maxernstman asked: Are you doing an Avant Garde list for 2013?
I was going to do one of these but in the process I realized that it would basically be the same list of names as last year, rearranged and attached to different song titles. I guess you could add Chance and Majjin Ski and maybe Sicko Mobb if you really wanted to.
Otherwise it doesn’t seem like anybody except for the usual suspects are actively trying to push the act of rapping forward at this point. Maybe that’s always been the case though - a small group of forward thinking individuals providing the creative engine for everyone else.
I don’t mean to be a downer but very little new rapping surprises me anymore except for Young Thug and Future. I’d certainly be open to avant rap recommendations from this year or last year or any year but keep in mind that I do not consider garbled third rate imitations of Lil B or ASAP Rocky to be avant garde. Moar like avant garde a clue am i right George Harrison?
Cool Breeze f/ Outkast, Goodie Mob & Witchdoctor - “Watch For The Hook” (Organized Noize, 1999)
A few years ago I saw Goodie - just the four of them - perform their “Watch For The Hook” verses. Lo and Jo traded their tag team sixteen in the same eye-to-eye formation as in the video and with the same level of intensity. Needless to say time stopped and the universe crumbled outward from the stage and we’re all just ghosts floating around the resonant memory of that performance now.
“Anybody who wants to see all of us together - if you never saw me do ‘Black Ice’ with Outkast, if you never saw Goodie Mob do ‘Thought Process’ with Dre 3000, if you never saw all of us do ‘Watch For The Hook’ with Cool Breeze, with everybody - you’ll get the opportunity to see it this year.”
whogotnext asked: 1017 Thug topped your Pazz and Jop. Have you written about Thugger?
I wrote a little about1017 Thug over at the Pitchfork year end wrap up, where it got honorable mention (possibly as a direct result of me throwing any and all of my points at it).
Really though there isn’t much to explain. Dude is just far and above my favorite rap performer right now. And I mean performer in the most literal sense. I’m enamored with his performance, the how of his raps.There’s a physicality and unpredictability to his style - that way he snaps in and out flows, how he pushes against the beat, how he raps like the room is running out of oxygen. It all scratches a lot of old guard technical rap nerd itches for me and I dug out this circa-1994 quote from a Source interview with Saafir for those of you who need to know what the fuck I mean by all of that:
I see images in my head and I copy them in rhymes… getting concepts from humor and pain. It’s all about imagination: slow it down like a washing machine or speed it up to a spiral. I’m not going to follow a pattern off a beat, i’m not gonna follow a pattern off a beat, I’m gonna follow a pattern off my mind… like the way Volume 10 does. You can’t catch his patterns at all. That’s how you know a rhymer is a titan.”
Those clips of Drake and Kanye turning up to “Danny Glover” do a great job of precisely illustrating what that record does to all human beings - it zombifies them into nothing but rap hands and shoulders. Or at least that should be the response. I know everybody has dramatically different standards of what a rapper is supposed to do these days but I find it hard to believe that any self respecting fan of the genre could hear “Danny Glover” loudly and feel nothing.