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A Defensive Stance

Month

April 2016

Is the XXL Freshman relevant in 2016?

XXL created the “XXL Freshman cover” in 2008 to showcase hip hops most promising up and comers.  XXL has been one of the most influential magazines since their beginnings in 1997.  At a time when magazine were still major outlets of news, this was a good way of showing of hip hops most promising talents.  But over the years and the advancement of the internet i ask myself, Do artist really need the help of the XXL freshman list? The answer is Yes and  No.  Depending on an artist situation, the List is either a major key in your advancement as a artist or Completely irrelevant.  At the worst it is just irrelevant to you.  The internet has basically erased the need for magazines.  The internet also has made it easier to create, and spread music. In the beginning print was still a major factor in how people got their news, and hip hop publications were a key factor in getting rappers to a mass audience.  XXL has had some major hits on their list and people who weren’t so lucky and either fell off, or just fizzled out over time .  Artist such as OJ da Juiceman, pill, Gorilla Zoe, Asher Roth, while somewhat promising artist have completely fell off .  Many artist have turned down the list. Artist such as Young Thug, Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Drake, Nicki Minaj, more recently Tory Lanez has even turned down the list.  Were in a different time where artist can just post their sound cloud links and get their buzz that way.  People are going to find their music anyway they can, now i personally think that i wouldn’t hurt being on the cover.  XXL hasn’t ever hurt any artist, that have been on their cover.  The XXL creates buzz and hype around names on the list. XXL has had some of the best talent out right now on their list, including Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Schoolboy Q, Logic, Travis Scott, Big Sean, Mac Miller and Many More have all prospered after making the list.  Does the XXL freshman list help, of course, but is the list necessary in a artist career, absolutely not.  But it’s always nice to get recognition from major publications on your craft.  I urge artist to branch out to these publications and create a name for yourself.  One aspect of the music industry is creating buzz around yourself and marketing. No one including XXL can predict artist longevity.  Artist that were somewhat relevant in any class can be irrelevant at any time.  No one Knows where these artist will be after the list.   People have to be familiar with you and somewhat like you to actually support you.  The list is always fun for debates and classic barbershop conversations and i think that it is what the list has always been about.  Not just buzz about people for the list , but artist that people think should be on the list.  It’ll be interesting seeing where everyone lands in the long run .  Nothing is promised in this industry and No one really knows whats going to happen , so for the time being just enjoy the ride.

I hope everyone is having a productive week and all is well.  God Bless

NE

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Lil Uzi Vert VS The World Review

Lil Uzi Vert released his third mixtape earlier this week.  Lil Uzi last release Luv is Rage, was released around Halloween last year.  Since then he has teased many songs on his Twitter and Instagram.  What I like most about Uzi is his approach to beats and how he doesn’t give you a typical song structure.  His melodies and his song writing abilities make his songs very interesting to say the least.  Luv is Rage was one of my favorite tapes of last year and Lil Uzi is becoming one of my favorite new artist.  But let’s hop into the review.

 

Canadian Goose- Uzi starts out this tape brash and unapologetic.  “Wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, grab my bitch ass, all i do is think about the cash” This song is a perfect song as the intro, it sets the mood for entire tape.

Hi Roller- The second song on tape is more laid back than Canadian goose.  It is one of my favorite tracks on the mixtape.  The whole song sounds amazing, it’s catchy, lyrically Uzi doesn’t impress me, but the flows he’s hitting and how he structures the song make me like Uzi.  What he lacks in lyricism he makes up for with songwriting

Money Longer- The lead single for this mixtape, it was released earlier this year. Money longer quickly became a fan favorite.  The beat is very infectious.  Lil Uzi uses his vocals almost as an instrument on this track.  The way he stretches his voice and rides the beat makes it easy to sing along to.  Money longer is easily one of my favorite songs on this tape.

Grab the Wheel- This track is very weird to me, I feel like Uzi is trying to do his best young thug impression on this song.  Thug is a clear influence on Uzi’s music which is fine.  But on this exact track i feel like he is trying to bite thug’s exact style.  It’s one of my least favorites on the tape.

You was Right- You was right was one of the songs Uzi previewed on his social media, metro boomin beat is great.  This song is one of my least favorite on the tape.  The beat is good but i don’t particularly like Uzi on this song.  It’s not bad perse, it’s just not a song a particularly care for.

Baby are you Home-Uzi’s flow on this song is emaculate.  Uzi’s voice is almost like an instrument and the way he stretches his voice to stay on beat is something that i like about Uzi.  Lyrically Uzi isn’t talking about anything new, which is one of my biggest problems with Uzi.  But over time i think he can grow and get better at that.

P’s and Q’s- The beat on this song is…..different. The beat sounds like a river dance song.  This type of beat you wouldn’t think a rapper would be able to make a song out of this, but somehow Uzi floats over the production.  The real star of this mixtape is the production and the different beats and layers of these beats.

Team Rocket- I didn’t like this song when i first heard it.  But after a couple of plays it’s not bad at all.  It’s a slower paced song and i couldn’t help but sing along to the track.  Dope track

Scott and Ramona- Continuing the vibe from the last track, this track reminds of Nuyork Nights from his last mixtape.  Uzi croons over this beat, honestly it’s my least favorite track on the tape.  It’s not bad but i enjoy the other songs on the tape more than this.  It almost feels like this was a throw away track that he put on the end.  It does not really fit the vibe of the mixtape. It’s enjoyable by itself but in the totality of the tape it does not flow well to me.

Favorites: P’s and Q’s, Baby are you Home, Money Longer

 

Least Favorites: Grab the Wheel, Scott and Ramona

 

Overall it was a good mixtape.  It’s nothing new for Uzi.  He is in his pocket and he does what he does best.  His melodies and song writing will take him far in my opinion.  Uzi knows how to make a catchy song that will stick in your head.  In the future i hope that Uzi can become a little more fleshed out and expand his sound.  But for what it is it is a great mixtape.  I have been playing this for the past couple days and i don’t see an end in sight.  Besides Uzi’s song writing ability, the production is amazing, it almost outshines him.

 

My overall score for this mixtape is 4.5/5

 

I want to hear your opinions on the album, did you love it, hate it, let me know what you think.  Hope everyone’s 2016 is going well. Bless up

 

NE

 

Bill O’Reily Out does Trump with Racist Statements

 

Bill O’Reilly, the man pictured above has never been a stranger to insensitive comments, but most recently he had an interview with Donald trump.  In said interview Bill asks a very harmful and racially insensitive question about African Americans. When talking to Donald about bringing jobs to America, Bill questioned African Americans qualifications to work.  “Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads, and I hate to be generalized about it, but it’s true,” O’Reilly stated.  You can see his comments for yourself below:

These comments don’t surprise coming from one of the most racist, bigoted individuals on fox news.  Some of Bills most ignorant statements include:

 

“Black men commit murder at 10 times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined”

 

These statement is false.  Whites commits the most crime in America.  Whites are more likely to commit violent crimes.  These rhetoric is harmful because it makes it seem as though black people are more violent which just not the case is.

 

“You can’t reach a fair verdict, or implement public policy by dwelling on the sins of the past.”

 

Bill, it is kind of hard to just sweep hundreds of years of oppression under the rug, lynching’s, Jim Crow, and institution zed racism in America.  The effects of all these stop African Americans from getting a fair shot in America.  To ignore all these factors would be ignorant.  How can you ignore everything and just act as though none of these things affect us to this very day?

 

“Raised without much structure, young black men often reject the education process and gravitate towards street culture. It’s a personal decision.”

 

Much like the comments he made recently, Bill makes another generalization.  It is very harmful to assume that just because some gravitate towards that lifestyle that it represents every young black male.  According to the Department of Justice and U.S. department of Education, there are more black males in college than in prison.  But if i were to say that white people gravitate towards school shooting culture, i would be berated for my comments, so i don’t know why bill keeps making these comments, unless you really want to sway people’s opinions to hate African Americans.

 

Bill outdid Trump with his most recent comments.  To generalize all African Americans as having face tattoos and were all uneducated is harmful.  Bill has a platform to help people, but he constantly decides to shit on African Americans.  Bill isn’t a clean figure that hasn’t done anything wrong.  Earlier this year, O’Reilly lost custody of his children, following a domestic abuse report. O’Reilly’s 17 year old daughter said that she witnessed bill drag her mother down the stairs.  It seems that bill should be worried about his home life and not abusing the mother of his children.  If bill doesn’t want us to generalize him as an alcoholic, who abuses women, then maybe he shouldn’t try and generalize us.  A good life lesson to remember is whenever you point the finger at anyone, there is four pointing back at you.  If you are going to single out and criticize one group of people be sure your plate is clean and you haven’t done anything wrong.  God Bless

NE

 

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