Monday, November 07, 2005

Opera, Paris, Def Jux and Boondocks

Rap-Opera?

As has become routine, Pitchfork media dropped another informative article that is nonetheless flawed in its perspective on Hiphop. Let’s face it; they started listening to the stuff in the past 2 years for the most part so their collective memory mustn’t go much further back than 2000, tops. The topic this go around is rock-operas and their resurgence in popular culture. While pushing the indie-rock party line (rock operas were and excess of the 70’s that Punk vanquished) they make another woefully cliché statement with their singles-dominated hip-hop reference. While it’s true that Hiphop first started as a singles medium and plenty of acts both indie and major have built careers around 12 inch singles; any Hiphop fan worth his salt can name over a hundred albums that are complete unified statements equal or superior to whatever the white kids have been doing since the 60’s.

This leads us to the rap-opera. Pitchfork claims that no single (Hiphop) artist has taken on the challenge of crafting an album-length narrative that would technically fit within the definition of rock opera. What about Only Built For Cuban Linx, Ready To Die or any of the other thug-autobiographies put on wax? While not cheesy song cycles in the rock sense, few people would argue that those are anything less than cinematic wholes that follow a character’s story. It’s not as if these are minor works either, these albums regularly end up in the educated listener’s top 10. Meanwhile they themselves mention albums like Dr Octagon and Deltron3030 and even if they forgot it, Prince Paul’s A Prince Among Thieves definitely qualifies. Proof once again that skimming doesn’t equal listening and that Pitchfork tries too damn hard to be down.

Paris is burning! (and I don’t mean Hitlon’s genitals)

I think anyone who’s listened to French rap sometime in the past 10 years could have told you that immigrant youths in France have a serious bone to pick with establishment. NTM, IAM, Mafia 1Kainfry, Lunatic and others have been warning the French over and over again that shit was about to go down but no one took them seriously. Well now they’ve got the biggest Urban riots in the western world since Compton to deal with and boy are they fucking it up. Calling the kids scum? Ummm… way to ease tensions guys. Doesn’t France have mandatory military service anyways? If they can’t stop the rioting with that then maybe the US is right: France really DOES suck at war.

Def like what?

So I guess Definitive Jux is on the road to being cool again. As much as I hate that Cage album it seems the indie kids really do love that emo shit and with upcoming Cannibal Ox and El-P records set for 2006, they’re really loading up the big guns. Now I haven’t exactly cared about anything the label dropped since 02’ but I’m glad that they’ve made an attempt to find their focus again. Def Jux is at it’s best when they’re on that gritty NY post-WuTang tip that Company Flow did so well; not the whole Hangar 18 and Murs coast to coast dance-party vibe. Let’s hope the next few albums keep it grimy because the British want their market share and even Sovereign could kick Aesop Rock’s ass.

The Boondocks TV Show rocks

Seriously. From the opening theme to the closing theme everything about this show is perfect. My god though: Aaron McGruder makes Dave Chapelle look like Wayne Brady. The show is radical as all hell (in the revolutionary sense not the 80’s slang sense) and its just another cog in the wheel of the entertainment industry suddenly getting really pissed at the right. In the past few days I’ve seen Jarhead, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, The Boondocks and constant news coverage of Bush’s fuck ups. Time to introduce my new catchphrase: Cynicism is on the March! Its Watergate 2005 baby and the people are ready for depression. Though perhaps not quite as much depression as The Weatherman offered, but that’s tommorow’s update.

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