Category Music

Thriller-Prison

Oh wow. What a way to start your morning. I wonder how this got started, and how competitive the try-outs were for the main ghoul troupe. Is the “Michael Jackson” character known throughout the prison as the best dancer? Hmm. Feed readers click here to see the vid.

Via Kevin Rothermel.

Grant McCracken is the man

On November 20, Mr. McCracken of “This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics“, wrote a post about the reviews of Jay-Z’s newest album. I’m a huge fan of hip-hop and my personal opinion is that much of the popular stuff today is wack. Anyhow, he wrote a great post, titled, Jay-Z, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Kelefa Sanneh, and the new transformational modality.

And while the whole post is great, I really dug the following passage. It made me laugh out loud, and is also quite true:

Part of the problem is that hip hop is now American culture, lock, stock and barrel. It remains at outsider of a kind, but it has been thoroughly taken up. This is not to say that it is toothless or jejune. But it is now a song America sings to itself, not about itself, and certainly not against itself. This has set in train lots of transformations in the community. As Sanneh points out, Nas got grumpier and Snoop Dogg more playful.

Indeed, as Josh Eells said recently, Snoop Dogg went from being a foulmouthed, porn spinning, ex-murder suspect to someone publicly associated with Wayne Newton, Lee Iacocca and Jay Leno. Against all odds, he is hip hop’s goodwill ambassador:

You get the feeling [Dogg] could parachute into the West Bank with some Seagram’s and a pound of L.A.’s stickiest icky–and the next thing you know, peace in the Middle Izzle. And hot tubs.

Hot Chip Greco-Roman Mixtape

Hot Chip is cool, and their Greco-Roman mixtape is pretty dope. Available for the rest of the month. Heard them first on NPR (KCRW Music on iTunes/Radio/Public, check it out, they had Gnarls Barkley spinning months before it really blew up). Give it a listen (clicking on the link will open up a new window in which the mixtape will play). There are some non-work-friendly lyrics, but if you play it low or have cool folks nearby, I’m sure you’ll be fine. via myspace. Hot Chip’s website

Tupac Shakur & the culture of rap

Pac & Suge, from Wikipedia

The above is an image of Tupac and Suge Knight, just before Tupac was shot in Las Vegas. September 7, 1996. From Wikipedia.com.

I’ve always thought Tupac combined raw anger with a fascinating capability to explain the culture of rap music. I was watching Tupac: Resurrection this weekend and was struck by the following passage. It explains, I think, pretty clearly why rap sounds the way it does and how rap fits into American culture:

I’m not looking for approval from the black community. We are a part of it. I’m a thug, and I rap about the oppressed fighting back. Yes, my raps are filled with rage.

You have to be logical. You know? If I know that in this hotel room they have food every day, and I’m knocking on the door every day to eat, and they open the door, let me see the party, let me see them throwing salami all over, I mean, just throwing food around, but they’re telling me there’s no food.

Every day, I’m standing outside trying to sing my way in: “We are hungry, please let us in We are hungry, please let us in.” [Sung in a sweet voice]

After about a week that song is gonna change to: “We hungry, we need some food.” [A little jazzier tone]

After two, three weeks, it’s like: “Give me the food or I’m breaking down the door” [More spoken-word]

After a year you’re just like: “I’m picking the lock/Coming through the door blasting.” [Rapped]

It’s like, you hungry, you reached your level. We asked ten years ago. We was asking with the Panthers. We was asking with them, the Civil Rights Movement. We was asking.

Those people that asked are dead and in jail. So now what do you think we’re gonna do? Ask?