WITH RICK RUBIN AS EP I CANT WAIT TO HEAR THIS
Daft Punk is playing in Kanye’s house.
Kanye West’s hugely anticipated “Yeezus” promises to be some party, with the French electronic music masters tipped to appear alongside the likes of Chief Keef and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.
In fact, Chief Keef and Vernon are expected to appear on the same song — a track entitled “Can’t Handle My Liquor”.
Word got out from a “Yeezus” listening session Monday night at New York’s Milk. On the night, West confirmed that Daft Punk worked on three or four songs, and he shared a track that reworks TNGHT’s “Higher Ground” with Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” Pitchfork reports.
West also revealed that Rick Rubin had executive-produced the album.
According to the AP, the album has a “dark, moody vibe that expands beyond his last two solo efforts,” and it’s a departure from his first three, hit-filled albums.
I LOVE NEW STUFF
Sony has pulled the curtains off the mysterious next-gen PlayStation hardware and reveals a design that brings back memories of the PS2 form factor, but updated for 2013. Look out for the PS4 to hit store shelves this winter. $399, PlayStation
BEAST MODE !!
Apple today showed a sneak peek into the future of the pro desktop with a first look at the next generation Mac Pro. Designed around a revolutionary unified thermal core, the Mac Pro introduces a completely new pro desktop architecture and design that is optimized for performance. With next generation Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, PCIe-based flash storage, and ultra-fast ECC memory, the new 9.9-inch tall Mac Pro packs an amazing amount of power into an incredibly small package.
The result is a pro desktop with breakthrough performance packed into a design that is one-eighth the volume of the current Mac Pro. Next generation Intel Xeon E5 processors with up to 12 core configurations deliver double the floating point performance. With two AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs, the all-new Mac Pro is up to 2.5 times faster than the current Mac Pro and delivers up to an amazing 7 teraflops of computing power. The new Mac Pro also features PCIe-based flash storage that is up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives and includes the latest four-channel ECC DDR3 memory running at 1866 MHz to deliver up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth. The new Mac Pro lets you seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background.
With six Thunderbolt 2 ports that can deliver up to 20Gbps of bandwidth to each external device, Mac Pro is perfect for connecting to external storage, multiple PCI expansion chassis, audio and video breakout boxes, and the latest external displays, including 4K desktop displays. Each of the six Thunderbolt 2 ports supports up to six daisy-chained devices, giving you the ability to connect up to 36 high-performance peripherals. Thunderbolt 2 is completely backwards compatible with existing Thunderbolt peripherals. The next generation Mac Pro will be available later this year. To learn more, visit apple.com.
Last night I had the opportunity to see two of the true OGs of hip hop – Method Man and Redman – and it became clear to me why rap music will never get better than it was in the 90′s: true MCs do not overcrowd their songs or stage with lies and bullshit. In fact, Redman said it best last night, when he stopped the music mid-song to tell the audience:
“We are MCs who know how to put on a show. We don’t put a ton of people on stage with us, because we want you to hear us.”
He went on to talk about how he misses true MCs who talked about the weed game and living the true street life, and that he was tired of all the new “rappers” who just acted like they knew what they were talking about. I immediately grabbed my cell phone, and started to write down what he was saying, and how it made me feel.
It finally made sense.
There really is a difference between “MCs” and “Rappers.” Redman told the audience:
“Redman and Methodman are MCs, and not rappers. Rappers are the shit you hear 80 times a day on the radio. I’m a real MC.”
Real MCs are there to tell you a story; Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Wu-Tang Clan, DasEFX, The Roots, Common, Eazy-E, Snoop Dogg, they were all narrating their lives, or what they saw happening in front of them on a daily basis. Some of it was good – the parties, the women, the weed smoke, etc – but a lot more of it was terrible – the deaths of friends, of families, the battles with drugs, the selling of drugs, the need to carry weapons, the fear they had when they walked around the city – and they wanted their listeners to understand it, because they knew that someone had to make it make sense.
Now, I’m a white kid who, from the age of seven, grew up in a middle-class household in the middle of a white suburban section of a mainly white part of SW Portland, Oregon. There wasn’t a ton of diversity in my neighborhood, or school, but there were a few different races here and there, and we all seemed to mix just fine. I never really remember any racial issues that led to fights, more just typical kid stuff that brought on the occasional beat-each-other-senseless-then-go-back-to-the-basketball-game moments. Before we moved, we lived in – what was at the time – a not-so-great part of town, near a not-so-great park, where my parents had to time me when I rode my bike around the block, and we could hear the occasional gunshot ring out from a house down the street. All of my friends were black, the majority of my school was black, and I didn’t notice any difference because it was simply who I was and where I was.
My friends, until 3rd grade, all listened to the rap music their older siblings gave them – Tone Loc, Kool Mo Dee, Gangstarr, NWA, Big Herc – and talked about parties where they heard of Funky Cold Medina being given to girls, and the new chains that they got for birthdays. While I didn’t really understand a lot of what they were talking about, I was a young kid who knew it was dangerous, and I was curious about the music and culture; so I listened to everything I could, memorized all that I could, and went on my merry way.
Hip Hop, as all things, went through a massive change with the onset of the new millennium. Things felt a bit more fake and watered down, and the radio started playing quite a bit more, and it just didn’t seem to carry the same narrative as it had during the 90′s. I think once TuPac and Biggie died, there was this sudden feeling that things had to be told in mass hyperbole, and a lot more theater was added into the music. Stage shows were made into almost plays, 20 people would stand on stage with the main MCs, and the lyrics got lost in the mix. By the time 2010 rolled around, rap had blended with pop had blended with R&B had blended with radio friendly music that parents weren’t so scared of anymore, and the ones they were scared of, were spinning yarn about things they really didn’t know much about.
In the middle of the show last night, someone from the audience threw something at Method Man. He immediately jumped into the crowd to go searching for whoever it was that did it. The person obviously ducked into the audience, so Meth got back on stage, and called him out. He told him
If you want to come throw something at me, be a fucking man, and come up here and throw it at me. I promise you that no one on this stage will touch you except for me.
You knew that he was serious, and while not one person approached the stage, the crowd got silent, and waited just a moment to see what would happen next. The performance moved along, and nothing was said about it again, but in that moment “shit got real.” Method Man and Redman, and the other members of the Wu-Tang Clan who were there (Cappadonna and StreetLife), have experience with this. To paraphrase something that Ghostface Killah once said, they’ve been there, they’ve shot people, they’ve been shot, and now they rap about it. Last night we all got the feeling that it wouldn’t take much for them to go right back to it.
On the flip side, 2Chainz was robbed at gunpoint yesterday and TMZ reported they were ”told video also shows Chainz and 14 of his people all “ran away from the incident like cockroaches running from a flashlight.” But I’m confused, because in his music, he “started out sellin’ crack,” so shouldn’t he be used to this sort of thing, and shouldn’t he, and his entourage, be willing to stay and fight, and fire back? Or is he just spinning a fictional tale in order to sell music?
Now I don’t fault those who write fictional lyrics, or fiction novels – it’s an art form, and I appreciate it quite a bit – but I more appreciate the honest approach to narrating the life in which one has lived, in order to tell others how to survive either in “the game”, or out of “the game”.
To quote a song from Method Man and Redman’s Blackout album, “You don’t got no wins in mi casa.” No one is doing it better than the true MCs who have been there, done that, and are willing to talk about it all.
Here’s a list of the top 20 MCs and hip hop groups I’ve seen in my near-32 years of life:
- Dr. Dre
- Snoop Dogg
- Ice Cube
- The Roots (12 times)
- Sage Francis (5 times)
- Wu-Tang Clan (pre death of ODB, and the full group plus a few of the extended members)
- Ghostface Killah
- Warren G
- Talib Kweli
- Blackstar (Mos Def / Talib Kweli)
- Eyedea and Abilities
- Saul Williams
- Method Man & Redman
As many of you know, NIGO is stepping away from A Bathing Ape to pursue different projects, including the development of his new clothing brand–Human Made–and a retail venture called Cold Coffee. WWD Japan had the opportunity to catch up with NIGO and talk about his decision to leave the brand he founded, read an excerpt from the interview below and be sure to head on over to WWD for the entire story.
WWD: Why did you choose to leave A Bathing Ape, the very brand you started? When did you make the decision?
Nigo: It was about six months ago that I started to think about what I wanted to do next. I guess it’s just me being selfish. It has been 20 years since I founded the brand, and in another 20 years from now I will be 60. I started fumbling around for some new possibilities. What I really want to make clear is that I didn’t fall out with [I.T chief executive officer] Sham Kar Wai. Sham and I get on as more than business associates and we came to a mutual decision. It was simply that I came to the realization that Bape was no longer just my creation and I didn’t renew the contract that I signed two years ago when I sold the company.
WWD: Since I.T bought the company, the brand has changed significantly. I.T has launched a diffusion line called Aape by A Bathing Ape and there are many more products with prominent logos. Isn’t that a departure for the brand?
Nigo: I think it is pretty obvious that from the perspective of I.T, they weren’t just buying a brand, they were looking to turn a profit. But I am very grateful to them, not only for buying the company, but for listening to my input. Two years ago when I sold it, times were really tough. We were really feeling the effects of the Lehman Bros. collapse and the banks just weren’t lending. The decision to sell was to protect us, our employees and even the banks. It was the best decision for us all to make it out alive. Actually, we were having talks with a number of people at the time, not just I.T, but those all faltered leaving I.T as the only buyer. Thanks to I.T, it was like I had stepped on a land mine but, thankfully, it hadn’t gone off. After the sale, I learnt a lot from I.T, especially about how to keep costs down, which looking back on my time as manager, was the thing I needed to reevaluate the most.
WWD: Do you think that without you Bape is going to change even more significantly from now on?
Nigo: There is a hangover caused by my own time managing Bape. That without me the brand wouldn’t exist is something the people who follow in my footsteps will have to overcome. But I think that I.T is confident that it is going to continue to sell without me. Especially in Asia, Bape is Bape. There are people who are fanatical about the logo alone. Maybe it will have an effect in places in the West like New York where I have an identity as Nigo. As for Japan, I wonder? I have a feeling they will just have to push on. If something goes wrong, maybe they will call me back!