Do the Math......ONE Reason I Love #HipHop @freshdotdaily

I was cruising around Facebook and saw Fresh Daily post this.  I'm not big into re-posting ish, but this dope video breaks down lyrical styles in a way that I understand on a fundamental level, but I've never visualized before.  This is the type of lyrical skill that I'm drawn to.  Check through the blog and see for yourself.

Run The Jewels 3 @therealelp @killermike #hiphop #xmas #2016


Yes.  2016 sucked donkey scrotum on just about all ends, but music was not one of them.  There were a lot of dope projects that came out this year and Run The Jewels decided to quietly drop their new project, Run The Jewels 3 on Christmas proper.  I sat down at midnight to cruise around online and I saw that Run The Jewels dropped their project, and I accidentally came across it within 15 minutes of it dropping.  A Christmas Fucking Miracle......yes.  I said it.

Stay Gold is a dope banger that your grandma on percocet has come to love from Run The Jewels.  Bass heavy, dark, dope lyrics and flows is all you need to know.  Leading up to the release of the third project from this ground breaking vet duo, they collaborated on a track with DJ Shadow and posted a few loosies here and there, but here you go.  With features from Danny Brown, Trina, Boots and a few artists I have to do some more research on, the chemistry doesn't change drastically, but the music is so dope that it doesn't matter.  No videos to post yet, but here's the link to download it.


The Fire Next Time

Some time around this past Thanksgiving, I had the idea to do a compilation album/project.  Police Brutality is an issue that hits close to home for me because my cousin, Tycel Nelson was killed by a police officer when I was young and there have been so many cases in the past 2 years, that it seemed like a relevant and important thing to do.  Through personal experience, learning about similar injustice and murder with impunity is enraging and historically documented throughout the history of the United States.  For this project, I approached a list of artists to see if they would be interested in providing a track for this compilation project.  I've worked with some artists from The Fire Next Time to some extent on various projects and others, this was the first chance to work together.

I revived my studies of James Baldwin while this project was developing.  In college, I studied his poetry, but didn't focus on his involvement in the civil rights movement or public speaking.  James Baldwin falls into a category of black activists that needs to be explored more by our country and especially for African Americans.  Baldwin was staunchly opinionated, articulate and explicit but delivered his messages in an academic, well packaged manner.  Leaders like Baldwin are often overlooked, however they should be upheld as equally important as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., who are often put at opposite ends of a spectrum of African American leaders.  Martin Luther King Jr. was successful in getting the Civil Rights Movement legitimacy in the eyes of the mainstream media, however the political message civil disobedience sends doesn't reflect the anger, pain, injustice, corruption and frustration African Americans felt in light of segregation, Jim Crow, unequal opportunity, discrimination and history of slavery.  There are many other factors that add to the frustration, however the political message delivered by MLK is often put in contrast to Malcolm X's, "by any means necessary" mantra for editorial purposes.  Outright defiance, organized militant discipline backed with historic insight and religious support posed visual and public confrontation to the American political system that wanted to maintain control/power and sweep these problems under the rug.  The Black Panther Party also was put on the opposite end of this spectrum because they rallied behind the current Republican party's platform that the 2nd Amendment.   They believe(d) African Americans had the right to protect themselves from a corrupt political system and an equally corrupt, aggressive and deadly police force that consistently intimidated and harassed African American neighborhoods.

In watching and listening to James Baldwin, it became apparent that he wasn't easily defined by either polarized end of the movement.  He fell somewhere in between the extremes and his opinions were a fluid orchestration of anger, frustration, optimism, hopeful, inspiration and well articulated political positions on current and historic problems in America.  For all of these reasons, James Baldwin reflects a more "real" reflection of our current reality because his intricate positioning represents diversity within African Americans.  Too often African Americans are limited to a singular entity when the truth is that there is difference in opinion, approach and strategy on every topic.

The Fire Next Time aims to highlight and celebrate diversity through creative reactions to a common problem for African Americans, police brutality.  On the 25th anniversary of the Rodney King beating in LA (3/3/91), The Fire Next Time was released as an original hop hop compilation project with more videos and works of art to follow. 

The project features Qman1, Davon King, Rugz D Bewler, Jay Eightynine, MosEl, J. Manifesto feat. Jahmel Reynolds, Justo feat. King David, Art, Awon & Phoniks and Lafayette Stokely.

Check out The Fire Next Time on SoundCloud or Bandcamp.



Respect Due @methodman #salute

When you talk to most people that listened to hip hop in the 90's, they typically say that Notorious B.I.G. or 2Pac were the greatest of all time.  Now I'm not trying to troll for that debate here, but it seems worthwhile to mention that the only reason I learned about Biggie was because I saw Method Man was featured on a track.  In 93, Method Man was the grittiest artist alive and he was the type of artist that was featured on so many tracks, he would instantly validate it.  You could hear the saliva when he breathed.  Even within the Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man stood out because his personality and style couldn't be overlooked.  I repeat, he was the reason I discovered Ready To Die.  If he were to come up in 2016 with all of the media available for hip hop artists, I have no doubt in my mind that people wouldn't overlook his importance within the history of hip hop.  For everyone that knows Method Man, but doesn't put him up there as one of the best MC's of all time, here is some food for thought to give Method Man his respect due.

The Wu-Tang Clan was dope because it was a collection of 10 mc's that all had unique styles.  It makes it more evident that Method Man was unique because the standout singles on Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) were Method Man and Cream largely because of Method Man's impact on those tracks.  The album was revolutionizing from top to bottom, but when it was Method's turn, his humor, wit and graphic descriptions would make you sway to his rhythm.  His style commands tracks because of his wordplay and delivery.  It was undeniable then and it's obvious retrospectively.

After Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) came out, it was surprising to see the clan drop solo projects, but it wasn't surprising that Method Man was the first up to bat.  Tical is another classic project, so go to the ITunes store immediately if you don't have it and/or have never heard of it.  The project was as dark, gloomy and eerie as Method Man's lyrical style but it built on the momentum of the ground breaking first project.  It was parka music.  Method Man continued develop his skills while still doing features on a slew of projects while dropping his breakout solo project, Tical.

I don't know if it was record label issues or if it was a conscious decision to let individual members have their chance to shine, but with each project, Method Man made an appearance and put his mark on the project.  Ice Cream (Raekwon), Raw Hide (ODB), Shadowboxin/4th Chamber (GZA), Box In Hand (Ghostface), The What (Notorious B.I.G.) 4-3-2-1 (DMX, Redman, LL Cool J, Canibus), Got My Mind Made Up (2Pac), Do What You Feel (Redman),  Whatcha Gonna Do (Jayo Felony), Gunz 'N Onez (Heltah Skeltah), Left & Right (D'Angelo) and the list goes on........ 

By the time Tical 2000: Judgement Day came around, the Scarface caricature had become so popular and pervasive that the industry went away from the gritty stories, cunning lyrics for the drug dealer, money stacking mobster rapper that validated their talent by rapping about money.  In response, the hip hop heads that loved the gritty lyricism reacted by steering more toward soul infused beats during the age of Dilla.  Method Man's creativity could mesh with so many styles that his productivity remained high, but the industry departed from the original dark production sound filled with record pops and basement musk.  As you can hear in the video above, the snap and crackle of vinyl faded away and a crisp, bass-heavy electronic sound became his musical direction.  This laser sharp sound became more futuristic and dystopian which worked with his style.

As he continued to show his skills, Method Man has always been a top tier mc and it's undebatable.  His career has spanned decades and there is a reason that so many artists want(ed) to work with him over the years.  He released ground breaking music and commanded center stage the whole time while his lyrics never relented.  He always creates new takes on the world and he always did things his own way.  He never went with the trends to stay valid because that's not what real artists do.  For all of these reasons, I feel the world needs to give Method Man his respect due.  It's a perfect opportunity to dig into his discography and re-listen to all of the work that Meth has put out there.