Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Throwback: Pete Rock & Nas

Since the news that Pete Rock and Nas are working together again dropped earlier this week, I've had this joint in my head somethin' heavy. If you don't already know, get familiar with one of the greatest songs (rap or otherwise) of all time:

"The World Is Yours" off the classic, Illmatic.

Bonus: While Nas is getting back together, everyone cross your fingers that he'll hit up Q-Tip for another track as well. Off the same album, "One Love" is another classic:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Music for a Monday: Maker

Just a one-hitter this evening, folks, courtesy of Grandgood. I've already sung his praises back when I put together my RZAless Wu-Tang production dream team mixtape and since Chi-Town Hip-Hop's been on my mind all day, here's Maker's remix of the instant Southern classic, "International Player's Anthem" by UGK.

UGK feat. Outkast - International Player's Anthem

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cursed Records: Walls Don't Exist

Everyone's got their break-up songs. Those joints that you sit in a dark room with, playing over and over while you drink and/or sob for hours at a stretch. To a certain extent those sessions are cathartic and kind of necessary to get over whatever mess brought you to that point in the first place. Then, there's what Kieron Gillen referred in the second issue of his music-as-magic mini-series Phonogram: The Singles Club (the follow-up to excellent Phonogram: Rue Britannia, with Jamie McKelvie on the artwork) as cursed songs:

"A curse record is the opposite. A curse song will, in a real way, open old wounds, tearing the stitches you're trying to make hold. A curse song should be avoided at all costs. I have friends who, suffering through the virulent stages of the curse, abandon entire bands or even genres of music due to the associated poison."

The concept is one that I'd never really thought of before. Never really thought that there was a difference between the standard break-up joint and its more toxic cousin, I just avoided them both outright because both were immediately unpleasant to deal with, even if one was supposed to be healthy. After reading the story "Wine And Bed And More And Again" in which a character is "cursed" by a song, I instantly knew that I didn't just have a curse song, I have a whole album. So what'd I do? I went and dug it up.

Walls Don't Exist is a beautifully put together instrumental album by Afrobeat and Hip Hop artist, Wale Oyejide, recorded under the moniker of Science Fiction. It follows a narrative of 'boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-better', and while that certainly sounds like fodder the former, I suppose my reaction to it as a whole really brings into sharp focus just how personal the latter is.

The whole album is admittedly a pretty painful experience for me, but I regularly recommend it to people as example of just how beautiful and powerful a musical form Hip Hop can be. I guess this is just another, less positive facet of that power showing itself.

I'll share the joints that hit me the hardest, from the 'boy-meets' and 'boy-looses' sections respectively, and as always I recommend picking it up if you can find it(from what I understand, it's out of print, so if people ask nice I might post it up). Just don't ask me to listen to it with you:

Science Fiction - This Is Where I Landed When I Fell For You

Science Fiction - Losing You Is What Drowning Feels Like

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday Throwback: Back Again

Not too many words, kids. I been gone, and I'm tryin' like hell to get back. While I crawl my way back up to full speed, have a Throwback from Tribe, just 'cause's Tribe, damnit.

Electric Relaxation from Midnight Marauders

Friday, April 10, 2009

"...Heaven sent, heavenly scent that later crippled me..."

I've only really gotten really personal with this blog once, at the beginning when I spoke on President Obama's victory back in November. That's because I wanted to keep this place as a space about what interested me, and things that I thought people would want to get put up on, particularly with the music.

Lately, though, I hadn't been listening to too much on my own, just for personal enjoyment and I thought it was because I just wasn't finding a lot worth listening to, but a conversation with a good friend of mine made me see things differently. Considering how much inspiration I get from music in writing, I started to realize that I'd been avoiding getting too deeply consumed with listening to music because I was afraid of what it would bring out of me.

I've been writing a lot of poetry lately, some of it for RPG supplemental material but a fair amount for myself as well, and music has played a large role in the output. In the past few weeks Blu and Exile have caused me to, for better or worse, reexamine some parts of my life that I thought I'd left well behind. Rather than blather on about the specifics, I'll let the tunes and the poems speak for themselves.

I do not want her to smile for only me.
A smile is the soul’s searchlight.
A beacon for the weary
To find a moment’s assuredness
In the middle of stormy seas
Or simply a confirmation
During a seemingly solitary journey
That a traveler is not alone.
Her smile is not mine to own.
It is a mobius strip of radiance
Where the beauty she gives the world
And the beauty the world gives to her coalesce.
It is impossible for a mortal
To hold such a phenomenon in his hands,
And only an evil man would try.
I would only hope,
That when she smiles
Whatever she holds from me,
In her heart
Is part of what’s shining out.

Exile - Love Line

And all other associated parts
Spread out in front of me
In thin slices
On a platter of silver.
One by one,
I take each piece
Into my mouth
Letting each one settle
And melt across my tongue
Before moving on
To the next.
The textures vary
From piece to piece.
Some are buttery
And smooth like silk
As they dissipate.
Others require
Great gnashing
Of teeth and jaw
To process.
All in an effort
To bring together
These parts
One final time.
For when the stomach’s work
Is done
And they are all gone
There will be nothing left
But sleep
And dreams
Of the repast’s
More humble origins.

Blu - Amnesia

Bonus: Courtesy of Fresh Selects Blu coasts over the instrumental for "Love Line" and leaves me fiendin' for a follow up to Below The Heavens.

Blu vs. Exile - LoveLine(s),DedicatedToLastFe’vrier

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday Throwback: I'm Still Livin'

But apparently this blog isn't. Even with almost none of my fanbase (aka: People that know a friend of mine and got badgered into following) left, I'm gonna try and get this thing back on its feet. What better way to do it than highlight some dopeness from one of the people who made me start this thing in the first place. Jim Mahfood's one of my favorite artist and writers, so I was honored to meet him at Wondercon a few years back. We talked about music, since I was always a big fan of how he integrated it into his work, Hip Hop in particular. Just before I broke out, I told him I'd send him the info for a blog based on my old radio show as soon as I'd gotten my shit together and put it together. After I got about a week's worth of posts in the bank I dropped a line to him, and he hit me back with a thank you. I'm still not sure how much of this spot he's actually read, but after getting the notification that he'd joined my woefully neglected Twitter feed I couldn't help but have the same feeling I did that afternoon at the 'Con: Jim Mahfood's a cool motherfucker.

In honor of the aforementioned fothermucker, and seeing as how it's Thursday, I'm posting up one of Mahfood's mixtapes, liberated at his man Plex Lowery's blog. It's a dope mix of old-school Hip Hop and funk joints that is just right for chilling at the crib, or riding around with on a lazy afternoon.

Click here to read up on the tape and listen to the stream.

Edit: Here's a Mediafire link to the mix, and the tape cover. Food One Mix CD Vol. 1

Also, Jim, if you're reading this, thanks for the convo and the sketch. Really made my day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Throwback Thursday - Funky Drummer Edition

In honor of James Brown being featured in this week's Rock Band DLC, I thought I'd pay tribute to one of his more notable contributions to Hip Hop, the Funky Drummer break. From the song of the same name, James and Clyde Stubblefield made so much music period possible (Depeche Mode, Sinead O'Connor and NIN have all used the break), but it'd be hard to imagine Hip Hop without those drums.

Run D.M.C. - Beats to the Rhyme

Eric B & Rakim - Paid In Full

Beastie Boys - Shadrach

Public Enemy - Rebel Without A Pause (Live, with a great intro)

LL Cool J - Boomin' System


Steinski - The Lesson 2 (James Brown Mix)