Jan 162012

If The Jacka could be said to have made based music and cloud rap before Lil B and Main Attrakionz, then the first artist on his The Artist Records makes post-cloud rap… in the sense that the beat for Real Against Fake clearly is some Clams Casino shit. Now I don’t know who’s behind it, nor if he’s familiar with the work of the New Jersey-raised beat provider for Asap Rocky, Mac Miller, Havoc, etc… but that ten-fingers-to-the-sky sound is without a doubt present here, too.

The Jacka was telling us about Joe Blow when we interviewed him, but dude’s whole demeanor is just so humble and unassuming that the name kinda got lost in the blur of the interwebs… sometimes we just lose focus like that… but after finally having digested You Should Be Paying Me, it’s nothing to say that it’s a top ten release of 2011.

No weak verses, no rushed guest appearances, no trend hopping radio joints, strictly slapping beats, and the kind of life weary lyricism from the protagonist that only the makers of the finest of mob music provide.


Oct 252011

Rap med lång inlärningskurva, alltså musik som det tar ett tag att inse storheten med, men när man väl fattat aldrig lämnar ens blodomlopp – för mig: Z-Ro, E-40, Main Attrakionz, Wu-Tang Clan… och Max B… jämte hela den dipsetska undervegetationen egentligen.

Men varför har ingen nämnt att Biggavel är en pionjär inom cloud rap?

Hela Quarantine-tapet rullar på lika obekymrat, som en föregångare till ASAP Rockys geografiskt eklektiska men tajt sammanhållna swagger; det kränger från blaxploitation-soundtracks till RnB till g-funk till Just Blaze-liknande Uptown-anthems till jazz-samplingar till elektroniska ljudbilder, från ogenerat sängkammarprat till iskalla hallick-oneliners – men Max B tappar aldrig balansen. Quarantine är ett jämnt släpp i en katalog vars vildvuxenhet nog ligger bakom lite av den här långa inlärningskurvan som jag nämner i inledningen.

Men bry dig inte om det för mycket. Lär dig bara att surfa mellan de bärande vågorna, och du kommer att välsignas mångfaldigat.

Sep 112011

[bandcamp track=4050857364 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

Den här går på repeat nu.

Så genialiskt men ändå så nära till hands att sampla Satie för en kort bit realityrotad cloud rap, så rätt på så många sätt.

Erik Satie och Squadda Bambino, båda innovativa, torrt bitska musiker, som skänkte sin mäktiga musik till världen med en aura av lågmäldhet och en viss förkrossande sorgsenhet och livströtthet.

I wake up capital H in front of the headache.
I need a medic ‘cuz I’m crazy from selling rocks at nighttime,
and that’s below minimum wage, it’s not right.
I see the old lady missing all her teeth,
probably ‘cuz the shit she smoke back in the eighties.
Yeah, I’m all skin and bones, the money is short.
We got enough for weed, drink and Newports.


Jul 082010

Youthful expression is vital for the health of rap.

New York and Houston veterans still bring it hard, making sure rap music survive – but where are the younger cats?

While reading Yes Yes Y’all – an account of the birth of hip-hop culture in the seventies, made up of interviews with the people who made it happen – I see all the scene’s innovators being sixteen, eighteen, at most twenty (and the first time Grand Wizard Theodore showed the world his art of scratching he needed to stand on a milk crate so he could reach the turntables). Just like later innovators LL Cool J and A Tribe Called Quest and Snoop and Mobb Deep when they made their marks in the game.

The last decade can be seen as a transition period for rap music. The mixtape dominated as a compromise between the golden era album format and the locally based, globally and instantly spread, viral forms of distribution that are now establishing themselves (Youtube, Twitter and beyond). Most mixtape rappers still saw their goal as a major label contract and a big shot produced full length. But it was a long road to walk. Most got chewed up by the machine, and the few who made it had become fully media trained and business minded on their way. Music turned stale. Youthful expression went away for a decade.

Fresh and innovative rap music is rarely made by adults. It’s never born in the meeting rooms of record companies. It’s still based on teenagers in dead end areas messing around with new technology. Just like when Flash and Theodore defined modern music in the urban wastelands of South Bronx some 35 years ago. Like Golden State based Lil B and The Pack, Main Attrakionz, Odd Future. Who are catching up with the development of music and the spin of the world better than anybody in the business. In fashion. Subject matter. In rap style. In graphic profile. In media presence. And most importantly in beats. They are that next step that the RZA saw but was unable to take successfully – from analog to digital.

Tapes by 22 year old Roach Gigz and 23 year old Wiz Khalifa feel like some of the year’s best.

Kush & OJ. A whole mixtape about weed smoke and orange juice. Cannabis usage is, as we all know, tricky subject matter. It turns easily into college, stoner jock, nerd shit. But if the production stays somewhere between Warren G’s first album and the already mentioned cloud rap names, we can all be safe. No mustard stains on these samples. The few failed tracks here channel indie pop/rock, but as song structure, not as sample material, which is unfortunate.

 THC-themed tracks can slap hard. Especially if in the same vein as Freddie Gibbs’ Higher Learning (Exhale). Not rambling about being confused and having the munchies and doing stupid shit, but about feeling good and growing, enjoying life, planning for the future, seeing things more clear than ever.

Higher Learning (Exhale)

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