I’ve said it before and I can say it again, but it’s not like you’re going to believe me, so I just won’t say it. I’m back! Every now and again I get hit with a question about why I stopped writing the column. Well, there’s really no good answer for that. Looking back on older columns, the best ones wrote themselves and I guess if you don’t write, the columns won’t really come.
Anyway, I know I’ve been missing a lot of stuff recently and I have a lot of catching up to do, but I’m going to get back up to speed even if it makes my ears bleed. And trust me, anyone who says Kanye is good for the music must not be hearing this crop of new artists swagging to the top with their Kids R Us outfits and henna tattoos. What we’re hearing now is a direct consequence of younger kids coming up on albums like The College Dropout.
When did it become cool to emote wack emotions over sonic backdrops too crowded with synths and weak drums while dressing like that kid that everyone always picked on? And how is it that almost every rapper coming up wants to be both the coolest person in the room and the kid that was always picked on at the same time? To me, it always seemed like the two were mutually exclusive in the sense that you couldn’t want to be both. If you were always getting picked on, chances are you wouldn’t be the coolest person in the room, and you probably didn’t grow up wanting to hang with the same “cool” people that were giving you grief like Charlie Brown.
But don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot of new artists coming out that I’m excited about. I think Vado is going to drop some monsters. Anyone who rolls with Cam will automatically catch my ear, but after listening to Vado through on all the Boss of All Bosses, not only can he hold his own, he is already better than everyone in Dipset.
I’m also a huge fan of Nickelus F, even if he’s not as grimy as he used to be. He’s always been able to switch it up and toe the dangerous line of being commercially appealing while still sounding good, but the fact that he’s still killing it is a testament to his hard work and can only help disassociate itself from the DMV.
Forgive my tangent, but there is no way you should be able to group D.C., Maryland and Virginia into one lump sum and say that everyone in that whole mid-Atlantic region is repping for the same cause. Why not throw West Virginia in too and we could have the WDMV? Maybe Delaware wants to get down too since no one ever really cares about them (sorry, Fred Knuxx, you’re still dope though!) so we could have the WDDMV. After living in Virginia for the past eight years, it’s pretty easy to see how vastly different each part of Virginia is. You can go places in southwestern Virginia where it’s still legal to impregnate cows and then go a few hours north to the academical center of the universe. And nothing against D.C. and Maryland, but give Virginia some space. Despite everyone from VA saying publically they don’t mind being in with that group, I’m guessing behind closed doors the dope artists on the rise from the Commonwealth like Trew are worrying that some doofus from Maryland is going to tarnish the DMV’s image irreparably with some misguided go-go infused interpolation. For the record, Wale should be the only one allowed to fuse the two genres together. And why won’t everyone stop hating on Wale? Before he was signed and before he had an album out, dude couldn’t do anything wrong!
Anyway, Nickelus F is dope and I’m looking forward to hearing his new project Season Premiere.
L.I.’s another one who’s been killing it. Keep it up. And I have no idea what Lord Nez is dropping or what his plans are, but he’s also been murking tracks like Omar on the first.
And I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but Rah Digga dropped an album.
Is it just me or is Yelawolf the answer to Skater Demo + Lil’ Weezy + Cee-lo Green = ? And mark my words, he’ll probably be one of XXL’s “Freshman.” I do love the way they pick though. Apparently it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve repeated the ninth grade, you’re still eligible! I think your eligibility should be lost after your fifth freshman cycle because let’s face it, if you’ve been grinding hard for five years and you’re still “up-and-coming,” chances are you’re down and not coming as a result of being down. This would be a good time to do what all rappers have done at least once in their lyrics and say “get it? I said…” and then repeat the line. Yeah, your line was just that dope that it totally went over my head and was impossible to decipher, but you repeating the line verbatim just made it comprehensible. It’s like when Einstein was presenting the Theory of Relativity, he said “E = MC2” and when he got a lot of puzzled faces, he simply repeated the line to a chorus of head nods and a standing ovation. Rappers, no matter how much you love a punchline, say it once and only once. We’ll let you know if we think it’s dope.
A prediction of some of XXL’s next freshman include:
Yelawolf (see above)
Vado (see above)
STS (despite the name, he’ll probably get love for his Roots collabs and flooding of songs)
Ruste Juxx (despite the fact that he’s a vet and an incredible MC, who else can the mag feature from an indie label that still has budgets?)
More to come on this as labels announce which artists they’re signing and “suggesting” be featured as the next breed.
I’m still a little surprised at the lack of reaction Maino’s received for slapping that goofy MTV lacky for calling him out on his lack of substance. Maino is someone who takes his music very, very seriously and he doesn’t like to hear criticism on his music, even if it’s hella constructive. MTV must be pretty desperate for ratings to send a skinny white kid to Maino’s crib to call him out. And props to Maino for taking the bait and doing exactly what all the devils in suits wanted him to do – snap on the kid, smack him and throw him on the couch. No matter what the kid says, Maino not only doesn’t gain any points for reacting physically to a kid on his home turf with his boys around, but I think he loses points for not being able to intelligently answer the kid’s question. It really wasn’t that hard of a question and all Maino had to say was “I came up poor, spent time in jail, got major radio play for a song where I politely greeted haters and I’m not gonna go all ‘Saigon Pain in my Life’ right about now even though that’s what the kids need to hear.” Problem solved. But by throwing the kid on the couch, Maino added another uncredible person to his list of who he’s “disciplined.” And trust me, in no way am I ever going to doubt that Maino’s taken it to some people who he probably had no business taking it to. Seriously. No doubts over here.
Mike Posner, is this too abrasive for you?
With that, here’s a clip to help you remember that it could always be worse. Anytime you have to introduce yourself, you really have nowhere to go but down.