Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Rapping Isn't Fundamental

When I did ironic little rap ditties (diddy's?) for 50 Cent's Vitaminwater,, Gawker and such I thought I was on to something new and different. The future. Hip hop's untapped potential as both an art and a more compelling form of communication. Like cellphones and twitter, Hip Hop was a new technology to deliver whatever message you wanted: Like, Eat at McDonald's!, or, buy khaki pants!, or, we love black people!

But just like watching a movie on your cellphone, you realize in execution the premise doesn't totally satisfy. turns out some of the things that make the cellphone convenient (i.e. it being small) undermines your ability to totally indulge the movie. Likewise, a rap's rhythm, pacing, style that make it artful undermine its ability to function as effective, direct communication (make your point and stop internal-rhyme-scheming already!).

As a hip hop enthusiast and champion, i always thought if you had flow and make some good punchlines, you could convert anything into the form and the young urban kids would bob their head and be like, yeah, i feel you. And even the white-people-rapping pandemic of the mid-2000's didn't persuade me otherwise. Those people just weren't good.

But now it seems, most people can at least kick a few bars without totally embarrassing themselves (right, Miley Cyrus!). And it's just like, eh. Not bad, you have competency ... but why are you doing this again? Anyrap, that's what I thought after seeing this journalism school graduation video...

It's like, don't stop on my account. Go, have fun! Rap! But i don't know, it's like seeing an interactive exhibit at a museum or something; I nod at the proactive gesture of edutainment more than i feel viscerally engaged by it. knahmean?

Packed My Bowl, Err Bags, And Moved To Portland

From the town that brought you the Portland Jailblazers, and mad roses, comes the latest smellgood sensation: the first "marijuana cafe" in the United States.

The Cannabis Cafe in Portland, Oregon (opened mid-November), is the first to give certified medical marijuana users a place to get hold of the drug and smoke it -- as long as they are out of public view -- despite a federal ban.

Just make sure it's not Oregono you're smoking. hey-O!

Previously From the Oregon News Dispatch:
There's a "Meet A Black Guy" Booth In Oregon [TAN]

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Assimilated Piano

They're calling it "the fluid piano"; I'll just call it a "culturally assimilated piano", since that's longer and more cumbersome to say or write. In either case, here we have an instrument of art that dares to step outside of its western music roots/tradition like artists themselves occasionally do. how fancy!

Pretty awesome. I mean hip hop/electronic music producers etc. have been doing this for a while through sampling, keyboards etc, but this seems like a serious breakthrough with all the never-seen-before tuning/modulating options now on the instrument itself.

if kanye gets wind of this it might be the piece that finally lets him be great. we could also call it the Lady Gaga of pianos. or maybe the tiger woods of steinways since it's kinda-sorta cheating on the plain ol' regular notes. or maybe the michael jackson of [piano instrument] for reinventing how black-white notes sound when children play with it ...(?) hmm, that last one is a little off-tune but you know what i mean if you think about it. right? RIGHT???
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