Ciara is really living every black grandmother’s dream for their granddaughter. She stopped messing around with these saggy pants thugs with no manners and got herself a good Christian athlete who’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars and a beautiful family. She had boyfriends named 50 Cent and Lil’ Bow Wow and now she got a good man named Russell. If you’ve ever been to an AME church, you would know that niggas named Russell are always good men who can change a tire. But enough with this metaphor. Ciara has come a long way from that rumor she had a penis. Seriously, we based that rumor off like 3 low quality photos in 2005, we had no twitter, no Facebook, no group chats, how did that shit get so popular? Anyway, Ciara’s growth as a woman (pun intended) has been inspiring to many as she has truly persevered to find her happiness. She’s legitimately lived a Tyler Movie plot, from being betrayed by the shady dark-skinned baby father to being saved by the holy, quiet light skinned man looking for a wife. The craziest part about Ciara’s journey is that what’s often forgotten about her is that she’s a singer. Seriously People love talking about Ciara until it’s time to talk about her music. Her personal life means more to people than “1, 2 Step”, “Ride” or “Goodies” ever did. No matter how interesting her personal life is, her music is the reason we were introduced to her so that’s the basis of her identity. Most people forget that. Luckily for y’all, I didn’t forget. Ciara dropped a new album and I took the time out to listen to it. So, here’s my review of “Beauty Marks”.
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Collected by ”@TawandaTwoTimes”
Written by “@TawandaTwoTimes”
When I was in my Senior Year of High School, Lupe Fiasco was one of my favorite rappers. He was really lyrical, vulnerable and nerdy as fuck. Everytime he rapped I sincerely felt like he was having a great time putting words together. I was a fan of all his mixtapes as he put himself out there through his words. I’ve been a fan of Lupe since mixtapes reigned supreme and Limewire was king. I remember downloading Fahrenheit 1/15 Part II: Revenge of the Nerds track by track right next to Bootytalk 17. He spoke to me with his nerdy references and intricate storylines that stretched over 20+ songs. I thought he was going to be the king of rap. I sincerely believed this. Unfortunately, popular music has strayed away from lyricism and for a short while Lupe was a man without a country. Lupe Fiasco is one of the most lyrical rappers in the game and 9 times out of 10 he is the smartest guy in the room. Unfortunately, that combination also makes you the most pretentious person in the room 9 times out of 10. I won’t lie, there’s been multiple times I’ve rolled my eyes reading something Lupe has said. You know a rapper annoys people when he was known for being annoying BEFORE social media. Seriously, Lupe was online HipHop forum annoying. He reminds me of me if I had a 4.0 GPA and didn’t take 5 years to graduate high school. He’s smart, he knows it, and god dammit he wants you to stop being an idiot. Only problem is, not a lot of people want to be preached to and told how Obama was a terrorist. Especially if you say this on Fox News like Lupe did. I think his saving grace is that he is and was really good at making music, plus he will straight up fight you and you always gotta respect that. However, watching Lupe taught me a very important life lesson no matter how smart you are, if people don’t want to hear you, things don’t work out the way you think they will. But luckily a truly talented person never stays down too long and now Lupe has given us a new album: Drogas Wave
I think that every public figure strives to have a legacy. We all want to be remembered and known for what we put into the world. This makes me think though, what defines a legacy? Is it the highs? Is it the lows? Is it the combination of the two? Or is it simply public perception? For me it’s hard to think about a Legacy because I’m so early in my pursuits. Also I don’t really have shit, if you ask me for credits before a comedy show I will give you a shrug and a “say whatever’s in your heart” every single time. But I digress, rappers don’t age well and a majority of them don’t get to have a legacy. Their whole careers get dwindled down to one song on the radio show and if they’re lucky, a soundbite in a commercial for a white product that features a hit song they had 10 years ago. The ones that are lucky enough to have a full career are often scrutinized heavily by skeptics (aka haters) like myself. Lil Wayne is one of those artists. At one point he was the greatest rapper alive. He was inescapable, he was inevitable. He was like Thanos with a lean addiction. Every beat belonged to him and he could give someone a hit by singing a hook...AND HE COULDN’T EVEN SING. His reign seemed to last forever until it became clear that a new King/Queen was to replace him. While those who followed were influenced by him, the community at large began to forget about Wayne’s prior greatness. Unfortunately, this wasn’t helped by a gun charge that landed him in jail and the label disputes that caused his album to be pushed back for years. Things weren’t looking good for Wayne, his music wasn’t popping, his dreads started falling apart, his light was dimming like one of the forgotten skeletons in Coco. Luckily for us, Tha Carter 5 has finally been released. Tha Carter 5 is a representation of Lil Wayne’s legacy. It took us years to finally get to this place. Birdman held onto it like it was money he owes to Mannie Fresh; I honestly thought we’d never hear it. But by some miracle it’s here. Let’s get to it.
So, I have a lot of feelings about J.Cole. J Cole is like that college friend you used to chase women and smoke with that grew up a little too much. You chill with him because of the friendship you had in the past but you don’t see him too often cuz he’s such a bummer. He’s the friend who gives out Condoms at the beginning of the night so everyone can practice safe sex. I wanna be mad at him but he’s just looking out for us. Yep, J Cole is very mature. His credit score is probably a solid 815 and while he can “respect a good sneaker game” he’d rather “invest that money into Nike. It’s conflicting to me because I try my hardest to avoid being adult but Jermaine reminds me time and time again that we’re always getting older. What’s very ironic about this is that J Cole is so grown but he spends more time focused on the youth. His fan base has consistently stayed college kids for the past 10 years. So, on one end he’s your most responsible friend, but on the other end he’s always hanging out on your old college campus. Now I could go on and on about how weird and slightly off putting this is, but I’m not writing a character analysis, I’m writing about music! So, let’s get into J Cole’s album KOD.
Meek Mill is the Rap Version of Rocky. I know this is very on the nose as he’s from Philly and was featured on the soundtrack to both Creed movies but hear me out. That dude is a perennial underdogs. Now as a kid I used to think Underdog meant “scrappy and undervalued” but as I’ve grown older I’ve learned underdog really means “you get the shit kicked out of you on such a consistent basis that no one counts you as a winner”. Meek has taken some embarrassing Ls. He lost a battle to Drake, got dumped by Nicki Minaj and been sent back to jail for some bullshit reasons more times than I can count. Despite all that, he’s consistently stood back up, spit the blood out his mouth and kept fighting. Meek Mill has made good music. What’s most impressive about him is that he gets stronger after every L. He’s (nerd alert) like a Saiyan, the more you best him up, the more powerful he becomes. Seriously, dude went from being a laughing stock to being good friends with Billionaires. When the Philadelphia Eagles came out to “Dreams and Nightmares” at the Super Bowl I knew the Patriots were gonna lose. The wildest part about that is that Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots is still a GOOD friend of Meek. He’s that resilient. At the end of the day Meek might lose bad, but when he wins, he Wins. So Let’s talk about his album, aptly named “Championships”.
I remember one of my favorite Simpsons’ gags was a moment where Homer opened 3 different boxes of Neapolitan ice cream, only to be frustrated that the chocolate was gone in each one. Marge chimed in and said “why don’t I just buy chocolate ice cream?” Homer responded “that’s too much Chocolate”. Marge sighed and said “ok, I’ll buy some more Neapolitan ice cream” Homer, excitedly says “Mmm, Chocolate” and the scene ends. When I heard that Quavo from the Migos was dropping a 19 track solo album, this moment came to mind. The Migos are one of the most successful groups in popular music today. They’re like the Jonas Brothers except they’re each other’s nephews/cousins AND one of them has felony charges. People like to say Quavo is the Nick Jonas of the group. I honestly don’t think Quavo has a comparable swag to Nick Jonas, that dude is incredible. However, people do see Quavo as the “star” of the group. Mostly because Offset is crazy and Takeoff is an introvert; Quavo seems the most accessible of the 3. With being the “star” comes an expectation for an album. Quavo then announced that a solo album was, in fact on the way. What’s crazy is that from this moment the people who asked for this album immediately turned on it. Now I could go on and on about how we as a society love to ask for things then immediately turn around and shit on those things when we get them because we’re all idiots but there’s a guy in a cardigan on a first date saying the same thing. Let’s get into Quavo Huncho.
“If Britney Spears can make it through 2007, you can make it through anything” That’s a quote I see all over the internet that’s supposed to be inspirational, and in a sense it is. The year 2007 was an insane time for Britney Spears, she went from being America’s sweetheart to married to a backup dancer turned rapper, to a single mom in like 3 weeks. She went from accepting awards and appearing in Pepsi commercials to dealing with public scrutiny and a mental breakdown. At one point I’m pretty sure we saw a picture of her vagina. You know how hard you had to be fucking up for the world to see your pussy in 2007? I’m pretty sure scanners were involved. She was falling apart and we as a nation watched her, secretly hoping for the worst. You could almost hear “journalists” writing her obituary and updating her Wikipedia page. Yet somehow Britney made it through and is now she’s living a pretty decent life. Despite the paparazzi circling her like hyenas she came out stronger than she was before. It’s truly inspirational until you realize with that in 2019 we can all become Britney Spears in 2007. Thanks to the internet, cell phone cameras and social media, we’re one viral meme or moment away from being the punchline to society’s joke of the week. No one is safe from this. One bad handshake or mispronounced word on Wheel of Fortune can lead to being the laughingstock of America. We can all become “hide ya kids, hide ya wife” no one is exempt from “ain’t nobody got time for that” no one is above “catch me outside, how bow dah”. -- What do you do when you become a meme? Do you hide yourself from the cameras and live in solitude til it boils over? Do you truly believe your celebrity and you milk it for all it’s worth, making t-shirts, coffee mugs and Halloween costumes for the general public to wear? Or do you follow Danielle Bregoli aka “the Catch Me Outside Girl” aka Bhad Bhabie’s footsteps and decide to start a music career? Let this work in your subconscious while we discuss her debut mixtape “15”.
I have conflicting feelings about Tyler, the Creator. On one end I really admire and respect his growth as a black man in society. His openness about himself and vulnerability have without question inspired young men everywhere to be their true selves no matter where they fall on the sexuality spectrum. I think his sneakers are dope and his social media is hilarious. On the other end, I‘m not crazy about his music. I’ve always wanted to love Tyler’s music. I’ve noticed him consistently get better and better at making music, figuring out his sound and just overall increasing his abilities. But every time I listen, I find one song that I like a lot and then I get bored with everything else. I enjoy Tyler’s music the same way I buy LaCroix, I’m excited at all the possibilities but after I experience a little bit I’m good for a few months. To be fair to him and critical of myself, I honestly don’t think that I have the right taste in music to truly appreciate what he’s doing. Tyler makes music for fans of N.E.R.D. I just missed out on the N.E.R.D. wave because this is music that came out on CD’s and not through illegal downloads. So where other people could walk in and purchase any of their albums, I was 12 and drawn to Lil Bow Wow’s “Beware of Dog.” Now some of you might say “why didn’t you just download their albums illegally” and to that I’ll say, I just didn’t think about them. I was too busy trying to get Game’s 300 Bars and Runnin or Booty Talk 29. My priorities weren’t set to listen to the protoype of sad boy rap/rock. So as a result of these early life decisions, I don’t fully grasp what Tyler’s doing. I keep waiting for that one album to change my mind, I thought it was gonna be Flower Boy but I found myself more entertained by Tyler talking about the album than the album itself. However, IGOR just released so, I’ll give Tyler another shot.
Kanye West and Kid Cudi actually have the brotherhood we all thought Kanye and Jay-Z had. They link up, they fight, and then they cry together. They’re like the Dandy Mafia in the show Claws. They’re a chaotic mess but they would literally die for each other. They owe each other so much in their careers and it’s always apparent when they hit the stage together. They are far beyond a bromance, if anything they’re bro-dependent. Though I don’t know them personally, I get the vibe that they both have saved each other’s lives at a few occasions. Both have struggled with mental health issues and have had some serious controversies threaten to derail their entire careers. But through the strength of their friendship, they stand stronger today than they’ve ever been. When word came that Kanye and Cudi would drop an album together skinny pants niggas across the world lost their minds before the reality set in that promises like this have been made before; this album might live in the shadow realm with Dr. Dre’s Detox and Jill Stein’s 2016 election review. But sure enough this month we were finally given what we were promised: KIDS SEE GHOSTS. It’s really real! Now it took me a while to get to reviewing this album. Every time I listened to it I felt like I wasn’t in the right space to fully understand. I would press play but then start texting people and making plans to enjoy life like an adult. But today I woke up and felt exhausted even though I slept a full 7-8 hours, nothing I had felt good to wear and the thought of buying sneakers didn’t excite me. I left my job early because I just didn’t have the energy to get through the day. I felt really low and asked myself why I bothered to do, well, anything. It was in this cloudy state of mind a stray ray of sunshine hit me: I was finally depressed enough to understand “KIDS SEE GHOSTS”.
Collected by ”@TawandaTwoTimes”
Collected by ”@TawandaTwoTimes”