May 24, 2012

Music Video: Action Bronson, Dana Coppafeel, Riff Raff: Hot Shots Part Duex

Dana Coppafeel and Action Bronson are no strangers to the posts at Double Truth and they team up with Riff Raff of MTV fame for a track called "Hot Shots Part Duex". Filmed and produced by Coppafeel's crew at UniFi Records in Milwaukee, the squad chills in various locales in Miltown, sipping Pabst Blue Ribbon and spits over a smoothed out track produced by The White Russian.


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May 23, 2012

Lupe Fiasco - A Man of Many Stumbles

Things which are alike, in nature, grow to look alike Nobody (Dead Man)

Lupe Fiasco seems to constantly be seeking an identity in the form of trying on different looks and trying several "styles" of rap. Above is my assessment of his current look, a combination of Dwayne Wayne, Prince Be from P.M. Dawn with a mix of Speech from Arrested Development. 

Lupe is always confusing to me, as he switches up his style in a way that seems desperate for attention. He came out as a "skater kid" outsider, then "backpack revolutionary", then "conspiracy fighter" and now he is working on a "return to the essence"of what I can only think is the Golden Era of rap. 

While I am a fan of the idea of Lupe Fiasco, a fairly popular MC who tries to push the positive lyrics on today's "club rap" scene, I can't help but feel like he is trying too hard to be acclaimed. We all saw his rock performance of "words I never said" fall on deaf ears at the BET Awards, despite his active performance and yelling on stage. At times, Lupe feels like a "skitzo" and doesn't want to believe that his brand of music can't compete with what is popular (anything by Young Money) or what is adored as "real hip hop" (Rhymesayers, etc.).

His latest fumble is his song "Freedom Ain't Free", a reworking of the classic Pete Rock and CL Smooth track "T.R.O.Y." Somehow I am not surprised that he didn't get the blessing of PR for this remake and acted surprised when PR was critical of the song. He has since tried to say that he reached out for permission (note only that he said he reached out and not that he actually got an answer) before and that it was his managers idea. He has since tried to somehow distance himself from the song concept, acting like he was forced to do it or something and saying he finds it best to "fall back from all that". 

Don't get me wrong, I like some of Lupe Fiasco's work, but until he takes a long look in the mirror to figure out where he fits, I feel like he is going to keep doing a "Charles Hamilton" every time he pops up and putting his foot in his mouth. Looking like a Native Tongues knockoff doesn't help the cause. 

You can pay homage to an era without dressing the part.

The Dead Man quote above means to point out that Lupe is starting to resemble PM Dawn and the "has-been league" and that is a slippery slope to the dollar bin. 

May 22, 2012

Typography Lessons for Web and Print


Jason Santa Maria offers advice on typography for designers of web and print. I have to admit that this post is a bit "nerdy", but typography always seems to be a stumbling block for many designers. Some of this applies to all arenas of type, but I am hoping that the "hip hop kids" who design flyers and promotional materials can apply these skills to rap marketing. So many times I have been handed a flyer with too many "special effects" on it, which make me either hand it back or decide instantly not to check out the item. Simple lessons in alignment, contrast, and balance would go a long way for these guys. It is a bit long, but it does address some good points of design and may help you give critical feedback to up-and-coming designers we all know.


Rasheed Thurmond (RIP) - Bodega Peoples

Bodega Attitudes of New York

This post is dedicated to comedian Rasheed Thurmond (RIP). His life was cut short by his health, as so many talented folks are, and had only a handful of appearances to showcase his craft.

Some of them were on Bad Boys of Comedy and other shows, but this post is dedicated to one of his more popular skits about his living in New York and shopping in Bodegas. It cracks me up every time because he got it just right. If you are ever in NYC, or lived here, try and go into one of these neighborhood stores and you are guaranteed some kind of "story telling" experience. From entirely unpriced inventory, to no one in the store, to changing prices hourly, bodega's are an odd way of life in New York.

skip to 2:15 for the skit

8-bit Zelda Fireplace Art: They Reminisce Over You

Nintendo NES nerds rejoice! Seeing things like this make me jealous and oddly reminiscent of the early days of 8-bit life as a kid, wasting hours playing Zelda, Duck Hunt and Metal Gear. This is some new work by Etsy artist JamesBit (fireball only) but may help give you some inspiration for how to decorate your bed bug infested studio with humor.

May 21, 2012

Action Bronson: Queens Get The Money

Action Bronson is certainly not a stranger to critical praise on the internets and much of the hype seems deserved. If you are a fan of the Golden Era sound, Action Bronson seems to be a leader of a growing movement of lyrical MC's keeping the sample-heavy, boom-bap, city-tested sound alive through his work with Statik Selektah and other members of the Showoff Records crew. Bronson seems to have a consistent record of putting out underground bangers and interesting collaborations with the hip hop purists like Roc Marciano (of U.N. and Pete Rock - Petestrumentals fame), Alchemist, and other East Coast era revivalists.

Sounding at times like a new school Ghostface and moments of Big Pun speed-rhymes (to me), Bronson always blends gutter sounds with a new-school flair and I have yet to really be let down by anything he releases. It is rare that the modern White rapper doesn't try to be the "lyrical mircale" or "goth rap, conspiracy theory rap" or even an Eminem style "self pitty, angry rap", so I like that he keeps it honest about his interests in weed, women and food instead of trying to create an "act" to perform with.

He seems well aware that his voice goes well with grimey beats and not the mainstream, glossy, techno sounds of todays rap. As long as he keeps pushing projects like he has, I will always check for new work. Props to Statik Selektah for helping usher the "true school" sound that I hope never dies down.

Check for some of the sounds below: