Vision vs. Vixen: Kid Cudi gives hope for a hoeless future in music

Kid Cudi, born Scott Mescudi, stepped on the scene, at first discreetly, with a feature on Kanye West’s ‘808’s and Heartbreak’ album on the track “Welcome to Heartbreak.” Not many knew who he was at the time, and not many more cared since he wasn’t busting out with the latest “dance craze” or rapping about Bentleys and breasts. But I believe he secured a place in the minds of hip hop fans everywhere with his debut video “Day N Nite” which premiered on BET’s 106 and Park on February 19, 2009. The video and the song completely connected. And in a time when artistes get more recognition for having the hottest club smasher over strong lyrical content and having a message, Kid Cudi takes a step up by actually focusing on the craft. He takes me back to the days where music was about talent and not all talk. I yearn for those days. I dream of the day where music will go back to its roots and make...MUSIC!

For me, Cudi really struck a chord on my favourite track ‘The Prayer’ off his debut album when he said:
“I’m thinking God made me special,
Here on purpose, so all the while till I’m gone,
Make my words important so if I slip away, if I die today,
The last thing you remember won’t be about some apple bottom jeans with the boots with the fur”

Even the hook for this song makes me feel like the music is about the art and the love for the fans:

“If I die before I wake I pray the lord my soul to take,
But please don’t cry, just know that I have made these songs for you.”

I’ve listened to this album several times, on good days and bad days and it always makes me feel happier with the mere thought that there is hope for music. Of course we have the greats like Rakim, Nas, Jay Z, Common, The Roots, Tupac and the other rappers who paved the way and set the standard for the forward movement of hip hop. But, let’s face it, they probably won’t be making records in 10 – 15 years because they’ll be old with families, settled down and resting easy on their contribution to the music industry, and maybe doing other things like charities, acting etc. The people who’ll be making records in 10 – 15 years are hopefuls like Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Gym Class Heroes, Kanye West, among others. 

It’s time for new musicians to recognise that they will set the tone for the quality of music in the future. I don’t think some musicians understand that just as Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Prince influenced them, they will serve as influences for other aspiring musicians. So please stop making shit like “Stanky Leg”, “Get Silly” and all other variations of filth filtering onto our airwaves. Make music that means something. If you don’t have the talent then get a day job and stop making me despise the radio! I really wonder how people get record deals sometimes. For the “music” that I’m hearing now, I could get a damn record deal and talk about a bunch of shit and look cute and make money. When did it become all about the glam and the gimmick? There’s too much beef and chicken heads in the kitchen. Get your shit together people! 

Now, on to one of the main reasons I like Kid Cudi. Hoeless music videos. I can dig it. The ‘Day N Nite’ video – hoeless (though there was a remix video where there was a white girl cop stripping down and 2 back up girls dancing, but you can tell it was for fun, that’s the difference), the ‘Make Her Say’ video – hoeless. I must say, I have a great appreciation for the lack of scantily clad “video vixens” and the lens is finally refocusing where it should be, on the ARTISTE. The spotlight is actually not on the girl in those black boyshorts who could make her ass jiggle like jello or about making it rain on them hoes. I hope this is an example that other rappers will follow. I look forward to the hoeless future of music videos. I understand that video vixens have their place in the world of music videos. But I prefer that they are used in a more theatrical way to tell a story. Hip hop needs to take tips from some R&B videos like Ne-Yo’s new video ‘Part of the List’ and Maxwell’s “Pretty Wings” video which is VERY sexy and guess what? No one’s half naked with breasts and ass hanging out! Yay! Kid Cudi, kudos to you. Please don’t make me have to take that back. Keep the focus on the craft and don’t get lost in translation. You’ve got my ears.

Your real music advocate,



Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

We all know the song by the late Biggie Smalls featuring the (then) oh so cool Mase with his double dimples and lazy boy slur and the unskilled (always) Puff Daddy (before any modern "updates" to his rap persona). Here's a sample of the hook just in case you're not a fan of hip hop (boo to you):

"I don't know what, they want from me
Its like the more money we come across
The more problems we see"

Now, initially I was all up on this track, singing along and shit, real feelin' the vibe, however, now that I'm grown (and as I told a friend tonight: "broke, bored and unemployed") I find myself asking a series of questions about this rap philosophy. Questions such as: WHAT THE FUCK?! What the hell are they talking about? How could having more money even remotely equate to having more problems? Were rappers on some super crack "Blue Magic" shit back then (as this is the only way i could see more money leading to more problems)? Was it solely about the amount of money it took to primp their "baby mommas" and "hoes"?

I was in a sound state of confusion, as you can well imagine now that I am imposing it on you at this very moment. I tried to calm myself down to thoroughly dissect this rap philosophy by drinking a cup of green tea (I'm such a thug). After much deep thought, I came up with what I believe to be a sensible conclusion; niggas a.k.a. black people a.k.a afrikans never know how to manage their money properly, THAT'S where the "mo' money, mo' problems" is rooted! Eureka! Trust me, I KNOW. Mo' money, Mo' problems is about blackness. Yes. Blackness. It's about what we do with our money when we get money that leads to the more problems and that leads to more money spending to fix those problems and that's how we end up with the MC Hammers of the world.

The first thing the money's spent on is getting fresh. The clothes, the car, the house, the arm candy, the club hopping, "the look". Achieving the ultimate swag is a main aspect of blackness in the rap world. It's the 'ideal' of the "bling bling" lifestyle that has some of these fools out here "making music" (ha!) right now (but don't get me started on them!! *sips more green tea*) Most rappers have their charity game going on, giving back to the community and all that goodness, this all comes after the freshness though. There's some prioritizing for your ass. Getting fresh takes a big chunk out of the "mo" in the money.

Then we have the loafer niggas. You know them. I know them. And we be broke, so imagine what rich people have to go through with them. Just straight up shameless loafer niggas. Rappers have to deal with these characters more often than the average rich person because most of them made their way of the slums or the ghetto and places of that nature. So they have to deal with the challenge of people saying, "Oh he done changed now that he rich, don't wanna help a nigga pay his rent," as they were apparently helping to pay the rent before...? Shameless blackness, wanna grab on coat tails and not make their own way. Sometimes those people are friends so it might be harder to say no. And the friends ask a LOT. Then there's the feeling of obligation to help "the marish and the parish" (as we Trinis say) and their list of "needs" that must be met is always the longest.

Next on the list is the ever prominent baby momma who demands her child support to pay for the baby's new pair of air jordans and 24K gold chain. An ABSOLUTE necessity! (:-S) Not to mention she has to get her nails did for the grammy awards. Hello! Women have and always will be a liability in some way or another. I accept that. Rappers embrace it. More so back in the days of Biggie than now although modern rappers still don't seem to know about condoms and birth control, as it seems sex ed. for adults is either unavailable or incomprehensible.

Last but not least is the maintenance of all these aforementioned expenses. Maintenance is often times a bitch. You can't have just enough money to build a house and build it just so, what if a pipe bursts? What about stocking the new kitchen every month? So, that ever sleek Bentley that they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on and that sugary sweet white Range Rover guzzles gas and costs thousands more to maintain. So what's left of the "m" in the money goes into maintenance, not just of these assets, but also of the image that they have created for themselves. Swag is up kept not unkempt, everything must remain pristine.

This is my green-tea-clarity-induced conclusion to the "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems" PLIGHT of the rap world. My take on it however is that if having more money brings on more problems then hire a therapist (i refer to them as "the rapists" [get it?]), lay down on the fucking couch and let them instruct you so you don't have to deal with it. CLEARLY! Bring on the more money and more problems for me. I will have none of the above issues as my blackness has been diluted due to race mixing. Ha! I've beaten the man yet again!

Your seeker of mo' money no problems,


"Pimpin' nigga, you know how we do!"