The Best of Times

The Best of Times

What’s up hip hop fans! Another week, another great show bringing you the best from the world of hip hop that you should be listening to. This week I played a bunch of songs that have some kind of story that should be focused on. Too often you hear hip hop where the artist basically picks a title out of a hat, raps a bunch of similes and one-liners about how many girls they got, parties they rocked, and how big their dick bankroll is. Not gonna lie, I love that shit too, but most of the time I listen to hip hop I want the song to paint a picture for me so I can come away from the song feeling some kind of emotion or trying to figure out what it is the artist was talking about. These are the kind of songs that always keep me coming back to listen to them years after their release.

Two of the songs I played last night followed a pretty popular theme in hip hop that was started by Common back with I Used to Love H.E.R., where the artist personifies hip hop as a woman and tells the story of how their careers were started. “Bird’s Eye View” by Zion I has Zumbi explaining how he fell in love with this girl and the feelings she had running through him, and in the second verse he explains that she will always be there for him through thick and thin in life. Near the end of the show I played a song that, honestly, I didn’t listen to for a long time because of four simple syllables: DJ Khaled. Whenever I see his name next to a song I immediately pass over it because I went through that phase of my life back in grade 9. But what I should have focused on was the names listed next to him: Scarface, Nas, DJ Premier. Welllllll clearly I missed that part, or else I would have realized earlier that this is one of the best songs from last year. Scarface perfectly portrays hip hop as a devious woman who he built his whole life around, only to see her disappear from his life when he needed her most. Now his girl is all over the internet, being studied by colleges (need to find these colleges, ASAP) and twisting the metaphorical blade even deeper into his heart. Then Nas comes flying in to explain to all the young rappers that they have to commit to her if they want to succeed, but then they’re stuck with her forever. Sure, hip hop might get you all these nice things like clothes, cars, expensive trips, but this middle aged cougar will take away your friends, wife, and have you messing with drugs just to slow your life down for a minute. Obviously this is a very pessimistic look on hip hop, but it could also be a realistic picture that you don’t see in the music videos with all the rented cars and bling and video girls. I’m sure the reality is somewhere in between these two extremes of good and evil, guess I’ll have to become a rapper to find out!

I also played something a bit more serious by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in Neon Cathedral, which is his interesting comparison between the church and alcohol. Also, the next person to mention Thrift Shop to me is gonna get smacked in the face with a piss-smelling broken keyboard. The radio has once again ruined a song for me. Really, is it so hard to find more than 10 songs to play every hour? A couple summers ago at work me and a couple coworkers kept track of how many times they played certain songs on this one station each day, and some songs were played 9 or 10 times! You might note that we worked for 8 hours and were away from our desk many days, and this number could have easily been higher. Anyways, if you only know Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for Thrift Shop and Can’t Hold Us, I highly recommend going to check out some of their more serious stuff because that’s when they’re at their best as a group.

Final note for this week’s blog: I finally played one of my favourite songs of all time. Sage Francis is a pretty unknown guy and I don’t even know that much about him, only having one of his songs in my library. But I like it that way, nothing else he has come out with will ever compare to this song. It’s called The Best of Times, and it’s a song that I feel everyone can relate to one some level. It’s all about looking back on his life and all the little things that used to seem so important to him at the time. Sage Francis brings up personal moments in his life, from his first major embarrassment at school, to wondering about if he will ever get a kiss or have kids, to his issues opening about his feelings, that I’m sure most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. At the end of the song he comes to the realization that these little things that seem so important as a kid or as a teen really don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, and you should just enjoy the early years of your life before you really have things to worry about. Like getting a job after graduating (…shit). Or how to pay rent next month (…Mom?). Anyways, I promise if you give this song a listen you will go back and listen to it again when you’re feeling down. The production is amazing and perfectly conveys the feelings at each moment in the song, constantly evolving throughout the whole song.

The full playlist from last week’s show is up on my facebook page which you should go like right now! Be sure to check me out on Friday’s 24 hour broadcast on Radio Laurier at 11pm, I’ll be going on with the boys from The Rap Up and judging their Verse of The Week! The topic is “Best verse from 2013”, so I’m excited to see what they come up with. As always, I’m on twitter at @t_rev91 posting stuff about the show in advance, and I’ll be back next week with some of my favourite songs from 2012!

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