Video of the Week
Mama Told Me – Big Boi ft. Kelly Rowland
Is it just me or does this thing feel unfinished?
Hello, and Happy Thanksgiving to all! This week will be a little different, as I am pressed for time and have some pies that I have to keep an eye on. With only about an hour's worth of down time, I figured I'd just shoot out a couple of things that I am thankful for in this crazy world that is Hip Hop! To be honest, I think I did this last year…talk about lack of NEWNESS… haha. Some of these may be a bit personal, but it all has to do with Hip Hop. Let's not waste any more time and see if I can finish this bad boy before the ding of the oven!
Ok, I'm kiddin, my oven don't got no timer!
TONY IS THANKFUL FOR:
There were times this year when I thought Hip Hop was really failing us as fans. As I get older, I realize that sounds change and expectations alter. Hip Hop, in particular, is a type of dynamic genre that is constantly changing, and it's due to these changes that there's almost always going to be a divide. We, the older folks (and I'm only 26), look at Hip Hop as something that is a callback to the past; a small morsel of history that is never-changing rather than ever-changing. It's this "old soul" mentality that causes us to look down on the new breed of hip hop with a face more akin to smellin shit instead of hearing new music. I've always tried to keep an open mind, but my biases are almost always blatant. It's true that times are changing, and hip hop is, too. But there are always those artists that are something of a callback to yesteryear.
Kendrick Lamar is one such artist. The man has been around my hood for a while, now. I've heard the name K. Dot more than once during my time around Los Angeles. People were strong on this guy, thinking he was going to bring music superiority back to the West Coast (even though, I never thought it left). With Snoop changing his name like Puffy, and Dre promising an album that is most likely never going to come, we were waiting to latch onto something worthy of a listen. Young Money altered their decision from love for hip hop to love for money, and music was dying. Then, from seemingly out of nowhere comes this breath of fresh air that was not only refreshing but NEEDED.
Kendrick Lamar, I am thankful for you. I am thankful for you creating an album that not only necessitates a listen from Track 1 to the end, but for also making that not feel like a chore, and instead taking a trip down a story that whether new or old, is fun to hear. You have a talent that's unparalleled and although it's too soon to call the album a classic, it's only a matter of time before it earns that label. Kendrick has went "mainstream" without changing who he is or altering his sound. Thank you, Kendrick.
You really thought I was gonna do this column without my boy?! Ha! No, no, no. Eminem will always be my favorite rapper, dead or alive. To me, he can do no wrong, even when he does wrong (I'm lookin at you, Relapse. My friends would tell me time and time again that my boy fell off, and all I could tell them was to wait. Waited we did, and Eminem did not disappoint. The man came back a house-a-fire and gave us not only a new sound, leaps and bounds different from the nasally and idiotic "Ass Like That" Em, but he also gave us five men that had something to prove. Yelawolf, Joe Budden, Royce Da 5'9," Joell Ortiz, Crooked I! If you didn't know these names, you do now! They started off with a small mixtape that didn't do much, then appeared on a Cypher on BET that blew EVERYONE out of the fuckin water! Seriously, watch that shit if you haven't. These men are all talented, but it took a motivated and reinvigorated Eminem to get behind them as a powerhouse in order to make an impact.
Eminem will always be my muse. This sounds cheesy because it is. My friends call me Stan for a reason, and although I won't be driving off a bridge any time soon, and there is no chick in my trunk (I don't think), I can't help but have nothing but mad love and respect for the angry lookin fella in that photo above. Some will wish for the days of the Slim Shady LP, but those same people maybe haven't heard the awesomeness that is Hell: The Sequel and noticed the complete rebirth the man has had behind the mic. He's more visceral, more metaphorically sound, and just an all around better writer. He's always had the skills, but READ his lyrics and tell me that isn't a poetry.
Eminem, thank you. For being Eminem. For failing and realizing it. For being a beast behind the microphone, and for reminding people just who the fuck you are.
While I won't get into the details of my sexual escapades of 2012, I will say that The Weeknd has been there as the perfect wing man on more than one occasion. I recall my co-writer (MISS YA GIRL!) Crystal told me to peep this fool out, only to ignore her for a bit due to my hesitance to new music, and the like. It took one other girl (who you will see in a bit) to push me into actually hearing the man out, and he blew me away. On the surface, The Weeknd talks about three things; sex, drugs, love. Under the surface, there's simply some…amazing ass music. The boy knows what he's doing, and he does it well. After downloading House of Balloons, I immediately needed more and grabbed Echoes of Silence and Thursday. I heard "DD," the remake of "Dirty Diana" and this was the ultimate test. Not nobody does a Michael Jackson song in my house. Nope, not nobody! But The Weeknd did it and he did it damn well.
The Weeknd is something new and something fresh. A friend of mine called him a wannabe Trey Songs. Another friend said he was a manlier Prince. I can't see either of those comparisons. Trey Songs can't decide if he wants to be a hard ass or a soft bitch, and Prince had a style all of his owns. Sure, I can see some influences, but they are minimal, and I can honestly say that The Weeknd's sound seems like completely his own, and it's a great one. It's soothing, it's convincing, it's sexual, it's amazing.
Thank you, The Weeknd (I should put a "The" in front of my name from now on…). Thank you for being the extra push necessary for the bang bang. Thank you for not altering yourself, even on the newer tracks I've heard. Thank you for bein a bad ass with bad hair.
Oh, Natalie. What can I say that hasn't been said. Make no mistake about this, readers, this is not a profession of love, more of a confession of adoration. A lot of new music has been talked about in this column. A lot of new music will be talked about in the near future. And a lot of that is owed to Natalie. Her face isn't shown due to respect of her privacy, but this girl right here has probably forgotten more about hip hop than most of us even know. She has opened my ears to many a groups, duos, and single acts that before had no light shone upon them. She is continually up on her game, and there is not ONE song, not ONE SONG that I have been able to break with her. Seriously, I'll hear a new cat, let her know and she'll reply with, "Man, I been heard that." Ok, maybe not in those words, since she talks much more proper than I do, but something to that affect.
Natalie is that chick that you wanna hang out with purely because of her music knowledge. Shortly after, you realize she's also a cool ass chick. This year, her and I got pretty close, and the more I got to know her, the more she impressed me. Recently, she's given me a few new artists to listen to and although we don't always agree on music (Lil B's cat, boo?), there's a mutual respect that keeps that shit strong. I can always ask her what to write about (even if every week, she just says "me" as if it's a viable answer), and although I don't always follow through, I'm always listenin to her.
I also have to be honest, aside from the music knowledge the woman has, she's also got an ass for days. I been tryin to have her be a hip hop hottie for months now, fellas. Soon enough, though! Soon enough! I mean, just look at DAT AZZ!!!
Thank you, punk, for openin my ears to shit I ain't ever heard. For makin me laugh and dealin with me when I'm a bit of a pain in the ass. No matter what, I got your back…unless you tryin to make me listen to Lil B. That shit ain't gonna fly. Based God cat....#dead
And finally we get to the most important section. You guys. I can almost imagine a room full of chairs, and only three of you fools in there. It's apparent that there are weeks when this column simply doesn't pull in the hits. The column, however, is going on two years, and no matter how many of you there are – even if there's 3 (and one of those three is my mom), I'm going to keep on writing. This column mixes two of my greatest loves; writing and hip hop, and it's still fun to write. Sure, I'd love some interaction with the readers, but one look at the 411's main audience means we're a niche column with a niche audience. It's because of this that I thank each and every one of you for coming back week after week (or even if this is your first week) to check out one man's adoration for a genre that probably doesn't get the love it deserves.
To anyone that has read this column before and in the future, I am thankful for you. Names like SS87, box, TheR, you guys are mainstays and I'll give you a shoutout by name any time. Newer folks, I encourage you to spell out what you'd like in the column, what you want to hear about, anything. This column will be hitting two years come March, and I want to celebrate it with you all. Thank you all for reading, and thank you all for enjoying….hip hop.
I want to introduce y'all to a good friend of mine. He's That SOB Kenji, and he's an asshole. He's a sick fuck with a twisted sense of humor, who thinks that penis pictures and ball sacs with no filters on Instagram is something you should double tap. The man is well versed in the hip hop world, though, and knows way too much, from old school to tomorrow's new artists, this guy is someone that shits out hip hop knowledge like nothing. He's going to be takin over for Crystal until she returns. I want to point out that I don't always agree with his musical tastes, and this week is a perfect example, but we don't censor anyone round these parts, so welcome his ass with open arms; or a swift kick in the nuts.
Tell me if I'm trippin or not, but CSI got weak as hell since Season 13 started. Four episodes in, and not ONE hip-hop/rap song in the show so far. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest before I got to the real shit.
This past Monday I attended The Rej3ctz mixtape release party for their upcoming Creeztape scheduled to come out sometime this month, but that's beside the point. While partying it up like a boss should, the Dj spun a familiar record...
"Gold all in my chain, gold all in my rang. Gold all in my watch, don't believe me? Just watch. Nigga nigga nigga don't believe me, just watch..."
Much to my surprise the crowd (mostly other artists, producers, and industry heads) began chanting along with the chorus! Trinidad James had found himself a nigga party anthem, awesome. What wasn't surprising were all the 'hipsters' standing around in confusion, puzzled as to why they hadn't heard of Trinidad James before us.
Trinidad James is a youngster from the south with an old soul and a ridiculous love for gold. If you haven't heard the jam "All Gold Everything" check the video below and give it a good listen. I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot more from Trinidad in the near future especially since MTV Jams has begun placing his single in regular rotation AND he's been in the studio working with Trae the Truth (ABN: Assholes By Nature) & Problem ("Function", "Potion", "Like Whaaat").
Whether you're a hipster that hasn't been cool enough to have heard this new up & coming artist or you're a hardcore hip-hop/rap fanatic like myself, you should peep his video out and share it with your homies because I'm sure you're gonna love it or hate it.