Monthly Archives: May 2010


Junk Science – Really, Man

Music Politics

Joe Budden’s beef


The NYTimes wrote a fairly unremarkable piece on hip hop beefs in 2009.  The focus of the article was on some simmering beef between Joe Budden and half the Wu-Tang nation.  The story goes that Joe Budden wasn’t too happy when Method Man beat him on a poll by the defunct-and-reborn Vibe Magazine.  He made a couple of brash statements, and the Wu responded.

It seems like Raekwon took it the most personally, and tensions simmered between Joe and Rae, culminating in an alleged assault on Joe Budden.  Budden made the situation public by posting a little video diary online and talking about it.

The only thing I found interesting about the article was the focus on technology in modern hip hop beefs.  The author had this to say about the situation:

The supposed attack took place backstage at the Los Angeles date of the Rock the Bells tour, at which both Raekwon and Slaughterhouse were performing. According to Mr. Budden and Mickey Factz, another rapper in the room at the time, the incident was being filmed by a member of Raekwon’s camp, presumably so that Mr. Budden’s primary tool, the Internet, could later be used against him.

If so, it was a mark of modern savvy on the part of Raekwon, a product of the 1990s, an era in which hip-hop beefs were just as likely to play out behind closed doors as on records.

More importantly, I think, was this simple sentence.  It both castigates the Wu-Tang clan as being out of touch and seems to suggest that Joe Budden is somehow ahead of the game.

In going online with his gripes about the Vibe list, Mr. Budden was working from an updated playbook, one that most likely caught Raekwon and Method Man, used to the unchallenged public respect of their successors, off guard.

I find it hard to believe that anyone can see a video diary as being a remarkable use of technology that woudl catch anyone off guard, but I can see the author’s point.  It may be something that didn’t use to happen as much, in that beefs used to be made public through the odd-interview but primarily through disses at shows and tracks packed with insults.  Rappers didn’t use to jump on YouTube to complain about each other.

The article is worth a read.  Jon Caramanica makes some good points regarding Budden’s use of the internet to remain relevant, and has some insight to Raekwon’s behaviour.

Album Reviews Music

Stream the new Reflection Eternal Album

As we mentioned previously, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek have reunited as Reflection Eternal and released a new album titled Revolutions Per Minute.

I’ve been pretty critical of Kweli over the last couple of years, and that’s not exactly the fairest journalism around.  It’s likely I’m too tainted by the greatness from the Black Star or the first Reflection Eternal albums to truly appreciate his more contemporary work.

Still, I’ve got high hopes for this new album.  The great thing is that you can stream the album for free from Entertainment Weekly.  I don’t know how long the album will remain up online, so check it out as soon as you can.

As for the tracklist, while I’m not a fan of City Playgrounds, I do think Back Again is a bit more classic Kweli.  However, Strangers may run away with the album.  Either that or Just Begun.

The best part about this disc is the variety of styles the duo uses.  There’s some old gospel-sounding samples that sneak in (In this World), and a couple of tracks hit you with the traditional ballad hooks (Ballad of Black Gold).  A few of them hit you in the face with a hard beat (So Good), or are covered with a gritty phone filter (Get Loose).


Best posse cut you’ve never heard

I’m a big fan of this track, which is something that landed in my lap from one of the far reaches of the internet.  It’s totally possible that many of you out there have heard this, in which case feel free to throw some heat my way in the comments below.

Six emcees (by my count), organized by Skiggy RapzMaster Surreal, Pete Philly, The Proov, Skate the Great and Phreke.

Listen to it here:

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It’s got a very laid back and jazzy beat assembled by Skiggy, and the emcees each deliver a sophisticated verse that’s also unique.  The first verse is all about mother nature, and something in the way that it’s delivered hits the right spot.

Give it a listen.


Stream Shad’s new Album


Spinner magazine has Shad’s new album TSOL streaming in its full glory.

Check it out here.

It’s neat that each track has a little commentary by Shad himself talking about where each came from and what it was all about.

This album is going to be great when it lands at the end of May.  Of course it’s already leaked, but I strongly suggest you wait for the purchase.  But now you have a legal way to stream it and check it out ahead of time!

Plus, Shad’s touring as we speak and will be passing through your neck of the woods pretty soon.  I’m sure you want to know the new material before you see him live!


50 Greatest Samples in Hip Hop History

If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare, check this out.  Complex presents the 50 Greatest Samples in Hip Hop History.  Kon and Amir, the authors of this mega-post, do a pretty good job of keeping things simple.  They present the original track (full length) give their opinion on it and how it emerged into hip hop, then present an example of a new track that sampled it.  They let you listen to all the full-length stuff, so I’m pretty stoked about it.

Check it out here.


New York is Killing Me

On this track, Gil Scott-Heron and Nas drop what Pitchfork calls “Basically the opposite of "Empire State of Mind"".  Now, keep in mind that this is a remix that Nas did of Gil’s track, but the result is something that has a strong juxtaposition.  Scott-Heron’s gravely tone sounds pained and laboured, really convincingly sounding like he’s feeling burned out. 

“Oh the doctor don’t know, but New York is Killing me”. – Gil Scott-Heron

Nas’ verses are intriguing.  He focuses mainly on the fast-pace of NYC and the fact that the ladies of NY are “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”  Without a doubt, Gil owns this track and his performance is incredible.  But it’s nice to see his old-time style contrasted with Nas’ younger, faster flow.  It’s a collabo that works nicely.



Omar Epps can rap?

Omar Epps can somewhat rap.  Who knew? The track below, titled Definition, was by a crew called Da Wolfpack.  It’s a pretty 90’s name, but they do alright and the song is actually listenable.  The rumor is that this group never dropped a full album, just released this single.  But hey, they made a video for it so check it out below.