Clique is the fourth single from G.O.O.D. Music’s upcoming compilation album Cruel Summer. Listen to Clique on Pitchfork.
BIG TUNES: Kanye West, Jay-Z, Big Sean | Clique
Perfecting my a cappella rendition of that vocal sample from Mercy took more time than I anticipated (if you’re curious, those anthemic vocals belong to dancehall hype man Fuzzy Jones. Click this to hear him talk smack about negroes, and this to hear him compliment your mother), so yeah. That’s the reason I’m so late to the G.O.O.D. Music listening party.
First of all: Nice to see Big Sean doing features for other rappers again! I was worried for his career when I heard him on that Justin Bieber single, but mostly I was confused. Actually, I’m still confused. Was he strapped for cash? Did Kanye temporarily oust him from G.O.O.D. Music for saluting Kim Kardashian’s butt? Was Usher busy? Usher’s never too busy for a dance anthem disguised as an ultimatum! Whatever the circumstance, I’m glad Big Sean’s back on his grind, because I’ve seen the future. Technically it’s in the past, but it’s still not pretty.
That’s you, Big Sean, second from the left, surrounded by Jonas Brothers in sweater-cardigans singing your hit single “Hell In A Stadium.”
Second: It’s great to hear Jay-Z bring substance to a track that isn’t his own. I’ve tweeted about this, but sometimes Jay-Z gets LAY-Z (LAAAAAAY-Z. Lazy. Jazy. Jay-Z without the work ethic). HOVA for life, but not if I have to listen to him rhyme "fuck me" with "fuck me" and "oh, I gotta pee."
Jigga makes up for any past lyrical missteps though, because he’s doing the most in Clique. Really. Like, algebra. The dude’s doing algebra. And he’s paying homage to the women in his life. And he’s rebuking any little girls who think they’re funny on Twitter.
Third: This song sounds spooky, guys! Those backing vocals are like ghost hiccups!
The track’s production is reminiscent of Odd Future’s on Rella (actually, it’s similar to Odd Future’s overall sound), and the sound quality from both is distinctly off-kilter and menacing. Hip-hop has always been imbued with a certain degree of fear and menace, but we’re definitely experiencing a tonal shift that’s made the rap game an all-inclusive nightmare. Hit-Boy produced Clique, and if that beat doesn’t say “fear rich black men,” I don’t know what does. Forget the drug-peddling black men of yore, now you have to protect ya neck from the black men in Celine womenswear too.
Cruel Summer drops September 18th. I may or may not throw a listening party*, but if I do, you’re all invited.
*A listening party is me booty dancing alone in front of my mirror. No need to RSVP.
5:09 pm |
September 12 2012
BIG TUNES: Blood Diamonds ft. Grimes | Phone Sex
This is the best pop song I’ve heard in over two years (or since “California Gurls” came out, whenever that was. I’m kind of kidding. I’m not even sure if I’m kidding). I think a lot of music blogs were afraid to put this on heavy rotation because of that J-Pop hook (which kind of makes me uncomfortable too), but this song is like a fucking mango.
10:27 am |
August 30 2012
MEHJEH LEHZEH and THE GREAT DIPLO DILEMMA
I’ve been anticipating this single (and album) since June of last year, which is weird because I never know who’s working on what, or who’s released this on that record label with guest vocals from him (e.g. I didn’t know about Lana Del Ray or her music until I was duped into listening to “whatever song made her popular” (I’m not even going to Google the song title, call me ignorant if you want) in my boyfriend’s DAD’s car. Like, do you understand. Someone else’s dad introduced me to Lana Del Ray. So yeah, I was literally the last person on earth to hear about her). But this. I’ve been geeked on this record for a long time, longer than Stereo Bitch Fork Gorilla vs. Gum, longer than you, longer than Amber from the Dirty Projectors, and longer than Switch (are they even friends?). Probably not longer than my boyfriend’s family, but they’re subscribed to Entertainment Weekly so they always have the pop culture jump on me.
I’ve talked about him before, but Diplo is TRULY a smart, business savvy dude because he milked this track like a pregnant heifer. First we got a rough version of the song’s hook in the album preview mad decent released in late 2011, then we heard a little bit more in late March, then we got the song in its entirety (and a fitting animated karaoke track), and THEN FINALLY in the waning heat of August we got the damn video. So basically Diplo ensured that this would be the summer jam for approximately two years.
The video comes dangerously close to being a slideshow of pictures Rihanna instagram’d (although I would definitely watch that heck I would enjoy that heck I would make that). But it’s cool. The editing matches the song’s narrative without feeling too literal, and there’s a lot of West Indian grit. It’s like if you had to imagine Jamaica, and then unimagine Sandals Resorts. Imagine young black girls in school uniforms (perv!), and then unimagine old white people in travel shirts.
I’ve never been to Jamaica (where the video was filmed), but I’ve been to Trinidad & Tobago enough times to recognize the Afro-Caribbean experience that informs most of Diplo’s production. But before I really lay into him, let me be clear: I’m not trying to police Diplo. Because I know very little about Jamaican culture. I’m not the Caribbean Queen, I’ve never met Billy Ocean (which is weird, because we both have Trinidadian roots), and I’ve never played cricket. I’m just a little black girl who’s been to a handful of West Indian beauty parlors in Flatbush. But I know all the lyrics to “Here Comes the Hotstepper,” and cultural misappropriation still bothers me.
There are certain visuals in this video that resonate with me, specifically the ones of young women deftly braiding hair. I won’t go too deep into the social significance of the black beauty parlor (what can I say that Cedric the Entertainer and Queen Latifah haven’t said already), but yeah, I got beauty shop memories (you think I don’t have screenplays about cornrows waiting in the wings? Every black person does, so retraction: forget Cedric and Queen). Long before I was ever angry enough to consider getting a black lesbian haircut, I used to have long, tiny box braids. Like, with terrible synthetic extensions. And between the ages of seven and 14, I spent more time than I care to admit wedged between someone’s cousin’s niece’s thighs for hours. Combing nappy hair takes time - not white-girl-with-a-curling-iron kind of time, but we-need-to-put-a-gospel-record-on-repeat-because-we-will-miss-church kind of time. So there’s something extremely satisfying about recognizing a large facet of my childhood in a fucking music video. The imagery of craned black necks and weaving black fingers makes my black scalp feel tense, and that’s thrilling. It’s like Diplo surprised me with a just-because-you’re-you gift, just because I’m me! Like, how did Diplo know?!?
But this is The Great Diplo Dilemma: is it worrisome that a white man is broadcasting and manipulating these black images? Images that include fighting, gambling, and dutty wining? Because it is manipulation—anything that benefits from slow motion editing has been manipulated.
Peep these Lil Wayne and Birdman cameos.
If you really want to be a dick about things, you could argue that all entertainment is manipulated display. But that’s dismissive - there’s a lot of history that points to a chronic issue of white people exploiting black culture for the sake of creating a spectacle. And sometimes I wonder whether Diplo is reinforcing something negative or reinstating something positive.
The real problem is I ENJOY “GET FREE” SO MUCH. But whatever. Whatever, because you have to be critical of the things you love the most. And I love this song so much, and you might be a major racist if you don’t.
11:28 am |
August 28 2012
First Photoshop project.
It’s cool how Photoshop can make janky glamour-shots-I-forced-my-boyfriend-to-take-in-our-fluorescent-lit-hallway look like less-janky glamour-shots-I-forced-my-boyfriend-to-take-in-our-fluorescent-lit-hallway.
9:11 pm |
January 20 2012
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Jason Wu x Target
What makes this so much better than any high-low designer collab I’ve seen thus far (e.g. Lanvin x H&M, Missoni x Target, Rodarte x Opening Ceremony (which, arguably, was a high-higher designer collaboration)) is that this resembles an actual collection (it’s practically a microcosm of his Spring 2012 RTW show). Every piece tells the story of a whole, and it’s a comprehensive spring wardrobe for a distinct kind of a girl.
And that girl is me.
6:48 am |
January 11 2012
Plum lips are like drop crotch pants* for your face. Meaning chicks totally dig them.
*If you don’t “get” the drop crotch, it’s okay
it’s totally not okay we are so many seasons into this trend we’re practically back out again. Get yourself a pair, and stop worrying about whether your a$$ is or isn’t man repelling.
#trust me #i KNOW fashion
3:04 pm |
December 31 2011
There are things going on here that I don’t like already (e.g. poetry as a narrative device. Fingers & toes & eyes crossed that Rees doesn’t actually use poetry as a narrative device), but if Dee Rees can keep Kim Wayans from making another Juwanna Mann, I will follow wherever she leads.
If I can muster the courage to type inside of a movie theater (I wouldn’t. I can’t. I won’t), expect a live blog of this film.
edit: (I will)
11:14 am |
December 27 2011
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Anonymous said: Who would win in a breakfast eating contest? Ron Swanson or Buddy Garrity?
Let’s say this contest is held at a buffet; the answer is Swanson. But say this is a sweepstakes; Garrity. Garrity all the way. Buddy has surprising leverage in surprisingly high places. It all comes down to form.
2:21 am |
December 16 2011
$32.75 in library fines. To pay my library fines.
PART 7 is part of a partial wish list in twenty five parts.
2:04 am |
December 16 2011