Monday, August 25, 2008

August 19th = National Good Rap Day

What is better than a phenomenal rap album being released?
Answer: TWO phenomenal rap albums being released.

GZA's Pro Tools and Ice Cube's Raw Footage both came out on August 19th. I got a copy of both and after listening to them over the weekend, I've concluded that these are probably the best two rap albums of the year to date. Each is successful at delivering the style that is they are both know for. GZA spits lyrical wizardry over Wu-Tang style gritty beats, while Cube has the hard hitting flow that tackles everything from politics to the hood. The only problem I had with Raw Footage is that some of the songs have a Dirty South feel to them. His lyrics are still solid, but they don't belong in songs like that. The first song right after the intro is called "I got my Locs On"... and it features Young Jeezy. Talk about bad first impressions. Luckily after managing to separate the ones with the Southern influence from the ones that fit Cube, I still came out with a lot of great music.

Here are my favorite tracks on each album:

Pro Tools
Alphabets - I absolutely love this beat. It's simple, yet so addictive that it can get you nodding more than a child with Bobble-Head Doll Syndrome.
Groundbreaking - Another nasty beat. Plus the second verse features his son, Justice. They switch off and finish eachother's rhymes, Run-DMC style.
0% Finance - He goes crazy. Non stop rapping throwing out about every Car metaphor you can think of. It's one of those songs that shows why he deserves the name Genius.
Interlude - A interview clip describing how he saw a Wu Tang logo tattooed on someone's face. "I've never seen a G-Unit logo on someone's face or arm" hints at his next song.
Paper Plates - The song name implies that 50 Cent's music is disposable. He tears him up good. I love when good rappers put the bad ones in their place.
Cinema - A pretty creative song alluding to horror movies.

Raw Footage
Intro - Basically Ice Cube has a pyroclastic flow. "Red hot lava, mixed with saliva."
It takes a Nation - The chorus alludes to a Public Enemy song. Like most of his songs, this one has some heavy hitting wicked lyrics. "I got King Kong in the trunk. King Kong in the doors / My nuts play ping from the noise / You can hear me from a block away / I'm sitting next to yo ass and can't hear what you got to say"
Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It - True gangsta beat. He takes a sarcastic approach to society blaming rap for everything negative. "I keep it gangsta, and why should I change that / Fuck you old motherfuckers tryin' to change rap / But ain't you the same cat, that sat back when they brought cocaine back" He throws in some specifics too. "If I call you a nappy headed ho, ain't nothin to it. Gangsta Rap made me do it.(referring to Don Imus)" "If I shoot up ya college, ain't nothin to it. Gangsta rap made me do it.(referring to recent college shootings)"
Hood Mentality - It's songs like these where his lyrics shine. Each verse focuses on a different aspect of the "Hood Mentality". Drug dealing / playing sports. He uses a sarcastic approach again which works well.
Do Ya Thang - One of the album's singles. The difference between Ice Cube's club bangers and most others is that he actually shows skill on them.
Get Money, Spend Money, No Money - Another supreme West Coast beast.
Get Used To It - Nasty beat featuring sick verses from WC, and The Game. I love WC. His voice is so thuggish.

9 / 10 for both of them. There were a few songs on each that were below par, but every album has at least one bad song in it (except for Green Day - Dookie). Plus the good songs more than made up for it.

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