I can’t really blame the guys who rap about their money, clothes, or girls these days.

I can’t.

I won’t criticize em’ for it.

In a lot of ways, they’re responding to the cries of the public. For a long time, people were complaining about gangster rap and the violence that lingered in hip-hop. They said women were being excessively degraded. They said it was getting out of hand. It wasn’t just politicians, old folks, or stiffs either; it was even kids who said “yeah I like hip-hop, but I like old school stuff when it wasn’t about killin’ and hos.” If someone says they don’t like hip-hop now because of those reasons, I know they don’t listen to popular music. If they did, they’d know it’s all about rapping about what you have: Gucci, G-Shocks, J’s.

What’s my point? We’re moving past the whole guns and girls phase, and I think someone should point that out once and for all, even if we’re into clothes and into hipster stuff. Did we graduate to something better? You decide.

p.s.: I will criticize you if that’s ALL you rap about, because it’s unoriginal. Don’t you love the contradictory nature of hip-hop… and me

Hit the jump for my case in point: The Clipse
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I was sitting here today listening to an old Imeem playlist and Gnarls Barkley came on. Now, I realize they aren’t exactly M.I.A., as Cee-lo has been out and about, most recently with the Goodie Mob reunion. After all, the Odd Couple LP is barely over a year old.

However, with our memories on a short-term kick, it’s easy to forget some artists who come along and disappear quickly again. Blogs like this one contribute to that, but I think we are moving toward a less A.D.H.D. culture on the internets… to a degree.

Either way, I refuse to be part of the problem. So I’d now like to kick off our weekly profile of artists once adorned, but now lost in obscurity. My mission? To locate these people and get some information on where/when we’ll hear them again.

Gnarls Barkley

Last release: The Odd Couple

Last time members were seen: Cee-Lo Green was seen on stage September 20 in Atlanta for the Goodie Mob reunion.

Danger Mouse was most recently producing a collaboration with the band Sparklehorse. The project was never released because EMI and Danger Mouse are believed to have legal issues surrounding its distribution.

Status on label: Still part of the roster of Downtown Records (why would they be dropped anyway?)

Next release: No word. If you have an idea, let me know.

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Dayum, this song bangs.

This is the sorta thing that would make you want to quit music after you hear it. “Brand New Day” had that same vibe. I see a pattern here. What’s the album like if this song didn’t make it…

According to OU’s twitter, we’re going to have to wait for any mixtape from him, so he’s holding the people over with singles in the meantime. This being one of them.

DOWNLOAD: Outasight - Catch Me If You Can

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A few years ago, MTV started the “Hottest MC’s in the Game” list. If you couldn’t figure out what they do by the title, the network sits around with hip-hop “experts” and others to argue out who the hottest is, and in the process come up with a ranked list.

It was just revealed today that Raekwon has come in at #10. Not a bad choice, but the way rankings are given out is a system that is strikingly similar to another confusing, unscientific ranking system.

I’m talking about the NCAA Football rankings a.k.a. the BCS. TV networks like ESPN have created countless TV shows and even new networks (ESPN U) that revolve around discussing this ambiguous system no one quite has a grip on.

So, this is where I come in. Think of me as a slightly more coherent Lou Holtz. I’ll break down the MTV list in a way college football fans could understand: I’ll explain what team each rapper could be described as.

So who is Raekwon?


(photo credit: AP/ESPN)

University of Miami

For a good part of the 90’s, Miami was a powerhouse. And their players were characters. Flambouyant, confident, and sometimes in trouble with the law or the university, but always winners. Think Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, and Michael Irvin. However, something went wrong in the past decade. The mighty U wasn’t so mighty anymore. No national titles, no bowl games, but everyone knew the name.

Now it’s 2009 and Miami (so far) looks like they could win the ACC and maybe get back in the BCS graces.

Does that sound similar to a certain hip-hop clique that ruled the 90’s? Thought so. The Wu-Tang Clan may as well have been the University of Miami. They ran the 90’s, but most of the members oddly fell into obscurity after experiencing early solo success. It was a big fall for a group of dudes with attitude, flamboyance, endless merchandise, and a video game (remember that?).

However, in the past year, Raekwon’s star has been reborn. Getting caught up in the blog-explosion, Rae dropped new tracks, mixtapes, features, and finally delivered the follow-up to his masterpiece, Only Built for Cuban Linx 2.

Stay tuned for #9

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I heard someone say that you should never judge a new rapper by their first radio single.

Jesus, wasn’t that true with B.o.B… (Haterzzz er’where we go)

Anyway, I think I found a group who actually broke that mold. Let’s just hope their next few singles don’t tank because I like this one…

Please don’t say, “Mark, they’ve been around a minute! You don’t know anything, they even have other videos!” True, but this is the first one I see on MTV regularly.

Take that.

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I remember a time when going platinum in the first week was the minimum requirement for success. I was a kid then, but I can remember Best Buy building its empire by practically billing itself to my neighborhood as a cheap place to get CDs. It was nothin’ to go in there and come out with a handful.

Things have changed now though. Most people had their mind made up on what they thought of the Blueprint 3 before it was even officially released.

Last week, Kid CuDi sold about 105k in his first week and by the rest of the media’s standards, that’s a success. And it is. He’s a new artist who had to fight the uphill battle of getting the media to care about him. Mr. West’s co-sign didn’t hurt either of course.

Let’s look back at some of this year’s more anticipated releases to see how CuDi’s 105k stacks up.


Rick Ross - Deeper Than Rap
158,000 in Week 1
With the 50 Cent beef, Officer Ricky had plenty of publicity to have a strong showing. It’s the lowest opening week numbers of his 3 albums though.


Jim Jones - Pray IV Reign
42,818 in Week 1
Jimmy’s efforts to promote this thing on Twitter were admirable, but his major label debut has still yet to hit 100k in sales. Maybe some of that A-rab money should have gone to promo.


Asher Roth - Asleep in the Bread Aisle
65,000 in Week 1
He was essentially the first of the “blog generation” to make the full transition to major label life, and considering the money that must have gone into making that album, I have a feeling the suits weren’t thrilled with these numbers.


Jay-Z - Blueprint 3
476,000 in Week 1
HOV is out from Def Jam’s grip and had a marketing campaign you couldn’t escape. It’s clear that the days of platinum in a week are dwindling (duhh, Mark)…

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No triumphant return really, but hey. It’s been a long couple of months full of technical difficulties and other things you’ll hear about it all over time. All that matters is we’re back now, and regularly. So for those who still check it, I appreciate it more than you know. Hope I didn’t lose too many of you…

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Hey Everyone,

As you know from the last post, we’re going through some changes. I just wanted to keep you posted to tell you all we’re not done, but we’ll be back in July. New content, interviews, videos, music; everything you expected and more. The previous post was a little sample/test of some of the new features/writing we’ll be doing… it’s just there as a test. I didn’t mean to tease ya’ll or anything like we were back already.

Just wanted to let whoever was left out there know that we ain’t dead. See ya in a few weeks.

-Mark

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Something I’ve always respected about hip-hop is that it never hides from what it does. And that includes open corporate sponsorships and partnerships with “the man.”

Do you realize that this kind of association ruins artists in other genres? Metallica fans said they sold out just because they started making videos and actually went platinum. That’s low standards for “selling out.”

Not hip-hop though. Even back in the day, Run-DMC had an endorsement deal with adidas. Your favorite rappers have continued that proud tradition with Vitamin Water, Fat Burger chains, and car ads. Not to mention clothing lines have lived and died through their image and alignment with rappers.

That’s why this latest Dr Pepper ad with Dr Dre didn’t surprise me. It actually made me smile. What’s the big deal though?

Well, this ad features the first clip of a beat that will be featured on Detox.

Yes, the most anticipated hip-hop album of the past decade had a partial premiere on a soda commercial.

Some may say it’s selling out. I say it’s history repeating itself

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It’s been a solid week since you’ve heard from me and you’re probably wondering what’s up.

Since I started 2ManyMCs, I’ve experimented and tried to find what I/we could uniquely offer to you. The site is not even a year old, and like anything, it takes time to find your niche. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we’ve increasingly found more of a vision in some our original content; from the trip to SXSW, our Drake footage, and other small projects.

From now on though, 2ManyMCs won’t purely be a music purveyor or something that posts a track with little explanation. That’s not us, because most of that music is not stuff we’re breaking anyway. Of course, we’ll continue to hit you up with the stuff we think is dopest in hip-hop.

What can you expect: Interviews, more original video, writing/opinion pieces on stuff in hip-hop, and of course, the newest music.

I had a stated goal when I started this thing that I wanted to be a launching pad for artists who may have a difficult time breaking, and I want to do a better job of that. To help with that, when you email me, tell me ideas you have on how we can work together, and what you think is best. What’s the use in just posting a zShare link here?

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