Columns: Pulse Report: Kanye West Doesn't Feel The Vibe, Lupe Fiasco And Saigon Tell Rap's Future, Scarface Goes Uncut
Friday, Jan 9, 2009 5:46PM
In this week's Pulse Report the streets are buzzing about, Kanye West giving us a "gift" we really need, 50 Cent transforming into a "Heartless Monster," Lupe Fiasco and Saigon disagreeing over hip-hop's future, Lil' Wayne sporting a new look for ESPN, and Scarface taking his "f*ck rap" stance a step further.
1. G.O.O.D Intentions
Settling for the scruffy nomad look, Kanye West came out of a presumed self-imposed hiatus from urban magazines, to pose for VIBE's February cover. Apparently he's not in love with the cover after getting a text about looking like he has some grey in his beard in the photo. He posted this message along with a preview of the cover on his blog:
"I DON'T HAVE GREY IN MY BEARD IN REAL LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'M ALL DOWN WITH BEINGS IN MY 30'S BUT DAAAAAAAAMN!!!! THIS IS SOME BENJAMIN BUTTON'S SHIT!"
But more importantly, Mr. West has grown tired of folks pushing his buttons when it comes to his 4th album 808's & Heartbreak.
"There's guys out there, nobody spoke on our behalf before," he wrote. "F*ck all the singing, f*ck all the Auto-Tune, f*ck the He's A Rapper, he's not a rapper, he's going through something, he has to get this out of his system, he's crazy. F*ck all that.
"It's men out there who have never had anyone to speak on their behalf about the way they feel in a relationship. We don't feel like, 'F*ck you, bitch, I'm going to f*ck a whole bunch of girls'. NO! We feel hurt. We feel pain. Like, 'Damn, why would you say something like that to me? Damn, I LOVE YOU. Damn, I want to have a family. Damn, I want to find someone to raise my kids. Damn, my baby mama's a bitch. Or she's not a bitch'. That more than anything-more than the way I wanted to deliver this art-is the message behind 808's."
I guess he's got a point here. It's been a while since we've heard jams like Main Source's "Looking At The Front Door" or LL Cool J's "I Need Love". I guess we should be thanking you then Kanye. It's nice to know that when you're feeling the urge to slit your wrist, you have someone out there willing to pass you the razor. You definitely have to understand this man's pain to feel 808.
2. Same Ole Song
With no album release in sight for at least a month, 50 Cent is trying to keep his chops sharp by dropping a few mixtape joints here and there. The latest one, Heartless Monster, a direct play on Kanye's "Heartless," is hardly anything to be afraid of. Save for the standard tough-talk bravado rap, the most interesting part of the cut is the signature Curtis sh*t talk at the end. Fif is clearly taking shots at Kanye West and all the other eccentric rappers of today for their style of dress.
"N*ggas is f**gots man. I don't like none of these n*ggas man. Come around niggas got the rainbow colors on. Ya'll niggas confused? Niggas from the hood ain't supposed to wear no retro shit." [Listen here]
Hmmm, Maybe "retro sh*t" doesn't apply to the circa 1970 John Travolta "Saturday Night Fever" suits Curtis is known to dress in on occasion.
Rather than worrying about hip-hop fashion, 50 should be keeping an eye on his finances. After having to lower the asking price on his Connecticut mansion and losing his reality show "The Money and Power" due to the rough fiscal times we're in, the AP is reporting that General Motors is canceling the release of a 50 Cent-inspired Pontiac truck.
Ouch. I know it's a small thing to a giant, but what this proves is that no one is recession proof. That would explain why I thought I saw Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo shopping for bunk beds last week.
3. Points Of View
Apparently the cool thing to be in rap is clairvoyant. It seems like every rapper has a bold prediction about when and how the genre will meet its demise. The latest prophetic rapper is Lupe Fiasco. Ranting on an Okayplayer.com message board the Ch-town lyricist proclaimed hip-hop is coming to an end. [Peep Here]
"I feel like hip-hop is coming to sort of a..i dare say...an end???...(no pun intended). It's not the same energy...hasn't been for a long time...just a bunch of nothing out there...take it how u may...I hope the new vanguard proves me wrong and brings back the day of substance minus the webcam video to announce its return."
While Lupe sees and end, Brooklyn's Saigon is having visions of a fresh start. Here's what he posted on his Myspace page:
"Happy New Years Ya'll.. It's ya boy Saigon the Yardfather. I'm back, better and stronger than ever. I greatly apologize for the lack of information I've been giving all the people who's been keeping up with me... I promise to ya'll this will be my hardest working year ever. I will be more active as far as the music I put out, interviews, acting, television shows, etc...I pretty much took '08 off to get my personal life in order... Now I'm back and better than ever... I'm gonna single-handedly reinvent hip-hop...Watch!"
One guy is claiming we're in our last days, the other guy is promising a better tomorrow. Why don't we all stop with the bold proclamations and New Year's resolutions and just put out quality music. Just shut up and do your part to bring change. To go old school for a second, don't talk about it, be about it.
4. He's Got Game
Last week Lil' Wayne took a momentary fall from grace, but like any true champion he got right back up is now looking down on his competition this week. The "best rapper alive" flexed his star power by appearing on ESPN's sports talk show "First Take". As the first major rapper to appear on the show's debate segment Wayne proved to be a more than formidable foe for the resident expert Skip Bayless. [Watch Here]
While last week's slip up made me question whether he was back on the purple stuff, this appearance on ESPN proves me wrong for the moment. The show rarely offers that platform to non-sport personalities. Jay-Z, LL Cool J, and Nelly are a few of rappers that have even gotten much attention from the network. It also proves that without a doubt Weezy is the top dog in the game.
5. Uncut Raw
When Scarface admitted he didn't like rap anymore and went out on a limb and stated "f*ck rap" no one knew he was going to actually start making "f*ck rap" music. The Houston legend's latest cut "High Note" is nothing you'll hear or see on your local radio or television station, thanks to the super explicit lyrics and 2 Live Crew-esque XXX video. This piece of artistry comes with all kinds of disclaimers, TV-MA, NSFW, CUAY (Clean up after yourself). [Proceed With Caution]
SMH. We all knew Face got dirty back in the day, but damn. Apparently all this happy go lucky bullsh*t frustrated a brother to the point he had to take it out on someone. Doesn't this make you nostalgic for BET's Uncut.
That's all from me folks. Hit me up at [email protected] for a healthy back and forth. Who do you believe more Lupe or Saigon? Has Scarface lost his mind?