Monthly Archives: July 2009

yum.yum

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Song of the Day: “Come Get It” – Yummy Bingham (Feat. Jadakiss)

YES. This song is just too ill to let lay in the dust. Yummy Bingham was producer Rockwilder’s muse (also the godchild of Chaka Khan and Aaron Hall) who recorded this heatwave of a first single in ’05 to little response. It’s a track that should never have been swept under the table. Her helium-like baby voice atop those european horns will never get old, really; especially considering that baby’s singing about pudding. No regular pudding – Yummy’s pudding. Homemade. You get the jist? Jada did and didn’t seem too interested, responding, Honestly, I’m ’bout ready to take a dip in the pool.. Ha. Same.

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page71-1 Jun Takahashi’s rendition of Hermes’ classic Kelly bag – not sold in stores. Damn.

puff.kane

puff-cardboard-kaneChristopher Kane equation, courtesy of A Blog

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S622TteBHopa3g2cZNxMCfKYo1_1280Song of the Day: “The Beat Is Hot” – Roscoe P. Coldchain (Feat. Clipse & Boo-bonic)

Roscoe P. Coldchain: the little-known lips to The Neptune’s Star Trak label, is some kind of rapper. He’s more than conversational. He’s more than confrontational. He’ll engross you in his monotone rambling about robbing banks, kicking your sister’s ass, and killing your Dachshund; no flinch. I’m Da Vinci – don’t make me draw your pain. Best line ever? His delivery is so careless, it’s untouchable. The Neptunes Present…Clones comp featured his flow genius first on “The Beat Is Hot,” featuring Pusha T of Clipse and Fam-Lay’s Boo-bonic. The track’s beat, courtesy of the space-pop production duo (Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams), consists of a trunk-rattling suction and tingling triangle. It’s undeniably simple, but compliments perfectly Coldchain’s unapologetic apathy. I’ve included a second track for further spit reference: “I’m Not You” (below) by Clipse featuring Styles P (of The LOX) and of course, Roscoe. It’s coke-rap’s finest hour. Culinary chemist!? Amazing. Peep some snaps from the Clipse concert Jackson and I attended (as unofficial Caucasian representatives) this past spring at The Studio at Webster Hall.



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These pet rocks by Shane Sakkeus and Jonathan Zawada (part of the Glory Holes exhibition on view at the Monster Children Gallery, Sydney) remind me a great deal of the Rik Cordero-directed, Consequence & Cudi “Buggin’ Out ’09” video (below). You may remember the song – it’s a revamp of the classic A Tribe Called Quest jazz-rap joint of the same name (orginally released on The Low End Theory album in 1991).

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haider.math

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Showing some Haider love, via A Magazine

track anatomy: all nite (don’t stop)

This is the start of a new post series. Ever wonder what’s behind that new Wayne track? And why it sounds so familiar? It’s likely a sample. Most samples remain as mysteries to the average listener… until now. For le first entry, I give you Janet’s “All Nite (Don’t Stop)” and its aural DNA, “Hang Up Your Hang Ups” by Herbie Hancock.

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m.t.w.t.f.s.s

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Song of the Day: “Everyday of the Week” – Jade

Jade was one of those R&B groups from the 90’s that never fully took off. Like many of the sort, they had their one-hit and it was over. This track came out right around the time MTV (circa ’94) was weaning its audience away from dance music and into the realms of east coast, west coast rap acts. The song’s stuck with me since my car pools to and from Sunday school with Casey Kasem and remains to be of the era’s most enticing.

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_LnChlPZGLpbv4hq2zd5r9M5Ro1_1280World Premiere: “Free Moolah” – Freeway

I feel a summer breeze. Freeway’s grizzly bear flow sounds fresher than ever atop Phoe Notes’ slap-synth beat. His chauvinist chants and cash-strapped growls are nothing short of hilarious (as always). Whether you call it reality rap or recession special, the shit is tax free.

Whatta character.

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The man could stunt sitting down.

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…these boots weren’t made for walking…

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Song of the Day: “Da Dip” – Freak Nasty

This goes out to all the women in the world (especially her). It don’t even matter yo age, don’t even matter yo color… when this hit airwaves in ’95, booty bounce had officially landed. I remember singing this with other 8-year-old campers at theater camp clueless of its meaning. The video is straight All That and takes me back to the days of Lori Beth Denberg and Keenan & Kel. Makes me crave a Good Burger to go with all that booty. Orange soda, anyone?



pugh.who

If I had to choose only one look for myself from this past spring – it would have to be this one.Picture+13I was reminded of this Times piece when Gareth himself made a visit to the V offices in SoHo this past week… Peep it here.

hip.hop.head


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Detroit MC, Royce Da 5’9, is an enigma. Is he signed or isn’t he? Is he on lock or not? He’s released each of his albums on different record labels. His upcoming album, Street Hop, should set shit straight when it drops this September. The first two singles are of the fiercest hip-hop has to offer. “Shake This,” (above) produced by DJ Premier, is comprised of a fiery David Axelrod sample only your dad would recognize. “Part of Me” is a farcical, Pied Piper-esque foray into streetwise storytelling (try watching the video without your jaw hitting the floor). Included below as well is a mixtape track of his from last year entitled “Crazy (911).” It came out just as Obama was taking office and plays like hip-hop’s official wakeup call. Go on, show dem mothafuckas…

“Part of Me” – Royce Da 5’9

“Crazy (911)” – Royce Da 5’9

gaga.gauge


People have been asking me to explain why in god’s name I’m so un-in-love with Lady Gaga. “She’s fashionable dance music,” I hear frequently, yet I’m still under the impression she wears those outrageous outfits and orbiting headpieces to cover up her busted face. It’s not her style-over-substance jig that itches at me, it’s the fact that she’s a direct knockoff of Klaus Nomi. Even her crew of stylists [House of Gaga] know it. I think a friend’s blog, Haute Shit NYC by Michael Scanlon, explains the mutual distaste amicably (read the the entry in its entirety after the jump…) Continue reading

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I can’t tell if Moncler’s latest ad campaign shot by Bruce Weber is a statement against stick-thin models or a snapshot from a bomb-sniffing canine training camp. Does Moncler outfit the airport sniffers overseas? ‘Cause it sure ain’t in the budget stateside.

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541c9932-d368-4f85-8569-4288452cc460Song of the Day: “Pizza” – Adiam Dymott

It seems like for the last hundred years, little bitty Sweden has been the center for all things pop music. Besides cheap furniture, fast fashion and myself, the country’s known for putting out some of the freshest sounds in music. From ABBA to Robyn and Lykke Li, The Cardigans to Britney (yes, she recorded “…Baby One More Time” with Max Martin in Sverige), Sweden has cemented itself as the pop hub. See Adiam Dymott, for instance… The female-fronted rock band has a sound fit for a fashion show. Her mushroom cut is ultra YSL. The indie andro-rocker could become competition for East Ville’s own, Lizzie Trullie, if she releases her debut LP stateside. Watch the video for her second single, “Pizza” here first and see for yourself.

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j-cole-the-warm-up-450x450World Premiere: “Lights Please” – J.Cole

Jay-Z’s new favorite MC sounds strikingly similar to Wayne’s and Ye’s recent signs (Drake and Big Sean). Since Drake and Cudi blew up on the blog circuit, each hip-hop heavyweight has put a bid on their fave teeny-hopper. Considered “the freshman class of rap,” they tote similar interests – girls, toys, and team sports. Trend aside, J.Cole’s “Lights Please” is a monster. It plays like a contemplative sexcapade, pitting meaning against booty for a new generation of thinkers. The beat, complete with piano stabs and a Dilla-fied vocal loop, rides beneath Cole’s wiser-than-your-average flow to make the track pop. Watch out kids, the boy’s just warming up.

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maison-martin-margiela06I’ve had the Margiela couture syndrome lately and can’t seem to get over it. This piece, especially, has had my head in a tizzy. It reminds me a great deal of a vintage fox fur coat I acquired awhile back that looks like the stylish stepchild of Carine Roitfeld and R.Kelly. It also happens to be my exact hair color match. Direct hit!
\/ Big ups to cousin Nina \/
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Song of the Day: “Paper Chaser” – Big Sean (Feat. Jay K)

No exceptions – Rihanna’s the only one that can get away with the half-shave. She’s also the only one that can wear Balmain out to dinner and then never wear it again. Why? ‘Cause she a paper chaser. She’s gotta be, considering those $14,000+ shoulder pads she’s been seen in lately. In chasing, she’s inspired the likes of Big Sean‘s money-hungry, skaterboy flow on this mixtape track featuring Jay K. It’s got Ri-Ri’s T.I. hook ripped to shreds and sounding hotter than ever. So hot, in fact, it could’ve easily replaced the theme to Miami Vice without second thought. Consider it the closest you’ll ever get to owning your own Balmain one-off. You can thank me later.
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feelin.it

raf-simons-embroidered-shoesI’ve always loved statement oxfords, loafers, slippers, dot – dot – dot. Recently, I’ve been really feeling these Raf Simons oxfords. They remind me of sprinkles, jimmys, or whatever you wanna call ’em. The fact is, the shoes are embroidered with black waxed thread to evoke a barbershop floor. Below are the Louboutin Rollerball slip-ons… which don’t make sense in only women’s sizes. Come on Christian.
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artist spotlite: big sean

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I had heard Big Sean’s hype-single “Getcha Some” two summers ago, just months before Kanye released Graduation, on his Can’t Tell Me Nothing / G.O.O.D. Music (‘Ye’s record label) compilation. He was brought back to my attention recently when my cousin James (congrats on the engagement btw) asked me if I had heard his new material. I was under the impression the cat had fallen off (as many new rappers do in their pre-album endeavors), knowing how ‘Ye had taken Drake under his wing as of late, and remembering just how similar Sean had sounded to him. Sean, though, is an ’88 baby, whereas Drake is two years elder. At times a straight Drake replica, Sean sounds adolescent to the extent that ‘Ye should probably start contemplating his pre-fab inklings. Could Kanye have been too early in the game? Sean’s verses are so unwarrantedly egocentric and cash-driven, it seems his mother may not have passed him the recession memo at breakfast. I suppose there’s no crying over G.O.O.D. Music now… it took two years for this song to become Sean’s first single/video. And within that time, the world’s changed. No longer is BAPE a big deal when your home’s been foreclosed. In the time it takes for Big Sean to finalize his Finally Famous debut, hopefully he’ll come to terms with reality.

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World Premiere: “Run This Town” – Jay-Z (Feat. Rihanna & Kanye West)

I don’t know how I feel about this recently leaked Blueprint 3 track. The Kanye-produced cut features a hook by Ri-Ri and a few guest bars delivered by ‘Ye himself… and still, it sounds as if they band together in a desperate attempt at a hit. I dig the ragged guitar beat and all, so I’m not entirely hating. The song sounds as if the economy depended on it – seriously, can we get Beyonce and Nas on the track too? And did Hov really just plug Margiela? Well, I suppose ad sales are down.

mm.couture

Picture 146Couture by the Numbers: Maison Martin Margiela, Fall 2009
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Collection Materials: Lambskin Leather, Goatskin Leather, Wool
• Number of Pen Caps: 2,000
• Number of Fake Eyelashes: 245
• Amount of Chain and Vintage Jewelry: 20 meters
• Number of Bicycle Reflectors: 300
• Number of Fans: 24
• Average Number of Hours Seamstresses Clocked in Per Piece: 20 to 26 [fake eyelash vest] to 30 [pen cap smoking jacket] to 42 [chain biker jacket]
• Furs Used: Vintage Rabbit and Fox
via “The Cut”

get.it.out.me

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Song of the Day: “Get It Out Me” – Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson has gotten away with more blatant explicitness on the radio than perhaps any other artist. Pre-Nipplegate, the industry icon could release anything and get it played on FM without flinch. She was a sleazy, empowered pop superhero, much like Madonna, but nastier. This track, off her slept-on Control commemoration LP, 20 Y.O., could have hit airwaves as “All For You,” “If,” or “You Want This?” once did, had she not taken her titty out on primetime. At her peak, the woman had 8-year-old girls singing I’m gonna have to ride it tonight as if referring to carousels, and their mothers not caring because it was Janet fucking Jackson. “Get It Out Me” is too catchy to scrap for its inordinate inappropriateness and reads like code for her ability to surpass any FCC regulation. With her signature Jackson coo and shy-girl determination, Janet could once get past any ear. The track’s Jock Jams beat and freestyle melody mask its raunch so well it could easily make the next Kidz Bop compilation. There’s no way this song is about anything other than ejaculation. But who really cares when you know she has some crazy dance routine to guise the fact? We may never know, considering the cut never saw an official single release and didn’t made the Rock Witchu Tour setlist. Dreams will have to do.

blame.it.on.bambi

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I’m gonna be honest – Stella McCartney’s grown on me. She was never one of my favorites, and still isn’t, but her looks have finally blossomed into a bonified brand aesthetic; something even legacy labels struggle and strive for. Her latest Fall ’09 adverts capture the brand’s eco-girl awareness to a T. Even Bambi came out to support her fellow treehuggers. I just wonder how Disney feels… unless daddy owns Bambi‘s rights too.

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artist spotlite: wiz khalifa

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Curren$y
and Wiz Khalifa are blessed and cursed. They’re just too good to go major. Every time they sign to any mainstream record label, months later, they’re back on the streets releasing unofficial mixtapes again. I just don’t get it. Wiz is one of my favorites of all time and he’s undoubtedly Pittsburgh’s king of rap. His voice is too street to subdue. And to think he’s my age? It’s insane to know Soulja Boy and Flo-Rida are signed and going steady when you hear this kid’s tracks. He’s got nothing more than an indie body of work that could easily sit beside the most established hip-hopper. I’ve been pushing his shit since I heard it in the fall of ’06 and still… no official album release. Even Rolling Stone raved to no avail. The kid just can’t catch a break. Lately, the rapper’s teamed up with his equally cursed counterpart, Curren$y, to record a duo-mixtape based on weed, jets, and babes, expected to hit streets at the end of this month. I’ve compiled my favorite rapper’s best tracks below. His latest work hasn’t been up to par considering his early masterpieces, showing just how Warner Bros fucked with his nerdy flow. His skinny-boy delivery sounds best atop shiny street instrumentals laced with screwed soul or flash-rock samples. Below plays like a mixtape rundown of his best cuts to date…

First up, is likely his best single-ready sound to date – “Keep The Conversation.” The Billy Joel sample is tremendous…

Next is “Pittsburgh Sound.” Think Parliament funk meets Kanye hypersoul. It’s Wiz Khalifa, man!

Welcome to pistol bangin’… “Walk With Me” is a somber, piano-led hometown tour. Swirly and mysterious, you can almost taste his slum…

“Youngin’ On His Grind” is a ghetto narrative with a bassline to end all basslines. Speed that ish up and Ciara could take it…

“My Thing” is pure bang. The beat is outrageous and can only be played at full volume. He slyly remarks, Make it look easy, like we do this shit for fun, but we do this shit for funds atop a video game background like nothing at all.

“Burn Something” could be an inspirational people’s anthem, but then again, it’s about hustling. At least he tried…

“History In The Making” is violent. Its over-the-top [Europe] “Final Countdown” loop is hilarious. The seven-minute diary entry will eat through your flesh. So beware.

Lastly, hear Wiz play Cassanova on “Sometimes.” The kid does it all…

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Song of the Day: “Throw It In The Bag (Remix)” – Fabolous (Feat. Drake & The-Dream)

I’m shocked that the new season’s Balenciaga bag incarnate hasn’t caught on in the press. It’s no Motorcycle bag, but still, I’m obsessed. Dear Mom, Dad, Friends With Money, and Family Members That Like Me: This is what I’m asking for this birthday. And while you’re shopping, go ahead and indulge your inner Bravo Housewife with a little Loso. I wasn’t excited about his new album until now. His remix to “Throw It In The Bag” has Drake, a sped-up Dream sample (remember “Fancy”?), and plenty of poppin’ taglines to keep you unaware of the actual price.

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poke.her.face

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Who woulda thunk Lady Gaga sounded better accoustic? Proof is in the potion. Peep Cudi’s latest clip for his mixtape-turned-album track (formerly titled “Poke Her Face”), “Make Her Say,” featuring ‘Ye, Common, and a live “Pokerface” rip. The video is amazing in itself. I love watching Kid play Kerouac, driving top-down on the freeway. The flipped split-screen effect plays well in setting it apart from the rest. If Cudi keeps this up, his long-awaited debut could come out by 2012.

new.york.minute


Wow. Whatta you know. A day after posting Akon’s co-sign, French Montana’s first single, out pops a remix that’s a hundred times hotter than the original. Could this be summer’s New York anthem, you ask? I really couldn’t tell you, other than that the added horn track and guest verses do the track some good. Sad for French, he’s totally upstaged by his features on what may be the street single of the summer, but, hey, at least N.O.R.E.’s happy. No matter what, the Eagles sample’s sure to get your mom’s lighter up. And that’s all that really matters to me.

freak.like.me

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Song of the Day: “Freak Like Me” – Adina Howard

Consider this a continuation of my pro-nails appreciation post. Do you see those things? They’re crazy. The song? Even crazier. If the track came out in the 80’s, she’d be a slut. But, no, it came out in the 90’s, so she was an independent woman. The hypersexual and, at times, aggressive hump-tune features Howard proclaiming her sexual demands with the line: It’s all about the dog in me. Taking charge is one thing, but, whoa – the dog in you? Sounds like beastiality to me. It ain’t no thang, though – the explicit joint grinded harder than other g-funk ladies anthems on the radio in ’95 and paved the way for Kim, Foxy, and Khia after her. Props to the nasally guy counting shit down at the end, too. He gets no credit.

fashion.focus: prince.pauper

IMG_4289_2I’ve been wearing leggings for some time now – I remember the first time I wore them in high school to gasps and hallway awe. It’s 2009 and they’re still an integral part of my wardrobe. Finally, there’s less stigma surrounding men in anything ‘tight’ due largely to the skinny jean trend. In tandem, men’s leggings have garnered attention within fashion circles based upon Givenchy’s recent menswear collections. I see leggings as tight pants fit for both sexes. Many disagree and see them only as undergarments for women, but I find leggings to be an elemental piece of body conscious dressing. Always an extremist; garments are either tight or falling off me. And that’s just how I like ’em. There are no ‘in-betweens’ – proportions are important in differentiating from the norm and establishing one’s individuality. To think that men haven’t worn anything that close to the body since the 1800’s is stunning. Honestly, what will it take for men to go back to tights a la Robin Hood? The man without fear of shape or size. The man who’s not afraid of skimp or stare. It’s that certain embrace of one’s own that’s so inspiring. Everyone is made to look different and it seems, due to today’s homogenization and singularity in dress, there’s no room to express anything more than what’s emblazoned on a t-shirt.

Identity is something that’s attained. Part present, part past, it is piece-by-piece a tell-tale to one’s experiences and longings, inspirations and limits. For myself, I see leggings as a derivative of my childhood fondness for Dickens and Twain. Their lead male characters always rose from rags to riches in twig-legged bottoms. It’s something that’s stayed with me from the time I played Artful Dodger in Oliver!; the strong-willed little pickpocket with a Cockney accent. From beggars to royals, streets to kingdoms, chicken-legged looks were something they both shared. The most fantastic characters I remember were mini yet magical. The top-heavy silhouettes from Prince and the Pauper have had a lasting impact on my personal style. The story’s also probably the very thing that influenced my love for mixing high and low – think Givenchy (Prince) and disintegrated tee (Pauper). See above and below for le visual hints.

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(Click thumbnails to view full-size.)

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Here’s a lil’ tribute to yesteryear’s pro-nail fads…whether pierced, Guinness Book of World Records length, or manicured to evoke a Hawaiian sunset… they will be missed.
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The true innovator, Coko, of SWV…


Janet in Busta Rhymes’s “What’s It Gonna Be!?” video …
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(Click images to view full-size.)

eagles.rap

Song of the Day, Pt. 1: “Survival In The City” – Sheek Louch (Feat. Jadakiss)

Jadakiss loves The Eagles. He’s rapped atop samples of theirs for years and just recently put a verse on French Montana’s “New York Minute.” My favorite Eagles track of Jada’s is “Survival In The City” with LOX bandmate Sheek Louch. It goes as hard as the original [“In The City”], only with some of the grimiest lyrics out: Mothafuckas will disappear. French’s rhymes sound scrappy (he was signed by Akon..), but the Henley rip is commendable.


Song of the Day, Pt. 2: “New York Minute” – French Montana (Feat. Jadakiss)

shave.the.rest

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It looks as if Cassie’s been peeping the S&M blog (maarten’s minute) ’cause she showed up to this years BET Awards in a Mark Fast creation. It’s too bad… who can pay attention to her dress with half her hair missing? She really needs to shave the rest of her head so that she doesn’t look like a hipster’s bad decision. Maybe it’s the reason her sophomore Bad Boy release has been postponed until 2049. I say, shave the remainder, go Badu, and stop being so stupid.

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Song of the Day: “In The Air Tonight” – Phil Collins

This is probably one of my favorite songs of all time (ask Jackson). Phil Collins is the man. You gotta give it up. Post-Genesis, the guy pretty much wrote the book on air drums without even reading the manual. “If I got it on tape, I was pretty lucky. I didn’t like manuals, I didn’t really know anything about electronic recording, so if I saw the meter moving, I was happy…‘In the Air Tonight’ was just a drum machine pattern that I took off that CR78 drum machine. You could eliminate certain sounds and program bass drums and snare drums, so I programmed a bass drum part into it, but basically the rest of it was already on there…I got a nice sound on the Prophet 5, which was the sound of ‘In the Air.'” (Phil Collins, Robyn Flans interview, Classic Tracks) Whatever he did worked and still has its place in pop music today, inspiring the moody sounds of producers Kanye West (even though his recreation of Collins’s trademark voco-bratto on 808s & Heartbreaks could cause a tumor) and The-Dream.

haute.shit

Dior’s Haute Joaillerie department, headed and designed by Victoire de Castellane, has always been extraordinary. I remember just last summer visiting her boutique in Paris only to be floored by her forte for fantasy and fairy tale. Each piece I touched left a lasting impression. Her latest collection, due out this fall, is her most enchanting work to date. Dressing vivid-colored, lifelike stone skulls up in the most extravagant of crown jewels, she’s got a hit on her hands. Literally — they’re rings.

g.is4.gfunk

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As I mentioned before, I’ve always been enamored by pimps and their exuberant, outlandish dress. Their style is as flamboyant in their music as it is in their lifestyles.

Song of the Day, Pt. 1: “G-Funk” – Nate Dogg

213 represent, represent. What put LBC on the map indefinitely was Dre’s employment of Parliament Funkadelic and Zapp and Roger’s bass-ed over grooves, slowing the sample’s tempos down to create what is known today as the G-Funk genre. Unfuckwitable, really – if Dre’s the godfather of G-Funk, then Nate Dogg’s his disciple. Preaching the good word from coast to coast. Introduced to one another through Dre’s cousin Warren G, they began making music together in the early ’90’s, creating such modern classics as “Regulators” and “Let Me Ride.” G-Funk’s signature subwoofer sound is composed of slee-ed P-Funk samples, sleazy synths, creeping basslines, and ostentatious, preacher-pimp vocals. The tunes are hypnotic as they are laughable. Nieces and nephews, I give you some sucka-free summertime G music. Wobble, wobble.

Song of the Day, Pt. 2: “Players Club” – Rappin’ 4-Tay



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Peep an interview I did for the V Man blog, featuring Benjamin Roc of “The Knocks,” by clicking on the image below. . .Picture 139

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Michael Jackson circa 2006
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Givenchy Couture, Fall 2009

I see Riccardo Tisci may have been on more of an MJ kick than previously suggested. The designer not only was tapped to design exclusive costumes for Jackson’s “This Is It” engagement, but his most recent couture show in Paris evoked Jackson’s strangest steez: the male burka.

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Song of the Day: “C’mon Ride It (The Train)” – Quad City DJ’s

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Have a fucking pep rally wit it.

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Picture 132Just recovered from seeing Powder Blue. The straight-to-DVD stripper flick starring Jessica Biel. And all I have to say is: reverse cleavage tribute… You gotta love it. Keep it coming, ladies.

Picture 130Already got an order in for that silk black hoodie.
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go.head.daddy

Song of the Day: “Loungin’ (Remix)” – LL Cool J (Feat. Total)

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Calling all female R&B groups. Where are you? Dream’s Electrik Red ain’t cutting it. And Rich Harrison’s new girl group RichGirl ain’t making the cut, either. Back in the day, Total was the shit. The female trio’s whiny soul was perfect compliment to LL’s crowd-thumping “Loungin.” The Hype-helmed video has them flossing in lime green Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino’n’Donna jeans over dated lava lamp screensaver backdrops. LL is seen riding his bike through a suburb in a matching lime windbreaker before becoming Dustin Hoffman from The Graduate. Before LL became his old self, this here video set things straight. It’s a Queens thing, baby.

cold.hearted.snake

I just got out of seeing Bruno, so this is only appropriate…

Song of the Day: “Cold Hearted Snake” – Paula Abdul

Everybody knows I live for Miss Janet. But, Paula? I know, I know. The bitch taught Jan all her moves, but, at one time, was a name unto her own. She sold out tours, had multi-platinum albums, and put out some pretty decent singles. “Straight Up” is still one of my all-time favorite music videos, even after the fact the woman’s abandoned her music career for a very public, drug-addled fall from fame [American Idol]. Laughter aside; Paula’s “Cold Hearted Snake” is her talent showcase. With its New Jack slap and simulated symphonic backtrack, the song is, without a doubt, her prime state. It proves once and for all, Paula was once a boss. The video’s like a Center Stage audition, highlighting her tried and true backup formations on scaffolds and a greased dance floor before Rent was ever conceived. Her Laker girl take on Fosse’s oversexed exaggerations are still being copied to this day. Reason being, it never gets old and always looks fresh. Released in 1989, the David Fincher directed short film commemorates Abdul’s choreographic genius. Rekkonize!

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You’ve seen them and asked about them – and now they’re finally here. Jackson’s line of simple, raw, genderless leather clutches debuted this past Sunday at The Black Buoy presents… MAXANDSUZANNE party in East Hampton, NY. His clutches will be housed there for the remainder of the summer, selling small L-zip clutches and larger varieties entirely made by hand.  Check them out at the MAXANDSUZANNE pop-up shop: 78 Main Street #11, Sag Harbor, NY 11963 in The Hamptons. To order a custom made clutch, email holmlundm@gmail.com for details. More Jackson clutch info coming soon.

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artist spotlite: nicole wray

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Whoaa. Halt. Stop the tape. Rewind. Nicole Wray is about to release what? Her sophomore album this September? No, it can’t be. Miss MJB, jr. has had albums pushed back for the last decade. You probably know her as Missy’s lil’ kiddie-voiced protege from the 90’s. She released her first LP in 1998 and hit it out of the park with her first single, Timbo tune “Make It Hot,” dominating urban airwaves as underdog for the entire summer. The video’s pop-up book set is fantastic! Peep the vid below…

Resorting to dollar bin status, Nicole’s first album didn’t make her a star. The chick’s been putting out mixtapes for years now, trying to get an album release date without success. She even had an album ready for release through Roc-A-Fella that never surfaced. During this hiatus, though, Nicole’s put out some pretty stellar work. Beautiful, concrete, and gutter as fuck – Nicole’s songs could easily be act one to Carmen part deux. Her voice is ragged (much like her idol Ella Fitzgerald’s) and lyrics surprisingly complacent. The track, “Can’t Get Out The Game,” speaks just that. In it, Nicole plays a struggling storyteller, a character she often finds complimentary to her fiery lyric style. Her honest tone makes for some believable anecdotes. The song’s background, made of horns and skittering midnight drums, is one Nicole excels on. Beanie’s guest verse doesn’t sound forced or ill placed, rather playing as an afterthought to Wray’s teary ghetto tale. Stream the deep cut below…

Nicole can pretty much do no wrong when putting down mediocre R&B fluff tracks. Without sounding subdued or muted, Wray gives songs usually thrown to Ashanti or Christina Milian, a new life entirely. With a voice that could blow out a tire, she has the ability to whip boring album-filler tracks back into shape. Giving Keyshia a run for her money, the woman can make any note sound studied. Hear the muffled “Friend” (1) and piano-wound “Stand Up” (2) below…

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“I’ll Take Your Man” is one of my favorite unreleased tracks of hers. Originally for Amerie, the DC joint was much too gangsta for the twiggy songbird. In the song’s first few seconds, Wray’s heard screaming Who the fuck is that bitch? on the other end of a telephone. The Rich Harrison produced firestarter could take on James Brown’s with its driving drumbeat. The soulstress commands the track with a been-there-done-that stuffiness rivaling Bey’s, the difference being that when Wray sings, you must listen.

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Song of the Day: “Tell Me” – Groove Theory

Vodpod videos no longer available.

When I was 8, it was likely this was the slowest song banging from my tape deck. It was either Jock Jams or this. It came on my MTV Party to Go compilation, along with Coolio, R.Kelly, and the rest of the ’95 bunch, and played non-stop for at least a good year. The lead singer’s bohemian coo atop the track’s smooth bassline (similar to the Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long”) and tambourine-led tempo makes for the perfect 90’s cool down. The song still bangs.

MH.edits : july.09

Tomorrow it’ll be the blog’s one month anniversary. [Ha] I’m overjoyed with the response. Thanks to everyone who’s spread the word. Keep it up. So much more to come.

For this edition of the monthly series, I give you two curated piles — one’s for July, the other’s a tribute to the King. Click on the images to view them in full size.

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1 YSL vintage suede monk strap shoes
2 Vintage brown felt floppy hat
3 Leyla Bilgi Paris multi-colored ribbon kaftan
4 R.H. Vintage military cotton sateen trousers
5 Vintage estate rings
6 Vintage Native American seed tassel necklace
7 Jackson small french grey calfskin L-zip clutch (pre-order info coming soon)
8 A.P.C. navy espadrilles
9 Vintage Chinese lion peasant shirt
10 Vintage red metal round frame sunglasses
11 Simona Barbieri long white knit linen cardigan
12 Vintage duck rosary necklace
13 Vintage embroidered belt
14 Cotton dreadlock tie-dye tie
15 Vintage Levi’s destroyed cut-off shorts

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1 M.Julian washed electric blue motorcycle jacket
2 Dior Homme mirrored aviators
3 Marc Jacobs red fedora
4 Melissa by Alexandre Herchcovitch black and white rubber spectator shoes
5 Zara dual stud belt
6 Jackson french grey stud bracelet
7 Vintage military medal pin
8 Alexander Wang white burnout pocket tank
9 Vintage mirror ring

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Forever King Front Cover

“MJ Freestyle” – 50 Cent

This record is as street as they come. It’s as scary as it is hilarious. It’s as blasphemous as it is reverent. 50 Cent’s been wack for a good minute and suddenly – boom, crack, Michael dies. He got on the mic mere seconds after hearing the news, recording this desperate freestyle for P.R. kicks. The track is his most recent mixtape Forever King‘s finest. Scratchy and scattered with DJ Whoo Kid shouts and MAC-10 bullets, the beat’s old-school J5 sample helps 50’s antagonist flow sound fresher than usual. Let the mac off / Tear half your back off … what the fuck? There’s even a line in there somewhere about him on meds in juvie. Huh? Maybe the East Coast murder rap all-star has a future as a Michael impersonator. That’s if he cleans up his mouth and starts back on meds. I can only imagine 50 in full Ed Sullivan Show costume, fringed vest and all.

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Song of the Day: “Can You Feel It” – The Jacksons

It’s July 4th and I can’t think of anything more American than the Jackson family (given the circumstances). And Al Sharpton was right — “before Obama, before Oprah, there were the Jacksons.” Their talent and drive, triumphs and tragedies, stand as constant reminders that the American Dream is still intact. They’ve epitomized the American family, in all their excesses and eccentricities, flights and failures, for some time now. The video for “Can You Feel It”, directed by Bruce Gowers and Robert Abel, was their last big hurrah as a family band, pre-Billie Jean. Released in 1981 as part of their Triumph album promotion, the video astounded audiences with its tripped-out effects and Mars-like futurism. The song samples Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” riff and later was sampled for Madonna’s classic “Material Girl.” The video is a testament to the Jackson’s bigger-is-better ways and remains to this day one of the medium’s archetypes.