The Rap Up #8:  January 2011

20 Jan 2011

tom hanks’ son has a go at hip hop, gucci mane gets some ice cream tattooed on his cheek, kanye west buys a gold watch decorated with a picture of his face made out of diamonds, and wretch 32 stakes a claim to be at least the best rapper in tottenham.


Do you ever get those weeks where ridiculous s**t just seems to happen to you far more than it’s supposed to?  Well, Hip Hop has had one of those months, so let’s kick off the New Year with the embarrassing, the bizarre and the downright ludicrous as we get fresh for 2011. 

It emerged earlier this month that Tom Hank’s sprog Chester Hanks is keen to dip his toe in the murky waters of rap (just for the record, we are indeed talking Tom ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ Hanks here).  Going under the stage name Chet Haze, the 21 year old Northwestern University student is using a remix of Wiz Khalifa’s hit ‘Black and Yellow’ as the jump off to his new line of work.  Chester has also had a bash at acting in the past, popping up in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the marginally less credible Bratz: The Movie.  However, now Chet’s days consist of ‘chilling with his boys, attending class and taking care of business’ as he lives the college/rap life, not to mention participating in his favourite pass time of ‘hitting blunts after hitting books’.  Here’s ‘White and Purple’, I’ll leave you to pass your own judgement on this one:

In other news, the latest underground American rapper to look like he might have a shot at the big time is Gucci Mane.  Hailing from Alabama, his thick southern slur, criminal past and steady output on the mixtape scene over the past few years have him profiled to capitalise on T.I’s absence.  This year will see Gucci drop the final instalment in his most recent series of releases The State Vs. Radric Davies, in which each album plays off a different aspect of a court case.  However, this time it’s not Gucci’s music that’s got the online community in a tiz, it’s his latest tattoo.  Photos have started to circulate of Gucci in an Atlanta tattoo parlour proudly showing off a full colour, three scoop ice cream cone etched across his right cheek.  Gucci’s not a man to shy away from a bit of body art, in fact when asked why the rapper settled on such a prominent area of skin, Shane Willoughby from Tenth Street Tattoo said that when he chose his face it was simply because he ‘didn’t have anywhere else’.  After being quizzed on the tattoo’s meaning, Gucci’s spokesperson later released this short statement: ‘the image is a reminder to fans of how he chooses to live his life. Cool as ice. As in 'I'm so icy, I'll make ya say Brr’’.  The next big thing has never been so easy to spot; remember this face:

Talking of faces, there’s been another famous one doing the rounds on the internet this month, except you wear it on your wrist.  To mark the unprecedented success of Kanye West’s come back album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezy has decided to treat himself.  Except when your Kanye West, treating yourself doesn’t mean ordering a take away, it comes in the form of buying yourself a golden time piece complete with your face embedded into it in white, yellow, brown and black diamonds.  Commissioned as a one off by New York watch makers Tiret, the ultimate in egotistical accessories will set you back approximately $180,000, small change when you’re a megastar; here’s what it looks like.

Of course, that’s not the only reason that Mr. West has been making music headlines this month.  On 6th January Kanye announced via twitter that the first single to be taken from his joint album with Jay Z will be H.A.M.  Read what we made of it here at Rockfeedback.

Now for something completely different, around this time of year the good people at the Beeb compile a list for us that gets whittled down to 5 emerging acts who they reckon are going to make it big in the coming year.  Then they put them in heavy rotation on Radio 1 day time until everyone who isn’t sick of them, loves them and make the whole thing out to be some kind of prophetic gift that only ‘music industry experts’ possess.  Having said all that, they do occasionally unearth some gems, heck they even throw in the odd token Hip Hop act here and there as well.  Fulfilling that role this year with a lot of support from the other entries was Wretch 32, and despite not making the top 5, the Tottenham based MC looks set to compete with the likes of Tine Tempah and Tinchy Stryder by the end of the year.  If you haven’t already heard it then be prepared to find yourself mumbling something about the Jeremy Kyle show for the rest of the day; here’s his debut single ‘Traktor’:

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