I struggle with instant access to every single whim that pops into my cabbage. With the iPhone aka the Pants Computer, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, forums, Hulkshare links, promo MP3’s, etc the world is beginning to run out of mystery — everything we miss or forget can be found instantly. I love ingesting music, memorizing where the horn stabs hit on a record, knowing who produced track #9 on a given rap LP without looking for liner notes on Wikipedia, remembering where exactly I was when I heard a song for the first time.
Technology, will progressing rapidly to make our lives easier, erases actual emotional connections. Convenience breeds more consumption. Standards are lowered. Quality is compromised for more more more more more content. All to feed that machine that eviscerates our attention span while keeping us constantly engaged and entertained. If you have internet access in 2011, you can literally spend 18 hours a day never having to face the quiet plague of boredom.
I say all of this because three releases this week play to or against the new music consuming culture. Has-Lo’s new LP In Case I Don’t Make It is available for paid digital download on Bandcamp, iTunes, etc but they are not the right mediums to relish the album. The key word here is “album” ; we don’t have patience anymore to follow one artist through 30+ minutes in a row. This recent article in Slate titled “Wall of Sound: The iPod has changed the way we listen to music. And how we respond to it” backs that up painfully.
As Jeff Weiss pointed out, In Case I Don’t Make It isn’t built for Shuffle mode: it’s a “suffocating walloping listen, like baking in a sauna or waiting in the car with the windows rolled up in in August. Rap to make dogs die.” In other words, you can’t soundtrack your P90X workout to the album–you need to sit, relax, and walk through Has’ mind. You can’t multitask with it. And downloading the album then trashing the 3-4 records that don’t strike a chord within the first 10 seconds of the beat dropping erases important pieces to the story.
As my Shadowboxer partner Douglas Martin once articulated, albums are like books — you don’t go ripping pages out of books because the first 3 paragraphs aren’t as good as the last page. In Case I Don’t Make It is a heady listen like how The Wire was an unsettling visual — anit-comfort food for your anti-boredom state. Nurishment doesn’t taste like Yoo-Hoo.
Peep “Utero” off the LP then “The Quiet Things” off Has’ last EP Small Metal Objects:
A middleground to the Shuffle Age (2004-present) and the Old Days of Listening to Full Songs (1863-2003) is Nex Millen’s latest podcast I Love Hip Hop Vol. 3. Nex is a master of the groove before Serato made Pauly D a screenwatching “deejay”. Nex is a slave to the rhythm, not the soundwave BPM reader. His ear for pockets in the wax, whether live on-stage or rocking a filthy basement party or in his JLab Studios making beats, is masterful. His podcasts combine the recent jamdowns with the unseen crack slippers, like new Pharaohe Monch with Connie Price and the Keystones. His responsibility to the hyper hip hip consumer of today is the same as any great cassette mixtape impresario of the early 90’s — putting you up on the shit you like, the shit you’re not sure if you like, and the shit you just never heard in your life. In 2011, this would be a Concentrated Shuffle, a purposeful blend, the common room sitdown of artists with different voices, styles, and beats, consolidated by someone who understands the almighty Skip button and the undetectable power grip of the Neck Snap.
Here’s the tracklisting for I Love Hip Hop Vol. 3
Kill Bill- Epidemik
Different Now- Odisee f. Twan
Classic- MED f. Talib Kweli
Songs- Kaimbr and Kev Brown
Clap(One Day) Pharoahe Monch f. Showtyme
Palookas- Talib Kweli
Disturbed- Blame One f. Sean Price
Thought About It- yU
International Hustler- Connie Price & The Keystones f. Percee P
Motor Music- Finale f. Black Milk
Grown Folks Music- NXPW f. Cee Knowledge
The last leg on the barstool is Rock the Dub’s 5 year anniversary compilation FiF. Khal, the site’s resident runner and internetian pipe bomb planter, gives his readers unlimited options to stock their smartphones and Nanos every day. And like those of us now completely enraptured in the Age of the Shuffle, he does not subscribe to one genre or musical identity. Hip hop, dubstep, drum n bass, R&B, and other subgenres I could probably just make up (Oatmeal Wave, ThunderStep, SwagMopHop) all pop up on Rock the Dub without any comprehension or agenda.
Khal boils things down to the interest of the modern online music consumer: this sounds good and I want it right now. He’s put out projects from just about every phylum of hip hop-related offshoots the past five joints. Life in the Shuffle Mode has no apprehensions, no limits, no concern for running time. Take what you want, love it, then come back for the re-up. And Khal’s new compilation FiF is that Marlo Stanfield cut.
01-Heist ft. Zilla Rocca – I Need Killers (and Thieves Like You Wouldn’t Believe)
02-Che Grand ft. Elucid vs. Artificial Intelligence – Deaf Ray Dub (Disc Jockey Nappy Refix)
03-P.L.O. ft. Ralph Rip Shit – Hold That
04-AWKWORD ft. Y-Love – Mr. President (The Wisconsin Song) (prod. by The White Shadow)
05-Cyclops – You Don’t Understand (prod. by Razorsharpe)
06-Brown Bag AllStars – In His Shoes (DJBrace Remix)
07-J NiCS – Slumber (Numonics rockthedub Remix)
08-Pugs Atomz & DJ Vadim ft. Stahhr Tha F.E.M.C.E.E. & Jabee – Shoot’em Down
09-Rickie Jacobs ft. Artic – Malcolm X (prod. by Clay Hilman)
10-Jefferson Price – Hip Flask (prod. by Tranzformer)
11-Elucid – My Blank Verse (prod. by Small Pro)
12-The Two. Fifteens – Cloudy. Got Em’
13-Scripts & Screwz – Highway
14-Whygee – What Love Is (prod. by Nofrendo)
15-K. Vincent – Ain’t A Thang Change (prod. by Nabs, add. prod. by Alex Cruz & Black Lion Beats)
16-Mario Dones – Mars Attacks (prod. by Buscrates 16 bit Ensemble)
17-Assorted Anonymous – Roll By My Lonely (prod. by NVious)
18-Elucid – Heavy Metal (prod. by Screwz)
19-Do Ear – Soul Dealers
20-Shawty Lo ft. Rick Ross & Jim Jones vs. The Two. Fifteens – Foolish (Disc Jockey Nappy THUGSTEP Refix)
21-Curly Castro – Down With Batista (prod. by Happ G)