"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hipster Rap: The Savior Of Hip Hop?

"I'm not talking about these guys..."

I live in Bushwick, Brooklyn which is virtually a hop, skip and a jump from the notorious neighborhood of Williamsburg in New York. Notorious, not in the sense that it’s likely to get your ass lit up like Grandma’s glaucoma “medicine”, but in the sense that you come across perhaps the most universally despised people in all of New York city, the hipsters. Now seeing that I’m best friends with many a “hipster” myself (and some would probably argue that my ass is a hipster but I would literally scream and beg to differ to my bloody torture chamber death but I digress), I don’t really personally have anything against them (other than say their choice in ironic haberdashery) but they do seem to spring up in various different neighborhoods in the city like cockroaches; bringing the wonders of gentrification and retro ‘80s t-shirts. Once, they’re there, they’re there to stay. The definition of a hipster is pretty nebulous as what qualifies one as a hipster is broad and sweeping but there is one unifying theme that unites all hipsters: No hipster considers themselves, in fact, a hipster. It’s a dirty word signifying pretension and a tragic taste in culture. Nobody voluntarily wants to be thought of as a hipster. It’s actually a pretty good determiner if you have to defend yourself as not a hipster, your tight jeans wearing ass is probably a hipster. Sorry, to break it you, folks. We all deal.

Bronx rapper, Mickey Factz, recently caught major feelings from Nah Right’s Eskay when he was classified as a hipster rapper. He went to great pains to categorically reject the notion as did the Kidz In The Hall when confronted with that same notion. Lord knows an aspiring rapper wouldn’t want to be associated with white upper middle class douche bags in thick black framed glasses (Full Disclosure: I wear black framed glasses quite regularly, myself) even though they are often fond of those same thick black framed glasses himself. Hipster rap has become short-hand in recent times for a retro aesthetic that leans on a late ‘80s/early ‘90s sound and culture. The Cool Kids, Wale, The Knux, Jay Electronica, Lupe Fiasco, Mickey Factz and the Kidz In The Hall all have an aesthetic and style that leans heavily on what is being dubbed as “hipster rap.” Pretty much all of them hate it. I’m not necessarily sure that’s a good thing. I think they should embrace it.

The notion of hipster rap is actually pretty damn awesome. It uses the old school aesthetic of 80’s rap and culture and updates it for a modern audience. In a sense, as an audience we are getting the best of both worlds. It’s swaggerific enough for fans of shitty LCD rap to be conned into listening to but purposely old school enough to keep geezer’s like myself (all of my 24 years and counting) to get behind. If anything is gonna save hip hop, at least, artistically, this genre could be it.

Chicago’s unfortunately named, the Cool Kids are perhaps the biggest “stars” of the burgeoning sub-genre, perhaps are the most dogged in their adherence to their retro dogma. Their Totally Flossed Out LP is full of Rick Rubin-esque minimal but booming 808 production and Run-DMC tandem rhyming but it updates it with “chopped and screwed” hooks and use of dark, menacing synths. “Black Mags” is a stunning, dystopian ode to the pleasures of BMX-biking and “88” is a banger that sounds as if something that would come out of Oakland circa…well, 1988. The Cool Kids’ craft, a consciously retro look as well, rocking colorful t-shirts, vintage Jordans and enough dookie rope chains to make even Raekwon admit they were only built for the finest of Cuban links.

Another group that is making major noise, The Kidz In The Hall, are prepped to release their sophomore release, The In Crowd, are a group that met in college when emcees Naledge and Double-0 competed against each other at a University of Pennsylvania talent show. The group is heavily informed by the sounds of the Native Tongues and other early 90s artists. The stunning single for their second album, “Driving Down the Block (Low End Theory)”, samples Masta Ace’s classic “Jeep Ass Niguh” for a chopped and screwed hook but sounds like the artistic cousin of the menacing minimalist thump of “Grindin’.” The drums and break beat informs a Too Short-esque production but the plinkin’ synths add a modern edge to the song. The song just plain bangs. The Kidz In The Hall are also able to bridge a social conscious with dark bangers that seem destined for the club if given a chance by the radio to break through the Southern monotony. It’s truly a modern sound.

Perhaps, the group that I’m most excited about are New Orleans' own, The Knux. The Knux are in the tradition of 3 Feet High and Rising De La Soul and the mighty Outkast. The duo compromised of brothers, Krispy Kream and Rah Al Millio, sound as if they were cloned from Big Boi’s lyrical DNA and transported back to the time of high-top fades and gazelle shades. “Cappuccino”, the brilliant funky new single off their upcoming album, Remind In 3 Days, is THE best song released all year. The song is funky, fresh and sounds like it’s channeling M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” by way of the Pharcyde It’s an ode to sexual frustration and the pleasures of being fresh. The group displays humor about their own vulnerabilities that is almost completely absent in modern hip hop. It’s a triumph of the genre and if this does not get major airplay on both pop and hip hop radio than the notion of a benevolent deity goes completely out the window. It’s too good to be languishing in backpack rap circle purgatory.

The aspect that I like the most about the burgeoning genre of hipster rap is that it’s not informed of the sermonizing of pandering socially conscious rap of modern backpack rap. It’s not trapped in antiquated notions of what real hip hop should be about. It’s simply just damn fun to listen to. It’s become the most rank of clichés to hail alternative hip hop groups as a “breath of fresh air” against the sordid ignorance of modern mainstream hip hop. Hipster rap isn’t a “breath of fresh air” but rather the vengeful but fun-loving wrath of yesteryear manifesting itself against the forces of cliché in modern hip hop. You can’t help but nod your head, smile or scowl when posed in your b-boy stance when listening to this shit. The hipsters may have completely ruined indie rock, haircuits, and fashion with their dreaded irony but they might as well save hip hop. Who the fuck knew?

Download: Mickey Factz - "Rest Of Em"

Download: The Kidz In The Hall - "Driving Down The Block (Low End Theory)"

Download: The Knux - "Cappuccino (Remix)"

Video: The Knux - Cappuccino

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hey, Doc! What’s New? : Not A Blogger’s New Rap Song Round-Up

I’m gonna be writing a long protracted piece on Barack Obama’s race speech and how it relates to hip hop music soon but until then here are some new songs that I’ve been blaring on my iPod as I traverse the subway system on the way to work these days.

Foul Mouth Jerk Feat. Masta Ace – Small Town U.S.A.

As any avid fan of this blog (or anybody on the hipster-infested streets of Williamsburg when I’m pissy drunk and yelling) can attest to, I worship anything at the altar of Masta Ace. I’m not sure if Duval Clear is, in fact, the resurrected body of the lord and savior, Santa C.K. Claus, but if he’s not then he’s damn close. Masta Ace works his magic once again with some dude unfortunately named Foul Mouth Jerk (who according to his Myspace page is working on his fourth album. Who the fuck knew?) over a classic dusty soul sample on a song about the pleasures of performing in Podunkville, U.S.A. This song is just beautiful and is vintage Mast Ace to boot. It features sweeping, cinematic strings and an upbeat horn section in which Ace and Jerk rap about their appreciation for the wild audiences of the Midwest. This is definitely a keeper.

Download: http://www.zshare.net/audio/91476116a8e54e/

Rakim Feat. Lil’ Fame – I’m Back

Somebody must have put some of that stuff that Lil’ Wayne’s been drinking that keeps Weezy making so many songs into William Griffin’s fish (which would be his favorite dish) because Rakim has been producing a lot of quality tracks after such a long creative hiatus. The God MC and Fizzy Womack on the same track?! Somebody give me the ol’ proverbial ass pinchin’ because my non-believing butt needs to wake up. Fame laces the track with some of his signature moody bass heavy punch you in the face production and provides the hook to this heater. Rakim is back in rare form on this one and when this happens basically means that he’s the best rapper currently working outside of…well, no one really. Rakim basically takes the jumping point from Nas’ “U.B.R.” a few years back and explains what the hell he’s been doing the last couple of years and how he’s still dope which he uses as basically just an exercise to flex his godly lyrical muscles. Thanks for the update, Ra. Don’t be such a stranger, next time.

Download: http://www.zshare.net/audio/91756203233d18/

Wale Feat. Bun-B & Pusha-T – Back In The Go-Go

If you need further proof that Wale should be your favorite new rapper, you only need to hear his new single, “Back In The Go-Go”, off his upcoming new mixtape, The Mixtape About Nothing (Wait isn’t that all mixtapes?). The song features the venerable Bun-B, who has been an absolute tear since the death of his partner, Pimp C in December, and noted cocaine enthusiast, Pusha T. This song is an upbeat, fun party song that pays homage to Wale’s D.C. Go-Go roots and all concerned rise to the occasion. Musically, the song employs liberal use of the xylophone and is backed by a break beat of congos and uptempo soul strings. This song just is plain fun. Let’s hope to God that Jimmy Iovine isn’t signing Wale to the Beast in order to bury him on the bench in order to continue to put out MC Negro and the Ignorant MC and not make him look bad. Word to Lord Digga!

Download: http://www.zshare.net/audio/8839305da120da/

Joe Budden – Touch & Go

Now, I could be completely wrong about this song being a good song because I generally avoid anything that sounds like bootleg Timbaland (or normal Timbaland, too…No, I’m kidding…Sort of) but I kind of like this. “Touch & Go”, supposedly the first single off The Padden Room, Joey’s first album since Hova decided he was gonna ruin Budden’s career for being jealous that Joe was a better rapper than he was, is a naked club track with strong electro influences that sounds suspiciously like something that Swizz Beats would do (hence the bootleg Timbo reference earlier…) but despite all that I’m kind of digging on this. While Budden always has been a quality lyricist often his style can get intolerable when he’s rapping just to show off but his best stuff has always been the clubbier stuff, surprisingly. This song could be completely terrible but for the moment, I’m gonna risk my reputation and give it the thumbs up. It’s definitely better than that Lil’ Wayne bullshit. Fuck what you think. Intentional ironic humor isn’t ironic nor funny. It sucks. Nice try, Weezer.

Download: http://www.zshare.net/audio/91757910de6401/

The Roots Feat. Mos Def, Styles P & Dice Raw – Rising Down (Hum Drum)

Finally, my favorite whipping boy, Tom Briehan, recently gave the thumbs up to the new Roots album which usually bodes ill for the actual quality of the final material since you know…he likes it all but I gotta say outside of that atrocious “Birthday Girl”, the Roots have been really killing it right now. “Rising Down (Hum Drum)”, the title track of the new album, happens to be the best of the bunch leaked thus far. I gotta say I’m really digging this new dark synth heavy direction the Roots have been going with on this album and this new song continues the trend. I gotta say what really stands out on this track is the guest verses provided by Mos Def and Styles P. Mos Def sounds like he gives a fuck again and Styles P drops the best verse that I’ve heard from him maybe ever. I’m hoping to god that this Roots album is as good as Tommy Boy says it is because at this point, I’m in desperation for a quality rap album to be released. I don’t think I can take anymore fat, sweaty guys pretending they hail from Miami making shitty club rap produced by the Runners, anymore. I need something to stop myself from spiraling into depression-induced alcoholism. I can’t take this shit, anymore.

P.S. To Tommy: You know I got love for you, baby...Wait, um, pause.

Download: http://www.zshare.net/audio/89376277f12e9f/

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Tale Of Three Videos: Not A Blogger Previews The Roots’ Rising Down

Pound for pound, The Roots, may in fact be, the one of the most well “liked” group in all of music. Pretty much everybody in the world “likes” the Roots. You might hear people say: “The Roots? Yeah, I like that one song they did a while back. Yeah, they’re cool...” or “Oh, yeah I like them. I hear their pretty great live.” This, of course, is strange because the Roots have approximately 0.2 hit records to their credit. Now when I say that people “like” the Roots that does not predicate that people “love” or even consider themselves really “fans” of the group. It just suggests that when people discuss their musical tastes, The Roots often get a perfunctory little shout-out as if to broaden their musical credibility. They are the rap group for people who don’t like rap groups but don’t want to seem as if they are prejudiced against black people. After all, they play instruments, they don’t rap about guns, money or hoes and they generally seem kind of safe. Obviously, they aren’t like those gangster rappers and their baggy clothes. They wear corduroy dinner jackets and polo shirts, for god’s sake!!!

All of this goodwill has led to a ton of sold out shows at college campuses across the Midwest but has led to little to no albums sales. Now part of this, of course, is because The Roots’ albums pale in comparison to their live shows. The Roots are a band much like (Warning: Let me preface this before I say this. I don’t like either one of these bands and would be rather tortured like Mel Gibson in Braveheart before I actually attended a show of either one of these bands. The Roots are way better than both of these bands, by the way. Natch.) Phish and the Dave Matthews Band where the energy and atmosphere of the band and the crow trumps anything that is in the group's catalogue. What makes the Roots great doesn't necessarily translate that well to their records. Not to say that the Roots don’t have their share of good material but often their work suffers on wax from the lack of panache that can be found when they perform it live. Sorry, Root heads but it’s true.

Much like Memphis Bleek (except not at all), the Roots seemingly always seem to be perennially one hit away from stardom but it just never happens for them. For years, music aficionados have been predicting their next album would be the one that turns them into the next big band but it just has never happened for them. It was supposed to happen after Things Fall Apart dropped and they had that song with Erykah Badu and Eve but it didn’t happen. Phrenology was supposed to be their big breakthrough record but outside a couple of white college kids in cargo shorts, nobody bought the record. Jay-Z even signed them to Def Jam to be the flagship artist on his new alternative rap imprint, Def Jam Left, but all that proved was that Jay-Z can’t market anybody outside of himself, once again. (Game Theory was really dope, by the way.) The Roots keep getting their shot and they can’t quite find the mark each and everytime, stardom keeps calling.

So here we are today and the impending release of The Roots’ new album, Rising Down, is just around the corner and the Roots have been doing their damnedest to promote this album (because Jay-Z sure the hell won’t) going as far to releasing three new videos for the song. Glorious hater that I am, I took it upon myself to review these new songs and offer my opinion (which as usual should be interpreted as the facts) on each of these new videos and then offer my opinion on whether the new Roots album will be a worth a flying...

75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)

Black Thought has always been an emcee’s emcee as he is at his best when he’s getting on the mic and spitting and this song is absolutely tailored for Thought to crush. It’s basically just Thought freestyling for 75 bars (hence the name) over the brooding low rumble of a synthesizer line and drums of the beat. It’s personally right up my alley. I love this type of shit. The video directed by the infamous Rik Cordero has this ’70s Grindhouse exploitation vibe going to it. Cordero has made a name for himself recently with his cheap, low budget a-bunch-of-dudes-standing-on-the-corner-rhyming-directly-into-the-camera aesthetic and this video maintains the dark, low budget grit while drastically improving on production values. The story kind of settles around Black Thought and ?uestlove kidnapping some white dude (presumably the dude at Def Jam in charge of promoting their last album. Personally, I would have tortured Jay-Z but I’m a hater like that) and taking him to a warehouse where they beat the shit out of him, tie him up, and pour gasoline on him. The video cuts to black before Thought can toss the lit match onto his terrified and prone body. That would have been awesome. Still dope song, dope video. 1 for 1.

Get Busy Feat. Dice Raw, Peedi Crakk & DJ Jazzy Jeff

The second video released “Get Busy” is once again directed by men in puffy coats and wool caps enthusiast, Rik Cordero, and the song and the video are the best of the bunch. “Get Busy” employs the same buzzing synths that “75 Bars” does to great effect and it suggests that “Rising Down” will be the Roots darkest album yet. Thought, Dice Raw, and Peedi Peedi all go in and provide some dark and memorable verses, Peedi and Dice especially but what makes this song especially dope is the magic hands of DJ Jazzy Jeff. Jeff who continues to cement his reputation as the best DJ on the planet destroys his cuts on the record and brings the song to a chaotic frenzy. But what I like most about it is the video. Cordero uses a grainy, 16 mm stock (or something like it created digitally) and distorted wide-angle lens to transform the office space into the video into an almost surreal dream world. It’s visually, pretty arresting. What also struck me is the band’s performance in the video which seems almost robotic. I haven’t been a fan of Cordero’s work lately as I though Dan The Man (of Prodigy fame) destroys him on the low-budget aesthetic but Cordero’s work on these Roots videos really impress me.

Birthday Girl Feat. Patrick Stump Of Fall Out Boy (Unofficial Video)

Much has been made of how awful “Birthday Girl” is since it’s release earlier this week on the internet, and I’m really not gonna argue with it. “Birthday Girl” doesn’t sound like a Roots record…like at all. It doesn’t even really sound like a Fall Out Boy record either. Instead, it sounds like what John Mayer would do if given the chance to make a hip hop song that ruined somebody else’s reputation as the worst artist working not named John Groban. The song is clearly meant to be a pandering rap/sensitive-white-guy-with-a-guitar crossover and it’s really just bad. Patrick Stump of the worst band in the world, Fall Out Boy, proving once and for all, rappers have awful taste in “rock” music, provides the hook. However, the “unofficial” viral video that was released as promo for this song, is actually what interests me about this song. Mostly because it’s just weird. Utterly weird. The video as presented as if it were a homemade fan video created in tribute to the song but I can’t imagine that Fall0utG1rl4ever was that enraptured by a motherfucking Roots song the first time she heard that she went out and directed a slickly produced viral video that night. Call me a skeptic but whatever. Even so the video is damn weird on its own, it centers around the 18th birthday of some random lesbian (or at least, bi-curious) white chick as she navigates her way around her surprise birthday party. The party seems to be populated by people who would avoid rap music if given a choice and it’s being thrown by this busted but oddly estastic 30 year old woman with a giant giraffe neck and a fetish for younger guys who look they skateboard and listen to Bright Eyes. It’s all very disorienting. I’m not sure why the hell this is going to appeal to the Okayplayer set so I guess they are going after 13 year old white chicks with no taste. I’m kind of disturbed by this but it’s oddly watchable in a trainwreck sense. The girl IS kind of cute even if she is supposedly underage. [Insert Mandatory R. Kelly Joke Here.]

Final Thoughts:

Outside of the utter tragedy that is “Birthday Girl,” I’m kind of looking forward to Rising Down. Although, I’m curious the direction, the Roots are going. “75 Bars” and “Get Busy” have this dark, brooding buzzed out synth sound that could actually be damn near awesome if the entire album sounds like that but I can’t imagine how a song like “Birthday Girl” is gonna fit on an album like that. It seems like Def Jam is forcing this on the Roots whether they like it or not. The presence of the song alone means that Def Jam could be subtly sabotaging the Roots in order for them to appeal to a “broader” (i.e. people with no taste) audience much like they did to Method Man when he released Tical 0 a few years back. I don’t like that idea much of all. Stay away, Def Jam, stay away!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dwayne Carter Kills His Career...

I know but I'm not the target audience for this type of shit but...

Jesus Christ in heavens, this is bad! Unbelievably bad. I'm absolutely speechless. Horrified! How can God allow this to come to pass?

Number One Hit...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

When I Was A Young Boy... Top 5 "Questionable" Songs I Loved When I Was A Kid

"My momma always told me don't talk no shit... I didn't listen..."

Part of the pure joy and privileges of growing up is the hypocritical attitude you can take towards the culture of the youth. It happens every generation once they reach a certain age; where suddenly music, television or movies that you would have loved had you been thirteen or fourteen years old, becomes undeniably wack and you reject the notion that a person with such as impeccable and flawless taste as yourself would ever deign to love such lowly and utterly base garbage.

Now as a person who always has had flawless and impeccable taste even when bumping material that years later upon reflection would severely hurt my street cred as a hip hop fan, I can admit that there are couple of "Crank Dat's" in my past that I bumped to high heavens when I was young and impressionable. This is coming from a man who owns an Ace Of Bass CD. However, these are the songs that I loved as kid which I still would bump with semi-regularity when I'm in the privacy of my own company. So dim the lights, prepare a bubble bath, and light the candles and get ready for:

The Good Doctor Zeus' Top 5 Favorite "Questionable" Songs That He Loved As A Kid

5. Vanilla Ice - Ninja Rap (1992)

A few years ago, I was watching one of those exploitative VH1 celebrity reality shows where they were following around a few artists who were on the comeback trail; they were all being guided by various "lifestyle" coaches who were trying their best to re-make their images for a modern audience; it was all pretty hysterical. Rob Van Winkle, better known to the world as Vanilla Ice, was on the show and he was doing his best to live up to his reputation of being a certifiable lunatic. Ice's most memorable moment on the show for, me - amongst refusing to do anything to change his image claiming that he had millions of loyal new fans - was sitting down and planning his comeback show at a local bar. He was discussing which song to open his set with and he inexplicably decided that the best course of action was not just to perform "Ice Ice Baby" ten times in a row and then leave (He refused to perform that song, by the way) but start out with "Ninja Rap" and then go into his newer rap-rock oeuvre. This struck me as particularly awesome. For those who don't remember, "Ninja Rap" was Ice's contribution to the brilliant cinematic masterpiece, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze, one of my favorite movies of all-time. Being an avowed fanatic of the Ninja Turtles, from the rough ages of five to twelve, this placed Ice deep within my childhood pantheon of musical icons; in between Rafi and the guy who sang the Duck Tales theme. Actually, this song is pretty awful but I would feel suspect without placing it on this list. Still hearing Ice rap about the the Ninja Turtles brings back fond memories of simpler times...

4. Limp Bizkit Feat. Method Man - N 2 Gether Now (1999)

Of the all the bad musical trends that I was briefly into as a kid, I would say that rap-rock had to be the one that I'm most embarrassed to have actually, legitimately liked. There is enough circumstantial evidence in my CD booklet to suggest that it wasn't something that I was tricked into buying because of naivety - as say with my Jock Jams tapes. I own enough Korn, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park records to not be able to pass it off as though they were unwanted gifts from my parents. As bad in retrospect as those records are, Limp Bizkit's collaboration with Method Man "N 2 Gether Now" from Bizkit's "Significant Other" is actually pretty dope. For one, it has Method Man tearing the walls down with a memorable verse and it's produced by DJ Premier; back when DJ Premier still had his fastball. Fred Durst is predictably pretty terrible but otherwise, I wouldn't be too embarrassed if my iTunes randomly decided to play this when my friends were over my apartment. The video is kind of notable, for the fact, that it kind of marks the point where Method Man started to go down the path of cartoon-ish self-parody that culminated in those ridiculous deodorant commercials with Redman. Still dope, though.

3. M.C. Hammer - 2 Legit 2 Quit (1991)

I can remember the first time that I saw the video to Hammer's seminal masterpiece "2 Legit 2 Quit"; I was enthralled. I remember all of the fire, the spectacle, the steroid-infused athletes, the shirtless-ness; it was a sight to behold for an impressionable eight year-old boy. If there was a God-King for the Young Doctor Zeus, it was M.C. Hammer and his magical, mystical parachute pants. I was already a big fan of M.C. Hammer from his days when he used to taunt "You Can't Touch This" as I used to practice doing the Running Man in my room blasting "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" on my old faithful boom-box but when Hammer descended from the skies to gift the earth with this masterpiece, I would have laid down my life for the man. I was that big a fan. In actuality, I know this song isn't that artistically removed from Soulja Boy but Hammer had flair; even though, he rhymed horrifically off-beat that man could move. Soulja Boy's retarded. Deal with it. Hip hop homo-eroticism at it's finest...

2. Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It (1995)

There was a brief and beautiful period in the mid-90s where R&B and rap co-existed and made transcendent music together. From artists ranging from Mary J. Blige and Adina Howard to R. Kelly and Jodeci, "Rap & Bullshit" was fucking awesome. (This was, of course, before rap and R&B collectively murdered each other's respective genre's leaving us with the whole Ja Rule and Ashanti debacles. I will never forgive hearing Ashanti murder the beat to "Can I Live.")

There was a king of this particular genre to me, though, and his name was Montell Jordan. Montell Jordan is the man who taught me the importance of "getting mine in a big black truck"; you, for all, I care can get yours in a "six-four." Now I'm still not sure why it was so important to Montell for him to "get his" in a large, black pick-up truck as I'm sure he could do better but if it were me circa 1995, I would probably want to "get mine" in a "Big Wheel" but I digress. "This Is How We Do It" is one of the those endlessly entertaining party songs that takes you back to a particular time period where all was right with the world. For me, it's sixth grade and awkward school dances. Montell was King of the 6th grade school dance and that's good enough for me. I salute you, sir.

1. Skee-Lo - I Wish (1996)

I say this without hesitation or the slightest bit of irony: Skee-Lo's "I Wish" is my favorite hip hop song of all-time. If there was a personal anthem for my life, as much as I would love it to be "Big Pimpin" or even "Ante Up", Skee-Lo's ode to shortness and social insecurity would be it. I really do wish I was a little bit taller, I really do wish I was a baller, and I most certainly wish I had a girl that looks good and I would certainly call her. This song is pretty damn legitimately great. The song has this warm, blissful feel that just oozes charm due to it's G-Funk synth lines and it's everyman humor. Skee-Lo isn't a bad rapper per se but he's an extremely likeable and funny one. I would kind of compare him to being a proto-Devin the Dude. If I could, I would write thousands and thousands of pages about Skee-L0. It's just that damn good of a song.

Childhood is a funny thing. You obsessively like things that in the long run make you look silly but you reminisce about them wistfully until your long and old. I miss the days when I could bump me some Vanilla Ice and not immediately make myself look like a tool. Sometimes you wish that you could go back... Sometimes you wish you could be a little bit taller...

Ahmad - Back In The Day (1997):