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On The Lite Side…..

by Travis on September 5, 2007

The blog world is abuzz with false critics (such as myself probably), unruly fan boys, haters and senile “golden age cats”. This whole little Kanye and 50 Cent leak week did provide for some great reading and fun, but I was sick of it before it even began, and getting even more sick of it as it goes on. As always though, I have to come in with my two cents because, well, because I can. I’ve seen a little bit of everything, extremes on both sides of the spectrum in the reception of these albums. I’ve seen people hating on Kanye and Fiddy for destroying hip-hop, which in my personal opinion is taking it a bit too far. I’ve also seen fan boys claiming that (Kanye at least so far) this stuff is classic material. Again, taking it a bit too far.

I’m not sure what side I side with on this issue. Five years ago, I probably would have been on the boat with the other bitter old fogies (or for G-Force, “Dusty Old Geezers”), claiming this shit is ruining hip-hop. I still want hip-hop to stay “pure”. I still harbor some bitter feelings at some of the garbage being passed off as hip-hop. I’m not necessarily saying that either Kayne or 50 Cent is single handedly ruining hip-hop (I think it was “ruined” long before either of them started selling millions), in fact, I’d rather hear a Kayne joint on the radio that I would 95% of the music that is actually on the radio. I still believe in supporting the music that I consider “real”, which could be different from other people. I still want that “real” hip-hop to be the true representation the music, I shouldn’t have to “explain” myself when people ask me what kind of music I listen to and I reply “hip-hop, but not that crap on the radio”, because that’s what a lot of people think hip-hop is, they think it’s the “rap” music that is on the radio and that’s what all hip-hop is.

On the other hand though, I think that I’ve come to the conclusion that hip-hop will NEVER be what it once was. Thats a fact of life. It’s not coming back and I’m not going to waste my time wishing it would be the same as it was back in the golden-age. I’ll celebrate what it once was so that it will never be forgotten. I’ll continue to support artists of yesteryear. With that being said, I do consider artists such as Fiddy as “entertainment”. I’m not going to lie, I don’t hold an undying hatred toward either 50 or Kanye. Yes, I think they are both annoying as “people”, but some of their music is entertaining to me. I think of it like this, I have liked and enjoyed some movies over my lifetime that were not theatrical masterpieces, they are just entertaining to me. I kind view some of Fifty’s and Kanye’s music in the same light. I can enjoy each of them without thinking they are supposed to be some kind of hip-hop masterpiece.

What bugs me is when some of the ‘Ye fanboys try tell me that Kanye’s shit is classic. No, no it’s not. I can bend and accecpt it if someone says his stuff is “modern classic” shit, because the dude has sold a shit load of records and I think he is a talented producer (I think he sucks as an MC, but thats another story). I personally wouldn’t call his work “classic”, but to each their own. The word classic is so tossed around these days and I don’t think there has been a true universally agreed on classic in quite sometime. Nor do I think there will be an universally agreed upon classic in this current state of hip hop of internet, mainstream plays and people who….just don’t get it (before you get you panties in a bunch, I mean more the “casual” hip hop listener). The modern day hip-hop listener says my kind (the old fogies) are living in the past. We say that the current day listener wasn’t THERE when shit like BDP, EPMD, NWA, and Kane were dropping classic albums almost weekly. They have noooooo clue what that era felt like. It was something truly special. So of course, we are going to hold music to those standards, whether its right or wrong. Does this settle anything? Fuck no, I’m still not even sure where I stand on the whole thing. For what its worth, I don’t mind the new Kayne album. I like it better than “Late Registration”, which I didn’t like at all. It’ll probably get some spins the next couple weeks and then I’ll end up forgetting about it, kind of like Nas and Jay’s last albums. I’ve haven’t heard enough of the “Curtis” album to drop judgment on it yet.

Forgotten Tracks From the Not So Distant Past

J Dilla – Diamonds (Studio Version)

The only version I’ve seen of this track in the past is the live version, which I want to say came out as an unreleased thing around ’04 or ’05. The funny thing about the whole thing is I didn’t even know I had this studio version on my computer. I don’t know where I got it or how long I’ve had it. Yeah, I know, I need a better filing system for single tracks. It’s one of the reasons I can’t find single tracks very easy when people ask me for them.

Interestingly enough, from what I can dig up about the track, it was actually produced by Nottz, which is kind of odd indeed. It’s got a pretty wicked bassline that would lead me to believe it was Jay, but I guess not. This also seems like one of Dilla’s better tracks as an MC. Bling bling!

Pete Rock feat Grap Luva – Collector’s Item
Pete Rock feat Kozmonautz & LMNO – Blindsided

These two tracks came together as a 12 inch single dropped in 2003 on Up Above Records. The A-Side, “Collector’s Item” also showed up last year on Pete’s “Underground Classics”, so I guess its not as rare as it once was.

Collector’s Item
was one of my favorite singles for 2004 (that’s when I first heard it). This silky smooth Pete Rock beat is among one of my favorites of Pete’s treats. It has shades of one of my personal favorite Pete Rock pro
jects, InI with little bro, Grap Luva, handling the mic duties. The two work so well together, its a shame there was never another InI project or an album with just the two of them, which would work for me.

The B-side is a little more hard to find. Blindsided features the Kozmonautz, which were Kool-Key and DJ Rhettmatic, as well LMNO, all of the Visionaries crew hailing from Cali. The combination is kind of surprising, but since Key Kool ownes Up Above Records, it makes sense. The track seems to work, although not as good as the A-side. The track also appeared on an UK only release “Underground 12″ for Underground Magazine in the UK as a promo CD in a magazine issue.

Boom Bap Project feat One Man Army (aka One Be Lo) – Dickhead Tracy

I’ve always been partial to the Northwest crews, which is probably why I’m so big on Blue Scholars this year…well part of it at least. The Boom Bap Project hails from Sea-Town as well, whose label is Rhyme Sayers of famous Atmosphere lineage. Don’t get it twisted though, the Boom Bap Project is nothing like a Rhyme Sayers group is preconceived as being. They live up to their name, they are all about the Boom Bap. This track “Dickhead Tracy” was orginally on BBP’s “Welcome To Seattle” mixtape. I ain’t going to lie, I was attracted to the two things that weren’t the Boom Bap Project, one being One Man Army aka One Be Lo and the other being the ill Jake One beat.

Jake One is probably my favorite underrated producers there is out there (Rock Co.Kane Flow anyone?) and this beat is just ill. This track also appears on One Be Lo’s “S.T.I.L.L.B.O.R.N” mixtape. The guys talk about shady show promoters and One Be Lo comes off nice as one would expect.

Trav’s Spins Of The Week (Last Week)
I haven’t done a whole lot of “previewing” of albums since early July, so I didn’t have a whole lot of new stuff to listen to (I’ve caught the bug again this week, so be prepared to see a change in the coming weeks), and I’m getting bored with my usual stuff lately, so it’s been some of this, some of that.

1. Dahlak – Dual Consciousness
The review album, so of course I had to spend some time listening to it. I’d been listening to it fairly steadily the past few weeks. Some of it was for my “blogger duties”, and some if it was because I wanted to. Overall I think its a pretty good album, I hope everyone goes to those websites and checks it out

2. Ras Kass w- DJ Lt Dan – On The Run
Promised to up it for Grant P and ended up listening to it a couple times myself in the process. I’m not usually big on mixtapes in general, but this is probably one of my favorites of all times. Ras is still one of my favorite lyricists of all-time and their is plenty of reasons to be found on the mixtape to back up that claim.

3. Masta Ace – Discography
It was one of those weeks again when I just played a lot of Masta Ace’s music. I sent out some goodies to a select few people that maybe the rest of you will see sometime in the near future…at a town near you.

4. Kanye West – Graduation
The debate continues. I downloaded this on Friday and gave it quite a few spins during the week. Each time, my opinion on the album changes. I think I’ve already said what I have to say about this album.

5. Access Immortal – American Me
I’ve heard some buzz over this album, figured I might as well see what its all about. Still getting my bearings around the album, but not to bad.

Why? Will return on the next Lite Post.

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