We at LxL don’t like seeing anyone pinned down by “the man”, so we wanted to repost this list in honor of the current events in Ferguson, MO. This list was originally put together during our governments shut down in early 2014, so it may be more relevant for that type of situation rather than what is currently going on, but we find it fitting for both. As always, let us know what we missed out on:
Continue reading “Top Ten Anti-Establishment Songs”
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.
Continue reading “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Book Review”
As we finish up the first week of the last month of 2013, we are getting close to shifting to year end lists, and all that was 2013 in music (and a few other areas). For now, I will release one last list that is not related to best-of-2013 lists, and just give five classic tracks I have more or less discovered recently. I have previously done odds and ends playlists here and here.
Continue reading “LxListening: Odds and Ends Pt. 3”
With the Congress bringing the almighty U.S. government at a stand-still (you know, except for Congress receiving their own paychecks), we decided to craft a list of the top ten songs to accompany this government shutdown. The last time the government took this route, there were actually some fitting tracks ruling the airwaves: “Another Night” by Real McCoy, “Run-Around” by Blues Traveler, and “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio are just a couple where the title rings all too true. Not to be outdone, 2013 gives us “Blurred Lines”, “We Can’t Stop”, and “Radioactive” to appropriately jam to.
Pop corollaries aside, we decided to make this list for those that are mighty frustrated, and want to rage against this inefficient mess. Not much lighthearted fare on this list, just bombast after frustration, followed by some heavy indictments. Whether this shutdown affects you or not, get your riot gear on and hit the streets (or at least your nearest dive bar). Enjoy, and as always shoot us some favorites of yours that we missed.
10. M.I.A. – “Born Free”
Contrary to the beliefs of the uninitiated, flipping off all of ‘Merica during her Super Bowl performance was just a mild dose of M.I.A.’s anachronistic career. M.I.A. has always had strong views, but her big coming out party for her views may be her lead single for her third album Maya. Accompanied by a shocking video, “Born Free” takes to task the ever more oppressive role of government.
No, that picture above is not Ernest Hemingway and Steve Earle’s love child. It is in fact uber-producer Rick Rubin, the man who has successfully navigated alt-rock, hip-hop, country, and just about every other genre in music with startling success. Currently on Rubin’s radar is helping Kanye fine-tune Yeezus, easily the most eagerly awaited hip-hop album of 2013. This is interesting, because Kanye has always been a bit of a “do-it-your-selfer” which has served him very very well. It makes sense though to bring in the man who produced some Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and Run D.MC. when Kanye is aiming for a more minimalist experience (explained more fully in the New York Times interview). This minimalism Ye is going for highlights an overriding theme for the albums on our list: Strip down artists to their most raw and basic qualities and build the album up from there. Rubin may not have one musical style he can be attached to, but there does seem to be a way of making music that is very clear.
We tried to limit this list to albums Rubin had a large hand in producing, leaving off the likes of Jay-Z’s Black Album and JT’s FutureSex/LoveSounds where he only produced one track each. We also left off sure top-5 Lucinda Williams album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road because Rubin only handled the mixing of the album. The only other major qualm people might have with this list is the lack of a Slayer album. Well, I personally just don’t like metal, and so even if Slayer is the cream of the crop, I’m not gonna listen to it. Enjoy the list, and as always feel free to comment on albums you think we missed or erroneously included.
10. The Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker
Interestingly, I read Rick Rubin wouldn’t allow his name to be put on as producer of Shake Your Money Maker until it sold one million copies. Was he not happy with the outcome? Did he think it was destined for commercial and/or critical failure? I don’t know, but I do know The Black Crowes in 1990 did The Stones better than The Stones were doing themselves. With the alternative scene blowing up at the time, Shake Your Money Maker was a nice respite from the uniformity of most everything else out there.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Top Ten Rick Rubin Produced Albums”