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It was funny with Gucci and Lil B. But now it's just not funny anymore  :we:


Waka Flocka Flame
Flockaveli
[Warner Bros.; 2010]
8.0

Flockaveli is for people who find M.O.P. too polite, Silkk the Shocker too relaxed, and Blaq Poet too introspective. Waka Flocka Flame is an unrepentant street-rap hardhead-- as much a descendant of New York aggro-thugs like DMX or Screwball as early 2000s southern club rappers. Producer Lex Luger provides most of Flockaveli's thunderous accompaniment, while a parade of no-name/street-fame character-rappers (plus, inexplicably, Wale) give the album the chaotic tone of a street brawl. But at the record's violent core, Waka Flocka Flame stands as a gangsta rap giant whose lack of range is more than made up for by his grizzled bark.

For 17 straight tracks, Flockaveli is a furious torrent of gangsta rap id. There are zero attempts at crossover, no R&B choruses (unless you count Roscoe Dash's rasp over Drumma Boy's ominous marching horn anthem "No Hands"). Certain songs jump out immediately-- especially rap-anthem-of-the-year contender "Hard in Da Paint". "Grove St. Party" subverts the record's adrenaline into a cocktail of intoxicated cockiness and tense creepiness-- a dark twisted party jam. "For My Dawgs" turns the record's energy into a survivalist street anthem: "One lousy-ass bullet can't fuckin' stop me." Waka's reckless fatalism-- that sense of him teetering on a knife's edge-- is the part of his persona that best fits with the approach of the album's Makaveli namesake.

But it's the sound of the album that sticks out the most at first, a sonic barrage of uncontained hood aggression. The beats are confrontational, shredding up the template of early-2000s Atlanta and turning the remains into an overwhelmingly dense assault of hi-hats and gothic string pads. Along with scattered gunfire and Waka's endlessly amazing ad libs, these elements create a non-stop gut punch of aural adrenaline. Luger's production isn't far removed from the post-Jeezy trap sound of fellow Atlantans Shawty Redd and Drumma Boy-- in fact, he's a little less dexterous than the latter-- but it works perfectly with Waka's sledgehammer-subtle approach. His beats alternate between unrelentling repetition ("Bang") and unexpected, lurching drop-outs ("Hard in Da Paint").

But for all the credit given to Luger-- who, in fairness, has upped the bar for rap producers competing with the post-Tunnel nightclub gangster aesthetic-- it's Waka who gives this record its frenetic intensity. In gangsta rap's race to produce the hardest possible tracks, Waka's gunning to top all competition, stripping street rap to its essential characteristics and distilling the genre into its purest form. But he's no traditionalist, either, avoiding the New York roughneck's reliance on older production styles. There are no attempts to integrate nuance or complexities, gray-scale morality, or introspection. Each track gives a new perspective on the same basic archetype, reducing gangsta rap to its building blocks: hypermasculine children of the drug trade, reckless fatalism, intensity, and physicality.

Anyone coming to this record expecting wordplay, or criticizing it for its lack thereof, is missing the point completely: Flockaveli thrives on Waka's fresh approach to the same generation gap-widening narrative that's driven street rap since before N.W.A. That doesn't mean he can't rap; instead, Waka sells on the way his personality bleeds through his vocals and phrasing, the way his voice rolls, "I'ma die for this, shawty, I swwweartogod," on "Hard in Da Paint", imprinting his vocals in the most memorable possible way: "Mizz-ayy management, shit, that my motherrr."

Which leads to the line that explains the entire record: "When my little brother died, I said, 'Fuck school.'" This one lyric summarizes the attitude of a record utterly unconcerned with authority and anyone else who gets in the way. It points to the unspoken undercurrent in gangsta rap that's usually mischaracterized as undirected underclass rage: Waka's aggression is the survivalist reaction of the powerless, directed toward the threats of the immediate environment. He knows his strengths and he plays to them, exactingly.

— David Drake, October 28, 2010
 

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I had to go off and sample a track after reading this. All I've seen are people slag him off on here, never heard him myself. I lasted four bars.

I have, in time, managed to understand why people appreciate Gucci Mane and even this. Personally, I find it totally unlistenable. I can understand some people being into it but I cannot gain any enjoyment from it. I'm guessing that's the way others see some of the genres I enjoy.

Pitchfork have elected to back abrasive Southern hip hop as what's happening in the genre right now. Once they get an idea like this they usually stick to it pretty hard. This rating proves that. Another thing that will prove it will be an extremely high rating for the upcoming Kanye album; given that we now know it contains three BNM'd tracks I would expect something around at least the 9.0 mark.
 

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I saw it earlier and just laughed. I don't give a fuck about opinions or taste when it comes to this. I cannot see why anyone would be interested in this fucking clown. His music is some of the most retarded shit I've ever heard and he's proven to be a complete idiot in real life. He clearly doesn't give a shit about what he's doing and is just trying to get his money and go. I'm starting to see a lot of these fucking hypebeast clown and tastemakers support him on their blogs and website GTFO you fucking JOCKEYS!!1 you mean to tell me you love Vogue Magazine, Radiohead, and Waka Flacka? MAN STFU QUIT TRYING TO BE DIFFERENT AND BE YOU FUCK THIS CLOWN
 

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I used to check pitchfork weekly and have visited maybe once or twice since the Gucci reivew.
 

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Everything they said in that article was true except for maybe the Pac comparisons.

Besides, do you like music because you like it or because of it's review?
 

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Ape said:
Everything they said in that article was true except for maybe the Pac comparisons.

Besides, do you like music because you like it or because of it's review?
is that carlton in ur avi?
 

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Porcelina said:
I had to go off and sample a track after reading this. All I've seen are people slag him off on here, never heard him myself. I lasted four bars.

I have, in time, managed to understand why people appreciate Gucci Mane and even this. Personally, I find it totally unlistenable. I can understand some people being into it but I cannot gain any enjoyment from it. I'm guessing that's the way others see some of the genres I enjoy.

Pitchfork have elected to back abrasive Southern hip hop as what's happening in the genre right now. Once they get an idea like this they usually stick to it pretty hard. This rating proves that. Another thing that will prove it will be an extremely high rating for the upcoming Kanye album; given that we now know it contains three BNM'd tracks I would expect something around at least the 9.0 mark.
+1
 

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I love how none of us care what P4K thinks, yet every time they give something a ridiculous score, we all of the sudden care about their opinion and draw more attention to their site
If you agree with them, awesome.
If you don't agree with them, awesome.
 

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TheFuturist said:
I love how none of us care what P4K thinks, yet every time they give something a ridiculous score, we all of the sudden care about their opinion and draw more attention to their site
We love stupid.  :dno:
 

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i think it's a well written review  though for what it's worth...i mean i wouldn't subject myself to this album but props to the writer

The81Slouch said:
Waka sells on the way his personality bleeds through his vocals and phrasing, the way his voice rolls, "I'ma die for this, shawty, I swwweartogod," on "Hard in Da Paint", imprinting his vocals in the most memorable possible way: "Mizz-ayy management, shit, that my motherrr."
but this part made me laugh because it seems sarcastic...
like it makes just as much sense if you replaced the quotes with

Waka sells on the way his personality bleeds through his vocals and phrasing, the way his voice rolls, "DUUURRRRRRR SHAWTY" on "Hard in Da Paint", imprinting his vocals in the most memorable possible way: "DEEEERRRRPPPPP"
 

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Motherfuck Bitchfork.

Shouts out to Porce and Asian lol.
 

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Is it possible that we're all wrong though? People have been saying 'those pesky kids!' and 'it'll never catch on' throughout music history and have been wrong time and time again. After spinning a few of the album's tracks, none of which I enjoyed, it seems that this is quite an extreme form of hip hop. Is it possible that this is like when thrash metal arrived? Like when hardcore arrived? Like when grindcore arrived? These are sub-genres which still cause debates in metal today and were treated with scepticism when they arrived, like any new style. However, they remain prominent, and personally I enjoy them all. Is it possible that between this and Gucci Mane we have increasingly extreme forms of hip hop which I simply cannot get into, or is there actually an objective standard making this 'bad' music? The same question could have been asked word-for-word when thrash, hardcore and grindcore arrived.

I'm just trying to get a debate going I guess. A lot of the positive reception for this album has centred around the idea that having no lyrical ability at all and just saying whatever you want is a new form of expression. Is it remotely possible that we, with our tastes, just don't have the settings to appreciate what is a fairly new, developing genre?
 

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Porcelina said:
Is it possible that we're all wrong though? People have been saying 'those pesky kids!' and 'it'll never catch on' throughout music history and have been wrong time and time again. After spinning a few of the album's tracks, none of which I enjoyed, it seems that this is quite an extreme form of hip hop. Is it possible that this is like when thrash metal arrived? Like when hardcore arrived? Like when grindcore arrived? These are sub-genres which still cause debates in metal today and were treated with scepticism when they arrived, like any new style. However, they remain prominent, and personally I enjoy them all. Is it possible that between this and Gucci Mane we have increasingly extreme forms of hip hop which I simply cannot get into, or is there actually an objective standard making this 'bad' music? The same question could have been asked word-for-word when thrash, hardcore and grindcore arrived.

I'm just trying to get a debate going I guess. A lot of the positive reception for this album has centred around the idea that having no lyrical ability at all and just saying whatever you want is a new form of expression. Is it remotely possible that we, with our tastes, just don't have the settings to appreciate what is a fairly new, developing genre?
The way I see it, is that most of the time when a new genre/sub genre of music comes around, it builds on it's original genre and adds it's own sound, without removing what was considered most important/essential. In hip hop, I think one of the most important aspects is the story telling and lyrical ability, it's always been a competitive genre. Rap battles happen both underground and in the mainstream they become popular feuds. It's always about who has the best lyrics, who's the most "lyrical". Having complex lyrics, rhyme scheme or whatever was nearly necessary to become big before, people used to just dismiss anyone who wasn't a good mc.

This new genre, for the most part, doesn't really care about the lyrics. It's all about the beat now. The beat is very important, don't get that wrong. But it's only half of the song, and usually the second most important thing when people are talking about rappers, or was in this case.

So what I'm saying is the reason I don't get into this new genre of rap is because it's taking away what I consider important in rap, the lyrical content.

I just don't like trap music either though, tbh, that southern production doesn't really do it for me.
 
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