Posts Tagged ‘hip-hop’

This Is What You Made Me

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Spinnin' in the cloaked.

This interstellar sonic object, black ring warrior, and rotating slanguage carrier arrived courtesy of eminent photographer and thoughtful scribe of revolutions-yet-to-come Dave Pires. He found it in a record shop basement in Japan (or something like that) while seeking powder and enlightenment through cataclysm and radiation. Or perhaps vice-versa. This is the 2003 Japanese release of This Is What You Made Me on Tri-Eight. The label’s first release, for that matter. Most of the production is by DJ KeNsEi and D.O.I.. This be spaced out, rough and raw beats, stark and uncompromising, interstellar alien transmissions from the one and only RAMM:∑LL:Z∑∑.

“Look at the Girl!” is the vocoder-killin’, tone generator track here, the one on rewind, while DP, the mystic CP and I downed a bottle of Chateau de Fieuzal 1978. It’s like being in orbit around Planet RAMM:∑LL:Z∑∑. This is the greeting message to space aliens… and he’s looking for Afrofuturist spacewomen. I think. If you can decipher. Codes are in effect. Multiple listenings required.

Unlike RAMM:∑LL:Z∑∑’s Bi-Conicals of The Rammellzee on Gomma, this Tri-Eight jam is nearly indecipherable, less concerned with lectures of clarity concerning slanguage, and much more despotic in its rhyme (it also doesn’t feature any early ’80s throwback jams: this is Afrofuturist hip-hop thrown forward). A few exceptions, certainly—”My Horizon,” “Here We Go,” “Soldier,” all possibly heard as translation. The stark production of KeNsEi’s repetitive rhythmachines—deadpan tight beats & samurai percussion—propel each track like nuclear fission. A constant burn. Ears melting. Beats broken through pulsating veins of cypher dynamics. The RAMM:∑LL:Z∑∑ overtakes speakers. This is what the microphone is for. Four voices at least. Soundwaves bow & obey, bow in & out, to forever and ever vision, the price of strife reports: revolts! The dictionary tree lies!

A few of the tracks are warrior codes, letter races with ignitors, armed, and firing.

Ha! I told ya/So that soldier!

Multiple voices in effect—at least six or so Garbage Gods in the Slanguage Wars voicing themselves here. Much to listen deep within.


This is also New York hip-hop, right from the start. No bling, no cars. Sonic surrealism from Afrofuturist acanonism. R.I.P. RAMM:∑LL:Z∑∑. To the stars from whence you came. The message is now ours to decipher and transmit.

Decoding The RAMM:∑LL:Z∑∑.


head down, arms up, hands out

Monday, September 13th, 2010

What is it with hip-hop and the arm wave? Why wave arms side-to-side in the air? Is this a gesture of unity? Like crowds of the mid 20th century, the arms aligned in position, all are become one, in the movement of movements….

But why the arms? Why are emcees so concerned with aligned arms? Why should we not care about it, or rather, why are emcees telling us not to care about it?

Hands in the air, the transcendance of care.

Watching Kool Keith I would expect Dr. Octagon to ask us to wave anything but arms in the air. Or, if waving arms, to signal with inventive and improvised semaphore the coordinates of the next landing, infrasonic investigation of orifices, or otherwise booty call for the Black Elvis.

But he too (and all his selves) are concerned with the unity of an arm wave set to regulation appeal.

In 1998, in San Francisco, Black Elvis does not call upon an audience to wave. The audience waves itself (according to footage).

In 2007, Kool Keith unmasked in hoodie, still holding spit but seemingly no longer split into conscious costume (or is he?), requires ultramagnetic inflection to wave arms at his behest, of an audience now almost exclusively white.

Heads down bop up, beatdown backpacks on – arms up, salute? Wave like you just don’t care?