Friday, July 31, 2009

Drake Is Ethering Himself

A title fresh from my Underwriter days... Ah, memories.

Just two months ago, I was telling folks in ATL, and all the folks back home in Bama who weren't familiar, that Drake would be the next Kanye West. I might have even gone far enough to say some dumb shit like "Mark my words..."

Now, things are starting to look complicated. I mean, I still believe that for an artist to come out of nowhere and make an impact like Drake did, that definitely means that he can make this happen. In my op, the guy is very talented, and you can tell he's a thinker, which Hip-Hop could certainly use more of in the current times. So Far Gone would easily win a Grammy if there were a category for mixtapes. But then again, there isn't. So Far Gone was a freebie, so it's not like it should be called his "magnum opus". I mean, your greatest work of art should be something from which you should be able to capitalize, right?

Well, maybe not. In this digital age of music and life, we're used to getting everything for free. Barry Diller of Jive Records said something not too long ago about how free content online is "a myth", but sometimes myths are really true, and only the people denying them don't realize it. But at least, in Drake's case, he was able to gain heavy recognition, and radio rotation, from something that was never meant to be profitable, at least in mythological theory. But we all know recording artists don't recoup a squirt of urine from album sales anyway, at least not when they aren't already internationally known.

So here's my problem with the way Drake is handling his incredible reception and coronation in the music industry. The dude is just effing up. And too much of that will kill your buzz, especially if you can still be legitimately called a "mixtape rapper" at the moment. And image is important; I can respect the way he's shown humility when being interviewed, given the circumstances. But I'm not one of those dudes mentioned on "Best I Ever Had" that would buy a blank disc from him, or anyone else. Truth be told, I haven't bought an album, a single, a mixtape, or a ringtone in years, and I think I have a pretty solid catalog of music, completely updated for modern times. The only way I'm buying Drake's debut album is if I can hear enough material to know it's going to be a classic, and that really only takes two strong singles at this point to make me put my money down. He can do that.

But can he keep from killing his buzz, which recently he seems set on doing? Let us count the ways:

1. Drake apologizes for the BET Awards fiasco.

Yeah, he sat on stage, allegedly with a torn ACL, and shares the stage with the rest of the Young Money crew, including Lil' Wayne, performing "Every Girl" with a harem of B.B.D. chicks. Oh, you ain't know? See 2:04. But I believe that this was Wayne's call, since his own daughter was among the dancers. This was a just a Joe Jackson-like move to use the media to promote your next big thing, and lest we forget, Carter's the boss. Not your fault, Drake. But then...

2. Drake effs up his Funk Flex Hot 97 debut.

I didn't know anything about this until ol' dude from the Nick Cannon MTV show made a parody YouTube video about it. Once I saw the original video footage of Drake fumbling through old and new lyrics on his BlackBerry, then asking if he can get a re-do, I realized that this was some ol' Nike-Lebron dunked-on steez that someone made a serious effort not to have released. But we know how that goes in the age of Web 2.0... Hey, it was his first time on a Hot 97, and I can't imagine all the pressure he was feeling; this one is understandable. No big deal. (getting concerned though)

3. Drake apologizes for his video.

I can't say I immediately understood the video for "Best", but I could detect where he was going. The problem was that all the boobage shown in the video (which was great) trumped any other point he might have been trying to make. Yeah, I get it; you have a team of big breasted women, but you lose when you try to manage all of them at once, even though they're individually great. Hip-Hop isn't a Mormon compound. But that took more thought that I wanted to spend. And the last thing I want you doing is saying I'm sorry again. Just let it ride! (getting nervous now...)

4. Drake falls on stage.

At this point, it's like, "Jesus, homie!! Besides the music, what else can go right? Now if he really hurt himself, I don't want to sound too negative here, of course. But the reality of this situation is that you have no business jumping around monitor speakers on stage if your doctor has advised you to take it easy on your torn ACL. Seriously, there's a such thing as gambling, but it's not something to be done with your health, especially when your physical ability to perform [II] is part of your ability to gain income and financial rewards. And ankles shouldn't be confused with dice.

I'm just saying we don't need a fifth item update for this post anytime soon; that way it won't even count. I wish him a quick recovery, so he can get back in the studio and make that album, and put things on the right track again. I'm still a fan, but I need this self-slaughter to stop immediately.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dumb Tatters Need Teachin'

Yes, Crooked I wanted to show his loyalty to the group effort between himself, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, and Royce Da 5'9, which makes up the Hip-Hop supergroup Slaughterhouse, but there is no excuse for this. And that's all I have to say about that. I almost feel like purposely putting a typo in this post, just because I could edit it later. Blogs >> tattoos.

Read the full story. And shake your head repeatedly. And laugh.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's A Celebration (Bitches)

Ed. Note: I'd had this idea for awhile. The nets needed a blog that delves into, or "goes in" on, all the miscellaneous shullbit that happens in Hip-Hop. Everybody has an opinion, and most of the time we hear the negatives. So rather than try to weed out the negatives and make them positive (which never works), I figured I'd take all the negative stuff that Hip-Hop has going on, and try to see if there's a way to use it to trigger some type of debate. We'll see what happens...

Now, let's start this ish off right...


Congratulations to Kelis! The bossiest of the "Bossy" is the mother of the just-dropped Knight Jones, who if you didn't know, is kinda like a big deal. According to People Magazine, he was born Wednesday, weighing 7lbs and 8oz. He's also the son of Nasir Jones, aka Nastradamus, whose ability to foretell the future seems to have had no power over today's divorce courts. That's because either Knight, or Kelis's ability to birth him, is worth at least $44k a month in post-labor settlement cake.

Although this story has ignited lots of public opinion this week, I haven't really heard any women around me saying how great this is, and hopefully that's for a good reason. Women should not be happy about this, since I believe that it's going to have some serious bad effects on their prospects for marrying a rapper. Not as if marrying a rapper is the best idea in the world, but it's the next best thing to bagging an NBA or NFL player, Hollywood star, or even a doctor or lawyer who likes groupies. There are few weekends in Atlanta in which the radio stations don't promote some athlete-featured party at The Velvet Room or somewhere, and they never forget to remind the ladies that "so-and-so" from the Buffalo Bills, or "your boy" from the Cincinnati Bengals, will be in the building. And as you'd expect, there's always a resulting line down the block of tight-dressed... ladies.

Kelis, lest we forget, is a star in her own right. She's had several successful singles ("Caught Out There", "Bossy"... hell, that's more than most people get already), and could easily get with the right songwriter/producer and make another huge hit record. But why do that when you can earn over half a million dollars every year doing nothing other than raise your son?

Word is, Nas left her high and dry. He took away all that money he was making that afforded Kelis the lifestyle to which she was perfectly entitled, and told her he was out. Yet Kelis was a star when she and Nas met. If she had to marry Nas to get a better lifestyle than she already had, it means that either she had already spent too much of her money before they met, and therefore had to rely on his income, or that she was a groupie all along. I mean, she did get in the game off Pharrell's back, or vice versa...

Russell Simmons doesn't pay that much to Kimora Lee, and he's paying for two daughters. Not to mention that Russell is probably worth a lot more than Nas, and that he really did cake out on Kimora, thus making himself vulnerable to that argument that when you set a woman up for a certain type of lifestyle she's never experienced, you'd better be ready, willing, and able to maintain it -- even in divorce. Puffy got an NY court to reduce his payments to Misa Hylton-Brim from $35k four years ago, to $22k, to $19k at the present. He's rich.

Nas, on the other hand, says he's not, and I believe him. Sure, he has money, and he can still earn more from future albums, touring, and other means of capitalizing off of his stardom. But that doesn't mean that he's supposed to take what might be the highest child support judgment amount in Hip-Hop history, just because Kelis is too lazy to make good music. But whatever.

Again, congratulations, Kelis. You've pretty much single-handedly destroyed whatever chance that other groupies ladies had to pull one of the top rappers in the industry and milk them like cows for their high-value fertility. And maybe there's nothing wrong with that.

"I'm the most wanted baby-father..."
Nas - You Won't See Me Tonight feat. Aaliyah