Hip Hop Music – Hip Hop Is Alive

What has happened to hip hop music? I have seen a disgraceful turn for the worse on my tv screen, but let’s review some real hip hop music.

We will stick to only albums dropped recently. Of course, I highly recommend of all of these albums. I’m not going to criticize any of the albums. Simply because there is already a million people who have done so – with or without justification.

Let’s get started with the “Conscience Rapper” Common. I wish we didn’t have to use that particular terminology to categorize the rapper because all rappers should be conscience. It is basically the definition of hip-hop.

Common – Finding Forever

From the incredible “unforgivable” all the way to the radio smash hits, “The People” and “The Game” (no similarity to the west coast rapper at all) “, this album is worth your purchase.

Common puts together rhymes like a puzzle. Each piece being essential as the last. He uses intricate rhyme schemes, but still gets his point across in the most immaculate manner.

Common exchanges punchlines with Kayne West on “Southside”. My favorite collaboration between the two; up until this point. Kayne also produces this track as he does most of the album. West spits at the top of his game while spitting lyrics e.g. “I know you must be thinking its armorall flow because it never gets rusty”. Common on the other hand spits amazing lyrics himself, for example: “Your career was a typo, mine was written like a haiku.”

Though Common never comes out and blames the south for hip-hops decline ( that he mentions a multitude of times) the following lyric from “Start the Show” could be subject to misinterpretation, “You sing along wit it, inside you knowin it’s wack, Young who? I don’t need a openin act”. Common never backs down from a fight. He also mentions the lack of hip-hop spirit in the song “The Game”.

Is this Common’s best work? I don’t know. I personally like it better then his last album. Be had a completely different ambience to it though. I guess, we should give credit to Kayne.

I know this album could be perceived to have a few lackadaisical songs. Unlike fox news, I do give the other side. A counter perspective is available at Nobodysmiling [http://www.nobodysmiling.com/hiphop/album_review/87760.php]

Talib Kweli – Ear Drum

Talib’s recent effort has sixteen tracks that will fulfill any fans need for another album from the rap superstar.

He spits some of his most intellectual and deep thinking lyrics to date in “Ear Drum”.

Electrify one of the most soulful tracks on “Ear Drum” is perfectly titled as it does electrify you. Especially your mind as most of the album does.

The guests help the momentum of the album more than they hurt it. Demonstrated in songs like “Hostile Gospel” with Bun B and Pimp C, who seem to fit in very well in the banger by Just Blaze.

If Talib had to take it back to square one. I’m talking about the hip-hop classic “Reflection Eternal”. He definitely took a few paces in the right direction.

I’ll finish the review by saying that the album isn’t perfect, but perfection is in the beholder.

Brother Ali – The Undisputed Truth

Brother Ali probably would get his mic cut off by Bill O Reilly with his very open minded views on America. Actually more times than less, pessimistic views.

A “Letter From The Government” basically denounces the entire war. Ali blatantly states in the chorus, “I got a letter from the government the other day I opened and read and burned that man, The way that I live don’t concern that man, We gon’ have to settle this another way”. I guess he might also be talking about any possibility of a draft and his reaction. Maybe just a letter asking him to join the military. Nevertheless, one of the most intriguing songs that has been released this year.

The underground artist doesn’t stop there with his attitude towards America. Yes, his home country. On the track “Freedom ain’t free”. He annihilates our foreign policies. Especially when it comes to people who are starving in other countries. “So I use blood and sweat to butter my bread, Cos this cold world couldn’t give a fuck if I’m fed”.

If you are a liberal, you will probably take well to this album. He doesn’t like the war, he doesn’t like our foreign policies, and he doesn’t like how Muslims are being treated. He claims to be a devout Muslim in a few tracks.

If this album doesn’t make you sit back and think. You might want to get your brain examined.

El P – I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

Honestly. What can I say about this album that hasn’t been repeated a million times. This is a monster underground album. One of the biggest in the history of hip-hop. You haven’t heard of it? Funny, isn’t it? If you like Mike Jones, I suggest you don’t check out this album, if you’re a real hip-hop fan, it’s a must!

Nas – Hip Hop Is Dead

I don’t think anyone else has said this, but hip-hop needed this album. Not because it has the best work by my man Nas, but because we needed the history lesson. I learned a lot from this album, I didn’t even know.

It also gave me the motivation to go back and play some of those old albums. How much dust does your “Mc Shan” records have on them?

We need to remember our roots, which is a perfect segway for my next album.

The Roots – Game Theory

The Roots put together an album that flows together like Rakim and Eric B.

You won’t skip a track on this cd. I can guarantee you that. Black Thought’s not even at the top of his game. Am I the only one who finds that unbelievably scary?

The Roots are breaking ground in hip-hop. Although it’s underground in general, It’s ultimately refreshing.

Ghost Face – More Fish + Fishscale

I am absolutely exhilarated to get all this new Ghostface material. Though he has never been type to take a break from rapping. He comes back, probably full fledged with these two near classic albums.

Still spitting as mean as you would expect. If you want to learn to be an emcee. Study every move of Ghostface.

Killah Priest – The Offering

Though the album isn’t officially out. It did leak. I have heard nothing but positive reviews. I think this might be his best work to date.

The album also features some great artists like Canibus, Ras Kass, Kurupt, and Immortal Technique.

Top 10 Entertainment News Stories of 2006

The world of entertainment holds great fascination for the young and old alike. It is a magical world with heroes, heroines, and rags to riches stories, romance and more. The year 2006 was full of excitement and of the many eventful happenings the most popular stories followed avidly through all media avenues were:

1. Death of Steve Irwin the crocodile hunter who brought the world close to crocs through his many films and talks. His death by a croc a species he loved and as devoted to shocked the world.

2. Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond was trying to break a land speed record which resulted in a high speed crash. The news of his accident and injuries spread like wild fire.

3. The British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen scored a huge box office hit when he shocked and offended ordinary Americans. He was adjudged as one of the “men of entertainment of 2006.”

4. The guerrilla artist Bansky hit headlines when he dared to replace Paris Hilton CD with his own CD of remixes titled “Why am I famous? And What am I for.”

5. Romance turned sour always interests fans and Sir Paul McCartney’s split with Heather Mills was blockbuster news.

6. The Oscars were swept away by a dark horse a Los Angeles race drama Crash which got a late and unexpected surge of support and overtook hot favorite Brokeback Mountain. The win made headlines and created a buzz.

7. Britney Spears poster featuring a nude and pregnant Britney created a furor after which Tokyo subway officials decided to reverse a ban on display of the posters.

8. A fairy tale romance and marriage means news in Hollywood especially when the couple is Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Scientology and a wedding in Italy added spice to the occasion and the wedding was popular news.

9. Oops mistakes happen even at BBC news. In the Apple versus Apple court case interviewed the wrong “Guy” was put in front of the camera. Instead of IT expert Guy Kewney a newcomer looking for a job Guy Goma was put on air.

10. The world looked forward to and enjoyed the new 007 film. The film created such excitement, that even the Queen of England went to see it.

Entertainment news and views vary and choices depend on individual taste. CNN news, Variety, and MSN have showcased online their choices as also a zillion other reviewers. While some based their lists on expert choices or the number of times a news story was read, others conducted online polls.

Toadies – Play Rock Music

Remember this band?… It seemed like the Toadies ruled the air waves back in the mid 90’s, after the release of Rubberneck in 1994. One song off that album, “Possum Kingdom,” has even achieved somewhat cult status in recent years with new generations. Every song on that album was great, and then they just disappeared. Interscope records put the kabosh on their follow up album “Feeler,” which finally saw the light of day in 2010.

One of the things I always liked the most about the Toadies was the dark undertones in their music. I have frequently heard the Toadies called “alt-rock,” but they really defy most labels. Part grunge, part heavy drinking bar band, part west Texas/ZZ Top boogie, there is a lot to like about this band.

Well, the band from Fort Worth, Texas is back again. This time with Play.Rock.Music. The band has said in interviews that they felt more freedom recording this record than any other, that’s good news for us, as the Toadies are best when they are unbridled and doing what they do best.

The album starts out with “Rattler’s Revival,” a great rockin’ opener that made me very optimistic about the rest of the tracks. I was further rewarded with the next song, “Low.” This is my favorite on the album, a loud guitar rocker that makes you want to push the pedal down while your driving. This song has pumping guitar and rock steady drumming that goes back and forth from bass line only breaks, to dual guitar down strumming. Songs on the album like “Magic Bullet” and “Epic Castles” keep the tempo and energy up.

“Summer of the Strange” has that dark feel, and is all about losing control/hold. Lots of whining guitar and rumbling bass lines throughout.

The closest you get to “Possum Kingdom” on this release would have to be “Beside You.” A creepy song that says even though “you don’t really know me,” that “I’ll always be closer than you know.”

“Sunshine” is a twisted ballad, and another track that takes you back to Rubberneck, this time reminding me very much of “I Burn.” A slower tempo song with a rumbling bass line that builds into Vaden Todd Lewis’s trademark singing/screaming. The whole song keeps building and pulling back, like the New York Dolls classic “Frankenstein.”

The song “Animals” is another classic sounding Toadies tune, about our primal human urge. It’s another rocker that repeats “Tonight we’re just two animals.” Lots of tempo switches and a booming chorus.

“Laments of a Good Man” is a less serious song that is filled with jerky guitar and call and response versus. The chorus switches into a Rollins Band type slow, driving groove… “It’s so hard to be a man, to be a good man.”

Another style stand out is “We Burned the City Down.” This track is a full blown Texas blues/boogie track, complete with slide guitar. The theme is a nihilistic commentary current living, “no longer slaves to modern ways” we burned the city down…

The album ends with the slowest song (the only slow song… ) on the album, “The Appeal.” At over six minutes, it’s also the longest on the album. This track features some chorus effect guitar, and a bluesy backbeat. But don’t worry, there are some good build ups, but it never goes over the top like the rest of the album. You almost need the rest by the time you get to this track.