Thursday, July 23, 2009

No Pancakes, Just A Cup Of Syrup

With the rap scene at the moment being particularly stagnant and not having a whole lot of new material to listen to, lately its been a fun mission seeking out new artists and records and re-finding old albums and mixtapes I've enjoyed in the past. These endeavors have often led me into Gucci/OJ territory. I've attempted to avoid those two for most of their existence, save for the occasional Gucci single. When they began guesting on several A-listers' singles, either by themselves or as a duo, I slowly began to attempt to decipher them. While I have drawn a line in the sand towards OJ's ignorant drivel (thank god Cam got ahold of "Make Da Trap Say Aye" and showed his no-flowing ass how to ride the track), Gucci keeps showing glimmers of hope that he can become the rapper many already (foolishly) believe he can be. He has somehow graduated into a guest-spot assassin, usurping Lil' Wayne as the most ubiquitous Southern artist on mainstream/club records.

And as much as I don't want to admit it, he wrecked his 16s on various high-profile collabs, something Wayne never seemed to be able to do. When Wayne went on his bizarre streak of completely flubbing his slots on Graduation, American Gangster, Paper Trail, The Carnival II, every Rick Ross album to date, et al., it kept him from truly achieving top-flight status in people's minds. Meanwhile, Gucci has merked guest 16s for everyone to Black Eyed Peas to Mariah Carey to Wayne himself. However, with all the being said, he is still vastly overrated and a direct product of people being desperate for new superstars. Which in understandable, considering the rap industry hasn't minted any new megastars since Kanye West & 50 Cent. Lil' Wayne & T.I. don't count, they've been milling around down there since the '90s and were in a proper position to capitalize on the Southern boom that brought platinum plaques to everyone from Mike Jones to Chamillionaire.

Now, the race seems to be on between Gucci Mane & Drake as to who can capitalize on their otherwordly buzz the quickest. How Gucci doesn't have an official record in stores by now is mind boggling. Why bother with the whole rigamarole of putting out a ladies' single and a street single? Gucci is at his sporadically entertaining best when he is given either supreme trunk rattlers, a la Fatboi & Drumma Boy, or spacey keyboard blips provided by Zaytoven. Lock him in the studio with these guys, a few other select producers who stick to that script and none of the B-listers he normally lets run his songs into the ground. I can't guarantee a classic, but from listening to Back To The Traphouse, its evident he has real songwriting ability and can actually provide his own hooks. Allow him possibly a few guest apperances from proven 16-bar killers like Fabolous, Ludacris, or Wayne and leave Mya, Shawnna, Nicki Minaj, Waka Flocka, OJ, and all the other marginally talented sexpots and weed-carriers and have him make basically a Wilt Chamberlain tape on steroids.

This aforementioned scneario obviously will never take place, as the record label keeps hoping the Big Boi/Juelz collab will take off and probably has a Keri Hilson/Jazmine Sullivanesque collab on tap that will also flop around like a dying fish, and Gucci will be pushed back. Hopefully, I'm wrong because right now Gucci reminds me of a baseball player, someone like Dave Kingman. A lot of home runs, but a hell of a lot of strikeouts, too. Gucci needs to stop swinging for the fences every time, realize his strengths like his nemesis Jeezy, and stick to them.

As for the other kid, Drake, he's probably screwed at this point. He should have been quickly signed and had an album pushed out while "Best I Ever Had" was bubbling. Now, he will be competing against that song and most likely losing in the public eye. Look at Maino, his album didn't come out until "Hi Hater" had already been out for almost a year. Despite a well-crafted concept album and a couple of fairly decent crossover singles, his album was released to little to no fanfare. The longer they wait, the more the initial buzz dies down. We will just have to wait and see what happens when Thank Me Later drops.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Evidence Of Absence

In lieu of crowning the "official" summer jam of 2009, as most sites or blogs are known to do by mid-July, a whole bunch of random thoughts instead. And yes, it is because there is no real contender for jam of the summer, if only because Birthday Sex, Best I Ever Had, and Every Girl have all been out since Timbs & North Face weather.....and we're off:

How does an absolute no-talent like Ace Hood get a second album out already if we're all agreeing that his association with Khaled has nothing to do with it? I've sat down and given each of his albums an honest listen and the same thing happened each time, I was left with a collection of solid beats, occasionally great guest appearances (Jazmine Sullivan on "Champion", T-Pain on "Cash Flow"), and no real idea of who Ace Hood actually is. He can flow his ass off, for sure, but on closer inspection his lyrics have no real meaning. He's basically a homeless Southern man's version of Game, at this point, and we'll get to him in a minute.

With Forever King/War Angel mirroring the buzz for Return Of The Body Snatchers/Sabrina's Baby Boy, people seem to be very quick to proclaim the supposed greatness of Before I Self Destruct. Curtis only had a handful of moments where 50 even approached his past heights, and I fail to see how it will be different this go-round. I'd much rather hear Relapse 2 at this stage. I predict 50 rolling out yet another single for the ladies that fizzles around like a damp firecracker, followed by a ridiculous publicity stunt in the weeks leading up to BISD's release.

Memo to The Game: Jay-Z said he ain't talking about you, what about that could your mentally unstable ass possibly interpret as a diss? And then to swagger jack Max B for your C-grade diss? The Game has truly reached the point where nothing he does can shock me anymore.

Loso's Way was shockingly competent. Fabolous actually remembered to make songs men could enjoy. Pachanga & Lullaby are easily two of the better album tracks Mr. Jackson has ever managed to make. The irony is that this album will barely fare better in the marketplace than Maino's did. A shame, really, because Maino's album was a pleasant surprise and the same goes for Fab.

It is a crying shame about Max B. Granted, most of his 16s were indecipherable gibberish and his hooks were sung about as off-key as possible, but he brought a certain joie de vivre that New York rap has been missing since their evident refusal to listen to anyone who dropped their first album after Biggie died.

And on that note, I'm out 3 solid albums for your listening pleasure: Mos Def-The Ecstatic, Currensy-This Ain't No Mixtape, Twista-Category F5

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Called Child Support, Not Baby Mama Support

It's time for one of those random thoughts about this and that posts, starting with the revelation that Nas only sees fit to give Kelis $5,000 a month for child support during their divorce proceedings. 60K a year may not be enough in the land where bossy milkshakes get caught out there bringing all the boys to the yard, but in real life, this is more than adequate. I'm not usually one to comment on gossip on this blog, after a long while of hearing these outlandish child support cases levied towards ball players and athletes, enough is enough. This comes on the heels of the truly ridiculous T.I. case, where that wonderful woman claimed she needed over 10K a month, being that it truly wasn't fair that T.I. had a nicer house than she did. Ladies, its called gainful employment, try it. Spreading your legs in hopes that the next chart-topping rapper or NBA lottery pick just so happens to forget to wrap it up and you can use the resulting bundle of joy as a defacto lottery ticket won't cut it, and judges need to stop rewarding these women with such generous settlements. The last time I checked, Pampers and Similac were not all that expensive. In a country where families live on 30K, awarding unemployed sperm recepticles with 3 or 4 times that for managing to get a more talented person to knock them up seems remiss, but maybe that's just me.

And now I'm back off my soapbox........