B.Dot On New York Times Popcast


A few days ago, yours truly sat alongside journalists Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff for this week’s edition of The New York Times Popcast. Our conversation revolved around SPIN‘s review of Chief Keef’s debut, Finally Rich. The site rated the album 8 out of 10. To boot, Nas’ Life Is Good received a 7 out of 10.

Prior to the sit-down, I labeled the author Jordan Sargent a cultural tourist. My comments caught the attention of my colleagues (Dave Bry, Benjamin Meadows-Ingram) and opened up some dialogue regarding race.

According to Jordan, Keef, “made one of the best rap albums of the year, and one of the best major label debuts in recent memory.” He spends a majority of his review justifying Keef’s presence instead of his music. When he does get around to the music (or lack thereof), he makes apologetic statements for Keef’s technical abilities as a rapper. (“His lyrics are direct and purposefully bereft of showmanship. This gets read as “dumbed-down” [or as just straight dumb], but that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the entire function of Keef’s words.”) At various points, he even compares some songs to those of the mixtape Weezy reign.

An argument that most Keef supporters make is that his “shit bangs”. That credit should go to Young Chop. As a whole, Keef’s music represents the lowest common denominator in rap. It suggests that being lyrical is an antiquated idea and marginalizes rappers’ creative scope. Yes, Chicago is a bad place. Yes, Keef is a product of his environment. But is that an excuse to be inarticulate or unskilled? For some reason, hipster media/writers have this penchant for lauding crappy rap music all in the name of irony. Anyone remember Lil B? In any event, check out the podcast above.
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  • Dante

    I stopped caring about B.Dots opinion when he said Earl Sweatshirt was garbage.

  • Dashing

    I feel B.Dot on this. There’s nothing wrong with liking Chief Keef. He can be a guilty pleasure and a lot of people, kids mostly, love his music.

    I think maybe what B.Dot found problematic, and I agree, is that attributing artistic value and talent in his music diminishes the rest of the culture. By gviing Keef in 2012 an 8 out of 10 and calling it the best major label debut of the year it puts him on the same level as a Kendrick.

    And the cultural tourists give themselves props for intellectualizing and creating context that simply doesn’t exist to defend what is, by all objective counts, at best a guilty pleasure album.

  • hahnbolo

    I’ve read a couple “tourists” explain the magic of Chief Keef as being “too special to put into words”. Which is a complete cop out in my opinion. Chances are these people are full of shit. So barely making an effort to rhyme on beat and enunciating is talent now? GTFOH.

  • CaliSteppin

    Salute to B.Dot hes right. Chief Keef is not the first rapper to grow up in a murder rampaged hood so why in the hell does that give him a pass to be less lyrical? Lupe’s from Chicago and hes a great lyricist

  • Nick

    hip hop is what you make it. saying that keef is bad because he isn’t lyrical is saying a good rap song has requirements. A good song is a good song. Hip hop isn’t about requirements, or meeting specifications, its about the feeling you get when you hear a song. The simple fact is that chief keef’s music evokes emotion in people, to a point where they will download his songs and buy his albums. Whether it be chills down your spine when you hear a clever line from nas, or adrenaline in your veins when you hear chief keef’s under the influence raps about his environment, its all relative. its all hip hop.

  • cru

    big up b.dot, i agree

    Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff are clowns sound like they are from npr.

    how can freddie gibbs be boring and chief keef be celebrated?

  • cru

    how about a little love for the cool kids

  • Nathaniel

    this is tricky. i may comment more, later, but i will say this to start…

    Chief Keef getting an 8 out of 10 review at SPIN, while Nas got 7 out of 10, in truth, only challenges the, would could be considered, narrow criteria on gauging 1. what makes a hip hop album dope, and 2. the overall quality of an album.

    i have to correct you all and encourage you to think. ultimately, it is good for Hip Hop music to continue to broaden it’s parameters of “dope” beyond what most closely resembles east coast influenced style.

    this isn’t me saying i believe Keef’s album is better than Nas’s. and, i don’t believe an 8 out of 10 rating, if Kendrick gets 8 out of 10, that he’s on the same level as Kendrick… what it means is, Hip Hop music is not one thing, and it should make us consider the fact that what makes one album dope, and one artist from one region dope, may not be the same thing that makes another dope.

    i do think they’re cultural tourists, though. but they’d be that no matter what rating they gave Keef’s album. is the content destructive? yes. is he lyrically gifted? no. but… the fact that his music, and particularly a segment of the youth in the chi would agree, accurately depicts their outlook (even if it’s a bad outlook) on life, their circumstance, and soundtracks it closely, is something that all of us should take a second look at.

    wack is fake. posing. that “wanksta” shit as 50 cent called it. Finally Rich, to me, is none of that. and i ain’t intellectualizing.

  • The Goatherder

    “As a whole, Keef’s music represents the lowest common denominator in rap. It suggests that being lyrical is an antiquated idea and marginalizes rappers creative scope. Yes, Chicago is a bad place. Yes, Keef is a product of his environment. But is that an excuse to be inarticulate or unskilled”

    Enough said.

  • Nathaniel

    *what could be considered

  • hahnbolo

    Really, it’s thanks to culture vulture journalism that rap is clogged with really shit artists that make a cool video, flop, fall off. We saw it with Kreayshawn, Lil B, we’re seeing it now with Chief Keef.

  • slick rick

    “he doesn’t even speak english”


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  • Derrt

    Wow dude said “Gibbs is boring”, Anyone else here that?


    freddie gibbs makes good music, but, yes, that nigga is very boring.

  • The_Insider

    Alot of the so called tastemakers of this industry don’t give a fuck about Hip-Hop so they say what they think the demographic wants to hear to appear in the know or are paid to say whatever the label tells em to so as soon as they feel Rap’s dead they’ll move on to K-Pop or whatever the fuck. The lovers of this culture MUST start learning this businnes & implimenting what we learn to gain control of this shit. Long story short we don’t need the next Gucci, Jay Elect, Drake or Public Enemy as much as we need the next Kevin Liles, Russell Simmons, Steve Stoute, Harvey Peirre, Chris Lighty etc. Alotta rappers can’t manage their money but as a whole rappers make more money off of their brands than ANY other genre’s artists PERIOD making this cultural phenomenom called Hip-hop/Hip-Hop/Rap nothing more than a market to the media (including bloggers) & the corporations that want to control every facet of it and suck it dry (no Ocean).


  • E$CO

    What?! U must be on crack. Gibbs is one the best cats out. Keef makes trash!

  • Facts

    Whoever said Gibbs was boring better go back to listenin to Drake und Frank Ocean

  • Tbones

    Quote of the day by B.dot cosigned by Tbones; it seems that these hipster bloggers actually find it appealing for some strange reason that retarded rappers like Cheef Kief suck donkey balls.

    BDot def represented well up in there, it was a good listen apart from the music breaks. Nuff said.

  • Dashing

    @Nathaniel, I feel you, and if we want to pull back and discuss art then one could make the argument that rating art or critiquing it at all is problematic because art is art and a critic’s opinion is less relevant than how the average person responds to it…

    but there are some things that you can say are objectively better than others. You can say “The Godfather” is better than “The Adentures of Pluto Nash,” right? And while you could argue that Pluto Nash is different and serves a different purpose it’s hard to argue that it’s better objectively speaking. The problem with Spin and other cultural tourists is that they’re treating Finally Rich like “The Godfather” and not “Pluto Nash”

    And that’s not because I’m viewing it from an East Coast 90s hip hop fan perspective, it’s because through objectve standards (lyrical content, staying on beat, intelligible lyrics, the formulation of sentences etc.) it’s just subpar. And it diminishes other credible rap to even suggest that it’s in the same league.

  • GreenBeitz

    b.dot look just like some1 i know

    • B.Dot

      @GreenBeitz We alllll look the same lol

  • GreenBeitz

    i dont care what it is, dudes like that shouldnt be allowed to speak hip hop against bdot, based on the way they sound alone…

  • GreenBeitz


  • the brain trust

    I sometimes VEHEMENTLY disagree with B. Dot, but there are other times when his opinion really resonates with me.

    He’s absolutely right about Chief Keef & the ridiculous Spin review. Keef was rewarded for flaunting his unapologetic ignorance, his comical ineptitude & his bizarre levels of unintelligence.

    I couldn’t disagree more with @ Nathaniel who said that there isn’t an objective standard for ‘good rap music’. There are certain features that any good rap song HAS TO have.

    A head-nodding beat with a great sense of progression and musical arrangement OR a cleverly chopped sample, a rapper with a commanding flow (which includes voice and mic presence), an addictive, well written hook which makes use rhyme, humour or powerful melody to draw the listener in, coherent verses with an internally consistent theme (which may or may not make GREAT use of punchlines, metaphor, storytelling). This is what hip hop has always and always will be about.

    We shouldn’t have to condone trash just for sake of it. There is music which is objectively bad based on the parameters I outlined & it’s ok to say so.

    Props to B. Dot though. He really cares about the culture, which is dope.

  • Ivy Blue Hov

    Fuck Jon Caramanica!!!!!

  • M.T

    According to Jordan, Keef, “made one of the best rap albums of the year, and one of the best major label debuts in recent memory.”
    this made me lol. people can bump chief keef all they want… nothing wrong with that but the nigga is GARBAGE. He cant rap. Saying a bunch of nonsense on a dope beat in melodic and catchy way doesnt make a song good. smh bdot said it better when he said niggas are trying to over-conceptualize his lyrics and attempt to find something thats not there. he is a bad rapper and finally rich is a terrible album. simple.

  • hahnbolo

    Numbers don’t lie. If Finally Rich was a great album his album sales would reflect that.

    • B.Dot

      @hahnbolo yes and no.

      i think we (self included) tend to judge the quality of a product based on it’s the numbers.

      Something COULD be good, but the #’s just don’t reflect that. It’s a case by case thing. In this instance, I just think the product is poor

  • Itz Yourz

    Respectively said B.Dot.

    I agree.

  • realwickwickwack

    who would have thought i would agree with B. Dot

    how about we start talking about good and bad music …reviewers shouldnt swallow their words because someone is trending ! And it was about time someone called these outsiders out for trying to bullshit their viewers

    There´s room for everybody in hip hop but some feelings will be hurt if u dont put in work

  • The Goatherder

    SPIN gave Chief Keef an 8 out of 10 and Nas 7 out of 10. Well we know who’s lost ANY chance of a subscription or a read with me and my folks. And that’s a lotta folks. Silly ass folks who will try to sell any shit for a buck.

  • TdE

    Bdot aint got no love for Game or Ab soul so fuk him

  • Original Ty

    Hip hop music has been STRATEGICALLY dumbed and watered down by the powers that be so that ANYBODY can do it. If the music STAYED something that required a certain level of skill and soul, the head honchos would NEED talented artists WITH skill and soul. They would be dictated to by the artists as to what is hot and what is good.

    Once you remove the need for a soulful, lyrically talented artist and replace them with glorified singers and elementary rhymers you can plug anybody anywhere and dictate TO hip hop what is hot and what is good. Don’t yall remember that blacks once ran rock n’ roll?? Once it was watered down enough and stripped of it’s soulful and talent elements it became something so broad and unrecognizable that ANYBODY could do it. Soon it was overrun by strategically placed artists with an agenda. straight from the execs to radio and tv.

    I will ALWAYS retain my right as a hip hop fan, to say what really is hot and good and what isn’t. I don’t care if the whole world disagrees. If somebody cannot put words together in a way that the next man is not able to, they are not an artist to me. They may be real, they may be charismatic but they are not a hip hop artist.

  • Wil o

    Bdot is NY vs the world. It’s simple…. Nas had a decent hip hop album..
    Chief had a decent rap album… Hiphop and Rap is like football vs basketball.. Two different forms of music..

    Also just because something is lyrical dosent make it great… Busta is lyrical, but his content has always been trash… He dressed like a clown, talked about flip mode, talked about smoking, ice, smacking niggaz, and how dominant he was.. No different from keef…

    Why dosent he write about the south saving NY niggas for the past 5-6 years, and when are they going to stop asking for features and make it on heir own..?

    • B.Dot

      so wait, your comparing Chief Keefa to bust rhymes? really?

      Busta rhymes content has always been trash? How can you say that with a career that has stretched over 20 years

  • hahnbolo

    @BDot I agree. Most of my favorite albums of all time never sold when they are initially released. When I say “Great” I mean palatable to Keef’s target audience. His target audience decided to pass because of how shitty the product is. That and because the people the still BUY music are our age and older. All this time we’ve been told to shut up because we’re too old and somehow that renders our opinions irrelevant. But the irony is our opinions are probably the ONLY ones that matter at this point seeing as WE buy the music and it’s our purchasing power that ultimately decides how successful an artist is and how much he’s valued by his employer. If Interscope decides to keep Chief Keef chances are his Softmore album will no longer be a priority in Interscope. Nor will it receive the budget or promo ‘Finally Rich’ got. Chief Keef really shit the bed on this album. This first album was suppose to be a statement. Instead it turned into a wet fart.

  • ronnie coleman


  • AiRmax95


  • Beezy

    I totally agree with B.Dot on this one. I think that white guilt is definitely at play. Keef is a product of his environment but that doesn’t justify giving shitty music a pass just because he really comes from that unrelatable lifestyle. Judge the music, not his story.

  • Q

    Keef fucked that kobe beat up smh

  • NYkiDD

    @beezy agree

  • WordDatsHowYouFeel

    I don’t get how he down plays Keef so bad for not being lyrical but say people just like it because it bangs. But Rick Ross isn’t all the great of a lyricist but he stuff is better? but doesn’t his just “Bang” as well? Is “BMF”, “Hold Me Back”, “Sophisticated” lyrical gems or do they just bang? He is being very hypocritical if he doesn’t like Keef thats fine but don’t go so hard grasshopper…

  • the brain trust

    @ Wil O’s comment has me in shock.

    He ACTUALLY said ‘Hiphop and Rap is like football vs basketball.. Two different forms of music’

    I mean, this comment is so profoundly misinformed about music and culture. Please, stop creating imaginary genres to justify your affinity for garbage music.

    Rap is a subset of Hip Hop so the two are distinctly aligned. While rap music refers to the genre we all know and love, Hip Hop is a cultural movement which emerged in the 1970s. It was an innovative form of self-expression originally for and by the African American community and it included breakdancing, the use of graffiti, deejaying, beat boxing, a distinctive sense of fashion and of course, rap music.

    So when you say rap is one genre of music & Hip Hop is another, you’re literally speaking gibberish.

  • Fuck B.Dot

    Dear Bdot,

    Go kill yourself for giving these people the time of day. Ole uncle tom ass hoe.

    The general consensus





  • hahnbolo

    “I don’t get how he down plays Keef so bad for not being lyrical but say people just like it because it bangs. But Rick Ross isn’t all the great of a lyricist but he stuff is better?”

    Rick may not be your top 5 lyricist, but he’s a lyricist. And no one is asking Keef to be lyrical. He’s just saying put at least SOME effort into your music. ‘Finally Rich’ is the sound of a kid fucked up on molly, not giving a fuck, and just wanting to get out the studio ASAP so he can go do hoodrat stuff with his friends.

  • hahnbolo

    Keef puts little to no effort in his music and it shows on this album.

  • Sickzy

    This is how to destroy the culture ! Put the weak ones on Top and its over
    These fraudulent journalists know black men have the most power since MLK and Malcolm so they only way to remove that culture of strong intellectual black men speaking to evolve the next crop is to place the dumb demonic black man,celebrate him then BOOM! all is lost and we’re back to the slave ships fields and whips again ! Other cultures in the East would never ever give a retarded kid radio play ,go ask Indians, Chinese, even in Africa, their story tellers are very adept and intelligent , because they’re aware of the power of the spoken word!!!!!!! But this is all a setup and the blind leading the blind , we’re doomed and we need our Moses to get us outta this situation, might be too late tho!

  • Nathaniel


    i understand your point, but Godfather and Pluto Nash aren’t good examples. i only say that because Keef isn’t satirical, comedic, nor a parody. he isn’t a joke nor meant in jest. he isn’t a mockery. it isn’t bubble gum rap, either. or poppy. it’s straight from the street. it’s authentic, but it’s from a 16 year old in the south chi. in 2012. THIS is what, what those of us who are aware of the peril in that area of the city understand to be authentic expression. that’s why it’s hard for me to dismiss it as wack, garbage, trash, and just shoo it away like it’s unworthy. i can’t do it because it’s too telling. that, to me, ain’t us, and it ain’t hip hop. we have to admit that it’s never been, and never will be “just about the music”. we aren’t surface dwellers.

  • Nathaniel

    and y’all are blind if you can’t see hip hop in general moving towards more substance in a mainstream sense. Kendrick just put out the GKMC, (All of TDE) Nas is rejuvenated, people are thirsting after Born Sinner, KRIT is out here, Lupe put out the most aggressively political work he has to date, and FL2 Pt 2 is going to be even heavier. Odd Future is lyrically driven. Big Sean has been saying he wants to go deeper. we still got Ye to come from the heart. Wale out here. what do you want? i don’t get us, sometimes. so busy complaining that we’re blind to the variety we have.

    most of what i mentioned will be and/or is critically acclaimed. so you can’t act like Keef means the death of the emcee. open your eyes. the emcee BEEN “back” in this day, and among this generation.

  • The truth

    listen to the interview and I must say I agree 100% with B.dot on this. If you are not an expert or have spent a considerable amount of time consuming, researching and studying a particular field your opinion on a subject may be made but it will not hold weight.

  • meh

    B. Dot acts as if he’s gatekeeper to hip hop but the guy picked Rick Ross as MVP in back to back years (despite not having the best album or single either year) & slanders Chief Keef for being a kid who makes ratchet hip hop yet loves 2Chainz who is 36 & makes very ignorant music where THE BEAT is the hottest part of the song!

    “Cultural tourist” is a softball lob version of “why are you listening to my music, hipster? I know more than you cause I’m in the hood/streets/club & know the D.I.T.C catalog”.

    I love how bloggers (& you’re just a blogger B. DOT) think that they know more than everyone (including us who post here) based on one mere review he read that he didn’t agree with!!

    There’s a lot of you who don’t agree with me or think I’m outlandish or just plain stupid for some of the things I write (yes I wrote that Chief Keef is this Generation’s ODB/Busta Rhymes) & that’s ok. But you know I’m not trolling and that I do love hip hop. I’ve been through a lot in hip hop and truth be told have a STANDING OFFER TO WRITE FOR A WELL-KNOWN BLOG!
    HOWEVER, my opinion is mine & if you’re open minded you won’t judge me based on one opinion as I don’t judge you all based on one opinion.

    @professor Oak & @MT , for example, had disagreements on this blog but I dig a lot of their other posts and at least can see their point. I don’t question their age or where they live etc etc

    I can’t stand a lot of what B. Dot says and the fact is a lot of his complaints is against the new generation who are taking hip hop to different places. He hates Odd Future , but they have the same dark sound & go against the grain the way GraveDiggaz did back in the early 90’s! GraveDiggaz def upset a lot of people when they came out who were used to the “YES, YES, Y’ALL. MIC CHECK 1, 2, 1, 2!”

    Anyway, B. Dot is a smart man with valid points , but I do see him as someone who can’t allow himself to imagine himself at the age of 15 -20 & the wonderment you found in simplistic things! From a popcorn movie to a popular rap group.

    Open up your mind & realize that Odd Future, Chief Keef probably sound good on a kid’s ipod , the same way GraveDiggaz & ODB sounded good to you on your walkman as a youngin while the older heads were looking at you with THE GAS FACE

    Lester Bangs of hip hop
    B. DOT gets the Gas Face!

  • edit: I meant to say that @professor oak & @MT had disagreements *with me* on this blog…..
    My bad



    @p0is0nedKoola gateKeeper lol key word ACTS agree


    @KINGBOOLA is the pizza good thats i want to no im form Cali


    *What I want to know* lol

  • The kill

    Bdot your list was tragic

  • V6

    Does blogger Bdot have malice for alot of rappers?

  • Dre

    Who had the name first kdot or Bot

  • Papi Chulo

    This nigga is out of touch…. Nas is my favorite rapper, but sometimes even I don’t want to hear his music. You can’t tell me that Chief Keef shit don’t bang and that he doesn’t deserve all the love that he is getting. And to answer your question about “Yes, Chicago is a bad place. Yes, Keef is a product of his environment. But is that an excuse to be inarticulate or unskilled? It’s not so much an excuse to be inarticulate or unskilled, but it is a reason to understand.

  • With the exception of one annual list (biggest disappointments of the year, safe choices), Rap Radar does not provide any critical analysis whatsoever. Just content. At least other sites are thinking critically about the latest releases. Whether you agree with the criticism or not, they are creating a conversation. This site just creates aggregate content which can be found on numerous other sites.

    I thought Elliot’s little video series would provide some of what this site is missing, but no it’s just question, blah blah, lame sweater, then the PC-keep-sponsors-and-everyone-in-the-industry-happy answer.

  • the truth

    noz ethered b dot

  • Dorbo

    there is no such thing as ‘objective standards’

  • V Malone

    Rap Radar’s owners are white (Eminem and Paul Rosenberg). Are they “cultural tourists”?

    MMG is just as ignorant as Chief Keef.

  • Cruel Thing

    B.Dot kind of looks like 3 Stacks in this pic…

  • 11

    seriously, noz destroyed b dot

  • NYC

    Who? Props to Bdot

  • 85

    I hate being soooooooobaaaah, Ima smoooookhaaaaa !


    (if you want to go against the “dumb” hip-hop, you better ask 2chainz) Bigity-B-Bop

  • pluck43

    You guys see Andrew Noz destroy B. Dot on twitter? B. Dot is a mongoloid compared to Noz, terrible for the culture.

  • E$CO

    we all missed that because noz is an attention seeking dipshit on lil b’s dick. good job bdot

  • vincent

    damn this was a tough listen. ben and jon have to talk to bdot like he is a fuckin 5th grader. it’s like he doesn’t have any concept on what criticism means. or that it is possible for two people to listen to the exact same thing and have different opinions. or that both opinions can still be valid. dude is seriously underarmed here. good thing noz wasn’t there. woulda been a funeral for ole boy LOL

  • The smaller issue about this is quality. I don’t give a fuck what you like, you can’t tell me Keef, MUSICALLY is on the same level, or above, of a Nas, which is what the main point to this shit was. B.Dot got tight at that review, as he should. If every nigga at the YMCA was allowed to be in the NBA, that product would suffer too.

    The bigger issue is these white people (mainly labels but writers too) who cosign and allow this type of music to exist don’t have to deal with the repercussions. They don’t have to live in a neighborhood with a bunch of kids listening to Keef’s shit and being influenced by it, acting out and destroying lives. Media isn’t the sole reason, but it is a big ass part of it…

  • figaro

    who said rap was about being lyrical? my niglet keef does his shit like he do. FUCK Y’ALL OLD ASS NIGGAS WHO CAN SEE THE STRUGGLE OF MY NIGLET KEEF.

  • Chomsky

    i’m sure all i’m bout to say has been said, but the only thing i’d point out is that there’s an enormous difference between Lil B and Chief Keef.

    Keef tracks are fun bangers in which smart lyrics aren’t necessarily the main attraction, but they make the track work. read: they rhyme, and the flow is on the positive side of decent. no one’s calling him illmatic era Nas (that i know of…), but do you have to be that to make shit people with good taste wanna hear?

    now, Lil’ B was lauded as some sort of post-modern, post-rhyming, avant-garde genius. that… is some straight bullshit. he’s just a dude from The Pack (remember Dum Ditty Dum Dum? ) who stopped rhyming and got really full of himself and made a lot of videos of his ridiculous grill. occasionally interesting perhaps (i never thought so) , but always nothing more than a sideshow.

    interesting comment on art critiquing theory tho: there’s kind of a parellel between free jazz breaking from conventions of form and no longer rhyming, BUT it takes a refined critic to say whats just a novice banging on drums out of time and what’s genius. same goes for this (alleged) post-modern rap, and i’ve yet to see someone pull it off.

  • mrkbln

    dude, you ruined your argument when you fronted on based god. lil B is the rap game, with out him the who chart would be nothing but wale.

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