28 May 2015

VIDEO: Rapsody - Hard To Chose

BITM has been championing Rapsody since day one. She has truly been a hidden gem. And with a solid catalog of mixtapes, EPs, and an LP, Rap fans have found an emcee that breaks the current status quo of new rappers (especially female rappers). But now comes her biggest test, "mainstream" success. Kendrick Lamar dropped another classic LP (peep our TPaB review here) and featured the NC native on the track Complexion. Since then Rapsody re-released her classic Beauty and the Beast EP (with a few new tracks) to capitalize on the momentum. 

In addition to the re-release, Rap also dropped some visuals for the track Hard to Chose. This is a quintessential Rapsody single. With sharp lyrics, strong subject matter and a versatile flow, Rap compliments the 9th Wonder beat her poignant bars. The track is able to juxtapose braggadocio lyrics with conscience themes and slick metaphors. The fact that she has been under 9th Wonder's tutelage and just the way she carries herself in general, makes me feel that she will be able to balance the "stay true to her day one fans" vs "cater to the new listeners" battle. But only time will tell. Until then we can only hope that Rapsody will stay true to her Culture Over Everything mantra and keep dropping hip hop bangers.

Peep video below.

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27 May 2015

REVIEW: Snoop Dogg - BUSH

People struggle to comfortably give Snoop's albums their proper respect, but you would be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn't able to acknowledge his position as a multi-faceted cultural icon. Many say Snoop's greatest works were in the 90s, but even though Doggystyle is cemented in history, I would argue that he truly began to discover his lane in the mid-2000s with R&G: The Masterpiece. It was from this point on that you were able to witness Snoop morph into somewhat of a second coming of his all-time funk heroes with every subsequent album...all while maintaining his own identity as Snoop Dogg.

He has undoubtedly reached a point in his career where nothing is off-limits, but therein lies the major issue in the eyes of fans who continue to want him to remain in that Doggystyle pocket. The problem with that mentality is the fact that Doggystyle dropped over 20 years ago. It's almost a damned if you do damned if you don't type of situation that fans refuse to acknowledge. Just imagine if Snoop in his mid-40s was still trying to rap about shit he was doing in his late teens / early 20s? Jay-Z said it best in an interview a couple of years ago; you simply cannot re-create those times. So, in true grown man fashion, how is it a crime for Snoop Dogg to create grown music? In my personal opinion, it's the only logical choice for an artist of his tenure. You can't stifle creativety. Let's also not act like this is Snoop's first time stepping outside the box. He has been playing around with different styles for at least the past decade, but the one constant that always remains is the fact that his music always comes back to the funk.

"Oh Snoop's back to singing again? Pass."

Statements like these are upsetting because at the end of the day, why does a person listen to music? The answer, in most cases, is because you enjoy the way it sounds. Real music heads can go deeper and talk about inspiration, but at the very core, the average person listens to music because it is sonically appealing. Pharrell's top notch production and overall vision for this album are pure magic, and help bring it to life behind Snoop's smooth vocals. Bush simply sounds amazing for the most part, and there's not one single person you can credit for this. Snoop Dogg is really not the star here, and honestly neither is Pharrell's production. Usually one aspect outshines the other, but it's the medley of elements bonding together that make at least half of this album worth listening to. It's Stevie Wonder's harmonica and brief background vocals spread across the intro track "California Roll," that make Bush special. It's Snoop's clever wordplay with the common acronym D.T.F. on "R U A Freak" and Charlie Wilson's timeless golden pipes on "Peaches N Cream" which make you wanna jam like you're listening to some classic Kool & The Gang.

This is an anywhere, anytime kind of album that you can play on the way to work, at a cookout, or while you're cleaning the crib on a Saturday morning. It isn't anything groundbreaking, and damn sure won't go down as a classic, but this is one of very few bright spots in Snoop's somewhat extensive catalog at this point. If you enjoyed any of Snoop's prior 70s-inspired efforts from R&G: The Masterpiece, to 7 Days of Funk and a portion of Ego Trippin, you will be able to enjoy a lot of Bush. But if you are of the mentality that a former (cringe) "Gangsta Rapper" (it irks me to even type that shit) should never sing again and get back to what made him famous 20+ years in the past, then Bush is not for you at all. Snoop is the SHAQ of the music game, he can do whatever the fuck he wants and it will still probably be dope.

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26 May 2015

THE TAPE DECK: Memorial Day Edition

Like most people this morning, waking up was extra tough. But three day weekends do that. And when you spend at least one whole day at a cookout, the itis will linger on. These are the few times a year when I can listen to the radio for long periods of time and not want to remove my eardrum. Memorial Day weekend is one of those times. DJs take this time to craft hour long sessions for all taste: Go Go, Reggae and of course Hip Hop. Thankfully most stations let golden era mixes be the top spins of the day. So whether you were nodding to a boombox in a backyard or bumping some old school in the whip, this was a good weekend for Hip Hop purists nationwide. I tried to remember the few tracks that played this weekend that added the to "first day of summer" vibe.

So peep the most random impromptu list below. Even though there are 10 tracks, it isn't a "Top Ten" list. Just what I could recall hearing. And of course that had a video. Or The Lox Recognize would have DEF been on here. Keep the weekend going.

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