RiFF RaFF - Art Ballin’ (by iamOTHER)
New shit from Blake, this video is hauntingly cool.
New Album “Overgrown” out this April
Oooof oooff, shits heating up and its only FEBRUARY people. Bonobo and Badu connect, like some interstellar highfive that breaks the sound barrier and then is slowed down for humans to witness.
bout it bout it.
Bonobo’s The North Borders due out April 1
For my last PJ & BD, I want to discuss a bit of the origins of one of the cornerstones of Hip Hop culture. Breakdancing. In order to that, I will first hip you to a clip from one of the first forays into documenting the artform,
In our hip hop studies class, we discussed how this artform takes from the original dance styles of Africa, which in contrast to the Anglo-Saxon European dance types such as ballet which is always reaching upward or praising the sky. these African dance moves are always in direct movement to the ground, or praising the earth.
Breakdancing to me, fleshes this idea out fully, as the entirety of their movements is about falling to the ground and spinning and jiving in the most smooth fashion possible. I have a theory as to why the two styles have such a large distinction in their direction. The musical instruments and frequencies of such dancing as ballet, are dominated by Violins, and other string instruments, perhaps woodwinds as well, which all lean towards higher pitched tones. While african rhythms and break dancing (which takes from sampling funk and soul drum fills), are entirely centered around the drums, obviously a lower frequency and toned instrument. These instruments sit lower in our ear space, and perhaps organically tend to make us want to reach down instead of reaching up.
Some more break dancing videos that I like which demonstrate this sort of movement.
Hip hop in the last 2 years has in my honest opinion resurged into a great era of young talent and new styles. And one of the greatest changes in this age, besides mixtapes sounding like albums, and producers experimenting into new territories, is how many seriously talented female rappers there are today.
It used to be that you’d have once in a blue moon, that female rapper who came in and became a force, to reference an article written on the matter by Tricia Rose “female rappers have been uniformly touted as sexually progressive antisexist voices in rap music”. This was evident with voices such as MC Lyte, and Queen Latifah in the 80’s and 90s. In the late 90’s and 2000’s, artists such as Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, and Eve sort of reverted the script to using their sexuality in a sex-positive way, creating a sort of female pimp mystique (albeit one of the most famous rappers Lauryn Hill was present during this time as a counterpoint, serving as an inspirational figure in conscious spiritual rapping in general, not just for women).
Now in this era of rap, I am extremely impressed with how far female rappers have come, not just in their rapping ability, but in how detached they are from the entire dialogue and expectations of what most female rappers were used to going through. Now they sort of just do as they please, rapping their asses off. For example
and who could forget this show stopping moment when Nicki Minaj (whose latest output I wouldn’t use as a bar of excellence however), stole the show on Kanye’s Monster, from a song that featured both West AND Jay-Z.
I look forward to rappers like Angel coming in and redefining everything we used to think about female rappers, to the point where we don’t even pay attention so much to their femininity as to just how slick they are on the mic.
One thing that I can’t help but notice sometimes within my peers, people I meet, and even sometimes within myself, is a certain affection for larger than life hip music, and hardcore gangsta raps. Now this is a subject that has been bandied about for more than 2 decades and at this point one could argue we are in a sort of post-racial understanding of what these cultural trophs are about, but the presence and admiration of these kinds of songs is still stronger than ever. For example:
The video above is of course a parody on the popular Waka Flocka Flame jam “Hard In Da Paint” a veritable street anthem since its release in 2010. What this video shows to me is that we as a rap consuming audience is still, and may very well always be fascinated with street colloquialisms, and energy that we may never confront face to face, besides on a blogroll. Things like this, a sudden reclaiming of the ‘n word” by non-blacks by kids in my age group and younger, I used to sort of just swim with the wave on. But thinking critically, I start to feel like we are in a sort of Bizarro Zeigest Culture Clash of a world where meanings and truths are completely without rules, and no one needs to apologizing for liking or saying anything. I’m not sure what this means for the next decade of hip hops growth, but from where I stand today, it truly seems wild.
What’s liberating to me about Hip Hop culture is its ability to manifest itself in different shapes and forms and permeate through cultures that seem completely unconnected to its New York City origins. In a reading from Yvonne Banoe in 2002 entitled “Getting Real About Hip Hop” she argues that “what is often omitted from the chronicles of Hip Hop culture is that it also represents the resilience, creativity, and intellect of young Black American”. While I appreciate her validity in arguing this, I feel that the writer sort of misses a key point in how culture progresses.
Massive Tone, a popular German rap outfit.
Through the democratizing force and spread of media and internet communication, there are whole rap cultures that have been birthed completely and utterly remote from where Hip Hop was birthed. People identify with the “feeling” that they receive from hip hop visuals, whether it be breakdancing, graffiti, DJing, or the aforementioned rapping. This resonates a bit with me growing up in a small southern town in the United States, where hip hop was rarely physically present, but was heard and seen abundantly through MTV and mainstream radio.
Raw Tapes, “Puzzles” compilation, an Israeli Instrumental Hip Hop Label
Take the above example as well. Recently on one of my radio shows, I had the chance to interview a graphic designer/beat artist and one of the original founders of Tel Aviv hip hop label “Raw Tapes”. This group of individuals are simply just a bunch of Israeli’s who grew up being “Hip Hop Heads”, listening to the beats of J Dilla, MF Doom, Madlib and more, and taking that intense dedicated to what they liked, however distant, recreating it as organically possible in their native lands. The inspiring thing about this to me, and what I feel sort of not disapproves, but makes irrelevant the Yvonne Banoe article is that yes these are not the same people, with the same skin, but culture now moves freely through the air independent of physical location. This freedom allows it to be rebirthed seemingly out of thin air, and the individuals doing have only to take their own interpretation as their “truth”, redefining what really is Hip Hop Culture.
“MRAZ” - Flatbush Zombies (Directed by Phillip T. Annand)
Madbury Club gang fucking knocked it out of the park with these visuals, and this song goes too hawd. ZOMBIES!