Thursday, December 26, 2013

The last five things I've written over at Word Is Bond

Rocky Rivera and DJ Roza's Friday Mixtape gave us a tantalizing picture of an alternate universe where Smokey is really the girl you always thought he sounded like if you watched the original Friday with your eyes closed, voluntarily or, due to the weed, not-so-voluntarily.
Rocky Rivera (pictured with her "GRLZ" and "Ain't No Way" collaborators DJ Roza and Irie Eyez) is one of the artists whose albums I most recently reviewed for Word Is Bond. I'm glad to have been made a part of WIB's review team in 2013.
Shad, Flying Colours (November 7, 2013)
"Top it off with a well-chosen Jay Z sample hook and you have another tuneful banger along the lines of 2010's 'Rose Garden,' which was produced by returning beatmaker DJ T Lo, as well as one of many highlights of Flying Colours. Good thing Shad and Skratch Bastid sampled one of Hov's verses from the enjoyable 'Otis' instead of Hov's really imaginative 'Cake cake cake cake cake cake' verse from Drake's 'Pound Cake.'"

Rocky Rivera, Gangster of Love (November 12, 2013)
"As usual, executive producer and Beatrock label founder Fatgums works his production magic on another solid-sounding Beatrock album, which is also an album we need right now: a fierce antidote to what author Jeff Chang referred to as a painful summer for racial justice, the summer of such delightful moments as the Zimmerman acquittal and Levy Tran's 'Asian Girlz' debacle. Rocky is one Asian girl--or rather, woman--who doesn't play that 'I love your sticky rice' shit."

"10 Hilarious Rapper Impressions" (November 25, 2013)
"Whether it's Pharoah's impression of Kendrick's flow, which seems to have been inspired by K.Dot's killer guest verse on DJ Khaled's 'They Ready,' or former MADtv regular Aries Spears turning DMX into Sally whenever she orders food in When Harry Met Sally, these impressions are so entertaining that for a few minutes, they've made me briefly forget about the dual heartbreak of the creative stagnancy of a late-night show I grew up watching and the unjust demise of a late-night show that could have become a game-changer for progressively minded comedians of color."

'Wanna know how I got these bars?'
Rapsody introduces a little anarchy in her video for "Dark Knights."
"12 Great Albums That We Didn't Review This Year" (December 19, 2013; co-written with Hardeep, Matticus Finch and Paddy)
"'Footnote: Kendrick ain't mention no females! Rapsody, we gotta change that!,' says DJ Drama during the Raleigh spitter's 2013 mixtape. With bangers like 'Lonely Thoughts,' which features a laugh-out-loud funny guest verse by Chance the Rapper, and the Dark Knight Rises-inspired 'Dark Knights,' which has Rapsody and Wale dropping the nerdiest Batman references outside of nerdcore, Rapsody proves she belongs on Kendrick's infamous 'Control' list of the game's most skilled MCs."

"Music Videos That Stood Out In 2013" (December 25, 2013)
"Director Patricio Ginelsa picks up on the tune's fake '90s vibe and surrounds Bambu and Geo with animated graphics straight out of Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's 'It Takes Two' video and backup dancers with moves from old Queen Latifah videos. You keep thinking, 'Yo, is Blossom gonna Cabbage Patch her way onto the set at some point?' The 'Books' video could have just consisted of the '90s R&B throwback material, and it would have been a decent video. But no, Ginelsa had to throw in footage of Bambu and Geo starring in a fake sitcom about an undocumented Filipino immigrant called Tago ng Tago (it's Tagalog for 'always hiding'), and that turned a decent video into a great one."

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