Sum Ish R Wrote – 2.16.15

My lame once every few month update average needs to improve, or I need to shut down the site. I’m paying the cost of spotify a month to keep the page up, ha!

YEAR IN REVIEW REAL QUICKLY THOUGH: I’ll do this quickly, because those clickbait articles aren’t worth your time.  Album of the Year? D’angelo and the motherfucking Vanguard “Black Messiah.”  Seriously, a surprise D’angelo album was the best christmas gift ever.  I finally understand the insanity that Beyonce fans felt when her album dropped out of nowhere.   This album is syrupy soul goodness with incredible production and good lyrics.  Actually, I cant tell if all the lyrics are solid because D’angelo remains his loveable mumble bumble self.  He gives fast talking mumblers like myself hope.  Honorable Mentions for 2014: Run the Jewels 2 (duh), Isaiah Rashad “Cilvia Demo” (dont sleep, best TDE release this past year), Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, J-Zone, Blueprint, Ratking, Von Pea, etc.

2015 is starting off cold physically, but on the music tip, it’s hot fire. First worthy of discussion is this impressive Lupe Fiasco Tetsuo and Youth album which feels like honest progression from an artist that was making me sleepy after The Cool.  I liked a few tracks on Lasers and Food and Liquor 2, but overall both albums are very forgettable.  The rap/rock track attempts were  super abrasive.  I literally dont know anyone who wasnt in college or had no real responsibilities who bumped those records like they were any good.  This new joint features more cohesive production from talents like S-1 and DJ Dahi, and Lupe is suuuuuuuper lyrical on this one.  It sometime dances on the line of intelligent wit (see El-P) and complete bablore (see Canibus post-2000 BC), but man he snaps with a purpose throughout this record. “Murals” is a 8 minute lyrical barrage.  ”Deliver”, “Prisoner 1 & 2″, and “Madonna” focus on the trials and tribulations that face poor folks stuck in downtrodden neighborhoods.  Funny how Lupe has delivered his best music on this topic when he is probably at his wealthiest.  It is hard to believe the guy behind “Kick, Push” is pushing you to think like he is here.  Make no joke, this record is high brow, this album is going to drive hella ad revenue to RapGenius as fans try to dissect Lupe’s intricate wordplay.  ”Dots and Lines” is arguably my favorite Lupe track e-e-ever.  Wonderful soulful track with a wacky banjo intro and outro, but damnit it works.  Easily 4.5/5 for me and worth your money.

The long awaited debut from NYC-throwback king Joey Bada$$ B4da$$ has finally hit the webs/streets. I loved how Pro Era got a bump from a picture by elder Obama daughter, Malia.  My first thought is wow, it is great how the President and First Lady have such awesome taste in Hip-Hop!  Like, they probably grew up with Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, and have instilled good music tastes for their kids.  Malia is arguably the most famous 15 yr old in the country, and she rocks with boom-bap Hip-Hop instead of mindless Taylor Swift.  That’s damn cool, right?  This album overall is pretty solid too.  Joey is a clever emcee, and he is able to get some sweet production from Kirk Knight, DJ Premier, and Freddie Joachim.  I’ve been bumping Freddie Joachim beats since my college days, and it’s wonderful to see him get such major play.  His production on “Waves” was the foundation of the buzz for Joey, and he has produced the best joints on here in my opinion in “On & On” and “Piece of Mind.”   None of these tracks (albeit on one listen) grab me like Lupe, but Joey knows how to ride a beat and drop a hot verse.  It’s clear that the classic, golden-era boom bap Hip-Hop inspires Joey.  His album reeks of that inspiration, but yet isnt quite as inspirational as those classics.  I do think he is capable of that greatness, evident on tracks like “Save the Children” and “On and On”.  3.5-4/5 for me, wortgh your cop.

Speaking of spending money, it’s funny how I talk about buying albums but I haven’t bought a physical album in a hot minute.  My wife and I pay for Spotify for like 15 dollars a month, and I have access to crazy amounts of music everywhere. This begs the question though – am I a shitty fan?  I’m going to more shows these days (Aesop Rock soon!), but I seem to only pre-order or buy albums of artists I know or have known for mad years.  It’s funny how we all talk about how there is no money in music, and that shit is a lie. The money is just shifting from purchases of albums to purchases of licenses of services like Spotify.  If I’m a new artist, I’m making sure the contract gives me a fair share of the licensing fees from services like Spotify, Beats music, etc.  That digital performance right isnt a joke man, gotta take advantage of the future of music.

Action Bronson absolutely body-slammed his Funk Flex appearance, and has released some solid singles including the souulfooool and smooth “Terry“.   The album’s production is key, because Bronsolino has always been an entertaining cat.  Part of me wonders, would Action be as huge if he wasnt a white guy?  Dont get me wrong, he is an insanely hilarious character with incredible rhyming skill, but do you think a young Ghostface (a guy Action reminds everyone of) would generate this buzz in 2015?  I mean Ghost just dropped a good album “36 Seasons”, and is about to drop another with funk/jazz trio badbadnotgood.  (Check “Ray Gun” though).  Either way, I root for Action Bronson because he has always come off as authentic.

Kanye West has had himself a week.  From faux-interrupting Beck’s acceptance for Album of the Year at the Grammmy’s to his NY Fashion Show appearance, he has been dominating the airwaves.

Quick note about the fashion show: Kanye looked like he is designing clothes for homeless mannequins in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.   When I see these models, I dont see beauty or fashion, I see “this is what those humans in Zion from the Matrix movies would look like if you put a tan cloth condom over their entire body.”   I found it weird that a backpack rapper like Kanye evolved into a fashionista over the years.  But I guess if this is considered “successful fashion” it appears all you need is a brash persona, the ability to condescend easily, and charge people a lot of money.   Kanye got all that in spades.

Honestly though, lost in the hooplah is the release of new music in the form of “Wolves” and the Paul McCartney-assisted “Only One.”   Kanye has gone back to his version of singing over really good production provided by other people, and while it isn’t exactly “Hip-Hop”, the overall product is strong.   I wonder if Kanye doesnt think he can drop a traditional rap album that would meet the quality of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, so he is just like f*ck it, experimental music from now on.

Drake did that thing where he dropped a surprise album out of nowhere in the form of “If You’re Reading this, oh my god this title is too long and narcissistic” (or something like that).  Really, as the main man Gene Legend said, this album should be called “Everything Sounds the Same.”   Besides “10 Bands”, “Know Yourself”, and the bonus cut at the end where Drake is rhyming with a purpose (yeah I said it) the tracks are hard to discern from each other.  The Drake formula of no real drums, just soft trap 808s + singy-song rap verse  + emotions sells like a mofo though, so I guess I cant knock what works for the masses.  But this isnt an album I’d listen to regularly, and it almost sounds like that’s the point. Lil Wayne’s anger with Cash Money Records is well known at this point and maybe Drake releasing what sounds like cutting room floor/mixtape tracks in advance of his latest album is a smart way of trying to dead that contract.

Random thought about the presidency: There are random seven year olds out there who are children of racists who only know the U.S. Presidency as occupied by a black man.

So we cancelled cable last month and I have to say, overall, it’s been pretty solid.  You can chromecast most TV shows on major networks and the only real loss is sports.  I end up going to a bar or a friend’s place to watching meaningful sports games. I didnt realize how much time I wasted watching sports that didnt matter to me.  This goes beyond random college basketball games, it’s not listening to sports coverage which is the biggest gain.  Shows like First Take, Around the Horn, etc appeal to like our most base instincts of shitting on people we dont know for how they throw/catch balls.  I’ve enjoyed just watching games, reading an article here and there, and escaping all of that negativity.

Ok so I legit do feel bad about not writing much as I get shamed by friends and fam, but I especially feel awful for not writing anything positive on the anniversary of Dave’s passing.  To that end, I’d like to talk about a mutual friend and talented emcee Kenn Starr who just released his sophomore album, Square One. Ya’ll should know Kenn Starr for his stellar debut Starr Status and the fact he rhymed on the D. Ellis tribute track produced by 9th Wonder.   His debut was released the year Dave passed and it’s great to hear him release another record.  His latest album boasts production from Black Milk, Kev Brown, and more.  Seriously, that should be enough to inspire a purchase.  Peep the official video for “Say Goodbye” produced by Black Milk and the entire album at Mello Music Group.

-big R

Belated birthday wishes to D. Ellis + Other Thoughts

Happy Belated to D. Ellis

I know what you are thinking, this website has about a four post per yer year average and that’s so…laaaaaaaaame, and you aren’t kidding.  I’ll blame it on my wedding this year and an overall malaise about writing about rap music.  Excuses aside, I actually had a writing/mix planned for Dave Ellis’s bday like I normally do.  But this year, I had issues with logging into the webpage to update it.  Turns out the website I assume gets one visitor day was a big enough target … that it got hacked!!   Big shout out to friend and web designer Younghoon for helping me fix the issue.   Lesson learned – don’t make the password something obvious (literally the name of the website, damnit).

Anyhow, this past weekend I was back at the family house helping my mom clean out the home in preparation for the move.  Anyone who has helped a parent move out of a house after the other parent has passed know it’s a really heavy task, and opening each closet door or old suitcase unleashed a flood of serrated emotions.  On this past trip, I found old, dusty copy of a newspaper with the title – PIRATE’S EYE.  This was the paper that had the write-up on Dave’s passing done by our high school.  I was preparing for the wave of emotions of seeing my Dad’s stuff, but the paper came outta nowhere.  The article focused on what we all knew about Dave – how much he was loved by his friends, and how he shared his love of music to everyone.  I was quoted in this article talking about Dave’s impact being lifelong.

I wonder eight years later how strong that impact remains.  I still love Hip-Hop.  I still maintain his website (very poorly, I’ll admit).  I called my wife after all this packing and talked about Dave, and then it hit me: we started dating years after Dave passed and yet, she knows exactly who I’m talking about when I talk about Dave.  That’s a pretty damn powerful impact if you ask me.

Peace to the main Dave Ellis and now let’s talk about some Kim Kardashian stunts, blunts, and hip-hop.

Other Thoughts

  • Kim Kardashian’s efforts to break the internet were remarkable for a number of reasons: #1 She went viral posing nude when the world has already seen her have sex as of 2007.  She is selling a lesser product and still making waves. #2 Olive oil stock must have shot up after this photo.  #3 Her goal was to break the internet, and she failed.  Truly, the only group of people capable of breaking the internet is the U.S. Congress.
  • On to music, where Run The Jewels is absolutely killing it.  El-P’s rebirth as a producer of more accessible beats coupled with Killer Mike has made these two into household names.  Slate.com has had headline articles on the group.  My friend who primarily listens to country is well aware of Run the Jewels, which is probably the strongest evidence of the group’s mainstream popularity.   I was able to convince my wife to dress up as Run the Jewels/Meow the Jewels for Halloween.  Not to mention, their second album is probably the album of the year (RTJ 1 was my album of the year last year).  The production remains glorious and loud, and the subject matter has greatly improved. “Early” and “Crown” are fantastic, intelligent songs that make me feel like RTJ is filling a void left open by Public Enemy.  Also, Meow the Jewels will probably break the internet.
  • As artists recognize that no one really buys music anymore, a new strategy of collaboration and free releases appear to be the way to garner new fans and new revenue opportunities.  Run the Jewels is the clear example of this strategy, but other artists are joining in.  The Cunninlynguists and Grouch & Eligh are about to embark on a tour, and they decided it would be a good idea to release a “name your price” collaborative EP called WinterFire.  ”Gas Station Attendant” is my jammy jam off this freelease.
  • The DMV has released a number of solid releases this past year, and more are upcoming.  The Diamond DistrictMarch on Washington” LP is great; Hassan Mackey & Kev Brown have a great record; and this yU and SlimKat collabo LP ain’t nothing to sneeze at either.  Also, the main man Kenn Starr is about to release an album following up to the criminally slept on Starr Status LP.
  • Here is “Movement II” with Kev Brown on the beat:



  • Quick thoughts on the NBA season so far.  As a fan of a team in the Western Conference that isn’t the Lakers, I usually root against the Lakers.  To be honest, with the way the Lakers started the season, I was having trouble enjoying their miserable play.  Kobe looked visibly depressed chucking up shots like he was auditioning to play JR Smith in a biopic.  I dont want to watch a documentary about a gazelle that I know is going to get mauled by a bunch of lions, so I wasn’t particularly enjoying their poor play.  Then they beat my Rockets, and all integrity I now have is now out the window.  The popcorn is out for the very unceremonious departure of an All-time great in Kobe, who is throwing enough bricks this season to house the homeless this Xmas.  Also it would be the the most Cleveland thing ever if LeBron James ends up being mediocre after his return.
  • The downfall of Bill Cosby has been a major news story this past week.  It appears decades of rape allegations have finally turned public opinion against the comic.  Everyone sorta knew about these allegations, but without a conviction, Cosby has been able to dodge any real harm.  One of his alleged victims wrote a pretty intense article worth your time which highlights why he was able to skate so long on the thin ice.  When you have a huge star like Cosby and alleged victims that are young and want to make it big in Hollywood, it is easy to avoid trouble by using legal settlement and other tactics.   I live near Ben’s Chili Bowl, which is arguably the landmark restaurant in DC, and it features a giant mural of Cosby.  I live on a block where Cosby is revered, and it is a shame that reverence may have been used in part to sexually assault people.   Cosby, for now, is losing out on money from a NBC sitcom / Netflix special.   However, famed statutory rapist R. Kelly, appears to still have a strong career regardless of all the allegations he’s faced.   I think maybe because Cosby is even more mainstream than R. Kelly, he’ll face greater scrutiny and likely end up leaving this Earth hated.  He has had no real response to the allegations because I guess no amount of zippity bows and Jello pudding pops can defend him or save his legacy.
  • I don’t like people who are scared of things like Ebola and ISIS, yet don’t get a flu shot.
  • Real quick To Big K.R.I.T. – your album Cadillactica has like 3 or 4 songs that are reminiscent of old school Outkast, please try to emulate this formula going forward. (The title track and “Lac Lac” for example). To J. Cole – I hope your next album which apparently has no singles is actually as good as your previous mixtapes.  And to Black Milk, you just released another incredible album worthy of 9.99 on itunes.  I’m not the biggest fan of the double-time rap, but “For What It’s Worth” hits the spot.
  • Lost in the hoopla of Run the Jewels and all the other albums released this fall is the Wu renaissance we are facing.  First, the group plans to release A Better Tomorrow on December 2nd, which is right around the corner.  The leaked singles range from promising to boring, even for a hardcore Wu fan.  I like “Ruckus in B Minor” with Rick Rubin’s production, but I really dig the grimey, almost medieval sounding “Necklace” that reminds me of the cave-dwelling grime of “Careful, Click Click.”   The greatest rap group evermay be able to release an album worth the excitement of the name of the Wu which really hasn’t happened since The W. For some reason, Ghostface Killah is also about to release an album on December 9 entitled 36 Seasons.  It features production from a band called the Revelations.  The production is reminiscent of the Adrian Younge collabo, but sounds a bit more energetic and the record features 5 AZ guest verses and three guest verses from Kool G RAp.  ”Battlefield” and “Double Cross” are awesome.   It’s going to be a good Christmas because it looks like we will have not only one, but two, good Wu-Tang affiliated albums.   Winter 2014 is looking like WU season, bududududu.

Alright y’all, be good and safe.

Big R



Sum Ish I Finally Wrote – 7.20.14

A four month hiatus? Damn, I’m slacking after spending all the time getting this new website up. I’ll blame the marriage-industry complex taking up most of my time as I’m about to get married in like two weeks. Having to plan and pay for a wedding has led me to believe that kids shouldn’t go to grad school, they should just become wedding planners or wedding vendors. That business is straight cash homie. OK excuses aside, here are a few rambling thoughts:

Sum Ish I Wrote -

Common’s new album Nobody’s Smiling is the most accurate title for an album this year, because most fans won’t be smiling after listening to this mish-mashed/meh record.  This website is named after a Common song, “Sum Ish I Wrote”, so obviously I have an affinity for Lonnie.   When I learned Common was releasing a new album featuring NO ID production, I automatically gave the record high expectations.  Resurrection is a Hip-Hop classic, and Common’s latest with NO ID The Dreamer, The Believer wasn’t half-bad.  The lead singles which featured Vince Staples like “Kingdom” got me hype, but the record simply doesn’t deliver.  It’s like he is trying to be “Chiraq”, conscious, and grown and sexy all at the same time.  The album lacks a theme or grabbing music, which is disappointing considering the emcee and producer behind the project.  Common will always be the boy, there are a few cool tracks, but I can’t say I’m feeling his new record as a whole.   Can someone convince me otherwise?  As a PS, Vince Staples is the boy and mirks his verses on this album.

My favorite part of the Solange / Jay-Z elevator fiasco was the fact that Beyonce was in the elevator the entire time doing absolutely nothing.  I wonder what was going on in her head at that time.  Maybe she was thinking Jay-Z deserved the blows thrown his way for philandering done on his part.    Maybe she was thinking about how the pyramids could have been built by man when each stone weighs like 10 tons (illuminati?).  Either way, seems like the family Knowles has moved on from this event.  My only hope from all of this is that it gives Solange’s career a boost, because of the three, she is making the most interesting music.  If you don’t agree, I dare you to name 5 songs from Jay-Z’s last album.

The worst “controversy” of this year is the Hot 97/ Peter Rosenberg vs. Chuck D beef centered around Hot 97 and corporate radio’s poor radio rotation.  Chuck D said that Hot 97 should dedicate more air time to local artists.  Here is why that’s a losing argument – Hot 97 isn’t a indie radio station, it’s a limb of a corporate entity.  They are trying to get VH1 money with reality shows and play shit mainstream labels give them.  They dont have a choice.  I know Peter’s taste in Hip-Hop, it isn’t what he plays on the morning show.  But, saying Chuck D trolling wasn’t a good look for him and I’m happy Peter apologized and all that shit can be put to rest.  Lost in this useless argument is the fact that we as fans dont need radio stations like Hot 97 to do anything.  We have the ultimate radio station – the internet.  Spotify. Soundcloud. Countless blogs with links.  This isn’t the 80′s when fans needed radio to introduce them to a diverse array of music, there are so many opportunities to find different music so easily now.  Sure this diaspora will favor only certain artists getting huge through mainstream radio, but as a fan, my only goal is to find music I like.   Whoever benefits the most isn’t my chief concern.  Using the radio to find new music is like using a boat to travel the Atlantic, it’s just outdated with all the new technology out there.

2014 has been a weak year overall for Hip-Hop.  By this juncture there is usually a few Hip-Hop LP’s that compel multiple listens weekly.  Perhaps I was so mad at Common’s record, because it could have filled that role of “jewel of the year.”  What are the best Hip-Hop albums of the year?  For me, probably Freddie Gibbs / Madlib and Isaiah Rashad attempt to fill that void the best.  Madlib’s beats on Freddie Gibbs LP are immaculate, and the record flows pretty damn well with Freddie being one of the only emcees able to ride Madlib’s beats properly.  While I went bonkers over this record at first, it has slowly fell out of rotation.  I still dig the Isaiah Rashad album, as it reminds me of old Outkast.  His flow and choice of production are super refreshing, and he has quickly become my favorite rapper on the TDE label.  But what else can you consider as a great rap album in 2014?

I bought the Skyzoo/Torae collabo LP off the strength of their name, but the album ended up being kinda…boring?  Sometimes I think Skyzoo thinks he is Whitney Houston or Mary J Blige the way he drops this monotonous, repetitive choruses.  Both emcees rip tracks, but I dont know, the album doesnt command me to keep bumping it.  Everyone else in NY (See A$AP) seems happy ripping off the South’s production and flow.  Whenever I listen to Hot 97 I feel completely out of touch with all the high-bpm/ heavy 808 knockin’ shit that reminds me of old Rap-A-Lot.  I guess that’s what the kids like these days, but kids these days suck anyhow.   Kids these days drink less and do less drugs than back in our day, and they appear to gravitate to weaker emcees repetitively rapping about drugs, violence, and sex (YG, Chief Keef, Big Sean, French Montana, Yung Lean, Wiz Khalifa, so on and so forth).   If I want party rap, I’m moving with Future anyhow.  I’m a pretty particular listener, so I dont expect the mainstream to deliver great albums for fans like me.  But we had Kendrick Lamar a few years back, Kanye’s joints, Chance the Rapper last year, etc – this year seems especially weak in this regard.

I suppose The Roots album is good, but it’s good music and doesnt feel like great Hip-Hop.  Black Thought barely has any strong verses on it, and feels closer to a Raheem DeVaughn/Bilal album than anything else.  Black Thought RIPS this track with Statik Selektah, Royce da 5’9, and Action Bronson, and that passionate lyricism is missing on the new Roots album.  I blame Jimmy Fallon.

If it’s not Hip-Hop, I find myself listening to hella St VincentMayer Hawthorneand Chromeo.  But, I’m absolutely craving boom-bap these days.  The buzz behind Your Old Droog’s EP was based on him sounding very close to Nas but lost in that buzz is the fact that this guy dropped one of the best rap EP’s of the year.  The guy’s flow is great and I love how he trolls fans by referencing Nas constantly.  Do yourself a favor and check this if you haven’t already.

When it comes to Hip-Hop, nothing is better than a fantastic performance live.  I was lucky enough to catch Nas’s first illmatic show with an orchestra at DC’s Kennedy Center.  It was probably the best concert I have ever been to, with Nas rapping the entirety of illmatic with a full orchestra backing.  It was a two hour show (!!) featuring the classic record and other classic joints (I lost my mind when he did his verse from “Live at the BBQ”).  I hope Nas can take this show on the road, because every Hip-Hop fan deserves a chance to catch this performance.   I just rolled with my fiancee to a De la Soul show in DC which was mad fun thanks to De La’s incredible energy.   Energy is the difference between a good show and a great show, and you couldn’t tell De La Soul are in their 40′s with the way they were hopping around on stage imploring fans to wyle out with them.

From a record sales perspective, Iggy Azalea has been killing it. “Fancy” is a super hit.  As is that song with Ariana Grande.  She can rhyme (sorta) and has great party beats behind her (“Work” is legit), but I wondered how the mainstream would accepted a white, Australian chick who sounds like she is merely copying a southern black girl’s accent.  America at first didnt care and has propelled her to star status.  Now it seems the summer of Iggy may be reaching a fall, as artists are starting to point out that perhaps she is giving less of an homage and just copping styles to make sales that only a white performer could do.   Iggy is attractive, a white person, and therefore becomes a more palatable rap artist for the mainstream.  That ruffles feathers.   Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.  Eminem was a beacon for criticism, and he never switched up his accent to sound different.  Iggy doesn’t need the more race conscious people behind her to make her money, but if the chorus of discontent is loud enough, it’ll drown out all of her “do dats.”

Apparently John Boehner is suing President Obama for using expanded powers.  President Obama may have violated the Constitution with this executive actions, but for the most part, he made these actions because Congress was more indignant than the unattractive cock-blocking friend of a girl you are trying to hit on.  There doesnt appear to be a real purpose to this other than trying to mar President Obama’s presidency.  It seems that the House GOP is more interested on shitting on President Obama than actually coming up with ideas to help the country.  You actually see these idiots blame President Obama for the recent plane attack disaster in Ukraine.  Delusional fucks.   Not just because you cant blame President Obama for everything wrong in their world, but it’s because trying to mar President Obama’s legacy is a losing battle.  In a decade or so, every major city will have an Obama Avenue, Obama Elementary, etc., just like JFK or MLK, JR.  Has he done as much as them? Probably not, but his status cannot be understated.  Also look at his objective record – he’s the first Black President.  He rebounded the economy after GWB, passed some form of health care reform, and killed Osama Bin Laden.  You can’t take that away from him, no matter how many lawsuits you bring against him.  You can definitely shit on him for the NSA and drones, but America doesn’t remember the details, only the big picture when it comes to leaders.  Clinton is revered right now and he copped a beejer with a big ass grin while President just like 20 years ago.   The GOP powers that be are trying to take shots at the future legend so their kids dont have to hear about President Obama in such a positive light, but it’s too late for that.  President Obama is like LeBron, he already got his title and history will reflect on him positively absent a real error on his ledger.

Riff Raff is a pretty terrible rapper, but god damnit, I can’t deny the illness that is “Introducing the Icon.” That beat is FIRE and Riff Raff is hilarious.

I really like Blueprint’s Respect the Architect. I forgot to shout this out earlier in the column, but you can cop it at your own price at Blueprint’s website.  I definitely recommend a purchase, this album is dope.

Ok, that’s enough ramblin’ for now.  Hopefully I’ll get a post before ye olde nuptials, but then again I disappeared for months.

Big R




So I’m lazy, have a great MF Doom mix I made

Ok so I’ve been swamped at work, I really want to talk about three incredible records – Isaiah Rashad, Vince Staples, and Freddie Gibbs/Madlib.  I’ll get on it soon, but until then – enjoy this MF Doom mix.


-big R

Review Haikus and other thoughts

It’s a snow day in DC, which gives me more time to give a quick review of all the new music that has hit us recently.  Plus thoughts on random sh*t.

Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron

A bit hit or miss,

Hits like “Break the Bank” are DOPE.

Overall, Schoolboy Cool.

Pharrell - G I R L

Prepare dancing shoes.

Summer vibes dropped in Winter,

Love that Daft Punk joint.

Rick Ross – Mastermind

King of finding beats,

His ad-libs are still on point,

Enjoyable stuff.

Yasiin Gaye - The Departure

Cool mash-up for sure,

with Mos Def and Marvin Gaye,

Soulful, dope, and free.

Currensy - The Drive-in Theatre

Smoke, smoke smoke, smoke, smoke,

smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke,

smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke,  jeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttsss

Thoughts on other sh*t:

Typically the NFL is pretty garbage on issues, like shoving the public financing of stadiums down America’s throats.  Also that whole lockout thing, but they stepped up on equality issues when it told Arizona that it would move the Super Bowl from Arizona to Tampa if Arizona passed its “religious freedom to be a jerk to gay people” bill.  It wasn’t good common sense that forced Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill, it was the fear of losing money.  Also, you know Arizona is a garbage place to live when the better alternative for the Super Bowl is Florida, the state where being scared of black people allows you to shoot them free of guilt.

I’m hot and cold on President Obama these days, but I loved his recent speech announcing “My Brother’s Keeper” program which focuses on providing at-risk youth with mentors so they can better navigate their tough circumstances.  Beyond the program which doesnt spend government money and appears to be a good idea, I’m impressed with the President’s candor when he admitted that he made bad choices and got high.   He wasnt punished for those mistakes at a disproportionate level like young poor kids today.  While this is a small step on inequality issues and I think he hasn’t been wonderful on these matters, I’m glad we have a President who can be himself on certain issues at least.

I know I already did my haiku reviews, but I have to say I’m legit surprised that I enjoy the Rick Ross album more than the Schoolboy Q on first listens of each.  Rick Ross just has an impeccable ears on beats.  And if you told me he rapped over a Biggie beat, I’d think that would be a bad move.  But “Nobody” came off flawless, Ross killed his verse and French Montana was perfect for that hook.   Kudos to Rozay for another solid record.

I saw Earl Sweatshirt live recently, and he killed it.  I was expecting a less hype show considering his discography, but dude came out with craaaazy energy.   The best part besides Earl himself, was his rhyming partner Vince Staples. He mirked his verse from “Hive” acapella.  He has a new mixtape coming out, mostly produced by NO ID, featuring the fireeeeee track “Nate” (produced by Scoop Deville).  Vince is the future, folks.

Ok, more lounging for me for now.  Peace out.

-Big R

Valentine’s Day Ode to the Filet-o-Fish

It’s Valentine’s Day, and my lady is out of the country visiting family – so I have to dedicate this to my first love, the Filet-o-Fish.  Sure, you may think it’s weird that I’m in love with the Fish Filet.  But after I had that first bite, I never really had a choice in the matter.

Our story begins before I was even born.  My dad moved to this country in the 70′s from rural South India.   He moved to Boston solo, to a land of strange cuisine.  When you are used to chicken curry, bland American food doesn’t cut it.  He told me that the one sandwich that agreed with him was the “Filet-o-Fish”; and he ate them pretty much everyday until Mom and rest of the family moved to the States.  So you see, my love and appreciation for the Filet-o-Fish was passed down like any other hereditary trait.  I never really had a choice in not loving the Filet-o-Fish, my genes were pre-wired to love it.

To the sandwich itself, and my is it a beautiful creation.  Let’s start with the bread.  The bread here is different than the bread in other McDonald’s burgers.  The bread was raised like it had a top-notch private education and was told that “anything is possible.”  Instead of going to Harvard Medical school, the bread decided to follow in the family business out of the love.

The fish in the sandwich is a perfect square of excellence.  You take a bite out of the fish and you feel the exhilaration of the good parts of the movie “Finding Nemo”, all up in your mouth.

The tartar sauce isn’t too hard to explain, tartar and fish go together like peanut butter & Jelly, Jordan and Pippen, Justin Bieber and poor decisions.  But it’s the cheese that puts it over the top.  You have yourself a fish sandwich, but it’s that motherf*cking cheese that take a fish sandwich to the Filet-o-Fish.   The cheese transforms the sandwich from a mundane plain Jane to a tasteful nude scene in a HBO series (True Detective, holla).

Like any good partner, the Filet-o-Fish is flexible.  Replace that tartar with ketchup.  Get wild and throw some fries in the sandwich.  The Filet-o-Fish loves you no matter how you get down with it.

You’ll criticize my love of the sandwich because it is a chemical creation of McDonald’s scientists.  That doesn’t knock down the fish filet in my eyes.  The Filet-o-Fish is just chemically perfect.   Grab your lady/dude if you got one.  Grab a Filet Fish no matter what.  It’ll be a good Valentine’s Day, bet.

- Big R

Sum Ish I Wrote – 2.13.14

Been a while, I was out sick and working 12 hour days.  That’s that shit I dont like.  Among other things really, here is a list of things I’m not feeling with some positives to end though.

That’s the Sh*t I Dont Like:

The almost Zimmerman vs. DMX fight – I took to the social medias (facebook and twitter) railing on the potential fight between George Zimmerman and DMX.  I legitimately think if this fight happened, it would mark a low point in American history from a pop/social perspective.  We would have celebrated a man whose sole claim to fame is killing an unarmed teenage black kid.   The concept of the fight was so disgusting to me, that I suggested someone needs to pay DMX more than what the promoter would have paid him to PREVENT him from fighting George Zimmerman.

Number one, this fight is not a good look for society.  Number two, DMX can’t afford a lawyer right now, let alone boxing training or protein.  He could have legit got mopped by Zimmerman.  He was supposedly going to get 1 million dollars – if he agreed to the fight formally, I’d hope  Jay-Z/Beyonce or someone else of that ilk would have paid him silently to not do the fight.

In the end, Damon Feldman (the promoter) backed away from a big payday and cancelled the fight.  Thank god.  I try to put myself in Trayvon Martin’s family’s shoes.  They are trying to move forward after the tragedy and what they feel is a miscarriage of justice, and this shit hits the news.  How would it honor Trayvon to have a random ass rapper fight Zimmerman?  Zimmerman gets paid, his “Fame” continues, and his repugnant presence continues to pollute society.

You dont deal with Zimmerman like this.  You dont talk about murdering him either.  That is stooping to his level, we are f*cking better than that.  Batman didn’t kill for a reason, ya’ll.  What do we do?  We choose to ignore him.   Let him live his life in misery, absent a wife who just left him and with the only financial support being from racists buying his shitty paintings.

Something tells me this isn’t the last we’ll hear from him.  He has a sneaky good PR team – I mean, how is he getting these opportunities in the first place?  Let’s hope I’m wrong about that though…

OK that’s pretty much the only thing I don’t like, now to things I like:

Step Brothers LP – Alchemist & Evidence team up for what I expected to be more like a Dilated Peoples album, but instead was more comedic/non-serious than anything.  The beats on here are proper, and there are some legit funny points in this album.  Maybe it’s the influence of cats like Action Bronson, but it is clear the LA emcee/producers are having fun with this album.  The gem to me is the first track “More Wins…” with a trademark booming Alchy beat.  The features on here are smart/fierce, particularly Action on “Mums on the Garage” and actor Scott Caan on “Byron G.”  Rhymesayers has been on a run as of late, and Step Brothers continues in that vein.  To be honest, this is the last rap album I bought in what feels like months.

The next album I likely buy, Schoolboy Q – And his tracklist for Oxy Moron just leaked.  The leaked tracks “Man of the Year”, “Collard Greens” are all fresh.  ”Break the Bank” (prod by Alchemist”) is surface on the planet Mercury fuego.  Apparently 50 Cent is the special guest on Oxy Moron, which is a great move for 50 Cent.  His last lead single wasn’t half bad, people were just kind of over his exaggerations of violence.  I think Kanye changed the landscape in that regard, making it easier for rappers to be themselves and not caricatures.  Peace to College Dropout by the way, which turned ten years old.   Anyhow, I expect this is the next album I’ll be buying, as Q has put together a solid roster of producers and features.

KILLA CAM SEASON IS BACK – It appears the dapper pink fur don from Harlem, Cam’Ron, is about to release a new EP with DJ A-Trak.  ”Humphrey” recently leaked, and it is soulful like syrup on a pancake served in the 1970′s.   Party Supplies co-produced this jam, which feels like a throwback Dip-set joint.   Cam’Ron also apparently has a new line of CAPES that he featured as part of Fashion Week in New York.  That’s right – CAPES.  I now know what I want for Christmas already.  Cam’ron is on another level man.

The Winter Olympics – is usually I could give two shits about.  This time, however, my friends set up a giant gambling pool betting on 32 events with a winner-take all for whoever gets the most medals.  My passive interest has turned to sleepless nights watching downhill skiiing hoping my pick gets a medal.  I’m not sure what the moral of the story is other than gambling makes everything better.

Phantogram’s new LP – is now streaming on NPR and it is awesome.  Who is Phantogram?  It’s indie rock type shit, but they got BEATS.  They were the main force behind Big Boi’s last solo LP, and they craft some marvelous shit.  Well worth the listen, folks.

OK, that’s it for now – a special Valentine’s day post is coming tomorrow.

Peace peace peace

Big R


Vince Young Fan Fiction

This is Vince Young’s diary.  Written on the second day of the second month of a year I could give a shit about.  I’m in my humble Houston abode.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I feel relaxed because of the music I’m listening to right now.  My Evanescence Pandora Radio Station is my saving grace.  People expect me to be a Hip-Hop fan because you see me in Mike Jones videos, but Hip-Hop doesn’t capture my id., no the morose, heavenly, deep, devilish, rocking music of Evanescence is what moves my spirit.  It really WAKES ME UP.

I’m getting sidetracked, STUPID, STUPID VINCE.  Again, another Super Bowl goes on without my presence.  I dont know why I even bother watching anymore.

I’m beyond jealousy of the competing QB’s in the game.  I’m not on a NFL roster even though I have a winning record as a starting QB and I’m broke because I essentially invested my earnings with Nigerian Princes.  I mean, they said they were royalty – I thought I was investing with the guys Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall were playing in Coming to America.

I dont know why my chances in the league dried up.  Maybe it’s my psyche.  When Peyton Manning misses a pass, he is upset at himself and wonders how he can correct his next throw.  When I miss a pass, I think about whether or not if the blood in my body could fill a tub.  Also, I hate when people call me suicidal, that’s a big misunderstanding.  I’m not jealous or angry really.  I’m I’m like Eeyore, watching Winnie the Russell Wilson dancing in honey and adulation.  I just wanted a little honey for my breakfast toast, that’s all.

I hate when people make fun of my intelligence because of my Wonderlic score.  The Wonderlic.  The Wonderlic doesnt throw touchdowns, win national championships, or run a fast .40.  I’m not stupid, the test is stupid.  And who cares if I didnt ace this test?  I’m trying to be a NFL QB, not a world leader or anything.  Let’s give George W. Bush the wonderlic, I doubt he lights it up.

I feel like Waylon Smithers, constantly overlooked and never appreciated.  I dont know who feels bad for Tebow, he tripped into a playoff victory in a nice city like Denver.  I played in Tennessee, a state that takes pride in not teaching evolution and pushing intelligent design.  The problem was my coach, Fuhrer Fisher, did not intelligently design a gameplan for me.   Now Fisher is with St Louis, underachieving per usual, yet earning big contracts.

No, I’m not bitter or anything.  I’m just tired of being so good at football without a football job.  I miss my time as a Texas Longhorn.  I chose Texas as my football destination because I’m like the Longhorn.   The longhorn lives a life for the sole purpose of being eaten as a burger after a gruesome death.  I lived my life apparently to be chewed up and spit out by the media and NFL.

I’m not sad.  I just want a chance.  I’m the orphan Annie in a world of asshole Richie Riches and King Joffreys.  Give me a chance, there is no way I’ll disappoint you as much as I disappoint myself.

OK Diary, I have some Avenged Sevenfold to listen to before bed.

Vince out.