Once upon a time, I honestly hadn’t heard a proper hip-hop record. I was perusing through Sputnik’s recent releases, and lo and behold, a hip-hop album with cool artwork! Sobhi’s review for Dark Time Sunshine’s Vessel sounded promising enough, and so I decided to go out on a limb for the album. I found it on Amazon for a penny, and three days later I experienced the thrill Sobhi did– my experiences with it really lacked that pivotal context, though. I think one appreciates Vessel the most when they’re aware of hip-hop’s history, and understand how many new things the record brings to the table. This is drastically different than my first– and rather superficial– interpretation of the album: “Whoa, these cool beats, man!” In the beginning I saw the diversity of the album, as well as the fact that it traversed both optimistic and grimy territory with the flick of a switch– and really well, too. But there’s more about Vessel to consider.
One of the biggest things about Vessel that I’ve come to appreciate is what rapper Onry Ozzborn brings to the table. His lyrics are personal, but not too revealing– although we can all tell “E.R.” stems from a personal experience he’s had, we aren’t being drowned in the details. We can understand where he’s coming from, and that sense of relatability is what makes songs like “E.R.” really stand out. But on the other hand, Onry sometimes removes…
In conjunction with Fake Four Records, Sputnik Music is proud to present an exclusive stream of the upcoming sophomore LP from Seattle rapper Sadistik. Flowers For My Father is due for release on Fake Four Records this Tuesday, February 19th in the US. Sputnik’s recently featured review can be found here: Sobhi Youssef’s Review.
Flowers For My Father marks Sadistik’s first solo album since his 2008 debut, The Balancing Act, and charts his growth in spades. Evolving his style to a more synthesized rendition of a signature cinematic Seattle sound, the new album displays a distinct combination of Sadistik’s complex, vulnerable writing with textured, ambient production handled by the likes of Blue Sky Black Death and Kno of CunninLynguists. Featured guest performances from indie hip hop heroes such as Cage, Deacon The Villain, Astronautalis & more result in his most developed, mature and revealing project to date.
Shortly after the release of The Balancing Act, Sadistik’s father tragically passed. Never one to shy away from heavy topics or keep his personal life personal, Sadistik wrote this album for his late father, choosing to treat each song as an update of what has happened in his life since. This is reflected in writing which delves into depression, romance, heartbreak, optimism and the struggle to make sense of the ever-shifting pieces in the world around him.
It’s been over a decade since One Be Lo first burst on to the Midwest’s hip-hop scene as part of the now legendary Binary Star and he’s still more than alive and kicking. His fourth solo release since the original dissolution of Binary Star, L.A.B.O.R., is due out on September 6th and if its first single “The G.O.A.T.” is any declaration of what’s in store One Be Lo’s powerful wordplay and trade marked murky and soulful beats are back in full form.
I haven’t been the nicest to Dallas Green over the years but I’ll be the first to tell you that he does one hell of a job on Canada’s first hip-hop anthem of the new year.
That’s right, I said hip-hop.
Last week Consequence of Sound premiered “Live Forever”, one half of Two Songs, the upcoming charity 12” by Shad and Dallas Green. Shad, for those of you who don’t know, is absolutely fucking awesome. Last year he put out TSOL, his third entry into the imaginary Canadian Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. Like Shad, TSOL is also fucking awesome.
Do you know what else is fucking awesome? “Live Forever”, which you can hear below.
If you like what you hear and feel like supporting the Skate4Cancer you can pre-order Two Songs at MapleMusic. Act fast, though, because with a limited pressing of just 556 copies I imagine City & Colour fan girls will eat this up faster than any fat joke I can make.
Backlash is such a strong word, and perhaps not the most appropriate one given the level of antipathy the group evokes among the internet cognoscenti, but it’s impossible to avoid the term in reacting to the Lonely Island’s new single ‘I Just Had Sex,’ which features imaginary tough guy Akon.
As an unabashed fan of the Lonely Island’s first CD, 2009’s Incredibad, I’ve always found it difficult to reconcile my love of their music with my complete disdain for SaturdayNight Live, and in particular Andy Samberg’s turgid contribution as a sketch actor. Like most of the SNL cast, Samberg as an actor represents the banal strand of comedy that dictates saying something in a funny accent automatically makes it ha-ha funny, when in fact all it does is make him look like a douchebag.
It’s a similar concept that has prolonged the painful career of Kenan Thompson. Thompson, who most famously played the part of the unfunny half of Kenan & Kel, seems to most rational observers to serve one purpose on the show: to play black characters in sketches where it would be racist for the white members to wear blackface. That’s not to say that SNL producers are racist. In fact, it’s the opposite – they hold black comedians to the same low standards to which they hold themselves. It’s equal opportunity mediocrity, and it’s rampant on SNL.
Which brings us back to the Lonely Island.
Over the past three or four years, the Lonely Island…
Kanye West’s been neglecting his G.O.O.D. Fridays project as of late – no new updates since mid-November – but you didn’t really think he could let Christmas pass without another gift, did you?
The base track for ‘Christmas in Harlem’ “leaked” (in other words, Kanye sent it out) on Wednesday, featuring professional famous person Teyana Taylor, but Kanye confirmed that a version with more guests was impending. Barely 24 hours, he’d “leaked” it – the recording featuring Cam’ron, Vado, Jim Jones, CyHi Da Prynce, Pusha T, Musiq and, of course, Teyana.
Kanye West – ‘Christmas in Harlem’
As the international media descended on Ireland in November to cover its impending financial crisis, their choice of imagery was striking. Almost all pictorial coverage, in the UK and American media at least, focused on one of three images: beggars, ghost estates or horses.
The first two are predictable enough – similar pictures exist in almost every major city across Europe and the United States – but the third is a puzzler. It appears that for all the rapid financial and technological advances we’ve achieved over the past twenty years, Ireland remains the only country in the world where a horse can freely roam the streets of a major city, with or without its owner, and nobody will bat an eyelid. Except for foreigners, of course, but they hardly count.
Limerick comedy rap duo Rubberbandits have made a small industry of this “only in Ireland” schtick, achieving unlikely success with Ireland’s usually hyper-conservative state broadcaster RTE. They first came to (indie) prominence with the hilarious ‘Up Da Ra,’ a sly satire of those radical Irish nationalists (many of them in the US) whose grasp of historical fact is only rivaled by their loose grip on intelligence. ‘Willie O’Dea‘ is no less funny for the fact only a few thousand people could ever understand it.
As comedians, Rubberbandits are as much miss as they are hit – like a crude, very esoteric, Irish version of the Lonely Island – but as musicians they definitely…
Wikipedia fanatics are almost universally regarded as creepy, pedantic weirdos whose insatiable lust for secondary sources is matched only by their desire to reference said sources in a neutral point of view (NPOV). That’s more or less correct.
At the same time, I have to have sympathy for Wikipedia editors, as they are essentially charged with enforcing a set of increasingly detailed and hard-to-follow rules on ignorant but otherwise well-intentioned people. In that sense, you could say the average Wikipedia editor is like Jom on steroids (coincidentally, Jom is actually on steroids).
The worlds of the obsessive Wikipedia editor and the average user clashed again a few months back, when a seemingly random submission to the article for Warren G’s classic G-Funk hit ‘Regulate‘ snowballed and brought dozens of independent contributors together in a quest to provide the most accurate and detailed synopsis of the song.
‘Regulate’ is essentially a synopsis of a night in LA when Warren G (the G stands for Griffin – a good, strong Irish name) is held-up by some gangsters and Nate Dogg comes to his rescue, unloading a friendly round or two in the assailants’ chests while he does. It’s a charming tune and one that translates particularly well to prose (if only for the multitude of trivial details laced among the carnage of the narrative).
The “project” went on for almost a month, with considerable improvements made to the original synopsis, before an editor noticed the high…
The Justin Bieber story took its inevitable step into hip hop last month with Kanye West’s remix of ‘Runaway Love,’ but it took a leap into the ultra-surreal earlier today when he premiered ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ the first glimpse of his rapping alter-ego Shawty Mane.
It’s entirely unclear whether this is a genuine musical statement or a pop culture spoof the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since Orson Welles dropped the radio broadcast of his namesake H.G.’s War of the Worlds in1938, but it certainly is… something.
Mere mortals like myself tend to be mesmerised by beatboxers at the best of times, but Los Angeles rapper Red takes it to a whole ‘nother level. This video, filmed when Red was homeless on the streets of LA, shows him in full G-Funk mode, mixing chest percussion, throat bass and insane natural vocoder action in what already ranks as one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
There’s a hint of a commercial tie-in as Red wears a “Just Do It” shirt while dropping rhymes about Nike, but it could as easily be coincidence. The numerous references to Warren G, G-Funk Records and Snoop Dogg, not so much so. Sit back and prepare to just… wow.
It’s something that will probably be lost to time and forgotten about entirely, but one of the most disappointing things about this World Cup is that so many African stars, given the first chance to represent their nations in their own continent on the world’s biggest stage, never got the opportunity. Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o can count himself very lucky that he made it to the tournament fully fit, because it seems like he was the only one – Michael Essein and John Obi Mikel both missed out entirely through injury, Benni McCarthy wasn’t even picked to play, Sully Muntari seemed to be out of favour with his manager, and Dider Drogba – the man Ivory Coast’s hopes rested on, broke his arm. He eventually played a part in every game of their campaign while wearing a cast, but he was off the pace and understandably shirked a few challenges; it – along with Luis Suarez’s Hand of God II: Electric Boogaloo – was the most immediate symbol of the rotten luck Africa had throughout. Many felt that Ivory Coast would qualify from their group with relative ease, so uninspiring were rivals Portugal in qualifying for the tournament, but Drogba’s arm, and the subsequent loss of momentum it brought (and North Korea’s incompetence against Portugal, in fairness), stopped them from getting the results they needed. Drogba – a hero right across Africa – should have been one of the tournament’s stars. Instead, he barely got out of first gear. Côte d’Ivoire’s…
As we wait with biated breath for the semi-finals of the World Cup, here’s an absolutely cracking stat for you – if either Germany or Spain go on to win the tournament (which, with no offence intended to Nagrarok, they probably will), then the only team in the entire tournament to be unbeaten will be New Zealand. Fancy that. Switzerland – already covered way back in part 7, were Spain’s conquerors in the first game, but Serbia, the only team to beat Germany, have remained untouched until now. Let’s change that.
I’m not gonna lie – I just really like this picture.
The thing I find most immediately fascinating about Serbian music throughout the ages is the unique fascination with epic poetry – it’s certainly not the part of the world you would first think of when epic poetry comes to mind (Greece wins out there, of course), but where the Greeks kept their words and their music generally separate, Balkan culture, and particularly that of the Serbs, has sought to integrate the two. As a result, it’s now as much a musical genre as a literary one. This piece of music is based on the poem “The Building of Skadar”, a religious text of unknown authorship, and a traditional Serbian folk melody.
Unfortunately, not all Serbian music is as high-minded and moving. Some people react to major world events by trying to reflect the devastation in their own art, while some ramp up the feel-good…
It’s all getting a bit exciting now, isn’t it? Today sees the real meaty end of the tournament kick off, as teams start to drop out of the running altogether; by close of pay on the 25th, we’ll know exactly who will contest the knockout stages and who will be joining the likes of Cameroon in flying home. In Nigeria’s case, it’s do-or-die time – nothing but a victory over South Korea and some help from Argentina against Greece will stop them from becoming the second African nation to drop out of the first African World Cup. Still, if it’s any consolation, they can boast probably the best individual performance of the tournament so far in the shape of goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama’s Messi-defying heroics in their opening fixture against Argentina.
Mad respect for the blackest man in Tel Aviv.
The role played by Nigerians in the development of modern Africa’s musical consciousness simply can’t be ignored. While each African nation had its own folk forms – and with Igbo and Yoruba, Nigeria is no exception – it was Nigeria that was the first to embrace new styles and promote hybrid forms, bringing those folk sounds into a contemporary context. Nowhere was this more telling than in the development of Afrobeat, a crucial genre of music pioneering by Nigeria’s most famous son and probably African music’s most beloved figure – the legend that is Fela Kuti. This music – a blend of highlife, pyschedelia, funk, and sociopolitical fire – displays…
I would imagine that of the few of you following this blog intently, most will have been looking forward to this entry more than any other. There is a serious fascination in the Western world when it comes to Japan, to the point where it borders on fetishism – we even have specific derogatory terms for people who are obsessed with anything and everything Japanese. Music may not quite command the same fanbase that anime does, or computer games do, but you still don’t need to look very far to find an excited fan of Dir en Grey, or Mad Capsule Markets, or Nobuo Uematsu.
Oh yeah, here’s a footballer too.
Japan’s national character suffered a little when Western music crossed the Pacific and took over, which is a real shame; the nation’s folk and classical forms are documented as well as in any country in the world. Clearly nothing I can type into such a short space will sum all of that up, so we’ll focus on just one such form; gagaku, which is perhaps best understood as an equivalent of sorts to European chamber music, traditionally played by small-ish ensembles for the rich and royal in private performaces. It went on to be a big influence on avant-garde Western classical music, informing the drones, the microtonality, the primitivism, and even the electronic textures that permeates the works of composers as famous as LaMonte Young, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Krzysztof Penderecki.