Artist: Nas Title: Be a Nigger Too Label: Columbia Records
Before we all get bent out of shape over the song's title or the fact Nas has titled his summer 2008 release "Nigger" here's a little history lesson - Richard Pryor dropped the album "That Nigger's Crazy" all the way back in 1974, one month before I was even born. It's not as if Nasir Jones is really breaking new ground here, and if it was good enough for one of the greatest comedians of all time, it's hard to argue one of the greatest rappers of all time should be barred from doing the same. Once you get your obsession over the word out of your system, Nas is spitting intelligent raps to challenge your preconceptions about the world. "Not mad cause Eminem said nigga/Cause he my nigga wigga cracker friend/We all black within, okay?/We all African okay some Africans don't like us no way/A killing happened in Johannesburg, yesterday/Slain artist named Lucky Dubai, hijacked/Some say NAACP, keep us sidetracked/But I don't buy that, I buy Aston Martins." Clearly Nas is not going to be held back by what you think of his choice of words, and considering how many people envy his verbal wizardry and financial status his Dr. Pepper inspired chorus may be more apt than your pastor or professor would ever care to admit.
Artist: Fokis f/ Joell Ortiz Title: Pandemonium Label: Loyalty Records
Don't get it confused, this is not the same Focus who dropped "Dedicated" for free on the internet a few months back, hailing from the Aftermath camp. Apparently the two artists with similar names and different spellings have met and worked together before, which seems almost obvious when Fokis spits to a beat hard enough to have been Dr. Dre or one of his ghost producers. In fact if you're not paying attention you might mistake Fokis for The Game, but Joell Ortiz will jar you back to reality. "Listen I ain't botherin you, don't be botherin me/Cause you already background and I'll make you harder to see [...] Back to the fact I'm crushin like half of the cats you lovin/But the other half, C'MON! We'd be havin a whack discussion." Ortiz' certainly doesn't pull punches and with all due respect to Fokis he steals the show on this single, and I'd recommend the single with it's heavy handed pianos on the strength of his bars alone. If Fokis can escape The Game's shadow with L.E.S. help, he might turn out to be type nice too.
It's hella easy to be cynical about receiving a single from two artists you've never heard of claiming to offer "Inspiration" in a world of musical mediocrity, but for a laugh I gave their track a spin and was PLEASANTLY surprised. You could argue that Smitty's production style is derivative of Kanye West, complete with the sped up R&B sample in the background, but if you're going to bite someone you might as well bite one of the best and do it well - Smitty does. I'm not sure where Raydar Ellis' developed his flow but he's not coming with anything generic here - he's on some thought provoking NYOIL type Immortal Technique shit. "Yo, runnin from my culture, that's why I MC Ultra/Magnetic, America known for it's black fetish/And my people stereotyped for bad credit/But if credit was given where it's due, my people debtless [...] and guess what America, I still ain't get my mule!" Despite any inclinations I had before spinning this track, Smitty and Ellis proved to truly be INSPIRATIONAL with a track of lyrics to feed your head and beats your soul craves.
Artist: 9th Wonder & Buckshot f/ Talib Kweli Title: Hold it Down Label: Duck Down Records
As if I wasn't already amped up for a 9th Wonder & Buckshot album when "Go All Out" was released, the all-star producer and MC team come back with even more fire on "Hold it Down." Ever since the Black Moon days Buckshot has been an MC's emcee, with a laid back flow and unique syllabalic emphasis to his delivery that captures the ear, and the latest single is no exception. "Time fly byyyy/Guess how many people tryin to make it in the world, so am I!/I can't lie, I be on the side like yeah/Anything movin, I'm theah/Soon as I hear, money callin I'm pick up a cell/Cautious, cause my little man in a cell." The only way this New York native could be outshined over a bouncy 9th Wonder beat is if a Brooklynite named Kweli jumped in the mix. "I don't want to ask a/question with no answer but I still fight for the chance/to right the killer cancer/wipe poverty off the map/with a verse and a 9th Wonder track." HELL FUCKIN' YEAH. Could "The Formula" be the album of the year? It's awfully early in 2008 and I haven't even heard the full-length yet, but two hot singles hint at a level of dopeness never previously imagined. "Let's get to heaven cause we hellbound man!"
New York, NY - KOCH Records/Big Oomp Records recording artist Baby D is being held without bond in Ohio on federal charges for allegedly trafficking cocaine. Baby D vehemently disputes these allegations. He is being held in the Butler County Jail which also houses people held on federal charges). Baby D was arrested in Dayton, Ohio on March 26, 2008 and continues to be held without bail. He also has three pending assault charges in Tennessee where he has a bond set. A warrant for his arrest in Georgia was recently dismissed.
How this will affect the release of his new album, A-Town Secret Weapon (April 29th, 2008) is still unclear. Baby D has cultivated a loyal following of fans in his native Decatur and throughout Atlanta who have been chanting and bouncing with him for years. He made his move into rap music when he met hip-hop entrepreneur and retail powerhouse Big Oomp in 1994. Oomp was preparing to launch his record label, Big Oomp Records, and quickly signed the young rapper.
Baby D released his first album, Off Da Chain, at the young age of 16. His acclaimed follow-up Lil' Chopper Toy was released two years later
Baby D's first single "I'm Bout Money" produced by DJ Montay (Flo Rida feat. T-Pain "Get Low," UNK "Walk It Out," "2 Step") can be heard on urban radio, and the video is currently airing BET and MTV Jams, and was the MTV "Jam of the Week" for the first week of April. The new album A-Town Secret Weapon will feature appearances by Shawty Lo & Gucci Mane among others.
From the desk of 4Sight Media straight to the readers of RapReviews.com, here are the responses of Prodigy, Cormega and Lee to the Sean Bell Verdict.
** PRODIGY **
"First of all, rest in peace to Sean Bell and I want to send my condolences to his wife, kids, family and friends and all the Sean Bell boys - Hold your head.
We lost a lot of battles but we will win the war. The decision in the Queens courtroom on Friday, April 25 was simply a display of power. The NYPD is just a branch of corruption connected to a giant corrupt tree called the United States government. This tyrannical corrupt tree has its roots planted deep into the United Kingdom.
The Sean Bell murder coverup is less about race and more about power. This evil family tree of corruption will do whatever it takes to remain in a position of power. They will put a judge who they can control on the case, in order to get the outcome they want and eliminate the risk of being exposed and exposing the higher ups. I want to be very clear that all judges, DAs, lawyers, cops are not corrupt, just most of them.
People of all races need to come together to control our government and run a giant comb through it, so we can see the filth that comes out. Right now we have a government that controls the people, instead of people that control their government. Until we can do that, there'll be several more incidents like the murder of Sean Bell.
America is under a spell and we need to snap out of it."
** LEE ** "There's always the constant message of disregard being sent to the Black community from the government's justice and social systems. I've witnessed verdicts like this be handed down from city to city all over the country with the same message echoing: "You don't count." I saw it with the William Lozano case in Miami years ago. We can see it most recently with the Jena, Louisiana case.
I am often reminded of the early day's when this nation was born and the 13 colonies. Blacks lived in fear of this country and the government even before the Pan-African slave trade began. Once slavery began freed men were forced to carry papers to prove their God-given right to walk among free men always in fear that some clan of men could come along and take them from their families and sell them like cattle at their discretion. All through this country's history this fear has been cultivated into the hearts of Blacks. We've been conditioned to fear the very government that is to protect us.
Even now after the Civil Rights Movement and the days of burning crosses and public lynchings remnants of that old justice and social system still live on. And the fact that all of the officers were not Anglo means little within in the context of the grander message: "At any time and any place you will be reminded that you don't count. You can always be put down." It's not about taking our leaders away anymore, as there are few or none with a real voice. It's about letting everyday citizens know that they don't matter. It's the message that's sent to young Black children that they should grow up in fear of this government because they simply don't have a voice in the justice/ social system. This system does not care for them or speak for them.
That is the pervasive message that is sent to our communities and its objective seems to have been to constantly plant seeds of hopelessness so that we never share in the American Dream."
** CORMEGA ** "The Sean Bell murder itself was a reflection of how expendable black men are in the eyes of many. The verdict was a far worse crime because it stripped a dead man of his rights and it stripped a community of hope. We came so far as a people yet gained little momentum but I would like to thank society for re opening my eyes to the myth called equality and the justice that eludes just us! Power to the People!"
Growing up in a bad neighborhood oftentimes leads young men and women down the wrong path in life. Loj’s parents weren’t about to let that happen to him despite their address being in South Jamaica, Queens. Loj remembers “growing up was an interesting experience because Southside is a rough neighborhood, but my parents did everything they could to keep me off of the streets. They put me in Catholic school all the way in Rego Park, which is a nice neighborhood, and they also put me in a number of after school activities.” When Loj turned 17 his family moved to Flushing, but well before that move happened Loj discovered Hip-Hop. “My sister is an emcee, Helixx C. Armaggedon, and she was rockin since she was like 14, so that means I was like nine when I started getting into it.” Loj is now more than just “into it” as he’s been making considerable noise in the NY scene as an emcee himself. This week I sat down with him to find out more about his fascinating life, the concept behind his album, No Labels, and where he finds his inspiration.
Yesterday Wesley Snipes received the maximum jail sentence of 36 months on three misdemeanor tax evasion charges, AND he also faces a $5 million fine for failing to pay $15 million of income taxes over the last decade. The prosecutors called his failure to pay straight up "fraud". Let this be a lesson to you sports and entertainment stars out there - the fed does NOT play when it comes to paying your shit, so pay early and often. Thanks to www.udubnews.com for this tidbit.
I can’t tell you how many times someone asks me which rap artists I like that are well known and I respond by drawing a complete blank. Yes, I prefer a lot of lesser known emcees, but it has nothing to do with the fact that they’re lesser known, it’s just that I think they’re making better music than what I hear on the radio. Of course, before I can explain this my initial reaction of “I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head” quickly gets me labeled a “hater.” Well, I’m not a hater and today I’m going to prove it. That’s right, today I’m going to list, to the best of my ability, the mainstream artists I will actually turn the radio up for.