New song from the upcoming Transcendentality EP, “Horizon.”
The meaning of a word depends on how it is used. This is to say that language is essentially contextual, and that a word only has an identity through its relation to its other. A cliché example of this is when one word, in different contexts, holds opposite meanings, as in when “bad” is used to mean “good.” However, it’s not simply that the word means its opposite, as if it’s a case of simple reversal. Rather, the meaning of the word depends entirely on its use, in the context of the system as a whole. “Bad” does not simply mean “good,” but rather signifies a subversive act against the convoluted history of an oppressive language system.
As specialized languages develop, such as the technical languages of the sciences, or the idiosyncratic vernaculars of sport, for example, words take on a multi-layered etymological history. This rich etymological history of a specialized language can often make it difficult for an outsider to penetrate the particular culture that the language belongs to. On the other hand, when said culture, despite its technical language, becomes popularized, through enticing ideas or images, it is often the specialized language that is the first to be appropriated and watered-down. This is because an outsider, who may not understand the etymological history of a certain term, will take it at face value. It is this superficial appropriation of terminology that helps spread the popularity of the culture. Eventually, the outsiders outnumber the specialists, and the culture itself is reduced to its superficialities.
To the people who consume hip-hop on the largest scale, and who have therefore appropriated it’s signifiers, Iggy Azalea is a more definitive representation of what hip-hop is than someone like, say, Marley Marl, to name one example. This type of watering-down of a culture is inevitable. Once a culture comes to be dominated by outsiders, in other words, once the consumers of a culture outnumber its participants, its meaning shifts from the technical usage to the superficial usage. This is an inevitable result of a culture’s “success.” Hip-hop is one of the most “successful” cultural movements in recent history. As a result, hip-hop has become fashion, a costume you wear on the weekends; hip-hop is something you buy at the mall.
But this is all too cynical. In some corners of the world, hip-hop is still controlled by its participants. In these cases, hip-hop continues to develop in a way that confounds the outsider. Thursday, April 23rd at the Cavern in Winnipeg, there will be a showcase of artists who continue to interpret hip-hop in just such a way. I am proud to be performing with soso, Nestor Wynrush and Lonnie Ce. The occasion for this show is soso’s new album Not for Nothing. soso, who will be traveling from his home in Saskatoon for this show, is one of the bravest and most authentic hip-hop artists I have ever encountered. He is a musical hero of mine and I hope you will all come down to watch his performance.
Every year when we report Haters assaults on the traditions of the Holiday Rap Convention, the crazy loons begin a vitriolic campaign to diminish me and this event. There is a reason why they are doing that. And it has nothing to do with Iggy Azalea.
Let’s take it step-by-step. No one tells you a person could possibly see a Holiday Rap Convention as an imposition of hip-hop. When the City Hall Holiday Rap tree here in Winnipeg was lighted no one threw themselves to the ground screaming about Dj Kool Herc. That did not happen. Winnipeg police did not round up the onlookers and force them into the Good Will a few blocks away. Nothing like that happened at the tree lighting. It was just a fun occasion.
Also you heard a hater on this program last night say the Holiday Rap Convention imposes hip-hop on him. But hip-hop is not an organized culture that can be imposed. There are many different styles of hip-hop that promote rap in many different ways.
Does the hater think the Holiday Rap Convention is promoting NWA? Three 6 Mafia? Wu-Tang Clan? What? After that interview the crazy Web site People emerged screaming that I’m wrong. Hip-hop is indeed being imposed. These people are so stupid it’s painful.
Hip-hop is a philosophy. You don’t have to believe Afrika Bambaataa is God in order to admire his breaks.
Millions of hipster kids admire Bambaataa as a great selector. In fact today’s pop culture was founded on hip-hop philosophy, that’s what shaped our music and slang. Again if you are stone-cold dumb and don’t understand the difference between hip-hop and rap, I cannot help you.
In 1987, President Eric B. made my point when he sent this Holiday Rap message to the American people, quote, “the Holiday Rap Convention is not just at the Good Will on December 18th, it’s a state of mind. To cherish Holiday Rap and the Good Will, to be plenteous in freshness is to have the real spirit of the Holiday Rap Convention. If we think on these things there will be born in us a Dj and over us will shine an emcee sending their dope lyrics and ill flows to the world.”
That’s from my private collection, by the way. Is Eric B. imposing hip-hop in that Holiday Rap greeting? Of course not. He is promoting a fun time at the Good Will, December 18th. Now the more intelligent haters realize that what I’m telling you is absolutely correct. Historically and scientifically but many of them don’t care, they want any hint of freshness out of the public square.
The haters want a new Winnipeg and the Holiday Rap Convention isn’t a part of it.
Last spring I played a show with a group from Winnipeg called Ghost Twin. The two members and I developed a mutual respect for each other, and ended up becoming friends. Ghost Twin are made up of a married couple, both of whom work in film in Winnipeg. Their dancy goth electronica (for lack of a better explanation) was really unique for this city. And I really value originality over everything.
(NOTE: It’s strange how many film makers I’ve made friends with over the past few years.I hang out with more film people these days than I do musicians. I guess it’s because I really wish I was a film maker. I think film is the supreme art form of our age. It combines visual art, poetry, music and storytelling like nothing else. Although I think film might be dead now too. But what isn’t dead these days? Nothing, that’s what. Everything is dead. And that’s probably why our culture is obsessed with zombies.)
When Jaimz from Ghost Twin asked me to collaborate with him for his solo project, VVINTER RAINBOVV, I thought it would be a cool opportunity to try something different. His goth aesthetic was something I had little experience with; but getting to know him as a person and a musician, I didn’t hesitate to agree to the collaboration. The result came back better than I ever could’ve hoped.
The only direction Jaimz gave me was to write something dark. Well, I’m no stranger to writing songs about death; so I figured I would write about that. No problem there. But I didn’t want it to be too heavy or depressing. So in the second verse, I rap from the perspective of being dead. After all, the worst part about death is the nothingness of it all, the absolute non-being of it. But if you think of death as a different form of being, then it’s easier to talk about. That’s why I think writing from the perspective of being dead lightens it up a little. I’m basically a rapping zombie on this song. And what else are zombies if not a way to deal with our fear of death.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy it.
A few weeks ago I went out drinking and brought my travel mug with me. I filled it with a mix of vodka, mango juice and sparkling water and headed out into some rollicking adventures. But at some point between the last drop being drank and my stumbling feet carrying me home, my empty travel mug became too cumbersome for me to carry and it was sacrificed to the night.
Since then I’ve been bringing my coffee to work in an old, washed-out pickle jar. Apparently, people at my work are very confused by a container containing a liquid that it wasn’t originally meant to contain. “What is that? What’s in there? What are you drinking?” Oh, you mean what is this brownish, milky-substance that I’m drinking at nine-thirty in the morning? Well, it’s in an old pickle jar SO IT MUST BE PICKLE JUICE!
I was a teenager when I began playing shows. By the time I was 20 years old I was well known in Winnipeg’s hip-hop circles as a rapper and, to a lesser degree, a producer. I played a lot of hip-hop shows, put out hip-hop albums and immersed myself in the hip-hop scene of Winnipeg and Western Canada. But as I get older and more experienced, my influences continue to broaden.
When I put out Hearts, it was meant to be a statement that I did not want to be pigeonholed. I only rapped on one of 8 songs. Yet still, people would say things to me like: “You rap kind of strange on that album. It’s not even really rapping. But you’re a rapper, so it must be rapping.” Yes, you’re right! I rap and therefore all I can do is rap. And even when I’m not rapping, I’m still rapping.
I AM THE PICKLE JAR
Nov 10, 2013
@ dead lobster
followed by weird dj stuff
going till morning
no school / work the next day 🙂
don’t be afraid to ask for directions;
look both ways before crossing the road
Do you think God had faith in himself? I mean, if he was so all-powerful and so all-knowing – like everyone says he was – then wouldn’t he have just known he was real? He wouldn’t have needed to have faith.
I mean: if you know everything, you don’t need faith. The definition of having faith is not knowing; faith is not knowing but believing anyways. Faith is not knowing but believing in spite of the fact you don’t know. God wouldn’t have needed to believe. God just fuckin’ knew. It’s too bad
he got hit by a car and died.