Better Than B.S.

Because Rap Music Is Better Than Everything

Archive for January, 2009


Posted by youngtro on January 28, 2009


With all the trouble in the world today, I need to find ways to ease my mind.  Usually, back in the day, I would turn on the radio.  Since that tends to have me wading in a knee-dip pile of absolute shite these days, I’ve lately been craving more exotic flavors, which is why I just wanna listen to some rap from fucking Japan!

But… it seems I cannot escape:  Teriyaki Boyz feat. Kanye West and Big Sean – Teriya-King

Apparently Martin Louis the King Jr. (oh yeah, fuck you for that one too) has tailed me across the Pacific in order to jump up on a track with my favorite occasional-english-speakers the Teriyaki Boyz, which I guess also marks his return to rap (that was quick), since both his verse and hook do not employ anything that sounds like or related to a vocoder.  Fascinating Mr. West, I find your contribution to be entertaining enough since you were willing to get down with these goofballs.  However, I don’t forgive that easy, you’re gonna have to make Jigga’s album not suck first, among other things, before I’ll be standing here with open arms again.

Oh, and I have no idea who Big Sean is, I guess he’s some dude from Japan based on his verse, but he chooses English more than his native tongue, and I suppose I haven’t heard a decent asian rapper who wasn’t a novelty in a while (or ever?), so I’ll give the kid a shot.

Update:  Well, this is what happens when I post at 5am and therefore don’t do my homework ahead of time, turns out Big Sean isn’t asian at all and is instead an artist signed to Yeezy’s G.O.O.D. music label.  I guess my wait for non-novelty asian rap will be an eternal one, or at least until Jin drops another random freestyle about some current event.


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Forward To Moses, and CC Allah

Posted by Elijah on January 17, 2009


Young Jeezy – “My President” featuring Nas (link to video at OnSmash)

Well, it may not exist in a version embeddable in WordPress, but the video for the national anthem is out. If you ask me, no song better caught the moment in time, and I mean that. On election night, when the final results came in, I just switched to a live feed of everyone wildin’ the fuck out at Hyde Park, turned down the sound, and played “My President” three or four times in a row. Nothing would have fit better, and now a Jeezy song will be forever etched in my mind as the soundtrack to that historic moment.

Damn, I never thought I’d say that.

Besides being one of two times in ’08 that a rapper got Nas on his “conscious” cut and managed to completely outdo Mr. Jones, (three times if you count “Fried Chicken”) “My President” isn’t, of course, strictly about Obama and politics. There’s also crack talk and discussion of rims. Some could argue, therefore, that it isn’t the best summation of the moment of Obama’s election. Some motherfuckers don’t have ears. Sure, we were deluged with songs about how great Obama’s win was after his win, but those songs, dedicated entirely to Mr. President Elect, were all corny as goddamn hell. Jeezy’s entry, on the other hand, is everything Jeezy’s good at too: big and sweeping, victorious and motivational. It’s the anthem, these others are “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” or some shit.

(All things considered, it didn’t hurt that The Recession was better than a lot of records in ’08.)

Of course, there is one other political song out right now that might be even better, and that’s Lee “Scratch” Perry’s remake of the classic “Chase the Devil” (which everyone should know) where an old man rants extra-crazy about George Bush. My friend described it as being in “you kids get off my lawn which is made of moon orphans” territory.

Lee “Scratch” Perry – “Chase the Devil (George Bush)” (link to The Stranger)

It’s a loony good time! Hooray for politics!

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Made ya deal with the Devil, now you sold your soul…

Posted by youngtro on January 16, 2009

Keeping with our love for the Kings of the Underground, here’s a new track that popped up today on Hiphop DX:  UGK – Da Game Been Good To Me.

Not really sure where the track is from, whether it’s a refugee from Underground Kingz, or part of that final UGK record that Bun was talking about last year, I’ll be sure to update when I get the info.  For now enjoy this track, which sounds like some vintage spittin from our favorite Texas boys, and hope that it’s just the first of some new fire for the last time.

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With An Album Title Like That, What’s Left To Say?

Posted by Elijah on January 15, 2009


Busta Rhymes – “Decisions” featuring Common, John Legend, Mary J. Blige & Jamie Foxxx
(zshare link jacked directly from Nah Right because I have no desire to actually download this song)

Phew. That’s a… whole bunch of singers. You can tell it’s from ’07 ’cause they’re actually singers (ZING!).

You know, I really wanted to be onboard for Back On My Bullshit, but Bus-a-Bus (aka my FAVORITE rapper in 1996-97) is not makin’ that shit easy for me. The idea of a back-to-basics Busta record sounds great. It really does. I just didn’t remember “the basics” being weird racism and the corniest shit ever. (For the record, much as it may fly in the face of my fellow bloggers here, “I Got Bass” is actually so weird that it’s growing on me.)

But, there are positive things to say here… no really. For example… the album cover is great. And, uh, an ’07 Common verse is still waaaay better than an ’08 Common verse (UMC… shudder) or an ’09 Common verse (a scene from Terminator: Salvation). Of course, it’s not the best vintage of Common verse you can get but… uhh… Hmm, well Mary J. Blige is always good, so there’s that. Enjoy your daily dose of Mary J. Blige, and let’s hope that there is something worthwhile to this new Busta record.


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Dis Dat Primo Shit…

Posted by youngtro on January 12, 2009

As an addendum to Dr. Milktrain’s post regarding the Shady/Aftermath family, I felt the need to comment on what I stumbled upon over at the Smoking Section this morning.

50 Cent – Shut Ur Bloodclot Mouth (Produced by DJ Premier)

I’m guessing Curtis must have heard all those people talking about how stupid he was to refuse a Primo beat initially, and decided to cut a track over it.  I must admit that, even though I’ve never really liked 50 much at all, he can spit alright when he musters up the effort, and this is one of those occasions.  Sure, I would have liked a second verse, and this isn’t really Premier’s best production-wise, but considering the lumbering bores that Fiddy usually scores for his production, this sounds like fucking Mozart.  When it comes to Aftermath these days, you really have to take what you can get.

P.S. Thank you Elijah for getting that post up regarding all the bullshit that’s been going on, saves me the multi-page rant I was gonna make otherwise.

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Middle Finger To The Law

Posted by Elijah on January 12, 2009

If I may break from the snark and general ridiculousness for a moment: I leave this country for a week to soak up a bit of Caribbean sun, come back and shit’s gone crazy. I’m not naive, I know this shit has always gone on, but so brazenly all at once is hard to take, especially when an unarmed man was essentially executed right around where I grew up. I don’t expect another angry rap blogger’s voice to mean much, but I have to vent anyway.

Again, the bullshit ain’t new. My Dad’s from LA, and I was seven when the Rodney King fuckery happened. I still distinctly remember my father being disgusted and angry — but not the least bit surprised. These days though, it feels like the Sean Bell verdict was only yesterday, and yet I still feel like it’s something goin’ on right the fuck now. The moment Obama was elected, along with all my joy, there was a very palpable feeling in the back of my head that there’d be a rash of hate crimes by some of these cracka-ass-crackas (I should point out that I’m white, but some people just can’t be described any other way) who can’t accept that their “white, Christian nation” is changing… whether or not that change is entirely cosmetic, as some would argue.

Now plenty of people just as full of impotent rage as myself have pointed out, and rightly so, that there are good cops out there. Technically that’s true, but there are too many sayings about how letting injustice happen without disputing it is just as bad as taking part for me to even pick one. There’s this fucking frat boy mentality that seems to go on with cops where they defend each other no matter fucking what, where the police can fully and publicly throw all of their support behind the motherfuckers who do some heinous shit, or give them paid leave, because it’s totally cool for them to “support their own” no matter the situation. Now, I know hip-hop is also often all about loyalty, but there are limits to when fierce, unwavering loyalty is acceptable. A “good” cop who keeps his mouth shut about what those fucked up, racist-ass cops are doing is complicit. End of story.

Again, I don’t really expect my voice to help, but like a lot of people I’m too angry to keep quiet, and too inconsequential to do much that will make a difference. But, in the interests of helping us all through our anger, I compiled a bunch of my favorite songs that express this rage. This is far from any kind of definitive collection, it’s just the songs that I gravitate toward at a time like this. I guess it’s therapy. Feel free to suggest others.

We’ll be back to the goofy bullshit soon enough.

Cypress Hill – “Pigs” (from Cypress Hill, 1991)

Killer Mike – “Shot Down” (from Ghetto Extraordinary, 2005)
“I tell ’em like a white boy: ‘I like huntin.'”

Nas – “Cops Keep Firing” (from The N*gger Tape, 2008)

N.W.A – “Fuck tha Police” (from if you don’t fucking have this album already there’s something wrong with you)

Brand Nubian – “Probable Cause” (from Foundation, 1998)
Underrated classic.

The Coup – “I Know You” (from Kill My Landlord, 1993)

Jeru the Damaja – “Invasion” (from Wrath of the Math, 1996)

8Ball & MJG – “In the Line of Duty” featuring South Circle (from On Top of the World, 1995)

Main Source – “Just a Friendly Game of Baseball” (from Breaking Atoms, 1991)

Hip Hop For Respect – “One Four Love Pt. 1” (from Hip Hop For Respect, 2000)
The total breakdown of artists for this slightly corny track goes: Kool G Rap, Rah Digga, Sporty Thievz (remember them?), Mos Def, Shabaam Sahdeeq (remember him? me neither), Common (“yo, I pimp slap 5-0”), Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, and Posdnuos. From an EP of songs about the Diallo bullshit, which I’m sure we all remember, on which each track was a big star-studded affair. Pos is the real highlight of this track (and that applies to a lot of songs).

The Coup – “Pork and Beef” featuring T-K.A.S.H. (from Party Music, 2001)
Of course more of The Coup.

KRS-One – “Sound of da Police” (from Return of the Boom Bap, 1993)

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“I Had A Dream That I Was Broke, Woke Up Rich…”

Posted by drmilktrain on January 9, 2009

Are we getting nostalgic for the beginning of the new millenium already?

“Crack A Bottle” Eminem feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent

Easily the first big superstar single to drop ’09, it can’t help but feel like it’s 10 years old…and I mean that in the worst way possible. Purposefully cartooney, knowingly obnoxious…they were aware that “My Name Is…” was not the reason anyone enjoyed The Slim Shady LP, correct?

The beat sounds like Dr. Dre attempted to score an episode of Magilla Gorilla and Em’s hook sounds like he might have taken the tune straight from some Hanna Barbera shit anyway.

The rapping’s pretty pedestrian…which is a shame given these three. Let me modify that: lyrically, flowwise, everyone fairs pretty awfully. Lyrically, however, the rapping’s pretty pedestrian. There’s not a single line from this track that sticks out, and for a trio that’s been known to offend the socks off of middle-aged, middle-classed white women, the fact that no one’s really trying to say anything…well, it’d break my heart if I cared more.

And let’s be honest. My interest in Eminem has alway been pretty par with my interest in porn after I’ve shook one. And I don’t think I’ve ever peeped a song because of a “feat. Dr. Dre” tagged on. So really, that leaves me with little to talk about other than Fif.

I’ll give Curtis the award for sounding the most comfortable on the track. It’s clear Eminem still hasn’t really figured out what he’s doing with himself now that he’s poised to be in the spotlight again. And Dr. Dre doesn’t sound out of place, but when someone else gives you your rhymes and your flow, it’s hard to sell it like it’s your own. Fifty doesn’t really say anything spectacular on the song, but I enjoyed his, pardon my French, “swag” well enough that I thought I’d peep what else he’s been up to recently.

“Get It In” 50 Cent (Produced by “Dr. Dre”)

Ah, here we go. This is more of what I suspected, the Ferrari F50 on cruise control. There’s absolutely nothing spectacular happening here. The whole chant part in the middle about drinks, the sung chorus, the Scott Storch Dr. Dre beat that was probably going to be for a Yayo or Banks album, the corny ass club brags…call those cliches vitamins, beacuse this is clearly Formula 50 (hey-yo!). 

“Heartless Monster” 50 Cent

And then there’s the 50 Cent that I absolutely love. Half of this track is him rapping. Quite well. Ignorant ass line after ignorant ass line. I don’t care how many times he drops that “Have a baby by your baby momma/ Nigga we family” line, I’ll laugh everytime. And I’m kinda glad ‘Ye outsold him, because now Fif’ll never stop taking shots at him.  

And then Fifty does what he likes to do over a lot of mixtape tracks- he stops rapping and just starts talking shit. Straight shit. When 50 realizes he’s the biggest rapping asshole in the game since Diddy ’98, the man’s untouchable. We need more of this. Now.

P.S. Eli, let me know how it feels to have Curtis shout out the Bay Area at the beginning of the track.


Bonus: For 50 just nonstop rhyming over some old 70’s songs, be sure to peep his mixtape from ’08, Sincerely Yours, Southside.

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Spit Your Game, Talk Your Shit: Best Bars of ’08

Posted by youngtro on January 5, 2009

I hated a lot last time I posted, now here’s what I actually liked in this year of 2008.  What we have here are the best verses I heard this year, though I’m operating mostly in the realm of official releases because rooting through all the mixtapes released this year would be way too much damn work.  And let me emphasize before I begin that these are all the best verses I had the pleasure of hearing this year, if there is something you think is totally hot (yes, even if it’s on a mixtape), feel free to point me in that direction and I’ll be the judge of that as well (or if you’re elijah or dr. milktrain, make your own damn post about it and I’m sure I’ll give it a listen).  Now, without further rambling, here are the best bars of ’08.

Cory Gunz – A Millie (feat. Cory Gunz)

Let us, if we can, remember way back before this minimal masterwork invaded the public consciousness with its countless freestyles and alternate versions, before it apparently consumed Bangladesh’s career, to when the track was first released.  We had just been subjected to that electro-shit autotune nonsense that was Lollipop, and for some it was a relief just to hear Weezy spittin’ again, even if the beat was oddly perplexing and Wayne’s verse was heavily of the stream of consciousness variety.  Decent?  Yes.  Quotable?  Of course, that’s easy when certain lines make no sense.  That didn’t stop him from getting completely merced by Cory Gunz on the track.  Also, let me remind everybody what a fucking revelation this guy was that time, since all I knew about him upon first hearing the name was that he was the son of the guy responsible for this song.  Somehow already  a dozen times the rapper his dad ever was, Cory Gunz not only ruled this track, but definitely spit the best, most dextrous verse of anyone who got up on it in the weeks and months to come, from Lil’ Mama to Busta Rhymes.  Hopefully he’ll come out with an album that will be somewhere close to worthy as his guest spots and freestyles have shown him to be, but until then, he gets my respect for some of the best bars of ’08.


Elzhi – Motown 25 (feat. Royce Da 5\’9\’\’)

Smoking Section gave the dude his somewhat dubious honors already, since nobody actually went out and bought The Preface, which is really a shame.  It’s a shame because the album is proof that while sometimes Elzhi can get a little too clever for his own good, he can also spit like a motherfucker when called upon, which is exactly what he does here.  The track is just two verses, one Elzhi and one Royce, placed over a relatively simple (but bangin) Black Milk track.  Elzhi comes so hard on this song that you can almost see Royce in the studio, gettin somebody to pass him another blunt so he can come as silly as he does on his verse and doesn’t have to try and match Elzhi on pure verbal technicality.  There’s really not much else to say, click the link and bask in the brilliance.

T.I. – Swagger Like Us (feat. Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Lil\’ Wayne)

Those who read my last post here knows how I feel about Paper Trail, and for those of you who didn’t, it was pretty much the epitome of mediocrity.  The main problem that I didn’t really go into involved the fact that Tip was writing his rhymes down again.  While this certainly cured him of the laziness that was T.I. vs. T.I.P., it often left him strangely devoid of his usual charisma.  This would be acceptable if the rhymes themselves displayed a complexity that would seemingly come along with writing down your lyrics instead of spitting them off the top of your head, but that wasn’t really the case. Except, of course, for this track.  Somehow, what should have been posse cut of the year became the definition of underachievement, as Kanye and Lil’ Wayne phoned in their verses via autotune, while Jay wasn’t much better.  Then, all of a sudden, Tip comes in with an absolutely killer verse at the end, easily outclassing everybody else on the track, utilizing internal rhyme schemes and complex mult-syllabic phrases out the fuckin wazoo in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever really heard him rhyme before.  It was one of the few great moments on the album that really followed through on what was promised with the “paper trail” of rhymes that T.I. produced for this album, and is so impressive that I had to stick it up here.


Fabolous – Nothin On Me (feat. Fabolous and Juelz Santana)

 I went into some detail about this track before, but I definitely need to double back to really give credit where it’s due.  While Juelz definitely came with his career best, that really just means he managed to stay on beat and had a couple funny lines, stuff that rappers I actually endeavor to listen to regularly give me for free. Fab though, came hard on this track, going nonstop with references to Pimp My Ride, the Wayans Brothers, 101 Dalmations, and Italian Cuisine, and it all makes sense.  Just give it a listen, though like I said before, you really can switch it off once Juelz finishes.


Ludacris – Creepin Solo (feat. Ludacris)

So this is actually a Chamillionaire track.  Ridin’, his single from his big debut, was pretty much booty except for the Krayzie Bone guest spot.  Hip Hop Police, the single from his second album, Ultimate Victory (a victory foiled by the Billboard Charts), was also lackluster outside of the Slick Rick apprearance.  Cham continues the trend with this track, in which he turns in a competent but ultimately unremarkable performance for two verses, and then Luda comes in and murders the track.  Because of his evenly flawless performance on his recent underselling album Theater of the Mind, I found I couldn’t pick any one verse from it.  Therefore I’ll take this showboating guest spot, which was always Luda’s specialty anyway.  Besides, how could I not give a spot to a verse that includes the lyric: “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood…grain?”.  Classic.


Mos Def – Rising Down (feat. Mos Def and Styles P)

Mighty Mos was supposed to have an album out this year, one that would hopefully help to wipe away the skidmarks that The New Danger and Tru3 Magic left behind on the music industry, but it never came to be.  Instead, he decided to steal the show by dropping what might be the hottest verse on all of Rising Down with his opening bars on the title track.  And being the best on this album is no mean feat, since the Roots dropped one of the best albums of 2008.  In fact, I liked this album so much, my next and last winner for best verse is also from this album.


Peedi Crakk – Get Busy (feat. Dice Raw, Peedi Crakk, and DJ Jazzy Jeff)

First off, these two winners are in no way here to be an insult to Black Thought.  His performance, as always, is consistently good, sometimes great, but any passing fan of the band will know that he lacks in the charisma department.  Peedi, however, has charisma to the degree that it’s probably sweating out his pores, even if it is all of a very crazy, nasally-voiced variety.  That doesn’t stop him from getting the most memorable verse on an already excellent song.  I mean, Black Thought comes hard, Dice gets through just fine (although I have no idea what somebody who is “kinda like W.E.B. Du Bois meets Heavy D and the Boyz” would look or sound like), but Crakk steals the show.  Once again, any fan of rap this year probably heard this track at least once, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t click the link and enjoy it all over again.

Well, that’s all for my best bars of ’08.  In spite of my sometimes incessant complaining, there were some good things that happened in rap music this year, you just had to dig a bit sometimes to get past the bullshit.  And with that done, I’ll simply don my rubber boots and hope I don’t have to wade through too much to find all the pearls dropped in ’09.

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