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Renaissance portrait or rapper?
03.17.2015
07:00 am

Topics:
Animals
Art
Hip-hop
History
Music

Tags:
Renaissance
Rappers


 
NYC advertising creative director Cecilia Azcarate has an apparent fondness for the art of the Renaissance and a gift for connecting it to the present-day. Her Tumblr Ikea B4-XIV cleverly identifies centuries-old analogues to Swedish housewares in Renaissance paintings, and she curates a Twitter feed that’s heavy with the art of that era as well. But she’s hit on a rich vein of astonishing material with her Tumblr B4-XVI, wherein she highlights “an invisible conversation between hip hop and art before the 16th century.” The connections Azcarate identifies between painted portraits from the Renaissance and photographic portraits of 21st Century rappers are, at times, frankly amazing.
 

“The Adoration of the Magi” by Hugo van der Goes VS Wiz Khalifa
 

“Portrait of Henry the Pious, Duke of Saxony” by Lucas Cranach VS Takeoff of Migos
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Worst moment in hip-hop history? Tupac Shakur’s screen debut in a godawful Dan Aykroyd movie
03.05.2015
08:58 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Movies
Music

Tags:
Dan Aykroyd
Chevy Chase
Tupac Shakur


 
By 1991, even the most retrograde of old fogies was starting to suspect that rap music was not going away anytime soon. Advertisers began mining it for every bit of cultural capital they could, and soon hip-hop would be used to sell everything from breakfast cereal to high fashion. It became shorthand for “relevant,” and a nifty cultural touchstone that was sure to resonate with the youth… right? “Cutting-edge” and “hopelessly dated” are not mutually exclusive categories—a lot of groundbreaking things simply look silly in retrospect. Dan Aykroyd’s Nothing but Trouble however, was just completely, unjustifiably bad from the beginning.

The Razzie-winning box office bomb actually had a lot going for it in terms of star-power. In addition to John Candy and Demi Moore, Aykroyd was just coming off the Ghostbusters sequel, and Chevy Chase had finished his final National Lampoon’s Vacation movie. Unfortunately Aykroyd’s success may have have burdened him with a bit of artistically unproductive hubris. He directed the film, co-wrote the screenplay with his brother and co-starred in the movie (almost never a good sign). For a little perspective, this was a movie with the $40 million budget—massive for that time—and the box office take didn’t even reach $8.5 million.
 

 
Aykroyd also decided that Oakland hip-hop group Digital Underground (you know, the guys who did “The Humpty Dance”) could spice up the movie with a musical number—with Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase’s ultra-white guy characters as the enthusiastic audience. Most notably, this means a cameo by a young Tupac Shakur in the most undignified role of his short life. I’d be absolutely shocked if anyone predicted a future in music for Shakur based on this performance—it’s literally one of the worst moments in hip-hop history.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Lilacs & Champagne: ‘Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh’ exclusive album stream
02.04.2015
09:52 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
Emil Amos
Lilacs & Champagne


 
Emil Amos (Holy Sons, Grails) and Alex Hall’s Lilacs & Champagne their mutant instrumental hip-hop hybrid, finds inspiration in psychedelic Eastern European porno movie soundtracks, B-movie funk, Madlib and J Dilla, space age bachlor pad library music, radio samples and… just about anything. Their third album, Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh is released on March 17 via Temporary Residence Ltd..
 

 
Here’s an exclusive stream of Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh for Dangerous Minds readers:
 

 
Lilacs & Champagne are currently touring Europe with an expanded live lineup that includes Jay Clarke (Ash Black Buffalo) and Zac Reno. All dates also include Watter and Holy Sons on the bill.

Feb 4, 2015 Bahnhof-Langendreer, Bochum, DE
Feb 5, 2015 Trix, Antwerp BE
Feb 6, 2015 La Zone, Liege, BE
Feb 7, 2015 Birthdays, London, UK
Feb 8, 2015 Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK
Feb 9, 2015 The Oobleck, Birmingham, UK
Feb 11, 2015 Rossli - Reitschule, Bern, CH
Feb 12, 2015 Stadwekstatt, Liz, AT
Feb 13, 2015 Mame Club, Padova, IT
Feb 14, 2015 Lofi Club, Milan, IT
Feb 15, 2015 Arena, Vienna, AT

A “commercial” for Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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YES. There’s a mashup of the Notorious B.I.G. and the ‘Serial’ theme song
12.19.2014
11:17 am

Topics:
Crime
Hip-hop
Media
Music

Tags:
Serial
Notorious B.I.G.


 
The success of the This American Life spinoff podcast Serial, which in Season 1 has been looking at the facts surrounding the incarceration of Adnan Masud Syed for the murder of a former girlfriend named Hae-Min Lee, has been a major story in the world of podcasting. It’s been a #1 in the iTunes store for weeks, and if you’re a loyal This American Life listener, you’ve probably been gushing about the case with your friends since the podcast’s inception. As viewers of HBO and AMC have learned of late, the pleasures of the serial form of story-telling can be profound, something the consumers of The Perils of Pauline, Fantômas, and the death of Little Nell decades or centuries ago didn’t need to be told.

To honor a show obsessed with murder, New York-based producer Fafu decided that the thing to do was to mash up the tinkly Serial theme song (composed by Nicholas Thorburn, available here) with something a bit heavier—the Notorious B.I.G. track “Somebody Gotta Die.”

Face it—listening to a murder case week after week has made you feel like a gangsta—now you have a soundtrack to match.
 

 
via Huh.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘It tells you a story, and makes you want to to dance!’: Fantastic 1981 hip-hop report
12.17.2014
03:41 pm

Topics:
Hip-hop

Tags:
rap
1980s
hip-hop


How wholesome do The Sugarhill Gang look right here? It’s kind of surprising that parents weren’t rushing out to buy their kids some records by these nice boys.
 
I have to say—I was pleasantly surprised by this 1981 20/20 feature on rap music. Not only is it overwhelmingly positive, touting the artistic merits of black youth culture, it really does a decent job describing the phenomenon to people new to the concept. There’s a little bit of history on spoken word black music and the viewer gets a mini-tour of Harlem and the South Bronx. Plus you hear some samples and comments from legends like Kurtis Blow and (of course) Debbie Harry.
 

 
The only real gaff that I suspect is the reference to the “big boxes”—I have a feeling they mean to say “boom boxes” but something got lost in translation. That part of the segment actually includes a woman criticizing the aversion to boom boxes as a racist bias. (Edgy!) “Big boxes” aside, I say well done Steve Fox! You accurately predicted the longevity of a now institutionalized art form, and you have a great early 80s mustache!
 

 

 
And Part 2 is here!
 
Via 1981

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Highlights from the world’s first Juggalo art exhibition
12.08.2014
07:17 am

Topics:
Art
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
Juggalos
Insane Clown Posse


AWJA
 
British artist Lucy Owen put herself through a crash course on America’s most amusingly violent subculture, the magnet-bedazzled Juggalo “family” that regularly congregates around events run by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, better known as Insane Clown Posse. The annual convention of the band’s facepainted fans has become a riotous annual tradition in the Midwest known as the Gathering of the Juggalos, complete with bands, standup comedy, Faygo, wrestling, helicopter rides, crystal meth, and, at a guess, third-degree burns? 

Owen became intrigued by an online forum encounter with a self-identified Juggalo who claimed to be ridiculed and mocked constantly—something I just did myself. Quoth Owen:

“The negative reaction from the other people on the forum was so intense, I was wondering if he’d just admitted to being a child molester or a mass murderer. ... So I started to research it. What I found was a subculture so profoundly bizarre—at times shocking, and other times plain funny—that I felt compelled to start exploring it through my work.”

Owen immersed herself in ICP’s music and headed for Detroit, the band’s home base, and not only attended the Gathering but also followed the band on tour for dates in the Midwest. The fruits of her research can be seen in the 27 paintings of Where the Juggalo Roam, a show that opened last Friday at Start Gallery in Detroit; it runs until December 20.

I have to say, these paintings are quite deftly turned out, a darn sight better than (no offense) whatever image the phrase “Juggalo paintings” was likely to call up.
 

Psychopathic (detail)
 

America’s Tortured Brow
 

Abomination
 

Fuck Gainsborough
 

Poster Boy
 

Paperman
 

Murder Is to Crow as Family Is to Juggalo
 

New Gotham
 
More Juggalo masterpieces after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Tom Waits meets Aesop Rock is actually a good idea!


 
It’s been over ten years now since Danger Mouse’s notorious Grey Album—a brilliant full length CD that mashed up a capella tracks from Jay Z’s Black Album with remixes of Beatles songs from the White Album—became a cause celebre due to EMI’s attempt to suppress it over the unauthorized use of the Beatles’ material. That move Streisanded all over the place, turning the extremely limited underground release into one of the most-downloaded albums of 2004, one that went on to rank #1 in Entertainment Weekly‘s year end best-of list, and to show up in the Village Voice‘s Pazz and Jop list. It’s so typical—left alone, the album would have remained an insidery bit of DJ culture esoterica, but the effort to bury it instead brought the mashup phenomenon in remix culture to the mainstream.
 

 
Since then, many DJs have endeavored high-concept mashup albums, but most have fallen short of Danger Mouse. Hippocamp Collective and DJ BC put out at least three Beatles mashup albums between them, with varying levels of inspiration. A duo called The Silence Xperiment did an album called Q Unit, combining 50 Cent’s rapping with Queen remixes, which was pretty good, though the world had already known since Vanilla Ice that Queen’s grooves are sufficiently potent on their own that they need a special kind of suckage on top to make a lousy song out of them. There’ve even been mashup tributes to unlikely subjects like AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and the practically ancient Australian entertainer/sex criminal Rolf Harris. (Actually, The Rolf Harris Mashup CD is beyond bonkers, and kinda totally rules.)

And still, ten years after Grey, contenders continue to appear. Someone using the name Aesop Waits released Tom Shall Pass this year, with remixed Tom Waits music beds underpinning vocal tracks from rapper Aesop Rock’s acclaimed 2007 album None Shall Pass, and I’ll be damned if it ain’t half bad at all. Since Waits’ old-timey rhythms and timbres don’t easily lend themselves to hip-hop treatment, the DJ here had to go to some effort to make this combination work, and to my reckoning, he (she?) did a good bit better than 50/50—the demented circus-falling-down-a-flight-of-stairs stylings of Waits’ music complements Aesop’s complex and impressionistic lyrics better than I’d have guessed. The best include “Reeperlawn,” “Undercomb Kids,” “Singapore Harbor is Yours,” “Knife Dance for the Whole Family,” and “Dark Heart of Istanbul.” (Each title is itself a mashup of the titles of the combined songs, if you didn’t catch that.) The tracks that fail are the ones that lean too heavily on extraneous drum loops, basically stomping all over the grooves inherent in the Waits samples, prompting wonder at what the point of even using them was in the first place.
 

 
Stream the entire “collaboration” after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘My Rules’: Glen E. Friedman book documents hardcore punk, hip hop, skaters and YOU NEED IT
09.18.2014
07:18 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Hip-hop
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:
Glen E. Friedman


 
I don’t normally write posts and say “you must own this!” but… you’ve gotta get this! Glen E. Friedman’s new My Rules (Rizzoli) is simply stunning. A real masterpiece! I was happier than a pig in shit when I got it in the mail a few weeks ago. It was a very pleasant—and unexpected—surprise indeed. I couldn’t wait to unwrap it out of its packaging and tear through it! The book is a glorious MONSTER, with huge color photographs and amazing B&W images. Hugeness is a major factor in its favor, and the hardcover is sort of “quilted” and textured in a manner unlike any book I’ve ever owned. As an object/publication, it’s… a simply stunning presentation of a photographer’s life’s work, one of the best you’ll ever see. An event! Who is there… what ONE photographer was around as many important scenes as Friedman? Hip hop, hardcore, skaters, he was there, he was in the midst of it and with this book you really get a sense of that. It’s not just a bunch of amazing photographs, the selection becomes a sort of autobiography of the person who documented all of these moments: He was there.


Darren “Buffy” Robinson - Fat Boys - 1985 - Venice Beach, ©Glen E. Friedman
 
Glen’s work splendidly captures historic moments in time. Moments of 70s skate culture, punk, post punk, hardcore, 80s hip hop and early-90s indie rock. Underground cultures that will never happen again (or at least not as cool as they were then!). I have to admit though, I got really nostalgic and almost a bit weepy while looking at these photographs. They reminded me of being young again. My youth. Something I ain’t ever going to get back. They drummed up memories of me hanging out with my childhood friends (some sadly deceased now) just kicking it in my parents’ basement playing records or driving around in my first boyfriend’s pick-up truck blasting Minor Threat. Fun times. Good times.

I love this book for so many reasons.


The Make-Up - 1995 - New York City, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Think of any iconic image of Run DMC, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Public Enemy, and Beastie Boys, or the gravity defying revolutionary skateboarding legends Tony Alva, Jay Adams, or Stacy Peralta. It is almost certain that Glen E. Friedman was the man behind the camera. Since the mid-1970s as a young teenager, Friedman has been chronicling quintessential moments of underground and counterculture movements.

Glen E. Friedman’s My Rules serves as a history book for the three powerhouse countercultures—skateboarding, punk, and hip-hop. From the earliest days Friedman was present to capture the pivotal and defining moments in music and street movements that were largely unknown or ignored. The energy and rebellion comes through in these famous and some never-before-seen iconic images.


Moses Padilla - 1978 - West LA, ©Glen E. Friedman

As a side note: It was extremely difficult for me to pick the images for this post. I mean, they’re all so damned wonderful! ALL of them! Here are a few choice selections from My Rules below:


Jello Biafra - 1981 - Hollywood, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Flavor Flav and Chuck D. - 1987, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Junk Yard Band - 1986 - Washington D.C., ©Glen E. Friedman

More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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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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