Hip-hop artists are musicologists, and sampling is one way histories are folded into the present.
Just down the road from me, Georgia State professor Scott Heath doing work that needs to be done.
“He’s aware of the criticism and the critiques that come his way, and he then critiques those critiques. This is a guy who gives interviews where the entire interview is about another interview that he gave earlier,” says Heath, pointing to conversations with Jimmy Kimmel and Ricky Smiley as examples. “That, to me, is very keenly discursive.”
“He’s having to process or deal with other people’s interpretation of what he’s saying and who he happens to be,” says Heath, alluding to Du Bois’ assessment that black people in America are tasked with the emotionally arduous task of filtering their own identities through the lens of dominant white culture. “An exciting moment for me was the students reading Du Bois and the lightbulb going off and them making the connection to Kanye.”
Filed under: Kanye West.
“When you pop champagne, man, a guy holding a 40 can’t stand next to you. Our whole shit was, We drinking champagne because we deserve this shit.”
Atlanta to Atlantis: An OutKast Retrospective | Pitchfork. Essential reading.
The poet and the player was the tagline; the truth is that you never knew who was who.
Tyler and the Clancys’ 4 Strike management group recently started a new creative agency called Camp Flog Gnaw, which aims to lend Tyler’s brain to companies that want to engage the youth demographic. The first fruit of the new enterprise is a partnership with Mountain Dew, for whom Tyler has directed four left-of-center TV commercials starring a talking goat named Felicia. “The agency is a way to stay true to Tyler and not do endorsements, but to allow companies to use his creative energy,” Clancy says. “There’s a demographic out there that corporate America has lost, but Tyler has managed to build a brand around it.”
Rappers are very much analogous to bloggers in that both groups sort of do what they do because they want to do it, but they also know there’s not really any worth to what they’re doing – except sometimes one of their cohort gets scooped up by some faceless place with money, so there’s always a little halo of maybe-money attached to what they do. Maybe that halo’s worth more than actually making a piddly amount of money.
I discovered Phantogram’s music by chance, on a popup ad on the computer. I’m closing out of a ‘You have just won a prize’ screen and “Mouth Full of Diamonds” came on and I Shazamed it, bought the song, then invited them to Stankonia.
Easy as that.
Consider this proposition in reverse to see how absurd it is: For my graduate thesis, I am going to give Calvin Trillin a bunch of half-assed instrumentals and have DJ Drama help him put together a Gangta Grillz mixtape, and then we’ll evaluate him alongside Gucci Mane and Cam’ron, and other rappers who have made Gangsta Grillz mixtapes. That would be awesome, but it would not provide any more insight into the how and why Calvin Trillin does what he does. It would simply provide me the opportunity to take someone else’s work, put it in a different context, and call it something different.
Dre likes to work in an environment where you can create. [Where] everybody’s on the creative atmosphere and not about what’s goin’ on in the ‘hood, how many niggas you shot and how much shit you did. He didn’t want that.
Me and Dre both. That’s Snoop, talking about the making of The Chronic. Life was simpler then:
I was just happy to be workin’ with Dre. I had my own apartment. I was getting a thousand dollars a month, had all the best weed I wanted. My girl was lovin’ me, I was lovin’ her. It was all just crackin’.
Last album I was like “I don’t now how I’m finna do this shit again,” but it’s been like that since Southernplayalistic… When in doubt you just gotta go to work.
The secret is that the shit is fun to me. Finding a new groove to make a new song, that shit is fun. When you get the beat right and then the hooks and the bridges and the lyrics and it all comes together it’s like this feeling that you get like you hit the jackpot. I can only describe it as trying to unlock the combination to a safe. Once you get inside it, boom.
Hustle & Flow. I was expecting a more formulaic rags-to-riches story, but got several wonderful surprises and setbacks in how this one played out. The main characters here are so, so, so well-done. Terrence Howard is great as he works through what’s basically a mid-life crisis. Damp, dumpy Memphis is the perfect backdrop and it’s just a generally nice change of scenery from most movies. Ludacris has a decent turn here as Skinny Black, but Big Boi’s menacing Marcus in ATL puts it to shame. Also, this one has Isaac Hayes.
We’ve all spent years talking about taste in the age of the mp3, and how listeners can shuffle happily from Hank Williams to Too $hort to Katy Perry. Minaj might force some people to accept that a musician might have more than one inclination as well — that she might, unsurprisingly, be interested in steely rapping and sugar-rush pop at the same time.
Everybody’s Al Capone in a barber’s chair.
Killer Mike. Also:
Atlanta [is] the post-civil rights city that worked. I think that’s the real legacy. All this foolishness we be doin’ as rappers is just something for the old guys to laugh at,“ he says with a conciliatory chuckle. "They did this on Simpson [Road] 50 years ago.”
When you rap and say anything kinda conscious, all the conscious people approach you. So after ATLiens I got it all – from books on sex to [metaphysics] and religion. But you also get introduced to a lot of fake phony ass people, and I addressed it in the song. You find some of the fakest people with dreads pouring oils on you. And it’s really kind of mind-blowing when you’re a young person and you start to find out some of this is bullshit, so then you’re just out there searching.