UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE….. New El-P track available for one day over on his MySpace page. Tell him we sent ya’.
Editors Note: In the aftermath of the government’s MKUltra mind control experiments, several former test subjects were assimilated back into mainstream society bearing no knowledge of the fact that they had undergone experimentation. With the documents from the scandal showing inconclusive results it was undetermined what the long term effects of the treatments would have on it’s subjects. Recently it has come to light that the offspring these citizens spawned in the early 80’s have grown to exhibit uncannily similar traits. Only time will tell the extent of the mutations evident in these individuals. Attempts to isolate these kids and keep them in the dark in regards to their heritage are starting to prove futile. Not only do they know who they are… they are finding each other. I would like to introduce to you my brother from a test tube mother jmoore257.
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be said up front that I am not the type of guy that goes out to each and every show that hits town, or scours the net for every rare cut and b-side available from every indie darling. At least not anymore. This is not to say that I don’t love music as much as I used to, perish the thought. Rather I experience my love in a different way, and I hope that my love and (dare I say) knowledge of music comes across in these blogs. Now that that’s out of the way, I figured a good introductory post would give you an idea of my taste, by letting you know what some of my favorite albums have been so far this year.
When his debut solo album Justified was released in 2002, I was skeptical. Not a fan of any of the pop acts of the late 90s-early 2000s, I really had no basis to build an educated opinion upon. However, a friend whose musical taste I almost blindly trusted and snippets that I had heard convinced me to give the album a try. Four years later, much has been said about the album, especially the stellar production and similarities to Off The Wall. My faith in Timberlake’s ear for producers and what could make a good pop track was such that I bought Futuresex/Lovesounds without hearing any singles (not difficult since I only listen to talk radio and NPR when not using my MP3 player). From the first minute of the first track on the album, it’s obvious that Justin and Timbaland are going for a heavy “Prince circa Dirty Mind vibe. Funny thing is, I really, really dig it. It feels odd to openly express my appreciation for such a brazen homage/copy of a unique and much beloved style, but the fact of the matter is that the album does what it aims to do. Timberlake and Timbaland aren’t trying to change the world here, or even change the direction of pop music as we know it. They want to make a hot album that entertains the young kids, while reminding everyone over 23 of what Prince sounded like before he started rushing out albums to get released from his Warner Brothers contract. To that end they put in an admirable effort and they prove to be a formidable duo. Justin shows his ability to let his producer do the heavy lifting behind the boards and just bring his voice and personality, while leaving his ego at the door. And Timbaland continues to show why he is one of the most versatile pop producers of his generation by providing electro-funk jams like the title track:
Justin Timberlake – Futuresex/Lovesounds
As well as the smooth ballad “Until The End Of Time”
Justin Timberlake – Until The End Of Time
It would not be hyperbole to say that this album features some of the best work Tim has done since Aaliyah’s passing.
While it’s not technically the debut album from P.O.S., Audition is actually a better introduction to the Midwest rapper than his 2004 release, Ipecac Neat. Yes, the phrase “Midwest rapper” and the fact that he’s signed to Rhymesayers may give you images of Ant & Slug, but P.O.S. is about as far as one can get from Atmosphere while still being part of the Rhymesayers family. Less romantic lamentations and reflections on growing older, and more revolutionary spirit, P.O.S. does his damndest to remind everyone that hip-hop and punk both came up around the same time around the same places.
I’m not saying this is a “rap-rock” album; rather, there is a definite punk sensibility apparent with P.O.S. and his cadre of insanely talented producers (Laserbeak and Emily Bloodmobile chief among them).
P.O.S. – A Teddy Bear And A Tazer
“A Teddy Bear And A Tazer” is probably the best example on the album of hip-hop’s rhythm and structure being melded with the energy and ferocity of punk. They combine together to create a track that is the perfect playground for P.O.S.’ lyrical gymnastics.
P.O.S. – P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life
On the flip side is this track that (musically at least) sounds much mellower, but P.O.S. still attacks the mic with a sense of unchecked frustration not heard in hip-hop in several years. In an era where everyone wants to sound smoother and more calm and collected than the next emcee, this album barely contains the anger, energy and enthusiasm of youth while neither talking down to the listener nor dumbing down the lyrical content in an effort to obtain more crossover appeal.
J-Zone & Celph Titled formed a group and released an album. If you know them, you know exactly what to expect from this opus of overindulgence. If not, I can sum it up in six words: hot beats, hilarious songs, ig’nant lyrics. Coming from the Too $hort school of chivalry (and spelling) J-Zone & Celph Titled have created seventeen tracks of sheer amorality, and I couldn’t be more entertained. It’s interesting to note that J-Zone has all but abandoned the “audio collage” production style that earned him some well-deserved recognition early in his career. This isn’t a complaint mind you. I thought his deceptively “simplistic” production style suited this subject matter.
The Bo$$ Hog Barbarian$ – Bo$$ Hoggin’
This track is a perfect example of how J-Zone has morphed his style for this album. The beat is pure head-knock goodness. Zone himself says that his “basslines are sharper than Celph Titled’s shape-up”, and after hearing this track, it’s hard to argue. If you can’t bop your head to this blasting out of your stereo, you‘re just taking yourself way too seriously. Lyrically Zone and Celph don’t break any new ground here (or anywhere else on the album for that matter), all they do is strive to be the funniest, most ig’nant emcees on the mic. And by god do they succeed.
The Bo$$ Hog Barbarian$ – You Got Mail
Like I said before, the lyrical content of this album doesn’t vary much, but in many ways the beats are the true stars of the album. Aside from J-Zone’s tracks, Celph Titled supplies several impressive tracks as well. This is just one example of his contributions. Again, if you’re offended by the content of the album, just head to you local dollar store and pick up a sense of humor.
These are by no means, the only albums I’ve been digging this year, but I think they give you a good idea of the type of music I will be discussing in this blog. Hope you checked out some tracks that you wouldn’t have normally thought to. Stop back and see what else is running through my mind and the minds of the rest of the Alternakids.