Monthly Archives: June 2011

Hip Hop Monday #11: Intentionally Misinterpreting Some Rap As If Being Gay Was Considered Good By The Rapper

June is Pride month and, given that Tyler saying ‘faggot’ got plenty of attention, both on this blog and whilst out talking to real humans, I thought I would do something annoying and facetious to celebrate. Now, we all know that being gay is neither good nor bad, but many famous rappers from the murky, unknown times before Odd Future invented homophobia tended to, surprisingly, use homosexuality as a jigsaw piece that would pretty much immediately imply a bunch of negative connotations. As the title of this post implies, I will be cherrypicking quotes from rap songs and reading them as if the rapper considered homosexuality to immediately imply a bunch of positive connotations.

Nas – Halftime (Illmatic, 1994)

Versatile, my style switches like a faggot
But not bisexual, I’m an intellectual
Of rap I’m a professional and that’s no question, yo.

Halftime is the best song on Illmatic, Illmatic is Nas’ best album and Nas is a god-tier rapper (to the extent that when he drops new songs, after more than a decade of doing the opposite of what he did on Illmatic, people still get excited), so this is a very high profile place in the context of hip hop history. Nas plays the difference between heterosexual and homosexual relations against each other to show how different he is, and how aggressively versatile. He is “not bisexual” – this perhaps implies that he is an all-or-nothing rapper, never operating in the shades of the spectrum, but always in black and white, concrete ideas that have conventional, understood meaning to a broad sector of society.

50 Cent – In Da Club (Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 2002)

I’m that cat by the bar toasting to the good life
Yo that faggot ass nigga trying to pull me back right?

A number one song on the Billboard Hot 100, this is another very high profile example of what we are talking about. In these lines, 50 Cent is celebrating his success, but perhaps to excess. His level-headed homosexual friend pulls him aside and convinces him to calm down and not fall victim to the trappings of success as so many have before him.

Lil Wayne – A Milli (Tha Carter III, 2008)

On some faggot bullshit
Call him Dennis Rodman

Lil Wayne’s rap ‘n’ bullshit is in a homosexual style, underpinned by the fact that he kissed Birdman on the lips once. He warrants comparison to Dennis Rodman, who is not gay but occasionally cross-dresses. Everyone is created equal.

Lil B – I’m A Fag I’m A Lesbian

…fuck knows.

A Tribe Called Quest feat. Brand Nubian – Georgie Porgie (Low End Theory outtake, 1991)

Call me homophobic but I know it and you know it
You’re filthy and funny to the utmost exponent
So never will I do it – disrespect my mommy
So go and hide your salami

This unreleased Tribe song, held back by the record label because of how universally positive it was about gay people, is actually entirely on the subject of homosexuality. Yes, even your favourite ‘sound’ rappers, called “the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990s,” by AllMusic, were on the pro-gay tip.

So next time you’re kicking it to Can I Kick It? and reminiscing about the time you reblogged tumblr posts about Tyler being the devil, think on that.

I listen to things people send me and say what I think of them.

To date, I have never acted on an unsolicited PR email that wasn’t from someone I already knew at least something about. That changes now, as I coldly and scientifically listen to some randomly selected tracks from my email account and say what I think is up with them.


This is IndianRedLopez, who are Scottish. I don’t think they commit strongly enough to either ‘ambience’ or ‘songliness’, which is possibly a way of saying that there’s nothing particularly impressive about this track. It could theoretically fit on Phantom’s playlist I suppose, but to me it sounds like fairly mundane 16thy rock executed with expensive-sounding synths possibly in order to be different to other more conventional 16thy rock. Which is fine if you give a shit about the progression of 16thy rock, but as a current fan of neither the tail of end of NME British rock or post-Brand New American emotive indie rock, this does nothing for me.


This is Chad Valley, who’s from Oxford. It sounds summer-twilighty, almost as if it’s making some reference to chillwave, but its slow blissed out beachy sound, underpinned by those vaguely tropical drums, makes me feel like I only think that because I don’t know anything about Ibiza. I’ve never been to a pool party, but if I was going to go to one, I probably wouldn’t mind if this came on, and if I was making a mix CD for someone who needed to calm down a little, I’d put this between M83 and Fred Falke.

+


This is Milk Maid, who are from Manchester, and this is both what I am used to talking about and ‘what I am talking about’, in the praiseworthy sense. A single chord progression all the way to the middle 8, it’s got that Smith Westerns, quality, carefully crafted garage rock vibe to it and it’s slathered in the reverb as well. The press release compared it to Woods and Black Lips but to me it’s got muscle to it that Woods doesn’t have and a certain type of chillness that Black Lips doesn’t have. Very pro Milk Maid. Their debut album is out June 20th on Fat Cat.

++


This is Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Sounds like gay clubs.


This Electric Wire Hustle, who are from New Zealand. This sounds like what instrumental hip-hop with that Dilla/FlyLo snap to it, except that it’s too busy and it has vocals over it. Still, there is certainly enough enticement for violent head-bobbing here below the Once In A Lifetime treble dazzle, and it’s fun to hear a much more song-based iteration of this type of music. It’s also, independent of any real logic, always exciting to hear something you’d never expect from a place to come from that place. I would listen to Blueprint or Atmosphere over a stripped down version of this, but it’s fine as it is, too.

+


Okay no-one emailed me this but it’s No Monster Club who’ve embarked on a European tour as of this morning. So on the off chance any Veronesi or Valencianos read this blog regularly, do not miss them at these locations.

June 17 – Cafe Kairo, Bern, Switzerland
June 18 – Youthtramp Festival, Bar Sartea, Vicenza, Italy
June 19 – Youthtramp Festival, Osteria S’ciavinaro, Verona, Italy
June 22 – Le Saint des Seins, Toulouse, France
June 23 – Autoplacer Festival, Madrid, Spain
June 24 – Joan Santamaria Perruquer, Valencia, Spain
June 25 – Relámpago Festival @ Tube II, Barcelona, Spain

Hip Hop Monday #10: Meek Mill

I love Meek Mill. This is kind of an outlier in terms of new rap music I like, because he’s not ‘subverting’ anything particularly, his flow’s not that weird, and he generally raps about the sort of stuff your friend who likes Common hates to hear people rap about. He’s got one gear. It’s the top gear, and it’s in an expensive car driving around Philadelphia so kids know he’s rich now. I like that though.

In 2008, Mill had several mixtapes out that had blown up within Philadelphia, and T.I. offered him a deal. Then, poetically, he got arrested and did seven months in jail. Despite T.I.’s own penchant for getting sent to jail when he’s supposed to be doing albums, that was the end of that. But, as Gucci says on Heavy, Meek “got a second chance like Meek in Philly” (yeah it was that specific). Mixtapes kept coming and features started to roll in.

Meek Mill – Indian Bounce

Last year he put out Mr. Philadelphia. It’s interesting that Mill was the de facto king of Philadelphia without a deal. But unless you count Freeway and Beanie Siegel, Mill’s the most self-confident, independently popular Philadelphia straight-up rapper since the Golden Age. He had songs, thanks to Jahlil, and he can rap well and in a recognisable way.

Rick Ross noticed and recruited him for Maybach Music Group along with Pill, Teedra Moses and the direct opposite of Meek Mill in terms of street respect vs. label push, Wale. The Maybach album’s got ups and downs (mostly downs), but all the highlights that don’t just consist of Rick Ross saying “huuuph” or “bawse” are Mill, whose also on the two best tracks, almost as if Ross noticed who his best rapper was and decided to give him the best chance to blow up.

Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross – I’m A Boss

Jahlil was ditched and even got into a small twitter beef with Mill, which is sad, but Meek’s a young(ish) rapper who had a very drawn out trajectory to his first proper exposure, which just gave him more time to get better, and he hasn’t fallen off yet. Also I think he and Ross implied that he was the new Tupac, which is something.

I’ll leave you with a quote from an MMG interview that Noz linked to a while ago:

What is the goal for MMG?
Meek: Being rich forever.
Pill: Affecting the culture man.

Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross – Tupac Back

Cumbia my lord. Ahem.

As I say every time I post music for no real reason, I don’t normally do this, but here’s something good. The Dona Sandra EP by Orquesta is something you can get free and easy. It’s by Orlando, a Dublin-based producer who makes music influenced heavily by South American electronic music, in an unlikely twist. He also invented corpse cycling, as an aside, and did a Gucci Mane night in the Shaw that he guestposted about here.

I wasn’t going to post this because I know Orlando and because he was pestering me, but the song’s been in my head for days. It features Brazilian-New Yorker baile funk MC Zuzuka Poderosa and it is legitimately great, above and beyond the fact that it’s really pleasing that stuff like this comes out of Dublin as well as the indiepop/post-hardcore/navelgazey more traditional electronica scenes that are pumping out good stuff.

There are good remixes and another nice spacey cumbia song that’s been knocking around for a while on the EP, so download it for free there.