BlinkkIt: Grammy 2011 Performances

Pop Culture, SnapTrakks, Soundtrek, Uncategorized

Said it before, I’ll say it again #whawhawhawhatdidyousay #yourebreakinuponme in case you’re worried about Pop in 2011: #dontbe

The Grammys, if nothing else, were a top notch Pop production – a beautiful stage show presenting what will be the subsequent year in industry music #whatelseisthere This year was a collaboration of the most notable in recent years – good or bad #thegrammysarenotacheesesandwich – the event brought together a realm of musicians from heavyweights to new bloods and Country crooners to West Coast crypt-walkers… all for the love of Pop #orsomethingtothateffect The performances gave a splendid snapshot of the industry’s landscape, and reflected perfectly the identity of the respective artist on stage – Justin Bieber included… so without further ado, let’s delve into GrammyView

GaGa… oh GaGa #andAGAIN A performance stripped down, stark, and raw as a newborn; explosive, soulful, and synthesized like the new human condition; and with a pure concerted energy to fuel the next era in Pop. #bornthisway: Smoke-and-mirrors stripped – abs ripped #luccarlsdrunkdietworksforshe GaGa: because Pop just got an organ donor… because the misconception is that it was an egg, because the assumption is that – like Post-Reagan urban culture, like premature emergence – crack kills… but this isn’t an egg – it’s an incubator… and in this space the artist and era remain unbreakable.

Bruno Mars, B.o.B., Janelle Monae… miseducated miscreants of the most masterful and musically marvelous kind… #followyourblisstothisfunk

Grammy Night 2011: Predictions and the Like…

Pop Culture, SnapTrakks, Soundtrek

So.. it’s Grammy night – again. Thus…

inanutshell: I’m excited for a surprise this year. While I haven’t been keeping as up-to-speed with all things Grammy-related this year, apparently GaGa is doing something, and if that’s not enough something, she’s doing something in a coffin (incubator… death/birth… monster/madam… #kanyeshrug) so… that’s something – and if nothing else it’s a heads up that yes: something is going to get kilt like a Scotsman. Moving forward… Eminem has many-a-nods this year, as does Katy Perry, the Wayward Baby, Bruno Mars, Mr. Sean, and Lady Antebellum. I mean… it’s the Grammys; so – you already know. No pretense this year – let’s get to predictin’!

Album of the Year

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Eminem – Recovery
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

BlinkkIt: Eminem released his most authentic album to date since The Marshall Mathers LP, but from a place of noted maturity. He had a massive year with two key Super Bowl spots highlighting the soul and scene of America – Brisk as the creative claymation “this is why I don’t do commercials!” commercial, and Chrysler for the theatric homage to the lost Motor City of Motown. Lady Antebellum brings the down-home mainstream twang that is not to be overlooked in Grammy-town Nashville. The Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs captures the Pitchfork-friendly sonic aesthetic; which, historically, is triumphant in its place as a nominee – not as a victor. Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream … still not settled with this nomination by technical standards, or any standards outside of radio play really… but it’s nice to have that aspirational everygirl Pop presence within the category. Inevitably: Lady GaGa for the win, for the cause – and if nothing else, for the paws. #up

BlinkkIt: Grammys 2011 – Best Rap Solo Performance

Pop Culture, Soundtrek

Grammy Noms: the sweetest thing this side of Nana’s cookie jar #popnom. A nibble is all you need, so let’s blinkk the besties #getitgramms

Best Rap Solo Performance


Grammys 2011 Best Rap Solo Performance: because it doesn’t matter how low you go, as long as you’re not afraid to come back and claim the throne… defenestration is a beautiful death… the legendary leap into night fall… goodnight cruel world, see you in the mourning… this is far from over #musicislifeismusic

All of the Lights: Ke$ha & Eminem – The Bic

Pop Culture, Soundtrek, TGRI, Uncategorized

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this  / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

Amidst the darkened sky of endless pop, visibly void of any specific stars; Ke$ha and Eminem emerged as groundskeepers sparking the scene from the floor – lighters up. This year we saw a party animal, a rehabilitated recovery, and a cultural cannibal unleashed; and behind the music we saw kindred kindling ignited, revealing both sides of the Bic: the disposable house-party-fueling flicker, and the timeless stadium torch.

This year Ke$ha served the purpose of the former, sparking the fire that fueled the gutter-grime-glitter sound lingering across basements and American airwaves like a tobacco smoky haze over the backseat of a golden Trans-Am. She opened the year with “Tik-Tok” and, by default of its January 1 release date, started the proverbial pop party with her entrance. Ke$ha was that frathouse staple – ready to spark the camel, willing to blaze the j, and able to pop the top off a Pabst at a seconds notice. She was the music that set the mood, the tunes that kept the backyard bacchanals alive, and – much like that flick-happy Bic with a flame as disposable as the fueled fun – she was out by the dawn, right before your parents get home. The Southern truckette raised Hell with tales of rogue revelry at rich kids’ parties, and was the exalted embodiment of too-drunk-to-function-but-lit-enough-to-keep-gunnin’.

Welcome to the Retirement Haus: Pre-VMA 2010 – Pretense and Predictions

Anthropopogy // Culture, Deconstruction, Media, Pop Culture, Popisodics, Soundtrek, TK:NYC, TrapperKeeper

That time of year again: Vidjo. MUZAK. Awords.

Pretense: I do love this time of year, but to be honest I’m feeling a bit less-than-enthused for the first time in my life (yep, pass the Geritol – it’s time for the early bird special #aarp). On one hand I feel like you can’t top last year – it just… it can’t happen; and to even fathom a thought entertaining any idea otherwise is, is beyond negligent and belittling to Pop logic, theory, and history. That said… let’s delve and dabble

So, to be completely honest: 1.) I’m still hungover from a punch-drunk-love affair with the 2009 VMAs, and 2.) MTV is no doubt still in come-down mode from the superlative high that was said ceremony. The 2009 VMAs capstoned an era – they were our “we went out like kings and queens” magnum opus. Now, we’re on the heels of the embodiment of all a Video Music Award ceremony should be: dictator to the following year in Pop Culture. Last year we saw a star rise from the dead and resurrect performance art as Pop – from the Grammys to the AMAs, from Bad Romances to Monster Balls, from Good Ass Jobs to Good Fridays, Beiber and iCarly, Russell Brand and Katy Perry, Imperial States of Mind… the list goes on, but however you slice it: the 2009 VMAs were the Pop pulse this year. After a showing like that, there’s nothing to do except sit back and bask in the brilliance of a job well done – enter VMA 2010.

Dime Digest: Music Monday – July 12, 2010


I left you all with a drought, and so now: a Music Monday deluge. The sirens crafted a playlist of divine proportions today, one so glorious I couldn’t possibly keep it to myself. Truth is stranger than fiction, and mythology makes for reality’s greatest musings… Art is expressed reaction to good and evil; Pandora: the curious curator of this art gallery we call life – and the best thing to happen to music in a long time… ah, the wonderful world of playlistism #ohletsdoit

The Fugees – Ready or Not

Jay-Z – D’Evils

Lady GaGa – Just Dance (Red One Remix) ft. Kardinal Offishall

Grammy 2010: Let’s Get It – Predictions, Punchlines, and Pop Waxed Poetically

Pop Culture, Soundtrek

So, it’s that amazing time of year again… GRAMMY SEASON – let’s get it! I get excited during oddly specific times of year: my birthday, the first legit Spring day of the year, the first legit Fall day of the year, VMA night, any time when I get money and/or presents, the proper release of a music video/album that hasn’t leaked, and Grammy night. Yes, you’re thinking: “Well, that’s whack,” “Who watches that other than old people,” “Sunday is laundry night,” “Who is Grammy?” No, I don’t care.

This year is grrrrrreater than Tony the Tiger – yes, I say that about every year by and large because when it comes to this and the VMAs I can’t avoid the inner-Millenial child that gets brink-of-seizure status excited about any annual encapsulation of all things Pop… regardless of how terrible said year in Pop actually was. This year though, we’ve got: Lady GaGa opening. Assuming the Staples Center doesn’t spontaneously combust after said opening, they’ve also got: 3D Michael Jackson tribute (I knew saving 3D glasses from random childhood scenarios would come in handy… take that A&E’s Hoarders); Wheelchair Jimmy, Wayne, Eminem, and Travis Barker (yeah, Kanye’s absence downgrades that from win to “we’ll see”); “Andy Warhol” is large enough in the Grammy site tag cloud to make me pull out the silver hairspray; 11 of my 14 Dime A Dozen honorees are nominees; and… some other stuff.

Anyway, long story short here’s the rundown of my should win, will win, sayin’, and possibly a “doesn’t need the win anyway.”

The de-brief: VMAs 2009

Pop Culture, Soundtrek


Yes, please. MTV: proof that reality is the greatest canvas, and life is the greatest performance art. By reality, of course I mean “reality drama” and MTV’s “reality” which is anywhere a production crew happens to be, and by life I mean celebrity — because, really, who else’s life matters? The VMAs (as stated below) are the encapsulation of all things Generation MTV, all things pop. While the past few years saw the bubble burst and pop culture crumbled to a state of all style and no care for substance, 2009 was ripe for the renaissance of Pop Art and a Warholian world of blurred lines between reality and fantasy for entertainment’s sake. Let’s delve.

Music Monday: Ad a Day – Jay-Z & Rhapsody

Pop Culture, Soundtrek

Jay-Z: A History — in 60 seconds

The first thing said was all that needed to be said: “Jay-Z fans get it.”

I could/should leave it at that, but I can’t. Music like that comes from Roc Nation — no doubt; but advertising like that, well, I must begrudgingly tip my hat to the corporate behemoth Live Nation — per usual brilliant integrated campaigns (creative, distribution, publishing, marketing, etc.). In 60 seconds, this commericial is a mini-epic overlaying all of Hov’s past albums over his latest track. Time seems to stop for longer than a moment with each album cover pose, but in the big scheme of things it is very indicative of “now:” no words, just visuals, a summary with little or no explanation, if you get it — like Jay-Z fans — you get it, if not — get it off Rhapsody, Hov killed Auto-tune but he is a product of what that technology represents. As he pays homage to his past — in a classic Jay-Z egocentric maneuver, laying out his own discography as the true history of all real rap, which to some extent he is — he does so in a way that fits the modern mold. He pares down whole albums to a snapshot, he turns a discography into photography, but it works.

Watch this space: The Black Album was Jay-Z’s highly touted retirement; three albums later Hov is rising again — in the wake of 9/11, after killing auto-tune, after encapsulating his past works, Shawn is coming back — but note that the 3rd Blueprint is the first cover without Mr. Carter’s face. Now, it’s about the music first. (Well, on the surface at least. Again, LiveNation is pushing Jay-Z’s face time hcore: commercials like this, press conferences, concerts, etc. Which work for Madonna and U2, but tis a bit different for Shawn “Renegade” Carter)

Alex Ludovico: The Reawakening


So many “MCs” on the hustle nowadays … it’s a daunting task to filter through the riffraff and find the diamonds in the rough worth following. Rest assured though, that those diamonds do indeed exist: enter Alex Ludovico.

In his own words:

Hey. I’m Alex Ludovico, a MC from Chicago (by way of Gary, IN).  I’m submitting my newest album. It’s entitled The Reawakening. It’s a 10 song sprint through my psyche, with production from Blurry Drones (Douglas Martin of Fresh Cherries From Yakima/5 O’Clock Shadowboxers), D, Wildlife Production, and JD (relative younger producers all from Chicago), along with a few stolen tracks I kicked verses over. I hope that you get the chance to take a listen and notice something you like about it.

Manners matter to me, but mad flow matters a bit more in the game — Mr. Ludovico doesn’t disappoint with The Reawakening.


In my words: The intro, I’m Here Droogs, doesn’t get Ludovico’s foot in the door — it kicks down the door down; his rhymes kill any character confusion over an equally relentless White Stripes’ Icky Thump beat. The newcomer is “back from sabbatical/here to change the station, all the whack sh*tcha listenin’ to; New name so I’m feelin’ invincible.” (Mid-post pretense: if you know me you know I love dwelling in the contradictory; if you don’t know me, at least now you know that bit.) A self-proclaimed rookie coming back from hiatus — to kill the counterfeit constants in the game no less — comes out the cannon with a battle cry boasting invincibility; needless to say, nuff said. But wait; there’s more! If you’re — somehow — still unsure about the album’s directon or Ludovico’s demeanor after the first 30 seconds, wait 2 more and he’ll “explain it all like Clarissa.”

The Reawakening is a classic clash between titans: “Alex is the dark side, personified evil/Ludovico is the good, uplift the people.” Like yin and yang, the dark and good are distinct but dabble in one another’s tracks; like right and wrong, the dark and good walk a fine line and the black and white become grey; but like true “dark” and “good,” both inevitably balance each other out and it makes for a dead-on debut for this man from the Midwest.

Sonically, the album starts off banging (personally, my mind jumped straight to Baltimore club scene) then switches gears and eases into a more classic downtempo vibe. Sequencing is often overlooked, but when it isn’t the product is rarely sub-par: The Reawakening is proof. I’m Here Droogs to The Asphalt Jungle is prime time percolating club music. Right Cross is just that, the bridge from the club to the couch. Roaring 20s starts off the steady post-game music — you know the kind that has you rhythm-riding and head-bobbing the second the beat drops. The album eases on down the reawakened road, as Ludovico rhymes — at times showcasing a more toned-down flow — between vintage beats and vinyl overtones from 20s through the last track, 100 Milligrams.

Lyrically, the boy is banana sandwiches. His vocal mode is drenched in battle rap and freestyle; his emphasis is remnant of  the Slim Shady LP/Marshall Mathers LP — literally spitting lines. Continuing in the Eminem vein, Alex and Ludovico go “back and forth all day like Red and Meth” (and though he may or may not concur, he jokes when he says the best, “in the booth/but a lot of truth is said in jest”). In my humble opinion, the lyrical dark side is the first half (sans the intro): fun, witty, tongue-in-cheek, heavy on the club commentary, very “night out”-esque. I’d argue the lyrical “Alex” persona is the dark side because — even though the timbre is hard — the content is lighter. The post-Right Cross tracks are where Ludovico comes in to lyrically uplift the people. His tone may mellow out at times, but what he says resonates louder when not drowned out by how loudly he says it. I could be wrong though, after all Kanye said “They say I speak with so much emphasis/oooh they so sensitive;” either way, A. Ludo’s definitely got the Midwest on lock.

All this is to say: check out The Reawakening; it’s worth the listen — and he’s “by way of Gary, IN,” which means he’s practically the Jackson 6th.

Massive shout to the one and only Douglas Martin for pretty-much-amazing production on A Round of Anger: per usual

Watch this space: The Battle — some may call the rookie’s flow unseasoned and unprepared, I call it raw.