As is often the (ironic) case, the holidays are fraught with bad behavior. Company holiday parties often extend their invites to the seven deadly sins, where guests slug down alcohol and confess lust or declare their hatred of one another. Similarly, it’s essentially tacit that New Years Eve is about behaving in a despicable manner, an exorcising of demons of sorts before you finally decide to knock off those fifteen pounds or finally become a vegan.
Even before the holidays this year, San Francisco has had an especially fantastic run of acting in an unacceptable fashion: In the early summer the majestic Golden Gate Bridge turned seventy-five and SF drank itself silly; In Early November, despite hype of a battleground-state shootout, Barack Obama flicked Mitt Romney’s presidential bid into the trash can like it was a flyer that read “GET RICH BY WORKING FROM HOME!!!” placed on his windshield while he was getting coffee and San Franciscans again jovially pranced in the foggy streets; on October 28th, Miguel Cabrera (the AL MVP and Triple Crown Winner) of the Detroit Tigers, struck out looking on a Sergio Romo fastball, which both contradicted the use of the ferocious cat’s name which Miggy’s team takes its name from and clinched the Giants’ second World Series championship in three years. The city, again, went apeshit.
Chronicling this barrage of orange & black buffoonery is the newest banger from SF’s own A-1, “Double Dose.” Along with the song itself, I love the extemporaneous thought process that I assume went into the production of A-1’s latest jam. This video actually gives a pretty accurate depiction of the organized apocalypse that ensued that night: kids smoking copious of weed in the streets, fires, people dressed like bears clobbering folks dressed like tigers(metaphor is alive and well!) and finally a squad of torpid cops attempting to subdue the joyful scofflaws.
Before I begin let me say two things: first, I think DJing takes an immense amount of dexterity, reflex and an intangible sense of creating natural, yet unique, segues between records. Second, I think Just Blaze is an amazing producer and an amazing DJ. In fact, with regards to the second point, Blaze’s collision of buzzing synths and manipulated soul samples were the primary reason for scoping Just Blaze’s DJ set at Oakland’s New Parrish. His time spent as Roc-A-Fella’s unofficial in-house producer paved the way for other superstar producers, like Kanye West and Pharrell, whose soundscapes would often intercept the spotlight from their lyrical counterparts. Just Blaze is an awesome producer. Bangers like Jay-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” and Dipset’s brilliantly subversive “Built This City” were often the panache highlights on albums. The boasts of seemingly infinite wealth from the rappers on Roc-A-Fella’s roster, needed to be housed in belletristic and ornamental beats. Just Blaze was the master architect behind these structures.
Also feeding the enigma I was paying to see was the fact that Blaze used to wear a diamond-encrusted Playstation controller. He also took the nickname Megatron (the Decepticons’ nefarious leader) long before the Detroit Lions star wideout. Finally, JB often gloated about his massive sneaker-collections’ balance between quality and quantity.
Along with being aesthetically pleasing, Just Blaze producing a track was essentially integrating a “brand” into the song. Blaze’s ethos is one that philosophically suggests that you can spend Friday night playing Street Fighter, watching ‘80s-babies cartoons and sucking down junk food. Then, come Saturday, you can rub elbows with exotic-models, ethnicities elusive, while wearing colorful sneakers (because loafers are for squares). Of course this brand is suggesting a lifestyle which is essentially bullshit and unobtainable but it’s fun to hypothesize, and, frankly, that’s always been the beauty of rap music (or hair metal for that matter). These hypothetical ideas were really what I wanted to be conveyed through Blaze’s 1s & 2s: Transforming robots, video games, fast-paced, aggressive, geeky rap music.
Let’s face it, in the current day and age, working a demeaning job with horrid pay, moronic co-workers and belittling tasks is inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean you should take it lying down. I think what I really like about the debut video from Top Bananas is his classy spitting in the face of despair. I pretty much dig everything about this video: the art direction, the song itself, the shots of Downtown LA, etc. I also really dig the shout out Bananas gives your favorite rap blog– listen for it!
Baggy pants, backwards caps, xxxl tees: those items had their time as the articles of clothing that showed you were a rebel but as we age, still rocking those items is just kind of…sad. It’s good that as we begin to tack on the years, some of our favorite rappers are right their by our side. Paste Magazine recently featured Big Boi explicating the bow-tie: why he likes them and how to properly tie one. Scope the article and diagrams here.
One time Jake and I took a road trip and it was right around the time John Legend and Andre 3000 released “Green Light.” Jake really despised 3 Stacks’ verse on that song. Like, really hated it. I chalked the softness of his verse up to the influence of a crooner like Legend. When I saw that 3000 was dropping a song with Young Jeezy, I thought maybe Jeezy’s live-fast-die-young steez would rub off on Andre and maybe he’d drop some of the romance fire. And maybe, just maybe, Jake would forgive Andre. Not likely. In fact, it sounds like 3K’s amorous influence rubbed off on Jeezy far more than vice versa. Note, this version doesn’t include Jeezy’s nascent verse but that’s just as well.
Usually when I see the term “Rap Supergroup” my first thought is that the gas-tanks that propel certain rappers’ careers are running low and hence they’ve decided to pool all of their remaining gasoline and see if it’s enough to get them into the next town of people giving an eff. However, Bun B. confirmed that he, Freddie Gibbs Chuck Inglish and Chip tha Ripper are going to be linking minds. This is a little different. Each of these dudes still has a good amount of fire to offer on their own: Bun B. remains one of the most technically sound rappers of all time. Freddie Gibbs is on the man-possessed-I’m-going-to-drop-free-ish-with-reckless-abandon tip. Chip tha Ripper has some ridiculousl yet, efficient sexed out rhymes and Chuck, while we may think he’s tame because of his Cool Kids days, has been dropping chunky, synth powered beats all over that ass. And hence I think this squad is going to have some Wu-Tang-esque chambers. But even Bun cringed at the term “Supergroup.”
Freddie Gibbs feat. Bun B. Chip tha Ripper & Chuck Inglish-“Oil Money”
Tomorrow I am venturing into the debauchery-fueled jungles known as Bachelor Party. It’s roughly three hours from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe and therefore, I have ample time to bump some of the new music I’ve been digging. Here’s a little sample of what I’ve been effing with lately:
Big Boi-“Shine Blockaz”(Remix feat Bun B., Gucci Mane and Project Pat)
Curren$y-“The Day”(feat.Mos Def and Jay Electronica)
The lionization of 80’s cartoons was certainly one that I helped pedestal. Born in 1982, I welcomed t-shirts, bumper stickers and full DVD-collections of classics like Thundercats, He-Man and Transformers. However, as dope as the 80’s collection of animation was, it’s cool (slash somewhat daunting) that cartoons from the 90’s are now getting retro-shine. Stussy is about to drop this tee that pays homage to Ren and Stimpy. Ren and Stimpy–next to The Simpsons–was probably the most influential cartoon to come out of the decade; While shows like GI-Joe always ended their battles with didactic lessons in morality, R&S were content to fart, pick their noses…and fart some more. But the argument could be made that R&S made a statement all their own, though with a snarky and smart-ass tonality. The paradigm shift, as represented through cartoons, is indeed interesting to ponder on this Friday morning. Whatever. Pondering is boring; I think I’ll scope more Ren and Stimpy videos on Youtube. Nab the tee here.
While peaking at this year’s Rock the Bells lineup, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the fact that a good 70% of the artists are performing their “opuses” in full. Snoop will be performing Doggystyle, Wu-Tang is going to do Enter the 36 Chambers, Rakim, Paid in Full and so on. I wonder what catalyzed this trend. For some of these artists, sticking to a specific cluster of their careers makes sense (i.e. I don’t really need to hear Snoop’s True Blood tribute but hearing Doggystyle is sure to be classic). However, a group like A Tribe Called Quest and to an extent, Wu-Tang, could easily perform a medley of their careers, no disrespect to …36 Chambers or Midnight Marauders, and it would still be ill. Nevertheless, I saw GZA perform Liquid Swords start-t0-finish and it certainly lived up to his watershed’s hype.
I don’t know why, or how this little critter scampered through our claws; I mean it has lions, a zebra and more than the lion’s-share (get it?) of the art-direction is from a dancehall/reggae type of zeitgeist. Cest La Vie. Nevertheless, I dig this song–even if it is a blatant ploy to counteract the pristinely clean image she got from previous efforts–and I think the video is even doper. Though on a second glance, this video has themes of beastiality and necrophelia.
Last summer I interviewed Philly’s own Reef the Lost Cauze and I was surprised how incredibly calm he was. Not only was he calm but he was downright friendly; every answer he gave began something like “well, Paul, that’s a good question…” He was also incredibly complimentary towards his mom, a nice dude. For knowing him as such a mellow guy, I was a little surprised to see that he dubbed his latest album Fight Music. Nevertheless, whether the guy wants to just gives props to mom or lyrically swat dudes’ teeth out, he was nice to this music journalist so it’s just good to see the guy doing the gosh darn thing.
B-More Club music is a lot of things. I’m too coffee-less to peruse the adjectives right now but one adjective that certainly does not fit B-More, is pretentious. And for that very reason, I dig it. I’m not saying dense musings pertaining to the ills of the world aren’t necessary but with so many folks out of work or in jobs they despise, oil raping the ocean and the world crumbling as we speak, sometimes we need dudes like Blaqstarr to whip up non-clandestine songs about sex and drugs.
I’ve always had this prediction that when we are all forgotten dust, anthropologists are going to study the deep lexicon of rap music. And when they do, E-40 is going to be the equivalent of Shakespeare; his bars are arguably the most complex , especially considering that 99.99% of the people who do live in Earl Stevens’ time-period cannot decode his tempest of slang.
The Hundreds, always committed to rooting their garments in California history, have just unveiled their collaboration with the living legendary E-40. This shirt, which shall be sold starting tomorrow at The Hundreds shop in San Francisco, is chalked full of E’s slang.
P.S. word to all of the future E-40 scholars Luniz feat. E-40, Dru-Down, Richie Rich & Digital Underground- I Got 5 On It (remix)
I just did an interview with Devin the Dude for LA Record to promote his new album, Suite #420. If you’re in the lala, you should definitely scope his show Saturday night (May 1st) at the Roxy. As usual, Devin killed this interview, and it’s always refreshing when someone’s steez goes beyond the bangers and is reflected in real-life too. Peep it here.
“Perhaps if he stays away from those jerky broads, like Paris Hilton or Lindsay”
-Scott Storch’s grandpa, Julius
My good friend just sent me this article published in the Miami New Times about the rise and fall of formerly iconic producer, Scott Storch. My favorite part of the article is the streak of mightily subtle disses that get taken at Storch: talking about how efficiently he portrayed John Travolta in a school production of Grease as well as painting the guy as a scumbag who ducked out on child-support as well as mom support. Take a bump and scope the article here.