Monday, 22 July 2013

GQ Names The Worst Rappers Of All Time

Put a few people in a room and they will sure argue about what they think is the best - it's rare that folks agree on anything. The dudes at GQ took a break from looking at those gorgeous female models and decided to voice out who they think are the worst rappers of all time. Yeah folks, you would ask, what does a magazine that promotes the good life has to do with music...well, read for yourself.

After Nelly brought St. Louis lingo to the masses, Chingy appeared in 2003 with a debut that made his STL roots obvious: "He's Herre," "Right Thurr," and "Wurrs My Cash." His commercial pizazz faded as his good-time topics (sex, money, having sex with girls who like his money) stayed the same and he titled his fourth album Hate It or Love It, which turned out to be an easy choice. On the other hand, if you get a good laugh out of "That's me, Ching-a-ling, equipped with much ding-a-ling," you might object to his inclusion here.

14.Too $hort
Not even Too $hort will be surprised to see Too $hort's name on this list. "Serious hip-hop fans, they'll boldly say, 'Too $hort ain't the best, Too $hort ain't got the best lyrics,'" he admits. This pioneer of Bay Area hip-hop has had an unusually long career—even he's lost track of how many records he's done—most of it pedestrian. He has no interest in being "a rapper who rapped in metaphors, and said slick s***," he declares, which is kind of like a NASCAR driver saying he doesn't want to drive fast.

13.Will Smith
At this point, he'd duet with Frank the Pug if he thought it would sell a few extra movie tickets.

12.Pro athletes, post 1985
When the Chicago Bears made the (Grammy-nominated!) "Super Bowl Shuffle," it paved the way for other over-indulged jocks to rhyme at sub-amateur levels. Take the Lakers' Ron Artest, whose idea of gangsta was starting beef with silver-haired, bespectacled David Stern and Matt Lauer ("You look like a girl"). One jock we'll exempt: Shaq, for his "Kobe, tell me how my a** tastes" freestyle.

11.Soulja Boy
In "Pretty Boy Swag," Soulja Boy repeats the song title, with the same dead inflection, thirty-six times. By reducing hip-hop to chants, ringtone beats, and vapid boasting, he has inspired a notable generation gap: everyone over 25 seems to hate him, from LeBron James to Ice-T, who accused him of "single-handedly killing hip-hop." Because ganging up on somebody is always wrong, and because we're equally capable of killing hip-hop, we've written about half of a song for Soulja Boy: "Man I look pretty / Your mama's a** is s***** / Gonna buy a big watch and wear it 'round the city." The more times you say it, the better it sounds!

10.Weed carriers (St. Lunatics, Bravehearts, D-12)
Once rappers become stars, they have the leverage to drag friends along with them into prosperity. They also need someone to transport weed, a job that dates back at least to "Spanish Tony" Sanchez, who was Keith Richards' personal drug mule. "Weed carrier" (aka baggage handler, tree stasher, or weed wallet) is the unflattering term to describe rappers who perhaps might not have record deals if an influential friend hadn't demanded it: The Bravehearts, St. Lunatics, and D-12.

9.Master P
When people praise Master P, it's usually for his bootstrap entrepreneurship: he rose from one of New Orleans' most despairing housing projects into a self-described "ghetto Bill Gates," though unlike the man born Percy Miller, Gates never branched into sports management, films, clothes, or phone sex. Master P was notorious for ostentation, including 22-carat-gold panels on his bedroom ceiling. (His net worth was once estimated at $361 million; four years later, he filed for bankruptcy.). But songs are virtually interchangeable, he's often accused of j****** ideas from other rappers, his lyrical signature is a constipated grunt (Uhhhhhh!), and in a Fortune magazine profile, a competing rap executive described P's record label as the "McDonald's of hip-hop," though to be fair, he appeared to mean it as a compliment.

8.Eazy E
He had some malevolently funny lines (I'm Eazy E, and I got b****** galore / You might have a lot of b******, but I got much more), but they were usually written by Ice Cube, who said it took "days" for Eazy to clumsily record his snaps. ("I can't do this s***," Eazy complained when asked to rhyme.) A small man—Cube called him a half-pint b****, and Snoop referred to him as Tattoo—with a voice pitched midway between Geddy Lee and Fran Drescher, he was a one-dimensional gasbag with the rhythmic grace of a dot-matrix printer.

7.The two guys in the Black Eyed Peas who aren't
Will produces the songs. Fergie sings the hooks. You do...what exactly?

A Cuban-American Vanilla Ice who flacks for Dr Pepper and Bud Light—try mixing those two for a fun speedball!—Pitbull specializes in mind-numbing Eurodisco about hot girls and nightlife, with witless, winking reminders of his heritage: My tongue is bilingual, ready to play with that spot where you tingle.

5.MC Hammer
When people remember you more for your pants than your lyrics, it's a bad sign.

He's hit a trifecta: mocked on The Daily Show, on South Park, and in The Onion. Daddy/Diddy has a terrific ear for shameless hooks, and he knows the hustle, which is why he has money hangin' out the a***, to quote his most memorable lyric. But as a mumbly, indistinct rapper, he wouldn't be signed to any label he didn't own.

3.Kevin Federline
An ex–backup dancer for Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake, Federline made the usual boasts about his tax bracket and expensive cars—but his ex-wife, Britney Spears, actually owned everything except the goatee. Real gangstas don't get $20,000 a month in child support.

2.Vanilla Ice
History's first truly awful rapper—like Richard Nixon, he sullied an entire occupation with unprecedented terribleness. Unlike Nixon, he won't go away: He made a metal album, went on reality shows, and re-recorded "Ice Ice Baby" along with nine other "hip-hop classics." You should hear what he does to Public Enemy.

1.Insane Clown Posse
The KISS-style makeup these two self-anointed "wicked clowns" wear is a tip-off—they live to sell peripheral products, from DVDs to comic books to PPV wrestling cameos, to the tune of millions of dollars annually. Like most d-bags, they're predictable: Ample use of the words f***, psycho, and f*** attracts a devoted fan-clan, and their annual festival has also included, yep, Vanilla Ice.  

Jay-Z, Samsung, and the Branding of Music: Is Selling Out Still the Same Old Selling Out?

We came across this article from Pigeonsandplanes and thought what a good read.

Jay-Z’s latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail was just announced on Sunday night and comes out in a little less than a month, on July 4, but it’s already sold a million copies. Samsung has long been partnering with high-profile musicians to help push their brand, specifically, their phones, which have been struggling to battle Apple and Blackberry in popularity and public perception. They got the elusive Prince to play a sold-out, highly branded showcase at SXSW, and now they’ve added Jay-Z to their roster.

While his wife BeyoncĂ© has been rolling out her new album in a similarly corporate-oriented fashion, the lengthy video that Jay dropped during Game 5 of the NBA finals is far more commercial than album teaser. The experiences it conveys are polished and suggestive, with tablets inserted into the recording process as convenient tools that are helping Jay-Z push himself to make the best music possible. There’s even a scene where the guys blow their speakers, skillfully implying the evolving and sometimes rocky relationship between hip-hop and technology.

In this case, the relationship is more than just a part of the creative process. The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung has already purchased a million copies of Hov’s album—for around $5 a piece—which amounts to a large chunk of cash that goes into his pocket regardless of any other aspects of the deal. The million copies of the record will be distributed to Samsung’s users via a special application for their phone, which, as Business Week points out, effectively establishes Samsung as a gatekeeper of the record. Whereas many artists are opting to stream their albums early for all to hear, Jay is making money and moving units by allowing a brand to dictate that their customers hear it first.

carterererer 300x124 Jay Z, Samsung, and the Branding of Music: Is Selling Out Still the Same Old Selling Out?Especially in the rap world, where album leaks are practically industry standard, a move like this one puts Jay ahead of most of his slightly younger peers when it comes to subverting the old, now seemingly-failed album sales model. But it raises some important issues, one being: will these sales count toward his RIAA status on the album? As per Jay’s tweet, Billboard may not be counting these million copies as part of their album charts. It brings to mind the stunt that Amazon and Lady Gaga pulled back in 2011 to sell Born This Way for ninety-nine cents a copy in order to boost first-week numbers. Then there’s the time Taylor Swift offered copies of Red as an add-on to Papa John customers ordering pizzas—the album wasn’t free but it was available for an extra $13, hand-delivered with any pizza purchase.

Billboard didn’t revise their numbers with the previous two examples, but MTV reports that they won’t be counting any of the Samsung sales toward their reports—something that Hov’s tweet above predicted, indicating he may have known this was the case before it was officially reported.

Interestingly enough, it turns out that music isn’t the only industry that has been dabbling in corporate buy-outs and brand partnerships to boost the slagging consumer market. The book publishing industry has experienced a similar dwindle in advances, contracts, and overall sales. The corporate sponsorship route started to enter the picture back in 2011 when publishing experts started actively encouraging new and old authors to adopt this model. Not only that, but now authors can hire marketing firms to buy their books in initial large chunks, catapulting them to the best-seller list, an important seal of approval and alterer of public perception.

The market is trending more toward consumers getting their music, news, and literature for free, and the ways that both publishing and music are morphing in response to this is fascinating and a little confusing to watch. Lines feel a bit blurred, sometimes even crossed, when brands are bolstering budgets—but then again, how different is their control and influence from what the publishing houses and record labels previously held?

Which leads to the relentless question: is selling out still the same old selling out? Selling out used to irk fans because it meant the quality of art they loved had been sacrificed and infiltrated with corporate and mainstream conceptions—watered down for the sake of the money. The idea that a great artist would surrender any amount of creative control simply to get paid has long been regarded as shameful, not just by society and fans, but by other artists. In Jay-Z’s case, the most obvious juxtaposition we can hold up is Kanye’s blatant defiance to even release a single in support of Yeezus. His rant at Governors Ball laid out his mission statement pretty clearly, and it definitely didn’t involve any corporate branding. While Jay was in some boardroom shaking hands and drafting contracts with lawyers and executives, Kanye was probably in the studio writing the lyrics, “Fuck you and your corporation, you n****s can’t control me.”
But it seems unlikely that Samsung would have much control over the content or character of music that Jay-Z will release on his twelfth studio album—so why does it still rub us the wrong way?
Aligning artistic endeavors with a brand seems to be the new industry standard for commercial success. Look at Red Bull’s Music Academy, a traveling event that has fostered inventive artistic experiences that had been neglected because of lack of commercial viability. If a brand like Red Bull is opening up the space for marginal art to be expressed, should we still be wary? Or should we embrace the benevolence of big money? Is there reason to be concerned, or is it like Jay says in the video, “We don’t have any rules, everyone’s trying to figure it out. That’s why the internet is like the Wild West, the Wild Wild West—we need to write the new rules.” What’s most concerning is to consider who is writing the rules—is it Jay-Z or is it Samsung? Is it the artists and the fans or the corporations?

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Young MCs That Will Outrhyme Your Favorite Old Rappers

We at hustle would like to take this moment to thank the folks that brought us television, radio and the internet - without those three mediums, we would have never heard of an Ice Cube or Zubz The Last Letter. In your mind you are probably going..."huh". The Point is growing up depending in which era, we were all glued to some favourite medium - we knew the time when our favourite show would air and we made sure to never miss it. Just a chance to catch a glimpse of our idols and rap along to their songs, walk on the street feeling like that song was talking to you.

To some MCs, they even took the game further and entered the arena of rapping, threw their names in the hat and forced the masses to take notice. We count down some youngings that would bury the the old rappers.

To borrow Cole's words in an order that suits us - "Long live the idols, may they never be your rivals - now what you're 'bout to hear's a tale of glory and sin."

Khuli Chana
It took a while for the Maftown's second favourite son (Mybad Channa HHP is the first.) to set the scene on fire but when he did - he left the fans with Mo' Hunger.

It took a minute for the Cape Town born MC to blow, but no doubt his hands are up for the victory lap – lyrically the 25 year old holds his own and could even bury a few old rappers *meant veterans MCs*.

Earl Sweatshirt
The soft spoken Odd Future rhymer came back from a hiatus overseas with a fresh perspective on life. This translated into his rapping ability, which was already pretty scary.

He spits in vernac but who said only English spitters breath fire through their words? Lets just say the Umthatha born can spit son.

K1's (Katlehong) very own spits clever words that had his songs being banged in clubs across the country. As for him outshining your favourite old MCs...Well from his clever word play, dude can hold his own.

ScHoolboy Q
It's hard to properly categorize Quincy as one kind of artist. He has a clear appeal to Mary Jane connoisseurs, but he can also make single worthy tracks and rap his ass off. This versatility and a street edge give him the leg up on a list of rappers, old and young.

One thing has remained consistent through the MMG rapper's transformation from underdog to Grammy nominated MC. He has bars. And yes, he can outrhyme a bevy of his noteworthy OGs.

Action Bronson
The Queens local has clear influences from MCs like Kool G Rap, and we'd like to think that he represents where NYC Hip-Hop is going. Also, his Rare Chandeliers track "Eggs On The Third Floor" is trifling good.

Big K.R.I.T.
Early comparisons to two man groups like Outkast and UGK should have let you know the company the Mississippi native would be in. Consider him to be the shiny, new version of many of his southern predecessors.

J. Cole
Self-reflective rhymes and awe-inspiring flows are the Roc Nation rapper's bread and butter. They're also the reason he's better than a lot of your favorite MCs at the tender age of 28.

Say what you will about the YMCMB artist's affinity for crooning, many of you're favorite artists don't want any problems with rapping Aubrey. Also, a certain quote comes to mind: "I know of all the things that I hear they be poking fun at/ Never the flow though, they know I run that." Coincidence? We think not.

Kendrick Lamar
The good kid from the m.A.A.d city has proved his worth as a formidable lyricist time and time again. Just ask King Hov.