Down and Out

For years now Hip-Hop has been stereotyped as moneyed music. It’s all about making it rain, cars, clothes and clubs. But some of our most treasured tracks, the ones that DJs play at 3am to get the whole club off the wall, are the songs about the losers played over a danceable beat.

The best example is “Juicy,” Biggie’s ode to the average guy trying to make a buck. I cannot think of a song that is more universally loved in Hip-Hop. It’s relatable to all: money problems, trying to feed the family and childhood dreams deferred all put to that Mtume sample that is anything but down and out.

Tied for second has got to be “T.R.O.Y.” (They Reminisce Over You) and “Passin’ Me By.” Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth’s opus, inspired by the death of “Trouble” T. Roy is one of the best beats ever, with lyrics that describe real life, talking about real problems like babies having babies and alcoholism in the family. “Passin’ Me By” the gem from Bizzare Ride II The Pharcyde definitely covers a lighter subject matter but still talks about losing instead of winning. Unlike the rappers of today who seem to be able to get any girl they want, the Pharcyde told us about all the ladies they wanted so bad and could never have. Heartache is something everyone knows, crazy orgies with groupies notsomuch.

The bouncy beat of “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” by Naughty By Nature is another example of Hip-Hop saying life sucks but you have to deal with it. You were a ghetto bastard, you couldn’t get a job, you got clowned everyday but you still have to press on.

Even more recent tracks like Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life,” follow the same down-trodden theme but throw it over a happy-go-lucky beat and you got a hit. In the same vein, “Bad Day” from Asher Roth’s new album talks about a shitty day in the life of a traveling rap star. The message in all these songs is that life is hard and you can sit down and whine about it or, as the beats suggest, get up and dance and see what tomorrow brings.- MikeD

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  • Pierzy

    Seriously? This was a five paragraph set up…

    I was really, really enjoying this. I was sucked in, thinking of what my favorite tracks in this vein would be and I’m blindsided by none other than the heir to the XXL throne himself, Asher Roth.

    Look at the tags…basically the company in which King Roth is being placed: B.I.G, Jay-Z, Naughty By Nature & Pharcyde.

    I won’t be surprised if “Asleep In The Bread Aisle” receives the first ever XXXXXXL rating…

    • General

      You know for sure it will get the XXL rating as a classic, idiots keep winning and real hip-hop stays losing, WTF

    • macdatruest

      I was thinking set up too. Asher Roth magazine. Well shit, they had to pull out on Charles Hamilton after the Beatgate scandal. Plus that nigga is a pink sonic the fruithog lovin’ gay fish

      • RiZob

        I heard Asher Roth smashed the homie….

  • General

    Soooo Close….
    I thought we were gonna get a blog with no mention of Asher Roth and then *BAM* There it is in the last paragraph. Up until then you had me though

    • Pierzy

      Legally, they’re not allowed. It’s like at a construction site with injuries…they probably have one of those big boards that say:


      and a big fat ZERO

      • Master CHeef


  • OG Matt Herbz

    Yo, I get that same feeling whenever I listen to a Jim Jones CD. He tells the tales of how he went from being a dirty lil nigga in the hood to being a dirty ol grown ass man in the hood.

    Naw, I’m lying…

    –OG Matt Herbz–

    • EZ


  • Chris Cash

    Im from Texas and the never play any of those songs in the club, but if they did i would most definatly go more often. Although T.R.O.Y is one of my favorite songs i really cant see anybody dancing to that song( at a club atleast) that beat is kinda depressing to me. But since we’re on this catagory Cube’s ” Today was a Good Day” is that kinda song too.

    • Tony Grand$

      *crowd chants*
      P! P! P! P! P! P! P! P!

      You killing me the whole week!!!!

      I already know we’re going to the same stories; I’m looking for your comments first! Hahahahaha…….

      *like Redman in ‘How High’*
      Get ‘em!

      • Pierzy

        What up my dude…thank you, I really appreciate it!

        I just don’t get it – every day we’re on here saying how we don’t think this dude is the next coming and they’re not listening.

        “Rap Loves A Loser” — I don’t know about that but apparently XXL does… Damn

        • EmCDL

          Damn P that shit starting to get ot me too…I havent heard anything from the cat other than that I Love College track, but I’m starting to get tired of XXL talking about cat…I mean gotdamn is he that nice? They did the same thing with Kangay and Dirt Clump Jones wtf?

    • MikeD

      I almost put Cube in there too but it didn’t quite seem to fit.

    • yoprince

      co-sign.. this dude talkin’ about gettin the club loose at 3 AM with some damn T.R.O.Y… that’s “go home” music, sun.

  • murK

    wow, did XXL mention asher roth again??? i hope he flops now, really i do!

    • Pierzy

      Dear XXL,

      Since it’s OBVIOUS that I’m not the only one that (a)isn’t the least bit sold on this guy and (b)feels like you have an ulterior motive in promoting him, I’m going to take the lead and speak for my fellow commentors down here…

      Stop with Asher Roth. It’s enough already. We get it. You guys think he’s clever and witty and will revolutionize the game. Fine, you’re on record as having said so. We realize that you don’t want to miss out on predicting the next BIG thing, so you’re taking extra precautions to ensure that you’re all seen as proper prognosticators.

      But, in the end, you’re here because we read your blogs, comment our thoughts, buy the magazines and give our feedback. So, in that case, read what your constituents are writing and leave it alone with this guy. Move on…talk about someone or something else.

      The other day I mentioned that this felt the same way as when “Tha Carter III” was about to drop, but that was a bad analogy because, even after the constant promotion, there was a fairly large number of people leaving comments about how they were fans of Wayne and believed the new album would be great.

      That hasn’t happened here with Mr. Roth. The vast majority of us don’t like him or, at best, are indifferent and your constant pushing of him is having an opposite effect – we are going to boycott him and hope he fails. Not because of anything he’s done, but because of what you’ve done.

      I’m appealing to you as an educated person and a hip-hop fan…leave the Asher Roth love affair behind. Let’s all move on from this…



      • X

        And the church said amen. You are right on with that one.

        Tell me why you are pushing an MC who doesn’t respect hip hop’s history, is far too concerned with identity politics and a non-existent outsider status, and who is only OK at best to begin with? Fans who like real rap demand answers.

  • Tony Grand$

    For the sake of pretending that the blog pertained to the topic it suggested….

    I think there’s a reason that the downtrodden & befallen songs get across regardless of their tempo. Those type of songs level the playing field. They make the average artist (usually portraying themselves as some sort of superhero) a regular guy/gal that we can relate to, or even recognize in our own mirror.

    I prefer that kind of music, actually. As most people probably do. Any fool can make up stories, but to let someone in on your personal struggles is the difference between a song & a personal interaction. A rapper raps, while an artist expresses.

    I’m not going to name drop songs though, too many…..

    *throws up the force feed Asher Roth bits all over brand new pair of salt & pepper Air Force 1′s*

  • DV8

    OK thats it…..Asher must deliver free weed to the XXL offices or something. You guys havent rode somebody this hard since 50 Cent. SMH. Let me guess hes gonna get the next XXL cover now huh? Like how you did Jim and Juelz and then Cam, Its gonna be Em and the Asher now. XXL yall are buggin. Get off dude balls.

    • General

      I think you are dead on with that one. No doubt they will put him on the cover the month after Em. Holy shit when will the madness end. Please, please, please let this idiots CD flop, because I don’t want to even think what this site and magazine will do if he is successful, the blogs about him will never end.

  • capcobra

    dammit…another asher roth promo.

  • thoreauly77

    well, there it is, as if it wasnt clear enough already, but i mean, DAMN! have some self-respect; exhibit some control; show some taste and some respect for all of the aforementioned songs and emcees/producers… by leaving asher roth out of the discussion. i mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY?! that was bullshit XXL. and corny. oh, and bullshit. thanks for showing your indiscriminate corporate pandering once again by attempting to condescend to an audience that actually knows better. as the kids would say: EPIC FAIL.

  • Stive

    Someone get Elliot Wilson back and quick. He was a bit of an arrogant prick of an editor, but at least shit was real back then.

  • El Tico Loco

    Nuffadat dude. PLEASE!!

    Good post minus the shameless plug, my faves in that category is
    All that I got is you
    Look at the mess you made
    The brokest rapper u know
    Smoking Gun |Same theme for both
    Pain in my life |
    Grew up a screw up
    Brenda’s got a baby

    Slash your wrists to that shit.

  • macdatruest

    Hip Hop aint dead, people who got connections where they can present hip hop to the masses (namely XXL)are just payola loving assholes. I think everybody should question XXL when they start blogging negative “personal opinions” from the staff about certain artists to the public and pass it off as journalism. And then they turn around and be sucking some new dude balls (namely any one of their now defunct freshmen ten)and tryna push they plot to secure future co-signs and exclusives from artists-off on the public like its real journalism too. The magazine just aint got no awareness of the streets. XXL on some “rap 2.0″ type shit, and all that is the people they handpicked

  • Penelope Rodriguez

    XXL must stop trying shove Asher down our throats. The kid ain’t even all that.

    Y’all been talking about this kid for like two weeks goddamnit!


  • Curtis75Black

    It seems peeps are starting to see what’s been going on for years at XXL. Difference then was you were interested in those artists, blinded by the hype, loved the talk, agreed with the hate for the “Other” emcee. Didn’t noticed the bias interviews, afraid to ask the hard questions. Didn’t see the connections with “Swagger Jacker and Step your lyric game up” along with the reviews of the cd.

  • ROCstar

    a lot of time we see staff interaction with some of the posters, particularly the “regulars” (props to pierzy and grand$ – u guys drop knowledge on a reg. basis and i dig most of it) but i find it interesting/convenient that they won’t even start to get into it with us cuz they know that we’re right.

    its a shame all the frat boys (and trust me, going to a mostly white college, i know what the frat boys are talkin about) dig this kid so much… asher’s trash…

  • Ben

    Damn you on Roth’s dick.

  • Stevie B

    I dont really care about roth at this point I just want to know why XXL does not support the other freshman the way they support roth Curren$y has a album about to drop I have only heard about once on this site.

    Whats up with the other freshman?

  • EmCDL


  • daz_oc

    for as much as yall stay hating on asher roth yall sure as hell cant stop talkin about him either……yall on his dick just like this site

  • Crocker

    Daz, the magazine that we love is shoving this guy down our throat like Mom used to do with that generic dime-store cough medicine as a kid when we were sick. We want it to stop. Plain and simple.

  • Clovito

    actually we had an early day today so nobody’s been in the office to look at this and comment. it was nice outside in new york after all! nobody here is getting paid to cover or talk about Asher and never has. His is one of the next rap albums that’s coming out. he’s a topic of discussion because he’s interesting and we blog about things that are interesting. there’s plenty of posts here that don’t mention asher. Is it ok to blog relentlessly about an artist as long as it’s someone you guys like? that’s ridiculous. unfortunately your conspiracy theories will continue because you’ll never see how things really operate. that’s too bad. there’s a bunch of fans that like asher, a bunch that hate, a bunch that love lil wayne, a bunch that hate. it’s hip-hop.

  • chillin mayne

    wonder why they called u bitch – tupac
    void in my life – chamillionaire….
    i love the dought – biggie ft jay…
    we hit makers, wit acres, roll shakers, in vegas, u caint fade us / lost chips on lakers, gassed off shaq / countryside crib, sumtin sumtin horseback / ridin decidin crack crab or lobster / who said mobsters dont prosper?? /…….. now we buy homes in unfamiliar places/ tito smile, erry time he see our faces

  • Ali

    yea i love those kinda trax cuz obviously u can relate 2 em the most……Brother Ali epitomizes this style, & mastered it too….he’s a legend