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.

Monday, June 19

[HH3os] The Pablo Coloring Book unmastered trio

(1st round match-up 25 of 27)

The slow meandering ancient train of website stupid project motivation wanes hard, but then it waxed poetic this past weekend because I thunk up what other stupid project of semi-related bent to ram in behind it, thus the clog of unmotivation was flushed with excitement to allow myself something new, but only after forcing an end to this issue, of which nobody cares. I mean who the fuck cares what somebody thinks about some old ass albums? We are trained to only hype the new, only use our non-paid internet voices to help sell the new, even if the sale is just illegal stream which only feeds malware or whatever. This is a convoluted deeply perverted late capitalism system we have, and I am just another idiot cog in the industrialization of creative spirit. I cannot wait for this abomination against fractal geometries to finish falling apart, and I can go back to plugging my inner-kindle into red oaks and not false outlets.

Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
(released February 14, 2016; #5 on 2016 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
This is a weird trio, which starts off with a weird album, which was released on my birthday (I did not realize that at the time, because it felt like it got released like four times over, then unreleased once or twice, and I probably saw leaks before releases, so official release dates become somewhat obsolete information), and of course was highly internetted as any Kanye release will be, because despite his burgeoning mental illness of delusion, he remains highly returned on the algorithms. (He will continue to be so returned until Big Internet has drained every page view they can from him.) I will say up front – as is the case with most every Kanye release – this is not as great as it was made out to be by some. In fact, the bulk of Kanye’s work the past few albums has been Art School Kid stuff 100%. I’m not against Art School Kid stuff, not at all, in fact Art School Kid stuff makes for great contributions to grass roots arts at starter level. But Art School Kid stuff should not be passing itself off as Masterpiece Genius shit, which is essentially what Kanye pre-emptively does every time he drops some new Art School Kid project (and is what he did with this, declaring it Must Win A Grammy, submitting it for Grammy consideration, then melodramatically deciding not to attend the Grammy’s).
Now, my honest heartfelt expert old head opinions on this – it is interesting in a car wreck kind of way. Also, it’s always fun to imagine what other music somebody in the studio exposed Kanye to so he could Christopher Columbus discover a new sound. With this album, very obviously Chance the Rapper played Kanye a bunch of Kirk Franklin. This, in fact, is the most obvious act of Kanye being “inspired by” (aka biting) someone else heavily since he got ahold of some Daft Punk CDs before recording Graduation. And as we wrestle with the long-term effects of artificial intelligence, it’s great that Kanye did pre-emptively make the perfect robot gospel album, for when artificial intelligence runs amok and destroys large chunks of organic humanity, but still desires human creations. This album will be a mainstay on artificial intelligence pata-modern spiritual channels. FOUR STARS (****)!

Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered
(released March 4, 2016; #16 on 2016 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
As an old head who used to walk down Broad Street in Richmond from the then-still-grimy VCU campus most Tuesday afternoons and many Friday afternoons to scope out the new batches of 12-inch singles (which were an actual 12-inches back then, no Craigslist NSA math involved), I can say with some fond pride that getting the unreleased tracks as B-sides extras used to be a thing of beauty. I mean, you were already stoked to get solid instrumentals to repetitively play while you got high as fuck with your crew and rattled off endless wack ass freestyles that in pure moments of high aesthetics transcended your own abilities and entered the Realms of Unanticipated Perfection, but to get bonus tracks was, well, a bonus. My most favored slab of vinyl for years and years was an otherwise shitty Del the Funky Homosapien single off his first album that had the epic (and life altering, as an MC) track “Eye Examination”.
Internet changed all that though, and full curation was much easier, and eventually expected. There were no bonus tracks to be discovered or released now, as they were tagged on to the full itunes or best buy versions, or just released as part of the album, which included everything, because for some reason making an album became “let’s release 42 tracks even all the shitty ones” instead of “let’s cull this shit down to sharp, poignant, on point 13 tracks”. Anyways, because there is full curation in digital age, and not only is there full (fool?) curation, there is also feeble attempt by corporate overlords to capitalize on this easy functionality, a bunch of extra shit from Kendrick was packaged as this untitled unmastered thing, with simple dates as titles, and no pretensions made as to high artistic quality of the collection. Guess what? It kind of sucks. I mean, other than being like “oh, this isn’t a normal Kendrick song, wow this is neat” angle which is really no different than being excited to see a football team play in an alternate and thus not recognizable jersey, there’s not much going for this. Even in terms of full curation, I don’t know, you could kind of go without this. That’s not to speak ill of Kendrick Lamar’s artistic abilities, so much as to say, do I really need this? (Ultimately do we need any of this? Is there some sort of pop culture test to gain access to the afterlife club where we have to have consumed the most important pieces of pop culture to get in? Likely no.) And actually this being part of this trio gave me larger respect for Kanye’s shitty ass album because at least he shaped it, albeit haphazardly with cheap artistic thought, into an actual album. TWO STARS (**)!

Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
(released May 13, 2016; #6 on 2016 Pitchfork Albums of the Year list)
I really loved Acid Rap, but did not really love this. Chance is a likeable guy, no doubt about that, but there are too many times here where I feel he’s trying to trick me into liking Jesus. I am very firm in my desire to not be tricked into Christianity, and due to my cultural surroundings I’m also very familiar with how Christians think it’s okay to trick people into liking Jesus. My own children (the youngest two) attended a Christian homeschoolers group the past year or two, because it was by far the best local homeschoolers collective, and I fear there’s been a little bit of trickery involved with then, which I guess is my own fault for exposing them to it, but I thought we’d made them stronger than that. They’re still young though. But they had some magazine we got, and there was a Chance feature one time with full page pin-up of him along with quote that said “I’m a rapper who is Christian, but not a Christian rapper” and my one kid had torn that out and tacked it up on her wall. I made her listen to the first three Metallica albums and write a three-page report on how sick that shit is for homeschool lesson though. (She’s a pretty sensitive kid, and not quite ready for Slayer just yet.)
As for music, taking the whole fuck Jesus shit part out of the equation, this is not very hip-hoppy album, lots of sangin’ going on, and I don’t know, I’m all for fun and games but if the fun and games start choking out any actual remnants of boom baptistery, then ya boy Raven Mack gonna get pretty blah-zay about it. And though I want to like Chance the Rapper’s album as much as I like Chance the Rapper the guy, I’m about 95% blah-zay about it. Then again, my kid’s are probably the target demo, not me (although I will eat the fuck out a Kit Kat still, just put in the freezer first for a little while). THREE STARS (***) because he’s such a nice guy (until super model poison cultured estrogen eventually contaminates him, like his mentor Kanye).

THE WINNER: By process of elimination, and for being an actual project which doesn’t encourage me to be into Jesus, the man most blasphemous against creative genius Mr. Kanye West wins this round. Despite him utilizing Art School Kid adult juvenile tactics (including co-opting classic Art School Kid literary hero Kathy Acker cover style from her Demonology book), it’s still better than a zip file of Kendrick performances off-the-record and Chance’s album. In fact, I feel almost bad for Chance because his mentor stole some of his audio thunder by dropping the pseudo-Kirk Franklin gospel a couple months before Chance, so to the uninitiated bystander, they’d think, “Wow, Chance really sounds like Kanye on this,” when in all likelihood it was Chance that got Kanye into Kirk Franklin (I am guessing, from an educated expert metaphysical perspective). But that’s how corporate structures work, and despite his artistic ambitions, Kanye is a corporatist more than anything else, in that underlings feed their brilliance upwards, and it gets filtered into the mediocre brilliance of those towards the top of the pyramid. God bless the meritocracy myth.

No comments: