Thursday, July 30, 2009

Status Update

Getting ever closer to the release date of the new J Wess single Anything For You featuring myself and Mr. Jerson Trinidad (August 21), J's been out doing a lot of press for it. We're also gearing up for the Flo Rida tour, and they snuck in a slot with Beyonce in Sydney for us too by the looks of things.

By all accounts, the folks who have been interviewing J seem to get what we're trying to do with the new label and are interested to see what I come out with on my own record. No $hit, me too!

Last few weekends I've been recording new tracks for my record (J's is in the can, bar a few tweaks here and there), I'm looking forward to getting back to it this weekend. I used to be impatient about locking in a track list, but these days I'm really enjoying the process of stacking as many tracks as possible and then sitting back at the end and picking the best ones. Darwin, baby.

Anyway, one of the tracks we're laying down this weekend is something really different for us, and could be the next song out through Rendition Entertainment. Not sure if it'll be off J's record, mine, or something totally different. But you should be hearing it soon.

Detroit Red, And The Ongoing Race Issue

When I was a teen, I really got into Malcolm X (as most kids who grew up on Hip Hop did at some stage I would imagine). I read his excellent autobiography at least twice, and was pi$$ed off when my 11th grade English teacher handed my essay on Malcolm X back to me and said he was a 'political thug' (later I came to appreciate what he was trying to do - namely, knock the 'star worship' outta me and get me thinking critically).

As President Obama's popularity rating dips and the race issue starts to dig in, it's good to reflect and remember that race relations are an ongoing dialogue and can probably never be tied up in a neat little package with an Inaugaration Day ribbon on top.

Malcolm x Return from Mecca
by oublierleracismeskyblog

Kirk Franklin Gets Starbury All Weepy


I love to talk $hit about Steph Marbury, given the way he did The Knicks, but damn. I think I'll leave him alone for now.

Who knows what's really going on.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What Does Your City Sound Like?

Unfortunately this doesn't answer that question (how cool would it be if there was a site that had actual atmospheric street sounds from all the great cities?), but it's still kinda cool. I'm not sure how they determine which songs to play for each city (are they supposed to be descriptive and unique to the city they're ascribed to?).

I don't know why I post stuff like this that I'm so clearly dispassionate about.

File it under 'seems like a good idea at the time.'

Music 2.0

Smart cookies like my man Weez over at the Affinity Music Group are already putting all of this stuff into action - it's the new rules of the music game (referring to the "record industry" seems a little limited these days).

Fans are the new record label. The business now all depends on the relationship between an artist and their fans, most importantly the uber fans, the ones who buy all the merchandise, go to all the shows, and spread the word about their favorite bands.

We're in a transitional faze where the old record label dinosaurs are completely unwilling to accept that this is the new way of things. But they still have a lot of power and pull. So there's gonna be growing pains for a few years to come, but once those crusty old technocrats kick off, and today's artists (and frustrated used-to-be artists) take up the positions of power, the points outlined in this article will start to be standard. I think. But who the hell knows.

Shoulda Stayed In Food & Beverage: How To Be Ace Rothstein

This post is primarily for The Biz, who should be tap dancing his way down Las Ramblas in Barcelona right about now.

I found this cool site that will really help you deepen your sports gambling jones.

Build graphical charts using NFL, NBA, College Basketball, College Football, and NASCAR stats. (more sports coming soon)

Each chart comes in three formats: interactive Flash, image, and thumbnail. You can embed any of these in a website or blog.

Even if you're not a gambler, it's still pretty cool. Unless you hate sports. Then it sux.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I Have a Dream

Ok, maybe Martin Luther King Jnr's famous speech isn't included, but just about every other great American speech of the 20th Century is on this Presidential Speech Archive.

Ask not what you're favourite rapper can do for you, but what you can do for your favourite rapper.

Frustrated Knick Fan Tracker: David Lee Wants Out

If you flick back through previous months' posts, anywhere between November last year and May this year, you'll find pretty much weekly mentions of David Lee.

He's the big white dude who looks like he should do big white dude numbers (4.6 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game), but who is in reality The Laird Of The Double Doubles.

So of course, it makes sense that The New York Knicks, the franchise with the greatest responsibility to it's fans and the worst track record in recent memory of both on and off court policy, has pi$$ed off their most consistent performer so much that he kinda wants out.

"At the start of this process I was really excited to be in New York, I thought it wouldn't be too difficult to work something out, but now we're forced to start looking at different options with sign-and trades and stuff like that," Lee told "I'm sure it's going to be something we're not expecting, it's going to be something that's very complicated. But my gut would be that it's going to be difficult at this point to get a long-term deal done with New York, that's my gut."

The Knicks are gonna look so attractive to LBJ next summer.

What The F*&k Is a Conservative?

Is it an old fashioned fuddy-duddy who wears suspenders and smokes a pipe? Is it someone who perpetually wants things to stay 'as they are,' or 'go back to the way they were' ? Do all conservatives necessarily hate every single immigrant who arrives on their shores? Is it pretty much exclusively a white thing?

I dunno. I really don't. But this article, with a nice sensationalist title, is worth a read if you've ever pondered these questions.

What passes for conservatism today would have been incomprehensible to its originator, Edmund Burke, who, in the late eighteenth century, set forth the principles by which governments might nurture the "organic" unity that bound a people together even in times of revolutionary upheaval. Burke's conservatism was based not on a particular set of ideological principles but rather on distrust of all ideologies. In his most celebrated writings, his denunciation of the French Revolution and its English champions, Burke did not seek to justify the ancien regime and its many inequities. Nor did he propose a counter-ideology. Instead he warned against the destabilizing perils of revolutionary politics, beginning with its totalizing nostrums.

Obviously, I have no idea what a totalizing nostrum is (and if you do, I instantly don't trust you), but I find the bit about conservatives disliking any and all ideological principles (at least as they pertain to politics) quite interesting.

Kinda reminds me of an accusation that was frequently leveled at George W. Bush (by dissident former homies of his) that he completely lacked intellectual curiosity. Seems to fit nicely with the 'no ideologies please, we're Conservatives' thing.

I'm not so sure that the founding father would be so disappointed with today's breed at all, really.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's Not Totally Fleshed Out Yet........... Or Is It?

I was walking down Smith Street today and I happened upon a placard out the front of a travel agent's store. You know, the kind of little aluminium piece of $hit that will fold up and crash to the sidewalk with surprising clarity at just the slightest hint of a breeze.

Anyway, they were advertising 'cheap' (yeah right) fares to Brazil. The pitch? An image of a statuesque, exotic Amazonian Goddess in full Mardi Gras attire (which isn't really that full). The quote? "Experience a Brazilian." Outstanding.

It reminded me of this here Dudley Moore flick (Crazy People) where a marketing genius goes nuts due to the pressures of the job and ends up in a mental asylum. Where, of course, he mines the liberated insanity to spin left-of-centre marketing gold. My favourite was a tourism ad for the Caribbean. The pitch? "Come in The Bahamas."

Words And Performance From (The) God

Some nice footage of Rakim rocking the classics over a live band at SXSW, and chopping it up about the various Hip Hop related matters you'd expect folks must ask him about 50 times a day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

D.A.D. - Disco Ain't Dead

Before we begin, I just wanna say that if anyone uses the title of this post as inspiration for a Jay Z style 'state of the genre' address, I've got my lawyers on standby. Well, my lawyer. Singular. Although I don't really have a lawyer, per se. There's this one lady who looks over contracts for me when the need arises. But I digress.

Point is, music once universally labeled lame is now cool.

Lead singer Joni Sledge says that people turn to disco when the world is full of bad news, and that right now we want to hear real voices and real tunes again. When the world is burning, the glitterball starts turning.

I always thought people turned to the ever popular drugs and alcohol when the world was full of bad news. Or, you know, just to celebrate some good news. Or, when it's bored and there's no news at all.

I'm not sure it's a matter of seeking solace in good-time tunes when the world's going to Hell in a hand basket. Rather, I think it's a sign that if you keep doing your own thing, you'll end up being popular for a few weeks, as the cool kids hop from trend to trend. Until they end up back at the start, then repeat.

Let's Go, Billy Ho'

I wanted to post the clip where Rosie Perez does her excellent, "sometimes when you think you win, you really lose" circular logic spiel (better known as The Organic Globule theory), because as The Biz rightly pointed out, "Who knew such a seemingly meaningless piece of entertainment as White Men Can't Jump would ultimately prove to contain the meaning of life?"

But I couldn't find it.

So you'll just have to soak up the equally poignant theme song.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Musings On Work Place Minutiae

Thanks must go, once again, to Kelly for putting me up on this.

Just Point And Click: Is Photography Easy?

I dunno. But these are pretty cool.

The Genesis of Beef: Why Rappers Been Accin' Tha Fool

When you watch this clip, you see just how much every rapper from 1996 on borrowed from Pac's disposition and swagger. Some have done it to great effect (50 Cent's WWEish exploits), others have straight up no personality of their own and can't even emulate the charisma right (The Game, still goin at Jay Z - honestly.......... it's 2009).

Alotta dudes are too cool to like 2Pac, (hell, alotta dudes are too cool to like Rap in general all of a sudden) but he'll always be one of my favourite rappers.

2Pac in the studio dissin chino xl, mobb deep Bad boy 96 P1
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reason # 134 Why The World Needs Rappers

Mos Def. I was gonna post a clip from his excellent new album 'The Ecstatic,' but for personal sentimental reasons (Scubar? DJ Peril? Who's with me?) I had to go with Miss Fat Booty from his debut Black On Both Sides.

If you ain't already up on Stuff White People Like, you need to head on over there and see how they seem to be co-signing my approval of Flacco (albeit in a funnier, generally better way).

Besides being a correct rapper, he also does cool shit like get arrested for impromptu street performances that criticize George Bush.

As you can imagine, an Anarchy-sympathetic Contrarian like me loves that $hit.

I'm Gonna Have To Ask You To Go Ahead And Read This

If you've got, or ever had, a 'slave' (as any good jive-talker will refer to a regular job), then chances are you've felt like Milton in this classic Officespace clip at some stage. This will help you understand why.

"People who aren't very nice are more likely to become managers," said Michelle Tan, a researcher in the economics program at the Research School of Social Science, at Australian National University.

Apparently they've done some kind of study which suggests that 'agreeable' folks are less likely to 'pay da cost to be da bo$$' as Snoop Dogg would say.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Let The People Sing

So me and my pal Fabulous headed up to Brisbane on the weekend to see Celtic play local lads Brisbane Roar.

Besides the fact that we wiped the floor with them (Celtic 3-0 Brisbane Roar), and that it was a genuinely entertaining game, the atmosphere at the pubs around the stadium was amazing.

If you don't get a lump in the throat when there's 30,000 people all singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone,' then you're one cold hearted son-bitch.

FYI, a 'shebeen' is (or was) an illegal bar or grog house where illicit booze was sold. The term, whilst obviously Irish in root, is still relevant in parts of South Africa. And anywhere Glasgow Celtic FC supporters are drinking.

Jimmy McNulty: Adding Some Spice To Your Bedtime Story

I was just gonna post about this hilarious clip of Dominic West doing a reading of some short story ("Are you sitting comfortably?"), but then I found his cameo in the Spice Girls clip. Hey, everyone starts somewhere.

Thanks to Kelly for putting me up on the cartenoire thing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dick Cheney Is The Devil

And in other news, water is wet. Seriously though, who is surprised by this?

The CIA withheld information from Congress about a secret counter-terrorism programme on orders from formerUS vice president Dick Cheney, a US senator said today amid calls for an investigation.

Sounds about right. The thing is, even if you're enough of a sucker to fall for that paternalistic crap folks like him feed off ("I trust the government, if they're doing something then I'm sure there's a good reason for it"), there's a few incidents from this guy's past that might make you run at least a quick cursory investigative eye over his dealings. Hunting, anyone?

You know that Family Guy episode where they have Cheney working as a Wal Mart store greeter, and saying, "Go f*&k yourself," to everyone who walks by? That's not a joke, the dude really operates that way. I've seen him interviewed. Watch him react whenever he is questioned in a 'the-unexamined-life-isn't-worth-living,' objective journalism kind of way. He can barely mask his contempt, disdain and outright hostility. In fact, he doesn't even really try to mask it:

Mr Cheney was a key advocate in the Bush administration of using controversial interrogation methods such as waterboarding on terrorism suspects and has emerged as a leading Republican critic of Mr Obama's national security policies.

Since Mr Obama took over from president George W. Bush on January 20th, Cheney has engaged in an increasingly contentious battle with the new administration over the CIA interrogation procedures that undermined the United States' reputation around the world.

I can't wait for Dick Cheney, and every evil bastard like him, to end.

Don't Make Me Tell You Again About The Scooching

Here's another reason why Christopher Walken is excellent. Shout out to Raena, who brought the Eye On Springfield blog to my attention.

Maybe, finally, The Biz will find something redeeming about The Simpsons?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Irish-Cuban Project

Amidst the ethnic wars in western China, the ongoing fragility of world markets, and the redundant outpouring of emotion over MJ's passing (largely from emotionally stunted individuals who never show a shred of love and affection to even their own friends and families in real life), it's nice to throw out a random harmless story about pianos.

The term Una Corda is a musical direction for the depression of a soft pedal on the piano. It’s literal meaning is “one string”. Una Corda is also the name of a non-profit organisation run by volunteers from Ireland’s music community, that works to train and equip Cuban piano-tuners. They are now in the final stages of being awarded charitable status as a cultural and educational exchange project.

Now if we could just get The Uighur and The Han a bunch of 6 strings, we could have a real feel good story on our hands.

Nice Song, Cool Clip

Nothing groundbreaking here, but I never claimed to be a news service.

Me likey.

Kumar's In The White House

Someone's taking the piss, right?

Actor Kal Penn has formally started work at the White House, saying he is happy to take a break from Hollywood to serve in President Barack Obama's administration.

Penn said he had had "a lot of fun" making the
Harold and Kumar movies, in which he plays a marijuana-addled slacker, but that he was taking "a sabbatical from acting".

I think Obama has screwed up here. He needs folks that are at the top of their game, and although I'll admit Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle was pretty funny, that last joint about them escaping from Guantanamo Bay was trash (except for the whole "bottomless party" thing).

I do like the flamboyance of having his character commit suicide on House MD though, just so he could 'take a break from acting' and help prove that, "Yes we can." If Bush was still president, that'd be a close enough link to jihadism to get him yoked.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What Is Poetry?

The Kid and I have had an open and running exchange of ideas about the nature of poetry lately. For my part, I confessed that there was very little Hip Hop that I felt veered through 'poetic' territory, but on the rare occasion when it does happen it's a beautiful thing (I'm thinking some of Nas's work like I Gave You Power, Rakim's Who Is God). But this reading right here, which The Kid sent through today, is something else.

Too Sexy For My Shirt (Folding)

There are some things in life that I would like to be good at, but have pretty much given up hope on. I've always wanted to learn a language that uses completely different characters to those used in English and the Romance languages, but after learning Spanish I know I'd have to lock myself in a library for the next 12 years to come close.

As long as I've been involved in writing lyrics, I've always had an inkling that I should get involved with the sonic side of music, but I'm just a little allergic to technology, so that probably ain't gonna happen either.

So it's such a relief to find something I can finally remedy - my complete inability to fold clothes generally, and shirts specifically, in a neat and tidy fashion. You can too, just check this out.

Whether hanging space is at a premium or you need to stash your dress shirts in a suitcase, properly folding them cuts down on the space they take up and keeps wrinkles at bay.

Lord how I have tried to keep those wrinkles at bay.

For best results, watch the video.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Scotty McDonald Takes The Captain's Arm Band For Celtic FC

Melbourne boy, and terminally-incapable-of-scoring-for-his-country goal sneak Scott McDonald is set to lead the line for Celtic when they take on the biggest club in the world, Brisbane Roar, this Sunday.

"We obviously realise how important a trip this is for the football club as a whole and it's a fantastic opportunity for us to play in front of our supporters in Australia.

"They support the team faithfully, but don't get the opportunity to see us play very often and we realise how much this visit means to them."

Damn right. Now don't disappoint me, Boyos.

Oh, and I included the clip because a) it shows what a 'good boy' S-Mac is, b) The Biz will love it, and c) it's funny.

New Digga Album, Chronic Laziness, And NBA Traffic

So I've been chopping it up with J Wess over the last couple of days, plotting and planning some studio sessions for my album. I'm ducking up to Brisbane this weekend to see The Mighty Hoops of Glasgow Celtic FC take on Brisbane Roar, but the following weekend I'll be in studio lockdown mode. We're trying to get my joint in the can asap, although it's still gonna be a minute before it comes out. I had an album ready to go back in 2006 but there was some label BS and it's kinda gotten to the point where only one, maybe two, of those tracks will be reworked and end up on my album. I got about 10 fresh new joints ready to record, and I'm sure J Wess will throw me a few curve ball new ones to work on as well.

Having said all that, and being intimately aware of the nature of the biz, it's all subject to change at the last minute of course.

I've also got a bunch of unreleased tracks I did with Styalz Fuego, and a couple of accapellas, that I probably should have posted by now. But as I've said in the past, I can be a lazy motherf*&%er when it comes to technology.

There sure has been a lot of movement this early in the NBA off-season. My personal favourite was Turkoglu agreeing to go to the Blazers and then pulling the old, "No no, hold on, I didn't really do that," and going with the Raptors instead. I'm not even gonna speak on the 'Rasheed Wallace Jumps Aboard A Drowning Ship' move to Boston. I mean, hey, there's enough hatred going around out there already, right?

As a Knicks fan (where ya at, Memphis?) I gotta second the motion put forth by one of my Twitter peoples today - what the hell are they doing over there at Madison Square Garden? Them fools should be the most active franchise in the league right now. Especially if they wanna have a chance in Hell of getting Bron Bron to sign up next go round.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Keating, You Magnificent Ba$tard, You've Done It Again!

Anyone with even a passing interest in my humble little blog will probably know by now that I think former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating is pretty f*&$ing excellent. Last week he descended, yet again, from the sky like Gabriel The Archangel to pass judgement on policies of the current regime. He's really good at stuff like that.

Basically, he's maintaing the line he's always held that Australia ought to get completely on board with the whole 'Asia, the wave of the future' thing.

Until the early 19th century, China was the world's largest economy and had been since the Middle Ages. It was knocked off that perch by a much smaller country, Britain, with its Industrial Revolution and the innovations that that brought. And the same thing happened in Germany and then in the US with an even larger population. This had to happen in China. Only Mao's primitive view of Chinese society had stopped it happening earlier. China was slated to win the big economic race because it had five times the population of the largest economy, the US. And more than five times the pent-up demand. It was also putting into place new infrastructure and new productive capacity. So this great state with its profound sense of self and the wherewithal to make a better life for its citizens has eased itself into a major role in world affairs, which I believe will be an altogether positive one.

It makes sense now more than ever, what with our current Mandarin-totin' PM running the show, and John Howard (who probably thought shaking hands with people with brownish skin was "icky," and possibly didn't like going to China because it "smells all asiany") out of the picture.

I really wish Paul Keating would make a comeback.

How To Decide If You're Cool

Well, that might be a little misleading.......... This piece suggests ways you might decide whether or not you're uncool based on your musical taste.

"...if lots of listeners really don’t want people to know that they are listening to a particular artist, then that artist is probably not too cool. Luckily, there’s an interesting source for just this kind of data. Recently, the researchers at published a list of the ‘most unwanted scrobbles‘. This is a list of tracks that were most frequently deleted by the community..."

Firstly, let's get the obvious out of the way. "Scrobbles." Haha. What a ridiculous word.

Personally, I think this is a load of horse shit. If you like something, just like it. When you're trying to hide the songs you listen to from other people who probably could care less anyway, you've got bigger problems than learning how to be cool. You need to find The Greatest Love of All.

Not that you'll find that song on my iPod or anything. No way! What are you, crazy?

Reason # 31 Why TWNR

Dr. Becket is almost certainly the best rapper you've never heard of.

Back in 2000 when me, Detect and BVP did a couple of shows in the USA, we crossed paths with this dude in Washington DC. When I first heard him, he completely blew me away (I think the track was called "Bad Motherf*&er"). Then I met him at a party the next night, planning on expressing my massive respect for him - but I was atrociously drunk and had trouble seeing straight so I'm not really sure how he took it.

Anyway, here he is. DC's finest.