Part of that golden 4th qtr of releases in 2001, Stillmatic, dropped 12 years ago today. I thought it was earlier in the month but *shrugsies*. This heat was phenominal. I used to like it more than illmatic (I was 7 when ill dropped, 14 with Still, context guys). But if you still think ether is better than takeover then you’re just an idiot.
Because Jay was born today and Pimp died today. Beginnings & endings are everyday. Possibilities are endless. Open your eyes
Read this piece on The Fader bout STEEZ
. It’s incredible. Eye opening. We’ll never have the answers we want but it certainly provides more closure to some and answers a few questions. RIP STEEZ
now were a month short from the one year anniversary of his passing but this is still important.
Now I dug STEEZ verses on Joey shit. But I just left it at that. Until SHE told me to check his tape. AmeriKKKan Korruption. And WOW. after that Joey didn’t even exist to me anymore. Cuz in Pro Era I knew STEEZ was THAT dude. I was disappointed when I got Reloaded cuz I had thought it was ALL new songs. But at least we got 7. And when the group tape dropped his verse on Like Water was magical. I IMMEDIATELY cut STEEZ verse into a ringtone (one I still have). Then a couple days later on I’m graveyard and I see the tweets. “The End” then I see Joey’s tweeters. And that’s it. No REAL answers about anything until that article. STEEZ, you are missed.
Allen Iverson was my hero. Growing up Shaq always was (and is still is) my favorite player of all time. But I wasn’t no big man. So by the time I started playing basketball FOR REALSIES (13 LATE START). I was into street ball (And1 & the Rucker tournaments) & Allen Iverson. I was a 5’6/7″ and everyone was taller. Naturally I was a pretty great athlete. I was just short and skinny with an attitude. OF COURSE! I was gonna gravitate to The Answer. While some of the finer points of the game were harderto grasp and time a lot of hard work, my handles came about pretty nartually. It took time for me go learn how to dribble growing up, bit once i did? game over. Handles got nasty quick.
Eighth grade I got my first pair of Iverson’s. The white & red Questions Mid. Top 5 shoe I ever owned. Comfort, durability, looks. EVERYTHING. From then on I only bought Iverson’s while everyone else bout Jordan’s. I became known for it. And I developed my game in his image too. Slick crossovers. Acrobatic drives. Setting up teammates based on my offensive talents. I couldn’t shoot for shit (lol). I got names like baby Iverson, Mexican Iverson or just Iverson. Thanks to my shoes and game. Even the grown folk I was destroying at the park at 13-14-15. “Who’s gonna guard Iverson?!”.
These days my game is elsewhere. When I’m in shape I like to say my game is a mirror of Gilbert Arenas circa 06-07 when he was a monster. And before I became GA, I honed my shooting and PG skills and my friends started calling me Nash haha. But Iverson is still in my heart. He’s a warrior. He did some dumb things. But on the court he’ll always be a legend. A “6 Foot” combo guard that never had a great team. One of the greatest pure scorers ever. Under rated passer. A wizard at picking pockets and playing the passing lanes for steals. He single-handedly carried the 76ers to the finals and won a game against one of the all time great teams. He stole that MVP from Shaq and I’m ok with it. He’s the man. So thank you Allen Iverson. You made me who I am as a basketball player. Your legacy will always live on. A true warrior.
**the lasting image in my head will always be stepping over Tyronn Lue, and not him crossing over Jordan two times in a row and sinking the jumper in his face. And even though it’s just Tyronn Lue. It’s the magnitude of the moment. Clock winding down. The crossover. The shot. The finals. Then he fucking steps over the guy with the evilest of stares! Jesus. I’ve seen god and his name is Allen Iverson.
I got death row’s greatest hits in 99. And it was amazing. Sure it had all the mega hits that had been all over the radio since I discovered hiphop in 92 (and one of the 2 songs that got me started). But I didn’t care. This was that heat. But it had a few gems I wasn’t as familiar with. This being one of them. Jodeci + Tha Dogg Pound = PURE FUCKING FILTH! And at the age of 12, I was all for it.
09. Common & Friends. De La “set”. They started performing this song. I saw em do it at rock the bells the year before. So I was like oh ok. This cool. Then it happened. DOOM! The Supervillain himself walks out. I lose my shit. You’ll never convince that it was him. It was a charity concert. I don’t think De La is bringing out a DOOMposter. And he wasn’t yet deported (was he REALLY deported or did he go back to London and now they won’t let him back?). That will always be one of the best nights of my life. When you bring it up people who were there still rave about it and the people that missed it still regret it. Epic. Not to mention I was sharing the greatness with olwhatshername, in all her glory.
I know in the past I’ve spoken of this but here we are again. Being that I was reminded of these songs several times the past couple of days I figured why not do it again.
Dilla: The Immortal
I also imagine I’ll be inside HER at some point when these joints is playing. Definitely will.
So bang. It’s kinda rainy and things aren’t timing well. So we miss the Yeezus pop up shop. Sad faces. But it’s cool cuz we got plenty of time to make it to the actual show. So we get downtown with the quickness. Post up by The Melt. Grilled cheese food truck. Devoured the good poison they bequeathed upon us in exchange for our legal tender. Enta da stage. We got some pretty good seats. We right on time. Merch lines were STUPID! Sorry pals I was tryna get merch for. More sad faces.
Kendrick is set to begin. Now, I have seen Mr Lamar at least 10 times. I’m over it. But Teddy has yet to see him perform a full solo set. Opening for the gawd Yeezus was not gonna be the best place to see him. And it wasn’t. At this point he’s exclusively performing the vastly overrated Good Kid MAAD City record. So all the grade A classic shit we’ve come to Love is resting in performance peace (at least for this tour). He still performed the hell out of the songs though. I’ll give him that. He put on for the set.
Intermission. We decide to post up and talk shit. I’d like to note before Yeezus’ appearance I requested aloud to the gods that Kanye do a concert performing ALL his records. And said I want to hear Thru The Wire and see the “jesus dance”….
Yeezus has arrived. Now before we go any further he performed for almost 2 fucking hours!!!! Unheard of!! So my replay of the setlist is gonna be hella off and hella all over the place, cuz for realsies he was all over the place and it was magical.
He had white hoes parading around in body suits that made em look nakey. He had a moving platform. He had a mountain with pyrotechnics. He had white jesus. He had bedazzled gimp/luchador masks. He had ALL THE ENERGY OF THE SUN PUMPING THRU HIS VEINS. How he does this thing night in and night out is amazing. At some point he performed all of Yeezus. Little here. Little there. Black skinhead, new slaves, I am a god . . . they all sounded beautiful. Then he went into a GOOD music/feature set. Songs like Mercy, Clique, Nwords In Paris, I Don’t Like And for the strangest yet ever so delightful reason he did (way too) Cold. I was too excited for that. Then back into the Yeezus performance. The theatre of the performance was ok. It didn’t matter really. But it helped transition , I guess. When he finally dropped Blood On The Leaves??!?!?! I think I lost it. Not like the white hoes in front of us, cuz they had the no rhythm dancing to even the transition music all stupid wild like game on smash, though. He did a couple other Yeezus songs and then pow he does Coldest Winter instead of Hey Mama. I. Am. Not. Mad! I believe he did another set of old songs. It might have been at this point he did Thru The Wire and my life is complete. The gawds had my back. And what does he follow with? JESUS WALKS! No jesus dance tho. =\ That’s how it all went. Yeezus to the old shit. He was giving me the concert I had hoped for in the future but right in front of my eyes!! He did diamonds from Sierra Leone remix into rihanna’s diamonds remix. KILLER! He did Runaway and it was amazing! He did Lost in the World. He did Street Lights (and I beamed the biggest smile and almost cried. Almost) before all this he did Can’t Tell Me Nothin. He did Flashing Lights. He did Stronger. Some of the renditions he did were slightly different from the originals and it was very refreshing. Kinda tweaked them to fit the vibe of the entire show. SMART. Good Life. Heartless. Power. All Of The Lights. It was all there for us to enjoy. The new the old the classic. He gave us the most spectacular of presentations. He IS a god. No doubt. Oh yeah, his Hold My Liquor? I LOVED that shit. It didn’t differ from any other songs he performed off Yeezus, but I just appreciated it more. After all of this? And so much I’m leaving out, HE CLOSED WITH BOUND 2!! A little odd of a choice to close with but not really. Kind of PERFECT! No Uncle Charlie “Last Name” Wilson, but still AFUCKINGMAZING. And poetic being the live performance of the song on Fallon is what led to me even wanting and getting tickets to see this shit. Yeezus wasn’t at all like that Fallon performance. And I’m thankful for this. Kanye is a true master of his craft and treated us to something more special than I could’ve ever imagined. Thank you (based god)
So it’s 2002. We still recovering from an AMAZING 4th quarter of hiphop releases in 2001. The Blueprint. Ghetto Fabolous. Stillmatic. Come Home With Me. Genesis. Just to name a few off top. I’ve become familiar with this Jay Dee/Dilla cat. Fantastic Vol 2 dropped in 1999 but we was wild late on it. It’s incredible. And just as I learn about the gawd I also learn the upcoming Slum album won’t be helmed by Dilla. He’s not in the group anymore. Sad faces. But I’m also learning of all the songs he’s produced over the years and they are songs I hold very dear to my heart (back then and even to this day). Also learn that this “The Ummah”, I’ve heard and read about, is something he’s apart of (and there’s still debates and “stories” over what he did and what Tip did. But I digress). Now I been a Busta fan since I saw that Scenario video at 5 years old (the video, along with Nuthin But A G Thang, that started my torrid Love affair with hiphop). So it was a no brainer to get It Ain’t Safe No More. Especially since Genenis was fires. I find out that Jay Dee produced the title track Genesis and I’m mind blown (I had a bootleg copy). So as I’m listening to It Ain’t Safe I instantly recognize Dilla’s appearance. And this shit here?! It blew my fuckin mind. And I’d venture to tell you this is one of his mild sauce beats. If he even has any. It’s just something he does that no one else can do. Many producers have a signature sound but Jay’s signature sound isn’t something I can describe. It’s just a feeling. He captures that feeling every time. Whether he chops a soul sample beyond recognition or gives you that hardcore boom bap. He gives you his soul. It’s just beautiful.