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Posts Tagged "Hip Hop"


Amerigo Gazaway’s Marvin Gaye/Talib Kweli mash-up project was the second best hip hop record of last year.  Everything he does is phenomenal, and very different from what came before.  He’s worked with the works of Fela, James Brown, De La Soul…And this year’s offering is an imaginary jam session with BB King, and UGK (Under Ground Kings), and of course, plenty of guests–Ludacris, Bubba Sparks, Lil’ Wayne, and others.  It’s all Southern, all bluesy, and another tremendously amazing effort.  Don’t miss it.

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BAD NEIGHBOR by MED, Blu and Madlib



When I was a kid I loved ransom notes made out of letters and words of various fonts. I loved cutting up magazines and making collages out of existing materials. I loved the feel of the pieces in my hands, getting glue on my fingertips, and best of all finding that one little printed fragment that could fill the open space and perfectly mesh with everything around it. It felt so perfect, even if a lot of people would look at the same paper and see madness.


Today, nobody buys magazines. Most people don’t even buy CDs or albums
with cover art. Even portraits and pictures and books are transmitted as aseries of numbers over the ether. Music and art become less tactile every day.

Madlib is the guy Kanye West would be if West had less money to pay on samples, and maybe was afflicted with Attention


Deficit Disorder.  He speeds up verses and voices, he uses short cuts and splices–dozens of them–layered on top of each other to create dense walls of music that few rappers can break through.  As I write this, I’m listening to “Birds.” It’s an obvious reference to the drug trade, but in the background there’s a chorus chanting “Move ’em out! Move ’em out!” over and over, but they’re sped up so they sound



Any album with MF DOOM is one worth checking out, and his laid back, free-associative style fits perfectly with the rest of this album.  He always works well with Madlib.  Blu and MED do a great job, too.  And check out some of the other guests: Phonte (of Little Brother), British soul-rapper Aloe Blacc, Mayer Hawthorne…The list goes on and on.  But this feels like a band, not a few guys who just got together to make an album.

I’m not going to say that “Bad Neighbor” is brilliant, or the best album ever, but damn is it a trip to listen to.



“I’m a white rapper, they always call me Shady.” That’s from “Brand Name,” just one of the stronger cuts off Mac Miller’s major label debut. And I don’t think that’s true. Mac Miller started as a party rapper, making unimaginative songs with a flow that sounds at once quick and laid back. Nothing like Eminem, who burst on the scene with ultra-violent, ultra-personal rants about Kim and spitting dis tracks that crushed any who dared step to him. Mac was no Marshall Mathers. Not even close.

But on his latest album, he’s getting much better. Working with major label production budgets has definitely cleaned him up, but the content, too, seems to have risen above the superficial tripe he brought before. And the crowd he runs with helps him rise, including Ab-Soul and the lead singer of Little Dragon.

In short: This is a good record. Much better than we had any right to expect, and even good enough to make me want more.



Detroit’s Son isn’t the best rap album I’ve ever heard. It isn’t even the best Guilty Simpson album I’ve ever heard. But it’s damn good. Guilty has a tough, streetwise swagger that belies his wit and ability to turn a phrase. My only real problem with him, and especially this record, is the over-reliance on songs about smoking dope. One gets the sense that he’s a bit of a drug addict, and he seems to rely on the substance as much for his music as he does for whatever else he leans on the crutch.

Other than that, though, a very nice release.


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