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Labyrinth, in Perspective

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009


Freddie became the second rap [act] in the publication’s 29 year history to grace the cover. The first were NWA in 1989.

Correction via my old fact checking team at XXL: The New Boyz and The Knux have both appeared on the cover of the LA Weekly within the last year. Remind me to never again cite Rap Radar as a credible source.

A Labyrinth, A Maze (5): The Internet’s Trying To Kill Me

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009


I thought I escaped these movements. But today a blogger who doesn’t particularly like street minded hip hop set me off again by blogging about the instant classic status of one such album. Yeah, I’m back in the labyrinth, this time to consider another variable: the critical darling status of country rap revivalists Freddie Gibbs and Pill.

Don’t get me wrong, Gibbs and Pill are both good to great rappers but they have become blog/msm favorites for an entirely different reason. They make music for a certain type of fan – ones who either grew up on UGK/Outkast/Ball&G or ones that wish that they did. They are what Little Brother was to Pete Rock and Tribe Called Quest. The new Okayplayers of Country Rap Tunes. The (perceived) golden age of Southern rap is now a good 10-15 years behind us. The cream has risen and with it critical norms that never existed. Where Pete Rock coexisted with Da Youngstas, UGK shared the same space as Silkk The Shocker. But we no longer have to acknowledge the latter, aesthetically inferior examples. The imperfections have been erased. What forms is a fictionalized nostalgia, a rewrite. (more…)

Fwd: D.O.R. (death of rap) DISS TO DRAKE AND THE NEW BOYZ

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009


Lil B – “D.O.R. (Death Of Rap)

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from the internet (2009)


i couldent take it anymore”

A Labyrinth, A Maze (4): Cipher Complete

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Perhaps you haven’t gotten the memo, RAP FANS, but gangster rap is dead. This, the greatest interview with hip hop’s leading thinker explains:

PyroRadio.com: So is the writing on the wall for Gangsta rap in your opinion?

Asher Roth: I think it’s about that time. It will be around, but if you look at The Game for example who was the last person to really come out talking that kinda stuff. Was he successful? Yes, but were people relating to it? No. You go to Los Angeles and Mexico that stuff gangs and stuff still exist but is that what we should be glorifying, no. People can disagree with me because there is a struggle in this country but rather than glorify gangs and make kids wanna join gangs I think we should concentrate on building and teaching rather than destroying shit.

“Gangs and stuff” are out. Modern mainstream rap will soon be a cornucopia of white boys who don’t identify with the culture, middle class skateboarders in three hundred dollar sneakers and dudes who would rather get on a vlog than a stage. [1] But why has the industry chosen this moment to embrace a new rap image? Since we’ve firmly established that no human being that isn’t attached to a computer monitor knows or cares about Charles Hamilton[2], we can definitely skip the chicken and egg deliberations. Nobody is playing catch up here. The labels have abandoned the traditional model of finding the underground hits and breaking them, the model that has produced almost every significant rap act of the past twenty years. They are suddenly so arrogant to think they can create hip hop stars in a petri dish. But why this moment? After a decade or so of selling “black death” why are we suddenly seeing a unified major label push towards what my racist uncle [3] would call “approachable black men” and other inoffensive neutrals like Asher at the expense of genuinely popular street rappers?[4] Sure Kanye set something of a precedent (so did Obama, I guess? [5]) but it seems bigger than that. (more…)

A Labyrinth, A Maze (3): Debunking The Myth Of Blog Payola

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

This is now an officially reoccurring series highlighting my continual attempt to document the rapidly crumbling and redeveloping rap/blog/industry complex. It’s inside baseball talk that is probably lost on the type of person for whom the names Charles Hamilton or Eskay or Best Of Both Offices are meaningless, so if you are in that vast minority of internet users simply interested in dope music and ideas about it, do not click to read more. (more…)