The Throne who???
“In the movie Mos Def quotes Q-Tip: ‘Rap is not pop. If you call it that, then stop.’ The true origin of rap is counter-culture. The true origin of rap is say something that they’re not saying on the radio. When you kind of blend into what popular culture is doing, you’re losing the power of Hip-Hop. We’ve got to keep rocking the boat. We’ve got unemployed people, we’ve got a black President, we’ve got election year, we’ve got Occupy Wall Street. If you’re just going to rap about ‘I got money and we balling,’ and all that, you’re not doing with it what it was meant to do. It’s meant to rock a party, but it was meant to change the world.
I think that a rap aficionado, the hardcore rap fan, will always go away from pop, in the same way a hardcore jazz fan will never think Kenny G is really a jazz artist. You gotta kind of know there’s always going to be that purist who’s going to be like if it ain’t beats and rhymes, if there ain’t a DJ, then that ain’t Hip Hop.” - Ice-T
Perfectly said Ice-t!!
I basically said all of this when Watch The Throne came out. Jay & Kanye are too powerful and influential to be so passive and complacent during times like this. As artists, they have the right to express themselves however they choose, but I think even they realized how much they dropped the ball.
That’s why 11 months after their album drops, they put out a passive music video supporting activism……. a video that they couldn’t even bother appearing in themselves. They were grasping at a movement that they never fully put their weight behind in the first place.
Watch the Throne had a few shining moments. “Murder to Excellence” was a real song. “New Day” was a real song. The “No Church in the Wild” video could have done more, but at least they’re promoting *some* activism. Lil Wayne (outside of How to Love, despite it being an autotuned mess of a pop song), Nicki Minaj, Tyga, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka, Pitbull (biggest sellout next to Snoop Dogg), Flo Rida, Travis Porter, 2 Chainz, Lil B, Drake, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, and just about every other mainstream rapper don’t promote ANY activism these days. They don’t talk about anything other than partying, how much money they have, and women. Nas was right. Hip hop IS dead. Things are worse now than back when he made that song.
So goodnight Tumblr. “I’m done, I’ll hit you up mañanaaaaaaaaa”.
Just watched him kill it at American Express Unstaged. When he burst out into Frank Ocean’s “No Church in the Wild” hook, I was all like:
Kanye West is one of my favorite rappers and has a tremendous reserve of lyrical and production talent. But lately, I feel he has declined, and isn’t using utilizing that talent like we all know he can. Here are some ways Yeezy can get back on track:
- Produce all (or at least 75%) of the songs singlehandedly — Kanye produced 99.9% of College Dropout by himself, doing all of the songs. On My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne, however, only one song is attributed solely to West. I have nothing against guys like Jeff Bhasker and No I.D., but I always felt what separated Yeezy from the rest is that he did “the rap and the track, triple double, no assist”. You came into the game as a producer first and foremost. Get back to where you once belonged.
- Bring back skits (specifically Deray Davis for his Bernie Mac impersonations —I typically dislike skits since they’re usually just a waste of time, but I felt the skits on Kanye’s first couple of albums were quite humorous, and helped to set the mood (I liked Chris Rock’s part on Blame Game too). We obviously can’t have Bernie Mac for another skit, but Deray Davis, Chris Rock, or Kevin Hart would accomplish the job. Just a couple skits will do.
- Talk about real issues that apply to real people, not just designer fashion —We get it, Kanye—you like your fashion. We don’t have a problem with you name-dropping a few brands most of your audience don’t even know exist here and there. We do have a problem, however, when you appear to lose social consciousness and resort to the typical bragging that we see all too often in rap. Get back to writing about *real* stuff, like you did in Jesus Walks, All Falls Down, Heard ‘Em Say, and Diamonds (From Sierra Leone).
- Stop taking shots at Amber Rose —It’s over. What’s done is done, and you’ve both gone your separate ways. She’s about to marry Wiz Khalifa now (a man you said you have respect for recently); do you really want to make things awkward with him too? Let’s not start any unnecessary beef here. Just let it go, Yeezy.
- Limit the guest appearances — This applies for just about all rappers today. Sometimes I forget whose album I’m listening to because there are so many other artists on it. In the 80s and early 90s, there were 1, maybe 2 guest artists on an album—if that. College Dropout, 808s, and Graduation had a healthy number, I believe, but the other two albums had too many. Remember whose name is on the album…
- More songs —College Dropout and Late Registration were released roughly a year apart, but had 21 tracks each (including skits). Graduation, 808s, and MBDTF only had 13, 10, and 13 tracks respectively. Now I’m all about quality over quantity, but can we at least get 15 or 16 tracks?
- Bring back J. Ivy —aka the poet/rapper near the end of Never Let Me Down. His verse was so unique and profound, and one of the most powerful I’ve ever heard. I haven’t heard much from him lately, so do yourselves both a favor and feature him on the next solo album.
- Make a new version of Jesus Walks— “I made Jesus Walks, so I’m never going to Hell.” Dude, that was 8 years ago, and you’re due for a contract extension. Jesus Walks was a phenomenal song, and has the distinction of being the only mainstream rap song I’ve heard to be played on Christian radio stations. I’d like to see a spiritual successor to this song on his next album.
- Bring back the “Dropout Bear“— for….reasons.
- Name the album “Good A$$ Job”, or something along thoselines — to keep in line with the previous suggestion. Kanye West did his fans a disservice when he renamed his latest solo album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The previous title alluded to the Graduation Day skit on his debut album, and was supposed to complete a quarter of sorts. He dropped out, came back and registered late, and then graduated. Now it’s time to get that job. MBDTF was a phenomenal album and all, but I would like to see Kanye go back and finish what he started.
Now these are just a few of my suggestions. If you have any of your own, feel free to reblog and add yours to the list.