Meet Piu Piu: member of the Girls Girls Girls club clique, DJ for Rinse France, creator of dope, pretty wavering multi-tracked head-nodders. Produced by Iamnobodi, who really tinkers with those Dilla-esque snare hits until they’re just right. Bonus Beyoncé sample (from ‘Blue’), because it’s 2014 and yeah, have a bonus Beyoncé sample.
I was snooty about wrestling as a kid, sneering at WCW as I channelsurfed past Nitro and really not wanting to understand the other kids’ obsession with yelling “SUCK IT!” I was reintroduced to wrestling in university because it got me out of the terrible flat I was staying in at the time. I would crash on the couch of the house five of my friends shared, watching glassy-eyed as my fellow students explained to me who everyone was. CM Punk was the head of the Straight-Edge Society at the time. I was one of those straight-edgers that hated other straight-edgers, so I immediately found Punk hilarious and a poser. When I attended the Wrestlemania XXIV party - my first Mania - Punk won the Money in the Bank briefcase and I was pretty much on board as a fan. Although my attention dwindled from year to year, I would always try my hardest to make the annual Wrestlemania party with friends, usually not having a clue as to what was going on. By the time Wrestlemania 29 came around, I was well aware of what was going on.
This year’s Wrestlemania was easily the best experience I’ve had as a wrestling fan, because I was in a room full of friends and our emotional responses were real and heartfelt - when Daniel Bryan won the WWE Championship, we jumped to our feets and hugged one another while yelling his “YES YES YES” chant. It was also the most inside-baseball Wrestlemania party I’d been a part of, with terms like “pop”, “buried”, “shoot” and “Gorilla position” thrown out. When the Undertaker’s twenty-one year streak was beaten in a mediocre match by ex-UFC fighter Brock Lesnar, the genuine shock in the room soon gave way to theories. Was it a botched job? Did someone call an audible on the crowd reaction? See how long it took for the graphic to come up, was it all a work?
This is the difference between growing up a fan in the Attitude era and becoming a fan as an adult - your pop culture education is dictated by what’s out there on the internet. I don’t think the kids doing DX taunts and practicing Stunners on each other were looking for dirt sheets, but now there are various different ways to find out wrestling rumours. I never thought there was such a thing as wrestling bloggers, but now I read Brandon Stroud and The Masked Man every week, learning the lingo from them. I hit Youtube to watch random clips with little context: Sting joining the NWO Wolfpac, Kenta Kobashi’s retirement match, NWA-era Steamboat v Flair promos, Chikara tag-team brawls. I find the Wikipedia pages to fill in the gaps - they are sometimes easily explained, sometimes confusing and riddled with complexity. Last year I didn’t know what ‘kayfabe’ meant, and now I use it to explain wrestling’s twisty-turny relationship with real life and Real Life. I feel a little bit like I’ve cheated at learning so quickly and learning so little, but here I am. Sorry to pretend, but a few clicks made me this way.
Above is the Ultimate Warrior tribute package from last night’s episode of Raw. When the Undertaker’s former manager Paul Bearer passed away last year, the death was turned into an angle for CM Punk’s rivalry with the Undertaker. It was called tasteless by some, despite Bearer’s real life family allegedly happy with the angle. I thought that when someone died in the wrestling world, the threat of becoming a ghostly plot device was always on the cards. I imagined this would happen following the Ultimate Warrior’s sudden death, but instead ten rings of the referee’s bell were rang and the crowd shushed up the best they could. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the tribute. Despite all I had learned through a year and change of clicks and half-assed research, I hadn’t prepared myself for the human factor. Triple H, the WWE’s current Big Bad, is there, holding hands with his wife Stephanie - also an in-show bad guy. The roles were pushed aside. At the far left side of the stage, the muscle-on-top-of-muscle Ryback wore a t-shirt with Ultimate Warrior’s iconic facemask on it. He clapped when appropriate, stared ahead forlornly, kept a respectful poker face throughout. I had gotten so used to him being a bigger-than-life character that destroyed everyone he came across that I was genuinely surprised by the glimpse at Ryan Reeves, the WWE employee. The idea of heels and faces left my mind for a moment and all I saw people amongst their fellow employees, friends and mentors, each one showing their respects. Some were grieving more than others, struggling to stop tears from falling. By the time the ten bells had rung off, echoing to near-silence in the Alabama stadium, I had learned more than I imagined I would. Yes, this seems a little maudlin, but it’s true nonetheless: I saw the humanity behind the novelty, the love and pain and respect shared across one stage. I didn’t expect that. I’ve got a lot more to learn about wrestling, it seems.
Unseen: Me & intotheswamp with arms around each other’s shoulders, on knees, doing a collective headbang/bow gesture during “THAT BREAKDOWN” whilst aintgotnoladytronblues shouts “BOOOO!” and pelts us w/ rubbish.
Gonna disregard my usual blogging format of audio/video to geek out over this song, ‘Tower of Snakes’ by Eighteen Visions
I love this song so so much, if you spoke to me between the age of 17 and 22, this was the bonafide greatest song of all time before I wussed the fuck out and started blogging about music. Shout out my Livejournal page with the layout relevant to this song! Shout out to my leather jacket with Zao ‘5 Year Winter’ lyrics on the back, the Post-era Björk logo on the arm and an 18V merch design for this song at the neck WITH A CONAN THE BARBARIAN QUOTE (also shout out my straight edge collar design, only reason I don’t break that shot out right now *takes a bottle of Kraken to the face*)
THE BREAKDOWN ALONE…!!!
TOP FIVE MOST FLAWLESS MOMENTS IN MUSIC EVER
TOWER OF SNAKES BREAKDOWN »»»»> EVERY CANONICAL ALBUM YOU LOVE EVER, COMBINED (EXCEPT PRINCE RECORDS). OH WHATS UP THE ROLLING STONES?! WHAT UP SIMON AND GARFUNKEL?!! YO, WHO SAID FAITHLESS WERE ALLOWED IN THE BEST ALBUMS EVER LIST?! MAXIII!!! WHAT ARE YOU RUNNING AWAY FROOMMMMMMM???!?!?!!!!!
Lil B is utterly, completely incompatible with pre-internet culture. Sure, there has always been musical iconoclasts, there has always been the eclectic and experimental working in hip-hop, there has always been artists turning how they make music into a way of life. But since Lil B broke from The Pack and became his own beast by beginning his #BASED cult, it seems impossible trying to envision him in a world without limitless storage space and high internet connections. His music and over-the-top album covers pay tribute to rap subcultures and their histories, from New Orleans to Boston via New York and San Fransisco, but he could not exist in any other time but now. Popular culture stretched and mutated and allowed the cracks in the mainstream to grow bigger and bigger, making it easier than ever for the weirdos to weed through and make names for themselves. Could you imagine Lil B coming up, retaining his vision in the traditional record label model? What would an A&R’d Lil B major label debut sound like?
An intentional Lil B breakthrough album is a fairly ridiculous thing to imagine - it goes against the very being of the rapper’s music, which would have to stay fairly focused for the right of a large-scale project. I’m Gay presented a soulful vision of Lil B’s music but its status as a commercially available product was immediately undermined by the rapper leaking it onto Mediafire the night of its release. Despite their charms, none of his other albums available on iTunes could count as easy windows into his world for a wide audience (although they shouldn’t). This led me to crafting a capital-A Album that could count as the Lil B major label record.
All the songs are assembled from various mixtapes, EPs and YouTube videos. This mix could function as one fan’s greatest hits but I feel like the songs assembled open up Lil B’s world to an audience unfamiliar with the #BASED cult. And it should work as an album for a wider audience! You have your traditionally OTT rap album intro with ‘You Will Pay’, which sets up Lil B as an eccentric bad ass, but also as a rapper that can offer you weirdo quotables for days. We then go into ‘I’m God’, which continues the eccentric bad ass mood while also adding dimensions to his rap flow. ‘CNBFTBGB Based Freestyle’ imagines a universe where Future’s ‘Same Damn Time’ was REALLY Lil B’s hit, meaning that it exists to kick off the club/radio hit portion of the record - followed by the commercial-sounding ‘We Can Go Down’ (a hit single in this alternative universe) and Roach Gigz’ ‘Stupid’ with Husalah, a Lil B song in all but name that functions as a regional street single for the Bay. Lil B’s rap style changes with each song, but he’s really going for it in each song - he’s locked in. You should leave this part of the album feeling like he’s invincible.
Then, after five tracks of rappity-ass rapping, ‘Paint’ breaks the energy waaaay down. You’ve heard him talking about being #BASED in the past few tracks and have little idea what it is, so he brings you into the fold. It functions as a cool-down after five big tracks, and softly brings us into the downtempo Real World Concerns of ‘The Worlds Ending’ and ‘Mom Stressed Out’. Here, we have Lil B trying his hardest to stay #BASED in a difficult world, which leads to the spacey ‘Pretty Boy Remix’, which acts as a bridge between the more thoughtful material here and the run of club/radio hits from earlier on.
'Pretty Boy Remix' gives way to the one song every album should have for the purpose of irritating debate: the love-it-or-hate-it track. Rather than an identikit R&B song for the ladies, Lil B decides to drop 'Bitch I'm Bill Clinton', a throwaway moment of levity that asserts his eccentricity. It's also short, so it functions as an interlude before 'Wonton Soup' - at this point, the introductory single from the very beginning of the album cycle, placed as an energy boost as we enter the final third. 'Letter to Brandon' arrives to give you an idea of Lil B's childhood struggles, functioning as a “we made it!” moment. 'King Cotton' follows up on the reflective vibe of 'Letter', functioning as the emotional peak and a last minute assertion of his artistic vision as a rapper. (Also, a bone thrown to the traditionalist New York audience!) He calls himself “King Cotton” and then, in one last blast of joy, rounds off the album with one last anthem, emphatically stating his presence in the final moments: “YOUNG BASED GOD, I'M A PRETTY BOY BITCH.” Then, the album fades away. You can throw loads of previously released all-star remixes of 'Wonton Soup' and 'Stupid' for the deluxe edition if you want.
If you want to experience a rough idea of a major label Lil B album, download the zip file below, read along with this post and just imagine. Of course, because it’s a major label album in our alternate universe there’ll be a Drake feature, but because it’s in our alternate universe there’s still a track with Roach Gigz and Husalah verses. Also, ‘Paint’ doesn’t get cut but instead inspires debate in hip-hop circles for months. As does the cover art at the top of this page. IMAGINE.
BACK IN THE DAY |4/2/02| Cam’ron released ‘Oh Boy’, the lead single off of his third album, Come Home With Me on Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam Records.
"Back in the day", I was listening to Westwood blast off on this song a few thousand times excitedly. He was playing it relatively fresh off NY radio, meaning it was the infamous version that Cam took straight from Baseline without Just Blaze knowing (there’s no "clap up this boy" verse, just gunshots and an abrupt end). I was a weird kid already so I was vaguely familiar with Cam as one of the guys from ‘Banned From TV’, which was on another Westwood mix CD. Anyway, I was pretty psyched out by ‘Oh Boy’. It was a fun golden moment to hear the unmixed, gunshot-flooded version while thinking just who the hell this guy was talking about leaving a bloody man screaming. I remember blanking at that line, realizing it was one of the first times I felt truly horrified at the point-blank brutality of some street rap. I still do. I’m kind of a dork.
For the record, I preferred ‘The R.O.C.’ for a long time, which is just phenomenal idiocy.