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Posts from August 2006

On Vacation . . .

Hey y'all, I'm in the Magic City! That's Miami for those who don't know. I'm chillin' in Miami Beach on a much needed vacation. The area (SoBe or South Beach) is fantastic and the girls here are half naked. I'm enjoying the food down here also because it's Miami Spice Restaurant Month -- a special dining summer promotion in which Miami's top restaurants offer special three-course menus (appetizer, entrée and dessert) at reduced prices. The grub is quite delicious!

I also plan on visiting Little Havana. I might also jump on a mini-boat cruise to a Caribbean island. There's so much to do and I have so little time to get everything in. I have a female chaperon with me on this trip to make sure that I don't get into any trouble (Thanks SD!).

Anyway, I'll be back on the blogging grind soon, but for right now, I'm working on my tan.

Stay cool.

I'll holla back!

In My Mind

"Don't try to come up on my ear talkin' all that raspy shit . . . tryin' to ask me shit."
-- Pharrell, "Raspy"

For those of you wondering what I look like, take a closer look.

This is me as a Skateboard P character -- you can called me Skateboard T.

If you want, you can design your own Skateboard P character, here at Pharrell Williams' official website. (Hat Tip: Ian at a Different Kitchen)



In The M-I-A

"In the M-I-A, yo!
Niggas rich off that llello!
Steady slaggin' yayo!
My chevy's bangin', hey yooo . . .!"

-- Rick Ross, "Hustlin'"

This weekend your boy is heading down to Miami Beach for some fun and sun. So in preparation, I have been playing tracks from Rick Ross' debut album Port of Miami.

What do I think about the album? Glad you asked.

First, I'm surprised that anyone would call Port of Miami "hip-hop album of the year." It's not a horrible album, but it's certainly not a great one either. I'm going to have to co-sign with Bol -- this is a facsimile of Young Jeezy's Thug Motivation 101 album. Both sets are boring and overrun with drug tales that I have heard many times before on way better rap albums. However, on Rick's collection, he has a few bangers: "Get Away" (featuring cry baby Mario Winans), "Street Life" (featuring Lloyd), "I'm Bad" and the cautionary "Cross the Line" (featuring Akon). And almost all of those tracks feature one or more coke lines apiece. Of course, "Hustlin'" is my song of the year -- for me, it's a metaphoric anthem for people to get out there and hustle to achieve their dreams and obtain success.

Hey, look, I don't mind listening to drug stories or anthems, I used to hug the block when I was a young'n myself (game recognizes game). So I love to hear songs about what's going on in the streets. But when every track on a Rick's album is about drugs, shootings, flippin' keys, tippin' scales, powder, kilo, 8th ounces, ziploc baggies and more -- it's overkill. To be honest, I thought the streets were dried up. That's what Jigga said, right?

There should be a rule in hip-hop for the "thug-drug rappers": No more than three songs about you slanging crack on the block. And if any rapper violate this rule, then he or she will immediately be sent to Dubai with 8 grams of cocaine in their pockets and let that country's government deal with their asses. (10 to 1 they get sent to prison with a life sentence, word to Dallas Austin!)

All jokes aside, Rick Ross is a very appealing rapper. Rick's got that voice -- a nice bass-heavy baritone -- and he does tell captivating tales about the perils and successes of the street/drug life. But he doesn't diversify from that, he's stays on one topic and it becomes monotonous. It would be real interesting to see what Rick talks about on his second album -- if he ever gets a chance to make a follow up. I can't wait to see his sales totals this Wednesday. If they are not good, Rick might have to fall back to his old habits.

[EDIT (8/16), 3 a.m. ET]: According to my reports from retail outlets, it looks like Rick Ross's Port of Miami will debut at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts with an estimated 180-200,000 kilos, err, copies sold last week. The Miami rapper outsold Cassie whose self-titled debut album moved an estimated 95-100,000 copies. Now these are rough estimates as I am writing this early Wednesday morning. So check your other hip-hop blogs for the accurate numbers. So, it's official . . . Rick Ross is crack! [EDIT]


Getting Back On Track

You know I am very disappointed that Little Brother's Minstrel Show didn't do so well sales-wise. Honestly, I thought it was a great album -- not a classic album -- that had some great beats, fire lyrics and an interesting concept (skits around a fictional TV show). But in the end, LB's horrible choices of singles and Atlantic Records poor marketing plan is what killed that album last year.

Recently, LB rhyme-spitter Phonte had the Internets going nuts over comments he made about today's fickle rap audience. But he also revealed that the LB fam are back in the studio recording new material. Although the North Carolina rap trio's third set, tentatively titled Get Back, is hitting stores in 2007, they have been steadily dropping teaser singles. And all of them are banging!

What's even more interesting is that all of these songs WERE NOT produced by LB's main studio maverick 9th Wonder. And that is a good thing. Not that I'm knocking 9th's production skills, I just think that there are hundreds of producers who can give Little Brother a real fresh sound. Little Brother needs to stay far away from 9th's fruity loops-inspired productions, period.

The first selection is Little Brother's "Life of the Party" (F/ Carlitta Durand), which, according to Tigallo, will appear on a Hall of Justus compilation album called Soldiers of Fortune (due in October).

Another great joint -- and my personal favorite -- is "Step Off," which is produced by A-Trak. I love the melodic guitar loop on this song, and Phonte and Big Pooh laced this song with some nice back-and-forth wordplays. "Step Off" is a very cool track -- thumbs up. And finally, a decent street banger called "Back at It" (F/ Cormega) is making the rounds on the Internets.

In addition, Phonte makes a cameo appearance on DJ Shadow's song called "Backstage Girl," which is a hellified rap-rock(?) song about a seductive MySpace groupie. This track is off the heezy, in my opinion, and will appear on Shadow's forthcoming CD The Outsider.

And not to be outdone, producer 9th Wonder blessed Lloyd Banks with a joint that will appear on the G-Unit's solider upcoming disc, The Rotten Apple (due in October).

So there you have it, Little Brother is back on the grind and making big moves in the rap game. Love them or hate them, I truly believe that the LB fam are the next OutKast in terms of creating and expanding the musical parameters of hip-hop.

However, on their third go-around, Little Brother must step their game up. And as I have suggested a million times before -- Little Brother must work with studio engineer-turned-producer Young Guru. I know this guy can give LB beats that will knock from North Carolina to Los Angeles. And, of course, 9th Wonder should hit LB off with a few joints -- but DO NOT let him produced the entire album, dammit!

You know what they say -- third's the charm. So let's hope that Little Brother can get over that sales hump with Get Back. Quite frankly, Little Brother is an important rap group and I believe that their future contributions will bounce us out of this phase we are in right now with these wack rap songs like "Chicken Noodle Soup" and that awful Jibbs joint, "Chain Hang Low."

Little Brother please save our souls . . .