Whether You Like It Or Not, You Gotta Respect My Hustle

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I slapbox with your pride. I bury your respect in a coffin with all of your confidence locked inside.

Has it really been over two weeks? I apologize.

I would like to say that I only blog on some mixtape shiite—in between book deals in order to keep my name hot on the hard streets of these internets. But the truth is I’ve been steady trying to get put on in the game by setting up obscure, typo-ridden web pages where I advertise my services to magazines that won’t hire me because, well, what editor worth their copy of The Elements Of Style would be reading Squidoo, anyway? (Maybe I should start a group on MySpace—that’ll work!)

It matters not that I can’t seem to write for more than 100 words at a time. If you need a story on Lupe Fiasco, I’m you’re* man.

While not wasting my time with dead end projects (maybe I need a mentor), I also found it in me to do something I taught* I would never do again—I listened to an hour’s worth of Little Brother. More than once, even. I know—I’m as shocked as you. Far as I knew, they sucked cow dung.

Which is not to say that they’re inherently dungsucking, per se. I just generally avoid music championed by the Fat Beats crowd because I’m not a fan of that ultra-local, holier-than-thou “real” hip-hop that defines itself by what it’s not while tossing darts made of chewsticks at invisible bullies—you know, I don’t rock ice, don’t drive Maybachs, don’t pimp choes, your crew is full of sucker emcees and I’m better than half of them even when I come off the dome. (Such hypocrisy runs both ways, indeed.)

Me? I’d rather listen to Black Eyed Peas than that trash. Seriously.

Maybe, in my old age, I’ve come to find that hip-hop (the music, the “culture,” the industry) isn’t the entirety of existence and I don’t find the need toi take it so importantly. Maybe, just maybe, I require my music to entertain me—nothing more, nothing less. And, maybe—bear with me now—backpack rap just sucks cow dung.

In LB’s defense, I’ve never heard their “classic” debut. (My bet is it’s no Great Adventures of Slick Rick.) But I found their Chitlin Circuit 1.5 “mixtape” pretty much underwhelming and I lost track of The Minstrel Show right after the intro. (It is a damned good intro, though.) Most LB apologists (whom are usually found Internetting in comments sections and bulletin boards when not freestyling in the lobby of Def Jux) will, without prompting, usually offer, “I know, I know—9th’s production is repetitive.” Or they’ll say that Rapper Big Pooh is, indeed, the weakest link but Phonte is infallible.

Eh.

My opinion of LB was changed when I—in a perfectly legal fashion—obtained a copy of Percy Miracles’ The Ladies Champ. Now, while some people couldn’t catch the humor, I found The Ladies Champ to be extraordinarily less dungsucking than anything LB has ever put out** and a pretty good argument for Phonte as some sort of Weird “Hip-Hop” Yankovic. It’s like The Chapelle Show for your iPod.

Now while I can never get back the half hour of my life wasted on The Commercial Free EP, said squandering of good porn-watching time was repaid when these champions of all things pure and good hooked up with the iPod King for Separate But Equal, a mixtape that, by all measures, should work as well as a Li’l Jon-produced E-40 track Mary J. Blige rapping.

Incredibly, silencer shots, the “cannon, ” Drama talking shiite and LB’s wack backpack rhymes actually come together like (coke) cookies and (rice) milk. Chris Rock once said that conscious rappers need ignorant beats, but maybe they just need some gangsta grillz in their life. Drama’s tricks help keep LB’s pedantic tendencies from inducing boredom (which is no miniscule feat, mind you), the beat selections (Neptunes, Kanye) work. Cuts like “Rollin’ Out” and “Let It Go” sound like some of the best shiite this side of T.I.’s “What You Know.” They’re really that good.

The fact that some of these songs may have been (rightfully) ignored on their other albums simply underscores how much better this collection is than LB’s previous efforts. Hell, even that forgettable first single from The Minstrel Show sounds good tolerable here.

Eh.

Maybe the coming times will find Blackalicious hooking up with DJ Whoo Kid for G-Unit Radio: The Tofu Massacre. Perhaps Jurassic 5 will get familiar with Clinton Sparks, which could only be a good thing, because while Little Brother may have gotten off the dung list, most of the rest of these monkeys need to step their game up. And when you ain’t even good enough for the mixtape shiite, you need to look into being a skycap for Jetblue.

——-

* Such grammatical errors are par for the course when you have the insecure leading the ignorant, but you get what you pay for. Word to Roosevelt Franklin.

** Not like I’ve listened to all their excrement by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Casey

    I agree that too many artists act too superior because they “stay underground” (another way of saying broke), but LB is the shit.

  • afrocynic

    I think you are guilty of the same thing you accuse LB of. yes, they do go on about mainstream rap but for me that does not detract from their skills as a group esp. phonet’s lyrical prowress…dude i think you need to listen to ‘the yo yo’ off the listening lp….that’s a good track and it basically shows that they are just like all the hollering and grunting mcs. respect dudes that wanna talk about reazl ish and those that wanna kick fantasy, so long as it is creative, i dig it all.

  • http://myblogwillsoonbebetterthanyours.blogspot.com/ Will Dukes

    I’m truly loving the irony of hip-hop in 2006–i.e., Jay-Z’s top 5 most-listened-to songs (iTunes):

    1. “Shorty on the Lookout,” Little Brother
    2. “Song Cry,” ME! [Unplugged version ft. Ahmir and Them]
    3. “Dear Summer,” Bleek “Brave New World,” The Foreign Exchange
    4. “Some Beat Shit 9th Wonder Gave Me”
    5. “Dangerously in Love,” B Coldplay

    Should’a known this was coming when 50 said he admired Talib “myflowisGreatliketheLakesanditrockslikeAppilacian” Kweli.

    I fully expect a Mr. Lif/Clipse, We Got It 4 Cheaper Than My Jansport Vol. 1 mix in approx 2 weeks.

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    For what it’s worth, I liked The Listening a lot more than I did The Minstrel Show. I haven’t heard it in ages though.

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    LB**=not dung, not quite as delicious as the uneaten steak; rather stuck somewhere between the mouth and the anus, more likely in the small intestine (that is after the stomach [and before the anus]), right?

    PLEASE don’t imply that LB is better than Kweli.

    Kweli is much more entertaining that LB, and who said being self-righteous wasn’t K(+w)EW(-w)L(i) [I don't expect anyone to decipher that]!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com c.s.a.r

    DON MATTER WHERE YOU ARE,BUT YOU GOTTA BE REAL,HUNDRED PERCENT SKILL,FUCK COMMERCIAL APPEAL,I COULD BE UNDERGROUND,AND STILL KILL THEM SOFTLY LIKE LAUREN HILL.SOUTH AFRICA PEACE

  • Travis

    LB = DUNG

  • http://www.juliuswest.blogspot.com Julius

    Where can i find the Percy Miracles EP?

  • http://www.myspace.com/littlebrother Phonte of Little Brother

    Very ironic coming from the same dude who skewered Dipset for their ‘genocidal wordplay’ last year, no?

    Eh…

    I know a backhanded compliment when I see one:

    “You’re pretty cute for a fat girl.”
    “You’re pretty smart for a Black guy.”
    “You music is pretty good for a group of backpackers.”

    Well ‘fuck you’ too, nigga….

  • FL

    HAhahahahaha1!

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  • bluerid

    HAHAHAHAHA YEAH BRING A WHOLE FUCKING ARMY CUZ U WILL NEED THAT IF YOU COMING AT ME.

  • bluerid

    MAN YOU SHOULD HAVE ALL STEPPED YOUR GAME UP AGES AGO I WAS JUST TRYING TO BE NICE BUT WE ALL NOW I NEED SOME MILLITANT SHIT.

  • Kenny

    Just because you’re a writer who knows how to assemble subjects and predicates doesn’t mean your writing is worth reading. I’m sorry for wasting my porn time reading another hypocritical article where the author acts better than someone by pointing out he thinks the person or group he’s writing about acts better than someone else. *yawn* Find something original to say or don’t bother writing at all.

    You’re an embarassment to writers everywhere.

  • Just Listen

    You ain’t listenin’ – your thinking about your timerlands,
    You say the shit they talk about ain’t interestin’…

    Just Listen

  • M

    dude. shouldn’t you be a little too busy to write bullshit like this?

  • iraaq

    Wow, I just read dude’s comment about the LB fam. I wonder who he is rockin?! Or what I really want to ask him is, “who stole the soul?” LB’s efforts establishing themselves as lyrical assassins over beats that, if you a old school rnb cat like me, you have to love. Fine tune your ear son. To Phonte and the crew, keep do what you do…hiphop and soul need the production from people that made from the ground up…by the people for the people.

  • PDJ

    I have three words for you, Big Daddy Kane. Kane did a song with these cats, and together they killed it. It’s time people started to give Phonte some credit. The man is talented. Get the Foreign Exchange Album (Connected). Listen to the track Raw Lifes. Dude killed it. Give these cats some love.

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  • Afrosoul rep AbenA

    LB is tha bomb.

    and you know what ” they get your heard still boppin and ther verse didnt rhyme!!!”

    Fuck y’all coz HIP HOP aint dead!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/thirdeyezoo AreKayEs

    Yo. To the being that wrote the article saying that LB wasn’t doing it. Miss me and everyone else with the drag. I have been listening to real hip hop homey since before you even thinkin’ about pissin in diapers and being abused by your drunk step dad. Don’t hate appreciate is a simple concept. ITS ABOUT DAMN TIME, some TRUE Masters of Ceremonies stepped up and did something different, something with intelligence, something more than making my people look like the modern day mandingos or porch monkey with big wheels and grills in his mouth. I can’t believe that people actually base their opionion of this critic. WHAT A JOKE! I dont even think you have been alive long enough to judge hip hop homey. Watch ya tone Junior, loose lips sink ships and I am sure that you mouth is destined someday to write a check your ass can’t cash. Come correct bredren when you speak or don’t say nuffin’! Ya Dig. Eric B. for President!
    ~AreKayEs -not the droid you were looking for.

  • Mayweather Kickor

    I’m sorry,
    Some of you’ll don’t really have any idea what you talking about. And it’s shame.

    When you can see all that around you is wack & you whole lot better than that, you have every right to call it as you see it.

    Phontyger is tight mc, full stop.
    If you wanted your favourate mc to spit to that type of level of hip hop musicianship, then I be agreeing with you, but I won’t.

    Think about it like this, with all the izish you bombarded with in the club, radio, & anywhere else, it’s refreshing you here type of style the LB, JL, & affiliates.

    It’s a breath of fresh air.

    You know!

  • jackson conti

    wow this blog sucks big time, you cock sucker.