31 January 2013

MIXTAPE REVIEW: CyHi The Prynce Ivy League: Kick Back

Well I know he is not really royalty but the Prynce has made his return. CyHi The Prynce has released his awaited Ivy League: Kick Back. This is the sequel to the first Ivy League in which I have not heard so I can’t compare them. I’ve heard a few CyHi tracks before and one mixtape which was “Royal Flush 2,” and I loved it. While I may not know the full capability of the Prynce but I do know he has lyrical abilities.

After the intro and interlude of a college student asking CyHi where to find some weed while they are on campus, the first track is “Mary Jane” featuring Smoke Dza. The song is sampled from Rick James’ funk original “Mary Jane.” The song is not a hard song to decipher the title alone should let you know what this is about. CyHi speaks on his longtime relationship with Mary Jane and how selling weed contributed to a lot of his tokens that he possesses(ed).  Smoke Dza’s verse is not of my favorite lyrics from him but he does have a few lines that were nice.

“Far removed” is a Lex Luger produced track and is one of the stronger tracks on the mixtape. This track is a banger and some nice lyrics. The audio places you in a mindset in a gangster movie in which shit is about to go down, it is very dark. The visuals are also a nice story to the song. CyHi is letting rap niggas in the industry he still about that life. He is not far removed from that thug life and he keeps the tooly with him. Bottom line, rap is an option. This song is very hot and I love his flow on it.  

The next track is “Start a War.” This may very well be one of my favorite tracks along with “Young rich fly famous” featuring Childish Gambino. In the first verse CyHi goes into his past about his boy that was just like him and how close they were, but his boy chose the street life which resulted in his demise.  CyHi admits to never seeing his demons and thinking about it while he is playing dead until the killers drove away. The second verse is going into his reaction of his boy’s death and knowing who killed him. The man who killed him was the brother of this chick that his partner used to talk to. “Word on the street he knew this bird named Patrice/ he sold her brother a couple pounds of herb and a key. I know where he stay, where he serve, where he be/ swerve hit the curb in a blur he asleep *gunshots.*” The third verse he is wondering whether he should ride with his boys to get revenge on his boy’s killer. He compares himself to feeling like Trey in “Boyz N the Hood” when he was in Doughboy’s impala to get revenge for Ferris killing Ricky. CyHi makes the same choice as Trey and gets out of the car to try and prevent a war, in which the song is titled.

There are a lot of features on this mixtape to make it a nice listen. There is a track with Big K.R.I.T. and Yelawolf titled “We drink We smoke.” If you know of K.R.I.T. you know he does not disappoint and his flow on this track is beautiful. We here at BITM support artists like Big K.R.I.T. for President. That was a very nice feature. Other features on this mixtape include 2 Chainz, B.o.B., Travis Porter, Canji Taylor, and Trae the Truth. Overall, the mixtape is an okay piece of work; there were valleys and peaks to this project. I think that CyHi is capable of putting out better work and I was not impressed by this mixtape. I’m giving it three tapes.

30 January 2013

VIDEO: Saigon - Our Babies 2 (It's a Crazy World)

On a more serious tip..if you been following the news the past year or so you know it's been getting a little nuts out there. Saigon's The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2: Bread and Circuses (review!) was another great tape with a lot of social commentary throughout each track. As one of the leaders of the progressive/conscience rap movement, I expected nothing less than a strong visual representation to compliment his lyrics. A strong follow up to Blown Away

29 January 2013

VIDEO: Pusha T - Blocka

Pusha T dropped Wrath of Caine yesterday (Jan 28th). This video came out last month..just another gritty street Push presentation.

Stream entire tape here.

28 January 2013

VIDEO: Ab-Soul - ILLuminate ft Kendrick Lamar

Great video from Ab-Soul off of his Control System indie album. 
Ab plus K Dot..fuego.

"I used to wanna rap like Jay-Z / Now I feel like I'm runnin' laps around Jay-Z / Nas ain't seen nothing this nasty / B.I.G. & Pac got it coming when I pass too / You got the mic, I ain't the one you wanna pass to"

27 January 2013

Love & Hip-Hop...?

Unless you've been living under a rock, or have zero interest in turning your television to any station promoting full-blown ratchetness, you have heard of the pseudo-urban music focused reality drama Love & Hip-Hop on VH1. These shows have become a wild success and continue to spawn season after season. It would be safe to call it a cultural phenomenon at this point. The problem with that is, nowadays anything massive enough to be able to impact an entire culture is usually at someone else's expense. Whether it be the "artists" (and I use that term very loosely) on the show, or an entire generation of youth who actually look up to these people as role models. Sad but true fact.

Love & Hip-Hop is a reality show that has absolutely nothing to do with love, and even less to do with Hip-Hop. It's a shame that an artist with any level of integrity would submit themselves to such outright buffoonery, tarnishing their own brand, and possibly putting the nail in the coffin of their careers altogether, at least on the music end. These shows are always full of either no name talents who have never been able to establish a buzz, or artists who may have had a hit or two in the past and have simply fallen off since. These shows often revolve around producers who once were considered the best in the game, but are now trying to tread water via a reality show that has nothing to do with what they are trying to promote.

The first time I ever watched this show, like a dumb ass  I actually expected it to be about the love OF Hip-Hop music. I should have known, since it was on VH1, that I would get nothing but an overblown soap opera full of everything that is wrong with our culture and exacerbating it on a scale that continues to grow with every rerun-.

My question to the BITM family out there is, do you see celebrity reality TV as life support for the talents that are on these shows? Or is it literally a graveyard from which there is no coming back? Or maybe it's a promotion tool to reach out to an entirely new audience (ie: hood bitches, primarily).

This season of Love & Hip-Hop has 1/4 of the Slaughterhouse collective's own Joe Budden on it, and it just makes me wonder will this show destroy Budden 2.0 since his reemergence on the scene a couple years ago. Budden is the closest thing to "Hip-Hop" to ever grace this show, along with famed ghostwriter/ex-Tribe member/ex-Kanye affiliate Consequence (with past members being Lil Scrappy, and Jim Jones). So it's just a shame to see either of them waste their time with this trash, since the show seems to focus more on Budden's drug habits and Consequence's Muslim faith than any actual music.

What do y'all think?

17 January 2013

VIDEO: T.I. Trap Back Jumpin

T.I. dropped this video last month for his Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head album, in case you missed it peep it here. The BITM collective believe that this might be the one that puts him back atop the Hip-Hop summit where he belongs. This short film is a perfect example of a video that compliments not only the song, but the whole vibe of the album. Def feels like '03 in here.

13 January 2013

NEW MUSIC: Joey Bada$$ - Unorthodox

If you know anything about anything, then you know that a DJ Premier co-sign carries a lot of weight in the world of hip hop. Frankly, I may love an artist, but if Preemo comes out against that person, I may have to go back and take a second listen to make sure my ears weren’t busted the first time. Premier is one of the originators of the genre and comes highly regarded, supremely favored, and unusually trusted.

He co-signs Joey Bada$$.

If you’re new to BITM or just haven’t been paying any damn attention, then you wouldn’t know that we also co-signed on the young emcee from NYC mid last year. This cat is gifted with an old school flow and mindset that belies his young age. Hell, he can’t even legally drink yet and he can probably take your favorite new rapper to school! Don’t believe me? Peep the latest hotness, “Unorthodox,” by Joey Bada$$, produced by the great DJ Premier. The Niftian, out…

11 January 2013

A Look Back, A Look Forward

Well, once again Hip-Hop has made its way to the upper realm of the Forbes list and racked in around half a billion dollars (yup, billion with a “b”. and that’s only with the “top 20 earners.”). Not since 2008 has Hip-Hop had such a lucrative year, but of course most of this money comes from joint ventures and endorsements like: Beats, Ciroc, Brooklyn Nets, Duracell, HP,Trukfit, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, HTC, Conjure Cognac and Soul. Thanks to this cross branding/marketing it is almost impossible to go about your day without interacting with a product that isn’t in some way or another linked to Hip-Hop. And this is great, not only because it further validates Hip-Hop as a vital and essential part of pop/urban culture but also gives us leverage. Ad companies need to make sure they make commercials geared toward the Hip-Hop community. One of the biggest restaurants, (fast food isn’t really a “restaurant” but you know what I mean) McDonald’s has been doing this for years, from the actors’ dialogues to the way they dress the actors, it is all Hip-Hop influenced. Ford has been catering to the this demographic as well, even having Funkmaster Flex help with a more “street” design for the Fusion, Expedition and of course the Flex. And a Ford Fusion ad is currently airing using Tupac’s The Rose That Grew from Concrete poem.

And while we applaud these advances to further promote Hip-Hop, we all know that the foundation of Hip-Hop is the music. 2013 has seen a good gumbo of veteran emcees still delivering high quality music as well as rookies making their mark in the game. The artist formally known as Snoop Doggy Dogg dropped a Hip-Hop tape on 4/20 and is now trying to make his mark in the Reggae game. Big K.R.I.T. hit us with a few tapes, included his nearly classic 4eva N a Day. Of course since this is a stayfly article I have to acknowledge Nas’ Life is Good album which peaked at #1 on Billboard 200 (Nasty was even labeled the “finest emcee” by CNN). 9th Wonder seemed to work with everyone and was able to drop two collab albums with Murs and another with Buckshot. We’ve even seen Shady records make one of the most successful X-Factor type Hip-Hop groups in recent memory with Slaughterhouse. The year even ended with the much anticipated collabo ablum from Wu-Tang and D-Block and a very strong showing from T.I. with Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head.

Arguably the most successful debut album came from Kendrick Lamar with Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. K Dot started the year off signing with Dr.Dre in a joint venture with his Top Dawg Entertainment. From that point on his buzz grew in the mainstream light (he had already been getting underground recognition with Overly Dedicated and Section.80).  Since then he has been featured on tracks with Talib Kewli, Game, J Cole, Dido, A$AP Rocky, Pac Div, Big Sean, E-40, and of course his Black Hippy crew. I feel the most underrated and slept on debut album came from Rapsody (read her The Ideaof Beautiful review). These two emcees probably had the best debuts in the rap game. You can really tell when you listen to their bars that not only are they incredibly gifted writers but that they are both students of the culture. Another young cat I felt embodied the “student of Hip-Hop” aura is Mac Miller. His lyrical ability is def not as strong as the aforementioned emcees but you can tell this kid has been eating, breathing and living Hip-Hop most his life. From his “Beats, Rhymes & Life” tattoo, to naming Big L as his biggest influence, this kid has the foundation to make a big change in the rap game (even though you have to mush through a lot of lazy rap songs in his catalog, but the kid is only 20).

My hope is that Hip-Hop continues to take more steps forward in the New Year. We've had the Google “Hip-hop on Trial” debate which tackles the ongoing issue of Hip-Hop’s eternal struggle: the balance between the positive it can have, against the negative images it portrays in main stream media. While Hip-Hop is a “young man’s game”, we are at an interesting point in which we have an overabundance of new rappers coming out the woodwork and at the same time have the 30/40+ emcees still going strong. The mentoring process is evident with some artists (ie. Dre and Kendrick). Just like immigrants (who come the States) have to make an effort to make sure their culture/language isn't lost with the next generation, it too falls on the shoulders of the veteran emcees to make sure the new wave of artists know what came before them. I normally get on my old man “back in my day” rants whenever I talk about Hip-Hop, but this is not a blanket statement. I single out those whom I feel does nothing to help the culture and further perpetuate the stereotype of the “rapper”. Yes, most of these rappers happen to be young guns coming up with overnight success from their club singles, but I do not think all young artists are void of substance. And I hope 2013 provides more examples for me to choose. Our mark in society has been expanding exponentially, and Hip-Hop has already proven it is not a fad. Now it is time continue the legacy and make sure the baton gets passed correctly to those who deserve it. 

10 January 2013

VIDEO: ASAP Rocky - Fuckin’ Problems

Now all I really want to know is: why the hell couldn’t ASAP rhyme like this on Wildside off of T.I.’s album “Trouble Man?” Twon Johnson isn’t the biggest fan of ASAP, and sometimes I can understand why. Man, you need to be more consistent, homey. All in all, a good posse cut and a fresh video, in my opinion. The Niftian, out…

Oh, almost forgot: someone told me that 2 Chainz graduated from college with a 4.0 GPA. Falsehood...

09 January 2013

MIXTAPE REVIEW: Pro Era - Peep the aPROcalypse

How many Hip-hop fans want to go back to that 80’s and 90’s hip hop vibe? Well for listeners who don’t already know the messiah for that era has arrived. Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era crew consisting of Chuck Strangers, Cj Fly, Kirk Knight, A La Soul, Dessy Hinds, Dirty Sanchez, Deymond Lewis, Nyck Caution, Kwon, Rokamouth, and the late Capital STEEZ who recently died on December 24, 2012. The cause of death is not yet known to be, though there are rumors of suicide. I wish the whole Pro Era crew my condolences. As an avid listener and fan of Pro Era, I wish them my condolences.

The Pro Era crew make it known that they really appreciate the Golden Era of hip-hop. Like Nas said, “This for my trapped in the 90’s niggas,” Pro Era definitely makes music for niggas missing the 90’s. These kids are young but ALL of them can rhyme (of course some better than others) and have flow make no mistake about it. This retro hip-hop crew has attracted a lot of veterans in the game and they have worked with legends like MF Doom, 9th Wonder, J Dilla and more (which lets you know that they aren’t on ANY fuck shit).

Their most recent mixtape, “Peep the aPROcalypse” has 17 tracks of that New York vibe. The first track was produced by Statik Selektah. A small segment was sampled by Common’s “Resurrection ‘95” which blends in very nice to the track. The late Capital STEEZ comes in with a beautiful flow, “And I quote, We came like them niggas in boats, still think it’s a joke ya third eye vision is broke/ We lifted from smoke and floating/ that’s how I got my aurora open/ check the horoscopes though, you can say I’m horror scoping.” Lyrics like this are supplied throughout the whole camp. If it wasn’t for the TDE movement Pro Era would probably be my favorite team of 2012.

One of their other tracks comes from Dessy Hinds and Nyck Caution. This track is called “Vinyls,” which is a 5 minute cypher which is FIRE! The lines that killed it for me on this joint is Dessy Hinds part when he says, “That’s just another nigga sitting stoop up in the group only making music cause he want to hear it from the coupe/ Y’all niggas got smart off my verses and palindromes, the closest thing y’all caught in my lines was a sickly syndrome,” mind you that most if not ALL these kids are in high school. That cypher leads into another dope *no pun intended* track called “School High.” Joey, Dyemond Lewis, Kirk Knight, and Nyck Caution assemble to create a great concept of them being in high school while being high. The track is very mellow and is very soulful to place the listener in a laid back mood as if they were really high.

I could go on and on and on about the tracks on this mixtape but I’m not going to. This piece of work is a great breakthrough for Pro Era as a collective. The lyrics and flows provided on this do not disappoint and I highly encourage any lover of hip-hop to download it. These kids have an ear for the 90’s era and they definitely have great taste. However some may feel they do not have their own individual style as far as tracks and that may be true but why not appreciate the classics? I think this camp is solid and I really hope they have a long run. My prayers go to the friends and family of Pro Era member Capital STEEZ who died on Christmas Eve. The game definitely could have used more of what you had to offer to the hip-hop culture.

For more info, peep it here: Pro Era

04 January 2013

2012: The Best And The Worst

This was an an up and down year for hiphop in general. Although there was still plenty of music for me to choose from, before I get into the meat of the article, I want to start off by listing five albums of note that were in heavy rotation this year. They may not have necessarily had a place on my list of superlatives, but they still should not be missed by anyone who is a fan of Hip-Hop.

Big K.R.I.T. - 4Eva N A Day

 REKS - REBELutionary

Nas - Life Is Good

Joey Bada$$ - 1999

Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music

Ranking albums has become such a redundant and tedious task for bloggers worldwide. It is often met with an unnecessary amount of scrutiny from viewers who live and die by blog entries, and even from casual viewers just passing by. So we here at BITM thought we would add a twist to the 2012 wrap up formula that's far more simplified, and will give you an idea of what was actually worth your attention over the past year.

Best R&B Album: Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

Biggest Surprise: Big Boi - Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

Biggest Disappointment: Slaughterhouse - Welcome To Our House

Illest Collaboration (Album): Murs and Fashawn - This Generation

Illest Collaboration (Song): Joe Budden ft. Ab-Soul - Cut From A Different Cloth

Most Slept On Album: Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1

Best Mainstream Album: T.I. - Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head

Best Independent Album: Ab-Soul - Control System

Album Of The Year: Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City

VIDEO: Ms Proper, “Get It Started"

As any of you who have checked my Top Ten D.o.A. list knows that Ms. Proper, a homegrown emcee from North Carolina/Virginia, has rested there for quite some time. “Get It Started,” the leadoff single to her upcoming album Escaping Reality dropped last May and has been garnering increasing support among indie and mainstream acts alike.

As is usual in the indie world, the video was a while in the making (making these videos isn’t free, y’all!). Late last fall, Ms. Proper, fans, and various local acts such as Artik Freeze took over the Kingdom nightclub in Richmond, Va and filmed the amazing video, directed by Soul Live Media. Peep the visual banger after the jump. The Niftian, out…

Cop the song on iTunes here.