Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 81: The Undamentals

I understand that Hipster, please! is not typically the place you come for heartfelt meditations on the nature of hip-hop. Of course, you no doubt understand that I am a slave to my whims.

Thus, this edition of Radio Free Hipster is all about the hip-hop. More specifically, it's about what nerds do with hip-hop. Some of it will be universally appealing. Some of it will shock and offend.

That's how you know it's art.

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 81: The Undamentals [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 47.3 MB Running Time: 51:40

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Not to be confused with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

Track 1: mc chris – "White Kids Love Hip-Hop"
Not exactly favorite mc track, but a good place to start for this ep.

Z's 1st interlude: "The rest of you in the gray area."
I'm a little unsure of who this episode is for. If you don't feel rap, you'll likely get bored quickly. Of course, hardcore heads certainly aren't coming to me for their thoughtful musings. So that leaves… those in-betweeners.

Track 2: Dual Core – "Kick Back" / Friday dialog
Not sure if I'd said this publicly, but I love the Beefy sample on the hook!

Track 3: Dr. Awkward – "Geekquilibrium"
I made a lot of allusions to this Dr. Awkward track throughout 2009, but this is the first time I actually played it.

Track 4: Optimus Rhyme – "Precognito (live)"
The interplay between grimROCK and Stumblebee on this one is superb.

Track 5: Billy the Fridge – "The Wrestler"
If you haven't scored Billy's latest, I fear you are missing out.

Track 6: Wordburglar – "Rhymes with I'm"
"I'm the eBay auction for a mint-in-box Moss Man."

Track 7: Jesse Dangerously – "Celebrity Nudes (Timskin Moon Mix)" / Friday dialog
Possibly Jesse's nerdiest cut. Less for the allusions to superheroes than the use of the phrase "capricious muses."

Z's 2nd interlude: "That's a helluva beat."
Check out Pelicaine's MySpace for a metric shit-ton of fine beats.

Track 8: K.Flay – "paper planes & SPITBALLS (feat. MC Lars)"
Given his "nerdcore is dead" diatribe, it's a tad odd to hear Lars play the part of the noble geek in this one.

Track 9: ZeaLouS1 – "Headshot (feat. BenjaminBear)"
Why aren't there a million YouTube fan vids for this song? I suggest you go make one now.

Track 10: Frenchbloke & Son – "Sound Of Da S Club"
I'm a big fan of KRS, but this one is even a little hard for me to listen to at times. For, y'know, obvious reasons.

Track 11: T.Y.T. – "Boys in the Country"
T.Y.T.'s Puzzle Pieces (and the rest of his discography) is currently freely available. Stock up.

Track 12: Epic-1 – "Black Friday"
Epic's 2009 release 1 is an album that I just keep going back to. I have no idea what he's got coming down the pipe this year, but I expect great things.

Track 13: YTCracker – "G4 Commercial"
YT's G4 commercial was easily my favorite of the "It's a Nerd's World" series.

Z's 3rd interlude: "Because hip-hop is resilient."
The only thing more amazing to me than hip-hop's rise to cultural dominance is how well it has weathered the storm of critical acclaim/contempt.

Track 14: Hathbanger – "Party & Bullshit (In the USA) (Notorious B.I.G. vs. Miley Cyrus)"
By the same token, the mash-up community's willingness to skew even the most cherished artists' work for the sake of musical expression is a perfect modern analog to the crate-digging DJs of old.

Hip-hop is important. Rap, as a musical expression of the culture, is equally so. But, just as bad things happen to good people, bad music often muddies the waters of wholly legitimate art forms. The sticking point is the word bad.

There is a human tendency to assume that things that appeal to us have greater value than those that do not. Fuck knows I am as guilty of that as anyone. But my approval is not the indelible mark of quality. Neither is yours.

Lately, I have made it a point to remind myself that not everyone agrees with my views on the important things in life – things like religion and politics and music – and that it is okay if we disagree. Even passionately.

Because all anyone can really do is speak his piece. And hope those in agreement feel vindicated, while those who disagree are only slightly annoyed.