Archive for the Culture Category
… Sonny Knight was, and is great. He came across as the kind of guy who comes from bygone era, while effectively staying relevant. His music has life. He utilized three backup singers and a full band, he was doing it right. At the peak of the numbers in the crowd, Sonny rocked the stage like a champion. The best song of the day was “Hey Girl”, naturally, but even less familiar songs moved those in attendance. From behind the performers looking out, one could see raw excitement, and the power which Sonny sustained. His set was charged and intimate, and precisely electric. It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise, having never seen him before.
Sonny played for some time, and then the show was over. The crowd was pleased. I exited the stage at about the same time in hopes of having a one-on-one conversation with the artist. I ran around back as he was being mobbed by fans and snapped at with cameras. He took time for the adoration and with a broad smile he vanished. Sonny was something; to me, he seemed like a classic soul singer from the distant past, yet he was thriving in 2014. I wondered where his time machine was parked. Searching, I found nothing…
For the full story coming soon, check: www.dirtyterry.com
You are probably reading this because it is made out of words. I digress.
The real story:
I worked all weekend; however, I found out earlier on friday about the numerous block parties happening over the next couple of days. Where there is a will there is a way, its hard to stop when there is so much going on around you. Luckily, I was at block parties all weekend getting drunk, having promiscuous sex on bridges near downtown, and checking out supremely awesome hip-hop acts.
Um, if you haven’t attended a block party in Minneapolis you don’t know what it is like to have an exclusively progressive music scene in your area. There are girls, music, booze, and tons of sights to take in and process.
I saw more fresh acts this weekend, with great potential, than I have in the recent years, and it was mostly free and very close to Downtown Minneapolis. I think I might’ve paid $10 for a ticket, unlimited beer, and I even got VIP access on accident. Whoops! My bad, but it was really good. These are social events to take advantage of and respect.
Summer time in Minneapolis is like this: Work a little, drink a lot, check out the block parties and what’s kicking with local musicians, and ride bike. Your favorite artists are everywhere, even in the crowd. Go and make friends. I would say it is a perfect city if you are interested in art, fun times, and music in any way at all. Come see what we got.
I was at The 331 this last weekend drinking and listening to an act I had not heard before, a hip-hop artist by the name of Sean Anonymous. So good, with such a sick-chill-awesome flow and the ability to rock the crowd. I was impressed and really happy that I had taken advantage of the free block party show at The 331.
There were classic cars, insane motorcycles, and art on display throughout the block, and around the back of the bar people gathered near a stage in preparation of the show.
Sean Anonymous has much empathy in his songwriting, and a realistic relatable idea behind it. His energy on stage was powerful, he had some guest acts, and a personality that was fun to take in from concert venue viewpoint. If you get a chance check him out at: Sean Anonymous Facebook , Sean Anonymous Twitter Handle .
I met Sean in the crowd after his set (or rather in VIP, above at he Thrifty Hipster Headquarters) and gave him my credentials, talked with him over some beer for a few moments. Asked for a CD, and joyously thanked him for hooking it up. Said mad respect, and here I sit listening, and I like what I hear.
In the album, Anonymo, he really goes into detail on how, and what its like to be a struggling artist. The hoops you have to go through. The beats on the album are bumping, the production is well rounded and interesting. Its fresh, heavy, and gangsteresque, with a tongue-in-cheek Minnesota nice feel, but in a passive aggressive way. This 7 track album is packed with creativity, intellectual understanding, and a head-bobbing feel, ya feel me? If you have a chance, give Sean Anonymous a listen, get his CD. I love the representation of Minneapolis that he facilitates throughout Anonymo. Honest and down to earth. Honestly worth being heard. No bullshit.
Highlights of the album: Mostly all of the songs. 1. Fast Forward, 4. Alright, and all the others beyond that are standout quality songs.
Lows: There aren’t many lows. Sean is representing Minneapolis, flowing like a fountain, and banging beats like I’m banging someone’s girlfriend or mother. But really its good. A real and personal artist with a great stage presence, worthy of an audience. I look forward to the next show.
In the movie Sandlot, Babe Ruth made a quote that I will never forget: “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die”. Keith “Guru” Elam is exactly the type of human that personifies what the Colossus of Clout was talking about. For the better part of two decades, Guru wrote some of the most insightful and intelligent rhymes in Hip-Hop. From the humble beginnings, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal was a potent emcee, and he only became stronger as the years passed.
There are a lot of emcees out there who always use the same monotonous flow, and after hearing a vast portion of their catalog, listening to their music becomes a chore; the same cannot be said about Elam’s work. Dubbing himself “The King of Monotone”, Guru never changed his style or delivery once in his career, and it’s one of the biggest reasons that he remains an unforgettable emcee. If Bald Head Slick was on a track, everyone and their brother was looking for it.
One of my favorite albums of all-time without a doubt is Gang Starr, Moment of Truth; to me, it’s by far one of the most polished albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. I would never discredit anything that Gang Starr released because I’m a huge fan of every album in their catalog, but Moment of Truth towers over everything else in my opinion. From rhyming with Inspectah Deck on the fan favorite “Above The Clouds”, to spitting bar-for-bar along side Freddie Foxxx and Big Shug on “The Militia”, Guru makes sure that every one of his stanzas are heartfelt and memorable.
One of my favorite songs of all-time is the title track from Moment of Truth. Guru spits forty-eight bars of real-life lyrics; everything that he says makes perfect sense, and if you take a minute to deeply digest the lyrics, you can apply it to situations in your own life:
“Sometimes you gotta dig deep when problems come near/don’t fear, things get severe for everybody everywhere/why do bad things happen to good people?/seems that life is just a constant war between good and evil/the situation that I’m facin’ is mad amazin’/to think such problems can arise from minor confrontations”
Guru would have been fifty-one years old today, and rest assured, he would still be rhyming with the best of them. I can personally say that he rests comfortably among my top ten favorite emcees of all-time, and I know a lot of people would put him in the same category. There’s no denying that Guru’s presence is missed greatly in Hip-Hop culture, and it will continue to leave a void for many years to come.
A couple of years back DJ Premier stated that he had enough Gang Starr material to compile a posthumous LP, but it’s never made its way into seeing the light of day. Personally, I would love to see another Gang Starr album, but if there isn’t one, it wouldn’t bother me; between the Jazzmatazz series and his work with DJ Premier, Guru has already left behind a legacy that most emcees would die to have.
What ever happened to camaraderie in the hip hop community, maybe even, a positive message relating to community within hip hop? Regularly, we are flooded with hateful music from artists feuding, trivially, with other artists in order to get name recognition for mediocre attempts at musical art; a backwards way of name dropping while flexing not artistic muscle, I am sure there is some sort of inside deal about name dropping in correlation to fame. In many ways I think negative aggression lacks substance, I mean, other than how someone is going to kill another rapper, out do them with hoes, or make, and or stack more cash than said other rapper, the insight is useless to my ears. (I will try to refrain from using the word artist unless the person doing the work is truly an artist.)
I want to hear rhymes about real situations, real good times, and especially positive thought.
How many artists actually carry guns, kick that much ass, and fuck that many fine girls? If so I am sure they aren’t really that excited about it really. So why make a song about it? What does the demographic that listens to hip hop want? I used to listen to Lil Wayne more often in high school because I thought after I turned 18 and didn’t live with my mom I would be rich, own a mansion, and drive a Bentley. This dream is over, I have grown up. Maybe a Hail Mary is affordable to some listening, maybe subtlety, even Dr. Dre says ‘still water runs deep’, is more realistic though. Have we lost that message?
On the other hand, I am thankful daily for something, anything, positive flowing into my life, as the above video has. I like to represent all things positive and progressive, especially in my locale. I look and I find. If you look you will find.
All of the artists in the above shown video seem excited about being out and having a good time. They don’t seem to be cutting on anyone, or getting their jollies off by slicing on other rappers. The positive energy is fascinating and seems highly addictive, I want some.
I see a group of artists having fun laughing, enjoying themselves sans flashing guns, drugs (besides Prof and the beers), riding in tricked out custom cars, and I am amazed, but don’t think I should be. Prof is even on a bike, that is Minneapolis to the core. Those fleeting things shouldn’t be the backbone of an industry, more so, they seem a means to an end, hopefully.
I guess bullying doesn’t prove your manliness. It proves you have a lot on your mind-in regards to other men, artists, etc. Maybe its time to start thinking, as an artist, in a more enlightening way.
When have you, in recent times, seen this many MC’s getting down in a friendly jovial manner? I think some artists think it might be the hardest shit that gets them noticed or the most vicious, but I feel that thinking (or lack of thought) reduces originality and relevance considering that is probably the most frequently used form of delivery in the hip hop industry as we know it. 50 cent did it, but that was 15 years ago, and he is huge and a real gangster, apparently. And Ja Rule does suck. I always see battles on Nicollet Mall in front of the Library and someone is yelling, or someone is walking away defeated. My friend, I feel for you, because remember: Volume does not equal intelligence. They should read a book perhaps.
So, I would like to give a massive shout out to those with positivity, forward-thinking ventures, life-like ideas and little animosity towards kin, unless it is usefully and positively expressed.
Negative hip hop is childish:
Like, man, that dude got rocked in that 8 mile MC battle…
Or, That cat got rocked in a battle at that one crazy party…
Did you hear that 50 diss??? OMG!
(… it was also boring and uninteresting)
I remember these statements, but I don’t want to recollect through a CD. I would rather have positive enjoyment. Maybe a laugh. I would rather listen to the whole #APT Crew at DDP singing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody drunk as shit under the Hennepin Ave Bridge via my Windows phone.
The more I think of how normal the hip hop industry sounds (mainstream, nationally, and internationally), I compare it to what I hear locally in Minneapolis, or through my friends, and I am blown away with how everyone around here seems to be everybody else’s keeper, ahead of the rest, and able to deal with reality. The big picture is there is rivalry, yet there is a sense of respect, interest, and differing perspective. Hence the art is not bland and overdone.
Internationally, I respect the message of The Streets. Mike Skinner’s idea of not trading dreams in for a 9-5 job captivate me as a listener. Locally, underground, and semi-nationally I respect the late great Gavin Theory, and Hives Inquiry Squad. And Locally I respect most all Rhymesayers Entertainment artists: Rhymesayers Official.
I hope hip hop does not get fixated any more than it already has with boasting, hyperbolic slander, and generally negative concepts. I can only look, hope, and pray for inspired, hilarious, and friendly spirits in music (As the above videos have demonstrated). I think we all need a little smile on our faces from the music we listen to, or just a smile while we throw negative music out of our lives. Music is awesome, I think artists need to make it a beneficial thing that is worthy of a listen, and be held to their work, other than promoting a headache. Why waste a burned CD?
Again, I am ever impressed with what is around me, and I am happy as F to be living in Minneapolis. The music seems to keep offering interesting and realistic opportunities aurally. 89.3 The Current keeps up with some very innovative acts, very cutting edge, and local word of mouth is dominant and precise.
A message for all you MC’s: evidence proves that sticking together takes you farther. Divide and conquer, stick together and prosper.
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This week’s episode of your favorite podcast about nothing in particular is about golf. To be honest, I think golf is a great sport and I truly wish I played more so I could get better at it, I just don’t seem to have the time or patience anymore. The guys shot this episode up north (as well as episode 10) and it looks like a great place to chill out and have a good time. This is the type of crew that I can see myself golfing with, they like to have a good time and have a few drunks while hitting the links. It looks like they had a lot of fun, and if Officer Barbrady was there I wouldn’t be surprised if he would be having a field day (due to all of the shenanigans). It looks like Timberstone & Oak Crest are nice places to golf if you get the chance and are an avid golfer.
As always you can catch the guys over at http://thesundayshow.com