Monday, February 16, 2009
Touted as one of the game’s best emcees, Dirty Jerz native Joe Budden is not one to speak ill of without suffering the repercussions, so it goes without saying that he is no stranger to controversy. Following his much publicized departure from Def Jam, Joe not only kept his name relevant through highly publicized disputes with Jay-Z, The Game, Ransom and most recently Saigon, but more importantly through the release of his highly praised Mood Muzik series of mixtapes. On February 24th, J-O-E-Y will release his much anticipated sophomore LP, The Padded Room via independent label Amalgam Digital. I recently caught up with Joe Budden on the telephone in hopes of finding out what is the Padded Room amongst other questions.
Joe Budden Interview
What if Big L wasn’t gunned down in a case of mistaken identity? Would the late great B.I.G. have been able to cement his reign as King of NY? Would Jay-Z and Nas have ever jockeyed for that very position? Would Fat Joe have migrated to the South? Would the Diplomats have come into existence? These questions become pertinent because of Big L’s affiliations (D.I.T.C., Children of the Corn) and his capacity of being a triple threat; vivid storytelling, captivating punchlines and his uncanny ability to spit off the dome.Ten years ago today, Big L on the verge of imminent success, was unfortunately murdered. Nevertheless, today his name is still very much alive amongst knowledgeable hip-hop circles despite only releasing two official albums before his untimely passing.
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Big L - No Endz No Skinz
Big L- Put It On
Big L feat. Tupac Shakur - Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous
Big L - Deadly Combination
Big L feat. Kool G Rap - Fall Back
Big L feat. Guru, Sadat X- Games
Innovative, unique and novel are just a few words that could describe filmmaker Kenzo Hakuta’s, City of God’s Son. Despite borrowing from different mediums including film and music (specifically hip-hop), and fusing them with the directive of a playwright, Kenzo Digital is ultimately able to reinvent the wheel. Nas already suggested that No idea is original there is nuthin new under the sun; as is the case with of City of God’s Son, where Kenzo utilizes previous works, i.e. familiar verses, movie sound bites and reconstructs them to his own fitting thereby creating something unheard of.
When I first came across this title, I thought it was some sort of homage to Nasir Jones naturally because of the semblance to the title of his 2002 release but was pleasantly surprised to find it was much more complex. On the surface City of God’s Son is a story that details the transition from adolescence to adulthood of three childhood friends played by the aforementioned Nas, Jay-Z and Ghost Face Killah. The cast also includes the great late Biggie Smalls (Jay-Z's older brother...how fitting...), Raekwon (Ghost's cousin) and Joe Baatan who narrates the story as an older Nas (more or less the protagonist) reminiscing about his youth.
This tragic story communicates via subtext, meaning nothing is explicitly said by the characters in the story however the themes become understood by the listeners, or rather made apparent to the listeners through movie outtakes that include notable figures like Rodney Little, Elmo McElroy and Furious Styles. Obviously, the many verses sprinkled throughout this musical opus also divulge the ideas contained in City of God’s Son.
Apart from the obvious dedication, research and hard work invested by Kenzo Digital, the allure of this project not only lies in his noticeable creativity but in the manner he chooses to engage his audience. Kenzo relies on listeners juggling their memories via the recognized verses, interview and movie outtakes to drive home the plot. True hip-hop heads or anybody that appreciates creativity for that matter should definitely give City of God’s Son a listen and then patiently wait for Part II.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009
For the most part, the songs that are featured on a soundtrack are a collection that are of no correlation to the adjoining film. These songs usually feature burgeoning or established artists looking to capitalize on their recent successes. During today’s trying times, it’s very unlikely that one could listen to a soundtrack and somehow comprehend parts of the movie or even grasp the mood projected in said film. In 2007 with the release of the Afro Samurai soundtrack, the RZA broke the mold and successfully captivated audiences with a soundtrack that detailed the protagonist, Afro’s journey through the inclusion of the series outtakes, haunting melodies and guest features whose individual verses cemented the story.
Like its predecessor, the Afro Samurai: Resurrection soundtrack, finds the Rzarector constructing and building upon a familiar sound, albeit some distinct changes that date back to ninety-three. Yet again the RZA is in his best form, borrowing from Rock, Soul, Funk-and of course the sounds that made the WU a household name- to orchestrate a musical setting that compliments the well placed features. These include the likes of Kool G. Rap, Inspectah Deck, Ghost, Thea Van Seijen and Rah Digga to name a few; who all collectively and successfully prop up the story through their individual verses. Take for example Rah Digga, whose straight for the jugular verses help to project the vengeful character, Sio, whose role she fiercely assumes in the soundtrack…. Watch me go smack the bitch with my period pads.
Despite a few misses (Nappy Afro, Yellow Jackets, Take The Sword Pt. III), it’s apparent that the RZA is successful in orchestrating a soundtrack that features worthy appearances while effectively complementing the movie. Nevertheless, my hat goes off to the women on this album, namely Rah Digga and Thea Van Seijen for making it do what it do baby.
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