Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Room to Breathe

Wow, it's been almost 2 months since I posted. And I was on such a tear for a bit! This photography business, along with some time commitments at my day-job really pounded me for a bit. Well, I feel like I've got some room to breathe and so hopefully I'll be around here more often.

That's assuming I can think of anything to write about. I'm still sort of in a daze simply because my mind is still recovering. And did I say my body is not cooperating? First it was a wicked cough that kept me up at night, now it's my aching back which has flared into a debilitating sciatica

Did I say I turned 30 last year? I think my body believes I'm 60. At least I walk like I'm 60. Anyways...

Just to get this out of the way and to ensure that you all are forever wasting your entire day, here's a link to an incredibly addictive, yet stupid game called Pya!. I don't know what all the other crap on the page is, but I warn you, once you start to play this game, you'll begin losing sleep over how to conquer the green droplets. I've gotten to level 24 (or something in the low 20s). Tell me when you've lost more than 1 hr of sleep playing this damn thing.

Okay, so onto a more interesting, and much less addictive topic: Music.

You can always rely on my to steer you away from bad stuff and push you until you trip over good stuff, so here's the current wave of goodness: The Pharcyde and Dave Chappelle's Block Party.

Nothing new here, but it's definitely music which should be heard by all. My wife and I caught Block Party last weekend (what with all the free time I have now) and we both had a good time. Luckily, my wife's into this music and even though she doesn't always know the artist names or where she heard a certain song before, she's into this whole sub-genre of music. I call it Real Hip Hop. Obviously, there's a lot of great hip hop out there and I'm no expert to say that something else isn't real hip hop. Actually, the reason I refer to this as real hip hop is not because it somehow is better musically (although I think it is) or that the lyrics are more classy (they're not always better). It's the attitude behind the music that gets to me, makes me smile, and sometimes even sends shivers down my spine. I feel like I've written about this before, but I can't seem to find a specific post. In any case, Block Party spends some time on this matter. Just the fact that Chappelle and friends had this free party in ghetto Brooklyn goes to show the kind of love they have for their community. It also shows the love and respect they have for their craft. Sure the musical line-up for the party was amazing, but the best thing wasn't the music, it was the love that was brought to stage for the art.

If you just happen to like Chappelle Show and the skits, you will probably be disappointed by this documentary. There are definitely some good jokes in there, but the focus of this flick is the party itself and the interaction betwen all of these artists. If you love Mos Def, Talib Kweli or any of the other acts, you will likely see a new side to them and you'll like them even more. If you've never heard of these artists, then you should get to know them as they are what hip-hop is (or should be) about.

And now onto to another form of real hip-hop. The Pharcyde. You've probably heard a famous song of their's called Passin' Me By. The funny thing is that I used to hate this type of music. Not sure why, but I just wasn't into the music when they first came out. I started to like them, but not enough to attend a free outdoor concert of their's which was held on the UCLA campus while I was going there. They are essentially a one-hit wonder, but I'm finding their albums are great all around. So now here I am listening to Bizarre Ride II over and over. The lyrics are definitely not the community changing or activist type of lines that some hip-hoppers are all about. Neither is/was their music on the cutting edge. But as a friend of mine said, they've got an East Coast sensibility to their music, while still having a West Coast laid back style to their rhymes. And that's a perfect way to describe this bunch. They're a local SoCal group that came with a very different type of sound that hasn't been too common on the West Coast. But their albums are perfect for a backyard barbecue on a relaxing, sunny afternoon. They're also perfect on a gloomy Monday morning to get your week started off right. While listening to the album, you can't help but crack a wide grin. There's just so much fun in the songs regardless of simple the lyrics actually are.

If you can imagine, one of their tracks is built off the following chorus:
"Please, Don't Pull Me Over, Mr. Officer, Don't Pull Me Over Mr. Officer, Please."

Repeat 4 times. That's the ENTIRE chorus. Very earth shattering huh? But you know what, I'm making a fool of myself in the car while driving along listening to these songs. Every track from beginning to end has a groove to it that can't be matched by anything on the radio today. It's not about being rich or making a statement. It's just about expressing oneself through music. And that's something which hip-hop is based on.

So go check these guys out too. I guarantee you'll have a fun time with this one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the much deserved down time! I'm still waiting for a long breather.
As for "Block Party" it looked good from the previews (well I may be biased b/c I like Chappelle and Kanye) but your review makes me want to watch it more for all the other musical acts...Some whom I've heard but can never remember. It will expand the music I listen to beyond the songs chosen by NPR. =)