"Just remember, when it hits the fan, brother, whether it's next year, 10 years, 20 years from now, you'll never be able to say that these brothers lied to you, JACK!"

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Millie Jackson

People keep talking to me about the MTV Video Music Awards. I have to stop them like they're about to spoil Breaking Bad for me—I don't wanna fuckin' know. Don't watch the VMAs. Don't talk about them. (Oops.) Don't give that poison that power. That is not our culture, that is not what is real, that is not us. Our culture is alive, it is vibrant, it is us. Let's deal with that.

Myself—since you asked—I don't want more empty pop. I don't want more replicas of copies of knockoffs. Give me something that speaks to our deep economic and spiritual depression. That's not a call for any particular style, as that can take any form. Even Nacho Picasso, who, lyrically speaking, stays mired in tales of extreme pharmacology, cheap sex, and easy violence (not to mention cartoons and '80s pro wrestlers)—even he gives glimpses of the pain behind it all. (FYI, Nacho's High & Mighty release reportedly drops at the end of this month, on his birthday, September 30.) That's honest. So you and your brodie rapping about playing Frisbee, enjoying fast food and/or shitty domestic beer—that shit don't move me. Do you, though—I can't tell you to feel any different.

And your man's over here, breath hitting, trying to ask me about A$AP Ferg's Trap Lord? Its got a couple cheap thrills, and some cool beats‚ but it's overall symptomatic of so much shit that I stand against that it's hard as fuck for me to get over. Where to even start? There's the A$AP Clan's wholesale colonization of "trill" (if "trill" were "twerk," they would be Miley Cyrus)—when Ferg doesn't even know who the fuck a Houston icon like Z-Ro is. There's the wholesale bite of the BasedGod's whole formula on "Shabba"; 75 percent of your favorite rappers rip off Lil B and then pay him no homage—or even show him blatant disrespect while flagrantly draping themselves in his whole essence.

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There's the whole thing of naming yourself "Trap Lord" when a much bigger—and, believe it or not, much more original—rapper, Gucci Mane, has already called himself Trap God over the course of three mixtapes. All this sounds like quibbling to you, maybe, but this kind of cheap, knockoff, frontin'-with-bootleg-ass culture is the shit that rots the underside of this ship, while the VMAs set the sails on fire. All of us who have been forced to live below decks are really feeling like we got no choices. Man, I hope some of y'all feel me. Oh, but what about that Big Sean Hall of Fame album? Man, go buy Harlem World again, b.

So on that note, fuck rap—go see Cody ChesnuTT at the Neptune on Thursday, September 5, or the Weeknd at the Paramount on Tuesday, September 10. Turn down 'til you can hear your heart again. recommended

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