Tag Archives: Hip-Hop

5 Questionable Hip-Hop and R&B Songs That We Can’t Help but Sing and Dance To

by Da’Nelle Grier

Singers have a real creative way of sneaking in all types of interesting content into their music. Whether it’s that feel-good melody, the catchy lyrics, or the beat that gets you turnt every time, these artists will have you vibin’ to sad situations and you won’t even care. Here’s a short list of 5 triflin’ songs that bang:

1. “Creep” – TLC

What’s funny about “Creep” is that Left Eye knew it was triflin’ and did not want to be apart of it. She decided not to rap on the project because she didn’t want to offend anyone, and she even threatened to wear black tape over her mouth in the music video.

While Left Eye protested against the song, her bandmate, T-Boz, told Billboard exactly why she and Chilli believed it was necessary: “We thought that was a good relationship to talk about because a lot of people don’t admit that’s how they feel – that their man’s playing on them and they want to be with him so they seek attention elsewhere, but they really want to be with their guy.”

TLC ultimately came to a consensus and recorded “Creep,” an anthem for all women who creep around with other men “on the down low” due to lack of attention from their original boos. One of the funny realities about music like this is that they’re so well-produced, you can forget what the lyrics are actually saying. There I was at 10 years old, jammin’ to a song about infidelity and not even knowing it: “’cause heee doesn’t know what I do, and no attention goes to showww, ohhh.”

“Creep” became their first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

2. “You’re the One” – SWV

“I know that you’re somebody else’s guy, but these feelings that I have for you I can’t deny…”

First of all, how is MY man the one for YOU? Secondly, I debated on conducting an in-depth lyrical analysis with this one, but figured the lyrics just speak for themselves. “You’re the One” has to be the thirstiest side chick anthem of all-time, and I love it. Don’t let the pretty faces, iconic style, and trendy choreography in this video fool you; the women of SWV are SAVAGES! Of course I don’t condone these SZA-esque lyrics, but could you really blame me for specifically requesting this song at a 90’s throwback party? Exactly.

3. “You Make Me Wanna…” – Usher

This jam is truly a guilty pleasure of mine. Here we have Usher, sexiness personified, telling me that I make him want to leave the one he’s with — awful, right? As a human being, I can’t help but to feel bad for his girlfriend, who probably doesn’t know that her man is falling for someone else and loving her at the same time. But as an Usher fan, I’m incredibly enticed and flattered that Usher, sexiness personified, wants to be with me (also sexiness personified).

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Usher spoke about what inspired him to write this song: “I was with one girl, but I had flown to Los Angeles and I fell in love with this other girl. And what was so odd about it is she started out as a friend, and was encouraging me to keep my relationship afloat. And then I’m like, ‘Well, sh*t, why don’t I be with you?’”

Usher, chile, get it together (but call me first!).

4. “Boyfriend #2” – Pleasure P

“Call me when your man ain’t around. I don’t mind being the dude on the side, ya dig.”

There’s no one on this planet who makes 2nd place sound as wonderful as Pleasure P. Too familiar are we with the narrative of “the other woman,” so it’s nice to be refreshed with a story about “the other man.” Here we have Pleasure P as the self-appointed boyfriend #2 to a woman who he claims isn’t being sexually fulfilled by boyfriend #1. I don’t know who she is or what she’s done to get him so sprung, but I do need to find out!

5. “What Would You Do?” – City High

On a real note, this song is just sad. It’s about a guy who’s at a party, and he notices one of the five or six strippers there is a former classmate of his. He pulls her out of the party to ask why she’s “up in there dancin’ for cash,” and she reveals all of her present hardships in the song’s chorus:

“What would you do if your son was at home
Crying all alone on the bedroom floor, ’cause he’s hungry
And the only way to feed him is ta sleep with a man
For a little bit of money, and his daddy’s gone
Somewhere smokin’ rock now, in and out of lock down
I ain’t gotta job now, so for you this is just a good time
But for me this is what I call life”

Heartbreaking, right? You’d think that no one in their right mind would ever consciously dance to something like this, but I’m here to tell you the harsh reality of it all. As ashamed as I am to say it, this track is a bop. I hate the way I snap to this. I can’t stand the way I sing and dance to this like it’s “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems,” but I almost want to say it’s involuntary. I know, I’m a terrible person, but I truly blame City High for putting depressing lyrics on top of a hard beat. It consistently puts me in a morally awkward predicament and I lose every time.

Here’s a short list of other songs that we can’t help but vibe to, no matter how messed up they are:

 

Keep up with Da’Nelle via her Instagram: @nelliethesupastah, Twitter: @NellieGOnTheMic, and her website: danellelynise.com.

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Drake’s Music Through The Years

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By Abby Nelson

There is no doubt that Drake is one of the top artist’s in the rap industry. Drake tops chart after chart, selling millions of units each time new music is released.

Drake got his start in the entertainment business as Jimmy Brooks on Canada’s ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’. By the time he was laid off of the show, Drake had already been investing his time into writing lyrics and producing songs with good friend, Noah ’40’.  He befriended a man by the name of Jas Prince who had heard his music. Prince was a personal friend of the infamous, Lil Wayne and sent some of Drake’s music to Wayne.   A few days later Drake got a call from Wayne, flew to New York City to meet with him and the rest is history.

He is one artist that has stuck true to himself throughout the years and has not changed to fit in with the typical rap genre styled music. In present day rap, common topics of interest are sex, drugs, guns, gangs and money.  But Drake is the son of a Jewish mom and African American father who was raised in Toronto, Canada in an upper middle class neighborhood. He was never exposed to gangs and drugs. He can only write about what he knows personally. I have great respect for him because of that. He is staying true to who he is. He writes about love, love lost, family, and has true emotion in his lyrics. He may get flack for that but it’s what he knows best.

“Sometimes I’m working and sometimes I’m just waiting. I write about my life, I don’t write about stories. A lot of classic rap is storytelling, but it’s storytelling about someone else. Fictional stories sometimes. I can’t do that. I have to write about my life. So, sometimes in order to complete a verse the way I want to or to finish a second verse on a song when I’ve already done the first one, I have to allow myself to either live a portion of life I haven’t lived yet or something has to set in.”Drake, Interview with Q 

Even after years of success, Drake still releases mixtapes. In February of 2015, Drake released ‘If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late’ as a “mixtape” on Spotify. He pulled a Beyonce move, by dropped the tape without any promoting or notice. The mixtape went viral within hours. This collection of songs shows just how far Drake as an artist has come and how much he has grown as a rapper.

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The songs refer to his relationships with friends, family, and girls. The Drake you hear today is the exact same artist you heard on the ‘Heartbreak Drake’ mixtapes but he has perfected his craft. On this mixtape it shows. He is a more skilled writer. He has the ability of writing songs that people can relate to and understand what Drake is going through. He just tells his story with a sick beat behind it. He is a faster, more articulate rapper and listening to songs such as ‘HYFR’ he goes on a fast rant and shows similar abilities to Eminem. Eminem is known for his fast raps. When he raps, you can hear him articulate each and every word, regardless of the speed he is rapping. Drake over the years has picked up that skill. He is also a talented singer, so he has the ability to change the mood in his songs, shifting back and forth from singing to rapping.

He is a hard working, talented, versatile artist.

Fun Fact: Drake has had the same team of producers and engineers working with him since he was in high school making songs in his basement on cheap equipment. He stayed loyal to his friends who were putting in all the hours of hard work when he was unknown and now, those friends are recognized as some of the best producers and engineers in the industry. Noah ’40’ is recognized for hit after hit that he has created with the Toronto rapper.

If you listen to his collection of music from ‘Room For Improvement’ up until today’s latest release, ‘If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late’ you are hearing the same young Toronto artist that first hit the music scene in 2006.

“Kick Push” ft. Lupe Fiasco (2006) VS “Know Yourself” (2015)

Get the full story about your favorite hip-hop artist every Wednesday  on “Nels@Nite” only on WCRX, Chicago’s Underground from 7 to 9pm. 

Behind The Music: J. Cole

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With a song or even just a verse, there is a message or story behind what the artist is singing or rapping about. J. Cole is one of the biggest names in the rap industry but his story to the top is like no other.

J. Cole began writing and rapping at a young age. By the age of 17, Cole had notebooks filled with lyrics, verses, rhymes and was posting self recorded videos on various social media sites under the name, Therapist. Shortly after, he released his first mixtape, “The Come Up.”  There was positive feedback but not exactly the feedback he wanted. He wanted to catch the ear of the right person– and that would be Jay Z.

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He even stood outside of Jay Z’s studio and performed his songs hoping to catch a liking from his idol.  As time marched on, there was no word from Jay Z but that did not stop J. Cole from doing what he loves, music. In 2009, Cole released his second mixtape, “The Warm Up” which caught the attention of Jay Z.

J. Cole was in a car when he received the call from Jay Z saying he would be signing him to Roc Nation Records the next day. Moments later, Cole hears a police siren and subsequently he’s arrested. In the song, “Rise and Shine” off of his debut album, he talks about this arrest. He never told his mom he got arrested because they were struggling financially and she had enough to worry about. He knew come the next day, everything would change for them. In the ‘Interlude’ off the album, J. Cole tells the story of why he was arrested and the thoughts going through his head. He says, “That was the easiest night in jail someone could ever do.”

J. Cole conveys messages and tells a story through his lyrics.  He wrote a verse about the unrest in Ferguson  and social unrest in America and performed it on the David Letterman Show.

J. Cole performs “Be Free” on The David Letterman Show

Click the link to see the full performance.

Get the full story about your favorite hip-hop artist every Wednesday  on “Nels@Night” only on WCRX, Chicago’s Underground from 7 to 9pm.