing with project either.

Donda is also way to long and I couldn’t wait for it too end. That’s not the feeling I want. I want to look forward to return. In these times its tradition from the music industry to Deluxe every project. Therefore, expect that possibly here… he shouldn’t but he might be forced to do so.

Kanye is Kanye… and forever will be. That’s why this wasn’t for me. Peace.

2020: The Hip-Hop albums I enjoyed

I used to be a Hip-Hop blogger and write about music a decade ago. That is how it all started for me. To write and speak about a topic I knew. However through college and studies. I turned more political and so did my content. That is why the few who knows ASAP08.Wordpress.com used to be my page and my blog for years.

This is why I am going to my roots now. Just writing my 2 cents about music and hip hop. As that is the genre I’m not only familiar with, but enjoys for the most part. The music scene is different. The auto-tune, the mumble-rap and other sub-genres is more prevalent than in the past. Even though T-Pain and Lil Wayne used the auto-tune like crazy back-in-the-day too. So, it’s not like its breaking news.

Well, 2020 have been a weird year. In a sense, the lockdowns and home quarantines have ensured that I actually listen to less music. As I listen the most on the road home back and from the office. I am old-school so I download the album on my phone. If I am digging it. It stays and if it sucks. I’ll delete it and check out a new project to download later. Like Datpiff and other pages have served me well over the years.

The big surprise release was Jay Electronica with “A Written Testimony”. Though it shouldn’t have been released as a solo joint, but a joint effort with Jay-Z. It seems like Jay Elect wouldn’t have gotten this out if it was for Carters persistent push and dropping bars for him in the studio. It would seem like he never would have released it. No matter what Jay Elect would deliver. It would never master expectations of the build-up. The endless singles and snippets. The brilliant 16 bars as a feature and then nothing. Jay Elect bummed me out. It is decent, but when your waiting this long. It should be a Chronic or a College Dropout sort of statement. Not just another Spotify filler tracks.

One that came with a banger and an album with no fillers for me was Royce Da 5’9” “The Allegory” is my favourite of this year. The Detroit native is proving not only his skills behind the mic, but also his own production. The album is so consistent and such a project. That I will listen to this for years to come. His roll of good projects is continuing from the Phryme era and the “Book of Ryan”. Royce is again and again proving why his viable and a MC to look out for.

For instance this year Griselda artists became a main stay for me. This being Benny the Butcher with his “Burden of Proof” and Conway the Machine with “From King to a God”. Both of these projects is heavily played on my phone. This is the sort of jams I appreciate.

I have enjoyed the Crooked I & Joell Ortiz “H.A.R.D” project. That was a dope project and proved their standing. The Slaughterhouse MCs are still banging and together they are perfect blend of both coasts.

I preferred Jadakiss’s “Ignatius” over the long overdue project “Living Off Experience” from the LOX. Though that DMX 16 bars on one of their singles are worthy of 90s vibe. Jadakiss was the most personal in years and his tone was inspired through the album. This is why I can recommend this one too.

Another New Yorker and the late rapper Pop Smoke can with his posthumous release “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”. Compared to the “Dior” and other previous tracks I heard from him. This was less gritty sounding and more poppy. Surely the 50 Cent production and executive producing is the reason for that. However, we can only imagine where he could go and that his voice will be missed in the years to come. Pop Smoke was special and was on the rise to become someone to reckon with.

Black Thought of the Roots returned with his series “Streams of Thought Volume 3.” it was a continuation and shows his relevance on the mic. These sort of projects doesn’t get the credit it deserves and seems like he isn’t either aiming for charts or the accolades. Only having fun and showing his bars. Which is fun for the listener, but he deserves some acknowledgement. Both this one and the second in the series is projects I listen to on the regular.

I am a fan of both T.I. and Young Jeezy. However, their projects this year haven’t been that inspiring. Neither “The L.I.B.R.A” or “Recession 2” have gotten replayed. I am considering giving it more time. As these are artists that I am listening to their older albums, but these aren’t sparking the same interest and maybe their ways of trying to fit in isn’t that sort of vibe I need. They are sort of coping with the trends, instead of setting it themselves.

A moment of nostalgia for me this year. Was listening to the Paul Wall and Lil Keke project “Slab Talk”. It is nothing deep for the veteran rappers of Houston. Their topics and their production is nothing unique. Just fun to feel their return and having the jams on. Reminded me of listening to Slim Thug and UGK. Music that is fun and not so serious.

Papoose also returned with “Endangered Species” proving why he was sought after and was someone to look out for back-in-the-day. The man can still write and show his fierce wordplay. However, the lack of single and push from a major record label. Is the reason why his lingering in the underground and isn’t pushed higher.

Big Sean’s “Detroit 2” was good and shows his growth as an artist. I can take him seriously now. However, I am not sure how much longer I will listen to it though. It’s not a masterpiece, but a great piece of work. Not just a “Culture” or for the radio with “ASS”. His becoming his own man and can be proud of his work.

One that was a downer compared to previous released projects was Tech N9NE “ENTERFEAR” album wasn’t so banging as in the past. I don’t know, but it didn’t have what I sought out for. Maybe, the same sort of style gets old. I really don’t know. Always looked out for more Tech Nina, but here he didn’t bring it for me…

Joyner Lucas dropped “ADHD” the longest album run with nearly every song dropped as singles and it did fall flat. The repetition and lack of various material made it a sombre listen. Joyner have some fun jams, but he overplayed it and didn’t do more of the Timbaland produces fun joints. If he had mixed it up. It might have gotten more traction for me.

He dropped later in the “Evolution” which is a much better album. If your listening to Joyner. Listen to Evolution where he also have “Thugs Needs Love Song” with Ashanti and his “Snitch” single too. Like his trying to compete with Obie Trice.

R,A. The Rugged Man returned after years without an album. This year he dropped the “All My Heroes Are Dead”. The bom-bap and fun sort of stuff. R.A. proves his skilled and has bars. That he doesn’t care about being trendy in the now. “Legendary Loser” is one of the most fun tracks of the year. “Golden Oldies” sounds like a Macklemore knock-off, but R.A. is himself and has dropped a good piece of work.

Mozzy the new “Scarface” of this generation have dropped the “Beyond Bulletproof” and is worthy of a listen. If you are into the gritty nitty and not the ones for the radio. Mozzy is himself and his worth a listen.

Megan Thee Stallion dropped two projects this year. That being “Suga” which I got tired of really quick. “Good News” came out lately and is more interesting, but she is missing a little touch and showing more skills. Megan have it if she wants too. However, ad-libs gets old and there is just so much flex a man can listen too.

Denzel Curry’s “Unlocked” is a fun EP or album. Not like its a move forward from TA1300. Denzel can be both brilliant and funny on the mic. He has shown that before and therefore, I always look forward to her something from the man. However, here there was some joints, but not bangers.

These are just a few. There was a lot more projects, but these are the ones I remember and that I have listen too. I have listen to other things too and I maybe drop that in a separate piece. As that is more Afro-Beat and more pop based music too.

This was my quick review of Hip Hop in 2020. I know there is a lot more to say and state. Nevertheless, I am not the one to listen to Lil Baby and DaBaby, even though others do. Peace.

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