Digital Krates: The Drug Dealers narrative as told by Freddie Gibbs & Mike Dean

The drug dealer runs central to the great characters of the Hip Hop narrative of today. Alongside, pimps, drug dealers are these amoral characters that live outside the law and perform a weird robin hood like function in many a rap song narrative. They tend to be part street preacher part rebel with a cause. No were do these narratives come more alive than under the penmanship of Freddie Gibbs. On production is the legend Mike Dean a man behind some of Rap-A-lots most seminal records and recently has helped carve out the sound of kanye west for a while now.

Peep this: Kaytranada a lesson in authenticity

The post-dills world is populated by beatsmiths crafting music that isn’t created with a vocalist in mind. he spawned many many of the new cats. Not saying beatsmiths never existed before dill but you had dj shadow and all the left field trip hop types coming out of england. But Dilla turns the loop into an art form, then starts making synth oriented beats that were gnarly and stood on their own as manifestations of his genius. So in the post dill world we have a shit-ton of imitators and cliche-ass post dill hype beasts. To be honest very few of these guys rock my world but kaytranada kinda has it down.

He has this beautiful synth sound that harkens to 80’s funk and house but layers choppy vocal sample loops that give his music a whole different feel. I came upon this cat because he is quite the ubiquitous remixer and has that game down to a T.

Captured live: BadBadnotGood vs Odd Future vs Gucci Mane

Odd Future our new defacto punk-hip hop anarchists, only started to impress me once I discovered Tyler and Earl had serious jazz bonners . Rappers and producers with a serious jazz sense, need to almost always be taken seriously. Largely because jazz is a mind expanding drug. Jazz opens one to the limitless possibilities of the improvised condition. All the great rappers in my opinion or at least rappers who had weird sense of timing, tended to be jazz motherfuckers think Doom, Rakim or my man Earl. So I watched in awe as my man tyler sat in with BBNG and threw down some of his menacing homophobic,sexist and violent wordplay over intricately woven harmonies and clumsily beautiful drums.

The music captures the tension and release that is at the heart of Tylers music. Its also nice to hear how well Tylers guttural wordplay bops effortlessly in and out of BBNG’s meandering soundbed. Tyler and BBNG manage to sound both menacing and beautiful at the same time. Evoking heaven and hell in equal measure. In the above video these guys turn Gucci Manes lemonade into a tightly woven tension heavy dirge.

It opens with a beautiful piano solo that would make art tatum proud and then descends into manic euphoria that can only be built up in jazz.

Captured Live: BadBadNotGood

I cringe at the idea of hearing Jazz or Reggae live. I do not cringe because these art forms suck but largely because the people that make this type of music never update the music they all seem to be great nostalgists. Nostalgists tend to never add their own experiences to the music hence a lot of reggae live is just a bunch of pot head types trying to relive Marley and doing a bad job. Jazz is even worse because its populated by snobby perfectionists who have turned jazz into stuffy wealthy peoples excuse for high culture.

So the cringe worthiness of live jazz and reggae is largely to the types of people that gravitate towards playing this music.

BBNG a trio of young white brothers coming from Toronto Canada, the least funky or soulful place on earth except for maybe Drake and the Weeknd. These guys are good because God dammit!!! they have the gonads to t cover Gucci mane and give his music a jazz twist. Whats good about these kids is they throw in a kind of cinematic meandering and add a penchant for drum break exploration A’la Madlib and then drop in a sense of hip hop menace. Quite simply they are not addicted to the hard drug of jazz nostalgia they are rooted in Atlanta trap, a tribe called quest style jazz breaks, while still evoking giants like art blakey.

Peep This: Jungle Fire “fire walker”

So everyone and their grandma is jumping on the funk soul-afrobeat revival thing, and ever since Antibalas its a sound thats been beaten to death. Yet what keeps it alive is the fact that this music is really well suited for live settings. So you find every major region in the continental U.S and Europe can lay claim to a band that straddles the funk soul afrobeat universe. Not saying that its all bad but one can only stretch an idea so far. So when i heard jungle fire i like there slightly more rocking shredding heavy sound. Not too unique but unique enough to peak my elitist interest. To be honest Colemine have not dropped any duds thus far so I was excited to hear this cut.

Captured Live: Marvin Gaye was one badass dude

The classic era of soul singers is done and in its place we have a bunch of musical novices singing about women in less than descent ways. On this video marvin is rehearsing effortlessly and displays no sense of effort or strain. His voice simmers with richness and has a raw quality to it thats inimitable.

Both these videos are during his time in Ostend were he was living in the early 80’s avoiding tax issues and other emotional problems he was facing stateside. In his piano playing you hear it all hints of gospel, the blues and of course jazz.

Marvin live is pure magic the man isn’t much of a dancer and he has a very subdued style of dancing. A style very in pocket but gracefully calm. He has a very relaxed vocal style with his ad-libs accentuating the already melancholic quality of some of his songs. In this performance you are not hearing a man at the tale end of his career but a master till in his prime later in the game.

Captured Live: Bad Brains live at CBGB 1982

Punk always functioned as a sort of peripheral inaccessible art form for me. i could fuck with metal but punk was either too much or was too horrible (pop punk bands like blink 182, good charlotte don’t even know if i could call em punks). But when i heard of the brains I paid attention initially coz they looked like me and were playing very aggressive in your face music that reminded me of serious roots reggae but also had a musical sophistication to boot.

I love the raucous energy of the event. The audience and the band seem to be in acting like one amorphous shapeless constantly moving body.When they kick in the reggae number the HR commands everything with vocal clarity and poise that would have made Tosh proud.