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Archive for October, 2007

The Quiet Return of Cam’ron


If there was any doubt as to who is the true weirdo of Dipset, Cam’ron’s recent return in the form of a weird, near-Andy Kaufman-like video and two equally bizarre songs (‘Glitter’ and ‘Just Us’) should settle things. Jim Jones is hanging out with Rick Rubin and Juelz Santana is showing up on good but sorta “meh” songs like DJ Khaled’s ‘Brown Paper Bag’. Other than Hell Rell’s wonderfully retarded album cover, the obnoxious flair that made me love Dipset is gone, until now, with this recent wave of purposefully underwhelming and depressive Cam stuff.

In the aforementioned video, Cam literalizes his absence by compiling a bunch of faked “Cam sightings” videos, making himself like some kind of Rap Sasquatch or something. The videos are obviously fake and really hilarious as the cameraman in pretty much everyone of them, is like “Yo, that’s Cam!”. Be it Cam talking to a friend at like 1 in the afternoon next to a kinda crappy car or grabbing the ass of a kinda fat chick, this is obviously supposed to be funny. Later in the video, the cameraman chases Cam to a rooftop and Cam proceeds to pop-up like the goddamn Batman and shoot the guy! Perhaps the best part is towards the end, as we see Cam’ron in Halloween-style Army Fatiques (with helmet!) aimlessly wandering around a graveyard, as a chopped-up-so-he-says-bad-things audio file of the President plays and then segues into the fucking theme from the A-Team! It’s really great and it’s also fun in the way that it really plays around with Cam’s image as a fallen rap-soldier and a guy who has lately, out of embarrassment avoided the spotlight.

Cam has totally embraced the image everyone now has of him, as this wounded, in-over-his-head rapper that maybe ruined his career in un-winnable beefs, embarrassing Youtube taunts, and silly ‘60 Minutes’ interviews. God only knows what is truly in the heart of Cameron Giles but all of that stuff to me, seemed like classic Dipset pranksterism that because people took it seriously at all, got a little out of control and now, rather than fight it or try to over-explain himself, Cam’s “comeback” is in the form of playing off his damaged ego, dodgy musical output, and hints of being batshit crazy.

On that first leaked track ‘Glitter’, he’s heard ending his chorus with “I shine…” in a way that’s like Al Bundy recalling his Polk high days without totally giving in to resignation because it’s still “I shine” and not “I shined”, you know? The chorus, spoken by “a two year old in a diaper…filled with shit” who asks why he’s wearing so much jewelry is a pretty weird way of reminding listeners that he’s got a lot of diamonds: To a two-year old, diamonds and shit probably look pretty silly, so it’s sort of subtly mocking. The detail that the diaper is “filled with shit” is unnecessary but adds a reality that plays against but ultimately works along with Cam’s cartoonish persona. For the first leaked track from your mixtape, to sound so down and continually return to this image of something filled with shit all over a really great beat, that is sort of slow, almost ambient-sounding with drums that certainly sound defeated, is telling.

The track that seemed to pop-up yesterday, ‘Just Us’ sounds even more desperate, based on a sample of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. The Journey song has been forever recontextualized by the series finale of ‘The Sopranos’ and Cam is playing into that at least a little bit…this image of a getting a little older, made too many mistakes, sorta paranoid Tony Soprano would certainly resonate with Cam. At the same time, it fits right in-line with Dipset’s long history of sampling out-there, super-obvious songs. A few people made snarky jokes about how it probably wasn’t a good idea for Cam to name his first leaked track after a song that is synonymous with Mariah Carey’s initial fall from grace but again, I can’t help but think Cam’ron is aware of this and playing off of it; Cam is either in or creating the image that he’s in his ‘Glitter’ period.

On ‘Just Us’, Cam somehow reaches into that Journey song and pulls-out an appropriate amount of sadness. Jones, Juelz and whoever else is/was in Dipset can all make good or fun songs and they can do hilarious or weird but it’s really only Cam that has the talent or the awareness to throw in some really affecting stuff as well. The image of it just being “just us” contains that heart-on-the-sleeve, end-of-the-world romance that Journey lifted from Springsteen and moved it into the world of melodrama, Cam grabs onto it and takes it even further. That first verse where he describes meeting the woman “who hates a pusha” is straight out of Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin’ or something and Cam’s lists of the woman’s problems are well-wrought: breast cancer, son has sickle cell, etc. The whole song is full of lines and details like this that I won’t take the time to explain (just listen to the song!) but it’s all weirdly affecting and darkly funny. The emotion and comedy is best conflated when he describes Brenda, who is 31 (is there a sadder, more-real age than 31??) and then says he “gave her a sanchez, yeah a dirty one” and like that, anything you maybe felt about the song is changed. Cam is purposefully making himself look like an ass, playing with recent pop-culture images of self-destruction, and his own mistakes and making failure a new part of his persona.

Written by Brandon

October 31st, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Close-Up Blog-a-thon: Rich Boy ‘Throw Some Ds’

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During the week of October 12-21, the film blog House Next Door held a “Close-Up Blog-a-thon”, basically consisting of House’s bloggers and other film bloggers writing about their favorite close-ups from films. It led to some very interesting ones, including one on Juvenile’s ‘Ha’. This entry’s way-late for that blog-a-thon, but I wanted to write about it anyways, so here goes…

‘Throw Some Ds’ is directed by Bernard Gourley, who is also responsible for last year’s equally-amazing video for Three-Six Mafia’s ‘Stay Fly’. Both are well-orchestrated but fairly loose, medium budget, Southern rap videos that eschew narrative but also resist being just a bunch of cool-looking shots (although it contains plenty of those…). See, most music videos, especially rap videos, commit to the formula of mixing some kind of vague narrative with performance footage; We get the rapper in front of something or a few things rhyming and then when that gets old, it bounces to that rapper and his friends hanging out or literalizing the lyrics of the song or whatever and then back again, repeating for the next 3-4 minutes. Both of Gourley’s videos mentioned, manage to meld the performance and storyline together. ‘Stay Fly’ is essentially Three-Six’s night-out in Miami- from the hotel to the limo to club and back again, rapping in each location- and ‘Throw Some Ds’ finds Rich Boy waking up, leaving his house, and then rapping throughout the town. Rich Boy performs in a few locations and throughout his verses, the camera sort of strays away to reveal some effective shots of people and cars, that punctuate his raps. There’s still this performance/narrative divide, but because it’s all in the same location, it feels more cohesive.

There are some particularly amazing shots of Rich Boy, in the center of the frame, rapping, as cars weave around him, and dozens of great close-ups of spinning wheels, sides of cars, and what I’m going to call “characters” in the video. I say “characters” and not extras because the people afforded a close-up are quite memorable and often, the way they receive their close-up, humanizes them in a way that most music videos don’t fuck around with…Let’s start with the shots of the ridiculously hot chick in the teal-ish hoodie, sitting atop Polow Da Don’s car.If you look at the above frame, you can see her legs behind Polow’s head, but the first time you really become aware of her is actually in close-up. See, the video’s sort of a whirl of performance shots of Rich Boy in numerous locations (in a car, atop a roof, in a convenience store, in front of a house) and then “characters” and objects that occupy the same space as those performance shots. Even before Polow drops his verse, the video’s cut to him a bunch of times bouncing up and down, with Rich Boy in the mid-ground and caddy and girl in the background. You barely notice the girl is even there until suddenly, a true close-up of her singing along to the chorus and nodding her head is provided. The it goes back to the super-wide shot and now, this anonymous girl in the video has a face.This girl is really “the chick” of the video but other than her I-guess-that’s-sexy gum-stretching, she’s just chilling out and singing along like everybody else. She’s afforded this humane and genuine close-up and is otherwise, relegated to the background, never “objectified” or anything like that. It isn’t that the video is making any sort of radical, filmic “statement” about objectification, it’s just that it’s a video interested in faces and regionalism and reality. The video is filled with real locations (in wide shot) and real faces (in close-up) with medium-shots almost exclusively given to Rich Boy and Polow. This is how Gourley divides between “performance” and “narrative”; it isn’t by something as obvious and clear as a different location, but in what kinds of shots are allotted to what kinds of people.

Another example of the humanizing effects of the close-up is a wide-shot of a young guy, standing in front of his car. That shot is followed-up by a slow-motion pan that admires the guy’s car, and then we get a tight-close-up of his face, staring into the camera. He isn’t joyful but he’s not doing any kind of hard-ass scowling either, he’s just sort of staring sincerely and defiantly.What I like about this close-up is the way it sort of confounds the effect of the wide-to-close device. The two-shot sequence of going from very-wide to very-close is a visceral editing “trick” that is both stylistically cool and also based on basic audience reward. The wide shot is the set-up and the close-up, the punchline or… the wide shot, the question (you see a lot but it’s all a bit unclear or overwhelming), and the close-up, the answer (focus on a small part of the formerly wide composition, it’s now clear). Gourley confounds this by placing that slow-motion pan between the wide and the close-up. I think if the shot simply went from wide of the car to close-up of the guy, it would be as if the guy is defined by his car: Wide (Whose car is that?)/Close-Up (It is that guy’s car). Instead, Gourley throws-in that slo-mo pan that I see as like, admiring, even objectifying the car (the way most videos objectify women) and it sort of moves it beyond such a simple sense of ownership or even boasting, and into appreciation. It’s sort of the typical neighborhood interaction in three shots: sees the car (wide), likes the car (slo-mo pan), tells the owner of car how nice their car is (close-up).
One of the many locations for Rich Boy’s “performance” parts, is in front of an wooden, green-painted house. Late in the video, there’s a shot of Rich Boy rapping in front of this house and in the background, sitting on the porch is an old man. You’d only see the old man in this shot if you’re really paying attention, but it goes from this shot where he’s barely noticable, to a close-up of the old man. The barely-in-the-background shot of the “character” to the extreme close-up is the same sequence of shot used for the hot girl, but here it takes on added weight and humanity…Seeing the old man in close-up reveals in fairly-explicit detail, his missing eye. At first, it’s shocking because only the astute viewer even picks up on the old man’s appearance in the previous shot and in that shot, one could not tell he is missing a fucking eye! So, it’s a shock-cut in a way but the next shot, a wider shot, changes the context.Going wide after the shock-close-up is effective in lessening the shock and once again, humanizing this “character”; It is a reversal of the guy with the car in the sense of the set-up/punchline or question/answer stuff I was babbling about. Here, it begins with the shocking cut (he has one eye) and then goes wide (his whole body) and so, he is first seen as a dude with one eye and then as a whole person. If the shots were reversed (see below), you’d see the old man and then see his missing eye and so, he’d become an old man with one eye. It would almost be like a horror movie cut in the sense of starting with the mundane and then going-in for the shocking. Showing the eye and then going wide, makes you get over the shock of the eye and see the guy as a person.
The video couches this humanity in typical rap video imagery and adjusts it slightly, which also fits Rich Boy’s song. ‘Throw Some Ds’ is not a political rap song, but it isn’t the “dumb” rap song it sometimes is mistaken for, either. It is a kind of everyman rap single, that tries to approximate the minor, down-to-earth victory of getting some new, awesome rims on your car and the video, responds in-kind by humanizing the people in most rap videos that are used only as short-hand for “hardness” (one-eyed man, young guy and his car) or hotness (the girl in the hoodie).

Written by Brandon

October 29th, 2007 at 6:16 am

Posted in Rich Boy, music videos

Record Digging Adventures

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My favorite thing about record shopping, or even just the idea of records, is just how many are out there and how strange they can be. You’ll be flipping through a stack and find a David Cassidy record with hearts and kissy-lips drawn all over it or the opposite- my friend once found a Leif Garrett record that presumably, some mean older brother had scrawled “fag” across, you’ll see a guy who wrote his name on each and every one of his records or had some elaborate filing system, some people (and not just DJs) marked their favorite tracks, you can stumble upon local rappers who pressed a couple hundred copies of their best ‘2 Live Crew’ approximation, local high school marching bands released their shows, even churches recorded their choir or their bat-shit crazy preacher…it’s wonderful. It’s tough to explain, but something seemed to inspire even total normies to get real obsessive with their records and I know for me, even today, my records mean a great deal more to me than CDs, books, or movies, and are wrapped up in numerous thoughts, feelings, and memories. Below are a few of my favorite records for reasons other than music, for some weird personal touch the previous owner placed on them or with a few, some personal memory that seem interesting or hilarious enough to share…-Christopher Cross ‘Another Page’: Okay…this was found at a Salvation Army in Newark, Delaware that I wrote about in this ‘White Rapper Show’ entry. This might be the saddest or the sweetest thing in the world, depending on the mood you wake-up in…this was in a stack, with probably five or so other 80s soft-rock records, all of which have homemade braile on them. Just imagine some blind girl in like 1984 and her, along with her mom or dad or something, applying braile to these records. If that doesn’t make you want to kill yourself, what does?? Some blind girl in the 80s in fucking Delaware who is really into like poignantly sad soft rock?! Why doesn’t this blind girl care about her records anymore? In my head, everything from Salvation Army stores was donated after death. All of those plates and glasses once belonged to old ladies, even the children’s clothes are not from children who’ve grown out of them, but children that were hit by cars or swallowed draino or were killed by their mothers in a fit of post-partum depression psychosis…I bet this blind chick offed herself, maybe while listening to ‘Think of Laura’ and her parents donated all her shit to the Salvation Army.-Isaac Hayes ‘Black Moses’: Monique got this and some other records for me at Spence’s Bazaar in Dover, DE. Spence’s is this big three-day-a-week flea market full of individual vendors of all types. There’s an older black woman who runs a computer parts/records room and the records she has are ridiculous. If you have the patience to dig through stacks of dusty records, you can find a lot of good shit there. The other crazy thing is, the prices are unclear (other than stuff relegated to a $1 table) but somehow, whenever you hand her something and ask the price, OFF THE TOP OF HER HEAD, she knows a price for it, that if you go to eBay or some record guide, is usually pretty accurate. I like how fucked-up the cover of this record is because it adds to the Biblical title, like it actually came from the time of Moses or something. The record is really thin and flimsy like whoever had it before me had listened to it a million times, wearing-out the vinyl. It gives it a particularly crackily, recorded-in-an-asshole sound, that again, makes it feel like its thousands of years old. I’ve seen much closer to “Mint” copies of this record since then, but somehow, because Monique gave it to me and some weird devotion, I feel weird replacing it.-Boz Skaggs ‘Hits’: I didn’t upload an image of my copy of this record because I wanted you to experience it in crystal-clear quality. I’m not being ironic or funny or anything: This is my favorite album cover of all-time. I can’t even really explain why, it’s just so simple and genius and sincere and everything else anything can be ever.-Modern Jazz Quarter ‘The Sheriff’: After my first teacher meetings at my first teaching job, I left annoyed/scared and looking for some cheering up, stopped at a Goodwill. I dug through the rows of records, not finding anything except for this. I had just watched the Ken Burns ‘Jazz’ series and it talked about the Modern Jazz Quartet in ways that meant they could either be terrible or really great, so it was kind of serendipitous (or felt that way) to find this. The group isn’t terrible and they aren’t great, but they are pretty good, especially this LP, which has this bad French movie music feel that is kind of perfect; I really like the cover too. Anyways, as I drove home thinking “How am I going to teach a bunch of kids? I don’t know shit about dick!” I was also driving home, pretty excited about hearing ‘The Sheriff’. That night, as I poured over Lesson Plans and textbooks, I listened to this about 30 times.-Giorgio Moroder ‘From Here to Eternity’: Okay, so Freshman year of college, Spring semester, I’m leaving ‘German II’ and some girl hands me this note and says “this is for you” and I’m so freaked-out I just grab it and keep walking, head down, in a straight line, as far away from this girl as possible. I opened the note in my car and it’s basically this incredibly bizarre, stalker-ish note about how she thinks I’m “cute” and blah blah blah. Oh yeah, it was written on the back of a photocopy of the first New York Dolls album (???). So, I e-mail this chick and agree to hang-out with her and in the mail, we sort of talked music so I mentioned a (now-closed) record store sort of near my school called ‘Joe’s Record Paradise’.

So, I meet here after class and we drive over there and at the time, I was in this stoner/doom metal phase, so ‘Jerusalem’ by Sleep was playing in my car and it obviously freaked her out because I guess in 2002, “cute boys” at liberals arts colleges don’t listen to such things (although five years later, it’s all they listen to, no?) and of course, it makes me feel like a douche even though it shouldn’t…Anyways, we get there and we’re looking around and I start going nuts because I find a really good-looking copy of ‘From Here to Eternity’ by Giorgio Moroder and she just sort of laughs at the cover. Now, maybe all of this is obvious, but I had such limited exposure to record nerds outside of my close circle of friends, that I just thought everybody into records would understand why stuff like ‘From Here to Eternity’ was awesome. Bitch ends up buying some ‘Best Of’ Velvet Underground LP and a Joan Jett records and makes me feel like an ass! A few weeks later, I went to a Yo La Tengo show and the between-sets music was ‘Black Liberation Dub’ by Mad Professor and she was asking (innocently but not not-annoyingly) why they were playing reggae…I just nodded my head instead of interjecting or explaining. I walked back from the show, left, and then uh, never called her back…she was kinda raw-looking anyways…

So now, everytime I see or grab this record from my shelf, I think of that chick’s face and how stupid I felt for being excited about something. The whole thing was sort of a learning experience about “cool” people and cool people and indie types and and silly, romantic, small-town ideas about “cool” people that I had.-King Crimson ‘Live in Holland’: Another record Monique got for me at that Spence’s Bazaar place, maybe even the same haul as the actually-from-ancient-times copy of ‘Black Moses’. The sleeve is sort of a homemade LP sleeve, out of thin, white cardboard, and it has the title and track-listing written in blue pen and the guy who presumably owned it’s name at the top (N. Heagerty). I love the boyish nerdiness that would work on the cover of a bootleg; Dunno if you can tell in the image, but for the title ‘King Crimson: Live in Holland’, the guy first did it in red pen and then went over it more elaborately in blue. The record itself has a yellow sticker in the center and typed onto each respective side it says ‘SIDE ONE/TWO’. Did this guy record it himself in Holland and somehow put it on a record? Did he get it from a friend? Was there some fairly elaborate mailing list of prog-nerds in the 70s which distributed bootlegs to one another? Maybe it came in a blank cardboard sleeve with only the ‘SIDE ONE/TWO’ labels on the record and N. Heagarty took it upon himself to design a cover…who knows.-Rod Lee ‘Rod Lee Vol. 2′: This is an older release from Baltimore Club legend Rod Lee. The record is really worn and scratched and was obviously heavily played at clubs at some point. Who would ever get rid of this? I like the idea of records having a previous life before I got ahold of them, so it’s fun to think of the Baltimore DJ who owned this and played it and where he played it. The label also just looks great, like on an aesthetic level: Orange paper with a black photocopy on it, Rod Lee in side-profile and at the bottom, in all lowercase letters and underlined: play at your own risk! Pretty soon, I should have a way to make records into MP3s and I’ll definetely put this up. It’s really spare, minimal club, and not minimal or spare the way the club you hear now is, but like, lo-fi, kinda underwhelming, goofy stuff that is barely even danceable, so the cover sort of fits the music’s sound. All of it is pretty great, but the revere side (not seen in the scan) is particularly great: ‘Word Up!’/Gimmie Hoe/Where Da Weed At’…’Gimmie Hoe’ grabs the “gimme a ho if you got your funky busfair” line from Frankie Smith’s ‘Double Dutch Bus’, cuts it down to “Gimme a ho” and mixes it with the the “Iz”-talk from the same song, until it just loops and loops and sounds really nuts. ‘Where Da Weed At?” is just a guy near-whispering “Hey yo where da weed at?” as the beats grows a little each time and then breaks out into some really hilarious-sounding ‘Donkey Kong Country’ jungle-breaks or something.

Written by Brandon

October 22nd, 2007 at 4:01 am

Posted in Lists, Records

New Biographical Dictionary of Rap Entries: UGK & Big Moe

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But first thing’s fucking first: We’re all going to die of Staph infections! Are you ready??

Christopher wrote an excellent entry on UGK for this weird project being called ‘The Biographical Dictionary of Rap’. I really like how personal and honest it is and how that moves into some great comments on UGK’s very rarified sense of “trill”-ness:

“Like most people not up on southern rap, my first experience with UGK was in early 2000 when “Big Pimpin’” came out, and I kept thinking “Who the fuck is Ug-kuh?” At the time, I thought one of them was UGK and didn’t know which one. I also wondered why they were on the song, but stopped thinking about it when I heard Pimp C’s verse, which was pretty fucking great. It turned out to be a classic single, but I didn’t give the guys another thought, even after BET’s Rap City started programming a lot of southern rap around late 2000, until Spin did one of those “hip” magazine genre/sub-genre starter kits and name dropped a bunch of southern rap albums they thought were the best. The only ones I recall from the article were an 8 Ball and MJG record, and Ridin’ Dirty…”

I also wrote an entry on Big Moe; sort of an extension of what I said in my quick entry from Monday…

Written by Brandon

October 19th, 2007 at 4:03 am

Indie Rock, Whiteness, and Influences

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The October 22nd issue of ‘The New Yorker’, features a provocative think-piece by Sasha Frere-Jones entitled ‘A Paler Shade of White’. SFJ (as everyone seems to call him) bemoans the fact that rock n’roll, his definitive example of musical miscegenation, is now pretty much absent of “a bit of swing, some empty space, and palpable bass frequencies- in other words, attributes of African-American popular music.” He pulls from a convenient but still telling list of “indie rock” acts of past and present to exemplify an increased shift into what he calls “whiteness”. The short of it: indie rock is really stiff and mannered and boring because it’s no longer interested in, what SFJ calls in an accompanying pod-cast “American rhythm”. Although the exact details and specific examples he employs may be a bit problematic, it is hard to disagree with his overall thesis.

Some of the problems of the article might also be excused on the basis that the article is a purposeful provocation- at one point he calls Hall & Oates as “equally gifted” as Michael Jackson! For me however, its aggressive means justify its end, as it is properly targeting people that, just as modern hip-hop fans are asked reconsider what and why they listen, those who take their current music interests from the oppressively mannered ‘New Yorker’ or NPR or the soundtrack to ‘Garden State’ should be forced reconsider as well. The article is hardly without flaws and one gets the sense that SFJ himself would be the first to admit that (he calls his article “reductive” in the aforementioned podcast). Only in the absurdly polite and mannered ‘New Yorker’ would his article seem like a throwing down of the gauntlet…

As a whole, the article succeeds and has spanned other writers to delve deeper. The Village Voice’s Tom Breihan and Rob Harvilla debate the article on Breihan’s Status Ain’t Hood blog and while the discussion can easily be dismissed as masturbatory music-critic talk, it touches on issues of music and race that sort of makes everybody uncomfortable, and that’s always good.

One of the more poignant comparisons is between the current crop of indie types and those from which they glean influence. The Clash become a continued point of return for SFJ; they exemplify a group who respectfully but aggressively took-on music beyond their initial punk-rock range: “dub, funk, rap, and Motown interpretations”. When the Clash performed in New York, their opening act was Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. Of course, the story goes that the Clash’s fans threw bottles at the rap legends but still- the artists knew where music was going and were quite fair to at least “cite” one of their influences, even if the audience was too stupid to get it.

SFJ cites the fact that apparently Devendra Banhart has spoken highly of R. Kelly’s latest, but would never ingest Kells’ influence but “thirty years ago, Banhart might have attempted to imitate R. Kelly’s…soul.” I do not know what lies in the heart of hearts of the Arcade Fire but their music and persona imply an utter disinterest in black musical forms. Not that there is necessarily something wrong with that, but it does seem strange that indie groups flaunt their insularity, while their fans’ interests continue to spread, their IPODS filled with everything from the weirdo Top 40 of Timbaland, the Michael Jackson house music of Justice, to classic 60s Stones albums, and back again to say, the Decemberists. Nowadays, rock groups give me the impression that they (if these guys had any balls, another of SFJ’s implicit points) would be the ones more apt to throw bottles at a rap act than the fans. This is a pretty depressing reversal.

The reversal however, is only half-true as it’s not that musicians don’t listen to many different genres, but that they are unwilling to use it as a part of their music and worse, flaunt their rarified persona. It’s the musical equivalent of feigning ignorance or disinterest, which of course, reflects the too-good-for-it-all attitudes of so many indie rockers. Somehow, it has become cooler or more respectable to appear completely influenced by the Beatles or the Beach Boys or Springsteen than to grab from as many sources as possible…

But what about the numerous dancey indie groups that have indeed, rediscovered rhythm? They are cited by Harvilla in that ‘Status Ain’t Hood’ discussion as obvious counterpoints to rhythm-less indie rock SFJ conveniently cites. I would first say that these groups are still exceptions to the rule, and that even these groups actually take very little from African-American influences. So much of the “dance-punk” or whatever else is going on that embraces rhythm seems to take it from groups, performers, and composers that were influenced by black music; these new artists never look back to that original source. So much of what goes on in indie rock, that constitutes dance music, is rooted in late 70s/early 80s New York stuff, New/No Wave, Avant-Jazz, etc. etc. As I already said on the Status Ain’t Hood blog’s comments, I’d like to cite the example of the group James White & The Blacks. I’ll talk about them because they are one of the few groups of that era that I find genuinely interesting and engaging for more than a few songs and, they have a very explicit black influence.

-Listen to ‘Contort Yourself’ by the Contortions.

James Chance and the Contortions and later, James White and the Blacks, are maybe best described as punk rock meets Ornette Coleman’s “free jazz” meets James Brown. Those are the simplest and most palpable influences on the group. On the Youtube video found at the bottom of this post, a commenter refers to the playing of the Contortions as “a noise band, yet they are completely tight” which you know, if you open your ears a tiny bit further, would be a pretty accurate explanation of the JBs! Chance, especially when dubbing himself “James White”, a jokey homage to the Godfather of Soul- didn’t just go to Brown’s compositions simply because they sounded cool or danceable but fully internalized them. He took on the theatrics and gutteral screams of J.B and danced around as goofily and freely as well. He put himself on the line in a way that newer dance groups (excluding !!!) never do. Chance makes an ass of himself, he goes all-out for the sake of entertainment and if you want to give it some higher meaning “catharsis”…the reason so many indie rockers don’t embrace or seemingly eschew black influences is because that music about feeling and expression, the opposite direction, according to SFJ’s thesis, indie rock has moved since the 90s.

When you listen to The Contortions in light of groups like Liars, The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, etc. you hear the way these groups have totally lifted guitar noise, attitude and overall danceable skronk from dudes like James Chance while internalizing very little of the James Brown. Again, it’s not a capitol offense or anything, but it’s sorta messed-up and it’s why none of those groups are very interesting. It seems far worse that these overt dance groups still make an end-run around black music by being influenced by the guys that black musicians influenced and not really checking into the original source. It’s one thing that The Arcade Fire are boring as fuck, it’s another thing that LCD Soundsystem can’t really get it up either.

Written by Brandon

October 18th, 2007 at 4:18 am

Posted in Indie, hipster

Fiasco-Gate and Nine Other Times When "Smart" Rappers Schooled Themselves

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I was pretty surprised when I finally caught Lupe’s little mess-up at the Vh1 ‘Hip-Hop Honors’ and it was just that, a little mess-up. He screws up a few lines, laughs off the fuck-up and tries to recover on ‘Scenario’. Of course, it was Lupe’s obnoxious damage control which turned a faux-pas into a sincere but misguided attempt at canon dissection and then devolved into some Andy Kaufman “I’ll sue you all” type shit. There’s plenty to dislike about Lupe, he’s always seemed a bit insincere and trend-grabbing. How that older song he recorded about selling-crack didn’t demolish his integrity, I’m not sure. That too was an example of poor damage control, as it took rap nerds to “uncover” the track and when they did, rather than just address it honestly, Lupe used it as an example of how “bad” he wanted a rap contract, which still sort of deflects its sell-out connotations. Dude’s a whiner and pussy and it’s fun to see him get shit because he’s the classic intellectual-type who dishes it out, in condescending songs like ‘Dumb It Down’ or the legendarily obnoxious verse on ‘Daydreamin’ and then punks-out when a bunch of overzealous diehards get offended because he stumbled through their gospel.I’d be lying if I didn’t sort of relish the sequence of events.

Because I’m as full of shit as the next guy, I spend time babbling about those self-satisfied “conscious” rap fans even as I self-satisfyingly make fun of them. The only cliche more grotesque than “conscious” rappers that are boring and not saying anything new would be people like me complaining about those rappers for being boring and not saying anything new. Yet, it’s more than that, some of my self-satisfied anger comes from disappointment, the way these high-minded type rappers continually screw-up, fuck over their fans, or just embarrass themselves. It is events like “Fiascogate”, over the past decade or so that increasingly distanced me from giving political-type rappers any interest as they, not only disappoint musically (like most rappers) but can’t even maintain their ideals…and of course, when they do sell-out those ideals, it’s the Jew-run industry that forced them to sell-out or this damned system of Capitalism…

Below are the ones that have really stuck with me. I’m an asshole fan like the rest, so sometimes my disappointment is premature or it took me awhile to understand. Common’s falling-off musically, although depressing just sort of makes sense, especially when I get some real-life experience in me and while in 1999, I bitched about Q-Tip’s selling-out with ‘Vivrant Thing’, I get it now, it’s just a good fucking song. Others examples however, still sort of hurt…it’s an autobiography of disappointment!

10. Lupe’s Lame Damage Control Over Some Forgotten Lyrics
I already talked about this above but let’s quickly talk about just the idea of “Fiasco-gate”. A lot of people make sure to mock the term but it’s clearly used ironically by everybody. It’s also funny in a linguistic way because it’s basically like calling something “Gate-gate” or “Fiasco-fiasco”…but yeah, Lupe’s lame not because he screwed up some lyrics or doesn’t know about Tribe, but because the whole thing seems offensive to his fans and fellow musicians. Usually, I don’t care about what rappers do or say but when they have defined themselves as a healthy alternative to crack-rap and dumbed-down pop-rap, you expect them to handle themselves a little fucking better.

9. Kanye West’s ‘Late Registration’
This entry explains it well and for me, on a nerdy, homo personal level, ‘Late Registration’ was a huge disappointment, but I put it at 9 because Kanye, unlike many others on this list, was smart enough to not make too many grand statements about this or that, so when he made an album that sounds like it was designed for Rolling Stone and TIME magazine to celebrate, it’s more annoying than hypocritical.

8. Stones Throw’s Continued Raping of Dilla’s Corpse
While I appreciate the re-release of ‘Ruff Draft’ a whole lot, I’m nothing but annoyed by this “independent” label’s exploitation of the dude. This is a little too fresh in my mind for me to have any real sense of perspective, but those pathetic approximations of ‘Donuts’ made by Madlib and now his little brother Oh No and the occasional appearance of a bunch of rappers crappily rhyming over a Dilla beat really kind of hurts. It is especially frustrating because it is one more way that the independents suck almost as much as the majors. Dilla is Stones Throw’s meal-ticket and they are slowly milking it for all it’s worth. No one else on that shitty label can really do anything except for MF Doom and he’s been too lazy to rap properly in years, in part because of Stones Throw’s partnering up with garbage like Adult Swim (oh-so indie guys…) which adds so many levels of novelty, the music no longer needs to be listenable.

7. Little Brother’s ‘The Minstrel Show’
‘The Listening’ was pretty exciting as far as feeling and sounding like those old Native Tongues albums but it was not as derivative as many said. It was only after ‘The Minstrel Show’ that Little Brother really began to look like humor-less jerkoffs, even though the album was supposed to be a satirical look at modern hip-hop imagery. The album’s jokes never penetrated because they were caught-up in a haze of condescension and obviousness.

6. Cee-Lo’s Involvement with Gnarls Barkley
Cee-Lo can be (or was) way more of a political rapper than any of the explicitly political rappers out there or Kanye “I’m kinda political and know a bit about the C.I.A’s involvement in the cocaine trade” West. Cee-Lo has certainly devolved since Goodie Mob’s genius mix of political anger and empathy, but Gnarls Barkley is another level of bullshit. Noz perfectly explains it here but I’ll add a few thoughts…By becoming part of something as terrible as Gnarls Barkley, it has the ability of somewhat altering Goodie Mob’s message or making one feel a little less hopeful about ‘Soul Food’s real-life viability. Is there anything worse than retroactively rendering your own message meaningless?

5. Talib Kweli’s ‘Beautiful Struggle’
I’m not concerned with Kweli’s inability to stay on-beat or a bunch of other stuff, because Black Star, ‘Reflection Eternal’, and ‘Quality’ were pretty fucking good. When the formulaic ‘Beautiful Struggle’ came out, it highlighted all of Kweli’s problems and none of his strengths. On ‘Quality’ in particular, he had something resembling a connection to popularity without sounding too pandering but on ‘Beautiful Struggle’, he just tries to recreate his previous album’s successful songs. ‘Get By’ becomes ‘I Tried’ and he grabs the Neptunes for a shitty, super-obvious anti-drugs tale. The worst part for me, is that it’s a classic manipulation of the fans. Kweli sells-out halfway, as to not alienate anybody but hopefully get a hit.

4. Common Drops Out of the ‘Touch the Sky’ tour to Be in Some Post-Tarantino Bullshit
This one is more hilarious than anything else. Common seems to have a genuine hit and popular album and is going on-tour with another smart, super-popular rapper- it sounds like the perfect reaction against Jeezy, et. al- and Common drops out to act in some stupid-ass flashy crime movie like ‘Smoking Aces’; you know the movie’s hack when it’s a rip-off of Guy Ritchie who is a Tarantino rip-off himself. It just makes anybody wonder what a man of the people like Common really cares about when he drops out of a tour to pursue some Hollywood cash.

3. Mos Def Releases ‘True Magic’ without Artwork
I don’t know what kind of statement this is supposed to be if any, but it’s big “fuck you” to your fans, not your record label or whoever else. Similar to Common or even Kweli’s half-hearted attempts at selling-out, it’s really fun when rappers that speak out against Capitalism and Tall Israeli’s are too concerned with record label problems to drop a real album with real packaging This, coupled with Mos’ focus on acting in bad Hollywood movies, should totally ruin anything else he ever has to say. Also see ‘Dollar Day’ which takes Juvenile’s ‘Nolia Clap’, a song that simply through regionalism and context is implicitly political and making it way-too explicitly political.

2. Chuck D’s book ‘Fight the Power’
Oh boy, Chuck D’s book about “rap race, and reality” exposes him as the ill-informed sloganeering idiot I couldn’t admit he was until a year or two ago. It puts him in-line with other “inspirational” political guys that talk out of their ass (Bob Marley, Joe Strummer, Bob Dylan, etc.), which he may or may not like to hear (it seems, depending on the page, Chuck’s a hardcore racist or a classic liberal democrat). His anger might be appealing and even inspiring if it felt at all real or earned as it did for the black radicals from which he steals. As you’re reading, it’s all that you’ve heard before and probably agree with, but actually presented less-articulately with no semblance of a real solution!

1. Common Does a Coke Ad with Mya
I don’t know why this one killed me so much but I guess around 2002 or so, a Pepsi commercial with Common rapping in a cool club as Mya sang, started popping up on television and worse, before movie trailers at your local multiplex. Again, it’s annoying because Common presents himself a some paragon of virtue and integrity but that’s all obvious. What really hurt about this one was, that it involved rapping and the slogan was something invoking real-ness. Depressing. Let’s not also forget the song was some messed-up interpolation of ‘Compared to What’ which I always connect to Roberta Flack.

Other very recent fiascos (potential gates?) that are genuinely depressing: Ghostface dropping an album the same fucking day as the Wu, The crossover/grab for street cred hustle that is ‘American Gangster’, KRS-One’s support of 50 Cent over Kanye West, Nas calling his album “Nigga” and think he’s making some kind of statement…

Written by Brandon

October 16th, 2007 at 4:50 am

Big Moe!

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If it weren’t for Noz, nobody outside of message boards and Houstonians would know about this…

-‘City of Syzuurp’- Z-Ro, Big Moe, Tyte Eyes

Big Moe’s sing-rapping- as opposed to rap-singing which everybody does- was the perfect complement to the darker, scarier aspects of Screwed Music. There’s a smart sense of resignation to his voice that allowed him to sound right in-line with the wonderfully depressive and oppressive feelings on S.U.C tracks even as he also really fucking belted out a chorus or verse, adding some sense of fun to tracks that otherwise, harshly rumbled along. Only for the uninitiated, would it be an irony that one of the biggest proponents of syrup-sipping would also make such musical rap and infect every verse with joy…

Big Moe (1974-2007)

Only loosely related, but here’s a post from June that I wrote about DJ Screw and screw music…the original post got a comment from a guy from Texas who said it was a “perfect” way to describe DJ Screw’s music!

DJ Screw – Anniversary Day

“On ‘Anniversary Day’, Screw’s work perfectly compliments the lyrical visions and sonic soundscapes. Equal parts hypnotic and narcotic, this tape sounds as serious as impending doom…with an apocalyptic legacy, but also as vital as what is out there today. Call it a fitting soundtrack to today’s times.”-from the back cover of ‘Anniversary Day’

Everyone is familiar with chopped-and-screwed music; its commonplace to get a generally weak chopped-and-screwed “bonus” disc when you buy any number of southern rap albums. ‘Anniversary Day’ which just seems to be Point Blank’s album ‘The Bull’ under a different name, isn’t one of those sounds-like-they-were-screwed-in-a-few-hours discs, it’s something totally different. I bought it about a month ago, primarily because of the cool cover, the description quoted above, and a working knowledge of DJ Screw. I just had a good feeling about it. It’s since become one of my absolute favorites, not music you enjoy, not music that sounds cool, but music that really does feel vital, that doesn’t seem like it will ever leave your collection.

First, this incredibly strange and powerful and downright fucking scary album shows you just how weird regionalism can be. What I mean by that is, when places are cut-down into their hermetically-sealed subcultures, be that subculture outlined by state lines or street numbers or how you dress, some really strange stuff can be commonplace. DJ Screw apparently made millions of dollars off of these tapes and it is very, very strange to think of something resembling a lot of people driving around, listening to this stuff. I immediately think of Baltimore’s own John Waters and how some of the most square and conservative (with a lower-case C!) people have seen his early, super-weird films, which means they’ve seen a transvestite eat real dog shit or a guy open and close his asshole to the tune of ‘Surfin’ Bird’…everybody in Baltimore knows of John Waters. That’s weird just like it is weird that anything resembling a significant amount drove around enjoying screwtapes.

On the topic of regionalism, screwed music is just one of many equally popular and equally bizarre forms of Southern production. The doom and gloom is way more obvious in chopped-and-screwed but it shows up in the buzz-saw synths of ‘Pop, Lock, and Drop It’ or the sicko marching band sounds of Crime Mob. Three-Six Mafia, when they were Triple-Six-Mafia sounded satanic and rapped satanic and while “my cross turns upside down” has turned into ‘Ass & Titties’ and a reality show, the music has never lost sight of that menace. I think people respond to Southern rap not only because it is undeniably fun but also because, whether they realize it or not, there is a disturbing air of menace to the music.

There’s something very harsh in so much Southern rap, a harshness that outweighs its lyrical shortcomings and still allows the music to emotionally affect the listener. All of the best dance and party music does not stop at just being good for booty shaking, it’s often political or social or emotional or just something else. Southern rap does this too. An initial hearing may get you dancing but each listen can unravel layers of sadness and joy, or awkwardness or death or whatever.

The music sounds like what its actually like to party or club. It isn’t the time of your life exactly, it’s fun but weird, anything can happen, good or bad. Drugs and alcohol are of course, a crucial part of partying and Southern rap often matches the feeling one has after too many shots or too many hits or both and then some- nowhere is this more apparent than in the music of DJ Screw, which is pretty much completely designed to be listened to with sips of purple or syrup or sizzurp or whatever they call it in your town.

While it’s hardly the party music of pre-crunk or crunk music, screwed music was designed for listening while messed-up or driving around, which is most people’s definition of a “party” anyway. The music, like club music or any kind of music really, is developed and created with the thought of being listened to under very specific conditions. Everything about this music points in the direction of blowing your mind wide open as you nod off from too much of something you’re not supposed to ingest.

The music isn’t exactly fun, or rather, the fun is firmly rooted in the danger, confusion, and abuse that the drug brings on. Purple is a drug beyond recreational fun and escape, because for an hour or so, it sends you into some limbo between painkiller-esque relaxation and end-of-the-world fear. There’s something truly apocalyptic-feeling about ‘Anniversary Day’ and unlike most contemporary party/hang-out Southern rap, the lyrics add to rather than conflict with this feeling.

On the first song on the album, ‘The Bull’, the chorus is “I ain’t crazy I’m just ig’nant” which shows a ridiculous amount of emotional understanding. ‘Straighten It Out’ a song about going to prison and getting-out, is equally honest. My favorite line is “Hell, three years ain’t that long/It’ll give me some time to write a whole lot of songs”; the kind of thought any creative person seriously confronting prison-time would think. ‘After I Die’ which has some dinosaur-stomp record scratching and a drunk-off-its-ass horn part, envisions Blank’s (or his narrator’s) death and just how little it will really matter: “My son don’t know about the tragic/He just crying because they won’t let em’ play in my casket.” This shit isn’t club friendly, its not really anything friendly; one can’t “enjoy” this music by any conventional definition of “enjoy”.

I recall once, partaking in way too much of said drug and seriously feeling like I was going to have a heart attack. Sweat was pouring from my face, the space between my lip and nose (your face taint?) was moist, sweat was getting in my eyes, and I was inside, mid-winter. I peeled myself off the couch of my friend’s and stumbled into his bathroom where I proceeded to lie on the floor as my heart beat so fast it felt like it was going to dislocate my shoulder. DJ Screw’s death was on my mind as I put my face on the tile because at that point, I was half-convinced I was maybe going to die of a purple-induced heart attack. I slowly decided I wasn’t going to die but probably needed to go to the hospital and eventually, after fucking crawling into my friend’s yard, I cooled-down and felt close enough to a human to go back downstairs and watch the rest of the episode of ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series’ they were watching. That is what this album sounds like. This constant pull between lucidity and total fucked-up-ness. When your ears finally adjust to the syrupy-thick slowness of the tracks, Screw will give you a track that’s a faster pace or he’ll throw in a scary sound effect (a phone dialing on ‘Wreckless’, a glass breaking on ‘Wanna Get Tha Blanksta’) or he’ll just keep bringing back a poignant or well-delivered line until it seeps into your mind and makes you feel like the walls of your room or the interior of your car is going to collapse on top of you.

Written by Brandon

October 15th, 2007 at 7:26 am

Posted in Big Moe, DJ Screw, the South

Baltimore City Paper Article: ‘The Dude Abides’

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It felt a little weird writing an article that’s even mildly comprehensive about a rapper I never listened to with any regularity until earlier this year, but I think I pulled it off…plus, (side)cover story!

“Parents, I’m not tellin’ your children to smoke, ya see/ ’cause if they just say no, it be more for me.” This line, from Devin the Dude’s “Mo Fa Me” off his 1998 solo debut, The Dude, set the blueprint for everything the Houston MC has done since. Namely, write a bunch of songs about weed. Such fixation suggests a lack of inspiration, but the Dude’s hazy tunnel vision belies the man born Devin Copeland’s ability to mine a subject obsessively. Cannabis is merely an oft-chosen metaphor in an endless stream of goofy–yet frequently poignant–songs, stretched out now through more than a decade of music, starting in 1994 with his posse project, the Odd Squad, and culminating in this year’s definitive Waiting to Inhale (Rap-a-Lot)”…

Written by Brandon

October 10th, 2007 at 4:27 pm

The Short, Weird, Career of Rich Boy (So Far)


When ‘Throw Some D’s’ showed up almost a year ago, it became another hot song amongst non-elitist types and a guilty pleasure among “discerning” types. It should have been some kind of minor rallying cry for everybody who likes good rap (I guess it ultimately was?). The reaction among modern rap skeptics was predictably knee-jerk: they saw a Southern rapper, heard “crack” and a chorus about rims and blew it off. Fair enough I guess, but what’s so striking about the song is that it’s scope is so minor and the beat, besides being great, maintains some of the melancholy strains of the Switch sample and really, has more in-common with regional 90s songs about cars and women than it does with the scourge that is/was? “trap-hop”. The video too, had enough of that corporate sheen to play on MTV but with a certain naturalistic edge to match the song. But almost immediately, Rich Boy was out-shined by his overrated, loudmouth co-producer, Polow Da Don who stole the song, co-producing the beat and dropping that dick-on-the-wall line; it left Rich Boy looking like a lucky idiot with a hook-up.

I stupidly bought into this perception of Rich Boy. His rapping wasn’t anything to write home about (although it is rewarding, Rich Boy’s actually subtle), he looked pretty stupid (like a character from NES’s River City Ransom) and through some unfortunate marketing- advertisements showing a thin, designer hoodie-wearing Rich Boy, chest-exposed, mugging for the camera- and my rap-fan cynicism (too many rookies with hot singles, not delivering) seemed verified. Somehow, that lame-as-shit cover was burned into my brain. It meant that either Rich Boy wasn’t the kinda-everyman ‘Throw Some D’s and his electrical engineering dropout anti-street cred that became street cred persona suggested or he was the kind of rapper willing to you know, put on a lame hoodie, expose his chest, and cash-in on his single. Just from that cover, I could predict an album that was a little too long, started out with five or so good tracks, suffered from poor pacing, and had at least one R & B crossover. Then, a few weeks before the album, ‘Boy Looka Here’ was released and for the simple fact that it wasn’t ‘Throw Some D’s’, it was disappointing but Rich Boy was just as good if not better on the track. His accent is even more pronounced (that in itself is political, hints of ‘Let’s Get This Paper’?) and he fits the beat’s stomp quite well. The video, like ‘Throw Some D’s’, maintained some regional specificity and cleverly contrasts it with some “the night before…” Vegas partying and makes a marching band parade seem way more fun than sin city. Oh yeah- and because it’s what I do (make vague, pretentious connections) there’s this vaguely Diane Arbus-like aspect to the video, especially the little kid in cowboy masks…and there are the really effective medium shot and close-up of the dude with one eye in the ‘D’s’ video. That highlights the good, stranger side of Rich Boy, the guy who was an electrical engineer and raps in a so-thick-he-doesn’t-complete-words accent and scrunches up his face to spit about dead friends and hypocrite religion and bullshit wars…
Ultimately, as Rich Boy’s album loomed, I found Polow da Don to be full of the same mixed signals as Rich Boy. The beat for ‘Boy Looka Here’ is cool but it’s this obnoxious Timbaland type beat that brings together Southern stomp and disparate elements like a strummed acoustic guitar and space synths and people are supposed to be impressed, well fuck that. Of course, around the same time Da Don was dropping this surprisingly great song but that too feels underwhelming next to ‘Throw Some D’s’ and Da Don is revealed as a good but not great producer; and then, Rich Boy’s album drops and the Rich Boy produced ‘The Madness’ has more in common with ‘D’s’ than a lot of da Don’s beats…
And then…the next next single is ‘Good Things’, the track I knew the album would have and surprise- it falls exactly at track 6 and slows the album’s momentum down and just its existence is enough to make me revert to those initial rap-cynic feelings for the guy. It is a track like this, its inevitable release as a single, and songs with titles like ‘Touch That Ass’ that make a guy like Rich Boy hard to embrace and explains why talk of him as not being great or even good, but “showing potential” were so pervasive: Talk of potential is the kind of talk mixtapes should be prefaced with, not major label debuts.

Defenders of the rapper cite label politics and waning sales as excuses for the album missing greatness. That’s not an excuse for making an okay-but-lifeless album (especially one looked over by a producer with something resembling a vision!) but it does explain why it happened. It reminds me of resentful sports fans defending their team or justifying a loss, “if we hadn’t given up that touchdown” (oh but you did!): If Rich Boy hadn’t succumbed to major label expectations and maybe the demands of an asshole producer he’d have made a great album! Not catering to those demands or somehow magically, rapping over them and making them irrelevant is what separates a great rapper from a good one. Still, that potential and a particularly crappy year for new artists got him on the cover of ‘XXL’ with a bunch of other relatively good newcomers and the release of ‘Let’s Get This Paper’ shows a saavy focus on the smart, good, side of his rap persona:

The video’s a little calculated with it’s overwrought imagery and beautiful-but-broken cinematography but rappers have done way worse. The whole thing is really sincere and obviously comes from a real place. His calling-out specific dead friends (“R.I.P Pooh Bear”) and not just general appeals to dead homies is effective, as is seeing a grave- prop or not- with those same words Rich Boy just rapped, framed in close-up. The dropping of the gold atop the grave is obviously performative but it too works. The song and the video, makes clear everything that’s been bubbling under the surface in other Rich Boy songs and videos. Those realistic images from ‘D’s’ and ‘Boy Looka Here’ are now explicitly political and the everyman victory of getting new rims on your car becomes the angry everyman observations that the same prick you went to high school with is now a preacher: “Preachers in that pulpit, say they teach that bullshit/Know how we know it’s bullshit? Same niggas I went to school with”. His answer to all this very real and palpable bullshit is to “get that paper” and while simpletons might bemoan this “problematic” suggestion, they are missing the point (and probably have enough money).

I considered writing a whole blog on this and might still, but more often than not, what these demands to get/make money are is a less douchey way of saying “let it go”. That is to say, when Jay-Z and Nas squashed their beef, Nas said something about how they were going to join together and get that money instead. Rappers, for reasons valid and retarded, don’t like to sound like hippie-dippie faggots so saying shit like “Oh you know, I’m really above all this beef foolishness” is something they just don’t do; instead they say, “fuck that, let’s just get this paper” which says the same thing in a way that is no less self-congratulatory but a little more honest: it’s much more realistic fuck you than some “being the better man” bullshit that still leaves you feeling like a punk. ‘Let’s Get This Paper’ is a call against apathy and for action…Stop complaining, go out and do it! The song is not only orders around its listeners with smart, pissed off rhymes, but it is Rich Boy’s own statement self (he paid for the video himself). Somehow, given the push and pull of Rich Boy’s brief career (so far), it makes weird, convoluted sense that a true assertion of self wouldn’t occur until the fourth single.

Written by Brandon

October 10th, 2007 at 6:40 am

Posted in Polow Da Don, Rich Boy

Monique’s FAVORITE Go-Go Song

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Written by Monique

October 8th, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized