Hip Hop Monday #8: Blueprint, Flocka, Charles Hamilton, Earl, Lil B

No particular theme to this one, just a couple of songs I like, a couple of exciting news items, a small bit of analysis AND INDUSTRIAL DOSES OF SWAG.*

Blueprint – Go Hard Or Go Home (Printnificence)

This is from Blueprint’s solo mixtape Adventures In Counter Culture. With slow, deliberate delivery and polysyllabics and enunciation that land somewhere between West Coast backpack and Doom, he covers some pretty sincere conceptual shit over the course of the tape without ever ending up in “vernacular original miraculous spectacular flow” territory (shouts out to KRS-One’s new album for being mad boring). A few lines I liked from this track:

I’mma tear rap down and rebuild the shit
With total disregard of if the pieces even fit
Reintroduce it to you with an unfamiliar twist
Make it feel different like you fucking a different bitch

My favourite beats are the gloopy, post-Dilla ones, done with soft synths instead of crate digging. The whole thing is a niche of hip hop I haven’t really been into yet, so it’s sounding pretty fresh and inviting at the moment. Although obviously it does sound a little stupid when KRS already made a album called Blueprint first.

Waka Flocka Flame – Brick Squad Monopoly (feat. P Smurf & Mouse)

Waka Flocka Flame still exists and has a new mixtape. This song features the line “You look like Wyclef, bitch that’s why I left.”

Charles Hamilton – Brooklyn Girls

This is Charles Hamilton, who Went Mental And Fell Off before anyone even got a chance to call him the greatest rapper alive in youtube comments, and now endures his mates trying to explain to him that existence costs money. It’s not new (it’s from 2008) but it’s still a jam. Brief potted summary of Charles’ trajectory: made mixtapes, signed to Interscope, got punched by a girl, claimed the ghost of J Dilla was his executive producer, was no longer signed to Interscope. There’s a homemade compilation and a better explanation on George Bush Money.

Earl Sweatshirt – Pigions feat. Wolf Haley

In other news, Earl is in Samoa. If you don’t already know that, the level of attention you are paying to Odd Future constitutes criminal neglect. Those OF members who aren’t 17 and in military school got up with Lil B at Coachella too.

Also, Lil B told Coachella that he’s doing an album called I’m Gay, but he listed about five different mixtape titles on Red Flame that never came out, so Lil B saying he’s going to do something doesn’t necessarily indicate that he’s going to do something. Still, if anyone didn’t get what he was trying to get at with all that ‘pretty bitch’ stuff, he’s spelling it out (note: Lil B is ostensibly not actually gay).

Lil B’s retweets of his fans supporting/admonishing him were really interesting. There were those, like this guy, who just don’t like it and aren’t behind it (no homo) due to old school, straight up homophobia. Others, like this girl, defended it on the grounds that the word gay doesn’t necessarily mean homosexual, which requires cognitive dissonance denser than a rainforest. Other people just approve of anything Lil B does. My favourite argument, however, was one that popped up a couple of times amongst the rest – that words themselves have no meaning. Fascinating anthropological experiment, really.

My take, based on a couple of interviews and the kind of stuff he says on Tumblr occasionally, is that he got a good reaction from fans to the ‘pretty bitch’ stuff. He calls himself a pretty bitch, but he still makes good music – this in itself is kind of a challenge to people within the hip hop community, and it’s part of a normalising process for gayness that also includes Kanye West’s entourage looking mental and Just Blaze and 50 Cent telling their twitter followers not to say ‘no homo’ any more. He just stripped down a couple of the layers to make it simpler for people. Lil B has a Christ complex.

Also, I’m writing at length about it at 3.30am and presumably lots of people around the world are thinking about it too. If he knows how to do anything (apart from miming eating), it’s how to go viral.

* This is a lie.

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