The Best Part of This Day, Number 9 of Noel’s Terrible Two Weeks…

…has been the Lupe Fiasco album I bought last night. Holy cow, he is killing every single track. And Soundtrakk has these beats that could be from the stars, or from a dusty crate excavation. Timeless like fire. And I’m only 80% through the album.

December 18th, 2007 | Music, Review | No comments

Liberation in My Ear

You’re probably wondering who has my attention at the moment.

“Noel, who has your attention?”

Good question, thanks for asking.

The artist that has my attention right now is Talib Kweli.
He put a 9-song EP up for free download at the start of the new year. This week he finally released his 3rd solo album, Eardrum. I haven’t picked it up yet at my local indie record store, but I’ve really grasped the earlier Liberation EP.

Delightfully diverse textures, references, topics. Returns to the simplest of hip-hop basics, just an MC and an DJ. DJ Madlib steps up where Kweli’s rhymes falter, refreshingly collaborative stuff that reminds me of the dynamism last seen on the Gnarles Barkley LP. It’s heartening to observe two artist who make each other stronger by working together. Music that embodies healthy human relationships.

Welcoming the warm soul music samples and rhythmic string and percussion samples.
“The Show” revels in the pleasures of diphthonic dexterity. Cutting to the end of the lines, Kweli densely fills the symphonic-sampling beat with mouthfuls of half and full rhymes:
“screw loose/Blue’s Clues/cous-cous/deuce-deuce/Bluetooth
“Hutu or Tutsi/Burundi/Paul Mooney/Shite or Sunni”
and more closely to my W**Pish culture,
“Calvinist/stoppin‘ this/calculus”.

I thrilled at hearing Kweli tear up the hard, flat, electronic grime beat that drops on “Over the Counter” by talking about America’s uncritical absorption of Fox News-sized morsels of predigested news and People-flavored celebrity catnip.

My wife noted that “Happy Home” is remarkable for not celebrating the dysfunctional of Kweli’s family. Instead, he recollects the easy pleasures of a 4th of July cookout ending in football with his brothers, and recasts the accomplishments of his grand-grand-, grand-, and regular parents into a narrative bursting with pride and determination. The heads at Okayplayer are currently engaged in a king-of-the-hill contest over who can give this song higher praise.

You should get the album. It’s called Liberation, by Talib Kweli and Malib, and it is easily found with a simple Google or bittorrent search.

On my iPod, I paired Liberation with a album of Victor Jara covers by the Chilean music group Inti Illimani. If, during the height of the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to kidnap, torture, and kill Bob Dylan as the figurehead of popular anti-administration resistance and Dylan, on the run from the death squads and contemplating his foreshortened time, had decided to drop the act and record songs that engaged directly with the American soul by creating a new experience of American song that appropriated lyrical and musical structures from Native American music so that the people could bridge their lives back into the land in which they lived and by doing so overcome the Nixon regime even though their lives would be cut brutally short, it would share the same blood as this record.

August 22nd, 2007 | Music | No comments