Archive for October 2012
But sometimes, it feels like more than just music. On good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Kendrick Lamar gives us an idea of his life growing up in the streets of Compton, and his evolution from a good kid trapped in the life of a gangster, to a highly intelligent, incredibly talented, role model for everyone around the world trying to "make it."
The 12-track GKMC is an album that tells a story. In fact, when taken out of context, some of his songs make Kendrick look like the cocky, shallow, mainstream hip-hop artists we often hear on the radio - where in reality nothing can be further from the truth.
When Kendrick wants us to know what he life was like when he was 17-year-old, he raps about what's important to a 17-year-old: money, power, women, and "the homies". When Kendrick wants to talk about his evolution to a man, he talks about family, faith, and influence. But regardless of what he's rapping about, or who he's portraying at the moment, he executes it all so masterfully to a degree we really haven't seen in rap music for a long time.
Lyrically, Kendrick is on another level. His flow is unlike anyone's in the game right now and is a flow that can match every possible scenario - something Kendrick uses to his advantage. On "Backseat Freestyle" Kendrick raps as his 17-year-old self, sticking out his chest and hardly stopping to breathe as he tears apart another memorable Hit Boy production. But on tracks like "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" he slows it down to articulate stories of loved ones lost, seemingly from the perspective of the mature 25-year-old man he is today. Both extremely different styles and subject matter, both equally impressive and impactful.
Many publications predict GKMC will go down in history as "a classic." After hearing Kendrick tell his story in such an artistic way and honest way - it's hard to disagree. The features feel natural (Drake, Jay Rock, MC Eiht, Dr. Dre), the production compliments the content, and the story is simply captivating.
I could go through track by track and try to explain the story of Kendrick's life, but he does such a good job that nobody ever needs to try again. But what I will say is that in a business ran by suites and regulations, Kendrick tells his story his way - and we should all be thankful for that.
Best Tracks: The Art of Peer Pressure, Money Trees, Sing About Me/ I'm Dying of Thirst, Real
When you talk to people about "going to work" you're likely to get a wide range of reactions. But regardless of if you love going to work, or dread it every day, it's a part of life that certainly isn't going anywhere.
Although I'm not one of those people whose resume would look like a short novel if they didn't cut anything of it out, I feel like I've had enough experience to develop somewhat of an idea of what makes a good workplace. And from my small, but somewhat credible experience, I've found the key to a good job is actually pretty simple, but we'll get to that in a second.
There are two things you need to know this weekend:
- If you miss watching hockey, you can get your puck fix at canadawest.tv as the Manitoba Bisons are in action Friday and Saturday night against the Saskatchewan Huskies. I got the call and the camera, so your not going to want to miss it. 7pm both nights.
- If you like hip-hop, or you like me, check out my new hip-hop show on Red River Radio. It will be coming at you live at 7-9 Sunday night, and that's happening all year long. Stream it on radio.rrc.ca
We left off part one with the words of Pusha T:
After the cypher, I needed to do a little research to see what this guy was really all about. After listening to his music catalogue at the time, it turned out he was consistently pretty good. I gave him a head-nod of my approval, but didn't even go as far as adding his music to my iTunes library.
Months later as I was browsing one of my favorite hip-hop blogs, I came across a post promoting Lecrae's new mixtape, Church Clothes. I was shocked because not only was a Christian rapper on a secular hip-hop blog, but the post said the mixtape was hosted by the secular American DJ and credible co-sign, Don Cannon. Had Lecrae left his Christian roots and gone mainstream?
I immediately downloaded the mixtape as I was overcome with curiosity for this new project, and was delighted to hear that Lecrae hadn't left his Christian roots. But, after reading reviews and features of the mixtape in XXL, The Source, and Complex magazine, an argument could be made that he had in fact gone mainstream.
Why was this outspoken Christian rapper getting all of this mainstream coverage? Had he found the answer on how to shout out God in your music, live the Christian life, and sell records?
After reading countless articles and listening to Church Clothes again and again, it was clear that he had in fact found the answer:
Make good music, and people will listen.
It was that simple. Every feature article on Lecrae talked about how you may not agree with his religious views, but he sure is one dope rapper. And the statistics backed that up as Church Clothes was downloaded over 100,000 times in the first 48 hours alone.
Last month, Lecrae released his newest studio album, Gravity. The album debuted at #3 on Billboard 200, and reached #1 on iTunes in the United States. Lecrae was again featured in all of the top hip-hop magazines in the world, and even got an article on the TIME website.
Regardless of what you believe in life, Gravity is simply an excellent rap album. Lecrae's lyrics are honest, well constructed, and masterfully executed. Add that to some first class production, catchy hooks, and a guest spot from Big K.R.I.T., and you have yourself something special.
If you haven't heard of Lecrae yet, then it's only a matter of time, because Lecrae is coming, and it doesn't seem like he's slowing down any time soon.
So here's the moral of the story:
If you want to be on top, you don't have to sell your soul.