Posts Tagged ‘Untitled’

On the heels of my latest post, Another ENCORE, Please, I came across an article on Yahoo’s featured news page, written by their Hip-Hop writer, Billy Johnson Jr.,  that reported, Last week Vibe magazine announced that Eminem had won its Best Rapper Alive competition.” Although I am a fan of Em’s, I don’t agree with the ruling. There was a catch though, the self proclaimed, “voice of urban culture” didn’t choose the person who would own the title of this highly argued topic, but they polled their readers using a bracket system similar to those used during playoff time in different sports. In the first round of a basketball playoff scenario, eight teams are ranked by their record in their respective conferences, East and West. Out of the eight teams the #1 team plays the #8 team, the #2 team plays the #7 team, and so on and so forth. That way the “best” teams, in terms of standings in their conferences, are the most “likely” to move on to later rounds. VIBE had four different brackets (conferences),  and it seemed, for the most part, that the 15-year-old publication attempted to do the same with the whole ranking system, bringing the victor from each bracket together to determine the overall winner. Amidst my browsing, I caught, what I consider, a few slip ups in different areas and have listed them below for your to openly scrutinize, if you’d like. 

Lil’ Kim (#9) vs. Lauryn Hill #8Lauren Hill is, without a doubt, one of the top female lyricists of ALL TIME. There should be no discussion concerning this matchup. Fortunately, the best woman did win. 

Nelly’s ranking – Nelly was ranked #5 in his bracket above Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Beanie Sigel, and even Joe Budden. I think a recount is in order. As a matter of fact, I DEMAND A RECOUNT!!!

A few of the slip ups, VIBE had nothing to do with. They were all a result of the uninformed voters. Here they are…

Ludacris(#3) beats T.I.(#2) with 58% of the votes– I agree with the rankings in their bracket but this race shouldn’t have been this close. The title of “King of the South” was rightfully bestowed upon Mr. T.I. long, long ago, Luda. Sorry…

The Game(#3) wins over Andre 3000(#1) – Most people can’t really get with Mr. 3G’s style but his creativity is what stands out for me. He is a genius at story telling, his quirky choice of words, and the mind churning metaphors he spits, all give him the “W” in this head-to-head, in my mind anyway.

In the fourth round of voting the M.C. that I think is the Best Rapper Alive, suffered a close defeat by Eminem, the eventual winner of it all. Who, you say? Mr. Nasir Jones. The voting was extremely close though, Slim Shady taking the victory with 57% of the votes compared to Nas’s 43%. Now, I was going to dedicate a much deserved post solely to Nas and explain why he is the Best Rapper Alive, but since I’m already gracing the subject here, I will calm you all’s wondering hearts with an abridged version of what is soon to come. 

Nas came into the game of Hip-Hop at a time where it was basically being dominated by the West Coast, Gangster Rap scene. The likes of Wu Tang Clan, The Notorious BIG, and Mobb Deep, all undeniably great in their own right, entered mainstream hip-hop at around the same time as Nas and collectively, helped put East Coast Hip-Hop back on the proverbial map. From his street anthem album, Illmatic to his politically driven latest release, Untitled, he has touched on a plethora of subjects, all with a naturally effortless flow. He can talk about the street life that he lived, (Life’s A Bitch)  and on the flip side he can speak on the problems facing our community (Black Girl Lost, Second Childhood, I Can).  The commercial crossover song is also a part of his repertoire (You Owe Me, Hate Me Now). The creativity he possesses is unbelievable and he can rattle off a narrative with ease. For example, on Stillmatic, Rewind, is a story told totally in reverse. Now that is one-of-a-kind thinking. Rather than talking about money, hoes and clothes throughout his whole career, Nas, unlike many other rappers, grows with every release. He is not afraid of  alienating his fans when he tackles socially conscious issues. Neither is he fearful of dedicating a whole album to one word, creating amazingly thought provoking tracks that take absolutely nothing away from his credibility (Untitled). Oh yeah, I’m sure all the Jay-Z fans out there know that Mr. Jones is indeed a heavyweight when it comes to battles, poisoning opponents with his lyrical venom and dismissing them with the verbal jabs that bruise their sub-par rhymes.

“Ask me if I’m tryin’ to kick knowledge. Nah, I’m trying to kick that sh*t you need the learn though, that Ether, that sh*t that make ya soul burn slow…” – Ether, Stillmatic

In parting, I would like to quote the man of the hour with this…

“I got this locked since nine-one I am the truest, name a rapper that I aint influence…” – Ether, Stillmatic.

I couldn’t have said it better………

PEACE…

Advertisements

Dr. Phil did a whole show on the controversial term late last week and quite honestly, I am tired of the “let’s talk about it and make it all better” approach to the eradication of this word. Although bringing certain issues to the forefront and making problems known, in order to drum up a solution for said problem, works sometimes, this is one of those times that talking isn’t going to cut it. To get rid of a word, or stop people from using it, is something extremely personal. The individual must take it upon themselves to remove it from their vocabulary. On Nas’s latest album, Untitled, a member of ‘The Last Poets’ makes a bold and undoubtedly spot-on statement during the song, Project Roach. He says…

“It is absolutely silly and unproductive to have a funeral for the word NIGGER when the actions continue. We need to have a movement to resurrect brothers and sisters, not a funeral for NIGGERS, cause NIGGERS don’t die.”

The quote is referencing the recent attempt of the NAACP to bury the derogatory word and ban it’s use with a mock funeral. Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were both at the forefront of this movement, being the most prominent “leaders” of our people, these days, and they put a challenge forth to the record industry and the people in general to stop using the “N” word.  Just a short while after the racial slur was six feet under, Rev. Jesse “Hypocrite” Jackson resurrected the dead in the same interview where he spoke of Barack Obama saying he wanted to “cut his nuts off”. He didn’t call Barack the “N” word but he used it, nonetheless. Great example your setting REVEREND. 

Anyway, during the Dr. Phil show, Hill Harper, who was a guest on the show along with comedians, Sheryl Underwood, and Paul Mooney and Radio Host Michael Graham, said something that made sense to me. He said that history has shown us that African Americans have turned a lot of negatives into positives and gave the example of soul food. Hog Maws, (the stomach of a pig) Chitterlings, yes that is how you spell it (the intestine of a pig), and pig’s feet are the scraps that were thrown to slaves after their owners consumed the actual meat. These items are still enjoyed today by many black families, and as we all know, food brings a lot of black families together, for many reasons. He uses this fact to suggest that blacks are trying to turn the extremely offensive word into something less toxic, but then goes on to say that there is no way to change the poisonousness of the word, which I agree with. It’s hard for me to accept the whole “term of endearment” excuse because a term of endearment holds absolutely no negative connotation. The “N” word originated from hate, forced superiority, degradation and oppression among many other negative means. I don’t see how anyone can see the “N” word as a loving, affectionate word.  

Within the hour of the show, Dr. Phil asked, ‘is it a double standard when it comes to who can and who cannot use the word.’ A white woman in the audience said, ‘if I can say that word and not have any racism in my heart, it should be alright.’ Uhhmmm, Not so much, lady. Regardless of how any white person may utter the word, or in what context, it will NEVER be acceptable. Personally, I don’t like it when it’s used by blacks either, but I have no control over neither. Oh yeah, who told certain members of the Latin community that they could throw the word around? I’m just as offended when they use it. 

All-in-all, absolutely nothing was solved by the discussion, as usual, and I don’t think it brought us any closer to a solution. Nor do I believe that the controversy will ever come to an end. Few things in this world are constant and I strongly think that racism is one of them. 

PEACE…