January 9, 2010
THIS WEEK IN HIP HOP
Wow. It seems like yesterday the world was freaking out about Y2K, and now in the blink of an eye, it’s 2010. The past decade treated me well, and I hope it did the same for everyone reading this, but frankly, it was not too good for the majority of the world’s inhabitants. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that in the next 10 años we make major improvements in the ways in which we treat each other. Anyways, that’s enough of me being thoughtful and preachy, let’s talk about music.
Quan, our other This Week In Hip Hop man, in his unpredictable top 10 list of albums in 2009 requested that I critique his selections, and provide my own. Although I felt that there were some questionable picks to say the least (Juicy J in the top 5?!?), I think his article did a great job of letting the world know that hip-hop as a genre is tremendously diverse, as is the taste of its followers. There is absolutely nothing wrong or contradictory about a die hard Wu-Tang fan enjoying Gucci and Wayne. Hip-Hop is not dead; in fact I think it’s the genre of music most oversaturated with legitimate talent. That’s why I couldn’t bring myself to make my own list of favorite albums from 2009. While I must admit that I did hear a lot of new music last year, I still don’t feel like I even scratched the surface of the quality content that was released. I unfortunately didn’t listen to the new Souls of Mischief, Zion I, Tanya Morgan, The Clipse, UGK, De La Soul, Slum Village, etc… so without experiencing those projects, I don’t feel like I can do justice to critiquing an entire year’s worth of albums. Sorry Quan.
On the other hand, I know that there is a lot of music that I am looking forward to in 2010, so without further ado, I want to let y’all know what I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for this year.
Black Milk, Sean Price and Guilty Simpson | Random Axe
You may already know that I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of music that Duck Down Records is putting out, and from the slew of projects they have slated for 2010, Random Axe is the one that I’m the most excited about. When I first heard that Black Milk, Sean Price and Guilty Simpson were collaborating, it seemed to good to be true, but after they leaked “Monster Babies,” it was official. This group is for real. Unfortunately, Black Milk’s hard drive crashed, and with it all of Sean P’s recorded verses were lost. To make matters worse, Kimbo Price only writes his verses on his cell phone, and he purchased a new one, so the written words were gone too. So it wasn’t released in ’09 like it was supposed to be. Instead, Duck Down is hoping to make Random Axe available to the masses in the first quarter of 2010. As long as Sean kept his morale high through the hardships and made sure to persevere, this album could be one we remember in 2020.
More on Albums To Look Forward To In 2010
October 18, 2009
THIS WEEK IN SHOWS
It’s time for CMJ again, which means the same New York bands you can see all the time in will be playing alongside some touring bands – who would’ve all come to New York at some point anyway – in marathon-length shows full of semi-interested badge-holders and grumpy photographers who get angry when you accidentally bump into them while rocking out in the front row. (Except our photographers, who are very cool and friendly.) We tend to complain about CMJ, but since it’s here, we might as well embrace it. It IS really fun to see ten of your favorite bands in one night, and, exhausting as it may be, it’s fun to do that five nights in a row! As usual, these are my totally subjective and incomplete recommendations for the coming week. You can flesh this out by telling us who you’re going to see… Send us some photos if you go. Or boycott CMJ; that’s totally respectable too. As for us, we’re just excited for a reason to shirk our other responsibilities for a week and rock out in the name of journalism.
TUES, OCT. 20
PANACHE/NEW YORK NIGHT TRAIN CMJ SHOWCASE
Upstairs: Heavy Trash, Golden Triangle, Lovvers, Harlem, Surfer Blood, K-Holes
Downstairs: The Stalkers, Unnatural Helpers, Flexions Dinowalrus, Julianna Barwick, SCREENS
Santos Party House
7:00 PM, $10/$12, 18+
It seems that every other show I get excited about is somehow connected to Panache Booking or New York Night Train (or both), and Tuesday night’s bigass blowout is no exception – just check out the lineup!!! I just need to figure out how to be upstairs and downstairs at the same time. I’ve yet to see Heavy Trash, though I’ve heard good things about their show, but Stalkers deserve some props too. They don’t seem to get much press, but they’re one of my favorite live bands: their songs are totally fun and anthemic, and besides, I’ve seen them throw cymbals, get naked, dribble vomit, and last time I caught their show, lead singer Andy Animal was tossing firecrackers into the crowd with a menacing glee. Alright!
More on This Week In Shows: CMJ EDITION!
September 19, 2009
THIS WEEK IN HIP HOP
This week, while millions of music lovers were scratching their heads wondering how they hadn’t realized earlier that Kanye West – the self-proclaimed voice of the modern generation – really is a complete douche, two of hip-hop’s earliest verbal icons paired up and released a battle-cry for the preservation of the values they helped to establish within their art form. KRS One and Buckshot’s new album, Survival Skills, is not the type of record that receives awards from MTV. There is no particular song for the club, there’s minimal talk of money, ho’s, and shiny chains, and neither MC boasts about being the thug or player of the century. Yet this won’t surprise or disappoint fans of the men behind Boogie Down Productions, the Stop The Violence Movement, Black Moon, and The Boot Camp Click. Buck and KRS “The Teacher” provide their audience with a lot of the same lyrical deftness and personal perspective that has allowed both men to survive in the harsh world of music for the past 20 years. While their lyrics might lack some of the tenacity that each artist built their reputation on, the two rappers prove that maturation in hip-hop does not have to mean simplification. With heavy bass-laden musical backdrops provided by some of today’s most sought-after producers – including 9th Wonder, Havoc of Mobb Deep, Nottz, Black Milk, Khrysis, and Ill Mind – the two vets manage to sound fresh in the new era. In a recent YouTube video, Big Boi of Outkast describes the effort as “one of the purest forms of hip-hop,” Raekwon of the Wu Tang Clan calls it “a legendary clash,” and up-and-coming sensation K’Naan says it is “really what should be on the radio.”
More on Duck Down Records Show the World Their Survival Skills