Friday, November 30, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Who knew that 2007 would be the year that The Roc returned? Kanye releases the biggest album of the year, Hov comes back strong after last year's album which shall not be discussed and Freeway's much anticipated sophomore effort (I have to post on this later) has been circulating on the internet for a bit now. I mean, even Bleek has had some new tracks leaking out, I didn't know Jay still let him put rhymes to tape. I have this image in my head of Hovie coming out of the booth or watching Beans tear through some bars and then letting Bleek have like five minutes of fun time in the booth, pretending to be a rapper.
Then there's Beanie Sigel. He's Free's mentor, he stood behind Jay after Dame and Cam'ron jumped ship (while still letting his unhappiness with Hov be felt) and he has been dropping verses for years, the best ones have always been when he's on that nervous/introspective/nostalgia tip.
Beans' last record, The B. Coming came out my senior year of high school to some pretty heavy critical praise. My feeling's on that album haven't changed much. It's half Beanie playing to his strengths and half a record of the man trying to catch a hit. He's never had that top 40 hit and that's the man's problem. He still wants it.
One of my favorite things about the new Freeway album is that he veers away from the club bangers for the most part and keeps things pretty gutter, which is where he sounds best.
Not that I want to blast Beans for wanting that commercial appeal but dude is not exactly going to be going up on any girl's wall sometime soon. His flow on The Solution has crept even closer to that of Scarface (who drops by for his usual solid bars) and Scar's style has not exactly translated into commercial rap success.
My favorite Beans track is still probably, Feel It in the Air, from The B. Coming. After my initial listens to The Solution there isn't a track that's touching that one's greatness. Feel It was about as paranoid as rap gets aside from Mind Playin' Tricks (my favorite rap song) and The Solution just feels kind of cookie cutter for Beanie. He does a good deal of boasting how he's not to be messed with, smokes good weed, drinks Patron (Diddy's even on the Patron song) and guns, the usual rap game fare.
You could definitely do worse than The Solution so far this year concerning rap releases, but Beans is better than this. I can't wait until he drops a classic, but for now I'll just pick and choose the bright spots from his releases.
Also, James Blunt is sampled on a track, at least I hope he's sampled and didn't actually provide the vocals. The Broad Street Bully and that wiener in the same room is worse than hip hop's infatuation with John Mayer.
Friday, November 09, 2007
This flick was pretty okay. I was in Blockbuster the other day and nothing really grabbed me, so I picked this one up based on Cheadle and Ejiofor alone. Cheadle is solid as always, come a long ways from being Will's friend "Ice-Tray." You know that though, I was just thinking about that episode today. A google search told me the ep was titled, "Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy."
Chiwetel Ejiofor starts alongside Cheadle here and outshines him I felt. He's probably my favorite actor right now. It's good to see him getting some shine, his role in American Gangster will hopefully lead to some recognition.
I had the itunes on shuffle tonight after I got off work and Earthquake popped up. I decided to start The Carter from the beginning. I'm just about the end and I had forgot how much I really used to love this record. It was right before I left for my freshman year of college, so late summer '05. I'm pretty sure it came out earlier that year or even in '04, Go DJ had been out for awhile, but I just slept on it, more worried about Juelz mixtapes and Purple Haze at the time I think.
Listening to it just brought me back to that first semester and the highs and lows that came with it. I'm certain there were multiple albums I listened to more than this one, but some serious nostalgia was creeping in.
Weezy hadn't slipped into his drug addled flow that has accumulated on mixtapes over the past two years, and these Mannie Fresh and Jazze beats are a perfect home to the serious swagger that has only grown since this record's release.
It was also home to this much talked about line...
"Best rapper alive, since the best rapper retired."
Jay's back, but Wayne's got the crown.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I've been neglecting new posts.
I'm going to try not to.
I saw Elvis Costello open for Bob Dylan a couple of weekends ago.
Costello played a strictly acoustic solo set. He sounded wonderful. He was funny between songs and his vocals were on point.
Dylan is old. His voice is cracked and grinds along the same vocal plane for every song. It was still Bob Dylan and definitely an event. He played for nearly two hours, a good mix of newer material and classics. His backing band was amazing. They were so tight, it sounded like you were listening to a studio recording. Someone told me the bassist was in G.E. Smith's band during their run on SNL back in the day. Glad he turned out better than G.E.
The next night I saw Springsteen. For those who know me, know my affinity for the man and his catalog. I've grown up hearing stories from my dad about seeing him throughout the eighties and his near four hour concerts and their complete awesomeness. Well he's a bit older now, the Boss and my dad, but he played close to three hours and he still brings it. A good deal of the new record was played and he brought it on the classics. Man, just thinking about this night is getting me excited. Hearing Born to Run in a sold out arena with thousands screaming the lyrics was one of the greatest things I've ever experienced.
I'm seeing Trail of Dead tomorrow night and hopefully The Mountain Goats on Wednesday, and it won't take me two weeks to post about these shows, I hope.