Twitterview: Q-Tip on Iggy Azalea under the banner of Hip-Hop #GetSchooled

On this edition of Twitterview, Q-Tip…

Hi Q-Tip! It’s an honor. First let me start by expressing that the D’Angelo CD is fire!!!!

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Yes! Yes! Now on to the matter at hand. Let me start by asking, what is Hip-Hop?

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Can you break it down a little further for the Iggy Azalea’s (and the like) out there?

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What is your response to Iggy Azalia speaking on people making “it” racial when discussing her, privilege, and Hip-Hop?

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What questions do you have for Iggy?

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Do you think Iggy feels attacked? If so, what would you say to her about that?

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Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

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Welp! Thank you for your public twitter profile being available for Twitterviewing.

*Please note: These tweets are embedded here directly from Q-Tip’s timeline therefore if any tweets are missing it is because he has deleted them.*

Photostory: “B-Boying” vs. “Beating Your Feet”

July 19th @ The Howard Theatre I had the chance to witness two of Hip-Hop’s most notable DJs, Pete Rock and DJ Premier share the stage in a DJ Battle. The show opened up with a quasi-dance battle between the NYC Breakers and the Beat Ya Feet Kings. I’m sorry D.C. folks “beating your feet” is no match for B-Boying. Dancing to Go-Go is very one note and uninspiring.

*All photos by DJ Harvey Dent*

Here’s the story….

9350931006_ef36572af5Meet the NYC Breakers

Meet the Beat Ya Feet Kings9348150759_ed8cf31186

This is what beating your feet looks like:
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This is what a real B-Boy looks like:
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This is what beating your feet looks like:
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This is what a real B-Boy looks like:
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Any questions?

 

Top 5 “You Didn’t Have to Do that” Moments in Music this Quarter

Publicity stunts are a common method of gaining attention for the purposes of selling albums or pushing products. However, there are five identifiable times in the last quarter that Hip Hop & R&B artist have taken their stunts to a questionable level. These superstars are super in the eyes of those who like their music. Their personal choices are not so super at all in these five instances.

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5. Beyonce, did not have to call women b*tches or tell them to “bow down.” Let’s see, you blew the lights out at the Super Bowl, plastered your face on a Pepsi can and gave your usual generic self in an HBO special. Did you really need the attention from “bow down bitches?”

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image from http://www.datpiff.com

4. Lil Wayne, did not need that last cup of lean. Dude, you have epilepsy. Admit it! By the way, your cups of lean must have leaned your lyrics because “I Am Not a Human Being II” is filled with ridiculous nonsensical metaphors. You used to be more crafty. Metaphors are great when clever else they are cheesy. You have always been the “shock-value” rapper. Lately, I have become less shocked and more appalled.

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image from http://www.mirror.co.uk

3. Justin Bieber, you did not have to spit in a neighbor’s face, rough up a photographer, and try for the gangsta look. I get it! You’re trying to transition into adulthood while you’ve been viewed as little cool white kid with a middle school vibe. However, you have the opportunity to get features on grown-up music and not have to go to court for it! Try that!

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image from http://www.huffingtonpost.com

2. Jay Z, you did not have to mention Obama in your rhymes to make us see you as king. Who was your open letter to? We see you tail-wagging at the political events! We get it. You’ve been to the White House. Yippee! You’re a smart dude so either you’re about to use this as some type of platform or Obama has a trick up his sleeve. Either way the “politicians never done nothing for me” line was a bit of a stretch being that you’re all over the Obama campaign. You’re still a hood dude. You got something out of the deal. A trip to Cuba maybe?

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image shared by Facebook Friend, source unknown

1. Rick Ross, you did not have to rape a woman in your verse. It’s not a line about rape, you reply? It’s not a line about rape it is rape! You live in a male dominant society where just about anything can fly out of your mouth about a woman. Well, anything except date rape dumbass! You will quickly be shown who’s the “bawse” when you decide to slip a woman molly then have sex with her without her knowing. You thought that was cool? Dude you had the Reebok deal on deck, Wale’s album about to drop, and a bunch of cool non-rape shit about to happen. Did you really need to do that?

Overall, these artists are talented in their own right. I am not sure what has them scrambling for attention, but it seems to be pretty damn important to them. Maybe even more important than the brands they have created or could create in the future.

Lupe Fiasco at The Filmore (Silver Spring, MD)

All words: Shelly Bell
All photos: Lauren Bulbin
ORIGINALLY PRESSED BY: Brightest Young Things (BYT)
March 1, 2013

I went to a Lupe Fiasco show and favored the french fries.

It would have been more entertaining to watch an empowered Lupe Fiasco kicked off stage for political rants than watch him perform at the Fillmore in Silver Spring on Wednesday. The last time he visited the D.C. area he was removed from an inauguration event stage for repeating the lyrics of “Words I Never Said.” This is an anti-war anthem in which he expresses his disdain for capitalism. The entire beginning of the show Wednesday was a mix of old school hits and ratchet party music by DJs from WPGC. Flex Mathews and his pal Kosher Dill exerted as much energy as a group of opening rappers could. However, Lupe fans had come to see Lupe and that’s it. They could careless about anyone else who came onstage. This event was sponsored in part by Pantene. There was a raffle for Pantene products at a Lupe Fiasco show!! Before Lupe came on stage the DJ played a 2 Chainz song. The songs were censored. This was an all ages event. WTF? This experience was totally out of sync with the conscious government cursing eccentricities of Lupe’s brand. Basically, WPGC threw a party and invited Lupe. It was actually not a bad idea! Tony Reddz, Peter Parker, and DJ Flexx kept the crowd hype while the DJ spun crowd favorites. I had more fun before Lupe came out.

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His fans are sure to have a different story. Lupe fans will most likely note the event like this…The lights dim. The opening act is a conscious neo-soul rap group that includes singers, rappers, and a live band. The crowd raises lighters and waves their hands along to the beat. After a few minutes the crowd gets tired of the opening act and is shouting “LUPE! LUPE! LUPE!” The stage clears! Lupe Fiasco’s band come out set up and prepare to rock. The stage goes black. The intro to their favorite album comes one. Lupe ascends from the rafters. They stare into Lupe’s eyes and sing along to every song. Every word he says is like hymns floating off a page!

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WROONNGG!!! That is what I expected the show to be like. Yet a comment under a picture of Lupe on the WPGC Facebook page sums it slightly – “Truth on the street the venue didn’t sell out and a lot of people came out to really see Flex Mathews Da Harbor and then left after my man Flex shut it down DMV style…” Lupe did give valuable life lessons about how he doesn’t give a f*ck but gives a f*ck. He also encouraged the audience to create more then in the next few minutes went on a rant about how rappers need to stand for something. I guess his point may be that people don’t just need to be creative but they need their creativity to stand for “something.” Totally subjective. If you’re a fan and you like to sing along to Lupe on stage you would have thoroughly enjoyed this. I am a fan of his unapologetic ability to stand up for his truth. His truth is not always a truth I can get with, nonetheless it’s his! I support people who are all about their thing. In another light I support great showmanship. If fans pay to come see you honor the all-ages rules and watch your mouth. Have LCD displays. Have a light show. Bring a band. My favorite thing about the Lupe Fiasco show was the french fries at one of the best concert venues in the DC, MD, VA area – The Fillmore.

On Wale’s totally average best year ever, and being the best worst emcee of 2012

Shelly Bell, Writer
www.brooklynbodega.com

In being 2012′s most ordinary success tale, Wale is the best worst rapper of  2012.

In a year where hip-hop culture was an amalgamation of platitudes and  denouements, Wale’s success fit the most typical of rap standards. At no point  in the last 12 months did he do any of the following:

  • Unlike Jay-Z, he did not re-set the standard for hip-hop culture’s business  aspirations.
  • Unlike Nicki Minaj, he did not learn the cold realities of maintaining a  high artistic standard while being a rising pop superstar at the focal point of  a “360″ deal.
  • Unlike Kanye West, he didn’t date a woman best known for her body or whose  she’s had sex with.
  • Unlike Drake, Wale is not getting into physical fights with other artists  over relations with beautiful pop stars.
  • Unlike Lil Wayne, he isn’t a pop CEO by 30 who drinks lean, and is almost  perpetually seen shirtless, wearing skinny jeans and dancing around in  videos.
  • Unlike 2 Chainz, Wale is not a massively tall emcee with the ability to  simplify everything about their style and with a stream of incredibly puerile  adlibs, drive a stake through the heart of mainstream popular culture.
  • Wale is not Kendrick Lamar. How so? “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “Diced  Pineapples” feature the kind of immature poetics that never fail on school buses  and at senior proms, plus “Bag of Money” and “Actin’ Up” feature hooks that do  no favors for the sanctity of the rights of women, so, while making statements  that please part of the population, he does not gain a whole lot of  support.

However, in a year where rap bodied the mainstream, Wale did something so  incredibly basic yet so incredibly important. He finally put himself, and by  extension, his hometown of Washington, DC, on the map. Rap success has always  been a case of smoke and mirrors, but in the age of the internet, it’s literally  everything. Ask your favorite blog hot emcee about what happens when people stop  being likes and follows and start becoming real. From Kreayshawn to Big Sean,  the progression of new school emcees has been difficult for all, but seemingly  finally easier for Wale, arguably one the godfathers of hypebeast generation  rap. Whereas others saturate the atmosphere with videos, publicity stunts and  collaborations, it would appear that Wale is merely putting in work that’s  finally paying off.

Here are Wale’s three major success stories of 2012.

  1. Wale is making money! In the last 12 months he grossed over $20,000 a night  while performing more than 75 concerts. He is worth $6 million and barely missed  the Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings 2012 list. There are artist who are popular fan  favorites, but worth much less than Wale.
  2. Wale is still selling albums! Ambition, his sophomore album, went  certified gold in July selling over 500,000 copies. This is extremely notable  being that this album was released in 2011 and Wale has not produced a third  album nor an abundance of mixtapes in 2012.
  3. Wale is all over the Billboard Charts! In January and February, “Lotus  Flower Bomb” featuring Miguel oscillated between the #1 and #2 on the R&B  Hip-Hop chart. In April, “Sabotage” featuring Lloyd was in the top 20 on the  R&B/HipHop Airplay chart. By September, ‘Bag of Money” featuring Rick Ross,  Meek Mill, and T-Pain was #2 on Billboard’s R&B/HipHop Song chart.

Judging by Wale’s success he should be in the running for rapper of the year,  but by setting a standard that is great when rap is either extraordinary or  terrible, he’s not exactly the world’s most eye-catching choice.  The most  notable ideal that makes him worth mentioning is that instead of becoming an “instant superstar,” Wale appears more savvy about the game, and is willing to  become a consistent rap presence. When  interviewed by Forbes Magazine this year, he expressed his need for he and  his team to have more than “y’all.” In joining Rick Ross and Maybach Music, Wale  now has a solid platform upon which to grow and develop a top-tier standard for  himself to use to reach greater heights, and by extension finally give DC  artists a measure of excellence by which to gauge their success. I am not a Wale  fan in particular, but I am in awe of the underdog story here.

If you are glancing back at 2012 and looking for great lyricists you will  instead find bubble-wrapped nostalgia waiting to be delivered to the future.  Ultimately rap, and hip-hop culture as well, have become akin to a game of  Pac-Man – hands, joysticks and various levels of little monsters.  In being  one of the few rising emcees able to maintain a level of humanity in this game,  he may be rap’s best emcee of 2012. Instead of winning with a series of cheat  codes, he’s taking his time, playing every level and as Wale  told Forbes, he’s “aiming for the highest score.”

Kane Mayfield on sparring, poetry, and a “beautiful drug”

I had the chance to catch up with Mania Music Group artist, Kane Mayfield outside of the Emergence Community Arts Collective after his feature at Washington DC’s longest running poetry open mic “Spit Dat.” A rapper featuring at a poetry venue means being heard with high lyrical expectations less the rowdy bar, dj, and crowd heckling. Kane surpassed all expectations by orchestrating an acapella performance with rhyming over a soul clap from the crowd, and flowing with a beat streaming live from his head to his lips. Kane is no stranger to poetry venues, but does not write poems. He owns his art as rap, however, developing the relationships between various arts diversify a rapper into an appeal stretching from the educated mind, to ratchet acts, to street life and back.

Explaining the difference between the experience of a rapper and the experience of a poet, he stated:

“rap is like sparring. You compete until you get to the top then people just want to be entertained. Poetry is the exact opposite. Being a poet is entertainment until you get to a certain level then it’s competition.” 

Rappers aren’t always welcomed into poetry spaces. Even though rap is a form of poetry, poetry is not a form of rap therefore, they are often considered to be two very different animals. When asked how does it feel to be a rapper performing at a poetry event. He replied:

“It’s like the story of The Golden Fleece, where a character on a journey reached a comfortable place. The comfortable place was a welcoming atmosphere but was not the golden fleece. Poetry venues are comfortable for rappers because you don’t have to be somebody to be a poet. You can just be you. In rap, you have to be somebody. Like I said, poetry is from hugs to gloves, rap is from gloves to hugs. This is why sometimes you will see rappers hiding out as poets in poetry venues. I’ve come to own who I am. I am a rapper.” 

Kane has an awesome story of being a rapper who decided maybe rap wouldn’t work out so he went on a traditional life path. This included becoming a financial advisor, working on Wall Street, and becoming engaged to be married. This was never his initial plan. Kane Mayfield is and always will be a rapper. With his slick talk, personable yet street life backed mentality and knowledge of finances I can imagine he gives industry execs a run for their own money!

My interpretation of the first video off of his latest project Rhymes by Kane: Thievery Corporation Edition called “Beautiful Drug” begins with the impeccable emotional story told between images of beauty, the struggle addiction, and savior complex nature of friendship. My honest initial thought was “WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?!” The story seemed typical; dead guy in opening scene coupled with the song title “beautiful drug” means guy must have been killed by drug dealer. The woman with pink hair and glass of wine represents a drunken out of mind beauty which is the result of gaining a certain level of high. The black and white images appear to be a back story related to the progression of the story. The images of Kane rapping in color appear to be the present day conversation between Kane and himself in the mirror about what happened to his friend. As the story forms toward how/who killed the guy previously shown dead in the opening scene I expected to see him avenge his friend by hunting down a potential killer. However, I was totally off! At the conclusion of the video it is actually Kane whose the drug dealer that killed his friend who was a drug dealing drug addict. I immediately wanted to know/see more. I watched the video two and three times over listening to the lyrics and watching the story unfold backwards and forwards in front of me. In an attempt to save his friend from being killed by the drugs they both dealed he took his life in a savior/hero fashion. The video and lyrics of “Beautiful Drug portray the realism behind the misery of addiction combined with the misery of those affected by the addicted.

After just meeting Kane and interviewing him about poetry I wanted to call him up and ask him “are you sure you’re not a poet!” If not a poet, I would say he is ultimately a creative mastermind and storyteller to which much attention deserves to be paid.

Read more: http://0351de3.netsolhost.com/WordPress/2012/11/09/kane-mayfield-on-sparring-poetry-and-a-beautiful-drug/#ixzz2C1FGGLjg

When too much goes too far – On Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” R & B vs. Electro and creative diversity

 

Shelly Bell, Writer
Brooklyn Bodega

When celebrities start accomplishing goals and completing tasks that are unrelated to their musical careers, they often delude themselves into believing that their various forms of artistic creativity should co-mingle. According to Billboard Magazine, since the last time we’ve heard from soul-pop superstar Alicia Keys, she has begun co-managing her career, produced her first Broadway play, directed her first short film, executive-produced a made-for-TV movie and an upcoming theatrical film, designed her own Reebok shoe line and recently launched an animated storytelling app for children. She explains in the article that now she feels more open and more free. However, after accomplishing many goals what she likely means is that she feels more in control of her career(s). When her new album Girl on Fire drops on November 27th fans will be able to judge whether this new level of control is musically a good thing or a bad thing.  The album’s eponymous lead single – an arguably lightweight anthem of women’s empowerment –  sadly falls short by comparison to the more lively #1 hits from artists like Rihanna and Katy Perry. Possibly, her gargantuan schedule and numerous accomplishments show an artist who, in straying from what made her initially successful, has gone too far.

Thus far her image has been filled with typical music industry transformations. Emerging as a “cool curvy B-Girl from the block,” morphing into the “thin edgy haircut/color barbie” look. Professionally, the cute, piano-playing female sensation lacking dance moves with the heartfelt Songs in A Minor morphed in many ways. She lost weight, changed her hair, became a mother and a wife and released Unthinkable, plus a career-redefining feature on Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” Her career transformation complete, “Girl On Fire” (The Inferno Version) is not fiery at all when compared to a David Guetta track or any Rihanna song. The definition of “fire” in the music industry has changed from tight long winded melody to fist pump repetitive catchy lyrical structure. Even the rapid fire spitting Nicki Minaj sounds like a suffocating caged monster on this one. She had no choice! How do you blaze a track that sounds more like water than anything remotely related to inferno?

The type of “fire” Keys may have been trying to portray should be closely mirrored to Rihanna’s “Diamond” or Katy Perry’s “Firework” or one of the hit pop singles burning up Billboard charts with topics like living young, living free, or succeeding at life’s challenges. The words to “Girl On Fire” are not inspirational enough to survive in the age where electronic dance/pop music with raging vocals, hard beats, and dancing bodies are turning crowds from adoring on-looking, lighter waving fans to roaring, fist pumping, body flailing followers. If the single “Girl on Fire” is a representation of her new album or her new found freedom then I also predict that the week of November 27th will be a disappointment for our girl on fire who doesn’t appear to be on fire in this single at all.

The hottest things about Alicia Keys right now is not purely her musical talent in the realm of mainstream R&B but more in exactly what she started off as….A WRITER! I look forward to the blazing mother, wife, and vocalist simply returning to the idea of who she already was instead of indulging in what she’s been told she could become. I can imagine that producing Broadway plays and theatrical films makes Alicia Keys feel more free because these are avenues that allow a writer an extreme amount of creative freedom. Her accomplishments are a sign of transition from what she has been doing to what she will realize is what she has always wanted to do. It is very likely that movie goers and Broadway play fanatics will have an appreciation for her art that she won’t see in the music industry alone. This appreciation will be one she can’t ignore. I predict that in the coming year we will see a less Hip-Hop/R&B Alicia Keys and a more of a playwright/songwriting Alicia Keys. It makes no sense to battle the music industry beast when you can ride the beautiful movie industry stallion.

Alicia Keys has fallen short in basking in the largess of soul’s life in the fervor of electro house. Possibly staying the course as a writer and waiting for her artistic lane as one of the most bankable stars in 21st century pop to clear is a better idea. The girl’s on fire, alright. But the timeless soft glow of warm embers against the neon extremes of the moment? There’s no comparison, leaving November 27th’s album a great idea in theory, but flawed in execution. Keys, though, is clearly still a brightly burning and impassioned creative artist worthy of success. The lesson here? Too much can go too far.

Read more: http://0351de3.netsolhost.com/WordPress/2012/11/08/on-alicia-keys-fire-movies-control/#ixzz2C1BLUAv1

Four Reasons why Miguel is better than your favorite Male R&B Artist

When a male artists goes from the close-cut popped collar R Kelly/Chris Brown R&B thug look to the puffy haired tight black leather jacket Prince/Bruno Mars look it’s a sign that their management is strategically grooming them to be the number one artist of their time. Usher and Chris Brown have survived over a decade of musical evolution keeping R&B alive by acting as extension cords between the powerful fist-pump movement and a dying melodic breed of Hip-Hop/R&B mixed hits. Singer/Songwriter Miguel broke from the shadows with single “All I Want is You” featuring J. Cole.

Putting two newcomers on a track with a huge push for a video and radio airplay is just a trick up the sleeves of music execs. The industry likes to toy with audiences by dangling new artists in front of us to see what we’ll bite. Miguel’s second single “Sure Thing” pushed his debut album up the charts and fired up the goodyear blimp reading “LONG LOVE R&B!” The tale of “How R&B was saved” is not done yet. Miguel has figured a formula that I imagine will become the mechanism by which artists that follow him will adapt into their unwritten “indie to mainstream” bylaws. How did Miguel go mainstream and end up #1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart in 2 years?

  1. Androgynous Music and Appearance: Great musicians know to let your eye and your ear define their work for you. Miguel’s initial look was clearly heterosexual urban male and his genre was clearly R&B. He has now evolved into a look where his sexuality can only be defined by your perception. While Frank Ocean proclaims his sexuality in blog posts then leaves the world to judge his music, Miguel leaves the world to judge his look and makes the music he wants. Smart man.
  2. Patience and Production: In a microwave society patience is not just a virtue it’s a magic trick wherein the magicians know that the more magic they produce the more fancy the magic looks. Miguel released 3 EPs early this year including Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1 in February, Art Dealer Chic Vol. 2 in March, Art Dealer Chic Vol. 3 and in April. He then proceeded to release his CD in 2 EP parts including Kaleidoscope Dream: The Water Preview, Kaleidoscope Dream: The Air Preview. His sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream was released in October and is a combination of both Kaleidoscope Dream EPs plus five new songs. Most artists want to own the Summer while Miguel just focuses on owning the year!
  3. Videos: The formula for success in the music industry has always included music videos. Miguel’s videos have a underlying themed use of shadows, blank space and him. While the videos he has created thus far have not been particularly story oriented they make you feel like they fit the song. This is evidence that as artistic as Miguel may be he recognizes that the imagery necessary to grab an audience has to be complimented with a touch of the song’s reality. For example, in the video for “Adorn” he only actually shows signs of adornment for the one woman in the black veil. He realizes that as much as he would love to go crazy with concepts he has to ease fans into it. I imagine that the videos will be a lot more weird/cool in the future.
  4. Cloning: Pablo Picasso said it best “good artists copy, great artists steal.” Stealing in this case is an intentional deed meant to develop a creation that spreads to a crowd that the original artist didn’t reach. Miguel’s hair, tight clothing, black leather jacket, video woman in a black veil, video color schemes, rhythms and topics are all stolen from Prince, namely his video for 1986 hit song, “Kiss.” The great thing about this is that he does it right in front of you without reservation and does it well! He is the epitome of what Picasso meant in the sense that no one will complain about a great artist stealing from a great artist all in the name of greatness. The fans of the R&B thug Miguel can’t help but transition into the puffy haired tight clothing Miguel because either they or their parents are most likely fans of Prince. Prince is undeniable therefore, being high above average and looking “Prince-like” is a win!

Basically you would be silly to publicly call Miguel gay, whack, or corny without acknowledging those things as totally cool and acceptable. R&B is not dead yet. In fact it will take a conscious yet imaginative grind life artist like Miguel to help keep it alive. His recent hit “Adorn” has been released 3 times, once on his EP Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1, once on his EP Kaleidoscope Dream: The Water Preview, and finally on his sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream. Now Adorn has placed him at number one on the Billboard Charts for Hip Hop/R&B Airplay. This is only the beginning. Watch his method work the madness. If you’re not a fan of Miguel now, soon you won’t really have a choice.

By Shelly Bell

Frank Ocean and the Elephant

The lights go down, the crowd screams, the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC is again successful at packing the room with a diverse audience of live music lovers. The air is curious and comfortable, as I imagine the crowd was like prior to Maxwell’s episode of MTV Unplugged, just in a less intimate space. Arriving after 7pm is never a good idea at this venue especially when the artist is Frank Ocean and his recent “coming out” story has made him the poster child for homosexual Hip Hop artists at a time when homosexual is the hippest thing to be. My tardiness positioned me in the back right corner of the room. As I scanned the crowd I imagined that I was not the only person secretly evaluating the sexuality of the people around me. I imagined that I was not the only person in the room questioning whether the fanfare was sincere towards talent or support for his so-called brave expression of being “himself.”

Regardless of sexual preference Frank Ocean’s writing ability is undeniable. As a vocalist, however, his voice is a cross between Keith Sweat’s whine and Akon’s tone, and lacking vocal range. Opening with Sade’s “By Your Side”  it was a smooth familiar way to start the show. This was followed by “old” favorite “Thinking Bout You” which is slowly making its way into Top 40 radio rotation. As the average “hey girl come with me to the show” concert goer his choice of song position in his set was a bit boring for me. Every song sounded the same plus or minus a little bass.

The moment we had all been waiting for came suddenly, as he introduced the oft discussed tale of same-sex love,“Forrest Gump.” Saying “recently, I had to say some things so yea, this song is about that,” it was definitely questionable. I paused and thought the following:

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“What? Frank are you telling us that you recently told your mother you hate her cooking or that you’re gay? What does “had to say some things” even mean?

 

The crowd screamed and cheered as if he had just confessed his sexual preference on stage. This is evidence that saying you’re gay has become a huge deal. He had to say something. This elephant is too huge to ignore. I’d heard the song once before, but didn’t realize that chorus uses the word “boy” regarding who he’s singing to. Interestingly enough, the men in the room responded to the song with frozen stares and stiff posture. There was this one guy directly in front of me who was rocking and dancing so hard to every song. I imagined that he was gay even if he wasn’t. This begs the question, will men be able to express themselves as fans of Frank Ocean without being considered gay?

Also performed were “Novocane,” “Swim Good,” and “Made in America” from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album. I was waiting for him to rock the crowd with call in response while singing the chorus to “No Church in the Wild.” That didn’t happen! He ended the night abruptly by singing a portion of “I Miss You” by Beyonce while playing the keyboard.

It’s difficult to produce great showmanship when you don’t really have any songs in the mainstream. Frank Ocean’s music is the music you know because you’re in the know about Hip Hop music. I dig the use of Frank Ocean’s voice, I dig the instrumentation in his music, and I am a fan of his writing. However, for now he should focus on developing his show from a homogenous batch of songs to a more entertaining set of musical stories.

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