Sunday, 26 August 2012

This is how I spend my time...

A little while ago I wrote about a Kickstarter project called Adult Rappers, rather than explain it all again check the link and you can see what it's all about.

As the donation end date neared it did look like Adult Rappers might not quite make it so as an added incentive to potential backers I offered up a reward for backers. I really wanted this film to get made so along with my donation I offered to draw a shit robot for everyone that backed the project.  It turns out that I needn't have made such an un-appealing offer because Adult Rappers met it's funding target with ease. Some people, clearly trying to see just how shit these robots would be, have since claimed their robots.

I'm going to go all Tony Hart (I don't know what the non-British equivalent would be) and put up a little gallery of the robots. For anyone that has backed Adult Rappers and not yet claimed their robot feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@Mechagodzeala) or leave a comment and I'll get it done.
Now enjoy the following badly drawn robots.
This dude is the director of an online art school. I'm far too pleased with myself for the apple logo.

@Jakemoney is all I had to work with. Jake 'The Snake' Robots + Money = Done
This guy wanted a robot version of the cover for his upcoming EP.
@Frankiepancakes got a robot making pancakes.
My girl backed it and demanded one...@Wenderwoman gets a robo Wonder Woman but ginger.
Attackosaur got his beloved dino vs Mecha Van Damme. Check the splits.
Dude is an editor/director. I did a director directing a scene from Profondo Robo. I am far too pleased with myself for that pun and robo-recreation.
Guy has been watching a lot of Kung Fu lately, he gets Bruce Lee battering Han. I know the outfit is from a different movie but I make the rules.
Guy is a teacher so he got a classroom scene...Binary 101!!! I am such a wit.
The request was Syffal tee, cane, bees, and a massive set of swingers. I also included a Hobot.
This dude was retweeting for this project like you wouldn't believe so he got the first robot, he also had Egypt in his Twitter handle so, you know, pyramids and that.
The Director of the project, he got a Director asking to see a young rappers parents.

Before anyone mentions it, yes I am a grown man. I don't care because robots are the shit and this film is going to be tremendous. I will post up more as and when they are done, I'm working on one at the moment I just can't decide on the finishing touches. If any Adult Rappers backers want one, hit me up.

Laters yo!


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Ain't no Hipiau Hopiau

I initially started this whole blog in an attempt to just talk about the stuff I was into at any given time, to be positive about some of the art out there and hopefully encourage some folks to check my recommendations out and maybe find something that they might end up enjoying. I didn't want to review stuff that wasn't good because quite frankly there isn't a lot you can gain from a review that isn't good, sure you may steer clear of a potentially bad album/film but so what? That's nothing like the thrill of discovering something that you get, that speaks to you on some level and that will bring you good times. Now anyone that's met me will know full well that I love a whinge and I'm pretty opinionated when it comes to films/music/books (I'm a bit of a dick about it to be honest). Whilst I am genuinely trying not to be a great big moaning vagina about things please allow me this one slip and now that I've enabled the comments section so that you don't need to sign in, feel free to tell me that I'm an end.

There are two factors that triggered this post and I want to  properly explain why this got me thinking so much about the genre I love. The first was a conversation I had with a colleague, now I should state that I have a tendency to speak like I'm gangsta (check the a) and tell people that they are so un-down that they're up when they don't understand what I'm saying, this amuses me because I am pretty much one of the whitest people out there. See below for proof.
This is how white I look at the exact time I am writing this blog.

It was during one of these nonsensical, accusing my co-workers of being super white moments that I asked if my colleague was in fact a fan of Rap or Hip Hop(the genre not necessarily the culture). The reply was that whilst she wasn't really into the genre she will listen to things like Eminem when he has a Dido or whatever singing the hook. She wasn't into the delivery of rap music and much preferred a nice melodic voice over a beat. Now that's a fair point, rapping isn't to everyone's taste and music is one of the most subjective things out there so I can't really argue with it, each to their own and all that.

My colleague did however offer up another explanation about why this genre doesn't really grab her..."I don't like how it's all about sex,drugs and violence". Now this got me thinking hard, and to an extent I can see her point. A very large part of Hip Hop is about exactly those things, some of the best Hip Hop ever made is exclusively about those three things but then again so much of it isn't. There are truly great artists that don't rhyme about those things, artists like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, sure those topics come up every now and then but they certainly aren't defining elements of their music. It's kind of unfair to tarnish all of Hip Hop with the same brush and I think it's worth pointing out that that the themes most people see as a negative thing in Hip Hop are themes that pop up in the work of artists working within all genres. The Beatles sang about drugs, Marvin Gaye sang about using sex as some kind of medicine, shit even the 'cream' of UK pop once covered Lou Reed's song Perfect Day for Children in Need! Children in Need!!! Surely there can't be many more inappropriate songs to sing on behalf of a children's charity? Turn on the likes of Radio 1 right now and they'll probably be playing a Lady Gaga or Rihanna song about sex. Now in my opinion Rihanna singing about S&M in a song aimed at 12 year old girls is far worse than Wu Tang telling me they ain't nuthing to f' wit.

Now for every Guru trying to elevate the art form there is a Ludacris yelling 'move bitch get out the way' (I must admit I have time for Luda though) so I'm not going to pretend that all of Hip Hop is socially conscious but I genuinely believe that if most people listened to a fun track like DJ Format & Abdominal's 'Ugly Brothers' or classic shlitz like Jurassic 5's 'Concrete Schoolyard' they'd like it. Those are two prime examples of what is great about the art form yet it isn't necessarily the kind of thing a lot of folks who aren't into the genre, would think of when they thought of Hip Hop. It's certainly not what a lot of people are exposed to here in Wales so why would they think of it? I didn't think of the fact that my colleague has probably never been exposed to the kind of kind of thing I considered to be the best examples of Hip Hop until I got home and was having a look for the release date of the new Doom album. This is where the second trigger for this post kicked in.

I was checking the JJ Doom release date on iTunes so was having a look in the new Rap/Hip Hop releases, at the top of the page they have a couple of links to new albums that iTunes think you should check out. On this occasion the top link was to an album by an artist called 2 Chainz, I'd never heard of 2 Chainz but there he was at the top of the page, the first thing anyone in the UK would see when they looked up Rap/Hip Hop on iTunes. I popped across to the YouTube and looked for a song by 2 Chainz, there was a lot on there and the top one was featuring Nicki Minaj, this set some alarm bells because I've heard people talking about this Minaj character like she's some kind of Lady Gaga. I'm not really into that kind of thing but I gave it a go because apparently this should be the top thing I check in the world of Hip Hop right now. I clicked on the song, alarmingly titled 'I Luv Dem Strippers', I proceeded to lose 4 minutes of my life, 4 minutes I would never get back, 4 minutes that prompted me to lose plenty more time drafting this blog, 4 minutes that I would have preferred to spend smacking my own junk with a claw hammer. I know I've said earlier in this post that music is a very subjective thing and as a result it is ridiculously difficult to say whether or not a song is good or bad,but this is the exception to the rule and I can say without question that this is a terrible song. Firstly 2 Chainz is way too old to be making a song called 'I Luv Dem Strippers', he's also way too old to be spelling things that way.The beat sounds like it was nicked from a cut scene from some Grand Theft Auto knock off and the lyrics... just wow!!! The chorus to this song goes like this...

"Yeah, I love them strippers x 4
In my foreign car, got the trunk by the engine
So when I back back, I'm fronting on you n*ggas"

What the actual fuck is that? Please someone tell me and while you're at it explain this shit...

"All my bitches different, all my diamonds glistening
My weed so loud, everybody listen
They say it's for the birds, so I bought a kilo
My boost mobile chirping, it must be my amigo"

That's not even the worst part of this song, Minaj is hell bent on outdoing 2 Chainz bullshit with her own. For starters there's the demented ooh noise she makes on a couple of occasions that sounds like she held a queeff in so long it came out of her mouth, then there is what I would say is the worst line I've ever heard.

"Bitches stay pressed, I call them a space bar"

That is terrible, to me it's worse than Lil Wayne's "Real G's move in silence like lasagna" and it even pips whoever the hell said "Like David Beckham I keep a mean shoot down".

My colleague wins at this point because she is dead right about Hip Hop. This song is everything that is shit about Hip Hop and it's also what iTunes has deemed to be the pinnacle of Hip Hop right now. The world is a terrible place at times and this is a prime example of one of those times.

To anyone reading this thinking to themselves "well yes it's a shit song but what do you expect? It's iTunes. Go to a store and look for some new music, don't rely on Apple to spoon-feed you new tracks, you only have yourself to blame". You have a point, but this is North Wales. I have to drive for 45 minutes to get to a CD shop that sells anything outside of the Top 40, I actually have to drive into a different country to get to a record store that sells Hip Hop, so iTunes and the internet are the way I get my music. A lot I get is from Amazon and Ebay so I can get decent stuff but the problem is how do I know which stuff to get? This is the big issue and I think it's the reason my colleague doesn't like Hip Hop. She has never been exposed to what in my opinion is the greatest examples of Hip Hop. When people listen to the radio in Wales they'll be exposed to Fiddy rhyming words he can't say properly and they'll be treated to Snoop phoning it in and reminding us exactly how you spell his name, they won't be exposed to Mister Jason and his posse cut, Edan the Humble Magnificent, or artists like Action Bronson. When they check out iTunes they'll see 2 Chainz and that's Hip Hop to them, that's all there is to it and that's real sad. Some people will like the style of the music and by virtue of the fact that 2 Chainz is all they are exposed to they'll get into that. I genuinely believe acts like DJ Format would be huge if people were exposed to it. I recently attended a Format gig in North Wales which was attended by all of 50 people, that may be generous, but I can assure you that had more people from the area turned up they would have seen something completely different to what they have previously experienced and in all likelihood they'd have enjoyed the hell out of it. For some reason though people aren't willing to just check new stuff  out, they'd rather just take what Radio 1 is pushing on them.

For those who don't really know where Wales is or how far removed it is from the Hip Hop scene we have only ever had one real Rap group and that was Goldie Lookin' Chain. Here's a video so you can understand a little.

Many moons ago I listened to Nelly, now the only reason I did is because I liked Rap and it was one of the only examples of it I could get my hands on. I had a Beasties collection and I was into Wu Tang, Tupac, and Onyx after finding their music in the Urban section at OurPrice but I didn't have the internet, the radio only really played Hip Hop late at night and with Tim Westwood pressing his explosion button all over tracks, so I had no way of being exposed to more of the genre I was into most. Nelly started popping up in the supermarket so it was Rap I could get hold of and I did. I couldn't pluck groups from thin air to listen to so Nelly it was. When I was about 16 I found out one of my mates was into Hip Hop and he put me onto things like DMX, Tribe, De La, Ice Cube, and Public Enemy (it was this friend's older brother that gave me my treasured Beastie Boys tape way back when). I started to realise that Nelly was actually a pretty poor example of the genre. A few years later I was fortunate enough to meet a guy in a Hip Hop band and he put me on to the likes of DJ Format, El-P, Edan, and MF Doom, that's my music now. Through acts like these I get to experience the genre I love and I get to see it taken in new directions and I've discovered just how lazy and dull Nelly was/is but without meeting the people mentioned above I never would have been put on to any of my now favourite artists, I probably wouldn't be so into this genre, and I'd probably be listening to 2 Chainz right now!

Unfortunately for some inexplicable reason, the music we are exposed to, isn't actually the best music out there. For some reason that would take me countless blogs to try, and fail to understand, the music industry doesn't seem to want you to listen to great artists making great music. It's no wonder my colleague thinks Hip Hop is a bit shit, as far as what she's heard goes, it is. If someone was telling me Rock music was brilliant but the only Rock I'd ever heard was Nickelback then I would quite rightly think that this person was an idiot. We can only go off what we are exposed to, with that in mind could anyone reading this that isn't into Hip Hop or has similar views to my colleague please go and check out some of the artists mentioned in this blog? Not 2 Chainz though (I have deliberately not linked his song here because I don't want it to have the YouTube hits, please take my word for it when I say it is a travesty). If you are into what the snobbish and over-opinionated nobs like me would call 'real Hip Hop', please make someone you know that's not into the genre listen to what you think is a prime example of everything that's good about the genre. See if you can change the perception.

If anyone wants to suggest a couple of tracks they believe to be some of the finest in Hip Hop please post a comment. I'm always on the look out for new stuff and as I've mentioned we don't really have our finger on the pulse here in North Wales.

I leave you with a little De La Soul as a prime example of how good Hip Hop can be and how the themes that are often seen as a negative can be dealt with a far superior manner than when the likes of 2 Chainz address them.




A couple of folks told me that they couldn't leave a comment without signing in so I've tried to fix that now. You should be able to leave all the abuse you want without signing in so feel free. If you have to be horrible try to only be horrible towards me and not each other, cheers.