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Wednesday, 07 December 2016


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I like all music as long as it's good

No apologies necessary. :)

Mike, I think you left your computer on and Zander had a little fun with your blog ...

I hope you weren't driving the Acura when you fell asleep to "Don't Fall Asleep."


Is there a hidden message here about faddishness in any creative field, like maybe even photography?

I'll pass on most of it but A.T.C.Q. are GENIUS.

The Stones' new album of blues covers is well worth it, best listened to while reading Keef's bio, "Life."

...you DO know that the largest financial supporters of hip-hop and rap over it's popularity arc have been white frat boy types?

"Straight Outta Penn Yan" -- that phrase alone -- may be one of the funniest things you've ever written...

I love it when people discover hip hop and realize the riches it contains. Frankly, it's such a broad genre that I think there is something for everyone, as long as they go in with an open mind. If you like mix albums, I have two suggestions that I can't recommend highly enough.

1. "The [Abstract] Best Vol. 1” by J. Period & Q-Tip. This is an official (meaning Q-Tip actively cooperated in its production) mixtape tribute to Q-Tip of ATCQ. Absolutely amazing. See here: http://jperiod.com/music/album-view/q-tip-v1#.WEhMUU8zXMo

2. "Wanna Buy a Monkey?" by Dan the Automator. Dan the Automator (i.e., Daniel M. Nakamura) has worked with Kool Keith, DJ Shadow, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Gorillaz, Del the Funky Homosapien, and others. This isn't a purely hip hop mixtape (there are other genres thrown in), but it is a stone cold favorite of mine and one of the best mixes I've ever heard. See here: https://www.amazon.com/Wanna-Buy-Monkey-Dan-Automator/dp/B00005Y1UK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481133197&sr=8-1&keywords=wanna+buy+a+monkey

Although not limited to hip hop, I also recommend the "Back to Mine" series. (See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_to_Mine) This is a series of mixtapes put together by musicians and DJs. The concept was that on each album, the relevant musician or DJ would compile a mixtape of music they would play for friends, at home, after-hours, after a long night out, rather than the kind of music they would play for the public in a club. This makes for an eclectic and warm collection of music. My hands down favorite from that group is the one by Orbital. See here: https://www.amazon.com/Back-Mine-Orbital/dp/B000068772/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481132938&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=back+to+mini+orbital


I was a nine-year-old white boy, growing up on the edge of the Cotswolds in England (basically The Shire.) That didn't stop my first ever record purchase being Eric B & Rakim's Follow The Leader.

And now I'm a 38-year-old white man, living in a Victorian tenement in Edinburgh. That hasn't stopped my favourite records of the year being the new releases by De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest (see? 2016 wasn't ALL bad!). And if rumours of Eric B & Rakim reuniting to tour internationally next year are reliable, nothing - NOTHING - will stop that from being one of my favourite experiences of 2017.

Chuck D, Pete Rock, and Wu Tang may never have been writing with me in mind, but I doubt Miles Davis was playing - some years earlier - with my Dad in mind, either. If music moves you, it moves you.

"Strap on a Mae West" is slang for something right? I'm gonna go look that up on Urban Dictionary right now.

Check out Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey. Super amazing stuff.

When it comes to music, nothing comes close to having an open mind.
At 53, I might as well have stalled in the late 70's and live on a diet of Pink Floyd and Genesis, but I didn't. (I'll come to hip-hop later.) I'm fortunate to keep up with contemporary pop music, thanks to radio and some DJ's who, like John Peel in the UK, kept bringing new bands to the fore.
So it was no surprise that, when the 90's came, I was completely taken by acts that used hip-hop rhythms as the foundation of their music. Massive Attack, Portishead, Attica Blues, Alpha and Kruder & Dorfmeister made for most of my listenings during the mid 90's through the first decade of this century. DJ Shadow, who you've mentioned in your article, was the man who christened this musical style - he called it 'Trip-hop.'
As for hip-hop, I never really held it in such high esteem, though I always felt lots of respect for Sugarhill Gang and De La Soul. However, hip-hop has been brought out of the ghetto by artists such as The Streets and a British bloke called Andy Turner, a. k. a. Aim. In 1999, Aim came up with one of the most beautiful recordings I've heard (south of classical music): the album is called 'Cold Water Music.' It's an exercise in sheer beauty. Anyone with a hard mind about hip-hop ought to listen to this wonderful album. A true masterpiece.

Respect, yo!

I'm a SoCal white-boy who grew-up listening to DJ's Johnny Otis, Hunter Hancock and Margie, and occasionally Huggy Boy. The best of authentic R&B, and early Chicano R&R. No white-bread poseurs like Pat Boone for me.

With that background you'd think that when Grandmaster Flash came along I'd like his new music, but I didn't. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHIsNQ3eh2g

What I have on my iPod these-days is happy-hardcore techno and EDM (Electronic Dance Music), The Raveonettes, Dum Dum Girls, Tom Morello and Green Day. Sorry, no Beatles, but I do have a couple of Flipper (classic punk) albums. A recent discovery is The Pack a.d. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xb_ulhXyjw

Sure do love the western songs of Marty Robbins, the sharp inflection of Hank Snow, the heart rending sound of Patsy Cline. Love Chicage Blues thanks to further exploring after Belushi and Ackroyd in THE BLUES BROTHERS.
Old dogs can learn new tricks and even revisit stuff we ignored 30-50 years ago as we work to widen the ruts we travel.

"I have very bad news for black people who like hip-hop, and I do extend my condolences: Hip-hop isn't cool any more."

Bearing in mind that Lord Onslow introduced hip-hop etc to the BBC's Radio 3 at the turn of the century, I don't think your listening to it should cause it any worries...

I've always recognized Sturgeon's Law as an important way of understanding literature, music, photograph - all art really. That being that 90% of the given topic is s**t.

But that last 10%? That's what is worth looking for & listening for. It can be things as divergent as the Brandenburg Concertos or, yes, "Gin & Juice". It's the things we'll remember years & decades later and they all come out of that 10%.

And that's the only thing that gives us strength to wade through the 90% looking for the gems.

Makes me think its a good time to pick up my guitar and thrash out a metal version of some of my favorite old time country songs.

Mike, I found something you may like. The Traktor DJ app for iPhone or the iPad version https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/traktor-for-ios/traktor-dj/ Grandmaster Flash helped design the original computer version, so it's authentic.

It may make a fun break from your serious work. Less than $5.00 for the iPhone version.

Thirty-five plus years ago, I worked for a sound-house in Hollywood. I think that it's about time to try working with sound again. My next software purchase will be Logic X and some Antares Auto-Tune plug-ins. That's how I came across Native Instruments.

Mike, there are some excellent recommendations above. I'll throw my support behind a few of them:

"Black on Both Sides" by Mos Def is one of my favorite albums.

"Everything is Borrowed" by The Streets is catchy, beautiful, moving and so unexpected, it floored me.

"The K&D Sessions" by Kruder & Dorfmeister may not be hip hop, but it is a wonderful, gorgeous trip-hop mix album that will mesmerize you.

I'm going to go look up the Aim album mentioned by Manuel. Thanks for the tip!


I have always been a music rather than lyrics man, so many (most) songs with sappy or otherwise lyrics pass me by. The rap parts of hip-hop are therefore completely unappreciated by me. My harsh judgment is that the best bits of hip-hop are the samples from the (often good) other pieces of music, so the originals gain priority in my appreciation. As to attending a performance by most of these artists, I think I would probably rather watch paint dry.

Well that was unexpected. Love me a bit of techno and dance over here (particularly when editing a photography session), though not so much hip hop. This is a favourite at the moment - not sure how to classify it:


Ishkur's guide to electronic music may help though - a funny and indispensable classification system:


Just make sure the windows are up on your Acura when you blast the hip-hop.

[Dude, wouldn't matter. Around here I drive two-, five-, ten-, and fifteen-mile stretches of two-lane highway that have only an occasional stop sign or passing car. Every so often you pass quickly through a tiny village where you almost never see any people. Mostly, I couldn't bother anybody even if I wanted to. --Mike]

I did grocery shopping today while listening to Kendrick Lamar on my bluetooth headset. I'm a mid thirties white dude who works in IT.
I'm basically a character from Office Space... Sigh

But seriously, if you haven't already done so you should really listen to this guy. He knows words.

Hip-hop is near 40 years old now and it's definitely not underground anymore :-)

That said, the language-loving side of you must appreciate the storytelling and flow of the best raps.

No probs for white people who like hip hop??

Right with you...damn, it's so great to get any sense at all that people around my age listen to something other than Hotel California. Actually, I have a rule about that song in particular: no matter where you are or how long you've been there, if you can hear Hotel California, you've been there too long.

I second the motion for Kendrick Lamar, one of the rare talents who transcends genre and just about everything else. You could get a life's work of themes for novels out of his debut album alone.

Back in Codgerville™, the Rolling Stones' new album of blues covers is the record we've wanted them to make since the late 70s. Trust me. It's how they should go out.

I have friends my age (early 50's) who are still stuck in the music from the 1970s.

I think part of the problem is that nowadays there's so much stuff available, people can't be bothered sorting the wheat from the chaff.

A year or so ago, I stumbled across the music videos by Kurt Hugo Schneider. Well executed covers of contemporary pop. He collaborates with a varying bunch of 20-somethings. Worth a look.

It's also interesting comparing his style of visuals to the "official" video of the original artist. KHS (for budgetary reasons, no doubt) has a much simpler presentation that has the effect of emphasizing the music; a good thing IMO.

Isn't Hip Hop the term for switching brands every time a new camera model is released and then vlogging about it?

David Raboin's comment about The Get Down makes me think of another Netflix show, Luke Cage. The use of color in that one is also outstanding, I even suggested in another area on the internet that I thought Lee Filters deserved a producer credit for how gel colored light was instrumental in the look of the show. Also, for Mike, there's plenty of Hip Hop in the show, a small role by a member of Wu Tang Clan; and musical appearances by The Delfonics, and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (OK, those two are for me; aside from the Hamilton Broadway Cast recording, I haven't really connected with Hip Hop). The tv program The Muppets did have the Swedish Chef rapping to Rapper's Delight, but that's rap, not hip hop ;-)


White and 62<< Hip Hop(Rap) despite being around since I was in my 30s never really worked for me. Nor was it intended to I guess.

I consider myself to be almost a semi-rock expert. Saw some of the greats live in the early '70s. I was still young when punk arrived and hung at this basement club in Boston where well known bands would play.

The later day Beatles were maybe the first move toward progressive and something different. They moved away from the earlier blues based sound and took it to a new level. Higher level progressive led back to the simpler protest, near farce show called Punk. New wave/grunge was the final act I think. Really I hear nothing new now. Sad. A recommendation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kThJsVGqo1I

My 20 year old son (I'm 61) introduced me to Mac Miller. I think maybe this guy's brain is smoked, but he sure can make music.

Arrgg...I've never been able to figure out whether rap "music" causes brain damage or is the result of brain damage. Give me Ella, Duke, Nina, Billie. Timeless.

My Wife saw Public Enemy in 88, when she was just 17. We were celebrating her 45th birthday two weeks ago, and ended up in bar full of students who thought it was cute to see a middle aged woman dancing to Public Enemy. Cute, but not cool

Hey, Sean. Show your wife this video of Prophets Of Rage (Chuck D, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, DJ Lord, B-Real)

If she likes it, here a full concert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXjBl_Rjobg It opens with DJ Lord.

Kurtis Blow won me over decades ago. His music still sounds fresh. I'm 56 years old. White. No beard. Balding. I don't fit the profile. Yet....Grandmaster Flash and the furious 5? Sensational.

You need to try heavy metal/death metal next. I think you might like Megadeath and finntroll. Metal is where us cool turning-40-year-olds are.

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