Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Journeys end in lovers meeting

The blog posts have been slow going as of late, so we're going to try a "week of blogging" thing to see if we can't shake things up a little bit. And we'll start with the current reliable standby, musical journey. after the break.

Aesop Rock. "One of Four." It's a hidden track on , which means, among other things, no video. That makes it easier, for my purposes, to leave it going in the background while I'm doing other things. It also means it's easier not to pay a lot of attention, which is the downside. I don't know the band/singer in question, so it takes a while for me to figure out what genre we're in: it's hip-hop. And pretty good hip-hop, as far as I can judge such things. Looking him up, Aesop Rock is the stage name for Ian Matthias Bavitz. Trivia piece about Bavitz: he has "Must Not Sleep" and "Must Warn Others" tattooed on his arm, quotes inspired from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. That's.... interesting? We'll go with interesting.

ABK. "Stick & Move." ABK is a Detroit-based Native American rapper. AKA Anybody Killa. I kind of like this, although I don't think I'll ever be a big rap fan. Alongside rapper "Blaze Ya Dead Homie," he opened for Clown Posse and Twitzid. One reviewer says that his second album is filled with references to Faygo and Juggalos, and you have now named the two things I know about Insane Clown Posse. It's kind of cool to hear a rapper with a lisp; it gives his words a certain distinctness that other rappers don't have.

Dark Lotus. "Pass the Axe." I don't like this game any more. All right, given the last entry, it's not surprising that the only ABK-less option leads to a juggalo troop. And we thus have rap meets splatter horror, with a team rap about passing a bloody axe back and forth. Okay, this music follow-the-clip thing has lead me down a lot of paths that I'm not sure about, and... this is one of them. According to their wikipedia page, they've been described as "dub, goth, metal, shock rock and hip-hop, with a WWF announcer's delivery and shuffling stoner beats thrown in for good measure." That's at least three too many things for a band to be and not come off as trying too hard.

Swollen Members. "Night Vision." This was the option that got me out of the juggalo way, although you wouldn't know it from the skull make-up. At least we're away from the songs about weapons dripping blood. I've got a bit of a soft spot for Swollen Members; Canadian boys done good, and all that. And this song alludes to Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is all I've ever wanted from my rap.

Mad Child. "Dungeon Dragon."  And we're still in white rapper territory. At least they're not in clown make-up anymore. Well, it's got lots of comic references, which is a plus. But it's also got random images, and gratuitous blond women. Kind of a toss-up. Oh, he's a member of Swollen Members. I guess I should have paid more attention last song. Can't say that this song particularly interested me, but it's fine for what it is.

Hopsin. Sag My Pants. His eyes are very distracting. I don't know what the deal is with dissing other rappers in rap. Mumble mumble masculinity mumble demonstration of mastery, is pretty much the only answer I could give without putting in a lot of work. Although I suppose it leads to some fairly dramatic confrontations, via rap battles. And they lead to the haiku battle in Avatar: The Last Airbender, so perhaps it's a necessary evil. The  chorus: "I sag my pants until my ass shows. / I even slap hos. / Yeah, I'm an asshole." Not my thing.

Anyway, the only non-Hopsin link takes us to Eminem. "When I'm Gone." The idea here is that Mathers is upset that his career is getting in the way of his family, particularly his daughter. This is "serious" Mathers, where the potty humor and vaguely homosexual/homophobic double-entendres are laid to one side. He even signals it by talking about how Slim Shady made him famous, but he's not here now. When I first heard Eminem (ie., when my brothers started listening to him) I basically did not get the concept behind two stage personas. He has a real name. Why does he need more than one stage name? Why Eminem and Slim Shady? I'm no closer to answering why (rapper tradition, seems to be the big thing, or even just music tradition; music talent reinvent themselves, but keep the old version around just in case), but I think I can accept it now. Because you know, Mathers is really staying up late worrying about my acceptance.

Akon. Sorry, Blame it on Me. Of course, with Eminem, I'm officially in mainstream-ish music, So... it's R&B about a guy who... nope, going to look it up. According to wiki: the song is based on a nightclub incident where Akon did a sexual dance with an underage girl. It probably says a lot about pop culture that it reached number one on iTunes in 2007. The video appears to be about something... else? There's him, but there's another guy, who did...something... was in jail? R&B is complicated. "Even though the blame's on you... you can put that blame on me." Class act.

Jason Derulo. "Whatcha Say." More R&B. I don't recognize his part of the song, but the women chorus sounds familiar. Typical "I screwed up the relationship" stuff. And a lot of Auto-Tune. He sure has a lot of time for fancy footwork in the middle of regretting cheating on his significant other. It's part of the grieving process, I'm sure.

And that's all for this time.

Later Days.

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