Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blu--"The Narrow Path"

"The Narrow Path"

Masterpiece! Blu's "The Narrow Path" mixes great production with some untouchable lyrics to make a very, very good track. Blu just might be the most underrated artist in hip-hop, and his 2008 album Below The Heavens, which features tracks produced by fellow L.A. native and hip-hop producer Exile shows to prove it. In addition, Blu's completed several mixtapes, including HerFavoriteColo(u)r, where he opens up and dedicates an entire mixtape to venting about a relationship of his that went sour.  Lastly, Blu was featured on two tracks from The Roots' album How I Got Over. There are few out there, but Blu is lyrical genius.

Excerpt for the Wannabe Expert
Picture me sittin in front of 88 keys, trying to escape
From a shady place, where babies blaze trees on a daily day
Tryna get they gravy straight to floss, cuz told me homey watch it
These ladies play dirty games with you, get to grindin
Where niggas pitch as quick as Nolan Ryan
Holdin iron, blowin smoke, elope in fire, flame spittin
The game is just a way to escape
And our pain is just a way we can relate to folks cryin
Findin ways I can make a difference
But fuck wishin on a star 'cause the percentage of gettin what you envisioned is small
And the stars barely shine in the city, so we're blinded
By the man-made bright lights, makin my eyes shifty
Feel me out, hear me now, cryin childs of the ghetto
Lettin go a beautiful sound, it's kinda falsetto
Hello hell, welcome to L.A., where devils that dwell play
They meddle with metal and lettin every shell spray
Until day dawns, I make songs for the long road travelers
And lost souls after us
Spittin lyrics vicious like I'm mad as fuck
Packin up my bags, hoppin back on the narrow path that's planned for us

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ghostface Killah feat. Method Man & Raekwon--"Yolanda's House"

"Yolanda's House"

"Yolanda's House" is a track for those hip-hop listeners that appreciate the art of story telling.  Ghost, Meth, and Rae tell one story from three different perspectives with flavor and swag that is second to none.  Anytime you are given the luxury of listening to any of these artists on a solo it's truly a blessing and getting all three on one track is a gift.  They all compliment each other so well and it shows on this one. They are all great story tellers, but Ghost and Rae might be two of the greatest story tellers in the history of rap.

Excerpts for the Wannabe Expert
I need my money Meth, gonna buy them hundred birds
Tell Tone get at me, all them little clients want work
He know we fresh out, tell the kid meet me, matter of fact beep me
Word to mother lord, son he got me hurt
You still fuckin' shorty? I knew it
The big mouth broad that be yolkin' my balls out
Her little brother wanted two bricks
You know the nigga licks, a Maybach on twenty-six
All he do is get money, hustle, he's a dick
He told me foul shit, wild shit
That nigga wear a lot of loud shit, no that Steve Rifkind style shit
Hit me with some other talk, him in New York
They robbed the Venezuelan niggas, stabbed his son with a fork
That was Jesus' rooster's little niece, little nooses
Father's homeboy, that's the kid who gave us a boost
He gave them things on the arm, said for us to be calm
And if some beef pop off, go ahead and ring the alarm

Sunday, October 10, 2010



Even though he has a flow and lyrics that are on par with some of the best new artists out there, Macklemore has really established himself as more than just an hip-hop artist. Macklemore seems to be one of those artists that's really going to bridge the gap between hip-hop and other music genres in the years to come.  Today, a lot of artists flow to the beat, however, Macklemore makes the beat follow his flow. A very talented artist who is going to surprise lots of music fans.

Excerpts for the Wannabe Expert

Yesterday, forget it
Tomorrow is, nada
The present is, right here, through the breath, watch it
Atheist Jesus piece, hangin' on a cross
We sit and discuss God on lawn chairs
About how we got here,
What it is, what it isn't, shit
Fate versus faith, scrimmagin' with coincidence
Leave out the market and hold up on the business end
Focus on the genuine, with everything else, you can shed the skin
I was a couple moves away from being dead
In that ER overdosin', eyes bleedin' red
I fell in love, made an album, got a buzz
Lost it all, sobered up and guess what?
Now we meet again
And I'm back, finally just laughin'
Expectations are resentments waiting to happen
Studying the Dharma, Karma of a pastor and his practice
Gautama Buddha, God, to the mountaintop and I'm traveling
Learnin', yes, reflectin' on what matters
People, permanence, lack of attachments
It's space and time, a couple man-made distractions
The measure of a spirit that no human can ever capture
Church, this booth is my Vatican
I don't control life, but I can control how I react to it
Student of the breath, brick beats and balancin'
Desire versus truth until I finally find happiness

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lupe Fiasco--"Hurt Me Soul"

"Hurt Me Soul"

Not only is this one of my favorite songs recorded by Lupe Fiasco but it's also one of my favorite songs period.  Lupe exposes us to what makes an amazing lyricist through his ability to play with words while still piecing to together a story which possesses content.  The concept of this song alone makes one think beyond the rhymes that Lupe magically spits out.  With this song, Lupe forces listeners to take a much deeper look at themselves and the world around them.  This is a song touches on virtually every social ill known to man. So beautiful!

Excerpts for the Wannabe Expert
Now I ain't tryna be the greatest
I used to hate hip-hop... yup, because the women degraded
But Too $hort made me laugh, like a hypocrite I played it
A hypocrite I stated, though I only recited half
Omittin the word "bitch," cursin I wouldn't say it
Me and dog couldn't relate, til a bitch I dated
Forgive my favorite word for hers and hers alike
But I learnt it from a song I heard and sorta liked
Yeah, for the icin, glamorized drug dealin was appealin
But the block club kept it from in front of our buildin
Gangsta rap-based filmings became the buildin blocks
For children with leakin ceilings catchin drippins with pots
Coupled with compositions from Pac, Nas's "It Was Written"
In the mix with my realities and feelings
Living conditions, religion, ignorant wisdom and artistic vision
I began to jot, tap the world and listen, it drop

My mom can't feed me, my boyfriend beats me
I have sex for money, the hood don't love me
The cops wanna kill me, this nonsense built me
And I got noooo place to gooo
They bomb my village, they call us killers
Took me off they welfare, can't afford they health care
My teacher won't teach me, my master beats me
And it huuurts meee soooul

I had a ghetto boy bop, a Jay-Z boycott
'Cause he said that he never prayed to God, he prayed to Gotti
I'm thinkin godly, God guard me from the ungodly
But by my 30th watchin of "Streets is Watchin"
I was back to givin props again and that was botherin
By this uncomfortable as a untouchable touchin you
The theme songs that niggas hustle to seem wrong but these songs was comin true
And it was all becoming cool
I found a condom on the ground that Johns would cum into and thought
What constitutes a prostitute is the pursuit of profit then they drop it
The homie in a suit pat her on the butt, then rock it
It seems I was seein the same scene adopted
Prevalent in different things with the witnesses indifferent to stop it
They said don't knock it, mind ya business
His business isn't mine and that nigga pimpin got it

They took my daughter, we ain't got no water
I can't get hired, they cross on fire
We all got suspended, I just got sentenced
So I got noooo place to gooo
They threw down my gang sign, I ain't got no hang time
They talk about my sneakers, poisoned our leader
My father ain't seen me, turn off my TV
'Cause it huuurts meee soooul

So through the Grim Reaper sickle sharpening
Macintosh marketing
Oil field augering
Brazilian adolescent disarmament
Israeli occupation
Islamic martyrdom, precise
Yeah, laser guided targeting
Oil for food, water, and terrorist organization harborin
Sand camouflage army men
CCF sponsorin, world conquerin, telephone monitorin
Louis Vuitton modelin, pornographic actress honorin
String theory ponderin, bullimic vomitin
Catholic priest fondlin, pre-emptive bombin and Osama and no bombin them
They breakin in my car again, deforestation and overloggin and
Hennessy and Hypnotic swallowin, hydroponic coughin and
All the world's ills, sittin on chrome 24-inch wheels, like that

They say I'm infected, this is why I injected
I had it aborted, we got deported
My laptop got spyware, they say that I can't lie here
But I got noooo place to gooo
I can't stop eatin, my best friend's leavin
My pastor touched me, I love this country
I lost my earpiece, I hope y'all hear me
'Cause it huuurts meee soul

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Black Milk feat. Royce Da 5'9" & Elzhi--"Deadly Medley"

"Deadly Medley"

When people think of Detroit hip-hop, Eminem is often the first artist to come to mind, and rightfully so.  Eminem has had a great career and is certainly one of the best to ever lyrically. But there are other artists reppin' the D that are worthy of praise too that have not gotten their due.  Black Milk, Royce, and Elzhi are unquestionably three of those artists.  Black Milk is most notable for his work as a producer, but he he shows he can flow on this one; Royce is simply raw (think mid-west Styles P); and Elzhi is like the D's version of Nas with the lyrics and flow to match. "Deadly Medley" is not only well produced, but each of these artists add their own flavor to keep the D on the map.

Excerpts for the Wannabe Expert
Black Milk 
Truth Be told 
This is who you call the truest out the newest foe 
To people watchin' our every move like its the Truman Show 
Coolest flow 
Signal to my crew the "Cue To Go" 
With they finger on triggers, gun powder under cuticles 
Newest flow 
As ugly as warzones 
Yeah, shit is ugly as Lady Gaga's wardrobe 
Word to Dilla 
His verse is illa 
The words are killa 
Aint heard nothing this Legendary out since the birth of Thriller 

I'm in the best shape of my life lyrically 
I don't even write seriously 
I just fuck around 
Like the Rolling Stone 
I lay the hat in many homes 
Bad Boy like Diddy Combs 
Shoulders which his whole entire city on 

You need to be amputated
I snap you in minutes
I left Detroit rappers in fitteds decapitated
This not a dumb threat
Cause though I'm not what I become yet
I challenge some vet
And stick it to him like a drum set
Clap the matic
I flip like an acrobatic
Slap fanatics
With murderous rap mechanics 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron--"I'm New Here"

"I'm New Here"

Arguably one of the most influential people as it pertains to the development and birth of hip-hop for his work on several songs, most notably "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Gil Scott-Heron sings this amazingly beautiful song for his new album I'm New Here.  With this record, Scott-Heron paints the perfect picture--he tells a story. This is one of those songs that you listen to when taking a long train, bus, or plane ride to a new place, thinking about all the uncertainties that you are bound to encounter. Take a listen as this musical genius puts it down!

Excerpt for the Wannabe Expert
I did not become someone different
That I did not want to be
But I'm new here
Will you show me around

No matter how far wrong you've gone
You can always turn around
Met a woman in a bar
Told her I was hard to get to know
And near impossible to forget
She said I had an ego on me
The size of Texas

Well I'm new here and I forget
Does that mean big or small

No matter how far wrong you've gone You can always tournaround

And I'm shedding plates like a snake
And it may be crazy but I'm
The closest thing I have
To a voice of reason

Turnaround turnaround turnaround
And you may come full circle
And be new here again

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sound Providers feat. Little Brother--"Braggin & Boastin"

"Braggin & Boastin"

With a little help from the Sound Providers, a rap duo originally established in Southern California, Little Brother gets real jazzy on this one.  The the two duos compliment one another so well on this record that it made me question why they collaborated to make an full-length album or mixtape together.  Sound Providers provide an ill beat, meanwhile Phonte kills it as he talks about the bravado and egotism that has diluted hip-hop. Such a great song!

Sound Providers

Excerpt for the Wannabe Expert
Another day up in these labels of rap
And you're a battle MC who swears that your style is flavorly phat
Can't wait to hit the studio disabling tracks
So everyone can hear your shit on they turntables and DATS
You put your, single out so now you layin' it back
Cause now everybody's sayin', "Yo son, your name on the map"
And everybody's actin' crazy in fact
Hoes be sweatin' your gear 
And askin' shit like, "What fragrance is that?"
But that's the life you live
Great sex with your admirers
Cause your album's in the deck of everybody's Aiwa
But prior to, all the props and all the street buzz
Nobody in your neighborhood could give a fuck who you was
Because, They don't love you,
They love what you stand for
The car you drive and the loot you got your hands on
That shit could end in a minute, any minute
And then your driveway won't have all them Bentley's in it
And wine glass won't have all that Remy in it
No video shoots with Hype and P. Diddy in it
So don't get caught up in the fame and applause and brainless awards 
Next year they ain't gonna want you no more
Check it out now

Esther Phillips--"That's All Right With Me"

"That's All Right With Me"

Truly one of the most undervalued and underappreciated  R&B vocalists of the 20th century, Esther Phillips displays on this track her innate ability to grab the attention of her listeners.  "That's All Right With Me" is quite possibly my favorite song performed by Esther Phillips.   Esther Phillips sings so fervently on this record that only she could perform this record like this. It's also important to note that this song has had a significant impact on hip-hop as it's been sampled by countless rap artists and record producers.

Excerpt For the Wannabe Expert
If you want to make love to me
If you want to make me your own
And if you want me to be your slave
That's all right with me
That's all right with me

If I must work both day and night
If I must supply your every need
And if I only get to see you once in a day, hey baby
That's all right with me
That's all right with me

I'll keep you happy all the days of my life
I'll even do all for you
I want the whole wide world to know
That I love you, I love you so

And if you need, need to call me on the phone
If you need someone to hold your hand
And if you need someone to be your own, hey baby
That's all right with me
That's all right with me 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Francis and The Lights--"For Days"

After a weekend of partying with a bunch of Wesleyan University alums, I was introduced to Francis and The Lights, a pop band with a very distinctive, neo-80s sound.  The band's song "For Days" is one of those records that grabs you both rhythmically and lyrically, though it's not as tacky as we remember some 80s songs to be. On another note, Wesleyan U continues to produce some of the better bands in music today. Enjoy!

Excerpt for the Wannabe Expert
It's a shame
That's what it is
I've been watching you for days now
I'd never say, I wish that it would happen
But in a way I wish it would
But oh
I didn't do a thing
But if there was just an air strike
Or a natural disaster
You coulda been mine
Whoa oh 
Whoa I hope
That I didn't go too far
But I've been watching you for days now
You never know
They could come tomorrow
And in a way I wish they would
But oh oh oh
I didn't do a thing
But if there was just an air strike
Or a natural disaster
You coulda been mine
Whoa oh 
Whoa oh
Here I am
Staring at ya 
Wish you wouldn't look away when you know I want you
I wish I had four days alone with you
I wish I could I could have
Changed my mind in a second if you'd given me one second just to think
You coulda have looked me in the eye when you said it
If you'd given me one second give me one
second give me one second 
give me one second
give me one second
If there was just an air strike or a natural disaster
You coulda been mine
Whoa oh oh
Stop baby
Said stop baby 

Jay-Z--"Take It In Blood" & Nas--"Take It In Blood"

Jay-Z--"In My Lifetime (Remix)"

Nas--"Take It In Blood"

Debates over which of these two artists have had a larger impact on hip-hop are never-ending. Proponents of Jay love to touch on his commercial success and his ability to produce hit after hit, while Nas proponents love to mention his genius on--arguably--the best hip-hop album of all-time with Illmatic.  Regardless of which artist you side with more, both have taken music to another level throughout their careers. "In My Lifetime (Remix)" and "Take It In Blood" are by far my favorite songs done by the two of them. On "In My Lifetime (Remix)" Jay explicitly talks about the allure of the streets and hustling drugs, while Nas drops one of the dopest tracks with his word play on "Take It In Blood," which turned me onto hip-hop during the summer of '96.

Excerpt for the Wannabe Expert
Jay-Z "In My Lifetime (Remix)
I'm like the bass with the ass, flashing cold cash
The Big Willie, get you chilly when I pass, brrrrrr
Is it, just a mirage all these girls thankin God
Is this, world my world, am I the star of stars?
Baby pimped out, I'm gettin too large and smokin cigars
All chicks is hollerin bout jigga, the whole city's buzzin
wasn't checkin for me a dozen or so, months ago
Now I'm all they know, I'm a person
Lettin the Cristal's breathe at the Barnacle Bar
Under my sleeve, vernacular, 50 G's
I'm talkin big cheese, you gotta be down to dig these, uhh
Give me a rush like you wouldn't believe, my head's about to bust
Acceleratin what drives me, hope I don't gotta die
to see, see I can't lie to me
I know the price, know the risk, know the wrongs and the rights
Still my blood flows ice, it's just my life

Nas "Take It In Blood"
Verse 1
Yo, I never brag, how real I keep it, cause it's the best secret
I rock a vest, prestigious, Cuban link flooded Jesus
in a Lex watchin Kathie Lee and Regis
My actions are one with the seasons
A tec squeezin - executioner, winter time I rock a fur
Mega popular, center of attraction
Climaxin, my bitches they be laughin
They high from sniffin coke off a twenty-cent Andrew Jackson
City lights spark a New York night
Rossi and Martini sippin, Sergio Tachinni flippin mad pies
low price, I blow dice and throw em
Forty-five by my scrotum, manifest the "Do or Die" slogan
My niggaz roll in ten M3's
Twenty Gods poppin wheelies on Kawasaki's
Hip-Hop's got me on some ol', sprayin shots like a drumroll
Blankin out and never miscount the shells my gun hold
I don't stunt, I regulate
Henny and Sprite, I seperate, watchin crab niggaz marinate
I'm all about tecs and good jooks and sex
Israelite books, holdin government names from Ness
MC's are crawlin out, every hole in the slum
You be aight like blood money in a pimp's cum...

Verse 3
...Yo the time is wastin, I use the mind elevation
Dime sack lacin, court pen pacin
Individual, lyrical math abrasion
Psychic evaluation, the foulest nation
We livin in, dangerous lives, mad leak and battered wives
A lifestyle where bad streets is patternized
Wise men build and destroy
While the real McCoy dopefiend, named Detroit is still dealin boy
Coke suppliers actin biased
Cause rumors say that niggaz wear wires and we liars
But every night the gat's fired, and every day a rat's hired
I still remain the mack flyest in the phat Kani, it's --
-- just the killer in me, slash drug dealer MC
Ex-slug filler, semi mug peeler
Demi, bottles of Mo', yo simply follow me flow
Put poetry inside a crack pot and blow
rough holes for cracked out pussies and buttholes
Bring the G's and the D's roll, they can't touch those
Why shoot the breeze about it, when you could be about it?
My degrees are routed, toward the peasy haired brick houses
instead of the fake medallions
Rich niggaz transport in thousands
Foreign cash exchange amountin to millions
Doors is locked, rocks is chopped, watch the cameras in the ceilings
Trick bitches catching mad feelings
Peelin off in the Lex Jeep, techniques is four-wheelin
I bet it be some shit when we connect with Stretch
When we catch them sex niggaz with the tecs you blessed, word
So now it's on, never wasted a slug,
Time is money when it comes to mine, take it in blood


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2Pac--"Old School"

"What more can I say..." This is the perfect song for those who find themselves reminiscing about the foundation of hip-hop, the "old" New York, and/or Pac at his finest. Though 2Pac is infamously known for igniting what would become the East and West Coast hip-hop beef, "Old School" truly demonstrates his love for the East coast, especially New York, its people and culture.  Listen in as 2Pac passionately rhymes and reflects back on historic times in New York history. "Old School" is one of my favorite 2Pac songs; he talks about New York as if he were a kid in a candy store--skelly, stick ball, and italian ices. A true classic!

2Pac (center) with Busta Rhymes (left) and Treach (right) 

Excerpt for the Wannabe Expert
Remember poppin and lockin to Kurtis Blow, the name belts
And Scott LaRock the Super Hoe back in Latin Quarters
When Slick Rick was spittin La-Di-Da-Di
Gamin the hoochies at the neighborhood block parties, I remem-ber
breakdancin to Melle Mel
Jekyll and Hyde, LL when he Rocks the Bells
Forget the TV, about to hit the streets and do graffiti
Be careful don't let the transit cops see me
It ain't nuttin like the old school!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roberta Flack--"The Closer I Get to You"

I had to post this as it is a classic! Not only does Roberta Flack have one of the most amazing voices but Donnie Hathaway compliments her so well on this song. This is a truly beautiful song lyrically.   Roberta's got pipes!

Excerpt for the Wannabe Expert
The closer I get to you
The more you make me see
By giving me all you've got
Your love has captured me

Over and over again
I tried to tell myself that we
Could never be more than friends
And all the while inside
I knew it was real
The way you make me feel

Lying here next to you
Time just seems to fly
Needing you more and more
Let's give love a try

Robert Glasper--"J Dillalude"

"J Dillalude"

Any person that loves jazz and hip-hop will truly appreciate this song.  Jazz pianist, Robert Glasper, pays tribute to the late J Dilla with "J Dillalude" by using a compilation of Dilla's original productions to create this jazz piece. Today, Glasper is considered one of the most talented hip-hop/jazz musicians.  To add to that, Dilla's legacy and impact on the game only magnifies with each year that he is gone.  This song is perfect because it seamlessly blends the unique sounds of two extremely talented artists.  Also, let's not forget that jazz and hip-hop go hand-in-hand. What more could you ask for?


Monday, September 27, 2010

Miike Snow--"Black and Blue"

I was recently introduced to Miike Snow by a really close friend of mine and fell in love with "Black and Blue." I must admit, I'm not the biggest fan of pop music, but Miike Snow caught my ears with this one.  "Black and Blue" is the kind of song that makes you jam out at home with the stereo blasting because  no one is there to remind you how ridiculous your dancing is.  At the same time, it's the song that will give you the craziest impulse to rock out regardless of who is in your vicinity.  Miike Snow made me an instant fan with this one, check 'em out!

         Excerpt for the Wannabe Expert

How long has it been, shall we get into it again?
Excuse, our disgrace we've had no time to paint the place
The dog is always barking at the mailman

I won't waste your time with my revelation
Hello my friend, I see you're back again
Hello mystery, don't bother to explain
How bout maybe, its all been in my head
Hey well I'm tired of this black & blue, black & blue

My dear, come again, your voice is fading out and in
Out of the laundry bin, I found my innocence again
The dog is always barking at the mainman

I won't waste your time with my revelation
Hello my friend, I see you're back again
Hello mystery, don't bother to explain
How bout maybe, its all been in my head
Hey well I'm tired of this black & blue, black & blue

Hello my friend, I see you're back again
Hello mystery, don't bother to explain
How bout maybe, its all been in my head
Hey well I'm tired of this black & blue, black & blue