This newsletter marks the latest installment of Irregular Vegetables, a (semi-) weekly series of CABBAGES emails where I share links to recent writings from other hip-hop/rap/cannabis journos and critics, squeezing in my own work as I see fit. These 420-friendly editions hit inboxes on Thursdays.
Enjoy this week’s reads and keep scrolling for another edition of Crudites, where I recommend three recent singles/videos from hip-hop artists you may not be familiar with yet.
Across the album, there are significant touches that link back to Puerto Rico. But a big inspiration for Towers continues to be East Coast hip-hop. He’s known for a laid-back and raunchy lyrical delivery that toys with street codes as well as empowering and romantique tropes. His vocal projection shifts and changes depending on melodic tones, whether he’s singing, sing-rapping, or providing sharp bars. “Most of my favorite rappers are from New York like Biggie and Jadakiss,” he explains, adding that Biggie’s influence is what inspired the track “Cama King,” featuring Argentinian artist Chita. Later, he teams up with industry titan Arcangel on “Don & Tego,” a tribute to the figures that inspired both rappers: genre pioneers Don Omar and Tego Calderon. (Read more at Rolling Stone)
Yet astonishingly, according to the song’s producer, Rsonist (real name Gregory Green), it’s a miracle the “Dipset Anthem” ever made it out at all. “I was literally just about to throw ‘Dipset Anthem’ away when my cousin walked in the studio… he said I would be crazy to get rid of it,” recalled the musician and nucleus behind influential Bronx-raised production duo The Heatmakerz. “I actually made that beat back in 2001, while I was a student [at Howard University], and because it was my fifth beat of the day, my ears were fried and I guess I didn’t know what sounded good anymore. I thought it was trash.” The song was also moments away from missing out on the final track listing for 'Diplomatic Immunity,' handed in to irritated parent label Def Jam just minutes before the shut off deadline. Perhaps the only reason the request was approved at all was due to the excitement of Cam’ron, who lovingly referred to the “Dipset Anthem” beat as “that Bob Marley shit” and had generated goodwill among the boardroom suits after delivering a platinum plaque with 2002’s 'Come Home With Me.' (Read more at Okayplayer)
I think more interesting than what he’s saying is why it’s being amplified. Mel’s interview comes after Keith Murray’s late December Art Of Dialogue interviews where he went viral for sharing an obscene story about Foxy Brown. More than whatever humor people derived from it, it was depressing to me. He looked like he might not have been sober; it felt exploitative. In the heat of those clips, media personality Doggie Diamonds tweeted about how YouTubers pay legends a nice bag to say off-the-wall shit on their channel, knowing they’ll recoup and then some. It looks like that’s Mighty Bolton’s current play on his Art Of Dialogue channel. I generally like Bolton’s channel. He does important archival work... It’s important for people like him to document history. But it’s also important for people to actually watch them because what happens otherwise is they end up resorting to putting up anything up for views. (Read more at More Fire)
At the moment, BigXthaPlug is the pride of contemporary Dallas street rap. In rap history, Dallas’ influence doesn’t get the same shine as Houston, but it shouldn’t be discredited for introducing D-Town boogie, jiggin’ dances, and shag hairstyles into the culture. BigX stands on the shoulders of Dallas rap pillars like Big Tuck, Dorrough, Mr. Pookie and Mr. Lucci, and Yung Nation to become the next exciting voice for locals to champion. And with his debut album 'AMAR,' things feels like they’re a step closer to national ascendence... Whereas other Southern rappers made it off Auto-Tuned melodies, BigX’s specialty is straight raps about the ups and downs of robbing people to get by, repping his set, and getting his shine on. (Read more at Passion Of The Weiss)
Three new tracks for you to snack on...
greenSLLIME & BOATHOUSE, "Raps Don't Move Me"
Hannah Jadagu, "Warning Sign"
milkdrop, "A Place In The Sun"