Tag Archives: Mac Miller

Fight for The Future of Lil Uzi Vert

Fight for The Future of Lil Uzi Vert

by Dan-O

We complain a lot. All of us do. In Hip Hop, we get mad at youngsters for not doing what the older generations would do. Real rap problems exist: loss of interesting word usage, too much of a focus on ad-libs, drug addiction creating a generation of junked up kids with no goals. Take a moment and acknowledge that Lil Uzi Vert is a strong component in resolving some of these.

At first, Uzi was discounted simply because of the Lil. The Bad and Boujee feature was blistering but Uzi’s audience is his own and real. He has their attention and uses it. XO Tour Lif3 by September 2017 had 1.3 BILLION listens counting all streaming platforms (Wiki info). That song is about suicide mental breakdowns and heartbreak. He helps a suffering generation express acknowledge and process feeling like crap. In and of itself, that is important.

You might have heard he announced his retirement, announced he had label issues. We can’t let any of this happen. We can’t let labels hinder him. We can’t let him fall into whatever took Mac Miller away. I am not just saying this because he means a lot to his generation. I am saying this because I love this genre.

When he dropped the loosey Free Uzi as a youtube video (not on streaming services) it racked up 9.6 Million views but, more importantly, it’s an incredible song. Free Uzi is the Philly phenom exploding with bars, stringing any word he wants easily onto one of raps best flows. The propulsive beat allows him to easily surf while maintaining perfect breathe control. He’s not a mumble rapper, you can hear him saying things like “I remember when them N_’s all laughed at me,” as he dances in a convenience store with his friends. It’s just him having fun and stretching out his legs while breathing fire. It seems like the giant response to Free Uzi pressured his label into letting some more of his music loose.

Conversely, Sanguine Paradise (the first single they let out whatever prison they keep his music in) is a fully fleshed out single ready for the pop charts. The beat is beautiful (very pretty piano that does not slow down the speed of the song) unlike the speedbag flow of Free Uzi, Sanguine Paradise is a more melodic. Every line feels like a chorus.

This dude can dig into mental health, relationships, or just brag on a level where he becomes James Spader from Pretty In Pink, and SPIT. Find 1017 vs. The World mixtape and listen to him trade with a sober Gucci and stand tall. Not anyone can do that. I genuinely think this dude is the light of a new generation and if you don’t understand “the kids” you should listen to him. He’s the best chance you have.



R.I.P. Mac Miller playlist

R.I.P. Mac Miller playlist

by Dan-O

I got the text that he was gone while my son was telling me one of those toddler stories with no start or end. As he kept adding “and then” to extend I braced myself in the doorway and looked out my front door, really struck, trying to figure out why it felt so raw. I didn’t know Mac Miller at all. If you comb through the history of this blog (its ok I know you won’t it is just a blog) I have been personally reviewing Mac Miller music going back to 2011 and repping him to anyone near me since K.I.D.S. dropped in 2010. I spent 8 years invested in this crazy wacked out hooligan from Pittsburgh and his ever expanding natural abilities. At the time of his death at twenty six he had over ten years of making important music: twelve mixtapes, five studio albums. He is one of the key artists in that beautiful mixtape boom from 2009-2013 that revitalized rap. He was closer to me than I had acknowledged. I’m still dealing with it. I would like to give the people dealing with it five songs to play.

1. Senior Skip Day produced by Wally West from K.I.D.S mixtape

This song still blows the world wide open for me. It is such a lazy satisfying mood with the gorgeous horns Wally West throws in and it is filled with details: not getting out of bed before noon, morning waffles and scrambled eggs, skipping class and being high. Think about how heavy rap is now, how much distaste and doom emanates from 18 year olds. Mac gave us that foolish energy and guiding light to be ourselves and be happy with those who made us happy.

2. Come Back To Earth produced by Jon Brion, Mac under the name Larry Fisherman, and Gitty off Swimming.

Not an easy listen given the new context but Swimming is a lovely piece of work. It is sad, so alone, addicted, worn out, stomped on but very humane. Most heartbreak albums (especially when addiction is involved) have a lot of lashing out. Swimming is the product of a good heart in a bad place. When he mourns the neighbors who could be more than strangers, the texts he shouldn’t have sent it is really hard. This song resonates with all the dimensions of his loss; he wishes he could be with her again and it feels to us like Ariana, he wishes for human contact and it sounds to us like he wants someone to help him out of addictions cage. Some of this is just our minds coming to grips with what happened but some of it could be true. I wish this song didn’t have to mean what it means now but I am so very happy it is here to partially explain how things were, to start a conversation with us we have to finish on our own.

3. Donald Trump produced by Sap off his Best Day Ever mixtape

Mac Miller could make anthems that made you dance whether you wanted to or not. At the same time he really rapped. In the classical sense of moving the crowd Donald Trump achieves that. He nimbly bounces from bar to bar in a way anyone can follow but is still impressive. At the time people called this song fluff but the fluff we have now makes this song a real achievement in the art. It’s a smash single that is still dope MCing.

4. Blue Slide Park produced by I.D. Labs off Blue Slide Park

How was Mac’s 2011? He put out his debut album and in its first week sold 145k making it the first independent debut album to top the chart since Dogg Food by The Dogg Pound. He single handedly proved that the mixtape era could translate to sales. I.D. Labs who produced most of it are the same genius’s who put Wiz in place to take over. Blue Slide Park wasn’t full of Donald Trump style anthems for fun it was religiously focused pure hip hop. This album started to clue us in on how much of a pure solid citizen Mac was. He didn’t want to be the next great white hope. He was always bigging up artists who were considered more talented than him. He loved hip hop so he loved spitting over DJ Kool’s Let Me Clear My Throat sample on Party on Fifth Ave but he loved the title tracks mid tempo, he could rap at any speed or frequency and work it.

5.  Goosebumpz produced by Diplo (bonus track) off Watching Movies with The Sound Off

Mac Miller was not universally adored. The same way I cherished his juvenile exuberance and connected it to my own outer child, many detested it. Watching Movies with The Sound Off changed that. It is a grown up album with great features (Schoolboy Q , Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt) notable production (Flying Lotus, Pharrell, Earl Sweatshirt under the name randomblackdude, Chuck Inglish, Alchemist, Clams Casino, Tyler the Creator). Even the critics who shot him down for his irritating childishness noted this as a big step forward.  In reality, he marshalled his resources looked around the rap game at all the artists he respected doing great work and wanted to do the same. Goosebumpz is very Odd Future influenced (like telling his girl to have sex with his hologram after he passes). It’s complete reckless energy at full throttle and when he was in this zone he could really leave your head spinning. I’ll miss the crazy little bastard.

Don’t just hashtag him and push on, let’s talk about him.


Song Review-Violet Vibrato by B.O.B.

Song Review-Violet Vibrato by B.O.B.

by Dan-O

B.O.B. is rebuilding himself and he’s going to have to do it much like Mac Miller did; brick by brick with no one’s help. From the very first collection of songs he put out B.O.B. has been musically endearing, lacing songs full of buttery melody and upbeat syrupy accompaniment. As he rose in popularity people started to call him names because of that natural pop identity and he bristled deciding to run the other direction; the direction his enemies wanted him to go which is never where you should go. His new mixtape Psycadelik Thoughtz is a return to where he set out to be.

Any rapper who can convincingly sing uses that as an element of his work and all of those rappers are told they are not rappers. Sometimes it’s by other rappers who cannot sing; other times it’s from audience members who hate singing (don’t ask me to explain).  The cheesy guitar and airy feel of a Guns N Roses love ballad make Violet Vibrato perfect for B.O.B. This isn’t the B.O.B. everyone fell in love with but its close. He’s letting his mind wander in different directions again and needs to expand on this. I’ve always wanted him to do an acoustic album. Write a whole album of material that falls between rock and rap and perform it with an acoustic guitar and minimal accompaniment. At that point he could look at everyone with a smile that says “sure you hate this…but you could never do it.”

Mixtape Review-Finesse The World by Retchy P

Mixtape Review-Finesse The World by Retchy P

by Dan-O

The easy way to say it is that hip hop needs villains but the statement is incomplete. Hip hop is one of the few genres not just able to readily produce villains but to create albums and mixtapes that speak from the perspective of the villain. In rap the protagonist doesn’t have to be the good guy. The Beatles couldn’t do that.

Retchy P has no compunction about this. It isn’t an act. When A$AP Yams died he took to twitter and didn’t just say he wished it was Wale instead, he tagged him on it. Who does that? Before that he wished it was Flo Rida or Roscoe Dash and added that he was just “thinking out loud.” On Finesse The World P embraces his most unlikeable characteristics, becoming Ice Cube bothering the cute suburban couple at the beginning of Natural Born Killaz. On the first song he negatively namechecks away playing the “this ain’t_” game w/ One Direction, B.O.B, Ariana Grande, Macklemore, and on and on; he says the names with such utter repulsion that it sets the table for a very disturbing listen.

Sometimes it’s disturbing because the beat is pulled from the soundtrack of the few seconds when murder happens in a Hitchcock film (Idk What 2 Tell U) other times the hostility in his voice feels like it’s been saved just for you (Violence). The sex referenced never seems enjoyable just necessary. The drug dealing and violence are the only things that get Retchy P excited. Sure it’s a dark dank perspective that can be analyzed from a ton of different angles as offensive and horrible but that’s exactly what makes it so unique.

The best production award goes to Thelonious Martin who does Dirty Ginger Ale and the mixtapes best song Bad Luck. On Dirty Ginger Ale Martin pulls P out of his minimalist landscape and adds some fuzzy guitars/beat switching that really pushes him. Bad Luck is the power of evil wind chimes and bass drops and P is at his most gloriously hedonistic.

As great as Finesse The World’s highest moments are, it is still an incredibly insular universe. Everyone else around him has so little value that after only twelve tracks we don’t seem to have any more ground to cover. Why talk about women? Retchy P cares nothing of women! Why talk about other rappers, even the ones he likes (Mac Miller) he compares negatively to himself. Other people seem to just be in his way.

After he tagged Wale and wished him death, Wale’s first reaction was to confirm this was indeed his intention (I can understand being thrown off by this situation) but after that Wale responded.

@RetchyP yeah and Id swap U out for a hunnit good men I lost. U wish death on people.. U a different kind of nigga . Enjoy your evening

— Wale Folarin (@Wale) January 24, 2015

Wale’s perspective encapsulates a lot more developed thought process. He’s basically saying DUDE YOUR NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS LOST PEOPLE, WE ALL LOSE PEOPLE, HOW IS THIS HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT? Retchy P does have genuine emotions and chooses to guard them while presenting an impregnable wall but things are way more interesting when you can be the tough guy with no wall. That was Beanie Sigel’s best stuff, Scarface’s best stuff, Styles P, etc. I hope by the next project he’s cracked through to the other side of himself.

stream or download Finesse The World below: