Shake the Dust Review

Shake the Dust

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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Big Boi Review Royale: Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors

Big Boi
Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

big boi, vicious lies, dangerous rumors, album, cover, art

Todd’s Take:

For many years, Big Boi was the slightly lesser half of one of my favorite hip hop acts, Outkast. It’s not that he wasn’t a crucial part of every Outkast album; he just seemed to be a little more one-sided than Andre 3000. Big Boi focused more on dominating the rap game with a strikingly smooth and original flow, all while incorporating his tack-sharp wit. Andre, on the other hand, covered a lot of the musical bases and focused more on fusing genres by incorporating elements of jazz, funk, and blues into the hip hop world.  This contrast was exemplified on their 2003 double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, in which each album belonged to a different member; Speakerboxxx was Big Boi’s project and Andre’s was The Love Below. Although Speakerboxxx was very enjoyable, Andre’s efforts on The Love Below cast a shadow over Big Boi’s work, essentially leaving Speakerboxx in the dark.

After Andre’s 6 year absence, Big Boi has stepped up his game, continuing on with what he does best but also taking over Andre’s role of fusing additional elements of music into his own brand of hip hop. Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is Big Boi’s third solo album (if you inlcude Speakerboxxx, which you should) and further proves to show us that he can very well hold his own, and not just in the rap game. Big Boi manages to branch out musically, blending multiple genres together in a new way.
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The Legend of John Legend

Who ever decided John Legend should be featured on every major hip-hop release to come out, and when was this decision made?  God, that’s who.  It is true God rested on the seventh day, but in all actuality he spent the majority of that seventh day contemplating the creation of singer/songwriter John Legend almost 8,000 years later.  Hit the jump for the main talking points of why John Legend was actually not a gift from God, but a curse.
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LxListening: The Time is Nigh

We are inching closer to our end of the year lists.  It’s really just a month or so away until we release the definitive account of the year in music, including albums, songs, and new artists.  With that in mind, I want to recognize more artists who have made a mark on 2012.  I hope everyone enjoys these five songs we put out most Fridays, but more than anything I like to use these lists just as much for myself.  It is convenient to have a record of what music we were enjoying at particular moments during the year.  I can look back to a LxListening post from early in the year and refresh my memory as to why I liked a certain track or was digging a certain artist.  It’s kind of like Todd’s sex journal, only instead of trying to refresh his memory to figure out who gave him the clap, I identify certain moods or trends in my musical tastes.  After that tasteless jab, I have no choice but to press on and give you five more tracks to brighten your Friday.
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Top Ten Thursday: The Descendants

Baby Dj, disc jockey, child

It ain’t easy being the child of a famous musician I am sure. Just like being the kid of an actor or a famous athlete, there always seems to be a lot of pressure for that child to follow in their parent’s footsteps, and become the next guitar hero, all star QB, or the next Oscar nominee. Although in some cases, these children turn out to be wildly successful, most of them are exposed for exactly what they are … a money grubbing pile of no-talent ass clowns, attempting to ride the coattails of their parents fame their entire life. Generally after enough exposure this renders the rest of these types lives useless and withering away on some reality television show:

Kelly Osbourne, gross
^Yucky

Luckily, the opposite does exist. In honor of The Wallflowers upcoming release and the fact that Jakob Dylan’s father, Ole’ Bobby Zimmerman himself, just released an album as well, we give you our greatest descendants list. To make this list easier on ourselves, we limited ourselves to direct descendants, so the offspring musician must directly be the son or daughter of the parent musician. Someday we will have to do the inverse of this list so we can have more fun with our pal ^Kelly up there. Onto the list:
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Nas Review: Life Is Good

Nas

Life Is Good

album cover art for the Nas album Life is Good cover art

It was 1994 when Nas released his debut album Illmatic, which helped strengthen the on-the-rise East coast hip hop scene all the more. Since then, he has released nine more albums, almost all of them being the same level of dynamic quality as his debut. Sure there were slumps here and there, a few rivalries sparked up (most infamously with Jay Z), and the birth of his mainstream success, but none of these things have ever seemed to phase Nas. He has always seemed to stay consistently on par making his own brand of jazzy, instrumental-based hip hop with tack sharp, socially poignant lyrics flowing over the back beats like wine through the gullet of Dionysus himself. The only thing that seems to separate Life Is Good from the rest of his albums is that it took him two extra years than it normally does for Nas to put the album out. Not that he took the time to recreate himself in any large way, but maybe to recover from the loss of some friends, the divorce from his wife Kelis (which is a primary theme in the album), and to try and figure out his place in hip hop once again, which I believe is still near the very top.
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LxListening: It Shall Be Released

being patient for the new music to be released in 2012

Recently there has just been a slew of “unreleased music” that has been dropped onto the inter-webs. A lot of it is clearly intentional, I suppose to probably get the public interested and eager for the artist’s new material that is about to drop. But whether it is because of song leakage (Antlers), announcement videos (Cat Power), or the artists just straight-up releasing a single/video months before the new album drops (M.I.A/Dirty Projectors), all of the below tracks are out and available for a listen. If these tracks are any implication for the rest of their respective albums, we are in for a real treat in late 2012. So in honor of our “Best of the Year … So Far” lists, here is a little taste of what I have been listening too lately, and what we have to look forward to for the remainder of the year.
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