Rap

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…)

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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Re/Verb : The Open Mic Pt. 1 – Idlewild

When you listen to The Open Mic Pt. 1, LISTEN. Turn off your TV, tell your friend to hush, go on a walk, ignore your cellphone.  Idlewild’s ‘The Open Mic Pt. 1′ demands your attention, and if you’re not listening, you’ll miss everything.

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Dopeness : Burundi – Saul Williams

Saul Williams is little else than an innovator in the Spoken Word community.  With movie and broadways credits, meaningful written word, as well as multiple albums worthy of acclaim, Saul Williams has done it all.

With a new album on the horizon, MartyrLoserKing, Saul has officially released his newest track, Burundi.  Burundi is a treasure trove of lyrical flair examining technology, activism, and the current social unrest in Burundi/ Central Africa.

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Say Hello To The Bad Guy (Featuring) : Tommy Bottoms

Tommy Bottoms is a fire-starter in the Spoken Word community.  Maybe “fire-starter” is putting it nicely, but with connectionsTommy Bottoms 5 throughout the Spoken community and poetry that is both entertaining and mind-opening,  no one can deny the work that he has put into his craft.

As co-host of The Ugly Truth Radio, perennial performer for BET’s Lyric Cafe and Russell Simmons presents… Def Poetry Jam, and writer/producer of Educated Gangster 101, Bottoms is a veteran of the Spoken Word scene and ongoing innovator.

His skills have taken him throughout the United States to universities such as Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, and Auburn University, as well as abroad to London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East.  His work has brought him in contact with Spoken Word greats like Amir Sulaiman, Queen Sheba, Malik Salaam, and Jon Goode.  Tommy Bottoms has been around the game.

Tommy Bottoms with shiny headHe has a style all his own.  Each one of his performances treads the line of melodic and lyrical, yet aggressively intellectual.  His subject matter – most often sociopolitical, tackles complex problems while remaining accessible to a wide range of audiences.   With clever word play and booming voice, he commands an audience’s attention with words as entertaining as they are prolific.  However, Bottoms lives his poetry.  He is unafraid to piss off his audience if the message needs to be heard, and loves to shine an unflinching light on the ugly side of things.


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The Lyric Review : White Shoes – Wale

Echo Chambers is a love letter to not just the Spoken Word, but the Performed Word.  The performed word includes everything from stage performance, visual art that uses words, and music.  In the case of the latter, I’m a big fan of hip-hop and the lyricism at its essence.

I am not the only one, however.  Despite the direction that hip-hop culture has been headed, there remain many worthy messages within the genre.  Through Echo Chambers we intend to use this platform as means to explore these themes.

Co-written by Indigo B., Echo Chamber’s newest segment will explore the themes behind different songs in hip-hop as we share thoughts on the messages.

10013925_10153050240498343_1656861863195521780_n(1)Indigo B.

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