Sunday, March 27, 2011

What We Mean When We Say...

...Weary Blues or Ask Your Mama.

We think much on Ellison's definition of the blues, and &sad's observation that it is an assertion on which much of the 20th century's interpretation of African American literature/culture rests. When we read Professor Santos's wrap up of Hughes in her section of The Cambridge History of American Literature (it is an unfair but true observation that she sits the brother at the back of her bus), we hear both of them whispering in our ear. But it's bigger than that and what she says is true, so we'll put id down here.

[It]...opens up all of the contradictory meanings that are the high-water mark of Hughes's poetry: on the one hand, the half hopeful, half threatening tension between the aspiration of African Americans to their rightful place in culture -- which they, too, help to shape with their specific contribution; on the other hand, the racism that prevents the dominant culture from fully acknowledging African American specificity as a vital part of itself. What this acknowledgment implies is the recognition that the American white poet, no less than the black poet, is also sandwiched [where was your editor on this verb choice?] between two worlds. To speak of the pressure of two worlds, "white" or "black" (regardless of whether such categories continue to be at all operative), or male and female, popular and erudite, political and aesthetic, old and new, or even "real" and "mythical," is ultimately to point to the variety of experience that informs all poetic performance worthy of the name.

Our addition to this thought is less burdened with the need to strike up a phenomenology of poetry, or even the blues, but it still depends on what we have learned by thinking down those lines. Ellison's reading of the blues is correct: it is the mediation of opposites and the joyful realization that that's it. This is the substance at the end.

We're all so digga digga do by nature.

The Way HipHop Works

All f/ Brandon Soderberg's excellent short interview w/ Clams Casino in the VV:

Yeah, they work as instrumentals, because I only think about how they sound. I'm not in the studio with the guys rapping, so I just kind of make it to make it, and I don't even think about hearing people on it. It's to keep me interested.

I see people online saying those are all their favorite Lil B songs, and they had no idea I did them all. I go around everywhere and type my name in the comments to say that I produced them. I do that all the time.

I sent that to an artist who was kinda with G-Unit/Mobb Deep. That was like a year and a half before it came out. He was just one of the guys that answered me on MySpace. His manager ended up managing Havoc later on, and that's how it happened.

There's volumes spoken 'bout the mode of production here. Please disabuse yourself of anything more heroic.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Never Can Say Goodbye

W/ all of this Odd Future buzz coming f/ the south, we think it is time to wonder where the next future will come from. They were stealing our attention with promises of fresh for the last 6 months: stunning freaky blues shouting, multi-media attacks, blues roundhouse lefts and hiphop uppercuts to the jaw. and we'll take that beating again and again, whenever it is offered, because follow this tune, been following it since we shuffled onto this mortal coil. But the haters have begin to get it. They are now all talking about a shift in the industry and fresh, raw spirit alive in "the digital cloud," and getting note for their place on the cover of traderags twice in three ¶s in one self-admitted traderag. Trough every intention they could call their own, they have been claimed as the next course in the 175 year-long meal of great black music being enjoyed by the Culture Industry.

"OK, I'm reloaded." And so it ends as it has ended so may times before.

Our coffee was disrupted this morning to thunder and hard rain, unfamiliar even in these swampy parts. Surrounded by flash and rattle we put down the Langston Hughes, which we've been holding off and on for the last six weeks or so and thought about what was on the box. Roland Kirk has been telling us that our future is our history (and vice versa) long since before he passed. He brings a gravedeep groove and the endtimes promise that the blind can see. Brovahman was an orchestrator in that great post-Ellington style of Mingus and Byard, all about charting the free work of many on a common direction. And above all, he could play anything, all at once.

We imagine that Tyler becomes the orchestrator. and that, learning from the tradition of other great signifying devils, pulls together a wolfgang cover of "Make Me a Pallet on the Floor" OK?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What We're Hearing

Weill, Hughes and Rice, Street Scenes: Sprawling drama of crossing back and forth. Hughes, persistently underestimated by most who take a moment to consider him, is actually a huge synthetic force, a center of gravity defined not by weight, but it's opposite.

Yes, yes, ya'll.

B/t/w: if you can't see the connection w/ our 3/12 post, then go buy some new eyes, mang.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

W/ This Morning's Coffee...

We had a dream we came across two ghosts @ the crosssroads.

Is this Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby? Or is it proof that the wild creolizing tendency of the tradition just can't stop and won't stop.

We must say, we found the brovah Noz all over the right things in his Billboard cover story.

His observations on the future of the music industry, tho' a bit of his own utopia leaks in, are sharp and necessary given the publication:

This is how its age group consumes music. Thousands of teens record from home and release it to the Web. Millions more find it and share it. No middlemen, except social networking sites and chat windows. But there's a disconnect between this network and the outlets that still rule the airwaves. How does an Internet star get into radio or MTV rotation? Do they need to? Odd Future peers like Bieber and Soulja Boy quickly jumped from YouTube fame into major-label situations, but Tyler and crew are consciously trying to raise the ceiling on that model. If successful, they could be paving the way for an entire generation of musical independence.

When the voice of the kids breaks into the piece, you can hear the blues creeping up behind you.

Tyler knows his precursors, 'cause there's no one who firsts:

Over a tray of cinnamon sticks and a half-closed MacBook he gushes about his dreams (winning a Grammy Award) and heroes (Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes).

And Syd all but quotes Shadow and Act:

"People just choose to be offended by stuff. If they are, then that sucks and I'm sorry, but they don't have to keep listening," says Syd the Kid, 18, the group's in-house sound engineer and only female member. "Words are words. They don't act out what they say, they just say it."

We have much persistent respect for Noz, the Role Model because he has such an ear for hope and truth that he can get it in a traderag.

:: breaths deep ::
:: drops the needle into the groove of Song X ::

Monday, March 7, 2011

What We're Hearing

We know he didn't invent crossing over, but he certainly was the Michael Jackson of the pre-war blues.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Worth Recording

Listen up, y'all. To the beat, y'all.

We got the Rick Ross bug a few months ago, late as usual (and as we think it should be most of the time, 'cause we are not in any part of the unnaground, or even a place where cool is the ruler). So we follow the Don's 140 character bursts, and try to follow the growth of his his crew as he grows his business, man.

We try to keep up on the unfolding story of the blues, and look to people luckier than ourselves who get to show up and write about what they see. And in this pursuit we find Jon Carmanica we worth keeping in our line of sight. His work on RickRozay is especially good. It looks long and deep without much space to do so.

We want to follow up on the last few ¶s:

As out-of-town rappers often do in New York, Mr. Ross turned his concert into a reunion, welcoming numerous guests. There was a brief, charged opening set by Pusha T of Clipse, now a solo artist on Mr. West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint. During Mr. Ross’s set he was joined by a winning John Legend on “Magnificent,” and later, by Busta Rhymes and Akon, who made quick appearances. A fellow Miami rapper, Ace Hood, emerged for his new hit, “Hustle Hard,” the remix of which features Mr. Ross.

There was one song each from Wale (“No Hands”) and a fiery Meek Mill (“I’m a Boss”), new members of Mr. Ross’s Maybach Music Group imprint, which just signed with Warner Brothers. (No appearance by Pill, though, the best of the new affiliates.) Later came an appearance by Torch, from Mr. Ross’s group Triple C’s, on “Reala-State,” but sadly, no Gunplay, who has released a pair of impressive solo mixtapes in recent months, “Don Logan” and “Inglorious Bastard.”

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Primary Sources

Deep river of visual stuff @ the National Library of Jamaica. Diggin.'

This Morning's Reading


Although She feeds me the bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I must confess
I love this cultured hell that steals my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of time's unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What We're Hearing

Dipping into a little Teddy Riley Groove. We don't wanna blame too much Erykah Badu, and wish we could say we jumped there directly from the inspiration of Barry Michael Cooper, or even our own Nelson George-like nostalgia for culottes and espadrilles in the Harlem summer, but we can't make that claim. We're just here for now. And we're digging the polyrhythms as if we were listening to "The Creator Has a Master Plan."