Friday, February 27, 2009

Classic: The Craft

If you know where your radio rappers come from, then you've prolly got Oakland pinned down. If it ain't E-40 or Too $hort making up words or reusing a certain 5 letter word, then it ain't the Bay Area.

... sorry, I just slapped myself. If the SoleSides collective isn't in your music library, then you're definitely missing out on a highly distinctive and brilliant encapsulation of what Oakland music can be on the other side of the radio. [Shouts to Hiero, too. I'm not forgetting them.]

While I have to admit that Lyrics Born may be in my top 10 of all-time if you remind me, Gift of Gab is one of the most poetically inclined emcees ever and represents the other-side-of-the-tracks kind of music that SoleSides can offer. With DJ Xcel weaving enthralling journeys of sound through decades of genres, Gab is trailing with such lyrical verbosity that you can't help but be dazed at times. Every type of poetic device you learned in high school, Gab has mastered it and intriguingly reminds on a bar-by-bar basis that you can actually say something all while impressing hip hop heads and having fun at the same time.

I made a quick skimming of these internets we got going and found that the album from which "The Craft" came from, um ... The Craft, got reviewed rather poorly by a lot of sites. This irks me to no end. Allow me to scootch over this soap box real quick. I absolutely hate about 98% of all music reviewers, regardless of genre. The majority of them are mired in that egregiously bitter TA (teaching assistant) kind of mind state. They're usually not in the position they wanna be, so instead of focusing on what good they can do in the position they're doled out, they are firmly entrenched in negativity just looking at any hint of imperfection as their way to exert dominance over their underling subject being "reviewed". Or maybe that's just my Physics Lab TA Gururaj who is the devil incarnate. Hmm ... naw, it's music reviewers, too.

Instead of appreciating music, they dissect it beyond the souls that created it. They complain of subject matter, lyrics, sounds, and structure all while discrediting attempts to push those boundaries in a positive manner. Ignorance is called out as such yet intelligence is labeled as "trying too hard" or "out of touch". Conformity is called out as such yet originality in breaking genre molds is labeled "too alternative" or "a failed musical experiment".

Informing me that all attempts at genuine, talented, good-intentioned music making will never live up to the standard of your favorite Atmosphere or Ghostface album is not productive in any way, shape, or form to anyone's life. That's one of the reasons no one buys albums anymore, cuz depending on which website you pulled up, "Welcome to Heartbreak" was either "one of the few genuine mirror-inspecting songs by a rockstar ever" or "a corny try at seeming to regret fame and connect with the audience". If somebody hates somebody else's favorite song off an album, others tend to lean towards the hate and label the positive reviewer a Stan. So then the blanket statement of any given album being "trash" is started.

Person A: "Hey, I was thinkin' bout pickin' up that new Kanye. For real, I don't mind that 'Love Lockdown' that much."
Person B: "Naw, that album's trash. Kanye can't sing. I won't even listen to it cuz I read he's straight emo the whole thing."
Person A: "Dang, I don't wanna hear no slit-my-wrist music. Forget that."

So what could possibly be your favorite album of the year if you went into it with an open mind has now been labeled and crossed off your mental check list. You ignorantly skipped out on an opus because you heard that somebody read something about it sucked. I'm all for criticism and honest opinion, but I am definitely NOT for getting back a 56% lab report just because my TA hates his life and thinks everyone else should be just as miserable as him. What am I talking about again?

"This craft, this beat, this rhyme, this vibe, this style.
They say music gives new life from a source inside that is forever flowin.
This stage, this mic, this crowd, this show, this life.
I've been given a gift tonight and for that, I vow to be a vessel."

So when I read that Blackalicious suffers from seeming "like a prick" for "taking a stagnating art like it's an important meeting with higher ups more than an indelible passion", I get thoroughly pissed. What Gab did was choose a subject matter and write the hell out of it, way more articulately than any CokeMachineGlow mentally incapacitated reviewer could exude his suppressed indelibility towards garbage in any given album review. Whatever. That's an impossible battle to take on. Cuz then I'd get called out by Pitchfork on some other type ish defending their write to say all music besides Wolf Parade or Of Montreal suck. And now's the time when I formally send out my apology to The Lonely Island. Sorry, guys!

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Oscars Wrap-Up

I ended up watching every second of the whole show ... just to see if the camera panned to her again. That's all I really remember.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Classic: Biochemical Equation

To appreciate the legendary RZA as a rapper, you have to come to grips with his off-beat rhyming. And not off beat like in ... different. Off beat like in ... he fricking doesn't rap on beat. But there's an art to it, I swear!

I am pro-[Doom+Wu] in all situations. While Metal Face could never be legitimately compared to any rapper in history, he's mentally somewhere is a realm that possibly you could see the Wu-Tang's galaxy from if you looked really hard for it through a ridonkulous zoom telescope. Probably. Maybe. Whether he's producing for the whole Clan or allegedly prepping a duo album with Ghostface, it's definitely material to look for.

Who knows how the Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture album came about, but I'm glad it did. This beat is so far beyond amazing that I want it to be my life's theme music. Like from this very millisecond onward.

"I'm/ not/ givin/ mine/ a/way to Satan,
Al/though/ I/ know/ that/ he's awaitin."

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Music You Need in Your Life

Absolutely bonkers. If you heeded my advice and copped the first one, then you already know the dopeness that lies beyond a couple mouse clicks above. If not, I beg of you to learn. brandUn DeShay is a monster.

And if you need a more personal connection to the album, everyone's favorite Steven Gilpin just maybe might be ripping the guitar something else on "Dream Chasers". It's quite possible. But you'll never know for sure unless you check it. And truuuuuust me. It's worth your time.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

#7: Millionaire of Not ...

Woo. I'll prolly never see Slum Dog, but she's already my favorite.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Friday, February 20, 2009


Not quite another mixtape from the most musically saturated rapper out there, but definitely a zip file from his personal collection of some of his redonkulous production. I'm drawn to start a Charles Hamilton instrumental project incredibly bad. I gotta finish my for real album first. But I can't tell you how crazy the vibes on these tracks are. Man.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Stimulus Package

Flagrantly jacked this one from Metal Lungies. Not worth a music post detailing it, but hilarious nonetheless. And really, why did Barack Obama turn off the power in my dorm tonight? I wish you woulda stimulated my electricity. Hmm ...

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Footsteps in the Dark

I really, really, really like this one. Whether sampled directly or interpolated more modernly.

Isley Brothers - Footsteps in the Dark
[Sample Bonus]

"Are we really sure,
That a love that's lasted for so long can still endure?
Do I really care?
Let's talk about the distractions going on elsewhere."

This is lyrically interpolated on old Hamilton-hater's mostly-classic Blue Collar album with sometimes popular/sometimes nonexistent R&B singer Mario. Hilarious song pointing the finger back at women just because. Something I'm always a fan of. Equal guilt and shame for everyone. But in a simple coinkadink before they were non-beefing, CH released a standalone track over his blog featuring a sample of the original song. They're both worth my time. You may recognize it more from Ice Cube's classic, but that doesn't count. I'll include it anyway, though.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's a Big Blue Watery Road

They have their moments. Saturday Night Live was rebirthed out of irrelevancy due to this past election coverage, but they're having a hilarity hangover with their recent musical shorts.

They amused me. So riddle me intrigued when I found out they were actually coming with a whole album. Incredibad. So I got it. And ... I mean ... it's alright.

If you enjoy the shorts then you'll most likely enjoy the entire album. All I'mma say is they're no Flight of the Concords. They're no Bo Burham. They're no Weird Al. But nobody is. Where it has its moments is in the amazing features they somehow pulled. Jack Black left Tenacious D at home to craft the uproariously hilarious "Sax Man". T-Pain has a sense of humor about his own calling card. Norah Jones, in all Norah Jones seriousness, sells out in the middle of a song to cereal advertising. Those moments are classic.

But the group itself can become more tedious than humorous at times. I don't know. It just seems like they were leaning real hard on the whole we're-white-and-look-how-crazy-it-is-that-we're-rapping angle. And while a song like "Jizz in My Pants" is legitimate in its el-oh-el status, it's because it might as well be a Flight of the Concords song. I guess it's an intentional parody with the accents and rhyming style and brand of humor. But parody of an already pop music parodying-type group is a limited avenue. I don't know. They're aight. I enjoy the boat song.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Don't Break Up With a Musician ...

... cuz then he makes you the subject of his third mixtape in a single week.

I can't believe Chuck. I thought he was ODing when he was throwing out a tape every two weeks. I didn't know how he would follow his own self up in 2009, but he's definitely on his way. Who even knows what his actual studio album could even begin to sound like. My mind is blown.

This is an 808's inspired project by the way. I wanna hear him and Kanye collaborate at some point. Like, bad.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Monday, February 16, 2009

My Brain Is Still Alive

How you finna drop a mixtape on either side of All-Star weekend?

Charles Hamilton just let the word skim the surface of Well Isn't This Awkward on Thursday night and now he's got a whole nuther one in My Brain Is Alive. Oh my goodness. Who does that? All new material? You serious? For real?

Now I haven't had an opportunity to absorb the newest one yet, but I've bumped the former tape about 6 times now and I'm in love with it. Nasty concept with retarded nice production from all the right songs. And lyrics to boot. Everyone takes for granted how intricately dope CH is on the mic most of the time. Everyone gets caught up in how different he makes himself and try to label him a certain way that they forget the words that are flowing at a ridiculously constant rate. Dude is serious.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


So Chris Brown channeled his frustrations into a little ditty. I could copy and paste all the rumors of his and Rihanna's situation on here, but I don't know if I have enough strength in my right-clicking finger.

All I have to say is that I really hope that he wrote that. I scribe my life issues lyrically all the time, so I actually feel for dude if he painfully created this out of the emotional void of the last week. But I'm afraid of this as a publicist creation as Akon's "Sorry (Blame It on Me)" was. I hope not, though. Crazy sad story. Even more so if you realize that nobody would care either way if they weren't famous. It would simply be a discrete, accepted occurrence.

UPDATE: After seeing the picture of what he did to her, I don't care what he has to say for a looong, long time. He went absolutely dementedly primative. There is something so deeply wrong with any human being that could possibly lay hands on a woman in that way.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Future

I know the world is on LeBron watch as the greatest thing in existence since the invention of time, but I got some other players on my mind to watch today and in the future.

Kobe is today's player. Period. And I'm ready to commit heinous physical violence whenever I read or hear someone saying that LeBron is undeniably the game's best player. Infuriating. Bron will eventually slide in front in a matter of four years or so simply due to respective aging, but whatever.

My two cents is bet upon the league dominance of Brandon Roy and Kevin Durant in the two thousand teens. The thing that separates them from King James is that they're every bit the capable athlete, but with natural (see: smooth) jump shots. Trust me, I've watched enough hundreds of games and had enough stats shoved down my esophagus to know the other things that LeBron brings to the table. Don't make me listen to the rerun again. I just feel that the league has the ability to eventually figure him out. Teams can pack the basket like none other and reduce his contribution to however good his teammates shoot three pointers that night. He'll still put up legendary numbers and break all the "youngest player to ______" stats, but his ceiling is overrated to me. I don't ever see the kid as actually being the winner that everyone has already undeservingly labeled him as.

On the other hand, what I see from Durant and Roy leads me to believe that they will be the distinctive wing players of the next basketball generation. I'll prolly write a bigger column on each of them at another point, but I just wanted to inform you of my foresights. Trust me.

... put 'em both together and you got yourself a super spork.


Friday, February 13, 2009


I feel like a jerk for not pumping these guys up more often. Everybody knows Nappy Roots as the quintessential definition of Kentucky hip hop, but I prefer the CunninLynguists. Who knows, they might be down the street from me since they base in Lexington. I've never heard a bad song from the dudes. Deacon and Natti have such immensely distinctive flow and rhyme patterns. They actually talk about something yet still never come off preachy. They are comparable to none sonically. Kno is up there in my most underrated producers in the game and creates soundscapes absolutely perfect for his emcees. He's kinda like Danger Mouse in that his beats are so atmospheric that you can't help but get emotionally attached.

They've got just enough singing ability in the group to create amazingly nice hooks, always in perfect conjunction with the song sample, and both wordsmiths weave their way in and out of the subject at hand with cultural references and intricate double, triple, and quadruple rhyme schemes. You just can't beat it.

I first heard of them from their song "Caved In" which features Cee-Lo and has a genius Kanye vocal sample strewn in there. I thought that song was absolute perfection by itself. Little did I know that the whole album, A Piece of Strange, was classic as well. Do yourself a favor and buy it.

Kentucky has a hip hop scene. I swear. You'll see even more so when my album drops. Ha. And I managed to get through the whole post with no puns directed towards their name. I'm pretty professional if I do say so myself. Clever students of language, indeed.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?



I think I've posted this about 3 times, but it's disappeared. Here's the huge single by J. Holiday along with its reference track by the apparently genius songwriter The-Dream.

Which one you like better? I've commented that it was potential career suicide for Dream to give away that big of a track to an unknown singer (like him) who isn't too vocally far off from himself. Of course, Dream followed "Umbrella" & "Bed" with his own trifecta of hits in "Shawty is the Ish", "Falsetto", and "I Luv Your Girl". So he wins, anyway. Which one you like better?

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?


Important Grammy Moment

She didn't actually perform at the Grammys this year, but the camera panned to her at one time. She made me happy.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?


New New-ish: Drake

Now I wanna preface this by saying that Drake is about 2 or 3 years removed from being new, but he's flown just enough under the radar that the vast majority (including me) wouldn't know any different. But upon listening to pretty much any of his material, you can feel him immediately as an intense rapper with natural singing ability. I'm not talking Kanye singing. I'm not even talking Mos Def singing. I'm talking could-be-a-straight-R&B artist singing. Like a Trey Songz type dude, but backwards.

Speaking of Trey, they do plenty of songs together. Weezy, too, so listen to it for that if you have to. He doesn't have a for real album yet, but he's got three real strong mixtape efforts. The latest of which came out last night like CH's.

Drake -

Had no idea, but just checked Wikipedia and he plays somebody on "Degrassi: The Next Generation". All I know is my sister watched that show and if my sister knows a rapper that you don't, then you're in trouble. WHAT!? He was in Charlie Bartlett, too? I loved that movie ...

Plus he's Canadian. Which I'm pretty sure automatically guarantees that you're a crazy talented emcee no matter what. Except for Kardinal Offishall. He sucks. Oh no ... Joaquin Phoenix isn't Canadian is he ... ?

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't Ask About the Beard

Hopefully you've heard or seen this already. Due to Joaquin Phoenix's possible delve into rap music, he's become a cultural figure to pay attention to. Play Johnny Cash in a movie? Who cares. Be a prick on David Letterman? YouTube sensation!

Might not be up for too terribly long, so catch this video while it lasts. There are suspicions that this could possibly be a genius real life Borat setup with Phoenix playing an off-the-deep-end hoax on America, which I could definitely see. Either way, this interview is frickin' hilariously awkward and tense. He even drops a discretely annoyed F-bomb at Paul Schaefer. Paul Schaefer! What has he ever done to anyone?

Phoenix has been on Late Night before, sans beard & shades, and conducted a mostly normal interview, so I'm leaning towards the hoax theory, but whatever. Classic overnight material.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?



First CH project of the double o nine. Gotta post it.

Listening to it now. Cinematic type concept record being his gift to the world on Valentine's day. And it prolly won't even disappoint you like your significant other.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

#6: Clueless

Everyone already knows that Stacey Dash is ridiculous. I just wanted to remind you in case you forgot in the last 27 seconds. That's all.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?



This song has been sampled in bunches, and not even just rap, but here are the two most forefront presentations in my mind of Spandau Ballet's "True".

Now both of these songs are special to me. The first one is a Nelly joint that I enjoy ... and those don't come around very often. Mark one in the win column. What's the record, now? 1 and ... hmm.

The Lloyd remix joint epitomized the resurgence of one Andre Three Thousand into the "You Best Respect Him as One of the Greatest to Ever Do It or You're a Fool" discussion for 2007. I have those a lot kinda discussions. This one popped out (like M.I.A. at the Grammy's) as soon as we were able to digest his verse on the epic "Walk It Out" remix. Andre never for real left, but once the cosmic minded, singer-sellout rumblings start to emerge, it's hard to ever come back hardcore from that. This is one of the few cases where it was accomplished.

Tell me you don't have the lazy "bah bah bah, bah bah" chant stuck in your head after either one of these. I durr you. I prefer that as opposed to Lloyd's moaning version of it, though. Let's stick with the bah's.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Team

My Busta Rhymes post got deleted. Screw Google. They're too ignorant to just cut the link, they gotta delete everything you write, too.

Whatever. My team better get it back together tonight. And I ain't even talking bout the Lakers. They got everything together. My Wildcats. We can't bomb 4 in a row. Please, Jodie, don't let us.

UPDATE: Jodie hit the game winning three pointer on a step-back, bobbled, cramp-legged attempt (new picture). I called it.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?


Saturday, February 7, 2009


I had to flagrantly jack this picture from TheRapUp. I absolutely lost it. Diddy is highly offended that our first president would dare be in his company.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?


Monday, February 2, 2009


Um. Kobe is the greatest basketball player of all time. And not just because of this. Which by this I'm referring to dropping 61 without trying. Definitely not just because of that.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Best Songs of '08

10. "Who" - Joe Budden
16 minutes of hip hop dissertation. Joey is the rapper I want at Senate hearings waxing poetic. Who ruined hip hop? The rap world points lots of fingers, and all targets are dissected here. I can't explain anything better than simply listening to this track would. Perfect example of blogging on beat. (c) Charles Hamilton

9. "Going On" - Gnarls Barkley
Truthfully, I could simply put The Odd Couple track list on here and feel justified. But this is the one that squeaked slightly ahead to blow my auditory system away. The beat comes in resounding majestically as Danger Mouse is so accustomed to doing, and Cee-Lo soulfully and lyrically traces the soundscape like something else. "The touch and feeling of free is intangible, technically. Something you've got to believe in." There's an immediate sense of specialness in great songwriters, and Cee-Lo definitely has it. 

8. "Street Lights" - Kanye West
Spoke on it a couple times already, but I think this song is gonna be a staple on soft rock stations in future decades ... if there are still soft rock stations in future decades. The melody of this song is simply intoxicating and you'll know every single word after first listen. Kanye has an amazing ability to select a distinctive noise and turn it into an integral portion of the overall composition. Exhibit A is the first noise of whatever instrument you hear once this song starts. "See I know my destination, but I'm just not there." A masterpiece among many on 808s.

7. "Playing With Fire" - Lil' Wayne
This is Weezy's lane. His strength as an emcee is in his vocal inflection and amorphous flow. As seen by its ranking in my '08 Top 10 Albums, the latest Carter was very impressive to me as a not-exactly-fan of Dwayne. The story is emotively invoking and listener-involving and I can't ask for a whole lot more and still hold my non-hater card. Personally though, I think this is as far as he should have ventured into rock music, but who am I to tell the (self-proclaimed) best rapper alive what to not do? All in all, too bad the song no longer exists because of Rolling Stones sample issues.

6. "An Ocean of Stars" - brandUn DeShay
It's not like his whole mixtape wasn't absolutely amazing, but this is the song that slapped me in the face. Ranks up there with the greatest all-time stories ever told in a rap song. And I'm talking "Renee" and "Children's Story" and "Art of Storytellin', Part 4" up there. No joke. This song consists of the most saturated metaphors you'll find this side of a Lupe cheeseburger song and yet they're all relatable and understandable. "I said I could take you higher." Yup. brandUn's a beast. Expect Volume: Two! for the Show to be in on the '09 best-of lists once it drops. Guaranteed.

5. "I'll Be in the Sky" - B.o.B
Some have said Bob is almost too 3000-like. Maybe that explains why I'm drawn to his music so naturally. But I don't think that's it. I'm pretty sure it's more cuz he's so ridiculously talented and has the uncanny ability to spit about something interesting and couple that with stellar unique beats and catchy choruses and still be distinctive. Wait ... that sounds like Andre. Crap. But I swear to you, this song reeks of Bob and no one else. You'll have the piano accompaniment stuck in your head the rest of the week. And you won't even be annoyed by it.

4. "Royal Flush" - Big Boi feat. Raekwon & Andre 3000
This dropped crazy early in the year, but it's frickin' OutKast and Wu-Tang!!! Even though Big's album is delayed like crazy, this single is flexing lyrical firepower. Big succinctly dissects world issues and reminds you who he is and why you better pay attention, Chef spits classic hypnotizing Wu matters, and finally 3K flies off somewhere else and chronicles his and your life in more bars than any other rapper could fill with name drops. "Do you B) hit the streets hard with a flare? Or do you A) go to school for heatin' and air? Dare make an honest livin'? Or make a crooked killin'? Do a little bit of both until you're holdin' on a million?" That is OutKasted. Are you ready for potentially 3 records this year from the two dope boyz prolly currently driving in something else besides a Cadillac? I don't think you are.

3. "Love Lockdown" - Kanye West
I'm still not tired of this song yet. I can't tell you how fiendishly I check the net for when this would finally leak. I bumped the live VMA rip countless times waiting for it in full glory. And with all of Ye's re-tweaks, the product was perfected as the love-or-hate R&B venture of one of the world's few true rock stars. The music video still freaks me out, but I love it. I've just been enraptured by the composition and direction of the song since its first public inception. You may be almost too used to it by now from the radio, but this song sounds absolutely nothing like any other R&B or rap composition and while the lyrics are somewhat generic, they're genuinely heartfelt and meaningful to anyone. It was a completely different direction from a completely different artist that no one foresaw. And, again, either you love it or you hate it. But I'm leaning more towards the former.

2. "Air Conditioner" - Charles Hamilton
The song that cemented my view of Charles Hamilton as the real deal. It features his signature distorted/echoed/layered chorus that completely overrides his self-proclaimed lack of singing ability and metaphorically explores life through the breeze of an air conditioner. His flow is so laid back, but accentuates the smooth humming sample loop and tells a love story (imaginary or not) that's simply thoughts resting rhythmically on a bed of cool music. "Because you're not even real (I feel you), therefore you gotta be real (I'm near you), and yet you follow me still (my rear view), shows where you are." That chorus is imprinted in my mind more than anything else in the world ... Except ...

1. "Day N Nite" - KiD CuDi
"The lonely stoner seems to free his mind at night. He's all alone, some things will never change. The lonely loner seems to free his mind at night. At, at, at night." I'm convinced. Trust me. Single of the year. Cudi made people wanna flow like him.

... this was whatcha all been waitin' for ain't it?