Cool tracks from “True Detective”

I cannonballed the whole first season of True Detective during a recent trip to California. The show is great for a litany of reasons, only one of which is the soundtrack. I normally abhor country music, but True Detective is accompanied by these lyrical and gothic country, blues, and southern rock songs. Prior to these tracks, I had really only seen this kind of stuff from the Violent Femmes.

The best example is the opener, “Far From Any Road” by The Handsome Family. After 8 episodes, I hear this song in my sleep. The embedded video is just the lyrics, which are dark and beautiful.

“Meet Me In The Alleyway” is a tremendously gritty blues song.

“Young Men Dead” is an awesome 70’s style southern rock song.

Dizzee Rascal visits Texas

As much as I love regional hip-hop, what little I have seen come out of Texas from the likes of Mike Jones and Bun B really underscores what I dislike about mainstream rap music. I’ve been listening to dudes brag about being pimps and gangsters since the 80’s. While it was pretty original when NWA did it like 25 years ago, today it’s been done to death, especially in Texas. Those dudes are incapable of shutting up about candy paint, wood grain, and 4-4’s. I get that this is what moves albums and gets people to watch videos, but at the end of the day, music doesn’t last unless it says something real. This is why I am drawn to independent music and underground artists, like DualCore.

A sub-genre of hip-hop that came out of London, England that piqued my interest was Grime. Lyrically, the words are basically British lads bragging about being gangsters, but they do it in their own vernacular, and they do it by blending elements of dancehall and drum & base. The samples are unique (no gangster whistle), the delivery is fast and raw, and the slang is like no other. The music captures something that I, as an American, haven’t had seen much of, life on the streets of London. In my youth, I assumed that everyone in England was rich, snooty, and incredibly white.

Dizzee Rascal is easily my favorite grime artist, and “The Boy In Da Corner” is easily my favorite album of his. Here’s one of my favorite tracks:

So like all good things from Britain, Dizzee learned that he can go to The States and make a lot of money. Actors do this, but the practice was pretty much invented by musicians. In hip-hop, you can get an unknown on the charts by having someone known do tracks with them. This is how Dr. Dre put Snoop Dog and Eminem on the map (not to mention Warren G). So Mr. Rascal packed up his trainers and came to the good ol’ U. S. Of A. and did some tracks with Bun B. I have no idea if he’s a thing in America now, but I kinda hope it blew up in his face:

I try to imagine the video shoot, with everyone unable to understand Dizzee Rascal when he talks. If you watch the video, Bun B mentions Dizzee and London exactly once, and then launches into the usual, candy paint, etc.

Turntable Track made from Ska samples

This is a great track. It’s a great example of Turtablism, or a Hip Hop track with no lyrics. In Turntable tracks, it’s all about the beats, so breaks and scratches replace MCs.

The track is based on some Rocksteady samples. I’m not positive, but I think at least one sample is cut from “One Step Beyond” by Prince Buster (not to be confused by with the more popular cover by Madness).

Another clever use of Ska samples is this Big Beat track by Lion Rock:

A classic turntable track that is probably the best use of breaks, scratches, and samples instead of an MC, to the point that you almost don’t notice that there isn’t one, is “The Motorcade Sped On” by Double D and Steinski:

There is a better mix of this track out there, but I haven’t found one on YouTube that doesn’t have significant audio problems.

BBC Docu about British Reggae

I have made a few posts over the years about reggae and how much I love not just the music, but the music’s unique ability to fuse with other music. Sometimes this forms sub-genres like rocksteady or dancehall and sometimes it leads to new forms of music, like 2 Tone or ragga.

Reggae and Dub are the original remix culture. In England, it draws many parallels with hiphop in the US. Reggae is the original protest music and the original rebel sound. The video below is pretty long, but it’s well worth watching.

Mos Dub – Johnny Too Beef

When I read this blog post about Assata Shakur being added to the Most Wanted Terrorist List, I noticed her story isn’t much different than those told by hackers that have been imprisoned. I also noticed that her criticism of the United States is summed up nicely by Mos Def.

“Beef” is a pretty harsh criticism by Mos Def of not just institutional racism in the U.S., but also of the hip-hop community and the people who look up to rappers. The track has powerful message about the hardships faced by the working poor. The track’s slower tempo means a lot of mixes use beats without much energy in them, which undermines the song as a form. Fortunately Max Tannone shared my concern and mashed up “Beef” with “Johnny Too Bad” by The Slickers. The result is a powerful mashup that is reminiscent of a dance hall/ragga protest song..

Technically, “Johnny Too Bad” sounds more like rocksteady than reggae, but unless you are a ska nerd like me, the difference between the different genres of Jamaican music is fairly academic.

Here is one version of “Beef” that sounds like a freestyle on a radio show:

Mos Def has done “Beef” in a bunch of different places, including The Dave Chappelle Show, so it’s not a freestyle.

Here is The Slickers version of “Johnny Too Bad”:

And here is the mash-up, known as “Johnny Too Beef”:

DJ Diplo Docu on NOLA Bounce and Brazillian Funk

DJ Diplo is a producer whose work I came to know during my brief but intense obsession with “Paper Planes“.

He is also a documentary film maker, and he did a piece that digs into NOLA Bounce and in particular, the gay sub-genre of bounce, known as “sissy bounce”. Check out this trailer, tho some of the dancing might be considered NSFW.

He also made a documentary called “Favela on Blast” about funk culture in Brazailian favelas, which I learned about through my brief but intense obsession with “Rap das Armas“:

Also, the loop in the trailer is effing awesome.

rap das armas redux

i have been obsessed with “rap das armas” since i saw tropa de elite. it turns out that the song has a long history. this is installment 3 in the ongoing “chris stays up all night surfing for weird hiphop videos from foreign countries and includes them in a long ass blog post that’s 90% embedded videos” series.

it seems share some characteristics with “paper planes” in that it’s based on a popular 80’s song and details life on the streets for a group of people forgotten or ignored by society. according to the wiki article, the hook for rap das armas comes from “your love” though i don’t see it. however, i understand the words to your love, so that might actually inhibit my interpretation:

the original “rap das armas” was released in 1994 by MC’s junior e leonardo (tropa de elite takes place in the late 90’s) notice how samples of gunshots are prominently featured, just like “paper planes”:

here’s “paper planes” for reference:

apparently a modified version of that appears in the film, and cidinho e doca remade it *after* the film:

my portuguese is really weak, but i think the words are significantly different.

the version of the song that appears in the film has more african sounding beats, which are reminiscent of angolan kuduro (angola is a former portuguese province, much like brazil). here are a couple of kuduro videos, notice the prominence of dancing, just like the new orleans bounce videos i posted before:

after tropa de elite and cidinho e doca brought the song back to popularity, there have been a lot of remixes. this samba version is my favorite:

this one is neat too, it’s set over a sample from “planet rock”:

if you aren’t familiar with 80’s b-boy tunes, here’s “planet rock”:

more itunes induced panic

itunes causes a lot of panic in my social circle.

being the only tech support person for my family, i am often called upon to solve problems that are beyond my skill to heal. today’s problem involves the syncing of itunes to a new PC, when the old PC is no more. the hope is to take the music from an ipod touch, and add it in to itunes. the problem of course, is that itunes wants to erase what’s on the ipod, and replace it with what’s on the PC, which is nothing.

i had a sneaking suspicion that all was lost, since most consumer devices that facilitate ripping a CD (like the original xbox) almost never let you move the files to another device. apple had to suck so much RIAA cock to allow itunes to exist in the first place, they are basically required by law to screw their consumers when it comes to transferring devices.

i turned to google for assistance, and the first search result is an apple fanboy/shill trying to stay on-message while he tells a new user that he’s completely fucked:

first comes the butthurt:

followed by the “it’s not a bug… you just don’t know what you are talking about” response:
proper fucked!

also, no one makes backups. ever. just sayin’.

and when i look at the “more like this” box, it’s full of people who have the same problem:
everyone loves the old in-out-in-out

apple is a big company, supposedly bigger than microsoft, and big enough to have it’s own private police force. surely they can stand up to the RIAA and tell them how it is, but alas, i guess not. too bad for their consumers.

i had to download a utility to be able to copy the files off, which all have randomly generated names. thankfully i know script-fu, but what about the people who don’t? what happens to them?

if you having snycing problems i feel bad for you son, i got 99 problems, but playing my pirated shit on my player of choice ain’t one.