Monthly Archives: February 2010

Geek Music

True Viral Video

Not much to say other than this is a pretty decent video.  It’s also the exact type of thing I hope I would do if trapped in a room for that long.  (this guy was apparently quarantined with TB for several weeks).
Cool Music

Aziz Ansari Releases First Track from Upcoming Mixtape

Aziz Ansari's upcoming mixtape!!!!!!!!

This makes me extremely happy: Aziz Ansari, of Parks and Recreation fame, is releasing a mixtape under his alter ego, Raaaaaaaandy (who also happens to be the character he played in Funny People).  Produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, the mixtape was supposed to be released in February, but that date has reportedly been pushed back.

In the meantime, the first track has been leaked and it’s awesome/hilarious.  It’s called AAAAAAAANGRY, and it’s a diss track aimed at all the emcees who didn’t deliver verses for the song.  Check it out:

DOWNLOAD: Raaaaaaaandy and Dave Sitek – AAAAAAAANGRY

And also check out their video, ‘Booty Blog #1’:

Awareness Music

R.I.P Def Jux

GraveStone copy

So Pitchfork is reporting that Definitive Jux Records, the amazing indie hip hop label, is going on an indefinite “hiatus”.  To make matters worse, El-P is stepping down.

While it’s true that they’re not exactly over, they’re also not planning on releasing any new music on physical media.  Hopefully this still means some digital distribution, and may actually lower their operating costs a lot.  However, it also means that a lot of dope hip hop will no longer be found on vinyl.

Despite assurances that Def Jux isn’t shutting down and is just changing, you can almost hear the sadness in the Pitchfork article.  It reads more like a eulogy than a news piece, but I completely agree with the author.

Def Jux had a massive impact on the sound of indie rap. El-P’s squalid, discordant production, which in many ways defined the label’s sound, marked a huge departure from the dusky boom-bap of the label’s underground rap predecessors. You can hear its echoes in much of the past decade’s underground rap. And Def Jux was also the rare record label that had an identity beyond whatever artists happened to be signed to the label at any given time. The label’s records were elaborately designed and packaged, and its artists tended to group together on package tours. I’ve heard club crowds chant the label’s name, a true rarity for any record label in any genre. El’s statement could mark the end of an era.

It’s a sad day for the label that once brought us RJD2, Mr. Lif, Del, Aesop Rock, Chin Chin, and a pile of others.

Here’s hoping that something good comes of this, and no matter form they choose, as long as they put out killer hip hop, 4080 Records will keep supporting them.

Awareness Music

Tell ‘em they’re your first choice

So…in the law school world hip hop is not that crazy a thing.  There’s a lot of amateur tracks and mashups, trying to make a good impression.  But Andrew Black over at the law school at the University of Windsor (in Canada) has been making some serious waves.  After interviews on the CBC and some other media outlets, and plus re-posts on tons of sites (including Maclean’s magazine and some law blogs), this thing is really taking off.

Considering how much I’m not down with Pharell, I can honestly say this is the best use of this beat I’ve heard so far.

 

Music

This is Street Ray-dee-oh: Original Cut of Common’s ‘The People’

Common

The blog Real Hip Hip Since 79 has posted the original studio recording of ‘The People’ from Common’s album Finding Forever.  The main difference between this version and the final cut is the hook, here sung by Common himself.  Dwele’s take, used for the album, is obviously more polished, but it’s nice to hear Common’s genuine, if shaky, effort.

DOWNLOAD: Common – ‘The People’ (Original recording)

‘The People’ is a classic, and was my favourite track on Forever.  Common’s lyrics are mostly good.  His rhymes touch on a variety of social justice topics (Assata Shakur, urban poverty, the failure of the American justice system), and are delivered with his usual verbal dexterity.  The only lyrical flaw is the bridge, on which our boy compares Kanye to the legendary beatmaker DJ Premier (!) and raps about his daughter finding Nemo.

This minor shortcoming, though, is forgivable considering the track’s insane beat.  Featuring a sample from Gil Scott-Heron’s 1978 song ‘We Almost Lost Detroit,’ the beat has a distinct, fuzzy, ’70s vibe to it.  Its focal point is a saxophone and keyboard loop that exudes analog goodness.  The result is a sunny and inspiring and funky melody – the perfect complement to Common’s uplifting tales of the struggle.

Via 2dopeboyz

Cool

Wayne Coyne’s ‘Phantasmagorical’ New House

While we don’t normally offer a lot of architecture coverage, this story seemed too good/bizarre to pass up: the firm Fitzsimmons Architects recently posted photos of Wayne Coyne’s new Oklahoma City home.  Coyne, who is the frontman of ‘space rock’ band The Flaming Lips, is a strange and imaginative dude, and his new house certainly embodies those characteristics.  According to Pitchfork, while the house “looks like a simple brick house from the outside,” … it “turns pretty phantasmagorical once you get inside.” 

Indeed, as you’ll see in the photos, the house is anything but typical.  Each room seems to follow a separate theme or idea, varying in their decor and use of space.  The study is sparse and dominated by a massive, industrial-looking ceiling fan.  The bedroom is centered by a fireplace that descends from the ceiling, and the bathroom’s curved adobe walls evoke Uncle Owen’s pad on Tatooine.

For photos, visit the Fitzsimmons Architects’ website.

Awareness Headline Music

99problems.org Promotes Census among Youth

Numbers Don't Lie: The Mixtape

99problems.org, the news website of The League of Young Voters Education Fund (LYVEF) – an American organization dedicated to empowering “young people nationwide to participate in the democratic process” – has launched a new “online intiative”  to educate urban youth about the importance of the 2010 Census.  According to a press release, the campaign will feature

a viral video PSA series hosted by DJ Willie Shakes (Core DJs, Star Trak’s Chester French) … [that] will enable each featured interview (sic) to give their own spin on why the 2010 Census is important to them, as well as the neighborhoods they reside in and come from, in order to reach young voters in an organic and impactful way on such a meaningful issue.

The campaign has also released a free mixtape, with cuts from Jay Electronica, Lupe Fiasco, Drake, Lil’ Wayne, Joe Budden and more.  Atlhough I haven’t listened to it yet, the album’s lineup and message has certainly piqued my curiosity, and I’m looking forward to giving it a spin.  Click here to download it, courtesy of 2dopeboyz.  And scroll down to see the tracklist.

Regardless of the quality of the mixtape or the ‘viral’ PSA, it’s great to see an organization try to raise the profile of the census among young people.  The census is massively important because it informs public policy and spending at all levels of government.  Indeed, since government spending is often allocated on the basis of population, it is absolutely critical that policy makers have an accurate understanding of the population and demographics of a given community or neighbourhood.  Inaccurate census results can jeopardize funding for social programs, education and other government services.  As the LYVEF press release notes:

“The Census is so important. It decides how trillions of dollars will be spent in our community … Every 10 years young people don’t get counted because they don’t understand how important this process is. We are going make sure this doesn’t happen. We are going to meet young people where they are at, and make sure they understand how important this process is to their future.”

Numbers Don’t Lie: The Mixtape

1. Shakes Don’t Lie
2. State of Emergency – Toki Wright
3. Dollar And A Dream – J. Cole
4. Exhibit A – Jay Electronica
5. Problems In The Hood – Miss Nana
6. Wonder Why – Chip The Ripper
7. Everybody’s Nobody – XV
8. Shakes Break
9. Daisy – IB3
10. Dealings – Jay Electronica
11. Ayo – Melanie Fiona
12. I’m Beaming – Lupe Fiasco
13. Where Were You – Drake
14. One For The Money – Mr.Finley
15. All About That Money – Gucci Mane, Rick Ross
16. Numbers Don’t Lie – Yo Gotti, Lil Wayne
17. Certified Gangstas 2 – Game, Jim Jones
18. Crazy Since The 80’s – Wiz Khalifa
19. I Keep On – Joe Budden
20. Wyclef Broadcast
21. Jimmy Outro

DOWNLOAD: Numbers Don’t Lie: The Mixtape

Music

Hip Hop Docktrine Volume 2.5 – The Official Boondocks Mixtape

The Official Boondocks MixtapeIn anticipation of the upcoming season of the animated series Boondocks, Dub Floyd and Wally Sparks have put together an ‘official’ mixtape for the show, featuring some choice cuts from Tanya Morgan, Phonte, Asheru, Skyzoo and more.  Check out the tracklist below, then head over to 2dopeboyz to download it.

01. Asheru – The Boondocks Theme (Season 2)
02. Metaphor The Great – Hip Hop Docktrine 2 Theme (Prod. by JJ The Genius)
03. Phonte & Chaundon – Hip Hop Docktrine 2 (Promo)
04. Metaphor The Great – The BoonDoctor (Prod. by JJ The Genius)
05. Chaundon & Asheru – Hip Hop Docktrine (Prod. by The Kickdrums)
06. Asheru ft. Talib Kweli – Mood Swing
07. Asheru – Niggaz
08. Sha Stimuli – The N Word Song
09. Blu – The Only Way
10. Pugs Atomz feat. Hall of Fame – Black Boy (Prod. by Hi-Tek)
11. Chaundon – A Pimp Named Slick Back
12. Metaphor The Great – Riley’s Theme
13. Ed E. Ruger ft. Wax & Sean Boog – Do It For The Rush (Prod. by JJ The Genius)
14. Phonte & Niggaz In The Studio – Our Black Asses (Catcher Freeman Song)
15. Phene ft. Laws – Freedom Ain’t Free (Prod. by Mellodramatic)
16. Black Lincolns – The Hustle
17. Cool Cee Brown feat. Phonte & Asheru – No Fear
18. P.H.E.A.R. – I Love Her Again
19. L.E.G.A.C.Y. – The Trial
20. Black ELement – The Itis (Prod. by 6th Sense)
21. Rashid Hadee – Whatever it Takes
22. Bobby Creekwater – Winner
23. Asheru feat. Hernon Gibran – Keep on Rockin
24. Metaphor The Great – Riley’s Fight
25. Jay Rock – Have You Ever Loved Somebody
26. The Lethal Interjection Crew (Carl Jones, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes & Nate Dogg) – Eff Grandad
27. Tanya Morgan – Bout To Be Some (Prod. by Khrysis)
28. Ja$ – T.R.O.Y. (Freestyle)
29. Asheru – Revolution
30. HUYUSHERU – Balance
31. Skyzoo – Never Sleep
32. j.Davey, Pacific Division, Diz Gibran, & Bleu Collar – sLAyers
33. NYOil – Maybe
34. David Banner ft. Colonel H. Stinkmeaner – B.A.N.
35. Tough Junkie ft. Uncle Ruckus – The Boondocks

Cool Music

Free Olympics Concerts – Buck 65, DJ Spooky, Damien Marley and More!

In addition to sporting events, this year’s Winter Olympics will feature a large and surprisingly diverse schedule of free concerts.  Being held at two ‘LiveCity’ venues in downtown Vancouver, the concerts will span the length of the games and represent an excellent opportunity to take in high quality music for zero dollars.  Here’s a sampling of some of the performers who will take the stage:

Not bad at all.  I plan on seeing several of these shows, if not all of them.  And here’s the entire schedule (PDF).

It’s nice to see VANOC and the City attempt to expand the impact of the Games beyond simply a few sporting events.  As the LiveCity site notes,

“Over the years, Olympic Games Host Cities have come to recognize that the overall Olympic and Paralympic experience and celebration must include many activities and opportunities that attract, entertain, engage, inform and excite people of all ages throughout the Games period.”

Despite Vancouverites’ past ambivalence and, occasionally, outright opposition, to these Games, Olympic excitement is beginning to envelope the city as the opening ceremonies draw closer.  Hopefully it’s an indication of the experience to come.

Music

Little Brother Unveils ‘LeftBack’ Album Art and Tracklist

Little Brother's final album "LeftBack"

Little Brother unveiled today the album art and tracklist of their next, and reportedly last, album. Called LeftBack, the album is set for release on April 20.  According to a press release, the album will “feature production from the likes of Khrysis, Denaun Porter, Zo!, Symbolyc One, J. Bizness and King Karnov, [and] is poised to take listeners on an epic auditory adventure.”  Guest-spotting on the album are Jozeemo, Yahzarah, Chaundon, Bilal, Darien Brockington, Carlitta Durand and others.  Sounds dope.

Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of their last album, it’s most definitely a shame to hear that LeftBack will mark the end of Little Brother.  Like Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte made amazing records based around their love of hip-hop.  Dudes weren’t the greatest rappers of all time, but their appreciation and understanding of the culture meant that their music will be listened to for years to come.

Their demise also speaks to the sorry state of contemporary hip-hop.  As a post on PrefixMag.com put it, “It’s sad to see bad timing, poor album sales, and record company mismanagement destroy a group as good as this. It made no sense why their considerable skills never translated into record sales and airplay. If anything, it’s an indictment of the style over substance attitude governing the hip hop mainstream for the last few years. Here’s hoping ‘Te and Pooh’s solo endeavors continue to shine as brightly as Little Brother’s brief but seminal catalog does.”

LeftBack tracklist:

01 Curtain Call
02 Table for Two [ft. Jozeemo & Yahzarah]
03 Tigallo for Dolo
04 Revenge
05 So Cold [ft. Chaundon]
06 Second Chances [ft. Bilal & Darien Brockington]
07 Go Off Go On
08 What We Are [ft. Quiana]
09 After the Party [ft. Carlitta Durand] (S1 and Caleb’s Who Shot JR Ewing Remix)
10 Two Step Blues [ft. Darien Brockington] (Zo‘s Purple Suit With the Matching Gators Remix)
11 Get Enough Pt. 2 [ft. Khrysis]
12 Before the Night Is Over
13 24 [ft. Torae]