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A Lesson in Hip Hop

The Nina Simone – Talib Kweli Connection

Posted on by sandmanmusic in A Lesson in Hip Hop, M&T Favorites | Leave a comment

Nina Simone - Pastel BluesTalib Kweli - Quality

 

My fellow Maimed &Tamed’er, Caroline, inspired me yesterday with her post, “Rise and Grind: Nina Simone’s ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’”. As a result of that inspiration, I was eager to share a couple of audio gems for your listening pleasure.

1. My go to “rise and grind” song – “Get By” by Talib Kweli.

Like Ms Simone, TK Greene is also a very socially conscious artist, addressing problems in “Get By” such as the disproportionate minority prison population in the US and our infatuation with celebrity culture. Clear is Kweli’s admiration for Simone, using a vocal sample from her 1965 Pastel Blues’ cut “Sinnerman” for “Get By”, which was produced by the not-yet-world beater Kanye West at the time (2002).

2. “For Women” / “Four Women”

Talib Kweli’s “For Women”, the hidden track off Reflection Eternal’s (Talib Kweli + Producer Hi-Tek) hip-hop classic Train of Thought, is a brilliant modern-day interpretation of Nina Simone’s epic “Four Women”. Kweli’s inventive retelling of the stories of four African-American female archetypes makes for one of my favorite hip-hop songs of all time, and one of the most creative at that.

A Lesson in Hip Hop: OFWGKTA

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Our great friend and M&T hip-hop guru Patrick is back for another Lesson in Hip-Hop, and in this feature he takes a look at Los Angeles based rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Enjoy–

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All or OFWGKTA or Odd Future for short, is the hottest new rap crew from LA. Odd Future consists of Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis, Mike G, Frank Ocean, Left Brain, Syd Bennett, Matt Martians, Hal Williams, Jasper Dolphin, and Taco Bennett. They all range in age from 19-23 and are running with their new image in hip hop. Although they’ve been recording since 2007, they have just recently been getting national attention, especially after an electrifying performance on the Jimmy Fallon show about two months ago.

Their music is fantastic, absolutely my favorite rappers to come out in the last few years aside from J Cole. Their music definitely isn’t for everyone as some of their beats are real hardcore (but don’t call them horror core), and nothing is off limits in their raps (murder, sex, drugs, and rape are some common themes). As far as I can tell they have nine albums, some solo, some group, some sub groups (there are three sub rap groups inside of Odd Future) and they also have three mix tapes. My favorite part of Odd Future is that they remind me of Wu-Tang albums in the sense that even their solo albums are like a group album because almost every song has another member from Odd Future on it. The most talented members of the group are Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis, and Mike G. As a collective though, Odd Future has everything you would want from a hip hop group. They have the beats, they can rap fast and slow and their rhymes, although at times are not too original, will still have you rewinding your tape deck back to hear them again. They have not only gotten a cult following of fans from coast to coast, but also in the rap game. Mos Def has been spotted at a few of their shows, and Kanye West dubbed Tyler, the Creator’s music video “Yonkers” the video of 2011 (a video Tyler, the Creator directed himself).

The group also adds another element to their music through incredible live performances. To say that they are wild doesn’t even begin to describe them. In fact Odd Future says that their live shows aren’t rap concerts, but live shows with rap included. They have been compared to vintage punk rock concerts, with moshing, stage dives, and a raucous crowd. After watching a few of their live performances I have to say that they get more into their music than any other hip hop artists I have ever seen (and not to brag but I’ve seen a shit ton of live hip hop shows). To get a good feeling for what their live shows are like make sure you check out their performance of “Sandwitches” on Jimmy Fallon (watch for Mos Def’s appearance at the end), and that’s not even a performance with their fans present.

Odd Future is the future of hip hop. So hate them or love them, I guarantee you’ll hear about them for a while. Also make sure to check out Tyler, the Creator’s new album Goblin when it drops May 10, 2011 off of XL records.

A Lesson in Hip-Hop: Bonnaroo 2011

Posted on by Eric in A Lesson in Hip Hop | Leave a comment

Good evening M&T readers, today we have a very special treat for all of you. Below you will find a preview of the hip-hop performers appearing at this year’s Bonnaroo, courtesy of our guest contributor, Patrick, who is going to give us some periodical updates on the hip-hop world throughout the coming months. It is a change of pace for M&T so let us know what you think, because we are out to please everyone–

The hip-hop lineup at this year’s Bonnaroo combines an interesting mix that includes mainstream artists, up and coming young rappers, and a few lesser known acts. Truth be told, I’m actually more excited about the young rappers than the headline hip-hop acts. Here is who I am most excited to see and why:

1. J Cole

J Cole was the first artist to sign to Jay-Z’s new label Roc Nation. I’m ashamed to say that I have just recently started to listen to J Cole when a friend suggested him to me while I was in the Dominican Republic. Anyways I checked him out and he is hands down the best new rapper I have listened to in the last ten or so years. His flow is unbelievable and he can tell a story in his verses just as well as any of the veterans. He also defies the stereotypical rapper, graduating from St. John’s University in New York City with a degree in communication and a minor in business. He also graduated magna cum laude, pretty impressive. The most amazing part of J Cole is that his mixtapes are even better than 99% of the studio albums that mainstream rappers release today. I highly suggest that you go to http://datpiff.com and download both mixtapes Friday Night Lights, and The Warm Up, just to get a good taste of what J Cole is all about. Seriously give him a listen, I guarantee he’ll put on one of the best shows at Bonnaroo.

2. Wiz Khalifa

Taylor Gang over everything, paperplanes! Yung Khalifa is a young rapper who is blowing up right now. He’s actually the Spring concert at my college this year and people were waiting for eight hours to get a ticket, and camping out the night before. It was the fastest sellout in UNH history. He knows what his audience wants to hear, with slow and almost hypnotic beats to his raps that are always full of witty metaphors. I have to quickly give a shout out to my boy Nate here, he told me to listen to Wiz like five years ago when we were still in high school, said he would blow up soon. Nice call NJT the 1st.

3. Lil’ Wayne

Everyone obviously knows Weezy, so I won’t waste your time explaining who he is. Should be an interesting show, especially since he recently got out of prison. I feel like the show will have an awesome atmosphere, but I feel like the music could be 50/50. Lil’ Wayne has so many great songs, but also so many terrible songs. But hey most people are going to have a great time either way.

4. Atmosphere

The pride of Minneapolis themselves. Atmosphere is made up of MC Slug and DJ ANT (a lot of people don’t know that Atmosphere is a duo). Atmosphere is signed to the underground label Rhymesayers, with many other good rappers (I suggest you go to their website and check them out, I bet M&T readers will actually like them). I’ve been listening to Atmosphere for years and have always wanted to see them live. I’ve heard they put on a great show, and have a lot of classics that they can play with their newer music. Sad to say I haven’t heard much of their new stuff, but I can give you plenty of classics.

5. Eminem

Once again everyone knows who Eminem is. Don’t get me wrong I love Eminem but I’m not a huge fan of his newest CD. I’m sure he’ll also play some of his classics though.


6. Big Boi

Half of the legendary southern rap group Outkast, Big Boi is the veteran of the hip-hop acts at Bonnaroo. He’s a fun rapper, and can rap fast and slow as well as anyone. His old school and new school beats are all pretty ill if I do say so myself. I saw him live a couple summers ago at Rock the Bells, and he puts on an energetic show, so don’t let the low ranking deceive you, he would be near the top if I hadn’t already caught one of his shows. He also is known to rap his verses in a few old Outkast classics, which is definitely something to look out for. I’d be excited for this show if I were you.


7. Chiddy Bang

Chiddy Bang got big when they came out with the song “The Opposite of Adults” that sampled MGMT’s Kids. Honestly I don’t really listen to Chiddy Bang, and that’s the only song I know by them. They’re just not my style. I know some people like them, so I’m just going to put one of their most popular songs from YouTube for you and let you decide.

I’m not saying you’ll like it all, I’m just asking that you give it a chance. Enjoy Bonnaroo!