hip hop

MONDAY MUSIC - DR. DRE

Got this the day it came out in 1992. Start to finish a great listen, of which I couldn’t tell you how many times I have. Not only did it solidify Dr. Dre after leaving N.W.A. as a force of his own, it introduced Snoop Dogg to the world and ushered in the West Coast G-Funk sound. Featuring Nate Dogg, RBX, Daz and others this is a must have in any collection.

FV

 

MUSIC MONDAY - KOOL KEITH

Wheeeew! Kool Keith goes way back to the beginnings of hip hop. He's one of a kind with lyrics that flow quick and clever. Better than 99% of the cats on the current scene KK has recorded a buttload of material since the late 80's. Whether under the guise of Dr. Doom, Dr. Octagon or collaborating with others, his abstract, off beat style is legend. I think this is the only major label release he made, everything else is independent, just like Kool Keith.

 

THIS IS AMERICA

Yup, this is a music video from rapper Childish Gambino aka Renaissance man Donald Glover. But I'm filing it under ART because what he and director Hiro Murai have produced is absolutely a work of art. The song independent of the visuals is very good but together, they have an impact I haven't seen for quite a few years.

Like any challenging work of art, this is complex, controversial and open to a plethora of interpretations. Filled with metaphors flying every which way, wild hypnotic dancing and an infectious groove, it's impossible to soak in what has been created with just one view.

I'll likely do a follow up to this as I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. I will say, as I heard on one of the better YouTube reaction videos I watched, this is about as bold as you can get as an artist. Glover hosted the weekly American variety show Saturday Night Live this past weekend and performed the song as the musical guest Childish Gambino. As the commentator said in the video I referenced, the SNL performance was likely the first time many people heard this guy and, as he released this video the same night, when they went to Google and found his name, this is what they saw.

Now remember, Glover is an actor as well (among other things) and is in Disney's new addition to the Star Wars franchise, "Solo: A Star Wars Story" a blockbuster family movie due to be released next week. And Glover chose to have this represent himself to a curious public not familiar with him. Fucking priceless.

Dig it. Meditate on it. Feel it. Discuss it. This is it: a game changer.

FV

 

REMEMBERING MCA

photographer unknown

With all the drama surrounding Kanye West this week, we shouldn't forget May 4th marks the 6th anniversary a real hip hop legend was taken from us; MCA of the Beastie Boys. Sounds corny, but his passing hit me so hard at the time.

I remember when the Beasties hit the scene and thinking they were funny as fuck. They really had it all and fit in seamlessly with hip hop as it was just getting going. Then "Paul's Boutique" came out and flipped my mind. That album was so ahead of it's time that a lot of cats were like, "Where'd those crazy party fools go?" and didn't get it till years later.

They went on to influence music videos, culture, political awareness and like many fans, I was with them for the whole ride. I don't know why but MCA always was my favorite of those guys (kind of silly to say). But his rhymes, his voice, his involvement with Tibetan situation and his growth as an artist and public figure really made me vibe with him.

So, when he passed, and being around the same age as me, it was like a kick to the stomach. I felt like I lost a brother and that the world lost a voice that still had so much to say and offer. A true original. I'm glad we still have all the records and videos to watch, but damn, I still miss that brother. Much love and respect my man!

FV