Tag Archives: 2Pac

Cool Music

Hologram Tupac blows my mind

tupac_2

2Pac’s holographic appearance at Coachella this year may be the most overhyped/coolest thing I’ve ever seen.  If you haven’t seen it yet, view the video below:

I’ve heard from multiple people that it was better on video that it was in person, but it’s still pretty technologically amazing.  This article from the Atlantic has a different take on it.  A profoundly critical one.  Take a look:

And much like Spinal Tap, Hologram Tupac carries traces of graying desperation. Dre’s The Chronic turns 20 years old this year, and with the exceptions of Wiz Khalifa and Kendrick Lamar none of the vaunted lineup of guests onstage for Dre and Snoop’s set represented fresh talent. Eminem and 50 Cent are household names but well removed from the best music of their careers. Warren G is a sentimental favorite; Kurupt is the answer to a trivia question.

Dr. Dre is 47 years old, Snoop is 40, and Hologram Tupac is forever 25. Hip-hop may have finally aged into an era of Oldies Revues—lavish and ludicrously expensive Oldies Revues, but Oldies Revues nonetheless—and Hologram Tupac stands as a marker of faux vitality, a callback to glory days, a nod to a crowd geeked on nostalgic sentiment. Seen in this light, Hologram Tupac starts to feel crass and exploitative, a mutually agreed-upon sham between performer and audience, the high-tech evolution of the Elvis impersonator.

I don’t think I felt that strongly about it.  I was more impressed from the tech side of things than anything else.  I guess I never gave it a second thought.  Give us your thoughts below.

Music

Gridlock’d

Not too many people remember all of 2Pac’s acting endeavours.  Those that do focus mainly on Juice and Poetic Justice.  The lesser known movies are pretty numerous, but one of my favourites is Gridlock’d.  A quick little tidbit is that the Gridlock’d soundtrack was actually one of the first CDs I purchased.

The movie itself was…mediocre, but the soundtrack is actually really pretty good.  It had actually completely slipped my mind until the track below popped up on shuffle the other day. 

Something about it just appeals to me, and I can’t tell you why.  I know it’s not the dopest track we’ve posted this week, and some of you may even beef with the choice of posting anything by 2Pac.  But it’s worth bringing some attention to his lesser known work.

 

Awareness

Street Cred is no longer what it used to be…thankfully

I remember the days when the big beefs were settled in a crazy violent and bloody way.  The days when 2Pac and Biggie’s insults actually got people killed.  In those days, rappers were going to jail for serious crimes, crazy drug charges and all kinds of assaults.  Everyone was doing time, and everyone’s albums were selling like hotcakes.

I mean think about it.  Snoop Dogg, now one of the mellowest and most commercial dudes you’ll meet was a member of the Crips, was charged (and acquitted) as an accessory in someone’s murder.  Pac had been shot before he was murdered.  Biggie used to sling rock.

But my how things have changed.  With rappers today, the level of animosity is lower, and thankfully so is the level of violence.  I mean, 50 Cent grew up with some grit, and is the closest thing to a gangster in the game today.  But even he is now more into reality TV and vitamin water than in any sort of revenge.  And yes, I am happy about that.

The news is still full of rappers getting in trouble for all kinds of things.  Only now it’s just as often for tax evasion as it is for dope possession.  It’s an interesting new world we live in.  Take these two recent stories for example.  Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West, two of the biggest names in the game today have been getting up to no good.

Pitchfork, the venerable mainstay of indy music culture has run a few stories lately on the legal trouble of these wunderkinds.  We’ll start with Lil’ Wayne.

Kanye, on the other hand, has again shown his badassness by breaking the cameras of some paparazzi at the LA airport back in September.  Ooooh.  And yes, he’s doing time.  Hard time.  Community Service time.  Honestly, I wouldn’t dare beef with this kid anymore.  Not if he’s going to break my camera or my iPod generic mp3 player.  Though really, how scared can you be of a guy who routinely posts about fashion he finds cool?  Now, I’m not entirely hating on him, I have mad respect for anyone who isn’t afraid to embrace what the love.  It’s just hard to compare a guy like that to classic rappers.  I mean just take a look:

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No contest.

At least Lil’ Wayne manned up a bit.  This kid just got arrested on charges of gun possession.  That’s a throwback to old days, but Wayne never intended to use it.  He just got caught with it after the cops raided his bus because it smelled like weed.  That has to be a little bit of a burn.

Even worse, he’s just gotten sued for not having paid a guy for providing what Pitchfork has called “generic mafioso interlude dialogue”.  Basically, Wayne hired a guy to make random mafia-like statements in an Italian accent, then hasn’t paid him yet.  Gangsta.

In all seriousness, despite how much I like to rag on these guys, I’m kind of glad to see the game change in this way.  It’s good to see the lighter side of hip hop and that these people don’t always have to take themselves so seriously.  And I abhor violence at all costs.  It’s just fascinating to me to see how much the power structure of the game has changed.  It used to be that guys like Pac and Biggie would run the streets and make decisions.

Now it’s the suits and the bling and the fashion.  It’s duets with Lady Gaga and interruptions on MTV.  This for sure is not one of those “hip hop is dead” posts, because as 4080 has repeatedly shown, it’s alive and thriving in a million unexpected places.  There’s tons of dope music being put out, some even by the very same corporate rappers that I’ve been hating on.  But one thing that is true, the very nature of the struggle is different.  It’s not to be heard, it’s to get paid.  Your street cred comes from the endorsement deals and fashion you inspire, not from getting down and dirty in the streets.

[Update: Apparently NPR had this same idea for a story, but came to a different conclusion. This is what they say:

If you listen to Lil Waynes music, you believe he was campaigning for a prison conviction, and he got elected. What do fans say? MTV says fans think Lil Waynes time behind bars wont hurt his career. Of course, not. Its the fans themselves that encouraged these federally-funded vacations. It seems rappers who ram about the streets in criminal activity feel the need to have prison sentences on their rap resume. Think 50 Cents to T.I., Beanie Siegel to Gucci Mane, its as though rappers are interviewing for the possession of reenlisting rap, and fans make the choice. And theyre less impressed by a rappers ability to simply recite provocative rants. Oh, it says here you spent three years at San Quentin Correctional Facility for a weapons possession. Welcome aboard.

Quite frankly, that’s bullshit.  I think that most fans these days, especially of rappers like Lil Wayne, don’t expect him to be gangster or to have that traditional rep.  Maybe someone like 50 in his early days, who was building his credibility on a gritty life story, but not Lil Wayne.

Its time to remove these mandatory requirements from a rappers resume. We need to stop encouraging and validating the lawlessness. Stop buying the albums. And as far as rappers excusing themselves as musical actors of sorts, just playing characters, Im calling cut.

Again, people are buying Wayne’s albums regardless of if he’s in jail or not.  Why? I’m not sure.  But they are.  Perhaps I’m just being jaded, but I simply don’t see this as boosting his career in the same way that a duet with Lady Gaga does.  That just shows how far the game has hanged.]

Music

L.A. Times Apologizes for Rapper Story – washingtonpost.com

L.A. Times Apologizes for Rapper Story – washingtonpost.com

Consider this a follow-up to our post only a couple of days ago. It’s amazing how fast things can change. In our previous post, we had covered the LA Times’ article about Puffy’s denial of his involvement with the first 2Pac shooting.

Turns out his denial was the truth, much as we had suspected.

The LA Times, in reaction to a report on the Smoking Gun, has admitted that its report was wrong. Apparently, the “FBI Documents” they relied on were forged by a federal inmate. James Sabatino is a well known conman and a huge fan of rap music. I guess he loved it so much he really really wanted to involve himself. He managed to forge a bunch of documents that linked him to the Pac/Biggie feud. What a nutter.

The worst part of things for the LA Times is that one of their star reporters, a Pulitzer prize winner, was the author of the article. Unfortunately that doesn’t save them from this faux pas.

The Smoking Gun, which says it consulted several law-enforcement experts, raised a number of troubling points about the authenticity of the Times’s documents. One, Bastone said, is that the agents’ names and the titles of the files themselves were blacked out, making them impossible to verify. Another is that the documents are riddled with misspellings as well as acronyms not typically used in such reports.

Bastone also said that font sizes and instances of one letter typed over another — so-called overstrikes — show the documents were typewritten, and that there are similarities to Sabatino’s own court filings. For instance, the word “making” appears as “makeing” in both sets of documents. The Web site said inmates routinely have access to typewriters.

Pretty insane that someone would make up documents to tie himself to a criminal investigation. But hey, I guess some people will do anything to get famous.

Music

Diddy denies LA Times’ Tupac story – Yahoo! News

Diddy denies LA Times’ Tupac story – Yahoo! News

So, in proof that the ‘Pac myths will never, ever die, people are still talking about who killed Tupac Shakur. He’s all up in arms about an LA Times news story claiming his associates were involved in the first shooting of Tupac (a couple of years before he was killed)

“The story is a lie,” the hip-hop mogul said in a statement Monday. “It is beyond ridiculous and completely false. Neither (the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.) nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during or after it happened. … I am shocked that the Los Angeles Times would be so irresponsible as to publish such a baseless and completely untrue story.”

A pretty strong reaction, and I don’t doubt it. I’m not one of those conspiracy theorists who still thinks Pac is alive, and I’m not even convinced it is some elaborate plot that goes all the way to the top of the East and West coasts. My money is on a couple of idiot gangbangers trying to make themselves famous or trying to impress someone. It is possible that some Eastcoasters thought Biggie would love them if they took out Pac, but it is equally possible that some jealous Westsiders wanted to knock Pac out to make a name for themselves.

Either way, 14 years after the first shooting, we’re still talking about who started it and why. I’ve pretty much lost faith that we’ll ever know.