Wednesday, March 24, 2010

one word that music critics use way too much


the word isn't being used wrong; on the contrary, it's usually all too appropriate: delicate, airy, pertaining to the upper regions of space...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 Provides the Most Ill-Informed Article Concerning Capitalism and Rap EVER

Why Hamilton Nolan, why? You write for Gawker, which is a liberal semi-trashy gossip/NYC update website. Why would you out of the blue write an article telling people how to feel about Jay Z? Why is it important that people not look up to Jay Z?

"Yes, Jay-Z is a cool black guy who has nice flows and a famous, pretty wife and knows CEOs and other fun things, and white internet people have embraced him orgasmically just like they bizarrely embraced janky coke rap a couple years ago. But Jay-Z represents one thing: money. And you, cool kids, always aspire to be about more than that. Let's have good idols instead of empty ones that are all shiny."

Hmmm...let's talk about hip hop and money, shall we? What was one of the first hits of the mid-1980's? Erik B. and Rakim's "Paid in Full." And album cover that features the artists holding money with one hundred dollar bills as the backdrop. Run D.M.C. created a fantastic track entitled "My Adidas." That track helped sell a LOT of shoes, even to this day.

Now let's flash forward to the early nineties. The Wu Tang Clan help sell Tommy Hilfiger clothing, Gucci products and write a track entitled "C.R.E.a.M." What is the hook to that track?

"Cash Rules Everything Around Me
Get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y'all"

Any track from 2pac or Biggie. Nas raps, "I'm out for Dead Presidents to represent me," on his track "Dead Presidents."

Oh, what's that Hamilton Nolan? You have thoughts concerning Nas as well?

"GOD DAMN KIDS TODAY DON'T EVEN APPRECIATE Illmatic. Sorry. Had to get that off my chest."

Nas is good but Jay Z is bad. And the basis is that Nas doesn't rap about money or capitalism? Nas, who writes a track called "Money is my Bitch" is somehow above Jigga because he's above capitalism? Consider this point rendered wholly moot.

And that's the problem. The basis of the entire article relies on the flawed argument that because Jay Z raps about money, he should not be treated as talented artist.

Hamilton Nolan, you have revealed yourself as not fit to write about hip hop. At all. The end. But you went to a Dead Prez concert and talked to them backstage?

"But I just got back from the Harvest of Hope Festival, a huge three-day music festival in Florida, where I got the chance to interview Dead Prez, the single most non-hypocritical rap group in America, the closest thing to a modern-day Public Enemy."

They told you that Jay Z represents all that is wrong in the business and that is that? You see, Hamilton, you've played right into their hands. You think they're not businessmen too? AND HOW CAN YOU CALL THEM THE MOST NON-HYPOCRITICAL RAP GROUP?!? On what basis are you judging hip hop artists? What makes a group more non-hypocritical than the next? You don't know, BECAUSE YOU'RE COMPLETELY BIASED.

Fact: Dead Prez rely on capitalism as much as the next group. Do you know who the biggest fans of Dead Prez are? WHITE PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY ARE COOL! These white people spend their discretionary income on Dead Prez records. Oh, you have something to say to cool white people too?

"So, yea. Hey cool kids, you can't idolize Jay-Z and Dead Prez at the same time."

Now I assume this is a joke at this point. Mr. Nolan has written an article meant to stir up as many page hits and nasty feedback as possible. Mission accomplished. However, I don't think this opinion piece belongs anywhere on Gawker. Just because you go see your favorite hip hop group and interview them does not make you a cultural critic of hip hop.

Jay Z is not my favorite rapper. Not by a long shot. I find it necessary to defend him from a moronic writer who sees the fault of an entire genre of music in only one artist. Hamilton Nolan, please go back to writing about anything other than music. Thanks.

Friday, March 5, 2010

i know why the nicolas cage bird sings

it's been almost thirty years since "fast times at ridgemont high", but major hollywood's love affair with nicolas cage is showing no signs of slowing down. they took out my wisdom teeth yesterday morning and i decided to pass the night watching, among other things, last year's flop "knowing" (which is what you get when no one is willing to call out m. night shyamalan). pseudo-religious, pseudo-sci-fi apocalypse crap. i won't get into specifics aside from saying that vicodin works.

anyway, i got to thinking, "man that nick cage fellow has made some odd career choices recently." let's have a look at the last few years. a pretty bad remake of "bad lieutenant", the above mentioned "knowing", a really horrible remake of "bangkok dangerous", "national treasure 2: national treasurer", "next", and "ghost rider". i've omitted his voice acting in "g-force" and "astro boy" along with his cameo in "grindhouse". every movie i listed above is really really really shitty.

but you know what's good about starring in crappy big-budget movies that no one with a drop of reputation would go anywhere near? they'll put your name in super big letters on the poster, every single time. they'll probably even put your face on the DVD jacket, too.

so let's all raise a glass to oscar winner nicolas cage. his golden days have surely passed (the rock, con air, and face/off were released in succession), but he's still out there getting paid millions of dollars to fight the good fight. hey, someone has to star in "ghost rider 2".

back to the future

here's a little peek at the freakish dystopia that exists in tom ewing's head (he's one of my favorite fork-compensated retards). what tom is imagining is the year 2021, when CD-Rs make a comeback. it's historical fiction that takes place in the future, which is terra firma for The Onion, but quite the adventure for the fork.

i've tried several times now to write something in depth about how stupid this is, but it kind of felt like writing an extensive essay on the blueness of the sky. i'll try to boil my reaction down to the essentials.

nevermind that CD's represent the motherfucking inception of digital culture. nevermind that every major music-seller has already vanished (in ewing's imagination, "Britain's high street stores stopped stocking CDs five years ago"). and nevermind that a guy who writes many thousands of words elaborating on a made-up future for hipsters has clearly run out of shit to say.

instead, ignore the glaring idiocy, and embrace this style as the logical next step for pitchfork writers: having exhausted the past, they can now go on to writing about tomorrow's nostalgia today.

one short post-script: if hipsters really wanted to rebel against digital culture, they'd stop being dilettante collectors, and they'd start actually supporting musicians by paying to watch them perform.