The big homie CG dropped this modest dose of those hard-hitting, old soul rhymes last week. With features from ScienZe, Maya Azucena & Lyric Jones, Kickz-N-Snarez is sure to keep the thirst at bay until he drops another full-length. After hanging out with him a few months back during a studio session, just know that he’s got some serious heat coming.
SKYZOO Feat. TALIB KWELI - “SPIKE LEE WAS MY HERO”
While this came out a few days ago, I wasn’t around. Besides, pride doesn’t wear off so easily, and I’m very proud of my friend and this video’s director, Alex Ghassan for getting the song’s subject, Spike Lee, to come out for the shoot. Congrats, homie.
The traditional Rap group has gone the way of the Whig Party since the turn of the century. Sure, Hip Hop is swimming in “crews” galore - and Golden Era posses still come around every eclipse or so to rekindle that old school magic - but the frequency of new Rap groups emerging on the major-label level have trickled out of the ecosystem. Rising in its place have been a steady stream of Avenger-style team-ups, where oft-marginalized emcees join forces for a select mission or two, combining lyrical abilities for the greater creative good of their fawning fan bases. There was Random Axe with Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, and Black Milk. There wasNas and Damien Marley. There was Pete Rock and Camp Lo (as 80 Blocks). The trend is absolutely en vogue and seems to be smart business. With Wu Block, two of New York’s most notorious collectives (Staten Island’s Wu-Tang Clan and Yonkers’ D Block) collide to drop 20-year old bromides that somehow still sound fresh.
Peep the scene. Ghostface Killah is sitting on the couch, smoking a Dutch, watching TV, when Sheek Louch calls talking about a girl he smashed in Queens who’s waiting to be wifey. “Tall glass of lemonade / Chandelier’s hanging over my head / Sitting in like a cloud of haze / Larry King on Mute / They’re about to bury Wesley [Snipes] for taxes,” Pretty Tony kicks on “Different Time Zones” (with Sheek Louch and Inspectah Deck). It’s another one of those classic Ghost verses that are so ill because they ain’t about nothing; because he viscerally puts you in the room. He’s directing rhymes in a fashion more likely seen in the pages of a movie script than on RapGenius - an uncanny ability he’s proven to be the unabashed Abbot of over his two decade-long career.
Of all the likely First World pressures that have inevitably crept into the life of Kendrick Lamarover the past year and change - since he and his Top Dawg Entertainment cohorts unleashed their brand of genre pushing Hip Hop on the world - only one truly matters: Releasing a successful debut album. Following 2011’s tour de force Section.80, a slew of shine-snatching featured lyrical clinics, and a downpour of cosigns ranging from Brother Ali to Lady Gaga - K-Dot’s in a position few in Rap history not named “Nas,” “Canibus,” or “50 Cent” have ever occupied. Only two of those sport initial releases that validated the hype machine; only one of those commercially. The same one that Kendrick’s current Aftermath label-head, Dr. Dre, launched into ubiquity back in 2003. Add that backdrop to the critical acclaim of fellow TDEers Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q this year (with#controlsystem and Habits & Contradictions, respectively), and Compton’s kid is swimming in a mote of expectation. Fortunately, at least creatively speaking, Kendrick delivers with ease. From mic to plug,Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City is stellar.
GKMC lives in its narratives. There’s the one where Kendrick’s driving his mom’s van while his girl is texting him titty shots. (“Sharene a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter”). There’s the one with MC Eiht where K-Dot talks about staging a robbery while working as a security guard and smoking cocaine laced marijuana (“m.A.A.d. city”). “And they wonder why I rarely smoke now / Imagine if your first blunt had you foaming at the mouth,” he raps over the Sounwave and Terrence Martin-produced ratchedy madness. There’s “Sing About Me, I’m Dying’s” awesome perspective flip where he spits as a gang banger, then Keisha’s sister (from Section.80) in consecutive verses and both literally speak their demise into existence. The Just Blaze produced "Compton" (featuring Dr. Dre) and the gloriously ignant "Backseat Freestyle" are the only true cypher cuts. No brain-twisting exploits like "Rigamortis"included this time around, for example. And that’s alright. Kendrick’s joy ride is as visceral as a John Singleton flick or something; equal parts Boyz In The Hood, Higher Learning, and Baby Boy, only the 2012 version told on wax. The interludes cinematically tie the good kid fighting his way through a mad city theme together and are conveniently included at the end the of songs instead of as separate tracks so they don’t clutter the listen when rocked on random. The production and engineering are absolutely impressive. Structurally and conceptually, as an album, GKMC is amazingly tight.
[THIS WEEKEND] The Good Vibes Weekend: Boston x Brooklyn
Boston this Friday and Saturday… Brooklyn on Monday night… And so it begins. If you’re seeing this and you’re in Boston or New York this weekend, hit me up if you want to come join us during The Collab Projekt’s first official tour.
Each of the artists on this tour, I’ve discovered and established relationships with all because of The Collab Projekt and my vision with this entity. Starting tomorrow night at 8:30 PM in Boston University Central, my mission to put people on to good vibes will take a huge step forward and those in attendance will experience a hidden gem of a concert.
The artists performing are Dutch ReBelle (Boston), Divine ScienZe (New York), Charmingly Ghetto (Boston), Radio (Los Angeles), Natural (Boston) and Noahbility (New York). We’ve brought together a couple artists from three major U.S. hubs and the end results will be magic; I guarantee it.
Whether or not you can attend the events in Boston or Brooklyn on October 5th, 6th and 8th, IF you don’t know the names that were aforementioned… Don’t be afraid to press play on all five players down below.