A$AP Rocky – (Untitled), GTA V Soundtrack

GTA5

As far as video game soundtracks go, GTA has kept it up to par pretty much the whole time.  This newest edition is no exception, featuring amazing gameplay footage.  While seemingly everyone I know has played a GTA game, I have never put a lot of time in myself.  That might change though, this one is impressive.

The soundtrack listing info just leaked, and this A$AP Rocky cut is quite the special one.  That’s saying a lot when you have a list that includes Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, 2Pac, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Freddie Gibbs, Outkast, and many, many more.

GTA V coming your way September 17th.

-Ronzo

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Sunday G-Funk #10: Dru Down – Can You Feel Me

Dru Down - Can You Feel Me

Today I introduce a new segment, called Sunday G-Funk.  Over the next couple months, Ronzo’s Word will be showing you our 10 favorite G-Funk records.  Join us as we dig through a number of classic records, representing the dominance of this influential West Coast style of Hip-Hop throughout the late 80’s and 90’s.

Starting off at number 10, we have an Oakland native by the name of Dru Down.  Besides the title track from his highly enjoyable Can You Feel Me album, his biggest claim to fame may be his appearance on 2Pac’s “All About You”.  In the rap game, that is.  He has also made a couple film appearances, such as his portrayal of “Kayo” in the movie Original Gangstas.

Being a huge fan of Luniz  (who are frequent collaborators with Dru Down as well as fellow Oakland rappers), I was surprised at how little I knew of the rapper.  His classic West Coast stylings are surprisingly vintage for an album made in 1996, mostly due to the late G-Funk golden age-sounding beats scattered throughout the project.

The production is handled by 10+ producers, with mostly lesser-known names receiving credit.  Among the more recognizable names are Battlecat (concert DJ for Snoop Dogg) and Soopafly (member of DPGC).  The album’s production remains incredibly cohesive throughout, even with the myriad of names involved.

Dru Down

Dru Down’s topics mainly revolve around the life of a pimp, and the various women he deals with.  “Playa Fo Real” is my personal favorite off the album, featuring the classic high synth synonymous with the G-Funk Era.

With classic material like this, it’s hard for me to understand why Oakland Hip-Hop has never truly evolved beyond underground acts.  Besides the classic Bay artists such as E-40 and Mac Dre, the subgenre has mainly been more of a local phenomenon.

If you’re a fan of classic Hip-Hop, and want a great album to smoke during, or bump in the car, Can You Feel Me is the perfect project for you.  Be sure to play it on a nice day to get the full effect.

-Ronzo

B.O.A.T.S. II – Me Time (tracklist)

2 chainz boats 2

With the anticipation of Drake’s upcoming project, and the onslaught of music he’s swept up the Hip-Hop world in, 2 Chainz’s upcoming release has been overlooked.  While the major wave of 2 Chainz appearances since 2012 has dropped slightly, expect the rest of 2013 to be filled to the brim with Tity Boi features.

His B.O.A.T.S. II project is something to watch for, due on September 10th.  Here is the latest update on the tracklist:

2-Chainz-BOATS-2-Tracklist-600x600

Feds Watching” has already begun to catch fire, making its way around your local radio rotation.  Plus, with Drake, Lil Wayne, and Ma$e features, and Mike Will Made It productions, there are plenty of high profile names rounding out the tracklist.

-Ronzo

Quick Update 8/20/13

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While the Hip-Hop world for the past week have been marveling at the lyricism of Kendrick Lamar, there are many great tracks dropping left and right, especially within the past couple days.

Kendrick isn’t the only one making noise in the Black Hippy crew; Schoolboy Q is building hype for his upcoming album Oxymoron.  He’s even considering this upcoming project to be some of the best music he’s made so far.

Wiz Khalifa is making music again after a brief but unusual hiatus from the rap game.  This partially because of his recent wedding with Amber Rose, who actually just posted quite an interesting video.  

Check out the latest from Wiz, with smoked out raps over a classic Sledgren beat in preparation for his Blacc Hollywood project.

A new Curren$y track with Harry Fraud just surfaced recently, “Audio Dope 4”.  The combination which is quickly becoming a match made in heaven, are back at it again.  The two have very similar laid-back styles, and certainly know how to bring the correct vibe to any smoker’s circle.

Check out audio here: Big Sean ft. Nas & Kid Cudi

And of course, the man who made the song that’s been on everyone’s mind, is back again with another song boasting impressive features.  Hall of Fame has really been up and down in it’s preview, but we’ll see what it has to offer soon enough.

-Ronzo

Rashad & Confidence: Bringing Lyricism Back

The Element of Surprise

What do you get when you a mix talented beatsmith from Ill Adrenaline Records and combine it with a lyrically savage rapper? Dare I say it, a classic album.  The Element of Surprise is a fantastically cohesive project that will remain a treasure in any Hip-Hop head’s collection.

Long gone are the days of competitive East Coast lyricism.  Piecing together varying flows and crafty rhymes has been overtaken by the value of how catchy a song can be.  The heavy lyricism, in general, stays in the underground (although there are some mainstream Hip-Hop artists who can work syllables just right).

Proving this idea of underground lyricism is the duo of Rashad & Confidence.  The vibe is something straight from the raw essence of the Hip-Hop culture.  Weaving through classic tales of his childhood and the city he grew up in, Rashad explains the travels of his every day life in a gritty world (Illmatic anyone?).  The album feels like it was preserved from a previous time, with clear influences from producers like DJ Premier and Large Professor, and MC’s such as Rakim.

Although this album dropped around two years ago, it stands by itself among very few as one of the best underground Hip-Hop albums of the current decade.  Hip-Hop has a bright future, and the underground is in good hands.

-Ronzo

ALSO: Check out this cool in-store performance at UGHH from 2011:

The Best Kendrick Response Tracks (So Far)

Control

As expected, the responses have already poured in from a handful of artists.  While none of the responses have been from the artists mentioned (besides interview responses from Wale and Meek Mill), we still have some pretty good music from recognizable artists.

Some names have been thrown into the foray in order to be placed among the list of contenders for the King of New York title.  Joell Ortiz, Astro, and Cassidy have all submitted tracks for the running, and a lot more is to be expected.

Others, such as Lupe Fiasco, now have a chance to do their own critiques of the rap game in song form.  The floodgates have been open for anyone to speak their mind, and now is as good of a chance as ever.

Some of the artists mentioned may take the high road and not respond, whether it’s because of a busy schedule or just simply because they don’t see the need to.  Big K.R.I.T. actually took the shout out as an opportunity for advertisement, a chance for fans who may not have heard his music before to now listen.  Probably an indication of him not making a direct response track.

We’ll have to wait and see if we hear from more artists, or if the whole thing is over.  Personally, I would love to see  J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, or Meek Mill respond.  My guess is that we’ll hear from at least one of them.

Well anyways, here’s my favorite response tracks as of today:

Astro – KONY

One of the newcomers to the New York hip-hop scene, as well as a rapper I’ve been keeping an eye on for awhile now, was one of the first to respond to “Control”.  Astro has been impressing rap heads with his groovy and effortless flow.  Coming here with a more direct shot at Kendrick, he really puts together a nice response track.  Clever lines such as “Saying that you king of the state? That’s time wasted/You kicked harder lines on Miguel collaborations” really help him get his point across.  Hey, why not compete for the title? The championship is up for grabs at this point.

Joell Ortiz – Outta Control

Joell Ortiz is another name in the running for King of New York, and also one of the better lyricists out there that didn’t get mentioned in Kendrick’s verse.  Yaowa really goes in on this one, aiming for Kendrick, the industry, and whack rappers all at one time.  Being very eager to respond and claim KONY, Joell was actually the first one with a response.

During the verse, he mentions the fact that neither him or his crew Slaughterhouse were on the list.  He actually says Kendrick paid him respects in person at one point, reasoning that maybe that’s why he left their names out of the verse.

Either way, Joell Ortiz really gave a great performance, and it’s arguably the best response so far.  However, the only detractor is that he did it over the original “Control” instrumental.  Enough to dethrone Kendrick, though? Not so much.

(This is why we need the big name guys to step up)

LOS – Control (Freestyle)

LOS, a lesser-known, newer MC signed to Bad Boy Records, sent a firing squad armed with lyrical bazookas at Kendrick Lamar.  While no direct shots are taken, LOS really took advantage of the spotlight and came with his best lyrical performance.  The flow switch-up and and vocabulary is definitely enough for the young rapper to gain a couple new fans in the process.

-Ronzo

Big Sean – Control (HOF) ft. Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Electronica

Kendrick Lamar

By now, I’m sure all of you have heard.  One of the most important moments for the change of the current state of Hip-Hop happened on Monday night, and all of it came from one Kendrick Lamar verse.  What’s even more surprising, is it was on a song where he was featured. 

Not only does he namedrop some of the biggest artists in the industry, telling them to step their game up, he also proclaims himself the “King of New York”.  Quite a big proclamation from a Compton MC.  Not to mention the fact that that title is a touchy subject among New York MCs, dating all the way back to the beginnings of the genreThe last true king in many Hip-Hop fanatic’s head is Notorious B.I.G.. Other MC’s who could stake a claim include Nas and Jay-Z, but those two are a bit more unofficial.  However, the thing is Kendrick specifically mentions he is in the same ranks as those guys.  This is a call to the new artists.  The ones that are hungry for the top spot.

This kind of action is perfect for the mundane state of things in the current Hip-Hop industry.  Kendrick’s perspective should be viewed as more of a competitive challenge rather than a diss track, though many artists will probably think of it as personal.  Especially the New York ones.  However, it is perfectly explained here that although he wants to take your fans, lyrically destroy you on every track, and then laugh about it, all names mentioned are family to him. He just wants to make it into competition.  As they call it in sports, Kendrick is showing his “killer instinct”, and he wants everyone to respond with the same fire.

One may argue that this verse is getting this much attention because of K. Dot’s level of stardom.  I believe that only someone of his lyrical ability would be able to make a point as powerful as he did.  It’s truly phenomenal for any musical genre to have a truly gifted artist leading the way for it’s future.

Big Sean may be the man of the moment in perspective, though, as he was the one who let this all happen.  In an interview held on Tuesday, Sean mentions that he heard K. Dot’s verse after writing and recording his own.  No contact between the two MC’s about the verse was made until after Sean had heard it, putting him in a very uncomfortable situation.  After hearing something so monumental to the current state of the Hip-Hop industry, and having his own verse and name bodied in the process, there would seemingly be a lot of pressure on Big Sean to change his original verse and do something  similar to what Kendrick did.  The thing is, he didn’t.  He handled it with class, releasing it to show how much of a true Hip-Hop head he is.  He knew how important this all was for the grand scheme of things. 

Also, to be completely honest, he really put out a fantastic verse himself.

For the third and final verse, Jay Electronica impresses as well.  In fact, it’s one of the best verses I’ve heard from him in quite some time. Too bad coming right after Kendrick on this song is a perfect recipe for disaster.  I don’t think anyone would knowingly choose to come after that.

“A month or two ago, Big Sean asked me to be on this record with him for his album. He had a demo hook on it at the time. I did my verse and sent it back – See more at: http://news.revolt.tv/jay-electronica-speaks-on-control-verse/#sthash.tKBSinp7.dpuf

 

“A month or two ago, Big Sean asked me to be on this record with him for his album. He had a demo hook on it at the time.  I did my verse and sent it back…I found out a couple days before it was released that Kendrick had put a verse on it”

He said this in an interview with Revolt TV, mentioning how great he thinks the track is and speaking on how he thinks it will further influence the rap game.

“I like the song and the stir it’s causing…It’s good for rap music”

I believe that this verse will stand the test of time, as a landmark that changed Hip-Hop for the good.  Enough messing around, it’s time to step into the arena.  For we all know how many response tracks are surely coming our way.

-Ronzo