Posts Tagged ‘Hip Hop’

Media Update 9/15/2016

September 15, 2016

Almost Famous

I had heard about this movie when it came out but I was focused on watching the Matrix and the Lord of the Rings instead. I was also in rehearsal or in performance all the time. This was another movie that I was not ready to see even though it is about a kid in the same place I was when it came out. The movie is about a young high school kid who gets to go on tour with a struggling rock band in order to do an article for Rolling Stone Magazine. It feels way more plausible when you watch the movie. From the start of the movie they put out there how important music is. Music is what pulls us through life and it is music that we remember later in life, interwoven with the memories of our own lives. There are too many good performances here to name them all but I really liked Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Jason Lee, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Frances McDormand and especially young Patrick Fugit. The movie is a great road picture that is kind of what you expect but also not. It is definitely a great ode to the seventies and the great rock music that I grew up on because this was the music my parents embraced. I understand that this was semi-autographical for the director Cameron Crowe and it really shows. The movie is pretty funny but there is a lot of thoughtful drama in it as well. I really liked this movie and I definitely recommend it.

The Get Down

I remember the first Baz Luhrmann production I saw. I was in my freshman year of college and I still had time and the inclination to go out and be sociable with people outside of my major. The local student center had a print of Moulin Rouge and a couple of us walked over to go see it. I liked the movie that night but on subsequent viewings, I have liked the movie less. It feels like it is all flash and very little substance and its central message is kind of trite and obvious. So when I saw The Get Down advertised on Netflix I thought it would be like Glee mixed with Moulin Rouge but with Disco and Hip Hop. It is not that. The miniseries is very musical but it is not that often that the main characters are doing the singing. Their world is one where they are surrounded by music as there is some song playing about ninety percent of the time. Still, the emotion feels way more real in this one than in Moulin Rouge as everybody comes off as more human and people I would want to hang out with. In fact, after watching two parts, I feel like I have hung out with them. I do not usually think of subtle when it comes to Luhrmann but this was definitely much more subtle. The young actors who star in this are all so good as well. I am excited to see more and I definitely recommend it.


I never got to go to CBGB but I am sure I would not have enjoyed it as I do not really enjoy bars too much. Also, there was a dog that was allowed to crap on the floor there. What I definitely would have enjoyed was the music that was played inside the club. It was a pretty rough joint if legends and this movie are to be believed. Hilly Krystal (no relation to Billy Crystal) was a man who just wanted to start a Country Bluegrass and Blues bar but that never quite worked out for him. Instead, he ended up creating a club that helped birth the punk genre and furthered a lot of musician’s careers. The movie mostly centers on the creation of the club, the early days of The Ramones and Krystal’s managing of the Dead Boys. Alan Rickman plays Hilly and is great as the kind of curmudgeonly positive man who runs this club by hook or by crook. There are great performances by Rupert Grint, Stana Katic, Ashley Greene, Freddy Rodriguez and Donal Logue. The movie is just kind of a ride through a history. There is a central message that says if you help people, you create something beautiful and they just might be there when you need help. I definitely recommend it because it pays homage to a great genre of music.

Music of the Week:
Devil Doll – Why

Dead Boys – Sonic Reducer

Kompressor feat. MC Frontalot – Rappers We Crush

D Boi Da Dome – Black and Orange (Orioles Anthem)

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message


Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “The Power of Music”
– I am almost done with Person of Interest Season 4
– I am halfway through Once Upon a Time Season 5
– I started watching Charmed again
– I watched a little more Narcos and it’s still good
– The TV Crimes podcast is genius
– Started listening to Harmontown again
– The soundtracks on all of these are excellent

Just Music

April 11, 2015

(General warning for language in the videos attached to this post)

A couple of weeks ago, a friend surprised me by referring to rap music as ‘disgusting’. Now, everybody is entitled to their opinion but the thought ground my gears. It’s not disgusting. It’s just music. I didn’t respond immediately because that’s not the hill I want to die on. I also knew that I wanted to write about it but I didn’t want to write angry and I wanted to think about it for a while. Hopefully I’ve let my emotions sift to the bottom and my thoughts to the top.

Now the track in question was this little ditty:

Nicki Minaj – Anaconda

Would you say that’s disgusting? I asked the question of myself and tried to stay objective. It’s very sexual and I guess somebody who wasn’t comfortable with that would have issues with that aspect. Still, it’s no worse than I’ve seen Madonna put out back in the day so I personally have no issues with it. It’s heavily sampled so from a musical standpoint it’s not entirely original which I guess irks me just a bit. Still, it’s different enough that I can let it slide. So what’s left? Is it just that it’s rap music? Is that such a bad thing?

Let me be perfectly honest. I railed against rap music when I was a teenager at a time when rap music was exploding in popularity. I wanted nothing to do with it but looking back I think that’s because as a middle class white kid I was supposed to not like it. I was a supposed to be a good boy and listen to rock and roll like my parents and authority figures would prefer. However, once rap and hip hop became more mainstream I actually gave it an honest try. I was hooked. I loved it. I went through a period where that’s all I listened to. Now I listen to it when I’m in the mood or when something new is released. I’m no expert but I know what I like.

NWA – Fuck Tha Police

Listening to this track again I have to admit it goes way overboard in some parts and I do not condone violence against law enforcement in any form.  However, I wouldn’t even call that “disgusting” since the words are coming from a different perspective.  I see the police in an entirely different light than a person of color might especially during a period following the LA riots where there was a lot of anger and frustration over police actions. The only experience I’ve had with the police are a few tickets and knowing my uncle who worked for law enforcement.  The music and lyrics flow very well and if you listen there’s actually a fairly eloquent yet emotional indictment of police brutality/profiling if you get past the shock value of the name.

Kanye West – Jesus Walks

Now, this is one of the most political rap songs that I’ve heard (again, I’m no connoiseur) and it has a very high production quality. Of course, it comes from an artist who thinks he’s the second coming and a musical genius. All of that aside, it’s an interesting track about one man’s views on the world around him.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Jimmy Iovine

This track comes off as violent and harsh at first because of the vocal effects and anger and some violent imagery. This is all apparent until you realize the artists are using the power of metaphor and symbolism. What they’re really talking about here is how the record companies give new artists a raw deal which is sometimes akin to indentured servitude. It’s a tirade against the current business structure that favors the record companies over the artists instead of a true partnership. It’s something they were obviously passionate about and it is a message I can get behind.

Trey Songz – Bottoms Up ft. Nicki Minaj

We finish off with the track that introduced me to Nicki Minaj in the first place. For the record, I was a fan of Nicki Minaj since the first time I heard this. The speed and accuracy that she achieves is amazing and I often find her funny and a little insane. Not all tracks are deep and meaningful. Sometimes you just want to party with a bouncy song about a night on the town.  It’s like the difference between American Pie and Highway to Hell. Sometimes you just want to listen to fun music.

So those are a few rap songs that I like. I feel like I could go on like this for ages but I think a small sampling makes my point well enough. Obviously I’m not going to change everyone’s mind but I feel that cutting off a whole genre is unfair and close-minded. I always give everything a fair shake before I condemn it. I don’t put down movies I haven’t seen and I don’t condemn a whole genre of music because I don’t like a few artists. I went through the same thing with country music, pop music, disco and so many others. It just takes one good track to open your mind. Maybe you can go find your track.

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