Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sanga Turnt Rappa?

So you're a 21 year old Pop star with the world at his feet but it all gets taken away after you lay the smackdown on your Pop Diva girlfriend. Now, you're a blog pariah and radio has all but ignored your last album. Many say your career is over. How do you go about repairing your fractured reputation?

Do what Chris Brown did. Become a rapper & make a mixtape.

I mean, where else is beating a woman down not only acceptable but worthy of a pat on the back? R. Kelly's legacy was only strengthened by his penchant for urinating on teenage girls. Mystikal raped a woman and the fans are awaiting his new single with baited breath.

But I digress. Back to the mixtape.

Chris Brown has flirted with rap before on songs like David Banner's Get Like Me and a few mixtape joints in the past but this is the first time he's really stepped out in full on rapper mode. And he's not by himself. L.A.'s Tyga (a.k.a. the only cat on Young Money besides Drake & Nicki who had a career going before they signed with Wayne) steps in to co-captain this effort and if I had to take a guess, I'd say he played a heavy hand in the writing/structuring of CB's rhymes. The two's verses are damn near interchangeable. Surprisingly, Chris can actually flow, even though his punches sometimes leave much to be desired (i.e: "Just keep your eyes on, got a whole buncha niggas behind me wearin' red, Verizon". Ugh!). Tyga is obviously very comfortable rapping and his verses tend to ground the mixtape somewhat. I don't know what an entire mixtape of Chris Brown rapping would sound like but the duo function best when Tyga is on the rhymes & Chris slips back into "Sanga" mode on the bridges & hooks. Don't get it twisted. Even though this tape is billed as Brown's "Rap Debut", it's still very R&B at spots. The songs deal with some standard teeny bopper topics (i.e. falling in love, dealing with an ex, etc.), the sorta stuff you'd find on Bow Wow & Omarion's Face Off album, except it's good and there's an adult edge that makes it listenable for the 25 & over crowd. The production (handled by newbies KMack & Jahlil Beatz) is official and there is a real good vibe between the two artists which makes the tape flow much more organically then the aforementioned Face Off. Standouts include "Dueces", "Movin 2 Fast", "No Bullshit" & "Number One". My only issue is the amount of unnecessary cussing. There should definitely be an NC-17 rating on the cover because "Young" Chris & Tyga Tyga have a severe case of the potty mouth.

Is this tape indicative of the direction Chris Brown needs to take to get his career back on track? In a way, yes it is. I think Graffiti failed to present Brown in the "Adult" image he's so desperately seeking to attain and this tape does a better job at realistically "growing him up" and tactfully touches the issues he had with his ex without being overly dramatic or heavy handed.

Plus, Tyga gets some mainstream exposure (away from Young Money) that gives him an opportunity to show his talent to the masses. I expect to hear alot from this kid in the near future (If Wayne is smart...and that's still up for debate).

But I smoke a ton of weed so I could be completely wrong. Why don't you give it a listen and tell me how far off I am...

Tyga & Chris Brown - Fan of a Fan (Hosted by DJ Ill Will & DJ Rockstar)

: The two joints that initially got my attention from this mixtape didn't even make the final cut but I tacked them onto the end of Fan Of A Fan just for good measure (not to mention the fact that I kinda, sorta liked both of them). I threw up the links along with the accompanying videos for your viewing pleasure...

Holla @ Me

G Shit

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Young Jeezy – Trap Or Die II: By Any Means Necessary (Mixtape)

The Introduction

Young Jeezy – Trap Or Die II: By Any Means Necessary

The dropped yesterday as scheduled but I'm just getting the chance to post it today.
Haven't had a chance to listen to it yet but the early talk is that the track featuring Pusha & Malice is bananas. No surprise there though. I'll check back in once I give it a listen to give my thoughts.

I've been playing it non-stop the past 2 hours (while partaking in the proper libations of course) and for someone who heard TOD after I had already copped Thug Motivation 101 & the Boyz In Da Hood album, I think the sequel lives up to it's predecessor. For one, Jeezy is 10x the rapper he was back in 2005. Technically there's been some minor improvement and while I doubt Jeezy will ever be on the level of his peers (ie. T.I., Lil' Wayne, Rick Ross, Gucci Mane) lyrically, it's clear there's been somewhat of a shift in his emphasis from what he's actually saying to how he's saying it.

You niggas thought I was gone, just gone go away
Want me gone like the wind, and just blow away
Want me hang up my mic and put the blow away
Why I refuse to let em treat me like a throwaway
Remember times nigga, I was doin' 4 a day
Same nigga 4 times made me 80K
Now I'm feeling like the shit, took me 2 showers
Now I gotta count this shit, took me 2 hours
Four 12's in the back, that's my favorite trunk
Black Chevelle, white stripes, lookin' like a skunk
Black soles, white stripes, that's my favorite dunks
40Cal, stainless steel, that's my favorite pump - "Problem"

But unlike his peers, Jeezy's street credibility has never been in question and while he used to boast of being a "trap nigga" as opposed to a "rap nigga", somewhere between The Inspiration & The Recession, the lines that used to define him as a rapper have blurred considerably. Sure, for the most part the subject matter is standard fare (cocaine, money, cars, being gangster, getting high, women, did I mention cocaine?) and Jeezy will never blow you away with his flow but he has found a way to keep it compelling all the while making it seem effortless...sorta like Pac back when he was having his run.

You already know, outta sight, outta mind
Can't trust a soul, that's prolly why I'm out my mind
Homie hit me up, he say I'm runnin' outta time
The only thing I'm worried bout is running outta dimes
The only thing he worried bout is runnin' outta nines
Can talk it all night, I doubt I'm runnin' outta lines
Hustle hard, get your own, you niggas got the time
This gotta be the right road cause I can see the signs
Momma said fuck them niggas, get ya head up
Momma said fuck them niggas get ya bread up
And damn what a nigga say
And when it get rough, all you gotta do is pray
- "I Remember"

The production doesn't stray far from the usual tinny, monolithic stuff you'd find on his albums (Although I would've liked more joints from mainstays like Drumma Boy & Zaytoven. Plus, Shawty Redd's nightmarish sound beds are noticeably absent) and the joints with high profile features (ie. Scarface, The Clipse, Bun B, Baby, etc.) could easily be cuts from TM103. Some of the songs stand out more then others, but that tends to happen when a disc is 22 tracks deep with no skits. Don Cannon continues his track record of putting together dope "street albums" but he's still no more tolerable then he was on the last tape he hosted (I hope the NoDJ version is on the way). Still, Trap Or Die II: By Any Means Necessary is a worthy installment in Jeezy's catalog (even though DJ Drama's shit talking and the Gangsta Grillz branding would've made it that much better) and a perfect appetizer for Thug Motivation 103, set to hit stores this summer.

Props to 2DB for the hookup.