Real Talk from Bun B…

March 31, 2008


“Let me make this very clear, there are no rich rappers. Let me say that again, there are no rich rappers…There are rappers who have gotten rich through other entities. When you look at Jay-Z, Jay-Z is not rich through Roc-A-Fella Records, Jay-Z is rich through Roc-A-Wear clothing. Puff Daddy is not rich through Bad Boy Records, Puff Daddy is rich through Sean John Clothing. 50 Cent is not rich through G-Unit Records, even though all these people made good money, I’m not saying these people didn’t make millions on music, I’m saying 50 Cent got rich through G-Unit Clothing and Vitamin Water. You have to put a slash after your title right now, because the shit don’t pay like that”


Get Hip to Slow Motion Soundz/Paper Route Recordz

March 31, 2008


Hailing from Huntsville, Alabama, Slow Motion Soundz/Paper Route Recordz (SMS/PRGz) is a huge collective of emcees and producers who’ve made significant strides over the past year due to an incredible string of excellent tracks. Although the first hit single from the collective, “Lacs and Prices,” featuring T.I. was released in 2003, SMS/PRGz did not achieve worldwide acclaim until 2007 with “Woodgrain.”

SMS/PRGz is very musically inclined as evidenced by the stellar production that’s been featured on so many of its artists songs. Block Beataz, the in-house production team comprised of Mali Boi, CP, Frank Nitti and Arkitek has worked prolifically over the past few years releasing 20+ albums and mixtapes. Some of my favorite beats from the team include those used for “Woodgrain,” “Blinded By The Light,” “Rollin’” and “Naturalz,” but the list of their exemplary production is quite exhaustive and could easily be made into multi-disc anthology. From lush and smooth R&B to Techno to hard-hitting, bass-heavy jams, Block Beataz is one of the most versatile hip-hop production squads around.

The emcees on the label complement the production. Two of the standouts, ST 2 Lettaz from G-Side and Jackie Chain, have some of the smoothest flows and cleverest, most charismatic lyrics of any emcee doing it right now. ST can be heard on the G-Side album, titled Sumthin 2 Hate. Not surprisingly, his solo songs from the G-Side album, “Do My Thing” and “This Thug” are fantastic. Jackie Chain is featured on various songs from SMS/PRGz such as the aforementioned “Rollin’,” and “Blinded by the Light.” Chain’s mixtape, Who Am I from last year with DJ Burn One made for good listening as well. Also worth mentioning is Mata, whose track is “Tha Streetz” was a highlight from 07. Jhi Ali is another notable rapper out of the collective, whose mixtape My Way showcased his oft-energetic, sing-songy flow. There are other solid emcees from SMS/PRGz, but these guys roll so deep that it would take too long to go through the complete roster.

Look for the SMS/PRGz album, Still Headlinin’ coming soon in 2008 and a mixtape titled Fear and Loathing in HuntsVegas with Diplo.

Some Notable SMS/PRGz Solo Artists and Groups:

Solo Artists
ST 2 Lettaz
Jackie Chain
Jhi Ali
Dawgy Baggz
Money Addict

Betta Half

G-Side – Sumthin’ 2 Hate
Paper Route Recordz – Hood Headlinerz
Betta Half- Tha Untold

Here’s a link to piece about Paper Route in URB Magazine.

Some other webpages for SMS/PRGz affiliates

I’ll be sure to post some links to some of my favorite songs by them in a few days…

9th Wonder Quote

March 27, 2008

9th Wondra!

“…See, with the soul music of the 70s, you could make love, have kids, raise your kids! It was life music! Even in the 80s, it was life music! Even in the 90s, there was still life music being made. There ain’t nothing but death music being made now man! It’s just about going to the club, get drunk, get fucked up and do that shit and rob that nigga, let’s have a party and that’s it! And the motherfuckers talking the real shit they don’t understand that yeah, they’re talking the real shit, but they’re song ain’t hot! Your song is wack! They think that just because they talk about the real shit, they don’t have to make no hot music! It’s a lose-lose situation! Why can’t a mother fucker talk about some real shit and make some soul music?”

Hip-Hop Nostalgia: Yo! MTV Raps Trading Cards

March 27, 2008


This post at Gureala got me thinking about the Yo! MTV Raps cards that I used to collect back in the day. I remember these were really cheap, like 10 cents a pack. I also still see these for sale at various online stores and I saw some auctions on EBay. I might purchase a few packs!

The Yo! cards were also known for featuring a photo of MF Doom sans mask:


Yo! MTV Raps is supposed to be making a brief comeback this April.

Great KRS-One Quote

March 24, 2008


From an interview with around the time the 50 Cent v Kanye West battle was popular:

“When I hear artists like 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Camron, Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, etc I hear courage, fearlessness and victory over the streets. And when I hear Kanye West, Common, Talib Kweli, etc I hear vision, innovation, and the pursuit of life’s higher ideals. ALL OF THIS IS HIP HOP! And all of it is good.”

Madlib and Sample Sets

March 23, 2008


At Hip-Hop is Read, an entry was recently posted about Madlib (one of my favorite producers) requesting that a sample set (a compilation cd featuring the songs sampled by a DJ) for some of his work be taken down.

I found this subject to be very interesting given that I’m a huge fan of sample sets.

Here’s how I understand both sides:

On the one hand, fans such as myself, who like sample sets argue: 

People who have listened to these rap albums want to dig deeper into the record. After listening to the sample set, a rap record can be heard with a more profound appreciation and understanding.

Once a record is sampled, it is essentially not available for reuse. In Hip-hop, flagrantly reusing the same samples repeatedly is frowned upon. This means that fears about the creativity being sucked out of the genre as a result of sample sets are largely illegitimate.

Sample sets also help novice producers see how experts like Madlib, RZA, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier construct beats.

On the other hand, producers such as Madlib, argue:

Hip-hop music has used illicit samples for ages. Many record labels, artists, etc don’t have the resources to clear all of the samples used, and when sample sets are put online for anyone to see, that opens up the floodgates to myriad legal issues that are costly.

Given the illegal nature of the usage of samples, making sample sets is akin to blogging the names, addresses, quality and prices of one’s favorite drug dealers because that person loves the product so much that “the public has to know.”

Another issue related to this is whether DJs should bother using samples they haven’t cleared in the first place. In this day and age, information is so widespread that litigous individuals and groups can make life miserable for those who sample music without the proper authorization. Perhaps DJs may have to change their ways because fans do not seem to care about the honor code of keeping samples quiet.

The debate goes on…

Should Rappers Be Republicans?

March 20, 2008


“[George W. Bush] is incredible. He’s a gangsta… I wanna meet [Bush], just shake his hand and tell him how much of me I see in him… I would have voted for [Bush].”

– 50 Cent, in a 2005 interview in GQ Magazine.

I stumbled upon an old but fascinating article earlier today about rappers and Republicans. Some interesting points were made about the similarities in the ideals rappers express and the ideals of the GOP. The shared Rap and Republican values listed in the article are:

– A vigorous support of private ownership and corporate activity
– Stark opposition to homosexuality
– A belief in the right to bear arms
– The principle of preemptive attacks to protect one’s way of life
– Support of strong family associations
– Promotion of the value of individual hard work, i.e., anti-affirmative action

Let me add that Republicans have a reputation for loving to earn and spend heaps of money, just like many of the most prominent emcees.