“Through the wire, to the limit to the wall, for a chance to be with you, I’d gladly risk it all…”
Junior year of high school, despite – and, in a contrarian way, due to – the re-election of George W. Bush, 2004 was an amazing year in an equally-understated way. Off the heels of Jay-Z’s blueprint, in the slightly distant midst of red-crossed cameras, stood the gifted present of a re-educated maestro, the Don in pink Polo: Kanye West.
Ten years ago today, pre-Yeezus walked onto the scene a solo rapper; through the wires, past the slow jamz, West set his own blueprint for fame’s new workout plan.
2011 keeps getting better with each passing play… off the heels of Ophiuchus comes the tale of two outkasts, as Andre 3000 joins Ke$ha on her bombastic “Sleazy” remix. Sit back and listen to the sounds of Southern scorch – nom: sonic Jambalaya.
“Sleazy” was a Cannibal standout, coming in after “We R Who We R,” the title track, and “Blow” as the Apopcalyptic album’s fourth horseman track. Bangladesh brought a true urban feel to “Sleazy,” blending Cannibal‘s Drum N Bass sound with his signature bonafide street tone. Ke$ha enlists on Daddy Fat Stacks himself for the remix to harness that tone and bless her throne. The duo bring a Rhett and Scarlett back-and-forth to the track, with their tangy smooth Southern flow over cold 808 drums and dense jungle bass. It’s a remix, not for the sake of a quick hit, but because this New South needs a pop anthem. The “Sleazy” remix perfectly blends Ke$ha’s Nashville twang with Andre 3000’s Sweet Georgia Brown timbre – these stars drop bars.
This crazy lady named Kesha is guessing my Mercedes
Would be all new and through through, but its the 1980′s
But now that we are cool cool, she sippin’ Irish Baileys
She say “Stacks, you’re true blue?”
I said “Nah, I’m Navy”
I call her Kesha, she like it, because it’s hood to her
She call me Andre 6000 cause I’m good to her
Nicki Minaj is the pre-eminent female MC of Generation Now. She’s a massive attack on the senses; scorching eardrums with fire-breathing vocals, and blinding corneas with neon-shine vestments – and it’s all at once. She’s so pink you can taste it – a Blow Pop, scattered, chopped, and cooked up by a local street vendor on the Brooklyn block: pank; young culture’s saccharin-infused quarter water: Pank pop. Hype, hair, and hyperimmediacy with hood-pass in hand – she is the pop face of urban misses.
Her style is a snapshot; an urban blender mixing and matching gutter gear with cosmopolitan couture – pose, a harder Harajuku girl posted on the corner of Tokyo-chic and Harlem-beast – pose, a cracked mirror brightly reflecting what’s left of iconic Barbie’s shattered remains – pose, the Young Money queenpin reigning supreme beneath a neon crown – pose, an amazonian commander-in-chief sitting shotgun rocking steady in pink – pose.
Her sound bites eardrums, breaks vinyl, and borders on schizophonia. One minute she’s a soprano-pitched Valley Girl with a bubblegum Swiss Army tongue, and the next she’s laying down lines colder than Weezy’s grill, with the bassment boss swelter of Biggie Smalls. In any given moment, she’ll switch gears like a Maserati, as she blesses every track with her manic John Hancock signature flow. Her records are deviant dialogues between a milieu of manic personalities; line-by-line she throws ventriloquist vocals across a cerebral sonicscape – from Roman Zolansky to Onika, Nicki stands somewhere in between.
History is said to be written by the victors (read: 1. America always wins – even when we lose – because we said so, and 2. we don’t have time to read up on “world history” because we are the world, and we don’t care about his story because our story is the only one that matters). That said, Texas has decided to chop-and-screw said history because, well, they felt like it. The Texas State Board of Education (not the state-sanctioned “disciplinary tool” — that large piece of plywood with an “edjewkashun” inscription — the other board) voted 10-5 to:
“[I]nject conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade,” requiring teachers “to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a ‘constitutional republic,’ rather than ‘democratic.’”
So here’s ten things I didn’t know about US History until Texas told me so (read: 10 things that will replace Pluto’s existence in your kids’ curriculum/ 10 more things other than Twitter, Justin Bieber, and Texts from Last Night that you won’t be able to talk about with your kids at the dinner table).
Last night was the 2009 BET Awards, and while the formal ceremony fell short of a proper Michael tribute, the subtext paid brilliant homage to the King of Pop and his legacy. If nothing else, the world has been reintroduced to true pop music and culture in the aftermath of Michael’s death. Music television and radio stations have played the best rotations in years by playing only Michael nonstop. The result: full social immersion into true music and artistry in the midst of a tween/teen/young adult generation who has fallen far beyond short — a la ringtone rap and thrice-warmed-over beats and lyrics. The point: last night’s awards marked what could be the renaissance of pop, hip-hop, music, modern art, and culture
From the finest display of live auto-tuning and actual instrumentation I’ve witnessed in a minute (and points for the Dirty Diana nod)
a near perfect last stand — save for a fat lady singing — before the anti auto-tune assault
Au revoir auto-tune, bonjour artistry — and authenticity. In the midst of chaos, the best solution is simplicity; from the music industry, back to Michael the key is to cut through the hype and get to the core — the only one to do that better than Jay Hov last night was Janet
The BET Awards marked the apex and assassination of auto-tune — and everything it embodies; kill the counterfeit, “this is Sinatra at the opera,” not Soulja Boy on a Sidekick.
Watch this space: What better catalyst for the next cultural shift than the death of the mechanichal man in light of the man in the mirror — from auto-tune to authentic artistry. Now, from the King’s ashes will hopefully arise a phoenix-like pop renaissance; if not, blame it on the alcohol — literally.
Mr. DMV is rolling through 9:30 tonight; after trekking the country, he’s bringing Go-Go home again.
So before the District — or at least the DC blogger/DJ twitterati — flood V St., a brief latest and greatest …
Latest: Wale enlisted the help of Lady Gaga, The Factory 2.0 herself, for “Chillin’,” whose well-anticipated video leaked – but was cleaned up – today. So, here’s the live version from Last Call with Carson Daly:
And the jumpoff, Nike Boots – because it’s “flya than the rest of ’em”
… and some odds and ends in between
Quick and dirty lunchtime/BBQ mix for the holiday. Literal mix of older, new-ish, pop, hip-hop, this and that. It’s a general smattering: a bit random, not particularly thematic, but a universally decent mix for a mid-day holiday meal.
Start off mellow for the swelter. Pre-interlude: less local, a bit bossa nova and ska over funk, try it on for size …
In the midst of a massive blogger’s block. When in doubt: recap. So here’s a quick commuter’s playlist a la whatever the iPod shuffled up — with a twist.
I’ll go with the first song shuffle picked and do a six degrees of separation to muster a Metro Mix … I don’t know. Let’s just see what comes up.
On the Circulator headed to Gallery Place and the first track was …
Fiona Apple – To Your Love
So I’m spring cleaning in prep for graduation/22nd bday weekend, and iTunes/iPod compiled quite a brilliant playlist I must say – although it’s not too tough a task with my exceptionally brilliant library, but that’s neither here nor there.
Point is: in the midst of the final days of my undergrad career, I’m throwing back to my music mode from the first days of my high school career.
Hands down the soundtrack of my Summer/Fall 2001 was Aaliyah‘s Aaliyah. Timbaland and Static integrated electronic, r&b, industrial, jazz, pop, latin, and hip-hop to produce a futuristic urban pop album – easily one of the best of the era.
It was apparent from the jump, “We Need a Resolution,” that Timbaland went hard for his muse as always…
Missed out on the Circus, but still want to see a fly Brit? Lucky you, DC …
‘Rhymes with Silly‘ Allen is in town for her sold-out performance tonight at the 930 Club
Her shows sell-out so she doesn’t have to
In related news: We can’t say the same for Hot97 and Cipha
Drake aka “Don’t Call Me Jimmy” —
Watch this space: Music makes the people come together — the bourgoise and the rebel