Posts tagged ‘Hip Hop’

Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2010

See also Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2008 and 2009. Coming very soon: Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2011!

I have no life. Law school is my controlling, jealous, guilt-tripping mistress/mister. I have been meaning to finish this post since December of 2010! The one thing I always have time for is listening to the radio on my commute to and from school. While top 40 stations leave a lot to be desired, they always have a steady supply of upbeat hip hot hits.

2010 was an incredible year for hip hop!! Eminem solidified his professional and personal comeback with his June 21 release of Recovery. “Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie” (featuring Rihanna) topped the charts, and his other singles and collaborations also enjoyed much success. Rihanna and Beyoncé continued to excel popularly and critically. Kanye West graduated with a PhD from Hip Hop University, and Runaway was his dissertation (Runaway transcends categorization and ranking, so it is not included in the Top 5). Hip hop dominated top 40 charts, and many of the hits were memorable. Below are my five favorite hits from 2010:

Runner-ups: “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars, “Bottoms Up” by Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj, “My Chick Bad” by Ludacris featuring Nicki Minaj, “Fuck You” by Cee Lo Green, “Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)” by Pitbull featuring T-Pain

#5 Young Money featuring Lloyd − “Bedrock”

#4 Far*East Movement featuring Cataracs and Dev − “Like a G6”

#3 Kid Cudi featuring MGMT − “Pursuit of Happiness”

#2 Nicki Minaj − “Your Love”

#1 Chris Brown featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall — “Deuces”

January 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

Lolly’s Top 5 Michael Jackson Songs

5. “Black or White” (1991)

“Eat this,” Macaulay Culkin says, in an “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” sort of music video. Call it ironic, call it corny, but it’s the best pro-miscegenation song to date.

4. “The Way You Make Me Feel” (1987)

Work out, groove, or make love to this song: It will provide the appropriate soundtrack.

3. “Will You Be There” (1991/1993)

Michael Jackson released “Will You Be There” in 1991 on Dangerous and in 1993 on the Free Willy soundtrack. The lyrics read like a prayer: “Hold me like the River Jordan”; “Mary, tell me: Will you hold me?” Jackson expresses vulnerability, sorrow, and hopefulness as a gospel choir sings in the background, crescendoing and decrescendoing like ocean waves.

2. The Jackson Five’s “I’ll Be There” (1970)

This love song manages to croon and groove simultaneously.  Michael and Jermaine harmonize perfectly as the lead vocalists, each of their lines flowing forward smoothly and sincerely. I imagine many brides and grooms use these lyrics as an inspiration for vows. I can also vividly envision teens and preteens in the early 70s swaying back and forth to the ballad at school dances. Mariah Carey’s cover of “I’ll Be There” was nominated for a Grammy in 1993.

1. The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” (1969)

Love and/or  lust isn’t as strong as you thought…until it’s gone…and someone else has a chance to do better. Young Michael sang this so sincerely that it almost seemed like he had experienced a broken heart. “I Want You Back” is naïve, honest, and groundbreaking. Like the love interest in this hit, we took Michael’s genius for granted.

I want it back.

June 30, 2010 at 4:10 am 2 comments

“I’d Rather Keep the Trash and Throw You Out”: Feminine Angstiest Songs #3

See also Feminine Angstiest Songs #2 and #1

“Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)” samples Carly Simon’s quintessential song of feminine angst, “You’re So Vain.” Janet Jackson sings, and Missy Elliott, a veritable hip hop guru, raps. The music video, clearly alluding to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” stars a fleet of undead women. Janet dances in the midst of the ghouls as she stalks her former lover through a creepy mansion, bathroom, and parking garage. She wields a baseball bat, strutting her svelte figure in a sexy outlaw getup. Missy accompanies Janet and the zombie women on this hot pursuit. In an eerily erotic scene, Janet seductively swallows a black spider and growls, “I’d never be your lover / I’d rather make you suffer / You stupid motherfucker.”

Basically, don’t fuck with, lie to, cheat on, steal from, or disrespect these women…unless you want to end up in a “show down, knock down, drag down, gun slugger, shoot ’em up” with demonic damsels. But this post isn’t about you anyway, is it?

March 11, 2010 at 8:12 am Leave a comment

Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2009

See also Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2008

Runner-ups: “Birthday Sex” and “Imma Star” by Jeremih, “So Sharp” by Mack 10 featuring Lil Wayne, “Best I Ever Had” by Drake, “Obsessed” by Mariah Carey, “Girls on the Dancefloor” by Far East Movement

#5 Omarion featuring Gucci Mane (or Lil Wayne) “I Get It In”

This song is cocky (pun intended) as hell: It’s about fitting really big things into tight places. Omarion brags about how his girl “fumble(s) when it hangs down,” and Gucci Mane is hooking up with gal who has “done fired” her panties. In the Lil Wayne version, Mr. Carter quotes Beyoncé’s “Ego” to make the same boast: “It’s too big; it’s too wide; it won’t fit, but…I get it in.” Ironically, the most phallocentric song of the year has a video that’s about as phallocentric as last year’s “I Kissed A Girl” by Katie Perry. Omarion has moves that would make most ABDC teams jealous, but he doesn’t save them for the few ladies in the video. Toward the end of the three-minute clip, the rapper forms a human seesaw with a male dancer. This quasi-homoerotic display is almost unheard of in hip hop videos. Perhaps the compact “parking spot” is unisex.

#4 Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem “Forever”

The line-up doesn’t get much better than this. Unfortunately, some radio stations abridge the 6+ minute song by removing one of the rapper’s verses. In ascending order, here’s how I would rank each rapper’s rhymes: Eminem (“He ain’t had a real buzz like this since the last time that he overdosed”), Drake (“Labels want my name beside the ‘X’ like Malcolm”), Lil Wayne (“My mind shine even when my thoughts seem dark”), and Kanye West (“You would think I ran the world like Michelle’s husband”).

#3 Mario featuring Gucci Mane & Sean Garrett “Break Up”

Breaking up never sounded so good! It seems Mario would do just about anything for his girlfriend (“Don’t I lace you with the Gucci? / Don’t I deck you in the Louis?”) except, of course, be faithful. And, for him, it isn’t so much about getting back together but, rather, having one last midnight rendezvous (“If you leavin’, baby, don’t leave me till tomorrow / Tonight we gon’ get a lil’ tipsy with a bottle”). If the break up is final, Gucci Mane reminds us that “girls are like buses: Miss one, next fifteen, one comin’.”

#2 Keri Hilson featuring Lil Wayne “Turnin’ Me On”

Miss Keri, baby! This song should be renamed “Pleasing Women for Dummies.” Keri stresses the importance of “recogniz(ing) a real woman,” and Lil Wayne brags about his oral prowess (“I’ma kiss the spot for ya…I turn you on like a handle / Like a television on the Weather Channel”). Sporting “on” and “off” brass knuckles, Keri rocks the music video that’s full of dichotomous imagery.

#1 Kid Cudi featuring Kanye West & Common and sampling Lady Gaga  “Make Her Say”

“And we can have one hell of a night / Through the day,” promises the casual (hetero)sex anthem of the year. Kid Cudi wonders, “When it’s said and done, will she spit it up or swallow?” Kanye West wants to hook up with a shorty, but he doesn’t want to make it “statutory”: “Hold up…Born in ’88. / How old is that? / Old enough.” Common reminisces about a girl whose “head was gooder than the music.”

And each wants a ménage à trois the only socially acceptable way he can have it (XX/XY/XX). To emphasize this common goal, each rapper begins his verse with a version of “She wanna have whatever she like / She can if she bring her [girl]friend.” Cudi wants a dominant girl with a “fat ol’ ass.” Kanye makes me wonder why I didn’t love college. Common likes to take charge – even if he has to pay for it.

That which is explicit in this hit is misogynistic at best (Cudi and Co. sample Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” to the tune of, “I make her say, ‘Oh…Oh-Oh-Oh…Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh’ when I p-p-p-poke her face.”). That which is implicit, however, is compelling and provocative. Just as most novels have autobiographical inspiration, lyrics often reveal aspects of artists’ personal lives. Each performer in “Make Her Say” shares more information on sexual preferences than would most hip hop artists. It’s one thing to talk about getting “brain on the train.” It’s another to express as-yet-unfulfilled desires, previously secret reflections, and subtle sociopolitical commentary to boot.

The melancholy undertone of an upbeat song that’s entirely about sex seems strange. The subject matter, however, isn’t as lighthearted as the music video’s balloons and peaceful scenes would have you think. “Casual sex” is a misnomer: There is nothing casual about sex. As a society, we take healthy sex lives for granted, and yet sexuality influences most of us in some very problematic ways. Whether they realize it or not (I think they do), all three rappers express this tension between carnal desire, heteronormativity, and mainstream constructions of masculinity. Lady Gaga, who defies gender norms, genre, and Jehovah, creates the backdrop for this musical dialogue. The final product is far from a “Bad Romance.”

February 12, 2010 at 7:26 am 2 comments

Blame It (On the Concert Hall)

Warning: This post contains a lot of adult language.

I surprisingly didn’t feel offended when D12 ordered “all the independent women in the house” to “show [them their] tits and shut [their] mother fuckin’ mouth[s]” in 2001’s “Ain’t Nuttin’ But Music.”  Nor did I get upset when Jay-Z boasted, “I thug ’em, fuck ’em, love ’em, leave ’em/’Cause I don’t fuckin’ need ’em/Take ’em out the hood/Keep ’em lookin’ good/But I don’t fuckin’ feed ’em,” in “Big Pimpin.'” With lyrics so blatantly misogynistic, it’s difficult to take these songs too seriously. Maybe that’s why I rhymed along with the rappers instead of sending them hate mail. Lately, however, two songs have almost made me lose sleep at night.

“Baby, Let Me Rape You” might be a more appropriate title for Jamie Foxx’s (feat. T-Pain) latest hit, “Blame It (On the Alcohol).” The song describes a relatively innocuous situation: A bachelor is in town for the weekend and hits up the club scene because he wants to get some tail. But then he meets a “girl” whose looks probably wouldn’t suit him in the light of day (I was unaware/How fine you was before my buzz set in), and she doesn’t seem too interested in hooking up (She say she usually don’t/But I know she front). Deciding to create his own window of opportunity, the guy “seduces” the girl with alcoholic beverages (Girl, what you drinkin’?/Go on, let it sink in) until she gives in to his sexual advances (Fill another cup up/Feelin’ on your butt, what?/You don’t even care now).

I could be overreacting. After all, there’s nothing wrong with sippin’ on some “‘tron” and gettin’ it on. But if the prospect of having sex isn’t consensual before drinks enter into the equation, it’s not OK to proceed. Jamie Foxx goes beyond just talking smack about women: He seems to endorse forced sex through inebriation. All that said, the song is catchy as hell. Maybe I just need to take a few shots, crank up the stereo, and blame it on the ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-alcohol.

If “Blame It (On the Alcohol)” teeter-totters the line between impertinence and acceptability, 3OH!3’s “Don’t Trust Me” completely obliterates it. The female victim is under 21 (X’s on the back of your hands/Wash them in the bathroom to drink like the bands), and the guy we shouldn’t trust preys upon her vulnerability and anonymity (B-b-b-bruises cover your arms/Shaking in the fingers with the bottle in your palm/And the best is, no one knows who you are/Just another girl alone at the bar). The instructions he gives her speak for themselves: “Shush, girl! Shut your lips/Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.” If “Don’t Trust Me” is an electronica or hip hop parody, it’s one thing, but the song doesn’t give me satiric vibes a la Weird Al.

Sometimes I really miss the days when Milli Vanilli and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam dominated the air waves.

May 27, 2009 at 6:57 pm 1 comment

“I Hate You So Much Right Now”: Feminine Angstiest Songs #2

Kelis’s “Milkshake” brings all the boys to the yard, but her rhymes in “Caught Out There” put them in their places. She dedicates the song to “all the women out there/that been lied to by their men/over and over again” and admits “maybe you didn’t break the way you shoulda broke, yo, but I break.”

From her 1999 debut album Kaleidoscope, “Caught Out There” paved the way for the cocky and confrontational lyrics of “Bossy” (featuring Too $hort) and “In Public” (featuring husband Nas). In fact, when Kelis declares herself “the first girl to scream on a track” in “Bossy,” she’s referring to exercising her irate shouting skills in “Caught Out There”: “I hate you so much right now / I hate you so much right now / I hate you so much right now / Ahhhhhhhhh!” Kelis repeats the angsty chorus no less than seven times and outdoes Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” with threats like, “So sick of your games / I’ll set your truck to flames / And watch it blow up, blow up / (Tell me how you gonna see her now?).” I certainly think that’s worse than taking “a Louisville Slugger to both headlights!”

It may seem like I’m hating on my man right now, but that’s not the case at all. I do, however, feel severe animosity toward “The Man.” He can go fuck himself. And I’m grateful to “the one that’s tattooed on his arm” for giving me an outlet to vent my ire through.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 14, 2009 at 10:43 pm 1 comment

Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2008

Runner-ups: “Swagga Like Us” by Jay-Z, T.I. et al., “Whatever You Like” by T.I., “Love in This Club” by Usher featuring Young Jeezy, “Touch My Body” by Mariah Carey

#5 Flo Rida featuring T-Pain “Low”

Apple Bottom Jeans have never sounded so good. Flo Rida’s solo debut album, Mail on Sunday, soared to the top of the charts with this first hit single. “Elevator” featuring Timbaland and “In the Ayer” featuring will.i.am solidified this preeminent rapper’s spot among the best. The catchy lyrics and ground-shaking/booty-thumping bass make this song almost impossible not to dance to. I found it hazardous to drive my car whenever “Low” came on because my hands inevitably ended up anywhere but on the steering wheel.

#4 Estelle featuring Kanye West “American Boy”

“Don’t like his baggy jeans, but I’ma like what’s underneath ’em,” sexy UK artist Estelle coos, as Kanye provides a little self-promotion: “Who killin’ ’em in the UK/Everybody gonna say you K/Reluctantly cuz most of the press don’t fuck wit’ me.” Kanye West’s laid back rhymes perfectly complement Estelle’s sultry melody: It’s as if they’re making love in the studio! What I enjoy most about this song, however, is its promotion of the United States. As Estelle cites all of the places she wants to visit in the Land of the Free, we feel enticed to do the same…and to have a little more love for our American boys at home and abroad.

#3 Kanye West “Love Lockdown”

Stylistically, Kanye West took a lot of risks in his most current album, 808s & Heartbreak. But Kanye has taken artistic risks throughout his career, usually with great success (e.g. not censoring the “N-word” in “Jesus Walks,” sampling Daft Punk in “Stronger”). 808s and Heartbreak is Kanye West’s first album without a Parental Advisory sticker, and he replaces rapping with singing to lyrics that undoubtedly reflect the recent death of his mother and break-up with his fiancee. The use of the 808 and tribal drums gives “Love Lockdown” an originality unparalleled by other chart-topping songs of 2008. In it, we hear a vulnerability, which is all the more refreshing when held up against the “bad ass” personas within Kanye’s ilk.

#2 M.I.A. “Paper Planes”

Although the background is relatively upbeat and part of it was prominently sampled in “Swagga Like Us,” “Paper Planes” has a sad tone to it, even without respect to the lyrics. A children’s choir, gunshot sounds, and the ringing of a cash register occupy the song’s chorus as Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam (M.I.A) spits out her poetry of sociopolitical satire. I feel “Paper Planes” captures the melancholy air of 2008 better than any other track.

#1 Lil Wayne “Lollipop”

In his hit single “Lollipop,” New Orleans native Lil Wayne boasts that he’s going to “hit it, hit it like [he] can’t miss.” Although he’s clearly talking about a sexual act, the same could be said about his ability to score a slam dunk on one of this summer’s most memorable songs.

Stephen “Static Major” Garrett, who died in February 2008, posthumously topped the Billboard Hot 100 as the featured singer in “Lollipop.” The music video is dedicated in his memory. Garrett was an incredible songwriter: Who could forget Ginuwine’s “Pony” (1996) or Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” (1998)? Although multiple remixes followed its release, the version of “Lollipop” in the music video continues to be the most popular.

“Lollipop” deserves the foremost position on my countdown because, no matter how many times Movin’ 92 or KUBE 93 played it, I never grew tired of the song’s blatant allusions to oral sex or the scratchy vocals of Mr. Carter. If anything, I wanted to come back for more, just as Lil Wayne’s shawty does: “Just like a refund/I make her bring that ass back.”

January 4, 2009 at 5:55 am 3 comments


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