Celebrating 10 Years of Peerless: The Debaser Album That Started It All

Untitled

Note: I’m an idiot. For the past year I’ve had it in my head that this album’s release date was May 10, 2010. I said over and over I needed to make sure I had something ready for the album’s anniversary, because I wanted to celebrate a record who’s birthday was undoubtedly going to fly under the radar, and it wasn’t until May 9th that I realized the album actually came out on May 4th. That’s why this is nine days late. Sue me.

On April 8, 2010, 2DopeBoyz premiered an exclusive leak of Debaser’s “Don’t Sleep,” which featured a guest spot from Living Legends’ own The Grouch, and this street single would act as the sole promotional piece for Debaser’s sophomore album, Peerless. I didn’t know it at the time, but when I clicked on that link for the very first time, my life was about to change forever. You see, prior to hearing “Don’t Sleep,” I had yet to be exposed to the world of Sandpeople, and I only opted to try the track due to the guest spot attached, so one could only imagine my elation when those crunchy, distorted synth notes burst through my speakers for the first time. Continue reading

Review: Trench Is A Turbulent Effort From Twenty One Pilots

Untitled

Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

Every once in a while I’ll come across an album that stumps me. It isn’t bad, it isn’t good, I’m not even neutral on it, the record simply exists in this void where it completely fails to render any kind of emotional response from me. Last year it was Preoccupations’ third album, New Material, and this year it was the third album from Twenty One Pilots, Trench. Every time this happens, I pretty much stop writing for a while, because I’m struggling to communicate the blank slate that appears in my mind whenever I listen to the album in question. Continue reading

Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer (2009): The Tale of Two Antagonists

500_days_of_summer_in_chronological_order

As children, I think we rarely have an adequate understanding of what the word “love” means on both an emotional and psychological level. If the child has a stable household then they love their parents, they love their siblings, they may even love a specific toy or activity, but beyond that, this love they’re expressing is oftentimes less of something they’re feeling and more of something they’re saying. It’s not like laughter, as this is something children express early in infancy, but rather it’s something they’re expressing merely due to the fact they hear adults around them say it to each other, or to them specifically. Continue reading

Review: OnlyOne Continues His Solo Streak With Fuck You

Fuck You Cover

Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

For those who’ve been following me for a while, especially those who are familiar with my writing on my previous blog, it’s been no secret that my relationship with OnlyOne’s music has been a bit complicated, to say the least. As I was getting into the Sandpeople collective in 2010, OnlyOne’s input on the group’s 2000s output instantly made him a stand-out voice for me, as he was the youngest member of the crew, and thus had a presence that didn’t feel too far removed from what I was writing during high school. However, as the group’s collective output fizzled out with little fanfare, I think Only had trouble finding his voice as a solo act. Continue reading

Review: Joy As An Act Of Resistance Is An Explosive Sophomore Effort From Idles

1392354930_largethumb

Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

Do you guys remember when Brutalism first came out? What that experience was like when those opening snare hits come in just after the woman’s screams? Because I do. Every time I listened to that record prior to writing my review, I couldn’t help but wonder how Idles would improve on their sound, or where they would go musically and lyrically to avoid sounding derivative. Brutalism was such a near-perfect exercise in rage and anguish that I was truly unsure if there was any way the band could manage to make their music heavier, yet 17 months later, that’s exactly what they did. Continue reading

Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man In San Francisco (2019): Holding On To History

last-black-man

A quiet storm. If there were only three words one could use to describe The Last Black Man In San Francisco, it would be those. From the opening moments until the credits begin to roll, Joe Talbot’s directorial debut is filled with a visceral energy that is equal parts anger and melancholy. It’s raw and open in ways most films can only aspire to be, and while some of this could be attributed to the film’s semi-biographical nature, I believe there’s something to be said for the fact that The Last Black Man In San Francisco manages to transcend both the racial and economic boundaries that exist for its lead subject, Jimmie Fails. Continue reading

Review: Fine, I’ll Say It – Eminem’s Kamikaze Shouldn’t Exist

Untitled

Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

Look, before you grab your pitchforks and start yelling “All art has a right to exist,” I want to say I agree wholeheartedly. I love music, I love that it exists, and I love that there are artists, songs, and albums that have audiences even if I personally find them boring, lackluster, or generally uninteresting. However, I do believe Kamikaze, as it exists in its current state, is a record that should have never been released. Not only do I think the album’s a complete mess, I also believe it is marginally worse than 2017’s Revival, and I say this knowing I’m in the minority here. Continue reading

Review: Travis Scott’s Astroworld Is Deeply Frustrating

Untitled

Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

For the past month or so, as the threat of this review has loomed on the horizon, I’ve been dreading the moment I had to sit down and collect my thoughts on Travis Scott’s third studio album, Astroworld. For the sake of transparency, it’s important to note that my relationship with Scott’s music has been an interesting one, to say the least, as his 2015 debut Rodeo was my first introduction to contemporary Trap music. Up until that point, I had been actively avoiding it, as I found artists like Future and Young Thug to be vapid and mildly irritating. Continue reading

Review: YG Loses His Edge On Stay Dangerous

Untitled

Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

When you look back at this past decade, it’s weird to think of YG’s trajectory as a commercial artist. I remember when he was first breaking onto the scene, crafting a lot of the same lackadaisical pretty-boy Party Rap that controlled the airwaves towards the tail-end of the previous decade. That sound and sub-culture at the time never really appealed to me, but then My Krazy Life came out in 2014, and while it was undoubtedly flawed in its execution, the record was proof that YG would eventually become an important voice in West Coast Hip Hop music. Continue reading

M. L. Rio’s If We Were Villains (2017): When Life Imitates Art

artworks-000202858949-8gr2qb-t500x500

Every once in a while, as a reader, I’ll come across a book that absorbs me like few have. One where, from the very first page, I can feel its pages and the words housed within wrap around me, at once comforting in their embrace, while simultaneous urging me to continue on, knowing full well this only means my time with the story will be drastically diminished. After all, the age old question us readers are forced to ask ourselves is this: is it better to plow through a story for a day or live with a novel for a week or two? Continue reading