May 17th, 2017 | Category: Headline, Interviews
M. Sayyid: The Other Side

Around the bend of the millennium, New York hip-hop collective Antipop Consortium emerged as a voice of possible futures. The spaced-out mix and match of M. Sayyid, Beans, High Priest, and Earl Blaize was a welcome beacon to the hip-hop of the new century. Emcee M. Sayyid’s flow is “forward-leaning” and abstract, but also as contagious as the flu. He’s also the storyteller of the crew, with an unmistakable Slick-Rick-from-the-Dark-Side vibe. Just listen to “9.99” from Tragic Epilogue (75 Ark, 2000) or “Z St.” from Arrhythmia (Warp, 2002).

As with any …

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May 11th, 2017 | Category: Interviews
Shabazz Palaces: A New Refutation

The history of hip-hop so far can be seen as split down the middle by the deaths of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. In the most oversimplified of terms, there was a reset when street sounds gave way to club bangers. Wu-Tang and Nas stepped aside for Missy and Puffy. Few survived.
Ishmael Butler has been on both sides of that divide. His old New York crew, Digable Planets, was all over the place in the early 1990s, and his new Seattle outfit, Shabazz Palaces, is firmly a part of the …

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April 16th, 2017 | Category: Essays
Pick Your Path

The journey of a thousand whatevers doesn’t start with a single step, it starts with a decision.

Decisions are powerful things, but we have to get them out of the way if we are to move forward. Perpetually keeping your options open leaves you with nothing but options. If you’ve ever known anyone who truly lives in the moment, nothing matters except that moment. Things only have value over time, and that value starts with choosing one thing over another.
In an excerpt from his AMA, writer and producer Dan Harmon tackles …

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March 13th, 2017 | Category: Interviews
Alexis Desolneux: Heresy for Hire

Once upon a buzz in the conquest of cool, there was a thing called brand hijacking. This was the phenomenon, sometimes frowned upon, of a brand being supposedly inadvertently associated with a certain subculture or movement. Think Pabst Blue Ribbon, Tommy Hilfiger, or Converse Chuck Taylors. It turns on the idea that the image of a brand belongs to the market, not to the company that cultivates that image.
The only antidote is an image so strong that there’s no other way to take it. Over the past several years, Alexis Desolneux and his …

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March 06th, 2017 | Category: Reviews
The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train

I often make a distinction between my favorite bands and the bands I think are the best. Unwound is one of the few bands for which that distinction means nothing: They are both one of my all-time favorite bands and one of the best to ever do it. Unwound have now been apart longer than they were together, but every time I listen to one of their records, I am reminded just how great they were. Numero Group’s extensive new boxset leaves no doubt that they still deserve more attention.
Having …

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