Los Angeles stripe aficionados Nancy FullForce put out a great boxing-themed video for the song “Rock n Rola” late last year. Frontman Jasten King and his band put out my favorite kind of music—heavy on the guitars, the eyeliner and the charisma. The fact that they are gorgeous should not hinder your appreciation of their music. Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful. Love them because even Guitar Hero 5 can’t deny the rock assault they bring. Check out their MySpace page.
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Check out the new music video for Erykah Badu’s newest single, “Jump Up in the Air (Stay There)” featuring the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” Lil Wayne. Accompanied by a deep shade of purple, this psychedelic video presents a kaleidoscope vision of Badu and Weezy. It is truly a sight. Surprisingly, this song will not appear on Erykah’s upcoming album, New Amerykah Part II: Return of Ankh.
People place a log of baggage and lazy description in the word “old school” in hip-hop. It’s a way to insult someone’s credibility, make a crude comparison or simply use free hand for “the way I imagine my youth”. I prefer to emphasize old school as the feeing you get when an MC does something spectacular from what falsely appears to be simplicity. Ra the MC Ra the MC has a double dutching tongue and fierce, self-assured charisma that emanates from the quick upper cuts of her flow. While the sample in “Lost Ones” is from Lauren Hill’s song of the same name, the reconstruction here conceives the song in curt knots of piano and percussion that booms and clatters, less backdrop and more of an announcement of Ra’s prowess. So few female MCs can manage to pull off hard feminity without resorting to overt violence, myna-masculinity or the suggestion of sexual accessibility. Ra brushes off roles with vison and earned bombast: she’s all defense and verbal ratatat layed out in checkmate architecture.
I admit that I have a weakness for the neighborhood tour video, a beautiful reminder that the best video interpretations of a song are those that engage with its context, its era, its scene, its source of passion. In this scan and span movements of the video there’s more life, verve, and sync with the song than there would be on a shoot filled with Aston Martins, champagne bottles and women synced in ass shake. Perhaps I’d rather have fantasies that simply magnify the real rather than simulate the discredited fantasies of money and the regal isolation of fame. In hip-hop, confidence can quickly morph into the despotism of the narcissist (Diagnosis: Kanye). Ra brims with seductive energy that doesn’t have to be amped up or tricked out in futuristic hooker garb. It’s hard to find easy touchstones for the way she shifts from hard dense lyrical cuts into easy, torn open, singing. A few obvious trendsetters come to mind: Bahamadia’s zen frame of phrase, Rah Digga’s weaponized delivery and even Jean Grae’s cagey intellectual poetry. This D.C. up and comer has few peers to stand in the way of her becoming a defining force among the new faces of hip-hop.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, a space known for great art exhibitions and for being a work of art itself, the iconic structure having been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s also popularly used as a movie set. To mark the historic occasion, the museum commissioned some 200 artists to create speculative reinventions of the building’s interior space, treating the vast inside expanse as a brand new canvas. The exhibit, fittingly titled “Contemplating the Void”, began this past Friday and runs through 28 April. You can view an online version of the exhibition here and the few samples below give you the idea of what to expect from this intriguing project.
Today was the best Valentine’s Day ever. I worked a weekend shift at Edible Arrangements to make some extra cash. Edible Arrangements makes flower bouquets out of fruit. All of the flowers are made in the store, in case you were wondering…
I got to work at eight in the morning, collected my jobs and left the store to make deliveries around Los Angeles. It was unseasonably warm with joyously clear skies, a great day to drive around with the windows down and listen to your music really loud. I had to keep the arrangements frigid, them being perishable and all. So, unfortunately, I was driving around with the AC full blast and I’m not a fan of AC.
Either way, I had my music. And even though I was alone, each delivery promised a new and exciting encounter with a customer as well. Once I was done with each round of deliveries and all of the fruit bouquets were dropped off, I turned off the AC and rolled down the windows for some glorious music listening fun. I selected Manu Chau’s “Clandestino” from the iPod section of my iPhone, and engaged the Genius feature. Throughout the day, I simply hit “Refresh” and a newly shuffled, slightly altered playlist would commence again. Below, a sampling from the soundtrack of the day…
// Notes from the Road
"Co-presented by the World Music Institute, the 92Y hosted a rare and mesmerizing performance from India's violin virtuoso L. Subramaniam.READ the article