Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Most Exciting Woman In The World

For people who only know Eartha as Catwoman, watch these videos of her performing in Europe in 1962. Her phrasing and body language are incredible. I love the editing and framing for these performances; each one is beautifully shot and choreographed.

"I Want To Be Evil":

"Do It Again":

The New York Times obit is essential reading.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The 25 Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2008 at Passion of the Weiss: Bishop Lamont - "Grow Up"

I got a chance to write about the 20th best hip-hop song of the year at Passion of the Weiss. Click my writeup below to read the whole list!

Few rappers come more honest than Bishop Lamont. We learn this immediately, with “Grow Up’s” naked confession that “[Bishop]] used to think fucking up was cool until [he] didn’t pass high school.” Later, he calls out a grown-ass man with “a wife at home…wasting gas tryin’ to bust a bitch.” Sure, the entirety of his second verse kicks a typical rap-sucks-nowadays homily. But what isn’t run of the mill is how cleverly Bishop ties this to emotional immaturity. The shit talk entertains, but the way he articulates the genre’s callowness makes it stick.
Behind the boards, Dre displays what a weird head space he’s in right now, pairing a gentle guitar arpeggio to thumping claps, spacey, humming synths, and strings and harps. The result is a delicate balance between the underground and the mainstream that suits the self-proclaimed backpacker signed to Aftermath, an oxymoron if there ever was. But the real hero is Bishop, who writes his own “2nd Childhood”, a vivid portrait of how hip hop’s immaturity leads to poor lifestyle choices.. The candor is refreshing, especially in a genre where a rapper can make headlines by persistently denying his past

Shouts to Jeff for making it happen. Watch a nice live performance of "Grow Up" below:

Thursday, 4 December 2008

RIP Pimp C

It's been one year since Pimp C passed. Over at Metal Lungies, we've put together an overview of Chad's production work to commemorate the man's life. Bun B joined us to contribute some incredible UGK history. Check it out here.

Here's my take on Big Mike's "Havin' Thangs":

At this point it’s cliche, but it’s still worth mentioning — “One Day” feels eerily prescient with Pimp C’s passing. His passing really made me appreciate what he did behind the boards. His instrumental sets the song’s tone, constructed around mournful wah-wah guitar riffs and a thick bassline. Pimp adds programmed shakers, tambourines and 808s for that Southern feel. Singer Ronnie Spencer sounds eerily like Ron Isley, and his cooing chorus and occasional interjections complement the song perfectly.

Here's Bun B reminiscing on a remix of "Front Back And Side To Side":

Bun B: We had two remixes to “Front Back And Side To Side”. One of ‘em was more like a dancey, clubby remix and the other one was a bass remix. What happened was, if we wanted to turn in remixes for the single, we had to do it a weekend that we were in Dallas, Texas at Dallas Sound Lab studio. The only room that was available, it didn’t really have a lot of major equipment. It really only had like a Dr. Rhythm drum machine and like just a regular keyboard and I watched this dude max that keyboard and max that fuckin’ Dr. Rhythm out to the point where it’s still one of a lot of people’s favorite remixes from UGK. He took a song that was originally produced in a full service studio with whatever equipment they had available and also with the ability to rent equipment if needed, and took that fully produced song and remixed it with, like I said, just a Dr. Rhythm and a just a regular little Casio keyboard and made a remix even more stronger and more popular in certain circles as the original record. It really opened my eyes up to the fact that my brother wasn’t just a cat that could make beats, he was a real producer, meaning that whatever he was in the room with, he was capable of making a hit record with it and that’s the real meaning of a producer.

Oh, and I strongly urge you to click the picture at the top of the post to view it in full size.

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