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.

Wednesday, February 23

MNZ: Waxpoetics November/December 2010

Man, Waxpoetics is one of the best reads you can get off a magazine stand, but at $10 an issue, it's just not something one can afford. I mean shit, any half-assed book I can think of from whatever point in history about any subject whatsoever I can cop off of half.com for less than $10 usually. And if it really comes down to either a fresh issue of Waxpoetics, with some really neat-o pictures of old soul and funk shit, and heavily filled with crate digging nerdiness (which I admit, I enjoy the fuck out of) or just copping a discarded copy of Nelson Algren's collected short stories for $7, then I'm probably gonna go with the latter. How much do I really need to know about four months of Sly Stone's life in 1974, or how a Brazilian jazz legend transcended into today's music through a few J. Dilla samples?
That being said, when I got throwed into the hospital I think the third time this past month, my ol' lady was like, "I'm going to Barnes & Noble... give me a list of magazines." In my head, I laughed, because it made me feel like Brother Mouzon from The Wire, and I was already preparing to be like, "Why didn't you get me my Atlantic Monthly like I asked?" when she got back, except we already brought the Atlantic Monthly with us to read in the waiting room before I found out they were re-admitting me, yet again. And I put Waxpoetics on the list, saying "It's expensive as fuck, but usually a good read. They might not have it, and it's small and can be tucked away, so don't look too hard for it. But if you find it, get it." She found it, so I got it.
Oddly enough, the night before my re-admittance, I had downloaded a bunch of old War, which is a group I have almost everything pre-1980 from on vinyl, but have really not gotten digital copies of much of it, if at all. The World Is A Ghetto is a seminal piece of album awesomeness in my mind, and an album that inspired me creatively as a rhymewriter very heavily for a few years. "Four Cornered Room" is a goddamn miracle of a song, and probably sums up how I've pegged the entire world inside my heart, soul, and ragged brain better than any other 8-minute long piece of music ever made.
The War article made me sad though, a very in-depth accounting of their rise and fall as a record company commodity. Basically, like a ton of groups back then, and to this very day, they ended up surviving it all, but can't even perform as War anymore, as their manager from back then owns more of what they did than they do. That's always the sketchy thing about the music industry. In fact, at the Good News & Bad Dope hip hop blog I sometimes contribute to, I had a piece the other day about Yelawolf, Rittz, and the Odd Future performance on the Jimmy Fallon show, talking about how weird it is Yelawolf is excited to be signed to Shady Records, when so many before him have been signed, dwindled in major label purgatory, never released anything to any actual good sales, and been hustled out of their deal owing a fat chunk of change to the dotted line they signed because they didn't recoup their advance money. Tweeted out the link, and maybe like 19 people saw it, but somehow I got a cease and desist order for copyright infringement. When I looked up the order, of course nothing showed up, but rather than have the blog disappeared by Blogger, I took down all the links. Now I doubt Rittz cared that I was hyping his new song that he circulated all over the internet, and the Odd Future on Fallon youtube link had the internet going nutz already, so by process of elimination it had to be the Yelawolf link, to a song that came off a free mixtape from last spring. Except once he signed to Interscope, they re-released it with a couple new songs as an actual thing you buy. And I'm sure with the new attachment to Eminem's label, Yelawolf has internet wolves working on his behalf to make sure no one shares any of his creative material without properly paying holmes. Because all 19 people who went to that blog all would've spent $12 for his shitty reworking of a free mixtape from last spring. But the point is, the record industry still has heavy weight, and carries itself with self-importance that doesn't see the real world around it. Try to google "Taylor Swift" and "mediafire" and see how little you see. Do the same for whatever indy band you like. Them record people are right on top of some things, the chosen things. They're gonna get their money. The people making the music, 9 times out of 10, don't end up with shit, but the record industry cartel leaders, they'll be paid, one way or another. Count on that. (And while I can't help but feel like Yelawolf sold out from all this, who can blame him? The dude might be naive, but who the fuck wouldn't be in that position? I know I would. And chances are, he'll end up a forgotten man ten years down the road, probably living along the same Alabama road he so proudly mentions as his blue collar roots now. I hope he gets a good run out of the ride though.)
Beyond the War article making me sad at how the record industry is such a piece of goddamned soulless shit that takes actual wonderful creative energy, like what War did, and saps the members of their passion. To persevere takes a ton of personal energy. But it's just another good warning story as to how the monkey's paw will fuck you up every time.
Other than that, it was another quality Waxpoetics. There was a couple pages of pictures of old boomboxes from the '80s. And they always have some DJ or producer or somebody talk on 10 records that really impressed upon their lives before they were famous. DJ Muggs was the dude doing that in this issue, and I found his tastes to be remarkably like mine in some ways (Houses of the Holy... no shit, someone else thinks that's the ultimate Led Zeppelin album), and yet completely contrarian to me as well (I have never understood the suburban pseudo-revolution of Rage Against the Machine). All in all, it was $10 that ate up a couple hours of my hospital stay. I had a friend of the family come visit me one morning while my wife was out, making sure I didn't need anything, but I was zonked out on painkillers, sleeping, so she sat there and enjoyed the magazine. I woke up and she smiled at me, like "Okay, you're finally awake," and talked about how great War was. And they are. Contrary to whoever it is that thinks they own what music they created, War is still fucking awesome.

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