Big Boi Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors Album Review @PolicyMic

December 16, 2012

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My review of Big Boi’s Dangerous Lies and Vicious Rumors up on PolicyMic –> Hip Hop at its most ambitious and visionary.

I know I been slacking on this whole WordPress thing. I find WordPress dashboard setup to be too awkward and complex for writing my posts. Too much cybereffort. I got other cybershit doing, which is easier to execute and is more rewarding for contentconsumers and I. WordPress can go suck a hyperlink.

How funny would it be if WordPress censored me for writing this? Check back in a few days to see if CONCRETE CARNIVAL is still up. Check back in a week to see a link for my TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2012 that’ll also be going up on PolicyMic.



TNGHT Mission Statement Mix

September 6, 2012

Did I mention I’m really into these hours-long broadcast mixes lately? This is one from TNGHT, the collaborative electronic musichild of beat makers Lunice and Hudson Mohawke. They call this mix their “Mission Statement”. They tracks they’ve blended sum up their sound very well. Full of heavy, hollow, crunchy, beats, and syrupy chopped and screwed bangers.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a little metaphor for TNGHT’s sound, try and follow me: ANTS ON A LOG.

The backbone, the beats of their music are like celery: crunchy, fresh, cool, full of H2O=fluid, and a little green=vibrant and good to smoke to. Then you’ve got your peanut butter: the substance. It’s that heavy, thick, oily, pusedo-dissonant vibe their music has. The dissonance comes when you can’t get the peanut butter off the roof of your mouth. Then line it with raisins. TNGHT’s music is full of those sweet moments, when everything just clicks, the layers the space, everything, and it sends those tingles of pleasure through your mind and body. You feel them. Sweet to the palette.

Listen to the beats on the TNGHT album and this mix and think about it.

Check out the full tracklist below. Download the mix if you want it forever.

1. John Carpenter – “Back to the Pod (Version 2)”
2. SpaceGhostPurrp – “Get Yah Head Bust”
3. Dj Zirk – “Lock Em In Da Trunk (Chopped & Screwed Tommy Kruise Remix)”
4. Lil Ugly Mane feat. Denzel Curry – “Twistin'”
5. Jackie Chain feat. Bun B & Big K.R.I.T. – “Parked Outside”
6. Lady Bee – “Hard Like a Criminal”
7. Dj Squeeky & Tha Family – “Death to You Playa Hata”
8. Snoop Dogg feat. Master P – “Snoop World”
9. Lunice – “Youngin (Paper) (forthcoming LuckyMe)”
10. TNGHT – B”ugg’N (forthcoming Warp X LuckyMe)”
11. 2Chainz feat. Drake – “No Lie”
12. Lunice – “Believe Dat (forthcoming LuckyMe)”
13. TNGHT – “Ridin Up”
14. Chief Keef feat. Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean & Jadakiss – “I Don’t Like (Remix)”
15. TNGHT – “Goooo (forthcoming Warp X LuckyMe)”
16. GOOD Music – “Mercy x Furnace”
17. Hudson Mo – “Chimes”
18. Sasha Go Hard – “I’m Hotta”
19. Zebra Katz x Boyfriend – “Winter Titty”
20. Decibel – “GAP”
21. TNGHT – “Bounce Hitum”
22. Waka Flocka Flame – “Rooster in my Rari (TNGHT official remix)”
23. TNGHT – “Higher Ground (forthcoming Warp X LuckyMe)”
24. Stabber – “Torsion Force”
25. S-Type – “Billboard (forthcoming LuckyMe)”
26. TNGHT – “Go Get Busy (forthcoming Warp X LuckyMe)”
27. Zodiac – “Girlgirlgirl”
28. John Carpenter – “Over the Wall”


DOOM Re-emerges!

September 6, 2012

The SuperVillain takes over BBC Radio to announce his return to the world, with a two hour all-DOOM broadcast on the Benji B Radio 1 show. The Metal Face has been cryogenically frozen in his secret volcano lair for past three years, chilling, brooding, plotting his next menacing assault on the citizens of the world.

The BBC Radio takeover comes on the coattails of his newest and unexpected JJ Doom release Keys To The Kuffs. A full album stream of that johnny cake can be found here. Definitely worth many listens.

We’ve been waiting on a ton of promised projects from this dude for a while now. He mentions them, says they’re coming, he’s working them all simultaneously: new Madvillain, a Ghostface-collab DOOMSTARKS album. Bets on which comes out first and which never comes out at all?

Anyway, the radio broadcast and the album stream probably won’t be up too much longer, so get um while they’re still fresh. Fuck stale music.


Hip-Hop Analytikk$: Group Rap and Label Albums

August 24, 2012

There has been an absolute glut of group rap albums this year. To name a few: Odd Future Tape Vol. 2, Maybach Music’s Self Made 2, both already out; G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer and A$AP Mob’s Lords Never Worry, coming soon; Shady Record’s Slaughterhouse are releasing two albums, which will sort of count; DJ Khaled’s albums are basically Young Money group albums; and now we’re getting talk of a Black Hippy album, the “Black Lip Bastard (Remix)” video and the recent TDE Fan Appreciation Week tracks putting a bit of an underscore on that thin talk.

Every company worth the weight of their chains and thangs is putting out a collective album in 2012. That emphasis feels strange to me. It’s like nowadays rappers need to prove that they can ‘play well with others’ so they can keep their record deals and merit their spots in the limelight. Being a useful collaborator well and being seen in videos giving good dap are becoming more necessary skills than crafting records, or even rapping at times (take your pick from the endless list of careers where this is true: Big Sean, 2Chainz, Birdman, Drizzly Drake…).

The group rap album is very much a marketing strategy, designed and being copied endlessly to draw in more sales and create more hype for albums. Combining fan bases, rap groups and labels can garner more sales for their collective album and generate more interest for the individual rapper’s albums. In lean times, getting those sales is more of a necessity. It’s getting to a point however where we are starting to lose the identities of individual rappers. I feel rappers are putting less effort into crafting deep, resonant personas and stories, and are now on merely trying to stand out from the crowds of spitters mobbing records. Group songs are often only interesting insofar as each voice and flow is different. In your group you’ve got the one that raps fast, the one that raps slow, the one with the deep voice, and the one with the low voice. Mob tracks never have the same conceptual depth individual rapper’s songs or albums have.

It used to be that a rapper’s team was there to show that he is well connected; that he is surrounded by his loyal brothers, that he is unfuckwithable. Now it’s all about business—about sharing responsibilities and making a splash on the scene. Ten people jumping into a pool together will always make a bigger splash than one. Collaboration is an important part of hip-hop, but it can’t the primary engine driving the game. Collective albums should second in importance to the creation of solid individual rappers. Wu-Tang is an exception, because they were the first and the rap collective was a new concept. But even Wu-Tang: They made 36 Chambers with the intent of launching individual careers for them all. They made a dope group album (36), then made four dope individual albums that first round, which deepened the intrigue —Iron Man, Liquid Swords, Only Built For Cuban Linx, 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. This what made “Triumph”—the first single off their second group album—such a brilliant moment. No chorus, 6 minutes, and that track still made the radio. Their union meant so much more now that they had individual personalities and styles.

Too many group rap albums are flooding the market. Too many MCs, not enough space in my brain to care about each of them. These albums are all swagger and no depth. I wish rappers would work to craft their albums with personality, purpose, and story. Writing like this will make rappers coming together for group albums much more meaningful events. It will make listening to group albums feel less like sampling a variety pack or a trail mix, wondering only: which guy is the angry rapper or who was smoking the most during the session and’s got the lazy stoner flow.


Talib Kweli feat. Curren$y and Kendrick Lamar “Push Through” Video

August 9, 2012

I’ve always been a fan of rap songs about perseverance. Yup. Love um all. Talib’s newest “Push Through” is particularly good. Best in a while. Since every song on the Roots’ undun.

I didn’t always think that. The first time I heard it, I thought the song was kind of random and forgettable. Seeing the video and hearing it again gave it new life for me.

The song joins Curren$y, Talib Kweli, and Kendrick—three rappers with distinct styles, from very different backgrounds, very different careers—seamlessly. Their verses deal with different subject matters:

Curren$y talks about the struggles of coming up and keeping his career fresh.

Talib waxes on the awful new trends in rap, making a handful of his classic calls for revolution and consciousness.

Kendrick raps about overcoming poverty and destitution in a city that’s dragging.

The common feeling that their stories express pervades through the differences. I’m gonna push throuuugh…The chorus is beautiful. I sing along with it every time it comes around. It refocuses the song thematically, melodically.

The verses flow over slideshow shots of the rappers’ hometowns—Nawlins, BK, and Compton. The urbanscapes meld into one another. The geography becomes seamless. It’s a cool effect, and it makes a profound statement. Solidarity! The music and message unites the three rappers, their peoples, their cities, all their listeners of various backgrounds. Universality! This is exactly what good hip hop should do—what good music should do: It should unite. It should create harmony. Music should motivate. It should make a statement. Talib Kweli’s “Push Through” does all that. It’s a strong single.

Hopefully will be a strong album. Late-career rap albums can still hit. Nas proved it. Raekwon’s done it. I say it’s got a 50/50 shot.

Prisoner of Consciousness in October.


Hudson Mohawke & Lunice: TNGHT, self-titled

July 29, 2012

The TNGHT EP dropped three days ago produced by a collaboration between beatmakers Lunice and Hudson Mohawke. Been waiting on it a while; I love it as much as I thought I would.

The heavy, sparse beats hit where it counts. Call it deconstructionist house music. The songs are sly, cunning, somewhat evil, earnest. They command the ear’s attention in a way a lot of electronic music cannot. Oftentimes, I find it’s very easy for the half-uttered melodic lines and piecemeal beats of electronic music to slide by the ear without leaving any impression. TNGHT is insistent; it is dirty, unrelenting.

I would love to experience it live. It’d drive a crowd insane. It would hardly be dancing—just frenzy and awesome.

I’m fascinated.


Flying Lotus and Earl Sweatshirt — “Between Friends”

July 23, 2012

Flying Lotus released a new track through the Adult Swim Singles Program, contributing to the network that helped him get his start. It’s free for download, but Adult Swim just totally redesigned their website today and their Shockwave plug-in has been wonkin out on me (bad day for an overhaul when you know so much additional music blog traffic is going to be passing through).

The track features young Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt and “Captain Murphy”, a fictional sea captain from Sealab 2021, and not a rapper. The Captain’s got bars though, serious bars that sound a helluva lot like someone else’s we just heard, with a little more character in his voice. [edit: on fourth or fifth listen I started doubt my original assumptions and I actually have no idea]

Fly Lo and Earl Sweat are a match made in abstract-alternative hip-hop heaven. Their sensibilities pair perfectly. Starting, stopping short, flowing perfectly together in time. We need more music from the two of them—collaborating or separate—more hip-hop from Fly Lo, and more verses from Sweatshirt. The interview attached to the single has Fly Lo hinting at a new CD. Fly Lo seems like a good guy, he laughs easy; he seems likeable and down to earth. I imagine Sweatshirt is the same, but shyer. The world could use more humble visionaries.