THOUGHT PROCESS EDITION:
IT DON'T FEEL RIGHT.
Written by: Bruce Eagle
and gentleman to It Dont Feel Right. Where we discuss topics
of interest in hip-hop that dont particularly sit too well. You know
the feeling when you see or hear about something in hip-hop that just makes
you want to vomit a little. Well, below is a list of such things.
It dont feel right that some cats want every Nas album to be Illmatic. This is for those cats that dont like anything that Nas has done since Illmatic, simply because it is NOT Illmatic. Like when cats say, That new Nas is wack. Man, it aint Illmatic. Mind you, that this is THE quintessential early 90s hip-hop album, but come on, the man was NINETEEN. Can we allow our artist to grow? And, in this case, just simply grow-up. How would you like to be known for something you did at nineteen forever? The clap you got from that chick in the dorm room, that weird thing you did with your eyes for the boys. Hey, if an album is wack, its just wack, no doubt. Do me this favor. Just for a minute, act like Illmatic didnt exist (I know, hip-hop blasphemy but just do it for me) and go back and listen to Nas albums with a clear mind. You might find that It was Written, I am, and Nastradamus(yeah, I said it!!!) were hotter than you thought. Just do me that favor and hit me back (can you tell Im a Nas fan?).
It dont feel right that we gave Lil Kim a show on BET for going to jail. Lets start first with a show about the WRONGLY accused black folk going to jail before we start with Lil Kim, rightly accused. Besides, why must we glorify this? Going to trial aint cool, going to jail definitely aint cool. Yet here we are: a whole 30 minute show. If the show was about showing people the right path, how she made a mistake and is willing to pay for it, that would be a GREAT show; however, it was just a bunch of look at me clips and self-righteous posturing. And, Lil Kim for that matter? I thought the way we did things was that we glorified someone for going to jail if the crime was hard. Like say, slanging that rock or perhaps shooting a n*&^%(not that Im condoning this, but I thought that was the hood code). This woman went to jail for perjury, lying something most folks do in a blink of an eye. But she did the hood thing and didnt snitch. And, then we treat her like she was doing something dope, like say making a five mic album (hahaha, yeah right). On that note
It dont feel right that I miss the hell out of the Source. I KNOW that the Source has long since been dead as a reputable hip-hop magazine. I KNOW Benzino was a wack rapper and used his influence at the mag to push his even wacker group. I KNOW that the mic system has been corrupted over the years. But, man, back in the day when the mag was popping, it was magical. I mean that was the hip-hip bible. It was our constitution, our living document that chronicled our life and times in hip-hop. I got a tingling sensation whenever I saw a new cover that was like drug induced euphoria. This was my weed, my alcohol, before I had access to either. When I walked into 4th period in school and saw a huddle of dudes around a desk, I knew what the deal was: someone had a Source. But that feeling died, a tragic, painful death in the wake of scandals and petty beefs. They have new management there now and maybe it will regain some of its credibility. But, seeing the Source now is like seeing Jordan out of his 2nd retirement: painful to see what WAS turn into what IS. The 1996 Source was like 96 Jordan and we may never see anything like either again. And Damn, I miss that.
It dont feel right that Jean Grae isnt mentioned as one of the illest female rappers in the industry. Scratch that, one of the illest rappers, period. Dont know who Jean Grae is? My point exactly.
It dont feel right that cats dont rock pink like that anymore Actually, It does.
It dont feel right that Nas babys momma is fronting like she is the reason for the Jay-Z and Nas feud. In her upcoming book, She postulates that the reason Jay-Z and Nas were beefing was because of her. I usually dont do this, but uh, B$%&*H PLEASE!!!! This is the most self-righteous thing I heard since Al Gore claimed he invented the Internet. My old lady mentioned that maybe I was just in denial. I pondered this and for a moment and almost recanted my stance. But, NAAAAHHHHH!!! So, you mean to tell me that two self-respecting pillars of hip-hop started a beef(one of the best in history, btw) over a baby momma. Uh-huh. I know in the hood cats beef for less, but come on. This beef had been brewing for while. I heard on the street that there had been bad blood b/t them with veiled insults over the years from an incident that happened a while ago. The streets talk like Jigga asked Nas to be on Reasonable Doubt, but Nas, having pretty much done it by himself on Illmatic, replied like Do it for self like I did. Another theory was that Nas confronted Jigga about saying hes better than B.I.G like hes wrong for saying so with that supposedly being his man and all. Now this beef could have been started for those previous reasons or maybe they just wanted to settle once and for all who is number 1 in hip-hop. Or maybe just for the dough beef generates (and with Nas recent signing to Def Jam this maybe the overall reason). Listen up Nass Babys momma: you were not the reason for the war, you were just ammo (Notice I didnt mention her name because it seems that her being Nass babies momma is her call to fame. It was either that or call her the chick that f@#$%ed Jay-z and Nas but that doesnt have the same ring as babys momma)
It dont feel right that I just dont feel Lupe Fiasco like that. I I cant I just cant do it. I respect his craft. I really do. He is a superb lyricist, a very accomplished spitter, and his music bleeds his pathos with every letter. With that said while listening to Food and Liquor, I just wasnt touched. There wasnt that feeling inside me that I get when I listen to Jigga or I come across a Nas verse or when I hear the pain and struggle of the artist in a Jean Grae rant. That JenaI ce qua; that certain something. The man will be an accomplished artist one day, but this feeling of mine begs the question If an artist spits a verse, and the fan doesnt feel it, does he change his verse? Biggie said a while ago in reference to a new Das EFX album, like that New Das EFX album is dope, but [people] aint feeling it. I aint gonna make an album that nobody feels. He went on to basically say that he wants to give the people what they want. And can you really blame him? No one plays to lose. Losing being poor sales and the subsequent dropping from the label. We as the fan have much more power than we believe. We arent at the behest of the artist the artist is a function our whims. If you dont like an artist, dont buy them(it costs you nothing, pay me no mind--Jigga). One could even infer that we fans may be part of the reason for the decline in hip-hop. The corporations that distribute the music are only concerned with the bottom line, profits. Artists just wanna do something that they love and make a living to boot(naïve I know). They rely on US to dictate the pace of the genre, the direction(peep the DE LA and the direction of hip-hop rant in the previous article). We have the power to change. Just look at what a boycott can do to influence change. White folks werent even considering black people as a force until we hit their pockets with a bus boycott. I call on you as a fan to make that tough decision at the record store or at the ticket booth. If you dont like snap songs, dont buy those records or tickets. Support the artist that is going in the direction you want hip-hop to go. This is not to say that you will not hear those kinds of songs you hate on the radio. There are always going to be people that like that kind of music(not knocking it but thats how it is), but there will be a balance of the D4Ls and the Lupes, the 50 cents and the MF Dooms. Follow your heart at the register, and the music will come to you .
Back to Lupe, the man has burst on to the scene with a few high profile co-signs, Ye and Jigga for instance. With that kind of backing, my man Scoe points out this record is an important album on the winds on change. And I agree. If this album does well, it will hopefully influence more artists to take that chance. To make that music from the soul that they may have been afraid to make for sake of feeding their families (tough choice, I know). This album, while it may not give me that feeling, is an album from his heart, and you can feel that upon listening. One thing our genre lacks at this point is music from the soul. You can almost hear the compromise in your favourite artists voice. This first commercial album(if you want to hear some more tracks peep that Rhyming Ape mixtape) is ambitious. And, I applaud you for taking that chance, Lupe. I am going to purchase his album. Not out of sense duty, but out of a sense of pure selfishness. This is what I want my music to be, soulful full of life and promise ( you know, like it use to be). I want my music to spiritually move me, transport me to that block; engulf me in that struggle, that hope, that bond, that love, that life from our modern day Griots. And if you want that same feeling, join me at the register and lets battle for this change, scrap for our love, fight for hip-hop one heartfelt, thoughtful album at a time. And hey, maybe Ill come around. It may hit me one day like an epiphany, that this album is hot. And if not, at least I can say, Im doing my part and not just complaining. If this rant seems a bit contradictory, welcome to the mind of a Gemini.
It Dont Feel Right -1