A chronicle of one man, John Noggle, and his long, strange journey through the underground.
Read the origin story here
A Pot of Boiling Water
Lil Pump had a rough autumn. Two weeks ago, the rapper ended a performance prematurely while visiting Nottingham, England. A tear gas canister was launched inside of Rock City — where the artist was scheduled to play — releasing noxious fumes. Both the audience and Pump were evacuated, due to the air quality inside.
But the Fall of Pump’s discontent started long before his European escapade. Two months earlier, on 29 August, the rapper was arrested in Miami for driving without a license. The incident could have been avoided, too. In hindsight, the license plate for a small luxury vehicle on a much larger (and not nearly as registered) luxury sedan might have been a give-away. Fortunately for Pump — né Gazzy García, — he received a lenient punishment: probation.
Pump fought the law, again, less than a week later; and this time, the law won. Via social media, the rapper announced that he would be imprisoned in Los Angeles; stemming from a probation violation. Never mind that the release of his sophomore album, Harvard Dropout, had already been delayed — it’s hard to roll-out a new product, but even more so when the goods are, well…lost. By October, the damage could be measured in significant dollar figures. The rapper, who was charging $70,000 per show, had to cancel more than a dozen North American tour dates.
And yet, it could all be worse; much…much worse.
Consider the plight of hip-hop musicians abroad; particularly in mother Russia (because in this year of our Lord, 2018, I strive to be — if nothing else — a patriotic American).
Dmitry Kuznetsov was scheduled to appear in a southern city, about 180 miles northwest of Sochi, called Krasnodar . Instead, Kuznetsov — a musician who performs under the name “Khaski [хаски],” — was arrested outside the concert hall . The charge against Khaski, which means Husky, was simple enough: ignoring police orders and
acting like a damn rockstar performing atop a car. The improvised stage, to be clear, was used out of necessity. In the week leading up to the show, security forces had (allegedly) tried to cancel it; ultimately getting the venue’s ownership to comply.
Why might that be? Well, the saga begins in 2011. Then President Medvedev was presented a bill, which he went on to sign, called the, “Federal Law On Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development,” As the name suggests, the law was written with noble purposes: to eliminate entertainment that can be harmful to a child’s development.
From an American perspective, the “Protection of Children” law isn’t all foreign. The first part is standards & practices; think television or movie ratings. As such, the law originally tried to censor violence. But children, whom parents can’t always protect, might go online (the horror!) and see “bad” images; hence, the legislation’s second element; that of a culturally conservative battle cry. Messages promoting substance abuse and self-harm, in an effort to protect the youth, would be banned from entertainment as well. More broadly — some might say subjectively, — though, are the definitions; meaning that if officials don’t like an artist’s message, the government might label it a violation of the Protection of Children” law; effectively banning content under the guise of fomenting family values.
Anyway, officials in Krasnodar cited the Protection of Children law. Concert promoters were forced to comply. If the Khaski’s lyrics were really under investigation for extremist content, any organizers involved might be risking guilt by association. But the rapper — the show was already canceled — took control and began performing in public, and was arrested as a result; charged with a handful of misdemeanors, along with the potential for jail time as a result of
being a damn rockstar rejecting to take alcohol and blood tests administered by police.
Walls can’t contain Pump for long. A month after sharing the news of his legal trouble, Garcia was a free man once more. The results were nothing short of memorable (ignoring the fact that Pump was technically still institutionalized), as the 18-year old performed on Saturday Night Live, while dressed as a bottle of water, with Kanye West.
The same can be said, too, for Khaski. At the time the rapper reported to jail, news came from Moscow: some powerful people took umbrage with what had transpired. Khaski avoided jail time; and equally as convenient, the government can point to an example of being lenient on a musician.
To Pump’s benefit, his show, though shut down, continued. Outside the venue, fans gathered around a tour. Lil Pump — yes, the same man who is rumored to have kicked an audience member in the face while on the No Jumper tour — decided to treat his fanbase to one an encore. Right there, in the parking lot, Pump performed “I Love It” atop of his tour bus, before going on his merry way.
With that being said, let’s consider some songs that sound just as good inside or outside.
The Soup Stone
- The headphone jack didn’t burst into flames, and that always makes for a good day. What makes today different, though, is Yakko Glicks with donsleep. “FIRST!” is flammable…let’s leave it at that (Abbott & Costello jokes notwithstanding)
- Round numbers, when it comes to money laundering, are a dead give-away. Luckily, “Throw It Bacc” — Dirt Rich and Bayline — comes in at 2:16; so there’s nothing to worry about. Soorma’s production is especially clean, too.
- The ability to hypnotize another person is impressive — yes. Not only does Astral Trap have a parlor trick to pull at social functions, but there’s also the benefit of endless entertainment. Would you believe me, though, if I said that the “magic” in “Six Feet Batmo” isn’t his real flex? Personally, the convenience of the result — no…dirty….dishes! — is way better. Chop000’s two different snares come in close second.
- Cowboykillerr might have the dope, but DyingTethra brings the Fire. Together, the R1 burn every nostril in sight. On “Blizzard,” the sample will always the first jolt; it’s the cymbals, though, which maintain.
- They’re, “always up the something,” but that’s not the problem. It’s that either imgonefishing or ayestephan, when they say “never worry, boy,” which worries me — for lack of a better word. As long as the activities are as good as the deep melody Joe Aste hides on “Getmybandsup,” then it doesn’t much matter.
- At the start of “stress,” jetskiii runs ten fingers through your hair. Five of those fingers — so that would be one hand, for anyone keeping score at home — belong to the synth armony, while the other five are property of the keyboard melody. One the vocal end, .wav shows affection too; popping in between the bass like a bump in the night
- Lost no more, andy saborn and hateful find their way back home. Reintegration, though — and especially from a “badplace” — takes time; and sometimes require more than substances, most of which don’t do the body any favor. But for anyone with X’s one the back of their hands, those heavy hi-hats, along with the guitar melody, make for a serviceable substitute.
- “F34R,” a track that isn’t missing much in the way of sound, improve. For G4UZ3, the idea isn’t a musical once idea. What I’d like to propose is a merch idea, instead. The Portland artist — it could be Maine, but more than likely Oregon; either way, it’s anyone’s guess — could load the breakbeat song, which comes with equal parts rave harmonics, into a fog machine. If nothing else a plume would enhance the joint’s overall aesthetics.
- Lofty305 is a aural apothecary — a music therapist if you will. But what sets the South-Florida artist apart from peers are the method he uses. Anyone can promise to cure an ailment; in fact, many people, and even more placebos do. Lofty305, though, is not anyone; and “Fake Dreams” is the latest salve he has do offer. Apply liberally.
- For years, boxers feared getting into the ring with GGG. The anecdote, as it’s been often told, is that the Kazahk boxer hit harder than a mule. While not nearly as intimidating RichieDtn comes through with ThreeGrvms for a “Mule Kick.” Regardless, the round harmony — to me, it sound like a melodica playing with some synth while the main keys rest over the mat; giving a sound — goes hard into the 12th.
- To avoid slipping on “Slide,” winter tires are advised. The added grip would be immensely useful. Fluent gains traction off the rip, but listeners might not be as lucky. While the Maryland artist can perform an entire routine on the frozen run, anyone else trying to find their footing should exercise caution
- On paper, instructions for braising are simple: turn the heat down. But making the process look easy, like ZiplocMolly and Supa Statiq, are what good chefs “Supposed to Do.” Oh, and remember to add seasoning in large amounts — taste doesn’t come off the compressed snare naturally. Changes in the hi-hat-tempo — a task best left to masters — help too.
- Trip Dixon can provide the tracing paper. But neither the Virginia artist, nor his producer — mark bruce — can teach students how to draw. There is an admirable attempt teaching the art & craft, though, on “All that’s left of me.” Word to the wise: hold any questions until the lecture ends
Mixtape Round-up: Proper mumble rap from chris benzo on the true colors ep with sludge407 getting a production credit…$ho comes through with the very good Enter $hogun mixtape and features from Rezt, Black4L, (RIP) Baby Ahk, and Supa Statiq…alsg: new age souljahz is more of an art-house picture than an IMAX film, but scmk & zalean play the indie auteurs well
Some leftover both
“Don’t,” a wise man once told me, “Listen to world music.” I was young at the time; probably 15 or 16, and stubborn like you wouldn’t believe. Parted skies could have rained the same warning on me; I would have reached for an umbrella all the same. In my defense, the advice didn’t make sense. I wondered, “What’s the purpose? “With so many sounds on the internet, it would be fuuuuucking foolish of me to ignore them.” So I dashed between droplets of well-intentioned advice; toward the nearest Wikipedia article. Years later, though — older, and hopefully a little smarter — I still think of the wise man and his words; only now they seem…well, true.
Time, you see, is a resource; and scarce at that. Once used, no clock can be replenished with many more minutes. So a trade-off needs to happen when listening to world music. In exchange for learning about Indian sitar music — or the sound of a Persian oud, the rhythms for a Brazilian groove, &c. — fewer time is spent catching-up on cool history, or present, stuff (it’s not like anyone cares about popular music narratives anyway). I’m not here to say the same to you. Actually, I challenge everyone to listen to one song in a non-English language this week. It’s a good way to, if nothing else, appreciate the beat since the words are unintelligible anyway.
At a loss? Here’s three quick ones:
- Kamini’s first smash (“Marly-Gomont”) came as an aggro-rapper — well, make-that agri-rapper. Something about the French countryside, I guess, makes for fertile bars. Who knows (not me)? The lyrics are supposed to be self-deprecating, if I remember correctly. The point is: it outdates Tracy; and that’s got to count for something (the real release date should be around 2006).
- Kizomba is sort of a catch-all term. A type of afropop, the genre acts as a stand-in for “Portuguese dance music from Africa.” Part of the music’s identity, too, has to do with Zouk — which is actually French and from the Western hemisphere but, you know…some other time. At any rate, in times like these it’s best to turn toward the experts. Who knows what slaps more than a DJ that speaks the language? Shout-out to PT Musick for the “FEITO A PRESSA” mix (for what it’s worth, Thrillboy’s synth melody in the hook for “Company!” is reminiscent of kizomba)
- Look, I’m not Mexican. I don’t pretend to be Mexican. Granted, at one point in my life I did drive around Phoenix in a beat-up Honda Accord blaring the Mexican radio station; that, however, is another story entirely. But what I want to get at is — pointy-boots aside, yes — music from south of the border is not a monolith and touches on subjects beyond the pretty sky. Huapango is but one of the many sub-genres of Mexican music I know nothing about. Just remember: this video has the biggest ferris wheel you will ever seen, and that’s enough to make El Gran Líder, “Huapangos Calientes Mix 2019” it worth watching. Also, if anyone can figure out what exactly the DJ is doing, please feel free to share in the comments.
Until next time,