- [Random Linkage] Abstract Beauty in Hip-Hop
- [Random Linkage] No Speak English
- [Random Linkage] A Love Letter to Old Skool Hip-Hop
- [Random Linkage] Japanese, Chinese and Other Versions of “Black and Yellow”
- [Random Linkage] And Now, Time For Something Different
- [Random Linkage] If You Want To Go To the Gym, Sleep in Your Gym Clothes: Activation Energy, The 20-Second Rule and Other Immersion Lessons
- [Random Linkage] Never Too Late
You know, I love when hip-hop videos make brave and/or unique decisions without compromising on their musicality. It’s particularly awesome when this bravery/uniqueness involves embracing a non-standard “localness” 1, that is, an aesthetic that sits squarely outside of and sets itself apart from the traditional hip-hop capitals (New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta). 2
This video is the perfect example of that: shot in the United Kingdom, with a Japanese rapper who embraces his quotidian Japaneseness, down to the use of a small, unobtrusive front-sling (manbag) for his stuff, so as not to take up too much space on the train 😉 . Totes adorbs.
- [(243) BIM – Bonita – YouTube] goo.gl/Q1WzEe
Incidentally, the keyboard in Bonita reminds me a lot of this also-awesome Korean rap song: [(243) 식케이 Sik-K – party(SHUT DOWN)(feat. 크러쉬(Crush)) Official Music Video – YouTube] goo.gl/AapCtH
Also, just so we’re clear, I also really enjoy the work of rappers like Zeebra and DABO, both of whom tend to wear their American (and Caribbean?) influences on their sleeves more. It’s all art, and variety is the spice of life and all that.
- Part of what made southern hip-hop so great was its newness, its differentness, its non-standard localness. It was giant lungfuls of fresh air, blowing apart the New York/LA duopoly. Part of what made a lot of the Chinese rap and R&B of the aughts so great (think: WANG Leehom ([(243) 王力宏 花田錯 – YouTube]), Jay CHOU ([(243) Jay Chou 周杰倫【髮如雪 Hair Like Snow】-Official Music Video – YouTube])) was its incorporation of traditional Chinese musical elements and instruments. ↩
- IMHO, this is part of what made Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” so great: it was about Pittsburgh (and, by extension, the Steelers). Pittsburgh is arguably a crumbling, forgotten, once-great industrial city, a shell of its former self, not unlike Birmingham — but it’s no less worthy of love; and that warm, unconditional, unabashed 地元レペゼン (“jimoto repezen” = “hometown love/representing”) spirit seems to have resonated deeply worldwide. ↩