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Bonus Cut’s Starting Five: 1/29/14

Every week, Daniel and Gus pick five songs to share called The Starting Five. This week, they’re personally sharing these tracks as a feature.

Gus’ Picks

Awon & Phoniks – “Midas Touch”
MC Awon and Producer Phoniks team up to bring you a jazz influenced, boom bap laced track that is socially conscious lyricism. This song and its album, The Golden Era, has been out since July and it may be one of the most slept on albums in 2013. It is truly worth the listen. Support these dudes.

Uptown XO – “Lime Light”
⅓ of Diamond District, Uptown XO talks about the perils of seeking out fame. What is the cost being in the lime light? What would you do to have that sought after five minutes of fame? Is it really worth it? Over a haunting track, XO makes you think about fame and what people may or may not do to be in it.

Tyler, The Creator – “Sandwitches”
If you’ve followed hip-hop at all within the past 3 years, you remember Tyler and his antics with Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All. Tyler and friends blew up in every way possible beginning with the television debut of this track with the help of The Roots on Fallon’s show. Their fame and popularity within the college community was something to behold. I will never forget seeing them in the Midtown part of Detroit, almost getting swallowed up by the crowd as they tore up the stage and having to leave early as bottles were thrown and a brawl seemed iminent. What a night. Golf Wang.

Sango – “Tres Horas”
Having spent time living in Brasil I am always excited to hear new hip-hop that incorporates influences of Brasilian music. In all honesty, some is better than others at capturing the unique culture of this unbelievable South American country . To date, I am not sure if I’ve heard a hip-hop representation of Samba that is more spot on. Sango and what he’s doing with his sound is something special.

Truck North – “Band Of Au”
Is there ever bad hip-hop from Philly? From Truck’s recent EP, Murder By Mourning, “Band Of AU” calls upon Black Thought and STS for this other-worldly cut. I am totally biased but this track is flawless. The bassline is tight and the rhymes even tighter. As Black Thought says, “If there’s rapper that could test me alive/ Nigga, Elvis Presley alive.” Need I say more?

Daniel’s Picks
My picks are all releases from the Mello Music Group Mandala Tape releases. You can purchase Mandala Vol. 1 and Mandala Vol. 2 here. 

Miz Korona, Quelle Chris, T. Calmese, Nick Speed – “Supreme Codeine”
Talk about a posse cut worth blasting. “Supreme Codeine” eats you up, and digests you through its grimy intestines, and when these four artists are done with you, there’s nothing else to do but go through the process all over again. If anything, “Supreme Codeine” is that one song you can play at a social gathering, reminding everyone that hip-hop’s vivid collaboration aesthetic is alive and well.

Blacastan – “Stardust (prod. Gensu Dean)”

Blacastan is great at explaining himself in the filthiest of punchlines. Concocting a Raekwon-like rhythm and style, matched with Gensu’s Big L and Gang Starr sampled production, “Stardust” feels like a classic East Coast blast.

Muhsinah – “Up (prod. 14KT)”
“Up” is a track that is mystifying. It also jingles with a certain darkness that makes its characteristics gritty and tough. Muhsinah’s pitch is moving, hopeful, uplifting, sensual and on point. “There’s no worrying up here,” she digs, “and I want you to see it.”

Open Mike Eagle – “A History of Modern Dance (prod. Jeremiah Jae)”
Open Mike Eagle has stated numerous times that his music is “art rap.” The way he styles his set-up and flow reinforces this, as he goes off on tangents about random subject matter that bends each and every rule. It works though, and matched with Jeremiah Jae’s shivering production–something that could attend a Hitchcock film–“A History of Modern Dance” just oozes with uniqueness.

Murs – “The Pain Is Gone (prod. Apollo Brown)”
The poetry about love and romantic interests has always been Murs’ M.O. Over a very recognizable Apollo Brown-structured beat, Murs tells us a story about a girl. Murs 3:16.

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My Wet Hot American Summer (Playlist)

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By: Victor Anderson

Do I live in Seattle? Oh, I don’t? I live North Carolina? You could’ve fooled me because for the past three or so weeks every time that I look up I see dark clouds full of water just waiting to drop down on us like some kind of aquatic kamikaze.

But it’s summer!

Summer is supposed to be filled with dry and sweltering heat that should leave you craving a cold brew or a dip into the pool, while being struck by lightning during the summer shouldn’t even cross your mind. One would think that all this precipitation would be good for the crops but think again, they’re becoming flooded. I can’t even skate to work because the pavement is too slick and I’d probably die, so I’m forced to settle for a nice soaking walk in the down pour. I’ve never dealt with such fickle weather in my life.

In the morning, the sun shines loud and proud and the day seems promising and then the rain literally rains on its parade. For some reason, the weather switches moods like a pregnant woman because after the light shower, the sun pops back up; cue muggy humidity. Enjoy the shine while it lasts because if the darkness forming above is any indication, more rain is coming and boy does it deliver. The sky opens up an ocean and people go haywire and this continues for the rest of the day.

Who knows when we’ll be free of these schizophrenic weather patterns? I sure as hell don’t, so I decided to make a playlist to reflect our current weather conditions. From up-tempo, bright summer jammy jams to low-tempo dreary ballads and such. The playlist flows as erratically as our current summer weather so feel free to play this anytime of the day, it just might fit.

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An Ode to the Music Video (Part One)

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By: Daniel Hodgman

It’s easy to get caught in the music of an artist and let the overwhelming qualities engulf your soul. For the most part, the appeal comes from the music. But what about the music video? Isn’t a music video just as intriguing as the single itself? Not only are you getting the song, but you’re getting a blend of visuals that move hand-in-hand with the tunes. This is an ode to the music video, an overlooked piece in any musical genre.

Here is the first installment of hip-hop videos that transcend the norm:

Camp Lo- “Luchini” 

An ode to the movie Dead Presidents? THANK YOU.

Ice Cube- “It Was a Good Day” 

Ice Cube perfectly portrayed a “good day” lyrically that many thought the music video wouldn’t hold up to the song, but in typical Cube fashion disappointment was nowhere to be seen. The impressive feature about this video is that it quite literally goes hand-in-hand with everything Cube raps about. In fact, the song and video are so detailed that this dude pin-pointed the exact date Ice Cube is talking about. January 20, 1992 is officially National Good Day Day.

Kanye West- “Flashing Lights (feat. Dwele)

The video for “Flashing Lights” plays out like an O. Henry story; it’s a short, it’s sweet and there’s a bit of a twist at the end. By the 1:45 mark you start to realize everything, but it isn’t until the 2:10 mark when you fully see where things are headed. This is the best kind of simplicity.

Madvillain- “All Caps” 

I love comics and hip-hop and there’s no way I wasn’t including this.

Rahzel- “All I Know” 

Sometimes some good digital editing, hilarity and gross cut-scenes make a great music video. Also: shout out to anyone who played NBA Live 2000 (go Timmy D).

The Roots- “The Next Movement”

The song’s flow is like water and the video is gritty and architectural. As The Roots go through various positions and set-ups, they don’t seem to even notice it. One of the more innovative music videos in all of hip-hop.

Tyler, The Creator- “Yonkers” 

I’m pretty sure the first time you all watched this video you thought it was genius, because it is. For a group of teenagers (at the time), this video features first-class editing and cinematography from a music video standpoint. There’s a reason why this is just under 60 million views on Youtube…

Wu-Tang Clan- “Triumph” 

No explanation needed.

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Ego Trippin’: A Tournament of MC Alter Egos (Part Two)

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By: Harry Jadun
Bracket graphic designed by: Rollin Baker

The hip-hop alter ego tournament introductions and first round happened last week! In case you missed it, don’t skip ahead, click here! 

Last week we introduced you to 16 dynamic, warped alter egos for our Alter Ego Tournament. We told you that only the strong will survive. 8 have been weeded out, 8 are left. Now we separate the contenders from the pretenders; the champ from the chumps. Feelings will be hurt, egos will be shattered, tough decisions will be made, but only one will be left standing. The greatest hip-hop alter ego of all time. Let’s get to it!

Quarterfinals

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Slim Shady vs. Wolf Haley

Slim Shady and Wolf Haley are very similar. And that’s because Tyler, the Creator has admitted that he modeled Wolf Haley after Slim Shady. I’m not a big fan of imitators, I want the real deal. Slim Shady is the real deal. In the early 2000’s he made it cool to be crazy. He made it cool to say “fuck the world.” Wolf Haley has a similar message, but Slim did it better, and he did it first. Slim Shady wins.

Roman Zolanski vs. Sasha Fierce

I’m torn with this one. Both of these alter egos have the Taylor Swift effect. You want to hate their music with all your guts, but you can’t help but love it, and soon enough you’re singing along. Roman Zolanski gets the edge in this matchup though, because of his in-depth backstory. Nicki really went out there in creating Roman, a gay man from London, England who constantly fights with his mom and is locked up in an insane asylum. Sasha’s backstory is a little bit more murky; nobody really knows where she came from. Because of that, I feel more of a connection to Roman Zolanski. Oh yeah, he also advances because his flow’s “tighter than a dick in the butt” (another one of his inappropriate but extremely catchy punchlines).

Makaveli vs. Based God

This is a battle of polar opposites. First you have the Based God, inventor of the Based lifestyle, encouraging others and spreading optimism. Makaveli, whose name (and ideology) is derived from Italian philosopher Nicholas Machiavelli, subscribes to the philosophy of ruling with an iron fist. Rather than killing his opponents with kindness, he just kills them. That’s a problem, because here at Bonus Cut we’re huge on spreading positivity. Makeveli’s tournament life ends here, Based God advances.

Dr. Octagon vs. MF Doom

In an alternate reality where pigs can fly and Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t cost five dollars a pint, MF Doom and Dr. Octagon are best friends, sitting back and having a conversation at the bar with the Dalai Lama. Unfortunately, said reality isn’t real. In the real world they are pitted against each other, battling for survival in this tournament. If these guys met in the finals it would be completely justified. They both revamped the independent rap scene with their respective albums. Their personalities are gnarly, but Dr. Octagon pulls through due to the fact that he holds the advantage over MF in the eccentricity and creativity department. If this were an EA sports game, Doc Oc would have 99’s in those categories. MF Doom gets about a 90 in both. Sorry, it’s not you MF, it’s Doc Oc. I still love you.

Semifinals

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Slim Shady vs. Roman Zolanski

This one’s relatively easy. Roman Zolanski made it this far due to a fortunate draw and a completely subjective, biased judge. Eminem comes into the arena an overwhelming favorite, a Goliath to Roman’s David. Roman’s slingshot isn’t gonna do much to Slim’s armor either. Eminem invented Slim when he was sitting on the toilet, taking a dump. Go back and listen to the Slim Shady LP. You’ll be appalled by the fact that some of the songs were played on the radio. I remember being on the playground during recess in first grade singing along to the whole album with my friends, swear words and all. I had no clue what it meant. Now I do, and I can’t help but laugh. That’s why Slim is so cool. He had one goal, to rattle the establishment. He ended up doing just that. He had elementary kids talking about killing people and popping pills. And that’s why Slim advances.

Based God vs. Dr. Octagon

Based God, you’re awesome. You challenged Kevin Durant to a pickup game, and when he declined, you went on the best twitter rant of all time: “PEOPLE GET MAD WHEN I GET CLUTCH ON THE COURT ITS ALL FUNNY UNTIL LIL B THROW THAT FLOATER ON YO ASS AND SHUT DOWN D, KD WASUP???” You even went as far as to prophesize that KD will never win an NBA championship. This is awesome for 2 reasons: 1) Russell Westbrook gets a season-ending freak injury in this year’s playoffs, preventing Durant from winning the championship. 2) Based God was dead serious. He legitimately thinks he can beat Kevin Durant, a consensus top five player in the NBA right now, in basketball. But Doc Oc has too much firepower. He brought the rap game into the year 3000 with Dr. Octagonecologist’s super-duper funkadelic scratching and synthesizers. His office’s phone number is 1-800-PP5-1DOODOO. That’s not 10 digits, but it is awesome. Sorry Based God, but YOU GOT KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT (of this alter ego tournament).

Dr. Octagon punches through to the next round.

Bonus Cut’s Alter Ego Tournament Championship

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Slim Shady vs. Dr. Octagon

Ali vs. Frazier, Magic vs. Larry, Palmer vs. Nicklaus. Slim vs. Doc Oc is right up there with the best of them. These guys are head and shoulders above the rest, looking down from the sky. I mentioned EA sports earlier in this article, and these two alter egos are the maxed out characters made playable by cheat codes. Choosing between them is choosing between a Lamborghini and an Aston Martin. But a decision must be made. And the decision is Dr. Octagon. Why? Because of his smooth flow and more comical lyrics. Eminem is funny, but it’s a more fucked up, aggressive, Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids funny. Dr. Octagon is a little bit more harmless, so I feel less guilty when laughing at his songs. With that said, even though Doc Oc was killed by Kool Keith’s other (fantastic) alter ego Dr. Dooom in Kool Keith’s Dr. Dooom 2, his legend lives on forever as the Bonus Cut Alter Ego Tournament champion. He’s not with us, but if he was I’m sure he would have an extremely inappropriate, politically incorrect acceptance speech.

FINALTOURNAMENT

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Ego Trippin’: A Tournament of MC Alter Egos

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By: Harry Jadun

Bracket graphic designed by: Rollin Baker

Rappers love pretending to be somebody else. Ever since the conception of hip-hop, alter egos have been used as a tool by MCs to further their music, freeing them up conceptually and stylistically. Here at Bonus Cut we wanted to pay homage to the creativity and ingenuity of these artists, so we decided to host a tournament. 16 alter egos, 1 winner. Over the next two weeks we will introduce you to these insanely cool personas and then pit them against each other. Only the strong will survive. But first, like any sporting event, we have to lay the ground rules. Here goes:

The Rules:

1)     The participants must be alter egos, not alternative names or nicknames. This means that the artist must rap from the alter ego’s perspective at one point or another and this perspective must be significantly different than that of the artist’s.

2)     Only one alter ego per artist.

3)     There were only 16 available spots (we wanted to keep the quality of the artists high).

4)     Seeding was decided by the Bonus Cut Crew. We took into account creativity, cultural significance, popularity and obviously the overall quality of their music.

5)     All matchups will be decided by yours truly, based purely on which alter ego I think is better (creativity, cultural significance, popularity and music). So yes, this is extremely subjective.

6)     This week will only be the first round, due to the fact that I’m going to be introducing each alter ego with fun facts and a healthy dose of knowledge. Next week the tournament will be completed.

7)     Feel free to let us know what you agree and/or disagree with in the comments below. We love feedback!

Now for the main event. Enjoy!

THE MATCHUP:

1) Slim Shady:

Eminem’s lovable homophobic, misogynistic and downright offensive alter ego was introduced to the world on his 1999 release, The Slim Shady LP. A satirical portrayal of rappers, Slim took things so far that he needed a semi-sarcastic “don’t try this at home” disclaimer to serve as the introduction to the LP. Slim was sent to the rap world with the sole intention to “piss people off,” and he accomplished his goal with hit songs such as “My Name Is” and “The Real Slim Shady.” It wasn’t all fun and games, because Slim’s jabs would always have weight behind them, especially when pointed towards popular culture. All of this, combined with the success of the 5x platinum Slim Shady LP, makes Slim one of the favorites to take home the hardware when it’s all said and done.

4) T.I.P.:

T.I. has had some trouble with the law in the recent past. That’s because he hasn’t been able to keep his thugged out alter ego, T.I.P., in check. T.I.P. was born on T.I.’s platinum selling T.I. vs. T.I.P. Throughout the album, T.I. is constantly talking T.I.P. down from resorting to violence or other activities that could get T.I. in trouble. T.I.P. is a thug who will get his way by any means necessary, but things are going to be tough in the first round against Slim Shady.

The Verdict: The problem with T.I.’s alter ego is that it’s not his alter ego anymore; it’s his identity. He hasn’t been able to stay out of jail due to stupid decisions. Also, T.I.P. isn’t winning any points for the fact that T.I. vs. T.I.P. signified the beginning of T.I.’s descent from the top of the commercial rap game. He simply doesn’t have enough to go against Slim Shady, who is one of the most pissed off, warped alter egos ever, and that’s saying something. This dude has a song about bringing his daughter along while getting rid of his wife’s dead body. Slim Shady, no contest.

THE MATCHUP:

2) Wolf Haley:

World, meet Wolf. Wolf, meet World. Wolf is Tyler, the Creator’s white alter ego. He has appeared in Tyler’s music throughout Tyler’s career, and even directed Tyler’s famous “Yonkers” video. Wolf originally started as a name that Tyler decided to use for Facebook because Tyler didn’t like his birth name, but Wolf eventually developed into his own person. Tyler describes Wolf as “the guy I want to be.” Wolf is wild, cool and gives zero fucks. Wolf often converses with Tyler within Tyler’s head, telling Tyler to do crazy shit that he wouldn’t do otherwise.

3) Humpty Hump:

Life got rough for Edward Ellington Humphrey when he burnt his nose while deep-frying some chicken. He couldn’t be the lead man of his band, Smooth Eddie and the Humpers, after the incident so he tried his hand in rapping under the name of Humpty Hump. Digital Underground member Shock G’s brilliant alter ego, back-story and all, shocked the world in the early 1990’s with his nasally flow on songs like “Doowutchyalike” and “The Humpty Dance.”  He stands out from the crowd with his Groucho glasses complete with the nose and his extravagant clothes.

The Verdict: One of the toughest matchups of the first round. Humpty Hump is an epic character, especially with the detailed back-story, which is completed with the costume. Shock G sold it so well that fans, and even some in the music biz, actually thought Humpty Hump was a real person. But I have to go with Wolf, mainly because he directed that insanely awesome “Yonkers” video. Rarely does a music video captivate the entire blogosphere, but “Yonkers” did exactly that. Everyone and their mother has seen that video and will forever be terrified by Tyler wearing black contacts talking about hanging himself. Humpty, I’m sorry but you’re falling off the wall. Wolf marches onwards.

THE MATCHUP:

1) Quasimoto:

Madlib didn’t like his voice when rapping so he let Quasimoto do it instead. Created by slowing down the beat, rapping over it, and then speeding it up, Lord Quas’ helium-inflected voice has terrorized the rap game for the past decade plus. With two critically acclaimed albums to his name, The Unseen and The Further Adventures of Lord Quas, it won’t be a surprise if he makes a deep run in the tournament. Quasimoto is a self-described menace to society, and is not afraid to use violence in order to impose his will. He is well versed in microphone mathematics, and spares nobody with his effortless, slick flow. With another album due up in 2013, you better hide your kids and definitely hide your wife.

4) Roman Zolanski:

Roman is Nicki Minaj’s homosexual male alter ego from London. He has no album to his name, but appears on many of her hit songs, such as “Monster,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Bottoms Up” and “Bed Rock.” The Young Money crew member is often times aggressive and tells the harsh truth Nicki can’t do herself. He used to be violent, but has toned it down at Nicki’s request.  The only thing that stops Roman is his mother, Marsha, who he constantly fights with. Unable to conform to societal norms, Roman was thrown into the nuthouse until an undisclosed date. Things don’t look too good for Roman, who was punished by the bracket gods with a tough matchup in round one.

The Verdict: Quasimoto is a brilliant conception. Anybody with a shitty microphone and voice recorder can speed up his or her voice, but Madlib took that idea and turned it into a terrific rap album. The bad news is, unfortunately, his run stops here. As much as I hate Nicki Minaj, I have to give it to Roman Zolanski, because he has too many quotable lines. Take “Bed Rock,” a song with lines like “lemme put this pussy on your sideburns.” Nobody knows what this line implies, but it’s still an awesome and aggressive bar. Roman’s entire verse on “Monster” is quotable (“Well if I’m fake, I ain’t notice cause my money ain’t!”). It’s too catchy, it’s too fun, and I hate myself for doing it, but I have to put Roman through to the next round. Ugh.

THE MATCHUP:

2) Bobby Digital:

If you love comic books, Bobby Digital is your man. Conceived when RZA smoked a “really good bag of weed” and introduced to the world on Bobby Digital in Stereo, this “lyrical rhyme nympho” is a martial arts master who will “Pierce through your physical faculties/With pin-point accuracy.” He is a pleasure seeker, representing RZA before the fortune and fame. His rhymes play out like that of a comic book, in which Bobby never fails to save the world and get the girl. RZA went as far as making two short movies for Bobby and even pursued a comic deal with publishers, but it didn’t pan out. Bobby Digital is definitely a dark horse, and all those who oppose him better be ready for a tough battle.

3) Sasha Fierce:

Sasha Fierce made her debut on Beyoncé’s I Am… Sasha Fierce. Everybody loves Beyoncé, and everybody loved Sasha Fierce as well. With chart-topping hits like “Halo,” “Single Ladies,” “Diva” and “Sweet Dreams,” the album was a commercial success. Besides being fierce, Sasha is aggressive, sensual and sassy. Beyoncé claims that Sasha takes over every time she goes out to perform, and she performs a lot. Recently though, B claims that she and Sasha have combined, and are no longer separate entities.

The Verdict: Sasha literally, as Aubrey would say, shut it down, down, down at the Super Bowl this year with her halftime performance. She also gets a boost from the signs that she is a member of the Illuminati, which are littered throughout her music videos. It’s hard to decide against Sasha Fierce. Like, they might come to get me hard. But Bobby Digital is every kid (and therefore grown man’s) dream. You’re telling me I get to be a karate master, comic book hero AND an ill rhymesayer? Just stop. But still, I have to go with Beyoncé because “Halo” and “Single Ladies” were guilty pleasures for a majority of human beings at the time of their release. Oh yea, and because:

Sasha Fierce it is.

THE MATCHUP:

1) Dr. Octagon:

A shape shifting alien doctor from Jupiter with metallic green skin, a pink and white afro and yellow eyes, Kool Keith prescribed just what the rap game needed in 1996 with Dr. Octogynocologist, which put underground rap back on the map. Medically, Dr. Octagon is incompetent, as his patients usually die from malpractice and he can’t resist having sex with his nurses. Lyrically however, he dissects all opposition with his smooth flow, witty wordplay and humorous lyrics over futuristic backdrops. If you ever need him to drop knowledge from his glow-in-the-dark brain, he’ll be glad to. You might have trouble getting a hold of him though, as his office operators have a tendency to be masturbating while they’re supposed to be answering calls.

4) Pop:

Biggie’s friend from the barbershop, Pop is always on the lookout for those plotting against Biggie. He gives Biggie the heads up whenever he sees something fishy and waits for Biggie’s word to take action. Pop represents how valuable loyal friends are to rappers who are constantly in the crosshairs of haters’ attacks. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be a short stay for Pop, who has a tough matchup in round one.

The Verdict: This one’s pretty easy for a bunch of reasons. First, Biggie gets punished for half-assing his alter ego. He could’ve gone with Frank White (which would’ve been awesome), but all he does is mention him here and there throughout his career and never really makes anything of it. Instead, we’re left with Pop, who’s not very creative or inspirational. On the other hand, you have Dr. Octagon, an orthopedic gynecologist (Get it? He puts bones into lady parts) from another planet that has performed with a dead Kurt Cobain and an uncircumcised Chewbacca. Doc Oc FTW.

THE MATCHUP:

2) Escobar:

A Mafioso style drug lord who came into existence on Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… and has appeared in Nas’ music ever since. The story goes like this: before the fortune and fame, Nas was known as Nasty Nas, another persona who was hungry for success that spent days and nights grinding trying to make it. After Nasty Nas reached the top, Escobar took over. Escobar is a ruthless kingpin in the rap game who is always looking to make the next dollar. He’s a tragic hero who represents how power corrupts and changes humans.

3) The Based God:

The Based God is a diety with the appearance of Ellen Degeneres, Sam Cassell, Dr. Phil, Bill Clinton and many more famous public figures combined together. When seen in public, it is tough to fight the urge to shout out, “Based God, you can fuck my bitch!” Based God is the creator of the now famous “cooking dance” used by athletes all around the world and he occasionally takes over Lil B’s twitter feed in order to drop knowledge on the Based Lifestyle. He always promotes love and forgiveness, even going as far as to write a book on the topic. This alter ego is more than the music, which gives him a punchers chance to take home the bacon.

The Verdict: The Based God is a new-age alter ego, utilizing Twitter as the main avenue to reach his fans. His grammatically-challenged Twitter rants are pure comedy, but they always are done with the best intentions (to spread positivity and tips on how to live a Based life). Escobar is legendary in his own right, as his verse on “Verbal Intercourse” marked the first time ever that a non-Wu-Tang member appeared on a Wu-Tang album. That’s some serious shit right there. But I still have to go with Based God. He’s convinced sane men in relationships that it’s alright for him to fornicate with their girls. Based God, you can fuck my bitch… in the second round.

THE MATCHUP:

1) Makaveli:

Sensitive thugs need hugs. Makaveli never needed hugs. An angry, ruthless thug who strategically ruled the streets, Makaveli feared no man. On Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (which was completed in 7 days), Makaveli fired shots at all of Tupac’s enemies. He represented an artistic rebirth of Tupac, as Don Killuminati featured a much darker tone than Pac’s previous albums. Still, Makaveli’s songs featured Pac’s poetic verses and classic delivery, which is why the album is considered one of the greatest of all time. Based on all of this, Makaveli has both the style and substance to win this thing.

4) Brook Lynn:

Mary J Blige is well known for her singing abilities, but few know about her alter ego, Brook Lynn, who raps. Brook appears on songs such as “Enough Cryin” and “Midnight Drive,” and she teams up with Mary to make a formidable tandem. Brook is a sassy, independent woman who doesn’t do soppy love songs. She may need a soppy love song after the first round, as she is faced with the tall task of trying to beat one of the all-time greats.

The Verdict: I’m not going lie, Brook Lynn surprised me on the mic. She came with the goods, holding her own with the likes of Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, DMX and Rah Digga. And she’s dressed the part, decked out with some chains and sunglasses. That’s not even close to enough to challenge Makaveli, who gets huge bonus points because Tupac died before the album was released. It turns Don Killuminati into Tupac’s “say hello to my little friend” moment where he completely disregards his life and gives one last “fuck you” to his opponents. Makaveli lives to fight another day.

THE MATCHUP:

2) MF Doom:

Heroes are overrated. Daniel Dumile agrees, and that’s why his alter ego, MF Doom, is a super-villain. What’s a super-villain? The scholarly MF Doom defines it as: “a killer who loves children.” This charming masked man successfully flexed his complex rhyme schemes and unique flow on both of his albums (Operation: Doomsday and MM… Food). Rappers beware: Stand up to MF and Doomsday could be upon you.

3) Mr. Rager:

Super-duper Cudder’s struggles with drugs are well documented. He constantly battles his alter ego, Mr. Rager, in order to stay on the straight and narrow. Mr. Rager has always been present in Kid Cudi’s rhymes, but it wasn’t until Cudder’s sophomore album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager that he officially existed. Mr. Rager represents everything evil and isn’t afraid to show it, as he only wears clothes that are black. His music is drug-inspired, and his rhymes punch you in the chest harder than the heavy bass behind them. We all have problems, but luckily we don’t have Mr. Ragers.

The Verdict: An intriguing matchup. On one side you have Mr. Rager, who is more real than any other alter ego on this list. Kid Cudi’s career has come close to derailment multiple times because of Mr. Rager. Man on the Moon II is a vastly underrated album, and Mr. Rager has an unbelievably cool video to his name:

On the other hand you have MF Doom, the awesome super-villain who is criminally underrated as well. His creativity is on another level; he’s the guy who rapped about food in 2004. HE EVEN SAMPLED FOOD IN HIS MUSIC. Now cats are Instagramming food left and right, thinking they’re cool. No. MF Doom is cool, and so is his music. I don’t care how many ninjas Kid Cudi karate chops in the Adam’s apple, MF Doom wins in a close decision.

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With this, the first round of the Tournament of MC Alter Egos is completed! I will provide the quarterfinals, semi-finals and championship bout in next weeks issue. Stay tuned! And remember, when in doubt, get yourself an alter ego. 

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