Who the hell planned Queens?

View Larger Map

You've got:
60th Ave
60th Road
60th Place
60th Drive
60th Street
60th Lane

All in the same area, intersecting all over each other in a three-block-radius clusterfuck. WHAT? Whoever planned this was insane. Or really funny.


Betty Butter Better Rappers

Been listening to Sit Down, Man quite a bit, and thinking about how quickly Das Racist's rapping skills have improved, but the reasons they rap have stayed true to their roots. There's a joy to linking completely different imagery in our heads, like some fast-paced visual essay proving mostly that there's an atmosphere of links that exist out there. Are they the collection of a million picture blogs and pop culture translated into english/spanglish/hindish quick quip smart man joke rap, but now for serious? I think so, and I think they're killin' it.

3rd verse:
Yeah, figs on the table call me Mabel Dodge Luhan,
Two man in Peggy Noonan's booty with Bruce Banner while Anne Coulter rocks her shit out with two hands, who down?
Insane brown posse solo dudes, Apollo Ohnos grow-homo soul patch it's so cool. Yo fool, rate yourself for your pro tools plus your fruity loops.
New dance, do the booty droop. Onto the next one, now do the booty scoop, do the booty up, do the booty ooty alley-oop, scooby dooby doo, I'm at Bally's so my fanny's cute.
I'm my own identical cousin, just call me Patty Duke, I'm stunnin' like my daddy do
Thug life right above my natty ice tatty too. - heh, stupid

Also of note: bits of Donkey Kong sound effects in the beat.


The Town was actually pretty good

I saw The Town starring Ben Afflleck and Jon Hamm and I have to say, it was actually pretty good.


You Only Act Hard In Your Backyard [ALBUM REVIEW]

As a young'un I was drawn to good beats. For me, that's what made a rap song- if the beat went hard, I could care less what the MC was saying, long as the shit rhymed. The Black Album was my holy grail, stuffed with bombastic, hard-knocking production that perfectly overwhelmed an aging Jay-Z caught in the throes of a mid-career crisis. 

Since then, the role of producers has only become more prominent in the rap game. If you listen to mainstream radio, you're going to hear names like No I.D., J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, and of course Swizz Beats, and musicians with little or no rhyming talent. These big-name producers get mentioned in track titles with the same import as featured artists. It's no longer "Rick Ross feat. Jay-Z," it's "Rick Ross feat. Jay-Z, Prod. The Incredibles." (btw, if you don't know the song Free Mason yet, it's a masterpiece, and a sterling example of how production can really catapult a song). Artists like Ricky Ross and Big Boi are gaining critical acclaim for their ability to choose beats, as much as they are their flow, rhymes, originality, etc...

Parallel to the rising prominence of producers has been my own development as a listener. Since my Black Album days, I've grown to respect good rhymes as much as good beats, and no longer see myself as a young kid easily influenced by a thumping bass drum. But in all my years as a listener, I don't think I've ever known production to truly influence a rapper's own talent. That is, in "Free Mason," Rick Ross is matched perfectly to a beat, but he's still Rick Ross, and rapping like Rick Ross. Even some of the great rapper-producer combos, like Doom and Madlib, are nevertheless complimentary acts, musicians that support each other. What you don't hear that often though, is beats that actively change rappers, that influence them to become something entirely different. That is, until I head In Search of Stoney Jackson.

Strong Arm Steady's In Search of Stoney Jackson, produced entirely by Madlib, is evidence that some production is too crafty to be reckoned with on a rapper's own terms. These are beats that demand a new style from their prospective MCs. They are slippery and loose with deep thumping grooves buried in the nether-regions of audibility, or obscure wind-chime samples thrown over pure funk bass-lines. These beats are a treasure.

And on Stoney Jackson, Strong Arm Steady seems up to the task. Strong Arm is a a West Coast coalition organized by Xzibit, and composed of Krondon, Phil the Agony, and Mitchy Slick. Until I heard this album, I was unfamiliar with most of these guys, but after youtubing around and listening to their solo acts for long enough I found that as rappers, well, they're OK. That is, they're certainly not doing anything starkly original, and they really haven't made names for themselves. But somehow, on Stoney Jackson, they come off as prodigious, wisecracking poets, who seem to nobly disobey standards of meter and rhyme in a search for rap enlightenment. Despite rapping about girls and weed and often other tired subjects, they come off as remarkable young hooligans. 

And if you ask me, it can only be thanks to Madlib's inspired production, which I think is forcing these guys to be better than average. It's that good. It's like a rhythm section that won't let the trumpeter get away with another tired solo. They're saying, "you have to do better." In this case, the players have responded with glee, and it makes for great listening.

William Cosby sweaters, there's only one thing better than cheddar, if life is a puzzle, I put it together. I'm like DMC, my Run Tougher Than Leather, I come from an era of golf hats, ball caps, pimp hats with feathers, plaid slacks with the button-up jackets to match. I blast at any knucklehead fucking with rap, I gotta chuckle at that. Rap black belt motherfucker but the buckle is back. Pro-rap, what you wanna do? Nothing with that, you suck like a hoe on Figaroa, you wack. Niggas know it and they talk to your back, behind closed doors and get a good laugh. Your name ain't Seinfield if you black. My clientele sell more than the crack that Reagan let in. Fuck your Meagan Good friend at the Holiday Inn. She look like her twin.


Searching for a code

Boats*Cars*Dollars*Girls*Helicopters*Jewellery*Skylines from Thomas Traum on Vimeo.

Thomas Traum searches for the definitive genre of hip hop music video.


Not Enough Time on Our Hands

Thinking about what Lil' Wayne might be doing right about now.


these guyz r getting better

Das Racist- Speaking in Tongues


A New World Border

I don't have much to say about this right now. It needs to play out over time, and I'm not trying to jump too many guns. Suffice to say, in light of the idiocy playing out in the Arizona state legislature, the Phoenix Suns basketball franchise has gone and done something rare. Tonight, they're wearing their Los Suns jerseys to "support the Hispanic community," and implicitly protest the new law. This is a big deal, not just because it's an example of athletes using their access to publicity to make a political statement, but also because sports are supposedly the the beating heart of mainstream, conservative America. I hope that this act of protest forces the guy watching TV with the shotgun in his lap to reconsider.

Also, maybe this is can be an impetus for us "intellectual fans" to start reconfiguring the idea of sports as merely the docile product of capitalism and traditional ideologies of gender, race, class, etc...


Sorry to open this can of worms again, but...

Beyonce Page is back. Rage on, debate, rage on.

"Why Don't You Love Me" - Beyoncé from Beyoncé on Vimeo.


Whippin My Mama Volvo

We got two volvo wagons in our driveway, so I figured I'd throw this one up. The video is shot in Ballard - a pretty white, middle class neighborhood in Seattle that Grynch and myself live in. Dude is actually a pretty-well established rapper in the Seattle, especially for a dude who looks 14 years old. He's made a name for himself by completely embracing the fact that he's a really average white guy who raps and doesn't bullshit on his verses. Thankfully, Grynch lacks that malady that seems to plague a vast majority of underground rappers, causing them to rap about richer rappers, why hip hop is dead, and why they should get a record deal instead of actually fucking saying anything. Whether or not you like the song, think it's corny or funny or dope, (and I can't even make up my mind myself) take a minute to respect the fact that this man honestly earnestly loves his fucking Volvo. There's no irony involved in this shit. Whether you like or not, it's real, and that's why you have a lot of people in the Seattle hip-hop community who are from completely different (i.e. ethnically diverse, poor, South-end) backgrounds than Grynch showing him respect. Plus the video looks good for a low-budget affair.


Along Came A Spider

Director/actor/stuntman Nash Edgerton's new movie The Square is getting love from the film blogs I've read. I haven't seen the thing so I can't endorse it but I DO endorse this short he made. It's only nine minutes of your time, so take a look:


The Next Masterpiece of American Culture

I wish I could put into words how fascinated/disgusted I am with this idea. Essentially, a normal dude diligently eats his way through the frozen food aisle, making sure he sticks to the highest possible standards of journalism. I bring you Freezer Burns