Category Archives: Rants

2011 BETTER THAN KANYE, NERDS, MUSIC, TOP 5, NEW LOOK!!!

Hope you like the new layout of the site.  Will be adding some more stuff soon.  Links section still needs to be updated and we got some surprises coming through the store section soon.  Its been one year of betterthankanye.  One more year of personal growth.  One more year of one (or two) more crazy ex-girlfriends.  I published a book, got really depressed, moved, didn’t move, had money, got broke, got money, got broke, moved again.  Man oh man.  Now is a time of reflection.  Around this time a lot of top 10 lists pop up.  Who are the top ten best new rappers?  What were the top ten albums of the year. I think it is difficult to rank something as beautiful as music along any scale.   Music itself is the only scale.  Music is fluid, transcendent,  effervescent.  It rocks us to sleep and moves us closer to each other in the club.  It turns a bathroom into a dance floor and a mirror into an audience.  It is slowly smoked cigars, lingerie, chilled vodka on the rocks.  It is our pulse, our driving force, the soundtrack to breath.  It is our limbs, our eyes our  heartbeats and 808s…dammit.  DAMMIT  F@ck you Kanye.  Yes, I don’t think that you can rank music on a scale but you CAN say that something is BETTER THAN KANYE.  So this is my end of the year BETTER THAN KANYE top 5. I’m giving you five, because that’s what children do.  Its not in any order and honestly I could have put anything up here because I think most everything is better than Kanye.  This is just hip hop and hip hop adjacent.  If this was my music list for 2011 we’d need a lot more room.  Here ya go:

5. FRANK OCEAN –  I have never heard more songs from one album that made me go “oh sh*t who is this?” than this mix-tape.  It was a necessary  refresher against the backdrop of the chaotic changes to our social media landscapes earlier this year to see that orange car on someone’s youtube post.  Press play all day.  Frank Ocean makes all the decisions I get mad at Kid Cudi for not making.  Off Novacane, Thinking About You, Novacane, There will be tears… awesome songs but the one that really pulled me in from the get was Swim Good.  Its a song a had to put on loop for a minute and get all emo with.  Good looking at that American Wedding too Mr. Fauntleroy.

4. TECH-9 – I’ve been on the Tech – 9 bandwagon for a while.  I’ve seen him perform live a few times up in the central coast and the Bay Area and even got to open up for him once when I was in a hip hop group back in the day.  I felt like anytime I got into a conversation with someone about why I liked him, the reasons why that person didn’t like him seemed to outweigh any of my accolades.  6’s and 7’s is a direct example of what happens when someone hones a craft and dedication to a particular style while allowing themselves to grow with the concurrently evolving audience.  Tech -9 sounds the same as I’ve always loved him but somehow sounds more accessible.  The production on the album is insane. Top Notch.  The slew of guest rappers, Busta Rhymes, Snoop, Yelawolf, to name a few, gives the album a feeling of completion that only years in the game could manifest and reminds me of some of the epic collaborations on albums that went down in the mid 2000s and late 90s.    Worldwide Choppers, Pornographic, He’s a Mental Giant all stand out songs.  Thank you Tech-9 for silencing muthaf*ckas.

3. DJ DAHISo Dahi was my roommate freshman year in college.  He bout a 300 dollar turntable set and played nothing except for a single record with “Sun God” by Hi-Tek day in and night out until he figured out every piece of the instrument.  Now he is making beats and waves back here in Los Angeles with groups like Pac Div and The Cafeteria Line.  Now I’m not just throwin him up here because I know him.  Dahi released his first solo project “Toys” this past month and I was blown away.  Appropriately named, each track on the album is a brilliant homage to toys from Christmas past.  “Simon” is a hauntingly beautiful track that injects memories of that bastard of a game directly into your brain.  Teddy Ruxpin…The Slinky…ridiculous.  I seriously felt like I was walking through a green field with that damn bear.  Every track on the instrumental album is gold.  Tetris is one of my favorites.  You can follow Dahi on twitter @DJDAHI.  Download the album free here:  Toys – DJ DAHI

2. Kendrick LamarSo I heard Rigamortis and it was over.  Seriously over.  The drought that Kanye West had so cowardly brought upon us all began to pass as Kendrick Lamar passed around a healthy glass of Hi-C in the form of Section .80.  Not only can dude flow but I feel like he honestly loves and respects music (specifically hip hop) that has come before him and is in constant conversation with it throughout the album while maintaining his own unique style and presence.  I first heard him on Youtube with his “Compton State of Mind” and I remember being happy in the simplicity that he was contributing to hip hop.  A.D.H.D. is f*cking beautiful.  Section.80 is worth downloading, buying, stealing…whatever you gotta do.  Its not about content with me necessarily.  Not about production or glitz.  Sh*t doesn’t have to be so underground no one has heard of it…it just has to feel authentic and it just has to not annoy me.  Kanye isn’t authentic and he annoys me.  That’s why I don’t like him.

1. CHILDISH GAMBINO:  Wow no 1 already? Maybe I should have done a top ten.  Okay so Childish Gambino is my sh*t.  I’m not saying dude is the best rapper ever or that the album is on any all time top list but Childish Gambino is BETTER THAN KANYE and the fact that this exists at the same time that Kanye exists makes me so happy its crazy.  This is EXACTLY who Kanye West is attempting to be.  This is the inner nerd Kanye has himself but he has been conditioned by society (mainly black, male, heterosexual society) to reject it.  Donald Glover explores racism, sexism, sexist sh*t, general sh*t talking and embraces his nerd and is comfortable in it.  More comfortable than Kanye ever will be.  Now Donald has DEFINATELY taken notes from Kanye’ cadence…i just think he writes better and delivers it better.  Parts of the album come off as kind of a parody, but that’s because Glover is a comedian and he has injected these songs with every part of himself.  Don’t be afraid to press play.  Childish Gambino is the sh*t.   The Album is CAMP. GET IT.  This album is something David Scott would do.

Also don’t sleep on these folks either: TYLER THE CREATOR, TALIB KWELI, (as much as it pains me to write) COMMON, SAIGON, THE ROOTS

Thank you for an awesome year folks.  Thanks to everyone who reads, reposts, invites me for interviews, comments on blogs, it really means a lot.    Come get me 2012!

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The N Word and Kreayshawn. I got 2 Felonies.

The first time I stopped updating this blog was when a friend of mine showed me the music video “Yonkers” by Tyler the Creator. I had been arguing the relevancy of Kanye West in hip hop and how I felt that there was no real hip hop present in popular culture. I wrote a post that went so far as to ask that we rename the type of music that was being produced as to not have it confused with artists I felt exemplified and pioneered the genre today. With Tyler video I saw actual contemporary hip hop — unapologetic music from the youth. His sound felt unpolished allowing his natural musical talents to override any second guessing of style and flow. I stopped writing about my issues with hip hop because I felt there was a solution. I began talking about Tyler and other newer artists and found issue with some of the lyrics and Kanye and the world and decided to write again.

The second time I stopped writing I had just watched the “Gucci Gucci” video by Kreayshawn. My first reaction was “holy shit this is the worse thing I have ever seen I need to blow my brains out in order to cleanse my fucking eyes”. My second reaction was “eh shes kinda cute”. My third reaction was “wow I kinda like this”. I even found myself at a club in Downtown Los Angeles dancing with a circle of girls grinding and acting a fool while screaming the asinine lyrics over and over drunk and happy.
Then I made a FATAL mistake. As a blogger and Internet nerd, Google, Wikipedia and Youtube are my best friends. I love searching for information, interviews, etc. I came across a Kreayshawn vlog where she was commenting on Kat Stacks. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Kat, you are the lucky ones. Anyway, Kreayshawn went on to give a “feminist” respond to Kat praising her for fucking a bunch of guys and calling them out on it. Its way too deep and complex to get into for the sake of this post but lets just say it was at this moment that I realized she was an idiot. Then I came across another video where she uses the word n*gger. (I am only censoring the word so I don’t get flagged for hate speech.) This just made me sad.

I am a huge proponent for freedom of speech. My family owned a newspaper in the 60s and 70s. I wrote for my High School and College newspapers and for an LA based teen publication for 5 years. My main issue with words are their purpose or how they are used. We happen to live in a very confusing but exciting time where the lines of race and power are extremely blurred. There is so much potential for now. Premature colorblindness is a scary residual of progression. We all want to live in a world where race has very little to do with how the people of the world perceive each other but you can’t live in that world until that world exists…and it just doesn’t exist yet. It seems that when all those lines are seemingly dropped, Black people bear the brunt of appropriation. I don’t agree with the use of the word n*gger or n*gga by Black people but at the very least we can argue that there is some reclaiming of the word. That it was once a word used against us and now we can take it and make it our own. For that word to be re appropriated by mass society takes it back out of the hands of Black people and back into the hands of the majority. No matter how far we remove ourselves from it the fact is that the word is rooted in racism and its use evokes racism. A white girl who has appropriated every “perceived” aspect of black culture using that word is an idiot with no regard for the people and culture from which she takes. To me, her saying n*gger is more disrespectful than a Klansman using it. At least the Klansman knows he is racist. I am not saying she hates Black people, I’m saying she doesn’t give a fuck about history. If I started dressing like a cholo and started saying s*ic and wet back every other word please believe I’d get the shit stomped out of me. There is still so much internalized hatred and low self esteem in Black people that we will allow, accept and justify people shitting over the graves of our ancestors. We can support someone because we are amazed that they would have the balls to say something so derogatory. Instead of dealing with it we pretend like it doesn’t effect us. We have been taught that. Our ancestors were forced into servitude, raped, lynched for looking at the wrong person. We do not yet know how to defend ourselves against injustice as a whole. We pretend like the injustice can’t break us, like it doesn’t affect us. We put our faith in God and religion and other things higher than ourselves because in the end who or what else will come to our aide? I am speaking extremely generally but I feel like this is a general sentiment that is unspoken in Black communities and I think when a white female buffoon rapping about Prada and saying n*gger every other word is supported by our communities is a clear example that we just don’t give a fuck about our selves.

I’ll be nicer next time.

Madea (smh)

Writing about Tyler Perry has proven to be a more difficult task than…

African American screenwriter Tyler Perry presents a complicated lens to look at “blackness” through.  His cultural observations seemingly….

Tyler Perry is a coon.

I’m going to keep this one relatively short. Otherwise it will turn into a book.  On my way to interview M.4.T.P. last week I saw a billboard for the newest Madea movie.  It was simply a bust of the title character and the phrase “good afternoot”.

Coon is a noun in the English language, noted for its pejorative context to refer to black people, or occasionally, rustic and undignified people. The coon character within African American theater and cinema was stereotypically portrayed as being lazy, childish, and idiotic – Wikipedia

I have never been able to sit through an entire Tyler Perry movie or his television show “Meet the Browns”.  I attempted to watch Big Happy Family tonight in preparation for writing this blog but after watching the trailer, decided that would not be necessary.  There may be some redeeming qualities to the characters, some morals taught at the end of the day but ultimately Perry’s film’s and television shows exploits the same racial stereotypes that have plagued Blacks in this country since its inception.  I am not trying to limit the subject matter that one can write on.  He is not making all of his stories up and there is some truth to his characterizations BUT taking the role of family matriarch, a piviotal position in African-American families specifically…and to turn that into a laughable, idiotic, big tittied, fat assed asexual being devoid of femininity HAS to be seen for what it is.

I don’t have a problem with men dressed up as women or vice versa.  I am actually waiting right now to watch the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3 (even though my girl yara sofia got kicked off two weeks ago).  I don’t care if Perry is gay or straight or bi or whatever.  My issue with his portrayal stems from my issue with the portrayal of Black Women throughout history.  Sluts or Mammys…Slaves, deviants, ignorant…Women in general are glanced over throughout history and ethnic women even more so.  Perry playing a woman in this way strengthens these stereotypes.  A powerful woman should not have to be a coon.  A strong woman should not have to look or act like what we have generalized as male.  These women exist and we don’t need men to put on a dress in order to portray them.

The first play I ever saw was “Twilight: Los Angeles” by Anna Deavere-Smith when I was in elementary school.  The show was mesmerizing as Smith seamlessly traversed from monologue to monologue completely embodying each character as they illustrated their perspectives of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.  She went from male to female to asian to black to white to young to old respecting each representation.  Parts were funny and parts were serious but no part did I find offensive.  This was a powerful African-American woman telling a story, demanding respect for her words.

The women in my family are educators, executives, mothers, entrepreneurs, students, administrators, grandmothers, aunts…they are not mammys.  they don’t go crazy when a store is out of pork.  Some of them are Christian…some of them have their moments of “crazy” but they are human beings, not an awkward amalgamation of stereotypes.  The fact he has amassed an empire based on recycling these stereotypes and selling them back to Black people as art is just messed up.

fuck you tyler perry.  seriously.

Run it, Run it…asshole.

A few years ago my friend Lara sent me a link to a video.  I think she even said “happy birthday” or something to that effect implying that I would enjoy it.  What I saw was one of the most disturbing things I had ever seen.  If you know me, you are aware that I am a big horror and sci-fi movie fan.  I love zombie movies, serial killer movies, I even sat through “Human Centipede”. (even though I am positive that film caused some irreversible damage to my soul.) Its not the gore or grossness that gets me uneasy in a movie, its the psychological aspect of it.  “Buried”, for example was an horrifying film to me because he’s in a coffin sized box underground the whole time.  That’s scary shit! Continue reading