Archive for the OP-ED Category

Goodnight, Grammy’s

Posted in OP-ED with tags on February 1, 2010 by Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)

Lets rewind to a happier time. 2001. When the Grammy’s had a firm comprehension of balance .That ever so illusive yet eagarly saught after balance between artistry and commercial appeal. Lets take a look at the nominees for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group:”

  • “Alive,” Beastie Boys
  • “Oooh,” De La Soul Featuring Redman
  • “The Next Episode,” Dr. Dre Featuring Snoop Dogg
  • “Big Pimpin’,” Jay-Z Featuring UGK
  • “Forgot About Dre,” Dr. Dre featuring Eminem

The eventual (and albeit rightful) winner of that award was “Forgot About Dre”, but notice the balance in the nominations. There was the insanely commercial (“Big Pimpin”) mixed with the classic Hip Hop (“The Next Episode”) mixed with the raw underground (“Oooh”). Balance. Also, notice how the award that won embodied all three of those elements. I mean, a song which has the lyrics, “choke you to death with a Charleston Chew” won a Grammy. (DOPE)ness. Now lets flash forward to the “future” (essential that future is in quotations) and look at the 2010 nominations for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group:

Beastie Boys & Nas – “Too Many Rappers”
Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent – “Crack A Bottle”
Fabolous & Jay-Z – “Money Goes, Honey Stay”
Kid Cudi, Kanye West & Common – “Make Her Say”
Kanye West & Young Jeezy – “Amazing”

Where’s the balance? Not only that..where’s the consistency? While I do think that Relapse is one of the best rap albums of the year, “Crack A Bottle” is a forced, contrived stunt for publicity that did not fit at all in the scheme of the album or as a song by itself. Where’s the representation of the underground feel (“History” by Mos Def feat./ Talib Kweli, anyone?), where’s the artistic commercialism (“Forever”?). What we have here is a clear indication of the process as to which the people at the Grammy committe use to pick their rap-related nominees:

Take out a sheet of the Top 100 Rap Songs on Billboard. Close eyes. Throw dart. See where it lands. Write name down. Repeat until you have five nominations.

Before I continue let me say that I completely understand that the unheard of album from (DOPE) MC no-name will never get a Grammy nomination without SOME sort of commercial push so I am not suggesting that the Grammy’s go through EVERY rap song of 2009 and pick but a little more aristic integrity would be nice. Other inexplicable atrocities of the 2010 Grammy’s include:

  • Flo’Rida’s R.O.O.T.S album being nomiated for Rap Album of the Year
  • “I’m On A Boat” by The Lonely Island & T-Pain being nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
  • Not televising the Best Rap Album yet closing the show with a rap performance.
  • Cutting off The Dream’s mic while playing the “get off the stage” music, yet keeping the mic on for everyone else.
  • Having only ONE true Hip Hop performance and allowing T-Pain and Jamie Foxx to perform that addictive coonery song.

However the decrept icing on the cake came at the end(both ends). The final performnace of the night had the potential to be one of the greatest hip hop moments ever. You have Drake. The rapper with the BIGGEST buzz in the history of Hip Hop. Lil Wayne. Arguably the most saught after hip hop artist of the last half decade in what could be his last televised performance before serving an 8 Month jail sentence.  Then you have Eminem. Arguably the greatest rapper to ever breathe on a mic and unarguably the highest selling ARTIST (note no genre specific) of the last decade. How could this go wrong?

CBS and the Grammy’s censor nearly half of the performance.

The problem was not that they censored nearly half of the performance but that it was inexplicable. They bleeped out this entire stream of lyrics from Lil Wayne’s verse on “Drop The World”:

“…get in where I fit in, no room for a nigga,
but soon for a nigga it be on motherfucker
’cause all this bullshit”

What’s worst is that following that they allow him to say the following line “made me strong motherfucker” and he himself censors “motherfucker” so you have to imagine he censored the other words. Then they went on to censor half of the “Forever” chorus when the ONLY curse word is “shit” which when they let it play out Drake does not say “shit”. And therein lies the major problem with this censorship and the Grammy’s as a whole. The Grammy’s do not think that Hip Hop artist are respectable artists. The rappers were censoring themselves throughout the performance yet CBS still found the need to silence half of what could have been the biggest performance of 2010. All the disrespcet of the night culminated in this conspicuous disregrad for the artistry of hip hop.

Here’s a LESS censored and INFINITELY more enjoyable version of the performance:

Why was this not aired to millions of people? This proves exactly what I have been saying. These men were professionals and besides the “nigga” slip by Lil Wayne in the “Drop The World” verse (which could’ve EASILY been censored out) these men censored themselves for the most part.

You can blame it on Kanye West being a loose cannon and frightening the Grammys’ new IT girl(who inexplicably won Album of the Year). You can even blame it on the fact that Hip Hop at its core is an art rooted in a rebellious spirit and an anti-mainstream approach (though these days you’d never know it). Or maybe you could blame it on the fact that you had Eminem and Lil Wayne, two men who have been arrested and have shown to disregard live TV(Read: The infamous double middle finger Eminem gave at the end of his 2001 Grammy performance).

But they are professionals. You’re working on a delay(there is no such thing as LIVE TV after Nipplegate). And on top of that..THEY REHEARSED IT IN FRONT OF YOU. By you I mean the Grammy committe. Therefore the only LOGICAL explanation is a complete disregard for the professionalism and artistry of Hip Hop.

Once the euphoria of seeing three of my favorite rappers of the last year perform together subsided all that was left was a indescribable feeling. I did not know if it was betrayal, disgust or even anger. But as I finish writing this entry I have finally discovered what that engrossing feeling was that pained me the last 8 hours.

Maturity.

I grew up on the mythical “Grammy’s”. The idea that the penniacle of musical artistry and accomplishments is that Gold old school record player. But it is clear to me that the Grammy’s ideas of musicianship and artistry are as antiquated as the technology they model the design of their “prestigious” award after.

Goodnight, Grammy’s. May you never awaken.

YANKEES= BASEBALL TEAM OF THE DECADE

Posted in OP-ED with tags , , on November 5, 2009 by Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)

WORLD SERIES

Most wins (965), Division titles (8), World Series appearances (4), post season appearances (9), post season record (48-39) AND tied for the most World Series titles (2). Yankees…BASEBALL TEAM OF THE DECADE! CHECK THE STATS!

PS- Oh and you know I had Yankees in 6. And I predicted they were going to go NUTS after they lost Game 5. You’re welcomed

.(DOPE).

I. Apologize (The Zune Meltdown)

Posted in OP-ED with tags , on January 1, 2009 by Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)

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For those that dont know (In Eminem’s voice at the end of “Nail In The Coffin”) THAT’S Bill Gates.  The CEO or wateva of Microsoft. Why am I stating the obvious? Why am I saying “I. Apologize”? WHERE THE FUCK IS THE MUSIC?! Thats exactly what I want to know because as of December 31st, 2008…BILL GATES FUCKED HIMSELF AND A GOOD PORTION OF THE GLOBE! Across the globe(seriously, Microsoft is calling it a “GLOBAL crisis”), millions of Zune 30 GB’s are not booting up. You guessed it. I HAVE a Zune 30 gb(THANX TOYA!) and this shit is not booting. I dont think I need to explain how important music is to me(come on…seriously?) so with this, PLUS me not being near a computer becaus of New Years Eve festivities (GET YA FREE DEBIT CARDS AT 11PM ON 42ND!) There will be no music today from DopeIsAsDopeDoes. And I like began..I will end…

 

I. APOLOGIZE.

Outside Looking In (The Perception of Hip Hop)

Posted in OP-ED with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)

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untitled-pitchfork

“Just as the record’s cover playfully skews the Ready to Die/Illmatic baby-picture formula with Photoshopped tattoos, Wayne updates what it means to be the best rapper alive here.”– In Pitchfokmedia’s review of “Tha Carter III”

“Nas is more likely to rely on ugly manipulation of people who tend to care way more about his work than he apparently does”In Pitchforkmedia’s review of “Untitled”

*DISCLAIMER: ….THIS SHIT IS KINDA LONG!!! BUT ALL OF IT MUST BE SAID! THANK YOU!*

Chalk it up to a slow Monday in music, or me trying to burn time before my shows come on or whatever you want, but this issue has been burning in my head for months and now I have the time and energy to articulate it. Let me put up another disclaimer real quick:

*DISCLAIMER: THIS IS IN NO WAY A LIL WAYNE OR PITCHFORKMEDIA DISS. THA CARTER III IS ONE OF THE BEST RAP ALBUMS OF THE YEAR AND I’VE BEEN A FREQUENT READER OF PITCHFORKMEDIA SINCE ’05.*

Pretty highly esteemed media outlet, Pitchforkmedia, who primarily reviews and covers alternative rock and pop-ish artists, gave Lil Wayne’s ASTRONOMICALLY HYPED Tha Carter III an 8.7 out of 10 and gave Nas’ Untitled  a 3.8 out of 10. Essentially saying that Tha Carter III is MORE THAN TWICE AS GOOD as Untitled (Numbers dont lie). What this shows is exactly  what has been known for years if not decades (if you look closely) that the world outside of Hip Hop views our beloved artform as just a dollar sign and not art. Outlets which PRIMARILY cover music other than Hip Hop and R&B such as Pitchforkemedia and the godly, RollingStone  hyped up the Lil Wayne machine ever since they saw that he was jumping on everybody’s song(inside and more importantly to them, outside of Hip Hop) and was geared to be the next SoundScan giant. RollingStone did everything from crown him the Best MC, claim he had the 3rd best album of the year…from ANY genre and whole bunch other miscellaneous dick riding. But the Pitchforkmedia thing hit the hardest and made the issue more salient.

“The musical open-mindedness also lifts C3 above regional niches– the #1 hit “Lollipop” sounds more like it was born on Jupiter than anywhere on earth.“- In Pitchforkmedia’s review of Tha Carter III

When media outlets invest time, energy and money in a musical phenomena such as an artists’ hype, they will stop at nothing to make sure what they hyped comes to fruition. The truth can be a bit bended, right? Why do you think MTV gave Britney Spears the opening act on the 2007 VMA’s  (disasterous) then awarded her with “Pop Video of the Year(her first one, a HISTORIC COMEBACK in the works..yea right) and THEN gave her her own documentary? Because they want their hype to come to fruition or else they look like dumbasses. Considering “Lollipop” as an indication of “musical open-mindedness” is just as transparent as giving Britney a VMA for a video NO ONE REMEMBERS. One more quote from their “unbiased” review to show you how much they alter the truth so that the Lil Wayne phenomena can continue and they can preserve their dwindling credibility in Hip Hop:

‘I’m doin’ the same shit Martin Luther King did/ Checkin’ in the same hotel, in the same suite, bitch/ Same balcony like assassinate me, bitch!’ His claims of MLK grandeur are far-fetched, but his impassioned delivery makes them seem more believable than one would think possible.”-In the Pitchforkmedia review of “Tha Carter III”

WHATTHEFUCK?!!! Just cause he screams and his voice screeches alittle, him comparing what he’s doing in the world to what Martin Luther King Jr did for the world is ANY SORT OF BELIEVABLE. I notice they did say it was not TOTALLY believable and was “far-fetched” but by saying it is “MORE believable” they imply that it is not STUPID AND COMPLETELY UNBELIEVABLE…which it actually was. See, Nas makes a CLASSIC..CLASSSSSIC album, Untitled which they slam and give a 3.8 (which is less than 2 mics if converted into Source rating system) and claim they dont like tracks such as “America”, “Breathe”  or “Testify” yet they love the majority of Tha Carter III (BTW: “America”, “Breathe” and “Testify” >Majority of  Tha Carter III). But this goes deeper than RollingStone and Pitchforkmedia.

The Grammy’s, the penniacle of musical accomplishments (and Charles Hamilton’s wet dream) have shown that they only think of dollars when thinking of Hip Hop. In 2007, they gave the Rap Album of the Year Grammy to Ludacris’ Release Therapy over Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor. I’m not even saying this because I love Lupe Fiasco’s music alot more than I do Ludacris'(BUT I FUCKS WITH LUDA!!!), but because the Grammy’s is NOT the Billboard Music Awards. Billboard Music Awards focuses on radio spins, record sales, digital sales and all that. The Grammy’s focus on the art, the merit of the music, the CRITICAL reception of the music. And there was no other rap album in that category that was as critically acclaimed as Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor. But Luda brought in the big bucks and was the new crossover artist(movies and all that shit). 

The (DOPE) can not survive when atroscitites such as these are occuring and Hip Hop is nothing but a dollar sign. I dont just bring up a problem and not develop a solution. The solution is already in the works though. You saw the XXL magazine covers with the Top 10 Freshman(most of who are keeping the (DOPE) alive). All the major media outlets are beginning to hop on The (DOPE) Revival Movement bandwagon. RollingStone named Nahright as the best Hip Hop blog. Fader has always shown love to (DOPE) artists. And the internet is beginning to outshine the magazines, newspapers, radio AND television. So for now we have to live in a world where the mainstream consensus is that Tha Carter III is (DOPE)r better than Untitled.

But dont worry, sooner than you think….the Movement will come to fruition. With no need for bended truth. 

.(DOPE).

The (DOPE) Revival Movement

Posted in (DOPE) music, OP-ED, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2008 by Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)

During my weekend long HELL of a studio session (more on that later), me and my boi Bombzito(more on him SOON) were talking about how it’s starting to feel like the 90’s. And then I started to think ‘Does anyone remember how (DOPE) the 90’s actually were?’ Ok..lets put it in some sort of perspective. You had the Native Tongues movement which meant A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Leaders of The New School and a bunch of other LEGENDARY groups were all making songs together, cyphering, touring together and just having fun together. Then in another section of Hip Hop you had Nas, Wu Tang, Biggie, Sadat X and madd other (DOPE) cats doing shit together. Even with the West vs. East BULLSHIT, they still made music together. That’s what made the 90’s so (DOPE)pic[again..DOPE EPIC]. It was like a large cypher of INCREDIBLY high levels of (DOPE)ness in a close proximity. Unlike the first half of 2000 where everyone was doing their own thing and dream collaborations were few (“Renegade”, “What’s Happening”). 

But the one thing that remains true about history…it ALWAYS repeats itself.

Now with the emergence of the blogs, vlogs and rise of independent labels..Hip Hop is experiencing a stream of (DOPE)ness it hasn’t experienced in about 10 to 12 years. In replace of The Firm, you got Slaughterhouse. In replace of the collaborative classic albums like Hard To Earn and Mos Def and Talib Kweli are..BlackStar you got Below The Heavens and Sweet Lord. And its not only just the underground. You got “Swagger Like Us“, “Black Republicans“, “One Blood (Remix)“. It’s feeling like that HUGE CYPHER again.

But the underground IS what’s making it the most exciting

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xxl3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The (DOPE) thing about these 3 covers is that these 10 rappers are said to be the future of Hip Hop and the majority of their fame(all of it for alot of them) is from the internet and independent means. Even though some are signed to major labels, they are known from the internet. Mickey Factz giving away free songs through blogs. Charles Hamilton gave way a mixtape every two weeks to blogs. Curren$y gave a way a mixtape a month. The movement is even being shown in the fact that digital sales are out gaining CD sales. The New Music Cartel being the ones breaking artists and world exclusives before radio. EVERY rapper having a blog, vlog, or some form of media connecting them directly to the fans.  Hip Hop is starting to be..dare I say..FUN AGAIN! 

NO I’m not trying to devalue what the 90’s had. NO I’m not trying to OVERhype and OVERanalyze. I’m just trying to explain that when I say (DOPE) is as (DOPE) does I mean Hip Hop is only as (DOPE) as the artists make it. This is the Internet Movement. The Blogger Movement. The…The…

The (DOPE) Revival Movement.

Now please, let Wale explain an aspect of the movement..the migration to the internet..

Wale – “The Perfect Plan” off of The Mixtape About Nothing

.(DOPE).