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Music Release Radar Roundup Reviews

Recent Nostalgia: Release Radar Round Up – September 12th 2018

In 2018, on a now defunct blog, I began a series of mini reviews based on the music that Spotify was recommending to me on my personalised Release Radar playlist. There was only one instalment of this series but I am thinking about giving it another go as I believe it is a sound concept.

Here is the original article, reproduced for nostalgia’s sake. Hopefully you’ll find something to enjoy here:

JEFF The Brotherhood – Camel Swallowed Whole

Heartwarming lo-fi Indie Rock from Nashville. Camel Swallowed Whole has a charming laziness underpinning it. The lethargically plodding bassline sets the groove beautifully for the understated guitar melodies and laid-back vocals. A recorder solo adds to the DIY charm. In the back-half of the song a distorted and discordant guitar solo brings some vague hints of Stephen Malkmus’ early work with Pavement. A

Autechre – mirrage

The IDM veterans latest offering is a swelling sea of droning synths and intense reverse reverb. The way the weird little stutters of reverse reverb interact with the bizarrely modulated higher synths lends an illusion of tape-based production, although I suspect it was recorded using the duos unique generative production software. I imagine this would be fairly underwhelming to anyone but the most hardcore fan (of which there are plenty) and unlikely to attract many converts. B minus

J Mascis – See You At The Movies

The self-described inventor of “ear bleeding country” sure knows how to write a pretty little country rock song. See You At The Movies has a jaunty rhythm that bounces along pleasantly under his trademark sad vocals and twisting lead guitar lines (not to mention his legendary grizzled Jazzmaster tone) ensure this track will sound great to even the most casual fan. The sound of  a rock genius at rest. A

Barbara Morgenstern – Brainfuck

Pretty acoustic guitar picking nestles up comfortably alongside deep bass drones and stuttering cut up string samples on the intro to this dark electro pop song. The beats on this track are shuffling pops and crackles reminiscent of the crackle and pop of a vinyl record run-off groove. The vocals are sultry and warm, recorded with crystal clarity, lending the whole thing a ‘90’s Trip-Hop vibe. A

TV Smith – No Hope Street

There’s nothing new or original in ‘70’s Punk survivor Tim Smiths latest strum-along social commentary but he delivers it with such heroic underdog gusto that you find yourself nodding and singing along. The lyrics have a nostalgic air to them, with the verses written in the past tense and detailing disbelief at the many misfortunes that have befallen him and the grim determination to stand up to the shadowy establishment figures responsible. B

Cloud Nothings – The Echo Of The World

Spiky guitars and hyperactive drumming are the order of the day on this latest Cloud Nothings single. The vocals are grungily snotty, sounding a little like Billy Corgan in places. The tune has a sense of grandeur that I’ve never really heard in their other work, although they don’t seem to be able to reach the dizzyingly euphoric heights this track seems to be aiming for, ultimately writing a cheque the band are unable to cash. C

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Facebook Challenges Music

7 days/7 ’90’s songs Facebook Challenge

You’re probably familiar with these types of Facebook challenges that ask you to post something for seven days straight. They always start off with something like “to break up the monotony of Facebook….” I recently found a playlist of one which I did way, way back in 2016, which was a song from the ’90’s for seven days. I’d like to share that with you.

Day 1: A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario

I always seem to gravitate towards A Tribe Called Quest when I’m feeling down or angry about political issues, for some reason. Something about the laidback feel of the beats & the enthusiastic feel of the MCing always helps me to feel a little better. In 2016 I was reeling from the general election the previous year & the disastrous Brexit referendum earlier in the same year & therefore listening to Quest loads. A love of this video would have made choosing Scenario an easy task.

*

Day 2: Meat Beat Manifesto – Asbestos Lead Asbestos

I had only recently purchased their seminal album, Subliminal Sandwich, after someone compared one of my songs the second disc of bizarre, experimental soundscapes. This track, & it’s great video, is an excellent Triphop-influenced cover version of a World Domination Enterprises song. Regular readers may remember it cropping up during the Song of the Day (Covers) series.

*

Day 3: NOFX – The Decline

I wonder if I was thinking of value for money here, with this 18 minute Pop Punk epic. Sadly, there’s no video for this song. Pure & angry Pop Punk excellence. Bouncy & anthemic in equal parts. I remember thinking it was about the post-9/11 Bush administration when I first heard it (late) in the early ’00’s, but it’s pre-9/11 release (’99) rules that out. A savage diatribe against the ‘religious right’.

*

Day 4: Pavement – Here

Another song without a video, Here was my favourite Pavement song at the time of the challenge. A title which is constantly changing in my head. My most recent “best of all time” list actually placed Grounded in my top-ten. Here is a gloriously (if deceptively) simple slacker ballad with some incredibly memorable lyrics. A+ song.

*

Day 5: David Bowie – Little Wonder

David Bowie shocking & awing in equal measure with this Drum n Bass inspired tune. Great song, great video & a reminder that Bowie is one of the greatest, & most diverse, musical artists in history. I love how heavy & upbeat it is following the smooth slacker tones of Pavement’s Here.

*

Day 6: Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5

Another awesome video & a Hammond Organ flavoured slice of ’90’s Indie, flavoured by ’60’s Psych Pop. A charmingly upbeat tribute to the band’s super heavy-lift vehicle of choice, the Saturn V rocket.

*

Day 7: Fugazi – Blueprint

A smooth & melodic tune from the Post-Hardcore pioneers. Blueprint drips with DIY, independent cool. Sadly no video again, but an absolutely superb tune form this most ethical of all Indie bands.

*

Here they are in a Spotify playllist:

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Hip Hop Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (BLM): Nas – One Love (feat. Q-Tip)

Day 15. We’re on the homestretch. Soon I’m going to have to decide on the theme for the next Song of the Day series. One Love is taken rap wunderkind Nas’ debut album, Illmatic, produced by some of the greatest Hip Hop producers in New York (including Q-Tip).

This is essential Hip Hop. Intelligent, storytelling lyricism over crisp, clear beats.

[Verse One]
What’s up kid? I know shit is rough doing your bid
When the cops came you should’ve slid to my crib
Fuck it black, no time for looking back it’s done
Plus congratulations you know you got a son
I heard he looks like you, why don’t your lady write you?
Told her she should visit, that’s when she got hyper
Flippin, talk about he acts too rough
He didn’t listen he be riffin’ while I’m telling him stuff
I was like yeah, shorty don’t care, she a snake too
Fucking with the niggas from that fake crew that hate you
But yo, guess who got shot in the dome-piece?
Jerome’s niece, on her way home from Jones Beach – it’s bugged
Plus little Rob is selling drugs on the dime
Hangin out with young thugs that all carry 9’s
At night time there’s more trife than ever
What’s up with Cormega, did you see ’em, are y’all together?
If so then hold the fort down, represent to the fullest
Say what’s up to Herb, Ice and Bullet
I left a half a hundred in your commissary
You was my nigga when push came to shove
One what? one love

[Verse Two]
Dear Born, you’ll be out soon, stay strong
Out in New York the same shit is going on
The crack-heads stalking, loud-mouths is talking
Hold, check out the story yesterday when I was walking
The nigga you shot last year tried to appear like he hurtin’ something
Word to mother, I heard him fronting
And he be pumping on your block
Your man gave him your glock
And now they run together, what up son, whatever
Since I’m on the streets I’m gonna put it to a cease
But I heard you blew a nigga with a ox for the phone piece
Whylin on the Island, but now with Elmira
Better chill cause them niggas will put that ass on fire
Last time you wrote you said they tried you in the showers
But maintain when you come home the corner’s ours
On the reals, all these crab niggas know the deal
When we start the revolution all they probably do is squeal
But chill, see you on the next V-I
I gave your mom dukes loot for kicks, plus sent you flicks
Your brother’s buck whylin’ in four maine he wrote me
He might beat his case, ’til he come home I play it low key
So stay civilised, time flies
Though incarcerated your mind (dies)
I hate it when your moms cries
It kinda wants to make me murder, for real-a
I’ve even got a mask and gloves to bust slugs for one love

[Verse Three]
Sometimes I sit back with a Buddha sack
Mind’s in another world thinking how can we exist through the facts
Written in school text books, bibles, et cetera
Fuck a school lecture, the lies get me vexed-er
So I be ghost from my projects
I take my pen and pad for the weekend
Hitting L’s while I’m sleeping
A two day stay, you may say I needed time alone
To relax my dome, no phone, left the 9 at home
You see the streets have me stressed somethin terrible
Fucking with the corners have a nigga up in Belleville
Or h.d.m., hit with numbers from 8 to 10
A future in a maximum state pen is grim
So I comes back home, nobody’s helping shorty doo-wop
Rollin two Phillies together in the Bridge we called ’em oowops
He said, “Nas, niggas could be bustin’ off the roof
So I wear a bullet proof and pack a black tres-deuce”
He inhaled so deep, shut his eyes like he was sleep
Started coughing, one eye peeked to watch me speak
I sat back like the mack, my army suit was black
We was chillin’ on these benches where he pumped his loose cracks
I took an l when he passed it, this little bastard
Keeps me blasted he starts talking mad shit
I had to school him, told him don’t let niggas fool him
‘cos when the pistol blows the one that’s murdered will be the cool one
Tough luck when niggas are struck, families fucked up
Could’ve caught your man, but didn’t look when you bucked up
Mistakes happen, so take heed never bust up
At the crowd catch him solo, make the right man bleed
Shorty’s laugh was cold blooded as he spoke so foul
Only twelve trying to tell me that he liked my style
Then I rose, wiping the blunts ash from my clothes
Then froze only to blow the herb smoke through my nose
And told my little man that I’m a go cyprose
Left some jewels in his skull that he can sell if he chose
Words of wisdom from Nas try to rise up above
Keep an eye out for Jake shorty wop
One love

Looking for some great music? Why not check out the Song of the Day (BLM) playlist?

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Categories
Music Overlooked Classics Rock Synth Pop

Overlooked Classics: David Bowie – Earthling

David Bowie’s 1997 album Earthling was the first new Bowie record I was aware of as a teenager. I already knew songs like Space Oddity & Ashes To Ashes, & even liked what I knew, but Earthling was essentially my generation’s Bowie album.

Bowie, finger ever on the pulse of the zeitgeist, was inspired by emergent genres like Drum & Bass, IDM & Breakbeat. Earthling was written & produced with these influences at the fore. Everything could have gone so horribly wrong. Many other classic artists who embrace genres of younger generations fail miserably (in my opinion), take Neil Youngs synthetic experiments in the ’80’s for example.

Luckily, Bowie was able to understand & appreciate what it was about these genres that made them special & unique. Instead of bending the technology & techniques used to create Drum & Bass to match his songwriting, he bent his songwriting to match the technology.

Album opener & lead single, Little Wonder, is a great example of this. A thumping, Junglist, Drum & Bass beat underpins trademark. His incredible vocal melodies floating above the hard, Junglist beats. In line with a key influence at for Bowie at the time, The Prodigy, Little Wonder’s skittering breakbeat manglement gives way to headbanging, anthemic hard rock sections.

Elsewhere, other influences come to the fore. Looking For Satellites is heavy downtempo breakbeats, somewhere between Hip Hop & Trip Hop (Meat Beat Manifesto?), but with rhythmic vocal melodies that wouldn’t be out of place on a Talking Heads record.

Prodigy vibes abound on Battle For Britain (The Letter). Crunchy, digitally harsh guitar chords juxtaposed against similar Junglist rhythms to Little Wonder. Bowies trademark melodic melancholia & a space rock glueing the whole thing together. Free jazz piano segments notwithstanding.

Seven Years In Tibet brings us more downtempo drum machine shenanigans, with heavy, metallic guitar riffing. This is more in Nine Inch Nails’ sonic territory than Prodigy though.

Dead Man Walking sees modem noise distorted guitars over thumping four-to-the-floor beats. Techno synth arpeggios & harmonic vocal loops give this a distinctly ’90’s vibe to it. Perhaps reminds me a little of Björk’s Hyper-Ballad. I could easily imagine a successful mix of the two songs in the hands of a competent DJ.

Telling Lies sees the return of the Drum & Bass rhythms. Lowkey baritone Bowie vocals & incoherent moaning help to build an oppressive sonic atmosphere.

The Last Thing You Should Do is upbeat, cut-&-Paste breakbeat with melancholic, subdued verses & explosive, distorted choruses. Like The Chemical Brothers with a more experimental sensibility. Grunge dynamics feel strangely at home here.

I’m Afraid Of Americans is more downtempo, industrial influenced darkness. Wears it’s Nine Inch Nails influence proudly on its sleeve. Doubly so on the various Nine Inch Nails Remixes which were also made, Trent Reznor’s unique production style bringing out Bowie’s darkest artistic impulses. You’ve got to hand it to Reznor. Not only did he do a great job of this, but he did it from the position of being completely starstruck & in awe of Bowie.

Finale, Law (Earthlings On Fire) is another dive into the sonic textures of Techno. Four-to-the-floor drums, bubbling, sidechained bass lines & stabs of distorted noise. Vocals mimic the rhythms brilliantly, acting as just another instrument in the soundscape.

I forgot how much I loved this album & I’m glad I was reminded of it by a post on Facebook earlier this week. One of Bowies darkest, & most sonically adventurous, albums, Earthling still sounds incredibly contemporary today, 23 years after its release.

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Indie Rock Music

Cheekface – Emotional Rent Control w/ Original Composition

New Cheekface single, Emotional Rent Control, is a politically charged slice of laconic, slacker Pop. Minimal three piece fuzz Rock with witty, abstract poetic lyrics. The bands Twitter account says that Emotional Rent Control comes from a mishearing of Bernie Sanders saying “we need national rent control”. The melodic guitar riffs are in tribute to Ric Ocasek &, they say, the song is influenced by the Power Pop of Fountains Of Wayne in tribute to Adam Schlesinger. Emotional Rent Control, I think, is referring to greater mental health provisions & community togetherness. “

Break down the boxes and put the lid on the trash
I’m feeling good, but I’m sure it will pass

Original Composition is a downtempo, spoken word poetry speak singing, solid rhythm track inspired by Minutemen’s History Lesson Part 2. This seems to be addressing wider social & political issues, especially the looming, and increasingly unavoidable, environmental breakdown. The song is, according to their Twitter, about “solipsism in the face of a big, big catastrophe.”

Emotional Rent Control w/ Original Composition is available now from all good digital distributors & streaming services.

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Indie Rock Music

Bully – Where To Start

Sub Pop band Bully’s new single, Where To Start, is a cathartic slice of Grunge Pop fuzziness. Singer Alicia’s voice is a raspy, raw snarl. There’s a Punky naivety to her voice which places it in similar sonic territory to Kurt Cobain (seriously, check out their cover of About A Girl). A thick, fuzzy bass line propels the song along on upbeat drums in a way that calls to mind Debaser or Freak Scene. Melodic & harmonic guitar parts tick all the relevant ’90’s revival boxes too, from strummed Nirvana progressions to off-kilter Pavement melodies. In the ’90’s this would have been huge & we’d still be hearing it today.

Check out the great video. The fuzzed up visuals, psychedelic cuts & broken VHS effects compliment the song beautifully without devolving into shameless ’90’s pastiche. Plus there’s a dog in the video, so bonus points there. Come to think of it, the dog in the video makes me think of the (previously mentioned) Debaser video.

Where To Start is available now on Sub Pop records.

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Music Rock

Neil Young – Vacancy

Neil Young has released another song form his “lost” 1974 album, Homegrown, as a single ahead of its release on the 19th June. Vacancy is the kind of fuzzy, proto-grunge rocker that Neil Young is famed for. His excellent falsetto vocals piercing a rocksteady rhythm section & his expressive, intuitive guitar playing. Sections of harmonica ground Vacancy in atmospheric Country Rock which would inspire early Alternative Rockers like Dinosaur Jr. Another excellent single.

Vacancy is out now on all good digital music platforms.

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Hip Hop Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (BLM): Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message

Day 11. Old School. Oldest School. Released in 1982, The Message was the first successful Hip-Hop tune to address social issues rather “self-congratulatory boasting or party chants of earlier hip hop” (The Message, Wikipedia). Lyrically, The Message addresses issues of inner city poverty, drug addiction & homelessness.

Lead rapper, Melle Mell told an NPR interviewer “we didn’t actually want to do ‘The Message’ because we was used to doing party raps and boasting how good we are and all that.” Thankfully, they did decide to make The Message & other rappers, taking notice, decided to write about their own lives, hardships & politics.

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

Broken glass everywhere
People pissin’ on the stairs, you know they just don’t care
I can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat
I tried to get away but I couldn’t get far
Cause a man with a tow truck repossessed my car

Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

Standin’ on the front stoop hangin’ out the window
Watchin’ all the cars go by, roarin’ as the breezes blow
Crazy lady, livin’ in a bag
Eatin’ outta garbage pails, used to be a fag hag
Said she’ll dance the tango, skip the light fandango
A Zircon princess seemed to lost her senses
Down at the peep show watchin’ all the creeps
So she can tell her stories to the girls back home
She went to the city and got so so seditty
She had to get a pimp, she couldn’t make it on her own

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

My brother’s doin’ bad, stole my mother’s TV
Says she watches too much, it’s just not healthy
All My Children in the daytime, Dallas at night
Can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight
The bill collectors, they ring my phone
And scare my wife when I’m not home
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation
Can’t take the train to the job, there’s a strike at the station
Neon King Kong standin’ on my back
Can’t stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac
A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I’m goin’ insane
I swear I might hijack a plane!

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

My son said, Daddy, I don’t wanna go to school
Cause the teacher’s a jerk, he must think I’m a fool
And all the kids smoke reefer, I think it’d be cheaper
If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper
Or dance to the beat, shuffle my feet
Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps
Cause it’s all about money, ain’t a damn thing funny
You got to have a con in this land of milk and honey
They pushed that girl in front of the train
Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again
Stabbed that man right in his heart
Gave him a transplant for a brand new start
I can’t walk through the park cause it’s crazy after dark
Keep my hand on my gun cause they got me on the run
I feel like a outlaw, broke my last glass jaw
Hear them say “You want some more?”
Livin’ on a see-saw

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

A child is born with no state of mind
Blind to the ways of mankind
God is smilin’ on you but he’s frownin’ too
Because only God knows what you’ll go through
You’ll grow in the ghetto livin’ second-rate
And your eyes will sing a song called deep hate
The places you play and where you stay
Looks like one great big alleyway
You’ll admire all the number-book takers
Thugs, pimps and pushers and the big money-makers
Drivin’ big cars, spendin’ twenties and tens
And you’ll wanna grow up to be just like them, huh
Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers
Pickpocket peddlers, even panhandlers
You say I’m cool, huh, I’m no fool
But then you wind up droppin’ outta high school
Now you’re unemployed, all non-void
Walkin’ round like you’re Pretty Boy Floyd
Turned stick-up kid, but look what you done did
Got sent up for a eight-year bid
Now your manhood is took and you’re a Maytag
Spend the next two years as a undercover fag
Bein’ used and abused to serve like hell
Til one day, you was found hung dead in the cell
It was plain to see that your life was lost
You was cold and your body swung back and forth
But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song
Of how you lived so fast and died so young so

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

Looking for some great music? Why not check out the Song of the Day (BLM) Spotify playlist?

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Hip Hop Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (BLM): Blackstar – Definition (feat. Common)

Day 10. Blackstar is Mos Def & Talib Kweili. Respiration, with guest raper Common, Blackstar adress the issues of violence within the Hip Hop community.

Known for intelligent, thoughtful lyrics, Blackstar are often credited as one of the first handful of Alternative Hip Hop acts. They were initially active at the very end of the ’90’s, when Hip Hop production was gearing more & more towards slick, Pop radio friendly productions. Alternative Hip Hop gained popularity with the underground fans. It’s raw, old school inspired productions reached out to old Hip Hop fans who were disenfranchised by the glossy, corporate aesthetic of the mainstream.

“What’d you do last night?”
“We did umm, two whole cars
It was me, these, and Main Three right?
And on the first car in small letters it said
“All you see is” and then you know
Big, big, you know some block silver letters
That said “crime in the city’ right?”
“It just took up the whole car?”
“Yeah yeah, it was a whole car and shit…

“Escuchela, la ciudad respirando
[Listen to it, the city breathing]

Escuchela

The new moon rode high in the crown of the metropolis
Shining, like who on top of this?
People was hustling, arguing and bustling
Gangsters of Gotham hardcore hustling
I’m wrestling with words and ideas
My ears is picky, seeking what will transmit
The scribes can apply to transcript, yo
This ain’t no time where the usual is suitable
Tonight alive, let’s describe the inscrutable
The indisputable, we New York the narcotic
Strength in metal and fiber optics
Where mercenaries is paid to trade hot stock tips
For profits, thirsty criminals take pockets
Hard knuckles on the second hands of working class watches
Skyscrapers is colossus, the cost of living
Is preposterous, stay alive, you play or die, no options
No Batman and Robin, can’t tell between
The cops and the robbers, they both partners, they all heartless
With no conscience, back streets stay darkened
Where unbeliever hearts stay hardened
My eagle talons stay sharpened, like city lights stay throbbing
You either make a way or stay sobbing, the Shiny Apple
Is bruised but sweet and if you choose to eat
You could lose your teeth, many crews retreat
Nightly news repeat, who got shot down and locked down
Spotlight to savages, NASDAQ averages
My narrative, rose to explain this existence
Amidst the harbor lights which remain in the distance

So much on my mind that it can’t recline
Blasting holes in the night til she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Heard the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I can’t take it y’all, I can feel the city breathing
Chest heaving, against the flesh of the evening
Sigh before we die like the last train leaving

Breathing in deep city breaths, sitting on shitty steps
We stoop to new lows, hell froze the night the city slept
The beast crept through concrete jungles
Communicating with one another
And ghetto birds where waters fall
From the hydrants to the gutters
The beast walk the beats, but the beats we be making
You on the wrong side of the track, looking visibly shaken
Taken them plungers, plunging to death that’s painted by the numbers
With crime unapplied pressure, cats is playing God
But having children by a lesser baby mother but fuck it
We played against each other like puppets, swearing you got pull
When the only pull you got is the wool over your eyes
Getting knowledge in jail like a blessing in disguise
Look in the skies for God, what you see besides the smog
Is broken dreams flying away on the wings of the obscene
Thoughts that people put in the air
Places where you could get murdered over a glare
But everything is fair
It’s a paradox we call reality
So keeping it real will make you casualty of abnormal normality
Killers Born Naturally like, Micky and Mallory
Not knowing the ways’ll get you capped like an NBA salary
Some cats be emceeing to illustrate what we be seeing
Hard to be a spiritual being when shit is shakin what you believe in
For trees to grow in Brooklyn, seeds need to be planted
I’m asking if y’all feel me AND THE CROWD LEFT ME STRANDED
My blood pressure boiled and rose, cause New York niggaz
Actin spoiled at shows, to the winners the spoils go
I take the L, transfer to the 2, head to the gates
New York life type trife the Roman Empire state

So much on my mind I just can’t recline
Blasting holes in the night til she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Yo don’t the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I can’t take it y’all, I can feel the city breathin
Chest heaving, against the flesh of the evening
Sigh before we die like the last train leaving

Escuchela, respirando ?

Yo, on The Amen, Corner I stood looking at my former hood
Felt the spirit in the wind, knew my friend was gone for good
Threw dirt on the casket, the hurt, I couldn’t mask it
Mixing down emotions, struggle I hadn’t mastered
I choreograph seven steps to heaven
And hell, waiting to exhale and make the bread leavened
Veteran of a cold war It’s Chica-I-go for
What I know or, what’s known
So some days I take the bus home, just to touch home
From the crib I spend months gone
Sat by the window with a clutched dome listening to shorties cuss long
Young girls with weak minds, but they butt strong
Tried to call, or at least beep the Lord, but didn’t have a touch-tone
It’s a dog-eat-dog world, you gotta mush on
Some of this land I must own
Outta the city, they want us gone
Tearing down the ‘jects creating plush homes
My circumstance is between Cabrini and Love Jones
Surrounded by hate, yet I love home
Ask my God how he thought traveling the world sound
Found it hard to imagine he hadn’t been past downtown
It’s deep, I heard the city breathe in its sleep
Of reality I touch, but for me it’s hard to keep
Deep, I heard my man breathe in his sleep
Of reality I touch, but for me it’s hard to keep

So much on my mind I just can’t recline
Blasting holes in the night til she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Yo how the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I can’t take it y’all, I can feel the city breathing
Chest heaving, against the flesh of the evening
Kiss the Ide’s goodbye, I’m on the last train leaving

Looking for some great music? Why not checkout the Song of the Day (BLM) Spotify playlist?

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Categories
Hip Hop Music

Song of the Day (BLM): Fugees – Zealots

Day 8. I actually wanted to choose a different Fugees song for this, Rumble In The Jungle (feat. A Tribe Called Quest & Busta Rhymes), but it isn’t actually available on Spotify & I feel that the blogposts & the Spotify playlist are intrinsically linked.

Instead, I have chosen the song Zealots, which is easily my favourite tune from Fugees critically & commercially massive 1996 album, The Score. Every MC on this track gives top tier performances but my MVP would have to be Lauryn Hill. Her verse is ridiculous, her rhyme scheme is incredibly sophisticated & complex.

I haunt MCs like Mephistopheles, bringing swords of Damocles
Secret service keep a close watch as if my name was Kennedy
Abstract raps simple with a street format
Gaze into the sky and measure planets by parallax
Check out the retrograde motion, kill the notion
Of biting and recycling and calling it your own creation
I feel like Rockwell, somebody’s watching me
I got no privacy whether on land or at sea
And for you biting zealots, your raps are cacophonic
Hypocrite, critic, but deep inside you wish you had the pop hit
It hurts don’t it, a refugee come to your turf
And take over the earth

See my rhymes, are the type of fly rhymes
That can only get down with my crew
And if you try, to take lines or bite rhymes
We’ll show you how the refugees do

Yeah, yeah behold, as my odes, manifold on your rhymes
Two MCs can’t occupy the same space at the same time
It’s against the laws of physics
So weep as your sweet dreams break up like Eurythmics
Rap rejects my tape deck, ejects projectile
Whether Jew or gentile, I rank top percentile
Many styles, more powerful than gamma rays
My grammar pays, like Carlos Santana plays “Black Magic Woman”
So while you fuming, I’m consuming mango juice under Polaris
You just embarrassed cause it’s your last tango in Paris

And even after all my logic and my theory
I add a “Motherfucker” so you ignant niggas hear me
Crew remember take notes, as I sow my rap oats
And for you biting zealots, here’s a quote

Another MC lose his life tonight, Lord
I beg that you pray to Jesus Christ, why
Oh Lord, father don’t let him bury me, whoa

You can try but you can’t divide the tribe
These cats can’t rap, mister author I feel no Vibe
The magazine says the girl should have went solo
The guys should stop rapping – vanish like Menudo
Took it to the heart, but every actor plays his part
As long as someone was listening, I knew it was a start
For me to get my chance, grab my pen and revamp
Do a cameo while everybody do the dance
Quick now, cause you running out of luck-a
Playing Mr. Big, I’m gonna get you sucka
While you munching at your luncheon
I’ll be planning your assassination, then hit you like the Dutchman

I compress sound sets with my rap DBX
Then drop vocals on my 456 Ampex
Bring terror to the shop of horror
As she cry, “mi amor, ” the phantom dies in the opera
And to the younguns who carry gadgets
And kill six days a week, then rest on the Sabbath
Violence ain’t necessary, unless you provoke me
Then get buried like the great Mussolini
And for you biting zealots, your rap styles are relics
No matter who you damage, you’re still a false prophet

As a bonus, here’s the excellent Rumble In The Jungle (feat. A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes & Forte):

Looking for some fantastic music to listen to? Why not check out the Song of the Day (BLM) Spotify playlis?

Buy Tom a coffee?

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