Monthly Archives: November 2009


Danny! releases free album ‘Where Is Danny?’

Danny! - Where Is Danny?

Danny!, an emcee from Killeen Texas signed to Def Jux, has released a new album, titled Where Is Danny? I don’t know a lot about this cat, but I’m definitely feeling the album.  As an infrequent consumer of the Def Jux catalog, to my ears Where sounds slightly experimental, without being un-listenable.  By combining complex, left-field sample collages with stream-of-conscious non sequiturs, Danny! has crafted a unique record. You’ll listen to it multiple times, if only to get his myriad (and often hilarious) pop culture references.  Best of all, the album is free to download!

Get your listen on here: Danny! – Where Is Danny?

Credit: MetalLungies

PS, if you want some indication of dude’s talent, check out “Fly, Pt. 2” which is more conventional than most of the tracks on Where?, but dope nonetheless:


Sarah Palin doesn’t suck on the Factor

Last week, Sarah Palin made an appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s show ‘The O’Reilly Factor‘ as part of her Going Rogue promotional tour.  Although I didn’t catch it live – fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) I don’t get Fox News – I did have a chance to read a ‘rush’ transcript of the interview.

Surprisingly, Palin wasn’t completely terrible.  She demonstrated a modest grasp of a variety of topical issues, from health care reform to Russia’s involvement in suppressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  I don’t necessarily agree with her views, but at least she sounded as though she holds some.  Her ability to communicate them, however, was less impressive, and I’m starting to think that her limited vocabulary and inability to form coherent sentences is really what’s holding her back.  Have a look at this particularly interesting response:

O’REILLY: Do you think that [Obama] wants to change the country into an entitlement society?

PALIN: We’re going to see, depending on his cap and tax bill that he will no doubt support coming out of Congress, that the health care bill, whatever that’s going to cost us and whatever the answers are there to all of our questions about the health care, we’re going to see, if he decides that he can kind of shift gears, change course, and move us back to more of a free enterprise, free market principles that built up this country, then my answer to you is going to be no, he’s not hell-bent on changing the capitalist society that we are. But if he is stubborn about this, then my answer to you is going to be well, his actions speak louder than our words, and yes, he’s going to change our capitalistic society.

You get a rough idea of what she’s trying to say, despite her stunningly poor grammar and syntax.  If she learned to speak in short, declarative sentences, rather than meandering, scattered ones, Palin’s appeal would surely broaden.  To be fair, though, her recent extended Iran/Iraq flub suggests that perhaps her grasp of policy is indeed as weak as her opponents suggests.

Interestingly, O’Reilly was also less generous with Palin than I would have expected.  At a couple of points, he seems to question her responses, and presses her (if ever so gently) for clarification.  It’s hardly hard-hitting investigative journalism, but at least it’s not the obvious fawning Fox New seems to have a reputation for.  Here’s one such exchange:

O’REILLY: Honest, do you think he’s honest?

PALIN: I think that he has told us some things in the campaign. I think that he’s told us some things early on in his presidency that have not come to fruition. He was all about positive change, and I think a lot of Americans are believing that the change that he’s ushering in isn’t necessarily positive.

O’REILLY: Well, he says it is. I’m — you’re a conservative, so you don’t like it, but…

PALIN: How — positive in terms of creating debt for our children?

O’REILLY: No, but he says, you know what the arguments are. I mean, he says that, look, a lot of Americans can’t afford health insurance, the insurance companies are out of control, I’ve got to get them under control. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. You know, that’s his point of view.

PALIN: Let’s get the health care problems under control then. But let’s use free market, results-oriented, patient-centered solutions to do that. Tort reform, he’s not embracing any of those ideas. Getting rid of the waste and fraud that he insists today, if we would just get a handle on that, we could pay for this one point.

O’REILLY: Well, he says he’s going to get rid of the waste.

PALIN: Let’s do it right now then.

Cool Music

Neil Young does the Fresh Prince

This is pretty amazing.  Jimmy Fallon, pretending to be Neil Young, covers the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

It’s glorious for so many reasons.

Awareness Music

Yas – Iranian hip hop

It’s hard to compete with a bio like this.  Despite the fact that hip hop is replete with heart wrenching stories of growth and struggle, gritty determination and oddball success, it’s somehow even more persuasive when it comes from a place like Iran.  Perhaps it’s the stereotype of it being “exotic”, or perhaps it’s because I feel like I understand the North American experience more than I do growing up there.  No matter what, Yas has a story that is bound to tug on you a little bit.

Born In 1982 – Tehran, YAS first began to listen to rap music at the age of 16, when his father would return from his business trips in Germany and bring him the latest Tupac CD and other hip hop music. After the sudden and untimely death of his father, YAS was faced with the responsibility of becoming the primary care taker of his household. With his father’s debts mounting and barely being able to make ends meet to live and feed the family, YAS at the age of 18 was forced to leave his college ambitions behind and begin to work and support his entire family (his mother, younger brother and triplet sisters). It was at this time that he began to write poetry which soon turned into text lyrics for his music. It was also his way of staying close to his father’s memory.

Now it’s a bit tougher to appreciate for the mere fact that it’s not done in English.  But that hasn’t stopped us before and it’s not going to start now.  In fact, Yas doesn’t even speak English, at least not yet.  And sadly, this is one of the few times I’ll openly cite the Huffington Post, because their World Music Corner is actually a decent read.  I mean, it still comes from a fairly liberal viewpoint, but it’s not overtly partisan or anything of the sort.

In fact, HuffPo did a pretty admirable job on the article, though I guess it originally came from Modiba.  It’s interesting how they draw an ancient example, saying that Persian culture has a long history of esteemed poets.  They almost seem to suggest that Persians (or I guess Iranians, in this context) are somehow predisposed to rapping because of this.



Chingy dropped from his label – ages ago

This may be looking up for the state of hip hop, even if it happened almost a year ago.  Back in Dec of 2008, Chingy, the awful excuse for a rapper that brought you such classics as Right Thurr (below), was dropped from his label.  Why?  Well he had a little tiff with his partner, Ludacris.

It may sound ridiculous, but I have to say I’m kind of happy about this developed.  If you ignore the obvious schadenfreude in a post like this, I think the overall sentiment is that removing rappers like this from view is a step in the right direction. It cleans up the landscape a little, and I have to say I’m happy not to hear how Chingy thinks you look in ‘dem jeans.

Chingy is alleging that Luda and the label cheated him out of cash.  I don’t know for sure what happened, but I’d say someone who’s been in the game as long as Ludacris probably isn’t too worried about jacking some meagre album sales.

Check out his video below, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.



Music Politics

Hi Caliber gets the tea party started

Here at 4080, we’re known for occasionally exploring the relationship between hip-hop and social change.  Normally, the intersection of those things lies on the left side of the political spectrum.  The list of emcees rapping about eradicating poverty, combating racism and even revolution is long and distinguished.  It’s a tradition that stems back to hip-hop’s earliest days, and is the source of some of the genre’s most critically-acclaimed (if not always best-selling) releases.

So it was interesting to read about Hi Caliber, a rapper from New Jersey, who raps from a conservative perspective.  More specifically, he identifies with the tea party movement, and his rhymes espouse its principles.  As he told Talking Points Memo, “I support the tea party movement because I feel they are the only people in the America who are not following lock-step, rank-and-file one of the political parties.”  Hi Cal (as I call him) is also “especially” opposed to the bank and auto industry bailouts.

His music isn’t absolutely terrible.  Technically, his rhymes are no worse than a lot of other mediocre rappers’, and his lyrics will keep you interested.  Check out “Patriot People:”

To be sure, I am diametrically opposed to nearly all of his political views.  And I think it’s hilarious that he’s missed the obvious irony of telling a political movement to wave their hands around “like they just don’t care.”  But I suppose it would also be hypocritical to deride someone for using music to express their deeply-held beliefs, since we encourage it so enthusiastically elsewhere.  Ultimately, Hi Caliber is more evidence of hip-hop’s remarkable potential for affecting political change.


The Lessondary’s tribute to Tribe

The Lessondary Tribe Tribute

As a die-hard Tribe fan, reading this update from MetalLungies definitely got me pumped: is putting together an ATCQ mixtape, featuring a certain DJ Chong Wizard.  And last week, they released one of the tape’s tracks, a remix of “Check the Rhyme” (from which this site derives its name), featuring Jermiside, A Brother Named George, Von Pea, Don Will, Ilyas and Elucid.  The track is illll, and hopefully a good indication of what the rest of the mixtape will sound like.  Check it:



4080Records Presents: The Noisettes

It’s really late at night here (or rather early in the morning) and I have been trolling the internet while trying to get some work done as well.  I stumbled across this via a friend of mine, and I have to say I’m fairly blown away.  Perhaps our UK readers can enlighten me, but until now I have never heard of the NoisettesAre they big? [Update: It seems like they’re a London-based indie band, and from the video we know they were on BBC One at some point].

I’ll post more about them at some point, I hope, but for now I just want you all to enjoy their cover of the Killer’s When You Were Young:

They’ve got a few other fantastic tracks and their album, Wild Young Hearts, is proud and varied and full-sounding.  Lead singer Shingai Shoniwa has a beautiful richness to her voice and the band has been getting more and more press lately.  They’ve toured with TV on the Radio, Bloc Party, and various other indie-darlings.

Here’s their biggest hit, Don’t Upset the Rhythm.


Electric Wire Hustle, J Dilla music video and more

Electric Wire Hustle is an “electronic/organic trio” from New Zealand who’ve been getting mad love from across the ol’ blogosphere.  I honestly don’t know a lot about them, but this track, called ‘Perception,’ definitely got my attention.  Based on a sample from “Inside my Love” by Minnie Riperton (a joint that was best flipped, in my opinion, by Tribe on ‘Lyrics to Go‘), the track has a nice mellow vibe to it:

Also making the internet rounds is a new music video for the J Dilla track ‘On Stilts.’ From his posthumous album ‘Jay Stay Paid,’ the video has a surreal, cartoonish feel that I’m really digging.

Finally, on a bit of an older tip, here’s two videos of producer Kev Brown cookin’ up a hot beat. If you’re not into beat-making they may not appeal to you, but I’d say give ’em a shot, if only to get a glimpse into the incredible creativity that goes into producing a dope beat:

Courtesy of Fresh Selects.

Cool Geek

4080 gets humorous

It’s not often that we publish posts on humour-related topics (unless you count Twice’s recent musings on Vanilla Ice and Shaq), but this update from Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish reminded me of my favourite Youtube video of all time, “Gabe and Max’s Internet Thing.”  Check it out:

Fax us your email address now! Priceless. Anyways, turns out Gabe and Max are launching their own online talkshow. Check out episode 1, which features them in similar, but also slightly altered roles: