Wednesday, August 24, 2005

write thurr

painters palette

Flicks from the ECKO “Getting Up” Block Party (around mid-day).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


What’s happenin’? What’s poppin’? What’s crackin’? What’s crackalackin’? Que pasa? What’s up? Wazzzuhhh? What’s goin’ down? What’s goin’ on? What’s the 411, hon’? What it do, patnah? What it is, brother? Wazzzattnin, wodie? What the deal, son? What the dilly, yo? What’s buzzin, cousin? What’s percolatin? What it look like? What’s good? What’s real? What’s really good? What’s hood? What’s good good?

Plum Drank associate Mia Trill of course knows what’s on the percadeezenzel in the ATL but I’ve been crackalackin’ up for a minute now over the D4L-associated Trap Squad’s undeniable, drunken, annoying, addictive-as-all-hell hook-of-the-moment “What’s happenin’?” Kinda like B.Gizzle’s salutation filtered through the language of Twinz.

What’s Happenin’? - Trap Squad

RE-UP-DATE: By request...
What’s Happenin’? - Trap Squad

and a bonus...
What’s Happenin’? - Trap Squad (Screwed and Chopped)

Monday, August 15, 2005

the b-i-g-d-a-double ‘d’-y-k-a-n-o

rapid fire and reloaded

What was up with the barely-there crowd at the Dipset / Roll Deep park jam? Yeah it was probably the worst NYC weather we could have hoped for (Dear Summer, EASE BACK!) and then the Roll Deep set got hit with the rain. I’m sure they could have handled a London Town sprinkle but this was on some tropical shit. I was part of the crowd that rolled out deep and I’ll admit it was refreshing to think that a park-jam exodus would be fueled by fear of getting wet not getting wetted (no homo-cide).
Respect to those that held tight for the Juelz mic check. I’m sorry I missed, as K described it, ‘possibly the weirdest hip-hop show ever’: Santana rocking a dozen-and-a-half rain soaked LES kids in the reconstructed Wild Style amphitheatre.
But the day was salvaged by the Knitting Factory although it was probably hotter inside than out. At least there was plenty of heat flying off the wheels and not just hipsters. Catchdubs rocked sooo many of my favorites and Diplo had me cheesing like a muhfuckah when he had a Screwed-down Cure beat flipped into a ‘riddim.’ (Who knew I needed that in my life!)
The real surprise was how Kano killed it! Outside of ‘Reload It’ I’m not his biggest fan… something about the hyper articulation has always seemed the opposite of what I wanted grime MCs to be… rough, foreign-slang-dropping, scrubs. Hey, I know I’m probably wrong for that but you can blame my ignorance…
Ignorance indeed. Because I was schooled quickly as Kano COMMANDED that stage with his hypeman (anyone catch his name? UPDATE:Ghetto) and DJ Bionix. Yes a bit of the clarity of his rhymes got lost in the KF speakers but the machine-gun fire vocals were undeniably awesome. Ghetto would often jump in for the last rhymed syllables of lines and it was a lesson to all other hip-hop MCs and their crews on how to use the ‘other’ mics onstage… Don’t rhyme ALONG with your boy, STEP IN where he needs breaths and breaks! Whatever you wanna call it (grime, eski…) Kano and company rocked undiluted UK style HIP-HOP… from the swagger to mic skills to the aggressive stance to the funky, bouncy dance they did on the chorus of one joint… I was actually HAPPY to see the harsh vocals and beats drive some people away.
When the bass of ‘Reload It’ came on towards the end of the show (by front-row audience request, by the way) the roof was officially on fire. That off kilter beat (and you know I’m talking specifically about that particular delayed one after the bass…) is one of the most amazing of the year, no question. Although I appreciate the effort by the MCs to rock over the local fave ‘Dear Summer,’ they were much more successful on a grimed-up stuttery rework of ‘Welcome to Jamrock.’
Sometimes live shows can be the weakest part of an artists arsenal… but Kano, duke, YOUR show just sold two more albums... and maybe a couple twelves if I feel like cutting that ‘Reload It’ ish.

UPDATE...and damn... if The Fader ain't on some 'great minds think alike' shiz I don't know who is...
Big ups, Young Catch!

Friday, August 12, 2005

in the turnin lane

swivvy on the wheels?

The Teairra Mari album has hit heavy rotation ‘round here. The Darkchild joint ‘Stay in Ya Lane’ doesn’t have that ‘cut through’ sound of most of the album but falls in the ‘solid radio R&B’ that the once radical Jerkins sound extrapolated from Timbaland. But what it DOES have is a catchphrase that I never knew took hold. It brought me back a couple years ago when DJ Julian Bevan related this story involving DJ Clark Kent and said phrase…

I was in Rock-n-Soul buying some new shit. Bunch of other dudes were in there shopping.
Then Clark Kent comes in, and the store clerk who works the floor immediately starts speaking with him and pulling joints off the wall for him to listen to.
Now, it seems there was some other kid in the store who kinda knew Clark.
So he steps into their conversation.
He’s poppin' jokes about how Clark didn't deserve that kind of customer service because he wasn't really all that.
It was obvious he thought Clark would think it was funny.
On the contrary, Clark was NOT having it.
Very loudly, in front of the whole store, he exclaimed "Pardon me, bruh?!?”
Clark continued “Oh HELL naw! Seriously dog, I think you just need to stay in your lane! Cuz any time you think you can take ME, just give me a call and we'll see who's all that!!"
This kid started stammering and trying to play it off.
Clark just kept interrupting him… louder and louder, saying "WHATEVER, dog! You just need to stay in your lane!!"
Everybody in the store was just like "Daaaaaaamn!! Son'd him...."
It wasn't pretty.

At the time Julian and I agreed: That shit it was sooo hip-hop… New jacks must be wary when even joking with a hip-hop battlin' muhfuckin’ legend like Clark Kent.

So two questions to the slang experts:
1) Has “stay in your lane” been a common phrase for a few years? Or is Ms. Mari bringing it back (for the first time)?
2) How do you spell “son’d”? (Sonned? Sunned? Son-ed?)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I got more tex than you...


Rolled through Sway with Dan Nakamura to get a little slowed down with Rapid Ric and experience the wonder of Bavu Blakes kicking freestyles in the middle of the crowded floor! Too selfish? Sooo real!
I only had a quick ‘wassup’ with Sacha Jenkins but had some nice convo with Matt Sonzola (re: world music) and Ric (re: slowing shit down live) and Roxy (re: my old town, San Francisco) and Catchdubs (re: the love of discount records on Haight Street… and, dude, I meant Rich Boy, not Ray Cash).

Check out photos here, here and here.

Monday, August 08, 2005

go screw yourself...

...Texas style

Tonight HoustonSoReal & Oxy Cottontail Present The Return of SCREW YORK CITY (In Association with Retail Mafia) Featuring: Rapid Ric (Texas/Mixtape Mechanics), DJ Elle (SXRZ) & Special Guest Bavu Blakes at SWAY 305 Spring St. (btwn Greenwich & Hudson)

Thought I wasn't?


snowman connects

Besides the music, the ad-libs and being on four of my heaviest rotated discs this year, homey had the killer snowman snipes and then reissued them with the cocked bandana (no snowmo). I didn’t enter to win the icy snowman piece or the faux-blingy tee but, aaaaaayyyyyy I’ll be first in line for a Young Jeezy decoder ring… oh, he handled that already too? Thaaaats riiiiight…on the Jeezy/Jay-Z collab...

Jeezy said that in a couple of weeks he and Jay plan to tell fans exactly how they can hear the record. "If you got the album, you got the song," Jeezy explained. "We're going to unlock it in a couple of weeks. I just wanted to keep it under wraps; after the whole bootlegging thing, I didn't want to take no chances. I'm holding it as a special surprise. We just ain't unlocked it yet. It's crazy."

Love it.
Can people get excited by a media blizzard? People can.

BTW Ian and Young Feezy already supplied us a listen.
And, as usual, K nails it.

trap or die

snare shine

Wayne&wax provides an astoundingly detailed analysis of “that reggaeton beat.”

Friday, August 05, 2005

the game is sold… AND told

aks about me, aks about me

There’s a scene in ‘Hustle & Flow’ when ‘snow bunny’ Nola claps back (verbally) at her pimp D-Jay when she knows he’s trying to get her to agree with him. She reveals that she always knows he’s getting into her head but, because of D-Jay’s manipulation of her in the previous scene, she’s not letting it happen ‘right now.’ She’s not in the mood.

Her stance reinforces the cliché/myth that a pro needs a pimp for mental guidance rather than ass-whippings. Even later in the film after D-Jay is no longer able to ‘guide’ her directly, Nola’s effort to fulfill his last request becomes her ‘mission.’ It is her most successful and, perhaps, satisfying ‘mission’ portrayed in the narrative. (The mission gains new humor in light of the recent payola scandal). D-Jay reinforces the cliché/myth that a pimp is more effective controlling his prostitutes through mental, rather than physical, manipulation. It is difficult to tell if he is a ‘special’ pimp (analogous to the ‘hooker with a heart of gold’ type found in many movies) or if he is typical. Interaction with another person in his ‘trade’ would have clarified for a viewer D-Jay’s professional character a bit more. The glory of his profession is, significantly, absent but the desire to do better… to express something… possibly something ‘true’… is transcendent of his profession.

Of course this conveyance of ‘the truth’ gets complicated when the role-playing piles up quickly. A viewer realizes Terrence Howard is playing a southern pimp (a character built on interviews with southern pimps) trying to portray himself as a rapper. The three songs by D-Jay were created either by Al Kapone or Three-6 Mafia’s DJ Paul and Juicy J. The ‘true’ content helps sell the ‘reality’ of the rap but the flows are arguably as important and it is hard to know how much influence the Tennessee legends had on D-Jay’s/Howard’s authentic spit. Just because the stories are enticing, the delivery often closes the deal. The right combo of articulation and drawl can make any story sound intriguing to particular Yankee ears but delivery with heart is still necessary and D-Jay / Howard comes through… from an embarrassingly comic delivery in Key’s kitchen to the invigorating autobiography on the title song ‘Hustle & Flow (It Ain’t Over)’. And the question becomes: Would Terrence Howard be a better or worse rapper than D-Jay?

D-Jay assumes his ability to pimp can easily translate to selling Skinny Black on a demo. A similar analogy has run through many of the hustler-turned-rapper accounts. The scene between D-Jay and Skinny Black is a quiet but tense battle of wills touching on class war, hustler rivalry and, at it’s most basic, turf. But it is a wonder to watch D-Jay get in the zone and, as he says, find his‘mode.’ His Trojan horse infiltration of Skinny’s ego presents the gauntlet, not ‘thrown down’ but as a velvet glove. D-Jay hooks Skinny Black with the phrase “We miss you, mayn…” D-Jay simultaneously reaches out with open arms and serves a backhand (pimp slap?) to Skinny’s integrity. But as the scene progresses a viewer must ask a Mamet-like question: Who is the most adept at the confidence game, the man asking for a stranger’s confidence… or the stranger giving it? It is in this scene that a viewer might appreciate the complex layering of roles that Ludacris is performing. He was a radio personality from Atlanta who turned into a rapper and is now convincing as an actor portraying a former Memphis local turned rapper trying to regain his image as a Memphis local.

The movie is built on scenes of transaction (the hustle)interrupted by expression (the flow), although it blurs ‘the art of selling’ with ‘the selling of art.’ And although the film conveys a visceral excitement in the recording process it does not shy away from the step-by-step negotiations a recording team must make in that process.

After D-Jay makes hook ups with marijuana as both buyer and seller he finds himself with a keyboard, a potential meeting with a music industry insider and an encounter with a talented but stalled out music producer, Key. Convincing Key to take a chance on his work is almost easier than convincing himself. Many professional studio men will surely smile when Key tells D-Jay to lay the track first and smoke later. Pregnant Shug learns how to sing (or ‘sell’) a hook through vocal tricks (‘hooker’ and tricks!) with the help of a gentle ‘whoop’ to her backside from her pimp and a catchy melody from the unlikely vocal-coach found in a local white boy. Key alters the art for the mart by replacing a clearly offensive hook “Beat that bitch!” to the sexually ambiguous empowerment’ anthem “Whoop that trick!” but we quickly realize it actually works better sonically and, thus, works better artistically.

As the transactions take place between characters, the scenes play out between actors, and the artists negotiate with the audience, a viewer realizes that it isn’t a matter of truth portrayed in art. It is more a matter of an artist being skilled enough to convince the audience to let that artist ‘get in their head,’ to paraphrase Nola in the film.
I don’t know if the pimp lifestyle really can’t provide air conditioning, or if the Memphis accent is portrayed accurately, or if the director has successfully captured the Memphis ‘home-laboratories,’ but in the ‘Memphis’ the characters inhabit, these things become believable. I think most people would find it hard to believe a film about a pimp struggling to become a rapper could inspire a sympathetic view. But when writer/director Craig Brewer and actor Terrence Howard are teamed with musicians like Juicy J that disbelief can be easily suspended. You will see artists in their ‘mode’ and even though you know the hustle is on… you can’t help but fall for it. You just needed the proper guidance.

Microphone Skit feat. D-Jay & Pawn Shop Owner
Whoop That Trick – D-Jay (written and produced by Al Kapone)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

swearengen to the rhythm

do not repeat back to me what I just said in different fucking words!

sparks will fly, when the whistle blows

Hey… news to me…
Deadwood’s Ian McShane introduces Grace Jones on her classic ‘Slave To The Rhythm’!
"Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Grace Jones… Slave to the rhythm..."

Proof is on the original but I realized it listening to an old mash-up provided by Mark Vidler over at gohomeproductions which let’s Nelly Furtado ride ‘The Rhythm.’

Turn out the Light, Slave and Gimme Some Rhythm - Nelly Furtado / Grace Jones