Tuesday, September 30, 2008

::Buraka Som Sistema @ Santos Party House::October 2nd::

If you ain't up on Buraka Som Sistema, you need to be. Period. They're a Portuguese trio rocking a wicked style of kuduro, an Angolan-based dance genre in the same family tree as Miami bass, Baltimore club, ghetto tech, and baile funk. I've been following them since their From Buraka To The World EP dropped two years ago. I remember hearing their joints when I was at the baile funk parties in Rio. All their joints are in Portuguese, so Angolans and Brazilians eat that shit up. It's real dope party music though.

I love this joint they did with M.I.A.:

The kuduro dance techniques are similar to breakdancing and the Haitian dance style of kompa:

Man...my folks of the African diaspora get LOOSE!!! Guess it's in the DNA ;-)

I always stay tuned to their Myspace page to check on their tour status, but they never listed any stateside dates. Until now!! They're coming here on the 2nd of October and then flying to Cali to do the LA Weekly Detour Festival on the 4th. All my folks who know what's good need to be at Santos Party House this Thursday.

Their debut full-length Black Diamond was supposed to come out this past summer on Modular Records, but it's damn near October and still no sign of new choonz (sigh). At any rate, I'll be there on Thursday.

$12 in adv.
$14 at the door.

:.:Why Americans Stay Swole:.:

I'll never eat one of these bitches again. Especially since I'm lactose intolerant. As Americans, we have been duped into buying into excess in all aspects of life. Increasingly concentrating on the self, we excessively consume goods to satiate our emotional deficits. We overeat to soothe our varied states of depression. The truth is, the human body doesn't need copious amount of fuel if it is not highly active. But then again, when food is being promoted in every facet of life...it's kind of hard to resist.

The availability of food in our country versus others is unparalleled. This is why you see more obese Americans than you do Indians or Asians (in their respective countries, that is). In fact, malnutrition (which can often result in growth stunting) is rampant in Eastern countries like Bangladesh and India. So much so, it severely limits the amount of work they are able to perform on a daily basis. Even though India is becoming one of the fastest developing countries behind China, 70% of the population is involved in labor intensive unskilled work. So all the folks in middle America (and the peripheral states too) who drive to 90% of their destinations should probably fall back on the grub. Knock some of that gravy off your plate. Stock pile some fresh greens instead of Frito Lays. Yeah, your moms might have given you the old 'there's starving children in Africa' spiel when you were young. But just take it as a way of making you appreciate what you're given, not an encouragement to be a fat ass.

If you haven't seen Super Size Me

or King Corn

you should probably Netflix 'em. Once you discover just how much the FDA and the food corporations of this country really give a shit about you, your heart will overflow with thanks and praise. Yes...I'm being sarcastic.

"People overeat then run away from what comes of it. It never made sense to me. At the restaurant I sometimes wished I could follow the food runner with a mirror so people could see the pouches that rested on their laps. They would see the food they did not need. See what misery they would face after escaping the misery of whatever they were running away from. How does one run to what they are running from?"
- Livingroom Johnston
from the novel I Don't Want To Think About It Right Now (2006)

:.:Political Java:.:

This would fuck with my mind if I drank coffee every morning.

Monday, September 29, 2008

::Ancestry In Progress ((In Retrospect))::



Your legacies have left indelible impressions on the world-at-large. Thank you for the precious gifts you bore. May your journey be peaceful and radiant.

::The Death Of Albee Square Mall::

Another hole in the heart of Hip-Hop nostalgia.

Fulton Street will never be the same. R.I.P.

Though the entire borough of Brooklyn is undergoing a major facelift, downtown Brooklyn is ground zero for this cosmetic alteration. And while these changes may seem superficial to most, their implications are much bigger than many care to realize. It's bigger than Hip-Hop.

After you pour out a taste for the landmarks that ain't here and wax poetic in your eulogies, get up - get out - and DO SOMETHING! Especially if Brooklyn is the place where you dwell.

::Janelle Monae::Many Moons (video)::

Well, it's finally here!

This officially consummates the Bad Boy/ Janelle Monae union in my mind. Instead of simply re-releasing her EP and tacking on a few songs, they actually gave her a descent budget for a dope video and are promoting it as a single. AND...they obviously let her take the reigns on the treatment. That speaks volumes. Not to mention the result is so rich in allegory and substance. Who would have ever conceived that Diddy would take a gamble on deviating from his patented ghetto fabulous formula? Man, y'all 'bout to witness a grown man cry.

I've been following Janelle Monae for a minute now. It's exhilarating to see how she's come into her own as an artist and a performer. It's also refreshing to see someone vault into the mainstream trying to take Black music to the next level. God, she's like the Octavia Butler of music. Yeah, I know how lazy it is to make comparisons to established figures. But this is no weak parallel. Yes, they're both Black women who dabble in sci-fi. But they don't dabble in sci-fi for the sake of dabbling in sci-fi. There's truth to the adage that all art is political in some way.

In the video, Monae's alter ego Cindy Mayweather is an android programmed to not exhibit human emotion. She's an android prototype performing at an android auction to what appears to be a concert hall of thousands. Designed to simply do the will of her owner, Mayweather performs while she is simultaneously being bid on by spectators/ concert goers. However, when it is discovered that she does in fact have human emotion, she is "reprogrammed." Here's how: near the end of the "Many Moons" video, you witness her character start to "malfunction." In response to this, the character Lady Maestra - Master of the Show Droids (on horseback dressed in equestrian riding gear) sends a crippling current of electricity to bring Mayweather back to her "senses."

Get it?
Ok, I'll wait...

The trope of the whip, the slave, the slave auction, the slave master, and characters in the video like Deep Cotton couldn't have been more clear. Well, maybe just to discerning minds. But it's also interesting how Monae ties all these tropes in with the analogy of entertainment and live performance. Hmm...anybody want to expound on my theory? I'll pass the torch here...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

::Go, Beans! It's Ya Berfday!::

Was wandering in Tribeca and saw this:

Had to cross the street to make sure my eyes weren't playin' tricks on me:

Fuck a van wrap, this store front wrap is a sign that Madison Ave and the corporations it represents are starting to really take note of underground artists and their endorsement potential. Kanye West, The Game, and Ludacris did it on a national mainstream level for Boost Mobile. Now let's see what kind of presence they give Beans on the underground level.

Speaking of Beans...there's a Stereolab show @ Filmore East (formerly Irving Plaza) with Anti-Pop Consortium as the opening act on October 3rd. Don't miss out on this dope double header!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

::Benicio Del Toro does CHE!!::


I was wondering when this was going to jump off!!! Benicio del Toro is the MAN! There was an English language biopic done not too long ago, but it didn't really bring the thunder. From the looks of this trailer, Benicio put some stank on it!

Here's director Steven Soderbergh giving the scoop on the film, for those of us who weren't baller enough to travel to the south of France this Spring:

It was screened at the Cannes Film Festival this May, so it should be in indie theaters some time this Fall. I'm sayin' though...can we get a subtitled trailer?! Stay tuned...

Friday, September 26, 2008

::Banksy Strikes Again?::

Was walking down the street earlier this week and to my surprise and delight, I saw this by the 2nd Avenue subway station:

As usual, the work was done anonymously. But the New York Sun seems to think it knows who the culprit is. Their impeccable journalistic sleuth work is so keen that they've gone as far as to suggest that the artist is none other than Banksy. Being that the above display of art was found just a block away from the location where Banksy's U.K.-based art dealer has just opened a temporary gallery (Bowery and E. Houston), it must follow that this is his work. Right? Hmm...I'm not so convinced.

The style is similar to his, but not identical. The shadowing favors Banksy's style, but the detail in Barack Obama's face is not really Banksy's style. Nevertheless, his depiction of Barack as Superman is so befitting, being that most people who favor the Illinois senator tend to be devout believers in some sort of intrinsic superhuman power he possesses that can save the country from peril and economic crisis with one fell swoop. Hmm...sounds like a pipe dream if I've ever heard one. Anyone who thinks he's Roosevelt reincarnated had better brace themselves for heartbreak.

Though Banksy's a native of England, his most recent work has turned up in New Orleans where he did a series of images on the sides of buildings commenting on the dismal state of affairs in the Post-Katrina city. Check the flix on his site here. This kat's style is bananas. The way he uses shadowing in a trompe l'oeil fashion is off the chain. Almost a stencil-like effect.

I'm sure my blog hasn't reflected it in the past, but I have a twisted love affair with street art. It's such a creative form of social commentary on a variety of levels. And I guess part of me still longs for some traces of that old pre-Giuliani NYC to linger. While galleries are dope, they tend to domesticate and commodify the art form. In that process, it loses its bite and pure intention. I champion all my folks around the city who are on point with the Sharpies and Krylon. And even more, those who are stretching beyond the boundaries and doing shit like my man Banksy.

:.:J&R Music World::Back On Wax:.:

Opened the Village Voice and saw this:

Went to the store and saw this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Almost cried when I saw this:

Seems like J&R Music World's music division is destined not to go the way of the brick & mortar record retail stores of late (R.I.P. The Wiz, Tower, and HMV). They've adopted the ethos of the spots on St. Mark's Place that buy and barter CDs. But I never thought I'd see a spot like J&R tread backwards in the timeline of recorded sound mediums. I guess they're trying to find creative ways of staying alive, and I can't fault them for that. It drew old customers back in like me. Hell, I hadn't been to J&R since before the towers fell.

These folks seem to have gotten their hands on some cut-out overstock, cause they've got a lot of sealed copies of stuff from the 1980s. I even managed to cop a sealed copy of this:

And with the back flap:

The prices are kinda steep, but they knock off a couple of dollars depending on the sticker price of the album. There's a grid at the store that gives the breakdown of the discount.

Anyway, any vinyl fiends might wanna check this out.

::WaMu jumps the shark and bites the dust::

And so to add to the banking blunders of the 21st century, Washington Mutual Bank (a.k.a. WaMu) has seen its final sunset.
Their doors were shuttered by the government and sold to banking giant JP Morgan Chase for just a shade under $2 billion. Wait. Didn't Viacom buy BET from Rob Johnson for $3.3 billion? Like...eight years ago? What a joke. That really puts things into perspective.

This is being billed as the biggest bank failure ever. In the history of our country. Ever. Yup. Our economy is officially on the skids and I'm sure the rest of the world is ROTFL at our asses. And our lame duck prez is just boosting the confidence of the American public with each speech he makes on the subject. Seems that all WaMu's Madison Avenue exploits were for naught. Maybe if they wouldn't have thrown so much money into those crappy ad campaign they wouldn't be in this pickle. Hmm...probably not. Nevertheless, just like the new Windows ads, I just didn't get the WaMu campaigns.

I mean...

Come on.

Some are looking at the recent Wall Street woes and the Lehman Brothers fiasco as a harbinger of an economic collapse in the good old U.S. of A. That is unless G.W. Bush's $700 billion dollar rescue plan jump starts the heart of this sputtering engine. It seems like just yesterday the government issued a $200 billion dollar bail out to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Is this the backdraft of Neo Liberalism? Are the chickens coming home to roost? Now I see why Granny used to stash knots of cash around the house and in her bra. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

:.:Love At First Beat::Akai XR20:.:

"I hope that you're the one."

"If not, you are the prototype."

"I think I'm in love...again."
- Andre 3000
"Prototype" 2003

I know this lil box has its limitations. But with the economy on the downslope, I've been wondering
when Akai was going to make a scaled-down, affordable version of the MPC. Enter the Akai XR20.
I know, I know...it doesn't sample. That might be a big problem for most beat makers that I know.
And most of you might be more partial to the Roland SP-404. Both are portable, battery-operated beat machines. Both list between $450-499 (you can find them on most of the big audio gear sites for about $100 cheaper). But the Roland does sample. Only thing is the Roland doesn't have on-board sounds. But the Akai has 700 drum and synth factory preset sounds. And the Roland supports flash memory, has a built in mic, and 29 on-board effects. And...

Um...yeah. These are two different machines with two totally different purposes. I guess their price range and portability are the only criteria that lumps them together.

Hmm...I think I'll save my money for the time being.

:.:Dublab Presents...Secondhand Sureshots:.:

Family. How did this one slip past my radar? I gotta keep my ear closer to the street. The concept for this cool ass documentary on four L.A.-based underground DJ/ Producers would have made a dope reality show for MTV2.

Daedelus::J.Rocc::Nobody::Ras G
Thrown into thrift stores and given the simple task of creating some space age tracks out of their dusty vinyl finds.
Sounds easy. Not sure how the rest of the documentary turns out, but it looks like something dope to watch with a few friends.
Check out the trailer above. Hit up Dublab.com for more info on the documentary itself.

::Keep your eye on your luggage:::

I know I've lost more than enough money in the past 8 months with the stock market being in volatile flux. But in the wake of the AIG and Lehman Brothers fiascos, I just wanted to make sure all my folks with liquid capital are keeping watch over their goodies. Looks like the Feds are not so sure the collapse was a confluence of circumstances beyond corporate control (wink, wink-nod, nod). WHAT!?! I'm 'bout to walk down to Wall Street and cut me somebody!!!

Read on.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

::The Foreign Exchange:Leave It All Behind:Sampler Download::

After an excruciating four year wait, Nicolay and Phonte are back with the follow up to their brilliant debut Connected. The transcontinental Instant Messenger backstory was a PR dream. But being that Nicolay has since jumped ship from his native Netherlands to North Carolina, their connectedness is stronger than ever. And from the sounds of this sampler, they've definitely upped the ante. With new hands on deck like Muhsinah and old mainstays like Darien Brockington and Yazarah, Leave It All Behind sounds like it's going to be an equally dope affair. Oh, yeah...the cover of Stevie Wonder's "If She Breaks Your Heart" gets a nod from the kid.

Download the one-track sampler mix here.

1. Take Off The Blues
2. All Or Nothing
3. Something To Behold
4. If This Is Love
5. If She Breaks Your Heart

In stores October 14, 2008! Stay tuned to The Foreign Exchange site for updates.

:.:Cool shit:.:

Yo, how dope is this!? A USB Stick in an old school cassette tape incasing that stores 60 minutes of music (roughly 64 MB)!! Just like them old Certron joints you used to pop into your LaSonic to tape the DJ Red Alert radio show!

And it's available in 6 different cartridge styles!!

I always lamented over the fact that the digital medium killed the concept of the double sided album. The experience has been lost on the younger generation. I can only offer my deepest condolences. And maybe this latest USB stick incarnation won't bring back the good old days of going down to Albee Square Mall and copping the latest DJ Hollywood mix. But aesthetically, it's a cool reminder of simpler times. When hip-hop was thirsty and your favorite producer used to make pause tapes for the lunchroom MCs to rhyme over. Guess I'll be coping one soon. Nostalgia is a bitch. Check out the Suck UK site for more info.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Anybody catch the front cover of this week's Village Voice?

Look closer.

First time I've seen the Voice turning these kinds of tricks.
According to the full page ad inside, the first 3,500 readers to visit FYE.com/digitaldeals will get a free download of the new Michelle Williams and Raphael Saadiq albums. Looks like FYE is determined not to go the way of the other brick & mortar record retail chains as of late (R.I.P. The Wiz, Tower Records, and HMV)
Not bad. Not bad at all. Unless you're number 3,501, that is. Mimi, this one's for you!

::Dear Yeezy...::

After listening to the lead single from your forthcoming album 808's & Heartbreaks, I'm compelled to inform you that:

1. The Auto Tune/ vocoder revival is dead. Just like Neo Soul and fat laces. As much as T-Pain wants to claim the bragging rights for bringing it back, it was actually Cher with her 1998 single "Believe." So jumping on a trend 10 years after an aged pop star old enough to be your Grandmother makes you look that much less of an innovator. Step your game up.

2. The track and lyrics are booty. One step away from happy hardcore and techno pop. I could SO see an Eiffel 65 remix of this.

3. No matter how many versions of this song you release (or leak)...it still sucks.

YOU make the call. Listen here.

All this minimalist, flat production with Auto Tuned vocals is just depressing. Speaking of...did anybody happen to see Lil' Wayne and his Karaoke/ Guitar Hero hot mess of a performance of "Lollipop" on Saturday Night Live recently? No? Bon appetit!

:.:Omar Rodriguez Lopez X Stones Throw = DAMN!::

I'm sorry.

You just need to understand.

It's really hard for me to not get amped about this impending project.
Very few details have been leaked. 12"? Full-length? Who knows. I'm just glad it's going down.

Stay tuned to Stones Throw for more info.

Friday, September 19, 2008

:.:Q-Tip::Knitting Factory, NYC::Sept. 29::FREE SHOW:.:

Looks like The Abstract is finally releasing the follow up to his 1999 solo debut Amplified. Just got word that Tip is doing a free show on the 29th at the Knitting Factory to preview and celebrate the release of his album The Renaissance this fall. I hate this venue. Scroll down a few posts for reference. But I'll be there nevertheless. All you have to do is text the words QTIP to 66937 and you should get a reply text saying that you're in there like swimwear.

Maybe he'll have some guests in store. Wink-wink, nod-nod. Check the Knitting Factory site for more info.

BTW...in case you haven't seen the video for his new single "Gettin' Up," here you go:

:.:VH1 Hip-Hop Honors::FREE TICKETS:.:

Ever dreamed of being a Soul Train dancer or one of those emphatic people waving and screaming at the front of the stage during televised awards show performances? Listen up!

Here's your chance to fulfill the dream and hold up your "Hi, Momma" sign on TV! Send your email to the casting for VH1's 2008 Hip-Hop Honors awards show to be taped October 2nd! Follow these directions, cross your fingers, and say a Hail Mary or two. You might just get a call back...

Thursday, October 2nd.

Location: Hammerstein Ballroom - 34th St. btw 8th & 9th aves.

Forward an email to: audiencecasting@vh1.com

Include 1 picture, name, age, city, and phone number.

For more detailed information about being a perspective audience member, hit up the Tools Of War Myspace blog.

Shout out to PopMaster Fabel and Christie for this one!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

:.:New Yorker Festival::October 3-5, 2008:.:

This is going to be like a 3-day intellectual orgy. My kind of party. Kinda pricey too. Tix are $25 a pop. In some instances, it might be well worth it. Here's a short list of the folks I'm planning on going to see:

* Malcolm Gladwell: “The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes”
2 p.m. Ailey Citigroup Theater
Joan Weill Center for Dance ($25)

* Where I Come From
With Sherman Alexie, Shalom Auslander, and Junot Díaz. Moderated by Carin Besser.
9:30 p.m. Angel Orensanz Foundation ($25)

* Race and Class in America
With Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Frank, John McWhorter, Leslie Sanchez, and Cornel West. Moderated by David Remnick.
7 p.m. Town Hall

Additional speakers include Oliver Stone, Matt Groening, and Stephen Colbert.
There's also supposed to be a talking bike tour of Governor's Island. Hmm...interesting.

Hit up the New Yorker for more info. Tix are on sale now...hurry!

:Check The Resume::

When applying for any job, it's customary for your credentials to be checked. Here's some interesting facts about our current presidential candidates and their shotgun partners that just might sway your opinion at the polls in November:

Barack Obama:

Occidental College - Two years.

Columbia University - B.A. political science with a specialization in
international relations.

Harvard University - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joe Biden:

University of Delaware - B.A. in history and B.A. in political science.

Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

John McCain:

United States Naval Academy - Class rank 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester

North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study

University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism

Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester

University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in journalism

...I ain't sayin', I'm just sayin' though.

::Target muscles in::

Any marketing major or art school dropout with half a brain that happened to stop by one of Target's four Bullseye Bodega locations in Mahnattan from the 12th through the 15th knows what's good. Another example of a national retail chain testing the waters under the guise of novelty. The bodega has been a vital institution in New York City culture. These compact supermarkets have long catered to lower income neighborhoods where the small business has long been the cornerstone. However with excessive gentrification in many sections of the five boroughs, major chains and banks have been strong arming their way into said neighborhoods with false benevolence and a foresight of exponential profits. There's too much irony in Target dubbing their latest retail exploits bodegas. This whole creative marketing ploy sounds suspect at best.

I can't tell you how many high rise luxury condo buildings and banks that have opened up in my neighborhood in the past two years. It's sickening. And I hate to sound like a cynical "save New York City" pavement-pounding advocate, but the fact that these institutions are coming in and supplanting the old ones is a harbinger of a sleek urban landscape catering to the young money whose conspicuous consumption is indifferent to the lower tax bracket inhabitants living in in these neighborhoods in question. It's a new dawn; it's a new day.

We all know Target is constructing a new location along the FDR around E. 119th Street. So all who visited the "bodegas," ask yourself...what is Target's main objective in the midtown and downtown areas? I ain't sayin', I'm just sayin', though.

:.:BAM Takeover::September 27, 2008::NYC:.:

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is the shit. Period. I need to get up with them more often.
Next Saturday, these folks will be partying till 4 in the morning.
Damn. Sound like they tryin' to compete with Shelter's hours on this one.

Only $20 in advance ($25 at the door) for 7 hours of dopeness:

* 4 bands
* 2 DJs
* 11 films
* Ping-pong, guitar hero, and arcade games
* Video art installations.

Hell, I'm just goin for the screenings of The Last Dragon, The Warriors, and Saturday Night Fever. 'Nuff Said.

Hit up BAM for more info.

:Godfather Still Runnin' The Joint::

Even though its been almost two years since the Godfather of Soul made his transition, his musical legacy continues to resonate in popular music. But there was also another side to Mr. Brown:

Yeah. Um...we're all aware that celebrities have always been known to act a fool in public, but this is pushing the envelope. And according to public record, this example is only the tip of the iceberg in his repertoire of fiascos and hijinx. However, this is the James Brown that I choose to remember:

Here's 22 cuts of super dynamite soul courtesy of Dj Un.D.Fine to satiate your soul power jones:



::Ancestry In Progress (belated)::



Your legacies have left indelible impressions on the world-at-large. Thank you for the precious gifts you bore. May your journey be peaceful and radiant.

::Ancestry In Progress::


Your legacy has left an indelible impression on the world-at-large. Thank you for the precious gifts you bore. May your journey be peaceful and radiant.