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)

The Greatest Kanye Show of All-Time

** GUEST BLOG ALERT**

I’ve made my love of Kanye West abundantly known on this blog before.  So, whenever I can coax a friend into having a long Kanye-centric conversation I jump at the opportunity.  Recently, I engaged in one of these conversations (she’ll better explain how it came about) and doled out some homework.

The Assignment; create your dream Kanye Set-list, which soon morphed into curate your dream Kanye concert.  She did an AMAZING job.  It’s all below, it’s also on her own blog (which is awesome in its own right).

Of course, me being somewhat rude and somewhat self-important, I had to have my voice heard in something called, “The Greatest Kanye Show of All-Time.”

Any of the text below that is in brackets and in bold italic font [they will look like this] are my reactions/comments, as if I were actually at the imaginary  concert.

Now for The Greatest Kanye Show of All-Time.

*******************************************************************************************************

The Greatest Kanye Show of All-Time – by Evron

This assignment quickly turned into someone’s version of fanfic. (mine)

It started out as a conversation about the Coachella rumors that then morphed into a “your dream headliners” discussion, which turned into my Greatest Kanye Show of All Time homework assignment. Here it is. Tell me this isn’t the GOAT and I’ll show you your lies.

Being the greatest imaginary show he’s ever performed, he’s obviously retiring and it’s obviously in Chicago.

Act 1
Flashing Lights
First 20 seconds looped once for hype factor. The best light show happens. Kanye’s light shows are kind of meh. given how much he tells his people MORE LIGHTS. For this one though, he gets in touch with the best EDM light guy and pulls it off. Enters via rising platform, up high mid-stage. [I’ve already popped a molly, I’m sweating…woo]

Can’t Tell Me Nothing
Greets the crowd for the first time afterwards. Tells them it’s going to be the greatest show of all time. The greatest retirement party of all time (“no offense, Jay”). “I WANT ALL YOU MOTHERFUCKERS UP ON YOUR FEET THE NEXT TWO HOURS.” [I oblige]  It’s a celebration tonight but first, take them back to where it started.

Through The Wire
Jesus Walks

All Falls Down
Scenes from Keeping up with the Kardashians play on the big screen. JK

Heartless
Kanye’s center stage with a mic and mic stand. Image on screen is something like a beating heart. Think this but an anatomical heart. Also more accapella, if possible. More vulnerable, less Kanye.

Roses (clip)
Only the first minute before cutting into the next song.

Hey Mama
Lighters light the arena. Stage drops black when song ends.

Act 2
*Wake Up Mr. West
Bernie Mac hologram, if possible. [Bernie Mac hologram!?! This has officially been taken to another level.] If not, some footage of his monologue on the screen would still be cool.

Heard ‘Em Say with John Legend
John Legend singing Adam’s part. He can do it.

Spaceship with GLC, Consequence, John Legend
GLC and Consequence appear, crowd is pumped. John stays on to do the ad libs and vibe out with Chicago. [At this point the entire arena is engulfed in a cloud of weed smoke.]

Drive Slow (remix) with Paul Wall, GLC, TI, John Legend
Again, John stays to sang. Paul Wall throws out free grillz during his verse. [It’s good to see Paul Wall…I guess?] Crowd goes wild when TI swaggers on stage. Afterwards Paul and TI both say something nice about Ye then bounce. Kanye says something about how the night is as much for Chicago as it is for him. Then…

Southside
Chicago goes insane. “IT’S COMMON!” Song ends, Common says something like, “CHICAGOOOO let’s keep this going.”

Get Em High with Talib and Common
Ladies swoon when Talib comes out to pick up his lines. Adorable exchange between Kanye and Kweli. Band goes into Touch the Sky immediately after song ends.

Touch The Sky with Lupe
Lupe enters from some platform up high on stage left… YES, YES, YES, guess who’s on third. Lupe steal like Lupin the 3rd. All the boys are groovin back and forth to the horns section. Feels good to be home. Consequence, Talib, John, Kanye, Common, Lupe, GLC stand in a lineup as the lights dim, while the music’s being faded out. Then it all cuts to black. [Really digging the whole Chicago movement, starting to wonder if Chief Keef is going show up]

Act 3

*Monster with Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj
Completely black at the start until that growl,  [I go insane, my anticipation for Jay builds] which some image of would be flashed on the big screen. Spotlight hits center stage where Rawse is sitting in a throne wearing some fur with no shirt underneath. Kanye comes back on stage. Skips Jay’s verse (cause lbr, it’s weak)  [WTF!?! I’m starting to worry Jay couldn’t find a baby sitter and is stuck at home]. Spotlight hits Nicki on some platform up high on stage right. She makes her way down some steps to the main stage during her verse. Strobe lights are used during her scream “YAAAAA I’M A MUTHAFUCKIN MONSTER.” Cuts right into “I cross the line” part after Nicki’s verse. Hugs and kisses are given to Nicki and she says something nice before she leaves the stage. Kanye asks if Ross has it in him to do one more? [Sort of disappointed Kanye and Nicki don’t perform Blazin’ (super underrated ‘Ye verse) but wasn’t really expecting it anyway.  Very disappointed of a possible Jay-Zless set] 

Maybach Music 2 with Ross and Lil Wayne
Weezy appears during his part slouched over the throne that Ross once occupied [alright that’s pretty cool, but I’m still wondering if Jay is going to show up]. Daps are given to both before they leave the stage. Kanye catches a breath and asks the audience if they’re alive. “Alright, who else we got back there?”

New God Flow with Pusha T and Ghostface Killah
Pusha and Ghostface ambush the stage [I start growing concerned a Wayne – Pusha altercation will happen backstage]. Ghostface takes the chorus in addition to his verse. When song ends the three guys banter with the crowd a little. Kanye asks Push if he wants to stay on a little longer. “Yeah, let’s do it.”

I Don’t Like with Pusha, Big Sean, and Jadakiss
Chief Keef does not come out [WHAT!?! No Chief Keef? This dissapoinment lasts for literearlly less than one second.]. Big Sean obviously does. Teenage panties drop. Jadakiss comes out as well. After the song ends, some cheesy banter like, “Wooo! damn son, what do we like?”

Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay with Big Sean
Completely up to the talent, but this would be the part where girls are invited on stage.

Mercy with Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Pusha, and 2 Chainz
Kid Cudi would come out just to dance and serve as hype man. 2 Chainz will definitely be there. [Me]
After the song, Ye says something about GOOD Music and bringing people together.

Start It Up with Lloyd Banks, Fabolous, Swizz Beatz, and Ryan Leslie
Lloyd Banks, Fabo, Swizz, and RLes are ALL IN THE BUILDING [Place is going HAM, the show is peaking]. Everyone on stage beforehand is partying in the wings. After the song ends, Ye says something like “I did it all for you, Chicago. This is all for you tonight” and brings out everyone that’s performed with him thus far.

Put On with Young Jeezy
Jeezy comes out, everyone in the audience/ onstage loses it.  [Put On is a great call, super excited it made the set list, the entire crowd and I are anxiously awaiting for the Amazing beat to drop]   “Call that bitch ya bodyguard?” Music cuts out, house lights on, “yeahhhh, that’s my bodyguard.” After song ends, Kanye thanks everyone for coming out.  [Amazing not being performed is decidedly not amazing] The fake out before the encore. Him and the 20+ make their way off the stage.

**I Can’t Stop (Flux Pavilion) 

[I assure everyone around me that there is no way the show is over.  I mean he didn’t even play Gold Digger yet, that would be like going to a Jay-Z show where he didn’t play Big Pimpin’]

Act 4
Diamonds From Sierra Leone with Jay-Z
A mash between the original Bonus Track and the Remix. [Okay, finally, I knew Jay was going to show up] The longer beginning of the remix, but K does his lyrics from the Bonus. Just cause I like image of “close your eyes and imagine, feel the magic, Vegas on acid seen through Yves Saint Laurent glasses” a lot.  [Wait.  Why didn’t I hear Jay’s grunts in the background?  My disappointment cannot be put into words] Jay-Z makes his first appearance when he comes out with “YUP I got it from here, Ye, damn.” Crowd goes bonkers [AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!] Diamonds everywhere. Stage drops black after Jay’s “Good night!” Lets crowd go crazy for a second. Still dark, Kanye says some shit like “you seen our little sis? where’s Rih at tonight?” [I die]

Run This Town with Rihanna and Jay
Rihanna enters via rising platform, up high mid-stage. Sings first verse acapella the best she’s ever sang before. Crowd has died. Illuminati takes a hold of the arena. Similar to this. They celebrating Kayne tonight. Diamonds. Song ends. Crowd is nuts. Ye tells them he wants to hear that last part one more time. House lights go up. Rihanna leads, HEYY AYYYAYYAAYY. Crowd follows. POWER drops immediately after.

POWER (remix) with Jay
Rihanna stays on the stage as hype woman, getting the crowd to clap with the song. Swizz does not come back out for his two lines [thank you]. After song ends, Ye playfully teases the crowd with, “my big brother was BIG’s brother.” Rih possibly joins in if she feels like it. Jay says something bashfully like, “hah, come on man, let’s get into this.” [At this point I do the math, T.I. is here, Wayne is here, Jay is here.  Of course, Kanye is here.  Patiently waiting for Swagger Like Us to be performed]

Why I Love You with Jay
Goes immediately into the next song.

Gotta Have It with Jay
Afterwards, some banter about going to Paris.

Paris with Jay
However many times Kanye feels like [If they play this any less than six times, I’m emailing Ticketmaster for my money back]. Thanks audience after song ends again. Rih, Jay and Ye throw it up, pour it up, best night of his life (offense, Kim). The fake out before encore #2.

[Again, I assure the people around me that the show is not over, he still needs to play Gold Digger and Stronger]

Final Act- Encore
All of the Lights (Interlude)
All of the Lights with Rihanna and Kid Cudi
There will be no restarts, Kanye. Cudi finally gets his moment. Cut Fergie’s part [duh]. After song ends, Rih and Cudi stay on stage. “I ain’t done yet, CHICAGOOO.”

Christian Dior Demin Flow with John, Pusha, RLes, Banks, and Cudi
I cease to live at this point.  [Pleasently surprised]

FOREVER with Drake, Weezy and Eminem
Drizzy’s in the HOUSE! Teen girls are crying. Eminem comes out and shits on everyone. [Would have rather heard Swagger Like Us, but whatever.]

Clique with Jay and Big Sean
Everyone that’s been in the concert is on stage. Ignorant shit happens.

See Me Now with BEYONCE
All dreams come true. Kanye thanks everyone that’s ever existed for everything that’s ever happened.  [BEYYYY!!!!]

Home with John
This is half-assedly performed. It’s more like the song that’s played while the credits scroll. Everyone’s crying. I’m crying.  [I’m not crying, still waiting for Gold Digger]

[Still waiting.]

[Still waiting.]

[Security guards forcibly remove me from the arena, while I shout, “HE STILL HAS TO PLAY GOLD DIGGER!!! HE STILL HAS TO PLAY GOLD DIGGER!! IT’S HIS MOST FAMOUS SONG!! IT WENT QUADRUPLE PLATINUM!!!”] 

Greatest of all time. [almost]

The Final List:

  1. Flashing Lights
  2. Can’t Tell Me Nothing
  3. Through The Wire
  4. Jesus Walks
  5. All Falls Down
  6. Heartless
  7. Roses (clip)
  8. Hey Mama
  9. Wake Up Mr. West
  10. Heard ‘Em Say
  11. Spaceship
  12. Drive Slow (remix)
  13. Southside
  14. Get Em High
  15. Touch The Sky
  16. Monster
  17. Maybach Music 2 
  18. New God Flow
  19. I Don’t Like
  20. Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay
  21. Mercy
  22. Start It Up
  23. Put On
  24. I Can’t Stop (Flux Pavilion)
  25. Diamonds From Sierra Leone
  26. Run This Town
  27. POWER (remix)
  28. Why I Love You
  29. Gotta Have It
  30. Paris
  31. All of the Lights (Interlude)
  32. All of the Lights Christian Dior Demin Flow
  33. Stronger FOREVER
  34. Clique
  35. See Me Now
  36. Home

*Outfit change
** Outfit/Set change

Songs that almost made the cut:
Stronger- last minute change [Should have made the list, it’s the second biggest song of his career]
Last Call- No one’s got time for a 12 minute song. (unless I can add this to the rolling credits) [Save this for the DVD]
Wouldn’t Get Far- Sorry, Game.
No Church in the Wild- Sorryyyyyy, Frankie. I still love you.
Because of You (remix)- there was just no place for it =(
Addiction
Gold Digger [I’ve already made my feelings know]
Diamonds (Remix)
Champion
So Appalled

Songs that some might argue, but I don’t care for (in this concert):
HAM [Totally okay with it’s omission]
Runaway [Less okay with this omission, but I get that time was a factor]
Gone
Love Lockdown
Amazing
Say You Will
Dark Fantasy
GORGEOUS

I trust Kanye to choose his outfits at his own discretion. As a fan, I can’t actually attempt to cramp his style when it comes to, well, his style. I do envision and suggest that he progresses from a nicer suit to a throwback backpack to his current luxury black goth to finally, whatever look he’s rockin when this concert happens.

I picture nothing crazy for the stage, no WTT platforms in the middle of the crowd. Very classic, big stage with big screen. It’s a rap concert, nothing more. I have no idea how the stage would change during the set change but again, I trust Kanye. Transitions and dialogues are only what I envision, loosely. He can freestyle all of that. Montages of his childhood, his growth, Chicago, wild animals, video vixens, and random shit are to be expected.

It’s my dream Kanye concert so there are A LOT of guests; meaning, in reality, way too many blown-out-of-proportion egos in one building. It’s definitely probable that some fucked some of the same ladies over the years. Lots of possible swords crossing. But it’s my dream scenario and in my dream scenario, they come together to celebrate the greatness of Kanye because chances are he’s the one that put them on the map. There will be no beefing.

So there it is. Please pass this along to Mr. West. This is my Make-A-Wish wish, God forbid.

Setlist via Spotify
(because of Spotify limitations: Power (remix) changed to Power, Drive Slow (remix) changed to Drive SlowHome changed to Homecoming and Christian Dior Denim Flow and See Me Now omitted.)