Maaaan... Real talk. Kanye West is my favorite rapper.
He is definitely in the top 10 of my favorite artists period. No debate about it. You all remember the movie Brown Sugar when Sanaa Lathan's main question was "When did you fall in love with Hip Hop?" Well, personally I've enjoyed Hip Hop music since middle school when I began to write verses and dream about being an artist. But there has been no other single defining moment for Hip Hop and I comparable to the first time I heard Kanye's debut album College Dropout. That was when I fell in love with the artform, personality, swag, cockiness, and overall state of mind with Hip Hop. Until Kanye, all the artists I listened to, enjoyed, and emulated, I could never truthfully relate and identify with them or their lyrics.
For me, Kanye represented my assurance that there was a place in rap for someone like me. I never sold drugs, never could front as a thug, never disrespected women. I was raised in the church, my parents always made sure I was at the best educational institutions even at a young age. And back then I didnt even understand all the drug and crime references anyway lol. So as much as I tried to "lose myself in the music" according to Eminem, there was always a barrier between Hip Hop and I that kept me from fully feeling like I belonged.
But I'll never forget the effect that the Kan-man had on me. Sophomore year of high school in '04, I saw the "Through the Wire" music video on BET and I had no idea who Kanye West was. But I was so intruiged because I had never heard someone be so passionate, convincing, and emotional about every single word in their music. Sitting on the couch in my parents' living room with the television volume completely up, I could connect with everything he said, even with his "mouth wired shut" as he proclaimed in the middle of the video hahaha
The song stuck with me. I went to school humming the sped up Chaka Khan sample in my head. Everyday after class I'd rush home to catch the video on Rap City and again on 106 & Park.
It was rough, unrefined, and low budget... but it was real. For the first time Hip Hop was real to me.
I went to Tower Records (R.I.P.) the week College Dropout came out, and bought it with no hesitation. I never anticipated hearing an album so much. I waited til I got home, locked myself in my room to avoid distractions, popped the disc in my CD player, turned the volume completely up, and pressed play. I then opened the first page of the liner notes, just as the CD began
"Kanye, can I talk to you for a minute? Me and the other faculty members was wonderin could you do a lil somethin...a lil sumthin beautiful... somethin that the kids are doin... love when the hear it, thats gon start make em jumpin up and down and sharin candy and stuff. You think you could prollly do somethin for the kids for graduation to siiiing?"
And then it happened....
For the entire 71 minutes and 8 seconds of the album, I entered a state of complete bliss and altered consciousness. Song after song, my ears studied every single aspect of the tracks, from the way he flipped each soul sample, to his flow and how he didnt stack his vocals like most rappers. One track for each verse. It made his lyrics more meaningful and concise... more conversation... more personal. He was speaking directly to the listener. My eyes followed every word closely in the liner notes. I wanted to know everything he had to say. I studied the production credits, background vocalists, featured artists, and origin of the samples
Each song produced a new emotion that I didn't know existed with rap. Kanye was speaking to me. He was telling my story. This was my life. Each track was a chapter in a novel. The result was perfection.
His lyrics were more than than punch lines and slick metaphors.... they were witty and skillfully stated, ingenious and often comical, interpretations of all the thoughts and experiences I've had but never known how to express.
Just when I thought the album was nearing its end and there were no more surprises, "Last Call" played, which was the perfect conclusion to the greatest story ever told. His lyrics were as strong as ever on this song, and after his two verses stating why he didn't deserve to be overlooked, his thoughts extended beyond rhymes. For the first time while listening to the album, I set the liner notes down and listened to Kanye's 12 minute narrative of his road to Rocafella. I closed my eyes and imagined his words
Soon after, the CD stopped. The journey was over. But I was still on an all time high. I took a notebook out my backpack and wrote everything I felt. I wrote down my goals; I wrote lyrics; I wrote about how I felt. I didnt care what it was, I just wrote it. Kanye brought new meaning to the statement "Be yourself." I was no longer afraid to be me. I was finally proud to be the non-sagging MC. The educated rapper. The lower middle class, private school enrolled, hip hop artist. Haha it all made sense. Hip Hop is what you make it, and Kanye was the first artist to open my eyes to that.
My friends and I often debate about which Kanye album is the best (excluding 808's and Heartbreak because I don't believe it falls in the same category as his previous 3).
Here's my breakdown:
>Graduation solidified him as a global rap superstar ("Stadium Status" as he calls it)
>Late Registration was the album that expanded his fan base beyond Hip Hop.
>But College Dropout is what he used to prove himself and show everyone why he belonged in the music industry as an artist. It was his formal introduction to the world. It shows his journey from "tragedy to triumph" inspite all of his setbacks, haters, letdowns, obstacles, etc. You can hear his pain, struggles, determination, struggles, fantasies, flaws, dreams, love.... everything.
And the result is a classic album, and the most relevant album of my life.
Being an artist and songwriter, there are things that inspire me almost daily, from hearing an amazing song that a friend of mine records, or facing a difficult situation in my life that spawns the necessary emotions to compel me to write, or even discovering a truly talented artist that I was formerly unfamiliar with. But College Dropout was so much more than just inspiration. It was a defining moment in my growth as an artist. 5 years later, the feeling remains. I STILL get chills everytime I hear "Through The Wire". It brings back the state of mind I was at during that time. College Dropout represents my maturity and the phase in which I began on the path to discover my place musically. And for that, I'm forever grateful to Mr. West
I didnt write this to show that Im on Kanyes nuts or anything like that. I just wanted to share the most impactful and significant moment in Hip Hop for me. After hearing that album, I became determined that music was gonna be my main focus in life no matter what. There are no barriers. My dreams are limitless, my goals are infinite. Kanye dared to be different in music's most stereotyped genre, and for me, that was the influence I needed to begin my road "from tragedy to triumph"
The world aint ready for me, my music, what I represent, etc... But just wait lol. I'm comin anyway
Alot of yall been asking about my bands next show. Well, The Legenday Biscuits and Gravy is set to rock out B.B. Kings downstairs stage once again this Thursday, Feb 26th at 8pm. Admission is $10. Dont even trip cuz you know its worth it. Even if you aint seen us b4, i know you've heard that its worth it ANYWAY, for those of yall that dont know, B-A-G been killin the music scene here in Nashville and even Bowling Green, KY, a lil bit of Atlanta, and a few other places, but we definitely on our way. No matter what I do on the solo tip, theres still somethin special about the chemistry we all have as a band. So, you dont want to miss us at B.B. Kings this Thursday. We haven't played in a few weeks so we are EXTRA hungry to get on stage and remind people why we are the youngest hottest urban band period
I wanna give a bday shout out to my nigga Corbin Bleu from Disney Channel. Most of yall know him as the frizzy haired Sideshow Bob lookin high yellow singin and dancin basketball star nigga from High School Musical. But real talk, thats my nigga. Me and CB go waaaaay back, to his days as an extra in 'ER' in like 98.' Today he hit the big 2-0. Congrats my nigga, u rich b4 me....
I'm watchin his movie "Jump In" on Disney right now, co-starring Keke Palmer from 'Akeelah and The Bee'. Hey.... a nigga watch Disney occasionally when I want to connect with my inner child. You wish you were cool enough to be up on your Hannah Montana, Suite Life of Zach and Cody, and That's So Raven re-runs like me...
Corbin has established himself not only as an actor, but a singer, songwriter, dancer, and model. The Corb-meister is a quadruple threat... BEAT THAT CHRIS BROWN!!!
(no pun intended)
Anyway, happy bday Corbin; heres to your continued success. And remember... read. Cuz the Corbs said so
First off... Im a Family Guy addict like 90% of our generation lol, so I could blog about my fav moments of the show 24/7....
However, I do have a life so I won't...
Anyway, I HAD to post a clip of a recent episode called "Oceans Three and a Half" in which Stewie makes a music video for Joe's new daughter hahaha! This mug is classic 80's satire, from him singin "Everything I Do", to the random, yet EXTRA cheesy and cliche music video scenes, including:
>the classic leaves in the wind shot
>the naked pose by the fireplace haha
>and you cant forget the tragic suicide scene at the end hahaha
This video is classic lol. Hurry up and watch it, cuz Youtube is gonna take it off like they always do...
Anybody close to me knows im all about promoting the local hip hop scene here in Nashville because for one, im apart of it, but also because people are so quick to deny the existence of a rap community in Nashville... hi haters...
ANYWAY, our neighbors in Murfreesboro, TN have always been true to Hip Hop, with the constant house parties i hear about (and can never make it out to), the campus events at MTSU featuring some of my fav local artists (shout out to The Light), and last but not least, MTSU's own hip hop radio show BLAZIN IN DA BORO.
BLAZIN IN DA BORO airs on 88.3 FM Tuesday nights from 6-8 pm playin the best local hip hop music.
Now, anybody from Nashville knows, DONT NOBODY SHOW LOCAL RAPPERS LOVE ON THE RADIO!!! Its a shame that the only rappers we are known for is All Star signed with Cash Money records and Young Buck formerly of G-Unit (who obviously thinks crying on the phone with 50 Cent is whats hot in the streets nowadays....). So BLAZIN IN DA BORO is definitely doing what they can to show love to local acts to the fullest
In addition to the radio show, they host a monthly event called BLAZIN IN DA BORO LIVE! And best of all... its $FREE.99!! LOL
The next one is March 3rd at Wall Street in Murfreesboro (check the flier for directions and more info).
So once again I have to give props to BLAZIN IN DA BORO for blazing the path in strengthenin the hip hop scene in the Greater Nashville and Middle Tennesse area. They are always accepting submission for the radio show if you are an artist that would like to have your songs put into rotation. Hit up the WMTS website for submission details
Last night i had the pleasure of checkin out a friend of mines band at the Curb Cafe at Belmont University here in Nashville. They call themselves "Stick No Bills" and are a relatively new group. Despite the fact they haven't been together very long (Fall 2008), I was thoroughly entertained. They have a unique sound mixed with 80's pop, rock, funk, and even some soul. Their sound reminded me of Maroon 5 and Chromeo (ironically they performed a Chromeo cover lol)
My friend Ross Bridgeman was the main vocalist and keyboardist. He kept the crowd entertained with his classic keytar synth solos and solid vocals. The guitarist and additional vocalist was Justin Davis, who had the CRAZIEST guitar riffs and solos to complement Ross. Matt McKinney on bass and Hunter Bridges on drums definitely held their own as well
The show tag line was "Bringin Back the 80's" and it was definitely appropriate, from the music and lyrics, even to the classic 80's look that the band had hahaha. Headbands, torn sleeve sweat shirts, tight jeans, etc... it was crazy lol.
The songs were catchy lyrically and melodically, but this didn't overshadow the groups extensive knowledge of musical theory, which was apparent through their complicated chord progressions often at the bridge or breakdown section of the songs. This perfect mix between catchiness and musicality is what sets them apart from other similar groups today.
Overall, I enjoyed myself, and can't wait to see how the group progresses as they continue to play together.
For more info on The Stick No Bills and dates for upcoming shows, check out the group's myspace
"Slumdog Millionaire" was by far the best movie I had seen in a long time. When it was released it was virtually unknown, but quickly catapulted to one of 2008's best films by word of mouth, online reviews, and In the words of Kanye, "you are super irrelevant right now" if you haven't seen the movie lol. Its up for 10... TEN... TEEEENNN freakin Oscars, and its well deserved.
The movie is basically about a boy from the slums that gets on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" and wins, despite having no education and being raised in poverty. He then shows how he knew each question based upon his life experiences. Check it out... for real
A recent article from the Associated Press released about an hr ago caught my attention. The author catches up with 2 of the children in the movie that play the main characters when they were younger. I was surprised to discover that the kids were actual impoverished children that the filmmakers casted. 10 year old Azharuddin Mohammed and 9 year old Rubina Ali Qureshi, despite having large roles in one of last year's biggest films, still live in the slums.
The article goes into detail about the filmmakers initial struggle on whether to use children from the slums for the roles, but eventually decided to use them to not play into the prejudice people already against them.
The filmmakers paid the kids for 30 days of acting work, gave the families a monthly stipend, and set up a trust fund that the kids can use after they graduate. As you can imagine, their lives dramatically changed when the film was released. The parents said they had to keep their kids home from school because of all the journalists and reporters swarming the school.
Rubina's family demanded more money to buy a home and a car when the film began to gain the family all types of fame and exposure, so the filmmakers wired her money. However, both family's still live in the same conditions and most likely used the money for everything else but that lol.
Personally, I think the whole situation is tragic, especially since everyone, including myself, would imagine someone in the same position as the children, to become instantly rich and improve their living status. However, the reality of the situation is shocking. Their level of poverty is so extreme that the young actors themselves didn't experience the happy ending like the one in "Slumdog Millionaire".
Hopefully their lives will improve, but for now, these impoverished children have to settle for more paparazzi than wealth.
Its amazing how both of the families were present in the most fashionable attire on the red carpet at the movie's opening night. But immediately after, they had to return to reality, which for them.... is the slums
Here's a song I recorded last week just about how I feel. The beat is from a new friend of mine thats tryna get into his production out there more. This track is for all you hip hop heads and has a darker feel to it than most of my songs. Its pretty philosophical and conceptual if i do say so myself hahaha. Lemme know what you think
However, love reigns supreme in spite of financial conditions. It just might be less extravagant than previous years.
But with the divorce rate increasing, and technology continuing to reduce face to face conversation with chat, blogs, e-mails, and facebook, it might not be such a bad idea to cut back on the big teddy bears, song clip hallmark cards, extravagant flower bouquets, movies and dinner reservations, to simply enjoy each others company and some intimate time over some blockbuster rentals and
Now fellas, dont get me wrong and not get your girl anything... lol you might not be finishin the night out like u expected hahahaha
But remember, being romantic doesn't always mean expensive. Be creative, find out what your girl likes, and whatever you do be sincere. Maybe you can cook a dinner just for the occasion instead of going out the restaurant. You could get a picture frame for the two of you and find a photo for the both of you to share.
No matter what you do, cherish this day, but remember Valentines shouldn't be the only time you go out of your way to show your mate just how much you love them.
All you music lovers really need to check out a new favorite group of mine called Chester French. They are a duo signed with Star Trak and they are getting a lot of buzz for their single "She Loves Everybody". I originally heard them at the N*E*R*D concert here in Nashville spring 08, they opened up the concert and I was unfamiliar with them at that time. But their set was CRAZY! the level of hype in their perfomance was ridiculous, and i loved the mixture of live instrumentation with synth and catchy melodies. So i was quick to look em up on myspace afterwards
I recently saw their video on MTV U and I had to download cuz i was hummin it like crazy for the rest of the day lol. They are makin alot of buzz so yall make sure you check em out, lemme know what you think. Hot or not? Im a firm believer that our generation will determine the direction of the music business with the whole digital age continuing to change how we connect, get, and hear new music and artists. So its important that we support new talent on the rise, like chester french. So be sure to google em, wikipedia, or somethin
oh yea, and these dudes are harvard alums... thats crazy! hahaha
if u havent heard by now, triple threat chris brown was arrested and charged with makin criminal threats to singer rihanna. and now he has lost alot of endorsements and you know how all that goes, we've seen it a million times. read more about it in the link below
i just wanted to share my thoughts on the whole situation....
> > > > > >
i know its messed up im laughin at chris brown situation right now but Katt williams taught me to get my seven laughs.... so.... HA HA HAHAHA HA H A!!! perfect ole tall light skindedededd nigga that can sing dance and act FINALLY got some dirt!!!
am i hating???
of course i am!
light skindeded VS dark skindededed niggaz has been a competition since the beginning of the negro existence. ive only been keepin score since i was young back in the early 90's.... but its been a non stop WAR. light skindededed niggaz always had people like will smith, LL Cool J, and 90% of every african american sex idol
and now they are in the lead cuz they got BARACK!! YOU GET MAD POINTS FOR LANDIN THE PRESIDENT!!!
however, as of recently, rapper t.i. caused the team to lose a few points for the gun charges, but he got them back with his last album which is amazing...
and NOW this chris brown assault case was a MAJOR deduction
not to mention, high yellow niggaz like cuba gooding, jr. always make the light skinneddeded side lose points for overall LAMENESS
on the other side, us darkies got people like wesley snipes, samuel l jackson, p diddy ,chris tucker, and the ever so classic denzel washington (bonus points *ca ching*)
historically, we've lost points for stuff like michael jordan with his gamblin addiction forever ago, and we faced a loss with the whole michael jackson little boy scandals back when he was black, but thankfully he turned light skinddeded and soon thereafter, full on WHITE
and as of lately Kanye west been costing us a GANG of points lately with that dang shag on his head and his social awkwardness!
but dont get it twisted, thats still my fav artist
and lil wayne got us a deduction for that dang lip ring.... not pimpin.
oh, and how can i forget the classic case that put us darkies WAAAAAY behind.... KOBE BRYANT (enough said.)
> > > > >
ANYWAY... seriously i hope the best for chris brown... and i can actually say i got a whole new respect for him cuz my nigga Ike-d a ho hahahahaha somethin is tellin me, rihanna next album might resemble tina turner!
ok ok SERIOUSLY, FOR REAL now. i hope the best for him cuz i know he is dealin with alot even more than michael phelps cuz chris is black and got arrested so now he has entered the realm of loss endorsements, bad reputation, and typical nigga status. sorry bruh. you got a long road ahead of you. i know that issues like this are blown outta proportion with celebrities... but still... u hit a woman...
u disturbia-d rihannas face LMAO then she sent out a SOS to the police LMAO
My band Biscuits and Gravy had the pleasure of being interviewed by local cable channel 19 for a segment highlighting local talent on the rise called "Mic Check." Ya'll be sure to give it a look and it also includes some footage from out CRAZY performance at B.B. Kings on Jan 18th. WE ON OUR WAY, BABY!!!
This performance from the Grammys definitely deserves honorable mention. hate if you want but the Jonas brothers get my props, no homo. i mean COME ON how many people get the chance to share the stage with stevie wonder???? (i aint gon lie, i copped the jonas brothers cd when it first came out... dont question it). hey, a nigga enjoys his disney channel from time to time, from zach and cody to miley cyrus. im just a big kid at heart...
This Saturday night I went to the Schermerhorn symphony hall here in Nashville to check out classical Pianist Emanuel Ax along with the Nashville Symphony.... well, me being the lower middle class raised black man that i am, ive never been. But it was CRAZY! It was the best 2 hrs ive spent in a while. Im a musician at heart, played sax all through middle and high school, but just never been to see an orchestra of that caliber b4. so, step your game up, and your culture. i felt sophisticated as heck lol, and cant wait to go back
This Friday my band Biscuits and Gravy drove to Atlanta for a dinner that producer/musician Craig King was throwing for another musician (drummer) Lil' John Roberts, who was also recently engaged to Jill Scott.... Please... if you all don't know who these people are GOOGLE EM and get your knowledge up!
We had met Craig King in 2007 when we played at Kanye's official after party here in Nashville. Craig King's production credits extend from Ludacris, T.I., and even the great Aaliyah, all the way back to Will Smith! I mean C'MON this man played on "Summertime"! Check out his website and even a video of him when he laid down the synth part for Kanye's single "Good Life" yeeeaaa he played on that too lol, check out the video
ANYWAY, Mr. King had several artists performing during the dinner extending from artists on So So Def, to Lil' John ROberts himself on the drums, who was the musical director of Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope tour and Jill Scott's last tour
So artist after artist went up on stage and we didnt know if we were goin to be called up cuz these were some major industry people and seasoned veterans! But Mr. King came thru for us, gave us a CRAZY introduction, and me and my boys shut it DOWN!!! We performed 3 songs and had everyone standing up and asking where they can here more
Through this opportunity we were able to meet several important people from Pay-per-view, who want us to play on one of their television events, and even people from a few newspapers that wanna do articles on us. THANK YOU CRAIG! Even My. King himself said he wants to work with us even more and ensure that we make it big
So, im still cheesin haarrrddd from friday, you cant ask for opportunities like that.
Where can I start... hottest new artist in hip hop? Who am I to say, but he definitely has my props. I found out about him kinda late when XXL did that issue about the Freshman 10 or whatever with Mickey Factz, Asher Roth, and others. So after that I peeped his myspace and download a few of the mixtapes. You know, rappers be checkin up on they competition whether they admit it or not hahaha (youtube, worldstarhiphop.com, even wikipedia...dont front).
And I cant lie, nigga got skillz!
Usually i hear about a new artist and dont pay any attention cuz its prolly cuz they know somebody at BET or got a hot single with a dance cuz they on soulja boy's nutz, but naw this Hamilton kat actually holds his on on the mic. His "Brooklyn Girls" single is crazy. I'm still pissed he took the whole Sonic the Hedgehog theme tho cuz i was planning to do a Sonic 2 mixtape REAL TALK lol. But oh well.
Anyway alot people question his longevity in the game and whether he will last or just die off like most internet sensations, but skills always pass the test of time. Im hype about it because he is reppin Hip Hop to the fullest and there is a lack of that in our generation. Im eager to see what'll happen with his career. who knows, maybe he'll get big enough to do a track with me... possibly lol.
Yeeeeaaaa... I've been shying away from blogs since I first heard about em. But i eventually gave into the trend like Myspace and Facebook. Well, here is the official FUTURE blog, the man, the artist, the blogger (?) lol. Honestly this is still corny to me, and im sittin in my apt livin room watchin tv with a laptop typin my thoughts... kinda like a digital schizo (ooooh song idea).
ANYWAY, im pretty much the biggest artist you've never heard of, or either the biggest artist you know yet underrate. Either way, im doin this blog to document my transformation from the city paper to the magazine covers; hometown venues to the international tours; mixtapes to critially acclaimed album.... so on and so forth. Ya boi is makin major moves, so this is your invitation to join me on this journey. I'll keep you posted on upcoming shows, ppl i meet, labels coming my way, mixtapes, free song exclusives, pics, etc.
I got a paper to write for class tomorrow, and i prolly wont even start until I check facebook, my yahoo email, myspace, and my campus email lol, so until my next post...
p.s. check out my myspace www.myspace.com/futuretheartist