New Music. Old Habits.

Image result for trial by fire yelawolf

Music is in a peculiar space. There’s an over abundance of new shit and it’s overwhelming. Every day there’s another project to check out. A few times a week SoundCloud links hit my inbox. I scroll through Spotify’s new release page three times a day. I’m surrounded by music, but it’s all starting to blur.  It’s a necessary pulse and it beats whether you’re listening or not.

Like an obedient Millenial, I watch a lot of Viceland. I’m mainly interested in how many times Desus & Mero mention the Yankees and their 27 World Championships (11 of which were won when black athletes weren’t able to play in the league), and how much food Action Bronson can cram into his face in a 30 minute clip. I watch the channel and I feel cool. Shout out to Spike Jonze for inspiring my fear of missing out. I happened to catch an episode of Desus & Mero last week which featured A Boogie, and I was fascinated. Here’s this young kid from the Bronx who seems to have his shit together. He was pretty mild-mannered and well-spoken. I found myself rooting for him; especially considering he’s part of a new school of Hip Hop kids that I cannot seem to get behind. And it’s not even that it matters whether I get behind them or not, but more so that I find some level of comfort with the changing of the guard. But that discussion is old hat at this point. As old hat as using the phrase ‘old hat’ while typing on a WordPress blog.

A day or two later I read (and watched clips) of A Boogie and his people stomping the shit out of Lil B behind the curtains at the Rolling Loud Festival. Weird, right? Some violent shit happened at a festival called ‘Rolling Loud’? I was shocked too. So A Boogie et al handed Lil B his ass, and the rap world rallied like Boogie and his people were from hostile Germany. When did people get so far up their own asses that they actually believe they’re part of some Based World where Lil B is above getting beat the fuck up? Boogie’s Bronx stomping rightfully leveled him up. I streamed his debut record that night, and I didn’t hate it. I’d praise it more, but I can’t.

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That’s where I’m at with Hip Hop in 2017. It’s my life, and I don’t hate it. Embracing this wave of pitch controlled rappers who sing (thanks Drake) is necessary if you want to keep sane. And if I can’t get through a few of these records without losing interest or dry heaving, I’m afraid I’ll end up like Joe Budden…beard and all. My biggest fear is being 45 and still preaching to kids about the undeniable brilliance of DJ Premier.

Instagram introduced me to Ezri, and after a little research and a terrific video for “Be Right Back”, I was enthralled. Maybe his EP would be that new shit I had been missing out on. I mean, he’s young, he’s gifted, he’s fucking with Mass Appeal. I honestly thought I found my rap cure for what ailed me.

 

Honestly, I could barely finish the EP. It’s not good and it proves that Nas is a fucking genius. “Be Right Back” paints the picture of a young Kendrick, or Lupe, or Royce poised to leap into the game. It’s jam packed with bars and soulful introspection. It’s what I wishfully expect to hear when someone says “new rapper”. Then you press play and you hear precisely what a new rapper actually sounds like in 2017. It’s generic. It’s fashion rap. It’s expensive belt buckles and double cups. It sounds nothing like the single, which is more of a testament to the power of marketing than it is to the notion that quality matters. I honestly had to just get up and check the mirror for that creeping cheek beard just now, I felt my inner Budden bubbling up.

Taking a sharp left turn; Yelawolf released his long-awaited Trial By Fire on Friday. It’s way more focused than Love Story, but more of the same and a bit of a grind if you can’t follow his country-punk-hip hop logic. But I have to give it to this guy, his brand is strong, and there’s no one remotely like him. If he’d give the Kid Rock features a rest, he’d probably get a bit more shine. Nerd talk, the sequencing of the album makes sense. It simmers and by the time you cross the midway point, if you’re still on board, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the mind of a man coming out the other side of a nasty alcohol addiction.

I’m also spinning the literal fuck out of the new King Krule record, as well as Conway’s latest tape. If you’re old like me and give a shit about the rapping for sport and you haven’t been paying attention to Conway, Gunn, and Benny…shame on you. What are you listening to? Comment and tell me what to do, and no matter what happens tonight, enjoy the rest of October you filthy animals.

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Hot Take: Melo’s Escape From New York

I’m in the market for a #7 Thunder jersey this season.  The thought of rocking that baby blue rag on my back makes me sick, but what’s a guy to do? Carmelo Anthony was traded from NY to OKC for pennies on the dollar last week, and my sporting heart is broken to pieces.

The Knicks have been on a downward slide since their trip to the finals when I was 16, so Melo was truly a pleasure watch year after year. Sure, the front office was a mess. The head coach was nothing but a puppet for that old pot head Phil Jackson to jerk around, and the talent pool was severely lacking until the Latvian Unicorn came to town. But the constant every year in Manhattan was #7 tossing in three’s from 40 feet away.

Real talk, I enjoyed Melo’s unabashed chucking. He can splash it from anywhere on the court.  Piss poor defense and all he’s the reason the Knicks won a handful of games the last few seasons. But with all the scoring gone, what’s next for Gotham’s beloved squad of perpetual losers? I’ll tell you. We got younger bringing back Timmy Hardaway Jr., drafting rookie PG Frank Ntilikina, and standing behind Porzingis’ choice to get stronger by playing European ball all summer. We brought in some veteran knowledge in Jarrett Jack and Mike Beasely. Joakim Noah’s old ass is apparently healthy in the front court, and the Melo trade brought in Doug McDermott and Enes Kanter along with a second round draft pick. Youth is apparently the angle heading into this season.

I predict our boys will win 28 games. No playoffs. Double digits assists from Frank Ntilikina and healthy scoring from Hardaway on a nightly basis. A few highlights a game and a shit load of turnovers. Many depressing post-game discussions between Alan Hahn and Wild Wally, and tickets available for the cheap.

I have the NBA league pass, so expect me to stream plenty of Thunder games in the privacy of my living room while a shy tear streams down my cheek every time Melo The God cashes it from deep. I love you Carmelo, no matter what the NY media says…