Tag Archives: #jayz

5 THINGS WE LEARNT FROM ILLEGAL MUSIC 3-THE FINALE

Unless you’re living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard all the buzz following MI the ‘young denzel’ who created loaded conversations on the internet via his twitter account as per the 3rd installment of his mixtape, illegal music 3- the finale.

Aside from obvious growth(no, not in height) in wisdom of the ‘rap god’ here are 5 things I learnt, and I feel MI was trying to communicate;

Use monologues if you want to sound deep;

The use of monologues as bridge has been made popular by the new hip-hop ‘wavvy’ movement. MI rummaged  youtube enough to get a hold of not so popular interviews of greats, from Mike Tyson to Jayz’s interview with Angie Martinez. Many rappers, including  his own brother Jesse Jagz(in Louis, using rants from the movie ‘Network’); Wale(with Jerry Seinfield, in album about nothing) and recently Anderson .Paak have included these kind of monologues in their works to give it a much more deep, more personal feeling to drive home their  thesis. ‘All fall down‘ the track featuring POE is both introspective and motivating- for anybody afraid to fail while reaching for greatness. In there, you can hear Mike Tyson talk about how he has experienced high level of success and great disappointment. And MI closes with an enigmatic statement “gravity is not a superstition”.

Sampling is still the heart of Illegal Music;

If you’re familiar with the previous mixtapes from this collection, you’ll recall how so many instrumentals were sampled ingenuously. This one is not different in that regard. He sampled beats from Jayz a lot, Beyonce’s ‘formation’ for his track ‘black bill gates‘ and YEezy’s ‘never let me down’. He also re visited the popular list published by Notjust ok in ‘Notjust ok/savage’ (in a corny sponsored ad fashion) which he did in a cover version of burna’s ‘Soke’.

Listen to the IM3

He want’s to be compared to HOVA;

Well he hasn’t taken a pop star wife like JayZ (Yemi Alade is single though); he hasn’t till date  up to 11 platinum albums(although this mixtape was downloaded 200k times on the first day of release) neither does he own a music streaming platform(read: TIDAL). He however made it clear in the song ‘head of the family‘ where he sampled instrumental and back-up vocals from Jay’s ‘La Familiar’,  that like Jay is to ROC nation , he is the head of the choc city family; he has made a star out of Ice Prince, Victoria Kimani and a host of others, plus he knows his business.

MI doesn’t want to be boxed in ‘indigenous rappers’; 

On a leveled playing field, MI is better lyrically compared to many acclaimed international rap stars. The limiting factor is the seeming glass ceiling that prevents him from getting Grammy nod. He wants to level the playing field, before now, its be known that he has shunned the industry standard. As he rhymed in ‘Numbers’ to not ‘compare him to these artists, they giving you cheap garbage’, plus no one even comes close if you judge him by ‘these’ garbage.

In the end good music still sells, regardless of the genre;

Contrary to many Nigerians beliefs- notable among them is the famous 2014 tweet from don jazzy that purports, if you’re a Hip-Hop act in Nigeria, your parents can’t be proud. MI has refuted that claim and has yet created a viable business for himself and his team using literally, a mic and a beat box, ‘hip-hop is as viable as pop I made them say’ he rhymes in ‘remember me‘. The key he explains in the track ‘the finale’  is very good content. In the popular Martin Luther’s speech-which he inserted in the song- set out to be the best of at what you do. And for this, people would remember him.

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What Makes A Great Hip-Hop Artist

What Makes A Great Hip-Hop Artist by @shiznnitz
Though the term hip-hop is a sub-culture defined by four (4)key elements: MC-ing/rapping,  DJ-ing/scratching,  break-dancing and graffiti writing, however for the sake of simplicity we would restrict the use of the term hip-hop to mean rhythm and poetry (rap).
I’m not a performer of hip-hop; a devoted consumer of the art is more like it. Although I would love to compile my own list, naming one hip-hop act above the other, but to be honest, we are yet to be given pointers on how to determine a better artist or rather the best. Most times it’s just about how an highly rated critic feels about it.
They say delivery, yet I feel all the songs we’re able to listen to are well delivered, I mean in truth, a bad delivery would mean the song won’t get listeners (its basic reasoning that’s why songs sell or don’t sell). These elements set the standards for acceptability and marketability.
Another element they point out is content- now before I go further ,  I’ll bring an instance of a very good rapper(in my opinion), Vector YSG in his feature on OD wood’s track, saying ‘if you need loving I’ll come, to sample your Davido album’.  The Davido album in the context refers to the title of the album OBO, which means something in his native tongue (Yoruba), but you can’t fully appreciate the line (his word play) if you don’t understand what it means.  So yes I agree content should be a pointer, but then again music is an intangible art form, such that it can only be perceived, and perceptions vary , hence the varying extent of consumption of the content. This element in this particular subject is now flawed.
Another important feature of an emcee is his ability to brag. Rappers tend to carry around with them this “I’m the best and no one can touch me” kind of attitude.  Who recalls the all star track by TI, “Swagga Like Us” off his 2008 album, Paper Trail? The track featured 3 heavyweights, including Lil Wayne, Jay Z, and Kanye West . Guess what they were rapping about? Every single one of them was the self-acclaimed best.
More recently LOS did a song “Bad Guy P” and then did the remix with Banky W. He said on the track “and I’m not even a rapper though” yet  he delivered a good rap verse and  yes, he also claimed he’s the best. C’mon Mr. Wellington, be merciful on dem beat.
The most important thing I believe is proficiency, and how do we measure this, by follower-ship, amount of records sold (statistics). Because frankly, that’s the simplest way to look at it. This way the consumers have spoken for themselves, not waiting for some award committee.  In 2011 BET awards, when Busta Rhymes was presented an award and  the crowd’s reaction was massive, he said in his speech ‘When you get this kind of noise from the fans after receiving an award, it tells you the extent to which your work is being appreciated, ‘cause sometimes we don’t know where the award committees conjure up their awardees list.’ That to me, sums it all up.
However, I believe that any artist that sells 500k units, deserves to be called a king in his own lane.