Are You Kidding Me

While Vince Staples’ voice may sound a bit shaky in this, it may be from his throat being burned out from spitting such fire;

We love our neighborhood, so all my brothers bang the hood
I never vote for presidents, the presidents that changed the hood
Is dead and green, was standin’ on this mezzanine in Paris, France
Feel despairs cause most my homies never finna get this chance
All these white folks chanting when I asked ’em where my niggas at?
Goin’ crazy, got me goin’ crazy, I can’t get wit’ that
Wonder if they know, I know they won’t go where we kick it at
Ho, this shit ain’t Gryffindor, we really killin’, kickin’ doors
Fight between my conscious, and the skin that’s on my body
Man, I need to fight the power, but I need that new Ferrari
Man, I breathe in, bleed this, Poppy Street
I shot them guns cause talk is cheap
Bow your head and pray, okay, now walk wit’ me

It’s really something to say that the top five albums of the year could all end up being hip-hop records (Kendrick, Earl, Vince, Lupe, and though unlikely maybe a new Run The Jewels?).

Punk is not dead.

Howard Zinn Is My Favorite

On Erasing de Kooning

One Take

While I am working on actual prepared compositions, this live cut from tonight I tend to enjoy. Conet Project sounds make an appearance (playing through my iPhone speaker in to the pickup).

Field Notes

Rise Together

(Note: Fast-forward to 2:20 or watch on YouTube)

The first concert I ever attended was Green Day in 1998 in Anchorage, Alaska. Then, and in the times since, Billie Joe would always bring somebody up on stage to play guitar, usually during “Disappearing Boy.” By now, seeing clips of Green Day do this act seems like a schtick, but at the same time, to those kids it’s everything. And the same goes for Kendrick; I love this clip so much because you can just see that woman decide at a moment that she would rise to the occasion that had only existed as a dream in the second that opportunity presented itself.

The Fire Inside

I have this theory that most people die a little (or a lot) inside in their 30s because they’re witnessing the next generation have revelatory moments, and then we all recognize that everything we once thought was new or some sort of truth was actually an old lie invented hundreds or thousands of years ago. People settle down, get married and buy a house because, well, why the fuck not?

Videos like this are exactly why not. As a generation, we now have the ability to witness the transference of empowerment right then and there. We don’t have to settle for anything because it is more obvious than ever the potential in our actions and belief in our ability to choose our own destiny. All it takes is sharing the mic, sharing the stage.

Ageism

The idea that somehow this idea of invention, empowerment, and decided change needs to go by the wayside and focus on consumer goals as opposed to personal goals is ridiculous. This seems to align itself with the middle-class “just enough to lose” psychology that keeps most distracted by last night’s Game of Thrones as opposed to feeling convicted enough of your own voice in society to keep up with the news.

Historically, the type of psychological oppression we’re facing by the wealth gap in our times is unprecedented and matched generally with violent retaliation. Especially considering the (ironic) wealth of revolutionary information at our disposal, it seems the oppressed are practically begging those in power to give just an inch and avoid what would be a worldwide class war.

The rich so far have not budged; the rest of us, however, can try to reinvent systems outside of the one that holds us down. Cease to recognize the few who control the many; just watch them disappear in to the crowd while we all take the stage.

Refuse To Be Silenced

Studio

A 01

For Real Though

I know it ain’t Christmas but life anthems 100% going on.

Reverence and Reference

There’s a Chuck Palahnuik book I read in college that I largely forget other than the main thesis: riches are wasted within three generations. This is because the farther removed one is from the effort that it takes to gain wealth, the sense of entitlement eventually causes ignorance and ultimately loss.

I believe these cycles hold true in everything, art and entertainment included. It’s why the entertainment industry right now is so fascinating.

Farewell, Dave

I do not know how David Letterman disrupted TV the way Jimmy Kimmel tries to retell above and Vulture tries to explain here. I wasn’t there for it, but more importantly, I wasn’t there for the years before Letterman. This is, above all, the necessity of cultural understanding: a comprehension of pretext.

For those of us who grew up where Letterman was an established staple, we care perhaps a bit more about Jon Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show, as he has been a primary disruptive force in late night comedy for the past 10 years.

So, while I do believe Letterman is getting all the recognition he deserves, I don’t necessarily understand why. It’s not my fault; it’s a natural progression of time.

Etc

I suppose all this relates to why I am so happy to see Marina Abramovic call out Jay-Z. Jay and Kanye have been parading around high culture because they bought their way in; the immediacy and the legitimacy of their populist art cannot be denied, but its ability to transcend the way Abramovic (or, even their oft-name-dropped Warhol) does is limited at best.

There’s a certain line at critical thought that Jay-Z once pointed out he ignored;

If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be
Lyrically Talib Kweli
Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense
But I did 5 mill’ – I ain’t been rhyming like Common since

– Jay-Z, “Moment of Clarity”

This embrace of capitalism in the face of a more legitimate social cause as an artist is specifically why Talib Kwali is, and always will be, far more respectable than Mr Carter. It’s not to say Jay doesn’t have his moment or place in history, it’s just when Jay-Z stepped up to find his clarity, he found the reflection of a coin distracting. Building empires? Sure, but that’s why he’s nearly embarrassing himself with new material.

Finales

Originality can never fall prey to the cult of money or you’ll quickly find yourself the generation being usurped by a lack of reverence because you’re out of touch with how to reference. The reason Jimmy Kimmel can’t explain why David Letterman is great is because he’s trying to use the language Dave invented to tell a story about Dave; it’s the fact Kimmel is standing in front of a camera at all that is the only testament needed.

Kendrick Lamar is right: lots of y’all ‘artists’ have some fucked up priorities and everyone wants to get paid and end up made. And you know what? In the end, that just makes you another cog in their system. So truth to Dave, he legit set a domino effect in motion and though the new kids may not appreciate it, he transcends.