Wednesday, March 29, 2006

socialize, get down

let your soul lead the way

FEST FORWARD: HIP-HOP UNBOUND will be happening APRIL 3—15 at NYU’s Jack H. Skirball Center whose explicit mission is to actively engage audiences through live performance. Although their target audience is age 18—30 some of you old-timers might dig it as well. Here are a few events that stood out for me but you can find complete info here.

The Great Hip-Hop Swindle: Thursday, April 6 at 7:00 P.M.
A segment of a documentary-in-progress, Apache Line: From Gangs to Hip-Hop by Popmaster Fabel which documents the foundations of b-boying, popping and rocking as it emerged from the gang era of the mid-1970s. There will be a performance in which dance legends meet “new jacks,” and will close with a panel/Q & A.
The Coup: Saturday, April 15 at 10:00 P.M.
The Coup's new album, Pick A Bigger Weapon continues the exploration of the collisions between economics and everyday life, the political and the personal.
The Making of “Planet Rock”, Monday, April 3 at 7:00 P.M.
The original creative team behind the song reflect on the making of the record. Speakers include Afrika Bambaataa Arthur Baker, Fab Five Freddy, Monica Lynch, John Robie, Tom Silverman and special guests. Moderated by David Toop.
The Future of Hip-Hop, Saturday, April 8 at 7:00P.M.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Time, Village Voice), Jaylah Burrell (Pop Matters), Richard Goldstein (former Voice editor), Margo Jefferson (Pulitzer Prize-winner, New York Times), Bakari Kitwana (Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop), Sacha Jenkins (Ego Trip co-founder), Cristina Veran (One World, Spin) and Oliver Wang (Classic Material, Vibe) will each have five minutes to offer three wishes for the next three years of hip-hop.

And, although I won’t be able to go to it, the premise for that last one is pretty enticing…

Three Wishes for the next three years of hip-hop?

3. More regular-folk rap… the promise that Joe Budden had/has and the world that Kanye left should allow for it… but the absence of backpack whine is a necessity.
2. More emotion in rap… I love the cold-hearted stuff but Ghostface, Scarface and Beanie (and maybe some others…?) show the possibilities for real emotions to coexist with ‘The Real’ and that the shedding of tears can happen for other things besides ‘dead homies.’
1. Another original local sound rises to global significance… pretty much inevitable but I’ll be happy none the less.

Anybody else?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

long live...

join the club

Let the bells ring out and the banners fly! The King is here…
Not quite.
The heralding of TI’s ‘King’ was more of a burning opening up of the sky provided by the leak (not ‘The Leak’) of ‘I’m Talkin’ To You’ earlier this week. That song served more as the galactic herald, The Silver Surfer. Less a roll-out of red carpet and more of a slash through a planet’s atmosphere announcing the arrival of Galactus. Not a King but a devourer of worlds. TI’s Galactus-like return to dominate the Earth is appropriately fueled by a thunderous Just Blaze track amping up the ferocious flurry of fury that is TI in dis mode… but, oh man, those 40 or so seconds in that last minute…

The album is amazing as well. Tip is a virtuoso throughout but his backing band shows diversity and a lack of pandering that is refreshing for an album with so much pressure for success. And, although it could have been edited down from the slightly heavy 18 songs, it is better than the album one fan had imagined. I knew Mannie and Swizz would avail their skills but the echoed claps on ‘Top Back’ and the extra hard bounce of ‘Get It’ were unexpected. TI toys with a heavy rock sound on Tony Galvin’s ‘You Know Who’ and plays with phrasing styles over the blippy ‘Stand Up Guy’ by Kevin "Khao" Cates. Cates also flirts with a retro pop-club track on ‘Why You Wanna’ tempting you to sing La-da-DI-la-da-DA. Hearing Drama on a legit release is not as unexpected as hearing Common and Jamie Foxx on an album without a Kanye-produced track. Also sorely MIA is Jazze Pha. I would gladly replace the Neptunes all-too-familiar keyboards with some hypnotic guitar on another collaborenzel. Even the interludes don’t embarrass... from ‘The Breakup’ (an extrapolated take on Oran ‘Juice’ Jones prelude on ‘The Rain’) to Pimp C’s well-timed breakdown of what ‘King’ should mean, riffing on diamonds and 'the rings' old-timers. Basically he gives contender TI the championship belt to match. But back to the first round…

The first four minutes of ‘I’m Talkin’ To You’ rely predominately on solid body blows and, although his masterful drag-n-drawl are sped up for the Blazing track, nothing prepares you for the barrage of punches coming in the last minute. When he shouts out Killer Mike, Youngbloodz, David Banner and Bonecrusher the rope-a-dope becomes apparent and any lull that his casual technique has generated is broken by a blur of lightning rabbit punches from a Kali rocking Everlast. TI is floating like a butterfly armed with a machine-gun. He hits a Zatoichi zone with a burst of speed and precision without ever losing calm. Like Neo shifting from ‘Matrix’ slomo to a multi-angled bullet-time attack. People might say they’ve heard speed rap before but we’ve all seen players put a ball in a hoop before too. TI doesn’t do a heavy-handed and obvious switch of flow (maybe you’ve heard it, touched it, watched it, left it…). Like a great athlete he’s employing timing and position as much as sheer strength and speed.

I know, enough already… OK, I’ll give it you straight, I don’t need a metaphor… T.I. King. Get it! I’m talkin’ to you!

T.I. (Produced by Swizz Beatz) - Get It
T.I. (Produced by Just Blaze) - I’m Talkin’ To You

apoohcalypse now

the horror...

Love the smell of Pooh in the morning?

Boing Boing brought 'Apocalypse Pooh' to light... It's a primitive back-and-forth on the vid-edit ones-and-twos from 1987.

I'll agree with Lance: Disneyland. Fuck, man, this is better than Disneyland.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Yay! part 2: the flipside

Just touched down in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of a show of my late father’s paintings. Please stop by tonight if you are in the hood (and I know some of you are!).



The new book ‘Leo Valledor Selected Works,’ features an essay by Lawrence Rinder, (recent recipient of the First Place award from the International Association of Art Critics for Best Monographic Museum Show in New York City). The book will be on sale at the gallery and is also available by contacting the estate…
‘valledor (dot) estate (at) gmail (dot) com’

Thanks to Angry Asian Man for spreading the word in the 03.14.06 entry!

And, in the ‘Timing Is Everything’ department, pick up the April Issue of Domino magazine to see Leo’s painting ‘For M’ featured on pages 14 and 78 in a story featuring, of all things, ‘Scandinavian style’ (???).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

jumpin jack newsflash

Jagga-man! Cool Keith! R-Dub! Boomin’ Watts!

Thanks to wifey’s work, I can now speak words I never thought I would say, never particularly wanted to say, but now am quite pleased to say:
I saw the Rolling Stones play Radio City Music Hall for the first time in their career… and it was great!

This Robin Hood Foundation concert was kicked off by Harv and the audience included The Mack and the former leader of The World’s Most Dangerous Band. Regarding ‘the world’s greatest rock-n-roll band’… I can see where the Stones get that title. The rhythm section held it cool and steady, Keith exuded cool whether leaning against the wall or sliding onto his knees and Mick did the same type of moves he’s been doing since the conception of the band proving that his energy and charisma is a force of nature… Mick eats whirlwinds for breakfast and chases it with a bottle of lightning. His phrasing and dance moves and tone are always just a little bit off kilter (at least!) but he utilizes this timing to make it all seem spontaneous. I never counted myself as a big fan of ‘classic rock,’ let alone the thunder-lizards still stomping around, but their charisma was undeniable and their every move was fascinating. I’m not TOO familiar with their catalogue but I found myself amazed at how many classics had seeped into my brain… and that was BEFORE the encore.

Unfortunately they didn’t play ‘Wild Horses’ or this one…

Rolling Stones – Miss You

And here are a few flicks from the “cheap seats”.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Yay! part 1: tell the people that 40 water is back

do the dummy retarded and ride the Bay Area Rapid Transit

I’ve got my BART ticket to hop on the E-40 conducted hyphy-bandwagon… get yours… or be a couple tacos short of a combination (side chalupa of course!).

I can’t say I’ve been loyal to the soil that raised me… When the kids up at the boys-clubs Camp Mendocino were kickin’ their little hella-raw player raps (“When I grow up I’m finna be a mack!”) over pause tapes of the ‘Freaky Tales’ beat I was already snobby with my love of the East Coast sound. And later in life when I said I was into the invented-slang-heavy hip-hop of the Mobb and the Wu I couldn’t front that I was all that familiar with 40-Water beyond ‘Sprinkle Me’ or ‘Save-A-Hoe.’ Yes, he IS the king of invented slang but my ears weren’t ready for the bubbly character of his flow (or is that the bubbly flow of his character?).

The new album ‘My Ghetto Report Card’ is a truly solid affair from the futuristic right-on-time funk beats (sparse enough, inventive, foreign AND familiar) to the density of slang to the variety of voices (and there’s a lot of them). The skits are not only forgiven but endorsed for their local detail and slapstick tone.
Something that sounds boring on paper, a jack of Boogie Boys ‘Fly Girl’ , is transformed by the pronunciation of the vocalists including Juelz Santana and UGK (!) on ‘White Gurl’ (a song that is not ‘completely’ about what the title would indicate). Retro playing of the sample of the word “girl” is a whole other animal with The Ambassador’s Bay Area delivery of the R and L consonant combo.
All-too-familiar whistles, slow and steady drum machine and overly dramatic piano get a second wind with the undeniable hook on ‘Yee’ which should have every hip-hop club in the country filled with the high-pitched call.

So is the hype (hyphy) machine catching me in its gears? Fashiggadell, it’s hella workin.

SergDun has a couple other tracks up but heed his words… drop some gouda and “Buy that shit!”

E-40, Juelz Santana, Bun B, Pimp C – White Gurl
E-40, Too $hort, Budda - Yee

Friday, March 03, 2006

block party

the block is hot, the block is hot

Jourdan and Burgundy, NO
Although Juvenile explores the NO blocks in this video I’m left thinking Broadway (via 23rd and Jackson), Seattle… as in where a certain posse is. Tell me Juve isn’t rocking that Sir Mix-A-Lot flow for ‘What’s Happenin.’
Juvenile - Get Ya Hustle On / Whats Happenin

77th Street and Madison, Manhattan, NY
The Whitney Biennial party on Wednesday started on the block since all the folk on “the exclusive invite list” stood on a line wrapping three corners. Although unfair to jack Southside intersection descriptions to the Upper East Side hustles (The world is cold, the block is hot as a stove / On the corners) the would-be art revelers were caught out there on these NY streets for close to an hour in the corners’ Common cold.
Heat in the exhibit from overcrowding of toasted bodies because the art left me colder than classic MOBB. Except for one piece… Paul Chan’s projection of a mesmerizing short film on the Whit floor did what no other work could do in the look-at-me party scene… it actually made me stop and look at IT. The room hushed and marveled at it’s simplicity of form, unlikely presentation and provocative imagery. Better descriptions can be found here and here. The end of the video loop that consists of colored light shifting slightly from reds to purples and if you catch the room at this time just wait… You’re one of the lucky ones that will be able to watch the ‘rapturous’ imagery from the beginning.
And, apparently, the NYTimes agrees with me…

16 Blocks
It would have been very cool to see Mos Def and Bruce Willis play Eddie Bunker and Mosely. Alright maybe they would have to switch roles.

37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY
Thursday night, family, formerly of Texas, currently in China, requested that a care package of US goodies include Cactus Juice which American Indians used for medicinal purposes (organic insulin, strengthen the pancreas, neutralize tarantula bites).
First reaction: I thought China had every odd elixer in the world. I guess not. But Jackson Heights can hold you down.
Second reaction: Freeway and Peedi Crakk…

Cambria and Germantown??? Franklin and Indiana??? Somewhere in North Philadelphia, PA
Some folks need some killer weed and some folks need cocaine
Some folks need some cactus juice to purify the brain
Some of us just need to start the weekend by reviving a classic mixtape banger from two dope vocalists and underappreciated MCs.
Freeway and Peedi Crakk - Cactus Juice

Quincy and Downing, Brooklyn, NY
I was at Dave Chapelle’s Block Party for a bit, but I think the movie will be much better.

Leonard and Church, Manhattan, NY
Clipse. Tonight. Word.

Willow Pass Road, Bay Point, CA
This weekend I hope to catch ‘My Block The Bay’ this Sunday as long as it doesn’t conflict with the most anticipated TV moment of the week…

Hollywood Blvd. and N. Highland Ave., L.A., CA
Juicy J from Three 6 Mafia:
Right now I think I’m dreaming. And it’s going to be a clean show, you know. No one’s got anything to worry about. It’s a blessing, man. We’ve been getting a lot of congratulations from our hometown.
Sunday on ABC at 8 PM EST they perform "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" from 'Hustle & Flow' for the Oscars crowd. For some reason the Krump Kings from 'Rize' will be dancing on stage during this performance...? And I'm not mad at that... just confused.