Sunday, October 09, 2005


The *other* Ying-Yang Twins:

"We actually have an incredibly similar vision in everything and ultimately I think this is what bonds us. Sometimes we are positively clairvoyant -- we'll always like the same images and sounds -- but not always the same trousers. Although I think he envies me in certain ways. I also really envy many attributes to his character that he has! We are both very intuitive and always make decisions based on whether something feels right. This quite often drives everyone else mad but both Brian [Dougans] and myself never differ. Music, people, business -- we fly on intuition. It's indefinable really! We are both also totally honest and I think in both our separate ways teach each other a lot. I move very quickly from idea to intangible idea but Brian nurtures and supports and is far more thrusting in technological innovation, whereas I'll struggle with content and communication endlessly. However once shown a technological trick I quite often will wrestle unlimited content from it. Yin and Yang, baby! Yin and Yang -- that's what we are."

-- Gaz Cobain of Future Sound of London (outtake from interview for Billboard, 2002)

they came down from the heavens for this one

I had a really fun DJ gig here in San Francisco last night at the monthly party Triple Power. It was a pre-party for the annual post-Burning Man comedown known as Decompression, and admission was only two bucks for "freaks dressed in their playa best," so the crowd was colorful and friendly. I mainly stuck with funk and breaks -- largely owing to the bootleg house version of Ludacris' and Nate Dogg's "Area Codes" going down like a lead balloon.

Among the esteemed guests . . .

Jesus and the flock!

(photo by Gianmaria Clerici)

My friend couldn't resist engaging J-Dog in conversation -- he was sippin' on a Pale Ale and she asked him if he ever thought about doing some product placement. He kindly explained that he had all the money he could ever need thanks to his dotcom job ("Google is God," he told her).

Saturday, October 08, 2005

two thumbs up and a point (or two) down!

While I'm on the Dirty South topic (as I will often be, no doubt!), here's a lil taste of what the press is saying about my book Country Fried Soul. (If you saw my sales figures, you'd shamelessly plug, too, so please indulge me and don't be too angry. . .)

"Palmer defines 'crunk' with the multivalence an Eskimo might reserve for describing snow" -- The Wire (UK)

"Like buttery hot corn bread, Palmer is straight up, with a little sauce on the side" -- King

"Lively and enthusiastic introduction to the scene" -- Record Collector (UK)

"All the artist profiles and background info you could possibly ask for" -- International DJ (UK)

"Comprehensive guide" -- Black Beat

"Great interviews" -- Fader

"Essential reading" -- Peace (Canada)

"Un must" -- Radikal (France)

. . . And my favorites:

"Retarded" -- Elemental [actually, they said some nice stuff, but this is the best]

"Weak" -- Q (UK)

adventures in the dirty south photo exhibit

Curating a photography show was something I never thought I would do, and it's one of the most amazing opportunities I have ever had.

We got hella love from Ozone, Fader and URB.

The opening party was a lot of fun, especially since most of my closest New York homies were in attendance. And, perhaps best of all, it was Piru approved . . .

(Kobra of the legendary West Coast rap group Boo-Yaa Tribe; photo by Ray Tamarra)

Get the full scoop and see the show at Eyejammie. It runs in New York until October 29, but will be permanently viewable on the Web. Hopefully we'll be bringing it to a hood near you some year soon.

from the t$ vaults . . .

Six Degrees of Sampling

Traversing the sonic globe with one piece of music

This month: Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” (Sire, 1981)

Nearly 20 years since its release, the ebullient singing, rhythms and basslines of the Tom Tom Club’s most pivotal piece of music has become firmly rooted in the American hip-hop lexicon. To date, over 35 songs from rappers ranging from the politically conscious XClan to gangster clique South Central Cartel have legally cleared usage of samples. And they’re still pouring in, with newer-school artists like Black Eyed Peas and Cam’ron using the song in cuts. At the time of its release, “Genius of Love” was so popular largely as a result of massive crossover radio airplay. A favorite of both mainstream pop and urban R&B stations, the single sold 110,000 copies on import before Sire/Warner Brothers realized that it might be a good idea to put it out domestically.

Tom Tom Club have recently emerged with their first album in eight years, The Good The Bad And The Funky (Rykodisc). “Who Feelin’ It,” the first single, was completed with the assistance of 15-year-old DJ Kid Ginseng and revisits the tributary spirit of “Genius of Love” with a club-styled tune that pays respect to some of the masters of soul, hip-hop and DJ culture. On the use of sampling as a valid production technique in songwriting, band member Tina Weymouth says, “It’s just paint — it’s just that the colors are already mixed.”

The First:

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five — “It’s Nasty”
Jekyll and Hyde — “Genius Rap”

Chris Frantz: It wasn’t really called sampling [at the time] because they didn’t use samplers, they just replayed the song . . . They would get a studio band or some drum machines and recreate the song and do their rap thing over the top. Samplers didn’t really exist back then the way they do now . . . We were putting together a live album called The Name of This Band is Talking Heads and Grandmaster Flash came by [the studio]. We introduced ourselves and I remember that he had probably never been in a real recording studio before because he was really impressed with the reels and stuff. He liked the beat and the melody, the voices and the way the harmonies were real sweet — sort of schoolgirl harmonies.

The Favorite:

Mariah Carey — “Fantasy”

Tina Weymouth: She must have been quite a little girl when the song came out, like eight or 10-years-old. I think it reminds her of a happy time in her life, and what she’s done with it is very sweet.

CF: Her version, “Fantasy,” is very true to the spirit of the original. I especially like the Ol' Dirty Bastard version, which is the remix.

Best Use of the Song in a G Funk Track:

Ant Banks — “Roll ‘Em Phat”

CF: I’d be going out on a limb, but I kinda like the most, shall we say, minimalist [uses of the song]. Maybe some of the least creative, like “Roll ‘Em Phat” by Ant Banks. I wouldn’t really give him a lot of credit for his creativity — I just liked the minimalist nature of it.

TW: Yeah, we liked “Roll ‘Em Phat.”

The Outlaw:

Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” and countless illegal bootleg records

CF: It’s not like we’re going to go after people. But it would be nice to be contacted at least.

The Reject:

CF: There’s only one gangster-style version that we didn’t allow, and it was just because it was so overtly horrible and violent. It was stuff like, “it’s all about the bitches” and “throw the niggas in the trunk.” It was just too far beyond — I think that’s the only time we denied approval. I think that we’re pretty open-minded about it . . . in most cases we’re delighted with the results.

Further Recommended “Genius of Love” Listening:

2Pac — “High Speed”
Black Eyed Peas — “Who Needs”
Busta Rhymes feat. Erykah Badu — “One”
Dream Warriors — “And Now the Legacy Begins”
Ziggy Marley — “Tomorrow People (Remix)”
Wild Pony — “Poppin’ in the Club”
Zimbabwe Legit — “Doing Damage in My Native Language”

[originally appeared in CMJ New Music Monthly, 2000]

take your brain on space walk

If she means anything to you, please take a moment to fill out our survey and join nearly 400 others around the world who have already told us what she means to them and how we can refine a very personal and unusual book about her.

Coming soon: The think tank . . .

in the land of a million drums

A couple months back, rogue New York DJ Jason Charles was kind enough to invite me to tape an episode of his "Selectors on Film" radio program on WPS1 Art Radio and let me crunk it up. No mixing setup, so I had to leave the DJ battle techniques at home that time.

Listen to "Dirty South Goes to the Movies"

I'm starting a new mix . . . rocking pause button style once again . . . and my musical mind is as wildly unfocused as it ever was . . .