Articles Archive for August 2013

About, Announcements »

August 28th, 2013 | One Comment | Category: About, Announcements
Herc Your Enthusiasm: Ice-T’s “The Coldest Rap”

As part of HiLoBrow‘s “Herc Your Enthusiasm” series, named in honor of legendary DJ Kool Herc, which consists of 25 posts by 25 critics about old-school Hip-hop tracks, I was asked to contribute one from 1983. That was kind of an in-between year being just after the reign of Kurtis Blow but before Run-DMC became the Kings of Rock. Fortunately, 1983 was the year of Ice-T‘s “The Coldest Rap.”

Here’s an excerpt:
Ice-T’s first single, “The Coldest Rap”/”Cold Wind Madness (a.k.a. The Coldest Rap, Part 2)” (1983) consists of a two-part rhyme-fest of boastful wordplay. The …

Marginalia »

August 26th, 2013 | No Comment | Category: Marginalia
St. Roch’s Logo Design

After the success of my Faith Skate Supply logo, which might be used for something next year (fingers crossed), I decided to play around with one for another business I dig: St. Roch’s Bar in Austin, Texas. My friend and old boss Chris Mullins along with Steve Leninger opened St. Roch’s three years ago under the name “Double Down Lounge.” After a year, they were forced by Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas to change the name. As St. Roch is the patron saint of dogs, and since Steve is …

Reviews, Videos »

August 20th, 2013 | 2 Comments | Category: Reviews, Videos
Drugs of a Feather: Jeff Noon’s <i>Vurt</i> 20 Years On

A young boy puts a feather into his mouth… The Stash Riders: Scribble, Beetle, Bridget, Mandy, Tristan and Suze… The Thing from Outer Space, Game Cat, Dingo Tush, Bottletown, robodogs, droidlocks, and dreamsnakes… It’s about drugs and droogs. It’s about their misadventures in this and that Other world: Vurt. Scribble’s sister, his lover, Desdemona is lost, lost to the Vurt, that feathered, nethered world spinning somewhere inside of this one. If he is to get her back, if he is to grab her, he has to let go of something else.

I’m not …

Reviews »

August 17th, 2013 | One Comment | Category: Reviews
Hustle and Flow: Hip-hop Theory and Praxis

The once quotable KRS-One once said, “The essence of Hip-hop truly is the transformation of existing objects and forms.” In Rhymin’ and Stealin’: Musical Borrowing in Hip-hop (University of Michigan Press, 2013), Justin A. Williams takes KRS at his word and starts from the fundamental assumption that Hip-hop comes from putting together pieces of the past. Whether or not sampling and remix are legitimate cultural practices shouldn’t even be a debate anymore, and, thankfully, Williams’ concerns go much further than that.
Citing Serge Lacasse, he draws an important distinction between sampled and nonsampled …

Essays »

August 14th, 2013 | 2 Comments | Category: Essays
Take It Easy: Television Still Matters

According to Marshall McLuhan’s most famous aphorism, no TV show will ever be more important than the existence of the television as a medium. He never said that the content didn’t matter, he simply said that it didn’t matter as much as the medium itself. Justin Theroux is one of my favorite actors, but his own dismissal of television’s content has been poking at me for weeks:
If I was roped into a seven-year TV contract I’d probably hang myself. It’s a TV show — selling cars, cereal, soda pop… The …

Reviews »

August 13th, 2013 | One Comment | Category: Reviews
Not Yet Remembered: Prog and Brian Eno

The nerds have come a long way since I realized I was one of them in middle school. Now we’re all grown up, and obsessions and interests once broached with hesitant caution and hidden with extreme care are now discussed openly. Sometimes the obscurity of the subjects and the depth of the minutia is too much to take.
Prog rock seems to be the only thing not reaping the benefits of the revenge of the nerds. Still maligned by a geeky stench and stigma, it is seemingly enjoyed by many but …