#Bandcampgold-G-Worthy (G-Perico & Jay Worthy) produced by Cardo
Can I tell you what separates Cardo from his peers at the very top of hip hop production? The Neptunes make anyone sound cool from Kelis to Timberlake to Pusha and Malice to Britney Spears. Not everyone sounds cool on a Cardo beat. Cardo beats are the pure distillation of hearing Snoop and Dre for the first time, liquid metal cool forming and reforming, with the right host on the mic it sounds invincible. This is why when people don’t know who Cardo is I simply say “He built Wiz Khalifa” without the luxuriously unflappable warm sonic world of Cardo to color his incredible personality Wiz would have been another weirdo in a hip hop world full of them. If you don’t have the right personality to sail on these beats you’ll be caught faking the funk but if you match up it takes you to another level.
If you look at the cover of G-Worthy it looks like it could have come out in 1992. Jay Worthy from Compton and G Perico from South Central reassure us that while Rap destroys what it loves to be and rebuilds to the opposite direction every five years…West Coast Gangsta Rap doesn’t.
The album consists of seven songs that feel effortlessly connected without any visible seams. What has changed is the ability for a Blood like Jay Worthy to rap about B hats and his Brazy life right before G Perico raps about violence from a Crip perspective (Getting High). The music is the glue. Jay Worthy is a solid dude who recently released a full length project with Alchemist so he is used to spitting over genius production. Jay Worthy is a game machine talking pimping or gang life or just generally flossing all over the listener. On the single Never Miss he authoritatively asserts “Take a look at yourself, we getting money On the route with these dames, a little lucky.”
Perico is a star his voice his cadence along with the personal specificity of imagery really draw him to the forefront at all time. The best example is his verse on Ain’t Trippin which starts “Middle finger to e’rybody that’s how I do it. Got the glock in the beamer case a n__ want to act stupid.” He talks about how the police are monitoring everyone and that’s not new, that he can’t tell the visual difference between his enemies and friends cops and homies. By the end of the verse you can feel the waves washing over, the uncertainty hostility and powerlessness of this criminalized system. It’s all done economically in a short verse. He loads up and does it again with the subject of women on the beginning of the next track (Scandalous). I heard all of Perico’s work before and liked it but it is Cardo’s production that made his lyrics vivid enough for me to figure out the allure. I think Perico is the best gangsta rapper since YG and G-Worthy could easily become a group without comparison. Not only do they represent a timeless standard few would dream of comparing against but their singles, while fabulous, are just as good as the rest of their output. They shine at a slow bops pace that they could keep up without a trickle of sweat for ten years. I hope they make more money than they ever hoped as G-Worthy.
Stream or buy G-Worthy below:
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Tagged #BandcampGold, Alchemist, California, Cardo, Compton, G Perico, Gangsta rap, Jay Worthy, South Central, west coast hip hop, YG
Song of The Year-The Season/Carry Me by Anderson Paak
When Drake first exploded onto the scene some interesting comparisons were made between him and Lebron James. The same way purist’s frothed venom as Lebron chomped on his fingernails on the sidelines; Drake felt like the cloying hip hop version. So much talent but in complete refusal to use it the way we all agreed you were supposed to use it.
In this way, Kendrick Lamar is very much the Steph Curry of modern hip hop. He’s created a quick passing well-oiled machine of deadly three point shooting in Golden State. TDE has put the accent on a real depth of verse, not in some sort of scientific way(a la GZA researching a verse for three weeks), but a real message. Not simply sharp imagery for its own sake or discordant thoughts and ideas dropped to fill the time, but concepts that unfold through authorship. That lane has been extraordinarily fruitful for a lot of artists who were already moving in that direction and now have ears checking for them. Ears taught by Kendrick and the gang.
Anderson Paak has been making very unique music for a while. Dr. Dre showcased him on the Compton album and now he has followed by signing to Dre and putting out Malibu. The Season/Carry Me is a strong bridge between rap and soul, not to mention a perfect example of what Paak can bring to the table. It snaps and snarls with sharp attitude and power, sonically and lyrically, “Ain’t sh#t changed but the bank statements, spent the summer in the rave with the beach babies, threw your jeweler in the buggy with the top down up PCH.” A strong sense of 2016 braggadocio shifts into a warm piano where he turns the steering wheel into mournful, reflective soul. The Kendrick effect allows for the content to cover so much more ground and expect the audience to keep the pace. Death, addiction, and fear all swim throughout the song (and album) in a subtle mix with the determination and prodigious abilities of Paak. The words are all important and challenging but the soul keeps you warm and taken care of.
Malibu is not laborious for the listener. It still goes down smooth as he transitions from first love to dead parent, this is how life is. We suffer, we win, we lose and not on some mastered train of thought. Instead, we navigate the great body of water that is everything. Holding up the heft of intellectual content and sharp confessional imagery is always the relief and beauty of soul done perfectly right. This is as much Frankie Beverly and Harold Melvin’s album as it is Kendrick’s. Everyone involved in producing the album was smart enough to know that the audience shouldn’t have to figure this out to enjoy it. This is why it’s my favorite album of the year; its dope no matter how much attention you pay it.
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Tagged album of the year, Anderson.Paak, Compton, Dr. Dre, Drake, Frankie Beverly, Kendrick Lamar, Lebron James, Malibu, Maze, Song Review, Soul, Steph Curry
Mixtape Review-Biggie Smalls EP by IAMSU & AkaFrank
The first lie of art is that you should always work harder on your weakness than your strength. Sounds good for a teacher to tell a kid but it’s not reasonable for a grown up at all. Why would you spend most of your energy on something that will never be your strength? Why not work hardest at what you do best to reach new levels of doing that well? In a year where every artist is exploring their dark side (Future, Big Sean, etc) Biggie Smalls EP finds IAMSU taking what he does best and turning it way up to levels of fun that touch his last true masterpiece, the 2012 mixtape Kilt.
Some of the fun is how much IAMSU likes working with other MC’s (in this case Northern California’s AkaFrank) and producers (in this case HIMTB production team). Instead of finding some sort of think piece ready despair and inner pain subject matter, we jump in with the first song What The Bay Like and it feels like 78 degrees with palm trees. AkaFrank is cool but not stiff and Su provides one of his most chantable hooks. Out of eight songs this is the projects second best (and the best is last).
IAMSU is at his very best when he has crafted the melody and production just right so that the music has an indestructible digestibility to it. Hi Def of HIMTB produces not only the fantastic What The Bay Like but Backwoods & Back Rubs which is classic mid-tempo ratchet (and mid-tempo ratchet needs Kool John). AkaFrank also gets production credit for Lane Switching which manages to be both haunting and rambunctious. Su gives an autotune soaked gem of a chorus but if you haven’t heard of AkaFrank before this project you may want to hit the search engines. The more listens you get the more capable and strategic his word placement is, the smarter his decisions are.
It might seem unique that both vocal stars produced songs (IAMSU produced the last two: Show You What’s Real and Whatever) but it goes back to the spirit of collaboration. These guys love working together and tweaking everything to the height of its spaciousness.
I know Biggie Smalls EP doesn’t cover any serious topics and its digestibility is its calling card but let me put this a different way. Dr. Dre put out Compton, his first album since 2001 and it sounds glorious it sounds like California feels…but not as much as Biggie Smalls does. Biggie Smalls through production; melody and personality makes you feel the sunshine and the creepy night driving. The best song is a bonus song left over from 2008 called Whatever that shimmers and warbles gloriously and without a malicious bone in its body. Both of these dudes just want dope shoes, attractive sexual partners and a great day to go along with it. That’s the heart of the bay sound. My fingers are still crossed for an IAMSU E-40 collaborative album that would play in my headphones forever.
Stream or Download Biggie Smalls EP below:
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Tagged 2015 mixtapes, AkaFrank, bay area hip hop, Compton, Dr. Dre, E-40, Hi Def, HIMTB, IAMSU!, Kilt, Kool John, livemixtapes, mid tempo ratchet, rachet, west coast hip hop