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(continuing from the title) Yep thats right and i said that very confidentley indeed, and this dvd is just a big 45minutes proving me right, i'm expecting alot of people who read this review to have little experience even no experience with michael jordan. Now you may have thought my statement about him being the best athlete in the world was a bit rash, but if you had seen michaels career and life over the years that he played you would come (assuming you are straight) as close to being gay as possible, trust me there is just something about this guy that makes everyone, even his opponents LOVE HIM. You see i said the greatest athlete, because i would have though it unfair to give him greatest sportsman, especially with the like of muhammad ali, jessie owens, maradonna and pele (among others) having achieved so much in their chosen field with the like of ali and owens achieving so much socially too, though in mine and many other peoples minds across america michael has achieved JUST AS MUCH, yes i said just as much. SEE what you need to understand is MICHAEL JORDAN WAS NEVER TALENTED, unlike ali, unlike pele,unlike maradonna, michael showed ABSOLUTELY NO PROMISE as a youngster, he was cut from his high school junior varsity team (which for any young basketball player would be a self eteem crushing moment), though this affected michael to the point where he could just not take, somebody telling him 'no your not good enough',
so then came the inspiring stories, jordan could not take it so he trained, with both the junior and junior varsity team and worked his way into the team and eventually college, still showing only the skills of an average collegiate player michael was not a cut above the rest..........yet.
BUT THEN MICHAEL TURNED INTO PSYCHO, the stories are endless (and though they are not featured in this dvd, which chooses to feature his last play-off finals for the chicago bulls career) the stories of how michael would work day and night on his shooting (which was sighted as being poor, and also his defence the weakest part of his game through his first couple of years in the nba), there are millions upon millions of players who in interviews have given stories about how they see mike running up and down the stands before game, working out in the early hours of the mornings and also how he would just not leave the coaching staff alone asking for more help all the time. The thing that drived this was his incredible will power, displayed perfectly in this dvd when 'Walter Rooss' and phsycologists states, 'he's the type of man that could get you to jump off a bridge, or atleast think about it for a few seconds, he has such a will, to accomplish, a mission, that everyone follows', michael jordan was the greatest leader in team sports history, and you best believe if your lazy ass was lsacking in training he would not let you fall behind, he was the type of man to pick on you (not spitefully) he would do things such as everytime he gets the ball he would drive (basketball term for attack) towards you forcing you to play hard. He was constantly raising the bar of his team mates performances, many people said the reason he looked so good is because they gave the ball to him all the time, this can not be further form the truth, scotty pippen became one of the best power forwards the league has ever seen due to michael, steve kerr the best 3 point shooter due to michael, because players were so scared of michael thay double teamed him leaving a man open and jordan always found this man, usually kerr.
As imentioned this was michael's last season with the bull's (lol after a come back with washington that no one dares to talk of), this dvd follow the 1997 play-offs, many said that michael had lost it, although he still dared to drive on his team, quoted to have said when entering the team bus to go on the road to play indiana after losing the first game (play-off nba games are the played the best of seven) 'have no fear we're gonna win this ball game' and even though in training michael may have come across a little too competetive and pushy, when it came to game time he always had his teams back he would let no one push them around, he was said to be like the older brother who looked out for his younger siblings (this especially had to be the case in his games against the knicks who really just tried to physically bully the bulls).
After makes the series winning shot against the indian pacers he is asked, 'how do you feel that Utah (the team they had to play in the final) have had several more days rest than you', he replied 'our hearts are not fatigued, thats the main thing', and this was just the great type of guy michael was he was always positive about situations though never about his skills, he always felt he had to improve.
(the dvd then takes a short break from the play-offs and looks a couple of years back when.....)
This dvd also deals with the death of michael's father and how this effected michael, as his father always wanted michael to play baseball, michael decided to give it a go, though this was not to a good ovation, though a sportwriter says this,
' the day would end, and he would say to the batting instructor, "can we do a little more, i think i'm getting this i think i'm learning this", and thats when sports illustrated put him on the cover, saying michael jordan has embarassed baseball, and as i would watch him there every night as the sun was going down and the other players had left, and i would see this guy working to get better, michael jordan working to get better, i couldnt help thinking that if you ever had children, you better pray that they grew up some day to embarras you like this.'
Though i think his spell in basball was very influential in michaels mind, as it made him realise this gift he had, at playing the game of basketball, because even though he showed little talent, the work rate that he put in to bring his skills to maximum level paired with his perfect basketball mind at reading situations and how his players where thinking so he knew what would make them tick and how this would trigger them to play better, made him the greatest of all time.
When michael came back for his first appearance after his absense playing basketball people questioned 'should he get in the starting 5',
this was replied with by the coaching staff, 'as a general rule, when you have your own statue outside the stadium, you don't come off the bench' (meaning you don't check into the game off the bench).
Returning to the play-offs this is when the the great film making beginsin terms of displaying how, even though they loose the firt game off the finals, michael begins to push his team mates to knew boundaries in training. Michael knew that to sacrafice some of his own game would aid the overall outcome of the team.
Michael said he loved for once in his later nba career, being the under dog and he showed it (not letting his team once feel like the underdog). This is where the GREAT soundtrack kicks in with 'nicole renee's' song welcome to my world which fits perfectly with showcase of my michael ageing but forever great skills being displayed.
For those that have not seen this dvd or watched the final live back in 97 i don't want to ruin the ending for you (but pfffft if you haven't got an idea of what happens lol just stop reading this review), as this mans life is as close to a real life hollywood story as you can get. Just know that by the last quater of the game, it had been an up and down game with utah leading by the end and as the narrator says ' the bulls could no longer match up with the jazz man for man' but he never said man for five other men......
One thing i love about this dvd is that, although it doesn't focus on michael's talents as an athlete as much as other bulls or jordan dvd's do (because un-beknown to many people who didnt have the pleasure to see michael live he was lightning fast and well everybody knows of his jumping ability, i you don't just take a look at the picture at the bottom, lol why do you think his clothing line and famous name is 'air jordan'), it also deals with his life as a superstar and displays the millions of ways his fans show love to him, from ball boys imitating his taking a knee on the sideline as he sips his drink, to people letting their tongues hang freely from their mouths as they drive to the basket.
Michael also talks of the great coach he had the honour of working with over the last 6 years of his career, 'Phil Jackson' who taught the team the improtance of staying calm and relaxed when playing and how to get in 'the zone', he did this through the teachings of 'zen bhuddism', a practice that michael embraced to such a point where by he took the last shot of every single important bulls game and 99.9% of the time he scored, he explains the moment as if it were just him and the basket no one else within a hundred miles of him, and this is what made jordan such an upsetter, no matter how much your team was winning by in the first second and third quarters you could bet your bottom dollar that by the last shot if the ball was in the hands of that man michael jordan no matter if you were pulling at his legs pushing him off the court or fouling him in anyway possible the ball was gonna find its way to the basket.
And perhaps the best thing about MJ was that he was so genuine, came across as a regular guy that you could not help but feel star struck by if you met him, because there was somethingso special yet so natural about him, ( i mean gods sake the dude had a bball court built on the set of 'space jam' just so he could invite nba players over to keep him fit and in shape eve though they did not realise by doing this it was better preparing him, over them).
As i mentioned earlier michael was a very poor shooter and defensive player, but to put things in perspective, by the end of his career he had dominated for the last decade the points tallies leading the league in points almost every year, and he is now considered the best defensive player of all time.
The year that this dvd was showcasing, michael was awarded M.V.P (most valueable player) yet again (as he had been each of the 6 times the bulls had won the championships, all with him in the team may i add, they lost when he took a break for baseball) and they said the reason was simple, 'he still comes out every night and plays like michael jordan'.
And before the highlight reels of the great plays he made in this play off come on and display his uncanny knack to even when being pushed to the floor or not directly facing the basket still manage to get the ball in the basket, we are left with michael sitting on a stool in the middle of a basketball court within an arena, and he states, ' ten years from now, twenty years from now, what i hear people saying or i would want people to say, and its simple, that if michael jordan were still playing the game of basketball he would dominate', the 'welcome to my world' song kicks in again as the highlights come, though he speaks one more tim halfway through these highlights,' no matter what happens, in this bussiness of basketball, if you didnt get paid a dime, you still would play the game somewhere (now the highlights show streetball kids re-enacting as they play the exat characteristics michael jordan showed, the toongue,the way he ran baackwards back down court, this further displays the effect he has had as a person, and athlete, a nice guy, and an idol all across the world), somewhere theres a kid working, he won't skip any steps, he will learn from my example, just as i have learnt from others (michael was always trying to get across the point of how he uses so many ideas and skills from previous greats such as magic johnson and larry bird), there will be a player greater than me.'
IT'S BEEN HARD FOR ME to try and get across how truly great this man is especially to an english audience, because many of you have not seen him as a player or better yet followed him over the years as a normal man, because if this were an american audience i could just simply list the countless quotes and behind the scenes stories experiences that people have had of michael, as when it came to him everyone seemed to have their own personal story, though i have had to give you some background history aswell and this made me cut back on the amazing highlight plays he made everynight that i could descirbe. His work rate in my opinion has never been matched in history and this is a great dvd so i suggest you check it out !!!!
IF YOUR NOT A BASKETBALL FAN and don't want to risk buying a bball dvd that you may not like i suggest you just go to youtube (NO SERIOUSLY TRY THIS, I THINK YOU@LL THANK ME FOR IT) just type in 'michael jordan' and get the videos ordered by top rated, here you will catch some of the best glimpses (often to go along with well selected music) of the greatest athlete and in my opinion sportsman though i won't state that as a fact (lol as athlete is) the world has ever seen, yes as the great comedian billy murray suggests when watching a jordan game (within this doc),' you figure theres been, i dunno 25,000 years, i dunno how you do the math of that but, out of all 50,000 top athletes since, you know pre-historic times, brontasourus' and terodactles included, he's right there.'
DVD's that explain michael's early career and his work ethic in greater detail include, 'come fly with me' when michaels early career is taken under review and we the kind of things that michael did to achieve what he did tat that time (at the time of come fly with me's release michael was still in the nba), though my personal favourite is 'air time' which chronicles the 1992 olympic dream team as they stomp to sucess, the famous 1992 play-offs featuring michaels epic battles with the New York Knicks and how they thought the only way to beat michael jordan was to hurt michael jordan and not to mention michaels family life and how he dealt with things such as the public/fans and the media (this one was also shot when michael was still playing). Though even though this dvd is shorter than the others, they all share one thing in common, they always inspire me to do whatever, if i'm supposed to write an essay that night and i really can't be bothered, or finish some art work, they will inspire to put in the work rate as i'll thank myself for it at the end, but most of all they inspire me to play basketball and always put in the effort to practice, because you view his work rate as a child and as a man, he always pressumed there was someone better than him out there and he kept doing this his whole life, without actually realising (or choosing not to realise, otherwise it may affect his discipline and work rate) when it came to the time where, there was nobody left for him to be better than.
Well well well, how the hell do you review the album that most true purest hip hop fans percieve to be the greatest album of all time lol, no review can do this album justice but ima just break down the songs of this short 10 song classic 5 mic album of perfection nevertheless.
1 - The Genesis
A classic intro track that any real hip hop head should instantly recognise as a sample from the critically acclaimed 5 star film 'wilstyle', a film that perfectly documents the growth and roots of hip hop culture, from its humble beginnings in the south Bronx New York city (including graffiti break dancing djing and rap). A short conversation from nas and one of his associates leads nicely into the opening track.
2 - N.Y State of Mind
A dark piano loop beat from the best hip hop producer of all time, DJ Premier, is the backdrop to this dark tale as Nas takes us on a trip through any random day in the dingy dark corners of New York projects (housing estates/ghettos). Displaying any random day in NY and the thoughts that travel through a young thugs head as he is perceiving all that is in front of his eyes. Though being a street poet himself Nas does this better than any emcee you've ever heard or experienced before, using razor sharp lyracism and vivid imagery with a flow as smooth as water, gained only by structuring the perfect rhyme schemes. One of the best hood story hip hop tracks ever made..
'Rappers I monkey flip em with the funky rhythm I be kickin
Musician, inflictin composition
of pain I'm like Scarface sniffin cocaine
Holdin a M-16, see with the pen I'm extreme, now
Bulletholes left in my peepholes
I'm suited up in street clothes
Hand me a nine and I'll defeat foes'
Perhaps my favourite line includes, ' Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined, i think of crime when i'm in a New York state of mind', simply for the fact that so many scientists and religious fanatics state that they know and understand the meaning of life, but really its not for us to understand, we're not suppose to, its 'BEYOND the walls of intelligence'.
3 - Life's a Bitch
L.E.S laces this song with a very 90's sounding beat which turns out to be the perfect rhythm for a verse from (unknown talented Brooklyn emcee) AZ, who explodes onto the rap scene with this opening verse. The only featured artists on this classic lp (AZ) exposes his unique very strong NY accent as the duo talk of their thoughts as young black men in the rough city and display a mind frame that has overcome all other thoughts, a mind frame that is needed to survive, 'i woke up early on my born day, i'm 20 its a blessing, the essence of adolensence leaves my body now i'm fresh n'...'
4 - The World is Yours
The now hugely famous producer Pete Rock provides the production side of things here, as Nas once again displays just how good a 17 year olds english skills can be, allowing us to delve deeply into his mind as he talks of the problems of 'the world today,' while expressing his street poet/inner city troubled thoughts to us, 'Born alone die alone, no crew to keep my crown or throne.'
5 - Halftime
The first time Large Professor features on this album, providing a funky trumpet filled beat. This joint is featured in the film 'Zebrahead' therefore making it Nas' first single. Nas takes us back to when he was too scared to rap in front of people, however he then proceeeds to tell us WITH EVIDENCE just how good he has become.
6 - Memory Lane (Sittin in Da Park)
Probably my favourite song of all time from any genre of music. The Dj Premier/Nas collabo can not be matched by any other duo, as premo (premier) provides another unique beat containing organ chords this time, 'I rap for listeners, blunt heads, fly ladies and prisoners
Henessey holders and old school ni**az, then I be dissin a...'
Nas' flow is so good and his multi syllabic worrds so profound and intelligent thats its hard for a hip hop head not to get excited listening to this song. Even the scratches in the track seem perfect, on beat, funky sounding as Nas tells us random events that take place on a daily basis in front of him, 'my window faces shootouts durg overdoses, live amongst no roses...'
whats more as the song would suggest we are taken on a trip down memory lane, being given all the details of things nas used to get up to, furthermore, what his neighbours, all 10,000 of them in Queensbridge projects, used to get into.
'Trifle on beats i decipher prophecies through a mic and say PEACE!!!'
This song exemplifies what it was to be 'comin outta Queensbridge' during the classic 90's hip hop scene.
7 - One Love
The concept to this song is very original as Nas rhymes through a letter he has written to his friend at Rikers Island (infamous NY prison). Though within this punchy song Nas makes reference to alot of slang and information that could only be understood from knowing the background knowledge, and if you do not know your NY emcee's (cormega) and Nas' situation, then you will struggle to understand the song and keep up with the story.
Nas is explaining to his friend how things have changed in Q.B (queensbridge), younger kids are holding guns, families messed up, and the mans girl has had his baby though is cheating on him while he is locked up. Although fictional this story perfecty displays the story of many young black living at the present time within NY, and what goes through their mind as they are living this like of peril and struggle.
'The streets have me stressed up and terrible'
'I be ghost (leave/disappear) form my projects, take my pen and pad for the weekend'.
8 - One Time For Your Mind
A laid back beat is the perfect setting for this funky song with a nice kick to go with Nas' lyracism stating things he, does, thinks, and see's on the reg, with the street fenesse and swagger every rapper has on their first album coming straight from the block.
9 - Represent
One of my favourite beats from the whole short album, presented to us by that man premo again.
This song is more up beat than most others on the album as Nas raises his street cred line by line, 'They call me Nas i'm not your legal type of fella, Moet drinkin marajuana smokin street dweller.'
As the song suggests, nas represents himself, friends and his deceased friend 'Ill Will' within this song.
10 - It Aint Hard To Tell
Large Professor surprised everyone here coming with the Michael Jackson sample, Nas rhymes how 'it aint hard to tell' he's born to be an emcee, 'my poerty's deep, i never thought nas' rap should be locked in a cell, it aint hard to tell'
'analyse me surprise me but can't magmatise me, scanning while your planning new ways to sabotage me.' 'grammatic explosion.'
What makes this album so special, is the fact that no, Nas is not as mature socially as he is today, he is a street kid (when this was written), but no one can deny, he is highly intelligent and few can match his english skills, being an A* student. So we gain the street stories through the mind of a thug though it is delivered in such as intelligent way that it is hard not to class this 10 track perfection as CLASSIC.
Common's third effort brings us, 'one day it'll all make senes', and this proceeded the undoubtable hip hop classic 'resurrection' his 5 mic (top rating in the 5 mic rating system) sophmore album.....
And despite having a big act to follow, com pulls it off bangin out yet another amazing insightful funky soulful album, with sharp funky beats to go along with common's politically, socially and story telling abilities on the lyric side of things.
1. Introspective - A short intro to the album as com gives his reasoning and story behind making this album, and why he's making it basically, with the backdrop of soothing percussion instruments.
2. Invocation - If you are not a fan of hip hop it doesn't matter, because the beat alone in this song is enough to keep listening, this song has some great kicks in the beat adding to 'spunk' of commons lyrics talking of the speculation of his abum and different peoples reactions and thoughts on him making an album.
3. Real nigga quotes - Trumpets !!! the back drop for yet another masterful beat, here com talks of his style and random thoughts about todays musicians compared to those of the past such as marvin gaye etc... critising the lyrics of todays musicians.
4. Retrospective for life feat. lauryn hill - One of my favourite songs of all time, this has to be one of the deepest songs i've ever heard and even to this day when i listen over and over again i still find something new that i did not recognise the first time round, this song contains a beautiful piano loop that fits perfectly with the tone of the lyrics and lauryn hill's vocals, basically the theme for this song is abortion, and com talks of the guilt he felt when his girl got an abortion, stating '$315 aint worth your soul', whats more he takes it socially, 'theres too many black women that can say they mothers but can't say that they wives', 'i want our parent hood to come from planning', whats more he states that if she did decide to have the baby it would be a situation that he wouldn't run from, though the song ends on a high note when he raps, that her period hasn't came and this time they should 'have this boy'
5. Gettin' down in the ampitheatre feat. de la soul - A funky beat thats basically a feel good song, though has a subtle undertone that suggest corruption and crime, with a beat in the background that i can't name but it is famous for being used in crie drama situations lol com and de la talk of literally how they get down.
6. Food for funk - Another beat filled with kicks n snares, as common gives us food for funk and thought as talks of his experiences at parties and growing up in the chi (chicago), and things he chooses to point out along the way take centre stage such as the actions of 'stupid ni**as'.
7. G.O.D (gaining one's definition) feat. cee-lo - Another real deap song, and i never knew cee lo was this ill, he kicks some real knowledge in this song, as himself and com talk of their experiences growing up trying to find themselves and what they perceive to be the meaning of life, especially aimed at African Americans who are still in 'the struggle. 'Some say that god is black, and the devil's white, well the devil is wrong and god is what's right'.
8. My city - This track doesn't feature common at all, instead we are hearing the voice of a young Malik Yusef, a highly intelligent talented poet rhyming through the form of spoken word poetry (a more melodic unique form of poetry common among urban and black poets alike), within this he talks of his growing up in tough Chicago, common is also from Chicago so therefore this song is also a true representation of his own environment and this is the reason why he chose to place this in the album.
9. Hungry - Here common is rhyming over yet again another DOPE beat with a piano loop, as he viciously spits why he is still nice with this whole rapping thing and just why he is still hungry compared to other emcees, although com does mention a few racial views within this track that I don't necessarily agree with such as his negative view upon interracial relationships.
10. All night long feat. Erykah Badu - Another funky soulful type beat with badu's beautiful soulful voice as a backdrop as com talks of afrocentricity (the uplifting of black people), though this is by no means a politically or socially motivated song instead more of a feel good relaxing tune to kick back to.
11. Stolen Moments part.1 - The previous song (all night long) ends with a skit of com meeting his boy at the airport after coming back from a tour and continues in this track when he opens his front door only to find that he has been robbed, the concept to this song is real clever, as com rhymes about all the thoughts rushing through his head, 'who'd I tell I was going outta town, not too many people I guess the word got around, the people upstairs shoulda been disturbed by the sound, musta came in during the day when at work they was found'.
12. Stolen moments part.2 - As you could guess, the song continues, though instead of accusing now com is thinking of the items he has lost and how he is going to get back at the people who did it, though ha ha there is still a fair bit of accusing going on, he begins to talk like a detective 'the blunt and ash tray are my only exhibit', as of course to get the police involved would be stupid, and they wouldn't care anyway.
13. 1'2 Many - One of the nicest hip hop beat I had heard in a long time, all classic albums contain high quality scratching (on the vinyls) and this track brings that to the fullest, with scratching so funky its hard not to bang your head along, as com spits of there being one to many n**gas, though he's not talking about black people, he's talking of the fake corrupt black people, those who bite (steal) from other rappers or push other black people down just so they themselves can benefit, there's too many. This song has got a real catchy hook and as I mentioned a nice beat with dope lyrics.
14. Stolen moments pt.3 - The saga continues lol as now com is rhyming of his frustration sitting in an empty trashed house with none of the usual home comforts, we delve deeper into the story as com begins to confront the suspects, then a sample from a gangster movie comes on, I can't be sure which im not an expert but lol I would imagine something like scarface when a character asks 'why did you do it' and another man replies 'it was the money alright, it was the fucking money' you can guess what happens next.
15. Making a name for ourselves feat. canibus - A dark beat kicks as com and the high syllabic canibus talk about making a name for themselves through various clever metaphors and punchlines that will entertain you throughout, however this isn't one of those songs that you listen to again and again simply for the amount of information given and concentration needed to listen fully throughout the 4:52.
16. Reminding me feat. Chantay Savage - One of my favourite beat ever made lol yes I said EVER made, sampled from a funky old soul song com's not too deep in this song, just reminiscing over old hood stories of block parties etc... while the real catchy hook kicks in, this is the kinda song you wanna bang out as loud as you can over and over again, especially in the summer.
17. Pop's rap part.2 fatherhood - Common's father spoke on his last album and on this one he continues, just talking over a piano loop and some other instrumentals, he talks of soon becoming a grandfather, and how he won't be lending any fatherly advice in parenting just yet because it will come to him naturally, he then talks of common growing up and how common as a baby inspired him to work and not feel spiteful towards the world that took away his basketball career.
This is a great doc for anyone looking for a alot of hardcore real street rhyming clips, with very talented young men (and women i will add) that have perfected thier craft of rhyming of the top of the dome (head).
First of all the doc takes us way back as old jazz musicians discuss how the freestyle developed from pastors and preachers who use to just improvise talkin to the people about god and relate the stories of the bible to everyday life. It then moves on to the beginning of hip hop, dj kool herc etc. as crazy legs (a legendary breakdancer and hip hop pioneer speaks on the whole movement).
The dvd then moves on to the art that is freestyling, after that short introduction, it goes on to give us some GREAT extremely rare footage of freestyling in its element, the street. You may think if a rapper was that talented , he would be famous, but your most definately wrong (ha ha yes mos def does feature in this doc) these kids and men are so intelligent with their english skills i was left with my mouth hanging down a god 4 or 5 times when watching this. The wittyness originality rhyme flow and language are what fresstyle is all about and as the people within the doc will explain if you aint got none of the above or your rhymes are written then you best stay the hell away coz the crowd will sniff you out like a piece of poo in they shoe.
Some of the mcee's featured where not that big when this documentary came about but you've most probably heard from alot of them now, they include, black thought of 'the roots' who has one of the coolest parts in the doc in my opinion whereby he is down and alley (where a wall behind has been allowed to be graffitied on so writers are all behind him) as one of his 'roots' companions (?uestion) shouts out random objects colours or anything around him while black though proceeds to rhyme atleast a paragraph about these things, and this is just amazing to see because you know you've gotta be a quick thinker to pull this off.
other guests are mos def (a little before he blew up, nice to see him on the street) paraoahe monch, mc supernatural (one of the best if not the best freestyler ever, he began reading the dictonary and the rhyming dictionary at a young age and has been killin people in battles ever since seriously this cat can rhyme about anything) it also shows the story of his epic battles with craig g,jurassic 5 , the last poets and lord finesse among many many more.
So finally i would suggest buying this dvd if you are looking to learn the art of freestyling or even rapping , because it will give you a good idea of how much work you have to put in and the kinds of things you will need to do, though this is by no means a 'how to' instructional dvd even though you will learn alot.
But i would definately suggest you buy if you enjoy rap or the art of of freestyle or just hip hop as a whole because this documentary displays perfectly the grittyness of real hip hop and people in the projects not only of new york but also l.a the bay area and various locations all over the US that developed their own unique style and reputation of 'the art of rhyme'
Yes, yes, it has come to that time, i have written so many reviews on american hip hop type products and really thats what i know most about, i prefer american hip hop to what the uk hip hop scene has to offer, quite simply because the americans (especially east and west coast rappers) have perfected the art of rhyming and alot of rappers that are truly great over there, are intelligent people, what i mean by this is many of the best lyracists in america are A* english students for the time that they chose to actually stay and hang around in school before getting sucked in by street life. Where as the uk well lets just say that the quality is not quite as high FOR THE MOST PART, i'm not gonna say we have nobody that can rhyme because as i am about to prove in a second, we do, but really you don't have to be that clever to be considered to make a record on the uk scene with the likes of grime music dumbing everything down to hooks (catchy chorus' ) and punchlines, however even though the cream of the crop in the uk are few and far between, there is still cream......
I may be a little biased towards Klashnekoff or 'lash' as he likes to be known because he lives literally just down the road from me, but if critical aclaim is anything to go by then this is one of the best lyracists in the uk that we have on our hands here. Unlike most uk hip hop artists he choses real concepts to talk about and doesn't spend the whole 4 odd minutes of a song bigging himself and his crew up naming all the possible way that he could kill you.
No, instead he chooses to talk about a particular subject on the publics mind especially in east london at this moment in time, and that is the violence that is taking place at the moment in as far as stabbing and shootings, to get across his message here he talks of his own experiences of just walking through the streets and what he used to do as a teen,
Intro - A jamaican womens voice is heard, as she speaks of the violence that takes place on the streets, though it is clear she is talking of the corruption and drug trade in jamaica, on a certain level this has a connection to events that take place in london, as gun shots ring out towards the end of this intro people are heard shouting 'revolution, revolution' as they run away from the fire asking for change.
The revolution (will not be televised on channel U) - Lash talks about the urban youth of London, he states what his people (the urban youth of london) have missed out on such as the equality and justice, however he also says that people are no longer proud of who they are, people need to read books instead of chasing girls and trying to prove how hard they are instead of building their knowledge, he also states that to get this across to people you would have to put these messages and knowledge on channel 'U' (an english tv channel that plays most of the crap that comes from the streets underground scene, though this is how some of the uk's best artists get found atleast 70% of it is just crap) however he states that he refuses to teach people through channel U and again re-addresses the fact that they should use education such as books to find this information out for themselves, finally on this track he discusses how even when 'stevens' blood was spilt people still did and are not recognising what we need to do (this is of course referring to 'steven lawrence' who was racially attacked and killed in the early 90's).
My rights like my life (skit)- just a short 18 second clip of a jamaican sounding man stating that his right is his life, leads nicely onto the next track.
My life - This track has a great beat courtesy again of joe buhdha whom i will inform you of later in this review, as the title suggest on this track lash talks of his life and his thoughts, discussing 'inner city decay', he has a catchy type of hook on this song, in one sentence he states 'this is my life' and then proceeds to list the things that feature in his life and surrounding area, drive by's, high rise estates, doors with iron gates, he also uses quite a bit of east london slang that mostly originates from carribean slang, ha ha i'm not gonna go through that all right now. Though that can be a feature with alot of rappers from the uk and usa, that you really need to know the history of the hip hop in that area aswell as the slang they speak to get what their saying fully because sometimes they can say something funny or witty but is only so, because it referes to something maybe funny that happened 10 years ago in hip hop or a famous hip hop line like for example one that you may have heard of run dmc 'it's like that'.
Terrorise the city feat. kool g rap & kyza - The fact that any uk mcee has managed to get 'kool g rap' on a track should alert any hip hop head that dammm this dude lash must be good, because 'kool g' is considered a hip hop legend who along with rakim gave birth to the modern style of intelligent hip hop back in the mid 80's to early 90's he influenced and sparked the seeds for great lyracists such as nas and biggie to come along. Anyway this track is backed by a thumping beat with scratches (vinyl scratching) galore!!!! this is more of a hype song in which all three mcee's talk of how they get the parties started in the cities they visit and how they see this as just terrorising your city, 'i cause terror like suddam and osma/ brings arms to ya yard, its vietnam in ya garden - kyza
Refuse to die - Probably my favourite track on the whole album, i love the beat its got a carribean reggae loop type feel to it, within this track lash's flow is the best i've heard it, the words are literally just rolling off of his tongue, and this track is all talking about LASH HIMSELF, he represents his area (ha ha my area too), and his beliefs as he does this he makes great comparions and metaphors to people such as president bush and other world figures he feels aren't up to standard.
'The call me lash im from the east premices/
and i been reppin this ting from genesis,
yep my click in the venemous,
merk witnesses and leave no evidence, just like president bush....'
his flow on this track is so smooth you could play it on rewind and it would still seem like a song with a rhythm, lol the words would probably even make sense as something else.
Question - Very direct track about what he is trying to get across, in no way shape or form does he try and encrypt the message he is trying to get across, it begins with a clip of two young american aspiring rappers talkin to their mother and others, she asks, you rap about shooting and killing people, and they reply,'well if thats what people wanna hear if they buy it' and then the other states 'yeh it seem like thats all people wanna hear now days, its aggrevating'. The beat then kicks in as lash then sets out about letting young people know that it takes work to get where their heroes are, such as nas 'hard work, grind till its crippling' then asks do you know what your living for, 'what your worth is' 'self respect on the surface', these questions really make the listener question their cause in life and think about what they are doing and how they are doing it no matter what your doing, its not like he just aimed at aspiring rappers (far from it) its only that one time he mentions it takes hard work to be nas, other than that anything he says in this song can be applied to any line/field of work. The voices from the beginning then come back and the voice states, 'you see how rappers are now, they scared to be they self, its like the public won't accept them to be themself', and this song definately made me think, since when did rap become gangsta rap, i mean gangsta rap used to be a sub genre of rap but know it seems the whole of rap is just considered gangsta.
Sayonara feat. kyza - Another hype up song in which lash discusses his crew tera firma, but its funny how all these hype up type songs feature kyza, the beat is one of the best things about this song, if there is a weak link on this album its this song.
Music is his (skit) - just a short skit talking of revolution in jamaica.
Bit by bit - Here he talks of his workrate, and how this bussiness has made him 'conciouss' yet 'corupt as hell' he also discusses subjects such as wahy are footballers being paid more money than nurses, and you ecpect a great nhs service', and how people are being raped of wealth by the system. This song is full of similies and double meaning metaphors to compare the injustices in life.
Rest of our live (part2) - black rose part 1 is featured on one of las's earlier albums, but this part starts basically from the beginning of his life, discussing his upbringing though this time not his area but his family and the struggles he saw in front of his eyes of a young child, like the break up of his mother and father, furthermore how he felt as a child when his mother got a boy friend and this man treated her terribly bad. Nice beat to this song.
Lord help me (skit) - uses an old soul sample that goes with the theme of the album.
Can't you see - This song features a very very famous hip hop sample by nas that fits perfectly with the track, on how people can't see what their doing and how it effects the people around them and they do it all to act hard, also how if they want to do this klashnekoff will expose them.
Two guns blazing feat. 45 - This gives and avid decription of klashnekoff's mentality at the start of this year, after years of not being recognised for his talent in this song he is heard to be pshycing himself up, ready to take the scene not by storm but by the throat of its neck and tell it to listen.
Bun dem feat. capleton - Great steel pans beat, and this track is the first that really addresses the brilliant prodcuer of every track on this album joe buhdha album, talking of how he met joe and how he (lash) got signed to his label, and funny enough he also rhymes about his rhymes and why he talks about what he does.
Make P's feat.skriblah - One of, if not the best beat on the album a real layed back usa west coast type of beat that dre may have produced, but not, its all buhdha's prodcution and this track is simply DOPE, he talks about the trials and tribs, of making paper (money), and how especially today people in high places judge a book by its cover so its hard for the homeless/disadvantaged to get anywhere, he also uses some great comparisions in this one, AND OMG the beat chorus just kicked in as im listenin to it now and this has got to be a great SUMMER ANTHEM the kinda thing (if i was old enough) that if i was able to drive i would bang in my car with the top down sliding past many girls wearing little clothing on their body coz its HOT, and everybody is just chillin on the street, even though he talks about a serious matter especially at the beginning, this is a real chilled out song for the summer, whats impressive is he managaes to do all this WHILE GIVING KNOWLEDGE TO THE 'YOUT' (youth) telling them straight up,'money don't make the man, so when you make it make sure you got a plan', 'so i can teach them that any self worth is far more precious', DAMMMMM i've listened to this album so many times i forgot this track was like that!!!
Outro - Speaks for itself, really once you have listened to it need no explain, it is basically a sample of news shows and political shows that discuss young people 'black or white' born into violence, its states, 'young people black or white, are not born with a sub machine gun in their hands, and the truth is, if they feel valued and accepted if they've got a job and educatation and a future then their unlikely to aquire, so this is about more than drugs and crime, its about a deep sense of alienation, felt by many young black men', among another couple of statements made by the bbc.
Overall this is a great album and even though it was released this year it is considered one of the greatest uk hip hop albums of all time, which you make think is not sayin alot and even though great artists are few and far between in the uk their has been some great albums released over the past 20 years and the number one uk hip hop magazine 'hip hop connection' gave this a perfect 5 stars, personally as a uk album i would give it 5 stars but as a hip hop album, i would give it 4.5 as there is just that one weakish (not really weak) track on there. But still this album is just another representation of Klashnekoff's lyrical brilliance and an example that you don't have to have gone to Eton to be able to write with great critical analysis while using a broad range of vocabulary and language techniques. He brought us a range of themes all centred around the main one that i mentioned at the beginning of the review, while adding in a street gangsterish touch along the way but maintaing a concious side aswell. Great Album.
And on a final note Joe Buddha did brilliantly producing this album and 'Nottingham' where he was born and raised should be proud, as he was able to produce all kinds of different sound beats not just techno computerised sounds not just jamaican reggae sounds not just old skool beats and neither just using classical instruments, he made use of everything. I'll leave you with this small excerpt taken from wikipedia about klashnekoff:
p.s i picked flawless for tracks coz it would be unfair to pick theres a couple of weak links coz theres not its just one tiny song.
'Klashnekoff (pronounced K-Lash-Nek-Off) (also known as Ricochet Klashnekoff and K-Lash) is a British rapper from Hackney, London. He was the founding member of the Terra Firma Crew. He is widely regarded as the best lyricist from the United Kingdom and is seen to be hugely talented.'
errggggghhhh the fact that i mentioned in the title gets on my nerves so much, nas is one of the best lyracists if no the best ever, though only when he concentrates and takes his time with things like he did, taking 2 YEARS !!! to make 'illmatic' probably one of if not the best hip hop album ever. Well this one, 'the lost tapes vol.1' is just a collection of unreleased songs that he didnt think worthy of albums before it, and that fact right there just makes me laugh because nas came out with two great albums , 'illmatic' and 'it was written', then he went and completely flopped trying to go commercial with 'nastradamus' and 'i am' both of which were seriously wack (crap) with the exception of 1 or 2 tracks.
So this all begs the question, most of the tracks on here are dammm near classic, so why the hell did they not make any of these albums??????
Even though this album (though shouldnt be considered a proper album so maybe mixtape) is just a collection of songs that don't really match any real theme that you may think an album will have this is due to the songs just being thrown together, but this album is still NICE, and could be considered classic in its own rights.
Lets begin with the tracks:
Fetus - well this is just one of the best concepts for a song i have ever known on par with classics such as common's 'i used to love' (where by he seemingly talks about his love for a girl and the way she change over the years though at the end states, 'see who i'm talkin bout ya'll is hip hop' and that just makes you go ahhhhhhhh as you go back and piece everything together as it ties to hip hop). Anyway, this song begins with bubbling sounds that you would relate to a science lab as test tubes bubble within it, this is supposed to represent the production of nas, as the world does not yet know something special is brewing, AND THEN the beat kicks in and it is simply one of the best beat intro's i've ever heard it gives me goospimples to this day (i have listened to this album millions of times since i was 10 years old), nas then goes on to talk about his view from inside his mothers womb, this song has also been known to be named 'belly button window', nas simply laids down amazingly lyrics along with mind blowing vocab skills as he talks of hearing his parents argueing, and wondering just what kind of world he is being born into, i simply can't explain all he talks about because you just have to hear it. The song even ends so originally as he states ' and i plan to overthrow the devil' then you hear a smack 9as the doctor slaps his bottom and the song ends sudddenly'.
Doo rags - just quickly, for all of you that don't know what doo rags are, they are basically those silky material cloth type things (not bandanas) that you see black people wearing tied around the head and then a tail at the back hangs down.
This song has a nice piano loop about it and seems emotional and concious even when just hearing the beat (definately not a gangsta hard sounding beat and song). Nas proceeds to talk of the people in his hood, he talks of the people he see's everyday in the streets and the fashion these people wear, then he quickly changes it up relating someone wearing army boots to the amounts of blacks in the army, and how murders 'wear police uniforms' (add two and two together), moving on to more concious subjects such as 'paper money being the death of christ' and south africa being raped of wealth.
My way - In this one nas dicusses how he did everything his way, from getting in the industry to coming up in the industry, leaving school, explaining how if he messed up atleast it would be his fault and he could blame no one else and live with regrets, (quick bacground info, nas left school at the 9th grade, as he was sick of being but in special ed (bottom sets) classes because he was black, he has explained before how if you were black or latino you were automatically out it bottom sets, moreover he's told before of how his father made him read books and teachers didnt take too kindly to this because these books werent on the curriculm)
Furthermore he reminises over people aroung him during his youth they followed a downward spiral that led them to either death, jail or drug addiction, this is not one of the best tracks on the album but lol for any other artists this would be one of the best tracks they ever made.......so that gives you some idea of nas' quality.
You gotta love it - On this one nasir rhymes on how although people all around him are living a terribly low quality of life in the biggest projects (council estate) in the world, Queensbridge projects, he states 'you gotta love it' because this is what he was raised in, and beneath the media highlighted shootings and drug trades there is actually a great sense of community, and, if brought up in the right family structure you can most definately flourish as person there, even through the adversity, and as his looks out across the ghetto landscape turning with his eyes and recognising the average stuff people do here in his ghetto (as he talks of the hair styles they rock, the clothes they wear and the shops) he finishes, 'you gotta love it'.
Nothing lasts forever - this takes everyone back to the 90's lol and im only 16 (17 in september ; ) ), nas' flow on this track is smooth as he rhymes of what him and his friends used to wear and do as youngsters, talkin of how they played basketball with hoops made out of a hanger for example, continuing he states how he is made out how the hood turned out as it used to be a nice community type of neighbourhood where everyody was trying to better their lives but now people are shooting and killing. The hook (chorus) contains this line as nas reminises over his childhood showing a little emotion of how he misses it, ' everything will eventually come to an end, so try to savour the moment, coz time flies don't it, the beauty of life, you gotta mke it last for the better, make it last forever ; which i thought was rather a nice hook to have in a song and shows a softer more emotional side to rappers that many claim they don't have. (this track isn't on the track list on ciao but it is on the album, trust me lol).
No idea's original - 'No idea's original, there's nothin new under the sun
It's never what you do, but how it's done
What you base your happiness around material, women, and large paper
That means you inferior, not major'
^^^^ sums the song up basically, the first paragraph, however nas explains this in great detail, asking us to look in to his mind, and look past the hotties (girls) and past brain cells killed by weed, as we enter the area of his memory that talks of past experiences that relate to the concept of no ideas original, nas goes on to explain how big events that have taken place in the world, from wars to hip hop events that have taken place are not original and the only thing that makes them different and worth taking note of and watchin are the way they are done,
Blaze a 50 - I don't really enjoy the beat on this song, though some people enjoy the violens used i dont particularly, to me it's not really too nic eon the ear lol, but still nas gives a great story and OH MY GOD lol he breaks news of Tyra Banks apparently having a sexual ecounter with nas, as she is deeply depressed and opens up to him explaining all of her problems and insecurities in life as she weeps.
This song is basically a good hood story that i would not reccomend to anyone not from an urban environment (and therfore cannot relate to it) or that only really likes feel good rap or the occasional hood story because this one delves a bit deep into the underworld of the streets particularly in the case of sex.
Everybody's crazy - this song is very catchy and nas makes a point of prounoucing the beginning of each word giving the effect that each word is being spat or shot out of his mouth, as the song suggests he is talking of the crazy people around him and how ladies loving thugs does not help one bit because this only encourages the behaviour in men around them. Not much to say about this song its pretty straight forward, no real deeper meaning so the lyrics pretty much mean what they say, ha ha you'll just have to listen (thinkin to myself, yeah right i know most the people on here aint hip hop fans).
Purple - AHHHHH as i listen this song now as i type i get goospimples, firstly because it has a perfect piano loop beat that you feel almost anyone could sing or rap over and make a really really cool song, then secondly because nas' flow is just like water on this song, the way it flows outta his mouth is just so smooth and the way each line connects and blends into the next just reminds me of a smooth running stream of water and this could make any of what he is saying sound good, so i suppose its a BONUS that what he IS saying is actually really good as he talks of street criminals that he feels hatred towards due to activities they take part in including killing of innocent people just to gain fear and respect from the community,
' the hood love you, but behind your back they pray for the day,
a bullet hit your heart and ambulance tak you away,
that aint love it's hate, think of all the mothers at waste,
who's sons you've killed and you aint got a cut on on your face.'
He goes on to talk on how instead of ghetto children being told to reach for the stars they are told to reach through the bars (meaning the bars of jail of course, sheesh if you didnt get that then .......pfttt). Nas also goes on to talk of things his eyes can not believe he is seeing in America, a free country, yet he see's these unjustices taking place, leaving us on the note that, 'too much of anything will hurt you, so, my state of minds all purple'.
Drunk by myself - Alot of people's favourite nas song (surprising as you would expect that to come off of the classic album illmatic but...), this song basically gives the image of nas in a chair drunk by himself (ring a bell) and thinking over all the bad things that have happenned to him though this time he focusses more on the industry side of things as oppose to childhood/memories of his teens, so even though he is not living in the poor squalid conditions of QB projects anymore his life is still far from perfect and dandy and he wants to get this point across.
Black zombie - A great song, he talks of how black people in america (especially in america) are black zombies just following the system and acting exactly how the government and media wants them to act, this a refreshing song as alot of rappers complain of how they are treated by the media and the government, how they are not getting justice in the streets being stopped and searched for no reason, though this song twists that and says, well no one is putting a gun to our head and telling us to fall into the stereotype yet we do it because we are a stupid, he lists the things that black people do, beginning on the lines,
'Yo, you believe when they say we ain't shit, we can't grow?
All we are is dope dealers, and gangstas and hoes?
And you believe when they be tellin you lie, all on the media?
They make the world look crazy to keep you inside?
Why you listen when the teachers at school
know you a young single parent out strugglin, they think you a fool
Give your kids bad grades and put 'em in dumber classes',
the above is not complaining or moaning towards white america though instead moaning towards black america asking them, why do you believe this, its not their fault anymore as we have the chance to change our lives, we are responsible for ourseleves and we can no longer blame corperate america or white america or the government because the fact of the matter is we can do what we want basically, anyone can make it away from the ghetto as long as they work hard and don't fall into stereotypes and start acting stupid and all the same as eachother (gangstas, druggies, hoes) like black zombies, and this is what nas is saying in this song with a very nice catchy type of beat.
Poppa was a playa - This is quite a heart felt song by nas as he talks of very personal family experiences, not knowing the pain his father gave his mother, as a youngster nas and his brother were very much in love with their father (who was by the way quite a famous blues and jazz musician in america, so was away form home quite often) though when they began to realise, as they aged and matured, that their father was cheating all over the place on their mother they began to feel alot differently towards him and when he left home they began to get a little more serious in their lives as oppose to how they used to always run around happy and naieve without a care in the world, and even though nas shows a great deal of anger towards his father he actually displays happiness and repect towards his father for sticking around through nas' most important years and making sure he had discipline which was, for most families a big problem in the inner cities as many women raised their children alone due to being deserted by their boyfriends or thier partners ending up in jail or nothing but a chalk line in the street, this led to alot of undiscplined youths walking the streets of NY with nobody to control or guide them.
Consequently this album would be a GREAT addition to anyone nas or hip hop collection for that matter and i promise you would not be disappointed with what nas has to offer in terms of production and rhymes, because as any nas fan will know, he has a serious problem with picking beats, with the exception of his first album his beats chosen have been very average even if the lyrics have been top notch, though i feel on this album he has managed to show great production with very good lyrics and of course the various tracks that show the glimpses of brilliance on the mic.
One thing the album does not do is show much booklet info (lol this is really for the die hard fans) because it is not a proper full release of an album and as any of you who own mixtapes will know they only come with the front cover and maybe one other side giving track credits, this does a little more than that with a tad more graphics though don't expect great detail or any new info in here.
Oh my god !!!!!!! when i saw this dvd i just thought i have got to review it, because not only as someone who loves hip hop, but also someone who loves cultures and societies especially ones that have made something beautiful from adversity i absolutley LOVE this film, and i think any of you out there would fall in love with this film too if you enjoy watching learning about interesting young adversity driven movements, (such as the afro reggae movement in brazil to aid the youth in getting away from the favela slums in 'favela rising') in this case it is hip hop.
Displaying mainly two elements of hip hop within this doc, and they are graffiti and breakdancing, though mainly focusing on graffiti. Now you may think ahhhh graffiti they stupid crap that the urban (and now alot of suburban) call art, the stuff that is scattered across the wall with marker pens that seems un-ledgible, well im here to tell you NO that is probably the impression you picked up from alot of UK so called graffiti that is performed by young delinquent teens with nothing else to do, THIS DOC is all about the golden age of hip hop and that not only meant rap that meant graffiti breakdancing dj'ing everything, this was the time when hip hop was at its peak of creativity with people constantly pushing the boundaries of art in any shape or form. This is real art that you will see in this doc, the only way i can think to describe the uniqueness and rebeblious nature of this colourful movement is like a 'rose growing from concrete', as deep in the heart of New York city in the projects and urban train yards, youth who were fed up with being treated as a cut below everyone else were not going to just do as their parents did and state 'thats just the way it is', so they rebelled.
And thats where this fantastic story of 'style wars' comes in, it begins with dark music, with a NY city train worker asking for a train to be brought out from the yard ready for its days work, in the early darkness of winter, the train continues along the tracks though we are only able to see the slight silouhette as it is still very early morning, then suddenly the train begins to pass lights that are rooted on the side of the tracks for every 20 meters or so, the music picks up and changes style quickly into something exuberant loud and happy as the lights highlight wild enormous pieces of graffiti on the sides o the trains that because of all that is going on and the orginiality of the piece (piece = name given to any single piece of spray can art graffiti).
You wil be amazed furthermore when a train is shown passing in the subway, the train is littered with vibrant graffiti all over the place and it makes you think about what one of the writers (short name for a graffiti writer) says later on in the doc, when he states 'could you imagine if everyone was just able to write what they want anywhere and express themseleves' because thats how these guys see it, if someone is not as good as them they might recognise this but they won't make sly or horrible remarks because they know, hey this person is expressing their feelings as am i and they deserve as much chance as me to get their point across to society.
That last point moves me on to one of the reasons these guys do what they do, they cleverly recognised (before taking graffiti to the new york subway trains) that alot of the trains come out from the subway and go over ground all through the city over very public places (you will notice these trains travellng over basketball courts and residential areas as soon as the doc begins basically) and this gives the opportunity for opnions of a various array of subjects to be expressed, and this was especially important for the inner city kids of the early 80's (mostly black and latino kids, but dont get me wrong there are a fair share of very good white writers in this doc) as they especially believed (not wrongfully so) that they were getting the hard shoulder of society.
A resfreshing thing about this doc is it gives both sides of the arguement, unlike many documenatries that just take sides and show clear bias towards that chosen side. Though this doc also show the feelings of train workers the publics negative views aswell as the positive ones towards graffiti.
However i find the interviews of the writers experiences on just how they accomplished such big pieces and how they come up with ideas extremely interesting and it is easy to see how much passion they hold for art (though you will see many refuse to call it art in the doc).
We are given the whole history of graffitti up until this point (1982) aswell starting right from the beginning when 'taki 183' wrote his name on a wall and hat was the light that sparked this street revolution.
For those of you that know your stuff about hip hop, this is a must, because it features legends such as 'seen' (one of the most well known, respected and best graffiti artists,'crazy legs' (the legenday break dancer) and his whole crew 'the rock steady crew' probably the most famous break dancing crew to date, 'brim' an original graffiti writer who was in his teens when much of the footage of him was shot (unlike seen) is not featured in this doc though you do seem him in the background form time to time though he is in many youtube videos and other famous docs on graffiti, as he is young when all these docs where shot most of his views were pretty rebelious as being of the younger generation he felt he was being targetted the most by society, he went on to give work shops and lectures at universities such as oxford and cambridge in the uk, displaying how world wide his fame became mostly due to his epic battle with the police and NY city trains and how no matter how much fencing and barb wiring they put up he still managed to get to trains to make a point, that they were making the city look like a prison with all this fencing, through his work. Others featured are dondi, daze skeme and kase 2 among others which will please graffiti lovers.
One thing that was also sad to see was writers selling their work commercially rather than keeping their message for the people of the streets, this is largely due to the interest graffiti recieved from Europe and its various illustrious art galleries and the people who saw this an exciting new movement that money could be made off of, alot of the artists didnt realy sell out like this, though they did do a piece for a gallery every now and then just to make a bit of money which they all desperatley needed, which i suppose it ok and is a good thing but what got on my nerves was when i saw young men who travelled to the inner city and would 'bite' (steal) writers styles and then use them for their own work on a canvas in an art gallery and then sell this for millions aswell as making up their own story of a rough upbringing in say the bronx.
So if you show any interest in this marvelous sub-culture of hip hop definately check this dvd out because you will gain knowledge on the history when it all started in New York City and how it sweeped across the nation though not before being developed in NY (new york clearly has the best style too and will probably remain the capital and best city for graffiti atleats aslong as the 'hall of fame' is around to this date in NY). But it was slightly sad for me to see in this film how the legend of the 'BUFFER' came to power the buffer is something that the train departments developed as a means of washin (spraying) train in a matter of minutes cleansing them of all the markings and graffiti on the outside, and this basically killed graffiti train writing because as a writer also states within the film you can get into the yard on saturday take hours do to your thing wait to see the train monday morning and all the your work is gone. And that is something graffiti will never get back so nowdays its all moved tothe walls of the streets really and you have to have a little bit more of a trained eye to find it let alone understand it.
Henry chalfant had a big part in making this movie and this is a man that is dedicated to graffiti especially writing famous graffiti books such as 'subway art' and aiding in 'spray can art', both of which i world renowned and bibles of graffiti, so if you follow or have knowledge of the history of graffiti then his name should spark something in your mind that lets you know this doc is great.
OH AND THE SOUNDTRACK IS DOPE!!!!!!! all the old skool classic like grandmaster flash and the furious five's politically charged 'the message' provide the perfect background theme to this rebelious movement to commercial society.
This whole movie is actually on google video (i dont know why or how but lol im not about to alert them and state 'excuse me one of the best hip hop docs ever made is on your video site im sure there must be some breach there' there are also some other great graffiti and hip hop movies such as 'wildstyle' (classicl) and 'piece by piece' also on google video (features west coast graffiti and the rise of it in san fran, and L . A. Heres the link anyway to style wars, check it out, you'll be captivated the moment the fast happy music hits after a minute or so....
^^^take out the space, the maximum word is 80 digits so i had to put a space in
I had to write a review on this album after looking at the other two reviews as it is clear they have not got much experience of hip hop and the art form that it is and that greatness of nas and how this album rates among his others. I AM ONE OF NAS' BIGGEST FANS and i love illmatic it was written, stillmatic, god's son, and this, 'hip hop is dead' is probably one of his weakest lyrically.
YES nas has matured bla blah blah and he cant write about the same vivid descriptive hood stories we're used to and this is good in a way except for the fact that now what he has to describe, things such as his life the political situation in america and the state of hip hop, he cant do with nearly as much wit lyrical genius and concept that he did before. Though this album is better than the like of nastradamus street disciple and possibly i am (though of the strength of 'nas is like' alone kills many other albums), it is still a weak effort for nas as he set the bar probably the highest anyone has ever set it with his debut
illmatic and perhaps the quality was so great because he took 2 years to finish but anyway......
However nas' ear for beats has FINALLY got better on this album with will.i.am, kanye and scott storch producing and doing so well (though still doesnt compare to the premo, large proffesor and pete rock day) because lord KNOWS nas has picked some terrible beats to go with his dope rhymes in previous years.
Money over bullshit - this is one of the tracks i liked, its got a dark sounding basline beat, gives the kinda feel like nas is grabbing hip hop by the arm and pulling it off the edge of the cliff as he speak, with every rhyme aiding in bringing it back, he comes hard on this track talkin about various things such as hip hop being dead asking us to 'join me in war',his life as it isnow, and sellouts among other things.
You can't kill me - pretty average track that i neither hae or love, for any other artist this would be great story telling though for nas this is pretty normal, and the hook (chorus) isn't that great and to be honest the title and theme of the track really doesn't suit or represent nas' personality 'you can't kill me'
Carry on tradition - ahhhh now this is a good song, nas basically talks about carrying on tradition of the pioneers of hip hop and how people in the industry today are not carrying on this tradition, again its got one of those 'i'm back and here to sort this sh@* out ' sounding kinda beats.
Where are they now - speaks of old skool artists and where they could possibly be now he talks about alotta hood famous artists on this track and the people he group up listening to that influenced him into writing rhymes, it used a james brown sample which is pretty cool 'hit me', this track suggests that we, the hip hop community, have left these great old skool legends disintegrate into the background without paying proper respect.
Hip hop is dead - one of the best beats on the lp and nas spits at a faster pace on this track and it is easy to see why it had considerable commercial success, it even manages to slip the classic break beat (for breakdancers) in there, i'll let you see if you notice it. The lyrics are fire and this is the track that produced the most backlash and tracks such as 'hip hop lives' and 'hip hop police' and i will explain at the end of the review the effec of this track and the labum as a whole'
Who killed it - you know how some rappers are also very very funny and can pull of stupid voices and foolin around on skit tracks like redman, method man, odb, well nas ISN'T one of those typa rappers LOL oh dear god he sould have stayed away from this one but still its not that hard to press the skip button, what he's sayin is cool if you can get past the annoyin stupid funny (because its not funny) accent/voice he puts on'
Black republican - as a hip hop head this is a stand out track for me, they (jay and nas) both bring the fire on this track, with the beat being similar to some kinda of music the russians would have played when starlin was in power, a military power kinda song, and thats why i love it coz its saying we are the best right now we are on top we own this shit.
Not going back - one of my least favourite tracks, because i dont like the disfunctional type of beat, kelis' background vocals are good although think nas' lyrics are a bit all over the place although i do like when he lists all the things he's not going back to in one sentence.
Still dreaming - a kanye produced track, so you know its gonna be hot, and chrisette michele vocals in the background are as per usual with her GREAT (check her album) she is the next big thing. Though when nas begins spittin it can quickly become a background music type of track and the concept of the track is a little un-clear but worth listening to for the beat and chrisette.
Hold down the block - nice vocals in the background, and if nas were 20 again i could take this like dang, this is how this kid feels right now, as he describes whats going through his mind and what he about to do, though nas is in his 30's so i can't do that though it is nice to hear nas talk about how he felt back then (lol i hope he doesnt mean how he feels now coz dude living in a mansion)
Blunt ashes - one of the hottes and darkest beats on the album especially when it kicks in at the chorus, though i am not really feeling the song as a whole beacuse i dont really care for the topic 'did i keep it gangsta', and he talks about other gangsters and their lives.
Let there be light - this is one of those 'we're gonna make it through the struggles' type beats similar to nick cannons 'can i live' type of beat and yes this is a decent track with anthony hamilton's vocals, nastalks about types of people from QB and how they should get out of that life, also of his own hollywood type story, futhermore he talks of those from QB (his neighbourhood) who envy him and name him as sellout
Play on playa - dont really feel this track i don't like the beat i mean c'mon this is the lyrical genius nas and you know its not like him to be talkin about 'playa's' so you know when a track is named 'play on playa' its not going to be nas at his best mainly because what his he supposed to talk about on this subject, and that no surprise that it is a weak track as it features snoop dogg one of the weakest on album rappers in history with his only decent album being doggystyle, lets face it, someone who has to make up their own vocabulary and gimmicky songs to sell isn't that great.
Can't forget about you - good song, good video for it too, nas talks of how he has matured his past experience in the game including raps great achievments (first grammy etc.) and what he will do when he retired, this track helped open the world to chrisette michelle who's vocals on this track are REAL CLEAR she has that old skool 50's kinda sounding voice on this track, dope all round track.
Hustlers - this song is average the beat sounds like something from the london grime scene, game spits some nice history about how he first listened to nas and new york music, nas is verse is average ..................for nas!!!
Hope - Nas goes accapella, and you know when you go acapella you gotta go hard coz you aint got nothing to back you up or save your verse and the song from being totally wack, though i think his verse here is ok it tells the story of how hip hop will never die and things nas did as a youth indulged in the hip hop lifestyle, though the track is decent its not lyricsm at its greatest which is what you expect every time you pop a nas disk in the deck. Though he makes a statement that need to be made at the end of his verse, ha ha you'll have to cop it to find out what it is.
So you'll probably be wondering if you read this whole review well at the start he said he didnt like it that much, but he said that pretty much all the track are decent , so whats the deal, well the tracks are decent for any other rapper, but for nas some of these tracks are very average and even skippable as i anticipated so much for this album and it only partly lived up to the hype. THOUGH this is an important album for hip hop right now because people might be sayin blah blah nas is just ranting on that hip hop has died and he's moaning sayin how much better it used to be, but what they dont realise is that by titling his album this way and giving most of the racks this concept he has made them raise their game because they wanna react and form a backlash to this by saying 'no hip hop is not dead' so alotta rappers don't realise nas has made them raise their game with the help especially of the track 'hip hop is dead' as i mentioned earlier i would explain why this is so important.....so there you go, as the other reviewers were so hyped up calling it such a great album i just had to bring oyu all back down to the ground and let you know this is not nas' greatest album by far BUT it is a decent lp and an important one so i would reccoment copin.
my nas list (not including mixtapes but i will include the demo tape ha ha) :
2.)it was written
3.)pre-illmatic demo tape
5.)hip hop is dead
Oh dear god, not so soon did i expect to see this album again, ha ha it is some where at the bottom of my cd piles, though don't be mistaken its not because its not one of the best stoytelling and humour albums in the history of man, animal,plant and alien its just because it so dam old and well just old.
Now you may be wondering about my title well yes my man slick rick one of the funniest rappers in history is english !!!!!!! He was born in Wimbledon south west london, but sadly moved to america at the age of 11 to that famous neighbourhood that all hip hop fan should know 'the boogie down' of course im referring to 'the boogie down bronx'. But maybe this was a good thing because otherwise its most certain that rick wouldn't have got into rap and MY GOD his voice wouldn't have been anywhere near as ill (ill=good, great, cool,basically anything thats good) if i was a woman i would be completely charmed by his voice lol no im not gay (check my homepage on ciao profile fav model is adriana lima) but his voice qualifies as one of the best i rap history, he has a New York accent but then every now and then you hear that old skool english accent kick in, not the type you hear kids speak with today in london but instead that old 'blimey gov'ner' chimney sweep kinda accent and added with the his soft bronx new york accent it takes the harsh/hard sounding roughness off of the english accent to great effect, and i love the way he lenghten the end of words 'caaaaaash' lol.
Now this guy was real funny, he was pretty flashy too, not in a big headed way, he just liked to look different which is why when he got blinded in his right eye (i i remember rightly) but instead of getting this seen to and escaping with as little external display of the problem as possible, however rick wore an eye patch, lol yes a full blown pirates eye patch for his whole career and probably still does to this day, he was also the first rapper to introduce flashy jewellery and the all famous rappers chains that we all know seemed to catch on, BIG TIME.
Treat her like a prostitute - HA HA women don't be mislead by the title he is not talking about all women as he states at the beginning of the song 'don't treat know girly wirl until your sure of the scoop', this story is HIGHLY amusing as he goes on to talk about girls that have broken his heart in the past to devastatingly amusing effects, his 'first example' is when he is at a christmas party with his wife (at her families house) when her friend was drunk and tells rick that the baby their expecting is not him, it then proceed to the chorus when rick tells of his friends warning him about these women, futhrer stories include his girlfriend with the mailman when he gets home from work, with a vulgar but funny description of what he see's when he walks in, and the last is when he talks of a man who's wife SHOUTS OUT THE WRONG NAME DURING SEX lol, timeless song, a real old skool sounding beat aswell, old skool scratching and break beats (break beats = the parts of songs breakdancers used to dance to, so dj's pre longed them to whole songs).
The rulers back - I DON'T CARE IF YOU DON'T LIKE HIP HOP/RAP BECAUSE you will love this funky sounding song no matter what music you like this is a real cool song, on this whole album he raps ever so simply instead choosing to focus on his story telling skills than his lyrical complexity, and i this suits him so perfectly, the ony way i can describe it is if you imagine someone being told to rap for the first time, someone who knows nothing of hip hop but can just about string a couple of rap lines together, that how he sounds though he has perfected it, and although this was 1988 and rhymes were much simpler then, they were stil becoming more complex than the old skool style, but slick rick chose to stick with the old. the song has a great piano loop and trumpet solo and ha ha as an english person you gotta the love the english accent he puts on at the beginning to state 'hault who goes there' only to be replied by a small boy say 'it is i sire richard of nottingham , news from the east sire, rick the ruler has returned' i gotta let you hear this one too but to get a real feel listen to the one below aswell: http://habadabadoo.imeem.com/music/mF2X52M7/the_rulers_back/
Children's story - Probably the most famous and best song in slick ricks catalogue, the story (lol see i have to set the scene for each song because thats how good of a story teller he is) is set in rick's nephew + niece's bedroom as they ask him to read them a bedtime story and what is about to follow is STORY TELLING PERFECTION down to every syllable, the beat is perfectly fast paced for the fast moving story, and for all of you rap fans out there that don't listen to rap coz you can't be bother to sit there and listen to the lyrics and stay focused the whole song to know whats goin on, this is the perfect song for you, see you can't help but listen, his vocals are so crystal clear that you understand everything that he says therefore you will find yourself sitting forward in your seat wondering whats going to happen next. He tells the story of a young boy who didnt stay on the straigh and narrow path and is now in jail, and even though it could be read as a serious story and sinister it by no means comes across like that.
classic lines from this song include, 'once upon a time not long ago, when people wore pyjamas and lived life slow, when people where behaving like they ought to,good'
'ran up the stairs to the top floor, opened up the door there guess who he saw, who, DAVE the dope fene shooting dope, who don't know the meaning of water nor soap'.
'the kiddie starts to figure, all the years if i pull this trigger'
this song his such a perfect example i'll let ya'll check this track out on here:
The moment i feared - HA ha this song is something rick likes to talk about alot, how his self proclaimed good looks have gotten him into trouble in the past, this one is about him going to a club in the latin quarters and girls just being all over him, the title of the song kicks in after he has taken the girl back to her apartments and had his way with her lol when her boyfriend turns up.
i love the old skool songs that talk of the good times in new york city when times werent nearly as rough and hip hop was fun and basically a big party.
Let's get crazy - A real funky beat, maybe one of the o so slightly weakest tracks on the album as it is rick's attempt at making a party song, not really telling a story in this one just talkin about the parties he has lit up where ever he performs. Theres some nice scratching and beat boxing by one of the originals 'Doug E Fresh'.
Indian Girl (adult story) - This one has the same type of beat as childrens story with the same taborine tapping but different instruments involved too. This is about, as the title would suggest an indian girl (in america this could mean west indies as in carribean, or native indian) most probably about a native indian as the girls dad is referred to as the 'chief' and LOL slick sings in this one, he plays (as in all his songs containing a women) the voice of the girl and man, he sings the hook of that love song 'i'm in the mood for love'.
classic lines, 'he rode that ass till the p%*sy started yawning' lol it may be a little vulgar but not all his humour is like this and besides if you can look past the vulgarity it is witty lol.
After the man in question has has sex with this girl he megins to feel pains in his manly area so he goes back to check if there is anything wrong with her womanly area, he inspects for himself and, ' he opened it up with his bare two thumbs, he seee's CRABS WITH INDIAN DRUMS going, heyya heyya heyya heyya'.
Teenage Love - This song is kind of corny, though i would not discredit it for that because this was the eighties and people would probably have liked the beat back then, he talks of situations that everyone goes through as a teenager, this is a surprisingky serious song about how he felt and how he believes other people to feel when in teenage love, he often (as he does in this song) makes up characters to tell his stories through so he wil say something like , 'he hurt her' rather than say i and using himself as an example.
Mona lisa - Very funky beat, with a song that begins 'ladies and gentlemen and low lifes', so that gives us a guess at what the mood for the rest of the song will be like. Here he talks of a girl he met called mona lisa who to his disgust was a virgin lol. throughout the rest of the song he persists to try and get mona lisa to give up ermm something lol.
Kit (whats the scoop) - A simple story in which slick rick is discussing the scoop on the days hits with a dj, though when they go to get something to eat at the local fast food joint he is kidnapped by whoelse but of course A BEAUTIFUL WOMEN!!!
Hey young world - A background loop of ricks voice is played over his lyrics and its real smooth soft beat, as he preaches to the 'young world' about dreams and how only you can make them come true. This song is worthy for the beat alone if not the lyrics. I really like the nice little piano loop aswell using the highest keys on the piano.
Teacher, teacher - This song is all about rappers who bite (copy) off others in particular off rick, and rick proceeds to talk of the many people who have asked him how he achieves his outstanding level of rap, lol but not once does rick come off as cocky or arrogant all while just claiming to be the best that ever did it.
Lick the balls - A story of rick entering a rap competition, though along with 'lets get crazy' being one of the weaker songs on the album, this would be a great song for any other rapper to have made at the time or now as rick raps of people who hate on his talent.
Anyone rap fan or not can fall in love with this mans skills he keeps it very simple in terms of rhymes and is crystal clear with his vocals so never again could you say i don't understand what the rapper is saying (most of the rappers that rap too fast and you can't understand probably aren't worth listening to anyway) .
Rick really takes it back to the old skool block party times, when they would use power from a streetlight to power their turn tables and speakers. This is a real feel good humourous album that anyone with a fun loving attitude or hip hop fan should have, because it is a 5 mic classic (mic being the famous rating system used by the world famous hip hop magazine 'the source', and to get 5 mics back in that day was very hard indeed, it rarely ever happened, but the magazine is not the same today).
similar artists are:
Biz markie - they both have fun with songs and have a similar type of voice.
Fresh prince - yes will smith was a rapper before 'the fresh prince of bel air' and yes his name was originally fresh prince before this show, and no his rapping career did not start with the song men in black (thats when he changed his stage name to just, 'will smith') it was much much better than that, his stories were also great and simple, when he used to talk about girls, 'girls aint nuthin but trouble', and parent issues, 'parents just don't understand'.
I'm just gonna have to pull thick out again today because it is such a classic era defining album!
MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT THE TRACKS , UPLOADED THAT SITE WILL LET YOU LISTEN TO THEM ONLINE, AND THEY ARE BOTH TWO PERFECT EXAMPLES (ESPECIALLY CHILDERENS STORY) OF HIS STORY TELLING ABILITIES (just copy and paste the links into your browser and it will begin).
Well I was late copping this album but finally got around to picking it up Tuesday night. I wasnt a real huge pharaoh monch or organized konfusion fan back in the day but I copped the internal affairs cassette a few years ago and was pretty pleased with it, but then completely forgot about son until last year when diddy channeled the spirit of him for the future track (which was ghostwritten by pharaoh) on his album. Later on I heard desire and Push which were both on our top 5 countdowns, I was feeling both of those joints so made up my mind to cop the CD when it dropped.
And Im damn glad I did
Dude sets the tone from the beginning with Free. A track where he compares the recording industry to slavery great lyricism and content over a banging beat. Next comes desire, an uptempo track with one of my favourite producers Alchemist behind the boards, and a cat named showtyme who sounds exactly like K-ci singing the hook. Nice track.
Push is a track where he starts getting a lil more experimental, its mostly a harmonizing exercise with some rhymes sprinkled in, but doesnt come off corny, or delve too much into the left field like some other rappers who tried to go the same route.
Welcome to the terrordome had me thinking that there was a Chuck D guest appearance but it wasnt, it was just Pharoah rhyming with the same voice, cadence and delivery as chuck over a public enemy style track, similar to how black thought mimicked BDK and G rap on boom. What it is and when the gun draws are good tracks as well, the latter is a concept track in the same vein as stray bullet.
lets go is another banger. Sounds kinda similar to Just blazes production on Fat joes the incredible. Theres a hilarious mini-skit/parody in between this track and body baby where somebodys scanning the radio and on one channel, hear some ignorant rapper talking shit on some Hot 97 type radio show, and on another channel hear some ying yangs whisper type snap track where a dudes spittin about jacking off. Then on another channel you hear some extreme backpack rapper rapping about save the trees yall, save the trees lol.
Next track is the only mis-step of the album body baby, the shit sounds like a combination of Will Smiths switch and B-Richs whoa now. I'll give him props for shouting out the T dot, but overall...Not feeling it, Ill give it a chance later on but right now I cant even listen to the shit in its entirety.
Bar tap is a track where Pharoah hits the club and hollas at a chick, for a backpacker, sons pretty good at doing these tracks whenever he attempts it. The light worked and this works as well great track, the production is on point, flow and delivery is good, female R&B vocalist laying down the chorus sounds smooth. This and hold on are probably the best bets for radio play and giving him some exposure and that crossover appeal. Hold on is a track featuring Erykah badu on the hook, pharaoh spits some positive uplifting empowering lyrics to the dark skin sistas. Nice track. Next we get to So good yo I swear if you want your girl to feel this CD just initially let it bump from track 9 and on..let her get into the lyrical shit afterwards shit is smooth. This track sounds like something the late great J dilla wouldve produced, nice baseline, soulfull and mellow..Next is a Trilogy a 9 minute masterpiece of a track which is actually 3 different tracks in one, its a story of a man who discovers his wife dead and how everything unfolds. Very well done, all three of the beats work well and blend together perfectly.
All in all this is probably the best album of the year so far, after a 8 year hiatus Pharoah came back and proved that he still got love for hip hop, still has skills on the mic and comes lyrically and intelligently without being too complex, but just complex enough to satisfy us real heads (youre gonna have to rewind a couple times). The G.O.A.T said hip hop is dead but weve got niggas like Pharoah monch, Common, kast, papoose, kanye etc. working the defibrillators maad hard.
1. Intro 5/5- Nice way to set the mood for this kind of album, sounds very eclectic, like suntin my pops would play for my moms on his keyboard lol
2. Start The Show 4.5/5- The beat couldve been a little better, but Kanye did a nice job on da hook, and Common as always on tracks like these, spits venom wit energy, and we always end up guessing who he\'s going at, with lines like: \"12 monkeys on stage, hard to see who\'s gorilla, you was better as a drug dealer\" ?? Sounds like a jab at 50, his last 4 albums have had some nice subliminals on them, that keep us guessing....nice flow too...
3. The People feat. Dwele 4.5/5- I cant give this a 5 for some reason, dont know why, I LOVE this song, nice flow, nice lyrics, very inspirational, and Dwele does good on the hook, but it\'s lackin a certain something I cant think of, to make it classic for me, but close enough........(I know they gone kill me for dat one)
4. Driving Me Wild feat. Lilly Allen 4/5- The beat is a little redundant, I didnt like it at first, but it grew on me a LOT, the singing is dope....very chill, I\'m feeling his enthusiasm and lyrics...\"Driving herself crazy like the astronaut lady\" LOL!
5. I Want You feat. Will.i.am 4/5- This beat captures a certain mood and feel that I\'m diggin, very laid back...and Will.i.am does a nice smooth job on the hook, the lyrics sound like he\'s reflecting on his relationship with Erykah Badu...very heartfelt track right here (could see people dancing to this in a club wit 30 year olds and up; and thats not a bad thing)
6. Southside feat. Kanye West 4.5/5- Nice ill heavy beat, lots of energy, and they match the beat with intense lyrics, Kanye killed me, he is the Most Improved Rapper right now (not Lil Wayne, or Game)...too many quotables from both of them on this one, and thats what I love...I dont know if I like this better than \"The Food\" or not, but it holds it\'s own weight...
7. The Game 4/5- This song just doesnt do it for me, I respect it for these reasons, he did something hard, which alot of people WANT from Common...they got DJ Premier scratching the hook, and nothing on the radio has this boom bap sound, YET it doesnt move me like I thought it would, it sounds good on paper, but the beat is average to me, I could do better, Common saves the average beat wit nice subject matter, and Premo kills the scratching, (the video is dope by the way) but I just cant get wit dat beat and that brought the track down alot for me, I was highly disappointed, but like I said I respect that song very much....
8. Black Maybe feat. Bilal 5/5- Instant Classic, WOW, first time I heard this I loved it!! But, after hearing a better mixed and mastered version this track is even more beautiful, the sample, the singing, the spoken word at the end, everything about this track screams CLASSIC!! Nuff said...
9. So Far To Go feat. D\'Angelo 4.5/5- Love how the beat was flipped a lil different than the original Jay Dilla did, I like the new verses alot, it\'s tracks like these, that show he\'s searching for Forever music, and he found it on this song alone, word up.
10. Break My Heart 4.5/5- This wouldve been a classic if he wouldve kept the beat soulful the whole way through, when the verses come it sounds kindegardenish, once again I couldve did better, but when that chorus comes in, Kanye did his thang as always, love the hook, and Common spits like Nas far as 2 or 3 stories all in one joint, like this song a lot!
11. Misunderstood 5/5- The Nina Simone sample was done beautifully the way it broke in with the beat was oh so nice, nice lyrics, laid back and chill, the flute in the background was ill too, I\'m definetly loving this song suntin crazy....
12. Forever Begins 4.5/5- This beat is magnetic, laid back, with nice energy building up, sounds like Bilal on this, if so, they might as well do a whole album together, cause he rocks wit Bilal often, anyways nice lyrics, hook, and the outro as always done by his pops, and he closes out this journey perfectly like he\'s done BEfore..
So overall I\'d give it 4.5 mics, I dont think it\'s better than \"Be\" right now, maybe I\'ll change my opinion later, but it\'s definetly way above average, and a very superior album out right now, and dope for Common\'s standards, I think I expected alot more, but even if thats the case and the length is short, it\'s still one of the top albums of the 2000 era...