Monday, August 6, 2007
Not A Blogger Does A Week In Rap City: Part I
Greetings, fellow haters of the world! It is I, the Good Doctor Zeus, bringing you the first ever post on my brand spankin' new hip hop blog, Not A Blogger. I have been spent the last few years lurking about the hip hop corner of the internet where I gained a fairly minimal reputation on several blogs and message boards of being a notorious hater of modern rap music, critic of those who deign to like it, and general pompous asshole. Recently, I decided that I, myself, would venture into the treacherous world of hip hop blogging and bring a perspective that the hip hop blogs of the world so sorely lack. I felt the world could use one more hater so here I am posting my first ever post on a topic that needs no introduction to those who love rap music as much as I do...BET's gigantic clusterfuck known only as Rap City.
I have never been a gigantic fan of Rap City even its glory days of when Big Tigger was hosting the show and standing awkwardly behind the world's most talented rappers as they spit their freestyles in the Booth but now that Q45 is standing awkwardly behind the world's least talented rappers as they spit their "freestyles" (*cough* verses off their mixtapes *cough*), I find myself being overwhelmed by the extreme vapidness of it all and can't take it longer than like ten minutes that I sit in front of the TV hoping that they'll play something not Al Jolson-esque. I thought it would be an interesting social experiment to sit and watch the show for a week and find out whats popular in hip hop these days, and if watching too much BET can actually kill you. Let's start the show.
Everybody's favorite master of the awkward conversation, Q-45, is hosting today along with some random ass Southern DJ named B-Lord. B-Lord kind of reminds me of DJ Drama in the same sense that I can't tell what race he actually is. He sort of speaks like Paul Wall (*eww*) which would suggest that he is white but he is rocking the same goatee that B-Real rocks so he might be Hispanic. Apparently, he's gonna be hanging around for the rest of the week so maybe I'll get to the bottom of this.
The first video they show is Ludacris, Chingy, Small World, & Steph Jones' Celebrity Chick. Of all the rappers to squash their beef and to start making music with each other, again, why did it have to be Ludacris and Chingy? Apparently, Ghostface isn't even speaking with the Wu right now but the world gets subjected to another Disturbing Tha Peace record. Fantastic! I'm so glad I'm gonna be having to be listening to "Holidae Inn" Part II for the next few months every time I go to a remotely swanky bar in Manhattan. And Steph Jones looks just like Justin Guarini. Eww.
Holy shit! Rap City is playing the "Read A Book" video. What?! You're kidding me? I still don't know how I feel about this video because I'm not sure if the message (which is noble and totally relevant) is compromised by the slightly condescending attitude it has towards the people its informing. I think it skates the fine line of being satirical and racist. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the reason this is being played is some BET Executive watched this video on mute and saw the visuals were sufficiently ignorant enough for the BET "core" audience and decided to put it on air. Because you know BET doesn't like anything too intelligent for their audience. They might just go...you know, read a book. What up, Phonte!
After the break, the next record is Gorilla Zoe's "Hood Figga." I don't have anything remotely interesting to say about this record because this defines bland and generic Jeezy-esque southern rap music. The most I can say about this video is that Gorilla Zoe makes some particularly menacing facial expressions at the camera. I'm sure this record is gonna be huge because of it. Swagger is the new adlib.
Lil Scrappy's Tupac-Biting "Living In The Projects" is up next. Its okay for what it is I suppose but I'm willing to bet without actually listening to or have any desire to listen to Bred 2 Die, Born 2 Live that this is the sensitive "I'm So Sorry" thug ballad that closes the album out (and even if it isn't it should be). All hip hop albums have to end on the redemptive contemplative slow jam. It's the law.
After a bunch of commercials trying to sell me ringtones, we come back with Swizz Beatz' "Money In The Bank." Wow! This video is busy! It somehow manages to out annoy "Its Me, Snitches!" in terms of sheer seizure inducing glory. I kind of like it. The song in the middle switches beats up and becomes the sort of triumphant soul infused goodness that Jay-Z would've ripped in the Blueprint era. Swizzy, of course, butchers it. Who told him he was allowed to rap? He needs to stop and give that beat to like Ghostface or somebody.
You know I could totally see Common wandering around the southside of Chicago on his day off giving random people hugs and telling them "not to eat pork"or something vaguely uplifting as they stand there mildly amused because there is a camera crew following him around. Its cool for what it is but why does it have to turn into a Gap commercial midway through. Somebody needs to tell Common that just because he is schilling for the Gap these days doesn't mean he needs to dress like my fifty year old dad. That being said the more I listen to "The People" the more I like it. I'm a sucker for disembodied vocal samples.
Next up, we have Swizz Beatz' (again...) butchering "Big Things Poppin" along with Cassidy and Fabolous in some sort of ill conceived You-Tube Remix video. Why? You know, its great to see Cassidy working with Fabolous because I always considered Cassidy to be a bootleg Fabolous in the first place so now we get two mediocre rappers with the same style for the price of one. If only Lloyd Banks showed up...if only...
Ja Rule's "Uh-Ohhh" plays like a kind of an ambiguously gay version of "Brooklyn's Finest" but I think I'm growing to actually really like this one. I kind of like the way they try to top each other with each verse they spit and even Ja brings his " A" game out even if his "A" game is most rappers "C" game. At least, Ashanti's nowhere in sight. Say what you want to say about Lil' Wayne, he sort of kills his verse on this one. If he wasn't the most annoying figure in hip hop today, I might actually become a fan of his.
After some awkward banter between Q-45 and B-Lord over a game of pool the show closes out with Yung Berg's "Sexy Lady." Oh, great. An R&B singer singing through a motherfucking vocoder. How novel. I have this theory that any rapper with the name Young, or Lil gets 30% wacker simply because of the massive unoriginality of their name. Berg gets bonus points because he spells it incorrectly sending him into Mims levels of wackness. The one thing this video has going for it is the song switch at the end of the video where he tries to act all hard and gully is off the charts on the unintentional comedy scale. I'm sorry, my friend, but you can't bite Chingy's gimmick for 95% of your first video and expect anybody to think your Bumpy Knuckles the next 5%. It ain't happening. Cassidy tried it on his first record and he had to kill his own weed carrier on his second record to make people forget.
Final Thoughts: This was a pretty boring day on Rap City. Nobody went into the Booth today and the videos were pretty bland. I'll be back tomorrow for some more commentary on the show.