We went into Coachella with the best of intentions. Shoot a bunch of footage, put together an awesome video we could share with everyone. Well, that didn’t really happen. What did? Well, I got some awesome dance footage. Enjoy!
I can’t say that I know a ton about Etta James. I don’t own all of her albums and I’d be lying if I said I’ve listened to her anytime in the past couple of months. One of the most beautiful things about music though, is that regardless of how much you listen to a particular artist or how well you know their body of work, that they can still hold a special place in your heart. My love for Etta James revolves around one song. While she’s had plenty other great songs, songs that I do listen to, it’s one song in particular called “I’d Rather Go Blind” that I will always associate with her. The first time I heard this song was in 8th grade. My good friend Manuel Martinez had a four disc box set called Chess Blues and he played this song for me. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Both him and I had just broken up with our girlfriends and were pretty damn depressed as we dealt with deep (or so what we thought at the time) guy / girl emotions for one of the first times in our lives. Before we knew it, this song was on repeat and we listened to it in his room about 20 times in a row.
To this day, it evokes emotion in me as a truly deep and touching song about heartbreak. I just found the song on youtube and as I’ve been writing this blog post, I’ve played it about five times already. As always, it not only brings me back to that day, but it also shows me how much music can resonate with you and channel emotions that we deal with in our day-to-day lives. So yeah, in tribute to Etta James, please enjoy this song and may she rest in peace.
We had a little flip cup tournie on Monday night, for no other reason than wanting to get drunk, and needed to settle a tie in a one cup playoff. Here’s how it all went down!
The title was me trying to sound out that classic Prodigy line from Mobb Deep. I’m too lazy to look up the song title, you know what I’m talking about, right? So, over the past two or three weeks, I’ve been listening to a steady dose of hip hop which is a nice change of pace from my increasingly indie rock playlist. Big ups to Cheech for sprinkling me with a BUNCH of new music to keep me entertained at the Kid Dangerous Head Quarters. Most of these guys are pretty under the radar and have little to no chance of ever blowing up, but so much great hip hop never does. You gotta dig in the crates a little bit to find some gems. Of all the songs I’ve heard, these ones have stood out the most:
Skyzoo- Rap Like Me (album: the Great Debater)
Never heard of this dude before I got his CD and a couple things jumped out at me about the album. Sick, sick beats. Solid voice and solid flow. That’s all you need for a good hip hop CD. Here’s a thumper to get us started:
Curren$y & Alchemist- BBS (album: Covert Coup)
I’ve heard a lot of Curren$y and while I respect his game, it never got me hooked. This collabo with Alchemist is different though. Alchemist has been around forever and is responsible for countless Mobb Deep / East Coast underground rap anthems. I feel like he’s kinda fell off lately and I always wish he got a chance to work with some bigger rappers because he deserved the shine. Well, it’s good to see he’s back on this song and on the whole album. This song is so fucking gangster it’s a joke. Makes me want to roll around LA in a drop top bumping this shit while smoking a blunt and I don’t even smoke weed.
Evidence- The Red Carpet feat. Raekwon and Ras Kass (album: Cats & Dogs)
Cheech loves this album, I like it. Evidence is from Dilated Peoples and while he doesn’t have the best raps or flow ever, he’s pretty good at both. This beat, which happened to be made by Alchemist, is so hot it’s a joke.
J. Cole- Nobody’s Perfect (album: Cole World)
I fucking Love J. Cole. Love him. Have every mix tape he’s ever made and I listen to all of it religiously. I feel like he’s the next great rapper in the vein of naS, Tupac and Jay-Z. He can go from top 40 to gangster to introspective in a way that truly separates him from the pack. This approach might limit his immediate mass appeal (even though he’s doing pretty damn well already) like a Drake or a Lil Wayne, but he’s built for a long long career. He’s gonna go down in the history books. I love this jam. I actually like Missy Elliott when she sings and even though her lyrics aren’t great, the hook is catchy as shit.
Game- Born in the Trap (album: The R.E.D. Album)
So the Game isn’t exactly underground but he has fallen off quite a bit. I had basically written him off until being very pleasantly surprised by this album. Lot of great west coast bangers but it was this track with the legendary DJ Premier that caught my ear. Dope Primo beat and Game rips it like he was from the Bronx or something. Great combination here:
Blu- What if I Was (album: Jesus)
I fucking love Blu. If you’ve never heard the Below the Heavens album with Blu & Exile, download that shit and enjoy. He’s got a great voice, great flows and a great style. He’s candid about how broke he is, mixes in the topic of love really well and can even sing a bit. He’s been dropping these weird, kinda half ass EPs ever since Below the Heavens though, so I’m not sure exactly what’s happening with his career. If I ever get the chance to work on producing some shit, which is a dream of mine, I’m going to drive to his house in LA and get him to work on it with me. This song has a sick beat and shows you what I’m talking about rap wise. It’s definitely rough around the edges but still a banger:
Skyzoo- Test Drive (album: The Great Debater)
Another jam from this album. Enjoy.
Evidence- Late for the Sky (album: Cats & Dogs)
Featuring my boy Slug and Aesop Rock, this is such a jam. Be patient, the beat doesn’t drop until the 50th second but when it does, it’s totally worth it.
J. Cole- I Get Up (album: The Warm Up)
This song is a bit older than the rest but really shows J. Cole’s lyrical range. He hits racial, socioeconomic and gender topics in a way that I could only compare to Tupac. The dude is the truth and this song shows he’s more than just a top 40 rapper.
Beirut is in my top three bands of all time. I understand why a lot of people don’t really like them, or can’t get into them too much, but I think they’re amazing. Zach Condon is truly a musical genius and considering he’s only 25 years old and he’s got five albums and and a handful of EPs out, and that he can play almost every musical instrument under the sun, the guy deserves his respect. If you haven’t heard them and enjoy music with horns, pianos, ukuleles and more, it’s time to get on board. This was now my third time seeing them live and their stage presence and sound has improved a ton. I went with my girlfriend to the Greek Theatre and we sat in the pit so we had a front row view of the action. The Greek is an unbelievable venue. Nestled in the hills of Griffith Park in Los Feliz, it’s an outdoor theatre surrounded by enormous, beautiful trees, there’s not a bad seat in the house and the sound is great. If you live in LA and have never been there, I’d definitely recommend crossing it off your bucket list. I forgot to bring my flip but I did have my iPhone. Here’s a nice little video I threw together from the show. Enjoy!
So I was taking a look at Complex Presents: 15 New Rappers To Watch Out For and I was checkin out some of the videos for the rappers & I came across this new kid, Future. I normally don’t like this down South shit, but the ghetto-tastic video was too good to turn off. And lo-and-behold, I spot Future rockin a Kid D shirt.
Dude is from Atlanta, but he’s wearing a “NY Don’t Love U”. Makes total sense. I now have watched the video 8 times and it’s my new favorite song. I just made it my new ringtone. So supposedly he’s one to watch out for. Maybe we’ll send him some more shirts, but only if he lets us fly to the ATL and be in the next video. Check the video below:
This song & video are the shit. Jigga & Kanye sampled this song on their joint album that drop tomorrow
Over the past year, we’ve made blogs about bands that we’re listening to and songs that we’re bumping. It’s all current stuff though so I figured it was time to do something a little different. Once every couple of weeks, we’re going to do an old school album review.
This time around, it’s
Gang Starr- Moment of Truth
This album dropped in 1998 or from my standpoint, my senior year in high school. So yeah, I listened to this CD while smoking a lot of weed and driving around with my friends. Gang Starr is epic for two reasons. The main reason is DJ Premier. He really came into his own and established the style that he would continue his career with. Unbelievable use of samples to make hypnotic beats and his go-to choruses, which were mash-ups of other rapper’s lyrics that fit together perfectly. DJ Premier has to rank in the top five beat makers of all times in my book. He never really was meant for commercial success but every dope east coast rapper from Biggie to Jay Z to naS have been blessed with Primo’s tracks. The second reason for the success was the rapper of the group, Guru. While I’d never put him on any short list of my favorite rappers. He truly is distinct not only in his voice but in his elevated lyrics. Guru managed to mix in gangsta shit with raps about social consciousness and the struggles people (particularly people in the hood) went through. So, when you combine the sick beats with a distinct rapper with deep lyrics, you get something much realer than a lot of the other hip hop that was coming out at the time, and for that matter, what’s coming out today.
While Moment of Truth wasn’t their first album, I believe it’s their best. The album has an impressive twenty tracks and while there are definitely a few more that deserve their props, I’ve decided to focus on these seven bangers.
You Know My Steez- The first song on the album and a true, true banger. This beat is just as sick today as it was when it came out. One of the more recognizable tracks on this CD that has stood the test of time.
Royalty- Another banger of a beat, this song also features K-Ci and Jo Jo. A great example of how he can get much deeper on a track than your average mc.
Above the Clouds- This is the song when you fully realize that DJ Premier is in a zone on this album that very few DJs have ever been in. I don’t know where he came up with this beat, but it’s ridiculous. Also, a GREAT verse by Inspectah Deck. Inspectah was a true unsung hero of Wu Tang. Could never figure out how to put together a full album but was always good for an epic verse here and there.
JFK to LAX- This is a cool track and just shows the creativity of Gang Starr. Basically, it’s a song about Guru getting arrested and his views on the judicial system. Thumper beat as usual.
Moment of Truth- So, when you hear this song, working your way through the album, I think it finally sets in the type of CD this really is. One for the history books. This is a perfect example of how much deeper Guru gets in his raps than most MCs and combined with this hypnotic beat, it’s a true timeless classic. That and the cheesy chick with the accent at the very beginning always cracks me up! hahaha
My Advice to You- I wouldn’t rank this in my top songs on the album, but it’s still really strong. I had kinda forgotten about this track but as soon as I heard the background beat, it instantly clicked back in.
In Memory Of- There’s something both gangsta and touching about doing a tribute song to all the people in your life that have died in hip hop. It’s scary at how many people it is when compared to people in your life. This has such a strong beat and strong lyrics, it’s a great way to end the album. On on the topic of “In Memory of”, R.I.P. to Guru who passed away April 19, 2010 ago from a heart attack. Thanks for all the amazing music.
After a short hiatus, it was time to dust off the flip video to chronicle some more drunk antics. This time, we took to the streets of Pasadena for a fun little music festival. Morning Benders, Best Coast, Ra Ra Riot and lots of vodka = a damn fun Saturday.