RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, May 3

May Expert Whiteboy Analysis Monthly Top 25

(Blogternet simulcast with the official EWA site. Go there to see the same exact list in green letters on a black background, but broken up into 26 separate posts, and with pictures!)

May Expert Whiteboy Analysis Top 25 Hip Hopish Things.
(These aren't in any specific order. It's just a bunch of crap that we thought was interesting enough to write about for the month. We are 4 internerds, and together, we form like that bootleg Voltron you bought at the flea market when you were little with one of the lions missing. Here's who we all are...)

People think I'm making typos when I write AIYYO all the fucking time - I do it for my own personal amusement and always imagine DMX is yelling it. In four days, I will be attending a show with Rich Boy, Jim Jones, Baby, Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy. Some may say this flies in the face of the curmudgeonly bullshit I talk, but I say "Fuck you, the ticket was a birthday gift." I'm still excited and really hope it'll get other acts I'd rather see to come play my overgrown small town of a city. In closing, I just broke even playing bullshit poker and ate a lot of fried food from Church's because it's good. TALK IS CHEAP, MOTHERFUCKER!

JD: My name is John droppin' fists like Harley Race / Out in the world tryin to win the paper race/ I got fly rhymes for the dudes and the girlies / Have you sitting on the bench right next to Paul Shirley

I'm Mike Dikk. A long time ago, I was involved in this thing called "Little League Baseball". One day during practice, our coach told us that we could get a can of soda for each home run we hit. That motivated me enough to hit FOUR home runs that practice. At the end of practice, I went to collect my four sodas. He gave me a single can and told me it wouldn't be fair if some kids had four sodas and others had none. That was the last time I trusted a little league baseball coach.

I'm Raven Mack, I got nerd-shit galore. You might have a lot of nerd-shit, but I got much more. With my super duper group coming out to shoot, Raven Mack motherfucker, cold downloading loops.

1. Cilvaringz - "I" CD

JD: I am going to be honest about this because I guess that is what this whole deal is for. This is some good shit. Good not because of Cilvaringz, but good because this is Wu. This is more Wu than any Wu release past the 36 Chambers and its subsequent solo releases. They gathered THE Wu producers: RZA, True Master, Mathematics, and 4th Disciple. The lyrics are where I had some problems. It is a 21 track album, and really everything past track 9 I have a tough time to listen to, lyrically. He goes into his anti-Bush shit, his Muslim-influenced lyrics, and just the most horrid rap track I have ever heard, that Mike Jackson track. I don't care if Jesus laced the track with DJ Jazzy Jeff on the scratches, a song about MJ's monkey and shit just does not do it for me. Neither does a track full of Muslim chanting. That is the problem I have with this album. It seems the first half was really something I listened to and just fell in love with, but then it fell into an album where I would find myself skipping tracks and really wishing Cilvaringz was not rhyming over the tracks. I think whoever was behind the album really let a great concept fall through with the Dart Tournament song. That was just screaming for a track where different Wu family people would throw out verses trying to one up each other, but Killa Sin, who I think is as random as it comes, just fucked up the potential of the song. RZA, in one of the interludes, says the other "Killa Bees" have a problem with Cilvaringz because he works hard. I would beg to differ as the other Bees probably have a problem because this album's beats are beyond fantastic. They are fucking amazing. It was like RZA, 4th, and True Master time warped to 1996. The album is also great because it is a great test for the Wu fan. You can listen to each beat and pick out who produced it. The "Dart Tournament" song is True Master and is really reminiscent of Cappadonna's The Pillage with the samples for example. As I was researching this album, I found this fantastic quote from some random hip-hop message board which really sums up the album better than the lame shit I just wrote: "He's a fucking awful as a rapper. Lyrics are pretty poor but not awful, granted English might not be his first language but if he's spitting in it I ain't taking that into account. Lame flow, sounds like a rapper who just started rapping a couple of months ago, not a rapper that's been 'down' with Wu since 97 or wahtever it is. Voice, mediocre and uninspring with a stupid imitation American accent. I'd rather he wasn't rapping in a dutch accent (horrible accent, puts Brum to shame, no offence dutch dudes it's just true) but at least put some time and effort into perfecting a nice sounding accent, not a bird regugitating food in new york. He's also characterless on the mic, like a fucking dutch/morrocan robot. Dude sounds like a stoned camel seriously. Beat wise he is very dope tho and he has some dope rappers on his cd which kinda balances it out. " Word.

MD: This is the closest thing to classic sounding WU that we will ever get, and it’s mainly because this is a poorly advertised record by a foreign artist and most of the people who will hear this in America will hear it by way of illegal download. He doesn’t have to worry about making radio singles or selling X amount of units, so why not make a real Wu sounding Wu record again?
John didn’t mention that Cilvaringz himself is a serious threat himself when it comes to production. Anything he lacks in lyrical ability, he makes up in the beat department, and when he’s not, some other legendary Wu producer is. He even squeezes out some enthusiastic verses from original Wu members. The GZA even sounds incredibly less sedate than he has in the recent years. Though I don’t think the lyrical content and the rapping was quite as bad as John, it’s not the greatest, but as far as foreign rappers go, he’s pretty fucking awesome. Yeah, the Michael Jackson song is funny for all the wrong reasons, and kind of awkward, but it’s one of those quirky things I expect to find on foreign rap CDs. I’d really like to see this CD blow up, and I guess I’m not really helping by downloading it and telling everyone else to download it, but I don’t do mail order, and I have no idea if this is something that’s going to get huge distribution. Hardly any of the sites I go to are even talking about it, but this is something you should support. I guarantee this CD is better than whatever will be on the bullshit Upcoming Wu Reunion record; unless they decided to jack all of these amazing beats and use them.

RM: You see, this for me was some great shit, because it gave me hope for armageddon. When Wu blew up, the drug money NYC thug shit didn't get me as much as the 5% self-scientific pseudo-terrorist shit. The first Killa Army tape is still one of my favorite tapes ever made by anybody, ever. And even though the Sunz of Man sucked a dick on their full-length release, the "5 Archangels" single was some shit that me and a few other dudes sat around getting higher than fuck in a basement and listening to over and over, brainwashing ourselves.
RZA has always wanted to model himself as some sort of revolutionary, which is why he has such a hard dick for doing shit with Rage Against The Machine, because to a black dude, RATM is like THE CRAZIEST white people shit, even though most for-real crazy white people could give a fuck about RATM. But RZA is also American, and even as Revolutionary as you wanna be, with your bullshit manual and all fake Buddhist techniques, it's only there to make a dollar. Which is why Wu started to suck, because you could hear the money. "Triumph" was a shitty video and it cost a lot of money. RZA could've bought a couple of shoulder-held surface-to-air missile launchers with that money instead. And that's why I like the Cilvaringz CD so much, because regardless of all the stupid shit, when you listen to something like "Death to America", which will be cornier than fuck when filtered through the cul-de-sac, it makes me believe that maybe there might be a chance some stupid music could come along and incite the classes into killing each other. I know I ain't rich, but I ain't broke, and I'd probably die over some stupid shit in such a scenario, thinking I was one thing or someone thinking I was another thing, but still, I can handle that. I have an armageddon fetish and want motherfuckers to blow up and die and shit to change drastically. For a dude like me with an armageddon fetish, 9/11 was a shitty handjob where the girl pulled my dick the wrong way and we never finished up. I want real climax armageddon, and listening to this CD, with some very obvious reworkings of old Wu samples, it makes me wish that RZA had used all that Wu money to buy up the publishing rights of old songs he sampled, and started making music like this, but with tons of crazy C-level Wu Tang Killa Beez, and was simultaneously funding armed insurgents in places like Nigeria and Bolivia and shit. But that ain't happening. Still, this CD's awesome for making me be able to suspend reality and think that shit might be happening for half a second.

2. Young Jeezy's White Girl Street Team

RM: Appparently, in the most brilliant manpower use of the bodies attached to groupie vagina, Young Jeezy is taking applications to be part of his multi-city all-white girl street team, to promote future Jeezy endeavors. I know many people have utilized volunteers to be "members" of their street team, and not just in rap, but this is great. I guess Jeezy has that "White Girl" song out too, but I can never understand if it's about his big diamond earrings or actual white girls, but I also have only half-listened at best.
It's also great comeuppance. I mean, as a grown-up and father, I try to provide for my kids all the shit I never could have. Like, I never had for-real Legos, just some bobo knock-off shit called Brix Blox, and the kids who had shit at school had Legos, so I was on the outside. So I buy my kids Legos. They got Legos they don't even play with because fuck it, my kids are gonna have some goddamned Legos and not some off-brand shit from the Dollar General. In the same sense, I can understand the desire for young and rich black men to fuck white girls (that Polow Da Don dude's whole gimmick is "King of the White Girls") because a generation, that shit was hard to do, and if you could succeed a generation ago, a lot of times it was fat ugly white girls. And then two generations ago, you could get killed for even trying that shit. I mean, black guys literally got killed for fucking white girls, or even trying to, so you could use that whole "if you don't vote then blah blah blah" bullshit mantra for young black dudes who don't fuck young white chicks, because your ancestors DIED for you to have the chance to fuck a white chick. If you don't fuck a white chick, then they died in vain.
But I digress. Being a member of a street team is the music industry's equivalent of being a corporate intern, which is everywhere else's equivalent of paying your dues, which is the modern equivalent of being a fuckin' slave, until they decide to cut you in on the action and then you get to make the new slave do stupid shit like they made you do back in the day. So, in essence, Jeezy is taking applications for white girl slaves, and personally, I find that hilarious. Good for him.

MD: Being on a street team sucks. It’s worse than being an intern by far. It’s basically the lowest rung on the music industry ladder, even lower than blogging about music. It’s something that used to be relegated to fat teenagers and dudes with a demo with no other way to get involved in “the industry” (i.e. they can’t make a myspace page). Jeezy is basically revolutionizing the street team game with this white girl slavery gimmick. I’m not sure how well this whole thing is going for him, but I’d imagine not very well at all. You’d have to be a real dumb bitch to not realize you’d have more of a chance at getting famous by showing your tits in a Girls Gone Wild video than passing out some flyers in your hometown with the ultimate goal of possibly having a famous rapper’s cum glaze your face.

3. Weezy F. Baby, Please Say The Baby

MD: I’m not really sure why Lil Wayne got nominated except for the fact that he’s made a new mixtape every other day for the past two years now. You know what I really love about Lil Wayne? The substance in his lyrics! I never get tired of hearing about having guns and having sex with girls sprawled out between thousands of songs per month. Has rap music ever witnessed such a versatile and prolific MC? I think not! Lil’ Wayne can rap the same word over and over again for virtually hours! That takes a lot of talent man, and don’t ever knock it.
Seriously, Lil Wayne to me is like this guy who has perfected everything horrible about rap music to the point where it’s hard not to like. The downside is that now there are thousands of wannabe rappers making youtube videos of themselves freestyling like Lil Wayne, which basically cheapens his style because it’s very exposed that anyone with a rhythmic voice and a decent rhyming dictionary can be Lil Wayne. Not to mention the fact that it’s been rumored here on this very site that Lil Wayne has a Ghost Writing Warehouse hiding somewhere and it’s very possible that the same dorks making youtube rap freestyle videos that sound exactly like Lil Wayne are actually on Lil Wayne’s payroll and they REALLY ARE Lil Wayne in the Spiritual Form, which is channeled through Lil Wayne the Physical Form. That’s a real mindfuck, man.

RM: Expert Whiteboys are always looking to be ahead of the curve, and the stereotype is Expert Whiteboys are Swedish record collectors who love on Def Jux or Stones Throw or some stupid shit, so Extreme Expert Whiteboys like to kick the contrarian backlash and love up on some stupid shit that's stupid in the opposite way. That is how Lil Wayne has become considered great. Dudes are tricking themselves into thinking Lil Wayne is like the new Big Daddy Kane or some shit.
Lil Wayne wasn't that bad like the first thousand times this past year, but goddamn dude is overexposed, and when you play ANY rapper that much, they're gonna be shitty. Especially when they are kinda shitty.
One thing I hate about the rappity shit nowadays is how dudes go with the cadence factor, getting all semi-sing-songy, and then just repeat the same two simple words, or maybe a slight rhyme at the end, like "top cat" with "top hat" with "top cat" with "top that", and because they do it all sing-songy, it's supposed to be great rap. You know what that actually is? Shitty R&B.

KM: I'm gonna tell you why Lil Wayne got nominated. It's because fuck all these nerdy fucking platitudes about how subliminal and awesome Lil Wayne is. He's aiight at best most of the time. I don't care if you've assembled a thorough bibliography and footnotes explaining how all of his verses are actually so deep and manage to hit on things the average listener wouldn't notice. I don't fucking care. Why? Because while I do enjoy me some Lil Wayne from time to time, I swear to god he fucking sucks on a lot of that shit and he's on EVERYTHING right now. No, I don't hate on the fact that he could fart in a microphone for someone's remix and make it rain in their bank account - I just don't want to hear it.
The snapping point was when I was in the car earlier this month hearing Trae at the radio station. In the first place, I was pissed because I didn't get to go to his show and I was hyped, but then he pops off with this new single he did with Wayne. Trae is someone I enjoy hearing. Wayne jumps in with this A,B,C,D,E,F, I'M A GEE BLA BLA BLA SIMPLE FUCKING SIMON MET A PIEMAN GOING TO THE TRAP shit and I was just irritated as hell. Why? Because the motherfucker is just annoying after a minute. Stop telling me he's the best rapper alive because he's not even top five. This is the same bandwagon that ran "Ballin" into the dirt and tried to tell me the Clipse album was fucking amazing. The same people were probably sucking Aesop Dick 4 years ago. Go away.

4. Mick Boogie & Marco Polo - "Newport Authority" Mixtape

MD: This one came out of left field for me. I had very little idea of who Marco Polo was until this. I saw a leak of his upcoming Rawkus debut a few weeks back, but I paid it no mind because Rawkus has been releasing garbage since its return. I then saw this mixtape and I loved the cover (Run D.M.C. ripoff cover using Newport boxes) and the tracklist intrigued me, so I downloaded it.
Marco Polo is good enough at making beats, but I won’t give him the “Indie Producer To Watch Out For” label until I hear his full length. I will say, he manages to dig up some great old rappers. From amazing (Masta Ace on the leadoff single to his full length, “Nostaligia”) to the absurd (Grand Daddy I.U. seriously??), it’s all very interesting to listen to.
Some of the material on this mix is from the full length, and the rest of it is past stuff he’s done. One of the songs was from the last Masta Ace record, so he’s been around for a minute. I guess it’s just taken him a while to build up enough clout to get the full length release and Producer Flavor of the Month buzz. I’m kind of hoping that aforementioned Grand Daddy I.U. track was old and something he did when he was paying his dues, and not some new track that is attempting to re-introduce Grand Daddy I.U. to the public. That would be a disaster.

JD: I am not sure who Marco Polo is, but that track with Masta Ace gave me chills. Ace is my favorite MC ever. That is some heavy shit to lay down, but it is true. I really hate the fact that he is now "retired" but just kills Polo's track on "Nostaligia", and it could be the only track on Polo's full-length that is good, but fuck, it is really good. When Ace does these introspective rhymes looking back on his career, there is no one better, for example "No Regrets" from Disposable Arts and "Revelations" from Long, Hot Summer. Ace brings me back to sitting with a discman on a Greyhound with my best friend on our way to Washington, DC. My best friend was a she, and from the ages of 17-21, she was my everything. I spent pretty much every waking hour with her trying to figure out a way to flip that friendship thing into a me getting into her pants thing. Ace came into play because we both loved hip hop and whenever either of us got something the other didn't have, we would make cassette copies of the CDs for the other person, and Ace's Sittin' on Chrome was the only disc I brought for the 7 hour busride from PA to DC. She slept about half of the way down with her head on my shoulder as we shared the headphones. We would smoke bowls in the motel room on Rt. 1 and play Ace on her mini speakers that hooked into my discman. From that moment on, Ace was burnt into my subconscious like one of Pavlov's dogs. Maybe I now associate Ace with that post-pubescent infatuation with a female that I am sure every guy experienced. The girl is long gone, but Ace never went anywhere. That is the only good thing that came out of that shit. By far.

Download The Newport Authority mixtape here.

5. Nappy Headed Hoes

RM: An old guy who's hair looks like a physics professor and who's face looks like an old drunk fuck said something stupid on the radio. My man Rev. Al Sharpton gets his conk into a tizzy and starts calling for heads, and then IT'S ON EVERY FUCKIN' THING I HEAR AND SEE FOR A WEEK! Who the fuck cares? Last month Sharpton was protesting about a dude who, the night before he was to be married, got shot down by shady cops. Shot dead. I never heard no fuckin' faggot-ass AM radio dudes talking about that. I never saw that all over the news. But some fuckwad yankee radio bitch says something stupid and now all of a sudden every white guy over the age of forty-three on earth is saying, "Well, how come he can't say it but it can be all over every rap song that's ever been made, ever? Is that fair?" WHO THE FUCK CARES?
Also, if this whole stupid scandal blows over and Apache's "Gangsta Bitch" doesn't somehow make a mash-up comeback on the internet, I'll be fuckin' bummed about that shit.

MD: I was all kinds of pumped to write about this when it first went down, but I waited a few weeks and basically everyone on the entire internet voiced their opinions on it, making it very unappealing to me to do the same thing. Then the VA Tech shooting happened, making the entire event even more trivial.

Honestly, the biggest thing I learned from this whole mess was that there are people outside of the tri-state area who even know who Imus is, and that he’s managed to become this serious money-making radio personality even though he peaked in the late '80s, as far as people actually mentioning him in regular daily conversation.
I think this was some kind of work to either get Imus onto satellite radio to once again compete with Howard Stern, OR, it was a big plot to get Imus kicked off of the radio and television without having to fire him for no reason, because he is really a 900-year-old mummy and they don’t feel like dealing with his daily 10 pints of virgin’s blood per diem anymore. Bottom line is, no matter how sophisticated and creepy looking Imus has gotten, he is still a Morning Zoo radio host, and if they think Dick & The Beaver or whatever show they will inevitably replace all his air time with will even make them a fraction of the same kind of ad money, they’re crazy retarded.

JD: At this point, it is really redundant to spout off about how retarted this whole thing was. But looking back at the deal right now, I see Vivian Stringer got a book deal, Rutgers got all holy and dropped a football recruit who did some dirt, and Imus got canned. Terrific, now what?
Does the firing of a 68-year-old dude touch the rednecks who walk around the mall muttering things worse than nappy-headed ho's under his breath when he walks by Footlocker? Nope.
Does the fucking insane thing Nike sent me basically thanking Imus for his ignorance help? Well if you are on the nike.com mailing list, it becomes something you read and may agree with or may think it is more contradictory bullshit coming from this situation? Yes.
I don't think Nike should be trying to come off as the moral compass considering it has shoe deals with Randy Moss, Da U, and the list can go on and on. Rutgers basketball program shouldn't either. Some sports talk radio show was talking about this girl on the basketball team who Stringer recruited that has like five felony arrests for drug trafficking, weapons, and tying her girlfriend to a chair and torturing her for five days. Stringer brought her in because she was a 6'3" animal on the court, and when questioned about it, she didn't show any regrets for bringing her to Rutgers.
Yo, fuck race, fuck Imus, Stringer, and the Rutgers A.D. for blowing all of this up. Imus said something stupid and was the sacrificial lamb for the threat of Rutgers U. bringing this shit into some national crisis. This was the dumbest shit that ever went down.

6. TV Johnny Dang

RM: Kingmob actually nominated this, but I think he's in mulatto jail or something, so let me speak on this. When you look at a picture of this teethy gook flashing gold teeth, the immediate reaction is "What the fuck is wrong with this guy?" But then you see pics of him with Paris Hilton or Lil Jon or some shit, and you start to question yourself, thinking maybe he's down - more down than you - and you shouldn't mock for fear of not being down no more. I don't think that's the case.
I would imagine that back in the day, Paul Wall, being a white kid, was really smart and in all the college-prep classes, and little Johnny Dang was probably his boy in Advanced Physics, and Paul Wall talked enough goofy shit with his whiteboy ass to poke his penis into black girls. This amazed Johnny Dang, who could hardly even get the Japanese exchange student to talk to him, so since he and Paul Wall shared a lab table in Advanced Physics, he just asked Paul Wall how he did it. Paul negotiated a science project or cheating on some tests or something, and said he could help out Johnny Dang. So he got some full steezie to suck Dang's dick, which led to them being chums outside of Advanced Physics class. This was when Paul Wall realized Johnny Dang was an Asian immigrant, which was like being ultra-white - extra wealthy and with even more limitless opportunities. So Paul Wall, who's dad was a dentist, got Johnny Dang to borrow the money from his dad to start up their gold teeth business together. This, combined with Paul Wall's platinum hit album, led to fame for little Johnny Dang, who now is getting more blowjobs than he ever thought he would. I bet his little yellow dick even has genital warts by now.

KM: I threw this one up because I have spent damn near two years seeing this goofy looking dude wearing the most ridiculous looking shit in his mouth and on his wrist in print ads and on television, and I still am not quite sure how to react. I mean, on the cursory level, it looks like he's the butt of infinite jokes. He's an Asian dude with all this shiny, absurd shit on and in him, posing with Paul Wall and other assorted rappers and also dirty pirate hookers like Paris Hilton, and it really has this appearance that they're letting him tag along for laughs - Wesley Willis in a business suit, perhaps.
But then you know he's probably making a fucking assload of money off this jewelry business to the point where people are paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars for diamond-encrusted watches that have diamond-encrusted subordinate watches inside to tell them the time so they can tell you it's 4:00 when you push the diamond button on the side. That shit costs more than my life. And he probably gets a decent amount of ass behind it to boot. When I think about it like that, I feel a lot more sympathy for Paul and all the suckers shelling out too much money for a bunch of watches they'll have to hawk back to Johnny Dang when their residuals dry up and it's time to pay bills. If I had that kind of money coming in, I'd pose like a cheesy jackass all over the place, too.

7. Prodigy - "Mac 10 Handles" song

RM: I, like most malcontent fucks, think "stab you in the face with your nosebone" is one of the greatest things ever, but for the most part, I'm not a big fan of Mobb Deep or Prodigy on his own. And the fact dude got a G-Unit tattoo on his arm after 50 Cent signed him to whatever shady deal he signed him to the other year, that's hella gay to me, and the sign of a guy trying to cover his arms with some sort of identity. So I could give a fuck about a Prodigy or a Mobb Deep. Give me Kool G. Rap or M.O.P. I say.
However, I heard this song on the radio one night and was like whoa... I mean, it's complete derivative nonsense, with the same famous sampled beat Ice-T used for "High Rollers" and basically just expanding in a second-rate way on the themes Scarface ran with in "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me", but still, I loved the sound of it. In this age of nursery rhyme raps and lame club beats made by robots being nagged by a wife who speaks in 808 kicks exclusively, the grimy nature of the song made me happy.
Then I read in one of the pages of the 3000 pages worth of useless magazines that come to my house that this was part of like a two-week project Prodigy and the Alchemist just threw together, and it wasn't really gonna be anything more than a mixtape, but Prodigy made a grimy video for it on his own. So I let my internet welfare connection stand in line for an hour and download the video, and that too was grimy and sketchy and a welcome throwback away from this bling-blinded bullshit that fills the hip hop commercial waves nowadays.
I imagine the whole CD, since it's supposed to be a bunch of songs about a Mac 10, is stupider than fuck, like a lot of these collaborations end up being because most dudes doing that shit just aren't dynamic enough to pull off retarded concepts, but this song was a breath of old, crusty air. I like that, and I miss that. Hopefully instead of faggot NYC MCs getting all Jim Jonesy and shit, dancing in limelight refracted through champagne bottles, more folks come out with that good ol' grimy shit.

MD: This song comes from Prodigy’s Return of he Mac pretend mixtape. It’s a pretend mixtape because it’s on a record label and they sell it in real stores, which defeated the purpose of the mixtape, but nothing makes sense in rap music anymore, so who fucking cares.
Most of the songs on the CD are pretty good on their own, but together it gets kind of redundant. This is probably the best song on the whole thing though. It’s more about Alchemist than Prodigy to me though. I am sick of hearing about Prodigy and his guns. As far as I know, Prodigy has never been thrown in jail for shooting anyone, so maybe it’s time for him to find something else to rap about. Everyone got sick of hearing 50 Cent talk about getting shot nine times in the face, but at least he really got shot nine times in the face. I’m sure Prodigy really owns some guns, but I doubt he’s using them that much anymore. I have this long-going inside joke with my friend Chris about the types of kids who would bring gun magazines to school and flip through them incessantly at lunch or study hall and point to the ones they planned on buying once they became of age. Those kids were the absolute worst form of High School niche subculture ever. Prodigy is basically the most famous person ever from that clique.
I do give him credit for at least making an attempt at not making shitty music anymore, but as long as he’s involved with the G-Unit Faux Hit Machine (more like Used To Make Hits 2 Years Ago Machine), his real records will still have monotonously sung choruses and horrendous guest appearances while the Rill thug talk will be strictly for his Koch Graveyard releases. I just wish Alchemist would start producing songs for rappers I like.

Watch the video here

8. Stones Throw Podcasts

RM: Mike had been saying this was the shit, so I figured my wife has a stupid beatpod, so I'd download that shit. I got the Cover Me Bad one and the Madlib 45 mix, and both were good shit, although I guess part of the podcast phenom is that a lot of the shit is kinda useless to listen to more than once. However, I would say most of the music I've heard in the past year is kinda useless to listen to more than once. I mean, last month's number one was the Devin the Dude album, and outside of the "Almighty Dollar" song, I could give half a fuck about any of that CD now. I'll probably bump the Madlib 45 mix every now and then for a while though. And I'm sure there'll be some stupid women hanging out with my wife at some point that I'll bust out the Cover Me Bad bullshit to make them uncomfortable as I drink red eyes and pretend I'm really digging on the shit.
The word "podcast" kinda freaks me out though. Halfly because it makes me think of fag dorks who have podcasts that their nineteen friends listen to and no one else gives a fuck about, and halfly because it reminds me of that Body Snatchers flick and that one scene where the bulldog runs by with a human face or whatever. That shit freaked me out when I was a kid, so I sometimes get too high and worry that podcasts are evil albums that are eventually gonna hatch inside my computer and start exploding out and chopping my children's heads off. This has caused me to decide to start making more children, which is not that smart a decision, because I'm broke enough and can hardly afford the ones I already made. Still, I guess ultimately they could go feral and take care of themselves anyways if worse came to worse, and I'd rather have some feral children I dump at the river when no one's looking than to have the few children I have get murdered by Maximum Overdrive-ish podcasts.

MD: Instead of an opinion-based blurb spattered with my trademark brand of observational humor, I am going to shill the Stones Throw Podcasts. If you are a fan of music, you need to subscribe to the Stones Throw podcasts. You don’t need an iPod, but you do need iTunes or one of those fancy Podcast RSS Feed XML Megadrive 2.3 THQ Beta programs that I can’t figure out.
They update about once a month and you never know what you’re going to get. At the very least, you get promo propaganda for an upcoming Stones Throw release, but that doesn’t happen too much. Some of the more interesting entries have been the aforementioned Cover Me Bad mix, which features a lot of horrible and obscure hip hop covers, Egon’s Turkish Funk mix, which is fucking nuts on the Weirdo Music scale, and various Madlib mixes which are all completely awesome. There’s even a podcast of a pre-teen Peanut Butter Wolf pretending to be a Radio DJ hosting a top ten countdown.
This stuff is all free and you can either get it at the Stones Throw website or the iTunes music store. For any podcast novices out there: a podcast is really just an mp3, so if you’re still using CDs as your preferred music listening format, you can still burn them to a CD. Oh, and basically all other music podcasts suck dicks, so this is the only one you really need.

Get the podcasts here.

9. R. Kelly's Demented Genius

RM: I find R. Kelly an intriguing entertainer, because basically it's common knowledge he fucks preteens, had sex with his own cousin, and pisses on girls, yet he's still successfully marketed as a sexy R&B pseudo-god. And it seems that R. Kelly remixes have gone into overdrive, with him popping up all over the place. And all his shit is catchy enough, but pretty much mailed in, and repetitive. Yet, it's catchy. He could (and probably has) sang about taking a shit and it would be more interesting to the average ear than 98% of the other shitty R&B singers out there.
I guess the thing that gets me is him doing the big overdrawn video for that "Keep It On the Down Low" song, with Ronald Isley and a beat-up woman and shit, and this led to his Trapped in the Closet shit, which - albeit goofy and weird for weird's sake - was about a thousand times better than everything that comes out of graduate film schools.
I think R. Kelly is this demented genius, but he doesn't even try most of the time. I mean, if Shitty Rapper of the Month is paying you $10,000 to whip out a 16 line verse for his shitty remix every other day of your life, it's hard to really struggle enough as a demented genius to get into that role. Hopefully though, R. Kelly will find some dark times and sink back into that "I wanna have sex with my sister's daughter with the training bra, but not till after I piss on this fat redneck groupie chick, who I hope doesn't notice the scrape marks on the shaft of my penis that my Puerto Rican gay lover left on it this morning" mind frame and sink back into some really next level oddball bullshit like Trapped in the Closet. Usually when people are doing entertainment and acting crazy, it's an act; or they try to cover it up like a Michael Jackson does. I think R. Kelly is probably our best collective bet at somebody just straight up getting all NAMBLA-style indignant and making some crazy ass music exploring how perfectly screwed up he is, and acting like there's nothing wrong with that. I - being a malcontent paranoid misanthropic cynic - love stuff like that.

MD: R. Kelly is one of the only modern R&B singers I can listen to without feeling the need to have to justify myself to morons. The dude is either a genius or an idiot savant. There’s a fine line between the two, and the Trapped in the Closet series proves that. I’m still waiting on Chapters 13-Infinity, but I have a feeling they’re never coming. I think R. Kelly has FINALLY gone to trial for fucking an underage girl, but that could have been an internet rumor. I meant the part about going to trial. He obviously did fuck an underage girl. He’s fucking R. Kelly for chrissake. You can listen to any of his songs and come to the conclusion that he does the exact opposite of what normal people do. Oh, he also married Aaliyah when she was like 12. He really doesn’t get as much credit as he should for being a totally crazy motherfucker who happens to make incredible pop music. He should at least be mentioned in the same breath as Prince by now, but the R. gets no love. Except from 14 year old girls. He gets so much love from them that they don’t even mind if he uses them as a toilet. That’s dedication right there.

10. Mixtapes On Actual Tapes

JD: I was never good at making any sort of mixtape. I remember back in college, I lived with four black dudes and every weekend our house turned into Kutztown, PA's version of the Tunnel, fights included. We had this monster dude who looked like a real-life He-Man who loved to take acid and wave around his duct-taped pistol working the door. We had a weed room, where every dealer on campus plus a few friends of friends who were all too willing to push a bag of sticks and stems to some scared shitless freshman willing to pay $20 for it would chill. We also had the best fucking music. This was club shit in a tiny town in between Allentown and Reading, Pa. My roomates were from Philly and had friends who would come up with all sorts of shit I never heard of before.
I remember when Method Man did "The Riddler" for one of the Batman movies and the remix of that was played at every party. We had this voltron of a sound system that was like six different sound systems stuck together to form this tower of speakers anchored by my roomates' speakers that were giant car speakers in a box that was too loud for his car, so we used it as the system in our room. One of our friends would be the DJ, just mixing clear plastic tapes all night and doing sets that would make real-life DJs famous. So one night I decided to man up and make a tape myself to get into the rotation. During this time, class was not my #1 priority, so I sat around getting high and sifting through my tapes and CDs to make THAT mixtape - the one people at the party will be asking for dubs for. I wanted this tape so dope, it wouldn't get stolen like 85% of the music we had at the party. I spent a solid day with a tracklist in mind, and another putting on a clear plastic tape just like the others. The night came and I was hyped. I told my boy to get my tape in rotation, and I was at the party just geekin waiting to hear one of my tracks. Then it came, some gay-ass Roots track. The party almost died. Thankfully I had "The Riddler" remix as the next track.

RM: Spring time, when the weather warms, is when I get my yearly Screw jones going. And I've got a ton of bullshit on CD of DJ Screw, but the shit I love playing, more than the rest, is the stack of Screw tapes my ol' lady bought me a few years back for my birthday or some shit. Screw tapes were on 100 minute tapes, so when you buy CDs of the shit, it's either inconveniently broken in into two CDs, or it's a lie on one CD.
Digital age is great for a lot of things, I mean, it's so much easier to steal shit nowadays, which of course is putting record stores out of business. But I have far more music that I don't like than I previously used to. But a mix CD just isn't the same, because you can just slide the digital file into place, slide them all into place, do a little fade in between songs, then play it all back while you yell your stupid name over top it all. With actual mixtapes on shitty cassette, you had to record that shit, actually playing through records, and if you weren't doing bonafide mixer mixing, stop the tape, eject pull it back a touch to take away that harsh POP of the stop button, cue up the next song, pull it back to the right part, hit start and let the turntable loose at the same time. It took planning, like John was saying. You'd have to think about that shit and get it together, and you might have a stack of shit in order but would play a song and think to yourself, "Fuck, this other song would go much better here," and change it all up. Going with the flow of the tape.
I know this is some new age half-luddite tomfoolery on my part, but there's something to that. You can tell new mixes aren't listened through when done because shit doesn't flow together. You can tell the difference between a mix CD a friend gives you compared to the shitty mixtape your boy gave you back in 9th grade that you still play to this day whenever you have to drive the shitty car to the dump with the cassette player still in that jam.

KM: My experience with mixtapes on cassette tape was entirely private and has shaped my terrible listening habits and probably my DJ quirks as well. Starting somewhere in junior high, I began recording shit off CD and the college radio station for my own listening pleasure. I'd swap album dubs with friends, but never mixes (except for a few years back, with this one girl I traded with). When I lived in Lubbock, I would constantly tape over stuff in an agonizing process that wound up yielding interesting results sometimes. There was only one good transition I can remember (I didn't do any of these intricate tricks or mixing most of the time) - L7's "Pretend We're Dead" into RATM "Freedom" - and I was proud of myself because I recorded both off the radio and it was flawless. At some point, I had Smashing Pumpkins's "Siva" on a tape I'd had some Snoop songs on, so in the quiet parts you could hear "Gin & Juice" faintly and I always liked that even though it didn't match up in any way whatsoever. When I got my first job, I would make my own mixes for walking and riding the city bus - I had access to CDs, but wasn't introduced to burning my own until years later. My current roommate and I would swap tapes, and I cannibalized some of the ones I didn't like since he sent them on 120 minute cassettes. Still, space was limited and so I constantly bumped and edited those.
Radio sucked donkey dick in the late '90s in San Antonio, and alot of my older tapes kinda kept me going because the college station in Lubbock played shit that never had a chance elsewhere. To this day, I have two favorite songs from 88.1: Bongos Bass & Bob's "Thorazine Shuffle" and Paleface's "Burn & Rob." (I'm totally going to write a separate bullshit thing about Bongos Bass & Bob now that I wrote that.) In closing, yeah I kinda miss the mixtape thing but I do the same shit with CDs. When I was a broke kid, I had exactly eight cassette tapes. Sometimes, I'd boost tapes from relatives and I had to hide them or make up bad excuses as to why my someone's SLOW JAMZ tape suddenly had White Zombie and The Toadies all over it. Now, I have so many random mixes of shit I wanted to hear around that I could use them for coasters or save them for selling when I'm famous or dead. YEAH, BITCHES. EXCESS IS THE THEME.

11. The Mims Conspiracy

RM: We've made multiple jokes about Jews being behind everything, and it's just a running joke, because I'm sure by now the Jews have let in some Italians and English dudes and probably even Germans into the big club of control of the real money in music, to keep it out of the hands of the ignorant fucks like myself out there, plus blacks and hispanics and shit. I mean, you have people who are all pro-whatever they are, but only the truly wealthy and powerful know their for-real bloodlines. There's Jewish people my age who can be like, "I had three aunts and nine uncles who died in the Holocaust" and shit, and I can't even name nine uncles of mine... I had to think for a second, but I can name three aunts. But I don't know family history or anything, because I'm just a piece of shit mutt, like most everybody.
Well here's the thing... rap is really shitty now. Southern shit got real big, but it's not good southern shit, it's crappy MTV-friendly robot southern shit. The whole snap trap crap now infused with a slowed-down Screwtape style sampled hook, that whole thing. Well, when I first heard the Mims song about why he's hot, I was 99% sure he was from Atlanta, or maybe Jacksonville or Tampa, but it was the south. He had to be. How could somebody have such a shitty beat and rhyme so simplistically and not be from the South?
That's where I was wrong, and I should've been hip to this because of how he lacked a good nursery rhyme pattern to his flow, making his shittiness even shittier than the average shit I had been hearing. Apparently dude is from New York. Mike had mentioned last month how there should be some North vs. South rap civil war shit going on, and I am of the belief that there are nefarious forces behind the scenes that are pushing this Mims dude, who claims to represent New York City, as a platinum rapper, so as to instigate a North vs. South war, which will push rap music back into high sales motions on the line graphs in boardrooms. Because there is no way someone this shitty who is supposedly from New York should be on a radio station or an imprinted record or anything other than freestyling at the family reunion to the amusement of his three aunts and nine uncles. And his forced manipulated popularity is only, in my mind, part of a larger plan to sacrifice him to some larger manifested beef that will lead to some better records and maybe a couple of dead people, but most importantly, more gold coins for that big room at the back of whoever the actual modern day Learned Elders of Zion are's mansion, where they swim through their riches like Scrooge McDuck.

MD: I usually don’t buy into conspiracies, but Raven’s whole theory makes a lot of sense to me. I remember a while back when the whole “WHO'S GONNA SAVE NEW YORK?” debate came up, The Source or some other shitty magazine had an article about up and coming NY rap prospects and I believe MIMS was in there. I guess it’s completely possible that all of these prospects were approached by the Evil Music Industry Shadow Cult to make a ready-made southern style hit that would be guaranteed to sell a good chunk since America is at it’s dumbest point ever, and it doesn’t take much to make a hit song these days. I mean, you really just need to be half-retarded, or at least closely related to a retarded person, and you should be good to go.

Anyway, maybe MIMS was the only one to bite, and that’s why he’s already on his 14th minute of fame and Papoose’s record won’t come out until 2009 and Saigon is more famous for being in Entourage than he is for rapping. It’s not that far-fetched when you think about pop music throughout the years. Almost every big pop song since the beginning of pop music has been written by someone else besides the actual singer. All of the boy band/Britney Spears shit in the late '90s was written by some omnipotent Swedish hit-making factory, and “This is Why I’m Hot” is so fucking horrible, it’s not at all hard to imagine that a bunch of Swedish fuckers wrote it after doing a lot of R&D work to make sure it would be a guaranteed hit with the stupid American public. I bet there are all kinds of inaudible tones and subliminal vocal melodies inside of that track where it becomes impossible to resist if you are a moron.
Unfortunately, it looks like the label only had money to pay the Swedes for that one song, because by the time you read this, MIMS will be chilling with Lou Bega and the Baha Men sucking dick for their publishing rights so they can have the opportunity to make a few cents any time their songs are played in between breaks at minor league baseball games. It’s going to be awful hard to front like you’re hot and I’m mad because I’m not when you are most known for being the intro music to the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ star center fielder.

12. NBA Playoffs

JD: I won't front - I love the NBA. I love it more than college basketball, baseball, and every other sport except football. I think it has gotten a horrible rap due to the stank place the L was in post-Jordan. There wasn't someone for the league to hang their hat on. Penny Hardaway was a flop, David Robinson was too vanilla, Scotty Pippen was exposed as a bitch, and the people who Stern tried to push to the top could go on and on. But I think the NBA is in a really good place now. There are dudes out there like Steve Nash and Kobe that make you enjoy watching the games for entirely different reasons. Nash is a living dude from NBA Live '95 who you would always use to set up the big scorers and even let some of the bench dudes score 30 whenever you felt like it.
Kobe is the closest dude to MJ out there, but he isn't the MJ in his prime MJ; he is like the MJ from about '96 on with a mid-range and post-up game that is head and shoulders above anyone else in the league.
This time of year is when all the shit starts to get good. The NBA is like the NHL in the sense that teams go into cruise control until the playoffs start, then really start to play. That is where the complaints would start about the NBA, on top of the usual stuff with ballhogging, thugz, and a bunch of other things white middle America bitches about. But the one thing that has started to get some play is the playoff fixing, and this is one thing I am down with. I hate to go even further deeper into my arsenal of nerdness, but the best thing I could equate the NBA playoffs with is pro wrestling. Take the Dallas/G.S. series for example. Golden State is playing the plucky good guy that the fans are behind while Dallas is the dominating bad guy who is catching hate just by virtue of being across the ring from the good guy. What would make the fans more happy than the good guy pulling out a win over the dominant bad guy? I think if any sort of fix was in, it would be in the West because the East is just going to be the S.D. Jones of the Finals.
Want some predictions? Phoenix can't and won't be stopped in the West. Now that G.S. is playing well, all the talking heads are saying that G.S. is the best matchup for Phoenix, but fuck that. The Suns are going to maybe lose two more games until they reach the Finals against the Pistons who will be tired out from a potentially long series with the Bulls, then having to get through Cleveland.
All in all, don't hate on the NBA; my racist-ass family never did. As Spike Lee taught us, Italians hate black people, but my Italian family was always into the NBA. As a matter of fact I was visiting home with my wife for Easter and we were looking back at old Christmas and Easter pictures of me as a little kid and in the background of every picture in front of the TV, there was an NBA game on behind your man rocking his polyester, plaid suit. Word.

RM: I don't think white middle America fear of thuggery is so much the stereotypical complaint of the NBA as much as how passionless and downright motherfucking boring it can be. I was tricked this year by the twinkly sparkle in Gilbert Arenas' eyes into actually attempting to pay attention to the NBA. I even tuned it in on Sunday afternoons a couple of times. And the reason I came to the conclusion I hated it is because it's fucking boring to watch dudes not care. I mean, the players seem bored. There is no doubting their athletic superiority, and I actually back in high school played ball like four hours a day and one day the place we played at, Spud Webb showed up, while he was in NBA off-season, and it was fuckin' ridiculous how fast he was and how he smoked the best player on the court so bad, so much so that none of us other mid-level local scrubs like myself dared to even try to reach a hand out at the guy in defense. It was useless. But on a local pick-up court, people play with emotion. I never see that in the NBA, and if I do, it's so out of place and uncommon, I still don't care. Lebron James seems to be a guy I've seen this year who plays with some passion, but in the background of a camera shot of him being all hyped the fuck up, there's like four guys from both teams, who are on the court and in the game, just kinda milling around with that twiddling thumbs look in their eyeballs. Fuck that.

While I don't deny the validity of John's pro wrestling (haha, you sure it's not like anime?) parallel, I'll voice my complaint with the NBA in sexual terms. If they do in fact start to play harder in the playoffs, which I don't even buy that they're playing that hard even then, though they do seem to actually care more than most of the year, that's some bullshit. That's like me having some chick, in a sexual encounter, rub my shoulders for like five hours and then she sucks my dick real quick at the end and I'm supposed to be all like "Man, that was some great ass sex!" Fuck that bullshit. I want to feel like I'm about to come any second the entire time, and if it ends up being foreplay and I'm being jerked around to build up to the big grand finale climax, then that's all the better. But this 82 game shoulder rub, with like two rounds of more mostly shoulder rubbing, then a little bit of a handjob before actually sucking my dick for about a week-and-a-half at the end of things, I got far better ways to waste my time in front of a television set.

13. Underground Rap Not Sucking

MD: I could go into my longwinded theory about how underground rap is on an upswing because of the severe downward spiral mainstream rap is taking, but instead I will just say that underground rap is awesome by default because there are like ten mainstream rappers left that anyone even gives a shit about, and ten is a really high estimate.
Also, most rappers are forced into the “Underground Rap” realm simply because there isn’t any room for them anymore on major record labels due to overall poor record sales across the board. I’m sure I’ll end up eating my own foot on this one, but we may actually see a real hip hop renaissance within the next couple years, because we are rapidly reverting to the time when mainstream outlets didn’t give a fuck about rap music, which will inevitably make rappers focus on what’s most important: actual rapping. Not bullshit endorsement deals and video whores. I realize that it’s still hard to turn on the television for more than 20 minutes without seeing something hip hop related or influenced, but there was also a time when I thought I would never get Fred Durst’s dumb fucking face off my TV screen, but that even seems like ages ago now.

JD: In my older age, I have turned into looking at underground rap like the way a horse trainer would look at a potential race horse. In my case, I look at an artist, group, movement, or whatever and size it up. Before I put my backing behind it, I want to make sure it won't go out and quickly head to the glue factory. I am married and have bills. I don't have the financial freedom I did back when I was 22 fresh out of college making decent money bartending, and making bi-weekly trips to the record store and just pulling anything off the shelf and buying it because of cool guest spots or a single I may have heard being jocked somewhere. I want my underground artist to be a long-term investment. Take Clivaringz for example. The album was good, but shit, if he puts out another one with beats done by people I never heard of, he is off to the glue factory. I have certain underground people that I will buy anything they are involved with, for example the Justus League camp and pretty much anything on Rhymesayers. I do buy stuff on a whim though and am suprised, like the CunningLynguist's A Piece of Strange. It is one of the better albums I have heard in a while and I bought it straight off of internet jocking.

It is funny because my underground finds boil down to the thing I sometimes hate the most, and that is the world of internet hip hop. It is my racing sheet. I can find ten reviews or articles about the most obscure motherfucker ever, and it helps to decide what horse to lay my $11 on.

14. J Dilla's Posthumous Releases

MD: Jay Dee has technically only had two posthumous releases since his death. One was Jay Love Japan, which for the most part sucked, and the other was The Shining which was very good. There’s been a lot of re-releases of earlier work with new remixes and such that have seen the light of day since then though. It’s hard to know if things like the Ruff Draft deluxe edition and the upcoming Jaylib double disc would have been released if he hadn’t died, but I think they would have. Unlike most dead musicians, I don’t think this is a case of a dead person being exploited. Jay happened to have a lot of music in the vaults that needed to be heard for the first time, or in Ruff Draft’s case, by a bigger audience. Plus the Jaylib thing is pretty sweet because I’ve since lost my regular disc and I can now get the double disc for the same price.
I was also thinking about trying to get that extra limited edition special Ruff Draft box set that came with two t-shirts, but I guess it sold out in hours due to the crazy fucking ebay nerds that live inside of the internet. I won’t even mention the special J Dilla fitted cap. I have a feeling the highest concentration of ebay nerds live in the midwest because those states don’t have shit going for them. What my point is though, is that even though Jay Dee was lucky enough to not have record labels exploiting his corpse, he still couldn’t avoid some fat midwestern fucks living the American Dream trying to make a buck off of him.

JD: I really didn't nominate this out of hate, it was really more love. To prove how much of a Dilla nerd I am, I am typing this in the library of my school wearing a Dilla Donuts t-shirt. Today I also served as a tour guide for some students that my class tutored during the semester. These were mostly Hispanic and black kids, who are consided by the white man's system as "high risk". As we sat down for lunch, I took off my jacket , and one of the girl's asked if Dilla was a type of donut store. I told her no way, your white, straight-laced tutor digs his music. She was sort of taken aback once I explained who Dilla was and how he passed away and his mother was running a foundation that sold the t-shirts. The little girl smiled and said, "cool". I hope experiences like this are happening all over the country, fuck it the world. There is a gluttony of Dilla stuff out there you can pick up, like the Rough Draft box set with the tape and t-shirts, the Dilla shirts you can find at giantpeach.com, the Donuts shirt I bought from his mothers' foundation, and the boss Detroit Red Wings-esque logo t-shirt you can pick up off hiphopsite.com. I hope this leads to kids asking their older brothers, parents, friends, and fuck it, even tutors about who Dilla was, and that might spark something in them to ask you for a burned CD of his stuff, or for them to go out and get a Dilla CD on their own. In hip-hop usually when someone passes, their legend becomes hyped up much larger than it should be, see L, Big, but Dilla's passing served to open my eyes. I had no clue how much stuff, that I already loved, I found out Dilla was behind.
The stuff that is coming out now I don't feel is his best work, but I can not blame it for coming out. If you dig Dilla, you want to pick up every scrap of what is out there. The problem I have with it though is the way it is being presented. I am guessing the upcoming Jaylib disc and Jay loves Japan, and even Ruff Draft were small, unfinished beats patched together with less than medicore MC's rhyming over them. I get that unfinished vibe from the fact that even on Ruff Draft, some of the things that makes you say, "that is a Dilla beat", isn't there. The layerd, chopped vocals are nonexistant on Ruff Draft, and I am guessing it may be the same on some of the stuff that has yet to come out. But I will BUY it, yes BUY it because I am a Dilla fan and feel that he is one of few hip-hop artists that deserve to have their legend live on.
Oh, I also read that Common's next album will be a concept album that is a tribute to Dilla. He is planning on trying to make Dilla-sounding beats. Just a warning so you don't fall off the mountain, son.

15. U.G.K. - "The Game Belongs To Me" song

RM: I was riding home from the dirt track races the other night, and had just opened my 12-pack on the interstate, tuning into the local "community" radio station - which means they let the cusswords play - and the latest U.G.K. single blared on out. It occurred to me, with the warm spring air blowing through my open window and a fresh beer in my handy center console cupholder, just how perfectly great U.G.K. the duotic group really was - almost E.P.M.D.'s first two record perfect. While Pimp C was in jail forever trying to be freed more by t-shirt graphics instead of not violating parole terms, Bun B climbed up my internal favorite rapper charts, because he always had a smooth drawly flow. However, listening to Pimp C's verse on this single, it reminded me back when I first hearded them dudes on the Menace II Society soundtrack and how it was Pimp C's ridiculous drawn-out drawl, which felt more southern than anything I had heard to that point really in the rap music. I mean, he sounded like the dumbass dudes I would be forced to buy shitty twenty bags from when all the good prep kid weed circles were dry and I was tired of redneck homegrown. I am sure that probably project $20 bag and redneck homegrown quarter bag both came originally from the same Italian guy from New Jersey, but sometimes the shopping experience makes the consumer product feel different.
This got me to thinking about two things, one positive and one negative. First, the positive. It's great that we live in a post-Wu Tang Clan world, where a group like U.G.K. can be awesome as fuck, but the dudes don't act like girlfriends with each other about doing solo projects. This is what ruined EPMD; but of course, they came from an age when dudes wore matching outfits and often times even had complementary haircuts. But after the Wu, groups know they can break apart and it's not like divorce, because you can still come back together. That brings me to the negative. I know Kingmob is all about the U.G.K. album finally getting released, and I am too, although I will only steal it from computer machines, but a group like U.G.K., with two pretty good rappers with similar but different styles, man it'd be great if they came out with an old style record - one with one producer camp, or if it was multiple producers, they at least all tried to share a sound and feeling for the particular album (like Fishscale for example), and it might have three or four guest rapper appearances at the most. But this is 2007, so I imagine the U.G.K. album will have 17 different producers, half of whom will claim allegiance to some sort of monosyllabic titled style of regional music that basically will sound like someone emulating beating a rhythm on a Little Tikes plastic sliding board with a ringtone generator, and it will feature at least one rapper on every song, and most of those guys will suck, thus ruining what could be a great album.
This also has led me to remember that it's not rap music that sucks now, but the record industry, which is funny because they ain't selling shit in recent years anyways. I would say that through the entire course of hip hop, and probably all music forms, 97% of the shit is derivative and boring, and there's that 3% of original crazy shit out there somewhere to be found. It used to be the record companies tried to find that shit, so they could crack the public's mind, usually accidentally, with something like Wu Tang or N.W.A or Outkast. Now, I don't think they really try as hard. And I know somewhere else on this list there's something about underground rap not sucking, and I know you need to dig - regardless of the age and technology - for the best shit, but it's hard to take suggestions about how Psy-fi 69 the Zombie Thought Resurrectur from Missoula, Montana, or Mr. Black Intelligent Ghetto Rapper #738 from Philly, too seriously, when I could just as easily put on Too Short's Get In Where You Fit In for the thousandth time. I always wondered if that one dude on that tape - I think it was Ant Diddley Dog - was an old school Metallica fan for saying that "I'm trapped under ice, but ride the lightning to escape" line.
Speaking of Metallica, I often think of the Cliff Burton effect when I hear songs like this latest U.G.K. single, using slowed-down Fat Pat lines for the hook. I guess Fat Pat is like the Tupac of Houston now, and if you've listened to more than two whole Screw mixes, there's no denying Fat Pat's relative greatness. His freestyles for me are like watching old Star Trek reruns - it's not like you'd brag to your friends about how great it is or anything, but you're not gonna regret the time you spend taking it in. But Fat Pat's status as Codeine O.G. was solidified and frozen at legendary by being dead, just like Cliff Burton, because if Fat Pat was still alive, you'd be seeing shit like "New Rihanna single, featuring Fat Pat!" in the google ads at whatever blog you use to steal music from.

KM: Raven tossed me a softball here, but I have no qualms with talking up a group I like. I don't know enough Dilla to nerd up there, nahmeen? I didn't feel the song in question as much, mostly because of the beat though.
It's hard to just treat other people like idiots and philistines for not jumping on the UGK bandwagon. The stuff most folks are familiar with is either "Big Pimpin'" or "Sippin' On Syrup" - I dig the fuck out of both but neither are what would make one instantly seek more of the Underground Kingz based on musical depth or lyrical strength. A lot of UGK's music is not rapnerd friendly - they speak on shit OK Player or Stones Throw fans find distasteful. A lot of the best UGK happened on things like soundtracks, compilations, and lesser dudes' albums.
The whole time Pimp C was locked up (and even before it, really), Bun B was running around like a Dirty Souf Method Man, serving people on their own shit. That's just what he does. He hops on some throwaway remix or album cut and makes most everyone else sound like Deion Sanders. It's what drew me to the guy. One of the real clinchers for my UGK geekdom is that King Of The Trill mixtape where Rapid Ric pulled a lot of Bun's best verses & mixed them all up. However, a lot of UGK's early singles don't have that same fired-up Bun B. They're still quite good, some classics and what not, but it's different. As he grew, he started trying bolder shit on the mic.
With Pimp C, I'm having to give some leeway on the newer things he's done. Much of the verses I've heard from him haven't floored me, but part of that may just be he'd been locked up and a little out of practice. He's still good on the production side; problem is a lot of dudes already ganked his style and made tons of money on it so sometimes it seems derivative. I can honestly say that he's a dude I enjoy reading about. Every interview or article he does, he says some shit where I'm wanting to read more. Ozone should just give him an article (they may have, actually). He's like that one uncle you have who just throws bits of knowledge at you from time to time and some day down the line, it comes in handy.
Both of the UGK solo albums were less than many had hoped to hear. I was excited for both, and actually enjoyed Pimp's joint more than Bun's. Part of me was disappointed that the latter didn't have the same Make You Look Like Shit style to which I've grown accustomed. The new one, I am anxious to hear it because A) it's taken almost a goddamn year, and 2) I just want more from them. The list I've seen has me on the fence a bit, I don't give two shits about someone like The Streets but I'm willing to give it a chance nonetheless since he's the only guest that looks questionable. The production is all over the place. This may be a problem, but it also allows me to hear shit like Next Up, where the South meets the original East Coast. The EPMD thing has some legs, but I think UGK's better in ways the former never went after. Past a certain point, a lot of EPMD is... bland, and I'd say the same for Gang Starr. That will surely get my EWA papers audited but there you go. UGK4LIFE.

Watch the video here.

16. Akon's Musical Stronghold

MD: Akon is a weird guy. His voice sounds like a Transformer, which is obviously all studio trickery, to the point where I’ve only seen him lip synch in any “live performance” he’s done, yet no one gives a shit. If Akon is on a song, it is guaranteed to be a hit. He’s like the only person left in all of music that sells shitloads of records and he is not shy at all when it comes to whoring himself out to anyone with enough money to pay for his guest spot. He’s on the new Bone Thugs single! I bet the rest of their CD is blank because they used their entire budget on getting Akon... unless, Akon doesn’t charge that much money, which is why he’s on virtually every song on the radio right now. Not to mention his current single is just R. Kelly’s “Ignition Remix” with different words. That’s quite a coincidence that R. Kelly and Akon ended up in the same monthly wrap-up since Akon is quickly becoming R. Kelly in the weird fucker megastar department.
Akon recently dry humped the shit out of a 14 year old girl RIGHT ON STAGE. It’s kind of amazing to watch, even if the girl was of-age it would still be amazing. Speaking of Akon dry humping Of-Age girls, there’s another clip I saw on VH1 of him and his Hype Man violating Tara Reid on stage too. Her Akon Dry Hump Attack was way more violent and less sexual than the 14 year old's though. It was like watching a pack of hungry lions attacking a dead elephant’s carcass, which is not too far off of a comparison because I imagine Tara Reid’s vagina looks like a dead elephant’s carcass by now.
I don’t think Akon is going away any time soon, since he’s probably the only person generating enough money to keep the record industry alive. Personally, I don’t like the guy’s weird Reverb Starscream voice, but he does make catchy songs I guess. I also admire his ability to provide me with a decent amount of entertainment with all his wacky immigrant antics. His new thing (outside of the 14 year old Dry Hump Attack) is that he plans on designing a Guiness Record setting medallion (record currently held by Lil’ Jon) that will take up his entire chest. It’s supposed to be Africa in all diamonds or something, and his town will be a special set of diamonds that light up. Yup.

JD: I don't listen to him, but he does that dry humping thing I like to do to my wife when I get really drunk, so he gets my props. I saw a clip of the 14 year old dry humping incident and it freaked me out because that crowd was almost on the stage and had the chance of turning into some ill shit. I guess he is trying to make being a pop singer hard which really is a tough feat in itself. Those dudes in that high voice should go the John Legend route and dress in linen pants, sandals, and pirate shirts with a shoestring for the collar. I don't buy dudes like Akon and Ne-Yo trying to do their thug thizzle, but on tour with Gwen Stefani or doing mall autograph signings. Anyways, isn't any R&B dude just trying to do their best imitation of R.Kelly nowadays?

KM: I really did have a moment last night where I was trying to figure out a way to separate Akon, R. Kelly, Wayne and Mims in my rambly shit, especially since Akon just did the remix to the "Remix To Ignition".
I don't hate Akon, but I think the funniest shit was when he was combining with people like Styles P, Jada and Young Jeezy to refine the I'm In Jail Anthem genre, and nobody noticed they were all basically the same fucking song. Well, the funniest shit was people wanted to hear those bullshit songs in the club. I don't know why anyone would want to grind their crotch into another person's crotch while someone's sobbing about being locked up in the pokey. Akon, Young Jeezy, and maybe Sean Paul are the best examples of how an entire sub-genre of music can be boiled down into one face, one voice, one artist. Average listener assumes anything remotely Jamaican on their radio is Sean Paul, anything with a growly sing-songy shit hook about drugs is Jeezy and the only reason it's harder for Akon is that R. Kelly is in super-insane overdrive as of late so people don't forget he exists, because for about five months there, any time you found a song where Rapper meets Singer, chances are the guy singing it was Akon. Dude had three of his own singles out at the same time. Fergie's starting to be the face of her genre, and that's a little sad because she looks like she got hit in her's with Joker gas back in 1989.
I can't believe we all forgot how Akon has like five wives, too. Yes, he do. That shit is probably legit in Senegal, but I guess someone didn't like a rich black man trying to re-enact a season of Big Love because he had to stop talking about it. Had no clue about the 14 year old, maybe she was a wifey-in-training.

RM: Man, first R. Kelly and now Akon on the list? What the fuck went the days when R&B shit was wack? Now sangers are thugs and rappers are plush. I guess rap went from being hardcore and R&B went from being the bullshit on the radio, and they all met in the middle and everybody's a pussy thug now, which makes sense because they just act thug to get pussy, or at least the mouth on the other end of a body with a pussy to give them a blowjob. But at least everything on the radio is still bullshit; that hasn't changed at all.

17. Three 6 Mafia's Reality Show

KM: I didn't speak on this (ORALE!) last time around because I was holding out for it to be awesome. My expectations for the show were forever ruined by ex-Three 6 Mafia member Crunchy Black, who set the bar too high before leaving the group for unexplained reasons like everyone else except for Paul & Juicy J.
Seriously, they would have had a hard time topping Crunchy sitting on some stairs with a pistol even if they'd gone for a legit reality show. Someone should make a compilation of all the former HCP people's shoot interviews - I know Koopsta Knicca and maybe Gangsta Black have some out on Youtube.

MD: I know this was just on the list last month, but that was before the show actually aired. After a few episodes, I can honestly say I do like the show a lot. I don't know about it being a "reality" show though. It's definitely heavily scripted, and it comes off more like a sitcom than a reality show. DJ Paul and Juicy J live in a fancy Hollywood home with their two half-retarded assistants, and Project Pat who plays the Bruh' Man character only showing up to shake his head in disbelief every now and then.
Scripted or not. Paul and J are very charismatic dudes, and I have no problem spending my Thursday nights watching them go on adventures set up by their "father" or their jew manager (his name is Rosenberg). I also don't mind watching them cook ribs in their downtime. They really should get their own cooking show and leave this reality business behind.
I should also mention that I never knew until watching a couple episodes of the show that DJ Paul actually has a little baby arm. I don't think I'm alone in just finding that out, since "DJ Paul's baby arm" is a popular search term for my site, although I don't think it's ever been talked about on my site until right now. Weird.

18. Old Rapper Comebacks

KM: These are always hit or miss. Some of the best old rappers never left (Too $hort, for example) but a lot of the dudes that fell off and try to make waves again fall short because they were only lightning in a bottle guys in the first place. Every few years, someone like Hammer will get put on and it's cool because I like Hammer, but there's no way I'll buy a whole new album from him in 2007. Stick to those hyphy guest spots.
The thing with Nas was interesting, but kinda sucked for a lot of those guys. Yeah, they can still go but damn, it took a milk carton single to pull it out of them. Nobody's looking for a new Candyman album. KRS sounds like he's got a banger in the works and may have convinced Rakim to stop sucking for a second. The one I'm honestly hyped about is a possible Juice Crew reunion. The article I read said Kane and Kool G. Rap were "not commenting", but I know they can still go because they're on that joint with UGK and kicked motherfucking ass. I will take this opportunity to say FUCKING RELEASE THE UGK ALBUM ALREADY one more time.
A lot of old southern rappers stick around and get put on with new dudes because they don't suck. And a lot of the ones that I hope make comebacks like Scarface will blow dudes out of the water because they also don't suck. In conclusion, it's pretty much like that shirt Ludacris wore - Hip-hop's not dead, it moved to the South.

MD: We have finally reached the era where the rappers most of us grew up with are at that age where they try and make a comeback. Sure, some of them never went away, but a lot of them got dicked over by the industry and now see these new rappers making some real money doing the rap stuff while the old dudes are just trying to get a free drink from a dive bar off their fleeting fame.
For the most part, the old rapper comebacks suck, but they're all at least fairly interesting. I think Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap are the perfect version of old rappers making a comeback. I don't know if either have an actual full length in the works or anything, but they've recently been dropping decent sounding guest verses on lesser known rappers tracks, to give them "the rub". That is exactly what an old rapper's role should be in this day and age. None of this coming back to the rap game after a long stint at Home Depot just to fizzle out somewhere in between your album getting leaked on the internet and it's actual release date. Just take it easy and pop up here and there to remind people how good you were without taking too much of the spotlight.
I know rap kind of sucks right now, and a lot of people probably WANT old rappers to come back, but rap is such an evolving genre of music that if you put a 1988 rapper in 2007, they aren't going to be good no matter what. We all have to deal with rap sucking and let old rappers fade out gracefully, and if fading out gracefully means popping up to do a cute little remix with Nas or to spit 16 bars on and up and coming producers record, then so be it.

19. Joell Ortiz - "The Brick: The Bodega Chronicles" CD

MD: Joell Ortiz has been building up a nice underground (Translation: Internet) buzz over the past few months, and this is his first real release since then. It's supposedly a mixtape, but it's on Koch Records, so it's really a CD before his major label Aftermath debut.
While it's not an instant classic or anything, he definitely shows a lot of promise. The biggest problem with the CD are the beats, which I'm sure will be taken care of once he has Aftermath behind him. I'm just hoping his real CD release isn't filled with too many obligatory "club bangers" to sell records. Honestly, I hope Dre just hires Pete Rock to do all the production on it.
Joell is a pretty exceptional rapper, especially when put up against all the other major label crap. The one problem with that is, it's like his gimmick. He's not just an exceptional rapper, he's an exceptional rapper who's gimmick is that he's an exceptional rapper that wants to revive the golden age of hip hop. While his official release will most likely be good with the small sliver of a chance of it being an actual instant classic, there's always a chance the schtick will get pretty tiring after an album or two.

RM: No one else [on the EWA staff] had heard this, so I started downloading it tonight, but then it started raining and cut off my internet. So I started it again, seeing it was a megaupload link Mike had sent me, and I have that supposedly super-awesome Megaupload Dicksucker thing where you can resume broken downloads and uploads, which ideally is perfect for dial-up assholes like myself. Except when you use it for downloads, it just cuts off and you don't get shit ever. That's what happened on my second try, and at that point I figured I'd just write this shit... and I had started doing that when my wife started talking to me about something about her stomach being upset because of refined fake dairy in shit like M&Ms and I was half-trying to type about how Puerto Ricans to me are like northern hispanics and Mexicans are like southern hispanics and I tend to have a better time with Mexicans because they are hard-working family types and probably the closest thing to Merle Haggard lyrics modern America has on display, while Puerto Ricans wear Yankees hats in alternate colors and talk with a Brooklyn accent even if they grew up in Altoona, and that shit kinda trips me out. So I was only half-paying attention to my wife and then she got all passive aggressive about that shit, so then I lost my train of thought about how, even though Puerto Ricans are like antithetical to me personally, Big Pun is my favorite dead rapper and someone I think is far underrated, and only gets more and more underrated the more stupid fat hairless albino-looking fuck Fat Joe gets wacker and wacker and MTV Spring Break oriented. But after I post all this bullshit, I'm gonna try to finish downloading The Bodega Chronicles, hooking it up to start and then going to bed, and then in the morning, I'll wake up and look at that shit and there'll either be a big red ! on the screen or a "download complete" thing, and if the latter is the case, I'll burn it and listen to it while I ride to work in my stupid truck, hoping it rains so I can't work. If it rains and I can't work and the Joell Ortiz is good, I'll buy a double deuce to drink on the ride home. If it rains and I can't work and the Joell Ortiz isn't good, I'll probably put The Great Migration CD by Bronze Nazareth which I found under an empty plastic bag under my passenger side seat today, and I put it in and remembered how that's an awesome ass CD and way better than 99% of the things people tell me I should download.

20. Natural Loops

RM: So I know now there's that computer program where your laptop has the two turntable graphics connected to your robot vinyl replicas and you load sampled pieces onto the laptop and cut that shit, which is used to replace dudes marking their records with stickers and shit like that, of which half the DJs don't even have anymore as guys show up and set up CDs or plug in two ipods and start DJing the party. I love vinyl though. I have thousands of records and have left behind thousands of records. I keep myself kinda limited at this point in life to about 2000, so if I get this big double shelf I have too full of shit, I thin the herd; but I've been as high as about 10,000 records in my lifetime.
In the past few months though, I've re-acquired some records I used to have or already have, at least ones that can be found on the cheap, because I've become obsessive compulsive with something that accidentally happened. On my Black Sabbath Volume 4 record, during "Snowblind", the record somehow got a scratch in it that makes it skip perfectly on beat. I found this out years ago, but never did much more than let it play for as long as however fucked my state was thought fit each time. However, a couple months back when pulling out a couple old Eddie Harris records - Instant Death and I Need Some Money - and all the undiscovered awesome ass gems of loopable sounds on them, well at first I contemplated using new-fangled computer mechanisms to do that shit. But then I figured fuck, I'm 34, I ain't gonna ever be Polow Da Don no matter how much I shuck-and-jive or what obscure sources I know to thieve from, and plus I was in a pharmaceutically-induced inward type mind frame, so - knowing I had seen copies of both of these albums still for less than three bucks at the used record store - I took a shot at carving a loop with an X-acto knife. I failed terribly, and the I Need Some Money record is still okay as it's just a little cut and skip at a good part, but sometimes, if you have an extra dime on the needle, it'll go through the skip. But the Instant Death record was ruined. So I hit up a couple used record spots and bought multipe new used copies of both, as well as a few other old funky jazz fusion albums (Stanley Clarke, back when he dressed and looked like an alien with an afro). I have furthered this natural loop art, carving an on-beat skip so that you can just play a record and the shit stays on loop forever basically, or until somebody else within earshot makes you change the record. I have mangled probably 7 or 8 albums for every one that works out good enough to not consider mangled, and only about 4 are perfectly downright killer. The first few were just simple cuts across a groove at an angle to draw the needle into a matrix zone, but I did do one on a Tommy Flanagan record - completely by accident - where the knife cut at an upward angle as well so the cut works like a barely noticeable launching ramp and the needle actually jumps back over a second groove in the vinyl, making for a longer loop.
Mad science, and completely unnecessary, I know, but the more I stay hunkered down in the glow of a naked bulb, mind all tweaked out on alcohol and intensity, trying to carve old records into something that nobody but I will ever care to listen to, the less of the rest of the world I'm exposed to. Which probably works out best for the rest of the world as well.

JD: I am not an idiot. I can tie my shoes, drive a car, do reasonably well in college, turn on my computer, save stuff, keep a bank book, but that shit Raven was talking about might as well be alien calculus. Making a beat seems like something that is so above me, that I am scared to find out more about it because I fear I will become some hermit and sit in front of my computer day and night trying to figure out how to take a sample and make it into a song.
What really catches me and always has about hip-hop is how someone can take a snippet of a sound, patch it together with another snippet, and make a track. I have seen the youtube series with Pete Rock just fiddling around with some machine to recreate some of his doper beats, and it amazes me the simplicity of it. I have also become the type of person to put on the classic rock channel and listen for guitar licks and drums that could somehow get turned into a beat. I think the natural loop type of hip-hop really was big in the mid '90s with The Roots leading the charge, but with alot of hip-hop now sounding mechanical , I wonder if that age will ever come again? If a Jazzmatazz album came out in '95 people were flippin', and there is one coming out again and not even a blip. I guess it is too hard to take a jazz loop and make it into a ringtone for your cell.

21. Sa Ra Creative Partners - "The Hollywood Recordings" CD

MD: I first heard of Sa-Ra around this time last year. It was completely random. I was browsing through a stranger's Soulseek files and he just happened to have a folder of unreleased Sa-Ra material. I'm not even sure why I downloaded it, but I did. I then spent the next month telling everyone about them, but no one really gave a shit.
Sa-Ra's music is kind of hard to explain. It's like if Prince got toegther with Funkadelic, but instead of making really funky dirty music, they smoked too much weed and made laid back and chilled out dirty music. It's definitely not for everyone, but I was totally in love with it the first time I heard it.
Unfortunately, Sa-Ra had no real official material until The Hollywood Recordings. So I basically spent the last year listening to their random unreleased tracks, and a mixtape they made with some of the remixes they've done over the past couple two tree years. It made me even more pumped for this new CD when I first heard it was being released, but a lot of the songs that made up their unreleased material ended up on this CD. I was looking for all new material.
I'm not complaining that much though. The new stuff on here is still dope, and the old stuff sounds better. They missed the boat not putting "NYC" or "Frequencies". Especially the latter, because I think that could have been a huge hit.
Anyway, if you're into different shit every once and a while, and you're man enough to admit to liking Prince and other questionable shit, this is definitely worth checking out.

KM: It's hard not to dovetail what Mike said after listening to this. I saw an ad in one of my rapmags for this; it had a list of everyone featured and that caught my attention - Kurupt, Capone & Noreaga, Pharoahe Monch and Talib Kweli. That's the same kind of odd shit Pete Rock pulls together, so I thought it was worth a shot.
Hearing it, I am also thinking it's a combination of lots of people boiled down to a musical What If? A lot of Prince, but it also channels some funkshit Prince didn't tinker with as much (but someone like The Ohio Players or George Clinton bands did) or some shit that derives itself from Prince, et al, but goes in other territories (like the oddballs from the Dungeon Family.) It not only sounds like Pete Rock and Dilla music smashed together sometimes, but also some odd ambient electrojunk at other points and then maybe ?uestlove sat in and dicked around with a drum kit for the rest.
Erykah Badu (who also appears) may merit herself a spot next month. She's gone from a punchline in succubus jokes to someone who's helping make a music scene in her hometown of Dallas.
It's the kind of shit you put on mixtapes for people who say they hate rap and that's probably why it'll end up being a college radio darling that I'll tire of hearing my white friends pimp for hipster cred in a year. But I'll still like it (unlike Jurassic 5). So, in a nutshell, it's like Crown City Rockers for me. I liked this, I wouldn't have regretted buying it and may still do so.

22. Kehinde Wiley

RM: Kehinde Wiley is a fancy pants painter, and I like Kehinde Wiley because his style is retarded. He does classical-looking paintings with French New Orleans Saints logos and shit, but has some black dude in polo gear standing in the spot that Bonaparte Twatface the XIV would've stood at. It's awesome, and I seened some pictures of it in them there wordy magazines, but I saw one at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond and was much more impressed with the immensity of it. It's a gimmick style for sure, but in this day and age of so much bullshit hip hop derivative pop art, it's a fresh gimmick.
I mean, I see Juxtapoz and Swindle and Giant Robot and all that other shit, and it seems every fuckin' graffiti artist is trying to be considered a "street artist" who wants to sell to galleries, and there's nothing street about that shit nine-quarters of the time. And then you have the whole outsider art/art brut/whatever the fuck where that's just an angle to get sneakily into galleries as well. One reason the majority of people on this earth have no real taste for the fine arts is because the fine arts are full of shit. I am not a complex individual and I don't pretend to be a deep-thinker like I could beat a robot at chess or nothing, but outsider artists should either be illiterate or schizophrenic, and street artists should never want anybody to ever see their face under any circumstance, especially not to just sell me some bullshit hoodie with their tag screenprinted on it 38 times. All this other shit you see in the GRAPHICALLY INTENSE hip hop generation artfag mags is mostly bullshit - part-Beastie Boys sticker, part-anime obsession, and mostly-repetitive. I guess that's why I like Kehinde Wiley, because he just seems like some dude who came up with a stupid schtick and is sticking to it obsessively, which makes it more real, at least to me. I'm sure this is the internet though so some faggot Scifen Oriol 420 dude from Denmark will post a link about how full of shit Kehinde Wiley is, and I'll be supposed to all of a sudden think some Adbusters subscriber like Banksy is Shakespeare with spray paint.

MD: I have some real fierce opinions on Graphic Design and, um, "Urban Art" that I probably shouldn't have because I don't really do graphic design or art or anything. I've basically been surrounded by it for the past five years as I've lived and spent most of my days with real artists, graf artists, graphic designers, graphic artists, website dungeonmasters, etc. It's hard NOT to develop opinions after a while.
For the most part, I think a lot of graphic design right now is shit. One dude or group comes up with a good design idea, then ten thousand other boners jump on it and ride it out until it's not cool anymore. That's what makes this Kehinde Wiley dude so fucking amazing. Not only is he an honest to goodness painter in the day and age of everything being done on computer, or at it's most physical, spraypaint, but he has this crazy majestic old world style that no one could really bother copying even if they wanted to since it takes so much talent.
There's another guy named Brandon Bird who has the same kind of thing going on, but instead of Hip Hop dudes, he uses Pop Culture subjects that appeal to Stoners and Wastoids. His stuff isn't as refined though, and I imagine Kehinde Wiley ends up at a lot of hoity toity art openings like in Wild Style where old wealthy bitches try and pay him money to do a painting for them but by "painting" the really mean a "good hard fucking". I could be way off-base though. I really know jackshit about dude, and I did like 15 seconds worth of research for this, and I'm also colorblind, so what the fuck do I know about art anyway?

23. Buckwild - "Diggin' In The Crates" Double CD

MD: This either just came out, or is coming out soon, depending on what website you check. I, of course, got it from the Internet Super Speedway, and it's definitely my CD of the month. Of course, it's all old material between 1993-97. There's a LOT of must have shit on here.
Basically, it's a double CD collection of rare songs and remixes Buckwild has done between 93-97. There's a coupld Nas "Life's A Bitch" remixes I've never heard in my life on here, along with some "Mad Izm" remixes PLUS a TON of original shit I never, ever, ever heard. It's all done by Buckwild too, so there isn't really one bad track on here.
I don't know anyone who doesn't like Buckwild's production, and with two CDs worth of stuff you most likely never heard, unless you are an ultimate supreme rap nerd, this is a no-brainer to get. I'm surprised this hasn't recieved bigger fanfare from the internet rap army. People are sleeping hard on this.

RM: Oh shit, this is the thing I've been meaning to download for the last seventeen nights. Being it takes me forever to download shit on internet welfare, I'll download two or three things that are MUST HAVES according to various internet dork friends who I don't know in real life, hopefully will never have to meet, yet somehow I take their opinion as not full of shit. And then all two or three of those things will be overblown, too hyped, and big fat pieces of shit that I wasted my phone line's night downloading, allowing government ninja spies to steal all my secret plans to do one day do dumb shit. So then I forget to download the Buckwild bullshit Mike told me about.
There's been plenty of talk on camps of MCs and which might or might not have been the greatest, but not too much talk on camps of producers. But seriously, the D.I.T.C. crew was probably THE shit on that level. You've got Diamond, Showbiz, Buckwild, as well as the sample dabbling other members did. They were the Kings of the Boom Bap, and that's always been my favorite shit. I mean I love aspects of all styles and regional flavors of the hip hop, but beatwise, nothing pumps my alcohol-tainted bloodstream more than that early to mid '90s boom bap. I hope the stupid link still works because, to quote every internet fag dork ever, I NEED this. (I don't really need it, but it'll help me while my life away a little easier.)

24. Where Is Madvillain 2?

MD: For the past two years, Stones Throw has announced the followup to Madvillainy coming out before the end of the year. It obviously didn't happen last year, and it's been taken off their upcoming release list for this year, so I imagine that means it's not happening in 2007 either.
I normally wouldn't care about such a thing, but I recently recognized Madvillainy as one of the best records of the decade inside the imaginary universe that lives in my head where I come up with fake lists and other dumb shit that will never get me ahead in life. There are only two other records on that list so far. One is Quasimoto's The Unseen and the other is Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein.
The Unseen is more of a personal choice, and I can understand if other people didn't agree with me on that one. The Cold Vein, to put it bluntly, is the best vivid yet poetic and realistic portrayal of growing up in "the hood" since Wu Tang's 36 Chambers, and if you can't recognize that, you're just not listening hard enough. Quasimoto's follow-up came out a couple years ago, and it lived up to all my expectations, but I still wouldn't place it as high as The Unseen. The Cold Vein follow-up is supposedly being worked on, but there's no way it will be out this year or probably even next year, but at least there's been a string of excuses being given about the hold up.
This isn't about those records though. Madvillainy is the record for everyone. I can't see how anyone who even has just a passing interest in rap couldn't get into this. Madlib and MF Doom together is like the first time you discovered how awesome the combination of Peanut Butter and Chocolate was. It's very rare two awesome and unique things come together to make an even more awesome thing, but Madvillainy is the Reese's Cup of our generation.
Now here's my gripe. Up until last year, Doom was basically making a new record every other week. Madlib hasn't stopped making a record every other week. So what's the fucking hold up, man? They made Madvillainy in a week or something ridiculous like that. Doom isn't doing anything else right now, and I'm sure Madlib can make time. To make it even more nerve racking, the two new Madvillain tracks that have been released that were supposedly tracks from Madvillain 2 were somehow even better than the original Madvillain tracks.
I really hope Stones Throw removing Madvillain 2 from their release list was some way of trying to surprise people when it comes out, but the sad truth is no one will probably see it until at least 2008, but I know it will be more than worth it. I'm just sick of fucking waiting, god dammit.

JD: If I was a betting man, I would put a few coins on the fact that this album isn't out yet because one beat or rhyme has not been done for it yet. People all over the nerdy part of the internet have been clamoring for a second Madvillain or the Ghost/Doom collab albums that seem to never come. Don't get me wrong, I am one of those nerds bitching about the delay... as a matter of fact, I am doing it now. But I have faith that when it does come, it will be worth the wait. It seems like Doom and Madlib are both weird dudes who wouldn't just dive into a collab album and come out of the studio in a week with a new record.
I am listening to Madvillain as I type this, and it is a shame this album only got a medicore amount of mainstream jocking when it first hit. What makes it great is the rhymes fit perfectly with the tracks and vice versa showing you the work that had to be put into it to make it so good. So chill Mike, it will come dog.

25. Blog Rarity

MD: I was recently on the When They Reminisce blogsite, which is one of the few blogs out there that take the time out to write a good amount of words about the old records they are thanklessly uploading for consumption by the ungreatful internet public. Some douche left a comment mentioning the records being posted weren't rare enough.
Are you fucking kidding me? Is that what illegal downloading has come to? I mean, I won't lie. When I first discovered the joys of downloading, I downloaded EVERYTHING. Now it's rare if I download more than a couple albums a week. It's not because I can't find enough rare shit though.
Here's some advice for all the weirdos out there looking for rare rap stuff on the free internet. First off, it doesn't matter how rare something is if you don't physically own it. There is no reward for having something rare on your hard drive. You just happen to be good at downloading. Big fucking deal.
Secondly, 95% of rare things are rare because they suck. It's kind of disturbing that people are still out there searching for some holy grail of a record that everyone else on earth seemingly overlooked. Trust me, if DJ Shadow doesn't have it, it doesn't exist, so there's no need to look.
I appreciate sites that specialize in rare stuff, but there's only so much hard to find shit that's actually worth finding. One of the first "rare" things I found through this blog junk was Dr. Dre's "Roadium" mixtapes, and after listening, I knew at that point I would never find anything better that was "rare" ever on the internet. The end. There's enough Non-Rare music out there that should keep anyone busy for a few lifetimes. If something overlooked or undiscovered happens to pop up, I'm sure some other dick will Myspace message you within 20 minutes of it becoming public, so calm the fuck down already.

RM: Doesn't surprise me in the least. We all know someone who downloads like seven thousand things a week, never fully listens to three-quarters of it, but still pushes forward as if one day Bill and Melinda Gates are gonna start a Let Dudes Finally Listen To All The Bullshit They Downloaded charity, where thirtysomething white guys get saved from the dregs of wage slavery (via salary) to credit card finance charges near the maxed-out limit, so that they can sit around their triple mortgaged house and finally fully attempt to appreciate all that music they had to have. Through this EWA bullshit, I've been hipped to a number of blogs, and for the most part they are like all blogs - worthless. This They Reminisce blog is one of the only ones I actually went back to more than three times.
It's funny, with file sharing and shit, people are able to have more shit than they ever had ever before, but somehow this is mistranslated into thinking you know more about whatever it is you obsess over than ever before. We still know as little about shit in the overall sense as we ever did; it's just that instead of knowing a whole lot about like four things, we know very little about a million things nowadays.
But also, one of the greatest things about the internet is it's fickle nature. The same dude who complains because shit ain't rare enough will eventually feel he has the rarest shit ever and start his own blog, and everyone - meaning his little circle jerk of internet friends - will love it. But in very short order the fact he has his own blog will draw some other random anonymous person in who will talk about what a dumb shit that guy is, and so on and so on. It's a creepy parasite that feeds on itself, meaning it can't really die and only grows stronger, and all the individual faggot nerds who make it up are irrelevant. Which also means I'm a dumbfuck for writing this and you are a dumbfuck for reading it.

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