Video killed the radio star

I mentioned in a previous post how I don’t particularly like music videos. I knew one day I would write my thoughts about it…that day is today. After watching this video of Rik Cordero explaining why music videos are almost necessary these days, I can’t surpress my feelings any longer.

To be fair, the video looks like it was edited horribly with important parts of quotes left out, but I’m taking it as is.

First let me say that music videos change the way we listen to a song. It can make the song sound (look?) better, or it could make it worse. In either case we get an altered perception of the song. I’m not any kind of expert or anything, but there are reasons that music is so magical. It can invoke feelings, emotions, thoughts, ideas. Music is faithfully married to our sense of sound. (Yes I know music can be felt: bass, etc. But for the sake of this argument nevermind that for now).

When listening to a song, the feeling you get can be so lucid that even without a single visual image, you still get a picture-perfect sense of what you are hearing. It’s a hard concept to try to explain. But basically what I’m saying is that when you hear music, your mind comes as close to a visual experience as possible without there actually being any physical image.

That’s the magic of music. Nothing else can really create the same sensation within us that music creates. THAT, my friends, is what makes music, music.

Now that we have that hypothesis fresh in our little brains, lets consider the effect of music videos on music itself.

How will we get that magical feeling, that almost-visualization, if we have an actual image to look at. Now the music just becomes a mere compliment to the video and our main focus is on the images our eyes are seeing. There is no more magic.

No disrespect to Cordero, but I have to disagree with many of his statements. The harder I try to figure out what he is trying to say, the more I have to conclude that he means exactly what he says. It kinda sounds like he’s trying to sell himself here…maybe unintentionally.

Like when Cordero says how its a great time for artists to put visuals to their tracks and just making a song isn’t enough anymore. I mean…its like he is trying to say that in order to complete the peice of art a video must be included.

He also says he wants to help the artists, and give them the opportunity to put their visions into something big. Well, if the emcee is any kind of talented he shouldn’t need a video to convey his images. Like when nas spits (I just picked a line from the song im listening to right now)   “now I’m jettin to the building lobby, it was full of children probably, couldn’t see as high as I be” on NY State of Mind. Thats a visual!

Another way videos can fuck up the magic is by showing you the body of the voice. When you dont know what a rapper looks like, the only thing that you think about is his voice and his message. You can form your best guess as to what he looks like gauged by his voice and words only. And you will likely picture him favorably (and probably completely inaccurately), if you do try to picture him at all that is.

If you think the image of a musician doesn’t alter your opinion of them you are wrong. In hip hop luckily looks aren’t everything. Notorious, Flavor Flav, and Lil Wayne prove that. But in most music, especially pop, you wont get any fame if you arent model material. However, rap is a different game, and although the emcee doesn’t need to be gorgeous, he still needs to fit the bill.

You think record companies only sign sexy bitches because sexy bitches are the best singers? ERHHHH WRONG! They know what I know and what you are about to learn. They know that everyone (even me) judges books by covers.

Check out the 1960 presidential debates between Nixon and Kennedy. The first ever televised debates. The first time viewers could SEE the candidates rather than simply LISTEN to them on the radio. For better or for worse, the outcome of the election was greatly influenced by TV. The following paragraph from museum.tv can explain it for me:

In substance, the candidates were much more evenly matched. Indeed, those who heard the first debate on the radio pronounced Nixon the winner. But the 70 million who watched television saw a candidate still sickly and obviously discomforted by Kennedy’s smooth delivery and charisma. Those television viewers focused on what they saw, not what they heard. Studies of the audience indicated that, among television viewers, Kennedy was perceived the winner of the first debate by a very large margin.

I wasn’t alive in 1960 and I’m not much concerned with politics, but in nineteen-ninety-now there is no way to escape the wrath of television, and more recently internet videos. The data from those debates is startling, but not surprising. The people who LISTENED to the debate HEARD Nixon win. The people who VIEWED the debate on television…well, what they SAW got in the way of what really mattered, which is what the candidates SAID.

Don’t let any video/images get in the way of shit that need only be listened to. Don’t feel obligated to watch music videos because this is 2009. Music has been music since the begining of humanity, long before video. When I look up a song for the first time on youtube or see a new video im interested in on TV, I will shut it off, look away, scroll the video off the screen, anything to avoid the influence of the video. Do the same.

Some side notes:

I’m not a music video grinch. I do think a lot of music videos add a lot to the song.

After you form your opinion of a song (like after 15 listens), its ok to check out the video. Just beware that it can potentially fuck up the magic of that song.



January 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Rap Break!

Time to take a break from rap. Dont forget to clock out for your break or you’ll be called into the managers office like I was today.

Here are a few tracks I found that I would never listen to when someone else is in my car. But I like them because the production is really good overall. You’ll probably find a couple of these to be palpable. Listen to the beats of these tracks and imagine your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper rapping over them.

Robin Thicke – Dreamworld

Santogold – Shuv It

Feist – My Moon My Man

Robin Thicke – Magic

MIA – 20 Dollar

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Theres somethin ’bout a day like this…”

I got a surprise today in my inbox from Inverse.Their new EP So True is now available for free download. I am listening to it for the first time as we speak. What a great feeling listening to this shit. It’s like I’m discovering them all over again. Such a refreshing warm sound in this Buffalo winter weather. A deeper review is surely in order. Hell, lets make it Inverse week. These guys never fail to impress me.

Like I said I’m listening to the EP for the first time right now. I’ll give you a chance to cop it and take it in while I do the same. I will be back….I’m not leaving this one alone for a while.

Hey friends and fam,

Happy new year to you and yours. We just dropped our new EP this morning and we’d love you to take a listen. You can download from any of the links below.


Please let us know what you think if you get a chance to listen!


January 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You Slept through 2008?

While every other rap blog on the WorldWideWeb is posting their “end all be all” list for the past year, I want to take a more honest approach. Dont get me wrong, I love the “top 100 of 2008” lists on other blogs, and I always find new music that I’ve yet to hear on those lists. But I kinda feel that the idea of a ‘top’ anything list is so subjective that it is kinda redundant to post on a medium as versatile as the internet. (And maybe thats just my excuse to not have to spend the time on my own top 100).

But I did take the time to go through the songs and albums that remain on my hard drive from 2008. My list is just a bunch of songs from 2008. When you think of the problem of hiphop today (underground especially), it’s that everyone is trying too hard to make a banger. Back in the golden years, rappers were just makin songs and weren’t competing with the rest of the industry as much as they were trying to get an audience. Today rappers think the audience is already on their side, therefore the only competition is other rappers.

My list here is a reflection of the golden years; I’m not trying to top anyone, it’s just a list of music from 2008. Obviously I did use my discretion when choosing songs. My process: go through every album on my computer from 2008, then choose the best, or most original songs from the lot. The outcome…? I’m listening through it now and it makes a great mixtape. No expectations. No standards. Just a bunch of notable songs from 2008.

Download the folder here


Large Pro – The Entrance

Herbie Hancock – Court and Speak (ft Norah Jones)

9th Wonder – Brooklyn In My Mind (ft Mos Def, Jean Grae, Memph Bleek)

The Grouch – Watch Watch

Del – Bubble Pop

Elzhi – The Leak

Herbie Hancock – Edith and the Kingpin (ft Tina Turner)

Jake One – Gangsta Boy (MOP)

Doomtree – Drumsticks

Buckshot and 9th Wonder – Be Cool

EMC – Leak It Out

J Live – The Upgrade (ft Odissee and Posdanous)

The Smile Rays – A Toast

Jake One – The Truth (Freeway and Brother Ali)

The Grouch – Artsy

Inverse – Spotlight

Buckshot and 9th Wonder – All Out

Dirt Nasty – Amanda

Has Lo – Unsigned Emcees

Inverse – Til The End (C.A.L.I.)

J Live – The Understanding

Kanye West – Paranoid

Akrobatik – Be Prepared (ft Little Brother)

Buckshot and 9th Wonder – Holt It Down (ft Talib Kweli)

Opio – Don Julio

Elzhi – Fire Rmx (ft Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Fatt Father, Danny Brown, Fat Ray)

J Live – Ole (ft Oddy Gato)

Q-Tip – Move

Ron Countour – Krispykreme Pen

Inverse – HipHopSoul

Ron Countour – Baddest Emcee

EMC – We Alright

The Grouch – Never Die

Elzhi – Transitional Joint

Nas – Fried Chicken (ft Busta Rhymes)

The Grouch – Bring It Back

J Live – You Out There

Inverse – One Step

Del – Funkyhomosapien (prod. J Zone)

Large Pro – The Hardest (ft Styles P and AZ)

J Rawls – A Tribute To Souls

Jake One – Glow (ft Elzhi and Royce Da 5’9)

Jake One – Home (ft Vitamin D, C Note, Maine, Ish)

EMC – Feel It

Pace Won and Mr Green – The Eye Of A Needle

LEO – Perfect Line (prod. Large Professor)

Game – My Life (ft Lil Wayne)

Pace Won and Mr Green – Hip Hop

Game – Angel (ft Common)

Sadat X – Heart to Heart (ft Thirstin Howl III and Twanie Ranks)

Cormega – Fresh (ft PMD, Grand Puba, KRS One, Big Daddy Kane)

Dilated Peoples – The Release Party

Freeway – Everlast

Freeway – Freedom of Speech

January 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Rub – 1993 Mix


(Right click to save)

Two hours of 1993-ness from your friends at The Rub

1. Souls of Mischief – 93 Til Infinity
2. Cypress Hill – Insane In The Brain
3. Black Moon – Who Got Da Props
4. Lords of the Underground – Chief Rocker
5. Wu-Tang Clan – Protect Ya Neck
6. M.O.P. – How About Some Hardcore
7. Beatnuts – Psycho Dwarf
8. Onyx – Slam
9. Run DMC f. Pete Rock – Down With the King
10. KRS One – Sound of the Police
11. Fat Joe – Flow Joe
12. Masta Ace, Inc – Born to Roll
13. Snoop Doggy Dogg – The Shiznit
14. MC Breed f. Tupac – I Gotta Get Mine
15. De La Soul – Breakadawn
16. A Tribe Called Quest – Award Tour
17. Leaders of the New School – What’s Next + Large Pro Remix
18. Nubian Crackers f. Artifacts – Do You Wanna Hear It
19. Funkmaster Flex – Six Million Ways to Die
20. KRS One – Outta Here
21. Del tha Funkee Homosapien – Catch A Bad One
22. Casual – I Didn’t Mean To
23. Ice Cube – You Know How We Do It
24. Domino – Ghetto Jam
25. The Nonce – Mix Tapes
26. Freestyle Fellowship – Inner City Boundaries
27. Boss – Deeper
28. Tupac – Keep Your Head Up
29. Redman – All Night Long
30. Tragedy aka Intelligent Hoodlum – Grand Groove
31. Wu-Tang Clan – Can It Be All So Simple
32. Jeru tha Damaja – Come Clean
33. Big L – Devil’s Son
34. Ultramagnetic MCs – Two Brothers With Checks
35. Beatnuts – Reign of the Tec
36. KRS One – Hip-Hop vs Rap
37. Tupac ft Digital Underground – I Get Around
38. Snoop Doggy Dogg – Gin and Juice
39. Ice Cube ft Das EFX – Check Yo Self
40. Too Short – Don’t Fight the Intro
41. RBL Posse – Bammer Weed
42. Tha Alkaholiks – Only When I’m Drunk
43. LL Cool J – Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag
44. Wu-Tang Clan – Method Man
45. Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin to Fuck With
46. De La Soul – Ego Trippin (Part Two)
47. A Tribe Called Quest – Electric Relaxation

I wonder what will be on the 2008 mix ten years from now.

January 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment