Friday, June 18, 2010

Album Review: Drake - Thank Me Later

If there was anybody more fed up with Drake’s excessive dependency on his mixtapes and not dropping an album, I’d like to meet them, I’m sure after about 30 minutes I’d still be the most fed up. It’s not that I don’t think Drake is one of the best new artists in hip hop right now, it’s that sometimes you have to show that you can do the basics too. Like most people in this country we didn’t really know who this guy Drake was until, So Far Gone was released. And shortly thereafter, Drake was a household name with one of the best mixtapes to ever have been released. And so our eyes were watching the wavelengths wondering what this album would actually turn out to be. After, several singles from So Far Gone, if he could outdo himself on the album it would be a certified perfect album. However, I say with full conviction that, Thank Me Later is not better than So Far Gone. It is quintessentially what you would get if there was ever a So Far Gone. So to me I nicknamed it, So Far Gone 2.

It exceeded my expectations because from everyone who listened to the leak they either loved it or hated it. And I was expecting to hear something softer than a 24-pack of Charmin, but actually I enjoyed the listen. He didn’t surprise me with his lyrics, because I was expecting him to lyrically bring something. He didn’t surprise me with his originality and creativity, because that’s his main contribution to the game. The beats were again subpar as they usually are, but maybe he just wants you to focus on him instead of the tight beat. #drakeshrug

I compared Drake’s freshman album to The College Dropout in terms of expectations. The album is better than The College Dropout, but it didn’t solve any problems that The College Dropout possessed, and it probably won’t be remembered like the College Dropout. The main problem with College Dropout was that every person who featured on the College Dropout did a better job than Kanye did. Thank Me Later? Uh… yeah, everyone of his features was better than him. The second problem with College Dropout was that when you are trying to make a splash in hip hop sometimes artists have a tendency to use too many punch lines that come off corny. Thank Me Later? Uh… yeah, filled with too many. Lastly, College Dropout had a gimmick and the timing that will stay with the everyone who heard this album when it came out. And it still relates to every college student in America today. Thank Me Later? Not really, this album can be forgotten, if Drake comes with something better in the future.

Actually, just like DJ Clue’s Springtime Stickup 96 mixtape has never been forgotten, So Far Gone will never be forgotten. And that’s another criticism of the album I have, two of his mixtapes are better than the actual album. We have to concede that point, the freedom on your mixtape is compromised when you have to actually cut an album. Also, there were no expectations of So Far Gone, he clearly exceeded expectations, whereas Thank Me Later was par for the course. I would not have expected anything less.

I found it hard to classify the album, whether it was R&B or Rap, so I left it as hip hop and the best thing to compare it to would be the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. And yes, I believe this album will be highly successful come Grammy time. This album also was classified as a Young Money Entertainment album, but it is very clear that this is not a Young Money album. It’s Drake. You are seeing who Drake is when you remove Lil’ Twist and Mack Maine, and it looks like he has a bright future. (Quiet as it’s kept, J. Cole just gained a little ground on the kid.)

Ladies and Gentlemen as we ride out on this review, let me tell you. I think that Drake is still the hottest name in the game. He has at least 3 more singles on this album, that we may not like the first time we hear them on the radio, but give us a few a spins in the club and we’ll be cutting a rug. Could it be better? I don’t think so, but that’s only a testament to how good So Far Gone was. So to close, for a redshirt freshman Drake is doing pretty okay for himself.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Women’s Summer Fashion Hate List

The long and much awaited list is here. In this post I describe what I hate about the current summer fashion. I may be alone, but trust me, these items irk me more than anything in the world.

1. Ripped or torn clothing – At some point, somebody thought it would be a great idea to rip their tights up and go to the club. I don’t know if this is some type of Rihanna movement or a response to the Telephone video with Gags and Beyonce. Either way, please stop it.

2. Old Navy flip flops – Of all the brands of flip flops in this world, having a bad or ugly pair of flip flops on these days is a crime and sin. Click here and get involved:

3. One-piece bathing suits – I’m going to catch some flack for this, but I think it’s no way I’m going to budge on this one. I think that after the age of 16, women should put away their one-piece bathing suits until they’re 56. It’s just so yuck.

4. Block/straw heels – This has been on the list for a long time. Don’t cheat on your heels, if you are going to wear them, then wear them.

5. Scarf dresses – You look like a couch. Plus when the sun hits your dress you are shining and it’s blinding me. No man likes this. It may seem comfortable for you, but we are like, why does this chick look like nautical themed pashmina afghan.

6. Shaving half your hair off and Roadrunner haircuts – First off, Cassie can do whatever she wants to do, she’s beautiful. Some of you women on the other hand need to stop it. And please stop with the roadrunner haircuts, you look like a fool.

7. Stupid looking heels, multi-color-faceted heels – I’m a sucker for class. But if your heels have like 14 different colors in them, I’m wondering why you still shop at Bare Feet Shoes.

8. Spandex shorts – This needs to stop before it gets started. I know that women love them some spandex leggings and shorts is only a natural progression, but no. NO. I’m sorry this is just tacky, you look like you belong in an 80’s video called “The Firm.”

9. Neon colored tights – I don’t know why they sold anyone a pair of neon colored tights. I know who’s to blame too. It’s American Apparel and their unisex clothing. Nothing kills me more than the gold metallic leggings in the club. But hot pink leggings walking down the street are bad too. Nicky Minaj can do whatever she wants to do, she’s excused.

10. Maxi dresses – These are a cop out. And men hate them almost as much as we hate pencil skirts. This is just utter laziness and trying to cover up something that you can’t cover up. If you’re fat, that’s just what the hell you are fat. Your stomach is looking like a keg whether you have a dress flowing over the whole thing. You legs are still fat and rubbing together whether you have a dress flowing over them. I have seen one maxi dress that I liked… ever. And it was linen. In short, I hate Maxi dresses and I wish they would burn in hell.

This is my women’s summer fashion hate list. I am not asking for anyone to argue with me about what I don’t like to see. I’ll be back in a few months to once again do my annual roasting of pencil skirts, because it is my goal in life to expose those frauds for the scoundrels they are.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Defining a Flop for Drake’s “Thank Me Later”

Drake is the biggest name in Hip Hop. So how will we know if his album is a truly a success? We must come up with some expectations of this album before it drops and people run to make weak excuses for why people bought it or didn’t buy it. First, I’d like to say that I’m a fan of Drake. I think people think that I hate him because I don’t want to crown him as the next Jay-Z. I just think you have to put in a few more dues to get to that level. I compare Drake to Tony Romo, he’s really good, but let’s not break out our anointing oil just yet. For the ladies, Drake to Paula Patton, she’s really pretty, but stop saying she looks better than Halle Berry in her prime. My point is stop being ridiculous, stop hyping up something that’s perfectly fine as it already is.

What do I expect from Drake? I expect him to continue to rap and sing on every song he has. I don’t expect the Drake from “Ransom,” I expect the Drake from “Over.” I’d like to see Drake be around for a long time. I think he’s a lot more talented than most rappers who have long careers in Hip Hop. However, he’s been hyped too much. We’ve waited too long for this album, and so our expectations have to be higher. He’s pushed it back so many times, and bragged that he got so much without a deal or an album, that now that he’s putting out an album. “What you gon’ do next?” is the only appropriate question.

I’ll just come out and say it, Drake needs to sell more albums in his first week than, “Tha Carter III.” Period, end of story. If he can’t do that, then he failed, he did not meet his expectations. Let me be clear, The Carter III album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 1,005,545 copies in its first week. If he doesn’t sell more than Tha Carter III, that’s not to say that he is not a success, it just means he didn’t meet expectations.

But those aren’t really realistic expectations, but that’s what the public has set forth. Here are some realistic expectations for Drake; The College Dropout, Kanye West’s first album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 441,000 copies in its first week. Maybe a better expectation, Get Rich or Die trying, 50 Cent’s first album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 872,000 copies in its first week. (#seewhatididthere)

I shouldn’t have to break it down the difference between Kanye and 50 Cent. Neither should I have to explain to you that backing down from your expectations now will be seen as cowardice behavior. But yeah, I put it out there and I’m sticking to it.

One last minor thought:
Drake causes us all to rethink the music industry and what it has become. As many of you know, his album was leaked on Tuesday and the internet has distributed it. I thought he signed a distribution deal with Universal. That definitely messed with their money. That’s neither here nor there, and my brief comments will be that as a member of the music industry, which Drake is… you can never condone piracy. You may still make your money on tour, but you need to be concerned with all the little people who make you great.

"RT @DrakkardNoir: I gave away free music for years so we're good over here...just allow it to be the soundtrack to your summer and ENJOY! JUNE 15th!”