Archive for the Politics Category

#NowReading: Born To Use Mics–Reading Nas’ Illmatic

Posted in Music, New Product, Politics on August 14, 2010 by multitudenyc

Written By: Michael Eric Dyson

(Via Daily Mathematics):

Released in the twilight of rap’s golden era, Illmatic is widely considered to be the greatest hip hop album of all time and is frequently held as the yardstick by which all other contenders are measured. Illmatic was also one of the most anticipated albums, dropping three years after Nas’s breakout introduction on “Live at the Barbeque” and subsequent tracks (“Halftime” from the Zebrahead soundtrack and “Back to the Grill” off MC Serch’s solo debut). During this period of eager hope, Nasir bin Olu Dara earned praise as the second coming of Rakim, with bits of Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Q-Tip, Chuck D and Slick Rick notably embedded in his style. Before he even dropped his album, Nas – a teenager at the time – was viewed as a hip hop prophet. At twenty years of age, Nas released Illmatic, epitomizing the expression “show and prove.” Over fifteen years after its release, Illmatic continues to engulf fervent discussions in contemporary rap circles. Borrowing its title from a line in “N.Y. State of Mind”, Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas’s Illmatic is the first in a series of anthologies centered on classic rap records.

A literary scrapbook of sorts, Born to Use Mics observes Illmatic through a panoramic lens, with a roster of talented writers taking an all-encompassing snapshot of the making and meaning behind Nas’s ’94 opus. Various broad-reaching topics are pulled from lyrical portions throughout the album. For instance, author James Braxton Peterson uniquely dissects “The World Is Yours”; drawing upon the song’s Scarface reference, Braxton assesses the analogous term “dead presidents”, describes the crack epidemic and critiques American hyper-capitalism. Similarly, Sohail Daulatzai – who is also co-editor of the book – interprets “N.Y. State of Mind” in the “post-9/11 world”, discussing American imperialism. Daulatzai points out in the introduction: “While Born to Use Mics is about exploring hip-hop through Illmatic, it’s also about exploring America through Illmatic, reflected and refracted through the prism of Nas’s poignant street poetry.”

Many of the authors’ perspectives on the album feature a political tinge, some more well-fitting than others. Discussing “One Love”, for example, Michael Eric Dyson’s criticism of America’s prison industry paired with an honest narrative of his brother’s incarceration comes across as both poignant and appropriate. On the other hand, Kyra Gaunt’s entry on “One Time 4 Your Mind” which examines gender identity and conflict, while valuable, draws more from Nas’s “I Can” music video than anything else. Consequently, her feminist dissertation – while relevant to “Nas” as an overarching topic – has nothing to do with the song it’s meant to discuss and feels more than a bit out of place.

As an anthology on the same subject with contributions from various writers, repetition isn’t uncommon. The advantage of a book like Matthew Gasteier’s Illmatic entry in the 33 1/3 book series is the singular flow of one author covering the album. Many of the contributors to Born to Use Mics rehash the same ideas frequently. For instance, Nas’s jazz-based influence from his father, Olu Dara, is commonly and repeatedly cited. At the same token, Born to Use Mics benefits from a wealth of diverse perspectives. Reading Nas’s Illmatic, with its symposium format, earns its title appropriately as each essay reflects upon the album’s impact on the writer’s life. Analyzing the lyrics of “Life’s a Bitch”, for instance, Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr.’s essay on father/son relationships titled “Time is Illmatic: A Song for My Father, A Letter to My Son” offers a true-to-form presentation of Nas’s work that’s as universal as it is personal.

Of course Born to Use Mics digs deep into the music itself as well. Marc Lamont Hill recounts the historically contextual release of “Halftime”, Nas’s debut single. Mark Anthony Neal, in his essay on “Memory Lane”, discusses the intergenerational “bridging of the gap” between jazz and hip hop. Adilifu Nama pens a thorough discussion on the 1:45-long intro “Genesis” (interestingly enough, the last track recorded for Illmatic), focusing on its cryptically-revealing dialogue and the significance of its Wild Style influence. In addition to the song-by-song essays on the album’s track listing though, Born to Use Mics also features a hodgepodge of interviews, narratives and magazine write-ups – including The Source’s notorious 5 Mic review on Illmatic, written by Shortie (you might know her as Miss Info). The book closes out with an interview with Bobbito Garcia offering first-person accounts you’ll only find here.

Bottom line: Folks who love Illmatic will want to pick up a copy of Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas’s Illmatic to gain an even greater appreciation for Nas’s artistry – a brilliant companion to a brilliant album. And to the others who just don’t get it, you’ll need to pick this up in order to understand why you’re dead wrong. Because really, it ain’t hard to tell.

#LEGENDARY #POWERFUL #POETRY

–@allthingsmitch

Run This Town: Wyclef Jean Officially Announces His Run for President of Haiti

Posted in New Product, Politics, Video on August 6, 2010 by multitudenyc

THIS JUST  IN: It’s OFFICIAL Wyclef JeanGrammy Award-Winning superstar and passionate public advocate of the relief efforts in disaster-stricken Haiti– announces he will be running for the Presidency of his birthplace with hope and confidence that his efforts will empower and rebuild a people victims of over 200 years of severe hardship. Jean states in his CNN announcement that he views his entrance in the political race as his being “elected” by the youth and suffering people of his homeland.

#PEEP the CNN Interview/Announcement:

#POWER!! #HealHaiti

–@allthingsmitch

This Just In: Police Raid Latin Kings in The Bronx [40K/Day=14Mill/Yr]

Posted in Politics, Video on August 6, 2010 by multitudenyc

#MoreThanMovies #WakeUp

–@allthingsmitch

Fire Starter: Jean Michel-Basquiat–The Radiant Child [2010 Sundance Film Festival Selection]

Posted in Art, Fashion, Politics, Video on August 5, 2010 by multitudenyc

Jean-Michael Basquiat— A tireless revolutionary wrapped in the beauty, pitfalls, and splendor of a continuous uphill battle with self, society, and the painful truths entangled in his storytelling. Once an anynymous New York street painter whose political prose took form in passionate pastel colors and paintings that placed power on the bodies of buildings across the five burroughs–Basquiat blazed a trail of colorful questions, created to challenge the status quo and expand the creative and cultural lens to see beyond the blasphemy this nation’s inheritance have performed toward the God of it’s world–LOVE.  Love is the root of Power. And the young genius guided the mortal masses on a powerful pictoral journey that now lasts an eternity–making heaven his canvas in a fight to paint the perfect picture of his life on Earth.  

“I start a picture, then I finish it. I don’t think about art whie I work. I try to think about Life”Basquiat

As his career spanned only a short decade, the Hispanic-African American artist ranks rightfully among the best artists of his generation. Subway walls, galleries, and city streets were all witness to the work of a magnificent talent. Known for his expressionist art–notably including text in his pieces–Basquiat often brought an Avant Garde approach to a collection of classical painters, including the great Leonardo Da Vinci.

Born in Brooklyn New York in 1960, he fell victim to an untimely death from a heroine overdose on August 12, 1988.

He was 27 years old.

#PEEP The Details for his Docu-Film entitled The Radiant Child running at the Film Forum in the West Village:

(Via Film Forum NY):

“Lively and touching… A thoroughly engaging film about an inimitable New York painter.”
– John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“Tamra Davis creates a dazzling sense of the ‘80s New York art scene.”
– Caryn James, Newsweek

“Haunting! A moving meditation of a life cut short at 27.”
– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Tamra Davis has surpassed the art world’s expectations with THE RADIANT CHILD, the newly definitive Basquiat documentary, which superbly sets out the life and times of Jean-Michel Basquiat with never-seen-before first-hand footage of the artist; source and anecdotal interviews and quotes from almost every player in the 1980’s art scene in New York. Davis has her own masterpiece of which to be proud.”
– Elliot V. Kotek, Moving Pictures Magazine

The meteoric rise and fall of Jean-Michel Basquiat, born 1960 In the crime-ridden NYC of the 1970s, he covers the city with the graffiti tag SAMO. In 1981 he puts paint on canvas for the first time, and by 1983 he is an artist with “rock star status.” In 1985 he and Andy Warhol become close friends and painting collaborators, but they part ways and Warhol dies suddenly in 1987. Basquiat’s heroin addiction worsens, and he dies of an overdose in 1988. The artist was 25 years old at the height of his career, and today his canvases sell for more than a million dollars. With compassion and insight, Tamra Davis details the mysteries that surround this charismatic young man, an artist of enormous talent whose fortunes mirrored the rollercoaster quality of the downtown scene he seemed to embody.

General Admission: $12

OFFICIAL 2010 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

OFFICIAL SITE

–Allthingsmitch

Work Of Art: The Last Decade–Andy Warhol Exhibit [Brooklyn Museum]

Posted in Art, Design, New Product, Politics on August 5, 2010 by multitudenyc

Brilliance— The passion, power and personality felt escaping the radiant hues and complex concepts collaged across the canvases paraded by Avant Garde-inspired artist Andy Warhol solidify statements of evolution, creative escape, subconscious questioning, and the truth that what is natural is spiritual–having the ability to transform into organic images of beauty while remaining an honest reflection of self, feeling, and perception.

A legacy of glamorized commercial success–crafting the artistry for many major advertising campaigns,  including his acclaimed Campbell’s Soup image–smoothly segwayed into an exploration of abstract art–Life-sized canvases aligned to portray various identities of one image to Basquiat accompanied political portraits layered in message and style–eventually inspiring Interview Magazine and his self-hosted television series. His influence to the intellectual understanding of artistry is among the greats and his brand carries a reveranced title of risk, reward, and revolution.

The Andy Warhol Exhibit entitled The Last Decade is running through September 12th at the Brooklyn Museum:

#PEEP the Description (via BKMUSEUM):

June 18–September 12, 2010

Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor 

Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor 

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is the first U.S. museum survey to examine the late work of American artist Andy Warhol (1928–1987). Encompassing nearly fifty works, the exhibition reveals the artist’s vitality, energy, and renewed spirit of experimentation. During this time Warhol produced more works, in a considerable number of series and on a vastly larger scale, than at any other point in his forty-year career. It was a decade of great artistic development for him, during which a dramatic transformation of his style took place alongside the introduction of new techniques.

Warhol continued to expand upon his artistic and business ventures with commissioned portraits, print series, television productions, and fashion projects, but he also reengaged with painting. In the late 1970s, he developed a new interest in abstraction, first with his Oxidations and Shadows series and later with his Yarn, Rorschach, and Camouflage paintings. His return to the hand-painted image in the 1980s was inspired by collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring. The exhibition concludes with Warhol’s variations on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, one of the largest series of his career. Together, these works provide an important framework for understanding Warhol’s late career by showing how he simultaneously incorporated the screened image and pursued a reinvention of painting.

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum. The exhibition was curated by Joseph D. Ketner II, Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art, Emerson College, Boston. The Brooklyn Museum presentation is organized by Sharon Matt Atkins, Associate Curator of Exhibitions, Brooklyn Museum. A catalogue published by Prestel accompanies this exhibition.

The Brooklyn presentation is supported by the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Exhibition Fund. Additional generous support is provided by the Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation, Inc., and Fashion Concepts, Inc.

New York Observer logo is media sponsor.

#DOPE #CLASSIC #GENIUS  –@allthingsmitch

CP3 = NYK?: Chris Paul Demands Trade and Knicks First Up

Posted in New Product, Politics, Video on July 22, 2010 by multitudenyc

All-star point guard and New Orleans Hornets headmaster Chris Paul recently announced he demands to be dealt away from his current home-court residence and relocate to a championship contender. As the rumor mill catches wind and sets off its rapid revolutions, ESPN and a host of expert sources suggest CP3 will take his ball handling abilities to the Big Apple and team up with Amare Stoudemire and the New York Knicks.

With Wade, Lebron and Bosh spearheading the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls stacking up to make a serious run, and the new insurgence of energy in the East, this trade could be just what the NBA needs to present one of the most competitive seasons in years–matching up with the Kobe-driven dominance ofthe Western Conference.

#PEEP the ESPN breakdown of the Chris Paul situation:

#CHECK the Full Article via NYDailyNews–Chris Paul

–@allthingsmitch

Duck & Weave: Mayweather In Silence–Lets Pacquiao Deadline Pass

Posted in New Product, Politics, Video on July 20, 2010 by multitudenyc

#Coward or #SmartMove?

–@allthingsmitch