Wednesday, April 11, 2007


As you may have noticed, Foodmantooth hasn't been very active lately. We're going on hiatus so that Sordid Puppy and I can regroup. We need to get off blogger, host music, siphon Viacom chedder, etc. We'll update you on any developments. Hopefully there will be a new and improved FMT soon.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Two Hermits

Master of the Grasses

S.P. doesn't generally get all worked up about battle rappers; most of the tripe that shows up on YouTube and mixtapes involves a lot of posturing and written rhymes and little creativity.

Iron Solomon isn't perfect, and there's a bunch of stuff I've uncovered from Scribble Jam and elsewhere that's pretty geeked out, but on the following NYC street DVD battles, he's impressive:

Iron Solomon vs Shirt N Tie

Iron Solomon vs Mic Assassin

Iron Solomon vs Flames

Iron Solomon vs G Sizzle

Iron Solomon vs Madness

S.P. hereby presents the 1st ever, soon-to-be-highly coveted Capybara award to Iron Solomon for his prowess, his nerve, his wit, and his insistence on criticizing his opponents' sartorial blunders. Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world, which is some fly shit, and they're pretty stoic looking, which is important. Congratulations, Iron Solomon.

FMT are accepting press passes for this summer's Rock the Bells show at Randall's Island.

Friday, March 23, 2007

S.P. News/Murda Mid

Tapir trying to get money. Jockeying with the sea cow for FMT exclusive logo.

Back in the heartland for a few. Brother Ali rolls through town in a few weeks; S.P. will be back on his school grind by then, and the godforsaken refrigeratorville that's home to his chosen institution of higher learning never gets anything in the way of good rapping artists. Never, that is unless your boy S.P. makes it happen...

Your man's pater is a fanatical fan of cricket; for anyone completely unfamiliar with the game, it's sort of entertaining, but matches often go on for days on end, which is fairly ridiculous. The Cricket World Cup is going on in Jamaica at the moment (why I didn't think of that for spring break, I don't know), and the Irish enjoyed a special St. Patty's Day surprise when they, having entered the tournament for the first time ever, knocked off Pakistan, who are ranked #4 in the world. This was awesome. Sunday morning, in a tragic turn of events, the coach of Pakistan's squad, Bob Woolmer (an Englishman), turned up dead. This was not awesome. Yesterday, the Jamaican police revealed that Woolmer was murdered. This is sinister.

El-P's I'll Sleep When You're Dead dropped this past Tuesday. S.P. is striving to save up $13.99 so he can grab himself a copy. ISWYD has been garnering rave reviews since its release (Pitchfork needs to hire some writers) several days ago, and is even getting some shine over at XXL. El Producto has apparently been stacking some stilton since Fantastic Damage; the video for "Smithereens" (NYTimes what what) has some serious production value. As I'm sure you all remember, "Flyentology," El's collabo with Trent Reznor, got the ill cartoon treatment a few weeks ago from the folks over at adult swim. I would remind you to download Def Jux's free mixtape, Definitive Swim, which features bangers from Despot and Cool Calm Pete, but I know y'all already did that because I told you to. Proper review of ISWYD to follow, soon as I get that gruyere.

I've been wondering at the phenomenon that is NCAA tournament bracketing. I don't like rooting against underdogs just because I want to win $55. S.P. is thinking that this bracket shit might be a mite juvenile.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hanging Out With Clapping Fish

This was a big record for me in high school. A double album that probably should have been a 12". "G-Funk" (sorry, all I could find) is still a laid-back summer anthem.

S.P. was seriously remiss in failing to wish all you dedicated readers a Happy St. Patrick's Day this past Saturday. All you bloggartz that love S.P. for his blind fealty towards NYC hip-hop called down the elements in an attempt to make him stick around, and he had to go and get all Snake Pliskin on you. Your boy was stuck in Queens on Saturday, and the deep freeze left him with little motivation to do anything but drink some fine imports and mourn the raping of his NCAA bracket. The first rapper to shout out that Sosa dude from Louisville in a rhyme, maybe about how you, as Scarface, are going to turn the tables on Sosa like A&M did, wins an FMT prize pack. These generally consist of raw hippo meat and old Hothouse Flowers cassette tapes. Slainte. Up Munster.

Big shouts to Rick Mouhanus and his lady Amy for the Queensbridge hospitality this past Friday and Saturday, and anyone in the area probly felt the tremors from the convergence of corpulence that occurred at some bar when the illustrious Furman P. and yours trilly Sordid Puppy met up and drank up. F.P.S. has been drowning fools in Brooklyn since his recent arrival there, and it feels damn good to see FMT and its architects on the rise.

FMT ain't no political blog, yo, but S.P. would like to strongly endorse the stoicism in the face of truly awful news exhibited by Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Vice Presidential candidate and current candidate for the Democratic nomination John Edwards. If you all haven't heard, after a flurry of media inquiry following Mr. Edwards's cancellation of a campaign event last night, today the couple announced that Ms. Edwards's cancer, previously thought to have been confined to her breast and removed, has returned. It's in her ribcage, and cancer in your bones is bad effing news. Apparently a lot of folks figured Edwards would chuck the race for the nomination in because of the diagnosis, but the couple are on some serious hardbody (no no homo) in their refusal to back down. S.P. is down with John Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards and hopes that they can do like J-Wiz and say "Cancer can blow me." That's what's happnin.

S.P. has never had to deal with the frustration, anger, and mortal fear that must accompany a cancer diagnosis. As some of FMT's more seasoned liseurs may recall, however, your boy has had a fright or two, and another arrived a couple of weeks ago. It is a terrifying and infuriating feeling to imagine that something is growing in your body and that it is trying to 86 you. Your man is all good for the time being, and S.P. definitely ain't looking for no pity -- how could I, when Elizabeth Edwards and countless other cancer patients worldwide face up to their problem with such courage? Human beans do some shitty shit, but also inspire on the deli.

Damn -- what the hell sort of blog is FMT, anyway, man? If you even made it this far through this post, I know you're miffed that you're not getting the same caliber of heat rocks that you did from Slothra's last offering.

FMT ain't just a blog, yo.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bong Hits 4 Life

Brought to you by the "Bono mullet" Google image search

To lead off, here's a great profile of the Arcade Fire. Simply great journalism. Great enough for a band that is now as great as U2, Bruce Springsteen, and other old political serious people that are always mentioned in reviews of Neon Bible.

Download - Marnie Stern - "Lyrical Volume"

I'm feelin Marnie Stern and her new album In Advance of the Broken Arm. She looks like a small, nice female person, as her name suggests, and she doesn't wear scary Hot Topic garments with godless imagery emblazoned on them, but she can play the guitar very fast and yelp well. Kelefa Sanneh of The NYTimes said her new record is the best rock thing of the year so far, and she was featured by another Times dude who did one of those trend pieces that articulates the zeitgeist for us so that everything makes sense. The trend in question: girls who play guitars fast and well. He had two and a half examples. Watch out, we're in upheaval. Anyway, put her song on your ears or I'll write you a letter with anachronistic slurs in it.

Download - Lil Wayne, Devin the Dude, Bun B - "Lil Girl Gone" (Mr. Jpatt remix)

Will Weezy continue being a masculine child, a la Luca Brazzi, and make an album of rap songs that will help people at parties create friction between their bodies and also smile at his wit. This song, via DJ Benzi, Soul Sides, and some guy named Mr. Jpatt, has Weezy doing that I'm-from-the-South-but-I-can-enunciate thing, and then the veterans have their go. One of the first really good rap songs I've heard this year. But I'm hungover on rap right now. Sordid Puppy will have something for us soon, I'm sure.

Download - Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter - "LLL"

Rock. Seattle again. Good.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

How did God Shammgod not make the big dance?

This had be seriously lolling. I mean I was about to eat a shopping cart.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Come On Motherfuckers

FMT salutes the memory of a modern-day legend. He was gunned down on March 7, 1997, which means that for the last decade we've been without B.I.G., and since then his memory has been sullied somewhat by the actions of his one-time friend and reckless profiteer Sean Combs. The violence that ended Christopher Wallace's life is still rampant, but aritsts of his caliber are not.

R.I.P. B.I.G.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Collie Buddz - Come Around

The snow is finally starting to melt. Summer can't come soon enough; hottest year ever, where art thou?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Let's Go Do Some Crimes

Beach House - "Master of None"
Jeffrey Lewis - "Don't Let the Record Label Take You Out to Lunch"

First, S. Trout's got it right. With her ostensibly benign yet quietly devastating echo-croon, Victoria Legrand of Beach House seared the lowly visages of a bunch of people with haircuts and chucks standing around in the Mercury Lounge last night. Jeffrey Lewis' opened playing with this hilariously spastic guy named Peter Stampfel who's some OG folk dude who needs to hang out with me all the time and play hopscotch. Also the chick on bass really seemed to be the nicest person ever to wear pants. She was very small and sitting on a stool. Stampfel said he was working on an album made up of a song for every year from last century. Sufjan's got nothin' on this guy. Jeffrey Lewis had what he called "low budget videos" which were these big books filled with sequential crayon drawings. He turned the pages as he sang and the pictures corresponded to the lyrics. That took way too long to explain something very simple. Anyway, he did this song called "Creeping Brain" which was basically the funniest thing I've ever seen on a stage where guitars are supposed to be all serious. He also had a book for "Sifting" by Nirvana, which was equally funny. Just from that show it was clear that Lewis is one of the most pointedly and self-consciously clever songwriters around. So yeah, the Dave Eggers or Chuckles Kaufman of neo-folk. And man, he doesn't even try to sing. I hate when peeps try to do that.

Beach House basically made me feel like I was being slurped into the pillowy bowels of a benevolent God. All I got to say bout that.

Overall, Best show I've seen in awhile and I only had two beers.

Second, I'm not paying attention to this right now. But I am paying attention to this. This song bookends Zodiac, something else Trout already covered pretty well, considering his brain's only nutrients come from meat roll-ups. I couldn't find SP's favorite video of all time, the one for Donovan's OG version of the song, which is the one in Zodiac. This one has a tumescent belly-button though. All's I hafta say is, at least its not a tumescent butthole!

That's what she said.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

S.P. News/Sick

This is a good cover.

I'm sick, ladies, and by sick I don't mean sweet or cool or chicken salad. I mean I'm under the weather. This is an extremely inopportune time for me to be bedridden, so I've been strolling around infecting the unsuspecting masses with whatever it is that's ailing me. I am accepting get well cards, money, and leek soup, because like Ghostface, I eat that.

Remember when I told you to download Chrome Children Vol. 2 for free from Stones Throw & Adult Swim? Remember when you didn't do like I asked you to? That hurt my feelings, and now it's too late to make it better because Adult Swim took that shit down. Here's a chance to redeem yourself: Definitive Jux records, who release El-P, Cannibal Ox, Cage, Aesop Rock, etc. (apparently someone named Despot) have collabo-ed with the illest cartoonists in the game to bring you Definitive Swim. IT IS FREE AND THERE IS A SONG ON IT CALLED "GET RICH OR TRY DYING" AND IT IS AVAILABLE HERE.

Amon Tobin is a pretty cool musician. He just dropped a new album (I think just in the U.K. It doesn't drop here til later in March or April) last week that's called The Foley Room. He's used a bunch of collected, found sounds to make the record, which is more than you can say about your latest album. Anyway, it's supposed to have a DVD documentary coming out with it or after it or SOMETHING because here's a couple of video trailers for it: #1 and #2.

The Clipse just kicked off their tour last night, in Cambridge, MA, which everyone knows is the gulliest place to start a tour EVER. Malice & Pusha T are keeping it real hood this time around, playing shows in Wyoming, Utah, but not in New York, because they know like SP knows that Wyoming is a thousand times more gangsta than NYC.

I'm going back to sleep. Soup-ladies, you know where to find me.

FMT Matchmaker: Capo Status & New York

The director of A&R at Warner Music Group puzzles over the contradiction in terms that is Pink Pinot Grigio

Jim Jones is a generally crap rapper, but I don't think that's ever been in contention. He's built a career on his proximity to Cam'ron, constant and unabashed co-opting of Dirty South beats and conventions, and a furiously maintained presence in mainstream and underground hip-hop media. He's not to be confused with Jim Jones the cult leader, who, along with 913 of his brainwashed devotees, committed suicide in 1978, two years after the birth of Joseph Jimmy Guillermo Jones III, a.k.a. Capo Status, a.k.a. the subject of this post. JJGJ III embraces confrontation and the opportunity it affords him to push himself further and further into the limelight cast by the hype of rap beef. As of this post, he is blissfully engaged in track- and video-propagated conflict with Jay-Z, Tru Life, and 50 Cent. I don't care much for Tru Life (matter of fact, he annoys the shit out of me), but he's a better rapper than Jim, and Jay-Z and 50 Cent are in a class of artist that Jimmy Blanco can only hope to be counted part of.

Jimmy's "We Fly High (Ballin'!)" was one of the biggest hip-hop records of 2006, and one of the very few that achieved any kind of popular success outside of BET's Rap City (not Tha Bassment, because Tha Bassment is dead) or Most people probably got wasted at one point (or five) or another and did the "Ballin'!" dance and screamed it to the heavens. That was awkward. That was over. A while ago.

Jim never had a big record before that. I made the mistake of buying his 2004 On My Way to Church, and besides "Crunk Muzik" and some song he had with T.I. and Bun B, it was really bad. I don't remember the name of his second album off the top of my head, but it was the one with "Summer With Miami" and that song "Baby Girl" through which we were all introduced to random Jim affiliate Max B, who may be the worst singer/rapper/asshole of all time. Last year, Jones scored something of a hit with "We Fly High" and the album it's on, Hustler's P.O.M.E., both of which came out on Koch Records, a label that, allegedly, actually pays its artists pretty well. The LP is headed for gold, so Jim is making money, which means you can't hate on him, blah blah fucking blah -- that's exactly the sort of irresponsible attitude towards hip-hop as art that allows Jim to thrive.

Now that the relevance of "We Fly High" has faded away almost completely, Jim has spent more time posturing and talking shit than ever before, on the radio and on hip-hop DVDs (that I don't think anyone actually buys because you can watch the shit for free on Youtube/Onsmash). Jim knows that if he can continue to cultivate his tough guy (in tight t-shirts) image, a great part of the hip-hop community will be impressed enough by how "real" they're convinced he is and won't be discouraged by the fact that he sucks. They'll cheerily declare how "Ballin'!" they are til the end of their days, which will probably be long after rap is dead, but then as long as we're getting money (or claiming to), who cares, no?

Flavor of Love was a marginally entertaining, fairly unpleasant reality television program. Most of the people who saw that show probably don't know what Public Enemy is, and if they did they probably wouldn't care for P.E. because that shit does not make for good pop music. Flav was probably short on cash, and there's always a bevy of eager actress/model wannabes who are perfectly happy to pursue fame through the medium of reality TV. Flav's new reality TV career was going swimmingly, as he'd just spent some time masquerading himself and being publicly mocked for it on VH1's groundbreaking The Surreal Life. Some savvy TV execs and an eager-to-cheese Flav came together for Flavor of Love, and the show was a huge hit.

Inevitably, Flavor of Love's contestants, who were ostensibly vying for Flav's love, affection, and hand in marriage, were nothing but a bunch of posturing camera whores. They participated in the show in order to make themselves visible, and Flav (not sure he wasn't in on the joke) would occasionally lambast a soon-to-be-eliminated suitress for "being at the mansion for their career, and not for Flav." Whenever this happened, it was ironic and sort of depressing.

Tiffany Pollard a.k.a. Tiffany Patterson a.k.a. New York established herself as the star of Flavor of Love by her unmatched enthusiasm and the passionate animosity that the rest of the girls felt towards her. She claimed throughout to be the only woman on the show that really cared for Flav, and, at times, she was believable; her ardent professions of love for her man, along with her unbridled malevolence for her rivals, lent credence to her claims. After losing out in the finals of Season One to Hoopz (who dropped Flav like a washed-up hypeman after the show concluded), New York returned for Season Two, first as a surprise guest and then as a contestant once more. Again she made it to the finals, and again she was passed up by M. Flav, this time for a woman with one of the more ghastly mugs ever to sully my television screen.

Where New York failed to nose out Deelishis for the dubious distinction of the victor of Flavor of Love, she hit pay-dirt when VH1 signed on for a season of I Love New York, a show that identical to FOL in all ways save one. New York is the champion and prize, and the contestants are men, failed and aspiring entertainers who have chosen to drag their impotent careers through the mud in order to get some camera time. I Love New York is a really terrible show; where Flav played the older, seasoned entertainer who had at least something of a career to hold over the women vying for his amore, New York plays the exact same preening, malevolent character she played on FOL. It's her awful mother (who apparently teaches at Syracuse University or something weird like that) that steals the show this time around, polluting the screen with her visage and her ill will. Flavor of Love had one wobbly leg to stand on in that Flavor Flav was a celebrity (if B- or C-list); I Love New York has nothing but train-wreck appeal.

Is that a Spice Girl?

SP thinks that Joseph Jimmy Guillermo Jones III and Tiffany Pollard are perfectly suited for each other, and in this, the first installment of FMT Matchmaker, I'd like to propose that they propose to one another and have lots of awful, fame-grubbing kids with which to populate the world. Both will stop at nothing to keep themselves in the spotlight, and neither has anything in the way of legitimate talent, unless the ability to make oneself -- and remain -- sort of famous is a talent. I predict that "Ballin'!" and its awful remix are the only hits that Jim Jones will ever have, and that Hustler's P.O.M.E. will be the last record he puts out that sells more copies than FMT gets hits in a day. Finally, I foresee that on I Love New York season 3, your boy Capo Status will be among the contestants, along with Tru-Life and maybe Young Hot Rod. Capo will win, Hot Rod will go back to his banking job in Arizona, and Tru-Life will keep making mixtapes until he goes hoarse. Capo and Tiff will get married, and I Love New York season 3 will be hailed as the reality TV show that brought something more than pure narcisissm and flagrant self-promotion to our television screens: it will bring said qualities, each personified in New York and Jim Jones respectively, together, so that they will meet, conflagrate, and set off a chain reactions of wack people marrying each other all over the world. The rampant confluence of all the worst human traits will be too much for the balance of flyness and wackness that the atmosphere currently maintains, and the earth will eat itself. Don't say we didn't warn you.

The inspiration for this post came from the undeniable similarity in mannerisms that these two miserable human beings share. Observe the way Capo & New York speak loftily of their personal traits and trappings of their moderate success, and giggle and stuff. Both idiots attempt to assert, with every sentence that comes out of their mouths, the "obvious" fact that they're superior creatures:

Jim Jones on Rap City

New York on Jimmy Kimmel

FREE DESSERT: Crazy timing; this just popped up on Apparently some people think FOL and ILNY are worse than just shitty television. Eskay, you read my mind.

Premo Reverse DJs Brooklyn

They opened Marsellus Wallace's suitcase and then poured cocaine on it

Gang Starr - "Flip the Script"

Last Thursday, DJ Premier spun (I feel strange using this term, maybe because I've never actually gone anywhere for the purpose of seeing a DJ) some records at the bar in my building, Sputnik. FYI, Sputnik is probably the best bar in NYC, and this only has a little to do with the fact that I can get there in a hop and a skip, and a lot to do with the portrait of Czar Nicolas on the bathroom door and the always stellar, mostly hip hop DJs there (who aren't superproducers). Anyway, Premo was there for this "Brooklyn Next" event, which also included an art show and this band Pagoda, which features the actor Michael Pitt, of The Dreamers fame, on guitar, vocals and hair-in-face postures.

This Pitt guy has a constantly pouting mouth and he was dressed like he was doing an impression of Curt Cobain, which is funny because he played a Cobain-like character in Gus Van Sant's movie Last Days. His band is on Thurston Moore's label, and their website features a note by Moore concerning how and why they are the shit. Too bad they kinda suck. They do, however, have a nasty cello player (cellist), who was encircled in pedals. After the show, my brother-in-law ordered a shot of tequila for the guy, on me, just because he played the cello. I told him he was the J. Mascis of the cello. Unfortunately for him, he didn't know who J. Mascis was.

Premo is 40 years old. He produces records for Xtina and, according to Nas, would've produced all of Hip Hop is Dead had he been able to clear his schedule. So I have no idea why he is actually DJing at a bar in Brooklyn. Apparently the owner of the bar saved his life once, or something. I dunno. Anyway, he was there, not terrifically late, and he played some motherfucking records for people to dance to and rap along to. I was drunk and it was fun.

He did a little James Brown tribute to open his set, which is always good, and better than Allyiah (whose name should be in spelling bees) or Left-Eye (who somehow managed to marry Ardre Risen after burning down his house) tributes. Then he basically just played all the biggest tracks he produced, doing some DJ stuff in between, but mostly just playing his songs and shouting out Brooklyn and Brooklyn rappers who are either dead (Biggie), less famous than him (Guru), or more famous than him (Jay-Z). People bugged out a little and there were a bunch of dudes in front of the DJ booth who rapped along to every song in a trance. I was mostly just struck by the odd nature of this situation.

DJing is a lost art. Turntablists are basically only known to other turntablists, aka irrelevant. The only DJs that are still relevant aren't DJs at all anymore, but producers. (Imagine if Quincy Jones played solo piano at a Bar, that's what this felt like) Big name producers don't go on tour with rappers anymore. 9th Wonder used to DJ for Little Brother, which meant that he produced them and DJed with them on the road. then he realized he could make a bunch of loot producing records for more commercially viable rappers and riding around in vans with Phonte. Now he's not even part of the group and when he makes a record with a quasi-underground rapper like Murs, he gets equal billing. The whole point of the DJ, as a precursor to the producer, was to play records that he didn't make, mix them together, and create a beat. Premo, however, just played songs he had made and let people applaud him. Luckily he's one of the greatest producers in the history of hip-hop; as in, without him, hip hop would be completely different. Along with RZA, Large Professor, Pete Rock et al, he literally created the sound of 90s hip hop. And now he's teaming up with Xtina and making some some pop records that stand up with anything Timbo is doing in that same genre.

When he got into his Gang Starr material, which was around 2 or so (he started at 12:30 or so), the crowd thinned out and a bunch of people left. This makes sense. Guru is not very famous.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Intractable and Adamantine

If you haven't already checked out Ruined Music, please do so. The site is the unequivocal gem-like flame. They publish stories about music being killed by people, places, or things. Written under one of my noms de plume, my tale of the slaying of Ghostface's Supreme Clientele is up there on this fine day, so check that out. For you people who were directed here from that site, sorry, you have once again witnessed the circularity of the internet. Whoops.

Also, here's my favorite track from that album, with the infamous Ted Koppel name-drop.

Ghostface Killah - "Mighty Healthy"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fuck Busta Rhymes

Last night a documentary called "Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes" aired on PBS. It was a fairly interesting little doc, although the issues covered haven't exactly been ignored. You know, rap music, guns, hoes, videos, making society kill itself by the same means, etc. This part was not interesting. Also the guy who made the movie felt is was nessesary to include footage of himself playing high school football, and talking to high school kids about being good people and stuff. So yeah, not a very good film, but it had a couple of really interesting moments.

First, Michael Eric Dyson can spit darts. And when I say spit darts I mean say things things that are intelligent, barbed and delivered in a convincing manner, and also wear crooked glasses. Plus he's down with Killer Mike. Or Killer Mike is down with him. Either way.

Second, the part about homoeroticism in hip hop was funny and interesting. The filmmaker went to the BET "Spring Bling" thing, which seemed to mostly consist of guys lifting up the skirts of girls so that they could get a good angle with their cameras for anatomical study. This was pretty cool and scrupulous. There were some cross-dressers there, and the director asked them what they thought about homophobia in hip hop. One of them said he/she was turned on by it because it was so aggressive. That may have had something to do with a history of abuse. Adam Corolla would know. Then they said that they got the most attention from the guys at the BET thing who were the most thuggish/ruggish/bone. Dyson riffs about how rap is just suffused by signs of a latent homoeroticism, how the misogyny is not just demeaning the sexuality of women, but demeaning the sexuality of women not just for the freedom of ones' own rocks, but also those of "one's boys." It's like this brotherly cirle-jerk by way of objectification of female sexuality. I'm sure he's written a paper about this which cites Gramsci, Foucault, and Snoop. There were some LL Cool J videos, shown during a part when a gay rapper (about to blow up, forget his name) says something like "when LL Cool J is in his video, all greased up, shirtless, licking his lips under a waterfall, its not just girls watching that and buyin the record. Its guys too. And not just gay guys." Then there was all this stuff about 50 and Nelly on magazine covers with their shirts off, Game's pants saggin (he sags em more than most, I mean, they are just above his knees) and Dyson talking about the prison culture and how it obviously imfulenced hip hop style. The interesting thing here is that all this shit is somehow interpreted by dudes as really hard shit, despite the fact that it is actually very gay. So it's like, well, if he crosses his legs, that's gay, but if he's greased up, under a waterfall and licking his lips, that's okay, cuz it reflects his pimphood and pimphood is a sign that he's also willing to shoot someone in the face for no reason.

Third, (and I'm sure at this point you have forgotten that I was goin with the tripartite format, but fuck it, I do work) Busta Rhymes played himself harder than he has already played himself, which I though was impossible. The filmmaker is hanging with Busta, Mos Def, Talib and that hippie rap band, De La Soul. He starts asking about homophobia in rap, and Busta gets up from his chair, looks scared as hell and says "yo I can't even talk to you about that" and starts to leave. The guy's like "Why not?" and Busta says "yo, you know, the culture that I come from...uh...I can't...I can't answer questions about just not accepting of that thing..." and then he just gets up and leaves. Like a Gump. I'm not sure who's worse, Busta or Tim Hardaway. At least Tim Hardaway came out and said it. Wait, that's not true. Hardaway is a raging ignoramus. But Busta wasn't even man enough to address the issue.

This guy is probably the biggest asshole in music, or maybe the world. He hasn't done anything worth a shit since his verse in "Scenario." Maybe I'll give him "Woo-Ha" and a couple others, but lately this guy has precipitated unbridled fury within my soul. One of his bodyguards is shot on set a video shoot and because he's so hard he holds it down for the streets, because you gotta make sure everybody knows that you're a thug, even if that means that your dead bodyguard's family doesn't get to see the shooter in jail. Then at the beginning of the video (which was for a shit song in the first place) he does one of those really heartfelt thug tributes (after all hip hop is all about death, couldn't survive without it). Wow, that's real justice for you. An introduction to a video, which gets cut off anyway. Next he goes around brawlin' in Manhattan and gets off scot free .

Busta, you're approximately 45 years old. You don't need to hold down the blatant homophobia and snitch prevention, the two forces of cohesion that keeps the streets they can buy you shit records. Maybe you should use those dollars you have to buy a moral compass and a couple of stones. You can get former at any Eastern Mountain Sports and the latter from any gardening supply store in Connecticut or wherever the fuck you live. Once again, fuck you Busta Rhymes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When I Say "Porn," Y'all Say "Porn"

One of Furman's belated, sorely missed ancestors. Pour out a lil Jame-o.

SP gets fed up with things a lot, and, in all fairness, it's more than a bit immature. Lately, Ive been feeling let down by rapping artists and the bloggartz that report on their every bowel movement (that is, the rappers' feculence. some bloggartz report on their own as well.), and my faith in rap in general has been tested a great deal. Furman's most recent post displayed the sort of head-down-eyes-forward dedication to the sort of eff-the-heifers-lets-just-listen-to-music attitude that is so crucial in times like these. We've spent too much time nursing our wounds from the 4th-quarter '06 coke-rap freezerburn; forward progress is what's needed now.
What follows are some frenetically assembled pieces of new music that don't suck.

Young Buck's 2004 Straight Outta Cashville was a decent record, and it had a few great tracks, like "Let Me In," "Look At Me Now," and "Shorty Wanna Ride." Buck's and Ludacris's verses on "Stomp" were awesome. Game's was not. Cashville also had a couple of hilariously strange moments, like when Tony Yayo (I think this was the first major release he appeared on after he getting out of jail and, going back in 24 hours later, and then getting out again) raps about having tanks of LSD in his van. This is (not) psychedelic rap. Anyway, Buck the World, dude's sophomore effort, is supposed to come out on March 20th, and it looks set to break G-Unit's recent string of hopeless releases (Blood Money, Rotten Apple), if the strength of the first two singles ("I Know You Want Me," "Get Buck") is any indication. I don't know how much creative control Buck has over his records, but someone's making great decisions with regard to beats, songwriting, and video direction, and I have a hard time believing it's the same people who called the shots here.

The G-Unit brand has been stamped on a whole lot of miserable tripe over the last couple of years, and it's befuddling to me that 50 has been willing to put out shitty singles and albums that don't sell (Get Rich or Die Tryin' OST, Olivia, Hot Rod, Banks, Yayo, Mobb Deep, etc.). I'll be surprised if Lloyd Banks, after releasing a couple of the most underwhelming singles of recent memory ("Hands Up","Help"), drops another album this decade. You know it stung when Cam called Cuurtis out for outselling Rotten Apple with Jim Jones's Hustler's P.O.M.E.; Banks's album, and Mobb Deep's before him, were embarrassments, and Cameron's affront to 50's legacy was a wide-open shot. I think 50's Before I Self-Destruct may turn out to be one of the best albums of 2007, and if Buck the World garners the kind of critical and financial success that I think it might, Cuurtis will be left on top of the game once again.

Amy Winehouse, the chick who sings on Ghostface's "You Know I'm No Good" (which is originally her track, in an arrangement that must have resembled Lil Wayne & Robin Thicke's "Shooter"), is FMT's pin-up gal of the week.

The bloggartz have been going crazy over the new Brother Ali album, The Undisputed Truth, for a little while now (featured on Status Ain't Hood, Oh Word), and so I won't say too much on this, except that Ali is a good rapper who brings out great things in Ant, the same producer from whom Slug seems totally incapable of extricating anything remotely tolerable. Ali's from Minneapolis, MN, and when Shadows on the Sun, his critically lauded 2003 debut, was released, I had the good fortune to be living in the Twin Cities area. I think everyone who lived in Minneapolis or St. Paul at the time was required to buy the record, and with good reason -- Ali comes off more sincere and heartfelt (without falling into the whiny, disingenuous vein of labelmates Atmosphere) than any rapper out, then or now. The Undisputed Truth is slated to come out on April 10th, and it's got my vote for independent surprise hit of the year; Ali embodies a lot of the things that people are despairingly looking for in contemporary hip-hop. It doesn't hurt that "Freedom Ain't Free" (right click, save as), B-Side to the LP's first single "Truth Is" (same), is an absolute monster.

Some dark, violent, throwback NYC rap provides a great and necessary foil for Ali and Buck's respective styles: Prodigy of Mobb Deep has been building a huge buzz for his March 27th pre-album mixtape-that-is-also-an-album, Return of the Mac. The first few videos for that album's first few singles have been making the rounds of the internets for quite a while now, and here they are: "Mac 10 Handle" (don't watch if you scare easily), "New York Shit," "Stuck On You." Mobb Deep's last album was pretty awful, but I like Prodigy, and it's impossible not to dig Alchemist's compositions. They're the kind of tracks that feel familiar and frightening, and they're perfect for P. Here's some more audio off the mixtape: "7th Heaven" featuring Un Pacino

More notable effery:

Three 6 Mafia feat Chamillionaire - Dope Boy Fresh
UGK - The Game Belongs To Me
Consequence - Scarred For Life
Strange Fruit Project - Pinball (The Healing was really good)
DJ Kentaro - Free

El-P's I'll Sleep When You're Dead is due 3/20
Ghostface Killah - Hidden Darts (Special Edition), 2/27. I don't know what this is, but I know some of the tracks. This is annoying. Furman, any insight?


Sordid Puppy

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hey, remember songs?

Sordid Puppy, always on a leash. ps, sweet border.

Here are some potent downloadables:

Dinosaur Jr. - "Been There All the Time" - (from Muzak for Cybernetics)

From the forthcoming Beyond, due in a couple months. The original lineup is back together, and they've recorded a new album so that Lou Barlow's kid can start a college fund. This will probably be one of the few albums I actually buy in 2007. Mascis still just rips the shit out of his Jazzmaster. I know at this point playing a unironic guitar solo is so eleven hundred years ago, but J. is one of the all time greats in any genre, and he doesn't jack off at all, which Neil Young, the guy J. is always compared to because of surface characteristics, did without anyone ever minding too much. That sentence was like a Neil Young solo. The melody is one that could only come from J. and it's solid, as Mascis usually does it. The only problem here is the production. The old D Jr. was so overloaded and tinny, the guitar attack just washed all over the place on the recording, the dynamics would come out of nowhere. This song has the rhythm guitars sounding regular and compressed, as they tend to sound these days. And Barlow's bass, which was as important as the guitars in D Jr., is not as protrusive. Still a banger, maybe I'll feel different after it settles in a little.

Kristin Hersch - "In Shock" - (from Warped Reality interview)

This is the best new song I've heard in 07. This should be a huge hit, but it is unlikely that too many people will care, which is always too bad. Oh well. Hersch, of Throwing Muses fame, is an indie rock goddess, and for good reason--her voice is unmistakably haunting and she could always do that thing called writing great little rock songs. Or big rock songs. From her recently released solo LP, Learn to Sing Like a Star.

R. Kelly feat. TI and T-Pain
- "I'm a Flirt" (from Idolator)

Kells back and he brought the candle guy and the vocoder guy. T-Pain is annoying as fuck at this point, TI doesn't doesn't drop anything too splenderifical, and Kells is still doin that octave-jumping thing, but this song is still great, esp. if it is playing while you are actually flirting with a girl. You can be all Chuck Kaufman and say, "hey this song is about me" and she will say "you can't jump octaves like that" and then you will agree and go back to drinking by yourself.

J Dilla - "This is Dilla's World" and "5/8" - (from Soul Sides)

According to heavyweight blogger Oliver Wang, these are "presumably from the Donuts sessions." Will a good rapper please jump on these, rap well, and then put them back on the internet; doing so will be a better tribute to the late producer than putting a flier on your webpage that makes sure everyone knows you're down with the real studio auteur, even though you probably didn't know who he was until Ghostface was forced to shout him out on MTV by John Norris.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

S.P. News/Happy New Year/FMT Hearts Sex

Love is in the air.

Happy Valentine's Day from Furman P. and S. Puppy. I heard nothing tells a languid canine that you love him like a fresh pair of Nike Vandals, not that you salty bloggartz care. Do something nice for your loved ones today, and do it the FMT way. Men, buy your filly a bottle of wine, maybe some delicates that aren't awfully creepy, and some flowers. Just do it. We know you think that $35.99 Diplo import is supremely thoughtful, but she's never heard of that, and yes, that new Paul Robeson boxed set just screams elegant sophistication, but she's not impressed. Ladies, go easy on the puppy in your life; cop some bottles of Ephemere for your man, make him some vittles, and maybe snatch that The Departed DVD that just dropped yesterday. Giving gifts isn't the easiest thing in life, but keep this in mind: if you would really like it, your better half could probably give two shits that it exists.

Rappers DO NOT heart money: In the latest progression of hip-hop's latest ingenious scheme to keep its artists from making scrill, here's DJ Mick Boogie and Little Brother's And Justus For All (right click, save as), for free, in case you are into that kind of thing. Sort of takes the fun out of illegal downloading, if you ask me.

"Candy is bad for your fangs:" If you're interested in something WAY cooler, and want to talk shit to SP for flagrantly osculating the nether regions of Stones Throw records, download Peanut Butter Wolf's Valentine's Day mix. Then osculate the nether regions of someone you love. Scarlett, Slothra's in the big city, and I dare say, it's better to be Furman's first blonde ex than JT's umpteenth. Call him.

For fuck's sake, people, be good to your family and your loved ones, if only for today. All you chiddlers out there who are someone else's one and only, ackrite, because if you don't, that shit could be bad for their survival. For real.

Love, Foodmantooth.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sway - Flo Fashion

10 red letters in my name, but I doesn't mind. If they phone up, I'll just tell em that I'm colorblind.

Slothra Goes to the PLUG Awards

Fellow blogger from the deep, Speckled Trout (of recent Type Slow fame) and I attended the 10 bones per ticket PLUG awards show, which is the awards show for cool music. I don't know why they give out these awards, what the criteria are, who votes, etc. but the lineup was Malkmus, Deerhoof, El-P (and two other shitty bands that both had guys who played little synths and bobbed their heads vigorously during choruses) and for ten bucks I was there.

David Cross hosted it and did a good job of making fun of how stupid/boring/unnecessary everything in between the performances was. I never understand why people every try to put comedy on a bill that people come to for the music. The last thing anyone wants to hear when they are waiting for a rock band to bring some discomfort are well-written comedy sketches. Also there was this thing called an "iPod battle" which was by far the worst excuse for entertainment this side of that Everybody Loves Fuckbasket spin-off show. Two teams or two people just played songs on their ipods though the PA back and forth and then the crowd was asked who was better. Everybody booed both teams and the next round (yeah apparently it was a preliminary round) was cancelled. Thank God.

First band I could give a fuck about. Deerhoof played about 4 songs. I love this band. They gave the lead singer, who is a tiny japanese woman who sings like one, a birthday cake. That was cute. El-P played two new songs, both of which sounded pretty rich, and got me fired up for his new album. But two songs, goddamn Producto, give the people what they want. He even had a horn section and didn't wear a trucker hat. Whatever, bring on Malkmus. Trout was the most fired up drunk person I have ever seen. He was grabbing random people and screaming in their face, which expanded his personal space considerably.

Oh yeah I saw the bass player from Pavement so I thought there might be some Slanted and Enchanted action (which didn't happen, much to Trout's chagrin) and there was a guy standing behind us who was almost 7 feet tall, so we thought it was Status Ain't Hood. I mean how many seven foot tall people are there period, nonetheless at an indie rock awards show. He claimed he wasn't him, but Trout wasn't convinced. If that was him and he didn't want to be harassed cuz he's a famous blogger, then fuck him. We'll see if there's a post about a screaming drunk kid wearing a brooklyn dodgers hat later.

Silversun Pickups was higher on the bill than 'Hoof and El-P. Fuck that. This kind of middling indie rock band is beyond boring at this point. Cross interviews Malkmus as James Lipton. Kinda funny but hey, again, we're here for guitars. Malk plays new shit, no Pavement. Has a mustache. Trout is pissed. No Pavement. He did play his Yul Brynner song however. Later Trout spends about $89 to download Pavement songs on this jukebox in a bar that did not wake up that day thinking "hey I think I'm gonna play somethin other than Bon Jovi and Europe tonight." Then Trout made the "I slept with your sister, oh not really" joke and almost got punched in the face by this fat Mexican who looked like Alf. Bad night for Trout. It ended with him spreading Nutella on a Tortilla and then not eating it, probably because it looked like poop.

Monday, February 05, 2007

FMT Interviews Grimace

Most people think it is very funny to have the conversation where one talks about Grimace with one’s bros and asks the question, “what the hell is he anyway?” so that one’s bros laugh because no one really knows. One bro will say “an eggplant, definitely an eggplant,” and then another bro will say, “no, you’re wrong he’s an elephant seal,” and then someone will say “he’s Vice President of the United States,” and that person will most likely be a homeless person who sidled up to the conversation unnoticed.

This sort of idle banter ignores the man behind the corpulent, neckless, purple, conical body. And it ignores one of the richest American lives that have been lived since we declared our independence from our oppressors. In terms of said richness, experts have ranked Grimace somewhere between Jack LeLanne and Sidney Portier.

FMT took it upon ourselves to track down Grimace, see what he’s been up to these days, and talk with him about his battles with drug abuse and obesity, his dabblings with high-stakes espionage, and his interest in horses. It took us awhile to find him. The McDonald’s people wouldn’t talk, and the public library was not very helpful, besides a reference librarian who opined “I think he’s a gumdrop,” before we told her that “YOU DON’T KNOW THE MAN! HE IS NOT CANDY!” and shook our fists at her vigorously. “Well,” she said, “it seems like you don’t know him very well either, if you’re at the library trying to find him.” Touché, reference librarian. Touché.

We finally caught up with Grimace at his lakeside cabin in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, where he has been living for over 15 years, occupying himself with vintage coloring books and guide boat refurbishing. During our interview, he wore jean shorts, a tan madras shirt with the sleeves rolled up and Teva’s with socks. His manner was calm throughout, but when recalling certain of his life’s adventures, he smiled brightly and looked up at the roof of his cabin, as if reliving the witness he bore to certain turning points in our great nation’s history.

FMT: You started doing commercials for McDonalds in 1971, and you were originally cast as one of the bad guys, armed with two sets of arms and an insatiable appetite for milkshakes. After that first campaign you were recast as a good guy and Ronald McDonald’s best friend. Were you worried that you’re audience might perceive you as a fickle flip-flopper?

Grimace: No not at all. By the time I got the McDonald’s gig, I was a seasoned actor. I relished my versatility. I could be a leading man, I could be a villain, I could be a purple hill in the backdrop of a quasi-psychedelic children’s show. And I’m not going to lie, it was fun being the guy who could steal many, many milkshakes. It was a thrill, there were girls, there was a lot of fan mail, some of which was accompanied with erotic photos, because, you know, I was the bad guy who didn’t care. I mean, I stared down the consequences of burgling A LOT of milkshakes, like ten at a time, and I didn’t flinch for a second. So yeah that was attractive to the opposite sex.

FMT: Which is…

G: Female.

FMT: So, did you get tired of playing Ronald’s docile buddy?

G: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I missed those days when I was on the run, milkshakes in one hand, bitches on the other three. Like Vishnu if he was a daredevil outlaw pimp. But it was tiring. I could do it because I was young and ambitious. I was really burning the candle at both ends. And coke was just around then. We didn’t know it was bad for you. I thought it was, well maybe not the brother of sugar or flour, but maybe, like, the crazy cousin who was in jail, but not because of an inherently mean spirit—just a incidental misguidance, in the wrong place at the wrong time. So…yeah…what was the question?

FMT: Did you get tired of playing Ronald’s retarded buddy?

G: Oh right. Well no, because I was usually asleep or so fucked up that rabid concubines could’ve been defecating on my face and I wouldn’t have known. I really just phoned it in. It paid the bills and as the company grew, I was able to maintain a exorbitantly prodigious coke habit. But I didn’t really have to do anything. I moved around a little, smiled and grunted a little, but other than that, I didn’t exactly test my virtuosity. And at that point, acting in general was boring me. Brando, myself, James Dean, I really felt that we had exhausted the medium. I didn’t really think there was anywhere else we could go with it. We had literally fucked that dead horse until it was asking us to stop.

FMT: Why literally?

G: Oh I didn’t mean we actually fucked a dead horse until it spoke to us. Just meant that it sorta moved a little and we were pretty excited and I think Jimmy got his hands on some peyote from Dennis Hopper. I don’t really remember it that clearly, but…

FMT: So you suffered from equine necrophilia.

G: Yeah it was hard, you know. But I got help. I struggle with it everyday.

FMT: When was the last time you…

G: Oh I haven’t been inside a dead horse in 10 years.

FMT: So, when acting became boring, what did you do?

G: Well, I had always been quite a B-baller, so I moved to New York and started hustling on the courts of Harlem. I had a tremendous first step, I could really just lacerate the lane, no could mess with me. I had a little hustle I used to do with Kareem, actually. He would dress up as Hitler and challenge the highest rollin’ street ballers in New York to games, five large minimum. It’s funny, they wouldn’t notice he was seven feet tall and one of the best basketball players of all time because they’d just focus on the fact that he was dressed as Hitler. And then he’d double the bet by saying they could pick his teammate. And then I’d walk onto the court looking clueless, and inevitably, they’d say, “Yo, you got the fat, cone-shaped purple guy.” They’d be sorry about that choice, and ten grand in the whole. Kareem and I would be off playing Mancala, waist deep in drug-addled sluts.

FMT: Then where did life take you?

G: I picked up some freelance espionage work, in the early 80s. By this time, Ronald had grown so sick of my disinterest in the whole advertising world that he began using my body double for most of the ads. By 83 or so, my contract ran out and I had little interest in renewing it. We had a good run, Ronnie and I, but I was so beyond acting. Ollie North and I were old buddies from Annapolis, and when he heard that I was done hocking burgers, he called me up and said “hey ‘Ace, I’ve got some work for you if you want it. Might be dangerous, but the Central American poon will be worth it, let me tell you.” Believe it or not, that segment of my belt--the one that was labeled “Central American poon,” was notch-less—I mean, I had every notch there was. Hell, my main belt was festooned with smaller belts for sub notches…

FMT: Like the “dead horse” sub-notch.

G: Right, branching off from the “mammal” notch.

FMT: So, were you involved in the Iran-Contra affair?

G: Is a Nicaraguan whore’s cunt sweeter than honey?

FMT: ...

G: Yeah I learned my tradecraft down there, as the CIA was mustering the Contras. I became a valuable asset to them immediately, as my celebrity status and odd body shape and color came in handy whenever laundering the drug money, moving arms across check points, that sort of thing. The Sandinistas were oblivious hacks really. They just wanted to pet me. We could sneak anything right under their nose as long as I was there. They thought I was from Disney World or something. I could literally snatch documents out of their breast pockets at they stared slack-jawed at my nonpareil aura of glitz and artistic genius.

FMT: But you were never convicted of any crimes?

G: Only by a jury of angels.

FMT: What were you charged with?

G: Being too sexy for the good of Man.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

S.P. News/Industry Wind Chill

Sordid Puppy, in a gesture befitting of his reputation, steps out to meet -- and amaze -- his adoring fans.

S.P. is not going to fib -- he was enjoying the tropical lifestyle afforded us all by weak fourth-quarter '06 coke rap album sales. However, with the arrival of snow and cold and winter throughout the U.S.F.M.T., I'm genuinely pleased with the return to seasonal normalcy. Worrisome were projections of the 007 as the hottest year ever, and 75 degree weather in December doesn't bode well. I apologize for the dearth of updates as of late, but my coat of (allegedly) 100% faux fur had been stunted in its proliferation by the warm weather, and is only now in full effect.

If you don't care about Stones Throw Records, then you probably don't care much for S.P. News, but, then, if you don't like Stones Throw Records and don't like S.P. News then you probably don't like fun. Here's all of Chrome Children Vol. 2, available as a free download on Stones Throw's website. While you're on the site, buy Chrome Children Vol. 1 if you don't already have it, because it's a damn good album. Just forego the biggie-size option next time you're at your favorite fast food eatery. Music is better for you than high fructose corn syrup.

S.P.'s been bumpin that (DJ) Greyboy as of late; he's a guy who, like, makes ill beats and sometimes lets rappers -- who, let's be serious, are predominantly douchebags at this point -- spit over them. Fortunately, the tracks tend to dominate.

I'm also willing to listen to John Legend occasionally, but I don't like to admit it, save when cloaked by the anonymity that FMT provides. Here's "P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)." Shut up and impress a girl with it.

I've been thinking a lot about all the effery that was made of the DJ Drama/Don Cannon RIAA shakedown fiasco that occurred a lil while ago (millenia in hip-hop bloggart time). The bloggartz seem to be missing the point: the RIAA is bugging the fuck out because no one's buying rap records any more and they're scrambling for an explanation/solution. They've been picking up illegal downloaders for a while now, and it's not that surprising that mixtape DJs came up in discussion as to who to go after next. I agree that the way Fox News handled the story was on some straight racist/classist/fuckingasshole shit, but I can't believe that no one saw this coming. People aren't buying albums any more -- particularly not people who spend all their time downloading the latest, illest leaked track off so and so's hot new record -- and the hip-hop industry is dying. S.P. predicts that pretty soon, the major department stores like Walmart and Target, not to mention the chain bookstores like Border's and B&N, will shrink their music sections significantly and eventually eliminate rap from their inventories altogether. These places care about only one thing: the success of their corporation, their Christmas bonuses, and the happiness of their shareholders, and they could give a fuck if some rappers can't buy the newest Escalade. Repeat: they do not give a fuck about how you feel about the Dedication series or how cool DJ Drama is.

FMT's rival bloggartz will probably respond that real music fans don't shop at stores like the ones mentioned above, that I don't understand how the rap industry works and that I should eff off with my DJ Greyboy and my Chrome Children. The fact is, though, that the hundreds of millions that the powers that be over at the major labels (should be) make(ing) at big chain stores are the same ones that fund Styles P's (nonexistent) music videos. In the late '90s and early '00s, peripheral members of Bad Boy, Ruff Ryders, Cash Money and No Limit Records were going platinum, and the big stars were selling spectacular units. Granted, a great deal of the music that fueled this explosion was mainstream pop-rap that lacked depth or longevity, but the fact that RAP was POPULAR widened the shelf space for the genre at Best Buy and KMart and wherever and thus opened the door for cats that were actually worth listening to. Only a small handful of rapping artists sold well last year, and with less demand comes less supply -- the hip-hop industry has dwindled and will only continue to do so, unless rappers start making great pop records that 15 year olds devour and purists shake their heads at. Whatever happened to the days of your favorite MC dropping one bouncy megahit to sell the album to teenyboppers and then filling (most of) the rest of the record with the shit that you really wanted to hear? Apparently, the music industry in general isn't struggling, and fucking High School Musical sold something like 4 million copies last year and I worry that, in a couple years, it's only records like that, My Chemical Romance, and maybe the latest Tony Bennett joint, that will be sitting on store shelves, let alone moving off of them.

This bozo -- and I call him a bozo because he writes things like "cultural sea change" -- points out that rap album sales dropped off by twenty percent, which is a spectacular amount, but rap lost yet again because New Age experienced an even worse year. All the hip-hop bloggartz have been in a frenzy about all of this, but they seem to fail to understand that their relevance, and indeed their occupations, are in jeopardy, that if no one cares to buy the Lupe Fiasco album then they certainly don't care about how they feel about it.

Finally, Disco D died, and that really blows. "Ski Mask Way" is an amazing song. The hip-hop community may miss him, but it probably didn't deserve him. R.I.P.

FMT up.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Get the Fuck Off the Commode

Rage Against the Machine are getting back together...if for only one show. Well, you might say, who gives a poop? Well we do. I read a couple things things on blogs this morning that were like "oh Rage is getting back together to play a show, they were kinda good but we're afraid to risk cred with people who don't like rap and loud guitars and admit that they were pretty much a dynamo of spleen busting music." I would link to these things but blogger is a big fucking idiot who won't let me do that on my Mac without typing the code in.

I remember distinctly walking down the hall in middle school, listening to the radio on my walkman because I had a skin disease and my peers often yelled derogatory remarks in my direction. When the radio disc jockeys would play the soft music, the remarks wouldn't be drowned out, and I would cry a large single tear that took longer than usual to run down my face because of the adhesive properties that my skin disease lended to my face. When Nirvana and Offspring would come on, I would be happier because I would hear plaid shirts instead of insults that hated my soul. Nothing compared to the moment when I first heard Rage. I was walking to the wing of the school where the science and math classes were (read: nerdspace) and I was walking down a ramp that was installed for those kids whose legs were run over by trucks when they were little. I used the ramp because I had a particularly precocious case of Osgood Slaughter's disease so my knees were already giving out on me. So I was walking down that ramp and "Bombtrack" came on. I thought for sure one of my vital organs had failed (I was was quite a hypocondriac and really wasn't equipped to handle this kind of excitement). When I woke up in the nurse's office and she called me a "little pussy," I was galvanized and inspired. I still cried, but the tear was smaller, for I needed to hear that shit again.

I didn't know what the song was until it came on the radio again, and I summoned all my powers of homeostasis not to pass out from the excitement. The band sounded like the name of something cool, and I went to the local record shoppe to purchase the record with the co-pay that I withheld the pharmacist the previous day, telling them that my mother would take care of it the next time she was in. The album that I bought had a picture of a self-immolating monk on its cover. I thought this was a charming parlor trick, until years later, when I found out the monk was doing that because the Zapatistas were being oppressed in Mexico. I listened to the album over and over again. I had also recently discovered the rap music w/o the guitars and sons of revolutionaries, and I liked how the Rage guy yelled about how I was going to "Boin, Boin" me on "Bombtrack" I thought he was speaking french or something. Again, years later I found out that this was more about immolation. I bought a Rage T-Shirt and wore it to school. One of my teachers noticed the Molotov cocktail on the back and asked me about it. He was one of those cool young teachers who seem like the apotheosis of humanity when you are in middle school, and he told me what the picture was. I thought it looked like a sunset of something. He told me it was something that was made so that explosions achieve political ends. He asked me if I knew who Noam Chomsky was, and I said "bless you."

By the time Evil Empire came out, I was already a seasoned RATM fan. My skin disease had cleared up somewhat, and I had talked to a girl. She worked at the post office and she was at least 35, but I figured that was like, extra points or something. So I had gained confidence and when the jocks and cool guys started to listen to Rage I acted all uppity and asked them if they knew who Noam Chomsky was. Sometimes they did, which was kind of humiliating. In 1997 Rage went on tour with the Wu-Tang clan. To me, this was like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus teaming up to do Wrestlemania XVLXMI. Unfortunately about a third of Wu-Tang showed up for the first couple shows of the tour, and then Zach de la Rocha broke his ankle or something when he jumped across the stage and landed on a speaker. The rest of the tour ended and they never made it to my neck of the woods, which caused my skin problems to relapse.

The Battle of Los Angeles came out, and that covers album, and then Rage broke up. At this point, I had discovered Joy Division and Sonic Youth, and so I didn't really care that much about Rage anymore, because I basically thought that big guitars meant the same as big phallus. Zach started working on his solo album, which he has been working on for 348 years now with zero results, and Chris Cornell joined the rest of the band and came up with a terrible new name. This band sucked, but I think I still bought the record, because I had begun to feel nostalgic for those bands that I discovered in middle school that helped me get though my various heath problems and pariah status. Listening to Rage now, I realize that Zach was a good rapper, even though I now know what he's talking about. Morello made some great rap beats with his guitar and the drummer helped him with that. I hope they get back together and Chris Cornell becomes a hairdresser so that they can make another album. It can be called Barack Obama for President 08 and it can have a picture of Hillary Clinton being bludgeoned with Das Kapital on it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lewis Parker - Mr. Parker's Siesta

If you haven't checked the Champions of Nature track a few posts ago, do so now. This shit is some good shit.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cut the Grass on You Effing Snakes

Someone made a movie of this, and the movie they made is good

I used to watch PBS when I was a kid, and I was allowed watch little else. My parents didn't have cable, and they were less than keen on letting us chiddlers view anything on the nefarious networks. In retrospect, I'm sorta glad ma and pa took this approach, but at the time, I felt deeply slighted. When my parents left the house for any period of time, no matter how brief (read: ma walking to the mailbox), the TV was turned on, and for a glorious moment I basked in the glow of televisual vittles that weren't "Homework Hotline" or about gardening or news or whatever. Sesame Street was an amazing show, and I managed to grow up just before Barney could suck me into the hivemind, but all in all, PBS is pretty lame when you're eight.

There was one important, incredible exception to the above rule, and it was Mystery. Each Saturday night, SP and his littermates would gather around the ol' picturemaker and devour the latest crime thriller, mostly imported from across the big pond. For one uninterrupted hour a week, abominable acts were committed by the slimiest of villains and the cases were blown wide open by the best of minds. I was never much good at figuring out who'd done what, but I respected the heroes -- the detectives -- of these shows because they all had their own distinct crime-solving style. This is less than shocking, because Mystery wasn't some drama series that has the same people writing and producing it each week; instead, the best of mystery shows from the U.S. and the U.K. would rotate in and out every couple of months to keep things fresh and interesting. I used to observe the forensic ingenuity of the likes of Agatha Christie's Poirot (played by David Suchet, longtime friend of FMT), Inspector Morse, Cadfael, Maigret, and P.D. James's Dalgliesh. This was truly great television.

When I was really young, I was most impressed by Suchet's Poirot, in the way he would get everyone in a room at the end of each show and break it all down with impossible discretion, and Cadfael, because it was set in the Middle Ages and there were lepers and damsels etc. As I grew a bit older, however, it was Ms. James's Dalgliesh, played by Roy Marsden on Mystery, that really earned my respect. He's a really private guy, preferring to write poetry and not talk to people when he's not busy solving murders, and he's something of a tragic figure, a widower whose wife passed on during childbirth. He's a lonesome type of cat, and not the type of bozo that you're likely to catch on the next episode of CSI: Arctic Adventures, but that's what makes him awesome, not to mention somewhat beievable.

P.D. James also wrote The Children of Men, which I haven't read because I'm still bogged down by this tome (no Thomas Pynchon), but I did catch the fil-um adaptation of it, and it's the best movie of the year thus far (then again, I haven't yet seen Primeval). It's bleak and earnest and thought-provoking and scary and intensely sad and thoroughly entertaining. The application of James's vision to contemporary political climes is frighteningly real, but one doesn't get the feeling that the filmmakers were out to push any particular agenda. In fact, the story feels like an indictment of the narrow-mindedness of those that pursue only their own ends and lose sight of the fundamental ethos of right and wrong, of solidarity between humans. I feel as though the reigious, ethical and/or political types are probably having a field day over the issues raised by this film, and I'm sure myriad interpretations have been and will be drawn up.

In the meantime, SP says that P.D. James and the folks that turned her novel The Children of Men into a film called Children of Men probably thought and think that the vindictiveness that prevails in our world these days is guiding us down a path towards permanent division between and misery among the people of planet Earth. Respect your fellow man and woman, and admire them for their differences instead using incongruities as a rationale for hate. It's also a good effing story, and a damn good film.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Great New Positive Rap Albums

Mos Def and Talib Kweli both have one of those things called rap albums in the marketplace. Well, actually this isn’t really true. Def owed Geffen an album, so he made one. Then one of the most bizarre record release controversies I’ve ever heard of followed. [1] Kweli’s album is free and produced by Madlib, who, if you don’t know, just won the Nobel Prize for Urban Musics.

Mr. Def, whose name is an abbreviation for the street slang “most definitely” and Mr. Kweli, whose name means “I talk the truth,” were part of a rap duo from the nineteen-nineties called Black Star [2], named after Marcus Garvey’s Black Star shipping line, which aimed to repatriate railroad tracks back to China. Black Star (or Black Star) told us truths about the world and used production from DJ Hi-Tek, a WKRP personality and the son of Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott. Mr. Tek’s work was clean, minimalist and nice, but also menacing in the way that Jack Johnson (the surfer not the boxer) is menacing [3]. Mos Def then split, because he had a feeling that his personality was bigger than Kweli’s, who was really kind of a bore. Def made an album called Black on Both Sides, which he recorded while wearing a fedora hat. BoBS was an album that told people about evil people in the world who conspire to quell fun, but it also had a song with an Aretha Franklin sample in which Def talked about coitus and heavy-petting, so you could play it at mid-afternoon sex romps. Like 3rd Bass and Steven Tyler before him, Def proved that rap could be liked by people who only used pyrex cookware to make muffins for the PTA bakesale, and 9mm’s to shoot “only people who were in the game already.”

Meanwhile, Kweli kept working with Hi-Tek and released an album without any actors on it, called Reflection Eternal, which was titled after the Buddist idea that if one reflects on oneself and the world forever, one will one day get to wear a robe with a hood and live on a mountaintop, where boomboxes are not allowed. This day never comes, however, because one would have to reflect forever before one is rewarded with the hooded robe and the boombox-less mountaintop, and since there is no “after-forever,” it’s a paradox. Anyway, that album was pretty good. Kweli actually brought the gem-like flame with “Move Somethin’”

After that initial bunch of critically acclaimed [4] LPs from Def and Kweli, then came the post-millennial, lets-make-shit-albums-because-either-we-don’t-care-about-rap-anymore-because-we-are-now-broadway stars-or-we-were-kinda-boring-in-the-first-place era of their respective careers [5]. Def released The New Danger, which tried to reclaim rock music from Europeans, who, according to Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, were able to co-opt a music that came from displaced Africans because of the particular layout of mountain ranges in Europe. There was a parody of Jay-Z’s “The Takeover,” from The Blueprint, in which Def said that lots of things are “runnin this rap shit” including “tall Israelis” and “quasi-homosexuals.” It was so cognizant that I nearly killed my hairstylists with an enormous mallet. Like Andre 3000 shortly thereafter, Def seemed disinterested not just in rapping, which was supplanted with his not very good crooning, but also in hip-hop, which he didn’t think could make him a famous enough artist. So a half-assed self-conscious crossover record it was, and we stopped caring about Mr. Def.

Kweli stayed with hip-hop and rapping, and made Quality, which featured Def on one track. At this point, however, the Native Tongues seemed like a refuge for college kids who figured rap had to tell them things that weren’t about “da club” or “da trap” to be good. Fearing irrelevance, Kweli make The Beautiful Struggle, which he thought might be able to ride Kanye’s College Dropout coattails into mainstream success. Unfortunately he made a flabby, awkward record. He tried to make a party album or something, but Kweli is a sober eunuch, so it wasn’t an apt look.

Finally we are up to the present, and after the deluge of albums by “rap kingpins,” the Black Star boys are back. Def’s album is called Tru3 Magic, apparently influenced by Numb3rs, the TV show, and normally I wouldn’t pay attention to it. There is more singing and a recreation of GZA’s “Liquid Swords,” which is a song that is too good to even approach, even if you had a gaggle of robotic elephant-superproducers who have The Wu-Tang Manualprogrammed into their circuits—let alone “cover” it or whatever he’s doing. However, Geffen either pulled some wily shit, or just fucked up royally and in a very odd way--some excessively shady record company dealings--I paid attention to that. The label shipped a few thousand copies out on a goddamn Friday, between Christmas and New Years, when the media sits at home and bathes in egg nog and people have no money anyway because they bought gold plated ceilings and priceless truffle-hunting pigs for their loved ones. Also, the album case was shipped without a sleeve, which may reflect the album’s rejection of superfluous consumerist imagery, but Mos Def is not a post-punk band with allegiances to Marxist theorists, so we can surmise that Geffen just didn’t give enough of a fuck to stick a piece of paper inside the case. Publicists for the label reacted strangely, saying that this meager offering was actually a “pre-release” limited-edition…uh…release, and that the proper album will come out in the spring. Soundscan tells us the album sold about 11,000 copies. A song on the album called “Undeniable” was nominated for a Grammy, and lots of people cared about this because the Grammy’s are great.

This bizarre situation was covered by The Village Voice, which, after firing Robert Chirstgau and Chuck Eddy, has opted for a music section with no credibility and a bunch of Pitchfork writers [6]. Makkada B. Saleh, who wrote The Voice article, is not a Pitchfork writer as far as I know, but he or she goes for some formal experimentation, which is not out of the ordinary for the very creative modernists at ‘Fork. The article is mostly quoted messageboard posts and blog comments that are hard to differentiate from the actual article, which is quite deferential and at times an all out laud-job. Here’s some great music crit: “despite its occasional lax moments, the album as a whole has an intensity and rambling impromptu-ness that few artists ever attain” I’m not one of the lucky folks to have picked up a copy of the LP, but man, it sounds like the album is as good as “Like a Rolling Stone,” by Bob Dylan. At the end of the article, Saleh writes that Def needs to stop singing and caps things with “all these motherfuckers tryin’ to be Al Green.” Wow, yeah, that’s true.

Kweli latest effort is not bound in controversy at all. That’s because it doesn’t cost money, that thing that usually makes humans yell at each other and challenge each other to foot races and stuff. The album is called Liberation, and Stones Throw, the label that likes cartoons and Texas High School funk bands, is releasing it. Madlib is at the helm, as he is with basically every rap album Peanut Butter Wolf puts out. There are 9 songs, and none them are very good because Kweli’s humorless talking has nothing to do with the Madlib’s beats, which aren’t his best anyway. Kweli talks about cous-cous and Bluetooth, namechecks Larry, Angela AND Ossie Davis, and says things about societal ills with pointless voice distortion. As is often the case when voices are put on top of Madlib’s compositions, Kweli dilutes the whole affair. Melvin Van Peebles samples and a squeaky-voiced alter-ego would’ve done better.

Things aren’t goin that well for rap in general, but it seems almost impossible that a “positive” Native Tongues-type rapper could have much impact now. It’s like trying to beat someone up with a sock without quarters in it, while reading from a book by Cornel West. .


[1] And I was alive when the now infamous Hell Hath no Foxtrot controversy went down. The album was, upon the truncated terminus of a corporate listening session, defenestrated by Columbia Records for its “artsy fartsy inaccessibility.” Then, the story goes, a bum on the street, named Pickles Bob, picked it up out of the gutter. Thinking the tape was a correspondence from the CIA, who for years had been trying to steal his alchemy equation that turned Gak into a critically-acclaimed coke rapper, brought the tape to a fellow bum, unironically named Mentally Stable Lucious, who Pickles Bob thought was the second coming of Ronald Reagan, the one who could make all bad things good. Mentally Stable Lucious listened to the disc and saw it for what it was; that is, the thing that would save music and make it the art form that geniuses prefer. In a fit of entrepreneurship, Mentally Stable Lucious decided to stop being a bum and start a Record Company, which he titled Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti Records. He rounded up a bunch of fresh-faced subway car b-boys and taught them how to lip synch and wear cut-off denim jackets. The group, named Yuri Gagarin and the Space Racers, played a few shows with re-mastered versions of HHNF blasting behind them, at malls and ice-skating rinks. Despite the album’s limited pressing on boiled-down toenails, the record was met with universal critical acclaim. At first it was ignored by Rolling Stone, Spin, The Source and pretty much every other large-circulation periodical; however, the grassroots praise grew to a point where national magazines couldn’t ignore it. Yuri and the Racers were suddenly the hottest musical act in the world.

Then everything crumbled. Mentally Stable Lucious, it turned out, was a Russian mole who had been planted in the gutter by the KGB to wait for any uncompromising albums discarded by the American major labels, so that he could steal them, bury anti-American slogans in them during the re-mastering process, and then feed them to the unwitting American intelligentsia, who would accused of blasphemy by the government after lavishing praise on an album rife with pro-soviet messages. The plan didn’t work very well, since Mentally Stable Lucious forgot to translate the pro-soviet slogans into English, and critics fawned all over the random Russian phrases because, as one critic wrote “Yuri and the Racers are aestheticizing the Cold War, to the point were Russians and Americans might as well spooning on a bed of nuclear weapons in MoMA.” When the KGB heard the album, and Lucious' conspicuous blunder, he was murdered immediately and unceremoniously.

Ironically, it turned out that Pickles Bob was right, sort of. The CIA did record the album, with their house band. It’s just that it wasn’t a correspondence about Gak alchemy; rather, the Agency had been tracking Mentally Stable Lucious all along, placing agents at Columbia years ago. Lucious didn’t forget to translate the anti-American messages. A young agent named Rick Rubin snuck into the studio after Lucious was finished and changed it. Of course, the whole affair has been covered up thoroughly, as if it never happened. But yeah that was quite a controversy.

[2] Or 'Black Star' was just the name of their only album, it always seemed unclear to me which was the case.

[3] So menacing that you don’t even realize that you are being menaced until you no longer have a face.

[4] Rolling Stone gave all of them between 3 and 4 stars.

[5] I think that the whole really-long-hyphenated-phrase-joke-thing is so engrained that it warrants a CAPS LOCK-type command that eases the annoyance of forsaking the space bar for that small key in the Siberia of the board, where the clumsy ring finger reigns.

[6] At this point it is a cliché to accuse Pitchfork of bad writing, questionable journalistic ethics, and generally annoyance, but now that a lot of the writers are working for The Voice, including Tom Breihan, Chris Ott, and Zach Baron and the old guard of Eddy and Xgau are gone, its impossible not to see The Voice music section as a co-opted bunch of pages.