A few months ago I bought my first flatscreen tv. I cancelled the cable subscription, upped the internet juice, and switched to Roku. I cannot recommend it enough. There are bazillions of free channels, and one that I pay a small monthly fee for: The Roots Channel which is the epicenter of music performances, documentaries, lessons, and culture. For pop music videos, there is a great channel called Vevo. I’m catching up on what people are into and it’s fantastic. I am Taylor Swift’s newest fan. Her videos are gorgeous; her music is fun. There are so many great videos with dancing in them, like the new Sia, and it makes me want more dance in our genre.
Director Todd Tue must have been thinking the same thing. His love of color and contrast and dance present this song as it feels, and it’s beautiful. Music, art, dancing, and children are a recipe for my nomination for Video of the Year 2015 (and it’s only January!).
This might be the most disturbing painting I’ve ever seen and I can’t take my eyes off it. From what I gather, Rothko first painted the red series. It was all the passion and fury that red evokes. Before taking his own life, was the black; the eternal void. This was painted after the red, before the black.
In tune with the weather, we saw a super storm of fantastic music in 2013. We’re going to be listening to these albums for years to come. I can’t bring myself to put these in order because they mean so many things; they’re not meant to be ranked.
I love hip-hop in the summer. It’s hard not to break out into a groove to Blurred Lines. (Yes, I’m aware it’s pop, but it’s a who-cares-cause-it’s-GOOD song.) I’m reading ?uestlove’s book, “Mo Meta Blues” and it’s a joy to watch the trajectory of The Roots of music from his point-of-view. I’m finally beginning to understand Kanye’s new album, Yeezus, and it’s worth it. Plus, Jay-Z is knocking one out of the stratosphere once again with “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film” It pretty much sums up why I’m an art nerd. Early in hip-hop art, music, and dance were the trifecta that formed the lifestyle. Jay-Z was there for that and our tastes in art grew parallel. People say that art and hip-hop grew apart when art went all shi shi poo poo money and shut the door in hip-hop’s face. I disagree. Hip-hop grew just as greedy and bling hungry and closed the door on art’s face. As in most in-genre drama, both parties have egg on their face.
Jay-Z is king of the world right now and in the Biggie style of doing things, he brought Brooklyn with him. So if this new video that’s labeled a performance piece (which you would have had to be in that room for) educates the who’s who of whoville in creativity, I’m happy.
That’s what you get when Wu-Tang raised you.
This video is 110%. Over the top, stoopid budget, win-win fearless fun. It broke YouTube with 1.4 million plays in 24 hours. I bemoan a lot of the modern pop, hip-hop, and country that’s being played on radio and sausaged through media. This is when it all works.
In late 70s and through the 80s and 90s, there was a television show on local NYC Public Access called “The Coca Crystal Show“. Coca is my mother’s best friend, and she took me under her wing by appointing me cameraman for the show. By the power of YouTube, I get to watch one of the best shows on television again.
I can’t think of a better way to introduce someone who doesn’t know about Molly Gene other than this video. It was filmed by my friend, Nick Lindsay, and he has captured the hurricane that is her performance. Muddy Roots friends of ours are in the photo collage. I love it.
The first song I liked by Jay-Z was “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” in 1998. As an urchin who grew up with the Broadway soundtrack to Annie on cassette tape, it immediately became my personal theme song. I also remember when Hot 97 was playing The Takeover like a broken record to hype the Nas beef. There is no arguing with me over poorly sampling Jim Morrison.
I think every genre has its masters. Jay-Z came from one of the country’s most dangerous neighborhoods; grew from artist to executive, and still does his art. He’s married to Beyoncé, and is a father for the first time. He is such a great success story.