When keeping it right goes wrong

Branching off from closet hipster Noz’s excellent ethering of Gnarls Barkley (wonder where he got that idea?), I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at a few other examples where teh ghey conscious rappers decided they were too good to make regular hip-hop anymore.

Here is a list of the ones I’m familiar with in order from best to worst.

Mos Def, The New Danger (2004). I must not have been in a good mood that year, because I fucking savaged ethered this bad boy when I reviewed it back in 2004. Amusingly enough, I’ll still give this a spin though every now and again – possibly because the prominent guitar sound appeals to my suburban nature. And Mos probably raps on more of this than you’d think.

Andre 3000, The Love Below (2003). Like roughly 10 (er, 5) million other people, I actually bought this. The thing is, I only listened to it maybe once or twice, and then just spun Speakerboxxx. I’m closed minded like that. That said, my theory is that 3000 might be better suited for this sort of thing, and any solo rap album he put out (especially now) would kinda suck.

Common, Electric Circus (2002). Shocking Revelation #3: This album was probably a bit better than that teh ghey-ass shit he put out with Kanye and what was left of J Dilla at the time. Except for the parts that were really, really gay, this album had a unique sound that, like the Mos Def album, might appeal more to people with a frame of reference outside of hip-hop.

NERD, In Search Of (2002). Like the Gin Blossoms 1990s release Dusted, you don’t necessarily want to mess around with the early, Europe-only version of this album. But the version they did with funk rock weed carriers Spy Mob has its moments. I mean, it sounds cool, but the problem is that neither Pharrell nor the Asian fellow (or the other, Jarobi-style bag handler) are very good song writers.

NERD, Fly or Die (2004). Like my portly Puerto Rican brother Fat Joe, I’ll admit to liking that one “She Wants to Move” song quite a bit. But the rest of this was one big nasty botched abortion. I think one or both of the guys from Good Charlotte might have been involved. I know one is banging Hilary Duff, the fucker.

Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere (2006). Yep, this Gnarls Barkley album, despite it’s knee-slappingly hilarious references to Denzel Washington TV shows (’90s babies, do your homework) actually manages to be a little bit worse than even that second NERD album, if you can imagine. At least that had one song on it that I liked.

And that’s pretty much it. I heard that Kamaal the Abstract album back when it was released (not that I’ve been on the Internets that long…), but only enough to know that it was an abortion in musical form. And of course I’ve never heard anything by Divine Styler. Who do you bags think I am?

Nullus on this whole post.

  • http://XXLmag.com Brendan

    “Caring” from Kamaal the Abstract sounds like it should be over the credits on a Barbra Streisand movie.

  • Lucifer

    Mos Def is dope.

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    I felt the same way about Mos’ New Danger. I was expecting more boom bap, not ghetto rock. I got into it, and yes he rhymes a hell of a lot. The Hip-Hop cuts are still the dopest shit on there, like Champion Requiem and Life Is Real.

  • The Dza

    Did you ever stop to think that maybe none of these cats (especially Gnarls Barkley) were trying to appeal to ”closed-minded” hip-hop fans such as yourself?

  • bob

    damn ur a hater. The 2nd nerd album is just downright good MUSIC. I dont know if that counts for anything anymore but i still like good music.

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    Oh, so the second NERD album is some untouchable sacred cow?

    Jesus.

  • http://www.unkut.com Robbie

    Speaking of NERD, here’s a little something about their White Weed Carrier:

    http://www.unkut.com/weed/2006/04/white-weed-carriers-2-the-wash-out/

  • Belize

    BOL, THIS POST SOLIDFIY’S UR LAMENESS. EVERY DAY WHEN I LOOK ON XXLMAG.COM, I CAN BET THAT U WILL MAKE IT LAME…UR A CANCER TO THIS MAGAZINE LIKE BENZINO TO THE SOURCE, AMIL TO THE ROC OR BETTER YET A MIDGET TRYIN TO FUCK CARAMEL (PORN STAR FUKKERS!!!)
    SINCE YOU LIKE TOP 10 THINGS HERE A LIST OF MY TOP 10 LAME PEOPLE, FROM LAME TO LAMER:
    10. CARE BEARS
    9. RAINBOW BRITE
    8. RUPAUL
    7. THE WHOLE CAST FROM TOO WONG FU
    6. URKEL
    5. SCREACH POWERS (SAVED BY THE BELL)
    4. BOL’S WHOLE FUKIN FAMILY
    3. MAD LINX
    2. WILMER, THAT DUD THAT HOSTS YO MAMMA…………………….
    AND THE NUMBER 1 LAME DUD IN THE WORLD IS: BOL…THATS RIGHT, THE LAMEMAN HIMSELF…THAT SOULD BE UR NICKNAME LAMEMAN OR MR. GARBAGE WATER…HAAAAAA

  • BOL

    LOOK BELIZE,
    I KNOW IM LAME, I KNOW THIS…BUT THESE GUYS AINT FIRED ME YET SO UNTIL THEN, ILL JUST KEEP BEING LAME. SO REPECT MY LAMENESS, AFTER ALL I DIDNT SUCK YEARS OF DICK FOR NOTHING.
    SINCERLY,
    MR. GARBAGE WATER HIMSELF. OUT

  • http://www.myspace.com/writeonpointmagazine janice

    if Bol is so lame, why do you then keep coming back to read his blogs???

  • bob

    look here “bol” “Fly or Die” is a tight ass musical album. They blended lots of different styles of music. And the important thing is it sounds dope. I found this out by giving it a chance. I dont know about anyone else, but i cant listen to the same bullshit 24/7. Expand your mind. I’m a true hip hop head that listens to all forms of hip hop if it sounds good. I’ll jump from Common to Hov to Weezy to Kurupt. But for the most part rap is so stale these days i listen to other forms of music. And Nerd has that perfect blend i need to escape the monotany of hip hop.

  • http://www.87northmusic.com J. Biz

    “HATE, HATE, HATE”…Welcome to the ’06 Hateration Convention!

  • BlackBoy

    “Common, Electric Circus (2002). Shocking Revelation #3: This album was probably a bit better than that teh ghey-ass shit he put out with Kanye and what was left of J Dilla at the time. Except for the parts that were really, really gay, this album had a unique sound that, like the Mos Def album, might appeal more to people with a frame of reference outside of hip-hop.”

    that’s what I BEEN sayin’ finally someone else admits it…

  • Therapist

    janice Says:

    April 24th, 2006 at 4:59 pm
    if Bol is so lame, why do you then keep coming back to read his blogs???

    uh oh… we have a blogger groupie… thats a damn shame

  • 50 Cent

    AHAHAHHA Fuck Backpacker rap.

    I’m god to all backpackers. Feel the wrath of Curtis “Interscope” Jackson. I was sent from the heavens(Interscope Records) to get rid of all Kanye’s, Mos Def’s, NERD’s and any other faggot ass backpackin geeks!

  • http://djxplcit.blogspot.com http://djxplcit.blogspot.com

    > I’ll admit to liking that one “She Wants to Move”

    what about the remix, with de la soul, q-tip, and common?

    they also reference “ill house you” by the jungle brothers on that song, right?

    dont you know that? dont you know?

  • daesonesb

    Belize, when you impersonate someone, you could at least turn capslock off in between posts.

    And it is a good point. Why do you spend minutes of every day reading this blog if it sucks so much? Your time must not be worth much to you.

    Fuck, I like b dot c, and I dont stop in as often as Doc Flav or some of you other haters do.

  • NsaniT

    Well im open minded when it comes to music, i mean you’ll get me listening to anything from Immortal Technique, to Marylin Manson, and MAYBE even Gnarls Barkley if im in a good mood. The Gnarls album wasnt that bad.. it was odd to say the least, but it’s something you can listen to once or twice.

  • http://xxl Puerto-Black

    FUCK THAT!! Love Below was that shit

  • Belize

    Yah i read these lame ass editorial because (1) XXL is decent (2) I hope every day that this bol fuker writes sumthing relevant…but…he dont. HE is like kwame brown to the lakers…thats LAMEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

  • Doc Flav

    Cosign Belize, Its Like A Car Wreck Horrifying, But You Cant Look Away. Dae Dae, That Ether Burn Slow Dont It? Almost Like That Bun B Post That Breaks This Columnist’s Heart Daily.

  • Doc Flav

    Bad Form On My Behalf, Since I Thought This Was One Of Bol’s Better Columns. I Actually Like The Way It Was Put Together.

  • DCMadeMan

    “I KNOW IM LAME, I KNOW THIS…BUT THESE GUYS AINT FIRED ME YET SO UNTIL THEN, ILL JUST KEEP BEING LAME. SO REPECT MY LAMENESS, AFTER ALL I DIDNT SUCK YEARS OF DICK FOR NOTHING.”

    Now that was gay!

  • DCMadeMan

    bol is suspect…

  • http://putyourselfout.net Eddie Kane

    Bol might be a hater but without hate…there would be no love….you don’t have to agree with his opinion but you have to respect it…if you don’t like what he writes….stop reading..simple as that…

  • el topo

    I HATE THIS NIGGA. I HATED HIM ON HIS WEBSITE, AND I HATE HIM ON THIS WEBSITE. THIS NIGGA DOESN’T LIKE ANYTHING. ANYTHING. NIGGA’S THE WILBUR COBB OF HIP HOP.

  • alleyeCNTower

    to hate on ‘Gnarls Barkley’ is to be wholly ignorant of the potential of music in 2006.

    to hate on BOTH N.E.R.D. albums is to be closed-minded to the delight that is ‘Run to the Sun’, much less many other solid audio experiments of Pharrell and Co.

    to hate on ‘Love Below’ shows that someone ain’t hip to the fact that Andre 3000 is much too creative a vocalist to just keep -rapping- for 5 albums straight.

    Bol, you know hip hop and music, but you like one of them homies that thinks its weird when a movie has an abstract flashback or something.

    Black men who don’t or can’t use their imaginations are the most unfortunate artistic victims of ignorance in the world.

    it’s business, never personal, brother.
    don’t hate on the future of Black art.

  • A-Ra

    so much hate, I’m not even going to write an actual comment

  • Felonious Monk

    So Cee-loo is really the rappa turnt singer?

    Im not feeling dude’s vocals at all..

    What is Gnarls Barkely doing what hasnt been done already cept they got a gimmick?

  • Freshman_Woes

    All those albums are dope…

  • http://xxlmag.com the brown

    Yo! Felonious Monk- you’re talking gimmick?
    Ey, Bol. Mos, Com, and Dre are ill artists and they’ve expanded way past today’s hip hop. They would eat most rappers alive and if youngsters would give a listen to, their music could change this negative mindset that floods their thoughts. And Gnarls is right on time with it.