You know, Tupac’s been dead for 20 years.
So when you think about it, 50 Cent was taking a huge chance when, only 7 years after Pac’s demise, 50 came out with a dorag and a fitted and miraculously was able to drag the last few pulse beats outta the whole “thug” aesthetic.
50’s problem was that he kept (and is still) trying to drag more life out of it.
Interestingly enough, the genuine killer of the whole thug vibe, one Kanye West, came through with the kind of mopey, introspective Hip Hop that would dominate up until recently.
How amazing then is it that it’s Kanye again whose Life of Palbo seems to be on the cusp of another change in direction for Hip Hop, one that might have actually started with Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly.
Now, Drake. Yeah.
Unfortunately, I’ve gotta actually write something about this fucking crap.
And no, of course it’s not all bad.
The Kanye West-produced “U With Me?” is a good song.
“Feel No Ways” is so avant garde it may, in fact, be the new direction in R&B.
I liked “Controlla” despite myself; not normally my kinda thing at all.
“Grammys” featuring Future was good, as was “Too Good” featuring Rihanna and the “Summers Over interlude” was pure music to ride to.
My problem of course, was here’s a guy that worked hard to convince us that he was not, despite Degrassi, an actor and was, in fact, an MC, and you know what? I bought it.
Now he turns around and gives me exactly one song where he comes in spitting flames, his bearing even reminiscent of a young Hov on the standout “Childs Play”, then it’s back to that maudlin bullshit that don’t make nobody feel better about nothing.
He even had another shot at a good song with “One Dance”, a dance hall parable, if he had come in as hot as he came in on “Child’s Play” but instead, he maintained his sad sack, yearning tone, making me long for the days of authentic male soul-torturers like Keith Sweat, and not this new-age, Bryson Tiller, pathetic, hat-in-hand whimpering that passes for crooning but doesn’t even work up the kind of passion that symbolizes genuine distress.
Views From the 6 sounds like a break-up album and for that, Drake deserves credit. Of course, break-up albums have been done before, often brilliantly, there was Bob Dylan’s incredible Blood on the Tracks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, which, at the time was, I’m thinking, the biggest selling record ever, and Marvin Gaye’s sadistic Here My Dear.
Judge: Marvin, the proceeds from your next album are gonna go directly to your ex wife.
Marvin: Ok, I know exactly what I’ma record then…
It misses bad.
And while a simple fix to me would have been to trim the fat of those 20 songs down to a workable Anita Baker Rapture-sized 8, I’m confident that the man that (accurately) dubbed himself “Steph Curry with the shot” won’t be discouraged by a brick.
He’ll keep shooting.