November 20, 2007
Shout out to Kanye, someone I’ve long considered the most important man in hip hop and one of the most creative and honest forces out there right now. I’m appreciative of his being real and vulnerable and able to talk about real things in an age where 95% of the other artists out there are more concerned with how many endorsement deals they can get on and too busy trying to “keep it real” to even maintain coherence. Moments of extreme irrationality like Cam’ron’s statement on not snitching on a serial killer in his neighborhood on 60 minutes come from spending so much time obssesing about how you’re viewed and keeping to a code that you start to lose sense of what’s real and what isn’t. Somewhere between ninety and ninety-nine percent of today’s rappers are that way and Kanye stands out very tall for always being about himself and what’s important to him. The man’s mom dies and no one can doubt how important she was to him because he didn’t make a million songs about not loving a bitch, but wrote “Hey mama” and constantly praised and professed his love for her loudly and publicly. How many other rappers can say that? How many people period?
Strange, I didn’t even come to the computer to write this post. I was gonna write about a Kanye track and I guess ‘d had that bottled up. I’m going to wrap this up and start my post afresh.
My heart goes out to Kanye, wishing him strength in this moment and success in the future. Take the time you need to recover man. I can’t wait to see you in concert, but that shit will totally wait. Your music is amazing, your spirit apparent and no one will penalize you of all people for being human and taking the time to deal with your loss. You’re too talented to go away and we’ll be waiting whenever you return, if you do decide to take a break. Much love from a fan.
Edit: If you’ve seen the video of Kanye performing in Sweden or so, you’ve heard by now that he’s not interested in taking any time off. I can respect that. Bring it to New York fool. I got dollars in my hand waiting to see the hardest working man in showbiz. Chea, chea, we gon’ be there.
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.
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.”
March 1, 2007
February 22, 2007
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!