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j. cole “i’m a fool”

i’ve had this j. cole song on repeat since it dropped yesterday (cool that he released it by emailing it directly to a fan).  even though the rapper is pretty successful right now, he doesn’t ignore his personal flaws and those within the things that helped shape him.  cole also produced the track (as he often does), making great use of cee-lo’s “fool for you”.


09/17/12 1 Comment

rick ross “sixteen” f/ andre 3000

when a 16 bar verse isn’t enough to say what’s on your mind, you get an extended slick track from rozay and 3k.  dre dominates the mic on this one so it might be the closest thing you’ll get to a full song from the now professional feature rapper™.  ross’s new album god forgives, i don’t do much lyrically but i pick hot beats  drops on tuesday.


nas “loco-motive” f/ large professor

another hot single from what’s shaping up to be a great album.  i really had to post it though on the strength of the second verse (below), which embodies a lot of what i love about hip hop (bravado, honesty, wittiness, emotion, skill, etc.).  make sure you see why nas’s life is so good on july 17th:

At seventeen I made seventeen thousand livin’ in public housin’
Integrity intact, reppin’ hard
They askin’ how he disappear and reappear back on top
Sayin’, “Nas must have naked pictures of God or somethin'”
To keep winnin’ is my way like Francis
As long as I’m breathin’, I’ll take chances
A soldier comin’ home, twenty years old with no legs
Sayin’ there’s no sense to cry and complain, just go ‘head
So much to write and say, yo I don’t know where to start
So I’ll begin with the basics and flow from the heart
I know you think my life is good cause my diamond piece
But my life been good since I started finding peace
I shouldn’t even be smilin’, I should be angry and depressed
I been rich longer than I been broke, I confess
I started out broke, got rich, lost paper then made it back
Like Trump bein’ up down up, play with cash


lupe fiasco “bitch bad”

maybe the biggest criticism against hip hop is the mainstream disrespect of women found in some raunchy videos and misogynistic lyrics too often laced with “bitches” and “hoes.”  lupe fiasco addresses the issue in his latest single “bitch bad.”  the song talks about how the images shown to children by music and adults can affect boys’ perceptions of women and girls’ perceptions of themselves.

the onus on cleaning things up isn’t just on the music industry (who at times chooses to promote trashy things), but also on parents and mentors (who at times choose to consume/support trashy things).  whether it’s with music or in general, it’s important that we give our youth a consistent and proper example of how to respect themselves and others.

you can check out the song lyrics below via rapgenius (click on the words for explanations from the site).  also, be on the lookout for lupe’s next album, which is scheduled to drop on september 25th:


Yeah, I say
Bitch bad, woman good, lady better
Hey, hey
Hey, hey

[Verse 1]
Now imagine there’s a shorty, maybe five maybe four
Ridin’ ’round with his mama listening to the radio
And a song comes on and a not far off from being born
Doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong

Now I ain’t trying to make it too complex
But let’s just say shorty has an undeveloped context
About the perception of women these days
His mama sings along and this what she says

“Niggas, I’m a bad bitch, and I’m that bitch
Something that’s far above average”

And maybe other rhyming words like cabbage and savage
And baby carriage and other things that match it

Couple of things are happenin’ here
First he’s relatin’ the word “bitch” with his mama – comma
And because she’s relatin’ to herself, his most important source of help
And mental health,
 he may skew respect for dishonor

Bitch bad, woman good
Lady better, they misunderstood

(I’m killin’ these bitches)
Uh, tell ’em
Bitch bad, woman good
Lady better, they misunderstood
They misunderstood

[Verse 2]
Yeah, now imagine a group of little girls nine through twelve
On the internet watchin’ videos listenin’ to songs by themselves

It doesn’t really matter if they have parental clearance
They understand the internet better than their parents
Now being the internet, the content’s probably uncensored
They’re young, so they’re malleable and probably unmentored
A complicated combination, maybe with no relevance
Until that intelligence meets their favorite singer’s preference
“Bad bitches, bad bitches, bad bitches
That’s all I want and all I like in life is bad bitches, bad bitches”

Now let’s say that they less concerned with him
And more with the video girl acquiescent to his whims

Ah, the plot thickens
High heels, long hair, fat booty, slim
Reality check, I’m not trippin’
They don’t see a paid actress, just what makes a bad bitch


[Verse 3]
Disclaimer: this rhymer, Lupe, is not usin’ “bitch” as a lesson
But as a psychological weapon
To set in your mind and really mess with your conceptions

Discretions, reflections, it’s clever misdirection
Cause, while I was rappin’ they was growin’ up fast
Nobody stepped in to ever slow ’em up, gasp
Sure enough, in this little world
The little boy meets one of those little girls
And he thinks she a bad bitch and she thinks she a bad bitch

He thinks disrespectfully, she thinks of that sexually
She got the wrong idea, he don’t wanna fuck her
He think she’s bad at bein’ a bitch, like his mother
Momma never dressed like that, come out the house hot mess like that
Ass, titties, breasts like that, all out to impress like that
Just like that, you see the fruit of the confusion
He caught in a reality, she caught in an illusion

Bad mean good to her, she really nice and smart
But bad mean bad to him, bitch don’t play your part

But bitch still bad to her if you say it the wrong way
But she think she a bitch, what a double entendre


[Outro: MDMA]
Bitch bad, woman good, lady better
They misunderstood
You’re misunderstood (I’m killin’ these bitches)
Bitch bad, woman good, lady better
Greatest mother hoood (I’m killin’ these bitches)

06/28/12 3 Comments

ice t’s 10 rules of public speaking


few people are more equipped to teach public speaking than rappers.  whether it’s competing in a local freestyle battle, impressing a single record exec to get a deal or rocking a stage in front of thousands, true emcees are able to control their audience by knowing what to say and how to say it.  such skills translate to places outside of music including boardrooms, classrooms, courthouses and churches.

in a recent nypost article, ice t and some other hip-hop pioneers use their knowledge and experience to offer some great advice for the next time that you find yourself in front of a mic.  check out their tips below and also ice t’s new documentary “from nothing to something: the art of rap” which hits theaters this weekend:

1. Know your material.

Don’t flap your gums about partying with hot girls in the Hamptons if you’ve never even driven through Long Island. You can’t lie about real-life experiences, especially if you’re giving a speech. “A crowd can smell a fake from a mile away,” explains Ice T. “People relate to personal stories — it pulls them in and makes them feel special.”

2. Practice. Then, practice some more.

“Before concerts I would put on instrumental versions of songs and push the melodies to the front of my mind,” says Ice T. “Rehearsing out loud is key.”

Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian found a perfect tool for rehearsing on the B-side of Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks.” The instrumental track, “Do It Yourself,” was a wide-open sonic canvas on which emerging emcee’s could practice wordplay, delivery and working with a deejay.

3. Know the audience.

“Identify who you’re going to be addressing and tailor your words accordingly. You can’t address the Hells Angels the same way you would fans at a Garth Brooks concert,” says Ice T, laughing. “Greet the audience. Use humor. Do whatever you can to make a connection.”

4. Know the room.

Get familiar with the acoustics, just as rappers do in the studio. “This is where mike skills come in,” Ice T. says. “A great emcee knows how to command the crowd with their voice — get them to applaud, speak, stand up and sit down on cue.”

Sadly, your speaking gig probably won’t include Cristal, weed and groupies. “Man, that’s what I need to get going,” Snoop Dogg says.

5. Be descriptive.

“When you talk, paint vivid pictures with your words,” Ice T says. “When I rhyme about the hood, I want a white kid who lives in Omaha to feel like he’s living there.”

The legendary Rakim agrees: “When Slick Rick raps about running through the park, you can actually smell the grass,” he says.

6. Be confident.

There’s a fine line between confidence and boasting — and only the best emcees can toe it. “Kanye [West] and Jay-Z are perfect examples. They know people are hanging on their words, but they never come across as arrogant,” says Ice T. “Whether you’re running a seminar or a meeting, you need to grab people’s attention by showing confidence — even if you have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. People will believe almost anything that comes out of your mouth once they detect confidence.”

7. Never apologize.

“State your opinion and roll with it no matter what,” says Ice T. “Once you win over a room, they won’t turn their back on you. Saying I’m sorry over and over again makes you look nervous and weak.”

8. Put in the hours — and learn to love them.

“You have to live in your work environment,” says veteran Nas. Adds the iconic Dr. Dre, “I’ve been in the game for 27 years and only been out of the studio two weeks — that’s how much I love my business.”

9. If two of you are presenting, pick the right partner.

“Make sure people have character, instincts and a real interest in what you’re about,” says Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. “It’s the same when rappers choose partners to collaborate with. Big names don’t always mean it will work. The right person must have a solid grasp of who you are and your style. It’s no different in the business world.”

10. Pump up the volume.

Avoid boring people to tears during the next big boardroom meeting. “If you’re planning to discuss a hostile takeover of a company put on ‘Fight the Power’ by Public Enemy and get everyone fired up,” says Ice T. “Then, celebrate the acquisition that will make the company a lot wealthier by blasting Ice Cube’s ‘It Was a Good Day.’ ”

jay electronica “dear moleskine”

in case you forgot, jay electronica actually makes music.  really.  here he is with an ode to your favorite writers’ favorite notebook.  snippets of the song dropped years ago but this is the full cdq version, produced by just blaze.  spotted in the smoking section, lyrics below via rapgenius:


Have you ever ever ever been depressed so bad
It was a struggle every day not to regret your past
Feeling cursed like you never ever get your swag
And you was speeding down the highway when your threshold pass
When you cried all your tears out
And one page of your diary can tell you what your year ’bout
That’s a lonely place
My mama said “Son, why such a lonely face?”
Because the pressure’s on me
Plus I feel like Bill Murray trapped in Punxsutawney
Dr. Phil told me that I can sell crack or hit the army
Look at where we live at
Tell me you don’t hear that
Tell me you don’t feel that
Show me to the way out
Tell me when pastor Raphael gon’ reveal that
If not, man I’m outta here
I’m just a sleep walking robot that’s outta gear
I stick my nose out the water to the sky for air
Lama sabachthani
I’m trying to see light but the devil trying to blind me
The grim reaper walking with his shovel right behind me
Trying to introduce me to the untimely unkindly
I walk the line finely like Johnny Cash
But I keep getting visits from the ghost of the past
So I spark another L then I go to the pad


the mick jagger of rap rocked the south by southwest stage on monday.  watch his hour+ concert above with a full set list below.

set list:

“what more can i say”

“dirt off ya shoulder”

“where i’m from”

“you don’t know”

“99 problems”

“nigga what, nigga who”

“big pimpin'”

“heart of the city”

“i know”

“girls, girls, girls”

“excuse me, miss”


“give it to me ”


“on to the next one”


“jigga my nigga”

“run this town”

“lucifer”/”free mason”


“beach chair”


“hard knock life”

“empire state of mind”


video: jay-z @ sxsw


the legendary roots crew’s latest album undun focuses on the fictional redford stevens.  according to questlove, redford is “the prototypical urban kid — young, gifted, black, and unraveling before our eyes. Too volatile to embrace, we wait for the shot clock to count down their demise.”  the group put out this short film to complement the story that emanates from the music.



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