Tag Archives: OVO

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

“Views” Album Review

Drake is the king of the new school movement.  His style has spawned many “sound-a-likes” and “copy-cats.”  His recent “beef” with Meek Mill, established Drake as not only a song-writer but also as an MC who can “get up in someone” if he needs to.  Drake’s confidence is at an all time high and it should be.  Every song he releases on line is all the hip hop world buzzes about for weeks and any artist who can afford a feature spot by Drizzy, will see their numbers rise because of the “Drake Effect.”

“Views” which many of us were led to believe the title was actually going to be “Views From the 6” when released, finds Drake at amoment in his career that he can pretty much do no wrong.

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Drake continues to pay homage to his hometown Toronto on “9.”   Drake typically refers to Toronto as “the 6” but in this twist Drake explains: “Keeping people fed is my only piece of mind now/And i turned the six upside down, it’s a nine now.”   Drake’s attitude on “9” is very nonchalant, although he talks about being the one that people want to hate on all the while being the artist that has to continually to hold his city down and hold it up to the spot light.  Drake’s confidence has always been a strong point and even when folks try to bring him down, he loves to remind them that he’s in a position in life that they’d kill to be in.  He continues to reference his hometown on the track “Weston Road Flows.”  It’s here where Drake does his version of “going in” as he spits straight with no hook for nearly four minutes, and does it to his trademark OVO sound produced by 40.  Once again, Drake drops gems to remind his haters, that he is just who they want to be: “I’m looking at they first week numbers like ‘what are those?’/ I mean you boys not even coming close. . . you don’t be scoring perfect/you don’t be workin how we be workin/you platinum like wrappers on a Hershey’s boy that sh*t is worthless/you get the message over and over like it was urgent/and then act like you aint heard it when you see me in person.”

Drake goes his hardest on “Hype” where it seems he still is tossing jabs at Meek Mill: “last year i know you learned your lesson/I could GPS you if you need addressin’ /Boss up, I’m the bigger homie. . .”   Drake has mastered the obnoxious-on-top of the world persona and lyrically he can still lay gems in a verse, but his flows become repetitive.  On “Hype” he spits a bar rapidly, ending his tone on a higher pitch, takes a one second breath and goes right back to it.  This is one of Drake’s flows.  The other is when he basically sounds like he’s talking and is bored telling his own story.   He does this on the annoying “U With Me” in which he flips the old DMX hook on “How’s It Goin’ Down.”  His babbling is enough to make the listener lose interest quickly and his switch from rapping to singing is more awkward than it is clever.

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“Redemption” is a lack luster production effort by Noah “40” Shebib and Drake does nothing to lift the track or pump any life into it.   It’s five minutes of audio that is nothing short of dry and plain.  That “dry and plain” feeling continues (quite ironically) on the track titled “Fire and Desire,” which is Drake’s love ballad to some degree on “Views.”   The lyrics fall short on “Fire and Desire” as well: “You never believe me/Told you I got Zs for these other girls, sleepin on em/Girl I’m sleepy/ sometimes I’m so indecisive.”

“Grammys” teams Drake back up with Future  and it only further proves that the idea of these two working together is a lot better than the actual product they produce.  Future repeats the line “They gonna think I won a Grammy” somewhere in the field of thirteen hundred times, but that should come as no surprise.  That’s unfortunately part of Future’s whole. . . thing that he does. . .

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Another sound that Drake seems to have fallen in love with is the dance-hall feel.  He teams with Rihanna again on “Too Good” which is sure to become another hit.  Drake should really consider dropping the collaborations with Future and focus more on his chemistry with Ri-Ri.   “One Dance,” “Controlla” and “With You” all have the potential to become radio hits because of the club/ Caribbean feel to the tracks.   There is nothing special lyrically on these tracks and the breaks in the song are nothing drastic.   And therein lies the problem with “Views.”

Drake seems too comfortable musically.  Because his fans are dedicated and come in large numbers – he feels he can drop anything and it has the potential to become a hit.  When you’re an artist at the top of the game, you raise the bar for yourself and your peers – instead of sticking to his script, Drake needs to step outside of the box and deliver something different.  Is it fair to expect something like that from Drake – yes and no.  If you want to keep bragging about how you’re untouchable, prove it by further separating yourself from the crowd, instead of re-creating the same songs over and over again.

Let it be clear – the album is not bad.  It’s just what we expect from him and nothing more.  The lack-luster production and Drake’s sudden obsession with island sounds is the backbone of this OVO project.  This project might be his most streamed or valued in his discography because of the radio friendly tracks – but with Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole laying down projects that might be their best for some time, Drake had to do the same.

Drake has the ability to still throw in some clever lines as he did on “Child’s Play,”: “Why you gotta fight with me at Cheesecake/you know i love to go there/Say I’m actin’ lightskin, I can’t take you nowhere/This is a place for families that drive Camry’s and go to Disney.”   Still there are times when his lyrics are awkward and almost spoil a song, like he did on the album’s opener “Keep the Family Close,”:“Always saw you for what you could’ve been/Ever since you met me/Like when Chrysler made that one car that looked just like the Bentley.”   Eh.  The shame is, “Keep the Family Close” had the production and sound that this album should’ve been built around but alas it wasn’t.   “Keep the Family Close” opens up the album so well, that the album itself becomes a disappointment as you listen on because nothing else sounds like it.

Rating 6.5 out of 10

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio