Tag Archives: hip hop

Broke Mack: Have you ever been in a hot tub?

Video: Ice Cube – “Who’s the Mack?”

Ice Cube – Who's The Mack

I didn’t even realize Ice Cube made a video for this song from Amerikkka’s Most Wanted until I was googling around, looking for something or other and stumbled across it on YouTube. Priority Records released a promotional 12″ in 1990, but it didn’t chart.

The best part about this video–other than Cube looking like an adorable little kid–is the ending where after spending the whole song rapping about different types of con artists in his own community, he visually opens up the definition to include White America. There’s “President Mack” (sitting POTUS George H. W. Bush), “Busted Mack” (televangelist Jim Bakker who had recently been found guilty on 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy), and best of all, “Broke Mack” (Donald Trump).

In June 1990, the Wall Street Journal reported the news of Trump’s impending financial distaster. So I’m assuming this video was made shortly after that. People magazine even had a cover story in July titled “Poor Donald!” But nobody summed it up better than Ice Cube: Broke Mack. You knew the game and you still ended up on your back.

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Dr. Dre – Kush (feat. Snoop Dogg and Akon)

Video: Dr. Dre – “Kush” (feat. Snoop Dogg and Akon)

If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised by the topic of the new single by Dr. Dre. Just kidding. It’s Mary Jane. Ganja. Weed. Grass. Kush.

It’s the first official single from Dr. Dre’s new album, Detox. They put the video out on Friday, and by Sunday night, it already had almost 1.7 million views. [2,216,859 at time of publication -ed.] Eleven years after his last album, 2001, Dr. Dre is planning to release Detox in February. It’s been a long time coming, and the album has been hinted at for years. It’s finally here!

It’s a pretty cool video, too. Stop motion photography, lots of ladies, cash money, Snoop in braids and Dre looking older and wiser. In a tight fitting leather motorcycle jacket, no less.

The last time Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg appeared in a video together was for 2001‘s “The Next Episode.” See it after the jump. And check out Snoop’s doo!

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Z-Ro – Heroin

Z-RoHeroin (Rap-A-Lot)

Sometimes the universe drops something completely unexpected in your lap. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. I recently decided to check out all the 2010 hip hop releases that my public library had.

My intention was to get a sense of the state of hip hop today by exploring the library’s collection. I couldn’t afford to buy dozens of CDs, and I wouldn’t have known where to begin. What I got, though, was a glimpse of one of the greatest rappers I’ve ever heard, Z-Ro, a man who has released a dozen albums in as many years, but is still an underground voice outside of Houston, TX.

Heroin is the third in a trilogy of drug records, with Cocaine (2009) and Crack (2008) preceding it. I picked up Cocaine after I discovered Heroin, and it’s a great album as well. The weird thing is that they share two songs, but with different names on both albums. “We Don’t Speed” is “Tha Police” on Cocaine, and “Shotta” is “Move Ya Body” on Heroin.

“Never Let Go” kicks off Heroin with a big, dark funk. The production grabbed me right away and got me thinking of Dr. Dre. Z-Ro has a very arresting bass voice, and I love his flow. His rhymes are hard, pained, real. Depressed, not depressing.

The album features choruses you might find yourself singing. Which would be bad, because they tend to be a bit foul. “Do Bad on My Own” is a brilliant song with a poignant chorus that has Z-Ro doing the harmonies, layered one on top of the other.

“Real or Fake” announces itself big and heavy with a great synth and guitar intro. Dripping with deep, dirty southern funk. Then Mike D (not the Beastie Boy) practically steals the song from Z-Ro with his verse.

“We Don’t Speed” is a gripping rap about getting pulled over by a cop. “Man, it’s just weed, you trippin’!” This verse is worth a read:

Since Barack Obama became the first black President,
The police have been waging war against the black resident.
Racial profiling is at an all time high.
We represent 10% of the population,
But 65% of the jail population, and I can’t tell you why.
A lot of us are guilty as charged, and as much as I hate to say it,
Some brothers deserve to be behind bars –
You know the ones who beat on women, and the murderers, and the rapists,
and especially the ones that kidnap and even abandon babies.

Intense, right? An interesting angle on a fairly common topic in hip hop. When Z-Ro raps about himself, he’s starkly honest. He makes me like him, flaws and all. I’ve listened to a lot of new hip hop albums over these past few months, and Heroin is the best of the bunch. I’m going to start working through more of his back catalog next.

Video: Z-Ro – “Driving Me Wild”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAa891UirjM&fs=1&hl=en_US]

Z-Ro: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki

Kentucky Fried Chillin’

The Colonel, Minus The GangIt was 1987 and if you weren’t there you don’t know how bad it was. I need only open a yearbook to remember the clothes, the hair, and worst of all…the popular music. Sure, there was some great alternative and post-punk going on and it was the dawn of hip hop as a cultural movement, but I am telling you it was bad. And nothing epitomized the deep fried confluence of mid-80s radio friendly hip hop and corporate training music like a flexi I was given as part of my training to work at a fast food restaurant.

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N.W.A. and the Posse: Where Are They Now?

N.W.A. and the PosseThis is one of the coolest things I’ve read in a long, long time. Martin Cizmar at the Phoenix New Times has written The Posse Project, wherein he has researched the “the 12 Guys from N.W.A’s First Album Cover” and reports who they were, how they ended up on the cover, and where they are now.

Not only does the cover of N.W.A’s first album not look anything like the standard image of “The World’s Most Dangerous Group,” it’s such an odd mix of styles it’s hard to believe the guys posing together are any sort of group at all. Truly, the cover of N.W.A. and the Posse is a puzzle.

This picture is also, however, a perfect snapshot of one of the most important scenes in the history of popular music. Stare for a moment and you can see a myth about to be born. That myth, Gangsta Rap, enabled four guys in this picture — Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and Eazy E — to titillate and terrify America as Compton-based rap group Niggaz With Attitude.

We all should be able to recognize Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and MC Ren, but what about the other eight guys? Well, thanks to this fascinating research, you can read all about them. (And by the way, Cizmar’s profiles of the four you know are well worth reading, so click through!)

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Get Busy Committee – I Don’t Care About You

Video: Get Busy Committee – “I Don’t Care About You”

The latest video from the hip hop project managed by Ian Rogers, who explains his theory of “Do Something Small Weekly, Something Big Monthly” on his blog. I love the fact that this video was 1) released for Valentine’s Day, and 2) inspired by this seizure-inducing web page.

Get Busy Committee: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

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Get Busy Committee – Chillin Out Maxin

MP3: Get Busy Committee – “Chillin Out Maxin” from Uzi Does It, out now on Tokyo Sex Whale.

So what’s up with all the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air love lately? Last month there was the Neil Young via Jimmy Fallon remake, and now the Get Busy Committee is using a prominent sample of the theme song. Of course, Will Smith was “shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school,” while GBC is shootin’ off their Uzis.

GBC is co-managed by Topspin’s Ian Rogers, who’s done a great job using the internet to market this band. He even wrote up a “how to guide” on the steps they took to make the album release a success. None of that would matter, clearly, if the music wasn’t good. But it is good. It’s got a lot in common with classic-era hip hop like NWA and Above the Law. The gangster shit definitely got played out by the mid-90s, but maybe it’s time for a resurgence. If so, GBC will be leading the pack. Regardless, “Chillin Out Maxin” is one of the best hip hop songs I’ve heard in 2009, and I can’t stop listening to it.

Plus, those Uzi-shaped USB drives are just plain dope.

Get Busy Committee: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web, Twitter.

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Rakim – Euphoria

MP3: Rakim – “Euphoria” featuring Jadakiss, Styles P, Busta Rhymes, and Cocoa Chanelle on the chorus.

A bonus track from the sessions for The Seventh Seal, out now on Ra Records. Sounds as good as a nice big plate of fish, which is my favorite dish.

Rakim: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Classic Hip Hop: Black Sheep, Souls of Mischief

A couple of cool new hip hop mp3s ended up in the inbox this morning. Wasn’t really expecting that, but they sound good, so we thought we’d pass them along.

MP3: Black Sheep – “Forever Luvlee” from the From The Black Pool Of Genius: The Prelude EP, due December 1.

Black Sheep was the duo that rode “The Choice is Yours” to fame in 1991. Now it looks like they’re down to half of the original lineup. Whatever. It’s a smooth beat, tasty samples, and clever rhymes.

Black Sheep: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

MP3: Souls of Mischief – “Proper Aim” from Montezuma’s Revenge, due December 1 on Hiero Imperium.

It’s annoying to have watermarks in the middle of this track: “This is A-Plus. You are listening to Montezuma’s Revenge,” and we normally wouldn’t bother posting songs mucked up with that kind of shit, but the song is cool. So hey. Grain of salt. They’ve released a couple of other promos from the album, all including equally disruptive watermarks, so check them out if you don’t mind. This is Del‘s crew from way back, and any friend of Del’s is a friend of ours.

Souls of Mischief – “LaLaLa”

Souls of Mischief – “Tour Stories”

Souls of Mischief: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Julia Dales, Human Beat Box

Video: Julia Dales – Amazing Beat Box Girl

Julia Dales, a 17 year old Canadian girl, won the wildcard competition of the Beatbox Battle World Championship. Awesome.

Via bb.