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Mase Vs. Cam’ron: For The Culture

This past weekend gave 90s heads a reason to be excited; Harlem-legends Ma$e and Cam’ron went toe-to-toe is a full-on…

This past weekend gave 90s heads a reason to be excited; Harlem-legends Ma$e and Cam’ron went toe-to-toe is a full-on rap beef complete with vicious person jabs and insidious claims. But, was it all for the clicks? Their cordial agreeance to disagree and move forward via text (which Cam shared) seems to suggest it was all in good fun — or was it Ma$e being jabbed for far too long?

To appreciate the magnitude of the beef, it’s vital to understand the actual history these guys have; this wasn’t bullshit Twitter beef with a stranger.

Both Cam and [Murda] Ma$e were members of the often under-celebrated Harlem-based group Children Of The Corn, which included Herb McGruff, Cam’s cousin Bloodshed, and the late icon Big L. The group recorded roughly 30 tracks, but were largely derailed as a collective by the death of bloodshed and L. However, by the time that L was murdered in 1999, all the group’s members had signed solo-deals and ventured out on their own.

Ma$e was — without question — the most successful by the time 1998 rolled around. His debut, Harlem World, topped charts and to date has gone 4-times platinum. It was his label situation with Bad Boy that helped Cam link with Biggie Smalls, who consequently facilitated him inking a deal with  Lance “Un” Rivera “Un” Rivera. Ma$e also appeared on Cam’s first breakout single “Horse & Carriage,” and appeared in his visual for “357.”

Fast-forward to 1999, Ma$e retired from rapping to become a Christian pastor. The circumstances surrounding his departure from Harlem (and Hip Hop) were murky for years. The official story that we’ve come to accept is that Uptown-resident Baby Maine (cousin of incarcerated rapper Max B) ran Ma$e out of Harlem for having relations with his girl. It is captured in the song “Jealous Guy,” which Maine saw as extremely disrespectful. So whether or not he was fully committed, the “finding God” angle was a front of sorts.

Now, Cam and Ma$e go way back — even playing basketball together in High School, but Cam and the Dipset crew have openly talked about Ma$e for years. On wax, you can go back to Cam’s biggest album, Come With Me. He spits the following bars on “I Just Wanna” about Ma$e’s sudden departure: “I just want him to know/rock them jewels, flash that chrome/It’s all good, you can come back home if you want.”

That was the nicer acknowledgment. In fact, some of their public comments had been less than flattering; Cam was pretty loose on Instagram Live earlier this year, basically calling a spade a spade, eliciting a response from Ma$e.

Most recently, Cam dropped some pretty vicious bars on the opening verse of “It’s Killa” on The Program:

“Then I watched him play Pop Lotti against Baby Maine/ At this time I’m moving heroin in Maryland/ They both died, and this nigga turned reverand/ Had the hood hot, FBI and agents ’round/ We need a referee, shit, that shit a flagrant foul.”

That brings us to “The Omen,” and Cam’s (kind of disappointing) “Dinner Time.” The fans of us here at AAHH have concluded Ma$e was a clear winner, but — in all actuality — Hip Hop won.

In a week that also saw a new project from Fabolous and Jadakiss, NYC seems to be on a pretty nice run right now. Though neither of these artists is in any state that we could consider a prime, It had heads glued to the net in a fashion similar to the way heads were glued to Hot 97 awaiting a response record in the epic Nas and Jay-Z beef.

As a 30-something-year-old who got on to Children Of The Corn before these two dropped their other shit — I believe it was on a Stretch & Bobbito tape I copped as a kid — this battle was something special for me. I knew that the “dirt” they had on each other would be extremely deep, and as a whole, I wasn’t disappointed. I found myself saying “what a time to be alive” no less than 16 times in the past 48 hours.

While the preview for Cam’s response included mention of the fact The Program 2 is dropping January 1st (making this all seem like a commercial), I still loved it — for the culture. Ma$e is often written off as a corny rapper, but his shit when quadruple platinum. We all fucked with his music pretty heavy, is tbh Harlem World holds up 20 years later.

There is plenty of chatter centered on irrelevance, which is sad. These two came up in an era when shit was analog — no internet, no steams. Just straight up physical sales. Most newer (urban) artists will never know what it feels like sell four million full-length albums. Not singles, ALBUMS. I for one am happy that these cats are still out here. As for Ma$e, even if he fades back into obscurity, at least he can go out with his head a little higher than the last time he dipped.

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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Sol Patches’ Album Serves As A ‘Love Letter’ To The Trans Community

Last year on Giving Tuesday (November 27),  New York-based, Chicago-born-and-raised multi-disciplined artist Sol Patches launched GoFundMe campaign to assist with…

Last year on Giving Tuesday (November 27),  New York-based, Chicago-born-and-raised multi-disciplined artist Sol Patches launched GoFundMe campaign to assist with the costs of gender-affirming medical processes.

“Bearing markers of both gender non-conformance and black racialization, my being is constantly under scrutiny,” she wrote about about the campaign. “With increasing anti-trans policy pressure from the state, not to mention the mind-boggling violence endured by black trans women daily, urgency is ingrained into my survival.”

Sol Patches is seeking $10,000 for medical costs, of which she’s raised more than $8,800 in the first two months of the campaign.

“I am endlessly thankful for my chosen family of siblings, mentors and loved ones for supporting me in my transition up until now, and I’m deeply grateful for every contribution,” she wrote.

In early 2018, she released her second full length project, titled Garden City, which she described as “a love letter written in music for trans people, we who dream and live to unlearn-creating in a field that denies our very existence.”

Garden City could call to mind The Garden State, New Jersey, but Sol explained the album title refers to many different things.

“One of those is the idea of a garden city first made its way to the books, in Europe when folks were trying to create utopias – the Utopian Movement,” she said. “One of the cities was supposed to be about gardens and having a city. So like, having the intersections of farming and plants and all that stuff with a city aspect. But eventually it was corrupted. A lot of rich people saw value and profit to be made, and it ultimately crumbled. So it’s definitely inspired in that tradition.”

 

Sol Patches also said the Garden City title has a Chicago connection, as the city’s seal includes the Latin phrase “Urbs in Horto,” or “City in a Garden.”

“I was also working with this brilliant poet and singer and creator (Chaski), and we were talking about the abandoned lots in Chicago and talking about how those deeply have affected us,” Sol explained. “It’s always been so inspiring when I think about growing up on the South Side and the West Side, and there not being many well-put-together playgrounds… And how folks made these lots a place of many happenings. And so that at its core is what inspired the LP.”

Garden City was released in early 2018, nearly two years after Sol Patches’ previous full-length As 2 Water Hurricanes, which boosted her profile in the Chicago music scene – particularly within the DIY community – landing her features in the Chicago Reader and South Side Weekly.

“As 2 Water Hurricanes was first ever project that I released, and I wrote it at a time where there were so many protests and calls-to-action in Chicago,” she said. “I was also involved in those actions and organizing those. And at the same time I was young as hell – I’m still young as hell – and it was written from the perspective of a genderqueer kid, who doesn’t know if they’re gonna make it past 18. And Garden City is more so like the aftermath. And how do I not die for my people, how do I live for the various people, who’ve given all they can to help support me. Like, how do I live for them? So that’s the tone I think, that shows the difference.”

 

Sol said during the time leading up to Garden City, she improved on their technical abilities as a producer and sound engineer. She produced most of the record, with additional production from her sibling Eiigo Groove, as well as Chaski (who also executive produced the album), Eve Carlstrom and Little Bear. The record also features collaborations with artists such as Rich Jones, Plus Sign, Ano Ba, Sasha No Disco and Mykele Deville.

Garden City wasn’t the only release Patches delivered in 2018. In late May, she quietly put out a more experimental project, titled Blue Transitions.

Blue Transitions, even more so than her previous work, is a freeform expression of art and identity. Sol Patches is working on re-releasing that project, which is expected to be released on most streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music.

Lead photo by: Chaski

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#IndieSpotlight: Tre Cartel’s Collaborative EP With CashMoney AP Is A Moment For The ATL MC

ATL MC Tre Cartel is someone who we’ve championed quite a bit in the past, which it’s exciting to finally…

ATL MC Tre Cartel is someone who we’ve championed quite a bit in the past, which it’s exciting to finally get his three-song EP Obtain This Grain — as it feels like a moment for him. Produced entirely by CashMoney AP — a platinum-selling beatsmith whose crafted hits for the likes of Lil Wayne, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Ski Mask The Slump God, Tory Lanez, Dave East, Jay Critch, and MANY more — the offering is concise but poignant.

 
It kicks off with “That Guy,” which is a dollar-sign tinged profession of why he’s that catch that “she” has been looking for — featuring a guest verse from YFA King, who smashes the melodic flow. “Knock Your Hustle” is another song aimed at a female, quite cohesively playing off the thematic elements of the first track.

The special sauce though is the absolute banger “Formula,” in which he notes “I think I found out the formula,” adding that he’s just warming up. His evolved Migo-esque flow with his cadence and the gorgeous flute in the bridge of the record make this song almost ironic in it’s prophetic in its overall message.

At three songs, it’s an appetizer at best; yet Tre Cartel appears to have hit his stride over this batch of insanely fire beats supplied by CashMoney. While we may see him open up a little more below the surface when we’re blessed with a larger body of work to digest, Obtain This Grain has a hearty helping of replay value worth adding to your playlist if you’re in search of the next-big-thing to pop from the hotbed that is Atlanta.

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Jeff Kush – “Whiplash”

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