Category Archives: blogosphere echo chamber

Politic, ditto: First-Quarter Rap Music in ’08

ghost-face-1.jpg
Ghostface’s skullcap gets really sweaty

Here is some guidance through these troubled rap times…….

LISTEN to The Big Doe Rehab. It’s still good. Ghostface’s umpteenth critically lauded solo record isn’t a novel thing to write or read about, I know, and just typing the words “Ghostface” into a WordPress blog feels vaguely wrong in some way at this point — I’m joining a chorus that’s already kinda deafening — but this record still sounds fresh and immediate. NO ONE who was making rap music in 93 can say the same about their current output.(Wait, is that true?? Nerds/fruitflies, if you’re out there, come correct me!!) The only rapper who comes frustratingly close is Nas — Nas rapping will always, always sound good, despite being his being a ponderous blowhard and all. (At least Ghostface reserves his old-guy bellyaching to interviews.)

Seriously, though. This is a stupid point — I’m going to make it anyway, but it’s a stupid point — but I’m always just astonished at how many WORDS there are on a Ghostface album. THe man has rapped the great social realist/postmodernist novel of the 20th century — and he’s not even done yet. Like any great storyteller, he repeats himself without repeating himself. “Yolanda’s House” on Rehab is a great example of a song he’s done a million times — the break-in, the panicked chase through the projects, the quick and unceremonious seduction — and yet Ghost comes to it all fresh, as if he’s never, ever rapped about this stuff before.

Plus, every word that escapes his mouth feels torn from a man who just arrived on foot from a murder scene. That helps.

MP3: “Walk Around,” people.

LISTEN to Clipse We Got It For Cheap, Vol. 3 as well, but don’t pay too close attention — you might risk realizing that the Clipse are masters of a cheap art, the punchline hocus-pocus. Still, their needle-sharp voices — Tal Rosenberg provided the most eloquent description when he noted they were “high but weighed down” — are still a pleasure, and you still get “Ill with the composition I’m Mo-ZART/You don’t want the fifth to start spittin’ so don’t start” and a thousand others. Pour it in a punchline-heavy blender with Lil Wayne’s exhausting/awesome Da Drought 3 for a particularly grueling treadmill run.

Oh, and keep listening to Liquid Swords. The answer’s in there somewhere…..

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Filed under blogosphere echo chamber, Posted by Tyco, RAP MUSIC, Stream

Taking Sides: Boat Shoe Core

Quickly, before we start, a Google search:

Results 1 – 10 of about 28,500 for vampire weekend boat shoes. (0.31 seconds)

doorknobs: i’ve almost exclusively listened to vampire weekend today
doorknobs: i think i’m officially ostracized from cool kid club
Tyco Nightglow: guh
Tyco Nightglow: I bet you’re feeling very happy and twee
doorknobs: not particularly twee, but happy, yes
Tyco Nightglow: to me that’d be like eating nothing but lik m aid all day
doorknobs: man, what an asshole i am
doorknobs: haha
Tyco Nightglow: they really do just sound like guster or dispatch to me
Tyco Nightglow: not actively TRYING to be a grouchy hater
doorknobs: i know yr not
doorknobs: maybe i didn’t listen to enough guster or dispatch, but i don’t hear it
doorknobs: diff strokes/folks i guess
Tyco Nightglow: just artificially sunny
Tyco Nightglow: in a squint-inducing way
doorknobs: what makes it artificially sunny?
Tyco Nightglow: maybe I hate the sound of “happy”
Tyco Nightglow: haha
doorknobs: hahahahaha
doorknobs: yeah maybe
Tyco Nightglow: something about the tone of the voice, the tone of the guitars, and most importantly, the tone of the songs themselves just feels…..guh. Words are failing me on this one
Tyco Nightglow: it’s what one calls a “visceral dislike”
Tyco Nightglow: they seem like assholes and I hate them
Tyco Nightglow: there
Tyco Nightglow: is that concrete enough?
doorknobs: you see, i was with you when you were talking about tones of instruments and feel, and then……….
Tyco Nightglow: hahahaha
Tyco Nightglow: their music feels like music made for and by assholes
doorknobs: ok
doorknobs: i shouldn’t have brought this up
doorknobs: sorry
doorknobs: haha
Tyco Nightglow: haha
Tyco Nightglow: no I’m enjoying myself
doorknobs: clearly
doorknobs: :–(
Tyco Nightglow: 😀
Tyco Nightglow: :-*
Tyco Nightglow: 😛
Tyco Nightglow: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand
Tyco Nightglow: :-X
doorknobs: hahah
doorknobs: there ya go
doorknobs: never to be spoken of again
doorknobs: however, i AM thinking about corner bistro tomorrow
Tyco Nightglow: YES
Tyco Nightglow: this I am down with
Tyco Nightglow: FEY
Tyco Nightglow: that is the word I am looking for
Tyco Nightglow: something horribly fey about the tone of the songs and the playing itself
Tyco Nightglow: all of Stephen Malkmus’s worst spoiled-prince tendencies married to little toy-keyboard shuffles that no weight or viscera
Tyco Nightglow: I viscerally react to a lack of viscera
Tyco Nightglow: this Nitsuh review, who I really really like, nails what he likes and what I dislike: Koenig, the lead singer, is a “happy observer who never bores you with how he feels”
Tyco Nightglow: he just sounds smugly, airily entitled to me, which I wouldn’t care about if he made music with some semblance of grit or life
Tyco Nightglow: okay, now I’m done
Tyco Nightglow: that was a tad more articulate, though, no?
Tyco Nightglow: though I do really like this Nitsuh review
Tyco Nightglow: I tend to like his writing more than the records he enthuses over, I find
Tyco Nightglow: RESPOND TO MY TORRENTIAL OUTPOURING
Tyco Nightglow: haha
doorknobs: hahahhaa
doorknobs: this is a great and studied and NOT DUMB response
doorknobs: thank you
doorknobs: “i think they’re assholes who make music for assholes” somehow wasn’t cutting it for me
doorknobs: haha
doorknobs: i ❤ nitsuh
Tyco Nightglow: hahaa
Tyco Nightglow: yes, I like nitsuh too
Tyco Nightglow: hey
Tyco Nightglow: think this could be an IM post?
doorknobs: mayhaps!
doorknobs: it might feel a bit one-sided w/o me saying why i actually LIKE these fuckers
doorknobs: haha
doorknobs: but
Tyco Nightglow: so….why do you like this????
doorknobs: lemme paraphrase myself from a different convo
Tyco Nightglow: please do
doorknobs: nothing that’s gonna convince anyone
doorknobs: but
doorknobs: thassok
doorknobs: i think it’s fun and well written and sincere and smart
doorknobs
: people may disagree with sincere, or take “smart” to mean the wrong thing (note: the loadedness all of a sudden of equating smart and COLLEGIATE, RE: nitsuh review)
doorknobs: but that’s how i feel
doorknobs: also, on a simpler note: i think the songs are really strong
doorknobs: and, as you know
doorknobs: i also just kinda think the arguments that are about their sweaters or what college they went to or saying the afro-pop part is “contrived” or whatever…it’s just so lazy and annoying to me
Tyco Nightglow: I think the Afro-pop isn’t so much “contrived” so much as another example of their giggliness
Tyco Nightglow: for lack of an actual word
Tyco Nightglow: haha
Tyco Nightglow: but I hear the general point
Tyco Nightglow: also: pretty much when people say that an indie rock band is “smart” or that their lyrics are “smart” this ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS means “collegiate”
doorknobs: yeah true
doorknobs: but when i first wrote that out, i meant smart as like “smart songwriting” or, like, smart/interesting arrangements, etc
Tyco Nightglow: right
Tyco Nightglow: that I buy
doorknobs: but the COLUMBIA/etc. connotations are too prevelant to ignore i guess
doorknobs: i also think they are distinctly different from, say, the decemberists, RE: smart/collegiate
doorknobs: and way way less willfully obscure/potentially annoying
Tyco Nightglow: hmm
Tyco Nightglow: I don’t know
Tyco Nightglow: here’s what I was going to say, but it took me too long to type it haha:
Tyco Nightglow: (it’s no longer relevant)
Tyco Nightglow: cuz lyrically “smart” usually means stuff like “What she asked of me at the end of the night/Caligula would have blushed” more than “Cops come blocking the
ave/I put the glock in the stash/slabs and tops in the trash/still stop and i laugh, ma put
them rock in your ass/ the rest twat in ya bag, dag, hop in a cab”
Tyco Nightglow: but yes
doorknobs: oh totally, i know what you mean
doorknobs: i’m not disagree w/that at all
doorknobs: i mean, it’s weird to say this considering how much we’ve talked about it, but i think the key to my enjoyment has been UNDERthinking and kinda gut enjoyment…..it worked for me and against you, in terms of enjoying it
doorknobs: but like
doorknobs: i think the first sentence (regardless of the rest of this mumbo jumbo i’ve typed out) just kinda sums up my take on them
doorknobs: and why i dig it
Tyco Nightglow: also, you’re an asshole
doorknobs: also, it’s hilarious that this could be an IM post
Tyco Nightglow: ZING!
Tyco Nightglow: cut, print, post

2 Comments

Filed under blogosphere echo chamber, IM, Posted by Doorknobs, Posted by Tyco, rock/roll

News Flash: Some rap dork likes the new Ghostface record!

I’m not even sure what I need to say about the new Ghostface that five hundred other white bloggers will not helpfully offer over the next two weeks. I mean, it’s incredible in all the ways that every Ghostface record has been — hungry, vivid, with beats that are both slightly outre and viscerally satisfying — much like Ghost’s rapping itself. A lot of people are rightfully expressing disbelief at the statistical improbability of a rapper entering his forties dropping his seventh solid-to-classic album in a row; it seems like everyone is waiting for frailty to set in. Ghostface is just not having it. Despite his evident discomfort in the commercial sphere, (see his recent, disheartening rambling about “ringtone rap” and the lack of lyricism in Southern hip hop) he has stayed lean and hungry. If anything, he sounds hungrier now; his voice has grown even more strident and unhinged over the years.

But like I said, what on earth can I offer that will make this little late-night rant about Ghostface worth your click? You’ve got a lot of other places to be, and I’m sure right now Tom Breihan is busy chaining together adjectives in a clumsy effort to re-re-describe Ghost’s voice.

I mean, these days, liking Ghostface is to rap as liking Miles Davis was to jazz in the sixties, or liking Ray Charles was to rhythm and blues was in the fifties; everyone knows to do it. Any aspiring hipster who is hoping his CD collection just might help him get laid knows to proudly declaim his love of Ghost. The man’s reputation, at this point, needs no further burnishing.

But here I be, listening to Big Doe Rehab, and marveling at the storytelling abilities, the images, both gruesome (after shooting a man point blank in the head: “Oxy Clean for a week around the chest area, right hand side/I’m plucking off little pieces of meat”) and hilarious (see the fishsticks n’ foreplay saga of “Yolanda’s House”), but always uncannily vivid. Not to contribute to the ongoing fetishism of this incredibly hard-working artist, but he is starting to assume the qualities of a force of nature. We Can’t Be Stopped, and all that.

So go buy it when it comes out. But of course, if you’re even here, you’ve already downloaded the leak. The enemy is us.

NEXT UP ON THE MOST CUTTING-EDGE RAP BLOG EVAR: LIL WAYNE’S LYRICS ARE OFTEN QUITE SURREAL, NO? ALSO, YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD, BUT THERE’S THIS GROUP CLIPSE THAT RAPS ABOUT DRUGS!

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Filed under blogosphere echo chamber, Posted by Tyco, RAP MUSIC