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.

Tuesday, April 11

[HH3os] The Section.XXX Throne trio

(1st round match-up 13 of 27)

Last week, I was just chilling at the grocery store checkout line, talking shit with people in front of me, the checkout lady, and this dude got in line behind me – classic white dude, getting wine, shrimp, and sweet potatoes. When I say “white dude”, I realize that race is a social construct and under those social constructions I am deemed “white man” by that system. I was bullshitting with the couple in front of me (who were not deemed “white” by this system) about whatever. You know, just talking shit with people around you. The guy behind me though was already like, “How come the express lane’s never open at this store?” “I don’t know,” I said, “Looks like she’s opening up another lane over there.” Other people jumped from that side and he goes “forget it!” and stands behind me. At this point I tuned him out because the dude was obviously unloungin’. But by the time I was getting rung up, I saw another worker point the guy out to the manager, who walked over apologetically and talked to the guy, who was asking what the number for corporate was. What the fuck? Because he couldn’t get out the fuckin’ store in five minutes? I interjected, “She’s got a line open right over there,” but he wasn’t hearing it, just talking to the manager.
Grocery store managers are always people who still want to believe in the meritocratic structure of our society, but also have not fared too well thus far on that system, thus they end up at the grocery store managing a bunch of middle aged crazies and also weird teenagers galore. But they have to kowtow to fuckers like this.
Afterwards I almost looked up the corporate number myself to call and explain that if they got a call, that the guy that called it in was not cool at all, and in fact, a real dick. But that would’ve required me doing things, which also is unloungin’. But as we continue with this stupid Xpert Whiteboy’z Analysis of shit previously well-regarded by Pitchfork, it is important to both acknowledge the realities of social constructs, and how they affect our world every fucking day. But also, with regards to that asshole at the store, and Pitchfork, I’m not that type of white. Never will be either. Fuck that.

Kendrick Lamar – Section.80
(released July 2, 2011; #45 on 2011 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
Kind of crazy that this only was regarded as a #45 for the year by Pitchfork, because you could – on this first official mixtape release – already hear the cadences and flows and lyrical punches that were gonna become Kendrick’s signature style. In fact, in revisiting this mixtape, I was shocked at how many of these tracks I knew so well. My previous iPod method has been survival of the fittest, where a batch of songs get thrown on there from new releases mixed in with the old, and I did battle of eliminations where weaker songs got eliminated. Thus, to have so many tracks that got high circulation in that Lord of the Dork Flies method meant this was strong shit then. And oddly enough, even though later Kendrick became more famous, there’s something nice about the lack of non-TDE crew features, the lack of high profile appearances, the lack of corporate polish. It’s somewhat raw as fuck (even though this was preliminary mixtape, not for-real mixtape – part of an artist’s build towards that corporate release).
Kendrick was so fucking good. Sadly, around the same time I was listening to this again, I heard that he’s got a song with U2 coming up. Thus, the wolves have gotten to his soul completely. Kendrick is lost to them now. They will take all that they can, and either spit him back out in a few years, or more likely due to the high profile nature of his successes (plus feature illuminati performances at the Grammy’s), he will become one of them, a neoliberal corporatist to fall in line once the Dr. Dre/Jay-Z corporatist generation starts to retire into part-time exploitation of the masses. Still though, this mixtape is SIX STARS (******) easy.

Kanye West & Jay-Z – Watch the Throne
(released August 8, 2011; #21 on 2011 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
After listening to Kendrick, this shit is literally irrelevant. It’s wealth management shit talk. It’s devil shit. And that’s questionable, as previously acknowledged, in this social construct we live under, I’m white man. But seriously, there’s no way one can study the Nations of Gods and Earths literature and not Venn diagram these two and this album deep into the 10% devil category. This is devil music (not the good kind though), straight up. IT’S EVEN GOT A FUCKING FAKE GOLDFOIL COVER! It’s actually sad as you watch Kanye chase these Renaissance dreams, and to watch Jay-Z morph into the old Jewish guy from The Sopranos. I absolutely do not accept the false empowerment tale of people from poor backgrounds or non-white environments entirely become filthy rich as a form of empowerment. The system itself is corrupt, and if you are making limited run of $850 bottles of champagne (as Jay-Z just announced), then you are fairly removed from helping the larger masses of people that you became rich from. How do you forget them? How do you overlook them? Do people really justify this shit that they are somehow amazingly special and not just lucky, and that they deserve to be wealthy beyond three lifetime’s needs just because of this? Fuck that. The Illuminati may not be real, but if it was, this is one of its favorite albums. ONE STAR (*) but only because I decided arbitrarily to start doing that parenthesis with the star inside thing.

Danny Brown – XXX
(released August 15, 2011; #19 on 2011 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
Danny Brown is known as a party rapper, which is sad, because it overlooks the full character, as seen on this tape. There’s this old thematic pull in roots music between Saturday night devil impulses and Sunday morning spiritual callings. The first half of XXX is all party rhymes, Danny Brown getting in his blunts and Adderall, and sexing mad sketchy chicks. But as it wears on, he hits that introspective portion of late in the night/early in the morning, when you start hearing the city buses running again for the next day when you haven’t finished the previous night, and shit don’t feel right to you (even though you enjoy it) and you want to make some changes (but you know you can’t). As the twilight starts to lighten the outside beaming through the old bedsheet you’ve stapled up as a curtain, you internally contemplate changes. But there’s another body on the bed (mattress) across the room, and other bodies orbiting daily that all don’t line up the same way as you do in that moment, and it ain’t gonna happen. Shit, Danny Brown pretty much lays all this out in “DNA”. The final three tracks on this – “Fields”, “Scrap or Die”, and “30” – might be the best one-two-three of real as fuck introspective rap ever done. EVER. This is why the simple party style Danny Brown (which actually is not so simple, and entirely unique, and likely what people want to pay him to do most) is so bothersome to me. Do we have to be wrapped up in self-medication forever? Marx was wrong, opiates are the opiate of the masses. Still though, FOUR STARS (****).


THE WINNER: If the whole Danny Brown was as strong as the end of Danny Brown, it might’ve challenged. The Kendrick mixtape is strong throughout, yet also makes one feel sad about the wrenching of profit that will come (likely this summer) from Kendrick. And you worry will he end up like this Watch the Throne crap? That shit is completely irrelevant to normal human beings. Kendrick wins, but it is sad that to become successful we are asked to abandon completely our normalcy and connection to regular people and become these alien cyborgs, because we lose a lot of our feedback when we lose those regular connections, and we become completely fucked. But Kendrick wins, at least at that point he did.

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