This newsletter marks the latest installment of Irregular Vegetables, a 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.
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.
On the contemporary jewelry scene, early hip-hop artists were among the first to wear plaques, a style that Vikki Tobak, author of the 2022 book “Ice Cold; A Hip Hop Jewelry History,” said emerged from New York’s Black and Latino communities. “The community jewelry stores that served the Black and Latino communities in the ’80s were selling the plaque-style pendants with saints and other spiritual imagery,” she said. “Inevitably all that sort of imagery and iconography translated into folks from the hip-hop community wearing them. “And because in the hip-hop community there’s such a culture of remixing and intense customization and this great need to express ones’ identity and be ‘one of one,’ you started to see these pendants being worn as a way to tell people who you were.” (Read more at the New York Times)
Somehow, Kamaiyah had just one release (the buoyant and fantastic 'Before I Wake') between her successful 2016 debut and the start of the pandemic. Now free from the confines of Interscope and 4Hunnid, the founder of Keep It Lit Records is making up for stolen time. To listen to Kamaiyah’s music is to get great news and run to celebrate with all the homies. Production is neon-lit, liquor-stained and subwoofer-destroying. Raps are bellowed anthemically with group vocals. The swagger matches a centrifugal force of a thousand suns, but the delivery itself is effortless and chilly. 'Another Summer Night' comes on the heels of a collaborative album with Jay Worthy and Harry Fraud, though as evidenced by the title, it was supposed to drop earlier to support a summer tour with YG, Tyga and Saweetie. Still, Kamaiyah’s latest is a heavily-poured cocktail of all that makes her captivating – bottles rattle from the bass of “Take a Sip,” chest-out self-reliance occupies every second of “XXL Letterman,” and the freaks and gangstas commingle on the club floors of “Every Friday” and “Extra Love.” (Read more at Passion Of The Weiss)
Despite 'XXX' articulating in roughly equal measures a profound death drive, a ravenous desire to eat pussy, and a propensity for stripping copper wire from the walls of abandoned homes, it was broadly acclaimed by fans deep in the underground-rap weeds and trend-conscious omnivores. Its follow-up, 2013’s 'Old,' became an indie rap blockbuster, its shrewd construction—one block of raucous rave songs followed by another that documented a harrowing comedown—both critiquing and accommodating his newfound stardom. The new LP is a gut check about the progress he has and hasn’t made. At times, Danny is self-deprecating about the parallels between 'XXX' and 'Quaranta.' But even in doing so, he captures the restlessness and sorrow at the heart of the new work. “'XXX' was me crying about how I wanted to be a rapper, time running out, this and that,” he will later tell me over wings at a sleepy sports bar. “Now, ten years later, I am a rapper—and crying about being a rapper.” (Read more at GQ)
“I’m on a 26-year run; like even Forrest Gump wasn't on this run. You gotta reinvent yourself man,” Cam’ron says. “For rappers who came out in the ’90s or even early 2000s, [rapping] shouldn't be the main thing you're doing. Like when you say Jay-Z is a billionaire, it's not all for music, you know what I'm saying?” Opportunistic hustle has been a trademark of Cam’ron’s legacy and career. His latest journey as a sports personality started earlier this year with the debut of his YouTube show 'It Is What It Is.' While rappers like Joe Budden and Lil Wayne have made cameos on sports television over the years, there’s never been a rapper to go down the path of a full-time sports media personality until Cam’ron and his co-host Mase. And clearly, there’s an audience for it. Cam’ron and Mase provide unfiltered commentary that goes way beyond the box scores. While the longtime Harlem friends provide some commentary based off their knowledge of the game, their comedic, barbershop approach to analysis is the backbone of their success. (Read more at Complex)
Three new tracks for you to snack on...
Q Da Fool, "Driver"
Cam Gnarly, "Blessed With, Stressed With"
Johnny Ciggs & Starr Nyce, "CIGARETTES AT SUN UP"