Arizona MC Jake Eff talks Hip Hop in AZ, Big Booties, the Superbowl and Drops New Music

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A couple of years ago I stopped looking to websites for new music. Funny. I’d began looking to those same websites because I’d retired my radio listener jersey. That worked for a while, but we all know how that turned out as music websites and blogs eventually rolled over and became the new, “improved” radio stations.

These days I look to Pandora Radio and Soundcloud.com for all my new shit. Seriously. You can find the rawest, hungriest rap cats creeping the alleys and back streets of Soundcloud, and in most instances, they’re scores better than your favorite MC, whoever he or she may be.

The latest jewel I’ve found is Jake Eff, a young wildcat representing the state of Arizona. I’ve even featured him as a musicsl guest on an episode of my podcast previously. He’s a clean cut straight shooter who doesn’t hesitate to tell you what he’s thinking or how he feels. We slowed Jake’s grind down just long enough for a brief chat with the west coast spitter.


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TGDC: State your name, gangsta.
JE: What’s good! Jake Eff is what I go by.

TGDC: What part of the world do you represent?
JE: I’m definitely all about my state Arizona! Tucson and Phoenix reppin, but I’m all about the West Coast and I represent ANY part of the world if I can make an impact elsewhere.

TGDC: How long have you been actively rapping?
JE: I started rapping when I was 8 years old. I was recording acapella tracks on tape recorders with my brothers. When I was about 11 I got a studio plug and started making actual music, then getting into high school was when I decided I was ready to take the challenge of turning this into my actual career. I’m 20 now and I’m doing music full time.

TGDC: How’s the buzz coming along?
JE: It’s great man…definitely everything I’ve been trying for! Not anywhere near where I want to be, but it’s crazy getting love from all over and knowing that I’m actually making some type of noise after trying so many different sounds. I finally feel like I “found my sound” as cliche as that shit sounds, haha.

“5 A.M.”

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Run the Vote

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Bern the Mike

Words by Cordrick Ramey

On November 23, 2015, Bernie Sanders held a rally and gave a speech in Atlanta to strengthen his endeavors to be President of the United States of America. He had a great turn out. However, there was NO political support on hand to see Bernie.

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Blow The Whistle: On Busta Rhymes

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There was a story on TMZ a couple of days ago about Trevor Smith aka rapper Busta Rhymes and how a lawsuit that he was involved in has finally been settled. The lawsuit revolved around him launching a carton of protein shake powder at another man. It hit some other man. That other man sued Busta Rhymes. I don’t care enough to know what happened after that. The last time I saw Busta Rhymes before now he was sitting in the audience of some awards show. I just remember how bad he looked. It made me sad.

Now, as some of you may not know, there was a time when Busta Rhymes was regarded as a top-notch lyricist. One of the best rappers you could hire to guest star on your record.

Busta Rhymes’ career began as 25% of the group Leaders of the New School. Busta immediately stood out, and after 2 critically acclaimed albums, the group went their separate ways. The split actually happened in real-time on Yo! MTV Raps in 1993. wpid-b646e6a2440b492c9bb568f6fb16ce8d.jpgBusta Rhymes stuck around, doing hella guest work, as all out of work rappers should when the time calls, eventually dropping his first solo album. From there, it was — as the young people say — on and poppin’.

Busta’s list of solid rap albums and noteworthy guest appearances is enough to solidify him as one of the greatest rap voices ever. And I’m not even going to try and list the amount of features his done since the 90s. Let’s just put it like this: name a favorite rapper from the the past 20, 25 years. Busta Rhymes has performed with them. He has rapped over beats from just about every “hot” producer from every era of rap beat-making since at least 1994, not counting the last 5 or so years. In theory, he has survived 2 or 3 generations of Hip Hop. His albums — 5 of the 8 have sold 1 million or more copies apiece — are regarded as classics, and though he hasn’t won many awards, he has been nominated and mentioned dozens of times during his career. And Busta has appeared in a truckload of critically acclaimed films, including John Singleton’s Higher Learning, Forest Whitaker’s Strapped, Halloween, and others.

So why are we blowing the whistle?

Woo-Ha. Gimme Some More. Fire It Up. Etc. What do these incredibly popular Busta Rhymes songs have in common? None of them were talking about a damn thing. That is most of his catalog. Busta Rhymes raked in tons of dough off of the sweaty backs of songs that made zero sense whatsoever. And we danced the night way to it.

His style of comeuppance is very similar to his kindred spirit rapper, Missy Elliott. They both dazzled and wowed us with fancy visual effects and frenetic vocal arrangements, sneakily deploying empty, calorie-less bars like diet chocolate. Busta knew it, too. Notice how each album’s lyrical content upsurges from the last. The wording schemes became more complex. He piled more syllables into his stanzas. That’s because, unlike his contemporaries who spat lines about money, hoes, and clothes, Busta seemed more like he just gathered a bunch of words together, and played Mad Libs over a beat. He distracted us like cleavage with robot dancing and pre-Meek Mill rap yelling. Scream Hop, if you will.

Who amongst us can forget that Busta started trying to convince us that Armageddon was descending about halfway through the last LONS album T.I.M.E? He carried that apocalyptic theme throughout the remainder of his career. Could he really see the future? Clearly, no. Perhaps it was a ploy launched as a safety net for the lack of raps. If he could make us believe the sky was falling, we’d be more concerned with him giving Last Day narratives than with him dropping clever bars and witty lyrics.

Or Maybe he believed his own end times hyperbole and based his level of lyrical output on the amount of time he thought we had left on Mother Earth. That actually makes total sense. Also of mention was his cutting edge sense of fashion. His clothing line Bushi didn’t last long, but that doesn’t matter. He made it OK for rap guys to rock Dr. Seuss hats, and that haberdashery-based achievement overshadows them all.

Further proof of Trevor Smith being a trailblazer was his hairstyle. He was surely rocking dreads before they became a fashion statement. By this account, Lupe Fiasco and Chief Keef should mention Busta Rhymes when asked who inspires them.

Kudos and touch√©, Trevor Smith. Sometime within the past few years, you have officially joined the ranks of rappers we can’t escape like LL Cool J and Snoop Dogg.

Make no mistake; Busta Rhymes is a legend. He’s responsible for dozens of still-listenable party anthems, gave us the Flipmode Squad, and introduced the world to Rah Digga and Spliff Star (the greatest weed carrier of all time). With his wide-mouthed, turbo-charged, often-off beat yammering and on-camera karate-chopping tutorials, Busta also changed the landscape of your run-of-the-mill rap video. For what it’s worth, he made rapping look fun.

So while we do blow the whistle on Busta for stealthily shoveling volumes of super-average raps into our subdued subconsciousness for years, his greatness can’t be denied. I bet you still say “Woo Ha!” from time to time, don’t you?

For more Blow The Whistle, click here.

Words by Tony Grands
@Tony_Grands

Braggin’ Writes: A Look at Rap’s Self-Snitching Society

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Rap is easily one of the most self glorifying, narcissistic genres of music in existence. Rappers love to talk about themselves, and this is no surprise. Your favorite rap song, unless it’s older than 20 years, is likely no more than your favorite rapper bragging to you — the listener — about how much more money than you he has and how easily he could take your hoes if he wanted to. He probably mentioned how he’d kill you without hesitation, also, but we’ll save that for another day.

Within the crowded boundaries of hip hop’s heralded bragging rights culture lies its ubiquitous self-snitching society where rappers seemingly tell on themselves in an attempt to garner respect from the streets. Sweet irony, right? This is a funny little double edged sword because not only has Hip Hop become the de facto headquarters for “Stop Snitching” campaigns, but it also deviantly screams Fuck the police! and all other law enforcement organizations. This creates a crystal clear hypocricy, but no one seems to care. In the meantime, thanks in part to the internet, rappers are taking every possible opportunity to tell on themselves, and if the Hip Hop cops are a real thing (which they are), surely their jobs aren’t as hard as they used to be. All you have to do is watch rap videos online and you see scads of rappers recording evidence for the court systems to undoubtedly use against them at some point later down the road. Not that all rappers are criminals, I’m just saying.

A few years ago, one would have been hard pressed to find rap guys brandishing live firearms in their music videos. In fact, when Eazy E appeared on the cover of N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton album pointing a revolver at the camera, it was a very surreal moment in Hip Hop history.Straight-Outta-Compton-album Not only did that brief image solidify the group’s relationship with street life, but it may also be the first moment of a rapper telling on himself. Granted, N.W.A wasn’t the first rap group to make songs documenting their illegal activities, but seeing Eazy pointing a gun at you created an aura of actuality. It meant that not only would Eazy pop a cap in yo ass, but it also meant that he had no qualms taunting the very police that he was holding his middle finger up to. He let the world know that he was packing, and did not give a fuck. To amplify that, every song on NWA’s album was basically giving play by play commentary on a bunch of shit that they’d go to jail for in real life. And while Hip hop has come a long, long way since those days, it hasn’t changed much.

Some time back, I took a heavy interest in rap videos on worldstarhiphop.com and YouTube. What really piqued my curiosity was the amount of guns and drugs I saw in every video. It was like the more I saw the more I needed to see. Similar to when there’s spoiled milk in the fridge; you’re not convinced that it’s spoiled until the 4th or 5th sniff. Rapper-The-Game-WeedThe imagery had become a continual stream of visual documentation of illicit and illegal activity, the type of shit that Hip Hop cops scour the internet for while they sit on their asses sipping coffee and sucking cigarettes. If the Hip Hop cops are a legitimate faction of real American heroes — to put it lightly — rap niggas are making it way too easy to get busted for street shit. Why there aren’t more arrests is beyond me. And the most recent example of this type of bamboozling scenario would be the gilded narrative of Bobby Shmurda. He’s essentially in jail for talking about alleged crimes that occured on a rap record. And while people are blaming his label for not sticking up for him, as well as the cops for harassing him, I’ve yet to hear anyone mention him snitching on himself or that his lifestyle may have caused his downfall.

For what it’s worth, “Trap Rap” should be rechristened “Shut Your Trap Rap,” because in just about every song from this subgenre of rap, they give details about what they do and who they do it with. If I were their plug, I’d stay the hell away from those confidential informants. Many people blame Rick Ross for the influx of coke raps that have callously burrowed their way into our collective, unassuming heart. This may be true, but for what it’s worth, we all know that Rick Ross was law enforcement before he was musical entertainment. No one believes anything he says. But you take a young, hungry rapper from Chicago or Miami or Philly who has a reputation to uphold and monetary moves to be made, and there is no telling the amount of reality he is delivering. And keep in mind he has competitors to outshine. To overpower. So not only will he brag, but he’ll also want to be sure that you can authenticate his boasts. And he’s not the only rapper doing this. What we are left with are thousands of young rappers committing crimes or detailing their crimes as a means of entertainment. Over intricate drum patterns, smoked-out samples, and toothless basslines, trap rappers detail exactly how they make their dough. Some even shout out the freeways they travel and cities they visit. I imagine rappers will be naming full mixtapes after the guy they buy their guns from within the next few years. It feels inevitable.

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I haven’t heard a rapper say “Stop snitching” in years. Or “keep it real,” for that matter. Perhaps the tide has changed and there is no more self-snitching. Maybe things are different and keeping it real means actually keeping it real, no matter the tangible consequence. Of course this will only prompt the further implosion of the culture, but what do I know.

Words by Tony Grands
@Tony_Grands

Welcome to Death Row: The Construction and Collapse of An Empire Documented

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As NWA’s Straight Outta Compton movie buzz dies down, Daz Dillinger — of Tha Dogg Pound — has been kicking up dust in regards to the next installment of the NWA fairytale. That next installment is that of Death Row Records.

In what seems like a rush to cash in on nostalgic nepotism, Daz began announcing his plans to write and produce the Death Row film while Straight Outta Compton was still earning money in theaters. Well, that ship has been stopped from sailing because, according to WIDEawake Entertainment Group (who controls Death Row records’ post-Marion Knight estate), WIDEawake owns the all the music, which in essence, is the story.

But just because they own the virtual soundtrack to the story of West Coast rapdom after the expiration of Eazy-E doesn’t mean that the story stops being told.

In 2001, a documentary was produced called Welcome To Death Row which captured the recorded history of the construction and collapse of Death Row Records. This movie is supposedly the basis of what Daz Dillinger is shopping as the “Dogg Pound 4 Life” movie.

The physical film has since slightly fallen out of rotation due to the uptick of internet era, but we have it here today.

Watch Welcome To Death Row below.

UPDATE: I’ve been told that Daz isn’t shopping this movie, the SOC team is.

https://twitter.com/WelcomeDeathRow/status/656147212628578304

Words by Tony Grands