Drake’s More life; More like slow death…

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel that Drake and I have a relationship that’s becoming more dysfunctional than a parent reading Valley of the Dolls, at bedtime.  The inevitable peaks and troughs of a musician’s career, on the whole, tend not to shake the staunchest of fans.  But Drake’s musical stock, soaring at one moment and plummeting the next, is causing a confusion only comparable to that of the Middle Aged attempting to use self service checkouts.  Views, an album packed wall to wall with gems, marked Drake as a risk taker with an ear to the World.  It was (and is) a delightful honey coated, African Diasporic infused serving – and then there was More Life…

 

Just in case you were wondering, this is not the bit where I painstakingly review each song. (I’ve already lost the best part of an hour thanks to Spotify ‘New Releases’, God knows I can’t lose another.) But, right off the bat, I knew that More Life and I would likely get off to a rocky start.  Owing to its declaration of being not an album, but a playlist.  Like the word ‘curated’ and everything else that seems to have trickled down from the world according to Hipsters; the label felt like a cynical attempt to hoodwink listeners into believing the project was anything but, an insubstantial and hollow offering.  Or was that just me?

 

I believe I am not alone in wishing to unsee the horror of Madonna, gnawing at Drake’s lips like a rabid St Bernard.  But, perhaps the pair’s lip locking was less of a kiss and more of a symbolic baton passing.  Drake certainly seems to have taken on the Madonna approach to hit making.  The approach being: when in doubt, seek out an underground black subculture hello Vogue and liberally sprinkle it over said album playlist, all for added cool factor. In his defence Drake has given Grime artists; Giggs, Skepta and Sampha an introduction to the world stage, and I give him kudos for this.  But I can not help but think in songs like No Long Talk and KMT Drake’s aim is not necessarily to showcase the brilliance of British artists, but to let the world know he is now culturally evolved.

 

Six songs into the playlist, I began to think that scientists may finally have succeeded in their bid to make time travel a reality.  Spotify repeatedly skipped past my song choice of Madiba Riddim taking me back to 2016’s Too Good.  Nope, sorry my bad, they just sound exactly the same.  Blem, too seemed to be woven from the tired fabric of rehashing, with its remarkable similarities to the 2009 hit Find Your Love.  Another crushing let down were the opening lines of Gyalchester, which are as follows: ‘Hermes link, Ice blue mink’.  The disappointment of a latte made with one espresso shot, and not the two you requested, sprang to mind. (And those were just the good bits)

 

 

I’m just kidding there were plenty of highlights, for instance Young Thug’s verse on Sacrifices and um… * Sound of crickets * Let’s just put it this way; if you’re looking to be whined to, intermittently then, look no further as Drake does this beautifully on Nothings Into Somethings.  In fact, More Life sees Drake transform the monotone complaint into an Olympic sport, requiring nothing but persistence and dedication.

 

 

Sadly, they do not yet award championship rings for whinging, nor do they award them to those who struggled through Drake’s 22 newest songs.  I know you won’t believe me, but I actually like Drake (all evidence to the contrary).  Nothing will make me get up out of my seat faster than hearing the first notes of 10 Bands.  Mr Graham in case you had any doubt, in the words of Tyra Banks; ‘I was rooting for you’.  We were all rooting for you.  But unfortunately, for me, listening to More Life, was a trying ordeal, to say the least.  Sort of like going through the process of euthanasia, only to find that you are in fact, still living…

 

Advertisements

Dearly Beloved Barbz

As the world, and when I say world, I mean Black Twitter attempts to pick its shock soaked jaw from the ground on which the career of Nikki Minaj now lays.  I find myself in an unadulterated serendipitous state of total and complete indifference.

 

Bypassing the tried and tested methods of good old fashioned murder, massacre and crucifixion; Remy Ma instead chose torture.  Teasing her victim, she painstakingly dismembered the body that once was the Minaj Legacy.  Cruelly scattering the charred and unrecognisable remains for all to see.  Though, of late, Nicki has been drug up and down the social media battle field more times than a piece of farm equipment at harvest time; I’m having trouble locating the balm of sisterly care, I am told exists within me.

 

For years Minaj has behaved like a Chihuahua, unaware of its size.  Snarling at other dogs regardless of their stature and fighting abilities.  Almost forgetting the inevitable circumstance would arise in which she would agitate a dog who would ultimately bark back.  But in this case, not only did Remy Ma bark, she bit, and did so savagely.

 

Let’s face it Barbz, you can wrap this situation up in a bow any way you want, but she had it coming. I’m no Taylor Swift fan, (if ever they held a ballot of women who should be voted of off the planet, I know who my ‘X’ would go to) but when Minaj tried to call out Swifty, because she felt overlooked by the VMAs, and then pretended she didn’t.  Few including myself leapt to her defence.  Why?  Because, though Nicki boldly declared she was speaking on behalf of Women of Colour, anybody with two brain cells knew Nicki Minaj was speaking on behalf of her-damn-self.  The only time Roman ever seems to find a voice to speak on issues regarding race is when it directly affects her.  Prosecution I refer you to her confrontation with Miley; her tweet based exposition of Iggy Azalea’s ghost-writers and her recent spat with Giuseppe Zanotti who apparently spurned her desire for a sartorial collaboration. The star’s protestations over the treatment of black women in the music industry all boil down, to the bitter soup of self interest; and when you take into consideration her consistently disrespectful, belittling and disdainful approach to the original Queen Bee; become at once laughable.

 

It is universally acknowledged that the emergence of a Chris Brown or an Usher is entirely dependent upon the existence of a fierce burning star like Michael Jackson.  Similarly, there would be no Nicki Minaj, without the wondrous multi-coloured be-wigged fabulosity of a Lil’ Kim.  No one is asking Onika to fall to her knees at the altar of Kim, in preparation of an hour of self-flagellation.  But a simple ‘thank you’ would be nice. Nicki snatched Kim’s wig off, like literally, snatched it off.  Along with everything else that made Kim the legend she is.  Instead of waiting for the torch to be passed, she stole it, not realising that eventually its flames would burn.

 

So, Dearly Beloved Barbz, I want you to remember the times of joy you shared together.  The jarringly, over-bright lipsticks; the wrongly matched foundation, the tooth decay, and the flipped implants.  Here lies the body of one who sang, who rapped and who sadly and untimely was Shethered.

Hate to say I told you so…

Reader I hope you will permit me to make the most shocking of confessions.  Once I have shared this nugget of truth with your good selves, it may very well lead you to request the forthwith revocation of my proverbial ‘Black Card’.  There too remains the possibility that you may question my status as a true millennial and I am certain that you will think me a poor example of a generation that grew up on a diet of lacto-vegan hipsters, topped with a sprinkling of ‘me me me’.  But if the truth be told, I am not, nor have I ever been a fan of Kanye West.  This is not say that I am unable to recognize his talent, but as Kanye stepped out of the shadows of production, taking centre stage as a solo artist I always felt between myself and him a terrific disconnect. Despite Mr West possessing all the vital components that comprise a top tier rapper, to me there always appeared to be a vacancy in his character.  The discrepancy between who Kanye believed himself to be and who he actually was always somewhat perturbed me.

To call Ye contrary is to call Donald Trump polarising; he is the Black Revolutionary whose song Jesus Walks positions Christianity as a cornerstone of personal strength.  (Despite its introduction to peoples of the African Diaspora being highly contentious given its role in replacing indigenous religious beliefs and its use in the justification of the enslavement of African people.)  Kanye who eloquently rails against a love of all things material in New Slaves, later informs us that his hallway looks like a ‘Monastery’ in his collaboration with Big Sean and Drake Blessings.  Which leads me to bestow upon him the auspicious title of the world’s only anti-consumerist, consumer, who is consumed by consumerism.  Of course we must not forget his fantastically misogynistic labelling of Mixed Race women as ‘mutts’, despite the fact that he is now the father of Mixed Race daughter. Oh Kanye, Kanye, Kanye confusion is thy name.

Yes, ladies and gentleman hindsight is a wonderful thing, and of course I don’t blame you for wilfully overlooking the (endless) signs that suggested Kanye was steadily speeding in fifth gear to destination Crazyville.    But at what point does one abandon ship?

The last three years have seen Yeezus partake in a series of ever more disturbing interviews.  He seems to be more tightly wound than a Swiss watch, so numerous are his ravings that I have to keep a bowl of popcorn to hand for every time YouTube comes up with the suggestion ‘Kanye West Rant’. The general consensus was that Kanye’s madness had reached its apex after that Sway interview. Surely there were no new depths of lunacy for Ye to plummet to?  Trolls the internet over rubbed their grubby hands together collectively relieved that the general consensus could not have been more wrong. A Twitter meltdown ensued in which West begged for handouts from the  elite and also admitted to being $53 million dollars in debt.  Then an interweb feud with Wiz Khalifa lead to the revelation that West does indeed like a ‘finger in the booty’.  And who could forget his May 2016 appearance on Ellen?

There is something distinctly repetitive about the approach West has taken of late to the media in general.  His mind rarely veers away from his frustration with the fashion world.  His self-announced alignment with greats such as Shakespeare, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.  The limitless virtues of his two dimensional wife and his monosyllabic proclamation ‘we all slaves’. Though Kanye tries to spin his maniacal ramblings as a call for self-contemplation en masse, I can not help but see his words and actions as little more than a reflection of himself. Is his disillusionment with top couturiers a result of their lack of inclusivity to fashion outsiders?  Or a result of their open refusals to include him?  As West cries foul at the Western phenomena of brand worshipping, it seems unlikely he would scoff at the chance to have the public worship him.  Some might say, he would relish the very idea of us 99 percenters being enslaved to his label.

Of his  wife he has declared that she should be seen as no less than a modern day Marilyn Monroe, and when speaking to Steve Harvey he made the startling claim that Mrs West had broken barriers in fashion.  Apparently prior to discovering her cosmetically enhanced form, designers saw women of the curvaceous variety as merely an after thought. Serena Williams and Jennifer Lopez please take note, Queen Kim is an innovator, not an imitator.  In the same interview he also bizarrely declared that had it not been for Kim, interracial couples would be afraid to go to amusements parks. Got that Mrs Loving? Had it not been for Kim Black people the world over would not have the right to choose a partner who burns in the sun and pays £3.50 for a coffee. Kanye’s keenness to remind us all of Kim’s infinite contributions to humanity, only magnifies his own acute awareness of popular attitudes towards her.  The most common being that she is a turd artfully covered in multi-coloured sequins and not his not –so- secret -crush; Beyoncé.  Kanye seems to be going for gold in the buck dancing Olympics, I am expecting any day now the arrival of a new rant in which he heralds this truth; that God did not in fact create mankind on the sixth day, it was the work of Kim.

The days of Kanye challenging the Bush Administration’s anti-black sentiment are long gone, and in its place a new era has been ushered in.  An era of blue contacts, unseasoned Father’s day chicken and styling Caitlyn Jenner. Was I right in my distrust of the simpering, flake-like, wisp of a fool they call Kanye West?  Well I hate to say I told you so…

I do believe there maybe some small hope for our man.  Should he heed the advice he imparts in his song Heard ‘Em Say’.  It is as follows: ‘Wake up Mr West’.