Dive into the archives.
- Shotgun Rainbow
This doesn’t really need any comment, although I will say that if you reproduced this effect inside of a gallery, you would be described as a genius.
Brother/Genius Lok Jansen did this drawing of me after I begged him. Check out his work here. It’s amazing.
- What it feels like to be a jettisoned space shuttle booster
From the upcoming Special Edition Ascent: Commemorating Space Shuttle, a movie from the point of view of the Solid Rocket Booster with sound mixing and enhancement done by Skywalker Sound. Full screen and space age speakers recommended.
- Tears on the Dancefloor
In time for Valentine’s Day, Half Love 2 – hip hop, house, r&b, and disco from a dark place.
Expensive Jewelry – Tears on the Dancefloor
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Lonely – Corrina Joseph w/ Bassment Jaxx
Forever More – Moloko
Falling Again – Wookie w/ Ny
Go – Meleka (Crazy Cousinz remix)
Why you treat me so bad? – Club Nouveau
Just be good to me – SOS Band
Don’t be cruel – Bobby Brown
Who is it? – Michael Jackson (IHS remix)
Bleeding love – Leona Lewis
Air valley – James Welsh
Sadness is a blessing – Lykke Li (Gold Panda remix)
Whenever you’re around – Jill Scott (Jason B remix)
Young hearts run free – Candi Staton
Don’t leave me this way – Thelma Houston
If you should ever be lonely – Val Young
Situation – Yaz
I wanna dance with somebody – Whitney Houston
That’s the way love is – Ten City (Deep house remix)
Another sleepless night – Shawn Christopher
You used to hold me – Ralphi Rosario w/ Xaveria Gold
Jesus. This is a terrible couple of weeks for American music.
- Density Designs New Language
During a recent Flickr expedition, I stumbled upon this collection of illustrations created by Milano-based Density Design for Corriere della Sera. There are 11 in total. I’m including 5. Even greater intelligence, rigor, and beauty is on display at densitydesign.org. Go there.
- Don Cornelius: Rest In Peace, Love, and Soul
The documentary above says more about the epic scale of Don Cornelius’s contribution to culture than I can. RIP
PS – Here is ?uestlove’s tribute (via Okayplayer):
you guys see this bag?
this bag has NEVER left my side for the past 14 years. I deemed it imperative that i NEVER part with it. you can imagine the arguments i’ve gotten into with flight attendants over that bag. this bag is my blue blanket to my linus. i carry that bag everywhere cause the future is in this bag. and by the future i mean our past. and by our past i mean Soul Train.
Don Cornelius was my first non musical non celeb non blood related hero.
its amazing timing that my arrival on earth and his greatest creative manifestation came within 9 months of each other. both symbolizing a new hope for urban america.
most won’t get it til now (especially now that he’s gone) but i pray that Don knew of the appreciation he had in all of us born after 1968.
you people will have to forgive me…im just kinda writing from the heart….sporadic thoughts tears and snot are spilling out and whatnot. im certain dream and toure and nelson will do his legacy justice in print….i just felt the need to write something.
i just wanna use my position to really let people know that next to Berry Gordy, Don Cornelius was hands down the MOST crucial non political figure to emerge from the civil rights era post 68. the craziest most radical thing of all is i don’t even consider Soul Train his most radical statement. yes the idea of the young black teenager NOT mired in legal trouble on the 6 oclock news getting camera time was a new idea to most…so of course the fact the U.S. really got its first vicarious look at our culture was amazing.
but the TRUE stroke of genius in my opinion was how Don managed to show US how important we were. which was NOT an easy task.
not by premiering the newest jam by james brown
not by focusing on the latest dance craze
not by the crazy outfits….
ill tell you how Don really made a radical statement. and he himself acknowledges it:
Soul Train had double duty, to not only produce a show, but they also had to provide ALL of the production for the Johnson beauty products commercials that was funding the show. often using the set and the soul train gang (they became soul train dancers in 1976) as lead actors.
ok ahmir so where are you going with this?
the genius of it all was THIS was the first time that black people were proud to be called AFRICAN.
psssh before 1971?—i mean on the real…til like the early 80s on some schoolyard insult game ish? if someone called you “african” that was the most insulting degrading lower than low “im finna f**k you up” type of insult.
i know right? why?
to control our mentality during the slave period we were taught we were the lowest of low.
to control us AFTER slavery during the jim crow era we were taught we were the lowest of low.
the first introduction to entertainment (of which we were allowed to participate) was minstrel entertainment an over exaggerated buffoon display of shame and ugliness that we STILL CARRY TO THIS DAY (minus the makeup) (hello hip-hop….but that is another piece altogether).
to say with a straight, dignified face that BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL was the RISKIEST radical life-changing move that america has seen. and amazingly enough for one hour for one saturday out the week, if you were watching soul train….it became contagious. next thing you know you are actually believing you have some sort of worth.
the whole idea of Afrocentrism in my opinion manifested and spread with Soul Train in its first 6 years.
i saw the impact it had on my mom and dad and how they let the impact trickle down to my sister and me.
i mean i was BORN into it: so i came in this world thinking every african american had it just like i did: some funky dressing, proud, knowledgable parents who since birth exposed me to every record known to man and who kept my crown (make no mistake, i’d cry “mommy cut it off the kids are teasing me!”) on my head as a symbol that one day i would be “a mighty leader”….lol
seriously, they were like “that afro is symbolic because we named you Ahmir and Ahmir means King and to be a King you must have a crown and to lead you must be knowledgeable!”
and with that…Soul Train was about maybe one of 5 tv shows i was allowed to watch on tv. if it was educational pbs or some other similar program then i was allowed but mostly it was all about Soul Train.
and of course watching it as a baby i had no clue Don was trying to program the minds of an untainted generation. hell i don’t even know if HE knew the grand scheme of things. but somehow we rode each other to glory.
once the vcr age came to be, i started religiously recording all the episodes. and back when i became a signed artist i crafted MANY a Dear Santa letter asking if there is anyway possible i can see an episode or two from my childhood.
don’s people never answered me back.
then my 1st trip to japan came.
got off the plane and noticed a weird liking some of the natives were taking to me. and how they all in their weird communication was trying to say they like my “soul train style”.
puzzled i was like “how do yall know that?”
my translator then explained how Don syndicated 100 classic episod—–
that was ALL she had to say: we were in INSTANT “take me to these tapes NOW!!!” mode.
my translator was startled like “where’s the fire?!” but i had to explain to her ALL of my memories were locked inside this show. and because of my limited tv viewing all the thoughts were still fresh in my head.
it took her about 12 hours but she found someone willing to dub all 100 epi$ode$ for me.
after that i was a man on a mission from god.
and EVER since that day i carried those VHS tapes ANYWHERE i went.
to school people.
my first student? D’angelo.
we had JUST started Voodoo and these Soul Train eps were proving to be a MIGHTY educational tool and a source of energy for us.
and day by day you saw and heard the results.
then i started sharing eps with Erykah and so on…
then this artist and so on…
and that artist and so on….
soon after once mini TB drives came into fashion i then started carrying around endless hardrives of Soul Train eps (i got about 400+) sharing with ANYONE within eyeshot a history of a people.
even my thursday night regular spot (Bowl Train at @brooklynbowl) is just an excuse for me to watch my all time favorite show on a movie screen.
Don has left a legacy behind that i will PERSONALLY carry on until i can’t carry anymore.
Soul Train to me is the GREATEST creation and inspiration of my life. i literally watch 5 eps a day just as mere background noise (the best roomate ever is a tv….this is why i cannot be a cat from brooklyn) i will NEVER EVER forget its powerful impact on education on pride on creativity on culture and on me.
i love you don.
love and peace.
- ….You are now listening to Araab Muzik….
Araab Muzik is a talented guy from my hometown. He’s produced a lot for Dip Set, especially Cam’ron and last year released an instrumental album called Electronic Dream that ended up on quite a few critic and artist best of lists. His sound is kind of interesting. A few years ago I probably wouldn’t have been into it, but the fact that American music has been taken over for David Guetta-style oonts and sparkle makes the fact that Araab Muzik somehow manages to incorporate and overpower that sound with hard drums and strip club high hats makes it that much more pleasurable to me. He’s also a barbarian on the MPC. See above.
Get him album off iTunes
Araab Muzik – Streetz Tonight
right-click + save target as [windows] / save link as [mac]
- The Power to Make Life a Wonderful Adventure
Charlie Chaplin’s final speech in The Great Dictator
Thanks Galahad for reminding me!
A couple of years ago, I made a post extolling the polymathic virtues of Nathan Myhrvold. I didn’t know much about him, besides what was explained in his Wikipedia entry, but that was enough for me to conclude that he was a source of light in the world. A couple of readers disagreed and made strong cases for why Myhrvold is not the hero I naively presented him to be. Andrew explained:
Nathan Myhrvold is a jerk. He files for useless patents just so he can use them to sue and shake down other companies that actually are innovating. He doesn’t actually invent or create anything. His company Intellectual Vultures does perform a service or make a product that people use; all it does is manufacture litigation.
I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time, but earlier this week I came upon a fascinating and deeply depressing profile of Intellectual Ventures by NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg. The piece is called When Patents Attack and, in the words of its creators, it asks
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.
This infographic discusses some of the facts behind the patent industry and how it’s changed as software, technology, and the internet have developed at an incredible pace. I find the information to say a lot about the state of development and innovation; both how important it can be to everyday life, and the problems it can face on a larger scale.
Thanks to Andrew, Frank Lee and everyone for opening my eyes to this and punching holes in my hero worship.
- Baby Beats Vol 2
Hot on the heels of holiday season, here is the second installment of Baby Beats, my mix series for 5′s and under. Like the first one, Baby Beats 2 is inspired by my nieces Natasha and Arielle and dedicated to kids and parents near and far.
right-click + save link as [mac] / save target as [windows]
- Our Honor
“Unnamed Design” the exhibition I obsessed over for most of last year was named one of the best exhibitions of 2011 by the New York Times in their Design Honors List!:
As for the other design coups of 2011, my vote for the best historic design exhibition goes to the Carlo Mollino retrospective at Haus der Kunst in Munich. The outstanding contemporary shows were “Unnamed” at the Gwangju Design Biennial in South Korea, in which the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei [and co-curator Brendan McGetrick - ed.] challenged traditional definitions of design; and “Talk to Me,” a survey of the frenzied field of communication design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The making of this show was an extremely trying and rewarding experience. The show is now closed and largely destroyed but I’m working on making a publication to provide some sort of legacy. In the meantime, here is an essay I wrote about the exhibition and the experience of making it.
- Immortal Technique at Occupy Wall Street breaking it all the way down:
Immortal Technique – Industrial Revolution
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- Let’s feel old and enjoy this cypher
from the BET awards, featuring Yelawolf, Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5’9″, and Eminem.