Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tupac does his thang, lets nuts hang, etc. et. al.

Welcome back from your long weekend. Take a look down after you get through this entry; th' Hut observes no work holidays so there's a tasty Monday post for you to leaf through. Double your pleasure!

glisten: Drunkard #4

7. Tupac Shakur - "Untouchable Freestyle ('Drunker'n a Motherfucker')"

Jowey - Nice LIVE track..no programmed beats. I always enjoy a live hip-hop band. Tupac sounds almost like he might have a cold or something..a bit gravelly..actually makes him sound a bit like DMX, at times, which I've always felt was a fair comparison, except that X is always waay too angry and, as far as I know, incapable of writing "ballads", something Tupac was very good at. His rhymes are quite impressive, though he rips them off so fast I have trouble keeping up at all.

Mark - ...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Illovich - Tupac used to say Nigga a lot, which I tend to view as a flaw becasue I believe it will eventually desensitize whites to using the word in public, which will inevitably lead to more bullshit racial tension which americans really really don't need. It's also sort of a crutch. Before you ask, I'm aware of the pro-Nigga arguments, but from a purely content standpoint try substituting another word in for nigga (my favorite substitution is colleague) and things get pretty silly fast. I feel bad criticizing him, since he's dead, but although I can see his talent, I'm not really a fan.

Brooks - This sounds like live instrumentation - we need more of this in rap. Let me utter more sacrilige and say that I'm not a big 2Pac fan (I like Biggie better), but this track proves that he was a genius. It blows my mind that he spouted this stuff off the top of his head. There's no hook in here to fall back on. And while he hits on the usual rap cliches it still feels fresh.

Tupac's rolling flow near the end where he's just tossing lines off the top of his head is impressive as hell.

This track is unreleased but we ARE due for another "new" Tupac album, right?
Buy "Tupac Live" and tell me if it's any good.
The advance word has it that the sound quality is pretty bad, but 'Pac is a good enough live artist based on the bootlegs I've heard to merit a listen.
Explore this collection of Tupac interviews.
Learn about Tom Sanford, the white NYC artist who restructured his life and his body to emulate Tupac, up to and including the tats.

Here's an NPR piece on his work and his day by day blog about the transformation along with his gallery.

It's difficult to presume exactly what motivates a man to do something like this but there is one thing I think we can all agree upon: his muppettish take on "Hail Mary" is just sad.
Read this 'Pac-centric interview with Alex Gee, co-author of Jesus and the Hip Hop Prophets.


8. Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Drunk Game (Sweet Sugar Pie)"

Jowey - ODB...Dirt f'n McGirt! I think of the Wu Tang Financial sketch from Chapelle's show when I hear his name nowadays. It even sounds like Chapelle screaming "Marvin Gaye" in the background The orgasm kinda took me out of the song, though I wasn't totally sure if he was climaxing or had smoked some fantastic weed. It really does sound like he's inhaling something prior to that moment. Echoing the lyrics over each other probably wasn't the best production decision. I wonder if he produced this in his basement?

Mark - A classic track off a classic album. The beauty of Big Baby Jesus is that all of his songs will work for a drunk mix because he's always fucked up. This one is nice. Makes me think of some drunken idiot (read: me) cheesing up to some unsuspecting girl at the club. He probably has no idea that his fly is down, and that he's sweating like a sherpa. The loose keys in this track really nail it.

Illovich - According to elektra, Ol' Dirty Bastard (now known as Ol'Dirty Chinese Restaurant since being racially drafted to the asian race) is "[O]ne of the most original and outrageous voices in hip hop history" and VH1 tells me that he has a "rap sheet that now reads not so much like a soap opera as an epic Russian novel." I'm not really familiar with the Wu or ODB, since I started ignoring hip-hop after PE's follow up to Fear of A Black Planet. I'll say that ODB is pretty interesting, at least what I've heard from him. This track has nice echoes of classic prince tracks, especially the overblown adolescent simulated sex act moaning in the middle. The shouting of Marvin Gaye's name is probably a mistake. ODB is also not above dropping the N-bomb a bit.

Brooks - ODB, slowin' it down for tha sistas. And as with most slow jams, I'm bored. I get the humor, but this one is rather lame.

We're all gonna look pretty stupid when the skies start raining blood and the locusts come and we discover that ODB really WAS the second coming.

I love his Millie Jackson shoutout; shouldn't these two have a duet album by now?

Buy "Return to the 36 Chambers", ODB's fascinating debut disc.
High comedy? Insanely hardcore? Hip hop on a new level? Yes.
ODB and Tom Waits should go on tour together. Discuss.
Watch "Stuck on ODB". September 14th, Spike TV is going to air a reality show which "follows one regular guy as he tries to stay within 10 feet of ODB for five full days. If he succeeds he will win a $25,000 prize".

A few thoughts: yes, this is obviously exploitative but unlikely to be much moreso than any other reality show. Invoking "minstrelsy" seems knee-jerk; how is this any more or less offensive than Anna Nicole-Smith's show?

What ODB seems to need is some cash, some therapy and some drugs; hopefully he got enough scratch off of this freakshow that he can take care of those needs.

Lastly, why was _I_ not called? I would've PAID to pal around with Russell for a week. They woulda had to make me go home. Even if you get shot by the cops: dude, YOU'RE HANGIN' WITH BIG BABY JESUS! It's gotta be worth it.
"Would You Rent an Apartment to Ol' Dirty Bastard?"
Or more to the point, would you rent an apartment to an ex-con with his own clothing line and a nine PM curfew?

Anybody who pulls shit like this can sleep on my sofa any day.
o.d.b. cummings: "sounds like Ol Dirty having the orgasm from hell on the microphone"

Meeting the Neighbors

New feature here at th' Hut: over the next several weeks, I'm going to intermittently run interviews with several prominent faces in the musicblogging community. These will likely see reprinting at Better Propaganda in a week or so; you kids get an early lick of the spoon.

We've done gone and created a bit of a community and with the soon-to-be-hairy-eyeball of highprofile interest in our little homebrew operation, methinks it's about time we started humanizing this conglomeration of wonderfully creative, hard-workin' cats that do this thing ya'll like so much. These interviews are carried out via email.

Fluxblog really needs no introduction, but I won't let that stop me. It may seem strange that a man in his twenties could work for two years and earn the title "th' Daddy", but that's the internet for you. Matt Perpetua wasn't the first person to host music on the internet for free download (anybody in the peanut gallery wanna clue me in as to how far back that tradition goes?), but he's certainly the best known today. Matt's site is almost ubiquitous in discusions about the genre and he's almost certain to be the first guy lifted out the pool when we go legit. Matt's taste are pretty eclectic but definitely lean toward the hipper end of your FM dial; he occasionally likens himself to a pirate college radio station, which is pretty accurate as far as programming goes.

A quick drive by Fluxblog's site reveals a long piece on the MTV VMA's ("Khaaaaaaaaan!") and music from the Pixies, grime from Lady Sovereign, spiritual jazz from Mary Lou Williams and Welsh political pop-rock from David Wrench. what sort of mind would suggest the connection between all of these? Well...


My name is Matthew Perpetua. I am a 25 year old unemployed art school graduate who has been stuck living with his family in northern Westchester since the middle of the Bush regime. I started a blog as a way of keeping myself busy while stuck in relative isolation, and started posting mp3s on it when a friend of mine donated some free webspace in late 2002. As time went by, I developed a format of posting daily mp3s and writing about each of them. Eventually, some other blogs using the same format popped up, and now it seems as though there is a new one every day of the week. I can honestly say that I never saw this coming back when I started this thing, but it does make a lot of sense that a lot of music fans would want to do this since it is very fun and somewhat empowering.
What was the greatest motivation for you to create your site?

Structure. I'm not always the most disciplined person, so it was like a self-imposed challenge to make sure that I wrote a bit every weekday no matter what, and had everything done early in the day. Basically, as long as I didn't have a job, the blog was there to keep the part of me that needed to have a daily routine from totally flipping out.
Recommend three other musicblog sites and give them a sentence or two of introduction.

1. Clap Clap Blog does not post mp3s, but does feature some of the most thoughtful and detailed writing about music and the record industry being published anywhere.

2. Byron Bitchlaces (formerly Tyrone Shoelaces) is another excellent writer who posts a lot of excellent hip hop and electronic music in addition to some rather interesting musings on changes in global marketing trends and his experiences as a British man working in southeast Asia.

3. Into The Groove is an excellent resource for fans of glossy European chart pop. They have introduced one minor innovation to the mp3 blog - an image key which lets you know the nationality, emotion, and danceability of a song at a glance.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album? Got any success stories to wit?

I definitely think that mp3 blogs boost awareness of artists and records, which at least part of the time translates to sales. Obviously, people don't go around buying every song that they hear on the radio, right? You can't expect everyone to buy all of the records, but being aware of an artist will definitely drastically improve a person's chances of buying their records or seeing their shows. A lot of people tell me that they've bought a lot of records by artists that I've featured, so even if I'm helping to move a few units, any help in sales or exposure is a good thing in this marketplace, particularly for indies, DIY artists, and foreign labels.
Can you list a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?

I was a teenager in the 90s, and some of the first rock bands that I got into were the big grunge bands, and I still have some residual fondness for that stuff. I can't think of anything that I've ever liked that I've decided in retrospect to be awful - it's just that some music ages with me, and some things no longer speak to me as much as I get older. I still think that Pearl Jam is a good band (though I'm not crazy about their last two albums), though I pretty much never listen to them any more. I've never stopped liking U2 and R.E.M., who I've been into since I was about ten years old. I don't listen to the Smashing Pumpkins much anymore, but I still really like all of those records and enjoyed Zwan too.
Do you hope to someday make a living with something music or internet related?

Sure. It'd be fun to have a job in a field that I have some interest in, and I think that I could do a very good job with something like marketing or A&R. If anyone wants to hire me, by all means, give me a holler. Right now, I'll consider any job that will pay me well enough to move and live comfortably enough to buy the kind of equipment which will allow me to start working on photography and film again.
How difficult is it to maintain the site?

It's not thaaaat hard. Most of the time that I spend working on the site is when I'm looking around for records to feature. Some weeks are better than others - there are some weeks which are total nightmares, where every day I'm desperate to find something hot enough to post. Sometimes I'm totally overwhelmed by excellent material. Obviously, some days I just won't be in the mood to write, or won't be able to figure out what to say about a song that I like a lot. Pushing myself to get things done every weekday has definitely made me a better writer, so it's worth it to work through the slow days.
Pick one musician and one question. Who is it and what do you ask?

I'd like to ask Bjork why she insists on doing these one-idea records lately. I appreciate her ideas, I just wish that she'd make more records like Post and Homogenic, on which every song had a whole bunch of ideas going, and every song had a different premise. Medulla just bored me so much - by the fourth song, it's just "okay, we get it." Really, this goes for a wide range of artists, particularly in the contemporary art world. I think that this might be where Bjork gets it, given the Matthew Barney connection. In the art world, it's all about "I have this one semi-clever idea, and I will devote an entire year to making essentially the same thing over and over again." I think that's lazy. The art that excites me the most is the stuff in which new ideas and concepts come at you rapid-fire and every individual film/song/image/whatever exists is distinct and different.
Could you see yourself still running your site in five years? Would you ever consider selling the blog?

If things go my way, I don't think that I'll be doing the blog (at least in the way that I do it now) five years from now, or even in two or three years. I'm not sure if I'll have the time, and I might find something else which might give me a way to share music with an audience that will be more satisfying. Right now, I'm in need of money, so if I had a good offer to sell the blog, or have it sponsored by something else (so long as I have editorial control of the content), I'd at least hear it out and consider it.
What's the best live show you've ever seen?

That's hard to say, because it gets a bit apples and oranges after a while. In terms of consistency, Sonic Youth is the best I've ever seen. I've seen them at least ten times since I was 14, and they've never been less than amazing. The most fun I've ever had at a show were all of the times I ever saw Pavement, who have been my favorite band since I was in 8th grade.
Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?

Avoid posting material by major labels unless you have a really good excuse. Look around at the other blogs, and figure out a way to do things differently, so you can stand out. I'd like to see more mp3 blogs which explore niches and subgenres. I think that mp3 blogs can be a great way to guide people through styles and genres that they aren't aware of, and there are a lot of people who would love to be educated on things like, say, non-English language hip hop or black metal, but don't know how or where to start.

Tomorrow: Gramophone speaks! His Master's Voice!
Special welcome to a new musicblog in the house: sensitively.
His posts are great and I like the audioblog concept but I'm mostly happy to welcome sensitively because he just turned me on to The Soul Club Jukebox.
With random playlist generator.
I like. I like a lot. This is reason enough to get a realplayer clone.