Jun 8, 2012

Fine Art Fridays: Evolution Of The Art Form

This week for Fine Art Fridays, I started to notice a theme to the work I was gathering, that being the idea of evolution with the arts. It applies in both of the featured artists work in different ways, but it speaks to the ever-changing methods that creative folks use to build there craft.

First up is the recent "light painting" work by Simon Berger. He has managed to take an artform that I thought I had seen the limitations of and transformed it into some kind of special effects looking, much more artful and controlled version of what I first saw Picasso do with it in books years ago. Picasso's work was fairly primitive in that he just kind of "banged out" some doodles in the air to capture the idea on film, which sparked many people's imagination (pictured below).
Berger takes it to an entirely new level with more controlled light and more dynamic compositions for his photos. I have no idea how we did this, as it looks like he is standing in the metal refinery from Terminator 2, getting rained on by molten steel and sparks. Who knows, but it looks awesome and shows how much a simple idea like capturing light on film can evolve over time. Check out the link for more pics. http://500px.com/SimonBerger

Next up is Doze Green, whose work I have followed since the 80's. If you don't know his work, it has been featured on many hip-hop releases from groups in the Bay Area and NYC. My first in-depth exposure to him was the album artwork for the OM record compilation called Deep Concentration 2 in the 90's. I was so taken by the artwork that I still don't think I ever finished listening to the CD and just unfolded the artwork and put it on my wall.

Doze is known for his layered line work and what I call "alien meets indigenous shaman meets cave painting" style.  He is a storied artist in the hip hop world, being and OG member of the Rocksteady Crew, even being featured in Wild Style. He continues to pour out new ideas on canvas and other media and though he has kept his style the same, the subject matter grows with each new show and incorporates dimensional forms, multi-headed man beasts, intricate line work and bold colors. Below is some samples of his work, also seen on his website http://www.dozegreen.com/.

He currently has a show at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in NYC and I am hoping to catch it this month. For a preview of him in the studio and to see him doing his thing, check out the video below too.

Jun 7, 2012

The Sample Police: Evolution of the Beatmaker

Though I will never get tired of flip after flip of obscure soul samples and sample-based hip-hop records, and I mean NEVER, I completely understand when some of my favorite producers decide to avoid lawsuits and try to create new songs from scratch. I know that there are plug-ins that can mimic the OG equipment that folks used back in the day and plenty of 808 kits floating around for people to do all of this, but I will always respect the origins of the culture first.

Though it seems to only be something that people with sky-high budgets (Kanye west, etc.) can afford to do these days, part of the reason I keep checking for underground acts is because they still carry the torch for the sample-based stuff that I like.

The video above is a brief rundown of Rhymesayers artist Blueprint and his own evolution as a producer/rapper.  It is interesting to see that folks who seem to never get any shine, can still be nailed for sampling these days. I don't know that I could ever "not sample" when making my own stuff, but I try to chop sounds up so much that no one recognizes it anyway, unless it is too fresh as is.

Check it out and feel free to share your own thoughts about it.

Danny Brown takes a beat with ill, boom-bap samples ("Get out of my life woman" drums for instance) and makes an underground classic of the "when I was a kid" type of reminisce rap. Samples will hopefully never die!

Jun 6, 2012

Big K.R.I.T. x Combat Jack: Quality Air Time

I have been listening to the Combat Jack show for a long time now and I am always impressed that they can keep me interested for upwards of 2 hours at a time. It feels like you are listening to your friends hang out and talk trash about grown man hip-hop concerns and it always entertains.

This past week, they had BIG KRIT on the show to talk about life and his career and I was glad to see someone with so much buzz be on a more humble grind and talk to the hip-hop fans of all backgrounds. if KRIT is only acting like a Johnny Depp "aw shucks" famous type, then he is very convincing, but he seems authentic and appreciative of all of the attention he has gotten over the last few years.

From mixtape and guest features to his high-quality free albums of the past year or so, KRIT always seems to bring a good balance to the down south style and throwback lyrical, honest, hip-hop of the golden era. So far he is like a mix of ATLiens-era Outkast and Little Brother to me and I have been a fan of most everything thus far.

Check out the interview above to hear the meeting of many minds that care about the quality of the modern hip-hop culture like few do these days.

Jun 5, 2012

Rage Against The Machine...Gone Wrong. The Wisconsin Recall Election.

I wish I had more hands so I could give Wisconsin's recall effort four thumbs down. 

Even Emperor Commodus agrees. Divide and conquer at its best.
You may now all bow down to the corporate overlords and Super (powerful) PAC's that will rule the US and the outcome of elections for the foreseeable future.  America, your puppet strings could not be any clearer then they are right now!

Perhaps the world could care less about the results of this midwest election, but the implications of the power and influence of money in politics was in full effect here, with out-of-state Republicans spending upwards of $60 Million, to the opposing Democrats $3 Million, to promote the sitting governor with negative attack ads for any challenger. 

This election is bigger than Wisconsin, for reasons we may not see the true results of for a decade. Money and influence can spend unlimited money to gain position, crush opposition, create laws that allow them to do so anonymously and market themselves however they want in order to get the upper hand. For anyone who ever mumbled about conspiracy theory in politics or ever felt helpless to fight against the 1%, this was your chance. 

Hopefully, the so called 99% will wake up and organize as criminally brilliant as the secret billionaires of the world. Stop waving signs around, trying to be an anonymous horde of protesters marching and rhyming about non-sense and actually get elected to effect some real change from the inside out....or else we will continue the slow slide down the drain pipe of the wealthy.  

Nicki Minaj: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong

I never thought I would EVER do a post about Nicki Minaj here, as there is plenty of ink or HTML ink being spilled on a daily basis for her. However, as much as I am not a fan of her YMCMB run of musical theater, at one point in her history she was repping as a sort of slightly more lyrical, Queens version of Trina and promoting herself with no neon wigs, fake British accent, no alter-egos or lingerie outfits. She seemed like she might be forever underground or at least a female MC that tried to be of the Eve (Ruff Ryders) approach, a "down chick" who could rap.

 Somewhere along the line, all of her skills were transformed into the "sideshow clown" routine currently polluting the airwaves with nonsense and earning the "idiot stamp" from Pepsi to commercialize her "routine" to sell soda. The video above does have some pre-fame verses of money and tough talk, but if she earned her stripes from repping this former version of herself and turning that into her source of fame, perhaps I would be willing to not "punch the TV or turn off the radio" every time I see or hear her on it.

 I am glad to have seen Lauryn Hill in her prime and have yet to see any popular female MC ever "hold it down" like L-Boogie did. I know it has been too long for her to make a comeback, but even if her next album is 20 years from now, it will still be more honest then the current trend of "Barbie rap" floating around in 2012.

 Like Biggie said "Things Done Changed".

Jun 4, 2012

Music Video: El-P - The Full Retard

I was glad to see El-P make a video from one of the stand out tracks from Cancer for Cure. Though the video looks like it cost $10 to make, it seems like a fun video to shoot. The furry puppet helps the concept seem like the visual approximation of what the "rap life" cliche's would look like as a coked out, suicidal, mayhem causing rodent. Though I would have liked to see a video to the tune of something like "No Church In The Wild" for a track like this (thats how I pictured it anyway), this video takes the "crazy life" down a notch and tries not to take itself too serious. Check it out above!