Amoeblog

With "2016 Rap Up" Contemporary Culture Observer Skillz Surmises Highs & Lows of The "Bummer" Year That Was

Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2017 11:59am | Post a Comment

"This past year was a bummer," is how  Skillz, (aka Mad Skillz) kicks off his just published annual year in review rap: "2016 Rap Up" (audio of song below).  From that opener through its closing line about "2016 you can go, and I'm glad you're gone Felt like a long bad dream" this contemporary culture observer accurately surmises the highs and lows of 2016 while simultaneously channeling how many of us feel at this year's end. Hear the full audio below, uploaded yesterday to SoundCloud, of the artist's latest year-in-review rhyme: something that began accidentally 14 years ago. "It was originally a freestyle for the end of a mixtape that I did in '02 over all Neptunes beats," he told the Amoeblog in an interview last year, adding how "It just grew legs of its own." By now his annual "Rap Ups," that are typically recorded and uploaded in the final two days of December have become anticipated rhyme recaps of the year. 

Skillz' two-decade career dates back to his killer 1996 debut From Where??? on Big Beat f
eaturing production from The Large Professor and Jay Dee (aka J Dilla).  But so popular are Skillz' annual "Rap Up" reviews, they tend to overshadow his other work. They're funny, short, and cater to a short-attention span generation. As Skillz shared in his Amoeblog interview the formula for his annual rap recap is simple:  "Get to it, give 'em the facts, make it humorous, make 'em think, make 'em reminisce, and get out!"  For the backtrack to his newest production Skillz utilizes Young M.A’s ’ “Summer Story (instrumental).” 

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Mad Skillz Picks Favorite 2015 Hip-Hop Albums & Discusses His Popular Annual Year-End "Rap Up" Series

Posted by Billyjam, December 9, 2015 10:25pm | Post a Comment
Mad Skillz' Top Three Favorite Hip-Hop Albums of 2015


1) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation) (avail also in vinyl)
  
J. Cole's still quite popular 2014 Forest Hills Drive is titled after the address in Fayetteville that the North Carolina hip-hop artist born Jermaine Lamarr Cole spent the happiest years growing up in, not the year 2014. However technically 2014 was the release of this 13 track full-length (avail in both CD and LP formats) which was released exactly one year ago on December 9th, 2014 via Jay Z's Roc Nation label. But like most popular albums released at year's end, whose sales continue far into the following calendar year, it is considered by many as a 2015 release. Widely lauded as one of contemporary hip-hop's most engaging storytellers, it is not surprising that emcee Mad Skillz would chose this album as his top pick of the past year.
   


2) Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath)
 
Executive produced by Dr. Dre and released via his Aftermath label, To Pimp A Butterfly is universally popular Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar’s third studio album and follow up to 2012's breakthrough second full-length good kid, m.A.A.d city, Upon its mid March 2015 release Amoeba.com wrote that the album, "doubles down on the idiosyncracies of good kid, eschewing club-friendly tracks in favor of those that cast a light on Lamar’s pure skills as a rapper and wordsmith—always celebrated, yet perhaps distracted by stellar production and good kid’s concept-album style—as well as his ability to put together a layered and compelling album."

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2014 Rap Up with Mad Skillz and Timothy DeLaGhetto

Posted by Billyjam, December 31, 2014 06:53pm | Post a Comment

Call it a comeback, and a most welcome too. Skilled emcee Mad Skillz is back after hanging up the mic two years ago for his wonderful and anticipated annual Rap Up raps that he had been diligently delivering every year-end since late December 2002.  Perhaps it was due to public pressure from those who missed his always on point "Rap Up" series in which he would neatly summarizes the news events from hip-hop and sports, to politics, and beyond. Or perhaps it was that Skillz was feeling the heat from those who had stepped into his shoes such as DeStorm who did one the past couple of years (but not this year so far) or NorCal's Timothy DeLaGhetto (aka curator of the popular YouTube Channel Traphic Musik) who did a killer one this year (uploaded four days ago) out of reverence to Mad Skillz. Both Skillz and Timothy DeLaGhetto's accurate summaries of the year are below and both are well worth listening to. With many overlapping topics between the two of them they pretty much cover all the main events in current affairs, national and world news, and pop culture with naturally several rap related items touched upon.  Between the two, of which Skillz is the better (in fact his best ever!), they cover everything from Isis to the Ice Bucket Challenge, Bill Cosby to Ebola, the World Cup to Seattle winning the SuperBowl, Pharrell's hat to Dr. Dre's headphones making himi a billion bucks, weed legalization to the rise of the protest movement against police brutality with references to Mike Brown and Eric Garner and "I Can't Breathe," the Suge shooting to Kim and Kanye's antics, and the death of Robin Williams to Solange Knowles elevator outburst. Even the recent North Korea related SONY hacking got included. Check both 2014 Rap Ups out for the ultimate summation of the year we just had. Wishing you a Happy New Year and prosperous 'n healthy 2015! (Thanks to Jorge Fabel Pabon for use of his wonderful 2015 graphic above).
 

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