Saturday, December 23, 2006
I do want to give myself a shout out for what I thought was a pretty dope week of rock the dub bloggy flavors. Check my track record for the week: not only did you guys get a pretty thoro playlist on Friday, but you also received a heat-rock of a Dub Mix on Thursday. I unearthed an old Fanu interview that has gotten some pretty decent replies on forums all over. Shouts to Fanu. Monday brought you my review of Nas' new album, which is not pretty. In between all of this fun, ya boy covered the Nuggets/Knicks fight from earlier this week, AS WELL AS some very Hip-Hop Christmas bits. I even had time to start a new gig with Cinema Blend's Music reviews dept. - unpaid, but supposedly a good amount of exposure. Peep my review of Styles P's Time Is Money. I mean, on the strength, what other blogs are giving it to you this raw? Apparently not many: my adventure in "social sponsorship" has gone well, as the competition I entered last week now has me at the #2 spot! I appreciate all of your votes, hopefully I can rinse this one and keep it crisp for a year, paid for this blogging thing. I appreciate all of your votes... let's keep it movin'!
Shuffle she lovely...
01/So, my unscientific poll had the Asian delegation in last place of the Survivor Race War, and who'd would have thought that the Korean cat, Yul, won the cool $1 mil? Everyone I talked to wanted Ozzy to win, and I'm kind of surprised he got dissed on that one. Yul played the game well, but Ozzy played it honest. Guess honesty isn't the best policy. That's not what bothered me in the last episode though. In the final tribal council, the two females, Sundra and Becky, were tied for votes off the island, so they had to compete. They were told to make a fire that would reach high enough to burn a rope. Seemingly, after 38 days living on an island, you'd think they'd know how to make fire. It's not like they never did it before... there's proof of them doing it! How about after 1.5 hours and a fucking book of matches, Sundra couldn't get a fire started. STARTED. I told wifey right then and there, she set the Black race 5 years back with that one. Niggas gotta eat, niggas need fire to eat. She wasn't looking thin, so I know she got her grub on. No fire, ma? That's not even right.
02/Rosie O'Donnell is a trip. I don't get how her 15 minutes has extended, but Arsenio Hall is stuck in purgatory, but I digress... this week, she beefed with Donald Trump over his handling of his drug/drink addled Miss USA. I didn't give a shit at first, but once you break down the history and the jabs that each has taken against each other, it's clear that Rosie is trying to boost her end of the year ratings. I didn't know being named a "moderator" of The View was so damn important, but apparently Rosie sees this as her only way to stay relevant. I do think Trump could have went harder: him calling her a "slob", saying she looked like a "truck driver" is cute, but not as scathing as Chappelle's "she looks like she wears underwear with dickholes". That's the one.
03/I don't get the NBA sometimes... the Sixers had a deal with Denver on the table over the summer to trade AI for anyone other than Carmelo. They turned it down. They spend like a week or so trying to figure out who The Answer will be going to... and he ends up going to Denver!? Billy King needs to go. How fucking indecisive is he?! The Nuggets lost to the Kings in AI's first game for Denver, but hey, he still did his thing. It will take some time, but don't be surprised to see Denver doing their thing in the playoffs... I think he is just the right cog they need to make an impact.
04/I want to officially throw my support to Perez Hilton. I don't peep the site as often as I should, but I have to respect any blogger on their grind. He handles the celebrity gossip, and his use of photos has been the source of controversy. This week, he got sued by the fucking paparazzi for usage of their photos. I mean, really, what's the violation? You guys stalk celebs for a shot that will make you rich off of Nicole Richie running down the beach or whatever, but you sue a blogger for using the same photo and making not even a fraction of what you would make? Get real - you guys are scum, you are not legit, and you should be ashamed of yourselves. Let Perez do his thing, and until a bitch sends me a letter or an e-mail or a cease & desist, I use what I want, when I want, to get my point across. Bet that.
05/This has been the week of doubles, entertainment wise. You don't believe me? Watch my genius in action: did you know that Mike Evans, the guy who played Lionel on The Jeffersons also created Good Times? Well, in any case, he passed away this week at the age of 57, due to throat cancer. On the flipside, Joe Barbera, one half of the Hanna-Barbera enterprise that brightened up the lives of many a youngster, this one included, with their cartoons, passed away as well, at the ripe old age of 95. I'm kind of shocked that more people aren't speaking on this - check their track record, and if you were a kid when I was a kid, you know how much they affected you. That's #1. #2 comes in the form of some DUIs from semi-celebs. This Black pitcher out in Florida got arrested for illegally parking his Bentley and pissing in the street. On the flip, Gus Van Sant, the acclaimed director who created a boatload of flicks and then directed the snooze-fest of Elephant, got popped for slurred speech and crazy driving. Sick, sad world. Stop getting into your cars after binge drinking, bitches. Stay at home and get crunk.
06/Let's get into some Hip-Hop news. This week has been kind of quiet... but not uneventful. Big Nas put out his album, and is set to do roughly 300K this week. Why, I don't know... "Black Republican" and a few other jams are NOT worth the loot. iTunes at best. Fader conducted a pretty ill interview with him on his state of mind right now, his work ethic, and other points of interest for his fans. On the final bit of Nas news, looks like his babymoms Carmen is suffering from poetic justice... looks like her autobio got written by some other chick, who is now trying to get rich to that... speaking of poetic justice, this court case recently got decided on some rap lyrics. CNN laid out this story where some rhymes this guy wrote ended up getting him in trouble over this murder rap, even though his work was some fantasy, braggadacio shit. I will never understand: guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger can become the govenor of a state in the USA, all the while portraying a fucking murderous cyborg in his movies. DeNiro will be seen as a great man, all the while stomping the shit out of random guys in his movies. If a rapper is on trial for something, his once entertaining lyrics turn into distorted views of life, all real and no fantasy. These days, 90% of the MCs getting paid are spitting fantasies to beats, but let them go on trial - all of the sudden, they are Honest Abe out that bitch. Fucking double standards... Wu-Tang is re-signing with Steve Rifkind, the guy behind Loud Records, to his new imprint, SRC. Now, why sign with him when his old shit folded? I guess they like funny money... On a good note, it's good to see guys like Baby and BG squash shit and get on the right path. BG called into a radio show Baby was on, discussing the recent passing of a loved one, and they are at least speaking. This doesn't mean that BG isn't trying to get his money from Baby, but its a good start... If there is one deaf MF on the mic, it's Tyrese, aka "Black Ty". He just put out a new CD, Alter Ego, where he sings on one disc, then rap on the other. His MCing is ridiculous at best, but he already has 14 tracks done for a new album. Why? I guess R&B money is lacking?... Rizoh of About Rap has gotten a load of bloggers together to put out a "Best of 2006" Hip-Hop albums list. I don't agree with it, but I give them props. I can't think of an album outside of Donuts that I considered "the best" of 2006. I might have to dedicate one year-end post to the genius that is this album...
07/Linksys, a company that has sold me products I don't need and I have turned around and made loot off of on eBay, is planning on making their own "iPhone"... word is this phone can make cheap calls over the internets. Apple is supposed to have their new year unveiling next month, so we will see if they will get their own piece up and running. Do you think Linksys is going to cut into Apple's sales? I doubt it... but it's a shady thing to do, especially if it carries the "i" name.
08/This cop out in Texas is about to make the craziest wave possible in the so-called "Drug War": he as a "Don't Get Arrested for Dummies" video coming out, where he tells cats how to not get caught by the fuzz. In reading further, you realize that, unspoken in the article, dude is a pot head. I don't know too many non-weed heads who say shit like "coke, meth and shit is bad. Weed is not". I used to say the same shit, with good reason, but I have also never been a cop. Praise dude for his actions, but his job is toastl.
09/This Russian website, AllofMp3.com, thought they got around some Russian copyright law with their MP3 bootlegging site, but it appears as though labels have had enough, and are suining the Ruskies. I can't blame them, I mean it looks as like the site just gave away crazy albums for like $0.02 a song. I had heard conflicting reports in the past, from this being within the law, because each company was to be held responsible for paying royalties, but really, who is going to call Sony and be like "yo I made X amt of dollars for that Bow Wow". That's not happening, and we all know it. Hopefully, those kremlin bitches get what they deserve.
You guys notice how I combine mad stories into one piece, as opposed to bringing you 50 fucking points? Love me.
I'm out of here. Donuts write-up coming before 2006 is done. Long live Dilla, and my Uncle Allen. Holla.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
So I found the soundtrack to the classic Christmas Vacation flick, and with my boy DJ Nappy getting into the Dubstep Mashup thing, I figured, why not combine the 2?
This mix is the product of that brilliant thought... loads of Dubstep, both original articles and funky Rap/Dubstep combinations courtesy of my favorite DJ, interspersed with clips from this classic Christmas comedy.
Peep the tracklisting:
02/Eek-A-Mouse "Christmas A Come"
04/Young Joc "Going Down (Nappy's Dubstep Mix)"
05/Protocol X "Future World"
06/"Aunt Bethany's Arrival"
07/Lil' Wayne "Go DJ (Nappy's Dubstep Mix)"
08/JuJu "Red Up"
11/Lil' Jon ft. Three 6 Mafia "Act A Fool (Nappy's Dubstep Mix)"
13/SDM "Got It"
16/Loefah "Mud VIP"
17/Digital Mystikz "Earth A Run Red"
Pretty nice, right? Shouts to the guys making dubstep that a guy like me can feel. Big up to Eek-A-Mouse for his nice slab of classic dub. Shouts to Nappy for getting dubstep to the point where he can effortlessly throw a vocal over a dubstep track and make it work (his new batch of blends is not to be fucked with). The original for a few of the mashups are right in this mix, just felt like doing it that way. I also want to say that JuJu is my favorite DnB producer currently getting his feet wet Dubstep-wise. And big up to SDM for making dope tunes and giving away free 320s.
sendspace : megaupload
(if anyone likes this mixtape enough to mirror it, let me know!)
As per usual, this is not mixed persay, but blended to where the party doesn't stop. Feel the funk.
We Wish You A Dubby Christmas!
PS: If I get some time, I might be able to finish off another mixtape I'm working on: Malcolm X-Mas, Vol. 2. Pray for me!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Fanu: Anything can inspire me, basically. Usually it starts with creating/finding/sampling some good sound: getting an interesting sample from a synth, a movie, a record, or whatever. Being after good sounds is almost a lifestyle thing, really. You try out synths, buy/rent movies/records, mic things…go through everything and record everything…keep your ears open. I have developed a big sample library for myself, and the best thing is to randomly try out different sounds and see what goes with what: by doing that, I’m never repeating what I’ve done before. When I find something interesting, I just start building things around that. It’s like building a house on a stone base and then getting creative from there, letting it evolve. For example, I’ve just finished writing an ambient tune that becomes a house-y tune; it started with me just playing with sounds…first it was very cinematic, then I realized I can make it transform into a house tune. I’m very interested in progression music at the moment. I don’t think music will ever be my job, and that’s how I want to keep it. I mean, of course I get paid a little for signing music to labels, for record sales, and DJing at the moment, but that’s just very little, and I’m more than happy with that. I love music and I put a lot of time into it, but I want a job that doesn’t have to do with music: I don’t want music to be the job that pays my bills because I want to keep my artistic integrity and my freedom of creativity because they are the last things I want to compromise. I will graduate from the university of Helsinki and become an English teacher in a year.
khal: What makes you “Fanu”? In asking that I mean, what drives you to create the deeply funky, atmospheric tracks that you make and not some dance floor ready nastiness?
Fanu: Well, everything I do comes from what’s inside of me and what I hence want/need to create; that, of course, has to do with my roots. I never let go of the mid-nineties aesthetics because that was such a huge influence to me. I mean, I’m not trying pathetically to repeat any “good old days”, but my love for atmospheres and breaks comes from the old GLR and Metalheadz times and I acknowledge that. It is also true that my music isn’t about the latest mainstream dancefloor trends, and I say that with a great pride.
khal: Why do you think there is such a big conflict/distinction between what many have called “choppage” or “drumfunk” and the rest of the DnB you hear spun? Do you think there might be a time when there is no distinction between those styles?
Fanu: Well, the reason why there is such a distinction is possibly that at some point, breakbeats and syncopation lost their meaning in DnB to a great extent, so I suppose that nowadays some people feel that there’s the need to emphasize the fact that somebody’s using breaks instead of a more straightforward and rigid drum pattern – the latter being the predominant choice. Personally, I’ve never been into categorizing things too much – if it’s good DnB (or any music), it’s good. However, as long as there are people doing things that differ remarkably, there’s gonna be different names for all those things as well: it’s inevitable. Now that they’ve come up with all those names, I don’t think there will be a time when everything’s just “DnB” for everybody, but I guess there was a time when DnB really was just DnB.
khal: Where do you see DnB [as a scene/music] going in the future?
Fanu: DnB as music: I don’t know where it’s going, and that’s the best part! You can pour anything into DnB and that’s what makes it so great: every once in a while, there’s someone with really original ideas – like Amit at the moment, for example – who just blows everyone away. Naturally, there’s always going to be this less creative dimension of DnB, but there’s always this interesting, creative movement as well that’s being kept alive by producers who – for the love of it – are really bustin’ their balls to keep things alive and fresh. DnB as a scene: I’ve never been into any scene-related matters, to be honest. There’s good DnB coming from everywhere and people are brocking to it around the world. It’s a worldwide phenomenon.
khal: As a producer, are you ever fed up to the point of quitting over some of the problems you face as an artist within the scene?
Fanu: Never. I have the absolute freedom to do whatever I want; I mean, I don’t have to try to follow any trends or try to make music that would sell or get signed by labels. I’ve never put myself so deep or seriously into the game that I would have to follow its rules for any reason. To be honest, if the day came that no label wanted to sign my music, I’d still be proud because I’d still be doing my own thing. The only problems I have had have been with labels, but that shit’s got to do with people who don’t know how to handle their business (I think DnB as a genre holds the world record of the most number of extremely inefficient label managers) – not with any scene-related issues.
khal: Which one of your tracks do you consider your best work, and why? Which would you say is your least favorite, and why?
Fanu: Everybody would say "Siren Song", but I’m trying to forget about it, or maybe make people move on a bit at least. Not because I wouldn’t like it – I still love it! – but because there is so much other music and so many other tracks that I’ve made and there is life and music after "Siren Song", haha…I wish more people checked out all the audio on my website at FanuSamurai.com because that displays me a bit more as an artist, not just a dnb producer. Two of my possibly most technical DnB tracks, "Toshiro" and "Ninja Chicks", are coming out in the summer (hopefully in June) on Darkestral, and they’re something I still listen to and think I did an awesome job. There’s my old Photek influences right there and I’m proud of that. Especially "Toshiro" is a tribute to the nineties Rupert. As for the least favorite tracks: I don’t have any. My quality control is ultra-tight, so every track I finish is something that I’m happy with.
khal: Are there any DnB producers or tracks that people might be surprised to hear that you enjoy?
Fanu: I’ve never put myself in any mould production-wise, DJing-wise, or music-digging-wise, so there won’t be any surprises – if a tune is good, it is good, and I will like it!
khal: I know you have some album work on the horizon, as well as a new label you are working on. Can you tell us a little bit about how this came to be, and what you plan on doing with it in the future?
Fanu: There’s this downtempo album called Focused Mind coming out on Pauze Recordings – it’s from my FanuSamurai moniker, and it’s coming out in the summer (in July, according to the latest news from the label). We’ve been waiting to get that out for so long, but there’s been a massive load of samples to clear, which has delayed things, but the label’s done a great job, for which I’m grateful, and soon we’re ready to put it out. If you ask me, it’s pretty much the best thing I’ve done, and every second on that album is something I’m extremely happy with. As for the label: I’m starting a record label called Lightless Recordings. It’ll be mainly for music of my own at first: DnB and non-DnB (downtempo and anything fat in general), but there will be mutual remix works coming, for example. The label will be representing the DnB I’m trying to push: the mid-nineties aesthetics shaping the DnB of today. Expect a lot of good breaks and deep atmospheres.
khal: Is there any track out there that you wished you had produced?
Fanu: Maybe a million!
If we’re talking about DnB, here’s a few:
Photek – Seven Samurai
khal: Many heads out there are in love with your string of mixes! I know that you have said that you are pretty new to the art of DJing, but do you have any plans on tightening up and taking your talents on tour?
Fanu: DJing isn’t all that new to me, actually: I’ve been playing for a few years, but it’s got more frequent recently. In the past year or so, I’ve played in Hungary, Poland, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Finland, and England, for example. I was in Cracow and Rybnik a few weeks ago and this week I’ll be playing in Utrecht. I’ve never done any tours but I’m glad to go anywhere.
khal: What would you say is your current top 10?
khal: Are there any producers that you would like to collaborate with?
Fanu: I’ve never been too wild about the idea of doing collabos, but I’d be honored to work with Amon Tobin, DJ Shadow, Underworld, or Tracey Thorne.
khal: What are some activities you like to get into when you are not working?
Fanu: Well, for example, I just recently started skateboarding again. I’ve been injured most of the time – haha!!! – but whenever I can, I’m on the board now. Also, the summer’s here soon, so hanging out with friends, with my lady, enjoying the sun and beer, that’s the shit!
khal: Do you have any final comments/shout outs/words of advice?
Fanu: Do it for the love.
First off, shouts to Spine Magazine for originally posting up this link. As you can see, the person who posted this obviously awesome clip of the RZA on the talk show after Letterman has no Christmas (Kwanzaa? what exactly does the Five Percent Nation celebrate?) spirit, as they chose to not allow this clip to be embedded! Well, a quick call on the dub phone to Rafi Kam, the one behind XXL's favorite Hip-Hop blog, Oh Word, and by 12:36AM, he had the proper YouTube goodness linked and ready for mass consumption. Massive respect to Rafi each and every.
In an even greater show of Christmas/Kwanzaa/5% Spirit, Oh Word, along with that master artist agent b, have hooked up the Wu-Peanuts diorama for you guys to print out and give to your beloved ODB fans. If you aren't up on Wu-Peanuts, you are missing out on something powerful. Get familiar.
So, bong bong, get'cha Christmas/Kwanzaa/5% Holiday on!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Well, it's either DOOM or A Christmas Story...
Monday, December 18, 2006
He also dropped the ball beatwise. I mean, I cannot say it enough: why the fuck is will.i.am producing THREE cuts on this, including the God-awful title track? What sense does it make to recycle the sample you used on your last joint, and totally Diddy-fy the lick? "Thief's Theme" was some true "street-hop": eerie, brooding and intoxicating. This new creation is what's wrong with Hip-Hop now, from the predictable fills right on down to will's unnecessary "is deeeeead" drop-ins. If we want to truly examine why Hip-Hop died, part of it had to do with the "Jiggy Era", where the risky business of "Suicidal Thoughts" and "edutainment" was thrown aside for cats who took hits and made hits with them. Why contribute to that, then question someone else's hustle? The G.O.D. doesn't stop there, though. To further muddy the title of this disc, Nas brings in guys like Scott Storch, Kanye West and Snoop to produce and guest on the album. What for? Why not replace those names with guys like Primo, Extra P and, I don't know, Slick Rick or some shit? You would just think, with a title that to the point, he'd take some steps to reinvigorate the music, not help usher it into it's corporate grave.
On the flipside, however, there are some points that cannot be disputed. "Black Republican" saves this release, with L.E.S. crafting a stormer out of some Godfather samples to let Jay-Z and Nas do what the fans have wanted for years: hear two of the game's finest of all time kick that raw for 3 minutes and 45 seconds. There's no real need to debate who did who in, who shitted on whom... I mean they both came dope, and this is as good a look as ever. L.E.S. also does wonders with some classic Headhunters-era Herbie Hancock for "You Can't Kill Me", providing some slick boom-bap for Nas' surprisingly fresh flows. One of those tracks where the old Nasty comes out in full view. Dr. Dre comes correct, giving Nas one of his signature grown-man boom bap beats on "Hustlers" (formerly known as "QB True G"), allowing Nas to coast all over that first verse. The Game holds his own, but he is really just on this one to give his mentors handjobs over a raw track. "Who Killed It" is a weird one... Salaam Remi and will.i.am jack the "I Ain't No Joke" drums and throw some weird movie score samples and loops over the track. I cannot tell if this is Nas putting on a weird voice on the verses, or if it's some other nigga entirely... but if you listen to the story, you'll be in for a smooth groove. Kanye drops a nice, cymbal-heavy beat on "Let There Be Light", but the chorus would have sounded better somewhere else, and by the way Nas is rhyming, he probably feels the same way.
It's hard to really get into this album. On one hand, I want it to be the best thing since Illmatic, and you can hear Nas getting his pen-game on with some of these tracks. He has never really stopped being a dope rapper, but along the way he started picking weak beats, and leaving the gems on the cutting room floor. Hip Hop Died when MCs took their true craft and diluted it to make money. Hip Hop Died when Corporate America peeped in and realized that, wow, we can really make money off of these niggers! And, sadly, Hip Hop Died when these MCs thought that any old malarky they put on a compact disc would equate to sales as long as they got the right mixture of current hitmakers, guest MCs/vocalists, and the right title. I'm half-surprised that Lil' Wayne didn't make it onto any of these cuts. I'm also surprised Pitchfork gave this album such a good review. It's hard for me to get excited over the selection of beats, and when I do try to overcome the snoozers, I get treated to tracks like "Blunt Ashes", which has Nas asking if old Black writers got lit before telling stories... he then goes on, trying to rap as slow as Chris Webber's coma-inducing beat goes, playing the "Let's see how many old Black people's names we can put into a track" game.
Maybe Hip Hop isn't dead. Maybe Hip Hop is just tired, giving birth to all of these babies out here. She was born in the late 70s, and has been molested, mass marketed, whored, and is the mother of many children. She still shows glimpses of her old self from time to time, but she knows who butters her bread, and over the last 10-12 years, she has been more focused on flirting with the young MTV boys, getting her drink on, fantasizing about bling, all the while trying to masquerade as if she was better than everyone else. She still has potential, but until she gets out of this piff-haze, she will still be another whore, another hustle, and a fucking disappointment. I miss you, Hip Hop, and while Nas might act like he does, too, he has a funny way of showing it.
rock the dub gives Hip Hop Is Dead a 6 out of 10. Not only does this release focus too much on lax beats and "old man in the club" posturing, but it is unfocused and unreliable. A true MC's MC, Nas needs to pick up the ball and get let his swagger run for an entire LP.
Nas' Hip Hop Is Dead hit stores on December 19th, 2006. Check out his website for more information.
Perpetuum: "This would be a fantastic album... ...if it were an album by Nas."
You see, shit like this makes Corporate White America think that basketball players are just ignorant hoods. I had Sportcenter on last night, and Stephen A. Smith was talking about how the Isaiah Thomas/Larry Brown beef had something to do with this: word is that Nuggets' coach George Karl is a good friend of Brown's, and even though Denver was murking NY all night, he kept 4 starters, including Carmelo Anthony, in the game at the end. So, Zeke apparently mouthed to 'Melo "don't go under that basket"... some think he was saying either "you gonna get raped" or "you know you guys are wrong for this" (listen to his side of the story). In any case, 'Melo looks like the idiot -- go to like 0:48 into that video, and see how he clocked that dude. Got his lick in, then he was Michael Bolton. You gotta love that -- until he gets his ass suspended. Seven cats got suspended, including Melo, who got a hefty 15 game jobber. You'd think, after the Detroit/Indiana fiasco of a few years back, that niggas wouldn't be trying to show their true nigga tendencies.
To quote Rick James, "they shoulda never gave you niggas money!"