NEW MUSIC: Black Hippy- U.O.E.N.O.
Kendrick, SchoolBoy, Ab-Soul & Jay Rock Remix The Popular U.O.E.N.O.
I’m not a big fan of hip hop “remixes” where rappers just take a spin on someone else’s track, especially when the original song is still new (I mean, can the artist just have their moment??). It took less than 20 seconds of play time for me to realize that this remix is an exception.
I’m a loyal Drake fan, but sometimes the hubris in his lyrics is even too much for this enthusiast. Responding to the Twitter-spheres exaltation of this week’s new Drake/DJ Khaled collab, one of my wiser followers tweeted: “Before this gets out of hand, let me remind everyone that making new friends will always be cool no matter what rapper says it’s not.”
But while “No New Friends” may be just another showing of typical MC bravado, I think we can all agree that Drake hit the nail on the head with this, the other track he released this week. Girls do love Beyoncé.
“Rihanna represents what young and amazing means today. She is punk and talented. She offers intelligence, energy and pure beauty. Rihanna has what every girl aspires to have. She is the face of her generation.”
- Riccardo Tisci, Creative Director, Givenchy
When I graduated from college and moved into my first apartment, my aunt sent me the Betty Crocker Cookbook as a housewarming gift. I opened it a bit puzzled. The 2011 version looked more like my middle school Social Studies binder than the dulled, leather-bound monstrosity that inhabits my mother’s kitchen. I put it on the kitchen counter where it would look pretty, and only thought about it when I was bored and hungry…simultaneously.
Being an amateur, when I did crack it open it was only to a small section in the back dedicated to easy, 20-minute meals. But as my cooking confidence grew over those first few months out on my own, so did my curiosity. I soon learned why the book was a staple in my mother’s kitchen, and why my aunt thought it to be an essential first-housewarming gift: the woman (Betty, that is) knows how to cook everything. From a simple recipe for mashed potatoes to an elaborate spread for a dinner party, the cookbook is the quintessential one-stop shop.
What’s best about it is that you don’t have to have to know what you want to cook to use it. On a night like tonight - bored of my usual go-to meal (baked chicken breast and a salad) - I opened my cabinet to brainstorm how I could spice it up. It was bleak; I found some canned tuna and a huge bag of rice. There’s only one person in my house that could work with that, and I’m not talking about either of my roommates. I flipped to the “Rice & Grains” section and skimmed to see if there was a recipe that I had secondary ingredients for. Just 30 minutes later, voilá:Spanish Rice.
I substituted a few things based on what I had - red for green peppers, hot sauce and red pepper flakes for chili powder, canned tomatoes for tomato sauce - and the recipe still surpassed my expectations. The rice was fluffy and surprisingly flavorful for how simple the ingredient list was. The time and effort was minimal for a dish that gave my roommates and I a heap of carb-filled leftovers for the coming St. Paddy’s Day weekend. Hell, I was so impressed that I had to write about it!
Needless to say, I’m a BCC advocate. My advice to any current or aspiring home cooks: if you aren’t already, get down with Betty.
Oh HI, Tumblr. Sorry I’ve neglected you of late, especially with all that’s going on! Between Beyoncé setting the stage for her world takeover (seriously, she’s in the news every single day), my two favorite teams in the NFL battling for a Superbowl Bid (Go Niners), Manti Te’O bringing #catfishing to the national spotlight, and of course, the second inauguration of President Obama, I can barely keep my head screwed on straight, much less focus on one pop culture or current event to highlight on my blog.
But even after the whirlwind of the long weekend subsided, and the media started to move on, I continued to hear and see personal notes regarding the hope, joy and celebration felt at Obama’s second inauguration. My mother was one of the 1 million people on the National Mall Monday morning, braving the cold by herself to see what she called “the little brown figure of the president” address the nation at the Capitol. I listened to her story with awe and a twinge of jealousy as she described the feeling of a collective, rather than feelings of two warring sides. She was so proud of us.
Usually cynical about politics and the partisan dead heat that plagues our “system”, I was touched to hear the personal stories of people that attended, cheered, and found hope as our nation rallied around the President and each other. There was such an outpouring of positivity and support on social media and in the news, that I hardly flinched at a racist op ed or hateful critique of the president’s speech that popped up here and there. I was proud of us too.
Regardless of your political preference, I think the next few years for our country will be defined by how we come together (or don’t) to address the issues and tools (e.g. technology, healthcare, privacy, social media, immigration, gay rights) that are moving and growing much faster than politics and legislation. They must be addressed definitively and soon— not for our own futures, but for those of our children. Their futures are our responsibilities to make. This nation is ours make.
As French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre so timelessly said, “There may be more beautiful times; but this one is ours.”
It’s hard for an artist to maintain their independence once they sell their soul to the big, bad major label. This seems obvious of course, but Kendrick Lamar showed us yesterday that some artists try anyway, though often to little avail.
True to his independent roots, Kendrick posted his self-directed music video for “Backseat Freestyle” to TDE’s YouTube channel (Top Dog Entertainment, abbreviated TDE, is the formerly independent label that signed Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy) and tweeted the link out to his loyal followers. No more than a day later, the widely-circulated and talked-about video has been removed by UMG - another reminder to fans that the content we get from our favorite artists may not be theirs at all.
It was a big day for Kendrick Lamar fans, though we’ve been saying that more often than not since his debut major label album, good kid, M.A.A.D. city dropped in October. The album was met with significant praise by fans, critics and hip-hop royalty alike. This morning, Jay-Z, the king himself, gave hip-hop fans an extra happy New Year when Life+Times’ DECODED series featured Kendrick’s “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst.” DECODED features a rapper breaking down the meaning behind his or her own lines - like Rap Genius, except straight from the horses mouth. But the authenticity and emotion of Kendrick’s lyrics and affect, make this DECODED more poignant and brilliant than Rap Genius ever could.
But our New Year’s gifts from Kendrick weren’t done! Later this afternoon, he tweeted the link to his new music video for “Backseat Freestyle,” just his second set of visuals from the album. The black-and-white clip features typical rap video imagery like cars with suicide doors and booty-shaking girls, but it also juxtaposes images of Paris, Compton and even the rapper’s eccentric “father.” You have to see it for yourself (NSFW).