Dad Punchers - Tire Swing (off Dad Punchers, 2012, Sea Legs)
I reviewed Dad Punchers’ debut for the upcoming issue of A Short Fanzine About Rocking and spoiler alert, it’s good. Like the majority of the album that surrounds it, ‘Tire Swing’ is about hazily idealised youth giving way to joyless adulthood. One of the standout lyrics from the song recalls “feeling nostalgic to the point where you feel sick”, and while that’s somewhat on the nose, it perfectly describes how youth is uneasily depicted as a perfect time in one’s life purely by comparison to the present. Ramez Silyan focuses on this by framing his music video via a traditional film projector, the footage tinged with its own nostalgic baggage, fetishised as a sign from the past.
If you like what you hear, ‘Backstock’ is the jam and you should really listen to it.
IMPORTANT VIDEO IS IMPORTANT *AND* AMAZING
Underoath - It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door (off They’re Only Chasing Safety, 2004, Tooth & Nail)
Underoath were a very young metalcore band who got better the wussier they got, and They’re Only Chasing Safety carries this, their greatest wusscore moment: a song of peaks and valleys, of corniness and viable sentiment. The “I’M DROWNING IN MY SLEEP” choir bridge is capital-i Important.
E-40 feat. Young Jeezy, Chris Brown, Red Cafe, French Montana and Problem - Function (Coast to Coast Remix) (off Function Remix, 2012, Heavy on the Grind)
Remember that stupid behind-closed-curtains sorta-beef between Rick Ross and Young Jeezy? Unfortunately, you do! And it all continues where it left off: with vague subliminals!
That being said, Jeezy does get a pretty great one here on 40 Water’s pretty unnecessary ‘Function’ remix: “If I die tonight, bring me back out at Coachella”. Sure, Rozay’s howling about getting a gold statue of himself planted in the middle of Miami and being buried in Sean Connery’s luggage brand of choice. Young’s already anointed himself to Tupacagram status, making Katy Perry cry-tweet and everything as he performs ‘Go Crazy’ from beyond the grave. If we weren’t counting sales here (and really, you tools who play number games and don’t even buy records, dinnae get me started), Jeezy would be the all-out champ.
In other news, Chris Brown raps better than French Montana. Red Cafe gets the clean-up spot. E-40 does some unintentionally hilarious product placement at 4:15. Freddie Gibbs is relegated to cameo status. I don’t know, man. I just don’t know. I’m just tryna function.
Wild N’ Faith (Dawn Richard music video, dir. ELY, 2012)
Major label hip-popper Lupe mansplains the problem with mainstream hip-hop with the help of a budget take on Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.
So Twitter went insane last night, it seems, in reaction to Brandon Soderberg’s above article. Lupe threw his toys out the Twitter pram, his fans tweeted a lot of homophobic, racist and generally stupid stuff to Soderberg, and #BoycottSpinMagazine became a thing on the rap internets. DEEP SIGH. Barring Soderberg’s article, this is all head-slapping stuff (none of it is at least entertaining like the A$AP MOB/Soderberg twitter fit, which at least ended in A$AP Yams said he’d play Ariel Pink at the writers funeral).
This is a weird week but weirdly relevant for this type of defensive ire to rise. All week, daily conversations and the events on my Twitter feed circle around the Julian Assange rape accusations and the attempts of politicians on the American right/Scottish socialist left to rewrite the criminal and moral definitions of sexual violence against women. Now, Akin’s an idiot and much has been said on him already, same with Galloway. However, it’s his insistence that Assange’s accusers are part of some devious government conspiracy is a view that plenty of people share, and it has everything to do with entitled men (of all ages and political persuasion) believing that women are susceptible to deviousness and fibbing. They’re not saying it out loud, but they’re saying women have it in their blood, their very nature. It’s PC woman-hating.
Whether or not he knows it, Lupe’s kick-pushed into that very arena with a tin-eared, well-intentioned lecture that ultimately fails because it dissolves into slut-shaming. ”Bad Bitch” breaks down women who are sexually active/dressed/etc as utterly improper, throwing away their intelligence as a result. ‘Ladies’ abound, they’re the real bad bitch, he argues, totally unaware that this viewpoint is purely centred on men’s views on how women should be*. Practices and standards, Lupe! We’re a long long way away from the female skateboarder in “Kick Push” confidently dressing down her male counterpart: “I don’t need to ride yours, I got mine right here”.
Lupe’s turned into quite the unbearable public figure over the past few years and surely his “sic-em, boys!” Twitter campaign isn’t going to help him win the hearts and minds beyond his Twitter followers. But his biggest crime is trying to address hip-hop misogyny and misogyny at large and dig a bigger hole by showing us how he really feels about women. He’s clueless. And that’s fine because if this week has shown us anything, you can be as clueless as you want and still be considered wonderful and forward-thinking in an anti-woman society.
Never mind how nicely you people try to dress it up, claim your out-of-thin-air pro-feminist good intentions or whatever, it’s garbage and depressing and I hate it.
PS. Read Soderberg’s article for more about the misjudged, hacky and out-of-time-out-of-place gangsta rap dinosaur parodied in the “Bad Bitch” video**, but never forget that Lupe has a weird, self-flaggelating past of having, in his words, “cameo videos of me with two Rolexes and Rocawear sweatsuits”.
*according to video director Gil Green, this idealised “real woman” might as well be draped in chiffon scarves and Sally Draper’s entire wardrobe
**surely if Lupe gave a shit about what he was trying to say with this point, he’d address his home city of Chicago’s street-rap explosion in the wake of its wide-spread gang violence but that would be a little too educated and up-to-date, right?