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.

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so what did ya think about whatever the heck i wrote?