Spoek Mathambo/Big K.R.I.T.
Think Positive--Or Not
Spoek Mathambo: Father Creeper (Sub Pop)
Although I slotted this Soweto-raised 27-year-old's 2010 Mshini Wam as promising kwaito electro, I never imagined it promised a hip-hop record so dark it reveals his labelmate Shabazz Palaces for the arty pothead we can assume he is. Contra the nervous crits who claim to hear a "palpable feeling of hope" or "summery highlife melodies" (highlife, eh? I've heard of that‑-African, right?), even the sweet opener about the sexual maturation of a guy who was feeling it before his pubes came in ends ominously. After that come evocations of oppression only more brutal because they're sometimes dissociated‑-blood diamonds, why we hate our crap jobs, the deadening surrender of the tricking American hip-hop makes light of. The music suits because it's also dissociated‑-beaty enough to keep your foot tapping and your subconscious involved, but devoid of the escapist joy that is the miracle of so much Afropop produced from equally horrendous daily struggles. A
Big K.R.I.T.: 4Eva N a Day (free download)
He was just Kritikal, but the Mississippi underground had trouble pronouncing that word‑-check out the consonant-averse "1986" intro to understand why‑-so he made it Big K.R.I.T., claimed it stood for King Remembered in Time, and continued a rapping career that imagined high school coaching as a fallback. No hip-hopper has ever been bigger on getting up when you're down and making every minute count. Could get tiresome, but on a no-cameos mixtape Def Jam couldn't clear, his proudly drawled, lucidly conceived preachments go undefeated. Almost every soulful track grew on me, with the clincher "Down & Out," one of his periodic explanations of why sometimes he sips and smokes instead of trying yet again. A MINUS
Bob -- I remember the grade, the review, you name it. I just wasn't articulating myself very well there. When I say "mild," for me personally, I generally mean B+ range. As for my own opinion about the Cars, I feel the same way I do about them that I do about the Police: quality work, some great hits, and could care less about hearing them again -- ergo, mild. Though now I'm bananas interested in that hearing that Soulja Boy record (please hold the taco).
That Backstreet Boys' song is awesome. F*ck you, *ssholeThis x 10.
And true that you have to follow along pretty closely to get the content of something like the line in Bob's follow up posting from this morning that I was going to comment on anyway, "he's Merrill Garbus's brother under the skin", but "He's awful on explaining what albums you should purchase" seems willfully wrong and intentionally mistaken. That is, if one knows the alphabet.
they don't strictly speaking sprawl except when I mess up
Yeah, but you don't go along with this unless you want to argue you're unreadable in a straight way. Let's be simple, Bob -- this person resents you packing a lot of meaning into not many words. And to sympathize with his word confusion is to agree garden-variety readers can't know what the fcuk you're saying.
Aren't we poor suffering rock music fans allowed to have some dang fun?
Hey, I'm one too. The basic contract is, if you raise a lotta hooey, you gotta justify it, or there ain't no fun at all.
Rock and roll and pop are not necessarily mutually exclusive; tacos and bananas definetly [sic] are.
Also, while I'm mild on the Cars, I love that Backstreet Boys song as much as I love "Anarchy in the UK" and "Fight the Power." Wanna scrap?
Robert Christgau is basically the ultimate troll
I don't believe you , you're a liar.
Cold and thin, shiny and hypnotic, it's what they do best--rock and roll that is definitely pop without a hint of cuteness.
As terse as it is sprawling [nonsense]
as labored as it is vitriolic [comparison terms have no relation]
*Yes, this is part of my who-are-you/real-name campaign.
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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