10 Commandments of west coast rap

Tupac’s All Eyez On Me was the last album released while he was alive, which is hard to believe because Tupac looms large to this day. His influence on pop cultural is so massive that one could easily recreate the deleted scene from Pulp Fiction where Mia Wallace asks Vicent Vega if he’s a Beatles man or an Elvis man, but replaced with Tupac or Biggie. Oh fuck I’m a dork. The biographical movie based on Tupac’s life, All Eyez on Me, was just released this year. There was a hologram Tupac at Coachella a few years ago!  People are still talking about Tupac even though he died 21 years ago. Fuck, type in “Tupac alive” into the holy google and you get just under 700,00 results!

How the fuck is this album 2 hours long? It’s like the 10 Commandments of west coast rap. A lot of songs have incredibly long endings. You can cut at least a minute out Skandalouz of that song and it’s fine. There are definitely a few tracks, like Picture Me Rollin’ and Check Out Time that are just straight filler. Luckily you get some dope tracks like 2 of Americaz Most Wanted, All Eyez on Me, an Only God Can Judge Me.  My main gripe with this album is that it’s too fucking laid back.

Every once in a while there’s this really annoying sample/sound that pops up, like in Holla At Me there are 3 beeps/squeaks. Another squeak/annoyance is in Got My Mind Made up, if you listen to the track you’ll know what I’m talking about. But a lot of the samples are excellent. If you collected a the albums that are sampled in all Eyez on Me you would have an impressive amount of music. Shout out to whosampled.com, a treasure trove to the musically nosy like me. Tupac is a fantastic MC, but his rhymes are overly cushioned in the plush way too long songs.  There are some really good guest verses as well, like in War Stories.

All Eyes on Me is probably a good album for chilling out, maybe driving around. But I’m not so interested in background music, I need to get sped up most of the time instead of coming down.

Favorite Tracks: No More Pain, Heartz of Men, Only God Can Judge Me

Pair this with: A Thug Passion.

I gotta go to the third day of Riotfest, so I’m going to listen to Headfirst by Overkill a few times and drink big iced coffee in order to be properly hyped up.

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Tell them your name is fuck you

I don’t even know what to call Sex Prisoner’s Tannhauser Gate because there are too many genres. grindcore, powerviolence… Ultimately who fucking cares, it’s the kind of brutal music you need when have to hate everything and everyone. Just fucking elbow people in the face to this. That dude blasting Candy Crush on the train? Smack the phone outta his hands and elbow him in the face That coffee counter worker, who looks at you all condescendingly when you say “large black coffee,” like an american? Tell them your name is fuck you and elbow them in the face. That yuppie mother with that double wide fucking suv stroller? Push her outta the way and elbow her in the face, and then elbow the toddler that’s riding on the board in the face, and then hit the baby on the soft part of the skull with a ball peen hammer.

Tannhauser Gate is a 22 minute soundtrack to glorious liberating rage. This whole thing sounds like you’re going to take a hit to the head at a live show no matter where you are standing. A notable example of the great hammering staccato riffs found in this album is Lullaby. Sure it starts off all pretty, there’s a long history of heavy music doing that, but Lullbaby really brings the violence. 5 middle fingers out of 2.

Favorite songs: All of it. It’s 22 minutes long. What do you do in 22 minutes? Scroll through twitter? Stalk people that annoy you on fb? Scroll through instagram wishing your life was that fun? What are you going to do about it? 22 minutes.

The drink of choice for this: a scalding hot, large cup of the blackest coffee possible but only a sip, because you toss the rest of it in the face of someone that just annoys the living fuck out of you, and then when they are groping around blindly, holding their stupid face in their hands, screaming, you kick them down a flight of stairs.

I’m going to riot fest today. Let’s see how that goes. I’m going to get some coffee first. Next up is Tupac’s All Eyes on Me.

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without breaking down and weeping

I remember hearing the first track to Placebo’s Without You I’m nothing almost 20 years ago. Back then I was listening to Black Sabbath, Metallica, some Van Halen, White Zombie. Lots of classic rock, because that was around the time that The Rock 103.5 gave up the ghost. The rock was a good radio station, they would play a good combination of old rock and newer stuff. But once it left the airwaves I was left adrift. Of course I ended up listening to alternative rock on q101 was a thing, so Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, and Soundgarden. So I probably heard Pure Morning and was all like “Weak” as I scrounged around thrift store cassette sections looking for loud rock music. I was just on rim of falling headfirst into harder, heavier metal, before rejecting my beloved Van Halen, before I picked up a single Motorhead album, before shaving most of my head and getting a mohawk, before I grew my hair out until it reached  halfway down my back, when my heart was still unblackend with nary a crack in it, when there was hope for me.

Luckily the rest of the album really pulls it off. I like the slower stuff better than the seemingly more rock and roll stuff. But even the faster stuff is good, check out that opening riff in Brick Shithouse! That’s a high quality song too. But it’s weird how the next track, You Don’t Care About Us, suddenly smooths out. There’s a good amount of repetitive almost drone riffs, which I like.  I dig the sonic wall of guitars in this. Very shoe gaze, but it’s not as deep sounding as that stuff.  Placebo probably has a sensible amount of FX pedals at foot and sane 9 volt battery budget. A lot of songs remind me of this weird sunny sorrow. It’s not fun in the way I can’t imagine anyone doing Without You I’m Nothing at karaoke without breaking down and weeping, but it’s good stuff to listen to while you consider how much everything sucks. I’m shocked that these guys aren’t bigger over in the States. Maybe if the album had come out a few years earlier you’d see people wearing fake vintage Placebo t shirts alongside Nirvana and Pearl Jam ones.  I liked how much of a bummer it is.

It would go good with: Some cheap red wine while you sit at a picnic in the park, but you’re still sad. For the angsty, almost goth, inner kid in you.

Favorite songs: Without You I’m Nothing, Allergic To (thoughts of mother earth), My Sweet Prince, Evil Dildo

I asked a few people for what albums I should listen to and quite a few responded. So I got a few to go to, which is great. I decided that instead of trying to decide between one or the other I’m going to listen to them as they were suggested to me in chronological order. Next up is Sex Prisoner’s Tannhauser Gate. It would be madness not to listen to that just based on the band and album names alone.

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shit has gone slightly awry

A little while ago I finally got spotify. There are too many goddamn songs. There are too many genres. It’s like giving an addict an unlimited supply of drug of choice. If I was up to me, all I would do is listen to Motörhead, Ghost, and making different playlists where the most noticeable difference is the song order, which might defeat the purpose of having nearly unlimited music at hand. I might as well get some tapes and a walkman and listen to said tapes until they fall apart, which is not without appeal. But all this choice! So I decided to listen to albums. Luckily I have an omnivorous appetite for music so I will give most stuff a fair chance. Anyway the first album I decided to listen to is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West is one of those albums I heard a lot of about but never actually heard. Of course I know who fucking Kanye is, he’s an empire on to himself, man even has his own line of shoes that are so ugly I think it’s a prank. I remember listening to The College Dropout and thinking that was pretty good, but too slick for my taste, and in a blink of an eye Kanye became one of the most famous motherfuckers ever. College Dropout came out in 2004 fastfoward to 2010 and here comes MBDTF. Yeah, it’s still slick, but now shit has gone slightly awry.

Of course I heard some of MBDTF. One of my favorite video game moments is in Saints Row The Third, at one point you (or your character/avatar) has to jump from a helicopter into a high rise penthouse, where you gotta shoot a bunch of motherfuckers. The whole scene starts off in the chopper with Power blasting and it continues playing for a while. Fantastic. The whole album strikes me as a reaction to Kanye achieving his dreams, but they are not all they seemed, the fact is they’ve been distorted. What seemed so glorious and desirable actually turns out to be maybe not the best thing. A song like All of the Lights sounds like a triumphant song, all of the lights on Kanye, but it’s about all the lights that scrutinize and expose instead of highlight. At the same time Kanye is all like, “I want you to see.” For every slick thing there is an element of disjointedness, like at the end of All of the Light with that piano. There’s a shit ton of distortion throughout the album, a lot of Kanye’s vocals are distorted in various ways, another snapshot of his state of mind. There’s a lot of anguish, even what sounds like a love song, Devil in a Red Dress, is a song about how riches and fame have twisted Kanye’s reality.

The production of this album is fantastic. There’s like 20 plush layers to each song. Let’s go back to power, it starts of with that chanting, then that air siren comes on, a warning of what’s about to be unleashed. There’s a lot of guitar on this album, ranging from groovy wah wah funk to straight up guitar solos. Hell of a Life has this dope almost stoner/doom metal bass line, and it transposes the vocals of Iron Man by Black Sabbath in a delicious way.  Lush instruments and deep samples really sell the album to me, but I am a hip hop/rap beat guy. Monster has this crazy almost carnival like horns which wouldn’t sound of place in a Rob Zombie song. Shit, talking about monster, what about Niki Minaj’s guest verse, it’s so fucking good! This crazy halloween/dance hall thing going is dope. Which shouldn’t be a surprise as Niki Minaj’s guest spots are always on point! There’s a lot of people here Kid Cudi, Raekwon, RZA, Niki Minaj, fucking Bon Iver! That’s just featured artist, I don’t even want to look up how many producers were involved, and I can’t help but wonder how many ghost writers were involved. I’m surprised at how long a lot of songs are, the shortest song runs 4 minutes 17 seconds, but it’s not as interesting as the other ones. A lot of time when musicians put out albums that are reactions against blowing up the whole thing comes off as whiny. Luckily MBDTF doesn’t come off that way. This album is a straight jacket made out of chinchilla fur with shackles made out fat gold rope chains. When Kanye wins the 2018 presidential race the performance of Power at the inauguration is going to be fucking epic!  My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is totally worth a listen.

Favorite tracks: Power, Monster, Hell of a Life

It would go well with: flat champagne, once you realize that you’re drunk, and that you’ve been partying for a long time, and maybe you were better off at home because you’re not exactly sure how you ended up at this party, and where are your friends?

Up next: Without You I’m Nothing by Placebo or Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy. I got a few suggestions from some friends, and a few from a couple of list. I am still open for suggestions.

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If you want to get “scientific”

I’m sick of the liberal fakenews media spouting all these lies about the eclipse. Even so called christian pastors are claiming it as a sign from god or the devil. Some people say that the universe as we know it is a highly complicated and advanced simulation, which leads to the hypothesis that the eclipse is just scheduled server downtime for maintenance. The norse tales say that the sun will be swallowed by a couple of sky wolves during ragnarok, but there are hardly any other signs of ragnarok even happening. Sure the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but when has it not? It’s not the twilight of the gods, at best it’s the early mid afternoon of the gods. If you want to get “scientific” a solar eclipse is when the “moon” covers the “sun.” To all of this I saw hogwash, or blarney, if you’re feeling particular ire about the whole thing.∗  The only sensible reason that this is even happening is that once again Apep, serpent of chaos, has caught up to Ra’s sun boat and is once again attempting to devour the whole thing. Luckily we got Ra on our side who will fight the serpent and prevail†. It’s the only thing that makes any sense IF YOU THINK.
∗there won’t be any leprechauns out during the eclipse because they went extinct in 1897
†hopefully
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A poem by GG CUMMINGS

H(P

IS
SI
NG

O
N
Y
O
U)
AT
RED

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an unflinching look

Defending the Damned by Kevin A. Davis highlights the inner workings of the public defenders of Cook County. When I initially picked it up I thought it was going to focus on the various cases that the public defenders have to deal with, drug dealers, muggers, stuff like that, but Defending the Damned is focused on the public defenders on the Murder Task Force. Oh shit. The book doesn’t pull any punches, there are a lot of gruesome details and a lot of people who committed terrible atrocities, stuff that might be upsetting for people of a more sensitive nature. So how doe does one go about defending people who murder? That’s what this book is about. If I didn’t live in Chicago I wouldn’t believe some of the stuff in this book, from the abhorrent crimes to the colorful characters that populate the pages, but I do and I remember hearing about some of the cases. Defending the Damned uses the trial of a suspected cop killer from beginning to end to show the workings of the PDs, in order to springboard onto other examples of other cases that the department has had to deal with in the past. It’s some crazy shit. I was pleasantly surprised that it was such a good read, I was expecting a lot of descriptions of bureaucracy and dreary law; however, the book is well written and it grabs on to you and will linger with you, but like I said it is an unflinching look into a world most people are (hopefully) unaware of.   One would think that the PDs would hate their jobs, but it’s quite the opposite, for many it is a driving force in their lives, and they put in a lot of effort to do the job to the best of their capacity despite the colossal pressures of the job. But these people aren’t having to put up with purse snatchers, at the time public defenders had to deal with the death penalty, which was abolished in 2011, so there was that to deal with. Defending the Damned is a fascinating book, good for anyone who has an interest in law, true crime, and of course, Chicago.

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the Dark Lord Angor

Now coming on the stage, a very funny guy, from the Ebony Tower of the Bone Ash Mountains, the Dark Lord Angor! “Whoa hey good to be here. Have you ever noticed how your most bumbling guards always have the night patrol, and how they always seem to be carrying around all of the keys to the citadel? Every time I level a village I make sure all the children are also dead, so that way none of them grow up after swearing vengeance upon me, I have a no child left behind policy. You there, what do you do and where are you from? Ah a Blood Crystal miner from Darkwood. That’s in the south, right? Have you ever noticed how slave laborers from the south writhe under the whip like this, but slave laborers from the north writhe under the whip like THIS? I don’t know about you, but I always seem to misplace my Dagger of K’oomtaht. But then I always seem to find it already hilt deep in the chest of the sacrificial victim, and boy is my face is always red when I realize it! Why aren’t any of you laughing? Guards! Kill them all. Yes the mc too, make sure he gets the arrow through the head gag.”

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“Farewell happy fields, Where joy forever dwells: Hail, horrors, hail.”

Today’s painting is The Fall of the Damned by Peter Paul Rubens
Peter_Paul_Rubens_063
Look at this! Wow, that’s metal as fuck! I like all the monsters and beasts in this painting. When most people think of Rubens they think of

Today’s song is In League with Satan by Venom, which sounds like this is a theme post, which is not despite the quote from Paradise Lost for the title, I just heard that song last night for the thousandth time.

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a fucked up zombie tornado

Yesterday I got a copy of D.O.A. Magazine #8 mainly because the book I had with me was bumming me out and I needed something to read on the bus, having deleted twitter on my phone earlier in the day. Anyway D.O.A. has a bit misleading tag line, “The Ultimate Death Metal Magazine” because it covers, thrash, black, grind, and any other brutal kind of metal. The inside is all black and white, which suits the overall aesthetic, but the color would’ve been awesome in the art spread. And what art! The cover is this Mad Max-esque truck, with spikes all fucking over it, with a dude on top manning a machine gun and blasting away zombies, but it’s not a like a few dozen zombie, it’s like a fucked up zombie tornado. The artist is this Ukrainian dude who goes by Daemorph and comes up with some sick shit! There’s also a bunch of cool old morbid woodcuts sprinkled throughout the issue, and of course the good old art of band logos. Most of the magazine is interviews with various kick ass bands (Nuke! Hellbringer!) and a good bunch of reviews (Jungle Rot!) from that whole black spectrum of heavy metal. What really makes D.O.A. impressive is that it seems to be a one man show, wow! I barely have the wherewithal to keep this up, and I can probably do this on my phone, while David Horn is putting out a magazine size and heft of a fucking Rolling Stone (if anything it might be bigger), without it sucking .This issue of D.O.A. also comes with a sweet bonus sampler cd from the Repulsive Echo record company. I like a good magazine, but a good extreme music magazine is even better! The main downside is that D.O.A. doesn’t have a great web presence, and neither does Daemorph, which is almost blasphemous in this day and age. I haven’t heard a lot of these bands, but the ones I’ve heard of (Hellripper!) are fucking dope, which means some of the other bands are bound to be killer. I don’t know about you, but I need this kind of loud music in my life, and I’m glad I can connect with it through publications as D.O.A.

I think the last issue of D.O.A.  I got featured art by Mark Riddick which is metal as fuck.

I’ve been obsessively listening to Lay Your Love on me by Abba, but man cannot live on old school Swedish pop music alone, so I have really been digging Sorcery. Prepare for some fucked up thrash madness.

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