Overall, the week was tight. Got a new project from Three 6 Mafia (I hate calling them Mafia 6ix), Death Grips dropped an album, I'm still stuck on B L A C K I E's record and Solange came through with an R&B compilation. Shoutout to Smash Records in D.C.! They'll be selling copies of True Laurels Vol. 1 (the first issue of my zine!) and I came out with an ill Jimi Hendrix record (Band of Gypsys) and an album by a group called The Drifters. Also while in there, I came across this tight zine called Vinyl Vagabonds out of D.C. So here are my favorite music-related things from the week:
Wednesday evening every major music outlet tweeted that Death Grips had just released an album without any prior promotion—Government Plates. I'm actually more into how the record was released than I am the music. The idea was a good contrast to the usual hashtag overload simultaneous countdown we get for most people's music and videos but with Death Grips is seems to be a calculated "We don't care" thing when it's obvious that their stunts are not by chance. On the whole, with a few listens in, this record is Death Grips moving into a more abstract, instrumental phase; A good deal of the album is repeated lines over crazy production or a lot of the time, there are no vocals. The intro, "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat" is killer. The project's production is great and, intentions aside, the method of release was unexpected and added to the experience of listening.
As you can see in the review in my previous post, I didn't have much hope in a Three 6 Mafia record that wouldn't have regular contributions from Juicy J or Project Pat. On top of that, all the members who were contributing (DJ Paul, La Chat, Gangsta Boo, Crunchy Black, Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca and Lil Wyte) haven't all worked together at once in over ten years. I was wrong, though. This is HCP's best project since Da Unbreakables. No one seemed out of touch, or, or reaching for something that wasn't there. Felt good to hear everybody back together on "Body Parts".
If you didn't catch it back in January, Solange had a moment on twitter as she checked hipster writers who have no idea about what hip-hop culture is really about. A bad write-up on Brandy's 211 album is what got her going. She said "So you can stop acting like it just popped off last year for R&B. Like it just got interesting and experimental." She didn't sit around and just complain either. In May she announced that, through Sony, she had launched her own record label, Saint Records. We got Saint's first project this week—a compilation titled, Saint Heron. Rightfully, the album is very right now—something Solange seemed determined to express, that current R&B has a wide array of gifted artists. While not all original, it includes songs from Jhene Aiko, Kelela, BC Kingdom, Jade J, Iman Omari, Sampha, Cassie, Petite Noir, Starchild, India Shawn and a closer by Solange. Current R&B's love with the '90's that they group up in is evident but the joining of that era with our Hip-Hop/EDM production gives most of the artists featured a leg up in the "R&B is stuck" argument.
4. Vinyl Vagabonds
This isn't a project or song title (although it would be sick). Last night while in the Adams Morgan district in D.C., I dropped some zines off to Smash Records and started to get into other zines in the shop. I came across one called Vinyl Vagabonds. It's an extension of this blog , of the same name. I couldn't put it down! The writers exclusively review vinyl albums—ones that they find, buy or are given. That's what I love most about it; they give anything a chance and review it from an outside angle, while still referencing other artists that they absorb on the regular. Props to them.