Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Me Too, Kanye. Me Too.

Yay. Another hit song from somebody I won’t remember tomorrow. Hooray.

While I think that Kanye straddles the line between petulant child and idiot savant a bit too often, dude is definitely a brilliant artist. I won’t call him a musician because as of yet I’m not sure he can play anything other than a drum machine. But what makes him so brilliant as an artist is his vision. In fact, that’s what separates him from nearly every other artist out there in hip-hop, in my opinion. Kanye has figured out how best to tow the line between capturing the cultural zeitgeist, finding an innovative way to promote it, and dropping music that somehow manages to sound completely unique and niche but intended for mass consumption at the same damn time. That is a rare talent.

To take it a step further, the only thing separating Nas from Jay-Z is Kanye West. Kanye has enabled Jay to extend his run at the top much longer than it likely would have lasted. He’s allowed Jay to venture into musical waters he’d otherwise never venture without somebody like ‘Ye there to create it. I don’t know this for fact, but Jay’s taken a hell of a lot more chances with his music since Kanye showed up.

Vision. I get it. It’s allowed the man to focus on the experience of music moreso than just the sound of it. You don’t just get an album. You get the visuals, you get the package. Hell, even the simple cover art for every single they’ve dropped since the G.O.O.D. Friday’s experiment of 2010 was ahead of its time. No need for anything too crazy. It’s all about the experience. Which is why I understand why artists like Kanye and Andre 3000, get so bored with, well, everything.

“…I’m just underwhelmed in general…” ~ Kanye West, Cruel Summer promo video

“…I’m tangled in my chord, eh, bored…” ~ Andre 3000, “Mighty O”, Idlewild Soundtrack

I get it. I don’t think there’s been a time where I’ve personally been this underwhelmed by music that I hear. And to be honest, some of that output includes the music coming from the Grammy family too. I even find Cruel Summer to be underwhelming. Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of “Mercy” (outside of saying Lamborghini mercy because its just fun to say) or “New God Flow” when they dropped. “Clique” is perfect. Period. But I’ve listened to the album a few times and have yet to want to listen to it again.

I wonder if I’m just suffering from art overload and malaise. I consume an insane amount of music and create my own. The more I hear the less enthused I get by current musical output. It’s like the 9th Wonder Production Returns theory all over – the more you get of it the less good it all is. And it’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some of it. There are definite pop smashes that I enjoy in the moment. But I forget them shortly after they fade from public consiousness like that Cobra Starship song I loved so much featuring Saba. Or anything by Carly Rae Jepsen. But I won’t remember those songs in two weeks if I don’t listen to the radio.

It doesn’t translate solely to music either. Many things that once excited me have managed to create a sense of boredom. From reading blogs that used to rocky my socks that now bore the absolute living f*ck out of me to fashion, because believe it or not, I like fashion. Which could just mean that I’m getting old. Or maybe I’m just getting crotchety. Of course, I still manage to get excited for some things in the music world. While I wasn’t holding my breath for Cruel Summer, I know I will be for a new Kanye West album. Or even a Jay album. I would be for an Outkast album but I guess Big Boi would too. I’m waiting for Kendrick Lamar to drop and am truly excited about that, but, that’s about it.

Even while waiting for those projects, there will be lesser known items that will come into my purview and make me smile again. You know, it just hit me as I was writing this. Because I feel like I’ve grown up along with nearly every great movement in hip-hop, I got to sit live and direct for a lot of music that absolutely made me and everybody else appreciative for its existence. And that’s what I feel is missing now. That’s what creates the underwhelming feeling. The innovation is missing. Nobody is making anything, that I’ve heard, that truly makes me appreciative of the artistry that goes into it. People either aren’t taking chances or don’t know how to take chances. Sure, there’s dope music that is safe, so to speak, but it doesn’t resonate after you’ve heard it the first time.

There are no more Madvillainys.

So when I do hear something that resonates I’m happy as hell and I truly feel lucky to have heard it or been apart of it. And that doesn’t happen often enough anymore. I’m not going to say the music lost all of its integrity, I just don’t feel much of it in my soul. For instance, the last bit of music that truly hit me in my gut, was a little known outfit out of Chicago, called Milo & Otis, composed of a vocalist/poet/etc and a composer/producer, with an album called The Joy. I would recommend you give it a listen. Instantly, I was hooked. Instantly. It’s the only thing I’ve listened to since I got it. And I’m appreciative of that. Something that makes me want to hit repeat.

I think that’s what Kanye was getting at with his underwhelmed comment. Which is why he is winning. He is making music that folks will play on repeat because it resonates and achieves the goal of being compelling. He’s trying to make himself give a f*ck. Could be the Gemini in us (pause?) that gets bored easily but that’s what I’m looking for too. The reason to listen again.

I’m tired of being underwhelmed, but I do at least believe that more quality is on the way from somewhere. Whether it’s the Milo & Otis’s (for me) or the Kanye’s of the world, I know there’s talent out there. I just have to do my work to find it. Maybe it isn’ the destination, but the journey.

Maybe I like clichés.

Maybe I’m just bored.



We’d like to do our first shoutouts to folks who have contributed money to our ongoing efforts to create a TV pilot based on VSB! Thanks so much for your donations and support! You’ll be hearing from our lawyers mothers…eh…we love you! Thanks for sleepwalking to the following folks:

Karmella Haynes
Kimberly Sewell
Alexis Gomez
Sally Rainey
Tracy Cox
Yolanda Allen
Denise Gayle
Simona Noce
Marcus Williams
Mecca R. Shakoor



Filed Under:
Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Val

    Do you get excited about films, Panama? If so, check out a film called, “Snow on tha Bluff”. It is an amazing film that will hold your attention from beginning until the end.

    Has anyone else seen “Snow on tha Bluff”?

    • Iceprincess

      Lol yes, ive seen it, I live in atlanta so we been on to that movie for a lil minute now. But yea, everyone was buzzing about it this summer. Cray cray!

      • Val

        It is CRAZY, IP. I saw the film without knowing anything about it in advance. And I was stuck to my seat for the entire film! I was like, how are they filming this stuff and no one cares or has been arrested? Then I was like, is this real? That was the most different film I have ever seen.

        Also after I saw it I was imminently online trying to find out more about it. I read that the police were all kinds of confused too after they saw it. Lol

        • Iceprincess

          Right! Cuz some of it IS fake, for dramtic effect. Like the opening scene. Even white suburban kids arent that f*cking stupid to be taping that shit. Then all the sudden, perfect timing, thats the day they magically get robbed? Yea rite lmao. Still a must see tho.

          • Val

            Yeah I read that that first scene was fake. But it did add to the confusion. I keep wondering if the scene where the guy was trying to shoot Curtis but his gun jammed was ‘re-created’ too.

          • yeah, so is the scene where he calls the folks to give them the footage. and still nobody knows if his baby momma really did die. and if “white hat” got her.

            • Val

              I assumed his baby mama really did die after the scene with her son crying for her.

        • Iceprincess

          @val I responded to you but it’s in moderation. I forgot one asteric tryna go to fast smdh.

    • Afroglobetrotter

      I approve your floetry crushworthiness! She is absolutely, magnificently alluring!!

      Her bone structure is bonkers!

      • Val

        Yep, Natalie is beautiful and soooo talented!

    • msdebbs

      I saw it on nexflix……it was very riveting but us Curtis still alive?

      • Val

        I read that someone stabbed him but that he survived. I think the stabbing may have had something to do with the film. I hear a lot of people we angry about it.

    • Sweet GA Brown

      I saw it. Grew up out that way. Dated a guy that….worked….over there. And I know at least one female in it from when i was younger and I knew she was gonna be “bout that life.”

      Sh!t is real out the in the Bluff.

      • Val

        It must have been a trip to have seen someone you know in this film.

    • SweetSass

      That movie needs subtitles.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        Whaaaa? I understood everything. Lol

        • Jay

          After Val’s post last night I looked it up and started watching it online… I only got 20 minutes in because I was BORED TO TEARS!! I’m gonna finish it but I wasn’t impressed. Looks like my family members and where I grew up (sadly). Didn’t excite or intrigue me at all.

          • Val


            Bored to tears? Really? Wow, lots of stuff bores me but this film was anything but boring to me. Interesting.

          • Aly

            @Jay – just got done watching it… my sentiments exactly. Clearly, a lot of the movie was staged. I’m over this whole “found footage” genre.

    • I love movies. And not only have I seen Snow on the bluff, i bought snow on teh bluff and had a full blown discussion about it a few nights ago.

      and when i say bought, i mean bought from a bootlegger. it only seemed right.

      • Val

        Lol. I have a bootlegged copy too. Which made watching it even more confusing since the guy that sold it to me only said, ‘it’s good but I really don’t know what it’s about’, when I asked him if he saw and recommended it. Lol

  • That Ugly Kid

    I thought Cruel Summer was great upon hearing when I first got it. Mostly because I was so looking forward to it. Now that the dust has settled, it is not better than WTT. Cruel Summer should have had at LEAST 16 tracks. I was disappointed because we essentially heard half the album, months ago. Overall it’s still pretty good, though.

    Now I’m just waiting on Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky to drop their projects and I’m good.

    • Rewind

      I need that A$AP Mob mixtape, I heard it was good.

      Even if Kendrick doesn’t drop soon, there’s no way you can get bored of his mixtapes.

  • Try Jean Grae and the rest of the Blacksmith camp. Then tell me how bored you are with randoms such as the Hellpit Faeries Christmas LP. Azealia Banks is another innovative mess in the world. J*Davey.

    But so many people choose to sleep. Give the lesser knowns and the underground a chance. Eff a mainstreamer.

    • “Azealia Banks is another innovative mess in the world. ”

      With a very strong emphasis on the word “mess”. First Interscope gives Soulja Boy a record deal, now it’s Azealia Banks and Chief Keef. What in the entire f*ck?

      • Interscope basically signs anyone who trends on twitter

      • Kema

        I keep seeing her on Magazine covers. Who is she?

        • Rewind

          Part of this hipster rap/pop trend that comes out of Williamsburg/Soho, etc.

          Basically the songs you hear when you go to the club that never reach the radio…she’s in that group.

      • Jay

        I don’t know if its fair to lump her in with them two. She’s young and stupid but she actually has talent.

    • I’m not your regular consumer. I listen to a lot more underground than mainstream music as it is. And J*Davey is not as good as folks want them to be. Different doesn’t mean better, it means different. lol

  • Malik

    When the present isn’t interesting head back into the crates. I’ve been going through Charles Mingus’ work again and Let My Children Hear Music blotted my mind. His genius is often overwhelming. I bask in it. Makes me angry, envious, enthused and grateful all at once.

    As for current releases Blu, badbadnotgood, Lianne La Havas, and Captain Murphy have all kept me excited.

    • Malik

      Completely forgot about Kareem Riggins album that drops next month too. May sneak into my top 5 albums of 2012.

      • Sea Jay Bee

        Kareem Riggins is that dude!! Stone’s Throw Records dropped a podcast based on his production work and I had that thing on repeat until my phone synced it off. I didn’t know he was dropping an album…but NOW I do.

    • That Ugly Kid

      I keep hearing about Blu, is he any good?

      • If you like Common, you’ll like Blu. But don’t take my word for it- listen to his most acclaimed album for yourself.

        I present to you the greatness that is “Below The Heavens”:


        • eazy253

          that was fantastic. especially at 0:50:25. thanks.

  • As a jazz fan, I challenge anyone (who considers themselves “open-minded” musically) to listen to any full album done by the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.) and see if they can rightly or confidently say that today’s music is not only bad, but doesn’t even deserve to be called music.

    Today’s hip-hop music lacks genuine passion; it is all about the illusion of being cool and wealthy. Flashy images filled with colors that don’t go well with each other and are serve the purposes of encouraging irritation rather than admiration. Lyrics that lack any imagination or greater purpose but to show that rhyming is possible for even “singers” who sound like retarded parrots (Nickin Minaj). The illusion of love or lust which is really a self-admission of confusion and cynicism at the possibility of having satisfaction in a world that makes no sense.

    It’s all utter nonsense and garbage and I pity all the masochists out there who try to enslave their ears to such torture, when there are so many better options available to them. I predict that in a few years, neuroscientists will determine that such experiences with such poison to the ears would have utterly rewired the functioning of young people brains for the worse.

    • I’m a hip-hop fan to the death. Hey, being the Black kid that went to a predominantly White high school makes you stan for stuff you might not have otherwise. That said, challenge accepted. I’ll report back tomorrow.

    • Right music, wrong selections. At best, the Rat Pack is little more than lounge music. You could have said John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Freddie Hubbard or Donald Byrd.

      • True.

        But I never claimed them to be the best.

      • Also, lounge music was initially referred to as swing or swing jazz – which is where the Rat Pack comes in. But truth be told, my point is there’s just much better music out there, regardless of the genre you look at.

        • Rewind

          Lounge jazz is the shyte. It is so relax. Makes you want to lean back, puff some green, sip a drink, & get some head.

          Those dudes were too far ahead of their time.

      • I’m actually listening to Charles Mingus right now. Brilliant, but way “too cool for school” for my tastes. Then again, to the extent I like jazz, I trend towards soul jazz and jazz fusion anyway. I understand why those cats did why they did, but it doesn’t make me feel comfy. Music should be for the people, not some intellectual masturbation. Someone should be able to “get it” without being a part of the priesthood.

    • dabigpodina

      Dont understand why people dislike Nicking so much. Her first al um can be played all the way through. That there is tight. She got verses and beats. I think she on stake and weezy. Its easy to judged her by the image but her music and message is good if you listen without looking! She one of the best albums.

  • Malik

    As VSB’s resident DOOM Stan I’d like to hear another Further Adventures of Quasimoto before another Madvillainy considering it’s impossible for there to be another one.

    • Rog

      And as resident Doom Stan number 2 I’m also waiting impatiently for another Lord Quas appearance.

      JJ DOOM just didn’t satisfy me completely (though me being a fan of Jneiro Jarel I was happy to see the collab).

    • legitimate_soul

      *feels some kind of way* You know Doom is always in my music lists on here! *Puts on Stan #3 shirt for Doom*

  • Rog

    In order for me to not get tired of a particular genre of music I make sure to have a steady diet of different types on rotation. My play list has Killer Mike, Little Dragon, Shabazz Palaces and instrumentals (Nujabes, Madlib, and the new Flying Lotus when it drops). It keeps me satisfied.

    • Malik

      I’m mad late on Shabazz Palaces. I only have it one listen so far, but the production is right in my lane.

    • c-real

      Word! Never met anyone else who fixed with Nujabes. I heard his stuff on “Samurai Champloo” and got hooked. It sucks that he died right as he was gettin popular.

      • Rewind

        Word…but one thing I realized after his death was how many people across the whole world were such STANS for his beats. That dude touched a lot of people.

        And I still blast the Samurai Champloo albums to this day.

      • That Ugly Kid

        PAUSE! I love Nujabes and was introduced to him thanks to Samurai Champloo (one of my Top 5 favorite animes ever), where “Battlecry” played in the intro. I haven’t listened to him in a while, but I didn’t even know he died!

    • Rewind


      Thank god somebody knows who he is.

      That dude saved my life. Literally. His beats helped me get through the craziest stuff I had to deal with. A lot of artists have died, but he’s the first person to really put a hole in my heart. I still play his music on a monthly basis. Hydeout Productions errday.

    • I listened to that Killer Mike R.A.P. Music so hard this summer. I still think Pledge 3 was his best work but R.A.P. Music just GOES!

      *hops off soapbox only to hop back on later downthread*

  • Afroglobetrotter

    I say take the indie route!! Lots of talent surprise and most importantly creativity abound. Artistes in this genre are not slaves of the mighty dollar bill and music industry. They don’t impose, they just compose. Let live, and be free!

    I am rap/hip-hop allergic, but check this broda out. Been loving him long long time. Good luck!!

    Blitz Da Ambassador

    • Val

      “I am rap/hip-hop allergic”

      Lol. Me too. Most current day hip hop makes me itch and my ears bleed.

    • No…just no…

      • Afroglobetrotter

        No, what?! Indie music?


  • That Ugly Kid

    But, the things that have underwhelmed me these past couple years have been relationships and….well….writing poetry/short stories. I used to write very dark short stories/poetry a lot and post them on Facebook, because it used to calm me down and clear my head whenever I was sad/angry. Which….was 90% of the time back in 2010. I stopped writing because it stopped working. The pain and such wouldn’t go away and eventually I attempted suicide. The attempt failed (Captain f*cking obvious, right?) though, because even though I swallowed all of the remain aspirin tablets, it wasn’t enough. I called my (then) gf right afterwards because I wanted her voice to be the last one I heard. No one knows I did it though, not even her (when she noticed my voice was “weak” I just told her I took too many by “accident”).

    So now, instead of poetry, I come up and write down concepts for my comics and video games I hope to make in the future. It’s been keeping me busy so far. That and listening to music.

    • Val

      **BIG hug**

      Sorry to hear about your depression and suicide attempt. Obviously I only know you as a cyber pal but from what I know you are a very bright, perceptive and creative person. Oh, and funny. So when ever you are down just remember that you have special gifts that you need to share with the world.

      :-) Hang in there goofy! :-)

      • That Ugly Kid

        Thank you gal pal, Val.

    • That Ugly Kid

      Music that’s been on repeat as of lately;

      – Lost Prophets
      – My Chemical Romance
      – Paramore
      – Tenacious D
      – Rolling Stones
      – Linkin Park
      – Fallout Boy
      – Evanescence


      – Kanye
      – Drake
      – Childish Gambino
      – Kendrick Lamar
      – Big Sean (his latest mixtape is his best project yet)
      – Ab-Soul
      – Nas
      – ScHoolboy Q
      – A$AP Rocky
      – Oddisee
      – Phonte

      – Janelle Monae (please don’t sleep on her)
      – Dwele
      – Lady Gaga (dead serious)
      – Colin Munroe
      – The Weeknd (don’t sleep)
      – Frank Ocean
      – Miguel
      – N.E.R.D. (somewhat, need to listen to more stuff)

      That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Any suggestions are welcome. Preferrable Hip-Hop and Rnb. Maybe even a little Neo-soul and Rock.

      • Afroglobetrotter

        my crater inducing lover,

        Florence and The Machines-indie rock,THEY rock!

        • That Ugly Kid

          Thanks, I’ll check them out. Although if I can be honest, I am feeling some kind of way about you calling me your crater inducing lover, then I look up to find a picture of a big swole azz, half naked n!gga with dreads.

          • Asiyah

            I also recommend Florence and the Machine’s album “Lungs.” I also recommend Marina and the Diamonds’s “Numb”, “Obsessions”, and “Teen Idle.”

            I’m into really hard rock from the 90s and I know you like Alice in Chains. I recommend anything grunge, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Incubus, and of course, Radiohead. You can never go wrong with Radiohead, especially “Street Spirit (Fade Out).”

            Oh and for “hipster” music check out Mumford and Sons and Arcade Fire.

            • That Ugly Kid

              Tank you. It’s funny you mentioned Mumford and Sons, though. I got put on to them because Childish Gambino is signed to the same indie label they are, and he referenced them in one of his songs.

              • Asiyah

                They are so folksy. I love it.

                You should listen to Gotye. “Somebody that I used to know” introduced me to the rest of his songs. Amazing! His best song is “Heart’s a Mess.” Check it out.

                • Justmetheguy

                  Asiyah- I really like “Learnalilgivinandlovin” from Gotye, but I’ll check the one you just mentioned out too.

                  • Asiyah

                    That one is good too! He’s creative, that Gotye!

            • Rewind

              Ooooh you’re awesome.

              Any grunge & alternative rock from the 90s, I am addicted to.

              And Creep by Radiohead still holds up as one of the best songs from that era.

              • Asiyah

                Thanks Rewind! <3

          • Afroglobetrotter

            I’ve always been very forward, you are my LOVER, not MAIN THANG!!

            • That Ugly Kid

              Lol, I know that. It’s just that at first glance, it looks as if the swole dude is the one telling me I’m his crater inducing lover, but that’s who I see when you comment.

          • Manny

            LITERALLY LOL!!!

        • Alicia


      • Val

        What’s the deal with Childish Gambino? I know he’s the guy from Community. Everyone seems to either hate his music or rave about him. No in between.

        • That Ugly Kid

          It depends. Usually the people who hate him don’t like his voice. In his earlier work he used a (forced) nasally voice to sound more “nerdy”. He stopped because he didn’t want to be a gimmick rapper. However, sometimes when he raps aggressively his voice (naturally) gets grittier similar to what Lil Wayne does. Others think he’s corny because he’s not the typical “thug” rapper and he makes A LOT of pop culture references. It doesn’t help that he’s an actor turned rapper, which people hate. He also gets frequently compared to Drake because he too, raps and sings (though I think he does both slightly better than Drake).

          But, he has some of the cleverest punchlines/metaphors I’ve ever heard (and I mean ever). I dig his flow, subject matter, and his delivery. He also produces most of his own music.

          Listen to his song “The Real (Infinity Guitar)” to get a gist of how absurd he is with punchlines and stuff when he’s just goofing around. Then listen to his “LES” song.

          • That Ugly Kid

            Another more recent track off his album, Camp, his “Bonfire”. Him goofing around with punchlines, metaphors, and other literary devices.

            • That Ugly Kid

              Then listen to “All The Shine”, also from his album, Camp. Of course, do so at your leisure. I remember you saying you’re not a big hip-hop person.

              • Val

                Thanks, TUK. I’ll check him out. As long as he’s not rapping about Bentleys, b*tches and h*es I’ll probably enjoy his music. Especially if, as you say, his lyrics are clever. Also, I didn’t know he sang. That’s a plus.

              • Rewind

                You got the Royalty mixtape right?

                I love Camp, glad I put myself on to that, but Royalty is a huge change from Camp, and yet I like it still. He feels he has a lot to prove, and I don’t understand why, because he’s official regardless of what anyone says, his skills speak to that notion.

                Oh yea..L.E.S everyday.

        • It really depends when you heard him first, if you heard him early when he was doing the nerd thing you probably think he’s corny, if you heard now when he’s trying too hard to sound too much like an Atlanta rapper, you probably think he’s corny, the middle from Culdesac-CAMP you think he was the next big thing

          • Rewind

            Aye…this nygga got Tina Fey to get on a song about ATL and go on a rant like she was a gotdamn Black Panther.

            He officially wins all hip hop accolades for that alone.

            • That Ugly Kid

              Do I got Royalty? Maaaan, I was looking forward to that more than I was Cruel Summer. No joke. I copped that as SOON as it came out. It’s dope. It’s not better than Camp though. Mainly because there’s too many features and not enough Childish Gambino. Add that to the fact that excluding Ghostface, Danny Brown, and Ab-Soul, none of the guests are on his level and they serve as more of a distraction sometimes. Still dope though.

              • Rewind

                I did like the joint with Bun-B. I like the whole mixtape, but you’re right, with him doing so many features, it’s not as much face time as it was with Camp.

        • Pseudonym




      • RnB/Pop/Other:
        – Janelle Monae (please don’t sleep on her)
        (I’m hoping this doesn’t happen, but then again she’s on Bad Boy…)
        – Dwele
        (You’re a Dwele fan? Nice! I KNOW you copped “Greater Than One”)
        – Lady Gaga (dead serious)
        (No comment on her at the moment)
        – Colin Munroe
        (He just put up a new mixtape at djbooth.net- it’s actually pretty good)
        – The Weeknd (don’t sleep)
        (I tried to like him because of his association with the producer Martin “Doc” McKinney- the same producer behind the first albums by Esthero and Res- but The Weeknd’s voice is a little bothersome)
        – Frank Ocean
        (He’s got the voice, but he needs better production)
        – Miguel
        (This is my dude right here! I hope that “Kaleidoscope Dream” will be just as good as “All I Want Is You”)
        – N.E.R.D. (somewhat, need to listen to more stuff)
        Their best albums are their first and third ones. The second one is decent, and the fourth one is…okay)

        • That Ugly Kid

          “(You’re a Dwele fan? Nice! I KNOW you copped “Greater Than One”)”

          That I did! About 3 or so days after it dropped.

          “Colin Munroe: (He just put up a new mixtape at djbooth.net- it’s actually pretty good)”

          Unsung Hero? That’s been on repeat since I got it. The first half is great, but the second half is perfection to me.

          “The Weeknd: (I tried to like him because of his association with the producer Martin “Doc” McKinney- the same producer behind the first albums by Esthero and Res- but The Weeknd’s voice is a little bothersome)”

          House of Balloons is what did it for me. That’s one of the best mixtapes I’ve ever heard. Echoes of Silence was dope too.

          “Miguel: (This is my dude right here! I hope that “Kaleidoscope Dream” will be just as good as “All I Want Is You”)”

          Spoiler Alert: It is.

      • chameleonic

        Meh. I can get with a few artists on your lists. Mine is a little different.

        Growing up Aaliyah, Timbaland and N.E.R.D. were my go to people and they will always be artists I support. Kanye West joined those ranks. I’m also an avid supporter of Christina Aguilera, Jojo, Miguel. Jhene Aiko and Lykke Li caught my attention. Who else? Definitely Paramore. Gym Class Heroes. Evanescence = my whole adolescence and even just the past couple days I’ve been belting along with ‘Fallen’. There’s A LOT of albums I consider perfect. My top five: Stripped (Christina Aguilera), Never Say Never (Brandy), Seeing Sounds (N.E.R.D.), Graduation (Kanye West), and Aaliyah (cmon) and tying with that album is In the Zone (Britney Spears). This is like what I live on and will always thrive on. My personal classics. Of course there’s a lot more albums and some people catch my eye but I definitely lean heavily on the aforementioned. I really, REALLY like niche eclecticism. I really like people who carve out a sound, a style, a pocket and go mainstream with it. I love that personal expertise, the edge. I like that isht. I’m like that in life in general. If it isn’t pure genius or pure greatness I don’t even mess with it. 90% of the world underwhelms but I’ve learned to just accept crap as crap and most things will be wack. I wish averageness would stop getting attention thus fading it into nothingness because I definitely feel Panama on the ‘bored’ mentality.

        • That Ugly Kid

          I really like Christina Aguilera. I think she has an amazing voice. I haven’t listened to her in a while though. As I mentioned, my list above is just who I’ve been listening to recently. Which is why people like Aguilera, Eminem, 2Pac, Adele, and Lauryn Hill are absent.

          I’ve been trying to get into Gym Class Heroes. But they’re still iffy to me. I love The Quilt, but The Papercut Chronicles 1&2 kinda make me go “Meh”.

          • chameleonic

            smh @ me always responding mad late. but yeah pcc was kinda meh but I definitely love a few songs. As Cruel as School Children was just fun and upbeat and chipper, good soundtrack to enjoy college on lol. The Quilt was awesome. I only heard a ten minute preview of pcc2 but I thought it was AMAZING. They need more recognition than they have as musicians. They put Katy Perry on and gots NO love.

            Christina Aguilera goes. Jojo’s acoustic sets though? smh. No one like her. Her voice is just absolutely raw and soulful I’ve been following her since she came out. All of her albums are dope and she really does develop herself as a craft and it’s way obvious she puts time into the quality of her music. She’ll never sell out the garden but she is the voice our artists should be equipped with making 20mil+ annually.

      • SweetSass

        Whenever I hear “Tightrope” I instinctually do the dance. No matter where. I don’t care if I look crazy.

        • Afroglobetrotter

          lol @SweetSass!!

          I’d join you if ever!!

    • Iceprincess

      Omg…Tuk!! I dont even know what to say. Thank God it didnt work! Im saying that from MY perspective btw. I know youre Atheist, so that prolly doesnt give you much comfort lol. Man its so weird, ive contemplated suicide on &off ever since i can remember, but i never attempted. Cuz i know myself, and if i attempt, ima make sure i succeed. How did you feel after ingesting the pills? Were you scared like, “oh sh*t, what did i do?” Or were you like “f*ck it, lets take this nap.”

      • That Ugly Kid

        As I said, I knew that this was it and the last person I would want to hear was my girlfriend. We had got into an argument earlier that day, so I wanted to leave out on a good note. I planned to die with her on the phone with me. But sh!t never goes a planned. So, that backfired pretty badly. A lot of abdominal pain and vomiting.

        • LMNOP

          I’m glad you’re okay.

    • TUK I can relate. Maybe its that f*cka$$ quarter life crisis people have been talking about for a while. I was underwhelmed by the ratchet economy and the idea that as soon as I graduated Sallie Mae would send her goons after me. Professors and parents pushed a lie that going to a University grants stability but ever since my freshman year I knew people with MA’s working at Sonny’s or Red Lobster. I used to devour books and free write for hours. Then ish got real and I just couldn’t do anything. Not school, work, nothing. There were some dark days my friend. It wasn’t until early this year I started getting back into the groove of things. Reflecting (and taking kickboxing b/c I can murk deez hoes) has finally helped me feel inspired again. Plus there will never be a shortage of rich old men to marry. Life is grand!

    • Rewind

      Fellow suicide attempters unite!

      I tried to kill myself at 14 with my dad’s gun. It jammed as I pressed it against my temple. Pissed me off because it was fully loaded. I lost my shyte at that moment but something told me in my head “you’re not ready yet”. And since then, I’ve done all I can to get my life in order, though it’s been a long road.

      It’s funny how much people can have in common when they’ve never met each other. All the poetry, drawings, writing music…did all of that to deal with the depression. So you weren’t alone to begin with.

      And look at both of us now? Two crazy summabitches telling jokes online to people we might never see just because we can do it.

    • Asiyah

      A HUGE HUG for TUK!

      With every difficulty there is relief. You already know. You’re alive to see that.

    • Wow, baby. I’m sorry to hear that. I was in a lot of pain in my early 20’s and thought about suicide a lot. I was more scared of death than life, tho. That age is just tough. Big hug. Fight for you. Depriving the world of you would be wrong.

  • Anastasia!!!

    “Clique” is great. It came on the radio when I had just pulled in the garage, and I sat there for 3 min and 20 seconds, and listened to the whole song! And of course Kanye’s verse was the bestest.

    I feel how you feel about certain actresses and such, but alas it’s because that’ s what I am. And you are what you are.

    Have yall heard “Bandz a make her dance?” I’m not music person, but just moving back to the South and hearing this song, I jam. I JAM. Thatisall.

    • That Ugly Kid

      I’m not too fond of the “Bandz” song. I only tolerate it because at clubs, rotund posteriors all around me start gyrating. It is beautiful, I tell ya. Beautiful.

      • Bandz was only meant to be enjoyed in clubs

      • Kema

        Let me hear Bandz or even better Pop That and I am on the floor. smh

    • WIP

      LOL, I’ve heard this song. I guess bands will make me dance.

      • Justmetheguy

        It’s a classic example of why the radio is evil. They play it 30 times an hour and make you hate it even though if it was only played in the club (particularly the strip club) it would be AWESOME and nothing else. Love 2 Chainz verse though. He’s literally upscale and refined ratchedness lol

        • LOL. while I love 2 chainz, my personal favorite outlet for high-quality ratchetness is schoolboy Q. Like, he rolls with TDE, so you know he’s capable of real lyricism. But everyonce in a while he just say eff it and engages in buffoonery of the highest order, and its equal parts off-putting and hilarious.

          • Rewind

            Schoolboy & A$AP Rocky…I would define that as high classed ratchedness as you so eloquently put it.

            • Man, i’ve tried to rock with A$AP, but he just doesn’t cut it for me.

              Funnily enough , the first time I listened to the “hands on the wheel track” with Q on it, I couldn’t tell who was who. Lol.

              • Justmetheguy

                Shamira I’m wit u all the way on Schoolboy Q! I like his style and he talks about doin hoodrat sh!t wit his friends which is important to a listener such as myself but he’s also lyrical and at times introspective. You can tell he’s no dummy. 2 Chainz’ ratchedness is unapologetic, stylish, and most importantly goofy lol. So he’s right up my alley when they put him on the right song. I can’t deal wit rappers that take themselves too serious. I’m wit u on ASAP Rocky too. He’s just Asap ‘meh’ to me. I heard a few songs and none stand out like “Get Lit,” but maybe I need to give him another chance cause I’ve only heard a few songs, but he didn’t do it for me. I like the fact that he makes Southern style music, but I haven’t heard many songs I wanna listen to again from him.

                • I love everything about Schoolboy from his extra crude language to the dumb as hell bucket fishin’ hat he always wears.

                  *sings to myself* “still got the baddest ho*s, still got the finest w*ed…”


                  to be fair, i just love all of TDE/Black Hippy. I think I would just about die if they made a group album. Have you heard Ab-Soul’s Control System? Too dope for words. I seriously think that he’s underrated as an emcee due to all the shine that Kendrick’s gotten. Skill wise, they’re very comparable – they just have different strengths. But hey – three years ago, Jay Rock was the biggest one out of the camp. How times have changed.

                  • Huh Bruh

                    “Have you heard Ab-Soul’s Control System? Too dope for words.”

                    You are officially my people Shamira. “My people.” (Varsity Blues)

              • Rewind

                It depends on what songs you listen to when it comes to Rocky. His first few songs, I thought they were dumb as shyte. Then I got his last mixtape, and it was lyricism out the ass, so I know he has skills, it just depends on if he feels like showing it.

          • i love Q. in fact, the song “there he go” is the most swagged out rap song in a long long while.

    • Rewind

      I can’t stress how unique Clique sounds even though it’s not unique at all.

      Damn Kanye. Damn him to hell.

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