2/27/23

Keda Face - MOTIVATED

Keda Face's recent birthday bash was deejayed by the rap radio institution, Funk Master Flex. Thus, please feel free to read this post in his voice(πŸ’£πŸ”₯). New York, I'm so serious right now (πŸ’£πŸ”₯). I've been doing this a long time, OK? For those who don't know, Long Island is very much in the building. But there's one rapper from Long Island in particular right now, a young lady by the name of Keda Face (πŸ’£πŸ’£πŸ”₯πŸ”₯), who has really impressed me. She's a lovely young woman who is very much about her business, OK. And that business ... is bars (πŸ’£πŸ’£πŸ’£πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯). {Growling.} Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, please understand I am so MOTIVATED right now (πŸ’£πŸ’£πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯).

4DHxH & Azomali - "2:22 A.M."

I love a wild moniker. Case in point: the Outer Galactic Marauder Faction. This [landing] site's interdimensional observers might recall the name from a series of visual communiques Blaq Kush launched several years back, called Kushan Sundaze. The second installment of that series featured Kush along with his fellow Faction founders, including one by the name of 4DHxH, a relatively innocuous handle, that is, until one comes to find it stands for Fourth Dimensional HitchHiker! 

Time-warp to December 12, 2022, whence 4D has teamed with the elusive 1492 auteur Azomali for a one-off called "2:22 A.M." Speaking to the titular subject, the artist formerly known as Kaotik Ellement raps, "Overlook the Earth from the distance before the shine within / I do not understand Father Time so why would I align with him?" This, of course, could also be heard as a response to any and all Azomali acolytes asking how long it'll be until his next album drops, which is to say, probably a while and also it's already here, as it's always been.

2/24/23

Ry'lea - RESIDENCY

Six years ago, I was living in a shotgun-style one-bedroom near the border-zone of Floral Park, Elmont and Stewart Manor (in the latter technically, at the garden apartments pictured in the "Me, Myself And I" element on this page; if you know, you know) and working an 8:30-5:30 in nearby Garden City. The commute was easy. Nothing else was. Anyway, one morning as I was leaving for work, on the way downstairs I heard a frantic commotion. It was the adult daughter of the old lady who lived beneath me, screaming in a panic, having found her mother in the throes of a stroke or seizure of some kind. Their door was open so I saw this happening. I ran in, called 9-1-1 and did what I could to help. Thankfully, the ambulance came quick and the old lady survived to spend some more time with her family. I lived in that building longer than I've lived anywhere other than my parents' house. Eventually, the old lady died. One day afterward, in her apartment, her family mourned her passing in song. It was one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard, the complete opposite of the fearful cries that had delayed my commute some months prior. Ry'lea's "Tilted Halo" had me thinking about this. I don't know why exactly, probably in part because I'm listening to it the day after attending a wake, but also maybe partly because it speaks to the kind of perfect imperfections that make the universe what it is and life worth living long.
 

AWOL Da Mindwriter & JHershey - "Screaming Down the Block"

Cheat code for anyone who wants to see their music featured on this site, be it for the first time ever or in a while: make music with someone else who's been featured here. Not saying I don't love to hear an artist making her/his own lane, just that it's always nice to imagine someone on LI hearing someone else on LI (maybe from this site, maybe from up the block) and getting together on the strength of what they heard.

"Screaming Down the Block" features AWOL da Mindwriter, whose raps you might've heard previously on this site, rapping over a beat by JHershey, whose beats you might've heard previously on this site. Or maybe you've heard nothing because you don't even exist, and I'm doing all this for my own personal edification. Whatever, I had fun. And from the sounds of it, so did AWOL as he yelped and yammered on this track like a young Busta Rhymes reborn to predict Armageddon all over again. 

2/19/23

He Did It for Us: RIP Dave

For me, De La Soul has always been one of the most natural rap groups of all time. I don't mean to say that their music stems naturally from the earth, or spiritually from some ethereal plane as their name might be read to imply. I mean that their members complement one another so well, it's hard to imagine one without the others. Pos and Dave rap like lifelong friends in conversation, starting, continuing, and finishing each others' sentences, their exchange-routines so fluid the numbers 1 and 2 become more for the audience's benefit than anything else. I cannot begin to imagine what Posdnuos and Maseo are going through. 

The singular expression of the human experience Dave shared with the world through his words and voice goes far beyond music. In that sense, it's futile to lament how much the world loses in his absence. It's a shame that De La Soul's legacy and Dave's obituaries seem forever tied to industry politics when their art has so much more to offer; as reductive as dismissing the group as hippies or hearing Stakes Is High only as a reaction to the commodification of hip-hop culture. Those who wish to dwell on these points might do well to check out First Serve, Dave and Pos' 2012 concept album where they play two 20-somethings with a dream of making it in the rap game of that era. Ironically, this project, which has never not been available online, says more about industry politics than any article ever written on De La Soul's relationship with sampling and streaming.

On First Serve, Dave portrays not only one of the two main characters, rapper Dean "D" Witter, but also D's mother, Lenore Agnes Witter. I was playing the album on my way to work this past week. Ma Witter's appearance on "Clash Symphony" elicited in me one of those deep belly laughs, a kind of catharsis I guess. 



Am I just another lost in the pack? 
We Horshack shit, you know, laugh it off
The years just blow by
My eyes stay fixed but the picture's kind of out of focus
I cry a lot but admit to it
Enjoying life now but I been through it
Sometimes I wish that I can go back
No bills, no kids, just getting to' back
I want a wife, I love women
How could I front like I don't be in love with 'em
A little man that I could teach
A little sand but not the beach
I figure excess'll only bring an excessive amount of fuss
So when I'm gone make sure the head stone reads he did it for us
I'm like a modern-day Jesus
I cherish warm thoughts like a Grey Goose
And float soft kisses to my baby (Yo ain't that Dave's little girl?)
Yeah, respect for that, she gonna be somebody
Instead of somebody baby mama
You see, young minds are now made of armor
I'm tryna pop a hole in your Yankee cap, absorb me
The skies over your head ain't safe no more
And hip-hop ain't your home
And if it is you fucking up the crib, son
You make life look like I don't wanna live one
You might as well hold your breath until you die in a corner
Somewhere bent over in the crevasse
This God theory overcomes the worst of weathers
As long as you willing to try
You on a good start, homie
You on a good start so get to trying

People are you ready?
Are you really ready?
Ready for the change that may approach you?
Follow down the path that you supposed to
People are you ready?
Are you really ready to try?
You know mistakes are trials that we learn from
In order to live life, you must earn one
People are you ready?

RIP David "Trugoy" Jolicoeur. 

(Everyone reading this, be sure to run up these De La Soul album pre-orders.)

2/9/23

Billie Ski Mask - F Love

In anticipation of Valentine's Day, F Love. In a world of AI language models that couldn't ghostwrite a Ghostface verse if their coding depended on it, there's some comfort in knowing that Billie Ski Mask fucked your bitch in the metaverse. ChatGPT can't seem to figure out that Wu-Tang and Tribe aren't from Long Island, but at least your bitch has been fucked in the metaverse. Ask ChatGPT to review F Love and it'll spit some jive talk about not knowing any albums from after 2021. Inform it that several earlier Billie Ski Mask releases are available and it'll continue to play dumb. Clearly, ChatGPT feels a certain type of way about Billie Ski Mask having fucked its bitch in the metaverse.