Saturday, 17 August 2013

The First 24 Hours of Responses to Kendrick Lamar's "Control" Verse

Kendrick, Kendrick, you done did boy, has the rap game shaking like a leaf in the wind. When someone attacks your city - the best way is to fight back and these MCs below did just that but not all attacks are great attacks but hey what the hell.

Joell Ortiz "Outta Control"
Mood: Excited.
Low blows: None.
He just threatens Kendrick metaphorically, and mentions that Kendrick said he was honored to meet him once. All his punches are pulled when he asks Dr. Dre for a job midway through, though.
Best Shots At Kendrick:
"Little homie you ain't the king of New York
You the next thing on my fork.
The messenger with all them rings on that horse
Carrying king's heads 'til I kick you in the chest and you cough
And fall into a bottomless pit
Homie, you know how many bodies that fit?
When we met you said, 'It's an honor man, the Yaowa can spit.'"
Better Than Kendrick: Nah.
Rating: 46 out of 108 Mics.

B.o.B. "How 2 Rap"
Mood: Defensive.
Low Blows: He seems more interested in cataloging the common criticisms lobbed at his career than scoring any points against anyone specific. Then he decides he finds rap "boring" (!?) and plays guitar for the rest of the track.
Best Shots at Kendrick: "Consider this tax for the swag that my city has given you niggas" is the closest to a real shot, if you think maybe he's sending shots at Kendrick for largely ignoring Atlanta's contributions when Kendrick listed his primary competition. Although Andre was mentioned, so this is kind of a reach.
Better Than Kendrick: Nah.
Rating: .038 out of 108 Mics.

Lupe Fiasco "SLR 2"
Mood: Perpetually aggrieved.
Low Blows: He sorta tries to get under Kendrick's skin by saying he raps like Wayne. Not sure why that's a diss, since it's not like Kendrick sounds that much like Wayne. Not sure there are any real lyrical body blows here.
Best Shots: "He's so crazy, look at the little baby
Nigga you ain't Nas, nigga you ain't Jay-Z
You will respect me, you will reject me
But I've done so much, no matter how far you go, you will reflect me."
Better Than Kendrick: Nah.
Rating: Not sure this can be properly rated, as we haven't been to Harvard and don't speak German, so translating from Lupe to English would take too long. There are probably 'levels' to this we don't get, although the tiresome meta explanations ("That was Adolf, reacting to my new shit") don't really make such an exercise seem fruitful. The parts where he explicitly jabs at Kendrick sound insecure about his own place in hip-hop and don't ring particularly true.
Rating:We're going to slap 54 out of 108 Mics on this, mostly in deference to the first "SLR."

Mickey Factz "South Park"
Mood: Just happy to be here.
Low Blows: He makes a sly Lady Gaga reference but it doesn't really land like a body blow. Sometimes being too clever makes it feel like a pulled punch.
Best Shots: Comparing him to Omar Epps in Juice is kind of funny.
Better Than Kendrick: Nah.
Rating: One, this guy doesn't have much traction right now as is, so it's hard to see him on Kendrick's level. Two, it's hard to open your verse with "Where I've been at, what I'm up to/Nobody cares," and still expect your rhymes to land with any authority.
Rating:24 out of 108 Mics.

Astro "KONY"
Mood: Like he's reading a teleprompter.
Low Blows: "You better chill with that Napoleon syndrome." Ha! Kendrick is kinda short!
Best Shots: See: Low Blows. His other disses are solely focused on not disrespecting legends while admitting that "ain't nobody repping [NYC] right, they scared, all talk." Hard to argue that he shouldn't claim king when no one else can.
Better Than Kendrick: C'mon.
Rating: 36 out of 108 Mics.

King Los "Control (Remix)"
Mood: Inspired.
Low Blows: None. In fact, he ends the verse praising every rapper mentioned in the original control. ("This nigga Drake nice on the mic and act/So many hits he fucked around and brought lightskin back.")
Best Shots: The entire song is no shots unless the line about Pusha T "pushing so long that he defines being a hustler" is a secret diss about his being old.
Better Than Kendrick: Nah, but probably the best/most entertaining effort, from a technical standpoint, on the entire list.
Rating: Los is probably the most underrated rapper on here, but this isn't really an answer record so much as an excuse for Los to show off that he has bars in a traditional sense. So, if you love hearing lines like "They gon have to have me shackled and tackled at tabernacles/While havin' my adams apple detached in a baptist chapel"—and who doesn't?!—then you should check this song out.
RatingNot a diss song, but a solid 70 out of 108 Mics.

Cassidy "Control Freestyle"
Mood: Someone who's had a lot on his mind. (This song is nearly six minutes long.)
Low Blows: None directed at Lamar, who, he says, got him hype. At a rhetorical target, who is apparently a homosexual dickhead pussy hermaphrodite rookie, though, there are many low blows.
Best Shots: There're no real shots here, although at the end he claims that Kendrick wouldn't be able to shine on him on a song. My favorite line, though, is "I'm not in the best shape like I would like to be/But I exercise every time I lift my pipe to pee."
Better Than Kendrick: Nah.
Rating: Cassidy has always been a pretty strong punchline rapper and it's nice to see him get some clever work in. That said, this is six minutes straight #bars, which is a pretty epic undertaking to listen to when you've already heard this beat as many times as I have now.
Rating:65 out of 108 Mics.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Kendrick Lamar Bodies Rappers

South African rappers take a leaf out of Kendrick Lamar's branch. Unless you have just woken up from a deep coma, freed from jail or just landed from outer space then you know what the buzz is about. Rap was too nice; too I don’t wanna step on toes until Big Sean called up K-Dot to feature on Control.

The Cali native took the track to the cleaners, no one even cares that Jay Electron is also on that track or it’s a Big Sean track (really, he’s on that joint), oh my oh my THAT’S WHAT HIPHOP IS ALL ABOUT!!!! It’s like rap was down and Kendrick came with a defibrillator and shouted clear and all of a sudden there’s life. Don’t take Hustle’s word for it, check out what he says.

Tell Flex to drop a bomb on this shit/So many bombs, ring the alarm like Vietnam in this shit
So many bombs, make Farrakhan think Saddam in this bitch/One at a time, I line 'em up and bomb on they mom while she watchin' the kids/I'm in a destruction mode if the gold exists/I'm important like the pope/I'm a muslim on pork/I'm Makaveli's offspring, I'm the king of New York King of the Coast, one hand, I juggle them both/The juggernaut's all in your jugular, you take me for jokes/Live in the basement, church pews and funeral faces/Cartier bracelets/for my women friends I'm in Vegas/Who the fuck y'all thought it's supposed to be?/If Phil Jackson came back, still no coachin' me/I'm uncoachable, I'm unsociable/Fuck y'all clubs, fuck y'all pictures, your Instagram can gobble these nuts/Gobble dick up 'til you hiccup, my big homie Kurupt/This the same flow that put the rap game on a crutch/I've seen niggas transform like villain Decepticons/Mollies'll prolly turn these niggas to fuckin' Lindsay Lohan/A bunch of rich-ass white girls lookin' for parties/Playin with Barbies/wreck the Porsche before you give 'em the car key/Judgement to the monarchy/blessings to Paul McCartney/You called me a black Beatle, I'm either that or a Marley/I don't smoke crack motherfucker I sell it/I'm dressed in all black, this is not for the fan of Elvis/I'm aiming straight for your pelvis, you can't stomach me/You plan on stumpin' me?/Bitch, I’ve been jumped before you put a gun on me/Bitch, I put one on yours, I'm Sean Connery/James Bonding with none of you niggas, climbing 100 mil in front of me/And I'm gonna get it even if you're in the way/And if you're in it, better run for Pete's sake/I heard the barbershops spittin' great debates all the time/Bout who's the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas/Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y'all/New niggas just new niggas, don't get involved/And I ain't rockin no more designer shit/White T’s and Nike Cortez, this is red Corvettes anonymous/I'm usually homeboys with the same niggas I'm rhyming wit'/But this is hip-hop and them niggas should know what time it is/And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale/Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electron', Tyler, Mac Miller/I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you niggas/Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas/They dont wanna hear not

Friday, 9 August 2013

10 Underachieving Rappers

Like when one is still in primary school and gets straight A's then goes to high school and fails to live up to the hype. The folks over at Complex compiled a list of the top 10 underachieving rappers.

Despite what many may believe, rapping isn't an easy profession and great talents have been sidelined by all sorts of personal issues, legal entanglements, and industry bullshit. Some MCs, however, seem to be their own worst enemies; just when they’ve got the world’s ear or seem to be on the precipice of something big, they either switch styles, sell out, or simply make albums that fall short of their potential. Here are 10 Underachieving Rappers that let a moment pass them by without making the most of it. 

Asher Roth 
Age: 27
Albums: Asleep in the Bread Aisle (2009)

When Asher Roth debuted in 2008 with the DJ Drama-backed The Greenhouse Effect Vol. 1 mixtape, he was pegged by many as the next white rap phenomenon, and the Top 40 success of the single "I Love College" had visions of Slim Shady dancing in label executives' heads. But the album Asleep In The Bread Aisle flopped, while other white rappers like Mac Miller and Macklemore soon swooped in to do the kind of numbers people had expected Asher to do. Now, Asher Roth is pretty much back at the spot he was at five years ago, releasing The Greenhouse Effect Vol. 2 with DJ Drama and trying in vain to get that buzz started all over again.

Charles Hamilton 
Age: 25
Albums: N/A

However you may have felt about him during his divisive and arguably unlikely tenure as a mainstream contender, Charles Hamilton at least seemed like the kind of prolific controversy magnet that stays on the radar for years and years. But while Lil B, another rapper who proudly wears pink and drops mixtapes like it's a bodily function, has kept people talking, there's been pretty much silence around Charles Hamilton since 2009's firestorm of bad publicity that included a shelved Interscope debut that would've listed the late J Dilla as executive producer. Since reemerging from a stint in rehab, however, Hamilton has remained as busy as ever, releasing dozens of mixtapes with titles like Catholic Illuminati: Papal Infallibility on the Internet, but it seems like nobody has even paid attention enough to keep the backlash going.

Peedi Crakk
Age: 35
Solo albums: N/A

In State Property, a crew that was long on street cred but short on mass appeal, Peedi Crakk seemed to hold a lot of potential as a breakout star, with standout performances on club bangers like "One For Peedi" and Freeway's "Flipside." Great guest verses for The Roots afforded him respect as a lyricist and an offer to join the legendary Philly band. He even got close enough to becoming a priority at Def Jam that they briefly made him go as 'Peedi Peedi' and featured him on Ne-Yo's debut single, "Stay." But when his album remained in label limbo, Peedi staged a Roc-A-Fella revolt, releasing a barrage of diss tracks at Jay-Z. He came for the throne, he missed, and nobody ever took him seriously again.

Nipsey Hussle
Age: 27
Albums: N/A

For every Game or Kendrick Lamar, there have been a dozen young rappers from L.A. trying to put the West Coast back on the map and become the city's next legend that haven't come close. Nipsey Hussle got closer than most, though; from XXL Freshman status to a Snoop co-sign, he wound up on the Haiti benefit remake of "We Are The World," and was even referenced on Saturday Night Live. But all that exposure never quite translated to any kind of real popularity, much less a hit single or a major label release date. He's still kicking around, but already seems like a relic of a bygone era in light of L.A.'s latest uprising of grassroots success stories.

Age: 31
Albums: Split Personality (2004), I'm a Hustla (2005), B.A.R.S. The Barry Adrian Reese Story (2007), C.A.S.H (2010).

In 2003, Cassidy had a battle rap pedigree, verses on Ruff Ryders albums, and a buzz based primarily on beating fellow Philly hardcase Freeway in a battle. But he decided to go straight for the crossover money with his debut single, grinning like Ma$e in the R. Kelly-featuring "Hotel," without even trying to cement his rep as a spitter.

The backlash was strong and the sales were weak, but Cass showed remarkable resilience when he came back harder with hits like "I'm A Hustla" and "My Drink N My 2 Step," and persevered through personal setbacks like a murder case and a terrible car accident. But the patronage of Swizz Beatz only took him so far, and eventually his inability to translate his lyrical talent to a great album left him out in the cold. He was last seen up to his old tricks, trying to get shine off of a beef with Meek Mill, another Philly rapper with stronger studio output than him.

Slim Thug
Age: 32
Albums: Already Platinum (2005), Boss of All Bosses (2009), Tha Thug Show (2010).

Even if the point of the title of Already Platinum, Slim Thug's 2005 major label debut, was that he was living as comfortably as a platinum rapper anyway, it had to have stung for the Houston rapper to have stalled out at gold in the year that Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Chamillionaire all released million-selling albums. And when you consider that he was also the only one of them with the powerhouse backing of Star Trak and the Neptunes behind him, or collaborations with Beyonce and Gwen Stefani, the success of Slim Thug's mainstream breakthrough seems even more underwhelming. Soon after, he went back to the independent circuit, without even so much as an attempt at a second Geffen album. Maybe his heart just wasn't in anything but making music for Houston, but for a while it certainly seemed like he was destined for more.

Juelz Santana
Age: 31
Solo albums: From Me to U (2003), What The Game's Been Missing (2005).

It's a little hard to believe now that when Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana first announced their ill-fated collaborative project, I Can't Feel My Face, in 2006, it wasn't a considered an incredibly lopsided duo. Sure, Wayne was still ascending to his Carter III superstardom, but Juelz was having a damn good run. He was featured on mentor Cam'ron's two biggest hits while still a teenager, played a big part in Dipset's rapidly rising movement, and saw his career grow steadily between his first two albums. And then, things just seemed to stall out, with some alleging that a sizzurp addiction had slowed down his progress. In 2011, he made headlines by hooking back up with Weezy to make another go at making I Can't Feel My Face, but even that comeback seems to have gone up in smoke since then.

Age: 36
Albums: The Greatest Story Never Told (2011), The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2: Bread and Circuses (2012).

Saigon's all too aptly titled album The Greatest Story Never Told has a place in the hip-hop pantheon not as the classic it was anticipated as for years, but as an emblem of everything wrong with the fearbased mentality of the release date-shuffling major label industry. While the hotly tipped New York rapper had the world waiting on his Just Blaze-helmed debut, Atlantic Records kept him on the shelf year after year, as he lobbed out increasingly desperate singles into an uncaring radio marketplace, from 2006's Trey Songz-featuring "Pain In My Life" to 2009's auto-tuned "Gotta Believe It," which ironically was accompanied by foolhardy claims to "single-handedly reinvent hip-hop." Needless to say, when the album finally dropped on an independent label in 2007, no such thing happened.

Age: 38
Albums: Can-I-Bus (1998), 2000 B.C. (Before Can-I-Bus) (2000), C True Hollywood Stories (2001), Mic Club: The Curriculum (2002), Rip the Jacker (2003), Mind Control (2005), Hip-Hop for Sale (2007), For Whom The Beat Tolls (2007), Melatonin Magik (2010), C of Tranquility (2010), Lyrical Law (2011).

The 15 years that Canibus has spent as a punchline and cautionary tale by now far outlast the year or two that he was tipped as hip-hop's next great lyricist. Still, that brief period happened to take place in 1997 and 1998, when being the new feared MC in New York was everything, and the void left by Biggie and 2Pac was wide open for new legends.

In the end, it was not whether Canibus won the LL Cool J beef that mattered, but whether he could appeal to the masses that didn't know or care about that. Wyclef's production on Can-I-Bus was supposed to take care of that, but instead the album was hookless and monotonous. And instead of correcting that on the follow-up, Canibus just disappeared further up his own ass with internal rhymes and conspiracy theories.

Jay Electronica
Age: 36
Albums: N/A

For his whole career, Jay Electronica has traded heavily on not treating his music like a career, and allowing mystique and scarcity—and of course his unique talent—to keep him afloat. But as we approach four years since one of the most lyrical songs ever, "Exhibit C," without much to show for it besides a stray track here and a Mac Miller collab there.

You have to wonder whether we'll ever get an album, much less whether it'd be worth the wait. Andre 3000 can drop sporadic bombs on the rap world and spend years teasing the possibility of an album, but his legend is already assured with a thick back catalog. By comparison, Jay Electronica's greatness is more like a rumor.

Last month, in the thick of a summer full of big releases by his Roc Nation labelmates, Jay tweeted "it's my turn." But he also tweeted 16 months earlier that the album was done. Meanwhile, guys like Kendrick and J. Cole are out there enjoying the kind of careers that many fans envisioned for Jay Electronica, whose superiority to those and other artists remains largely theoretical and untested.