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talib kweli – momma can you hear me January 30, 2008

Posted by KG in hip-hop, music.
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kweli, kanye, mos, & common

unreleased…from the eardrum sessions…produced by kanye west:

& don’t hold your breath for this one, but good news nonetheless on the reflection eternal front:

Lastly, Talib Kweli confirmed that he’s closing out the year with a reunion with Hi-Tek. “People asked for it, so we got back together, and we’re working on that.” Albeit sparse on details, Kweli promised the project to be released before the close of 2008, and revealed that recording was underway.

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

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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…

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?

npr: “establishing a hip hop canon” November 15, 2007

Posted by KG in arts/culture, hip-hop, history, interviews, media, misc, music, news, race.
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listen to “establishing a hip hop canon” (32:17)

“After three decades, hip hop is more segmented than ever, by both regional styles (East Coast, West Coast, Dirty South) and in stylistic terms (Gangsta rap, conscious hip-hop, “alternative” rap). From these many parts a canon is emerging and today we debate its meaning. Joining us is Mark Anthony Neal, associate professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University; and Brian Coleman, author of Check the Technique.”

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 on 60 minutes November 14, 2007

Posted by KG in arts/culture, comedy, hip-hop, interviews, media, misc, music, news, tech.
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classic status at 55 seconds…

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…”

just when you thought consumerism couldn’t get more trashy… October 24, 2007

Posted by KG in comedy, econ, environment, hip-hop, misc, news.
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kanye west alerts us to the new “louis vuitton line of luxury disposable goods.”

i’m sure it pays dividends in early adopter status for the filthy money set…

and for anyone who thinks this qualifies as some kind of pomo trash as art – stop being ironic.

kanye west “stronger” translation October 14, 2007

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from slangcity:

found this pretty hilarious… translation of “stronger”…makes the idiocy stand out that much more…for those that don’t speak hip-hop:

original:

“Let’s get lost tonight
You could be my black Kate Moss tonight
Play secretary I’m the boss tonight
And you don’t give a fuck what they all say, right?
Awesome, the Christian in Christian Dior
Damn! They don’t make ’em like this anymore
I ask, ’cause I’m not sure
Do anybody make real shit anymore?
Bow in the presence of greatness
‘Cause right now thou hast forsaken us
You should be honored by my lateness
That I would even show up to this fake shit
So go ahead go nuts, go ape shit
‘Specially in my best stand on my Bape shit
Act like you can’t tell who made this
New gospel, homey–take six, and take this, haters”

becomes>>>

“Let’s get lost tonight.
You could be my black Kate Moss tonight.
We can play a fantasy sex game in which you’re the secretary I’m the boss tonight.
And you don’t care at all what people say, do you?
That’s great, the Christian in Christian Dior brand designer clothing.
Damn! (used for emphasis) They don’t make songs like this anymore.
I ask, because I’m not sure,
“Does anybody make good music anymore?”
You should bow to me because I’m great
because right now you have abandoned us .
You should be honored that even though I am late
I came here for your poor quality music.
So go ahead–go crazy
Especially when I am wearing my Bape brand designer clothing.
Pretend you can’t tell who made this song!
This is the new gospel, friend–take a few minutes off, and listen to this, jealous rivals!”

and the chorus becomes>>>

“I like you.

I don’t know if you have a boyfriend
Or if you have already made plans for this evening.
I don’t know if God has me in his plans for you.
I’m acting crazy–drinking alcohol has made me talkative,
But I know that God put you in front of me,
So I really don’t understand how you could pretend to me.
There’s a thousand “you”s, but there’s only one of me.
I’m going crazy–I’m excited about this moment–do you understand?

Because there is a beautiful woman wearing Louis Vuitton designer clothes tonight,
we are going to do everything that I like.
I heard they’d do anything for a Klondike ice cream bar.
Well, I’d do anything for a blond lesbian,
And she’ll do anything to get a lot of attention,
And we’ll do anything when the time’s right.
Uh! Baby, you’re making it (harder, better, faster, stronger)”