Monday, October 31, 2005

Lost Ones

When you lost your way, and let your homies hang...

The Gravediggaz - "1-800 SUICIDE" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Run's House laughs at how cute Vanessa's accent is and drops jaw at the size of, uh, Run's house... yet JMJ remains restless. The price of keeping it street?

Or, what price the streets? Stan "Tookie" Williams, the former Crips co-founder, had his death warrant signed for this December. My knowledge of him is admittedly limited to assorted articles since his Nobel nomination and the biopic starring Jamie Foxx. That said, when did expedience become a factor in assigning execution?

And in the face of uncertainty, we should keep it... white? Maybe Gold would be more appropriate. I suppose Paul's woes are mellow in comparison, but he and his cohorts seem to inhabit a habitual state of displacement. The Gravediggaz cut is a stretch back to an admittedly dark period in his life, but also represents one of his numerous creative apices. Dig for Dust to find more old nuggets. There's gotta be hope for the lost ones.

O.C Album Release Party (in case you missed the last one!)
Joe’s Pub
425 Lafayette
Tonight, October 31st
Doors at 11pm
$10 at the door
Music provided by Da Beatminerz and Lord Finesse.
Special invited guests include Lord Finesse, Casual from Hiero, A.G., El Da Sensei, and more!
Drink specials provided by Courvoisier, open bar from midnight to 1am.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Together Again, Naturally

Carter-Jones in '08?

Captain and Tennille - "Love Will Keep Us Together" (mp3)
(purchase here)

The more I think about this, the better I feel.

"I Declare War... on Beef." This is why S Dot gets props from me; playin' the game like a true Grandmaster.

Fuck what ya heard, This is Hip Hop!

Party Alerts!
O.C Album Release Party (in case you missed the last one!)
Joe’s Pub
425 Lafayette
Monday, October 31st
Doors at 11pm
$10 at the door
Music provided by Da Beatminerz and Lord Finesse.
Special invited guests include Lord Finesse, Casual from Hiero, A.G., El Da Sensei, and more!   
Drink specials provided by Courvoisier, open bar from midnight to 1am.

DITC Tour! (first time all five are touring)
November 3rd One /  Sweden November 4th Vooruit Bazaal  /  Belgium
November 5th Melkweg  /  Amsterdam  
November 6th Hundertmeister  /  Duisberg
November 8th Lock 17  /  London
November 9th Waagenbau, /  Hamburg
November 10th Elysee Montmartre  /  Paris, France
November 11th  Madrid / Spain (TBA)
November 12th  Barcelona  /  Spain  (TBA)

Special thanks to Michelle!

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Price of Ice

Nobody out flosses Lilyan Tashman! Nobody!

The Magnetic Fields - "Busby Berkeley Dreams" (mp3)
(purchase here)
Gucci Mane - "Icy" f/ Young Jeezy (mp3)
(purchase here)

"I ain't sayin' she a golddigger..."

Back to the scene of the crime, to where a fool found love in a fit of laughter. This time we dug deeper, past the Code, and unearthed nuggets from a "one-note" past. High-class escorts and expats gettin' in and over sin: par for course!

Once upon a time, a Busby Berkeley Dream unreeled to that one (up) beat. Oh, Stephin, no need for the mellow drama; times haven't changed that much. Say hello to the new type of ice: from 100 on a finger to 250 in a grill, ab fab has found a cozy neighbor in ghetto fab. Appropriate, Hollywood's never been scared of swingin'.

"...but she ain't messin' wit' no broke, broke, broke..."

Thankfully, the modern digger can also lace up their mind before getting their sugar mama/daddy/tranny granny on. Bling: Consequences and Repercussions brings the noise (with Chuck D narrating, no less) on conflict diamonds and the repercussions of colonialism. In other words, it's not solely on Gucci Mane to know why his face so frosty (and thank goodness because any rapper that needs to be vocoded on his weak-ass chorus gets the gasface). Peep the full doc here; NYC will catch a screening at the H2O Festival next weekend.

So, raise 'em up, an organic Alizé toast to all my thoughtful ballers. We can still look nice; just check the ice.

Weekend Update!
Since I know you're all dying for something to do over the next couple days, catch Sides before it closes.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


How ya like us now?

Donald Byrd - "Think Twice" (Mizell Brothers 2005 Remix) (mp3)
(purchase here)

"Maybe we ought to think twice..."

In thinking about today's post, I originally considered Alternet's comprehensive round-up of fibs surrounding Fitzgerald and his investigation. But, really, even grade schoolers know the deal on a rat. I rescind my previous statement and patiently await a decision(s).

But Miers' withdrawal literally plopped in my lap... And yet there is still no crust to rub from my eyes.

I'm not counting on Bush to break out the Grade A material now. Nor do I expect an entirely favorable outcome for the Democrats. Instead, I am looking to 2008: what do the Dems have to do to take it Back? Really, pointing out a poor candidate's poor credentials is small beans; what is needed is a reevaluation of what the party is in it for.

Barack Obama has been making some ill speeches, on point and inspiring; was this what it was like to hear JFK talk about asking what you could do? Here's a piece from a June '05 speech at Knox:
    "So let’s dream. Instead of doing nothing or simply defending 20th century solutions, let’s imagine together what we could do to give every American a fighting chance in the 21st century.

    "What if we prepared every child in America with the education and skills they need to compete in the new economy?  If we made sure that college was affordable for everyone who wanted to go? If we walked up to those Maytag workers and we said 'Your old job is not coming back, but a new job will be there because we’re going to seriously retrain you and there’s life-long education that’s waiting for you'—the sorts of opportunities that Knox has created with the Strong Futures scholarship program.

    "What if no matter where you worked or how many times you switched jobs, you had health care and a pension that stayed with you always, so you all had the flexibility to move to a better job or start a new business? What if instead of cutting budgets for research and development and science, we fueled the genius and the innovation that will lead to the new jobs and new industries of the future?

    "It won’t be easy, but it can be done. It can be our future. We have the talent and the resources and brainpower. But now we need the political will. We need a national commitment.

    "And we need each of you."
If I have learned anything about living here it is that you can count on a motherfucker to keep up with the joneses. So, it's not really a matter of who's gonna take the weight; it's really when.

I suppose then it's about time I am finally leaning back on a Byrd classic. The Mizell Brothers brought a sophistication and class to the funk. Certainly helped that they worked with some progressive jazzers like Byrd, Bartz and Bobbi. But listening to their craft -- the attention to detail, like little Ghanaian bell drops and string swells -- and their well-stitched touch becomes amorous. Certainly, I can hear Mizell pumping through Crate'n Barrel speakers, but in the midnight hour over the Manhattan Bridge is when and where I found myself doing the side-to-side. The Mizell Unit was another one of those slow-burners for me -- I just dug up my ma's old Mizell-MJ 7", appropriately labelled, "Mom's" -- but I suppose the grown'n sexy has grown on me. Not to imply that I am all "grown" and feeling "sexy." I simply relate to that sound these days. On a sidenote, I was a little distressed to hear Jay use that phrase on ANTM last night. Further, dude actually seems to be pretty hands-on with the mo-dels; could it be out of compassion, or just plain Season 5 ego? That deserves a think twice...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm So Tired

Ah, Escape-ism

The Kinks - "Tired of Waiting For You" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

When They Reminisce Over You...

Meeting at the Crossroads

Dengue Fever - "Sleepwalking Through the Mekong" (mp3)
(purchase here)
OutKast - "Spottieottiedopaliscious" (mp3)
(purchase here)

In a way, a generation has officially passed. Rosa Louise Parks was the last of the landmark figures of the Civil Rights Movement (certainly, Jesse Jackson will be heavily eulogized, but history will likely not elevate his '60s efforts to MLK proportion; and as much as I will boost for Angela Davis, I am doubtful she will be remembered like Ms. Parks in my lifetime). Although a finer scan of history deflates a bit of the mythology around Parks, she remains the bastion of the previous generation's achievements in social progress.

For my generation (born between the late '60s and early '80s), Parks and the Civil Rights Movement represent a spectrum of symbols: hope for further social progress, harsh lessons for playing by the rules. On either side, there are strains of the truth, grains of falsities. Instead of debating how great or overrated she was, I would like to redirect the question: what does the passing of Rosa Parks signify to my generation, or, to expand Kitwana's idea, the Hip Hop Generation?

The Civil Rights Movement came about at an apex in social and economic tensions in the U.S. These were days when race was explicitly criminalized, could lead to physical confrontation, and did in fact lead to physical confrontation. It was a boiling point period and a generation of citizens recognized the situation. The success of the Movement was to stand up to legalized (key word) discrimination, and persuade the Courts to back the law down. Hence, the achievements of our activist predecessors got us so far. The torch was passed, and off my generation went toward the multicultural, millenial ho-down.

But the hand-off wasn't so smooth.

I suppose there are no entirely smooth transitions from generation to generation. However, in my generation's defense, we got stuck with a complicated part of the puzzle. Courts are not so much the battleground as much as personal engagement (You mean I gotta talk to these bastards? I keed!); after all, we cannot dictate personal behavior by rewriting the laws (knock on wood). It's like those group projects you had to do in school where you split up the work and half the group goes to the library, gets all the books, and then passes volumes of notes onto you and you're supposed to synthesize it all and write it out in a comprehensible manner. Huh? Not to say that the Civil Rights Movement got "the easy part," no way; too many people lost their lives for that kind of disrespect. I am just saying that the method to approach discrimination and prejudice in the 21st Century requires a subtlety that my generation is only beginning to grasp.

So, as 2005 winds down, as the 50th Anniversary of Montgomery approaches, and I look back not just on Rosa Parks (who stood for more than just sitting her ass down), but also Fred Korematsu, I am considering how we can build on their achievements, regardless of how small or large, significant or insignificant one considers them to be. After all, Siddhartha may have been onto something when he saw suffering and desire walking hand-in-hand...

Today's music selections are from artists of my generation, both of whom hold highly personal belief systems that require deep engagement. More important, the music is meant as a small tribute.

"Sleepwalking" takes a distant, wistful quality today. As I look out on the torrential rain pelting an entire corner of the country, Ch'hom Nimol's vocals echo like battered memories. A fitting soundtrack to the long road back to the earth, taken from Dengue Fever's excellent sophomore album, Escape From Dragon House.

Rosa's legal standoff with those two dope boys in a Cadillac seemed like an inevitable conflict of the generations, much like how Cos blew up the spot. But damn, damn, damn, damn... "Spottie" marinates in the sticky muck of today. The past isn't so foreign, is it? Hollywood Cole still tears his shirt off at the first sign of adversity, and necks still smell sweet like yams with extra syrrup. I hope that even Rosa would recognize that.

I'll end by riffing on Cos' May 2004 spiel: It's time to get in the face of our own business. Then we'll see what's really goin' on.

Monday, October 24, 2005

So Moving On

"In my day, a barber was more than just somebody who sat around in a FUBU shirt with his drawers hanging all out..."

Kelly Clarkson - "Since U Been Gone" (mp3)
(purchase here)

The week in a review? I am likely in greater need of it.

There was the reported, underreported, and just plain late. But a radio crawl under the California sun is something else; here's what I know now:

Good to know that this is what reduced access to paid media gives you. Please...

What better way to cap this off than with a party. Thanks to all the dancers who came out this past Saturday. Dirtystylus and I went record for record and came up with Wham! to Watley, "Runaway" to "Thriller", and others odds and sods. Oddly enough, I think Journey and Billy Joel got the biggest responses. Was a little disappointed Kelly wasn't able to make it. Oh, wait, her show was the week prior? That lying...

In the meantime, we'll keep on keepin' on. And please visit the Kitchen for the true wrap-up....

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Rump Saltshaker

Please don't hurt 'em, Pare Pare

DJ Quik - "Dollaz and Sense" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Warren G - "In Case Some S*t Go Down" f/ Mike Jones and Frankie Lee White (mp3)
(purchase here)

Three Six Mafia - "Stay Fly" (mp3)
(purchase here)
(BONUS: extra special nod to Dewey for the earlybird remix)

South on the rise in the East? Please, it makes so much sense in the West! I keed, it's all love from all sides.

Trident and I caught up and talked about how moog funk goes over in the northern corridor. Even NYers who jump up for a standoff seem to take a load off and drop it to the floor when they hear that synthy low end. Hence, a look back at some era-to-era, coast-bridge-coast rumpshakers: sweet'n sour, meaty and magro, it's the salty lassi.

Quik does the trick for those in the know, but allow me to reintroduce Warren the Third. Front to back, Compton to Houston, G flows slow with (who?) Mike Jones to connect the dots. Too spaced out for the smooth cruise, too plum for that plain rap, is it it the new sound of g talk? Gets you open like, uh, Paris (courtesy Spine)? I had been looking forward to KDAY 2.0. No Peter Piper flashbacks, but Three Six in a '96 Corolla makes for a pretty hilarious traffic troll. With Elfman goin' for Baroque on his latest, here's a proper daily drayma fix to Alleve the road haze.

From earth shakes to rain, missin' temple and noodles, do I bring the pain whereever I roam? Yet it's still been the best week Ever!

UPDATE: One or two more posts this week, then back to normal next week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tired of Waiting?

Contrary to popular belief, Four Four is not bored.

Public Enemy - "Can't Hold Us Back" (mp3)
(Purchase here)

Blood of Abraham - "Calling All Citizens" (f/ (mp3)
(Purchase here)

I've been put on blast. No, my name's not Garrett, and I don't write for the SF Weekly (yet), but Zen's words should be read by an entire writer's nation right now. "There is no blood or fire. There's just an unearned jaded-ness with the world. There isn't a Johnny-Thunders-with-cigarette-and-guitar detachment, to be all Lester Bangs on folks, there is simply an utter lack of conviction masquerading as an outsider stance. Which is ridiculous."

I return to the idea of engagement constantly, because it is a topic seldom, well, engaged. Critical analysis and emotional/spiritual commitment (as opposed to an 'investment') are qualities that are not often emphasized in our daily life. And I certainly do not place blame on 'the times,' or modernity or anything exterior; this is a matter of personal choice. As my jr high history teacher used to point out, we often resort to the counterpart, "Fuzzy Tinking." Hey, I still do it plenty. And that's what this site is here for: for y'all to put me in check! (kidding... partly)

S'more wise words from Poppa Z: "The biggest struggle in their writing is a personal battle against boredom. (For the poor reader, it's a battle to simply stay awake 500-word or even 100-word count.) The sum of it all is a thinly disguised effort to preserve the status quo--in politics, in art, in culture, in society. Which is fine. Let's just call it what it is. A celebration of sameness. An indulgence of apathy. A reaction against change. A critical dead-end."

Like, whoa. I am downright perplexed at the idea that art is to be simply consumed -- and as a distraction for one's inability to create something beautiful in their own life, no less? Simply not for me.

I have noticed that since I began writing I have had to engage music in a different manner. Not in my analysis of it, but simply on a practical level: I have to plow through a ton of product to make deadlines. Now, engaging music for me also includes: (dun dun dun!) Work. Yet, what keeps my fires stoked -- and I noted this issue early on, because I tend to clearly distinguish work from my personal life -- is a reminder that I am writing about what I love, what I am passionate about. It is why a paperless paper chase is so worthwhile. It is why I visit the sites you see to the right; they are run by passionate people (I don't even know some of them personally). It is why I do this.

And, on that note, let's do what we do best, right?

Isht Oddgamn, it's the new phrase. Once again, throwbacks are the hit of the season. The Rebirth of Public Enemy has been on for a minute, and most people remember B of A as 'those funky Jews who kicked it with Eazy E' (or, as the more currently astute would note, 'one of those funky Jews directed a TI video'). Let the big boys tailor the Queen, the threads on these two groups are genuine and in the flesh.

PE revisits famliar themes ("Raw Shit", "Hard Rhythm"), but its the Paris lean back that seems to have reenergized Chuck and co. In fact, even when he waxes on topics quasi-universal (who wants dibs on the "Plastic Nation" - "Mania de Peitão" mash-up?), he just sounds... good. Just that good ol' back & forth with Paris, Dead Prez, & Kam (!) on "Can't Hold Us Back." Put this on 22s, what??

On the other hand, Blood has come a ways. Eyedollartree starts with some mid-90s, blunted Buckshot-type prod, and comes out after halftime with Edan-Odelay g- go and future primitive funk. Sounds like their soundtrack experience has paid off, because each track has a composed quality, live instruments up against samples and boom bap. The flows are still backpacker-friendly ( slummin' it at the dive? and twice, no less), but the overall tone is sincere.

Bones: Maybe bustin' a move as a child broke my eyes. Dangerous Diseases, indeed.

Party Alert!!

Headz in and around NYC, go and get lit tonight with O.C. (not Mischa). Word?... Life...

O.C. Album Listening Party
Tuesday, October 11th, 6:30pm - 10:30pm
Serena Bar, 23rd Street between 7th and 8th, under the Chelsea Hotel

FREE, but you Must RSVP at:

Monday, October 10, 2005

Get Up, Get Out

California, here I come

David Axelrod - "The Human Abstract" (mp3)
(Purchase here)

I made the mistake of making a generalization. Last Christmas eve, I sat on a beach in Oahu watching children and adults playing against the sunset, and I thought, "Good things await in the coming year." Two days later, close to 300,000 people's lives were taken away in an instant.

The past month and a half, even this past week have been a devastating lesson in impermanence.

As the horror of the quake in Kashmir and Stan in Guatemala and El Salvador were unfolding, Mike Davis extrapolated on the idea of global warming and presented a harsh warning. While the man of quartz often speaks in colorful extremes, one nugget caught my eye:

"Scientific discussions of environmental change and global warming have long been haunted by the specter of nonlinearity. Climate models, like econometric models, are easiest to build and understand when they are simple linear extrapolations of well-quantified past behavior; when causes maintain a consistent proportionality to their effects. But all the major components of global climate -- air, water, ice, and vegetation -- are actually nonlinear [emphasis added]: At certain thresholds they can switch from one state of organization to another, with catastrophic consequences for species too finely-tuned to the old norms. Until the early 1990s, however, it was generally believed that these major climate transitions took centuries, if not millennia, to accomplish."

In other words, life ain't a boxed lab experiment.

The first comment warns, "I don't doubt that human activity affects climate, but no scientist can accurately determine what the globe's climate was like throughout human history." Out of reason more than my highly limited background in science, I suppose I agree. However, I am unsure if Davis' point is so much a solid prediction of the future as much as personal accountability in the present. Regardless of whether we are to face these disasters tomorrow or years from now, how will each of us address these struggles? With many of these maladies now affecting US soil in such a graphic (and televised) manner, now seems an apt time to consider this question. I certainly hope the response is not solely inward; actually, an embrace of otherness, that others can be separated and delineated from the fabric of our respective lives.

In the liner notes to the new David Axelrod compilation, The Edge, Cannonball Adderley notes of the producer's music, "there's a layer of violence no matter how pretty it is." Such is the nature of life, true songs of experience. In light of this posting's subject matter I considered "The Signs, Part One," from his third 'solo' LP, Earth Rot. However, "The Human Abstract" seems a better summation of the qualities I speak of. Majestic pianos are buttressed by brutal horns, willowy strings are whipped by Palmer's beat. The Lab once spoke of Axelrod as music to sip tea by; yet, both Dre and Shadow have been seduced by his work.

Postscript: I'll be in West Angles, so the blog will be dependent on my connectivity sit. In any case, regular updates guaranteed after next Thursday, Sept 20. Steady marinatin'.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Represent What?

I'm Spa~ce Ghost!

Ultramagnetic MCs - "Travelling at the Speed of Thought"
(Purchase here)
Kool Keith - "Kiss My Ass" (mp3)
(Purchase here)

"...[O]ne fundamental feature of all the postmodernisms...: namely, the effacement in them of the older... frontier between high culture and so-called mass or commercial culture...." ~ Frederic Jameson

"Cultural aura belongs to whoever pays the most to promote and exploit the product or song its attached to." ~ Jace

"People don't want my reality. That's the reality. I have to make up a word. I can't ‘phontize' myself to be safe. If you don't talk about guns and blunts, its (singing) I need you, I want you, I care about you, I want to be there for you. Of course, we have all that in the world. Then we have real issues. Like a rapper in your face and his breath stinks. You like nigga stop rappin', your breath stinks. That's real. People don't want me to rap about, you didn't chip in for the pizza nigga, you get one slice. I can't ‘phonotize' [sic.] myself." ~ Kool Keith

"They need a reality TV show on finding the rappers who say they are in the streets, in buildings and on the blocks they say they’re at. Rap has got too competitive with all the houses, cars, clothes. I want to know how much you rap, I want to know how good you rap. You could be a wack rapper and have expensive s**t lying around your house." ~ Kool Keith


In considering Jameson's comment from The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, I have been thinking of hip hop as a timely convergence of art and commerce (Inevitable? I'll save that discussion for another time). What began as four (or five) 'elements' has become an extensive periodic chart of varying compounds and variations: commercials to threads, slogans to attitudes.

As hip hop's influence has grown, some of its producers have maintained a sphere of control. An exception in American pop history, hip hop has subsequently enjoyed a heretofore unseen (albeit imperfect) relationship between producer and consumer; as Charnas alluded, it is not the "same old song" of White taking Black. Funny, because hip hop has always been obsessed with that quintessential existential question of the arts, Realness. "Keepin' it real" is both a mantra and stigma of hip hop; subsequently, Realness can mean thuggin' in the pee jays or mean muggin' on Wall Street.

Jace reminds us of the pyramid effect of capitalism, that a few oversee the bottom line, the primary shareholder dictates the terms of Realness. Hip hop is no exception. The trifecta of Carter-Rush-Combs has guided much of the rewrite of Realness in the media. However, I would like to point our attention to the seeming opposite end of the spectrum: Keith.

With a certain craftiness, Kool Keith has shaped his post-Ultramagnetic MC's career around flaunting realness in the face of commercial success, a preemptive attack on irrelevance and fade out. However, Keith's vision has always remained out of (or ahead of, depending on your perspective) step. What Keith only hinted at nearly twenty years ago on Critical Beatdown ("I'ma pull out your ears cos I'm sick"), has now reached that-which-should-not-be-spoken extremity on his current effort, Lost Masters, Vol. 2 ("Tie rappers up in the basement like Preacher / Scrub your f*kin' forehead with Brillo pads"). His realness is as fantastic as anything up pop, yet skewed by our standards.

The dominant interchatter about Keith Thornton -- crazy genius from the past who's too crazy for the industry of today -- seemingly exempts him as a perenially and justifiably marginalized character. Meanwhile, Keith sits lovely, churning out records. And that is his brilliance. He spotted his demographic, understood its fascination with the 'hyperreal,' and has made a living off his life and art. Keith spiels against being left behind amid the pop detritus bottom line, when in fact he has lasted as a career MC (and producer and dancer). It is hardly a coup then when this friend of both E-40 and Dave Matthews scores a commercial with Dodge. He's not going to wait for his inevitable induction into the Hip Hop Honors; that's for the rest of Ultramagnetic.

From stoopid funk master spittin' over drunken fratboy breaks to stoopid funk master screwin' lyrics over stutters and thumps, Kool Keith is proof of how hip hop can make you a semi (or, in his case, a hemi)-paid artist.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Move, God, get out the way

DJ Muggs & GZA - "Exploitation of Mistakes" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Hire Miers? Mean mug to the right, lotus pose to the left, but the Bush machine is thinkin' ten, no, twenty steps ahead. Junichi brings up the option of supporting her to avoid a Scalia follow-up. And a filibuster? Ever get the feeling you're being played? Even the GZA, that admirer of a good stratagem, has no dice for advice.

On Grandmasters, the Genius one plays a familiar field of hustlin' and pimpin'. Similarly, Muggs sticks to the Wu's soultastic playbook, even using old players (RZA, Raekwon) who're experts with the script. While the rules of engagement remain steadfast, times change, leaving the lp a lil'... late. Still, Maximillion is a patient man with his grind and Muggs is along for the ride, so maybe it's just a detour.

G Dub still lays out scenarios with CSI clarity, so maybe we can take a cue to outplay Dubya? Chess lessons for the Senate?

Postscript: "Pop, Pop, Pop" go the gats all up in Florida.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Prince Paul

Double Vision

Paul Humphrey and his Cool Aid Chemists - "Funky L.A." (mp3)
(purchase here)

Frank Zappa - "The Gumbo Variations" (mp3)
(purchase here)

As I mentioned yesterday, I want to talk up Sunday's Brasilintime for a minute. For those not familiar, here is a rundown of Brian "B+" Coleman's Keepintime/Brasilintime project. I won't get into a full event spiel, so I'll focus on the man of the night for me: Paul Humphrey.

Humphrey is widely known as a jazz session drummer, but I love this soul for being a consumate musician. Peep his moves to see how deep his sticks roll: from Root Down! to Body Heat, Let's Get It On to Aja, this man plays the field like Carol Kaye. Because of his combination of credentials and versatility, I thought he worked perfectly for this event.

What was essentially a a two hour jam between four dj/producers, two other percussion/wind players/vocalists, and an MC, Humphrey provided the heartbeat and direction. The MC mentioned that the performance was unrehearsed and it certainly showed as the music wound through riffs and themes that arose spontaneously. But as records, instruments and samples whirled in constant, and occasionally erratic, flux, Humphrey was the steady eye in the center.

The pull for me was Humphrey's understanding of group performance. He takes initiative when needed, yet always allows room for others to lead. At the Getty Keepintime show, he played with a heavily percussive group of DJs and another kit drummer. With everyone else focusing on hard accents, he played up his fluid style and reserved his punctuated points like sucker punches. At this Brasilintime show, there was more melody and atmosphere (Cut Chemist juggling; Madlib on the sampler and keys; Derf Reklaw has his flute, alto and keys), so he stepped up and took the lead. I felt it worked because he gave each player space to work out their ideas, always feeling them out to see when the group was ready to move on to the next idea. Even when the relatively inexperienced MC tried an offbeat idea, Humphrey was all smiles and love, just lookin' at him like, "Do your thing, young blood!" and getting the assist credit for dropping the tempo to match dood's flow. Man, as much as I enjoy rock cats cheesin' out, I pledge eternal love to 'support players' cos they're on some real humble and mature level.

Today's songs feature Humphrey in both a lead and support role. Paul Humphrey and his Cool Aid Chemists was a group he recorded an album with and they had a minor hit in 1971, "Cool Aid." The album has a clean sheen that ain't really my thing, but the playing (and players) is all top notch. "Funky L.A." has this '70s Sunset sound meets Crenshaw aesthetic which I can dig. I also threw in "The Gumbo Variations" because I had my first connect-the-PH-dots moment with Hot Rats, "This is the same guy??" The extended jam factor on record is hardly ever my thing, but captures the fluid solidity of his ...intime playing.

I'm bumping Kool Keith again, cos I want to refocus on his interviews and not so much his rhythm tracks (which would've been the tie in to today).

Oh, and speaking of teamwork...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Triple P

Do I get a plus one?

Dave Chappelle - (I'm Gonna) Piss On You" (mp3)

Standing in line for the Brasilintime show last night (I'll talk about this tomorrow; and somehow tie it in with Kool Keith), my friend and I started a game, "What Sublebrities Would Be Denied At This Door?" The inspiration was from being demoted to progressively, uh, "plebian" lines (from velvet rope to a goth bar to the underpass of a construction site), and we were looking for a variation on the Screech scene in Made. Many of the names dropped were on account of being crabby, but the sensible picks were a trip down pop detritus lane:

  • Chris O'Donnell - Yes, we factored in his show w/ Goldberg, but the co-star would be more eligible for the velvet slide.
  • David Blaine - "I put the boy in the box... Let the audience watch...?"
  • Sticky Fingaz - "I'm just sayin' some women today prefer women?"
  • Christo - Jeanne-Claude would get in; it's all in the hair.
  • The third wheel on Charmed - Two have past creds. The third has... Charmed

No diss, we just thought these kids wouldn't get the B+ Pass of Approval.

On the way home, we played the inverse of the game: "What Places Would Deny A Celebrity Who Would Normally Get In Anywhere?" Unfortunately, this game ended abruptly with the race realization. "The people on the door said it was members' only and they didn't seem to recognize him at all." Now, I'm not one to get all pouty over a person's roll being slowed from getting the hand at the door, but you know what that's about... I suppose all Chinawhite needs now is a gong when you enter.

The true tragedy of this post is pissing on people publicly for the sake of pissing. So, kudos to the person who publicly admits he pissed his pants in the past. Preemption! Glad to see Kane is on Keith's wavelength when it comes to the facts of life. Sure, he could be saying this to push papers, but it takes a certain trust to air out ones dirty laundry (Freudian?) like that. Even Chappelle says that he made Kells a little upset with today's joint. "How can you make a song about peeing on someone?" "How can you make a song about peeing on someone??" Too bad, not since White White Baby has musical satire been on such constant rewind in my mind. But that probably has more to do with my D-list sense of humor than some deconstruction of appropriation and poor taste. Poop!

News Flash!

Bush nominates Sandy D's twin as new Supreme Court justice! Look, they're both women, white, uh..., hm. Should we be worried that Mierscan't differentiate a question from a statement? (scroll to the second 'question' from 'Billy'). Like, whoa.