Sunday, 5 August 2012

Aaliyah - Enough Said (ft. Drake)

I make no bones about the fact I am not a Drake fan, but I am a seriously fucking huge fan of 90's Timbaland , Missy Elliot and Aaliyah. When I heard that Drake would be producing a posthumous Aaliyah album with Timbaland and Missy completely uninvolved, I decided that I'd rather spend a night alone sleeping on the N29 than for this to happen. However, the first track is here, and it's actually pretty good. Drake's actual verse is kind of shit, but he references Balotelli so I can live with it. Obviously it goes without saying it'd probably be better if Timbaland circa 1999 and Missy were involved, but they aren't unfortunately. 

Also, was anyone else blissfully unaware that Drake has this tattoo? That's almost as creepy as the 'R Kelly getting Aaliyah pregnant and trying to marry her when she was 15' rumours.

Anyway, R.I.P baby girl xxx

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Respect to Frank Ocean

This morning, Frank Ocean posted this on his Tumblr. A beautifully written coming out, although myself and the internet seems unsure as to whether he is gay or bisexual. But it doesn't matter, respect to him for being able to do this whilst making music in one of the few genres where your sexuality can pose a problem.

A x

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Frank Ocean

I've had an aversion to OFWGKTA out of principle. My theory is that they would make great ad men, or movie directors, PR consultants or hype men, but I'm sick of seeing all my brother's (though luckily not my brother himself) walking around shouting 'Fuck school' and then crying when they get into a fight and get an internal exclusion. This had resulted in me completely skipping Frank Ocean's nostalgia/ULTRA first time round, although I heard great things about it hitting me from all directions, but yesterday I had a change of heart and downloaded it - and now I'm feeling the Amanda Bynes does around black guys. I'm very attracted to this mixtape just fyi.

After the intro 'Street Fighter,' follows a decent cover of one of my least favourite bands' tracks ever, Coldplay's 'Strawberry Swing'. If you cover something by Coldplay and I don't describe it as a piece of shit that makes me lose my faith in humanity, you've probably done a decent job. Getting rid of Chris Martin's vocals that are still in this version would help a lot. 

Next is the stand-out 'Novocane,' a haunting, melancholy ode to a Z-Trip fan who had to compromise her desire to pay for dentistry school with doing porn and tripping balls on substances she's had to nick from class. I'm probably not exaggerating too much to say it reminds me of T.S Eliot's poetry with its feeling of isolation and emphasis on feeling numb and disconnected.

Another one of my favourite tracks on the mixtape is undoubtedly 'We All Try.' The pragmatic approach to faith that hits hard throughout the song will appeal to even the most strident secularists. The social commentary is incredibly refreshing and liberal, particularly for the often homophobic and misogynist genre of hip hop. As much as I've had my aversion to OF, I did appreciate the fact they embrace Syd tha Kyd - both gay and female - with open arms. Frank believes 'Marriage isn't/Between a man and woman but between love and love,' and 'That a woman's temple/Gives her the right to choose.'

'Songs for Women,' is a funky track that embodies teenage insecurity and romance and the steps you take in learning how to deal with courtship, as well as the rivalries and unwritten rules this can generate.

'Swim Good' is another particularly good track, discussing suicide by driving into the ocean (perhaps a metaphorical one) and swimming away from 'something bigger than me.' Maybe it seems like the easier option at this point.

nostalgia/ULTRA is a careful, yet not overdone soulful mixtape, encompassing the trials and tribulations of love, sex, drugs, religion, politics and the American dream - whatever that is. Discoveries like this are exactly why I've decided to start this feature.


Stand out tracks: Novacane, Swim Good, We All Try, American Wedding.


A x

Monday, 7 May 2012

A slightly overdue tribute to Adam Yauch.

If someone had told me two years ago that the death of MCA would depress me quite as much as the death of Amy Winehouse did, I wouldn’t have believed them -  I’m a girl from suburban London, just like Amy.

Yet it did. The Beasties have always had a special place in my heart though, as one of the few hip hop groups to be played in the car and all my family be happy, as the group that combined the DIY attitude that goes with their hardcore punk days with the future of hip hop by joining major labels, yet still managing to keep complete creative control.

I’d kept saying to myself for the past few years, as soon as MCA is healthy and they come to London, I’d bunk a lesson to ensure I grab those tickets at nine am release. After all, this implied I’d have the opportunity. The cancer was treatable.

The reason I held and still will hold MCA in such high esteem, was his ability to grow as a person, to admit his mistakes, and apologise for them. Hip hop still has a problem with misogyny and homophobia, and perhaps will for many years to come, but the Beasties, particularly MCA, grew as people away from this. They were the first in hip hop to apologise for the hatred they unwittingly brought with them -  ‘Fight For Your Right’ was intended to satirise the attitudes of songs like ‘Smoking in the Boys Room,’ yet became an anthem for those with these party-hard attitudes. In fact, his first line in ‘Sure Shot’ was “I wanna say a little something that’s long overdue / The disrespect to women has got to be through.”

 The transition Yauch made within the space of a few years, from a boy to a man, was evident from the release of ‘Sure Shot’ onwards. From here on, he went on to use his influence to do what he could to try to correct not only his own mistakes, but to use his it to help others with the organising of the Tibetan Freedom Concert. He used opportunities he had to educate people about injustice, and to make them question their own attitudes and prejudices.

R.I.P Adam. You'll be sorely missed.

View from 6:30 onwards - MCA dropping truth bombs at the VMAs

Some early Beasties, from their hardcore era.

Beastie Boys - Girls

MCA - I Don't Know

 Beastie Boys - Intergalactic

A x

Monday, 9 April 2012

Why we need a culture shift in the playground.

I'm 18, and so am at the awkward stage of being an adult when others want me to be, and being a child when others want me to be. Walking around my school, I'm expected to set an example for younger students, and assist them with troubles. This inevitably results in me seeing the thirteen year olds with freshly straightened hair and lip gloss on, and remembering how much time, effort and money I wasted doing the same thing at their age, when I could have been enjoying myself. It also means I overhear the twelve year olds calling each other ‘gay’ as a pejorative and hoping they’ll soon regret it off their own accord, not because they were told off for it in class.

I remember hearing the word 'gay' for the first time when I was about 7, and as an insult. I then went on to call others 'gay' later that day knowing it was supposed to be a bad thing, but completely unaware as to what it meant. I then went on later that day to ask my dad what it meant and I struggled to see what was wrong with it. Sure, it was alien to me, but not wrong, let alone worthy of being an insult. I still hear it used as an insult on a daily basis around school, and this only strengthens my feeling that schools need to take a stand against use of words such as 'gay', 'spaz' and 'retard' by children who either are either unaware or unfazed by the deeper offensive nature of these petty insults. A 2008 BBC poll found that 83% of teachers hear the word 'gay' as an insult, more than any other word in the poll, and nearly 25% more than the second most heard word, 'bitch'.

Many argue that the word has changed meaning, hence the odious Chris Moyles using it as an insult and being backed by the BBC, and that it no longer carries the homophobic baggage we'd all expect it to, but when LGBT youth are 4 times more likely to commit suicide this argument is irrelevant. It's anecdotal, but I'm sure I'm not alone in saying whilst I was at school, the most mocked and taunted people were those who were those who were perceived to be gay (whether they are or not was irrelevant) and the girl whose dad came out of the closet after splitting with her mother. As this is still the case, society simply needs to move on from insulting people for what they can't choose. If you called someone a racist term in the playgrounds I played in, you'd lose a lot of friends, sadly it's not the same for homophobic terms.

Perhaps the word 'gay' has changed meaning, and so can be used as an insult, but who's to say we can't turn this into a positive meaning? Perhaps we should take note from George Clooney and his reluctance to deny rumours of his homosexuality, as he 'doesn't want to make it seem like being gay is a bad thing.'

A x

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Jai Paul - Jasmine

So unless you've been living under a rock the last week, you'll probably have heard about XL signing Jai Paul's new track, Jasmine, which trended heavily (though not quite as much as Samantha Brick) on Twitter over the last week, much to my surprise actually. The follow up to last year's incredible BTSTU, which was one of my favourite electronic songs of last year, it echoes Prince, and therefore echoes D'Angelo when he was actually a thing that it would be a compliment to be compared to. Smooth, soulful and pretty reminiscent of the sunshine for a guy from Rayner's Lane. 

A x