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Archive for July, 2011

Spin: Curren$y – Weekend At Burnie’s


Another few months, another awesome Curren$y release. It’s hard to really declare one of these tapes better than another, it’s all up to the listener I think, but Weekend At Burnie’s, in terms of listenability and consistency, is probably dude’s best release since the first Pilot Talk. That was like, his formal introduction to the rap world, and he’s since developed his persona further and what you get is not a “weed rapper,” but a guy who doesn’t have to thug it out or anything anymore and is happy about that fact. For me, the line that really unpacked Curren$y before was this one from “Audio Dope II”: “Fat macks skimming’ off the top, but that’s the game we in/What you gonna do about is huh?” That wasn’t stoner apathy, it was like, a worldly wise understanding that shit just doesn’t always work out in your favor. The “but I’d rather kill a bassline” line on “This Is The Life” is a similarly subtle mission statement to just drop all this thug shit. Read the review, which is shorter than the junk I said above, here.

Written by Brandon

July 8th, 2011 at 1:08 am

Posted in Spin

How Big Is Your World? Matic – “Hustle Hard (Remix)”

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Baltimore club music lives for the holy-shit brilliant refix (the“taking [of] the so-called dominant culture and making it fit your nightlife rather than the other way around”), but what producer Matic (formerly Lil Matic) does here is a little different. He like, climbs inside the cockpit of Lex Luger’s rickety, still-stomping Voltron robot and mans the controls. The first few moments find Matic figuring it all out as he gently screws the Ace Hood hit but nah, that’s not it. So the song picks up the pace, starts to shuffle, and teases some Baltimore horns and some laser synths and from there, it just keeps getting darker and weirder. Shouts rise up and snippets of Ace Hood, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross poke through. The “Think” breaks arrives, too, as it should, but it’s like an afterthought or one more noise to throw in there. And then it changes again, slowing-up and even getting beautiful for a few moments, before seemingly falling apart, and then, coming back together for a sprint to song’s end, powering through a din of synths and shouts and samples and a dude groaning out, “bitch!” Matic has turned a Lex Luger beat even more evil. Even meaner and more fuck-you-up intense than the original, but somehow, freer too ready for a peak hour DJ set, and in that sense, communally cathartic and ready for those who do more than mean-mug and jump up and down when they’re in the club.

Written by Brandon

July 5th, 2011 at 7:18 pm



¿¿¿PROG MIX???

So, I got a request for a “prog mix.” That’s sorta broad and so, to maintain a focus and limit my options, I decided to go with my favorite period of progressive rock: the mid-to-late 70s. The reason I like this era better than the earlier prog stuff is because well, it moves into total cheese territory and it isn’t cool and you hear all of these hard rockin’ nerds gently moving into genres they probably didn’t think they would ever mess with. It’s an era of transition and that’s always fascinating. The soft rock of the 80s makes sense when you listen to this stuff. And even the concepts pushed by music historians that put bloated progressive rock on one side of the music battle up against punk rock or even, hip, cosmopolitan disco, are a little confounded here. Some of this shit rocks like punk and some of it swings like disco. To put it even simpler though, I just love this shit. Quasi-new age grooves, proto-Steve Perry ballads, super-technical bangers, lots and lots of synth silliness. Listening to this, you’ll be magically transported into outer space and you’ll be nude riding a Pegasus, and there’ll be tears in your eyes.

  • Starcastle, “Silver Winds”
  • Goblin, “La Danza”
  • 10cc, “Welcome To The World”
  • New York Gong, “Much Too Old”
  • Mike Oldfield, “Platinum”
  • Magma, “The Last Seven Minutes”
  • Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, “Canario”
  • Camel, “Lady Fantasy”
  • PFM, “Storia In ‘la”
  • Gentle Giant, “Give It Back”
  • Focus, “Night Flight”

Written by Brandon

July 5th, 2011 at 4:28 am

Posted in mix CD

MIX: The Best Rap Songs of the Year… So Far

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The Best Rap Songs of the Year… So Far.

Here’s a mix of the songs from this week’s Spin column.

  • Killer Mike, “Burn”
  • Squadda B, “Fakest Year Ever”
  • Stalley, “Slapp”
  • Zilla, ft. 2Eleven and Monster, “Mella Hating”
  • G-Side ft. S.L.A.S.H., “Came Up”
  • Big K.R.I.T., “The Vent”
  • Mullyman, “Special Delivery”
  • Kanye West & Jay-Z, “H.A.M.”
  • Ace Hood, ft. Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, “Hustle Hard (Remix)”
  • Cities Aviv, “Die Young”
  • DJ Quik, “Ghetto Rendezvous”
  • Soulja Boy, “Zan with That Lean”
  • International Jones, “Absolutely”
  • Riitz, ft. Yelawolf, “Sleep at Night”
  • Wiz Khalifa, ft. Too $hort, “On My Level”
  • Waka Flocka Flame, “All I Need”

Written by Brandon

July 2nd, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Posted in mix CD

Spin: “The Best Rap Songs of the Year…So Far.”


My favorite rap songs from the first six months of the year.

Cities Aviv, a Memphis rapper pretty much ignored by the blogosphere, called his debut album Digital Lows (available for free on Bandcamp). That phrase, “digital lows,” sounds like a pop medical term for the feeling one gets during hour three of Tumblr page-downs or the 416th Facebook photo of an ex you’ve stared at instead of closing the laptop and going to sleep. Or maybe it’s the overwhelming feeling that happens after you’ve thought long and hard about hip-hop and the Internet and tried to break down a hype machine that bounces from Odd Future (are they still cool?) to Kreayshawn, briefly pauses to celebrate the release of a Big Sean album, and then claims that someone named SpaceGhostPurrp is the dude about to blow.

Tuesday night, I got an email from a guy who claims the beat for Lil Wayne’s “How To Love” was stolen from him. First of all, dude’s beat was not jacked. Second, why would you wanna even claim that beat? That was one particular e-mail that definitely gave me the “digital lows.” Not that this is specific to hip-hop. There’s “Weinergate.” And as I scour the gossip blogs like everyone else, I’m torn by what to click on next. Depressingly private photos of Amber Rose or something about Quentin Tarantino’s choad?

The 16 tracks below add up to about an hour-long cure for the digital lows. The theme here is basically the best rap songs so far this year, but also the songs that have defied their contexts, and risen above any subgenre tags and the blog-rap din to stand on their own. Apologies to Curren$y, who has released two very solid albums this year — Covert Coup and Weekend At Burnie’s — but is one of those increasingly rare, whole-enchilada type rappers whose appeal has little to do with an individual song…

Written by Brandon

July 2nd, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Spin, Spin column

Pitchfork: Cities Aviv – “Coastin”


Wrote about the new single from Cities Aviv. That like, cheesy 70s MOR pop sample is just epic and perfectly fits the cover art above.

Written by Brandon

July 1st, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Posted in Pitchfork