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Subject: "Is Black Thought the BEST MC in 1999?" This topic is locked.
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funkyprez
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933 posts
Tue Jun-22-99 08:28 PM

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"Is Black Thought the BEST MC in 1999?"


  

          

I'm not necessarily talking "greatest of all time", just "the greatest right now". I was just thinking about the "grading system" that KOOL MOE DEE had on the sleeve of the "HOW YA LIKE ME NOW" album ('87 or '88? I don't have it in front of me right now). Moe Dee gave a "report card" to about 20 top MCs in the game at that time, on such categories as "voice", "ability to rock a crowd", "ability to make records", "rhyming ability", etc etc (I can't remember the exact categories, but they're sumthin like that)<P>Using these "categories", here's why I vote Black Thought the dopest RIGHT NOW…<P>RHYMES: Listen to the actual words that he rhymes line after line. He's a wizzard at the double-syllable (and often the triple-syllable and quadruple syllable rhyme). Also he S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S this multi-syllable rhyme out over a whole verse, which is a mark of the greatest wordsmiths:<P>"You doubt the Il-la-Fifth<BR>what could you ac-com-pl-ish?<BR>Whether they skywriting ya name, or you an-on-y-mous<BR>You be speechless, with stinging si-nus-es<BR>The Roots royal high-nes-ses<BR>Through ya mon-i-tors<BR>I tilt my crown, then blow down a dime-a-kiss<BR>You need to buy a CD and stop re-winding-this<BR>I'm the fin-a-list<BR>Shining like a rugged am-e-thyst<BR>And at your music conference, I'm the pan-e-list<BR>Listen close to my poetry, I ex-a-mine-this<BR>Like an an-a-lyst<BR>To see if you can han-dle-this"<P>VOCABULARY: This is easy. Y'all know he swallowed a thesaurus. The best lyricists are always well-read (see Rakim, Chuck D, Common, KRS, and Ras Kass, to name a few). His choice of words always FITS the length of each line, each bar. You can tell that he spent much time writing his verses, and rewriting, and then rewriting again. Most MCs spit whatever they wrote first, it seems…<P>DELIVERY: This is where he does a FATALITY on the competition. BT is always ON THE BEAT. Listen to other "amateurs" (the "underground" is littered with 'em) and even some vets to see if their rhymes land on the beat. See, not always!! For example, El P, who is ill with the pen, is not always on beat (damn this annoys me). Even the dopest poets sometimes land offbeat (I think even Common is guilty sometimes - no flames please!!) The rhythm in Black Thought's voice is a gift that VERY FEW in the game have. Even if you just heard his rhyme a cappella you'd still be noddin that noggin. <P>Also, his BREATH CONTROL is so incredible, he can literally flow on-and-on like Erykah or etcetera. I heard that he can sing too, which definitely gives him an advantage over short breath MCs.<P>Finally, his VOCAL INFLECTIONS are always on JUST the RIGHT syllable in the verse, so each line is accentuated correctly:<P>"Check it out NOW<BR>It's the type cere-BRAL<BR>World renowned, illustrious, ille-GAL"<P>ABILITY TO ROCK A CROWD: Duh! Have you seen the Roots live? Call-and-response, arm-waving, throw-up-ya-lighters --- Black Thought got these all on lock. He knows how to CONTROL a crowd, not just pace to-and-fro on the stage. Remember, a wise hip hop 'god' (can't remember who) once said that the ability to ROCK THE CROWD was the first and foremost talent of a great M.C. - the MASTER OF CEREMONIES. ("Some people who MC don't know what this term means…")<P>VOICE: Guru said, "It's mostly the voice that gets ya up". Black Thought's voice is so powerful and forceful, that you MUST take notice when you hear it, like a KRS, a Chuck D, or an Ice Cube. <P>TOPICAL DIVERSITY: Okay, here's where he might not be as strong as a Common, a Black Star, a Slick Rick, or a Dre from OutKast. But for all the other elements, we'll forgive him for this one. But in terms of saying "I'm the dopest", no one does it as vividly as BT. <P>Sorry this post is long, but I'm seeing y'all bigging up Mos Def, GZA, O.C., and Slim Shady (all dope in their own right), but I STILL don't think Black Thought getS all his props. In 1999 I give Black Thought STRAIGHT A's (and some "A-minuses"). So there it is…<P><P><P><P><P>

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
mos def
Jun 22nd 1999
1
ONE SHINE
The Black Knight
Jun 24th 1999
11
      one shine
Jun 24th 1999
12
In my opinion...
Dee Phunk
Jun 23rd 1999
2
mcs
Jun 23rd 1999
3
Tyriq
Jun 23rd 1999
4
SHO NUFF!
SAVIR
Jun 23rd 1999
5
...you got my vote...
jabril74
Jun 23rd 1999
6
yes, n/m
Jun 23rd 1999
7
I see it as a tie
Jun 23rd 1999
8
EL-P is RARELY on beat...
EL Juba
Jun 23rd 1999
9
off beat
KRH-ONE
Jun 24th 1999
10
you is not lying my brother...................................
Jun 24th 1999
13
the BUSINESS of music
Jun 24th 1999
14
thanks
Jun 24th 1999
15
Roots are quite incredible like that
Joe Haber
Jun 26th 1999
24
you dont need their acclaim
Jun 24th 1999
16
Spin is a bad magazine period
Jun 24th 1999
17
iambic pentameter...
vrn
Jun 24th 1999
18
iambic pentameter
Jun 24th 1999
19
      sorry....
KRH-ONE
Jun 24th 1999
21
((Pat on the back)) Sorry bout yall gettin slept on, cousin..
EL Juba
Jun 24th 1999
20
I hear you!!!
butterflymil
Jun 25th 1999
22
I totally agree, check this out...
Jun 26th 1999
23

digabomb
Charter member
2413 posts
Tue Jun-22-99 08:36 PM

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1. "mos def"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

<<I heard that he can sing too<P>i think that's him at the lead on 'ONE SHINE' on illadelph, besides, i'm wondering if it's that which he went to that art school for (where he met ?uest).<BR>i agree with all U got to say. he's one of the best out there, and he can sing (unlike nas!)<P>if a million people liked my ishh, would i still be keeping it real?

R.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
Albert Einstein (1875-1955)

  

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The Black Knight

Thu Jun-24-99 11:47 AM

  
11. "ONE SHINE"
In response to Reply # 1


          

I think that was Black Thought doing the vocals on "ONE SHINE".

  

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kevb
Charter member
16560 posts
Thu Jun-24-99 12:34 PM

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12. "one shine"
In response to Reply # 11


          

the vocal's on one shine in no other than the beautiful cassandra wilson.<P>kevb

  

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Dee Phunk

Wed Jun-23-99 03:40 AM

  
2. "In my opinion..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

He's one of the best of all time. I mean, fuck a Blaze Top 50. He didn't make the mag's 50 or the reader's poll 50. Meanwhile he could rip 75% of these emcees to pieces today. And I know many of you have heard him go off the top of the head, right? Something alot of rappers almost refuse to do these days. Sometimes I wish someone would dis him on wax so he'd have a reason to battle and show headz what the deal is. <P>.:dee ph!:.<P>"I wanna blow up like <BR>Marilyn Monroe's skirt..."<BR> -Tony Bones

  

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atruhead
Charter member
84857 posts
Wed Jun-23-99 05:29 AM

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3. "mcs"
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

Thought is somewhere in the top 10 of whos nicest, but he may not be in my top 10 favorites. Im feelin, Redman, Jay-Z, Mos Def, Talib, Rah Digga, Canibus(im taking no arguments here), Tash, Punchline & Wordsworth, the list goes on. Plus Slick Rick came back strong, and Im feelin Big Boi more n more each time I hear him.

  

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RamXL
Charter member
13957 posts
Wed Jun-23-99 05:36 AM

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4. "Tyriq"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

is one of the illest!! No question! Funkyprez broke it down real nice....<P>Peace<BR>RamXL

"shit, been the same since '86 and kane"

  

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SAVIR

Wed Jun-23-99 09:20 AM

  
5. "SHO NUFF!"
In response to Reply # 0


          

P.E.A.C.E.<P>I agree 100% Dundee! I also agree with the science U put behind your statement. U actually put thought into this instead of like most kats who jus make a statement out the blue wit no science behind it. REEESPECT, my ute! <P>-SAVIR<P>ONE!

  

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jabril74

Wed Jun-23-99 11:51 AM

  
6. "...you got my vote..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

n/m

  

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MoJoTaters
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6130 posts
Wed Jun-23-99 12:08 PM

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7. "yes, n/m"
In response to Reply # 0


          

"right now is a gift, that's why it's called the present"(someone)

"I buttfuck MC's" Pharoahe Monch

  

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Yogaflame
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3010 posts
Wed Jun-23-99 12:31 PM

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8. "I see it as a tie"
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

between BT and Kool Keith (Dr.Doom most recently)<P>anyone feeling wesley willis? (just joking)<P>yoga

  

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EL Juba

Wed Jun-23-99 03:14 PM

  
9. "EL-P is RARELY on beat..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

Thats one reason why Im not a big Co-Flow fan- they dont seem to place a high premium on being "on beat"...<P>And I said the same thing about Tariq a couple months ago- i definitely think he has the crown right now, but Jay-Z is so dominant that everyone else is kind of getting slept on..<P>Juba

  

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KRH-ONE

Thu Jun-24-99 09:24 AM

  
10. "off beat"
In response to Reply # 9


          

sometimes (espec with common and a few others) it's intentional. in fact, MOST of the time. syncopation is not easy to do, and it's even harder to appreciate. but when it's done well (as by common or even BT espec on some older ish) it's the most interesting element to vocal delivery.

  

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qoolquest
Charter member
10251 posts
Thu Jun-24-99 01:07 PM

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13. "you is not lying my brother..................................."
In response to Reply # 0


          

<BR>> Even the dopest poets sometimes <BR>>land offbeat (I think even Common <BR>>is guilty sometimes - no flames <BR>>please!!) <P> you ain't lyimg yo......i joke with com all the time. did you know we did about 3 remixes for "one day..." that never came out? wanna know why? (read the above quote) it's unique though. but i challenged com to write a rhythmic joint full of iambic pentameters and the like. and my man came through. the song is ill. it's called "coldblooded" too ill. it's his first joint. and that'll be out in october.<BR> you don't know how great it is for someone to understand your work. i love it when people love my work. but i really love it when people can give me specifics. i do this alot when i write of another artist' work. i'm just....wow......it makes working in this industry worth it. especially when i just got through a painful on the spot interview with spin magazine who's doing a 90 best albums of the 90's. i was so excited i didn't even focus that they wanted me to talk about records. i figured that since all 3 of my records got a rare 9 out of 10 (the equiv. of 4 1/2 mics in the source) i was being asked about our shit. instead i read further and it wanted me to comment on ll's "mama said knock you out" and "the score" (fugees).i had to talk about why these two records were "so great". i obliged. but i could only speak of one........................and as i was singing ll' praises i decided to reach out to the editor to see if i could talk about another record (maybe "amerikkka's most wanted"..or my own i half heartedly joked...hoping that he would surprise me by saying 'yeah, you guys made it' but we all know the deal. he said we are on some "honorable mention" list. initialy i was cool. but as it sank in i realized that i was about to type the praises of a album that i couldn't artisticly appreciate. i couldn't lie and say they pushed the envelope using rare breaks.the only two things i could come up with was that it brought lauryn to stardom (but that would've hurt clef and pras' feelings....i'm sure they didn't need to be reminded that her light shines brighter than theirs). and they put a nice piece of change in diamond d's pocket (he did a song).<BR>so after coming to grips with the fact that i'm sitting in a european hotel yet again so i can pay my rent (which i could easly do by doing a collabo with dru hill, or monica). feeling dumbfounded. because the only pleasure i get out of making records is the acclaim. and now i get the feeling that those same publications that have us on their top 10 lists year after year, are now gonna wimp out and act like we never existed in their decade end issues. it's like "yeah we gave you 5's and all these stars and mics and hard rods (black tail). and you make records like no one else. but since you made no impact.....".....<P>"god returned the letter back 3 days later...return to sender.....damn"

check the resume

organix-93
(from the ground up)-94
do you want more?!!???!-95
illadelph halflife-96
things fall apart-99
(the legendary)-99
the roots come alive-99
phrenology-2002
the tipping point-2004
(the roots present...) 2004
homegrown: the beginne

  

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RamXL
Charter member
13957 posts
Thu Jun-24-99 01:46 PM

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14. "the BUSINESS of music"
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

Man, that shit Quest just wrote put a whole lot of what hip-hop and it's future into perspective. Man, it really baffles me, how certain groups like the Roots, straddle the line between the dope product and a mega hit, yet they keep goin back to the dope product and really sacrifice a lot of money. I mean I was always told to make use of my opportunities, but not to sell my soul in the process, DAMN, im glad there are people out there who think the same.....<P>KEEP UP THE GOOD F%*KIN WORK YALL....this site willl prove that no gayasswannabeindie/alternativeafternirvanablewup magazine(SPIN of course) is greater than those that have been down since Day One...<P>Peace<BR>RamXL

"shit, been the same since '86 and kane"

  

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qoolquest
Charter member
10251 posts
Thu Jun-24-99 04:11 PM

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15. "thanks"
In response to Reply # 14


          

i'll take heed....thanks for the support<P><P><BR>"god made me thankful for the players"

check the resume

organix-93
(from the ground up)-94
do you want more?!!???!-95
illadelph halflife-96
things fall apart-99
(the legendary)-99
the roots come alive-99
phrenology-2002
the tipping point-2004
(the roots present...) 2004
homegrown: the beginne

  

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Joe Haber

Sat Jun-26-99 10:09 PM

  
24. "Roots are quite incredible like that"
In response to Reply # 14


          

I think Things Fall Apart is better than Illadelph, definitely adding on like crazy if nothing else. No on else in hip-hop is improving, its hard to stay artistically good. Roots seem to be hip-hop's most consistent group, which is more or less really incredible.<P>Joe Haber

  

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atruhead
Charter member
84857 posts
Thu Jun-24-99 07:02 PM

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16. "you dont need their acclaim"
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

> <BR>but i challenged com <BR>>to write a rhythmic joint full <BR>>of iambic pentameters and the like. <BR>>and my man came through. the <BR>>song is ill. it's called "coldblooded" <BR>>too ill. it's his first joint. <BR>>and that'll be out in october. <BR>> <BR>for us non musician cats can you explain the concept of iambic pentameters in laymans terms?<P> so after coming <BR>>to grips with the fact that <BR>>i'm sitting in a european hotel <BR>>yet again so i can pay <BR>>my rent (which i could easly <BR>>do by doing a collabo with <BR>>dru hill, or monica). feeling dumbfounded. <BR>>because the only pleasure i get <BR>>out of making records is the <BR>>acclaim.<P>Youre in europe because most likely theres a high demand for yalls music. So somewhere in the world theres a group of us who feel yall.<P> and now i get the <BR>>feeling that those same publications that <BR>>have us on their top 10 <BR>>lists year after year, are now <BR>>gonna wimp out and act like <BR>>we never existed in their decade <BR>>end issues. it's like "yeah we <BR>>gave you 5's and all these <BR>>stars and mics and hard rods <BR>>(black tail). and you make records <BR>>like no one else. but since <BR>>you made no impact....."..... <P>Fuck 'em, as long as you know that you didnt sell yourselves out musically it doesnt matter what a magazine thinks. Real people know the time and always will(the whole okayplayer family). You possibly never will make the mtv impact, but yall have changed the face of live performances. Theyre looking to give acclaim to those who have sold well over the years, not yall who they contribute to being slept on. So to them its like "yeah yall make good music, but yall just are starting to get exposure, what kinda dues have the roots paid?" If only they knew.... Let them catch the vapors in a few years, especially after voodoo drops, everyone is gonna wanna know who the roots are. Lets see which hip hop albums make the top 90 albums of the 90s, and then we will see what a joke Spin is. They cant deny that yall are dope, but they still wanna front. I swear though if yall dont win best live show, I will find a way to let the source personally know that theyre on some bullshit that I cant get arrested for. Peace<P><BR>

  

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Steve
Charter member
10919 posts
Thu Jun-24-99 07:22 PM

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17. "Spin is a bad magazine period"
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

They have bad articles, bad interviews, and bad reviews..they are a wannabe rollingstone..just a trashy publication. but even Rolling Stone in their "250 albums of the decade" didnt have the roots in it, they had Outkast, PE and some other stuff..but they went for impact albums..they put *2* Rolling Stone albums in there,,c'mon please..THey skipped over a thousand influential artists. It is just how it is, fuck those lists, none of what those people say is really gonna matter.The most influential and original art is never recognized till years afterward, Bach was a church organist till the day he died, he wasnt famous till 10 years afterward, Van gogh did not sell a single painting before he died. As long as the artist knows the power of their art, it is the most important. And when I write or explain about music that I enjoy, I can really go on for hours and hours in amazing detail. I could run your ear off about Nirvana's Nevermind,Tricky's Maxinquaye,Root's Things Fall Apart, Massive Attack's Protection. If I ever make art that can mean so much and be interpreted and appreciated deeply I would feel blessed. You can't go deeply into an album like "the score", so Ahmir don't feel bad..you've made amazing music.<BR>alright that is enough talking,<BR>Steve

  

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vrn

Thu Jun-24-99 07:22 PM

  
18. "iambic pentameter..."
In response to Reply # 16


          

is a classical form of poetry writing. used by Shakespere, most notably. it's like 10 syllables per line and (i think) fourteen lines. so instead of com comming on his typical style, where he basically talks over the beat, he's flipping a more constrictive rhyming pattern, more on the beat.

  

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ericdvs
Member since Jul 11th 2002
1 posts
Thu Jun-24-99 07:25 PM

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19. "iambic pentameter"
In response to Reply # 16


          

once i think that i figured u guys out you come out with some iambic pentameter shit. ur like that motherfucker teck on the real world talkin bout "u never know whats going to come up next". a lot of heads think this rap shit is all too easy. a beat and a rhyme, but little do they know they have to deal some shakespeare sonnet iambic pentameter shit. its hard enough to write even one sentence in iambic pentameter. and u guys write songs in iambic pentameter....that shit amazes me...a trochee, spondee...etc. that shit brings me english nightmares back in my days at school. <P>dont tell me thought's going to come out with some haiku shit...then ill really say....damn those motherfuckers are mindblowin...then again i think i say this already.<P>peace <BR>ericdvs

  

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KRH-ONE

Thu Jun-24-99 09:32 PM

  
21. "sorry...."
In response to Reply # 19


          

i'm not here to burst any bubbles, and i know this is way off topic anyway, but iambic pentameter is the simplest, most common rhythmic form in english and the germanic languages. i'm not sure, but something like 75% of conversational speech is in partial iambic meter, and pentameter falls right into place. the sentences don't have to have 5 iambs but the breaks in diction follow the 10 syllable pattern. now, if you want to get INTERESTING, try some amphimaceric septameter. (that's 7 amphimacers, each amphimacer reading long-short-long. this is essentially impossible but it can be done with a few pyrrhics and trochees thrown in. i think dylan thomas went off on this once or twice. speaking of going off....)

  

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EL Juba

Thu Jun-24-99 09:02 PM

  
20. "((Pat on the back)) Sorry bout yall gettin slept on, cousin.."
In response to Reply # 13


          

But you surely understand how this industry works too- you all are on some PE shit.. did you read Chuck's first book, how he was building on how Bono inspired him simply by the sheer power and resources that orbited around the U2 phenom? Man, these cats couldnt wait to get PE out of the limelight..<P>I mean it seems like you lose pts. in the music industry by trying to save points <img src="http://www.okayplayer.com/dcforum/Images/happy.gif"> .. in other words, a self-contained unit that doesnt wholly depend on its label for shit and can run their own show without dividing their pie 13 different ways isnt getting a whole lot of industry love in the long run.. no diss to LL, but he is a media darling because he is accessible to white America, and he's giving them work out there in LA, in Rush offices etc.- You cats are giving mostly hungry young urban blacks (that yall grew up with?) work- to me that seems a large part of why the Industry isnt being fair about giving the Roots credit.. because they recognize the subvertive nature of a black music group that strives for growing independence.. <P>Or so it seems to me anyway..at this particular moment.. sigh, whatever LOL.. <P>Anyway, I bet yall get nominated for an award this year, at least best single or best LP.. for what its worth..

  

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butterflymil

Fri Jun-25-99 04:00 AM

  
22. "I hear you!!!"
In response to Reply # 13


          

you're making me cry because I know what you're saying is so true and its sad to hear. But keep strong and keep maing that music cause there is mad love out ther fore you all and we need to have someone to listen to and someong to have out children listen to. We know you guys need to pay the bills. Just keep making that music and we all here at okayplayer will support you to the fullest. See you at the Limelight, hopefully.<P>butterfly mil from the BIG APPLE signing out...<BR>peace & blessings always

  

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Phil
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6726 posts
Sat Jun-26-99 10:17 AM

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23. "I totally agree, check this out..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

>DELIVERY: This is where he does <BR>>a FATALITY on the competition. <BR>>BT is always ON THE BEAT. <BR>> Listen to other "amateurs" (the <BR>>"underground" is littered with 'em) and <BR>>even some vets to see if <BR>>their rhymes land on the beat. <BR>> See, not always!! For <BR>>example, El P, who is ill <BR>>with the pen, is not always <BR>>on beat (damn this annoys me). <BR>> Even the dopest poets sometimes <BR>>land offbeat (I think even Common <BR>>is guilty sometimes - no flames <BR>>please!!) The rhythm in Black <BR>>Thought's voice is a gift that <BR>>VERY FEW in the game have. <BR>> Even if you just heard <BR>>his rhyme a cappella you'd still <BR>>be noddin that noggin. <P>Funkyprez is 100% right on this point. Remember that old drunken freestyle he did? Even if topically it wasn't his best, he was still on beat even tho there was no beat. (is that possible?? <img src="http://www.okayplayer.com/dcforum/Images/happy.gif"> ) But I think you know what i mean, he was following a the beat in his head. Lotsa times you hear someone freestyle and he is stretching shit out just so he can think of a word that rhymes. I guess this says something about his freestyling prowess as well but freestyling on beat with no beat is pretty impressive if you ask me.<P>I think one of the best demonstrations of him rhyming on beat is on his last verse on Pass the Popcorn (Not popcorn revisited). He's solo with just finger snaps and each line is dead on beat, and when the ?uest starts bringing the beat back and building it up Thought flows at the same pace and makes for one of my favourite verses of all Roots songs. <P>Phil<P>"Okayplayer.com, first the Web, next, the World!" - Phil copyright 1999

  

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