RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, April 28

[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.

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