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The Wait List: Papoose’s “The Nacirema Dream”Posted by Burmy on 08/15/11 | Filed under Features, Papoose, The Wait List
It appears 2010-11 will be remembered in hip-hop as "the years albums finally came out". In the past twenty months alone, Lil' Jon's "Crunk Rock", Stat Quo's "Statlanta," GLC's "Love Life & Loyalty", and Saigon's "The Greatest Story Never Told", all of which I had been waiting for ever since I moved into my apartment. Though reviews were mixed to positive when they finally dropped, the sales numbers were abysmal, and often times the albums didn't include any of the tracks that had gotten me hyped for said album's release. At least two other long-awaited albums it is believed will finally meet their release this year (hears shouts of "DETOX!") Calm down, people-I'm saving that for the BIG one. The other one is the debut album by The Underground Mixtape King himself, Papoose.
Born in Brooklyn to a household of Native American and Liberian parents, the Native American side played a strong part in young Shamele Mackie's looks, leading his grandmother to give him the nickname which has stuck ever since. (a papoose is a young child in that culture). From the days when he was a "papoose" for real, Pap made attempts at rapping even as young as seven. Though not much is known about his life from '78 until '98, it was that year that the world first heard a Papoose verse, on "Home Sweet Funeral Home" from Kool G Rap's sophomore solo set "Roots of Evil"
"Who bet they best against mine?
I press the west and let the vest protect mine
Led crimes that head the headlines and spoke cake times
I used ta catch shines
Rockin' when I see you next time
Neva but greater threat, I make mine
Soon as I let the infared shine
Everybody know it's hit the deck time
Don't go against mine
I make a wino bleed red wine
Sometimes my own peoples slick talk, try ta test mine
Get outta line, so I give em deadlines
Even disrespectful respect mine
Light weighted but I rep mine
I don't lift weights, but I bench press a tec 9
I'm known for holdin' big shit
The last time I showed the biscuit
I made this dude sweat enough bullets ta load a clip wit
When cops drop warrants and try ta get me bagged up
All they hear on they walkie-talkies is "I need back up!"
Papoose the braid blaster since jakes want me in the cage captured
I roll wit more niggas than slave masters"
Wow...15 bars all using the same rhyme! Also, not every MC would have the audacity to spit that last line about the slave masters-that's how underground hip-hop fans first knew that Papoose was gonna be something special. The very next year, he signed to Rockboy Records, only releasing a dual-sided single. The first side was the A-Team theme sampling AZ & Kool G Rap collabo "Thug Connection":
(I pity da foo' who ain't down wit dat Thug Connection!)
However, the B-side was the song everybody thinks of when you bring up Papoose: "Alphabetical Slaughter," a lyrical trip through the English alphabet-all twenty six letters get proper reps here!
(What's your favorite letter?)
Unfortunately, the Rockboy deal fell apart fairly quickly, so he decided to start producing and selling his own mixtapes by himself. Of this, he has been truly prolific, having dropped at least 23 solo mixtapes (and 3 collabo mixtapes) during his career, earning him his reputation as the Underground Mixtape King. One of these mixtapes happened to get into DJ Kayslay's hands, Impressed right away, Kayslay invited Pap to his Hot 97 show, where Pap's rendition of "Alphabetical Slaughter" got him signed to Kayslay's Streetsweepers Entertainment. Soon afterwards, a remixed version of "Alphabetical Slaughter" ended up on Kayslay's sophomore set "Streetsweeper Vol. 2: The Pain from the Game," with a lil' bonus at the end:
Kayslay: "Hold on hold on
My nigga Papoose just took y'all, through the whole alphabet
A to Z, now we bout to flip it backwards, Z to A
Yo Papoose, get at these niggaz man, let's go!"
Papoose: "(Z!) Zig-zag zigs involved weighing Zambian Zaires
Zodiac zone and Zulu's, Zion's zap a zillion zillionaires
(Y!) Yo you yeah, yesterday's youth yearning your yen
You yellow-bellied Yankee ying-yang yelling "yes"-men
(X!) X-rated, ex-African, X-Man
Ex-leaders, ex-Clarence, X-Malcolm, X-Clan
(W!) We want war, World War, world-wide warning
Walking with weapons we wacking walkie-talkie wearing wardens
We with whatever..."
Kayslay: "Hold up hold up!"
Papoose: "...want what whyling wherever war went..."
Kayslay: "Yo, I'm just playin'!"
Papoose: "Warlock, warpath, warfare, warriors and Warren's..."
Kayslay: "Yo chill, yo chill chill chill man, chill man!"
Papoose: "...wait, what, why?"
Kayslay: "We gon' save that for your album, Thug-A-Cation
Papoose, coming soon
A&R's, holla at me now, or suffer later!"
That's right...he didn't even get any major distribution yet, and already we have the first confirmed track from his own debut album-there he'd be going Z to A! If that didn't get you hyped, then you must have a bonafide case of chronic stoicity. And so it was-for the next two years, the streets were on watch for Papoose, and his mixtapes would be dropping like bombs on the streets, hoping someday A&Rs would get it. However, it wasn't until '06 that the most promising news happened-Pap got inked to Busta Rhymes' Flipmode Records, and thus got on the third official remix of "The Big Bang" lead single "Touch It":
(Get low Papoose!)
"Pa-poose, had to get on this club banger
Smack you in your mouth make you swallow your pulp razor
Pop a couple bottles laugh about it with Bus later
Bare witness I'm the young savior"
(TURN IT UP!!)
"I GOT STATEN ISLAND ON MY PINKY QUEENS ON MY THUMB DUDE
THE BRONX ON MY MIDDLE FINGER SCREAMIN FUCK YOU
ROCK ICE IN MANHATTAN SO THERE'S THE RING FINGER
YOU KNOW I HAD TO KEEP BROOKLYN ON THE TRIGGER FINGER"
(Get low Pap!)
"Five boroughs of death, you don't understand
I got New York City in the palm of my hand
Now I could make a tight fist and let it crumble ridiculous
Or I could smack the world with a New York Nemesis"
(TURN IT UP!!)
"I FLIP THE MAG AND GET THE CLAPPIN IF IT HAPPENS RIP HIS JACKET
SPLIT HIS BACK AND LIFT HIS HEAD I'M GETTIN AT HIM (HA!!)
PICK UP A DIFFERENT MAG AND THEN ATTACK HIM WHEN I GRAB HIM SHIT IS BLASTIN
WITH A PASSION GET IT CRACKIN THE ASSASSIN, YOU LET 'EM"
Contrary to the video effects, Papoose has not a single tattoo on him-still, for the first time, the mainstream world would get acquainted with his exceptional lyrical skill. Such was the popularity that he got the call from Disney-yes, that Disney. More specifically, their subsidiary Hollywood Records for their new Brooklyn-based R&B/pop singer Jeannie Ortega-she was releasing her debut album "No Place Like BKLYN," its debut single "Crowded" needed a fellow Brooklynite with street cred, and at the time Hov was still retired, so the House of Mouse gave Pap a call, and he was quick to pick it up:
"Bk, Bk Uh
They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too
Tell me what’s the meaning?
What’s the sense of me having cake if I can’t eat it?
Cheaters never win, my friend
You like creeping
But hate when your girl start cheating
Imagine if you came home to your wife
Opened your door and locked it
Then you found R. Kelly hiding in your closet
I knew you would start cheating before you even stopped it
I'm like when you double your money I’m a profit
Albert Einstein was smart but I’m somethin' wiser
I’m a ladies man, your man is a womanizer
You gotta fight for love, can you make a fist
Since your name is Jeannie, can I make a wish?
Don’t mind your setbacks, every move major
Growing for me hey just do me one favor
He put you on the side lemme be your savior
Crowded, Papoose, Jeannie Ortega"
This certainly served its purpose-ideal for the Disney film soundtrack (notice no vulgarities), yet was a primer to all tweeners who sought to rap by giving them an easy, yet skilled, model to follow-and was Papoose's only taste of the Hot 100, peaking at #98. At that moment was when the big news had finally came-it was good news and bad news for the hip-hop community. The good news: Papoose finally got signed to a major label, on which his debut album "The Nacirema Dream" would be released ("Nacirema" being "American" spelled backwards). The bad news: that major label was Jive. Still, if they could work him right, there was some hope-perhaps that hope would come with his newest feature placement: the lead single to Jive R&B mainstay Joe's sixth album "Ain't Nothin' Like Me" called "Where You At?"
"They say you never know what you have till you lose it
You promise your girl something you better do it
You can't tell a woman you love her, are you stupid?
Words don't express you love you got to prove it
Back then our relationship wasn't the truest
Grown man slow dance to Joe music
As the time went on I become foolish
Now you're gone everything ruined
But girl this is Papoose I'm on your favorite track
I know your friends are in your ear, but baby come back
And I never let you down so later for that
I told you I was gonna make it, I'm the savior of rap
And I work hard, you don't got to cater to Pap
I tie my own do-rag, lay back and relax
You don't even got to accept my apology
But I'm man enough to admit it, acknowledge me"
Living proof that as street-heavy as he was, he could also know how to style himself towards the radio records while maintaining his authenticity throughout. With that string of success, it was about time he got that solo shine-thus came his first planned single, "Get Right":
"I got a damn good lawyer (Yeah!)
The best management
And the realest DJ on the streets (Drama King)
So how the hell I'm 'gon lose
To one of y'all dudes
When the album drop I'm 'gon eat (Nacirema)
You got the number one spot,
Really think you hot(Oh Yeah)
Then homeboy just don't blink (Don't sleep)
When you open yo' eyes the game 'gon be mine
And I'm a bring it back to the East (Let's Get it)
Since the Touch It remix put the face to the voice
The ladies love my style, they get moist (They wet)
Chose with my mouth closed they ain't have a choice
I came from the bottom but I Rose like Royce
Man these boys can't mess with me on my worst day (Nope)
So how the hell 'gon mess with me on my birthday (Yeah!)
That's right, this is the day I was born
The music is my mama, I'm the son of song"
For some reason or another, that never got pushed like it should have (WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?). Not to worry, a back-up plan was in place: remembering he signed for $1.5 million, he was surely "Gettin Gwap!"
However, that was more of a "teaser" single than anything else-despite its various quotables ("Work like a slave, eat like a king!")-so the folks working at Jive decided to leak the Dr. Dre-produced "Drop It".
"Mind over matter, you need common sense
So you can analyze and study current events
Politics got me sick to my stomach, I'm feeling nausea
Can't go to Atlantic City to get my dollars up
The casino's shut down from the bottom up
Lost a lot of money out there, feel like they robbing us
The governor he a billionaire, he got a lot of bucks
Guess all the money he made is just not enough
Suicidal bombers in and out of La Guardia
Governor Corzine scared of the mafia
His way or the high way, no hesitation
It's about to be a political assassination
And they say the terrorists had plans to blow the Holland up
Push the water into the Manhattan to flood the island up
They say it can't happen, man they always lie to us
The Hudson River got enough water to fuckin' swallow us"
Despite the fact that reference to "Governor Corzine" could qualify for the next edition of "Rap Lines That Make No F**ing Sense" (why is Pap the Brooklynite so concerned about the governor of New Jersey?), you could tell he put his soul into this-perfect heater for Jive's next try at an official single, the Snoop Dogg-assisted "Bang It Out". (one of my first blurbs on the mothership, and I was hyped like a mofo!)
"My style similar to hell, hotter than high temperatures
World wide finisher, The U.S. Of The Lyrical President
The U.K. King, wide sinister
They love me in Canada they call me the Prime Minister
Said I lose my life on the corner
But I'm in Miami on the balcony overlookin the water
Give my credit cards to my daughter
Tell her to swipe it like Swiper from Dora The Explorer
And I just bought her the ice that don't melt
I give her what she wants she spoiled like old milk
They say the block slow if you ain't really smart
Chill, cop him another connect give you the raw deal
Flip your money twice then cover some more crills
Niggas'll flip on you the game ill
Since they like flippin on me, man I cop that long steel
Hit him in his side and make him do the cartwheel"
Although producer Scott Storch had a thing for radio-ready singles at the time-and this certainly would have qualified-again, Jive did the "label shenanigans". Fed up, Papoose had a resigned feeling, leading to his most commercial single yet, "Fitted Hat Low".
(You know what? I'm not quoting any of this. In case Pap is reading, I don't want to relive any bitter memories).
When THIS never caught on, Pap decided that was that and secured his release from Jive. Given his work ethic, he got right back to the streets, giving us all Beat 102.7's most-played track "Stylin' On Ya" (Grand Theft Auto IV gamers have fond memories of killing Playboy X and taking his apartment to this music)
In addition, Papoose did a collab with C-Murder, ethered Uncle Murda, and got another Swizzy beat. However, those who have read my Femcee Letters and Albums That Deserve Another Chance series both know what his primary claim to fame has been over the past three years.
Since 2006, rumors had swirled regarding his status with Remy Ma as a couple (fueled by his verse on the "Conceited (Remix)" "They mad cuz I'm close to Rem like car tires")-both of them had constantly denied anything, claiming the bond was more fraternal ("She my sister like Brandy and Ray J" -"You Made Your Choice"). However, as Remy was convicted on these charges, the truth had to come out-though they were set to get married on a yacht later in '08, emergency plans called for the two to tie the knot the day before Remy's sentence-of course, those plans got called off when the guards found he was bringing her a handcuff key-MAJOR CONTRABAND. Although they would get hitched the next day (right before the eight-year sentencing), Pap was banned from visiting her for six months-and almost got locked up himself for contempt of court right afterwards. Since then Pap's status has been as a rider for his lady, taking care of her son and being the face of the "FREE REMY" movement.
Nonetheless, he's still found time to get his own business going in the music world, getting two rather dubious mentions on RefinedHype in the process. First on the May 21, 2010 edition of Fails of the Week, his new buzz single "Bucket Naked" got our own Nathan's beatdown not only for being the worst track Pap's ever made, but also for the fat strippers who might have STDs. (I might add another bit: BET Uncut went off the air in '06, so that window's closed and likely never to open again-then again, do music videos even air on TV anymore?) Also, my earlier "Rap Lines" nomination would be Pap's second, the first being from "Chess": “Females are intelligent, that’s the wisdom kid / They’re built from the top down like a pyramid." While giving props to Pap's appreciation for a woman's worth, Nathan pointed out that apparently Papoose is as good at building pyramids as Lil' Flip is at handling milk.
Undaunted by our recent critiques and his not having a feature on the mothership since October 2008, Papoose has ultimately decided that that Nacirema Dream will be deferred no longer, forming his new record label Honor B4 Money Records (to which Karina Bradley is signed, best known for her buzz single "Nevermind Love" ft. Meek Mill). Features on the new and improved (?) Nacirema Dream include Erykah Badu, Jim Jones, Thuganation, Busta Rhymes & Lloyd Banks ("Party Bout To Pop"), and the wifey herself ("Bucket Naked (Remix)"). In addition, Pap has made sure to give back to the people, with the Preserve our Legacy charity group to benefit the Batassy Orphanage/Women's Shelter in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
So Pap, if you're reading this, I appreciate your resiliency. Keep it up, and let's hope it's focused on less club tracks and more of that rapid-fire lyical stuff we've come to know and love ya for!
Now Hype Nation, I got four questions for you.
1. Is "The Nacirema Dream" ever dropping?
2. If so, when?
3. Will it be any good?
4. Will you cop it?
Post 'em all (as well as which album I should do next) in our very own comments section. Now if you'll excuse me, I got an album to listen to-I'm so glad it's not on The Wait List!