30
Nov
11

I ♥ Tuesdays Vol. 2

Following last week’s impressive list of drops in the hip-hop industry, this Tuesday is admittedly a little tougher to love.  Perhaps the biggest release of the week is Mac Miller’s debut Blue Slide Park which hits stores November 8.

 

After a few minutes of calling the right people scouring Google, I was able to locate a copy.  Cool, right?  No.  Because in order to give my thoughts on Mac’s record, I was required to turn off ASAP Rocky’s tape which, since its arrival last Monday, has been quite the chore.  I can’t take this shit off of repeat.PalacePesoBassWassupPurpGetLitTrillaKeepItGKissinPinkHOHLeafOuttaThisWorld.  Again and again.  Can’t stop, wont stop.  No Diddy.
So once I did eventually load up Young Malcom’s latest offering, he was at two distinct disadvantages: 1) Those who know me are aware that, with fewexceptions, I have an unavoidable bias against white emcees and 2) Blue Slide Parkwas interrupting the steady rotation of a contender for 2011’s best release.

Thankfully, I didn’t need any external factors to cloud my judgement:  I wouldn’t like this album under any circumstances. Mac has been riding Wiz’s coattails a string of YouTube smashes, including the 33-million-plus viewed “Donald Trump,”and has positioned himself to move serious units with Blue Slide Park.  The album isn’t without high notes: The production on the title track is impressive, “Smile Back” boasts a thick bassline that must have a handful of ATLien emcees drooling, and “Of the Soul” finds Mac at his laissez-faire finest.  And therein lies the core issue with BSP:  Mac so rarely sounds comfortable on the endless stream of club/raido crossover attempts.  Miller finds himself in a similar situation to that of his Rostrum labelmate Khalifa: Though it may not have payed immediate financial benefits, both would have done well to avoid alienating existing fans with such brazen, unfamiliar crossover attempts.  The release of the Nielson numbers next week will reveal whether or not it was worth it for Mac.

Also dropping this week: Pusha T repackages his summer mixtape Fear of God as the new-and-hopefully-improved Fear of God II: Let Us Pray.  The first version ofFear of God, was worthy of a few spins, but left a lot to be desired in comparison with his past work on Clipse releases.  He adds a few potential bangers, including single “Amen” with Yeezy and Jeezy, but the tracklist is filled with familiar records that didn’t exactly resonate on the first go-round.  I had always imagined the younger Thornton’s debut solo venture would be a more conceptual and cohesive body of work, and I’m hoping that Push-A-Ton goes back in that direction for his next effort.

A final release that deserves some shine is Pac Div’s RBC Records debut The DiV.  It’s been a while since the Cali kids were generating buzz on the West Coast with mixtapes like Church League Champions and Don’t Mention It, and the release of the new record has certainly flown below the radar.  As we’ve seen in the past, though, the lack of buzz doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be good product.  Lead single “Posted” isn’t the most flattering beat, but the video is fresh, and it’s pretty evident that Like, Mibbs, and BeYoung haven’t lost the swag that first caught the attention of Universal Motown once upon a time.  Peep game.

As I was exploring the iTunes store blog comments-sections for links to the aforementioned records, a strange thing happened:  It appeared as though attention had generally shifted away from the release in the post and towards Drake’s highly-awaited (by some, anyway) sophomore LP Take Care.  Call Thomas Crapper; seems someone sprang a leak and the Internets was going nuts.  Drizzy and his team did quite well to keep things close for so long: eight days before release is quite a remarkable accomplishment this day and age, especially considering the mainstream anticipation that had been generating for Take Care.  It’s still going to sell in stores, regardless of how many copies get downloaded illegally. Still, the OVOXO team can’t be happy with the amount of negative buzz the record has generated in the twenty-odd hours since release.

I know I’m in the minority amongst The Blast blog crew, but I consider myself a Drake fan.  I spun the shit out of So Far Gone, and saw progression with Thank Me Later.  Did I love either record?  No.  But for whatever reason, I wanted to. Perhaps it was watching a young Aubrey star as Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi when I was in high-school.  Maybe it’s because young man Aubrey puts on so hard for Toronto, a city with which I have also formed a strong connection.  But most likely, I just like the music, cornball or not.  The fact that I need to justify why I like it is kind of fucked up, but it’s tough to think of an artist who polarizes an audience like Drake.  You either love him, of hate him, and judging by early reactions to Take Care, there is no room for folks in the middle.

As much as I want to praise the album, my early impressions don’t make it easy: like Thank Me Later, pacing issues preside, and Drizzy doesn’t appear to have addressed the repetitiveness and heavy flow that leave his work so open to criticism. Of course, there are still impressive melodic displays and Drake’s hit-making skills show no sign of slowing down.  After less than a day to digest, there are already message board morons rushing to label Take Care a classic, and a whole slew of others in a hurry to dismiss the record as nothing more than jaded, pop fluff.  At the risk of rushing to judgement, I’ma fit in a couple more listens between spins of LiveLoveASAP, let it marinate a bit, and provide a more comprehensive look when the album hits shelves next Tuesday.  Until then, it’s The Blast ya’ll.

— Originally published November 7 at theblast-blog.com.

 

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