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The Cool Grown Ups


To hear the tastemakers tell it, the worst album of Lil Wayne’s career is the best rap album of 2008. And one of just two rap albums mentioned on Pitchfork’s year end wrap up (not even honorably). [1]

No Jeezy (whose OMG! RECESSION! hook was almost tailor made for the pitchforkian “we like rappers who are smart but not smarter than we are” perspective) or Killer Mike (he of twelfth best single of 2006 fame) or Gucci Mane (who should’ve been this year’s Cam’Ron to people whose entire relationship with hip hop entails laughing with/at? it) or Z-Ro (who wallows in misery and self doubt better than any of the unwashed white folks who made the Pitchfork list). Not even The Fucking Roots (who put out a better album this year than all the other ones they put out in the ~eight year period when non-rap critics were fawning over them.) And yeah, The Mixtape About Nothing was cute, but not even Wale would try to tell you it was the second best rap album of the year. [2]

But none of these acts need Pitchfork love. With the exception of maybe The Roots, it’s not like pitchfork kids were actually buying these types of records or going to those artist’s concerts, apart from their one off date at the Knitting Factory. Jeezy and Gucci will survive. Street rappers will always have the streets. [3] The artists who truly suffer from this are the old guard yackpack true school hip hoppers, the type of rap artists that indie rock listeners were jamming back when they were still talking down on people who listened to Lil Wayne. The type of artists whose only source of media attention were such so-called forward thinking or alternative publications.

Thes One, of perennial indieground favorites People Under The Stairs [4], made an interesting post on soulstrut recently, the gist being that, while their new album Fun DMC [5] is well on its way to selling 10k, it hasn’t received a lick of press. Not even from XLR8R, a magazine I had just assumed covered People Under The Stairs exclusively, is returning their calls. As semi-deserved as the “hey gangsta/southern/poor people rap is smart after all” critical movement of recent years was, it’s now having something of a scorched earth effect on hip hop coverage in non-rap and half-rap publications. Even the nerdiest ones (Urb, XLR8R) have absorbed the superficiality of rap popism and are now way too cool for what was once their bread and butter. So instead they just put the prettiest motherfucker on the cover. (Enter Charles Hamilton.)

This all means very little for an act like PUTS (or, say, Scarface, another [and, of course, better] rap niche legacy act whose triumphant final album was like kryptonite to national magazines this year.) because, like Thes said, they’ve built their fanbase. That’s the secret about backpack rap: PUTS and Hieroglyphics and Kool Keith and (some of) the Living Legends still sell records and cake off tours. They still bang in dorm rooms and Germany. It’s just that nobody acknowledges it. This is partially because many of these acts are boring and redundant, but I suspect it has as much to do with their inherent uncoolness. Being boring and redundant has certainly never kept Charles Hamilton off of a magazine cover.

It’s an embarrassing time to be a music critic.

[1] I vaguely recall predicting such a phenomenon last year over at the then day job, but the problem with deleting old blog posts is not being able to say “I told you so.” Not that I would ever say such a thing. Not in the body of my text, at least. Maybe in the footnotes.
[2] He’d probably try and sell you on the damn Circle Boys or some shit.
[3] This is the point I was trying to make about the Diplo/Paper Route allegiance last week – solidify a regular people/rap listener fanbase first, then round up the hipsters. Because only one of those audiences is going to stick around long enough for an artist to sustain a career.
[4] Who, for those unfamiliar, sound exactly like you would expect a group named “People Under The Stairs” to sound like.
[5] I know.

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62 Responses to “The Cool Grown Ups”

  1. Ross Says:

    Great critical article about the other critics.

    “Z-Ro (who wallows in misery and self doubt better than any of the unwashed white folks who made the Pitchfork list)”

    I’ve decided Ro is to the rap world as Dostoevsky is to the literary.

  2. beez Says:

    This is all very on point but does it mean you’re now going to have to post Little Brother and Mystic Journeymen b-sides? Is Trad-Rap the new regional-rap when it comes to national exposure?
    The silver lining of you not being at XXL any more is that I can read your “proper writing” posts through a proper RSS feed.

  3. ANU Says:

    http://www.philaflava.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_bowdown.gif

  4. Henry Says:

    Beez: Little Brother and Mystic Journeymen fall pretty squarely in the boring and redundant category, don’t they? If he at least was Lil’ Brother.

  5. MAYNHOLUP! Says:

    real talk mayn, dats all der us ti say mayn

    ay Ross mayn fuck you talkin bout Ro like dat!mayn you cant compare him to noone udder den Adrian Peterson cuz noone eva been dominant at anythang like dey be mayn.

  6. Jeff Says:

    Really good, interesting post. Though Thes kind of left out that I have a sizable article on them running in next week’s LA Weekly. But yes, the point still stands.

  7. Syl Says:

    There has never been a time when it was not embarrassing to be a music critic.

  8. Tray Says:

    Though I’ve started to see the light on Gucci Mane, I don’t think he’s at all comparable to Cam. Cam was a lot more than a rapper you could laugh at. For starters he was actually a great rapper. Secondly, he was way more than just the rap version of bizarro Kells, he actually rapped about real shit, i.e. his junkie mom, his IBS, relationships (and relations). And third, he was so good at the weird shit that you could take it seriously; I, at least, didn’t laugh at him when he referred to himself as “the don,” I kinda accepted it. Gucci, for me at least, only has a few moments where he transcends the absurdity and, sorry, ghetto-ness of what he’s saying and how he says it and becomes something more than merely entertaining and laughable.

    As for Carter 3, I thought you really liked it. How could it be the worst album of his career, is Carter 2 or Lights Out really that great in your view? I thought this was an improvement on Carter 2 at least. The thing started off hot but by ‘Shooter’ I was nostalgic for Birdman. And as for Jeezy, dude is not even slightly smart for noticing that OMG, we’re in a recession. Piss-poor album. But whatever, reasonable minds can disagree on that I suppose.

  9. brandonsoderberg Says:

    We already had our funboy twitter discussion on this, but it seems to me, that the little area there was the new “guard” of rock (indie)/pop critics getting their bearings on what they could and could not like and so they were all over the place and that was at least kinda cool. Now, there’s a new generational canon for what non-rap fans who like rap will praise–T.I, Wayne, Kanye. Wale’s their underdog guy or whatever–and it ends there or seems to.

    I’d add though, that people like you or me on occasion and way harsher, more closed-minded dudes making fun of their really kinda adventurous picks maybe moved a lot of people away from being like “hey ABN’s good”. ABN’s disc should’ve been the Purple Haze or whatever of this year if you think about it.

    Not that it excuses critics for being pussies but, just sayin…

  10. Tray Says:

    I don’t get the continued overrating by you and others of that ABN thing. If you were really conversant with Z-Ro’s catalogue, you’d notice that half of it is reused hooks, reused verses, reused songs, reused melodies, and reused bars from other places, a lot of which was then pasted together over inferior (and cheaper) beats than the originals. However you feel about the “warm synths” and all that. He’s great and anything he does has its genius moments, but for whatever reason – it’s probably RAL’s fault – everything from I’m Still Livin on has been recycled to a great degree, and while it was cool the first time he took his verse from ‘No Help’ and turned it into ’1 Deep,’ by the third or fourth time it’s pretty disappointing. I wouldn’t say his best work is behind him, but it’s pretty undebatable that Life of Joseph McVey or Let the Truth Be Told is better than anything he’s done since.

  11. noz Says:

    “Though I’ve started to see the light on Gucci Mane, I don’t think he’s at all comparable to Cam. Cam was a lot more than a rapper you could laugh at.”

    I agree, but I don’t think his hipster fanbase circa ’05 felt that way.

  12. noz Says:

    And Tray – I’m not that big on ABN. I thought Crack was a lot better.

  13. Tray Says:

    I was speaking to Brandon, who loves it. As for Green (you turn comments off on that post?) he’s a fantastic mixtape DJ, but I didn’t think that was one of his better efforts. If you look at tapes like Champ Is Here, Alive On Arrival, Pub. Enemy No. 1, the blending and beat selection on those were way hotter. And as for Gucci, yeah, the hipster fanbase in ’05 may not have seen it that way, but I think Breihan or people of that ilk were at least aware that the guy had a great flow and interesting rhyme schemes, they weren’t simply laughing at him. Gucci, I don’t know how I feel about a rapper who seems so at home making uncut videos or saying things like “got a major deal, now they can’t say I’m just nigger rich.” Like there is this very third-rate BET Uncut sound to the guy, and his constant yeahhhhhhhhhing disturbs me, to the point where, like I can kinda intellectualize my enjoyment of the odd Soulja Boy song, but frankly I’d feel like one of those ironic racists if I started listening to too much Gucci Mane. But maybe Cam was appreciated in that way himself. I don’t know, I like to give even stupid hipsters more of a benefit of the doubt than that.

  14. Dylon Says:

    that Thes One post is pretty chill, its really is all about the $$

  15. barns Says:

    “It’s an embarrassing time to be a music critic.”
    it’s a great time to be a cokeblunts reader. man.

  16. David S Says:

    Tray – I feel you on the ABN comments. I’ll admit that my default position is always to push/protect people like Z-Ro and Trae, so much so that I’m not as critical as I should be. It was a dope LP but, yes, way too much recycling, as on I’m Still Livin. And Crack seems to get worse not better with time, unlike Let The Truth… and most of Z-Ro’s earlier albums.

    Gucci Mane’s still got to drop the classic album we all assume he has in him (it never happened for Cam though). But maybe it’ll be OJ that shocks us all, kinda like how Gorilla Zoe overshadowed Joc.

    Either way, fuck fickle hipster doofuses…

  17. Sean Says:

    It’s really not that deep. If you look at the composition of the Pitchfork staff now and 3 years ago, there are just fewer people listening to as wide a range of rap as back then. I’m willing to bet 80% (maybe more) of the staff haven’t heard the ABN album or IPATTG2 or PUTS or (gasp) the Roots album. Just as some of the commenters here may not have heard, say, The Crystal Stilts album. It’s not necessarily agenda-driven, it’s information-based. Which is unfortunate, but I never understood all the hand-wringing over Pitchfork. That’s a done deal, ideologically.

    The site had a critical mass on things like Cam and Clipse and even T.I. and Ghostface because there were that many more people banging the drum loudly back then. That’s why in ’05 Jeezy’s debut made the cut and The Recession didn’t.

    The reason groups like PUTS, with good records, loyal fanbases but no scintillating story, don’t get coverage is because those are hard groups to spin in these page-dwindling times. Ideally they get a look at places like All Hip-Hop, Hip-HopDX, blogs and (ahem) Pitchfork.

  18. DocZeus Says:

    “That’s the secret about backpack rap: PUTS and Hieroglyphics and Kool Keith and (some of) the Living Legends still sell records and cake off tours. They still bang in dorm rooms and Germany. It’s just that nobody acknowledges it. This is partially because many of these acts are boring and redundant, but I suspect it has as much to do with their inherent uncoolness.”

    But Noz aren’t you partially responsible for making the taste in rap music that the Pitchfork crowd is running with right now. It’s not really a secret that you were championing the crowd that the Pitchforkers have been down with over the years. You were one of the earliest critics I read I know of that was really down with Weezy, Jeezy, Cam’ron, T.I., etc. all acts who have been inexplicably overrated in the Pitchfork list over the last five years or so.

    I mean, honestly, what do you care if the “boring” backpack acts that you typically dismiss don’t receive their shine in Pitchfork, anyway? You HATE acts like Hieroglyphics. I mean, really, you should be the last rap critic that should be taking shots at Pitchfork. This is your monster. Unless of course, you’re angry about being lumped in with the Pitchfork crowd when you “sincerely’ love the music and they “don’t” which I have to tell is just reverse elitism at it’s finest.

  19. ANU Says:

    doc, please, try to follow a little bit.

    reviewing quality vs reviewing coolness

  20. DocZeus Says:

    “doc, please, try to follow a little bit.

    reviewing quality vs reviewing coolness”

    Oh, I get what’s he’s trying to say. But what he’s actually saying is:

    I don’t like the fact that the music I love is loved by the people I hate because it calls to question my own personal credibility as a rap critic.

    And honestly whose to say that Tom Breihan’s taste in rap music is an less sincere than Noz’s. Do any of us really know, Tom… or Noz for that matter? I learned that much over the years of hating on Tom Breihan… and Noz for that matter.

  21. DocZeus Says:

    And for the record, it’s not like I don’t completely agree with everything Noz is saying about Pitchfork.

  22. MUSh Says:

    what did Gucci release this year that could have possibly made it onto a year-end list? wasn’t Back To The Traphouse 2007?

  23. noz Says:

    “I don’t like the fact that the music I love is loved by the people I hate because it calls to question my own personal credibility as a rap critic.”

    Actually what I am saying is this: I don’t like the fact that the music I love (or the genre I like) is so whimsically dismissed by those who once seemed to love it. Unlike some of you guys, I really enjoy seeing my favorite rappers succeed both commercially and critically.

    And you are vastly oversimplifying to say that I “hate” Hieroglyphics. I’ve been disappointed by their output for years, but I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. Don’t make me dig out old photos of a high school aged, tri-eye clad cracker.

  24. noz Says:

    http://www.cocaineblunts.com/blunts/?p=1533

  25. noz Says:

    Sean – Them being oblivious to these records is more of an indictment than them just hating. Rap critics should probably be paying attention to rap.

  26. gordon gartrelle Says:

    This may be the most insightful thing you’ve ever written.

  27. monique r. Says:

    I don’t know about Crack being better than ABN.

    ‘It is what it is’ is a better ALBUM in the strict sense and the beats are way more interesting, innovative.

    And seriously…Tray talking about houston rap is unbearable to read…. maybe even talking about rap, in general.

  28. noz Says:

    I don’t listen to Z-Ro for his interesting and innovative beats.

  29. Jon L Says:

    Part of this I think is the nature of the audience as well. With hipsters (a term I’m only using as a shorthand) there always has to be a “new thing” to discover, and to be the person on your block to discover. Back during various parts of the ’90s and early ’00s the Pitchfork/indie/college radio crowd embraced subgenres like post rock, math rock, post punk and twee pop in varying degrees at different times. Stuff like what’s now termed “okayplayer rap” was kind of universally accepted as what you listened to if you listened to rap.

    Then, in the mid-’00s, the “new thing” became “coke rap” (in the parlance of the times, and also alongside other things like “freak folk”). I think a large part of the appeal wasn’t even necessarily getting to laugh at Cam’ron or anything like that. One reason I think the Clipse became kind of the poster boy for it was their label situation. Folks who had previously championed a band like, I dunno, Don Caballero, someone who the average listener had never heard of, now had a group that was not only part of the new hot genre, but they literally hadn’t been heard by all kinds of people. It was a lot easier to say “oh, you haven’t heard of the Clipse?” than it was to do that with, say, Ghostface.

    What’s happened now I think is that same group has simply moved on, as they were always going to (which speaks to Noz’s point about longevity and the fans that stick with you). It started a few years ago, and if you notice, Pitchfork covers a lot more electronic/dance music than they used to. They would’ve never reviewed a dubstep record in 2003 (or if they had it would’ve been one dubstep record), but now they have a “this week in dubstep” feature. They still cover some of the music they used to, but the fervor is gone and transferred to something else, likely because you now have mainstream critics talking about those records. The Washington Post music critic has heard Da Drought 3 just like Breihan has, and even then it’s not out of passion for the music as much as what’s become professional obligation; it’s harder to be the one who “breaks” those kinds of albums, so you find something that allows you to do that.

    I actually think it’s achieved a little more equilibrium in the last year or so. When the Clipse/Jeezy/Lil’ Wayne revolution happened, I doubt you could find a Pitchfork (or Pitchfork-type) writer who would admit to owning an Anticon record or that Kweli isn’t the worst rapper in the world. But now they seem to have writers who confront that stuff a little more honestly* (the eMC record got a better review than it would’ve two years ago), even if the amount of the “college dorm/Germany rap” they review has dwindled.

    *This is also largely true across the board – Pitchfork rarely reviews records anymore for the sole purpose of giving them a 0.0, like they did with a John Frusciante record a few years back

  30. Sean Says:

    “Them being oblivious to these records is more of an indictment than them just hating. Rap critics should probably be paying attention to rap.”

    I agree with that, but it’s a stretch to call the entirety of the Pitchfork staff—the very people making that year-end ballot—”rap critics.” As far as I can tell, the only people reviewing rap albums regularly at the site now are Tom Breihan, Ryan Dombal, Ian Cohen and Nate Patrin (all fine writers with different perspectives), with the occasional outside contributor. On a staff over 50, that’s not much political heft.

    Just saying, getting bent out of shape about the Pitchfork year-end list is real 2006 with it. Your work is so valuable as a counter-balance to something like Pitchfork—but the obsession with those lists is like an echo chamber inside an echo chamber.

    Everything about PUTS is less well-trod ground and probably deserves a closer look.

  31. Mike Says:

    Don’t you think the main problem was that this year’s output of rap was pretty awful. Look what your asking people to get excited about: the 6th best Roots album, the 7th best Scarface album, the 4th best Z-Ro album. It’s the same thing with rock, there were like 2 rock albums on the Pitchfork list, and I don’t think the writers have a bias against rock, there just wasn’t any good rock this year, so they made a list full of pop and techno. It was a horrible year for music, I’m guessing most fans just bumped old shit.

  32. Tray Says:

    “Gucci Mane’s still got to drop the classic album we all assume he has in him”

    Whoa, who’s this we? He’s an entertaining rapper who still has stretches of mind-numbing Mike Jonesian retardation. When he was locked up, he wrote a nursery rhyme about it and sent it to allhiphop.com. This is like when Kelefah Sanneh said he knew Lil Flip was going to put out a classic album one day. Making a classic album isn’t easy.

    As for ABN, um, no, the beats aren’t interesting and innovative. They’re the very same sort of beats these guys have been rapping over for 5+ years, except not nearly as good as the ones on Restless, Let the Truth Be Told, Life of Joseph McVey, etc. Really, you could make a very strong case that the best album either has put out is Restless. Ro’s a great rapper but he’s a little, dare I say, too consistent – often you can barely tell one of his songs apart from another. Something of a one or two-trick pony.

  33. jordan s Says:

    gucci’s steadily improving as a lyricist fwiw

    light show
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5erub-EdA14

    and nickelodeon
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpLG5ko-edc

    are fire. but enjoying gucci mane is not about working around the fact that he’s not the best lyricist – it’s about embracing the simplicity of his lyrics, much like he does. reading gucci as a rapper too dumb or lazy to reach transcendent levels of lyricism (though in my opinion he often does) misses the point. i think he invests as much time tinkering with the way that his voice and flow interact with tracks as he does with his lyrics. it’s a distinctly post-jeezy way to look at rap, and i think the fabo/gucci/oj da juice (and whoever else) theory of not overextending yourself as a writer when you have a gift for doing things with your voice (oj da juice not as much as the other two) and with your flow is an important and quality sector of southern rap and one that oftentimes leads to transcendent rap. examples: the way gucci just perfectly bounces along on beats like “i’m a j” and “nickelodeon” — it’s hard to quantify in words i think what’s so good about gucci’s flow because it’s not outwardly unnatural or anything like what wayne often does, but i think gucci is the best flow-er in rap.

    it’s also a popist way too look at rap – to value the songs (say “laffy taffy”) but have the lyrics far down on the list of reasons why, and in a way i do think gucci is working in the outer margins of pop music (as far as rap as pop goes). much like jeezy, the lyrics are very much working for simple slogans — “leer jet gucci/ when i ride on sixes” — but i don’t think he (or jeezy) does it because he can’t come up with something “better”, i think he does it because overly detailed/complicated lyrics would get in the way with which he interacts with beats/hooks.

    and oftentimes gucci makes transcendent pop-rap and not by accident. some of the best examples are on back to the traphouse which has great glossy beats courtesy of the zone 4 camp:

    “i might be”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CVzF7kdbj8

    “i know why”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWXN5n_y1s8

  34. Jay (d)eff Kay Says:

    Loved this piece, and your argument seems sincere, and it needs to be put out there, but I agree with Sean for the most part with regards to this Pitchfork hate. Much like the word ‘hipsters’, I find people use Pitchfork as a personification of the other, as the fraudulent, fleeting, insincere music fan that is yin to the yang that is the pure, unadulaterated, sincere music fan that we supposedly are – I don’t even know if half of the time if this other side is actively trying to push an agenda, or if we’re just calling them out to better identify ourselves in contrast. (Seriously, we’re gonna hate them in 07 when they put Jeezy on a list, saying that its just them dickriding a fashionable wave, and then call them out for not putting him on a list in 08,saying they’re not paying attention?? Why do we care so much about Pitchfork’s rap coverage if we don’t care for what they have to contribute?)

    And I know that this whole fleeting attention span of pitchfork-fueled, so-called hipster fanbase can be fickle and maybe even dangerous for artists’ longevity and survival – but i think fleeting attention spans amongst rap fans in general is just as much a problem. Its not like say, the nah right audience is more passionate and loyal to the artists they’re exposed to. There’s tons of hip hop websites peddling hype for new music – that new shit is a pretty valuable commodity these days, and many of us are paying much less time and attention processing an artist’s work. I doubt this is a monster that Pitchfork has built alone.

  35. noz Says:

    I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that this post is representative of “pitchfork hate” or that I’m getting bent out of shape about their list. Clowning gently, perhaps. But I’m mostly just trying to comment on how the list is reflective of greater trends in music criticism. Regular ass rap is not what’s hot right now.

  36. MZA Says:

    It was the year of Gucci.. Pitchfork’s just behind the times, and still riding Wayne’s dick.

  37. no Says:

    Bottom line is if Pitchfork’s irrelevant (sure is..) then we’re better off not speaking of them. Shit I forgot they existed til I saw this post..

  38. noz Says:

    “Bottom line is if Pitchfork’s irrelevant (sure is..)”

    No they’re undeniably relevant.

    To irrelevant people, perhaps.

  39. brandonsoderberg Says:

    I don’t “love” ABN (where’d I say this Tray?). It’s interesting and the beats sound like painkilers and that’s cool. That was sort of my point, it’s a solid rap album from some dudes that’ve been doing the same thing for a long time and so, it’d make perfect sense for Pitchfork to love it.

    That said, when it comes to ALBUMS, nothing’s more consistent and listenable this year than ABN and that too, should’ve been enough for a decent amount of Pitchfork types to read about.

    In a lot of ways, Pitchfork etc has moved onto treating R & B as they once treated rap.

    My problem with this though is that most rap fans weren’t like super happy when Pitchfork was covering these guys. It’s the same kind of insider bullshit that’s as obnoxious as Pitchfork just the other way around.

  40. brandonsoderberg Says:

    I’d add that, a complaint similar to Noz’s could be made for just about any other genre or weird sub-genre, but most of you guys are dummies when it comes to anything outside of rap.

    No good metal (or really any unless you count Marnie Stern), barely any good electronic (Lindstrom’s good…if you’ve never heard a Goblin or Tangerine Dream record), even the “indie rock”-ish releases they praise that are actually worth it feel more like a fluke than good taste- how can a person embrace that Arthur Russell disc AND something as boring and worthless as Fleet Foxes?).

    The argument should be more like “the new Scarface or Roots record or even the Carter 3 is just as mediocre as the new Walkmen or Girl Talk record”….

  41. MAYNHOLUP! Says:

    mayn im not gon even comment much on de Ro hate goin on here in fact i’d day never has Ro been hated on so much in one place den here or in Tray’s mind.

    Tray: realize you not Tom Breihan, also realize dat winnit be a good thang mayn.

    ABN album has solid, if not really good, production. Rapping wise, der aint no other album dat can really touch it besides Ro’s solo and Killer Mike’s record. verse for verse, find me a betta album mayn Trae kills it and Ro is back on his rapid fire shit. i could eveb make argument it betta den Crack. if it aint betta it dam close. stop hating. i didnt know “too consistent” wuz a bad thang mayn

  42. Ross Says:

    Ha mayn you crack me up mayn. I’m not commenting on his successfulness or saying that he doesn’t straight dominate (which he does), merely on his view of the world. And Brandon you can’t necessarily call them dummies on other music genres so much as a bit uneducated. But I agree with your statement on the topic.

  43. deej Says:

    It was the year of Gucci.. Pitchfork’s just behind the times, and still riding Wayne’s dick.
    ^^^this is the fuckin truth — noz i was wondering why it seemed like u were sleeping on dude, no mentions in yr mixtape roundup, no singles on yr list, etc — gucci is a great rapper and fuck this shit about ppl liking him cuz hes ‘dumb’ or something. hes one of the most unique rappers out right now, last time someone was rapping that had switched up the entire game w/ his flow was young dro. Gucci was everywhere this year, dropped tons of mixtapes, ‘back to the traphouse’ built buzz (and fwiw it was an ’07 album but dropped in December of ’07) — i dunno about where you are but in chicago u would hear him as much as the cool kids “L.O.L.”

    i dont like gucci cuz i think hes dumb or some stupid shit like that, and i hope he never gets that cam’ron style fanbase either but he is straight up a great rapper

  44. deej Says:

    (Lindstrom’s good…if you’ve never heard a Goblin or Tangerine Dream record)

    ^^^not to shoot any rap cred i wouldnt have lost for seriously endorsing gucci but this is also b.s. fwiw

  45. noz Says:

    You’re right to say that his impact was undeniable this year, he was getting a lot of burn around here in dc this year but neither of these lists was about impact. I like Guch in small doses. (Ideally I’d like to see him as a really potent member of a rap trio.) His tapes to me are pretty fucking hit or miss (way too many 30 second previews of exclusives). Which is part of the reason I kinda sleep on him. I initially thought “Pussy And Patron” was a Gucci f/ Tuck record and not the other way around, so that was gonna be my Gucci selection. When I later switched it up I didn’t think to add another Gucci track.

    Traphouse feels much older than Dec 07. Didn’t half that shit come out on a bootlegish big cat underground like a year prior?

    And I wasn’t suggesting the only reason to like him is because he’s “dumb”, I was saying he would be an adequate successor to smart dumb hipster bait rappers like Cam.

  46. noz Says:

    And he couldn’t possibly be as popular as the Cool Kids in Chicago. Have some pride, man!

  47. deej Says:

    some of back to the trap house was out before & its not really reflective of his style this year but its one of my favorite records of the year anyway — way more consistent than any of those mixtapes (yr right that they were spotty, tho Id still pick them over a couple of the ones you named in yr best-mixtapes list) and i played back to the trap house pretty much all year. i get how he COULD be dummie hipster bait but i dont think we need to weigh him down w/ that before its actually happened right??

    more on topic, im kind of not sure im going to be mad at pfork for wanting to be down w/ cool rappers. i mean, i think ‘cool’ is a perfectly fine thing to aspire to even if it means something diff to ‘rap heads’ than it dose to ‘pfork tightpants crowds’. like its borderline sounding-like-my-moms to be all “who cares about COOL rap anyway,” and to some degree i get why pfork crowd wants its own ‘cool kids’ to make up for its own awkward relationship w/ rap as it exists … misguided i think, but still, point is that i dont like to think that i dont listen to cool shit either. its just that what that means right now is a really distorted picture of the whole game

  48. deej Says:

    i mean for real, i like gucci because hes fuckin cool (except i do think hes a dummie for getting himself thrown back in jail), because when he raps it sounds cool, which is pretty much the reason i started listening to rap in the first place rite~~

  49. ANU Says:

    “gucci sosa” is an excellent tape

  50. brandonsoderberg Says:

    Let’s also add to this pretty interesting discussion, the bottom-line money-grabbing aspect of criticism.

    That’s to say, it pays (literally) more to hype up the same safe bullshit. This isn’t a knock and no doubt Noz knows this, but making a genuine, complicated mixtapes list like the one he made for NPR doesn’t get you a shit-ton of writing gigs.

    Pitchfork’s an institution and not a bad one–it still yields more interesting writing than most places–but still, sounding enough like everybody else is important. Or rather, a piece where you pitch why the new Kanye’s overblown and ridiculous will work but you pitch the same review months before about say, Portishead or something, you won’t get in the papers.

  51. Deej Says:

    as far as that ‘big cat underground’ goes–

    “According to Gucci, the Trap-A-Thon CD/DVD release consists of old material and footage, and should not be confused with his upcoming album Back To The Trap House album, which is due in stores in November.
    “It has come to my attention that my former record label, Big Cat, is trying to put out an unauthorized release of my music,” Gucci Mane said in a statement. “Not only was this done with out my approval, but the music they are trying to release is unfinished and does not represent who I am today as an artist.”"

  52. noz Says:

    “Pillz” & “Freaky Girl” date back to Hard To Kill. And if adding shitty Kim and Game verses was part of Gucci’s final vision, I’ll gladly take the unfinished mixes.

    You just like Traphouse because Shawnna is all over it.

  53. Deej Says:

    yes 2 songs are remixed — u are right the album might as well have come out in ’03!!

  54. Deej Says:

    point is, album isnt a comp of older material, it was an actual, official album release

  55. dave quam Says:

    that pictures almost as crazy as the mixtape

  56. dave quam Says:

    oops that was for boosie

  57. MAYNHOLUP! Says:

    is it juss me mayn or does Gucci Mane fuckin whack mayn? even if not, dat boys a swagga jacka mayn!

  58. Deej Says:

    iss u

  59. BlindWilliam Says:

    @Noz: “No they’re undeniably relevant. To irrelevant people, perhaps.” Indeed. What you are saying, though is about most journalism reporting on cultural matters. Journalism is:

    a.) looking for a new story. Kool Keith is too consistently weird to be the new story they are looking for. Gangsta is out of step with the optimism of the Obama moment. Etc. Easier to overlook, then.

    b.) a hall of mirrors reflecting its own thoughts. It is too easy to report on what other reporters report on than to have your own sources.

    c.) an amplification system for the common; a muffler for the uncommon.

    *Sighs. Goes and gets another cup of coffee. Opens up NYT*

    P E A C E

  60. Tray Says:

    “Pitchfork’s an institution and not a bad one–it still yields more interesting writing than most places–but still, sounding enough like everybody else is important.”

    Rather, the opposite’s the case. Breihan became so popular/widely read because he was crazy enough to seriously think that in some weird way, Pitbull was better than Nas. Similarly, Armond White is ONLY read because he says the exact opposite of what other people say. If he used his sixth-grade-dropout writing skills and encyclopedic knowledge of justly forgotten 70s movies to praise the stuff everybody else likes, he wouldn’t have a job. Anywhere.

  61. MAYNHOLUP! Says:

    yawn. .mayn

  62. PimpTrickGangsterClick Says:

    Great poast Noz. I’ll hit u up later today when me and my patna have gathered our thoughts

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