August 28, 2015

For The Max-Approved Mixtape: Consequence - "Grammy Family"

Artist: Consequence featuring Kanye West and John Legend
Title: "Grammy Family"
Producer: Kanye West and Jon Brion
Album: Don't Quit Your Day Job! (2007)

Consequence is a dude whose career I've inadvertently followed more by default than anything resembling interest.  He kicked things off by appearing on a bunch of songs from the group that his cousin Q-Tip founded, A Tribe Called Quest (my second-favorite rap group of all time, mind you), and somehow parlayed that into a solo career that intrigued future hip hop titan Kanye West enough to offer him a spot within his G.O.O.D. Music family, which, back then, featured the likes of John Legend, GLC, and maybe KiD CuDi, I'm not sure about the exact timeline.  After a series of mixtapes, a properly-released solo album emerged, called Don't Quit Your Day Job! as a way to connect the thread between Consequence and Kanye West (whose debut album was called The College Dropout, but if you're reading this sentence, you already knew that and it's obvious that I'm just trying to boost my word count, so, how's your day been so far?  Any exciting plans for Labor Day weekend?).

Don't Quit Your Day Job! is a concept album starring Consequence as a kid who has big dreams but not much in the way of a gateway.  He spends most of the album dealing with the discouragement he receives from both his employer and his fucking family, which makes for a depressing-enough listen.  Within the context of the album, "Grammy Family", a standout track in the guy's entire goddamn career, is presented as a dream sequence, one where our host finally has enough success to be considered a part of the upper echelon that houses guest stars Kanye West (who also produced, alongside Jon Brion, which is why this track sounds so polished, like a Late Registration leftover) and John Legend-Teigen.  This is important to note, because "Grammy Family" appeared on DJ Khaled's Listennn... The Album first and had no such narrative baggage to carry up three flights of stairs.

The beat to "Grammy Family" is a fucking banger, soulful and triumphant all at once.  Legend delivers a simplistic hook that eventually morphs into actual words, while 'Ye and Consequence handle the verses.  Yeezy easily steals the show from his young upstart by (a) actually being an artist that has won a Grammy (Legend's won as well, which means Cons is surely sitting around in a dark bedroom waiting for what he believes is rightfully his), and (b) simply having a more interesting verse.  He boosts himself and the G.O.O.D. Music family right from the get-go, drops more than a few punchlines ("Even I hate us", he mentions at one point), and dips into a minor bit of unnecessary homophobia toward the end that I'm certain he wouldn't even bother with today, it's so inconsequential and pointless.  

Consequence does an entertaining job, to be sure, but "Grammy Family" may as well be 'Ye's to lose.  He probably thought he was doing his young charge a favor by gifting him the track, but in reality, he created a stark contrast between this song and everything else on Don't Quit Your Day Job!, which, for the most part, sounds like wasted potential (with a few bright spots, sure).  Cons probably wasn't too thrilled with the overall response to the album, and he quickly picked a fight with his boss and left the clique entirely.  Kanye pressed on, most likely happy to ditch the burden (even though he had also signed his cousin, Q-Tip, to G.O.O.D. Music, so that must have been a weird Thanksgiving at Kamaal's house), and became one of the biggest rappers on the fucking planet.  Consequence, to nobody's surprise, eventually relented and reconciled with his lord and savior Yeezus, even though, aside from a guest verse on Kanye's "Chain Heavy" (a freebie he tossed listeners during his G.O.O.D. Fridays campaign, which I wish he would bring back, don't you?), he really hasn't been heard from all that much.  Maybe he's too busy crafting that song that will finally put him in contention for a bullshit award that doesn't even mean anything and doesn't even like hip hop enough to include it in the televised portion of its ceremony.

But I digress.  "Grammy Family" is just good.

I didn't realize there was an actual video filmed for "Grammy Family", so I've thrown that in below.  It was obviously recorded when this was considered a DJ Khaled track, hence the reels of Khaled footage and barely any Kanye West, who couldn't be bothered to lip-sync to his verse, leading me to believe that 'Ye may have thought he was at a photo shoot.

For fun, I've included that Jay-Z freestyle over the "Grammy Family" beat that is so beloved by hip hop heads that he felt the need to include it as a part of his B-sides concert that was broadcast over TIDAL earlier this year.  Although he does slip up a couple of times, the bars he gives Funkmaster Flex and the rest of the Hot 97 audience are what most Jay-Z stans would consider to be some of his finest.  He probably should have just appeared on the original song: hell, Jay-Z makes a lot more sense than Consequence on a track entitled "Grammy Family", am I right?

And now to bring everything to a crashing halt:

That was "All Around The World", a No I.D.-produced Jay-Z track from the bloated The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse, which, mind you, was released several years before "Grammy Family".  So it turns out that the reason Hova sounded so good over the "Grammy Family" beat is because "All Around The World" is essentially the same song.  The samples are different, but the general feel is, in my opinion, far too similar to be a mere coincidence.  If I were Kanye, I'd be a little worried about No I.D. asking too many questions.  Then again, if I were Kanye, I'd be rich, famous, and would probably have a fantastic legal team, so this is all a moot point.  Still, there you go.

Do you agree or disagree with this selection?  Leave your thoughts below.




  1. Fuck Consequence, Kanye the rapper and every single thing Jay Z ever stood for.
    Big ups to No ID, Q-Tip & Kanye the producer.
    Haven't made my mind about Kid Cudi yet & don't know what a GLC is.
    John Legend? Fuck him too.

    1. If you had listened to enough Kanye West albums to proclaim "fuck Kanye the rapper", then you should know who GLC is. If all you've heard is Yeezus, I just feel sorry for you.

    2. My statement regarding GLC was intended to show how much I think of him. Now you know.

      Now, in case I hadn't made it clear enough: Fuck Kanye West's rap career. All of it.

    3. Kanye is actually an awesome rapper. And Jay Z has dropped two certified classic albums.. this Anonymous above me needs therapy cause he or she clearly has some issues that need to be sorted out.

  2. I like the lo-fi radio Jay-z version better than the official, maybe because I heard it first. I had the same reaction with Drop A Gem On 'Em, my recording g off the radio was nice and dusty sounding, the album version always sounded too clean in comparison.

  3. Awesome. Thanks again for this mixtape series, Max. I keep finding out about great cuts I missed when they first came out.

  4. In terms of kanye consequence collabs off that album id have to go with "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly" i love that song again kanye murks cons on his own shit some really funny lines.