Peep This Joint: Mos Def – Black on Both Sides Album Review

October 12, 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of his universally lauded album, Black on Both Sides by legendary rapper Yasiin Bey, better known as Mos Def. 

This project marked his debut as a solo artist after receiving critical acclaim on his collaborative effort with another veteran rapper, Talib Kweli with their full-length LP, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star that released just a year before this project. 

Released in 1999, Black on Both Sides is a bonafide 90’s rap album that remains a hallmark and defining sound for underground boom-bap hip hop. Despite the vintage production style, Mos Def manages to utilize the sound to create a timeless record that stood the test of time and still bumps even today. 

Especially after the tragic deaths of Tupac and Biggie that nearly closed off the golden age of hip-hop, Black on Both Sides serves as a final hoorah to the definitive era.

Due to the album’s timeless feel despite its sound being centered around boom-bap, the album is universally praised as not only one of the best albums of that era but also of all time. The album stands as an ideal introduction to 90’s boom-bap due to its accessibility and timeless sound.

With passionate and thought-provoking lyrics mixed with an effortless flow dispersed throughout the project, it’s clear to see that Mos utilized the album to restore sociopolitical consciousness into the rap game and bring hip-hop back to its roots/foundation. 

The song, “Mathematics” is a prime example of this which is filled with meticulously-crafted lyrics and effortless delivery. Under a beat laced by legendary producer DJ Premier, the Mighty Mos Def addresses the racist prison industrial complex that particular targets people of color:

“When the average minimum wage is $5.15/

You best believe you’ve got to find a new grind to get cream/ 

The white unemployment rate is nearly more than triple for black/ 

Some front-liners got their gun in your back/ 

Bubbling crack, jewel theft and robbery to combat poverty/ 

And end up in the global jail economy/”

Regardless of the fact that this album came out in ‘99, many of the bars Mos spits are still relevant today. Mos reveals that many social issues that plagued the world then still exist today and time has shown that it has only gotten worse. Further in the same song, he spits about the growing use of government surveillance:

“40% of Americans own a cell phone/

So they can hear everything that you say when you ain’t home/

I guess Michael Jackson was right, you are not alone/”

Besides the overarching effort to spread awareness and enlighten his listeners, Mos does come through with more lighthearted tracks such as “Ms. Fat Booty” where he tells a story of a girl he met at a club who eventually ghosted him. He flexes his story-telling ability and his delivery demonstrates just how vivid of a picture he can paint with his bars. 

Some more standout tracks from the album that you should listen to include “Hip Hop”, “Do It Now” featuring Busta Rhymes, and “UMI Says”. 

As mentioned earlier, this project is flawless from top to bottom and is a shining example of sharp Mos Def’s pen and flow is. With a signature 90’s sound, he manages to create an album that stood the test of time sonically and is still relevant in today’s politically charged environment. 

Go peep this joint!

Rating: 10/10

Written by: Johann Oribello

The Ultimate Lifting List

It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year…midterms! Sike. It’s a miserable, dreary time. Long nights of studying and binge eating weird foods because you don’t have time to grocery shop (Not speaking out of personal experience or anything…). Anyways, everyone has their form of stress relief, whether it be watching Netflix or venting to a close friend. My stress relief drug of choice is hitting the gym. No gym trip is complete without a pair of headphones on full volume.

This playlist is 58 minutes in length, the maximum time that my lifting workouts ever last. Whatever workout regimen you follow, it’s always good to have some motivating music on in the background.

  1. A** Back Home- Secrets

This is a screamo remake of a Gym Class Heroes Song. It may surprise you how much a little bit of screaming can pump you up. This is the perfect song to start off your workout.

  1. Tom Ford- Jay-Z
  2. No Mediocre- T.I., Iggy Azalea
  3. You See Me- Childish Gambino
  4. Switch Lanes- Tyga, The Game

You may recognize the name Tyga because he has a minor role on a majorly popular reality television show. His talent is minimal, in all aspects, but this song is one of the few good ones.

  1. Headband- B.o.B, 2 Chainz

I am not going to claim that I have the credibility to make this statement, but this is a true hip-hop gold mine of a song.

  1. I Don’t F**k With You- Big Sean, E-40

Aside from being a great song to squat to, “I Don’t F**k With You” is a great study song. I know that sounds strange, but trust me. This song was the sole reason I got through finals freshman year.

  1. Otis- Jay Z, Kanye West
  2. All Gold Everything- Trinidad James
  3. R.I.P.- Jeezy, 2 Chainz
  4. No Hands- Waka Flocka Flame

This song takes me back to early high school. Pick up those free weights and stare at yourself in the mirror for a second and reflect on that dorky person that you used to be (Again, not talking out of personal experience…). Please don’t be that person that stares too long though.

  1. Gas Pedal- Sage the Gemini
  2. Fancy- Drake

I tend to try and ignore the sexist undertones that are evident in almost every hip hop song, but this one’s a little less sexist and a little more independent women. Although I wouldn’t exactly throw a Drake song in the pile of female empowerment anthems, “Fancy” does make being one of eight girls in the non-cardio part of the gym a little less annoying.

  1. Gold Digger- Kanye West, Jamie Foxx
  2. Ayy Ladies- Travis Porter, Tyga
  3. Lean On- Major Lazer

At the end of your workout it’s always good to slow down the pace a bit to match your plummeting heart rate. “Lean On” does just that, at least in comparison to the other songs on this list.


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No matter your form of midterm stress relief, it’s a guarantee that this playlist will at least provide a little escape from the madness.

You can access my Spotify playlist here! IMG_6546See you at the gym! 😉

Kid Ink House of Blues San Diego #MyOwnLane

This April the Ones to Watch with Skype: My Own Lane 2014 U.S. tour is coming to the San Diego House of Blues with headliner Kid Ink and special guests King Los and Bizzy Crook. This is the fifth stop in the #MyOwnLane U.S. tour as Los Angeles native Kid Ink takes the stage next month. Kid Ink is well-known for his collaboration with Chris Brown in their club smasher “Show Me” that put him on the radar and introduced Ink’s impressive verses and versatile lyrics to the airwaves.

Kid Ink holds producing chops under his belt working with hard-hitting entrepreneurs such as Sean “Diddy” Combs and  Sean Kingston to name a few. He earned his producing chops at the age of 16 according to his bio on his personal website. Working to build his credibility this album shows Ink’s versatility and business mind-set by collaborating with other successful and relevant hip-hop artists.

Here are some of the artists he collaborates on this album:

  1. “I Don’t Care” feat. Maejor Ali
  2. “Murda” feat. Pusha T
  3. “No Opinion” feat. King Los
  4. “Iz U Down” feat. Tyga
  5. “Main Chick” feat. Chris Brown

This is a great year for hip-hop as upcoming artists begin to make a name for themselves. With his album My Own Lane Kid Ink makes it known he is paving new grounds in this industry. Why not attend a concert with at trio of artists to watch for 2014?  If you are attending the show here is some valuable information you should know.

Where: San Diego House of Blues

When: April 7

Address: 1055 5th Ave. San Diego, CA 92101

Time: Doors open at 7 p.m.

Show starts at 8 p.m.

Price: $20.00 – Gen Admin Standing Advance
$25.00 – Gen Admin Standing Day of Show
$60.00 – 4Pack (4 GA tickets) Advance only

All Ages Show!

Kid Ink has much to look forward to this year as his upcoming #MyOwnLane tour unfolds. From all the support he is receiving from fans and other artists such as Chris Brown, he also takes the time to interact with his fans via Twitter.

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Follow Kid Ink on Instagram  @kidinkbatgang, Twitter @Kid_Ink and Facebook @KidInk for the latest on this upcoming hip-hop strategist.

Don’t forget Kid Ink’s album #MyOwnLane is available now on  iTunes.

If you would like to be featured on Carmen’s Hip-Hop weekly please feel free to email, Tweet or Facebook message me. Next Tuesday I will have my first featured interview with local San Diego hip-hop producer and @KCRCollegeRadio DJ @BeatsmithResist.

Stay posted for some in-depth narrations on his current projects, his KCR radio show The Beat Bombardment and much more.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready to turn up for this hip-hop playlist?

San Diego is known for its beautiful weather. However, this year this city is currently experiencing summer in February. If this is of any concern to us San Diegans one thing is certain, the music this year is getting hotter and hotter. Summer can you be here all ready! I recently discovered Rdio from a fellow KCR College Radio DJ Adriana Arce, and this website has given me the opportunity to explore my musical tastes, set up my “To Be Continued Future Summer” hip-hop playlist and most importantly share this playlist with you.

Any playlist that incorporates songs that I can dance or study to are a must. I would like to point out that this is the first playlist I publish. This week I wanted to stay away from the usual concert preview and do a lighter piece for Carmen’s Hip-Hop Weekly. Aztecs feeling the heat this February need a playlist that can set the stage for spring break and summer.

The inspiration behind this playlist was the desire for warm weather, less clothing and to bring back the ecstasy of those great summer nights. Let’s begin shall we.

These 10 songs should be on everyones playlist this year as the weather begins to warm up and the parties begin to pop off. Aztecs, if you are looking forward to summer just like me, here are some great songs to have at your disposal this week.

Carmen’s Top 10 Hip-Hop Songs to Pop Off this Week:

1. PWD- Pop It For A Player ft. E40, The Game, Tech N9ne, Ryan Bowsers & Ryan Anthony (Official Remix)

2. Sean Paul ft. Damian Marley-Riot

3. Naughty Boy- Think About It ft. Wiz Khalifa, Ella Eyre

4. Schoolboy Q- Man of the Year

5. DJ Holiday “Miley” Ft. Wiz Khalifa & Waka Flocka

6. Pretty Tony- Pull Up ft. Que

7. Sean Paul- Pornstar ft. Nyla

8. Young L- What I Live By

9. Sean Paul ft. Juicy J & 2 Chainz- Entertainment

10. Wiz Khalifa- Taylor Gang

I hope my “To Be Continued Future Summer” hip-hop playlist serves you well. I know it definitely helped me shake off some of the February blues. Now, here is to hoping that the weather continues to cater to San Diego because I’m ready for that spark this year. If you enjoyed my playlist please feel free to comment below!

Make sure to also tune in to my show #STATEPROBLEMS every Friday from 10-11 a.m. on KCR College Radio with my beautiful co-host @salas_jocelyn as we showcase SDSU professors and students doing big things around campus this semester. If you have any recommendations for upcoming stories or would like to be featured on Carmen’s Hip-Hop Weekly feel free to email me at carmenhuerta2011@gmail.com or Tweet me @MadelCamHuerta with the hashtag #CarmenDoIt

Photo by terencechisholm /CC by