Thursday, September 17, 2009

mothafuckin' old school video of the day

Tonight's Da Night by Redman (c.1993)

Years ago I saw one of those BET Top 25 video countdowns being hosted by Redman and Method Man. Slotted in at #10 was the video for 'King of Rock' by Run-DMC, for which Redman made the ludacris comment, "This is actually my favorite video of all time. Black and white film, leather jackets, it don't get no more gully than that!" Later, when 'Throw Ya Gunz' by Onyx was declared #1, Method Man prefaced the selection by fondly reminiscing, "This came out back in the day when you could walk into da club in a hoodie and your big, dirty-ass boots on and not get shit." 

The comments, while providing a good laugh at the time, were actually quite insightful into the duo's overall creative process, in particular Redman's. In the video to 'Tonight's Da Night,' perhaps the quintessential Redman track, the aforementioned aesthetics dominate: filmed in black and white, the video pretty much consists of Red rolling around the Trenton, NJ hood in the dead of winter, and chilling on the project steps with his crew. Almost a proto-version of 'Ha,' before that particular genre of hip-hop music video rose to prominence. Nothing really happens in the video, but it's still enthralling, mainly because it lends legitimacy to Redman's ethos of keeping it real as summarized in the line "I never claim to be a big rap star because no matter who you are, you still catch a bullet scar." This mission statement was later confirmed in the classic Redman 'Cribs' episode in which he showed off his very real 2 story woodframe. The highlight of the video has to be when Red says the line "I'm not an addict, more like puff the magic/ Then pass it when I'm through cuz my crew gots to have it!" at which point there's a cut to a shot of red's whole crew standing out on the porch in full winter coats shouting the last 4 words of the line. The last verse, in which Red is inexplicably rapping with a wad of tissue stuck up one of his nostrels, is also classic. 

The truest lyrics in the whole song have to be the final lines of the last full verse, in which Redman declares "Niggas fucked up by letting me make an album/ (how come rudeboy?) To get on the mic and let my fuckin' style run!"

Friday, September 4, 2009

Life's Too Good?

Hmmm, this post almost feels like an excuse to put up the above picture, undoubtably one of my favorite album covers of all time. Because, really there isn't much substance to what I have to say today. I just happened to listen to Debut for the first time, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Historically, my appreciation for Bjork has had less to do with how much I enjoy listening to her music and more about her alluring otherworldly qualities.

My brother and I have debated the relative merit of Post vs Homogenic in the past, with me taking the side of the former. They are tremendously difficult to compare, and I may have to cede the argument to Tom because the first 6 songs on Homogenic are nearly perfect. One of those songs, '5 Years' is not only my favorite Bjork song, but one of my favorite songs of all time. But I have trouble relating to Homogenic, because the depth of emotional pain that it explores is beyond my current comprehension. In other words, I can't fully relate to the album, and I think I'll have to wait until the day my heart gets ground to a bloody pulp before I'll feel its full effect. Post is much more accessible in that regard, and its creative dance tracks ('Enjoy', 'I Miss You') along with the smattering of emotionally resonant ones ('Hyperballad,' 'Headphones') goes down more easily for me.

Although Debut is as different from these two albums as the are from one another, it makes sense in the context of their respective moods. The overall vibe of the songs is very positive and exciting. A young fresh-faced Bjork sounds like she's ready to explore the world and all of the adventures it has to offer (kind of ironic, considering she had been a mother for several years by the time this album came out). So many tracks jumped out at me, in particular 'Human Behavior,' 'Venus As A Boy,' 'There's More To Life Than This,' 'Big Time Sensuality,' 'Aeroplane,' and 'The Anchor Song.' I also like 'Violently Happy' for the counterbalance it provides. Only one listen, but I feel like I may have a new favorite Bjork album to argue about with my brother.

Favorite Judge: Mathis

Song of the Week: 'Dennehy' by Serengeti

I know I'm at least 3 years behind on this one, but damn, I can't stop listening. A friend played me this song about a week ago, and at first I thought it was a dumb novelty with a really good beat. Repeated listens have been incredibly rewarding, while the song has lost none of its hilarity. Having spent a little time in the Chi myself, and having of course seen the Bill Swersky's superfans SNL sketches a million times, I love this portrait of a Blue Collar Chicagoan. So many great lines, I can't even begin to do the song justice. And the production is killer. An all around fantastic song that should not be underestimated.