I think it's an easy choice.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Low fi guitar loop is cool
When the drums kick in and the backing vocals change around 30 seconds is genius. Drums drop when Kanye starts his verse which really sets it apart from Jay-Z's verse. The piano after the hook that replaces the backing vocals is really well done, then when they come back, they are the hook vocals, not the verse vocals. This works really well with the simple Oooooh that comes over the top.
Then the song really changes. It's really two songs together, Murder and Excellence. Murder is low-fi, gritty, muddy in the low end. Excellence is cleaner, much less low end. Vocal hook is cool, and totally different than the murder half.
Kanye says, "What's the life expectancy of black guys? The systems working effectively, that's why." I'm interpreting this two ways, one where he is saying the way things work give black guys short lifespans. The other is that he's saying, when a black person goes to court it is expected that they get a life sentence and that means the court system is working effectively. I really like that line.
From Curtis(after Dan's was written)-
"When the hook("whole lotta money in a black bag. black strap you know what thats for") is repeated at the end of the song, the line “black strap, you know what that’s for” segues into “Murder” (part of “Murder to Excellence”), which discusses black-on-black crime." -Rap Genius
This song perfectly exemplifies the form of the song matching the content. Murder (the first part of the song) has a gritty beat, with instrumentation and tones matching a more urban, harsh theme. The backing vocals create a driving force for each of the rappers, pushing them on, creating an aura of tension and giving the feeling of almost being hunted. This element is regarded as form, as it is the structure of the song; it frames the song and provides a skeleton that the content, or the lyrics, is laid over. The content of this section is about how black people murder each other, how black culture is self destructive, how murder is a manifestation of symptoms of a system that discriminates, oppresses and drives black people to murder each other. It's a mature approach to race relations, as it places blame on both black people ("It's time for us to stop redefine black power, 41 souls, murdered in 50 hours") and on the system (the same line Dan pointed out, "What's the life expectancy of black guys? The systems working effectively, that's why"). It challenges the community to move past violence and become more sophisticated ("If you put crabs in a barrel to insure your survival/You're gon' end up pulling down niggas that look just like you/What up, Blood? What up, cuz? It’s all black, I love us "), and as Rap Genius points out, "Jay uses the 50 Cent line “What up, Blood? What up, cuz?” to demonstrate that he is talking to all young black folks (“Blood” refers to the Bloods gang, and “cuz” is a common Crip salutation), and to remind them not to get caught up in gang violence, but rather to feel pride in their race. "
Excellence (the second half), has a cleaner, loftier rhythm. It's sounds sophisticated, and classy. The voices that made "Murder" ominous and threatening sounding shift and make it now sound high class. There are comparisons that can be made here between these vocals and gospel music. Gospel music could be considered one of the shining beacons of hope for the black community, as it has existed through hard times, through slavery and civil rights, and has remained a major part of the community through all its hard times. It has remained an unwavering force for good, and more importantly, a force for wanting to be better. There's a sense of hope in it, that they can push past this life full of hardships and misery and achieve a better one in heaven. The verses here talk about moving up in society, and how black people aren't really involved in high society (because of structurally imposed racism on black people dating all the way back to the middle passage). This song has a hope that blacks will rise up and join their equals in positions of power and influence. Hope that black people won't be stopped by police, for our society will have stopped demonizing black people to the massive extent that it does today. There's the clever line "Domino, Domino, only spot a few blacks the higher I go". If dominoes and black with white dots, the higher the number, the less black you will see. I'm not sure if this is what Jay-Z meant, but true art is something that gets us to ask questions, and whether or not the artist "meant" it does not matter as much as much as we think (for more on this, read Roland Barthes' "The Death of the Author"). It's an indictment and questioning of a system that oppresses black people. The Throne here seems to know that it's possible for African Americans to join them in places of power. It's realistic and it's tangible, albeit a tough road ahead.
The participle "to", when used here, indicates a movement from one place to another. This is what the song does. It moves from one aspect to another, and not only in terms of moving from one topic of discussion to another. The song carries the overall theme of hope, and in this same vein, The Throne hopes that African Americans can move from Murder to Excellence. In this way, by uniting form (rhythm, tone, the aesthetics of vocal parts) with content (the lyrics), Kanye and Jay Z have created a masterful piece of music. This unity is commonly found in good literature (most commonly in poetry).
Who ever said hip hop wasn't art?
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
When it was announced that Jonny Craig would be coming back to DGD, I wasn't sure what to expect. Teaming back up after all that time apart? Downtown Battle Mountain was one of my favorite CDs of all time and that had been 4 years ago. They had some high expectations to live up to, especially after Self Titled and Happiness were so good. As soon as I got my hands on DBM2, I played it. I was nervous. But then the first song "Spooks" came on. And my fears were immediately laid to rest. The arpeggio guitar intro followed by Jonny's "Foo--ool your word means shit"came out of the gate and told us that they were back. They were going to take no prisoners and just go for it. If there was ever a question about whether or not they would be able to follow up DBM, it was answered within the first 5 seconds of the CD.
This CD blows my mind. Every song, amazing. Even the songs I didn't like, I love now.
Highlight of this CD is obviously Jonny Craig. He is so good. There is a part in every song where I will listen to the song just to hear Jonny. Beginning of Spooks. "Riiiise abboove!" in Pounce Bounce. "And I swear this won't end soon" in Robot with Human Hair. Beginning of Thug City. "give it up" in Need Money. All of Elder Goose. "Feel the cracks of my skin, feel the souls of my feet now go" from Heat Seeking Ghost of Sex. "I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost you" in Blue Dream. "I won't let it break my self esteem" in Privilously Poncheezied. "My words are cheap, my thoughts are deep, cutting right through your soul" in Swan Soup. Everything in Purple Reign. He has swag, soul, sadness and passion in every note he sings. He is not a technical musician, but he knows melody like no one else that I can think of.
And that's not to say he's the only good part. Matt Mingus is incredible on the kit. He's been good forever. I especially love his use of double bass. His whole style is really tight and controlled, providing the perfect backing, but also being very talented once examined. Will Swan on the guitar is amazing, providing so many varied types of riffs, perfectly executed.
It sits on this weird boundary of art that's suppose to make sense but the thing itself actually does not make a whole lot of sense. Jon Mess has said in the past that lots of his lyrics are dreams he's had, and Jonny Craig's lyrics are mostly about sleeping with girls; none of them really fit that cohesively together. However, they fit melodically. They interrupt each other enough to not let the other get boring. The two bonus tracks, while decent, are not on the same level as the cd. The reason: only one singer on each of them. So, were stuck. If they can't write a piece of music that makes sense, and have it work, what do you do? You feel the music. There's a soul in there that comes out like it does in post rock. There are no words in postrock, yet it is emotionally impacting. It doesn't matter what mess is yelling about and its almost irrelevent what jonny is singing (unless you are obsessed with girls. Then its spot on swag).
Monday, April 25, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I guess people are finding this blog, so I want to take some time and say this. I like Jonny Craig. His actions regarding the macbooks were unquestionably immoral and wrong. However, those actions were spurred on by drugs and drugs make you do that kinda wacked up shit. He's clean now and seems to want to be a better person and I wholly support that. I love his voice and I really like his style. He's not the nicest person in the world (cmon he is not Vic Fuentes) but I'm not either. I think he's hilarious. His twitter is so funny. And he's handling everything that's happening actually pretty well.
The new DGD cd is incredible. Jonny kills it in every song and I can't wait for him to do more. I wish I could sing like him. And I wish I could pull off the mullet like he does.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Kickin' Wing, Animal Doctor, Catfish Soup, Outro are my fav songs.
Oh outro. I love that song so much. It's just a piano. And it's moving. I can't describe it. I'm moved by it. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. The descending pattern, then the high note. I'm all about that shit. It sounds very similar to Explosions in the Sky's "Your Hand in Mine" from "The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place". That song is also very good. Outro is a shorter, more to the point version of that song.
This may be one of those CDs that people don't like right away.
Or maybe it's shit and I love it anyway.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Jonny Craig's scandal. So I should at least show part of what I found.
Also, this makes him a fucked up person and all. But fuck he just kills at from 2:30 - 2:55 on "The Robot with Human Hair Pt. 2 1/2".
Jon Mess is a really funny and intelligent guy. He doesn't give a fuck almost as much as Jonny. Except he's not a scumbag who scams his own fans out of money for drugs. If it was for rent or food, then maybe. Not heroin.
Monday, February 21, 2011
This guy is a douche bag. I can understand just being a prick. I give people the benefit of the doubt in that case. But scamming? No sympathy. I hope he goes to jail. If it's the drug's fault, maybe he'll get clean and become a better person. I hope so. His voice is so lovely.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tonight - Enrique Iglesia
Hold It Against Me - Britney Spears
DJ Got Us Fallin in Love - Usher
Dynamite - Taio Cruz
Replay - Iyaz
I Just Had Sex - The Lonely Island
Bass Down Low - Dev and the Cataracts
Six Foot, Seven Foot - Lil Wayne
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
Look at Me Now - Chris Brown
Club Can't Handle Me Right Now - Flo Rida
Top of the World - Dev and the Cataracts
Without You - Usher and David Guetta
Boyfriend - Justin Beiber
The Motto - Drake
Hot Right Now - DJ Fresh ft Rita Ora
Good Feeling - Flo Rida
Take Over Control - Afrojack
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
-AstroLounge 4th grade, summer of 7th grade
-Hybrid Theory (5th grade)
-Meteora (summer before and 8th grade)
-Start Something (8th grade)
-Enema of the State (4th grade)
-blink 182 (8th grade)
-All Killer No Filler (8th grade)
-Does This Look Infected? (Summer before 9th grade)
-Chuck (10th grade)
-"Air Force Ones", "Rid Wit Me", "Shake Ya Tailfeathers (7th grade)
-The Eminem Show (6th grade)
-The Young and the Hopeless (8th grade)
-Poodle Hat (7th Grade)
-Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (edited)(5th grade)
Jimmy eat World
-"The Middle", "Sweetness" (Summer before 8th grade)
-Teen Spirit (Summer before 6th grade)
-Aaron's Party (Come and Get It) (don't remember exactly, but I think 5th grade-6th grade probably)
-Oh Aaron (6th-beginning of 7th grade)
-Warning (5th-6th grade)
-Dookie (7th Grade)
-Insomniac + Nimrod (9th-10th grade)
-American Idiot (9th grade)
- Sufferer and the Witness - (11th Grade)
- Appeal to Reason (Freshman Year of College)
-Waking the Fallen (9th-10th grade)
-City of Evil (summer of 10th grade)
-Self-Titled (end of 12th grade)
-The Curse (10th grade)
-Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses (10th-11th grade)
-saw at Warped 2006, didn't get that into until 10th grade with Writing and the Walls. (Iris and Chey)
-MMHMM (hume lake in 10th grade, I knew all the words. so at least since 9th grade)
-two lefts (9th-11th)
-decemberunderground (10th-11th grade)
-Sing the Sorry (8th grade)
-Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax ( late 11th grade-12th grade)
-The Emptiness (sophomore year of college)
Between the Buried and Me
-Alaska (11th grade)
-The Silent Circus (11th grade)
-Colors (12th grade)
-Self-Titled (summer before 12th grade)
-MLK, Everready (11th grade)
Fall Out Boy
-Take This To Your Grave, From Under the Cork Tree (summer before 10th grade)
-Infinity on High (France during 11th grade)
HORSE the Band
-Pizza (end of 12th grade)
-Stunt, Everything to Everyone (8th grade)
-Are Me (11th grade)
-Americana (5th Grade)
-Splinter (9th grade)
The Academy is...
-Almost Here (10th grade)
Dance Gavin Dance
-DBM1 (12th Grade)
A Skylit Drive
-She Watched the Sky, Wires (12th Grade)
System of a Down
-Toxicity (8th grade)
Monday, January 24, 2011
I mean, how do I chose between BMTH, ADTR and Yeezy?