Friday, October 3, 2014

So...about that new Jeezy...

Harvey Levin, give me a job.

So, unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple days, you've probably heard that Young Jeezy (above) has been hit with a lawsuit for "Me Ok." Per the lawsuit, Wisconsin rapper Big Chris (real name Christopher Syrrakos) actually put this song out five years ago, under the name "13 Shots." Now, I'm not TMZ. I don't like to go in on "rumors" and the like. However, a quick Google search of "Christopher Syrrakos" brings up the TMZ page and the Def Jam/Jeezy suit. It also brings up several court cases against him (along with a poorly-written page on his record label; at least if you're gonna "lie" about having a label, use proper English). Most of these cases, per reading through them, have "Big Chris" being evicted and slapped around with fines with someone I'm going to assume is/was a girlfriend.

I'm no expert, but a "rapper" coming out of the woodwork, claiming copyright infringement, who's only records (in any way, shape, or form--he's not even on Soundclick) are court records? It doesn't look good for Big Chris's chances. Especially since, you know, the song or his album are no where to be found. Another search on the US Copyright database for "Christopher Syrrakos" shows that there are no results to be found. And a search for "13 Shots" showcases nothing by Big Chris. So, unless this copyright was just written on a piece of cardboard, and "copywritten" through the "I'll just send this to myself in the mail" foolishness, I've only got one thing to say.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lumidee - Lumi Mini-Review

I'm trying to turn over a new leaf in music. I want to cast aside the days of acerbic wit and stinging commentary and replace them with a kinder, gentler Speed on the Beat.

At least the cover art is cool, right?

After hearing Lumidee's newest mixtape, those kinder, gentler times will have to wait at least one more day.

The former "Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)" singer returns to a game that's changed a lot in the decade-plus since she first dropped that infectious single. Female singers who can spit a dope bar or sixteen are damn near a dime a dozen (and vice versa), digital releases are commonplace, and New York isn't the de facto, go-to spot for the newest hip-hop trends. So, what's a girl to do? Well, on Lumi, released earlier this week, Lumidee:
  • Gets her 2006-era YouTube mainstream remix on--complete with looped instrumentals straight out of 2003 ("Hideaway," "3005," and "Shake It Off" get this treatment)
  • Gets her The Weeknd/Jhene Aiko on.
  • Gets her Major Lazer on.
  • Seems a bit confused as to whether she wants to return as a rapper who can sing, or a singer who can rap. 
  • Does neither of the above all that well.
  • Doesn't do too much to get the world popping off about her again.
  • Gets washed by her guest stars, who range from Termonlogy to Chris Rivers.
Now, Lumidee has a top-ten hit and I've probably been hit ten times by a car (not all at once, though). But, this isn't "hate." A boring mixtape is a boring mixtape, regardless of who puts it out. If I put out something boring, I'd say "holy crap, this is boring as hell. Walk away." But, for those waiting on Lumidee to have a U.S.-based comeback, this isn't it. It's not a bad mixtape per se, it's just boring as all hell. It brings absolutely nothing that awe-inspiring to the table. Plus, the production aside from a few standouts, sounds like something I would've (ahem) "borrowed" from someone's Soundclick when I still thought about sexing Treeka or some foolishness.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Q&A with Dugee F. Buller

It's finally happened. After a bit of a tease, I got to "sit down" (read: send a couple e-mails back and forth because we're both busy as hell) with veteran, community up-rasier and overall great guy Dugee F. Buller. As you remember, I even got him to lace me with a verse on Death of the King (Surf's up..."Come and Get It!"). I won't delay this anymore than I have already. So, let's get into it.

Speed: For those who don't know, tell the audience and readers a bit more about yourself.

Dugee F. Buller: I’m Dugee F. Buller, writer and reciter for myself and others. I say a Dugee, verse I’m only biggin’ up my brother! (Laughs)

SOTB: Before we get into everything, I've got something that I want to ask--it's something that I've wanted to ask for, like, years, since first hearing you on Arteest's mixtapes (so, at least, four-to-five years ago). Where does your use of "BONG" originate from?

Dugee: Well, in the D.C. area (more concentrated to Uptown D.C.) we say "stamp" to certify 
things. Well, instead of sayin’ "stamp," I would say "bong"…and that’s how we got "BONG" fa’real. It was more of a verbalizing of a sound than a whole word thing. (Laughs)

SOTB: How long have you been doing the whole rap thing?

Dugee: Man, since 2009, to be honest...I dabbled before then but I just got tired of the runaround [and] having to be on other people’s schedules and shit. 

SOTB: Who's influenced you over your career as an artist?

Dugee: Really, no one influenced me as an artist. It was no one I said "I want to be like them." I loved a lot of styles, but I was never really into following an artist to the tee.

SOTB: Who's influenced you, on a more personal level, to strive for excellence?

Dugee: Me! Damn, I know that sounds selfish. But, to be realistic with you, no one wants a person like me to make it as a rapper. Like no one. I have some friends here and there who dig the music. But, that’s ‘bout it. I strive for greatness ‘cus I want it. No one looks at me and goes "Aye, you not in the studio. What’s wrong wit’ u?!?!" I’m the person that has to check myself.

SOTB: So, out of all the songs you've done, which one would you say was the hardest song to put out? Like, what song has the most difficult subject matter?

Dugee: It’s between “Da Echoes” on Moet and Mad Dog and "Wat’s Up" from my earlier years rappin’. "Da Echoes," jus ‘cus the first verse and the hook. I do hear voices. Like, negative voices. And, it sucks ‘cus due to being a black man in a community where “unity” is no more than passing a blunt, it sucks to address what I hear in my head that I’ve been hearing. And “Wat’s Up?” It was the first time I explain my whole reason for rappin’ and not doin’ hella trap rap even though I was juugin at the time.

SOTB: As long-time readers may recall, last year, you dropped the Moet and Mad Dog album/mixtape. How'd that come about?

Dugee: Elegant ratchetness--which is wild, ‘cus a year later? I hear a lot of people using sayings similar to that. But the whole time, it came from what I was asked years before on what it took for me to make an album. I told my mans "get me a bottle of pink nectar Moet and some Orange Jubilee mad dog [and] I’ll make mimosas for every song that is recorded." 

SOTB: If you had to compare that joint to any other collection, mainstream or otherwise, what would it compare to?

Dugee: It’s like Danny Brown's The Hybrid or like GKMC. It’s a movie fa’real. Like, every song had a skit ‘cus every song had a purpose. 

SOTB: How's the feedback been for it and your other work? I know you had the screwed version put out at the beginning of the year, and that was dope. Anything else along those lines?

Dugee: Well, I always get a screwed version of my work--I like that avenue and I like screwed music too and to get me there. The response was fairly good ‘cus it can only be as big as you want it to be. So I did some groundwork. Funniest thing was I got called "cookie cutter rap" by some guy and it hurt me ‘cus I’m so anti-cliché--for him to say such made it seem like my work was done in vain!

SOTB: Outside of rap, I know you collaborate with, like, WR4F and other charity efforts. How did that come about?

Dugee: I know Pro Verb, Mo Betta (Ed. Note: Be sure to check out Mo’s #SantaCause efforts), and other charity group heads off of regular human shit. Like, I didn’t meet them to get verses or promo. I met them to meet them, and we linked as humans. I love charity work. I love mentoring. So, when opportunities show themselves, I’m supposed to duck personal gain and be ‘bout my community and the people in it.

SOTB: Where can other artists/like-minded individuals go to get further involved in those outlets?

Dugee: Stay within the loop. Community outreach isn’t, like, show opportunities. They are actually promoted earlier, so that volunteers can be involved with it. So…go on twitter and IG and Facebook and find them. They are people with open arms!

SOTB: Bringing it back to the music, do you have any new projects on tap that you want the listeners and readers to be on the look out for?

Dugee: Yeah, I got a new EP droppin’ called God Don’t Like Ugly (GDLU): The Revival. It’s something I felt I needed to do. Church is a place where a lot of people get things off they chest. So, with a church theme, I felt it was a good stress reliever of my raps. Then, I got 2 more projects droppin’ that I would love to tell y’all the titles but WE AIN’T GOT NONE! (Laughs)

SOTB: Now, I know you have done a lot of work in the school systems in the DMV. You ever fear that your students or the parents of your students are going to find your music and, like, shit bricks over it? Or is it more like "I'm telling truth, trying to impact lives and better the community through my work. So, if I've got to talk on some kind of 'out there' stuff, so be it?"

Dugee: At this point in life, I don’t care. I live in Prince George's County. No way in hell can a person hear my raps and go "he's not a person to teach my kids." Especially when half these parents have no idea how harshly their lifestyles affect their kids. (Laughs)

SOTB: I've got maybe one or two more questions for you. First, producers you want to work with?

Dugee: K.R.I.T. Like, everybody else is trapped out. It’s cool, I bump it. I just don’t wanna rap on it! (Laughs) And you, my nigga, send me some work, dammit! (Laughs)

SOTB: And our next-to-last question: what are your thoughts on the DMV music scene? 

Dugee: It’s booming. It’s ‘cus u have a choice right now. You can leave and build a buzz—or you can stay and spend as much money as possible to always be in these people’s faces, doin’ fly shit. But, the only thing is, like when go-go was at its peak and everyone wanted to start a band, [DMV] rap is now at its peak and everybody wants to be a rapper. It’s no problem, but what my youngins don’t understand is…that with that type of population, you end up tryna sell rap music to rappers. 

SOTB: Any last shoutouts?

Dugee: Yeah. If you know me, you know I love you. So, I’m not ‘bout to individualize this shit. Uptown, Southside, Northeast, Southwest, P.G., VA, MoCo, B’more, Richmond, Connecticut, NYC, OHIO NIGGA, OHIO HOE! Chi, Detroit, Denver, ATL, Alabama—ROLL TIDE—Arizona, Cali…yeah, I think that’s my shoutout. (Laughs)

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