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 28

stationary reminders
scattered throughout property:
“remember Power of Lounge”
if apocalypse does come -
political or climate -
same sky rolls by overhead

Monday, February 27

stagger stumble and wander
without direction beyond
part-blind chance and part-dumb luck

[HH3os] We Got Late Donuts Registration For Cheap trio

 (1st round match-up 3 of 27)

The internet is a seemingly unending compendium of useless “information” accumulated through self-important content manufacturing (there is little creation involved), and I am no different. But this thing (this site, this brain of mine, this HH3os project, really anything) is exactly that factory line that is moving along already and it would be deemed too costly to stop it unless somebody got crushed in a mechanism. That somebody will one day be me, but today is not the day, so here’s more unnecessary false world expertise on things that don’t matter but are somehow still considered “the culture”.

Kanye West – Late Registration
(released August 30, 2005; #2 on 2005 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)

I will admit right up front that on the whole, I strongly dislike Mr. Kanye West. The title of genius is pretty easily tossed around in our era of greatest ever superlatives ever, and it has generously been applied to Mr. West, both by himself as well as others. (I don’t think a single West album missed out sitting high on Pitchfork’s Year End lists during his entire career, so they are part of the quick co-sign, for sure.) I think he’s pretty overrated regularly, and this has only compounded his own delusions (as well as other sufferings due to familial situations, both from born family as well as legal bonded one). I am speculating here, but I imagine his art is his escape, but at this point he’s so tied to so much dumb shit, he never can fully escape enough to really work on shit. But he’s got to hold onto that genius title, and force it on everybody like a marketing campaign, which causes it to rippled around him from other feedback loops. It’s fucking weird.
That being said, the older in Kanye’s discography you go, the harder it is to not love the music, regardless of your thoughts about the artist behind it. This album is like that – catchy as fuck, and not necessarily in the trash way most ear worms become ear worms. This is a very good album, and though due to my primitive boom baptism upbringing I am averse to feature syndrome (of which every album is now afflicted), there are few examples of how carefully the feature has been curated better than this album. Feature syndrome in today’s era means you get sent a file and you send back a file and all the featured never actually share space outside what gets cut-and-pasted together in an audio version of photoshopped. But I’d guess most every feature on this album involved sitting together, input given, and figuring that shit out together. Example: no way “Drive Slow” ends up this fucking good without some dialogue back and forth between Paul Wall and Kanye West about the whole chopped and screwed culture.
And yet at the same time, as good as this album is, it’s hard not to imagine it – once you scrub the curses and n-words – being background soundtrack in every Aeropostale (and similar spaces) on Americanized Earth. Like this early era Kanye West is pure neo-liberal propaganda, down to loving diamonds but not wanting conflict diamonds but still loving diamonds, so how do we continue to love our privileged affluence but feel good about it? Thus, even though I love this album, I still feel conflicted, and ultimately – as I always do – I actually feel sorry for Kanye. He’s a tortured person, and unfortunately I doubt he has very much control over his artistic outlets at this point, which only exacerbates the torture, all while holding onto that precious sense of self with precocious grip.
Still though, FOUR STARS.

The Clipse – We Got It For Cheap Volume 2
(released late 2005; #15 on 2005 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)

I’m from Virginia, where ain’t shit to do by, I don’t know, fuck around. We’ve never had much make the national radar in terms of hip hop, outside of pop rap factory outputs from Timbaland (including Missy Elliott) and The Neptunes. And I guess The Neptunes technically includes The Clipse, but fuck if it’s not hard to think of them as same clique. So we Virginians of the bottom tiers of socioeconomic existence (aka the 99% lolol) tend to revere The Clipse.
This is a mixtape, not an actual album, but hip hop has been so good in the past 15 years about fucking up the difference between the two, that “mixtapes” get included on lists like this. The actual definition between the two stays blurred, and honestly I don’t give a fuck about the definition because I’ve heard artists say they make more by having well-known mixtapes (thus they get booked for shows more often, where they actually get all the money, unlike record deals where they may end up making little to no money unless they blow up huge), so fuck it, whatever makes good music (but not necessarily G.O.O.D. music).
This is a pretty great mixtape, and standard Clipse (complemented nicely by Clinton Sparks and the Re-Up Gang flows at different tenors). But at the same time it suffers from the limitations of mixtapes (yawning ass interludes, very famous beats feeling slightly desecrated because why even fuck with that beat in the first place). But if this was the era where Willie’s on Southside was still selling mixtapes, or Angie’s Records even further down Hull had the mixtape/tobacco pipe cover-ops still going on for all the crack paraphernalia and other things you could get in the back room, I’d buy the fuck out this mixtape, and let my tape rock until my tape popped.
Easy THREE STARS, warm spring Friday, brand new t-shirt on, its whiteness crisper than a thousand fucks.

J Dilla – Donuts
(released February 7, 2006; #38 on 2006 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)

Perhaps this will be considered blasphemy, but I don’t mark out for this album like most internet hip hop sociologists do. Dilla was great, and the first martyr for beat-making as art (may he rest in peace), but still, listening to an entire album of just beats feel incomplete to me, even if it is Dilla. I say this as someone who often times prefers instrumentals for background music (Premier, early RZA and his disciples, Alchemist… honestly I love so many producers as amazing artists even trying to list a few to prove my loyalty to beat-making as art feels pointless.) But instrumentals themselves are an ingredient to larger meal, and without the rest, it’s just an ingredient. I mean, you could do the DJ Shadow-method thing and sample movie snippets and shit like that and manufacture a story of a meal, but even then you really need the fuller explication of actual MC verses. The difference is like adding curry powder to some lentils, or adding cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, red pepper, cardamom to the lentils, and letting it slow cook for 5 hours minimum. Huge difference in end result.
Perfect example of this on Donuts is “One For Ghost”, which as standalone instrumental is a pretty great beat, no doubt about it, but even as you vibe to it, there’s room for something you need, and it feels unbearably obvious that it’s not finished as a song, even if the beat is. That thing would be adding Ghostface writing an ode to beating on children, and then it all makes more full sense.
None of this I’m saying is meant to disparage Dilla though, nor rocking instrumentals, because when certain shit hits (notably on Donuts for me is “The Twister (Huh What)”, the beat causes blood energies to fill your dick, and patterns of thoughts shoot straight from dick energies into the tongue, completely bypassing spinal cord and even brain, and you just start jabbering words at the stars above, and this is raw essence of spiritual freestyling, where none of it was thought or planned but beat combines with internal flow of energies to overrule all rational explanations for how songwriting is traditionally done. So even though Donuts feels lesser than what I may have listened to otherwise in this trio, that does not mean it is not immensely amazing in the lane it occupies.
THREE STARS (but daytime, so you don’t really see them, as you are missing the night).

THE WINNER: Kanye’s Late Registration, rather easily, shockingly to my own expert biases.
"dying looks easy, drifting
gets harder, I don't know which
one to do” refrains my head

2017 Royal Poetry Rumble: Section Eight

Perhaps we have reached the final week of our contest, but perhaps we have not. Unpaid deadlines are impossible to predict. I read recently someone affirm-tweet that when one writes, they should always write with an urgency. There is far more advice on how to be a good writer than there are good writers on this Earth though. (Although at the same time I’ll say there’s a plethora of great writers; it just seems like motherfuckers always want to be a goddamned expert.) (So with that disdain for digital expertise, let’s get down to some of our own.) (WE’RE DIFFERENT THOUGH!)

#9: Tyehimba Jess (represented by Alabaster Hands) vs. Lorna Crozier (repped by Man From The Labyrinth)

Jess was a Lannan Award winner, and has knocked one poet out already. Crozier was some sort of Canuck award winner, and also has knocked a person the fuck out of this thing. I remember liking Jess and being indifferent to Crozier.
Jess is an African-American man, and that perhaps is somewhat obvious by this particular poem, which I enjoy the rhythm of pretty heavily. There’s a strange rhymeless rhyme to it – a style I often (like to think I) incorporate in my own major works of eternal obscurity. Though I guess at this point this poem is somewhat predictable in content, it’s kind of hard to overlook the historical exploitations behind that content. Like that’s weird, that civilization-wide injustice would become cliché to us. (I’m sure somebody would be quick to pipe up IT IS NOT CLICHÉ, THIS IS YOUR PRIVILEGE SPEAKING! because oh man we love to condemn each other, don’t we?) Anyways, even though it does not strike me hard in my heart, stylistically this Jess poem is one of my more favorite ones this year.
The labyrinth poem was, eh, not much. I think I was hoping for centaur sex though.
THE KVLT SCHOLAR’S HANTEI: "Alabaster Hands" has an air of obscure menace about it and so is not in my view to be dismissed lightly however "Man from the Labyrinth" plays lightly and yet seriously with myth and not just myth but Myth and that is one of the best things for poets to ever do, a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history (an idea of my own that I have just now had, nobody look that up). 
WINNER: "Man from the Labyrinth" 
NOOOOOOOO! (Unjustly) gone at #9 is Tyehimba Jess.

#8: Ben Ladouceur (repped by Ox) vs. Joy Harjo (repped by When the World as We Knew It Ended)

Ben Ladouceur won some Canadian poetry award I’m too lazy to google right now (which you figure I would’ve specified which one in my google doc notes, but no, I just put “CAN award” which does not mean Canada itself but some organization of Canadistan writers organization). And Joy Harjo is the fucking best.
I am not so sure about this Ladouceur poem. I don’t dislike it but through the course of this Royal Poetry Rumble (and perhaps my life itself tbh) I have moved from the desire to indulge in poems of degeneracy or marginalized joys, and now feel more attached to poetry which in whatever fucked up way it does, seems to be attached to our Earthly existence. Not really nature poetry, because most Nature Poetry is trash, but definitely Earthly shit. I’m not saying this Ox poem is not Earthly, but it has the feeling of accidentally catching 12 seconds of a youporn link that goes in a direction you just don’t really want to accidentally go.
Joy Harjo is Joy Harjo at this point, and this poem appears to be her 9/11 poem. One line in particular catches me:
The conference of the birds warned us, as they flew over
Many people know Rumi as a great poet from all of human time, but when someone asked Rumi about the depth of his poems he said something (along the lines of), “I have merely peered in through the door of truth briefly; Attar of Nishapur has walked around inside Truth at great depth.” Attar of Nishapur’s masterpiece (at least that is known) is The Conference of the Birds, which is an amazing lengthy poem, of the old Sufi Islamic tradition, which uses story of birds to explain (in unexplainable ways) how to get closer to God/Creater/Earth/Nature/Spirit/Universal Magnetics/Whatever the Fuck You Believe. It is a thing I from time to time go back to, and just kind of meditate upon a section, and is one of the main triggering reasons I wish I knew Persian so as to get at the kernel meaning inside the translations I read. I can only assume Joy Harjo was referring specifically to this masterpiece, as well as the East/West cultural differences (allegedly) behind 9/11, and so on and so forth.
But Harjo flips it, and after:
The racket in every corner of the world. As the hunger for war rose up in those who would steal to be president to be king or emperor, to own the trees, stones, and everything else that moved about the earth, inside the earth and above it. 
Life goes on. Mothers feed children and people still sing a song in the rubble. This is a thing I tell my children who (rightfully) are often a-feared of this current events world – life goes on. Regardless of the global warming and geopolitical chaos and whatever else that may happen, every day that you wake up is one where you simply do the shit you need to do to get to the end of that day.
THE KVLT SCHOLAR’S HANTEI: Helvetica is used here as a (literal) sign of gentrification and I am sure in the instance this poet is discussing it was, I do not doubt it for a moment, but at the same time I feel like helvetica takes a lot of shit these days as emblematic of all kinds of nonsense but strip that away and it just a nice font, you know? I don't use it for anything but not because of any reason other than that I don't think my computer has it to be honest and beyond that I really like to use Garamond when translating medieval verse, it has a good look for that, I think. "Ox" is super gay, like super *duper* gay, like almost upsettingly gay, nicely done. "When the World as we Knew it Ended" is on another level, though, its apocalypse dragon and its conference of birds. I hadn't properly read Revelations until I guess about a year ago now and all I can say about that is let's hear it for St. John of Patmos. This is just excellent, I think, one of the best this year.  
WINNER: "When the World as we Knew it Ended"
Gone at #8 is Ben Ladouceur.

#7: Juan Felipe Herrera (repped by Five Directions to My House) vs. Allison Hedge Coke (repped by The Change)

Juan Felipe Herrera is the United States poet laureate, and lucked out to not have his number drawn until now. Allison Hedge Coke’s been through a few battles in this thing already.
I don’t know Herrera outside of him being announced as one of the first non-white poet laureates by former President Obama, which of course is a good look. But I also remember the poems we had in this thing from Herrera last year were all not that exciting or, um, great. This little poem is not as bad as the ones last year (where the dude needed an umbrella), but I don’t know, there’s got to be something to this guy I’ve not been exposed to. I am left feeling teased, promised something that did not begin to happen, a premature ejaculation of poetry which failed to bring me to climax but is already smoking a cigarette and expecting accolades.
This Allison Hedge Coke poem, however, is the opposite, as it promises and it delivers, and it tells me that it knows I know about keeping cold beer in tractor toolboxes and it tells me that it knows I know about tobacco and became fascinated with it and would pull over in North Carolina (where this poem is set) and vibe on the tobacco (which is a crazy fucking plant, like it is crazy), and that it knew I lived in a trailer at the edge of a tobacco farm at one time, and the poem knows all this and knows I like those things and the poem uses it’s sleight of tongue to flip all this into complete and total climax, an orgasm of spirit though, non-sexual (although fuck it, everything is sexual in that basic fucking way), and the poem is thick with native culture being destroyed and thick with attachment of this to tobacco (which oh my god tobacco itself was enslaved by colonists, and it is such an oppressed plant, and when I say things like that and admit I’ve stood in tobacco fields touching these tobacco plants, I am probably casting a negative digital light on myself), and the descendants of slaves working the tobacco fields and the chemicals involved now and fuck, this is a poem. This is a fucking poem.
THE KVLT SCHOLAR’S HANTEI: If I may be frank with you Raven neither of these really speaks to me all that strongly and while on the one hand I do admire the concise nature of "Five Directions" I am not hesitating much at all in opting instead here for the cascading A.R. Ammons-towards-the-end-like-in-that-one-called-Garbage-which-is-so-good-man-I-should-totally-read-that-again-it's-right-there-on-my-poetry-shelf-why-don't-I feel of "The Change."  
WINNER: "The Change"

Lolol, well there you have it. Gone at #6 is Juan Felipe Herrera.
multiple metallic plates
in my head from drunken fall
down concrete steps back in day

Sunday, February 26

repeating mantra of "love"
as I walk through this shit world
full of selfish demon brains
pink buddha jack of diamonds
campertop temple, little
town of birdhouses and scrap

Saturday, February 25

fallen messiahs honored
with gaudy capitalist
displays of Earth gluttony
pink buddha backyard sumo
totem, tells me "more squats like
hindu, simple-headed man”

Friday, February 24

forests conceal rainbow veins
but motherfuckers too scared
of the dark, never see it
elite fraternity of
wealthy motherfuckers make
worldwide rules, ruling worldwide

2017 Royal Poetry Rumble: Number Seven Direct

I was about to recap with that long dumb list about all the eliminations up to this point but fuck it man. Just fuck it.

#12: Diane Seuss (represented by Toad) vs. Sharon Olds (repped by Toth Farry)

Seuss has already eliminated to male poets (including Kyle Dargan yesterday), and Sharon Olds is just now stepping into this year’s rumble for the first time. She was last year’s Wallace Stevens Award winner, which means she gets to carry around one of Wallace Stevens’ femur bones around with her should she choose. Poetry is a fucking dark racket.
Seuss’s poem is “Toad” and it’s hard not to have stereotypical children’s rhymes pollute my thoughts with her last name and that poem title. I wondered briefly if she was related to the famous Dr. Seuss, so I utilized the internet, which told me nothing specific, but I did find out Dr. Seuss used “Theophrastus Seuss” as a pen name, and that’s pretty fuckin’ sick imo. (I am now writing as if this is twitter; this is one step further towards language oblivion. 1000100011101, 01000111011, 100101111100111111101!!!)
I am half-heartedly all in on this “Toad” poem though with this ending to the first stanza:
like the yarrow-edged side roads  
we walked barefoot in the summer. 
I support barefoot life pretty hard, and also letting the yarrow grow wherever it chooses, because yarrow is beneficial as fuck. And quickly Seuss shifts from these toad recollections to her father and grandfather and very Earthly remembrances of them, and their death, and it ties into the squashed toad on the road, and fuck man this is a very good poem, one which I thoroughly endorse you clicking the link to read.
I have to admit, on the other end of the spectrum, I am afraid of something called “Toth Farry” pretty badly. It however is a pretty great poem in its own right about a hidden collection of your children’s teeth left for the tooth fairy, and the juxtaposition of these two poems is very odd indeed (and by chance through our royal poetry rumble protocol) because one is looking back at the previous generations, while the other is fondly thinking of how the one behind has already come so far. Both are good, though not necessarily my wheelhouse, but I dare not have an opinion strong enough one way or the other to disparage either of these offerings.
THE KVLT SCHOLAR’S HANTEI: I was all ready to be an asshole and say things like "WHY DO I LET THE TOAD 'POEMS THAT ARE WORSE THAN PHILIP LARKIN'S POEM "TOAD"' SQUAT ON MY LIFE?" and just to prove to me that I am awful this poem turned out to be an unrepentant killer of idiots like me. "It isn't easy to catch a living thing and hold it until it pees on you in fear" is weirdly heavy, and the less said about "a cold-bloodedness, like Keats at the end" the better lest I disgrace myself further (not actually possible). I am not saying this is this year's "Mushrooms" by Laura Kasischke because that is not really a fair thing to say about or expect of anything but holy shit this one. "Toth Farry" would have done well enough against probably the better part of this year's Rumblists but this is like Shawn Michaels mouthing "I love you; I'm sorry" before super-kicking Ric Flair into retirement. I don't know if it's like that at all actually, I am still trying to collect myself over here. 
WINNER: "Toad"
Thus gone at #12 is Sharon Olds.

#11: Lorna Crozier (repped by Compendium on Crows) vs. Jane Mead (repped by The Outstretched Earth)

Lorna Crozier won some Canadian poetry award that I don’t even feel like looking up because I am lethargic of spirit perhaps bordering on depression, and Jane Mead has already thrown three other poets out of this thing this year.
Crozier’s poem is about crows – a subject for which I often write abundantly upon myself, though she claims “They have no gods of punishment or absolution” and I’m not sure I agree with this from my own personal crow studies. And for some reason this (along with the rest) bothers me, because fucking crows is so easy a subject to fucking rip an amazing poem from, I feel thoroughly disappointed by what I just read as having failed to live up to the subject matter, and that wonderful title.
Jane Mead’s poem also feels to me to fail to deliver on a promising title, but I am less mad about this one that the crows. Still though, these fuckers gotta step up their game and not just think of a hot title without delivering the goods. (Also, in all likelihood I am a horribly shitty poet myself, so how can I even say such things?)
THE KVLT SCHOLAR’S HANTEI: Your special connection to corvidae is well known and I feel that I should probably go so far as to break with our conventions (such as they are) and cede the hantei in this instance to you, or maybe that wouldn't be appropriate because you would be too soft on crow poems? Or maybe actually too hard? "Compendium on Crows" gets around any of those kinds of considerations by being so unyieldingly sikk that anyone who reads it, even if they had neither loved nor so much as known a crow, would be won to its cause. "Two crows or one: sorrow and joy have nothing to do with them. Meat does" is unreal, as is "Brains so sharp they know everything at once and don’t sort it into parts, their caw, caw, caw parsed only by the dead in the stench of the gut" and maybe even more so there's "They have no gods of punishment or absolution. They have no stations. Yet, without exception, they dote on their young, give them what they lack, pluck the songbird’s newly hatched like living plums" which is maybe best of all, and it's not like there are other parts of the poem that aren't as good as those parts, because that's pretty much the whole poem, it's in, it's out, and you are left murdered (oh shit). I will mention only briefly a policy I adopted several years ago of always at least *trying* to see where a crow was when I heard it and this approach to crows has rewarded me nearly every time I have been outside since I adopted it. Let's see about this other poem, but I already feel bad for it. Ah ok, "The Outstretched Earth" is fine but nothing to write home about, let's go back to thinking about crows. 
WINNER: "Compendium on Crows"
Perhaps I am too soft on crow poems, or too hard more likely. I wonder if this is how I parent as well? Fuck. Anyways, eliminated at #11 is Jane Mead, who did strong style three other poets out before being eliminated. Tough draw for her, constantly forced into poesy combat.

#10: Amy Gerstler (repped by From ‘A Severe Lack of Holiday Spirit’) vs. Allison Hedge Coke (repped by Redwing Blackbird)

Amy Gerstler was a Kingsley Tuft finalist and makes her RPR debut, whereas Allison Hedge Coke knocked another poet out of this thing a few sessions back. This Gerstler poem, ostensibly about getting drunk during the holidays, is severely fucking lacking though.
The Allison Hedge Coke is not lacking at all though, pure bird poetry, and also rocks the highlight line of the day with “Silver Maple samaras” so there is no doubt she will win, unless the kvlt scholar is some sort of idiot.
THE KVLT SCHOLAR’S HANTEI: To be honest I don't give the least shit about "A Severe Lack of Holiday Spirit," if you can't get through winter, which is beautiful, without descending into dumb misery you don't even deserve winter (I have no idea what that means). Seventy-five centimetres of snow in seventy-hours here last week, it was unreal. The part about a duck blasted out of the sky calls to mind, does it not, the NYer cartoon about one duck flying next to another and saying something like "Well, it's that time of the year where sometimes the guy next to you just explodes," which is an all-time great NYer cartoon imo. Everybody likes redwing blackbirds, and I expected a nice little poem about them, but then this one ups things considerably by being from the perspective of one, and a *lady* one at that; it is minorly exquisite. 
WINNER: "Redwing Blackbird" 

Amy Gerstler is gone, rightfully so for this wack ass poem, at #10. WE ONLY HAVE NINE POETS LEFT! More nonsense the next time we post more of this nonsense. Remember though, support local poetry, support independent poetry, write poetry, love poetry. It might be all we fucking have one day.
hiding behind dusty-assed
window shades, hoping the black
helicopter scanners fail

Thursday, February 23

[HH3os] Let’s Get Running Road 101 Motivating the Coming Thugs trios

(1st round match-up 2 of 27)

Various Artists – Run the Road Vol. 1
(released January 24, 2005; #13 on 2005 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
When embarking upon this thing, I limited entrants to the stupid genre tags at the Pitchfork site (which actually might’ve been through some different compendium, tbh) so that it was only “rap/hip hop”. There were others though, that might’ve crossed over into possibly relevant. Now I am an old school primitive snake-handling boom Baptist, so “neo-soul” or any type of R&B, no matter how edgy and alternative, is not hip hop to me. There were a couple marked “electronic” that could’ve been relevant, namely instrumental albums by Clams Casino or Flying Lotus, but there was also a lot of electronic labelled shit that didn’t come close, so the genre was suspended.
Grime, however, was not blocked. And oddly enough, in this year of our whatever the fuck 2017, I tend to like more grime than hip hop, as American hip hop has moved too pharmaceutical and foggy for me to handle. (My life is already like that, I don’t need culture to echo it, with foggy echos sounding like oxycodone is my oxygen, or else I will lose my mind further than already has happened.) Grime is raw as fuck (often times) and reminiscent in sound to parties in abandoned warehouses, which is also what prime era boom bap sounds like, aesthetically. So grime albums were included for purposes of this convoluted thing I am doing.
Run the Road is a grime series, and there’s some classics on this particular one (“Let It Out” by Roll Deep, “Gimmie Dat” by Durrty Goodz). But the problem with grime – and how it veers away from what I’m traditionally used to in hip hop, is sometimes that shit will bump up the BPMs to foreign-to-the-point-of-alien shit, and it freaks me out. This happened towards the end of this album, a number of times, and it caused my internal pleasure organs to shrivel up into fetal worry ball, kinda like a fist but also not a fist at all and more like a seized muscle.
TWO STARS (though it’s cloudy in those hyper parts which might be obscuring a third star which would otherwise be very obvious, had this thing been curated differently)

Beanie Siegel – The B. Coming
(released March 29, 2005; #32 on 2005 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
I do not pretend this Beanie Siegel is an unquestionable classic, but it is at the very least consistent throughout (with the exception of the Neptunes-sounding song with Snoop Dogg on the hook, which sounds radio-made as fuck, except Beanie’s rapping, which sounds quite literally like sociopathic Jeru the Damaja in terms of cadence and style). With the underlying theme of this thing being how the internet and music and hip hop opinions and really the entire fucking realm of existence we can see became gentrified, I think the obvious question is how did Philly rap move so quickly from Beanie Siegel to Meek Mill? Like that’s an obvious before/after gentrification pic there. Now, I do not pretend I’d be tucking .45s into my track pants waist, kicking it on the corner with Beanie or anything, but I’d be likely to maybe ride through, buy some weed, know somebody nearby. Maybe I’d get robbed, who the fuck knows? Wouldn’t be the first time shit like that happened when I was in the wrong place.
The problem with gentrification is “wrong place” are pre-sterilized for you, so that your unconsciously racist friend is not fearing an actual hard element like Beanie Siegel type in real world scene, but fearing Meek Mill typing angered responses to Instagram hecklers sitting outside the neighborhood pie shop at least 33% run by LGBTQ people. I’m not saying these pie shops are bad, because I love pie (I really do) but for whatever reason these pie shops are always geared towards fancy expensive pies, and never have a simple fucking peanut butter pie or brown sugar or something like southern grandmas (any color) would make. I don’t know… at the time I remember not being too moved by Beanie Siegel, not because he was bad but just because I got bored with it; but listening now, he sounds refreshing, like hearing gunshots after you hadn’t heard them for years, and you’d slowly been surrounded by comfortable ass people who lacked the psychic boundary awareness not to get in your psychic way, because they’d obviously grown up completely sheltered without worry of that. And it’s fucked you’d be glad to hear gunfire, but you know from life experience that the conscious threat of being beaten or shot (or stabbed or stomped or whatever) helps the average human learn the basic skill of not imposing yourself through others’ psychic boundaries, which is in essence what gentrification is – the imposition of some outside shit through a psychic boundary.
Thus THREE STARS (and hopes for a busted bottle stabbing)

Young Jeezy – Let’s Get it: Thug Motivation 101
(released July 26, 2005; #40 on 2005 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
This (as you can see from the details above) barely made their 2005 list, and I’m not sure why it did. I guess people were still jocking Jeezy at the time. For me – and I say this loving both southern and criminal hip hop – I can’t handle Jeezy. He’s like an ad-lib machine some evil DJ programmed that got too much artificial intelligence and spun out of control. Listening to Jeezy feels like MK-Ultra Monarch Slave sleeper cell training, except they didn’t plan out the training completely. I guess I partially popped out of consumer memory when that song with Akon that was on the radio all the time came on, but other than that all I could think was how corny all the white/bird metaphorical references were. But I also remembered a funny airbrushed “flippin birds” shirt at a now defunct flea market in Richmond featuring Huckleberry Hound. (“Defunct” being the key word, because like I said, everywhere has been gentrified.)

THE WINNER: Beanie Siegel, partially be default, but still even if everybody else steps backwards half a step it leaves you standing up out front.