Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Still in the trade of that ol' boom bap.
I could rattle off so many memories I have from listening to O.S.T., the third album of L.A.'s dynamic duo People Under The Stairs. Driving around listening to tracks like "Montego Slay" and "The L.A. Song" after the roads emptied out back home, tossing some brews back with the boys at school while dancing to "The Hang Loose", or dropping "Empty Bottles of Water" on my radio show and getting requests all the time for anything by them. When I saw them live at S.O.B.'s back in 2002 opening up for J-Live, I was hooked on this album. Straight across the boards, they are simply a stellar group that deserves their props.
Since 2000 with the release of Question In The Form Of An Answer, Double K and Thes One have been holding it down for the West, using the ground-up aesthetic to make music that inspires. And no I'm not saying that for the hoke factor. It's actually true. Two guys, crate digging, beat making, scratching, and even making artwork for their albums. This DIY method really resonates well on record because the music sounds so polished and professional nowadays in their catalog, you wonder if there's anyone else really helping them out.
In an interesting twist, on O.S.T. (Original Soundtrack), aside from two tracks featuring one guest artist a piece and three other people simply working on the mastering, design, and photos for the album cover, EVERYTHING on that album was done by the boys themselves. More than impressive, it's hip-hop, mayne.
As far as production goes, each of them have their own distinct style. But since I'm not a producer or much of a crate digger myself, I'm not really in much of a position to analyze the difference. If there's anything I can dissect, I would look towards Double putting a lot more emphasis on bass and tempo while Thes sprinkles in excellent, infectious synth or guitar loops to compliment the pop of his drums, all put to a slower rhythm than Dub's.
See, I told you I couldn't do it. I tried though.
On the mic, they've gotten some flack, but to be honest with you, they've improved drastically on the mic over the years. I would venture to say the criticism of past has gotten the best of them and made them step up harder. I guess they've managed to create some beef with fellow artists (Lootpack to name one in particular), but for what reason, I don't understand. I know they beefed with Soulsides' own O-Dub a few years back, but once again I'm travelling into unknown territory. I'll leave it at that then, and say that for the most part, PUTS are on their own. Which is rare in hip-hop, but its their choice, I suppose. The only well known cats I have seen them collaborate with over the years on some sort of consistent basis is Ugly Duckling (speaking of which, March 9th). No awful pun intended, but sometimes the names truly take on double meanings in the most amusing way.
PUTS have a new album coming out this spring, entitled Stepfather. Look out for it April 18th. BUY IT. Or they're gonna ring my head the next time they come through to New York, and we wouldn't that, k? In the meantime, enjoy this new track from off the album. Completely exclusive, kiddies...to the point where I was so paranoid I had to google search this just to make sure I wasn't bullshitting you.
People Under The Stairs - Tuxedo Rap (rapidshare link)
Those drums!!! That synth!!! I'm totally hyped for this album now. I'm not sure at this time which of the two laced this, but I'm gonna say this sounds more like a Thes One production. It reminds me a little of the "Noonen" joint Thes produced in 2004 I believe, for those in the know. Enjoy this, cause its all you're getting until April!
Meanwhile, if I've made a fool of myself (likely) to a degree that you're still not really sure what kind of sound these guys have, even after listening to that track, save yourself from what I like to call An Embarassin' Comparison (many a scenester/trendwhore, as I prefer to call them, fall victim to this episode), and redirect your browser here.
For the record, I typed in "people under the stairs" and got the following: Warren G, Mac Dre, Madlib, Soul Position, and Crooked I.
It's a pretty damn great site. I'd sign up for it without hesitation, personally. Think about it: if you're at work and can't download software but wanna listen to music on your web-enabled office computer, just go that site and you'll be set.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Headphone masterpieces #4.
This was just the album I needed to listen to today. It has been such a long time since I pulled it out, and I'll tell you something, its still an amazing piece of work. Phil Elvrum has some truly sublime, dare I say simply gorgeous, lyrics. And the tracks go seamlessly together. Damn man, if I haven't burned this album for you yet, remind me to when I get the oppurtunity. Try buying it though if you feel so inclined. Its an interesting package to own, thin sleeve and all.
The Microphones - The Moon
The Glow Pt. 2 came out in 2001. I saw The Microphones live in like 2003 or something. At Cornell. The rendition of this song was a little different but still managed to stand out in the back of my memory bank. I did almost forget though that I went to this show due to how many years have passed. I have yet to actually buy another Microphones album, but I'm thinking I probably should. Despite this one being apparently considered their best. Time to explore more, I guess.
The Microphones - I Felt Your Shape
I had to put another one up because this song is also too irresistable to overlook. It also offers a range of the kind of path this album takes. The music ranges from gentle acoustic numbers to heavily percussion-filled ones.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Throwback Friday #7.
I would like to take this time to apologize to my readership for keeping it shorter than usual today. I've been tired and very stressed out, BUT, I will not let life get me down as I covered in my last entry. And furthermore, I won't let little shit stop me from delivering my promise! Double trouble for today's edition.
The Stylistics - One Night Affair
Little Brother w/ Joe Scudda - Lovin It
9th beats by now are pretty predictable. But predictable doesn't necessarily mean bad. If you have a formula that works, stay with it, I say.
The Stylistics joint is dope, and 9th flipped it well for the single "Lovin It" which has a video I was in but extremely AWOL from in the final cut (Jive! You took it off your server! Proof in the pudding accidentally swallowed up! Noooo!). No biggie. It was a well spent day in Park Slope. I appreciate this joint after hearing the way it was chopped up. All the right vocal crescendos make an appearance.
Arthur Verocai - Caboclo
Little Brother w/ Chaundon - We Got Now
Not really a fan of the album closer too much, but I absolutely adore the sample. You can actually find it on Verocai's self-titled album dating back to 1972. Maybe one of the reasons I've been vibing to it is due to constantly bumping it, but the real reason might be my growing love and appreciation for Brazilian music, as well as Afrocuban and Bossanova. Thank Blog for Captain's Crate in that case.
Please, do yourself a favor and stop hating on Little Brother. They are dope. You just get bored too easily. You're probably American if that's the case, which is pretty reasonable logic since Americans after all are known for having pretty short attention spans.
Or is that just an inherently human trait that goes beyond habitat. Hmm.
Steve Francis had a respectable debut as a Knick earlier tonight despite yet another loss. Obviously, like every other fan/mourner of Knicks, I'm still shaking my head in disbelief at Isiah Thomas. At this point, Isiah might as well go ahead and trade the best player New York has, Channing Frye, for Antoine "Comedic Relief" Walker, in an effort to indefinitely tarnish whatever credibility the Knicks might still have left. At this point, it seems like there will never be hope. Poor Larry Brown. He didn't deserve this.
Anyway...I ain't thinking about a lot aside from myself these days. Sometimes you gotta be selfish. I feel like an asshole, that being said, but at least this is (potentially) temporary. I should get some sleep.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
This week has been going by too quickly. Kinda overwhelmed a bit right now. Through numerous different outlets I've got new prospective employment oppurtunities and while that's pretty consuming in itself, I'm barely able to wrap my head around how I'm gonna manage my money this weekend to help towards rent. I've been sending out resumes like a madman. "On my grizz" as J-Logic would call it.
I need music like this to keep me at ease from the mental loopiness.
Massive Attack - Be Thankful For What You Got (rapidshare link)
From their first album, Blue Lines, which I'm still on the hunt for. I'm sure I could find it sitting in a record store somewhere deep in the confides of the city streets. The lyrics have a slight cliche factor to them, but in 1991 this kind of song fit perfectly well alongside all the other dance hits. Not to state the obvious here, but I dunno, it makes me learn to appreciate that whatever might be going on is only a blip on the radar compared to what could be going on. I just gotta hang in there like that damn kitten. That damn kitten.
Throwback Friday tomorrow. A special one too! How special, you ask? Let's just say...like a necessary shot of espresso to start your day, having a double dose is even better.
Monday, February 20, 2006
When you're young, not much matters.
When I saw Kids for the first time, it brought images that forever changed my perception of New York City. It also opened up new doors regarding my images of sex, drugs, and the AIDS epidemic. I won't front...I mean, sometimes it takes a movie to bring out the realness that can't necessarily be portrayed in words, you know? I can't deny, this movie was really real.
Not to emphasize on pointless little details but rather to make the fact known, Harold Hunter is the second actor from this movie to pass away. Justin Pierce (aka Casper from the movie) hung himself six years ago. Harold (aka himself in the movie) succumbed to an overdose of cocaine at the age of thirty-two. It really is tragic. Some of my coworkers rolled with him and he seemed like a totally crazy but otherwise complete stand-up individual. I only met you once Harold, but you definitely were a dope kid. Rest in peace, man.
The Electric Co. - Respect Life (rapidshare link)
First got put onto this when I purchased Soul Supreme's The Saturday Nite Agenda upon the recommendation of a great guy named Pete (Mr. Pre-war bluesman; check under the "Anything Goes" links). The album ended up being one of my favorites of 2003, seeing that Soul Supreme made such dope beats and knew how to work with an eye-opening guest roster. Oh yeah, and another thing: he hadn't even turned 18 years old at the time of release. Not bad for a stellar debut.
The best song on the album, besides "Worst Nightmare" featuring O.C. and "Queen" featuring Pete Rock and A.G., was this nice little gem called "Respect Life". It would end up being one of the most memorable rap tracks of recent memory that really managed to stay positive without the excessive chewing of granola, or more so, irony to win over an entirely new crowd.
The last verse of the song continues to resonate for me, thanks to the splendid word weaving of a certain Boston-bred emcee who I'd later learn went by the name of Insight. The Electric Company Crew is his band of brothers, which also includes another great emcee named Dagha. To the best of my knowledge Insight is the only one to have released a solo album (Blast Radius--- cop it), but both he and Dagha have made a very clear blip on the underground circuit last year with their guest spots on Edan's critically acclaimed Beauty and the Beat album.
The track you just downloaded was eventually released on an EP called Life's A Struggle, released in 2004. It's okay. Definitely worth the purchase, seeing that it took me travelling across the country to find it. Clearly the best song continues to be "Respect Life". I upped the EP version since the version from Soul Supreme's album is more appropriated to the blaxploitation film gimmick Supreme has running all throughout, chock full of audio clips that aren't really distracting but could be ignored if needed. I felt this made it easier to work with.
It also is a good track to remember what you're here on this planet Earth for. Peace to another fallen soldier.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Headphone masterpieces #3.
Understandably, the last few of these have been confusing and have needed explanations. Still, I believe they remain good choices for this experiment. But this week I'm not beating around the bush. The Bran Flakes are insane, and make music perfect for this vein.
The Bran Flakes - Give Your Stereo A Check Out (rapidshare link)
Just listen to it with headphones on. Seriously. This band is so funny, goddamn. Go to their site when you get a chance. I'm still trying to understand what's going on.
Over and out, you know what I'm about.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Throwback Friday #6.
It's been a productive week, with nice weather to boot. Of course this weekend is going to be completely different because like the train schedule, the weather needs to take a break too from being overly convenient to living. Goddamn, listen to me. I sound so spoiled, like I refuse to ever deal with snow ever again. Gotta get outta that head...
Listen, all I heard was that it was going to be cold. Whether or not snow will be involved is another thing entirely. I'm going one day at a time, y'know? Kinda like how I plan my weekends, in accordance to my preferred nightlife bible/torah/koran/Vogue (hey, blame Miss Parker for that analogy, not me) of choice: Fusicology. Go to the side links, you should find it under "Shameless promotion". If you're like me and are at a complete loss as to how to go through a weekend in a cultural epicenter and have fun, that site might do you some good. Currently, they're working with NY, LA, Chicago, and the most recent addition, Toronto. Props to DS for putting me onto the damn thing. Very deep scooping going about there as far as the skinny on nightlife is concerned.
Also, shout out to Oh Word for including me on their list of Jay Dee tribute links. Comprehensive list if I ever saw one, yessir. Geez, is it fair to say that I suddenly feel so awkward that I'm apart of something so big? That's a nerdy feeling if I ever felt one.
So yeah, its Friday. And ooh do I feel like having fun with today's Throwback or what. But the problem with this Throwback is that there's very little information about it. I think that might be the most extensive and easily abbreviated information about him on the web, so no need for me to transcribe. I'll be straightforward: I simply was trying to find the sample to a slightly recent (2003) track by Big Noyd.
But first thing's first.
Phil Hurtt - Giving It Back (rapidshare link)
As soon as that piano riff comes in it's a hot song. The base drum comes in, it's a head nodder. Then the bass starts getting serious, and you know where this is going. Disco/pop sensibility, but unlike, say "Funky Town" for example, it's an epic and upbeat soul number that never comes down from its cloud. Feel Good Music, literally.
Then that motherfucker Alchemist had to go there, didn't he. Didn't he. Motherfucker, he did.
Big Noyd w/ Havoc - Air It Out (rapidshare link)
Typical fanfare, considering Noyd was a Mobb Deep affiliate from the get-go. But goddamn I can't front on that beat, an excellent choice for sure. The song executes its mission of that pure unadulterated East Coast rap I've grown to appreciate even more. You come to learn that each borough has its own sound, for the most part.
Of course, the majority of credit for the quality sound really goes to our boy Al, who never seems to cease in showing his ability in finding the essence of the rapper's known environment with every track he makes. They say the proof is in the pudding--- need more convincing? Well he gave T.I. and Lloyd Banks, among others, some SERIOUS BANGERS for his 1st Infantry album, that's truth. Listen to that whole album if you can, I'm so surprised how slept on it got outside of "Hold You Down" (which wasn't even close to being the album's best track).
Point is, Alchemist is one of the few dudes I see producing who is constantly going all over the map, geographically and musically. Maybe I'm going little over my head in this regard (really, when am I never though), but could he more in demand than ever before? Al doesn't know any boundaries. After all, he's been Eminem's official in-house DJ for a minute now, and yet he's still cooking up Dilated Peoples some true headnodders like, most recently, "Back Again" (love that video too, Krondon and all). Am I missing something here? I mean c'mon, remember "Searching For Bobby Fischer"? I guess beef got squashed under the radar.
Okay, I'm getting waaaayy off track. My bad. Enjoy the tracks. Summary in three parts: Alchemist is one of the better producers of this new millenium. Big Noyd is limited as an artist, but thankfully his guest spots are always dope. Phil Hurtt needs more funny pictures of himself. The end.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Peas and Corn.
My sister turned 19 yesterday. Since I was basically out the entire day due to work, class, Project Runway (shut up), and partying in Dub-burg, I didn't get much of an oppurtunity. So let this be the time that I belatedly issue a special edition of The Most Compressed Birthday Presents Ever.
Last night while at Savalas off of Bedford and South 2nd, this stupid bitch of a DJ refused to play any Talking Heads despite the fact that I showed complete friendliness without being over the top. I would've offered her a drink to coax her more after all, but I didn't want to distract her too much from her deep concentration. Beatmatching those punk rock songs must be tough.
I was pretty broke in any case. Naturally, I bought my sister a drink since it was only proper (and illegal but SHUSH). I wanted to have a Talking Heads song played since she requested it. But oh well, it didn't happen.
Fun times still commenced. And now I'm gonna make it up to the kid by upping a live version of probably my favorite song ever, covered by one of my sister's favorite new bands, featuring the vocal talents of my personal Jesus.
The Arcade Fire w/ David Byrne - This Must Be The Place (live)
By all means, certainly not a great rip, but if you can find a better one you let me know, aight? Yeah, good luck.
This took place about a year ago. Nothing more needs to be said. It's an amazing song, and this is an interestingly well done cover. Dope band.
Happy birthday, sis!
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I've never been in love during the winter.
Matthew Sweet - We're The Same
I can't listen to this track right now. I just can't. Not now.
But you can! By all means...I'm sure you'll love it if you haven't heard it. But on the other hand, you've obviously heard it if you're an indie kid or likewise, in which case you can just sing along.
Maybe it's the association that comes with this song that makes it hard for me to give it a shot anymore. Just a hunch.
Maybe it's me.
(Maybe it's you.)
Monday, February 13, 2006
Don't let the weather get you down.
Another week starts. I sure hope navigating through the winter wonderland during the work week will be easy enough, since this is really my first experience with the city under snow. Of course, being from upstate I am used to driving through the snow aplenty. Thank god I don't have to worry about having a car here. It took long enough commuting around yesterday. I can't imagine how long I'm going to be outside today. Maybe I should invest in those galoshes I have collecting dust in the closet.
Rule of thumb: gloves, gloves, gloves. Yes, three times. Because who knows, you might lose a pair or two. I know I have. All in all, I suppose this would theoretically cover the bases for all ten fingers.
Actually you know something, I had a discussion a week or two ago about the ups and downs to both mittens and gloves. Whereas mittens make your hands warmer, gloves allow more grip. But what is there to grip except for railings when you're walking around and taking trains? Mittens, it might be then.
Okay, enough of the small talk. Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and could I be more prepared? All the typical vices are in tact, including iced devil's food cake, and these chocolate popems which I guess might as well be like those Dunkin Donuts munchkins. That's right kids, I'm doing nothing as of right now. Call it retaliation, call it typical, but I''ve had nobody to impress on a Valentine's Day for years now. Except that this year, given the nature of this blog, I figured I'd do the next best thing to cheering myself up. I'd cheer you all up. What else can I say, I'm a giving kinda guy. Consider this a little pregaming for tomorrow's festivities, or lack thereof, or well, whatever ends up happening.
Love - Everybody's Gotta Live
It was released on the band's last album before they disbanded in 1974. They were an obscure, lesser known psychadelic rock band from the 60's, who managed to create an absolutely timeless and joyous singalong, for all you pessimists in the world. Most of who are probably living in the same city as me. Don't tell me this song doesn't make you smile a bit.
Listen to this as you start your day and I can make a promise you won't feel as crabby. No one likes to come down with a case of the Mondays, despite how inevitable it might be. Mixed with a heavy overdose of V-Day preparation withdrawal, you may need a little more conscientousness. Just a thought.
Welcome, Winter. Took you damn long enough. Now get outta here!
Saturday, February 11, 2006
My Tribute to Dilla.
Obviously after the devastation of yesterday's news, the weekly institution I have implemented had to take a back seat. Next week we'll commence with Throwback Friday and Headphone Masterpieces, but for now, I'd like to take this weekend to reflect on the passing of one of music's most talented producers, my favorite producer, James Yancey, otherwise known as Jay Dee, or J Dilla when he was on the mic.
For today's entry, I decided to up a bunch of my favorite tracks that he's produced. It won't do any justice to his legacy, but its the most I can do. I am but one fan. If you want to do justice yourself though, buy his recently released album Donuts. It's easily one of the best of this year simply based on how rich with life it is.
Now without further ado, I bring you an assortment of my personal favorites from my own collection (all Rapidshare links).
A Tribe Called Quest - Get A Hold/1nce Again feat. Tammy Lucas/Stressed Out feat. Faith Evans/Find A Way/Da Booty (easy top 5)
Jaylib - The Red/Raw Shit feat. Talib Kweli/Starz
De La Soul - Stakes Is High/Verbal Clap/Much More
Common - Doinit/The Light/Questions feat. Mos Def/Nag Champa/Love Is... (Had to pick one from BE. I could upload so much more, but this is a good enough top 5, I'd say. Like Water For Chocolate is easily my favorite album of Common's, especially due to the production)
The Roots - Dynamite!
Bush Babees - Three MCs feat. Q-Tip
Talib Kweli - Where Do We Go feat. Res/Stand To The Side feat. Novel & Vinia Mojica
MED - Push/So Real
Oh No - Move feat. Roc C
Spacek - Dollar
Big Tone - Party Crasher (from DJ Mekalek's Killer Tape Part III; don't mind the mixing near the end, just focus on the song itself...a total sleeper!)
And, of course, my all-time favorite Jay Dee beat...
The Pharcyde - Runnin'
Aaaand, just to show I'm an even better sport, to make up for not having our traditional Friday fun, the source of the Spanish guitar loop:
Stan Getz - Saudade Vem Correndo
Make sure to remember to ID most of these songs yourself. For some reason my ripping software's CDDB is screwy. Obviously this might end up being the least of your problems since you still have to go through the whole rapidshare process as it is. My sincere apologies to those with slow computers. I figure that most of you have heard these tracks before so I didn't bother with putting them in a whole zip file in case you just wanted individual tracks. Thanks for being patient, guys.
The truth of the matter is that Jay Dee's music goes so beyond hip-hop. With his amazing catalog spanning over a decade, he's managed to create some of the most beautiful music ever. There are very few producers who's work I can listen to over and over again, because the production is just so hypnotic. Jay Dee was probably top of the list of accomplishing such a goal.
It's very telling how dedicated he was to his craft. Having been sick for a few years due to kidney problems, he would stay relentless regardless and lock himself in his studio to churn out some amazing pieces of work. Unfortunately all the unhealthy living got the best of him. But his music lives on. You can hear in all of his music just how much detail he wouldn't let go to waste. The most fascinating observation is how he can make something so simple on paper sound so radiant when recorded. Likewise, when he wants to make a banger as oppose to a soul number, he can really get tap into the right elements: bass, synth, you name it. He really in essence was the guide to the soul of the track's aura, managing to bless a normal track with a life of its own.
Thank you Jay, for making music that inspires. My sincere condolences to all of your closest friends and family, and may you forever rest in peace.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Rest In Peace.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
The Bard Rapper.
They really need to press new versions of The Ruler's Back and Behind Bars. I can't find them anywhere. It's easy enough to find the undeniably classic debut album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, and last studio release The Art of Storytelling (which is from like, 1999), but no sign of the others. Could there be a lack of demand? Or a tougher time getting ahold of the masters? Is Slick Rick even out of legal trouble? I would hope he is. I've been out of the loop, someone put me up on the scoop.
Slick Rick feat. Doug E. Fresh - Sittin In My Car
This is an old, lesser known track, stemming from the Behind Bars album. Teaming up with his beatboxing partner in crime, Doug E. Fresh, they manage to create another perfect collaboration. Unlike "La Di Da Di" (one of the most quotable rap songs of all time by the way), this track is sprinkled with some lush piano, instead of just the simple and sparse beatboxing, to back the excellent storytelling Rick is so renown for. In this story, Rick is merely trying to get a little play on the side with a girl's best friend. Like any respectable pimp. Highlights include Ricky D singing the chorus and hitting all the right notes, and the nostaglic feel that this track was recorded seven years earlier (it's from 1994, in actuality).
Ooh! Also...I forgot about watching the Grammy's last night but I guess that's fine because I DON'T CARE. But thank god for the Internet, which in record time accumulated a video of the Gorillaz performing "Feel Good, Inc."...with De La Soul, of course, live and totally in effect! Talk about awesome. I mean, De La performing on Carson Daly's Last Call show was pretty sweet even though it was MF DOOM performing that was the bigger deal. Still, these are the Grammy Awards, not a late night talk show! Dope exposure tactic, boys.
If you didn't see it, "get it get it" right here. Don't mind the second part with that bitch Madonna. I didn't, at least.
Throwback Friday on deck. Later.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Sometimes a line needs to be drawn.
Fuck Tony Parker. And no, I ain't hatin' cause he's French. I'm hating because reportedly he admitted to actually melting one of his two championship rings, for his girlfriend's necklace. His girlfriend, as well as my future girlfriend in an alternative universe, Eva Longoria. I guess I missed the boat on this tidbit about the necklace, since looking back this factoid has been available to the public domain for a couple of months.
Still though. I'm starting to think this hot celebrity dating fad brings a certain degree of douchebag out of the the player. Kinda like Rick Fox. Likewise, it brings a softbatchness that can only be rivaled currently by Doug Christie.
Parker, if this is a is a sign of things to come, I sincerely hope you can take solace in the hard truth that vous, mon ami, êtes puss-ee-whipped. And that you're a disgrace to your team legacy over a girl. The hard part for me to swallow is that if it was me going out with Eva I'd probably do something stupid like that too. Love is pretty stupid when you get stuck in it like Tony did.
I decided to upload the first song that I felt went along in the vein of this resentment/pity.
Louis Logic - The Rest
Okay, so the premise of the song has only a little to do with the entry. But it totally does mirror the whole farce of being head over heels for the dopest female. Louis has the tendency to write those songs about relationships which totally pass as acceptable and relatable to even the average alphamale. And is it any surprise that some jocks actually are closet emo fans? Thank god Louis Logic knows better than to cater to that style. His influences come from a more indie-sensibile approach, anyway. So though it may not sound anything like your typical rap love song or, likewise, your typical mysognistic rap about sex, it definitely is not a sad bastard lament. It's simply good satirical music. And, it retains the ability to be listened to, past novelty status.
As usual, the JJ Brown production is excellent. In fact, it's great throughout the entire album. You should check it out if you haven't yet, its a pretty great debut to come from the left field of the underground realm. Sin-a-matic is the name, it came out in 2003. Three years later, this spring, Misery Loves Comedy will be dropping on Fat Beats Records, so look out for more new Louis to drop. Or, if you're so inclined, why not take a gander at his superbly abundant website.
Moral of the entry: Compared to Eva Longoria, the rest to Tony Parker are la doo-doo (Look out for the Charlie Brown homage near the end of the song). My advice? Marry her already, you jackass. Save us the frustration while its still early enough.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Headphone masterpieces # 2.
For this time around we're gonna pick up the pace. I am proud to drop this on all of you after I've had it lying around for over a year in my collection. The Changes are a group from Chicago and have so far only released an EP called The Machinery. They definitely have the sound of a buzz band but don't necessarily sound like a flash in the pan. The lead singer sounds a bit like a certain Ben Gibbard but not nearly as wussy. The music on this track sounds excellent and the breakdown reminds me of something The Police would do. Listen to this while driving down the highway at 75 mph, or likewise, taking the 7 through Queens. This is what we call prime private listening. Rock out, people.
The Changes - The Machine
If you are interested in finding out more and hearing a few more tracks, check it.
Other musings....I finally shortened my beard...eh, a smidget, we'll say. Now I don't feel like as much of a lumberjack at least. As for last night, it was a great show down at CBGBs. I never realized how short Vinnie Paz is. Highlights were Sabac Red and Q-Unique, for sure. It was jam packed and I think I may have forgotten how hot the Uncle Howie female groupies are. Props.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Throwback Friday #5.
There are two diners around my way. Both establishments set their radios to play smooth jazz. But only one has better atmosphere, and I'll give it to the one on my block. Better cheeseburgers, and their matzoh ball soups at least have noodles in them. While getting some food from said diner sometime last week, I overheard "Caught Up In The Rapture Of You" playing. It was actually, admittedly, the first time I had heard the song in its entirety. It was also the first time I heard the track as an actual song as oppose to being treated as a sample.
Today's Throwback Friday focuses on a lush soul track, and the white label rap track that loops it. When I think of Anita Baker's name, I instantly think of Adina Howard for some reason. But that's just silly, you might say. See, Anita Baker is synomonous with that reeeeally smoothed out soul music. Not so smooth that its flat, smooth that its like a nice delicious booty. Booty like Adina Howard's.
Listen. This track is THE track that defined Anita Baker's name. And believe me, I don't know much about it, I won't lie. Bear with me here though: even without doing much research, it's fair to say that this definitely is one of those timeless numbers. The production is minimal, its her and no one else on the vocals, and the melodies she creates...are totally goddamn sappy.
And sappy is good! It was recorded in 1986--- was anything sacred at the time? It probably wasn't meant to be the same kind of sappy we think of now (turns out even "Return Of The Mack" is considered classic now). The irony of pop music has been thrown out, rules are being rewritten as we speak. Shit, I have no idea what's going on. I'm rambling. Forgive me. I just found out that my electric bill wasn't paid when CLEARLY I sent it out last week.
Right. So like I was saying...this is a song I might hear over the phone while waiting to speak to those assholes at Con Edison. But unfortunately, waiting music is never cool anymore. Neither is being on hold for over an hour. And, furthermore, neither is sending checks in non-ConEd envelopes, apparently.
Anita Baker - Caught Up In The Rapture Of You
Speaking of "totally not cool", let's talk about Ras Kass. Don't get it twisted though, I've been dying to hear Soul on Ice for a minute now. Maybe even Rasassination too. But you know what my problem with him is? His newer material is not a very flattering gesture to convince me of purchasing an album of his. I suppose this is like assuming that since Kool G Rap is not really too great of a rapper right now, I shouldn't check for Wanted: Dead or Alive.
Feel me? No? Okay, check it....obviously at some point Ras Kass was great too, in his prime. But...I dunno, even his voice kinda irks me on his newer material. At least Kool G's growl will never get old. In the long run, for me, it's all about the lyrics.
And so brings me to "Understandable Smooth," a track that never got officially released. Going back to 1998, Ras was still on Priority, and could have very well put this on any one of his first two albums. However, I guess after what happened with Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz over the "Deja Vu" track due to illegally sampling Steely Dan, I'm sure any small hip-hop label at the time was trying to avoid the politics of clearing such popular samples. So it goes. Shit goes unearthed for years but thanks to the lovely Internet, everything is fair.
Ras Kass - Understandable Smooth
All you need to know is: simply great wordplay, guaranteed. Rassy puts the right amount of enunciation in his lines when needed, and the lyrics are actually quite inviting if you listen hard enough. As for the production, the drums are hot and those synths are key! So key!
Oh Ras Kass, if only you were still that stellar lyrically. And for god's sake man, step up your live show too.
Tomorrow on Headphone Masterpieces, we're turning up the tempo. Stay tuned. Tonight though, I might just travel downtown to the East Village to check out the debauchery at CBGB's (first and apparently last show I'll ever go to there if it ever decides to shut down that is). On stage will be Ill Bill, Sabac Red, Q-Unique, Slaine, and VINNIE PAZ DADDY.
1 am. 5 dollars. 1 hour of sloppy drunk performing with a crowd of Uncle Howie heads amok. I'm gonna love this.
...I could for a burger and soup first though.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
A Tale of Two Beats.
Sometimes you just have to go with your best intuition. When I hear two songs with the exact same production but created by two different producers, I can't help but just scratch my head, shrug, and not show allegiance to one more than the other.
C-Rayz Walz and Bahamadia are both excellent rappers. But C-Rayz is kinda one of my favorite working rappers of the moment, and what's more is that I haven't heard Bahamadia drop anything in a minute. If this was a Project Runway challenge, C-Rayz would be using a lot of denim, while Bahamadia would go straight for the silk.
All praise to me for fitting in a Project Runway reference. Scoooore. Moving on...
Not sure how much you've heard of her, but Philly's First Lady can flow. She's excellent at wordplay, though certainly not as crafty as Jean Grae I would venture to say. What she may not have in memorable and distinguishable one liners she makes up with probably one of the most distinguishable female rap voices. This is a remix of one of her original tracks from her 1996 debut album, Kollage. The remix however I believe is quite new, from 2004. Who the other female emcee is, I have no idea. All I know is, this shit is butter.
Bahamadia - Uknowhowedu (Ski Remix)
Meanwhile, in the other corner, we have our creamcheese; the Sun Cycle Emcee with a track from 2001, one of his earlier joints laced by 4th Pyramid, "Make It Happen". Incidentally, this track inspires me to go back to Ithaca and do a cover: because this shit would sound great with live instrumentation.
C-Rayz Walz - Make It Happen
C-Rayz rides the beat better in my opinion. It just feels more filled up with those guitar jabs during the hook, exemplified by the Biz Markie Syndrome; rappers who think they can sing. Like Biz, the lines in this song are comedy or at most times just plain clever such as: "Life is funny but I'm dead serious when I laugh/underground lines like Jersey that stay on PATH." I would totally remake this song if I had any shred of...ooooh I dunno...cadence, maybe? C-Rayz and Bahamadia definitely are two emcees who are known for that anyway.
Okay, some good shit coming tomorrow for Throwback Friday. Get ready. Otherwise, I'm still in awe of how quickly this week went by. Now that its February, let's hope that nothing bad happens (this month isn't very nice to me usually, V-Day and a certain sister's birthday aside).