A superb slice of work from two hard-working innovators, Philly sage Curly Castro and NYC creator Steel Tipped Dove. "Tin Tin" is a dark nightmare ride, a conceptual banger, and a bracing antidote to whatever your day has inflicted upon you thus far. Loud is the ideal dosage.
Submission #6788 comes from Los Angeles based (rapper?) AC Killer, whose bio reads as if he fell off the fuck-me-in-ass tree and hit approximately 80 percent of the branches on the way down, including the one that may or may not have lodged up in him when he was 10. Sometimes these gimmicks are true, or have tinges of truth sprinkled in with them. Most often they’re not. Most often they’re just prefabricated preludes to the video, that swelling cyst of their musical labors. I’m putting all my imaginary (all $100 chips) on gimmick.
Either way, moving on...
Really, these PR pitches we receive are too good. Eternally plentiful mediocrity from Funhouse Earth, a distilled and excellent crystal clear kaleidoscope of the human race’s sissy throw attempts at creativity. I have to wonder if some of these dudes even really try. I know they act, like they physically move and speak, but are they trying? And why do I care?
This video looks like a bunch of dudes preparing for a neighborhood Halloween trick or treat walk up that might send shit streaming down the legs of every 8 year who passes by, but would never break a 1000 views on the TubeYou’s without top-notch PR. The rapping, of course, is something that I could get a coke head friend of mine to do, who only listens to CCR, and the visuals have about as much thought put into them as your average McDonald’s Fish Filet.
It’s the worst of us. The I want the fame of video without working to develop my content and my craft. It’s literally the worst thing I can say about a piece of attempted Art: It’s not even worth checking out. Not even for the laughs. But you can click the link to watch it die.
We've gotta warn you upfront: it takes a special kind of warped mind to sit through this past the first 2 bars. This is megadeaths beyond car crash metaphors, a perfectly paired video & song as empty as the plains of Antarctica at noon. There is nothing here -- but yet it is a special kind of nothing behind the eyes of name-thief and attempted rapper Al Bundy. His yearning for pure celebrity shines through like a sick, feverish mirror of The Whole Damn Rap Game, verily.
There's no way this cat could convince me that he listens to rap. No amount of bonafides or obscure album names would change my mind. The whole "go hard / viagra" punchline thing was dumb-as-fuck played out while the World Trade Center still had working elevators. Right now, it's 2014. This isn't about generational cycles, this is about kids who "rap" because they know that's how people get famous.
A strange thing to say about a chunk of art, but still, it's best qualities conspire against it. The fact that this is such a technically accomplished piece of work for a low-budget video only emphasizes what a blank wall you're staring at.
So consider this a low water mark, a placeholder for the Most Vapid Rap Video we've seen so far. There are thousands of contenders coming for that title, so enjoy it while it lasts, Al Bundy. Enjoy it while it lasts.
When a video has two people getting Director of Photography credits, shit had better look cocaine immaculate. Thanks to the quantum-spiritual guidance of ASAP Yam$, who had the excessive good sense to list "Wardrobe" and "Casting" with a straight face, the video for "Multiply" looks precisely that good, if not a little better. Playing hard on the contrast between the empty, ostentatious, glittering sets and the fast-moving, extra-filled tracking shots gives this video a lot more blood in the veins than most. This is movie-quality urgency that not even Juicy J can fuck up.
(He tries, though.)
Here at Real Yeti Rap, our politics is essentially defined by frequent usage of the word "TRILL" so obviously A$AP Rocky gets our vote in 2014. He takes a vast nothingburger of a beat and layers it with compelling, precise flow patterns. In the space of this short single he managed more experimentation than you'll hear from any "Real Hip Hop" activists this year. It's almost like being sanctimoniously concerned over a "Culture" you're only a single pebble within is less important than actual creative contributions? Time will tell!
At around the 2:50 mark, the Universe grinds to a halt as Juicy J lights up, well, some sort of experimental marijuana hybrid, apparently. The A$AP team have access to movie-quality drugs these days, too: one hit and the guy spends four bars dancing in slow motion, raps for six bars, then leaves the very fabric of space-time itself, as if his whole second career had never happened; or at least, as if it wasn't a feature at all.
Still, if you're going to make a rap video, make it good and weird and memorable. "Multiply" is all three.
I'm a sucker for that whole time exposure approach, especially when you get an art project involved. NYC rapper V. Nova makes it a point to rep some elements in his video, and he's also procured some feature juice from the Boot Camp Clik. The beat is hazy but compelling, a perfect mix of chill and insistent.
V. Nova has a relaxed, solid flow but the lyrics is where it all falls apart. This was paint-by-numbers underground rap, and when he says "this is not that weak bullshit that you're used to," you already know this poor fool wants to Save Hip Hop. So when he comes back around to "the game needs saving, should have been a lot sooner," my frontal lobes are already shutting down.
Will I check out future jams from V. Nova? Definitely. Capable rapper with a good heart. This, however, Valium.
Given the brisk pace of killings by police officers this year, it was pretty fucking inevitable that this would happen. And rest assured, it will happen again. Back in August we featured an entertaining UK jam called "All Cops Are Bastards," but that was more socio-political critique type shit. This right here? This an open provocation to kill police officers.
It's easy to take that stance, of course. Body Count's 1991 pop masterpiece "Cop Killer" established a pretty clear precedent on this one. The notion that Ice-T dealt with a "backlash" is fucking absurd: he made millions on tour while a bunch of police unions made token gestures of protest, and now decades later Ice-T plays a cop on TV. Perhaps China Mac will mellow out in his old age, too, but for now, this is some snarling entertainment.
This cat has a big image problem, insofar as he raps a lot tougher than he looks. It is also interesting that he identifies as Asian American but looks like an Italian model. A lot of crackers love to say they "don't see race" and this is a rare case where that would actually be true: hopefully the Gawker crowd can give this cat a couple million YouTube plays and embrace his multi-cultural message.
The video is tightly edited, beautifully shot, very energetic, but ultimately just surreal. An absurd juxtaposition of powerful images and trite lyrics. That's not a dismissal, though: this could easily be the most emblematic video of 2014. Use the hashtag, like it on Facebook, buy the shirt. This is politics now.
Uncle Hump used to live in Springfield, IL -- The 217 -- and it's a good community. It is. It also gets listed as one of the "Most Dangerous Cities in America" year after year, the rap scene inevitably reflects that. This is something completely different, though. Not only does it have probably the most professional production values of anything I've seen from that area code, it features a charismatic rapper with a huge heart and a good message.
It probably sounds weird -- if not psychotically and hypocritically fucked -- for Real Yeti Rap to invoke "a good message" with a straight face. It might seem a little out of character for the single most hateful, venemous Rap Critic Jihad going in 2014 to give props to a song whose entire message boils down to "Making fun of other people makes you look like a petty asshole." But folks, that is just the world we live in. Nothing is about to start making more sense anytime soon.
Meanwhile, be nice to each other.
You know, unless you're dealing with rappers. That changes everything. No holds barred.
If there's one thing Black Hippy does right every time, it's image. Their videos are always Hollywood caliber, momentously slick productions, and this puppy is no exception. That's a business lesson unto itself: there are no exceptions. This is a big part of why their formula works. Consistency.
Ab-Soul is beyond critique. That's not a compliment, really, just a factual observation: the man is a legitimately unhinged force of nature, the product of more life experience prior to age 21 than most Americans see in a lifetime of wage slavery. He operates with an endearingly flagrant disregard for any of the technical standards or cultural conventions that rappers take for granted in 2014. So maybe it is a compliment after all: my opinion about Ab-Soul's ascension is every bit as irrelevant as yours. It's already a foregone conclusion.
Watching this was a very strange experience. Mastered to piercing levels that would make chimpanzees recoil in primal fear, the beat kicks in with a sparse and perfectly tuned break -- along with a great horn sample they proceed to never really do much with. British rappers baffle me as much as they entertain me, and sure enough, all I really caught from the first verse was the fact he's happy to just bite Nas outright, like S. Carter casually "quotes" B. Smalls throughout his post-Doubt catalog.
Which is fine: people know what they like because they like what they know. This is all good business.
The hook / chorus is a pop abortion. I can't put it more charitably than that. For the target audience of London rap hooligans and their birds, though, good business. I'm less certain about the economic effects of all those iPad shots -- they could be iconic but they're just corny. Again, this might be a culture gap thing.
Reks kills it, of course Reks kills it. That is why people pay Reks to kill it on their projects, after all.
The cat who comes on after him suffers by comparison, but I also tend to think he would be unimpressive in any context, even a parking lot cipher. His whole gestalt is a lot like Termanology, but with single syllable rhymes and slightly more predictable "punchlines" & "wordplay." These are terms that get abused a lot and I'm part of the problem. Still, dude is a nothingburger, a food additive to justify that crucial third hook. Good business.
A clever setup makes for dope results, even if it does wind up being a one-trick pony continuous shot. Chest-mounted steadicam rig x high-energy delivery = "Okie Doke," and Mr. Canyons sells it. Hard to beat the Zen minimalism of making a compelling music video with a single take in less than three minutes and Lo; slap some titles on that puppy and upload thy vision to the Youtubes. It's a beautiful thing.
Henry Canyons has juice, hype, buzz, hustle, which is just to say that I'd heard of him for months now prior to actually hearing him rap. Unlike most of what 2014 has percolating, Mr. Canyons was better than expected. His flow and tone both strike an excellent balance between familiar and distinctive. He also has the good sense to bite Deleuze & Guattari, so that's encouraging.
I have no idea what the sweet fuck this is supposed to be, precisely, but I like it. There is rapping involved -- some rapid-fire London patois grime shit, delivered like such a specimen should be -- but this here is all Art. The treatment dominates the material, it's too well-conceived to frame the music as anything but a soundtrack...if not an afterthought.
Unfolding like origami, simple at first, all subtle flash, and then the bridge hits. The render depth here is beyond belief, a Ninja Tune video that James Cameron or Christopher Nolan would have happily paid for a thousand times over. Once the paroxysm really makes impact, this plays out like a mash-up of 1984 ... and Inception by way of Nolan's obscure debut, Following.
When motherfuckers are out here spending a billion dollars on Transformers movies and merchandise, it is impossible to fault anyone for making brilliant art out of Ninja Tune b-sides. I would hope the future is full of billionaire heiresses who want to sponsor cutting-edge surrealism like this, for no damn reason. Humanity needs it.
Me and DJ Multiple Sex Partners reviewed the last Stranger Day single, "All In Together Now," and we didn't have nice things to say. As always, the artist disagreed. So when this new single, "Born Bad," showed up, I decided to outsource the review to DISPATCHES author Louis Mackey, in the interests of Science. His notes follow verbatim, but perhaps the real lesson here is "Don't ask Louis Mackey to review videos."
From the Desk of Louis Mackey, 10-06-2014: Right away you’re hit in the face by the obvious two-by-four of reality that he shouldn't be rapping, but he pushes himself just hard enough to come off as almost but not quite acceptable.
Despite that, there were times throughout that I actually caught myself vaguely feeling this. Those brief moments were immediately interrupted by the that, geez, it kinda even reminds me of a hick, 4 miles outside of town Southern Illinoisan accent, coupled with recurring glimpses of his upper body.
But really though -- what keeps him up till when I wake up? Aimlessly driving around the Georgia reject suburbs? Those shots reminded me of the wasteland of poor central Ohio. He should get a job and a gym membership and probably stop smoking pot.
Oh, and: I fucking hate trap beats but this one is actually pretty cool.
Editors Note: Stranger Day is from North Carolina. Not that it matters.
This dude is a trip, a living breathing trip. He was also a constant stand-out on the Tomorrow Kings album Nigger Rigged Time Machine -- which is not to imply they're some sort of Wu-Tang style uber-group built on the legacy of their two best rappers, because everyone on that album belonged there.
Photographer / videoauteur Samantha Wakefield has a lot more installments of The Window Series on tap, although the quality of the performances varies considerably. No surprise perhaps that the Lamon Manuel episode was another highlight: it takes a certain kind of carnivorous intensity to sustain interest in a naked human face for more than 60 seconds. For contrast, while I really like a lot of Defcee's recorded work, he just looks startled to be on camera in his performance and it winds up feeling awkward for everyone.
SKECH185, though, is a force of nature that gives no fucks about no man. This is definitely the most compelling video in The Window Series, pushing that West Coast chopper flow past the event horizon of pixel recognition, editorializing on his own lyrics mid-stream, and repeatedly exploding with pure Kundalini psychosis. This is a gem, in other words.
Not for everybody, but fuck anything that is, right?
Big, loud, pretty and boring. This cat has done way better with the bars, but so what? The video sells itself. The Alex Grey / Kris Kuksi bling and CGI ornamentation is fucking gorgeous and Mr. Bada$$ sells every frame -- shit might not amount to much, but at least he really means it.
...but so what? You could have put Viper on camera the whole time and it would still be a compelling watch. This is a snarling, mescaline-spiked cathedral of a video and it's all built on top of a single verse. So props due to director M-I-E, who clearly had a much bigger hand in the final product than simple editing. Since Greatness is always a team effort, props to the animators, too: Yukai Du, Richard Payne, John L. Wilkinson and Richard Payne.
Joey's got a big team behind him, too, and he's gearing up for a big 2015. This video was on MTV, perhaps that still means something and I hope it does. History will probably show this video had a "Yonkers" level impact -- history always laughs at me, blood and shrapnel and screaming civilians in his bloody, mile-wide incisors. I was wrong, I am wrong, I will be wrong again.
Much like Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin" -- and for similar tonal reasons, too -- this track right here has stuck with me for life. Like so many other powerful psychedelic drugs, hip hop is all about set and setting, and surely the long-lost context for my first exposure to "Prom Quiz" has a lot to do with why it would still be in my head, a billion decades later.
"The dumb were mostly intrigued by the drum," as a Shaolin sage once observed, and it is important for you to understand that I am among the dumb. Here at Real Yeti Rap, we all are. Those cats who listen to "pop rap" trash and love smart ignorant lyrics? That's us. We keep having to remind the whole Real Hip Hop Jihad, we're not on your side. You may feel that your opinions matter, or count somehow, but we know better. We just like what we like.
And I'm still baffled as to why I like this one. It's true. I don't get myself and, thank fuck, I don't have to. These verses are terrible, wall to wall. I still bump it all the time.
Washington, DC / VA group Diamond District put out one of my favorite albums, period, a few years back. Now they're returning to destroy and "First Step" is the opening preview of their second album, March on Washington. Oddisee has been growing into a truly talented rapper -- as evidenced by the stellar "Rhymes on Random" -- and his closing verse here is proof that he's achieved Grandmaster status in his second element. As always, Uptown XO and yU are fierce & awesomely on point.
This is two victories for Mello Music Group in one month. They're building a Humble Empire out West, pay attention.
World Around Wednesdays is back.
strangle game changers with cable cords
watch their face blanken straight from beige to orange
with commercial tracks, subversive raps, work my magic in
on dirty mattresses, Merlin’s manuscripts and burnt cadaver’s skin