Archive for the 'music' Category


monday mixtape haterism

May 6th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape haterism from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:
-Curren$y – Armoire feat. Young Roddy & Trademark – The Stoned Immaculate
-Aesop Rock – Getaway Car feat. Cage, Breeze Brewin – None Shall Pass
-B-Rock & The Bizz – My Baby Daddy
-Angel Haze – Realest – Reservation
-Copywrite – Light’s Out feat. Catalyst – The Jerk
-Johnson & Jonson – Hold On John – Johnson & Jonson
-The Alchemist – Flight Confirmation feat. Danny Brown & Schoolboy Q – Russian Roulette
-Joell Ortiz – Nissan, Honda, Chevy

I spend a lot of time listening to the same ol’ songs. I have a little iPod Nano I use for music, an eight gig joint, and I tend to keep it stocked with favorites, albums I want to revisit, and new mixtapes or albums. The downside is that after a day or two, I realized I know everything on the iPod by heart, so if my mood changes and I want to hear a certain sound, my choice is to either listen to something hot that I’ve temporarily played out or to just deal with it.

So I changed things up. I made a smart playlist in iTunes, told it to populate randomly, and gave it a size limit of five gigs, so I could still have a few favorites loaded up. I’ve got something like sixteen thousand songs, but only a fraction of that stays in heavy rotation. This is a way to correct my course and rediscover things I forgot.

This mixtape is a semi-random selection of eight songs from my 5 GB playlist. I pretty much flicked down the iTunes list and grabbed the first ten songs that caught my eye, and then pared it down to remove dupes. It’s tilted highly in favor of rap (no surprise), but also toward the past five years, which was a legitimate surprise. I don’t listen to a lot of ’80s rap, but I love joints from the ’90s and early ’00s. That’s not represented here, I don’t think. I am pleased at the diversity of styles, prestige, and content here, though.

Aesop Rock’s “Getaway Car” has one of my most favorite beats ever, and Aes Riggedy Rock, Cage, and Breeze Brewin go in so hard, and the Camp Lo sample is disgusting. It’s ugly, a mean mug of a sample that’s just the best thing ever this morning. I’ll show up for Breeze anyway, but it’s lovely this song is so ill in general.

“My Baby Daddy” was the jam when I was a kid. I guess I was 14 or 15, but that song goes now just as much as it did then. Maybe you had to be there, like with “Ya mama smokes crack rock!” “Mama, please stop, ’cause they pickin’ on me!” Be careful out there, tho — a lot of people think it was JT Money (including my iTunes, for some reason), because of his single “Who Dat.” “My Baby Daddy”‘s music video is super ’90s too.

Here’s the answer song from Anquette:

I always liked answer or sequel songs. “No Scrubs” vs “No Pigeons,” or how Beanie Sigel’s “In The Club” came out of Jay-Z’s “Do It Again.”

Copy’s “Light’s Out,” featuring Catalyst, has one of my favorite aspects of rap music: when the beat drops out at the end and the rapper just keeps going. Copywrite is nice — “if it ain’t MHz or Weathermen it’s a piece of shit!” — but Catalyst getting those extra few seconds is spectacular. I know it’s calculated or whatever, but it feels like just unbridled creativity spilling out. It makes the raps better, even if they’re just aight, and I’ll never stop loving it. I react to it like I reacted to Canibus kicking 100 bars in a row.

Johnson & Jonson (bka Blu & Mainframe)’s “Hold On John” actually has an iller sample than “Getaway Car.” It’s a perfect pairing of sample, tone, and subject matter. It should go without saying, but Joell Ortiz can spit, too.

True story: I had this big plan this year to go full freelance. I’ve been doing freelance since 2003, and it’s mostly been a side gig to a day job, or a way to help pay my student loans. It’s never been enough to live on, and I’m starting to feel like I might have missed that window, thanks to a combination of bad timing, comfort, and… probably pride. Definitely pride.

ComicsAlliance closing caught me by surprise, because it’s one of a couple things I took entirely for granted when drafting this big plan. I sort of assumed that the site, and the money, would be there while I looked for more. I placed a few singular pieces elsewhere around the internet (I placed five pieces at four outlets that were new to me), but nobody’s biting for what I’m best at or a regular gig. And now CA is gone, so I don’t even have the homebase I was hoping to hang onto while I tried to branch out.

I’m pretty discouraged. I hadn’t realized quite how much until late last week, long after the praise online had died down and I had a chance to think about it. I utterly hate when plans bend and warp, especially when I felt like I had a chance to hit the mark. On top of that, I apparently alienated a few close friends by writing about comics, the money was never great (it was more than welcome, don’t get me wrong — I’m still very grateful for the chance and the checks), and my difficulty elsewhere has me thinking like… “Is it worth it?”

I dunno. I’m still processing. I think I was too ambitious, maybe, but also too focused, in terms of what I can write about. But I’ve spent enough of my time feeling bad. Now it’s time to do something else.

Once a week, for as long as I can hold out (months, looking at what I’ve got banked and planned), I’m going to post a new piece at I’m thinking of alternating fiction and non-fiction, but don’t hold me to it. The first story’s about Karen. I hope you dig it and come back on Friday for the next one.

Thanks for reading.

The Following‘s first season ended last week. I’ll have a longer post later, I think, but here’s a short review of the last episode:

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape garou

April 29th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape garou from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:
-The Smiths – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
-The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work
-The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony
-Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
-The Smith – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
-The Stone Roses – Fools Gold
-Blur – Trimm Tabb
-Blur – Under the Westway

My friend Amy hooked me up with a playlist she called “Madchester and Manchester.” You can listen to it here if you have Spotify. I was going to embed it here, but it turns out you need Spotify to hear the songs, so… I did a lot of extra legwork and turned the tracks I like best (plus two more) into an 8tracks mix.

I say I like britpop, but what I really mean is “I like Damon Albarn-led or -related projects, like Blur, Gorillaz, and so on.” Albarn’s work has been the main way I’ve experienced britpop, even down to it being the lens through which I learn about britpop history. Oasis exists in relation to Blur. I was introduced to Justine Frischmann not through Elastica but via “Oh, she’s Damon Albarn’s girlfriend, some songs are probably about her, and the best Blur albums are post-breakup.” It’s not that I’m a superfan — I own a lot of his stuff and I figure his name is enough to get me onboard, but I wouldn’t say I’m obsessive about it — so much as I’m ignorant of the context. I wasn’t there, I was a kid when all of it was going on, and frankly, there ain’t a lot of young black kids in Small Towne, GA listening to The Smiths or whatever. I didn’t even hear an entire Beatles song, and recognize that it was The Beatles, until high school.

So I reached out to a few friends who’d know. Amy hooked me up weeks ago, and it took me forever to listen for stupid reasons. (I wanted time to be able to really listen to figure out what I liked, which is typical of me.) I got Ron Richards to kick me a lot of album recommendations in a few different genres, too, since we have so little overlap in taste.

I’m trying to broaden my horizons, and the best way I know how to do that is to do something new and then see how it makes me feel. In this case, I took Amy’s playlist and listened to it a few times on shuffle while walking around the city and commuting home. After an hour or so, I started starring whichever songs caught my ear for whatever reason. Maybe I liked the melody, maybe I liked a particular line, or maybe I liked something more ephemeral.

Whichever way it is, the star means I need to pay attention, and paying attention means either checking out more songs from the album the song originates from or asking friends what else sounds similar.

I don’t really have an endpoint for this. I just wanna know more, and spider-webbing my way to more seems good enough to me.

Thanks Amy. Sorry it took so long.

The two songs I added to round out the mix are a couple Blur joints I like a lot. The only Blur album I don’t own/haven’t heard is The Great Escape, I think. I passed it over when I was heavy into Blur, by accident maybe, and haven’t had a chance to go back yet. Which is weird of me, but hey.

I wrote about Frank Quitely & Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy. It’s soft like baby butts, but also the best comic Millar’s written in recent memory.

I wrote about Ananth Paragariya and Yuko Ota’s Johnny Wander. I like it a lot. Website.

ComicsAlliance is closed. To my knowledge, it wasn’t because of hits or performance or controversy. It didn’t fit, or something. Dunno. Either way, I spilled 477,770 words on 317 posts over about three and a half years.

-I watched Matthew Vaughan’s Kick-Ass finally, the adaptation of the odious Millar/JRjr comic. It was eleventy times better than the comic, but still pretty dumb. It’s like they intentionally shied away from making a good movie in favor of a weird quirky… thing. Hit-Girl was the most interesting part, and they botched every single action scene with her, including the big introduction where she rescues Kick-Ass.

It’s weird. It wanted to be an action movie, but the action was shot poorly almost as a general rule. The hallway run toward the end had so many good parts, like Hit-Girl dodging bullets, but it was delivered in the laziest, stupidest-looking way. Why cut every time someone moves an arm? I mean, maybe it was because they needed a stuntman (stunt-girl?) for Hit-Girl, but people have been using stuntmen for decades without it look like crap.

Anyway. The trailer for Kick-Ass 2 was funny, but ehhhh. Figure I’m good.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape futuristic

April 15th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape futuristic from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:

-Bone thugs-n-harmony – No Surrender – Creepin On Ah Come Up
-Method Man – Meth vs Chef – Tical
-Notorious BIG – The What – Ready To Die
-OC – Time’s Up – Word…Life
-OutKast – Funky Ride – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
-Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun – Superunknown
-TLC – Switch – Crazysexycool
-69 Boyz – Kitty, Kitty – Nineteen Ninety Quad

Y’all remember 1994? I barely do, personally. But, here’s a few joints I was feeling at the time, a mix of predictable choices and maybe a couple dark horses. (I got “Black Hole Sun” off Beavis & Butthead.)

I have a dumb Method Man story. When I was a kid, I didn’t know that songs got edited for radio and music video play. I mean, I knew there were songs with cuss words, and songs without cuss words. I just didn’t realize that there were also songs that had at one point had cuss words.

At the time, I was really into that “All I Need” video with Mary J Blige. It was creepy and weird and Mary J’s part was beautiful, so when I found out my uncle had the CD, I snuck into his room when he was at work (or maybe college?), turned the volume knob way down on his receiver, and loaded it up. I went straight to “All I Need,” ’cause that was the move.

AND WHOA. Is this the same guy? This guy is cussing all over the place. I listened to some other songs — more cuss words? Maybe it isn’t the same guy? So I put the CD back where I found it, confused.

A few days later, the music video came on while I was chilling with my uncle and I found it in me to ask about it. I don’t entirely remember the whole conversation, but I remember being pretty smooth about it. But I was probably ten years old, so I couldn’t have been that smooth. I was like, “Hey, is this the guy whose CD you have? The scary one?” and he said yeah. “But… he cusses?” Yep. “Oh.”

Their name sounds like a joke today, but it’s hard to overestimate how big Miami Bass was at the time, especially 69 Boyz. Nineteen Ninety Quad is the 1994 equivalent of like Rick Ross’s Teflon Don or Jay’s Blueprint Who Cares. It was all bangers, and every day on the way to school, we were singing either 69 Boyz, Tag Team, or them Bankhead Bounce dudes. Or making our own radio edits — “We don’t need no water, let the mother mother burn!”

TLC’s CrazySexyCool is one of the hardest albums ever. It’s cool if you disagree, but go back and re-listen to it. It’s super good. Despite a childhood ban on cussing, me and my cousin knew all of Bone’s “No Surrender” by heart. We wore that tape out. Liquid Swords, too.

-I liked Dylan Todd talking to Jim Rugg about Rugg’s new project Supermag. Rugg is one of the sharpest dudes in comics, in terms of both talent and knowledge, and it’s nice to see somebody interview him who can keep up.

-I liked this drawing Angie Wang did of a Billie Holliday lyric.

-I laughed at this story of goons getting scammed out of a bunch of money because they wanted to hook up with AKB48 girls, even though I understand that it is technically a bad thing. But it’s so funny. I have so many questions.

-I liked Sloane Leong talking about tips to avoid getting murdered by a slasher. Must-read. Take it to heart.

-I loved this Russell Westbrook photospread in ESPN the Magazine. Westbrook been knowing how to dress.

-Writing? I didn’t write ANYTHING this week.

-Psyche, I’ve been on tumblr, thinking out loud. Rick Ross dropped a line about rape in a song, backlash ensued, and eventually he apologized twice and Reebok dropped him from a sponsorship deal. It was a whole thing, I guess, but it sorta bugged me. I’ve spent some time trying to talk through it on tumblr, so follow the bouncing ball: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and then it stopped because some dumb Apple apologist wanted to be a dick to me but didn’t realize I invented being a dick, and then ends with this, on Rawse & Context. Maybe you’ll dig it? I dunno, but I wrote it.

This weekend, I watched Place Beyond the Pines and Seven Psychopaths. Pines was really very good, sort of aimed directly at my heart (it’s about daddy issues and criminals). Psychopaths was still good the second time around, and it was nice to catch things I missed the first time. In hindsight, it’s not so much a crime movie as a Hollywood movie, which is interesting. I’d say more about Pines, but it’s totally worth going in cold. The most I knew about it was Liz Barker’s review, which you should also probably read, if you’re curious about what the movie feels like.

My dude Mahershala Ali is in there, too. I like that guy a lot, whenever and wherever he shows up. Eva Mendes, too.

I also started rewatching Chappelle’s Show, which is still absurdly funny. I think I’m well into season two at this point.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape edification

April 8th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape edification from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:

-Esperanza Spalding – Black Gold – Radio Music Society
-Lana Del Rey – Off to the Races – Born To Die
-Bobby Womack – Dayglo Reflection feat. Lana Del Rey – The Bravest Man In The Universe
-Otis Redding – Satisfaction – Live On The Sunset Strip
-Curtis Mayfield – Miss Black America – Curtis!
-Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM – IRM
-D’Angelo – Cruisin – Brown Sugar
-Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments – Devotion

Strictly sangers this time.

I missed out on Lana Del Rey when her hype machine was in full swing. The machine didn’t make her music sound like something I wanted to hear, I think. The sticker on the vinyl I bought said something like “’50s Hollywood style with emcee swag,” which is as repellent as it is nonsensical. Worse than that, the vast majority of the criticism I found tended to be about how she’s a faking faker with another name, and a bunch of other dumb ideas I don’t remember. I think I caught that weirdly sad SNL performance on youtube, too. So I tabled the idea of paying attention to her.

She showed up, of all places, on Bobby Womack’s album. It was my first time listening to her, as opposed to just hearing her. It was nice. Her voice is in that range that puts me in mind of other lady vocalists I dig. I poked around on Twitter and people said her album was pretty good, but I still held off.

Liz Barker wrote about digging Lana Del Rey recently, and she made her sound very cool. I like the idea of “sexy music that feels like being asleep,” so I checked out Born to Die and was pretty impressed.

Liz nailed the feel of the album. Her piece got me into the right space to appreciate it, and I copped the vinyl shortly after I listened to the album. I’m into it. I was surprised to hear “Y’out there? Louder!” on the first track, since that’s one of my favorite rap samples. I don’t usually associate that with singers, even today, so that was a nice surprise. It’s mixed way down in the track, too, which is interesting.

Now that I’m comfortable with this album, I want to know more. I want to know what’s up with her album having two separate references to Nabokov’s Lolita, assuming you include the bonus tracks. That seems like a lot, right? There’s something there. I’m on the look for more now. I liked this Jessica Hopper piece my dude Chris Randle linked me. I need to find more. I kinda wish I lived near the musically-inclined people I like online. I’d love to be able to just sit in a dark, smoky room and chew the fat over this and everything else.

I love Otis Redding’s performance on “Satisfaction,” from the intro to the outro. Curtis Mayfield’s “Miss Black America” makes me wish I had a daughter.

-This week was short on reading material. I’ve been doing research for a big project, which means reading, rereading, watching, and rewatching things that are hard to link. In the meantime:

I dig Strawberry Fields Whatever, created by Jen May, Laura Jane Faulds, and Liz Barker. They’re all really good, and I’m routinely impressed by how they approach music and the way they talk about music’s place in their life. They’ve been really helpful to me, both directly and indirectly. Even when I don’t know the nitty-gritty of what they’re talking about, I dig the way they talk about it. I learn things.

I dig Maura Magazine, edited by Maura Johnston. Johnston is a writer whose work I’ve dug for a while now, and she launched this iPad magazine earlier this year. Thirty bucks gets you a year of weekly issues, $0.99 gets you a one-shot issue. Each issue has a new roster of writers and new subjects grouped under a loose umbrella idea. The magazine, like SFWhatevs, routinely writes about things I’m ignorant of, but I eat it up. There was a piece on teenaged girl Olympic swimmers that was fascinating, and I’m not the type of guy who particularly cares about Olympics or competitive swimming.

I dig Comics of the Weak, written and organized by Tucker Stone, with regular assists from Abhay Khosla and Nathan Bulmer. Abhay absolutely murders the Rick “Hobo Piss” Remender situation this week. I have a lot of thoughts on that even still. But I hate talking about it, so I’m going to try and just leave this here and leave it alone.

I did like this read on being sober for a year by Kristina Wong, though.

I wrote about David Hine & Shaky Kane’s Bulletproof Coffin Disinterred for ComicsAlliance.

-I saw Jurassic Park in IMAX 3D this weekend. It’s not as life-changing as it was when I was a kid, but it’s still an incredibly ill movie and utterly enjoyable. Even if you can’t see it in 3D, you should probably watch it again pretty soon. The animatronic dinosaurs aged extremely well. The CG ones still look good, but not quite as good as they once did.

There’s one shot I love, when Lex is in the grates above the control room and the raptor bumps the grate she’s crawling on and then the camera cuts to an overhead shot of her falling through while the raptor recovers on the ground. Makes me smile every time I see it. It’s so immaculate.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape david

April 1st, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape david from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:

-Adina Howard – Freak Like Me – Do You Wanna Ride?
-Aesop Rock – 6b Panorama – Float
-Anthony Hamilton – Sucka For You – Back To Love
-Arrested Development – People Everyday – 3 Years, 5 Months And 2 Days In The Life Of…
-Asher Roth & Nottz – Gotta Get Up – Rawth
-Atmosphere – Good Times (Sick Pimpin) – Seven’s Travels
-Angie Martinez – Live at Jimmy’s
-Al Green – I Want To Hold Your Hand – Love Ritual

Originally, I had wanted to make this eight songs about death or dying, but then I woke up this morning and it’s gloomy out, so instead these are eight songs about enjoying your life, though some songs are more down than others. That strain runs through it, though — “life is beautiful.” It’s why we put up with all this nonsense that life throws at us. One day somebody pretty is gonna smile at us, we’re gonna see some movie we like or hear some song we love, and smile by accident.

Aesop Rock’s “6B Panorama” is one of my favorite songs. I love storytelling joints, and this one isn’t a story so much as a scene. It’s just what Aes Rock sees when he looks out of his window, and it’s so simple but deep that I can’t help but love it. I honestly love Aes’s delivery on “I saw a blind man with a dog screaming ‘someday I’ll see it all’/ and then he sat down with his hammer and saw.” It’s delivered like the stinger at the end of an episode of Peabody & Sherman on Rocky & Bullwinkle.

“6B Panorama” is about appreciation, I think, and that’s something I have a hard time with. When I’m in a bad mood and everything tastes like ashes and I hate everything I love, I wallow. I try to focus more on appreciating what I see on a day-to-day basis these days. I moved last year, and while I can’t see the sunrise or sunset, I can stand on my balcony and still enjoy the morning. There’s always something to look at and appreciate, right? I forget that sometimes.

It helps that “6B Panorama” is a killer bit of writing from one of rap’s best writers, too.

This mixtape is smiley face music, even if it’s a sheepish smile. “People Everyday” is probably the outlier, but it’s such a happy-sounding song about whipping somebody’s behind that I couldn’t resist, not to mention that flawless outro.

The instrumental version of Atmosphere’s “Good Times” was my alarm for two or three years, and it’s strange how weird it sounds to me now. I associated it with snapping awake and being late to work for so long that just hearing the opening of the song makes me physically anxious, though I know in my head that it isn’t a big deal. It’s like a spike of anxiety that slowly fades into suspicion. Basically, don’t make your favorite songs your alarms. I ruined Aesop Rock’s “None Shall Pass” that way, too.

I do a mean version of “Live At Jimmy’s.” Get at me.

Alex Pappademas interviewed DOC for Playboy, with a hat-tip to taterpie for the link. This interview? It’s fantastic. It’s wide-ranging and it put me up on things that I never even knew. I had an uncle who was into MC Breed as a kid, and finding out that DOC worked with him was a revelation. This is must-reading, but maybe not if you’re at work.

I liked Kiel Phegley interviewing Jim Rugg about his new project Supermag. Rugg is ferociously talented.

I liked Andrew Wheeler & Joe Hughes’s take on the Rick Remender Hobo Piss Avengers thing. It’s got an… academic approach, I guess is the best phrase to use, that I’m no good at. I don’t process this kind of conversation that way, which is why I rarely (a brief search says “never” on 4thletter! and mostly in jokes on twitter) talk about like, “white privilege” as a concept. It’s not what I’m good at, but Wheeler is, so give it a read. I also dig this more fan-oriented take.

Here’s a link to a transcript of the diversity-oriented panel I was on at ECCC, if’n you’re curious. I think the panel was pretty good, but I also think that I talked way too much. It was nice, though. The panel is continuing over here on Tumblr, if you’ve got questions/want to discuss things.

I reviewed Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon’s BPRD Vampire, which is very pretty but thin. I wrote about a scene I like a lot though. It’ll be a good book, I think, but weak first issue.

I wrote about… me? Kind of. It’s about learning to trust my taste and accepting the connections my brain draws between otherwise disparate projects. My brain’s smarter than I am. Next week’s I’m David will focus on a similar subject, but with a bulletproof twist.

I saw GI Joe Retaliation. Here’s the first trailer I found on youtube:

I still love that reaction to the North Korea joke. “Bro! What?! C’mon! I just GOT this job!”

I loved it. I’m sure people are gonna say it’s stupid or “turn off your brain” or whatever, but trust me: stay engaged, especially if you’re into the Joes. It’s a treat, and it’s exactly what a toy/comic movie should be. Is delightful a weird word to describe a movie? ’cause GI Joe was a delight on par with Fast Five or Dredd/The Raid. It’s a proper action movie, basically, with some devastatingly good jokes, shockingly solid casting (keep an eye out for dude who played Dick Casablancas in Veronica Mars, for instance), and some well put-together action scenes. A few fights were a little too blurry for my tastes, but by and large? Utterly, completely enjoyable. I saw it in Imax 3D and had a time.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape chthonic

March 25th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape chthonic from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. I don’t know where the title came from. I found it on a list of c-adjectives and liked how it looked. Anyway. The list:
-The Weeknd – Life of the Party – Trilogy
-Pulp – Party Hard – This Is Hardcore
-blur – Death of a Party – blur
-STS – We Threw A Party – GOLD RUSH
-Regina Spektor – The Party – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
-Prince Paul – War Party feat. Horror City – A Prince Among Thieves
-OutKast – movin cool (the afterparty) – big boi and andre present…
-Method Man – Party Crasher – Tical 2000: Judgement Day

One thing that gets lost when people try to legitimize rap by going on a crusade about how it’s poetry is that rap is so much more than rhyming. It’s the way you enunciate the words to the beat (flow), it’s the way those words sound (voice), it’s the way those words are put together (skills), and something indefinable, like charisma or coolness. It’s ad-libs and asides and hooks and everything. “Rap is poetry” doesn’t work because it files off everything that makes rap different from poetry.

Method Man’s “Party Crasher” is one of my favorite joints on Tical 2000. It paints an incredibly vivid picture of one night at the club, from the pushy douchebag doorman to the dudes looking for someone to jack to enjoying the night. There are so many moments in here that can’t be talked about like they were poetry but totally make the song. Mef talking about choking while smoking, “million dollar broke niggas” being an incredible turn of phrase, that “you know what this is” aside just before dude gets done dirty in the bathroom, and — my favorite part — “Niggas! yeah, gon’ turn the party out!”

“War Party” is something else. It’s like the ultimate Goon Theme Song. This is what the nameless dudes in movies and music videos who mean mug at the camera listen to to get hype. Some of my favorite rap songs are joints where a bunch of dudes just get in and get out, and this song is a good example. I’m also a sucker for a song with an outro composed entirely of threats, pimp.

I’m not sure who wrote this, but I really dig this retrospective of Earthtone III and their place in the music industry. They’re incredible, first, and they’re Big Boi, Dre, and Mr. DJ, second. OutKast. I feel like a lot of people don’t realize that Dre and Big produce, too, because it so rarely ever seems to come up. With good reason, I think — Organized Noize deserves more acclaim than they get, which is a lot — but it’s still sorta weird. This piece does a great job of placing them in context.

Maddie Collier wrote a pretty interesting essay about rap and cunnilingus. Not safe for work, obviously, but more for language than pictures. I don’t think I’d have had as much trouble as she did finding rappers who are all about putting some south in their mouth, but maybe that’s selection bias. I notice it more when rappers say they don’t than when they say they will. One seems normal, I guess, and the other is weird. There’s a G Rap line she quotes that struck me as weird even when I was heavy into KGR. Like — son, you’re down for killing how many people? But you’re the chicken of the sea? Yuck. Either way — fascinating essay. There are all these nooks & crannies of rap that go underexplored or are approached in asinine and blatantly untrue ways, so I really get into seeing stuff like this. It means I’m one step closer to reading someone’s groundbreaking piece on white girls and rap.

I wrote about Mike Allred & Peter Milligan’s run on X-Force and how good it is. Wrote about Air Force 1s, too.

-I wrote about this Miley Cyrus twerk video and linked the Grantland piece on my tumblr, too:

This is real fascinating to me, even once you take her getting it out of the equation. I’m from Georgia, right? Ying Yang Twins’s “Whistle While You Twurk” hit when I was in 10th grade. The last two songs I really remember popping off super hard and killing the radio before I left for Spain was Luda’s “What’s Your Fantasy” and Ying Yang’s “Whistle While You Twurk.” Luda was the new hotness, but Ying Yang were on some whole other thing. They shouted out a strip club in my hometown, and flipping Whistle While You Work for a song about strip clubs was an amazing choice. This song, and twerking by extension, reminds me of a very specific time and place in a very visceral way. It’s a time machine.

And now, in 2013, we’ve got ex-Disney stars twerking on camera. Life is crazy. It sorta puts me in mind of when Dave Chappelle told everybody what skeet means and then everyone ran that into the ground.

I saw Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers this weekend, featuring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Gucci Mane. It was terrible, but terrible in a way that I thought was interesting. Not interesting enough to be happy about paying train fare and movie ticket prices for it, but interesting like “I’m glad I saw that so that now I don’t have to watch it ever again.” A few notes:

-Is this what spring break was like? I missed out on that experience, but if it’s just a bunch of goofy looking white dudes pouring beer on topless white chicks and their token black girlfriend in a pantomime of peeing… I’m good, bro. Surely there is a better way to get into some debauchery.

-Selena Gomez looks like somebody’s little sister. It’s really distracting. She’s the babyface di tutti babyface.

-James Franco: utterly ridiculous, but I forgot he was Franco for a while, so maybe it was good? He was equal parts excruciating and perfect.

Spring Breakers is tedious, but tedious in an almost exciting way. It feels like it’s three hours long, and I was definitely checking my watch at the end. But I liked some of what I saw. I would see something awesome — the girls in prison, posed around the room like dolls — and then I would have to wait thirty minutes of troll-looking twins and excruciating voiceovers before the next cool thing.

-The shot composition was great. There were a gang of shots that I thought were really, really fascinating. You could probably pull a lot of visual inspiration from this flick.

-The editing was awful. It felt like the movie was an overlong music video set during one hellish Spring Break moment of bouncing boobs, bikini-covered butts, dudes with guns, and alcohol. There’s no sense of place, not at all. There’s no geography. It’s all one place at one time.

-The party’s over once the black dudes arrive, and I’m pretty sure every single black lady in the movie is either naked, silent, a stripper, or all of the above. Gucci Mane is blank. There’s some interesting subtext going on, but the text is like… I made a joke about this movie being Set It Off for white people to friends ages ago. It kind of is? It is coded very, very white in terms of POV, even down to the worst thing that could happen being black dudes treating you exactly like white dudes treated you about thirty seconds before that scene.

-The most concise review I can think of: Spring Breakers is like Vice Magazine putting on a production of Belly entirely in the form of tumblr posts.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape bumaye

March 18th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape bumaye from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:
-D’Angelo – How Does It feel – Voodoo
-Big Boi – She Hates Me feat. Kid CuDi – Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
-Kitty – Smiledog.jpg – haha im sorry
-Iggy Azalea – Down South – Trap Gold
-J Cole – Lights Please – Cole World: The Sideline Story
-Fabolous – Louis Vuitton feat. J Cole – Soul Tape 2
-Jean Grae – Supa Love Acoustic – Dust Ruffle
-The Weeknd – High for This – Trilogy

Iggy Azalea sounds like she’s always one “Yeah~ho!” away from being Gangsta Boo. I think I like her voice over her production (generally Diplo, for the tape I linked), but it’s hard to not hear Chyna White or Diamond or Trina (especially Trina, “Down South” could easily be a Trina joint like “Look Back At Me”, which is as NSFW as it is incredible) when she raps. I got the same problem with A$AP Rocky, but Iggy’s nice enough that I haven’t given up. It’s this weird dissonance, I guess, where I hear one thing and instead of listening to that, I’m remembering something else.

I was talking out loud on Twitter the other day about white girl rappers. It’s real interesting to me, because a few have come up (or come to my attention — same thing) over the past few years. There’s a couple different types of white girl rappers, I feel like. There’s the Kreayshawn/Iggy Azalea route where you rep your whiteness as hard as you can, like a badge of honor or the point of a knife. Hence Kreayshawn repping White Girl Mob as hard as she can, and Iggy rapping about hanging out with “white bitches” and “black bitches” in a very black flow. There’s an “I double dog dare you to say something” in there.

Kitty, fka Kitty Pryde, is the other type. I described it as “Tee hee I’m white” on Twitter, I think, and it’s this self-aware awkwardness where she knows what you’re thinking but don’t really care. “You say, ‘This little white girl is ruinin’ hip hop’/I say, ‘Damn right!’ And take a lick of the Ring Pop,” right? There’s a tease in there. I like Kitty a lot, in part because she’s pretty good at being pretty funny.

White girls in rap is a real interesting subject for me. It’s different than white dudes, but I’m having a hard time finding people talking about why and how. There’s this whole cultural quagmire there, where we’re checking off several boxes and what results is… whatever this is. I’m really interested in the repping part of things, because being white is presumably as awesome as being black is, but racists screwed that up for white people in a big way. Fine lines, right?

“She Hates Me” is my favorite song on that Big Boi album. I love that version of Jean Greasy’s Supa Love.

I like Tom Spurgeon’s thoughts on working for free. Personally, my “Should I work for free” flowchart goes “Are we related? Did I give you my phone number? Are we friends? Do I like you?” and if the answer to all of those is “no,” then you’re coughing up the cash. If the answer to any of those is “yes,” then I’ll think about how much effort it would take me, what you would get out of it, and how much more money you have than I do before I make a decision. Easy-peasy. (If I don’t like you, the answer’s always “no,” tho. Even if you’re willing to pay double.)

This joke Sam Humphries found is absolutely savage.

Chris Randle wrote about issues with the people who use Kickstarter and the culture of Kickstarter itself. It’s good.

-A reader named CC emailed me out of the blue the other day to talk about my review of Moto Hagio’s Heart of Thomas on ComicsAlliance. She said she took issue with it (!) and wrote a paper that in part addresses it (!!) and wanted to give me a headsup (!!!). I really wanted to know what she meant, and she was kind enough to email me back and give me an autopsy. It was really enlightening, and she picked up on my subconscious uncomfortableness with shoujo, which showed up in how I approached writing about the book. Looking at what I wrote and she said, my takeaway is that I made the mistake of approaching the book as an outsider, a looky-loo, instead of digging into what it meant to me, which I do with basically everything else. So I ended up unintentionally giving the book short shrift, something I was consciously trying to avoid. Life is weird. She’s posted the first part of her paper here, with the second to follow soon. I’m looking forward to it. You can find more of her writing here. She’s really smart, and I’m not just saying that because she caught me half-stepping.

Sean Witzke invited me to take the place of Tucker Stone on the Travis Bickle on the Riviera podcast. I couldn’t make it, but Dr Racism should did. They talked about Out of the Past, Female Prisoner Scorpion 701, The Long Goodbye, and Stray Dog. Pretty good way to kill 90 minutes.

I wrote about Garth Ennis’s approach to heroism in recent works.

I watch a lot of Rocky & Bullwinkle. It’s all on Netflix, so you should, too.

NBA 2k13 is, as ever, game of the year.

I watched Children Who Chase Lost Voices this weekend. I liked it. It’s in a Ghibli mode, which is actually pretty distracting. I’m reading Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa right now, and the movie feels incredibly inferior to that. I’m doing a terrible job of why I liked it, huh? I think I liked the overt Miyazakian elements, the fantasy and communing with nature and being friends/family stuff, but the movie ended up being about a boring dude with a boring problem and a boring dead wife. I would’ve liked it more if Asuna was the focus of the end of the movie, instead of just a prop so that some guy can get over his grief. But… it’s still worth watching? The designs are really nice and the animation is pretty. “Watch this! Parts of it suck!” Sorry. Trailer:

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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Monday Mixtape 01: alpha

March 11th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

Here’s a new thing. Let’s do it:

monday mixtape alpha from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:
-Kendrick Lamar – Poetic Justice feat. Drake – good kid, m.A.A.d city
-D’Angelo – Devil’s Pie – Voodoo
-Blur – Pressure on Julian – Modern Life Is Rubbish
-Gucci Mane – Walking Lick feat. Waka Flocka Flame – Trap Back
-Cool Breeze – We Get It Crunk feat. Kurupt – East Point’s Greatest Hit
-Kilo Kish – creepwave – k+
-Notorious BIG – Niggas Bleed – Life After Death
-Curren$y – Jet Life feat. Big KRIT, Wiz Khalifa – The Stoned Immaculate

It’s hard to explain my rationale with regards to picking these songs. They’re all tracks that made some sort of an impression over the past seven days — technically ten, if you include my trip to Emerald City Comicon, where I had this idea. Some songs I played repeatedly, like “Jet Life” and “We Get It Crunk.” Others just leapt out at me as being particularly apropos, or significant, or something.

I’m still figuring out what this is, and what it’s going to be next week and the week after and so on. This is a weird mix. It’s not meant to flow in a certain order, and it’s stripped almost entirely of context, but hopefully you still dig it. Different songs next week. Maybe talking about those songs, too? I dunno. We’ll get there.

Michael Peterson wrote a really good essay on the Beauty & The Beast Unit from Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid 4. If you don’t know the B&B Corps, picture a small group of beautiful women being forced into action on the front lines of war as a special operations group. They’re cyborgs, they’re completely under someone else’s control, and they’re victims. Michael does a great job pointing out why their story is so sad and interesting. I’m a big fan of that game and that group in particular. Even if you aren’t familiar, give it a read. Read Project Ballad, a webcomic he writes and Kevin Czap draws, too. Chapter one is wrapping up, so now’s probably a good time to start binging. They’ve got 80-some free pages up there.

I like this thing, too, by someone I know on Twitter. I just realized I don’t know her real name, but her twitter name is Twerksten Lapid, and that’s pretty cool. It’s about… everything? Nothing? It’s sorta high and low, here and there. I really like the part about suddenly becoming one with the world and marveling at nature and whoops there’s a coyote, poopin’. I also dig “This morning, I am disguised by a pretty dress and a blazer.” It’s a great turn of phrase, very evocative.

This one’s NSFW for nudity, but you should still sneak and read it. This one’s another friend of mine, and she’s writing about a lot of things, too. The lure of objectification, body image… it’s pretty bracingly honest, and it’s about something where there aren’t really right answers (or any answers?), so much as the ways we figure out to survive. I dig this piece a lot. I read it on my phone in Seattle and it stuck with me. Maybe it’ll do the same to you.

I like the look of this Freakestate Kickstarter by Gerald Forton and Drew Ford. Sounds like it’s right up my alley.

Ann Nocenti speaks to Louise Simonson, moderated by Josie Campbell. This is a good interview. I love Nocenti and Simonson, and seeing them rap about the old days is neat.

I wrote a piece on Spider-Man for The Atlantic. I’m playing it off like it’s not a big deal, but it’s kind of a big deal for me?

I wrote about Mark Andrew Smith’s shady behavior on the Sullivan’s Sluggers kickstarter.

I wrote about Yuuki Kodama’s Blood Lad and Kitty Pryde, a combo sure to bore ComicsAlliance readers to death.

I wrote about Jimmie Robinson’s Five Weapons, a pretty good start to an adventure tale.

Y’all see Justified last week? Hooo-wheee. That was an episode.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying? I thought about doing a Justified discussion thread and I still might maybe, but I think having a weekly open thread would be fun, if y’all are into it.

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Big Sean’s “Sellin’ Dreams”: Style & Substance

February 27th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

I like this Big Sean song “Sellin Dreams,” with a hook by Chris Brown. It’s about breaking up with your side girl so you can be faithful to your main girl, but I appreciate the wordplay, how Sean tells the story, than the subject of the story itself. At this point, this is my favorite joint on Big Sean’s Detroit, though maybe “I’m Gonna Be” with Jhene Aiko is a better song overall. The chorus on that one is stellar, but I like the wordplay in “Sellin Dreams” more.

“Sellin Dreams” starts off pretty wack, honestly. Hell’s paradise/pair of dice is a soft rhyme, like Maybach/laid back. No effort, right? But Sean manages to smoothly slide from punchlines to content:

Welcome to Hell’s paradise
I always heard life was a pair of dice
Seven, eleven, or a pair of eyes
As I’m looking at her smearing eyes
She yelling, “Take them glasses off
“Your eyes are the only thing that’s not lying”

pair of dice to snake eyes to crying eyes to hidden and lying eyes. That transition really works for me, and he doesn’t telegraph it at all.

One of the things I love the most about rap is how you can get away with things like this, hiding depth in simple punchlines. The style is the substance, right? The style builds up an image, and that image is what you pull apart to understand the song. He compares snake eyes, a losing throw, with crying eyes at the end of a relationship. It’s the kind of thing that isn’t immediately obvious, but you feel it in your gut.

He does a few other things I think are pretty clever. “Not caring to the point that I stopped lying” is pretty deep, if only because it suggests that his idea of caring is lying, right? What’s that say about their relationship? When my little brother played me this song, “I broke the levee to your eyes, that “I don’t give a damn” shit” was the killer line, the thing that caught my attention and made me sit up. Dam/damn isn’t worth much of nothing, but the addition of levees and the context of the song made it really work. I like “We had that independent love, you tried to bring a label in” too, though that’s a little more obvious.

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A Quick Note on Wiz Khalifa’s “Good Dank”

February 12th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

There’s two things about Wiz Khalifa’s “Good Dank” off his Kush & OJ mixtape that I’d excitedly refer to as my favorite (or the best, or the superior, or…) thing about Wiz Khalifa (or rap, or music, or jokes, or puns, or…) should you make the fatal mistake of asking me about pretty much anything.

The first is this line:

“Louies cover my eyes… not them hundred dollar Ray-Bans, fam — these six seventy-five”

Rappers do this thing where they brag about having expensive stuff, right? Everybody that ever rhymed Maybach with laid back, everyone who ever said the word “beamer,” everyone who said “Cristahl.” But what they don’t do too often is brag about having the expensiver version of expensive stuff. Who does that, right?

But here’s Young Wizdom. He knows Ray-Bans are expensive. (I myself managed to talk myself into a pair in the 10th grade, which I promptly lost. A year later, I lost my first cell phone.) So he wants to make it clear that even though some of us can scrimp and save and wheedle our way into some expensive sunglasses, there is a tier of sunglass above even that lofty tier, a tier that we are not welcome to visit, and it’s silly we even formed our mouths to ask the question.


My other favorite thing about this song is this line:

“Got my paper right, now we like white boy hair the way they… …jealous”

Now, rappers say a lot of dumb things. I listen to a lot of rap, so believe me when I say rappers say a lot of dumb things. Sometimes it’s amazing, other times it’s excruciating, and sometimes it’s this, which is the most beautifullest thing in this world.

The line is amazing because Wiz is looking us dead in our eyes while he delivers it. It’s some type of ultra reverse double dog dare. When he gets to “got my paper right” you’re nodding along. You’re in familiar territory. “We like white boy hair?” Hmm… that’s kinda weird. Where’s he going with this? “The way they…” hits and you think, huh, weird. What’s he gonna say? And the second “…” hits and you get it, and you don’t want it, you’re like, No, no way, this dude isn’t about to do that. Who’d do that? Right?

“Jealllllllllllllous,” Wiz says, and your feel it hit in short sharp shocks to your spinal cord and you’re laughing and you’re amazed that he was so confident when he said it and you’re damned forever.

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