Archive for Talib Kweli

Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2009 by letterlbeats

Good Friday Hip Hop!

I’m about to go in on another Top 5 Friday. This edition will count down the Top 5 Female Lyricists alive.

5. Rah Digga

Hails From: Brooklyn, NY USA
Lyrics: 8/10
Delivery: 9/10
Notable Quotable: “Takin photos wit the black and gray Polo’s
Ruinin niggas lives like they K-Ci or JoJo”
Associations: Busta Rhymes Flipmode Squad

4. Jean Grae

Hails From: Cape Town, South Africa
Lyrics: 9.8/10
Delivery: 10/10
Notable Quotable: “Still trying to get my pen on/ Write scripts and light splifs
Until we high as light bills/ Watching for those that might switch”
Associations: Talib Kweli, 9th Wonder, Blacksmith Records

3. Da Brat

Hails From: Chicago, IL USA
Lyrics: 9.5/10
Delivery: 10/10
Notable Quotable: “Thick in the the thighs cant touch that/Stay on my grind
I bust back if I must act and empty a stack
Its B to the R-A-T trust that I’m crazy/ JD pays me, I’m such a fuckin lady”
Associations: Jermaine Dupri, So So Def, Missy Elliot

2. Lauryn Hill

Hails From: South Orange, New Jersey USA
Lyrics: 10/10
Delivery:9.5/10
Notable Quotable: “More powerful than two Cleopatras
Bomb graffiti on the tomb of Nefertiti
MCs ain’t ready to take it to the Serengeti
My rhymes is heavy like the mind of sister Betty”
Associations: The Fugees, Wyclef, Refugee Camp

1. MC Lyte

Hails From: Brooklyn, NY USA
Lyrics: 10/10
Delivery: 9.8/10
Notable Quotable: “In full effect MC Lyte is back
And better than before as if that was possible
My competition, you’ll find them in the hospital
Visiting time, I think it’s on a Sunday/But notice they only get one day to shine
The rest of the week is mine
And I’ll blind you with the science that the others have yet to find”
Associations: Elektra Records, Salt-N-Pepa

Bonus Footage: I was trying to find a clip of what I thought was Jean Grae for like two years. I heard this girl rapping on interludes for 9th Wonder’s 2007 Dream Merchant II. The only female emcee associated with him, or so I thought at the time, was Jean Grae so I just assumed it was her. In the process of looking for this clip I learned that it was not Jean Grae. It was in fact a female emcee named Rapsody. You learn something new everyday. Please enjoy and pay thorough attention to the second clip…9th Wonder is a beast, but Rapsody’s voice just….well watch it.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2009 by letterlbeats

“I stretched the game out, etched your name out, wrote Jigga on top and drop albums for ya non stop.”

Source Cover

The Source did it back in the fall and now Vibe just did it too. I’m glad people are finally starting to ask this question: Is 1998 the best year in hip hop?

Obviously it’s a complicated question especially when you begin to consider the criteria that would qualify a given year. Highest sales? Best albums? Best rappers? Most commercial exposure? Most cultural impact? Best lyrics? Yes. All of those. They talked about the success of underground, or should I say the success of underground going mainstream with examples like Mos Def and Talib Kweli and their accomplishments with the Black Star album as well as the rise of Southern independent record labels Cash Money and No Limit. They talked about the re-emergence of the East Coast with great albums from The Lox, DMX, Def Squad, Busta Rhymes, Wu Tang, Big Pun etc. DMX did something that had never been done in hip hop by dropping two albums that debuted at #1. They talked about record breaking sales numbers and the fact that rappers were signing contracts for obscene amounts of money.

In the end it’s all about the music. What I took away from the examination of ’98 was this: Right now, today if you went to the store to buy a rap/hip hop album, (I know we don’t do that much anymore but I am making a point to compare the present day to ’98) of the 20 or so that they have pushed to the forefront as “hot” or recently released, you might find one that you can call a.) real hip hop and b.) an album that you can listen to from start to finish, These two things are rare. Conversely, in ’98 almost every album was like that. If you look at rap beefs you can also find contrasting discrepancies. Rick Ross and 50 Cent are going at it right now but none if it is based in lyrical skill or content. It’s web videos and skits and mud slinging that does not occur on wax. Back then you had the whole Canibus v. LL thing and it actually had people debating about who was better. It had classic lines: “99% of your fans wear high heels,” vs. “99% of your fans don’t exist.” Have 50 and Rick Ross even put out records behind their beef?

It is what it is…

L’s Top 5 hip hop albums of 1998:

1. Jay-Z Hard Knock Life
2. DMX It’s Dark And Hell is Hot
3. Wu Tang Clan Forever (remember double discs?)
4. Big Punisher Capital Punishment
5. Jermaine Dupri The Life And Times of 1492

The Cavs pulled out game 5. It still doesn’t look good though. They have a matchup problem. Lebron can’t guard everybody. They need to go ahead and stop airing these Lebron vs. Kobe commercials because considering the state of the conference finals, it’s definitely a bad look.

Ok beat check time: First of all I took all of my equipment into school to show my students how to make beats. They realized it wasn’t as hard as they thought so now they’re all running home to ask their parents to buy $1000 worth of software and MIDI controllers. In the process I found out that I had some kids who could play a little. I actually started two beats based on melodies they laid down. As well, the night before I had gotten two beats pretty well laid and I had one more from earlier in the week. So basically I have five beats I need to finish. I have just been really busy, not only with work but I’ve been in Chicago the past two weekends and I’m going again this weekend for Jason’s birthday. I just need a day where I can get up and do nothing but work on these beats. Obviously they’ll be posted when I finish them so hopefully that can be by Monday.

Have a great weekend hip hop…One

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