Music

Opio: Vulture's Wisdom, Vol. 1

Opio, who began releasing solo records in 2005, is primed to once again dazzle underground fans with his latest.


Opio

Vulture's Wisdom, Vol. 1

Label: Hiero Imperium
US Release Date: 2008-07-15
UK Release Date: Available as import
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Opio's place in hip-hop history is well cemented. His work in the Souls of Mischief and Hieroglyphics is the type of stuff underground Oakland rappers can only dream of. If the name doesn't ring a bell, take a listen to the Souls of Mischief classic "93 'til Infinity", or perhaps the whole album of the same name, and hang your head in shame. But I digress. Opio, who began releasing solo records in 2005, is primed to once again dazzle underground fans with his latest, Vulture's Wisdom Vol. 1. Although it's produced by The Architect and not Opio himself or one of his longtime pals, the album retains the same funky, true-school sound.

Both the rapper and the producer get a chance to shine individually on here. Opio absolutely destroys "Original Lyricist" with his beastly flow and clever wordplay. The Architect's "The Prize" is an exceptional effort that sounds like it crept out of MF DOOM's skull. Other tracks, like the exemplary "About Love" and the media-biting "To the People", show how well these two play off one another. Above them all, however, is "Vice Versa". The ever-changing beat matched with Opio's rapping will keep even the most ADHD-riddled listener interested. Rather than fill this album to the brim, Opio and The Architect hurl out 14 songs that leave you wanting more, which comes as a smart move. Although the voice-overs and editing aimed to detract piracy were distracting, what I did hear was a collection of strong material that hardly disappoints.

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Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

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From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

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This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

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