Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The best album of the year (so far), and it’s free!

I’ve been getting a ton of stuff to review, and I’ve bought a handful of new CD’s, but the disc I keep listening to over and over again I downloaded for free. It’s Wale’s (prounounced Wa-LAY) “100 Miles and Running” mixtape. Download it off of his myspace page here:


Wale has some wicked lyrics, and is a little like a less Muslim Lupe Fiasco. The thing I love about this mixtape is it is able to borrow beats and use breaks that you could never get the rights to – like “Work” which features the classic “Apache” break mixed with the Beatles’ “Hey Mr. Bulldog”. He also raps over tracks by Justice, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, James Brown, and Gorillaz. The whole thing has a brilliant old school flavor to it, with Wale dropping some great lines. Good stuff.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Operation: Doomsday

I just bought “Operation: Doomsday”, the first album by MF DOOM. The disc has been out of print for a while, owning to the fact that it infringes on the copyright of Marvel Comics Dr. Doom character, not to mention the samples from the Fantastic Four cartoon from the sixties, and a song that samples “Scooby Doo”. This album goes for a million bucks on ebay, but it is on itunes (with a modified cover) for a mere 12 bucks. Bargain!

You either love DOOM or you don’t. He raps in non-sequitors, and a lot of time just seems to put random shit together. A lot of his work seems to have been done in his basement, and so there is both an intimacy and an anything-goes” dynamic to it. The flipside is that there is also a lack of editing, so it’s not all solid gold.

Most of the beats on this album appear on his special herbs box set, which I own. One exception is “Hey!” which samples the theme to the New Scooby Doo Movies. I am a huge fan of those old Scooby Doo shows, so I was really thrilled to hear a beat built around the organ, punctuated with horns and the gang saying “HEY!”

The record is accurately summed up in the intro, which samples both the Fantastic Four show AND Wild Style. It’ DOOM’s way of telling us that he is going off on his own weird tangent, while reminding us that he’s been down with Hip hop since Quinones had crazy legs.

There is a sense of loss throughout the disc. There are a couple lyrical references to DOOM’s brother Sub Roc, who was killed in a car crash in 1994. The skits from the FF show document Dr. Doom’s fall, and paint him as a tragic, slightly pathetic character.
I love DOOM’s loopy, 70s am radio samples, and his goofy sense of humor. I’m excited about the record he is making with Ghostface, which should come out this year. It makes since, too, since Supreme Clientele sampled heavily from the cheesy sixties Iron Man cartoon.

In my stint as a reviewer, I have to listen to a lot off mediocre rap, and MF DOOM’s “Operation Doomsday” is a brilliant reminder of why I like hip-hop: it’s inventive, funky, and out there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

White Stripes Justice

I heard “Icky Thump” recently, the new album by the white stripes. It’s decent, but I can’t say I’m terribly excited by it. I wasn’t that into their last album either. I think I may have hit Maximum White Stripesage….i guess there is only so much stripped-down blues that a boy can digest.

I’m more excited about the new Justice cd (pronounced Just-eees cuz they’re frogs). It’s garbage-house in the style of daft punk, whom they have some relation to.

Speaking of, there is a link on Urb’s webiste to some of the tracks that daft punk have sample from. Check it out here : http://www.urb.com/permalink/1047/Daft-Punk-Samples-Revealed.html

I also have reviews up for T-Hud and the Citizens of Sleep on Rapreviews.

The new stars album is available on the arts and crafts label http://www.arts-crafts.ca/releases.php

That’s all I got.


Monday, July 09, 2007

DIY Bullshit

When I was in junior high, my friends and I made a few DIY hip-hop gems. Using beats from my shitty casio, we would freestyle about corn, our dorky science teacher, and your mom. Evidently we coulda slapped an ugly ass label on that and distributed it as DIY hip hop GOLD. In my brief time as a reviewer, I’ve already come across a lot of self-produced stuff that isn’t much better than what me and my friends were doing. A keyboard, some protocols, some lines about being a “Ridah” and you are good to go. Most of the shittiest stuff is of the gangsta genre, with these melodramatic synthesized strings over snap beats while some emcee tries desperately to sound hard. In general, the lyrical finesse and wordplay that marks good hip-hop is replace by a more streamlined, no-frills approach, so that it is very clear to the listener that the emcee kills people, deals drugs, and has no love for hos.

The real tragedy is that all this stuff uses up valuable natural resources, and just adds to the toxic landfill in the world. I can’t wait for digital files to kill cds and relieve mother nature from having to supply resources for this crap.

Of course, there is good stuff as well, like Citizens of Sleep, who are based out of Ohio. They actually can rhyme, have good beats, and you can download a lot of their stuff free at www.barakanoel.com.

In the meantime, maybe I should dust off my casio and try and make some minor-league goal by rapping about how I’m a hustla who is getting’ on his grind every day, and wouldn’t hesitate to cap any fool, although I miss my fallen soldierz. Peace!

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