Thursday, May 21, 2009

Choppin' Heads with the Random Axe

So, back in December, I wrote a blog about dream-team collab albums, and two of them were Guilty Simpson & the Beatminerz, and GZA & Black Milk. Well, I didn't exactly get both wishes, but I got a nice combination of the two. BM has inked a deal with Duck Down Records to do a full-length album with Sean P (hence the Beatminerz/Bootcamp connection) and Guilty Simpson. Either the group or the album is slated to be titled Random Axe.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Step the Tie Game Up, Beeyatch!

L-R, Bachrach, Via Europa, Kenzo, Umberto Frasi, Ermenegildo Zegna, Geoffrey Beene

So as you can see, we're steppin' the tie game up over here at Obscure Music Monthly. These beauties are all courtesy of eBay, and cost a total of about $40 (total retail value, I'm gonna guess, $250). eBay is the shit. The Zegna is really the standout, with a sweet pattern that flashes alternate dark and light stripes (above) or, when you turn the right way, all dark patterns. Yezzir...

128 Oz. of Haterade: My Imagination Reviews Busta Rhymes' 'Back on My B.S.'

Has Busta Rhymes really ever made a song as good as "Woo-Hah"?

So I've listened to a total of about 13 seconds of Back on My Bullshit, if you don't count however long "Arab Money" is, so I feel uniquely qualified to pass harsh critical judgment on it. My imagination will now review the entire record based solely on randomly-selected song titles and guest appearances. Making this doubly ignorant is the fact that I actually have the album here, ready to listen to, but thus far, I have steadfastly refused requests (from myself) to listen to it. I'm just not that interested:

•  Wheel of Fortune - I have high hopes that this is a song which samples the cool horns and wheel clicks from Kay Starr's 1940s-era song of the same name (I myself have crafted quite a nice little beat from snatches of that song as well), but fat chance. If things hold true to form, this should be about some insanely-cultivated end-of-the-world scenario, about how "there's only five years left" (that was 13 years ago, by the way), and it will have absolutely no chance of measuring up to the best of those intros, from Extinction Level Event.

•  Give 'Em What They Askin' For - Unless what they're asking for is a tinny, minimalist beat, this song will not live up to its title.

•  Respect My Conglomerate (featuring Jadakiss and Lil' Wayne) - This continues the long tradition of Busta Rhymes using words that don't really mean what he thinks. A conglomerate is defined as "two or more firms engaging in entirely different business," not "two guest rappers on a rap track." Bussa Buss would probably describe it as "droppin' a million and one stony rocks on n*ggas like a fuckin' hailstorm." Someone get this man a dictionary.

•  Hustler's Anthem '09 (feat. T-Pain) - Okay, so I actually listened to this song, and it's alright. What it should be about is the dubious necessity of tagging "'09" onto a song that 1) is being released in 2009 and 2) has no predecessor

Kill Dem (feat. Pharrell and Tosh) - Hopefully, this song is done completely in Jamaican patois. Let me double down on that and hope that, in the future, Busta releases a full album in patois. He can definitely speak the slang, and it would open up a whole new range of producer and guests for him.

Arab Money - I had to listen to this one, just to see if one of the six bazillion remixes Busta recorded following the Internet fallout over the original would show up here. But no, they went with the full-on West Texas "A-rab" version. Nice.

Decision (featuring Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Common) - I think it's kind of funny how Common just gets shitted on and listed last (he doesn't get listed at ALL on I mean, going after Mary J. is one thing, but Jamie Foxx??

My imagination's final review is two-and-a-half stars out of a possible five. Busta's best days are clearly behind him, and while he has a fat Rolodex and can round up plenty of superstars to fill out an album, those old Busta songs that made you go "What the fuck? That shit is ill!" - like the first time you heard "Gimme Some More" - are long gone.

Monday, May 11, 2009

20 Oz. of Haterade: The Rundown

Brief bits of opinion, analysis and venom on some of what's been passing between the eardrums:

• Iron & WineAround the Well - This is a collection of unused tracks from the Florida-based folk/indie singer who's actually really awesome. Very delicate, but intricate, swampy folk music. At 20+ tracks, it's a little hit-and-miss, but "Morning" and "Loud as Hope" are right up there with his best work on my favorite of his albums, The Shepherd's Dog.

• LateefTruth is Love (Mixtape) - I'm a pretty big fan of the whole Quannum fam, ever since I heard Lateef & Latryx's track on the first Deep Concentration album. Blackalicious is great, and the Mighty Underdogs album is in my top three '08 releases. This is definitely a lot more neo-soul-ish than most of Lateef's work, but very funky and wide-ranging, from the old-school bleeps of "The Remedy" to the smoothed-out double time of "Without Her," which features a guest spot from Mike Relm and a chorus courtesy of the Beatles.

Sadat X, Brand New Bein' - The Great 'Dat X has mastered the art of the Three-Out-of-Five-Star album. Consistently decent, with nice tracks comprising a solid third of the album. The organ bump of "Goin' Back" has the feel of classic Brand Nubian, as does the reunion posse cut "Brand New Bein','" right down to Lord Jamar professing his righteous confusion over homosexuality. I like the beat for "Gamer," but Detroit producer DiBiase did it ten times better with his Up the Joystick EP. 

Lionel Richie, Just Go - Someone tell Lionel Richie it's not motherfuckin' 1985 anymore. I can hear the drip-drop of Soul Glo falling from Richie's mid-'80s jheri curl in the driving melody of the opener, "Forever." And what the fuck is Akon doing on two songs in a row? I gotta say, though, after spending a solid month rocking Zo! & Tigallo's Love the 80s, there's definitely a guilty-pleasure quotient at work here, in the plucky synths in "Forever and a Day" and the propulsive percussion of "Nothing Left to Give." But there's not enough tight-pants nostalgia to last the album's 54 minutes... hence the techno-tinged "Somewhere in London."

Mingus Big Band, Gunslinging Birds - Didn't know Mingus ever had a big band. Unsurprisingly, it's pretty great, ranging from brassy bop ("Reincarnation of a Lovebird") to slinky blues ("Please Don't Come Back From the Moon") and some more-modal work ("Noon Night/Celia"). Paired with the Latin-flavored ¡Que Viva Mingus! big-band album, they're a potent one-two combo.

To be continued...