Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Big Month for Papoose

Brooklyn rapper Papoose is a bit of an enigma. One the one hand, he has a pretty good pedigree which includes the 2005 Justo mixtape artist award and a recently inked $1.5 million deal with Violator. On the other hand, I've combed through about 150 Papoose songs looking for some classics and I have yet to find anything truly memorable. Other than the notorious "Alphabetical Slaughter" track, which tries to take Saigon's "Letter P" to the next level, Pap has been incredibly, consistently mediocre. Track after track after track.

Fortunately for Papoose, the tide seems to be turning in December, and just in time for the upcoming release of his LP Nacirema Dream. First, he launched an immediate and passionate (if not terribly artful) response to the NYPD police shooting of Sean Bell with "50 Shots," an angry political track that harkens back to the days of Public Enemy. The song itself isn't all that great, but that's not the point. I wish they had continued with the Sam Cooke "A Change Gonna Come" sample rather than just using it for the intro and fake bridge, but whatever. This song isn't important because of the lame beat or even Pap's clumsy rhyming, but rather because he calls everyone out and basically spells out the problem with the whole incident, even explaining some of the legal nuances ("the law states a cop is not permitted to shoot at a moving car/it doesn't make a difference if its coming straight at him"). All in all, it speaks highly of Papoose as an individual and at least gives him a leg up in the substance department.

More good news for Pap comes on the style side with his recently dropped verse over Nas' "Black Republicans" beat. It seems like everyone is rapping over this track these days and for the most part, none of them are touching Jay-Z's and Nas' original versus (with the exception of Sean Price, who is always potent). And that includes Young Hot Rod of G-Unit, who joins Papoose on this particular effort. But while this L.E.S. cut hasn't been a breeding ground for hot verses (unlike, say, Just Blaze's "Show Me What You Got" which led to some fantastic freestyles), it certainly served as a staging ground for Pap. He still uses his put-the-accent-on-the-last-syllable style and starts out with his familiar drab flow and trying-just-a-bit-too-hard metaphors ("I take my time/ya'll be Russian like the Soviet Union"), but about halfway through the track, he just goes nuts. Papoose launches into a double-time explosion that leaves the listener dizzy. ("I smoke the bubonic/ tonic/ exotic/ melodic/ brollic/ bionic/ psychotic/ ironic/ hypnotic kind of chronic/ on every project/ my object /is to make the product the hardest/ smartest/ calmest/ modest/ honest/ oddest/New York is accomplice [this word isn't clear]/ I abolish/ demolish/ astonish/ promise no college/ Harvard is garbage/ acknowledge its home to fathers and martyrs/ sick of these offices often causing the coughing and walking/ so I decided to comment and got responses from Congress/ this is retarded/ this nonsense.") He keeps going at that pace, if you can believe it.

Honestly, this is like nothing I've ever heard. I know Twista, Busta Rhymes, and Mystikal were faster, but Papoose's ability to spin a powerful statement into such a complex rhymes scheme is pretty amazing. The only guy that I've heard layer up that effectively is Eminem.

All told, this may be just what Papoose needed. He's known as a bright guy with a relentless work ethic and razor sharp lyrics, but up to this point, he's lacked flair and polish in his delivery (not to mention his hooks and choice of beats). The road to hip hop greatness is littered with would-be lyricists, from Sauce Money to Ali Vegas to Cannibus, so it was always going to take something more to launch Pap to superstardom. Perhaps this new combination of political fire and verbal dexterity is just what he needed.

1 comment:

Yardmon50 said...

"50 Bullets" About Sean Bell's Death Follows Papoose' "50 Shots"

Botaniculture Records says that it planned to release "50 Bullets" about the killing of Sean Bell, one month after his murder. The artist known as "Yardmon50" states : "I started writing the song the day after the shooting and within a week I had the song down." He says that he performed the song for his brother who said "it was going to be a hit!" The song was recorded first in December of 2006, around the same time as Papoose's "50 Shots." Alas, do to problems with production the song was never circulated until recently, according to Danny Pella, an A & R rep for the record company. This song follows last year's controversial "50 Shots" by the artist known as "Papoose." Though Papoose's song and Yardmon50's song are similar they are also different. "Yardmon50 is more of a crossover reggae dance music artist while Papoose is a rapper," say Pella. This issue seems more relevant today since the Judge in the Sean Bell manslaughter trial will give his verdict Friday, the 25. Yardmon50 states: "The only connection is psychic." Since they were both rapid fire responses to clear cases of injustice. "Intellectually the songs are different, but in spirit they are the same," he says. Yardmon50 denies any beef with Papoose because of the similarity of the titles, but he plans on proposing a business idea to Papoose based off of this shared theme. "One thing's for sure" says Danny Pella, "we don't want nobody to think Sean Bell lived or died in vain, especially after today's verdict." The public is invited to visit the Myspace page myspace.com/yardmon50.