Hoody Who! January's Best Rap Videos & Mixtapes
, February 11th, 2013 08:49
Jodi B returns after a short hiatus with another round-up of a few of the best rap videos and mixtapes of recent times, from Master P and DaM-Funk to Le1f (pictured) and Czarface
After the eggnog hangovers, Hoody Who has returned, but no longer reports to you from the London cave it was previously hibernating in. I will now be presenting to you from Los Angeles, and hopefully can get a closer peek into what's cracking behind the rap scenes here and elsewhere. I feel like the soundtrack to LA should be William DeVaugn's "Be Thankful For What You Got", it's both a ghastly and beautiful city and I swear it seems like everyone walks with a gangsta lean...
Master P - Al Capone
Hoooddyyy Hoo! I owe the title of this column to Master P, so it's no wonder I'm stoked Percy Miller has returned with his Al Capone mixtape after years of not hearing "make 'em say ughhhhhhh" anywhere. Ok, I must admit his rhyming dexterity is fucking ridiculous, but it doesn't matter - but we all remember when Dr Dre spits "But get popped like a pimple, so call me Clearasil" on The Chronic, and he's at the top of the rap food chain, so there. Master P's raps might be a bit cringe-inducing, but somehow all summed up it works. He's one of the pioneers who placed dirty South on the rap map with his illustrious No Limit Records and has even once been on Forbes' richest entertainers list. Business-savvy Master P enlists Alley Boy, Game, Chief Keef, Meek Mill and more on the Al Capone mixtape. Though the 45 year old gets some new kids to appear, P stays true to inimitable soldier style and lovingly recycles the chorus on 'Gangstas Need Love Too' from his 90s TRU tracks. Now that P's back, does that mean that we'll be hearing from his Z-list brothers, C-Murder and Silkk The Shocker? Fingers crossed.
Casey Veggies - Life Changes
19 year old Casey Veggies, once-member of OFWGKTA, demonstrates his lyrical prowess on his solo mixtape Life Changes, and challenges the stereotype of folk from LA ghettos. One wonders whether Casey hippied out and was forced to leave the rest of his controversial crew. Did he go vegan, flaunting his eco-friendly moniker 'Casey Veggies', scornfully deriding the rest of LA for using plastic bags and eating chorizo? Even his artwork is a bit hippy-dippy: Mr. Veggies is peeking through some verdant corn bushels, lips gently parted in a 'Meat is Moida' look. He wants us to take him sincerely - and clearly his talent overshadows his questionable choice of name and artwork, as Life Changes shines a spotlight on his apt decision to go solo. Each track features spacey beats by Dom Kennedy, The Futuristicks, D.R.U.G.S and more, paired perfectly with Veggies' roller coaster rhymes.
Joe Cool - Cooley Hi
We've got some new kids on the block, and the newest addition is Peanuts fan Joe Cool. The Louisiana MC and producer hasn't got anything to hide. One his last mixtape, Drivers Ed, he used his Louisiana drivers license as artwork, and I though I can't tell whether it's him or Steve Urkel in the photo, he's coming out grinning for miles for a reason. Cooley Hi features 15 tracks that oscillate between all different genres and regions of the rap world. The forums are digging 'I Wanna Sell Drugs', but me, I like to tone down the emo and turn up the Chris Tucker Friday samples with that 'Funky Worm' vibe on track two, 'MK Ultra' - blimey, track of the month!
DâM-Funk - Tranquil Funk: Cassette from 1994
Los Angeles' master DâM-Funk has spent the last 20 years cultivating his unparalleled sound within the modern electro-funk and boogie genres. Here, he lets us travel back nearly two decades with him, to lock into a mind that clearly houses the spirits of Zapp and Roger. I'll let him explain this tight azz funk: "Recorded in 1994 in my bedroom, this is: Tranquil Funk; which was a 16 track cassette tape only given out 2 close friends & associates in my Pasadena, Ca. neighborhood, without any intentions of getting a 'record deal' or any of the sort. I was just doing what I love: Music. At this time in my life I was very young in the mind (via the 'immature use' of the 'N' word, in 'some' of these tracks & a word I NEVER will use in 'my own personal music' ever again), yet musically advanced amongst my peers. This 'limited time only' FREE DOWNLOAD is a snapshot in time, in relation 2 my story & origins within this music game." Fantastiche, I must say.
Le1f - Fly Zone
Oh wuuuutt, NYC rapper Le1f has been making cameos in all the recent editions of Hoody Who. You might well remember him from his sassy videos 'Wut' and 'Soda', and he just keeps on coming back with tighter material. Looking up more about Le1f, I kept coming across the term 'banjee', which is an 80s moniker for a Latino or black gay dude who dresses thuggish. He notes that banjee is "my gay swag, my code word. It makes me feel tall, like a prince". Listening to thirteen track odyssey Fly Zone, you enter into the mind of someone who is noticeably influenced by vogue-ing and NYC 80s drag, juxtaposed alongside overt masculinity. His style on these tracks weaves from sexy, deep voiced thug, to coquettish, 10 verses-in-one-breath, high-pitched MC. The mixtape features Le1f's incendiary forerunner Spank Rock, plus Haleek Maul, Kitty Pryde and Philadelphia's Don Jones. With production by a slew of leftfield producers who I've never heard of but are clearly beatsmiths (sorry I said that word). Best verse: "I'm from Mercury, but I'm moving to your anus."
Antwon - 'Still Guarded'
I suspect Bay Area rapper Antwon spends hours on Reddit scrolling through pages of LOLcats and googling "funny kittens". When it came time to think of the storyboard for his new video "Still Guarded", a track produced by Cities Aviv, his mates were like 'Right, we need money, fast cars, diamond rings, gold chains, and champagne, shoot, every damn thing'. Antwon, in turn: 'Um, hey guys… what do you think about adding kittens too?' Well, obviously Antwon pulled rank and got the feline face in. They had to rework it to be a bit more risqué though, making it a bit too freaky, adding a white chick on a leash lapping up creamer.
sayknowledge - 'HEEM'
20-year old sayknowledge is a northern California-based purveyor of G-funk, bringing its heavy bass and catchy keyboard melodies to a new generation. 'HEEM', is the debut video from this puerile MC. It's so cute that baby-faced sayknowledge is rapping over a stereotypic gangsta beat, and lyrically hitting on topics such as weed and babes, etc… but he proves in this endearing video that he is only a wee lad passing around a turkey bag straight from the volcano vaporiser. It's so adorable to see him flipping burgers, playing gorilla face and rapping about Jersey Shore that you just want to pat him on the back and squeeze his lil' cheeks. Brilliant song, but thanks for reminding me that I am getting fucking old, you little weasel baby.
CZARFACE (Inspectah Deck & 7L & Esoteric) - 'Air 'Em Out'
Czarface is a trio that consists of Inspectah Deck from Wu-Tang and underground MCs 7L and Esoteric. They unveiled this cinematic video for their 'Air 'Em Out' track that looks like a scene from a low-budget kung-fu film, where you'd expect Jason Statham to come out and judo chop the lot and save some kidnapped Asian baby. Moreover, has anyone ever noticed that Inspectah Deck and Leroy from Curb Your Enthusiasm look like identical twins? Holy shit, when Inspectah Deck is sat face to face with the bruised and battered 7L and Esoteric, I just kept waiting for him to say "You get in that ass and spray paint 'LARRY WAS HERE!'" The video comes replete with an insidious interlude featuring torture time, a ninja sword and a hacksaw, plus a 'clean up on aisle five' call.
Kidd Kidd - 'New Warleans (feat Juvenile)'
"This big gun in my pants go boom, like a bad smell it'll air out the room" (erm, like toots?) says G-Unit enlisted Kidd Kidd. Not a great verse to open up a pledge of allegiance to his city of New Orleans, but hey, it's a start. Poignant footage of New Orleans post-Katrina makes up the visuals, alongside local Naw-leaners both celebrating and commiserating the plight of their people. Featured on the track is fellow southern MC Juvenile. I'd just been wondering what happened to Juv' after "Back That Azz Up", and we can see that he polished his grill and was impelled to back up Kidd Kidd in this emotionally and politically charged visual allegory of New Orleans.
Kyle Rapps - 'Get It In (feat. Action Bronson)'
New Yorkers Kyle Rapps and Action Bronson got all arty and shit when they collaborated for their 'Get It In" video. They were like, "and sooooo what do you think about surrealism versus impressionism in the renaissance period," then had an epiphany, and were like "let's stop pontificating and become the art duuddddeee." They enlisted a community college dropout Photoshop tech to superimpose their faces and animate their jaws on iconic paintings that span numerous centuries. Warning: It's going to be hard not to pee your pants laughing when Action turns into King Henry VIII.