Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Prom Night In Mississippi

How old are you?

Did you go to your High School Prom?

Was it integrated?

I'd imagine that last one to come across as sort of a joke question -- is it integrated??? do you mean like cavemen and dinosaurs? these are the jokes people -- But for Charleston High School in Mississippi, it's a legitimate query. They just had their first "integrated" prom a couple years ago. The story of it serving as the old world grist for Paul Saltzman documentary "Prom Night In Mississippi".

Here's some pub copy on it:

The film deftly weaves together student-made videos, interviews, and fly-on-the-wall moments with scenes of school officials, parents and Morgan Freeman himself, as white and black members of the Charleston senior class work together to organize the groundbreaking dance. While students prepare for the big day, seemingly inconsequential rites of passage suddenly become profound as the weight of history falls on teenage shoulders. We quickly learn that change does not come easily in this sleepy Delta town, as Freeman’s generosity ends up fanning flames of racism among several generations of Charleston residents.

And a video clip:

Some thoughts:

1.Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. These people are from The South:

Monday, July 27, 2009

KRS, I Knew, Duh, But I Did Not Know Buckshot and Talib Had Off The Dome Skills Like This

I think there is an objective philosophical argument to make for dropping "freestyle" as our textual indicator of off-the-dome skills. It muddies the clarity of our folklore/storytelling. It will be confusing *in the future*. But it's also an argument that's tough to make with conviction, cause I do agree, with many, that whatever you call it -- "freestyle" -- is the pinnacle of the hip hop culture. Professor Chang once said "hip hop is the art of the impossible", and freestyle is the most transparent, immediate practicing of that. A good freestyle is that perfect form of spontaneous literature. And as readers, consumers you have a sense when you're seeing the *real* shit.

Two samps below:

But for real, I always thought Buck and Talib were "written freestyle verses" types. And I'm not quite certain with Buck if that was all off the top, I mean if it was, he's sick and immediately moves up a pay scale or two.

Hate to be Grumpy Old Men about it, but def don't see it that much from the young boys. Here's Drake, "freestyling, on Flex. Not off the dome. Off the cellphone. I like Drake, but y'know, it's not the same. KRS and Buck got 20-somethingK views, on two clips, Drake has gone gold with this one. Huh?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Got Beef, The Game Vs. Jay-Z: Satellite Just Went Down

"A wise man once said don't argue with fools/ cause people from a distance can't tell who is who"

So a couple days ago, somewhat surprisingly, the hegemonic Jay-Z did actually speak out on the whole beef with "The Game", and he wasn't particularly stately about it saying bluntly, "tell groupie, get over it".

The Game, who when not barking in front of the Hov estate has been tussling with Bow Wow in ALL CAPS, was probably delighted to get wind of Jay taking notice, and subsequently gave an *exclu-clu-clusive* to the Boodah Brothers where he fires back.

It's more of the same, which is to say childish blather from someone not playing in the same league really. Like if the kid who dunked on LeBron recently started talking to the press about how he is a better all around ball player than James. ...As I'm writing this, I sort of feel like I'm too biased to Jay, but Game calls Jay ugly, old, and wonders why he doesn't have a child "is he firing blizzanks or somethin'". It's like, come on, really? For 15 minutes, that's all you got? Firstly, ugly, besides being childish when repeated ad infinitum, is irrelevant when this guy is marrying (married?) a girl widely considered "the hottest chick in the game". Nextly, hello, we're all gonna get old. Thirds: Game's bio talks about a history of child abuse, from presumably too-young parents, ... so the final stab seems particularly short-sighted.

Forward Fodder

Do people still do the email forward thing? I think some people who read my blog do. I take 'em 8-80 dumb crippled and emailing-crazy, etc.

Anyfod, came across this site with so many wonderful little images/sayings to forward I could hardly choose which ones to post. And goshdarnit if they're still not fun as all heck.

for the "gotta have my coffee" workaholics:

for the slow chin-strokers:
for socially-conscious-liberal-do-gooders-who-do-good-to-the-extent-that-bumper-stickers-and-such-constitute-doing-good:

for ironic quirky humor lovers:

for people who like to intellectualize their cycles of depression

for all my single ladies, who know what they want:

via Make My Mood, People Sayings

AssimiLinks: Your Jealousy and Black Female Rabbis are Useless To Me, Like Newspapers and Indie Dream Girls

Changes afoot. TAN soldiers being recruited and suited up for war. There will be AssimiLink-dumps. Send assimilated links, news, brainfarts to theassimilatednegro at gmizzy.


On Jealousy: "Jealousy may be losing its utility in contemporary life, more useful to our ancestors than to us" -- does this mean in 100 years jealousy might not exist? useless and/or phased out via our evolutionary tract like the dodo bird, the appendix, third nipples? what other emotions are no longer useful to us nowadays? Psychology Today with the fodder for thought.

Paper vs. Web, the unscientific experiment: Slate's having some people only read physical newspapers for a few days, while others only read the web. Unscientific but interesting, and a model TAN might use to to conduct some cultural experiments of his own.

Speaking of newspapers, how does the Times home page gets made: don't need much more explanation than that. via the Observer.

LeBron James going from classy to ashy: Josh Levin dissects the Lebron James video cover-up. "The man who wants to be known as "The Global Icon" should be smart enough to realize that a single dunk in a pickup game does a lot more to build the name of the unknown dunker than it does to harm the world-famous dunkee. LeBron lost face the only way he possibly could have: by failing to be magnanimous." Indeed. Although really the reason to peep is for inclusion of video of Michael Jordan losing a one-on-one game to CEO John Rogers. Nice insightful pull on that one, Josh.

Indie Dream girls: Doree Shafrir, who's hot to death right now, explores the genre of manic pixie dream girls in movies. we're gonna have some focused follow-up on this.

First African-American Female Rabbi: have the jews gone post-racial and post-gender? i'm surprised at the lack of negro memos i've received on this.

And finally, some unreleased Nas, a snippet from a song called "Colors", from DJ Khalil and OKP

DJ Khalil and Nas in the studio recording "Colors" from DJ KHALIL on Vimeo.

illustration: via

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dear TAN: As the Ass of Your Blog Turns, Or Something

Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: How to shortcut-access this blog!

Dear TAN,

Noticed I'd started typing "ass" into my browser address bar to get to your site a bit back. Realized I could just as easily type "as". Would you rather have a rump association going on in my head when I'm looking for you, or preposition?




Firstly, thanks for asking! There are many things we do not understand in this world. Many things we know exist, but can't tangibly grasp. Associations by way of browser address routines are certainly one of the numerous, perhaps infinite, number of intangibilia that indeed influence the way you, me and everyone we know lead our lives. If you think a certain thing, or are triggered into a certain mode/sensibility by way of my url-shortcut, then that quite possibly frames my content as much as the blogger template, letters, and words. It -- WE -- are all connected.

As we try and fix the circuitry of life, it'd be easy to overlook this little filament of a notion. Luckily, because you are bold enough to ask what needs to be asked, we at least have a point of entry.

So. Now. "As" or "Ass"? Well, I guess it's more about what the associations do in your head. That is to say TAN is here to please. Or at least provoke in a pleasant fashion. So my natural impulse reaction is to give the "Ass" a thumbs up, but then again I'm a guy; we thumbs up most anything that's moist on the inside, and in close proximity to a viable orifice for our egos. (hmmm, should I edit that?). So the question really is for you: does "ass" make you think, "oooooh, ass. i want me some of that." or "i'm glad i do yoga/run/eat right/sex-like-a-champ cause i got a good one..." or maybe "lots of fine asses 'round town these days." Does the word make you think things that fall on the spectrum somewhere between positive and innocuous?

Or does it make you think of assh*les, and/or people who act like asses (is there a difference?); the smell of ass, and/or the ghosts of gas-passed past. and other such cheerless ephemera.

i can only presume "as", the preposition, is more of a blank slate. at least, that's what it is for me. something neither here nor there in terms of associative properties. I guess its entirely possible for you to have strong feelings about grammar, and positive or negative emotive connections in that regard. I know grammar enthusiasts. And was once good friends with a girl who was abused by commas as a little girl; totally killed our chances of making beautiful poetry together.

Anyas, i like showy. i like to stand out. when i can. when appropriate. I'd rather be a stinky ass, than an unnoticed preposition. Psychologist Caorl Gilligan teaches growing up as a process of slow-forgetting. I want to be remembered! Even when you're old! So if forced to choose between two undesirables, i'm inclined to go with an indelible ass.

but as with all things, it really just depends... somehow, though, i think this particular train of thought will linger with me for a while. Thanks for the food for thought.



top ass image: via

The Prep School Negro, Trailer

This isn't in my *voice*, but it is in so many ways what TAN is all about. Where the conversion process begins.

Looking forward to peeping the movie in full. Contact has been made with Andre, the director and producer, so hopefully more recon/stuff to follow on this thread. But really it all just gets me to thinking about how we're close to hitting *our* stride; maybe the final hurdle will be when we finally have the *assimilated* Judd Apatow sensibility on the screen. Not oriented as documentary (unless it's faux/mock), but as simple funny story-telling. Baby steps, negrosan.

We are coming. We are Assimilateds. Hear us roar!

The Prep School Negro

Friday, July 17, 2009

BYOBBQ and The J Period Mixtape Giveaway

This weekend the hip hop blogosphere is getting together for a first annual BYOB (Bring Your Own Blog[ger]) BBQ. That's BYOBBBQ for short, and blog-cutesy.

AnyB's, looks like they got some online power brokers in the building. Nahright, Missinfo, 2dopeboyz, smoking section, OKP, others ...

also jperiod (mixtape king-ing-ing-ing!) on the wheels, and in the spirit of a first annual, and the online-free-hip-hop-content-sphere, there's a couple classic mixtapes being given away. here's the links:

Alternate Links:

not sure if i'm gonna be able to make it cause my daddy went and got born on the same day and wants to have a party himself, so if you're in nyc and interested and have the ability to socialize and mingle, holla at me for details, i might want to send an emissary or something.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If It Looks Like a Duck, And Quacks Like a Duck, Then Maybe It Has a Spiraling Maze-Like Vagina

Sometimes you come across things on the internet and you're like, how did this not result in an intergalactic media extravaganza, the likes of which a leaked Michael Jackson-Sarah Palin sex tape could only hope to muster, ... or at least land a Time magazine cover story or something:

Female ducks have evolved "maze-like" genitals with many twists, pouches and dead ends, in a bid to prevent rape and retain control of who fathers their offspring – while male ducks have evolved equally convoluted penises to keep up.

OK then!

You win everything, ducks. Congratulations.

Duck genitals locked in arms race [Cosmos]

image: via

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How I Learned To Be Super Successful By Writing Letters to My Genitalia

A couple months ago the lovely and charming Blaise asked me to participate on her "How I Learned..." reading series. The subject that month: How I Learned To Be Super Successful.

Video from the evening just came in. Here's part 1, which is the letter I wrote that started the viral-meme-chain-reaction of people writing letters to their genitalia (everyone knows about that craze, right? right???):

A Letter From A Black Man to his Average-Sized Penis [TAN]
How I Learned [HIL]

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Michael Jackson RIP: "ABC"

The End of Pop, looking at the story and legacy of Michael Jackson one song and video clip at a time.

1.2: The Wicked Witch of Motown

The songwriting collective that bequeathed MJ and The Jackson 5 four #1 singles was called "The Corporation", and they remind me of the wicked witch in fairy tales who shows up when The Prince or Princess is born and gives some sparkly gift that's also a terrible curse only realized over time. Like a diamond ring that allows the wearer to turn any piece of doodoo they touch into gold, but then every ten years, on your birthday, one of your fingers fall off.

That character in fairy tales is usually mean, and I wouldn't want to ascribe the karmic sin of "evil intent" to The Corporation -- songwriting collectives, after all, have the noblest of goals; championing Art over Artists -- but in the narrative of MJ King of Pop, these guys are playing that oft-forgotten role that sets our hero on his predestined journey. The gift-curse of the gold-doodoo ring, or somesuch.

"ABC" is the second #1 single, but the first that showcases a little of this weird yin-yang golden-doodoo relationship.

So on one hand it's a song that's the epitome of "bubblegum soul"; this is what a songwriting collective should produce: Fun, bouncy, danceable hits. On a musical-enjoyment level, it's brilliant.

But then, on the other hand, from a distance you might think: hey, wait a minute. did that 12-year-old befroed boy just tell the girl (presumably older) "to git up and show him what she can do?" And how "t-t-t-teacher's gonna show her how to get an 'a'?" Huh? What in tarnation is this fresh befroed boy talking about? What does he know enough about to t-t-t-teach anyone?

This is a definite theme from the early Jackson 5 era. There's an empty soulless precociousness that conjures images of Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageants and child labor laws.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jaydiohead: The Encore

Max Tannone, the DJ behind the Jaydiohead (Jay-Z + Radiohead) mashup that got some buzz late last year, and eventually landed a twitter shout-out from Mr. Carter himself, has released a 5-song encore.

When I unpacked the concept a little bit in January i said:

Jay and Radiohead seem complementary on the surface but are actually antithetical artists in sensibility. Jay in his own words, "is a business-man." "He's not trying to do numbers like The Roots." The Roots, of course, are artists. Maybe the closest thing to a Radiohead of hip hop. Also, the Obama of hip hop bands.

Jay is an artist as well, of course (my word choice is/was lacking); but this also ties in with the DOA critique. Hov's flow, presence exudes a bottom line sensibility that prioritizes business over "artsy" impulses that could potentially expose him, i.e. artist vulnerability is lacking. Mr. Carter plays it smart/safe as an emcee. Which is why I think the *concept* of Jaydiohead strikes more than the actual execution (though as toure and jay attest, there are definitely a couple joints that really cook). Radiohead's ethereal vibe/sensibility is more befitting abstract poetry, not matter-of-fact smooth criminality; hence my RadioNas suggestion.

I haven't gotten to marinate with the 5-song additions to really dig in on those, but I'm glad Max is still experimenting. It's all good-culture in the hood.

Jaydiohead: The Encore

5 Fingers on Jaydiohead [TAN]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dear Mayara Tavares

You opened my eyes yesterday. And not in the way everyone, including myself, who got suckered into O-Bum-a-Gate would imply.

I don't know. I just empathize with your position. And want to apologize for being part of the knee-jerk media monolith (an eensy-weensy small part that sells Snotsicles in the back of the mailroom) reaction.

Because when the picture came out that seemingly captured our President Barack Obama taking a peek at your tush (perhaps elevating you to "ass that changed america" status), some clowns made jokes, some crazies exclaimed how this meant our president was a pedophile, some skeptics skepticized it as a plant by conservatives. Still others wondered why anyone cared either way because guys look at girls behinds all the time.

But no one really wondered about Miss Tavares. No one, so far as i saw, was like: Hello??? Everyone?? Please everybody just shut the f up and think about this young socially conscious and proactive teenager getting to go on what is likely a once in a lifetime trip of her dreams to meet the president -- the new and improved *special* president who represents the face of a new world order -- and how everything is absolutely ruined when your ass ends up circulated around the planet as, uh, the butt of headlines, and now people are slow-frame analyzing your walk, and feeling free to comment on the power rankings of your booty, and every possible reaction you could have except for the one that empathizes with the little girl who just wanted to look nice when she met the president.

so, i don't know... for what it's worth (very little), i was guilty too, but sorry about that.

(uh, and you too, #1 megan fox fan.)



Friday, July 10, 2009

Obama Trying to Get His Hands Around Global Warming?

UPDATE: with retraction/apology.

This is the presidential sitcom moment right before both Barack and Sarkozy face front and see their beautiful wives glaring at them.

I think we can skip to the end and award this "picture of the year". I also anticipate more photos of Obama walking Bo by himself in the future. And maybe doing lots of other things by himself. (Which actually does raise the questions of whether Mr. Obama, y'know, occasionally rubs one out before a big speech or something. It might seem obvious that he does, it's just natural, but I could see feeling self-conscious about such things if you're President. And is there really any privacy in the White House? I don't know. If he does, i bet that first one carried some extra tension, or emotion, or something)

But I guess our Ass Commander in Chief won't actually be by himself; Sarkozy looks committed to the role of giggling-sidekick-wingman. Is he not about to elbow Barack, and be like "not bad eh, EH"?

This is TAN, though, and it wouldn't be right if we didn't add a couple more pics of powerful black men where the thought bubble is pre-scripted with a "DAAAAAAM"

Actually Diddy's thought bubble seems like it's more complicated than that.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Emma Shulman: A Woman to Stay Young With

Had this passed on to me, a profile/interview on what I can only imagine to be the baddest mamma-jamma in New York City. She's probably gonna slap me good for such corn-ball phrasing, but for real, let us count the ways:

1. She's a consultant at the Center for Excellence on Brain Aging and Dementia. I didn't know this existed, but now aware it sounds very necessary and very brilliant. I don't care so much about me getting old, so much as my brain. And, of course, consultants are always the best kind of job to have.

2. You'd be a consultant too, with this sort of itinerary: currently pursuing a master's in cultural anthropology. private class in writing. acting class at John Jay. fordham for english lit class. and belong to the Philharmonic, the ballet, the Roundabout. -- wow. that's a lot of classes, are you in high school miss lady with the dyed gray hair?

3. ok, well with all the studying, how do you let loose?: "I smoked. Seventy-something years. I just quit three months ago. Cold turkey. I like red wine, a glass with dinner. I used to drink Scotch. I was a Scotch maniac.

I was a pretty wild kid, running around with a lot of guys."

4. oh yeah? Pretty wild with the guys? Well, you're so smart and interesting, maybe we could go out or something?: "I didn’t want to get involved again. Men who are older are looking for someone to take care of them. They don’t cook, they don’t clean. By the way, I never cooked, I never cleaned."

5. Playing hard to get are you? Well, how old are you anyways?: 96

NINETY-SIX??!?!?! Holy smokes! talk about being out of my league: more educated, more wordly, has drunk more scotch, smoked more cigs, told more significant others to hit the dishes because she doesn't do that, helped more people in ways that matter, and had more fun while she did it, and .... SHE JUST QUIT SMOKING THREE MONTHS AGO. AND SHE SAW THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE GET BUILT. AND SHE'S LIKE, I ONLY MESS WITH YOUNG GUYS CAUSE I CAN'T BE FOLDING CLOTHES FOR THESE INFIRMED DUDES WITH ALL THESE CLASSES I'M TAKING, AND BLOGGING AND BALLET AND STUFF. WHAAAAATTTT????

Is she 26 or 96? What's the movie where lindsay lohan jumps into her mom's body? that's obviously the only explanation for what's going on here.

Seriously, I've been sussing out the MJ narrative and indulging the inspiration from "superstars", but look no further than Emma to see inspiration, life etc is all around you, what you make of it, and any other cliche she'd smack me for because life isn't about talking it's about living.

ok, off to throw pebbles at her window and see if Emma, Queen of The Olds, will have a scotch with me.

Experience Necessary: She Knows a Thing or Two About Aging [NY Times]

Previously in "Amazing People":
My New Rap Name Is Wesley Autrey

image: Sara Krulwich

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Little Bird Told Me ...

You should be up on this song

José James, "Little Bird"


of all the things I found in life
no moment's better than this
of all the things i'd ever known
nothing prepared me for your kiss

if we fly
if we fly
if we fly into the sun
of all the things i needed baby
you were my cherished one

a little bird told me
that you can't find your way home
a little bird has shown me
that you can't run away from love

darkness falls upon the city
like the ocean falls upon the sands
waves of sorrow leave me breathless
can you love this broken man

if i try
if i try
if i try to love again
i wake up every morning
unsure of where i stand

a little bird told me
that you can't find your way home
a little bird has shown me
that you can't run away from love

open wide my feelings
and tear me down until i break
show me what the real me is
guaranteed to seal my fate

if i cry
if i cry
if i cry would you be gone or
help me rub my sadness
tell me i'm the only one

hold me
hold me
hold me
hold me
hold me
hold me

lovers only
giving when you
feel it in your heart

i knew it when you
kissed my body
loving every part


of all the things I found in life
no moment's better than this
of all the things i'd ever known
nothing prepared me for your kiss

if we fly
if we fly
if we fly into the sun
of all the things i needed baby
you were my cherished one

a little bird told me
that you can't find your way home
a little bird has shown me
that you can't run away from love

"Little Bird" is off the Jazzanova album "Of All the Things".
José James -- he of the timeless voice -- can be tracked at his myspace.

Hip Hop Culture Is LIke A Homeless Emcee

I sort of spontaneously combusted when I discovered D-Nice's blog at the start of the year. He was trotting out these amazing, beautifully composed (i.e. visually) "True Hip Hop Stories"; interviews with hip hop legends that mostly may have fallen off the radar a bit. My initial post had clips from Master Ace and Dana Dane.

I remember feeling some pride thinking I was going to help unleash a beast on to an unsuspecting internet population. I mean it's like a hip hop head's wet dream (next to a film version of "Secret Wars" using real-life rappers as the heroes and villains). And I'm definitely happy to see D's still doing his thing.

But I'm sort of amazed and given pause to see the clips aren't doing bigger numbers. The joint with Buckshot of Black Moon broke into the six figures, but many more are sub-10K. I don't know, I just don't see how it gets anymore hot-like-fire than this. And it is what it is, but gives some perspective on the *hip hop space* and overall bottom-line impact. A few years ago, if in the position, I would have thrown mad bankroll at this thinking we were sitting on a goldmine. Maybe a few years ago with proper packaging, distribution etc, it would have been.

AnyD, here's Special Ed.

Word. But I was refreshed on this series because I saw a clip of a new school dude (via rap radar), and the kicker is he's homeless. The Homeless Emcee. And I've long been a fan of trying to access the homeless sensibility/situation for content. There's comedy, tragedy, drama, human condition. All that and more.

But here's the emcee:

Now that's probably gonna be too dark and gully for most (I had been thinking a lot more sketch comedy, "Pimp My Box" or something). But still. Dude's a thinking man, obviously. And that's the ultimate point. The best "freshest" content accesses how people think in situations we haven't thought about. The triumph of The Sopranos or The Godfather movies is dramatized verisimilitude for italian mafia life. I bet the homeless have enough thinking people, and culture, to support a hit series or two. Unfortunately, he's a rapper not an actor, so he might be able to drop some hot mixtapes, but I don't know if it's gonna get him off the street.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Dear TAN: Can I Be the Nubian 'Queen of Leon'?

Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: Kings of Leon bump in South Africa!

Dear Uncle TAN,

So I’ve got this problem, see I thought I’d cured my malady of assimilation by growing some locks. But it seems the infection was a little more deep seated than I thought, because lately I have become an unabashed fan of some unbecoming music for an intelligent, South African black woman like me. I am… a fan of Kings of Leon.

I could go into the sordid detailed angst of being an assimilated individual on African soil. (I say this with my head hanging in shame, because even though there’s a valid excuse for my current state of being, apartheid, I’m not proud). I don’t think it’d help to dredge up painful memories of being called a coconut when growing up but rather go right ahead and ask for your assistance – or insight.

How can this be? What’s wrong with me? I don’t think something like this would happen inversely.


Nubian Queen of Leon sing-along fan


Dear Queen of Leon,

Why so glum? I refer you to the homey Nietzsche, "Maintaining cheerfulness in the midst of a gloomy task, fraught with immeasurable responsibility, is no small feat; and yet what is needed more than cheerfulness? Nothing succeeds if prankishness has no part in it."

It might help to know that by prankishness, he means farting. Nothing succeeds if farting has no role. And it's really true, when you think about it.

(*story idea: farting is the ultimate social palate cleanser; no one can be racist while people are farting. explore.* )

On to your particular issues:

1. One should not consider assimilation a malady, m'lady. Rejoice! Assimilation is alchemy of the human spirit. It is our collective will to power. The Kings bump in the mother-land? Good to know! TAN is an old swedish lady addicted to Too Short if you didn't just expand the matrix by a few dots with that particular impulse. give yourself a pat for being a true original.

2. You were called a "coconut"? Surely at some point in life you'll find this hilarious, but more important: did you grow up in the early twentieth century?
In what era besides old-timey times can you call someone a "coconut" and have it register as being painfully offensive? Did they call you a coconut AND make fun of your pantaloons? Did they also call your mother a "liar"? There's really no conversation where "you're a coconut" is not a non sequitur. YOU'RE A DIRTY F'ING COCONUT!!! Uh, ok. *pause* Soooo, I was saying ...

3. I'm not as up on the Kings as perhaps I should be. But from a cursory checking out of their "media narrative" it seems they're a perfect example of how artists (or artists as identity-memes) often evolve over time (read: assimilate). They had grassroot support from the underground, then they blew up as pop stars of their genre. and now they have a faction of *original* fans who are like: yo, I remember when Kings of Leon use to not use deodorant and eat pork chops with their hands. Now they got haircuts and shit, Pfft!

Blah Blah. I refer you to the homey Hov, "everybody look at you strange and say you change, like you work that hard to stay the same".

4. This opens up the door for you, Queen of Leon, to appreciate that perhaps what resonates with you about The Kings is not the twang in their strings, but their southern rock approximation of being a coconut in Africa. THEY'RE A BUNCH OF FRIGGIN' COCONUTS, ALL OF 'EM!! At the very least, they'll let you bring a certain prankishness to any situation that arises.

Viva le Leon!

UPDATE: Kings of Leon Video Hot Pick, "Be Somebody"

image: via

Friday, July 03, 2009

White People Film Boobs Like This, Black People Film Boobs Like That

I might need to unpack this at some point, with y'know, like words. But for now I'm just going to watch these two videos until Christmas.

For Caucasian peeps:

For my nizzas:

I feel like the heteronormative guys of all race, color and creeds are going to be able to hold hands in appreciation of these two model examples of modern art. But I think the thing we need to wrap our immerse our heads in is the fact that on a Matrix binary code level, THIS IS THE SAME VIDEO.

TAN-Pack: Death of Auto-Tune

Jay-Z's Death of Auto-Tune video dropped this week. I might comment on it, maybe not. Sort of like Drake's "Best I ever Had" video, it's a little disappointing. The potential conceptual upside outweighs the physical execution (like how about something more macabre than italian gangsta, with Jay snuffing famous auto-tune artists in a gruesome grisly way?). But so it goes with making videos and songs, whatever, it's not "bad" by any means. And there is a lot of wine-drinking, and it will be so hilarious if rappers start talking about pinot noirs by way of Mr. Carter's trend-cue...

AnyJay, these "TAN-Packs" might be how I brand and package thematically-related content once the new site is up and all dat. So just starting a janky ghetto beta version here. Ghetto Pass, Negro Bowl, and other stuff like that could be called TAN-Packs. (Hmmm, actually that might be sound too much like a certain brand of female menstrual flow inhibitors, soooo, we'll see if that sticks ...)

If I had to tweet this, it's simply: the shit TAN's written about about/related to DOA recently.

Jay-Z/Superstar hunger
Reading the Rhymes: Death of Auto-Tune
Negropedia Brown: The Case of the Undead Auto-Tune
Will "Keeping It Real" Ever Go Right?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Um, Maybe We Should Just Hand Hip Hop Over to the Ladies?

What does that mean exactly? I don't know. Maybe it's sexist. Maybe it's just a headline. But this female emcee (her name is "Invincible") I just got put on to prompts some thoughts on the subject of hip hop's proprietary gender issues:

First off, I'm sure I'm under-informed, but this is the first caucasian female i've seen with a *hardcore* hyper-lyrical flow. I haven't parsed the lyrics to give it a real grade, but it's the first time I've even felt compelled to. Now we know here on TAN, "a white chick is just light-skin". And we know they've quietly-but-surely been part of a renaissance for the beat-boxing arts. But flow? Like a Black Thought, or a Kweli, or a Jean Grae? Holla.

Now I'm sure she's pissed about the "white girl rapping" angle, because any interview/article/blog is going to want to discuss it, and she will be dealing with that forever (the youtube blurb indicates there's plenty of backstory in this regard already); but in terms of the whole Asher Roth a-solid-white-rapper-is-better-than-a-solid-black-rapper hip hop affirmative action plan, this girl kills that for white guys because if your average white rapper is just a better marketing proposition than your average black emcee, there's little question a white female is better than both of those options (all else being equal).

But that's all sort of tongue-in-cheek blog talk. Hip hop heads are over the white-black culture issues, they abide by the microphone. And the real bullshit is still entrenched in gender. Hip hop needs some mf'ing women in positions of power. That means behind the scenes, of course. But also artists that command respect amongst their peers (I can already visualize the eyebrows raising, the blunts falling to the ground, as this girl spits hot fire).

Once hip hop got embraced by pop culture, it wasn't about racism holding the culture back; it was the f'ing sexism. Because even the "conscious" artists were kinda-sorta misogynists. And homophobic.
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