The original title was offensive so I changed it.
Before Drake was known for providing the anthems to our summers each year, and before there was an Instagram to use his lyrics as captions for, the project spoke to young, Black kids in college as we tried to get money we never had and the attention we always wanted, doing it all for the cities that made us—especially those of us from Texas.
Simpler times. The best kind of nostalgia.
Being independent doesn’t mean you can’t have reach. Not being an artist doesn't mean there is less room in the industry for you. But when you make the most of what you can do, and commit to learning the game, you just might find that what is meant for you, won’t miss you. Just ask Vince Valholla.
Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is.
Lady Saw’s “Sycamore Tree” and Tanya Stephens’ “You Nuh Ready For Dis Yet” were the staples on my father’s Joy Ride Riddim cassette tape. He would play it in our 1996 Mazda MPV while my siblings and I helped him wash the car. I considered her the Lil Kim of Dancehall because her lyrics were vulgar, raunchy and direct (but it’s worth mentioning that she has since been baptized and now goes by Minister Marion Hall if you want to look her up).
We’re mourning the loss of you and you’re still in the land of the living. We’re mourning what you meant to us and who you were to us, and wondering if we ever really knew you in the first place. We should have never put you on that pedestal. People are never prepared to handle it well when our icons fall off of them.
Hey, Mr. Carter
by Aaron Colen
Jay-Z’s 13th studio album, 4:44, is groundbreaking. It’s a game-changing project from an artist who many questioned whether he should still be in the game at all.
Art imitates life in all aspects and on all accounts. There has been recent talk of the dilution of good, creative, thought provoking hip hop. Whether Little Yachty or young artists that sing “I spy with my little eye” are to blame for the possibility of hip hop and rap eroding, we can all agree black culture music has fluctuated into another vain. It’s easy to hold mumble rap responsible for the current climate or "quote...unquote" greats choosing not to indulge in the foundations of hip hop and/or battle rap. However, I tend to think beyond the surface, and I believe some responsibly falls on the consumer, the fan, the music heads, us.
Music apps like Tidal and Apple Music are more convenient but there is something about holding a CD, vinyl or even cassette in your hand. Getting up after waiting for months and going to a music store, scrolling through various rappers and singers to find the artist you were initially looking for should still mean something if you're a true fan of an artist's music. This also opens the opportunity to run across a new artist’s project that you wouldn’t have if predictably searching on iTunes for the piece you wanted. The actual music stores also have a vibe that can inspire and allow you to meet new people with your same musical taste. Constantly only utilizing streaming is limiting, it leaves us ignorant to the complete concept of the creator.
When I was younger, going through the little book of cover art in CDs was part of enjoying the music. I loved it so much I’d use it as a poster on my wall. Obtaining something physical for the art we revel in so much makes history. It reminds us later what part of our lives we were experiencing during such a simplistic purchase. The cloud will not always be there for us and iPhones will not be forever. When’s the last time you’ve taken a day to listen to a project as a complete body of work; as opposed to only listening to the tracks you see people you don’t even know tweeting about with flame emojis. Listening, no REALLY, listening to a project as the artist formatted it is essential to the feeling of the sound in its entirety. Music is the only art form that is continuously shorted. We don’t look at the only parts of a movie we heard was good or only subject ourselves to the corners of a painting. An appreciation is obviously needed for music to evolve and avoid digression. Our society has somehow began to treat music as if it’s disposable, if it doesn’t play on the radio or isn’t the first week of release, the majority does not talk about it let alone listen. Our attention spans have been reduced to the margins of snap chat posts.
I still listen to Supa Dupa Fly with no skips. The same goes for Solange's A Seat at the Table and J. Cole's Born Sinner. People who swear they love Drake or Migos only listen to their most recently pushed singles. Can any of us recall the last time we’ve listened to Take Care from “Over my Dead Body” to “Hate Sleeping Alone”? Wasting gas, riding around embedded in the production and samples of songs that make us want to be gangsters or call our exes use to make us feel good and replenish the music as well, where did we get away from this mutual interaction? My mother use to record Luther from the radio to cassette even when CDs had come into effect because of the feeling of it all, the energy. She would even accidentallly record herself in complete bliss and admiration singing and screaming “Oh!” to cuts like “Superstar” and “Bad Boy (Having A Party)”. There’s still an overwhelming amount of good music but we as listeners in my opinion have neglected our music; we have become captives of our present environment instead of thriving in the alternative realities music invites us to.
HAPPY G-DAY HOV
Today, Sean Carter celebrates his 46th birthday. We celebrate the success and longevity of a music mogul, a business mogul and a model for black excellence. In our society and culture, we often take for granted or even downright hate on success on people who come from the same places we come from, share the same stories we live and suffer the same struggles we endure. Today let's choose to highlight what making it out looks like. Just because we don't own The 40/40 Club doesn't mean we neglect the black man who does. Here's to a hundred more, Hov. #TidalForAll
RIP PIMP C
As we celebrate birth, we also honor those no longer with us. Today marks nine years since the death of Chad Lamont Butler. The unmistakable presence of the Houston rapper will forever live on in the rap game and not only Texas but the entire South. Pimp C was more than a rapper, singer, hustler or producer. The Pimp was a symbol. His life embodied TRILL and for some his wisdom was words to keep striving for better and to keep encouraging one another. Sometimes a troubled and controversial figure, you could never make the mistake of saying he was fake. A legacy that will live on forever. #RIP2ThaPimp #PopItForPimp