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Best Anagram Ever

December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We’re Not Dead: The Five Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2008

December 24, 2008

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We apologize for the gaping hole our absence has undoubtedly created in your lives. Surely you understand that we are college students. Which means that work piles up as finals approach, and once they’re over, we promise never to write another word again outside of AIM and Facebook. Now we’re free and about a week into break. I imagine this is what it’s like to be released from a maximum security prison; I had almost forgotten what it feels like to wake up on a Monday and decide for yourself what to do with the day. So while Troy and Hollis are probably actually doing shit right now, I hope that an early Christmas gift (or a late Hanukkah gift) can begin to soothe your pain.  Without further delay, in lieu of an actual blog post, I present yet another year-end list:

5. Nas: Untitled

“The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it.”
-Nas

This album’s original title raised countless eyebrows and ires. But few of his detractors recognized the conditions that led to the proliferation of that word. And even fewer of us expected that Nas would target those conditions by turning in his best lyrical performance since Illmatic. Not one of the tracks on this album is skippable, each is at once poignant, challenging, and anthemic. Nas goes after everything from slavery to Fox News, even to the N-word itself and America’s obsession with it. I’m still not sure whether the proposed title was a marketing tactic, a clue to the content of the actual songs, or whether that even matters. But what I do know is that this is one of the best albums I’ve heard in along time. I like to think that Jeremiah Wright rode out the summer bumping this in his car.

Nas, “Sly Fox

4. Danny!: And I Love H.E.R.: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
And I Love H.E.R.
Enter Daniel Swain, relatively unknown and underrated rapper from South Carolina. According to Wikipedia (the only research tool I use) he’s been laying fat tracks since 2004, but I had never heard of him until this year, and not a moment too soon.You could call his music “hipster rap,” but his rhymes are so emotionally honest and witty that they lack even the slightest simulacrum of the pretense that people associate with hipsters. And I Love H.E.R. isn’t actually a soundtrack, but an album that chronicles the artist’s relationship with hip-hop music, as the reference to Common’s classic single suggests. The beats are somber and mellow at the same time. Don’t sleep on Danny!; this is perhaps the best concept album since A Prince Among Thieves.

 

Danny!, “The Groove” 

3. The Roots: Rising Down


The Roots are not going anywhere. After eight studio albums, they’re still one of the most consistently tight acts in all of music, much less hip hop. Few hip-hop troupes (De La Soul coms to mind) have enjoyed the artistically longevous career The Roots have. Rising Down continues their long line of dope albums, giving voice to the forgotten ghosts of American history with dope beats and dope rhymes. Any album that brings the Mighty Mos out of the grave, even for just a few minutes on the title track, also gets bonus points.

The Roots featuring Dice Raw, Peedi Crakk, and DJ Jazzy Jeff, “Get Busy

2. Wale: The Mixtape About Nothing

I waited for years, and it never happened. No producer sampled the loop that, if reconstructed properly, would garner approval from all critical corners. Just wacky enough to be considered alternative, and just popular enough to be instantly recognizable. If they could sample the underground theme from Super Mario Brothers, then why not this? The sand news is, until 2008, nobody sampled the theme song from Seinfeld.

Wale is a big fan of Seinfeld. His Mixtape About Nothing is at once an homage to the decade-defining “show about nothing” and a well-crafted mockery of a staple of hip-hop: the mixtape. The beats, handled mainly by the Best Kept Secret production crew, knock hard, and Wale comes off as a better-educated Lil’ Wayne, though he’s not nearly as “experimental” with his flow as Weezy F. Baby is. The album itself progresses like a Seinfeld episode. It begins with a free-flowing stand-up routine delivered in rhyme. It moves through a series of seemingly unrelated songs. It ends with a shout-out session, similar to the end credits every show has. But the real genius of this album is that beyond the songs themselves, the format brings out Wale’s beef  with most current hip-hop music: that it is, in fact, about nothing.

Wale, “The Opening Title Sequence
Download, The Mixtape About Nothing

1. Rhymefest: Man In The Mirror

Yes, it was released at the very end of December 2007, but it still sons pretty much everything released in 2008.

It doesn’t bode well for the hip-hop industry that the two best albums I heard in 2008 were intended to be free. (The only one I actually bought was Untitled, but that’s another post for another day.) While The Mixtape About Nothing re-defined the mixtape as a genre, Man In The Mirror takes it a step further. While it technically is a mixtape, in the sense that it escapes the laws of sample clearance, ‘Fest says it best when he calls it a “Michael Jackson tribute album.” But it’s not your typical tribute album either. Rhymefest does not relegate himself to weak renditions of Jacko’s greatest hits, instead, he rhymes in his usual impeccable style over beats that sample Jacko’s greatest hits. Just like The Mixtape About Nothing, the editing is fantastic, as Rhymefest cuts up old Michael Jackson interviews to make it seem as if the King of Pop was in the room. As a rapper, Rhymefest is something of a Chuck D for the 21st century, and he rides a beat effortlessly, slow or fast. If you get one album from this list, let it be this one. You have no excuse not to. It’s free.

Rhymefest, “Can’t Make It
Download, Man In The Mirror

Gary Edwards is  a staff writer at GHB Up In This Motherfucker. He recognizes that there may be typos in this post, but it’s Christmas Eve, so fuck you. He wants you to stop reading here, look at the picture below, and enjoy the rest of your holiday break while you still can. Merry Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year’s!
santa

Polygamist Gangsta Rap

December 11, 2008

Jailed FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs attempts to demystify his much-maligned polygamist sect in this new hip-hop video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Polygamist Gangsta Rap“, posted with vodpod

Stuff That Makes Me Hate White People #1

November 21, 2008

In this series, I will discuss my interactions with white people and the effects it has on my perception of them. As all of our faithful blog readers already know, Gary has been tackling the issue of white people and their enjoyment of a variety of things since the beginning of this blog. In this series I will attempt to write as an embedded correspondent and expose the darker side (not skin color) of white people.

Show Etiquette

As a member of the white community, it is obligatory to frequent a variety of concerts. The only problem at most of these concerts/shows is that they are usually populated by white, suburban, high school kids. Now it wasn’t so long ago that I was a member of this group, so you might be thinking “oh noes! troy has become a pretentious college student.” Fear not! I hated this group before I even came to college.

A concert, especially if it is a “rock concert” provides to suburban white high school kids a place to “rebel.” Get a couple bags of oregano and this community will make you a rich man. Why you may ask? Because it makes them feel rebellious buying what they think is an illegal drug. This rebellion unfortunately also takes the shape of just being the biggest asshole you can be to everyone around you. For example, I attended a Hives show last year where a kid, who fit the description of the “white suburban high school asshole” so well that he could’ve been their spokesman, continuously thrust his shoulder into my back. I knew it wasn’t a case of the crowd behind him pushing him into me and that he was in fact doing this on purpose. I turned around to confront the whipper snapper only to feel an arm come from behind me close in around my neck the instant I did so. I unceremoniously pushed this assailant off only to find myself surrounded by 4 or 5 other members of the “community.” I debated Mike Vallelying them, but decided I’d rather enjoy the rest of the show instead.

This example doesn’t just show the love of being rebellious but exemplifies another issue at shows: the overwhelming disrespect for other people’s space. I realize that often the venue is packed and there is little space to begin with, but that doesn’t excuse most of the behavior I’m talking about.

I went to a Girl Talk show this past weekend which exemplified almost everything I hate about suburban white shows. I went under the impression that it was being held somewhere in Boston, which is still overwhelmingly white but is comprised of college students so it’s slightly better. The show was in fact in Foxborough, a town that is only known for the Patriots football stadium, which happened to be the location of the show. As we drove up and saw where the show was being held and how many cars were in the parking lot, my wonderful friend Susan exclaimed “I feel like we’re at a Britney Spears concert.” That feeling wasn’t subdued when we walked into the venue to see a bunch of white teenage girls dancing around on stage with this opening act, supplemented by projections of “booty cleavege” behind them.

Despite this being a dance driven show, the audience still insisted on pushing each other around and fighting to get to the front. This led to one girl pushing into my aforementioned girlfriend and when she pushed back, the girl wheeled around and yelled “you fucking bitch” and looked like she was about to swing. Her BF intervened and pulled her away. I on the other hand was excited to see an intense pummeling handed out by my girlfriend.

All these bad experiences at suburban white kid shows? What is the remedy?

Find 90’s rap groups that the hipsters haven’t already gotten a hold of, find when they are coming to a venue near you, and go to it. Last year I went to an EPMD show with the (now infamous) Gary. They are an awesome group who experienced most of their success in the 90’s and still have somehow managed to avoid being swarmed upon by hipsters. The audience was primarily black and in their late 20’s/30’s. Everyone was respectful of everyone else’s space while still being energetic and dancing. It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever experienced, which I attribute to the fact that I was the only suburban white kid there.

tl;dr don’t go to shows that are going to be dominated by white suburban kids.

-Troy!

Wisdom

November 17, 2008

Hollis sent me this and I loved it too much not to share it.

-Troy!

Strictly Bush Dancing

November 12, 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7360529.stm

He may go down in history as one of the worst presidents in our history, he may have a lower approval rating than Nixon during Watergate, he may be responsible for well over 100,000 dead human beings, he may have single handedly wiped away many of our cherished rights and freedoms, but he’s got moves!

-Troy!

Has This Ever Happened To You?

November 12, 2008

Fat Kids

November 12, 2008

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27651277/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygqh8xZwekI

Roastbeefy really should watch his weight.

Prop 8

November 12, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4xfMisqab8

Olbermann, for the most part, is right, but gay men do not need the California state government to give them “love,” “happiness,” or “permanence.” What they do need is access to the bounty of rights that legally married straight couples get (http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/pg/2/objectId/E0366844-7992-4018-B581C6AE9BF8B045/catId/F896EE61-B80C-4FE1-B1687AC0F07903BA/118/304/ART/) and everyone else is categorically denied. As long as these privileges hinge on the term marriage, and as long as the word marriage is pinned into a very specific heterosexual corner, these rights will be held out of reach of at least some of the people who may want them. Power must be taken from the word marriage, it is a religious hurdle America is not currently equipped to clear. Remove the spiritual terms from the legal. We need a new system. And if people figure out how to take advantage of it, more power to them.

Don’t legalize gay marriage. Outlaw straight marriage.

Second post (more clarification)?

November 12, 2008

So I guess I should state why I wanted to go into this blog adventure (blogventure?). I felt that the internet (interbuttz) wasn’t providing me with enough sources of procrastination and distraction as it was. The Blink-182 message board (http://www.blink-182online.com/forums/index.php), College humor, and incessantly searching for new videos of Christopher Hitchens somehow didn’t take enough time out of my day. Necessity is the Mother of invention, so I “invented” this blog for GHB to triple team. My hope is that it ends up being just me bitching about wasting time while employing an unnecessary amount of parenthesis.

-Troy!

p.s. Jason’s blog ( http://lazyscreenwriter.blogspot.com/ )  inspired me too. But our blog is better than his’.