Hip-Hop, Rap | GoldLink – They Don’t Like Me

Posted by on July 24, 2013

goldlink they dont like me
Over the past few months we’ve seen music take numerous cities by storm. First, Seattle’s movement lead by Macklemore, followed soon by a Chicago campaign spearheaded by Chance the Rapper and Chief Keef. Now bloggers and fans wait anxiously, all in hopes that their hometown is the next to take over. I, admittedly, am one of those bloggers. However, I know the DMV is next to pop where as most other people are just hoping.

Today I bring you “They Don’t Like Me” the newest song from Virginia resident, GoldLink. Although I can be quick to place an artist in a box with similar sounding acts, I can’t quite put my finger on GoldLink’s sound. His delivery and cadence control is that of a rap veteran, with each line punctuating the Skywlkr beat with force.

“They Don’t Like Me” is just a taste of what this kid can do, so stay tuned for some of the full-length tracks that he’s got coming, because from what I’ve heard it won’t be long before GoldLink is a name that will be popping up on a regular basis.

Hip-Hop, Trap | Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us ft. Ray Dalton (Major Lazer Remix)

Posted by on May 24, 2013



It’s Friday.  It’s Memorial Day weekend (thank you troops).  Don’t let overcast skys kill your vibe.  Major Lazer x Mack & Ryan x Ray Dalton.  Boom.

Hip-Hop, Review | Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Live In Boston [Concert Review]

Posted by on November 26, 2012

Grubeats's Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - Live in Boston 2 album on Photobucket

Thanksgiving came one week early for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans, as the duo energetically turned the sold out House of Blues into their musical cornucopia. As the sun set and the brisk Boston air settled, fans from all over New England lined Landsdowne Street hours before the doors opened, hoping to grab a spot close enough to catch a drop of Macklemore’s sweat. Many stood dressed in character, more than likely raiding their grandmother’s closet or the local Goodwill earlier in the day to find the freshest fur. Some went as far as cutting their hair to match that of the #SharkFaceGang captain. It’s amazing how dedicated fans can be.

With hopes of bypassing the line and making my way into the heated venue a bit earlier than the rest, I stopped at the box office only to find the media list was still “under construction.” With time to spare, I snapped some pictures of the infamous Heist Tour Bus, detailed with everything from a mountain goat to a cactus to a Paul Wall grill, before spotting young Ben Foley of Swaggernaut Productions. As Ben and I chopped it up, we noticed Ryan Lewis grabbing a breath of fresh air out of the venues side door. As fans remained oblivious of their idols presence, we calmly let the man enjoy a moment of tranquility before it was his time to drop the needle on the vinyl.



Hip-Hop, Review, Videos | Reflecting on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” [Review & Documentary]

Posted by on October 25, 2012

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First off, thank you to Jabari Presents for this fantastic production.

By now, many of you have hopefully scraped the wax out of your ears and christened your drums to the incredible art featured on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ debut LP, The Heist. Yes it reached the #2 spot on Billboard, yes it sold 78,000+ units in week one, and yes the duo accomplished this all independently, but that is not why this project is so special to me and so many others. Mack and Ryan are still the kids you used to play neighborhood ball with. They’re still the guys who will shake your hand or take a picture with any fan on the street. They’re still representing authenticity for the people.

“The Heist” will be in consideration for the album of the year come December, that’s without question. What may fly under the radar is the amount of blood, sweat, tears, and man hours that went into this project by both Mack and Ryan. Lacking anything but determination and perseverance, this documentary shines light on what it means to be an independent artist working at such an eminent level. There are no handouts, no pampering, no CEO black cards. Loyalty, love, determination, resilience and passion for the art is the driver. If you are unable to see the transparency in their music, this album may not hold the same weight, but there is enough versatility on the project that you should still be able to connect with one or two records. On a final note, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will forever hold my respect. Although I’ve never met them personally, their music is honest, open and genuine enough to lead me to believe otherwise.

Below I’ve listed some of my personal highlights if you haven’t listened to the album and need a starting point. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the album, positive or negative, so please sound off in the comments section.

Most Creative Beat: “Thrift Shop”


Hip-Hop | In the Rubble of Hip-Hop…

Posted by on September 23, 2012

In 2006 when Nas claimed, quite controversially, that “hip-hop is dead,” he was on to something. One of hip-hop’s purest lyricists, Nas grew to fame in the early ‘90s through his poetic rapping and political subject matter—qualities that had become largely extinct from popularized hip-hop in the early 2000s. Hip-hop grew to prominence as the voice of disadvantaged America, but had become dominated by label executives; tastemakers prioritizing simplistic lyricism and rhyme schemes (along with incorporating the catchy choruses of pop music), and simultaneously degrading the quality of an art form.

Over the past decade, I have watched hip-hop become increasingly saturated, as pop culture continues to endorse formulaic hip-hop, typically including repetitious and easily accessible hooks, and raps using simple A-B rhyme schemes that delve lightly into a number of prescribed topics, such as the desire for fame, women, braggadocio, and partying. This sub-genre of “party rap” became widely popular in college environments, and seemed to promise any student with an aptitude for parties and a junior-high vocabulary the opportunity to earn a remunerative career as a rapper.

Through the surplus of undergraduates-turned-rappers, a new sub-genre, often coined “college rap,” began inundating blogs and steadily saturating the industry. These upstarts idolized the popular artists of the time, basing their craft off the lackluster wordplay and superficiality that dominated college radio playlists. When Asher Roth’s single “I Love College” rose to prominence in 2009, this movement hit the limelight, and suddenly students stopped studying law and medicine to follow their newfound dreams of being the next Mac Miller or Sammy Adams.

What is highly underestimated, however, is the amount of skill required to be an emcee of Nas’ caliber. If you take the time to listen to his first album Illmatic, Eminem’s Infinite, The Roots’ Phrenology, or any number of ‘90s or early 2000s records, the sophistication of the lyricism, content, and rhyme schemes is staggering. Becoming a prominent emcee used to require being sufficiently educated on the English language, as rappers constructed multisyllabic rhymes infused with alliteration, internal rhyme, and other complex literary elements. Just listen to Kinetics in his recently featured song, “Chris Nolan,” where he raps, “I spit sinister symbolism that’s killing all these silly simile single syllable singing simpletons.” Eminem has said in interviews that he used to study the dictionary as a child. If you listen to “Lose Yourself” closely, you can note that there is not a single word in the song that doesn’t rhyme with another. The reason it’s problematic to equate him to Asher Roth (besides the fact that it’s just rooted in race), is because Em rose to fame because of his pure lyrical power, and Asher made it off of artificiality.

The “change in leadership” that Nas referred to in interviews surrounding “Hip-Hop is Dead” highlighted that as the preferences of record companies have shifted, the music has changed with it. Political, socially conscious hip-hop is no longer seen as profitable, and thus labels won’t promote it. The biggest controversy surrounding this power battle occurred in 2008, when Atlantic Records shelved Lupe Fiasco’s third album for almost a year because of his defiance when asked to make a “radio-ready” single. Unfortunately, our Lupes are few and far between, and the majority of my favorite emcees are a far cry now from the substance-driven music they initially created. It doesn’t take long in the industry to understand what type of music is advantageous for one’s career, and it seems all but a few choose money over message. In this sense, rapping has become quite like corporate law; individuals work exceptionally hard to excel at a practice they believe in only to abandon their values in pursuit of a more lucrative opportunity.

I have always loved hip-hop, and that passion will always persist. But I want to live in a world where I don’t have to search for underground rappers to convince a friend that all hip-hop isn’t violent, misogynistic, and devoid of content. The reason that it became such a red flag for white, suburban kids to listen to hip-hop is that our mainstream culture assumed we were only listening to the 2 Chainz and Chief Keef’s of the world. No wonder they didn’t understand. Most critics of hip-hop have never heard It Was Written, Midnight Marauders, or Like Water for Chocolate. They haven’t paid attention to Macklemore on the new XXL Freshman List. Instead, they have seen Machine Gun Kelly and Roscoe Dash.

I’m not asking for you to agree, or to all of a sudden change your preference, but I’m asking us to be conscious of what we consume and what type of hip-hop we’re promoting when we share it. Our choices ultimately get reflected in who’s in the magazines, who’s on the radio, and even who’s getting a record deal. I’m always careful to promote new artists who have something special to share (see Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Logic, Kinetics, Dylan Owen, Accent—just to name a few), and I’ll continue to do so. But many of hip-hop’s forefathers are on their way out, and it’s up to us to make sure the right artists of this new generation end up on top.

Freestyle, Hip-Hop, Videos | Macklemore – The Backroom [Freestyle]

Posted by on September 22, 2012

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Still riding high on the release of “Thrift Shop”, Macklemore visits 106 & Park to drop a few new bars.  Laced with his second hand Hungarian tiger possum jacket, the Mariner maintains his sense of humor while hinting to any and all major labels, they’ll need to bring a lot more to the table if they want to secure a bite of the #SharkFace leader.  The Heist in digital stores 10/9, or you can pre-order a special addition alligator bound physical copy.

Watch/Listen: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop

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Hip-Hop, Videos | Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop ft. Wanz [Music Video]

Posted by on August 29, 2012


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*UPDATE* Here is the official video.  Macklemore is my idol.  Prediction: Goodwill & Salvation Army sales suddenly spike 206%.  Enjoy!

Following their previous single, “Same Love”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lighten up a bit with their newest release, while Macklemore flaunts his god given talent of second hand shopping.  Kanye may be the most prolific dresser in the rap game, but nobody recycles threads like the Seattle MC.  The blurb below seems to be circulating the blogosphere and as expected, it’s an epic rant.  Enjoy the audio for tonight and expect the visuals at some point tomorrow! The Heist coming 10.9.12.

Purchase on iTunes: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop ft. Wanz

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“I am the most prolific thrift shopper in the rap game right now. What Bob Barker is to the Price Is Right, I am to used fringe jackets.  My collection is worth anywhere between $70 and a $100,000,000 depending on who’s appraising it.  I’m gonna be honest, if it’s me…. I’m going with a million.  Count the zero’s.  That’s how many fur jackets I have.  Tell PETA my Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Coyote, and Hungarian Raccoon jacket are ALL dragging on the floor.  And I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way.  I love my animals.  But they’re dead.  And they’ve been dead for hella.  When I wear them, I’m bringing them back to life and introducing them to a whole new generation who wasn’t around when they were out in the woods doing their thing.  Those animals have now migrated from some old lady’s closet, to a thrift shop and are now getting their proper shine, up to 40 years later.  It’s recycling.  And recycling is beautiful, am I right?  That’s what this song is about.”  – Macklemore