Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stories That My Soul Can Sing



The man who really made this beat: better than Kanye.*


In five days it'll be four years to the day that Purple Haze dropped. Who would've thought four years ago that four years later, Purple Haze would still be the best album that's come out of New York since Madvillainy? (Sorry, Fishscale just isn't very good, it just isn't.) Back then, I had high hopes for Time Is Money and a Jay-Z comeback, Nas's career, debuts from people like Saigon and Stimuli and JR Writer and Smiley The Ghetto Child (listen to his interlude on The Ownerz, it's crazy), Cam's next album of course, a return to form for 50, even crap like "THE GREEN LANTERN ALBUM" promised on the mixtape version of "2 Gunz Up." And none of that shit turned out well, or in many cases even came out, with the exception of parts of Cam's next album. A top 10 of 2005-2008 New York rap albums would have to include crap like Sheek's After Taxes and Killa Sha's (I know, who?) God Walk On Water, archival releases like Cormega's The Testament, warmed over outtakes collections like More Fish. It's really hard to even think of 10 good albums from New York in the past four years. I wanted to say De La's The Grind Date, but it came out in September '04. So before I go on a digression, I have to ask:
what is your post-Purple Haze New York Top 10?

Now, some would say, who cares, a moribund New York, the game has moved elsewhere. Well (a) as good as Z-Ro is, I happen to like the New York sound, and (b) where exactly has the game moved, because the whole Houston boom looks retrospectively more like a bust, people like Cham and Flip never reached anything close to their potential, Atlanta's largely a bunch of stars past their prime,** much like New York circa 2004, ditto Memphis, New Orleans has gone from being two thriving labels to one really good rapper, and the West never came back. And then there's Miami, and you could make a very good case that pre-2005 Slip-N-Slide >>> Khaled and RAWSS and T-Pain. Do you put your stock in Chicago? The greater Midwest? Remember when Bump J was going to become a star? Remember Ray Cash? No, I am definitely a member of the "hip-hop is in BIG TWABLE" camp, and think that it's a huge sign for concern when Purple Haze is the best thing to come out of the capitol of hip-hop in four years.



*
In some quarters of the Internets it's rumored that Kanye didn't produce Dip-Set Forever. We know he didn't really produce Down And Out because he admitted it. (See: Google.)
** Namely, Andre, Big Boi, T.I., Luda, Pastor Troy, Lil Jon, the Youngbloodz (who I like), and yes, even Jeezy, until he proves he can still make good albums and puts his Southern Common aspirations to the side. (Note: anytime a southern rapper starts putting Common on his albums, as T.I. and now Luda have done, you know he's over the hill.)

18 comments:

Passion of the Weiss said...

Get outta here with your Fishscale isn't good babble.

I wouldn't exactly call Madvillainy a NYC hip-hop album when an LA producer made the beats and Doom hasn't lived in NY in years.

tray said...
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tray said...

Well it's good... no, sorry, it would be good if it had a whole different set of beats, Ghost's performance is immaculate, the beats suck. Either way, it's not as successful as Purple Haze. And yeah, Madvillainy isn't exactly a New York record, although Mr. Dumile takes his cues way more from people like Kool Keith or Ghostface than from his Atlantan neighbors. I mean, Nas lives in Atlanta most of the year, or so I've heard, and we still call his records New York records.

Berto said...

You gotta get up on the Detroit rap.

tray said...

Oh no, not Black Milk. All the nutritive and educational value of white milk, but he's black. No thanks.

Badmon3333 said...

Ease back with the 'Fishscale' hate... "Shakey Dog" is right up there with RZA's best quick soul chops, "9 Milli" is everything I'm hoping the mythical 'Swift & Changeable' may someday be (the other Doom beat that's not "Clipse of Doom" is good as well).

I honestly thought the string of three albums Ghost put out right in a row were surprisingly consistent in good-quality beats.

I suppose there's no convincing you of Black Milk's greatness, but there's plenty of other great Detroit rap. Guilty Simpson's debut cracks the top ten '08 hip-hop releases easily. Phat Kat can get a little generic at times, but is decent, and Buff1 had a real nice LP a couple years back as well.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

i'd really like black milk if he had more features on his latest album. he's alright, but 'losing out' and 'the matrix' are two of the best songs for a reason. there's no such thing as too much monch.

tray said...

I've heard very little of Guilty Simpson's work, but I know I'm not alone in the opinion that he's basically a super-mediocre Stones Throw sop to gangsta rap, like if Styles P had no personality and decided to rap over Madlib beats. (You may say Styles does have no personality. All I can say is wait for an epic post on Styles's greatness once I'm off of school.) I'm one of those people who believe that in any given year there are only about eight good records that come out, sometimes way less. In any case, I concede the point that Detroit has a burgeoning little underground scene for the sorts of people who went nuts over the return of Sean Price, but I'm not that sort of guy.

Badmon3333 said...

"Oh you hard now? I laugh at that / I must be on 'Punk'd,' where Ashton at? / Step up in the party with a plastic gat / Glock that I use for the grab and snatch / Shine like a gem / Untied Tims / Bad bitch pullin' on my limbs, 'tellin all her friends 'It's him' / Feelin' like a don / Grab her by the hand a get a quickie in the john / We raise hell and make bail / And put illegal products on weights scales / Place a few phone calls and make sales / I pray to God my lifestyle escapes hell / Stone-faced / Runnin' my affairs at my own pace 'til my bankroll's straight / I want the mu'fuckin' icing and whole cake / Just a crooked-ass n*gga tryin' to go straight"

Fake-thuggery or not (and really, how many rappers out there AREN'T fake thugs nowadays? How long has it been since Dr. Dre was on 'The Show' like "Anyone can talk about shootin' someone on a record, but a mothafucka ain't really fin' to go out and DO it unless you just stupid"?)

Guilty is nice. Excellent rap voice, clever punchlines, good delivery.

Badmon3333 said...

Re: the return of Sean Price... there are like three good tracks on 'Monkey Bars.' Otherwise, 'Nocturnal' stands as the high-water mark for both Ruck and Rock.

Badmon3333 said...

Re: Jesus's comment - I'm kinda with you. Black Milk's not the greatest rapper. Although the first verse of "Long Story Short" is hands-down classic.

"BACK to the basics/BACK to the basement/HI-hat, snare drum/BASSline, bass kick!/Recordin' the karaoke/Stereo to tape deck/Havin' fun with it/Ain't worried 'bout gettin' paid yet"

DocZeus said...

Four years later...

Still unimaginably wack.

tray said...

I kinda preferred when Jeezy offered to take it "back to the block, back to the kitchen, back to the rocks" on Mr 17.5. As if rap had left the block, kitchen or rocks at some point. About Guilty, I have no problem at all with his fake thuggery, real thuggery, whatever. The greatest album of all time was written by a ballerina thug who stayed getting beaten up and jacked his whole career, and a midget (although now the ballerina's actually in jail while the guy who aired him out for being a ballerina is a respectable CEO who hangs out with well-known gangsters like Bill Gates - funny how that works). It's just that he's generic. And doesn't, in actual fact*, have a great rap voice.

* Speaking of Cam, one of my favorite lines from him ever is:

We don't know where we actually at (nope)
Actually, actual, factual, actual fact

Badmon3333 said...
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Badmon3333 said...

"Generic" just sort of seems like a cop-out excuse to me, particularly given that the Cam song at the top of this post is about absolutely nothing at all (not to mention further proof that MCs should never try to rap over beats involving triplets).

To me, Guilty's strength is the ability to turn a humorous, clever phrase and a Rick Ross basso profundo voice (again, it's hard for me to accept your charge that he doesn't have a great rap voice when Cam sounds like 98 percent of what I'd call "generic NYC rappers").

tray said...

What are you talking about, it's about how when shit discouraged his pride, Zeek was the only one with courage to ride!

Badmon3333 said...

'Cause THAT doesn't sound generic at all... hmm...

tray said...

I can't believe this. He needs something pure like from the Garden of Eden, wouldn't mind making her a part of his achievements. The touching shit at the end when the girls at the mall aren't in love with Cam, they're in love with Cameron Giles. This is hardly up for debate.