Category Archives: rap

New Music This Week

The big music news is the release this week of The Marshall Mathers LP 2 from Eminem. Previewed a bit on iTunes and on “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend, this looks like another winner. He keeps coming back, even when we’ve thought we’ve had enough of him. And I say that with love, because I’m a fan. Several songs stand out in the colossal twenty-one track endeavor, some that peek back into the happily diseased head of Slim Shady.

The sampling of classic rock tunes may drive some older listeners away. I know more than a few folks my age that not only dislike rap and hip hop, but completely lose their minds when rappers sample music of their youth. I say, deal with it, and listen to how it’s been altered, re-imagined, and in same cases, improved.

One of the songs in question, “Berzerk,” takes on the groove of Billy Squier’s “The Stroke” to splendid effect. Also grabbing the classic rock rift of “Time of the Season” by the Zombies is Shady’s “Rhyme or Reason,” one of the better rap mash-ups in recent years. I also dug “Headlights” featuring Nate Ruess, “Desperation” featuring Jamie N Commons, “Baby,” and “Evil Twin.” A viable and hard new release, welcome back.

Tuesday also saw the release of the new album from Adam WarRock, The Middle of Nowhere. I love me some nerdcore, and Adam WarRock is my favorite of the genre. While he is the king of the genre sound, he’s also trying to break into more mainstream hip hop, but no matter how he tries, the nerd is still at the core, and I love it.

Tracks like “High School Reunion,” “Internet Crush,” and “Shoulda Beens” hit close to home in a essentially non-nerd way, but the real thrust here is comics as per usual (not that there’s anything wrong with that). “Sinestrocore,” “J.A.R.V.I.S.,” and “B.S.F.X.” fill the nerdcore void with flair and pizzazz, and Tribe One, MC Frontalot, and Schaffer the Darklord, among others, also drop by. Love this album, and can’t wait for more. Check out Adam WarRock at his website, Twitter, and YouTube.

And then there’s Skinn Jakkitt’s self-titled album, including the song “Epiphany,” seen below:


For more of Skinn Jakkitt, you can check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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RIP Chris Kelly

RIP MCA

We are losing far too many folks from the music world of late. News came earlier today of the passing of Adam Yauch A.K.A. MCA of the Beastie Boys. The hip hop pioneer had been fighting cancer for several years. He was 47.

In the early 1980s Yauch formed the Beastie Boys with Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), Mike Diamond (Mike D) and Michael Schwartz (Mixmaster Mike) – and changed the face and style of music for decades afterward. I first encountered them in college with the novelty tune “Cooky Puss,” and a year or so later when I saw the music video for “She’s On It,” I was hooked, a Beastie fan for life.

We’ve lost one of the fun, funky and forceful voices of my generation, MCA will be missed.

Beats, Rhyme & Life

Beats, Rhyme & Life ~ One of the misnomers I hate most is the term ‘one hit wonder,’ mostly because it’s rarely true. It’s one of the reasons I started the sub-blog here called “Lost Hits of the New Wave,” because things were not as we are currently told they were. For instance if I was to mention to you A Tribe Called Quest, most folks, and a great majority who were not around when they were happening will use that term ‘one hit wonder’ and say they love “Can I Kick It.” Just not true.

The truth is however that I came to the Tribe later than most folks. I loved “Can I Kick It” but I also began to notice that every time I heard a song by the group, I dug it. When I realized this, I got into them. As I said, later than most folks, but I love them, and let me assure you, A Tribe Called Quest is no ‘one hit wonder.’ The documentary Beats, Rhyme & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest directed by actor Michael Rapaport is a testament to that legacy.

Through interviews and of course music the film documents the group’s beginnings in Queens and we get to know Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White as they came up and became stars in the hip hop music world. Like a cool extended episode of “Behind the Music,” we get the lowdown on why they looked like they did and especially how Q-Tip was sampling before samplers and melded jazz into hip hop. It also takes the group to the end of the road as well.

This documentary is the real thing, it’s about friendship, music, culture, and passion – and the evolution that all of it goes through over the years. Check it out, recommended.

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Just a reminder, The Virtual Book Tour for THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES by Fran Metzman is featured today at Marie Gilbert’s blog with an interview with the author, and continues tomorrow on Mieke Zamora-Mackay’s blog. Don’t miss it! For a full list of Blog Tour stops, go here.

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Heavy D Dead at 44

Heavy D, influential rapper in the 1980s and 90s, was pronounced dead this afternoon in Los Angeles. He was 44 years old.

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RIP Gil Scott-Heron

I love music, but I’m not a big jazz guy. I’m a writer, a published poet, I even run an online poet’s group, but I’m not a poetry guy. I only like certain kinds of rap and hip hop, but I’m nowhere near what you would call a fan. All that said, I love Gil Scott-Heron.

Gil Scott-Heron was not a jack of many trades, but a king. He was one of the godfathers of rap, a brilliant jazz musician, a genius of spoken word, a poet, a performer, a social activist, and he was one of my favorite artists. He is one of the few artists of whose work I have worn out tapes and vinyl records of. I didn’t always agree with him politically, but I love his way with words, ideas, sounds and grooves. He was a master.

The master passed away yesterday and we are all poorer for it. Whether you know him from “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” the No Nukes concert, the songs “B-Movie” and “Re-Ron” during the Reagan Administration, “Whitey on the Moon” from the Howard Stern show or just from his phenomenal catalog of music – Gil Scott-Heron will be missed.

Below enjoy the song he’s most known for, “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,” and my personal favorite “17th Street.”

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Oh Sookie

A whole ‘nother world of fan fiction… Snoop Dogg professes his feelings for Sookie Stackhouse…

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Eminem’s Relapse

Yesterday Eminem announced the details of his new album “Relapse” scheduled to drop sometime in early December. After a considerable break, he has re-emerged with an interestingly different sound. Time will tell if it hits or sells.

As with most of Eminem’s material, the video presentation below is not for the kiddies nor work-safe.