Did James Blake start a trend of using your generic white person name instead of something like DeadMau5? Or has that been going on for a while?
If you are not familiar with Black Hippy, you better get familiar. The group consists of Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, and Schoolboy Q and they very well might be the future of rap. That is probably hyperbole, but they are definitely a group to keep an eye on. Their latest song is a remix of Rocko’s hit track, UOENO.
I have never been able to find an mp3 of this song, so when I went to youtube it for a listen I was shocked that it was uploaded seven years ago.
New tune from MVSCLES, the co-ed duo from Boston.
I don’t know anything about Katy B or Captain Planet, but you have the internet, do your own damn research.
I have been routinely checking up on the UK based Glass Animals ever since I first heard Cocoa Hooves. Well they finally released a new song on SoundCloud; listen to Black Mambo:
Lyrics of most hip-hop and rap songs dating back to before I can remember are, at their essence, statements of power. When Nelly is explaining his fondness for running “tip drills” he is basically saying he is in control, he holds the power. When “beef” happens, two groups talk trash and try to strip their opponents of their power, by attacking their credibility, by fucking their girlfriends and stealing their chains. A rapper’s chain is the ultimate status symbol; the more expensive the chain, the more diamonds: the more power and credibility it gives its owner.
Discussions of power in society are what used to be called politics, but people sometimes forget that. The source of societal power has been the subject of debate among philosophers for what I assume is a very long time; I assume this because I got a C+ in Intro to Philosophy. Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci speculated about the role of cultural hegemony (every professors favorite word) in ideology in supporting the overwhelming power of capitalism. Or C.R.E.A.M.
The idea of Cash Ruling Everything Around Me was proposed by philosophers Raekwon, Inspectah Deck and Method Man in their collaborative work Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It makes sense that the idea would come from the infamous Wu; rappers have long been the most boisterous proponents of materialism and the Wu-Tang Clan have long been the most critical of their surroundings and fellow rappers. The Notorious B.I.G explained, “Money, hoes and clothes… is all a nigga knows.” Similar sentiments have been echoed from car stereos and house parties ever since.
A rapper’s chain is the ultimate representation of the money and power and diamonds are the ultimate example of how humans place tremendous amounts of power in the value of material things. Rappers have embraced and supported the power of diamonds since the beginning. Thirty years ago and three years after the Sugarhill Gang released Rappers Delight, Edward Jay Epstein wrote a fantastic article on the intrinsic value of diamonds for the Atlantic that opened, “The diamond invention—the creation of the idea that diamonds are rare and valuable, and are essential signs of esteem—is a relatively recent development in the history of the diamond trade.” He later continues, “The diamond invention is far more than a monopoly for fixing diamond prices; it is a mechanism for converting tiny crystals of carbon into universally recognized tokens of wealth, power, and romance.” The article goes on at length about the history of the diamond, how De Beers controlled every aspect of the industry, and how they essentially were successful in altering mass psychology. Kanye West poorly summarizes the article in his 2005 single, Diamonds from Sierra Leone.
So what gives? Why is there such a close connection between power, diamonds and The Rap Game? Why have we elevated the value of a stone to that of a god? Because in all actuality, diamonds are worthless, but we have created worth out of the worthless, sounds inspiring, but it’s not. I present a new philosophy: the supreme power of human stupidity. Albert Einstein is famously quoted saying, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” I guess it is unfair to say this is my idea, because people have been idiots for so long it would be ignorant to think no one has noticed. But would this suggest there is more stupidity among rappers than the masses, or at least other musicians? The work of Soulja Boy would tell us yes, and I would have to agree.
To say there is a disproportionate number of stupid people who are rappers compared to the rest of the general population would be false. I heard 2 Chainz got a 4.0 in college, and his name would suggest he is twice as stupid as the average rapper, but his GPA suggests he is smarter than most. Is that true? I don’t know. But I do know there are a lot of very rich… and very stupid… men and women draped in diamonds in gold.
We could try to point fingers. We could blame the poor inner city school systems that harbored many of these artists. We could blame the ghettos, where poverty is perpetuated by the school systems. We could blame De Beers, I mean; it was their fault to begin with, right? Diamonds are only forever because we made them that way. God damn it, humanity. It would be irresponsible to guess at the reason behind the cultural ideals of society, or the rap community, or the black community at large. But if I had to guess, it would probably involve a combination of slavery, crack and big asses.
Graduation is a weird thing. I should probably say “event” or “achievement,” but my ambiguity towards graduation and what it all means makes it seem appropriate to deem the act as more of an amorphous blob than anything solid and definable. I attended one college graduation as a kid and it didn’t mean much to me. I never dreamed of the day I would graduate from college so when the day came it was more of a blur than a gratifying experience. My own uncertainty towards college in general probably has a lot to do with it. This thing they call “college” seemed more like a four year vacation than an era of higher learning the majority of the time. Just the next step in this process called “life.”
I think what disappointed me most on that fateful day was the shit graduation speech my school president barfed up as she walked in the door that morning. The only thing I can remember her blabbing about was a statue of some wrestler dude outside the building and the fact that the Olympic wrestling trials had taken place a few weeks prior where we were now sitting. She went on and on about wrestling to a stadium full of Liberal Arts students. Very relate-able. Made me want to flash everyone in attendance as I crossed the stage.
All in all, she made it clear which event meant more, and that felt like shit. Maybe some clarity on what the last four years were supposed to mean? Words of encouragement for the future? Direction? Insight on “the real world?” But that’s expecting too much from someone of Sally Mason’s caliber. Like most of academia, she can’t say much about the real world or speak of practical applications (hence this waste of four years). And in my dismay for what was meant to be an inspiring event, I’ve come across a few lucky graduating classes who got their money’s worth.
The first features Neil Boortz’s address to the 2012 graduating class of Texas A&M (.pdf link), and deals with this issue of college faculties and their propensity for H.U.B.S. He goes on quite a riff concerning how the country is run, as well, and clearly demarcates the difference between liberals and conservatives (some of his views may seem extreme), but all in all he does a great job of clearing the air and delivering a fresh input. It’s a longer read, but well worth it. Maybe just read his “random thoughts” wrap-up if you’re a lazy piece of shit.
But that’s all a bit heavy on the “problems of America” and very much something your dad would send you to get you off your lazy ass (my dad sent me that speech, no joke). Next up is David McCullough Jr.’s speech to bunch of rich high school kids. You might have heard something about this historian’s “You’re Not Special” theme, as it has circulated the last few weeks. It stands as more middle-ground compared to the last and is motivational and humorous instead of so heavy and opinionated. David even addresses the “YOLO” phenomenon.
And finally, I present you the most light-hearted, yet surprisingly motivational speech. Presented by the youngest of the three who has the least traditional job, maybe it can stand as the “new” success route. Eugene Mirman writes and does some voices for the animated show Bob’s Burgers and obviously loves it. You probably won’t be running a major corporation following his advice, but you didn’t want that anyway, right?
But let’s get real. Here’s a nice, friendly motivation speech from Immortal Technique showcasing how far you can go.
And in case you are gunning for that high-up chairman-of-the-board type career steez, take this with you for some enjoyment:
Danny Brown is weird. He is also a rapper from Detroit who makes music. He is also quite the comedian. But he is also weird. I always knew he was out there but never really gave his music a chance. The beats are confusing. It sounds different. He sounds different. He looks different.
But then he made the music video for Grown Up, and being a sucker for little kids in rap videos, I had to give it a go. The sound of Grown Up is much more accesible than his other songs, perhaps because it is more familiar and sounds like the rap songs of the past. While Grown Up stands as an example of Danny Brown’s talent, it cannot stand as an example of Danny Brown’s music. He has been making mixtapes since 2007 and his most recent album, XXX (stream), properly demonstrates Brown’s creativity, talent and range. He intentionally deviates from the norms of the music industry and refuses to conform to… pretty much anything.
Some of the highlights from XXX include Monopoly, where Brown compares rap styles to “fried chicken without the seasoning” and female lady parts to a bag of Doritos. Brown is hilarious on Lie4, a song dedicated to educating the masses on “income tax swag,” and I Will, where he thoroughly outlines his cunnilingus protocol. Radio Song explains Brown’s distaste for the music industry and pokes fun of the commercial side of music; but not before creatively mentioning specific examples:
But not from Danny Brown, cause bitch I ain’t tricking
Do the pretty girl rock, and even though you ugly
Getting dirty money, but bitch I ain’t Puffy
Ice cream paint job, semi with the hemi
Heavy duty Chevy, not a Beamer, Benz or Bentley
I have listened to the album for about two days straight and the more I listen, the better it gets. The first listen was a little rough, it was unfamiliar territory, but Brown would not have it any other way. He just signed with Fool’s Gold Records in 2011 and if grown Up is his version of a “radio song” I don’t think we have to worry about the industry ruining him. Danny Brown is definitely doing something different. He is definitely pushing some boundaries. He is definitely weird.
Less than a week! It’s probably split half-and-half amongst the college kids and twenty-somethings whether one gives a hoot or a holler, but come May 29th at 10:30 pm Biggie Time on Comedy Central, the third season of Workaholics premieres. Is that tight butthole or what?? If you have not seen the show, or are part of the crap instead of cream, that question may have confused you. For those uninformed, Workaholics is a farce featuring three recently graduated roommates from college who continue living/partying together and all work/party the same dead-end telemarketing job at Telamericorp with their sexy boss Alice and weirdo co-workers/friends(?) Jillian, Montez, Waymen, and other random fillers. And their drug dealer/friend Karl.
If for some sad reason that little description was enough to sway you into checking the goods come next Tuesday, don’t get your hopes much higher than those shitty plastic kites your mom bought you as a kid. The show is written by the three main men: Adam, Blake, and Anders– a bunch of quirky S.O.B.s who were offered a TV show by Comedy Central after a slew of YouTube videos. What a world these days. Make a career by posting random fuckery online. But that’s what I dig about it. There is no board of directors sleazing corporate propaganda guided by ratings and current events–it all comes from the dudes who have lived it. These guys successfully avoided the shit-hole world of your standard college grad by making a satire about it. So poetic. So ironic. I might almost be inspired had I turned out to be more like the actors instead of the characters.
Being a recent college grad from what they tell me is the #4 party school, I can’t say I’m too trained to pull of such a feat as these three gentlemen have. Sure I’ve got the self-abuse and material stemming from it down, but a big school like this does not train thee well in execution. That’s not to say it’s not possible, surely anything is (those corpollege bastards made sure to drill that joke into our heads), so come next week it’ll be interesting to see what effects the show produces. I can’t imagine it’ll inspire much more job searching or cover letters. I also can’t imagine it will inspire a new project of YouTube videos. Realistically, like most TV, it will probably just inspire a skewed view of the world and what to expect.