Aesop Rock certainly could not have been born with a more unsuspecting name; but Ian Matthias Bavitz was born in 1976 and to your surprise he wasn’t born with the two-pack a day, two bottles of whiskey voice he communicates with today. Aesop may be two parts politics, but when it comes down to what the man has to say he has a gift for speaking the truth. Those so inclined to call themselves fans have most likely been treated to his previously unknown albums; Music For Earthworms, Appleseed, Float and Labor Days — which led to the seven song “Daylight EP”; that catapulted him into the forefront of New York underground. These are precious gems, handle carefully.
On the strength of what had become a movement in the dregs of New York’s hip-hop scene, this new underground was a breeding ground for fresh, young, raw talent whereas the mainstream was a marketplace that had millions of outlets, all marketing the same brands, same styles, but with a slightly different spin on each individual. It seemed like only a matter of time until Aesop would end up working with Definitive Jux; a relatively small boutique label in NY that had just opened its’ doors in ’97. In just five years, Aesop had started his semi-professional career, pushed out five albums (give or take an EP) and by 2003 he was ready to release his first nearly major release, Bazooka Tooth.
No Jumper Cables
In no way am I trying to persuade you to believe that Definitive Jux, the label that’s just turned 10 this year, is major in any way, but that his release propelled them forward like many other Def Jux artists at the time (Lif, El-P, CannOx) into the mouths of critics and the watchful eyes of the consumer.
Make sure to listen to some new Aesop here (it’s from hispeople; Web Sheriff step-off); “Citronella” and “None Shall Pass” from None Shall Pass and head over to The Smoking Section to read what he told Gotty about the new album.
Editor’s Note: OK, OK… I get it. We actually do have a reader base around here. That comes as much to my own surprise as anyone else’s. I still can’t quite explain the unprovoked traffic boost, but I’ll take what I’m given. There couldn’t be a better time to start focusing on the site more either since WordPress has finally allowed us to start utilizing our own code in the mix. (This may have been what prompted The Passion of The Weiss to switch over to WordPress.) What does this mean exactly… well let’s just say be on the look out for a few interesting additional features to the site soon.
Also listen up for a few new voices around these parts as well. From the beginning I expected to have long periods of preoccupation with other personal issues, and that’s why I made this blog a team effort as opposed to a solo project. I just didn’t bank on everyone’s schedules to get booked at the same time, so hopefully adding some more ingredients to the recipe will give our flavor a little more kick… maybe, we’ll see.
Besides if I were to be coming back completely alone right now the posts around here would be really hip-hop heavy for a bit. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I kind of like our eclectic vibe, and right now I’m going through a phase. You can blame Rock the Bells for that. I was reminded of why hip-hop was my first love to begin with after a long period of wondering why I still hung around with her after she’d changed so much. I have to say though… ya’ll disappointed me with your lack of enthusiasm for Public Enemy. I realize there were a number of attendee’s there solely to see Rage, but at a where the acts were stacked that much on the side of a genre PE helped define… it makes no sense that Rage would get more excitement from the crowd doing a Public Enemy tribute… than the original guys got while performing their songs themselves earlier in the day. I’m just saying people… they had Flav, The S1W’s and Professor Griff all in attendance. Do you know how big it is to have those guys all there at the same time is.
Speaking of which… I have to say Parrish Smith is a bigger man than I to be back on stage with a guy that is allegedly suspected (yes I did use a double qualifier there) to have hired a hitman to take him out. Another monumental appearance that should have gotten more enthusiasm out of the audience, but never the less… I was rockin it out regardless. And now just like Eric and Parrish Makin’ Dollars… the Alternakids are back in business. We’ve all had our own personal distractions, some of which you may hear about here in the future… but right now I’ll let “rilla” tell you what he’s been up to as of late and his issues with former unnamed employers.
After months of what felt like an assault on my musical tastes and senses, I’m back to being a free agent of sorts. For the last year, I’ve been struggling to write daily on music and anything music-related, but earlier this year it became apparent that there had been a massive shift in what could be considered music news and what might be considered celebrity nonsense. You see, music is interesting to a lot of people on the interwebs, but it’s never as engaging as a child support payment missed or your wife having cancer or anything like that. Even this nice young man you see above this introduction wasn’t safe from the evil doers.
If it wasn’t another Supahead story, it had to be a “which-rapper/actor-recently-was-arrested-for-beating-his-wife” story and if that wasn’t enough, longer pieces that encompassed news on upcoming albums or their music in general, were shortened and combined with other artist music news, as not to take up the space of the ridiculous TMZ-style stories. In the beginning, they glossed over their desire for”celeb-news”, by reminding us to keep things “current”.
How many times a day would we settle for the sensational news? 5 times. How many actual music related stories a day were there? 3.
Without saying too much, I’m sure the site will see continued success and will perpetuate any sort of stereotype they can for the rest of their time on the interwebs, but what it all comes down to is sacrificing any sort of credibility for “CPM’s”(clicks per minute) and advertisements that take up the entire screen when you roll over them.
After scheduling a meeting with the brain trust of the company to discuss adding video to their site, I learned almost everything I needed to know in roughly the first ten minutes. I was even approached by a writer who had driven more than 100 miles without a recorder, pen or paper to try and schedule an interview that day. Even though I’m running a small production company and have no allusions of my CEO status, I had a still-camera, camera-man, lighting, video camera, a mic, a recorder JUST in case and pen and paper. Their CEO was more concerned with his t-shirt sales and his sunglasses and of course his sleek suit coat in 90 degree weather. Their editor at the show were more concerned with getting a picture with their artist for their MySpace profile, than asking his interview questions from a cell phone that they just put together.
There’s something very oft-putting about someone who says they enjoy a certain group of artists music, but doesn’t know any of the artists you’re introducing them to in the press tent at the concert we’re doing interviews at.
“Who is that? Is that Insane Clown Posse?”
“No, no, the taller one is Brother Ali and the shorter one with the square glasses and crazy eyes is Sage Francis.”
Thanks to the magic of irony, I work in the land of internet marketing, so I can just bask in the knowledge that they aren’t making millions on mere mentions of Kim Kardashian because she had sex with Ray J; who is Brandy’s brother, Brandy you recall was in a traffic accident last year; Ray J, who once made a hip hop album, which wasn’t that great otherwise we might remember the album. Edit: According to Amazon reviewers, Raydiation was horrible.
With that, I’m back. Now that I have that awful monkey off of my back, I won’t be saddled with the thought that I’m ruining the very culture of the music that I love, which made me want to write in the first place. I learned a lot from the experience, but now I’m hoping to undue some of the garbage I started. No more promises of posts, no more promises of interviews and neat little give-aways, allow me to re-introduce myself on this blog, my name is Rilla.
Since no one can touch me now or any of my work (thanks to my lawyers), we should be seeing some old Murs and hearing some new stuff, should be seeing some old words from the Jeanius, hearing some new 9th Wonder and Little Brother and if you’re lucky, maybe, juuuuuuust maybe I’ll tell you which rapper recently started blogging because he couldn’t afford his rent.*
*May or may not be true.
With that I want to wish you all a good night. I’ll let Kanye and Flaco do the talking since this one is off of the Japanese verison of “Graduation”. (H/T)
El-P And Diddy? Oh no, he’s going to Bad Boy! No, he’s just getting shown the respect he deserved for the past 10 years.
Aesop Rock (feat. El-P) – We’re Famous
I could go on at length about so many things going on this picture that blow my mind, but I think it’s only fair to say that at some point musicians respect each other for more things than just music sometimes. Company Flow was the engine that pushed Rawkus into the forefront of hip-hop at a time when it was at it’s weakest. Now that his album is one of the most anticipated albums of the year, his old label, Rawkus is out to get him, or at least keep the man down. As a fellow blogger to us, read his words at iswyd.blogspot.com, but here they are word for every used, abused, misspelled and angry word
THE NEW RAWKUS RECORDS. SAME ASSHOLES THEY ALWAYS WERE.
so the other day me and my band took a picture with puffy. he had been in our rehearsal spot in brooklyn the entire week and we thought it would be something we would regret if we had missed the chance to get a flic with dude. this is for many reasons. there are the obvious points of irony (el-p and puffy in the same room together!?!?!?! but how? why?), as well as the fact that he is simply one of the most famous people in the world. so we went in to the hall and asked him if he would take a picture with us. he was on a conference call but told us as soon as he was done he would come in to our room and take a flic. yeah right, we thought. so 15 minutes pass and we had all but forgotten about it. we were in the middle of rehearsing TPC when the door swings open and puff walks in. i had a full band there so we just kept going with the song. diddy chilled in the corner dancing (i shit you not) and waving his hands in the air. when we finished he came over and we took a flic. he shook everyones hand, smiled, was gratious, asked for a cd then bounced. a true gentelman (at least to us). we couldnt wait to get home and put the picture up on our respective myspace pages. i have met a lot of people but there was something so hilarious and wonderful about this picture. maybe it was that we were all genuinely having a great time. the smiles you see are not sarcastic or smarmy, they are real smiles from a group of guys having a blast. and of course… el-p and puffy????? so up on myspace it went. out to all our friends it went. a proud and hilarious, unexpected moment of very differet musical worlds converging. one of the those rare funny/fun/cool moments that come out of no where and is completely unexpected but great.
in steps WWW.RAWKUS.COM.
these twisted, corrupted shit eaters who stole money from everyone they worked with, fired their staff a few days before christmas, signed amazing artists and never put their records out, blocked artists they had under contract from signing to other labels even after they had driven their label in to the ground and werent even functioning, sycophanttically attempted to attach themselves to anyone in the mainstream they possibly could, etc. etc. etc…
well here they are again. the “new” rawkus. launching again for any sad sap of an artist who wants to wake up one day and realize they are getting screwed, for any staff member who wants an honest pay only to eventually realize they are disposable. the “new” rawkus. the ones who are literally dispersing questionairs in europe to fans asking what type of music they should be releasing. the “new” rawkus. so these motherfuckers take the picture that was taken with my camera and post it up on their site with a news piece entitled something to the effect of: “company flows el-p and puffy?” that’s it. as though the picture is some sort of statement about me. as though the picture is proof of me “selling out”. then they have one of their staff members go around to various message boards like OKAYPLAYER and the post about it in any and every post about my new album. oh yeah? you like the el-p record? check out this picture of him and puffy! oh word? you think el is a dope producer? check out this picture of him and puffy!
the “new” rawkus, eh? great start, fellas. jump start your new era with a half assed smear campaign against the guy that literally delivered you the first album that jumpstarted your entire label. a guy you stole dough from, dissrepected, etc.
this is the kind of spirit that coarses through the clotted, stinking lifeblood of that label, and this is why i believe in my heart of hearts that the label is as corrupted and doomed as it ever was. there is no picture of me that exists that can wipe away the guilt of the way these guys operated and clearly continue to operate. there is no moment or image that can take away the fact that while you were whoring yourselves and destroying everyone that worked with you and believed in you i was doing what i thought was right, and still do.
how insulting. how pathetic. how mean spirited and how completely useless and missguided. get off my dick.
i would sooner spend an eternity hanging with puffy than involve myself with the douche bags behind rawkus, be it the old one or the “new” one. as far as im concerned you can keep that picture up there forever. please do. that one moment was more entertaining and fun and genuine than the enitre sum of our business relationship.
Company Flow – Magnetic, Opium…
It doesn’t stop there, the co-founders of Rawkus Records released their response to all the media outlets and here is what they had to say.
We thought the photo of you and Puff was cool. We posted it without comment. We immediately removed it upon request. But you had to go there… Straight attack our credibility and intentions with that slanderous rant. Keep in mind WE HAVEN’T SAID A WORD to you since 1998. Why are you salty? Be happy, you are successful and rich. Regardless of our obvious distaste for one another, we’ve admired Def Jux’s success and sincerely respect your roster of artists. But you had to go there……
El-P, your recent post has drawn attention to our intentions as promoters and marketers in the Hip Hop community.Haters, like you, seem to suffer from historical amnesia. We thought it was time we directly addressed the Hiphop community and post some facts.
Our mission at Rawkus.com is to create a vibrant supportive community for hip hop, including all factions and styles.The post showing El-P and Puffy was in no way meant to discredit El-P as an artist or producer. Puffy is a mogul and his appearance with an underground artist like El-P was news worthy and interesting. However, we have a strict policy against creating bullshit beefs and reserve the right to delete comments and posts that overtly create hate instead of fostering creative debate.This post was removed once it was brought to our attention that El-P was offended by it.
For the past ten years our mission has been to help artists promote and make money—a mission we were very successful at. We have contributed HEAVY financial resources into promoting Black Star, Mos Def, Kweli, Pharoahe Monche, Big L and many other underground artists in our history of Soundbombing, Lyricist Lounge, and 100s of 12” releases.
Our history is full of success and breakthroughs. Mos Def and Kweli have sold almost 1.5 million albums each and are both powerful stars now. While we worked together, Pharoahe Monche had two huge hits (“Simon Says” and “Oh No”) and sold almost 300,000 albums. We supported Common during his label
transition by successfully promoting “Respiration” and “1999.” Big L went GOLD! The Soundbombing and Lyricist Lounge compilations sold over 1 million copies. Remember “Body Rock”, “Definition”, “Ms. Fat Booty”, “Umi Says”, “Simon Says”, “The Light”, “Respiration”, “My Life”, “The Blast”, “Get By”, “Oh No”, “Flamboyant”, “Fortified Live”, “Universal Magnetic” and “End to End Burners”?
Of course we could not hit home runs every time, and some VERY talented artists experienced frustration as Rawkus hit temporary obstacles in dealing with MCA/Universal in 2003-2004.Everybody knows how treacherous the music industry is. If you stay in it long enough, you will have your fair share of doors slammed in your face- we have!You stay in the game because your will to succeed, far out weighs your fear of defeat. We are proud of RAWKUS.COM‘s growing community of driven artists and individuals. While the game has changed, our mission at RAWKUS is still on point; market and promote NEW under-appreciated artists and respect the older generation of hip hop. We firmly believe the community should decide the value of music, not critics or haters.
Jarret Myer & Brian Brater
El-P – The Day After Yesterday (instrumental)
Round 2. Fight! I’m thinking maybe he’ll go back in to record a special track just for Rawkus. Still, El-P’s album will be out March 20th, you’d be smart to have that in your stereo that same day. For now, check this out.
Ed. note: If you haven’t noticed, “The Alternakids” isn’t like al the other music blogs out there. We aren’t here to get into pissing matches about exclusive content, or argue about who premiered something first (*coughKlaxonscough*). If you want to stay on the bleeding edge of what’s leaked or who’s doing working on what then there are plenty of other places for you to get that. Hopefully when you come here you might learn something about the details and history behind the music that’s being rushed to the presses everywhere else.
That’s not to say we don’t stay in the loop though. So I’ve decided to let rilla start a semi-regular news post to keep you guys current on any interesting news you may have missed out on. Here is the first of said updates.
HBO Docs: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib proves that if those photos hadn’t gotten out, no one would have cared about the abuse.
100 years for this soldier, Bush needs to use some ‘strategery’ with Iran, if the British pull-out, can we?
Ozzfest is free? Only because System of a Down asked to be paid to play (cheap, very cheap of you Sharon) She said, the fees earned by bands, including about $325,000 a show for the group System of a Down, almost sank the festival.
QuarterlifeParty is very Coachella-centric these days doing profiles and providing video of most of the artists on this years line-up. Check out our snazzy Coachella rundown as well. Props to the good Docta for this one. Have fun getting your day tickets on Craigslist.
Jay-Z says something a year late with his ‘Minority Report’ video, but ‘Big Easy to Big Empty’ sums it up much better.
Take your pick now Hollywood. He’s looking through her soul in this picture.
This is why Talib Kweli is the smartest artist in hip-hop today.
Steve Jobs has words for the entire free music world, so start reading. Thoughts on Steve Jobs’ thoughts on music? Theydon’tcare.
The RIAA is scary being altogether. Beware of those college kids. I will say nothing further until I receive my inevitable RIAA summons. (I downloaded ‘White & Nerdy’ I admit it. You caught me, my IP address is 11.11.07734, now turn your monitor upside down)
9th Wonder left Little Brother and hip-hop died a little bit. Maybe it’s time to teach with Play. (Yes, from Kid and Play)
DC is sick of kids having fun, Ted Leo is not a fan. Ian Mackaye has words.
The Proposed ban is something I would call a “shit sandwich”.
Don’t look now, it’s another Monopoly, this time for Extra.Terrestrial radio in the form of the XM/SIRIUSmerger.In other news, a former stripper/Playboy model Vicky Lynn Marshall died February 9th, sadly leaving behind her baby daughter. A former child music star is entering rehab in an effort to keep her two children after she mysteriously cut her hair publicly, possibly to keep it from being drug tested.The Alternakids offer our condolences to the families of these people and hope they are both in a happier place now.Luckily I did get this DEVELOPING STORY from a trusted source in news.
Editors Note: I’d like to say hello to all those visiting our site for the first time due to the popularity of our recent post about the Coachella lineup. I’ll be leaving it up for a while, but we’re gonna keep moving the best we can with business as usual (and hopefully wrap up LAST YEARS countdown pretty soon). If you scroll down a bit (or click here) you’ll eventually run into the post you’re looking for, but browse around and check out our other content too while you’re here. There’s a chance we may go over our alloted bandwith momentarily, but should that happen, then it will only be temporary so keep checking back.
Sometimes an artist bears their entire soul on a record and you feel as if you’re experiencing every ounce of tumultuous pain they’ve suffered as its done tenfold unto you. With Return To Cookie Mountain, TV on the Radio teeters between the dark side of every mind and the heavenly state of euphoria you experience when you wake up after a nice dream, only to bring you back down like a dirty needle full of crank. Kyp Malones’ falsetto is a beast all its’ own, but if the album scares you a bit at first, his high-pitched tone will have you heading for the hills. If, and only if, you find yourself able to get through that you will uncover an album that had musicians yearning to be a little more strange this year and even inspired El-P to come out of his hiding place to remix “Hours” and create one of my favorite songs for the year. TV on the Radio may not explode on the scene (soul-less scenesters pardon my language) in 2007, but in 2006 they lit the fuse.
TV On The Radio – Hours (El-P Remix)
When the initial version of the album was leaked earlier last year, the album seemed to have no direction, but when it was finally released, they had shuffled the songs and ultimately made it better for the listener, after all we’re the most important when it comes to the album, right? The album starts off in a sea of music, complete with various samples, percussion and guitars all wailing in unison, the other vocalist in TVotR (<– don’t be lazy), Tunde Adebimpe climbs out of the deep jungle of sound alongside Malone, they cast their voices to the skies.
TV On The Radio – I Was A Lover
The group has come full circle and instead of the usual drop-off into sophomore slump oblivion, they become a five-piece on this album. Fully appreciating their musical talents, their shortcomings and their creativity as a whole, TV on the Radio succeeds at pushing their own limits as musicians and yours as a listener. Most impressive on the album is the atmosphere built from beginning to end, from the opener you get a sense of where you are, within a movie, scene to scene, song to song. It might be hard to explain why you fall in love with this album, (it’s no where near the very definition of a “classic” that the group is capable of) but there’s a certain part of everyone that will.
TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me
Author’s Note: After watching the Grammy’s, I realize this group is the type of group that should win multiple awards if the Alternative category was more “alternative”. What happened to grunge again? Thankfully, Gnarls Barkley won the award this year, so I’ll complain more next year.
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