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A Relatively Comprehensive Guide to Rap Music in November

In Choice Cuts, Features, Song Reviews on November 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Hip hop isn’t really talked about a ton here, so this post may be a bit of a change of pace. Rap, admittedly, isn’t my first love when it comes to music. I don’t even really listen to that many different rappers. It’s just that the albums and songs I really dig…I really dig. So, after that little preamble, I come to a point: November is going to be a fucking awesome month for the relationship between rap and me.

In case you haven’t heard, Kanye West is cool again. Dude’s been cranking out jam after jam with his G.O.O.D. Friday tracks, featuring a slew of high profile guest spots and top notch production. And, on November 16th, his album is finally dropping in full. Most of the tracks on it have been released in some form or another, but apparently the actual album is going to feature completely different mixes of many of the tracks we think we’ve already heard. I can’t get over my excitement. I’m never really sure if I’m supposed to be embarrassed or not for loving Kanye, but the man is my favorite rapper, the guy who got me to listen to hip hop in early high school when I was rocking to Radiohead and Weezer and the like, and one of my favorite artists, period. One of the raps I’ve always heard about Kanye is that he’s an amazing producer but a mediocre rapper. I don’t really buy that shit. He is an amazing producer, without a doubt, but I also think he’s an incredibly talented rapper. He can rhyme and flow in all sorts of different speeds and styles of songs. He can communicate exactly how he’s feeling, however fucked in the head it may be, through his songs. And, of course, he says some funny ass shit (Your beauty is why god invited eye balls/your booty is why god invented my balls? That’s really clever). The other knock on Kanye, of course, is that he’s a fucking ridiculous drama queen. And well…yeah, he is. But I eat that shit up. You know how a ton of people are mad into, like, Lady Gaga, because she wears cool stuff, says what she wants to say, and generally screws around with the media in a bunch of different ways? That’s kind’ve how I like Kanye West, except he’s also an incredible musician. All the drama, though, it’s just fun stuff. Everyday I can boot up the old lapper and read another story about one of my favorite artists, which is totally fine by me. I can probably write some huge essay analyzing Kanye down the road (like how I always talk about he’s really more of a marketing genius than a rapper or producer-dude remade himself into one of the biggest stars in the world in, like, 6 months? When did Power come out? I’m rambling.), so I guess I’ll save some stuff for that. Anyway, I like the guy a lot, his new album is coming out, and it’s going to be awesome.

And then we have my other favorite rapper, Curren$y. There’s a pretty large amount of rappers out there who talk about weed, cars, money, bitches, and all that stuff, but none do it like my boy Spitta (that’s his nickname, which makes sense given the context). Heard his album Pilot Talk over the summer, and that was it. He picks some really cool, laid back beats to rap over, has some really cool, laid back friends that rap with him, and raps in a really cool, laid back way. Check out this joint, one of my favorite rap songs of all time. (Curren$y does the second of the three verses, by the way).

Anyway, imagine my joy when I found out the album that I’d been bouncing around in the car to all summer was getting a sequel, and only a few months later. Pilot Talk 2 drops November 22nd. The first track is called Airborne Aquarium, which blows my mind in its coolness. The album is going to feature some old favorites from the Jet gang, like Trademark da Skydiver (another sick name), Yung Roddy,  and Wiz Khalifa. It’s also got some high profile guest spots by guys like Dom Kennedy, Raekwon the Chef, from the venerable Wu Tang clan, of course, Erykah Badu, and Camp Lo. I’ve even heard rumors (which means I read a blog post saying) that there’s a track tacked on at the end featuring J. Cole and Jay Electronica, which would be a pretty ridiculous cherry on top of the cake. Shits also produced, at least mostly, by Ski Beatz, who produced the original.

So, my two favorite rappers are releasing their new albums within a week of each other. All bets are off for me for that week-gonna be spending a lot of man hours sitting in front of my speakers. I’ve actually been trying to cut down my listening of Kanye and Curren$y (man, I hate hitting shift and 4 to get that dollar sign, but not only do I love Curren$y, I’ve clearly put in exponentially more effort typing out this rambling complaint than i did stretching my fingers to make that symbol…so, yeah, I’m a whiner), knowing that it’s going to get pretty hairy in a few weeks. But this month also features some other big releases in the hip hop world, or at least my much smaller hip hop world.

I’ve never listened to Lloyd Banks or G-Unit before, partially because G-Unit’s heyday was before I started listening to rap music, and partially because they always seemed incredibly lame to me. I listened to “Start It Up” pretty much only because I was downloading anything that Kanye had guest verses on in preparation for his new album. Anyway, it’s a fucking banger. One of my favorite rap tracks of the year, and definitely the coolest song to roll up in your car in, if you’ve got a solid sound system. Kanye’s verse slays it (that beauty/booty line I cited before is off this track), of course, and Lloyd’s is actually pretty cool too-I can’t really tell if he’s talking about anything in particular, but he has some clever rhyming patterns. Anyway, Lloyd has got a new album, Hunger for More 2, coming out November 22. No idea what to expect, as I’ve literally only ever heard one song by this guy, but that song is good enough that I’m contractually obligated to check it out.

Another one I discovered through Kanye. I found out later that Nicki Minaj was already pretty famous because of her affiliation with Lil Wayne’s Young Money crew, but I don’t really listen to Lil Wayne. I first heard Nicki, like probably tens of thousands of others, on Kanye’s “Monster”. Her verse there is pretty incredible-probably the most impressive female rap verse I’ve ever heard (which may be more of a comment on my ignorance than her talent, but it’s good). I’ve been keeping tabs on her since, especially because I always lament the ridiculous ratio of guys to girls in the music world. The ratio is tipping back towards even in the indie rock world, at least, but in hip hop it’s still incredibly skewed. Anyway, the girl has most definitely got talent, she’s got funny voices and alter egos, and her record is definitely worth checking out. November 22 as well.

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All-OFWGKTA. The next big thing in hip hop, check it out. One of the most interesting stories and personalities out there right now. I could retype up all the info I know about them, or you could check out this (by yours truly), this (great interview), or this (on my new favorite website, the Madbury Club-they have these pretty unique articles they call spreads, which are sort’ve like magazine pages online, with beautiful pictures and nicely formatted text). Not really anything new coming out by these guys this month, as far as I know, but decided I’d throw it in here if I was going all out on the rap stuff.

Another rap group I discovered recently but don’t know much about. I heard the track “Fast Enough” on the blog Pigeons and Planes, fell in love with it even though it’s clearly a warm weather jam, and found out these guys have a mixtape coming out soon. Straight out of Philly, which means nothing to me but might to someone.

And that’s that-there’s my listening lineup for the next month. Hopefully, if you have no interest in rap you didn’t slog all the way through that just for my sake. Next time I’ll go back and write about some good old fashioned rock ‘n roll.

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