RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, February 22

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – January ’11 #2: “Hell On Earth (chopped & screwed)” by Mobb Deep

Seems like the world was a ghetto, but then they gentrified the whole thing. Wal-Marts in small towns, and cleaned up Times Square. Everything is neon signs and cleaned up at least twice a day. But it don't feel like that. It's like they keep sweeping it all up, but you know there should be some grime somewhere, so it feels like something's missing. But they sweep it up everyday, sterilize once a month, re-facade once a year. We get certain shit from the Trader Joe's all the way in Short Pump, Va, USA, Earthrock, and when we go into that cluster of predesigned buildings, my heart starts to clench in on itself. They've got a big area of apartment buildings with a Buster & Dave's underneath it on one corner, like a fake urban block but smack in the middle of a planned commercial zone, conveniently located off the interstate, with free wi-fi in all directions, and I get all furrowed brow thinking about people actually living in those buildings and going to that bar and that's their life. Do they live as couples here, and have children and raise them? Or do they move into subdivisions at that point? Does this fulfill them? Do they actually take their own trash anywhere? It's all very confusing to me as an actual human being because it feels a lot like when I ride behind a tractor and trailer full of white chickens for the slaughterhouse, sitting there in their cages, no struggle, just riding along feeling the breeze. And I know that's a somewhat corny comparison, but it feels like that to me, literally. If I am in that environment for more than like 45 minutes, I get all white knuckled and nervous and feel like there's probably a floating eyeball somewhere about to figure out I don't belong. One of the main reasons I have never seen any sort of psychologist or psychiatrist is because I know little things like that that make perfect sense to me would get me on brain drugs right away. So that I could live in a place like that and not freak out. Immunize me against my own humanity I guess.
Anyways, music follows this predesigned gentrification. Rap music has become highly gentrified, and the perfect example of this is Kanye West. I know he is the critic's darling and everyone is supposed to recognize how cutting edge and avant garde he truly has been for hip hop. But it's just gentrification. Same thing with everything else that has been popular - Drake, Rick Ross, shit man, you name it and pretend it's hip hop and I will just shake my head inside my heart. Life isn't like that though. You can't just live drinking champagne bought on a credit card, which is what that music basically is. It's background muzak, but with an alleged hip hop vibe, and it eases you into those predesigned communities. You are being immunized against your own humanity.
Life is dirty, no matter how much you sweep it up. Scars, scuffed shoes, leaky roofs, gunshots in the distance at a time that means you wait to see if any sirens come because it didn't feel right. Life doesn't feel right a lot of times, and that's how you make it right. If everything feels right all the time, then you're no longer actually feeling anything. It just doesn't add up.
This is why I can't stand that shit they call hip hop now. Can't stand Kanye West. I have given him many many chances because everybody around me keeps pointing out what a fine robe this new emperor of hip hop music is wearing, but I still can't see it. Life is not like that music, although I suspect for many people - many of you even - who have been immunized against your own self, life is like that. It makes me sad, but whatever. We all have our own paths, and sure many of them might be predetermined or engineered by others who play us like pawns, but whatever. I'm just a dude. I can't change the world.
But do me a favor, will you? Life is not like that. Life is dirty and grimy and feels nasty sometimes. Hell, sometimes the dirt and grime and nastiness is actually rather cleansing. So hopefully wherever you are, it is cold and rainy. Take this song here, this screwed and chopped version of a Mobb Deep song, and put on a heavy coat, and get yourself high on whatever you like to get high on, and go outside in the cold with the rain falling, and stand underneath of an overhang somewhere, out of the wet if you can, but hearing the rain clack clack clack on tin, drip drip drip against something piled up somewhere, cars rumbling nearby or just every so often if you're in the wilds, and just stand out in the cold and rain and grime of the real world, and pump this fucking song through your highed up brain a few times. You see what I'm saying? The world ain't like Kanye West. That's Gap commercials and Visa cards. But let it go. Breath in the dirt and grime for five minutes, and feel good to your goddamned soul.
STEAL “Hell On Earth”
Whiny man musics, for a dude who was on a low spiral!


¯\(°_0)/¯ said...

Part of what keeps me somewhat grounded is hearing trains go by. I've never lived particularly close to any train tracks, probably 1 1/2 or 2 miles away, but close enough that I can hear the trains go by on a somewhat quiet night. Anyway, the place I just moved into seems to be a lot farther away from any train tracks, which kind of had me bummed, until Sunday morning about 2 weeks ago I was sitting on the couch drinking coffee and heard, rather loudly, a train traveling somewhere. I still don't know where those tracks were, but it is always reassuring to hear them.

¯\(°_0)/¯ said...

But, on a music note, I hear you about Kanye West. Like, I borrowed two Kid Cudi albums from the library a few weeks ago, and they were alright but the whole time I felt like I was just listening to the background music from a car commercial. And like, a car I would never drive.

Raven Mack said...

I agree with both comments. I know not understanding new music makes me old, but somehow someone has to admit that somehow new music is missing something. Although I'm sure something (hopefully) is percolating somewhere that will bubble up through the middle of the bullshit.

Anonymous said...

There is a Dave and Busters in Short Pump? Sweet

Anonymous said...

New music is missing dirt really. Just like you said kinda. Exactly. I was in Richmond yesterday. I just could not fucking deal in a city. I always feel like I'm a spectator to some wildlife documentary but it's humans in their city and it's weird to me. I don't mean any offense that makes this world go round but I'm just a country girl