So once again I’m revisiting my opinionated post identifying Biggie as the greatest. My affinity for hip-hop has actually fallen off slightly so this may be a more objective analysis of these artists. I’m playing more and more D’Angelo and Sia these days and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I wanted to take a closer look at the arguments I would make for some of the guys that may challenge Biggie for the crown. Since so many of us have our “top fives,” there will never be a clear victor. But I will say that there are popular and unanimous vote-getters in the GOAT department.
Let’s start with Jay-Z.
Shawn Carter is the most iconic hip-hop artist of our time in terms of truly coming from the bottom and evolving into a wealthy entrepreneur right in front of our eyes. He is the quintessential American Dream for rap artists. While rappers like LL Cool, Ice Cube and Queen Latifah have enjoyed much success transitioning to Hollywood, Jay was always in the “best to do it” convos and he is still a relevant artist and businessman…or business, man.
Why Jay-Z is the greatest:
He did it on his own. When the labels fronted on him, he invested in himself (well maybe Kareem Burke helped) and created his own company which allowed him to spit rhymes about being able to match a triple platinum artist buck by buck with only a single going gold. He picked up where Biggie left off and infused the street life, drug talk with radio friendly hits and eventually began to sell records. Hov then became the number one trendsetter and wherever his sound went, the industry followed. Whether it was Swizz’s sample-free keys, Timbaland’s futuristic synths or the soulful backdrops provided by Kanye, Bink and Just Blaze, he led the followers year after year.
Read the rest of this entry »
I wrote this post almost a decade ago. It’s interesting to read where my head was back then. Recently a bunch of people have been celebrating the life of Christopher Wallace and every time his birthday or death anniversary rolls around I see the posts and specials and I think about his impact. Just seeing footage of the people outside his funeral stirs my soul.
At the age of 25 this man was a legend. With two albums under his belt, The Notorious B.I.G became an icon. But was he really the best that ever did it? Was my post premature, slightly inaccurate, or maybe just incomplete?
Has enough time passed that we can further analyze the factors that I presented and find fault in them? Or was Biggie simply just a product of his time running out before he could actually fall? I reread everything I wrote and after careful analysis I can safely say that I have evolved as a listener. The ears that didn’t mind “nigga” and “bitch” and admired the tricky use of wordplay to describe murder threats and sex acts are a bit older and more aware.
With that said I had to really take a look at my current playlists and see how many of my favorite rappers are in my rotation. And then that thought got quickly tossed out as I realized that I probably don’t even have my five top rated emcees in my phone. Although I did win some One Musicfest tickets last year by having Nas’ “Life’s a Bitch” in my phone when I was out at an after work function (I deleted all of the Nas catalogue out of my phone since then). Don’t feel bad Mr. Jones, Hov got erased as well… especially that Magna Carta thing. Some new Kanye exists, along with a couple of Marshall Mathers’ songs and even Tupac’s “So Many Tears” gets some spins. So what does that say about who I believe is the greatest of all time? I still believe Biggie provided the greatest influence on this generation of rap artists. I still count all of the factors I mentioned as reasons that he ruled way beyond his passing. But I have to admit that at some point there will be a new crown holder. While Jay-Z ran the table for years, his last few efforts including the throne watching collaboration could have truly placed him in an untouchable position if those projects were outstanding.
So allow me to repost this, feel free to skim through it and in a few days I will revisit this idea and take a look at a few other candidates. Read the rest of this entry »
Written July 25th, 2011
I forgot that I didn’t write a ramble last Monday until someone reminded me this past weekend.
And I honestly couldn’t remember why it had slipped my mind, but then it hit me that I might have been slightly fatigued from getting in late from my boy Big Don’s birthday party last Sunday.
The party was good, it had a strong turnout and all that, but I wasn’t allowed inside for maybe 45 minutes after I arrived. And why was a superstar like myself stuck outside of a New York party for so long you ask?
Well this event happened to be an All-White Party.
That’s right folks…all-white. Not 100% Caucasian attendants, but your gear had to be all one color.
Now I was aware of this fact when I got the flyer for the shindig but I’ve been to white parties before.
White parties are supposed to have a Heavenly theme I’m guessing and give off some sort of uniform look but not everyone is into wearing a uniform to the club.
So usually guys underdress and will rock a shirt with white in it, or a white tee, or some regular white sneakers or they throw on burgundy to stand out and show the white party throwers that they are against the grain.
Of course you always have your people that have outfits in their closet ready for stuff like this.
Linen suits, white shirt and matching pants, I even saw some Adidas pants and cargo shorts. But I, on the other hand do not own any white bottoms. I used to have some white shorts but I don’t know where they are and I’m sure they have a stain on them anyway.
So I came through with a borrowed white shirt, a pair of jeans, and some white kicks assuming that I was going to fall in between the people that chose to wear red or black and the other end of the spectrum would be the folks that went hard with suits and white shoes, white belts, white underwear and a white person on their arm.
Unfortunately the rules were strict and my blue jeans were spotted almost a block away and they told me I wasn’t going to be allowed inside. How often do you know the head of security of a club and the owner but you can’t get in?
It wasn’t embarrassing but it was interesting. Most of the ladies had it figured out: white dresses, white tight tops and shorts.
But dudes that showed up sans white pantaloons were very bothered. They argued, beefed, complained but the owner didn’t budge. He said he was even allowing shorts in the club as long as they were white.
And here I was in disbelief and awe that I couldn’t get in with blue jeans. One of my peoples suggested we try and find some store in the city and buy some white Levi’s…at 1:30 a.m. The thought almost sounded logical for 16 seconds then I drifted off to the idea of me spending money on a pair of jeans I most likely wouldn’t rock again until another white party.
I had white Guess jeans in high school, I wonder where they are. They probably walked out of my house in the 90’s from neglect.
So then I told the bouncer that I was waiting on my friend to bring some bleach and I would be all good, people found that funny, but I really think if I had some bleach, there were some dudes out there that would have considered whitening their garments to gain entry.
I was used to being discriminated against because of the color of my skin. Was I really being shut out because of the color of my jeans?
Hadn’t we come too far as a race to be creating this clothing segregation?
I walked up again and said that I had some Klan members in the hood that were bringing me a hood and robe so I can get cleared.
More laughter from security but one of them wasn’t laughing. In fact he was seriously offended by anyone that showed up without all white on. He told one dude that it wasn’t his call to deny partygoers but why would you even play yourself and wear blue to an all white party? As much as that should have bothered me, it didn’t.
Nor did seeing my peoples from around my way dressed accordingly down to their white shoes. Was I a fool? Did I miss something all these years I passed by the white jean section? I saw someone get inside with white basketball shorts so maybe I’m just thinking too hard.
White is a color, and colors are just reflections of light anyway…or something like that. I know that if it was an all-gray party or all-turquoise party, I had some outfits ready to go.
And if it was in the Hamptons, and Diddy invited me, then I definitely would have went shopping for it and I would have bought some white bottoms.
The truth is I do need to get with the program. What if this happens again? What if there’s an all-white function that would change my life? What if you have to wear all white in Heaven and I don’t have the proper attire?
I eventually got inside and so did everyone that was complaining. I heard a bunch of southern music, I saw people swag surfing, popping bottles, sweating up their blanco clothing, and that’s when someone spilled a drink on me that missed my shirt but landed on my jeans. The jeans that were supposed to be white.
Do you shy away from color parties? Do you wear all-black when you’re told to? And what’s the point of it? Do they want the pictures of the party to look cool or does the person throwing the shindig just want to be The Wiz in control of the color? How would you feel throwing an all-brown event and no one obeys, but you need to fill your party? I guess you would feel silly that no one heeded your request.
But if you said free all night if you wear brown or all brown liquor free, then people would come correct. At least all-white events don’t have the same meaning that they had in say 1948. If that is the silver lining, then I shall accept it.
But if you do find yourself mixing dark and white liquor by accident, definitely do not accept one or two glasses of Moët champagne after you’re finished the other alcohol. It doesn’t matter what the celebration is. That would be a mistake. Trust me.
Sometimes it’s hard to say no to folks, so if you find that difficult and you go ahead and sip the bubbly after the Henny and the Diddy-endorsed poison, you should thwart any peer pressure to join in on a Patron shot. That would be lethal and idiotic. I would never condone anything like that.
Yet if you can’t refuse people’s generosity, and you want to be a part of the festivities, and it looks cool, and you don’t want to come off like a lame, and you must partake in the elixir, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re not driving home.
Although you may tell yourself that you sober up behind the wheel, or enough time passed, or God is with you, it’s not worth it.
But for argument’s sake, if you have to get home and there’s no other method than in your vehicle, just have someone ride with you to keep you up and attentive.
On the other hand, if you came alone and you must leave alone then do not drive fast or crazy.
Though if you need to drive fast, try not to stop at a fast food restaurant late at night because that’s a bad mixture.
In case hunger calls and you cannot, not answer, please, please do not go to a McDonald’s drive-thru. Stop yourself right away.
But if the golden arches mesmerize you and you happen to end up talking to a distorted voiced lady in a machine at 2am, then find one close to your home and order some finger food like nuggets or those crispy strips that are ok every one out of four times. But the important thing is not to order five when they ask you how many. Get three and do not order anything extra like apple pies. You don’t need all that.
On the contrary, you may feel really hungry and if you do order the 5-piece and two apple pies from a Mickey D’s that you thought was the closest to you but it isn’t, it’s ok, just don’t eat and drive.
But if you absolutely have to eat and drive, use a napkin, pay attention to the other thingies that look like cars and only eat the fries because warming them up in the microwave is senseless anyway.
Just don’t try to apply ketchup in the car…unless you absolutely need ketchup then go ahead, it’s your world. Whatever you do, don’t get home and eat both pies, just eat one.
Unless you’re extremely starving, then do you, but the most important part of the evening is to not fall asleep on the floor in your clothes because that’s just not cool. And alcohol and food need to settle while you’re upright and awake.
There is a chance that you may fall unconscious wherever you digested the food and I understand that. The morning will be a time of mystery about how you made it home, what made you drink so much and why you didn’t save one pie.
You don’t listen.
DWI is serious. Some people think it’s funny and they can just jump in a car intoxicated and the effects will wear off magically.
Am I one of those people? I would answer that but I would hate to be one of those people that always asks questions directed at themselves and answers them any chance they get?
“Was I excited?
But was I afraid?
Now would I go back?
Can you shut up? Yes I do it too. I interrogate myself a few times in conversation but only because the person I was talking to didn’t ask the right question to get the information I needed to communicate.
“Am I happy the Mavericks beat the Heat?
Am I more excited to see Dirk win than LeBron lose?
I’m not sure.
Do I wish baseball season wasn’t 12 months a year?
Yes I do.”
See, in order to get those responses, only I could do the interview. So I get you habitual-self-question-asker person. But be aware if you’re one of those folks.
And also take notice if you’re a chronic lister that uses numbers or letters.
You know the folks that rundown their reasons for the most random stuff in list form all the damn time. But sometimes they mix up the prefix.
A female friend of mine said,
“Number 1, I don’t even like him like that.
Number 2, there’s mad fish in the sea.”
Then she rambled on with some reasoning explaining her reason and went back in where she left off,
“And C, I ain’t really that fat.”
See you can’t go from “number 2” to “C.”
There has to be consistency if you’re a chronic lister. I know humans like this. They love to give you visual charts to show their feelings.
And I applaud them; just don’t confuse me when you start to give me the list. And don’t throw in 1A or 2B, that’s just too tough to keep up with.
I know you may not feel like it’s important to listen to me because I am not an authority figure on alcohol or English or human relations or baseball…and that’s cool.
I don’t blame you.
But I became reflective recently after sipping and steering one night, then I was watching Amy Winehouse stumble on stage and I read that Nivea crashed her car with her baby inside because she was drunk.
And I thought to myself, “this isn’t funny, I need to let people know the wrong I’ve done.” But I laughed while I said it so it negated the serious tone.
Then I asked, “Does anyone really care?
1) Not really
3a) I’m writing this anyway, it’s my site and I can do what I want to.
So you didn’t get anything for Valentine’s Day, and you’re feeling down about it. You forgot it was Black History Month and totally decided you would focus all of your attention on your social life and your lack of someone in your world that cares enough to send you the very best.
But you don’t really care about Black people anyway. If they don’t know their history by now, they’re not going to get it in the 2 weeks left in the month.
Should you be down about not getting flowers or candy…or a card or some symbol of affection from a loved one…or at least a secret admirer?
Yes you should. Unless you remember being back in school, and seeing the girl with the massive balloons and big ass teddy bear going from class to class, hitting the lunchroom, then the train ride home with Valentine luggage to show off, and you felt lucky that that wasn’t you.
I would hold on to that feeling if I were you, she wasn’t better than you then, and she isn’t now.
I could never get anyone all of that stuff back in school because at some point I would have to be seen with it…and teenage love isn’t that strong. I got someone a gift one year like an idiot back in the days. I don’t remember (too embarrassed to say) what the gift was but I conformed to society’s pagan holiday, and I felt foolish once the person I got the crap for, received junk from other dudes…and everyone knew about it. What was I thinking? I requested a Valentine and got turned down basically. What the hell was that about? If she said yes, what was next?
Now as an adult, we’re still hung up on gifts and monetary displays of adoration. We’re falling for it again.
I know, I know…your co-worker just got some beautiful arrangement sent to her desk right on time. Oh your friend just got proposed to this morning in some special way. Get outta here. That’s sweet.
No it isn’t. They won’t last. People send themselves flowers all the time. If you’re single don’t be discouraged. There’s nothing like being single because number 1 is the best number. Everything else is a downgrade. You’re gonna read a lot of Facebook statuses today that may piss you off.
And there will be expressions of love everywhere. But you know what? Tomorrow is February 15th. And hate will rule again. I’ve seen it. Trust me.
The whole relationship concept is overrated. What’s the point of liking someone, figuring out how much you can tolerate of them, then loving them, then telling them not to mess with anyone else, while you lock yourself down? Then y’all wanna live together, share finances, look at each other change shapes, cross lines of privacy, reveal idiosyncrasies, meet family members then ultimately make offspring and be tied together forever.
My friend you have dodged a bullet. You know how many people were on the verge of breaking up, then Feb 14th rolls around and a good deed makes a couple continue to kill each other slowly? It’s sickening.
You really want to spend your weekends worrying about some human being letting someone else rub on them? You actually think it’s a good idea to be with one person for the rest of your existence?
Variety is the best thing on earth. You don’t even wear the same head scarf two nights in a row…you can’t stand leftovers…if someone says, “huh, what did you say?” and you have to repeat yourself, you’d rather not, you’re above repeating…
So what makes you think you can be with the same person day…then night…then day again, then another evening and they’re still there, and so on until y’all hit the dirt?
Think about it…and you want some damn candy. Go speed dating tonight, get bent, sleep with someone, get up and walk away, feel better for it. Happiness is not around the corner, it’s right here. Look at Oprah Winfrey, she never got married and she’s a billionaire. Tyler Perry’s paid and he’s single. Can that happen to you?
Probably not…but you can have your own reality show looking for love. Ok, so first you may just have to get on a reality show competing for someone else’s love and if you’re a big enough personality you’ll get a spin-off, but that’s not too farfetched.
Speaking of reality shows, I was watching Hell Date the other night on BET and all I could think about were the auditions for the role of the devil. I can imagine a lot of midgets came out competing for that slot, but with only one little line to say, how did they choose?
“You on hell date!” That’s not hard to mess up, I’m sure the competition was intense.
If I were to go on that show as the date from hell, I would be the cheap guy. I would be asking the server about the prices, ordering water and an appetizer for me, cringing after she orders the $25 seafood platter, saying, “No dessert menus, we’re good.”
And I would ask her to go half or itemize what she got and ask for that exact amount. Even without cameras I think that’s a good idea, I may have to have a midget come out and say his line for her to get the joke…but I would still go Dutch.
Why do Dutch people go half anyway? I would hate to be from the country named after that. “I can’t afford this, let’s go Costa Rican.” That would suck. Dutch people should be pissed.
I lost my train of thought. What is a train of thought anyway? Is that a metaphoric symbol for different ideas linked like train cars? Wouldn’t that make it a train of thoughts? And how would you lose that anyway? Even metaphoric trains aren’t tough to find.
I don’t know what I’m talking about, oh I saw some of The Grammys, I watched most of it on Twitter as people commented on everything.
I remember as a kid, I didn’t watch the rock or country performances…now as a grownup, I don’t watch the rock, country or rap performances.
I’m joking, but I know plenty of people expressed their opinions about artists and their wins, how they looked, how they sang so I’m not gonna bore you with more of that. But you can feel free to mention them, Nicki Minaj was_____, Oh man Lady Gaga looked_____, Drake’s hair, Diddy’s speech impediment, Usher did what to Bieber?____. Go ahead, chime in, I’m not hip enough.
Am I still going? This is long as hell.
A lot of folks were upset about Guru not being listed as one of the entertainers that passed away last year. These are the same folks that gave Milli and Vanilli an award…and refused to televise the rap award that The Fresh Prince got for about a decade years ago. Relax people. Enjoy your love day.
You made it this far, might as well leave a comment, it means a lot.