Tag Archives: Jay Z

Joe Budden Reintroduces Himself

When the name Joe Budden comes up in most hip hop conversations, the words “one-hit-wonder,” are usually associated with him.  If not for his 2003 hit record “Pump It Up” most wouldn’t know who Budden is.  Unless of course you know of him on VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop” and his very public relationships with Ester, Tahiry and Kaylin.  To the underground faithful – or just the Joe Budden fans – though, Budden is considered to be one of hip hop’s true great lyricists.  He has built a dedicated following without the use of mainstream radio due to his independent and mix=tape releases.  Budden’s style has been considered “emo” as he wears his emotions on his sleeve, goes in depth about the pitfalls of his life and does so with brilliant word-play.   With all that being said, Budden has been in the game for over a decade and doesn’t scratch the surface of what is considered to be a “rap superstar.”

Budden has maintained consistency in his product and a little more than a year ago, began his podcast “I’ll Name This Podcast Later.”  The podcast has proven to be successful and at times controversial.  He (along with his podcast partners Marissa Mendez and Rory) have been the subject of social media attacks from other artists such as Meek Mill but it doesn’t stop the show’s continued fan support.   Most recently, Budden was very hard on Drake, an artist who Budden has openly been a fan of on his podcast.  Budden was less-than-enthused with Drake’s last project “Views” and even went as far as saying: “I think that that kid on that album that I heard sounds real fucking uninspired.”  What this did was inspire a slight jab from Drake aimed at the direction of Budden in a snippet of a track released on social media where Drake  mutters the words “pump, pump, pump it up.”   Budden didn’t take this as a “diss” and publicly shrugged it off.  .  .

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Then Drake released “4 PM in Calabasas” and Joe Budden combed through the lyrics of this song like a detective thirsty for some evidence:  “All of a sudden I got people showing how much they truly resent me/They whole demeanor just spells envy/they tryna tempt me.”

Budden laid low for a little while and then released a six minute verbal assault on Drake disguised as a song called “Making a Murderer, Pt.1”

The track, produced by Araab Muzik, supplied hip hop with enough ammo to burn through the next couple of weeks, as Budden took slight jabs at Meek Mill and Jay-Z (very slight but if you look back there is actually history there as well) – but the focus is clearly on Drake : “I’m a wordsmith for reall, you thought Quentin was bad/You made me proud, lad, but it seems my child mad/ With all the clout that he grabbed, theres still doubts from his dad.”  Budden has acknowledged before that Drake was a fan of Budden’s and even has ran with some of Budden’s style in the past. . .

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Joe Budden truly peppered enough quote-a-bles on this track, I could’ve printed out all the lyrics to the song and the reader would have gotten the point, but these gems should suffice in getting the point across: ” You’re so indirect, shit wasn’t real clear/Either Jimmy actin’ or he really miss a wheelchair. . . .i figure he’s close to his death to know the reaper/in fitted sweats with old sneakers, the flow ether/gassed cause he KO’d Omeeka/no, Joe’s deeper. . .Your words ain’t sayin a thing/I kilogram without weighing a thing/ nigga you baitin’ a king.”  And for those that didn’t get that “kilogram” line – think about it – Kilogram / Kill-a-Graham / Drake’s real name is Aubrey Graham – the boy Budden got lyrics. . .

Now, should Drake respond?  For the sake of hip-hop, yes he should – but in truth, Drake’s best action – career-wise – is to ignore it.  On the grand scheme of things, Budden isn’t in the same stratosphere as Drake.  If Drake ignores “Making A Murderer, Pt. 1” it will be as if the track never existed.   Drake is that big of an artist.

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Drake’s fans have taken to social media and have attacked Budden for trying to re-ignite his career by dissing Drake.  There might be some truth to that, but in reality, Budden is a rapper.  This is what rappers do (or at least used to do.)  He isn’t hiding behind subliminal lines or staying off of social media – he never has.  This is what he is.  Other Drake fans have said that the diss-track is altogether weak – which is obviously a blinded opinion.

Budden has done what needed to be done.  Today’s rap artists seem to be too comfortable.  Jump-Off-Joey has just shook the foundation from the top of the totem-pole and people are getting nervous.  Drake has a lot to lose if he comes out flat with a rebuttal record or loses this battle with Budden altogether.  For Budden, he has nothing to lose.  He has already gained a bunch of new listeners though who have been shut-off from the music he’s created over the last few years.

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In hip hop, “the battle” is a good-thing.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

“Lemonade” Album Review

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Is that the most cliche and generic quote one can start this article with?  Absolutely.  In the case of Beyonce’s  sixth album “Lemonade” there truly is no other statement that immediately comes to mind though. . .  The album’s title “Lemonade” was inspired by a speech made by her husband’s grandmother at a 90 year birthday celebration. . . the album itself finds it’s core inspired by apparent infidelity caused by her husband, Jay-Z.   Beyonce and Jay-Z have been hip-hop’s power couple since rumors of them started back in their “Bonnie and Clyde/Crazy In Love” days.  Now it seems their marriage has gone a bit sour and Beyonce is using her music as therapy.  She councils herself on this journey called “Lemonade” and holds nothing back.

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Keep in mind that these lyrics, for all that it’s worth, are directed at Jay-Z, which makes her tone just as important as her words.  And also, it’s just more entertaining to think that every song is her telling Mr. S-Dot Carter off.  On “Hold Up” (produced by Diplo), Beyonce serves her listener with a laid back island-pop feel.  The lyrics make it quite obvious who her muse is : “Lets imagine for a moment that you never made a name for yourself/Or mastered wealth, they had you labeled as a king/Never made it out the cage, still out there movin in them streets/never had the baddest woman in the game up in your sheets.”   She details in this song, how she must be crazy for still loving and not giving up on someone who is playing her out. . .

“Sorry” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself” find Beyonce less-hurt and more angry.  It’s the Beyonce that all women love, to be honest.  Her Sasha-Fierce-Like-Confidence on “Sorry” finds Beyonce being the ring-leader for girls out there who have been done wrong by a man.  She leads the charge with the bridge: “Middle fingers up, put them hands high/ Wave it in his face, tell him, boy bye/Tell him boy, bye-boy bye/ Middle fingers up, I ain’t thinking ’bout you.”  Beyonce even lays down a cryptic: “Let’s have a toast to the good life/Suicide before you see this tear fall down my eyes/Me and my baby, we gon’ be alright/We gon’ live a good life.”  Jack White is featured on, and helped to write “Don’t Hurt Yourself”  which is a rock inspired track  which is felt even more when Beyonce’s voice is slightly muffled in a true grunge-like filter.  On this track, Beyonce plays the role of the one who might be getting cheated on but holds all the cards.  Even lays down a threat to her husband that she’ll “bounce to the next dick.”   Her confidence is on full display when she ends the track with: “You know I give you life/ If you try this sh*t again, you gon’ lose your wife.”

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Beyonce ventures into the country music world with “Daddy Lessons.”  This is a great look into her relationship with her father and how it relates to her current marriage.  Beyonce’s father, Matthew Knowles, cheated in his marriage as well.  Knowing that and also knowing Matthew Knowles wasn’t too supportive of the union of Jay-Z and Beyonce, it’s no surprise that he would tell his daughter: “My daddy warned me about men like you/He said baby girl he’s playing you/ he’s playing you.”  The song itself is a smart move for Beyonce, because she has the chops to cross over into any genre of music and this should find her spins on stations across the U.S. that she never previously graced.

“Sandcastles” is the true ballad on the album.  The pain in her voice is evident.  There is nothing fake about Beyonce on this album – every lyric and emotion comes off as genuine (and if this is just a huge media ploy constructed by Bey and Jay – nah, lets not even think that!).  “Sandcastles” finds Beyonce alone with a piano bearing her pain and only asking in return from her lover an equated feeling of regret and pain. . .

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Beyonce takes a break from her lover’s angst anthems with the track “Freedom.”  Much like her previously released single “Formation” – which is featured at the end of the LP – she takes a social stand.   The message she brings to the African-American community is that although they are “free” they are still shackled by the racism in the world.  “Freedom” features Kendrick Lamar but also features production by Just Blaze, who hits this song with an aggressive drum sequence, supplied by organs and a choir backing the chorus. It’s a refreshing tangent for the album to go off on and it doesn’t hinder the overall flow at all.

The idea behind “6 Inch” is a bit weird as Beyonce uses the six-inch-heel as a symbol of a hard working woman.  It’s a more in-your-face-approach version of Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent.”  The use of the Issac Hayes “Walk On By” sample and the addition of the Weeknd are enough for people to forget about the stretch of a concept drawn up here. . .

INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: Beyonce performs onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/MTV1415/WireImage)

Lately, many music lovers have been critical, at times even overly-critical of Beyonce.   She raised the bar for herself and hasn’t been able to attain that again, it would seem.  She has been trying new sounds and new ways to approach music while keeping her image fresh and it seems she hit her stride with “Lemonade.”  What also works in her favor, is that Beyonce is seen the  diva of all divas, a superstar – but her vulnerabilities and pain on this record are real and for the first time in a long time, she has become relatable with her fans.  The production is a win and Beyonce, plays the role of being “hurt” and “vengeful” very well throughout the album.  The only question now is:  “Will Jay-Z  come out with a diss record aimed at Beyonce?”  — Doubtful.  But that would be insane. . .

Rating 8.5 out of 10

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio