Posted tagged ‘odd future’

THE TOP TEN RAP SONGS OF 2012! (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 31, 2013

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You know, it’s funny. Typically, we at Popular Opinions used to post all of our year-end Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza retrospective pieces in January because, let’s face it, the month is largely a cultural dead zone where absolutely nothing happened. But this month, we’ve already had major album releases, hot singles and dis records. It’s been an unusually eventful January, but to deny the past year in wake of such events wouldn’t be fair to the year’s biggest songs. While 2012 was the first year in a long time that there were probably more memorable rap albums than memorable rap singles, a handful of absolute gems made the choice cuts some of the best tracks in recent memory. It is with them in mind we look back at the ten best rap songs 2012 gave us!

10 ) T.I. featuring Lil Wayne – “Ball”

Easily the best T.I. song in about five years, “Ball” is not only a “Triggerman Break”-based throwback to traditional bounce music, but the most energized both T.I. and Wayne have sounded in quite some time. As seen in the Marc Klasfeld directed video, both T.I. and Wayne seem to genuinely be having a blast, lending itself to one of the year’s most enjoyable party records.

9 ) Kristoff Krane – “Birthday Song”

Twin Cities hip-hop artist Kristoff Krane has been most known for his more experimental outings, making his surprisingly conventional Fanfaronade album one of the year’s most welcome surprises. The lead single, “Birthday Song” using the metaphor a lamenting a lonely birthday party for the frustration found in the under-supported moments of being an independent artist.

8 ) Aesop Rock – “Zero Dark Thirty (Blockhead Remix)”

As great as it was to hear Aesop Rock return with his entirely self-produced Rhymesayers album Skelethon, contributions of his frequent collaborator Blockhead were missed. Fortunately, the album’s bonus tracks included a remix by the cult hero producer that not only recaptures the classic Aesop-Blockhead vibe, but flushes out different elements of the lyrics, allowing the song to be appreciated in a wholly new spectrum.

7 ) Nikki Minaj – “Stupid Hoe”

A lot of people hate this song for the dreaded one-two punch of being the worst video of Hype Williams’ career and its obnoxious chorus, but once you divorce the uninspired unfitting visual component, you’re left with a tribute to numerous regional dance musics all masterfully combined into one unrelenting machine gun of a single. More avant garde than most of her contemporaries are willing to give her credit for, “Stupid Hoe” is pulse-pounding razor-sharp fun.

6 ) Odd Future – “Oldie”

The Odd Future movement took an interesting turn in 2012. Still wildly successful, the crew’s projects have become successful enough to turn their devoted fanbase somewhat insular, allowing themselves further freedom to do whatever they want. Also, their television show is great. But their biggest contribution to the year was “Oldie,” an extended posse cut playing to the absolute strengths of the entire rosters and capturing the fun and inventiveness of their movement in a single track, punctuated by an absolutely excellent homecoming verse by the returning Earl Sweatshirt.

5 ) Future f/ Diddy & Ludacris – “Same Damn Time (Remix)”

Probably the most fiercely debated hip-hop artist of the year, Atlanta’s Future’s persona/abilites/talent were all the subject to a polarizing, intense divide over the course of 2012. But if there’s one aspect of him that can’t be denied, it’s his incredible ability to write hooks. “Same Damn Time” is not only the year’s most infectious catchphrase, but the remix brought us the single greatest moment Diddy’s ever had behind the mic.

4 ) The Underachievers – “Gold Soul Theory”

The most promising new rap group of 2012, The Underachievers’ “Gold Soul Theory” was poignant, catchy, well constructed and everything one could hope for in a breakthrough rap single. With a production that uniquely heightens the exotic otherworldly elements of the lyrics, both members’ deliveries slice through the soundscape with an undeniable charisma, making their forthcoming 2013 debut mixtape among the year’s most anticipated.

3 ) A$AP Rocky – “Goldie”

Diverting slightly from the spacey Clams Casino soundscape that helped him first breakthrough, A$AP Rocky’s “Goldie” simply added more layers of his favorite influences to create an entirely new sound uniquely his own. Sleek, thunderous and brimming with cool rooted in the Harlem hip-hop tradition, “Goldie” helped bring the A$AP vision to the next level.

2 ) Mystikal – “Hit Me”

While 2012 gave us the James Brown biography The One, among the greatest music books ever written, it also gave us Mystikal channeling the “Godfather of Soul” for his single “Hit Me.” While Mystikal’s had a few songs since his return from prison in 2010, “Hit Me” has been far-and-away his most blistering. Wildly fun, “Hit Me” is proof Mystikal’s not only still got it, but he remains the man right ‘chea.

1 ) Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools”

As I wrote here, Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” is special because it’s not just a song that mentions drinking, but rather uses the social activity as a deeper exploration of peer pressure. Along with presenting a social message in a way that respects its audience’s intelligence enough without having to painfully spell it out, every single other aspect of the song is executed in a manner of absolute mastery. With Lamar’s tight narrative and wonderfully varied arsenal of flows, his performance alone would make for one of the top songs of the year. Fortunately, the track’s production courtesy of T-Minus  is every bit as nuanced and painstakingly lavish as Kendrick’s rhymes.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

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Supermarkets – Childhood Memories Review

April 29, 2011

LET'S GO TO THE SUPERMARKET!

Greetings dear reader, perhaps you’ve noticed things being much quieter around here than usual. Yes, April has come and just-about gone with little more than me shilling for my new FREE album A Personal Reference (featuring MAC LETHAL, ALASKA of DEFINITIVE JUX’s HANGAR-18, HOMEBOY SANDMAN, J57 of the BROWN BAG ALL STARS and MORE! NOW AVAILABLE for FREE DOWNLOAD at http://chazkangas.bandcamp.com ) and not much else. Well, although I have been busier these days writing regular pieces for Spectrum Culture and SYFFAL, as well as my first ever piece for COMPLEX, this is largely due to me getting sicker than I’ve ever been in recent weeks. What started as a misdiagnosis after an emergency room visit on Record Store Day resulted in several hospital visits and, to spare you the details, four of my five senses being painfully compromised. I’m just about completely healed now (thanks for asking) but it was quite an awful ordeal. With limited vision and no mobility comes great responsibility I found myself often face down half-conscious with only my memories entertaining me. It’s during this time that I remembered how much I used to absolutely love supermarkets.

The Clash's "Lost in the Supermarket" onesie, for when you absolutely have to show the world your baby has heard some song about why it's bad to bomb poor people or something.

This may just stem from my sheer love of spectacle rearing itself at an early age, but some of my earliest memories are being absolutely floored by the sheer majesty of the supermarket. When you’re three-years-old, your world isn’t a very big place. There’s your house, your front yard, your backyard, the park, school and the supermarket. While there’s no place like home and the park is a fantastic place to run wild and free, neither really preps us for how amazing our worlds were going to become like the supermarket did. Probably our first introduction to technology, I remember getting excited just to sit in the cart as my Mom pushed me through that other-worldly automatic door. How did it know we were coming? It was a door that opened itself! I GOT TO SEE A MINI-MAGIC SHOW EVERY WEEK!

Our market of choice was NewMarket, located just outside Minneapolis in Columbia Heights. I can’t remember the original name (although I recall cool looking cardboard boxes with ‘Country Store Foods’ written in a woodsy font on the sides) but it became NewMarket around 1992 and remained under that name until it was bulldozed around ’98/’99 to make way for an empty patch of debris and weeds for five years until condos were erected there in 2005. I’m somewhat surprised how much I remember of the original store. After you entered, there were the fruits and vegetables, with the two-sided wall of candy in the middle of them. The candy was arranged in a spectrum from spicy to sour, giving me a sense of tremendous pride when I was finally old enough to eat the sour gumbals without tearing-up.

Past the healthy crap and candy were rows-and-rows of typical stuff (food) until you got about 2/3s through the store and took a right. There, my friends, was the L-Shaped newsstand. I was four or five when I started grabbing comics off the rotating rack, starting with Ninja Turtles and eventually graduating to X-Men and Simpson’s. Some weeks I would turn around and partake in the magazines behind me incase there were any spotlight issues of anything on Power Rangers or something relevant to my interests in Mad, Cracked or Video Games Magazine. My final years there saw my first forays into actively following music journalism, namely taking a sharp eye to issues of Hit Parader, Guitar World and Circus, looking for foldout posters of whatever band’s logo I liked that week.

The Blood-Pressure Machine: Look at how much fun he's having! LOOK AT HIM!

But as fun as reading was/is, nothing at that young age compared to the endless entertainment provided by the sit-down Blood-Pressure Machine. We all recall being too young to really do anything when we would go to the drug store with our Dad and see him have all the fun, but once the supermarket pharmacy put that blood-pressure machine next to the comic books, the world became a much cooler place. Now, once a week, I could sit in a comfy chair, press some awesome-sounding buttons, have a robot squeeze my arm, and be told a whole bunch of numbers that I couldn’t begin to understand! For all the birthday parties I had at arcades or lazer tags, I wonder why I didn’t just have a bunch of friends follow me to the pharmacy and power-up? Probably because it would have set an unfair standard for the rest of our lives that no other party could possibly live up to.

After having technology blow me away, my mother would roll through with the cart and we would go to the check out. I’d help load the food on to the conveyer belt, help bag it and then the person behind the counter would give me a Dum-Dum sucker. If the fates were with me, it would be root beer. Looking back on it, the supermarket was the only destination that combined my love of robots, comics and candy. Before there was the internet, this was the only wonderland where I could have such a non-stop entertainment fix. Years later I worked at the Supermarket that ran NewMarket out of business, and it was the most miserable occupation I’ve ever had. Only the good die young.

We give Supermarkets a Five Out of Five

So until next time…LET’S AGREE TO AGREE!

Reflecting on Hip-Hop and Late Night TV…

February 18, 2011

Oh man, television!

Those of you who have the internet (which is most of you as subscriptions for “Popular Opinions: Analog” are at an all time low) have undoubtably had a link to rap outfit Odd Future’s Jimmy Fallon performance in your feed on several occasions over the past 48 hours. This is a good thing as the performance was rightfully fantastic. Seriously. Anyone who disagrees should just hashtag their tweets with #getoffmylawn.

It’s the first post-YouTube Late Night talk show performance that seems to have really broken a group nationally. We all remember in 1997 when Jewel took off seemingly overnight after one performance on Conan. Now that it’s happening again to Tyler, the Creator and Odd Future, let’s take a look at other monumental, and monumentally awkward, Late Night performances.

A Tribe Called Quest f/ Leaders of the New School – “Scenario” on Arsenio

Probably rap’s most famous late night talk show performance, “Scenario” introduced the world to Busta Rhymes and his four minutes of nonstop energy onscreen was enough for Elektra to offer him a four-album solo deal the very next day.

Truth Hurts w/ Rakim – “Contagious” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

This performance is nowhere near as monumental, but I post it to represent all the dumb Hip-Hop moments Jay Leno has caused. How many people are involved in the production of his show and NOBODY could tell him how to pronounce Rakim’s name? There was also the sheer bizarreness in 2005 of an intoxicated Lindsay Lohan opting to uncomfortably grind on Juelz Santana. The most absurd of all had to be in 2001 when Trick Daddy and the Slip-N-Slide All Stars performed “Take It to the House” as BACKED BY KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND! That is not a joke. I am not that clever. That really happened. Good thing Leno redeemed himself by making Kanye cry years later. I love that this particular rip is from the Minnesota ABC affiliate I watched this very performance on.

Atmosphere – “Trying to Find a Balance” on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Kimmel’s show had only been on for about a year at this time and it was somewhat Hip-Hop friendly. The first week of the show he had 50 Cent as a guest and proceeded to print his lyrics out and have the other guests read them aloud. The moment I’ll always remember the show for was Atmosphere’s national television debut in Spring 2004. They’ve had other televised performances since, but this one in particular was all sorts of perfect, particularly for a 17-year-old Minnesotan.

Swag.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

MY TOP TEN TOP FIVE LISTS OF THE REST OF 2010! (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 31, 2011

Goodbye 'Miracle' Year!

Well, it’s the end of January and that means it’s time for one last look back at everything else that happened in 2010. These ten lists should fill you in on everything else that happened in the past calendar year so now that all the interesting things they’ve influenced will begin getting released in February, you’ll have some frame of reference. Let’s just jump right in!

Top 5 Rap Albums

5) Shad – T.S.O.L.
4) Danny Brown – The Hybrid
3) Curren$y – Pilot Talk
2) Earl Sweatshirt – Earl
1) Dez & Nobs – Rocky Dennis

Top 5 Non-Rap Songs

5) Vampire Weekend – “Taxi Cab”
4) Best Coast – “Boyfriend”
3) Camu Tao – “Intervention”
2) Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
1) Make Out – “I Don’t Want Anybody That Wants Me”

Top 5 Lil B Tweets

5) Lil B on Fine Art.
4) Lil B on Outreach.
3) Lil B on Christmas
2) Lil B on Depression.
1) Lil B on Working with Peers.

Top 5 Tumblrs

5) Hungover Owls
4) Fake Criterions
3) Album Tacos
2) Best Roof Talk Ever
1) RealN*ggaTumblr

Top 5 Movies I Actually Saw

5) Toy Story 3
4) Inception
3) True Grit
2) The Fighter
1) The Expendables

FIVE FINGERS ON EACH HAND! TEN FINGERS TOTAL! TEN LISTS OF FIVE! COINCIDENCE?

Top 5 Best New Fast Food Items

5) Burger King’s Fire-Grilled Ribs
4) Subway’s Steak & Bacon Melt
3) New Domino’s Pizza
2) KFC’s Double Down
1) Pizza Hut’s Cheesy Bites Pizza

Top 5 Best New Rap Catchphrases

5) “Check”
4) “F*** Steve Harvey”
3) “H*es On My D*ck cause I look like…”
2) “Flocka”
1) “Swag” (as in #Swag 2010, the word took on a whole new meaning this year)

Top 5 Favorite Articles I Wrote for Other Places

5) Rediscover: The Outsidaz, ‘The Night Life EP’ (Spectrum Culture)
4) Guilty Pleasures: Mortal Kombat (Spectrum Culture)
3) Fatbeats’ Final Friday (HHLO)
2) Top 5 Rhymes Proving Rick Ross is a Psychopath (FunnyorDie)
1) SinSin Lounge Was Source of Solace (New York Times East Village)

Top 5 Favorite Articles I Wrote for PopularOpinions

5) Female Rappers in 2010: The Reality of Equality
4) ABC News – “Music + Children = MURDER!”
3) Hey Guys, Great News! ‘Avatar’ isn’t racist! (or Anti-American!)
2) Dear Caucasoids: Please Stop Using the N-Word, Especially When Ironically Covering Rap Songs.
1) Drake’s Letter to Aaliyah

Top 5 Videos

5) Celph Titled f/ RA the Rugged Man & FT – “Mad Ammo”
4) B. Dolan – “Earthmovers”
3) Homeboy Sandman – “The Carpenter”
2) Earl Sweatshirt – “Earl”
1) Insane Clown Posse – “Miracles” (Yeah, I know, but honestly no single music video has brought me as much joy in years. Plant a little seed, and nature grows)

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

The TOP TEN RAP SONGS OF 2010 (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 19, 2011

What will YOU even remember about this year?

Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza begins with probably my favorite thing to talk about: rap music. I’m sure you have plenty of websites telling you how great their lists are who really just want to invite their readers to a “pat yourself on the back”-fest. Not here.

My credentials are that I listen to a lot of rap music and have for some time. I evaluated each song on a scale of how much I liked it. I didn’t factor in social significance or success. I also didn’t factor in songs with great moments that suffered from the rest of the song. As great as that one Nicki Minaj verse was, let’s not forget it came from a song that suffered from Jay-Z saying “loooooooove.” No sex with a pharaoh can change that.

My favorite year end lists have always been the honest ones. I don’t read them to see how much my favorite writers agree with me, rather I hope to catch any of the great music that came out last year that I may have missed. That in mind, following my top ten I included a list of unranked ten songs that I still think are pretty incredible and worth a listen. Check them out. They’re great. Now, this was the best year for rap since the 90s, so let’s talk about rap music…

Music is a lot like love, it's all a feeling...

10 ) Bun-B “Press Play”

Now Bun-B’s 2010 album Trill…O.G. was pretty terrible and easily the worst album he’s ever been involved with. With its watered-down production and underwhelming performance it was basically a UGK album for people who hate UGK. What was most disappointing about it was that his mixtape featured a song like “Press Play.” Produced by Statik Selektah, it was Bun reminding us he was still one of the best rappers in the world in a new, refreshing soundscape. 32 bars of greatness, exactly how to build a bridge between Port Arthur and Brooklyn.

9 ) Homeboy Sandman – “Mean Mug”

The crown jewel of Homeboy Sandman’s fantastic The Good Sun album, “Mean Mug” was the best deconstruction of a sourpuss and reasoning for why they’re not in style in 2010. Catchy, well-written and not heavy-handed in the slightest, it’s a shining example of why Boysand is one of New York’s favorite sons.

8 ) Sage Francis – “The Best of Times”

The final song on what may be his final album, Sage Francis’ “The Best of Times” is not only the perfect bookend to a great body of work, but an enjoyable exploration of self-examination. It’s Francis at his most vulnerable and confident and stands perhaps the definitive statement of his career.

7 ) E-40 f/ Too $hort – “Bitch”

The only thing better than hearing the fire reignited beneath Too $hort is having him alongside one of the most dependable rappers in the game. On “Bitch,” 40 Water and Short Dog explain that not all bitches are women. In this new decade, this is the type of “music with a message” I can get behind.

6) Lil B – “New York Subway”

What a year for the #based one. Along with being the best rapper on Twitter, Lil B knocked his highly anticipated Red Flame mixtape out of the park with “New York Subway.” While he’s perhaps most known for being shocking, the subtle detail of “New York Subway” perfectly captures what being in New York in December is like. Lil B is for real, and the power of this song cannot be denied.

5 ) Dez and Nobs f/ P.O.S. – “Underbelly”

The closer of the duo’s analog modern classic Rocky Dennis, “Underbelly” sees them joined by Doomtree member P.O.S. for a pill fueled lament that also boasts some of the best technical rapping today. As heartbreaking as it is, Nobs’ warm MPC-based production gives it a classic New York feel.

4 ) Domo Genesis f/ Tyler, the Creator – “Super Market”

2010 was undoubtably the year of Odd Future, and this song is a shining example why. Producer/rapper Tyler and Domo exchange absurd barbs between two angry teenagers in a super market that acts as a series of trump cards over a swaggering bulldozer of a production. Amazing.

3 ) Danny Brown – “Guitar Solo”

If you’ve never heard of Danny Brown before, start with his song “Exotic” and then come back to this, his masterpiece. Best described by rapper Despot as “all the members of the Outsidaz rolled into one,” What I love about Detroit’s Danny Brown is that his music has a genuine unpredictability that’s been missing from rap music. He keeps me guessing with his verses, even on repeat listens, without sacrificing any of his soul. This is best heard on “Guitar Solo,” one of his album The Hybrid‘s more serious moments, it quickly dips into poverty stricken Detroit character studies before cliffhanger endings, as if the people discussed are trapped within the self-awareness of the song.

2 ) Beeda Weeda – “Baserock Babies”

DJ Fresh is picking up where the Hyphy Movement in the Bay Area left off, and he’s ready to explode. Not since Rick Rock’s production on Turf Talk’s West Coast Vaccine has the Yay given such a progressive slap to rap production. Riding the beat like a coin-operated carousel is Beeda Weeda, who you remember from last year’s “No Hoe” remix. Here, instead, he breaks down exactly what it was like being a product of the 80s. But this isn’t another “back in the day” song, rather a stripped down this-is-how-it-really-was fact-check that shows no matter what the scene is, things aren’t that different.

1 ) Earl Sweatshirt – “Stapleton”

We’ve all see the “EARL” video with the teenagers who kill themselves and yes, it is great. As brash and in-your-face as that is, Earl is an outstanding technical rapper and it’s what he hides in his songs that make him incredible. The last verse here speaks not only to his persona being the product of a deadbeat father, but parallels the ageist Hip-Hop generation predating him of boom-bap dinosaurs that raised the post-Rawkus “real Hip-Hop” sect to sound like soulless 40-year-olds. An amazing performance from one of rap’s most compelling new voices and the best rap song of 2010.

Almost...

Honorable Mentions:

Atmosphere – “To All My Friends”
Big Boi f/ Andre 3000 – “Lookin For Ya”
Curren$y – “Life Under the Scope”
Mac Lethal – “Cover My Tracks”
Mike G. – “Crazh”
Rick Ross f/ Jay-Z “Free Mason”
Roc Marciano – “Ridin Around”
Shad – “Rose Garden”
Soulja Boy – “First Day of School”
Waka Flocka Flame – “Hard in the Paint”
Young L – “Drop Top Swag”

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!