Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas folks

i woke up today thinking i'll get a calendar and a book for the "christian" holiday our family celebrates. i know i'm getting old for this, and it's wierd to get anything in the first place. but umma and appa just wanted us to be "normal", and in the commercially dominated 90's that meant getting all the lastests. so i would mostly get the presents i'd wanted, and always wanted the presents i got. the walkman, the n64, the big willy style tape. it really didn't make much sense considering i'd always get the freshest gear for diwali, but how could a kid say no? and it felt awkward when the kids asked "does yoour faaamily ceelebrate chriistmaas??" what was i to say?
"not really, but my mom and dad give me presents
to make me feel welcome in this christian dominated community."
but not in '08. i thought that this christmas would be low key. i know we need to cut back with this economic mess. and i really didn't want anything...

besides a drum machine.

i woke up today thinking about nothing in particular, and now i can't stop thinking about kick, snares, and samples.

christ it feels good.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Good Use of a Classic Drum Machine & Maturity

checkin' out the latest radio rips of Kanye's new album 808 & Heartbreaks has been pretty interesting over the past couple months. what we hear from it is that he's once again changing his whole swag on us, new look, new sound, new attitude. oh no, don't be fooled he's still keeps it arrogant with such songs as "Amazing" (I'm a monsta/i'm a maven), but there's something about the new album that just separates it from his college days.

to properly see what Ye is trying to do with his latest album, we have to observe where he has come from. his first album, the favorite College Dropout, was a glimpse of hope that fed the backpacker crowd who had been seeing the start of hip hop's demise. finally we had a new Q-Tip, someone who was down with the alt rap scene and was ready to carry everyone on his beats. the soulquarians started to slow their stronghold on the genre, and it was ill to see that there's still someone out there who loves to sample. yet with fame comes arrogance, as one can see with any artist *cough*nas's i am*cough*. kanye began to open that famous mouth of his as soon as they took that plate out of his jaw and his cocky persona was constructed. the louis vitton don was born, and backpackers around the nation started to think about taking that new Ye out of their jan sports. yet Kanye's second effort, Late Registration, seems to be his Beats, Rhymes & Life stage, where he found new grooves to start his maturation process. getting hooked up with Jon Brion was a display of his creativity and openness to genre bending. however it was quite strange to see that mouth keep chomping away as his music developed so drastically. it would seem that Ye was starting to slowly find his way out of the regular hip hop shit with LR, until we got hit with Graduation. though the production on it was on fucking point and he proved to still know how dabble in creativity in unconventional ways, Ye's whole "fresher-than-y'all" demeaner was just too much. his new-found adoration of the buzzword swagger was over the top dumby, and he began to affiliate with the people we thought he was trynna stay away from when he dropped CD. it was an interesting expirience, but as always the white girls got down on the floor and everyone was gagging over it. urgh. so now that we know where we are, lets look at whats gonna come: 808 & Heartbreak.

first off, it's important to understand what he's doing with the first part of the title. Kanye, like most of us, is a hip hop nerd. he grew up on beats crafted by Rolands and Akais and loves sampling almost as much as he loves himself. so his use of the Roland TR-808 is understandable in a game where everyone's trying to look back to move forward.

in an interview with some white DJ, Ye talks about how he loved the machine but felt like nobody used it to it's potential. on his new album he explores the 808, trying to make beats with tribal beats rather than the normal "buh-bump, buh-bumpbuh-bump". and it seems as if he knows what he's doing. from the distorted rapid drum fire of "Coldest Winter" to the claps over the piano hits in"Heartless" to the african-style drum melodies on "Love Lockdown". there's not any sign of straight samples and classic formats, yet if he feels comfortable making this music then i say good for him. it helps us progress our music to lengths it hasn't yet seen. places where the hip hop basic of the drum meets cross-genre moods.

and that brings us to the other side of the story, the heartbreak. this is the first album where kanye seems vulnerable. with the passing of his mother just a mere year in our rearview, this album proves to be his most emotion charged. he seems to be forgetting his arrogant side, his 'my shits the best' tip, his 'lemme shine on em and they'll like me' phase. it's the first time since his sophmore effort that he's actually trying to explore his talents. his convincingly passionate voice on "Coldest Winter" is probably the closest he's ever been to pure music insight while escaping his dorky boast-y self (the song is dedicated to his ma. some real shit). also, the "THAT YOU KNOW"s on"Tell Everybody That You Know" hit pretty hard, and "Heartless"s catchy simple hook is actually enjoyable (better than UH UH YOU CAN'T TELL ME NOTHIN). it's gonna be a new move in the maturation of Kanye West. and i know everyone's saying "Thom Yorke this" and "emotional nakedness that" but i'm just happy he's not being super arrogant any more.

still think he should do a Kanye x Primo album, but it's just a dream of a teen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nah's Right.

called it?
but can it be really real?
Fails: Can't Believe It Verse
Trynna Go Pop Rock
Tell Everyone That You Know shit show
is he trying to save all his good rhymes for Carter IV or is he just FALLIN' THE *crocker* OFF!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

if you're gonna do one thing different when listening to hip-hop

just focus on the break beats
let them get in you, each one
one at a time tho, don't go too crazy
let the rhythm hit em
you don't have to bounce your head
you don't have to shake your ass
you don't have to put your hands in the air
just listen
those "long red"s
"funky drummer"s
"impeach the president"s
then as the soothing drums put you to sleep
listen to the words
no not the lyrics
check the rhyme
see how the cadences fall right in between those drums
the "kick, snare, snare kick snare" playing with
"the smooth criminal on beatbreaks"
feel how rae rides the drums on "faster blade"
or even ricky dee's "la di da di"s over dougie's beatbox
let the voice mingle with the beats in your ears
then, maybe, you'll hear what i'm hearing

(it's called hip hop)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

100 Things I Wanna Do Before Hip-Hop Dies

The day will come. The day when hip-hop heads will finally bow our heads in shame. The day when we just give up. The day when hip hop dies.
It might be five years from now or maybe five decades, but hip-hop is an organism, and its death is imminent. And though seniors will still be giggin' in retirement homes during hip-hop nights and hipsters will listen to ringtone rap ironically, our girl will become just another relic from an archaic generation. But before I say goodbye to h.e.r., there are a few things I want to do while she's still breathing.

1. Make sucker emcees call me sire.
2. Have an extensive conversation with KRS-One, discussing everything from the economic statuses of developing nations to the current state of sampling to the hottest chicks on our favorite sitcoms to favorite MC Shan jokes.
3. Be taught how to roll a blunt by Redman.
4. Find the father to ODB's style.
5. Give Nine a lozenge.
6. Yell at Nas for changing his style since Barbecue (well, everything after 96).
7. Make Eric B. talk.
8. Find out what Will Smith was thinking about when he conceived the concept of getting jiggy.
9. Get jiggy with all of Will's girls on Fresh Prince (especially Nia, when i see ya, imma long...).
10. Catch bugs with Digable Planets.
11. Monkey flip to funky rhythms.
12. Do hoot-rat shit with Bushwick Bill.
13. Teach Recording Academy voters how to listen to hop-hip.
14. Make another Illmatic.
15. Blast Black Moon's "U da Man" and K.M.D's "Suspended _Nim_Tion" in an amphitheater.
16. Show Kanye how his career could have flourished into legendary status if he had just avoided a few moves after College Dropout.
17. Go kicks shopping with Bobbito Garcia.
18. Go wally shopping with Ghostface.
19. Throw my hands in the air and wave them like I just DO care.
20. Hire Inspectah Deck to take some people to court.
21. Find out why he's also the Rebel INS.
22. Meet Shock G and Humpty the same time
23. Thank Kool Herc.
24. Bow to Bambaataa.
25. Go beat diggin' with Preemo, Pete Rock & Q-Tip.
26. Go to a strip club with Luke and Too $hort.
27. Find Raekwon's Killer tape.
28. Rob a liquor store with Sean Price.
29. Walk around town with the pound strapped down.
30. Put Jay-Z and Lil' Wayne in their place.
31. Show DJ Evil Dee the respect he deserves.
32. Get Kool Moe Dee shades.
33. Write rhymes for Biz Markie.
34. Cure G Rap's lisp.
35. Go to a P.T.A. meeting with Busta.
36. Get gold ropes and fur coats with Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane.
37. Be on an egotrip reality show.
38. Pack the pipe with Pharcyde.
39. Play scrabble with Rakim.
40. Go dictionary diving with Souls.
41. Fill the potholes in Pos and Trugoy's lawn.
42. Beat Cipha and Rosenberg at Underground Soundclash.
43. Chessbox with GZA.
44. Start riots with Chuck D and Paris.
45. Buy Seventh Seal and OB4CL2 in a store (soon I hope).
46. Learn Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede lingo.
47. Get swagger.
48. Reissue Bl_ck B_st_rds and The LP.
49. Make an album with Jay Smooth.
50. Show these crab rappers how to rhyme.
51. Get Rae a show on Food Network called "Get Ya Mouth Waterin'".
52. See the pyramids with Hieroglyphics.
53. Watch cops with Ice T.
54. Tell Diddy and Dre that they killed hip-hop.
55. Go to Haiti with Lauren.
56. Hunt UFO's with OutKast.
57. Chill on Sugar Hill with AZ.
58. Drink MGD with MJG.
59. Watch Scarface with Scarface.
60. Tell LL Cool J that he's an underachieving emcee that survives on unnecessarily escalated beefs, then get in an unnecessarily escalating beef that revives his career.
61. Ask Phife if I can kick it.
62. Add Whodini on Facebook (so we can be friends...).
63. Open a Baduism clinic.
64. Costume shop with MF Doom.
65. Have a barbecue with Nas, Joe Fatal, Akinyele and Large Pro.
66. Make skits with Prince Paul.
67. Have a 40, Blunts and The Killer party.
68. Kick back some St. Ides with Ice Cube.
69. Tell Soulja Boy to eat a dick.
70. Cold get dumb with Just-Ice.
71. Participate in a Madlib invasion.
72. Make a hip-hop album with Flea, John Frusciante and ?uestlove.
73. Mack on chicks with Kool Keith.
74. Tell VH1 to stop grouping punks with legends on Hip-Hop Honors.
75. Bring back the Nelly from Country Grammar.
76. Put "sav", "rake" and "killed" in the hip-hop dictionary.
77. Lose my wallet in El Segundo.
78. Go to a country club with Arrested Development.
79. Take a trip with Izzy & Majesty.
80. Say a lyric with "nigga" in it and not get looked at funny.
81. Murder Ignorance with Jeru.
82. Free Steady B and Chi Ali.
83. Eat burgers with the Fat Boys.
84. Connect politick...ditto.
85. Get Audio Two top billing at a concert.
86. Kill that noise.
87. Be taught how to use Fruity Loops by 9th Wonder.
88. Visit the Dead MC'ing Museum.
89. Hang out in Naperville with Common, No I.D., Kanye, Lupe, Rhymefest & The Cool Kids.
90. Throw bricks with Quasimoto.
91. Chill from '93 til with Graves.
92. Tour with my heroes from Bangalore to Lafayette.
93. Be a hyphy dude in Nike shoes with Ohle.
94. Customize wallies with wally.
95. Roll in MPVs with Ben Ou.
96. Hear my mom say "Fuck the Police".
97. Craft beats for my brother to rap on.
98. Be the executive producer of Nas' final album.
99. Finally make my dad appreciate the music I love.
100. Become hip-hop's greatest journalist.

What would you wanna do?