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-“Rap’s 2008, Beyond Lil Wayne” by Christopher R. Weingarten from the Village Voice

An interesting article that moves further and further off point until it tries to tell me that Guilty Simpson’s record is worth any kind of fuck and then, even praises Webbie and not Wayne? What? Weingarten would never be labeled a “hipster”–or wigster, remember that term?– because he basically runs along side of the old-guard status quo on what rap and hip-hop is, but seriously–”a heavy-metal Slum Village”, “non-stop Jell-O shots of wordplay”? Take that shit to like ‘WIRE’ magazine or something. Also, The Roots have never gotten super-acclaim and ‘Rising Down’ is hardly slept-on, but it is an interesting contrast to ‘Tha Carter 3′. I may write on this later in the week, but I think it could be turned into a kind of Red-State/Blue-State-esque “divide” in rap–which album’s red and which is blue, I’m not sure though–in the sense that both albums are essentially underwelming and try waaayy too-hard, but will do exactly what fans already converted to either sound really want. Do you want albums that reach for the message-music, rockist sense of what’s good or the schizophrenic almost impossible-to-listen to mess of message music, the gleefully dumb, and painfully sincere? I think you know which one I prefer…

-“Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis…” by Quan from HaterPlayer

An excellent post about rap and video game music and the places where they intersect from a blog that’s new to me. Don’t sleep on those Dilla ‘Zelda’ joints in particular. I’d like to take the time to discuss how Jay-Z totally jacked Beans’ flow and list-rap from ‘Mac Man’ for ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’: it’s weird. Also, a personal favorite that was omitted is Lil Flip’s ‘Game Over’, especially the remix with Young Buck and Bun B.

-“Hip-Hop Hooray!” by Armond White from the New York Press

Tray and Padraig are discussing this review in the Droids/Wilson entry and there’s certainly too many logistical jumps and stretched assumptions on the part of White here, but what I mostly responded to in this article was his enthusiasm and excitement for hip-hop being used intelligently in movies. White wisely sees through some of the goofy whiteboy-ness of ‘The Wackness’ and still finds time to sympathize and understand it’s use of classic 90s rap.

-“Facebook Voyeur: Happy Bday Danyel Smith” by Rafi Kam from Oh Word

Rafi, you done it again!

-“Murphy’s Choice” by Vincent Williams from Baltimore City Paper

“Y’know, people give `70s black cinema a lot of shit, but for all the complaining about the pimp movies, there was a fair amount of variety that came out during the decade. There were spy movies like Cleopatra Jones and karate movies like Black Belt Jones and political satire like The Watermelon Man. And, as much as it’s become a punch line, even something like Blacula had a much more complicated plot than the “Dracula in black face” reputation it has. The great thing about the so-called blaxploitation period was that, with the sheer amount of films that were made, there was room for variety.”

-“Blame Taxes for Baltimore’s Rot” by Steve H. Hanke & Stephen J.K Walters from the Wall Street Journal

“If you’ve seen HBO’s “The Wire,” you know why those of us who live in Baltimore are often asked whether our city really is the hellhole it is portrayed to be on TV…Our answer is, well, yes. Baltimore deserves the Third-World profile it has developed because it has expanses of crumbling, crime-riddled neighborhoods populated by low-income renters, an absent middle class, and just a few enclaves of high-income gentry near the Inner Harbor or in suburbs.”

-The Return of Richard McBeef!
The internet’s weird. More than a year after my friends and I made it, Richard McBeef’s steady comment and view-count has gone up a lot thanks to poeTV.

Mid-Year Best Of…
A lot of critic types are compiling their “Quarterly” and mid-year reports on singles and albums and although I don’t think my opinion on the topic deserves its own post, it is fun to chime-in…

1. Ocrilim ‘AWWN’
This is like an author’s 1,500 page masterwork or some director’s 9 and a half hour epic: it just blows everything else out of the water. Totally overwhelming and single-minded. Nothing compares to it, including Mick Barr’s previous work which veered into John Zorn-ish bullshit. But not this. Avant-garde and straight-forward at the same time.

2. Mt. Eerie ‘Black Wooden Ceiling’
A heavy, metal-influenced indie pop album. Or something? The first track’s on some pummeling-drum black metal deathcrush, the second’s basically the kind of song Weezer fans wish Weezer could still make. The last song’s got a lot of post-rock in it. Somehow, all of this never feels like a pastiche, but like an artist with his ears open to everything around him.

3. E-Major ‘Majority Rules’
Best, most cohesive, and sincere rap album of the year so far. It’s been a bad year for rap albums (and singles) and this is really the only rap release I find myself coming back to and listening to front to back.

4. M83 ‘Saturdays=Youth’
Unlike the numerous 80s retro groups and albums, M83 doesn’t snobbishly pick and choose where and what to steal from, update a bit, or just regurgitate. Sometimes it’s New Order, sometimes its Jan Hammer. At points, it’s Kate Bush, at other points, Christopher Cross and none of it’s ironic in the least.

5. Pete Rock ‘NYs Finest’/Pastor Troy ‘Attitude Adjuster’/Lil Wayne ‘Tha Carter 3′
All three of these have their moments and all three of them have crappy songs that with repeated listens become easier to digest, but overall, I never listen to these straight-through, so they’re all on the same level.

1. Young Jeezy featuring Kanye West ‘Put On’
Another Jeezy song, which means laughable lyrics and awesome scary synths, but then Kanye comes in and the whole thing lets-up and you get the most devastating verse of the year.

2. Lil Wayne ‘A Milli’
Still not tired of this song. The beat’s insane and weird and stupid and great and Wayne’s tossed-off lyrics are full of energy and fun and the occasional insight. The forever-hilarious “goon to a goblin” line…Wayne making fun of the gay rumors (“on some faggot bullshit/Call him Dennis Rodman”)…everybody likes this song for some weird reason and I think that’s great. Every year some total batshit-insane rap jam gets super-popular and it’s always fun.

3. Ryan Leslie ‘Diamond Girl’
If Ryan Leslie didn’t look like a camel and dance like Ian Curtis (can’t take credit, Monique called him out on the dancing), maybe this song would be really popular? This mid-level spring/summer song that deserves to be more popular. Nice-guy lyrics meets like Vegas-insincere keyboard cornball glitz.

4. Hot Stylez featuring Yung Joc ‘Lookin’ Boy’
Remember when rap songs were allowed to be funny?

5. Common ‘Universal Mind Control’
It’s a shame someone, anyone other than Common wasn’t rapping on this shit–Nelly could’ve used this song really bad–but it’s still a great song that appeals to my 80s electro-rap nerd fantasies. Pharrell’s Bambaataa impression’s great even though its total nostalgic crap.

-Comic for the Week:’Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1′ by Mignola/Corben

Richard Corben, of ‘Heavy Metal’ fame and recently, some really great work on MAX Comics’ ‘Haunt of Horror: HP Lovecraft’ draws this three-part ‘Hellboy’ story along with a script from Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. I really like the ‘Hellboy’ movie but every attempt at reading the comics (‘Seed of Destruction’ trade paperback, ‘Abe Sapien’ #1, ‘BPRD: War on Frogs’ #1) has failed to pique my interest, but ‘The Crooked Man’s got me. Especially the part where a raccoon climbs inside the shed skin of this creepy, redneck witch woman.

-Album for the Week:’Cendre’ by Fennesz & Ryuichi Sakamoto

Last summer, at this exact time, I was pretty obsessed with this album and I’ve barely touched it since until this past week. In some weird way, it’s becoming this “summer album” for me. Here’s what I said last year:

“Besides the Kanye mixtape, the only new thing I’ve been listening to is ‘Cendre’, a collaboration between electronic musician Christian Fennesz and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. It’s basically Fennesz playing shards of electronic noise and buzz underneath Sakamoto’s super-clean piano playing. A lot of douchebags are worried about it because it sounds too “new age” and of course, that’s not very cool. The reality is, if you love this glitchy, farty-sounding, pleasant electronic music then you’d be full of shit to not like some (SOME) new age-ish type stuff. Fucking hypocrites. I couldn’t give two shits about Wilco anymore but it’s similar to people complaining that the new one sounds too close to the The Eagles. What’s wrong with that? Does everything have to be cool or avant-garde? Fuck everybody.

It also is hardly new-age music because it isn’t designed to make you relax. It’s really weird, even scary at times. Sakamoto plays some Three-Six Mafia-esque horror movie chords and when you put Fennesz’s bubbling menace of electronics underneath it…there aren’t a lot of good vibes. I think this was the intention of the album: make scary new-age music. Everything about it seems designed to offset one’s ears. Sakamoto’s piano is mixed way too high and Fennesz’s noise too low, so your ears are always bouncing back and forth, trying to hear one or drown-out the other and it really kinda fucks you up.

The only actual complaint about ‘Cendre’ is, it doesn’t make me want to gobble painkillers like sweet tarts and totally bliss-out like the other Fennesz releases. However, it is good for driving or walking, especially around 8:30-8:50 here in Forest Hill, Maryland, when the sun is setting and it gets grey-blue-orange out; what my friend Jesse called ‘Maryland Vice’…”

-Movie for the Week: ‘Yeah Right!’ (2003)
No need to explain it, here’s the whole movie:

Written by Brandon

July 7th, 2008 at 8:32 am

Posted in links

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