Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WIGGY WEDNESDAYS: VIDEO ROUND-UP WEEK OF 8/23/2017 featuring Mad Macks, Araless, Muds One, Cam Gnarly and more

SONG: Wide Awake by Mad Macks & Badson

VIDEO: Mighty Muds One

Another boom-bap classic from East of the River. I love that this video makes Mad Macks' college graduation ceremony look cool. The video is still dripping with irony and working class skepticism of the system, evident in Macks' irreverence while so many students around him are somber but at the end of the day, the video conveys an image of family and loved ones are happy around our protagonist. Muds' eye conveys both the momentousness and everydayness of the situation with Macks gamely playing a Fresh Prince-like vessel for the audience to experience the narrative through. More Mad Macks here

SONG: The Juice by Cam Gnarly & Brian/Folk

VIDEO:  New Culture Media Group & Cyberthug
Cam Gnarly’s modern polished posi-bangers never disappoint. Gnarly reminds me of OutKast- each time a new song of his starts, you’re sad the last one ended and then the cycle repeats. This song is no different and Cam’s hip embrace of campy on-the-nose video imagery is a stoner’s delight.

SONG: INTERTWINE BY ARALESS & OK

VIDEO: ARALESS AND MELANIE WINSLOW
Seattle based hip-hop artist Araless finally dropped the video for his chill summer love song, “Intertwine”. Set in San Diego, the piece finds his co-director and he clearly enjoying themselves and each other. Don’t miss the EP’s worth of remixes that came out with this single and since. More Araless here

BEATMAKER YOHALMO VIDEO: MIGHTY MUDS ONE

Nice clips of up and coming beatmaker Yohalmo, video by the John Romita Jr. of west coast hip-hop videos himself....

DOCUMENTARY WEB-SERIES: EAST OF THE RIVER - ROAD TO PAID DUES

VIDEOGRAPHER: MIGHTY MUDS ONE
Yeah that's two monthly video round-ups in a row in which Muds One has multiple entries in the round-up. What can I say? Dude puts out a lot of completed polished content. This chronicle of the East of the River crew’s journey to their Paid Dues appearance on 09/16/2017 is released in weekly webisodes and is funny as hell. Looking forward to watching it all as one movie soon!

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com

Monday, August 21, 2017

Why does the Lord God Almighty hate the DC Cinematic Universe? An Investigation

The curse on the DC cinematic universe is starting to look intensely real.

Man of Steel wasn't responded to the way Nolan Batfilms were and those who did care generally disliked it.

Warner Brothers hired Ben Affleck fresh off of his Oscar win for directing Argo thinking hiring an attractive movie star with writer/director credentials would be a smart way to make a well-loved follow-up to the now canonical Nolan Batman films. This seemed like a smart move until Affleck's infidelities and divorce played out in real-time in front of America, damaging his lovable image and apparently taking him out of a space where he could do triple duty on a billion dollar franchise flick.

Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were both 5 times as hyped as they were good.

The Batfleck dream of writing, directing and starring in a Batfilm is falling apart, we’ll be lucky if Affleck is even in the next solo Batman movie.

Justice League is a 5 freight train-wreck: first Zack and Deborah Snyder re-tooled it after the backlash to BvS and Suicide Squad, then their daughter committed suicide and they passed the movie to the legendary untouchable nerd luminary Joss Whedon.

        Whedon was already getting dragged for his old Wonder Woman script, which was really unfair internet nerd abuse in my opinion and now, his ex-WIFE is dragging him for years of deceit about infidelity. Not only is she DRAGGING him for it but she (or the editor of The Wrap, the magazine who published it) is insisting that it means he’s a fake and hypocritical feminist when feminism has become a bigger part of his brand every year that goes by. It will be about 5 minutes before the feminist internet nerd community, which I think of myself as generally sympathetic to by the way, successfully demands he be fired from working on Batgirl. The web's biggest Whedon fansite, Whedonesque, has already vowed to end its own existence in reaction to the Kai Cole article. Let me reiterate that the internet’s biggest Whedon fansite is committing suicide over this article. Now none of the film's 3 directors nor its biggest star can execute a huge successful talk show circuit push for fear of being pushed into profoundly painful circumstances and Batgirl the movie is effectively preemptively knee-capped.

I am seriously thinking that God, the Holy Spirit itself, has a huge problem with the DC Cinematic Universe. So here are my theories as to why:
  1. God sees the God-like DC trinity as false idols – it’s right there in the first commandment
  2. God is punishing the actual exceptional iniquity of this particular set of Hollywood Babylonians – if this is the case, then Bryan Singer should be getting locked up any day now so stay tuned….
  3. God wants to see more people of color hired to make these films, the way Marvel has begun to - this is the runner-up for the theory I am most inclined to believe.
  4. A different, more art-oriented God is angered by the over-commercialized bland uninspired adaptive approach of the DC film world. This is the theory I am most thinking is true. When Batman popped up on the scene in the late 30’s, he wasn’t a heartthrob- he was a creep; a freak, a weirdo, a ghoul. He changed entertainment history forever onward. Superman was an alien, an outcast. I think the Gods of art are disgusted that the characters are being turned into mass product, being stripped of their riskiness and weirdness, depicted with Olympian level attractiveness and sculpted beauty. The Gods demand the comics and their offspring be weird, challenging, strange. Art and its creation has always been an essential part of human society and its development- I would not be the first commentator to suggest the reboot-loop of small and big screen television we are in the midst of is a reflection of a lack of cultural imagination, cultural ennui, secular stagnation, or Fukuyama's "The End of History". I myself dismissed such concerns as cultural snobbery until God took particularly cruel vengeance on literally everyone who directed the Justice League film.                                                      I enjoyed Batman v Superman despite its huge flaws, same with Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman ( a somewhat less flawed movie). I would still love to see a Batman film written, directed by and starring Affleck. While I slightly prefer Marvel generally, I have a metric ton of Batman and Justice League hardcovers and paperbacks to go along with my Spidey and Star Wars collections so this opinion doesn't come from being a DC hater. I say this as someone who had accepted that the DC movies would be overwrought over-dramatic Greek God sculpture archetypes presented in a way that can sell to the largest number of the human population as possible. I had accepted all that and was okay with it- but God hasn’t! That’s how powerful the sigil of the DCU trinity is- the Heavens are concerned and they have opinions. God wants more originality, more risk, more trumpeting of the meek the Bible speaks about….never have I feared God so much as when the internet fell Joss Whedon, king of the nerds. Be afraid and tread carefully for we may very well indeed be living in the last days.
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Let 'Em Talk To Ya: Review of Dope Kid Danny's "Euphonious" Beat Tape

Dope Kid Danny's Euphonious Beat Tape is a chill and vibey but still straightforward collection of crisply produced new beats. They feel canonical in the sense that they have warm familiar melodies and concepts but also totally new in their craft and style.

"Let Me Talk To Ya" opens up the collection with a G-Funky guitar loop laid over claps and shouts atop a very chill hip-hop beat. "Can't Let Go" is a catchy and beautiful mournful lover's track that's really nice to blaze and drive to. Danny toggles between boom-bap and newer double-time styles.

"Private Party" is a funky banger, "Day Dreaming at Night" is exactly the pensive relaxing beat one would think it would be. "Boardwalk Convo" makes me want to take my girlfriend to Redondo Beach at night.

Over and over with these songs, a very entertaining maxim holds true: Danny illustrates his concepts in a narrative with these beats. "Along for the Grind" sounds like a montage of hustlers in training, "Scrapin'" is later in that same movie with the characters lowering their hoopties to the ground. "You Screwed Up" has the hungover ringing of being reminded of your folly along with undeniable bass driving the point home. "Me and My Shadow" hints at the producer's depth ominously in a hard coda.

His sound pays homage to old school funk hip-hop but also newer-style drum syncopation and electronic sound. The sound tells a story of a young Latino dude driving through So Cal cities, living his sincere life. It does all this but it's also a chill tape, indeed full of euphony.

The best beat tapes are an album in themselves while also reminding artists of what a good idea it is to collaborate with a given producer. Dope Kid Danny has hella I.E. hip-hop credentials from his work with Faimkills, Noa James, Curtiss King and many more- with Euphonious he tells his own sonic story, join him for it.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Video/Single "Air Device (La La La)" from West Coast Avengers' RasJosh Beats & Tanjint Wiggy

New single and video for the upcoming Inland Imperial LP out now!

Produced By RasJosh Beats , raps by Tanjint Wiggy

Video featuring BMXer Garrett Acker

Mixed, mastered, song art and video by New Culture Media Group

Song available 8/13/17; video drops night of 8/13

The Inland Imperial LP coming 8/24! Pre-order now!

More WCA crew at westcoastavengers.com

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

My Region: Inland Empire Music Mixtape by Ital Santos featuring you, probably

No new review or video round-up this week, a lot going on BUT check out this recent iTunes mixtape by Inland Empire staple, Ital Santos featuring Trizz, Cam Archer, King Dice, Slick C, Kidd Dryden, Kordisepz + me, Curtiss King, Noa James, Ireplenish, CJ Simmons, Cam Gnarly, Yung Miss, Young Sincere, Dzyl5k1, Santos himself and more!

Back next week, but in the meantime while you're on iTunes, peep my new single (shameless, I know) !

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

His Turn: review of Hvlloween's Grey Day

Hvlloween and Sufok8 of Grey Entertainment give voice to the bad ass shitty attitude having kids of the I.E. so many of us observed growing up. I've always noticed the Grey Entertainment Squad, since they were posted up at benches rolling doobies at Maya's at Sunny Days and Vibes shows in Corona. Soon after a few such shows where I saw them kill it with horrorcore styles over boom-bap rhythms, I checked out their music- specifically that of Hvlloween and Klown.

Their music was dark but always energetic; a creative mix of violent I.E. fantasies and working class aspiration. The beats simple but not basic, hard-hitting but not too busy so the rap styles always took center stage. Hvlloween, himself the founder of Grey entertainment, is a scrappy and seemingly perpetually young looking tanned Asian-American Riverside native who is perfectly aware that he doesn’t look like what the average hip-hop fan would describe as a tough cat or a killer MC so he spends all his waking energy proving them wrong. His work is always imbued with the animal ferocity of someone with something serious to prove.
In those days, I was peeping them on their SoundCloud accounts but earlier this year I noticed Hvlloween pushing a fully studio-polished solo LP called Grey Day which I just got the chance to fully digest in recent weeks. Now with another Grey up n’ comer “Sufok8” riding shotgun instead of the noticeably absent Klown, Hvlloween’s impeccable grind is paying artistic dividends. The sparse evil sounding beats have more texture and mixing love put into them, Hvlloween’s horrific predilections now serve as a stylistic lens for his painfully honest depiction of Riverside life among paradoxically easily discouraged strivers.

Hvlloween’s never lost touch with his aggressive fantasist roots, his bars full of drive-by fantasies, offers to scrap and bodies being dumped in shallow creeks but imagine if you would, blending that kind of language with the perseverant life view of self-help gurus like Tony Robbins and Rhonda Byrne. This understanding that only feeding yourself positivity while refusing to give up will breed success is the new element to Hvlloween’s music and that infuses Grey Day with a much more nuanced worldview than the 2014 era Grey Entertainment works.

For every song like "Not on my Level" and "My Turn" where Hvlloween self-explanatorily explains how other MCs are not on his level and that this year is "his turn", there are songs like "Dab About It", "Keep It Pushin'" and "Hope it Works Out" where he sincerely mourns friendships and the potential of lost proteges. It's justifying his negativity, revealing more of his inner-life.


Yes, he’s spitting vicious venom at traitor friends throughout the record but he’s honest about that coming from a place of hurt, honest about his concern and doubts about his loved one’s life choices. His acid only comes after what must have been earnest attempts at salvaging relationships- or not, who knows but the songs tell a familiar and engrossing social story with distinct and unafraid sonic dressing.

Songs like "Anyway" and "Faded" showcase the extent to which Sufok8 and he have become a solid tag team of MC viciousness; particularly on "Out the West" where they use recurring phrases that seem to be updates of N.W.A and Dogg Pound cadences like "another bottle will numb it" for '100 Miles n Runnin' and "out the west, little homey what it is" for "Daz Dillinger's "What It Iz". I remember Sufok8 looking young as hell at SDAV shows and Hvlloween telling me he was next. His many appearances on the record show his flow and growl have grown. "King Me", "Dopest In The I.E." and more explain what keeps Hvlloween hunting for something more in life than the grime you hear in so much of his records: the desire for greatness, the willingness to hustle and make the best of an artistic life. With production from Hvlloween himself, Ac3 Beats (on the particularly lush banger "Keep it Pushin" and another), Cutta Chase, MBIII and more, the record is a more than worthy culmination of the pain, bile and growth Hvlloween's and the Grey Entertainment catalog leads to. 

There's more at work than just the blending of horror and emotional journal proclivities- even the commitment to quality rap styles in single and double-time, over boom-bap and newer production styles shows a dimension of I.E. pedigree to their genre leanings.

I admire their proletariat honesty, from funny lines like "smoke the fire and I love it/smoke a little higher than my budget" to the admission of feeling like music dreams are going nowhere at times, to feeling like relationships were failures- the more honest it gets the more relatable it is because the truth is all independent artists experience the trials and tribulations detailed here in gory exaggeration and relayed loudly by a seasoned creative who masterfully presents here his particular portrait of a frustrated but unbowed artist with his sweat on his brow and a shovel in hand.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It Was The Realest Shit He Ever Wrote: Review of Ital Santos' Decem

Ital Santos, the artist formerly known as Jynxx, recently released a well-curated collection spanning the first ten years of his career called Decem. Meditating on it a few times over a few months makes me think deeper on his double album The Transition. I always thought of the title as referring to the time in his life and his mindstate while creating the album but now I realize much of his career reflects the transition that West Coast Rap itself was going through in the first decades of the twenty-first century.

The music community in Cali was going through a Transition that Ital correctly identified- transitioning away from the dominance the 90’s held, transitioning out of losing 2pac and more broadly, moving beyond the Gangsta Rap narrative that had been dominant up through the late 90’s and the end of the century. Ital never lost sight of the idea that older cats go through these things for the benefit of the youth, so that they don’t have to.

You can hear the cultural Transition throughout Decem. The older tracks bristling with a little more trigger-happiness and aggressive masculinity. Their pre-track shout outs sound Death Row-style and Yasin, a frequent Santos collaborator on the earlier works, throws down hard bars over powerful and grimy boom-bap. The later tracks are more chill and even stoner-hippie in their wizened observations and wisdom. Noted posi-gawds like Noa James show their earlier more gangster side on older tracks from the collection too: again, the Jynxx / Ital Santos Transition reflects the larger cultural shift, here is a musician who has been here for all that. Songs in between like an addictive R & B number, "Black Brown Soul Revue" sung amazingly by CornBreeze near the end help show Ital’s diversity and vision.

The record's given me a new appreciation for how Ital develops choruses- 'Realest shit', 'Crisis', 'All for the money', 'Rain Check' and plenty more show his understanding of the interplay of the sung soul sample and the rapped refrain but more importantly they are catchy and give his music an enjoyable momentum.  More recent tracks include standout performances from Slick C, D'zyl 5k1 and of course a frequent Ital collaborator Mando the DJ on the cut.

Santos shows us his part in local lexicon development with tracks like “the 9”, and the collection’s standout almost-closer “The Realest Shit I Ever Wrote” on which he says "I got friends but sometimes I feel alone." The whole song is a bluesy soul slapper which encapsulates, I think, Ital's desire to shed light on the struggle of people in the I.E. This record commemorates a decade of him doing exactly that, through different collaborators, different eras and personas of the self, just trying to give the I.E. the kind of musical shading and texture so many other hard-up communities have had in the past. He's been busy in this last decade and I look forward to what he produces in his next.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com.