if you are even mildly aware of pop music this year, you’re probably familiar with Jidenna’s hit song “Classic man”. Taking the formula of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” but making it engaging and not terrible, this joint was everywhere. Hell, I even remixed it for fun. But here’s something I bet you didn’t know (I sure as hell didn’t): Jidenna raps. He’s not the first r&b guy to surprise us with that skill set. Chris brown did it. Even your man young BIEBZ has been heard spitting #barz. Let’s be honest, anyone can rap. It’s not rocket science. But what sets apart the good from the bad is something totally different.
So, I happened upon this Jidenna song/video the other day and was honestly kinda surprised…he can rap. Like…seriously. He’s not bad at all. I’m curious what you guys think. I don’t love the production but it does have a mood to it and it allows Jidenna to go in more than I ever would have thought possible. Check it:
A common complaint a lot of you guys have when I post these “yay or nay?” rappers is “But he’s not really saying anything!”. It’s funny cause ,being a rapper and having a message or songs that were truly a concept, was once something a lot more people strived for. Any rapper worth his salt would have a song or two where they tried to take a deeper stance than just rapping about rap, bragging or talking about the dirt they do. That was a different time though. Things change. The value of rapping ,itself , has lessened. Some people still wanna hear #barz but mostly people are more into a song as a whole than a concept. The hook. The beat. Can they turn up to it. Basically, what I’m saying is, ain’t nobody got time for that thoughtful shit. At least that’s how it would seem.
I realize this mindset doesn’t represent everyone though. There are still people out there who seek substance in rap music. I honestly can’t even tell where I stand on that anymore cause part of me requires a little substance but the other can step back and take a song at face value, judging it from there. I feel like both sids of this coin are necessary. We need high and low brow. We need a song where someone digs deep into an idea as much as we need a song where some drunk guy just says whatever the fuck he wants but it sounds good. They both serve a purpose and have value.
I say all that to introduce Joyner Lucas, from Worchester, Mass. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a rapper this focused on concepts. Every song is a different topic. Some told from his perspective, some from someone else’s entirely. I gotta say, if nothing else, his dedication to working on ideas is impressive. And, luckily, he’s clearly intelligent enough to put these concepts off. I think , in the past, an issue I’ve had with conceptual rap song is that the artist isn’t quite smart enough to tackle the idea with the depth it deserves. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Joyner.
Check it out…
This dude Anderson Paak has had quite a couple of years. He’s all over the place. From working with underground dudes like Jon Wayne to pretty much stealing the spotlight on Dr Dre’s “Compton” album. It’s pretty cool to see someone able to play both those roles with success. He’s a singer who kinda raps but more so just sings in a rappish manner. It’s hard to put my finger on but it’s pretty addictive once you catch the mood.
He recently dropped an EP with producer Knxwledge on stones throw under the group name NxWorries. I’m fucking with it. Curious what you guys think…
This first video is just so damn likable, I can’t see this one getting bad feedback but you soulless bastards have surprised me in the past.
Sometimes a good video can really give you a different perspective on music. There have been countless times I’ve seen a video for a song I probably normally would gloss over and then ended up loving it cause, subconsciously , I connect the music to the visuals. This isn’t always a mirage though. Sometimes, it’s actually a deeper look into the aesthetics of a group. A good video will sometimes help you “get” a groups mission statement.
So, here we have a video by the group SWAG TOOF. It’s just so fucking weird and awesome. Add in the beat is dope and the raps are kinda crazy in a ridiculous way and , well, here we are.
Thing is, I looked through a few of their other videos and , while I see why people fuck with these dudes, it was a case of “eh, this isn’t for my old ass”. As much as i don’t wanna admit it, I still hold on to some old school rap biases. It’s hard for me to look at the members of this group (a white dude with dreads down to his ass and a guy who looks like Stitches but soft) and be okay with that. I realize this is short sighted and unfair. More than anything, it’s just me dating myself. The old rules of authenticity no longer apply to rap music. Funny thing is, you’re reading this and probably on either side of this argument. You agree and are stuck in a similar mindset or you’re young and shaking your head at the old man. But, what can I say? A man can only try so hard to keep his tastes relevant.
That said, this particular video and song? I think it’s awesome. I can’t say if it’s cause it doesn’t show the members of if the song just works but I’m not going to question that.
So, join me in dropping all preconceived notions for just a moment and tell me what you think of this particular song.
Chicago continues to be a hot bed for good rap. Rap of all varieties. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I’m a big fan of Tree. He raps and makes beats, coined the phrase “soul trap” and has been consistently making good music for years now. Well, he’s got friends. Todays example is Giftz.
A little rougher than Tree. A little wilder. Where Tree seems like the wise older dude from block, Giftz is a younger dude he chills with who might duff you out if needed. Still, musically, the “soul trap” sound is there and I really think that’s a winning combination.
Check him out:
Here’s some older stuff. One with Tree and the other with Freddie Gibbs.
Supergroups come in all shapes and sizes. Often the sum of their parts is greater than the whole, though. Expectations can hurt cause people see a line up of familiar names and get excited. Recently, Flying Lotus, Shabazz Palaces an Thundercat have joined forces for a project called “WOKE”. Now, on paper, this is a very sexy looking trio. A great producer, a great rapper and a great bassist/singer. On top of that, there’s the weirdo factor. All three of these guys are outside the box and the thought of them joining forces really is wide open. They could do so much. It’s almost hard to even guess where a project like this could go.
So, the first song leaks and it features George Clinton. That’s pretty big. The question is, can all these forces combine and create something great? Can they live up to the impossibly high standards a project like this sets by even existing? You tell me.
You know, I’ll admit it. i don’t love a ton of Female rappers. This isn’t to say there haven’t been a bunch of very good ones, I just have rarely been drawn to them beyond a song or two. I feel as though this is fairly common amongst many male rap fans. Not sure why it is. Cause, undoubtedly, there are and have been some really talented female mc’s. I clearly remember the first time I heard MC Lyte’s “Eye on this” album and loving it. Or Fugees Era Lauryn Hill. What about Trina? Her content may not be up your alley but she made some dope shit. More recently (meaning the last 15 years) Jean Grae has done a lot of good work. Hell, I may not love her music much but Nicki Minaj can undeniably rap her ass off. I’m listing all these ladies not in a “See! I like girl rappers!” kinda way but more to show the variety that can be found within the genre (is it even a genre?). As much as she was a blueprint for many female rappers, not all of them are Lil’ Kim knock offs. And even some of those knock offs were not bad. But all that said, this is the first female “Yay or Nay” ever so it must be something.
So, I’m probably late to the game but today I discovered JunglePussy. She’s been around for years and the name is definitely familiar. I probably never checked her cause I assumed it was some kinda club/dance/hipster rap that i assumed I wouldn’t care about. Well, turns out I was mistaken. JunglePussy is interesting. She’s funny. She’s contradictory in a great way. She’s also pretty hot but that’s neither hear nor there. She seems to have found a happy medium between the current type of “hot shit”, someone who spits #barz and having a very specific voice of her own. She’s kinda dirty. Topically, i feel as though she might lose some of you more picky, uptight types. But, I’m a believer in “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”, when it comes to rap. And I like how she says things.
Now, I won’t lie, I don’t love some of her production but I’m also a dinosaur so it’s not really made for me. I’m curious what you guys think.
If you’re feeling her, i think you should check her new album on Vice Records