Monday, June 19, 2006

big bang baby


it's a gas gas gas

The Big Bang actually turned out pretty good. There's a lot to like here. I don't expect much lyrically from the dude, but he earns his check on "Legend of the Fall Offs," an excessively vivid--what with the shovel-in-the-ground snare and the buried alive screaming at the end--depiction of the end of a career. "The Ghetto" has some good lines too, but that tracks more about Rick James on the hook. A lot of good cameos here, with Raekwon's nonchalant brilliance on "Goldmine" and Nas actually making lyricism intriguing again on "Carried Away." Oh and Stevie fucking Wonder is on a track too. We also get the old but cute "I Love My Bitch" with Kelis, the sleepy but triumphant "New York Shit" (also old), and the future-throwback "Get Down." I could do without Missy hooks about her coochie, as her hook for "How We Do It" sounds like a Peaches track.

Notably absent is Papoose, given how Bussa Bus's big plan for New York revitalization relied heavily on DJ Raedawn's arch enemy. Actually Flipmode is entirely absent, save the constant reminders that Flipmode is the squad. But Nas and Rae really do make a good case for NY not needing any new talent. Between "Goldmine," assorted mixtapes joints and his sublime verses on Fishscale, Rae's been on fire lately. Not too excited about more Dre beats though; the squeaky clean Dilla steelo is barely cuttin it here, although having all of G-Unit and Busta and Raekwon (if he signs to Aftermath) over those same loud, trebly off-beat snares will at least be a step towards that unity I was talking about.

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Mr. Lif also has a new album out, and it's called Mo' Mega. It's been a long time since I actually liked an underground rap album, but this has been in constant rotation for the last two weeks. I, Phantom was my favorite album of 2003, but I was also an unrepentant backpackish dude back then, and when I revisited it a couple months ago, I was surprised how pretentious it was. Well, so was Lif, I guess, because Mega is like a much more digestable version of the aesthetic established on his first album. All the paranoia, doubt and urban dystopic themes, none of the tedious plotlines or board games. I did enjoy the video that had Fakts One scratching in an elevator, but still, it was all a bit much.

Let's back that up. There was a flash board game for I, Phantom. It was called Devolution. For serious.

Anyways, Mo' Mega is thankfully just a solid, reasonably short, very enjoyable underground rap album. Mostly produced by El-P, save the token silly track produced by Edan and featuring MURS. And very little whining about "real hip-hop" or anything similar.

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Clipse put out a video for "Mr. Me Too"*. Does anybody else get the feeling Pharrell is getting bored? Is it actually fun for him to rap when all he's doing is reciting his Black Card receipt or last night's text messages? Nobody in the game has less to prove than Skateboard P. That all being said, this video is dumb hot, although I don't advocate cooking up crack on the beach. I mean, dude, where are you going to get the gas for that stove?

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I also got around to listening to Killa Season, and I thought it was pretty good, but then I listened to Purple Haze again and really just felt sad. Compare 40 Cal's intro to Santana's spotlight track, "More Gangsta Music." Santana says "ay!" 77 times. 40 Cal brags about ridin around with Olivia. In a few short years, Dipset went from outsider rap brilliance to kickin it with suspected transexuals. Cam still tears no shortage of tracks apart and there's a JR Writer solo track, but there's also a lot of Hell Rell and that awful Jay-Z diss track. It's sad. Possibly more on this later.

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And some links.

-Noam Chomsky speaks at West Point. Our country still kind of rules, even in the absolute worst of times.

-McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour-themed 3rd birthday party. The cutest thing you will see all day.

-DJ E-Nygma - Want You Back On The Grind

-Deuce (aka US World Cup team member Clint Dempsey) f/ HAWK (RIP) - "D on't Tread". Also check out dude doing the Young Joc dance on the field.

-and I almost forgot "Downriver". Aboriginal Big Bank Hank-inspired kid-hop? Yezzir.

*thanks better than yours for the link; it can no longer be found at youtube because, well, them crackers, yet again, weren't playin fair at Jive.