One of the best songs on one of the most creative albums of the year comes off even better in video form.
Kendrick Lamar released imagery for “Alright” earlier this week, a horn-infused and repenting track produced by Pharrell Williams and Sounwave. The black and white video, directed by Colin Tilley, pushes the same type of buttons the To Pimp a Butterfly album has already evoked from listeners.
It’s a refreshing seven minutes of cinema. You’ll want to run this one back a few times.
Born in Mississippi in 1925, his music was a reflection of his upbringing. It connected with people of all walks of life and backgrounds, such is evident in videos below featuring U2 and Big K.R.I.T., and it’ll continue to inspire and live on for countless generations to come. Just as it should.
The four albums that unleashed the solo career of Ice Cube onto the world are a treasure in the history of hip hop.
Whereas stereotypes have largely perpetrated rap in certain ways over the past couple decades, the initial era of the former backbone of N.W.A. is worthy of revisiting as he’s helped legitimize social concerns for an entire group of people.
Once you get past the menacing attitude of the production and equally intimidating delivery of the emcee, there’s lots of depth to peel back within each album. Ice Cube in the early 1990s comes complete with commentary matching the times, which can be tough to digest upon first sitting if hesitant to soak it all in.
There’s scathing tracks about corruption of law enforcement and the prison system, and government degradation and racial tension, and tales of street life and sexual relations. It’s all packaged with punk rock bravado from a ghetto-American point of view.
I’ve always been attracted to the imagery of the music video. Too bad they don’t get much play anymore on television.
But the beautiful thing about the technology of the world today is that the music video fan has taken over where the big-budget directors have left off. So take that, MTV.
The “Stolen Youth” track by Roots Manuva has gotten the DIY treatment by Karina Tolmacheva and Balazs Kajcsa, each of whom captured its essence in different ways while adding to how powerful the song already is on its own.
El-P and Killer Mike have been delivering the goods as Run The Jewels for more than two years.
On “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” they employ former Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha for additional social commentary on one of the most outstanding tracks from their new album Run The Jewels 2. They then took things to an entirely new level with the release of the music video this week.
Described as “an artistic, playful, yet painful look at the modern day struggle between our everyday citizens and law enforcement,” the visuals brought to life by AG Rojas are powerful.
At its conclusion it’s as if each side has decided it’s far too much hassle to be hassling each other in the first place. Decide for yourself…
I never intended to make a post that’s in any way associated with the Grammy Awards.
Hell, I hardly even pay attention to the Grammy Awards, unless I’m wandering aimlessly on social media and happen upon the typically ridiculous placement of artists in categories of which they have no business earning an award.
But then Kanye West blasted Beckfor winning album of the year, for an album I admittedly dismissed upon its release much in the same way I did Sea Change in 2002. And although I own multiple albums by both Kanye and Beck, I found West’s response to Beck’s triumph as equally annoying as nearly every other music fan.
There will always be a special place in the hearts of old school hip-hop fans when it comes to a collective like Digital Underground.
While Dr. Dre was turning Parliament-Funkadelic samples into gangster rap soundtracks, Digital Underground used the P-Funk sounds of the past to keep the party jumping with a much less serious vibe attached to it.
My go-to album in the Underground discography is Sons of the P from 1991, but I was recently reintroduced to a hidden gem that was released long after many fans had lost track of Shock G and his Humpty Hump stylings.
In 1996 Digital Underground released the vastly mediocre Future Rhythm album with a track called “Want It All” buried at the end. It’s everything you’d expect from the crew: funk, humor, creativity.
I’m not even sure how to pronounce his name. Guess I’ll learn soon enough though after spending Tuesday’s release day listening to the San Francisco native’s impressive new Moonlight album.
It’s the third release for Hanni El Khatib since debuting with Will The Guns Come Out in 2011. Head in the Dirt followed two years later with an assist from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, so you can imagine what some of these new songs might sound like: bluesy guitar-driven grooves accompanied by boastful drum sounds that carry a shadowy mood throughout.
Having never heard either of those previous albums I had no preconceived notions before giving this one my full attention. And after having had my fill of Auerbach and the Keys over the years I can say I was hardly surprised when I read about their connection after spinning through this for the first time. Moonlight possesses some of the signature sounds of The Black Keys but comes to an end before drowning in that style.
Standouts include the title track, “The Teeth,” “Chasin’,” “Mexico,” “Servant,” and “Two Brothers.” But don’t just settle for the official album. Be sure to check out the Moonlight album mixtape by J.Rocc for a different twist that’ll keep you going until the sun comes up.
The history of the song “Dixie” is the subject of an Intersection Films production bearing the same name by Ryan Kelley and Trent Reeves.
It’s a documentation of the origins of the song, its relation to the South, and the people who’ve preserved it in some form or fashion throughout each passing generation.
It’s also a look into how “Dixie” became a rallying cry for those opposed to the desegregating times of the late 1950s and 1960s and the connection it began to have with that of the Confederate flag.
Was “Dixie” in fact written by Dan Emmett of Mount Vernon, Ohio, who went on to pioneer the blackface minstrel shows of the mid-1800s? Or was it a nearby family of former slaves – Ben and Lou Snowden – who taught him the tune that he would eventually make famous?
There’s always been something about the uneasiness and embarrassment of others that makes the rest of us cringe with curiosity.
Such stories serve dual purposes in that they entertain on one hand and fascinate on the other, as though we can relate in some form or fashion. Or maybe we’re just intrigued by the kinds of far-fetched circumstances we’ve never had a chance to experience ourselves.
Blueprint offers up these types of stories to help quench such an appetite as he shares the most awkward moments from his life on the road in “What a Night,” a book about the worst shows of his music career.
Although Blueprint’s been known for different things at different times in his life, first as a computer programmer, and most notably a producer, emcee and musician, it’ll take some time before his work as an author of books reaches those aforementioned levels.
I considered rushing out to local record stores Friday morning to pick up exclusive Black Friday vinyl music releases. Then I started flipping through my existing collection, deciding instead to stay home and spin the stuff I already own.
Albums by Bobby Womack, Johnny Cash, Gang Starr, The Stepkids randomly made the rotation. Sample some of the best tracks from each below.