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A day late on this, sorry. Pobody’s nerfect!

-“Hip-Hop’s Generational Divide”by Dart Adams from ‘Poisonous Paragraphs’

“What did we do to bridge the gap between the pre and post-Telecommunications Act Era of Hip Hop listeners besides retreat into our vinyl bags full of Rawkus, Fondle ‘Em and Def Jux releases? What did we do to reach out to the Rap fans that became listeners after 9/11 besides scour the internet for imported DJ Spinna and Madlib albums or Jay Dee instrumental CD’s? While our nephews and nieces were rocking white tees dreaming about rims were we too busy listening to Sean Price’s “Monkey Barz” to educate them about the beauty and full diaspora of Hip Hop culture? Well, were we?”

-“Boots Riley Charged With Public Profanity” news from Hip-Hop DX

We can all pretty much agree that “obscenity” laws are pretty silly, but as long as they’re in-place, dudes like Boots Riley shouldn’t get too salty for getting in trouble for cursing at an event that you probably shouldn’t be cursing at. Add this to the list of conscious rappers playing themselves. Rather than address the absurdity of the laws or take any actual time to explain how this was an attack on rap culture, Boots’ response is a silly defense. He also inadvertently comes-off looking really square citing people drinking and the fact that it was late evening (10pm!!) as making it okay for him to drop some f-bombs. Shit about it sounds fishy–even as a guest with funk-jam band turds Galactic, they had to kinda know what they were getting with Boots– but still, events like this often have an implicit no-cursing rule…

-“TEOP aka Myer Lanski: The Re-Up” by Bret McCabe from Baltimore’s City Paper

Generally, reviews of “local” music are positive because like, it’s sort of weird to cover a fairly obscure act just to take a big shit on them, but I really responded to this review for not shying away from the negative while praising Baltimore rapper TEOP at the same time. It actually strengthens the praise in that McCabe’s critique comes out of frustration that this talented rapper doesn’t try a little harder a little more often.

-“Status Ain’t Hood Says Goodbye” by Tom Breihan from Status Ain’t Hood

Tom Breihan’s leaving the Voice–not fired, of his own accord–to presumably go write somewhere else and so, ‘Status Ain’t Hood’ is on its way out. That’s a little sad because it’s the most consistently engaging and entertaining music blog around and he’s really, one of the few guys whose opinion on anything I end up reading. I like that Tom got real and personal on this probable sign-off too. Personally, Tom Breihan–I’ve said all this before– along with Noz are the reasons I started this blog. Not that it should mean much that one more blog was farted out onto webspace but yeah, they’re why. For me, I started this blog in December of 2006 because I quit my first “real” job out of college teaching middle-schoolers and high-schoolers–the parents of the high-schoolers asked me back, but I did not want the middle-schoolers– and had a lot of free-time on my hands and no money. I figured, if I was going to be a lazy fuck-up, I should do something creative and vaguely intellectual with my time. About a month after starting the blog, my best friend Mike shot himself and at that point, the blog became a way of keeping me sane. At about the same time, Tom (and Rafi of OhWord!) threw some links up on their sites, which not only encouraged me but got me lots of readers. So yeah, it’s queer, but ‘Status’ and Breihan mean a lot to me beyond making me think a lot more about music.

-’Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot’ directed by Adam Yauch

This documentary by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch looks really good and smart and insider, which is important. Something like the more explicitly “serious” ‘Hoop Dreams’ always rubbed me the wrong way because ultimately, the directors of it got more out of the movie than the kids, and it made the implicit stuff about poverty, race division, etc. etc. really explicit and it’s why the NPR crowd loved it. This on the other hand, looks like it has some of that stumbling around in the background, but it also has the sense of fun and energy and all-out release that something like basketball has for those that play it.

-“Young Victim of Iraqi Insurgents Heals In U.S” by Chana Joffe-Walt from NPR’s All Things Considered

This might be one of the most irresponsible stories I’ve heard really anywhere. The sort of thing that makes me rethink all the times I’ve half-defended NPR as not the Fox News equivalent for the left. The story’s the perfect mix of heartwarming and heartbreaking: A child blinded in Iraq comes to America to have his eyes fixed but it turns out now, they just can’t do it. So far it’s whatever or, it’s what to expect from an NPR story, but the end, the nut of the story somehow ends up as how this kid, now five, says “Jesus tells [him]” to stay in America, and Joffe-Walt adds, in a voice with the liberal arts student mix of adorable and hard-headed: “Says the five year-old Iraqi, Muslim boy”. She adds some stuff about how the father agrees he should stay here and the mother simply “repeats the rational verbatim”, which assumes a lot and condescends to the mother and at the same time, refuses to acknowledge the realities of women’s roles in a typical Iraqi, Muslim family. The thing’s disturbing because it’s such an ill-informed and subjective and yes, Western understanding of another culture, but because it’s not on some patriotic shit but some like, Berkeley vision of what’s “decent”, it’s supposed to be okay. If a child were sent to Iraq, he would be staying there because “Allah” told him so. And you know, if they somehow had better health care and medical treatment there, a child who, at age five is only the religion of his family out of indoctrination (just like in the U.S), would probably look back and be like “losing my religious heritage, something I could always return to later, isn’t that big of a deal because the trade-off is being blind in Iraq and that’s essentially a death-sentence, and if I died, I wouldn’t even have the choice”.

-“Sigur Ros, Three 6 Mafia Buzz with New Music” by Two Complete Morons from NPR’s The Bryant Park Project

And don’t worry, because NPR can really fuck-up popular culture stories just as much. Besides the like Ryan Seacrest-level of vapidity in these hosts, there’s too much shit wrong in this story to ignore. First, ‘Doe Boy Fresh’ is not even on ‘Last 2 Walk’ and I’m going to assume Julianne Shepherd knew this and was just being polite by not saying something. But then again, Shepherd claims T-Pain is on ‘Lolli Lolli’, when in fact he is not. She also calls the new Sigur Ros album “prog”-influenced, which makes no sense. Those errors are coupled with an uncomfortable tone by all three to sort of be entertained by Three-Six as if they were five year olds–those incorrigable rappers!– makes a really depressing listen.

-“Obama using ‘white guilt,’ Nader says” from

Obama calling Nader “a perennial political candidate” is on the same kind of subtle but not subtle shit as like, Jay-Z coming out to ‘Wonderwall’. That both guys, in the same week, respond to the worst kind of racism–intellectualized racial “realism”– with dignified fuck-yous is incredible. The thing to make clear about these Nader comments is, they come out of the same misinformed place as Imus’ more explicitly offensive comments. Both come from dopey, old white dudes vaguely hip to the sixties who think they know or can define “blackness”. In Imus’ case, he thinks he can joke about it and in Nader’s case, he can be the one to authenticate it.

-Album for the Week: Link Wray ‘Link Wray’ (1971)

Link Wray’s known for his rarified surf-rock–heavy distorted guitar meets upbeat surf jangle– but this early 70s album is his only work I keep on coming back to. Recorded in a family shack in Maryland, Wray pounds out these wistful garage rock ballads with the perfect mix of production flourish and raw, off-the-cuff recording.

-Movie for the Week: ‘Patriotism’ by Yukio Mishima

Tomorrow, this finally comes-out in an official form through Criterion, after being relegated to eBay bootlegs and occasional posts by someone on YouTube. My The movie’s a fairly straight adaptation of Mishima’s short story ‘Patriotism’, but the focus is on the visceral aspects of the story, which fits film better than translating the intellectual aspects. In short, it’s about a Lieutenant who refuses to be a part of a military coup planned by his apparent friends and his equal refusal to fight them. He decides to disembowel himself honorable and spends a final night with his wife before they both take their own lives. Mishima sets the film up as a series of perfectly-composed, near-Kubrickian shots, which, along with near-silver black and white film and Wagner playing over the whole thing, idealizes the whole thing. But, once the Lt. splits his stomach, it’s not the beautiful flow of blood, not even the beauty-in-ugliness of say Peckinpah, it’s just disturbing and messy and well, real. A couple years after the story and film, Mishima himself would commit ritual suicide after commandeering a Japanese defense building with a small group of followers.

-Short Story: ‘Patriotism’ by Yukio Mishima

“Despite the effort he had himself put into the blow, the lieutenant had the impression that someone else had struck the side of his stomach agonizingly with a thick rod of iron. For a second or so his head reeled and he had no idea what had happened. The five or six inches of naked point had vanished completely into his flesh, and the white bandage, gripped in his clenched fist, pressed directly against his stomach.”

Written by Brandon

June 30th, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Posted in links

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