Tuesday, May 23, 2006


we can trade like the dow jones

As I prepare to step off on my mixtape search in the hood called Shibuya my ipod is last-minute-blessed with a potential mixtape of the year from Lil’ Wayne and DJ Drama, which gives ‘MC style’ lessons for seasons to come and, at the very least, heavy rotation on our 14-hour flight. Almost every joint deserves an essay but due to time constraints I can only say one word: Cannon!

DJ Drama, Lil' Wayne, Freeway, Wille The Kid, Detroit Red, Juice - Cannon (AMG remix)

Friday, May 19, 2006

murder he rote

more hood shit?

The recent air of celebrity related murders hasn’t diminished my recognition of artistry... even when it’s still that pusher prose pushing death dealings. The Clipse kick despicable descriptions with delectable diction. Jeezy, not giving a cluck about classical Clipsean click-clack and crack clauses, cloaks his cleverness. Young Don Fresh doesn’t don that cloak with as much panache. And yet the dude has style. Or maybe a beautiful lack there of. Where Erick sermon and Mase (Omillio, even?) worked their slurs with charm Young Don sports a dead-eye, poker-face, and ice-grill (OG steez) even as his ad-libs punctuate perfectly. His delivery is almost a cartoonish casual combined with Jeezy-era cool/cold. The slang here is less about the words than the phrases (Chicago, please help a transcriber out!) and the content is not only predictable, it’s downright rote. And yet…

I realized ‘back in the day’ that the term ‘rap vocalist’ isn’t redundant and has nothing to do with singing. The term helps me explain some of the Jeezy and Peedi appeal that escapes fans of traditional ‘lyricists’. But it doesn’t quite explain the guilty pleasure of this unexpected Goon Squad soloist popping up in the middle of a DJ Drama / Bump J mixtape. It doesn’t explain the intrigue of his non-style trumping the complexity of local ‘peer’ Lupe… at least for this listener. I can overlook a few shaky line deliveries while distracted by the guise of effortlessness. Even if Young Don Fresh never kicks another bar outside of this cold-blooded poem his terse, internal two-syllable terms have endeared themselves. There is a method to the mundane. But not too much.

Young Don Fresh – Hood Shit

I flip Bose, ride slick and sip Mo. Get dough ‘cause my block jump like a Six-Fo’
I got the dice. What they here fo’? Shoot a stack. If I lose, let me get that back. (holler)
Most of my life I had to pitch some crack. If not that, lug mac and strip that cat. (yeah)
I go hard and Bogart. Any nigga in the way o’ the cake, he’ll lay in the lake. (what)
I roll up. Niggas fold up ‘cause I put a hole in they head like the one in a donut.
I make the Heights go nuts and you can’t move a nick. That’s really ‘cause your shit is blow-up
We got the city sewed up. It’s a done deal. I move around the town with just one steel, with enough shots to get one kill. Maybe even two or three. It’s better you than me.
This is that hood shit, Chico bullshit,
See a nigga. Heat a nigga down with a full clip (or He the nigga down with a full clip)

When it’s time to kill in the field, on the real, you boys lay low. Y’all ain’t goons. Y’all a act, like a stage show.
I get bricks of yayo from Pedro at twelve a piece. I’m small shop. I cop twelve at least, hit your block and let the K release, then be gone when the cops come and cage the beast (yeah)
It’s a must that I stay with heat. I stay over East where most niggas play for keeps. (yeah)
I roam streets with money on my mind and fire in my heart, thin tires on the car (check it) and big rims. It’s a mess when the tec hits skin. It burn like a fifth of gin. It’s my turn and I’m here to win. Yeah I’m here again. Goon Squad: you should feel them men.
I could make you disappear, my friend. So tuck your tail before I up and I buck a shell.

I sell crack, stay strapped and don’t snooze. I get clapped at, I clap back like Ja Rule.
No, I don’t sleep. You war with me, you won’t eat ‘cause my whole crew, they dump heat.
Cheef‘ll come through on them chrome feet. Heat up the block with my glock right on me.
I ain’t never did microphone beef. Just catch him at a club and knock out his front teeth. (yeah)
I play dirty and I live filthy. Got bitches and niggas both wantin’ to kill me. (both of ‘em)
And the police all want to conceal me but all that shit really does is thrill me. (ha ha)
I live for the streets. Remy Mart’ make my heart beat. You start beef you end up where the sharks be.
I spark three in the nigga frame. All it takes is an ‘Eight just to get you changed, mayn. (yeah)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

‘rah rah-rah

might go pop

What do you get when an extremely local Brazilian sound is adapted by a dude from Florida and an Anglo-Sri Lankan? You get a Japanese version, of course.
But the remix will have to be by an expat European producer/DJ set up in LA (but with some Brazilian connects?) and for fun let’s say the beat is a version of an extremely local Oakland / Bay Area sound.
Brooke Valentine it is not. But the crunk influence is, of course, in there too.

I have so many enemies, I can't even count them
I have so many feelings, I can't even tell
I'm already came to a place
Where nobody can stop me anymore

Word. Or something like that.

And just when you thought the chorus was going to drive you nuts she’s got the Ronin Remix out of Phoenix (AZ rising, son!) with dramatic keyboard notes giving her a dose of hefty Rick-Rossian-drama.
With respect to Gangsta Nip I’ll leave the bad puns in the trash.

You know if J-side remixes are this good maybe I’ll just run over to Tokyo next week to pick up some mixtapes… Anybody know the spots?

Tigarah – Girl Fight
Mr. D Hyphy Remix (yousendit)(zshare RE-UP)
Ronin Remix Phoenix (yousendit)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

juganot, bitch

different heavy-hitter

The papes have been all over the Jackson Heights immigrant massive these days, New Jacks’ City being THE most diverse hood in the universe and all. Regardless of what the debate is really about, a day without immigrants is a day without most of the folks in my hood. But on to the important issues…
Now the Bhanghra mixtapes rep the Jax hood well but I’ve been waiting for mainstream hip-hop to give it some love. DJ Camilo always shouts out the streets he hails from but has moved on to greener pastures somewhere in Brooklyn (I think). So I was pleased to hear Camilo dropping some freestyles from an artist in the Heavyhitter camp that could make the JaxHts streets boom proudly. Juganot (or The Juganot or Juggernaut or… etc) has brought some gruffness over the Rick Ross beat. The deep sing-song intro shifts into the percussive precise rap like an automatic. The dark-drama beats continue as Pcise helps Jug over the “Whip Ya Head” beat. I want to compare the Jugga Man Puerto-Rock syllables to a Jeezy-era Big Pun flow… but that might be jumping the gun a little bit. His brief bars and appropriate beat selection are enough to put JH on the “where ya at” map at least tentatively. We’re gonna have to see if he can throw the whole hood on his back. Hey, I’m not even mad at the Nina Sky cruzover attempt.

Juganot - Slow Your Roll (‘Hustling’ beat) (yousendit) (zshare)
Pcise and Juganot - Whip Ya head Freestyle (yousendit) (zshare)
Nina Sky, Juganot – Holla Back Remix (yousendit) (zshare)

queen b


The first gangsta rapper (you try to run but he's got a gun and he shoots you dead and he eats your head), Blondie’s Debbie Harry, dropped her oddest concept-rap song since, I dunno, the one about eating bars, cars and guitars. Homage raps to other rappers are a mini-genre that never really works for me. “We’ll always love Big Poppa” is pure sap and "Unauthorized Biography of Rakim” is more spoken word than flow. But this one feels like a high-school notebook scrawl by the artsy white girl fascinated by the nutty little trouble-maker at the OTHER lunch table. Deb successfully uses the surreal (take off your glasses down to your skin), the silly (she got it under her wiggy) and the cheesy video-game funk-blips in this locker-sized altar. I can see Kim digging it AND that cool-white-girl because, you know, they can talk about fly boots or whatever. The killer couplet is of course “She wants love and affection / not the house of corrections.” The various vocal pitches and effortless flirts put Madonna’s return to disco to down and dirty (and deep) shame. Like Lil’ Kim, Blondie can do it. She can phone it in. Does she say “Flirty Socrateaser”?

Blondie – Dirty N Deep