19 July 2017

VIDEO: Vic Mensa - Rage


Chi Town emcee Vic Mensa is getting set to drop his first LP, The Autobiography, on July 28th. Since his solo mixtape in 2013, Innanetape, Vic has been on a meteoric rise. That same year he joined Cole and Wale on the What Dreams May Come Tour. The next year he made the XXL Freshman Class. Meh, but an accomplishment nonetheless. After a few Kanye collabs, he signed to Roc Nation in 2015. A couple of EPs later, he is now set to make his Roc Nation studio album debut.

Last month Vic dropped the 4 track EP, The Manuscript. It was meant to serve as an appetizer to The Autobiography. The first EP track, "Rage", will also appear on his LP as a bonus track. "Rage" is a beautifully polished track with great harmony and a strong message. Vic says that "'Rage' is an epic about my life and my perspectives on my position in the world. And overcoming gravity. Just fighting against gravity and trying to continuously rise upward. And it’s a message I want to give to people because kids commit suicide because they get torn down by the things that seem impossible to overcome, and I’ve felt like that a million times. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like ending it all. But ‘Rage’ is that light through the darkness." The track (especially the chorus) borrows themes from Dylan Thomas' poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Both poets analyze death and pain, but both works also champion fighting against the hardships of life.

The video shows literal manifestations of this theme. Vic is flying in a private jet that is crashing into the ocean. The strongest visuals come as Vic raps in the plane that is tearing apart around him and as he plunges into the ocean. The song is also littered with strong metaphors and poignant visuals. But Vic does a great job with the video and keeps it focused on one a strong theme.

And some bonus knowledge for yall. The Autobiography release date of July 28th is also the same date as Peru's independence day. I'm sure yall already knew that. So, enjoy the day with Mensa and big ol plate of lomo saltado and a cold Cusqueña.

Peep the cinematic video below.





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06 July 2017

SINGLES: Joey Bada$$ - 500 Benz, Too Lit, and Love Is Only A Feeling

Happy Independence Day from the BITM family. Hope yall had a fun and safe holiday. But if you just stayed home and passed out as the fireworks started going off (like me), then we got some left over pyrotechnics for you that dropped yesterday, July 5th.

Joey Bada$$ is still riding high off of his critically acclaimed studio album All-Amerikkkan Bada$$. Not only did we give the album an amazing review, but the Badmon made it into another podcast discussion. And yesterday, out of nowhere, the Pro Era capo posted on social media that he was dropping 3 tracks. All three tracks are produced by Statik Selektah. That combo alone should make you run down the tracks below. If not, do it anyways. The pairing of Statik and Joey is easily becoming one of my new favorite emcee/producer duos.

Peep all three singles below.










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28 June 2017

VIDEO: Kendrick Lamar - ELEMENT.


Two days after winning BET's Best Male Hip-Hop Artist award, Kung Fu Kenny dropped another video to accompany his last LP, DAMN. Early this month I saw articles about Kendrick and Rihanna on the set for the single, "LOYALTY." When I saw the alerts that Kendrick dropped a new video, I thought it was for said single. Instead we get visuals for the track "ELEMENT."

The song itself is a braggadocio track that depicts Kendrick's pre-fame life and warns the rest that he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his current lifestyle. His struggles and hard work made him the man he is today, one that has a seat with the upper echelon emcees in the game. There are probably a million things that you could dissect in this music video, and I'm sure something new will stand out with every watch. There are very few frames with Kenny rapping, instead we get very strong and poignant visuals of aggressive and beautiful imagery juxtaposed with one another.

King Kendrick keeps dropping gems on em. Yes, that was a Mobb Deep reference. And bringing it all back together, Kendrick thanked Prodigy in his acceptance speech. 




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REVIEW: Big Boi - Boomiverse

With Prodigy's recent untimely passing, it got me thinking about other Hip Hop duos that have had success with their group and solo projects. Outkast has to be up there. And I know technically Andre 3000 hasn't dropped a legit solo album, but I'm counting The Love Below. Plus, Stacks has a PLETHORA of features that could make an LP to rival any emcee. I could speak on the greatness of Stacks for days (he did come out on top of BITM's emcee bracket), but I digress. This article will focus on the other half of the ATLien duo, Big Boi. And specifically his third solo LP, Booomiverse (Big Grams was an EP, and really a collab). But since his solo debut in 2010 with Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Big Boi hasn't been able to put together a complete offering that lives up to his potential. The 12 track Boomiverse is Big Boi's attempt to prove he can reach the heights of his Outkast days.

Big Boi ends the intro track, "Da Next Day", pulling on your nostalgic strings with the spoken words of Big Rube. Most Kast fans know him as the intro and interlude voice that appears across Outkast albums (along with other Dungeon Family projects). The soulful track "Liberation" from Aquemini contains Rube's best bar (in my opinion), "you got more juice than Zeus". Overall the track is strong start for Daddy Fat Sax. BUT THEN, then we get the HARDEST track on the album. We've posted the single and video for "Kill Jill". So all I'll say is this, if you haven't peeped the track yet. Stop reading this article, go hear/view it ASAP, and come on back. The track "In The South" sounds like it was plucked straight from a Big KRIT joint (which is a good thing). This one features Gucci Mane and Pimp C., and you get exactly what you expect, a straight south lean track (not in a bad mumble way). Of course Big Boi dominates lyrically and elevates the track all around. My second favorite track (or first depending when you ask me) is "Order of Operation". Big Boi drops lyrical and literal gems throughout the track (this might be the strongest lyrical track on the whole album). Don't know who Eric Bellinger is, but he lends his skills on the hook. Tracks like "Made Man" and "Follow Deez" provide gritty beats for Big Boi to drop hard bars with assists from Renegade El Rey, Kurupt, Killer Mike and Curren$y.

Then there is the 80's funky/synthy track "Mic Jack", which is a bit out of place but not necessarily a bad track. Radio friendly tracks like "All Night" and "Overthunk" seem more contemporary. But seem out of place, especially when you only have 12 tracks to play with. And the Snoop feature on "Get Wit It" has strong West Coast influenced instrumental, but doesn't hit as hard as it should. Especially when bringing these lyrical titans together (for the first(?) time). The overly techno infused "Chocolate" might become a club favorite, but isn't one that I'll go back to that many times. At least not sober. And "Freakonomics" feels like a Ludacris track from his Blueberry Yum Yum days. Again, a bit out of place.

With a dozen tracks, Boomiverse falls a bit short in terms of cohesiveness. And I don't want to the tell a legend "to stay in his lane", because that's not the case at all. I do think Stacks has mastered the ability to jump on ANY track and be more lyrically..malleable (let's go with that). But Big Boi was always able to "keep up" with the more eccentric Outkast member. And you can see the paragraph of "pros" is much larger than the "cons" one. When the album hits, it HITS. But here are a few meh tracks, and a couple of tracks that shouldn't have made it to the final product. Big Boi delivers range throughout the project and his lyrical prowess is front and center. But the tracks with other lyrical emcees and subjectively better instrumentals shine brighter. His potential as an emcee is what makes his true fans judge him harsher (that's a word right?) than others. Big Boi notches another solo project that comes close to reaching that bar, but leaves fans wondering what a record that reaches that bar might sound like. 




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23 June 2017

BITM Podcast Ep. 3 - The Industry Vs. Lil Boat


It's been a long time coming, but we are back at it again with another episode of the BITM Podcast.  This time we dive into what motivates an artist to make music, by way of a heated exchange between Joe Budden and Lil Yachty on Complex's morning show "Everyday Struggle." We also touch on a couple of notable albums of last year, with the intention of leading into projects from 2017 before descending into a nonsensical drunken stupor and completely losing focus yet again LOL, smh...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯



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20 June 2017

NEWS: RIP Prodigy

This is crazy. Still don't believe it. The 42 year old Queens emcee just passed away today, June 20th, 2017. The legend had a career that spanned almost a quarter century. But most know Prodigy as one half of Mobb Deep. Nothing much we know now. We know Prodigy has battled sickle cell anemia most of his life. And that he was on the Vegas stop of the Art of Rap tour with other Hip Hop legends.

All we have now is his catalog with HITS like: "Quiet Storm", "Shook Ones", "H.N.I.C", "Win or Lose", "Drop A Gem On 'Em", "Hell on Earth", "Get Away", "There That Go", "Hold You Down", "Mac 10 Handle", "Blood Money", "The Illest", "Extortion", "Back At You", "It's Mine", "Trife Life", "Bang On Em", "Survival Of The Fittest", "The Learning", "Eye For An Eye", "Thug Music", "Temperature's Rising", "The Realest", "Peer Pressure", and of course "Keep It Thoro" (and WHOLE RACK of other songs I'm probably missing). Rest in peace dun.




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15 June 2017

VIDEO: Mac Lethal - 27 Styles of Rapping


So I stumbled across this video today. No idea who Mac Lethal is. No idea he's a rapper. No idea he's a YouTube star(?). But like most things I post, I like to provide some background/history. So here we go. Mac Lethal is a 35 year old independent artist, radio and television host, and author from Kansas City. This dude has an EXTENSIVE catalog that consists of four LPs, seven EPs, and twelve mixtapes that span about 16 years. His YouTube page has well over half a million subscribers and the video below garnered over one million views in less than a week. If yall want more info, Google him or peep his YouTube page. You will definitely be entertained.

Now on to the video. This dude shows AMAZING control of cadence, flow, word play and accents (ha, except for the UK accent). The video isn't really "27 styles" of rapping since he goes into specific artists. Artists are not styles. I guess you can make an argument for that. But you can definitely look past that to get the "Old Kanye" vs "New Kanye" style. On the surface this video is meant to be entertaining and funny, but you get some Hip Hop history in a format that is mainstream friendly. This dude has a lot of talent to pull this off, so take a second and make your day better with this joint.

Peep video below.




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09 June 2017

VIDEO: Apollo Brown & Skyzoo - On the Stretch & Bob Show

At the end of last year, Skyzoo dropped The Easy Truth. The album features Apollo Brown on the beats with Sky taking on the emcee duties. We've mentioned that Skyzoo has two projects planned to drop this year. This has your boy HYPE. But while we wait for new singles to drop (soon hopefully), we got some visuals for a single from Sky's last joint. The track "On the Stretch & Bob Show" is an homage to The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show. If you know nothing about that, peep the documentary Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives. But if you can't get a hold of that, this is the basic rundown. Robert “Bobbito” Garcia and Adrian “Stretch Armstrong” Bartos hosted a radio show (The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show) on WKCR-FM, from Columbia University in New York. The show ran from 1990-1998 and featured freestyles, demos and interviews from Hip Hip legends during their unknown/unsigned periods. If yall want a post that goes into the history of that show, hit us up in the message boards and we can make that happen. 

The single "On the Stretch & Bob Show" reenacts what an episode would have been like if Skyzoo went on The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show. It starts with samples of Stretch and Bobbito from previous shows and edits them in a way that sounds like Skyzoo went on the radio show and dropped a freestyle. For the video, Skyzoo gets help from five kids who act out the scene the song creates. Not only do we get a kid Skyzoo and Apollo Brown, we get mini Stretch and Bob, and a little girl who is recording the session on a VHS camcorder. So we get a your normal high definition clips cut in between grainy and choppy clips from the camcorder. The overall feel is authentic and definitely pulls at those nostalgic strings. It makes me want to watch the Stretch and Bobbito documentary again AND run through Sky's catalog on a road trip. Track is dope. Lyrics are dope. Video is dope. 

Peep the video below. 




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VIDEO: Talib Kweli & Styles P - Nine Point Five ft Sheek Louch, Jadakiss & NIKO IS

In April your boy dropped the review for The Seven, the tag team EP that united Hip Hop vets Talib Kweli and Styles P. Last month they dropped the visuals for the single "Nine Point Five", which features the rest of the mighty LOX squad and NIKO IS on the hook. While the album didn't see that much commercial success, it definitely garnered critical acclaim from Hip Hop heads nationwide. To see what I thought about The Seven EP, peep the review.

The documentary style video follows Talib and Ghost as they embarked on their The Seven Tour. We get clips from concerts, radio station interviews, down time on tour buses and behind the scenes footage. "Nine Point Five" is one of my favorite tracks on the EP simply because of math. You get one track with four of the strongest lyricists in the game. The longevity of all the emcees is a testament to their pen game. And not just that, but to be dropping gems in today's Hip Hop landscape shows their ability to change and adapt. They all do this and at the same time never sell the fans short when it comes to lyrical content.

Peep the video below.




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VIDEO: Big Boi - Kill Jill ft. Killer Mike & Jeezy

About a month and some change ago, BITM's own jet setter Irish Ninja posted the single "Kill Jill". The Big Boi track assembles a monstrous SOUF trio by tagging Killer Mike for a verse and Jeezy for the hook. If yall peeped Irish's post, you know the instrumental for "Kill Jill" is a straight shake the concrete head banger. The video has the standard Hip Hop video tropes (whips, chicks, jewelry), but adds that Big Boi flare with a freaking lion, kings throne (like Game of Thrones type), and throws in Asian influenced visuals to wrap it up. 

"Kill Jill" is the second single from Big Boi's upcoming album Boomiverse, dropping on June 16th. We might get another track before then, but if we don't, Big Boi definitely did himself a favor by releasing this joint. With a single this strong, you can only expect a solid effort from the vet.

Peep the video below.





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