Ear Foodz

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Hand Cannon

Postby Plume on June 19th, 2015, 5:48 am

Pew Pew!

This is flippin' cool. So creative, good grooves sound wise, and dayum that little girl can dance! Also love her hair ^_^




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Ear Foodz

Postby Plume on August 6th, 2015, 2:42 am

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Hello my fellow Mizaharians! So the past two months have been one giant trial for me, and what little time/energy I've had to spare I poured mostly into mod duties. I got hurt, and then I got a bit better, and then I got a bunch of rashes, and then those got better. Then I got more rashes and had to get x-rays done this morning because something is seriously not okay with my left knee. Like the hmm-a-bone-that-should-be-round-is-jutting-out-at-a-most-unusual-angle kind of not okay. Suffice it to say, it's been one hell of a ride.

Another thing that happened to me was that I had a boy pull a Houdini on me. The internet has many names for this kind of magic trick. Ghosting. The Caspar Effect. Poofing. The list goes on. And what's more upsetting than having had it happen to me in the first place is that it is so, so crazy common. Seriously, why is this such widespread, frequent, and douchebaggy behavior and how can we make it stop?

I won't bore you with the details, but if you want a good laugh and some honest insight into this matter, feel free to read Mandy's explanation of the The Houdini. She's witty, funny, and spot on. Like the dozens of women who commented on her post, this has been 100% identical, down to the letter, to my own experience. And boy, does it make me wish I could sock some sense into the culprits of this infamous vanishing act. It really makes you wonder if there's just something in the water, because it sucks royal ass to be the one woman audience to this one man show. As in it is not only emotionally ultra painful, depending on how far you were strung along, but also crushes your self esteem like a ruthless trash compactor.

Phew, breathe. In any case, the past is the past, and for the first time in a long time I've had some time to sit down and write about music :) I normally like to start on a Monday, but screw it. Let's just dive right into this week's genre:


H I P---H O P
&
R A P

Disclaimer :
Yes, there will sometimes be swearing. Yes, the "N" word might sometimes be used. And yes, unless you have some kind of allergic reaction to adult language and/or are younger than 13ish, then you should take a chance. Step out of your comfort zone. Learn a new thing or two. Risk giving something you probably don't understand very well a chance. Because who knows where a good dose of serendipity may take you?

I've noticed personally that this genre gets soooooo much hate. And those who hate it the most are usually people whose experience ends somewhere at the soul-selling, foul-mouthed, auto-tuned regions of mainstream radio. I would know, because I personally have been guilty of this big time. And by mainstream, I'm talking Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, that sort of thing. I mean, you can call it hip hop/rap, but...it's not very good hip hop/rap. In fact, it's kind of laughably anything but. So I'm completely on board with you guys, because hey, if you like it, that's fine. Whatever floats your goat. But would any serious hip hop artist say that mainstream rap really embodies the core ideals and spirit of true hip hop? Nope. Not a snowball's chance in the halls of Hades.

Why? Because real hip hop addresses real issues. Not hoes, cars, bitches, bling, and self-aggrandizing to the moon and back. And for all you ladies out there, real hip hop is also, believe it or not, a respectful and supportive place for us, because it was as much part of the woman's rights movement as it was the civil rights movement. But hey, don't take my word for it. Hear it straight from musician and political activist KRS-One (this is great if you're out on a drive or just have some time to think and reflect):



That being said, of course not all hip hop is equal. Not all artists are on the same page, and some I'm sure just genuinely want to be the biggest, baddest thugs out there on the streets. But as hard as this may be to believe at first, there is good hip hop and rap out there. I'm being dead serious right now. And to prove it, let's start off with something to ease our ear palates into the genre. You can't go wrong with some good old Nujabes, may his soul rest in peace. If you're into these kinds of beats, have watched Samurai Champloo, or are inclined even remotely toward rap, you may already have heard of this artist and song:



Nothing about banging two women at the same time or snorting massive quantities of crack. No obnoxious bass drops, no threats to kill all the po po, no claims to fame and my genitals are bigger than all of yours shenanigans. Just honest opinion and emotion about global strife and real life struggles.

And to those who criticize rap for not being nearly as poetic, profound, or elegant as it pretends to be, they're mostly right. Just not about the pretending part, cause that's not really what rap is about. Rap is about grittiness, rawness, being attuned with the here and now and the realness of one's circumstances. A direct portal between you and the musician's soul. It's supposed to be a little rough around the edges because that's how most of these artist's lives were/are, to be frank. It is as much an art as any other form of expression. You just need to learn how to appreciate it, for it may not be as one dimensional as you were initially led to believe.

My advice on how best to appreciate? Just feel it. Let go of your biases, prejudices, and stereotypes. It really is a mental thing. And be prepared for a whole rainbow of different kinds of hip hop to follow in the coming days :thumbsup:

Next time, on Music with Plume!
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Ear Foodz

Postby Pulren Marsh on August 6th, 2015, 3:34 am

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Thank you, Plume. When writing combat threads for Lu or Pulren, I listen to a little Wu Tang Clan. It's nice to hear anyone else on this site loving some old school.

Here's my playlist.
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Ear Foodz

Postby Plume on August 8th, 2015, 10:21 am

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J. C O L E

J. Cole, or Jermaine Lamarr Cole, has what you might say is a pretty standard story for a rapper. The fact that his mom was white made no difference in the dad-less department. She raised two boys on her own after the father left the family. J. Cole himself grew up liking basketball and rap and graduated from St. John's University, after which he took off in pursuing a career in music.

But that's not what makes him worth paying attention to.

There are two things I think make J. Cole a true hip hop artist. The first is the honesty and maturity in his lyrics. If you listened to the KRS-One clip from the previous post, you'll remember the difference between men and boys. Well, J. Cole proves he's striving to go down the path of manhood and leave the world of boyhood behind. That confusing realm of more money than any one person ever needs, of fancy cars and beautiful girls and enough glitz to leave you temporarily blind. He's done with that and he wants to live for something better.

Here's an example of what I mean:



The second thing about J. Cole that deserves genuine respect is his production. He did most of it for his newest album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, by himself. And believe me when I say that is not easy. It's one thing to have a friend or professional at the top of the industry make beats for you and handle everything not directly related to rapping. It's another to sit there and do it by yourself, from the instruments to the programs to the mixing to the mastering. It is hard. And it takes real commitment. The result, I think, is an admirable amount of musical integrity that a lot of albums these days don't really have. You can really tell when someone pours their blood, sweat, tears, and soul into their craft. It isn't something an artist can fake.

And boy, does J. Cole know this. He is unapologetic in his principles and what he thinks about many of his fellow, contemporary rappers. He is also unafraid to tell you exactly what he thinks of riches and fame and where it will inevitably lead you.

This song is one of my favorites because of how powerful its message is, and how often people forget this simple truth:



Thanks for tuning in and bearing with my slow pace! If you think you know where the next featured artist is headed think again, cause I'm sure the rapper following up will be nothing like what you expected :D

Next time, on Music with Plume!
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Ear Foodz

Postby Plume on October 20th, 2015, 7:44 pm


HOLD IT! STOP EVERYTHING YOU'RE DOING!!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is on very rare occassions that I feel the need to leap out of bed, forego teeth brushing face fashing bladder relieving the whole kit kaboodle, and harass my computer to turn on faster just so I can jump on the internet and implore you to please, please pay attention. Because this artist really petching deserves it. You won't regret giving her a listen, I promise.

Without further ado, I interrupt this current rap segement to present to you...



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L I A N N E--L A--H A V A S

Admitteddly this one is a bit delayed. I'd listened to Lianne's new album Blood (the picture above is from her first, Is Your Love Big Enough?) and had to stop everything I was doing for days on end. Why? Hit play and you'll understand:


Right?! How to describe that amazing, velvety smooth, so fresh it's raw #nomakeupautotunesamediff and soul touching sound other than "wow." I wish I had included her in the first segment for kick ass female guitarists, cause not only can this lady seriously play, she is also incredibly innovative. It's not that she's creating whole new sounds, it's that she's taking what we've heard so many times before and tweaking, weaving, repainting, and reinterpreting them in ways that make your bones involuntarily want to groove and your ears smack their figurative lips in joyous contentment. Just listen to/watch the little things she does here and there with her guitar and vocals. Nothing crazy or wild, but she's definitely got a bit of an experimental edge. And what's more she's an artist with impeccable balance. There will be some parts in her songs that are so full of soul it makes you want to burst, and then there are others with a perfect amount of minimalism. Then on top of all of that, of her ingenuity and flawless skill, she's got a subtle, feminine touch as well. Quirky but classy. Soft but soulful. And just enough rawness and grit in between to keep you coming back for more. What's there not to love?



So a little bit about the artist herself. Born as Lianne Charlotte Barnes in London to a Greek father and Jamaican mother, this budding star had your usual humble beginnings. She started singing at age 7. Her parents seperated while she was young. She was attending a business college for girls (that's high school-ish for us Americans) when she dropped out to pursue music full time. And from there it was one stepping stone at a time before she finally made it to UK news. She hasn't quite blown up yet, but without a doubt she'll get there, and anyone who gives her music a listen can see why. There is such easy, natural celebration and joy in her songs, even if said songs have a certain, realistic weight to them.

Aside from her inspiring music and wonderful sound, there are two things I really, really like Lianne La Havas for.

1) She openly embraces and has actively sought out her dual heritage. Yes she's technically a Brit, but history and culture are so important, and yet so many people get this strange idea that they are somehow obligated to assimilate by wiping all traces of their family heritage. Why can't we just appreciate everything as is? Why is there this silly need to fit everything neatly in a label, and why can't a person be a delightful, complex sum of things rather than just one plain, boring thing? I hear outrageous notions aimed right at my face all the time. Take this ridiculous conversation, for instance:

Friend: Ugh. There's this dude at work that keeps insisting that he's (insert South American race here) American. He's just American, it's so stupid.
Me: Uhh...well I consider myself Chinese American. Is that stupid too?
Friend: Well, kinda, right? I mean cmon. You were born here, you grew up here, so you're American!
Me: Yeah that's true but I also grew up with a lot of Chinese culture, which is why I identify with both. What's so wrong with that? Why do people have to be just one thing?
Friend: Well it makes no sense to me ramble ramble ramble...
Me: *huge defeated sigh and facepalm*

I think we all know where the stupid truly lies here, folks.

2) No autotune. How many artists can you say sound EXACTLY the same no matter where they go, be it a recroding studio or their newest album or on a stage or at a Tiny Desk concert? But don't take my word for it, hear it for yourselves.



Gods her voice just hits you right in the heart like a giant, plushy cupid's arrow. Mad props to the pianist/back up singers too. They are spot freakin' on! So lucky that these amazing musicians get to work together and that we get to hear them do so. In short, I know Lianne La Havas isn't my new favorite artist of the times...I suspect she'll be a favorite of all times. And as always, thanks for tuning in! Our Rap segment shall continue more or less uninterrupted, here on on Music with Plume :)
Last edited by Plume on October 22nd, 2015, 4:37 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Ear Foodz

Postby Azmere on October 20th, 2015, 9:05 pm

Lianne La Havas is awesome! Great find! I had a friend put me on to her music not even a month ago. Keep up the good work, Plume.
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Ear Foodz

Postby Plume on October 22nd, 2015, 3:24 am

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W A T S K Y

A poet before he was a rapper, George Virden Watsky is currently 29, but he still jumps off stage equipment like a monkey mid-concert and draws in a rather large crowd of highschoolers who dig his witty, defiant, and relatively clean lyrics. His style centers around clever, satirical, and seamless wordplay. He never seems to take himself too seriously and he's always having fun no matter where he is or what he's doing. At first glance, he just looks like a lanky, nerdy surbuban white guy. But then he starts to rap--and rather unapologetically at that--and you begin to understand why so many boys in their teens look up to him.

Here's a personal favorite that always gets me chiming in when the chorus hits:


Conventional hip hop/rap? Not by a long shot. Watsky isn't the only white rapper out there to be certain, but he's definitely doing things a little bit differently. Part of it is because he started out as a slam poet. And part of it is because he did grow up in the burbs, not the hood, and he isn't ashamed of it. He still has to struggle and deal with life's universal menialities. He also has to cope with emotional pitfalls when it comes to family matters. He is human, just like the rest of us. And he can only be himself, not anyone else, so why bother with the pretense of badass thuggery and just...well, express his own definition of badassery?

Watsky is not a thug, nor does he ever pretend to be one. But that doesn't mean he isn't fearless and inspiring in his own way. He poured his heart and soul into his songs, his craft, knowing that people were going to judge. Knowing that there were going to be plenty of snub nosed critics who would call his music not-rap, not-black, not-serious, not-all-around-good-enough. And his response to these nay sayers? IDGAF. If you're doing what you love, then just keep on doing it. That's what Watsky represents in every song, every video, every spoken word piece that he makes, and I salute him for it. His style may not be for you, but the spirit of what he promotes is something I think we can all appreciate. And it certainly helps that some of his word plays are just so darned catchy.

Here's an older song, one of the first I ever heard from Watsky. The first time I watched this I think I spent the entire video trying to figure out what the heck was going on before I started to actually absorb the lyrics, so feel free to rewind or pull up the words side by side :D



And that's all for today. We're going to a whole different country's worth of rap and hip hop soon, so stick around to see what's in store, next time on Music with Plume!
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Postby Plume on December 9th, 2015, 2:10 am

Stella-Amazing

So I couldn't help but share this incredible video I stumbled across whilst looking up the music group Stellamara. The belly movements Colleena does so effortlessly are SUPER DUPER FRIGGIN HARD I kid you not! As our local Eypharian dancer Sayana may attest to ;) Without further ado:



So sensual, so lovely, and of course the music is killer.

Last edited by Plume on December 9th, 2015, 2:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Nivel on December 9th, 2015, 2:31 am

Daaamn she even doesn't while balancing a jug on her head.
As soon as I saw belly dancing I thought of Sayana, I'm sure she would appreciate this.
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Ear Foodz

Postby Plume on December 23rd, 2015, 10:03 pm

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K E R O--U N O

Neo-soul underground hip hop anyone? Cause you've come to the right place for it!

Kero One, or better known now as Kero Uno, recently produced and released his new full length album Eternal Reflection. And boy, is it smooth and so full of neo-groove. Yes, Kero does rap. A lot, in fact! But this new album seems to be more focused on his production skills and collaborative efforts with fellow musicians. You can't not move to these silky beats, and fall a little in love with Kelsey's feather soft voice while you're floating on a sea of musical goodness.



Korean American hip hop MC and producer Kero One hails from none other than San Fran of California, where hip hop and Asians go together like hot cocoa and marshmallows. If any of you have watched the TV show Fresh Off the Boat, then you'll know what I'm talking about when I say that hip hop has been the Flag of Progress for many, many Asian Americans. Thanks to media, especially from the 80's and 90's (ugh 16 Candles anyone? SO MUCH WRONG WITH THAT MOVIE) and arguably all the way back during the Gold Rush and rail road expansions, we've always had this terrible image painted of us. Socially inept, nerdy, maybe sometimes even obnoxiously loud and definitely the weirdest dorks of the bunch. Our only heroes in Hollywood were Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, one of whom never gets the girl anyway despite his mammoth efforts to save the day, and the other just makes people think its okay to screech pseudo-kung fu sounds at us. Like that isn't offensive at all. And don't even get me started on the lack of FEMALE Asian role models. Emphasis on role models and not objects of sexual fetishes.

But then we caught wind of this wondrous thing called hip hop, and our worlds were transformed. Suddenly it became possible for us to speak out beneath a culture of repression, to express ourselves, and to be COOL. Now we live in times where it's perfectly normal to see an Asian MC or bboy/gal. And while it may not like seem much of a deal to others, it is for those of us who want the negative stereotypes to just effing stop. It's not about being popular. It's about breaking free of the social labels we've been trapped underneath for so long. To do something different, to make other people see us differently and realize what we are capable of. That we don't just all end up working as doctors or part of IT. It was a chance to revamp our image to the rest of the world and we took it, passionately and proudly.

I'm Chinese American. This means I grew up on both Kung Fu dramas and the Olsen Twins in Full House. I read goosebumps after going to Chinese school (which I quit as fast as I could cause it was gods awful) and I absorbed as much anime as I did Justice League, Spongebob, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don't know martial arts, but I do know how to ride a skateboard, and I do equally offensive and hilarious impressions of Cantonese, Beverly Hills, and Mid-West accents. I am terrible at math, played piano for 10 years, and can't name anything past the first 100 Pokemon. I also listen to everything under the sun, from classical to rap ro folk to blues, and it is my firm belief that no one should be limited by the color of their skin.

But enough of that, I know I'm preaching to the choir. To hear some of Kero Uno's rapping skillz, check out the vid below:



So a little more on Asian hip hop. If you know Nujabes, then you know that Japan is a huge, huge, HUGE fan of jazz influenced hip hop. While hip hop in the West is often grittier and more hard hitting, Asian hip hop is a lot more mellow and melodious. I really can't describe it better than one word: Fresh. Super duper fresh, like wearing a sundress on a warm, spring day, or sharing some ice cream on the top of a Ferris wheel, or sporting them crisp new clothes as you stroll through the Big City. And of course, few do it better than J-Hop artists/rappers. There are tons and tons out there, most of them underground, some of them widely popular. From Tamaki Roy to Kreva, there is a a whole spectrum to sample, so I'll leave one of both for your listening pleasure:





As always, thanks for tuning in :) More episodes to come featuring some BA female artists...next time, on Music with Plume!
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