Showing posts with label Jay-Z. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jay-Z. Show all posts

May 13, 2020

Big L Never Got His Chance to Shine

By Robert Dean

Big L never got his chance to shine. It's a story all-American, all-believable in a country where our legends and our brightest stars burn out faster than a citronella candle left to burn on a hot summer night. Like Nipsey Hussle, Tupac, or Biggie Smalls, Big L's life was snuffed out by a hail of bullets back in 1999. All before the mainstream was starting to know his name. It's a heartbreaker because he could have been great, he could have stood as tall as the giants of the game today, because when Big L was lowered into his grave, neither Nas nor Jay-Z were the superstars we know them. He could have been on that wave to greatness.

Coming up from the East Harlem hip hop scene in the early to mid-1990s, Big L blew up thanks to his ability to devastate in freestyle battles as well as flip the context in any situation. He could take literally any subject and flip the point of view on its head with a samurai-sharp eye – all while keeping that smooth New York style. Big L had the bars and the stories that sold his songs, legend has it he'd have people shouting in awe as he laced tirades left and right.

The Source, the OG of all things hip hop journalism, has stated he was one of the best storytellers to ever do it. In an interview with Funkmaster Flex, Nas claimed, "[Big L] scared me to death. When I heard [an Apollo Theater performance] on tape, I was scared to death. I said, 'Yo, it's no way I can compete if this is what I gotta compete with."

Big L's classic record, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous is not a token entry into one of the overlooked greats, it's a fact that most true hip hop heads will agree with. It's got all the elements of style, but also has the vibe and that special thing that reverberates through time, the bars, the beats, and the attitude is genuine. The record went on to sell two hundred thousand copies on the strength of singles, "Put it On" and “MVP." Big L was scooped up long before the pretend gangster that would emerge years later. 

Being the king of the New York mixtapes back in the early 90s, Big L was on a series of tapes with scene luminaries like Cam' ron, Ma$e, and McGruff, (who he briefly had a group with called COC, short for Children of the Corn.) He was also tight with rappers like Jay-Z, Big Pun, and Fat Joe, who happens to perform on the stone-cold classic, "The Enemy."

While most people credit RZA's Gravediggaz as the origins of "horrorcore" but, go back and listen to Big L's "Devil's Son," saying, "I've always been a fan of horror flicks. Plus, the things I see in Harlem are very scary. So, I just put it all together in a rhyme."

When it all turned sideways 

Apparently, Columbia didn't understand what they had, trying to box a real MC into radio singles and, despite selling a lot of records, dropped him, "I was there with a bunch of strangers that didn't really know my music." Despite all of this, he went on to form his own label, 

Flamboyant Entertainment, which was "planned to distribute the kind of hip-hop that sold without top 40 samples or R & B hooks." Ironically, his harder style landed him at the feet of Damon Dash, who wanted Big L to sign with Rockafella. It almost happened as Big L, Jay-Z, and Herb McGruff, C-Town, was going to be called The Wolfpack. 

Sadly, the good fortunes weren't meant to last. On February 15, 1999, Big L was killed at 45 West 139th Street in his native Harlem. He was shot nine times in the face and chest. A kid he grew up with, Gerard Woodley, was arrested three months later. "It's a good possibility it was retaliation for something Big L's brother did, or Woodley believed he had done," said a spokesperson for the New York City Police Department. Woodley was released due to a lack of evidence. The case remains officially unsolved. In 2016, Woodley got his, catching one to the head in 2016. 

The legacy of Big L 

There are a few things that dropped after his death, a record, The Big Picture came out back in 2000, thanks to a plethora of freestyles and a capella tracks they had in the studio from tracks the rapper was working at the time of his death. The record features verses by legends like Fat Joe, Tupac, Gang Starr, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane – the record when on to sell almost one hundred thousand copies.

If you're looking for some of that deep, old school hip hop that gets every party hot or is the perfect soundtrack for a long car ride on a summer day, look no further than Big L. he remains unsung despite the legends of the game knowing full well that he was one of a kind. He died for a street vendetta he had nothing to do with like many have before and since. We can only imagine where he would have fallen with the other New York giants many MC's of today are still chasing. 

Dec 13, 2018

What Your Favorite 2018 Album Says About You 3

Brothers Osborne - Port Saint Joe
You smoke dope and vote Democrat, but don't want your dad to find out.

Morgan Evans - Things That We Drink To
Wait, who??

6ix9ine - Dummy Boy
You were fired from your job at Walgreens for having purple hair (but really it was for stealing pills).

Ghost - Prequelle
Your idea of a good time is reading about serial killers on Wikipedia. You dabbled in satanism in high school, but now are a Lutheran.

MTHRFCKR - Micro Crystals
You are too much of a hipster contrarian to admit this album doesn't actually exist. 

Eric Church - Desperate Man
You love how Eric is such a renegade and so different from all those other bro-dudes on country radio, but your favorite song of his is "These Boots." 

The Carters - Everything is Love
You will send me death threats if I say this album wasn't that good.

Eminem - Kamikaze
You are male, mid-thirties, single, and still argue with your parents over the rent for your room over the garage.

Sun Kil Moon - This is My Dinner
You are a military interrogator and this is your "favorite" only in that it is the most effective torture device to get enemy combatants to reveal information.

Greta Van Fleet - Anthem of the Peaceful Army
You are a forty-something dad who respects Led Zeppelin but doesn't really like them. Your ex-wife is still living pretty comfortably off the divorce settlement, but sells LulaRoe and essential oils on Facebook for extra cash.

Jason Aldean - Rearview Town
You didn't actually listen to the whole album, just the singles. You type things on Facebook like "Sam Hunt sucks… listen too real country like Jason Aldean an Old Dominion!"

Dec 22, 2015

If _____ Wrote a Christmas Song: 2015

Cole Swindell
Hey Ms. Claus I wanna wish you well
Let me watch you shake that thang like a bell
Come and take a ride in my jacked up sleigh
One arm round you, one holding the reins
We'll jingle ling down a gravel road
Make a little joy, who cares if it's cold?

I'm a gift in every sense of the word, grinch
Better trust and believe in
Santa Claus this evenin'
Spreadin' joy like what, gonna roast them chestnuts

Old Dominion
Greetings girl, what's up?
It's a holiday, but I knew you'd pick it up
What you got on?
Are you wearing that mistletoe thong I bought ya
I know you've dialed "91_" on your land line, but I'm hopin' you don't call
I'm watching through your window, and I brought you some Christmas balls

Holiday bell ensemble
Joyous to see
Reindeer flying through the night
But then strikes tragedy
Gunshots o'er Tennessee
Hunting season's siege
Santa's team falls under the blade
Venison sausage is made

Nicki Minaj
This dude named Kringle used to make me merriest
Sack bigger than a mountain, I ain't talking about Everest
Real jolly ass elf, let me drive his snow speeder
Cookies made his mouth water, now he calling me Keebler

Kacey Musgraves
Misspelled Christmas on the trailer deck
Cause there's rum in my cider glass
If you hear the neighbors gossiping
Tell 'em they can kiss my merry ass

Oct 16, 2014

A Self-Aware Bro Country Song

Get Down and Turn Up
(© 2014 FTM Satire)

Hotties with bodies
Shakin' gyratin'
Binge drinking their way through this song
Jager and Jagger
Haggard and swagger
Yeah, I got my signifiers on

Crank up this song about cranking up songs
About parties in trucks while you party in trucks
This next line is dumb but you'll sing along
Yeah oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah
Get down and turn up
Get down and turn up

Drink and drink faster
Pass out in pastures
Have a great time you underage kids
Paycheck and Jay-Z
Drive while you're tipsy
Instagram so folks know you did

Crank up this song about cranking up songs
About parties in trucks while you party in trucks
This next line is dumb but you'll sing along
Uh huh uh huh uh huh uh huh
Get down and turn up
Get down and turn up

The bridge is for sexy
So girls drop them panties
This night's so enchanted
Moonlight on your fanny

While you crank up this song about cranking up songs
About parties in trucks while you party in trucks
This next line is filler but you'll sing along
Way oh way oh way oh way oh
Get down and turn up
Get down and turn up

Jul 8, 2014

We Are Bro Country

We Are Bro-Country
(Lyric parody of Hank Jr's "Young Country")

We are bro-country, we are bad ass
Illegitimate children of inbred white trash
Our hair might be faux-hawked, jeans glittered and spiked
We know how to get drunk and go lookin' for fights 

We know what's tight, glass pack exhaust
And if you don't like it, I'll punch you, boss
We name drop the old stuff, but we only like new
And we do our own rappin', blue jean booty slappin'
If you're offended, F you

We are bro country, we ain't too bright
Our music and lifestyles, are big piles of shite
We don't have diplomas, or shirts that fit right
but we know how to bang skanks come Saturday night 

We like Eminem, we get faded to EDM
We like Lil Wayne and Jay-Z and T-Pain
Old Hank would be sick, wait who is old Hank?
We like our country mixed with hip-hop and stank

We are bro-country, we have no pride
Except in our bench press and sweet jacked up rides
Kid Rock would be proud and Fred Durst give props
'cause we like our country with drum loops and bass drops
We like to smoke bowls, we like to roll coal
Don't like it? F u!

Mar 18, 2014

If Dallas Davidson Had Written These Big Hits

FTM ponders what these famous rock, R&B, rap and country songs would have sounded like if Dallas Davidson or any of his compadres had written them...

Pearl Jam - Even Flow
Gravel road, trucks arrive tires oversized
Oh, bring some hoes, who can make the sugar shake
Better yet, we'll have Miller Lite again
Lite again, Lite again...

Roberta Flack - First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
The first time ever I saw dat ass
I felt my skinny jeans start to rise
And the moon and the stars over my tailgate
Got to watch me get in them thighs

Merle Haggard - Fightin' Side of Me
If you gone mad-dog, step up:
Let these brass knucks be a warnin'.
If you're cock-blockin' on hotties, son,
You bout to meet the fightin' side of me.

Carl Perkins (Elvis Presley) - Blue Suede Shoes
Well, it's one for the honeys,
Two for the shine,
Three for my Chevy,
Past the county line.
But don't you step on my square-toed boots.
You can do anything but lay off of my square-toed boots.

Jay-Z - 99 Problems
99 problems but a hitch ain't one
If you need to pull a trailer, get a Smittybilt son
I got 99 problems but a hitch ain't one
Hit me

Mar 15, 2012

SXSW 2012 Parody Album Covers

Some parody album covers from a selection of SXSW 2012 performers.

Dec 27, 2011

FTM 101 Best of 2011: 51-75

51. Ha Ha Tonka - Death of a Decade
52. Micky and the Motorcars - Raise My Glass
53. Glen Campbell - Ghost on the Canvas
54. Sam Sliva and the Good - And the People Say
55. 13ghosts - Liar's Melody
56. The Redlands Palomino Company - Don't Fade
57. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
58. Social Distortion - Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
59. Jay Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
60. Steve Earle - I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

61. Have Gun Will Travel - Mergers & Acquisitions
62. Eric Church - Chief
63. Drive-by Truckers - Go-Go Boots
64. Robert Earl Reed - Carlene
65. Johnny Corndawg - Down on the Bikini Line
66. Amos Lee - Mission Bell
67. Gillian Welch - The Harrow and the Harvest
68. Jeremy Steding - I Keep on Livin', But I Don't Learn
69. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

70. The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh
71. Jason Fratesi and the Dirt Road Jam Band - Cryin' Out Loud
72. Thieving Birds - S/T
73. Brad Paisley - This is Country Music
74. Nick 13 - S/T
75. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues


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