Like Shyne and Gucci Mane before her, Lauryn Hill has now recorded some bangers from prison. With her release (after a three-month stint stemming from tax-evasion charges) imminent, Hill gives us some new music, and a statement: "'Consumerism' is part of some material I was trying to finish before I had to come in. We did our best to eek [sic] out a mix via verbal and emailed direction, thanks to the crew of surrogate ears on the other side. Letters From Exile is material written from a certain space, in a certain place. I felt the need to discuss the underlying socio-political, cultural paradigm as I saw it. I haven't been able to watch the news too much recently, so I'm not hip on everything going on. But inspiration of this sort is a kind of news in and of itself, and often times contains an urgency that precedes what happens. I couldn't imagine it not being relevant. Messages like these I imagine find their audience, or their audience finds them, like water seeking it's [sic] level."
I couldn't stop patting my weave. And that's when it all made sense.
Driving through Tennessee, finishing my fourth listen of Yeezus the afternoon it leaked, I realized I needed a break. I was floored by the magic Kanye was delivering, but with the exception of the final track, "Bound 2," it was putting me in a bad mood. With two hours remaining in my drive, as I wove through side streets, I threw on some Beyoncé.
The first song: the extended mix of "Get Me Bodied." This is a phenomenal song, one that somehave argued is her sixth-best track. Halfway through, Beyoncé begins instructing the listener to dance and behave in certain ways, and you, the listener, would be rude not to comply. No stranger to these moves, and taking the liberty to treat "ladies on the floor" as universally as "all men are created equal," I obliged.
When you're driving, it's really hard to drop down low and sweep the floor with it. The shoulder-heavy "Uh-oh," however, is highly conducive to small-town driving. In the middle of this sequence, with the windows down, I approached a red light, positioning myself next to a full car of people.
Yes, the day after the new Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories, is streaming in full on iTunes, I am writing about Cam'ron.
AND I COULDN'T BE MORE THRILLED.
Why? Because, for his latest single, Cam dipped back into his most hilarious, oddly-genius, career-spanning schtick: rapping over beautifully cheesy TV theme songs.
There's something about the words coming out of his mouth, sometimes nonsensical, other times in the 99th percentile of vulgarity, always entertaining and full of confidence, that works perfectly with a wholesome '80s sitcom theme.
Bowie's new video depicts, among other things, priests partying and a touch of stigmata; as you might have expected, the Catholic League was not amused. Writes the League's prez Bill Donohue, "The switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London has resurfaced, this time playing a Jesus-like character who hangs out in a nightclub dump frequented by priests, cardinals and half-naked women ... in short, the video reflects the artist — it is a mess." I might be reading this wrong, but is it at all possible — considering the strangely jovial and florid word choices above — that Bill Donohue is all aggy right now because his MP3 blog never took off?
After oodles of anticipatory action, the full Daft Punk x Pharrell single is finally here, and so now the Internet can start arguing about it (vis-à-vis the correctness of the hype cycle, over/underratedness, classic dance music vs. neo-EDM, etc. etc.). Don't fall into the trap! Just put this on blast, on repeat, find a friend, and do something along the lines of this here for a while:
Harmony Korine's Letterman legacy gave us the inspiration for this week's HOF: a look back on all the times the predictable rhythm of a talk show has been shaken up by its guests and taken to another level, for better or, oftentimes, for worse.
It was May 2004. My closest childhood friend was graduating from high school in Montclair, New Jersey, and my mother and I made the trip up from Atlanta to watch him walk across the stage. It was my first trip up north, and I was excited but nervous. After the ceremony, picture-taking, and some family time, it became clear I was tagging along with Dean, the graduate, for the requisite postgraduation party.
While no stranger to a high school Bacardi Limón grinding session, the scene at this Jersey rager was markedly different from the ones I'd grown accustomed to back home. It was spring 2004 after all, and in Atlanta that meant one thing: the all-out radio assault of singles from the legendary The King of Crunk & BME Recordings Present: Trillville & Lil Scrappy. Between the Trillville side ("Neva Eva," "Get Some Crunk in Yo System," "Some Cut") and the Lil Scrappy side ("Head Bussa," "No Problem," "F.I.L.A. (Forever I Love Atlanta)"), one album managed to supply the entire soundtrack for the first quarter of the year.
These were not the songs played in Montclair that night.
"I used to be a way better writer and a rapper when I used to want a black Carmengia.
Now a n---- speedin' in a Porsche, feeling like I'm going off of course."
— André 3000
Three notes here:
The one obvious criticism: I really don't like how André 3000 is TOTES ripping off Kendrick Lamar's style here.
Chill, bro. That's a joke. Stay out of my inbox about it.
By the time you get to the end of this song, chances are you'll forget that T.I. is even alive because André 3000 is GODDAMN TOUGH here, son. If you're a rapper and you're on a song with him and he starts doing that hyper-nasally sing-song thing that only he and God can do, then just fuck your life. You're taking that L, that's all there is to it.
A website exists on the Internet called Rap Genius, and its primary function is to explain the lyrics to hip-hop songs. While the scope of the site has grown in recent months, from blogging, to giving artists verified accounts, to irresponsibly corrupting potentially illiterate, troubled 16-year-old rappers and then laughing about it and putting it on the Internet for all to see, its greatest gift to society is simply being a place that has all the lyrics, organized in a sophisticated manner.
In extremely related news, the 2012 Olympics are taking place.
When Aubrey Drake Graham took the microphone to address the crowd after beginning his two-plus hour, 30-plus song set with the choir-backed "Lord Knows" and Southern-fried "Underground Kingz," he set the tone for the evening and hinted at what I was getting myself into.
Drake, age 25:"New York City, I don't know if you plan on going anywhere else after here, but it doesn't really matter, because I brought every single n---- that you want to hear. LET'S GO."
Crowd, estimated average age 17: "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"
Car culture is big in the South, particularly with regard to hip-hop; has been for some time. At this point, they're basically inseparable. Examples: Here's a song by Too Short called "Fuck My Car" that came out in 1996. And here's a song by UGK also called "Fuck My Car" that also came out in 1996. And here's a song by Slim Thug called "My Car" that came out 15 years after 1996. There are, like, 400 or so more between the three.
Madonna featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, “Give Me All Your Luvin’”
This song sounds like Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” which on its own isn’t the worst thing ever, but it pointedly contains the lyrics, “Every record sounds the same / You’ve got to step into my world.” Also: Madonna made M.I.A. and Nicki awkwardly shake pom poms around just in case anyone forgot for a second that she was playing the Super Bowl halftime show this Sunday, and then only gave them four worthless, tacked-on bars each? On the plus side: Doesn’t she look amazing, folks?!
Pusha T feat. Tyler the Creator, Hodgy Beats, and Liva Don, “Ooh”
This song is a billion times better than “Trouble On My Mind,” the last track on which Tyler and Pusha got together, and that is due in large part to Odd Future afterthought Hodgy Beats, whose dope opening verse shouts out both The Most Dangerous Game and Watchmen." Meanwhile, Push turns in his second-greatest reference to opera. (The first is from here, obviously: “Riding Chevys give us room to reload choppers / Gourmet beef, servin’ niggas filet Oscar / so many bitches screamin’, we should promote operas.”) That dude is great at rapping.