Thursday, August 2, 2007

Goodie, Goodie Gumdrops

[Deleted, 'cause that shit don't work no more.]

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hovstradamus: The 5 Best Lyrical Jokes Jigga Had on the World

So, I had myself the beginnings of a piece that was going to do nothing but take cheap shots at Straight Checkin Em and proceed to actually attempt an argument at why T-Pain was better than KRS-One. Perhaps I'll still finish and publish it one of these days, but for the moment, I'll make myself content by assuming that Straight was joking as much as my original post that flared him was. I just finished the Harry Potter book, so to try and take that kid seriously is more fantasy than I can deal with. Besides, like Jay-Z, I'm doing best just to stay hater-free*, so I'll leave it for another day.


Speaking of Jay-Z, the more I listen, the more I'm inclined to think that certain lines have to be the biggest practical jokes over. Like, dude could look into the future, then he laid out those lines. I mean, it's either that or the man was an unfortunate victim to immediate ironies and uttered some of the most humorous contradictions/predictions ever. You decide.

1. Jay-Z & R.Kelly-"It Ain't Personal"

Man, they go and tell me, like
You never know who your true friends until you, ah umm,
Both got a little bit of money.
I mean cause y'all both broke,
Then there's no strain on the relationship, y'all both broke.
And if you got money and he ain't got no paper
He still needs you so you'll never know how he really feel about you.
When y'all both get some paper, you'll see...

Taken from the first collaborative album with R. Kelly, Jay-Z must've penned this verse as some sort of crazy caveat concerning their relationship if they were to make another album. When they did, and this occurred, it was as Jay had predicted. Just replace "broke" with "pretty damn rich" and "got money" to "stanky rich," and you've pretty much got the tale of the Best of Both Worlds Tour.
The best part? The two haven't done anything together since then. Try and tell me that "it ain't personal."

2. Jay-Z-"So Ghetto"

You see I live for the love of the street,
Rap to the ruggedest beats.

Maybe he thought no one would notice? Or maybe, just maybe, Jay knew that he would shirk off the Primoes and Skis completely for Pharrells and 'Yes. Maybe he knew that he would record the intro for that Fallout Boy album. And maybe he even knew that, somehow, four years later one of the hardest songs he'd do would be made by the guy who scored the Dixie Chicks a grammy this year. And just by the time his fans got the joke, they got "Umbrella" stuck in their head and forgot all about it.

3. Scarface feat. Jay-Z and Memphis Bleek

We'll get right into the proceedings this evening

0:00-the track begins
0:07-the above mentioned line is stated
0:45-Jay-Z stops talking and actually proceeds with the rapping

4. Jay-Z-"Momet Of Clarity"

Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense
But I did five mill' - I ain't been rhymin like Common since

Unless, you know, you count spitting weak bullshit rhymes over whack-ass Kanye West beats rhyming like Common. But he couldn't have seen that coming...could he?

5. Memphis Bleek feat. Jay-Z-"Dear Summer"

Gimme couple years, shit I might just sneak in,
A couple words and like peaches and herb,
We'll be reunited and it feels so hood.
Have the whole world saying "How you still so good?"

Funny, that's exactly. what . the . critics . said.
Or Jay-Z, with all his silly dry humor, decided to make Kingdom Come flop, just so we could appreciate that line of his a little bit more...

Food for thought. You know, mull it over for a bit.

*But still, watch what you say to me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Keeps It Really Real Like My Last Album

Just a little somethin' somethin'.

I know it's just some a capellas matched with a different beat, but this fits too damn well (I wonder if there's an mp3). While I won't even try to compare this to the original version of "Ha"--which has an entirely different appeal--I will venture to say that this is far better than either of the "Ha" remixes from Juvenile's first album. Not that that's a hard threshold to reach. This beat's 9 years old and I could still listen to it over and over again every day, no matter who's on it.

And man, this makes me wish that we could get an actual Grand Puba, Mannie Fresh collabo... strange as that would be. (Clearly the song would be about pussy.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Musings on the state of the city in which I live, among other things I suppose.

Fresh's real talk made me do some thinking, and no I'm not referring to the fact that I've been by far the least prolific contributer to this blog, though calling me out definitely made me at least get started on this post. Anyways, I've had a few thoughts rattling around this noggin of mine, and I've decided to voice them here, let's see what I can shake out of the cobwebs:

First of all, by far the most interesting aspect of what was otherewise one of the year's bigger disappointments (I'm referring of course to TI vs. TIP, though the album was by no means may have heard this opinion before, but I digress) is that it, hopefully not temporarily, resuscitated two MCs who I had believed to have fallen off considerably just a year back. Listen to these guest spots:

The first one I have here is actually more important than the second, but both are significant. Both Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes released thoroughly underwhelming albums in the year of '06, and both were in places that seemed distressingly telling of them loosing their once prodigious talents. Busta had found himself in some gangsta rut, while Jay seemed content to rest on his laurels and not even try to earn the title that he had already assumed would be bestowed upon him when he returned. This is why Jay's story is also more interesting, because this verse is the first where it is apparant that the backlash against the Jigga Man has set in, and he isn't thrilled about it. What it seems to have done is, rather than simply make him defensive in a "washed up rapper" kind of way that happens often, has actually rescucitated, if even if just for this song, the swagger. The one he never really lost but had become stale with the "mature" steps he had taken on Kingdom Come. What impresses me most is that the prospect of Jay swiping back at his detractors is still thrilling, especially when he makes such mentions in this verse, and those rappers (you know who you all are) better be ready, I don't think he's gonna let you guys off easy with another Brooklyn High (at least I hope not).
Busta's isn't as compelling, but it shows that the man can still spit a wicked double time, and if he wants to rap about beating people up, I find that to be much more believable than hearing about all those coke deals he never performed. Hopefully he'll approach his new work with the same vim, and maybe I'll wanna listen again. I think I"m allowed to be at least a little optimistic.

While on the subject of New York Royalty, Saigon finally released his first single, and god bless it's better than fucking Pain In My Life was ( though Elijah brought up the good point that most people will probably be listening for that Just Blaze production moreso than any sort of rapping that Saigon will be doing, though I enjoy hearing him on the mic). Also, I would find it eternally amusing if the crown of the city was placed not on all of these aforementioned guys vying for the throne but upon this head instead:

The video is up because the only really good evidence of Lil Mama's talent is in the accapella section that is only in the video. Now, I'm not saying that she doesn't have some growing up to do, certainly the city of New York is not gonna be brought back by a song about a women's cosmetic product, but she's got the raw skill that other young guns on the ups around here (Mims, I'm looking at you) seem to lack. She's also only seventeen, girl's got some time, and I know I'll at least keep an ear open in her direction for a while. Also, the pure delicious irony of a woman winning the much-sought title of "King of New York" is far too entertaining for me not to at least hope for, however distantly.

Of course...there's still hope that the real rulers of this city will return, and I know we'd all welcome them back with open arms:

That's right bitches, players only beyond this point.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Beef, What A Relief

You know what you need to learn?
Old School artists don't always burn.
You're just another rapper who's had his turn.
Oh, it's on now... or something.

Personally, I generally feel that rap blog beef is about as unworthy of my time as anything. I mean, online arguments are already just about the height of dorkdom, and all that sets an argument on a couple of rap music blogs apart from a bitter disagreement over which Final Fantasy is the best, or whether Superman or Goku would win in a fight, is that rap bloggers feel a need for a veneer of street toughness that usually isn't there. After all, you're still bitching someone out over the internet.

On the other hand I, like most people, don't really like to let someone talk shit without giving some kind of a response. I know that Nazty Fresh is probably gonna jump all the fuck over this shit, but I'm gonna put in my two cents first.

So, apparently going against the grain and being willing to appreciate a newer artist is "ignorance," ya'll. News to me.

Now, I don't necessarily agree with everything that Nazty Fresh says, in fact, I've been a major fan of KRS-One's for quite some time now. Chances are good that I've listened to Edutainment, Sex & Violence, I Got Next, and other lesser Kris albums more times than most of the people who still defend the man's crazy actions today. But shit, man, I even bought Spiritual Minded, and listened to it, (more than once!!) and yet I still haven't quite gotten around to listening to Hip-Hop Lives yet, even though I'm sure that it's a better record. I think this says enough about what KRS has done to his own image of late to prove that he ain't infallible.

While we're on the subject, have any of these angry men actually listened to a T-Pain record? And anyone who says "I don't need to hear it to know it's shit" is clearly ignorant--in fact, I think that's the definition. I mean, come on ya'll, even Phonte likes T-Pain! (Do... do ya'll still like Little Brother? I know I do, but I always lose track of what the angry purist crowd is into.) Sure, T-Pain's funny as shit, but is that a bad thing? Man clearly knows he's a goofy motherfucker, whereas KRS-One takes himself too damn seriously.

Not that a comparison between the two of them is really something that merits too much discussion anyway. Apples and oranges. I'm pretty damn sure that Nazty Fresh was making a joke about how disparate they are; not something worth getting oneself into such a little bitchfit over.

But I'm already giving this shit way too much attention. I'm one of those few idiots who thinks that the internet can be home to actual conversations, and people discussing their differing opinions. I'm a dreamer. So now I'm gonna just step away from it, and it's whatever--the Fresh One can take it from here. Besides, if I really wanted to be an asshole, er... Checkin, I would repost your comment with the grammar and punctuation fixed for greater impact. But I'll be nice.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

You Should Rap Like This, You Should Rap Like That

Talib Kweli - "Hostile Gospel"

Talib Kweli - "Country Cousins" featuring UGK

Talib Kweli - "In the Mood"

Talib Kweli - "More Or Less" featuring Dion

Talib Kweli - "Oh My Stars" featuring Musiq Soulchild
Eardrum, 2007

I know I’ve been gone awhile, and the game’s been missing me (just play along, ok?) so I apologize. I guess there just hasn’t been much in rap music that’s really grabbed me recently—sure, I’ve liked the odd single here and there (can’t get “Krispy” outta my head) but shit, I haven’t even gotten together the energy to listen to T.I. vs. T.I.P. yet, or even that new Kardinal mixtape that I’m actually excited about. The problem is, as shit piles up I end up feeling less entitled to listen to whatever’s new before I plow through all that other stuff. But, when I… copped (yeah, that’s it) the Eardrum advance the other day I just decided fuck it, I’d listen to it right away and stop burying myself under a gang of “to-listen” lists.

I hadn’t even been particularly excited about Eardrum, as the heroes of my old backpacker days had been pretty steadily disappointing over the last few years, and my own tastes have moved on real far. But I tried to give the new Kweli a chance, and it ended up surprising me a bit. On "Say Something" he spits "They say I’m back, but I ain’t go nowhere"... uh, Kweli, yes you did, but thankfully Eardrum is a return to form… but I'm not sure it's a form I care about anymore.

"I smack internet MC's and beat bloggers"? Eh, better than being smacked by a ho at a G-Unit party. Ok, that was too easy, but I've got it out of my snarky, internet-addled system now, so let's move on.

It’s hard to go back to a past version of myself that would hate who I’ve become insofar as music tastes are concerned. If my high school, backpacker self could see my current Weezy-jocking, “Wipe Me Down”-singing, immensely-annoyed-by-Mos Def self he would be shocked and appalled. But I decided to try to channel that version of me a little bit, because it was back then that I loved Talib Kweli. Truth be told, I was a major stan.

I’ve changed alot since then, but I do still bump Black Star, Reflection Eternal, and Kweli’s first album a good deal. So the question becomes, can Kweli do anything for me without the nostalgia factor involved? Short answer: yes, but I didn't like this album anywhere near as much as I would have a few years ago. His beat selection's improved, and he's still doing that "unfocused but conscious" thing that Noz hates so much, but he's doing it well again, in my opinion. The record didn't make too big an impression, but it was a good listen.

Things start off with the unsurprisingly low-key "Everything Man" where he laments how he can't be everything to everyone... thank God, this means he's back to his niche. But things really start to pick up with the Just Blaze produced "Hostile Gospel". The song's got some nice bombast and isn't particularly about anything, and it works. It's also an example of the album's main problem--in beats and rhymes the song's good, but there's nothing that'll really stick in your mind either. You won't be singing the hook, you won't be quoting the lyrics.

"Country Cousins" brings in a bootleg Pharrell singer to spice things up, along with UGK of course. I make no secret of loving UGK, but I think this is actually one of Kweli's best performances on the record. Maybe having the southern trailblazers there helps to even out the nostalgia so it doesn't turn into "grumpy old man rap" (which is its own sub-genre). A chill guitar driven, country-ass track doesn't hurt either.

Kweli, of course, goes deep into some conscious rap territory. I would've eaten up the "feed the kids" laced "Eat To Live" once upon a time, but now it all comes across as a little tired. Could be worse though. It's followed by "In the Mood", which picks up the pace a good deal. I liked this track, actually. A good vibe. But then after that comes "Soon the New Day", which has to feature motherfucking Norah Jones. Sigh. This story of one night stands and their upsides and downsides still would've worked, despite the added singer, if Talib hadn't felt the need to put in some fucking ridiculous cultural references here and there. Larry the Cable Guy, Kweli? Really? Is that what's up in the streets right now?

The major highlight of the album's second half comes in the form of "More Or Less", which is a reunion with Hi-Tek. It has some similarities to the earlier mentioned Just Blaze track though... so that probably says something. It's followed by "The Perfect Beat" which features KRS-One. Goddammit, why couldn't these two have made a song seven years ago when I was a cornball and they were my favorite MCs? It's not a bad collaboration, but the title is awfully strange for a pair of rappers whose major failing in recent years has been beat selection. Of course, they're not actually talking about the beat... to talk about the actual track is far beneath such men. (That only happens on, gasp, dance songs!)

"Hot Thing" is ok, but loverman never fit Kweli that well... oh, and bootleg Pharrell is back. But then that leads to "Oh My Stars" featuring Musiq Soulchild. Even with Blake's favorite on the hook, this is, unsurprisingly, the corniest shit ever. So I've included it for ya'll. I could see being into this if I was in just the right mood... but there are better such songs. Thankfully, the record ends on a good note with "Listen!!!" (regrettably missing a DJ Khaled cameo). I thought that Kwame had been dragged out of retirement to produced this, but a Wikipedia search showed that he's been racking up production credits recently--few of them good. Nonetheless, he brings a good track with a well-used vocal sample (those always get me).

All together, a good listen, a nice reminder of the Kweli of old, but nothing that will really stay with you. You might see me walking down the New York streets in a nostalgic backpacker-ish mood, with a fake beard and dark glasses... and when that time comes, I might just be bumpin' this.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

If You Say "Real Talk," I Probably Won't Trust Ya (Unless You're Nazty Fresh, Naturally)

If you're wondering why the ATL is runnin' shit, you clearly haven't been on a dancefloor in years.

(That's all for now, but I'm comin' back real soon.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Whatsamatta me? Whatsamatta You?

Rap elitists, hip-hop purists, old men and people with opinions can suck a dick at this one.

Real Talk for the Summer 2007

1. T-Pain raps better on this one track than KRS-One did for most of his career Hip Hop Lives.

T-Pain-"Mr. Downtown"

Maybe it's because I'd take a good-old fashioned sex rap over some political nonsense any day, or maybe it's because T-Pain is the best Singer/Rapper/Songwriter/Producer/Entertainer this side of Prince.

2. Since that UGK album's never coming out, Curtis is still poised to be the hottest thing this summer.
Think about it. You may be afraid, but you know it's true.

3. In a summer ravaged by Hurricane Chris, why haven't enough people been talking about really fucking good Southern songs like this?

Juvenile feat. Mannie Fresh-"Who Can I Run To"

(Ex) Cash Money is running this rap shit.

4. The only track where T.I. sounded remotely non-comatose on T.I. vs. T.I.P. was that one with Nelly.
You know, that one with the wannabe Neptunes production.

5. Rappers are saving their best shit for R&B (gasp!) songs these days.

Lloyd feat. Lil Wayne, Big Boi & Chamillionaire-"Get It Shawty (Remix)"

Other examples include the remixes (take your pick) to "Last Night," Ludacris's and Huey's guest spots on Double Up and

6. If it wasn't for Slick Rick, "Hip Hop Police" would've been pretty shitty.
While we're on the subject, "Ridin'" wasn't even that great of a Chamillionaire song. Gotta love Krayzie though.

7. These days, I'm beginning to think Scott Storch can do a better Dr. Dre than Dr. Dre can.

Papoose feat. Snoop Dogg-"Bang Out" (Prod. Scott Storch)

Where you at, Dre? The answer better be 'working my ass off on making Detox the most mind blowing shit ever.'

8. Kanye West is slowly turning to shit. "Can't Tell Me Nothing?" Shit. "Stronger?" Shit. The "Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "Alter Ego" Mixtapes? Shit. His guest verse on T-Pain's "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" Remix featuring UGK? Shit.

The most frightening thing about this cover is how much Kanye looks like another notoriously shitty-rapper-slash-pretty-good-producer, Timbaland. And not like I need to tell you- but Shock Value? Shit.

9. Crime Mob needs to get some respect.

Crime Mob-"Circles"

Brandon Soderberg's post on Crime Mob's "Circles" was on-fucking-point. Good work, bro.

10. Professor Nazty Fresh is the only nigga keeping the lights on with this blog.
Y'all there?

Monday, July 2, 2007

(Thorton) Family Circus (Lord Willin' Edition)

Crack rap this.
Crack rap that.

It sucks.
It's unimaginative.
It's not good for the children.

In a world where my say is always right, I think they call that reality, all three of those opinions are wrong. The problem is people just aren't looking at it in the right way.
But words and logical arguments are on a level of pedantisim I chose not to take today. Instead, I'll show you how the magic of crack rap can turn the most painfully uninteresting and wholesome piece of (midly retarded) Americana, like the Family Circus, into a dark, brooding slab of one-panel drama and intrigue. Enjoy.

Note how cool, collected and midly frightening Billy becomes as he tells his weed-carrying buddy about some sucker who met his end when he got greedy.

"Comedy Central"
More than good for cheap laughs, using the words of The Clipse enable readers to really feel Dolly's pain as she has no one left to lament to but the bird on the window about all the smack-riddled dead bodies she's accountable for.

This panel pairs both Billy's love for threatening one's mortality with Dolly's nihilistic acceptance of violence. She smiles as a way to show the futility of fighting death.

"I'm Not You"
A strip dealing with the crippling effects of Postpartum Depression, Thel's conflicted nature in poisoning the fudge Billy unrelentingly demanded is evidenced in her internal dialouge. The juxtaposition of Thel's tall stature and Billy's stout constitution helps play into this. As does Jeffy's position in the middle. My money's on he knows too much.

"Young Boy"
A little backstory development, this strip helps establish the twisted characters of Dolly and Jeffyby explaining the character of Grandma, a woman who nurtured her children with tea, buttered english muffins and glock nines (resting on her lap).

"When The Last Time"
Incest, clearly.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I Can't Forget Today I Shot That Bad Bitch Down

Johnny Cash - "Cocaine Blues (live)"
At Folsom Prison, 1968

Damn ya'll, sorry I just haven't been around. For some reason I just haven't been too motivated to write much about music recently... it might be because there's not alot going on (and what there is has been getting covered plenty well as is). It might also be because myself and the rest of the gang here have been getting out most of our snarky complaints in person--we need to work on that. (Real life's also been getting in my way recently... bitch, bitch, bitch.)

Anyway, since I don't have anything too interesting to write on my own at the moment, I'll point your attention to a very interesting and well-written post by Brandon Soderberg at the newly-revamped

Rap & Country

As a rule, I really don't listen to much white folks music. Dunno why, the bulk of it just never spoke to me (even though it maybe should). That said, I've been a Johnny Cash fan since way back in the day. (Granted, when it comes to Cash my own "back in the day" is still pretty late in his career, but it is years before he died, so that should be something.) Anyway, while the Soderberg post is good because it goes beyond comparing rap and country in terms of the old "Johnny Cash talked about killing people!" argument, I'm still posting one of my all-time favorite songs, because I feel like it.

I know, I know, it's already a classic album and I'm not exactly presenting you with something obscure, but the Man In Black dropped the b-word way back in the 60's........

uh, bitches.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'll Make You Hit A Note Like Minnie Ripperton

Missed us?

Under the pleading of Elijah, who requested the next BTBS post contain good music lest we lose the respect of our readerbase (the three out of the eight that aren't personal friends anyway), I racked my brain for quite some time as to what could be posted to follow up Whistle Week.

Mojoe, a duo repping San Antonio, Texas, seemed like a logical choice. Consisting of Easy Lee and Tre, they describe themselves as "The Roots meet Outkast over dinner with Marvin Gaye at D'Angelo's house," a line-up of hip-hop and R&B that, if true, I couldn't be mad at. Of course, their debut classic.soul.ghetto is not the promised musical medley. I'm sure if they were I would've have found out about them based off the strength of something more respectable than the cool colors of some online banner.

But they are damn good to listen to.

Mojoe-"Gumbo Groove"

The appropriately titled "Gumbo Groove" is the kind of effortless funk Mojoe was meant to do, four minutes of smooth guitars, 70's bass, porn bongos, sung hooks and fun raps. Though neither Lee nor Tre are the best rappers, singers or lyricists they put all of what they've got together to create something that most artists today lack- style. classic.soul.ghetto is front-to-back cool-as-hell jams. Good to vibe to, good to get down to.

Mojoe-"3rd Coast Anthem"

What's most surprising about Mojoe is how unSouthern the group sounds, particularly considering the success it has received recently. In fact, "3rd Coast Anthem" 's buzzing bassline, piano keys and slighly Parliamentish chorus sound more akin to the left. The shit's still crazy dope though.

Mojoe-"Funky Lac"

Whatever sound they're behind though, their drawls still keep the affair below the Mason-Dixon. And the content often reveals their down home roots. "Funky Lac" finds Mojoe trading lines about their whip of choice, "Gold Tooth Diva" and "Voodoo Coochie" (goddamn I love that title) talk about those southern ladies, and "True Jewels" reminisces about lost legends like Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and DJ Screw.

So, yeah.
There you go. No sarcasm. No rapper bashing. Just good music y'all should peep.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Whistle: The Saga Begins

Whistle - "Rest In Peace"

Whistle - "Just Buggin'"

Whistle - "Barbera's Bedroom"
Whistle, 1986

Whistle Week concludes!

What better way to end a week that began with a Star Wars parody then back at the beginning? Today we cover the self-titled Whistle, otherwise known as where it all started. (No idea what "it" is, though.)

Since I was the first one of us to think of downloading a Whistle album, I was the one lucky enough to get the first, and by far most tolerable, of their records. First of all, it has the utterly bizarre "Just Buggin'" which I elaborated on before, and which is most assuredly the highlight of their catalogue.

But don't get it twisted, these fools were churning out softbatch R&B from day one, apparently. The 10-song album breaks down like this...

Tracks 1-3: rap, tracks 4-5: R&B (with love in the title of both), track 6: nonsense rap, track 7: weak instrumental, track 8: R&B, track 9: 12" version of previous R&B track, track 10: 8 minute reprise of same R&B track that ends with a skit where a chick punches one of the rappers in the mouth.

Yeah, that's a recipe for a classic right there.

Anyway, the album starts off with "Rest In Peace" which is the hardest Whistle ever gets. I guess it's their attempt at mid 80's shout-rap, because they yell over a shitty guitar riff about how:
"And if you don't like the party and you start to beef,
Then we'll make sure you REST IN PEACE!"
"Attention! Let's face the facts,
And if you don't want to listen we'll break your back,
'Cause we're Whistle (goofy-ass whistle sound) and we're that bad!"
Well, they are from Brooklyn, so can their yelling threats of violence over a guitar be seen as an M.O.P precursor maybe? I suppose anything's possible.

But if you think the lyrics to that one are lackluster, good lord you should hear the lone rap cut of the second half, "Just For Fun" (which still has a sung chorus).
"We like to go to the beach and eat peanut butter!
Then we wash it down with some pina colada!
If the temperature rrrrises we won't get hotter!
If we do we'll jump in the water!"
Now, granted, this sounds like it could be some fun silly shit, but trust me, these motherfuckers yell it with serious, almost angry, conviction. It's really, really strange.

Oh, but that's just the rap my friends, as my colleagues have already made plain, these fools sing too. Thankfully, this first record only has one syrupy, painful ballad, which is the mercifully 4 minute long "Chance For Our Love". I won't subject ya'll to it, don't worry. The album's real centerpiece is, of course, "Just Buggin'", but I feel like if Whistle had had it their way it would've been "Barbera's Bedroom". The whole thing is basically "holy shit, I fucked this chick, but don't tell her that I told you!" and so it comes across real pathetic. It's kinda bouncy though, and rather fun to laugh at what a fucking loser the guy is being.

Did it need three versions? Hell no, but it is fun to hear a rapper who started the album threatening to make you "rest in peace" get punched in the face for spreading stories about a woman who he probably didn't even sleep with in the first place. Oh, and let's not forget that he (or one of them) spends the album's middle cut begging "pleeeeease love meeeee."

So, what did we learn from Whistle Week? What great lesson did this specific concentration of ours teach us and, by proxy, you the reader? Umm, there's always been shitty rap songs, and rappas ternt sangas have always been a bad look.

Oh, and Whistle sucks. I promise ya'll some good music next time.

Herein lies the legacy of Whistle's "Transformation"

"Best" Track-Hello Skeezer

Worst Track-Mirror of Love

Bleh. This whole Whistle Week thing was a fun idea when we were simply bandying it about and making fun of the shitty music we were casually skimming over. But now that I have to actually delve into this shithole that is their second album, I find myself regretting constantly for going along with all this. However, I have an obligation to fulfill, so dammit I'm gonna do it.

So here we are at Whistle's second album, which is entitled "Transformation". I'm assuming the album title is in reference to the group's movement towards R&B and away from hip-hop, which is strange for a couple reasons:
For one, the album is a split between this "new" R&B Whistle and the "old" Hip-Hop Whistle, though there is actually more time spent on the album doing Whistle's equivalent of Hip-Hop rather than the R&B crooning that makes up the first five songs.
Secondly, I'm pretty sure they were doing this stuff on the first album too, though I'll have to wait on Eli's review to be certain, so I don't know how much of a "transformation" was taking place, especially since none of the lyrics on the title track make any reference to any of this, but more on that stuff in a minute.

First, let me tell you now that none of this shit is any good at all. The album divides itself into two halves, which I would call "Bad and Worse" if the worst stuff wasn't actually at the beginning. All of the R&B joints suck rightous testicles, whether they are more uptempo like Falling in Love or Is this Love (notice a trend in these song titles) or ballads like Right Next to Me, Still My Girl, or the especially heinous Mirror of Love, they all exemplify the same thing. These guys aren't especialy good singers, and their songwriting is glossy schlock of the most pussified variety. The worst offender of this lot, and therefore of the album, is certainly the aforementioned Mirror of Love. All the ballads were excruciating, but this one makes it worse by bringing in an especially shitty female singer to "duet" with whoever is singing on this song that is actually from Whistle (that's another thing, as far as I can tell these guys, as indistinguishable as they are when rapping, just sound like one damn person when the singing is going on), and some truly atrocious synth lines are added to the mix, which only make the lyrics about how "the mirror of love is cracked" pour salt into the open wound that is this song. Good lord.

So, nothing else really to be said about the other R&B tracks other than that they are minutely more tolerable than Mirror of Love, we move on to the Hip-Hop half of the album, and...Surprise! It sucks balls too. It's all bunch of sub-Run DMC style brag rapping about how good either they or their DJ (who gets his own tribute song on One and Only) are, or just talk about trying to get with chicks that will later do them wrong on the R&B joints. It all blows, but more in a "god this is really fucking boring" kind of way rather than the "writhing in pain and tearing at my eardrums" kind of way the first half did. It also seems like the band ran out of material, since all of the songs run between 4-5 minutes until last two songs, which run at two-and-a-half and one-and-a-half minutes respectively, the final track And This is True (what is true you ask? That they are Whistle apparently, since that's all I was told in this song), just features one of the rappers (maybe Doobie, which was the only name I could pick out, they're all just as bad as each other) giving a terribly stilted rap about his idea of what rap is, over a track that is a mesh of horribly awkard soul singers, an especially loud snare drum, and some random electric guitar lines put in for no discernable reason.

Which brings me to the production, and I think you know by now what I'm gonna say about it. Let me just say this: with one exception, there is an loud, incredibly dated snare drum sound in every song, no matter what kind it may be (the one exception is Right Next to Me, which has enough vomit-inducing string sections to make up for it), the DJ-ing, in spite of what the boys might tell you, is not impressive. These are all mostly your typical old-school rap stuff, with some bongos thrown in on B-Boy, which I would say would be the best production on the album, though that's not saying much. I guess the best track would have to be the two-and-a-half minute Hello Skeezer, which is just the guys talking about these women (who are the skeezers here), but it gets best track because it's shorter than the others without being insufferably annoying like the final cut is.

Look, I've already written more on this album than I did on Outkast's infinitely better debut, and that's just a waste. It sucks, don't buy it, Whistle is a horrible group that will hopefully never see the light of day again. I'll give this bitch the 2 out of 10 she so richly deserves, it'd be a 1 but the second side isn't quite as heinous as the first.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Whistle Wheek Episode 1: The Empire Strikes Whack

Tell me, what's your biggest complaint about Andre3000?
Alright, what about Lauryn Hill?
Cee-Lo Green?

Exactly, they were all phenomenal rappers who have all but abandoned the form for singing (although reports tell me T-Pain is planning a move back to rapping, so fans worry not).

Bring in Whistle.

From all accounts, the group had been rather conflicted about whether to sing or rap since their debut, but Eli could probably tell you more about that. As their career moved further and further along, their ties with rapping became greatly lessened. Always and Forever, their third studio album released in 1990 reads like a textbook on how to make an incredibly forgettable r&b album. When your lead single, and album title, is a direct cover of an already popular song -Heatwave's 1978 single "Always and Forever,"-one can quickly guess how enjoyable the rest of the album will be.

Whistle-"Always and Forever"

To be fair, "Always and Forever" is easily the best song of the front half of the album. Whistle lacks both the ability to write a catchy song and to sing well, so aping someone else's melody is a good look. The first half of the album, literally the first 5 tracks out of the 10, are all painfully slow love ballads, or "love" ballads I should say. Songs like "Whatever Happened 2 Us 2" and "Do You Still Care" show how inept Whistle can be at holding down a woman.

Whistle-"Bad Habit"

The sixth track on the album, "Bad Habit" kicks off the "New Jack Swing" half of the album. Just about as unremarkable as the first half, I at least found these upbeat numbers to be a little more listenable than as they don't really rely on Whistle's ability to be skilled singers. Much like the first half however, asking me to distinguish one song from the next, with a few notable exceptions becomes quite the daunting task. "Bad Habit" distinguishes itself from the rest of the tracks by containing the only rapped verse on the whole album, one of the tracks samples Flavor Flav and "Geesed" gets points for introducing me to a new slang term.


Ultimately though, the back half falls victim to the same ills of the fron half. Whistle is still a group of lousy singers, and their songs are mad soft. "Acting Like You Love Me" and "Geesed" still show how women always manage to get the better of Whistle, and honestly, that's not what I really want to hear from my R&B.
In a year of monster R&B hits like "Real Love," "Rhythm Nation," "It Never Rain (In Southern California)" and um..."Poison," such mediocre, unimportant drivel is highly inexcusable and unforgivable.

Considering the lack of reviews on this site, scoring this album would be arbitrary. but I'll put it like this: out of the 10 tracks on this album, I would make love to 1 of them, and that's only because I've misplaced my Best of Heatwave at the moment.

Friday, June 8, 2007

You Haven't Experienced Real Player-Hatin'!

Sorry 'bout that big build-up to Whistle Week and then nothing... personal shit (like laziness and the uniform awfulness of Whistle's records) has delayed the supposed reviews slightly. But they will happen, rest assured.

Anyway, here's a strange nostalgia trip for ya'll. A series of corny-ass Sprite ads, clearly from the late 90's due to everyone wearing goggles on their foreheads, featuring a pretty strange fucking lineup of rappers as Voltron. I kinda don't wanna tell you who's in this, because it'll be better as a surprise. Unless, like me, you actually remember these goofy things.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Beware... Whistle Week Begins!

It's theme-week time here at Better Than But Sex because... well, we decided.

So here's the deal. Your boy Elijah is currently between apartments, and so for the next week or so I've in fact been living with Petro and Nazty Fresh, in what may have now become the Better Than Butt Sex house. (Ummmm, no... homo?) Last night we were doing what we often do; which is talk incessantly about rap music while flipping through Music Choice channels in the background to see what random fucking songs that shit decides to bless us with. Fresh decided to check the Old School channel.

We were greeted by Whistle's "Just Buggin'". Now maybe we're just new jacks, but lord knows none of us had heard of motherfuckin' Whistle (certainly didn't seem notable enough to have a "best of" album, which is what the song was credited to) and the track itself was a frightening barrage to the senses, constructed by one of the strangest riffs ever put down. Here is said song, and the video (which we mercifully didn't discover until later, otherwise our brains would have melted).

Dayum. And here I thought UMC's "Blue Cheese" won the award for Strangest Video In Retrospect. Personally I found "Just Buggin'" oddly compelling in its utter strangeness, but Nazty Fresh simply couldn't take the damn thing after too long.

Anyway, Petro did some research, but almost all he could discover about Whistle was that, apparently, their later albums were on some smoothed out R&B shit, which we simply could not reconcile with the--ahem--sound of "Just Buggin'". So eventually the three of us decided to head on over to Albumbase our local record shop and each, er, cop one of Whistle's three (count 'em, three) records. I think I lucked out by laying claim to the first, and probably most overall hip-hop, album of the three. It also has an eight minute opus titled "Barbera Punch Em In the Mouth" that I just can't wait to get to.

Despite much trepidation, reviews are coming soon. And Whistle Week rolls on...

Monday, June 4, 2007

Aaaaaand... Revisited

Ok, so I know everyone's already posted this, but with all the goddamn coverage we gave to this song in our first fledgling weeks I figured I really had to throw this one up here.

That, and it's a genius fucking video. The fact that it starts with a wedding, not so surprising... but that it continues with that motif the whole way through is some kind of wonderful. I believe Petro, who was watching over my shoulder, was the one to remark "Pimp C probably would tell a story like that at a wedding reception." Of course, they coulda just been rushed and lazy; note that everyone has only one outfit. Amongst all the great cameos, a newly-beardless David Banner going crazy in Bun B's passenger seat is definitely a real fuckin' highlight.

Oh, and Andre represents for all the Black Scots out there--word to Samuel L. Jackson and Nazty Fresh!

Friday, June 1, 2007

King of New York Alternate Reality (AKA Elijah's worst nightmare)

Going through my entire itunes library on shuffle the other day, something I seldom do (I'm a sucker for playlists), I came across this song.

Prefuse 73 feat. Aesop Rock-"Sabbatical With Options"

An interesting song, if you don't mind Aesop Rock "delivery" or Prefuse 73's "hip-hop production," one line in particular caught my attention. At the 1:59 mark, Aesop spits "Tigers and bears who will hold down New York/ I will be back to reclaim if I'm bored."

This got me to thinking, what if Aes Rock really was the king of New York? What would that entail? How would it shape the rap game?

To start this admittedly bizarre argument, we'll need a referrence point. So, we'll compare Aesop's hypothetical success to once, or possibly current if that's your thing, New York king Jay-Z, who now carries all the mainstrream appeal of Mr. Lif or Slug from Atmosphere, who themselves now carry the success of Method Man and Redman respectively.
A parallel of albums would further justify the comparison; both released crtically acclaimed albums in '03 before taking a previously unprecedented hiatus from recording. Though Aesop Rock's Kingdom Come, None Shall Pass, has not come out yet, the first single, also the album's title track, will shed some light on what the new sound of New York would be.

Aesop Rock-"None Shall Pass"

Icy, dark and stripped-down, it is decreed that this is the new party sound under the rule of Rock. "None Shall Pass" would be the kind of jam one would be drooling over before it was even heard just by looking at the line-up: another Aesop Rock/Blockhead collaboration. To all you underground, backpacker nerds, think of it like when Hov and Just Blaze make some of that dull, horn-ladened, "get up and move" tediousness. Weak. Fast cars, women and booze don't make up a party anthem. I mean, a party song about partying? How trite. Where's the political conspiracy? The ironic pop culture referrencing? I'm pretty sure "Show Me What You Got" doesn't even use the word "laser" once. Yawn.

A king is only as good as he is versatile. So what should the King of New York do to show that he can roll with any style? How about get behind a beat used by up-and-coming New York group Wu Tang Clan and then do a track with the king of the West Coast, Del Tha Funkee Homosapian. Now that would be fire.

Aesop Rock & Del Tha Funkee Homosapian-"Preservation"

But of course, the King isn't all serious. I mean, anti-party party tracks and coast-to-coast chest thumping (Just listen to how proud they both sound on "Preservation." They're both so used to the crown that they don't have to sound interesting or even awake anymore!), takes a lot out on the greatest spitting for the East Coast. So, what do you do for fun?

Aesop Rock feat. MF Doom & Slug-"Put Your Quarters Up"

Tracks about video games. Forget about pimping, fellas, Aesop's got a whole new kind of game you can spit: high scores. And can we discuss that MC dream team? Number one, it's refreshing to hear cats like Doom on the mic. All this underground hubbub about MCs that can switch flows and styles and completely "destroy" tracks (Busta Rhymes I'm looking at you) is just so corny. I think it's great that Doom can rhyme with the same style and voice over anything you give him. That shit's skill. And Slug, where do I start? Number one, that whole northern Midwest region is blowing up these days. I mean, Eyedea's coming out hard. My man Brother Ali's doing it real big and my homey P.O.S. has definitely got next. And of course Atmosphere is doing their thing. I don't know who this "Lil Wayne" character is, but I bet he can't spit about his personal drama like Slug can. I bet he can't open up and reveal how he's feeling like Slug can. And I know he can't make an esoteric referrence to the 80's like Slug can.

Bonus Thought: If Aesop Rock is the Jay-Z of New York, that would most certainly make El-P his Kanye West. And just like Mr. West, El-P's a "progressive" enough artist to get down and work with artist's that aren't as popular as he is. As evidenced here:

El-P & Ghostface Killah-"Hide Ya Face"

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Party Post

As I'm sure most of our readerbase is well aware of, or anyone that took a moment to peep Elijah's dedication, good friend Noah Waterman is leaving for the Freshcoast and shall never be seen as regularly as liked. And I can't be mad at a brother, he's gotta do what he's gotta do, so instead I'll give him my best blessings, with 100 party jams to get busy with now that he's moved to the left, to the left.

Thr tricky part, since Noah always provided the party 'pod, was to craft a list of songs I don't think he has, or the very least hasn't considered for a party yet. Unforch for all you bay-heads out there, this rules out a large chunk of hyphy and West Coast in general. But it's about time. Anyway, the songs are available in their sets of five. Download what you like and bitch about what you don't.

So here we go. This one's for you, bro. A BTB5 mega post for everyone's favorite party starter: Noah Waterman.

5 Old School Misogony Jams
  1. N.W.A.-"A Bitch Iz A Bitch"
  2. Stingee-"Take Dem Panties Off"
  3. II Nazty-"Pussy Whipped"
  4. MC Brains-"Oochie Coochie"
  5. 2 Live Crew-"If You Believe in Having Sex"

5 Bad Boy Party Jams

  1. Notorious B.I.G. feat. 112-"Sky's the Limit"
  2. Craig Mack feat. Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, LL Cool J, Rampage & Busta Rhymes-"Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)"
  3. Black Rob-"Whoa"
  4. Harlem World feat. Ma$e & Kelly Price-"I Really Like It"
  5. G-Dep feat. Ghostface Killah, Keith Murray, Craig Mack and Puff Daddy-"Special Delivery (Remix)"

5 R-O-C Party Jams

  1. Clinton Sparks feat. Memphis Bleek, Beanie Siegel & Joe Budden-"Roc Cafe"
  2. Cam'ron feat. Ludacris, Juelz Santana, UGK & Trina-"What Means the World"
  3. Freeway-"Where You Been"
  4. Memphis Bleek feat. M.O.P.-"First, Last, Only"
  5. Young Gunz-"Friday Night"

5 Native Tongues Can Throw a Party Like Your Favorite Rapper Jams

  1. Black Sheep-"B-Boy's Theme"
  2. A Tribe Called Quest feat. Erykah Badu-"ICU (Doin' It)"
  3. The Beatnuts feat. Method Man-"Se Acabo (remix)"
  4. Brand Nubian-"Brand Nubian"
  5. De La Soul feat. Busta Rhymes-"I C Y'all"

5 Other Coast Rappers Trying To Sound West Jams

  1. Method Man feat. Redman & Snoop Dogg-"We Some Doggs"
  2. Jay-Z feat. Dr. Dre-"Watch Me"
  3. Ludacris feat. DJ Quik-"Spur of the Moment (remix)"
  4. Fabolous feat. Nate Dogg-"You Can't Deny It"
  5. Jadakiss feat. Snoop Dogg & DJ Quik-"Shine"

5 Ladies Turn Jams

  1. Lil Mama-"Lipgloss"
  2. Missy Eliot feat. Ciara & Fatman Scoop-"Lose Control"
  3. Lauryn Hill-"Doo Wop (That Thing)"
  4. Will.I.Am. feat. MC Lyte & Fergie-"Mash Out"
  5. Platinum Pied Pipers feat. Invincible-"Detroit Winter"

5 British Jams

  1. Lethal Bizzle feat. Fire Camp-"No!"
  2. Kano-"Remember Me"
  3. Low Deep feat. Kano & Doctor Ghetto-"Get Set"
  4. Wiley-"Reasons"
  5. Dizzee Rascal feat. Marga Man-"Girls"

5 Midwest Jams

  1. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony-"Thuggish Ruggish Bone"
  2. Nelly feat. Murphy Lee, Freeway & Beanie Siegel-"Rock the Mic (Remix)"
  3. Lupe Fiasco-"Tilted"
  4. Hi-Tek feat. Talib Kweli, Slim Thug & Snoop Dogg-"The Nati Streets"
  5. Slum Village feat. MC Breed-"Do You"

5 Tennesse Jams

  1. 8Ball & MJG-"Ridin' High"
  2. Crunchy Black feat. T-Rock-"Don't Trust 'Em"
  3. Project Pat-"Good Googly Moogly"
  4. Three 6 Mafia feat. Trick Daddy, Slim Thug & Project Pat-"Stay Fly (Still Fly Remix)"
  5. Young Buck-"Shorty Wanna Ride"

5 Florida-Squeezed Jams

  1. DJ Khaled feat. Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, Fat Joe, Rick Ross & Pitbull-"Holla At Me Baby"
  2. Dre feat. Keiysha Cole-"Be Somebody"
  3. Trick Daddy feat. Slip-N-Slide Allstars & Trina-"Take It To The House"
  4. Rick Ross feat. Dre-"Blow"
  5. Will Smith-"Miami"

5 Timbaland (Produced Only, Don't Worry!) Jams

  1. Cee-Lo feat. Timbaland-"I'll Be Around"
  2. Petey Pablo feat. Bubba Sparxxx-"Get On Dis Motorcycle"
  3. The Game-"Put You On The Game"
  4. Ludacris feat. Timbaland-"Phat Rabbit"
  5. Jay-Z feat. Sean Paul-"What They Gonna Do"

5 A-Town Jams

  1. Lil Jon feat. Bun B, Jadakiss, T.I., Nas and Ice Cube-"Grand Finale"
  2. Ying Yang Twins feat. Trick Daddy-"What's Happenin!"
  3. Dungeon Family-"Crooked Booty"
  4. TLC feat. Lil Jon and Sean Paul of the Youngbloodz-"Whatcha Gon Do?"
  5. Yung Wun feat. DMX, David Banner & Lil Flip-"Tear It Up"

5 Lone Star Jams

  1. Devin The Dude feat. KB-"Party"
  2. Trae feat. Three 6 Mafia & Paul Wall-"Cadillac"
  3. Z-Ro feat. Devin the Dude & Juvenile-"The Mule"
  4. Slim Thug feat. Bun B & T.I.-"Three Kings"
  5. UGK feat. T.I.-"Hit the Block"

5 Philly Jams

  1. The Roots feat. Dice Raw & Malik B-"Here I Come"
  2. Will Smith-"Wild, Wild West"
  3. Freeway feat. Peedi Crakk-"Flipside"
  4. Cassidy feat. Swizz Beatz-"Get 'Em"
  5. DJ Jazzy Jeff feat. Chef-"Shake It Off"

5 Slightly Older Than The Next List West Coast Jams

  1. Kokane-"Bakin' Soda Free"
  2. Black Eyed Peas-"Tell Your Mama Come"
  3. Cali Agents-"Take It Back Home"
  4. Dr. Dre feat. George Clinton & Snoop Dogg-"Let Me Ride (Remix)
  5. Warren G-"This Is The Shack"

5 Slightly Newer Than The Previous List West Coast Jams

  1. Tha Dogg Pound feat. Snoop Dogg-"Cali Iz Active"
  2. Blackalicious feat. Gil Scott-Heron-"First In Flight"
  3. Snoop Dogg feat. Jamie Foxx-"Psst!"
  4. DJ Shadow feat. Keak da Sneak & Turf Talk-"3 Freaks"
  5. Suga Free feat. Blaqthoven-"Person 2 Person"

5 Remixed R&B Jams

  1. Janet Jackson feat. Jermaine Dupri-"Someone to Call My Lover (Remix)"
  2. Missy Elliot feat. Nas, Lil Mo, Eve & Q-Tip-"Hot Boyz (Remix)"
  3. R. Kelly feat. Sean Paul & Akon-"Slow Wind (Remix)"
  4. Wayne Wonder feat. Elephant Man & Bounty Killah-"Got Somebody (Remix)"
  5. Michael Jackson feat. Eve-"Butterflies (Remix)"

5 Instrumental Dance Jams

  1. RJD2-"Iced Lightning"
  2. Cut Chemist-"A Peak In Time"
  3. Mark Ronson feat. The Daptone Horns-"God Put A Smile Upon Your Face"
  4. Praful-"Moon Glide"
  5. Gary Wilson-"She Makes Me Think of Endicott"

5 Petro-Approved Party Jams

  1. T.I. feat. Young Jeezy, Young Dro, Big Kuntry & B.G.-"Top Back (Remix)
  2. Cypress Hill feat. Redman & Method Man-"Red, Meth & B"
  3. Ying Yang Twins feat. Wyclef Jean-"Dangerous"
  4. R. Kelly feat. T.I. & T-Pain-"Ima Flirt (Remix)"
  5. Redman feat. Ghostface, Ludacris & Icarus-"Future Thug"

5 Party-Closing Jams

  1. Sa-Ra-"Bitch"
  2. Lil Kim feat. Lil Cease & Notorious B.I.G.-"Crush On You"
  3. T-Pain feat. Trick Daddy & Youngbloodz-"I'm Sprung (Remix)"
  4. Terror Squad-"Take Me Home"
  5. Will.I.Am-"Tell of Tales (Tell Me When You Need It Again)"

Party on, playboy. Party on.