I have long been a proponent of the idea that the Notorious B.I.G. is the best rapper of all-time. (This after having long been a proponent of the idea that Rakim was the best rapper of all-time. I have been proponentizing for a long time. I am very, very old.) But I am starting to consider a different idea. Is Andre 3000 the best rapper of all-time? I think he might be! The body of work he amassed with his partner Big Boi across the six OutKast albums that came out between 1994 and 2006 already made for a strong case—Andre expanded the breadth of rap-lyric subject matter with [...]
So the new Twin Shadow video, which had a big public debut in Times Square yesterday, is very disappointing. The song is so good, with those amazing bell synths, stolen from that old Naked Eyes gem. I don't know why they (George Lewis, Jr. and director Keith Musil) didn't use better lighting in the middle of a dark forest. You can't see anything. (Maybe it looked better on giant LED screens in Times Square?) Or, more disturbingly, why they chose to go all Braveheart on the viewer. It seems they've confused violence with heroism. Or even just, excitement. It's like "the new video for Killer Mike's [...]
About 3 to 4 months ago, I contacted the Reagan National Library and spoke to the head of the library, a Federal Agent. I told him what I had, how I came across it and so on. We spoke for about 45 minutes. The reason that I contacted the Reagan National Library was to see if they would like to purchase it from me. He indicated that if I was interested in donating it he would see to it that he would take care of all of the arrangements. Prior to hanging up the phone, he said to me, do me a favor, don’t move from where you [...]
Lots of people loved president Obama's speech calling for civility Wednesday night. It was a great speech. (Except the line about "jumping in rain puddles in heaven.") And in that spirit, and because I think it's good to note when people you often disagree with say something you do agree with, I very much like what David Brooks writes today: "The truth is fragmentary and it’s impossible to capture all of it. There are competing goods that can never be fully reconciled. The world is more complicated than any human intelligence can comprehend."
But not everyone is in that kind of mood.
"Drink Ketchup," reads an ad on a billboard in this animated video for Killer Mike's "Reagan." There is lots of such wonderful stuff to watch and listen to here.
Today in the New Yorker (subscription-only!), Sasha Frere-Jones looks at El-P and Killer Mike, "survivors of a kind of roisterous political hip-hop that seemed to have faded away." But has not! And is more "roisterous" than ever! (As we have noticed and enjoyed more than quite a bit.) Here's our recent guide to the New York City rap scene.
Here is a promotional poster for the joint tour just announced by Brooklyn rapper/producer El-P and Atlanta rapper Killer Mike. El-P produced Killer Mike's highly acclaimed new album, R.A.P., which came out today and is sounding excellent on my iTunes as I type. The opening acts will be Mr. Motherfucking Exquire and Despot. So expect a rendition of last year's super-awesome "Huzzah" remix to stop every show. Who does that Wild Thing look so much like? It's like a "Crank Yankers" muppet of Vic Tayback or something.
With people putting Frank Ocean's new album in sentences alongside the likes of Voodoo, Here My Dear, and The White Album (Didion's, not the Beatles'; but, you know, it's only been out a week), the arrival of this video of Killer Mike performing a cut off his R.A.P. Music, which came out way back in May, almost seems to say, "Hey, everybody, don't forget about me! I made the best album of the year so far, too!"
I was lucky enough to have been at Santos Party House on Monday night, where this great thing happened when Killer Mike came onstage at the release party for El-P's new album Cancer 4 Cure. They were going to perform a song called "Butane"—a duet from Killer Mike's new album, R.A.P. Music, which El-P produced—but there was a glitch with the music equipment. It turned out that El-P didn't have the R.A.P. Music instrumental tracks with him. So they did it a capella, and it ended up being even better that way. The whole concert was excellent. (I know I have been going on about these [...]
The venerable Busta Rhymes shows us what people mean when they talk about an MC "blacking out" on a track. He rhymes so fast, enunciates so clearly, without pausing to take a breath, you'd think he'd lose consciousness. In so doing, he steals this song—with it's huge and spacious beat, which was produced by club music maestro Diplo and sounds like it will explode dance floors like the Yin Tang Twins "Wait (The Whisper Song)" did six years ago—from proprietor Chris Brown and fellow guest star Lil Wayne both.
Here are a bunch of other good rap songs that came out this week.