Archive for the ‘ Retrospective ’ Category

Top 5 Reasons Nicki Minaj Will Go Down in History

So I recently had this debate with a friend on the validity of Nicki as a rapper in the hip hop industry. I couldn’t help but sit back and listen to his arguments on why she could never be historical, so I told him I’d get back to him on it…in the form of a post. Without further adieu, lets get to it.

1. Shock Value

Unless you were living under a rock last night, you saw that God awful performance on the Grammys last night. I know, I know, it’s Nicki right? She gets a pass on doing stunt moves right? WRONG RIGHT. Last nights disappointment wasn’t about the demonic show and cracked out wigs, it was about pushing the envelope and pissing about 80% of the viewers off. Now, you may ask, why would anyone like Onika after some shit like that? Well, I will tell you the hidden secret to greatness….shock value. YES, shock value works. Madonna did it, M.I.A did it, hell, even Kreayshawn got a piece of that shock value action. But having a bit of BOOM isn’t enough right? Nah, you gotta push that envelope of coonery…do something the people will never forget, and that my friends…is what being remembered is all about. I mean, we gave Taylor Swift a pass for her performance of making us feel like we should go pick cotton right?

2. Star Power

So we all remember Nicki Minaj right. No, not the half ass drag queen we saw last night..you know..Nicki. Yea, she’s never coming back, and you know why? Because Ms. Minaj got a slight taste of popularity and used that bipolar disease of hers to her advantage. Star power is not about having talent, its about making that stage rock back and forth effortlessly. No matter how ridiculous Nicki gets she’ll always  be the rapper girl who crossed over into the “other” lane. You can’t honestly believe that Meeka from the block can pull off that performance can you? Hell no, because Meeka doesn’t have the “it” factor. Having that hustle to crossover into the other lane takes courage and a little sell out ability. If you aren’t willing to sell out as a rapper, you aren’t willing to be a star. Keep in mind, that rap is in a whole other arena when it comes to being a star. When you are doing R&B, you can kinda, sorta, keep your soul and still be a star. But gone are the days when a female could sell a little sex and screw a few people to become a star. Nowadays these broads gotta sell their mind, body, and soul for this stardom and Nicki did it. She owned that. She has that star power.

3. 50/50 Club

Nicki is a part of a little thing I like yo call the 50/50 club. Kobe, Lady Gaga, and Carrot Top are also in this club, just to name a few. This is an area of entertainment when 50% of people absolutely loathe your existence, while the other 50% would have your babies and name them all after you. I, for one, am a fan of the first 50%, but it’s not about me is it? It’s about that 50% of people (aside from Baby) that  buy 30 copies of her album just to support her. You know, the fans that died their hair rainbow colors not knowing that Minaj is a part of the lace-front crew. Nicki reaches a fan base that doesn’t know any better than to fall for her tricks, and who are we to hate on that? That’s the game…the gimmick…the lifestyle. Now I’m not saying its ok to prey on the weak, because lawd knows if I had it my way Jean Grae would be on top of the charts right now. But in this field of entertainment, its not what you can do, its how can you afford to buy your bosses at the label slave masters , their million dollar brownstones.

4. Image “Do Over”

You know the funniest thing to me is the fact that everyone forgot about the Nicki Minaj that came out with her pussy popping and loving threesomes. How quickly we forget the infamous Lil Kim pose she hit us with back in 08. I remember reading an interview of her when she expresses her regret for that cover and how she wanted to get away from the slutty image. Well folks, guess what…she did it. She let us forget that she had every man in America scheming on finding out 101 positions Nicki Minaj could go, and that takes talent (and a good branding team). She redid what others couldn’t undo, making her the only female MC in the game that did it AND still have a meaningful (if not better) career. She knows she’s lost in this entertainment, but I think she’s comfortable with that, even if she puts out a whole song dedicated to her remembrance of old Nicki.

5. Lyricism

Welp, now we get down to it. The purest form of hip hop: lyricism. Despite her infatuation with the Teletubbies wardrobe, lil mama can spit. Lets not forget this is the same Queens chick who put out Sucka Free in 08, which was more gimmick free than Hammer pants. She is one of the few women who gave Kim a run for her money too, and you can’t deny that. I mean, Foxxy tried, but we saw how that ended up. I’m not the hugest fan of Nicki, but she gets off on some bars when she wants to, and she probably could have made me a believer is she kept growing lyrically. She lost her way, and I’m not sure if she will ever get back to it..but it would be unfair to ignore her relevance as a spitter.

In closing, I can’t stand Nicki as much as the next backpack fan, but I show respect when respect is due.

Love.

–Windy

R.I.P Whitney Houston

Words can’t express how saddened I am by the death of this legendary woman. I tried to write a letter to her this morning, but I couldn’t stomach the fact that she left us so soon. Respect is owed to this woman from artist all over the world, and I am excited to see what the Grammy’s will do for the show tonight. She will forever live through her music and her legacy. Let us not forget the inspiration she had on our culture and our lives. I love you Whitney. Always have….Always will..

Whitney Houston: 1963-2012

The Best Hip Hop Projects of 2011

No other picture will do.

As the year comes to a close, I bring you the Best Hip Hop Projects of 2011. The Hip Hop community has had a very interesting boom this year with a lot of NEW artists making a name for themselves. You may have noticed a couple from XXL’s Freshman 10 list. Also expect to see a few other artists who are vets in this league. Overall, 2011 was a good year, especially with the hipster explosion in the 2010-2011 time frame. Artists have evolved in creativity, literary usage, and overall skill to compile their lives and experiences over dope musicianship. The list compiled below includes both mixtape and album alike, requiring much contemplation and effort pondering which project is better than the other. The rating scale considered skill, the ratio of good tracks to the total amount per project, the content, delivery, and originality that each artist exemplified. So without further hesitation, here it is.

10.) Pac Div – The Div

Talk about slept on artists, these three guys are one of the most slept on groups out. Pac Div (Pacific Division) is a southern Cali trio of two brothers (Like & Mibbs) and a long time friend (Be Young). Since their first release in ’06, Sealed for Freshness: The Blendtape, these guys have crafted a unique sound aiming at the young adult “hipsters” around the globe. With a theme they like to call “grown kid syndrome” these guys are like your average mid-twenty black males who still live with their parents who happen to rap pretty well and refuse the 9-5 lifestyle. So any experiences around that time in your life, whether it be women problems (Chaos: The Recipe), to coolin’ with the homies feeling yourself and your team (Posted), to the dream of being the greatest at whatever you do (The Greatness), the group covers it. Nevertheless, Pac Div also is known for their hyped and unique ad-libs, and their producer Swiff D keeps them laced with incredible production. Take a hint of some ever before heard Cali sounds from Pac Div.

9.) Mac Miller –Blue Slide Park

Now I won’t say he’s the next Em but, this white boy has amazing talent! Mac Miller is a young artist fresh out of high school making a name for himself in this industry. Miller made history as being the second artist to be number one on Billboard charts from their album from an indie label. This hasn’t happened since The Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food in ’95. Get familiar with Wiz Khalifa’s label mate’s feel good and party music. When life’s feeling great, turn on a track of his and I dare you to act as if your experience doesn’t elevate to new heights. You can put his songs in rotation at the frat-parties like Party on 5th Ave, or you can either chill, or mellow out to songs like, Of the Soul. nevertheless, Miller’s rhyme patterns are to die for as shown with the latter of the two songs aforesaid. This 19 year-old MC is destined to be one of the greats, you can quote me on that.

8.) Young Jeezy – TM 103 (Thug Motivation 103): Hustlaz Ambition

Jeezy is finally back! The much anticipated album is here along with a DVD (The Real is Back) and gives us the same hard-hitting beats and hood classic sound he trademarked way back when TM 101 first dropped. Jeezy’s fifth album comes to us in similar form with a couple of nice yet unusual features such as Jill Scott; you’ll be much appreciative of what she has to offer on Trapped just like I. Some features consist of vets like Jay-Z, his new signee Freddie Gibbs, and the legendary 3 Stacks (Andre 3000) on the hit single, I Do. The story of Jizzle’s rize to fame and fortune continues with completion of the Thug Motivation trilogy. So just as you did before, turn the speakers all the way up, and ride to this!

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Top 10 Slept On Artist: 2011 Edition

These are a select group of artist that get rare radio spin, underground respect, and if you ask the average sucka joe, they won’t know who these kids are. If you visit my site, then you probably rock with these cats…

10. QuESt ScHoolboy Q

9. Stalley

8. Dom Kennedy

7. Curren$y

6. Rockie Fresh

5. Pac Div

4. Freddie Gibbs

3. Big K.R.I.T

2. Jhene Aiko

1. Kendrick Lamar

The 10 Best R&B Singles of 2011

The 10 Best R&B Singles of 2011
By: Michael Hamilton (@MikeHamiltonJr)
Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 was certainly an odd year (both literally and figuratively) R&B/soul music. This is solely due to the fact that, unlike previous years, nearly all major releases within the genre (both albums and singles) did not cross over heavily. In fact, none of the singles on this list reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100—including the most popular and most successful R&B song of 2011 (which did make the list, see below). But, as noted in the top 10 R&B albums article, R&B as of late has taken a more secluded direction, where most of the music and artists do not cross over as heavily as they once did maybe 5-6 years ago. Instead, the R&B community has become more closely-knit, which in turn, keeps much of the music within the direct listening confines of the genre’s devout fans.

Despite this interesting turn, there are still strong records being released in the genre. The top ten best of those singles that were released this year are listed below:

10. “So in Love,” Jill Scott [feat. Anthony Hamilton]
Released during the height of springtime, Jill Scott’s “So in Love,” featuring fellow soul singer Anthony Hamilton, was the perfect lead single for Scott’s fourth studio album, The Light of the Sun. The great thing about the record is its mellow, mid-tempo beat, combined with unusually restrained vocals from both Scott and Hamilton. Give it some time and it just may join Cameo’s “Candy” and Maze/Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go” as standards at Black get-togethers.

09. “4 AM,” Melanie Fiona
The second single from her forthcoming sophomore album, The MF Life, Melanie Fiona’s “4 AM” has gained the budding superstar a groundswell of new fans. The main highlight of the record is its dramatic production that builds gradually over the course of nearly five minutes. Fiona’s airy delivery adds the ideal touch, complementing the production perfectly.

08. “Sure Thing,” Miguel
Released as the second single from his debut album, All I Want Is You, Miguel’s “Sure Thing” effectively solidified him as a powerful new force in contemporary R&B. The singer’s laidback performance and the song’s catchy metaphors made it an undeniable hit on urban radio, hitting #1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for one week back in May.

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The 10 Best R&B Albums of 2011

The 10 Best R&B Albums of 2011
By: Michael Hamilton (@MikeHamiltonJr)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some make the argument that R&B isn’t what it once was, or that it isn’t as “good” as it was throughout the ‘90s and during the early ‘00s. However, as evidenced by this list, it has become more apparent that the landscape of R&B has simply changed. To discover great R&B and soul today, one can no longer rely on Top 40 or mainstream urban radio anymore. Currently, the state of R&B is more secluded—meaning that there are fewer mainstream, crossover R&B releases, which subsequently requires real soul fans to discover the great music that is still being made in the R&B genre.

While not a big mainstream or commercial year for R&B, 2011 still provided many great artistic moments from some of the industry’s more established names, all the way to a few breakout newcomers.

10. Love After War, Robin Thicke
On his fifth studio album, singer Robin Thicke continues to impress listeners by diversifying and varying his growing body of work. Love After War takes a much different creative approach than its predecessor, 2009’s Sex Therapy: The Experience. While the love-making songs are still a trademark on his latest set, Thicke talks more about world and social issues here, a displayed on tracks like “The New Generation” and “Never Give Up,” and he does so with impressive, old school soul sensibility.

09. Where It All Begins, Lalah Hathaway
Her fifth release in 21 years, Lalah Hathaway continues her family’s legacy of brilliance on Where It All Begins, her second album under Stax Records. Fans of Hathaway should be thoroughly pleased with the album, as she remains true to herself by continuing to perform the refined brand of soul that made Anita Baker, Sade and Toni Braxton so successful. Though not as great as her last album, 2008’s Self Portrait, Where It All Begins is still a welcomed listen from beginning to end.

08. Stone Rollin’, Raphael Saadiq
Raphael Saadiq has had an impressive career and made valuable contributions to R&B for nearly 25 years now. And he’s shown no signs of slowing down. Stone Rollin’, the singer/songwriter/producer’s fourth solo studio album (ninth overall—including Lucy Pearl and Tony! Toni! Tone!), shows Saadiq sticking to old school, ‘70s-themed soul. He has adapted an excellent knack for the sound and continues to thrill both fans and critics alike. (The album’s lead single, “Good Man,” is currently nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance.)

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In Retrospect: January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001 R.I.P. Aaliyah Dana Haughton

It’s been nine years today since Grammy-nominated R&B star Aaliyah died in a plane crash returning from her “Rock The Boat” video shoot in the Bahamas.  She’s stellar proof of someone whose music truly made an impact on fans and still resonates today.  Among her many hits are “Rock The Boat,” “Are You That Somebody?”, “Back & Forth,” “If Your Girl Only Knew” and the Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper, “Try Again.”  Aaliyah received a total of five Grammy nominations during her seven-year recording career:

1998 – Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Are You That Somebody?”

2000 – Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Try Again”

2001 – Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Rock The Boat”

2001 – Best R&B Album for Aaliyah

2002Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “More Than A Woman”

In honor of her life, I’ve attached the music video for “Rock The Boat.”  Enjoy! Rest peacefully, Aaliyah.

Michael Hamilton

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