22 June 2009
Been downloading an alarming amount of mixtapes in the last few days as last.fm can attest to. Didn't even go out on Friday because of intense anticipation for Wale's Back to the Feature. Scored two B.o.B./Bobby Ray mixtapes in the last two days. Found the Slaughterhouse mix the other day on the nets. Some thoughts on all this. Back to the Feature is a pretty dope mixtape. Its Wale rapping with a bunch of other dudes. Doesn't prove a whole a lot as far as Wale being the best MC in the game, but it does show that Wale can spit rhymes with anyone and he can rap about any subject. For a while on the internets, there wasn't a whole lot of B.o.B./Bobby Ray to be found. Sure, he had mad buzz from the tastemakers but there weren't a whole lot of tracks up for downloading. Pretty much the most newsworthy thing he did was changing his name from B.o.B. to Bobby Ray. The first mixtape, Who the Fuck is B.o.B.?, was a collection of everything he had released up to this point but what made the tape special was the fact that there were no DJ drops anywhere on it. Today, the hotly anticipated B.o.B. vs Bobby Ray dropped. Both albums are tight. This dude is real talented. He seems to be a multi-instrumentalist with a love jones for hip hop. Suppose the mixtape is destined to be good since B.o.B. was a member of the Class of 09. Well that, and the dude really does sound an awful lot like Andre 3000. Starting to wonder whether B.o.B.'s popularity can be attributed to our nation's lack of Outkast over these last few years. Either way, Bobby Ray is definitely in the top half of the class of 09 right after Wale, Blu, and Kid Cudi. When breaking down the Class of 09, all one has to do is use Charles Hamilton as the midpoint. Rappers are either better than Charles Hamilton or they are worse. While on the subject, this writer does not hate Charles Hamilton. His production skills are nice, and he's quasi-insightful at times. That being said, dude never goes hard. You never hear a Charles Hamilton song and afterwards say "Man, Sonic owned that shit." He's not a murderer so he won't murder the beat no matter how much the beat is screaming "Murder me." Not only that, but when he raps he sounds like that dude It from all those VH1 reality shows. But at the end of the day, Charles Hamilton should get some props for forging his own path. Can't knock his hustle. On the flip side of that, it wouldn't be totally out of bounds to categorize Asher Roth as a failure. He had America by the ball sack, and then all of the sudden he didn't. Everything went flat very quickly. The album sucked for the most part, but at the same time was that a surprise. Greenhouse Effect was a nice lil' mixtape, but Asher really blew up because of his freestyle of "A Milli". He went in hard on that beat, and had some real nice lines. Now one year later, it is becoming abundantly more clear that we as listeners probably should not put as much stock in "A Milli" freestyles as we once did. Same thing goes for Cory Gunz. He demolished "A Milli" to the point that Wayne had to re-record and re-release the song because Cory went so bananas over the first version. But what's he doing now? He's got this weekly thing with RapRadar where he rhymes over a different song every week and they post it, and thats about it. No mixtapes. No album. No music videos. No nothing. The rest of the cats from the 09 Class haven't really done anything. Mickey Factz hasn't released anything at all, but he's produced some other shit and this summer he's on the Rock the Bells tour so he gets a pass. Ace Hood might have done something or maybe not. Its hard to tell. Same thing for Curren$y. To be fair, both of them are in kind of a weird place because they were both somewhat known and affiliated before they were named to the class so its a bit harder to gauge their progress. At the end of the day, there's still a chance that XXL got the whole thing wrong. Drake was nowhere to be seen on that list, and he's basically blown up already. He's got a Wayne co-sign, and as an added bonus he can actually rhyme.