Monday, March 06, 2006

Do You Believe In...?

Coordinating with the red carpet

Kid 'N Play - "2 Hype" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Moving to New York, I thought I would be prepared to handle the hype machine. You know, the one that speaks the tongue of Joel Siegel and all manners of hyperbole. Los Angeles, and, to an extent the rest of California, has a way of deflecting much of the chatter with a 'been there-done that' cool. No, really. Ask an Angeleno what they did last Friday night and the words, "SkyBar," "The Strip" and "hot" will not spill forth. However, ask an industry nut and you will receive explicit counterpoint. The point being that Angelenos have a loving, separate-but-estranged relationship between celebreality and reality.

Well, lo and behold, the tables are turned and I'm the new kid on the block in another big city. And now I find the hype, well, pretty damn engrossing. From the endless escapades of one Killa, to the overall dissection of pop culture, I'm simply lovin' it.

Which is all my long-winded way of saying I watched the Oscar's last night. And, yes, I am sure you have all had your ya yas at Three 6's expense by now (I was wondering who would make that "Stay Fly" nod!). Once again, Jon Stewart calling it like it was: "Why are these guys the most excited to win an Oscar?" Because they stayed Crunchy, Jon, they stayed Crunchy.

I suppose the moral last night is that the hype machine do indeed work in mysterious ways. Obviously, the marketing and the endless hollas hardly pay off... but it does create quite a diversion for the little people to pass unseen onto the mainstage. Occasionally.

Congratulations to Three 6, of course. But bigger propers to all the marketing, press, industry folks who continue to tout dated safeness... only to let Juicy J & co. slide through. Wot wot wot???

Friday, March 03, 2006

Party and Bullstitch

(Image copyright © 2004 Ulrika Spielmann. All rights reserved.)

dead.prez - "(It's Bigger Than) Hip Hop" (mp3)
(purchase here)


The site'll be retooled in the coming weeks to accomodate the new schedule. Posts will likely become less frequent, but more in-depth. I've got a couple tributes brewing and I'll try to focus more on features. That said, I'll try to stick with new releases twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). But, then again, let's just see how it actually goes down...

Steady gettin' bigger, too...

On a complete sidenote: what do you get when you pit the fashion senses of a Vietnamese lady born in Laos and bred on Southern Hickory, a gay Midwestern hipster and a lanky Midwestern mestizo against each other? Only one of the most diverse competitions in the game. Images of each designer's collection (seems Kara still got to show) have been circulating for a minute, but the season closer will show the whole shebang next Wednesday night.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sweep the Clouds Away

touch the sky

Pete Kuzma f/ Bilal - "High & Dry" (mp3)
(purchase here)

In my time, most March 2 skies have been overcast. In truth, the lack of March brightness soured me a bit when I was a child. Seems irony was not beyond my young mind, considering that the character for my name signifies a rising sun. While I still prefer a warm summer breeze, sunshine to bathe my mind, diamonds in the back and all that, I also feel the weather is appropriate for some of the beautiful souls that sprang forth on this day. Lou Reed -- rock's Monk? -- a song, familiar, yet set to the words of an offset scowl that masks its pure rawkness. Dr. Seuss offered a puzzle of places and persons set to sing-song rhymes, but buried within it the keys to a kingdom of truths, a Peter Pan palace where anyone can take a brief taste from the elusive fountain. And Jon Bongiovi..., um... ok, so he's pretty straight-up. 'swhy I say "some of" the beautiful souls.

Call the day Masked with a Promise, special goodness comin' soon to a heart near you. So, happy birthsoul's day to ms. dirtystylus and myself! With that, I'm pulling out a nugget for y'all, one of my favorite cuts in recent memory. I suppose I was wandering about in a foolish haze, thinking this cut could be my personal secret... in spite of it being a cover by an in-demand singer of a very popular song by a band with a fanatic following... and in spite of its imminent release on Hipst, er, I mean, "Rapster" Records. So, consider this my coming-to-terms with this 'loss,' ha ha.

Cheers and Happy Day to you all!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Risk Some Soul

Fortunately the Smithsonian took the other diary

Blackalicious - "Smithzonian Institute Of Rhyme" f/ Lateef the Truth Speaker (mp3)
(purchase here)

Hey World, sorry for pumping the brakes back there. Lots happening in the next couple months: Lovely Days are on the horizon, as well as Dark Days; following Zen, I'm trying to pen some words for these bad boys; and, somewhere along the way, I wound up back here.

Sum? Lots of goodness, but no excuse for slack. Onward forward to blogging!

Once again, DC connection put this under my nose. Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is embarking on a project to collect and arrange a holistic exhibition on hip hop. You heard this, Changa? 'swhy I'm still gunning for your hip hop museum to do this in a big way.

The project's aspirations bare understandable similarity to its precedents -- EMP's Yes, Yes Y'All and the Brooklyn Museum's (then Brooklyn Museum of Art) 2000 exhibition "Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes & Rage" -- mostly collecting artifacts, such as MC Lyte's diary (I suppose inquiring minds can finally find out who she was trying to cram to understand).

I suppose from a purely anthropological perspective, this is another welcome effort. However, I always wonder what Joe/Jane Public is supposed to glean from looking at Melle Mel's leather duds. Discussing vibrant and live culture within four walls and glass cases just seems so... misminded. Remember that Chappelle joke about taking a limo ride through the PJ's? It's like cherry-picking a culture. Not that it's a dishonest or malicious move -- it is simply a 'lab condition' experience, too fresh and too clean, and certainly not the most in-depth or interactive approach.

Granted, for a fixed organization such as the Smithsonian to shed some light on a contemporary culture is a bold move in and of itself. And their site indicates they'll troll out the artists and community for input, so we'll see where this exhibition heads.

In an odd twist, I actually hope the Smithsonian (and other museums that wish to embark on this road in the future) takes a cue from the corporates. I got to thinking about how effective Ecko's block party was, because the audience could not only watch simulations of graffers, but also interact with them. Let the people play, I say. But imagine that: Tagging mock cars along the Nat'l Mall? A block party with kids poppin' to doubles of "Walk Into the Sunshine" under the May sun? Embrace the chaos, 'live with a little risk?'

Thanks, A!