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?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

...And My Spirit-ah, Was Awaken-ah, by the Word-ah, of Slimkid-ah!

This is all i have from it. This is the only glance I captured from when Slim Kid 3 jumped off stage and yelled at my ass for sitting down. Yeah, you don't believe me. But it happened.

After De La did their final freeze to "Rock Co.Kane Flow", my bro and I took a halftime break as we circumlocated the amphitheater. Just as the roach began to die I headed (as lifted as I was) to the stage to see who was on. Three DJ's spinning records, nothing to write home to mom about.

But then I hear "ARE Y'ALL READY FOR THE PHARCYDE?!". My heart races. I call up my brother telling him to get his booty down to our 3rd row seats (YEE) because the boys are back in town. I run down those concrete stairs (hoping I wouldn't slip and crack my skull and miss this) and planted my feet on the ground. I was jumping around to sounds of Long Beach's finest, not paying attention to the chronic headache I got from the bleezy. But out of nowhere, cramps and stomach pains took over me.

I had to sit. I felt like shit, and the fucking insane bass penetrating into my uncovered ears didn't help. Oh why, oh why! I tried to do my best at seat grooving to the beat but I just needed to chill out and breathe. A few songs into it, Slim Kid spots me.

I was sitting there, looking like a complete fool, fingers in my ears, wincing with pain. Slim gives me a look, hops on down, gets as close to me as possible and yells "OH SHIIIIIIIIIIT!!". It was crazy. I wish I would have handed my brother the camera but I had no idea what was happening. It was miraculous.

Meanwhile, as one of my heroes is screaming at me, my brother's just doing his best Nelson Muntz with the point and laugh. I could believe what just happened.

And just as he leaves, I stand, still feeling the pain but working through it. Hip hop woke me up in a very unphilisophical way. Shit's pretty funny.

More from Rock the Bells 08 coming soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Worst Quote of the Summer

"dude, how can you hate on the Carter III?! His lyrics on that shit are so good."


-Ey, you hear about Joe Montana getting traded to the Chiefs today?
-Nah, it was Brett Farve to the Jets.
-Yeah, that's what I said.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm Just Sayin', It Feels like Awkdwardsville

So with Rock the Bells 08 coming up strong with a stacked out lineup (!!!!!), I've been getting pumped to see my boys Phaycyde reunite. It never felt the same after Bizarre Ride (tho Labcabin was dope), but hopefully they can bring back that classic energy circa 92. Yet, I unfortunately suspect that they are doing this reunion more for publicity rather than honestly displaying their unity. In the Whatsup Fat Lip doc, Lip details how he and Bootie Brown had a huge falling out, and thus the group disbanded. And it just seems like the beef still exists. Here's how I see it.

Slim Kid reached out to Fat Lip, made this. Imani was down to roll. But a certain someone wasn't.

Maybe it's me being a worrying fan. But look he re and he re (who dat chick. apparently she isn't a ho). Cohesion seems suspicious at best. Those two are so close physically yet so far.

(oh I'm just gonna sit here silently with my sunglasses and twiddle my thumbs through the edge margins of this book right here.)

It just doesn't look real.

And whats with Zion Derek talking about Slick Rick's moral stories. Kids ya better treat her like a prostitute! Don't treat no girlie well until you're sure of the scoop! (dem sure ain't nursery rhymes)

I dunno. I hope I'm just being paranoid, but in a industry that has become faker than fake gold, you have to be a cynical fan.

"run dmc, whodi..."
"RUN'S HOUSE (OH GOD YES I KNOW THAT ONE! I love that show! It's so perfect as a warm up for Laguna reruns.)"
"Sooooo whatcha guys wearin'?!"

fucking prostitute

Uncle Ricky: So kids, remember! When a bitch tries to freak out before you knock boots cus her soon to be husband wouldn't marry a slut like her, don't take her warnin', ride her till the mornin' or at least till the pussy starts yawnin'.
Kids tucked in: Oh boy, that uncle Ricky is really weird

Friday, July 25, 2008

Smart Start: Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

No Question. Illmatic is the greatest debut album of all time. Period. But, was it the smartest?
It's the greatest debut because it's the greaest and it's his debut, and I use the transitive property. The lyrics are untouchable, and utilizing the production of hip-hop's finest beatcrafters was the right thing to do, but to a sense, it was safe. Team Illmatic did innovate the art of sampling by using back room records thick with dust (thanks to vinyl addicts Primo, Pete, Paul, Les and Tip). Predictably, Nas and his friends, who happened to already be production gods, were grouped with rap's legends as well as the 90's golden agers. Yet, this perception just proves that Nas' debut was judged as a hip hop staple, which left it to be seen to critics as what hip-hop is supposed to be. But does sticking to illy lyrics of hood tales and classic jazz loops futher the notion of what hip-hop can be?
So what is hip-hop's most prehensile premier? What debut album utilized respected techniques and molded them into a unique style to further the limits of the art? To find such an album one MUST delve into rap's alternative world, and a contender for the prize can be found in a little group from Los Angeles, a place where styles alternative to the mainstream are rarely ever congratulated. Let's travel to the Pharcyde of hip-hop.
The Bizarre Ride begins with buying the album. You get ready for what's inside by just holding that plastic (or cardboard) rectangle in your hands. You can get lost in the album art, a crazy dope painting of odd cartoon representations of the group members on a coaster heading straight into a.....well just look at it and tell me what you see. It makes you wonder what the record label was thinking when they let that slide. But then you flip the case and see the little Delicious Vinyl logo of the dude munchin' on a record, and you know you can trust the homies at Delicious. Plus, the Pharcyde's label was not (and still isn't) scared of experimentation, seen in when they backed Master Ace as he dropped the 'er' for an 'a' and took a trip to the Slaughterhouse or when they signed Brand New Heavies, a jazz band from England, to make hip hop with the game's illest emcees. So already, you know you are in for something out of the ordinary.
Then you push play, and you're greeted by an instrumental that sounds like it's being played at a small jazz club. Yet, in comes scratches of "oh shit", and the break beat hits. Next thing you know, brothers are yellin' Oh Shit! and sharing their most embarrassing stories. Slim Kid 3 introduces you into the conversation of hi-jinx with a nursery rhyme: "Little sally walker, sittin in a saucer/ Oh, how I tossed that ass up". Two minutes in to the album and you've jumped from a smooth jazzy feeling into the group acting like school kids at lunch break, one-upping each other with immature tales. If anything, Fatlip's verse will leave you saying "WHAT THE FUCK", and by the end of the song you have no idea what to expect. After "Oh Shit!", the tracklisting on the back cover might be misleading because the logical direction would be to go to another juvenile song, and the title of the third track does seems pretty silly.
This is the moment you realize that the album you are listening to is incomparable.
The instrumental jive hits again, and the group members take turns yelling out socially progressive critiques of how black men sell out. They deem these actions as the time when strong African Americans conform to appease the status quo and succumb to being viewed as Jigaboos. "Show Me Them Teeth Baby!". Fatlip borrows hip-hop rule number 4080 and illustrates how video directors attempt to place rappers in dangerous areas such as ghettos, so white America can view their black counterparts as evil criminals who are here to detriment society. The album's sporadic, light-hearted behavior is a refreshing alternative taste during a time when hip-hop's dark side was thriving, and the social cometary proves that hip-hop can be both fun and profound. With only a mere intro, a song and a skit, the Pharcyde helps you to realize that hip hop has no bounds, it's a force that cannot be stopped and can always further the extent of its universe. You're not listening to music anymore; you begin to appreciate it as art. A smart start for hip hop's smart start.
From the smooth vibes that drip from "4 Better or 4 Worse" to chants of "WHO IS THE NIGGA IN CHARGE?!" with a hostile chick in the background dishing out "um, well excuse me"'s to the simple pleasures presented in the campaign platforms in "If I Were President", the Pharcyde landed on the map with an album that sounded nothing like what was being produced in Southern Cali. The rappers enthusiastically share their digably juvenile outlooks and personal beliefs, and the beats they use are chock full of slapping breaks and unique loops. "Soul Flower [Remix]", a mix of the group's collaboration with the Heavies, uses a fucking funky Fatback Band sample that replaces the original's smooth feel with a chaotic and energetic mood. A notable line comes from the farmer man who points out "Yes I come from Cali, no I do not have a perm", another example of the Pharcyde's attempt to distance themselves from the hip hop world's common conception of LA acts. "On the D.L." shares "Oh Shit!"'s style of confessional rhymes as the group tells stories that they'd rather forget. And the name of the next interlude might also light up your eyes as you can just imagine the group taking a halftime break with mary jane, crying "ooooo"s after each hit.
So far, the album favors smooth drumbeats, yet as "Officer" starts the group flips the script with a quick break of techno kicks and snares, exemplifying the group's interest in a thriving underground genre that would have much success later in the decade. When the beat changes, in comes scratches of sample of Public Enemy's "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" followed by a Flavor Flav impersonation. Fatlip does his best Chuck D to set the stage for the song's stories of beef with the po-po: "I got a letter from the DMV, the other day/ I opened and read it, it said they was SUCKAZ!". This is an example of the album's successful attempt to pay dues, an important ingredient to great debuts. "Ya Mama" gives respect to another art form: snaps. If you want a song that compiles favorite Ya Mama jokes, the Pharcyde's got it. An especially funny moment: "Ya mama's a sellout, nigga/ Nigga ya mama made a pop tune, nigga".
Next up is everyone's favorite Pharcyde song, "Passin' Me By". We all remember the black and white video with the rappers hanging upside down as they regret lost love. But for me, the best Pharcyde track can be found in Slim Kid's masterfully slick crooning on "Otha Fish". With a hollow voice effect and strings of echoes, Slim sounds like he's singing underwater (fuck T-Payne's voice effect bullshit, this is where it's at). The song's undeniable smoothness just makes you want to whistle the melody all day, and the cool and hip nature of Slim's words sets the song above every shitty rap-R&B fusion you've ever put yourself through. With another weed interlude, "Quinton's on his Way", hailing the moment when your homie comes through with another j, followed by the stoner jam "Pack the Pipe", the Pharcyde once again drills in your head the fact that they like cannabis. Not complaining.
The album's final track is another highlight as Slim, Imani, Lip and Bootie pay more respect to the pioneers by making a Wild Style-esque 80's jam that sounds like it's coming live from the amphitheater. The song is a perfect way to cap a beautiful album, and it's clear that Bizarre Ride pulls out all the stops to prove that rap cannot be categorized into a narrow perception. The Pharcyde made a considerable amount of noise with the album, which was heard by the alternative gods of Tribe who invited the group to partake in their star-studded album cover for Midnight Marauders. The Pharcyde, showing that they can revolutionize something that was already revolutionary, followed Bizarre Ride with Labcabincalifornia, an album that featured J Dilla beats and his neo-hip-hop movement. Yet, after a couple of unpopular choices and a falling out, the group broke up. It's been ten years since they have performed. So what are the Pharcyde doing today. Well, tomorrow the four original group members will be performing at Rock the Bells in SF, and I'll be there! So blast "Soul Flower" and freak the funk to one of hip-hop's smartest debuts.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Of Money's Ownership of the World That Surrounds Us, by Corey Woods

I spent my childhood in crime ridden areas, where news of deaths ruled;
Maintaining proper health was not an easy task.
One day, my mother left my father
And we settled in the borough of Staten Island.
As an adolescent I had my teeth capped with gold and wore Ralph Lauren Polo goose down sweaters.
I soon realized that I would have to resort to contraband sales to gain monetary success.
This is how it began, spending times with various ragamuffins,
Utilizing guns for jovial pleasures.
Yet it was all a fantasy of an teenager suffering from addictive behavior
As I started to inhale smoke at the age of sixteen.
I ran from the police and performed hired killings for large amounts of money,
Climbing up areas used to evacuate burning buildings.
It became obvious that I would try hard to obtain cooked cocaine and marijuana.
Yet the two's combination was physically and mentally detrimental.
I also was known to commit crimes to become successful
As I robbed young Caucasian men at basketball courts.
I continued this downward spiral while wearing those same Polo sweaters.
Life was harsh and stiff, much like the hide of cows.
One day I had an epiphany and realized I was continuing down a troubling path,
So I found a group of supportive and kind friends and turned my life around.
Soon I was buying kilograms of contraband from oversea countries
Driving Multi Purpose Vans by Mazda while making a weekly salary of $40,000!
So, my friend, give my success the respect it deserves, or else I will have to resort to using my 9mm firing arm.
Ch-chick-POW! Move from the gate now

...Whipped C.R.E.A.M.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Silicon Mafia left a message in my bed today.

Scary, huh?

So I haven't really unpacked all my stuff since summer started, and I really don't think I ever will. But I've found a new great unpacking technique which includes dumping out the trashbags filled with the shit I had accumulated over the past year at Davis onto my bed and then sifting to find what I want and then putting everything back in the bag (yeah, I'm that lazy). Well I was looking for my Richard Nixon mask today, so I emptied a bag and put it all back. At least I thought I did. I woke up to this sucker lying next to me in bed. I guess my USB cord that was already on the verge of death snapped, severing it's head.

But I think it's more than just me being lazy and not putting everything away. When I found the dismembered cord I looked at my laptop, suspecting that it was he who did the deed. Maybe my laptop is trying to tell me that it needs to be shut down more often than once a week, or maybe it's scaring me into casting it's godson in my new movie. Or maybe my laptop wants me to get off my lazy ass and get a job or start writing more blog posts to build a portfolio. And to that i say Truth Fairy.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

ATYN2BBYD (Vol. 3) Dance Cute to Misogynistic Music

Bitch I Don't Need Ya by Scientifik

"I'm the man, I'm the man, I'm the man, Don't forget it BITCH"

The late Scientifik never got the dues he deserved during his short career. His debut album, Criminal, is an underground classic, and his second and unfortunatly final album, The Most Blunted, could be mentioned with The Grind Date, Black Bastards and The LP as one of the most underrated albums of all time. Yet because of an unsolved death (either a homicide or a suicide), Scientifik's career is stuck motionless in the vast universe of 90's hip-hop.

Coming through with his own brand of Boston/Brooklyn swagger, Sci kicked rhymes as if he was speaking to one of his homies. His voice is ernest and clear, though the reissues of his works have considerably bad quality. Being put into the game as one of Ed O.G.'s Bulldogs, Scientifik spoke about matters one would find on his mentor's Life of a Kid in the Ghetto album, that is real ghetto tales about stunts, blunts and hip-hop. On this particular song, Sci drops knowledge about an ex skeezer who played him like Parker Brothers, and illness ensues.

"And now you're gonna act like I neva neva leave ya/
I might want ya, but bitch i don't need ya/"

Sci berates on his former main squeeze, throwing verbals blows like "Now a woman can bring you up or a woman can bring you down/ but I ain't the one you stupid bitch so how ya sound?", "My name ain't Sammy Sucka/ for me to go and give a ho some dough because I fucked her" (Damn, that's some ill internal rhyme) and "Cus if i didn't put you up how would you have a crib?/ and if i didn't bust a nut how would you have a kid?" (hahaha). Yes, he is being extremely sexist, but Sci pulls a Jeru (on "Da Bitches" tip) and says "Now this ain't dedicated to all Nuban women/ just the ones I cannot understand how they be livin'" and "I never had objections to opening a door/ or pullin' up a chair for a girl who's not a whore". But Sci's misogyny does add something to the track that the Damaja lacked in his: teenage angst.

"I don't give a fuck about you/
and all your so-called friends, motherfuck them too/"

The song was recorded in '92, when the music industry was being bombarded by indie rock promoting the fuck-the-world teen lifestyle of cynicism. And though hip-hop was steady in its own world full of Afro-centricism and gang-relations, that attitude made some appearances in rap. Here, Sci's dongivafuk flow and strong voice displays his pissed off nature, which makes it relevant to kids who are going to the same drama. Now I'm not saying that Sci endorses the indie 90's loser-revolution, but his rhymes speaks volumes to the audience of his music. And on top of it all, he's spitting over hella live kicks and snares!

The song has a simple beat, with the same bubbly sample Preemo used for "Just to Get a Rep" and a melodic piano tune. But the drum beats are what makes the song so ill. They are sporatic as he changes up the pattern for each bar, so it makes them that much better than just a simple loop. This, accompanied by the melody, is what provides the danceibility of the song. The song sends an infectious head-nodding vibe to the ears of the listener, and though Sci is demeaning honeys with each line, I could just see beezies bopping up and down to the track. It's well rounded, almost perfect, so DL it and have it banging as you roll down your block!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Say Word?! Ya Heard!?: The Go! Team

So, what's your favorite Action Hero Theme Song/Cheerleading Chants/Indie Rock/Simplified Hip-hop band?

Trailblazing a genre that you've never heard of, the UK sextet The Go! Team churns out high energy ballads that could either be heard in anime movies or cliche workout scenes.

The band is the brainchild of experimentalist and Go! Team guitarist Ian Parton, whose vision was to fuse all that he loved into a cohesive sound. The result is something that combines 3 Feet High and Rising's quirky humor and obscure samples with Sonic Youth noise rock guitar riffs. Accompanying Parton are two drummers (cus it takes two to make your beats extra funky), a bassist and another guitarist. However, the leader of the group is definitely their emcee, Ninja, whose high pitched voice and simplistic party rhymes are reminiscent of a young Roxanne Shante. Ninja creates girl power chants that resonate over the bands use of multiple instruments. Her child-like voice accompanied by the band's melodic instrumentals makes for happy songs that capture the essence of energetic rambunctious school kids high off slurpee syrup and sour patch sugar.

More than anything, The Go! Team makes pump-it-up jams that'll get you ready to run marathons, scale mountains, and fuck like there's no tomorrow. While some high-tempo musicians want to make you feel like you just got slapped in the eardrums, The Go! Team takes your eardrums on a night out, forces them to down 42 Red Bulls and peer pressures them into snorting 36 lines of coke. Boomselecktah.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Track You Need to Bump Before You Die (Vol. 2) 4:21 Edition

my head hurts my head hurts my head hurts my head hurts

Suspended Animation by K.M.D.

Dro Rules Everything Around Me DREAM Get Some Papers Smokin Cheeba Cheeba Y'all

The sun hangs low in the clouds as the big hand hits the South Eastern edge of the clock. It's a warm April day here in Davis. The combo of a cool breeze of fresh air and stanky (and I'm not talking about the cowshit) gives you goose pimples. My fingers are sticky, the papers are out, the bic is sparkin'. Suddenly out of nowhere you hear:

"Suspended animation of a gray expansion casting shadows over the sun"

Then the beat hits you. Raw, hard-hitting, grimy, bass-in-your-face slaps to your eardrums as you hear someone crying "I want to get high! So high!" Yep, it's K.M.D.

I've been splitting blunts, I lick 'em then I spit once/
It's nasty, shit tastes like cancer in my tongue and fronts/"

The Brothers Dumile were probably baked as pecan pies on every track off their forgotten masterpiece Black Bastards, but there's something about "Suspended Animation" that just oozes tetrahydrocannabinol. The track's hazy feel makes for a perfect backdrop for crystal-ridden rhymes of sticky icky goodness, and a young MF Doom acts as a spokesman for the common toker.

Daniel Dumile goes on a tear, taking the pothead badge and reppin' it hard. One verse? No problem.

So light up, get the Philly broke, smoke a toke/
Pipe full, cause when I pull, I pull until I choke/
Like *coughs* and that's the only shit I'm choking/
Ducking hookers, saying "Yo why you be bugging?"/
I'm fucking stuck in (suspended animation) for one I'm done/
Casting shadows over the sun for fun/"

This is my kinda smoking jam. No trippy beats on some hippie bullshit, no samples from clichés like Marin and Tommy, just a song with some "muthafuckin' bass in it". The song's infectious beat is so perfect that it'll make any stoner look like a bobblehead riding in their thick-clouded car.

Super Silver Kush be killin' my brain, but a dose of early morning Stats helps to put me back on the ground after flying all night.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Hyphy Article

I wrote this for my school newspaper in October of 2006

I'm From the Bay, Where We Hyphy and Go Dumb…or Am I?

How the Hyphy Movement Tears Me Apart.

As the commercialization of hip-hop kills the concepts of the true MC and DJ, our radios are being besieged by simplistic lyrics over droning and monotonous beats. Today's rap music makes old people mistakenly condemn the music I grew up with, calling it unoriginal, abrasive, and idiotic. However, after hearing what is being played on the radio, I can understand why.

At the same time, though, people generalize about how rap has always degraded women and promoted violence, they neglect to remember the messages of old school artists such as Grandmaster Melle Mel, Rakim and KRS-One. I almost laugh when ignorant critics disparage the synthesizer-ridden and simplistic beats that have become the norm in rap songs today, even though they probably don't have a clue who DJ Premier, Marley Marl, or Pete Rock are.

With all this criticism, people are saying that hip-hop is officially dead, and being a hip-hop fan ever since I could crank Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" to full blast on my Walkman, it's hard for me to let rap go. But when listening to new acts like Yung Joc, Young Jeezy, and Rick Ross, I feel as though hip-hop has committed suicide.

This whole death thing is making me depressed. I've listened to rap for so long and now it's going to straight-up bounce on me?! What do I have to look forward to? I guess I'm going to have to find some gold in this pile of garbage. And as I look though the muck, I have stumbled upon the local rap scene: Hyphy.

Over the past few years, the Bay Area has produced a new sound. Using less thought-provoking and more party style, simplistic lyrics accompanied by bass-heavy beats, Hyphy has put our community on the hip-hop map. Hyphy rappers such as Mac Dre, E-40, Mr. FAB and Keak the Sneak are finally beginning to get the attention they deserve. Besides the music, Hyphy has become a social movement in a sense. It has created its own culture, with crazes like sydeshows where people gather together to throw their scrapers (a flashy yet cheap car that is suped-up to show off performance) into donuts. Hyphy has also invented a new dance style called "going dumb", which is basically the act of jumping up and down to the beat of the music, and the Bay's unique swagger is portrayed by stunna-shades and grills.

But I know what you're thinking: aren't Hyphy's unsophisticated lyrics what you just criticized in the rap of today? Well, to a degree, yes. It is hypocritical to show respect to this form of hip-hop and deem others as garbage. However, to really understand why Hyphy is somewhat appealing to an old-school-hip-hop-head, like myself, one would have to look back to hip-hop's true roots.

"You could put this in the hip-hop Bible"- E-40

The origins of hip-hop are sketchy, but records show that the music form was born in the Bronx during the mid 70's. Its true intention was to keep kid's minds off of gang violence. Block parties were set up by rap pioneers like DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, whose goals were to keep hostility out of the 'hood through the power of music. Soon, hip-hop block parties spread all over New York, and kids began to drop their guns to battle on the mic. Accordingly, the mentality of rap was to promote one's culture and have a good time doing so, which is what Hyphy does. "Hip-hop started out as a way to party, for kids to put down the drama and pick up the microphone," said's Urban Music Editor Brolin Winning, "Hyphy is super popular with the youth out here and it gives them something more constructive to do." In its essence, Hyphy stays true to the meaning of hip-hop, and through this we also gain a place to showcase the Bay's unique culture.

"Bouncing up and down like the floor is a trampoline"- Mr. F.A.B.

Even though it sticks with the Bambaataa motive, Hyphy is still a sign of how the quality of rap has declined over the years. With uneducated lyrical attempts and a penchant of self-deprecation with the "go dumb" dance, Hyphy just doesn't seem to compare to previous hip-hop cultures such as the Native Tongues and the Juice Crew. Acalanes graduate and current Bay Area hip-hop producer Jordan Diaz explains that "if you like E-40 and Mac Dre, that great, but if you really know the roots of hip-hop, then you would realize that Hyphy is kind of a dumbed-down, watered-down music." Losing my brain cells while bouncing my dreads isn't my style, so it annoys me that this is what represents the Bay in the hip-hop World.

"Sitting in my scrapper, watching Oakland go wild... Ta-dow"- E-40

And that is the true quandary; this is my community that this music represents. Aren't I supposed to embrace whatever my community puts out there? At least Hyphy gets us noticed on TRL as that hot Asian chick retires the E-40's "Tell Me When to Go" video. It has taken a long time for that to happen. Too $hort has been in the game before Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Jay-Z put out their first solo, and Mac Dre has more records than Jerry Rice (think about it). "I think it just helps people not from here get some idea of the things going on," Winning said, "there hasn't really been many local artists to blow on a national level since Tupac died, and personally I'm happy to see the Bay getting attention and love from other regions" So finally, for once we are being noticed.

"Go stupid, that's what we do good"- Mac Dre

However, what is the Bay's hip-hop scene being noticed for? The Hyphy trend today is to look as immature as possible and act like a 5-year-old during a tantrum. Also, Hyphy symbols like the thizz face, (a facial expression related to the use of Ecstasy) and sydeshows (mentioned before) display the illegal actions which Hyphy promotes, which is in no way what Bambaataa wanted. Hip-hop has gone from the graffiti-tagging, break-dancing, b-boying style of the golden era ('87-'94), to the gun-coking, female-discriminating, bling-bling rap of the mid 90's to early 21st century, and now the club-bumping,, dumb-acting, unintelligible lyricism of ATL's Crunk and Bay Area's Hyphy. The problem is that people are forgetting what hip-hop is supposed to be, and where all this came from. Diaz said that, "we should always respect the hip-hop forefathers, and we should remember when hip-hop was hella pure." If anything, Hyphy has done a good job creating new vocabulary for the hip hop dictionary, so I have to give mad props to that.

"The soil where these rappers be getting their lingo from"- E-40

In the hip-hop world, the Bay Area is known for its inventive and immense vocabulary. Without the Bay Area's inclination for code talk, the hip-hop dictionary would have stopped at "dope". The vernacular that the entire Bay has produced over the years is prolific. For instance, the word "shizzle" is synonymous with Snoop Dogg, but it was actually coined by Mr. Hyphy himself, E-40. In fact, a Bay Area rapper named Seagrams created an entire song using the "izzle" language, with an exception of one line: "White folks trynna get up on the convo". Another term that belongs to the Bay is "yadidamean", a condensed version of "you know what I mean" with a rolled "d" probably stemming from a Hispanic influence. It has been colloquialized even more into many forms (yadidabooboo, yadidimsayin, yadida, and my favorite: Yarla-damean). Other words found in the Hyphy dictionary include "flamboastin'" (flaunting your possessions), " adoobadabbadeeba" (a verbal agreement; yes), "gerbazll'n" (to act foolish; stemming from the verb to gerbazlle), and "gouda" (money; cash). So now when someone asks you "hey-yo, can you hook a partna up with some gouda so I can get my flamboastin' on, homey, and don't gerbazlle on me, yadidamean?!" you can kindly respond by saying, "why adoobadabbadeeba, sir". Now Hyphy-followers have a distinct language that they can use, which is another attraction to Hyphy for me to consider.

I don't know what I'm going to do if hip-hop dies out anytime soon, but at least I got communal patriotism…yadidamean?!

Are you like me and don't want hip-hop to die like disco? Check out these up-coming releases
that try to bring a hip-hop Renaissance:

Rakim- Seventh Seal

Nas- Hip-Hop is Dead

Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II

Redman - Red Gone Wild

(haha only two of those four albums have come out and Redman's was the only good one)

Thursday, January 24, 2008