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The Regional Report: Papoose Is Having a Big Month

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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 boring.

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 Is Gonna Come" sample rather than just using it for the intro and fake bridge, but whatever. This song isn't important because of the dubious beat or even Pap's relentless 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 the beat from Nas' "Black Republicans." 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 verses (with the exception of Sean Price, who is always potent) – and that certainly 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 without remorse 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.

At the 2:18 mark, 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 homage 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 rhyme scheme is pretty amazing. The only guy that I've heard layer up that effectively is Eminem.

All told, this one-two punch 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. 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.

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About Adam Hoff

  • chedo

    real recongnize real, any person hatin on papoose will be proved wrong when his album drops if u have listened to every mixtape he dropped and still think hes garbarge then u dont know what real hiphop music is about man. you dont have to like him but at least recongnize his talent, because whats on the radio stations right now is not music, u aint gotta like him but u gotta respect him.

  • Alfred

    yo pap is too much there’s not one artist who can do his word play it’s too difficult man this is wat ive been waiting, for this is the defintion of rap he defines ryhmes yo just keep it up the “lyrical one”

  • Brian B

    You speak of papoose having nothing single song that is “classic” well i say this, the sets such as monopoly sharade chess…are classics same with the law libraries. Now single memorable tracks Superfly, Victory 2007, Usual Suspect 1, Mother Nature, Heart is pure, Do or Die ft bleek and All Around the World to name some that i wont easily forget. Papoose is to say the least the greatest rapper alive to date and 2 to the dead only to Big L. He has ranged out 18 cds in 3 years that alone requires respect. His integrity of releasing cd quality music to the streets all the way to the woods with that type of lyrical arrangement not only educates, but definatly awakens my mind.

  • Rich-O

    Unless your not real real fanatical-deep into the mixtape game, you cannot make judgement on the rap out there. To me all of Pap’s tracks are truly memorable. Pap is in the top 5 easily. He’s an elite rapper. I’ve been listenin’ to Pap since 03′ and he has more classics than anyone except for Styles P. Grafh,Ransom,Cassidy are up there too though. Nobody can pack in the content Pap can into a song. For example, just listen to Harcore 2004, What the F*** is a Papoose,5 senses, Two Step ft. Prodigy & Grafh, You Can’t Murder Me, Backwards Ass Rappers, Style Warz,Back2Back/SayitAint so ft.Canibus, Death Wish, Watch Your Step!!!(He’s’a’heathen’I’need’a’reason ta’heat’up his top)Gang Bang Music!!!(I stop son from comin in like curtains). Papoose may not be my #1 rapper, but there is no doubt he is the most talented, most lyrical MC out there. Nobody can touch him.

  • Rich-O

    Ali Vegas is serious. Canibus is a legend. They just never made it mainstream. They still ill.

  • da king

    are you hating on pap or defending him?? your story is perplexing.. be real nigga

  • Jake

    Papoose is the most inteligent creative and talented rapper to ever live.

    he can do anything

    papoose is graf weezy and Jr writer all rolled into one and better

    “your lies are making me sea sick, stop living in denile da nile is a river in egypt

  • the truth

    PAPOOSE IS THE WORST RAPPER THAT EVER WALKED GODS GREEN EARTH ID RATHER HEAR HURRICANE CHRIS WHO KNOWS HES A FOOL THAN SOME CORNY DRESSING LAME WANT TO BE SMART CHEESE BALL,ONLY PEOPLE WHO DIDNT FINISH SCHOOL THINK PAPOOSE IS HOT

  • http://www.myspace.com/yardmon50 Yardmon50

    I wrote “50 Bullets” a day after the shooting because I believe the death/murder of Sean Bell is a tragedy of “shakespearean proportions,” for like Romeo and Juliet this young couple got caught up in society’s contentions. Meanwhile, there have been 5 or 6 more preventable police shootings since this happened. These types of actions by the “authorities” breed hopelessness and a sense of desperation that just creates more crime and institutes the cycle of poverty we see. I also believe that we all have to unite against hate. If he were alive today, Shakespeare himself would have probably remembered that it was at the wedding celebration where Christ performed his first feat. Well, how ironic is this? For a miracle is what we need now if we’re going to get any justice and heal all the pain caused by this shooting. How do we prevent this from happening agian? Herein lies the real crime: “complacency.” Some say it’s a “crime” and some say it’s a “tragedy. ” Visit my page Myspace.com/Yardmon50, check out my song and tell me what do you think.

  • http://www.myspace.com/yardmon50 50 Bullets

    “50 Bullets” About Sean Bell’s Death Follows Papoose’ “50 Shots