Tag Archives: waka flocka flame

FLAMING NIPPLES, COCAINE & LUXURY VEHICLES

It’s a good time to be a David Lynch fan, but even if recent works have been a little too calculatedly oddball, who’s testing ‘Blue Velvet’? The film stays unsurpassed and Lynch’s declaration earlier in the year that some footage had been unearthed for the Blu-ray was no lie — there’s 51:42 of extra material plus a new documentary too. Most deleted scenes should stay buried, but in Lynch’s world and with the predictable struggles with a major studio, it’s clear that footage will be worthy. We’re not talking piss-poor CGI Jabba the Hutt’s here — we’re talking more Pabst Blue Ribbon loving psychopath Frank “You receive a love letter from me and you’re fucked forever” Booth, including a scene where he gets crazy with a pair of flaming tits in the background. As the best advert for a remastered release ever, that scene hit the internet on Friday ahead of next week’s release for the 25th anniversary edition. The option to have the scenes randomly branched into the original film to make it triply unsettling is sadly absent, so they’re only available as a supplement. Still, that Christmas present list is really starting to come together.

I’m continually jocking Criterion for their pick of releases and artwork, the impending release of the jazzy, bone crunching , smartly suited and downright odd ‘Tokyo Drifter’ captures those curiously coloured muzzle flashes and rhythmic feel perfectly. The move from black and white to colour in ‘Tokyo Drifter’ wasn’t for the budgetary reasons that Lindsay Anderson’s ‘If’ switched between the two — apparently it was to capture Tokyo’s feel before and after the 1964 Olympics. On that note, was there ever a more cocaine-friendly, goon motivation Olympic theme tune than Paul Engemann and Giorgio Moroder’s Los Angeles 1984 theme tune, ‘Reach Out’? It sounds like the sequel to the duo’s ‘Push It To The Limit’ (the 12” extended version with the extra guitar is amazing) and was big in Germany. Now he fronts a brand that makes healthy chocolate. Sadly, he hasn’t re-recorded a version of ‘Push It To The Limit’ about cocoa solids rather than coca leaf extracts.

Speaking of coke and movie myths, it’s well worth spending some time on this UK-based temple of all things Cannon. As a child, Golan-Globus productions both delighted and disappointed me, but the lack of Dolby in favour of Ultra-Stereo was a frequent annoyance. This site even manages to play on that budget saving point of difference, but it’s the trivia here with regards to films never made (this other Cannon site mentions an unfilmed ‘Breakin 3’) like a crappy ‘Spider Man’ film from 1986, but also the mysterious ‘Investigation’ — a Paul Schrader script from 1987 that was set to be directed by Andrei Konchalovsky who directed a rare Cannon exercise in quality with the classic ‘Runaway Train’ and starring Al Pacino before a switch to Christopher Walken. Variety magazine even ran an ad with a mooted Cannes 1988 premiere. Thanks to HunterTarantino on the CHUD forums for uploading the ad. He also upped the Variety ad for the John Travolta and Rebecca De Mornay cop flick ‘Crack’ that never got made — another Golan-Globus production. ‘Crack’ was set to be directed by Stan Dragoti who nearly ended up in a German jail on a cocaine possession charge in 1979, with Travolta as a by the books cop and De Mornay as a “street savvy detective” going undercover to smash a cocaine racket. Dragotti promised, “more verisimilitude than ‘Lethal Weapon’…” but no film ever appeared. That film reeks of 1987 Hollywood thriller. HunterTarantino also upped the Variety promo for a never produced John Milius film called ‘Horseman of the Khyber’ for Carolco. I’ve seen that the poster art sold recently on eBay, but I’m struggling to find any other information about that project.

So when you’ve got that coke money, what do you spend it on? Vehicles and lavish fittings. The recent VH1’Planet Rock’ documentary on crack and the hip-hop generation was an interesting watch for that archive footage. A little Q&A with the directors recently appeared on YouTube, but it was the few minutes on the spending habits of New York hustlers at Harlem’s Dapper Dan’s (Azie would’ve almost certainly shopped there) and Alpo’s custom Gucci tire cover. There’s shots there of a jeep that’s MCM’d out inside and outside, but I only recently discovered, via MCM’s own blog, that there were official MCM motor vehicles, including a jeep with an interior festooned with the expensive leather. They also upped some old lookbook shots, including a couple living the good life, with the male partner rocking a duck booted look that’s part country gentleman and part baller. I believe this fellow got out at the right time and never got high on his own supply. There’s merit in both tricked-out vehicles.

I’m feeling Y’OH’s new site a great deal. Like those Dapper Dan days, at its best, streetwear should be about aspiration and nods to unattainable luxury — think Stussy with the linked ‘C’s or Duffer channeling Gucci and Hermes. There’s no point trying to be Supreme, because it’s already here and firing on all cylinders, while the Oxford shirt is better bought from those who specialise in that garment. I’d like to support more British brands on here, but for the most part, our homegrown streetwear simply seems too safe to the point where it’s regressive.

Shouts to Palace, Origin London, British Remains, Trapstar (their marketing savvy is no joke — those snapbacks travel far) and Y’OH. Y’OH is by far the most ambitious of the bunch by offering product that doesn’t seek marl grey anonymity, with African prints on the Kanja and Jumoke shirts that offer either a boxy fit or extra length, bold bomber jackets and even manage to make the parka look interesting despite the onset of 40/60 fatigue. Even the t-shirt (Y-Shirt) offerings are deeply unorthodox, making other cut and sew merchants look beige by comparison. Eighty percent of what Y’OH create commands attention and challenges the wearer, but since streetwear became pallid, passive and weedy, something needed to give. Branding can make or break a garment and Y’OH’s patch logo is very strong indeed, with a touch of tribalism, mountaineering and the self-assured ®.

Now you’re at the limit, what do you do? If you’re Waka Flocka Flame, you break out the ramen and put on the kettle, living up to that ‘One Squad’ line, “I’ma forever stay hood millionaire eating ramen noodles…” Where some rappers are keen to talk it up in the spirit of those late ‘80s high rollers, this Monopoly kingpin doesn’t do the Rick Ross lobster bisque for breakfast diet. Salutes to Waka for upping this tattooed fistful of Maruchan chicken ramen onto Lockerz. Ramen is a very hip-hop foodstuff with a disposable, anti-vitamin feel to match the download and delete wave of average mixtapes that dropped last week.

RIVALRY

I don’t want to hate things – it’s just in my DNA. I’m British. If it’s successful and we’re not getting a piece of the pie — or if it’s different — that’s grounds for hatred. Hate’s such a strong term too, thrown about by the kind of people who would shake the object of their hatred’s hand face-to-face, but call them a prick behind their back. Most of the time, I don’t actually hate something — I’m usually responding to middling things that I’m ambivalent about with a half-hearted negativity that’s not nearly as potent as hatred should be.

It’s an unhealthy thing to carry around, yet it awakens a certain build-em-up-then-talk-shit patriotism in me. Overexposure to the internet and underexposure to the real world can breed it — the internet for example is 30% porn, 10% rap tweet reactions, 10% eBay and Amazon, 10% Mediafire and 40% mechanically reconstituted Hypebeast and Selectism masquerading as “LIFESTYLE MAGAZINES.” That’s filler’s some solid hate fodder. Historically, British youth culture was a hotbed of hate. Individuals bitch, but group them and fuel their tribal instincts, and it can lead to fisticuffs.

Mods, Skins, Teds and Punks were frequent foes despite the stylistic crossovers and behavioural similarities and it’s good to see Andrew Bunney and Daryl Saunders’s BRITISH REMAINS line pay tribute to the joys of sloganeering, a post-war history of working class style and inter-gang attitude. For the record, I feel greater animosity towards the typified contemporary incarnation of the mod more than the other three — skins seemed to merge some mod and ted swagger and in its picture postcard form, punk feels like the bastard son of all three previous looks. Why would a mod be wearing the ‘60s uniform if they were authentically mod in spirit?

The Camden mohawkers with the Exploited-style do’s have become the nonconformists again through their unwillingness to change from the early ‘80s fad and skins have had such bad press through supposed racist associations that to dress in the skin style could bring them trouble and there’s a joy in seeing the fifty and sixty-something teds who saw no point in any other way of dressing. But mods? I suppose the real mods are the ones that you wouldn’t even recognise as a mod now, bar the attention to the details that are strictly for those in the know. The Weller-ites with their target logos were presumably never cool in the first place.

It’s always fun to write stuff for BRITISH REMAINS because I can enjoy those flashbacks to A-level Sociology and Dick Hebdige’s work. Plus seeing my babbling words typed is a more exciting experience than the usual flat fonts, SEO friendly structures or compromises to copy-paste.

On the font subject, I finally got my hands on a copy of the last Rig Out magazine last week, where Glenn and the team printed my Polo article on four pages that, combined, are the size of a small apartment. Andy Bird’s design is amazing.

Team Proper’s new issue is top too. The writing and content in the new issue is impeccable. The ’20 Albums You Don’t Own But Should,’ Private White V.C.’ competition, Our Legacy interview (the Ethnic Arrow shirt is great) and the Robert Wade-Smith interview is worth your time, taken from that ‘Northern Monkeys’ book that seems to have been in development forever. I love Proper Magazine.

After publishing deals fell through, friend of Proper, Mr. James Brown (via his Sabotage Times site) and adidas Originals have allied to put out the compilation of fabled fanzine ‘The End’ just as DjHistory put out the ‘Boy’s Own’ book a short while ago. The book’s available to order now and looks like it’s a Sabotage-only purchase. There’s no substitute for accounts at the time rather than the retrospective tint when it comes to casual culture. While it was a far glossier an accessible proposition, I’d like to see a good compendium of ‘The Face’s greatest sub-culture articles too.

‘The Face’ prompts memories of religiously consuming ‘Sky,’ iD’ from WH Smiths and ‘The Word’ and ‘Passengers’ on Channel 4. I once wrote about the Chilly Tee/Nike segment on here, but the video was pulled down, but The Word Obsessed has upped plenty of golden yoof’ TV moments. Maligned at the time, I maintain that it was a necessary lifeline for us provincial types. This clip from early 1994 is a great TV moment. Could Terry Christian’s voiceover be any snider?

http://www.viddler.com/explore/thewordobsessed/videos/20/

And here’s John Lydon showing off his Jordan Vs with a Bart Simpson hanging off them in 1991.

Some kind soul also upped ‘Subway Cops and the Mole Kings’ from 1996, which I caught in an impaired state as a youngster on Channel 4 and assumed was lost forever.

Banks Violette channels the doomier side of youth culture nicely with his pop-art-takes-a-death-dive aesthetic. The immersive nature and emphasis on thrashy, sludgy sonic assistance, plus the sheer scale of his works is always worth the detour. NOWNESS — a site that has the rare ability to grab my fractured attention span with an uncluttered sense of focus — just upped a video interview with him.

What’s happening with Meatwagon (contrarians can keep on jocking brioche buns, bone marrow and an abundance of foliage elsewhere, but it’s still the best burger in the UK) after it leaves the Peckham Rye in a week’s time? The www.meatliquor.com site with a mysterious 111111 doesn’t give too much away, but there’s a central London Meatwagon-spinoff opening soon that’s currently recruiting. Central seems to be getting exciting again.

I’m surprised that people still try to shill CDs on street corners internationally in the MP3 era, but what’s the alternative? USBs in novelty crack vials? Waka Flocka Flame’s new mixtape however, warrants a physical purchase just to gawp at the insane cover art. I spend an inordinate amount of time on www.mixtapewall.com looking at artwork, but www.f16artsworldwide.com and their work for Lebron Flocka James is crazy. They seem to be tight with Trap-a-holics and are also the facilitators of Juicy J and Lex Luger’s bar-geeked vision. In a world where cover art is no longer a main feature, I salute the minds still throwing the kitchen sink onto a 12cm by 12cm surface and these guys seem to capture the gunshots, wild boasts and relentless drops of the most prolific mixtape practitioners with ease. Just when you thought Pen & Pixel’s spirit or Phunky Phat Graph-X (RIP Tracy Underwood)’s excesses couldn’t be topped, someone is trippy enough to put their whole crew in a cup of purple drank. That right there is why I still love hip-hop.

BANGING

The Palace crew went H.A.M.  with their ‘Gangbanging at Ground Zero’ promo. I love the skating, the third-generation mate-of-a-mate fuzz (anyone else remember the dark footage of someone getting hit with a skateboard on a Union video?) in an era of artful virals shot in hi-def video on a friend’s Canon and the soundtrack. The soundtrack was the highlight. Skate videos helped with my musical education over the years, but it was the soundtrack that really killed it. When you’re filming in New York City, you can’t help but echo classics like Zoo York’s first Mixtape (I’ll take a hundred region 1 DVD dilemmas over the NTSC tape traumas from back in the day).

I like being reminded of a time when I’d phone skate shops on a JR Hartley flex (and I’m not talking about the trancey dickhead redux) hunt the black Zoo York hoody with the white stitched lettering. That captures the Mixtape and Peep This era to me…back when that brand was at the Supreme level of necessary apparel. Then all of a sudden they were dropping their own Dunk-a-likes, featuring printed birds in their sweats and devoid of edge.

The Palace video pays tribute by using that Fat Joe and Keith Nut WKCR Stretch & Bobbito freestyle that felt quaint back when Zoo York used it for the Jeff Pang segment. At that point, when Joey was wearing mafia don suits, it felt antiquated, but for some reason that shock-value, no-budget sound seems a little more relevant. Where did Keith Nut go?

Nowadays, if a rapper mentions Satan or moves their hand unusually, they’re accused of devil worshipping. It’s good to see a new wave taking it back to a less conservative time, but even when there was an element of shock-tactics, Keith claiming that “I ain’t your ordinary nigga mister/I do shit like suck my own dick, and child molest my little sister” made Bushwick Bill seem like Drake.

I’ve never heard such a boast of equal deviance since, and while the rest of Terror Squad made some noise – even Prospect is traceable, making some good records – I haven’t heard from Keith since Terror Squad’s ‘The Album’ in 1999, but I recall demos on Stretch and Bob’s show, freestyles on Doo Wop tapes and a fine verse on ‘Jealous One’s Envy’. Now he’s M.I.A. I blame that noncey lyric.

That just stretches back to a lineage of audio gulliness on tape — the Mobb on 411VMs (shouts to Rodney Torres) and best of all, Mike Carroll in Plan B’s ‘Virtual Reality’ skating to ‘Story (Pinky in the Twat)’ by The Beatnuts with the “Sucked her tits then I pounded her clitso” lyric. Most rappers aren’t quite as nihilistic as they used to be, but it’s good to know that Waka Flocka and Lex Luger are bringing that same spirit from the south. Their inclusion on the Palace tape, for Chewy Cannon’s section makes a certain sense. It’s interesting to hear contemporary gnarliness over a lo-fi look. G-check, G-check, G-check…

Another skate mainstay is the constant battle between the skate rats and the artsy types. I love watching it develop in 39 page threads on the Sidewalk forums over the cost of Palace sweatshirts…yep, 39 pages. Even Josh Kalis and Jason Dill are still engaging in upriver/downriver debate. It wouldn’t be the skate industry without heated debate over utter trivialities with an anti-hipster undertone.

Those Palace critics must be typing their fingerprints away over the latest developments for the brand, with a GQ Style magazine feature with Lev and company stood with naked ladies. The impending button-down shirts and Palace x Lavenham jacket should make them even madder, but they get it right every time and the skating’s excellent, which is the important part, right? That, plus the hundreds of thousands of views directed at threads about the price of printed cotton. All promo is good promo, but Palace’s promotional game is fucking good when it comes to films and photos. Brits in New York being very trill indeed, with snuff movie production values is a winning formula.


(Taken from Slam’s Facebook because I’m too lazy to scan)

SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT 1993

Please shut the fuck up about 1993. I just went through some TDK C90 tape compilations I made 17 years ago. Everyone claims that rap’s downfall is the preoccupation with material objects. Try telling that to Busy Bee in ‘Wild Style’. You’re the problem. Not Soulja Boy, not Kanye West—you.  Boom-bap pensioners keep trying to tell me that rap pretty much rolled over and ceased to be in 1995. It was—according to the paunchy souls in faded tracksuits—better, because it had drums, samples and other such things, and rappers would say things like, “banging more heads than Metallica“. The truth is, that from 1991 onwards, style biting was rife. If you gave up at the turn of the decade, I’m not mad at you.

But that hallowed year that is 1993 sounds a bit murky, Ah yes, that golden year of letdowns like Hoodratz’s ‘Sneeke Muthafukaz’, Das EFX’s ‘Straight Up Sewaside’ and Red Fox’s ‘As a Matter of Fox’…wow. Happy days. Admittedly there were plenty of classics that year (‘…36 Chambers’ being a standout —’Enta Da Stage’ hasn’t aged as well) but there were also more Pete Rock and DJ Muggs imitations, more cash-in blunt talk, grimee bald bullshit and a whole lot of nonsense. Atlantic and Universal are unlikely to take punts on people chatting about “stunts” and “the bozack” nowadays—is that a bad thing? Assuming that an album’s tracklist should still put a ‘Z’ on skills, require distortive bass and wacky one-liners is naïve. Like I said, pre-’91, I appreciate the preoccupation, but hip-hop never died off. At all. Please don’t fire a list of albums of the era my way to prove me wrong either—I don’t care.

Revisionist 1992 history will tell you that Roughhouse Survivors, Zhigge and School of Hard Knocks albums are classics. This is incorrect—they only had decent singles. The same altered history pushes some mediocre LPs from 1993 to similar status. For instance,  Da Youngsta’s ‘The Aftermath’ was far superior than Mobb Deep’s ‘Juvenile Hell’ yet it frequently gets overlooked. The majority of left coast releases that year have aged better—Spice 1’s ‘187 He Wrote’, Snoop’s ‘Doggystyle’ and Too Short’s ‘Get In Where You Fit In’ really stand out. But going back through the tapes, the majority just has the same bitten basslines, semi-speedy flows and some jazz horns. Again and again and again.

Admittedly, I miss the days of memorising tape shout-outs but I appreciate that they were just a moment-in-time. Your favourite rappers were being jerked back in ’93 too. I know Kool G Rap was. MySpace solved nearly every milk carton missing rapper case a few years back, but honestly, I don’t feel too many artists who had potential for longevity fell through the gaps Anvil-style. Some passed away, some were incarcerated, but many just fell the fuck off, or rode a gimmick that swiftly derailed. Listen to those unreleased full albums (K.M.D. is a near-isolated example)—much of it was shelved for a reason. My buddies at Diggers With Gratitude have the truffle-pig nose for finding gems, but much that costs plenty of yen on limited edition vinyl that unlocks the vaults doesn’t justify the outlay.

Stop the talk of everything being about guns and clothes. You sound like your own mothers. Lyrically, the very best acts are still out there doing what they do best. The fact of the matter my friends, is that you ceased to dig for gems (made all the easier thanks to the internet). Your chosen sounds are very much alive. Your defeatist, regressive approach kept your favourite artists poor. If rap fans were as loyal as metal fans, the Beatnuts and Mash Out Posse would have Slayer and Iron Maiden style followings, buying each release and filling every gig. But they’re not. They either move on or walk away and pretend the ’00s never happened and that’s a tragedy. If you expect a grimier more uncompromising sound to still be on a major label’s radar, then you’re dumb, but it’s out there elsewhere.

In fact, material’s been out there all along on smaller labels, or self-pressed—harder to find, but If you gave as much of a shit as the effort of the screwface you administer to any contemporary rap, you would’ve made the effort. Chances are that indie street album would’ve put more coffers in your favourite rapper’s pocket than if it had been on RAL. You whiners were given an album from Roc Marciano that’s a classic, but chances are you bigged it up yet right-click-saved it. You’re your own worst enemies. How is it that Killa Sha probably passed without mad money in the bank? Because you spent more time moaning than investigating. At least Rick Ross put Kool G on, Jay’s working with Pete Rock, Just Blaze was shouting out Spoonie Gee on Twitter, Malice from Clipse paid tribute to ‘Love’s Gonna Get’cha’ and Kanye’s working with the godfather, Gil Scott-Heron—because you bleating nostalgia fetishists aren’t helping anyone out.

Me? I got the same goosebumps raised when I first saw Redman’s ‘Time 4 Sum Aksion’ video when I saw the Waka Flocka Flame’ video above. Odd, possibly misunderstood interpretations of Coen Brother flicks? Eyes on bullets? A dancing diamond-encrusted Fozzie Bear? It’s one of the best matches of sound and visuals in years. After all, everyone knows that the four elements of hip-hop are face tattoos, Worldstar Hip Hop, robbing Yung Berg and Tweet-beef. As long as hip-hop baffles, infuriates, alienates and befuddles an older generation, it’s in safe hands. Now you can go off and sulk to the medicore sounds of Rumpletilskinz’ ‘What Is a Rumpletilskinz?’ on your battered Walkman.