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September 20th, 2013
thesmithian
This song is about reconstruction, which is still going on. It’s a song about a great sin that we’re still dealing with…Here’s what I know now, though, that I didn’t know…You can sing to a woman and say, you know, ‘If you cheat on me, I’ll forgive you’—and the entire male population won’t turn on you and say, ‘How dare you say that on our behalf.’ But when LL says to me in the song, you know, ‘If you don’t judge me for this, I won’t judge you for that,’ people will say: ‘How dare you say this on our behalf.’ I realize now that you can’t personalize the conversation about this subject in the way I tried to in the song. I was naïve about that. No one cared more about getting this right than LL and I. We had no interest in being flippant about this. We both worked very hard on what we wanted to say. And that’s the thing that allows us to sleep.
Brad Paisley, on “Accidental Racist,” in New York
May 18th, 2013
thesmithian

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art: photo of LL Cool J in NYC by David Alan Harvey. 2005.

January 20th, 2013
thesmithian
I grew up wiggling my arms to “Sucker MCs” and standing on my tiptoes while my mother let me pretend I was a DJ and scratch up her LL Cool J records on a dusty thrift-store turntable. And as with many things you grow up with (aside from genuinely fascinating “golden era” rappers like Rakim or Kool G. Rap), rap started to feel rote to me; it felt like “my parents’ music,” an odd feeling to have in the late-’80s, where hip hop had just entered the mainstream as America’s New Rebel Culture. Imagine a kid who had never paid attention to guitar music flipping the channel to MTV and hearing the beginning of Nirvana’s breakthrough single—those four sloppy, imprecise chords that always, especially upon first listen, sounded like they were leading to something gloriously cacophonous. The cacophony was not a fake-out. The chorus explodes and Cobain sounds like he was about to shred his throat completely. Here we are now, entertain us. There’s a guitar solo, which is really just essentially the guitar bellowing Cobain’s sentiments. A denial. A denial. A denial. Nirvana was my gateway to a completely different world than the one I had known, and there was no way for me to turn back.
Martin Douglas, at MTVHive
November 12th, 2010
thesmithian

At the end of 2008, after some attempts at a hip-hop career, he wrote  and recorded a couple of soul tracks, with the intention of sampling  them for a hip-hop project. “I really love rap music…I grew  up in the ’80s and ’90s with Public Enemy, N.W.A,  LL Cool J. I’m a hip-hop encyclopedia. But I got kind of frustrated  with the chauvinistic side of rap music, the one that makes it hard to  write songs about love and relationships. I think all those songs were  just building up over time, and I couldn’t get ’em out making hip-hop  music.”         After Hawthorne recorded those two tracks, his record company’s president sent over a contract for…an entire soul album. Hawthorne said he thought it must have been a mistake. Not  because he was a white middle-class Jewish guy—Hawthorne’s real name  is Andrew Mayer Cohen, Drew to his friends — and felt he didn’t know the  music, but because he knew the music too well. He grew up outside  Detroit and was spoon-fed Motown by a musician father who went to a  mostly black high school in the ’60s.

more, here. the Snoop remix, here.

At the end of 2008, after some attempts at a hip-hop career, he wrote and recorded a couple of soul tracks, with the intention of sampling them for a hip-hop project. “I really love rap music…I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s with Public Enemy, N.W.A, LL Cool J. I’m a hip-hop encyclopedia. But I got kind of frustrated with the chauvinistic side of rap music, the one that makes it hard to write songs about love and relationships. I think all those songs were just building up over time, and I couldn’t get ’em out making hip-hop music.” After Hawthorne recorded those two tracks, his record company’s president sent over a contract for…an entire soul album. Hawthorne said he thought it must have been a mistake. Not because he was a white middle-class Jewish guy—Hawthorne’s real name is Andrew Mayer Cohen, Drew to his friends — and felt he didn’t know the music, but because he knew the music too well. He grew up outside Detroit and was spoon-fed Motown by a musician father who went to a mostly black high school in the ’60s.

more, here. the Snoop remix, here.

September 7th, 2010
thesmithian

"… there’s so many musical genres and fields of music, why not utilize every aspect of the music to make a monsterpiece?”

—Big Boi, on Outkast, from VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (Hour 1)
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disclosure/self-pub: I’m in this episode, talking about LL Cool J, George Michael, Curtis Mayfield, Steely Dan.

"… there’s so many musical genres and fields of music, why not utilize every aspect of the music to make a monsterpiece?”

Big Boi, on Outkast, from VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (Hour 1)

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disclosure/self-pub: I’m in this episode, talking about LL Cool J, George Michael, Curtis Mayfield, Steely Dan.

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