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.

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.

Opinion: No one cares about French Montana

Well, this is not one of my usual one. Its been while since I discussed music. However, I need this in the midst of a pandemic. In the middle of quarantine and home-office. This week there been an influx of Youtube clips discussing French Montana after he challenged Kendrick Lamar. Which is a at best a hot-garbage. Why?

Well, first and foremost, who really deep in their hearts cares for French Montana’s music? A very limited scope of people. His the leach on other people’s tracks and without features he wouldn’t be listened too. His the knock-off Pitbull and Flo-Rida. To be that in 2020 and call out Kendrick is just obnoxious.

Frenchie French should chill. Take the Bad Boy Records Royalties, pray to the almighty lord over the blessings of P. Diddy aka Diddy or Puff Daddy’s connections so that he can public music and get royalties. Because French Montana doesn’t have the ability nor the skills to even compose a memorable song. He needs a feature to pull it off and save the day.

There is so little to say about French Montana. His is irrelevant if it wasn’t for Drake, Sway Lee and whoever letting him jump on tracks. The only reason I have ever listen to him is because his a feature on Pusha T records back-in-the-day and so on. Not because I wanted to listen to French Montana, because who wants to do that?

Unless, your mind is out of whack or high as a kite. There is very little grasp. No wordplay, lot’s of gimmicks and very little flair. Even Waka Flacka Flame has more of stage presence and finesse on a track like a modern day DMX without his ability to rhyme. Still, you remember Waka and you would even remember Lil Jon. However, remember French on something? Would be rare and I cannot even say one song I can remember him as a sole artist.

The only song I remember him on as the hook artist on a Pusha T joint and that says a lot. To be frank MIMS who had one single had more finesse on the one single his known for, than French has his whole career. So, that a guy like French are having the audacity to put himself on the pedestal and above Kendrick is just insulting. Not only to Kendrick, but to the culture.

French is lucky, if he will be remembered at all in the scheme of things. He will be the forgotten feature artist in few years time. The lingering sound-vomit that got lost. The one sort of loosing relevancy like Pitbull and Flo-Rida. Because, they got very little personality and very little versatile. Not like they have a unique character or way of rhyming that stands out. Not like their flows or their choices of beats are special either. They are following trends like sheep and hoping the biggest artists let them on the remix or have a song with them.

French Montana, better pray to the almighty Gods, ask for more favours from P. Diddy and also be graceful. His not a wordsmith, neither a great producer and not a musical genius. His the weird side-kick that needs a bunch of famous friends to hit the charts. It is fine and dandy, but not like he could serve a burning hot lava of bars. Not like French could pull of a banger without someone else being on it. He cannot carry song and ensure it hits the charts. That’s not happening. He needs it and he should know it.

However, self-awareness is a bit much to ask in this case. He has such big words for himself, that he rather drown the words, than trying to salvage something. Kendrick can just spit a feature verse and he can blow up a bad record. While French will nearly tarnish a good record by jumping on it. That also the other difference between these two.

French better chill, take a drink and buzz off. You got nothing and you shouldn’t challenge a King, Take a Snapple and rest. Peace.

You don’t won’t it with Push!

“How could you ever right these wrongs/ When you don’t even write your songs?/ But let us all play along/ We all know what niggas for real been waitin’ on/ Push”Pusha T on Infared (Daytona, 2018)

Man, this rap battle between Drake and Pusha T has shown more character and flair on wax, than in years. It is like revival of character and of disses. The down low and nice talk is over. Pusha T from the Clipse is showing class and higher altitude than the most. He is not afraid to go against Drake, the Cash Money, Young Money rapper, who’s been on top of the game for the last few years.

People and commentators was saying, waiting for a response after the Duppy Freestyle, that Pusha was over with and that Drake had won the thing. However, with the latest track, certainly Drake has to come with something really profound and deep. Not to be upset, but really angry. He has to show a vicious side he hasn’t shown before. And that is not him, Drake is a soft and mellow character, who bitch about woman who doesn’t text quickly enough. Drake isn’t a gangster or a hard-core persona. That isn’t him and he should live with that, just like Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino is doing. It is okay, but don’t try to front on someone like Pusha, he will call you out and he did on ‘The Story of Adidon’.

“I really shouldn’t have given you none of my time/’Cause you older than the nigga you runnin’ behind/Look, holla at me when you multi-million/I told you keep playin’ with my name and I’ma let it ring on you/Like Virginia Williams”Drake on ‘Duppy Freestyle’ (2018)

That the ‘Duppy Freestyle’ was a positive response to the ‘Infrared’ from the Daytona LP. However, Drake has to come something more unique and show other tools to take down the recent track. As the revelations and the stories are so shoddy, that the meekest turns into their dark-side.

Pusha T has the upper-hand, he has shown even with waiting for three days, that he could answer Drake. It was seemingly like the battles between Nelly and KRS-One, that the one with the biggest machinery would win, in this instance Drake, as he has the Cash Money and the giant fan-base compared to Pusha T and Good Music. However, now it seems like a open playing field. As the exposure and the title is exposing a naked truth that Drake doesn’t want out or has tried to hide. That is really going all out, but that was in response of mocking Pusha T’s fiancé. Clearly, that backfired. Backfired with all cylinders.

Because now you see the significant difference between them, as Pusha goes directly at Drake, he is not attacking Birdman or Lil Wayne, which is still done in passing. As the knowledge of the messed up practices between the artists and the label is well documented at this point. That is why Birdman has to answer all the litigations and the label-mates leaving because of the practices done there.

“We talkin’ character, let me keep with the facts/You are hiding a child, let that boy come home/Deadbeat mothafucka, playin’ border patrol, ooh/Adonis is your son/And he deserves more than an Adidas press run, that’s real/Love that baby, respect that girl/Forget she’s a pornstar, let her be your world, yuugh!”Pusha T on ‘Story of Adidon’ (2018).

Pusha T answered it all and fired back. This will hard to come back from and answer too. As the reality is the exposure and stories told on Adidon is showing a character side of Drake, that isn’t the heartthrob, but a dead-beat-dad and in this day and age. That is not a good look. It has never been a good look, especially when your supposed to be as wealthy and successful as Drake. That he cannot spend his time with his kid and acknowledge his seed. That is really hurting the pride of Drake and his camp should feel it. But that is because he mocked Pusha for being engaged to someone, like that was a bad thing. By the way, I don’t get why that is bad.

After this sort of affair, what did really ‘Duppy’ have? Right? Not much, other than hype, just like if you would read the bar for bar fight between KRS and Nelly from the early 2000s. It would feel like repeat. What Drake should have known, that Pusha will go all out and not stop at anything. He is no Meek Mill, he is a pure lyricists and that has been known for a long-long time. Proven by the recent joints.

So if he fires back, he has to go deep into the tool shed and really light a fire, but will Drake have it? I don’t know, but to go as hard as this, then your really digging deep. Sort of like Jay Z on ‘Super Ugly’ where he did say:

“Me and the boy A.I. got more in common than just balling and rhyming/Get it? More in Carmen/I came in your Bentley backseat, skeeted in your Jeep/Left condoms on your baby seat”Jay Z on ‘Super Ugly’ (December 2001).

That is the next level for Drake. However, will he go there and does he dare to go there? Because that is the next step, that is the upgrade from Duppy and to be able to counter Pusha at this point. Peace.

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