Diss tracks have a long drawn out history in the hip hop community. Everyone who is a hip hop fan has their favorite. Right now I could name a few diss tracks that are probably in most people’s top 5. Ice Cube (No Vaseline), Tupac (Hit em Up), Nas (Ether), and I could probably name about a dozen Eminem diss tracks. Speaking of Eminem he’s found himself once again in the middle of a hip hop beef with Machine Gun Kelly aka MGK. This has been an intriguing and interesting battle because no one and I mean NO ONE ever chooses to verbally spar with Eminem in a diss track. It just doesn’t happen. The actual diss tracks back and forth started when Eminem released his surprise album Kamikaze. Eminem made like one slight reference/diss to MGK in one line but MGK decided to come at Eminem in a whole diss song. I listened to it, amd I can’t lie that it eventually grew on but I’m also a life long Eminem fan forever and always. As it started to seem that Eminem wasn’t goinf to fire back after 2 weeks had passed I think everyone started to assume that MGK had won. MGK threw some shots at Em that did question his character. As a fan I started to question his character, but he FINALLY cane back with a diss song called Killshot. Eminem basically put MGK in his place. It was kind of a satisfaction for me. Like if you had any doubt that Em had lost his touch then you were greatly mistaken. I read comments online and onw thing that I can agree with wholeheartedly is that Em is bringing real music back. I think that’s his main mission. Eminem has made it no secret that he hates these mumble rappers that are getting more clout these days than real artists. Something definitely needs to change within the music industry. I don’t even see how some of these rappers got a record deal but I can discuss that later. I’m definitely curious to see if MGK fires back with another diss track, but what I get from Em’s diss track and his recent interview with radio personality Sway he’s done with MGK and has no time for little boys.
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Religion is an interesting topic. Religion can be used for good, but it can also be used for evil means. As I finished watching the Hulu original series The Handmaid’s Tale based on the novel by Margaret Atwood this is a thought that kept replaying in my head. These characters in this story are using religion for their twisted and perverse means. The premise of the story is of this dystopian world where women are no longer allowed to read and you have these women that are known as handmaid’s whose main role is to give their bodies over to this couple who can’t have children of their own. They’re not seen as a person, more of a vessel to create life and when they have a child they’re not considered the mom but the leaders of that household are. Now their whole justification for this way of living is based off of the Bible story of Rachel and Leah. Below is an excerpt from Genesis 30:1-3. The people of Gilead, the city in which the story takes place, took this scripture as literally as you can get. The handmaid lays on her back with the wife behind her while her husband has intercourse with her. There’s no intimacy, it’s cold and impersonal. In a way it’s like the handmaid isn’t even there. The thing that stands out to me in the story though is their supposed love for God and his scriptures, but it’s nothing more than mind control. I honestly see it as a reflection of today’s society. People use religion today as a fear tactic or as a form of mind control to get you to do what they want or be who they want you to be.
Another story that I could say that uses religion as mind control is Carrie by Stephen King. More specifically I’m thinking of the character of Carrie’s mother in the story. She was a known religious fanatic in the town, and she made Carrie feel bad about being normal. I remember watching the scene in the original 1976 adaptation when Carrie got her period and she didn’t know what was going on or what was happening to her body. When she got home and talked to her mom, her mom pulled out a Bible and started preaching to her about the sins of women. I’ll post that scene below, but you can’t you see how religion in literature is also a reflection of real life. Carrie’s mom made her feel dirty and wrong even though what her body was doing was perfectly normal and natural, but instead of talking to Carrie about it she hit her with a Bible…literally.
And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
King James Version (KJV)
Now listening to this new album, Kamikaze, it is reminiscent of the old Eminem but I also believe it’s still the mature Eminem, but he’s gone back to his roots. Even looking at the cover of the album you can tell that he’s paying homage to the Beastie Boys first album License to Ill, and Eminem has stated that the Beastie Boys were one of his earliest influences.
Surprise! What a major surprise we have here. I’m going through my day without a care in the world, going about my business and then all of a sudden I see news and Facebook posts about these new songs from Eminem’s NEW album, an album that no one knew was coming. It honestly came like a thief in the night…no promoting, no ads, and apparently no noise whatsoever….out of the blue KABOOM! Em hit us with a bomb, but definitely in a good way. I’ve listened to the album and you can’t help but compare it to Eminem’s previous album, Revival, that came out last December. I love Em but I’m not afraid to say as an Eminem that that album was not his greatest. I tried to like a few of those songs, but none of those songs on the Revival album I could really appreciate. I believe as an Eminem fan that I put Em on this pedestal, and I believe other Eminem fans feel the same way. We just expect better from Em, and as one of the YouTube channels that I follow said, “Revival was basically corny pop sh*t.” Now I like pop music don’t get me wrong but when putting it in the same league as Eminem it’s just not right. Now listening to this new album, Kamikaze, it is reminiscent of the old Eminem but I also believe it’s still the mature Eminem, but he’s gone back to his roots. Even looking at the cover of the album you can tell that he’s paying homage to the Beastie Boys first album License to Ill, and Eminem has stated that the Beastie Boys were one of his earliest influences. To me Revival had too many pop artists features. Ok, I love Ed Sheeran and I like Beyoncé but he don’t need them on their albums. I wholeheartedly understand that artists need to step out of the norm and experiment with different types of artists, but his last album just didn’t hit the mark. When I look at the track list to Kamikaze versus Revival you can see that there aren’t a lot of features at all. There are a couple like Joyner Lucas and Royce da 5’9, but they’re hip hop artists which is the difference. To me that’s a reflection of the old Eminem as well. When he first came out he didn’t have too many artists featured in his song except for maybe Dr. Dre, Obie Trice, D12 but again ALL HIP HOP ARTISTS. Bottom line is that Eminem did it right this time and the fact that he dropped this album with no notice, no promotions, NOTHING, and yet people are still talking about that takes talent. That’s why Em is considered the GOAT!
Art is subjective. Remember that.
I don’t care what anyone says but I will say that this year Drake has been on top of his game with his songs and music videos. His three big songs/music videos has been “God’s Plan,” “Nice for What,” and “I’m Upset.” The first two are downloaded on my phone amd listen to them on a regular basis and I just heard “I’m Upset” and watched the music video today. Each song and video holds something special. I love “God’s Plan” because the song is fire but the video is just heart warming. Drake gives away almost a million dollars to regular people of Miami…cars, stacks of cash, a scholarship, shopping sprees. Drake just outdid himself and then after that video he comes out with “Nice for What” paying homage to successful women and the song isn’t bad either. It basically sends out a message to regular women and young girls like myself that you can be anything that you want to be. Then his latest, possibly greatest video if you’re an old school Degrassi fan, the tv show where Drake came to fame. The music video for “I’m Upset” brings people my age a twinge of nostalgia because it’s all about a REUNION! Yes, Drake decides to bring all of his old castmates back together for a 10 year “high school reunion” which was the premise of the music video. Drake is definitely doing his thing….giving to charity, representing women, and nostalgia. What more can you ask for?
For years music has always has had a way of highlighting social issues in society. Nothing has changed and music remains the same. Of course music evolves but it’s function as a platform for social and political issues remains relevant. So far this year there have been two songs that have spoken to the #metoo movement. Drake’s “Nice for What” and Maroon 5’s song “Girls Like You.” Not only are these songs appreciating women but they’re straight head bangers. To fully appreciate both of these songs though you really have to view the music video first. Both videos are full of women who are doing great things in the entertainment industry and beyond. Both videos incorporate women like Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tiffany Haddish, Ellen Degeneres, Camilla Caballo, Aly Raisman. Interesting thing about Aly Raisman’s (Olympic gold medalist) cameo in Maroon 5’s video is that she’s wearing a shirt that says, “Always Speak Your Truth.” She was standing up for the #metoo movement having spoken up about her sexual assault experience while being a U.S. Olympic gold medalist. Both videos and songs are extremely powerful, and we honestly just need more music that is empowering. Not just empowering for women but for everybody.