Archive for grammy’s

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.

Advertisements

Swagger Like Us (2009 Grammy Performance) (Video)

Posted in Videos with tags , , , , , , , on February 9, 2009 by Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)

Vodpod videos no longer available.


“…we the only thing to talk about.“-Lil Wayne on “Swagger Like Us”

Props to ElCorilloRD for this clip that is soon to be deleted due to Copyright violations the video.

Props to OnSmash…this one seems to be staying.

As promised, the footage of the “rap pack” (very witty, Latifa) and Mother of the Century perform the biggest collaboration of ’08. By itself, this song is like “A Milli”, really good the first 5 listens, then you notice how disappointing it really is. But just like A Milli, a (DOPE) performance can make this song (DOPE) as fuck. Dont try to adjust ur laptops(or mobile devices), it really is black and white for the majority of the performance. By the way, is it just me or do you think M.I.A. just gave her future child the greatest gift EVER? Whoops, forgot about child birth. But really, her child can say, I was on stage while 4 of the biggest and best rappers…ever(Biggest meaning sales and popularity AKA Lil’ Wayne) while they performed one of the biggest collaborations in Hip Hop history….AT THE GRAMMY’S? All my mom did was take me to see New Jack City when I wasnt even old enough to make a coherent sentence. *Sigh*.

Best Part- The HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVAAAAA at 1:48 and then Jay doing what can only be descibed as the “Driving Miss Daisy” U-Turn dance righ after. LOL.

Katie Courics Interviews Lil Wayne (Video)

Posted in Videos with tags , , , on February 6, 2009 by Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)

“I dont take nothing from no one. I do what I want to do. And I’m going to do that until the day I die. And if I cant do that, then I’ll just die.“-Lil Wayne in “Katie Courics Interviews Lil Wayne”

“I have migranes that make me want to kill myself.“-Lil Wayne in “Katie Courics Interviews Lil Wayne”

I think it’s pretty clear that Lil Wayne ISN’T the (DOPEST) rapper/lyricist/MC of all time or even out now. Tha Carter III is NOT a classic. Dedication 3 fucked up the series the other 2 CLASSIC mixtapes laid down. But I will tell you this. There is no other rapper out now or since Tupac died  that I can possible conceive being the “next 2pac” and this interview is evidence of that. I wouldn’t say Eminem, because Em has etched himself in the history books in his own separate category. Now, you watch it and he drags you in. You believe what he says. Now before you want to assassinate my mental(copyright) for comparing him to ‘Pac, but I have NEVER, EVER seen sooooo many people in love with an artist SOOOO BLINDLY that WHATEVER he does they love it. I used to think it was Em, but even Em fans are fickle..if you’re a Wayne FAN..you don’t change. AMAZING!

Oh..and I love the way Katie Courics put that “dont bullshit me, nigga” face on when Wayne says he smokes weed for “medicinal purposes.” LOL!

Outside Looking In (The Perception of Hip Hop)

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

carter-iii-pitchfork
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).