Talk about depressing. This Dead Magazine Slideshow (via Silicon Valley Insider) is not the for the faint of heart. Unless you are not a fan of mags. Call me a dinosaur but there’s something endearing about the experience of holding a magazine in your hands and reading through it. Even if something is online if it’s lengthy enough (like say CNN’s look at Bernie Madoff), I’d rather print it out and read it on the Iron Horse. Ah well, call me a fossil.
Back in 2003 it was about a year since I quit working for Universal Motown Records and I was scrambling to get enough freelance writing work to keep the lights on and the rent paid. I’d heard many times and in many different forms from many a scribe that I respected that good writers should always be reading good writing.
True, so one of the magazines I started picking up and paying more attention to was Esquire Magazine. Though for years I’d always flipped through issues in passing, seeing Muhammad Ali on the cover of October 2003 issue (itself a play on its August 1966 cover (left) which featured Ali and Floyd Patterson) motivated me to actually buy it (and subsequently subscribe since a 12 month run was like a dirt cheap $8 at that time).
The point of this story is that in the middle this 70th anniversary issue of Esquire was a small pamphlet that contained what is considered by many to be the greatest magazine profile of all time; “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” by Gay Talese. At the time I wasn’t too up on “New Journalism” and all the hoo-ha it’s been given over the years. I just knew that Gay Talese was an incredible storyteller and his gift with words was pure inspiration.
Considering today’s limited word counts and the stumbling publication industry, it’s sad to think that a next Gay Talese or Hunter S. Thompson—better yet, Harry Allen or Bonz Malone—may never get his or her proper shine. Epic dissertations, no matter how creatively informative, just don’t mesh with the day’s blog at the speed of type, or Tweet in 140 words or less, culture. All this is to say that Talese is dropping a new book and one of my favorite publications, New York Magazine, has a profile on the distinguished author. [A Nonfiction Marriage via New York Mag]
“Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” [via Esquire]
I absolutely love Antenna Magazine. And I’m not saying that because I’ve been a contributor since it was founded a couple of years ago by the good Tony Gervino and Evan Gubernick. If you don’t believe me; I’m not the only one.
The glut of wack, suspect and plain inept rappers looking to get interviewed or reviewed makes writing about streetwear and design a welcome reprieve. Most of the what I’ve done for the mag is store profiles but for the Spring ’09 issue I interviewed and wrote a profile on the founders of Smart Design, an award winning industrial design house. It was definitely interesting to find out the the story behind that set of OXO products the wife and I—and surely millions of other wedding and housewarming gift registries—received a couple of years ago.
With the calamity in the publishing industry I’m hoping Antenna is able to weather the storm. Antenna is part of Harris Publications, which recently shuttered King Magazine and whose Executive Publisher, Johnathan Rheingold, recently resigned; depending on who you ask.
Written by yours truly (pic is clickable). Respect Donny Goines’ grind. The “I Am Moving” video (Dame Grease on production) below is my fav off of his Minute After Midnight album. (Spotted at Nah Right)
So today is the day Asher Roth drops and the Bawse hits stores tomorrow. All good but at noon I will be checking for this new record (“Kinda Like A Big Deal”) by the Brothers Thornton. It’s supposed to be released 4/20 at noon via their Play Cloths blog. They got artist KAWS on the cover art and sneaker hawker Kanye West in the mix. New music from Malice and Pusha T soothes the soul I say. Suddenly I got the urge for a Coke… [Spotted at Hypebeast]
Well damn… (via AllHipHop)
So unless you could care less about the NBA, you’re surely aware that it’s looking like Kevin Garnett will probably not be playing as the Boston Celtics make a run for a repeat championship. The cliche that there is no “I” in team – in this case KG, well…”me” in “we” – is the gist of this clip courtesy of adidas.
I will relay how I really feel by the clip below.
DJ Spinna has got beats. Fresh beats*. It’s a shame this production wunderkind of Jigmastas (and Stevie Wonder tribute parties) infamy doesn’t get his proper due. The above clip of him in the studio with Ski (of Camp Lo and early Roc-a-Fella infamy, not a bad producer himself) and the homie Sucio Smash chopping up Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness” inspired me to write another Gumsoles. [Props to High Water Music]
Most people nowadays will know Kool & the Gang for their Pop/Crossover hits like “Celebrate” and “Ladies Night” That’s all well and good but if you’re a little savvier with your music history you will note that Kool & the Gang started with traditional Jazz leanings before delving knee deep into R&B and Funk before getting their Disco on.
Being that the group’s main players—brothers Robert “Kool” Bell (bass) and Ronald Bell (tenor sax) as well as George Brown (drums), Robert Mickens (trumpet), Dennis Thomas (alto sax), Charles Smith (guitar, RIP) and Rick Westfield (keys)—were all accomplished musicians, it’s no wonder their catalog has been picked clean by scavenging Hip-Hop producers.
The song in question here (directly below), “Summer Madness,” stems from their R&B/Funk days, though they retained their sophisticated Jazz sensibilities. The instrumental tracks sweeping synthesizer and haunting melody was first heard on Kool & The Gang’s Light of Worlds (De-Lite, 1974) album.
That said, I wanted to share some of my fav “Summer Madness” flips, for the uninitiated. No one tell Premo I dropped dime please, thanks.
Gang Starr “DJ Premier in Deep Concentration”
“Summer Madness” forms the musical landscape for Premier to cut, scratch and transform with finesse, and all that mess. Word to Biz Markie and Cool V.
Pete Rock f/ Jim Jones & Max B “We Roll”
Ahh, feel the wave; when Jones and Max were best of buddies and making surprisingly good music. Pete Rock chops up “Summer Madness’” synth to the point where they’re almost recognizable, Max drops a catchy hook and Jones fills in adequately on the rhymes.
Da Bush Babees f/ Mos Def “The Love Song”
You really can’t lose early Mos Def teaming with late 90’s, underground Hip-Hop torchbearers teaming up over a Posdnous (De La Soul-did I really have to add that detail?) produced track.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (pre-Bel Air) “Summertime”
Enough of a classic that younger heads will think it’s the original.
*I’ll get around to posting that Spinna story from the late, great Scratch Magazine, one day.
It’s the Mighty Mos Def. What more needs to be said? The Ecstatic, June 9. We hope.
Here’s a throwback to the B-side of “Universal Magnetic.”
Mos Def “If You Can Huh You Can Hear It”
The above WiiSpray teaser is kinda ill. Not sure if many heads in the graffiti set can afford such big enough monitor to do their tags justice, but surely Nintendo will figure something out. The special controller being sponsored by Montona spraypaint, a choice look. (Spotted at Engadget)
Also gives me an excuse to post Artifacts’ “Wrong Side of the Tracks” Video
Graffiti for Wii Video Shows 100% Silly Fun, 0% Mess [via Gizmodo]
The Next Graffiti Fad: Fire Tagging [via Fast Company]
I got to relay my thoughts on Jadakiss’ new The Last Kiss album over at Vibe.com. I’ve kept the album on rotation since and I think I was on point with the critique; while for most MCs the album is a win, it isn’t close to the homerun Jadakiss is capable of creating. But hey, ‘Kiss would probable tell me to kiss his ass anyway (that song should have been on the album).
Jadakiss “Kiss My Ass” (off The Champ is Here, Vol. 2 mixtape with Green Lantern)
Busta Rhymes Renames Jadakiss (via Rap Radar)
Jadakiss @ Highline Ballroom (via Nah Right)