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.

Sunday, April 30

Friday, April 28

4LM0ST HVM1D 3N0VGH T0...

almost humid enough to
justify pulling the air
conditioners out the shed

[HH3os] The Long.Live.Acid Yeezus trio


(1st round match-up 17 of 27)

It is a warm Friday afternoon, warm enough into the new season that the flowers have blossomed and the flesh is flourishing and I feel heavily inclined to not giving a fuck at work and heading out to play dominoes with my boy somewhere where the sun shines strong and the suckas are at a minimum. Such places getting harder to find, with incessant digital spotlight of saw-it-firstness always scanning like lighthouse beacon of insecurity, but them places still exist. And I hope to find one for a couple hours, and if my man puts down that double six, I’mma hit ‘em back with the butterscotch 6/3, clock that 15, all day long. So let’s knock this thing out real quick…

A$AP Rocky – Long.Live.A$AP
(released January 15, 2013; #39 on 2013 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
I saw A$AP Rocky perform while in support of this tape, and man that fucker’s got some charisma. The A$AP Mob is an interesting phenomenon because I put that shit’s success entirely on the demented genius of A$AP Yams. He laid the digital foundation, put the right crew together, and created the ambiance which was the fog that allowed Rocky to shine like purple diamonds without seeing any of his flaws. Listening to this again is like summertime memories (great pre-dominoes music actually) because so early and pure and fuzzed out and like a serving spoon of prescription cough syrup before sitting in the yard to watch the lightning bugs raise the fuck up at twilight. The peak of this combo of forces, led by Yams, is “Phoenix”, which remains peak Rocky, when the beat is ethereal and his lyrics, though still sprinkled with brands and bitches, are existential and warped. Yeah, he’s always apt to go down that fashion ass bullshit lane he’s now too comfortable in, but back then it stayed balanced. Once Yams left this mortal coil, Rocky lost his “Phoenix” flow, it has felt like, so there’s a touch of melancholy to revisiting this twilight smoke classic. SIX STARS (******)!

Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
(released April 30, 2013; #12 on 2013 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
Utilizing playlist technology, I pre-thunk this was one of my favorite jams ever, but damn, I must’ve immediately deleted about half the stank songs without ever knowing they existed. All the tracks I loved (and still love) are here, but they’re peppered with stuff that goes too hard into that Chance singing style. Herein lies my problem with Chance – he loves god a lot. Not just vague perhaps natural world god (Allah) like I’ve come to accept (sort of), but legit traditional Christ God. I don’t know, I ain’t really comfortable with that at all, and I’m glad he is, but when holmes gets to singing too much, and then you also know he loves himself some Christ God, I’m gonna feel leery bumping up. This became more prevalent later in musical history once he hooked up with Kanye and let Kanye listen to his Kirk Franklin CDs, so it’s not as pronounced back on Acid Rap, so we have young, high school flavor Chance doing his thing. It’s fun, but knowing the future always fucks up your fun. It’s why hardcore visionary seers tend to be fucked-up alcoholics. But props to have Chance – his Christ God beliefs and goofy good-spirited nature make him a loveable dude, and all the charitable shit he does for Chicago show that to be true. So off the feel-good vibes, I’ll pretend I still forgot about those tracks I ain’t like. FIVE STARS (*****)!

Kanye West – Yeezus
(released June 18, 2013; #2 on 2013 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
Two things here…
First off, screwed and chopped music is like frying vegetables, because I actually thought I liked some of Yeezus, but it turns out I liked OG Ron C’s chopped not slopped remix of Yeezus. When “New Slaves” was playing but it ain’t have the “Knockin’ Pictures off the Wall” beat behind it, I was confused as fuck for a minute. I’m down with chopped not slopped; not down with robot fuck music like Yeezus at all. I mean I know Kanye wants to be the new Illuminati and is trying to make cyborg babies with the Kardashian clan a reality, but I don’t need to listen to cyborg baby-making music. Not another second.
But that does bring me to my second point about this… Very obviously Kanye is a huge flaming asshole. It is also very obvious that Kanye wants nothing more than to be accepted by the most prominent huge flaming assholes in America, and be part of their little crew, hanging out in the Hamptons, cooking up rare albino baby steaks with Bohemian Grove barbecue sauce on it and shit like that. But the elite circle of huge flaming assholes are racist. So they’re racist dicks to Kanye, because duh, they’re huge flaming assholes. This does not make Kanye not be a huge asshole himself. But it does make him a victim of racism. We tend to normalize incidents of racism as purely unjust situations, which on pure scale, they are unjust. But also sometimes a giant fucking idiot self-important asshole is the victim of racism. That is wrong, definitely. And yet it doesn’t absolve the person from being a giant fucking idiot asshole. That is why the politically correct way to refer to Kanye was as “enigmatic” which is kinda like the friendly way to say “problematic” which is the trendy way of being academically smart about calling somebody a dick. (I guess I should use a non-gendered term for that, but dick seems historically appropriate too.) ONE STARS (*) because that is the minimum.

THE WINNER: Kanye is amazing when compared to nothing, but just corporate robot porn music when you listen to actual decent shit. Hearing Chance’s first mixtape right next to Yeezus was interesting here, because it was like meeting The Life of Pablo’s parents. And though I feel like a dick for giving the Rocky the nod over Chance, because Chance is a sweet-souled young man trying to do good in the world, and Rocky is kind of like a budding Kanye just with his ego checked by opiate-based drug abuses, Long.Live.A$AP is better than Acid Rap. I apologize to decency standards, but I’m trying to be honest here, and honesty is very rarely decent.

0FF TH3 B34T3N P4TH S1NC3 B1RTH...

off the beaten path since birth,
born to push driving machines
hard (sometimes literally)

D1SCVSS1NG TH3 D4Y'S 3V3NTS...

discussing the day's events,
we immediately formed
a podcast with crowdfund link

Thursday, April 27

H4RD T0 R4T10N4L1Z3 MY...

hard to rationalize my
assorted madnesses; I
just scatter pods of dirtgod

[2k=0] Begging on the Internet for a Return to Earth

Been trying to raise money to get a down payment on this plot of land next to us that came available due to the old neighbor wizard dude passing on to the next phase of existence, and it’s been difficult. It hasn’t really been complicated, as it breaks down to we (Bird Tribe) have no economic value, have no economic equity, and raw land is not seen as a good investment for banks unless the motherfucker buying it is chopping it up and putting up some houses. The American way of civilization is really frustrating because you work really hard to look in the mirror and not feel shame, you try to untangle the mess of psychological tangles from the years you know plus the ones before that come in with ancestral weights, but then you want to do some seemingly simple shit like add a little sliver of 10 acres of rural wasteland to your already 4.5 acres of rural wasteland cultured into sanctuary against devilish world at large, and the devil mathematicians open up their master spreadsheets which you only have permission to view a limited version of a couple times a year, and they say, “I’m sorry, your columns are not wide enough.”
So we’ve been doing a crowdfunding campaign {link to the Owlcraft/Rojonekku Sanctuary gofundme}, which I have to admit is one of the most demoralizing things you can do, especially when you understand what a fucking struggle it is to maintain nose above water, constantly hustling against rising tide of the last dying gasps of the U.S. Empire. One always hopes in these situations that there are these amazing wealthy benefactors you don’t know about who just happenstance across your tale of wishing (and let’s be honest, digital begging) and throw a mass amount of pittance in their spreadsheet columns which is life-altering to you. But it doesn’t happen that way. You are hitting up, virally, the people you already know, most of whom are in the exact same situations you are in. In this system of haves and have-nots, the majority – although divided and conquered – are actually those who have-not to the extent they can be comfortable. (Queue up one of those New Poor thinkpieces about “How the Majority of Americans Cannot Afford a $400 Car Repair!”) The campaign has had a couple of spikes, and a couple of lengthy ebbs, mostly because it requires me to be proactive and confident and act as salesman for our crowdfunding campaign, which is about as opposite my personality as possible.
But I try. And I hit moments where I convince myself I have to do it, because otherwise we have no ability to purchase the land, and some asshole fake country motherfucker will buy the 10 acre plot and divide it into five 2-acre parcels, and put up a patch of shitty pre-fab houses that are gonna fall apart in two decades time, to manipulate their own spreadsheets to get a few suckers still believing in the American dream to imagine they’ve moved out to the country, by literally fucking up the rural nature already in place. Yesterday when I rode home from work, I could actually feel that energy in the air – I think it was the warmth. The devils cower from the rain and cold, but once spring comes and the plants start to supernaturally grow wild again, they start to have their devil visions about order and gridlock and the ironically worded “freshly mown” grass and neat littles houses that look alike, perfectly unblemished in their manufactured newness, and they start plotting. I could feel their devil maths being applied to the physical spaces yesterday, for some reason.
The problem is, I know the hustle/struggle too well, and when I start to hype up the crowdfunding shit, someone who I know is hustling/struggling just as hard maybe worse than me will drop $15 or $20 or even $50 on it. And that makes me feel guilty as fuck. It’s not like I’m trying to pay for cancer treatments or help feral children escape psychiatric center confinement and be allowed to return to the wolves or something entirely obviously beneficial and necessary like that. We’re trying to buy some land to re-unify it with land we already have, none of which we actually own (because A: you can’t own Earth, and B: even if you pretend Earth can be owned, we will owe banks payments for the land we claim to own as well as taxes and anywhere along the next two decades should we be unable to cover those obligations we’ll be just like the old couple next door, again, all over). I don’t want friends who are in the same demographic of retail lower middle class poverty, sitting at a desk (if we’re lucky) where the American dream has long since died, hoping to I don’t know, none of us know, we’re just continuing to do it because if we don’t keep doing it, we’re fucked. I mean, we’re all sort of fucked to some extent already, because we really are one cataclysmic event away from it all coming undone – one unexpected hospital trip, or car wreck, or horribly placed fallen tree limb from the whole thing we’re barely holding together falling apart entirely, with little to no safety net to catch us. It’s fucking scary. AND THAT IS MOST PEOPLE’S REALITY!
Thus, crowdfunding in that light feels like some stupid shit. Ultimately, I wish the entire system would fall apart (which it is) because it’s unsustainable, and mostly immoral (apply whatever morality you want to – American capitalism as it has come to be in the 21st Century will not be kosher). I justify that by expanding what we’re doing at our Bird Tribe Compound to include the surrounding land (some of which I may or may have not already had some path-making go across), we are working towards fighting that prevailing devil math mentality. And there’s truth to that – that land has certainly helped heal me. (I’m still fucked, for what it’s worth.) But the notion we just buy our way into making shit better simultaneously implies the system in place is wrong, but we can fix it by working within the system in place. I’m not sure I philosophically believe that, which is why ultimately I have a hard time continually pounding the LOOK AT MY GOFUNDME LOOK AT MY GOFUNDME LOOK AT MY GOFUNDME digital drums enough to achieve success before the devils swoop in and fuck everything up for me.
I also feel conflicted because my life is pretty fucking good to be honest. Things have been going well in ways I’m afraid to enumerate because previous life experience has taught me to expect the worst to blindside me just as things start going good. This again is a facet fraud syndrome where as natural born have-not, you are accustomed to have-not struggles. But once you start to have a couple of lucky breaks (believe me, the meritocracy is a myth, so even if you are succeeding in life, it is because you are making the most of some lucky breaks, nothing more than that) going your way, you expect have-not balance to be maintained, and something to come along and crush the sand castle fantasies of finally-done-come-uppance built upon parlaying a couple lucky breaks into a few more lucky breaks. The parlaying metaphor is apt, because The House (the system) always wins. If you come up, somebody else fell down. If you really come up, and got that millionaire money, a whole slew of somebody elses fell down.
Thus, I am left feeling conflicted. The only thing that helps me feel better is getting lost in the woods (where I’m the least lost feeling), modeling language play (poetry) after the crows’ leadership, and just trying to heal.
There is a somewhat common capitalist carney trick of encouraging others to “give back” from where you come from, so that if you do become economically blessed through lucky breaks, you can help others (conceivably) by donating wealth to organizations or groups that work with people fucked by the system in ways you may have originally related to. This act of charity, although certainly not immoral at all (again, apply whatever morality system you use in real life, and charity is generally okay) does not necessarily absolve one of complicity in the entirely fucked system they now benefit from, but it launders our guilt away enough to go on with making that money. (The entire realm of crowdfunding I am speaking about here depends on this psychological aspect to the guilt of having to some level while others have-not to larger, or – to be more descriptively – lesser levels.)
And yet oddly it is not the money that heals broken people, ever. It is the space to heal, the found or built or cultivated or forged communally Sanctuary, that allows the broken to mosaic back together a relatively beautiful existence from the fractured beginnings. For my ol’ lady and me, this has been what we’ve tried to cultivate and culture on this land. We’ve both done it elsewhere as well, and we both believe more than anything that despite hoping to get proper credit for what you’ve created through your work, nobody can own that type of work. It’s a shared effort, ideally, where everyone works to help each other find enough Sanctuary to make their lives less fucked, not more fucked.

Where we live was traditionally (pre-Columbian) part of Monacan tribal lands. The indigenous civilizations tended towards a more communal bent, and in fact that’s where the American notion of democracy was co-opted from. I’ve been skimming around this book An Anthropology of Marxism by Cedric Robinson, and it’s gotten me thinking on how our definition of Western Civilization is still centered on European origins, which overlooks the differing perspective on what civilization should be which already existed in the western hemisphere. But even defining that as pre-Western Civilization is kinda stupid because there’s no fucking wall in the Pacific Ocean that all of a sudden you’re east again. There is the International Date Line, which has you fall back a day, because when the devils applied their grid to the entire Earth, it had to loop back somewhere, being the Earth is not flat but whole, but that date line is not a real physical thing you see.
The Earth is everything here – all that we regard as nature, including the land, as well as man. I guess I don’t really at my heart level believe in the Man vs. Nature metaphor which seems to be common in what we label “Western Civilization”, and has been used as the basis to claim dominion over nature, whether by religion or science, throughout Western Civilization’s domination over history. My brain is trained to believe this shit (much like the meritocracy myth and the American exceptionalism one too) but my heart knows better.

This is why asking for money to buy some land is so hard – my heart’s not into it. My heart knows struggle and lack of Sanctuary all too fucking well. My brain says I have to do it, to try and combat devil math being applied too close to the little isthmus of not-safety-netted Sanctuary we’ve already put the work into creating. But man, my heart knows this whole system is bullshit. My heart wants something better, not just for me, not just for the 10 acres next to where I owe money to a bank for the next 20 years over, not just for whatever my current tribe happens to be, but for the whole fucking lot of us. I don’t know how that would happen though. Got no idea. I try to do the hard work at untangling myself and those close to me, and that work takes up any time I have, while maintaining position in the exceptional labyrinth of laundered dreams that has me sitting at a desk all day, to keep up payments on what I’ve “achieved” so that those with full access to the master spreadsheets don’t repossess it all because I let my columns lapse too far into red. And that’s everybody I know’s fucking reality – barely holding on.

[2k=0 (two thousand words equals nothing) is/will be 2000 words in 1000 installments (maybe) - all words, no pics, no fucks given, as cultural return to raw internet (and perhaps language) roots; fuiud]

PR3T3ND C0VNTRY 1M4G3S...

pretend country images
more common than the real thing
in late capitalism

Wednesday, April 26

W0RLD SP1NN1NG F4ST3R TH4N BR41N...

world spinning faster than brain
can process it, thus gotta
trust the heart with what matters

[HH3os] The Section.Pluto Contradictions trio

(2nd round match-up 5 of 9)

Kendrick Lamar – Section.80
(released July 2, 2011; #45 on 2011 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
From the initial Pitchfork review of this young (and well-connected) rapper named Kendrick Lamar:
Kendrick Lamar is a weird kid, and rap music could always use more weird kids. The 24-year-old is a Compton native with a budding and mysterious Dr. Dre connection, but there's little-to-no link to his hometown's gangsta-funk legacy in his music. Instead, Lamar is very much a product of the late blog-rap era-- an introverted loner type who's willing to talk tough but is more interested in taking a Mag-Lite to his own personal failings and what he sees as the flaws of his generation.
Look, I want to go in on how great this Section.80 is upon revisiting, and encourage the belief that it might actually be his purest shit, but all my hopes of enunciating thoughts through opine have been derailed by “very much a product of the late blog-rap era”. I often am regarded as an introverted loner type too, because I tend to love on the woods more than people, but that’s not who I am. People are fucking stupid a lot of times, and lack the natural internal check to their stupidity that a pure Darwinism would allow for. We’ve advanced beyond our ability to be relevant, in other words, “educated beyond our intelligence” as famed country philosopher Jerry Clower described it. The above blurb is the exact type of shit a self-brilliant person would write after/during/before their MFA stint, knowing they fucking nailed it.
Fuck nails. Fuck Pitchfork. Fuck Kendrick Lamar doing songs with fucking U2. Fuck the Grammys pretending to not be the Grammys. Fuck assimilation. Section.80 is SIX STARS (******), but aspirations to become assimilated by the self-affirming asshole factory that is the neoliberal meritocracy remains starless, remains a polluted poison sky over the digitally industrialized village we call the worldwide web. Fuck you if you disagree.

ScHoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions
(released January 14, 2012; #25 on 2012 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
Here is the original Pitchfork reviewer’s explanation of how they very deeply soaked this ScHoolboy Q jaunt in:
I've spent the past four days immersed in it, trying to resolve its conflicting impulses and ferret out all of its weird corners, and the only thing I can say for certain is that, while listening to it, I feel pulled completely into someone else's center of gravity, which is maybe the most gratifying listener's sensation there is.
I will counter that I listened to it twice all the way through riding the slow ass fucking Amtrak from Chicago to Virginia the other weekend, and yeah it cool. I mean it’s not as cool as Section.80, but if somebody was to start talking about how good some other ScHoolboy Q shit was, I’d be like “you know about Habits & Contradictions, right?” Even then, Q goes off on some gangsta gonna be in love shit a couple of times, which look I’m not against love at all, nor even gangstaism to be honest, because to each their own. But it’s a weird sub-genre of ScHoolboy Q track, and I’m not sure I dig it necessarily, though one can also hear the conflict in his rhymes about sexing bitches you don’t really respect while also having a daughter as an offspring, and perhaps these sub-genre of songs from Q’s discography are him attempting, almost against his conscious persona, to make amends with these two seemingly opposing forces. But I don’t know for sure… I’m no psychologist, but I do okay on Buzzfeed-type quizzes about that type of shit, mostly because they’re easy to predict, as most internet writing is predictable as fuck. But we want predictable, or are trained to seek it, or the algorithms just re-affirm what we’ve already affirmed of our own volition, and fuck man, we’re doomed aren’t we? Maybe ScHoolboy Q should be worried about more than misogynistic behavior in terms of his daughter’s future… Still though, solid FOUR STARS (****), mate!

Future – Pluto
(released April 17, 2012; #37 on 2012 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
THERE IS CONFLICT BETWEEN ROBOT AND REAL AND PITCHFORK ABOUT TO LAY IT DOWN FOR Y’ALL (with regards to first Future album):
This push-pull between computerized precision and soul-baring imperfection has been explored before by other artists. So has Future's use of Auto-Tune as a license to affect street-true hardness while still writing an album that would be plied by "American Idol" contestants in an alternate universe where Atlanta swag rap was the biggest music in the country. But arguably no one has explored those contradictions so thoroughly and seamlessly across an entire album.
As much as I cloud-brained enjoyed the Future album my first couple times through, it wasn’t as strong when compared to the top Black Hippie Crew output (as it was in this trio). Still though, it wasn’t straight jobber class, going out quick to set up a two-way ending, because Future’s catchy as fuck. I just have trouble confirming with myself that digital effect sing-rapping is true rapping or not. And that’s not some old man “y’all kid’s music ain’t like the old music” so much as natural distrust of everything in our world now as manufactured and fake. I mean, Future could be the best example of digitizal era whisper-rapping, thus he might be the new Q-Tip. That doesn’t mean I’m gonna approve of it. Still though, even under the more discriminating (non-racially) eyeballs of the second round, this is THREE STARS (***) type of drug shit.


THE WINNER: Were this an actual three-way dance professional wrestling endeavor, you’d assume Q and K-dot would tag up on the Future; but also I simultaneously consider this a three-way battle while referring to it as a “trio” which would be an actual team in lucha libre, so my context is confusing. Luckily this is the internet so none of that matters. So likely Kendrick got Q to promise to give Future some codeine, and though Future didn’t really want it because he doesn’t actually drink codeine, only uses it as reference point to build branding image, he said he wanted it, in order to maintain the façade and “sell the angle.” As Q rummaged around in the medicine cabinet of his ’88 Monte Carlo SS (that’s what fake internet blurb ScHoolboy Q drives, not even painted, just the normal black with red racing stripe, but he did put dubs on it), Kendrick comes up behind Future and rolls him up into a small package. Earl Hebner counts the three real quick, and Future is out. But then as Q and Kendrick are figuring out what happens next, Future reaches back to shake Q’s hand, to show no hard feelings, it’s all fair game. As Q takes his hand, Future pulls him out the arena of pretend rap battle, eliminating ScHoolboy Q. Kendrick Lamar advances on, but why did a pop Future eliminate a street ScHoolboy Q? Tweet Dave Mays to find out.

PVRPL3 D34D N3TTL3S C4LL3D "D34D"...

purple dead nettles called "dead"
because it lacks the stinging
property of most nettles

Tuesday, April 25

Monday, April 24

[HH3os] The good R.A.P./m.A.A.d Cancer trio

(1st round match-up 16 of 27)

Hello internet rap fans, welcome back to the next daily installment of RAVEN WASTES SO MUCH GODDAMNED TIME LISTENING TO SHIT HE MAY OR MAY NOT LIKE ALL FOR SOME GODDAMN STUPID “content” ON HIS STUPID FUCKING WEBSITE. Today’s three-way dance could be a main event in any arena anywhere in the country, so you won’t want to miss it!

Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
(released May 15, 2012; #13 on 2012 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
Killer Mike is a big lovable fool of a man, with the purest Dirty Southern heart one could ever hope for. When my oldest kid was younger, I took her to a Big Boi/Killer Mike show where we gave zero fucks about Big Boi to be honest (sorry Big Boi), but were amped the fuck up for Killer Mike. He lived up to it. On top of that he met and greeted the fuck out of anybody who wanted to meet and greet afterwards, and she got to talk to the man, and he was fatherly and tender and real as fuck. So all my Killer Mike opines are tainted heavily by the positives the man exuded on wax and in real life.
But on top of all that, this album/tape/CD/file of 0s and 1s is a pretty great rar in itself. Ever since that opening line of N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton: “You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge,” motherfuckers been tripping over themselves trying to prove how much street knowledge they can express. The problem is, much of it lacks streets, and even more of it lacks actual knowledge. Killer Mike comes with that gruff but book-heavy type of street knowledge that you get from dudes who (likely) have been to prison, wearing a kufi, and are able to connect the Welsh independence movement to Black Lives Matter in about four paddles of their stream of thought. That type of person has always impressed me most, more than any Ted Talks ever, and perhaps that says more negatively about my background and upbringing than it does positively about that type of person and Killer Mike; but fuck it, I can’t be nothing but what I was born to be, so I’m gonna pretend it’s good (because if it is not, then why the fuck am I still alive?).
In my song playlist self-curated culture, a couple tracks (“Reagan” and “R.A.P. Music” most notably) got heavy as fuck play, but revisiting the album as a whole, in manufactured order, reminded me of the street side to Mike’s street knowledge. Now, this is not to do some internet whiteboy shit and be all like “Mike is real man, he’s the real shit,” because obviously everybody is fucking posturing to some extent or another as a rapper. That’s part of the gig, though you never step into a character you can’t carry, much like professional wrestling. You’ve got to be believable. It’s well known Mike was the son of a two-parent household with a cop dad, so I doubt he was shooting invading police officers in his bedroom one morning all of a sudden. But ya know, he can carry the stories with knowledge. Rap, again like professional wrestling, is a blend of fact and fiction, so that your character carries more weight, so that when they do go off on some shit like “Reagan”, it actually means something to the listener. Killer Mike does that, and in the southern style that is greasy enough you should probably lay it out on an opened up napkin to soak up some of the frying oils. (Lolol, that is a stupid forced metaphor, but I’m hungry for lake trout right now to be honest.)
Dungeon Family’s extended fingers made so many great contributions to the Southern Hip Hop catalog, giving us all the Pentecostal boom baptistry with slurred delivery and deep Impala rattling bass that we’ve come to love (at least here) as an alternative to strict NYC boom baptistry. Killer Mike has carried that tradition on wonderfully, and to be honest, I wish he’d drop another solo album, and stop fucking around with El-P the whole damn time. SEVEN STARS (*******)!

El-P – Cancer 4 Cure
(released May 22, 2012; #45 on 2012 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
Speak of the (white) devil, here comes El-P right on the tail of the Killer Mike album. This is interesting to note historically, because I wonder if they both were touring in support around the same time, with the one week release difference, and thus forged a friendship that would give us the internet’s favorite rap tag team in a long ass minute?
I will admit an immediate partial prejudice against El-P, not because I think he’s bad or anything, but because his style is too industrially grating for me to love on full-scale for any length of time. Even back in his early Rawkus days with Company Flow, his style was like quitting coffee after two espressos a day for seven years, in that it felt great at first but ultimately you started getting a pounding headache and wanted him to go the fuck away. So I’d barely given this album much attention back when it came out. However, upon revisiting (or “visiting” for most of it, if I’m being honest, which I might as well be because I’m the only one reading this actually, and even I’m not really reading it so much as writing it out loud, digitally), I found myself not too headached away from this tape. I still wouldn’t exactly pick it out if I had a three-day car ride ahead of me, but I can safely say I hate El-P a little less than I thought I did. (I’d still like to see a fucking Killer Mike solo album again though.) THREE STARS (***)!

Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
(released October 22, 2012; #1 on 2012 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
This album is considered a modern classic, including by me, sort of, but my method of listening to music where wack ass songs get deleted helped me forget the very obvious corporate record label forced manufacturing that took place on this album. Like, I had zero memory of the song featuring Dre, and though I remembered there was a song with Drake, I hadn’t listened to it more than the two times it took me to delete that worthless shit when this came out. Those are two pretty big marks against all-time classic, because both are otherwise great songs that didn’t really need some proven seller chump motherfucker trashing up the track with garbage, but the record label gonna get what it wants, and force shit as far as it has to in order to get the proper sales. But having recently before this listened to Section.80, it made me sad to see artistic vision get filtered through corporate outlets. I mean, Kendrick still had his vision – the vignettes obviously weaving the tale of the young man ate the fuck up by a wild ass city. But they gave him some pretty bulky non-fitting blocks to tack into the project. Still though, there’s so many great tracks on here, and such a great album in its entirety. The MC Eiht feature makes good the negative of including Dre, and I still sing Kendrick’s Pop’s song – “girl… gurllll… I want your body, cuz of that big ol’ fat ass” about three times a week, often times directly to my wife. (She does not appreciate this, but woman have been culturally trained to think “big ol’ fat ass” is a derogatory view, which just drives home the point that culture is kinda some bullshit a lot of times, isn’t ?) Still though, nothing can excuse Drake. SEVEN STARS (*******)!


THE WINNER: I’m such a dumbass – I actually wrestled back and forth with whether I should put Killer Mike or Kendrick Lamar over in this trio, because both are so great. At one point, I was gonna justify eliminating Kendrick by the Drake feature, but that seems too unfairly harsh, as his vision for the album certainly outshines Mr. Rap Cosplay’s single verse. Strangely enough, ti came down to revolutionary theory for me, because both albums are pretty strong anti-establishment statements, but Kendrick’s tends to sink back to Christ as savior on this Earth. Accept Christ, and all the fucked up shit you are forced to suffer is okay. Killer Mike, though he clearly acknowledges his Christian-like beliefs in “Ghetto Gospel”, is not on that turn the other cheek tip. He knows that devils gotta be blasted back sometimes. It’s all like the term “jihad” in Islamic philosophy, which we know due to western media fear creation to mean a war against the west. But just as important (perhaps more) is the internal jihad waged in your own heart. I feel more attuned to that internal jihad, but not to the point I can ignore the external one that needs to be waged now and then to back those fuckers up and give people space to live good lives. I can’t accept Christ alone by himself as the sugar tonic to this sour ass world. So I give the win to R.A.P. Music.

M3N BV1LT FR0M S4M3 G3N3T1C...

men built from same genetic
mold, but each right-left forked choice
plucks the multiverse’s strings

C0NF3R3NC3 0F TH3 P0PL4RS...

conference of the poplars,
contemplating æther roots
balancing the ones in ground

Saturday, April 22

0VTL4W J4CK 0F D14M0NDS T4T...

outlaw jack of diamonds tat
splattered across right center
back (defender in soccer)

D34D 4PPL3 TR33 S1LH0V3TT3...

dead apple tree silhouette
southern gothic as fuck, y'all;
ford pick-up nekkid vampires

Thursday, April 20

BL1NDS W1D3 0P3N 0N S3C0ND...

blinds wide open on second
floor, plus wires reflect half-sane
simian geometries

[HH3os] The Pluto Chips Store trio


(1st round match-up 15 of 27)

At time difficult to keep self-imposed schedules, especially since ultimately all this digital expressionism is futile. Like building sandcastles inside the ocean. Fuck it. (Epitaph that for me.)

Action Bronson/Party Supplies – Blue Chips
(released March 12, 2012; #32 on 2012 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
I ASSUMED ACTION BRONSON WAS AMAZING AND WOULD CRUSH THIS TRIO, considering I’d heavily rotated a number of these tracks through the ol’ J.J. Krupert machine the past few years. And yet listening to the Blue Chips bama beginning to end fleshed out those familiar tracks with a good number of uninspiring clunkers I must’ve abandoned early on in my/our playlist culture. I guess he was living out the Blue Chips metaphor, and I’d only remembered the clutch 3s Bronson hit, forgetting all the bricks he laid, not to mention the missed foul shots (there’s a lot of missed foul shots on here). And yet, one can never be mad at Action Bronson. He’s often (rightfully) compared to Ghostface, suggesting he big that style, and he’s certainly borrowed that flow and reappropriated it according to his own little-dicked Balkan nature (no diss, all that makes me love Action Bronson to be honest), but I also left revisiting this feeling he was way more Biz Markie than I’d ever acknowledged – just a big goofy fucker who will never speak an ill or serious word towards anybody, and it’s kinda hard to hate that, ever. We need far more big goofy fuckers on this planet, because they – contrary to logic – lighten things up a ton. (And "9-24-11" remains the go-to Action Bronson track, fuiud.) THREE STARS (***)!

Future – Pluto
(released April 17, 2012; #37 on 2012 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
I ASSUMED FUTURE WOULD BE TRASH AND I WOULD EASILY DISMISS IT AS THAT CRAP SWIRL FOG MUSIC PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FOOLED INTO LIKING, but then I ended up actually loving Pluto, so much so that I feel bad for never having tried it before, and for hating on him for no reason (other than pretending to drink lean, which is kinda chumpy). In both drugs and drug music, there’s this fine line between clouds and fog. Clouds you can still see through, which you can test out yourself by going up into the mountains where the clouds all are. As you walk through them, it is misty and you are clouded, but visibility is still normal for the most part. But shit is definitely cloudy. On the other end of this tangent is foggy, which is thick and obscures any real visibility whatsoever. In the world of drugs – and I am applying this mostly to that wonderful spectrum of opiates and opioids that we’ve all dabbled in or rubbled ourselves underneath (sadly) – the whole point is to get that clouded feeling of mountaintop mysticism like old T’ang era hermit poet. However, it is far too easy to crossover into fogged state (aka addicted), and then you’re fucking lost bro. You can find your way out, but it’s way more complicated and convoluted a labyrinth back to normal than it is when just simply clouded. That line is exactly like how Hunter S. Thompson describes the edge in beginning of Hell’s Angels, in that the only way you really know where that line is, is by going over it. This is all in relation to actual drug (ab)use though, not drug music.
With drug music, it’s just music, which is a commodity, not an actual experience, though good commodity pretends (successfully oftentimes) that it is actually art, and thus becomes an experience. But c’mon man, listening to a fucking CD – any fucking CD (which are no longer CDs) – is not an actual experience like smoking opium, ever. Anyone who says that is a fucking asshole trying to pass off their commodity as art. So the most you can get from music is the clouded version, as it feels more authentic and enjoyable. But when it crosses over into that fogged, you can’t really cross into fogged territory with a fucking commodity, so fogged drug music is just stupid posturing meant to give the impression of “whoa bro I’m totally enveloped in this strange fog of music” but it’s all a charade, falseness manufactured for chump ass kids to consume. And as I said before, I lumped Future into that realm, along with the entire genre that exists of wailing sing-rap over pharmaceutically-inspired (pharm-to-table) beats that feel robotic and empty of any actual emotion. I was wrong though. (Let me clarify that the potential for me having been trigger-tricked by the Khujo intro is there, as Khujo always been a fave of mine.) This tape is not fogged out at all, but very clearly just cloudheaded resistance against normalcy. I can support that, and will support it, if by “support” you include me listening to the illegally downloaded without payment of any sort robot file collection that contains this musical commodity more often in the future, no pun intended. SEVEN STARS (*******)!

Death Grips – The Money Store
(released April 24, 2012; #9 on 2012 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
I ASSUMED DEATH GRIPS WOULD BE ARTSY NOISE THAT I KIND OF ENJOYED BUT ALSO KIND OF GOT ANNOYED WITH. This turned out to be entirely true. I totally philosophically am on-board with the basic concept of noise music being a sort of humane industrial revolt. I’ve always assumed it’s against the soullessness of industry and capital, and expresses this in a way that sounds like smashing against the gears. So I support this, philosophically at least. But in reality, after about ten minutes of it, I’d rather be in the woods listening to crows. Death Grips had the added question mark of being majorly pushed in music industry world noise art rap, which sort of goes against the whole point of revolt against the machines, if you are then incorporated even partially into the machines. Thus, after brief enjoyment of Death Grips, I suffer horrible existential conflict which is only solved by masturbating beneath the shelter of the giant poplars (like always). TWO STARS (**)!

THE WINNER: This project has mostly been pointless, like all good internet projects, so I’m thankful that finally my preconceptions were not only challenged, but smashed, like free SXSW mixtape CDs in the cobblestone streets of my heart. The Future advances.

L1T3R4LLY FL4K1NG 0VT...

literally flaking out
over the state of this world;
like, it’s crazy, isn’t it?

1NFR4STRVCTVR3 C4N'T N3V3R...

infrastructure can't never
outshine old sun, no matter
how high or mighty it’s built

Tuesday, April 18

Saturday, April 15

Rooftown oracle where pink...

Rooftown oracle where pink
buddha sits with outlaw jack
of diamonds watching his fat back