Archive for Hip Hop

Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2009 by letterlbeats

Good Friday Hip Hop!

I though the last Top 5 Friday would be the last one of the year but it looks like we have time for one more.

I was watching Sesame Street with my son. Before he started watching it, I hadn’t seen the show since like ’89. Apparently they have changed a lot with the times. One of those changes seems to include a regular dose of Hip Hop. I’ve heard them rap about everything from bird habitats to prime numbers. I appreciate the effort but it started to remind me of all the things that I’ve seen over the years where Hip Hop has been exploited and/or placed grossly out of context. I present to you the Top 5 Worst Exploitations of Hip Hop:

5. Parappa The Rapper

According to Wikipedia.org, PaRappa the Rapper was a rhythm video game for PS1. Released in Japan on December 6, 1996, followed by releases in North America on October 31, 1997 and Europe in September 1998, it was one of the first rhythm video games (sort of a precursor to DDR, Guitar Hero and Rock Band). While it was simplistic on a certain level, the game is remembered for its unique graphic design, its quirky soundtrack, and its bizarre plot. The game is named after its protagonist, Parappa, a rapping dog.

4. The Super Bowl Shuffle

Here’s the thing about this one. I have lived in Chicago on and off since ’84. People here loved it. In fact I remember my dad taking me to the Bears’ victory parade. However, I dare you to watch that video now without laughing. Go ahead, it’s right here:

3. The Burger King Sir Mix-A-Lot Square Butts Commercial

This falls under the “out of context” category because it’s so out of context that it’s hilarious. You’ve all seen it so I won’t post the video but come on! They’re using Hip Hop to sell burgers and fries.

2. Snoop Sells Nokia N-Gage During 2004 Sugar Bowl

I think people have forgotten about this so I might have to break out the video. I remember one of my friends saying at the time, “Snoop doesn’t usually sell out but when he does, he goes 110%…ok we couldn’t locate the video but Google it. It was a shizzame.

1. MTV

For those of you born after 1990 you should know something. MTV was strictly for rock videos. As well, before Michael Jackson, MTV would not play black music. In fact, they were hesitant to play MJ’s records altogether. This was like ’83 or ’84. Now fast forward to 2009, and they barely even play videos. The ones that they do play are almost predominantly Hip Hop or pop. When TRL (Total Request Live) was at its height, it was almost all rap videos. MTV, at one point I loved you and at one point you would not play black music (Hip Hop, R&B etc.). Now that you can make a profit, you loooove Hip Hop.


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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2009 by letterlbeats

Have you heard one of the greatest stories ever told in Hip Hop?

This is my ode to a living legend. Pete Rock all but defined what is commonly known as “The Golden Era” of Hip Hop. His is the most unique and eclectic sound to ever bless our music.

He is best known for T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You) from 1992’s Mecca and the Soul Brother. Even if you don’t know the name of the song, you have heard it before. It’s an iconic piece of music that is etched in the conscience of Hip Hop. I had heard it when I was much younger. It really hit me after it was in NBA Street Vol. II on PS2. That game had so many scenes from NY street courts. T.R.O.Y. just complimented those scenes so well. It’s an auditory synonym for NY Hip Hop.

His first two albums, including 1990’s All Souled Out, were collaborations with CL Smooth. CL was the primary emcee for the duo, while Pete contributed verses as needed. His signature was taking sounds from several records and piecing them together. His first piece of equipment was the E-Mu SP 1200. He later shifted to the MPC 2000XL as his primary weapon of choice. He is an expert at tuning sounds from different sources to make them sound like they should go together.


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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2009 by letterlbeats

Good morning Hip Hop!

During the last year, I started doing something that I hadn’t done since about ’01 or ’02; reading The Source, XXL and other hip hop publications, online and in print. Because I consider myself someone who wants to be in the industry, I have to pay attention to what’s going on in the industry (that reminds me, I have to get Jason a subscription to those mags for Christmas).

During this past year, I have also seen a lot of names come up as “the next.” I have noticed an interesting trend. The faster these guys go up, the faster they go down. Let me clarify down: this word speaks to their Q rating: (a scale measuring the popularity of a person or thing typically based on dividing an assessment of familiarity by an assessment of favorable opinion).

I haven’t heard Asher Roth’s name mentioned in the last three months. Whereas the first three months of the year you couldn’t turn on a TV or radio or open a magazine without hearing about or seeing this guy.

Charles Hamilton started off the year coming off a dope mixtape and had a very nice single with Brooklyn Girls and its video in rotation. I haven’t heard his name since June or July.

Kid Cudi has managed to maintain his relevance although it seemed for a few weeks there when Day & Night was starting to get old and the spins were that he was losing steam.

Drake seems to be the exception here because he did blast off, although in fairness, I’d been hearing about Drake since late ’07.

There is one guy who seems to have kept some perspective and is careful to take a steady long term approach to his career. If the rule holds true that the faster you rise, the faster you fall, he has been on a steady rise this year and may crescendo pretty nicely by next summer. Not to mention his material is dope and he is soooo true to hip hop.

I am talking about Wale. That Back To The Feature Mixtape was the best album I’ve heard all year. It’s so fresh and so new, yet it’s so reminiscent of a better time in hip hop.

As a footnote, one guy who is mimicking Wale’s approach is J. Cole. However in my opinion, the jury is still out on his ability.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2009 by letterlbeats

It’s time for another Top 5 Friday

Good Friday Hip Hop! If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I try to get at least one top 5 list in every month. Today I will countdown the top 5 trends in hip hop production for 2009.


5. The Airhorn

This has been a mixtape staple for years but only recently are we hearing it in actual songs on purpose. It originated in Reggae dance halls as a like a call to the dance floor. I remember hearing in a mixtape I got in like ’01 from Canal Street in NY. Then I would hear it from Dj’s at parties (probably because half of their stuff came from mixtapes). Obviously Drake’s Forever was the linchpin song that demonstrated this trick but I heard some others this year as well. Even Young General wanted me to throw it in Headbanger Boogie.

Drake Forever Cover


4. The Drumma Boy Sound Effect

Even though Put On by Young Jeezy was the summer anthem for 2008, in 2009 everybody started biting Drumma Boy’s (the prodcuer of the song) style by inserting that electro synth build up sound effect into every damned song. My understanding is that it was supposed to be his signature tag but I guess it doesn’t work if everyone else does it.


3. Synthesizers

I suppose this was more of a carryover from 2008 but I think the death of Michael Jackson and the trend of 80’s throwback kept it going. In the last month I can’t turn on the radio without feeling like the line between hip hop, pop, techno and electro has been blurred beyond recognition.


2. Hi Pass Filtered Ad Libs

This is also known as the “telephone” effect. Obviously we were first introduced to this on B.I.G.’s Warning. But now it’s like people can’t make a song without having at least one track of vocals passed through the filter. Even singing vocals. That Sean Kingston song is a perfect example. Melodies or some sh*t like that.


1. The Triplet Kick

The staple song for the year on this one would be Every Girls by Drake, produced by Tha Bizness. It’s essentially an extra kick between a double. It’s really simple but I’ve heard it so much that I don’t understand why this never happened before. Timbaland used to do it all the time but when he did it with a bunch of other off beat type rhythms. These are like your basic 1,4,7,11 patterns (on a 16 step based sequencer) but done on a 1/32 as to be able to add that quick triplet. It’s funny because I know Jason is reading this right now and has no idea whatI am talking about.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , on September 14, 2009 by letterlbeats

“Respect the game homie/

That should be it/

What you eat don’t make me sh*t”

Jay-Z

XXL 09 Oct

Sometimes the aesthetics of hip hop culture are just as important as its products. Big ups to XXL Magazine this month for really delving deep into some issues that are essential to the culture. Check out this video from XXL Magazine:

When I have more time I am going to dig deeper into their issue with Jay-Z on the cover as well as provide an in depth review of The Blueprint III. Stay tuned…

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2009 by letterlbeats

Good Friday Hip Hop!

“I Got Chicks Like Simone And Cala
Stay With Lip Gloss And Fitty Bag Beside Her
And Your Girl Said You Aint Ready For Me
I’m In Love So Mommy Got Me Singing Teena Marie”
-Consequence

Teena Marie

I was messing with some sample sets last night and I finally consciously realized what I knew all along: I’m in love with Teena Marie. Before Mariah was Mariah, there was Teena Marie. Legend has it that Teena, protege of Rick James, was the subject of his infamous Superfreak record. The woman is beautiful, she has a beautiful voice and her band is phenomenal. I always like to sample any part of the record where her band is playing and she is doing runs (improvisations) over it. Anyway, I’m about to finish this song tonight with a sample from a song called Tune In Tomorrow that’s definitely gooing to be very nice. The drums already knock so I am mostly trying to get the sequencing together. Have a fun and safe weekend hip hop!

One

P.S. Please youtube Brandon Marshall. My dude went ape in practice. He punted a ball into the woods!

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2009 by letterlbeats

Good Friday hip hop!

I haven’t done a top 5 list in awhile. So for top five Fridays, here we go. Top Five Best Hip Hop Movies (I suppose the term “Hip Hop Movies” is debatable but it’s my list so I decide what a hip hop movie is)

5. Friday
This movie needs no introduction. Dope soundtrack. Cube. Enough said. ”Smokey,you been eatin’ corn?” -Ezal

4. Above The Rim
Even doper soundtrack. Basically the soundtrack to the summer of ’94. Tupac, Wood Harris, Duane Martin and Leon a.k.a. J.T. Stone from The Five Heartbeats (Another blog for another time). This was classic black real cinema before America wanted their black movies in Morris Chestnut-sized bites.
“Nutsooooo!!” -Shep

3. The Show
Okay there is no need to be ashamed if you’ve never heard of this movie, let alone seen it. It came out a year before Rhyme & Reason which is probably why it’s better, grittier and is seriously lacking in West Coast focus (I wasn’t paying attention to the West Coast back the either). But the soundtrack was INCREDIBLE…no hyperbole, no exaggeration. Songs like How High by Method Man & Redman, Summertime In The LBC by Dove Shack (J Love this song), Everyday Thang by Bone Thugs N’ Harmony and the live version of Me & My Bitch by B.I.G.
“If I wasn’t such a big nigga I’da been jumpin’ in the crowd too.” Notorious B.I.G.

2. Juice
Again, another one that needs no introduction. Tupac again, this was just epic. Omar Epps as a DJ. Cameo’s by Erick Sermon, Queen Latifah, Ed Lover, Special Ed, the fine ass chick from En Vogue and Samuel L. Jackson. Another craaaazy soundtrack. Rakim, EPMD, Heavy D, Jodeci…bananas.
“She got that snappy nappy dugout.” -Trip (Samuel L. Jackson)

1. Fade To Black
Until this came out on 2004, I was convinced that nothing would ever replace Juice at the top of my list. I used to watch Juice on VHS cassette over and over. I literally would get to the end and as soon as the dude goes up to Omar Epps and says, “You got the juice now man,” I would just rewind it and watch it all over again. I loved Juice…UNTIL. Fade To Black got behind the scenes of hip hop in a way that nobody had before. I remember the year before when Linkin Parl came out with a mashup CD with those Jay-Z songs and it had a DVD in it of the studio and rehearsal sessions. That, I am ashamed to say, is the first time I actually saw an MPC. That was the most behind the scene footage I had ever gotten of a hip hop studio. So when Fade To Black came out, I couldn’t stop watching it. The scene when Timbo is bouncing around like a Gorilla stands out because he actually had a banana in his hand. The scene with Kanye where he flipped that Dopeman sample was one of my favorite. And of course the stuff with Pharell (that man is a true musician) is unreal. I pay attention to Major 7 chords now just because of that scene. Obviously the soundtrack is outastanding because it was the Black Album. Lucifer. Church
“The bounce comin’ up!” -Timbaland

Top 5 Hip Hop Movies

P.S. I just watched this show on E! called Reality Hell while I was writing this blog. Hilarious. Somebody Youtube this: “Bitches Love Champeezzy”

P.P.S. Somebody remind me to rant on all these chicks runnin’ around here with too much eyeliner on…lookin’ like cats…smh…

P.P.P.S. Yes I’m still making beats. Check the new joints, Pick Up Lines and Headbanger Boogie.

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