This conversation starts with Reggie Coby, one of the founding members of Austin rap collective League of Extraordinary G’z, admitting that he hasn’t been able to move past Gregory Porter’s new album for almost two weeks. He shares that he’s glad to be back in Austin; his trip to New York to promote the League of Extraordinary G’z debut album #LeagueShit was productive, but he still hasn’t been able to wrap his mind around much else besides Porter’s brilliance and talent. The feeling is mutual; I’ve also been stuck on Porter’s Liquid Spirit since it was released.
This starting point for our conversation says a lot about Coby’s appreciation of real music, but it says more about his aspirations as a musician, emcee, and singer. Coby has big dreams … big plans. He has a big heart and represents a big collective of emcees who represent the capitol city of a big state.
However, most great musical journeys start off small, like this conversation, and gradually grow as the artists find their audience and a universal theme to build their movement around. So we began the interview with small questions that turned into bold proclamations, honest observations, and a few epiphanies. Reggie Coby has an old soul, but he’s part of a new Texas movement in Hip Hop that he says approaches music differently than the Texas Hip Hop pioneers of the 90’s and early 2000’s, and that’s where the conversation got interesting … (more…)Read More
“This is my time / this is my hour/ this my pain /this is my name / this is my power” – Terrence Thornton
This opening line from MNIMN is a great place to start with this review. It’s the perfect way to set up the content, sound, and mood of the project. It also hints at a few minor flaws on the LP. First of all, Pusha’s wordplay is second to none. He works with limited subject matter but possesses a painter’s eye for detail and an engineer’s handle on mechanics. This great opening quote sums up this moment in his life and music career in two quick bars. Being able to fit a book’s worth of information into a few words is a sure sign of a true poet. The album is filled with quotables and his producers do a good job of letting his poems and stories be the star of the show. The Clipse have always worked better over minimalist beats because it allows their menacing rhymes to cut through. Pusha T continues in the Clipse tradition on MNIMN. Hearing the seamless transition from “duo Pusha T” to “solo Pusha T” is a relief. Some artists break away from a group and try to experiment with totally different sounds and personas. Occasionally it works, but I’m glad Pusha T stayed the course. As one reviewer put it, this is “near-perfect, no-bullshit, hip-hop”. That’s what the Clipse are known for and that’s what the younger, more brash sibling delivers here. (more…)Read More
1. With rapper Nas, hip-hop is alive at Harvard
2. “…there’s no better tool to use than Hip Hop music to be a revolutionary.” – Lecrae
Bavu: Three sentences to qualify why we are reviewing Nothing Was the Same: Jay Z is the most marketed product Hip Hop has ever seen. Kendrick Lamar is technically the best rapper
under 30. But, Aubrey Drake Graham has become what Lil’ Wayne or, depending on who you ask, Kanye West was to Hip Hop a few short years ago.
“That’s a guy I can’t pretend not to like. He’s the guy to me, in a lot of ways. That’s Kanye West. But I’m also here to be the best. I’m here to surpass. I’m here to outdo.” — Drake, XXL magazine September 2013 cover story
Drake is the world’s most in-demand Hip Hop star whose popularity has not yet peaked.
Family background and ancestry are key factors shaping our cultural identities. If I didn’t grow up in a household that doubles as an Afrikan and Afro-American cultural museum, we would probably never have started Hip Hop Grew Up. My dad has always given me, and now my son, a great musical and literary education. And I respect Young Graham’s pedigree and caliber as a musician and entertainer. Genetically, he was well above the bottom from the start.
Every once in a while I’ll hear something that reminds me of how great Hip Hop can be as an art and culture. Tonight that reminder was Nas’ remix to J. Cole’s “Let Nas Down”.
About a week ago, J. Cole released his sophomore album Born Sinner. Columbia Records’ marketing machine would have us believe that the songs “Power Trip” and “Crooked Smile” — and a sales showdown with Kanye West — are what makes Cole’s new album worth $11.99. I wouldn’t argue with that, but ultimately it was J. Cole’s impressive lyricism on tracks like “Forbidden Fruit” and “Villuminati” that led me to iTunes’ New Releases section.
HHGU did an extensive review of Kanye’s new Yeezus album because it’s such a polarizing body of work. But I have to admit, we overlooked the true gem of the June 18, 2013, sales showdown between Yeezus and Born Sinner. I jam a couple tracks off Yeezus here and there but Born Sinner is on loop in my iPod. I won’t turn this into a review of Born Sinner, but let’s just say it’s worth the price of admission. (more…)Read More
Easy: We witnessed a radical marketing setup for Yeezus, the sixth Kanye West solo album. The creative intelligence that went into that marketing campaign and his unique approach to rolling out the music has added to the mystique. And when it comes to today”s Hip Hop music, mystique is a welcome element. I”m not sure how much that mystique will effect my opinion of the actual composition of Yeezus, but it wouldn”t be fair to Mr. West or his creative team if I tried to separate the two. They worked hard on the music and its presentation. Then it leaked.
Bavu: Then a female child was born to a woman named Kim and a man named Yeezus, son of Jayhova. This is about music, but it’s hard to completely separate Kanye from Kim Kardashian or Jay-Z when the setup and the tunes are peppered with reminders.
With that said, Kanye West’s tabloid profile has a minimal impact on my opinion of him as a great artist. I”ve been a fan since his debut, and was divinely inspired by his 2008 Glow in the Dark Tour performance. So it’s frustrating to express my disappointment in this album. For the most part, Yeezus sucks because it hardly jams. But I’m not surprised, because I’m one of the many still expecting the teddy bear to come back.
[I could have just said this.]Read More
1. MK Asante
2. Questlove Discusses His NYU Class, Looks Forward to More TeachingRead More