Dear Lord: Please Take The Wackness Out Of Rappin’

100.jpgThey say the Lord closes windows to open doors
Nigga, don’t make me open yours
Seen hearts beat through open sores
Subliminal rap shit, so immature
That’s why I ignore
Punchline niggas on front time
Silly ho shit
He who questions I is unfocused
Copperfield flow—yes!
I’ll make careers disappear like hocus-pocus
No joke, it’s Push

—”Pussy”

As I noted the last time I magnanimously bequeathed you undeserving manifestations of ignorance with my stupefying brilliance, Mike “Fort Minor” Shinoda has a song out that is a “hit” with the kinds of guys that got into rap when 2Pac got shot(a). Despite the harrowing “ethering” I received from the keyboard of one of Shinoda’s Stans(b), I must persist with my assertion that Shinoda is, as Del Tha Funkee Homosapien would say, a wack MC.

Now, I could simply base this on my superior knowledge of hip-hop and all around good taste, but that would be too easy. I could also follow this argument through to its logical end, but that wouldn’t confuse enough of you, so why bother?

So, before I switch lanes, I’d like to note that I was told that Shinoda’s verse on “Bloc Party” (from his rightfully ignored mixtape) is supposedly better than anything that has ever been done by 50 Cent, Young Jeezy or “insert slinger-songwriter here.”

Maybe dude thought that Apathy’s verse (which includes a couplet that ends with “fuck[ing] Meadow Soprano”) was Shinoda’s. Or maybe he just has bad taste(c).

I mean, I cuffs with Linkin Park, gotdammint. But without Chester’s emo histrionics, Shinoda’s just a sub-par hypeman with nothing to hype. And that “Bloc Party” verse can’t cuff with 50′s verse on Mobb Deep’s “Creep” or Jeezy’s verse on that Christina Milian joint(d).

Cuff me if I feel that aesthetics—style, flow and the ability to grab a listener’s attention—still count for something (but not everything). Putting words together is an art form, losers. It defies formal analysis(e).

See—keep this a secret, right by the nuts—2Pac can’t be considered a great “lyricist.” Not if you’re going to be honest, no. Neither can Trick Daddy or B.G. But I’d rather listen to them than about a hundred “underrated” “A level” lyricists you can think of. Pac did not possess—to slang-jack the big homey, Will “Cuff SOHH” Dukes—the “spry feng shui with words” that B.I.G. exhibited. But then there’s nothing in Big’s catalogue that I could put on a Mother’s Day CD for my momma. And Black Thought could never get me amped like Trick Daddy does on “Let’s Go.” Nor has Lupe Fiasco (as of yet) produced anything as viscerally pleasurable as the intro to B.G.’s latest album.

Do I acknowledge Big, Thought and Lupe as better wordcrafters than Pac, Trick and B.G.? Of course. Better MC’s? Eh. Depends on the day of the week.

Maybe it’s just my personal bent. Or maybe being a better lyricist is only a small part of the equation. There are guys who think that the leaked version of Lupe’s Food & Liquor is the best thing to come out this year(f). There are Stans who think that Papoose is the second coming(g). But then there are also dudes who don’t realize that the Clipse raise the bar every time they spit a verse.

And I’d be gotdamned if “Where’d You Go” isn’t a Barney-awful song with a halfway decent hook. I’ll take the Mitchell Brothers’ “Alone With The TV” all day, everyday.

What is my point? I have none. And many. Take your pick.

Hate up or weight up, losers. You’ll never take me off my square(h).

Question: Whether you hate to read us or read to hate us, you’re still reading us. Why do you think that is?

No need to answer. Just take it for checking.

P.S. — I slang-jacked “slinger-songwriter” from a dude at Blender. (I see you, Young Butterknife.)
________________________________

(a) The first time.

(b) My soul still burns slow.

(c) Most likely.

(d) Ask Liva: Only few speak The Language and the rest is Comic View.

(e) I believe the children now refer to this unquantifiable quality as “swagger.”

(f) They’re wrong.

(g) Of Barney.

(h) Still, the fact that you seem to think you can makes me chuckle so.

  • Black Captain.

    first comment. i rule.

  • http://www.hiphop-blogs.com Hashim

    I was looking for an MP3. Where’s the MP3?

  • http://www.myspace.com/lone_Nigerian lone Nigerian

    I’m late.
    didn’t even know Shinoda has been rapping.
    Oh well, doesn’t look like i missed much.

  • http://www.myspace.com/therapistmusic Therapist

    nicely done

  • The Truth

    About BIG not having a track for your mum,or whatever you said,then you must not have heard “Sky’s The Limit”..But then again so what if he never had a track for your mum? Every artist is different from the next.Pac and Nas always managed to contradict themselves,but what’s funny is how your magazine says Nas contradicts himself,but never says shit about Pac..Double Standards..

  • Black LONDON

    Kris Ex………

    I Didnt know that you Americans knew anything about The Mitchell Brothers’.

    Copped their album….it’s okay…could have been better.

    I would put down an in-depth review but thats long, and im at work.

    Not that im tryin to play the “Lets get the American to listen to UK Hip Hop” card BUT.. if you get a chance,

    Listen to/Download:

    Klahnekoff – FOCUS MODE Mixtape

    Skinnyman – Council State of Mind

    Kano – Home SWEET Home (679/Warner/Atlantic)

  • http://www.crooked-soul.com Zilla

    Kris–

    Good points here. The problem with “lyricists” is that they usually lack any flare or swagger (Canibus, MF Doom). The problem with “dope boyz” is that they usually lack substance or technical prowess (Juelz Santana, BG). There are exceptions to both of course: Ras Kass, Lil’ Wayne, T.I., Ghostface. But Black Thought (and The Roots) will never sell as many records as Young Jeezy. Jeezy will never have as dedicated fans as the Roots, who support them on tour year round, year after year… I think one of the biggest contributions Raekwon gave to hip hop was spitting ok verses that SOUNDED good. People don’t walk around and quote or praise Chef on a regular basis, but they don’t fast forward through his verses either. Mike Shinoda DOES NOT SOUND GOOD when he rhymes. His verses have substance, concepts and thought but are BORING to listen to. The Clipse can use 4 words and outshine anything Mike Shinoda will ever spit (“Top down…chrome spinning”) because it GRABS YOUR ATTENTION. Note: I own the Fort Minor album. Solid beats, nice cameos, endless dry monotone flow for 15 tracks. I’ve listened it twice since getting it. “Tha Carter 2″ has been on rotation for months and months.

  • ManFrizzLe

    What I think you’re not realizing is that the white America that didn’t listen to rap until 2Pac got shot, even that crowd, is tired of the topics and punchline styles of most rappers. Jeezy’s verse on the milian joint? C’mon man, baby mama drama again? How many times do we have to listen to this? No creativity, I’d rather listen to originality and risk taking than some of the same old bullshit. Because of dudes like you, no white guy can come out and do it…I mean they certainly can’t talk about their baby mama drama now, can they?

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    Shinoda sucks, truth be told.

    I didn’t finish my Mother’s Day CD… I won’t see moms for another week though, so I get the pass on that.

    And I love the love for The Clipse.

  • Danja29

    The people who love that type of shit and try to give it ultimate respect… are usually people who don’t really know as much about hip-hop as they think they do.

    Or maybe their ears are just REAL bad. Shinoda is a good MC for a part of a rock group. Outside of that, no. Just NO.

  • T.I.

    how can you say that tupac wasnt a great lyricist?

    tupac was the best lyricist ever in rap. he rhymed so many times and made shit make sense.

    not one rapper past or present can stand with tupac.

    except t.i. maybe haha

  • http://justsayin2000.blogspot.com noixe

    black london–skinnyman is ill but his album was real boring. does he have a mixtape or something?

  • silva

    i agree with everything in this post. if kris ex started a revolution or something, i’d be there as long as there were plenty of the (f) things

  • http://xxlmag.com exo

    Black London:

    Wasn’t in love with “Council Estate of Mind.” Saw what he was trying to do, had some intersting moments (“No Big Ting,” “I’ll Be Surprised”) and a nice narrative, but felt it was amateurish, overall. I remember thinking I’d probly like his second record better.

    “Home Sweet Home” was pretty good, but could’ve been better. (I actually prefer “Beats + Bars.”)

    I’ve only heard “The Sagas of Klashnekoff,” but Mr. Ricochet K Lash Ya Ras Clad Neck Off is the truth. I’m going to have to track down this “Focus Mode” in a prefectly legal manner. Amazon.co.uk. Standard.

    Zilla:

    Up until last week, I had only listened to “The Rising Tied” once. It truly is that disengaging. Not sure if I’m willing to co-sign on Doom not having swagger, tho.

  • http://www.crooked-soul.com Zilla

    MF Doom has a sense of humor. Plus his flow, for the most part, stays the same. He knows he’s a character and his rhymes are ill, but when I think of swagger/lyricist, I think of Ghostface first. Doom is a bit more grandiose than most underground MC’s, rocking the mask and having his persona. Still, he doesn’t have that “I’m the shit” air about him, which translates as swagger in hip hop today

  • Mike

    Kris i agree completly with what you said. That is the beauty of hip hop that alot of elitist seem to forget. They look at everything from one perspective and look for things in certain artsts that arent there. Even still you still can mess fukk the jack iron..hahah you know who this is….

  • eauhellzgnaw

    This is a good post. I don’t see how people can overlook the very essence of vocalism (The Streets? Shinoda? Gimme a fuckin break.)

    But you’re completely backward on Black Thought. Despite what his fans say, he is not a great lyricist: you can count on one hand the number of memorable words he’s dropped; he is all about style: voice, rhythm, flow, odd rhyme schemes and internal rhymes, multisyllabes, etc. He may not stand out to a lot of people, but there are very few who can compete with him in that regard. Plus, he is the only rapper in the same category as KRS as far as a live performer.

    Doom used to be fierce style wise (see Gas Drawls). For some reason, right around the time the hipsters started sniffing around, he turned down the enthusiasm and settled into his current mode. I’m still holding out faith tha the old Doom will resurface, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Definition

    you can extra points for name checking The Mitchell Brothers. truth be told Fresh Breath of Attire is one of the best things to come out of here.

    and the Clipse are the truth.

  • tC

    Come on duke why did you actually waste time telling me that this linkin park dude can’t rap..report something a little less obvious

  • Tyler Durden

    That song is some cookie cutter shit…does anyone else wonder why jay-z did that album with them??

  • http://myspace.com/cirespot Yung “Cee-Eye” So Fly

    A lot of valid point Kris. I love the quote from Push that starts the blog. I mean really, It all in preference. To me the Clipse are the best group out, hands down. The upper echelon of street hip-hop, even tho their subgect matter done by other rappers is a tired, tired formula. It is all in preference. Nice blog, b.

  • Black LONDON

    Noixe………..

    Nah Skinnyman aint got no mixtape….

    Hes real lazy with hes sh!t. He said (on UK TV) that he aint got no plans for a 2nd LP, and that he just goes with the flow.

    So I have no idea when he gonna release any new solo sh!t.

    I do know that hes done a track with KRS-One. Watched the video for it the other day on a UK Hip Hop Channel (Channel U) …TRUST me I thought I was high when I watch that vid, and I stopped bunnin 8 months ago.

    The track is a fresh re-workin’ of the BDP classic U Must Learn from KRS One, Skinnyman, MCD & Paradise produced by The Baptist.

    Oh and another thing:

    Its one thing To know about Dizzee Rascal & The Streets but….

    I had NO FU*CKIN idea you americans knew anything about Skinnyman (Even Kano). Thats if Exo & Noixe are Americans?

    Holla Back (US Slang….sorry!)

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    Nice rebound, son.

    See what happens when you edit your column before posting?

  • dv

    Link to klashnekoff mixtape:
    http://z23.zupload.com/download.php?file=getfile&filepath=13803

    Glad to see you mentioned Lupe’s over hypeing. I listened to the album once and, though he definitley has some skills, was kinda underwhelmed. He manages to be pretty clever yet have no sense of humor. It makes for an unfortunate combo: like peanut butter and hot dogs.

  • http://xxlmag.com exo

    DV:

    I trust that I have your word that this is a perfectly legal download and not one of those Dateline scenarios where people who deal in questionable internetting activity are lured into some sort of trap. My legal team has suggested I inform everyone that downloading music you did not pay for is a sin. Or something like that.

  • dv

    I figure Klash didn’t pay Def Jam for the use of the Mic Check beat so Im assuming it’s all good. And if the RIAA does try to do me in, I imagine British hip hop scene would just be happy to get the attention. Not sure I could stomach a Tim Westwood interview though.

  • JML5150

    Lupe is not going to sell because he is true to himself in exposing the duality of his nature as in wanting to god fearing and righteous but surcums to the materialism of hip hop like we all do (Food and Liquor is nowhere near as catchy as College Dropout). The music “buying” public want ballin, bitches, and blunts maybe not in that order. Dudes like myself get it NWO style. Alot of these rappers B.G., Jeezy, Mike Jones, E-40, etc. adn so forth, have large followings not off straight skills or lack of, but through charisma and presence (swagger for everone under 25).

  • g_fonz

    you make a good point, JML5150, but please under no circumstance should you ever group e-40 with mike jones and jeezy. 40′s a legend. those cats are wack, one-hit wonders, who in 2 years, no one will remember them. and on another note, talent is not what sells, lupe wont sell because he may not have the payola to pay these radio stations. talent doesnt sell records. but IMO, dude just isn’t that special. He doesnt have a style that stands out. it takes more than nice lyrics to make a dope emcee. lupe lacks that certain umph to be considered special. with that said, he could sell a ton, but what does tha mean, some of the wackest artists in history have platinum plaques on their walls.

  • treyza

    y u hatin on all rap 4? tupac was hevy, hav respect 4 tha dead.
    kinda agree wit sum of th stuff tho- sum rap’s gettin really shit- not lupe but utha stuff.

  • H-man

    Man, Someones got big nuts puttin pics of my lord up on here! Very angry!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com jayhustler

    Have people forgot what lyricism is?. Lupe Fiasco is THE TRUTH!. Kris Ex, what the flying fuck are you talking about?..10 years and STILL counting and people are STILL comparing 2Pac & Biggie. Earth to people, their were 2 polar opposite rappers whos style, wordplay, subject-matter, and MC ability were totally different. Tupac & Nas on the other hand is a more logical comparison, along with Biggie & Jay-Z.

  • Gutta

    That was probably one of the worst articles ive ever read….i think dude got mad at himself for not making sense

  • velli504

    what is “wack”? i feel if somebody getting paper doing wack music, it must not be “wack” to somebody…when the east coast was on top, nobody was complaining now since the south is getting money its a problem. stop hatn’

  • that nigga

    If you a lyricist you do not have swagger which is true the only exception is ghostface, who’s from new york. New york niggas lack swagger and stlye. Look at dipset they have lots of swagger in their group such as but lack lyricism except for j.r writer and hell rell who have no swagger. Take it like this if you from new york you’re jsu boring put it like that.

  • JOVA*STAR

    F ALL OF YALL! I THOUGHT THAT THE FORT MINOR MIXTAPE HOSTED BY DJ GREEN LANTERN WAS HOT. YEAH SHINODA IS KIND O’ WACK AT TIMES BUT HE TEAMED UP WITH SOME OF MY FAVORITE UNDERGROUND MC’S WHICH I FIRMLY BELIEVE 50, YOUNG JEEZY AND 99.9 % OFF ALL THOSE OTHER MAINSTREAM THUGS OUT NOW JUST CANNOT FUK WITH AT A LYRICAL LEVEL. APATHY CAN SPIT SOME SICK SHIT AND CELPH TITLED WILL KNOCK A CAT OUT WITH HIS PUNCHLINES. S.O.B. RYU’S FLOW IS CLEVER AND HE JUST SOUNDS SLICK. OVERALL FORT MINOR’S WE MAJOR WAS TOTALLY SLEPT ON WHEN IT CONTAINED SOME TIGHT PRODUCTION AND SOME FRESH LYRICISTS THAT AREN’T JUST RAPIN ABOUT ALL THAT MAINSTREAM HOOPLA THAT HAS BEEN CONSUMING HIP HOP LATELY AND HAS KEPT THE CREATIVE QUALITY OF THE GENRE VERY BLAND AND MEDIOCRE IN MY BOOK.

    SINCERELY, JOVA*STAR – QUEENS, NY