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aural fixation: the weekend of july 25, 2008 a.d.

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Back in the day, when I used to use instant messenger, I used to keep a list of songs/albums I “recommended” that my friends look into on my profile…Yeah, I thought I was pret-tyyy, pret-tyyyy, pret-ty cool, but in my defense, I never purported to have the biggest library…or be cutting edge. Tell you the truth, I think those who actually looked and used my recommendation list appreciated the fact that I wasn’t a such a elitist “contrarian” about my suggestions; I merely posted what sounded good to me, commercial or not. So I figured I’d just bring it back for nostalgia’s sake; I can’t think of any real tangible description for the main criterion, so I’ll just call it “songs I’m not skipping on my iPod right now.” I’m also doing it here because I’m too cheap to drop $5/month for last.fm, but you should check it out; you can still make your own radio for free). Keep in mind my musical palette is a bit varied and completely capricious, so not every suggestion is for everyone, but I think that makes it better, so you have to sort it out yourself; plus you can then discover the whole album yourself. Oh and listed in no particular order.

1. AmpLive – Video Tapez from Rainydayz Remixes. Props to my girl Lleigha for putting me onto this one. Apparently this guys is based out of the Bay area (right up your ally, JWeezy) and this remix of Radiohead’s In Rainbows is a great work of indie hip-hop (if that’s what you would even call it, I have no idea). Either way, this is probably my favorite track on the album. I guess the simple thing to say would be, “if you liked In Rainbows, and you like good beats, you’ll like this remix…which Radiohead kind of got pissed at him for because he didn’t consult them about it…and released it for free, but…whatever.

2. Phonte (from Little Brother) f. Carlitta Durand – Take on Me. This is just a singlay. Yep, that take on me, Phonte remixed a classic, and I love it. Anytime you touch a classic you gotta use those kit gloves, and Phonte just reaffirmed what I already believed; that music is music, doesn’t matter where you’re from; anyone can appreciate anything. AND he sang the vocals…that in and of itself is worth a HUGE nod.

3. DJ Drama & Lil Wayne – Gettin’ Some Head from Dedication: Gangsta Grillz. I have realized that I tend to prefer Lil Wayne on freestyles and mixtapes much more than I like his commercial stuff. You should definitely get your hands on this mix-tape if you can, and if you enjoy Lil Wayne. The thing I like about it, is you get to hear what Lil Wayne can do over beats you’ve heard from other popular singles. Also checkout, Poppin’ Them Bottles, I’m a Ridah, This What I Call Her, and Weezie F Baby.

4. Santogold – You’ll Find a Way from Santogold. Santogold is one of few artists I can really claim to having “been all over before it was hip.” Yeah, before her songs were playing at the end of Entourage episodes, and during Bud Light commercials… actually, both of them, I was in the 9:30 Club with my boys Craphonso and the Lawless Element (not the rap duo from Detroit, just a kid I know) watching Santogold open for Architecture in Helsinki. I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t like Santogold, but then again, who do I know? Lights Out, and L.E.S Artistes are also “pretty dope tracks,”…sorry.

5. Röyksopp – Remind Me from Melody A.M. Everyone knows this song by the Norwegian duo, they just don’t know they do. This is the track from the very first GEICO Caveman commercial when he’s going through the airport, and sees that billboard that spawned a series of unnecessary, never-be-as-good-as-the-original commercials and a short-lived series on ABC. Props to my girl Lleigha, again, (take in some of her eclectic musical palette here) for putting me onto the music video, which is pretty cool, but I was shocked that I had to fill her in on the fact that this song was used in a GEICO commercial, or that ABC actually had a series based on the cavemen from said commercial. She didn’t believe me until she verified with the internet, but can you really blame her? I mean, the whole story does seem entirely too fantastic to be true.

Tracks I’m totally listening to and not telling anyone about:

1. Usher – Love in this Club

2. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

3. The-Dream – Fast Car

4. Greg Laswell – What a Day

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why i hate kanye west

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A good friend of mine and myself have been discussing this pretty much since Kanye released his first album, which I can’t even remember the title of, but I was inspired to write this after that same friend forwarded me a blog on XXL entitled “Kanye Sucks!”

Again, before I embark on however many unfocused “bars” this ends up being on why I hate Kanye West, let me, in the interest of full disclosure let you know that I do own (or at one point owned) all three of his albums, the GRADUATE is the only one I can still find on my iPod. I obviously didn’t pay for any of them. However, my issue from Kanye West doesn’t stem necessarily from where you would expect it to [I was guessing that you would guess that I would have a problem with his ego]. If I was in fact correct, then you are in fact incorrect. I have a history of openly lauding and applauding pompous, self inflated, windbags in the fields of athletics and entertainment. I ONLY request two things; 1) that it be genuine, and 2) that your competence and talent be at least commensurate with your degree of boasting and self-aggrandizement. For instance, I love me some T.O. because I genuinely believe that he loves him some T.O. as well AND there’s the little fact about him being one of two indomitable wide receivers in the league . On the contrary I find Chad “let me start celebrating like T.O., even though I can’t impact like T.O.” Johnson to be a charlatan. Johnson’s talent is not commensurate with his impact on the game.

The same applies to Kanye West. If you looked up “braggadocious” in the dictionary, you wouldn’t find it, but if you looked up “braggadocian” you—pardon the cliché—would find some representation of the attitude with which Kanye West carries himself. I’m not saying that I don’t like ANY of his music, I’m not even saying that he necessarily makes bad music, all I’m really saying is “Kanye, you make pop music, shut the fuck up.” Kanye acts as if every album he drops has revolutionized hip-hop, rap and r&b all at the same time. At best Kanye, to me is a gifted rhymer (if that’s even a word) and a clever sampler. Even his sampling, I hesitate to call clever, because it seems to me all he does is take songs that were already classics, speed them up or slow them down, then add drums (the former two can be done on Windows Media Player, fyi). Yet he acts as if he’s some great svengali (go fuck yourself spell check, I KNOW that’s a word) of the microphone and or turntables. It seems he operates under this illusion that your talent is directly correlated to the number of units you move. However, if we extrapolate that line of reasoning, that would mean that Kanye is better than Common, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli…combined. We [the quasi informed public] all know that to be ridiculous, but I volunteer that what is even more ridiculous than that is that Kanye probably DOES believe that he is better than the aforementioned colossi.

Which brings me to the second reason I hate Kanye; he’s a hypocrite, and a fucking turncoat. While he was trying to make a name for himself, he toured with Talib Kweli and Mos, pretending to be on the enlightened tip, yet can you point me to one “intellectual” track of his? –I’ll wait…Don’t give me jesus walks, That song’s not about a thing. Don’t give me diamonds are forever, or the remix diamonds from Seirra Leone. If anything, those tracks makes a mockery of plight of those who are mamed and suffer for these loosely (to be generous) regulated conflict diamonds. As if that wasn’t enough, what does Kanye do, partners up with Jacob the Jewler to launch his very own line of “Jesus Pieces,” (and you guessed it) they’re diamond encrusted. If there are two things I’m absolutely, 100% certain of, it’s that if Jesus was alive today, that is EXACTLY what he would do, and that absolutely none of those diamonds are conflict stones. On College Dropout (“last call”), he tells us all about how even when Roc-A-Fella was showing strong interest in him, he was going to stick with Capitol Records because he had given them his word, and they were the ones who offered him a deal (you know, showed faith in him). I guess integrity is real easy to have when you’ve got no BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement, now don’t ever say misteressama never taught you anything). Because when Jay Z and Dame Dash parted ways, he lit out on Dame like a runaway slave. There is no other way about it. Jay didn’t find him, Jay didn’t invite him into Roc-A-Fella, and Jay didn’t give two shits about him. Dame was the one who gave him a shot, but Kanye knew who would butter his toast, so he grabbed his jelly and followed Jay Z around like a pathetic lackey. He has the nerve to say things like “I’d rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I’m not,” alright then, I can get behind that…so shut the fuck up when you don’t win awards. That’s like those kids we ALL went to high school with who tried so hard to be different and convince everyone that they didn’t care what anyone thought, but let them lose a student body election or any other type of glorified popularity contest, and they get all sour.

Let me explain something to you Kanye. Since the criteria for awards are all inherently subjective; theoretically, if you don’t value others’ opinions, it should register equally insignificant to you whether they like you or not. Meaning, when they say, “Kanye, we didn’t think you were the best this year,” it shouldn’t matter to you. But then again, I guess I should expect such complex delineations of logic to be a touch abstruse for you; after all, you are just a college dropout.

Written by misteressama

June 27, 2008 at 6:00 am

Posted in Sound + Cinema

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