Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hip Hop and um......?

In the 6th month of this year (really? already?) it seems that things are heating up for hip hop(the majority of major releases generally drop toward the tail end of the year). So far this year we've seen new forward thinking commercial talent introduced in the form of Kid CuDi(don't act like you didn't like that 'Day n Nite' Crookers remix, I saw you on the floor.....) and Drake, who made everybody flip with 'Best I Ever Had'(which is about to kill iTunes).

We have also seen releases from veteran underground beat makers such as Madlib with The Beat Conductor vol. 5-6 and just last week, a posthumous release from the late J-Dilla with Jay Stay Paid, and can I say that it is a magnificent album too. Definitely check out Milk Money, 24K Rap, See That Boy Fly and KJay And We Out(among MANY others). If you like hip hop beats without the rapping there's more than enough to keep you happy on this installment as only 10 of the 28 tracks feature MC's(such as Black Thought of The Roots, Raekwon of Wu-Tang fame, Havoc of Mobb Deep, Lil Fame of M.O.P, Doom and also Illa J). So I'd highly recommend that album for the underground, slightly cultured cats who aren't too concerned with hip hop politics and tragic punts at product differentiation(T Pain, you look like a dick with that top hat bro, c'mon).

Speaking of top hats, Jay-Z dropped his first single off his third release in his Blueprint album series on Saturday afternoon called "D.O.A" or "Death Of Autotune". Now this is interesting in many ways. Firstly the radio stations that give him spins(or will at least with this one, I highly doubt we'll hear it on C4, or ZM for that matter) have slowly and painfully grown to embrace faux autotune songs. This sound is the general lane commercial artists are going through to get a song out there currently and thats a formula if ever I saw one. Now, not only is this a complete mind fuck for hip hop's identity and its continued merger with RnB, but it also means that Jigga has found himself in somewhat of a predicament. The questions get raised: Does he still have the industry pull he had 5 years ago? Is it too difficult for the industry to move away from autotune? Has the consumer moved past boom-bap and further toward Flo Rida's trance induced nightmare?
D.O.A was premiered on Funk Flex's show that afternoon and minutes later Twitter went absolutely nuts. To give you an idea, 10-15 minutes afterward Jay-Z was the most highly discussed topic as was evident with 5 of the top ten topics relating to Jay-Z, all discussing the song. I guess thats the desired effect nowadays. The track was produced by Kanye and Chicago icon No I.D(who taught Kanye how to make beats). So I'm over talking about DOA. Check it out though, the beats real nice, Jay, not so amazing though.

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