Thankfully, The New Yorker is There to Validate My Taste in Hip Hop

November 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm (1)

They like FlyLo, too (well, at least Sarah Frere-Jones appreciates his innovations if she isn’t as enamored by the entire product as I am), and, this is the kicker, it’s for mostly the same reasons that I do!

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November 24, 2008 at 1:47 am (1)

I talked a little bit about hip hop as cartoony music if taken to a sampledelica extreme: here’s a great example. All the vocals were taken from a movie, whose scenes are even sampled and recreated by the director here, all strictly adhered to until the facade of strict reinterpretation fades: the cast gets together for a conga at the end, and it’s perfect:

Also: the Flaming Lips Live, because there can never be enough videos documenting their shows. Stick around for the nun around 8:15:

For a more lively set (but worse performance), check out this cover:

Next: Of Montreal’s New Album.

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Disclaimer: I’m a hip hop head who uses samples for his beats

November 19, 2008 at 8:21 pm (Music)

Come to think of it, I should promote myself a little more: here’s my myspace. Still coming to think of things, I should probably mention that I’ve just finished the first EP of my group, Lilac Inferno, and it’s available for free if you just message me your address at xyphap@gmail.com. It is just a CD-R with a paper tracklist, so expect Mos Def level packaging, but hopefully better content.

Anyways, I have a bigger post below where I take Common to town over an offhanded comment in an interview, one where the reader becomes befuddled at my overdramatization. This isn’t the theatre, you say, so maybe I should find a real enemy to battle. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Hall of Memories has Lovely Decorations

November 18, 2008 at 4:22 pm (Comic Books)

Okay, Plok, if you demand we reminisce over our 5 memorable experiences reading comics, I guess I’ll acquiesce.

1) 1) Sonic the Hedgehog by Michael Gallagher and co. This is pretty much the reason I love comics. From it’s cluttered, cartoony vision of the future (along with Gallagher’s excellent character design and sense of humor edit: My memory’s foggy: Gallagher was just the most common writer. Pencilers rotated a lot, and I can’t find who designed all the amazing characters that showed up only in the comic), I was hooked on this comic, and, eventually although with less enthusiasm, other comics. I remember #3 as the first one I ever bought.

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Sonic and Tails persuaded my youthful self into loving comics.

2) 2) Batman #497.

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This completely flipped my shit. This is the first comic I ever saw and absolutely needed to purchase, at the local grocery store’s rack. How could such violence make its way onto a stand cluttered with Archie digests and Sonic the Hedgehog comics!?! I didn’t care, but I was sure glad to see that stodgy superhero get his back snapped! I subsequently became entangled in the Knightfall crossover. #500 was my first all-foily comic.

3) 3) Grant Morrison’s Animal Man. This was the first reading experience I completely remember. Seven years ago, when only the first trade was barely in print, a wizard article listed both Animal Man #5 and 15 in its 40 greatest comics ever! I think “The Kid Who Collected Spider-man” just beat out #15 (the higher rated of the two by Wizard). So I had to find this greatness.

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When I first read them (in my defense, I was only fourteen), I didn’t understand the dolphin’s narration. When I reread the entire opus in a whirl (the whole pantheon of unknown superheroes in #23 and #24 was awesome), I still didn’t understand too much, but I knew that I had really done something good, that I’d be proud of later down the line. After all, these were some of Wizard’s favorite comics, so they have to be good, right?

I’m pretty happy they actually are.

4) 4) Frank Miller’s Daredevil. The second collecting escapade of my youth that I successfully completed. More than enjoying the interior comics (which I did a lot- ninjas and gun superheroes perfectly matched my teenage sensibility), I just completely learned the thrill of bargain hunting and finding comics. I scored a very fine copy of #168 for $18 (!), a fine copy of #158 for $15, and a comic that’s become much worse since I’ve reread it zillions of times, #181 for a paltry $4. This was way before the visionaries volumes had been published, and I had a secret piece of superhero history just waiting in my longboxes to be rediscovered.

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And I damn near wore out these comics.

5) Akira. Somewhat fittingly, I went from Miller to manga, but I had no idea the two were connected. Akira was just published in big, tremendous collections my store displayed proudly. My brother had watched the manga, and didn’t let me see it a while back (too violent to watch, the protector said. Too badass to not watch, I thought). So later in my life, I got the deluxe, comic version, with so much more story: victory to the child, I’d say!

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So: what are your top 5?

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Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman in Japan

November 17, 2008 at 12:20 am (Comic Books)

A lot of fuss has been raised over the creator of the comic’s name (Jiro Kuwata: don’t flame me!) not being on the cover. It’s really not that interesting a discussion, though. The book combines pictures of Japanese 60’s toys as well as plentiful reprints of the Bat-Man Manga to give us a book about the Bat-Man craze in 60’s Japan focusing most of its pages on that trend’s manifestation in manga. Fair enough, Chip Kidd, if you are hoping to give us a historical view on 60’s Japanese Bat-Man, I’d love to read some context, to find what qualities of the very American, noir hero a completely opposite culture found completely fascinating.

The Bat-Man, to me, represents the American Dream, but not realized through social or class mobility. No, he represents the dark side where someone has a hope or wish to change the world, and through freedom of opportunity and sheer skill, he is able to achieve his desire no matter the cost, except what the Bat-Man wants can never be achieved by anyone, the elimination of crime and its debilitating effect, and it’s his tragic flaw. Not that he can’t get what he wants/save his people because he lacks ability, but that no one, ever, would be able to get what he wants/save his people. It’s a tragedy of desire. This cross cultural book would show what the Japanese found fascinating in this myth.

This sounds like it would be a good book.

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November 12, 2008 at 11:58 pm (1)

We can only hope!

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Another Blog Post About Kanye West

November 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm (Music)

Kanye’s latest album, 808s and Heartbreaks, has been a leaky, leaky ship. For reference, here are all the holes:

Love Lockdown

Heartless (here’s a video with good animation)

Tell Everybody That You Know (ft. Lil Wayne)

Streetlights

Amazing (ft. Yung Jeezy)

Robocop

Coldest Night

Besides those tracks, though, this is an album with some deep context. To get the most out of what it means, you can’t just hit play and listen to it, which is both its fault and its strength.

Read the rest of this entry »

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When Comparisons Fail

November 12, 2008 at 1:02 pm (Music)

A review that doesn’t quite interweave Dungen’s 4 and Flying Lotus’ Los Angeles.

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The Music, it comes from Cartoon Instruments!

November 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm (Music)

I’ve been thinking about early pre-Disney cartoons (from this essay) and hip hop a lot. While the entire thing is more than worth a read, it is long and, really, only part of it commingles with hip hop, so here’s a paraphrase. When cartoons first appeared, they were revolutionary not just because they depict reality with drawings instead of photographs, but more excitingly because an artist could put whatever action he wanted onto the screen. Felix the cat could take off his leg and turn it into a potato, then feed it to a group of mice that have sprung up in front of him. We glimpsed flexible fantasy, not stilted reality.

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Single Alert!

November 7, 2008 at 5:58 pm (Music)

Mos Def “Life in Marvelous Times”

This is a single released just this Tuesday on iTunes. I’d suggest checking it out before buying it.

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