Kendrick's "Control" verse unleashed a tidal wave of responses, but it was an inversely proportional kind of thing: Unlike the original shit-stirrin' bars, most MCs' retorts were bland and predictable and easily brushed off. You were either:
A dude desperately trying to throw yourself into the conversation (Oh, uh, hey, Cassidy. No, no, no — come in, come in. We just, ah, we just weren't expecting you, is all.)
Happy your name got dropped at all (and somewhere, a gleeful Mac Miller is still doing snow angels).
Not quite built for this battle-rap shit (quoth Sean: "Tyler, The Creator is almost certainly making fun of Kendrick's haircut while sitting in an empty swimming pool.")
The one big, glaring exception in Kendrick's roll call of death? Drizzy Drake.
I don’t care what most people do in their private lives and, insofar as you can feel a way about someone whose only relationship to your immediate life was (1) as a name on an album sleeve, and then (2) a strong reason to eat lunch at your desk, it was difficult to listen to Mister Cee's last show on New York's hip-hop radio station Hot 97 yesterday and not feel sad. After 20 years at the station, he was leaving amid ongoing speculation about the kinds of people he enjoys spending time with, namely other men. Earlier this week a video surfaced that supposedly featured Cee driving around with a cross-dressing blogger, negotiating a price for sex. Since 2011, he has been arrested twice for soliciting prostitutes, both of whom were men. Throughout it all, Cee has maintained that his problem is his boundless zeal for prostitutes, and that he is not gay.
When I met Mac Miller two years ago, he told me he planned on being "Beatles big." It was one of the funnier hyperboles tossed off in the 79 minutes, at least on tape, we sat talking about his career in the back of his tour bus in Denver. Throughout the weekend — which I spent tagging along behind the then-19-year-old and his crew in Colorado, on assignment for Billboard for what would be his first cover story — half the words out of his mouth were meant to impress someone. It started the moment we were introduced — with a grandiose announcement to the bus that a lady was on board, so everyone was to be on his best behavior — and was a constant throughout: elaborate, attention-commanding jokes; group consultations about who he should ask to open for him; excited accounts of text conversations with Drake (about sippin' lean, of course). One afternoon I sat on the edge of the stage at the Ogden Theatre as Mac and his DJ, Clockwork, sound-checked; that day he spent extra minutes fooling around on a recently purchased, incredibly expensive guitar, requesting Clock play songs for him to solo over, checking casually, every few seconds, to see if people were watching him. Everything about the rapper — whose career was about to explode thanks to a YouTube account, a few high school friends, and some truly intimidating Twitter wizardry — was annoyingly charming, like a gifted, insufferable class clown who always gets his way. You just hope the damn kid grows into all that energy.
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.
"F**kin' Problem," the song that bumped A$AP Rocky into the mainstream, is still hanging onto the midsection of charts, and sounds more and more like a Linkin Park song with every replay, but today I'd rather talk about Rocky's would-be other single "Wild for the Night," which has been struggling to get an airplay foothold for a few weeks now (where is 2 Chainz when you need him?) and which I have just had to resort to playing on repeat in my car. Rocky released a big-budget on-location video for the track earlier this week (see above), which included a bonus Skrillex mini-track at the end and got people talking about the song again for about 24 hours, but its time seems to have already passed, and the video hasn't even cracked 1 million views on YouTube yet. It's a reminder that in the chart world "Problem" is still bigger than A$AP Rocky, and with his Vegas days nearly upon us, the Skrillex Factor may no longer be quantifiable, if it ever was.
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.
For 10 days, Grantland staff writer Rembert Browne is at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, collecting stories while trying not to die.
Schoolboy Q is having a phenomenal time in Austin.
As the second most famous member of the Kendrick Lamar–led Top Dawg Entertainment crew, Q had a great deal to celebrate on Wednesday, with a headlining position at SXSW staple THE FADER FORT Presented by Converse and then a cameo across the street at the Spotify Live compound to crash Kendrick's headlining set.
Beyond rapping, one of the hallmarks of Schoolboy's appeal (along with one of the reasons I didn't mind seeing him twice in less than three hours) is that he'll say anything and do anything and, more often than not, people will enjoy it.
Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the '80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching the video, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was picked by Rembert (as spotted by this tweet from rapper/producer El-P): the "City of Crime" music video from Dragnet. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at email@example.com.
There is a song called "Gangnam Style" by a human named Psy and it's the worst song of 2012. It is very popular, with its official video tallying more than 970 million views on YouTube, but it is still the worst song of 2012. The dance associated with the song has really taken off, making appearances in every wedding reception, bar mitzvah, and after-funeral party attendable, but it is still the worst song of 2012. At one point it was the top rap song on the Billboard charts, an especially awkward achievement, partially because it is to rap what I am to body sculpting, and partially because it's easily the worst song of 2012. And finally, the song has become an easy target for spoofing and remixing, which, for once, makes complete sense, because it is the worst song of 2012.
One of these remixes hit the Internet this weekend, by Philadelphia rapper Cassidy. On paper, this is strange, because he has long prided himself on being pretty much the "realest" man that has ever walked this earth, never concerning himself with "publicity" or "selling out" or "making money." Doing a remix to the most popular/worst song of the year seems like the opposite of that lifestyle — that is, until he takes it in the most unconventional direction possible.
A. Care about this.
B. Don't care about this.
C. Aggressively, vocally don't care about this.
They were that kind of band.
It went down on Friday, in Germany. During a solo set at Munich’s On3 Festival, a gig that was originally supposed to be a full Das Racist show, a grinning Heems delivered an announcement: "You guys wanna know a secret? I'm gonna do some Das Racist songs, but Das Racist is breaking up and we're not a band anymore. Here we go." Victor Vasquez, a.k.a. Kool A.D., followed that up by tweeting "for the record i quit das racist 2 months ago and was asked by our manager not to announce it yet. apparently @himanshu wanted to do it tho," to which Heems replied "hah dag, my bad dont even remember saying that shit."
It's December, which has historically meant three things for me: an aggressive holiday music binge; reminding my loved ones to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," because there are still a few non-Christians in America; and prepping myself for the inevitable, comically PC "Happy Kwanzaa" comment from someone who is just trying so hard to do right.
With regard to holiday music, for better or worse, I have an opinion on everything. One of those opinions is that "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is an overrated song. It falls in the same category as "Jingle Bells" as being just a little too corny for my liking. With that said, there are two versions, by The Temptations and The Jackson 5, that have found ways to funk it up a bit, and for years these were the only two versions I could tolerate. Until this morning.
This week on the Hollywood Prospectus Podcast, we're going east, young men and women. Andy and I, both having seen Silver Linings Playbook (don't worry, we don't talk about it) (but go see it!) have some brotherly love pumping in our hearts (3:30). The film is set in Philadelphia, in the weeks between Halloween and Christmas, and Andy I were nostalgic for our Thanksgiving breaks back in our hometown. So we decided to make a Spotify playlist celebrating the mid-'00s hip-hop that soundtracked so many of those trips home. We talked a little about why this was such a special time for rap music, salute the glory that is hip-hop one-hit wonders, and talk a little about the Philly premier of the dystopian Brad Pitt flick Twelve Monkeys. Nostalgia is in the house.
We get back to regularly scheduled programming with a whip-around through Sunday-night TV. I am kind of out on Homeland (19:35), and when it comes to The Walking Dead (29:45), Andy is wandering around in the forest covered in zombie entrails.
Brandon is a 23-year-old Berkeley, California, native. While not yet his full-time job, one of his greatest passions is the sport of basketball. This past Sunday, Brandon joined a crew of hopefuls attempting to secure a spot on the newly created Santa Cruz Warriors, a team within the NBA's Development League.