Tag Archives: kanye west

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:

kanyewestsunglasses 2pac-tupac

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.]

Cool

What everyone has always wanted to do to Kanye

I’m not sure if you’ve heard about Kanye’s latest little annoyance, but I’ll quickly fill you in.  He and Spike Jonze (yes, the Spike Jonze of Where the Wild Things Are fame) were making a short film together.  Kanye, apparently thinking the video was finished, leaked it on his blog. 

It wasn’t up for too long or anything, but long enough that Jonze felt the need to issue a statement.  More importantly, Jonze got to do something many people have been dreaming about for a long time.

Awareness Underreported News

Hip hop’s new disturbing trend – “No homo”

Hip hop has long been lampooned for being homophobic, and with even venerable groups like Tribe showing off some less-than-stellar judgment on the matter, it’s understandable why the genre as a whole has a bad rap.

But this new phrase seems to be even more over the top than the ridiculous nonsense that Eminem throws out.

Basically, more and more frequently now, rappers (I should note that it’s primarily commercial rappers who are doing this) drop some ridiculous phrase then toss out a “no homo” at the end.  This Current TV segment does a good job of highlighting the absurdity of the whole meme.

 

Personally, I can’t understand why hip hop would want to let something like this go.  In mind, a genre that has long been a bastion for disaffected people, or those who feel like they are being discriminated against, would want to inflict that same thing on anyone else.  Maybe it’s some whole “cycle of violence” thing the same way that abusers are affected.  Who knows? 

The problem is that it’s gaining so much credence that even big name rappers like Kanye are using it.  It’s one thing when little raw battle dogs like Cam’Ron drop some hyperbolic ish, but when someone who actually gets radio airplay is doing it, that’s another.

Hopefully this is a just one of those fads that disappears, like dropping it like it’s hot. 

Awareness

Everyone knows Kanye’s a dick

Somehow I can’t find the video of the actual incident (most of them have been taken down due to a copyright claim by Viacom), which is totally fine by me.  We’ve all heard all about how Kanye ran on stage when Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, beating Beyonce’s Single Ladies video.  Rolling Stone has a good written coverage of the deal if you’ve missed it.

Basically, it’s another example of Kanye’s self-aggrandizing nature.  He’s a narcissist and, quite frankly, not a nice man.  Besides all the other times I’ve gotten my hate on for Kanye, this really just proves that he’s a dumbass.

KANYE-WEST-VMAs-2009-2

So he does this thing, shocks the world and upsets one of the nicest performers around. (Her quote about the incident was: “Well, I was standing on stage because I was really excited because I had just won the award,” she said. “And then I was really excited because Kanye West was on stage. And then I wasn’t so excited anymore after that.”) It’s unacceptable behaviour, and proves Kanye’s more of a diva than a rapper.  It’s a far cry from Public Enemy fighting the good fight to a rich entitled celeb slamming some Hennessy and ruining the MTV Awards.

Kanye was tossed out and he wrote a big apology almost right away

KANYE-WEST-VMAs-2009-APOLOGY

Even President Obama is unimpressed by his moves.

It’s basically just silly politics, and he is getting mad amounts of publicity out of this deal.  I’m not even going to go into the rest of the aftermath, but suffice it to say that I hope this finally does him in.  He’s got no place in hip hop, besides sitting behind the mixer.

Music

M.I.A’s Grammy performance with the ‘Rap Pack’

At the Grammy’s a few nights ago, a very pregnant M.I.A. performed.  In fact, it was actually her due date!

In the words of Queen Latifah, this was a hip hop ‘rap pack’.  Yes, that was a Latifah play on the ‘rat pack’ nickname.  Still, it’s not everyday you’ll see M.I.A, Jay-Z, Kanye, TI and Lil’ Wayne all perform together on the same track.

It seemed to be one of the biggest hip hop Grammy performances in recent memory, which is definitely a good thing.  Plus, it’s not really that bad.

Music

Kanye pulling a Diddy and changing his name (temporarily)

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Since Kanye is running out of ways to act like a clown and get some attention, he’s decided he needs a name change.  After all, where do you go after you make an entire album with AutoTune?

Well, you try to change your name to Martin Louis the King Jr.  That’s right.  According to Contact Music.  No doubt this will result in another big rant on Kanye’s blog as he disputes the rumor, but if it’s true I have to say that I’ve lost even more respect for him.

Just to celebrate Kayne’s recent decent into madness, I’m bringing back my halloween Zombie Kanye photoshop.

Diddy would be proud.

Though check it out for yourself, here’s Kanye’s message to the public.


Music MySpace Monday

MySpace Monday: Apathy

Not that this is major news, because it’s definitely a case of some dude trying to make his name by taking on someone far more famous than him, but it’s still pretty entertaining.

Apathy, an emcee from Conneticut, has taken aim at Kanye West, remixing Love Lockdown, a vocoder/synth filled track from everyone’s favourite egomaniac.

It’s worth a listen, mainly because at one point he tells Kanye that he should have stuck to producing.

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Otherwise, Apathy has some decent tracks.  A fairly aggressive emcee, his flow is more reminiscent of

He’s pretty prolific as well, and has some pretty impressive guest stars.  Royce Da 5’9 most prominent among them.  His work with Celph Titled lends him some pretty decent cred too, so keep your eyes on this cat.

Music

Less talk, more music

Because of some busy-ness in the real world, I ain’t got a lot of time to get my write on (or, apparently, choose a decent picture).  So I’ve decided to temporarily forgoe the usual witty commentary you’ve come to love and expect at 4080 and post a sampling of the music I’ve been feeling recently without context.

That said, scroll down and prepared to get your groove on to some tasty new treats.

K-Def – The Program ft. Dacapo (Willie Boo Boo: The Fool, 2008)

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via: From Da Bricks

88 Keys – Stay Up! (Viagra) ft. Kanye West (The Death of Adam, 2008)

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via: Hood Fever

Royce da 5’9″ – Happy Bar Exam ft. Marv Won (Bar Exam 2, 2008)

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via: Nah Right

84 – 3 the Hard Way ft. Bahamadia (?, ?)

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via: 215hiphop

Cool Geek Music

The 5 greatest puppetry moments in hip-hop history

Yesterday, the blog at Complex.com published a brilliant post detailing the “unauthorized history of puppets in hip-hop.”  It features five (mostly) classic rap videos which contain at least some puppetry, including “Ass Like That” by Eminem, “Champion” by Kanye, “Da Art of Storytelling” by Outkast, “Me and the Biz” by Masta Ace and Pac’s “How do you want it?”  If anything, it demonstrates that current hip-hop suffers from a serious lack of puppet content. 

The best part of the post, though, is the music video remix of M.O.P.’s “Ante Up” with Bert and Ernie.  Absolutely hilarious!


 

Music

Kanye sucks at life

I know, it’s a bold statement…

Until you read this.

The peeps at the Bonaroo festival were VERY unimpressed with Kanye’s performance.  He came on late, gave a half-assed show, and was, well, Kanye.

And he wasn’t just late, he was 2 hours late.  Awful.  Especially because his original start time was already around 3 am.

So people complained about it,  and I was shocked to see how furious he was.  He’s a diva.  The male Mariah Carey.  And yet he was mad that people could accuse him of giving a weak show.  We’ve all heard talk of Kanye thinks he is the G.O.A.T, so it’s no real surprise that he gets mad when hated on.

He claims he gives it his all.  He claims he tries so hard.  He blames it on the show organizers and everyone else he can.  He even ranted for several pages about just how hard he tries for every show.  I give him enough respect that I believe him when he says he tries during every show, but I don’t buy the whole “i need to ice my knees every time” bullshit.  I think that’s farcical. (Click the link above and read his rant, you’ll understand what I mean).  No one intends to go out there and give an awful performance, What’s most upsetting to me is how he went about blaming just about everyone else, the organizers, Pearl Jam.

Bring on someone more respectable, someone who cares about the fans enough to let them know what’s going on.

[Source: Pitchfork]

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