I’m not yet sold on Popchips, but I am sold on new music. Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97 fame brings you a mixtape of entirely new music, in collaboration with Popchips, featuring artists such as Danny Brown, Raekwon, STS, J. Cole, Action Bronson, Kendrick Lamar, and more. Production includes Diamond D, Illmind, and Khrysis, to name a few. Get to downloading.
Been a while since I did one of these (I say that a lot, don’t I?) but a very unlucky weekend reminded me that I should. To say the rain in New York City has been a pain in my ass would be an understatement, so it’s a perfect occasion for me to do a Sunday Sounds of a few of my favorite tracks in my musical library which have to do with this extremely inconvenient form of precipitation.
Adele…’nuffsaid. I was happy someone laid a verse on this.
Don’t you dare judge me. This video fascinates me because before watching it, I assumed it was going to be something way different. Who saw this coming? I mean really. I get the concept…the “rain”, the drought on the farm, OK. Sure. But some of it still doesn’t make sense. What’s up with the girl lying on that pile of dirt with the mutant-sized spider on top of her? What’s up with the fake birds? And most perplexing of all, why am I not seeing more ass in this video? I give them props for branching out and not giving me what I expected. Seriously. I’ve seen enough ass when this song is played in strip clubs. The farmers and scarecrows and shit just make this song that much more entertaining.
My favorite rainy day song which actually pertains to rain ever. Yo, real talk, I sit back and count ways on how to get rich on rainy days too, son. From the samples, to the verse, to Blue Raspberry’s appropriately melancholy singing, this. is. my. shit.
Hang on to those umbrellas folks, and cross your fingers that you have better luck with the rainy weather than I have.
Bronze Nazareth’s album is due out September 13th, and the official tracklist is as follows:
2. Jesus Feet
3. The Road (feat. Masta Killa & Inspectah Deck)
4. Fire Implanters (feat. L.A.D. aka La The Darkman)
5. Instrumental Interlude
6. The Bronzeman 2 (feat. Canibus) (Additional vocals by Raekwon)
7. King Of Queens
8. Instrumental Interlude
9. Fourth Down (feat. Salute Da Kidd, Kevlaar 7 & Phillie of Wisemen)
10. Fresh From The Morgue (feat. RZA)
11. Malcolm School Skit
12. Pictures (Stem Cells)
13. Records We Used To Play
14. The Letter
15. Gomorrah (feat. Killah Priest)
16. Instrumental Interlude
17. Reggie (feat. Rain The Quiet Storm)
18. Farewell (feat. Willie The Kid)
19. Cold Summer (feat. Salute Da Kidd & June Megalodon of Wisemen)
20. Worship (feat. Salute Da Kidd, Kevlaar 7, & Phillie of Wisemen)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complaining about the word “swag.” It’s overused, they say. It’s wack. “What’s with all the kids and this swag shit these days?” Wompwompwomp *Charlie Brown teacher voice*
You know why the word “swag” won’t die in the same manner that “bling bling” went away? Because unlike “bling bling,” “swag” does not have a suitable synonym. The homie Amir and I were having one of our many epic conversations which eventually turn into blog posts here at UntitledType, and we were trying to brainstorm synonyms for swag. We came up with two main ones: “aura” and “style.” Let’s take a trip to dictionary.com, shall we?
“Swag” is a word of many definitions, none of which officially match that of which the Hip Hop community has given the word. The top definition on dictionary.com states, “a suspended wreath, garland, drapery, or the like, fastened up at, or near each end and hanging down in the middle; festoon.” Yeah…no. On the flip, urbandictionary.com defines it how Hip Hop sees it. Let’s examine the top two definitions according to their site, since theirs is based on user thumbs up and all…
1) “apperance ,style ,or the way he or she presents them selves.” [sic]
2) “The way in which you carry yourself. Swag is made up of your overall confidence, style, and demeanor. Swag can also be expanded to be the reputation of your overall swagger. You gain swag, or “Swag up”, by performing swag worthy actions that improve this perception. A person can also “swag down,” by being an overall pussy and garnering negative swag for their actions. Swag is a subtle thing that many strive to gain but few actually attain. It is reserved for the most swagalicious of people. Swag can also be quantified, with point systems existing in some circles of friends.” [again, sic]
General fail to the second definition. They teach you in elementary school not to use the word you’re defining in the word’s definition. I guess they slept through that lesson. But that aside, the second definition is pretty thorough. The way in which you carry yourself and are perceived in the public are really two things: your appearance and your energy/mannerisms. Which brings me back to the original two synonyms we thought up for “swag”: “aura” and “style.” Let’s examine these words.
If you know some energy healers, reiki masters, etc., this is what they’ll tell you your aura might look like. If you’re me and are skeptical and have never seen a person’s aura before and are pretty sure the Northern Lights don’t surround you with every step you take, an aura is that vibe you get when you look in a person’s eyes. That shit that gives you the gut feeling as to whether or not they should be trusted. That’s a big part of someone’s swag. Dictionary.com says “aura” is “a distinctive and pervasive quality or character; air; atmosphere.” That’s definitely swag. Yet it doesn’t address the visible – the style aspect. What is style? Well, they also say it’s “a particular kind, sort, or type, as with reference to form, appearance, or character.” Swaggerific. Yet it doesn’t capture what “aura” captures.
The only other suitable synonym that could stand up to “swag” on it’s own is “G,” as used on the skit intro on “Spot Rusherz” off of Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. “My G is too futuristic.” He was talking about his blue and creams, coming in looking flavorful. Swag. G. But the letter “G” has too many other definitions and connotations to be a replacement that will be easily utilized. At first people are going to be like…huh? Or it could backfire and “G” will get played out, and god forbid we play out something from OB4CL. That was only halfway sarcastic, by the way. I believe that album is timeless from start to finish, but leave it to urban slang to prove me wrong.
So “G” isn’t making the cut. “Aura” and “style” are two separate entities, and “swag” is the whole of the two parts. It still leaves me scratching my head as to what swag’s synonym is. What can stand up to swag’s, for lack of a better word, swag? Until we answer this question, “swag” lives on. Hip Hop, let’s unify and solve this problem so we can throw the word back to the droves of hipsters waiting to drunkenly say it to eachother followed by cooking gestures and Lil B lines over cans of PBR as they bust the seams of their skinny denim from laughter, as if the word was the leftover bone you give to your dog from the halal fried chicken you buy on your block once a week when you’re too lazy to cook.
Yeah, I just blew up my own spot. But I don’t give a fuck. My G is too futuristic for you. Swagged out to the max, B.
The last month or so has been nothing but great Mobb Deep-related news: Prodigy got out of jail, he and Havoc released that wonderful track “Dog Shit,” Prodigy’s book My Infamous Life came out, he dropped that EP, and dammit last night he finally reunited with Havoc on stage at the Best Buy Theater in NYC for their first show in over three years.
It’s safe to say that Mobb Deep’s music has been the personal soundtrack to many a hustler, stickup kid, Hennessy addict, or New York Hip Hop fan. I’m one of them. So you can imagine my happiness when I found out that not only was I going to see Mobb Deep, but Black Thought was the opening act and Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, and Cappadonna of Wu Tang were the performance just prior to Mobb’s. Good god, that’s rap shit at its finest right there.
Black Thought did his thing, obviously, and also brought out the rest of the Money Making Jam Boys (shout out to Riggs Morales who stayed blasting their shit to my inbox until I paid attention. Hope you have their mixtape!). Then DJ Stretch Armstrong came out for a surprisingly uneventful set. Maybe I was just restless because I wanted to see Wu. Fuck it.
I was leaning against the balcony railing at the theater watching clouds of weed smoke enter the air from the level below me and having some guy make love to my ribcage with his elbow while he was trying to spit game at a chick, who oddly enough was all on him then would talk wild reckless about him when he walked away. You know, the typical rap show. I don’t go to many shows anymore so I forget all about this experience. And gladly. But anyway, after a very long wait and a surprising appearance from Peter Rosenberg wearing a chain with some kind of wrestling-related adornment as big as his face (and all iced out), the Wu Tang guys finally hit the stage.
I just have to say this about a Wu performance in general: those guys are like grown ass kids, and it’s that element that makes them one of the best live shows in rap (besides their notably strong catalog of songs, obviously). They have fun when they perform. So many artists could take some notes from a Wu live show to improve their own. Cappadonna was damn near stepping in the name of love and doing the chickenhead dance.
It was a little bit like that. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but for real, it was amazing. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t stop laughing. Every now and then Ghostface would give him a run for his money, too. It was great. The crowd also went absolutely insane when they dropped “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” Also peace to their DJ, who from a distance and in poor lighting looks exactly like Statik Selektah, who DJ’d that rather long set last night from an MPC. Nice.
But after years of waiting, Mobb Deep finally took the stage. They were backed by a live drummer, keyboard player, and bass guitarist, which was an interesting touch. At first I found it awkward to adjust to the sound, but by the end of the show I was loving it. They performed a very long set, you ain’t gotta tell me twice how many dope tracks they have, and brought out a small handful of special guests including Big Noyd (who was on stage the whole time), Raekwon, Alchemist (please note I went absolutely apeshit when “When You Hear That” got performed), and muthafuckin LIL KIM.
Yeah, let’s talk about Kim for a second. This is when the show really started to feel like I had a flashback to 1998 or something. She came out and ripped that “Quiet Storm” verse. Sure, she looks a little different nowadays (she had very long blonde hair that evening in a strapless mini dress that she did have to awkwardly keep pulling up….did she get her implants removed?), but she channeled some kind of older version of herself and spit her shit and walked off that stage leaving us in shock.
Please believe they performed all the good shit…”G.O.D. Pt. 3″ “Get Away” (see below video), “Drop a Gem On Em,” “Hold You Down” (with Alchemist of course) “Dog Shit,” and a bunch of others. All in front of a backdrop of a replica Queensbridge Houses door (address 41-15, ha). I wonder if Prodigy thought of that idea while he was locked up? It seems like one of those ideas.
The only even remotely bad thing I can say about the show is that some things felt out of place. Rosenberg hosting, for instance. He’s cool, that’s my dude, but it totally killed my 1999 flashback. It was like “heeeeeeeeey mad thugged out guys on stage, Wu Tang forever! YEAH! Oh, hey, there’s Rosenberg wearing an awkwardly large chain. MOBB DEEP! YEEEEEEAH!” It was just an awkward transition. I would have been happy with someone like Poison Pen hosting it. The other thing was that this was the show that I expected to be some straight NEW YORK SHIT. I mean dunn language, Shaolin’s finest, mad QB shout outs, fuckin quarter water at the bodega type grimey, NEW YORK SHIT. And for the most part it was. But I felt like the Black Thought/MMJB wasn’t the most appropriate opener, despite how talented they are. I just had this ideal of nothing but gritty New York street raps. That’s just me being a diehard Mobb fan and hence extra picky, though. Their performance was still solid.
All I’m going to say is that if you missed this show, you missed out. But what it showed me is that their breed of rap is alive and well, and with Prodigy back on the streets and reunited with Havoc and Co., I feel like there’s about to be a lot of new shit to come. And I’m looking forward to it.
And, in true UntitledType fashion, if you’d like to see somewhat shaky, blurry video footage from a distance of part of Wu and Mobb’s performances, check the below video:
Shout outs to Chop, Sucio Smash, Poison Pen, Illa Ghee, HowFresh, Dallas Penn, and the various others I ran into in the building last night.
DJ Quiz, one of my partners in crime over at ThatsEnuff and A-List Radio, teams up with Cornerstone to bring you a new mixtape complete with some exclusives from talented emcees such as Skyzoo, Rain, Torch, and more. See the image below for the tracklist, and download link below that.