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, June 23

[HH3os] The Brazy Blank Telefone trio

(1st round match-up 26 of 27)

I listened to all these albums like a month ago, finished the listening process, so am having to revisit to write about, which is entirely unnecessary, but the digital spotlight we self-publish allows us to pretend our words are preserved like ancient Alexandrian library (which was burned, for the record). Complete curation of data including opinions, self-snitches, and every regrettable decision in its entirety, to be compressed and analyzed by programs since it’s too time-consuming (IRL) to review it closely. Thus I continue down this wasted road, for no other reason than I began to listen to Screw tapes to do a similar project, and if I don’t wrap this one up first, I will make myself feel bad, because creative self-guilt is my biggest motivator (or obstacle, depending on the brain chemistries) in life…

YG- Still Brazy
(released June 17, 2016; #22 on 2016 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
YG is somewhat sociopathic, but that enjoyable low stakes sociopath. He’s not Rick Rossing up his metaphors, still content to break and enter houses for jewelry or shoot dudes on the corner a few blocks over. I can respect that. Not everybody wants to become King; many of us are content to be foot soldiers. There’s great honor (even in criminality) in being a good solid foot soldier. Civilization was perhaps designed by architects, but it was a bunch of simple fucks (often enslaved, physically or psychologically like now) who moved all the stones into place. Because of all this I enjoy YG more than I should (despite an exuberant abundance of n-wording, which causes ya boy the dirtgod as an expert whiteboy to have to check the volume at the stoplight sometimes, if I give a fuck, which unfortunately sometimes I do probably because I wear too many shirts with buttons nowadays), because I ain’t expecting shit but pure sensual vice. And though I prefer YG’s other earlier CD to this one (“Bool, Balm & Bollective” not as bool after you already heard “Bicken Back Bein’ Bool”), his entire aura feels more like Eazy Duz It than any other Compton rapper has ever felt, back to that pre-gangsta rap exposed to the world innocence of being content to commit small felonies instead of trying to take over the world and then get shot in Las Vegas in a luxury vehicle after a high profile fight. YG still seems content to get shot at the Greyhound Station in Las Vegas, and no shit I really fucking respect that. THREE STARS (***)!

ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face
(released July 8, 2016; #38 on 2016 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
When Schoolboy Q hits his top stride, and cuts through the opioid fog with dark reflections on immediate life as well as larger universe, that shit is great. He does it so well that I’ve always held out hope for him to drop the straight classic, a full-on banger to sit alongside the critical shelves holding his TDE podna Kendrick Lamar’s discography. And Q is always good at teasing at this, but for whatever reason never delivers. The tease has been enough to trick gullible motherfucks into giving him critical positivity (aka Pitchfork), but he hasn’t delivered like you’d want. Those gentrifying ass bitches are hydrocodone newbies who think they’re blasted beyond belief momentarily because their tolerance is too low to be authentic. Q hasn’t delivered that full-on banger yet (closest he came was Habits & Contradictions), and he knows it. He’s got all the ingredients, all the potential, but has missed a couple times now, and eventually gonna run out of opportunities. He probably would’ve already if he wasn’t labelmates with Lamar, getting lines of credit extended by proxy. Then again, Q hasn’t gotten nearly as atrocious as Ab-Soul, and that motherfucker still making records too, so I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t even matter any more. THREE STARS (***)!

Noname – Telefone
(released July 31, 2016; #27 on 2016 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
The entirety of my familiarity with Noname was assuming she was the feature I dug on Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap mixtape, which the cover of Telefone seemed to confirm. So I expected that I’d like this, but maybe not ever bump it again. I guess that ended up being true, but I got bored before I was done listening to it the two times required by internal protocols, although there was nothing obvious to make me dislike it. So I did this thing I do where I think “Oh my kids will like this, so I’ll refer them to it,” as if music gives a fuck if somebody in my house cares about it or not. I don’t know, maybe it does, maybe every object or creation has spirit and wants to spread its psychic seed as far and wide as possible. I’m kinda stuck in this material realm, and one that humanity has narrowly defined by science, so I don’t feel comfortable speculating beyond what I pretend to know. But the suggestion to the kids didn’t take, so the Noname digital files of music are being neglected. I guess the damage is not as bad as it would’ve been with an actual physical album, but again I don’t know for sure. But Noname found no home in our little rural compound of chaos. TWO STARS (**).

THE WINNER: My whole star self-limitation creates a fallacy here, as YG is definitely way better than Schoolboy Q on these albums, but the star system makes them appear to be equal. And I guess from the long view, they’re pretty close – L.A. gangsterism in 21st century fog world. But YG still appears to be having upward trajectory as artist, while Schoolboy Q seems to have levelled off, and maybe not going no higher as artist. None of this really matters though because likely the biggest issue for both is paying their bills, so hopefully they both are. Fuck capitalism.

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