Posted tagged ‘rhymesayers’

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!

Top Ten Beatles Samples (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

November 22, 2010

Hey Beatles, welcome to the internet! (Photo courtesy DatGif)

Welcome to another installment of Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza. With the recent major Apple announcement that iPhones will now dispence Pez the remastered Beatles catalog will now be available on iTunes, an internet Meme was launched getting everyone to post their favorite Beatles songs. Since I don’t want to just give you my list of the greatest songs about going up-and-down slides ever written, I’m instead going to cover those who’ve sampled/channeled/interpolated the Fab 4. I’m probably saving myself a series of angry comments by stating off the bat that I’m NOT including mash-ups. Yes, I know Danger Mouse blahblahblah but you should be listening to his album with Jemini anyway*. Also, I don’t want the now hyperactive retroactive sample patrol to retroactively go after these artists, so I’m going to keep my comments limited to just these opening paragraphs.

The main reason I’m doing this is to look cool because everybody knows the person who can identify the most samples in a rap song is clearly the coolest guy at any party because I think a lot of my generation who grew up with the Beatles’ music limited to awful sounding CD versions and mediocre covers of the bulk of their material in commercials and movies permeating our subconscious, have been given a faint, and frankly false, familiarity with not only their catalog but how much their influence means to pop culture. Their presence in the homes of the artists listed below, the first post-Beatles generation, cannot be denied. From chopping melodies they liked to merely singing a bar or two in their verses, they have a touchstone that can’t help but resonate in every listener. Even when the concepts seem silly, their efforts are inadvertently a by-product of Beatle-mania. So now in 2010 when some find it hip to not merely dislike the Beatles, but treat them with apathy, these unfortunate souls don’t realize how much they appreciate the group without even knowing it.

That in mind, here’s my Top Ten Beatles Visibly Influenced Songs**

Poison Clan – “Jeri Curl”

MF Doom – “Tick Tick”

Brother Ali – “Live From the Chippy Bun Club”

Ghostface Killah – “My Guitar”

Boogie Down Production – “Criminal Minded”

3rd Bass – “3 Strikes 5000” (Vocal Version)

A Tribe Called Quest – “Luck of Lucien”

Organized Konfusion – “Stress”

Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick – “The Show”

Beastie Boys – “Sounds of Science”

*I’m also not going to be including that Kanye West-produced Talib Kweli song because it sucks.

**Didn’t seem catchy enough for a headline. To quote the Beatles of my generation, “we’re not sorry that we tricked you.”

R.I.P. Eyedea – My Top Ten Favorite Eyedea songs (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

November 8, 2010

Rest in Peace - Eyedea

Michael “Eyedea” Larsen was one of the most beloved figures in both the Twin Cities music scene and the worldwide underground soundscape. A passionate artist, compassionate thinker and genuine soul, his work was as varied as it was experimental. First rising to national prominence by winning the 2000 Blaze Battle, he soon ran to the opposite end of the rap spectrum and made some of the most complex conceptual rap music the genre’s ever heard. As a native Minneapolitian, it was great growing-up with Eyedea in the world. He was always an accessible, excited figure and really inspirational and influential on countless levels. He was our one-man Good Life Cafe. His numerous exploit across genres are too numerous to name, and for this special installment of Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza, I’m just going to let the music speak for itself.

10 ) Eyedea & Abilities – “Music, Music”

9 ) Eyedea & Abilities – “One Twenty”

8 ) Eyedea – “Weird Side”

7 ) Eyedea – “Big Shots”

6 ) Eyedea f/ Sage Francis & Slug – “Embarassed”

5 ) Eyedea – “Even Shadows Have Shadows”

4 ) Eyedea – “Step by Step”

3 ) Eyedea – “Bottle Dreams”

2 ) Eyedea & Abilities – “Smile”

1 ) Eyedea & Abilities – “Now”

BONUS: Eyedea vs. RK – where Eyedea’s closing punchline is arguably the greatest moment in the history of rap battling.

A Fantastic, Raw interview with Chilly S

R.I.P. Michael “Eyedea” Larsen 11/9/81-10/16/10