The Coloring Book That Brightened Up Our Lives

The Coloring Book That Brightened Up Our Lives

The Coloring Book That Brightened Up Our Lives: By @WafflesShakur

On the evening of May 12th, it seemed as if the whole world had shut down.


This was really noticeable in Chicago, hometown of esteemed musical artist Chance the Rapper, who just released his long-anticipated third mixtape, titled Coloring Book.

This might have been the most anticipated project of the year (sorry, Drake).

Chance and The Social Experiment dropped “Surf” exactly 1 year ago…

“Surf” – Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment (2015)

….But it had been three years since Chano’s last solo project, Acid Rap.

“Acid Rap” – Chance The Rapper (2013)
People were aware that some new Chance was coming, since all his previous projects dropped in the months of April through May.

Chance has also been dropping hints at a new project, such as this line from Ultralight Beam on Kanye’s The Life of Pablo:

“He said let’s do a good ass job with Chance 3,
I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy,
Let’s make it so free, and the bars so hard;
That they’re ain’t one gosh-darn part you can’t tweet”

On April 30th, Chance released the “Chance 3” cover art, and started selling posters on ChanceRaps.com.

 Soon after, posters of “Chance 3” were seen all over various cities in the country and even worldwide. In a way, Chance was coloring the world with his music. In Chicago, the posters were found on every corner, especially inside ad-spaces in CTA bus shelters.

Fans on Twitter even began jokingly Photoshopping chance 3 posters onto major landmarks:

 

The release of Coloring Book was a phenomenon in the city of Chicago. As soon as it hit 10 pm central time on May 12th, 2016, and word got out that the mixtape was available to stream on Apple Music, everyone in the city stopped what they were doing and got their headphones out.

Many people took to Twitter to voice their initial reactions. It seemed that everywhere, people were showing love to Lil Chano from 79th.

Chance the Rapper is beloved by many, because he is not an average Chicago rapper. He is going against the norm, and not utilizing the drill sub-genre, and living the life of gangs and violence – such as Chief Keef and similar artists.

Chicago “drill rapper”, Chief Keef 
Chance’s musical style is unique, to say the least – and has a lot of variety, allowing him to appeal to the general public. Overall, his music is extremely uplifting, and there are a few rap projects that have achieved that same feel-good effect.

As soon as the first song, All We Got opened up with Nico Segal’s trumpets, along with the iconic “And we back, and we back, and we back” vocals from Chano, bringing us back to those “Good Ass Intro” feels. Many listeners – myself included – were transcended into a musical high. There may have been tears of joy involved.

“All We Got” is a gospel rap song, similar to Sunday Candy and Ultralight Beam, featuring a hook by Kanye West and vocals by Chicago Children’s Choir. A few lines in this song are similar to Ultralight Beam. Chance’s line here “It was a dream, you could not mess with the Beam” is an allusion to “You cannot mess with the light, look at lil Chano from 79th” on Ultralight Beam.

“No Problem” is a warning to the “big fella”; which is a reference to record labels that want to sign Chance, who prides himself on his independent career. In other words, he ain’t havin it.

Chano has long been at war with these labels, who he sometimes personifies as the Devil (see Need to Know – by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis). Chance’s tone is aggressive, stating:

“If one more label try to stop me, it’s gon’ be some dreadhead niggas in ya lobby”,

Meaning 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne got his back. They have impressive features on this song. The amazing production by BrassTracks qualifies No Problem as a banger, and it’s tied as my favorite song on Coloring Book.

“Summer Friends” is a personal and melancholy song of Chance’s. It is reminiscent of tracks like Paranoia and Acid Rain – where he alludes to the hard-knock life, on the south-side of Chicago. Chance laments of how Chicago summers should be full of joy, but they are actually of despair, as overall violence increases in the summer. This song has vocals by Francis and the Lights and an outro sung by Jeremih, another Chicago local.

 

Francis and The Lights is a band from New York City, led by Francis Farewell Starlite. The term “and the Lights” refers to both the lights on stage, and pixels on a computer screen.

“D.R.A.M. sings Special”, which acts as an interlude – with a short, repeated, reassuring verse, by the Virginia rapper – that can be interpreted as a thematic sequel to Everybody’s Something from Acid Rap.

  

SZA, and D.R.A.M.

“Blessings” is the most religious song on Coloring Book, following a similar theme to Ultralight Beam and Sunday Candy as well. Chance reflects on his devotion to God, and the blessings he has received in return. There also are personal lyrics about Chance’s daughter, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. The hook features Jamila Woods, who collaborated with Chance on Sunday Candy.

This song premiered on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:

Watch here: Blessings – Chance the Rapper on The Tonight Show

 

“Same Drugs” is about Chance’s coming clean from using drugs when he became a father. There are numerous references to Peter Pan about growing up:


 “Mixtape” is the banger of the album. Reminiscent of “Fuck You Tahm Bout” from Chano’s debut tape, 10 Day, Chance puts on a trapper-persona, as he discusses his use of mixtapes, and how the music industry is more focused on profit rather than art. Chance the Rapper invites Atlanta artists Young Thug, and newcomer, Lil Yachty, on this song.

 

Young Thug & Lil Yachty
Neither Thug nor Yachty have released an official album yet, but rather have a number of mixtapes out. This is related to the Grammy nomination system, where the album must be released commercially in order to be considered or eligible for a nomination.

 

Chance is against this, as he has promoted a petition to allow free projects (mixtapes) to be nominated for a Grammy:

 

On this track, Mixtapes, Chance calls out the flaws of the music industry, such as commercial artists claiming to be bosses, and masters of their art, when in reality; they are limited by their bosses – the record label.

In the line “We don’t know none of your words, ayy”, he takes a jab at how mixtape rappers are known for not rapping clearly. Potential shot at his musical guests Thugger and Lil Boat?

“Angels” is a song that premiered on The Colbert Report in October of 2015, and on April 7th, 2016, a music video with amazing visuals was released:

 

Here, Chano reps his Chicago upbringing, and reflects on his growth as an artist. Chano even shouts out the Chicago area’s Hip-Hop/Rap radio stations: WGCI 107.5 and Power 92.3 fm. However, since Chance and fellow Chicago artist, and guest feature, Saba are independent artists, they get limited radio play.

 

“Juke Jam” is a ballad about the innocent relationships of Chano’s youth, and of the Juke party scene of Chicago. This song is reminiscent of the Chicago style slow jam (such as Birthday Sex by Jeremih). Towkio of SAVEMONEY performs the hook, which is an interpolation of Feelin’ On Yo Booty by Chicago’s own, R. Kelly, another famous juke song. 

 

Chance & Towkio of SAVEMONEY – A Hip-Hop collective originating in Chicago, who’s members also include Vic Mensa
Musical guest Justin Bieber does an impressive job on singing the bridge, as well as the background vocals.

 

“All Night” is Chance’s reflection on one of the bad aspects of fame, where everybody wants to take advantage of him, instead of sharing his good vibes. Produced by KAYTRANADA, this song has an upbeat tempo, and a hook by Chicago local, Knox Fortune.

Producer KAYTRANADA
Chicago Rapper, Knox Fortune
 

“How Great” continues the religious themes. Chance’s cousin, Nicole, samples gospel song “How Great Is Our God” in the intro. There is a guest verse by elusive Jay Electronica, who is considered one of the most lyrical rappers, despite having a very limited discography.

 

 

“Smoke Break” is exactly about what it’s titled after. Chance and musical guest Future are taking a smoke break, in the middle of their busy lives, since both of them are very accomplished artists. Chano talks about himself and his baby momma needing a break, but not when they have a baby. Future on the other hand may or may not have taken shots against Desiigner and Ciara

 



“Finish Line / Drown” is another two-parter, reminiscent of Pusha Man/Paranoia. It continues the theme with God in both parts. In part 1, we follow Chance’s successes, which were helped by God; and in part 2, we follow Noname’s struggles, also helped by God. Eryn Allen Kane, Kirk Franklin and T-Pain provide vocals throughout.

 

“I’m an artist and I create hip-hop music, poetry. I’m black. I define my identity being black. I’m weird, I’m awkward.” – Noname Gypsy

 

The last song on the mixtape, is a reprise of “Blessings”. This song is about Chance’s rise to success, and where it has taken him.

His line “Kanye’s best prodigy, he ain’t signed me but he proud of me” reflects his relationship with the Hip-Hop icon. Kanye was first an idol to young Chance back in his 10 Day years. As Chance became more famous, Kanye trained Chance to perfect his art. 


Now his art is so perfect, the learner is now the master. We still blame Chance for delaying The Life of Pablo, but it was worth it, so thank you, Chance.

Coloring Book definitely shows Chance the Rapper’s progress; not only in musical skills, but in his growth as a person.

On 10 Day, Chance was just a Chicago kid fresh out of high school, reminiscing on his youth and looking to the future and especially to the rap game.

10 Day (April 3rd, 2012)
On Acid Rap, he is well established off of his success, and more weary of the world, due to drug addictions.

Acid Rap (April 30th, 2013)

On Coloring Book, he comes clean. He is now a father, a famous musician, and he has found God.

Coloring Book (May 12th, 2016)
Yet throughout, Chance remains the same kid from Chicago who dropped out of high school, reps his hometown, and hosts open mic events throughout the city. As a Chicagoan, I can relate to him very well.

That is why when Coloring Book was released, the majority of Chicagoans stopped what they were doing and just listened.

With these songs, Chano touched the souls of so many of us, not only with his genius and relate-able lyrics, but with the phenomenal production that delivers a unique soul rap feel to Chance’s work.

I absolutely loved this mixtape. Chance wasn’t kidding when he said this will be better than his previous projects, even though we did not think it would be possible. We waited, and Chance delivered a masterpiece. I believe this is the best project of the year. And we’re not even halfway through 2016.

I knew Chance 3 would be phenomenal. That is one reason I did not buy into the VIEWS hype. To me it was just not relevant to begin with, seeing as Chance 3 was looming on the horizon.

Kanye’s The Life of Pablo, Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled.Unmastered, and Anderson .Paak’s Malibu are no longer my favorite projects of the year. They’re still amazing nonetheless, but now, Coloring Book reigns supreme.

 

The verdict: a solid 10/10

To all the haters out there, it’s a 9.5/10 in my unbiased opinion.

~ Waffles

Follow @WafflesShakur on Twitter:

Lil Wayne Not A Top 5 Rapper of All Time? Fuck Outta Here

Lil Wayne Not A Top 5 Rapper of All Time? Fuck Outta Here

From the mind of Dom The Savage (@Ayo_Domm)
Aight pussy niggas, it’s time to lay some shit on the table.

So you gone read this shit, and not question a single sentence until the very end. Understood?

You niggas need to be put in your place, so I’m the perfect little light skin nigga to do it. I got a fade schedule so @Ayo_Domm if you want to make an appointment. Enough about checking you niggas, cause like NWA, I got something to say. (Soundcloud rapper, don’t mind me).

From this day forward, I want the Lil’ Wayne slander to come to a complete halt. I want it to come to a Kodak Black boppin’ SKRRRT halt.

When did it become cool to slander a living legend in the game? Yes, I said living legend.

Here’s just a short, concise list of all the work Weezy has put in:

-Discography full of classics.

-Worked with damn near every artist in the industry.

-Managed to stay completely and lowkey relevant for 20+ years.

-Has countless artists who thank him for his music which in turn made them want to become rappers.

-Claimed to be the best rapper alive for half a decade (maybe a full) and then showed proof.

-Brought you Drake – who birthed OVO, Tyga, (who showed us the funniest ways to take L’s).

-And even gave us Nicki Minaj, (who I may not be a fan of), but she has achieved global success.

So after this short list of broad accomplishments, you still think he’s a bum don’t you? That’s cause you a bitch who can’t formulate their own opinion … but I’ll expand a little more since y’all might be a little slow. And you probably thinking right now, why am I reading something that keeps lowkey disrespecting me? 

Well the answer, is because a real nigga told you to keep reading. Now continue on homie.

When I say “Hot Boys”… what’s the first thing that comes to mind? 400 Degreez? Cash Money takin over for the ’99 and 2000s? Call me big daddy when you back that ass up? Ugh I like it like that? This is where Wayne bursted on to the scene – as a fresh faced, bandana-wearing teen, in the late 1990s. Yes, you read that right. Lil Wayne has been around, and been legit, for 20+ years.

The Hot Boys, which consisted of Wayne, Juvenile, B.G. and Turk, managed by Birdman (Brrrrr *hand rubs*) was the new hood group in the game.

 

Cash Money Hot Boys

Alhough he had mild success before joining, Juvenile was the head of the gritty, X-rated, not for television Hot Boyz. To give you a little background – they dropped Guerilla Warfare a few years after their start, and this is where the South was making the most noise since Geto Boys and Outkast.

 

Hot Boys – Guerilla Warfare (Released July 27th, 1999)

After a few years of being the biggest group at the time, the group disbanded, because Birdman didn’t respeck the members of the group, except Wayne. Years later, Wayne would end up leaving as well, but the Hip-Hop group was no more. Juvenile, and BG lowkey, faded off the scene. Turk had been imprisoned for some actual gangster shit, leaving Wayne as the sole member of Hot Boys.

 

After serving 9 Years in prison, original Cash Money Hot Boy (Turk) was released in 2012. He was sentenced in 2004 for his involvement in a Memphis shootout with SWAT, that left 2 officers injured.

So now you have an 18 year old kid, (Wayne), with a previous number one album… with a group of grown men far more known than he was…. was a solo career possible?

At the beginning of 2000, Wayne, without a doubt, proved the he could do it on his own. My dawg dropped “Tha Block Is Hot”. We Stevie blind to the slander. Wayne, in the gritty, raspy, voice we know and love; had become an overnight solo rap star.

 

Lil Wayne – Tha Block Is Hot (Released November 2nd, 1999)

Listen to the whole tape here: Tha Block Is Hot – Lil Wayne

 

With what I considered to be one of the greatest twerking tracks ever; Wayne had your mom, and all your aunts, dropping it like it was hot. If your girl hasn’t sent you a nude video of her twerking to “Drop It Like It’s Hot”then let’s be real… you ain’t got the juice fam.

But as we all know; with success, comes failure. You know you a real Wayne stan, when you’ve heard the album “Lights Out”. If you have never heard it, you really are better off than most. In my opinion, it is by far one of the biggest flops after a debut album in the history of Hip-Hop. Yes, it was really that bad. The album just recently went gold after a decade, so that should really let you know how bad it is.

 

Lil Wayne – Lights Out (Release December 19th, 2000)

Was Wayne really going to fade into obscurity after having the great debut album he did? The answer is: hell to the fuck nah.

My nigga went back to the drawing board, and became a consistent wrecking ball of Rap. Wayne came back on to the scene, destroyed the game single-handedly, and easily earned the right to dub himself “The Best Rapper Alive”.

Again, Wayne dropped what would be the first classic of his series, “Tha Carter” and instantly became un-slanderable.

Lil Wayne – Tha Carter (Released June 29th, 2004)

The fact that I get bitch niggas in my mentions from time to time, tryna claim that Wayne not a GOAT, is laughable.

  



After reclaiming the throne, Wayne then dominated the early 2000’s, E-A-S-I-L-Y.

He crowned himself as the “King of The Mixtape”. From the Dedication series, to the undoubtedly classic Drought series, to No Ceilings, to The Drought Is Over series, Wayne had everyone stepping their mixtape-game up. He went against the grain, and gave us so much free music, niggas didn’t even know how to act.

“Dedication” Series 

 

“The Drought Is Over” Series

Wayne then dropped a few more classic albums: Tha Carter II,  Tha Carter III, and Like Father, Like Son. He was slated to be the Hip-Hop icon of the 2000’s. If you don’t believe he was the best rapper throughout the early to mid-2000’s, along with Kanye West, you can go ahead and snuff yourself right now. The world is a little too crowded anyway. And do me a favor before you go, PayPal me what’s in your bank account (even though I’m sure it’s not much) because I can use it a lot more than you can after you’re gone, scrub. But again, what goes up, must surely come down. This is synonymous with Newton’s 3rd law. By the time Tha Carter 4 was dropping, people had fallen out of love with Wayne, and many had no answer as to why.

“His music is trash, he isn’t even saying anything”

We’re going to start right here, because I fucking hate this excuse. What the fuck does this even mean? Rap music and Hip-Hop in general has NEVER been solely about lyrics. Yes, Wayne a punchline rapper, but how does that take away from him making such fuck-wittable music? It’s supposed to make you move, make you feel, or just make you want to dance your ass off. Wayne did all of those things.

“He says the same thing in all his music”

Your music should be reflective of your life, correct? Or else that would make you a fake ass nigga, correct? If snorting dope, sippin’ lean, fucking models, and partying, are events you partake in on a daily basis, why wouldn’t you rap about it? This man was claiming to “get money”, and his 150+ million dollar net worth clearly shows that. Of course most his fans couldn’t relate to it, but to know that he made the life that most of us want to live (for himself), made us feel like we could also achieve the same type of super-stardom.

“He’s corny. All he spits is punchlines and baby bars”

Listen up, wanna-be “Hip-Hop heads”. Every rap song does not have to be a conscious, macro-social, civil injustice, lyrical piece of literature. Sometimes it’s good to branch out, and just vibe. Wayne laid the blueprint for one of the greatest rappers of all time, Thugger Christ, our modern day lord and savior of the rap game (If you follow me on Twitter you know I’m a fake troll for Thug, chill out I know he trash).

Wayne perfected his rap flow. The way he could effortlessly put any words together, and turn it in to fire, is second-to-none. I will not debate this with anyone, and only a goofy head ass nigga would argue against it.

But sometime in the last 5 years, it became a trend to hate the man that probably laid the foundation for your favorite rapper.

 

Oh, You don’t believe me?

 

“The rap game has to save itself. Everybody’s saving it, People like Lil Wayne is saving it. He’s bringing energy to it.” From one GOAT to another, -Andre 3000

 

“Lil Wayne is one of the greatest of all time. Wayne is still fun. Are we forgetting that Wayne made everybody switch their flow up? Are we forgetting Wayne changed Hip-Hop too? This is a guy who went from fucking being the youngest underdog in his crew, to saving his company and saving his ‘Daddy’. I’m not a fucking Lil Wayne dickrider, I’m just stating facts.” (Paraphrased)  –A$AP Rocky

 

“Wayne is one of my biggest inspirations because Wayne’s got an unprecedented work ethic.” –Busta Rhymes

 

“Lil Wayne still my favorite rapper. I’m in NOLA right now. God Bless Lil Wayne. Greatest Rapper Alive to this day” – Chance The Rapper

 

“He stepped up his rap game so he deserves the success he had. And no one else was even doing near what he was doing so I applaud him.” –DJ Premier

 

“Wayne puts out a new song and my ears perk up. There are certain artists that make me do that, just because of the caliber that they rhyme at; it’s like candy to me” –Eminem

 

“These guys out here copying Lil Tunechi style so much, it’s so blatant. Do they even know who style they using? #maybenot” – Jay Electronica

 

“I learned from that dude, a lot of niggas need to learn from that nigga man. No lie, when we went to the studio at 2 in the morning that nigga was in the studio until 2 the next day. The nigga go hard man, that goes to show you he got love for the game man” – Jay Rock

 

 

“I think Wayne is the number one rapper in the world” – Kanye West

 

“Lil Wayne is the greatest rapper of all time” – KRS-One

 

“Lil Wayne said ‘I’m the best rapper alive’ and he murdered everything that he did, until he stopped proclaiming that he was the best rapper alive” –Lupe Fiasco

 

“Lil Wayne top 5 ever, shut up” – Vince Staples

 

I could keep up these quotes all day. I’ll give you one last quote, by quite possibly the biggest voice in Hip-Hop right now, and if this doesn’t shift your perspective of why you should put respeck on his name, then I don’t know what will.

Kendrick Lamar, word for word, said:

“I go all the way back to the Hot Boys days, and being 13, listening to this dude. Just remembering the staple he put on the game back then, all the way to now. To have that longevity, years beyond it. So for him to actually acknowledge what I’m doing right now, and seeing it as a path… to share that same stage, and a moment with him. Wayne ain’t no new-jack to this game. He influenced a lot of styles, and a lot of sounds. I would say I was influenced by that certain sound, flow, and cadence that he brought to the game. Lil Wayne is the greatest. Not only because of his music but also because of the culture he put behind it.” –Kendrick Lamar

 

Everybody has paid their respect to the GOAT at least once in their lifetime. Wayne made everybody want to rap. Especially all of these 90’s babies.

You still aren’t convinced Wayne isn’t a Top 10 rapper of all time? Have a cup of bleach fam. What more do you need me to say? That he inspired almost ALL of your favorite rappers? That he managed to stay relevant for years in game that spits and recycles more “artists” than it could handle? Or maybe I should bring up how his name is synonymous with greatness because there is no way you won’t listen to anything he drops?

 

 

I could go on forever about how Wayne created his own lane in this game, and never changed. I could bring up how he wanted to venture and put a little rock into his music, and innovate himself instead of sticking to the same sound. I could bring up how he, whether you like their music or not, thrusted Drake and Nicki Minaj into the GLOBAL spotlight. I could also bring up how at one point, everybody, (even you) wanted to be like Lil Wayne – in some fashion.

 

I could bring up that without Wayne, there would be no Jay Rock and more importantly, no T.D.E. There would be no Black Hippy. No Kendrick Lamar. No ScHoolboy Q. No Ab-Soul. No Isaiah Rashad. No SZA.

Main members of Top Dawg Entertainment
We would not have our modern day GOAT without Lil Wayne. If this sounded like dick riding to you, well it is because the slander is highly unnecessary.

He’s paid his dues to the rap game. He’s paid his dues to the culture. He’s paved the way for countless artists. He has shown why he went by “The Best Rapper Alive”. He’s given you countless projects, and probably one of the most extensive discographies in Hip-Hop History. He’s given you what it means to succeed as a black man, in any form of the word, in the Hip-Hop industry.

Lil Wayne is an idol, and his name should have the most respeck on it. Word to Birdman.

 

Whether you want to call him Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., Lil Wayne, Lil Tunechi, Young Mula Baby, Big Money Weezy, Birdman Jr. (Brrrrrr), Dr. Carter, Lil Carter, Weezy, Weezy F. Baby, or just Wayne; one thing you have no choice but to call him – is an icon.

So the next time you think about slandering Lil Wayne, picture a nine and half Timbaland boot curb-stomping your teeth out before you ever trash my dawg Wayne name, or career. And if this couldn’t convince you, then you a bitch ass nigga and my fade calendar looking mighty empty nigga, pull up. My location on.

 

Follow @Ayo_Domm on Twitter for more dope opinions (and troll tweets)

Here’s some of my thoughts on Wayne:

 

Hip-Hop Knowledge: BITING VS. INFLUENCE

Hip-Hop Knowledge: BITING VS. INFLUENCE

An Attempt to Differentiate Between Biting and Influence in Hip Hop Music: 

By: @SilliMustafa

The line between biters, and influenced artists is a thin one, that is mostly dependent on a given song’s content.

There are legendary artists like Rakim, and Biggie, whose influence almost necessitated biting – because the elements they brought to the table could only push the culture forward. Once an artist revolutionizes a form in some way, the difference between biters and influenced artists comes down to whether or not a given artist mistakes form with function.

The Notorious B.I.G., and Rakim
The best MCs develop new techniques, as a way to express experiences that current methods are unsuccessfully expressing. A good example is Lauryn Hill. Her iconic album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, combined elements of rapping and singing. When Ms. Hill wanted to express the intricacies of her emotion, she used singing to do that because she knew that would be the best way to sonically connect her audience – to her personal emotion.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

On the flip side, Ms. Hill would use rapping to express more concrete and thematic elements, to portray things that could be explained and parsed through. There are a lot of crossovers in the album, due to the fact that different moments within each song, would call for either of the two forms (rapping or singing), to correctly express what she wanted an audience to process. She would use the form as a way to express specific functions.

The difference is easier to explain when you split rapping and singing; but when it really comes down to the different flows in Hip-Hop, things become muddled. However, I think the same principles apply.

Rakim wanted to rap in a way that would better express his thoughts, so (in understated, basic terms) he started rapping in a way that interconnected every line – through multi-syllabic rhyme patterns, and internal rhyming. This was a way to audibly express the transient nature of his train of thought, in a way that didn’t seem forced or limited.

GOAT MC, Rakim
This was a revolutionary approach to rap itself, and most rappers tried to apply it to their own music. I imagine that those who bit Rakim, were people who tried to copy everything about him – from the way he rapped, to what he rapped about – because they did not understand that what made his style effective. Rakim was using a certain method as a way to express his thoughts. He was using a new form to serve a function.

The biters could only see the form.

The artists who were influenced by Rakim, on the other hand, recognized that his form served a certain function, and instead of directly copying him, they used the form as a way to express their own unique thoughts and feelings.

Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie, The Wu-Tang Clan, etc., all took the form and added their own personal touches to it to serve their own specific functions.

 

There was a lot of borrowing, as the Hip-Hop culture developed and changed, (which Nas made clear in Last Real Nigga Alive), but what separated the best artists from the pile of would-be’s, were those who had clear goals in mind, and were searching for certain methods to express them.

When a great artist would utilize a certain flow or style used by another artist, it was the quality of their content that determined ultimately whether it would be taken by the people as biting or as influence.

For example; Eminem’s Columbine sequence in “I’m Back”, which utilized a rhyme/line pattern from Rakim’s “My Melody”.

 

Listen Here: I’m Back – Eminem

 

Though Eminem essentially copied the way Rakim rapped, the actual content of Eminem’s sequence was completely different from Rakim’s song, which made it a homage instead of a bite.

Listen Here: My Melody -Eric B. & Rakim

 

It is also obvious that it was only a small part of the song; whereas if Eminem had just replaced every word that Rakim used in “My Melody” and rapped it in Rakim’s cadence, it would’ve been considered biting, because Eminem would have been mistaking the form for function. Even if Eminem’s ideas were different, it would still be clear that he was copying Rakim.

That’s where it gets into subjective, emotional content. Artists who add their own personal touches, quirks, attitudes, and interests to established forms; help create a sense of separation from the artists that preceded them.

As an audience, we can pick up on those things, and notice when they’re being copied. Many times it’s subconscious. We will just recognize that something is being taken, and misused. Other times, we recognize when a songs messages are harmful or negative in some way, or uninteresting and simple in comparison to more accomplished artists.

The deeper you go in, the harder it is to clear up the differentiation. However, we uncontrollably pick up on it in those small, subtle ways.


Ultimately, I think it really comes down to which artists are using pre-existing forms, to serve unique functions – that are informed by interesting and new content – and those who are blatantly copying content, because they mistakenly believe that that’s how you gain success.

An example of modern-day biting would be Logic’s verses (3 through 5) on the song “Under Pressure”.

Read Lyrics & Annotations on Rap Genius here:

Under Pressure – Logic

The song is a meditative account, that uses 1 verse each – to describe the viewpoint of a man and a woman (Logic’s sister and father); and then Logic himself – responding to the both of them.

In the song, Logic uses the same flow, as well as the same concept, that Kendrick Lamar used in his song “Sing About Me”, which itself, is a meditative account that uses 1 verse each to describe the viewpoints of both a man and a woman that Kendrick knew in Compton, followed by a verse about Kendrick himself responding to the both of them.

 

Read Lyrics & Annotations on Rap Genius here:

Sing About Me – Kendrick Lamar

 

Kendrick uses an affectless, but fast flow to give off a sense of the guarded emotion that’s expressed by his character’s, as a way to deal with the pain that haunts them. The quickness of Kendrick’s flow utilizes a stream-of-consciousness technique, that makes the rambling of his characters seem authentic.

Logic utilizes almost the exact same flow and technique, to express the pain and guilt that haunts his sister and father. Logic used Kendrick’s form to fit his function instead of coming up with his own form to tell the story he wants to tell.

Additionally, Logic’s song uses a similar concept as Kendrick’s, which adds to the song’s unoriginality. By taking a form and copy-pasting it to try and fit his function, Logic bit Kendrick’s song.

 

To be clear, this elaboration is true across all art forms and genres of music. A good comparison would be close-up shots in movies. When D.W. Griffith (who was, unfortunately, an incredibly influential racist) first utilized the close-up shot, it was done to connect an audience to a character in a direct way, to easily identify that character’s emotional state in a way; that would be harder to do with a shot that framed the actors whole body.

 

D.W. Griffith, known as the “Inventor of Hollywood”, was an American film director, writer, and producer; who pioneered modern film-making techniques.

The “biters” were the film-makers who just started shooting the majority of their movies using close-up shots, thinking that the mere existence of a bunch of close-ups would give their movies the same response that Griffith’s had. But any movie that consists of almost all close-ups would be awkward and exhausting to watch. The people who were influenced by the movie that first used the close-up, however, recognized that it was a way to connect an audience to a character’s emotional state, and learned to wait until moments of emotional vulnerability to cut to a close-up.

All of this ties into the difference between rapping and rap music.

Tupac wasn’t the best rapper (technically), BUT, he was one of the best MCs/hip hop artists ever, because his communicative abilities were second-to-none. When Pac used a flow, rhyme pattern, or cadence; it was in service of a specific emotion, theme, or point that he was trying to make.

GOAT MC Tupac Shakur
Imagine if Tupac had used Kendrick’s rapid-fire cadence, or Snoop Dogg’s smooth, cool-guy flow on the legendary song “Dear Mama”.

The excitement of Kendrick’s flow would have contrasted with the themes of the song, and the nostalgic tone of the production, while Snoop Dogg’s relaxed flow would have given off an affectless vibe, it would have sounded like Tupac didn’t care about getting his message across.

But because Tupac was one of the best artists to ever rap, he recognized that a measured flow, combined with a voice that was audibly emotional, would be the best delivery to portray the emotional content that embodies the song.

There are plenty of rappers who are technically “better” than Tupac, as far as lyricism and wordplay, but their technical abilities do not serve a purpose beyond an exhibition of raw skill, which doesn’t have the same emotional potency as music informed by thematic content.

Biters take a form they like and run with it. Artists search for forms that evoke the emotions and experiences they are trying to embrace.

 

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VIEWS FROM THE 6/10.

VIEWS FROM THE 6/10.

ReView by: @C2TheIsco

“All of my let’s just be friends, are friends I don’t have anymore. How do you not check for me when things go wrong?”

A melancholic and gloomed-out Drake sings, as a violin and stand-up bass play simultaneously. “Keep the Family Close” comes in sounding like the next James Bond theme. By far, I’m submerged in my feels as the track progresses. 


As I finish listening to “Hype”, my mood had went from the feels – to the famous Waka Flocka response…. “Okay.”

 

As the album closes down with “Hotline Bling,” the bonus, I was left in a state of “what the actual fuck.” Why? Because the 5th installment to Drake’s moody discography was not all that I thought it would be. I had realized that expectations really were shit.

“Oh, y’all wanted that old Drake back?”

Views is the 5th full length Studio Album from the Canadian sensation Aubrey “Drake” Graham. It marks his first solo studio album since 2013’s Nothing was the Same

Prior to Views, Drake was rolling thunder in the music industry, with smash hits such as “Hotline Bling” and his Grammy nominated diss track “Back to Back.” Since “0-100/The Catch Up,” Aubrey Graham was building up a huge wave of momentum with a string of projects, such as his Grammy-nominated tape “If You’re Reading This it’s too Late” and his collab-mixtape with trap-rapper Future, “What a Time To Be Alive”. 

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – Mixtape by Drake (2015)
What A Time To Be Alive – Collab Mixtape by Drake & Future (2015)

Both projects were well received by fans of Drake, as well as earning accolades and appearing on various “best projects of the year” lists from magazine publications.

Yet, all of this momentum went downhill once I got through the 1 hour and 22 minute album Views. The album is not bad either, yet it showcases some of Drake’s most forgettable and corny moments in his career. The main problems with this album, are his lyrics, and his lack of ambition.

Drake’s bars on Views are cheesier than Kanye’s asshole bleaching line on  The Life of Pablo’s “Father, Stretch my Hands”.

Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 – Kanye West

“Got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum.”…… Once I heard “Pop Style” as a single, I had automatically assumed that Drake no longer had ghostwriters. I had listened to the album version once it dropped again, it sounded way worse than the first listen. That is hands down one of the stupidest lines that Canadian rapper/singer Drake says on this record. “Pop Style” will go down as one of the worst Drake records released to this day.
Pop Style – Drake feat. Kanye West & Jay Z

Not only was Pop Style dumbed down, but then there’s the “Ya’ best day’s my worst day, I get green like Earth Day” line off of “Weston Road Flows”, which finds Aubrey going back through his humble beginnings, while being backed by a Mary J. Blige sample look of her track “Mary’s Joint.”  On that same track, more questionable bars emerge, such as “I’m lookin’ at their 1st week numbers like what are thooose”

Jesus Christ, where the fuck are Drizzy’s ghostwriters when you need them?



“Child’s Play” is also one of the most annoying songs on this Album. The theme revolves around Drake, and a female (in which he does the most Drake-like shit, such as hiding the keys to the Bugatti because she was being childish). Biggest Drake-like moment on the album, hands down. He also threatens her with the “Don’t make me take you back to the hood” line. Lmao.

When it comes to terms of effort, it seems like Drake couldn’t care less about it. Starting with his album cover artwork, that was rumored to have been photo-shopped.

Even some of the fan-made “Views” artwork was 100x better than the cover he ended up using:

 

His raps on this project are as bland as soft white rice in warm water. They lack taste, and ambition. If anything, this albums’s effort is equivalent as JAY Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, which was still a more enjoyable product than Views, due to its flashy production.

“Redemption” alone proves how Drake hardly cares about the shit he says, such as the following bars:

“Wonder what they’d do put in my position.

I wonder, when my shit drop, do they listen?

Wonder if they’re second guessin’ their decisions.

I hate the number 2, that shit is unforgiven”

Drake just mumbles the lyrics effortlessly. Other examples of this lack of effort include “Still Here”, and “Pop Style”. It can be said that working with Future has obviously rubbed off on Drake since WATTBA.

Future & Drake
Now this album also has its worthy moments, such as the sleek and shiny club banger – “Grammy’s” featuring Future,  along with the dancehall vibes that appear on “Controlla” (which should have featured Popcaan), and “With You”, featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR. Drake’s singing of course, is it’s own highlight on this LP. Even the samples used fit in with some of the instrumentals on here. But when it comes to subjects such as overall enjoyment and replay value, Views as a whole takes a toll on those two essential criteria – due to the fact that the majority of this project lacks tone, color, and passion. The attitude on here is just as grey as the cover – and not in a positive way.Overall, Views was just another overhyped project that led to huge expectations, and let-downs. Unlike Ye’s The Life of Pablo, Drake slipped with this album, and it’s shocking because this is the first time I was ever skeptical of a Drake project.

This album can be considered a cram of unnecessary lines, and throw-away tracks. Some songs shouldn’t have been here, simply because they felt so unnecessary and corny. Drake’s contemporaries have led him into uncharted territory, outside of his zone, and Drake somehow couldn’t capitalize with all of the momentum he had before Views. For now, his views from the top are boring, lonely, and lack effort. But of course, they’re money makers strictly because of his name.

 

Here’s a list of the struggle bars on “Views”:

“All these hand-outs, man it’s getting outta hand”

“Got so many chains, they call me Chaining Tatum”

“You toyin’ with it like a Happy Meal”

“Ya best day’s my worst day, I get green like Earth Day”

“When Chrysler made that one car… That looked just like a Bentley”

“Key-chain go jang-a-lang”

“I knew you before you made ends meet, and now we’re meeting our ends”

“That boy light as Michael Jackson, but off verses he be blackin'”

“Since Take Care, I’ve been care-takin'”

“All you niggas fighting over crumbs, where the bread at?”

“Last night, I got as high as the expectations”

“I want to turn you out like pitch black”

“And I turn the 6 upside down, it’s a 9 now”

 

Congrats Drizzy, you played yourself. Word to DJ Khaled.

 

6/10.

 

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They Don’t Want Beef, We Proved It. Niggas Better Keep It On Wax, Like A Q-Tip.

They Don’t Want Beef, We Proved It. Niggas Better Keep It On Wax, Like A Q-Tip.

Courtesy of: @DanielNoelD / Follow his Blog: RapsRUs

On record or off, Hip-Hop beefs have inspired some of the greatest Rap tracks to ever be created, and have been responsible for the resurgence of the careers of a legion of rappers.

We all know that sometimes beefs can go too far and spill into the real world, as we’ve seen Capone get shot over a beef that didn’t directly involve him (Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown).

Rapper Capone (half of Capone N’ Noreaga)

50 Cent got shot 9 times (although according to his ex, it was really 5). Along with the famous and untimely deaths of Hip-Hop Icons, Tupac Shakur, and The Notorious B.I.G.  Although we know how wrong they can get, something about Rap beefs still seems so.. right. The pent up aggression, the rage expressed towards another person on a raging beat in the form of a 40 bar verse, has a certain allure to it. That allure, in a sense, makes up for all the wrong things that may occur due to the beef.

I’ll always remember the first time I heard Hit Em’ Up by 2Pac, I was in the 7th grade, and on the phone with a friend. That friend was suburban kid, whose father hated Rap music, and whose sister’s favorite rapper was Nelly. I had never had a Rap artist command my attention in such an aggressive and demanding manner as the way 2Pac did.

Tupac Shakur

“I ain’t got no motherfucking friends, that’s why I fucked your bitch you fat motherfucker” From the beginning line, Pac had my attention, and he would keep it for the entire duration of the song, as he would go on to verbally assault Biggie, Bad Boys, and you, if you were down with them too. Although this is an extreme example on how vulgar and disrespectful Rap diss tracks could get, Hit Em’ Up was my introduction to a crucial part of the culture.

From iconic beefs like Pac and Biggie, 50 Cent and Ja Rule, Jay-Z and Nas, and T.I. and Ludacris, to more modern ones like Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj, and Drake and Meek Mill, Rap beefs have have been the cause for the rise and fall of many rappers.

What’s Beef? – Biggie Smalls

 

During the time Hov and Nas went at it, Nas was on the fall, and Hov’s stock was continuously rising, on his way to become one of Rap’s BIGGEST stars ever. Hov dropped Takeover, (also one of my favorite diss tracks ever) and Nas would eventually respond 3 months later with one of the most popular diss tracks ever, one that would go on the Hip-Hops most common verb, Ether. With that song, Nas would go on to revitalize his career, helping re-cement his name in Hip-Hop, and eventually going down as an Icon and legend to the culture.

Two of the most popular Rap beefs of this generation, we would see Nicki Minaj, the new kid on the block at the time, take out Lil’ Kim, an icon and innovator to Rap and the culture surrounding it. We would also see Drake, the  “singing nigga” from Toronto take out Meek Mill, the battle rapper from Philly in a nearly flawless manner.

This list as follows are my 10 favorite Rap diss songs ever. I don’t necessarily think these are the 10 greatest, but they’re the ones that I enjoy the most and have impacted me the most. (Click the title to hear the track).

10. Back Down – 50 Cent, vs. Ja Rule

9. Streets On Lock (Bitch I’m Jeezy) – Young Jeezy, vs. Gucci Mane

image

8.  Stomp – Ludacris, vs. T.I.

7. ASAP – T.I., vs. Lil’ Flip

image

6. Romans Revenge – Nicki Minaj, vs. Lil’ Kim

5. Summer’s Mine – Rick Ross, vs. Young Jeezy

image

4. Ether – Nas, vs. Jay-Z

3. Takeover – Jay-Z, vs. Nas

2.  Against All Odds, 2Pac, vs. Biggie

1. Hit Em’ Up – 2Pac, vs. Biggie and Bad Boy as a staff, record label and crew. Remember, If you want to be down with Bad Boy, that’s you too.

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And check out his Blog here: RapsRUs