AZOMALI - Music for Solo Camping Vol. 1

Trim all the fat. Cut past the meat to bone itself and arrive at the question around which all civilizations live and let die. 

Would you rather fight a bear or a shark? 

This is not a test. It's the test, fool! Well, what's it going to be? Who's the apex predator now? Music For Solo Camping Vol. 1 proffers the kind of headspace one needs to contemplate such central queries and crucial conflicts. It's a place of roaming epiphany, like the realization that "Hay" has essentially the same beat as "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa." Only here may one truly and completely consider the implications thereof. 

Keeping it 100, I'm no camper. I'm a beach cat not a mountain lion. In other words, I'm team shark. For one, you can just hit the shark in the nose. Like Cam's coach said, he might be pussy. Second, whereas Jaws was fiction, Grizzly Man was a goddamn documentary. You must never listen to this. You must feel it between your toes like morning dew-coated blades of grass.

If everyone is an island, and here we are—you, me, us—then living unhoused equals solo camping. 


Confines - Work Up the Blood

When I was about 15 years old, I wrote and began shooting a script for a parody of the wrestling documentary Beyond the Mat entitled Beyond the Fat: The El Grande Story. One character in the film was a wrestler named the Vigilante. For his finishing move, he would pull out a gun and shoot his opponent. Because of this, he was always on the run from the law—hence, the vigilante. (In hindsight, the fugitive probably would've been a more appropriate name, but I was 15 and super into Death Wish at the time.) The script may be lying here somewhere. When Confines drops another project, I'll dig it up. Until then, enjoy this joint from December 2021.


Blaq Kush - There's Always Hope Vol. 4

Blaq Kush's mom speaks my language when she opens this album proclaiming "I can't tell you anything about this business, I don't know anything about it." This has essentially been my pitch to Kush to put a tape out on Long Island Rap Records for the past three years. To be fair, it was also my pitch when he contacted me eight years ago asking me to be his publicist. I'm nothing if not persistent. Hell, with my swimmer's ear, I may as well be the proprietor of "Deaf Man Records." "But I can tell you" that any new Blaq Kush release is practically guaranteed to get run back like "the hottest record in New York City" according to Flex on any given Thursday night. What I'm saying is this: We live in a time and place where Cash Cobain and KRS One share programming blocks. The game is a wrap. Tonight, I googled Blaq Kush and found out about his experimental noise project, This is not Blaq Kush. It's over. We won. Everything from here on out is a bonus track. Let's put two volumes on each side and call it the definitive edition.


Biz Markie & TJ Swan - Live in Boston, 1987

Talks out of turn. Doesn't listen to instruction. Tastes too niche for the mainstream and too common for the collectors. Can't figure out how to get Bing to acknowledge his website's existence. Remains largely unresponsive. Doesn't play well with others? Certainly won't beg anyone to attend the cookout. 

If you read this, I appreciate you. But please understand that as much as I hope you enjoy doing so, it's besides the point. This is all for me and mine, always has been. Your presence is not required. See the comments section for almost every post. Do note the absence of snake oil-selling spambots while you're at it.

In conclusion, "Anybody that don't got the AIDS or ain't on crack, throw your hands up in the air."


Shape - Midnight Geometry

"As long as I've been back and forth from Jerse to Long Island, I can get a crowd response equal to 'South Bronx'" — Tame One, "Detox the Ghetto"

And in the latest chapter of the New Jersey-Long Island cultural exchange program, we bring you Midnight Geometry, the new producer album from Ian "Shape" Morrison. A lazy writer fishing for an easy hook could do worse than pitch the Karma Kids-Smokers Cough sixth borough circuit featured here as the epicenter of outsider rap (and as a lazy writer, you might even work an Outsidaz pun in there somehow). I, on the other hand, will simply point out that the Karma crew has been on quite the pandemic-era album run these past few years such that Midnight Geometry had me revisiting Teddy Brown Brown for the umpteenth time on the ride home this evening and now I'm about to run back Tap on the Glass. Peace to C$Burns for making everything sound right. Peace to Yung Daddy for outrapping all her peers.


AZOMALI & Blu - "Bodega"

"Egg" means two eggs scrambled unless it means two fried. "Cheese" means melted American. A Kaiser roll is the default. If they ask how you want your eggs cooked, it's not going to be good. If they ask what kind of bread or cheese you want, it's not going to be good. If it costs more than $5, it's going to be fucking awful. If you get one egg, call the cops. The hot lunch should look insane. Azomali's right to recommend the fried plantain. The rice and beans also knock. Do the ribs look gooey? Is the person behind the glass cutting them with a knife that looks almost machete like? Does its every chop echo in your bones? If so, you can't go wrong.



It's a bacchanal! Call me Joey. Call me Donny. Call me any of Kool Keith's 58 aliases, except Exotron Geiger Counter One Plus Megatron, unless, of course, you want this to end prematurely. Speaking of, if HEAVEN SENT were to ever get a vinyl release, (I would cop and) it should have one of those Funky Ass Records center labels—you know the ones. While we're on the subject of ifs and/or butt, if Cardi B had ghostwritten "Swimming Pool (Drank)," it'd share thematic ground with HEAVEN SENT. Sexy drill is a pornocore renaissance akin to HBO Late Night with Oscar-worthy writing and full penetration. If you don't love it, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe try one of those gas station pills.


DJ Surrup & Makeda Iroquois - Demo (Chopped Not Slopped)

It's been nearly seven years since #BarcelonaBrazy3 dropped. Though long gone from the internet, the genre-defying mixtape has stayed in heavy rotation 'round here. Oh, you don't rip streams so you can return to them long past their DMCA-allotted shelf life? That's wild to me. It's been almost three years since Zero Klique songstress Makeda Iroquois released her Demo album and over two since DJ Surrup gave it his Chopped Not Slopped treatment. You could say we slept 'round here. But then, you might also say all time begins and ends with zeroes — what goes around comes around like. 


Kai Fortyfive - Dinner at Lonely's

The sun is an 865,000-mile ball of gas 93 million miles away from the Earth. The moon is a 2,159.2-mile ball of rocks 238,900 miles away from the Earth. It just so happens that our moon is one 400th of the size of the sun and one 400th as far away from us. This is essentially the definition of a cosmic coincidence, true for no other no other planet's moon(s) across the solar system. Try telling all that to the average human walking the Earth 400 years ago. In 2024, doomsday prophecy still makes for an easier sell than math and science. As for me, I'm just thinking back on Stop 20 solo visits—late night burgers and early morning Benedicts, with only the Criterion Channel for companionship.


Chuck D on the struggles of Black and American Indian peoples, mixed with commentary from a renowned Indigenous Canadian writer, soundtracked by an international dub outfit, later remixed by Mad Professor

Sometimes, the title says it all. Sometimes, it says a lot and there's still more. 

In 1988, a man named Pat Andrade produced and put out a cassette titled The Secret War Against The Black Panthers And The Indian Movement In America. It was one of the first releases on Maya Music Group, an independent label based in Canada, founded by Andrade and the Spirit Voice aboriginal radio collective. Andrade himself is Canadian-Jamaican, but had enjoyed a formative stay on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona. The music of The Secret War is dub-reggae, performed primarily by a group called the Neo-Mafia (likely this Neo Mafia), with drums recorded in Budapest, Hungary, and guitar and harp in Ottawa, Canada. The vocals are spoken word from Indigenous authors Lee Maracle and Ward Churchill and yes, Chuck D. Where his vocals come from is unclear, but the record label's radio origins suggest it might've been an on-air interview. (Indeed, one might be tempted to take all this a step further, drawing some interesting parallels between Chuck D and Pat Andrade's broadcasting backgrounds.) At any rate, Maracle and Chuck D's voices appear together over two Neo-Mafia tracks on this release. However, only one, "Are You Comfortable," appears to be floating around the internet. And in fact, the version that's out there is taken from another Maya Music Group tape, 1989's Your Silence Will Not Protect You Volume 1. In 1991, "Are You Comfortable" is remixed by dub great Mad Professor, given the much more revealing title "At Least American Indian People Know Exactly How They've Been Fucked Around," and released on a 12" of the same name. Both tracks appear below.


That's all I've got. For more about Andrade and Maya Music Group, check out "Radical Rhythms: 'Dancing on John Wayne's Head'" from the September-October 1995 issue of Against the Current.