Archive for the 'Opinion' Category

Soundboy Burial: Why Your Old Droog Should Be Pissed After His BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher

Friday, October 7th, 2016

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Words by @StanIpcus

One of the first performances I did as a rapper was a Battle of the Bands outside the Student Union at the University of Maryland. And during the show, I remember feeling like my vocals started to sound weird through the monitors. But it was my first big gig in front of mad people, and I was too focused on doing a good job to question what was happening.

A few days later, I was watching the video of the show with my friends, and I realized that I was right—the sound engineer had been fucking with my voice during the whole set! He was putting ridiculous effects on it, changing the pitch of my voice to make it dumb high or stupid low, and adding echoes and other shit that sounded completely wack. I was so tight, like, “Who gave this dickhead the creative license to toy with my vocals?”

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So when I saw this tweet by one of my favorite rappers—Coney Island MC Your Old Droog— urging people not to watch his appearance during the BET Hip Hop Awards cyphers because the sound engineer had altered the placement of his vocals over the beat and delayed his flow, I immediately related to his frustration. What should have been one of the biggest—if not the biggest—look of Droog’s budding rap career had been tarnished by a seemingly out-of-touch sound guy. Ironically, a white rapper’s rhythmic delivery was de-rhythmed by the Black Entertainment Television Hip Hop Awards audio technicians. Go figure.

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Kanye Threatens to Make #TLOP a TIDAL Exclusive

Monday, February 15th, 2016

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Here’s a tweet Kanye sent out a little while ago.

I shouldn’t have to tell you that this is a bad idea.

I don’t know what the motivation behind such a maneuver is or could possibly be, but whatever it is can not possibly outweigh what should be his number one consideration: the fans. The simple fact is, people want to be able to listen to their music within whatever streaming ecosystem they prefer. Be it Apple Music, Amazon, TIDAL, Spotify, or downloaded as mp3s on their phone, whatever. The average listener is all out of fucks to give about the epic battle these corporations are waging over supremacy in the digital music space. We just want to be able to stream and download what we want to stream and download, easily.

This exclusive access shit is quite frankly, for the birds. The fact that one service has the exclusive rights to stream the music of one particular artist isn’t going to make the majority of people sign up for that service. TIDAL and Apple Music, two of the biggest offenders in this exclusive access standoff, are both products that have been on the market for several months now. I could be wrong, but I feel like most people have made up their minds at this point and I can’t see the availability one artist’s catalog swaying them.

For all of their money, knowledge and supposed expertise in this field, these companies don’t seem to understand that these walled gardens they are creating just promote bootlegging and piracy. If I was going to guess, I’d say Kanye is doing this to help out his Big Brother Jay’s company, which some would argue has struggled somewhat in its first year or so of operation. The other factor could be that he owns some stake in TIDAL so he’ll presumably be seeing a bigger portion of proceeds from what would surely be an enormous amount of streams.

But the college kid who is busting his ass at H&M or McDonald’s everyday and then forking over a portion of his hard earned money to Spotify and Apple doesn’t necessarily want to fork over more money to yet another service with a very similar catalog. That kid is just gonna download a zip file of the album and be done with it.

And you can say that person isn’t a true fan, or they should go out of their way to support or whatever, but that’s bullshit. This business is a two way street. Artists succeed at the pleasure of their fans, plain and simple. I’m using Kanye’s tweet as an example here (he might have changed his mind while I was writing this), but this is something all artists need to consider. Fans spend money we have earned to enjoy and support these artists, I feel like the least the artists can do is make it as easy as possible for us to do so.

UPDATED: Kanye West Says ‘The Life of Pablo’ Will Never Be For Sale and Only on Tidal, Sources Express Confusion (Billboard)

UPDATED: Here’s an interesting passage from Torrentfreak on how much the album has been bootlegged:

TorrentFreak has been keeping a close eye on the popularity of the album on BitTorrent and after the first day an estimated 500,000 people have already grabbed a copy.

The album is currently leading The Pirate Bay’s list of most shared music torrents by a landslide. At the time of writing close to 10,000 people were sharing a copy of the most popular torrent simultaneously, something we haven’t seen with a music release before.

via Andy B’s The Messy Rollout—and Aftermath—of Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo’

Previously: Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo Has Arrived

My Last Conversation with Koopsta Knicca, A Southern Hip-Hop Legend

Friday, October 9th, 2015

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Words by Paul Meara (@PaulMeara)

The death of Koopsta Knicca seems surreal to me. It’s like reliving this feeling you had only you don’t know how to deal with it. It’s shock mixed with my journalism reaction of “well I don’t know if this is true until I have official confirmation.” It’s the feeling I got when I found out fellow Three 6 Mafia member and favorite rapper Lord Infamous passed away unexpectedly only this time we had some prior notice.

Lord’s death struck me as particularly harsh because I grew up on Three 6. His verses across instrumentals as menacing were what I walked to class with. It’s the music that secured my love of hip-hop and would eventually lead me into hip-hop journalism, which is now my hobby and unbelievably, my livelihood.

Koopsta is similar, but different. I had never spoken with Lord before his death because during the period leading up to it I guess there was never a time where I deemed it necessary (something I regret to this day). It’s different with Koop though. This past May, in what would be one of Koopsta Knicca’s last interviews alive, I spoke with him about what turned out to be a topic of interest for both of us, Three 6’s debut album Mystic Stylez.

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On Meek Mill, Drake & Ghostwriting

Friday, July 31st, 2015

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Last night, after about a week and a half, Meek Mill finally responded to Drake with an actual diss track. Most of the reactions that I’ve seen within the last 12 hours or so seem to indicate that Meek has lost this first round. Personally, I was super underwhelmed by “Wanna Know”, a rambling diss track over an ominous production by Jahlil Beats and Swizz Beatz on which Meek seemed more concerned with showcasing his flow then going for Drake’s jugular. To me, an effective diss needs to lay out clear shots that connect immediately with listeners. About a minute into this song I knew this wasn’t it. It also didn’t help that the track arrived nearly two hours after it was supposed to, hyped up by Flex and Meek’s shooters as an undeniable kill shot.

The diss relies heavily on the accusation that Drake utilized a ghostwriter, relative unknown Quentin Miller, for many of the most popular tracks on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. It features samples from a reference track for “Know Yourself” that leaked minutes before Meek’s response showed up. In the aftermath Meek, his camp and his most vocal supporters seem pretty incredulous as to why the general public hasn’t accepted this as the “Ether” they clearly thought it was. What they failed to consider is many of Drake’s supporters could care less if he uses a ghostwriter. Meek basically tried to turn a battle with an international pop star into a referendum on lyrical integrity.

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