Biggie’s Big Change

Some thoughts on an artist’s evolution:

The later parts of Biggie’s career is pretty cool.

The first track off his album “Life After Death,” is the super-famous song “Hypnotize.” It has the chorus “And I just love your flashy ways/ Guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid.” He spends lots of money, and then gets more money to spend because he’s a big spender.

tumblr_nuf6d5wkA41r94h9do1_500.gif

This song, like most of his other work, is really smooth. The music video, also, is a lot of fun – helicopters chasing boats, cars, other expensive things and such. That said, it’s a lot different than the start of his career.

Biggie is one of the artists people categorize as being part of “the golden age of hip-hop.” Let’s take a look at the first album our friend the Notorious B.I.G made: Ready to Die. The golden age-y part of his career is a little different.

Genius user diplopotamus describes the album perfectly: “[Biggie] is a monster, a beast, a charismatic killer. He can sound playful or intimidating, thuggish or erudite, fat or fatter.”

We’ll focus on the track “Juicy” because the song’s literally about hip-hop.

This track is also about money, success, and the like. But the difference I see is that he’s comparing that stuff to his old life and, more than anything, trying to be an inspiration.

“I made the change from a common thief/ to up close and personal with Robin Leach,” for example. For those of you who don’t know, I looked it up and Robin Leach hosted a show called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Biggie talks about the struggle he came from and where he ended up. He talks about critically important (even 23 years later as I write this) racial issues with the line “stereotypes of a black male misunderstood.”

Following the lyrics of the song, the video features both his old life in a big city and Biggie’s new, luxurious, mansion lifestyle.

What I’m saying is, I think the later music is less inspirational even if it might be more fun.

The message with the old music is work hard and you can get to the top. The new music is about staying at the top. I’m not saying any of it isn’t “real”… Big was just talking about his life – he was a rich guy talking about what it’s like to be rich. I just think it’s more important for kids to know how to get rich than for them to know what it’s like once you are.

Why do people hate Supreme?

908433-klekt-supreme-box-logo-crewneck-normal.jpgThe brand Supreme is a, for lack of a better word, huge and powerful brand. People wait in lines two days before the actual release date. Some people are even killed over shirts, jackets, and the like. Every year the market of Supreme resellers makes an immense amount of money.

This market is not friendly at all, selling shirts made of 100 percent cotton for prices over 300 dollars. Even selling a brick, yes a brick, for 60 dollars and above.

These over priced items items are the reason why many people shy away from buying Supreme and anything Supreme for resale prices. In my opinion, a lot of Supreme’s items are really interesting and look good. If someone can get something supreme for a reasonable price, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I do understand most people’s opinions that people shouldn’t pay over 200 dollars for a t-shirt. There are also many people who don’t like anything Supreme, even for retail. Some items like the Kermit tee, and regular box logo items are super cool to wear and to have. The retail prices for those items are (respectively) 44 dollars, and anywhere ranging from 44-148 dollars.

Now, are you telling me that 44 dollars is too much for a shirt? What is the difference when people pay insane amounts for cars when really you’re just buying the brand. A Honda and a BMW , in many cases, function the exact same. Yet many people prefer the BMW. This same logic goes to Supreme. Sure, a white shirt is similar to a plain Supreme box logo, but you’re still getting a really comfortable, good quality, and especially, great looking shirt.

Thanks, and as always,

Signing off,

Nick Rick,

Drake: More Life – Review

81118b1faf9c7377180039e385a15543.597x597x1.jpg

I want to start this off by saying I’m not quite sure what this album is. It’s “a playlist with all original music,” yeah, but at the very start I thought this was an excuse to try less hard on making the album. In an interview with Billboard, Nineteen85 said that Drake is putting out “good ideas…without making it a big ordeal.” I thought that this would be something similar to Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered (but that happened to be a pretty good project). He gave young artists, like some girl who won a singing contest somewhere, a shot at the spotlight on this project, though. I thought that was nice and it went well.

I was pleasantly surprised by the entire “playlist”; it’s good. I like Drake music so that’s probably why – it sounds like most of his other recent music. There’s a reason twitter exploded over this album last weekend.

Shoutout Kanye for production on some of the songs. Also shoutout Kanye for the Kanye song. It was better than I expected – sometimes Kanye features are lyrically not that great.

giphy.gif

Little side note, this project does the thing Tyler the Creator did on Cherry Bomb where the end of the songs flows right into the start of the next song (It turns out that Tyler copied this from a guitarist he works with regularly – Austin Feinstein).

Other side note: can Drake say “ting?” He does, but like is he allowed to? All I’m saying is it would be weird if I started saying it.

This project is reeaalllllly long – It’s literally longer than If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Personally, I think it’s too long but it is about playlist length.

¯\_()_/¯

In classic Drake fashion, it’s an introspective album. The third track, with it’s cheeky little Passion/Passin’ pun, is a more up-tempo sad Drake than Marvin’s room drake. It’s not all great. A lot of the songs are like this, and it starts to feel repetitive after a while, but the songs are good and there are some gems (4422 features an artist called Sampha who’s a pretty good singer).

Gyalchester brings the album back from Drake being real real deep in his feelings to some classic Drake money-rap type stuff. It’s about struggles from fame and such, but it’s sill cool – still a flex. “I don’t take naps,/ me and the money are way too attached to go and do that,” and the start of the chorus: “Hermès link, ice blue mink,” for example.

Also, SKEPTAAAA.

The second half of the album has cool features. There’s nothing much to say about these – all the songs that feature people (except the Kanye track) sounds like their music. If you like PARTYNEXTDOOR, you’ll like the track they’re featured on. If you like 2Chainz and Thugger, you’ll like Sacrifices. If you like Quavo and Travi$, you’ll like Portland. You get the point.

Bottom line: Good project, some Bangers, some not Bangers. It’s definitely worth the listen so that you can put your favorites in another playlist.

Cheers,

John.

 

Future? some thoughts.

future-hndrxx-cover.jpg

A couple weeks ago Future dropped two albums. One was self titled and the other was “HNDRXX.”

To be completely honest, I don’t understand why the first project exists. He’s been on top of his genre for a while, so whatever he’s doing works…but I don’t understand the difference between his songs. The album, Future, is a whole lot of fun, but so is his other music. To me, it feels like he’s just making song after song at this point because it doesn’t take a lot of effort.

The success of a trap artists seems to depend a lot on the sheer volume of music they churn out (pun intended). We saw it with Gucci mane a long time ago and we’re seeing it again with Future.

What I’m saying is, I understand why he keeps making more of the same songs – trap music with lyrics about girls, money, drugs and the like, but I really don’t think they need to exist.

I do think, that the HNDRXX project is an awesome turn. I was disappointed by “Future,” because I was really hoping for something that would take the music in a new direction. “HNDRXX” does exactly that.

It has a whole new R&B feel and includes features from artists like the weeknd and Rihanna. It’s a much deeper sound that makes the music feel more meaningful while maintaining Future’s signature mumble-rap style.

It’s a fantastic album. Go listen to it.

The First Season of the Netflix Original Series “The Get Down”

If you haven’t already, watch the trailer:

The promise of this fantastic show, for me, started with the trailer I watched long before the show came out. I instantly recognized, Shameik Moore, who also starred in the 2015 movie “Dope.” He does a great job once again. The acting in this show is stellar all around even though it feels a little cheesy every once in a while. However, a lot of the show is about disco music…so there’s probably not much the actors could have done.

The show focuses on life in the Bronx and the birth of hip-hop, and it’s fascinating. You’re learning, watching a drama, and listening to good music all at the same time. (Listen to this scorcher, Cadillac, Miguel wrote for the show)

The clothes are also cool – Shaolin Fantastic’s legendary red Pumas 1184104.jpgpictured below, for example. Watching the show is a unique opportunity to experience this incredibly vibrant culture from the past. It combines conflicts, conflicts that are either socioeconomic, political, or musical, to make the audience feel pain through the struggles, and pride in the triumphs of these kids.

Watch this show, it’s free on Netflix, you have no excuse.

Cheers!

John

On Kanye West…The Temporary Mental Downfall of a Superstar

I went to the Oakland Kanye concert a few months ago, and the entire experience was fantastic. ‘ye threatened to boycott the Grammys in support of Frank Ocean (video). There was a floating stage, great loud music, and lights everywhere.

img_5923

The only thing I didn’t love was the merch, and I did like the merch, but I payed far too much for that long sleeve saint pablo Gildan t-shirt.

The show was as erratic as anyone would expect. Yeezus performed his controversial opening lines to the song “Famous” something like nine times before he performed the song all the way through.

What I wanted to focus on, though, was the very lengthy performance of “Runaway.” After Kanye performed the regular part of the song, with the audience nostalgically singing along, he sat on a corner of the stage and talked to us as he looped the outtro. He would talk about some facet of his genius, pause for effect, sing “run away from me baby, runaway” for effect, and then continue his oration.

He seemed to be just a little crazy, but he explained how people say that just to put him down because he’s “not regular.”

Don’t get me wrong, ‘ye is, and always will be, a hip-hop legend, and I do think that he is a creative genius. That said, his mental state was probably not as stable as he claimed back in October.

Since then, some interesting things have happened. Kanye canceled his tour, was hospitalized, made friends with Donald Trump, and he recently wore, and supported, the confederate flag.

kanye-west-confederate-flag-x17 I think the flag was the most interesting, and the most unexpected. Much of Kanye’s music is about racial struggle, but he called it “his flag.” In a very Trump statement, he said “react how you want, any energy is good energy.”

What I’m saying is, he’s come out of the hospital even more controversial than he was before. There’s no way to truly understand Mr. West, but we can always try.

For his fans, I think everything will go well. Kanye seems to be more Kanye than ever, so I’m sure we’ll get new content that’s even better than what he’s already given us. For those who don’t like Kanye, I’m sorry but there’s clearly no stopping him now.