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Ice-T covers Suicidal Tendencies
06.17.2014
07:41 am

Topics:
Amusing
Hip-hop
Music
Punk

Tags:
Suicidal Tendencies
Ice-T


 
This could be viewed as a ballcap-tip between African-American and Hispanic exponents of ‘80s SoCal gang culture. Or I could be viewed as a pasty Jewboy from the Ohio ‘burbs who should seriously just shut his matzah-hole about ‘80s SoCal gang culture. But whatever, this rules!

Ice-T’s notorious rap-rock crossover band (be cool, just because the genre they spawned sucked balls doesn’t mean they did, but if that’s how you wanna play, go ahead and blame Eno for new age) Body Count released their new album Manslaughter last week, and it features a cover/update of “Institutionalized,” the classic and definitive 1983 Suicidal Tendencies song that pushed hardcore perilously close to the American mainstream. But instead of ST singer Mike Muir’s litany of parents-don’t-understand grievances, Ice-T airs 21st Century complaints about Xbox, Oprah Winfrey, ISP customer service, nosy co-workers… it’s pretty nuts.
 

 
For comparison’s sake, here’s the original, from Suicidal Tendencies’ debut LP.
 

 
And because it almost feels obligatory, here’s Ice-T ranting about somewhat more serious matters on “Cop Killer,” the song that made Body Count so notorious to begin with.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Kiss My Baadasssss: Ice-T’s guide to Blaxploitation

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The whitest rap battle in history—on ‘Jeopardy’
05.20.2014
07:33 am

Topics:
Amusing
Hip-hop
Race
Television

Tags:
Jeopardy
Alex Trebek


 
Seeing Jeopardy host Alex Trebek and perpetual winner Ken Jennings recite classic hip-hop lyrics is one of the most amusingly dad-like things you will see all week.

Hearing such acutely caucasian people reciting lines from “Insane in the Brain,” “Mo Money Mo Problems,” and “The Humpty Dance” almost has the same effect as those classic Steve Allen bits where he recites pop song lyrics as poetry—and oh God, how I tried to find you a video of Allen’s jaw-droppingly hilarious reading of Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff”—but it’s not being played for laughs.
 

 
Kidding around about whitey’s white whiteness aside, Trebek actually does an uncommonly dignified job at this, but then again, it’s not his first rodeo. I especially enjoy the moment at the end where everyone blows it on the one white artist in the bunch, and Trebek unleashes his inner Canadian on that song title’s pronunciation. Awesome.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Hip-hop and you don’t stop: ‘The Big Break Dance Contest,’ 1983
05.08.2014
01:25 pm

Topics:
Hip-hop

Tags:
breakdance


 
Made at a time when you saw breakdancers pulling windmills and body popping on their cardboard everywhere you turned in NYC, The Big Break Dance Contest is a wonderful time capsule of the early days of hip-hop. Produced locally by WABC, it’s literally a breakdance contest from 1983 with the top prizes being $2500, an appearance on New York Hot Tracks and a role in the movie Beat Street. Hosted by actress Leslie Uggams and the host of NYHT Carlos De Jesus, the B-Boy crews seen here include the Magnificent Force, Uptown Express, the Fantastic Duo, the Flash Dancers, Larry Watson and Jason Twigg, the Heartbreakers and the Dynamic Breakers.

After a short introductory documentary on early hip-hop culture with Afrika Bambaataa and other members of the Zulu Nation, the contest begins. There’s a even a goofy Burger King commercial with a hip-hop theme that was recorded during the airing that they purposefully left in.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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N.W.A. alumnus Ice Cube waxes philosophical on modern architecture
04.01.2014
06:56 am

Topics:
Art
Design
Hip-hop

Tags:
architecture
Ice Cube
Eames


Ice Cube reenacting this famous photo of Charles Eames
 
A few days ago, a friend and I were discussing the bourgeois assumption that the “lower classes” do not enjoy “high art.” Part and parcel to this snobbery, there’s the idea that the wealthy are automatically “cultured,” a myth easily dispelled by a quick glance at the nouveau riche so often paraded on reality TV. Anyone can be tacky, but rich people have the means to really take tacky to its highest heights—and I say this as a long-standing fan of “tacky!”

Still, it’s always nice to learn that a former hardscrabble member of the hoi polloi has staked their claim to the artistic traditions of the monied, so I was pleased as punch to learn that Ice Cube has a penchant for modern architecture, specifically for modernist husband and wife duo, Charles and Ray Eames. Apparently Ice left El Lay to study architectural drafting at the Phoenix Institute of Technology before his career with N.W.A took off. The video below is a promotion for “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” an exhibit that ran from 2011 to 2012 at the Getty Institute. As Ice opines the beauty and dynamism of Los Angeles, the parallels between the prefab design of the Eames and rap are made obvious, when he declares, “They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.”

Nowadays the name “Ice Cube” can illicit a little bit of disdain in a certain crowd—his acting in family-friendly movies apparently cost him some kind of mythical “credibility.” But from the looks of the man in this video, he’s clearly still just a guy who likes what he likes, and he doesn’t really give a fuck what anyone else thinks.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Inside Out’: Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s wildly entertaining life on parole


 
It’s safe to say that for virtually every moment from the time that Wu-Tang Clan became prominent around 1993 until his sad death in 2004, Ol’ Dirty Bastard—“Russell Jones” to the law enforcement community—was in some kind of legal trouble. He was convicted of second degree assault in 1993 and was arrested for failure to pay child support in 1997. A year later, he pleaded guilty to attempted assault on his wife and was also arrested for shoplifting. It goes on from there. In 2000 he was assigned to a court-mandated drug treatment facility but escaped—as a fugitive he met up with RZA and spent some time in the studio. In Philadelphia he was eventually captured. (DM previously reported on his endlessly interesting FBI file, released in 2012.)

After spending the next two and a half years in prison in New York, he was released on parole on May 1, 2003. Sensing an opportunity, ODB’s manager, Jarred Weisfeld, arranged for VH1 to have a crew follow ODB around for his release and the first few weeks out of jail. The end result was “Inside Out,” which can be viewed below. Actually, it’s a little unclear what this video is—IMDb.com lists the running time as 60 minutes over two episodes. This video isn’t that long, however. What I think this is is episode 1 of “Inside Out”—not sure there was an episode 2—followed by a brief remembrance section that likely doesn’t have anything to do with VH1. In any case, it’s wildly entertaining.
 
Ol' Dirty Bastard
 
The life of a mentally troubled rap star is as crazy as anything you’re likely to find. A stretch limo filled with family, friends, and business associates (of course these lines overlap) is there to meet him upon his release. He is immediately presented with a gift of 500 condoms. As the father of 13 children by multiple women, ODB sniffs out the subtext: “They don’t want me makin’ no more babies!” At his press conference the same day as his release, who shows up to take part? Of course, Mariah Carey.

Eventually ODB’s interest in the ladies alienates his sort-of ladyfriend Raquel, who promptly flees back to LA. Within days he’s photographing a silicone-enhanced Playboy model and hitting on women in the street. Meanwhile his new relationship with Roc-A-Fella records is proceeding with the usual complications. We see a few cordial encounters with RZA as well.

The special presents a glimpse of actual parole life that’s not often available on TV. We see ODB successfully pass a drug test and we’re told that, as messy as his life was, he was able to adhere to the 9pm curfew imposed on him. When he signs the paperwork before his release, he’s told that he’s agreeing that parole officers can visit his home more or less anytime, and sure enough, we get to see such a visit. All goes well, except for ODB’s lingering paranoia after the fact.

ODB never really got the psychological help he needed, but nobody could say that he lived an unfulfilled life. “Inside Out” is excellent evidence of both parts of that equation.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Deaf people: Don’t masturbate. Also, 50 Cent


 
Some smartass/genius has procured a sign-language video, evidently produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses, meant to instruct the deaf on why it’s important to avoid the evils of masturbation, and set it to the music of rapper/actor 50 Cent (that’s pronounced “FIDDY Cent,” in case you didn’t know, he said, whitely), of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ fame.

I really wish there was something… anything I could add to this, but the sign language gestures for tossing one off turn out to be pretty much what you’d expect.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Unhappy Valentine’s Day: Kim Gordon’s Break-Up Playlist
02.14.2014
10:12 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
Kim Gordon

kgscream
 
The break-up of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore in 2011 caused an amount of dismay and grief normally reserved for fictional characters or mentally deficient royals splitting. What was interesting and somewhat surprising was the music Kim turned to for comfort in the aftermath. She told Elle,  “Rap music is really good when you’re traumatized.”

Not country revenge songs about cheating in which someone gets shot? Not Nick Cave’s “Your Funeral and My Trial,” Leonard Cohen, Morrissey, or a single song from Frank Sinatra’s Only The Lonely album?

For others, the only things that helped them through the first stages of a broken heart are copious amounts of alcohol, gallons of ice cream, Patsy Cline, early Kiss albums, Dio, or The MBD Band’s Hot ‘N Sticky. For Kim, it was old school and new rap.

Having her share her break-up playlist is like having Brian Greene explain the Higgs boson, Richard Stallman expound on software liberty, or Henry Rollins talk about self-reliance (or list his twenty favorite punk albums). It’s time to pull up a chair.

gordonmoorewedding
 
Kim and Thurston’s wedding day, 1984. Do you feel doomed yet?

Kim Gordon’s “Traumatized Good Time Tunes,” as told to Refinery 29 after the jump…

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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A 7-year-old’s drawings of classic rap albums


 
Via the fantastic So Bad So Good blog comes word of the talented lad Yung Lenox, who at age 7 is filling his Instagram account with his own re-creations of classic hip hop album art, with some punk and metal in the mix as well. Now, I’ve never known a kid who didn’t love to draw, but this kid shows some promise a bit beyond his years. He’s also admirably prolific, and enterprising to boot—he has an online store where he’s selling prints of his work. There’s little else I could add but to question whether he’s even allowed to listen to any of these, but since that does little to illuminate the actual work, let’s just have a look at the images.
 

Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
 

Ice Cube, Amerikkkas Most Wanted
 

Dr. Octagon, Dr Octagonecologyst
 

2Pac, All Eyez on Me
 

A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
 

Slayer, Live: Decade of Aggression
 

Minor Threat, Minor Threat
 

2 Live Crew, As Nasty As They Wanna Be

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Public Enemy’s ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ Deconstructed
01.13.2014
05:49 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
Public Enemy


 
Public Enemy released It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back in 1988. Few albums have made a bigger impression on me or meant as much.

Today, Flavor Flav is a former reality TV star and Chuck D is a former Air America Radio personality and an elder statesman more generally. It’s difficult to reconstruct just how weird and scary Public Enemy once was to White Amerikkka. In 1989, when I first heard Nation of Millions, I was a college freshman who listened exclusively to radio-ready pop music and classic rock, with the exception of the speed metal I had recently gravitated towards—in fact, the inclusion of a snippet of “Angel of Death” by Def Jam labelmates Slayer on “She Watch Channel Zero” was one of the first facets of the album that attracted me to it.
 
Public Enemy
 
We didn’t know it then, but 1988 was the heyday of intensely sample-heavy rap LPs before the lawyers ruined everything—other masterpieces using that approximate technique include the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique and De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising. For a dopey white kid from the suburbs, the texture of Nation of Millions was heady, intoxicating. I could obscurely categorize all the talk of “white devils” for which Professor Griff would soon be jettisoned from the band as “wrong,” but most of the other stances, even the incoherent ones, were far more difficult to rebut. The sound of the album was insistently “hard” and justifiably angry, funky and brainy, an album to drive you to bone up on James Brown and Malcolm X. The purpose of the approach was to change minds, but I often wonder if Chuck D and the Bomb Squad had any notion of the appeal the album might possess for impressionable white kids. I suspect it wasn’t much on their minds.

The densely multilayered nature of Nation of Millions cries out for a deconstruction—preferably one that can be imbibed via the ears. Fortunately, on the Solid Steel Radio Show a few months ago, DJ Moneyshot released a remarkably enjoyable hour-long episode that does precisely that. For anyone who loves the album, the show is a singular treat, nothing less than an aural essay on its sources, of which there are many. Civil rights speeches, immortal soul classics, contemporaneous rap gems, and interviews with the likes of Hank Shocklee are all mixed together, Bomb Squad style, into a delightful stew.

Oddly, I’d learned only days earlier that one of the key opening samples from “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” stems from Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions; I also had no idea that David Bowie’s “Fame” was used as the bed for one of Griff’s mottos in “Night of the Living Baseheads.” I’m going to assume that many DM readers, being less ignorant than myself, will still derive considerable enjoyment from this head-scrambling mix.
 

 
Thanks to Lawrence Daniel Caswell!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Beat This!’: Must-see document of Hip Hop’s golden age with Malcolm McClaren, Afrika Bambaataa
11.15.2013
07:13 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Movies

Tags:
Beat This: A hip hop history


 
1984’s Beat This!: A Hip Hop History is one of the very first films to document Hip Hop culture at a time when it was entering its golden age. Made for British TV, the film is smartly done and includes lots of terrific footage of pioneers of the genre, including Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force and Malcolm McClaren (in his role as yoof culture’s Richard Attenborough) describing his exotic journey into the depths of the Boogie Down Bronx. There’s some ultra-cool footage from Herc’s original dance parties.

Beat This! was directed by British filmmaker Dick Fontaine who has a history of intelligently chronicling the early days of R&B and modern jazz. This one’s another significant feather in his creative cap.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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