Shake the Dust
In the past forty years, no music form has had a bigger impact on American culture than hip hop. But what we don’t often think of, is how hip hop has impacted people across the globe. Director Adam Sjöberg turns his attention to this global aspect, specifically how it empowers youth in the third world. Hip hop since the beginning has taken four forms: rapping, turntablism (or DJing), graffiti art, and b-boying (or breakdancing). Through some incredible footage and surprising access, Sjöberg focuses on breakdancing in Yemen, Uganda, Colombia, and Cambodia, showcasing how hip hop can be an incredible lifeline for children looking for expression and purpose in even the most difficult circumstances.
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Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
Hip hop culture is often depicted as violent, greedy, and misogynistic, but by understanding its roots and the perspective of those delivering the material; you’ll find a very different story. Jeff Chang, a writer for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and Vibe, paints an extensive history from the late 60’s to the start of the new millennium on what were the circumstances that birthed hip hop, and how did it evolve and flourish. Chang does well at focusing on the catalyst events that drove the attitudes, lyrics, and perspectives of hip hop’s pioneers. From street wars in Jamaica, to the crippling effects of Reaganomics of African Americansf the ‘80s, to the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict, Chang gives some textured histories of some of the most vital moments in hip hop history.
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Bonnaroo is not for the faint of heart. The four-day music and arts festival has taken place every year for the past eleven and is an absolute commitment to go. The festival crams over 80,000 festival goers into a plot of farmland, making it the 7th largest city in Tennessee when the festival is underway. Bonnaroo forgoes the single-day tickets that are popular with other festivals but rather has a huge majority of its attendees camp on site all four days, with tons of dirt, sweat, and absolute weirdness taking place under the unforgiving Tennessee sun. Some of the best shows go till 4 AM on any given night making a crowd a bunch of tired, dirty, and mostly intoxicated zombies wandering around from stage to stage. Bonnaroo is an all-or-nothing commitment.
Continue reading “Bonnaroo 2012 Recap– Rap, Roots, Vets, and Fem Rock”
Cancer 4 Cure
If there is one known constant in the world of music, it is the high quality of music put out by the Mississippi record label Fat Possum. They helped jump start a blues revival in the early 90’s and have been pumping out our some of music’s best modern artists ever since. One of Fat Possum’s newest releases is the third full LP released by Brooklyn based hip hop artist El-P. The album is Cancer 4 Cure, and after hearing it yesterday, and I am seriously questioning why I’ve never listened to his solo albums before … apparently because I’m an idiot, that’s why.
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A legendary live hip hop group and the best house band in late night television history, The Roots have built up quite the reputation over their illustrious over two decade career. After spending their first 22 years building their reputation on dynamic live performances, they signed a deal to be the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a surprising move for a band that has been mostly countercultural, but one that works quite well for them. They can finally settle in one place to raise families, get a more than adequate income, and play with a bounty of music legends when they stop on through to perform.
Continue reading “The Roots Review: Undun”