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kg’s top ten albums of 2007 December 27, 2007

Posted by KG in hip-hop, misc, music, top ten lists.
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i decided to link to random youtube videos of songs from each album…

10. blu & exile – below the heavens

9. lupe fiasco – the cool

8. arcade fire – neon bible

7. radiohead – in rainbows

6. spoon – ga ga ga ga ga

5. panda bear – person pitch

4. feist – the reminder

3. common – finding forever

2. lcd soundsystem – sound of silver

1. kanye west – graduation

honorable mentions go to 2007 releases from oh no, animal collective, of montreal, jay dee, justice, rilo kiley, and the cunninlynguists. hot chip would’ve made it if their album came out a bit earlier and amy winehouse would’ve if hers came out a bit later. i decided not to include compilations and mixtapes but honorable mentions in that realm go to stones throw’s b-ball zombie war, j*davey’s land of the lost, and dj soul & okayplayer’s assorted donuts.

figuring out a top ten tracks list is going to take me a while…

update: belated honorable mentions to waajeed’s the war lp, the good, the bad & the queen’s self titled album and the veils’ nux vomica even though that was officially 2006 i think…

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kanye west: spin entertainer of the year December 22, 2007

Posted by KG in arts/culture, comedy, hip-hop, interviews, music, race.
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regardless of whether he’s the entertainer of the year, he is certainly one of the most entertaining interviewees ever…

the difference between him and someone like michael jackson or prince in their prime is that we didn’t see them actively trying to be the coolest person on the planet – their cool was effortless while his is manufactured. and with the internet and blogs etc etc, we see his desperate attempts to have everyone like him, which cheapens his appeal. i predict 20 years from now he will be respected as one of the great pop artists of our generation, but not liked. keep making good music and stop telling us you’re the best thing since sliced bread and then maybe we’ll believe you. until then you remain an insecure musical genius.

spin:

You made a conscious effort to shape Graduation for the next level of mainstream success? A conscious effort to take it to the next level in every form of success. More black people bought this album than any I’ve made.

Does that make sense to you? Uh-huh. Because I made the album blacker.

You think Graduation is blacker than The College Dropout? Way blacker. “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” — how hood is that record? “Good Life” is straight Steve Harvey, all day long. “Flashing Lights”? I never had a record that was that black. But it’s white at the same time. Certain things are so good it doesn’t have to be white or black. That’s what Graduation is. Take “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” It’s a white sample, but everything I do to it is to make it as black as possible. So I’ma make the bass as black as possible; I’ma make the lyrics as intense as possible.

Are these choices strictly artistic, or are you thinking as a marketer, too? Can you separate those roles? I can’t. I’m a pop enigma. I live and breathe every element in life. I rock a bespoke suit and I go to Harold’s for fried chicken. It’s all these things at once, because, as a tastemaker, I find the best of everything. There’s certain things that black people are the best at and certain things that white people are the best at. Whatever we as black people are the best at, I’ma go get that. Like, on Christmas I don’t want any food that tastes white. And when I go to purchase a house, I don’t want my credit to look black. [Laughs]

And what foods would fall into that category? White-people food? You know what it is. You never ate fried chicken and said, “This tastes white.” It’s America. People know the stereotypes. I play to the stereotypes. I believe in the stereotypes. And I submit to them. [Affects a black, Southern accent] “Man, black people sure can cook some chicken! And I’ma get some black chicken.”

You were only seven when Thriller peaked. Was Michael Jackson on your radar when — [Stares incredulously] Was Michael Jackson on my radar?! I’m black. Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, and Mike Tyson. Michael Jackson is my favorite artist of all time. Every time I hit the stage, every time I write a song, every time I write a rap, every performance I do, every time I pick out an outfit, I think about Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson is synonymous with the greatest that you could possibly do in music.

You’ve been through a lot this year. Do you have a sense of how you’ve changed as a person? Every year I learn more. Times are still scary, but I got to sit down with Daft Punk and Madonna, and with a lot of incredible individuals, and learn from them. I’m gonna keep making music so that ten, 20 years from now, I’ll be able to be where Mick is. Where Bono is.

Who do you think your Album of the Year competition is? That’s what I’m saying: There is no competition! [Laughs]

And what will you do if, God forbid, you don’t get nominated in the major categories? [Long pause, then a look of total vulnerability] Man! Do you think I should be worrying? I mean, really, do you think that’s even possible?

rolling stone’s 40th anniversary issue November 14, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, arts/culture, books, campaign finance, comedy, design, econ, environment, film, health, hip-hop, history, immigration, international, interviews, iraq, iraq war, media, misc, music, news, politics, race, religion, science, style, tech, television, terrorism.
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“This issue looks forward, not back, and it’s packed with interviews with the artists, leaders and thinkers who can best divine what our future holds. It arrives, appropriately, during the run-up to next year’s presidential election, which looms as a moment of truth for our nation. “People are nauseous about being perceived as the enemy,” Bono says of America’s standing in the world. “Whoever fixes that problem gets elected.” But it’s not just politics – as a society, we face choices that will likely determine the fate of our civilization, matters of war and peace, resource depletion and explosive population growth. And, of course, global warming: “It’s a mistake to think of the climate crisis as one in a list of issues that will define our future,” Al Gore tells us. “It is the issue.”

We don’t claim to have the answers to these challenges, but we do know where to look for leadership and inspiration. The values of tolerance, inclusiveness, common sense and personal liberty (not to mention fun) that took shape in the 1960s have animated this magazine ever since.”

chock full of wit and wisdom from some of the world’s most interesting minds…

you can find the entire issue digitally right here, but the interface rolling stone set up is really horrible, so i’ve made the text from some of the interviews into pdfs:

BILL CLINTON

BILL GATES

AL GORE

SAM HARRIS

PAUL KRUGMAN

BILL MAHER

JON STEWART

CORNEL WEST

KANYE WEST

here’s some quotes that i’ve culled:

(more…)

kanye west – “good morning” music video November 12, 2007

Posted by KG in animation, arts/culture, design, film, hip-hop, media, misc, music, style, tech.
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update: youtube video taken down – here’s a new link.

“The music video to Good Morning by Kanye West & Takashi Murakami ONLY at the Geffen Contemporary – Museum of Contemporary Art in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles CA.

Sorry so shaky in the beginning of the video. I didn’t want security to catch me videotaping the video. Plus the autofocus on my camera gets pretty weird sometimes…”