Drake, Mr. Carter, The Other Mr. Carter, and Mr. West

How many times have us hip-hop fans discussed whose the hottest emcees of all time or even the best rappers right now? Countless lists have been formulated since the beginning of hip hop to chronicle what fans should be listening to, who we should be listening to, what everyone else is listening to, who not to listen to, and who everyone isn’t listening to and shouldn’t be. Numerous publications, respected in hip hop and not, have put together lists like these for the purpose of everything from organization to duty. The lists we put together in conversations with other hip hop heads at home to the hair salons and barbershops, are all dictated by exposure. No one can know about you if there’s no label behind you pumping thousands of dollars to ensure your career and their pockets. If you want people to listen to you, make them think that a whole lot of other people are listening to you. This seemed to be the formula of success for every other emcee except The Original Mister Carter and his soon to be successor Drake. Anyone who knows the story of Jay-Z probably knows that he was one of the first people to start their own record label, in a time when labels were infamous for ripping off their clients. Whatever you think about their lyrical skills and their maybe over-rated hyper-hype no one can not sit up and take notice to the ruthless and uncanny ability to spark buzz like Jay-Z and the rapper formerly known as Aubrey Graham to the teenage-now-grown-up set. Anyone who follows hip hop would be foolish not to include Drake and Jay-Z on their hottest MC’s list. Both artists have been featured on the other’s records. But are these two really enemies? If not in real life, maybe in the ring of rappers and emcees? Or on the front line of lyricism? Or perhaps on the behalf of buzz? No rapper or emcee before or after Jay-Z is able to captivate as much buzz as his larger than life, rock star persona, except maybe Drake or maybe even the other Mister Carter, D’Wayne Michael Carter Jr. Drake along with Lil Wayne are poised to become Jay-Z’s successors whether he likes it or not and some people are more than ready for him to give up claim to the mic.

Drake on the other hand is just getting started and hip hop fans are itching for him to get started. He has yet to release his debut album and continues to garnish teasers with mixtapes. His most popular one, So Far Gone has garnered attention from Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne; his mentor and label boss. According to Fader.com, “On his own records, he abandons Southern double-time to push genre boundaries more like Kanye, rapping over chopped-and-filtered snatches of Coldplay, Lykke Li and Peter Bjorn & John. The differences only get starker if you compare Drake’s bio to his project-raised, tattooed and codeine-addicted mentor. Though born in Memphis, Aubrey Drake Graham was raised in Forest Hills, an affluent enclave of Toronto that is about as far in mood and geography from New Orleans as you could get without a land bridge. Before he ever considered being a rapper, Drake was a child actor, portraying athlete Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. His father, Dennis Graham, was a drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis, and he is nephew to both legendary bassist Larry Graham and Teenie Hodges—a guitarist best known for co-writing some of Al Green’s ’70s classics who’s played with everyone from Talking Heads to Cat Power. The more you know about him, in fact, the harder it seems to know exactly who Drake is. There is something almost chameleon-like about his talent. If his appeal can’t be contained to a one-liner like “Wayne protégé,” it’s only because he invites a whole series of comparisons: to Wayne’s inventiveness, Kanye’s art-school eclecticism, Jay-Z’s braggadocio and Lloyd’s post-Kelly singsong. He has the lyrical teeth to skewer you if you mistake introspection for weakness.”

In today’s hip hop game it is almost a necessity to be from an impoverished background with experience in gunplay and cocaine. The number one reason why rap battles in the mainstream ensue are because one person lies about where they are from or their background and another person calls them out on it. The glamourization of the “hood lifestyle” is on the is a huge problem and hip hop and has people everywhere wanting to be something they are not. Just look at the example of Rick Ross who raps about cocaine and guns, and yet is a former corrections officer. However, there are two examples where this is not true. Kanye and Drake, both come from middle class families where they weren’t exposed to the harsh realities of life. “Drake does not seem particularly pressed to play down the middle class and Jewish half of his biracial upbringing and frequently mentions his mother’s central role in his life.”-Fader.com One may wonder, though, if Kanye and Drake’s limitless life, transfers to limits in their lyrics. The two are known for the boisterous lyrics in which they show their bravado. One might expect for Drake and Kanye’s lyrical content to be something for the ages. Instead we get a kind of dumbing down from their educated selves and even Lil Wayne who attended college for sometime like Kayne. One might want to tap them on their shoulder and tell them that hip hop can be educated too.

Drake is not only a rapper but also, and annoyingly a crooner on most of his hooks. He has a do-it-yourself approach to his music, his production and refreshingly, his image. Drake, Kanye, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z all fall in the overrated set. Despite that, Drake has signed one of the biggest record deals ever, signing a contract with Lil Wayne’s Young Money for over a million dollars. “That deal is the end result of what has been described as one of the biggest bidding wars the music industry has seen in ages. No one party is willing to share all the details, but Atlantic Records and Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine were certainly both in the mix, and at one point, Universal Motown president Sylvia Rhone apparently threatened Drake with legal action to prevent him from going elsewhere. In the end, he signed directly to Aspire, a company co-run by his manager (and Young Money CEO) Cortez Bryant, with major label distribution through Universal Republic. Although his Wikipedia entry and various news items list his label as Cash Money/Universal Motown, Drake is quick to say, ‘I went through Universal Republic because I don’t fuck with Motown. At all.’ The details are more than academic, since the Universal affiliation is what allows Lil Wayne and Young Money to own a piece of the project. But even though Wayne has been touted as an executive producer in previous interviews, Drake indicates that putting a YM logo on the disc is more of a nod to his mentor than a structural reality. Kanye—according to the people around Drake, anyway—is so open on his talent that he is more amped to work on Drake’s project than his own, dangling the possibility that he might step in as executive producer.”-Fader.com

All four artists can be named the four hardest working emcees in show business. Their names have been on everyone’s lips for a while now in their ever sweeping takeover of the hip hop game. “‘Forever’ may be for the album or possibly a forthcoming soundtrack, a Kanye collabo in which he and Drake bring out the best in each other, elevating their respective rap games in a way that’s only happened with Drake and Wayne on tracks like “Ransom.” It’s the kind of verse that lends real credibility to his fans’ claims that Drake is the best lyricist on the set in 2009. Despite the obvious implication, he does not seem inclined to substitute one mentor for another, preferring to develop the sound for the album himself, drawing beats from his engineer, “40” Shebib, and other members of his crew, loosely known as October’s Very Own.’-Fader.com

However, one can only glimpse into the probably friendly rivarly between all of them. The recent releases of all four were some of the most anticipated and talked about. The Carter 3 versus The Blueprint 3 versus So Far Gone and 808s and Heartbreak. Hip hop breeds competition even among friends. When you feature on someone’s track you better be sure to bring your best or risk being slaughtered on your own song. Jay-Z seems to be coming in first off the heels of his latest release. The Washington Post called him “hip-hop's undisputed alpha male”, albeit in a full out diss to his newest installment of the now completed Blueprint series. Spin says that the Blueprint 3 is posied “to create a world-historical event horizon” with its release. Nothing is more prominent about Jay-Z, not even his artistry, than his skill in exuded pride, confidence, even cockiness and conceit. Any line that you could probably quote from him is for sure expressing his dire love with himself. With his sway, his teasing to bring back Versace shades, and his incessant laziness, seem to suggest that not only does he feel he is number one but that he will always be number one. Not only does he believe he is the greatest alive, he knows that he is the greatest ever; we all know those who agree. But one must wonder if he really feels he is the best why the need to constantly behave in a way that cries so desperately that the fact needs to be proven, namely to the most famous new school to come about in a while, if not ever. On “What More Can I Say, Jay-Z says, “Add that to the fact I went plat a bunch of times. Times that by my influence on pop culutre, I supposed to be number one on everybodys list, We'll see what happens when I no longer exist, Fuck this” You got the Entertainment Weekly proclaimed JV squad Drake and Kid Cudi court the youth vote. Drake, and even though Wayne has been in the game for a while now, we never quite saw him like this with CashMoney; Wale, both who have worked and been listed as proteges of Jay, and LA mixtape kings, Nipsey Hussle and Jay Rock. Is it because he is feeling at least slightly threatened? One would think it weird if he weren’t. Why? Jay is living off money it would take at least a thousand regular people to use in two lifetimes. The crown? Me think so. If a talent is able to surpass Jay what would become of him? He’s supposedly tried so many times to quit the game and as most musicians can relate to, it is his livelihood. And he wouldn’t dare think of giving up his career, the one that saved him from death or a life sentence without a fitting escape. He respects hip hop too much, or at least he says he does. But one has to wonder how can he respect it, when he has obviously gotten bored doing it. He seems to be secretly, embarrasingly, and probably shyly trying to compete with his earlier works or at least before 2006’s Kingdom Come. “There's never been a nigga this good for this long, This hood, Or this pop” The problem is he doesn’t want anyone to know it, so he remains complacent and cocky. Never letting his faithful fans get a glimpse of his vulnerabilities. If he only knew, it would bring us closer and give him what he’s been waiting for; a epic exit from the game. “On The Blueprint 3, Jay aims to rectify that by reconciling his two divergent worlds: the rode-hard history of the Brooklyn housing projects he came up in, and the yachting-
off-the-Amalfi-Coast-with-Gwyneth celebrity Narnia he inhabits today. Even if it lacks the raw power of his earlier work, the album succeeds at its larger goal — reaching maximum commercial blast radius while maintaining its street bona fides.” -EW

These days, you can’t read an article without his age being mentioned and it serves as a reminder to no one more than Jay-Z himself. No matter how much I may be tired of his assertions of being “the new Sinatra”, hip hop doesn’t tire of this recycled but never old formula from Jay. Perhaps ABCNews said it best, “Perhaps that's what rap needs to reinvigorate itself — someone to pull the genre out of its money-clothes-cars-and-girls sinkhole.” He tried to be the savior but he’s one of the reasons it needs saving. One must pause and wonder if the laziness was fueled by this obligatory last album owed to Def Jam. One would also wonder if he would sacrifice his artist integrity like that, but either way he’s and always will be wildly successful. “
After been beat out by his known worshipper, Lil Wayne for the Grammy of Best Rap Album, after performing with him, the complexity of hip hop’s biggest star is sometimes confusing. Its as if he features in their songs to soothe his ego. "Wayne's scorching, I’ll applaud him, if he keeps going, i'll pass the torch to him"
In the December 2006 issue of Complex Magazine, Lil Wayne stated “‘I'm better than [Jay-Z]... I'm 24 years old. (...) I'm 13 years deep with five albums and 10 million records sold, I don't like what he's saying about how he had to come back because hip hop's dead and we need him... What the fuck do you mean? If anything it's reborn, so he's probably having a problem with that. You left on a good note, and all of the artists were saying, 'Yo, this is Jay's house. He's the best.' Now he comes back and still thinks it's his house... It's not your house anymore, and I'm better than you"[85]. On the track "Watch What You Say to Me" Jay-Z makes an attack on Lil Wayne, rapping, "I hear you baiting me lately / I've been doing my best just to stay hater free / Still watch what you say to me / Sooner or later I take you up on your offering / Put you all in your place / Like I'm replacing your father / You're talking to the author / The architect of the Blueprint/ My DNA in your music / Motherfucker, you stupid? Watch what you say to me.". Eventually, the beef was resolved between them, and the two of them recorded tracks together like "Hello Brooklyn 2.0," "Mr. Carter," and "Swagga Like Us.’”

Allmusic's Steve Huey describes Jay-Z as a "a street hustler from the projects who rapped about what he knew—and he was very, very good at it...detailing his experiences on the streets with disarming honesty".[17] Multiple aspects of this lifestyle are explored: "Can't Knock the Hustle" details Jay-Z's hustling talent, "Cashmere Thoughts" and "Dead Presidents II" explain his financial goals and other tracks like "D'evils" and "Regrets" detail how hustling negatively affects the mind. Huey summarizes the album's subject matter saying: “He's cocky bordering on arrogant, but playful and witty, and exudes an effortless, unaffected cool throughout. And even if he's rapping about rising to the top instead of being there, his material obsessions are already apparent [...] the album's defining cut might [...] be the brief "22 Two's," which not only demonstrates Jay-Z's extraordinary talent as a pure freestyle rapper, but also preaches a subtle message through its club hostess: Bad behavior gets in the way of making money. Perhaps that's why Jay-Z waxes reflective, not enthusiastic, about the darker side of the streets.[17]”



Once upon a time, I was young and dumb. I used to believe that "control" could be shared by both parties in a relationship. Relationship; meaning either a committed relationship or two people building to a committed relationship or really any type of connection you have with someone who you're attracted to. There is always one person that has more control than the other person. Now, in a relationship both parties should always be making sacrifices, equal sacrifices. It takes sacrifice to build a relationship with two very different people. However, there are a lot of ways to maintain control of the "relationship" no matter where it is headed. They are as follows:

1. Home. Court. Advantage.: The first mistake that one can make when establishing a "sex buddy" relationship with someone that can make you lose control of the situation is losing home court advantage. You should ALWAYS opt to have your partner at your house. There's nothing better than making him/her leave after yall get threw doing yall business. Making her/him use all their gas to get there instead of you is just the icing on the cake. You don't want to have to travel over there, and have him/her make the decision whether to take you home or let you spend the night. If you're the one with the base covered, there is no need to make this decision, make him/her leave! You don't want anyone getting to comfortable in your bed, sloberring and carrying on. You don't her/him to accidentally leave a pair of underwear of maybe a toothbrush over there. That might mess up your game for your next sexscapade with someone else. When you let someone linger at your apartment don't be surprised if they start getting attached or try to move your sex relationship into a real relationship.

2. In the context of building to a committed relationship, it is most important to keep control of the journey. Now, controlling this type of situation is a little more tricky than just a "sex buddy" situation. The point is not to GAIN CONTROL but just not to let your control be less than your hopefully soon to be significant other. When establishing a relationship both parties should try to be as equal as possible. For example, in the situation of hit ups; both parties should be hitting each other in about an equal amount. If he/she starts to lag in the hitting up, whether it be a text, a phone call, or a invite to a date, first you should also stop contacting him/her, then talk to the person about it. Tell him/her you're upset because there hasn't been enought communication as of lately. You have to talk about it with the person, it is not enough to just stop hitting the person up, he/she can take that to mean anything and you may put the relationship in jeopardy. As far as, bringing up problems in the situation when they arise, talk about them! Don't make the other person always be the one to bring up what's necessary. If you do let that happen, that person will always have control of the situation, and ultimately have the fate of the relationship in his/her hand. That goes for really any type of interaction, telling him/her how you feel about him/her, etc.

Control is important to maintain to keep your grounding on the relationship and to make sure its going the way you want and need it to. If you lose control to another person you run the risk of getting your feelings hurt as well as wasting your time.



Today is the 13th anniversary of the greatest emcee(!) ever, 2pac's death. I hate using the word anniversary to describe something sad, its such a happy word. I love 2pac and his music will live on forever. He was an incredible, insightful talent, who can never be touched lyrically or stylistically. We love you.

My favorite pac song:

My mommy's favorite:

How Do You Want It:

Liner Notes Installment #1: Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is

I really miss this Keyshia. The raw, hard hitting Keyshia.

2. I Changed My Mind-Contains a sample 'Get Out Of My Life, Women' Performed by Solomon Burke

3. Love, I Thought You Had My Back-Contains Elements of "Love Jones"

7. You've Changed-Contains Elements of "Sounds Like A Love Song" Bobby Glenn

8. We Could Be-Contains replay instruments element from big fish audio CD

12. Never featuring Eve-Contains Sampled portions of: "Never too Much" by Luther Vandross


What Are You Intentions With me?

If you're a person who is dating right now, these six words are ones that you should know, memorize and not be afraid and be prepared to use frequently! Men and womyn need to start getting real about where they are going with their situation. Listen closely: When a person tries to talk to you, no matter where you are, what you're doing, what you're looking like, he or she has one or more of these three intentions: 1. To create a sex buddy relationship with you, 2. Give you money, or use you for your money, and/or number 3: Create a real, meaningful relationship with you. Ladies and gentlemen, that is all there is! No more, no less! When a man or woman approaches you, they have some type of intentions in his/her mind. No one walks up to a person solely for friendship, or "getting to know you". Don't be afraid to ask this question. Do it on the spot, I promise it will save a lot of time and wasted energy. Say for instance, you're looking for a relationship and when you ask this question homegirl or homedude say he's just looking for someone to kick it with, then you know that's not for you and you don't even have to waste time running down your cell phone battery to store his or her number. Now not everyone is honest about their intentions even when you ask them upfront. For example, a conversation might go like this: Man: "Hey wassup Ma, can I get your number?"; Woman: "Well first I want to know what you're intentions are with me?"; Man(obviously taken aback by your question and shy about his REAL intentions): well I just want to get to know you and we can see where it goes from there, you know I like your style, I think you're cute; This is what your reponse should sound like: Woman: Well what is your purpose in getting to know me? You must have some type of intention, you came over here to talk to me. If he doesn't know what he wants, then tell him to find out and come back. Some people may be turned off by your response but others will know they can't come wat you with no bullshit and respect your confindence and realness and I promise they will not try that again!

Sometimes when someone wants something from you, especially sex, he/she is afraid to say it. They might feel like this is a turn off for the person on the receiving end of the request. However, come on, this is 2009! People will appreciate it a LOT more if others were just upfront about their's and stopped hiding behing "game". I am sure that no matter how shady, nasty, or great your proposal there are people out there that will accept or deny it. People do not need to be gamed up anymore! If you want sex and sex only, let it be known! Stop wasting your and his/her time!

Liner Notes

I've found out that I am the type of person that gets creative at night. You know, when you're bored and instead of constantly checking your Facebook over and over, you actually discover new music, books, people, etc. Well during the day I do Facebook and at night I find out stuff like I wish I had the liner notes to every album ever made. If you don't know liner notes are the little book that comes in the front side of a CD. The liner notes are a vital part of enjoying the music being played into your ears. Were it not for liner notes I might have never discovered that the same person who sings the hook to Mos Def's Roses is the same person that is featured of Erykah Badu's Master Teacher; Ms. Georgia Anne Muldrow. Chances are the song the you are listening to contains a sample from another song from a previous generation. So I took to Twitter to ask my loyal followers to point me in the direction of a website that has an vast array of liner notes. I received no response. Therefore, I am taking on the task of creating one myself. As of right now, I do not have the resources to create one to the extent that I would like to, however, I will start small with the liner notes that I still possess that have not been thrown away when I was a young and dumb non-music fanatic. Hopefully, I will be able to expand it with time. If you would like to help out, please comment and I will give you an address to which you can donate your liner notes.

Now, I am trying to decipher the important parts of the liner notes. What do yall think that I should include? What I usually like to look at is samples, featured artists that are not obviously listed, lyrics, and any stories included. I don't really care who wrote the song or who produced it, that isn't important to me.

What I want people to realize is that all music is connected. Your favorite emcee has probably sampled a hard rock song for one of his/her biggest hits, if you know what the song sampled was you'll probably discover a whole new genre of music. I have vowed to stop buying mp3's and actually buy the CD so that I can build my collection of liner notes for our viewing and reading pleasure. And yes, I buy music!

First installment of liner notes coming soon!


Pussy Ain't No Prize! No, Really, Its Not.

Fellas this post is for you. Ever had a lady try to withhold sex from you? Maybe you said something you shouldn't have said, like, "Why are you wearing that?" or "Comb your hair!" Or maybe you did something that you shouldn't have done, like stayed out to the wee hours of the morning, got a call from your ex-girlfriend, or didn't call your girl back like you said you would. Any one of these situations can make a woman so mad that she doesn't want to give you what some see as a prize or reward. She is probably thinking something to the effect of "why reward bad behavior?". You might even walk on egg shells so that you may have your due at the end of the day. But ladies, I'm going to have to side with my men for a second. First, I said it once and I'll say it again: Ladies' sex drives are underrated; men, please believe that your lady of the night or girlfriend wants to have sex as much as you do. Who wants to be sleep because they are so-called "punishing" their man when they could be having sweet hot sex on those new sheets yall just bought from Bed, Bath, and Beyond? Girl, you ain't just withholding sex from him, you withholding it from yourself! Get real! And if you're really mad, just try some angry sex. Or just put your anger aside and put out. You can begin the madness right after, or hell, the sex might even squash the beef. Sometimes its ok just to let shit go.

Let's take Joe Budden and his girlfriend Tahiry for example:

Now Tahiry seems like a down ass chick. She says "I came home and I wanted to sit on my man." She doesn't seem like a prude, however, she had expectations that weren't met. Therefore, her reasoning is; my expectations weren't met and yours won't be met either. I do have to point out, though, that I take DEEP offense with Joe Budden's notion that Tahiry has an obligation to fulfill his sexual needs. No woman or man has an OBLIGATION to have sex with their significant other just because he or she wants to have sex. If you say no, end of story. Yall can talk about why you said no later. Coercion or forcing your man or woman to have sex is NOT the answer. That's called rape. Did you know that it only recently became illegal for a man to rape/force his wife to have sex? The notion was that a wife is un-rapeable by her husband because she is essentially his property and has an OBLIGATION to have sex with him when he so deems necessary. Womyn are not sex machines and just as men sometimes don't feel like having sex, we are the same way. Also, just like men like to have sex a lot, so do womyn; just at the right times.

Ok, so let's look at the part of the video, where the object of pussy being a prize comes up. Now, right here, I have to side with Joe. "Pussy ain't no prize!" I concur. Come on, lesbihonesstt. We all like sex. If pussy is a prize, so is dick. If pussy ain't a prize, then neither is dick. And I for one, do believe that it is.

We have to get rid of this sexist notion that womyn "give it up" and men "take it". If I'm giving something up when I am having sex, then so are you! We are doing the same act, with each other! Men are not the hypersexual toads that society makes them out to be and should be able to deny or not want sex without being labeled gay or the like. Nobody says a woman is gay when she tells her boyfriend no. Now, if your man or woman is constantly not in the mood for sex without any apparent reason, then yall should talk about it and see what the problem is. Maybe its a medical issue.

Ok, so back to the video. I definitely have to give Tahiry her props. She doesn't let Mr. Budden get away with his bullshit. First, she tells him that contrary to his belief, she does not have an obligation to engage in sex with Joe and then she sets him straight when he tries to blame her if he decides to go out and cheat and have sex with someone else. Ladies!, it is never you fault when a man decides to do something stupid. Yes, you may not be having sex with him, but he doesn't have the right to cheat; he does however have the right to break up with you. Nor is it your fault if he lies to you. He might say you don't make it easy for him, or that you can't handle the truth, but the reality of the situation is that he probably has a lot of growing up to do when it comes to relationships. A man must takes responsibility for his own actions and stop saying that his girl drove him to it. Read a little bit more about the subject here (make sure you read the comments on this post.)

So, while they are signing off. Joe says something that only a misogynist rapist would say. "You know how this goes, you'll be sleep, and you'll wake up with something inside you." Yea, I can't even explain what's wrong with that statement or if he actually does it, that situation. I am convinced homeboy is capable of abuse; seeing as that so-called joke, wasn't even funny.

Ok, so I just want to touch on one last aspect before I sign out. This notion that men need to work and wait for sex needs to be thrown out the window, also. As a woman when you want sex from a man do you expect for him to make you wait and WORK for it? I think not. If you don't want to wait and work then why the hell should he? It needs to be equal. If to wait, is something that yall decide together because yall are trying to build to a relationship, then ok. But don't make it so he's jumping through hoops to get to you and that monkey, when you ain't done shit to get his prize. :) Just like womyn have pussy power, men have penis power too.

So how about it yall? Ever withheld sex from your man or woman? Your man ever try to blame your for his actions? Ever had sex withheld from you? Ever have a man or woman cheat on you because yall wasn't having sex? Tell me all about it, I want to hear!

PS: Please remember that we all have body sovereignty and this essay is not in opposition to that. Nor is it in opposition to satisfying youself sexually. You can do with your body what you please, but we as womyn need to stop using our bodies to leverage for something that has nothing to do with our bodies. We allow our bodies to be looked at as a commodity instead of a acting force. We cannot continue to commodify sex, that is part of the problem now, when our bodies are viewed as something to be bartered, bargained for and bought, we give into the notion that we are the sexual gatekeepers and men are princes waiting to devour. If you have a problem with your significant other, talk about it! And if that doesn't work take other action that doesn't deny your sexual needs.