Anybody who follows me on Twitter has probably seen me talk about my upcoming poetry collection. The whole thing started around March/April when I was asked to write poem in the surrealist style. I found the form fitting for my style of writing and I ended up with about 12 poems. From there I just decided to make a collection and spent my summer and early Fall writing the rest of the 45 poems. I am now in the final stages of formatting, editing and publishing - my goal is to release the collection later this month. The title, “What is going on” is meant to stand as a statement and a question (hence no punctuation to facilitate its fluid meaning). The collection will be self-published and available to the public as an e-book (for sale on iTunes/Barnes & Noble, or free .pdf download). My collection is not aimed at the traditional poetry audience (although I hope they too will enjoy it), but is instead meant to be readable/accessible for any audience…More details will emerge closer to the collection.
Below is the front cover, designed by myself & Seth Pala.
Top 25 Projects of 2013 (5-1)
5.) The Great Outdoors - Pink Lemonade
To be fair to G.O.D, I should have put both Pink Lemonade and their newly released, Sandman on here but I’ve had PL on rotation for so long I wanted to give it some extra attention. The Great Outdoors is a 4-man collective from…that’s right, PHILADELPHIA (pay attention to Philly, not just Chicago & Atlanta)! The tape features production from some of the, by now, usual suspects like Ben Pramuk, SamGreenS, MP The God, and member of the group, Huzzah. It’s all pretty classic sounding, from the crisp drums to the samples, and each member gets a chance to stand out whether it be on solo tracks, hooks, or just the perfect pairing of delivery/voice to the instrumental. Favorites off this include the Grande-assisted “Cherry Red Maurauder,” “The Dutch & Us,” “Tour De Finesse,” and “Y.S.W. (Taking Breaths).” One of two projects in my top 5 that’s perfect to smoke to…
4.) Drake - Nothing Was The Same
Praise Yahweh this shit doesn’t sound exactly like the front cover. By now there really isn’t a debate about it, Drake is the best young MC in game today. HOWEVER, in a lot of ways Drake did not deliver his best work on this album. Take Care, his previous album had a much grittier, intense, and dare I say, lyrical, quality to it. This album feels much more calm, the frustrations are muddled and compressed by the smoothness of the instrumentals. The only time the frustration seems to bubble to the surface and match the beat is on “Worst Behavior” which is sadly the worst song Drake has ever written (and yet, you still sing along, don’t you?). While the energy is much more mellow, and the album is making an obvious attempt to delve into a personal realm, there is something less fragile about this album and some of it’s songs like “Own It” or “From Time” that don’t reach us quite like “Marvins Room” did. Still, Drake delivers plenty of hits from the underdog anthem, “Started From The Bottom,” to more emotional songs like “Too Much” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” There is plenty to love on this album and word on the blogs is there is more Drake on the way before 2014, which should fuel the debate between who owned this year: Drake or Kanye?
3.) GrandeMarshall - Mugga Man
If you wanted bars, he put that on the last jawn (800). Last year I gave Grande the top spot in my top 25 and again, he delivered. While Grande admits it isn’t as lyrical as 800, this album widens his range and shows off a more fun-loving, money-hungry MC who continues to impress me with his myriad of flows and expansive terminology (yahmeanery?). Grande showed out this year at the Fader Fort for SXSW and earned love from the likes of Pete Rock, and neither accomplishment should go unnoticed. At this point in his career he reminds me of a young Hov and I predict he will follow a similar path that will land him in talks amongst some of the greatest to do it. His voice seems to fit any content he speaks of and every sound there is - and he seems willing to explore new space at all times, just check out the outro track, “& Still.” The other great thing about Grande is his ability to mesh well with other artists, some of the greatest collaborations coming alongside Asaad on tracks like “Dedicated” and “Boathouse Row.” The greatness of those songs really deepens the sadness of the fallout between those two and I hope, as a fan and friend, that they can patch things up so we can get a Watch The Throne-level collab album. But tears aside - there is one last thing that really impresses me about this project: it’s 21 songs, and I never want to skip a single one. While Drake decided to make a shorter album for the sake of making a cohesive sound, Grande goes the opposite route with an almost double-album length project, and gives you 21 amazing tracks. Ps. This is the second album I love to smoke to…
2.) Banks - London EP
Hey, this is Banks, she basically sounds like an angel. Easily the most cinematic record to release this year and also probably one of the best written. I can’t point out any weakness in this girl’s music - live performances are great, production is lush, voice is beautiful, pretty face, strong lyrics, everything you want from a female artist. She’s basically everything you love about Lana Del Ray, except she can sing.
1.) Kanye West - Yeezus
Best Kanye record ever made? I’d say no. Ballsiest? Definitely. I’m basically giving this record the top spot because it’s the only album I heard this year that was able to push the boundaries of sound AND remain a commercial success. What’s probably more important than the music on this album, is the state of mind it has put Kanye in. The information age is at a tipping point. While the internet provides us with massive amounts of info, connections, and power - we’ve been pacificed. Kanye is one person who NEVER shys away from conflict, for better or for worse, and this album feels full of frustration and embodies the conflicts we need to take on in order to make the positive changes we want to see happen in the real world. There’s a lot more I want to say about this record, but instead I’ll stop here and let my choice speak for itself.
I hope this list sparks some good conversation about the current state of music. -Split