Songs of the Week: Ka, Killa Cam, Swearin’, Iceage, and Free Ms. Lauryn Hill
Ms. Lauryn Hill, “Consumerism”
Like Shyne and Gucci Mane before her, Lauryn Hill has now recorded some bangers from prison. With her release (after a three-month stint stemming from tax-evasion charges) imminent, Hill gives us some new music, and a statement: “‘Consumerism’ is part of some material I was trying to finish before I had to come in. We did our best to eek [sic] out a mix via verbal and emailed direction, thanks to the crew of surrogate ears on the other side. Letters From Exile is material written from a certain space, in a certain place. I felt the need to discuss the underlying socio-political, cultural paradigm as I saw it. I haven’t been able to watch the news too much recently, so I’m not hip on everything going on. But inspiration of this sort is a kind of news in and of itself, and often times contains an urgency that precedes what happens. I couldn’t imagine it not being relevant. Messages like these I imagine find their audience, or their audience finds them, like water seeking it’s [sic] level.”
Cam’ron, Ghetto Heaven mixtape
Killa Cam: the only rapper to have been held up by the Hamburglar and Ronald McDonald — who, we’ll assume, was broken bad from continued exposure to the Hamburglar’s general negative influence, plus an early stint with Evil Grimace and time with Mayor McCheese, who, let’s face it, was corrupt right down to his rotten core — and live to tell the tale.
Fall Out Boy, “Love, Sex, Death”
So apparently, Fall Out Boy is dropping a second album this year, called Pax Am Days, and not only does it sound nothing like its glitzy predecessor, Saves Rock and Roll, it was recorded in one 48-hour session at the Pax Am studios of Ryan Adams, part-time sensitive acoustic folkster, full-time punk-rock kid. (Says Pete Wentz: “We really got along great with Ryan; we both have mutual admiration for Youth crew bands and the punk rock we grew up with.”) At press time, no word on whether Mandy Moore brought everyone orange slices at halftime.
White Denim, “At Night in Dreams”
Surely it’s coincidental, but, say you were to have a dream, at night, in which you were wearing white denim — possibly while strutting through the shady part of town, punching out evil pushers selling drugs to kids, on some Charles Bronson Death Wish 4 shit — this is the song you’d want soundtracking your singular heroism.
Pusha-T feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Nosetalgia”
Sad news, friends: Despite previous reports to the contrary, Joaquin Phoenix did not, in fact, produce a track on Pusha’s new album. Says Joaquin in a statement: “While it was widely reported that Pusha T used my beat and that I produced his song, I can’t take any credit. A friend’s son played me his music, and all I did was make an introduction to Kanye’s camp.” But there’s more! Pusha explains, “This is how I got it. Joaquin Phoenix gave the beat to ‘Ye. So when I got the beat from ‘Ye, it was like, ‘yo Joaquin gave me this beat.’ Me, I’m just like, okay, I know Joaquin is into music and the whole thing, so I’m like, ‘Damn.'” So who was it really produced by? “I forgot the kid’s name, I believe it is the son of Lars Ulrich from Metallica. And I’ve been wrong so I dunno, but I hope I’m not wrong this time.” Kanye. Joaquin. Lars Ulrich’s kid. Jesus Christ. What is going on in L.A. right now?
Danny Brown, Old
Two years after breaking through with XXX — an unhinged, soul-baring mixtape made with a kind of back-to-the-Bolivian-army type of desperation, and all the better for it — Danny Brown returns with Old, the proper album follow-through. As always: If you wanna know what accelerated-heart-rate, drug-fueled, late-night drives through steam-riddled, cold-as-hell Detroit feel like, you could do a lot worse than bumping the Bruiser.
Odd Future, “Look”
In which Tyler, the Creator continues to not really be able to take himself all that seriously: “It’s the fucking aahhhhh … I came too hard on it. I came way too hard on that. Imma be scaring kids and shit. Let me tone that down. I’m sorry.”
Swearin’, “Dust in the Gold Sack”
Ahead of their sophomore release, Strange Surfing, Swearin’ — the Brooklyn-via-Philly indie-rock shredders fronted by Allison Crutchfield (whose sister, Katie, is the equally great Waxahatchee) — drop off a new banger.
After writing an open letter chastising young Miley Cyrus, Sinead O’Connor is currently locked in an ugly back-and-forth with the World’s Foremost Tongue-Sticker-Outer (“Miley … Really? Who the fuck is advising you? Because taking me on is even more fuckin’ stupid than behaving like a prostitute and calling it feminism”) that’s not making anyone look all that good. Some small respite, then: Danish punks Iceage have covered Sinead’s “Jackie,” and goddamn, they have crushed it.
The uplifting tale of Ka is one of a hip-hop veteran who, after a couple of decades on the peripheries of the industry, broke through with some well-deserved indie-rap recognition. So what was he doing all those years when we weren’t paying attention? If this year’s beautifully restrained The Night’s Gambit is any indication, probably practicing his whispering.