The bad boys and girls dominate new releases
Since the beginning of the entertainment industry, there have always been celebrities that just can‚Äôt seem to keep themselves out of trouble. Certain artists court controversy as often as they court producers, and some even end up making a career based more on bad press than actual talent.
Seemingly living by the ethos of ‚Äúthere‚Äôs no such thing as bad press,‚ÄĚ the celebrities in this week‚Äôs New Noise have had their fair share of public beef with other celebrities, but still manage to drop some pretty great tracks every now and then. Now that‚Äôs some serious multitasking.
Ghostface Killah: ‚ÄúThe Sure Shot (Parts 1 & 2)‚ÄĚ
The crazy-talented Ghostface Killah has made his own name in the music world, with his solo efforts being just as lauded as his work with the Wu-Tang Clan. The rapper also has been involved in a couple of incidents, including with Biggie, Mase (remember him?) and 50 Cent. His most recent effort is a collaborative album with producer/Renaissance man Adrian Younge entitled Twelve Reasons to Die. The record is produced by fellow Clan member RZA and is set for release on April 16. The second single dropped from the album so far is ‚ÄúThe Sure Shot (Parts 1 & 2),‚ÄĚ a double-bomb song for the price of one. The two-part track is a mini-drama in and of itself ‚ÄĒ Part 1 is a resplendent intro that conjures up an image of a red carpet being rolled out, while Part 2 shoots out with dramatic keys that let you know that Mr. Killah has officially arrived. The beat just doesn‚Äôt quit and the cymbal-heavy percussion actually sounds real, as opposed to sounding like it was created by the push of a button. Ghostface‚Äôs flow is furious as usual and he rhymes words before you can even digest what he said. I‚Äôd hate to be told off by the guy.
Drake: ‚Äú5AM in Toronto‚ÄĚ
The Canadian rapper first gained fame playing Jimmy Brooks (aka Wheelchair Jimmy) on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Since his first EP in 2009, Drake has enjoyed huge success in the music world, but not without a load of beef so big that it might as well be a steak. The guy has had so many issues with other celebrities that he has his own feuds section on Wikipedia. That‚Äôs when you know you‚Äôve made it.
Pusha T, Common, Ludacris, Chris Brown and Charlamagne Tha God (is that seriously someone‚Äôs handle?) comprise the lucky guys that made Drake‚Äôs page. Drake must‚Äôve ‚Äúeenie meenie miny moe‚ÄĚ-ed his way to Chris Brown recently, because that‚Äôs who he‚Äôs dredging up new fighting words for in his new track, ‚Äú5AM in Toronto.‚ÄĚ
The song is produced by Boi-1da and features his usual idiosyncratic and confident flow. The beat is the star of the track: heavy, hollow and hard-hitting, banging against a booming bass that holds up Drake‚Äôs raps. There‚Äôs a borderline-raver synth in the background, but somehow it works with the resonating beat and ends up being the perfect accompaniment. There are a few lyrics that are raising eyebrows for their Chris Brown/Rihanna implications, along with lines that seem to refer to Common, The Weeknd and even MTV‚Äôs recent ‚ÄúHottest MC‚ÄĚ list. ‚Äú5AM in Toronto:‚ÄĚ when the dissing happens.
Lupe Fiasco: ‚ÄúLight Blue‚ÄĚ
Perhaps Lupe Fiasco takes the crown in this round as the most controversial artist. After all, the other celebs featured here beefed with other celebs ‚ÄĒ Fiasco has been taking on the President of the United States, and that definitely requires a special kind of audacity.
Most recently, heads everywhere were being furiously scratched at the fact that Fiasco, who famously told CBS in 2011 that ‚Äúthe biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America,‚ÄĚ was booked for performing at an Obama inauguration bash in Washington, D.C. What‚Äôs weirder is that Fiasco actually showed up and performed.
But of course, in true Fiasco style, he did his anti-war song ‚ÄúWords I Never Said‚ÄĚ for 30 minutes, throwing in some serious shade to the POTUS. After going on an anti-Obama bluster-rap for some time, Fiasco was finally escorted off the stage and, thankfully, he‚Äôs bringing his focus back to music as of late.
Fiasco goes hard in ‚ÄúLight Blue,‚ÄĚ a song with a menacing confidence that has background music made for an X-Files episode. The slimy melting synth in the background is the perfect contrast to the chopped up chorus and gives the track its serious flair. Lupe‚Äôs upcoming album Testuo & Youth is to be released sometime this year, but ‚ÄúLight Blue‚ÄĚ is not off the LP.
Ciara: ‚ÄúBody Party‚ÄĚ
And now for something completely different! Ciara rose to fame in 2004 by ‚Äú1-2 Step‚ÄĚ-ing into all of our hearts, but she hasn‚Äôt been bulletproof from the rumor mill, either. The singer has been rumored to have beefed with Keri Hilson, Beyonc√© and Rihanna (common denominator much?).
The Ciara-Rihanna beef seemed to have been filed away, but recently it fired up again with a picture Rihanna posted on her Instagram of her and her friends apparently laughing at a video of Ciara doing an a cappella version of ‚ÄúBody Party.‚ÄĚ Sounds pretty tame (and lame), and thankfully Ciara hasn‚Äôt fed the flames yet.
‚ÄúBody Party‚ÄĚ is actually a delectable trip down the ‚Äô90s R&B lane. The song features a slow-mo sample of Ghost Town DJ‚Äôs classic hit ‚ÄúMy Boo‚ÄĚ and was produced by Mike WiLL Made It (who needs a new name). The sound is a vintage R&B bedroom song, sounding like it could be a B-side to something off of Janet Jackson‚Äôs Velvet Rope. The song has minimal autotune, which makes the track sound even more ‚Äô90s and authentic.
There are times that Ciara‚Äôs vocals suggest that the melody is a key or two too high for her range, but the perfect sampling and retro vibe of the song make up for any slights. If ‚ÄúBody Party‚ÄĚ was a TV show, it‚Äôd be one of those programs that was only played after 11 p.m. on Friday nights. And I mean that in the most non-greasy way possible.
Rishbha Bhagi is a graduate student pursing a degree in communication management. Her column ‚ÄúNew Noise‚ÄĚ runs Wednesday.