July 29, 2011
July 15, 2011
The first rap tape I ever owned was G Funk Era by Warren G. I dubbed it from a friend and was hooked from the jump. The drums, the kicks, the loops, the samples, the funk, the rhythm, the bass. Not to mention the rhymes. And I had to listen to it discreetly because my parents had read in the paper that “Gangsta Rap” was poisoning the ears of our nation’s youth. Needless to say, that fueled my obsession even further. (To be honest, until I heard G Funk, the only curse word I had heard on an album was when Eddie Vedder said “fuck” on “Jeremy”). Soon I was spending almost every cent of my weekly allowance on rap records: Doggystyle, Me Against the World, Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, 36 Chambers, Liquid Swords, ATLiens, Strictly Business, Stakes is High…. and Beats, Rhymes and Life.
Fast forward almost fifteen years to last Friday night. The adolescent in me was geeking the fuck out when I went to see Michael Rapaport’s new film about A Tribe Called Quest. It’s a loving tribute to one of the most influential groups in the genre’s history and a celebratory portrait of an era in music the likes of which we may never see again. Sure, Tribe had their troubles as a group, but that shouldn’t diminish the impact they had on everyone from Pharrell to the Roots. A lot of people bitch and moan about the state of hip hop today and don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to throw a parade for the next Waka Flocka record. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy all of the gems that hip hop has given us throughout the years. If nothing else, go see Beats, Rhymes and Life because it’s a poignant reminder of what hip hop is supposed to be: creative and fun. Then go listen to Low End Theory again and pretend it’s the first time. Boomin in ya, boomin in ya, boomin in ya jeep…
June 10, 2011
If you put a Super Soaker to my head, I’d have to say my album of the early summer is 936 by Peaking Lights. Eight tracks of murky, psychedelic, cooled-out dub pop that sound like they were recorded in between the wavy haze that rises from the asphalt. It’s uptempo enough if you want to move, but low key enough if you want to just spark one and drink lemonade. And made by a duo from Wisconsin of all places. Lake Michigan has beaches right?
May 23, 2011
I had a hell of a time trying to decide which song to post – this or Dexter Gordon’s “Cheese Cake” – but ultimately I went with “Split Feelin’s” because I get the impression it’s the lesser known of the two. As of late, I’ve become increasingly enamored with these two tenor saxophonists and progenitors of bebop and hard bop, respectively. I’m neither intelligent enough nor well versed in jazz to the point of breaking down the merits of musicianship involved here, but I can say that both Gordon’s album Go and Mobley’s record Soul Station – the two records on which these songs are featured, fucking rule. Tenor sax is just so damn cool. So if a breezy afternoon on the stoop or a mellowed-out early summer party is what you’re after, cue up either of these records and turn it up.
April 15, 2011
I’m sorry. There, I said it. I—I’m sorry. I can only hope at this point that you accept my apology. You see, on the evening of Monday, April 11, in the year of our Lord, 2011, I absentmindedly neglected to include Lil J in my initial post about the Sophomore Slump and their show on Newtown Radio, which happens to bring the funky ass shit, like every single day (every single Tuesday that is). That’s Sophomore Slump on Newtown Radio at 7PM on Tuesdays—www.newtownradio.com. Bitch. Sorry, not you Lil J. I would never call you a female dog.
You see, I’ve only been able to listen to the show over the last few weeks, when Captain Rod 3 Way and Dylan have been holding it down. So it’s easy to understand why my remarks were fallacious (that means misleading or deceptive…I’ve been studying for the GRE). But I listened to this week’s show and I have to say…you do indeed have a sexy radio face. I mean voice. You get my vote any day. So keep it real for the Slump, Lil J. You’re a cornerstone. And fuck law school kill em all.
April 10, 2011
Do your Tuesdays suck? Probably. I’m guessing you get home from work, change out of your slacks then park it on the couch to dive into a Five Dollar Footlong (chicken and bacon ranch) while watching reruns of Spongebob until your eyes burn. It’s cool though, Tuesday is a pointless day as it is. Let’s see. Monday has to exist to take the brunt of our hatred of the workweek, Wednesday offers a glimpse of hope that life is still worth living, Thursday is pretty much Friday and Friday is pretty much heroin. Where does that leave Tuesday? Worthless…until now.
The brains behind the Sophomore Slump have taken their talents/discerning musical tastes to the worldwide webradio, delivering weekly doses of that’s what the fuck is up. Driven by DJs Captain Rod 3 Way, Lil J and Dylan, Sophomore Slump plays all the shit you didn’t even know you wanted to hear. From Yuck and Kurt Vile to Future Sound and Tribe, they’ve got it on lock. It’s like the radio station you wish your college had. Catch NYC concert updates to hear what sweet show you’re probably going to miss and maybe even a live studio guest or two. So turn off that episode of Funniest Home Videos and tune your browser to Bushwick-based Newtown Radio on Tuesday nights at 7pm to get your head blown. Actually, DVR that episode of Funniest Home Videos before you turn it off…you’re going to want that for later. Nootch.
April 10, 2011
The phrase Clams Casino probably conjures up any number of bizarre mental images, not the least of which might involve a set of cartoonish bivalves with googly eyes sitting around a blackjack table. But maybe that’s just me. What probably doesn’t come to mind is a New Jersey based producer currently making a name for himself by providing blunted out, introspective beats for dudes like Lil B and, um, Soulja Boy. The tracks on Clams Casino’s Instrumental Mixtape, which you can download here, have a cold, almost haunting backbone to them, as if they were recorded on a spaceship looking back on earth. But the view is still gorgeous. Yesterday this mixtape provided the soundtrack to one of my solo walks around the city, and I swear, at one point, when the sunlight hit me at a certain angle, I had an epiphany. I just wish I could remember what it was.