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Why Kanye’s ‘Bound 2′ Video Could Have Been Great (And How Franco And Rogan Get It Right)

Amid the avalanche of criticism aimed at Kanye West’s over-the-top, obviously green-screened, naked Kim Kardashian-featuring, fake motorcycle-riding new video for “Bound 2,” is one common complaint that just keeps recurring: the video is too damn cheesy.

And, yes, it is. Yes, it’s the visual equivalent of a romance novel you’d find in the supermarket checkout line, or a drunkenly ill-conceived artistic partnership between Lisa Frank and Thomas Kinkade. But, of course, when a video is this incredibly kitschy, it’s usually a signal that the people who created it must have done so intentionally. Other than a basic lack of self-awareness on the part of the director and star, how else could you explain why an idea so cheesy is executed so gleefully and without restraint?

And if you look at it as intentional, then maybe it’s possible to see the the video as a deliberately corny ode to the feeling of falling in love, to the understanding that the cheesy and stupid emotions that you never thought would ever possess you can be both surprisingly real and frighteningly in the driver’s seat when it comes to your decision-making; that the cheesiness of those emotions actually isn’t fabricated, but real, and might in fact be the only thing really worth championing in a world where so much else is fake and manufactured. This might explain why cheap green-screening takes the center stage in the video: as the visual equivalent of the inherent corniness that real, uncool, stupid-looking human love entails.

But, of course, according to Kanye, that’s not what he means. In an interview yesterday with The Breakfast Club on New York’s Power 105 FM, Kanye stated straightforwardly that his intention with the video was ”to show you that this is The Hunger Games. I want to show you that this is the type of imagery that’s being presented to all of us, and the only difference is a black dude in the middle of it.” Admittedly, this is a pretty vague statement, but his remarks later on in the interview clarify his position a bit, as he goes on to say: “We’re enslaved by brands…We’re controlled by peer pressure. We’re controlled by the desire for a particular car.”
Continue reading ‘Why Kanye’s ‘Bound 2′ Video Could Have Been Great (And How Franco And Rogan Get It Right)’

Kanye Goes To Harvard

Kanye West showed up and gave a quick talk to students at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design before a show in Boston over the weekend. He was accompanied by Virgil Abloh, creative director of DONDA, Kanye’s experimental design agency, which is sponsoring a lecture series.

Few people have the knack for sounding this thoughtful and completely off-the-wall at the same time. First, he gives everyone tickets for the show, which is nice, and then goes on to say that he believes the world can be saved through design, which, sure, obviously, and then expands upon that idea, extolling the virtues of independent thinking:

I believe that utopia is actually possible when we’re led by the least by the least knowable, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political…so…in no way am I a politician…I’m usually at my best politically incorrect [LAUGHTER] and very direct. I really appreciate you guys’ willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation.

Kanye is magical. Here’s video.

@OurStage
@TheRussianJano

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Exclusive Q and A: Classified Talks Beats, Rhymes, And Life

Nobody can talk about grassroots success like Canadian hip-hop artist Classified, who has been blazing his own independent trail since 1995. The emcee and producer has toured with the likes of Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Busta Rhymes, and has sold over 100,000 albums in Canada alone. Oh, and that awesome song in Madden ’12, “That Ain’t Classy?” Yeah, that was him. We sat down with one of the biggest names in Canadian hip-hop to chat about the Nova Scotian scene, his production styles, and his love/hate relationship with Kanye.

OS: What’s the Nova Scotian hip-hop scene like?

Classified: The scene is very Nova Scotian [laughs]. If you’re down here and you’re involved in the scene, you know what’s going on. You can go to the shows and check it out. But besides me and maybe two other guys, there aren’t many guys getting past just Nova Scotia to even the rest of Canada. We’re very secluded. We don’t get as many shows as they draw in Montreal or Vancouver. But it’s a dope scene. There’s been great artists coming out of here since ’95, when I started. People putting out albums, putting out their viral videos and stuff. It just still seems like a lot of people in the rest of the world haven’t been exposed to it because a lot of the artists aren’t pushing their stuff that hard. But really dope scene, great DJs, breakers, graff writers, emcees. Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Classified Talks Beats, Rhymes, And Life’

Killer Collabos

The only thing more exciting than a new single from your favorite artist is a new single from two or three of your favorite artists. Whether the aim is to break a new artist with an established one, widen a fanbase or re-establish a prior claim to fame; good collaborations have a way of making fans feel like they lucked out. Check out some of the latest download-worthy duos.

Jay-Z and Kanye dropped “H.A.M.” today; the first single from their highly anticipated collaboration record, due out in March. The yet-to-be-titled project is sure to be a crowd pleaser, with two of the best rappers in the game on one album.

Chris Brown turned out two singles in one week, and seems to be back to the danceable ditties that made him a mainstay on the scene. Whether you like the kid or not, it’s hard to deny his talent, especially when he can’t seem to make anything but a hit.

“Look At Me Now” Chris Brown ft. Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne:

On this track, Brown tries his hand at rapping alongside serious spitters, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne. While this could be a risky move, he pulls it off to deliver an effortless verse complemented by the heavy-hitting emcees.

“Where Do We Go From Here” Chris Brown ft. Pitbull:

This club banger is certain to heat up the dance floor with Brown belting out the hook between Pitbull’s energizing, signature style. The trance-y beat makes it impossible to stand still.

“Yep Dats Me” Jamie Foxx ft. Ludacris & Soulja Boy:

This slightly surprising mash-up is one to dedicate to all your haters. The catchy hook is classic Soulja Boy, and Ludacris heats up the track in a tone reminiscent of his early days on the mic. While the majority of Foxx’s album is intended for the bedroom, this is one to bang in the streets.

“Speechless” Alicia Keys ft. Eve:

Alicia’s first post-baby ballad is produced by her hubby, Swizz Beatz and is pre-empted by her saying, “I’m at a brand new time in my life, I got a brand new feeling.” Eve gives a great performance that makes us even more eager for her album to drop later this year.

“Buyou” Keri Hilson ft. J. Cole:

Hilson’s latest LP, No Boys Allowed is clearly dedicated to the ladies, and this sassy track is tailored to the “fly girls getting money” who want the same from their men. Newcomer J. Cole is perfectly poised to win over the female market as he spits his appreciation for independent women, and urges them not to settle for broke boys.

“That Good” Snoop Dogg ft. Wiz Khalifa:

Ganja lovers rejoice—the self-proclaimed “New Cheech & Chong” are at it again, releasing the first-single from the soundtrack to their upcoming, untitled movie. The title refers to the potent weed strains these talented tokers have on hand, and is sure to become a new stoner anthem. Here’s to hoping Wiz stays out of trouble long enough to get through filming.

Keep the collabos coming.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Funny or Die sends M.I.A. to the suburbs

Watch your back, Funny or Die. After a New York Times article hinted that pop artist/politico M.I.A. may enjoy the finer things in life more than she would like known, the singer fired back by publishing the interviewer’s cell phone number on her Twitter page. Nerve=hit. Now Funny or Die is rubbing a little salt in the wound with this video parody of M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” which depicts the singer living in the tony Brentwood neighborhood with an au pair and a predilection for Monet and fine wines. Can’t wait to see M.I.A.’s graceful response to this one . . .  keep an eye on her Twitter page.

The Bad

Justin Bieber tries to escape crazed groupies on a Segway

Run, Bieber, run! Or, stand on a machine that will run for you. That’s what the teen pop star did when frenzied fans caught sight of him in an Arizona parking lot. Apparently being seen on a Segway is less traumatizing than being attacked by rabid tweens. Check out the video below.

The Ugly

St. Louis birds poo-poo Kings of Leon concert

Kings of Leon had to cut their set short in what is now being referred to as “Pigeongate.” After opening acts the Postelles and the Stills endured a torrent of pigeon droppings during their sets at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St. Louis, Kings of Leon took the stage with a little trepidation. Three songs in, an unidentified feathered sharpshooter released a load that landed near bassist Jared Followill’s mouth, causing the band to halt the show. In the words of Stephanie Tanner, “How rude!”

LiveNation, the promoter of the event, promised fans a full refund.

Miscellany

Kanye Blogs from Jail!

Kanye West: Shuttered in

Kanye West: Shuttered in

As far as I’m concerned, Kanye West gets the Blogger of the Year Award.  Despite getting arrested this morning for an altercation with photographers at LAX, he still managed to write 10 posts on his blog.

The whole incident was caused by (and caught on tape by) the wonderful/horrible people at TMZClick here to watch their videos.

Ok kids.  What lesson did Kanye teach us today?  Don’t ever, EVER, get in a fight at an airport on 9/11.

Ever.

Of course, Kanye’s continued blogging begs the question: Do they have WiFi in Los Angeles prisons?  As Kanye (or his ghost blogger) would say, “SIIIICK!

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