Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Portugal. The Man

First off, apologizes for not keeping up with the posts. Not to make excuses (here come the excuses) but with the semester winding down I've been swamped with work/searching for jobs/partying every night of the week and it hasn't left me much time for blogging. However, I will continue to A) vow to give this blog 100% and B) show you great new music, of which you may or may not be familiar with. This next band that I would like to give some shine to is "Portugal. The Man", an indie rock band from Oregon via Alaska.

I recently got my hands on their 4th disc, "The Satanic Satanist" and have not been able to quite them ever since. The band started in late 2004, and have since released 6 studio albums, along with getting a breakthrough gig preforming at Bonnaroo in 2009. The songs posted below are from the above album (oxymoron? eh, well worth a try) and if you like what you hear, well there is plenty more where that came from. The "Satanic Satanist" was simultaneously released acoustically, which they titled "The Majestic Majesty." Also, earlier this month on March 2nd they released "American Ghetto", another full length album.

"Because we are all, we are all just lovers
Born of earth and light like all these others"


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lets Give Credit Where Credit Is Due Shall We?

Now originally I wanted to title this post "Sample Saturday", a feature that our friend, producer Kevin Casey, has been writing for quit some time. Basically, every Saturday Kev picks a song that people like, and completely changes the way you think about it, by showing the original song from which the beat/chorus/rhythm was stolen or "borrowed" from. A great example of this was when he posted David McCallum's "The Edge" and Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode". Complete rip-off.

Anyways, last week while road tripping from Tempe to Lake Havasu, I stumbled across a Chili Peppers gem from the early 90's that I had never heard before. The song is called "Pretty Little Ditty" and it's from their "Mother's Milk" album. It is instrumental gold, and despite having no lyrics to it was still very pleasing to the ear. However midway through the song I couldn't help but hear a certain guitar rift that reminded me of a certain shitty song, by a certain shitty band. The song I'm referring to is "Butterfly" by Crazytown (Don't remember them? Think of a homo-erotic Papa Roach on LSD. Don't remember Papa Roach? I wish I could be that lucky). The entire bassline/guitar part for the song is a 100% rip-off of RHCP, yet somehow I managed to live nearly 10 years of my life without anyone bringing this to my attention? How is it that one of the worst bands of all time could make millions of dollars (Yes, in the early 2000's when people still paid for music you could make 7 figures off of a piece of crap like "Butterfly") off of a rift that Frusciante wrote and preformed 11 years earlier? And don't try to tell me that the lyrics were what made "Butterfly" the hit that it was:

"My lifestyle's wild I was living like a wild child
Trapped on a short leash paroled the police files
So yo. what' s happening now?
I see the sun breaking down into dark clouds
and a vision of you standing out in a crowd.

The only reason that song got any love at all was for the dreamy beat, and it is a shame that more people don't credit the rift to the Peppers. For all of you reading this who were already familiar with Crazytown's sampling (cough cough robbery) of "Pretty Little Ditty" then I apologize for the rant but it had to be done. Listen for yourself, the beat that was "borrowed" comes in at the :38 second mark in the below video.

As embarrassed as I am to feature a video by Crazytown on this site, just remember I'm merely trying to prove a point.

Lastly, lets all keep our fingers crossed that Frusciante gets his act together and rejoins the band. I could use some new Chili in my life.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Biggie Biggie Smalls is the Illest

Ok, so Dan already beat me to a Notorious B.I.G. tribute, but I have to throw something up for an artist who has had a profound impact on my life....

I have so many memories of Notorious that I don't even know where to start so I'm just gonna jot down some bullets-

-I think the first time I heard Big was when I was 9 years old. I knew that he had died, but I really had no idea who he was. My mom took my brother and I to Sam Goody on the release date of Life After Death because my brother was adamant about getting it, I didn't see what the big deal was. He got that, I'm pretty sure I got a Sugar Ray single or something. When we got home I snuck a listen on my brother's Disc man, and after hearing Hypnotize, I was hooked-I must have listened to it about 30 times in a row.

-When I was in the 8th grade, I first heard "Gimme the Loot" and even though I could only understand about half of the lyrics I loved it. I memorized every single word in about 2 days. However, I still didn't really know the magnitude of his abilities.

-At about 15-16, I stole "Ready to Die" from my friends girlfriend, my life literally changed. I was obsessed with this album, it was pretty much all I could talk about at school.

-Throughout High School I did everything I could to get my hands on as much Biggie as I possibly could. I must have destroyed my families computer downloading every single Biggie track known to man on Napster and Kazaa, but I had to have it.

- As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate what Biggie did with his short time on this Earth. It's crazy to me that a man could have such a profound impact on so many lives, mine included. His lyrics are so versatile, he could go from rapping about killing people, to inspiring people, to loving his girl in a matter of 3 tracks.

-His growth from "Ready to Die" to "Life After Death" was unparalleled. He understood that now that he had made it, he couldn't rap about being on the corner and hustling drugs anymore. I think this is one of the biggest reasons he remains so relevant and his music lives on.

- All in all, the Rap game would be very different if he would have released a few more albums. In short, there is no way Lil' Wayne would be considered the best rapper ever.

Rest in Peace Big, your impact on hip-hop is still felt today. You were the best to ever do it, and your music will continue to remain timeless.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"If ya don't know, now you know ______"

As you may or may not know, tomorrow, March 9th, marks the 13 year anniversary of the passing/murder of the rap phenom Biggie Smalls. Biggie's work has been a key outlet and go to for me for well over a decade now. I still remember listening to "Ready To Die" straight through on my CD Walkman, on the reg during my middle school days. I was too young to remember hearing of his death when it happened, but once I started dipping my toes in the rap game, Biggie's music, and his story became essential for my development and eventual love for hip-hop and its culture. For more information on the potential motives/back stories that led to the mid 90's East Coast/West Coast rap feuds and ensuing murders of Tupac Shakur and Chris Wallace please read this great Rolling Stone article by Randall Sullivan from May of 2001. I remember being 13 years old and purchasing this issue of Rolling Stone, and reading the 30+ page story in its entirety during a family road trip to Williamsberg, WV. Although I didn't understand many of the drug references, or context for that matter, I was still fascinated by the information presented in front of me, and Sullivan does a superb job of trying to put the pieces of the unsolved puzzle together. Sullivan writes that "So much of the truth has been buried in the process of telling this story that no amount of excavation could unearth it all at this point." and the sad thing is, he is absolutely right...

Just like Biggie preaches in the above video "Juicy", "If ya don't know, now ya know ____", I have some up and coming rappers here that you may not already know about. And if you don't know, now ya know. First off is this dude Wax, originally from Baltimore but has since moved to Cali. He occasionally rhymes with his brother Herbal T, who is equally as talented and quick with his metaphors. My buddy J-Fonts introduced him to me, and Wax actually let Fonts go on stage and spit a freestyle with him during a show in Albany last fall. Once again, I'm still not that familiar with his work, but peep his YouTube videos and you'll definitely be impressed. Below is his song "2010 to Infinity."

And now for my main dudes, Dirt Nasty and Andre Legacy. Together they make up half of the late rap super group the "Dyslexic Speedreaders", along with Mickey Avalon and Beardo. Simon Rex, aka "Dirt Nasty" came onto the scene in the mid-90's as a MTV VJ, and after starring in the T.V. series "Jack and Jill"/ starring in Scary Movie 3&4 eventually made his way into the L.A. rap scene. His outrageous drug and sex fueled raps have gained him some fame and notoriety, and his songs have been in heavy rotation on my Ipod for the past year now. The below song isn't Dirt's finest work, but it is hillarious and gives you a good insight to his sense of humor/lifestlye. Also, if your looking for a laugh, peep Dirt Nasty's Twitter page.

And lastly, below is Andre Legacy with his track "Bender". Although the lyrics are unrealistic (I hope), and thought provoking (somewhat), I can't get over how much I love the chorus. "Don't question my agenda, I'm on a bend-ah."

-fresh (@danye33)