Don’t Miss This! Vol. X: The Guacamole Rap Edition
It’s been a little while since we’ve run a Don’t Miss This. It’s been even longer since I’ve run one (I’ve never run one), but I’m back in this motherfucker to provide your aural cavities with only the most succulent of jams. Hip-hop has been covered before on this here blog (didn’t we used to be about heavy metal or something?), so I know some of you cats can dig it. Our very own guru of all things gangsta, Edward who is Breegrodamus, put me onto the trillest of the trill, Run the Jewels, so I think it’s about time I returned the favour. Fix your hat, sag those pants until your ass shows (and possibly slap some hoes), and let’s get jiggy wit it.
You haven’t heard of Hopsin? The underground, independent sensation sweeping the nation? C’mon son. I first heard Hopsin when he featured on the Tech N9ne song “Am I a Psycho” and killed it. Considering the other conspirators on the song were none other than B.O.B. and Tech N9ne himself, the lyrical bar had been set pretty high before pen even touched paper, but Hopsin brought his A-game to the table and outshone them both. I immediately delved into his back catalogue and was captivated by his unique brand of tongue-in-cheek, self-aware humour. Not long after I devoured everything he had to offer, he dropped a brand new installation in his incredibly popular Ill Mind of Hopsin series — an offering that blew just about every rap song I’ve ever heard out of the water. “Ill Mind of Hopsin 5” tackled everything from Hopsin’s personal love/hate relationship with rap music to black culture to smoking weed. Every time I listen to it I glean something new. In my very important opinion, it’s one of the best hip-hop songs ever written, musically and lyrically.
#2: WEERD SCIENCE
I know what you’re thinking: weed isn’t that bad. Hopsin don’t know about the real hard shit. Well, you crazy motherfuckers, let me introduce you to Xzibit #2: Weerd Science. What’s he all about? Heroin. No lie. Ever hear of the little band Coheed & Cambria? Weerd Science is the moniker for the hip-hop endeavours of Josh Eppard, the drummer for said little band. About midway through their career, Eppard got hooked on smack and was consequently fired. Eventually he cleaned his life up and rejoined, but not before dropping several albums about how bad your life is when you’re addicted to heroin. His music is infectious and his lyrics, mostly based on how terrible his life has been, are equal parts dark and hilarious.
Shit’s getting too intense; I can sense it. You need something to sooth you, to calm your soul. Well, friends, let’s proceed to Xzibit #3: Nujaves. Nujaves was (R.I.P.) a Japanese neo-jazz hip-hop producer, probably best known in North America for his work with the anime Samurai Champloo. Expertly combining layers of funk grooves with jazz samples, Nujabes’ music is chill, fresh, and relaxing. I defy you to not bob your head to this. Grab a pack of smokes, a pint of beer, a couple of good friends, and jam.
Give Nujabes a posthumous like on Facebook.
#4: YASIIN BEY aka. MOS DEF
Now that we’ve taken a step back from the intensity and you’ve reoriented yourself to who you are as a person in the wholeness that only Nujaves can provide, it’s time to get artsy. Yasiin Bey (the artist formerly known as Mos Def) was known to me only as an actor for many years. It’s probable that I was aware of his rap career, but dismissed it out of hand as another Will Smith. In hindsight, I can see how stupid I was to do so, and if you haven’t checked out this cat, you’re stupid too. Emerging into the public eye with fellow Brooklyn native Talib Kweli as the groundbreaking hip-hop duo Black Star, Bey solidified himself as a wordsmith ranking with the greatest names hip-hop has offered. Over the course of his solo career his rapping style has evolved from an agressive, socially conscious bark to a more relaxed, artsy mumble, culminating in his most recent effort to date, The Ecstatic. Bey’s behind-the-beat, lazy style of rapping combined with out-of-the-box sampling may not appeal to all folks, but there’s something significant happening in this album that speaks to the listener beyond what the words have to offer, and it’s tied into Bey’s attitude. His love of life, Allah, and music are so prominently displayed in his entire demeanour you can’t help but feel drawn to it. If this album doesn’t grab you on the first listen, I highly recommend taking more time with it — it’s an album that, like all great albums, isn’t immediately gratifying; but such is the way of the greatest things life has to offer.
And that’s it for me, for now. Maybe one day I’ll actually write about metal, but until that time, stay trill.