Friday, January 30, 2009

Electric Purgatory: The Fate of the Black Rocker

This is an EXCELLENT documentary on "Black Rock" (Its ALL Black Rock)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

establishment dictates resoning*

on the menu tonight:
nufun yin
sharon jones & the dap kings
tesfa maryam kidane
mechanical me

just a collection of what i came across this week

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Sunday Night Jam Sessions

sibot live in cape town

100 days, 100 nights world premiere - sharon jones & the dap kings

in the interest of staying green, i won't even explain this. it's too weird.

stay green.

CONGRATS OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

a little destruction

on the menu tonight:
flight of the conchords
tv on the radio
the noisettes
david holmes
chk chk chk !!!

feeling a little alternative tonight.

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Sunday Night Jam Sessions

So it’s that time of year when I need to make an assessment of the previous year. Like winter cleaning I guess. As it relates to music it’s always hard to make a decision on the top 10 albums without trying to go back and relive what happened while I was listening to them. Oh and the other great trouble, did the album actually come out last year or was I just late? So with that said this is the list I’ve come up with that I can stick to.
This is in no particular order because they are too different to compare against each other.

Santogold (both Santogold & Top Ranking)
Truthfully I didn’t want to listen to an MIA rip off, who I thought was from London. Her clothes were weird and she sang out of the side of her throat and I didn’t think she was original. WOW. Idiot. The only reason I gave her a second thought was because Pharrell decided he’d push her music. Interestingly I trust his ear. So I get the song “I’m a Lady” the Diplo remix and it changed my world. I got both albums and my peoples, she is the real deal. Oh and she’s from Brooklyn, not London. Her self titled album is awesome because I haven’t heard someone experiment in along time. She experiments with her voice, genres, composition and lyrics. Even if you don’t’ like it, you have to respect it. The second album, Top Ranking was a good push for her album and I think Diplo was a good choice considering he has worked with MIA and the likes before her, so I think he understands this music best as a producer. Thanks Pharrell. Good pick.

N*E*R*D* Seeing Sounds
Speaking of Pharrell. Seeing Sounds was the soundtrack of my life this past summer. As I overdosed on all things Neptunes related I feel I really got to understand their music in a way I hadn’t before. Their sound somehow became my sound, to the point where I questioned my loyalty to Mos Def. The perfect mix of hip hop, rock and anything else they could find, I truly discovered something I had never heard with The Neptunes. Spaz was tight because I feel like on some level they conjured up the spirit of hyphy music without being insulting and just copying it completely, but totally making it work. That and the video was just ill. In fact the visual styling of their productions this year has been second to none, including the converse ads. Overall I can totally relate to the space age love songs and intergalactic party music.

Kid Cudi – Plain Patt and Emile Preset a Kid Named Cudi
“The Lonely stoner seems to free his mind at night.” Wow. This guy is addicting. Interestingly I first heard this on a dancehall mixtape, and they used the beat and not Kid Cudi. That was a grave mistake I realized when I finally heard the original version (and boy did that take some work). I couldn’t even remember where I heard it the first time so I racked my brain for two days straining every ’08 dancehall mix I had before I thought to text my friend to see if he knew the title/artist. Through the glory of youtube and the fact that he is of the file sharing generation, I found that Cudi had a free mixtape available and I got on that asap. WELL worth my time. And my friends, best believe, it better be DAMN good/entertaining to be a hip hop mixtape and be on repeat in my ears. Cop that one when you can.

Cory Gunz The Next Best Thing
I don’t even know what happened. I’m not really a Peter Gunz fan, and rap had been pissing me off so profusely that I don’t even know how I found this guy. Oh wait. Let me tell you a story. I decided to watch the BET awards, before you judge me I wanted to be entertained, and BOY was I ever. It was hilarious. I could write about that for a while so I’ll skip it and get to the point. During the breaks there was a segment called The Cypher. In general it was ok, and to be expected, until I saw this guy. In less than 2 minutes the 19 year old phenomena killed everybody else lyrically that I saw for the next 2 hours. So much so that I had to find the clip on youtube and decided to see what else he put out. Hence I found this particular mixtape (one of 4). I haven’t had an album on repeat like this (except maybe Mos Def or Pharrell) in years. It’s kind of like when you’re in high school and you have the kind of time to listen to something over and over again until you know every word by heart and can recite it like Shakespeare. I made time for this. I bombed EVERYBODY with this mixtape, to the point where it was probably annoying. But I just wanted to share my joy. He single handedly saved hip hop for me. That’s how I feel about his talent. He has no equal. Just trust me on this one.

Cold War Kids – Loyalty to Loyalty
I was actually a Cold War Kids virgin before this year. I had always heard about them, but hadn’t yet ventured to the dark side. One week I decided that maybe I need to verse myself in their music because they don’t’ seem to ever go away. Magically one night that week a friend of mine sends me Loyalty to Loyalty. I was converted after that. In the era of Bush and the Patriot Act, “Against Privacy” was a good song to play while thinking about your choices in the election (not that there was ever a question). And being that I just have a strong soft spot for punk, “Something is Not Right With Me” struck a huge cord with my soul. They can get a little whiney in vocal tone after a while, but lyrically they are geniuses and keep me coming back. Thanks. Seriously.

TV On The Radio - Dear Science
So you already know I’m a HUGE fan, and I couldn’t wait for this to drop. This album was nothing like the first one. It was dense yes, but its tone was more solemn. Every song had a reason, a purpose. This wasn’t like the debut in that they had to be entertaining to get your attention. It almost seems like everything they had to say they said here. I spent a lot of time on each song and tried to figure out where they were coming from because to me it was almost unexpected. But because they made me listen so hard, and I identified so closely with some of these tracks (Family Tree, Red Dress, DLZ…) it was incredibly hard to deny them. Somehow TVOR is able to really connect with me on a level I don’t really understand yet. Their music is so complicated that you question how they ever decide it’s done. Definitely anticipating the next adventure.

Menahan Street Band – Make The Road By Walking
With no prior information on this band, I had to listen several times to finally get their songs out of my head. No words, just full band bliss. Much like downtempo afrobeat, they could play in the background and it feels like your world is a little bit easier. Come to find out it is an all star band formed in Brooklyn, consisting of members from Budos Band, Antibalas and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Everything about them is conscious (in the definition that Hip Hop wishes it could get back to). Their album title is named for an advocacy group for the community they formed in (Bushwick) that promotes economic and social justice. This album was also a gift, and I thank him for it.

Blame the Kid – Batman The Animated Album
First of all it’s Batman. Second it’s Batman the animated series. You have NO idea the level of nerdy ecstasy I felt when this was sent to me. It might be equivalent to someone showing up to Comic-Con and winning best costume for their favorite character while beating the high score of the game. Like, I was that excited. Top that off with he has a huge love for Jimi Hendrix too (his other album is a Hendrix/Wu Tang fusion) I think I might have wanted to marry this guy on the spot. Couple it with my heightened level of excitement because The Dark Knight came out, almost too much for me. Blame the kid took audio from episodes and cut them over his beats to make a song for every episode. So while you listen to it, you sit and remember the show. There is no rapping or anything, just strait storytelling. It’s pure genius.

Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
Wait, which one of them is black? Hmmm, no, oh wait maybe… no. Irrelevant Anyway. Maybe it is supposed to give them some level of street cred in the pop alternative world. Well regardless, the “partie” is great on this album. Most of it doesn’t really make any sense, like “I Wanna Be Your Limousine”, ok. Sure. But for some reason I like this song. Then other times they have great logic, like “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You”. Makes total sense. And “I’ve Underestimated My Charm (again)” nice. For some reason I like the lead singers voice which is kinda femme (ugh and he wears skinny pants, gross), and the robotic back up singers remind me of the Polysics. Really though, if you want a good time, this is a good album.

Janelle Monet – Metropolis
I actually have mixed feelings about this album. I only like about half the songs. I don’t like P. Diddy, but I love her originality and artistic freedom. I think she has a great image, which VV Brown completely bit, and will probably do better with, just because Monet was ill managed here. It BOGGLES my mind that she didn’t sign with Dungeon Family when it seems that she’d be a perfect fit under Andre 3000, Big Boi or Joi. I just don’t see her artform competing with Cassie. WTF. In terms of listenability, the songs I liked, I really liked. Violet Stars Happy Hunting, Many Moons and Sincerely Miss Jane had rare repeat listening qualities. The songs I didn’t, were just forgettable. So I think most of my negative judgment is based on the politics behind her label not her talent, and compared to a LOT of the music that came out, I think she deserves top 10.

stay green all year long.
it's better for the environment.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Bootleg vidz from the back room

So um, I was at the show and forgot my camera like a dumb ass. This is a direct follow up to my rant. I DO intend on keeping hip hop alive. And with that I took Video of my folks from Ghana and Panama freestyling with their movie producer from Puerto Rico and DJ from Cuba. Confused yet?
Hip Hop in all languages from all over the world united in one cause in one room.
My goodness I love hip hop.

VIP (Visionin Progress) Ghana
Dun Dun de Los Rakas - Panama
Clenched Fist productions - Eli Fantauzi - Puerto Rico
DJ Leydis - Cuba

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

hip hop is under a new administration

First of all, fuck off hipsters, hip hop is ours. Hipster is a euphemism for appropriator. Yes these are warring words. I, the Hip Hop Nation, am declaring war. With that said, your so-called hipster hop, all those guys, they’re ours. By definition they are hip hop, and you can’t have them. Do not try to change the label to forget the past. As we fight this battle for popular culture, let me explain why I’m keeping these people for my country.

It would hurt me deeply to think that the legacy of hip hop will die in the hands of ill performed gangster rap. I do not want to be remembered for 50-Cent. I don’t want my future to be spoken by Soulja Boy. We will die. The Underground will never die true, but they are a subculture in the Diaspora. The only hope we have of someone who could represent us in our true form is Cory Gunz. (If he’s not corrupted.) Hip Hop needs the chance to redefine itself. You must understand that we are suffering from the same strength divide as the Republican party of the United States. Hip Hop needs to openly listen to what the new generation has to say, even though we’ve been jaded by the group in power. I would hate for the next generation to want to self identify as someone different than who they are just because we didn’t hear what they had to say. They are a reflection of their elders.
Understand this is politics.

I understand what we look like to the rest of the world. You know how George Bush labeled Muslims? Or the way he destroyed America’s reputation? That’s what rap did to Hip Hop. It destroyed our reputation. We are considered terrorists. The world thinks all MC’s have guns and promote destruction. They think we hate ourselves and our women are whores. Understand, our government is corrupt. The politicians don’t give back to the community, while they abuse it. All hip hop events are not shot up by a lynch mob. As the new president I would like to say, we really are educated. Not all rappers are angry hyper-masculinated fictional creatures. We do have morals. We just let a few rich bastards take over office and fuck things up. Some people should not be allowed to be millionaires, while the citizens pay the taxes.

With that said, we claim rights to hipster hop, which from now on will return to the title Hip Hop, mostly because hipster hop sounds stupid. They were born of Hip Hop blood. They rhyme like us, over beats like ours. You may ask what does this new administration have to offer these kids that is better than yours. We have history. There is strength in that. We are family. We are where they got their delivery and swag from. We put those beats in their heads. We taught them you could tell a story in song. We are where they lay their head when they’re not partying. The administration now is part of the same group they grew up with, not the ice kings of the last 8 years. Hip Hop is the place they can be themselves and not necessarily a character because we understand them. Even though they wear your clothes, trust me, they’ll change eventually.

Now, with my people repatriated, I’d like to see what you have to battle with that’s actually your own. Hipster nation, I dare you to give the skinny pants back to the early English pop bands. The knit hat to SoHo. The lip ring to SoMa. The earthy earrings back to the Bohemians. The rocker belts to the Punk bands. The red lumberjack plaid back to, well… lumberjacks.

BTW, Chuck Taylor’s are classics.
It’s ok to borrow, but you can’t call it your own.

So hipsters take heed, I’m keeping these artists, and any that may bloom in the future. Go peacefully, or the Hip Hop Nation will blow up an ironic t-shirt factory.

the president.

ps. Do not argue with me about mowhawks. They are native to every continent.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

dopeness galore

on the menu tonight:
vealchop - dopeness galore

cuz everybody needs a little midnight reggae

shouts to VIP (Vision in Progress from Ghana) and Los Rakas. You guys killed it Friday night and I'm waiting on more music.

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Sunday Night Jam Sessions

other mixes by vealchop available here

stay green.