Give the Beatmakerz Some
Saigon: The Greatest Story Never Told (Suburban Noize)
After mixtapes I liked, mixtapes I heard, and mixtapes that passed me by, this is the Saigon and Just Blaze album I've been waiting for since a student tipped me to them five years ago‑-heroic post-gangstaism, with the conscious ex-con forthright as rhymer and rapper and the Jay-Z sideman bigging him up with soul singers and cinematic beats (and also with Jay-Z). Saigon don't play. He's a social realist and a realist moralist who makes his seriousness work for him. Behind Blaze's say-so, he sounds like the kind of person it's always interesting to get to know. A MINUS
Ski Beatz: 24 Hour Karate School (DD172 New York)
North Carolinan David Willis is a journeyman beatmaker-producer‑-big credit: no-big-deal Camp Lo‑-who's spent the major chunks of his two-decade career in New York. Recently he oversaw two official releases by Young Money second-stringer Curren$y, the kind of thug lite who's admired by Rick Ross's real-fake claque. Those who prefer those albums bemoan the loss here of two Mos Def raps I crashed my search engine seeking out. They're probably good‑-Mos Def has it all over mos of the nonentities who provide the vocal sounds on this beats-first showcase. Not Jean Grae, though‑-here's hoping Willis lures her out of her apartment. And note that the Mos Def songs in question, "Cream of the Planet" and "Taxi," finish this off on the upswing as sayonora instrumentals. I listen to hip-hop for the rapping. But I've spent a lot of time dwelling on the music here, which combines beats per se with grandiosities like the dramatic intro to "Nothing but Us," the guitar hook of "Scaling the Building," and the full-on movie theme that carries "Cream of the Planet." Sayonora instrumentals fit right in. B PLUS
Ok, I lied. Again. I'll sleep when I'm dead. Oops, wrong thing to say as we're all on suicide watch now.
Michael, the courage and candor you display in divulging and struggling against your affliction is remarkable. I have the nerve to come here and snivel about my own petty b.s. while you, (and likely others here), face deeper issues; real heartbreak and dreadful personal crises. The next time I jump on the whiney train, somebody please derail me quick. Obviously, my adult deficiencies have left a mark. I'd be honored to go to a game, (or concert), with you any time. Who knows? Maybe I can help with that throwing motion, Michelle.
Ali is the man. As I've gotten older, I've learned to accept that he is more flawed than I once thought, but no matter. His womanizing; the cruel streak; the Farrakhan connections are troubling, but not deal-breakers. His decline is a sad sight to behold and I often think that I may not be able to function properly for quite some time when his end finally comes.
Along those same age-related lines, I find that I actually prefer my heroes imperfect; human, as it were. I love Phil Mickelsen, Tony Dungy and Cal Ripken Jr., but I'd just as soon root for Tiger, Jim Brown and Miguel Cabrera, warts and all. "Perfection", as embodied by the commendable virtues of humility, propriety and congeniality, is way over-rated in my book. Truth be told ,"heroes" is a term I really don't take very well to, kinda like Xgau and Milo despise "rock writers". We build heroes up to support our own egos, then tear them down when they fail to meet our unreasonable expectations. As I've said for years, rather than looking outside ourselves for heroes to idolize, instead we should all simply try to act a bit more heroically every single day.
Finally, whenever anyone attaches the terms "traitor", "draft dodger", or whatever racial epithet to Mr. Ali, I tend to become highly irate. He "dodged" nothing. He stood up, said "no" and would have gone to jail with head held high had the Supreme Court not overturned his conviction. There are few braver men, inside the ring or out, in my experience and estimation. Whatever problems you have with him as a fighter or husband, or with his personality I can accept. But to call the man a "traitor" is unforgivable. He is among the greatest Americans I have ever known.
2AM!?!? I swore I'd stop this insanity.
But you gotta grapple with it.
Cam- Please continue to patronize Food Lion for my sake if nothing else. They're pretty much out of Florida now. I bought a couple hundred shares of their stock many years ago and it's been flat-lining ever since. At least there's a marginal dividend.
My next question was gonna be: "What's a Teeter?", but I Googled it. Why would you be afraid to go in a supermarket? Are they uniformly unkempt? Patronized by undesirables? Overpriced?
"Harry Teet" - that's classic. I'm almost salivating whilst imagining the corporate logo.
Like the Dogfish 90. Love the Indian Brown Ale. Need to try the Stouts and Burton. Didn't know of the Langford connection, must check out the shirts.
Careful Nicky, the vodka sneaks upon you. The Florida milkshake guy jreamteam alerted us to looks frighteningly like one of my ex-neighbors.
Michael T. - you "hate" sports? Ouch. Why? Get picked last at recess? Throw like a girl? Disgusted by the greed/commercialism aspect that that has consumed pro and college sports? Don't wanna watch? Fine. Better things to do with your time? Gotcha. But "hate"? Strong language my downloading West Coast friend.
The breadth of knowledge here, both trivial and profound, continues to amaze me. This blog should be required reading for the youth of America.
Suicide, hoo-boy. Post-midnight is definitely not the time to go there, but I'll be brief. Promise. Guess it's hit all of us at some point in our lives and there are reasons for taking one's life many you have touched on and others we who haven't pulled the trigger can never comprehend. I'm pro-Kevorkian but understand others' revulsion/opposition to the Dr. and his tactics. Though I don't believe I'd take that route myself, I hope we will evolve enough in my lifetime to at least make the option available should I someday change my mind and have all my crucial affairs/documents/preparations in order. Again, not wishing to disrespect anyone's personal/ religious beliefs, it is no more the government's or society's business to say when I can off myself than it is to tell a woman what she can do with the fetus in her womb.
Now, as it's way too late, I shall evoke the sainted name of Jonathan Richman: "Stop this car I'm gettin' out".
Pain, impending death, indifference to pain, concern for family members.Okay -- pain, impending death, sparing family members yet more anguish about your dying. All seem like arguments for suicide. The indifference argument is intriguing. If you don't care about pain, shouldn't you strangle a caretaker so to get it over with? "I choked him because it was the only way I could die with dignity?" [impish]
Without dwelling too much on the subject, I am upfront about my bipolar disorder because I believe being open about it creates awareness and can help others. I am very lucky I got help when I was young, or I'd be a mess today: in a hospital, struggling with drug/alcohol dependence, or possibly dead. That's why I loathe romanticization of depression ("Nick Drake, he's so deep!") and encourage people to help themselves, either through medication if the problem is biochemical, or through therapy if the problem is rooted in emotional trauma.
Having said that, Kurt Cobain is one my heroes. Straight up. When he died, it left a big impression on me.
Depression is part of every suicide
"Failure" strikes me as wrong. "Restriction" is more like it
that it is a failure of the imagination."Failure" strikes me as wrong. "Restriction" is more like it. Depression is part of every suicide I've known. Let's just say it's a subject of interest.
Nate -- timing when comments come is just off. That's all. I got the name incorrect. I didn't want to hear about it 10 seconds later. Emotional topic.
Milo: I won't correct your reading of Rimbaud, but I'm pretty sure the poet's name was Frank Stanford.Well, I'm pretty sure your name isn't sharpsm, so, don't get that touchy about names.
I don't know about any of that, but I'm pretty sure that this is worth a blue ribbon is some on-line blog contest somewhere. I mean, this is untoppable. UNTOPPABLE! We should enter it in somebody's State Fair at the very least --
the harry teet also has the best price for kale i've ever seen!
Seriously. Somebody call Peter Stampfel. This needs to be a song lyric!!
That's probably why that period was destined to be short-lived -- can't really skirt those contradictions too long after your adolescence is (theoretically) up.You're touching on a key torment. Arthur Rimbaud is the premiere example, of course. And he went on to be a near-evil lout (correct me if my reading is short on this). Another poet in a similar bind that has really moved me in recent times is Frank Stafford and his remarkable collection The Light the Dead See. This is a sage boy who could not bear to become a less-sensitive man. And so eliminated tomorrow. His suicide resonates more with recent rock death than any other youngish writer I know.
That feeling, that perception, that insight, that excitement, that isn't coming back, is it? is it?? IS IT??
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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