Jun 16, 2012

RZA: Parenting Tips for Father's Day

This upcoming Father's Day, if you are in the Los Angeles area, you have the chance to be treated to the parenting insights of Robert Fitzgerald Diggs AKA Bobby Digital AKA Prince Rakeem AKA the RZA.

The RZA will be spending his Father's Day at the Los Angeles Juvenile Hall to teach inmates about fatherhood. He will be hosting a workshop on fatherhood and teaching inmates a number of skills and life lessons to help transition to adulthood and parenthood upon release.

Since I am not privileged to know all of the potential lessons RZA will bestow upon the inmates, I have taken the liberty to make up a bunch of topics I am hoping he will share with his captive audience:

1) diversify your bonds
2) be sure your kids listen to music only through Chambers Headphones by RZA
3) plant your sunflower seed on every square acre
4) assassination vaccination poor education infatuation with Satan with global nation taxation
5) change the poopy diapers
6) dress kids in the latest Wu Wear
7) no time to grab the guns, they already got your wife and children
8) protect your neck
9) you can see the weakness of a man right through his iris
10) eat lots of fruit and whole grains
11) save your receipts
12) start a 401K for yourself and a 529C for your kids future college plans
13) don't have a stupid title for an email address like crunchybig-guns69@yahoo.com if you ever have to fill out a resume online for a future job
14) Wu-Tang Forever!

I know that this is a good thing that RZA is doing, but it is comical to think that some of these cats may have no idea who he is or care about anything he has ever done. Good for you either way RZA!

Jun 15, 2012

Fine Art Friday: June 15, 2012

R.I.P. - STAY HIGH 149

Legendary New York graffiti writer, Wayne “Stay High 149" Roberts, passed away yesterday at the age of 61.  The artist, who began making a name for himself as early as 1971, was known for his images of a smoking stick figure and catch phrase/logo “Voice of the Ghetto” tags.

After a long absence from the graf world, Stay High 149 was honored with a retrospective art show circa 2000. Even in his older age, Stay High continued to write his name in the street and influenced thousands of young graf artists and writers around the world. R.I.P. to one of the O.G.'s. Check out his website while it still exists: http://www.stayhigh149.com/

LUVJONEZ MUSIC @ PINTEREST http://pinterest.com/luvjonezmusic/

If you want to dig further into other stuff that I ramble about, Pinterest houses alot of these items that I never get a chance to post. Check it out if interested!

I came across the work of Sophie Jodoin back around 2008 and was struck and the detail of her fairly small work. Using primarily mylar sheets and black gesso, she manages to develop remarkable textures and contrast in her work that makes me super jealous of her process. She continues to put out thought-provoking work and masterful images of dramatic and sad qualities. Check out her site for more of her black and white drama! http://www.sophiejodoin.com/

Such a simple idea to ink up dead or dying tree stumps to reflect their age rings and historic development, but expertly executed to show every possible detail. I am not the biggest fan of "earth" art , but the intricate patterns and flaws in these prints are hypnotic and depressing when considering the life cycle of all things. Very Walden of me I know, but check out Nash Gill's site for more of these prints. http://www.bryannashgill.com/

WK INTERACT - New Projects

Plenty has been said bout WK Interacts work, so I won't act like this is the first time anyone has seen his work, but the image above and the video below is the result of a collaboration with the ad agency TWBA called FORTY. The video is almost pornographic in the detail or spray cans, brushed glue and dripping paint, but it is always interesting to see the creative process (even heavily edited) of a large art installation with so many textures and layers.

For more info on WK Interacts work, check out his site here: http://www.wkinteract.com/

Jun 14, 2012

Big K.R.I.T. - Live From The Underground : The Making Of

I realize that the internet and overall rap industry are on the Big KRIT tip right now, but I can't help but support the kid from Mississippi. He walks the line between "trunk muzik" and "introspective hip hop star" better than anyone since Goodie Mob and Outkast from the 90's. To accompany the constant buzz of his upcoming official Def Jam release "Live From The Undeground", KRIT put out this mini-doc about the making of the album. I always enjoy the inside peaks at the creative process and behind-the-scenes work that goes into any project, especially when it isn't filled with the typical "bitches and tough talk" of so much promotional material these days.

Lots of insight about the "ups and downs" of being a budding music star, watching KRIT work in the studio and some features for the album. I can't say I like everything he puts out, but more often than not, he throws mellow, grown man, soul-sample, hip hop gems on his albums to show he is not a 24 Hour Party person. Check it out above and maybe it will help show you why he is the critical darling that he is.

Props to videographer Steve-Ography for the camera work! Check out the Big KRIT website for more updates: http://bigkrit.defjam.com/

Kan Kick: The Instrumental Maestro

This post is about the continued legacy of the underground beatsmith known as KanKick. Perhaps I am biased because I know the man personally, but I have collected his albums ever since he released From Artz Unknown in 2001. Something about his ability to flip grimey, obscure samples with hypnotic crispy drums always puts me in a trance and makes me super jealous of his record collection.

KanKick is what I would call SUPER underground, as I rarely meet anyone who knows his work until I mention a Lootpack/Madlib feature from years earlier. Kan continues to put out albums of quick little gems similar to the in-between tracks, snippets that Dilla, Pete Rock and Preemo have included in many of their releases and beat tapes. He builds entire albums from these concepts that feel like the soundtrack to a beat digger's treasure trove in the basement of a dusty bomb shelter.

I had a hand in designing the Rummage To Royalty packaging and was glad to attach my name to a project with Kan earlier this year. Check out the video stream below, track down his past discography and support a true hip-hop beat master doing his best to stay alive in the Young Money infested airwaves of today.

KanKick - Rummage 2 Royalty (full album stream)

Jun 13, 2012

ILLMIND: Throwblaps Vol.1

ILLMIND, of G-unit and underground hip hop fame just released some unused instrumentals for the world to use and abuse as it will. Here is a quick blurb from the man himself:

“As promised, here is the infamous Throwblaps compilation. I had this idea a long time ago, but was always reluctant to put it out. I’ve got more than 3,000 beats I made over several years, on several hard drives. I knew most of them will probably never see the light of day, until now! This edition is a collection of random beats I made between the years 2000 and 2002. It was an exciting time for me because I had ZERO placements, I had JUST copped an Ensoniq ASR-10 keyboard, and I was making, like, 10 beats a day. It was crazy. I was still pretty wet behind the ears, and after hearing it, you will notice the heavy J Dilla influence (R.I.P.). Bump it on the ipod, freestyle to it, dance to it, drag it into the trash bin, do what you want with it! Enjoy!”  - !llmind

Get it while you can! THROWBLAPS LINK HERE

Tom Dice - Mike Needs Music

To help promote and support fellow instrumental hip-hop producers out there, I am sharing the most recent release by Tom Dice. Some tracks for aspiring MC's to freestyle to while riding on the train or in your car or on your Segway, depending on how you role.

Check out the Bandcamp link for more music: http://tomdice1.bandcamp.com/album/tom-dice-and-his-orchestra-mike-needs-music-instrumental

Jun 12, 2012

Jay-Z: The Michael Jackson Remix

Not much to say here, but celebrities over-protecting their kids by covering them with blankets is never a good sign. Dear famous folks, don't have kids if you are afraid to bring them out in public. Face it, Blue Ivy is the daughter of Jay-Z and Beyonce...the kid is gonna be flash-bulbed to death for the rest of her life, you might as well let her get used to it and chill with the MJ antics. Just sayin'. On to the next one!

Jun 11, 2012

The Hip-Hop Has Been: The Rise and Continued Decline of Canibus

Though I seem to rattle on and on about the old days of rap's Golden Era, the nostalgia seems to wear off any time my "used to be" favorite MC's commit an epic blow to their own legacy by trying to be way too relevant (ex: Busta Rhymes on Young Money) or embarrassing themselves on some Jose Canseco levels.

Canibus is what I like to call the Joe Charboneau of the rap world. For those of you who don't know who that is, and I doubt anybody does, Joe was a "flash in the pan" rookie for the Cleveland Indians in 1980. He led the team in home runs, had a good batting average, and showed lots of promise. He played for 2 more years and puttered out with miserable stats and wisely left baseball after realizing he wasn't cut out for the majors.

If only Canibus could learn this lesson. I have to admit that back in 1997, I thought he was going to blow up all over the rap game, after being heavily vetted by Wyclef, Common, Lost Boyz and other reputable MC's. After releasing a poorly received album, Can-i-bus, Canibus started to blame everyone around him for the lack of quality on the record. By the time he released the record, his hype was boiling over after making a diss record against LL Cool J called "2nd Round KO". He made an epic song with an intro from Mike Tyson which will forever go down as one of the best battle records of all time. However, this manner of biting the hand that fed him, LL offered him a verse of his song first, Canibus' facade started to crack.

Pretty soon, he was "box office posion" and nobody wanted to help him out, for what I can only imagine was fear of burning bridges with the rap establishment. A few remix features later and Canibus had to go underground forever. He kept releasing albums, even linking with Nottz at one point, but stories of his childish behavior, over-reactions, jealousy and anger started to be the only thing I ever heard about him.

I always checked for his stuff, but was never excited after listening to each new record as it was released. I remember him being interviewed on Conspiracy Worldwide Radio from the UK a few years ago and listening to him scream angrily about bloggers and critics not liking his music and sounded like he was having a nervous breakdown. Flash forward this last year, and he bitched about J. Cole then made a long, rambling apology on Youtube, further making him seem hopelessly, mentally unstable.

The latest news is of course his live battle rap meltdown on streaming pay per view this past week. In a battle rap main event, Canibus started stumbling over his own words, pulled out a legal pad to read "30 pages of rhymes" and started yelling at the crowd for booing him and his amateur antics and attitude (seen below).

I really was hoping that at some point in his career, Canibus would have make some good choices and redeemed his once talented self, but this last debacle will undoubtedly put the proverbial nail in his coffin. Perhaps one day, he will wise up, have someone else pick all of his beats for him, never let him appear in public unless doing a show and try to resurrect a respectable ending for this dude. Until then, he will forever be clowned as the dude who had it, lost it, tried to earn it back and blew it in the rap game.