I’m going to hold office hours tomorrow, Friday 27 June 2014, from 1:15 – 2:45 in our regular classroom (Melville W4550).
I guess I’ve been a little remiss with the emails for this course, insofar as I’ve been talking about cheese and art but not so much about music. Yesterday in class I mentioned Eric B. and Rakim, so if you’re not already up on them then you have some work to do. Paid in Full and Follow the Leader are absolute, stone-cold classic albums. I can’t tell you what a bummer it is that Korn’s album of the same title comes up first when you google “Follow the Leader”. That’s a sad state of affairs in this world. There’s really no other rapper like Rakim (he ain’t no joke — actually his only flaw might be his lack of a sense of humor), and Eric B. has turntable skills of the kind you just don’t see nowadays. I love the DJ break interlude on their records, like “Eric B. Never Scared” from Follow the Leader. Plus The R is from Long Island (Wyandanch, to be precise), so if you are, too, you have to give him props. You don’t have a choice in the matter.
But you don’t want to hear about the old joints. You want to know who’s on the come up in 2014, because you’re impatient and immature. I know how it is. I was your age, too, long ago. So what’s good these days? Well there’s this band called Broods from New Zealand who are pretty good; their song “Bridges” is probably ready to blow (for some reason there are three different music videos from the song on the band’s YouTube channel), though it’s been out for a few months already and hasn’t gotten too much heat yet. New Zealand’s not a tiny country so you might think it’s a bit facile to compare Broods to Lorde, but if you listen to “Coattails” you’d be hard-pressed not to see the resemblance. And it’s not suprising, as both artists share a producer in Joel Little. Their full-length is due out in a few months, so be on the lookout.
If you’re more into classic soul sound, Curtis Harding has that in spades on his début LP Soul Power. It’s not a perfect record, though I get the feeling he could’ve made a more straightforward album if he’d wanted to, but instead chose to balance some pristine Curtis Mayfield-esque tracks (I mean, check the production on “Heaven’s on the Other Side“) with a few more unusual ones in order not to be simply a pastiche of the past.
Ghost Beach are pretty good if you’re into the 80s and don’t take yourself too seriously.
I know a lot of you aren’t SBU students, but for those of you who are and maybe happened to go to the recent Diplo concert, perhaps you got into Jamaican dancehall music while listening to Major Lazer in preparation for the event. Well Popcaan is an actual Jamaican and recently released his début album Where We Come From. There’s a good track called “Hustle” on which Pusha T aka King Push aka the Virginia powder don (okay, I made that last one up, but it sounds plausible!) features. If you missed Pusha T’s first solo album (he is one-half of Clipse) last year, then you missed one of the better rap albums of recent years.
If you’re into slow R&B-type joints with snares on the two and four at like 80 bpm, maybe take see what’s good with FKA Twigs (who just dropped a new track from her forthcoming début LP1), or Nisha, or Wet (if that song is too spare for you, holler at the remix, though Spank Rock’s verse on it is a bit weak), or Oscar Key Sung (here’s the pretty strange music video for his song “All I Could Do”) . If dancing until 7am is more your thing, with the World Cup going on now is a good time to revisit Guy Gerber’s classic “Stoppage Time“.