Deen swears this isn’t nepotism.
First Akon came for our ears. As an African, I was low-key proud of what the guy achieved in the music industry – if not the music. Then Wale showed up and I was on the team for a minute until we really got to know about his smarmy, over-sensitive twattery – which inspired me to indulge in my worst “crabs in a bucket type” shit ever. Don’t get me wrong. I’m pleased that he got a second chance and made full use of it, but unless he’s rapping over African shit (“Oliver Twist Freestyle“) or that “Bait” song when it pops up on the shuffle. I’m not really trying to hear any Wale post-Attention Deficit (a decent effort by the way). All I’m interested in is slandering that dusty fuck in a variety of amusing and less than amusing ways. *
As a matter of fact, you can extend those horrible sentiments to any rapper of African origin in the States. Here’s the deal: because of Wale, I hate all of you. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it’s going to be until “ol’ schoolgirl braids” makes music good enough to justify the smirk on his face.
I wrote all that to write this: this kid ANTHM is seriously making me reconsider my stance on immigrant rap. ** Full disclosure: we have have the same alma mater, but the truth is that going to Duke is still more likely to make me hate you anyway, so he scores zero points for that shit. Besides, a mutual friend once told me an averagely hilarious story about a night on the town they had. If I may talk about the music for a brief second (“please do!” you say. I hear you. I’m sorry). This “When We Were Kings” mixtape is pretty good. ANTHM combines the best (read: least annoying) talents of the beige rap brigade with dextrous lyricism. There’s nothing new here, but the 11 songs on this set all sound really good, if you can get past some of the “everyman” rap and abstract romanticism on 3 or 4 tracks (still fire though).
It also helps that this guy paid waaaay more attention in school than J.Cole. He sounds smarter. Really. My favorite song on the tape is probably ‘Stolen Whips’ with Black Rob – not because of the music per se, but more because you’ll notice that Black Rob does a verse AND a hook on the track. I’d like to bury my cynicism for a second and say that ANTHM paid Black Rob for a verse and got him to throw in co-hook duties for free. But I know it’s more likely that he paid for both out of the goodness of his wallet because Black Rob is broke as fuck. Matter of fact, the “aspiring” rapper is almost certain to be more solvent than Black Rob after a brief career on Wall Street and I take two more points from that fact: (1) ANTHM really wants to be a rapper and cares about the “art”, and (2) More importantly, my Duke degree may actually have some value to me someday. Hope springs eternal, or at least until I see my desk again. Ugh.
So where does this leave me and my fucked up sentiments on Africans in rap? At the exact same spot. Good music isn’t enough to stop me from being a terrible person. I want to whisper that last sentence in Tipper Gore’s ear while buggering her. She’s been single for a while now, right? And even better, I just realized that I wrote this entire thing about the wrong mixtape. HAAAAAA! I was listening to some shit called “New Releases” on ANTHM’s website, but When We Were Kings is an entirely different tape. But you know what? I’ll still vouch for “When We Were Kings” sound unheard, because ANTHM can rap and make songs. He’s that good. And I’m that distracted at work. You care.
Oh and right on cue, Akon and French Montana just dropped a new video with Akon doing some underground MMA shit. Yeah, I’ll just stick to this ANTHM tape and my Tipper Gore fantasies…
* True story: I cursed out the biggest Wale fan I know about 3 weeks ago at a party. She thinks I cursed her out because she’s an asshole that always ruins the party vibe with her bougie bullshit, but I really just called her a cunt severally because she wouldn’t shut up about that “Lotus Vagina Fire song.”
** No, French Montana didn’t really do that. I still despise Morocco. Thanks to him, but more because of Marouane Chamakh. Soccer/Arsenal fans will understand that. I don’t care about the rest of you.
ZIP: ANTHM – When We Were Kings (Left-Click)