Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thump Sutras

Michael and I started Bloodisone around the idea of hiphop as more than a bottom up musical force, Americana; it's oft knocked down as jus' influential but not as the beautiful mutt of cultural tones it is- but east to west is so much more than coasts.

Meet Kansho Tagai. He took over deep Tokyo's Kyoouji temple 24 years ago and has started attracting 100+ more youngins a week to the spot since rapping *sutras.*

Think. An adoption of dialect universal to click an outlook to draw heads, eyes, to a predilection, an outlook. Fuck style! We got real live monks dropping cartridges on the wheels of steel, men in robes peepin' insight to spiritual root, catching the eye of Al-Jazeera to boots. Watch the piece, imagine that serene face "Imma do me!" Really, man makes you smile. That ain't fringe.

Hiphop as an art stands unique, growing stronger as it stretches out.

Fun to listen to the man talk about hiphop making feelins regardless of language- hell, that's Blood Is One as fuck- but that beautiful act of invitation through the thump makes us wonder, why rap influences from the East haven't echoed on our end earlier(they still haven't, and DJ Punjab didn't stick). Korean boy band H.O.T. got nominated, incidentally rapping, for a MTV video award; Japan's Boss the MC and Tha Blue Herb have popped up in our landscape from time to time(I lauded DJ Krush's meditative 1998 album Kakusei in early essay here before). Wu Tang notoriously renamed Staten Island their own Shaolin Temple, drawing each song sample and provenance from a prodigious and comprehensive love of 1970s Shaw Bros. Hong Kong cinema. Similarly, Brooklyn-based Monsta Island Czars forged modern legend MF Doom, a group founded on a premise of kaiju giant monster movies; later, MF Doom produced 2006's (Bloodisone must-listen perennial favorite) Take Me To Your Leader under the pseudonym King

Hiphop is a cultural indicator, canary in the cold mine of globalized life- Michael and I can row for hours(and often will) about coorelations between hiphop and ground-level artistic truth, old-school country, blues, outlaw, beebop, bluebeat, the working man's thump all-round... so here's a call. We need people worldwide to show us how hiphop collates their life. Maybe mainstream French hiphop versus underground from
Paris slums. Wherever you are, if the thump of your metronomic area aggregates the blues in your blood, Bloodisone gotta hear it. Guest bloggers, bloody rapper demos, we need to kick it off.

We got big shit planned and we ain't ready to steady it to one continent. The worlds bigger than that now. Respect's bigger than that now. Hiphop's bigger that. Blood is one, now. Keep that head knock live, whether it prayer beads or 808s.


Btdubs, thanks to Caitlin Ewing for the tip.

Dr. Dre: Civil Libertarian

Not only has Dr. Dre set musical standards, he has now set legal standards:
Dr. Dre has just helped set legal precedent regarding police conduct in one of the most important rulings by the Michigan Supreme Court. Last week, in a 6-1 ruling, the court said that police do not have a right to privacy while on the job. The case stems from an incident during the 2000 Up in Smoke Tour that pitted a high ranking police officer against Eminem and Dr. Dre and resulted in the officer filing suit because footage of him during the incident was included in the Up in Smoke DVD.

The suit was filed by Gary Brown, now a Detroit City Councilman but formerly a high-ranking police official. He and other officers were videotaped while threatening to shut down a concert featuring Dre and Eminem if they showed a sexually explicit video. The video was then included in a DVD produced about the tour.

Why is this ruling so important? Because this decision makes it legal for police throughout the state of Michigan to be recorded while performing their jobs. Many states have been pushing to make videotaping police illegal (and punishable by jail time) despite numerous cases of police misconduct being caught by simple cell phone cameras.

Last year, Time Magazine put together a great case study on this issue that highlights a number of incidents including the high profile case of Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant who faced 16 years in prison under Maryland wiretapping laws after he filmed an off-duty state trooper with a camera placed on his motorcycle helmet and put the video on YouTube. Carlos Miller, a photographer who has been arrested twice for taking pictures of police on the job, keeps an updated site of stories relating to filming police called Photography is Not a Crime.

What do you think? Should videotaping police be a crime? Or does it help protect citizens from police misconduct?

B.o.B. - Kids [MGMT Cover]

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lupe Fiasco's New Album For Only $5.00!

Yup, you read that right. is selling Lupe Fiasco's new album for a discounted $5.00. It's only a short time though, as it will be the standard Amazon price very soon. You can buy it by clicking on the widget below. You'll also be helping Blood Is One in the process.

Donald Byrd - Love Has Come Around

Thanks to Beat Connection for this one.

A History Lesson For Chris Brown

Homophobia In Professional Wrestling?

There's a rapper called Brother Ali who, after a wave of teen suicides relating to gay bullying occurred, took to his active Facebook account and said that he had been "part of the problem." Ali had released a few lyrics on his song "Champion" in which he said:

You need to get the dick out your intake
You toilets in a gay bar, never gettin your shit straight

The song is most assuredly a battle song and thus bringing down the opponent's sense of manhood is a useful asset. I sometimes think that non-rap fans aren't aware of the battling element of hip-hop and when reading such lyrics think of it in a ballad context, in which those lyrics really resemble what the person thinks in their heart of hearts. Nevertheless, on his most recent album US, Brother Ali goes full circle and makes this song about homophobia, called "Tight Rope:"

Daddy was a preacher, momma was a Sunday school teacher
Big brother, football squad leader
Now far be it for you to disappoint or displease them
Your just being what you feel you see in
That mirror every time you peer in
Swallow the tears inside that empty feeling
Her boy terrified to let the world in
He has girlfriends but doesn't want a girlfriend
He retreats inside himself
Where he lives life itself in secret
Daddy says people go to hell for being
What he is and he certainly believes them
Cause there ain't no flame that can blaze enough
To trump being hated for the way you love
And cry yourself to sleep and hate waking up
It's a cold world y'all shame on us

The evolution in Ali's lyrics I think represent his role as a Muslim influenced preacher rapper, along with his being Albino, a lifetime difference that may make it easier to empathize with minorities.

This leads in to a discussion about a whole other male dominated genre of entertainment - professional wrestling. While very different, pro-wrestling is similar to hip-hop in that various men can be seen battling one another and taking down each other's manhood. Naturally, homophobic slurs pop up in that process. Kit MacFarlane, a writer for Pop Matters, wrote a lengthy piece about this. It stood out to me because the writer does give ovetures to professional wrestling for historically having some of the most charismatic entertainers this country has ever seen - Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, The Rock. These guys are really talented:

In fact, I’d argue that it’s vital that professional wrestling is given a much larger place in media analysis, not only in order to point out its numerous problems, but also in order to examine those elements that make it an exciting art-form and that, if properly handled, could make it a great one (I’ve tried to do so previously, discussing an exciting and greatly-loved match between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker, the long-lived performer Ric Flair, and the potential of relative-newcomer TNA to move away from the WWE’s disgraceful approach – something they’ve more than failed to live up to).

McMahon rails against the cultural image of wrestling as a lesser entertainment, while continually establishing it as exactly that. Before wrestling addresses the enemy without (the mainstream media) they need to deal with the enemy within: the fact that wrestling is a product that touts its own irrelevance and cultural bankruptcy at every conceivable turn.

WWE is getting beat out in ratings by the UFC, a competitive fighting sport which does what professional wrestling does without the baggage. Professional wrestling is a bit of a bizarre phenomenon when you look at it closely, a sort of postmodern replacement for the circus. Just like the circus, it's full of weird shenanigans and nothing short of total political incorrectness. I haven't seen elephants show up in matches, but midgets certainly have.

As someone who watched professional wrestling alot as an adolescent, I'm not going to defend the use of homophobic slurs. I'm in agreement with Ali's criticism. Friends and I, who had no homophobic opinions at all, often called each other "fag" with the worst vitriol. Recent events, which I think have been shaped by the increasing use of racially harsh rhetoric in mainstream culture, have made me look at this differently and reach Ali's point of view. Having grown up in a manner that made all sorts of things about me different, I can imagine that "faggot" and other words must have a sting that the users of the words aren't even aware of.

When it comes to professional wrestling, however, there is alot of highly questionable stuff, and with adult retrospect in place homophobia is just one of them. During the 1990s, skits occurred in which Stephanie McMahon, Vince's daughter was crucified in the middle of a ring by the Undertaker, and another in which the same Stephanie McMahon was kidnapped by Triple H (her real life husband), drugged and taken to a Las Vegas drive-through wedding chapel unconscious. If the most questionable thing that is now going on at WWE is homophobic slurs, they've certainly toned down the content. Professional wrestling has often marketed itself as a "soap opera for guys" and something with that description will most certainly not be politically correct.

I haven't caught "faggot" being dropped while I have been watched WWE. I have only generally been watching the clips in which Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is back in appearance. However, I personally noticed that the content is toned down from what it once was. There was one skit where The Rock screams at a little child dressed as John Cena and makes him cry, and a small part of me thought "that is hilarious" while another part of me thought, "You douchebag. You are laughing at a grown man screaming at a kid."

Most importantly, it is worth noting to the writer Kit MacFarlane what the context of the homophobic comments by John Cena and Michael Cole are. On WWE now, Cena and Cole are both "heels," or bad guys, feuding with the more popular Rock and Jerry Lawler respectively. Their homophobia fits with their overall character, which is an unlikeable sort of man who is trying desperately to assert his manhood. This dynamic is really, really important to take into account in professional wrestling, because the heels are meant to do and say things that are unlikeable.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MURS - I Used To Love H.E.R. (Produced by 9th Wonder)

On this track, Murs remakes the classic song by Common, "I Used To Love H.E.R.," over a beat by luminous producer 9th Wonder.

The Rock Still Has It

Sunday, March 27, 2011

TH3RD Spots UFO in AZ, Xperience, Candidt, And JFK

Yelawolf's Been Everywhere, Man

As part of the XXL Freshman promotion whathaveyou, XXL teamed with DJ Whoo Kid and Blood Is One favorite Yelawolf to release this incredible song called "Alabama Gotdamn."

Download it here, now.

Yelawolf may be the darn near closest that the music industry has right now to raw Americana. Kid Rock has flirted with it but, as talented as he is, I could never see Kid Rock rapping over a Nina Simone sample.

The song, detailing his travels through the 50 states, strongly resembles a favorite by country legend Johnny Cash called "I've Been Everywhere:"

For anyone who hasn't heard it before, here also is the song "Mississippi Goddamn" by the legendary Nina Simone:

Classified - Maybe its just me Ft Brother Ali

Slaughterhouse - Whack MC's

Saturday, March 26, 2011

SebastiAn - Embody

The Poetic Brilliance of Nas

Note: I wrote this about two years ago when Fox News was going after Nasir Jones. Parts of it by now are probably a bit dated but the overall message still resounds.

Between the erratic megalomania of Kanye West and the silliness of Soulja Boy and Lil Wayne, it’s easy for anyone to give up on hip-hop as a genre altogether, switching over toward musical genres that encourage creative maturity, diversity of sound and intelligence.

That’s what I’ve done. While I listened to nearly nothing except hip-hop throughout middle school, high school and the first few years of college, there are only a handful of rap groups on my iTunes now, outflanked by indie electro and rock bands like M83, White Lies, The Cure and Morrissey.

The rappers and rap groups that are still hanging around on my computer, however, will be there for a long, long time. The work of Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, Pharoahe Monch, Nas and similar acts is of enough poetic greatness that it’s almost tragic that they have to share the same genre as Soulja Boy, Ludacris or 50 Cent.

The most brilliant in this group of conscious rappers, in my view, is the prolific and unpredictable Nasir “Nas” Jones. Having released nine albums since his breakout 1994 album Illmatic, Nas is a master of words, able to weave linguistic puzzles that take years of listening to decipher.

On his most recent album, which was left “Untitled,” Nas recorded the sort of songs that I always hoped would be produced in hip-hop. On “Queens Get The Money,” Nas rapped over piano keys, illustrating a story of a child born out of wedlock (who we have to get is a 1973 Nasir Jones, “Pregnant teens give birth to intelligent gangsters, Their daddy’s faceless, Play this by your stomach, Let my words massage it and rub it, I’ll be his daddy if there’s nobody there to love it, Tell him his name’s Nasir, Tell him how he got here, Momma was just having fun with someone above her years.”

In an interview with the public radio show “The Sound of Young America,” the rapper Pharoahe Monch noted that hip-hop had been reduced to a brand to be marketed to a teenage demographic. That would explain the immaturity of most of what is seen as hip-hop on MTV, be it Lil Wayne putting his arm around a girl on a rollercoaster or Eminem dressing up like celebrities. It’s now made to sell horrible overpriced clothes for teenagers and not as a poetic outlet for inner city geniuses forgotten by the larger society.

It’s also unfortunate that a large portion of the population may have an image of Nas built from Bill O’Reilly’s ridiculous attacks on the man. Like many rappers, Nas has made songs that deal directly with inner city violence. (Hailing from the Queensbridge housing projects, this shouldn’t be a surprise.) The song that O’Reilly grabbed and played over and over was “Shoot ‘em up,” which had a chorus of “Shoot ‘em up shoot ‘em up, kill kill kill murder murder murder.” It’s worth noting that “Nastradamus” is the artist’s least popular album and was completely skipped over when he released his Greatest Hits album in 2007.

Bill O’Reilly, and Fox News at large, tried to make the case that Nas, because of songs that dealt with violence and, yes, at times glorified it, shouldn’t be allowed to perform at the 2008 remembrance concert at Virginia Tech. I don’t want to defend the most violent and offensive aspects of hip-hop, but it is worth noting that O’Reilly skipped over the far more notable song “I Gave You Power,” from Nas’ album “It Was Written,” a song in which Nas tells the narrative of a gun that has been handed from criminal to criminal, paving a road of bloodshed and tragedy with lyrics echoing the heartbreaking crime stories of Johnny Cash: “He pulled the trigger but I held on, it felt wrong, Knowing n**** is waiting in hell for him, He squeezed harder, I didn’t budge, sick of the blood, Sick of the thugs, sick of wrath of the next man’s grudge, What the other kid did was pull out, no doubt, A newer me in better shape, before he lit out, he lead the chase, My owner fell to the floor, his wig split so fast, I didn’t know he was hit, it’s over with, Heard mad n**** screamin, n**** runnin, cops is comin, Now I’m happy, until I felt somebody else grab me.”

“I Gave You Power” alone looms over the terrible hip-hop songs coming out today. Nas is a poetic genius, and a trip through his discography will acquaint listeners with what hip-hop can be.

Presenting Game Brothas!

I met Kemal a.k.a. "Mallski Wallski" in a college class in California. Probably not the ideal settings for a musical rendezvous but what is? Kemal has a lot of words bubbling up inside of him and has hince attracted to the too distant worlds of journalism, scholarship and hip-hop.

Instead of doing a proper interview, I thought I would just relay some of the stories he's told me. Young Kemal has toured up and down the west coast, from Portland up through Spokane. Both areas are serious white supremacist territory, and he relayed a story of seeing a really pissed off skinhead biker on the way through Portland. Spokane had a "surprisingly" big turnout for a hip-hop show, and according to him it was made up of a whole lot of Native Americans, more than he had ever seen.

His group has quite a few videos available on YouTube and a presence on Twitter. Here's some of their most popular videos:

We're still trying to get Kemal to contribute here at BOI. Maybe this post will encourage him.

Redlight King - Old Man

The Kid Rock/Yelawolf model of country hip-hop seems to rolling along. I just got sent a demo of a guy called Redlight King and really liked this single - "Old Man:"

Lupe Fiasco - The Show Goes On

Some of his best work yet. If you feel it too, Lupe's album is available through the Amazon widget to the right.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Northwest On The Come UP

I'm in the process of putting together a mixtape to really put BOI on the map. The first
official Blood Is One mixtape will focus my sights squarely on my hometown - Seattle, Washington.

Seattle is a far away place. When hip-hop has traditionally popped out of New York City and southern California, it's easy to see why Seattle's contributions to the genre have been overlooked. After growing significantly, the Seattle hip-hop scene has made significant inroads in its local vitality but a national scale still isn't recognized on a national level.

You should be recognizing it though! Seattle has several goldmines of unbelievable talent. One of the most incredible and overlooked is the tenacious and unique Sonny Bonoho, a Tacoma rapper who can be seen in giant trucker hats and cowboy boots. He is something else. I dare you to watch the video for "Get Down," from his album Out Of State, without laughing out loud:

Even more incredible is Sonny here in his video "Zig Zag," with the esteemed Money B of Digital Underground!

You gotta love it.

JFK (Jeff the Filipino Kid), born Jeffrey Bautista, is from the same region as Sonny but produces a far darker blend of hip-hop. Signed to the esteemed and respected Rhymesayers Entertainment record label of Minnesota as part of the duo Grayskul, JFK has only just recently branched out with his own solo album. I interviewed him for that album in an article for Earthwalkers Magazine, a Seattle based travel magazine operated by the locally renowned Caroline Li:

Jeffrey Bautista, best known as JFK (Jeff the Filipino Kid) and nickname, Ninja Face, has been a lasting presence in the Pacific Northwest's hip-hop scene for several years. He started within the Northwest artistic collective, Oldominion, and eventually teamed up with fellow rapper Onry Ozzborn to form the rap duo Grayskul. As Grayskul they toured nationally through the United States and released two albums on the independent hip hop record label, Rhymesayers, based out of Minnesota.

Hip hop has taken him all over the world. He started touring in 1999 and has been throughout Europe, collaborating with artists such as Picos Pardos of Spain.

Performing overseas with artists from varying cultures and regional backgrounds has achieved resonance with JFK. "It's awesome to work with artists outside of the States. It's a good way to promote music that way. I hope to work with more artist oversees," he said. "The best party of touring to me is being able to share your music with people all over the map and being able to travel to cities you've never been to or to revisit other cities."

Visit Earthwalkers to read the entire article.

Both JFK and Sonny Bonoho are locally established, and the rookies of the NW game need their own attention. Carl Roe is an up and comer who just got out of the Army Infantry (Fort Lewis is not that far from Seattle proper) and is seeking to immerse himself in the national music scene. His songs are available at, where he is part of the Coors Light Search For The Coldest competition. You can help him by going to and voting for him.

Carl Roe is coming into music at a good time. Maybe it's due to the recession, social change or social networking, but independent artists are taking off like I've never seen before. With the ability to completely be their own managers and producers, there's no longer middle men and artists can get back what they put in.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big Boi - You Ain't No DJ ft. Yelawolf

I discovered this song a bit late. If you didn't think Yelawolf could prove it as among the best of them, here's him keeping on pace with Big Boi, one half of Outkast, easily one of hip-hop's best groups.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blood Is One Mission Statement

By now, I've increased the BOI presence on Twitter, connected with alot of people and expressed the unorthodox views on hip hop of myself and Will Pierce. I've connected with several artists who I hope to work with to build both the visibility of this website and of themselves.

I adore hip-hop and legitimately think that it, as a genre, is the cry of a generation. Both Will and I seek through this project to help give the genre the respect it deserves. That's a big mission but we're going to try.

Future projects include an increase in interviews, increased promotion of artists and an eventual literary project. I have planned a book on hip-hop for a long time and this is the best place to launch something like that.


Will.I.Am On Sesame Street?


Raekwon - Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang

Raekwon's newest album Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang has gotten a resounding positive critical reception. You can purchase it here:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Slaughterhouse: Everybody Down

BOI favorite Slaughterhouse have a series of video "previews" in promotion of their SXSW appearance in Austin, Texas. This one seems oddly like a rap version of Frank Miller's Sin City:

Atmosphere: Family Therapy

Legendary Minnesota act Atmosphere has a new album on the way called The Family Sign, dropping April 12. In promotion of it, the band created this fairly ingenious video wherein the band lays out and explores the causes of their personal anxiety:

Hip-Hop As Social Commentary

Have you been visiting the Blood Is One Twitter page? No? Well, you should!

Will Pierce is the cofounder of Blood Is One. He isn't as prolific of a writer as I am but actually says some really brilliant stuff almost regularly. On the Twitter page he wrote:

The question of how much rappers should provide an example is the only mainstream debate about ethics in art the last 30 years.

Hiphop provides the only satisfactory compromise between naturalism and romanticism in contemporary art.

No other artform but hiphop has successfully decried the situation of a cultural underclass while trumpeting success beyond it.

That's in abstract- substance, means is another matter. It at least engages the listener to the thump and challenges them with a message.

Modern art does not invite question, fears it; hiphop is cultural dialogue. It's like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder.

Where would country music be if it had a sinuous system of self-criticism of hiphop? The social dialogue collapsed, biting became the form.

Hip-hop has been good and bad. All music genres have big problems and the biggest one that I have noticed for rap is that, in escaping the hood, rappers and DJs often bring the hood with them. For a long time, hip-hop was dominated by entourages of rapper's friends from back in the day who they've brought along in order to spread the wealth. Think Outsidaz, Ruff Ryderz, D12 and G-Unit. That doesn't happen that much anymore. Now record labels are filled with business ventures.

Despite becoming more and more business inclined, however, hip-hop manages to "keep it real" in a way that the lubricated genre of country, which Will mentions, rarely does. Rappers frequently start and own their own labels. Raekwon has been releasing his last few albums independently, directly to his consumers, while Eminem has owned his own Sirius satellite radio station and 50 Cent has used his fame to launch an acting career. This doesn't happen so much with rock musicians, who often are total messes and sneer at the business ropes that get tied around them when they ignore them. When trying to grab for money, rock musicians like the guys at Metallica often do so in reaction, using the courts to give them all sorts of copyright money while guys in hip-hop use piracy and bootleg music to their own benefit. Country music, meanwhile, with a few exceptions, has totally sold itself to corporate radio, with the only hope of breaking the hold being the rise of alt country guys like Jamey Johnson through iTunes and the internet.

As Will Pierce said, "Modern art does not invite question, fears it; hiphop is cultural dialogue. It's like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder." Hip-hop puts right up front alot of stuff that we prefer not to recognize. While educators talk theories about socially constructed gender roles, hip-hop shows us what happens in real life to young men when dad leaves home and mom drops her kids off with grandma so she can work all day. It shows us - through the tales of former drug dealers 50 Cent and Jay-Z or Yelawolf, who hails from methodone lab hotspot Alabama - what the drug war has done to African American, poor white and Hispanic communities.

In one song called "I'm Paranoid," 50 Cent declares, "We thought the dope and the coke would help us escape poverty. When that didn't work, we resorted to armed robbery." In a duet with Wu-Tang veteran Raekwon, Yelawolf called "I Wish," rhymed of life in the south, "Confederate flags I see 'em, On pick up trucks with the windows down, Why's he playing Beanie Sigel? Because his daddy was a dope man. Lynyrd Skynyrd never sang about slinging keys of coke, man." Even when it thinks it's apolitical or even ignorant, hip-hop packs more social commentary than your average indie rock or country band will in their entire career.

In fact, when you think about it in retrospect, the fact that academia wasn't pouring over rap lyrics and relating them to modern society shows academia might not be that clued into American societal dynamics.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Xzibit "Highest Form Of Understanding (H.F.O.U.) Feat. Trick-Trick

The Best Of Nate Dogg: A Tribute To A Legend

There's not even much I need to say here, except eat healthy. As Mayer Hawthorne said, there was no autotuning with Nate Dogg. He was the real enchilada.

Ludacris - Area Codes

Mos Def - Oh No

Eminem - Bitch Please II

Eminem - Shake That

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God Rest Ye, Arthur and Wizard

By way of Disinformation comes this story:

After years of service, Arthur departed the material plane today.

He died as he lived — free, high and a-dreaming of love, ‘neath vultures’ terrible gaze.

Thank you, and love to all.

Arthur Magazine was distributed at indie records across the United States, at places like Seattle's Sonic Boom Records or the Bay Area's Rasputin Records. In other words, places that are already on life support and mostly kept around due to larger community solidarity.

Wikipedia has a pretty good run down of the magazine's coverage:

Arthur magazine, a free bi-monthly 50,000-copy periodical, was founded in October, 2002 by publisher Laris Kreslins and editor Jay Babcock. It has received favorable attention from other periodicals such as L.A. Weekly, Print, Punk Planet and Rolling Stone. Arthur features photography and artwork from Spike Jonze, Art Spiegelman, Susannah Breslin, Gary Panter and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Arthur's regular columnists include Byron Coley, Thurston Moore, Daniel Pinchbeck, Paul Cullum, Douglas Rushkoff, and T-Model Ford.

Arthur magazine is particularly drawn to noise music, stoner metal, folk and other types of psychedelia. The first issue of Arthur featured an interview with journalist and author Daniel Pinchbeck (author of Breaking Open the Head); artwork by Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen); and an interview with Arthur C. Clarke.

As great as Alan Moore and T-Model Ford are, that is a pretty good lack of mainstream. Here at Blood Is One, we're smart enough to know that things are changing dramatically, especially in the music world. The snooty divide between "underground" and "mainstream" was really propelled by the big record label's monopoly on the business. The internet is fracturing that monopoly and in the process also fracturing the need for an "underground" or "counterculture." With Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud and blogs, artists can now push their albums, videos and promotion straight to the audience in order to build buzz for concerts, media contracts, merchandising and other money makers.

The writers I've got here are similar, though different. Will is a big fan of roots music and old blues, but seems perfectly willing to bump Lil Wayne any time. Aneesah gets the world of the web pretty tenaciously as well, and maintains a dating website that has alot of promise to it.

Arthurt Magazine was pretty cool, but with its limited, free print distribution and niche alliance to the avante garde, it was doomed to fail. The few times I picked it up, it provided a nostalgic feeling of being back in the 1990s to read an interview with Sonic Youth about the making of their first album, but that's not enough to bring in new people. It's amazing it lasted as long as it did.

In the world of comic books, an industry with differing dynamics than music but many that are similar, Wizard Magazine was finally forced to close its doors earlier this year:

Now this is an end of an era.

I am receiving multiple confirmations from across the industry, through none yet from Wizard’s higher ups and PR people yet, that Wizard: The Guide To Comics, the magazine that covered the mainstream comics industry for twenty years and created all manner of careers in the process has closed, effective immediately. Or at least the print version has.

Almost all Wizard magazine staff have been laid off, and all freelance engagements cancelled.

Sister magazine Toyfare, covering the toy market, has not been affected, nor have the Wizard comic conventions.

Created by Gareb Shamus and Stephen Shamus in 1991, the magazine carved a niche for itself covering the most commercial comics in the most aggressive fashion. At one point it regularly sold more than the comics it covered. But sales have declined of late, as the internet has grown in prominence and favour for this kind of news. For many Wizard is no longer the news breaker and agenda setter of the comics industry it once was. And people still have issues with the tone it has taken over the years. Even though it’s arguable that the last couple of years have seen some of the best Wizard content since it started.

The Shamus brothers are not really spoken of fondly in comic book circles. I've heard of them being slick and creepy, which must hold water considering that most people in the comic book world have negative social traits. In retrospect, Wizard was a conglomeration of everything that is bad for the comic book industry. It had significant links with Top Cow and many writers that worked there and preferred to push misogynist creations like Witchblade and Magdalena over the works of Oni Press or Dark Horse.

Like Arthur, Wizard was emblematic of a false divide that was probably bad for the comic book industry. Comic book conventions like Emerald City Comic Con are now overpacked, while they were seedy places in the 1990s when Wizard was at its prime.

Just like humanity has since its infancy, we still seek to be entertained and enjoy music, but the means by which we do that have changed dramatically and for the better.

WWE's Chris Jericho Unleashes On Kanye West

Tyler, The Creator - French

Wow. This guy is just brilliant. Nas was wrong about there being nothing new under the sun. This is like nothing I've seen before.

The Rock: Still Cookin'

I don't know how many of you out there are wrestling fans, but Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has made a triumphant return to the WWE and brought his charisma and humor all the way back with him. The skits are almost reminiscent of the quality of pro-wrestling's late 1990s halcyon years:

"Think about it. You've cornered the market for two to five year olds!" His feud with John Cena has been pretty darn good. It is clear, as shown in the video, that the Rock is a superior entertainer but Cena has been holding his own weight as best as he can.

Das Racist - Who's That? Brooown! produced by Saba [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

You know you want to play this game.

Bizarre - "Fat Boy"

You have to love this.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Machine Gun Kelly - Chip Off The Block

Holy shit. This guy goes harder than a brick wall falling on top of a pile of cinder blocks.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mac Miller: Frat Boy Rap

There's a whole new crop of rappers, singers and hip-hop acts out there. Alot of them are really damn talented and the presence of them is a blessing. Nevertheless, some appear more genuine than others. Take this video of the 2011 XXL Freshmen Roundtable:

At the end, you can see that Yelawolf is visibly annoyed by being present with a bunch of teenagers. Given his history, it is very understandable. While he has toiled for years, Mac Miller has tumbled out of high school into the rap game while Diggy Simmons, son of Rev. Run of Run DMC, has arrived where he is because of nepotism.

However, a guy like Mac Miller really makes me puzzled. Rappers like Brother Ali of Minneapolis or Sonny Bonoho of Seattle/Tacoma have been grinding for years, and this cat from Pittsburgh puts out a few mixtapes, films some videos and ends up on the cover of XXL and put on a level with a guy like Yelawolf. As Royce da 5'9 said in "Lyrical Murderers," "Imagine a grizzly standing next to a teddy bear."

While Miller has had a premature, lubricated ride to fame, Yelawolf has been grinding for years. He has been homeless and lived on food stamps. He has been assaulted and grown up in the methodone laboratory woods of Alabama. His previous effort at the big time, with the single "Kickin'," didn't go anywhere in 2007. Where was Mac Miller in 2007? A freshman in high school?

I've done some follow ups on Miller and looked up the songs he has available on YouTube. The topics are fairly trite, with beats that are reminiscent of Heiroglyphics and other pot-driven indie rap. With track titles like "Nikes On My Feet," "Senior Skip Day" and "Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza," the guy is not a lyrical genius but apparently knows quite a bit about smoking pot and getting the munchies. Life is tough on the mean streets of Pittsburgh, I guess.

Now, if Mac Miller is reading this, I just have a few recommendations. Take the chance at one of your next mixtapes or even your up and coming records to make a big tribute to those that paved the way. Since you seem to be into party rap, pay tribute to the people who paved the way: Beastie Boys, Digital Underground, De La Soul. Recognize that you have unbelievably blessed and that alot of people have put work in and never gotten as far as you have so quickly. I was 19 once and remember how difficult it is for guys of that age to really see beyond their own experience. Mac Miller would be advised to understand the hardship and pain that alot of us have gone through to get where we're at.

You don't need to have been shot at or lost friends to gang wars or car accidents to be a rapper, but you do need a holistic experience to be more than a passing fad that people enjoyed while puffing herb. If you want cultural resonance, you'll have to have something about you that resonates. Being a full of himself teenaged frat boy rapping about skipping school to buy cookies won't do it.

Can We Get Much Higher? Kanye's Amazing Music Taste

Surely, if you are a hip-hop fan you've listened to Kanye West's 10.0 rating by Pitchfork receiving Twisted Dark Fantasy, which opened with a chorus of "Can we get much higher?" I happened on DJ Soul's latest No Idea's Original mixtape and DJ Soul placed the original song by Mike Oldfield, "In High Places," in the mixtape.

Suffice to say, it is an incredible song. Kanye really has a distinguishable taste in music.

Message To Charlie Sheen From Johnny Lee Clary

Kendrick Lamar - She Needs Me / I am ((VIDEO))

So Kendrick Lamar looks like one of the first in a wave of emotionally well adjusted rappers. I'm not sure how I feel about this movement.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

NAACP Honors Kid Rock!

I found this story really interesting. While Kid Rock came in to his music career with more of a rap-rock flavor, he seems to have since delved more into the southern rock world, and from Lynyrd Skynyrd on the world of that genre has touted the "rebel flag" unapologetically.

As the video notes, Kid Rock is an advocate for Detroit, and like his motor city compadre Eminem he has been seen in some recent awareness ads for the city. This seems like the NAACP airing on the side of advocacy over showmanship.

What do you think of this? Air your opinion in the comments section!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Watoto From The Nile- Letter to Lil Wayne (Official Music Video)

50 Cent - The Paper (I Get It)

Download it here.

Yelawolf - I Wish (Remix) (ft. CyHi Da Prince & Pill) (CDQ)

Lil Wayne - Six Foot Seven Foot

Selling Syllables

I'd like to point out an unlikely song called "Syllables," which couples legendary rappers Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent and Dr. Dre all on one track to talk about how much the music industry has changed. "Now we don't even know what are hits, is it the beat or is it the chorus, is it the finger snap or the same 808 clap" is my favorite takeaway line (808 is in reference to the legendary Roland drum machine, click here for a demonstration), while Jay-Z talks about tying his album in with a reality show.

Are musicians selling songs, name recognition, magazine sales, ringtones, movies or what? There was a phase a couple years ago in which musicians from Gwen Stefani to Jay-Z made bank off of clothing lines but that may have just been a fad in response to the decline in record sales associated with filesharing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

BOI Mix Volume 1: A Clear Night

Uploaded today is the first installment of what I hope to be a recurring line of Blood is One mixes. Going with the theme of this blog - "multiple skin tones, the blood is one" - I've made sure to encompass many different arenas of production, from electro to down south rap to old school soul samples. Here is the track list:

Miami Horror - Infinite Canyons
Emeralds - Candy Shoppe
Orbital - Belfast
Yelawolf and Gucci Mane - I Just Wanna Party
Slaughterhouse - Fight Club
Pacific - Narcissus (Alan Braxe Remix)
Flouie Fluent - N.W.N.Y.H.M.
Fat Tony - N!gga You Ain't Fat

Download here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yelawolf XXL Freestyle

Via Ill Roots:

808 Demonstration

Eminem's A Sweetheart?

This story was heartwarming:

EMINEM tries to make out he's a bit of a tough guy, but after agreeing to be interviewed by a teenage girl, I think he's gone a bit soft.

The Lose Yourself rapper had a ten-minute phone chat with 14-year-old ANNIE REED after she rang his agent and asked if she could speak to him for a high school newspaper project.

Annie, who like Eminem hails from Detroit, said: "He grew up in Detroit, he's one of the greatest rappers of all time, and I thought it'd be fun to write about him."

Eminem, who dropped out of school when he was the same age as Annie gave her some sage advice.

"Mr. Mathers said an education is very important and that he's 'just a big dummy', " she said.

The hip-hop star, real name MARSHALL MATHERS, is nominated for ten Grammy Awards tomorrow night, and sold more albums than any other artist in 2010.

It was his first one-on-one interview since speaking to US mag Rolling Stone in October last year.

With young whippersnappers like Annie around, I had better keep my wits about me before I'm out of a job.

Fat Tony - N!gga U Ain't Fat

A little bit of a warning is needed for those with mild sensibilities. This video by rapper Fat Tony portends to Tony seeing food everywhere he goes, from the waiter at a restaurant to a journalist there to interview him. The journalist appears to him as a cupcake towards the end, and that is just too much for him to resist.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Eminem, Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse - 2.0 Boys

This is fabulous. Every single member of Slaughterhouse, Eminem and Yelawolf all on one track. Download it here.