Check out some more pics from our night with Justracy and Ricky Phuong! We really loved the fountain area near the Wells Fargo buildings, and so stayed a while to take plenty of shots, haha. This time, I joined in on the fun, check me out too!
What do you hear rappers rap about today? It’s no wonder a lot of conservative America is quick to stereotype and denigrate hip hop with so little meaningful content hitting mainstream media waves. To be fair, I enjoy a catchy beat as much as the next person. But music needs to speak to people too. Whether or not I’m the intended audience, I feel like a lot of today’s music isn’t conveying as strong a message as music did in the past.
If you need an example of powerfully moving music, look no further than one of greatest MC’s of all time, Nas. His debut album Illmatic is lauded as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time as it portrays his gritty childhood in the Queens projects in New York. Though he also succumbed to the allure of big money commercialization in his later albums, he brought it back to his roots with his fifth album, aptly named Stillmatic. His track “One Mic” has alway stood out to me in particular. It’s an incredibly moving song, with verses that start slowly and softly, but crescendo in speed, volume, and intensity as he paints a vivid picture of life on the streets. Removing the gangsta rap persona Columbia Records had created for him, Nas made this song all the more impactful by keeping it simple. “One Mic” is Nas’s interpretation of reality in the ghetto as well as a testament to the power of a man and his microphone – the power to educate, to embolden, and to inspire.
Nas – One Mic
Alright alright alright. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t think Waka Flocka Flame is a real musician. He is, however, a real entertainer. So I ain’t gonna hate on someone who is out getting his. Bei Major has also blown up recently with his hit single “Trouble”, and since it’s Fresh Friday, you know “Lights Down Low” is a club BANGAH! Nothing special with the lyrics, but lace the track with dope beats and Bei’s smooth voice and you have a song that will get me in trouble for dancing to while at work. It might also be interesting to know that Bei Maejor graduated from Michigan-Ann Arbor, worked with Ne-yo in Atlanta, and was a driving force behind the production of Trey Songz and Monica’s albums, Passion, Pain & Pleasure and New Life, respectively. The dude is no slouch, and you gotta respect his multitude of talents.
Have a Fresh Friday….WAKA!
Bei Maejor – Lights Down Low feat. Waka Flocka Flame
Stop for a moment and think back to where or what you were doing in the year 2000. It was after the Y2K scare, we were in the midst of the dot-com bubble bursting, Worldcom and Enron were in the midst of defrauding their stockholders of billions – ’twas a momentous year indeed. But what stood out to 11-year old 6th grader Alex was Nelly’s debut single, “Country Grammar”. It was the epitome of forbidden fruit – as a kid, I wasn’t allowed to watch tv on the weekdays, much less listen to explicit rap. But every kid in school was humming this song, and it eventually became too popular for me not to learn the lyrics and sing along, even if it was on the schoolbus listening to other children sing it. To this day, “Country Grammar” remains one of my favorite Nelly songs – it marked his entrance into the music game as a brash but talented kid who never took himself too seriously. Before “Just a Dream”, before “Air Force Ones”, before even “Dilemma” and “Hot in Herre”, it was just some good ol’ Country Grammar that set off 2000 right, and hopefully bumps in your speakers on this Throwback Thursday.
Nelly – Country Grammar (Hot Ish)