If you follow hip hop at all you should already know that the coolest thing going right now is the new west coast sound…in fact, I’m crazy enough to say I like it better than the old school often hyper violent 2pac/Ice Cube type stuff. Although I’m sure if I was older in the 90’s I would obviously disagree with that.
The foundations of this west coast revival, at least in the eyes of a white kid in North Carolina, has basically been Odd Future blowing up followed by Black Hippy blowing up. Both are rap groups from L.A./Compton who make songs fueled by raw lyrical verses as opposed to hooks/choruses, with a sense of humor and intensity as well as in house production. Like all fresh rappers they will be challenged to creatively evolve their image and content as they leave their natural area and release their first official albums. In this day and age we often see rappers put more talent on mix tapes and free releases, and when they finally get signed their major label release is underwhelming, simply because they’ve run out of lyrical content at the time. With this being said it’s fun to look back at some of these rappers earlier, raw releases, quite often it’s their best and most genuine music.
Kendrick Lamar is the most exciting rapper in the game right now hands down. Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt and their Odd Future cronies had me excited but they seem to be struggling with finding fresh content that differs from their intriguing breakout material. I’m the type of guy who generally will only listen to one rapper for an extended period of months, and I think I’m starting to ween off Kendrick a little bit. Black Hippy is made up of Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q. Recently I’ve been feeling Ab-Soul. Mostly because of his hair and the fact that he always wears sunglasses because his eyes are hyper sensitive to light. Check out this video of him lyrically retelling a basic story to Kendrick. Yeah, Ab-Soul’s day mostly revolves around smoking a hell of a lot of weed, but story telling rap is harder than one may think. The “day in the life” type rap as become a bit of a standard format in Rap and to pull it off with some success is always impressive, it’s always harder to rap with some form of narrative then just rattling off smiles and metaphors about how dope you are, although there is some of that in here too. Check it. Absolutely