Danny Brown- Toothless D-Boy Rap

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Check this man out.  Signed to Fool’s Gold, this guy has made some pretty incredible tunes.  If you liked Action Bronson and A$AP Rocky, this is a rapper to add to your collection.  He is relatively small at the moment but well worth checking out.

The kid on the video is superb.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32RAzqA5UNc

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Managing to rap without front teeth is not an easy feat.

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‘Blowing Big Blunts on the way to Brunch’

Fool’s Gold’s rap compilation Loosies is something that I am looking forward to checking out.  I need some high grade menthol rap to quench my addiction for this new east coast scene.  Bronson, A$AP, and Danny Brown on one album, what more can I ask for?

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Robert Johnson- King Of The Delta Blues and a Modern Day Faust

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Robert was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, probably on May 8, 1911 or 1912.  There are many myths surrounding his virtuosic talent and speed of its acquisition.  He first learned the harmonica then began playing guitar in his teens.  At the time, the blues was an opportunity for someone of his colour to do something than just work as a field hand.  He started clearly as a novice in his teens when one of his early inspirations, Son House, recalls:

“And such a racket you never heard! It’d make the people mad, you know. They’d come out and say, ‘Why don’t y’all go in and get that guitar away from that boy! He’s running people crazy with it!’ I’d come back in, and I’d scold him about it, ‘ Don’t do that Robert. You drive the people nuts. You can’t play nothing. Why don’t you play that harmonica for’em.’ But he didn’t want to blow that. Still, he didn’t care how I’d get after him about it. He’d do it anyway.”

He began following Son House and Willie Brown requesting to play with them but he was so bad they wouldn’t allow it.  He goes back to Hazlehurst and begins religiously practising the blues guitar with a guitar player named Ike Zimmerman.  They would practise in the graveyard upon the stones and tombs so not to disturb anyone and allow them to play through the night.  He soon disappeared and returned shortly after as the guitar master we know him as today.  How was he able to perform such a feat?  It is considered that Johnson made a pact with the devil himself.

If you want to learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and you go to where the road crosses that way, where a crossroads is. Get there be sure to get there just a little ‘fore 12 that night so you know you’ll be there. You have your guitar and be playing a piece there by yourself…A big black man will walk up there and take your guitar and he’ll tune it. And then he’ll play a piece and hand it back to you. That’s the way I learned to play anything I want.”

Many believe that he did visit the crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight and met the large black man there.  His lyrics do little to dispel the rumours as he consistently references Satan and his Hellhounds.  Did he truly make a Faustian Pact with the Devil?  We will never know but it provides ample reason and intrigue to listen to the master of the Blues himself and the best guitar player ever to have lived, Robert Johnson.

Did you notice the face at the top right of the first photo?

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Nice little video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MCHI23FTP8

Desert Island Discs- The Albums I would take into the wilderness

1.  MILES DAVIS- KIND OF BLUE (1959)Image

Arguably the greatest jazz record of all time, Kind of Blue provides me with a sense of pure smokey nostalgia.  A record I picked up back when I started playing in a local jazz group recommended to me by a good friend, this has been on my listening list for a long time.  Miles’ mastery of modal jazz is like listening to pure gold.  The group made up of pianist Bill Evans (Wynton Kelly on one track), drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley just oozes talent and class.  The true masters with this undoubtable masterpiece.  A source of never-ending inspiration to me, this is a must have on my lonesome island.

2.  LOU REED- TRANSFORMER (1972)Image

Glaring sounds from New York portraying seedy cross-dressing sex, lost love, heroin induced romances and other vivid imagery from the leather underground.  Transformer is Lou Reed’s second solo album, produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson and is considered one of the greatest rock and roll record of all time.  It was the first album that really caught my attention and imagination.  The incredible piano part in the romantic Perfect Day and the innovative smooth and dark bass of Walk On The Wild Side are masterful.  Its tongue-and-cheek lyrics have never lost their relevancy I am startled by how astonishingly fresh each song seems.  An album I love, Transformer will never cease to be in my top playlist and for good reason.

3.  ANIMAL COLLECTIVE- MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION (2009)

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One of the wildest and most psychedelic albums I have ever encountered Merriweather Post Pavilion is a piece of art compiled with all the sounds of my childhood.  The synthadelic sounds are nothing short of mind-bending and this album deserves credit for its beautiful harmony, watery  melodies and innovative driving beats.  Like alien tribal dances or trippy baroque chorals each track provides its own personality and vaguely hypnotic stories.  The album is a concept created from dreams and takes you on a journey through intensely colourful soundscapes.  Ever since I discovered this album I have used it as a form of therapy to ease me on journeys or carry me through restless nights.  A truly beautiful album from a brilliantly unorthodox band.  The Pavilion is a place I would regularly need to visit on a desert island.
4.  OTIS REDDING- THE DOCK OF THE BAY (THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION) (1987)Image
On a desert island, I would need to take my soul, and that soul comes in the form of the spectacular voice of Otis Redding.  The greatest soul and rhythm and blues singer in my eyes, Redding really does have so much love in his voice.  An album to help me retain my humanity, The Dock Of The Bay is a perfect example of songwriting triumph.  In other words, Otis is the man.  How could I leave the open throated “King of Soul” or his album of absolute gems.  An incredible compilation of an incredible voice and my favourite voice.  One of the greatest things to come out of the last century and one of the most influential sounds in my life.
5.  JOHNNY CASH- AMERICAN IV: THE MAN COMES AROUND (2002)Image
The last album released before the death of the legendary Johnny Cash, American IV: The Man Comes Around is one of the most poignant and violently life changing albums I have ever listened to.  Each track is a masterpiece within itself made only greater by Cash’s instantly recognisable southern drawl.  The majority of tracks are covers cut down to Johnny’s ‘spare style’ with impressive grace and each, when played, fills the room with the presence of the late Johnny Cash himself.  Each song has managed to tear holes in my heart and inspire me in many strange ways.  This album is a masterpiece that I could not easily live without and has such stopping power and incredible narratives it is the most suitable totem and salute to the man and legend himself, Johnny Cash.  Deeply moving and meaningful this album means a lot to me and I would never leave it off a list like this.  A triumph of class and simplicity, unbeaten and unbeatable.
JFTP

‘Women are into fashion, men are into style, style is forever’- Top 5 icons of Men’s Style

The above is quoted from Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana, one of the kings of style, and sums up the relevance and lasting qualities of a man with true presence.  This list will comprise of my personal favourite masters of style, these are the men who have shaped the way real men dress today.  They are the icons of style.

STEVE MCQUEEN

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The highest-paid film star of his time, Steve McQueen had a rebellious nature that complemented his onscreen American antihero persona and earned him the nickname “The King of Cool”.  McQueen looks effortlessly stylish wearing rugged American sportswear and simple British heritage brands this was the man.  A global star cut down in his prime dissevered of a place in this list.  His impact can be seen echoing throughout menswear even now showing his deep impact in the world of mens style. Image

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JAMES DEAN
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The Rebel Without a Cause James Dean set the standard with his iconic moody look.  His casual attire sums up what it is to be cool and he wears his grin with a deep embedded attitude born from his everlasting style.  With his influence spreading to today in actors such as James Franco, Deans style is yet to be lived up to and is the most sought after status in the world of mens style.  A true game changer and the archetypal figure of 50’s youthful rebellion, Dean’s plain white tee is enough to dress the finest of men down.
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GREGORY PECK
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Known for his Academy Award-winning performance as the handsomely attired attorney Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, Gregory Peck looks like a gentleman anywhere in the world with his flannel suits and his quintessential Southern attire.  A man of taste and style his dress code perfect for most occasions.  The most stylish gentleman in Hollywood.
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MARLON BRANDO
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It is said that there has never been a man with more style or coolness than Brando and that there never will be.  He is the messiah of men’s style.  A notorious bad-man with a penchant for violence, Brando is a figure who cannot be missed when examining what it is to be a style icon.  He inhaled fashion and exhaled style.  Inspiring a generation with his tough talk and brooding mannerisms not only was he a spectacular actor but an iconic figure with an unavoidable recognition in the world of style.
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JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT
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My final icon- Mr Gordon-Levitt has not been around as long as the others but he’s standing his ground yet.  Soon to join the ranks of his predecessors in style, Gordon-Levitt was a wild card I chose to add for a number of reasons.  His choice in outfit seldom disappoints with his fresh style that stands out in modern day menswear.  Mixing 20’s and 80’s styles his cross generation outfits are suited to impress.  With the release of the sic-fi title Looper I believe Gordon-Levitt is the one to watch with a clear eye for style.
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Smoked Bourbonism- Tom Waits, The growling pianist

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Smoking

Thomas Alan “Tom” Waits (born December 7, 1949) is a man of distinctive musical persona.  He meddles with pre-rock styles such as jazz, blues, vaudeville and a small amount of voodooism.  Mix this with a seedy, smokey bar and a bottle of insanity you can begin to understand his style.  His voice is described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding;

“like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.”

This is pretty close to the truth.

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 Drinking

 His exploration of american low-life is not only darkly poetic but touching.  His penchant for the strange, skewed hats, cigarettes and whiskey have characterised him in modern culture. The guardian says;

”Those echoes, on any given album, may range from Brecht and Weill to vintage Jagger and Richards, as well as Irish ballads, nursery rhymes, the blues, and Beat poetry. His music borrows from both the traditional and avant-garde traditions, and owes as much in its technological primitivism to the field recordings of old blues singers as to the innovations of experimental music pioneers such as Harry Partch, who made his own hybrid instruments.”

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Smoking

I enjoy Tom Waits not only for his music but his completely unorthodox approach.  It is admirable and distances him from the modern damned world of popular music.  He is completely down to earth yet so far from it which makes his music so relevant to the time and even more important.  Image

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His combination of genres and use of alternate cover songs sung with his black gravelled voice make his albums some of the most compelling compilations of music I have ever listened to.  His gritty and grimy tones could suggest his songs are born out of a drunken torpor however I am a strong believer that this man is a perfectionist.  The stories told in his songs have been immortalised and his relevance is shown through the sheer length of time he has been performing at sell out venues fuelled by his strong cult following.

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His eccentric genius will not be forgotten as his popularity has not ceased in the stead of pre-pubescent and middle aged chart domination.  His current popularity is a testament to individuality.  He is undoubtedly a world shaker.  Long may he growl and thunder.

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Waits with Iggy Pop

Obamarama- The Most powerful man in the world

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Hazey Hendrix Indianna Jones

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Kicking Back

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Chocolates

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Obama-Romney swing off

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Expanding minds

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Bomber

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The man who won.

I am glad for the states.

BRONSOLINI- THE MANY NAMES OF ACTION BRONSON

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For a long time I have sought a rapper with the talent and contrast to interest me.  With the rise of OFWGKTA and the ‘selling out’ of Snoop Dogg I have felt neglected by the hip-hop community.  The contrived nature of artists such as Tyler the Creator and his motley crew leave me with Mos Def or looking back upon the past.  With Watch the Throne providing me with average entertainment over last summer the discovery of this man restored my faith in the tumultuous world of hip-hip.  Enter Action Bronson.  Image

The Albanian culinary king originating from Queens, New York gave me a sense of nostalgia when I first encountered his romantically unstable Brunch (link given below).  He has gained notoriety for stylistically resembling Ghostface Killah whilst masterfully responding with,

“Yeah, I mean at the end of the day, it’s all good because Ghostface Killah is one of the best rappers alive, so if I sound similar to the best rapper alive then that is fine. To me there is no comparison; he is a legend and I am a newcomer. If I would try and emulate with anyone it would be Kool G Rap, he is the person I look up to the most. I am not upset but at the end of the day I am my own person and no one can take that away from me.” 

However,

“don’t ever say my fucking music sounds like Ghost’s shit.”

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His 3 studio albums are well received and I highly remember checking them out.  He even has a cooking channel and is a guru of the culinary arts.  His food references are never ending and form his style, something I admire and adds to his originality.  Tracks such as Ron Simmons and the mellower Love Letter are two highlights for me using beats taking you there to Brooklyn.  His albums resemble a New York mixtape full of retro sounds and beats taking you back to pre-Bad Boy Records.  He says that he doubts we could relate to his culinary preferences — and you’re going to have to trust me on this — you might find yourself with a new penchant for some bucatini tossed with razor clams.

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 Bronson ‘twisting joints like a contortionist’ TURKEY BAGS

GONZO WISDOM

‘The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.’ Hunter S Thompson