Hip Hop

Dopeness: Shady CXVPHER

Though Dopeness has focused on Spoken Word, it is much more a celebration of lyricism.  As such, Dopeness will be expanding into Cypher territory.  What better cypher to start with than the Shady CXVPHER.

If you haven’t seen this yet, you’ve missed out on some of the best rappers spitting bar after bar after bar.  This is not for the faint of lyrical heart.  Some of these lines are just crazy.

Starting with King Crooked, you immediate know that this cypher is not just quality, but raw and honest.  When Joe Budden spits, you feel it.  When YelaWolf spits, you believe it.  Joell Ortiz brings bars for days.  Finally, closing with Royce da 5’9″ and Eminem, himself, this cypher is a masterpiece of wit and wordplay.

The Lyric Review: Alright – Kendrick Lamar

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Summer 2015 has proven to be quite the summer, especially for the United States. In a little over a month, our southern states have been left harrowed by tragedies that will impact this nation for years to come. Amidst rising social, emotional, and political tensions, there has been one song in particular that has emerged preeminent months after its initial release.

While on the rise to anthem status, “Alright” has served as a catalyst to rejuvenate the morale of those who have felt  the disparaging outlook of minorities in this country. Although considered one of the more upbeat tracks on Kendrick’s latest body of work, “Alright” explores a slew of melancholic themes laced with moments of genuine hopefulness. This volatile mixture creates the most visceral of reactions, that are as cacophonous as they are symphonic.  Somewhere within the intensity of his vocal delivery, the meticulousness of his wordplay, and between the layers of Jazz, Motown and Hip Hop there is a foundation of honesty entrenched in his work.  It is this honesty that allows us to trust and respect his art. As a master storyteller, Kendrick conjures explicit imagery with every word. “Alright” mirrors the layered experience of being human, and heavily combats the notion of respectability politics. (more…)

Re/Verb : VERBicide – Jeff de Verb

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VERBicide by Jeff De Verb is a lyrical offering from the many perspectives of a maturing Spoken Word poet.  The energy throughout the project keeps things fresh, while the slick wordplay brings one back again and again.

Poet Jeff De Verb opens the project like a love letter from one mind to another. He takes his time in speaking to his lady,Jeff de empowering her and showering her with his affections. However, after the heartfelt poem ‘The Valley‘, everything about the project shifts drastically. (more…)

Dopeness: Negro – Christian Richardson

“I’m here to strike fear into a utopia”.

Christian Richardson has tapped into the root of the Spoken Word movement with this piece, ‘Negro‘.  Loud, passionate, and revolutionary, Richardson holds nothing back in his authentic diatribe and look into his culture.  Short and sweet, this piece is a spark waiting to light a greater fire to come.

Dopeness : The Top Secret Recipe For Aunt Phyliss’ Fried Chicken – Michael Harriot

The recipe for a great Spoken Word poem:

A tablespoon of witty word play.

Two cups of Hard-hitting imagery.

Three teaspoons of thought-provoking.

A pinch of dramatic performance.

First, mix your wordplay, performance, and imagery until a compelling flow is created.

Then, when the crowd is connected to the piece, sneak in your teaspoons of thought-provoking.

Mix well, bake beneath a lime-light for 3 minutes.

Voila.



“The Top Secret Recipe For Aunt Phyliss’ Fried Chicken.”  Poignant in it’s deception of the audience’s expectations, this poem is great for many reasons.  This classic will grab hold of your attention, and may not let go.

What did you like about this piece? Do you want to see more like it?  Let us know in a comment below.

5 Songs That You Never Knew Were Samples

5 Songs That You Never Knew Were Samples        

Have you ever heard a new song on the radio that sounds really good? Got a great beat, deep lyrics and a catchy bridge. You don’t know the title of it, but the more you listen to it, the more something about that beat, those lyrics, and that bridge sounds like a song you’ve heard before.

That “new” song on the radio was more than likely a sample. Artists sample songs more than you’d think. A sample being when a musician takes parts (rhythm, lyrics, beats, etc) of older songs and tweaks/blatantly reuses those parts to form a new song.

As an avid music aficionada, I personally find it fun to search for r&b, hip-hop, and rap artists that have taken parts of older songs and created new tunes of their own. (more…)

Art & Renaissance (Featuring) Camil. Williams

Camil Williams is a recent transplant from Chicago just trying to settle into the Atlanta vibe.  As a world traveler and troubadour, she is more than experienced in her art.  I’m putting emphasis on the word ‘art’, because Williams is more than just a poet, she is an artistic powerhouse and renaissance woman.

She has performed and presented art workshops at a host of conferences, high schools, and universities; locally and abroad, as part of the women centered activist-performance duo, AquaMoon. Using Hip Hop Feminism as a tool for creating awareness and dialogue on issues that marginalize and affect women of color, the duo co-authored several choreopoems, including Love Does Not Hurt and Aqua Beats and Moon Verses Vol. I.

Williams has also authored and released her debut, Butta to Fly: a collection of poetry, art and music (2007). Her artworks have been featured in the Ascend: Live Art and Jazz Showcase and the Humboldt Park Art Exhibit in Chicago. She’s appeared in several short and full-length films, including The Lies We Tell and Secrets We Keep and the hit web series, Between Women. She also writes and produces music for commercials, films and stage productions.

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Re/Verb : #GradLife – Sans

gradlife

Re/Verb is an analysis of poets and the works that they make, however, Sans (aka Sterling Higa) is more than just a poet.  Sans is a Hawaii native (Aloha and CHEE-HOO to all my people in Ewa Beach), public speaker, and scholar with a new project that runs in the vein of Lil Wayne’s ‘No Ceilings’.  The album#GradLife, is a one man slaughter-fest of industry beats.

#GradLife (a cappella)

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The Lyric Review: Female Energy – Willow Smith

At 14 years of age Willow Smith does a lot more than just whip her hair. In a few short years, we have watched this young lady go from simply sharing her appetite for wonder to exploring topics in a way that people rarely share. It is remarkable to watch her growth and there is no better song to highlight that growth than ”Female Energy”.

Willow-Smith-HEART

Listening to “Female Energy” makes you feel as though you’re meditating somewhere above the Milky Way. The sound is tranquil with futuristic elements, and some of Willow’s ad-libs are reminiscent of spiritual chanting. It’s one of those songs on your playlist that you just relax and vibe to.  Lyrically, the song is beautiful and contains a refreshing amount of thought and depth.  It explores the process of letting your own energy manifest while learning how to let go.

But let’s dig a little deeper into it. (more…)

The Lyric Review : Black Rage – Lauryn Hill

Gemini season is upon us, and for some strange reason this season has birthed many of today’s beloved hip-hop favorites including Andre 3000, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur to name a few.  Regardless of how much you may like or dislike these artists, there’s one undeniable trait that these artists have in common – the ability to be unapologetically true to themselves. This trait can occasionally have negative side effects, but little is greater than knowing who you are, your gifts and flaws, and still having the courage to share those intimate components of self with the world.  “Black Rage”, a song by a hip-hop artist, actress, songstress, and Gemini, Lauryn Hill, gives us a glimpse of the importance of self-knowledge and courage on the societal level.

lauryn_hill_103112 (more…)