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It's the holiday season, and to spit in the face of the season of excess, I'm keeping this month's Glaciers short. That's right, a big middle finger to consumerism. Now, I'm off to get one of those discounted HDTV's…
First, a quick catch-up for something I missed way back in October. The fantastic Count Bass D released L7 (1320 Records), another LP full of his lo-fi, experimental, nonconformist hip-hop. Tracks like the sound collage-style "Mike it Flow" or the free-flowing instrumental "Back Pay" blend right into more traditional songs like "Gio Any." Like MF Doom and Madlib, Bass D has a knack for subverting expectations of the genre, a talent that makes his records wonderfully hard to pin down. At just over 30 minutes, l7 is brief, but there's a lot packed into that half hour.
If you're a faithful reader of Glaciers, and I know you are, you know that we're not too fond of Jedi Mind Tricks here. It's hard to believe, but the group has released yet another album, A History of Violence (Babygrande), their sixth. What can I say here? More gloom and doomy courtesy of Jus Allah (back with the group after a leave of absence) and Vinnie Paz, and featuring the usual cast of affiliated characters. Their fans are plentiful, so a little bad press ain't gonna hurt them, but I'm giving this one a pass.
Last month, K-The-I??? released the excellent Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (Mush), featuring bombastic and surreal beats from Thavius Beck. Guests include a reunited Antipop Consortium, Busdriver, and Subtitle. Equal parts Def Jux future-gloom and Dizzee Rascal grime, K-The-I's rhymes are intelligent and intricate but never nerd-core. Take "Before the Session," where a Black Moon sample eerily filters through an acid bass-beat as K spits some heavy but populist rhetoric - "Let the anthem ring / If that belongs to you / I second that notion." Go cop this shit; it's the future of hip-hop.
Also out last month was Kurupt and Roscoe's Frank and Jess Story (High Powered Entertainment), proving that West Coast G-Funk is still alive and well… at least, when done with a bit of finesse. Kokane laces "Hate on Me" with an overwrought chorus, sung with enough style to grace a Parliament track. Daz and Gail Gotti also help out along the way, making this family affair one you'd be sorry to miss.
Remember VH1's The White Rapper Show? Hosted by MC Serch, this was classic reality TV, with contestants vying for the white rapper crown, spitting mostly horrible verses and generally making asses of themselves. One of the most annoying contestants was Jus Rhyme, an LA rapper who fancied himself a social conscience of sorts. He continues that on his new album as AntiRacist 15, along with MC Raw Potential, Stand in Solidarity. It's really, really hard to get the White Rapper Show images out of my head while listening to this, but that's the price you pay for appearing on reality TV. The general fixation of the group is taking a harsh stand on racism - a very controversial stand, especially in our new era of an Obama presidency… I'm sorry, I don't mean to be cynical, but come on. White rappers against racism - how safe can you get? Yes, most enlightened people are against racism. But playing that card doesn't necessarily save you from criticism when you're just a mediocre rapper, white or black.
OK, that's all for now, so until next month… e-mail with thoughts and insults, and send me yer shit! I'll listen to it. Glaciers is ghost like Casper.
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
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