Footnotes is the section in our magazine where we take a deeper look at the music surrounding our feature artists. Read Andrew Noz' FADER #78 cover feature on LA rap crew Black Hippy here, and check out our notes below.
Kendrick Lamar, “Blow My High (Members Only)” Section.80 (Top Dawg Entertainment, 2011)
Ten years after she passed, Aaliyah’s memory hangs heavy on the bleeding hearts of young rappers. In “Buried Alive,” Lamar’s star-making interlude on Drake’s Take Care, he name checks Aaliyah, before declaring that women are the tastemakers responsible for his success. Then, taking stock of Drake's life of pleasure in Toronto, he points out that it’s sorely lacking a grounded but forward-thinking woman like Aaliyah. On the low-slumped and starry-eyed “Blow My High (Members Only),” Lamar halfway appropriates the beat from Aaliyah’s 1997 ballad, “4 Page Letter.” For a party track, it’s mournful, especially when Lamar sing-raps its chorus, RIP Aaliyah/ R-I-P/ That’s exactly what this sound like. NZ
Stream: Kendrick Lamar, “Blow My High (Members Only)”
Schoolboy Q, Setbacks (Top Dawg Entertainment, 2010)
If Kendrick Lamar is Black Hippy’s brain, then Schoolboy Q is the fists. It’s not that they’re especially dissimilar lyrically, but Q is much more of a blunt force. On album opener “Figg Get Da Money,” Q raps: Every corner, liquor store, laundromat, liquor store, laundromat, liquor store. It’s literally just an alternating list, but his voice is monstrous—somehow laid back and harsh, so that everything he says is automatically imbued with fiery intensity. Kendrick Lamar will rap circles around you, but Schoolboy Q will punch a hole in your chest and make a funny joke about it. SHS
Stream: Schoolboy Q, "Figg Get Da Money"
Black Hippy, “Zip That, Chop That” (internet, 2010)
The video for this song features my favorite rap video trope, which is basically just dudes walking around doing regular stuff while rapping. Check out Kendrick Lamar buying a Gatorade (but also rapping). How about Ab-Soul hopping out of a car (and rapping at the same time)? It definitely helps that even this early in their careers, the Black Hippy crew have their personal styles down so pat, you’d think they were created in a boardroom. Unless there is some massive conspiracy afoot (the Illuminati), I’m happy to know that these are just four like-minded friends vibing off each other for no other reason than it’s fun to do. SHS