Beef Watch: Common v Drake

(via the Fader)                                                                                                                          (pic via Fader)

Alriggghhhttt!  It has been so long since we have had a real life hip hop hatefest.  Yes, fans are great at letting an artist know when they are being terrible (i.e. Waka Flacka Flame every goddamn minute of the day.  Did you know he has a new video out called “Rooster in My Rari” starring a 6ft tall rooster?  God in heaven!.) but when is the last time we had a good diss track?  Ok, maybe this happens all the time but they are always entertaining.

This newest duel seems to be a little one sided.  In the red corner is Common, one of the most respected figures on scene and one of the few who was around when the diss track was a common weapon in the hip hoppers arsenal.  Over in this corner, which is a pale lavender that has been gently brushed with tears, is Drake.  Young, naive, former Canadian child star, Drake.  I have tried my best to make it crystal clear how unabashedly mediocre he is but, alas, the people do not seem to hear me so I guess I am going to have to let Common take him down for me.

After you listen to the two tracks (Drake’s shot and Common’s reply, which is over the same goddamn track) I feel like the winner is obvious, after round one anyway.  Their approaches are very different.  Drake beats around the bush a bit.  His disses are vague and tentative.  A scared kid hiding behind a wall of manufactured braggadocio and Rick Ross’ homeless beard.  I’m guessing when he sees how overmatched he is he will claim that he wasn’t talking about Common at all.

Common, on the other hand, is straight to the point.  The man is nothing if not confident and he seems very comfortable in this role.  Its like a dad scolding his kid.  His best line:   “Make no mistake.  I’m talkin’ about Drake.”  This is a man.  I can’t wait for the response.

By the way, I have no idea what this is about.  Its probably over something really important.  I’ll keep you posted.

(via Pigeons and Planes)

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Shabazz Palaces Live

I have already begged all of you to go out and listen to Shabazz Palaces.  I won’t beg anymore.  One thing I will do is give you the opportunity to see a live performance.  The difference between a Shabazz Palaces live show and most other hip hop shows is that a Shabazz Palaces show doesn’t suck.

As a general rule hip hop is terrible live.  Too often it just degenerates into a bunch of guys yelling.  All intricacies of the language tend to get lost.  Yeah, yeah there are always exceptions.  I’m sure that one time you saw that one guy was the “best show ever.”  You don’t have to agree with me.  But watch the video below and then compare it to this video of Drake, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross performing “I’m On One,” a song I have already said that I like and currently number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

The album version is great but you can see how much time is spent in the studio making average artists sound good.  Listen to how flat and tuneless Drake’s voice is without auto tune and just try to resist the urge to fast forward through Ross screaming his verse (I know I couldn’t).  Its all the same performers, so why doesn’t the song translate from the studio to the live venue?

(via Gorilla vs. Bear)

DJ Khaled – I’m On One ft. Drake, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross

I know I am going to catch hell for posting a DJ Khaled track but I’m going to have to.  This is a strange situation for me because I am not a fan of anyone involved here.  Drake gets credit for being able to rap and sing even though he can’t do either (every one of his tracks is autotuned to death),  Rick Ross is great at rhyming his name with boss but not much else,  Lil Wayne continues to be the most over hyped artists in hip hop today (just because he calls himself the “greatest rapper alive” doesn’t mean its true), and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I dislike DJ Khaled (for fun some time google “what does DJ Khaled do?” and see how many hits you get).  Honestly, if the song didn’t make The Playlist over at Pitchfork I wouldn’t have given it a second look.

Now all that is out of the way, and hopefully I still have a little of my indie street cred left, this song is great.  It just is.  Yes it is about drugs and sex.  “All I care about is money in the city that I’m from/Im’ma sip until I feel it/Im’ma smoke until its done,” as Drake’s hook goes.  Sure its not breaking any new ground but its the hip hop equivalent of a summer blockbuster.  This song is like Thor while someone like Shabazz Palaces is more akin to the artier Black Swan.  Its entertainment you don’t have to think to much about.  There is no satire or hidden meaning, just sit back and enjoy it.

While all three guests manage to put out stellar verses the highlight of the track is the production by T-Minus and Noah “40” Shebib.  Those herky-jerky synths, when listened to alone, don’t sound like they would work for any of these artists but somehow they work for all three.

So, here you go everyone, your first summer blockbuster.  Whether you like it or not.