The past couple weeks I’ve written about big albums being leaked two weeks before they’re scheduled to drop. I think there’s only one solution to this problem since it doesn’t seem the record labels have any control over the pressing plant. Why? I don’t know. Is there a solution? Possibly. Go strictly digital for the first couple weeks for a new album and then drop an album in stores. How can you bootleg something if the actual album exists only on one computer? Have L.A. Reid MP3 the album to the bigshot at iTunes fifteen minutes before the album is scheduled to go live. That way if it gets bootlegged, you can only blame L.A. Reid, and you know he wouldn’t do anything to mess up sales at his own company. Or would he? Then everybody can order it online before bootlegging it to the world. I’m pretty sure they can encode the MP3’s to only play on the computer the song was purchased from, which means you might not even be able to send the album to your pen pal via AIM.
And to all the free(down)loaders out there, don’t get mad. The artists have to make some money off record sales or the labels are just going to keep signing human tax-write-offs. You know what the sound of a human tax-write-off rapping is? The sound of the label losing money. I’m beginning to wonder if the labels are putting out this crappy music as a way of getting back at everyone who’s been downloading since the Napster days. I’ll look into this more…
The most shocking news this week is Damon Wayans getting banned from The Laugh Factory for using the now-offensive n-word. What’s surprising about Blankman being banned is not the fact that this is the same comedy club that welcomed back Seinfeld’s racist friend a day after he had one of the worst meltdowns this side of Chernobyl, but the fact that Damon Wayans is even allowed to perform in comedy clubs, period. If people find Major Payne funny…I actually don’t even know what to say, I’m still shocked that people apparently find him funny.
You know how Saigon said he could revive his buzz with one song? Well, if Dave Chapelle wants to revive his show, all he needs is one skit the same way Nas needs one mic: Young Jeezy. It would take most people a minute to catch on that it was just a rip-off of the Lil’ Jon skit, but even after everyone figures it out, it’s not like they would care.
Good to see Lil’ Wayne helping Complex sell some more magazines. I guess in Wayne’s world he’s better than Jay-Z because, as he said, “I’m 24 years-old…I’m 13 years deep with five albums and 10 million records sold.” If selling records translated to talent, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice would have been the Picasso and Leonardo of hip-hop. Your age and album sales are impressive, but don’t you have your own fires to put out, Fireman? There’s never been any evidence presented that Gillie da Kid is full of shit on that whole ghostwriting thing, so if Gillie really did write for Wayne, does that really even put Wayne on the same ballot with Jay? Writing rhymes is definitely a factor in judging who’s a dope MC versus who’s a not-so-dope MC, so I honestly think it would be best if Wayne could clear that up before taking shots at anyone else.
As a Harlem poet with a porn-star mustache once said, “If you go platinum, it’s got nothing to do with luck/It just means that a million people are stupid as fuck.” Unfortunately that statement rings true for most of the albums selling today.
As long as we’re talking about artists taking shots at other artists, we might as well talk about Young Jeezy going at Nas on Monie Love’s radio show. The show got interesting when Monie Love agreed with Nas that hip-hop was dead and, predictably, Young Jeezy does not believe hip-hop is dead. If you had an album coming out that would be filed under hip-hop at the Best Buy, you wouldn’t want to believe or lead other people to believe that your genre of music is dead.
From listening to the argument, it’s obvious Jeezy doesn’t like people disagreeing with him and was feeling threatened that Monie Love was saying he wasn’t “doing hip-hop,” even though she never said anything of the sort.
Listening to Jeezy and Monie Love talk, it sounded like Jeezy wasn’t even trying to listen to Monie Love, because his responses didn’t really follow the natural flow of the conversation. It was almost like his emotions were frozen like a snowman. Monie Love went on to defend her position on hip-hop’s lack of vitality by saying, “If there was more than one area of hip-hop being given light, giving light and shining like the rest of it, then hip-hop would not be dead. Hip-hop is not just one concept. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Jeezy’s response: “But who said it was? You got Nas coming back saying hip-hop is dead. Who is he to say hip-hop is dead?” Jeezy later goes on to say, “You’re not going to tell me I ain’t doing hip-hop.” He drops another gem when he says, “You look at them first-week numbers and then we’ll talk.” Monie Love says, “That has nothing to do with that. That’s what’s killing it right there” and Jeezy responds by saying, “I’m not killing it” before asking if Nas busts his guns and if Nas has any homies in the Feds. One of the highlights of the interview is the girl in the background who keeps yelling out, “This is a healthy conversation!” Before walking out of the interview, Jeezy says Monie Love said she wasn’t respecting his craft, when what Monie actually said was, “You get your respect.” Before walking out of the interview, Jeezy asks Philly to holler at him. No word yet on whether or not Philly hollered back.
I didn’t think Jeezy, or anyone else, would really criticize Nas for his album title. If Nas really thought hip-hop was dead, would he still be rapping? I know for a fact that the USFL is dead, therefore I am not training for a try-out. With the success of iTunes, ringtones and all the indie labels out there, it’s obvious that hip-hop is far from dead. Disco is dead.
Nas’ album title was to get people talking, and that’s exactly what it did. While Jeezy may think he’s standing up for the South by trying to tell people it’s not dead, he’s only giving Nas free promotion. That’s what Nas wanted. Hip-Hop is Dead is a controversial title because Nas had to get the people talking about him, especially when he’s coming out after Jay-Z in an extremely busy 4th quarter.
Wayne also fell into that trap, as he said, “What the fuck do you mean? If anything, it’s reborn, so he’s probably having a problem with that.” I don’t understand what Wayne means when he says, “If anything, it’s reborn.” Where’s the birth certificate? If it was reborn, does that mean it died? If it died or was perceived to be dead, wouldn’t it just need to be revived, not reborn? If it was reborn, as Wayne would have me believe, does that mean that the spirit of hip-hop was transferred out of one body and into another, a la Freaky Friday? Maybe Wayne’s been getting some bad notes in whatever biology classes he’s in at whatever college he’s at.
And how about Nas’ line on the first track of Hip-Hop is Dead where he says, “If y’all reach Top 5, then I’m going to eat you alive/Each one of you guys that claim hip-hop is still alive/Like y’all ain’t in agreement with God’s son.” I guess that means Nas won’t be going at any pro-lifers anytime soon.
What media outlet will be the first to portray all this mumbo-jumbo like it’s an East Coast v. South war?
And as long as you can still find a copy of Industry Shakedown somewhere, hip-hop will never be dead.
I don’t really have too much to say on Hip-Hop is Dead as an album this week. I’d rather come correct on my thoughts instead of rushing it. But, what I can say is it’s sounding like a great album so far.
I would like to talk about Nas’ “Hip-Hop is Dead” video and song. Nas has always known how to put together a good video, from “One Mic” to “Hate Me Now” to “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” (actually, a lot of comparisons could probably be drawn between “Hip-Hop is Dead” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” with the exception of the Zack Morris cell phone being replaced by a Nas jump drive).
The video itself is great. It’s simple, tasteful and matches the content of the song, an almost unheard of concept in 2006. The video also made me like the song a lot more than I did when I first heard it. Nas also takes a stance on payola, as there is a wad of money next to the turntable and furthers his idea of hip-hop being outlawed as his CD’s are packaged and treated like illegal contraband. It’s nothing too complex, crazy or hard to understand, but what it really is is a breath of fresh air, despite Nas feeling like he “had to flip this track again.”
What’s really great about the song, at least to me, is how Nas can rap about hip-hop without rapping about rapping. He’s not talking about how much he loves being in the studio or how great he is at rocking a mic or how he’s more hip-hop than everyone else on the planet. Instead, Nas talks about the positives and negatives of the growth of hip-hop, the current state of hip-hop and how he loves hip-hop. That right there is enough for me to get past the fact that he’s recycling his own music.
On “Hip-Hop is Dead,” Nas also hits on the growth of hip-hop, which of course resulted in the commercialism of hip-hop. Nas seems angered by the fact that “it forgot where it started at,” but can he really be mad at hip-hop going from “Beat Street to Mickey D’s”? That’s growth right there. Although I don’t have a daughter, I think hip-hop can be compared to having a daughter. As a parent, you’d probably like your daughter to stay a little girl forever. But she’s not going to. She’s going to grow up and date guys she knows her parents probably won’t approve of. While she is dating guys named after American Gladiators, as a parent, you’re probably going to wish you could send her back to Beat Street. But would you really want to if you could go back in time like Denzel in Déjà Vu? No, probably not. But it’s okay to be mad. And honestly speaking, would you, 9th Wonder, DJ Premier, RZA, Snoop and Dr. Dre like to go back to 1994? Maybe for a second, but probably not forever.
At the end of the day, we can’t get mad at hip-hop’s growth. I would compare it to a student going to his/her first year of college. If you’ve never eaten in a school cafeteria, or buffet for that matter, your first trip to the school cafeteria can be really overwhelming. I mean, most schools even have an ice cream machine. Your first few times there, or, for some, your first semester there, you may gorge yourself every chance you get. After a few cases of diarrhea and your clothes eventually not fitting, you’ll learn to go easy on the pizza and cheesecake. But you have to get the shits before you figure that out. That’s where hip-hop is kind of at right now, I think. The times they are a’changing, as Budweiser and Monday Night Football both feel comfortable letting hip-hop artists into their world to pimp their product. The point I’m trying to make is there are more opportunities now than ever for rappers, and we, as fans, have to be somewhat patient with them as they test the new waters and compromise the quality of their music for dollars. Hopefully they get tired of the shits and don’t just assume that having constant diarrhea is normal and stock up on Pepto Bismol.
Speaking of Pepto Bismol, what rapper will be the first to remix their “Heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea” song? That song has “instant classic” written all over it.
We finally got a new track from Jaz-O, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Unfortunately I don’t think anyone is ever going to think of Jaz-O without thinking of Jay-Z, but pound for pound, Jaz-O is an incredible MC.
“While y’all rapping about being a player with a necklace/I’ll probably have your bitch making my breakfast (Pancakes!)” Grafh is finally off that MySpace boing-boing shit and spitting again. From his “Hip-Hop is Dead” freestyle to “Black Panther,” a song addressing the Sean Bell shooting, Grafh is making me a fan again.
In a very un-hip-hop move, Lil’ Scrappy pulled Young Buck off his Bank of America tribute song “Money In The Bank” because of DJ’s banning Young Buck for his altercation with an Atlanta DJ. First off, that’s not a good look to pull Buck off the song, especially if you’re rolling with G-Unit. And I understand that the Atlanta DJ’s want to show support for their fellow DJ, but no matter what happened, “banning” an artist is wack. Ban Buck because you don’t like his music, but as long as you’re a DJ, you have a responsibility to play what’s hot. Do I like every artist who gets a song posted on HipHopGame? Of course not, but if I started “banning” artists I didn’t like or who had offended somebody I knew, then the only tracks you’d hear would be MC 730 and MC Dee Jekyll.
I think it’s time to offer a little more advice to up-and-coming artists trying to be heard. I’ve already touched on this in the past, but apparently some didn’t listen. Here’s a line from a recent bio I got: “His flow, style and delivery are synonymous to
that of the legendary rap icon, 2Pac” Last time I checked, if something was synonymous with something else, that pretty much meant it was the same thing. That being said, if your style is “synonymous” with 2Pac, why would I bother to check you out? I could just pop in All Eyez On Me and it would be the same thing, right?
Maybe the knucklehead typing the bio mentioned above meant to say “reminiscent” instead of “synonymous.” That’s still not cool, but it’s definitely not as bad as reminiscent. Ask Angelous if it’s cool to be “reminiscent” of another rapper.
If your bio mentions anything about you being “synonymous” with another rapper or mentions that you’re a “mixture” of rappers like Jay-Z, Nas, 2Pac and Biggie, I suggest that you send that document to the recycle bin before anyone else sees that abomination. If you don’t have anything to write about in your bio, just put down your name, say something about your love for music (assuming it’s there…in today’s oversaturated climate, it’s probable that it’s not), where you’re from, your influences and projects you put out in the past. You can also include what pets you have, your favorite subject in school (recess, of course) and your favorite color. If there’s not much to write about, don’t write.
Apparently about five people were going psycho when they found out Bow Wow had allegedly talked about how Ciara tinkles a lot and Jermaine Dupri doesn’t know how to run a record label. It turned out to be a fake interview, but no one really cared. Here is Bow Wow’s statement on the matter: “When you gain success and are doing something positive, there's always someone out there that wants to see you fail. I wonder what they'll come up with next? My fans know that I would never say anything like what's in that interview.” My only question is what fans? I’m pretty sure thirteen year-old girls weren’t IM’ing each other talking about how wack Ciara is because she allegedly has a very active bladder. How many adolescent girls really care about A) Jermaine Dupri and B) Why he was allegedly let go from Virgin? Bow Wow, no one cared. Plus you lost whatever credibility you had with real hip-hop fans when you said, “Honestly, Will Smith wasn’t like a real rapper. He was more like a gimmick” (XXL, Issue 77). There’s no need to argue, kiddie rappers just don’t understand.
And Willenium is blasting out of the speakers as you read this (doesn’t matter what time you read it, the album stays on repeat).
MTV had a special where Suchin takes Ciara shopping for chocolate and I couldn’t help but wonder if every time the camera wasn’t showing Ciara if she was running to the ladies’ room.
I got asked last week about why I never write about Stimuli in the column. If you’ve been following HipHopGame for the past three years, you’ll know we always supported Stimuli, but the truth of the matter is, the reason I don’t talk about him right now is because there really isn’t much to say. No disrespect intended, but it would be an extreme waste of everyone’s time if I wrote about how Stimuli is dope and how much potential he has when he’s been almost absent from the music scene lately. I think I’ve heard three to four Stimuli songs in the past year (most have been posted), and there is no set date on when his album comes out. If I write about how dope he is and how his album can do this and do that and there’s no set date on when it will even come out, that would have done nothing. Do I like Stimuli’s music? Yes. Is there a lot I can say about him right now? No.
And that goes for a lot of rappers, not just Stimuli. The only reason I mentioned Stimuli was because that’s who I was asked about.
While we’re on the topic, it would be a good time to talk about a comment Saigon made in his HipHopGame interview where he said ’07 is basically put up or shut up time for a lot of rappers. A list of rappers who need to have something happen in ’07 at the risk of being relegated to mixtapes and street DVD’s only include, but are not limited to:
Saigon – Sai knows it’s time
Joe Budden – great rapper, bad situation, it’s been too long since his self-titled debut
Grafh – we’ve been hearing about Autografh for too long now
Maino – now’s as good a time as any to come out with the debut album, definitely doesn’t seem to be getting much label support
Gravy – need to hear Gravy on original beats
Crooked I – time for something more than mixtapes
Jae Millz – it’s been too long since that MTV battle with Ness, plus he’s been through two majors already
A-Team – been around for too long without an album, may or may not still be together
Domingo’s The Most Underrated album recently got bootlegged online. What sucks about this is that the album isn’t scheduled to drop until March. Plus the only way it really could have leaked was through some fake-ass member of the “hip-hop media.” Why, you may ask. The press copies were sent out last week. I got my copy last Monday. The album leaked around Wednesday on a message board. The reason I’m mad about this is because some idiot out there is giving all online writers a bad name, because even though it could have been one of those idiot magazine writers who leaked it, online writers are the ones who will be penalized in the future because the common perception of most publicists and labels is that magazine writers don’t know how to bootleg albums online and all online writers do is wait around until they get an advance copy, rip it into their computer and send it to everyone on their buddy list. I hope Domingo finds out who bootlegged the album.
And to the fuckboy who bootlegged the album, get a different hobby. Domingo’s album is on some real hip-hop ish, with songs featuring Big Daddy Kane, Joell Ortiz, Kool G. Rap and Ras Kass. On one hand everyone’s complaining about the lack of good music out there, but out of all those whiny keyboard pushers out there, how many are bootlegging the good shit before it comes out and ruining the album, intentionally or unintentionally? It’s always a popular thing to say how much you hate the music and how it’s not good, because going against the grain gets you more points for co-signing everything, but obviously not every writer really feels that way if they’re bootlegging the good music three months before it’s scheduled to drop.
Plus if you need to hook people up with bootleg albums on message boards in order to be friends with them, they’re not really your friends and you’re probably a loser.
And whoever decided to send out Domingo’s album three months before it dropped, that’s a bad, bad move.
Where did Shells go?
Props to Sean P and Duck Down Records for having a very innovative listening party for Sean P’s new album Jesus Price. The label has rented a 40-person party bus and they’re going to drive around New York City from 3-10pm. During those seven hours, the album will be played, Sean P will be available for interviews and, to quote the press release, “adult beverages will be provided.” However, in that press release is there no guarantee for the safety of whatever writers have seven hours to burn riding around on a bus drinking adult beverages and listening to Jesus Price on repeat.
I looked for it online, but I couldn’t find the link on YouTube where a writer is hanging out in the studio with Duck Down people and Sean P recognizes the writer as someone who probably wrote something bad about him somewhere. To prevent another negative review, Sean P takes the writer’s notebook and takes the page with the notes about himself from the writer, who helplessly tries to convince Sean P that he likes the new music. “I like it. I like it.” Nothing Dru Ha or No Ha or Buckshot says can convince me that that 40-person party bus can quickly turn into a 40-writer torture chamber the minute that bus leaves downtown Manhattan. The seats are probably going to flip over from the cushiony, comfortable ones to some 15th-century stone seats. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rock comes out of the back with a rack to stretch out any writer with negative thoughts about Jesus Price or any other Duck Down related matters. There will probably be a hatch on the bottom of the bus somewhere as well that Dru Ha can open with the pull of a string or the snap of a finger. The only trick is no one will know where that hatch is. I know a bad situation when I see one, and I definitely see this 40-person party bus turning into a scene for the new Saw IV.
Lindsay Lohan is apparently trying to clean up her act. Here’s a quote from the New York Post’s Page 6 about how she wants to tell everyone “how our society should be educated for the better of our country. Our people . . . because I have such an impact on our younger generations, as well as generations older than me. Which we all know and can obviously see.” It’s good to see she read and paid attention to our Saigon interview.
This is a healthy column!
I actually really have to go this time. I just got a call from the government confirming what I already knew: Poison Pen is Queen Pen’s illegitimate, long-lost son. A press conference is currently being scheduled.