Nicki Minaj brings out Rihanna.
Nicki Minaj brings out Kanye West.
Nicki Minaj brings out Drake.
Nicki Minaj brings out Rihanna.
Nicki Minaj brings out Kanye West.
Nicki Minaj brings out Drake.
While i have no idea where she fits in the music game right now on the soul side of things, Keri Hilson, writer turnt sanga, has carved out a niche for herself. I’m not saying she makes bad music. I’m saying that, where or what is her place? If you know, let me know. Here is an alternate cover to the Dec/Jan Vibe magazine. T.I. is on the other one. I’ve included that one to in case you haven’t seen it and a preview of the interview:
Days before he reported back to prison, T.I. sat down with VIBE’s Erik Parker and gave his most candid interview to date. Here is an excerpt from the explosive cover story.
If I place my value in the way humans treat me, then maybe. But they’re human, man―they can’t help themselves. They do that to people they know personally. So how can I expect them to treat me, only knowing me through television? They did that to Jesus. They did that to Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali. They did it to every great person you could possibly think of. When it was all good, they was with them. When things got bad, then they was against them.
But in this case things didn’t “get bad.” It’s something you did.
Let me just say this: [he sits up on the couch] If you look at a guy who came up, no pops in the house, moms on welfare, food stamps; started selling dope when he was 12, 13 years old, came up handling guns, being in shoot-outs; started going to jail when he was 15. In all of this chaos and this mischief and lawlessness, the person who was just in jail for machine guns and silencers turns his life around. And now you want to crucify him ―for what? Three pills. I mean, of course it’s wrong and unacceptable and inexcusable. No problem. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s rather petty. It’s rather petty to hold someone’s feet to the fire for something so small when they have overcame things that were so big. All that could have been going wrong―if I was riding with more guns, or if I had gotten into a shoot-out and killed somebody, then I could see that. But just think about it. I’ve gotten it down to this much.
How did you get a drug habit?
I had a lot of work done to my teeth. Oral surgery, extractions, six, seven, eight root canals. Between January to February. As soon as I got out, I had a lot of stuff done. In the joint, you eat shit that is unhealthy for you. I had fillings that fell out and stuff that had to get dealt with. Of course for the pain they gave me oxycontin and hydrocodone. And, mind you, on October 13, 2007, I had cut off everything―weed, alcohol. Then I get these pills and I start taking them for the pain at first. And then I’m like, Wait―this shit makes me feel good. And it’s legal. After the pain went away, I kept taking it. I had like five, six prescriptions. So I had, like 80 pills. Everybody else might have a drink or smoke a blunt, I took a pain pill. Times when I had 18-, 20-hour days, I’d take a pain pill. And eventually I developed―I guess―the beginning stages of dependence.
Have you talked to Eminem about addiction?
Sure. We got a record together, and we talked a lot. I asked him how he knew he was an addict. Basically if you put yourself in harm’s way… if you risk that, you’ve got to assume that there is something fundamentally wrong with your thought process.
Kanye West’s latest piece of work, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is receiving high praises. I personally think the album is a piece of art. After listening halfway through the finished project, I knew that this is what 808 and Heartbreaks should have been. Here, the critics weight in on their views of what MBDTF is. Check it:
Kanye West is perfect. We’re not talking about his media savvy or predilection for egotism, but rather the critical reception to his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, known affectionately as MBDTF, which hit shelves on Monday (November 22). To date a number of reputable publications have given Yeezy’s 5th album perfect scores, including XXL magazine (an XXL rating), Rolling Stone (a 5 star rating) and Pitchfork (a 10/10 rating).
While critical acclaim for MBDTF has been ubiquitous, has it gotten a bit overzealous?
“This is definitely one of the most complete albums, in any genre, recently,” says Jesse Serwer, a freelance music journalist (Time Out New York, Village Voice). “But some people—and I’m talking more about critics than regular listeners here—might be overstating its brilliance. I’ve heard some say that this is a perfect album, or that they’d like to give it a higher rating than their rating systems allow for. I think these folks need to chill for a few months and divorce themselves from the back story and the hype … I’m pretty sure when they do that, they will be a little more measured in their enthusiasm.”
The Kanye media machine has been in full effect, raising the anticipation for the album to a yellow fever in the Amazon jungle pitch via strategic leaks, interviews and appearances. Some say the media has simply bought into the hype before properly digesting the work.
“I think people throw around the term ‘classic’ a little too loosely nowadays,” says Andrew Barber, founder of Chicago’s FakeShoreDrive. “Is the material on the album incredible? Of course it is. But five, 10 years down the road, how is MBDTF going to hold up to other hip-hop classics? The Illmatics, the Chronics, the Reasonable Doubts? It’s too early to tell.”
While most reviews have rushed to proclaim MBTF album of the year, there are more even keeled takes on the work. In his review of the album for the New York Times, Jon Caramanica notes that, “By not allowing for responses to his work other than awe, the value of the work itself is diminished; it becomes an object of admiration, not of study.” Considering that West’s previous album, 808s and Heartbreak, wasn’t so universally adored, could it be that his debatable musical low led to an over-rated rebound?
“Kanye has 808s & Heartbreak to thank for these perfect scores,” says Henry Adaso, Editor of TheRapUP and Rap.About.com. “The negative reception of 808s set up the positive response to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. This is a pattern in hip-hop. For example, when Nas dropped Nastradamus, arguably his worst album, he followed it up with the widely praised Stillmatic. People went overboard and gave him a perfect score even though the second half of that album was a mixed bag. The same thing happened when Jay-Z released The Blueprint 2 and followed it up with the Black Album.”
Ironically, Yeezy has always had issues with critics, famously saying magazines would lose their credibility if they didn’t give his album high enough marks—which makes Caramanica’s point all the more interesting. If there is a less than stellar review, Kanye usually sniffs it out. Kind like on “Runaway” when he croons, “Yet I always seem to find something wrong.”
“One thing that the response to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has really highlighted for me is how ridiculous it is that Kanye still complains about critics,” says Serwer. “Dude, critics fawn over you more than any other artist.”
Part of MBDTF’s universal acclaim can be credited to its near perfect set up—even the George Bush/’Today Show’ fiasco probably only helped Ye’s promotional cause in the long run. The only feasible misstep, if you consider the increasingly dated music industry model, is the fact that over 50% of MBDTF was heard by so many, either via leaks or Kanye’s own G.O.O.D. Fridays sanctioned releases, before the album was legally available.
“I don’t disagree with any of the perfect ratings Kanye is receiving, but it’s really hard for me to give it an accurate review,” says Barber. “What if today was the first time I’d heard the project front to back? I’d probably be doing back flips. But having heard these songs previously, kind of ruined the album listening experience for me.”
On the contrary, some feel that despite all the premature music drops that may have ruined lesser acts, in West’s case it only tempered MBDTF’s sonic mettle.
“Kanye’s album is a case study on how leaks can affect an artist—in a good way,” says Joe La Puma, Senior Editorial Strategist for Complex magazine. “We’ve heard most of the album un-finished, and people were thinking it’d take away from sales and the general excitement surrounding the album, but the fact is, it’s a perfectly constructed album.”
La Puma continues, “From start to finish, track by track, there are no throwaways, and I encourage people to consider the (unrealistic) thought: What if we didn’t hear the music? What if we unwrapped the CD and put on our headphones and heard tracks like “All of the Lights” for the first time? It’s an incredible album, and totally well deserving of the perfect scores. Most importantly for me, it proved the point that unforeseen circumstances can occur, but in the end the quality of work is most important.”
Kanye: So what inspired you to have that pink tank on your last tour? That was amazing, when you were sitting on top of the army tank.
Rihanna: I love to combine femininity with a kind of extreme masculine egde, and I felt like the tank is just not a typical thing that you think of when you think of a girl — or in any kind of relation to a girl. Then we made it hot pink. We just added that touch.
Kanye: I mean, people really need to see a photograph — the entire tank was pink. That was a great piece of commercial pop art. Was the idea of that to kind of portray an American Dream — like the fantasy of a this hot black girl sitting on a top of a pink tank?
Rihanna: I never actually thought of it like that.
Kanye: How does it feel to know that you could have any man in the world. Or woman. How does it feel to know that you can turn straight women gay?
Rihanna: Is that a real question?
Rihanna: Well … Thank you. I don’t know how to feel about that. I guess that’s flattering.
Kanye: But just to have that level of power. How do deal with it? No one woman should have that much power.
Listen to hear what he says. Dope list.
This is dope. Premier discusses how he helped squash the beef between Just-Ice, Blak Poet, and KRS-One. Here is the excerpt from the interview. If you want, you can read the full interview here. There is a video below if you want to watch that too. Your choice. The interview was conducted by Odeisel. He’s a real cool cat. I follow him on Twitter and we’ve had some discussion before. Good brother.
Planet Ill: Obviously you have an astounding legacy when it comes to Hip-Hop. I guess they can call you the patron saint of the boom bap. How do you get people to separate your legacy and your history from what you’re trying to accomplish now?
DJ Premier: My main focus now is to continue doing what I’ve already been doing which is to put great music out. When it comes to what I’m doing now, I look at it as a new chapter; a new beginning, like Guru would actually say. I’m speaking on Guru because I thought there would be a time when we would reunite and do a 7th album which I planned to do after a few years of taking a break. And now that I know that there’s no way that it’s gonna happen, I have to accept the fact that he’s gone for real.
Like we have future projects, like I’m gonna do a Gangstarr Foundation album where we have all new material, we have other vocals that haven’t been released that I put new stuff to that he spit to where he sounds like traditional Guru and make it new, but I have to accept moving on. I’ve lost lives in the past and I’ve moved on. Headquaters was an influence on naming the studio Headquarters.
This is the legendary D&D[Studios]. My radio show that I do every Friday on Sirius/XM satellite radio is the future. It’s on Friday nights, ten to midnight. It’s called “Live From Headquarters,” dedicated to him. We take that energy and keep pushing forward and make things better and better like I always have strived to do as a DJ, artist, producer and now a label owner.
The compilation album is just a stalling album to stall while I get their [his artists] albums ready to come out for 2011. I really intended for their albums to be ready this year, really the year before, we planned in ’09 having these albums ready. Nick Javas has been touring with me the last two years straight. Blaq Poet did the same thing
Planet Ill: That’s [MC] Poet from back in the day?
DJ Premier: Yeah, that battled KRS-ONE and made big history. He was the first in history every to be bold enough to even stand up to Boogie Down Productions and then diss them hard body even knowing there was gonna be repercussions and he still stood his ground. He spoke for The Bridge and that’s what made me discover him, back in ’86 when he did “Beat You Down.”
Planet Ill: You had a pretty extensive run with KRS as well. Was there any leftover feelings from that old battle?
DJ Premier: Yeah, Poet still had feelings with him, so did Just Ice had funny feeligns with Poet. I actually told Just Ice that I was messing with Poet and he was like, “As long as he don’t mention that we got no problems.” I was like, “Come on man, we grown now. At the time he was just standing up for ya’ll dissing him, You know what I’m saying?” Not him but dissing The Bridge.
I’ll be short with it, Poet was coming to a Rock Steady event and I said, “Yo, Just Ice is coming, so come up there.” And boom, when it happened, Poet saw Just and went right to him and said, “Yo, I’m Poet, remember me?” And He [Just Ice] was like “Premier told me he was gonna be working with you!” Now they just buddies.
And then, KRS reached out to me when he did the Marley Marl album, when they did Hip-Hop Lives, and he said, “Yo man, I want Poet on a record with me.” And I asked Poet and he was a little resistant at first, he was like this is deeper; it cuts a little deeper. You know they were really going at it; they were going back and forth with it. Scott La Rock was dissing him, like “Poet, you a crack head,” back when they were running things. All those excerpts where he was like dissing him on the radio.
I told him [Poet], I said, “Yo, this is a good look.” KRS came over here and they went out, just the two of them, and after that KRS was like. “Yo I want you to perform with me tonight at Irving Plaza.” And brought Poet on stage. And I thought that was dope.
Planet Ill: What happens behind the scenes that makes it jump from just the music to taking things real personal?
DJ Premier: Part of it’s ignorance because your honor, your manhood’s being tested and then Hip-Hop comes from a street environment so the mentality is let’s scrap let’s fight. I’m from Texas and we’re raised on fighting with our hands because everybody carries guns. Our laws, we can carry a gun in the glove compartment and I’m not used to all these laws when I moved to New York. Like damn I can’t carry a gun and keep it in my glove box? What if I’m in danger or whatever? Same thing with a rifle, as long as it’s visible in your window, you can carry a rifle. So we all have a different understanding with guns where I’m from where everybody’s raised to fight. And back in our day, like they say you live to another day. Your bruises will heal and you win some, you lose some.
On the mentality of Hip-Hop, I mean look how far, even with Boogie Down Productions. It got a little violent when they were going at it. Just Ice coming to The Bridge with a shottie looking for cats over a rap! Me and Javas was talking bout this the other day. A couple years ago, if you never been in a fight at all, and youre’ doing rap music, you’re gonna get tested on some type of level where you might have to fight some body. But he’s been in fights way before he was rapping.
“For a 22-year-old man, he brought lyricism back. When [Gang Starr’s] Step In The Arena came out, I was 22-years-old. And I just thought about it, I was like, Damn, I was a youngster. I wasn’t 30, 31. I was 22 and coming with heat. And that’s why I like that he’s bringing stuff back. J. Cole, I like that he’s bringing lyrics back.” – DJ Premier
Interesting. As much as people herald Premier as hip-hop and the greatest producer and whatever other accolade you crown him with, that statement right there had people ripping him apart. Amazing. I would think a guy that worked with Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie, a member of Gang Starr, Royce Da 5’9″, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One…(you get the point) would know a little bit about lyricism. Yet every ounce of his 23 years of experience in this industry goes for naught on a statement like that. Come on people. Quit hating. It never seems to amaze me the amount of hate people for anyone successful. In any event, DJ Premier sits with AllHipHop.com to back up his statement about Drake bringing lyricism back to rap.
Ha! This crazy.