Monday, January 5, 2009

Shoot Yourself In The Foot!


It's too easy. Go Eagles though.


You know, I thought we pop-rap lovers had won the war. That's why I'm so hard on Soderberg sometimes, because he's always like, why do all the smart people hate on Three 6 Mafia and shit, and I'm like, who in the world hates on Three 6 Mafia anymore? We all agree that Most Known Unknowns was practically the last classic album to drop in the past four years, right? (I'm kidding, sort of.) Then shit like this happens and you just shake your head. If people want to fuck with Black Milk or whatever, that's fine with me, but Nas at #2? That album was an embarrassment. There are 1-2 good songs on the whole thing and I don't even think I'm saying anything controversial when I say that. Even the non snoozefest-shit on these guys' lists is deeply disappointing. L.A.X., Recession, and Theatre of the Mind in the 12-14 spots? What do these people do, completely ignore every non-underground record to the point where their sole acquaintance with anything that isn't clinically proven to induce narcolepsy is through pop radio? Z-Ro dropped an album this year, people! Ever heard of the guy? It wasn't his best work but anything would be better than listening to Luda trade pickup tips with Mr. Doublemint Gum, or Game stalk dead people. Their top songs list is even worse. Some white dudes who look and sound like a bunch of drunk construction workers rapping about killing Bill O'Reilly? "Black President" AND "Hero"? You mean the song where he asked girls to call him the chiropractor because he works them like a Muay Thai class? That shit was barely a cut above LL's latest offering. Crazy stuff. Even Premo, whose taste is about what you would expect from the staleness of his beats of the last four years (certain exceptions notwithstanding), has a better top 20 list than this. (For starters, he had the wisdom to place Face's album 4th instead of 28th and to not rank the Nas abortion at all.)


So it's nice to see that, even though we apparently haven't won the war yet, NORE has his head on straight. NORE's an interesting figure - he came out making a grimy boom bap street record, highly derivative of Mobb Deep but a minor classic in its own right, and then he switched to Neptunes-anchored pop and lyrics that were either incredibly dumb or made absolutely no sense but sounded really fun anyway. I guess he was largely carried by his production in both stages of his career, but there are very few East Coast rappers who handled the change in the sound that hit in the late 90s as well as he did. So I think his opinions on rap have a certain amount of validity; this is a guy who's made classics with Premo and Marley Marl and classics with the Neptunes and Swizz. Anyway, today he showed up on his youtube channel to rant about a bunch of bullshit, and one thing he said struck me. "If you salute Big and you don't salute Lil Kim," he goes, "shoot yourself in the foot! If you salute Big and you don't salute Puff, shoot yourself in the foot!" (See below, 2:52-4:00).



Now, here at Pay Tray we don't take music that seriously, but he is so right. It's really fucking late in the day to worship Big and dismiss Kim and Puff as some ghostwritten hacks, or pay lip service to Face and Pimp C (easy now that they're retired and dead) and snicker at the rest of the Houston rap scene, or give a vote to 'Put On' in a top songs of the year blogger poll and ignore the rest of Jeezy's catalogue when a couple years ago he was making little throwaway mixtape freestyles that shit on that overrated piece of emo-crapola. This whole "I don't listen to anything that's even remotely non-true-school unless it meets my exacting bullshit standards" attitude [where "exacting bullshit standards" usually looks like (a) "the country-ass/commercial rapper surprised me and used a lot of big words and big words impress me because I'm an idiot," or (b) "he vaguely alluded to politics, which also impresses me because I'm an idiot," or (c) "he's dead so giving him his props can't Destroy Hip-Hop now" or (d) "he got a guest appearance from some washed-up rapper I like who's much worse than he is, but I'm too stupid to realize that and actually think 'My President Is Black' is a better song because Nas was on it"] needs to stop. This isn't 1995 and you're not Jeru The Damaja. And speaking of Kim, she has a great verse on this remix of 'Pop Champagne.'

8 comments:

Badmon3333 said...

Whoever voted for Heltah Skeltah's 'D.I.R.T' on that Rapcritics list should be put to death. Cube's album was pretty ass, as well. Most of my other arguments involve placement (Q-Tip not NEARLY as high, J-Live up a few spots, etc.)

I've never dismissed Lil' Kim. 'Hard Core' is still probably the best female rap album I have (got a soft spot for Princess Superstar, but she's more shticky/interesting than out-and-out good, plus she didn't have Nashiem Myrick crafting bangers for her). I have plenty of respect for Puff as both a label head and businessman, but ghostwritten or not, he's still an awkward rapper.

tray said...

Yeah, a very awkward rapper but one who played a big role in crafting some classic hits, and this may seem retarded but I like his verse on Mo Money Mo Problems the best. Especially the last line, bigger than the city lights down in Times Square, yeah, yeah, yeah. And No Way Out and Press Play are great albums. Kim's practically a minor legend, it's a shame she fucked Scott Storch, fucked up her face, and put out a bad album to which the Source gave five mics, not a good look, but it isn't her fault they were paid off.

Badmon3333 said...

I think Puff recognized the potential of the sound/style/image Jay-Z had crafted with 'Reasonable Doubt,' and actually beat him to the punch in taking it to that massive crossover level on 'No Way Out,' which preceded the 'Volume' series by six months or so.

As a rapper, he's got his moments. I like his verse on "The World is Filled," from 'Life After Death,' but that's prob'ly mostly the beat...

Renato Pagnani said...

What's wrong with D.I.R.T.? I included it on my ballot, albeit in the last spot.

tray said...

I have nothing particular against D.I.R.T., but I do generally detest all these Boot Camp comebacks. Especially the first Smif-N-Wessun one, as I had the highest hopes for it.

Badmon3333 said...

What's wrong with DIRT... hmm, well, let's start with the R. Kelly Sex Mask and the Superman capes on the Pen & Pixel cover. And let's end with there not really being even a half-dozen good songs on the whole album.

Badmon3333 said...

Unfortunately, only Buckshot seems to have come out of the BCC unscathed. Maybe OGC, but they haven't put out a record for a decade or more, and I'm pretty sure they're probably all Buck's weed carriers at this point.

tray said...

Even OGC's first album isn't really that good.