Archive for the 'Popular Music' Category


Albums That Need to Be Reissued

There’s nothing asshole label heads love more than reissuing old albums they somehow scored the rights to, forcing you to dig deep into your pockets for a Jackson just to hear an “alternative mix” with a different snare. How exciting!

It’s true, reissues generally add nothing to classics (Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On) at best, and corrupt masterpieces at worst (Michael Jackson, Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition). But I’m confident that this could be rectified by sitting these label execs the fuck down and schooling them on what albums they actually need to be reissuing, instead of just dragging out the 15th Thriller reissue.

What follows is a list that does just such a thing. Now get on it!

Schoolly D Schoolly D / Saturday Night! The Album

What, the founder of gangsta rap don’t get no love? Both of these albums are out-of-print and impossible to find unless you get a bootleg or drop 100 big ones on eBay for some old-ass, beat up copies.

It’s ridiculous that young heads can’t get a legit copy of the album with “PSK What Does It Mean?” and “Gucci Time” on it. I hear shifty-ass Jive Records may have reissued them a while back, but without all of Schoolly D‘s tracks, and with the two albums all mixed together out of order.

Fuck that, release a 2 disc set, make the first disc Saturday Night! and the second disc Schoolly D. Or, if you can’t afford to press that up, do like the Amerikkka’s Most Wanted /Kill At Will reissue and just put the two albums on the same disc, but in the right order.

Come on, this is a hip hop legend, sampled by the likes of the Beastie Boys, The Notorious BIG, and Jim Jones.

He’s relevant, he’s talented. Reissue these.

Ice-T Power

Ice-T is a beast, and this is far and away his strongest effort. However, it has a huge, gaping hole right in the middle of it. Colors, Ice-T’s best song aside from 6 N The Morning, doesn’t appear on any of his studio albums, just his greatest hits collection and the Colors soundtrack (good luck finding that). There isn’t a better album to put it on than Power – they have the same punchy, funkadelic synths and smoothed-out Ice-T flow.

Sure, it’s only one bonus track, but if you’ve heard Colors, you know that that the addition of that one track would elevate Power from classic to masterpiece.

One thing, though: you can’t just tack it on at the end of the album, that would fuck up the story told in the intro and outro. Put it between “Girls LGBNAF” and “High Rollers,” maybe?

Snoop Doggy Dogg Doggystyle / Over the Counter

Death Row’s dropped two Doggystyle reissues already, but they didn’t do it proper. All of the skits are mixed into the songs (incredibly frustrating, trust me), and Gz Up, Hoes Down is nowhere to be found (actually, it was nowhere to be found after early pressings). It’s sort of nice to know that I own the best version of Doggystyle around (purhcased on eBay), but at the same time, it sucks that the world can’t enjoy this classic like it should.

And I’m sure I’m not the only Snoop fan fiending for his unreleased debut album, Over the Counter. All we got is a 5-track bootleg of it. Give us the full thing on a second disc, maybe tack on all those Doggystyle outtakes floating around YouTube, too.

Whoever it is bought (buys?) the rights to Death Row’s catalogue owes it to hip hop to make this happen.

It’s already been reissued, but after hearing the recently leaked OG Edition, I’m sold on the idea of another go at it. I’m sure Puff would be up for it, since money’s involved. Maybe he could buy his jet back.

What else deserves a proper reissue? Talk on it.


An Open Letter to “The Source” Magazine

Dear “The Source” Magazine,

I apologize for the tardiness of my response to your most recent issue – I would have written you sooner, but could not find the address for reader’s letters anywhere in your magazine and didn’t care enough to further investigate.

Now that you’ve “re-launched” and are “new and improved” after providing us with years of stunningly bad journalism, you seem to be on some sort of strange, afrocentric, faux-intellectual trip, a la Nas (although the new issues are new and improved, I’ll give you that).

I noticed this mostly in your piece about how Black people are almost never on TV shows. You listed Black America’s great hope, a motherfucking cartoon, and then made a list of 10 TV shows to check out if you want to see “us” on TV, as if your readership isn’t 90% white.

I found it beyond hilarious that you put a show like BET’s “American Gangster” on that list.

Come on, is that really what cats like MLK Jr. were out there marching for? “Oh, I have a dream… that some day my children will grow up to on a show called ‘American Gangster’ and that it will be the best portrayal of Black people on TV…”

I can’t help but wonder how you put a show called “American Gangster” on your list of “empowering” shows but neglected to mention the shows that have been “empowering” Black America in a a similar fashion for decades, like “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted.”

On a slightly unrelated note, what’s the deal with that official relaunching issue with mediocre has beens like Nas and LL Cool J on the front re-reviewing a gang of old CDs? That’s bullshit. It would have been far more interesting if you had just reprinted how you originally reviewed the CDs (well, except maybe for the Marshall Mathers LP). I say this as a head who has spent hours on your POS website searching for some classic reviews. I really don’t care to read a dozen reviews that all say the same things (anyone else noticed that stanning reviews like your new batch aren’t half as interesting as negative ones?).

Also,  how in the fuck is Get Rich or Die Tryin’ one of the best albums of all time? Give me a fucking break.

So, in summary, welcome back, Source.

But fuck you, too.


Nelly: “Ice-T [is] a Fucking Old Geezer”

Just when I thought this whole Ice-T vs. Soulja Boy thing was dead, in comes Nelly calling Ice-T an “old motherfucker” (on a slightly unrelated note, don’t forget to check Big Snoop Dogg’s take on this shit – whenever he talks on Soulja Boy, he has me rolling -his interviews are here and here).

Before we get into how full of shit Nelly is, let’s have a quick recap on this whole situation. Ice-T had a skit on a mixtape where he claimed that Soulja Boy “single-handedly killed hip hop,” saying his music is “garbage.” He also attacked Hurricane Chris, but later claimed that he did so only out of anger, not because he has any problem with Chris. Soulja Boy responded, calling him old and giggling with all his little friends like a fucking schoolgirl and Chris didn’t respond (earning him major points in my book). Ice-T came back with a video saying he shouldn’t have told Soulja Boy to eat a dick, but reiterating that his music is wacker than a motherfucker. Along the way, videos of Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and KRS-One, among others, cropped up on the internet (hit up YouTube), where they weighed in and pretty consistently took the fence-sitting position that Ice is right, but shouldn’t have said it (except Snoop, who was with Ice all the way).

It pretty much died down, and I haven’t heard anything about it in weeks, but now that Nelly has a new album coming out that no one gives half a shit about, he thought he’d diss Ice-T to try and persuade some more teenage girls to buy his album, seeing that he’s down with Soulja Boy.

Now, watching the video, you’ll notice that Nelly’s comments aren’t quite as full of shit as, say, Kanye West’s, but still pretty full of shit.

The gist of what Nelly’s trying to get across is that Ice-T shouldn’t be calling Soulja Boy garbage because he’s too old for his music and when he was young, he probably had old folk telling him the music he bumped was garbage.

Nelly almost has a point, but Ice-T isn’t calling for a boycott of Soulja Boy’s music or anything of the sort. He’s calling it garbage, which it is. It’s his personal opinion, and a pretty valid one, too.

Besides, Nelly isn’t really the kind of guy who disses a legend to make a point. He does it to sell records.

Remember Nelly vs. KRS-One?


EXCLUSIVE: Termanology – Politics As Usual Snippets

These are the :30 second snippets. Three of the snippets won’t play for whatever reason.

The other 10 snippets are all there, though.



Will the New Scarface Album Suck?

Those are the six words I thought I’d never utter, but after the newly leaked Forget About Me and the Lil Troy diss song High Powered… I just don’t know anymore.

Well, actually, there isn’t a snowflake’s chance in hell Emeritus (available everywhere September 30) is going to suck. The blog’s title is mostly just shock value. However, there is a good chance Emeritus will be, uh, not very good.

High Powered was what first gave this possibility away.

The beat is great, but is nothing like Scarface’s usual Southern-fried sound (it just sounds plain Southern, if that makes sense) and is unlike anything Scarface has done on Rap-A-Lot in that it sounds like they actually paid some money for it instead of just hooking the God of the South (fuck King, Face is better than that) with an in-house producer. In other words, the production’s different, but not the problem. The problem is Face.

Why is he still on this Lil Troy shit? I literally  haven’t heard anything new about that in years. Who gives a fuck about Lil Troy? It would have been a lot better if he went after Rick Ross as many an ignorant blogger originally speculated, becoming the first relevant rapper with the sheer balls to call him on being in bed with the piggies. But Face came with some admittedly weak shit. “Then he tried to sue a nigga… But it got back to a nigga… And when I see him, I’ma do the nigga.”

It’s a simple rhyme pattern not worthy of the South’s premier lyricist and it’s an empty threat. I don’t know dude personally, but I doubt that Face is gonna fuck up Troy if he happens upon him. And Face has stated for the record that he doesn’t make stupid threats on his records and most such disses are just gimmicks.

Now, it’s a completely different story if it suddenly pops up in the news that Troy is in an emergency room somewhere in suburban Texas with half his teeth missing… But that doesn’t seem likely.

As for Forget About Me, I love the beat, love the hook, and love Face’s part. But he put Lil Wayne and Bun B on it, neither of whom do a good job at all.

The guest rappers on Face albums are usually just not that good (WC, anyone? Me neither), but Wayne is a new low. Bun isn’t a bad idea (they’ve collaborated before and have good chemistry), but his verse is just flat weak.

It might be a little early to call, but Emeritus might not be up to Face’s usual standards.

Another issue: could this be another Balls and My Word? Another album Face didn’t even have shit to do with and Rap-A-Lot is just dropping to make a fast buck?

Really, why else would there be a Lil motherfucking Troy diss on a mid-2008 Scarface album? There’s also been no promo or anything for this shit, and the last time that happened for a Face album was… you guessed it, Balls and My Word.


Rappers Are Not To Be Trusted

(Case in point…)

The other day, I was browsing the hip-hop music section in a used book store I frequent when I came across a Naught By Nature CD, “Poverty’s Paradise.”‘

I had recently bought their self-titled classic on cassette from Goodwill and fallen in love with it, especially the Queen Latifah-assisted “Wickedest Man Alive.” I hadn’t heard of “Poverty’s Paradise” before, however, and wasn’t sure if I should buy it or not. I ultimately didn’t. Why? Because, unfortunately, I’m not a rock fan. Rappers are not to be trusted.

Unlike, say, AC/DC or whatever else rock fans listen to, I cannot simply stroll into a store, grab a CD by a rapper I like, and go buy it. Unlike most other genres of music, rappers are ridiculously inconsistent.

They don’t even make so-so follow up albums, many of them drop a classic and then turn bad. Think about it – how many hip-hop artists can you name, just off the dome, who had great debuts and awful follow ups? How about Raekwon, Nas, Jay-Z, Big Pun, and The Pharcyde?

These are legendary artists – I even go so far as to call Pun the greatest rapper of all time – so why can’t they bring it more than once or twice?

Of course there are exceptions  – Biggie, KRS-One, Scarface, and Ghostface Killah come to mind – but the overwhelming majority of hip-hop artists, as Jay-Z said on Takeover, had a “spark when [they] started, but now [they’re] just garbage. Fell from Top 10 to not mentioned at all.”

What’s the reason for this? And why is it exclusive to hip-hop? Shit, I could go pick up literally any Prince album right now and I guaranteed I’d love it. Same with James Brown, John Legend, John Lennon, Rick James, etc.

One can never be sure, but I think it may have something to do with hip-hop’s “reality fetish.” I own one of those shitty QD3 DVDs (notorious for recycling the same interviews ever movie), “The Art of 16 Bars” where one artist – I wish I could remember his name – brags for a while about having no imagination. “I wish I could use my imagination and just make stuff up, but I can’t.” Apparently he could only rap about his own concrete reality.

In any other genre, he would get laughed at for saying that, but not in hip-hop. It’s the only genre of music where the fans expect everything said to be true. It’s dangerous to be a rapper, where using a gun metaphor can inspire people you’ve never met to step to you.

Look at the consistent artists I mentioned before – you’ll notice they’re also the ones who have the best imaginations. Biggie commited suicide on record, Scarface did a song about being a psychopath and one about being a ghost, KRS-One did a track about being a blunt, and Ghostface penned Underwater, a trippy fantasy where he meets mermaids and Spongebob, ultimately finding Atlantis.

You could say it’s because artists aren’t as hungry after they drop and get rich, but I suspect that’s because they run out of ideas after the first album, which is sort of a culmination of their entire lives up to that point. They just don’t no where to go after it. It all seems to come back to a lack of imagination.

Or am I missing what it is? Speak on it.


Big Pun – Legendary

RIP GOAT Big Punisher. Click the image to read XXL’s new article on the upcoming documentary Big Pun: The Legacy.

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