Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Rap Blog Illuminati Weighs in on 2012


The time to unite has come upon us once again, friends.

Have you ever noticed how all rap bloggers seem to know each other even though they mostly live in different parts of the country/world? Doesn't that seem a bit strange to you???
The reason for this is that we are all members of the Illuminati society of rap bloggers. Why am I telling you about our secret society? Fuck, I dunno dude, don't be a dick and ruin my joke... Anyways, our daily tasks include making sure famous rappers work enough secret Illuminati symbols into their videos and influencing rap music for the worst (we are responsible for Mac Miller and ASAP Rocky becoming semi-popular muahahahhah!).
As an elite member of the Rap Blog Illuminati I decided to invite some of the fellow Illuminati members over to my satanic castle earlier this week to reflect on this past year.
After nailing out our plans for currency manipulation and establishing new world order in 2013 along with a lively debate about whether or not rappers should be allowed to use "swag" as an ad lib in 2013, the conversation inevitably turned to our favorite rap songs of this past year. As we sacrificed a goat and guffawed at the indoctrinated masses we each discussed one chosen song. Here is what everyone had to say:


Serg Dun of Beer and Rap, the Stay Hatin Podcast, and other good things. Follow him on twitter.


Cousin Fik ft. Shady Nate & B-Legit “Show Em Wassup”



I feel like not enough people were fucking with Cousin Fik in 2012, that's part of why I decided to mention him but also because the dude can rap his ass off and makes cool ass fucking songs. Dude can rock a variety of beats but I definitely prefer him over some more hype shit and unlike some rappers Fik can make songs that you can play in a club without feeling like a total shithead, see 2010's Look At Her Butt for proof you idiots. I like dudes' voice, it's interesting enough without getting hella spazzy or being overly monotonous, balance is key young grasshoppers. He can do mob shit and still touch on more live shit without drowning in a weed coma.  Honestly this dude should be getting pumped up more but it just seems like his output this year has been over looked by more popular bullshit ass songs about hugging up on a bitch and playing with molly, sorry HBK'ers. Any dude making a song about knocking motherfuckers down is always getting play from me.


Willy Staley of I Don’t Know, Man and various important publications and the Godfather of Making Jokes about Bay Area Rap on the internet via Nation of Thizzlam. Follow him on Twitter.

Gucci Mane “Gas and Mud”



It's not easy picking favorites. Fortunately my computer -- which, thanks to my line of work and my proclivities, I spend a terrifyingly large portion of my waking life with -- keeps track of that. And upon checking, iTunes informed me that "Gas and Mud" by Gucci Mane was my favorite song of the year. I've listened to it some 79 times (and counting, as I write this) since downloading it on October 18th of this year. Does my computer know me better than I know myself? Or is it just the fact that I started working from home in October of this year, and "Gas and Mud" has been artificially bumped to the top of the pile thanks to a massive shift in the rhythms of my life, a shift that keeps me glued to my computer much of the time? Who knows.

Before the Internet made it easy to listen to whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, I would keep a blank tape in my boombox, hoping to record the songs I liked off of KMEL as they came on. I'm not special. Everyone did this. But it's nice to look back on it, and consider this change in our relationship to music and technology that has taken place in the last decade, and ponder what effects it might have had. In particular, I recall that E-40's "Big Ballin With My Homies" was incredibly elusive. That song came out in 1999, one year before Napster went mainstream. I absolutely loved it, but radio barely ever played it. When I finally did manage to get it, it was terrible quality, and started maybe 20 seconds into the first verse, but it allowed me to actually listen to the song whenever I wanted to. And I did. And I bought Charlie Hu$tle when it first came out, and continued to listen to "Big Ballin With My Homies" on repeat.

Now I can listen to whatever I want whenever I want, and I hate almost all of it. Unless my iPod has run out of batteries, I can never long to hear a song and not hear it. Never. Nor do I ever wish I had more people who liked the same music I do -- I'm absolutely surrounded by them, because I choose to have it that way. It would be hard to explain to my 13 year-old self that finding music would actually come to be somehow less satisfying when it was all made free and incredibly simple, but if I had a time machine I'd tell that chubby motherfucker just that. So, not that I'm even certain I really loved "Gas and Mud" all that much, it appears that it was my favorite song. Even when I could have been listening to any song that has ever been recorded over the last century, I chose to listen to "Gas and Mud" on repeat. It must have done something for me -- my computer says that I love it.



Nyquil of Cobraswag. 100 Grand contributor and chillest of chill bros. Follow him on Twitter.

E-40 ft. Cousin Fik "Wasted"



This is a good song for obvious reasons. Like a fine wine with crackers and cheese (j/k wine mostly sucks for the most part unless its sangria), E-40 and cousin fik go really well together. The hook and beat kinda sound suspiciously like that song "like a g-6", but it works out anyways. Plus it has a silly music video to go along with it!



Tesse Wolfson of No One Dies Forever, a hot up-and-coming blog that the streets are buzzing about.

Rich the Factor “Track 07”



This song may not actually be the best song that came out in 2012, but it brings out a strong emotional response in me. It reminds me of this kid I met in early 2012 named Russ. We became best friends when he drunkenly complimented my "Blogging is Life...The Rest Is Just Emails" tall tee at a bar one night, and for most of mid-2012 we were inseparable. He was quite the ladies man, and he house sat for a rich old hippie lady in Stinson Beach, so needless to say we had a lot of wild sex parties out there.  Unfortunately, I was sort of a novice w.r.t. that lifestyle and I got caught up in a tumultuous, Casino-style relationship with a beautiful snow bunny named Henrietta (weird name for that type of girl, I know), and it ruined everything. I got blackout drunk at a party one night & got into a huge screaming match with her, and she called one of her crazy old boyfriends, and he & his insane criminal friends  drove out to Seadrift to come and get me. I was asleep by the time they got there. They busted in the door of the house & demanded to know where I was. Russ wouldn't tell them. Long story short, there was a big shootout (the most violent in Stinson Beach history...12 people dead & 200 shots fired, AND the Seadrift gate got broken) and Russ caught some bodies and was forced to flee to Mexico. The next morning I woke up in the upstairs bedroom with Russ' leather jacket draped over me. (It was a really awesome jacket. It had a giant weed leaf emblazoned on the back, with two crossed whiskey bottles under it, and under the whiskey bottles it said I DARE YOU TO GIVE ME A DUI, YOU FACIST PIECE OF SHIT!!! in big red letters.) The house was a total mess. I called one of mine & Russ' mutual friends/sex partners to find out what happened, and when she told me I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. I would never see Russ again, and it was all my fault. Fighting back tears, I stumbled downtown--still wearing the jacket, as a memento--and hopped on the West Marin stagecoach. It's definitely time for me to give up my reckless lifestyle, I thought to myself as the bus pulled away & "Track 07" started blaring through my headphones. Then, suddenly, I noticed a note in the pocket of the jacket.

Dear Tesse, it said.
Really sorry that things turned out the way that they did. Don't feel bad though. As they say in The Outsiders, nothing gold lasts forever. I really loved getting ripped up (!) on the beach with you every morning, after the parties, cracking jokes & burning backwoods as the sun's first rays made love to the rippling blue waters of the Pacific. We would always talk about the future, during those times, and all the crazy things we were going to do someday, but ironically they were the only times I really felt content/connected to the moment. We made a hell of a team.

See you on the other side, Tess-Tess.

your friend,
Russ

PS: Here is a joke I made up, just for you. It's about our favorite rapper:

Q: Why was Rich The Factor smiling at the song naming contest?
A: Because his track 1!

Get it?
:p


...And that was the last I ever heard from him.

 I cried like a baby the whole way home.




Mike, regular reader and commenter of this blog and responsible for the best music youtube channel on the internet.

Main Attrakionz - Women We Chase [prod. by Friendzone]



Friendzone flipped the Tears For Fears song Women In Chains, it was only right MAz would flip the theme to Women We Chase. Pretty ironic and defiant considering the content of both songs. Although none of that matters when it's this good. The sample fits perfectly with the signature sounds of both the rappers & producers. The song itself is just a fun listen about the type of girls Mondre & Squadda lust after. Definitely doesn't reinvent the wheel of rap songs in general, or even past songs from the MAz catalog. Something about it just stuck with for most of 2012, I hope you all enjoy it as well.


The Martorialist of The Martorialist. He is from an island called England that used to rule over America and his blog is tight.

I know a lot of you blog dudes were all over Cousin Fik's I Am A Vampire like Klaus Kinski on Isabelle Adjani's neck in Nosferatu, but it wasn't a particularly good song and most of y'all motherfuckers were far too easily impressed by the notion of one of E-40's relatives Rapping about being a bloodsucking creature of the night when we live in a post-Twlight/True Blood world where even my teenage cousin can quote dialogue from The Lost Boys verbatim. Me, I've been patiently waiting for another Fik song as good as the title track of his first mixtape and in 2012 he finally delivered it with Knocka N*gga Down  

Cousin Fik - Knocka N*gga Down  



That vocal sample is the handy gimmick around which Fik's bars revolve, and the juxtaposition of a nursery rhyme melody over old-school mobb muzik bass make this such a slap stoopido. Why Knocka N*gga Down ended up being a loosie in a year that saw him drop two official projects remains a baffling mystery, but with this and the ipso facto best single from the Block Brochure albums, Fik had a better 2012 than any other member of the Stevens family not named Earl. Poor ol' Turf Talk must be green with envy.


Mister Jay, who makes tight beats that you can check out herehere, and hereFollow him on Twitter.

HD & G-Dirty "Do Better"



As usual, there was a lot of great music coming out of the bay this year, from established young cats and OGs, as well as impressive debuts from youngsters, like 100s "ice cold perm".  I really enjoyed 100s debut tape, but, to be honest, I probably spent more minutes of my life this year listening to to "do better" than I did on 100s' entire album, or any other song ("I don't like" is probably a close contender). I kept hitting repeat on this track while driving around, it just made me feel so cool, and not just because of the awesome marvin gaye instrumental (which, I realized while listening to this track, is the source of the bassline from "dont give me no bammer"), but because of lines that remind me why I love HD's rapping so much, like this nugget: "designated driver, guns on fire, he had it on safe, now he speakin through the wire, kanyed his face, pinocchio liar, not a real boy, a true oscar mayer".  HD is real creative with his wordplay and layers of meaning, even if he is just talking about a limited range of topics, and has a great ear for beats.  He released several great tapes over the course of 2012, but this song really stood out to me.  I look forward to more quality raps from HD and the rest of the bearfaced camp in the upcoming year.  #ThankU


Done of Damn, Here’s a Tissue and We Got Both Kinds, Rap and Bullshit and leader of thought-provoking internet comments. Follow him on Twitter.

Philthy Rich - Fonk ft. DB Tha General & Lil Mikey



Weirdly the best song by DB this year(Technically its Philthy's but he relinquishes ownership rights anytime he invites someone who raps for a living to the party) is basically old school Livewire-brand mob music, something for all his throwback habits he doesnt often produce. That silky smoov voice hes been blessed with usually makes even the most laid back shit sound unsettling but he must've swapped batteries with Philthy here though cos hes only like, 80% menacing whereas Philthy's 40% enthusiastic (easily setting a record).

He has preposterous high falutin' notions like trying to charge rubes actual money for music but the rap internet still needs to stop not knowing about our DB. He made some of the best tapes of last year and while none of 2012's have been as good as Young OG II or King Of Oakland, hes been squawking while doing the Omar White eyes in videos more than well enough recently to still deserve to be the Bay Area Boosie. Fair play to Kendrick Lemar and Roc Marciano for dropping classic game changing classics but you havent really, really graduated til you've worn a crown, hid beneath a car, ran through the woods camo-ed up with machine guns, played Michael Jackson, took drugs with V-Nasty and peeped grandma game, imo.




Juice Man Hugo of Bayonnaise, the best Swedish rap blog out there. Follow him on Twitter and learn the Swedish language already you putz.

Yet another year has passed and yet another year Santa Claus of the Internet aka Thomas has asked all his favorite and most capable elves to gather up the most amazing pieces of music heard by anyone this past year so he can put it all in his Santa sack and bless a newly resurrected world with a combined xmas and birthday gift. See I assume if anyone ever reads this the world ended and somehow only the righteous have survived. And since there are no more bad people, This is senario 1. If senario 1 occurs, I predict this past year will be the last year ever we got to hear interesting rap music. Rappers will focus on merry meadow prancing and Boxing Day will pass sans boxing, etc.

Anyways, how does this relate to my Bay Area rap music? The thing is, as the world has ended and no rapper will ever rap about any ill doing ever again I as a responsible elf kind of feel the pressure to at least provide the children of the future one tiny little bit of evidence for them to understand the concept of how life could be like in a doggy dog world. How men and women until December 2012 lived day by day doing their best to just, live. Or in other words, tryna function. My pick in case senario 1 occurs is:

E-40 - Function (ft Iamsu, YG & Problem)



The is of course another senario, however unlikely: the doomsday passes and nothing happens. The righteous and the evil continue to live and die side by side. This is senario 2. Maybe everybody of Mayan descent seized to exist and everyone else survived. As a respected member of the elf community I have of course considered what the world needs to hear in order to deal with disappointment of their fairly unchanged everyday lives. Me, you and everyone else should at least know what we missed out on now that life is still something consisting of endless tryna functioness. The answer is provided to in a chorus by Bay Area tenor singer Matt Blaque: triple desert life. My pick in case senario 2 occurs is:

Feva - My Life (Ft Matt Blaque & Rydah J Klyde)




H.L. of Droptops and Stacy Lattisaw Tapes. He is a better writer than you. Follow him on Twitter.

HD & G-Dirty - "Do Better"



(Editor's note: The same song twice! What a surprising turn of events!)

KRS-One once declared that utilizing equipment as the manufacturer intended was absolutely, unequivocally not hip-hop. The Blastmaster hasn't been a credible gauge of authenticity since the first Gulf War, but he may have been on to something in this particular instance. From interchangeable spray caps to off-key autotune, the culture has always found ways to misappropriate the tools at its disposal to grand results. Take, for example, Marvin Gaye's "After the Dance," which has already been adapted by the likes of Nas, Ice Cube, De La Soul and Canibus to varying degrees of success. In years past, Marvin's invitation to foxtrot has been modernized by revving up the tempo or layering additional percussion. But more recently, West Oakland duo HD and G-Dirty lifted the entire instrumental with zero alteration. Oddly enough, "Do Better" couldn't be further from the grown and sultry original. The record sounds like the soundtrack to a hazy dream sequence, but it masterfully captures their sobering reality. HD's defeatist theory that "crackers rule the world [and] niggas not part of the plan bruh'," is on the short list of 2012's most concise expressions of black plight. Leon Ware certainly never assumed his tender instrumentation would underscore Bay Area street narratives. Grandpa' Kris would be proud.



Joe of Perfection of Perfected. 100 Grand contributor and very important person outside of the internet. Follow him on Twitter.

Feva feat. Husalah and Franchise – “Handsome”



This track presents an interesting dichotomy. You get Husalah, who everyone fiends for more music from but who’s remarkably stingy when it comes to releasing material.  And you get Feva, who no one (not even Thomas!) had heard of pre-2012 but used this year to put out his first 75 mixtapes—an output of Based God-like proportions.  The track also features Franchise, but we’ll have to ignore that or else I can’t use the word “dichotomy” as effectively.

So now that you’re mesmerized by my analysis (and highest word count since the last EOY post), let me mention a few other reasons why this is the best song of the year.
First, what a great beat.  Sounds like some classic ‘90s bass-heavy mob music with a thumping bass line.  Or, as Husalah puts it before conquering his verse, “it’s that 94 mob, like, tremendo.  I fuck wit it.”

Second, as I’ve said before, “my mama said I’m handsome” is about as real as it gets for a Jewish mama’s boy like myself.  For real.  I’ve never moved ugly.  Never.  And it’s because my mama said I’m handsome. 

And although Feva’s not from the Bay Area, you wouldn’t know that based on the wealth of Bay artists featured on Pay da Fee, his debut double album.  Not that Bay Area artists mistook him for a Bay resident.  When I met Husalah last Spring, he told me he didn’t know who Feva even was.  I was surprised and skeptical, so I played “Handsome” for him to refresh his recollection (and to take advantage of the system in the kitted-out truck that belonged to his buddy).  As the song played, Husalah turned it up, nodded his head in enjoyment, informed me he’d never heard it before, and asked who Feva was.  A lot more people will know this Kansas City rapper’s name in 2013.

EDIT: MORE ILLUMINATI HAVE BEEN ADDED



David Drake of So Many Shrimp and currently Complex Magazine. He is a very important person in the world of music. Follow him on twitter.

Jack, Mike Larry, Blast Holiday and Mistah FAB - Get Money


There's a long line of music historians celebrating obscurity and rarity for their own sake, finding underground versions of more significant artists and collecting, compiling and becoming 'experts' on marginalia. In the 1950s, middle-class collectors' obsessions with rarity went so far as to turn blues history upside-down, argues Elijah Wald in his book Escaping the Delta; however popular an artist was in the '30s, their profile would sink relative to artists with tiny, obscure and hard-to-find catalogs (like Robert Johnson) only twenty years later.

Obviously, the internet has eliminated 'rarity' as a meaningful quality of endlessly-reproducible music. But 'obscurity' still has meaning, even if that meaning has mutated somewhat. Now, bloggers, historians, writers, etc. (particularly Thomas, who provides an essential service) can find music that doesn't chart, stuff that has been ignored or only regionally distributed, and draw attention to some talents that would otherwise receive almost no national attention. 

The funny thing is that the internet has become not just a place where historians document trends, but a place where artists hustle as well. Historians (in the broad, popular sense that bloggers are historians) can be hustled. Marketers and publicity people reproduce the language of historical trendspotting to push the artists they're representing. More than ever, marginal artists are again receiving outsize press and attention. This isn't something that can be fought against, particularly, because most bloggers, despite using the language of historians, aren't really thinking about these things.

All this is to say that as the gap between the very-successful superstars and the rest widens, the lines between the marginal and significant has begun to blur. Rappers with strong personalities are suddenly finding a more uphill battle, competing with whatever marginal talents manage to work their way into blog relevancy.

I say this to bolster my musical argument in favor of this song, which has under ten thousand YouTube views and is from reasonably obscure Ice City rappers (same place as 100konmywrist fav HD). I know nothing about Ice City but it seems like one of the more interesting places for rap music in the bay at the moment. Too bad two of the rappers have completely google-confounding nom de plumes, because everything about this song is better than considerably more popular songs people have talked about this year.


MTP, regular reader and commenter of this blog and important internet music tastemaker.

What up from SoCal all. I'm gonna speak on what has been my favorite artist of 2012. My claim to fame on 100GOMW is being the one who laced Thomas with his first taste of Feva many months ago, pre-75 mixtapes released on Datpiff. But the guy I listened to even more than Feva this year is an obscure rapper that I honestly know little about other than he put out one of my favorite albums of the last couple years in early 2012, Lit 4 Eva. I don't know how many of you listen to or even know who Nick James is, but his musical talent is so far ahead of most of the other bay artists that I listen to that even my girl asked me for a copy of his cd (yea I still make cd's, I'm "older") so she could play it in her car. In between her horrified looks in my direction when, on long trips, she has to listen to the likes of The Team, Black C, Livewire, Too Short, Problem, 100s, Reek Daddy, and Mac Mall, it's a shock for me to get a request from her to actually get a copy of anything I listen to, the last before that being Ya Boy's Kali Konvict (WTF??) and a Mac Dre mix from years ago.

Nick James ft. Young Gully "Westsider"


This song is one that features Young Gully and speaks for itself. Again, someone needs to take notice of the production on these songs and give Nick James the credit and shine that he so rightfully deserves. Or maybe others play this cat and I just don't know it?? It's definitely possible, I'm from NorCal but now I'm stuck out in plastic city, USA aka Newport Beach, where most chicks have fake titties and think E-40 is sumthin that occurs when they chase a molly tab with some Mickey'sto take notice of the production on these songs and give Nick James the credit and shine that he so rightfully deserves. Or maybe others play this cat and I just don't know it?? It's definitely possible, I'm from NorCal but now I'm stuck out in plastic city, USA aka Newport Beach, where most chicks have fake titties and think E-40 is sumthin that occurs when they chase a molly tab with some Mickey's. 

Nick James "Float Away"


Here is a song that features one of the best choruses I've heard on any song is a looong time, it makes me look up into the sky at the stars and wish that I could just fly away, and not just when I'm too high on brownie luv. At some point I'm sure other bay rappers are going to listen to this cd and immediately call Nick James into their studio and try to make him their in-house producer, he's that good.

Nick James "Light You Up"



And finally, this is another sicc song on Lit 4 Eva, I’d like to know what others think of these songs because this entire cd has become somewhat of a classic in my group of friends out here, but we are usually completely wasted and we might like a street performer banging together pots and pans after certain points on most nights…

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Ok that is it from us for 2012. We all have got to get back to reveling in our unspeakable wealth and power and rubbing elbows with world leaders and celebrities now, but thank you for reading and thank you to everyone who contributed.

Here is a zip with all of the above-mentioned songs, plus some mind control devices (joke? you decide). Please download:



Warm Regards,

The Rap Blog Illuminati

23 comments:

  1. Two bids for a random album cut from HD and G-Dirty pretty much solidifies "Do Better" as the best Bay Area rap song of 2012, right?

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    Replies
    1. The funny thing is I never really noticed this song until you guys wrote about it for this post.

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  2. Replies
    1. Hey everyone, look at how impatient David Drake is.

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  3. Good write ups and choices by everybody.

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  4. Great read! I'm gonna have to go back and check that Nick James record again, I remember liking it but not loving it

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  5. Ha @ David and MTP's post getting lost in amongst the email blasts from every Ohio & Missouri rapper ever. Seriously liking all these picks, that HD joint though

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  6. s/o the illuminati! thanks for putting mine before h.l.'s, its like i liked the song first, even though he's a better writer than me. also, where can i get a leather jacket as described in tesse's story?

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    Replies
    1. I am having my stylist, Pierre, build me a replica jacket of the one described as we speak.

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  7. Reading Tesse Wolfson's story makes me an immediate fan of Noone dies forever site, well done, very enjoyable. Love all the Cousin Fik songs mentioned, he's very underrated and one of the best in the bay imo.

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  8. Was I supposed to share a Bay Area song? haha. Other songs are great.

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    Replies
    1. I said "preferably Bay Area", so it was optional.

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  9. Whoa. "Get Money" is very dope.

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  10. Thanks again for inviting me to the secrete illuminati retreat.

    Also since I wasn't aware that we could have had multiple choices until I read Nick Jam... err I mean MTP's post, here are my runner ups.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTdomFKQTP4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OSpI5wRcUE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-o-DHJZ9L8

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    Replies
    1. Yeah everyone was just supposed to write about one song, but fuckin MTP never follows the rules.

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    2. I was bored yesterday and clickin on random links and I have to say, I've never heard of Nacho Picasso til yesterday and I have since spent two straight days downloading all of his shit, that dude is sicc. I didn't know Seattle had rappers outside of Kid Sensation and Mixalot.

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    3. Yeah I don't usually fuck with punchline rappers but it's not obnoxious when he does it. It helps his flow & charisma is very post-Mac Dre.

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    4. Funny u say that, I kept thinkin he reminded me a lot of Dre, and usually when people remind me of Dre they sound like Dickrider wannabees, but Nacho has his own style for sure.

      Thomas, u should give Nacho Picasso a listen. If he was in the bay I bet he'd be a favorite on this site.

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  11. haha Yeah I get carried away when I write for 100GOMW, my mind wasn't "right" when I wrote that and when I read it after it posted the next day I thought to myself "it sounds like I'm suckin dudes dick a bit too much (extreme NO NO HOMO)," but what can I say at this point, it happened. I guess I should've signed it Nick James mama or some shit.

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    Replies
    1. Haha it's all good dude, I like what you wrote.

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  12. Watch This Video From Mardi Gras 2013!! Turn up !!! Might See Boobie and More!!!

    http://youtu.be/kV8alnKBxXA

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  13. Your article is very interesting & exceptionally effective this article is very helpful for our people your blog is wonderful, I am waiting for your next blog.

    ReplyDelete
  14. MAY GOD ALMIGHTY FORGIVE YA

    ReplyDelete