Monthly Archives: August 2008

Music

Hip hop’s ghostwriting secret

In a pretty fascinating article done by the Guardian UK’s blog system, Jack Arnott takes a close look at the nature of hip hop and the ghostwriting behind it.

We all know that ghostwriting happens, but I guess a lot of us don’t quite understand just how prevalent it is.  Arnott notes that Nas was the ghostwriter behind Will Smith’s classic opus “Gettin Jiggy wit it“.  Not something you’d usually associate with the “If I ruled the world” star, no?

What’s even crazier is the fact that Puffy’s I’ll be Missing You, an ode to Notorious, was ghostwritten by Sauce Money.  I especially like Arnott’s burn of Kanye:

“Kanye West’s Jesus Walks – co-written with Rhymefest – is just as difficult to stomach given the size of Kanye’s ego. Consistently mentioning himself as a “Top 5 MC”, you have to ask whether Common or Talib Kweli would ever spit someone else’s rhymes.”

I fully get  his point, which is that it’s kind of hard to allow this to happen because hop hop is so big on image.  Everyone wants to keep it real, but only kind of.  Too many people are buying lyrics these days.  And the ghostwriters don’t get that much credit.

Read the whole article here.

Quick

Palin has national security experience because Alaska is ‘close to Russia’

Yeah, the title says it all.  Visit this article at Huffingtonpost.com to see Cindy McCain make the argument that Governor Palin has national security experience because Alaska is close to Russia.  And she’s being serious.

Art

Beth Fladung’s Hip-hop Photography

Hip-hop photography is an underappreciated art.  Unlike photography associated with other genres of music (particularly jazz and rock), hip-hop photography is less established, and frankly, less respected.  Maybe it’s because the genre is still relatively young, or maybe it’s because many wrongly assume that hip-hop photography means tough looking gangster-types looking menacingly at the camera.

Fortunately, that’s usually not the case.  Take Beth Fladung, for example.  She takes compelling shots of hip-hop luminaries and their urban environs.  Her photos are evocative and atmospheric.  If you don’t believe me, check out the attached photos of Pete Rock, Brooklyn and the RZA, below.

Then, check out her website here for more photographic dopeness.

Music

New Common, Foreign Exchange hype, highway rhymes and more

Foreign Exchange, the group comprised of Little Brother’s Phonte and Dutch producer Nicolay, are preparing to release their second album, Leave It All Behind.  In order to build hype for the project, they’ve apparently released a couple of teaser videos.  I’m not exactly sure what exactly they’re trying to convey, but the short clips are interesting nonetheless.  Check ’em out, courtesy of Hip Hop Is Deadly:


FE-LIAB-1 from Foreign Exchange on Vimeo.


Foreign Exchange – LIAB2 from Foreign Exchange on Vimeo

Next up is a tune called “Highway” by Kayda-Luz.  I can’t remember how I found this track, and I don’t have a lot of information about the artist, but the song’s got a nice, laidback vibe that I’m feelin’ for sure.  Dude’s got a nice flow as well, and his introspective rhymes are nostalgic and well-written – a tough thing to do, considering most songs in this vein are sappy and formulaic. 

Kayda-Luz – Highway (?, ?)

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Also makin’ waves is the video for Common’s new single “Announcement.”  Although I’m a fan of “Universal Mind Control (UMC),” I was more than a little dissapointed when I first heard this track.  It’s got an electro/’80s throwback feel to it (unsurprising, considering Pharrell produced it), but Common sounds bored, and he looks that way in the vid, too.  In fact, Skateboard P almost steals the show on this joint.  Have a look see:

 

Image yanked from Soulbounce.

Music

“Kill Bill O’Reilly” single gaining some notoriety

The East Coast Avengers, a hip hop group made up of Esoteric (of 7L & Esoteric fame), trademarc, and DC the Midi Alien, has made been making all kinds of waves lately.

They released a track called “Kill Bill O’Reilly”, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

Michelle Malkin, another conservative commenter and Bill O fan, stood up for him and ignorantly defended Bill against the attacks.   Her infamous quote “Do they have anything better to do?…Rides to pimp? Hos to diss? Bling to steal?” is especially amusing considering those three guys are not exactly known for their gangsterism.

Apparently, according to the Avengers, they’ve been getting a lot of hate mail from conservatives, stuff saying that they “shouldn’t get reparations” and other various racist stuff.  The only issue is that none of them are black.  They’re an all-white hip hop group.

Here’s their rebuttal, a track called Dear Michelle

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Eso, proving his versatility, really hits her hard:

Michelle Malkin got a jaw that would maul her own kin
She’s appalled at her own skin, a witch with cauldron
Tellin’ me to “dis hoes” instead of her y’all
That’s like saying let’s “shoot hoops” instead of “basketball”
The same thing, but the insane thing
Is that she’s anti-Obama, rather hear John Wayne McCain sing
Malkin’s a bitch, that ain’t degrading to girls-
That’s degrading to female dogs across the world

The first part of Trademarc’s verse is pretty intense:

(Verse 2- Trademarc)
Michelle Malkin, where the fuck should I start?
You no-heart-having, half-tranny, drag-queen looking manly
Does that seem a little too shallow? I’ll go deeper
You’re truth’s grim reaper, killing the facts
You know your audience of right-wings won’t pick up the slack
And your views on rap are stereotypical black-on-black crime
So stunningly blind, assuming I beat women and did time
When all of my rhymes are so politically driven they’d lose you
Fox used you, posed you as a media outlet from the out-set
Your views on Japanese internment are funny
The same thing Hitler did to Jews but you spun it into positive news

Apparently the Avengers have actually been getting some pretty violent sounding hate mail, even death threats.  So this thing may actually be blowing up pretty fast.  The Anti-O’Reilly, Keith Olbermann, had the Avengers on his show, and even though he had some rough words for Papa Bear, he made it clear that he disagreed with the Avengers, even giving them a short lecture on why no one deserves to have a death song made about them.

Now I’ve gotta say, as much as I hate Malkin and Bill O, I’d never go so far as to say anything like this about them.  They’re evil, sanctimonious, idiots, but no one deserves even tongue-in-cheek death threats.  There’s too many loose people out there who may take it the wrong way.  So while the political parts of these tracks may be dope, I’m thinking they should have come up with a little bit of an angle.

Eso, in his wisdom, has fully acknowledged this.  He’s saying that the controversy that this song ahs stirred up makes a huge difference.  He’s seeing way more hits, downloads, album purchases than ever before.  “If we made a song called ‘Shut Up Bill O’Reilly’ nobody would be talking about this,” Esoteric said. “Naturally we have no plot to infiltrate his house and kill him. But the lies and filth he feathers his nest with need to die a horrible death.”

[Source: Boston Herald]

Politics

Best. Presidential. Race. Ever.

This morning, as I was recovering from the greatest live speech I’ve ever witnessed – political or otherwise, I thought the ’08 presidential race had reached its emotional peak.  And then I visited Slate.com, and learned that John McCain had picked little known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.  McCain may not be my favourite politician, but the man clearly knows how to raise the stakes.  Palin is a stunning (pun intended), risky choice, and has added an entirely new twist to an already riveting campaign.

Just think of the new narratives, the fresh angles Palin offers the media.  Will she renew lingering doubts among Democratic supporters about Obama’s refusal to even vet Clinton as a vice presidential option?  Will her inexperience force McCain to stop attacking Obama for the same?  Will she falter in the spotlight?  How will she do against Biden in the vice presidential debate?  What about her support for drilling in ANWR, a plan McCain opposes

Indeed, Palin makes this race more exciting than I thought it could be.  In the span of a single summer, the Republicans and Democrats have completely altered the shape of American presidential politics.  Just four years ago, both slates were composed of affluent, middle-aged white men.  But in about two months, the White House will either be occupied by a black president or a female vice president. 

To qoute Terrel Owens, get the popcorn ready!

 

Art Cool Music

This England: Northern Soul (documentary)

Check out this documentary about the Wigan Casino, one of the most important clubs of the northern soul scene.  It features some excellent clips of cats gettin’ their dance on, as well as some dope music.  Courtesy of Universoul Productions, this video is a bit long but definitely worth a peek:

Geek

Large Hadron Collider Rap

We posted earlier about the Large Hadron Collider, a huge scientific installation over at CERN in Europe.

Some nerdy scientist-types have decided to make a little rap video about it, and I have to say as far as nerd rap goes, this isn’t terrible.

Check it out below.

[Update:

Apparently we’re not the only ones impressed.  The New York Times, and the AP have both covered it.]

Videos

Opio – Some Superfly Sh!t

Music

215hiphop Provides Remix Madness

Recently, several of the producers affiliated with 215hiphop.com released Beats & Rhymes: The Remixes.  Featuring remixes of some absolute classic, this album is ambitious but inconsistent: a number of the tracks are outstanding, while others are below par.  The “Billie Jean” remix, though, is definitely worth the download on its own.

Check it out below, and then visit 215hiphop to download the entire album.

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (DJ ‘Lil Dave Remix)

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