It's that time of year where everyone is getting sick. Every morning I'm waking up hoping that I haven't caught whatever new cold is out on the streets. But I'm ready for whenever I do catch it. I got my Theraflu on deck, extra honey, hot teas for days, beef Top Ramen, and our humidifier.
Whenever I'm sick, I have my own remedy. I wake up in the middle of the afternoon and take a scorching hot shower for like 30 minutes. Then I drink some honey drenched tea, so hot that you'd think it was sent to the sun and back. Eat some Top Ramen with extra sriracha sauce and lime. Then drink some Theraflu, and wrap myself in like 3 blankets and sweat that shit out.
My wife says I'm not supposed to sweat it out like that, but it works for me.
Panic! At the Disco
A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
Released September 27th, 2005
Ok, so maybe Panic! At The Disco wasn't trying to cure any common colds when they named the album. But maybe if I add listening to this album to my remedy, then I'll find myself getting better faster. Either way, this album is a certified banger.
2005 was like half of a lifetime ago, these guys had only been together for a little over a year before releasing something that would change the landscape of their career forever. They weren't anything we hadn't seen before. Bands like The All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, and Fall Out Boy were already on the scene. But this debut album showed that they not only belonged on the scene, but they could own it for the moment.
When we look back on the album, it was not successful right away. The first single off of the album "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage," didn't exactly break ground. It wasn't until they dropped the second single 5 months later that they started to get any kind of national notoriety.
I chime in-
"I Write Sins Not Tragedies" was a huge radio hit. This was also a time when people were still watching television and actually cared about music videos. The visuals for this hit may have played an even more important role than the song itself. The attention grabbing makeup and wardrobe helped them win Video of the Year at the MTV Awards, when people cared about that stuff.
They built off of this momentum and dropped their second hit single "But It's Better if you do" just a few months later. This gave them their second top 5 Billboard hit. A story of a young man falling in love in a strip club, reminds us of what T-Pain once said "I'm in love with a strippperrrr!"
The final Billboard hit off of the album was "Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off." I have no idea where they come up with all these random ass names, but they go hard. I don't really understand the video, people with fishbowls for heads..? I think they were trying to push some deeper message, but it just made for some confusing visuals.
Either way, it got the attention of the viewer and the image has stuck with those who have watched it all these years later. Just like how this album has stuck within our minds nearly 15 years later. The lyricism and uniqueness displayed on this debut album created a cult following for them for the rest of their careers.
And although they have yet to release an album as polarizing as this one, they have still maintained their status as one of the most listened to bands worldwide. Being able to build that base to begin their career allowed them to work freely and create art the way they wanted to.
Who knows if they ever found a way to sweat that fever out. Who knows what the hell they were even talking about half of the time, but it worked.
If this video came on late at night with the lights off, it could be considered a horror film...
"I'm finna spit it, with a clear tone, Get yo attention, The biggest thang since the T.V. invention"
Mac Dre's words still flow through our brain as time continues to pass.
His music is standing the test of time, as he can still stand with all the greats in the history of Bay Area artists. His presence alone made an impact on an entire generation of artists. He helped pave the way for young artists who represent the sound of the bay.
Although this sound has drastically changed over time, we can still feel the rhythm and soul that he perpetuated. And we can see the vision that Mac Dre had dreamed of for the land he loved. The Sound of The Bay lives on.
P-Lo of the Heartbreak Gang has been the living, breathing, hyphy'ing example of what it means to represent the Bay Area sound. His younger days as a producer showed that he had the ability to create a new fresh style to the Hyphy sound.
Mac Dre was always about going stupid, but he could switch it up and bring you some pimpin' advice. He could teach you how to dance while on Thizzles, and then switch it up and tell you about how the justice system is fucked up. This versatility is now the bar that is set for these young artists.
P-Lo offers everything needed from a successful Bay Area artist. And his latest hit gives the listener a chance to remember what got us here.
P-Lo and Oakland native ALLBLACK created the Bay Area hit of the summer for 2018 with "no idea" off of P-Lo's new album prime. The music video has many visuals of what keeps Northern California unique. Art, dance, cars, and sights of the Bay Bridge that brings us all together.
Whenever you hear "P-P-P-Lo... Time to bring the bass back" you know it's about to be a banger. The heavy use of claps gives the listener a chance to go dumb to the sound. The smooth piano allows the artists to tell their stories over the beat.
It feels like it could have been released at any point in the history of Bay Area rap music and people would still move to it. The opening line of the song sets the tone for a positive self image.
Ain't nobody like me, bitch I'm custom
The chorus feels like it was inspired by the stylings of E-40. The use of Bay Area slang can be traced back to man who used the hyphen in his name first. If you don't think that the sound of the bay has improved drastically over time, just think about the chorus to "Tell Me When To Go" and compare it to this one.
Don't you know I got the city on lock?
The beat itself offers so much versatility that it was able to maintain a beautiful sound with two artists who have completely different flows. ALLBLACK came into the beat hard, similar to what we've heard from other young Bay Area artists like SOB x RBE.
The mixture of these different cultures of hip-hop coming together for a Bay Area hit shows what Northern California has to offer to the world. Not only in music, but in the future of how we treat each other.
We have seen diversity of races begin to tear our country apart, but Northern California won't allow it to affect them. Not only are we seeing different races begin to come together, but we are finally starting to see life through each others eyes. And ALLBLACK represents that in his verse here.
She support me when I'm down, won't quit when it's tough
I think at the end of the day, most of us have no idea what the answer is to a better future. But coming together is probably a good place to start. This song helps represent what makes the Bay Area unique.
The sights, the sounds, and the feeling you get when you're blasting this music in your house while cleaning and you're shaking your dreads that you don't have. It all brings us back to what Mac Dre once said,
"Servin' fat game that you couldn't imagine,
Boy I could talk a cat off a fish wagon,
or sell an eskimo ice at a high price,
and get him twice,
man I'm nothin nice,
and Game is my merchandise,"
That has nothing to do with this, but I just always thought it was crazy that he said that.
Humans have naturally had a battle between older and younger generations. "Back in my day" is a saying that probably dates back to the beginning of mankind. Time continues to pass, and the disagreements between the youth, the elderly, and everyone in between never stops. As younger generations continue to grow into adults, we are beginning to see that some of them are finding a way to take the torch from the old heads and run with it. And as we dig deeper, we see that a lot of us really have the same goal, which is trying to make a better future for ourselves and the people around us.
The culture of rap music is constantly evolving, yet it is also cyclical. If we go back to the beginning stages of hip-hop, we got the very simple lyrics when Wonder Mike said "I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop and you don't stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat." And now in 2018 we've got guys like Lil Pump bringing the simple lyrics back when he says "GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG! SPENT THREE RACKS ON A NEW CHAIN (YUH!) MY BITCH LOVE TO DO COCAINE (OOOH!)"
In history we have also been blessed with pure street poetry by guys like RZA, Nas, and Tupac who brought incredible lyricism to rap music. The ups and downs of rap music have been so incredibly drastic that we have seen it die and revive at least once a year since its birth. But that is what makes it beautiful. It is not supposed to be perfect, it's not supposed to be accepted by everyone, it's not even supposed to always have some underlying message. Rap music is a living, breathing organism that is forever changing, and a new young artist is trying to do his part to help it's growth.
YBN Cordae is a 20 year old rapper out of Maryland who is attempting to show the world that there is promise for the future of hip-hop. He dropped his first few tracks in 2016 onto his Soundcloud, which showed just a small preview of what is to come. His first track "About Me" is somewhat of him contemplating what it is going to be like once he blows up, as if he has already envisioned it a million times over and knows it will come to fruition.
Moved to the burbs necessary bettered the living
As I mentioned earlier, guys like Lil Pump are taking heat from the older generations for simply what has been done since the beginning of hip-hop itself. J Cole recently released a diss track to Lil Pump, trying to teach him a lesson on how to carry himself as an artist and how his words impact the youth. And in many ways, he is right. But YBN Cordae told Cole why he should pump the brakes on all the judgement on his track "Old Niggas."
Bridging this gap between generations is going to be extremely difficult. Especially when many of these kids are dressing as crazy as they are, or have tattoos and piercings all over their face, or their hair is in some whacky fashion. But as we look back in time, rappers have always looked stupid, this is nothing new. RUN DMC made it cool to wear tracksuits, Flava Flav wore a clock as a necklace, Busta Rhymes had some of the wildest hair styles in rap history, Nelly wore jerseys ten sizes too big, Soulja Boy wore Yums shoes, New Boyz made it cool to wear tight fitting clothes. Like I said, this is nothing new.
And honestly, my boy J Cole looks like a rich bum right now. So he can't really talk about how any of these kids are looking. But YBN Cordae found a way to respectfully respond to Cole while still dropping major facts. In this video he says "Let's take it back when hip hop originated and old niggas said it was wack, they couldn't take it and called it a little trend, said it wouldn't last now it's the number one genre as the time passed."
But this is just the beginning for the kid. What actually originally put me onto him was his freestyle he did with the LA Leakers. No pen. No notepad. No phone. All off the top of his head. Even if it was bars he had written before, he spit them on the spot over three separate beats just to show his versatility. One of those beats being Lil Pump's banger "Esskeetit."
Someone had posted a one minute clip of the video with your typical "OMG this guy killed this *fire emoji*" caption. Most of the time I won't even click on them because of how often these posts are terrible. But it was early in the morning and my son was still asleep so I decided to click on it and listen to it at a low volume. The caption was right, the kid bodied it. So I watched the video in it's entirety which you can find here.
He is longevity chasing while all of these other artists are out here chasing clout and viral fame. This guy is in it for the long haul, and his most recent single is about him kicking the door down and imposing his presence onto the scene.
Produced by Take a Daytrip, "Kung Fu" could be the first page that is turned onto a new and improved generation of hip-hop. This track is a perfect mix of simplistic rhymes and lyrical bars. The melodies flow smoothly over the beat as if the vocals are a part of the beat itself.
I'm a thief in the night, pray to Jesus to Christ
The story telling ability is one of the rarest traits to find in hip-hop. Guys can really be from the streets and rap about what they've seen and gone through, but if they don't have the vocabulary or linguistics to bring to the track, it becomes hard for us to see their vision. YBN Cordae paints a vivid picture with his lyrics, and considering his age and the small sample size we currently have, it is only right to believe that he is only going to improve as time goes on.
As he attempts to shatter all judgements of this new age of rap, he will have to fight for respect from people of all ages, backgrounds, and musical taste. I have recently come to realize that it is time to stop judging these kids on their musical stylings and how they choose to express themselves through their art. As the world is constantly evolving, music will continue to do the same. And I hope I'm on the right side of history with YBN Cordae.
Play this shit at the highest volume possible...
What happens when you let go of the pain? The thing holding us back from having a sense of feeling something real is our unwillingness to let go of the past. Why do we continue to allow ourselves to feel the pain that once made us reach the furthest depth of our inner evils? Adapting to live in the present and denying the dark thoughts of the past entry into our mind state may allow us to finally feel... Freeee
Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)
Performed by Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, Anthony Hamilton
Produced by Scott Mescudi, Kanye West, Russel “Love” Crews, Boogz, Andrew Dawson, Andy C, Dot Da Genius, Jeff Bhasker
How often is a sequel better than the original? Besides in the Toy Story series where they somehow continue to get better every time, sequels usually seem to be a shell of its original creation. But in this particular instance, the sequel outshines its predecessor that was featured on Kanye’s solo album ‘Ye. The ability to obtain freedom feels like a triumphant moment in the life of these two artists.
Releasing the pain of the past feels like somewhat of a superpower. While in the ultimate pit of pain, it is almost unfathomable to think of ever feeling anything but pain. But time continues to go on, and the dedication to allowing oneself to release pain becomes more and more vital to achieve a fulfilling life.
I'm so complete in the mode
As we see multiple times in this album, the gospel is being preached as if the listener is in church listening to the choir. Referring to He as the one who lifts them up in times of hardship and pain. Yet, we have heard Kanye talk about being a God before. Some may view it as the “God Complex,” yet this is something not too far from the truth.
We are in control of our mind, body, soul, and future. Within ourselves, we are the God of our own life. We control our temple, and only we can allow ourselves to set our minds free. So you are technically your own God when you think about it, and feel free to think about it.
When nothing can hurt you anymore, that is the moment when you can feel freedom within yourself. We all have outside influences affecting our “freedom,” but freedom of the mind is something that can’t be taken from us. A true knowledge of ourself can take us a long way.
I don't feel pain anymore
Death has been something man has feared since the beginning of time. More than just losing your life, the thing that may scare us the most is not knowing what is on the other side. If life has taught us anything, it is that when we get through our lowest points in life we are rewarded with bliss when we find a way out. So why wouldn’t the same be thought of when we reach death?
If we can let go of fear, we may be able to channel our inner superpowers. This song allows the listener to understand what it’s like on the other side. Not necessarily after death, but after pain. We all handle it differently, but we can learn something from this piece of art. If we can achieve freedom, we may just find a way to be reborn.
You should quit your job to this...
Quality over Quantity has not always been as appreciated as it should be. Double disc albums get a lot of hype because it seems like we're going to get 30 songs of great music. But typically you'll still only get like 6-7 good songs out of it.
Why haven't artists went the other way and only released those 6-7 good songs and made an album of only unskippable songs? Oh wait, Kanye and Cudi did on Kids See Ghosts? Ok, nevermind. Ok, well if they really wanted Quality over Quantity they would make songs only like 3 minutes long. Oh wait, they did that too with this next track? I give up.
Kids See Ghosts
As performed by Kid Cudi and Kanye West featuring Louis Prima
Produced by Noah Goldstein, Mike Dean, and Kanye West
The roots of jazz music paved the way for hip-hop music. The underground sounds of New Orleans style jazz were played in clubs and dance halls throughout the country in the 1920s and 1930s. Louis Prima was a huge influencer of the art during this time, and his music had everyone "swingin" as they called it. It was basically the OG version of giggin'.
At the height of jazz popularity, it was frowned upon because of how it made the youth act. Kids swingin' and dancing and drinking, how dare they have a good time. The Devil's music, making the youth want to sin. The intro of Louis Prima's strong vocals allows the listener to comprehend the depth of Kanye's historic musical knowledge. Nobody samples like he does, and nobody probably ever will.
Playing off of the sinful sounds of jazz, Kanye spits his verse with many sexual innuendos. This form of jazz carried very little curse words, and Kanye's verse is a nod to that as his clean lyrics can easily be interpreted as not so clean.
It feels so good, it should cost
Bought her alligator, I ain't talkin' Lacoste
Made me say, "Ugh, uh"
Like a mix of Master P and Rick Ross (uh, uh)
She seem to make me always feel like a boss (uh, uh)
She said I'm in the wrong hole, I said I'm lost (uh, uh)
She said I'm goin' too fast, I'm exhausted
Now drop to your knees for the offerin'
This the theme song, oh somethin' wrong
Might need an intervention for this new dimension
That's too new to mention, or fit in a sentence
If I get locked up, I won't finish the sent--
Similar to other songs on this album, you can hear ghost-like or even demonic sounds within the beat. The laughter between the verses sounds demonic, or like a villain plotting his next move. The addition of playing Prima's vocals backwards throughout the song makes the listener feel like they're being spoken to by an evil spirit.
As the listener continues to fall into this new dimension with Kanye and Cudi, they run into the darkness of Cudi's mind. The heavy use of drums and claps keeps makes it feel like a dance song, telling us a completely different side of the story than the lyricists.
Cudi has always been known to have a dark side of his mind that he allows the world to feel. As Kanye's verse was a nod to the old school jazz lyrics, Cudi gives us a history lesson as well. But his history lesson teaches us how his journeys to the deepest darkest corners of his soul helped shape who he is. And how the evils of his past still haunt him everywhere he goes, yet the light continues to guide him through.
Gettin' loose while I'm on the deuce, see me roll out
Watch you surf, hit the coast, and this feelin', I got
Plenty of adventures for the evenin', we go journey, we off
From the light to guide us home, we in the moment, oh-oh
Such a lost boy, caught up in the darkest I had
What's the cost, boy? Losin' everything that I had
She been on me, boy, unless you got somethin' to tell
Sittin', waitin' for me slippin', yeah, I'll see you in hell
Tell the cougar get up off me, no, my soul ain't for sale
All the evils in the world, they keepin' on me for real
I really hope the Lord won't hurt me, we all live in sin
Kids see ghosts off the ropes, Ric Flair on your bitch
Now this the theme song, this the theme song
The put the beams on, get your, get your dream on
But you don't hear me though, drama: we let it go
Watch the guitars roll and let your friends know
Cudi's verse on this song sets the tone for the rest of the album. He admits that he lost everything he had because of the darkness he faced. But this doesn't just go for him, this is for everyone who can relate. Think about the deepest darkest moment of your life. We all can remember that moment where we thought we could have lost it all, but we pushed through. Hopefully.
The light that guides us home can be anything that keeps us focused on the end goal. And although the evils of your past may still haunt and follow you everywhere you go, you can use it as fuel to create a new dimension for yourself.
As the third song on the album, it helps bridge the gap from the darkness to the light that follows in the next few songs. The ability to continue to keep the music and lyrics as transparent as possible keeps the listener engaged and probably puts them in all the feels. All in less than 3 minutes, max.
I saw this quote one time that said "The people who barely know you want you to succeed, while those closest to you hope you fail." It's not true about all the people close to you, but it is true for some. Everyone has their own agendas and sometimes you may fit into theirs in a certain way. If you succeed too much or change as a person, you may drift away from the way they want you to fit into their life. Meanwhile, some random person who follows you on social media is constantly supporting you and rooting for you to reach every goal you set for yourself. Watch the fakes, let them hate...
Kids See Ghosts
As performed by Kid Cudi and Kanye West
Produced by E*Vax, Boogz, Andre 3000, Kid Cudi, and Kanye West
This next track "Fire" off of Kids See Ghosts is a throwback to the sounds of the Indicud album from Kid Cudi. The use of more features than ever before, Cudi let his true hip-hop sound be heard. As you listen to this song, you can relate it to "Beez" featuring RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. As we dig deeper, we can feel the true hip-hop vibe.
The song opens up with Kanye addressing the people who choose to continue to talk about him, "I love all your shit talkin' You want got nothing better to do with yourself." The hate has continued to fuel the art that these artists create. They have both received criticism over the years about their personality traits as well as the stylings of their music. As the others choose to talk, the kids continue to work.
Andre 3000 is one of the most influential hip-hop artists of the past 20 years, and his sound can be felt on the production. The beat uses a heavy amount of drums, similar to those heard in a marching band. Cudi blesses the beat with his humming that is an instrument in and of itself.
The addition of ghost-like screeching and crows chirping makes you feel like you are in the middle of the climax of a horror film. But don't be scared, the world you are in is a safe space for creators. Those who have been doubted before and have the scars to remind them where they came from.
On this road I find
The scars I left behind
Heaven life me up
Heaven lift me up
This road that is taken is not the one less traveled, we all go through ups and downs. The difference they want us to see is how we use the downs to fuel the ups. The heavy use of church themes allows the listener to have faith in the future.
The sounds recorded here could not be duplicated by any other artist. The feeling the art gives you is one of revenge and success. To live in this moment forever would only help those going through the downs to find positivity in the hate.
It's so many days I prayed to God
All this pain, I couldn't seem to find a way
On a mission livin', carry on
Got my family, I'm seein' through by the days
Never late, pull up a seat and come grab a plate
Check the date, let 'em hate
This the type shit that they couldn’t make, watch the fakes
Leave ’em buzzin', thought they wasn’t, huh?
Tell all your kinfolk and cousins, huh?
This is the package you ordered, huh?
We're all here trying to move forward in life, but we have those around us who challenge our way of thinking or even think that what we're choosing to do for ourselves is never going to work. We have to continue to let them hate and remember that we will find our reasoning for our choices. Whether its your family, your mission, or your passion that keeps you going, don't stop.
Your journey will be Beautiful Madness.
#MusicMondays is on hold temporarily, at least for the next 7 weeks. Usually, I'll break down an entire album or even an artist in general. But with this album, the depth at which the music has reached is far too great to summarize in one article. I will break down each song individually, and allow the listener to understand the message one may receive from the art itself. I may be biased, but this is the single most inspirational album I have ever experienced in my life.
Kids See Ghosts
As performed by Kanye West and Kid Cudi
Album artwork by Takashi Murakami
June 8th, 2018
Ten years ago, Kanye West and Kid Cudi linked up for one of the most polarizing art pieces of Kanye's career with 808s and Heartbreak. Most people were looking for the Kanye they were used to hearing, the one who would come in hard with those bars. They weren't looking for pianos and autotune and vocal solos, they didn't want to understand what he was trying to do. I actually always thought it was the most challenging thing any artist could do in the midst of their prime, going outside of their "box."
That album featured Kid Cudi on songs "Paranoid" and "Heartless." Since that point, many fans of both artists have been waiting for the day that these two would come together for a collaborative album, and a decade later, we got what we asked for. Kids See Ghosts is the duo we have all needed. The wait was incredibly worth it.
The first song of this series is "Feel the Love" produced by Mike Dean, Dot Da Genius, and Kanye West, with lyrics performed by Kids See Ghosts and Pusha T. Dot Da Genius has been producing music for Kid Cudi for over a decade now, and he and Cudi get the best out of each other. Any musical painting Dot has created, Cudi has been able to add the finishing touches too with his vocals. This song is a culmination of everything Cudi and Dot have created, as if fate has brought them to this point. To be able to start the album off with this message puts the listener into the mind state of a champion.
The beat starts out very simple, with no drums or bass coming in until a minute into the piece. The sounds represent the ups and downs that Kanye and Cudi have been through, as the beat fluctuates from smooth to high intensity and back. The production value is nothing short of perfection, which is always demanded by Kanye. His use of random, yet perfectly placed, sounds adds to the beat as a vocal form of drums, coming in hard and getting the listener to get hyped up.
The use of Pusha T as the narrator for what this album is about to bring perfectly aligns with the mood Kanye and Cudi wanted to bring to the table. He spoke the words for them when he said "We not worried 'bout no other niggas, WE them other niggas." This duo has forever been the outsiders, the ones who continuously have challenged the sound of music. Their stylings have left the world bashing them for ever trying anything outside of the lane the world feels they should stay in. People miss "the old Kanye" and "the Man on the Moon Cudi," but everyone forgets that in order to evolve these artists must continue to change.
Besides the sounds that Kanye brings to the beat, he only says one line when he asks "Where the chorus?" Only for Kid Cudi to come in smooth with words from the heart as he tells the world "I can still feel the love!" For those familiar with these two, their careers have been polarizing to say the least. People have called Cudi everything but a rapper or hip-hop artist since his release of Man on the Moon II. And Kanye West, well, he's Kanye West. Unless you have lived under a rock for over a decade, you probably know more opinions of his than you thought you needed to know. You're not alone.
Kanye saying crazy shit should be nothing new to the world by now, but it seems as if everytime he says something, the world cares to listen. But in order to understand his mind state, you must listen to his music to fully understand. One's opinions come and go and change, but the art itself will stand the test of time. To be living in the time when this guy is creating art for the world is inspirational. His use of words that sound like the sounds you made when you were in the middle school cafeteria, trying to sing a drum solo, give us that realization that Kanye is a man with vision. Truly harnessing the kid within himself, and the ghosts he sees are the ones who are helping him bring his vision to life.
Kids See Ghosts can still feel the love radiating from those who have continued to support their art throughout all the bullshit they have been through. These two are the ultimate example of people being able to accept the fact that none of us are perfect. But their ability to share their message and feelings with the world allow us into their world, if only for less than three minutes. This is just the beginning, and the listener is already fully engaged.
My wife and I went to a concert the other night in San Diego where we stayed at an AirBNB for the night. The host asked us who we were going to see. So we tell her The Glitch Mob, and she asks us "Oh are they more of an underground band?" And we actually had to pause and think about it like "Um yeah I guess you could say that." I bring this up because I haven't heard people refer to music as "underground" in a long time.
It used to be so much harder to be able to go out and search for music that interested you. I remember when I was a kid, we would just pretty much buy the CD of whatever popular artist we liked. But now with social media and music sharing services, we can easily access the music that we can relate to. It is truly a beautiful thing.
Released March 31, 2017
The self-titled debut from Phantoms is over a year old now, and is only growing in popularity since it's release. I had never heard of these guys until my wife and I went to a Chromeo concert recently where they opened for the Canadian funk duo. This duo came with energy and a passion for music and performing and totally killed their set. They made people listen, whether we knew who they were or not. Their performance left me both impressed, and surprised that I went this long without hearing about these guys.
So in case you don't know who they are, I am here to share with you this dope ass album they dropped. With 25 thousand followers on Instagram, they are just starting to sizzle onto the scene by taking their show nationwide. The duo is composed of two former actors who realized that music was their true calling. Their acting history only adds to realization of why performing came so easy to these guys, it's what they've done for years. Only this time, it's on a different stage.
They came out to a banger called "Been Here Before." We were just stranding around pretty much waiting for Chromeo to perform, and the beat infiltrated our bodies and forced us to start dancing. I had no idea what was going on, I was looking around like "Damn, this whole place lit rn." They let the beat ride and it instantly turned into one huge party. The song was perfect to come out to, because it let us know that this moment doesn't feel new to them. Like they were born for it.
You had my attention
From the moment our eyes met
Don’t know where we left it
But you left me and I’m selfish
You shot me a look
That's all it took to reel me in
How could I forget?
I didn’t expect to see you again
And it feels like
I've been here before
The album is a constant flood of positive vibes mixed in with the feeling of a warm summer pool party. And the way they performed it on stage made it feel like the party was never going to end. With songs like "Just a Feeling" and "Throw it in the Fire" put your entire existence on another planet where gravity does not exist. It leaves you with a cleansing feeling that will put your mind at ease and remind you how to have fun in life.
This album left me realizing something very important, staying true to yourself. These guys can be compared to groups like Zhu, Disclosure, or Flume. But what sets them apart is their ability to be unique and transparent, like many respected artists. I fully encourage that you go and listen to Phantoms no matter what mood you're in, I guarantee it will put you in the right state of mind and remind you what makes you unique.
They got bars tho...
Everybody is driven by something. Whether that be money, fame, sex, notoriety, or a pat on the back. There's a long list of factors that drive people to do whatever it is that they do, but not everybody really wants to put the work that it takes to gain the benefits. Some people are just cut out differently than others, and they find themselves constantly achieving whatever it is that they are searching for out of life. This next dude has that old school hustler mentality that helps him to continue to be a driving force in the entertainment industry.
My Krazy Life
March 18, 2014
For those old enough to remember, MySpace was the spot when it came to listening to the newest of the new music. It was the SoundCloud platform for artists way before it was even thought of. And if you were really on the hype, you would find the newest music and put it on your profile so that when people went onto your page they'd be like "This guy always got songs on here that I've never heard of." Back when the Jerkin' phase was just starting to get hot, a teenage YG was dropping some of the hardest dance songs out with a hood twist. "I'm Still Poppin" had to be the hardest jerkin song I ever heard. I don't even know if he intended for it to be a dance song, but I was rocking my purple skinny jeans doing all kinds of crazy leg moves in Downtown Modesto slapping the 4Fingaz mixtape out of my Geo Metro. Had the hatchback open so you could hear the bass, probably looking like a damn fool.
For a good 5 or 6 years, all we had was the constant release of mixtapes from YG, so by the time it came for his debut album to finally drop, the world was already prepared for the future. He did not disappoint and delivered with the whole world watching. The most anticipated debut in Los Angeles rap since Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle not only lived up to expectations, but could be considered a certified classic at the end of his career. My Krazy Life gives us a glimpse into the street life of Los Angeles for a gang affiliated artist with dreams of making sure his mom and dad never have to work again.
The release of the megahit worldwide single in "My Nigga" months before the release of the album only built the anticipation. Young Jeezy not only was featured on the first single, but was the Executive Producer for the album. Having a man in his corner who has been in the rap game for a long time could only help YG in his rise to stardom. Following his first hit single, he followed it with another chart topper that featured worldwide pop singer Drake in "Who Do You Love?" YG came with some hot lyrics that could only be created by someone who has really gone through it, and made himself extremely relatable to the masses.
But enough about the singles that as my wife says all the time are played out. I'm like Bangers never get played out, but she doesn't care she skips them anyway. But I don't blame her, because the tracks on this album that weren't for the radio were exponentially better and contained much more substance than that of those popular songs. In case you didn't know where he was from, he lets you know right from the start. After his mom calls for him to come inside, stating his whole name as Keenon Daequan Ray Mutha Fuckin Jackson, his song "BPT" lets you know where he is from and what raised him.
Nigga I'm from BPT
Westside (x4) TTP
What block? (x4) 400 Spruce Street
What y'all doin? (x4)
Nigga kill off all beef
I’m a Westside get brackin' in the back like what’s happnin'
That 40 Glock snap like Insta, ain't no need for a caption
I got put on by four niggas, wasn't need for no bandage
I did my stuff like a young nigga, that's how I'm s'posed to handle it
Here's a little translation for you guys: BPT=Bompton aka Compton; TTP=Tree Top Piru. Listening to YG's music is sometimes like listening to an entirely different language, but it represents what he is. A young man who grew up in a city that treats those of the same gang affiliation like family, and his heavy use of Blood terminology is a nod to his upbringing. But it's not all guns and violence with YG, his music is his weapon of choice, and he uses it to try to create a better future for his family. He expresses some of his truest feelings and allows the world to feel what fuels his fire in "Really Be"
I be goin' through shit, losin' bitches and homies
If I don't make it with this rap shit, nigga, I might be homeless
My moms don't got a job, my pop's checks ain't enough
If I ain't bringin' home that money, my whole family is fucked
That's why I move like the Mob, I'm watchin' movies too much
If niggas wanted you dead, what would you suggest?
That last line really resonates with me as I've listened to this album for probably the 50th time through. He knows that most of his listeners won't ever know what it is like to go through what he has gone through. To have people that want you dead definitely would give you a different perspective on life. He shows that he knows how powerful his art can be, and that if he uses it correctly he can keep himself safe, and allow his mother and father to live the lives he believes they deserve.
That's all most of us really want, right? For any of us who have parents or whoever guided us through life, we want to make them proud and give them the opportunity to live comfortable. You may not understand why YG talks about guns, sex, and gang violence, but his art allows you to at least see what he is doing it for. If he grew up around those influences, he has to share those with the world. It gives the listener a chance to see who someone real looks like. A lot of rappers, especially from Los Angeles, try to create the appearance that they are from the hood or had a tough upbringing or whatever. But when you listen to YG, not only do you hear him, but you feel his words.
Life is a feeling process. If you don't have the ability to feel someone's emotions through their art, then this probably isn't for you. But for those of you who have an ability to understand that everyone has different backgrounds, and you can respect someone who represents what they are about, then you will understand what I mean when I say you can feel his words. Not only that, YG just gives you the hood shit that most of y'all beg for in rap. The real West Coast shit that came from the 90's is all here in this album, mixed in with a little bit of G-Unit as he can teach you how to stunt.
It's obvious what YG does it for, his family, himself, and the people who created a lasting influence on his life and music. But what do you do it for? What drives you? There may be a person ten thousand miles away who is a different race, have a different background, and has gone through different life experiences than you. But it is very possible that you have the same common goals as that random person. I see a lot of myself in YG, not in appearance with the tattoos, the gang language, and the fact that he is black and I'm more of like a medium brown, but in the fact that I'm doing what I do for my family. So I encourage you to listen to this album with a mindset of understanding. Because once you are able to understand others, it will only make others more understanding of you. Real shit.
Putting mama's in a music video is a BIG MOOD...
With the growing world of social media, everybody has an opinion. And with everyone having to be on one side or the other about every issue, there is no gray area. You either are this or you’re that, once you voice your opinion on an issue or a public figure you are stuck with that label. If you put it on social media, you better be able to find a way to defend your point or you will get drug through the mud for what you believe to be right or wrong. I have been listening to rap music pretty much my whole life, and I don’t remember a more controversial artist than this next rapper.
February 23, 2018
Daniel Hernandez, better known as 6ix9ine or Tekashi69, is a young rapper out of Brooklyn, New York. His personality may be as colorful as his hair and grill, if not more. Before we get into any of his music, we have to talk about his legal issues, which have defined him in his young career. In 2015, Hernandez was 18 years old and pled guilty to one felony count of Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance, when a video of him smacking a 13 year old girl on the butt surfaced and brought to the authority. He also served some jail time as a minor for selling heroin.
It is interesting to think about the rap game, a world where breaking the law is not only accepted, but celebrated. If you are a proven murderer, drug user, drug dealer, gang member, or claim to have broken a number of laws then your street crew goes up by a million. It is a dangerous line that rappers have walked over the years, and it seems 6ix9ine crossed that line. I don’t condone anything this young man has done, but it’s just curious to me that when other rappers or just people in general have gotten in trouble with the law, people are upset with the world labeling them as criminals and bad people. Typically people would say something like “I hope this guy figures it out and creates a better future” but in this case it is different. Most likely because 6ix9ine’s musical style shows no remorse for the way he acts or who he is. And also because people just simply don’t like the guy or his music.
But there is something to be said about controversial artists. One way or another, everyone has an opinion about 6ix9ine. Pretty much the main reason I decided to talk about this young man today. I hope he does what the judge requires him to do once his trial is over and that he has learned his lesson from his troubled past and he moves forward in life with nothing but positivity. Many people have made incredible mistakes in their past and have created a better future even after doing serious time in jail and prison, and I would never wish negativity on another person. The only way for us to grow as people is to lift each other up, and I hope he has people around him who want him to be better.
With his father being shot and killed when he was in 8th grade, he lost guidance very quickly in life. He dropped out of school and began a path down a scary road that many people may not have survived. But he is here, and his debut album has produced five songs that have reached the Billboard Top 100. Whether people like this guy or not, they can’t keep their eyes off of him. His album has heavy tones of a young emotionally disturbed man who is trying to find his way through life with the use of violence, sex, and drugs. Nothing much different than most of the rap you listen to.
The first person that comes to mind when I hear his music is DMX. You talk about a man who was just angry like all of the time, DMX probably invented this yelling style of rap. Just flat out telling you that he will kill you and that he has people around him who will do the same. While you are not going to find anything crazy lyrical in his music, you will find that street sound that many people have claimed has been missing from rap for a long time. On his hit single “Billy” he tells the world what he is capable of.
These niggas lookin for me, you could hit my jack
I done dropped my address, y’all know where 6ix9ine at
I don’t flock, yeah, 9 to his back like Ibaka
Not nice, with the fuckin choppa
Pop em, scope on the nigga, who shot ya?
Dropped him, somebody call the fuckin doctor!
Yes, that shit is scary. I can’t put myself in that guys shoes even for a second. But the amount of emotion he puts into his music, you can tell he meant that shit when he said it. He is putting himself out there to the world and it seems that he doesn’t care about any of the repercussions or the negativity that will fall back onto him. Which is what I thought people wanted from their rap music. For so long I have heard people say “All rap these days is soft and isn’t that hood shit” Which is fine, because rap and hip-hop should have versatility, thats what made hip-hop so popular to begin with.
Just to be clear, I like the album. I have listened to it a few times through and I can vibe with the emotions. He is serious about his craft and he won't stop until the world know who he is and what he is about. It definitely is on some crazy hyped up level that can only be listened to when you need your blood to get boiling. The album is very raw and you can tell it's a debut, he has a lot to work on, just like he does with his life.
This guy is being the only thing he knows how to be. Whether that is good or bad for his own health or life is only for him to find out, or for us to witness. But to me, there is something about being yourself even when the world tells you not to be the way you are. This young man has ran into nothing but doubters and negativity for being who he is. I have said before and I will continue to say it, we are not here on this planet to judge others. We are here to look out for each other because we are all we got. 6ix9ine may not be for you and I understand the argument, but instead of wishing failure on another, we should be trying to help him find a way forward.
I have known people that have gone to jail and prison and they have turned their lives around. If it wasn’t for the people around them believing in them, and people giving them a second chance who know what could have been in their future. I know this guy has not done anything to help himself look any better with his comments, but maybe he just needs some guidance. That shit is important, especially at his age. He is so controversial, and I know you guys have something to say about this, so please let me know your point of view and don’t hold back. There’s no way for us to grow as people if we don’t have tough conversations and issues.
Here is his very not safe for work music video...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.