Yelawolf “Primus Freestyle”

Standard

As a former amateur bassist turned “semi-pro” rapper, I’ve got a fairly diverse palate of music. It’s not unusual for me to switch from Slayer to Graham Central Station, Johnny Mathis, or Wu-Tang. It’s all music and it depends on the mood, so to say it simply, “hybrid-Hip Hop” is something that, when done right, has lots of appeal. 

All of that was to say this: Yelawolf’s new freestyle over odd-southern-funk-metal trio Primus’ My Name is Mud” is brilliant. From the Charlemagne diss to the trademark Catfish Billy Southern Pride, Yelawolf comes with it, and the mucky bassline that made the original one of my favorite songs from Primus, just sounds so sweet with some rap bars over it. Check it out for yourself!

Advertisements

Senior Year Blues

Standard

It’s not quite an itis, but I can feel the pangs of Senior Year already. I’m not sure if its the 2,000 new faces who can vote for the first time this year, or the ever-looming portal to the real world, but something is making senior year less of a party and more of a syringe of severe discomfort. The rock between a hard place that is extremely foreign. It’s not all bad though. 

Some major differences last year to this:

I’ve got a great roommate. Living with one of your best friends could be a recipe for disaster, but no matter how bad the possibilities, they can’t be worse than my living situation last year.

My classes are pretty interesting/informative. No matter how much I’d like to say I’m never going corporate again, there is a high possibility I may return. Quantitative Research Methods are both interesting and important to non Media related Communications roles. Russian Cinema will be a textbook in the real tastemakers of the early era. I’ve got a repeat professor for the third time, and I’m taking a course where we analyze Good Times and Martin. Safe to say, we’ve got it. 

Those big ups aside, the downs don’t look so bad. I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus, but I’ll be coming back with more thought blogs and music/entertainment things as well. Stay on the look out and have a great last few weeks of summer.

Peace

Raƒi

Finished “Round Peg and a Corporate Square”

Standard

Hey all, hope you’ve had a great two weeks (I’m bad with this blogging thing). Since we last spoke, I’ve finished my 12 week internship, packed my room, driven from Chicago to Philly to Miami, and cut my hair. There’s probably a bit of debauchery mixed in those days, but with or without it, it’s been a lot.

In that time I’ve been able to really reflect on my experience in Corporate America and have come to a solid conclusion: “I need people”. The main feedback I got from the various people I worked with was to talk more. They wanted me to share my insights, keep them updated on my progress, and be more proactive about building connections. Fair and necessary feedback. Everyone got that I was introverted, but still wanted to see me “come out of my shell”, which is definitely a great thing to know, but at the end of the day, the major issue is my conclusion: “I need people”.

I am most certainly introverted: I can spend ridiculous amounts of time by myself and perform like there’s no one else on earth almost to psychopathic levels. But that doesn’t mean I’m anti-social. I like chatting with people and hearing different experiences and perspectives has helped me become a much more well-rounded person. But I need people.

It was really hard for me as a newcomer to the corporate environment to build 100% earnest connections because there were a lot of people who I didn’t feel like I could connect to. They felt distant, guarded, hyper-absorbed in work, or other things. Not much more than hellos. And as someone who does his best work with people he trusts completely, this is less than ideal. I need people who feel like people that aren’t hidden behind a professional mask. We’re on the same team…your game face is for the opponent and the visitors. 

At the same time, I understand that getting too personal with “business partners” can be a recipe for disaster in the event that something comes up…but that’s why a smaller company would be a better way to go. A mixture of close proximity to the customer base along with limited tiers of tenure and ownership is more of an ideal fit for me. It may not be where the money is, but it’s definitely where my heart and mind are. 

At the end of the day, now that I’m finished with my internship, it’s about time to finish up college and finalize my next direction: I’m bout this music and film, and I’m not stopping till I get it.

Hope that wasn’t too much of a ramble. I consider most posts brain dumps, but be sure to give me feedback. I’m always looking to get bettter,

Peace

-Raƒi

 

The “Fall” of Hip Hop

Standard

The great A Tribe Called Kwest

Coming into my last week of my internship has it’s ups and downs. Ups – I’ll be home soon, my creativity won’t be stifled, I’ve gotten my camera, I’ll have ten days of pure summer. Downs – I’ve got a major presentation (I’m not the best with powerpoint format), I’ll miss a lot of the people in my department (wish I had more time just to get to know them), I’ll miss my fellow interns, and the city of Chicago (Chicagoland area).

Another major up is the opportunity to get realer than real with a lot of people around me. I wouldn’t say I’ve been fake; since from my first day in the office I’ve told people exactly what I wanted to do but I’ve definitely been owning up to a lot of my finer hobbies and interests regardless of who’s listening. Basically, more people know that I’m a rapper and videographer (hey music videos!) and the questions and discussions have been interesting. In fact, this weekend I’ve had multiple discussions about the fall of hip hop and music in general.

It started with two other interns, one a music connoisseur (wide palate) and another a major fan of EDM who shied away from hip hop at a younger age due to sophomoric content and repetitive themes. The second continued to make the strong claim that the rap scene had majorly declined since the Golden era and the first was refuting it with the “nostalgia glasses” argument.

“But you have to admit that lyricism is a lot more watered down than it used to be….”

“There were a lot of bad artists from the 80s and 90s who you don’t remember…”

Personally I see validity in both sides. There were a lot of terrible artists from earlier generations and there is a reason we don’t remember them. There were also a lot of talented ones. The emphasis on lyricism has shifted to  underground hip hop heads though on a occasion there will be some sort of argument about who had  a better verse on a song (when a more mainstream artist does some “back to the pillars” shit).

My main view on that particular issue goes like this: In a more saturated market where people have been conditioned to getting their music in two ways: Media (radio, TV, magazines etc.) and People (word of mouth), the corporations trying to make money off of music need to monopolize the former which leads to greater control of the latter. In short, it’s not that people as a whole want less lyricism, but now lyricism is an other in Hip Hop.

To make a clearer comparison: Insightful lyrics are to modern Hip Hop what Cool Keith and Horrorcore were to the Golden Age. As in, extremely left field. To see an artist display lyricism in a package that is consumable (not garbage) is an extremely rare thing. I’ve often asked fellow musicians and friends if this generation could create a Nas, Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), Common, or Kweli: not because those 4 are ungodly talents (they are in many ways) but because the only way to penetrate the market in the way they did you’d need label support for your first few albums (Indie or Major) and then you’d need to separate yourself from labels and go about things your own way.

To get label support you’d need hits or a proven fan base. All four of the mentioned emcees started out in the neighborhood, whether it was working with more established artists in the studio (Nas and Common) or being well known via open mic performances (Yasiin Bey and Kweli). Then you’d need to connect with the artists straddling the line between mainstream and underground or be that artist yourself (Nas) so you could become a household name that people associate with quality music and quality hip hop. It’s not impossible, but in a post-Platinum era, there are major differences in expectations.

For some this may seem extremely daunting: all four of the artists above have had periods where people said they “fell off” and it hasn’t been easy for them. Lyricism is a hard road to walk down. Realistically, if you ask most people to name rappers they consider lyrical, aside from Kendrick or Cole, Ab-Soul etc. you’d likely get a lot of names of artists who have been in the game since the late 90’s or mid 2000s, before the Hip Hop internet boom. To be a homegrown “lyricist” you’ll have to inject yourself in circles where subject matter is respected (most real Hip Hop circles) and music is a way to get through the day to day. But to say that means Hip Hop has fallen is to me ridiculous.

Hip Hop has “fallen” because of commercialization, but the response to artists like Kendrick Lamar, who are “putting the pill in the pudding” demonstrates that there is still room for lyrics and deep subject matter. For the new artists like myself coming up: stick to who you are and what resonates with you. Get out of your rooms and get to the outside world (I’m trying) and let people know what it is you’re doing. You can’t have fans if you don’t have  a base. And you don’t have a base if you’re only on the internet. The radio may have “fallen”, but there are still people looking to find music with meaning and if you can really resonate with them, you’ll find some success.

Know this was kind of long, but I hope this makes sense. Love to hear what y’all think,

Peace,

-Raƒi

New camera…..

Standard

There are a few moments in life every person will never. For some it’s getting their first big promotion, getting their first car (one of mine for sure), or having their first child (God forbid-too soon), and for me it’s the day I got my first camera.

I’ve been interested in owning a camera for quite some time, but going to an affluent school with above average camera equipment always made the desire simply a desire and I try to reserve big spending for needs or near needs. Well, “not no more”. I am now the proud owner of a Canon 5D Mark III!!

Thanks to the wonderful folks who hired me to work for the Midwestern company I’ve been interning at for 11 weeks. I haven’t named her quite yet, but I swear she’s the one. She’ll be here through many a longterm girlfriend, many a wedding, baby shower, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

So keep your eyes peeled cause I’ll be putting together some great video content for quite some time! (The rest of my life). Just me and my Mark III.

What are some days you’ll never forget? Want to hear back.

Peace,

Raƒi

It even takes great selfies...lol (promise this is the last one)

It even takes great selfies…lol (promise this is the last one)