“MVP? You mean the dude from WWE raps?” Yep and he’s good at it too. In fact, music was one of his first loves. Oh yeah, he’s in New Japan Pro Wrestling now.
MVP grew up in Miami and grew up in a household where he was exposed to all types of music. He was born in 1973 and watched the evolution of rap and hip-hop. He grew up in a time where there was no rap music to be found on the radio and even though black radio stations played the occasional rap song remember there weren’t any stations dedicated to rap and r&b. A lot of the rap music he got was from friends from New York when they would come down and bring mixtapes of DJ Red Alert, Hot 97, KISS FM. In 6th grade, he heard Run DMC for the first time.
During a lull in his 6th Grade class he had some free time I was bored and I wrote my very first rap and later at recess he was standing behind the P.E. shed with a few friends and read it to a few friends and one of the teachers Mr. Strong caught him and I was scared because there were a couple of bad words and he thought I was going to get into trouble. Strong read it. But instead of getting into trouble he actually gave the young MVP props for being a 6th grader and writing that well.
The song “Holla to the World” is a song that came about on a plane ride to a pay per view. Dwane Sweaze is an artist that MVP‘s work he enjoyed a lot and asked him if he wanted to drop a verse on it. Lyric wise, it’s pretty much giving a glimpse into the life of MVP. MVP has a flow that’s kind of melodic and combined with a raspy tone that’s that complements the composition. Composition wise, the synth pads give it a chill atmosphere that reminds me of Pharrell produced “Excuse Me Miss” by Jay-Z.
In closing, it’s a decent effort at be on the lookout for the video to “Holla to the World.”
I’m not going to wax poetic about how great Clarence Clemons was. “Born to Run” and “Jungleland” encapsulates all the reasons why.
“Born to Run”
photo courtesy of
On 6/15/2011, I got this single by this band called The Nillaz. For those who aren’t familiar with the Nillaz, they’re a “hip hop” band from Brooklyn, New York. The members are Java and Ill-on on Vocals, Ethos on Guitar, Kevvy Kev on Drums, Chris Strange on Key Boards, and Bass Mon on Bass.
To describe their sound in a nutshell, they kind of sound like how I imagine if the Beastie Boys were fronted by a white Lil’ Jon doing an impression of voice actor Jim Cummings.
Anyway, onto their song “It is what it is.” Lyrically, I’m going to be blunt…I have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s kind of like a bunch of random thoughts that go on about him being broke to being dead and then numbing himself through drug use. I guess the concept is the struggles that one goes through I guess? I’m not really sure. Composition wise, it’s reminiscent of “Suicide Hotline” by Insane Clown Posse and “Just a Thought” by Gnarls Barkley. It’s kind of hard to describe…maybe that’s why it’s called “It is what it is.”
In closing, The Nillaz is something that you’re either going to dig or disavow any knowledge of but enjoy in private…well until they breakthrough that is.
Hey folks, I’m going to share my thoughts on the “He’s a Mental Giant” track off of Tech N9ne’s new album “All 6’s and 7’s.”
Lyrically, Tech N9ne revisits the theme of intellectual bravado with lyrics referring to him as being like “Shaq on stilts” and also a Robert Klein reference. It’s kind of like an updated version of “Einstein” off of the “Anghellic” album. Production wise, you have a solid track from Michael “Seven” Summers. Interesting fact is that the hook for “He’s a Mental Giant” is sampled from the 1939 cartoon “Boy Meets Dog” by Walter Lantz. For anybody that has really paid attention to tracks by “Seven”, this shouldn’t be a surprise that he would sample something like “Boy Meets Dog.” For example, on “Welcome to the Midwest” off of the 2006 release “Everready: The Religion”, Seven used a sample of “Sway” by Dean Martin to give the song a kind of Mafioso kind of vibe and on “Bout Ta Bubble” he sampled “Beatbox” by Art of Noise.
Another interesting point about this song is that there has been a video made for this and it premiered on MTV2 on May 28th, 2011.
In the video, Tech finds himself walking on a brick road through a forest with talking trees. While on this road, he comes across a more disheveled drunken version of the “Clown”, after passing a whorehouse he’s accompanied by “King” and the “G” is just standing there looking cool. While running through the fields, he’s stalked by the flying logos. Unlike his alter egos, Tech is granted access to “Scarlet City” which is a desolate cave that he runs through. At the end of the tunnel, Tech sees the curtain and pulls it back and sees nothing behind the curtain but a brick wall and backs into a hot air balloon resembling Tech N9ne’s “spiky” hair. Tech realizes that he was in control this whole time and leaves Scarlet City and his egos behind. Or in other words, it’s pretty much a Strange Music reinterpretation of the “Wizard of Oz.”
In closing as a long time Tech N9ne fan, I see the video as a sign of personal growth. Tech N9ne’s “All 6’s and 7’s” is available now at Best Buy, iTunes and Wal Mart.
I’ve been staring at the screen for an hour right now trying to say the right words that would pay tribute to Gil Scott-Heron. After just staring into the screen realizing I just wasted an hour I just decided to just shut up and let the music do the talking instead. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite Gil Scott-Heron pieces.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Ain’t No New Thang
Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul
Home is Where the Hatred Is
It’s Your World
Ain’t No Such Thing As Superman
Winter in America
We Almost Lost Detroit
Whitey on the Moon
We Beg Your Pardon
Don’t Give Up
Messsage to the Messengers
I’m New Here
Is That Jazz
Me and the Devil
To every rocker and rapper who paid tribute over this weekend, I thank you for doing your homework.
Hey folks! Just finally getting to featuring a promising emcee out of Jersey by the name of Verbal Phantom. I’ve been meaning to feature his work since earlier this year but time constraints have been an issue. I don’t know where to start with this guy lyrically. Check him out ripping the “Yonkers” beat by Tyler, the Creator and some more spoken word type flow over “Runaway” by Kanye West. He shows a lot of promise. Peace.
Some of you are probably thinking “R&B Covers of rock songs? Great! First it was rap-rock and now R&B rock!” Yeah…this isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon. I mean for example, Neo-Soul artist Maxwell performed a funkier version of the Nine Inch Nails staple “Closer” or Maxwell’s version titled “Gotta Get Closer.” If you don’t believe that this exists, just Youtube it and set your face to “stunned.”
Well, in this case I’m going to focus on Boston, MA band that’s style mixes rock with tinges of 90’s R&B that the band dubbed “New ‘Crack’ Swing.”
You’re probably thinking “Wait, a cover of “1979” by a band who sounds like Teddy Riley on a rock bender? How does that sound?” Well, they made it their own but still stayed faithful to the original. Singer Dua Boayke’s vocal kind of brings a lounge-y feel that actually gives the song another depth. The keyboards and synthesizer sweetens this cover giving it a more R&B/chill feel.
In closing, Bad Rabbits cover of “1979” had to grow on me. But for anybody into R&B that wants to expand their musical horizons, Bad Rabbits should be a good place to start. Oh by the way, to any Smashing Pumpkins purists who might be in a snit because a band did a cover of “1979″…Billy Corrigan (of the Smashing Pumpkins) probably digs the cover because it’s up on the Smashing Pumpkins official Facebook page.
When I first heard about the Boston,MA band “Bad Rabbits” and their hybrid of funk, new jack swing and rock they called “new crack swing” I was hooked…no pun intended. Anyway, here’s a brief feature on their cover of the Smashing Pumpkins classic “1979.” I’ll write a more detailed one later.
The focus is on rapper Glenn Saddler and his album “the Life and Grinds Glenn Saddler.” “The Life and Grinds of Glenn Saddler” is a six track album that tells the tale of Glenn on quest of self-discovery and dealing with the expectations of his elders and peers…it kind of sounds like an “ATL *RPG.”
For anybody that has a thirst for real instrumentation in rap, you might enjoy the subtle guitar licks of Chris Mac and the production of Tokyo and Todd Marshall.
Here are the songs that really stuck out to me…
“Tell me why”
This has some clever wordplay that you would have to replay a few times to totally understand the meaning. It also kind of like reminds me of a more cerebral version of “Why?” by Detroit rap-rock group Insane Clown Posse. No, that’s not a jab, I’m a fan of ICP, folks.
How to make it (L&G edition)
It’s a summary of how people go to Atlanta trying to become either a rapper or a model and how it’s a parallel to others going out to Hollywood to pursue acting and the struggles that come along with it.
It’s an anthem proclaiming individuality in a sea of clones. Kind of like a smarter version of “Umma Do Me” by Rocko.
In closing, “The Life and Grinds of Glenn Saddler” has to grow on me a little more but it has potential to be something that I would have on rotation. If you’re looking for proof that not all rap from Atlanta is big dumb party music then this is a good example.
*RPG stands for Role Playing Game.
Tech N9ne-Worldwide Choppers featuring Yelawolf, Busta Rhymes, Twista and Ceza review by John M. Ellison IV
On May 3rd, 2011 XXL released Tech N9ne’s Worldwide Choppers featuring Yelawolf, Busta Rhymes, Twista and Ceza. After the initial listen, the first thing I could utter was “Whoa.”
“Worldwide Choppers” is a showcase of quick tongued lyricists Yelawolf, Busta Rhymes, Twista, Ceza, J.L. B Hood, U$O, D-Loc & Twisted Insane speed flow. For fans that are just discovering Tech N9ne, understand that this isn’t the first of the “Choppers” series before you had songs such as “Midwest Choppers” that featured Mid-west rappers D-Loc (not to be confused with the California rapper of Stoner Rap-Rock Kottonmouth Kings), Dalima and Strange Music mainstay Big Krizz Kaliko on the album “Tech N9ne Collabos Misery Loves Kompany” and Midwest Choppers 2 ft. K-Dean and Krayzie Bone on Sickology 101.
With collabo tracks like this I see a parallel to as they call in jazz world a “head tune.” I relate it to a head tune, not necessarily because of a melodic main theme, but the common “theme” of everyone on the track using a double time flow. Production wise, the choppy guitar hits were a nice touch and gave the track an aggressive edge. Lyrically, I’m not even going to try and compare the artists by saying which artists on here had the fastest or the best verse on here.
In closing, if you’re looking for a track that showcases some of the fastest rappers, this is definitely a great place to start.