Showing posts with label a$ap ferg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label a$ap ferg. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - september 14, 2019 (VIDEO)

Yeah, rough episode... it happens.

Next up, I'm finally going to talk about The Highwomen, then probably Lower Dens - stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - september 14, 2019

This week does not matter. Now the natural expansion of that is saying, 'look, the Billboard Hot 100 is a badly constructed fugazi of contradictions and payola, none of it really matters', but let's focus on this week here, because next week Post Malone is going to bulldoze through here with a full Hollywood's Bleeding album bomb, and most of what showed up here will be gone: you've been warned.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 14, 2017 (VIDEO)

And that's all the posting for tonight... man alive, this takes a while to get through everything, but here we are. Okay, next up... well, it'll depend on what Patreon gives me, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 14, 2017

So okay, maybe I'm just bad at predicting when things are going to shift. I've been saying for a few weeks now that the Hot 100 feels precarious, on the cusp of something really shaking up the established order... and yet it didn't happen here, because outside of country rolling some new songs out, very little actually happened in any significant way. Not like I'm complaining - I like a shorter episode every once and a while - but there is a part of me that feels like the Hot 100 needs a good shakeup, and I'd prefer that happens before Taylor Swift drops reputation and blows everything wide open.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

video review: 'always strive and prosper' by a$ap ferg

Well, this happened. Not an easy album to review, but certainly an interesting one, that's for sure.

Up next, Beyonce - stay tuned!

album review: 'always strive and prosper' by a$ap ferg

Okay, way back when I was first starting this show in 2013, I took a crack at discussing A$AP Ferg's debut Trap Lord - and you don't have to tell me the review is pretty rough in retrospect. Putting aside that it was done before I had a proper camera, it was also a record that screamed style and flow over substance, which to me at the time didn't feel particularly cohesive against gothic-tinged trap production that initially felt too dark to fit with the content. Sure, I could appreciate the tracks where A$AP Ferg was indeed spitting, and his collaboration 'Lord' with most of Bone-Thugz-N-Harmony remains a highlight to this day, but for the most part it was a record that that was trying for a certain opulence and grandeur that I wasn't entirely convinced it could pull off, especially in the lyrics.

Granted, that was in 2013 - since then, we've seen so much hip-hop tilt towards material that's even more gothic and opulent, and at least A$AP Ferg could maintain a consistent flow on his own and not slather his vocals in autotune to drive the melody. And given that I did like his lead-off single 'New Level' with Future, I figured I'd give him another chance with Always Strive and Prosper. The one significant reservation I had was the larger-than-ever list of guest stars - A$AP Ferg can have an odd tendency to mimic the flows of his guest stars for better or worse, and given that I have pretty much zero expectations in finding a lyrical identity, that doesn't really help him stand out. But again, Future really was the worst part of 'New Level', and with a more impressive list of producers, I had reason to be it'd come together with at least some flair and style - was I right?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - april 16, 2016

So as I predicted, this week is indeed busier than last week, with not just more activity within the charts but a slew of new arrivals... and yet my predictions why this happened seem to have mostly gone unanswered. Sure, Zayn's debut album Mind of Mine made an impact, but not with any new arrivals. Instead... well, let's just say that I'd prefer Zayn had gotten traction than Young Thug.

Monday, August 19, 2013

video review: 'trap lord' by a$ap ferg

I talk about the new album from A$AP Ferg titled 'Trap Lord', and the reasons why trap music doesn't always work with me.

Oh, and outside of maybe two songs, the album's pretty mediocre. Sorry.

album review: 'trap lord' by a$ap ferg

Here's something you might not know: the term 'trap' often heard in rap and electronica is significantly different than you might think.

You see, in electronica and dubstep, 'trap' tended to refer to a specific type of instrumentation, complete with accelerating 808 drums, an excess of hi-hats, menacing string sections, and moody, darker layers of synthesizers. Now I'll admit right out of the gate that I'm not the biggest fan of this particular musical style, but I can definitely see its appeal, particularly when balanced out with the right lyrics. After all, cold, bleak minimalism can work if you have a performer with enough charisma or force of personality to back it up (which is rare enough in its own right, keep that in mind). 

Unfortunately, the definition of trap instrumentation is very different than what is typically considered 'trap' lyrics, which uses the term much more literally as a reference to the trapped lifestyles that many rappers struggled to escape, the traps created thanks to poverty, societal inequalities, or other such factors. And to be fair, the places where trap instrumentation and trap lyrics are balanced out can lead to some compelling symmetry within the song. Granted, it won't be much of my thing - to me, too much trap music goes for bombast over grit, which loses some texture - but I can appreciate it when it works.

The problem though, as one could easily say if looking at the Billboard Hot 100, is that this symmetry between trap instrumentation and lyrics rarely gets popular in a big way on the charts. Instead, many producers and rappers have co-opted the trap aesthetic and instrumentation to build their conventional rap songs about money, cars, and hos - and believe me, for often than not it doesn't work at all. This is actually for a fairly simple reason, believe it or not: it's hard to glamorize a lifestyle as attractive to the mainstream audience if you pair it with production and instrumentation that is bleak, dark, and makes it seem like the artist isn't having any fun. It makes the songs come across as astoundingly soulless to me, and often far darker than I suspect the artist intended. And sure, it'd be one thing if the rappers were looking to satirize their lives of partying and paint them as hollow or token, but it's clear that more often than not, they're entirely sincere.

And this isn't me coming down against vapid hip-hop either - when placed in the right context, superficial themes in hip-hop (or indeed any genre of music) can work just fine. Hell, this is all coming from the guy who'll defend crunk more than the majority of critics. As I've mentioned before, there's a place for shallow, hedonistic material, and while it might be indulgent, vacuous, or dumb as hell, it can occasionally be rather entertaining nonetheless (basically my general defense for most hair metal). The problem here doesn't come from the luxury raps, but the placement of said raps against a dour, humourless instrumentation that sucks away the possibilities of fun or awesome bombast.

So with all of that in mind, what could I hope to expect from A$AP Ferg, whose debut album is titled Trap Lord (very much analogous to T.I.'s Trap Muzik from 2003)? I've heard reasonable things about the guy from the underground, but I know exactly how much pressure to conform with the mainstream has ruined all too many rappers who had underground street cred. And while I wasn't intimately familiar with his mixtapes, I was a little encouraged that he somehow managed to dredge out Bone Thugs-n-Harmony from wherever they were and pull them onto the album. It couldn't be that bad, right?