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Make no mistake about it, Wheelchair Jimmy can rap: The 11 Best Lines from “5 a.m. in Toronto”

 

Man, has Wheelchair Jimmy made a name for himself or what?

Ever since he hit the scene, Aubrey “Drake” Graham has been on a quest for greatness. By his carefully planned tours(notice who he invites on tours and what they have in common,) his methodical approach to his albums and the strategic releases of his singles, it’s easy to see Drake is aiming for more than just critical acclaim – He wants to be great.

Although I may question his behavior and his sometimes monotonous voice, I can’t deny his ability the rap. He’s one of the most lyrical mainstream rappers out, so when he drops a single, most will listen. “Started from the Bottom” is okay and a pretty decent single but it doesn’t do too much for me.

“5 a.m. in Toronto” though? Flames.

Over a nasty Boi-1da instrumental, Drake takes a bushido blade and slices and dices his way through the murky piano loops, taking subtle but vicious jabs at his foes. Rumored lines towards Common(!), Chris Brown(!!) and the Weeknd(!!!) may have the internet buzzing, but what caught my attention is the amount of quotables present in this track. Drake was coming for the crown when he stepped in the booth and recorded this one.

With that said, here are the 11 Best lines from “5 a.m. in Toronto.”

11. “A couple albums dropped those are still on the shelf/I bet them shits would have popped if I was willing to help/ I got a gold trophy from the committee for validation…”

Meaning: Drake’s throwing shots at The Weeknd, allegedly for falling back on signing with Drake’s label. The Weeknd’s “Trilogy” could have done better with some real Drake features, just ask the Grammy committee.

Although it’s another example of the hyper-sensitive nature of rappers, it’s still a vicious statement from Drake. Why? Because if you think about it, he’s right.

10. “Without me, rap is just a bunch of orphans”

Meaning: Drake’s style has birthed a lot of rappers in the game *cough*Kirko Bangz*cough*

I tend to agree with this line as it seems to me that Drake has become a very influential rapper in the game at the moment. There are some rappers who take elements of his gameplan and make it work for them, while there are others…who are clones. Once again, *cou— No I’ll just say it, KIRKO BANGZ.

9. “B*tches loving my drive, I never give it a break”

Meaning: Girls love his ambition and how he never takes a break….Can also mean his sex drive….can also be driving as in a car and braking a car.

Amongst all of the other great lines, you might have missed this gem of a triple entendre. I swear, in between the corny sweaters, poses and public incidents, I forget Drake can rap sometimes.

 

8. “Cuz I show love, never get the same out of n*ggas, guess it’s funny how money can make change out of n*ggas”

Meaning: Once people get a little money and fame, they change. A play on the word, “change.”

Is this the realest statement Drake’s ever wrote? Although I’m quite sure there are some people who will tell you the same thing about young Aubrey.

7. “Wildin, doing sh*t that’s way out of your budget, Owl sweaters inside her luggage you gotta love it”

Meaning: Drake’s treating your girl to things you could never do for her.

I like Drake as a rapper, but he’s a known hater. “Marvin’s Room” was the thirstiest song of all time and he hasn’t changed since. If your girl is so tacky that she’s leaving Drake’s Ovo sweaters in her luggage, you need to drop her immediately. The fact that she’s slipping out on you with a guy who wears Owl sweaters should be the only excuse you need.

6. “I could load every gun with bullets that fire backwards, probably wouldn’t lose a single rapper”

Meaning: No real rappers are taking shots at Drake so he’s not worried.

Drake trying to get philosophical on the fans. Once he figures out how to make bullets that fire backwards, I’m sure the U.S. government will be knocking down his door.

5. “Give these n*ggas the look, the verse and even the hook, that’s why every song sound like Drake featuring Drake”

Meaning: If you listen to most of what’s out now, Drake has had such a hand in the music industry that everything sounds like his song.

He’s got a point, he’s everywhere. Outside of 2Chainz, Drake is everywhere. Which is why I found Drake’s position at #5 on MTV’s Hottest Emcee’s List absurd.

4. “Sinatra lifestyle/ I’m just being frank with you/ I mean, where you think she at when she ain’t with you?

Meaning: Shots at Chris Brown. Frank as in Frank Ocean, another person who dislikes Chris Brown.

Drake’s hurling shots at Chris Brown like fireballs. Another hater line but if there is anyone that deserves everything coming his direction, it’s Chris Shakur himself.

3. “The part I love most is they need me more than they hate me, so they never take shots I got everybody on safety”

Meaning: As much as people hate to admit it, Drake dominates the charts. So no one ever takes real shots at him.
Like him or hate him, check the billboards, he’s EVERYWHERE. “No Lie,” “Pop That,” “Amen,” “Poetic Justice,” “F*ckin Problems”….do I need to go on?

2. “All them boys in my will, All them boys is my Wills, anything happen to pop then I got you like Uncle Phil”

Meaning: Playing on “Will.” If anything happens to Drake, his closest friends will be in his will, he’ll take care of them like Uncle Phil did Will on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Sure, I’m giving this line more props because I love Fresh Prince. But who doesn’t love Fresh Prince? Plus, the line was actually clever.

1. “You underestimated greatly, most number ones ever how long did it really take me?”

Meaning: People doubted Drake but in 2 years, he’s already achieved the most number one rap songs ever, ahead of Diddy & Jay-Z.

Very impressive. Drake is a sure thing for hit, more so than any artist in recent memory. And more so than his lesser talented boss Lil’ Wayne. The opening line of the track is it’s best line, starting off the song reminding people who really runs the rap game, despite what some people say.

 

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The 70 Best Hip-Hop Tracks of 2012 (34-1)

The first edition of this list was met with praise and also some scrutiny. Here’s the second and final installment.

34. Game – “Heaven’s Arms

game2_full

Game had a big 2012 as he managed to put together an album full of features that actually sounded pretty good. My personal favorite was this track which featured Game putting on a lyrical clinic over a smooth Michael Jackson sample.

Best Line: “He be where the summer be, I be where the winter go”

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The 70 Best Hip-Hop Tracks of 2012….According to me (70-35)

A common phrase on the internet is “Nas Lost.”  The phrase is usually seen in the comments section of any article about Nas that indicates bad luck for him, and sometimes the news doesn’t even involve him.

Well I think Nas won.

In 2006, Nas’ album Hip-Hop is Dead was released to critical acclaim as well as criticism. The title was thought to be a shot at Southern Hip-Hop and many rappers such as Ludacris, Lil’ Wayne & Young Jeezy spoke out against Nas. Six years later, I think we can say Nas won as I could argue that that album was a landmark in hip-hop music. I’m crediting the release of that album as the moment that hip-hop music began an uphill climb from the fiery pit of snap-rap.

At this point, we should be proud of this past year’s crop of hip-hop songs. The year started off with a excitement and ended with new hope for a better 2013. I’d like to present the 70 best hip-hop songs of the past year according to me.

I ranked these songs according to how much I enjoyed the songs, not lyricism or the quality of the artist. If I thoroughly enjoy a song so much that I expect to be listening to it two years from now, it made this list.

Here we go.

70. Kirko Bangz – “Walk on Green

Labeled a Drake clone by some, this feel-good single for the summer shows Kirko just might be closer to killing all of those comparisons to his Canadian contemporary.

Best line: “Throw about twenty grand in the air / Told her walk up on that green”

69. Action Bronson – “Hookers at the Point

There might not be a better rapper in the game at the moment who could craft together the world of a hooker so effortlessly. A take on the HBO documentary of the same name, the second verse features Bronson doing his best Ghostface Killah impersonation as he raps as the vicious pimp Silk aka Montel.

Best Line: “The name Silk but all my bitches call me Montel / spit the marvel with the soft top not the hard shell.”

Continue reading

Come and have a good time with G.O.O.D. Music: “Cruel Summer” Review

After releases from two of the other major camps in Hip-Hop music, Kanye West presents his crew’s offering to the world with: “G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer.”

Weird album covers aside, the 12-track LP actually features some great production, clever lyrics and classy features as well. Opening with Kanye West and a re-energized R. Kelly singing “To the World.” Listening to the first song, you get the impression that Kanye feels as he and his crew are on top of the world and everyone else can only look in admiration. Never short of big boasts, Kanye proclaims himself “the god emcee” while R.Kelly proclaims “The whole world is a couch/B*tch I’m Rick James and I’m not giving a f*ck tonight.” Any Dave Chappelle reference is going to be a hit to me.

Some of the more known songs follow as Big Sean gets a feature with his two idols ‘Ye and Jay-Z. We all know “Mercy” but one of the other standouts is “New God Flow.” The original leak only showcased Pusha T & Kanye. The album cut features the man whom the song samples, Pretty Tony himself Ghostface Killah. Ghost comes through and puts the nail in the coffin with a verse reminiscent of his Supreme Clientele days.

Directly after is “The Morning,” where another legendary Wu-Tang Clan member “The Chef” Raekwon comes through and provides one of the best verses on the entire album.  On a beat that sounds more complex than you would imagine, The Chef spits some of his more hard-hitting rhymes of the past few years. “They yellin’ Chef, kill the plate with the cooks/I said ‘Ye with 2 chainz on, we Common let’s push”…..if you can’t get it, I even spelled the names out in the line.

While “The Morning” is great, it also showcases one of my biggest criticisms of the album: Common has maybe seven bars on the entire album and they’re on this song.  SEVEN BARS ON THE ENTIRE ALBUM. And here’s another shocker: Mos Def has none. How Chief Keef finds his way on the album Mos Def doesn’t is beyond me. Two of the best rappers on the roster need a little more time on the album. Not even a Q-Tip showing! And there was plenty of space for them as the album is only 12 tracks long. On my first listen, I was completely caught off guard when the album ended. If I’m going to continue to buy more albums, I’m going to need a bit more than 12 tracks.

All-in-all, the album is very solid from start to finish. Ma$e shows up with a surprising stand-out verse on “Higher” and John Legend and Teyana Taylor actually sound really good together on “Bliss.” The only artist on the roster to receive a solo track, Kid Cudi gives you another offering of basic Kid Cudi. While I’m a fan of his work and this short hymn was enough to get me excited for future releases, “Creepers” seemed more like an interlude than actual track. I felt as if on a 12-song album with no Mos Def and not enough Common, a 2 minute Kid Cudi hymn could have been left for a mixtape.

The album won’t break any new ground but it’s a nice beginning offering from the G.O.O.D. camp. I don’t think it necessarily places them above or below any other rap crew but it’s a good sign of things to come. As arrogant as Kanye West seems to be, there is no denying that the guy is a genius when it comes to music. Cruel Summer doesn’t disappoint.

4/5

Three Standouts:

Mercy
New God Flow
Bliss

 

I’ll support you, Frank Ocean.

It’s a taboo subject within a genre that emphasizes masculinity at every turn. Although it’s known that the music industry is filled with people who identify themselves as homosexual, some people refuse to acknowledge that it exists. It’s like some people truly believe that every artist is straight and it’s blasphemy to think otherwise. As if every hip-hop artist is toting pistols and gang-bangin’ like they try to portray in their music. It makes no sense.

As of a couple of days ago, we may be on our way towards more openness in music.

On his tumblr page, Odd Future’s Frank Ocean posted a letter that was intended for the closing thank you’s of his upcoming July 17 album, Channel Orange. In the letter, the singer admitted that his first love was in fact, a man.

Ocean immediately received support from fellow Odd Future member Tyler the Creator, Russell Simmons, Solange Knowles and many others. Even co-author of Jay-Z’s book Decoded, Dream Hampton, wrote a letter in support of Frank Ocean’s decision. But where there is positive support, there is negative criticism. Many people decided to call Frank Ocean gay slurs and claim that they can’t listen to his album. Bombarding the man’s twitter timeline with negative comment after negative comment, showing their true colors as bigots.

If the man’s own mother supports him, why should we as fans say anything different. It’s his personal decision to love whoever he wants to love behind closed doors. If anything, I admire Frank Ocean. Hip-hop culture is and has been homophobic for ages. In taking a risk as big as this one was, he essentially slapped conventional wisdom in the face and allowed himself to be free to write whatever music he feels like writing. He has complete artistic freedom in the writing of his songs.

It’s hard enough just trying to be a black man in America. But as a heterosexual black man, I can’t imagine being a bisexual man would make things much easier. But I’ll still be supporting Frank Ocean on July 17th. His sexual preference changes nothing; the guy is still a genius songwriter with an incredible ceiling. And if someone wants to call Frank Ocean names for having feelings for either sex, maybe you take a look in the mirror and think about who you are. Real, confident people could care less what another person does in their private life.

No Church in the Wild: Why can’t more rap songs be like this?

Jay-Z & Frank Ocean diligently at work

It took almost eight months and a lonely drive back from Chattanooga before I finally came to appreciate the masterpiece that is “No Church In the Wild,” a song by legends Jay-Z & Kanye West(yes) and newcomer Frank Ocean.

I had heard the song on a countless number of occasions but why did it take this one listen for my ears to adjust to this excellent piece of music? The same reason why anyone likes a song months after they originally heard it: they weren’t listening to begin with.

After 37 or so more listens, I’ve become convinced that the track is a modern day classic. How many times will we see a mainstream rap song played across radio stations with references to the Holy Trinity, Plato’s Euthyphro, AND the Great Chain of Being?!?!

Illustration of The Great Chain of Being

Just think about this for a minute. At the height of his fame, veteran rapper Canibus was criticized for being too “intellectual” in his rhymes or “complicated.” I’ve heard friends shun Immortal Technique for this same reason. But two big time rappers just did the exact same thing and are preparing to release it as the last single for their album!

The main lyrics of the album that have me so fascinated are apart of the hook:

“Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a God?
What’s a God to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?
Will he make it out alive? Alright, alright, no church in the wild”

A.K.A.

King > Mob
God > King
God vs. Non-Believer??

Although I am a believer, I can appreciate it when music can make me think about my beliefs in life, and not just based on religion. The hook was so powerful to me that it has inspired my first movie script, which I will be posting in its entirety on One Brother to Another unless I decide otherwise.

But the major point of this post? A message for rappers today: I enjoy clubbing and losing my mind and going H.A.M. but why not switch it up every now and then and change the content of your lyrics? If you really want to be appreciated(as the waves of support and positive feedback this song has received shows), maybe you should try and make us fans want to pick up a book or do a Google search every now and then rather than pick up a bottle of Grey Goose.

Lost Rapper of the Month: February

It can be hard to be a long-term, successful rapper in the music industry today.

In today’s age, you have to get buzz by releasing mixtapes. You still have to gain more and more fans through the use of the internet and tours, but the difference between 2012 and 1998 is you can make great show money off of a mixtape. A gift and a curse.

The structure of the music industry is why most rappers don’t stick around for too long. After achieving some sort of buzz or recognition, most rappers eventually flame out. Jay-Z, Eminem, Snoop Dogg are all exceptions to the rule, mostly due to their ability to change with the times. Most emcees drift in and out of a “lost” phase where they can’t seem to generate buzz for their music or just flat-out disappear.

And so brings me Continue reading

Lost Rapper of the Month: January

It’s that time again. I know it’s been close to a month since I’ve dropped some knowledge and truth about some of these rappers and their careers, but after going through an old Dipset mixtape of mine, I was immediately inspired to add to the Lost Rapper Hall of Fame……..

Juelz Santana.

At one time considered the next platinum-selling superstar of Roc-A-Fella Records, Juelz Santana started his career with two features off of Cam’ron’s “S.D.E.” album and gripped that into a record deal as a member of the Diplomats in 2002. After generating buzz by being prominently featured on Dipset mixtapes and his own solo tape, Santana rode a wave of praise and released his debut album, “From Me to U” in 2003, receiving a Gold plaque in the process.

After another Gold-certified album release(2005′s What the Game’s been Missing”) and a rumored collaboration album with Hip-Hop’s it-boy Lil’ Wayne, Juelz seemed to be on the top of his game and ready to make a splash on the game.

Until somewhere along the way, Juelz became lost.

In my opinion, the disbanding of the Diplomats is what put a dent in the career of Santana. While Jim Jones and Cam’ron continued to butt heads behind closed doors, Juelz aligned himself with Jimmmy and even performed on stage with 50 Cent, a sworn enemy of Cam’ron. Meanwhile, Born to Lose, Built to Win, the third album of Santana received numerous delays as proper singles couldn’t be found for the album.

“The Second Coming” was one of these “singles” that actually received attention and buzz within the Hip-Hop community. Juelz couldn’t seem to capitalize on this as he seemed more concerned with launching I Can’t Feel My Face, a collaborative effort with Lil’ Wayne, than launching his own album. As Wayne gained more and more popularity, it seemed as if the project would never be released and to this day, it hasn’t.

In 2009, Santana teased his fans by releasing a horrible single with upcoming rapper Yelawolf titled, “Mixin’ Up the Medicine” before getting in legal trouble after having his music studio raided by police. Charged with possessing a firearm, handgun and possession of a controlled substance.

For 2012, Juelz Santana can find himself and his career with the release of more music. He has a very steady fan base full of people who still think he can come out tomorrow and run New York. Juelz should forget about the project with Lil’ Wayne, focus on his album as well as music for the upcoming Diplomats album. Until Santana figures this out and stands out as his own person instead of following behind Cam’ron & Jim Jones, he’s lost. The hunger is still there(as evidenced by his hungry performance on the Lloyd Banks smash hit, Beamer, Benz or Bentley, but it will take more than a feature or two to join rap’s elite.

W.I.L.T. – What I’m Listening To 8/11/11

It’s been a big week for music. This Tuesday saw retail releases from hip-hop heavyweights Jay-Z and Kanye West, Atlanta trappers Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame and another release from DJ Khaled’s protegee Ace Hood. Today, I’d like to share some of the songs that have kept my Ipod burning over the past week in a series I’d like to call, WILT. What I’m Listening to. Continue reading

Derrick Rose adidas; New Gucci Mane mixtape; Watch the throne

Over the weekend, I finally saw this Derrick Rose-Adidas commercial that I’ve heard so much about.
“Remember this number….9.8
That’s not the time on the shot clock…
Or the seconds left in the game…
It’s not the number of times I will light you up…
Nah, 9.8 isn’t any of that. It’s ounces. And that makes this (adiZero Crazy Light shoe) the lightest ever.” Continue reading