Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman writes, “Now that I’m officially part of the generation that can’t tell the difference between adolescent rappers Lil’ Bow Wow and Lil’ Romeo, I’m not feeling bad about it at all.”
The full story at post-gazette.com has since been removed.
Cedric Muhammed of Blackelectorate.com gave his thoughts on the murder of Biggie Smalls on March 8, 1997 — five years later. Muhammed said, “Of course, the real ultimate loss of Biggie is that we lost a human being who was a son, brother, friend and father who meant so much to so many people, personally. We can always play the music that he left behind, but we can never bring Christopher Wallace back, as much as we all may want to.” Read more.
Daniel Gray-Kontar of the Cleveland Free Times profiled Nas ahead of his show Sunday in the city. Daniel said of the much hyped beef Nas answered to with Jay Z in Ether saying, “The release of ‘Stillmatic’, a decade after his seminal debut, finds Nas at a point in his career that few rappers have ever seen. Five recordings later, Nas is still one of the top five MCs to have ever touched a microphone – even though none of his albums have reached the same plateau as ‘Illmatic’. But the widely publicized battle between Nas and Jay-Z – hip-hop’s two most pivotal male solo artists – has elevated Nas’ status even more. If Jay-Z hadn’t already amassed such a large following, Nas’ response to Jay-Z’s dis on the platinum-selling ‘Blueprint’ could have ruined Jigga’s career in the same way KRS-One ruined MC Shan and LL Cool J ruined Kool Moe Dee. Rarely has such a raw piece of lyrical manslaughter been recorded as ‘Ether,’ Nas’ response to Jay-Z.”
David Plotz of Slate ripped into Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs for his multiple ventures that have him constantly in the headlines. Plotz writes, “Combs is a Renaissance man, but only by the standards of a P.T. Barnum world. Rarely has someone become so famous by being so mediocre at so many things—a boy wonder without any wonder. Puffy is a famous rapper who can’t rap, and he’s becoming a movie actor who can’t act.”
Evan Serpick of Entertainment Weekly looks at what has happened to political music dissenters recently (aside from The Coup) and especially since the events of 9-11. Serpick explains, “Inevitably, such bands have trouble pleasing anybody with their message. The real activists fault them for hypocrisy, i.e., selling records (and getting rich) via one of the world’s biggest corporations while decrying global capitalism. And the vast majority of their fans, suburban mooks who like the music’s crunch and could care less what they’re screaming about, get incensed when the band finally puts its money where its mouth is.” Read more.
Adissa Banjoko of DaveyD.com gave his thoughts on what may be the crumbling of hip hop despite the success it currently is enjoying. The thread of ignorance, also known as jahiliyyah, mirrors the time in the land of Saudi Arabia and the surrounding lands prior to the coming of the Prophet Muhammad. Similarities include territorial men, disrespect of women, materialism, and a loss of consciousness amongst today’s rappers. Read more.
Blackelectorate.com expanded on their earlier commentary that caused backlash from fans of the ‘underground’ hip hop scene when artists like Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, and hip hop mogul Suge Knight were praised. Cedric Muhammad writes, “What Jay-Z, people like Suge Knight, and Wu have done in their contracts and deals is not a classic example of greed or ‘capitalism’ as many hip-hop “purists” that don’t understand economics claim. Though far from perfect, it is actually quite revolutionary and a basic form of self-respect that they are exhibiting. Doesn’t hip-hop consciousness have an economic component?” Read more.
Randall Roberts of Cleveland Scene gave his thoughts on top rap producers Timbaland and Organized Noize and their importance to rap radio. Roberts said of Timbaland, “Because of his ubiquity, it’s tempting to dismiss Timbaland. His sounds are funny, he’s all about the money, and he pimps his wares everywhere… but track down some of the 12-inches, most of which contain instrumental versions of the songs, and you can hear the music untainted by mediocre rappers.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Gemma Tarlach put out a guide Wednesday with odds on whether rap stars like Eminem (Odds: 1 to 1) or Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs (Odds: 4 to 1) will show this year whether they’ve still got it or are doomed to be forgotten. The full story at jsonline.com has since been removed.
Evelyn McDonnell of the Miami Herald put together New Year’s resolutions of the stars in what she wished they’d had said. Included were Jay-Z and Nas, P. Diddy, and Eminem, wishing Slim Shady had said, “I resolve to accidentally ingest a healthy dose of love and goodwill while wandering purple hills and become a spokesman for GLAAD. I will call Neil Tennant and headline a revived Wotapalava.”