Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Short Dogs

Short but funky, Da Brat, Remy Ma, Lil' Kim and MC Lyte pay tribute to...
MC Lyte at the 2006 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors

Mobb Deep - "Quiet Storm (Remix)" (Feat. Lil' Kim) (mp3)
(Purchase here)

Kelis - "Popular Thug" (Feat. Pusha T) (mp3)
(Purchase here)

Kelis - "Daddy" (Feat. Malice) (mp3)
(Purchase here)

To be honest, I've never been a Mobb Deep fan. Sure, that's quasi-sacrilege among the Golden Era set -- what shorter better duo to turn to for their gangsta lean fix (actually, these guys aren't half bad)? But they just never did it for me. Why? It's not my left coast upbringing: at my Angeleno junior high, Illmatic and Ready to Die were staples as much as The Chronic and Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.. It's not the production: much of Juvenile Hell and The Infamous bangs in the tradition of Extra P and Buckwild. And it's not the rhymes: that whole "stab you with your nosebone" image never gets old.

So, why do I take H & P as such big jokes? Perhaps because they bring it upon themselves. Call it Napoleon complex or Napoleon Dynamite, the Boy Wonders try too hard for my taste.

So, you can imagine I was a little disappointed to realize Mobb Deep passed the torch to the Clipse. What what? you say? Peep the profile: unique regional flavor, on point production from contempo hitmaker(s) and rhymes to make the boys of Guantanamo blush, as well as being two shawties... yet, I don't have much to say about their music. Sure, the drama/hype/backstory is cool. But once the records drop, what next? In the Clipse's case, probably doesn't help that I've been hearing Hell Hath No Fury in one shape or the other for the last couple years... which isn't a bad thing because good music should hold up over time. But a couple years is more than enough to determine there isn't that much going on for me. And I suppose there are other topics that have bothered me during that time.

So (for the third time), why am I giving these groups some shine? Because it's Halloween, the one day/night out of the year when you do that thing that isn't really your normal thing. So, here's my tribute to two twos I don't mess with too often. Please note: don't they sound nice when they outsource the company of a third? "Quiet Storm" needs no note except: Lil' Kim has really been channeling Lyte for a while -- must be the rust she gargles with. T and Malice take turns on Kelis -- def'ly no Duke intended -- on her second album (unavailable in the States for no discernible reason beside 4080; that said, apparently Mrs. Nas flies higher'n import taxes, b/c peep the ridiculously low price), softening that ruggish thuggish just enough.

Oh, cop that crack here

Monday, October 30, 2006

I Love a Parade, er, Marathon

Smell the glove

The Beastie Boys - "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Incredible Bongo Band - "Last Bongo in Belgium" (mp3)
(purchase here)

I still remember the day when I decided not to be a writer. My brother, who is almost 5-and-a-half years my senior, had just graduated from high school and had his heart set on becoming a freelance writer and music A&R -- the next big kid to expose the next big (metal) thing. I, on the other hand, was busy discovering my musical aptitude, exploring any style of non-metal music, and producing hormones that would catalyze an immense (yet naively undirected) teenage angst toward the music biz-nass business. Throw in some contrarian tendencies and sibling rivalry, and the formula was complete: he'd be the corporate shill while I'd be the martyr waiting to be skewered/regaled.

Indeed, what a long, strange trip it's been. My brother still writes and works in the business, but is quicker to quote its nasty habits. And I, too, became a writer... and, by virtue of the work, another cog in the 'nass (no Screech). Fortunately, my end of the journey feels more like a Wes Anderson comedy than an Ingmar Bergman melodrama. Less about compromise than learning the 'complextities' of life, I now consider myself humbly aware of what happens when art and money meet (same applies in my other life).

So, it's Monday and I realize I'm staring into the belly of the 4080 beast, looking down the barrel of my first CMJ, which I'll be covering for Popmatters. I am surprised I am this anxious, but I realize that all those years of hating on anything including the word "industry" really just built up these corporate love-fests in my head. Will the undie American idol win some influential blogger's heart? Will the mega-stars shine like the superstars they are? Really, what can CMJ do that Diddy didn't do?

Of course, like I said, this is all in my head. I spend so much time holed up in the flophouse that every human interaction becomes an instance of shock and awe (I know, uckf the internets). So, I will say it from the outset: CMJ will likely be a ton of successive shows, films, and panels that'll merge into one big puddle. There'll be some highlights, some lowlights, some long-ass lines and some guys and girls stepping or spilling shit on my feets, and some sweet comps with even sweeter swag. There'll be some friends getting in and more getting ass'd out. And there'll be no sleep for a week and another week of recovery. Bare minimum.

So, people get ready, there's a helluva trip comin'... And tomorrow's the night the freaks come out, so holla if you see me.

ps - Bongo Rock, the Incredible Bongo Band's dope reissue drops tomorrow. I just assumed you didn't need the full exposition to connect my theme music and its sample source with this post... right?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Sunday Kind of Love

Roll call

Sleepy Brown - "Sunday Morning" (mp3)
(purchase here)

One of my first lessons on the internets was a helpful reminder to give credit where credit is due. In other words, cite folks, throw your homies up on the link list, do a blog roll every once in while, etc. Admittedly, I'm a pretty bad friend and have been delinquent.

Instead of doing a rote roll call, I want to shout out both my facebook hoodlums/myspace groupies/craigslist freaks, as well as the random people/found objects that I'm lovin' (no Madonna 'doption) these days:
  • I left my heart in Calabasas, Korea: A friend recently reminded me that Koreans are the best. Even better than the Chinese and the Japanese, because those souls from Seoul exchange the best gifts. Then I reminded her of this and it was on like Donkey Kong (thanks Pat). Which has nothing to do with Mia and her awesome photography that is being displayed at the Transmissions Gallery, Berkeley, CA for the next couple months. Her "Reconstructive Art" is my favorite, because I have lazy eyes and they help focus my attention. Rich people, cop her isht.
  • I'm on my baked goods isht: Must I say it again, I said it before: move out the way when Joyce is comin' through the door. So, hos, sit down ~ there's a real baker in town.
  • Dallas Penn: Y'all know the name, D motherfuckin' P, ain't a damn thing changed... except for the better. He's knee deep in the truth and rising, so keep an eye on the kid.
  • My Hip-Hop Weekly: Spinal notes, nah right?
  • Jane Dark's Sugarhigh: This says it all. Even KRS should take a note.
  • The Departed: Not only was this a great primer for Boston, I learned loads about the Irish ("I'm Irish, I'm going to have to deal with something being wrong the rest of my life"), Catholics ("What did you confess to that opinionated pederast?"), marriage ("Marriage is an important part of getting ahead. It lets people know you're not a homo. A married guy seems more stable. People see the ring, they think 'at least somebody can stand the son of a bitch.' Ladies see the ring, they know immediately that you must have some cash, and your cock must work"), and homosexuals ("You fuckin' homos!").
  • Abnorml: My favorite emcee talks about nothing.
  • Why are you reading this?: Because I knew him before he used words like "assiduous" or spoke of "traif meats" on his "salivating lips." Water your friends and watch them grow (no 12-year old dick).

Friday, October 27, 2006

This Friday, I'm in Love with...

There is a light that shines / Especially for you and me (via Mount Pleasant)

Lou Reed - "Charley's Girl" (mp3)
(purchase here)

A footnote to our previous stakeholder's meeting: my Stuy Town friend saw Lou Reed at one of the last shows at the Palladium. I've wanted to see Lou for a while. Then I learned he kicks it on the streets on the daily. Oh.

Getting back to the show, well, my friend doesn't remember much about it. So scratch that story. I watched him perform on tv when he was promoting Ecstasy. Just raw rock. None of that rawk. Rock. And that's what I love about the recently reissued Coney Island Baby. Perhaps the most straight forward and glitz-less record of his I've heard -- he even takes shots at himself, like on "Crazy Feeling:" "And you, you really are a queen... / And I know, cause I made the same scene" -- it's both accessible and endlessly endearing. And just good fucking rock. Which is why I am endlessly amused that when he sees that girl, he's "gonna punch her face in." All over some twang and cowbell. Bring da ruckus, Lou.

Oh, another footnote: "...a playful brag, more affectionate than offensive." Must be talkin' about Jesus? No, just Paul Nelson all up on Lou's lyric lickin': "I'm just a gift to the women of this world / Responsibility sits so hard on my shoulder."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rep Yo' Set

A city like any other...?

K.T. - "I Tried To" (Feat. Masta Ace) (mp3)
(purchase here)

Bawston Strangla - "Murphy's Law" (Feat. QStrange) (mp3)
(purchase here)

What's you city's flavor?

If you can answer this question, I actually envy you. Having spent most of my life in metropolises (Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York), I've always had the cop-out response: "cosmopolitan." Hardly inaccurate, it is also highly undescriptive of these immense and immensely varied cities. Hence, my endless fascination with the "mid-sized" metropolis, like Philly, Oakland, and D.C. Each has that unique mix of American soul and Amerikkkan uckfery (race/class struggle, migration flux, and plain ol' drayma) that pushes them to the top of so many lists: from most number of publicy commisioned murals to most number of murders. Yet, each is also compact enough to comprehend and appreciate after just a handful of visits. D.C.'s got its corporate slant, but with a southern comfort. Oakland is uncompromising and proud. Needless to say, I was excited to visit Boston. And how seemingly timely and propitious that I received the Boston State of Mind comp right before my trip. Key word: seemingly.

The beauty I appreciate most in the mid-size is its distinct local flavor. While the metropolis filters down ideas from its disparate denizens, the mid-size draws on tha diversity, but at a smaller scale. Frankly, the local identity is easier to spot and can be embraced immediately. So, I was disappointed that a city with a history of talent -- where my Bulldogs at? -- would be repped by a comp that could've been produced anywhere, at least in New England.

First strike goes against its New York slant -- doesn't help that the biggest names here are Brooklyn natives Masta Ace, Agallah, and EZ Elpee. Second goes against the run-of-the-mill sampling that is indistinct and unremarkable. Case in point for the first two strikes? K.T.'s "I Tried To." Don't get me wrong, it's not bad: but 12 other tracks like this on a 17 track disc that claims to rep for Beantown's set? That sounds more like, "We can do it, too!" as opposed to the more empowering, "This is how we do it!"

Last strike goes against stereotypes, which brings us to Bawston Strangla's "Murphy's Law." You don't even need to listen to the track to deconstruct the H.A.M. happening here. Ok, take a listen. Now go watch The Departed.

What's sad is that it only took a Ctown bus ride over MassPike to get a message from the city. Fuck, even in a blue state like California, you don't see a real estate baller initiating a PR campaign like this. Waht tha fu~g, indeed.

Beans, there's something else in your water, so in the meantime sintalentos is watching you.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Kick in the Door

Also a certain president's motto

Zion I and the Grouch - "Kickin' It" (mp3)
(purchase here)

7L & Esoteric - "3 Minute Classic" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Late last week, "the biggest real estate deal in American history" quietly went down. In truth, this event would have escaped my sight, too, if it hadn't been for a co-worker, who resides in Stuy Town, filling me in. From the aforementioned link:

"Tishman Speyer Properties, which owns a global collection of prominent buildings including Rockefeller Center, is adding a staggering 80-acre chunk of Manhattan to its portfolio. Heralded as the biggest real estate deal in American history, Tishman Speyer and its partner BlackRock Realty have agreed to purchase Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, located on the east side of Manhattan between 14th and 23rd Streets, for $5.4 billion. The site is currently home to 110 apartment buildings, containing 11,232 individual units."

Anyone familiar with New York City knows that the PJs 'affordable housing' is alive, but getting its "azz" kicked. Dallas' observations got me thinking: it's not just the nation of millions holding folks back, it's also the bankroll or debt in the millions that's pushin' 'em out. Ah, and it do push 'em, it push 'em real good.

So I understand the concern when a transaction like this occurs. We're watching a huge swath of middle class affordable housing in Manhattan -- and, accordingly, the middle class -- get the boot. Part of me suspects why the blogosphere isn't up in arms about this is because it is a world that consists of many upper class/upper middle class "up-and-comers" who one day may achieve that piece of the pie. But if you want to have a conversation about true diversity, then this means accepting that we exist on an un-level playing field. And that means making the effort to create a place for everyone, regardless of the size of their moneybags. Or the size of their penis or breast-ases.

Which brings me to today's selections, music that I typify as thoroughly middle class: from production to consumption on down to perception. The headspace of artists like "Zion I," "The Grouch," and "Esoteric" is too self-absorbed to relate to the greater conscience known as 'the mainstream.' And they exist and are supported by an entire like-minded community: one that's navel-gazes a bit too much for its own good, is reflexive against the 'establishment' (both above and below) while creating and operating within its own established order, and enjoys the comfort of this space. Really, I'm shit-talking because it's a community like any other; it just sits in the middle between those who jack Apple Jacks and the swagger jackers who invest in Apple.

However, much like the mad real world, the perceived "other" in music is getting the bump, too. Musicians are increasingly being treated as fly-by-night operations, as opposed to long-term investments. So, make that money quick, son, because Jeezy quickly begets Juc, who quickly begets Unk, who quickly begets... you get the picture. As much as I clown on the underground, I grow increasingly concerned that they are getting the squeeze. How much longer can the Living Legends turn around albums and support their selves, their families, et. al. on their music? 4080 ain't about good lookin' out and fans are even more fickle (not that the artists are all saints).

So, it's with a certain relief that I see 'old-timers' pushing it along, trying to find new ways to challenge themselves and... well, live. Zion I and the Legends have been both neighbors and collaborators in the past, but Heroes in the City of Dope is the first for the Grouch and Zion to flow over an entire album of Amp Live prodo. The new school reach-around "Hit 'Em" (featuring the Yay Area Redman Mistah F.A.B.) ain't half bad, "Current Affairs" slaps even harder, but I picked an unusual one because of the London Calling invocation. Though "Kickin' It" speaks more to the Clash's government paranoia, the song also reminds me of big money invasion. Fitting, considering the iconic punk image-turned-dorm reference. So, when Ratner kicks in your front door, how you gonna come?

The 7LESO cut seems to stray even further from our topic, but really provides the glue for the whole post: why it's better to go out with your hands on the trigger. On the duo's new album A New Dope, DJ 7L remarked: "It's about creative risks, and throughout our career for one reason or another, we haven't made enough of them. We wanted to challenge ourselves and our core fanbase." Now when's the last time an established artist admitted to slacking off? Talk about developmental leaders leading the way... from the middle. Not to overstate Dope; "3 Minute Classic" is straight porn talk. That said, the album kinda reminds me of Edan 2006 -- if Beauty and the Beat: 2005 hipster fascination with funky psych, then A New Dope: 2006 hipster love of electro/dark disco. Which leads me to this conclusion: there's something in that Boston water.

Boston underground hip-hop: sometimes, there isn't a place for mediocrity

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pop Matters

Google image search of "Pop Matters" brings up Cat Power, a la Amorica

Lily Allen - "LDN" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Electric Light Orchestra - "Telephone Line" (Instrumental) (mp3)
(purchase here)

I meant to put together this "Beantown Week" post last weekend when I was actually up there. But I didn't, so here it is.

Instead of doing some recap of Boston's greatest hits -- Aerosmith head tales; Ed O.G. homages; NKOTB stalker reports -- I wanted to try something different: musical responses to the city. No, I'm not going to break into song & dance (or will I? we'll get to that in a minute), but I'll share some jawns that matched my impression of the city.

First, a little background: in spite of being an American history "major," my grasp of the Colonial Era and all things New England is shakey, at best. Which worked in my favor because I don't feel like my expectations were either unreasonable or underestimable. Frankly, I responded to the town mostly through the weather (fuck your yawning ~ I'll talk about music in a minute), which was nice, and the scenery, which was autumnal.

Appropriately, the ride up and down were soundtracked by a pair of pop rocks, new and older: Lily Allen and ELO. I don't need to add to the abundance of Lily Allen attention, so I'll just make a few observations: this year's Annie; which means she'll likely have to work on her live game; which is a shame because dropping the beat on "LDN" can be Massv (can't you imagine Kay Slay berating the crowd and rewinding this beat? "Don't this shit make you wanna...").

Granted, I didn't spend much time strolling through the city city, but any urbanite (and suburbanite these days) can relate to the all-that-glitter's-not-gold sentiment. But, once again, it's all in the packaging:

While the kids of today gaggle over this year's model, they're also getting hired with the help of last generation's models. On that note, did you ever notice how ELO was like the Coldplay of its time? Consider this: if Radiohead begat Coldplay, a band that took a fraction (at least the most marketable bit) of another band's genius and multiplied it to the Nth commercial potential, then the Beatles begat ELO (and Bad Company, Supertramp, etc.). Which isn't saying much for the things-ain't-what-they-used-to-be naysayers, but, whatever: we'll save the "How Bad is Coldplay?" debate for another day, because a sizeable chunk of ELO's catalog is laughably bloated.

That said, "Telephone Line" consistently hits the spot for me. From the twinkle twinkle that brings in Jeff Lynne's tortured McCartney-isms to the weepy string arrangement, this is perfect speed-/sing-along music. Hence, the instro to get your karaoke on.

Tomorrow's installment:
Bahs-tahn hip-hop (you know me) and (one of) the best albums of 2006.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Focused Daily

Al fresco

Miho Hatori - "Barracuda" (mp3)
(purchase here)

The 6ths - "Lindy Lou" (Feat. Miho Hatori) (mp3)
(purchase here)

Forro in the Dark - "Paraíba" (Feat. Miho Hatori) (mp3)
(purchase here)

Trio Matamoros - "El Que Siembra Su Maiz" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Ok, I never get tired singing the praises of Miho Hatori, but another quick note: her heretofore import-only solo jawn Ecdysis finally drops stateside and in the UK this week via Rykodisc. Trademark green jewel case, stand up! She even has a video for "Barracuda" making the rounds (good lookin' out to Shots Ring Out for digging up the pod-compatible .mov). End of PSA, onward forward.

Hatori's path to the present reminds me of why people either love or hate the new music of New York. On one hand, it exemplifies the magical melting pot that my generation, brought up on multicultural and pluralistic ideals, dreams about. On the other, it can come across as tame, generalized or too damn idealistic for its own good -- the bane of every "damn, what happened to the Zoo York of yore?" critic. I'll address that latter topic -- does NYC blow b/c you can't do blow al fresco anymore? -- in an upcoming post, because I'm interested in one thing right now: focused class.

Call it getting older, call it "Fuck the Joneses," call it what you will, but musicians are masters of a craft and the path to that mastery is often accompanied by selection, focus and deliberation. The buffet the world offers us is at first a fantastic candyland, but we soon learn process: which courses we prefer, in which order they should come and in what proportions.
Hatori has fascinated me on a superficial level because her path has mirrored mine, almost course for course. However, Fascination Street quickly intersected with Respek! Drive because she has consistently found common ground and connections between the seemingly disparate: say, punk flailings and hip-hop chic to her current moderation of pan-Afro delicacies. Cribbing her words, her music often points out the "common aesthetic principle innate in our collective humanity." I suppose this is hardly revelatory to anyone that's studied sampling or collage art, but that's the beauty of music: it can say all this goo goo muck without sounding like goo goo muck... and it can make you shake your ass.

I pulled the 6ths track because it presents Hatori midway to today in another seemingly asynchronous situation, yet making it work. I suggest that the collabo is potential peanut butter'n parsley because for all of Hatori's cognoscenti cred, Merritt's taste, well, comes off as more a blast from the past. Yet, there is a sensiblity to this pairing. "Lindy Lou" is hardly majestic or gorgeous or rolling fields of wheat; in fact, the harmonies are a tad off and the song meanders nowhere. But it's a humble statement of affection and aspires to be nothing more. Simply put: mature cuteness.

Today, her projects and collaborations seem easier to define ("the Brazilian joint;" "the solo jawn"), but are simply more focused. Her constant dig through the Brazilian crates came up with "Paraíba" (which bares a striking similarity to Trio Matamoros' "El Que Siembre Su Maiz"), a breezer that contrasts well with Forro in the Dark's beat heavy repertoire. The collabo also makes sense in that members of Forro in the Dark Mauro Refosco and Smokey Hormel have both worked extensively with Hatori. Old friends growing older together? A familiar tongue, no doubt.

By the way, Forro in the Dark's full length Bonfires of São João drops on November 7. Or roll through Nublu, where the group got their start.

...and Miho's on the road for the Hotel Cafe Tour. NYC heads, here're her gigs:

Fri, Oct 27 The Stone curated by Mike Patton
Tue, Oct 31 The Living Room w/Hotel Cafe Tour
Fri, Nov 3 Sine-E CMJ
Wed, Nov 8 Joe's Pub Guest appearance for Forro in the Dark
Sat, Dec 9 Japan Society

Friday, October 06, 2006

Allow me to (Re-)Reintroduce Myself...

Triangle Offensive

Jay-Z - "Show Me What You Got" (via Spine; mp3)

"But I was just dying to bring those horns back. That’s like the perfect set-off for a record. You hear that horn and you know that it’s about to be something."
~ Just Blaze, XXL

I forgot to mention: I did a wedding last weekend out in the Chi at this funky joint called Green Dolphin Street. A gang of the gang attended -- it'd been a while since I got to spin for some, first time for others -- so I made sure to bring the stoopid fun for 'em. Never gets old: hearing the "ahhs" for Montell and "oohs..." for "Rumpshaker" (hey, can't get my chin stroke on every night). Dunno why I even blended 'em, it's all about that snaking horn line.

"It’s like 'Hovi Baby' but with those horns it gives you a little bit of the soulfulness of 'Encore.'"
~ Jay-Z, XXL

So, is it a hit? I was actually surprised "Encore" got play, simply cos kids today rarely get down for that fast rap. For all that talk of snow days, how often do the kids run the floor like they on blow? Hyphy got the hearts pumpin', but lost momentum at the Mississippi. Chicken noodle soup was that tween summer crack, spawning a tween crackhead electric slide movement, only to catch a brick. So, is there any other precedent? Oh, yeah...

This Friday, I'm in Love with...

Tuesdays with Cary

DJ Shadow - "Turf Dancing" (f/ The Federation and Animaniaks) (mp3)
(purchase here)

Ludacris - "Large Amounts" (mp3)

Beck - "Think I'm In Love" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Oh, please. You think that because I'm lazy and post with the frequency of Beatsie Boys albums that I'm not on my game? Pretty please, indeed.

Still furnishing mi casa, but help is on the way. In the meantime, I will (re-)try establishing a sense of routine around these parts to prep for the big move.

Apparently people like lists. But people who know me know that I loathe makin' 'em. That said, I am willing to answer the more sensible question, "What spins are makin' you spin?" to which I shall respond every Friday. Lucky you, here's the first:
  • DJ Shadow's The Outsider: I already waxed on this a couple weeks ago, but here're s'more elaborations:

    Call it Post-Endtroducing Release Therapy, the album works through a legacy. On one hand, there's Shadow himself working through the mounds of identifiers heaped on him during his relatively sparse career. He titles the album as a literal reference to his feeling of alienation from the music business/pop music world, but also to set himself up as an indefinable defined personality (sound familiar, artists?).

    On the other hand, there's the listener working through his/her idea of Shadow. For an artist who's been active professionally for roughly 16 years, he's taken his time as this is only his third proper album. Yet he has been lauded with reissues and books that focus on the first 5 or 6 years of his work. On a practical, I-don't-have-to-do-shit-for-the-rest-of-my-life level, he has been fortunate to live off that early part of his career, but this pace hasn't worked in his favor: the press and public have spent that time compounding ideas of what DJ Shadow represents, what is the DJ Shadow sound. Hell, I haven't even listened to Endtroducing... in a few years, but all the more reason why my impression of him is frozen in time.

    So take the The Outsider as Shadow’s way of working through this legacy, his way of working out ideas. As he mentions, he chucked the MPC in favor of the modern, holistic studio approach. And technically the album sparkles with a compositional quality that even The Private Press only flirted with; if that second album was a deliberate dig for sounds, techniques and modern Axelrodisms, then this new jawn is Shadow kicking up his feet and enjoying himself. It is a fun record. And it is easy to listen to. Well, maybe "Turf Dancing" isn't that easy. But it's got a nice beat. And I can bug out to it.

    One final note: to the Shadow fan still stuck on that "Hip Hop Sucks in '96" mantra, it's been TEN YEARS. If you're still not happy, maybe that's a sign to exit stage left. Or to buy s'more Madlib records.

  • Ludacris' Pre-Release Therapy: Shoot, Spine is such a tease. Why don't you guys post more tunes from your Top 10? I keed; I'm actually happy because they keep me on my tippy toes. Still keepin' the meanest, cleanest, baddest of releases, Luda has fun over Hov and Pn'tunes familiars and, uh, Pn'tunes originals. I haven't gone through the 5000 Watts disc, but the Green Lantern section is more than enough for me.

    Going back to the typical artist rants, I had to post up "Large Amounts" for its deviation from the typical "mo' money, mo' problems" slant toward accounting tips. Sure, there're the lines about settling his daughter's accounts "before her stankin' butt turned 1," but check the tax rap about "our heroes Redd Foxx and Willie Nelson." Morals of the story, y'all: in a world that can't sit well with its booze or threads, hip-hop will always stay true to the Block.

  • Beck's The Information: Yes, call today's post "obvious." But it's a pretty fun record. Barry Walters at The Voice made the point that there's a profound "blankness" to Beck that makes it difficult to connect with him... which explains why the introspective tracks on Mutations and Sea Changes pleasantly surprised me. That said, as art for art's sake, dude puts in work: Headhunters moog bass over recreated "Trans-Europe Express" rhythms that wash out to Gainsbourg cool. And he samples his own album... on the album you are listening to ("take that / rewind it back"). So modern, you'll feel like an issue of Wire. By the way, why isn't anyone talking about how he got heavy-hitters James Gadson and Harvey Mason to sit in? Sorry, Joey, you've done good, but you're out of your league with these cats.

    Once again, plain'n simple wins the day for me: "Think I'm in Love." Second (or third? fourth? n-th?) time love trepidation at a cruiser's pace -- save it for next summer?
All right, the weekend's calling. Want to join me for this party? I'm the man in black.