Street Knowledge Rhymes: Pink Friday

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8 Mile (2002)

Directed by Curtis Hanson
Written By Scott Silver
Starring Marshal Mathers

8 Mile is the “based on a true story” life of Jimmy “B Rabbit” Smith, a white guy trying to make it rapping in Detroit.? He goes through a series of trials and tribulations in his conflict with “Tha Free World”, a local gang, and settles it all on the stage.
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No Gimmicks Street Knowledge – Survival Skills

The entertainment industry- from Hollywood, to the television studios, to the music business- is in a sad state. It’s rare to see something new and worth your time these days. What happens when I put aside my 1980s and 90s Hip Hop to listen to some rap music of today?

“The microphone is not for these emcees who don’t have no survival skills”. This is the message that KRS-ONE and Buckshot, pioneers of Bronx and Brooklyn hip-hop, deliver on their 2009 joint venture Survival Skills. Let’s pop this in our iPods and give these two vinyl veterans a chance to prove they have the skills to survive in today’s rap game.

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No Gimmicks Street Knowledge – Recovery

The entertainment industry- from Hollywood, to the television studios, to the music business- is in a sad state. It’s rare to see something new and worth your time these days. What happens when I put aside my 1980s and 90s Hip Hop to listen to some rap music of today?

It’s time for the third part of my Relapse review. Except… it’s not. Relapse 2 was completely canned, and in its place is Recovery. This is a completely different record, just as Relapse seemed to be kicking off a new series and bringing Eminem out of Encore‘s slump. How did it fare?

Dude, Shady, if you’re not on the drugs anymore… could I get some? Continue reading

No Gimmicks Street Knowledge – The Blueprint 3

The entertainment industry- from Hollywood, to the television studios, to the music business- is in a sad state. It’s rare to see something new and worth your time these days. What happens when I put aside my 1980s and 90s Hip Hop to listen to some rap music of today?

I’m kicking off my new series of album reviews, No Gimmicks Street Knowledge, with Jay-Z’s 2009 album The Blueprint 3. The former Def Jam CEO and current Roc Nation President claims that his Blueprint series redefines Hip Hop and lays the groundwork for rap to come; is there any truth to this claim? Continue reading

No Gimmicks Street Knowledge: Relapse Part Two

The entertainment industry- from Hollywood, to the television studios, to the music business- is in a sad state. It’s rare to see something new and worth your time these days. What happens when I put aside my 1980s and 90s Hip Hop to listen to some rap music of today?

Last week we sat down and discussed Eminem’s 2009 album Relapse. We listened to 20 tracks, following a story about rehab, relapse into drug use, and the resulting mayhem that caused. But Relapse was more than 20 tracks from the get-go; there were twenty published tracks, and two bonus tracks that only owners of the CD were intended to know about and look up. On top of that, seven months later and knowing he was going to miss his late 2009 deadline for Relapse 2 (later to be renamed Recovery), Eminem released Relapse: Refill, seven more tracks to fall under the grand umbrella of Relapse. What does that mean for us? Well, for starters, that’s nine tracks, all music, that I still need to cover to complete this review! Continue reading

No Gimmicks Street Knowledge: Relapse

The entertainment industry- from Hollywood, to the television studios, to the music business- is in a sad state. It’s rare to see something new and worth your time these days. What happens when I put aside my 1980s and 90s Hip Hop to listen to some rap music of today?

In the first half of the last decade, Eminem, Shady and Aftermath Records, and anybody associated with them were on top of the world.  The Shady/Aftermath (and G-Unit) machine had one of the best rappers alive, several of rap’s top producers and advertising machines, including longtime veteran Dr. Dre and had been climbing higher for a long time.  Then, Eminem put out 2004’s Encore, an album that was inevitably weaker than his three classic records.  It went diamond, but it marked the end of a critical period in Eminem’s career- despite having earned his stripes, he was no longer the infallible emcee.  That was Eminem’s last unique studio album- until he had a Relapse in 2009. Continue reading