Monday, October 31, 2011

Is Lykke Li the Swedish Erykah Badu?

What's the real difference between Lykke Li and Erykah Badu?

On the surface a TAN couldn't marry two more different artists: black, white. badu's fro to lykke's.... anti-fro. neo-soul and neo-swedish pop don't often spin at the same parties (though certainly now more than ever). But I think they're good examples of two artists who if thin-slicing on skin, hair, music aethetic reflect different worlds, but the heart of their music makes my heart skip a beat in the same way (aww). The artists, and I imagine their fans, live in different worlds but are likely kindred spirits.

Couple posts ago I went in on Erykah Badu. America's B-Boy Queen. No one else like her. GQ agrees

This interview with The Vine has Lykke Li panting (just a little bit) at the end of a long tour. Very woe-is-me Artist Lament: my skin feels like stale crackers, agghh! the world sounds like my ears are clogged with truffle oil, grrm! (my translation). And the cliché of it all is funny, but it made me aware of my soft spot for these us sensitive flower types.

And so, possibly only for the convenience of this post, but I boiled down the components of her otherworldly presence in the Badu Guide to Live Dopeness as: her hip hop, her beauty, her 'individual quirky flair', her 'weird sexy non-sex thing', and ultimately all of that supports her just being an undeniably talented singer and songwriter.

And checking on some Lykke clips ? here we have a female soul artist who

covers a milli?



has a face that can hold down a video by itself




a personality with that little splash of irreverence, this bathroom joint for example:



which is like the b-side to the legendary black cab sessions single (hold your head):

Friday, October 28, 2011

On Sale Forever: Chopper Suits

Complex did a feature on Big Suit Fails which was both entertaining and educational.

This is Diddy; Drew Gooden; Tim Thomas

apparently the new nickname for comically large suits is "Chopper Suits", so named after our old friend Chopper (from Da Band) who put out a video in 2009 to take shots at some folks and let the world know he's a boss these days. Except no one informed him that bosses who survived the 90s now wear tailored suits, not one-size-fits-all from off the rack at the big-and-tall store that's going out of business. So he embarrassed himself and now he's an internet meme, and every day, literally, people eat breakfast, say their prayers, get dressed, make a joke about chopper suits, then go to work where they will probably read other people's jokes. There's well over 500 comments, and counting. Someone in 2009 said, "yo, the comments are the best!". if you want to squint a little, here's a sampling.

Daddy's Little Girl: 5 Songs Jay-Z Will Regret

I've heard it said nothing transforms a man like having a baby girl. So news that Jay-Z and Beyoncé are having a daughter could mean we will never see or hear from the old Shawn Carter again. Old Jay-Z: "hard dick and bubble gum". New Jay-Z: poopy diapers and baby food.

It’s the beginning of a new era in hip hop. The Old Man Rap era. And a lot of emcees are gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do. Hov, to his jeweler’s credit, has always talked more Maybachs and ice, than about his sidepiece and wife. So he won’t have as much umm, err, umm stammering to contend with as, say, Kanye. But here's five songs we still expect to be removed from Lil Hovita’s iPod.


Jay-Z Songs He Doesn't Want His Daughter to Hear [Grantland]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Erykah Badu: Queen Diva for the Hip Hop Generation

GQ has a special edition about "Survivors” out now. They're listing Gods of Rock like Eminem, Lil Wayne, Keith Richards, Raekwon, PJ Harvey, others. Erykah Badu is the only black woman on there. And I don't say that to start trouble, but to point out that Erykah Badu > better than Beyoncé (and I'm a Beyoncé fan as well). Which I didn't quite realize until seeing GQ get ahead of the curve a bit.

Now it’s true that I'm partial to her steez cause she's a b-girl, and I'm a b-boy. And it’s true that Beyonce's more accomplished in her way. But Badu sometimes gets overlooked when talking about today’s divas (“scientists come out with your scales up”), and on the low she might be the Queen Crown Jewel of the hip hop generation. We have enumerated points and clips here for definitive proof. Let us watch and count the ways:

1. She's wearing the chain: The main difference between Badu and Bey: Badu is a b-boy, Beyonce’s a b-boy’s pinup girl. It was great for the time, but I think both Bey and Jay will come to regret “the dopest chick in the game wearing my chain”. Come on, that’s some subversive power play shit. And you know what Erykah would say to some nonsense like that:



Whut? You better go back the way you came. WRONG WAY. You don’t want to FA-LA-LA, son. “You ain’t the worstest one I have done, but you’ll do until he comes”. Whuuut? Beyonce gets a little bit of growl going on occasion, but she never gets on her “gonna be some slow singing, flower bringing, if my burglar alarm starts ringing.”

This would not be dope if Badu was in and out of rehab, or on some hoodrat shite where you can’t bring her home to the parents. But that's where Erykah can flip it and come back on some Cosby Show-caliber respect. Since Baduizm she's been rolling with the dopest intro in the history of womankind: Can I ask the elders in the house if I can speak freely?



That's straight B-Boy/Girl. But, hol’up:

2. SHOTS FIRED: You don’t want it with E: (via)

"I look at some other videos. I’m not naming names, because I don’t want that to be mentioned. There is the thing with sexuality. I’m naked for 13 seconds, and these people are naked the whole time and gyrating and saying come “lick on my lollipop,” and “suck on my cinnamon roll,” and, you know, suggesting sex. People are uncomfortable with sexuality that’s not for male consumption. Could be ‘cause I did it in public too. Do you think people would have been complaining if I had on high-heel shoes?"
Unh. She's not naming names, but who run the world? Baaaa-du. But wait up...

3. Which leads to getting her Hipster Art-Sexy on:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Five New Promo Ideas for Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music Album

A couple days ago, Kanye West tweeted that his next album — one presumed to be a compilation featuring artists signed to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint — will drop in Spring 2012. Which, more than anything else, served as a reminder of how much more entertaining the world was when Kanye was playing along. These days, even when he occupies Wall Street, he only speaks through an interpreter. We're a little appalled, to be honest. No one man should have all that power if he's not gonna walk around acting like shit is fuckin' ridiculous.

So we're throwing a few ideas out for promoting that next album. Hopefully one will stick.

1. Make a sex tape with Gaga.
There aren't many more shockers left in the pantry for either of these artists. My informants tell me they're both single, so let's just go ahead and get this one done already. Maybe it's my dark twisted fantasy, but the celebrity sex tape game needs some new energy. And a hot new soundtrack wouldn't hurt either. We already know Gaga's down for whatev, so it's on you to make it happen, Ye. Do it.

2. Make audience members sing.
Strange but true: The whole reason I wrote a post on Kanye was to have an excuse to post this clip:


And the award for best Youtube Comment goes to...

"I read lips. She said: No, Beyoncé, don’t make me sing. Please no. I was born deaf. No, no, please dear god, no. Don’t let this happen. If there’s a soul in that body, please select someone else. This will be on youtube in ten seconds. Please, no, no,ÿ please. Ohhhhh, oohhhh wo-woooooooohhh.”

3. "I'm Bi...."

CONTINUED ON GRANTLAND

Thursday, October 20, 2011

His & Hers South Boston Parody Videos

these were wicked funny. The Real Housewives of South Boston




pairs nicely with "Mass Men":



MA Men from Joey McIntyre      

are there any regional peeps left to make fun of. a la Jersey Shore, Thug N's of Harlem, Hippie Surf Dudes in Cali. anyone else??

Friday, October 14, 2011

Old Man Rap: Nas Still Got It, Son

(On Grantland)


In Never Scared, Chris Rock had some fun riffing about what it was like to be a 39-year-old hip-hop head. And I can personally remember The Chronic dropping and talking with friends about how this would be our generation’s smooth-jazz retirement music. I’m still looking forward to bumping “Let Me Ride” as I lean back playing some Bingo at the Soundview Senior Center.

But what about when the rappers get old? Back in the day, KRS-One famously rhymed “No one’s from the old school, cause rap on a whole isn’t even twenty years old / Fifty years down the line you can start this.” Well, it’s not quite fifty years, but we’re getting close! And with Jay-Z and the Roots' Questlove and Black Thought over the hill, and Em turning 39 in a few days (Happy Birthday!), it feels like we’re ushering in a new era of Old Man Rap. I’d call it a Renaissance except it’s really the first time we’re seeing our platinum rap stars approach their platinum anniversaries.

I got to thinking about this because the ever-youthful-looking Nas, who is working on the tenth album of his 20-year career, and now pushing 40, dropped the video for his first single “Nasty" (below). It's a little sample of what his Old Man Rap game looks like.



CONTINUED ON GRANTLAND

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

State of the Black Sitcom: Does the World Need A New Cosby Show?

On Grantland: notes on BET's "Reed Between the Lines"...

On the matter of “black sitcoms,” we haven’t had anything rival the impact of The Cosby Show, a ratings juggernaut that was Illmatic, Star Wars, and American Idol all in one raise of Clair Huxtable’s eyebrow....

(click images or link to READ MORE)





Is Reed Between the Lines the New Cosby Show? [Grantland]

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Think Different: 5 Rappers Who Should Take Acid


In 1997, Steve Jobs fired shots at Bill Gates: "I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.'' Get it? I’m a Mac, and you need some LSD.

A few year later in John Markoff’s book on how the hippies and Vietnam War shaped the world of personal computing, Jobs famously cited acid-taking as "one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." Don’t you see? Drugs help you Think Different, dude.

Drugs can also help you make music. But what kind of music might depend on the drugs. Thoughout the history of hip hop, critics, fans, and artists have always resorted to comparisons of popular rap stars with iconic bands of the sixties and seventies. When Jam Master Jay died, many likened the Beatles to Run DMC. Now some do it with Jay-Z, and arguments about which hip hop artists are most similar to the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, and Pink Floyd can extend long into the night. But amid the chatter, we forget about the drugs, man. The only drugs you hear about in mainstream hip hop are weed, alcohol, and Marshall Mathers. What if more hip hop artists went on hallucinogenic benders?

CONTINUED ON GRANTLAND

Friday, October 07, 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Maybe "Illmatic" is Hip Hop's "Catcher In the Rye"?

Re-upping this one for my peeps from The New Yorker, this Illmatic meets Catcher in the Rye didn't make it in for Negropedia, but we got some other good stuff in the book, and exploring the shared literary-hip hop (Audio-Lit?) spaces is an ongoing pet love of mine. We will be here forever!

Yesterday JD Salinger passed away at the age of 91.

As a former disaffected "Choatie", I grew up in a world, uh, beholden to his majesty Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye for poetically exposing the sturm und drang of white preppie youth. As this obit on Gawker points out,

"his ability to channel the internal monologue of a bright-but-alienated kid made the book essential reading for generations of high school students."

Now this type of line gets to the heart of the problem of cultural inequity; because while I was obligated to lighten my pinky through the learning of traditional anglo spirituals (nobody knows the troubles on Park Ave, nobody knows their sorrows), my own personal Holden Caulfield years came right around the time Nas dropped his debut novel, err, album Illmatic. And I'd be a phoney moron to not recognize Nas as "channeling the internal monologue of a bright-but-alienated [black] kid which made the album essential listening for generations of [black] high school students."

So, hmmm, Catcher vs. Illmatic...

a cursory check of the wiki on Salinger and Catcher reveals:

"written in first person (as if Holden himself had written it). There is flow in the seemingly disjointed ideas and episodes ... Critical reviews agree that the novel accurately reflected the teenage colloquial speech of the time."

What's this? Flow, disjointed ideas and episodes, teenage colloquial speech?? Sounds like my kind of rapper...

how about something on Nas:

"[Nas] realistically depicts the darker side of urbanity, creating highly detailed first-person narratives that deconstruct the troubling lives of inner city teenagers"

or the NYTimes noting, "Nas imbues his chronicle with humanity and humor, not just hardness ... [He] reports violence without celebrating it, dwelling on the way life triumphs over grim circumstances rather than the other way around"

These thematic similarities are striking even before the thought of autotuning the voice of Holden Caulfield through some sort of ethnocultural babelfish translator, and getting the lyrics to "New York State of Mind". Or hypothetically plucking Nas out of the ghetto at an early age and sending him off to boarding school where he learns the writing of prose fiction books instead of ones filled with 4-measure rhymes.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

More Beatbox Assimilation: Where Da Ladies At?

Is there still a growing contingent of female beatboxers? I def need to know if young girls are telling their mothers: I'M NOT FINISHING LAW SCHOOL, MOM, I ALREADY TOLD YOU I WANT TO BE A BEATBOXER!! I would be the dad who says you have to let her spread her wings and fly. Or her lips and make beats. Erm. Whatever. But seriously, if it's plateaued, ok, but if there's still a cresting wave of feminine spittle short circuiting mics around the globe I, for one, would like to read that trend piece immediately.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Fall Valentine



this came out on Valentine's Day, but I'm just discovering now (via Jozen). maybe it's the snow globe effect, but I feel the sensibility also works for the fall season.

the thing i have to mull on is the neo-soul twee of it all. twee always makes me nervous. like privilege is gonna jump out the van and kidnap a brother. when i'm up in harlem i always switch from my twee hipster jams (like little dragon) to Sean Price (always Sean PEE!). I think it's just in case they randomly turn on the all-of-Harlem public address system and use my headphones for the audio-in, that's a tough look if you're bumping that Panda Bear. don't get me wrong, i think i could eventually pull it off. make some jokes. scarf down a bunch of Popeyes (talmbout, "See!") but it's not worth the hassle, y'know.

plus, Sean Price has a pretty dope version of neo-soul twee also



these are two emo-songs with different clothes on, or something. blocka blocka
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