Monthly Archives: September 2008

Music

Bless is unexplainable hip hop

Bless, a Canadian emcee, is one of those cats that inexplicably hooked a record deal.  He brought his whole crew along (a crew he calls Platinumberg), and did well enough.  The tracklisting to his album The Book of Bless sees some pretty huge names on there.  Rah Digga, Cappadonna, and Tony Touch all make appearances.  Why? Beats me.

I should give him some credit, he’s not a terrible artist by any means.  I just think he pales in comparison with some of the doper Canadian hip hop we’ve profiled here at 4080.  Put him up against DL Incognito, or K’naan, hell, even against K-os and he doesn’t seem to match up.

But before you call me a hater, I should point out that one of my idols does believe in him.  Guru, of Gangstarr fame took this little kid under his wing, and even let him collab on a track called Never Ending Saga.  Here it is for your listening pleasure, audio only.

I’ll give Bless some credit, his verse does say some pretty decent stuff.

Through all the madness, I managed
To be blessed with a sense to know dough don’t measure success
Cuz even though money is power, it ain’t always respect
Live my life with no regrets, all these heads know the deal
I re-fuse to move, unless I’m doin what I feel

Not the most common thing in hip hop, so I’m happy to hear him say it.

Here’s Something Missing

Bless (and Platinumberg) have actually got a few big coups under their belt.  Two of their tracks were featured in the video game Def Jam and The Fight for New York.  In fact, Bless was even a character!

Frankly, I don’t see the appeal, but if you do, let us know in the comments.

Politics

Palin interview is the worst thing in the world

Literally, the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric is the most embarrassing moment I’ve ever seen from a politician.

Check out Youtube for the whole thing, but this particular answer is just plain awful.

Music

K-os descends onto Victoria


Last Friday, yours truly managed to catch K-os, the darling of the Canadian hip-hop scene, at a packed Sugar Nightclub in Victoria, B.C. I’ve been a fan of K-os since he released the classic, yet tragically underrated, Exit in 2002.  With intelligent, jazzy tracks like Superstarr, Pt. Zero and Heaven Only Knows, the album remains among the finest in Canadian hip-hop history.  Joyful Rebellion and Atlantis: Hymns for Disco were similarly dope, and cemented K-os’ status as a genre-bending innovator.  

Unfortunately, his live shows never seem to live up to his recorded potential.  Although I’ve only seen him live twice, in both cases he came across as a lazy performer.  He often forgets his own lyrics, or at least fails to rap fast enough to keep up with the beat, and he changes the tempo on so many tracks that it’s often difficult recognizing the song being played.  If it wasn’t for his band – which features some incredible musicians – his live shows would be seriously weak.  

Having said that, don’t be afraid to check him out if he comes to your town.  Maybe after seeing cats like Heiroglyphics, Lupe Fiasco and J-Live in person, my standards for live emceeing are just too high.  And there’s no denying that although K-os missed a few lyrics, he still had the crowd jumping around and having a good time.

In the meantime, check out some random K-os content I dug up on the interweb:

Feist – Mushaboom (K-os Remix)

Chemical Brothers – Get Yourself High ft. K-os (Switch Remix)

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Music

New Del and Justice mashup

Some of you out there are undoubtedly fans of The Hood Internet, another mashup website. They’ve gotten to be pretty big and have actually just released a pretty decent mashup of Justice (those electronic cats of D.A.N.C.E. fame) and Del the Funky Homosapien (100% the greatest choice of name in hip hop). So here’s Workin’ Valentine.

Music

Harmonica beatbox is a way to make harmonicas look good

I mean exactly what the headline says.  Harmonicas have gone through several incarnations, and some of them have been alright.  Some pretty amazing musicians have made good use of them (Neil Young, anyone?) and others have made mockeries of them.

Yuri Lane has managed to use the harmonica with a hip hop spin to it, combining the sounds with his special brand of beatboxing.  The results (I think) are pretty impressive, so check it out below.

Geek

Record companies come up with another terrible plan

Yes yes, we all know how much the CD has sucked lately.  No one wants to buy it, sales are falling, piracy and iTunes are the ones to blame.  If only people would go back to discmans instead of iPods.  Or something to that effect.

No matter what, the major record labels are making what can only be described as a terrible decision.  Since everyone is going digital, what are the labels thinking?  A new and innovative physical media.  Essentially, the 4 biggies are partnering with SanDisk to manufacture tiny memory cards (likely MicroSD) that contain an entire album in mp3 form.  What will they call it? SlotMusic.  Not as catchy as CD, but it may get some sort of response from consumers.

The Wall Street Journal, reporting this story, did make an interesting point:

The music is to be sold in the MP3 format, with no digital locks that prevent copying. An adapter is to be included allowing users to transfer their music to PCs via their USB slots. The albums are expected to cost about $15 and are likely to be stocked by retailers near CDs and portable devices such as MP3 players and mobile phones..

The fact that it is DRM-free is the best move the labels have made in a long, long time.  At the least, this will allow those who do buy the album an easier way to transfer it to the portable media player of their choice.  The only chance this thing has of succeeding is targeting older audiences, those individuals less inclined to download things online.  It’s a small (and shrinking) market, but you may also be able to hit those few people who aren’t hooked up to the internet or at least not to broadband.  It’s definitely a niche approach, and despite the fact that I’m 99% sure it’ll fail, it does mark a quasi-innovative move on the part of the big labels, so I want to give them a gold star for trying.

Geek

Search Engine Rap Battle

Hilarity, to be sure. Every day I find myself shaking my head and thinking that the internet never ceases to amaze. Somehow, someone always wants to turn everything into a rap, with no regards to how it works. Though, honestly, this one works better than most.

Thanks to MeFi user Gman, we’re bringing the Search Engine Rap Battle to you.

MSN vs. Google.

Google vs. Yahoo

MSN vs. Yahoo

Politics

Barack Obama for Prime Minister?

I’m sure a lot of you have been reading about how a lone blogger in the United States is often credited with bringing Palin the VP nod.  Now, another blogger is aiming for a similar goal.

BarackObamaforPM.blogspot.com is a hilarious look at the movement to bring Obama north of the border to govern Canada.  Sean Kane, the creator, did it as a bit of a publicity stunt (obviously).  He’s hyping up his quasi-design business, and talking about how his job is to ‘think creatively’.

Still, considering how dreadful a campaign it has been so far, I’m sure Canadians wouldn’t mind it one bit.

Music

New Grouch album is bolder, better.

The Grouch’s new album Show you the World is a bit of a departure from his previous work. It’s slightly more mainstream, but really in the good ways. His distinctive vocal style is most definitely still present, and you get the same warm and fuzzy backpack hip hop feelings that you always used to, but now it’s just more listenable on a day-to-day basis.

I know that’s a bit of a bold statement, but let me try to clarify.  Besides a few tracks that Grouch has done (Simple Man, and Silly Puddy specifically), his style is easy to appreciate as art, but I’d say you’re a bit hard-pressed to find a moment where you can bump his tracks in a public situation without feeling a tad self-concious.

So bring on the new album.  The standout track, by far, is Artsy, a confrontational track mocking all the trendy scene kids running around California (and the small town near you) rockin’ keffiyahs like they know what they stand for.  This is the type of stuff you’ve come to expect from the Living Legends Crew and I’m happy to say the Grouch delivered.

I know this isn’t exactly a brand new track, but it’s new to my attention and worth posting.  Check out the video below.

Music

Lupe Fiasco Remix Dopeness and New Heat From Q-Tip!

Lupe takes a break from lunch to record some new fyah

Anticipation for Lupe’s “Paris, Tokyo” remix has been building since it was first announced a few months ago, and now that it’s finally arrived heads across the interweb are scrambling to get their hands on it.  And thanks to 2dopeboyz.com, we’ve got a copy for your listening pleasure available below.  Also available is a surprisingly catchy jazz remix of the same song by Chris and Denise Paultre.  And, to add to the overall goodness of this post, we’ve also upped some new Q-Tip, courtesy of From Da Bricks.  So get your listen on and enjoy!

Lupe Fiasco – Paris, Tokyo (Remix) ft. Pharrell, Q-Tip & Sarah Green

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Chris and Denise Paultre – Paris, Tokyo

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Q-Tip – Gettin’ Up

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