Friday, 25 February 2011

Kanye West - All Of The Lights ft. Rihanna, Kid Cudi

I don't what's best about this video: the relatively impressive use of graphics, the oh-so-subtle label marketing, Rihanna's very tiny outfit or the fact that it now has to come with an Epilepsy Action disclaimer? That being said, surely the latest Kanye West single could have warranted something a tad more powerful and a little less mainstream. After 'Power' and Ye's claims about creativity in his XXL cover piece - that I naturally had a thought or two on myself - I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with the video for 'All of the Lights'....again, Rihanna's outfit aside, which certainly warrented a refresh or two.

Danny Boyle's Frankenstein

I did vow when I agreed to take up my blog again (despite having funding applications up to my eyeballs, a paper to deliver and several dissertation chapters to go) that I would also be integrating my academic research, as well as my freelance journalism work. I surely need not outline the relationship between my two areas of interest or explain my opinions on the academic merit of hip hop again, although if unsure you can read up HERE. Being perhaps one of the darker genres out there in terms on lyricism and the issues raised, I have often felt that hip hop had a close relationship with the conventions of the gothic. I know I have used them as prime examples of the relationship between the genre and Shakespeare before, but you only have to listen to the words of Chino XL or Immortal Technique for example to see the influence - let alone the Horrorcore sub-genre!

Anyway, the success of the award-winning director Danny Boyle's staging of the classic novel 'Frankenstein,' which will be screened live in cinemas worldwide in March, has also provided some great evidence for the relevancy of the gothic in mainstream culture. Whilst I appreciate that literature and theatre are not for everyone, this re-adaptation is a great way to take in this thrilling story, which poses so many questions that remain relevant in our everyday life today. With a 5-star review from The Times newspaper - a rarity in itself - this is not to be missed!

'Frankenstein' will be screened in UK and US cinemas on March 17th and 24th.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

New Music: Donny Goines - Ich!ban prod by F.R.E.A.K.

Officially loving the latest single from Donny Goines! Delivered with style and precision 'Ich!ban' is yet another convincing argument as to why the New York emcee is one of the key players on the independent scene. Building on an already impressive anthology of tracks, his forthcoming album 'Success Served Cold,' which coincidentally drops on my birthday (March 22nd 2011) is certainly worth some spins. Kudos Donny...this is going to be in heavy rotation on my workout playlist for some time!

Be sure to support the artist and purchase 'Ich!ban' on iTunes NOW!

Dance With The Devil - Immortal Technique

Been listening to this throwback classic from Immortal Technique a lot recently. It all started with an essay I wrote on Hip-Hop and Shakespeare entitled 'From Hamlet to Hip-Hop: Why Shakespeare is Relevant Today.' Everyone is quick to liken the wordplay of our genre to the influential playwright but less quick to offer up any real textual examples or true comparisons, so I made a rare attempt at combining both my academic and music journalism skills. 'Dance With the Devil' was just one of the tracks I engaged with in the piece and it's been in heavy rotation since then.

KINGS OF THE CITY - Darkness ft. Klashnekoff (Official Video) [HD]

I don't normally deal with the UK scene very much but I must say that this track really caught my eye. I don't know whether it was the verses or the fabulously gothic video - or a bit of both - but this stood out as being a refreshing change from the status quo. I for one will certainly be keeping an eye on Kings of the City in future. Watch this space...

To download the track or keep up with the guys, check out their website :

Raekwon: The Interview! (MTV UK)

With 18 years in the business and arguably a few of the best albums released in the last decade to his name, Corey Woods could retire to the hip-hop hall of fame a proud man - if he wanted to that is. Thankfully, for the future of the genre - he does not. Fresh from the success of ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II’, Raekwon delivers his latest dish with the passion of the number one draft pick and the precision of a veteran quarterback…

Despite his hectic schedule, The Wrap Up's Hannah O'Connor managed to catch up with the Chef to discuss the ‘Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang’ album concept in-depth and give an insight into his seemingly infallible recipe for success. Vivid, vibrant and veracious, Rae’s wordplay still impacts like a Tek-Nine after 18 years in the game, catering for both those that grew up on New York Times side and the new generation of hip-hop heads, simultaneously. Forget the features; this is Wu-Tang’s resident street anthropologist at his finest.

Take a read of PART ONE and PART TWO only on MTV UK's The Wrap Up!