What does it world? After seeing Manny Ramierez in an A's jersey this week, does anyone think he's going to make a big difference for the team? Isn't it kind of hard to not look at it as just another person to add to the long list of A's sluggers from over the years who were on steroids? Still I guess you gotta hope for the best. But at the end of the day I think a better question is, do people really care about pre season baseball?
Musically, this was a great week if you're a fan of lyrics. Hit the jump for my picks.
Locksmith ft. Fallon - Take Me Away
Sometimes writing about music doesn’t seem to fully do justice to the quality of the music itself. There’s not many words that are able to completely capture what makes some artists stand out from the rest. So I can’t tell you exactly what it is that makes Locksmith so ill and lyrically elite. His music does a much better job of that. Last years Embedded with Ski Beatz was a great album, and early on in 2012 Lock is already releasing material from his next project, The Labyrinth. “Take Me Away” is the second leak from the album, and Locksmith gives the fans a little bit more background on how he came up. What makes the track especially dope is that without sacrificing any of his lyricism, or the complexity of his flows and rhyme schemes, his story is still able to come through with crystalline clarity. In addition to watching this video on repeat (as I have been doing all week), you can catch Locksmith live this Wednesday, opening up for Mobb Deep at The New Parish.
Dregs One - The Inspiration Mixtape
One thing an artist can do to insure continued interest in his/her music, is to constantly make a deliberate effort to improve. This sounds painfully obvious, but everyone reading this can probably think of way too many rappers (and producers) who at one point or another grew complacent, and stopped trying to get better at what they do. With his latest free mixtape, The Inspiration, Dregs One put a lot of effort into improving his flow, and to my ears it made a big difference in the quality of his music. While the thought provoking and positive messages that Dregs has become known for are present throughout the tape, songs like “Hit The Booth” and “Collision Course” show a hungrier and more focused side of Dregs that I hadn’t noticed on some of his other projects. The mixtape also features appearances from A1, Telli Prego, Patience, Nate, Otayo Dubb, Spank Pops, Shark Sinatra, White Mic, Yarrow Slaps and more. Finally, be on the look out for the “Inspiration” video to drop soon. It features Telli Prego and Patience, and is directed by the one and only Left Lane.
Download - Dregs One - The Inspiration Mixtape
Too Short - No Trespassing
Thizzler and almost every other hip-hop blog has been talking about Too Short’s 19th album, No Trespassing, for what seems like months now (click here to read our very own Hooked On Hip-Hop’s full review of the album). So there’s not a whole lot more to be said other than after a video for damn near every song, and tons of interviews with all the major magazines and blogs, the album is finally out. The marketing for this project, on a national level, was to a degree we don’t regularly see from Bay Area albums or mixtapes, so I’m personally interested in seeing if it all paid off for Uncle Short. I’m also wondering if there’s more content to come, to inspire continued purchases of the album after it’s first week or two on shelves. If somehow you haven’t been paying attention to any Too Short posts, No Trespassing, features E-40, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Twista, Devin The Dude, Dom Kennedy, Beeda Weeda, Richie Rich, DB Tha General, and more.
A-1 - Whole Lotta Thug
To give you a little background on this post, legendary producer The Alchemist (Mobb Deep, Nas, Dilated Peoples, etc...) is coming out with a new instrumental album, Rappers Best Friend 2. To help promote it, he’s hosting a competition where he is inviting MC’s to spit over a beat he made entitled “Whole Lotta Thug”. The winner will get their own Alchemist produced single that will be released on Decon Records. I like competitions like these because they give artists the opportunity to get a legit look from important taste makers and artists from across the country, with very little to lose other than time. Yet the problem with judging them is that there are a lot talented MC’s taking part, whose verses are all practically identical. How do you choose whose very similar punchlines about flossing, girls, weed, drinks, and killing are the most deserving of a W? Luckily that’s where A-1 comes in. His entry in this contest is not only ridiculously dope, and could very well be a stand out verse on almost anyone’s album, it’s completely different from what the rest of the competition is doing, which makes him memorable. He tells a great story, and the amount of food for thought that he gives the listener in just over 2 minutes is hell of impressive. Obviously I’m Bay Area biased, but I’ve watched a lot of submissions to this contest, and I genuinely think A-1 deserves it at this point. I hope so too, because A-1 and the Alchemist could be a very dangerous combination, with the potential to open doors nationwide for the MC at the top of your ipod.
Armani Cooper, Plane Jane, Krissy and True Jones on The Wake Up Show
The Wake Up Show is nothing short of legendary. The weekly radio show built by Sway and King Tech has not only featured practically every trend setting MC from the 90’s, but the best part is, every guest must rap live on the air, and some of my favorite verses of all time have come out of this tradition (a Death Row era Crooked I and pre Aftermath Eminem come to mind). Despite my admiration for what the show does, until this week I hadn’t heard anything new from them in a year or two. So needless to say I was impressed when I saw that a bunch of young bay area rappers recently made it on thanks to TeamBackPack. While I got nothing but love for the ladies and they most definitely did their thing, Armani started things off and stole the show right off the bat.
Side Note: If anyone has any full recordings of old Wake Up Show broadcasts (preferably from the 90’s, but I’ll take it from any year), holler at me in the comments section!