Music matters. Listen, think.
*Word limits temporarily lifted.
- TINY DOO feat. SABE NUTT and NILAJA – “Pain” – as described by linnea rivano barros
this is important music
- PAT C — “Pisca Punga” — as described by claire kim
lazy snuggle love
- BEYONCE — “7/11” — as described by paulina campos
beyonce is santa claus
- JAMES HERSEY — “Coming Over (Filous Remix)” — as described by chase porter
thinking about coming over
- JASON ALDEAN- ¨Tattoos on this Town” – as described by tara mccullough
texas nights everywhere
- YG feat. KENDRICK LAMAR — ¨(Really Be) Smokin N Drinkin’ ¨ — as described by editor lawrence neil
west coast phillie philosophs
- BAD BRAINS — “Sailing On” — as described by editor max walker-silverman
where reggae = hardcore punk
- JUKEBOX THE GHOST — “Postcard” — as described by e.i.c. katharine schwab
old friend afternoon
STREAM IT HERE
TINY DOO feat. SABE NUTT and NILAJA – “Pain” – as described by linnea rivano barros
Tiny Doo, a San Diego rapper with no criminal record, is currently facing 25 years to life in prison for his new album, titled “No Safety.” Police say his lyrics “willfully promoted” shootings and gang violence and that because album sales improved after several shootings involving members of his own gang (the rapper is not believed to have been directly involved in the events) he is being prosecuted under a California law stating that anyone who “benefits from any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang is guilty of conspiracy to commit that felony”, his being the first case in which the law is enforced. Don’t believe me? Here’s the story.
When I listen to hip-hop and rap I understand it to be an artistic expression of suffering that is often coated with bitter and violent language to disturb the alarmingly untouched privileged masses. The black undercaste of American society has suffered and continues to suffer an inordinate amount in comparison to the white wealth that owns this country, most saliently due to a legal system that has been constructed to silence them (through biased drug laws and rampant police brutality, all combined to instigate vicious cycles of mass incarceration). And now we see that their artistic expression is being silenced, too.
Tiny Doo is one example of thousands of rappers crafting poetry out of a oft misunderstood, disregarded vernacular borne of their equally misunderstood life experiences. It’s no wonder the authorities of San Diego are threatened by this kind of art. While there exist plenty of racially charged reasons behind this prosecution, I imagine that either: 1) SD officials are scared of being “contaminated” by the turmoil of a gang-ruled inner-city existence that they don’t understand, or 2) they know that the music of the underprivileged rules the media, and fear that lyrics like Tiny Doo’s will inspire insubordination towards police and spread oppositional mentalities. Featured rapper Baby Bandit proclaims in “Don’t Forget It” that he’s “on that Black Panther shit, demanding more.” Bandit’s verse hails Malcolm X and disses other rappers who are “talkin’ bout an Aston Martin” while “I got my hoodie on, ridin’ for Trayvon Martin.” I’m not surprised that this album and its artist are being suppressed today. Perhaps the system is finally catching on to the power of rap music and the empowerment that it has the potential to inspire. Artists like Tiny Doo and Baby Bandit (like leading Ferguson activist Tef Poe with his “War Cry”) are calling attention to a neglected situation of extreme injustice and asking listeners to act. Let’s start by listening. No Safety here. War Cry here (please read the track info).
BEYONCE — “7/11” — as described by paulina campos
It looks like Christmas came early this year, and Beyonce’s playing Santa. Queen Bey blessed us with the gift of a new music video that pretty much broke the internet (Step aside, Kim K). It’s perfect for getting in the holiday spirit as Yonce struts her stuff in a Christmas sweater in front of a decorated tree. Need something fun to do with your high school crew while you visit home? Get the whole squad together, blast this song on repeat, and make your own music video. You can thank Beyonce later for making this the fiercest holiday season ever.
PAT C — “Pisca Punga” — as described by claire kim
I don’t know what it means. Never tried to figure it out for the last 7 or so years that I’ve known this song!
Lie on your couch lazy, get some cookies, snuggle in with your doggie or kitty at home — this song WILL make you a little happier than you already are, I promise.
This song reminds me of a boy I once was in love with back in grade school — he liked it a lot when I played this song for him.
JAMES HERSEY — “Coming Over (Filous Remix)” — as described by chase porter
It’s Thanksgiving break. High school friends are still getting drunk in cluttered garages and the woman at the local deli still remembers your name, and the “no-mayo” at the end of your order. Your neighbor’s dog still barks when you take out the trash and you just realized you left your favorite sweatshirt in your dorm room (shit). Nothing has changed, except for the length of your hair and the cut you have desperately waited out for. You get the haircut from Wendy–she’s known you for years, gossips with your mom, and doesn’t even ask how you want it cut. You get into your car and drive like you’re going to a cold, dead-grass soccer practice and listen to the mixtape that she gave you senior year or maybe the CD you stole from your older brother that screams (more softly exudes) 2003. And all you can think about is coming over, coming over. You see everyone: all the friends(!), the friends(?), a couple people whose name you’ve forgotten, and mom and dad.
JASON ALDEAN- Tattoos on this Town” – as described by tara mccullough
In honor of a glorious and well-deserved week off and in the hopes that everyone is surrounded by loved ones. This song is one that always gets me- a solid reminder that no matter where we go, we are making marks. The video is too much for me in my vulnerable (sleep deprived) state and is making me cry. Overall, I’m thinking of Friday night lights, county fairs, grandma’s cookin’, and it’s just giving me a little piece of hometown Texas while I’m still abroad in Chile.
YG feat. KENDRICK LAMAR — ¨(Really Be) Smokin N Drinkin’ ¨ — as described by editor lawrence neil
Certain verses are reminiscent of the YG we know and, uh, love from ‘Left, Right;’ others are more Pac philosophizing after a couple phillies to the dome. I give thanks for the west coast.
BAD BRAINS — “Sailing On” — as described by editor max walker-silverman
Bad Brains were some Rasta kids from DC who accidentally invented hardcore punk, proving that at some point in the spectrum, there’s no difference between long hair and no hair at all.
If you need more than two minutes of a song to put your head through a window, you probably aren’t going to put your head through a window.
JUKEBOX THE GHOST — “Postcard” — as described by e.i.c. katharine schwab
This new release from Jukebox the Ghost is a bit of a throwback. It’s the kind of song you can learn all the words to in a single afternoon, the kind of song that reminds you of high school and old friends and laughing over nothing. Damn it’s good to be home.
Photo: Subway by Ferit Onurlu