Category Archives: Music

Beats versus Lyrics: Which camp are you in?

I am a big fan of rap music. I am an even bigger fan of underground/non-mainstream rap. I may be the biggest fan of the beats used in all of rap. Call me cliche’ or what have you but I know a great beat when I hear one. The following items constitute a good beat:

1. A nice bass line

2. A chord playing underneath the song

3. Good drums

4. A man singing on the hook (think 2010 Kush and Orange Juice Wiz Khalifa only singing on the hook)

5. Optional – Instruments not usually involved in a rap song: guitar, violin, saxophone, etc

I could care less what the lyricist is saying. The lyricist can only help the great beat as long as he or she stays on beat. For me, lyrics are overrated. I have associates who will insist I listen to a song so that I can hear what so and so said in witty and slick ways. I oftentimes listen and then need to cut the listening session short due to the absence of a viable beat. I would say, “Look bra, it’s nice and all but I can’t listen to it because of that rubbish beat,” and then they become frustrated with me and say I am stupid. We wind up arguing and become pissed at each other for an hour or so then we are okay again after a few brewskis. There are clearly two camps on this issue:

1. The beat camp, like me, who tend to enjoy the music and I bet comprise of mostly musicians or wannabes.

2. The lyric camp, who themselves are mindless souls and bop their pitiful heads to any damn thing that makes noise including to but not limited to: crickets, lawnmowers, printing sounds, and cars riding above steel grade bridges AS LONG AS someone is spitting above average Lloyd Banksish punchlines.

What camp are you in?

-NMB

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Mixtape Review: Cigarette Boats – Curren$y

Here is the mixtape (Extended Play) by Curren$y featuring producer Harry Fraud was found on Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Allderdice song: Blindfolds. I’m glad I am not the only one learning Spanish. “La musica de Harry Fraud” is the voice logo for this talented white boy purportedly from out the BK (Brooklyn). Here we go:

1. Leaving the Dock: This is a nice song to start off the EP. I like the guitar. Spitta seems to work very well with Harry Fraud.

2. WOH feat. Styles P: “Way out heaa, you can feel the ambiance.” I am glad Styles P came back to work more with Spitta and not bounce after the EP, “Here.”

3. Biscayne Bay: By far the best song on the EP. What a great beat for Spitta to rhyme to.

4. Mirrors ft. Smoke DZA: Not a bad song. At the same time, it is not my favorite.

5. Sixty-Seven Turbo Jet: Smoothness is exemplified in this song. The song contains a smooth beat as well as lessons everyone can learn from: “Money in the floor in case they kick in the door. Saran wrap in the walls in case they bring them dogs. ”

Overall, the mixtape was a very solid product coming from Spitta x Harry Fraud. I would definitely like to see them work more in the future. Curren$y demonstrates his versatility in collaborating with non-mainstream artists. Cigarette Boats does Not qualify as being on Covert Coup’s level since it was about half the songs.

It’s no secret that I am Street Wiz fan. I would have liked to have heard a hot 16 to these mellow beats from either Street Wiz or Roddy/Trademark. 5 songs always leaves us wanting more and that is exactly what happened here. I am giving this EP a 7.5/10.

Jet Life Tour 2012: New Orleans House of Blues Wrap-Up 4/20

Straddling the fence on whether or not to go see Curren$y and the Jet$ perform this past Friday, I decided to go. Not only are they my favorite rappers (entertainers) but I like to support local acts. I called my podna who is also a fan and we went out to the HOB.

We touch down onto Decatur Street and I solicit others to sell me a ticket. My other podna had some tickets locked down since Mardi Gras Day back in February. Luckily, I found a guy who did not want to scalp me and I paid face value ($30 bucks). My podna who came with me bought his for $40 even though he was prepared to drop $100 on one ticket.

Before we went in, we lingered a while outside around the tourbus. There, I saw the Jet Street Wiz and living legend, Styles P. At that point, I knew it would be a good night. We got in without a problem to a packed House of Blues, mainly of young white guys and to a lesser extent black guys. Girls were outnumbered perhaps 1-20. Sausagefest it was. We walked in to see Calliope Var on stage performing and so I knew I still had time to hit the bar and find a good spot to watch.

After bullying my way past a multitude of young stoners, I settled in at about 50 feet from the stage, I had my eye contacts in so it was a clear spot even amidst the indo clouds. I said, “Get out the way, man” about 3 times to different people who wouldn’t move. They were so loaded they didn’t even look to fight with me. These people were true stoners. Everyone had their “doobies” rolled up and kept offering me some but I was on a natural high and brewskis. One dude even passed out on the floor after some seizure he had. Honestly, I laughed at him because he was going so hard just 5 minutes before. He got escorted out, hopefully an ambulance came and got him. Back to the show:

Nesby Phips followed Calliope Var then performed songs which he said he made all the beats. After Nesby got off the stage, Corner Boy P came on stage and performed. It was my first time sitting there and actually having to listen to Corner Boy P who I never desired to listen to. The little I heard in the past did nothing for me frankly. Still in all, he had a good stage presence. He was probably the most animated, less Curren$y, of all performers that night. I am not going to say I am now a fan of Corner Boy P, but I respect his grind. He had a few catchy songs. He’ll get his following eventually. Street Wiz was on the set with Corner Boy P but performed only one verse. I was looking forward to seeing Street Wiz destroy the mic but he wound up rapping only one verse. Street Wiz is arguably the strongest lyricist in the Jet$ camp. I was surprised and upset he only peformed one verse. Next up was Fiend, who began his set with a throwback, “Womp Womp,” from his No Limit days. I hoped Fiend would bring out Street Wiz to perform “Streetlights,” but that never happened. After Fiend, Smoke DZA came out and did his thing with much enthusiasm. I never heard the songs he performed. I am not a big DZA fan so enough on him. At last some of the people I paid money to see came out, Trademark and Young Roddy. They rocked the house. Roddy performed a song or two off of his new mixtape, “Good Sense”. Finally, Spitta come out at frickin 3 am. He was wrong for coming out that late. Still in all, he had great energy and palyed many of my favorites. The BBS beat came on, the curtains slowly opened up, and there he was Spitta, who still didn’t come out until 3 am. The best moment of the night for me is when Spitta had his features come in, especially Trademark and Young Roddy for “Roasted.” He finished at 4 a.m.

Outside the club, I had a chance to dap-off and exchange a few words with Street Wiz and Young Roddy. I still wanted to meet Trademark and Styles P who were both no where to be found.This was actually my first official Curren$y and the Jet$ concert. I’ve seen Spitta featured at other concerts in the past. I have some footage from the night. I give the concert an 8 of 10. My main grips involve Street Wiz rapping only one verse, Spitta coming out at 3 am, and the stoned vibe of the audience could have been misinterpreted as being nonchalant.

Here’s Roddy performing, “The Plot,” off of his  latest mixtape, “Good Sense”.

http://youtu.be/rE3gyxpfbUg

 

Best Article on the History of New Orleans Rap Music

http://www.complex.com/music/2011/05/the-50-best-new-orleans-rap-songs/

Andrew Noz lists 50 of the best New Orleans raps songs. I do not agree with it entirely but I’m sure no one can agree on a consensus but this is the most exhaustive song list on the topic. Read up.

Mixtape Review: Young Roddy – Good Sense

Young Roddy of the Jet$ dropped a mixtape on April Fools Day 2012 called, “Good Sense,” like the sandwich bag company. Here’s the mixtape cover:

I am a sucker for beats meaning I like the musical aspect of raps songs more than the lyrics. A song needs a good beat in order to me even consider listening to the song. I often argue with people who prefer lyrics over the beat. I’ll save that argument for a later post. In short, this mixtape will have to appeal to my urge to hear good beats. I’m going to give the tape a preliminary 8/10. Here are some initial remarks, I’ll update later when I have listened to it more:

  • No Street Wiz features. The Wizard of the Streets MUST bless at least one track. That is like a prerequisite for any Jet Life project, seriously.
  • Beats went from average to good for the most part. Spectacular beats include, “Plot,” “Good Sense,” “Blow,” and “Trapologist” feat. Nesby Phips
  • I give the mixtape an 9/10 after listening again and seeing him rock the stage like a champ on 4/20 at the HOB in New Orleans.

 

At any rate, it’s Jet$ over Everything!!! ✈✈✈✈✈

Mixtape Review: Wiz Khalifa’s [BGA] “Taylor Allderdice”

This Jon Garcia guy gave this mixtape a 8/10. I have to agree and give it an 8/10 as well. In a week it grew on me. It is way better than Rolling Papers, about equal to Cabin Fever, but not as good as Kush n OJ. In this mixtape, Wiz is doing the usual in which rappers who come from nothing finally have money in their pockets and lthey then LET US KNOW THAT FACT, when all we want to hear is Weed smoking music. I don’t like the commentaries with the DJ at the end of each song, only the music. Wiz, if you ever read this, stop worrying about what the naysayers are saying and make more Weed smoking music; not that bad of a mixtape though.