2 Years…

Two years ago Tyler, The Creator thrust himself into the mainstream, jumped on Jimmy Fallon’s back and caused the artist formerly known as Mos Def to viscerally shout, “SWAG! SWAG! SWAG!”

Since then, he’s released one pretty good but uneven solo album, an equally so-so collabo Odd Future album and got tacked onto the end of Channel Orange, the album of the year, as a throw away hidden track.  He’s received no radio traction and has been regulated to nothing more than the random Complex blog post here and there.

What happened?  This guy was suppose to be the future of rap.  In two years he’s only had one hit.  And that’s only if you count popular YouTube videos as hits.  And by that measure what’s the difference between Tyler and Kreayshawn?  Okay, that’s a low blow.  I mean have you heard Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay?  If you haven’t, don’t.

Tyler is still young.  He’s only 21.  He has a lot of career left.  I even once compared him to a young Eminem (I wasn’t alone).  But after asserting himself as the leader of Odd Future, he’s already lost footing in his own entourage.  Think Vinnie Chase post-Medellin.  He’s been totally eclipsed by Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt may have passed him too.

Was Tyler just a gimmick disguised in cool 5-panel hats and graphic button ups?  Is he a one hit wonder?  Is he little more than a foul mouthed hype man?

I’ll tell you what I think.

I think he’s a good technical rapper who puts together rhyme schemes in an interesting way.  I think he’s a totally underrated producer who strings along catchy abrasive beats.  I think he’s 21 and bereft of any life experience that could fill a full album.  I think he’s hip-hop’s version of punk rock.  I think he has the talent to possibly recapture some of his buzz, but I mostly think he’s done.  A fad, like those 5-panel hats and graphic button ups he’s so smitten with, doomed to a life of tumblr reblogs and little else.

But I’m rooting for him.  Since Eminem stopped being Eminem twelve years ago, rap has been at a loss for a strong anti-hero.  Hip-hop needs an Anti-hero.  Someone hostile, politically incorrect, who gives a big middle finger to the Lou Pearlman and/or Scooter Braun pop machine.  It’s either going to be Tyler or Chief Keef.  For the sake of hip-hop, let’s all hope it’s going to be Tyler.

What – Take Care – Could’ve Been

take care couldve

The other day Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham won his first Grammy when Take Care took home the award for Best Rap Album (an award that should have gone to Good Kid Maad City, which wasn’t even nominated).  For all intents and purposes Take Care was a very good album, but by no means, no matter what others may say, is it a “classic.”  There is too much filler, too many extraneous features, and the last third of the album is almost completely unnecessary.  And in the hip hop world, were a classic or bust mentality is starting to develop, that’s important.

Every great rapper needs a “classic” album to be considered truly great.  Without a “classic” you fall into a level of rap with the likes of Ludacris, Nelly and Mase, never completely respected and often cast aside as a phase or a trend.  With Drake’s third album slated to come out this year and no “classic” on his resume (remember, rapper’s best material usually come early in their career, not late), he is in danger of becoming nothing more than a fad, something we look back on and wonder “what were we thinking?”

The only reason I bring this up is because I honestly think Take Care had great potential to be a “classic” and I still think somewhere in there lies a “classic” album.  So, I’ve taken it upon myself to classic-ify Take Care.  Scraping redundant tracks, remedying puzzling song choices and rearranging the track list.

What Take Care Could’ve Been

1.  Over My Dead Body
2.  Shot For Me
3.  I’m On One (feat Rick Ross, Lil Wayne)
4.  Crew Love (feat The Weeknd)
5.  Take Care (feat Rihanna)
6.  Marvins Room
7.  Buried Alive Interlude (Kendrick Lamar)
8.  Dreams Money Can Buy* 
9.  Lord Knows (feat Rick Ross)
10.  Camera / Good Ones Go Interlude
11.  Doing It Wrong
12.  Look What You’ve Done
BONUS:  HYFR (feat Lil Wayne)
BONUS:  The Motto (feat Lil Wayne)

KEEP Over My Dead Body and Shot For Me, they both are nearly flawless in kicking off a Drake album.  “I think I killed everybody in the game last year, man. Fuck it, I was on though.  And I thought I found the girl of my dreams at the strip club (mm-mm).  Fuck it, I was wrong though”, is the prefect start to any Drake album.  Also calling out Alisha on Shot for Me, so necessary.

SCRAP Headlines, although the first four bars are exceedingly amazing, any song that has Drake talking about catching bodies has to go.  

ADD I’m on One, I know this is a supposedly a “DJ Khaled track”, but c’mon this is a Drake track and everyone knows it.  Drizzy has to grow a set and tell Khaled to “suck it.”  This may have been the best hip-hop song of 2011 and DJ Khaled has nearly nothing to do with it.  

KEEP Crew Love, Marvins Room and Buried Alive.  Obligatory Weeknd feature has to be there.  Marvins Room is sooo Drake it’s not even funny.  Buried Alive is on the fence, Drake doesn’t even appear on the track, but Kendrick is too good to bump.

SCRAP Under Ground Kings, We’ll Be Fine and Make Me Proud.  Non of these songs are even remotely needed, I don’t even feel like going into detail.  

ADD Dreams Money Can Buythe Jai Paul sample alone should have qualified this as an uncuttable track, plus lines like “I feel like lately I went from top five to remaining five.  My favorite rappers either lost it or they ain’t alive” is exactly the kind of sass this album needs more of.

KEEP Lord Knows, Camera/ Good Ones God, and Doing it Wrong.  The Just Blaze beat on Lord Knows is too triumphant for words.  Camera/ Good Ones God is one of those sleeper tracks that breaks up the album and grows on you with repeat listens.  Doing It Wrong is basically Drake’s dissertation on the “hook up generation,” so generation Y.

SCRAP The Real Her, Practice and The Ride.  Sorry Andre, but there is no reason for Doing It Wrong and The Real Her.  Sorry The Weeknd, but there is no reason for Crew Love and The Ride.  Redundancies.  As for Practice, if Drizzy could have coaxed Wayne into reprising his role from the original, this may have been a different story, but really why re-invent a song that needs no re-inventing?

 KEEP Look What You’ve Done.  This album needs to end with Drake’s grandmother’s voice mail.  How did Drake not see this?

 BONUS:  HYFR and The Motto.  Okay the “official” album ends with Look What You’ve Done, but HYFR and The Motto are too infectious to end up as leaks or mixtape fodder.  They get tacked on to the end as bonus tracks.

There you have it.  Classic Album.  Credits.

*(note Dreams Money Can Buy is not available on Spotify)

Game Changer

guns n rosesThe Governors Ball finally announced their third headliner.  And after reading rumors it was going to be someone/thing called The Crystal Method (?).  I didn’t get my hopes up.  Then today the news came.

Third headliner.  Guns N’ Roses!!!!!!!

Now, I know it’s not the “real” Gun n’ Roses.  There’s no Slash.  No Izzy.  No Duff.  No Steven Adler.  I know it’s basically an entire new band fronted my a facially reconstructed Axl.

I also know there is a good chance he won’t even bother showing up (he does that sometimes).  And, I know, if he does show up, there’s an even better chance he’ll be two hours late (he does that sometimes too).  But, I hold out hope.

See in my pre-high school years I listened to two albums incessantly.  Green Day’s Dookie.  And Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction.  

While in Middle School, I took out Appetite from the library.  I burned it.  I listened to it.  I repeated.   It stayed in my discman for the next three years.  It’s an amazing album, I don’t care what any Brooklyn hipster says.  Any album that features, Welcome to the JungleIt’s So EasyNightrain, Mr. Brownstown, Paradise City, My Michelle, and Sweet Child O’ Mine is too good and if you can’t appreciate it that’s your problem.

Don’t believe me?  Listen to this and try to not rock your face off.

Imma Tumble That

In my constant pursuit of internet celebritydom, from time-to-time, I will spend hours upon hours curating new hip-hop themed tumblrs in the vein of Kanye’d by the Bell and Hugs from Drake.

My last, now deleted, attempted was titled Disney Drizzy, which combined Disney cartoon screenshots and Drake lyrics (genius, I know).




alceToday I was up to it again, spending entirely too much time on my new “project”.  I call it, Throw Ya Rocs Up.

The world was earning for someone, somewhere, to compile a catalog of every GIF and photo they could find of famous people throwing up the Roc.  Since I’m always selflessly looking out for others, but mostly because I harbor strong desires to be co-opted into the illuminati, I took up the challenge.

Your move illumanti.  Your move.