Friday, January 25, 2013

Quanstar and Outsiders Review

I reviewed Atlanta rapper Quanstar's latest, Yo Soy La Mierda, as well as the Outsiders album. Quanstar is an independent rapper who has put out ten albums, done a documentary, written a book, does a web show about cooking, and makes Android apps. The Outsiders make Christian club rap. Neither were my thing, but they were both sincere and committed to their craft, so props to them.

I've been listening to a lot of downtempo electronic music. Nosaj Thing just came out with a new album, Home, which I've been listening to. Burial has a new single which I'm enjoying. In a similar vein their is Andy Stott's album Luxury Problems, which is dark and moody.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chief Keef

I did a review of Chief Keef's Finally Rich at RapReviews that is up now. I'm not that proud of it. I think it is more of a rant and a put-down, two things I don't think you should indulge in very often, and certainly not publicly. Given that I'm not Keef's demographic, I am not sure I should have written about it in the first place. I now wish I had spent less time on his backstory and more time talking about his actual music. I stand by my opinion, that his music is terrible, but in some ways my review is like an old man telling the kids to get off his lawn. At least I'm not Jim DeRogatis, who's review of the album, which links it to the Newtown massacre, has gotten a lot of derision. I think critics are hating on DeRo unfairly. He wasn't saying that Keef is to blame for Newton,  he was comparing the gun murders in Chicago to the Newtwon tragedy, and saying that if we think it would be tasteless to glamourize Newton, why is it ok to glamourize the gang violence in Chicago.

I think Keith can rap about whatever Keith wants to rap about, and if kids connect to it, so be it. What bothers me about Keith's music is the way that it is being celebrated by Spin, Pitchfork, and the New York Times by white guys in their 30s. Here's a 17-year-old kid making monosyllabic street rap, and he is being made out to be some sort of savant genius by critics.  I'm not saying he's an idiot-you don't get to be a label head and get a huge record contract by being stupid - but his music is about fucking, getting wasted, wasting haters, and spending money. Full stop. There's nothing more to it. There is no self-reflection or self-awareness. And, in case I haven't mentioned it before, he can't rap.

Maybe I'm like the jazzheads in the sixties who thought rock was noise, or the rockers in the 80s who thought hip-hop was noise, or the people who don't like dance music because there's no lyrics. Maybe I'm missing the point or an old fart who just doesn't get it. But, while I can accept that hip-hop will continue to change and evolve, there needs to be some sort of ability or craft to what rappers are doing.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Best of/JJ Doom Review

My year-end best of is up at

I did it alphabetically, which is cheating. If I was forced to do it ranking, the order might be
1. El-P
2. Kendrick Lamar
3. Burial
4. Killer Mike
5. Brother Ali
6. Death Grips
7. Oddisee
8. Apollo Brown
9. Brother Ali
10. Quakers

Or something like that.

As is my review of the JJ DOOM album. Meh.

My review of Chief Keef is up as well, which I'll post next week.

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