January 24, 2008
I do believe this video is the sickness: Colin Munroe’s “I want those flashing lights”
Kanye must be mad salty that this guy not only jacked his shit, he made a sick video with a concept Yeezy might well have liked to use himself. It’s hard being West.
This other Colin Munroe video and track ain’t half bad either. Goooo Canada!
November 14, 2007
Some real fly hip-hop concert tees. Hip Hop shows have the worst merchandise for sale, or even more often, no merchandise at all for sale. I’ve probably seen ten hip hop shows this year and not one of those had anything better than some bootleg shit for you to buy. How the hell does Hova, a cat that owns his $600 M per year grossing clothing line not even have one damn t-shirt that says, “Dope Boy Fresh,” “Roc Boy in the Building” or “So Enlightened, I might glow in the dark.” Shit stay in the spirit of the thing and make something for the girls too, “Fly girl since ’88” or “Magnate magnet.” That shit upset me man.
That new Lupe ish. I know no one anticipating this like they were Kanyeezy or Fiddy, but mark my words, The Cool is on the extra-planetary tip without losing the audience. This is going to challenge The Graduate on many end of year lists.
For everyone to acknowledge that Nas was wrong. Or maybe he wasn’t. Maybe hip hop was dead and he went ahead and sparked a heartbeat in the damn thing. Hip Hop is feeling real lively to me right now. That Kanye vs. 50 battle might have been stagey as all fuck but it got cats hyped and thinking about what they care about in Hip Hop. The Kanye album was ridonkulous, Common was on point, Dizzee Rascal repped the UK right, Jay-Z dove into his rubber band stash and pulled out a classic, I’m anticipating one or two more seriously rough albums soon (I see you Wyclef, Lupe, Wu-Tang). The mixtape game remains solid even with the feds fucking with it and I’m seriously feeling some of the young cats on the come up (Termanology, Cool Kids, Mickey Factz, who have you).
A more focused Flint’s Philosophy. I’m back like the peace sign.
August 21, 2007
The sartorially inclined will want to rush out and cop the August/September Complex magazine. Mr. West, Kanye is guest editor for the issue so of course it’s all about the threads. The first really engaging piece has Kanye expanding on the future shock, sci-fi cool look he’s been promoting Graduation with. It’s not a look that’s easy for amateurs to pull off, particularly in its reliance on loads of high end minimalist gear from Jil Sanders, Dior Homme and the like. Nevertheless it’s really cool to see such a specific look explored in a range of ways and it’s all pretty much cool as fuck.
The real gem for someone like me who’s trying to get his grown man on though is the T.I. “man in a suit” pictorial. Jesus H. Christ! No one should do a fashion shoot without getting T.I. involved ever again. Plain and simple, the man rocks a suit. I mean, there is a shot in the magazine of him in a Chambray shirt, charcoal suit, black shoes and pink socks. That’s certifiably sartorially advanced. There’s a good range of really interesting suit ideas, as good as anything I’ve seen in any of the high fashion magazines and with very little of the silliness. The good thing about getting someone as street as T.I. to model is that you know he’ll never agree to the silliest of the fashion contrivances high fashion stylists lean on to differentiate themselves with. What you’ve got are interesting, innovative ways of wearing a suit without looking like an idiot.
Image via Hip Hop Crunch
A note about Complex Magazine itself is that they’re really killing the game in their own quiet way. No Hip Hop associated magazine has production values nearly as good. Their photo shoots are always great and the interviews worth reading. The magazine stays narrowly but very sharply focused and for the fashion identified, each issue might as well be porn. Get in on it.
August 2, 2007
The mix of surrealist imagery, historical allegory and social criticism in Dizzee’s video makes it likely the sickest video of the year, from one of the sickest (and my favorite I think) Hip Hop albums of
the year. The other thing that’s great about this song that’s missing from a lot of Hip Hop is good old fashioned story telling. Hidden behind that scattered flow and accent of his are storytelling chops worthy of anyone from Slick Rick to Jimmy Hendrix.
“1 day i was with ma breddrin Aido roaming the street, on the main road hungry looking for summin 2 eat, not no burger or no chips, shit that’s easily digested, its the shit that if your caught u’ll be easily arrested”
It’s really annoying when the guys from across the pond do better work with a form that originated in the US but I figure it’s for the same reason as NY losing it’s dominant place in Hip Hop. Ownership breeds arrogance and stagnation. Everyone whines about how everything that comes out of any other market isn’t real Hip Hop rather than taking creative chances and letting their work evolve with the market. It isn’t 1994, but from the artists and music NY keeps fielding, you’d think Biggie and Tupac hadn’t already had their day and everyone had to keep trying to recreate them.
April 23, 2007
This list is very hastily thrown together with very little editing but I think it’s a fair representation of the shit that causes me to really bug out. The order is not perfect but surprisingly not too suspect actually. If I didn’t have pressing matters concerning completing graduate school to attend to, I would spend more time on this. As it is I only did this because I couldn’t possibly miss being part of this. Thanks to Joey of Straight Bangin’ for the chance to be part of it. Killer shit below:
1 Biggie- Ready to Die
2. Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt
3. UGK – Riding Dirty
4. Outkast- Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
5. Scarface – The Fix
6. Kanye West- College Dropout
7. Eric B & Rakim- Paid in Full
8. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
9. Mos Def – Black on Both Sides
10. Nas- Illmatic
11. Jay-Z – Blueprint
12. Bone Thugs N’ Harmony – E. 99 Eternal
13. Wu Tang- 36 Chambers (Enter The Wu Tang)
14. Clipse – Lord Willin’
15. Snoop Doggy Dogg- Doggystyle
16. Common Sense – Like Water for Chocolate
17. Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star
18. Eminem – Marshall Mathers LP
19. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions
20. Ice Cube – The Predator
21. Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death
22. Outkast – ATLiens
23. 2Pac – Me Against The World
24. Bubba Sparxxx – Deliverance
24. Mobb Deep- The Infamous
25. Prince Paul – A Prince among thieves
April 18, 2007
March 13, 2007
I saw Truffaut’s 400 Blows one evening hanging out with a friend. We were preparing for a night out, or just burning time as one frequently does. He had three movies at home from Netflix and without much else doing, we thought we’d check one of them out. I remember he had Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and perhaps some other Japanese flick but I don’t recall why we chose to watch 400 Blows. I hadn’t heard of it before and thus came with no expectations. My friend wandered in and out of the room, only partially attentive to the movie and I remember quite enjoying it. There was a short movie among the DVD extras that followed the central character further on in life and I watched, cringed at, laughed at and enjoyed that as well.
A little later on, someone asked what my favorite movie was and I heard myself saying, “maybe the 400 Blows.” It’s a year or two later and despite never having seen the movie again, that answer stands. When I was younger, before Netflix and my infinitely expanded education in cinema, the Godfather was my stock answer for that question. I still think the Godfather a a marvelous film but it is certainly no longer in the number one spot and I’m definitely less certain there need be a number one spot. I love movies, for their escapism, for the dream worlds they create, for allowing me to see bits of myself exploded into full and amazing characters, for their naive idealism and harsh depictions of reality, for puzzling and dazzling me, making me sad, happy, outraged, unable to contain myself; I fucking love movies. And so I appreciate each for its flaws and its strengths and its accomplishments, whatever those are. I love the Godfather for its tale of men in a man’s world, loyalty and honor and family, while killing people’s horses and shooting them through their glasses. I love Hitchcock and Clint Eastwood and early Eddie Murphy. I love thrillers and comedies, shoot em ups and art house flicks. I fucking love the movies.
And I love Truffaut, for his unhurried filmmaking, for giving me a character I saw so much of myself in and making him interesting and worthy of being watched, for doing an almost plotless movie in which we simply watch a character struggle and grow and be achingly human. A movie about a young who has a rough time of it at home and at school, 400 Blows follows our protagonist as he runs away from home and lives first with a friend and then wherever he can find. It does not span a great amount of time or come to any conclusions about humanity, it is simply a glimpse into one human life and it’s amazing. I just watched Truffaut’s Jules and Jim, again going into it with no real expectations and without even realizing it was another Truffaut film. It is very good although for me personally it doesn’t hold a candle to 400 Blows. There is less for me to identify with in these characters and their lives and choices I suppose. Yet the magic is there and many may prefer this to 400 Blows. This movie spans lifetimes, goes from comic to tragic with little warning of what is to come and invests in more than one single person. What can I say? I like stories about individuals best. Anyway, I’ve found another filmmaker whose oeuvre I must go check out more thoroughly and I really only wrote this post to say, “I fucking love the movies.”
February 16, 2007
I don’t often wonder what the current king of blue eyed soul thinks when he goes to bed at night. If this video gives any kind of insight into that unasked question however, it sure ain’t pretty. In the maturity challenged entertainment market of 2007, Timberlake probably gets more money for his film projects than Francis Ford Coppola. So his video – sorry, mini film – for “What Goes Around” is definitely slickly produced, expensive looking, totally money in all the ways you’d expect. Visually it’s gorgeous, and he’s gone and bought the best young talent he could fine, or perhaps he’s simply pressed a few of his famous friends into doing some cool shit with him. Except there is nothing cool about this. This video is a steaming pile of horse shit.
I’m not Stanley Crouch. I don’t think pop music, or any music, is required to be moral or moralistic. But even with his ghetto pass firmly in hand, Timberlake’s audience is almost exclusively teenage and younger girls and I wonder exactly why one would want to tell that audience that Justin Timberlake will kill them if they cheat on him. And that is the basic message behind this horrendously boring horror flick. That isn’t tension and foreboding building up, it’s pretty pictures with a totally predictable story arc. The unexpected violence and misogyny of the conclusion is the only surprise to the video, showing just how the deep the death/violence porn fantasias of a privileged white boy run. Movies like Larry Clark’s Kids and Bully, or the Jackass crew’s flicks ensure that you’ve always known this existed. It’s just funny to see it show up in what ought to be the saccharine sweet world of pop/R&B. I wonder if all the guys that participated in this thing sit around in a circle and jerk off to it.
And what of the other participants in this thing? I know Scarlett Johansson was trying to get away from playing ingenue along side dirty old man and having that carry over into her real life, but is the solution to that really to jump the movie star bullshit bandwagon? When she was sitting in bed with Timberlake after a night of super stylized yet safe sex and he said to her, “hey baby, want to be in my video,” did she not think to herself that there might be some Sophia Coppola laundry she ought to be doing instead. I mean even that would have to be more interesting work than this is.
Really the biggest crime of this video is simply how fucking bland it is. All that money, all the world as a personal stage, all the talent that money, matinee idol looks and man of the hour status will buy and what you produce is an infantile revenge fantasy that shows you have no more imagination than a thirteen year old boy? Might as well change into a green leotard and appear as Peter Pan for an encore. And it’s doubly (or triply, who’s counting?) offensive gracing an album on which Timberland pretty much converses with the aliens in breaking the mold of what a pop song ought to be. I guess this definitely answers the question of what end of this partnership the ideas come from.
I kind of like that MTV is getting back into the Music video business by playing them automatically on their website even if said website is still a heaping pile of slow loading, over saturated dog shit.
Somebody get No Doubt back together and pull Gwen Stefani back to this here rock before she’s too far lost in space to ever be reclaimed, although watching the video for Sweetest Escape it seems she’s already too far gone in her luxurious mad house to be saved. I mean, Gucci cabs in her video? Wow!
February 13, 2007
We went from too black and too strong to Sisquo and the damn Thong song – “Best Day, Worst Day”
For a guy named Killer, Mike sure is exuberant. He’s also angry, righteous, boisterous, thoughtful, brash and probably a little rash. All reasons to love him I assure you. The most obvious touchstone for Killer Killer is Ice Cube circa say 1992. Killer has got a conscience see. He sees all this stuff happening to and in black America and it pisses him off. But he likes to party too and make songs about the ladies. Actually, he’s unable to prevent his songs from slipping between categories. He’ll randomly begin to criticize some fake pastor on what ought to be a party track, or direct his ire at the women on what seemed to be a social commentary track. Whatever he’s doing though, Mike is compelling.
Shit, just last week a young nigga got shot, playing Superman, racing bullets in the parking lot – “Aye Oh”
He isn’t compelling for extraordinary metaphorical or word juggling skills, although he does occasionally deploy those as well. The Ice Cube comparison holds here as well. Killer says whatever is on his mind the directest way possible. he puts some humor into it and delivers every line, whether dissing Soul Train or lamenting rappers who’ve quit rapping for acting, as if it’s his last one. He’s got one of those big voices (think Big or Chuck D) that leave you completely convinced of whatever it is they are saying.
The problem with Killer being on the Contenders series is that he’s already made an album totally worthy of adulation. Killer’s Ghetto Extraordinary was delayed from release for so long that all the material he recorded for it went into the mixtape, The Killer. He released that in 2005 and you really must listen to it to get an idea of what he’s capable of. The entire mixtape is full of sharp, banging, raucous beats. There is psychedelic stuff that shows the Outkast influence, like the bouncy “My Chrome,” hard edged street beats like the unhinged energy of “Aye Oh” or the 808 propulsion of “Get Em Shawty,” and as it is a mixtape, there are also a couple of jacked beats including the awesome feat of turning 112’s saccharine “Cupid” into “A Dope Story.” Still there is an inescapable joy of life to the whole proceedings that keeps it fun to listen to, no matter how hard he’s going on any topic.
Killer Mike has been a part of the Outkast crew for a long time and he fell victim when Aquemini, the record label they started to release their own projects, fell apart. He’s on Big’s Purple Ribbon label along with some other folks you might have heard of (Bubba Sparxxx, Sleepy Brown) and some others you’ll soon be getting familiar with (Janelle Monae, Scar). The Killer is still my favorite Killer album/mixtape, but he released I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind, a street album (as he calls it) last year and it isn’t any lighter on righteous fury or good times. Check it all out, and check out the Killer Mike Primer below to get you started. One.
Dude murdered for his shoes, it was childish, but look how we remembered you. Came to your funeral in the same tennis shoes, too young and ignorant to see that our act of defiance caused your mother so much stress and crying – “You Don’t Want This life”