Dan Hancox memorial post
Well, he’s not dead yet, obviously, but anyone who’s been following Dan Hancox’s heartbreaking series of blog posts on CommentIsFree detailing his battle with stomach cancer will be aware his time on this planet is limited. We at ILB have been touched by this, and threw the Batsignal up to find someone who could replace him. Society, whether or not it realises it or not, needs a prissy, cossetted, privately-educated Oxbridge ponce writing about urban music, otherwise certain… “undesirable” members of society might start demanding to be allowed to write about the music that, you know, they actually created and maintained for the past 70 years. ILB is now proud to present to you Louis: a legit, 3k a term education, graduate of Oxbridge, 100% dyed-in-the-wool posh kid. He will now be reviewing hip-hop, R&B, whateverthefuck that shit is that’s on Channel U these days, and other genres on this site in the upcoming future. Here he is on some of the latest bloghype rap tracks. Take it away, Lil’ Louis:
Hello, I’m LJ and I’m here to tell you what’s droppin’ in the oh-nine-er. With MP3 culture subsiding beneath an avalanche of free-streaming functions and the long-awaited vinyl revival, hip-hop, most materialistic of the mainstream gaggle, stands to fall hardest, both commercially and critically. Greater awareness within alternative communities such as the educated white elite would be the first ticket to hard-won survival. Hence, ILB’s head honcho has humbly approached my good self, requesting I big-up the movement in terms that might appeal to those of my kind, those august fellows who might finance its furtherance. What do I bring to the ILB table, you may ask? Well, I’m a nouveau-rap convert and I’m very enthusiastic! It’s a time of sic riddim (see what I did there?) and I’ll be buggered if I’m not on board to roll with the flow. If one strikes an opponent’s ball, this is known as a ‘roquet’, and one can place one’s ball alongside it, strike both balls, and then take one further shot to regain one’s position. One may strike each ball once between hoops. The winner is the player who passes through every hoop in consecutive order, twice around, and then strikes both his balls upon the central stick.
Bun B – Don’t Die
The childlike pitchshifted refrain of Don’t Die’s chorus drops like a mote of wisdom from beneath the adult gaze of Emcees only seein’ their big-boy problems. One can indeed detect how the hideous lope of the beat, swaggering like a stanky deejay with trousers round his knees, is subverted from its mean-streets intent by the faux-naif wisdom of ‘just don’t die today’; Bun B may live among the ‘same old playaz’ tryin’ to ‘keep up the same illusion’ and tryin’ to make ends meet, but the resonant truth hails from the mandibles of the prepubescent. Referencing the recession, a guest rapper instructs us to remain calm and not succumb to the temptations of violence, but these ‘ill roots’ are ill-served by their cheap-sounding, stereotypical backdrop. If the song prevails, it does so as a stark subjugation of the Emcee as realest of talker; the talk here is so real it’s locked into a self-regarding loop of facile, obvious logic, while the unblinking emergency of ghetto life is revealed by the youngest-sounding voice on the record. One note on the synthesised pizzicato samples; this style of production may indicate hard-nosed street poesy of an old-skool bent but it is rapidly becoming tiresome and I indicate The Neptunes as a rap collective who really tweak the formula towards something I dare say more musical. This is for want a better word corny, and although we ‘get the message’, it’s a message that 2009 didn’t need. Don’t download it, live it.
Hannibal King – Let Me Ride
This time, the refrain is a syncopated, feminine screech of unchained sexual intent. It is musky and powerful, the Gatling snare providing uptempo accompaniment to the delirious language of flyboys and dolled-up hoes forgetting the excruciating squeeze of an economic crisis and romancing like they did back in the 90’s. The style of rapping is excitable, lines like ‘looking at the ass I see no thong’ conveying a rare and unrestrained hedonism a million miles away from the misogynist plaints of a million earnest but sadly deluded Emcees. The feminine screech reduces a near-speechless Hannibal to grunts before he can muster an actual lyric. Admittedly the rap is largely centred around a pronounced end-rhyme in each verse, and the words, while joyous, border on asinine at points. All is forgiven when self-deterministic, thrillingly masculine lines like “if we can get her friend to go we can make this threesome personal” hit the ‘waves. It’s noticeable that during the verses, the female vocal is warbled into some sort of uncontrolled yodel; it is as if Hannibal’s words are being thrust into her like a steam-powered piston-dildo, and she literally cannot suppress her orgasmic response. The words aren’t sophisticated, but they’re big and phallic, and hit the spot. The boys also show they’re not afraid to mix recent terms like ‘milf’ with age-old innuendo such as ‘give her my milk’; theirs is a broad palette of sexual abandon. A jaunty piano backdrop, intimating a casual setting such as a cocktail bar, is merely the icing on this game-crazed cake.
Trife Diesel – Project Leaders
This is hard as fucking nails. Nobody fucks the rhythm like this any more and gets away with it. Trife Diesel doesn’t get away with it. He’s fighting his own words, going 12 rounds with the flow itself, and coming off like Audley Harrison trying to stop a Eurostar; he’s crushed, raped, sliced into a million tiny pieces by the sheer fucking destruction of what is being egested. A rock beat with glissando harp samples and a slightly syncopated, uninterrupted, hugely dramatic female vocal sample provide the all-action backdrop to what is in essence a titanic fucking assault on the Emcee. Like the ‘project pope’ that his ‘niggers around my way’ call him, he’s both figurehead and burden-bearer of an entire faith: the faith in salvation through low-cost housing. The main guest rapper in this one is more authoritative; his voice doesn’t have Trife’s audible stride, but a knowing quaver. Trife’s gotta sound confident otherwise he’s gonna be totally fucking ruined by his responsibilities. ‘Mixing in the kitchen’ isn’t a culinary reference, folks. The dude’s involved in a top-to-bottom capacity within ‘project’ affairs both illicit and straight. And is he ever gonna leave the projects? Fuck no. If you’re desperately trailing and in need of a miraculous turnaround, you can attempt to roquet one of your opponent’s balls into the central stick. If any ball strikes the central stick before completion, it is forced to go back to the beginning and start again. I repeat: both of one’s balls need to complete the course and touch the stick before any celebrating is in order. Tally-ho!