World Premiere: “North Memphis Like Me (Remix)” – Juicy J of Three Six Mafia (Feat. Project Pat & Vslash)
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In fear of losing readers (as in my mother), I haven’t posted any Three Six Mafia joints on the blog. That is, until this hit my desk this afternoon. It’s just too good not to post. It includes everyone’s favorite stereotypical hip-hop videoisms: child dancing (check), hands up (check), leashed pitbulls (check), wrists gleaming (check), tush (check), rims (check), dice (check), stacks (check), grillz (check, check, check). Raise your hood tolerance some and peep the Halloween-sampled cut above.
If there was ever a group gathering thought out high in the sky, it happened yesterday evening. I was seeing The September Issue and all I could think about the entire time I was sitting there (other than that I love Grace Coddington and despise Anna a degree more) was the fact that I was directly behind Andre Harrell – as in the Andre Harrell – current CEO of Motown Records, former CEO of Uptown Records, the list goes on and on. He’s someone most would have a tough time recognizing (the friends I was with thought I was crazy), but he’s the face of several memorable Behind The Music sit-downs and countless Making The Band crusades, the guy who found Puffy and Mary J. and put one of my favorite R&B groups, Soul IV Real, on the map. Seated beside a buxom blonde, Andre and his tortoise shell frames had little clue what fate it was… and seems only appropriate that today is just the right instance to drop “Candy Rain” as song of the day. And while I’m at it, here’s the Chris Rock weave doc he’s in this fall, Good Hair.
As you well know, I’m a Kane brain. His recent collaborative effort with Atelier Swarovski has produced some exuberant creations inspired by ancient Egypt, mystic symbolism, and reincarnative spells. See, for example, this Resin Scarab Cuff (above) – it’s got all the pieces one could need for everlasting life, spirit, and fortune.
My favorite group right now, Slaughterhouse, is pretty much the answer to every hip-hop dilemma since “Rumpshaker.” Imagine Wu-Tang as a four-man band of gangster caricatures out to outperform every rap supergroup ever. They’re rude, crude, and comically close to being straight metal. Made up of Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Royce da 5’9, and Crooked I, Slaughterhouse comes at a time when hip hop’s focus has shifted from honest storytelling to material-centric lyrics. They’ve taken to the mic at just the right moment to transition rap back to the street, knocking it from its penthouse reserve. In their first video it looks as though it’s their last night in the sky and they’re going out with a bang. Their first single “The One” produced by DJ Khalil employs a heavy metal sample beneath arguably the most insane bars this year. Hear for yourself: I’m wreckless with lead / Zepplin instead / Let’s get a keg / Let’s split a mescaline, it messes with ya head / I’m sexing a les’ and her best friend in bed / I love these freak women / Something in my demin need a KISS, call it Gene Simmons. Throw some confetti.
I’m jarred by the latest Dazed & Confused shoot by Carlotta Manaigo. She and stylist, Robbie Spencer, have created something right up my alley; taking cues from Dickens and Huckleberry Fin to create the September issue’s “Dark Romanticism” painterly aesthetic. Ostrich feathers, crushed velvet, silk scarves, and knickers… what more could I have asked for?
Congrats to The-Dream moving up a notch in the game this week. He’s one I’ve believed in since the beginning. (Y’all can’t say I didn’t warn you) Terius “The-Dream” Nash was just recently named Executive Vice President of Island Records. The next installment to his Love series, Love King, drops by year’s end. Excited.
Red Cafe is Diddy’s latest sign to Bad Boy. But don’t let that get in the way of his heavy-hitting delta forces. “Co-Sign” is comprised of tinkling keys, a fuzzy rock sample, and that true Brooklyn representation. It’s a track that’ll get your mind off the fact that his name is Cafe and make you hungry for more.
I’ve had the opportunity to explore my infatuation with historic men’s costume, but never had the chance to examine my biting interest in knightswear. Tough, tactile, and anonymous: knight’s stand as fashion’s great gatekeeper. The armored one holds an untouchable appeal, a sense of mystery enforced by such faceless authority. Playing with this anonymity provides for a studied layer to everyday dress that’s sharply literal and paused in time. Watching the tin man play an inspiring role in last season’s fashion artillery shows just how Ackermann and Pugh feel the same.
Fresh from hearing news that Michael was in fact murdered, I provide you with one of my all-time favorite tracks recorded by his only girl group to date, Brownstone. Off his MJJ record label, the trio was signed to reproduce earlier successes of female powerhouse groups, SWV, En Vogue, and Xscape. Their only major hit single begins with an acapella harmony that quickly turns into a grand-slamming streetquake. Look at those finger waves. The dripping screen effect’s got the ladies whaling! Little do they know, we can hear them loud and clear, even in the shower.
If your glass wasn’t warm enough already, there’s this pointlessly chic Azumi and David “Fur Glass Warmer” to shield its outer shell from Arctic conditions. I can use it to heat my change cup while begging on the streets this fall. It’s one case I’d say ‘save the animal’. We’re at the point where we can’t afford to dress ourselves, let alone our cups… but thanks anyway Colette. Nice try.
World Premiere: “Hands On You” – Juvenile (Feat. Pleasure P)
The Jeff Bridges of Rap is back with his first radio-friendly single since Cool & Dre’s “Rodeo.” Its synth-heavy five-layer beat by N’Orleans newbie, Tick Tock, makes Pleasure P’s digi-yodel and Juve’s southern drawl more than tolerable. It’s no “Ha” but it’s still Baton Rouge as ever.
Since releasing ESSOcentric in ’06, Harlem’s Esso has been grinding under the radar, dropping responses to Lil’ Wayne’s The Carter III, freestyling on Sirius, and now, putting out arguably the most respectable open-letter to Michael Jackson yet. The abundance of MJ tributes, revamps, and remixes surfacing lately don’t compare to Esso’s latest Off The Wall concept mixtape. He claims to have begun recording material for the mixtape months before Michael’s untimely passing, but, who cares about logistics when each track is so fucking right? It might be believable, seeing that none of his verses even cite a mention to the music legend. I suppose everyone visiting S&M is Off The Wall fluent, so lay back, light up, and let Esso strike that deep chord. Reminiscent and reinventive, WoodysProduce slices samples from Mike’s classic LP to create the lush backdrops for Esso’s trips down memory lane. Hear it here first…
Could this be true? My current fave, Haider Ackermann, to take over at Margiela? I’m as confused as I sit salivating. I don’t really know what to think as of yet. Supposedly he’d keep doing his own line (Phew). More deets as they roll in.
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Song of the Day: “Stroke You Up” – Changing Faces
I remember blushing to this song even before I had a clue what is was all about. I still blush when I see R.Kelly. The man pees on minors and that makes me uncomfortable. But the nameless babes of his lingerie-laden girl group Changing Faces being watched by their maker in an empty mansion makes me even more nervous. They don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.
There’s no shying away from the fact that I am and have always been a McQueenaholic. I respect a man who approaches fashion as drama, costume, theater. His most recent Resort collection is no exception. Although it’s a presentation season, he’s managed to stay true to his popular silhouettes and attitude. His structured tops over skinny bottoms made up of op-art schemes, brights, and brush strokes, seem perfectly aligned to fit today’s tamer costumer while still employing his trademark twists. There’s even a sweater that’s straight out of GAP ’01 holiday season. Surprise!
Mix Utada with Jamiroquai, sprinkle in some Private and Lykke Li and you get O’Spada: Sweden’s next big show-’em-how-it’s-done sparkle-disco export. Julia Spada, the latest throwback establishment’s head mistress, aptly speaks on how she don’t have time for anything she can’tget behind in their first major single, “Time.” No arguments. Go ahead. Shit on those bitches. Her voice and accent are just too official. Consider this record the first time any style-over-substantive alt-pop hipster garbage sounded so worth while. Props. And to those who’ll spread this like jam; when I hear this at Jane, you can thank me there.
I’m starting a new post series that reflects on my personal style influences, entitled ‘fashion focus.’ I promise once I’m fully moved into my new apartment I will have the August edition of mh.edits up. In the meantime, for the first post of the series, it’s my love for plaid explained. No, it doesn’t come from anything grunge-inspired or hipster (hell, I was listening to Janet in ’93 not Alice in Chains), it’s pieces from my whimsical tween love affair with Larisa Oleynik or better known to SNICK viewers as Alex Mack from The Secret World of Alex Mack. She was cute, had killer style (and if I remember correctly an amazing hat collection), along with the fact that she could morph into that weird silver CGI goop whenever she had to escape from her crush or the scientists that were chasing her. But when I think of Alex, it’s her affinity for the checked flannel that I remember most. She’d accompany any overall or backwards cap with an open plaid buttondown, either tied upon her waist or sizes too large, slouched atop her tee. It’s the root of my endearment for the pattern that so often ends up on my back.
So, his mother’s a crackhead. Get over it. He lost on Dancing With The Stars. I’m over it. Reality shows have the ability to make anyone into disastrous play figurines. Sadly, for Mario’s music career; bad decisions have overshadowed his grace as of late. The cat is talented and has even been tagged as the Al Green of his day. His last album, the seductive Go, still stands as one of ’07’s best. His voice never tires in my opinion, his songwriting’s always on point and personal, it’s his generic positioning that’s done him in. Do remember: the kid gave us “Let Me Love U” in 2004 (Billboard All Time Top 100 #45) when he was only 18. He’s suiting up for an attempted comeback this September when he drops his fourth LP entitled D.N.A. While these songs are nothing final, they should give a good taste of what’s to come for the 22-year-old R&B crooner. Disregard his label’s first single choice, “Break Up,” penned by the hurl-worthy Sean Garrett, and have a listen to some colossal pre-cut tracks I’ve got my hands on instead.
World Premiere, Pt. 1: “Stuttering” – Mario
Production by Stargate. Catchy as hell. Turn that bass up.
World Premiere, Pt. 2: “Crazy Kind of Love” – Mario
Written with The-Dream. Song is gold. Why aren’t xylophones used in more songs?
I’m a huge Drew Barrymore fan. And no, it’s not because we have the same hair. It’s the combination of her unconscious quirkiness, individuality, and never-grow-up persona that’s always captivated me. She’s anything but average and her work is all over the place. She was a drug addict at 10. Flashed David Letterman at 20 and is about to release her directorial debut at 34, entitled – wait for it – Whip It. She’s the type of actress that seems as if she’s never acting at all, like it’s all one big joke. It feels as if she hits the bowl twice, hops on screen giggling, and it’s a done deal every time. America loves a good hippie. Her directing? We’ll just have to wait and see. Roller derbies, Juliette Lewis, and Eve. I’ll take it.
While Coolio was making white folks dance, LV was on the side lines of Tommy Boy Records’ roster keeping things situated. LV stands for Large Variety not Louis Vuitton (dummy). This track is by far his flyest. Released in 1995, its funky buzz is an ode to Roger Troutman. Whose got the hot links?
Take that straw out your mouth.
(Whatever. You’re still my idol.)
Song of the Day: “Ain’t Nobody” – Monica (Feat. Treach of Naughty By Nature)Vodpod videos no longer available.
You knew I had to throw down for Monica at some point! No one’s voice is as husky and gutter and hearty as Miss Thang’s. This track stands out whenever I’m asked to name my favorite Monica joint. Which happens to come up quite often, actually. Jokes. No matter how faded her career is, spin this song and witness its vibe.
World Premiere: “Dancing Machine (Polow Da Don Remix)” – Michael Jackson
Michael’s alive? No, it’s just Bubbles! Just got news that Motown’s releasing an MJ Remix Suite compilation this fall with 20 remixes of Mo-era Michael by the hottest in producerland (everyone from Dallas Austin to The Neptunes). This one here is the hottest I’ve heard thus far… obviously, I’m biased since it’s Polow’s, but honestly, the energy this dude’s injected into an originally energetic track is celestial and reinventive. Polow’s one of my all-time favorite producers for the simple fact that he can create emotive soundscapes out of driving bass layers, woodchucks, horn backs, and vibrating airborne synths. This cut takes his forte to another level entirely, revamping classic Jackson to sound inimitably modern. Mike would be proud. 1234! Hear it here first.
Lea Groeseland of Olso, Norway is this year’s V Model Winner and is – gasp! – 15 years old. Her first pro shoot happened this past month in Brooklyn, NY, and happens to be one that I assisted on. It was amazing to work with another young Scandinavian! Styled by Clare Richardson and shot by Hasse Nielsen, Lea looks years beyond her age. Here’s a peek at what made the cut. Issue hits stands September 1st.
If you got through “It’s So Cold In The D” without cringing and leaving the room, then “Why Must I Cry” is the obvious next step. The guy’s like a down-syndrome Andy Milonakis with an HD video recorder. You can’t help but cry.
Song of the Day: “Walking With A Ghost In Paris” – Tegan & Sara x Mylo
Tegan & Sara’s “Walking With A Ghost” (orginally released in 2005) sounds like the sped-up Pat Benatar sample used for Lil’ Kim’s “Don’t Mess With Me” in all its squeaky glory. As it were an 80’s hair metal rocker tweaked by Kanye or Clinton Sparks, the twins sound as if they’ve been sucking on balloons to achieve their Chipmunk delivery, although sadly that’s not the case. Take their helium-induced sound and place it upon Mylo’s “Paris Four Hundred” and you’ve got an even more amped version of a track already on speed.
Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a bit. Been visiting family and friends in Buffalo and Oakland.
And since I’ve been chilling in the Bay Area, it’s only appropriate I dissect some Play-N-Skillz slickness. I recall hearing their “Freaks” single in Los Angeles on the freeway with my dad a few years back. It was number one on some hip-hop station’s daily countdown and I had never heard it before. Perhaps the East’s radio never got the memo – because the shit was hot and still is. It features both Krayzie Bone and one of my faves, Adina Howard, while the sample used is Art of Noise’s 1983 “Moments in Love” and can be heard in Drake and Kyoko’s phenomenal, short but sweet “Come Real” (off his mixtape Heartbreak Drake). “Moments In Love” is one song that you’ll hear everywhere from Tech N9ne to LL Cool J to Mya and back. These two tracks, though, do the original tune such justice in their sparsely touched productions, they could easily be confused as firsts.
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(One of the best videos ever made?)
Truthfully, I’ve never been the biggest dubstep fan. I’ll slip a Dizzee Rascal track into a mix CD every so often, but nothing too grimey. This track though, I must admit, is a total monster – one that’ll have a semi-permanent spot on my playlist until at least October. Eve has been gone for a good minute and it’s nice to hear her heading in a new direction. The last time we heard from her was on Swizz Beats’ mediocre “Tambourine” months before scrapping her comeback album plans. It seems that now that her television and clothing careers are over, she’s headed back to the studio with some serious intentions. “Me N My” appeared on the net hours ago and hasn’t stopped playing on my MacBook since. The Salaam-produced track features a sample off Benga’s Afro Warrior LP and plays like a ’97 Prodigy track fit for krumping competitions [Rize]. The song is so hyper, you can almost hear joints cracking and arms flailing to the Batmobile beat. Eve, at last, is back… paying homage to a musical genre that’s never taken off stateside: Grime. I’m happy to hear Eve using her mainstream mouth for the greater good. Come on, dance, come on.