I ♥ Tuesdays Vol. 11

After going all Aaron RodgersTom Brady on this bloggin’ game for the first ten weeks of The Blast season, I earned myself a first-round bye and spent last week lampin’ in the sauna.  This Tuesday? Back like I never left, fresh legs fingers after some much-needed rest, eyes on that Lombardi.

A lot has happened in the hip-hop universe since you last heard from me: the Interwebs was flooded with redundant Best of ’11 lists (with the exception, of course, of those here on The Blast Blog), Hov announced Bee’s successful delivery of their daughter Blue Ivey and wasted no time exploiting employing shorty on a charting single, and the “beef” between Lonnie and Aubs hilariously escalated from sharp glares to a full-flailing slapping match.  Meanwhile, as record store shelves have remained depressingly stagnant, the Internet heads were blessed with yet another free project from the game’s favorite former C.O. in form of Rawse’s Forever Rich mixtape.

Regardless of your feelings regarding Rozay’s microphone skills or long-term relevancy, the production value of the tape is stunningly high and the all-original content could have easily been packaged as an official release (and probably would have pushed decent numbers by today’s standards). Has any team in the biz used the Internet to maintain and build buzz like the Maybach Music Group?  Props are due to the MMG fam for their Internet hustle, regularly dropping free content to ensure the name remains heavy on the minds of heads everywhere. Plus, joints like “Triple Beam Dreams” with Nas (see video above), “Keys to the Crib” with Styles P, and “MMG The World is Ours” with Skateboard P, Meek Mill and Stalley make me wonder why so many continue to question Ross’s position at the forefront of the genre.  Ross may have appointed himself a BAWSE in the game a little too early for some, but over the past few years he has earned the status through a consistently impressive body of work and looks to extend to his win streak in 2012 with the highly-anticipated God Forgives, I Don’t.   

As for this week, the list of records that are slated to hit store shelves is nothing short of depressing.  Necro?  Juvenile? Did I just take a ride with Dr. Emmett Brown? Please.  You’d be better served turning your attention once again to the Interwebs, where a pair of intriguing releases are more likely to leave their mark.

First up is The Susan Sarandon Story, a mixtape by little-known beatmaker ATG (also known as Alexander The Great), which will be available online for the bargain barrel price of free ninety-nine come Tuesday.  Though I wasn’t much familiar with ATG’s material before doing a little research for this week’s column, the guest list looks rather impressive and early promotional leaks sound nostalgic enough to pique the interest of any Golden Era aficionado.  With guest verses from Sean Price, Fawshawn, Termanology, Reks, Planet Asia, Kool G Rap(!) and a grip of other reputable emcees, ATG looks to use this opportunity to build anticipation for his debut commerical release, The Talented Tenth, due out later this year.

While that is all well-and-good, the only record dropping this week that inspires some genuine interest in Your Humble Narrator is ScHoolboy Q’s Habits & Contradictions.  The latest in a notable string of releases care of Top Dawg EntertainmentHabits & Contridictions looks to follow up on the momentum gained in 2011 by label mates Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock.  Q’s bio reads in typical fashion with a few noticeable exceptions: An native of Los Angeles, Quincy Hanley was a well-known city football star at Crenshaw High before he fell in with his local Crip sect and began slanging as a way to make ends meet.  But in 2008, Q decided to try his hand at rap as an alternative to gang banging, and though his debut mixtape Schoolboy Turned Hustla left significant room for improvement, it was enough to get himself aligned with the TDE family. After gaining more buzz by going at noted bully 40 Glocc on wax, Q has steadied his grind and evolved significantly as an emcee.  Since dropping the well-received Setbacks in early 2011, Q has aligned himself with more industry artillery (including a stand-out guest spot on Rocky’s LiveLoveASAP) and looks to make a big splash here in 2012.

The majority of the album is overwhelmingly dark, with content ranging from the insecurities of relationship drama on “My Hatin’ Joint” (fortunately handled much more maturely than Drizzy’s purse-digging) to the paranoia of drug dealing.  Whereas most hustler-turned-rappers have used their rhymes shed light on the crack game, Q makes has no qualms with revealing his past as a pill pusher.  Tracks like “Oxy Music” and “Druggys wit Hoes Again” bring some novelty to an overdone topic while simultaneously pointing out Americans’ increasingly dangerous obsession with abuse of prescription narcotics.  Q undoubtedly brings a fresh perspective to hip-hop’s long-told street narrative.

Though the guest list remains relatively condensed on this effort, tracks with features make for some album highlights.  Rocky returns the favor by popping up on “Hands on the Wheel,” which features a ghostly vocal sample on the hook and the evolutionary flows we have come to expect from ASAP. Curren$y and Dom Kennedy both drop silky verses over Lex Luger’s super-sleepy beat for “Grooveline Pt. 1.”  Of course, TDE is well represented as Jay Rock (“2 Raw”), Ab-Soul (“Druggys with Hoes Again”), and K. Dot (“Blessed”) all appear in hopes of bringing some further shine to their label mate for his coming-out party.  In terms of production, contributions from a mixed bag of beat makers manage to cohesively mold into an impressive unit.  TDE artists have made a name for themselves in large part due to progressive production choices, and that trend persists here: this isn’t your daddy’s boom-bap, but rather a strange brew of a wide variety of musical influences that remains undoubtedly hip-hop in essence.  Standout beats include the aforementioned “My Hatin’ Joint,” The Alchemist-produced “My Homie,” THC-orchestrated “Sex Drive,” and ASAP Ty’s lone contribution, the haunting “Nightmare on Fig St.”

Another look at the release schedule and it’s easy to see that it’s going to be a slow – if not agonizing – first quarter.  Staying this positive each and every Tuesday will grow more and more difficult as it continues.  Thankfully, Schoolboy Q’s Habits & Contridictions provides us with at least one full-length gem to get us through the drought.

On a final note, if you haven’t done so yet, get on over to LEO37’s Bandcamp page and get that new “Fire Dance” single.  You’ll not only be doing you ears a favor, but also helping folks in need.  That’s how we do over here.  Until next Tuesday, it’s The Blast ya’ll.


Originally posted January 17, 2012 at theblast-blog.com


0 Responses to “I ♥ Tuesdays Vol. 11”

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