Song of The Year-Recognize by Bun-B featuring TI & Big K.R.I.T. produced by Big K.R.I.T.
I’ve made the argument that the pop sphere is larger than it has ever been due to the ability to find anything. The gatekeeper role of radio and upper level music executives isn’t anywhere near as important…but I’m willing to make the opposite argument now. I think it is possible that due to trending patterns on social media we have less pop music than we ever have before. What happens is a new album drops (maybe its Eminem maybe its Nicki Minaj) it is just the largest name that week and that album gets blogged about and all caps shouted at by the whole world. So that giant internet information space turns out to be a giant garage with one car parked in it.
So while people were coming up to me saying “What do you think about this Eminem?!” I was shrugging and asking them if they had heard Bun-B’s new album Return of The Trill to blank stares. Firstly, I thought all the hip kids were pro-UGK now…shouldn’t we be supporting? Second, all the criticisms of Eminem’s Kamikaze are resolved within Return of The Trill. Bun asserts himself without discounting the younger generation.
Production wise Bun linked with his greatest musical partner post-Pimp, Big K.R.I.T. The Mississippi mastermind produces half of the fourteen songs on Return of The Trill. In movies, TV, books whenever the South is portrayed it is either an authentic take or reeks of artificiality. You can tell when you press play if no one involved in making it actually knows or cares about the South. K.R.I.T. makes beats that are deeply southern with gospel flair (see Traphandz) and the same kind of speaker shaking movement peak UGK brought to the speaker.
These beats fit Bun like the perfect coat. On his best lyrical performance (Recognize) he steps up to the microphone and says “My wordplay is intricate influence significant motherf**kin’ magnificence and my influence is integral charismatic and sensual f**king up your centrifugal. With trill pumping all through my ventricles gladiators and sentinals peep you through the peripherals. I see you p**sy n___as out the optical catch yo ass when its optimal…” The song is one of the year’s best moments and while the album might get a firm friendly handshake critically it won’t get to be POP and you can justify that in lots of ways. You could say that pop music should be this or that and Bun doesn’t fit those parameters. Whatever. Return of The Trill isn’t the best album of the year but it’s better than the junk we spend so much time yapping about.
After you watch the video up top check out Bun breaking down the bars
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Tagged Big K.R.I.T., Bun-B, Eminem, hip hop, Kamikaze, Nicki Minaj, pop music, Return of The Trill, Texas hip hop, TI, trending, UGK, underground hip hop
Mixtape Review-Doll Szn by Asian Doll
The intro track (Doll Szn Intro) on the mixtape Doll Szn does a spectacular job establishing who Asian Doll is for anyone coming late to the party. Immediately after you press play she vents and tears away the preconceptions you may bring to this music. She knows a large portion of sour folks are sucking their teeth muttering “She sounds like Nicki…” as if that is an adequate insult. In a minute and thirty five seconds she tears all of that away, distancing herself from the backstabbing rat race female MC’s are put on. Then it is time for the music.
Queen of Nightmares is a sparse piano beat she absolutely demolishes before and after the beat beefs up and the bassline tramples in. She goes in for two minutes straight before you realize this has no hook. She catches bodies like she’s been working out and gets a dudes beard off her dress. If you’ve never heard Asian Doll before and want to know if she can really spit, track 2 resolves that. When she uses her voice for singing it works out very well. Her chorus on Lose You is well done and never interferes with her bars.
I’ve listened to Doll Szn every day for a week and never got tired of it. The track sequencing is right on the money. After the sing-rap-single feeling Lose You, track 5 is Clout which could be a more rave friendly Three Six Mafia song. Doll has a modern flow that bounces melodically but she has gears and can move at different speeds. The harder the beat smashes the more electricity crackles out of her on every bar. Arm Froze is positively fantastic with a hook that sticks and a vocal performance in the verses that moves as effortlessly and impressively as the chorus.
My favorite single line in Doll Szn (and verse) is the very beginning of Miami as the Cash Money Mannie Fresh pacing of the beat pushes her she says “ever seen a real B*%^ that rub your nuts and hold a Mac clip?!” The mental image is one my brain had never conjured before and whenever that happens no matter the subject matter you have to give credit where credit is due. MC’s are not scientists they are entertainers so their goal is to remain important all the time. From the more radio friendly stuff like Lay Up to the very last song she is vitally important. That last song is called Savage Barbie and it is one of the very best of 2018. The beat radiates beneath her and she rides it with unruffled resolve. This is her sixth mixtape so you might be assuming she should have already marshalled her talents with this level of poise but that is not how it works. Ask Charles Hamilton. In a year of very unimpressive mixtapes Doll Szn stands out as a rock solid calling card from someone who just wants to work and get better so when she gets a chance for the whole world to look she’ll be a thousand percent ready.
Stream or download Doll Szn below:
Song Review-Shit by Lil Wayne
I like my Wayne desperate and angry. The difference between stagnant Wayne and enraged ,in the zone, Wayne is shockingly vast. On Sorry 4 The Wait 2 damn near every song references the fact that Cash Money is holding back The Carter 5. On this song alone he references listening to it in his ipod and speaks about his time on Cash Money like a jail sentence.
Shit showcases Wayne with that undeniable flow dropping signature wordplay head scratchers like “I been a turd in these streets since these curtains were sheets.” Wayne went off the rails when he was bored with how successful he was but now (after a few bad albums) the view is that he’s over. If he has a Stillmatic-style comeback in him I’d be up for it. Birdman has talked about how betrayed he is by the seething indignation Wayne levels at him on Sorry 4 The Wait 2 but I wonder how far he’s willing to push (why is he pushing by the way? Why not let Weezy put out whatever he wants. He still gives great features and he made you this empire)? If Wayne leaves who would he take with him? Would Drake and Nicki go with him if he jumped into MMG or GOOD Music? If Wayne left would Drake really become the free agent rumors have declared him for a while? Would Jay make him an offer he can’t refuse to come to Roc Nation? Sorry 4 The Wait 2 leaves so many questions in its wake and the possibility of a brand new era.
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Tagged Birdman, cash money records, Drake, GOOD Music, Lil Wayne, MMG, Nicki Minaj, Song Review, Sorry 4 The Wait 2, The Carter 5, Weezy, YMCMB, young money
Mixtape Review-Dreamchasers 3 by Meek Mill
The Dreamchasers series of mixtapes have all seemed like big screen blockbusters that almost hit the mark. Something like the Oceans series with stars everywhere, slick lush backdrops but something missing. That something in my eyes was always cohesion. You could mark out the first two Dreamchasers in thirds: one great third, one terrible third and the other forgettable. Never should anyone question Meek’s level of skill however. Anyone in doubt about that need only go back to his Mr. Philadelphia mixtape and hear Meek run circles around the most outrageous beats while never even having his limits in view.
Dreamchasers 3 is the blockbuster done right (Oceans 13). Every song belongs exactly where it is and while the stars are certainly out (Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Fabulous, Jadakiss, Diddy, French Montana, Future, Yo Gotti, Mase) and the sonic back drop is big screen (production from Cardo, Southside, and Boi-1da) Meek handles a lot of this himself. The super catchy melody that makes Make Me is Meek by himself, complimenting his automatic weapon flow with the right beat and the right chorus.
As much of a big screen smash as Dreamchasers 3 was intended to be chemistry is still a huge part of its equation. Absolutely no one shows up who shouldn’t be there. On Right Now and My Life French Montana and Meek go so well together I was tweeting about the need for a group mixtape from them during my first listening of the tape. The only other multi-appearance verses go to Nicki, Fabulous and Ross. Ross and Mill still do a great Batman and Robin on Rich Porter and Dope Dealer where brick talk braggadocio and hater hate mix seamlessly.
DJ Drama still has insane adlibs he tosses in that stick in your head (although less of them than normal). Corey Gunz explodes out of the big smash posse track Right Now to deliver an impressive guest verse where he hits every word like a boxer hitting a speed bag. As Driven as Meek is on Dreamchasers 3 it doesn’t just seem like a drive that results from being underrated for too long. Some of that drive to succeed is a tribute to his fallen comrade Lil Snupe. Meek has always done really well with dealing out anger in his music, it’s a pivotal driving force for him and its laser focused on the track Lil N_ Snupe. He spits at warp speed but if you really listen you can hear stuff like “they telling me I ain’t s#*t I made it for my father I just hope you pray for me matter fact sing for me…Lil Snupe…they killed my lil N_ Snupe…My Lil N_ was the truth…and all he wanted was a coupe…so what’s a N_ supposed to do? Tell them put the guns down or tell these lil N_’s shoot? Cause they’ll do the same thing to me do the same s#%t to you…” He’s not just struggling with the death of a dear friend but the resulting violence, he’s smart enough to stand back and ponder the cycle of violence that retribution creates. You can feel his exasperation two minutes in when he says “Where the love at? Where the love at? I’ll give up all of this money to get lil cuz back…”
However I felt about his previous mixtapes, liking some and disliking others, I always liked Meek. When he’s given the right stage he’s one of the top 4 talents in rap and Dreamchasers 3 is that stage. From the I’m Leanin’ intro with Travis Scott and Diddy to the soulful Black Metaphor produced outro The End he blasts through every verse and if your heads not nodding…check your neck.
Stream or Download Dreamchasers 3 below: