Beat Nation – Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture

I had the pleasure of seeing an excellent hip hop exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was such a powerful show. The picture below is a still shot from my favorite piece. It was a video made from a group of skateboarders living on the rez in Arizona. The video was poignant and moving, but also clever and light.

Dustinn Craig, 4wheelwarpony bro team, 2007, production still. Courtesy of the artist, from Ariane Design blog.



God is love and hatin’ is Satan

This song is so up-lifting, it moves me every time I hear it. Murs is a great lyricist with a positive message. I’m making a list of songs that could be  used in youth education and this song definitely makes the cut. If left to their own devices, young people will gravitate toward bad rap music. I just want to show them the good stuff that is out there, beyond the mainstream.

After the jump, some uplifting lyrics from this song and a new video featuring Murs without his dreads. I don’t know when that happened, but he’s a whole new dude.



And now a moment of silence for my i-pod

Me and the i-pod during happier times

I have dropped my i-pod classic many times but yesterday was different. When I was getting out of the car, it flew out of my lap and hit the asphalt parking lot. I thought nothing of it, as it had survived so many awful drops before. Yet when I went to turn it on, all I saw was a picture of a sick i-pod with x’s for eyes  and the web address for i-pod support. That’s when I knew it was serious, I started to worry that was the Apple equivalent of the blue screen of death.

I turned the i-pod over to look at the back and it made a rattling sound. Hmmm, that’s new. I turned it over again, same noise, like something large was moving around inside. That’s when I called it, there’s just no coming back from knocking a piece loose. So I shall pour some coffee on the keyboard and say good-bye to my first i-pod. I couldn’t imagine the last six years without it.

Real talk

Real talk

This message brought to you by the letter Wu.



By the rivers of Babylon

There is something about this song that resonates deep within me. It is a reggae classic, written in 1970, that has been remade many times over by reggae artists, gospel choirs and everyone in-between. This version is by Jimmy Cliff, a reggae legend, and it shows the up-lifting power of the song. It’s a song that is meant to be experienced, I highly recommend you sing along while playing it loudly.

Run to the sun while the bass goes boom

I got some amazing new music and some time. I am long overdue on this year’s mix-tape series, I’m glad to have some time to get it all together. Right now I am working on disc 2: Rebirth, Reboot. This song is featured, I can’t get enough of Zion and the Grouch these days. They bring out the west coast b-girl in me. Mad love to Oakland, they’ve been holding it down for 10 years with amazing, enlightened underground hip hop with the bass that goes BOOM!

This song is such a throwback to early NWA while being totally modern. That booming bassline was made for a stompin’ system in a car. I play this song LOUD, as it was meant to be heard. Those pounding beats vibrate your lower chakras, scratching an itch you didn’t know you had. This song is pure west coast at its finest: clever, laid-back, and hella danceable.


Put your back into it like your grandma do it

LAST SONG! The 3o hour dance party CONCLUDES: #30AssShakers30Hours

You know we had to have a big finish, who better to close this down than Daddy Fat Sacks Sir Lucious L. Leftfoot, The Son of Chico Dusty Big Boi. This album is outstanding, I did a post about it when it came out. In fact, just hearing it now, I am compelled to go listen to it in it’s entirety as soon as I finish this post.

I was so sad when Outkast decided to pursue solo projects. But in retrospect, it has been a good thing. Big Boi was always in Andre’s shadow. I think most of us assumed he was the lesser talent, when in fact, he is not. After really getting to know Big Boi’s flow and voice from Sir Lucious Leftfoot, I realized that for many Outkast songs, I thought his flow was Andre. Embarrassing to admit, but I’ll bet you’ve done the same without realizing it.

After the jump, a classic Outkast cut, featuring one of my favorite videos.

Thanks for celebrating with me. I really, really hope Twitter doesn’t go all MySpace on me, now that I’ve finally gotten to the party.


In love with the kid because he’s underground

The 3o hour dance party continues: #30AssShakers30Hours

Talib Kweli is so talented. His voice is distinctive, his flow is clear. Both his parents worked at a university, his mother was a professor and his father was an administrator, so you know education was a priority growing up. I was so moved by his song, the Manifesto, that I did an entire blog post about the song complete with the lyrics for the last verse.

Reflection Eternal is a collaboration between Talib and Hi Tek and their album, Revolutions per Minute came out last year. It’s a great album, I highly recommend you purchase it in it’s entirety, preferably from a record store. This song, featuring Estelle is a favorite. So retro and modern at the same time. And I love the art direction and styling of the video, they both look so sharp.

Let me get some action from the back section

The 3o hour dance party continues: #30AssShakers30Hours

Couldn’t wrap this party up without hearing from the Boys.  Every album they drop is different from the last as they continue to grow and evolve as musicians. And it speaks volumes that they have stayed together for 25 years. (!) It’s always been an equal collaboration. I read an article about them in Rolling Stone where they joked that if one of them makes the lunch decision, the other two are like, “Oh, so your the leader of the group now.” These guys are funny, but you’ve heard their lyrics, you know this.  They also  do the most wildly creative videos.

After the jump, an AMAZING video of my favorite song off the  new album.

It’s Friday the 13th, guess who’s playing Jason?

The 3o hour dance party continues: #30AssShakers30Hours

I’m enjoying Nicki Minaj, I have hopes for that young’un. I spoke earlier about my feelings towards Lil Kim and I know to some people, Nicki probably looks pretty much the same. But I think there is a big difference between the two women.

Lil Kim never seemed to try to get beyond always being a sexual object. And she had flow, but it felt hyper-sexual and often got nasty. Nicki is super sexy, all boobs and body. But the difference is that once she puts on the clothes and make-up,  she does all sorts of things that are anything but sexy. She writes aggressive lyrics, referring to herself as monster, crazy and other such un-sexy things. Yes, both women are sexy, but everything in Nicki’s attitude says, “My eyes are up here.” Lil Kim, not so much.

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