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Kendrick Lamar's Verse on Control
August 15, 2013 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Earlier this week, Big Sean released Control (7:32), a song that features a second verse from Kendrick Lamar and a third verse from Jay Electronica. Kendrick's two and a half minute verse was pretty standard fare in hip hop - bragging, saying he's the best, displaying talent on the mic. But in just 3 days, the rap world's response to Kendrick's verse has been almost unprecedented.

Song Responses have come from Joell Ortiz, B.O.B., Lupe Fiasco, Graph, and Cassidy. And then Mad Rapper did a song response about the song responses.

Big Krit, name-dropped in Kendrick's verse, cheered the verse. Wale would have been offended if his name wasn't included in the verse. Joey Bada$$, PushaT, Fabolous & Mac Miller had respecful, challenging and humorous responses to Kendrick's verse. Kendrick's output prompted Ice-T to say "I love how ONE verse woke hip hop the fuck up"on Twitter, while Big Daddy Kane suggested that instead of tweeting, the proper response was to get in the studio. Just Blaze, 9th Wonder and Young Guru chime in. Questlove, Missy Elliott, Monie Love, Diddy, Meek Mill, Bun B, Prodigy from Mobb Deep, and Action Bronson talk about it.

The NBA got involved. Ex Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, also name-dropped in the verse, tweeted Kendrick. Kobe Bryant got wind of the verse and asked for details, while New York Knicks forward Iman Shumpert replied with a rhyme.

And even though Jay Electronica's formidable verse has been lost in the talk over Kendrick's, he “likes the song and the stir it’s causing,” saying “It’s good for rap music.” Big Sean himself talked about the possibility of rewriting his first verse after hearing Kendrick respectfully diss him in the second verse.
posted by cashman (473 comments total) 102 users marked this as a favorite

 
If someone would explain the verse so that I might not have to listen to it, that would be great.
posted by beschizza at 10:25 AM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Don't be afraid to listen to it, I'm pretty sure you didn't get mentioned
posted by Teakettle at 10:28 AM on August 15, 2013 [64 favorites]


Luckily, you can read the lyrics in the third link!
posted by dismas at 10:28 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


i fucking love the big daddy kane response and i'm gonna quote it here just so it's not missed in the list of links.

ATTENTION M.C.'S: Complaining about @kendricklamar verse on twitter is Gossip. Getting in the studio trying to write a better one is Hip Hop.
posted by nadawi at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2013 [48 favorites]


Luckily, you can read the lyrics in the third link!

I honestly cannot understand what he's talking about at all.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:33 AM on August 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


I had an argument with a girlfriend in college once over lyrical content. She listened to hip-hop, I listened to heavy metal. I was complaining that all of the songs on the albums she made me listen to had a maximum of maybe 3 topics - money, bitches, and how great they are at rapping. I started to list off the topics on just one Metallica album, and she jumped in with, "Oh, don't even try to bring Metallica into this!" And that was pretty much the end of the conversation.

But my point still stands. I can't think of one metal band whose lyrics are mostly about how great they are at playing metal and how all the other bands suck. Hip hop posing and dissing just doesn't appeal to me.

I'm sure there are rappers who don't do this, or who at least rap about other things. I know Gift of Gab does. And I really enjoy listening to MC Frontalot, because he writes about things that interest me, but nerdcore is so far removed from mainstream and/or hardcore rap that I don't really think it matters for this discussion.
posted by starvingartist at 10:34 AM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Can we please not do a series of
a) I'm too [into other music] to appreciate this
b) I'm too [ethnically or chronologiacally different] to appreciate this

And instead contribute to the exciting potential hip hop rhyme battles we might see spill out of this? Like Ice T said, it's been a long time since we had some exciting hip-hop style competition on these tracks out there.
posted by cavalier at 10:35 AM on August 15, 2013 [80 favorites]


She listened to hip-hop, I listened to heavy metal. I was complaining that all of the songs on the albums she made me listen to had a maximum of maybe 3 topics - money, bitches, and how great they are at rapping.

Well, to be fair, most popular music is about girls, boys, cars, guitars, and wanting some or all of them...
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:37 AM on August 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Gee, some rapper dropped a hot verse? WELCOME TO EVERY DAY IN THE HISTORY OF HIP-HOP.

It is a hot verse though.
posted by Lorin at 10:38 AM on August 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


to say that rappers just rap about money bitches and frontin', you really only show yourself to be wildly ignorant of rap, especially if you think nerdcore is the only place you can go for other topics.

i agree that i hope this topic can be about the topic at hand instead about some people's utter dislike and misunderstanding of the genre. surely there are things that interest you somewhere else on the site you can talk about instead...
posted by nadawi at 10:38 AM on August 15, 2013 [44 favorites]


this is absolutely not every day in the history of hip-hop - he dropped a hot verse that caused an explosion. cavalier and ice t are right - the response it set off has been a sight to see.
posted by nadawi at 10:40 AM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


ps I'm not knocking the post at all. Reading this earlier I thought, "Someone needs to make this a FPP so I can hear ad Hominem's opinion on the matter."
posted by Lorin at 10:40 AM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, you might as well say that the Beach Boys only sang about cars, surfing, girls, and California. You wouldn't actually be wrong (and, since I don't really care about that band, I certainly wouldn't argue with you), but I think you'd be being kind of reductionist.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:40 AM on August 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


Don't be afraid to listen to it, I'm pretty sure you didn't get mentioned


No, I'm pretty sure he mentions everybody at some point.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:41 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Awesome. It only took you four minutes to not actually read what I wrote, and then tell me to fuck off if my opinion was not that rap is great.

Maybe it was more implied than I thought, but I would actually like to have some examples of interesting rap that is about more than bitches and fronting. I am ignorant of rap, because the majority of the rap I have listened to so far I do not enjoy. I do not feel compelled to continue to explore it on my own. If you can convince me otherwise, I would give it a try.

I did not come in here to say, "Rap sucks, metal rules, dur dur dur." But you seem intent on pigeonholing me that way.
posted by starvingartist at 10:43 AM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


for those who are trying to understand but having problems - besides all the names that were dropped in an insulting manner (although, some argue that the only insult is not being mentioned), the big line from this california boy is "I’m the king of New York - King of the Coast, one hand, I juggle them both"
posted by nadawi at 10:44 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


beschizza: If someone would explain the verse so that I might not have to listen to it, that would be great.
Your aversion to modern race music is completely understandable. We're all here to protect you from the cooties.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:45 AM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: "Oh, don't even try to bring Metallica into this!"
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:46 AM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure Drake and Wale are really Kendrick's competition, but it's nice that he made them feel included.
posted by postcommunism at 10:46 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


At the risk of my comment being taken as reinforcing some of the negative thoughts here: I love Kendrick Lamar, the verse, the subsequent responses, the feud as part of the art-form of hip-hop, everything about this post, and everyone in it.
posted by Lorin at 10:46 AM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't think of one metal band whose lyrics are mostly about how great they are at playing metal and how all the other bands suck. Hip hop posing and dissing just doesn't appeal to me.

It's not just hip hop. Country music does the same thing. Slacktivist:

Tune in to your local country station and about every third song is a country song about the fact that it’s a country song and how indignant the singer is that anyone might question the country-ness of this country song. These songs are essentially tribal. They invoke a litany of tribal signifiers with the same dual purpose that all such invocations involve: A) to establish the singer’s legitimacy as a member of the tribe; and B) to redefine and reinforce the boundaries of the tribe, ensuring that these include only the proper sort of people. The same two functions, in other words, as performed by every sermon ever preached on innerancy, creationism, “homosexuality” or “the sanctity of human life.”
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:48 AM on August 15, 2013 [24 favorites]


Hip Hop is literally the only worthwhile expression of culture in this country for the past 20 years. I say this country because Rufus Wainwright is Canadian.
posted by Teakettle at 10:49 AM on August 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


starvingartist - this post is very specifically about the kind of rap you say you don't like. maybe you should post an ask.me if you're looking for recommendations or wait for a post that's about hip hop more generally (or about conscious hip hop specifically).
posted by nadawi at 10:49 AM on August 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


I did not come in here to say, "Rap sucks, metal rules, dur dur dur."

vs

I do not feel compelled to continue to explore it on my own.

Threads about things you don't like aren't invitations to get other people to teach you. Your comment was the same as saying all metal is about death and black masses. Mainstream hip hop and mainstream country music are now our pop music. They tend to be bland and all the same. Hip hop has zillions of subgenres. To name one, backpack rap would be pretty much exactly the opposite of what you're complaining about.
posted by yerfatma at 10:50 AM on August 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


it's also not just country - indie rock does it, pop music does it - calling out your position and those you align with or agitate against is something that happens in so many genres but for reasons seems to only get brought up with hip hop.
posted by nadawi at 10:51 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Make An Effort folks. ]
posted by jessamyn at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2013 [24 favorites]


I thought the best response to being called out in a diss track was always a simple "...Who?"
posted by delfin at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I know this post is about a debate between feminists about a feminist issue but can someone explain why I should care about feminism and how it applies to me? Ps I like turtles.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2013 [42 favorites]


If you say "who" to Kendrick, you're going to look like you're clueless. And I'm not even really a Kendrick fan like that. But really, it wasn't a diss like that. It was a respectful diss. Kind of a friendly competition thing.
posted by cashman at 10:54 AM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


True, other genres praise their genre-ness, to emphasize the singer's inclusion in the "society"... but rap specifically emphasizes a competitive "I'm more Genre than you!", while I can't really think of a lot of, say, rock songs doing that.

"Rock is dead they say - Long live rock!" - but not "I rock my guitar harder than Jimmie did."
posted by IAmBroom at 10:54 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would love love love love it if beefs started to be about who wrote the best lyrics again instead of who had the nicest [stereotypical item]

Also I love ice-t that is all.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:55 AM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Why don't we talk about the quality of rap music which makes it 1000x times more fun and vibrant than all this other material EG calling people out and forcing them to bring it better?

Rap has gotten soft, and I think this generation of rap fans is about go get a lesson on why the genre is so great - you can call people out with SKILL and they get deeply humiliated when they can't respond.
posted by Teakettle at 10:56 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't get the Kendrick Lamar hype (and I bought his record). I think it says more about the lack of West Coast rappers than anything else.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:56 AM on August 15, 2013


Battle rapping and beefs are incredibly entertaining. It's been around since the Kool Herc era, but hit the mainstream with this battle where Busy Bee got his ass handed to him by Kool Moe Dee in '81.

And then there was all the fighting about where Hip-Hop began. MC Shan claims it's Queensbridge, but everyone knows it's the South Bronx! South South Bronx!

A decade or so later, the form had evolved, and was arguably perfected by Nas with his killer takedown of Jay-Z, though Jay-Z's response wasn't bad.

I guess I'm trying to say that boasting, either in the cipher, on the stage, or on record is baked into the firmament of the culture. Clever dissing is celebrated and vaunted. It makes careers, or in the case of Canibus, ruin them.

But I feel like beefing, and even to some degree clever retorts have been replaced by the ability to microblog your response to people. Rappers have tweetbeef now. So I guess this is all to say that I love this verse and the millions of responses.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 10:58 AM on August 15, 2013 [33 favorites]


You can also read the lyrics (with useful annotations that provide some context) over at Rap Genius.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:59 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hip Hop is literally the only worthwhile expression of culture in this country for the past 20 years.


That's the dumbest goddamned statement I've read in a bit. Literally the only worthwhile expression of culture in the United States in the past 20 years? Really? The only? Nothing in television, theater, music, art, sculpture, comedy, dance, literature, poetry, video games, or any other expressive art or mode of communication over the last 20 years has been worthwhile? Literally nothing?


Figuratively, bullshit.
posted by stenseng at 10:59 AM on August 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


There were a few responses from lesser-known rappers that didn't go in the FPP. Here's one, from Astro. Kid's kinda nice. Apparently Rif Raff has one coming. I wish Joey Bada$$ would do one.
posted by cashman at 10:59 AM on August 15, 2013


BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW CULTURRRREEEEEE
posted by Teakettle at 11:00 AM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


To be fair, calling each other out in a rap thread seems kind of on topic. We should be doing a lot better with our rhymes, though. I'm kind of embarrassed, and I'm so old school, I had to take Latin.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:01 AM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


[Teakettle, if you're not trolling now would be a great time to make that clear.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:02 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great post, cashman.
posted by box at 11:02 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've only listened to Lamar's Good Kid, MAAD City, but I'm pretty impressed with the presentation and narrative journey of the album. It's a progressive, reflective epic that takes him through the "hoodlife-money-bitches-me" themes that are so prevalent in modern music and comes out the other side. The skits are excellent. I think he's an interesting and worthwhile artist.

Give it a listen?

It's also pretty neat that he mobilized a bunch of people, I suspect that his ties to Dr. Dre may have something to do with it.

This thread got shat up fast.
posted by sibboleth at 11:02 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


A decade or so later, the form had evolved, and was arguably perfected by Nas with his killer takedown of Jay-Z, though Jay-Z's response wasn't bad.

I think you've got the chronology switched. Wasn't "Ether" the response?
posted by Bookhouse at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2013


Yeah I mean if you're going to shit-talk either hip-hop in general or other users specifically, at least have the decency to put it in the form of a diss verse (which I will rate on a scale of $ to $$$$$).
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Haha Riff Raffs response should just be a gif of him ghost riding Herbie the Love Bug.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I guess I am speaking with too much vigor, I would only say in my defense that the progression of lyrical, musical and stylistic innovation in hip hop culture over the past 20 years does, in my eyes, make almost every other facet of our culture look like the bolting flowers of other concluding stories. It really is amazing.

I mean come on, if you love language you have to love that kids are getting together and just poetically insulting each other.
posted by Teakettle at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


but not "I rock my guitar harder than Jimmie did.

I had the thought: Wouldn't pop music be 1000x more enjoyable if all the songs, instead of being about like dancing and partying, were instead like hip hop and were all "I can pop better than Miley, that Miley's such a poser, my synths make her synths sound like a bulldozer" or "Hello my name is Katy Perry and I kissed a girl but it wasn't Ke$ha or Britney. All those other divas want to come to my show and Gaga's all Gaga over my beats in Logic Pro." Or whatever.

And then I thought, but wouldn't that just be Dr. Luke fighting with himself?
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:07 AM on August 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


It's no "No Vaseline," that's for sure.
posted by mani at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm sure there are rappers who don't do this, or who at least rap about other things.

Kendrick Lamar is actually a pretty good example.
posted by St. Sorryass at 11:09 AM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


'Super Ugly' was a response to 'Ether,' which was a response to 'Takeover.' 'Takeover's great, but 'Super Ugly' is not.
posted by box at 11:09 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish Joey Bada$$ would do one.

Yes. And the fact that there are high-school kids putting out better albums than Kendrick Lamar I think epitomizes my hyperbolic opening statement, which I am now doubling down on! Also, if there is any hope for another long running west/east rivalry, LA is gonna need to shore up some numbers to compete with the Voltron that is Beast Coast. As good as hip-hop is now, there is so much young talent out there it's hard not to feel like we're only on the edge of something great.
posted by Lorin at 11:09 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


YES! ANOTHER THREAD WHERE I CAN BRING UP ETHER!!! But I'm not going to.

TheResponses on Twitter has been adding responses to this track asap.

It's fascinating that Kendrick doesn't shout out any LA rappers (besides Tyler) for two reasons:
1. he's already decided that they aren't competition! ;)
2. there are good rappers, but LA rappers--like many southern rappers--are more on a party-tip lately. I'm not mad at that... not in the least. Hearing a remix of Problem's "Like Whaaat" on Power has been dope. Hearing YG is dope. E-40, dope... the west coast has great technical rappers, but it isn't what we're known for. I'm okay with that. ASAP crew, Underachievers, etcetc... they're all dope, but I still don't think any of them have come close to the full-album-glory that was GKMC.

If you want substance in your hip-hop, Earl's record "Doris" is breathtaking and the New York Times agrees with me.

But really though... as awesome as that verse is, I'm happy that someone has already looped the "I don't smoke crack..." line, which I've listened to a ton.
posted by raihan_ at 11:11 AM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Chicago makes the best rappers.
Now we fight.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:11 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I think on the lyric link, the last line should read "dread" not "thread."
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:12 AM on August 15, 2013


He says he speaks with too much vigor, I think he think hip hop is bigger. I think what he thinks at best, a fever dream, thing about teakettles, they full of steam.
posted by stenseng at 11:12 AM on August 15, 2013 [19 favorites]


As a fan of hip-hop, I have been GIDDY, watching this unfold over the past few days. I also think it was a brilliant move by Kendrick. Hype over good kid mad city has just started to die down, and this was one hell of a way to make people remember he's still out there.

And it really made me respect the guy more.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 11:14 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The response really has been refreshing and unprecedented. A lot of good work's going to come out of this.
posted by penduluum at 11:15 AM on August 15, 2013


Free yourself from the belief that there are appropriate and inappropriate topics for music.

There, now doesn't that feel better?
posted by chrchr at 11:15 AM on August 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


I guess I am speaking with too much vigor, I would only say in my defense that the progression of lyrical, musical and stylistic innovation in hip hop culture over the past 20 years does, in my eyes, make almost every other facet of our culture look like the bolting flowers of other concluding stories. It really is amazing.

Indeed. It's too bad we the past twenty years haven't given us anything like the rise of indie rock, a new golden age of high quality television, or some kind of massive debate about when interactive digital entertainment will finally qualify as art. That would be terrible.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:15 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


BUT HOW DOES MACKLEMORE FEEL ABOUT THIS, GUYS

"There, now doesn't that feel better?"
(soft piano outro...)
posted by raihan_ at 11:17 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I started to list off the topics on just one Metallica album

Metallica is for fakers and wannabes.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:25 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


These hip hop threads are... difficult for many of us to deal with, so I have some sympathy for the minority here.

As a musician who's extremely curious about everything, when I'm told something is musically creative and ground-breaking and I can't hear anything new, I naturally want to ask, "Please, explain to me how the music works?"

Now, I used to ask that question here - but the answers universally talk about the lyrics, using words like "braggadocio" a lot. I literally never get any actual discussion about how the musical part of it works - the part which is not the words.

I understand that we're never going to agree on the words - I think they're crass and uncreative and a symptom of a corrupt and decadent culture, that replacing "the moon in June" with "bitch motherfucker" is no improvement, that talking about low-life, disposable celebrities and brand-names is not "lyrics for the ages". We aren't going to agree there.

But where's the musical value? This is something that can actually be discussed in more or less objective terms - there are centuries of background here.

Let's look at, say, "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back". I consider this a musically and lyrically ground-breaking album... and I could argue this logically. How, musically, has hip-hop advanced in the twenty-five years since then? How is this piece under consideration musically advanced since?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:26 AM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


while I can't really think of a lot of, say, rock songs doing that.

too many people - paul mccartney
how do you sleep - john lennon
southern man - neil young
sweet home alabama - skynard
starfuckers, inc - nin
professional widow (and maybe also 'waitress') - tori amos
i'll stick around/stacked actors - foo fighters
hot dog - limp biskit
courtney love - violet
positively 4th street - dylan (ok, folk, but he blurs those lines)
crash on the barrelhead - old 97s
freed pig - sebedoh
you get what you give - new radicals
get in the ring - guns n' roses
posted by nadawi at 11:29 AM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


I love this post.

I think my favorite part is in the Joell Ortiz response, when he says:
Why should I recycle bars when my mind is a flight to Mars?
And any force I came across was like rhyming inside a star,
With the Universe on my back, your human version is wack.
I grab my extraterrestrial testicles when I rap,
And tell Earth suck it, tell the planet try it.
I turn this bitch into Independence Day
Without the lucky drunk pilot.
..because that is what hip-hop is all about.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:31 AM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


How is this piece under consideration musically advanced since?

But we must ask ourselves: must music advance? And if it must, what does that mean?

I think this is the wrong way to go about "critiquing" this type of music. It's judging Satie by Strauss.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:31 AM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Such an interesting an refreshing post, thanks. but tell me (old out of touch but still interested me)...where does this all 'unfold'? surely not on the MTV website? on twitter? radio? at live shows? how does one follow such things on soundcloud? it seems like this type of one-upmanship should have naturally followed the evolution of internet music, so it seems odd that an 'event' like this should be so rare. how/why did the hip hop community pick this song and this moment? or this the verse just that good?
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:31 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interactive digital entertainment? I find it too misogynistic but I guess the graphics have gotten better.
posted by Teakettle at 11:31 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Where do the words "bitch motherfucker" appear in that Kendrick verse, Lupus? Oh, damn, that's right. They don't. They must appear in that other controversial rap record "I'm creating a strawman because I know nothing about this music or the culture around it."

If you'd like, now is the time to tell us to get off your lawn.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 11:32 AM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


I understand that we're never going to agree on the words - I think they're crass and uncreative and a symptom of a corrupt and decadent culture, that replacing "the moon in June" with "bitch motherfucker" is no improvement, that talking about low-life, disposable celebrities and brand-names is not "lyrics for the ages". We aren't going to agree there.

I dunno. Ortiz's "You the King of New York? No, Homie, you ain't the King of New York, you the next thing on my fork." made me laugh out loud. At work. Where I shouldn't be listening to these, honestly.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:33 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


How, musically, has hip-hop advanced in the twenty-five years since then? How is this piece under consideration musically advanced since?

However just like the Feminism 101 threads, it's sort of useful to approach the topic as "Given: other people find this valuable and interesting. From that, how can I learn more about why this is important to the people who are here talking about it?" and not just "Well given that I think other stuff like this sucks, tell me why I should care about this?" cashman made a really good post and a bunch of people who are interested in this topic and more or less knowledgeable about Kendrick have been chiming in. The sheer number of people showing up with a sort of arms-folded "Explain this to me on first principles" are sort of requiring a level of educating that is really outside the scope of this thread, for people who want to talk about this incident.

I shouldn't have to explain why women deserve equal pay even though they are the gender that bears children in a thread about bell hooks' latest book and people shouldn't have to give an exegesis about "Hip Hop Til Now" for the people who feel like having that information is a necessary part of them appreciating or understanding this thread. Contact cashman or others over MeMail and ask for some pointers and stuff to read. Don't just play lawn games here and act like this sort of post on its own isn't just as valuable to MetaFilter as other sorts of posts.
posted by jessamyn at 11:34 AM on August 15, 2013 [154 favorites]


*applause*
posted by Teakettle at 11:36 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


"This changes everything!!!!"

How?

"Stop questioning the narrative!"
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:38 AM on August 15, 2013


How is this piece under consideration musically advanced since?

In fairness, hip-hop is almost always about the dexterity of the rhyme. Saying that the rhyme itself should be disregarded and the song considered on the merits of the production quality seems to be missing the point, especially since most of the people responding to the verse are responding to the rhyme, not the production. (Personally, I think the production makes the verse difficult to decipher, but my ears are apparently ancient and rotting.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:38 AM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I understand that we're never going to agree on the words - I think they're crass and uncreative and a symptom of a corrupt and decadent culture, that replacing "the moon in June" with "bitch motherfucker" is no improvement, that talking about low-life, disposable celebrities and brand-names is not "lyrics for the ages". We aren't going to agree there.

The problem with this is that your concept of hip-hop lyrics seems (from this comment, anyway) to be really narrow and not representative of everything that's going on. What you're talking about is the part of hip-hop that is the most commercial. It's not the whole genre. What you're saying is akin to talking about melodic verse-chorus-verse music as a whole and saying that we're going to have to agree to disagree about the value of the lyrics because "Call Me Maybe" has stupid lyrics. Which, yes, it does, but there's more out there.

Now, I used to ask that question here - but the answers universally talk about the lyrics, using words like "braggadocio" a lot. I literally never get any actual discussion about how the musical part of it works - the part which is not the words.

This is the other problem: The lyrics are the music. Everything else is there to prop up the lyrics. Because it's not just about the lyrical content, it's about the flow of the words, the alliteration, the cadence, the inflection, the delivery. All of it. The lyrics are the music. They are the focal point of the song.

Yeah, there's a lot that goes into the backing track, and there's a difference between a good one and a bad one, but it's basically impossible to measure hip-hop by the same standards as other pop music that relies on melody. Always has been.

Hope this helps. If you still can't get into it, then okay.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:38 AM on August 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


People have to learn to listen to music by exposure. Unless you've been exposed to a musical tradition from a young age, the average person is going to be puzzled at best, hostile at worst to completely new musical forms.

How many people who didn't grow up around music from India listen to it?

Now, some people can make the jump for whatever reason, and do listen to radically different music that they never grew up around, but for most, they need to have been exposed to it from a young age. It's like those little goslings and Lorenz - you need to catch them at a certain age.

And that's what's happening - in my humble opinion - with Hip Hop. I find it a fascinating parallel to jazz. Jazz was also once upon a time something radical that had to establish itself through exposure and the teaching - from the ground up - of a new musical language. Just like a child learns a new language effortlessly, it takes a great deal of effort to learn it once you are an adult, and harder yet, when you're past middle-age. How many people pick up a new language in their 60's, or have any interest in it? How many people start exploring any radically new art form past a certain age?

Hip Hop is as great a revolution in our culture as Jazz was once upon a time. It too has been created primarily by African Americans. It is an American gift to the world of music, and it has conquered the world. It is still a young musical form, even though it's been around for decades, and has undergone countless shifts and evolution. Of course there is tons of dross - but there's been tons of dross in Jazz too, and in Rock, and so on - that's the nature of all art. But the musical form is alive and evolving and the most exciting thing out there - and sorry to say, in comparison, rock really is dead.

Hip Hop, like Jazz, before it, is bursting with creativity and is still in its Golden Age, with yet a long future ahead of it. I am sad you cannot appreciate it - you're losing out on the most exciting musical form in popular music of the present time, simply because you don't understand the language. Don't hate, don't dismiss - just listen without preconceptions. And listen, and listen and listen... a few hours is not enough - would you expect to pick up a new language in a few hours?
posted by VikingSword at 11:41 AM on August 15, 2013 [21 favorites]


Awesome post, cashman.

Thank you so very much, jessamyn.

I love Phil Jackson's response just as much as I love the responses from those rappers who elevated their games in the wake of K dot's verse. Good to see that more than a few understand that the proper response to a challenge (or defeat) is not to get mad but to get better.

Hip-hop was definitely the soundtrack to my youth, and I sometimes feel that with 40 right around the corner, I should stop listening to it. But then things like this happen and I fall in love all over again.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:41 AM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


nadawi, that list is not a refutation. I mean, Southern Man? Get in the Ring? These aren't songs about other performers and how they aren't as good or have as much stuff. Not even close. A couple of the others are sniping at specific folks, but not in the same way. (I'll Stick Around, for one).
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:42 AM on August 15, 2013


to be fair, comparing the bomb squad's production work on "it takes millions..." to almost anything after it would have to include an exegesis on copyright law and sampling clearances. ;)

there's still a lot of wonderfully original production out there, even in rap. still kind of shocked at the non-beat for "drop it like its hot", tbh... and that was seven years ago, if not longer. bass, kicks and white noise.

a lot of rap/hip-hop production is doing things that other genres won't/wouldn't do. take the acid-house blast that opens Yeezus or even the whole time-honored tradition of sampling rare jazz, latin jazz, piano, soul... etc and updating it for newer generations. or (my fav) rick rubin sampling (basically) his entire oeuvre (INCLUDING SLAYER!!!) to create "99 problems"

FAMOUS MONSTER nails it about rap being lyrical and having everything to do with the sound of words, as well... it's hard to separate the two things and only the really great ones even remotely get a chance to do that.
posted by raihan_ at 11:42 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The problem with this is that your concept of hip-hop lyrics seems (from this comment, anyway) to be really narrow and not representative of everything that's going on. What you're talking about is the part of hip-hop that is the most commercial. It's not the whole genre.

It's pretty reasonable to evaluate a genre based on the part of it that sells best to a mass audience. "Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City" is a solid album. It also has a track titled "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" and elsewhere prominently uses "ya bish" as a lyric, where bish is helpfully defined by Urban Dictionary as "short for bitch, but used in a playful sort of way. Not intended to be hurtful and often used between friends." Own the problematic parts of your culture of choice. ("Call Me Maybe" does have dumb lyrics. It's also great.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:44 AM on August 15, 2013


How, musically, has hip-hop advanced in the twenty-five years since then? How is this piece under consideration musically advanced since?

Have you heard of Ask Metafilter? It's a pretty awesome place where you can ask questions just like that.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:44 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pey3ree | Feat. Stann Smith | - King Kendrick?

Joell Ortiz - Outta Control

Bunch of responses on one convenient mixtape.

This has been a banner week for rap.

Doris leaked.

We also got 10 pc Mild from Trinidad James. I love the Young Chop beats on it.

I hoped someone would post this when I casually mentioned it in the KRS thread. Thanks Cashman.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:45 AM on August 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


How, musically, has hip-hop advanced in the twenty-five years since then? How is this piece under consideration musically advanced since?

Fire up your bittorrent client and seek out "top 680 hip-hip songs of all time." It's a couple years old so it won't have the most recent stuff, but it's a good start. Listen to it however you like, with a notepad open so you can jot down what you like when you hear it. Then take what you jotted down and look up those performers on the internet. It's a pretty good resource for finding things about pop- or counterculture.

Check out the dates and places the stuff you like is coming from. Do you recognize when artists musically or lyrically call-back to earlier songs and forms? Do you notice when someone is trying something new?

What I've described is a shortcut. When you find what you like, of course, buy it, support the artists. As we all know, torrents are just for getting a sense of the music. In any case, a lot of the songs on that list are presented at a pretty low bit rate so you'll want to acquire the original.

Do the work. You won't regret it. In fact, if you're anything like me, you'll probably enjoy it. Most likely, the exercise will help you better appreciate threads like this one.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2013 [22 favorites]




It's pretty reasonable to evaluate a genre based on the part of it that sells best to a mass audience. "Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City" is a solid album. It also has a track titled "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" and prominently uses "ya bish" as a lyric, where bish is helpfully defined by Urban Dictionary as "short for bitch, but used in a playful sort of way. Not intended to be hurtful and often used between friends." Own the problematic parts of your culture of choice.

Sure, but there's a vast gulf between being aware that stuff like this happens, and claiming that "bitch motherfucker" encapsulates the whole of hip-hop as a genre, or that there aren't songs that don't contain it. I don't dispute the existence of problematic aspects of hip-hop, but if there weren't more to it than that, I wouldn't be listening.

("Call Me Maybe" does have dumb lyrics. It's also great.)

Agreed.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:49 AM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the main problem I have with this, even as a well crafted diss track (or diss verse), would have to be the clarity and very narrowly focused metaphor and allegory used in the lyrics.

I mean, seriously, talking about eh L.A. Lakers coach, by name, but without proper reference aside from his being a coach. What requires a secondary knowledge and very time determined media saturated narrative. That will take a person out of the diss very quickly.

I mean, yes, a lot of the better earlier diss tracks use a lot of pop and mainstream cultural references. Some of them even forced those reference into the mainstream (think a lot of the WuTang kung-fu references, for example). And for many people, their main problem is a lack of cultural indoctrination or even exposure outside of the distant and verifiably unrelated cultural gap.

I can see a lot of people bringing up diss-style songs in other genres, and that is great, but one of the things that makes many of the lyrics of those songs is the generality of them. They do not tie themselves to a very specific time and place, which this verse does, quite often.

The calling of fictional characters and the actors who played them is also a new twist. I used to be you'd just call the character or the characters nickname to bring the affiliation, but with the tying of both the character and the actor, it seems to bring another level of association, but I'm not clear on what or how.

I did like the Paul McCartney reference, though.
posted by daq at 11:49 AM on August 15, 2013


Steely-eyed Missile Man - we're going to have to disagree. all of those songs are either about specific performers or were later often dedicated to specific performers. i should have just put southern man in parenthesis behind sweet home alabama, but otherwise this list stands. i even left a handful off so it wouldn't be a list of people who hate courtney love and wrote a song about it.
posted by nadawi at 11:51 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]




I mean, seriously, talking about eh L.A. Lakers coach, by name, but without proper reference aside from his being a coach. What requires a secondary knowledge and very time determined media saturated narrative. That will take a person out of the diss very quickly.

If I may get all medieval, it's a bit like the kennings of Icelandic (and generally Nordic, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic in general as far as I can tell) verse -- they are complex analogies wrapped (sometimes) two and three layers deep -- you need to know a specific mythic reference, then connect it to a real person, and to something that person did, then unwrap the whole thing to really appreciate it. Now that I think of this, Chinese poetry from at least the T'ang on does stuff like this. Yes, it's maddening to try and read it if you are outside that particular culture -- you are doomed to footnotes taking up half the page -- but it's not like elaborate convoluted references are exactly new....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:54 AM on August 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


Yeah, my recent addiction to Run the Jewels (album of the year for me so far) has me going to Rap Genius on the regular. Favorite thing I've learned: Beef and Broccoli as a term for mixing bad, brown weed with good, green weed.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:55 AM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pretty great. Delivery reminds me of Busta Rhymes verse in Scenario.
posted by Kwine at 11:56 AM on August 15, 2013


Somewhere, Humpty Hump is waiting for a real challenger.
posted by delfin at 11:56 AM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I do have one small objection to the presentation in this post - I think describing the verse as "standard fare" and making it sound as though the reaction is just a coincidence doesn't do it justice.

There's a few notable things about it:

1. He calls out everybody for being overly materialistic - he's challenging his fellow emcees to get off the repetitive thematic treadmill they're on. That's not unprecedented, obviously, but to put that in the same verse you call yourself king of new york and name all your peers, specifically - he's throwing down a pretty serious gauntlet.

2. I like that while he throws down this gauntlet with typical braggadocio, he also emphasizes that it does come from a place of love, and a desire for them all to do better, to push themselves, and improve. He talks about the competitive spirit being an inspirational force.

I don't think the dialogue around it would be taking the same form if it weren't for those two aspects of it.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:00 PM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


Let's look at, say, "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back". I consider this a musically and lyrically ground-breaking album... and I could argue this logically. How, musically, has hip-hop advanced in the twenty-five years since then? How is this piece under consideration musically advanced since?

Part of the problem is that you're looking at this through a weirdly anachronistic modernist lens, which is inappropriate both because: first, like Lutoslawski says above, advancement for its own sake is not a universal goal of all musical genres, and second, you're imposing an analytical model that fails to acknowledge a lot of the elements that make hip hop what it is. Yes, an analysis of some of* the most visible hip hop these days performed solely in terms of pitch, timbre, rhythm, and melody will yield pretty unimpressive results, but that's because those elements are basically the lower levels of support for a structure that's a lot more subtle and radically context-embedded than you can imagine if you're thinking in those terms. At its best, a lot of hip hop's joys are to be found in how a performer constructs their personality; how they situate themselves relative to the styles of other performers, other regions, or other times; and the subtle and sometimes joyfully not-subtle ways in which a performer layers alternative meanings onto a string of words with different articulations, accents, and registers (what, you think Berio was the alpha and the omega of extended vocal technique? Please.). People whose minds have been infected by art music's unceasing drive towards abstraction tend to be happy to dismiss these things as ancillary concerns, but they're not, and that's what I mean by "radically context-embedded": every possible semantic channel is carrying some information, which is basically the opposite of how art music goes about communicating. There's nothing inherently better about either approach, but I could do with less of the condescending dismissal that radiates from the second camp. Speaking of which, I'm a little disappointed that my defense here has come out sounding so bloodlessly academic, but maybe that's what it takes.

* Because let's be honest here: you're not basing your opinion on anything like an exhaustive survey of the genre.
posted by invitapriore at 12:00 PM on August 15, 2013 [30 favorites]


I mean, seriously, talking about eh L.A. Lakers coach, by name, but without proper reference aside from his being a coach. What requires a secondary knowledge and very time determined media saturated narrative. That will take a person out of the diss very quickly.

Also Phil Jackson is not exactly the obscure new coach of a small market team. Phil Jackson was coach of the dominent 90s Chicago Bulls as well as the dominant 00s LA Lakers. He's won more championships as coach than anyone else, ever, and had a very distinctive coaching style.

I don't even like basketball and I understand that lyric. For many, many listeners of this song, that will not take them out of the diss. And all those names that are being dropped? A lot of them are a lot less famous than Phil Jackson.
posted by maryr at 12:10 PM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


"it would take a fan of me to do that.. i was a fan of KRS, LL... rakim... even if they came out dissing me, i would DESTROY them... i knew ALL their styles."

I would recommend against battling KRS.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 12:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


(self-promotion: I have posted an AskMe because I had a question.)
posted by Going To Maine at 12:14 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


El-P and Killer Mike sum it up pretty nicely.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:15 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can see a lot of people bringing up diss-style songs in other genres, and that is great, but one of the things that makes many of the lyrics of those songs is the generality of them. They do not tie themselves to a very specific time and place, which this verse does, quite often.

See, I tend to think this is precisely one of its glories. It's like the self-destructing messages in Mission Impossible, or a mandala painted with sand. The meaning is there for a certain window, and then it dissipates. I'm not convinced that timelessness is an inherent virtue.
posted by invitapriore at 12:16 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


> Where do the words "bitch motherfucker" appear in that Kendrick verse, Lupus? Oh, damn, that's right. They don't.

Your reading comprehension is poor. I would not have made that quote without the lyrics right in front of me.

"Motherfucker" appears on line five - "bitch" appears on line six.

Sorry if I didn't make it 1000% clear that "bitch motherfucker", just like "june moon", don't have to appear right beside each other to make it a tired old cliché. (Indeed, I can't recall one song that has the words "bitch motherfucker" beside each other - or "june moon" for that matter.)

I don't see any explanation above of why I should care about the music. Very sorry to have stupidly used the word "advance" with respect to music - explain to me why this material is musically interesting.

Discovering the personality of the rapper is not a musical thing. I might be into that except that they seem to have more or less blended into one similar personality whose overweening characteristic is aggressive crassness.

> * Because let's be honest here: you're not basing your opinion on anything like an exhaustive survey of the genre.

I've listened to literally thousands of hip-hop tracks. Indeed, when I first encountered the genre in 1988 (a little late to the game but still...) I went around telling everyone that it was going to be the next big musical thing.

I'm sure you won't be surprised based on the above to discover that my favorite hip-hop acts are almost all artists with lyrical themes that differ from mainstream hip-hop - artists like Aesop Rock, Saul Williams or the Roots.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:16 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seems like you weren't really looking for answers. I regret that I bit. If you've listened to that much hip-hop and you still don't get it, you'd probably best just piss off. This thread isn't about your musical preferences, anyway.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:21 PM on August 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


Heh, so "I've listened to thousands of hip hop tracks and I still sound like every other person with an uninformed opinion about the genre" is your defense?
posted by invitapriore at 12:21 PM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


explain to me why this material is musically interesting.

why?
posted by nadawi at 12:21 PM on August 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


I do have one small objection to the presentation in this post - I think describing the verse as "standard fare" and making it sound as though the reaction is just a coincidence doesn't do it justice.

I get what you're saying and I like that you narrowed it to a few elements, but I do think it was pretty standard fare. Plenty of rappers call out other rappers, even dissing each other on their own songs (although that part is pretty rare). It doesn't always happen, but take Royce (who also commented on this) and It's the New (Best Rapper Alive). He disses some, supports some. Or on Onslaught, he says he's "Lil Wayne's Migrane, Jay Z's headache". They aren't as extensive as Kendrick's excoriation, but it's pretty standard stuff in rap.

Secondly, like you I also enjoyed that he did it out of love. But as someone mentioned, No Vaseline was the same thing, and while it's easier to do complete diss tracks, it's not uncommon that diss tracks are friendly diss tracks trying to get another emcee to step their bars up. "Tell the Based God don't quit his day job" was that Joey Bad line that prompted an obviously faux beef between the two of them.

I think an interesting part of this has been a rediscovering of appearing like you're trying in rap. A lot of people in recent years have gotten popular and it has almost been the kiss of death to really spit like you're trying to be dope. Coming off as imprecise has been more favored, in my opinion.

So I don't think those two elements (calling out other rappers, doing it in love) or even the combination of them is what did this.
posted by cashman at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Teakettle, I find your theory interesting, because 20 years ago is just about when I lost interest in hip-hop. Although I'm old enough that my musical tastes were nearly fully formed when the first "rap" records (Sugarhill Gang and Kurtis Blow are the two that stand out in memory) hit the pop charts, I bought and enjoyed a fair amount of hip-hop in the 1980s and early 1990s, from old-school stuff like Grandmaster Flash (I have the 12" of "On the Wheels of Steel"), Big Daddy Kane, KRS-1, and Kool Moe Dee to Public Enemy, De La Soul, and N.W.A.

And then, sometime around when the second wave of gangster rap hit, I just stopped caring. Why? I'm still not sure, but I have some theories/ideas.

It's not just that the lyrical subjects and themes of hip-hop often are repetitive. As others have pointed out, there are plenty of genres for which that's the case. But honestly, a lot of what passes for clever wordplay in hip-hop just seems unremarkable to me.

And hip-hop has a lot of purely musical constraints as well:
- It is, pretty much by definition, always in 4/4 time, and a very large percentage of records are within a very narrow range of tempos/BPM along the slow-fast continuum.
- Song forms and structures often are repetitive and predictable - verse/chorus, or verse/chorus/hook
- Many songs have very little of what traditionally would be considered harmonic or melodic content. The more complex ones have simple three- and four-chord progressions, repeated over and over, with a "hook" sung as contrast to the verses.

Yes, there have been some interesting developments with regard to sound collage, tolerance for dissonance, and production techniques in general, but even there, there are genre expectations (for example, the need for a big low end and booming bass drum) that conceptually limit what producers may do.

Again, hip-hop isn't the only genre affected by inherent limitations - what form is more repetitive than a 12-bar blues? - but when you add all of the above together, to my ears the whole genre has been stuck, musically speaking, in an uninteresting place for a while now.

It's been about 35 years since hip-hop became mainstream. By the time rock was 35 years old - call it 1990 - it had spawned many subgenres that were commercially viable, yet sounded very little like what Elvis or Bill Haley were doing back in 1955.

Same thing with jazz; the music of 1953 sounded recognizably different from, the small group jazz of 1918, and there were many variant styles, from New Orleans to big band swing to bebop, simultaneously in play.

35 years on, I don't see that hip-hop has achieved comparable levels of stylistic or sonic diversity, and, because of the constraints mentioned earlier, I have serious doubts whether it ever will. As a listener, I'm interested in the qualities of the music as music, and not in deconstructing the performers' identities or their relationships to each other, so the sort of thing invitapriore is talking about just doesn't matter all that much to me.

(Before you accuse me: Some of this no doubt can be chalked up to my old fartitude, and those darn kids being on my lawn, and whatnot. But please don't tell me to "go listen to some current hip-hop records" - I live in a big city with a large African-American population, and I hear current hip-hop records every single day, whether I want to or not. )
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 12:23 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


But my point still stands. I can't think of one metal band whose lyrics are mostly about how great they are at playing metal and how all the other bands suck. Hip hop posing and dissing just doesn't appeal to me.

I guess there aren't any KMFDM fans in the house.
posted by Jairus at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


Rappers always say they are the best. They don't always call people out by name. K dot has a little weight here I think because GKMC is probably a classic and he is smart about this verse.

He fits this into the legacy of rap, it's not just shit talking. He specifically invokes Jay Z's Where I'm from when he names his peers.

and argue all day about Who's the best MC's, Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas

He also invokes the traditional rivalries between Compton, where K dot is from, and New York. We haven't really see it since Kurupt's beef with just about every NY mc. Kendrick is pretty tight with Kurupt. In fact, Kendrick is on Get Bizy where Kurupt proclaims himself King of New York.

BTW Kendrick has done this before and nobody bit.

Obliviously this isn't a serious diss track. This is more like 50s How to Rob. That fired everyone up a long ass time ago.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like that he invokes Makaveli without being all scary, gonna kill you in your sleep and shit.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:28 PM on August 15, 2013


The innovation in rap music has not been in the categories you have outlined, Nat - I admit that. However, it is still a joyful sound, and seeing the post-internet generation come on to the world stage has been an amazing thing to see.

It isn't 'interesting', but if you're growing older and smarter every day, fewer and fewer things are truly 'interesting'. Make yourself 16 again and vibe to it.
posted by Teakettle at 12:29 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't see that hip-hop has achieved comparable levels of stylistic or sonic diversity

I feel this is only true for commercial hip-hop. The fringes are as diverse as anything.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:30 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some of this no doubt can be chalked up to my old fartitude, and those darn kids being on my lawn, and whatnot. But please don't tell me to "go listen to some current hip-hop records" - I live in a big city with a large African-American population, and I hear current hip-hop records every single day, whether I want to or not.

Living near black people does not count as listening to hip-hop, I'm sorry.
posted by Jairus at 12:32 PM on August 15, 2013 [36 favorites]


I love that Metafilter is a site where it is valid to explain that complaining in a hip-hop thread about the basics of hip-hop is like complaining in a feminism thread about feminism 101.
posted by ersatz at 12:33 PM on August 15, 2013 [29 favorites]


"but when you add all of the above together, to my ears the whole genre has been stuck, musically speaking, in an uninteresting place for a while now. "

If you can't see how Yeezus is wildly different from Tougher Than Leather, The Chronic, Stankonia, My Ghetto Report Card or The Blueprint, you're not really trying.

As for current movement, there's been a huge uptick in euro synths, like pretty much everything Rhianna has done lately (e.g. Pour It Up).
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 PM on August 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Great post, the track is pretty good and Kendrick's verse is awesome. I guess I don't have much to add here - people have been spreading some wisdom and information thoughtfully and patiently as they do every time a MF hip hop thread happens and people come in from a place of ignorance. I appreciate all of you above doing that, Adhom, cash, TK, Ice Cream, etc...

Kendrick's verse on Tech N9ne's "Fragile" is killer as well, though different, a bit, in tone. Tech is good, too, but KL has got such good energy and is very smart about how he uses it.
posted by J0 at 12:36 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


35 years on, I don't see that hip-hop has achieved comparable levels of stylistic or sonic diversity
[...]
But please don't tell me to "go listen to some current hip-hop records"


well - that's the answer though. kanye just sampled marilyn manson, kitty is rapping over shoegazer, lots of people using house music to back their tracks. the list goes on and on and it really does take some digging in and listening and at some level following this advice. there's a lot of differences going on even in the mainstream.

i listen to a lot of hip hop from a variety of eras and it really is striking just how incongruous it can be to jump from a track released now to a track released in 92, back to a track from 2002, and then one from 85. to me those differences are very much the difference from elvis to nirvana. i think a lot of hip hop fans can pin down within a couple of years when a mainstream song came out just based on production and style.

...although, it's hard to take your entire comment seriously when you end it with this steaming turd -

I live in a big city with a large African-American population, and I hear current hip-hop records every single day, whether I want to or not.

because seriously - what. the. fuck.
posted by nadawi at 12:37 PM on August 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


Hey white people: RapGenius has all your Rap Lyric interpretation needs.

Hey black people: you don't need this, because you're black. White people need it though, because they're white.
posted by averageamateur at 12:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


"Call Me Maybe" does have dumb lyrics

Yet, the line "Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad" is poignant expression of existential longing.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:43 PM on August 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


I live in a big city with a large African-American population, and I hear current hip-hop records every single day, whether I want to or not.

Some of my best friends are african american cars. Doot doot!
posted by Teakettle at 12:43 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


(Before you accuse me: Some of this no doubt can be chalked up to my old fartitude, and those darn kids being on my lawn, and whatnot. But please don't tell me to "go listen to some current hip-hop records" - I live in a big city with a large African-American population, and I hear current hip-hop records every single day, whether I want to or not. )

I wholly agree with you about not beings able to appreciate this music because you're an old white guy. To demonstrate that, you put in that you need not listen to contemporary 'hip-hop records' because you live in a city with black people.

I hope you can keep an open mind. Like how when I lived in Chicago, I still read Norman Mailer and Studs Terkel even though the city is mostly white. I was exposed to several copies of 'Bridges if Madison County' and 'Chicken Soup for the Soul', but I refused to believe that this was the best work of white people.

And I was right.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:43 PM on August 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


BTW Kendrick has done this before and nobody bit.

Ah, that makes sense.
posted by cashman at 12:44 PM on August 15, 2013


Really kind of annoyed that I now have "Call Me Maybe" in my head, instead of all the other tracks I listened to in the past hour. Sheesh. <3.
posted by cavalier at 12:46 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would recommend against battling KRS.

I know that's right; listen to this if you're looking for proof. I know very little about rap and hip hop and I'm well into old fartitude myself, but if you can listen to that and not recognize the talent or the value - well, I don't know what to tell you. You don't have to like it to understand that it's meaningful or good. I learn something new every day on MetaFilter, and I make sure I'm open to that by reading (not shitting in) threads that are on topics I know very little about. I did it again today, so thanks, everyone.
posted by jennaratrix at 12:47 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


But please don't tell me to "go listen to some current hip-hop records" - I live in a big city with a large African-American population, and I hear current hip-hop records every single day, whether I want to or not.

And, yes dear MeFites, we went there.

I'm certainly not going to tell you what you should listen to or like -- De gustibus non est disputandum and all that -- but I think there is a fundamental difference between "hearing" as song and "listening" to it. You can be forced into the first but never the second.

Well, yet. I am sure there are marketing companies working on it, but I digress.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:50 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Really kind of annoyed that I now have "Call Me Maybe" in my head, instead of all the other tracks I listened to in the past hour.

Last time this happened to me I just listened to Yo! Majesty's Club Action a couple times and it went away. Some workplaces or children might find it inappropriate.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:51 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


KRS hates everyone.

He should probably leave Lil B alone as well. Lil B bodies everyone somehow. He said on a track Joe Budden jerks off listening to mood music. That might be the funniest line ever.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:51 PM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


How has hiphop changed in 25 years?

Well, here's The Rub's professionally done 1988 hiphop mix. Why don't you listen to that, and compare to some of this year's major releases. Yeezus should provide quite the contrast, but you could also pick A$SAP Rocky, J. Cole, any of the multiple Wu releases, etc. 2013 is a great year for hiphop. Just recently there was a great thread on cloud rap and any link there should sound pretty different. Additionally, these are just some of the more major releases this year -- if you go more indie you get tons more good stuff.

If you can't answer the question then, I think your ears have an issue. I mean really, you need people to tell you how it's changed? What sort of answer to this question would satisfy you?

On the topic, this is a pretty cool thing. It's done more or less in jest, and I'm hoping we get some dope verses out of it. If you like Kendrick, obviously GKMC gets a lot of deserved press but Section 80 is really good (Fuck Your Ethnicity and Ronald Reagan Era especially). Additionally, Kendrick is part of Black Hippie, a collective consisting of Kendrick, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q. So if you like this, check those out too.

Lastly, The Rub did mixes for the first 30 years of hiphop. 30 awesome mixes. They're all gold, and if you're looking to get more into the genre, or the history of the genre could be a great place to start.
posted by yeahwhatever at 12:52 PM on August 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


Ad, let's get them to argue about Lil B.
posted by Teakettle at 12:52 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh man, Yo Majesty. Booty Klap
posted by mrgrimm at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2013


Gee, some rapper dropped a hot verse? WELCOME TO EVERY DAY IN THE HISTORY OF HIP-HOP.

It is a hot verse though.


Can someone explain in simple terms why this verse got such a strong reaction? Is it pure marketing hype?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2013


But my point still stands. I can't think of one metal band whose lyrics are mostly about how great they are at playing metal and how all the other bands suck. Hip hop posing and dissing just doesn't appeal to me.

Other bands play, Manowar kills.

Metal lyrics are built out from a few keystones:
-Death
-Satan
-Being less than fond of life/other people/responsibilities
posted by MetalFingerz at 12:55 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Can someone explain in simple terms why this verse got such a strong reaction? Is it pure marketing hype?

Read the links, as there is no remedial.metafilter.com.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:57 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


KRS hates everyone.

Yeah, kinda. I think he stockpiles battle rhymes like a Tea Partier stockpiles ammo.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 12:59 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Which links? There are a lot. It should be condensable to a paragraph or two. This doesn't seem like rocket science.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:00 PM on August 15, 2013


Here is a decent explanation in text:

Kendrick Lamar Reaches for the Belt: What His "Control" Verse Means for Hip-Hop
posted by mrgrimm at 1:01 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


KRS hates everyone.

Yeah, kinda. I think he stockpiles battle rhymes like a Tea Partier stockpiles ammo.


Ain't that funky?
Yeah, that's funky.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:05 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't recall one song that has the words "bitch motherfucker" beside each other

Too easy — Fur Q's Uzi Lover has em within the first five words.
posted by ZipRibbons at 1:10 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dead End Hip Hip and Anthony Fantano jumped in surprisingly quick.

Why it blew up?

Well they dropped it on hot97 and Big Sean got an album coming out and he is Kanye's guy and rappers tweet a lot and fans like gossip and rap has a history of rivalries that other types of music don't have and K dot went "renegade" on some random commercial rap track.

KTT and HHH were all the fuck over it too.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:11 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


l_y: If you're interested in specifically non-lyrical awesomeness in hip-hop, and you're not interested in answers like "good production" or "clever use of samples" or whatever, then you need to be listening for the stuff that's lumped together under the label "flow."

In conventional music theory terms I guess that would include pitch, rhythm, timing, accenting, enunciation, vocal technique and so on. From a performance technique point of view it includes things like breath control. It also includes stuff having to do with the poetic structure that's left if you abstract away from the actual words — things like rhyme scheme, use of assonance and consonance, stuff like that.

That stuff's all pretty much independent from the content of the lyrics, in the sense that someone who doesn't understand a word of English can still hear it and appreciate it.

And frankly some of the artists who are best at it are the guys who get trashed as crude or dumb or thuggish or sophomoric or whatever on account of their lyrical content. So for instance, let's pick an extreme example: Eminem — one of the few big name famous rappers who really has, no exaggeration, built all his lyrics and his whole stage persona around crudeness and shock value in the way you're complaining about* — wrote stuff with seriously intricate rhythms and rhyme structures and patterns of assonance, and delivered them with incredibly subtle timing and really solid vocal technique. If you think of him as a scat singer, or as giving the vocal equivalent of a drum solo — and tune out the linguistic content of what he's saying — he's good.

Now, there's two caveats I wanna make here. The first is that good flow is subtle. It doesn't jump up and slap you in the face, and to a large extent it's about finding ways of doing interesting things within a tight set of constraints. As others have already griped about upthread, most rap is in 4/4 (though not all!) and there's a pretty narrow range of tempos and so on. So if you're looking for obvious flashy variability of the sort that you get in jazz or prog rock — "You can tell right away that these guys are impressive because they're playing through these intensely complicated chord changes in 17/8, and you can tell that this song is different from that other song because that one was in 5/4 and used the octatonic scale extensively" — then this might not be something you ever really enjoy. But then there's a lot of other musical styles that have similarly tight stylistic constraints; and so if you're irritated about rap but not equally irritated about, say, traditional Irish music or straight-ahead non-Bela-Fleck-type bluegrass or straight-ahead early-Black-Flag-style hardcore, I'd argue that you're missing the point a bit.

And the other caveat is that you can recognize good flow and still disapprove strongly enough of the lyrics that you don't want to listen: "Okay, but I won't listen to him because I can't tune out the misogynistic stuff" or "Because I don't want to support the guy" or whatever. That's reasonable. To use the example of Eminem again: there's very little of his stuff that I can enjoy listening to, for exactly those reasons. Still — for all the guy was an asshole, I'm not going to try to deny that he had real musical and compositional skill.

*I mean, even Eminem's lyrics have redeeming value in my book — at least some of them do. But if you want someone who really does fit the "bitch motherfucker" misogynistic asshole stereotype, really just being crass and offensive for the sake of crassness and offensiveness, then he comes closer than any other mainstream artist I can think of. Maybe Odd Future, but I don't see them getting as much attention as he did — though maybe I'm just old and out of the loop now.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 1:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


It should be condensable to a paragraph or two. This doesn't seem like rocket science.

Why? Or, perhaps more accurately, why here, and why is it the obligation for people involved in topics outside a specific narrative to have to do "Topic 101" as it's been described before?

I mean, I don't go into topics about rocket science (which, incidentally, seems much simpler than a lot of things, these days), and ask what the big deal is about going to space when we could just simulate it. (Or, I suppose, another level deeper, go into a Kerbal Space Program topic, and ask why anyone would be interested in simulating rocket science)

If there's something I don't get, it's my obligation to learn (which, yes, involves reading links), rather than that of others to teach me.

That said, I say 'keep the links coming', since this is an absolutely fascinating hoard of curated information & experience here in this topic.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lastly, The Rub did mixes for the first 30 years of hiphop.

That is great! I've never seen The Rub before. It's like the zeitgeist tape from The Thick of It.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 1:16 PM on August 15, 2013


I feel like two voices are getting conflated here: there's a "i'm interested in this and if someone could sum up what's worth paying attention to, that would help me engage with it" voice and a "i'm not actually interested in engaging with this and my requests for explanations, etc. are at least partially rhetorical" voice. I felt like mrgrimm's request was firmly in the former camp and that he doesn't deserve the hard time he's being given - it's just a by-product of the latter camp also being well-represented in this discussion that we're viewing it that way. No?
posted by neuromodulator at 1:21 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


As pointed out by multiple people in multiple ways above when I first heard this verse a couple of days ago my thought was less that this was a diss track in the classic sense and more Hip Hop Is Dead take eleventy million. If it puts a fire under some folks then great, if not we'll always have more oddball misogyny with mind boggling production from Yeezy to go with our main course of my bling is bigger than your bling (on the cutting room floor production leftovers) from Hova every year or so for forever...

I believe that hip-hop has both benefited and suffered as a result of the Internet perhaps more than any other genre. You could always argue that it was a fractured genre, but when MTV stopped playing music and people's interests spread as a natural result of the wealth of stuff that was suddenly available it seems like the common/shared pop-culture view of hip-hop developed into this weird "oh that gangster shit that all sounds the same" that harms it to this day.

There's hip-hop out there that you—no matter who you are—are going to like. Anyone who thinks hip-hop hasn't changed in the last 40 years honestly hasn't been listening or even trying.
posted by togdon at 1:22 PM on August 15, 2013


Yeah, I listened to it, decided I liked neither the backing track nor the flow, was mildly entertained by the lyrics calling out everyone in the universe (Paul McCartney and Elvis!) and pleased it seems to have inspired a new generation of dis-tracks.

I don't like much mainstream rap - or underground rap, for that matter - but I figured out the gist of what the post was about and enjoyed it for what it was.

I don't see any classical or opera threads cluttered up with demands we justify the artistic merit of elitist music made for aristocratic tyrants as symbols of their power.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:27 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


neuromodulator - maybe. but to a certain extent it's their job to read the room, and yes read the discussion, and then maybe ask specific questions. a few of us had already discussed what was going on in this track, and the rap genius link was already here, so it's up to mrgrimm to tell us why that's not enough (or do a google search) if they want to be distinguished from the griefers.
posted by nadawi at 1:27 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, kinda. I think he stockpiles battle rhymes like a Tea Partier stockpiles ammo.

This reminds me of one of my favorite rhymes that I've heard recently, which actually addresses one of the topics at hand, the shallowness of some hip-hop lyrics:

"All I care about is money and the city that I'm from," that's dumb/
Isn't that exactly like the Tea Party platform?

posted by Bookhouse at 1:29 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


point taken, nadawi. at the same time, i think "can you sum up what's interesting here?" is a question that should never be discouraged - if it's sincere.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:30 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I imagine that if I barged into a classical music discussion and were all, "Mozart and Beethoven and Bernstein, they're all the same, right? Screechy violins and sometimes piano? I'm not sure music has evolved" I'd be shouted down, and rightfully so. No one's forcing anyone to listen to rap and hip-hop, but it seems really disingenous to demonstrate a mind already closed to the genre and demand people convince you otherwise.

That said, this might engage people: Yasiin Bey (the former Mos Def) performs with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. Oh hey, I guess there is some real musicality--like, actual music!--going on.

Also, he name-drops Kendrick Lamar as an inspiration of his.
posted by TwoStride at 1:30 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't see any explanation above of why I should care about the music. Very sorry to have stupidly used the word "advance" with respect to music - explain to me why this material is musically interesting.

Not sure why anyone here needs to explain/convince you to like a thing you don't like. You're not 5, we're not your parents, and it isn't broccoli.
posted by elizardbits at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2013 [48 favorites]


I live in a big city with a large African-American population, and I hear current hip-hop records every single day, whether I want to or not.

Here's the thing - when a radical musical form arrives, with a completely new aesthetic and rules, people are naturally going to resist it from pure lack of familiarity, but when it is also something that is identified with a minority, it becomes even harder to grasp for those outside that minority.

I keep saying that Hip Hop is the Jazz of our era - as revolutionary and as much of a radical break with what came before it in popular music. And the parallels extend to how it was received by the society at large. Like Jazz, it's been created by African Americans - and in a lot of the rejection of this music, there is the same echo of lack of understanding of "them", sometimes including frank racism (I'm NOT accusing anyone on Metafilter of that!)... Jazz was called "[racial slur] music". It was associated with lowlifes, and drug use and racially-tinged "they're taking our kids!" - because, well, having been originated by a marginalized group, yes, it had its share of pimps and prostitutes and drug use, and yes, white kids cottoned onto it because young kids cotton onto fresh exciting things easily.

Hip Hop got the same reception as Jazz once did (updated for different drugs and different crimes etc.), including the panic of "they're taking our kids!".

It's not enough to live in a city where "they" live too and hear booming car stereos. You have to listen a lot more, and you have to drop all preconceptions. This is challenging, when not only is the musical language different, but the whole cultural underpinnings are different. So I try not to condemn those who are utterly puzzled. I just say - look at history. Would you be OK with leaving Jazz off your musical lists? If no, then just think to yourself: this is the Jazz of our time, and I owe it to myself to get into it - isn't life grand, that we are living in such exciting and creative times?
posted by VikingSword at 1:34 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think he stockpiles battle rhymes like a Tea Partier stockpiles ammo.

You're not 5, we're not your parents, and it isn't broccoli.

This thread is turning into an amazing diss track.
posted by Jairus at 1:35 PM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


neuromodulator - sure, but part of appearing sincere is making any nod towards the fact that you've engaged in the thread thus far. like i said - people had already discussed meaning and impact before the question was asked, so it's really up to him to say what more he wants - which is to say, just coming in at the bottom of an already long thread with "can you sum up what's interesting here?" is pretty easy to read as insincere especially with all the "tell me why i should care about any hip hop made after 1991, huh!?" that preceded his question.
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on August 15, 2013


...and I owe it to myself to get into it

No, you don't. You have no responsibility to participate in any part of popular culture in which you have no interest.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:40 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


i agree, Going To Maine - but if someone is going to decide to opt out, i wish they'd opt out all the way and not fill threads with their opinions on overheard music they don't like.
posted by nadawi at 1:41 PM on August 15, 2013


MetaFilter: There is no remedial.metafilter.com.
posted by seyirci at 1:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone link to Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, m.A.A.d City yet? If you only listen to one rap album ever it wouldn't be a bad choice I think.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:43 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


In an annoying way, coming into a hip hop thread and crapping on the whole genre is a lot like what Kendrick Lamar is doing in his verse - except that he's using the genre in an artful way to simultaneously crap on and praise a lot of sacred cows both in the genre and in music generally.

And, although chest-thumping disses and callouts in rap verses and ensuing outrage and a flurry of responses really is business as usual in the hip hop world, this is notable just as it is notable when an artist in another genre does something huge that is both characteristic of the genre and groundbreaking in its audacity.

I grew up listening to late-night hip hop radio shows in Detroit in the early 80s when I was way too young to really get everything that was going on. The music grabbed me in the same way I was grabbed by punk, British New Wave, and plenty of other genres. It has been interesting to see the different directions hip hop has taken over the years and the various advancements in the genre. In general, I've usually been disappointed in the direction it's gone in the last 10 years or so. But it seems like there's at least one new hip hop development every year that is mind-blowing and ends up pushing the genre ahead in an interesting way.

Does Kendrick Lamar's verse here represent one such mind-blowing development? For me? I don't think so. But it's an audacious move within what has been established as the way hip hop culture works, so maybe it will represent a big moment in his career that will establish him as an enduring voice. We'll see, I guess.

Thanks for making the post, cashman. It's got great content and is really thorough. And thanks yeahwhatever for mentioning and linking to The Rub mixes. They are really amazing and a great way for long-time fans to go back in time with great tracks or for people who don't "get" hip hop to figure out what it's really all about.
posted by The World Famous at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eminem — one of the few big name famous rappers who really has, no exaggeration, built all his lyrics and his whole stage persona around crudeness and shock value in the way you're complaining about* — wrote stuff with seriously intricate rhythms and rhyme structures and patterns of assonance, and delivered them with incredibly subtle timing and really solid vocal technique. If you think of him as a scat singer, or as giving the vocal equivalent of a drum solo — and tune out the linguistic content of what he's saying — he's good.

l_y: Here's an example of what "Now there are two. There are two _______." is talking about - Eminem and Rhyme
posted by Jacob G at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Anyone link to Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, M.a.a.d City yt yet? If you only listen to one rap album ever it wouldn't be a bad choice I think.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:43 PM on August 15 [2 favorites +] [!]


In the first instant I read "over and over" instead of "ever" and still certainly agreed
posted by J0 at 1:45 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had the thought: Wouldn't pop music be 1000x more enjoyable if all the songs, instead of being about like dancing and partying, were instead like hip hop and were all "I can pop better than Miley, that Miley's such a poser, my synths make her synths sound like a bulldozer" or "Hello my name is Katy Perry and I kissed a girl but it wasn't Ke$ha or Britney. All those other divas want to come to my show and Gaga's all Gaga over my beats in Logic Pro." Or whatever.

I think you just described Pink's career.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:45 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I grew up listening to late-night hip hop radio shows in Detroit in the early 80s

Did WJLB have the Roll Call in the early 80's or was that more of a 90's thing?

For those not from the metro-Detroit area, WJLB, ("Where Hip-Hop Lives") used to have a feature called The Roll Call, where they would have listeners call in and rap over a beat. It was so fun to listen to because one minute you could get a local prodigy, and the next you could have some nitwit who stutters for 8 bars. Either way, I used to love it, and I was so depressed when they discontinued it.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:51 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


One of the ways in which hip hop in particular has benefited from the advent of the internet, IMO, is the access listeners have to international MCs and crews. I know I talk a lot about Spanish and South American artists in these threads, and artists like Hich-Kas and the California-via-Iran duo The Frontline are pretty badass, too. Yeah, there's some boring rap out there, but since you have the opportunity to hear what's happening in Chile or Iran, why not take that chance?
posted by pxe2000 at 1:55 PM on August 15, 2013


I understand the comparison between Jazz and Hiphop from a sociological perspective, but hip hop as a musical form doesn't hold a candle to jazz in terms of innovation, complexity, demanding musicianship, etc., in purely musical terms.
posted by stenseng at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


...to you.
posted by nadawi at 1:57 PM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


hit post too soon...a lot of the jazz greats couldn't do what the great producers do. people say that making beats, and sampling, and remixing is just pushing buttons on their computer, but if it were that easy, we'd all be millionaires.
posted by nadawi at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2013


I understand the comparison between Jazz and Hiphop from a sociological perspective, but hip hop as a musical form doesn't hold a candle to jazz in terms of innovation, complexity, demanding musicianship, etc., in purely musical terms.

I understand why you say this and am not even sure I disagree, but the gap between the greats and everyone else, and the comparative rarity of the greats, suggests that it's at least possible you're wrong. It might be harder to quantify but ... there's something going on.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:59 PM on August 15, 2013


Oh come on... Except that a lot of the jazz greats made the beats and tracks that the samples from classic hip hop cuts came from in the first place. Bob James, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, James Brown, etc. etc.
posted by stenseng at 2:00 PM on August 15, 2013


And for fun, another stellar bit of lyricism from this year.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:02 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not saying that there aren't artists working in the hip hop idiom that couldn't hang musically with the jazz greats, but I'd posit that that would be a diminishingly small number. I'd also argue that from a technical musicianship standpoint, one could very likely get up to speed as a producer of hip hop with far greater ease than to develop the technical mastery needed to be proficient in the jazz idiom.
posted by stenseng at 2:03 PM on August 15, 2013


Yes, rap music includes the musicianship of jazz and soul musicians. Isn't it brilliant how rap producers manage to incorporate sounds from great artists of the past while simultaneously making something new and different out of it?
posted by chrchr at 2:04 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


and there and entire movement of not using any samples and creating all of it from scratch.

i mean, it takes straight up musical prowess to make something as beautiful and wrenching as 808s and heartbreak.
posted by nadawi at 2:04 PM on August 15, 2013


Did WJLB have the Roll Call in the early 80's or was that more of a 90's thing?

When I was a kid (we're talking late elementary and middle school), it was all about staying up all night listening to the Electrifying Mojo on WJLB and then sneaking my dad's nice headphones back to the living room in the morning before he noticed.
posted by The World Famous at 2:05 PM on August 15, 2013


Yes, it is brilliant. I'm not knocking or dismissing hip hop, I'm just saying, from a musicianship standpoint, it takes a lot more skill and technical ability to play jazz than to make hip hop tracks. Same as it takes far less technical skill to make three chord garage rock, as to play jazz. I still love three chord garage rock, but technically, it's not comparable.
posted by stenseng at 2:06 PM on August 15, 2013


stenseng: I don't listen to hip-hop. I have never tried to get into hip-hop.

With that utter-lack-of-background, I will still say that your statement makes no sense, especially since people described, upthread, in great detail, greater detail than they should have had to, what exactly is demanding and complex and innovative in hiphop. Just to focus on the "demanding musicianship" part: It's all in words, rhyming, word-rhythm, alliteration, delivery, speech- and breath-control. I don't quite know about well-known jazz musicians, but I'll go out on a limb here and claim that Evgeny Kissin or Maurizio Pollini---two greats in my adopted corner of the musical world---have none of those skills, nor have they ever tried to develop them.

The problem with throwing around phrases like "purely musical terms" is that they will turn the next available corner and run smack into the brick wall with the words "DEFINE MUSIC" on them. I used to blithely say "rap's not music" because, well, of rhythm, melody, and harmony, what little I heard sounded like it had just the first out of three. Yeah. By that definition, many things aren't music. But they are all things that people listen to, so in a way... they are... music?

It probably wasn't coincidental that I was a teenager when I said things like that, too.

On preview: I see that many people have beaten me to much punchier punches.
posted by seyirci at 2:07 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner: It's been about 35 years since hip-hop became mainstream. By the time rock was 35 years old - call it 1990 - it had spawned many subgenres that were commercially viable, yet sounded very little like what Elvis or Bill Haley were doing back in 1955.

...

35 years on, I don't see that hip-hop has achieved comparable levels of stylistic or sonic diversity, and, because of the constraints mentioned earlier, I have serious doubts whether it ever will. As a listener, I'm interested in the qualities of the music as music, and not in deconstructing the performers' identities or their relationships to each other, so the sort of thing invitapriore is talking about just doesn't matter all that much to me.


I now really, really want to do a mega-post on the history and evolution of hip-hop. But I won't, because 1) that's not a mega-post, that's a series of encyclopedias, and 2), I'm sure someone has already done part of that work, so I'll go looking for it. If nothing else, there's the history of hip-hop mixes, but that's just the highlights. And to point to the Wikipedia list of Hip Hop genres is a start, but it's also a bit lazy.

Hip-hop, like any genre that has been around for more than 3 weeks and has moved beyond a couple kids in a garage, has fragmented, morphed, evolved, co-opted other movements, and changed quite a bit. If you're only looking at the lyrical content of bitches, hoes, mo' money mo' money mo' money and the disses, you're scratching pretty thin there. Houston got chopped and screwed, there's west coast G-funk (OG!) and weird beat (new hotness) stuff, there's hip-hop that has become localized to just about every country on the planet, where artists put their own local spin on things, and places where hip-hop has forked into new, distinct genres like grime (UK, mixing hip-hop with UK club culture and sounds) and Hiplife (Ghana mix of hip-hop and highlife).

If you still like beat-driven music, there's probably a form of hip-hop you'll like. And if you don't like MCs at all, there are those who focus solely on the instrumental side of things, taking it beyond backing beats.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:09 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


neuromodulator: " I felt like mrgrimm's request was firmly in the former camp and that he doesn't deserve the hard time he's being given - it's just a by-product of the latter camp also being well-represented in this discussion that we're viewing it that way."

I'm also going to be a bit dense here and also ask about why this is such a big deal. Forgive me if a lot of the discussion upthread has been a bit (ie. completely) over my head. I've read through most of the comments, and I'm still not quite sure what's going on here (this entire thread feels like one huge derail). Rap and hip hop are admittedly not my preferred genres, but this is evidently A Big Deal, and I'd love to learn more.

As far as I can tell, most of "the reaction" to Kendrick's verse took place over Twitter, which isn't particularly great for those of us who are looking for a bit more context or background. Meanwhile, most of the linked "longform" pieces seem to be saying "OMG, big controversy!" without explaining how or why the verse was controversial, instead choosing to focus on the laundry list of celebrities who prepared 140-character tweets in response to Kendrick's verse.

There's definitely been a trend in the media of overusing the word "controversial" without actually bothering to explain the controversy*. I'm assuming that the blogosphere is falling prey to the same thing here (or just failing to cater to those of us who aren't particularly well versed in the subject). A little background reading would be greatly appreciated. (*Take a shot every time Fox says "controversial healthcare law")

So, I guess I'll posit my own question: As far as I know, callouts have been a part of the rap canon for quite a long time. Why was this one particularly audacious/controversial/offensive/great? Is this just a big deal because callouts/battles fell by the wayside after the big hip hop artists were assimilated into the recording industry cabal? Something else?
posted by schmod at 2:09 PM on August 15, 2013


OK, let me clarify, because that last thing I said clearly is problematic.

What I meant was: I'm not living in some small town in the middle of Idaho or North Dakota, isolated from hip-hop and African-American culture in general. Even without actively choosing to, I hear plenty of current, commercial hip-hop stuff every day at work, in stores, restaurants, offices, coming out of people's windows and cars, etc.

However, not all my exposure is involuntary: I've got couple of hip-hop stations among my radio presets, and will check out tracks on YouTube, SoundCloud, or elsewhere online if someone recommends something, I see a mention online that seems interesting, or whatever. I've already bookmarked some things from this thread to listen to later.

No, I don't count any of this as deep listening, and I'm not deluded into thinking that it's a comprehensive, or even necessarily representative, sample of what's going on throughout the totality of the music. But I nevertheless have formed some impressions of the current state of commercial hip-hop, based on stuff I hear every day.

Bash me for a bad turn of phrase if you must, because it was a stupid thing to say, but I'm not a hater. As I mentioned in the original comment, I bought a fair number of hip-hop records for about 15 years, so I'm not one of those "it's not real music" types. But I did lose interest in it in the early 1990s, and was attempting to articulate some of the reasons why.

I get the point about production styles continually evolving, being able to date a record within a couple of years based on its sonic characteristics, and all that. And I'd agree that production techniques are one area where some genuine advances have been made.

But to me, it feels like surface-level stuff, window dressing obscuring the fact that there's still a relatively limited range of musical ideas underneath it all. Saying that hip-hop has evolved because now someone is rhyming over a sample from an indie rock band or EDM producer instead of James Brown or P-Funk kind of misses the point; to me, it's the same basic idea, just with different component parts.

As for beat-making vs. traditional instruments - there's no doubt that the ability to use electronic instruments effectively and creatively is a real skill. But the relative ease of use of those tools also lowers the barriers of entry considerably, and not always to the music's benefit. To the extent that hip-hop musicians eschew actual instruments and traditional musical knowledge, they would seem to be limiting their own potential range of expression.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 2:11 PM on August 15, 2013


And then Herbie Hancock got Grandmixer D.St to play on one of his records, and Miles Davis asked Easy Moe Bee to produce one of his. Talkin' all that jazz.
posted by box at 2:12 PM on August 15, 2013


"Hey black people: you don't need this, because you're black. White people need it though, because they're white."

Yeah, that's a totally fair representation and not at all weirdly defensive.

White people please do not recite the chorus.
posted by klangklangston at 2:12 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm just saying, from a musicianship standpoint, it takes a lot more skill and technical ability to play jazz than to make hip hop tracks.

questlove is a good example of what a silly argument this is.
posted by nadawi at 2:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


"it was all about staying up all night listening to the Electrifying Mojo on WJLB and then sneaking my dad's nice headphones back to the living room in the morning before he noticed."

I've looked around and can't find them, but I would pay adult money for Electrifying Mojo sets.
posted by klangklangston at 2:15 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the things about rap is how incredible it manages to be within very narrow constraints it places upon itself. This is about a beat and a guy saying shit and we end up with this and this Obviously there are historical reasons for those constraints, kids had turntables and their parents record collection. I bet at least hip-hop artists could play whatever jazz they wanted but they choose to work within this framework.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:16 PM on August 15, 2013


Every time I've made it through more comments to the comment box, someone's said what I would've said in response to one thing or another (a good thing!). So fuck it, here's Kendrick Lamar being interviewed by Nardwuar.
posted by sparkletone at 2:17 PM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't know a damn thing about rap, but I've been trying to learn a little. But, you know what? When I hear a really clever rhyme in rap or hip-hop, it reminds me of my favorite kind of poetry, which is to say, the old-fashioned kind. Where the poets really played around with the tools of rhyme and, more importantly, meter. A poem that has really tricky, convoluted meter, or extremely controlled and measured meter, is my favorite thing ever. And modern poetry mostly refuses to give me that, but a lot of rap totally revels in playing with meter. Like this, from the list of responses: "I speak the truth, these other n----s got a lying tongue/So if there's levels to this sh-- I'm on the highest one." I LOVE that. It trips off the tongue. Yeah it's full of swearing. But it reminder me more of the duel from the beginning of Cyrano de Bergerac than anything else.

(Also: I have never heard a metal song that I liked. It sounds like screaming to me. But I get that some people love it, and I assume they understand it better than I do, and I don't judge them for listening to it; instead, I assume that the error is mine.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:17 PM on August 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


I think it's educational to think about how rap music began. According to the founders from the Bronx, the basic idea was that you'd have parties and DJs would play records, and MCs would get on the mic and talk over the instrumental parts. Originally, the talking was just making announcements, like so-and-so's mom was there to pick them up and stuff like that. Gradually, the MCing became more elaborate, in the way that we're all familiar with. The thing to think about is that this art form started with people speaking over commercial records right off the shelf played more or less as-is. Chuck D. said more recently that "hip hop is rapping over music." This is kind of a difficult thing to grasp, but it's significant and I think it's where a lot of the disconnect comes from. Rap doesn't really treat musical originality the same way as other genres. The same way a DJ playing a record at a party incorporates sound from other artists is kinda the same way that sampled music appears in rap. And I know that we're not even arguing about sampling here, but this thing relates to this entire discussion of musical sophistication. It also provides an example of how the aesthetic and creative language of rap is radically different from other genres in pop. It simply doesn't mean the same way as other kinds of music.

You can see for yourself how this works in surviving tapes from early hip hop parties.
posted by chrchr at 2:17 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm just saying, from a musicianship standpoint, it takes a lot more skill and technical ability to play jazz than to make hip hop tracks. Same as it takes far less technical skill to make three chord garage rock, as to play jazz.

Oooh, challenge accepted.

Freestyling, from the MC side of hip-hop, is live improvisation, but you have to care about the words, just like in jazz, you have to care about the artist's style of improv. Some jazz is just "noodly noodly" to me, just as some freestyles are just "bitch this and suck my dick that." Then there are DJs who mix beats on the fly, DJs who scratch to make a record or ten into something new, and folks who really, truly play the MPC. I can't pull up videos at the moment, and only videos do their work justice. Well, that, and knowing how hard it is to accurately beatmatch, scratch, and create a rhythm or track from individual elements and buttons.

The of course, there are live hip-hop bands. Check out brass hop, it's OSSUM!


Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner: But to me, it feels like surface-level stuff, window dressing obscuring the fact that there's still a relatively limited range of musical ideas underneath it all. Saying that hip-hop has evolved because now someone is rhyming over a sample from an indie rock band or EDM producer instead of James Brown or P-Funk kind of misses the point; to me, it's the same basic idea, just with different component parts.

What has changed in rock? The parts are all still the same. Add a couple more FX pedals, change out the drums, fuck with the pitch of the guitar change the number of strings, "it's the same basic idea," right?

The only thing you can really change is what you do with them. Successfully blending in a new style of samples (see: cloud rap) and you've created a new sound. Change up the beat pattern on a drum, new sound. What else can you do? Play in a different scale?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:18 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


If there's something I don't get, it's my obligation to learn (which, yes, involves reading links),

The links were weak.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:19 PM on August 15, 2013


> I understand the comparison between Jazz and Hiphop from a sociological perspective, but hip hop as a musical form doesn't hold a candle to jazz in terms of innovation, complexity, demanding musicianship, etc., in purely musical terms.

Oh for chrissake. I'm a huge jazz fan (got sucked in by Jelly Roll, splashed around with Pops, the Count, and the Duke, came to terms with Bird, fell hard for hard bop, and finally broke through into free and everything since) and pretty much totally ignorant about rap (though I can name some records I love), and I'm telling you straight that's a dumbass statement you should be embarrassed to have made. You should know that that's exactly what people familiar with classical music used to say about jazz (and often still do). You prefer jazz to hiphop? Welcome to the club. The difference between you and me is that I know it's just a preference, and if I'd lived a different life I could be as deeply into rap as the many people sharing their love and knowledge here, and I respect their knowledge of the music they love as much as I respect mine of jazz (and am grateful to them for sharing it).

We're all ignorant of almost everything; we can either entrench ourselves in our little corner, wrap our arms around the few things we know, and pretend everything else is inferior, or we can be open to the world around us and learn to appreciate a few more things even if we'll never be an expert in them.

In short, thanks for the post, cashman, and ignore the haters.
posted by languagehat at 2:22 PM on August 15, 2013 [44 favorites]


For those interested in the history of rap from the business side, I thought this was a pretty excellent book.
posted by Jacob G at 2:25 PM on August 15, 2013


The links were weak.

Your mother wears combat boots. Hey, it was about the breadth of the response, not the depth. The whole point was that almost everybody in the rap world is talking about it. Not 3 people are talking in-depth about it. But if you want to watch a 19 minute discussion of the verse, go for it.
posted by cashman at 2:28 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The discussion of Jazz vs. Hip-Hop is ... baffling. I don't have the time to even scratch the surface here, but take this example of J Dilla turning using a Stan Getz track and riffing on it to make this.

Hip-Hop in many ways is just one of the things that jazz evolved into... Go dig up Miles Davis and asks him if he prefers Kenny G to DJ Spooky.
posted by togdon at 2:29 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


The difference between you and me is that I know it's just a preference, and if I'd lived a different life I could be as deeply into rap as the many people sharing their love and knowledge here, and I respect their knowledge of the music they love as much as I respect mine of jazz (and am grateful to them for sharing it)

I think you're presuming a lot about my knowledge and appreciation of hip hop, and my background and understanding of the comparitive skillsets needed to work in the relevent idioms.

I like hiphop, I dig Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, love the Beasties, down with Rev. Run, Mix, KRS One, Spooky, Blackalicious, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Kool Keith, Roots etc. etc. etc...

I've also, as a musician and an amateur producer, tried my hand at playing in a jazz idiom, on several instruments, and mastering the tools of hip hop (samplers, MPC, assorted DAWs, beatmaking, etc.)

From a music theory standpoint, I find Jazz to be a much more complex and technically demanding form. Maybe that's still just my opinion, man, but it's not an entirely uninformed one.
posted by stenseng at 2:33 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


mastering the tools of hip hop (samplers, MPC, assorted DAWs, beatmaking, etc.)

I mean a camera is easier to use than oil paint but I'd never say "photography isn't art."
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:35 PM on August 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Nice verse.

The article posted above has an interesting point: He puts himself on hip-hop’s Mount Rushmore alongside Jay Z, Nas, Andre 3000 and Eminem. Meanwhile, the most visible artists left off of Kendrick's roll call are largely Southern, e.g. Lil Wayne, T.I., and Rick Ross. These are surprising omissions for an artist who has talked extensively about his early love for the Hot Boys. Nicki Minaj is probably the most notable of his left-out peers, especially since she's a New York rapper. Once again, women in rap get short shrift.

Sort of reminds me of Wayne's lines in A Milli: "They say I'm rappin like Big, J and 2Pac / Andre 3000 / Where is Erykah Badu at / Who dat?" although Erykah and Andre 3000 had a kid together, so this line has a bit more going on underneath and is probably a bit of a jab at Andre - but I always felt like he was also making a point about women rappers getting the short shrift in this verse.

I do find it interesting that he doesn't mention Wayne or any of the Young Money crowd (except Drake, who may or may not even be with YMCMB at this point).
posted by k8lin at 2:36 PM on August 15, 2013


And for fun, another stellar bit of lyricism from this year.

Good god. I hadn't heard that. Black Thought (comes in at 1:35) absolutely destroyed that verse.
posted by cashman at 2:37 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


questlove is a good example of what a silly argument this is.

Turntablism is another good one, both because of the obvious reason and also because it speaks to one of the flaws in a lot of those hip-hop-vs-jazz comparisons: often, they're coming from someone who knows a lot more about jazz than they do about hip-hop. And comparing Duke Ellington or Miles Davis to whoever's hot this minute is like comparing Biggie and Nas to Kenny G.

Take a cat like Kendrick Lamar--he's someone who's producing some of the best current work within the most mainstream, commercial part of the genre. Does that description make him sound more like a John Coltrane, or more like a Michael Buble?
posted by box at 2:39 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Black Thought is way underrated. That cypher with Em and Mos Def I linked upthread he definitely held his own. Mos went nuts and named like every street in Brooklyn too.

I was wondering about Wayne. He could have put him on the goat list too. I think nobody wants to mention Wayne because everyone assumes his is going to die any day now,
posted by Ad hominem at 2:40 PM on August 15, 2013


Spin | Kendrick Lamar's 'Control' Verse: Not as Impressive as It Seems:
Tucked around that unlikely declaration is an incredibly safe act of maintaining the status quo for what constitutes "good" rapping. New York hip-hop is briefly challenged and affronted here, but ultimately, it is also further mythologized. Also, the lack of Southern MCs in Kendrick's rundown (save for Big K.R.I.T.) is particularly egregious. Kendrick is constructing a narrative here: Not only did he unleash the verse of the year, dawg, but he's essentially told listeners which mainstream-approved rappers they should care about. He might as well be editing XXL here, planning a cover story titled "#NEWLYRICISM."
Less eloquently, I'm just finding the verse extremely boring in a kind of 'come on feel the scansion' way that hasn't really grated for me with Kendrick Lamar before – probably just something I hadn't noticed properly and can't unnotice now. It feels like homework.
posted by carbide at 2:40 PM on August 15, 2013


I mean a camera is easier to use than oil paint but I'd never say "photography isn't art."

Neither would I. I never said hip hop wasn't music. I said that taken as a genre, from a technical musicianship standpoint, I didn't think hip hop and jazz were comparable.
posted by stenseng at 2:41 PM on August 15, 2013


VikingSword, you must have missed the part of my comment where I mentioned buying hip-hop records regularly for about 15 years. A little less condescension would be nice.

filthy light thief, thanks for a more constructive comment re: various sub-genres. Some I've heard (West Coast OK; chopped & screwed, not so much), others I apparently have not. There are obvious parallels to the fragmenting of rock into folk-rock, surf-rock, blues-rock, psychedelic rock, and so on, but those distinctions seem more clear-cut to me. I suspect it's a generational thing. I'm not trying to deny anyone else's experience here, just reporting my own.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 2:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


History will show the biggest diss here was to Big Sean. He'll go down in hip hop history as that guy in the first verse of that Kendrick Lamar diss track in '13.
posted by cmfletcher at 2:43 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think nobody wants to mention Wayne because, in terms of getting on that GOAT shortlist, he'd probably be better off dying than putting out another record.
posted by box at 2:43 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think nobody wants to mention Wayne because everyone assumes his is going to die any day now,

For me, Wayne was incredible for a surprisingly long time given the sheer amount he was putting out for a bit there... But then he kinda started coasting and these days can just be counted on to be a generator of INCREDIBLY gross misogyny. Like incredibly gross even by hip hop standards.

History will show the biggest diss here was to Big Sean. He'll go down in hip hop history as that guy in the first verse of that Kendrick Lamar diss track in '13.

This isn't the first time Big Sean's been blown out of the water on his own track.

Also, speaking of Nicki, her omission from the Kendrick verse and shit hot guest verses that get a lot of attention (which Minaj has had a LOT of), I thought this exploration of Nicki's place in hip hop these days and what, if anything, Kendrick not mentioning her means to be pretty thought-provoking.
posted by sparkletone at 2:47 PM on August 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also: I have never heard a metal song that I liked. It sounds like screaming to me.

Maybe try coming at it from a slightly different angle than might be expected. Like this. Or this.

The discussion of jazz v. hip-hop is interesting, actually. Sampling Stan Getz and actually playing like Stan Getz are simply not even close to analogous. Instrumental jazz musicianship is a culture so focused on the minutiae of technical prowess that it very often crosses the line into ruining the music. Thankfully, hip-hop music production is not like that. The tools are easier to use, the culture is not as anal, and the art - which is truly art - can be created on a very basic setup without the kind of instrumental mastery and technical proficiency demanded by jazz generally - but that's largely a function of the culture of jazz, and not the demands of the music itself.

That said, I have friends who are professional jazz musicians who do hip-hop session work, precisely because their level of musicianship contributes to and makes great hip-hop possible. ?uestlove is a great example of an individual who is very technically proficient in playing an instrument and who dedicates that proficiency to creating brilliant hip-hop music. I would argue that musicianship on his level is critical to creating hip-hop on the artistic level of what he has done. No, it is not necessary to have Herbie Hancock-level instrumental proficiency in order to make a simple synth line or program an MPC - but it sure helps. And when a producer goes in the studio to create what will be a high-profile hip-hop album, you can bet the producer and the other musicians involved will include people with that level of technical proficiency and talent. And the vocalists display similar proficiency in their own area, which is lyrical and vocal talent.

I mean seriously, watch that ?uestlove drum solo and then come back and tell me hip hop doesn't have the chops for jazz. Come on, now.
posted by The World Famous at 2:48 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I understand the comparison between Jazz and Hiphop from a sociological perspective, but hip hop as a musical form doesn't hold a candle to jazz in terms of innovation, complexity, demanding musicianship, etc., in purely musical terms.

"Innovation and complexity" - this is one of those situations where it's blatantly wrong but also clear that it comes from not actually having investigated the music, so how do you argue with someone in that situation. Yeah, innovation and complexity is not something that Hip Hop is lacking in compared to Jazz.

As to demanding musicianship - people have spoken of flow and so forth, but I'd rather point out something a bit different. The aim of art is to move people and give them aesthetic experiences. You can accomplish that with a great violin solo, but you can also accomplish that with a great electronic track. There is some incredibly innovative, complex and brilliant electronic music being created by people who don't have a fraction of the ability to play the violin that Isaac Stern had - but so what? They are creating fantastic moving music just as great in its impact. There is as much brilliance and skill and understanding of music in creating an electronic track as there is in playing any instrument.

In fact, "demanding musicianship" as a criterion of brilliant music is silly on its face, in any genre of music. There have been great, fantastic, genius level composers who had mediocre instrumental skills - and yet were innovative and complex and so forth. And of course the opposite - brilliant performers who composed little of note. There is a real disconnect here.

But the basic misunderstanding is in regards to what Hip Hop is - it's a musical revolution that enlarges the world of music into new territory just as Jazz did. It re-defines the scope of music and what's done in it just as much as Jazz did. As just one example, jazz brought something along that was never much stressed for example in Classical music - improvisation. For someone who has only a Classical music reference frame, improvisation may seem to have little value - but it is a huge way in which Jazz brilliance is expressed, and not understanding that makes you think it has little value. It's playing by different, not worse rules. The universe of music has been enlarged.

The universe of sport can accommodate great skill and strength and speed. But it would be silly to say, "hey, Carl Lewis technique with the tennis racquet is vastly inferior to that of Agassi!". What Carl Lewis excels at is along a different line of skill. Playing the saxophone like Charlie Parker is not what MF Doom excels at, and it's not the point.
posted by VikingSword at 2:49 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't know shit about southern rap but who could he put in his callout list. Waka, Gucci aren't lyricists. maybe T.I.?

Also people forget Pusha T is from the south.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:50 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Killer Mike.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:51 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Like incredibly gross even by hip hop standards.

I'm actually fascinated by how disgusting he is. I, too, was thinking about Minaj and how she wasn't there even though she is all over popular hip hop on the radio lately.
posted by jessamyn at 2:52 PM on August 15, 2013


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PACK IT UP SELL IT TRIPLE PRICE FUCK THE BOOKS

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posted by Teakettle at 2:52 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've played jazz with professional jazz musicians, some of whom are now internationally-known. I'm not a jazz musician, but I know what it takes to be one and I've had plenty of experience trying my best to keep up with cats who really blow, to put it mildly. A couple years back, I had the privilege of sitting quietly on the sofa in the control room of one of the most famous recording studios in the world watching one of the biggest hip-hop producers in the world work with session musicians to produce a track for on of the biggest hip-hop artists in the world. I will tell you right now that anyone saying hip-hop production and instrumental performance does not require the same level of musicianship and skill as jazz has no idea what they're talking about. Hip-hop certainly sounds easier than jazz. It is not.
posted by The World Famous at 3:00 PM on August 15, 2013 [19 favorites]


Happy 18th birthday Chief Keef!
posted by gucci mane at 3:02 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Kinda funny people getting mad he didn't mention their favorite rapper. I'm annoyed he didn't mention Joey Bada$$ or Danny Brown. I guess he counts them as too new.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:02 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


filthy light thief: "Then there are DJs who mix beats on the fly, DJs who scratch to make a record or ten into something new, and folks who really, truly play the MPC. I can't pull up videos at the moment, and only videos do their work justice. "

So true. Here's a good example: Jel MPC freestyle
posted by joedan at 3:04 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


another MPC example: jeremy ellis!
posted by raihan_ at 3:08 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it'll shut the fuck up about jazz and instrumentalism, here is hip hop that is virtuosic instrumentally: Live Human, Kid Koala, more Kid Koala, DJ Shadow. Most of that's pretty old (10 years or so), but there's a ton more turntablism out there that's incredibly complex and multilayered.
posted by klangklangston at 3:08 PM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Finally the response we been waiting for.

RiFF RAFF - Ballin' Outta Control (THE NEON RESPONSE)

Jody is on a completely different level.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:09 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Speaking of people on MPCs, Exile. Not even the best video. Pretty sure there's one where he live samples off of a radio.
posted by gucci mane at 3:11 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, Scarface, Luda, UGK, Andre 3000, Big KRIT, SANT, Yelawolf, depending on your definition of lyricism, some of the best material is coming out of the south (or the DC/Virginia/Maryland area). My love of KRIT should be a secret to nobody, and I can only recommend his music.

KRIT has these great moments where he transitions from spoken word to rap, and it works so well. From the same mixtape we have this track, one of KRIT's most serious social critiques, somewhat unusual for his comments on the church (KRIT has some fantastic material about the role of spirituality in the South.) KRIT here walks us through a relationship on the rocks, going into greater depth than we are used to. Here he makes an extended, wandering poetic exploration of his life and the things which keep him up at night. It's just a beautiful song, the Al Green sample could not be used better. More songs to his girl; KRIT's songs about the women in his life are really special. Another track which begins with a spoken poem.

Anyway, this is why KRIT is my favorite rapper of all time, at least in terms of his soul. For other reasons I love Pusha and Rakim Allah, the god MC, fiend of the microphone.
posted by Teakettle at 3:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


In thinking about what's changed over the last 20 years, and what may have caused me to lose interest in mainstream hip-hop, something occurred to me, and I'm just going to throw it out there.

For the first 15 years or so - say mid-to late 70s up to 1990 or thereabouts - hip-hop was made by people whose primary or formative musical experiences necessarily were of other genres of music - soul, funk, jazz, gospel, whatever. They couldn't have grown up listening to hip-hop, because it didn't really exist yet.

But by the early 1990s, it definitely was possible for a hip-hop performer to have grown up listening to nothing but hip-hop. Has this had an effect on the music, and if so, what?

And one thing re: musicianship: One difference between a hip-hop rhythm section and a jazz rhythm section is that the former tends to emphasize repetition and groove, the latter invention and variations on a basic pulse. But not every jazz musician can groove convincingly; there are plenty of lame soul-, rock-, funk- and fusion-jazz records from otherwise good jazz players as evidence of that. Personally, I find playing bebop a lot harder than locking into a one-chord funk vamp, but YMMV.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 3:23 PM on August 15, 2013


The World Famous: "I will tell you right now that anyone saying hip-hop production and instrumental performance does not require the same level of musicianship and skill as jazz has no idea what they're talking about. Hip-hop certainly sounds easier than jazz. It is not."

I alluded to this above, but I think this is also a result of us being haunted by the specter of Western art music in terms of how we think about these things. We tend to devalue the components of music that can't be depicted on paper.
posted by invitapriore at 3:27 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner: But by the early 1990s, it definitely was possible for a hip-hop performer to have grown up listening to nothing but hip-hop. Has this had an effect on the music, and if so, what?

Denzel Curry, "N64"
Moshin' to nostalgic rock shit, I'm Brock bitch
Semi-automatic might blast like Team Rocket
Wait, and tell 'em I'm mixing that Slayer with that 2Pac shit


It's still possible to listen to nothing but hip-hop and to get influences from the rappers you're listening to, whether it's an obscure sample from something that isn't "traditionally" sampled in hip-hop or something a rapper says.
posted by gucci mane at 3:28 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree, Nat, and I think the jazz influence is really clear in eg Nas, whose flow is incredibly musical and impossible to imitate. His rhythmic flexibility enables him to say things in a rhyme which would be literally impossible for anyone else. In terms of this one quality, Nas is still the king. Nas' father was a jazz and blues musician.

However, Kendrick approaches him in this regard - but clearly is not as jazz influenced (his awkward weirdness just doesn't sound like it comes from the jazz ethic). So we're seeing that this sophistication can come from other sources.

Danny Brown grew up listening to Detroit house music, and his flow is one of the best you will hear (on his earlier mixtapes he actually channels Nas a lot, fwiw). I actually wonder what the musical backgrounds of these rappers are; from what I gather, most of them have pretty eclectic taste, certainly not limited to rap.
posted by Teakettle at 3:29 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I just want to take a moment to say I like Fat Trel.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 3:29 PM on August 15, 2013


[Flag and reload and move on folks.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:31 PM on August 15, 2013


I alluded to this above, but I think this is also a result of us being haunted by the specter of Western art music in terms of how we think about these things. We tend to devalue the components of music that can't be depicted on paper.

Along those same lines, I think there's a tendency to assume that the harder it is to "get" music, the better it must be. I tend to think the opposite is true.
posted by The World Famous at 3:31 PM on August 15, 2013


She listened to hip-hop, I listened to heavy metal. I was complaining that all of the songs on the albums she made me listen to had a maximum of maybe 3 topics - money, bitches, and how great they are at rapping. I started to list off the topics on just one Metallica album, and she jumped in with, "Oh, don't even try to bring Metallica into this!"

Metallica have only three topics as well. Those are, in order of least-used to most-used:

3) That which I desire
2) Fire
1) Fuel
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:32 PM on August 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


Dude, this Fat Trel track blows my mind, mostly because of Harry Fraud.

Also, Megafly, the sentiment you express with that comment is in a nutshell the reason why we dread adulthood when as children we know better. As I age I find that my heart's joy and the forms it takes are the only discussions worthy of me or the people I like being around.
posted by Teakettle at 3:33 PM on August 15, 2013


I grew up listening to the "alternative" radio stations (so, basically, grunge music and nostalgia for 80s goth) but at some point decided that as a musician interested in improving my writing and playing skills I needed to become familiar with as many genres as possible, especially the genres I had dismissed out-of-hand. So one year I decided to spend all my free time either listening to metal or hip-hop.

First off, I didn't have to look very far, or scratch very deep, to find multitudes of hip-hop that shattered my notions about the genre. It's an incredibly modern and exciting field of music. It's quite difficult to keep pace with the state of the art. When I stop to think about how hip-hop continues to evolve I'm a bit daunted. And more to the point: I did this listening experiment a couple of years ago and I'm not even remotely well-versed (heh) in current hip-hop but right now, but without even trying or using Google I can name over a dozen hip-hop artists or groups who rarely if ever discuss money and/or bitches, and are shockingly moderate in their utilization of diss tracks.

Listening to metal was a similar experience. The field is wide and brimming (also I've learned, apparently, that I'm really into stoner/sludge metal. That was unexpected.).

Hewing closer to the topic at hand, It's a great track and it's really cool to see how its shaking things up across the hip-hop community.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:36 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I understand that sometimes when people listen to a great vocal delivery, they wonder why the instrumental part isn't more appealing. Sometimes when I play Tetris, I wonder what are the motives of the L-block. What did they do to you, L-block? WHY ARE YOU SILENT?
posted by ersatz at 3:38 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Teakettle, that's some wild shit right there.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 3:46 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Listening to metal was a similar experience. The field is wide and brimming (also I've learned, apparently, that I'm really into stoner/sludge metal. That was unexpected.).

YES! I'm listening to a whole bunch of Ufomammut and Capricorns and Ghost Brigade and a bunch of other great shit I found through last.fm lately (also the Pacific Rim soundtrack) and it turns out I'm really into sludge as well, I never would've guessed.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:59 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Danny Brown. The Old Documentary from 2009.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:11 PM on August 15, 2013


This isn't so new but I figure if people are onto chatting about metal, nobody will mind me slipping this Tabi Bonney song into your ears. Aside from the beat, which reminds me of Dead Prez "Hip Hop" and makes me shake to the shoulders, it's one that I like to trot out when people look down at raps for being all about "money, bitches, and how great they are at rapping" because yes, that's exactly what "Rock Bammas" is about, only the message is you don't get it by pretending you have it, you get it by carefully getting your shit together and making moves.

Also Haziq's bit just slays me. Those guys had fun making this record.

There's a clip out there with Tabi Bonney going shopping with Murs. I don't even want to get into how good a storyteller Murs is.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:16 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that Kendrick is genius, I think that the verse is genius. I can think these things and still thik that it is both misogynst and homophobic, esp the lines: "Gobble d–k up ’til you hiccup, my big homie Kurupt" or

I’ve seen n—-s transform like villain Decepticons
Mollies’ll prolly turn these n—-s to f–kin’ Lindsay Lohan
A bunch of rich a– white girls lookin’ for parties
Playin with Barbies, wreck the Porsche before you give ‘em the car key

continue that pattern, as that he keeps refusing women in who he disses--i mean seriously Mac Miller as much as I like him, doesn't hold a fucking candle to Minaj.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:19 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Noz wrote a sorta interesting profile of a maturing Mac Miller.
posted by chrchr at 4:30 PM on August 15, 2013


The misogyny is sort of a funny thing to me. I agree with you to an extent, but do you really think Kendrick is actually misogynistic? Given other things he says about women, for example his verse about a woman getting off the street in Barbed Wire, which seems to show real warmth and understanding.

I think what bothers me about these lyrics is that they're lazy - they're an effective way to diss someone, but only while also alienating a lot of people who would be (rightly) offended. This sort of material does rap music no favors, but at the same time I really doubt Kendrick is more misogynistic than most men his age who do a better job being polite about it. Not excusing it, just offering my perspective.
posted by Teakettle at 4:32 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the first 15 years or so - say mid-to late 70s up to 1990 or thereabouts - hip-hop was made by people whose primary or formative musical experiences necessarily were of other genres of music - soul, funk, jazz, gospel, whatever. They couldn't have grown up listening to hip-hop, because it didn't really exist yet.

But by the early 1990s, it definitely was possible for a hip-hop performer to have grown up listening to nothing but hip-hop. Has this had an effect on the music, and if so, what?


One thing to consider is that the hip-hop of 20 years ago had a very different relationship to sampling. As sampling became prohibitively expensive (due to collapsing record industry, ever higher royalty fees), artists moved away from it and have gone instead to creating their own beats. The change is pretty startling.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:46 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hitler respondes to Control.
posted by Teakettle at 4:48 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


To add to sir with millipede's point, this song we're talking about was released for free on the Internet because Big Sean couldn't put it on his album because of sample clearance issues. So, artists still use samples but it's legally fraught and it also plays into the evolving relationship between rap music and the commercial music industry.
posted by chrchr at 4:55 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the other problem: The lyrics are the music.

that IS a problem - a problem that the best hip hop musicians don't have, because they make sure the music brings something to the track even as it's there to prop up the vocal

to me that's the difference between mediocre and good hip hop - do they put a twist on the beats and the samples that really makes it something more than a backing track to rap over? - or do they just do some generic shit and phone it in?

i'm not an expert or a real follower of hip hop, but i can tell who's got it and who doesn't - on this song, i think the backing track is pretty good - it's got some interest in it

i'm not a big fan of the fronting type of hip hop because it can get boring to hear people talk about how great they are ... but i'll admit, i believe lamar when he does it, which is more than i can say about some others - part of what works about it is that he proclaims himself with utter conviction

by the way, someone, someday, is going to create a sensation by making a rap about how much they suck
posted by pyramid termite at 5:02 PM on August 15, 2013


Gobble d–k up ’til you hiccup, my big homie Kurupt

That's also a reference to one of MC Ren's lines on 'Alwayz Into Somethin.'

(Kurupt, by the way, got famous after being one of Snoop's weed carriers. And, before his first solo album, Snoop carried The Chronic for Dr. Dre. And, before The Chronic, Dre's production carried MC Ren (and several other bozos) on Efil4Zaggin. Kendrick likely knows all this, and, even as he names a bunch of cats from the East, he also wants to claim a place in the West-coast rapper lineage.)
posted by box at 5:02 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


by the way, someone, someday, is going to create a sensation by making a rap about how much they suck

I don't know man, Lil B is kind of doing this already, trying to follow in Wayne's footsteps of doing the same thing.
posted by cashman at 5:08 PM on August 15, 2013


"That's also a reference to one of MC Ren's lines on 'Alwayz Into Somethin.' "

I thought that was Dre?

Yeah, Dre.
posted by klangklangston at 5:20 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]





Okay, hip hop clueless person here.

This has been one of the more informative posts on Metafilter that I've come across in a while. I'm a complete and total know nothing when it comes to rap and hip hop. Or at least uninformed beyond tracks that have made onto mainstream pop stations over the years. It's a just a genre of music that I've never gotten into. I neither dislike it or like it. I know enough about it to appreciate what it is. I know that there are rivalries and all that stuff though couldn't say who or what they're about if my life depended on it. Basically just cursory stuff that I may have come across in a culturally periphery way.

I am however very interested when things in culture, any culture go 'explody' and cause a big stir. So I've spent the last hour reading many of the links posted, comments here and listening to some of things people have posted in order to try and understand why this is a big deal.

I read the lyrics of this verse and on first read they did nothing. It seemed like gobbly gook. Like another language. I read more and listened more. After doing that for a while the fog began to lift a little so I listened to the actual recording while reading along with the posted lyrics.

Something must have clicked somewhere because I found myself getting excited and thinking "Holy shit!" I think I'm seeing and hearing why it's getting the response it is. This might sound really newbish but just reading the words does not 'explain' it enough. You have to listen. Really listen. I listened to it again and by the end it was "Wow I think I get it!' Or get it enough to understand why it's causing the stir even though I only know of a couple of the people mentioned.

Now I find myself interested in the responses and am going to listen and read them with better understanding.

It actually took me back to the early 90's to the summer I spent in Whistler doing the summer snowboard camps. Hip hop and rap was a thing then and one night I ended up at a party where some guy got up and started rapping. Then another guy got up and rapped. Then a couple of other guys joined in. All of it was off the cuff and they were rapping in response to each other. At points it got really intense as they were going at each other. It ended up being like this hour long rap battle and was one of the coolest and most impressive things I've ever heard. Looking back I think I appreciated it because they were rapping about things and people I was familiar with so I had the context to figure out what was going on.

In hindsight I think this might be one of the reasons I never had a lot of interest in this type of music. Much of what I did hear or come across just didn't gel with my particular experience. It didn't 'speak' to me so to speak. This might sound stupid but I also find hip hop difficult to listen to because it's a genre where I really have to listen to the words and I generally just like to listen to music for the melody and non lyrical stuff. I barely ever end up learning a lot of lyrics to songs I listen too.

However after this post, which has forced me to dive into this unfamiliar world more then I have before I find myself interested in it more and with better appreciation.

I suppose this is my long winded way of saying thanks for the post and discussion and explaining why I'm thankful. This sort of thing is one of the reasons I love Metafilter. I get exposed to things and people that know about things that I'm pretty clueless about and wouldn't seek out myself.
posted by Jalliah at 5:30 PM on August 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


I mainly like Lil Wayne for a few reasons:

The Carter documentary is a fun time.

His 1 second appearance in Juvenile's "Ha" video at 3:31, when he was, I think, 13.

The song "I Feel Like Dying" is really spectacular, in my opinion.

The one thing by Lil Wayne that I really love, and which predates the Emmett Till controversy, is this small section in the Swizzy remix:

George Gervin, I'mma get my chill on
I'm cold, yeah I get my Buffalo Bill on
Beating up your block, yeah I get my Emmett Till on
In the New Edition yeah I get my Johnny Gill on
Keep a shotgun yeah I get my Jayson Will on
Fuck it Swizz
I'm still gon' black entertainment, yeah I get my Steven Hill on
Only to talk models, yeah I get my Seal on
Make that chick rock, get my Amil on
Two girls, let em get they pill on
Let em get they feel on
I get my Tip Drill on


I don't know if anyone was a fan of the site "Pitchfork Reviews Reviews" but the author of that site did a fabulous rundown of that section about why the references were so good and it made me really enjoy some of Lil Wayne's songs. I can't find the link for the life of me anymore, though.
posted by gucci mane at 5:33 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ren vs. Dre: You're both right. Ren and Ice Cube wrote all of the NWA lyrics. After Cube left, Ren wrote all of them. Dre delivered the line but Ren wrote it.
posted by chrchr at 5:33 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


another thing - that comment about getting to hear lots of hip hop because one's city has a lot of african americans is absurd

i'm not hearing ANYWHERE near the level of public pounding beats that i used to in the 80s and 90s - it's just not done as much
posted by pyramid termite at 5:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Dre has never written lyrics.

Wayne when he was on he was fucking on. He did a couple mixtapes, No Celings was one, where he just destroyed other people's beats.

BTW: Keef's Bang pt. 2 just dropped.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:43 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


No Ceilings, especially the first three tracks. I didn't appreciate Wayne for a long time but, man, lyrical density. There's more to disentangle in one of Wayne's quintuple entendres than ... a Metallica album! My favourite example of this will seem totally mundane out of context but the line "Bars all day, no last call" kills me. Six words, three distinct meanings and it's just one in an endless stream of them on that or any given Wayne track.
posted by Lorin at 5:46 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Nah, I'm wrong--I was thinking Ren delivered that line. Ah, well, time makes fools of us all.
posted by box at 5:56 PM on August 15, 2013


"Hitler respondes to Control."

I thought that was gonna be a link to SLR2, because there's a part where Lupe does a Hitler-downfall-impersonation. (But it was better than that.)

At this rate, Lupe's gonna put out a track about internet trolls, which connects to his Islamic faith and call it "#godwinning".
posted by raihan_ at 6:10 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


oh shit. I Forgot about this. Lupe wrote responses for other rappers
posted by Ad hominem at 6:18 PM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


pyramid termite, you probably do not live in my town, then, or at least in my part of it. Perhaps it's a peculiarity of local tastes, or unimaginative radio programing, or something else entirely, but I hear big ol' jeep beats every day somewhere.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 6:22 PM on August 15, 2013


Somebody summon the cigar smoking, champagne sipping bears from the Doin' Thangs album cover. They have a job to do.
posted by reenum at 6:39 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll take a stab at why this verse got such a reaction.

1. Dis tracks are big part of hip-hop culture, but it's been a pretty long time since there was a really good one, which this is. In that time, people on the sidelines (fans, critics, internet commenters) have noticed that rap has gotten a bit 'soft' and less competitive than other eras. So the combo of bringing back the competitive nature of the genre along with delivering an entertaining verse got people excited.

2. Kendrick called himself the King of New York. NY is the birthplace of hip-hop, but for the past few years, despite producing a ton of good rappers, they haven't embraced a particular typically NY style. Some critics have noted that NY style has lately been derivative of Southern Hip Hop rather than staying true to its roots. So when Kendrick says he's the King of NY, (and Jay-Z and Nas are both from an older generation), it actually resonates even though he's from LA and reps the West Coast. It's a challenge to an entire city, which is fun.

3. Kendrick Lamar has a legitimate case that he's the best rapper out there right now. His album was the most complex and interesting of the year, he got huge without selling out, his lyrics, flow, choice of beats, and image are all at the apex of the genre, etc. So when someone in today's scene says specifically that they're on par with Nas, Jay-Z, Andre3000 and the other greats from the previous generation, and delivers the goods, people will take notice.

4. Kendrick dissed a whole pack of rappers in his generation, but in a cool and interesting way. This wasn't a track about how he's going to murder some guy he's in a feud with; this was him calling out the other stars of his generation and saying he's better, and on top of that he's going to try harder than they will. Naming names instead of being abstract about it demanded a response-- and now hip hop fans who like the pugilistic, competitive, back-and-forth aspect intrinsic to the genre but not practiced by mainstream artists as much today get to sit back and wait for those named to reply.

5. His verse delivered the goods. Not only did he do all the above, he did so in a highly compelling way that is fun to listen to and has strong wordplay, analogies, etc. Unlike some other famous dis tracks, it's pretty compelling even without the name-naming dis aspect at the end.

tl;dr: Kendrick kicked ass, took names, and made hip-hop fun again for people who like battle rap.
posted by cell divide at 6:43 PM on August 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


Also, if you want to check out a variety of stories behind hip hop diss tracks, Complex has a pretty good list.
posted by reenum at 6:46 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


So this track has gotten attention because the guy says that he's a great rapper and other rappers are bad? That seems... pretty weak. His part doesn't seem all that spectacular.

Right now I'm going to call out all other MeFi commenters. I'm the best. You're the worst. I'm the king of the Blue. Fuck you?

Thus was MetaFilter forever changed.
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:47 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Runcible

no, it's like knowing the entirety of hip hop, and condensing it down to 6 lines, in the middle of someone else's t rack, it's really smart.

the problem is that the history is so problematic:it reinforces a matrice of homophobia--and it goes from the beginning of the genre, as does women being part of and being igored for it also does.

if t he diss track is essential to hip hop, and if the diss track is homophobic, does that mean that homophobia is essential to hip hop in a way that country (who mostly ignores queer content) or rock and roll, might not be. wrt country--it has never ignored it's female discourse, and the women's answer song to male misogny is intergral (kitty wells in the mid 50s), and as for rock, well, that might not be the case.

i wonder, is hip hop more homophobic?
posted by PinkMoose at 7:01 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


So this track has gotten attention because the guy says that he's a great rapper and other rappers are bad? That seems... pretty weak. His part doesn't seem all that spectacular.

Thus the perfect marriage of form & function on the diss track! In claiming to be a superior rapper, Kendrick Lamar also demonstrates his dominance by deploying a variety of verbiage in a dizzying sequence of hard rhymes. The diss track is a work of art that describes itself. It is a gesamtkunstwerk, every component aimed to a single end. It is a slice of perfection, a state of being that we ourselves might hope to achieve within our daily existence.

Also: MY COMMENT IS SUPERIOR. I'M DA BES.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:01 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


So this track has gotten attention because the guy says that he's a great rapper and other rappers are bad? That seems... pretty weak. His part doesn't seem all that spectacular.


As my comment above states I'm pretty clueless when it comes to rap but have spent the past couple of hours now looking at this.

From my understanding he's not calling the other rappers bad though their are some more specific disses or general complaints about what some rappers are doing in terms of their music and things like dress. He's making a meta comment about the current state of rap and rappers in general.

What he's doing and what he even directly says he's doing is 'raising the bar'. Sorta like come on, lets get on with some harder stuff. Lets up the game. I'm doing it. I'm going to be doing so it's game on. Show me what you really have. Let's get serious. He's issuing a challenge and from as far as I understand it's as much a challenge to those he specifically named as it is to those he left out.

He is putting himself above those he's named but in a more 'come up here and see if you're good enough to join me cause what's happening in rap right now is pretty lame. Let's see who are the real players.

(People that know more can tell me if this is indeed a decent synopsis.)
posted by Jalliah at 7:12 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a historical footnote, another way rappers got dissed back in the day.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


the women's answer song to male misogny is intergral (kitty wells in the mid 50s), and as for rock, well, that might not be the case.

There's a little of that in rap. See Roxanne Roxanne vs. Roxanne's Revenge, but it sadly didn't catch on the way the Kitty Wellsian response did in country.
posted by chrchr at 7:15 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]



Oh and if you listen to the sound cloud responses that are linked in the second paragraph watch the comments that appear as they play. For the less familiar (like me) they are a great way to get a gist of the battle aspect of this. It's pretty cool.
posted by Jalliah at 7:18 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a pretty damned good hip-hop thread for around here, will be listening for awhile.

I don't know what it is w/ these threads around here, there's a buncha Dunning Krugering going around or something- people don't seem to have any idea of how very damned much some of the commenters here know about this music. I know enough to know I'm in awe- I love a lot of hip-hop, but there aren't enough hours in a day to listen to this much stuff... and I wouldn't have even known about this track without metafilter, that's how unhip I am, so mostly I'm grateful for everybody's patience and such in helping the rest of us along.

SOME PEOPLE, on the other hand, waste no chance to get all ignorant and indignant about things, and to me it's like if I were to step to say physicsmatt every time he appeared, all like "maan, experimental physics is just engineering with a party hat on, let me explain to you why your field of study is stupid."
posted by hap_hazard at 7:22 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to do some mental calculations of what percentage of disk tracks are straight up homophobic. The two most famous ones, that got biggie and PAC killed, Who Shot Ya and Hit Em Up weren't particularly homophobic

There are also diss tracks and diss tracks if you know what I mean. Diss tracks with names, diss tracks without names but you know who they are talking about, and subliminal disses where a rapper has plausible deniability.

In one particular beef, Pusha T vs Lil Wayne, there was all thee kinds. Clipse put out Mr Me Too about a hypothetical rapper who does whatever everyone else does, later they said it was about Wayne. That was a subliminal diss track. Then Pusha put out Exodus 23:1, it was clearly about Wayne and Drake but didn't name names. Wayne said fuck it and put out Ghoulish that started with "Fuck Pusha T and anybody that loves him"

None of those tracks were really homopobic I didn't think.

Recently Jay Z took some shots at Wayne on La Familia.

Obviously this is just friendly competition with Kendrick. He clearly says he loves those guys and just wants to step the game up.

I think he is more fed up with Molly rap than anything else.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:30 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Somebody summon the cigar smoking, champagne sipping bears from the Doin' Thangs album cover. They have a job to do.

That's actually a really great album, BTW.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:31 PM on August 15, 2013


is part of the plausbility in subliminal disses, a hinting at that kind of problem, or am i being too sensitive?
posted by PinkMoose at 7:38 PM on August 15, 2013


"Right now I'm going to call out all other MeFi commenters. I'm the best. You're the worst. I'm the king of the Blue. Fuck you?"

Wassup Runcible, Huxtable, I'ma eat you like lunchables.
Got no dis control, you dis Control, you on bitch patrol?
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Somebody buzz me when that Earl/Doom collab song comes out.
posted by cashman at 7:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]



26 Meme Pictures in response.
posted by Jalliah at 7:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was always under the impression that hip-hop feuds were orchestrated and hardly ever real anymore. I forget what rapper said that.
posted by gucci mane at 7:47 PM on August 15, 2013


"is part of the plausbility in subliminal disses, a hinting at that kind of problem, or am i being too sensitive?"

Yeah, like, Ether and Takeover, ugly homophobia. And homophobia is a nasty part of a lot of rap — even when it's trying to be sensitive you got, what, Lil B on one end, Macklemore on the other?
posted by klangklangston at 7:54 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


is part of the plausbility in subliminal disses, a hinting at that kind of problem, or am i being too sensitive?

Hinting that the other rapper is gay? TBH that happens with Drake but almost nobody else. You can see it in the Hitler Responds video. Hitler says something like Drake has to write "pause" after everything. He is implying everything Drake says sounds gay.

Usually it will be super inside baseball stuff like "your SL is missing an S, your plane missing a chef" and you have to know which rapper has the "cheap" Mercedes SL and has no private chef.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:54 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, like, Ether

Yeah Ether has a lot of Gay-Z lines.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:55 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am probably forgetting hundreds of diss tracks so let me stipulate there are probably way more homophobic diss tracks than I think.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:00 PM on August 15, 2013


Talib Kweili discusses the verse

Says Kendrick is assuming the mantle of Death Row records. But it is premature for him to take the throne.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:28 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Right now I'm going to call out all other MeFi commenters. I'm the best. You're the worst. I'm the king of the Blue. Fuck you?

You oughta step up your rhyme game, kid.
posted by box at 8:29 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Supa Ugly was way more homophobic than Ether.
posted by Teakettle at 8:31 PM on August 15, 2013


Alright, I'm gonna try to explain what people mean when they say that the lyrics are the music.

Two examples, very different. The first is, I think, much more obvious. Here's a link to a bit from Eminem's Without Me. If you follow along, and maybe even speak the lyrics as Eminem raps them, you'll notice how it feels like the rhythm of the lyrics constantly varies. What's remarkable here is that the entirety of the lyrics you see on screen is in iambs (two syllable metrical unit where the stress is on the second syllable) but by throwing in caesuras (pauses that fit into the meter) and even the occasional spondee (two syllable metrical unit where both syllables are stressed). Basically by modulating his flow ever so slightly Eminem manages to make his rhythm feel like it's changing constantly, even when he's essentially just going daDUM daDUM daDUM daDUM daDUM daDUM.

That's a fairly simple thing that happens on the level of the individual line. In Dennehy by Serengeti something much stranger is going on, which goes through the entire song. If you look at the lyrics the first half is basically just a monologue from the perspective of a working class Chicagoan having a regular summer day, dropping in Chicagoland signifiers in every line. The language is very straightforward. I mean, if it wasn't rhythmic and rhymed, it could be just regular things people say. But then, from 2:45 it gets really abstract, essentially just stringing together these same Chicagoland signifiers into word salad. Even though the underlying beat never really changes, this creates this really weird progression in the song, not just in terms of themes, but musically as well. Even though the part after it goes all abstract still has the same beat, the rhythm is completely different, the words play off each other completely differently. And, as I mentioned before, because you get a progression, this has the effect of making the first half of the song sound completely different the next time you listen, when suddenly all those Chicago signifiers just pop out, making them play off each other in different ways.
posted by Kattullus at 8:35 PM on August 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


Metafilter commentaters like deep fried like potaters
Eat you after gym class like AC Slaters, haters:
I murder you on the mic while you play with the faders
Give you dap then psych! Through the windshield: Ralph Naders

Fuck the blue, fuck your comments, bitch it up on metatalk
Glove on the glock, no fingerprints, on your grave I walk
On your grave I'm pissing like a cherub in Uffizi
With your last dying breath you say that you feel me DOOT DOOT DOOT

Cambridge Mass. up in that ass like a wedgie
You're walking like Ruxpin puffin that reggie
I won all the beef so now you eat veggies
posted by Teakettle at 8:47 PM on August 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


I had a long amusing series of rhymes dissing specific members of this thread but I thought better than to post it.
posted by Teakettle at 8:58 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eat veggies? ill eat a wack poster salad whole,
local or globally flown in from either pole,
pause, or fastforward past your troll catapult,
Im the breath comptroller, choke your vote out cold.

Raps the best? yes, but only when I say so,
Hey ho, illuminate the fake gold with playdoh,
Avenue of broken dreams, candle gettin snuffed out,
here is my handle, whistle when you hear your spout.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:01 PM on August 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


Amuse yourself before your abuse yourself, cuz
big flags on your posts are bad for your health.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:02 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


An Atlantic link, that's shit I don't like, nah
A deleted comment, that's that shit I don't like, nah.
A style section post, that's that shit I don't like, nah.
A d&d thread I'm givin' favorites left and right, skirrrt.
Take it to meta, we can argue all night, bang bang.
I got 2 racks of favs cause my comments tight, Brrrr.
I never ever flagged a comment in my life, snitches.
Guwop, bang bang, nah nah skirrt, nah bang bang brrr.


Unfortunately I am everything that is wrong with the metafilter rap game.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:02 PM on August 15, 2013 [21 favorites]


i just want you guys to think about the fact that at some point there's going to be a metatalk thread about weird bottom of threads and someone is going to say "well, there was that one that turned into a rap battle" so make sure the verses you lay down will stand up to the repeated viewings.
posted by nadawi at 9:03 PM on August 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


Potomic avenue, you don't spit you spew
You on the mic is is Lohan on the toilet, you
Grimy ass, dumb ass, awkward ass nerd
Rhymes like turds, flow constipated
Call me ex-lax because I'm tearing through your rectum
I gave him the prescription just before I wrecked him
posted by Teakettle at 9:05 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ad homonym, pause, this shit's like eggs
Over easy to get fried up, call these negs
Your daddy issues shine like a thousand suns
My monolog's a mighty oak, your twigs just puns

I shatter your ear drums, you rapping in morse code
You know that horse you rode in on? Actually a commode.
That's right, your horse is a toilet, I don't need to make sense
When my opponent is as fresh as ass flavored breath mints
posted by Teakettle at 9:09 PM on August 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Rap music!!!!"

now teakettle can respond at me.
i think it's nice that something got people excited.
posted by gorestainedrunes at 9:10 PM on August 15, 2013


Better listen to nadawi and spell check your shit son
or better yet, just turn your mic off and spit none
or better still, just chill the fuck out and listen
Cuz I'll still be better living than u in your Best Western.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:11 PM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Gore stained runes, I wish you were still alive
So you could hear nobody crying at your funeral service
So you could see no flowers, no tears streaming down lips
Like a tree falling in the forest, a youtube video with no hits

I'm sorry I killed you with a rhyme, like death
Scythe always on time, that's tricky.
Trick trick trick trick trick trick trick trick, tricky.
posted by Teakettle at 9:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


that's the hardest burn anyone's dropped nadawi
posted by klangklangston at 9:14 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Klang Klang Klangston
Get the bang bang bang, son
Should have run run run, son
From this young young young gun
posted by Teakettle at 9:16 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rhymes live forever
whiskey breath breather
Seize your moment
Or you just having a seizure?
I diss most discos into Crisco wrist flow
Not my kettle of fish too pissed to hit post.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:17 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Teakettle, you tweakin', your rhymes be weak and
I tell you, man to man-like, you played out like an old bike.
You bark at anybody who don't seem to understand
that you bought the kendrick t-shirt, his shoes, his cell plan.
posted by gorestainedrunes at 9:18 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


*gas face*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:19 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only wrist flow you know
Is in your waistband, slo mo
You light a candle like it's valentines day
And think about a bubble bath with Mariska Hartigay
posted by Teakettle at 9:19 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


teakettle you talkin' about tricky?
homie, you better step off before i use you to cook my eggs in
or warm up water for a pot o' mac
extra cheese, that's the lesson
i keep ya family fed so ya kids stay in school
keep 'em dressed in those gorestainedrunes
extra shiny this ain't no ad hominem attack

so before you think of testing this
you better step back
posted by raihan_ at 9:21 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


(also that captain murphy/doom/earl... drops next week if i'm not mistaken)
posted by raihan_ at 9:22 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Control Instrumental.

chrchr, you're up.
posted by cashman at 9:22 PM on August 15, 2013


Raihan I beat your ass to the Sienfeld theme
Doo, do do do doooo
Baddle dee doop, doo doo!
posted by Teakettle at 9:27 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can go diamond off my black carbon dell.
I run the comment game, its not hard to tell.
two Racks of favorites up on my wrist.
Got my own theme, its peppermint twist.

Sippin this arizona out a candy red cup.
Got a beverage fridge, don't have to get up.
Lurkers click that plus right next to my name.
So you know I run this comment game.

diamonds on my keys. diamond dimonds on my keys. burrr.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:35 PM on August 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


An awful thing, a cough and then
Lost the petal and tossed the wind,
The hurt sinks in, the loss, the end.
Teakettle's mettle is softening,
Often then, regret'll settle his coffin in the dirt,
No word said over the moss, amen.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:37 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


THIS ICE CREAM SOCIALIST ON SOME BRAGADOCIOUS ISH
THE ONLY THING SOFT ON ME IS MY HEART NEAR A KITTY
ONLY THING ON YOU IS MOSS AND GRAVE STONES
JUMBLED UP BONES OF THE MCs I OWNED
MCs I KILLED, I THROW THEM IN A MASS GRAVE
WHILE MY TEAKETTLE GO DOOOOOT
DESIGNED BY MICHAEL GRAVE
ALESSI NOT TARGET BIIITCH
posted by Teakettle at 9:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


This is fucking hilarious!
posted by cashman at 9:44 PM on August 15, 2013



I love you guys,
bringin' tears to my eyes
I'm smiling too much to dis
So these words, just miss
Cause rap ain't really my thing
I'm too new at this
But watch out, I'm a learner
And words may soon bring on a burner.


Lol sorry I suck at this. At least it rhymed?
posted by Jalliah at 9:44 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ad Hominem gives gold to Mary, gives ice to Brigid
But when he sneaks into their dorms they're always frigid
posted by Teakettle at 9:44 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


teakettle you're like black people in seinfeld
nonexistent
you're like a commenter in a rap thread
panties twisted
now that isn't a diss towards all my feminists
but yo flow is whack
at this rate you'll be reciting yates like ice cream socialist
while i got all this gold on my wrist

when we talkin about bass
i'm like my homie thundercat
when we talkin about bass
you like kozmo kramer
extra whack

yo teakettle go doot doot
like narduwar
cuz a nard, you are

8====D
posted by raihan_ at 9:45 PM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Cashman says he's an ass man
But really he's just ass, man
posted by Teakettle at 9:45 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


a million funk flex bombs for that one
posted by raihan_ at 9:46 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Raihan came in the door, he told me before
He promised not to throw sneak disses no more
He promised super sinsirrr like Nas' first name
Now he knows the sting of the wedgie pain
posted by Teakettle at 9:47 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


This just became the best thread in metafilter history.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:48 PM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


But don't get it twisted, b
Gonna show you infinities of misery.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:49 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


guys - i got too drunk and high but i fucking love y'all. please feel free to diss with wanton abandon
posted by nadawi at 9:50 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


teakettle don't come at me with a mouth like that
otherwise im'ma tell ya mama, you a stone cold brat
save the wedgies for someone who wears undies
cuz this man's a commando
like arnold
pull the uzi out my speedo
first thing you gonna say we "oh shit we gotta go"

====

to sir with millipedes
you like a human centipede
comin at me like the smashing p
you ain't ready for the infinite sadness
it's gonna be on like grave of fireflies in this madness
posted by raihan_ at 9:52 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nadawi, I fucked your girl but I'm not sawwi
I curried her favor then I bought her a sari
Drove her home and kicked her out the 'rari
posted by Teakettle at 9:53 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


teakettle meddle with the mettle get the metal
got my medals you got phelpt up
i'm the devil you the chupa
cabre on my balls when my boxers gon fall
GOAT motherfucker now suck'm all
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Raihan, mon! Please stand clear!
Shiver your timbers, a real MC's here!
See your reflection in your little pee puddle
See your confused face all in a muddle!
It's okay, I was born to rock mikes
The same way you were born to ride your trike.
posted by Teakettle at 9:55 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


You must be freaking kidding me?
Come at me all shittily?
Like I won't eat you up like pasta in little Italy?
Your arms are much too short to box with this divinity

You're rhyming in the PJs next to a dented jeep
I'm 4 star hotels with all the amenities
I'm old school like Pac-Man, Tron and Centipede
But I'll still devour any wack rapper you send at me
posted by cashman at 9:55 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Rap Star Name Generator


Jade Cherry is the house!
posted by Jalliah at 9:56 PM on August 15, 2013


got my medals you got phelpt up

GOAT
posted by cashman at 9:56 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cashman, please, with the pasta, do you gotta?
You sound like you're slurping on penne rigate
I heard you copped fake tickets to the penis regatta

There's not a damn thing wrong with a boat race for dicks
But did you have to take a picture with the New York Knicks?

Pasta bars, I got them all day, you like Cathy: "ACK"
And that's the difference between metaphors and REAL RAPS
posted by Teakettle at 10:00 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


guys. i started listening to kanye. it's bedtime and i'm listening to power and eating ice cream. this seems counter intuitive.
posted by nadawi at 10:02 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Klang Klang Klang, you're just a small fish
Swimming in what I Spitz:
Mark my words, I'm going for the gold
Naming all my records: Klang got told.

Klang Klang Klang, ain't that what the trolley did?
Klang Klang Klang, Poor Judd is deed
Klang Klang workin from dawn to dusk
Klang Klang chokin on my rhyme dust.
posted by Teakettle at 10:04 PM on August 15, 2013


Swimming, Mark Spitz, Records, Going for the Gold, do I gotta put it in subtitles or something
posted by Teakettle at 10:06 PM on August 15, 2013


if i'm not careful i'll make it to nicki's verse in monster and then it's all over. i might not sleep. i should hit stop during rihanna's parts in all the lights, it's really the safest move.
posted by nadawi at 10:08 PM on August 15, 2013


or cudi's part in "all of the lights"

that'll mess you up, man
posted by raihan_ at 10:09 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Real raps? More like seal claps! Did you feel that?
You're shittier than on a tractor's wheel flaps.
I bought real regatta tickets just to watch you lose
As you float up shit creek without a paddle to use

I love the Cathy talk since your lines are comical
I'd teach you how to rhyme but the price is astronomical
For Better or Worse you should stay on the Far Side
I'm Hagar the Horrible, the reason you died
posted by cashman at 10:10 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Y'all aint got none of this rap game
I remember all y'alls screenames
Y'all think you own Metafilter?
With rhymes as clean as your air filter?

Y'all words are too toxic
Y'all think you're ironic
But guess what my verse is bionic
While y'all send Mefites catatonic
posted by mcmile at 10:14 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm going to pretend that's secretly Mac Miller and he's going to all of a sudden record that and put it in Music.
posted by cashman at 10:16 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I METATALK ATOMICALLY
posted by Teakettle at 10:16 PM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


yo, one two, one two. Ayo fix the space key.Yo I need more space key. Isyaboy.

I Comment diabolically. Comment game Sophocles.
Hit you up like damocles. then mods spotted me.
Mods lurkin ...see me dropping these.
They don't know they ain't no stoppin' me.

Mockeries, that you hurlin' ain't hurtin me.
30 comments in the banana on a comment spree.
coppin mad favs but I can't give you my recipe.
run this shit, cuz I be the epitome.

Ayo, Peace to the gods and the earths. And I'm out.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:17 PM on August 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


Metafilter game rosa parks, sitting at the front
Cashman too scared to swing so he bunts
Hard to think of words which rhyme with bunts
Cashman ain't a man he's just a silly bunt.

ok I think this thread has gotten a little silly. good night.
posted by Teakettle at 10:22 PM on August 15, 2013


Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
I don't know what Cash is, but I can still trust
myself to know what trash is, and that kettle is rust:
lighter than eyelashes, blows away with a gust.
I got all o' your bread, you got nothin' but crust,
I call you Rhyme Caesar, cause you just got bust.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


/buys Coolio's royalties, waits to assume Rap Mantle
posted by hap_hazard at 10:47 PM on August 15, 2013


tea kettle, i'm espresso you sanka
i go all night on th mic, say thank ya
After all I rank ya lower than me, my dank better than thee
my drank wetter than thee,
You a sucka mc, I'm a sugar-sugar Archie,
so many Bettys on my jock
they call me Reggie
You reppin Cambridge to me? Yo momma had her a pre
I'm like Dzhokar, not even Batman stop me
I'm from the streets of the D*
where we murk em for free
What rapper's from Camebridge? Lemme count to three
One two three, two, one, none, ya done
Now Cantab in my yard, and I'm
rollin rollin rollin hard
your flow's so old you rolled a bard
But you got low Charisma, that's hard
Guess what I heard? Charisma's ya stripper name
Charisma, when you finish this dance, I'll have one of the same
"I'm working my way through college, can you gimme some game?"
Motherfucker, please, I'm bowling your frame
while I'm ballin your same
And you a (lame)
Drop your mic, you're retired
You six feet under, smell the plywood
that's what you get for steppin in my hood


*Not true; Clarence's parents have a very good marriage
posted by klangklangston at 10:48 PM on August 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Step to Cambridge Mass and Your Ass is Grass
Click and Clack ain't the only sound you'll hear - this brass
Out of the backroom, bluegrass night, Cantab they appear
Magliozis with the uzis click and clack bullets in your rear

Dewey Cheatem, and how! They got me acquitted
Then in a minute I'm on twitter saying I really did it!
posted by Teakettle at 10:57 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Shiiiiiiiit, I came in here to say I love me some hip hop
What else a white queer Semite gonna bump at the bus stop
Poets on my hiptop, haters be all flipped off,
Ey cuz, got the tip-off, y'all rhymes just be ripoffs,
How many tracks YOU got on music dot mefi?
Me? I got 12, thus I be fly like three ply,
Treat your ass luxurious, pamper ears for serious,
Yo that rhyme was spurious, but y'all sound so delirious!
I came out with a realness that was heretofore unknown
They saw me spit some fire like them guns of navarone,
My shit all over games, my aims ain't no less than the throne
Your shitty MIDI beats sound like a 90s ringtone.
Your old-ass beats on notice, take them dinosaurs off the decks,
Ain't nobody ever told you three-horns don't play with long-necks?
I wear leisure like Larry, my mana low like Barry,
Elegant like Ellison, equally Larry or Cari,
I always parry, I'm at the top like a maraschino cherry,
Cuz nobody come correct with that lush vocabulary.
posted by jake at 11:05 PM on August 15, 2013 [21 favorites]


SOMEONE WAKE UP JESSAMYN AND ASK HER WHAT RHYMES WITH TSARNAEV
posted by Teakettle at 11:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ass grass class fast, you bought a rhyming dictionary you expect to pass
but you better drop son, you ain't seen an uzi let alone felt one
You reppin Cambridge you got that Winklevoss style
you know your boat shoes your cravat from a tie
But take the T to Murdapan,
"Oh heavens no, I might die!"

ya got welts on ya neck from the neckless strippin
you down on yo knees, hopin' I'm forgivin'
but murdering mcs's how I make my livin'
"But maybe this beef's a ten,"
Naw, it ain't even a seven
Huffin' that ether's made you wet your bedding
Better give it up 'for it does your head in
come an clean my shoes, you see what I stepped in?

You can afford guns, but you dunno where to buy 'em
Your idea of hardcore is Mac Daddy dyin'
posted by klangklangston at 11:26 PM on August 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Fuck your favorites I'm racking up flags
I'll ban your account, take your <dog> tags
I'm #1, rest in peace that kid from quidunc
His bones liquid in scarabic's bath tub

Six digits in your number, six words in your handle
Get the fuck out with the professional white background
Your sensibilities are delicate, you're so polite
Do me a favor, ditch this mother fucking site

Mods try to censor these rhymes that I spit
Jess, cortex, restless, totally illegit
None of ya'll control the blue like me
Not Matt, that's five three oh five two, clearly
posted by clearly at 11:56 PM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


Green line full of envious biters and haters
I'm like Tonya Harding whacking you figure skaters
Holding your ankle asking when I'll care-a-gain
Drawing hearts on your crutches while you pop phen phen

Get off on park street, transfer to the red line
Blood on the ice, like Zednik at the blue line
Next stop aquarium, trying to rap under water
Clothes backwards, sharks above, kriss krossing to our Father

Back to State street, tell me what rhymes with orange?
Locked up at the Omni, do not disturb hanging near the door hinge
I'm on a parker house roll, you like the Laurie House role
The way your crutches squeek and your head all swole

Take a few stops north to Sullivan Square, I buried you there
Your body covered in purple lines the shape of a chair
So think twice before you swipe your charlie on the subway
I'll beat you down, every stop, across the M B T A.

My references run so deep you had to whip out your iphone to wikipedia this ass whooping.
posted by Teakettle at 11:58 PM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


*Richard Zednick is a hockey player who had his throat cut by another player's skate, creating a huge amount of blood on the ice

**the parker house roll was first baked at the hotel now known as the Omni Parker House, near State Street, which is where you transfer from the Blue to Orange Lines
posted by Teakettle at 12:08 AM on August 16, 2013


better check yourself now, cause termite comes
go look at your ice box, i got the plums
you babble like one direction teens
shoving your flow in a plate of beans
you'd better get back to rap 101
like a turducken you're cooked and done
take your mouth off the mike and your hands off the faders
you ain't nothing but rap ralph naders
posted by pyramid termite at 2:57 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


1 am... in the comment box
2 am... I be sleepin it off
3 am... termites swarm on the beans
4 am... 2 many fake MCs
5 am.. and your bullshits spent
talking about the overnight embarrassment
Embarrassment

Cuz monday night I'm making Jake bleed
Tuesday night ring klang and spit tea
Wednesday, theres clearly noone like me
Just a true rustic bumpkin bumpin from DC
Thursday plans: take the cash from the man
But its friday boo Ill make yer love come true
Go ahead and close this one up mods, this shit is through.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:45 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


alright, y'all wasting breaks at work on this,
IT clerks in middle-class bliss,
let's take some time and reminisce,
remember mailing lists? go slow,
watch your wrists, this is a young man's game
and your age is showing, I don't blame ya,

but you're blowing hot air and stock rhymes,
and sometimes, I feel a lil' sorry for y'all,
old-school posters and all,
ain't got the wit for this brawl,
delivering diatribes like the old boys in town hall

before this rap game you were on fire,
typing out a double-spaced rant about The Wire,
can't wait 'til you retire and can time out to admire
all the top-shelf HBO shows, in aspirational clothes,
could never keep up with the pros in terms of actual production,
don't ask me how I know 'cause I can prove it by induction,
your comments read like sophomore essays on deconstruction
posted by mbrock at 4:49 AM on August 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


OK, someone invoked Car Talk in a rap battle. Shit just got real.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:51 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


This rap battle, like many others before it, was ironically inspired by a wack MC. That's one of the fun things about it-- the spark for the flame doesn't even have to be anyone good.
posted by cell divide at 5:38 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


MeFite's rapping? Oh please, stop cold
Y'all ain't nothing but blue cheese, so old
Full of mold, stink like brown weed, unsold
Product wouldn't move covered in gold, fool's told
Shiny with sweat, I bet all your beds wet
Smelliest reject space cadets I ever met
Only thing smokin' is your broken e-cigarette.

Potomac Avenue? So street his name's on a lamp post
Under a cross on the corner where I crushed him like damp toast.

Ad hominem? No way you can attack the man
Your brain's too slow from those trips to Amsterdam.

Rustic Etruscan? Go lie in a trashcan
When I'm done you'll feel like a crashed van.

cashman? This ain't an FPP,
This is what happen when a kid with ADD
Gets a copy of AskJeeves '93.

pyramid termite? Go find your period key
or I put a full stop to you seriously.
posted by Kattullus at 5:55 AM on August 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


Papoose came out with a full song reply. But eh...it's way over the top.
posted by cashman at 6:21 AM on August 16, 2013


King is back, clear the way, hear the sound of the Rolls Royce
When I step out on the stage, commenters all get the same choice, like
A. flag your comments and wait for the mods, or
B. write raps in your threads till your heads start to nod, or
C. Wipe the tears away before I put on murder gloves, or
D. Take it to Meta and do ALL OF THE ABOVE
posted by Teakettle at 6:43 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


filthy light thief, thanks for a more constructive comment re: various sub-genres. Some I've heard (West Coast OK; chopped & screwed, not so much), others I apparently have not. There are obvious parallels to the fragmenting of rock into folk-rock, surf-rock, blues-rock, psychedelic rock, and so on, but those distinctions seem more clear-cut to me. I suspect it's a generational thing. I'm not trying to deny anyone else's experience here, just reporting my own.

I think one problem with getting exposure to variant types of hip-hop is harder than finding other types of rock music. Little of the local styles get on the radio outside of their home turf, and as you've said, the radio is mostly where you mostly catch hip-hop (your radio and that of folks around you), so there's little chance you'll hear what's big in another city.


The World Famous: I mean seriously, watch that ?uestlove drum solo and then come back and tell me hip hop doesn't have the chops for jazz.

There's a good amount of interesting, live takes on hip-hop. ?uestlove and The Roots are a great example, and Breakestra (Wikipedia; Grooveshark) came to mind, too. While they play funk and soul-jazz, it's focused on very hip-hop oriented breaks, so they play these long strings of little chunks of songs, constantly shifting and changing. And I mentioned brass-hop before, so let me link to Youngblood Brass Band on Grooveshark. Seriously, if you like the sheer energy that can come from marching bands and the swagger of hip-hop, check 'em out! They're great live, too!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:14 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't a mod step in and tell you guys to take this to metatalk music?

I am down with you guys like A.C. is down with O.J.
posted by cmfletcher at 7:29 AM on August 16, 2013


Well I'm The World Famous and I'm here to say
I like Metafilter in a major way.

Did I do that right?
posted by The World Famous at 8:00 AM on August 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


You actually have a great rap name.
posted by cashman at 8:16 AM on August 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


I gotta proclivity
Fo' checkin' Recent Activity
I'm rhymin' a bit
To get this thread in that shit.

We out.
*mic drop*
posted by Rock Steady at 8:38 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mefite rap battle is exactly what I'd hoped this thread would turn into, so thank you all very much.
posted by rtha at 8:39 AM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


I see now how it's possible to run out of favourites.
posted by Lorin at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


You actually have a great rap name.

My username was sort of coined by an aspiring teenage rapper I knew in DC in the early 2000s, actually. It was an ongoing joke for a while.
posted by The World Famous at 8:59 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


WOWWW: PAPOOSE - "CONTROL" (KENDRICK LAMAR RESPONSE)

This one is rough.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:00 AM on August 16, 2013


breaking news::

captain murphy x earl x doom

between villains
posted by raihan_ at 9:12 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


*a trio of disheveled youths in cutoff shirts shuffles on stage, drummer, bass, guitar*
*amps are aligned, feedback screeches*
*guitarist commences a sludgy groove*


[verse]
Blue like fire on the deep
Pray my twisted soul to keep
Gray like withered wizard stones
Feel the callouts in your bones
Green like gardens of the night
Ask them for your second sight

[bridge]
Flags of of sorrow, flags of scorn
Let the moderators swarm

*guitar wail*
*badass drum fill*

[chorus - full growl]
Iiiiiiiiii am the kiiiiiiiiing
OF METAFILTER
METAFILTER

Boooooowwwww before meeeeeeee
ON METAFILTER
METAFILTER

Iiiiiiiiiii am the kiii--

--what? Oh this is the rap battle thread? Wow, that's embarrassing. Alright guys, pack it up, wrong thread!
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:29 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ey yo, slow that beat down, I'm fat
Ad hominem, I attack the wack man
Crack his head open with a cast-iron pan
You pack slingshots, while I'm rockin' heavy metal
Cold steel French press you into a teakettle
Two words of Latin and you're braggin'? Fuck,
You sound like klangklangston at the taco truck
posted by box at 9:29 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


aight listen–
your style, box, it glistens
like the pot you ain't got to piss in
or the fountain that you wished in
where you tossed your last cents in
for a flow that's gone missin'
'cause I snapped it up,
bought it shoes, clothes, a home, homie,
and watched it grow up,
now it's 'bout to stand up and take you down hard,
'cause my style drink your milkshake like all them boys in the yard.
posted by invitapriore at 9:49 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is this a rap battle, or a crap battle?
Yeah, it's on the Blue
So I guess that's the best
that you fools can do
This much is tru-ah-ue

I must confess I'm not impressed by the rhymes you've expressed
I should've guessed it'd be a mess
I mean you got P.Avenue, who ain't got a clue
Teakettle got a few, but still too new to know how we do
Take a backseat, you can't compete
You know it, you show it;
you're sweating, you shook
So take a step back
and taste the rock that I cook

Mefites in general
think they're an elite bunch
But you're faked and faded
naked and out to lunch
So lemme speak in a language
you can all understand
Ya gonna melt like Ira Glass
with ya heads in the sand

Imma detail your fail
I'm the casino, you're the whale
So just sit right back
and I'll tell you the tale
And leave your head all a-twitter
Circled by birds
and face-down in the shitter

There's so many of you fools
who need to be handed your asses
I can't list all the individuals
So I'mma diss you in classes

You got the assbags who are gasbags
you long-winded fucks
like Fyodorovich and Marinich
those bloviating schmucks
call em tweedle dee and tweedle dum;
or tl and dr
If verbosity were an empire
they'd battle to be the tsar
But chart wordcount vs. content
On a graph for best fit
Take a measure of the slope
You'll find it's infinite

For some it's not the length,
it's just that they're so frequent
like the Whelk, delmoi, and DU
I'll deal with them in sequence
If ever a mefite were a socialite
That's the Whelk so prim and proper
Always with a bon mot
Unrepentant name-dropper
he's got enough comments
to fill thousands of Arabian nights
never heard of spellcheck
Don't think even he reads what he writes
Could say the same for delmoi
But at least he's not a threadshitter
That title goes to DU
who'll tell you he's no quitter
When it comes to early comments
He's 2 girls, mefi's the cup
because there's an unwritten rule
he's gotta comment on an FPP
before the next one can go up
posted by Eideteker at 10:12 AM on August 16, 2013 [31 favorites]


I burn sherm in a baby skull, rollin with the squadron of net trolls.
We runnin this shit like Pistorius, got no legs but still fast doe.

creepin down broadway like an iced out centipede. Trade my big face rollie for some gorditas.
cocaine chain with the brussel sprouts, house on my wrist, kool-aid koala pieces.

got a wifey, a mistress and a girl they all related.

[hook]
Rappin to that sherm rock. yo we bomb blocks.
ferragamos with no socks. Shit is nothing cuz its nothing kid.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:22 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


That Papoose response is a hell of a thing.
posted by togdon at 10:48 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't wanna stop the flow but I must

Tell y'all my finger hurts from hittin the lil plus.

( I suck , but appreciate the art very much and you guys are fucking amazing. Good work )
posted by Fig at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2013


Teakettle on the mic gettin all kinda lyrical
but he jus' blowin steam, makes it eponysterical
rap battle on the blue
watcha gonna do
flag it an move on
or step up too
East coast/west coast...who's the mefi King
I'm not misogynistic, so gender's not a thing
I'm lookin for some flow
some rhymes that make me go
holyfuckinshit that cat's a
rhymin pro
so bring yo bes' disses
the hits an the misses
but lets not be theoretical
it better be poetical
cause if it makes me yawn I''ll yell
get. off. my. LAWN!
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:57 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Kendrick and TDE snuck Papoose onto the stage at summer jam a couple months back. Caused a huge uproar.

I don't know much about him but he seems like a conspiracy rapper.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:59 AM on August 16, 2013


Glisten, pissin', yo, man, listen,
What kind of man would you be, I flow mint condition
And I'm all about dissin,' gettin' busy and pissin'
I'll crush your girl, then I'll crush your crew
Only dudes I know that are wacker than you
Piss on your steps, and then I piss on your grave
Bring the wrath of the math like the Oakland A's
You're like Roberto Duran, 'no mas! no mas!'
You're like Rick Ross--I mean, you're like Rick Ross
I'm like Duran Duran, with a view to a kill
Ask your dead homiez--I'll kill at will
In a previous life, I might've fathered your flow
Do I look like a mind reader, son? I don't know
But there's just one thing, I can't ignore it:
You're the emcee I fathered that I should've aborted.
posted by box at 11:01 AM on August 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


I love this thread so. goddamn. much.

I've seen all kinds of things on Metafilter. Been told something in no uncertain terms more than once. Learned about all kinds of cultures and philosophies.

But I never thought I'd ever see a thread full of people spittin' hot fire.

Bless you. Bless you all.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:23 AM on August 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


Metafilter: we got bars on bars.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:28 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah I know nobody said that but I'm saying it.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:29 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was wondering about Wayne. He could have put him on the goat list too.

I love hiphop, but Lil' Wayne's enduring popularity is a mystery to me. Still, "real g's move in silence like lasagna" is a hell of a line.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 11:45 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Lil' Wayne's on the GOAT list for a couple reasons: One, his rhymes are incredibly multilayered, with crazy allusions, slant rhymes, puns and homophones. Second off, since he got out of prison, he doesn't write anything down — he develops all his rhymes orally, which ups the difficulty.
posted by klangklangston at 11:48 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Handin out faves, handin handin out favs
bout to fuck this shit up, fuck this shit up. x8

Oh lord, these mifites mad.
Rollin off this molly bout to jump off in the thread.

jump off in the thread, jump off, jump off in the thread. x2

Mods don't hear me doe.
geekin off this white bout to tear this thread up.

Tear this thread up, tear this, tear this thread up. x2

Up in the thread with no shirt.
Better call the mods.

Call the mods, call the,call the mods. x2

I'm off this henny and too turnt up.
Smoking gas finna blow up.

Finna blow up, Finna Finna blow up. x8


That track is straight banger right there.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


box, you a father alright, chillin' like Al Bundy,
or Archie Bunker on his couch sittin' round in his undies,
spittin' rhymes about killin' when you ain't seen a gun B,
I be the undertaker makin' you a underground emcee
your verse too terse when you take out my rhymes,
i heard it before 'cause more than half them words is mine
that's what happens when you use my own shit against me,
like a broken mirror, error: those palabras is offense-free
your flow is injured dogg, like Old Yeller, limpin' hard
so i'ma take it out, shoot it, clean up the backyard,
send you the bill and then forget that I met you
'cause the reality is you can only rhyme when I let you.
posted by invitapriore at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


Jess', 'tex, and them other mods watchin' flags on this shit
Mefites linin' up to declare "rap music is shit"
So many flags and strawmen you'd think we yankee doodlin' it
From high above nuke the worst comments, mods takin' no shit
I'm in a destruction mode anglin' for y'alls favorites
Rock th' professional white background, 'cause like hip-hop I'm old
Threadsitting like a boss, browser on auto-reload
Ain't nobody's son, I'm the King of the Comments
King of the Post, one keyboard, juggle 'em both
Hit the wiki up to include some in-jokes
Live from the basement, contemplatin' beans
Cabals and mushrooms got me causin' a scene
Blue Pepsi in my cup, a camera that vibrates, you see
I know who am I, but who the fuck y'all supposed to be?

Day late, $0.48 short
posted by togdon at 1:34 PM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Invitapriore, in vino veritas,
Your wine's too young to hotbox with god
My terroir terrorizes, palate patois
I've got rhymes in the cellar, hops in the yard,
I'm Pliny of the Elders and you're a Red Dog
Callin' me a dog? Well leave a dog alone
Because barkers and biters get beat with the bone
And my dogfood leaves a bad burn in your mouth
Got that hot sauce flow from the north to the south
I'm a Trinidad Scorpion, and you're a poblano
And I'm pissin' on god like Andres Serrano
You're a black-eyed pea and I'm a blue-eyed devil,
I'm a Timberland kickin' it on that other level
Invitapriore, this is veni, vidi, vici
Your rhyme style's softer than Christina Ricci
posted by box at 2:00 PM on August 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


Like a dad, like I'm rad, like I'm Brad, like I'm Chad
posted by Teakettle at 2:36 PM on August 16, 2013


Isguch

Guwop

Straight sippin, no scraw.

In the kitchen, I be water whippin'.
Whip Got that dark tint, y'all mefites trippin'.
Roll up a quarter, crack a bottle, I be straight sippin'.
don't need no straw this is how I'm livin'.

My baby girl said she need some new Giuseppes.
I hold the block,catch a hommie on the opp, then take her ass to sicily.

Back in the day we used to go to Wendy's.
But now we came up and drop guwop on sushi.
dark tint, lemonade, thats how you know it's gucci.

Bricksquad, so Icy. Guwop.


That may be an actual Gucci Mane verse
posted by Ad hominem at 2:41 PM on August 16, 2013


God damn, I'm listening to R.A. The Rugged Man's new record for the first time right now, this is good.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:53 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


this is good.

Albee square mall, my house is the Albee square mall. Albee square mall.

GOAT Biz song, fuck Got What I Need.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:57 PM on August 16, 2013


Eideteker, lie detector: Who'd you say was verbose?
I see you're coastin' on jokes you heard at your own roast.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:58 PM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ad hom, you better ask your mom
Ma dukes starvin' like Marvin, she knows what's goin' on
I'm 'bout to write an F on your Biz-Mark papers
The GOAT Biz song, guaranteed: 'The Vapors'
posted by box at 3:46 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back in the day when there was dinosaurs
We used to go to Fulton street for the stores.
There was The Wiz,and V.I.M.
You could buy Lee jeans and chill with your friends.
There was A&S where you shopped with your moms.
For school clothes that would make you the bomb.

Then one day they opened the mall.
They had a radio shack and that's not all.
All types of stores opened there.
And The Biz wrote a song about Albee Square.

They all said no one could beat The Biz.
But Brooklyn knew that was the song for The Wiz.
World famous rapper from our hood.
Rapping bout the places we understood.

That's why we still love the mall.
Even though Radio Shack closed and the malls long gone.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:10 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


teakettle's opening salvo flow
spastic, flow flagged fantastic, yo
metafilter: we got bars on sidebars
and faves for days just ask ad hominen
he collectin 'em, rackin' more plusses
than scoble, more browser share than mobile
and you don't need a samsung phone
to check that shit out yo, peace
posted by Lorin at 4:26 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


You got no cause to act like you wipe your ass with satin;
you call yourself Kattullus, but I heard you got no Latin.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:49 PM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Last time you stepped up to a Roman, Rustic Etruscan
You got forced off the road and busted your Mustang.
posted by Kattullus at 5:23 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Anybody want to put it down over the track? Instrumental download.
posted by cashman at 5:26 PM on August 16, 2013


RAP BATTLE
posted by chinston at 5:53 PM on August 16, 2013


Check out Daylyt, craziest battle rapper.
Daylyt vs Rick Dolarz
Daylyt vs Manaz ILL
posted by Ad hominem at 6:14 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mefites call me ersatz yet I ain't fake
my flow smashes dams, makes your soul quake
Imma break your comprehension, child of your age,
neither skill nor invention – to you I'm a sage
your nerves taut with tension – I reign on this stage
your rage, my ascension, your newest fixation
you feign you're the king of hip hop; I'm Oli Cromwell
you're convicted, attainted, condemned— stop! Hear your death knell.

*drops mic*
posted by ersatz at 6:41 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


People got words but you ain't got voices,
The choice is yours, sheeple. (This is kinda phat)
The Me Fi fo fum posse up to bat lookin' glossy,
You bossy but the bit rate lossy.
You write bars and show scars, fake stars, you "live large."
You hard, bard? Nah, soft lard, strictly undercard.
Tickle toes, your flows trickle, no one melts the communard
My yellow snow calling card ripples on your front yard.
Alvin, your shit stunk, you baby-throated chip punk,
The Hove that Time Forgot, "Uh, Uh, uh uh uh," dude.
My Om perfect Om syllable Om Gyuto flip monk.
Thunder rumbles deeper at a higher altitude.
I'm 33⅓ and you're (squeak) 78.
I'll relate, you can rest from the climb.
You step like a perp but you chirp like a twerp,
herp derp, butter luck next time.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:43 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


In west Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:44 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Box, you right, I'm eatin at the taco truck
Makin yo momma beep like she's backin up
She like the sopas that I'm servin when we rut
Nueces to your nieces, gusta salsa in their hiccup
when I'm servin y'all I keep my burrito in the wrappers tho
Last time, too much man go in mama mango, yo
that's why they tell you you got yo daddy's nose
and why you rappin with that bastard flow
Galactic, my style has birthed a million sons
An orphanage, too many to be wipin' em
That's why I'm the shit and you're the diaper, son
that's why you're the neon and I'm the viper gunned
Before you step to me there's some things you gotta learn
Like where the ice at, and how to you got to earn
You still starin', awkward like you between two ferns
Aww, baby, you need some aloe for your BURNS
posted by klangklangston at 6:54 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ah. Cambridge.
A Boston rose by any other name:
Lame.
Home to whack MC's who have a one night stand
With they hand
'Cuz they fine ladies always come to see me
Down in the Row to the Eye to the Land
I ain't out the trailer
I'm straight from the swamp
Real Yankees love Fenway
and are ready to stomp
Suckah MC's so let it be, G
Stayin' alive, living dead girl?
Like Rob Zombie movies I'll scare ya ass awake
They call you Big Frieda when they see ya shake
Admit it: I'm ya whole world
Don't tangle, get free
You don't want none of this
Rusty-ass kettle makin' weak T
Like Alewife Station
Been watin fa ya ride so long
So long
Had to burn some vacation
It don matta man
If ya wind up in Mattapan
Oah on da Sout Shoah:
Quincy
The whole Hub revolves around the King of PVD
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:47 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Viper-gunned? You stay shotgunnin' with the vipers
But like Jethro Tull, it's time to pay the piper
I break tackles like Jim Brown, on the one like James Brown,
Step to me, Bobby Brown, and I'll rap like Rap Brown
Richer than James Brolin, ball like LeBron James
Break balls like Bill James, rock bells like Bob James
Ring your bell like klang klang, 'cause I bring the dang slang
You're sayin' 'check one two,' while I'm doing the damn thing
posted by box at 7:49 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


you call that "doin' the damn thing" referencing jethro tull?
homie, your style's played out, like aqualung
watch the words flow like liquid heat from my tongue
thick as a brick, my flow'll do ya
you better step back quick
but better do it softly
the thin ice of a new day is still crackin' beneath ya lead feet
while you be rappin awfully
heavy foot on the gas like old man on the pier
you better go find ya girl
before she bends like a pussy willow
vacuuming it up like anderson on a pan flute
posted by raihan_ at 8:33 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jethro Tull?
Screw you
I'll take you both on
Rock flute:
Ossum
Both of you:
Dead possum
Two city hicks
Armpits: full of ticks
Try to skin
Dead critter
Can't win
LIke wit yo baysitter
Dull knife
Worse rhymes
You make a mess
With very long, well constructed and allusive
Lines
Also dull knives.
Even Russian wives
Want to go home first class
Mail order bride
Beauty meets an ass
Give her a ride.
Beast? She wishes.
Of all the mighty hunters
Beast? No.
You da least.
Cold dead fishes.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:04 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Uh. I used to freestyle rap, poorly, when I was but a wee child living on "the streets" of Philadelphia, but I'm going to sit this one out*. The diss rhymes in this thread are great though.

I'm really still interested in trying to find out what the big deal is with this verse and why it has so many people up in arms? It must be contextual, because I don't read/hear anything in Lamar's verse that's mindblowing. He makes some bold claims about his own skills and place in hip-hop, and challenges others to match him, but I don't think the track, by itself, supports those claims or warrants those challenges. So, is his verse only really understandable against the larger tapestry of his other work, of which I'm entirely ignorant? Or, what is it about this verse that makes it stand out among other contemporary work? I have listened to it, read it, read the footnotes, and tried to parse out what is so mindblowing about it, but am not really seeing it. Then again, I'm in that group of assholes that tend to be impressed in inverse proportion to how impressed others are by something. But I really would like to have a better understanding of phenomenon without having to mainline the last 10 years of the entirety of hip-hop (not because I don't listen to hip-hop, but because I'm a musical dunce and do not listen to any new music on purpose).

*my crew was called NBA (Natural Born Artists), because we would tag the alleyways near our street. We used markers because we couldn't afford paint and we didn't steal things. I always drew Wolverine.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:14 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay, first thing, don't even try to say your name
'Cause your style's played out like a Genesis game
Underscore? You're an underscorin' emcee
And I'll burn you like toast if you step to me
raihan, you need to change your game plan
'Cause I'm swingin' like Raiden, hittin' ya brainpan

And Slaphap?
Comin' with the crap rap
The wack rap
Sad-sack rap
Lighten up, chump
Turn out that frown
You hold up walls
I'm gettin' down
So stand up
Get up
Don't back up,
Never let up.
Wash dishes.
Best wishes.
posted by box at 9:17 PM on August 16, 2013


What, you can't say *?
Because so far from * is where you are.
I'm Les Craven meets Dr. Seuss
I don't need long lines
To dish some abuse
Box? You more like
An envelope
Yo mamma asked me
If we want to elope
You want these
Green eggs and ham?
Ask Freddy Krueger
He knows who * am.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:23 PM on August 16, 2013


I'm really still interested in trying to find out what the big deal is with this verse and why it has so many people up in arms?

Neuromodulator had some good ideas upthread:
1. He calls out everybody for being overly materialistic - he's challenging his fellow emcees to get off the repetitive thematic treadmill they're on. That's not unprecedented, obviously, but to put that in the same verse you call yourself king of new york and name all your peers, specifically - he's throwing down a pretty serious gauntlet.

2. I like that while he throws down this gauntlet with typical braggadocio, he also emphasizes that it does come from a place of love, and a desire for them all to do better, to push themselves, and improve. He talks about the competitive spirit being an inspirational force.

I don't think the dialogue around it would be taking the same form if it weren't for those two aspects of it.
I disagreed and cited some Royce and slaughterhouse stuff. Ad hominem insightfully noted that Kendrick did this before (Monster Freestyle, circa 2010) and nobody took the bait.

So what changed in the past few years?
Maybe more rappers got on twitter.
Maybe Dr. Dre's protege lineage kicked in.
Maybe in this era of lazified too cool to care rap, someone with skill challenged everyone.

Maybe there is a lack of any group or movement that is acknowledged as controlling rap at the moment, so in that vacuum there was nothing to take any news articles away from this and rap was able to focus its full energy on this. Earl Sweatshirt's Doris was about to come out. Kanye's new one came and went, to mixed reviews (weak, to me). Eminem is m.i.a., and not "Bingo" m.i.a., "It Iz What It Iz" m.i.a. Drake is drake. Wayne is Wayne and not active, and I could go through names from Jean Grae to Nicki and nobody is "on" right now. Ask 100 people's favorite song right now and you'll probably get 65 different answers. So maybe that was it.

Who knows. I'm just waiting for someone here to take that instrumental and drop some verses over it.
posted by cashman at 9:55 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also, it brings to mind that East-coast/West-coast thing.

Because these days, everybody's all about the '90s nostalgia.
posted by box at 6:14 AM on August 17, 2013


> But I really would like to have a better understanding

Yo, runcibleshaw, I'm real happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but this diss battle is one of the best MeFi threads of all time. OF ALL TIME!
posted by languagehat at 6:41 AM on August 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Eideteker,
you're a wreck. Yer
flow is shot to goddamn heck.
You dropped the name
of the same
one who'll wring your fuckin' neck.

I prolly pass
Comments like yours out my ass
Every day
When I'm staying
on the shitter.
Don't like your comments long?
Just go back to fucking Twitter.

You get one favorite
For my every thirty-three.
Just do your best to savor it
Keep on wishing you was me.

All y'all get up against the wall.
Your tales are pretty fuckin' tall.
I make ya look like valley girls at the mall:
Like-likin' everything that I call.

You're like an ancient BBS
Well, motherfucks, I'm Neopets
'cept I'm not owned by Scientology.
Cool like a SimCity arcology.

...I have no idea how this blusterin' thing works. Can I submit a hate-sonnet instead?
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:43 AM on August 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


This thread was way better back in the early days when it was about skills rather than crass marketing plays by fake thugs like this Rory whippersnapper.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:16 AM on August 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Etruscan" and "Mustang" do not fuckin' rhyme,
not in any fuckin' place, not at any fuckin' time,
so if you're not jokin', go blow smoke or pound sand,
or whatever is you all still do up in Iceland.

Vainglorious Rory, you're treatin' faves like class notes,
but opinions are like assholes, and yours are all like goatse.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:42 AM on August 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Vainglorious Rory, you're treatin' faves like class notes, see,
but opinions are like assholes, and yours are all like goatse.


FTFY. (Wait, is this gonna be one of those "meffy"/"meefigh" things?)

posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:15 AM on August 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


This many emcees on the bone
This many emcees all go home
Rory, Rory, what's the story?
All those rhymes you kick are boring
You are crazier than Fox
If you think that you can fuck with box
Your rhymes are wa-a-ack
Ask yourself--you ain't the m-a-ack
You'd better get up off the cra-a-ack
Because my rhymes will slit your throat
posted by box at 9:22 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Before the battle started this thread got me thinkin'
If you'd like some context, here's some comments that I'm linkin'
Short shrift for vocalists' musicianship ain't nothing new,
And there's a long history of women's contributions gettin' screwed.
Seems some instrumentalists are fetishists, refuse to recognize
That the voice is a tool it takes serious skill to utilize.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:50 AM on August 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


Kattullus: pyramid termite? Go find your period key
or I put a full stop to you seriously.


Marry me.
posted by tzikeh at 10:26 AM on August 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't have a good ear for poetry — though I expect that's something amenable to training — but as a percussionist who is mostly unfamiliar with hip-hop, when I listen to it I clearly hear a lot of interesting rhythmic complexity in the lyric, as well as the consonance/dissonance/assonance mentioned earlier.

What this is, is a new oral tradition of poetry that, with its backing by musical instruments, is also music.

The voice is no less a "musical instrument" than a drum or a piano or a guitar, and it is no less a "musical instrument" absent melody/harmony than are most percussion instrument similarly lacking; and it is more an instrument than they are because voice is far, far more expressive even without melody/harmony, and even in the absence of a narrative text.

Given a text, then when placed within a recognized musical context, it is easily capable of carrying 95% of the "musical" burden. Which is to say, if you're not talking about the lyrics in favor of the backing track, then you're ignoring 95% of the music. And that music is, in fact, complex and technically difficult and innovative and evolving.

Also, insofar as the conventions of the genre are very narrow and constraining, it should be noted that very often the most interesting and innovating art is produced within the most constrained of the forms.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:18 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm makin' it rain, man, countin' stacks like Rain Man
I got rhymes all day for suckers like raihan
You're not original, yo, you're just a corny cliche, man
Claimin' hard, but your heart is just papier-mache, man
Step to the fam, I'll pop your cap like a spray can
Wipe off your fake tan and step on your Ray-Bans
We can battle on the mic or at the Chinese buffet, man
Jump up, get beat down, write that shit in your day plan
posted by box at 11:37 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yo box,

I cannot go home cause my home is the street
you foam in the mouth while I bring on the heat
I roam in the hood; you don't kill, box, you skeet
I bust your deceit and the site smells your fear
I destroy your conceit; kiss my dust – mad as Lear,
call yourself an emcee, but resemble red deer
you can't stand bright lights: then concede, disappear.
I buy and I sell you; so, here's your receipt
time to beat a retreat – we both know y'aint elite
your defeat is severe; you don't rhyme but excrete
When I opened you, box, you were found obsolete
posted by ersatz at 12:04 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, it's like that? Aight, fuck it:

'ersatz' means 'fake,' but yo, that's too easy
Can't stay away, because the game needs me
Burn you to ashes, I stay real greasy
Married to this shit like George and Weezy
You don't open box, box opens you
I'm the one who knocks, like y'all know who
And I hit like blue meth, take your last breath
Here I come, five shots, blue-eyed boy, mister death
ersatz, wack raps, give you a dirt nap
Ride in the wayback, now it's the payback
Don't need an allegory to kick a gory rhyme
I'll beat you with a book, homeboy, it's storytime
posted by box at 12:32 PM on August 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


More responses:
Alyssa Marie
Joe Budden
Bizarre
posted by Ad hominem at 1:01 PM on August 17, 2013


Neither would I. I never said hip hop wasn't music. I said that taken as a genre, from a technical musicianship standpoint, I didn't think hip hop and jazz were comparable.

Sure they are. You just have to remember that rap is artistry concerned with rhythm, words, meaning, like poetry-but the rhythm and the backing music are part of the whole. When you are doing jazz, the main point is what the instruments are playing musically. With the first, your instrument is the dictionary, the thesaurus and the rhyme along with everything else. If you are just comparing basic musicianship, you have to realize this is apples and oranges.

Rap has way more in common with country music in a way. Country music is way more about the lyric than the tune, and so is rap. Same basic idea, but way different. Rap is poetry squared.


I just wish that there would be way more of it that didn't talk about genitals and cursing and calling women bitches and hos and calling each other the n word. Because the same thing that makes rap powerful is the same thing that makes the use of the profanity and vulgarity way worse. This art form has so much potential to do powerful things for society, and a large part of it is doing the opposite. I think of J.Cole, I'm sitting here literally a block from where he went to high school with my kids, where he sat in honors classes with my son a decade ago-and I can't listen to his stuff because the vulgarity is so jarring and yet knowing he is doing some genius stuff with his lyrics.


I know that rap is transgressive in the same way rock was transgressive back in the day, but does all the "good" stuff have to be tainted that way?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:02 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


More responses:
Alyssa Marie
Joe Budden
Bizarre


Why did so many no-name rappers jump up to respond when nobody really cares? Budden's might be good. Maybe we'll see when it doesn't sound like an NSA recording. Bizarre's was mildly funny but he should have gone the Mad Rapper route.

I have to believe that somebody has something in the works to take it to another stage, past the every weak rapper you never heard of stage.

Dear rappers we've never heard of,

Be funny, or acknowledge your place, or do SOMEthing that is different. Like KRS says, "your first mistake is you stepping to me, rookie, like you're an o.g. and you're just a runner, fool!"
posted by cashman at 1:27 PM on August 17, 2013


I just wish that there would be way more of it that didn't talk about genitals and cursing and calling women bitches and hos and calling each other the n word

Here are some great songs for you Alia - though I tend to only listen to political hip-hop.

Head Roc - Cris Columbus
d_cyphernauts - You Got Your War
posted by corb at 1:39 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Better quality Joe Budden response

Everyone wants on the hype train. I haven't even been linking all of them. Most of these people aren't even from New York.

Here are some international responses.
Ur Boy Bangz
Big Narstie
posted by Ad hominem at 1:49 PM on August 17, 2013


Here are some great songs for you Alia - though I tend to only listen to political hip-hop.

Another solution is to celebrate the idiom. Enjoy the cursing, thrill to the transgressive language.

Embrace the genitals.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:57 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another solution is to celebrate the idiom. Enjoy the cursing, thrill to the transgressive language.

Embrace the genitals.


I would argue that the widespread profanity and misogyny in rap suggests that it isn't transgressive for much of the hip-hop scene, and that that itself is the real concern.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:07 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, okay. Replace "transgressive" with "bad," if you will.

My bad. Er, I should say, my transgression. Or no?
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:11 PM on August 17, 2013




St. Alia, you might be interested in Going To Maine's recent AskMe.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:11 PM on August 17, 2013


(I laughed like hell at 'burn you to ashes, I stay real greasy')

You reject allegory yet you need metaphor
Your flow is so slow, superseded like semaphore
Homie, I wrecked you, I'm the top predator
When on mefi, Joe, don't act like a redditor
Average verbiage is all you can show
Think you're Jay-Z, but rap like J.Lo

If you're mister death, I'm Apollo
god of light and the plague; your efforts seem hollow
You ain't got no fight, you a blue-eyed boy?
You ain't special, just one of the hoi polloi
Cover your eyes cuz I'm bright like the sun
The oracle speaks, skill unmatched by a man
Each word that I mouth hitting hard like a fist
You ain't blue meth, homie, you're just pissed
posted by ersatz at 3:19 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, this gets at an interesting point. Bad language is a subjective thing. I once saw Ice-T give a lecture where he opined that people just used the f-bomb to make it clear that they were serious. That was fine and good, and helped me get over some of my own issues with how much I liked some songs despite how foul they sounded. I could live vicariously through that modest transgression! But then again, Ice-T said nothing at all about the word "bitch". (And of course, it was only transgression for me, because f-bombs were not a thing I thought of myself as dropping.)

Words are just words, and given that you can say the B-word on the radio, that probably like so many other words it doesn't harm the children, and that Kendrick Lamar has popularized a charming alternative I probably shouldn't really care. (And maybe "bish" is the first step in reclaiming the word.) But it does get to me, and it does eat at my enjoyment of the genre. (The problem is one of culture, not language, but language is how we experience it.) Hip-hop culture isn't quite the same as mass culture, but there's a lot of overlap, and a lot of performance. Gangsta rappers didn't have to be authentic gangsters, but it sure helped. (Until Rick Ross, I suppose, but he was at the tail end of that phase.)

The authenticity thing bugs me to no end. Here's Action Bronson pretending to be a pimp. Should all the "bitches" he drops there not bother me, because it's presented as fiction? What about if I'm listening to the first track on the album, which isn't? Accepting all of these things on equal footing irks me. (Hypocritically, I might add, since I think Blue Chips is a great album.)

So the transgression thing could apply to the language, but then it could also apply to the sentiment behind the language. And the idea of engaging in transgressive misogyny should surely a little troubling. But then again, there are people out there with rape fantasies, so who knows, perhaps some rap is a good escape hatch. But it's one heck of a mainstream escape hatch! So the idea that some large portion of us are indulging in behavior that many of us would consider bad, let alone lionizing its performers, is troubling. The alternative, that we are lionizing behavior that we don't think is bad, is at least as problematic.

I guess what it comes down to is that I like to enjoy rap is a transgressive thing, but there a lot of us getting that same enjoyment, and given that so many of us ostensibly know better you'd think we could make some better cream rise up to the top. (Of course, if the best rap comes from the hood, maybe the solution to getting better rap is fixing poverty? And that's a problem above my pay grade.)

Metafilter: Your blog is my blog too
posted by Going To Maine at 3:25 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I started to get into the whole cursing thing in that recent askme, but then didn't. Check out what bell hooks talked about regarding attacking rap, while simultaneously accepting the same things elsewhere. I watch a lot of tv and maybe what is so unnerving for some people is that rap makes explicit what is on the television night and day.

There was a post a couple of days ago where KRS breaks down some of the history of hip hop. KRS says that you measure your worth, your growth, by how much untruth you strip away from yourself. And the truth is that hip hop is as American as apple pie. Guess where that N-word originated? Guess what culture has it hardcoded into it that women are less than men? American culture. That's why there is still a wage gap. And a glass ceiling. And no female president.

KRS also noted years ago that when hip hop started out, and artists couldn't get respected, couldn't get their material accepted by the larger culture, they started taking from that culture and recontextualizing it. Taking the messages and the sounds and recontextualizing them. Of course in true KRS fashion he said it better than I just did, but there you go. Even down to the names. Think of a well known mob figure, fictional or real, or a gangster or dictator considered infamous in American culture, and there is probably a rapper named after them.

This isn't something we created out of thin air. "We learned it by watching you, alright? We learned it by watching you." Now can we please save the hip hop 101 stuff for another thread? It feels like 1980's nightline when they were talking about rap like it was a drug scourge. Head to that KRS thread perhaps?

Back to the Kendrick-inspired battles!
posted by cashman at 4:28 PM on August 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


'scool! My only additional comment is that nowhere was I trying to suggest that hip-hop is un-American. The culture is what the culture is.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:51 PM on August 17, 2013


The oracle? Son, you're no Larry Ellison
And that shit that you kick, yo, it's irrelevant
I've got rhymes for you and all your little henches
Said I'd beat you with a book--didn't mean Bullfinch's
If you're Apollo, then this must be Rocky IV
You're gonna die in the ring when I bring the cold war
A predator? You're more like a bedwetter
Now let me get this money like Lily Ledbetter
posted by box at 4:57 PM on August 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Back to the Kendrick-inspired battles!

Back to the Grill Again!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:59 PM on August 17, 2013


Damn, box just went in on some federal statute shit.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:09 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


This white words willy waving boyzone background's
Blue as the mould on an old plate of beans

Old hat battle crap make you feel like the big man
Tell me you're the king and you just told me you're a wasteman
Tell me something interesting and use the voice you talk in
You wouldn't last a minute in the shoes you're trying to walk in
(Not saying I would either that's why I don't even bother)
But the Black and White Minstrel Show is over for a reason
Why not be a Smartie? More like M&Ms with cheese on

It's a small time mirror of some big time boring
You read the news today? There's something you're ignoring
Like the conscious rhyming hordes who wipe the floor with all the fnords
And all the pseuds who win awards and act like Lords while we're snoring

Best thread? Jimmy Hill. And it flows like Jimmy Riddle
Wrong cat got your tongue and it played you like a fiddle
Been fun, but I'm done with this Willy Wonka posing
It leaves me kind of blue if you know what I mean.
posted by motty at 5:57 PM on August 17, 2013


What this thread really lacked
was a wet blanket, so motty attacked.
You cut no slack but if we're gonna be frank
it stank. Thanks for the tips on the candy.
They might come in handy in the
land of hereditary lords, that is,
lords with a minuscule "l."
You see, the majuscule letter
in the header got lost when we tossed
the fetters of aristocratic reign
in the dirt. Don't get me wrong,
it didn't take long but the market,
the source, the darkest,
the so-called invisible hand forced a course
and landed a new lucky few in the
dubious role of the better.
However: they don't get a capital letter.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:47 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


What we need up in here's a poetic emetic,
since the rhymes all y'all've hitherto spun are pathetic.
Your metaphor's loose and your meter's frenetic;
you've mastered the rap battle form and aesthetic
like ICP groks how shit works that's magnetic.
posted by kengraham at 8:50 PM on August 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


You ain't Lily Ledbetter, box, you ain't Rosa Parks
While you're looking for money, I got capital like Marx
My words sharp as flint but although I make sparks
I give up
This guy is king at talking outta his ass.
posted by ersatz at 5:05 AM on August 18, 2013


Imagine if people put as much effort into improving the world as into paying attention to stuff like this.
posted by tarvuz at 5:20 AM on August 18, 2013


Wait, this thread hasn't improved your world?
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 5:51 AM on August 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Imagine if people put as much effort into improving the world as into paying attention to stuff like this.

Imagine if people put as much effort into improving the world as into paying attention to people paying attention to stuff like this.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:53 AM on August 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Imagine if people put as much effort into improving the world as into paying attention to stuff like this.

Walk and chew gum, people. That's the motto this year!
posted by jessamyn at 6:00 AM on August 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


This shit ain't nuttin' cuttin' edge; this shit ain't nuttin' new,
This shit been goin' on so long, it's just what humans do.
We got to brag, we got to swagger, got to put on the display,
Make the patterns with the chatter patter all the yesterdays
Apes and monkeys mime, boys and girls make funky rhyme.
If he showed you with the flytin' Odin didn't need the smitin'
When his keel boat started draggin' Mickey Fink started braggin'
Draw the swords, draw the words, hate the playa, love the birds.
Don't take history pass/fail, just stick your tongue in your tail.
Don't back down, say j'accuse, when alien pens get your use.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:21 PM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Your lyrics are poisonous, this thread needs a detox
None of you innovative, copy cats in a Xerox
You're all hop hop opossums, light leaves you in awe, sons
At the end of your tunnels, pearly gates swung wide open

I'm clearly, fear me, got no peers, see?
Fearless, peerless, Muhammad Ali
General Alexander the Great, conquering
Omniscient, surveilling, Section 215

I'm Trogdor, consummate, breathing this wattage
You're burninated, villager, thatched roof cottage
That's a wrap, don't respond, I've killed your career
Well that, and nobody even reads the rap lyrics down here
posted by clearly at 1:27 PM on August 18, 2013 [3 favorites]




A hypocrite's entered the thread I patrol,
did crimes against rhymes but now out on parole.
Their soul's goal's to roll in the bowels of Sheol,
I guess, cause those rhymes are a sin, on the whole.

"Hypocrisy? Bitch please! The fuck? Tell me more!"
It's 'cause you referenced dumb animations of yore!
Burnination was old news by twenty-ought-four,
like Chocolate Rain or the First Punic War.

And yet, clearly, you say "We need innovation!
No derivative works, only whole-cloth creation!"
Rhyming hypocrisy's when your oration
doesn't match up to your own rhyme's dictation.

Check yourself 'fore you wreck yourself, clearly.
posted by kengraham at 4:10 PM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


These fake mefite rappers pushin that bullshit. I'm movin that raw, uncut.

Whoo. Comments that make your face numb.

Damn. so cold they make your nose run.
Words like a blizard, no acetone when I brick these raw.
Comments shine like stacked birds in the south american sun.

Product so sick it's givin mefites the bird flu.
Copping favorites off this pro white, no soda.
Pushing packets down that cable like it's a cartel mule.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:13 PM on August 18, 2013


Imagine if people put as much effort into improving the world as into paying attention to stuff like this.

You've been a member since 2007 and only made 88 comments during that time, and this was one of them.

I mean it's just kind of a funny mental image to picture a guy sitting there lurking through hundreds if not thousands of threads on computer games, kitten videos, weird food, weirder art, etc., and then pause on this thread -- maybe leaving the tab open for a couple of days getting madder and madder the whole time -- and then finally be all, "you know what, this thread specifically is too damn frivolous. I'm gonna say something."
posted by en forme de poire at 10:45 PM on August 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Have -none- of the rappers called out responded with verses yet? Seriously??
posted by victory_laser at 12:37 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


And because of this, Big Sean gets the Gas Face from Serch himself!
"You, Sean, are having a tough time getting fans excited about your album. You have put out several singles that have gotten a mediocre response. So you figure that you will put out something that would create some buzz for your album. For YOUR album. But in the game of emcee you are only as good as your last verse and the guy who had the best verse was Kendrick. No one is talking about you. All the talk is about the verse Kendrick dropped, but all the responses have been about the replies. Dude, the first person who should have responded should have been you!"
posted by cashman at 8:40 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I know Big Sean says he didn't re record his verse after he got Kendrick's but I think he probably did.

Drop fire, and not because I'm name dropping, Hall of Fame droppin'
And I ain't takin' shit from nobody unless they're OG's
Cause that ain't the way of an OG


People seem to think the line

You write your name with a Sharpie, I write mine in stone

is a reference to the cover of GKMC
posted by Ad hominem at 9:04 AM on August 19, 2013


Big Sean's album leaked. stream

Still haven't really listened to A$AP Ferg's Trap Lord or most of Gucci's WW3 tapes from last week. WW3: Lean alone had like 22 tracks on it.

Impossible to keep up.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:19 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


haha album is ridiculous. That k dot verse would have blown the entire album out of the water.

Some of the lines I do not get at all are like:
I'm eatin' lobster with my shrimp hand.

I get it is a play on pimp hand but WTF is a shrimp hand, Hand you eat shimp with or really fucking small or what?

But some are funny as hell like:
I even cheat on my whip, I got a side benz.

Its fun but about an inch deep.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:03 PM on August 19, 2013


Bumpy Knuckles - New York Where You At
posted by box at 3:12 PM on August 19, 2013


Ok, I get it. He also says "Must be doing something right, every meal comes with asparagus"

Now that he is famous he is eating fancy shit like lobster and asparagus instead of shrimp.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:12 PM on August 19, 2013


Rap rap, rippity rap rap, rip rop rippity doo!

Kid Shazzam: Have you seen that video with that little nasty girl, Little Kims?

Grandmaster Rap: Oh, easy now kid, easy!

Kid Shazzam: Talkin' about her private parts like they're juicy and what not.

Grandmaster Rap: When we rapped, we didn't rap about givin' your man friend fellat-i-os. We rapped about good stuff like sneakers.

Kid Shazzam: And people who talk too much.

Grandmaster Rap: And partying all night long!

Kid Shazzam: And not stopping till the break-a break-a dawn!
posted by Ham Snadwich at 6:10 AM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]




OKP on Rapsody's new song "Jedi Code" with Jay Elec & Phonte (produced by 9th Wonder):
"The best thing about this song is that it might be the most legitimate track to emerge since the blackout heard round the world and it has absolutely nothing to do with Kendrick Lamar or anyone he called out. This is just a really great example of perfecting the craft and killing a beat because you can. With the release of “Jedi Code” Rapsody snatches wigs and reminds us what MCing is all about. This is what K. Dot was asking for. Rapsody sums up the trio’s approach toward the end of the track, saying “the strength of the Jedi is in the code that we live.” In laymen’s terms, don’t talk about it be about it."
This Kendrick verse really did cause a dent in Hip Hop history.
posted by cashman at 5:37 PM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


That Rapsody mixtape isn't bad.
posted by box at 6:38 PM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh word? Which other tracks do you like?
posted by cashman at 6:51 PM on August 20, 2013


Of the stuff I've listened to, 'Lonely Thoughts' and 'Kingship' (Premo!) might be my faves.
posted by box at 1:37 PM on August 21, 2013


And the award for worst response goes to Shyne. His rapping is horrible. The video is weak. Everything about it is bad. Even the youtube video description sucks. His YouTube username sucks. It's too long. He uses the word "busters" multiple times. Re-retire immediately please.
posted by cashman at 8:27 AM on August 22, 2013


Thus was MetaFilter forever changed.

Uh, did I actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy? I'm starting to see rap battles show up in unrelated threads.
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:51 PM on August 22, 2013


What threads? I'll give those wack-ass chumps a whupping like... uh, I mean, just for curiosity's sake.
posted by box at 10:45 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's a little of that in rap. See Roxanne Roxanne vs. Roxanne's Revenge

They cover the Roxanne battles in Beef II. There's a fun story about Roxanne Shante running into KRS at the bank and laying into him about including her in The Bridge is Over. I never really followed Roxanne, but apparently she kept producing diss tracks for a while after that. At some point the voiceover guy intones "Roxanne Shante continued dissing people well into the early 1990s..."

Definitely a less depressing story than how Erick Sermon hired some dudes with guns to rob Parrish Smith because he didn't think he was getting his fair share of the EPMD loot.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 12:21 PM on August 23, 2013


The Blast Radius of Kendrick Lamar's 'Control' Verse (NPR, word?)
posted by box at 2:51 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fake Eminem response. What world do we live in where the fake eminem is better than the current real eminem?
posted by cashman at 7:19 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The hip hop section of 22 tracks usually has...22 tracks. But they took all of them down and the only track up there is Control.
posted by cashman at 7:44 PM on August 23, 2013


Btw, it's spread to Korea.

Swings released a track specifically saying "Kendrick woke him up" and started calling out certain k-hiphop artists, so now there's a big battle going on: "King Swings" and the responses. He then responded back to the responses.

But there's also a side-battle going on (presumably spurred on by all the diss tracks) between E-Sens who recently split with his label Amoeba Culture (which was all the more shocking because he'd just reentered the spotlight with his longtime partner Simon D, who together make up Supreme Team, after he'd spent some time laying low due to a marijuana scandal). There's a lot of bad blood there, and E-Sens let loose with a passionate diss track attacking the label and specifically the rapper Gaeko (one half of Dynamic Duo, who are probably the big names on the label right now): E-Sens "You Can't Control Me" (with bonus Deepflow's response to Swings). Gaeko resonded with "I Can Control You," which brought about E-Sens' scathing "True Story," as well as the (long awaited, if a day is considered long) Simon D's response (lyrics found here, although normally I'm not a fan of linking to allkpop).

Simon D is actually caught between the two battles (because it seems like it's Swings v everyone and E-Sens against Gaeko/Amoeba Culture) since he's still signed to Amoeba Culture but has been E-Sens partner for years and years.

There are still a bunch of diss tracks that are dropping, and it's hard to keep up, but here's a short list so far: k-hiphop diss list.

I'm really digging the fact that there are some artists who are refusing to call out each other and instead are insisting that rappers should take on the idol-saturated industry instead, like Dead'P. Not to mention how fun its been seeing all the underground artists come out to play, like i11evn (lyrics).

Basically this is just an exciting time in hip-hop all around.
posted by paisley sheep at 4:33 PM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Joey Bada$$ came through with a response - Killuminati Pt. 2 (Prod. Knxwledge). Kind of late now though. I don't like when Joey uses his newer sound either. I prefer his normal flows, like on Killuminati (the original) and on stuff like Reign.
posted by cashman at 9:27 AM on August 26, 2013


Rah Digga on twerking.
posted by box at 8:18 PM on August 27, 2013


Been a while but Meek Mill has a respone Ooh Kill 'em.

Got that Versace flow.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:17 PM on September 6, 2013




K dot dismisses Control responses.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:58 AM on September 12, 2013


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