Sure, the paparazzi are leeches — but come on, buddy, you’re with Kim Kardashian, whose family practically sends out holiday cards to the jackals and hacks that “hound” them every moment. She’s in love with the paparazzi. So stop bitching.
And who embraces the nouveau riche lifestyle more than West and his insanely superficial girlfriend? West reportedly purchased a $91,000 Hermes T-shirt, no joke. (Well.)
Just a couple of months ago, Kardashian posted an Instagram pic of her wrist adorned with multiple gold bracelets worth more than $65,000 — a little gift from the boyfriend. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the $750,000 Lamborghini Kim bought for Kanye, or even the $200,000 Bentley Kanye bought for Kim’s mom.
Not to mention the $11 million house in Bel-Air recently purchased by Kim and Kanye. And the multi-million-dollar properties they’re reportedly scouting in Miami, Paris and London.
Hey, it’s their money and they can do what they want with it.
But nobody embraces capitalism, consumerism and crass commercialism more than Kim and Kanye.
Makes it sound just a little hollow when Angry Kanye stands on that “SNL” stage and rails, “F—- you and your corporation.”
Richard Roeper, from “Kanye West isn’t living the ideas he’s rapping on ‘New Slaves’” in the Chicago Sun Times.
Rap has never needed nor will it ever need saving, but Chance the Rapper got the type of hype that casted Acid Rap in the light that says the genre needed some kind of savior. Was Chance going to be the next Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West or let’s just jump to the point is Acid Rap the new Illmatic?
Chance used a school suspension last year to inspired his first mixtape, 10 Days, which was well received and got him a tour with Childish Gambino. After the increased exposure from that tour, he began leaking out tracks at the beginning of the year from his next latest project, Acid Rap. The mixtape received immediate accolades from Complex, Spin and even cross-country praise from the L.A. Times, validating the initial hype.
On a first listen of Acid Rap, it would be hard to miss Chance’s nasally high-pitched voice and technical rapping ability. Those two elements create an interesting contrast as his voice contorts and morphs so much that as his flow becomes closer to singing the style works surprisingly well (“Smoke Again”). The vocal tweaking obviously takes inspiration from Kendrick Lamar, but these moments for Chance feel less forced than Kendrick’s vocal twisting. Nor do the hyper lyrical moments reminiscent of Earl Sweatshirt—or probably better yet Eminem—keep those rappers’ topical nastiness, Chance’s lyrics gymnastics, thankfully, aren’t interested grossing out the listener. All these elements of the rap language are employed by Chance for empathy, so when he raps “Do you love being Kobe when you make the lay-up/till you realize everybody in the world fuckin hates the Lakers”; Chance humorously works though why this simple boast might be better served as a self-critique.
In addition to his sharp technical skills, Chance isn’t afraid to let the personal details of his young life form and inform his songs. He raps about seeing his friend stabbed and the lingering demons from that altercation (“Acid Rap”) and constantly references smoking cigarettes and other drugs to talk about his paternal relationships (“Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Smoke Again”). Despite being indebted to Kendrick, Chance pushes Kendrick’s highly lyrical and contemplative style beyond sheer rapping ability, as Chance becomes more humanized with each verse.
Acid Rap shows that Chance understands the necessity of the personal appeal. He understands a rapper, who lacks that passion quickly becomes a church pastor attempting to convert a congregation without putting their own soul in a sermon. He even steps up the pulpit on the interlude “That’s Love”, where church organs, blues guitar and gospel choir join him in asking the congregation (the listeners) to scream out in love. Comparisons between Chance and Kanye West due to labels like “Chicago” and “middle class” could force parallels between “That’s Love” and West’s “Jesus Walks”. Though both songs use a religious framework, the broader political, racial and class issues that appear in “Walks” and have defined West’s career aren’t the overriding concern for Chance. The tangibility of Chicago’s violence, matters of the heart and nostalgia for days that involved Rugrats preoccupy Chance’s world and his words.
Chief Keef had all of 2012 being the face of Chicago rap, and in 2013 the spotlight is being shifted to Chance. Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” remains the mantra of Chicago for those outside the city, but last year there was a healthy rise of female rappers like Katie Got Bandz and Sasha Go Hard; even the comparatively old Kanye West’s Cruel Summer was focused on Chicago.
This kind of “savior of the city” narrative being put on Chance made me a bit weary of Acid Rap before I gave it a listen. Would Chance condescend and moralize once he was given more open ears? The answer was no. Chance instead on Acid Rap shouted out to Keef, included veteran Chicagoan Twista and never let the pressure of the world weigh down his music.
Acid Rap has and will probably continue to receive great praise this year, but I originally wrote this piece to offer a dissenting voice to this praise. Assuming that maybe Chance sounded too naïve or took on far too many issues on what is only his second major mixtape. But every listen made it harder to keep up that desire to critique.
A lot of niggas want to go with a bang
But I ain’t trying to out at all
No I ain’t trying to go out at all
I got a lot of ideas gotta throw out the door
Humbled. No rap lines from this year have made me want to say I wrote them. To lie and say I thought of them. Or simply motivate myself to just scribble them down in a journal. Chance has and will become various things to many people, but right now he is the guy in the grade below me I’m looking up to.
I reviewed the latest Wiz Khalifa & Curren$y project Live in Concert.
I really really like the last paragraph. So read this and click a liquor ad or something. And go listen to the Savages album. Its good!!!
The truth is that without this album, rap is in an entirely different place right now. And while Kanye West’s growth and experimentation has resulted in some thrilling music, this is bedrock for a generation of MCs. Deeply middle class, musically ambitious but never alienating, emotionally naked: This was not the stuff of pre-2002 hip-hop. The paradigm shift is only now really taking shape as young rappers like Drake, Kid Cudi, Wale, and Asher Roth bend and pull on West’s thorny contradictions. As singles, “Slow Jamz” and “Jesus Walks” made for the perfect dichotomy; light and dark, secular and devout, stupid and smart. But what still moves me are the beautifully told personal notes: retail details while slinging sweaters at the Gap, peeing in the bed as a snot-nosed kid, landing in the same hospital as Biggie after a devastating accident. On Dropout, Kanye wasn’t the best rapper or the best producer or even the best album-maker. But he was the most original.
Sean Fennessey, from Pitchfork’s Top 200 albums of the 2000s list on Kanye West’s The College Dropout.
We don’t say this enough.
This is a feature I did on Augusta’s own DJ Spinz and Childish Major. I know Mike Will and DJ Mustard have taken over the collective minds of rap critics, but DJ Spinz should really be in that conversation. He produces beats, hosts mixtapes, has created a production super group and is even on tour with Flosstradamus right now. That is far too much stuff to overlook considering many hot for a minute producers who limit themselves to beat making are forgotten once their style is overdone.
I also wanted to say that I actually interviewed DJ Spinz and Childish Major, which is the first time I’ve done that for a feature. Both guys were great and super cooperative!
And, I know not everyone listens to ATL rap stations, but if you have not heard the DJ Spinz’s produced “Nun Else 2 Do” by the Rich Kidz. Please do.
Trap: a noun (a place where drugs are sold), a verb (to sell drugs), and sometimes, a sub-genre; T.I. staked his claim in 2003, with Trap Muzik, his second album, and so did Young Jeezy with his 2005 mixtape, Trap or Die. Unsmiling dudes rapping in the first person about drug trade—in cities with less fertile musical scenes, they just call that ‘hip-hop’.
Kelefa Sanneh, from his book with Michael Schmelling Atlanta.
“They Just Call That ‘Hip-Hop’”