Belated birthday wishes to D. Ellis + Other Thoughts

Happy Belated to D. Ellis

I know what you are thinking, this website has about a four post per yer year average and that’s so…laaaaaaaaame, and you aren’t kidding.  I’ll blame it on my wedding this year and an overall malaise about writing about rap music.  Excuses aside, I actually had a writing/mix planned for Dave Ellis’s bday like I normally do.  But this year, I had issues with logging into the webpage to update it.  Turns out the website I assume gets one visitor day was a big enough target … that it got hacked!!   Big shout out to friend and web designer Younghoon for helping me fix the issue.   Lesson learned – don’t make the password something obvious (literally the name of the website, damnit).

Anyhow, this past weekend I was back at the family house helping my mom clean out the home in preparation for the move.  Anyone who has helped a parent move out of a house after the other parent has passed know it’s a really heavy task, and opening each closet door or old suitcase unleashed a flood of serrated emotions.  On this past trip, I found old, dusty copy of a newspaper with the title – PIRATE’S EYE.  This was the paper that had the write-up on Dave’s passing done by our high school.  I was preparing for the wave of emotions of seeing my Dad’s stuff, but the paper came outta nowhere.  The article focused on what we all knew about Dave – how much he was loved by his friends, and how he shared his love of music to everyone.  I was quoted in this article talking about Dave’s impact being lifelong.

I wonder eight years later how strong that impact remains.  I still love Hip-Hop.  I still maintain his website (very poorly, I’ll admit).  I called my wife after all this packing and talked about Dave, and then it hit me: we started dating years after Dave passed and yet, she knows exactly who I’m talking about when I talk about Dave.  That’s a pretty damn powerful impact if you ask me.

Peace to the main Dave Ellis and now let’s talk about some Kim Kardashian stunts, blunts, and hip-hop.

Other Thoughts

  • Kim Kardashian’s efforts to break the internet were remarkable for a number of reasons: #1 She went viral posing nude when the world has already seen her have sex as of 2007.  She is selling a lesser product and still making waves. #2 Olive oil stock must have shot up after this photo.  #3 Her goal was to break the internet, and she failed.  Truly, the only group of people capable of breaking the internet is the U.S. Congress.
  • On to music, where Run The Jewels is absolutely killing it.  El-P’s rebirth as a producer of more accessible beats coupled with Killer Mike has made these two into household names.  Slate.com has had headline articles on the group.  My friend who primarily listens to country is well aware of Run the Jewels, which is probably the strongest evidence of the group’s mainstream popularity.   I was able to convince my wife to dress up as Run the Jewels/Meow the Jewels for Halloween.  Not to mention, their second album is probably the album of the year (RTJ 1 was my album of the year last year).  The production remains glorious and loud, and the subject matter has greatly improved. “Early” and “Crown” are fantastic, intelligent songs that make me feel like RTJ is filling a void left open by Public Enemy.  Also, Meow the Jewels will probably break the internet.
  • As artists recognize that no one really buys music anymore, a new strategy of collaboration and free releases appear to be the way to garner new fans and new revenue opportunities.  Run the Jewels is the clear example of this strategy, but other artists are joining in.  The Cunninlynguists and Grouch & Eligh are about to embark on a tour, and they decided it would be a good idea to release a “name your price” collaborative EP called WinterFire.  ”Gas Station Attendant” is my jammy jam off this freelease.
  • The DMV has released a number of solid releases this past year, and more are upcoming.  The Diamond DistrictMarch on Washington” LP is great; Hassan Mackey & Kev Brown have a great record; and this yU and SlimKat collabo LP ain’t nothing to sneeze at either.  Also, the main man Kenn Starr is about to release an album following up to the criminally slept on Starr Status LP.
  • Here is “Movement II” with Kev Brown on the beat:

 

     

  • Quick thoughts on the NBA season so far.  As a fan of a team in the Western Conference that isn’t the Lakers, I usually root against the Lakers.  To be honest, with the way the Lakers started the season, I was having trouble enjoying their miserable play.  Kobe looked visibly depressed chucking up shots like he was auditioning to play JR Smith in a biopic.  I dont want to watch a documentary about a gazelle that I know is going to get mauled by a bunch of lions, so I wasn’t particularly enjoying their poor play.  Then they beat my Rockets, and all integrity I now have is now out the window.  The popcorn is out for the very unceremonious departure of an All-time great in Kobe, who is throwing enough bricks this season to house the homeless this Xmas.  Also it would be the the most Cleveland thing ever if LeBron James ends up being mediocre after his return.
  • The downfall of Bill Cosby has been a major news story this past week.  It appears decades of rape allegations have finally turned public opinion against the comic.  Everyone sorta knew about these allegations, but without a conviction, Cosby has been able to dodge any real harm.  One of his alleged victims wrote a pretty intense article worth your time which highlights why he was able to skate so long on the thin ice.  When you have a huge star like Cosby and alleged victims that are young and want to make it big in Hollywood, it is easy to avoid trouble by using legal settlement and other tactics.   I live near Ben’s Chili Bowl, which is arguably the landmark restaurant in DC, and it features a giant mural of Cosby.  I live on a block where Cosby is revered, and it is a shame that reverence may have been used in part to sexually assault people.   Cosby, for now, is losing out on money from a NBC sitcom / Netflix special.   However, famed statutory rapist R. Kelly, appears to still have a strong career regardless of all the allegations he’s faced.   I think maybe because Cosby is even more mainstream than R. Kelly, he’ll face greater scrutiny and likely end up leaving this Earth hated.  He has had no real response to the allegations because I guess no amount of zippity bows and Jello pudding pops can defend him or save his legacy.
  • I don’t like people who are scared of things like Ebola and ISIS, yet don’t get a flu shot.
  • Real quick To Big K.R.I.T. – your album Cadillactica has like 3 or 4 songs that are reminiscent of old school Outkast, please try to emulate this formula going forward. (The title track and “Lac Lac” for example). To J. Cole – I hope your next album which apparently has no singles is actually as good as your previous mixtapes.  And to Black Milk, you just released another incredible album worthy of 9.99 on itunes.  I’m not the biggest fan of the double-time rap, but “For What It’s Worth” hits the spot.
  • Lost in the hoopla of Run the Jewels and all the other albums released this fall is the Wu renaissance we are facing.  First, the group plans to release A Better Tomorrow on December 2nd, which is right around the corner.  The leaked singles range from promising to boring, even for a hardcore Wu fan.  I like “Ruckus in B Minor” with Rick Rubin’s production, but I really dig the grimey, almost medieval sounding “Necklace” that reminds me of the cave-dwelling grime of “Careful, Click Click.”   The greatest rap group evermay be able to release an album worth the excitement of the name of the Wu which really hasn’t happened since The W. For some reason, Ghostface Killah is also about to release an album on December 9 entitled 36 Seasons.  It features production from a band called the Revelations.  The production is reminiscent of the Adrian Younge collabo, but sounds a bit more energetic and the record features 5 AZ guest verses and three guest verses from Kool G RAp.  ”Battlefield” and “Double Cross” are awesome.   It’s going to be a good Christmas because it looks like we will have not only one, but two, good Wu-Tang affiliated albums.   Winter 2014 is looking like WU season, bududududu.

Alright y’all, be good and safe.

Big R

 

 

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