Video-intro thing that art-school, clove-smoking Kanye can get away with but Soulja or Waka never could and why is that. (We need to discuss):
Communications 306 is a forum for the critical analysis of photographic and video images as a reflection of the cultural zeitgeist at large. The goal of this course is to facilitate the improvement of students’ ability to deconstruct, organize, and critically think about communicative messages while becoming better equipped to articulate ideas. To that end, please turn in your papers (by the end of class today) providing a thorough explanation of the reasons for MCs to be in current possession of Pitchfork approval in order for them to pull off a “This Is An Art Piece” reminder before their videos play.
As a general rule, if you were poor not that long ago and your stuff is still played at Magic City, you are not a rapper whose work is fancy and you therefore would get laughed at by music site comment-section droogs if you tried to call your work art. Let’s play the game! Who could successfully slide an ART PIECE visual intro past us without making us blink? Clipse, Doomsy, Curren$y, Drake (UGH): yes, definitely. Tyler & Hodge & the gang, yeah. Nickatina, no, but OutKast could for sure. No Trap-A-Holics, not a one. No Three 6, no 8ball/MJG. No Gucci (the exception to the rule; he’s Pitchfork-approved but he’s also a Trap-A-Holic til they put him in the ground, so he would get laughed off the Internet if he tried it.). Sometimes there’s division even in the same crew! Nicki and Weezy, yes, but Baby, nope. Khaled, no. Toss-ups: E-40, Jeezy, Game, Gibbs, T.I. I could see it going either way with those guys.
I do like it, though – the little advisory. I need it to be splashed across apt. 680’s wall for new visitors. I need it written on a little piece of paper and taped to my Civic’s dashboard when 400 Degreez is in the CD changer and I have an un-with-it companion in the passenger’s seat. I should also have it fastened to the top of my head so that it hangs down over my bangs when I walk down the street, as a reminder that the vulgarity of my hips should in no way be considered a negative message toward any groups of people (girls who lack hips, like every one of the girls in the “Monster” video*). My bodyform is a goddamn art piece and it shall be taken as such; it’s not just some primitive vehicle for carnal pleasures. How dare you.
Even with the glorious presence of the Minaj verse, there’s still no getting beyond the song itself, with Jay screaming LOVE as the thing that’s his Achilles heel. Who approved that because it makes me cringe every time.
College and rap meet up and do wonderful things–Banner has a bachelor’s in business and an almost-master’s in education. Various godlike individuals are teaching at Rice and Duke (Bun B and 9th Wonder, respectively). A thousand mentions of College Park in my record collection (mostly contained in songs by OutKast, everyone on Grand Hustle, Luda). A thousand mentions of college girls (mostly Ghostface). Thug Motivation 101 is not an actual sit-down class but it’s an actual listen-to-my-life-struggles-and-successes class, so it gets included here too. Meth and Red didn’t make the list because they did not take their coursework seriously, but Jay gets a nod for his school of hard knocks matriculation symbol (his all-blue Yankee), and I also have to include Cam’s cute wordplay regarding his shoes being University of Florida–because, you see, they are gators.
Communications 306 is a forum for the presentation and critical analysis of AP images as a reflection of the cultural zeitgeist at large. The goal of this course is to facilitate the improvement of students’ ability to deconstruct, organize, and critically think about communicative messages while becoming better equipped to articulate ideas. To that end, please turn in your papers providing a thorough explanation of the reasons for rap producers’ general inability to successfully merge MCs’ revolution-praising lyrical content with ear-pleasing piano loops and crunchy, snappy drum patterns by the end of class today. (Other than Waka’s veiled criticism on mixtapes of the media’s coverage of crusading journalist and muckraker Julian Assange and the difficulty of reconciling his hero status with our disgust regarding those rape charges, it’s all either stripper songs or old Coup albums in apt. 15. Killer Mike’s “Burn,” a hate letter to Johannes Menserle set to some nice heavy drums and harmonizing courtesy of Parliament, needs to be better, but what is the answer? Shocklee in ’88 is not available, so let that dream die. Remember the gates-of-hell/fuzzy bass of death in that dead prez song? Yeah, like that.)
• “Foxboro, MA: Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, and Santonio Holmes of the New York Jets celebrate their 28 to 21 victory over the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium.” (Al Bello/Getty Images; January 16)
WHEN I SAY JET, YOU SAY LIFE. A trio of wide receivers expresses its fondness for Curren$y.
Where haven’t we been? To the Super Bowl, babycakes (well, not in quite some time, anyway). My affection for this team has something to do with my experience in NYC bars on Sundays, when dudes actually do the J-E-T-S! chant (they actually do it, in real life! At bars!), and something to do with the MCs who are proud Jets fans. Monch likes the Jets, Rae likes the Jets; logically, then, I like the Jets. Rex Ryan is an unfunny loudmouth who’s always shouting I’M FUNNY to the world, talented but in need of some editing, but I guess as a person with a website who is guilty of all of that myself, it takes one to know one. Jet life, fool. Jet life. Lames catch feelins; we catch flights. Jet life, fool–turn it up some. Lames can’t feel us; we catch flights. Jet life, jet life (fade out).
• “Manila, Philippines: Thousands of Catholic devotees join a procession during the 404th Feast of the Black Nazarene.” (Dondi Tawatao/Getty; January 9)
Lil B at the Highline!, 01/14/11.
I’m kidding, of course, since I don’t see any spatulas in the photo above. Anyway, in the Philippines I’m pretty sure Jesus and Pacquiao jockey for position as the people’s based god.
• “Rawalpindi, Pakistan: Supporters of Pakistani religious party Sunni Tehreek chant slogans and shower rose petals outside an anti-terrorist court.” (B.K.Bangash/AP; Jan. 7)
Multi-billionaire, military contractor Crushing my opponents, with the strength of a compactor Ex-factor, I turn liquids to metals Water to wine, I turn dirt into rose petals.
Quick–who’s my favorite Sunni Muslim? Why yes, it is Ghosty. Very good.
Messages come from everywhere, right? Get yourself un-fucked, horrible pervy old Anthony Bourdain said on TV the other day, and I thought, That’s a pretty stylish saying that I might have to add to the repertoire. Every now and then I spend my time in rhyme and verse/And curse those faults in me, “Along Comes Mary” says on oldies radio as I drive around the city, and I think, You nailed it, Association! Nice handclaps, by the way and That’s a thought-provoking line about self-criticism, especially since it’s in a song about weed (per my dad, who would know). Classic rock radio sends me messages about classic rock breaks; If Monstabeats was smart enough to use the theme from The Jetsons theme on “Jets Son,” for example, who’s to say Ski won’t freak that Steve Miller in the near future for Curren$y? Grandpa Ghost too; he speaks to me and sends me messages–mostly in verse, occasionally in AP photos, but sometimes through e-commerce as well. I desperately need the Missoni “Fish Scale” bikini, in other words.
• “Cane toad Agathe sits on a toy scale during an inventory at the zoo in Hanover, Germany.” (Holger Hollemann/AFP/Getty; Jan. 5)
Toad style is immensely strong, that’s true, and it’s immune to nearly any weapon; when it’s properly used, in fact, it’s almost invincible. And any picture of a scale is clearly meant to evoke the triple beam in current American culture. A hooligan, a heathen, wolverine, E-40 said. Everybody on my team got a triple beam. But this picture is clearly about humans’ selection of life partners.
A statement on the heterosexual female’s quest for love and romance as related to financial security, this elicits notions of the whole frog/prince idea that little girls are saddled with from the beginning, combined with girls’ fondness for peddlers of street pharmaceuticals as we get older and our bodies ripen. But in more global terms, it’s a scale, so: scale raps. Baggie raps. Pyrex raps. Anybody who explains the importance of weight and purity and payments rendered for the provision of substances that relieve various kinds of discomfort. Any schedule I/II rapper. Jeezy Biggie Rawwsss Clipse, and anybody with an ice cream cone face tat. In summary, as Agathe beautifully illustrates above: we usually prefer the frog to the prince (we don’t like pretty when it comes to our frogs, or maybe that’s just me), and we like to know our frog has the means to de-stress us and provide us with something that attaches to our brain’s opioid receptors. I don’t partake in much chemical distraction but it’s nice to know he has it at the ready just in case, as I have not yet mastered my brain’s “anxiety off” switch. (Does he also give affection inconsistently, and not call me when he says he will? SWOON! Give him my number). Not explicitly captured in the photo of Agathe, but implied: if your name is “Reince Preibus”, you will never ever see me naked.
• “Doha, Qatar: Entertainers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2011 Asian Cup football tournament at Khalifa Stadium.” (Karim Jaafar/AFP; Jan. 8)
When I think of the term “wiz” as a shortened form of “wisdom” I think of Meth paying tribute to his lady in song. Thanks to the capital W, I now think of kush and OJ and Internet fame and that skinny frame (takes one to know one though, Wiz. No hard feelings, buddy). Based on my knowledge about things named Khalifa, I assume the soccer tourney in the photo above starts out fun, with neck ink and parties, kush and OJ and Internet fame, and then expectations plummet. Disappointing collaborations begin. The players in the stadium begin milking their glory moments to a tiresome degree, putting out boring, lazy versions of the thing that accelerated their progression toward fame. Ah, but there are small glimmers of hope yet. In these metaphoric terms, maybe the game’s not over–maybe Curren$y shows up toward the end of the second half to bring it home? Maybe that hit song becomes tolerable for one precious last time if the Steelers get to the Super Bowl (sorry, Jets) and the crowd at Heinz Field sings it in unison? Maybe?
• “Members of a Navy band wait to perform during Paraguay’s bicentennial celebrations in Asuncion, Paraguay.” (Jorge Saenz/AP; Jan. 1)
• “Teresópolis, Brazil: Rescue workers remove a live rabbit as they search for survivors inside a home destroyed by a landslide.” (Felipe Dana/AP; Jan. 14)
a) Landslides are metaphors for things being torn asunder and for ’70s coke-based romance ending. And do you know what rabbits are symbols of? Magic! Things that looked one way but turned out to be quite another at the last minute! Ta-daa! Collaboration with the spirit world! Deceit, but in a good way! So this is clearly photog Felipe Dana’s rendering of Odd Future’s hold on the rap game–pulling something live and precious and youthful out of that which is sad and sprawled out in pieces everywhere, dead and broken on the ground. I mean, RapRadar often has posts with titles like Bow Wow’s Suicidal Thoughts and Shawty Lo Calls Off Engagement. Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life? How bout just a nice update on Del or something, rap sites?
b) If those the new 20 then order me forty/Gucci Mane rabbit drums made by Shawty. I believe Nitti would have something to say about who “made” the rabbit drums, but I don’t mean to get mouthy. And I really like that you made a song called “Nerd,” Mr. Redd.
i.Weed and syrup, you rabbit fools/Come run and get your rabbit food. ii.Diamond brick, frowney face, rabbit food, frowney face.
• “Madrid, Spain: A boy carrying a balloon stands with Catholic nuns after a mass celebrating the traditional family unit.” (Susana Vera/Reuters; Jan. 3)
The angst/joy, heaviness (sin, guilt)/lightness (air in the balloon) tableau coupled with imagery of groupthink, dogmatic thought as incarnated by uniformed individuals, and humans standing amid other humans and getting that alien feeling–it’s CoFlow. It is. Take a good hard look. The concept of the traditional family unit has gotten all chopped up and bloodied by those boys over the years–I just can’t decide if this photo is more “Stepfather Factory” or “Last Good Sleep.”
Most rapfan boys I know are never not waiting for The Return of Meline (YES, they still send “never not” in emails, and they type “smh.” Even though they are grown ups). WELL, I will have you know I’m never notnot expecting a track from Ian M. Bavitz more often than once every 3-4 years. So here’s the one we get to last us until 2014–Murs’ “Varsity Blues 2.” Everyone within a 75-mile radius of this post loves Murs but it’s not ’03 anymore so I don’t believe he’s better than your favorite rapper anymore. Those days are over. “I am running dangerously low on serotonin” raps are dullsville and they have been ever since the first Living Legends CDs. Sadly, I like the idea of new Murs music more than the reality; a video of Aesey in the studio (“the studio” being the utility closet in the back of an old plastics factory in the Tenderloin, a single bald lightbulb hangin from the ceiling) just fuckin around with the beat would have been so much more satisfying.
• “Participants react to the cold waters of English Bay while taking part in the 91st Polar Bear Swim in Vancouver, British Columbia.” (REUTERS/Andy Clark; Jan. 1)
People doing incredible things to their faces while saying “BRRRR.”
Islamabad, Pakistan. Laborers work in a foundry, 04/30/10. [FarooqNaeem / Getty]
I wasn’t really ever a big fan, but I’m wise enough to see that if he hadn’t died young, the apprentice would have taken over for the teacher probably sooner than the teacher would’ve been comfortable with. Sorry, Joe. Additionally, Pun gets a place on my Great Rap Voiceslist.
Don’t nobody is more hiphop than Gil! (Sometimes you guys forget and I have to remind you.)
4. I have a Bachelor’s in Literature and I still lack the capacity to accurately put my feelings for this photograph into words that my fellow English speakers can understand.
Labourers work as their children sleep at a brick factory on the outskirts of Jammu May 1, 2010. [REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta]
You know who never went to college but who’s still a better wordsmith than me just because of going through life as a theatrical protagonist in his own narrative epic? Oh, just RAE, that’s who.
“10 Bricks.” This song marks the first time I ever heard the c-word used as a verb. Although my sense of feminism requires me to oppose this down to my core, the lyrics fan in me wonders how come nobody ever thought of doing that before because it’s pretty sharp.
Threw Kool-Aid rubies in a lemonade bezzle/When I was 12 in the church, I started packing that metal. Say it out loud; it just feels good in your mouth, doesn’t it?
5. OH SHIT, it’s dark and hell is hot.
Shepard Fairey at the opening of his May Day show at Deitch Projects, 05/01/10. [Sam Horine, The Village Voice]
I believe at last year’s convention we decided to retire the term hater, but I’m dusting it off just this one last glorious time because THIS PICTURE! THIS GUY!! Shep and his dogs stop, drop, shut em down, coordinate their black tees to display only the trillest of ’70s bands, then open up shop. (No, that’s not Rawss. But imagine the possibilities if it were! So much vitriol I could sift through, then write a post about!)
Me and my self-indulgent writing style insist that Earl Woods is like a Shakespearean figure, a little bit beautiful and very, very doomed, like Hamlet but from Yonkers. All I know is pain/All I feel is rage. The unironic emotional display of an American black man is a pretty intimate thing to behold. Dr. Drew, save X, but not so much that he goes completely over to the other side and eschews late-’90s G stuff like pitbulls and getting the crowd to lose its mind through the power of a gruff voice. AH!, also, in less serious news: I forgot to add X to my list of Great Rap Voices.
Kanye and a thousand viral marketing campaigns have made me suspect that everything done publicly is done solely for the purpose of moving units. I can’t believe that the increase of revenue isn’t the main goal here. But still. Even if solidarity with Los Suns means that owner Robert Sarver will sell a hundred thousand jerseys, he seems like a stand-up guy and the means justify the ends. I also was unaware that Steve Nash was the first athlete to go on record against the Iraq war back in ’03! Get ’em, Canada! That said, should the Suns advance, the conference finals van a serunmasacregiganteporque Los Lakers son campeonesdelmundo.
Venezuelan army in vocal support of Hugo Chavez, 05/02/10. [Juan Barreto / Getty]
I just really miss The Coup and dead prez.
8. Make um say testicular fortitude. The hubris is strong with this one.
Perusing espn.com today and reveling in pictures and words documenting the Lakers‘ victory, I came across this photo. Rick Reillyand his big dumb writing style came out with a big dumb book called Sports from Hell, and one of the chapters is about chess boxing. So, once again, the Wu is present in all aspects of my life.
“Chess boxing involves two combatants alternating six rounds of chess (four minutes) and five of boxing (three) until one of them is either checkmated on the board or knocked out in the ring, or time runs out on the chess clock. In that case, whoever is ahead on the cards of the judges is the winner.”
U-God’s first 2 bars! Jacques Cousteau! Rae’s beef with commercial-ass n—as, which is the exact same beef that I have! A sharp sword to the midsection! ODB’s joyful wail before his verse starts!! My peoples, are you with me? ARE YOU? The game’s a mystery, it really is, but I’ve heard it’s like a swordfight. Be less mega trife, adopt a lil toad style, and I’ll bet you win.
(Just pretend it’s the first time hearing it again. I can’t think of a better use of your next 4 and a half minutes.)
3. LOS ANGELES – JANUARY 1: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after making a last second shot to defeat the Sacramento Kings 109-108 at Staples Center on January 1, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Recognize a real don when you see one. Sippin on booze in the house of blues. Or maybe shooter’s soundtrack by skyzoo. Cobra Clutch.
It’s everywhere we look, this hiphop thing – part of the cultural zeitgeist at large and an accepted method of interpersonal engagement on a micro level (like when I have you come over and we do some Red-Stripe-fueled analysis of “Come Clean”). The goal of this course is to facilitate the improvement of students’ ability to analyze, organize, and critically think about communicative messages while becoming better equipped to articulate ideas. To that end, please turn in your papers critically analyzing MCs’ wearing of glasses to court as a visual signifier, and such a choice’s related legal implications, at the end of class today.
An Afghan boy makes his way over a stream. The US is reviewing its strategy in Afghanistan, where the war is in its ninth year. [Altaf Qadri/AP/Oct. 7, 2009]
First I think, amazing picture, just beautiful. And also:
“You’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution a time where there’s got to be a change. People in power have misused it and now there has to be a change, and a better world has to be built, and the only way it’s going to be built is with extreme methods and I for one will join with anyone, don’t care what color you are, as long as you want change this miserable condition that exists on this earth. Thank you.”
Then I think You are now rocking with the Def. (uh-oh, uh-ohhhh)
NY Times. Oct. 18, 2009
First I think: Football. I like football. I am so pleased that I have Kyle Orton on my Fantasy Football team. He was a sleeper and I picked him up off of waivers because I’m a visionary.
Then I think: Top Billinis secondary to nothing, ill-informed NY Times headline writer! Good lord, you’re an idiot. Also, I think about the amazing amount of one-liners culled from this song that I’ve used in my blog and in general conversation with my mom and the pizza guy and Aunt Jean over the years. SO MANY. That’s what we get/Got it good, When I’m bustin up a party I feel no guilt, stop schemin and lookin hard, to be down you must appeal, Mom & Dad, they knew the time, the super-easy-modest-MC-oh-kayyy.
Also, Milk and Ghosty should do a duet…a very high-pitched duet.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes notes during the morning session at the 64th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 23, 2009. [Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]
First I think: Remember when this dude totally freaking sonned George W on 60 Minutes with his satisfied smile and his swarthy looks and beard? (I like a scruffy face; it gets me every time). “What religion, please tell me, tells you as a follower of that religion to occupy another country and kill its people, please tell me, does Christianity tell its followers to do that?” (Please refer back to the first image in this post, at no. 1 above.)
Then I think:“Penmanship”!It works on so many levels. Also, I think: Black Milk, Duck Dowwwwwnnnn, so many nice bars from this guy over the years. I really like Skyzoo. And I really really love to say Skyzoo. Go on, it’s fun.
A competitor trains on the bike the day before the Ironman World Championship triathlon competition in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. [Hugh Gentry/Reuters/October 9, 2009]
Caution: Ironman. Not in training, really – just being, sitting and breathing and existing and doing it so well. Look at the handwork and facework on display here, the head cocked just so. OH GHOSTYYYY! Slide over here, and give me a moment/Your moves are so raw, I’ve got to let you know/You’re one of my. Kind.
First graders work with XO laptop computers at a public school in Montevideo October 13, 2009. [Andres Stapff/Reuters]
First I think: Dude. Whether you’re 7 and living in Uruguay, or you’re a grown-up superhuman producer, computers kill it and have the power to excite.
Then I think: I am captivated by the fact that these 2 are dressed like they’re attending totally different functions. Quik got all pressed and white-collared, and Rizz is like, “You know, I think I’m gonna wear my baseball shirt.”
A Jordanian woman supporter of opposition parties holds medals depicting the Al-Aqsa mosque during a demonstration in Amman October 9, 2009. [Ali Jarekji/Reuters]
Not many thoughts here, other than:
VALLEJO; Fatburger (40 used to own one); I’m hungry. I always pick “Outstanding” on the Fatburger jukebox. I should go to Fatburger. I’m really quite hungry. “Girl you knock me out.”That song is still the jam and probably always will be; Rick Rock is good at producing songs and our love knows not the limits of time and space; and Whatever happened to The Luniz?
Meet me in the quad for a cup of fair-trade coffee after class today.
I am powered by hip-hop (coupled with a generous amount of sarcasm and hips); it fuels me and I see it everywhere I go. This makes me either the most obnoxious person in the world to watch TV/read the paper/peruse Internet news sites with (“Hey, it’s Bill Cosby on Tavis Smiley! How come I can’t find that episode of The Cosby Mysteries with a young Mos Def anywhere online?”), OR the most entertaining person in the world to watch TV with if you enjoy a good rap-music-reference dorkout. Like these:
Amman, Jordan: A veiled woman, 09/28. [AP/Mohammad Abu Ghosh]
First I think, Holyshit, those lashes against the stark white, beautiful!
Then I think,
Holyshit, that looks like the cover of Desire!, I wonder what Monchie is doing right at this exact moment. Does he like vanilla soymilk in his cereal, too? Then I rest my chin on my hand and daydream about our life together.
Protesters march as they shout slogans against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Istanbul October 3, 2009. The IMF and World Bank meetings are taking place in the city from October 4-7. [REUTERS/Osman Orsal]
First I think, Foreign protests are always so much more clever and colorful than dumb old American protests. And goddammit if those kids don’t make me smile in those cheerfully pastel-colored house heads, despite the fact that they are protesting the very un-cheerful fact that the IMF is like a Payday Loans place for poor countries who can’t possibly ever pay back the money.
And then I, of course, think Girl I’ll house you upon seeing this image because everything is a joke to me – even protests against ever-deepening financial crises in poor countries. HOUSE MUSIC ALL NIGHT LONG (say what?). YOU IN MY HUT NOW. JBs y’all and TODD TERRY, sonnn.
No explanation needed here; basically I saw it and yelled Hey that looks like The Shining (instrumental, black cover version)! Then I took pictures because I knew you skeptics out there wouldn’t believe that the worlds of Dick Wolf and James Yancey could come together so beautifully.
Children play with their toy guns while waiting to exchange them for non-weapon-like toys as part of a government project to reduce violence in one of the most dangerous areas of the Port of Callao (Lima, Peru), September 22, 2009. [REUTERS/Mariana Bazo]
First I think, O’Shea?
Then I think, O’Shea!
(Not so much ’cause of the firearm, but ’cause of these kids’ eyebrow ridge! Witness the super tight Cube Scowl game of the youth above)
President Barack Obama attends a roundtable discussion with health care providers during a visit to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, Monday, July 20, 2009. [AP/J. Scott Applewhite]
There’s a thousand of yous/There’s only one of Kanyebear. And sometimes he poses with President Dreamboat.
Children play in the yard outside their school in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Talmon, June 14, 2009. [REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen]
First I think, I will pretty much always side with the rock-throwers over the tank-drivers in global conflicts over land and civil rights and the debate over whose god is the real God. However, the spirit of hiphop shall unite us all one day – both in life and on HeightFiveSeven.
Then I think, Stakes Is High, how that album cover is evoked in my head when I see the pic above. And I also think stakes is high. Because, you know, stakes really IS high.