Bryce Rudow likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @btr0218 (or follow him to make him feel more popular while getting access to random new music he doesn’t have the time to write about).
Overloaded by all the “new music” options you keep hearing about? We’re here to help. Here are four songs we think you should fucking know (this week).
So a quick bit of housekeeping…
James Cooley must be testing #MESITAWATCH2013 sirens’ batteries, because he’s released another single. This one is called “Distance” and I feel like a broken record when I say that it might be one of my all-time favorites from him.
Local act Megaphone Barons sent me a link to the music video they made on an iPhone with a $25 budget, so I feel compelled to share it with all of you. If you like creepy animal masks and the zoo, this is the video for you.
And with that, on to the Tunes You Should Fucking Know!
- Big Sean ft. Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica – “Control”
By now, you, me, them, everybody you know who has a routing interest in hip-hop has probably clogged your Twitter feed and favorite music outlets with their thoughts on “Control,” the recently released single by Big Sean which has been made infamous thanks to a verse by Kendrick Lamar that calls out a slew of his hip-hop peers.
But before I get into this, I want to share the lyrics of this verse, just so we’re on the same page*:
“I heard the barbershops be in great debates all the time
Bout who’s the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas
Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y’all
New niggas just new niggas, don’t get involved
And I ain’t rockin no more designer shit
White T’s and Nike Cortez, this is red Corvettes anonymous
I’m usually homeboys with the same niggas I’m rhymin’ with
But this is hip-hop and them niggas should know what time it is
And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale
Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake
Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller
I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you niggas
Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas
They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas
What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high
Who tryna jump and get it?”
*Earlier in the verse, he also claims to be “king of New York,” which has people (and by people I mean New York residents like Papoose) a little peeved.
So there have been countless opinions shared by sources both authoritative and not, and they have covered the entire spectrum of emotion and analyses. Fellow All Things Go’er and BYT Guest Writer You Now Know Justin McCarthy saw this as a step back for hip-hop (wrong), Spin tried to claim it wasn’t that good a verse (also wrong), and infinite shortsighted people believed this to be an automatic-weaponed diss track (also also wrong), but only a few people like Jalen Rose/Dave Jacoby, Run The Jewels, and Ice T really understand what this verse is all about and, most importantly, why it’s so special.
Sure Kendrick elevates himself by comparing his skills to the likes of Jay-Z and Eminem’s, but if you’ll notice, this isn’t actually a diss track. If you take out the name-dropping middle section, you’ll realize that Kendrick has made his viewpoint and intentions clear: “This is hip-hop…I’m tryna raise the bar high/who tryna jump and get it?”
He’s not saying that he fucked their bitches (those fat motherfuckers); he didn’t fuck with anyone’s soul like ether; hell, he didn’t even mention casual sysurp addictions. He simply stated that he believes that hip-hop is rooted in a sense of competition and that it’s time its stars started making each other better.
And this isn’t the ’90s; it’s not going to end with a shooting in Vegas. It’s going to end with a rise in the quality of the product that the hip-hop community is putting out. Yes, some of the responses that came out immediately post-“Control” are pretty terrible, but some are quite nice and coming out from all woodworks of the hip-hop community. I mean, I got chills listening to Lupe Fiasco’s “SLR2” response, which is a huge reminder that Lupe Fiasco, while inconsistent and unable to carry over his mixtapes’ magic to his albums, is still one of the smartest, most talented rappers out there; when you notice he mocks every other rapper’s style as he spits his bars, you’ll realize Lupe is playing chess while we’re all bitching about checkers (PS: he has a new single out that actually has me optimistic for his upcoming album).
Today’s hip-hop has become so friendly because it’s a better business decision to take all your hip-hop peers on tour with you (cough Drake cough) than to say a disparaging word about them (though Aubrey still tried to do that on “5AM In Toronto”). And this system is killing the overall product. If hip-hop wants to not be swallowed whole by EDM and pop, it needs a renaissance, and I think that Kendrick thinks that a trick from the old golden days might just be the way to kickstart it. Outside of just spurring a sense of competition though, Kendrick may be giving hip-hop the jolt it needs by doing one thing:
Making hip-hop fun to talk about again!
Fuck! Sure there’s been some great hip-hop released recently (yet another chance for me to wave my Chance The Rapper flag), and it was mildly amusing to weigh the merits of good kid, m.A.A.d city against Long.Live.A$AP, but ultimately, it wasn’t that satisfying. Now, everyone has an opinion they want to talk about, everyone is anxiously watching EVERY hip-hop artist, name-checked and not, to see their next move. It’s awesome! Even Phil Jackson is tweeting about this!
Through all the numerous cluttering articles and analyses and dissections, we’ve forgotten to take a step back and just appreciate that there are numerous cluttering articles and analyses and dissections. My wide-eyed hope is this snowballs into that hip-hop renaissance, but it will take the community as a whole, and especially those rappers called out, to embrace the idea.
Frankly, I couldn’t be more excited.
- Diarrhea Planet – THE SHOW YOU SHOULD FUCKING GO TO
It is with schoolgirl levels of giddiness that I get to announce Diarrhea Planet as the THE SHOW YOU SHOULD FUCKING GO TO this month. While earlier in the summer I gushed about their LP Loose Jewels (and admitted that “Diarrhea Planet is officially the dumbest name for a band ever. Ever.”), they released a new album, I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, yesterday and it’s fantastic. You can stream it here and read descriptions about the songs from the band which include references to Heavy Metal, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Chilean novelist Roberto Bolano, and their bandmate Emmet’s first time seeing a dead body.
The Rancid and Bouncing Souls comparisons I used to describe their first effort are still applicable, but there’s a slight maturation in sound that’s noticeable in the tempo, framework, and execution of each song. While there’s still the tight, fun, frenetic ’90s-punk inspired jams like “Lite Dreams” and “Hammer of the Gods,” there are just as many groovy guitar solos, cathartically emotive breakdowns, and moments of sincere self-reflection. Yes, its a technically great record with well written songs, but it’s also an album in which multiple re-listens reveal a harsh beauty that packs one hell of a punch.
So when you take all of that, remember there are four guitarists in the band, and check out their Spin-endorsed tour photos, it shouldn’t be a hard sell for me to convince you to go out next Tuesday, spend $10 and get your face melted off by a band whose name you will feel funny boasting about seeing the next day.
PLUS, because I love you/the band is really cool, I’ll be giving away a copy of their debut LP and some swag to whoever is going to the show and emails me at [email protected] with the best worst band name you can think of. Just tag it on to the fanmail/hatemail you were already going to write.
See you Tuesdayyyy.
- Bat and Ball – “We Prefer It In The Dark”
Jia Tolentino, writer of my favorite essay on feminism that is set at a Sugar Ray concert, recently posted about “We Prefer It In The Dark” and I just had to snipe it so you guys could hear it (because I love you).
Chris co-fronts the band with his sister Abi who, along with the other three members of the band, attended the UK creative mecca Goldsmiths’ College, which might explain the refreshingly impressive experimental sound the quintet dabbles with on their first single.
Unfortunately, it looks like the band has cleansed their back catalogue, leaving only snippets of other material out there, but that usually means someone with a marketing degree is trying to curate their image and future releases (I’m guessing a 4-6 song EP?), so be on the lookout for something more substantial from them soon.
And now, it’s time for another very special round of…
THE GUEST WRITER YOU SHOULD FUCKING KNOW: K. Austin Bryant Edition
Editors note: Besides just being a writer/photographer/model for Rue LaLa, Austin is a friend of mine since college whose good music taste did its best to rub off on me. He made my what I am today, so blame him.
- Holy Ghost! – “Teenagers In Heat”
Hot, sweaty basement shows befit the infectious bass lines and synths of Holy Ghost!, one of my favorite performances from the Mudacalypse that was Governor’s Ball 2013 in New York City. Two friends and I caught the DFA label duo (backed by a filled-out band live) in the pouring rain with a pretty nasty wind, but the weather didn’t do much to ruin the experience. In fact, it motivated me to make a mental note to listen to them more when I got back to Boston, where I live.
My renewed fandom was pleasantly rewarded with the release of an outtake off of the Brooklynites’ upcoming album Dynamics, “Teenagers in Heat,” which is co-produced by just some guy named James Murphy. The DFA bossman’s touch can be heard in places, with an upbeat tempo and layered synths, chimes, and bells carrying through the entire track. It’s a great surprise, considering Murphy doesn’t seem to be that involved with the label these days (though he still makes an appearance here and there—like DJing the incredible DFA 12th anniversary party Bryce and I attended back in June).
The “New York City streets” that are referenced in this song star in the accompanying lyrics music video that was released late last month. With a gritty VHS look, the video wanders around NYC borough subways, parks, and street corners. It’s definitely worth a watch, if not just to admire the effort put into a category of videos that normally have awesomely below-average results.
If you/someone you know is up for the task of writing non-sequitered musical ramblings, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected], tell me I look pretty, and convince me why you should be a Guest Writer We Should Fucking Know.