On Da Corner Worldwide

Hip-Hop, R&B, Dancehall, Crunk, Grime, er, Music by Black People

TA-NEHISI COATES
Brooklyn, New York

"Beware of the Boys" features Jay-Z, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.

SCOTT WOODS
Toronto, Ontario

Given the post-9/11 zeitgeist, 50 Cent flying off the Kmart shelves makes perfect symbolic sense—shot down in a vicious sneak attack he rose, a cock-diesel lyrical sword-swinging Phoenix, come to feed the repressed national hunger for revenge fantasies against phantom menaces and get the people shopping like Giuliani.

GREG TATE
Manhattan

Why didn't parents' groups and Fox pundits fuss over 50 Cent like they did over Eminem? Because Eminem stages cartoon violence that threatens to spill into real life, while 50 writes songs where real life gets vacuumed into a cartoon—Get Rich or Die Tryin' was like Kill Bill, so bloody it was bloodless. It compressed gangsta carnivorousness into a Darwinian cliché and capitalist tool, its nihilism more silly than spooky. Forget that it's not really that good: It's an escapist masterpiece, and not only for bored white boys. Inner-city black kids who switched on 50's cartoons en masse didn't see something painful about their own lives confirmed, elaborated, and ennobled like with Tupac and Biggie, but rather confirmed, flattened, and swept away with a grin and a gush of fake blood.

JONAH WEINER
Brooklyn, New York

Get rich or die tryin'? OK, you got rich. Now what?

RICK MASSIMO
Providence, Rhode Island

Who's the leader in da club that's made for you and me? F-I-F T-Y-C E-N-motherfuckin-T!

ROB SHEFFIELD
Brooklyn, New York

Fiddy went from dealing and almost dying to starting his own clothing line within a year; he is hip-hop's current obsession with crossing over and movin' on up made animate. We love him like a fat kid loves cake. He is conspicuous consumption sliced and sweetened, but most importantly, made instantly, from ill-gotten scratch.

NICK CATUCCI
Brooklyn, New York

A friend told me, "Atmosphere could be a huge star if he was signed to a major label. Or if he got with Pharrell, that would be hot." Did he ever figure that Atmosphere doesn't want to be a hip-pop asshole like everybody else?

MOSI REEVES
Oakland, California

North Carolina's Little Brother aren't pop rap—more like rap your pops might dig.

CRAIG SMITH
Bethesda, Maryland

The thing about Andre 3000 is that he is profoundly black. This is not a "positive" blackness—Dead Prez raising a fist, Talib Kweli getting by. This is a personal and accidental black-ness. This is describing the entire experience—the way we walk on sunny days when it's raining inside—when you meant to only write a song. This is "Her from the city, so her got to be witty." This is an attempt at new-world multiculturalism—"now all Beyoncés and Lucy Lius" betrayed by Southern slurring of that last syllable.

TA-NEHISI COATES
Brooklyn, New York

I wish Big Boi and Andre 3000 were gay, and a couple, and advocates for gay marriage.

SMITH GALTNEY
Manhattan

Missy is the new Dylan, as in Dylan 69, so wired in to the great humming generator in the stars that even her lesser efforts are better than anyone else's best.

JOSHUA CLOVER
Berkeley, California

Fellow crits—the dutch has been passed. If you want to hear Timbaland scavenge the subcontinent and Missy's paeans to the late Aaliyah, keep on keepin' on. But don't be mad when the rest of the country—even those lethargic screwheads—zip right on by.

JON CARAMANICA
Manhattan

Be r*al! If somebody else stepped up with the beat from Cee-Lo's "I'll Be Around" or Missy's "Wake Up" or Timbaland and Magoo's own "Indian Flute," you'd have a heart attack and start pitching features.

SASHA FRERE-JONES
Manhattan

If rap is about voices-as-drummers, dancehall might be about voices-as-guitarists, or voices-as-horn sections: singers working repeated melodic hooks against sparse beats. In the case of Sean Paul, though, voice-as-symphony orchestra is more like it.

SCOTT WOODS
Toronto, Ontario

Don't underestimate this child of Jamaica's middle class: Sean Paul is genuine, dutty Jamdung rock, bred on Planet Reggae's gritty soil. After this, how can dancehall be relegated to support for someone else's rhymes?

ELENA OUMANO
Manhattan

In 2003, Dizzee Rascal led the league in almost every statistical category: Best Flow, Most Consistent, Realest Stories, Most Charisma, just for starters.

JODY ROSEN
Manhattan

Bubba Sparxxx has "The New South" tattooed on his arm, and Deliverance defines it: comfortable integration. Between rural and urban, worldwide and home-repping, shotgun-shack broke and mansion paid, humble and boastful, rap and country.

NATE PATRIN
St. Paul, Minnesota

Mark my words, vato—soon hip-hop and r&b won't be just a black thing no more. White people? Nah. With the browning of America, somebody better be signing Fat Joe's son about now.

JON CARAMANICA
Manhattan

The most interesting figures in hip-hop for me over the past two years have been the Streets, Northern State, Dizzee Rascal, Bubba Sparxxx, and Slug. Not an African-American among them. Can it be that each artist's otherness relative to hip-hop proper is bringing new styles, new impulses, and new concerns to a genre that's 25 years old?

CHRIS HERRINGTON
Memphis, Tennessee

I've been trying to figure out why crunk has caught on. It's nothing more than Miami booty bass wed to '80s synthpop, right? With a healthy dose of dancehall thrown in, with house-music chants and sea-shanty growling. And it's smarter than anyone notices, and its artists are all work- aholic freakniks who pump out two or six albums a year and guest all over. So yeah, some big mystery here. Holy hell I love this stuff.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
New York Concert Tickets
Loading...