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White Cliffs – Twiddle

When I graduated from college and moved down to LA in the early 2000’s, I was just a wide eyed youngster trying to understand the insane size of this sprawling city. In fleeting moments it felt like I had it under control, but mostly it felt like I was being swallowed whole. Luckily I had a small but comfy apartment, a budget for weed, and a taste for well produced hiphop music. Enter Pete Rock’s classic instrumental album “Petestrumentals,” which became my best friend for a full year after it was released. Whenever the sprawl felt too sprawly, I would race home after work, smoke a massive joint and listen to “Petestrumentals.” It was the perfect remedy – I spent countless nights on my balcony, stoned as sh*t, freestyling to those beats, planning my next move, and just letting my thoughts flow into uncharted territory.

Never did I imagine that my trusty “Petestrumentals” record would become a blueprint for an entire genre (in my opinion). Instrumental hiphop records were pretty rare in the 90’s and early 00’s because hiphop was teeming with skillful rappers, so it was tough to find a dope beat that wasn’t already ripped to shreds by some dope MC of the moment. But these days this style of production doesn’t make the young MC’s flock to it, instead they’re looking for something much more modern. So somehow, this classic hiphop boom-bap style of production was re-born as it’s own genre of instrumental music. It’s like a new form of jazz in a way, and still is chock full of samples, horns, vocal chops, etc, just like the good ole early 1990’s bangers.

White Cliffs is definitely one of my favorite new producers, and his brand new single called “Twiddle” puts his talents on full display. Thoughtful, smart arrangements and sounds mixed with classic boom-bap style snares and kicks makes for a really enjoyable listen. Makes me want to roll something up, stretch out and get to thinking. Here’s to White Cliffs and the rest of the producers out there keeping this style of production alive!


Rationale – Prodigal Son

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Perpetual daughter
Flew from shadows cast upon her

The ghost of her father rests his hand on her shoulders,
Rolling them back, she stands a bit taller-
Conquering her heavy backpack, her aching feet.
The ghost of her mother pushes her heart as she smiles back at other.
Mother smiles at her each night she lays in bed, praying,
And wakes in the morning still with hope.
The ghost of her sister sits across the table as she type, types away, attending murmurs of inspiration.
She flew from shadows
To face their makers eternally
Ran a million miles
Made mistakes
And castles with few bricks
Throughout
Those she knows look back at her by day
I’m nothing like you
I’m just like you
I’m just like me
Just like human
Being,
Being.


Little Ashes – Find The Lost

I’m huge on percussion, so naturally I’m not too into songs without drums. Sure, I understand the concept and reasons, but no drums is as much of a deal breaker for me as girls with ugly hands and feet. So, as “Find The Lost” reached the 1 minute mark without a trace of percussion I started to get worried. To keep it moving drum-free, your voice and lyrics better be top notch, and thankfully Little Ashes keeps our attention with fantastic songwriting. And when the drums finally drop a minute 20 in, it’s extremely satisfying. And then when they drop AGAIN 2 minutes in, it’s a true cathartic release. The build-up and anticipation are executed flawlessly here, and the pay-off is wonderful.

Setting off on a journey to rediscover yourself now has the perfect soundtrack in “Find The Lost.” We all could use a reminder about who we used to be when we were young and pure at heart. As we grow into more evolved versions of ourselves, we can’t lose touch with that pure essence which doesn’t know how to judge, be jealous, feel lack or dread upcoming events. We gotta find that balance, and that’s the adventure we’ve all embarked on, like it or not. The song is an adventure and journey in and of itself, somehow all in under 3 minutes. It almost feels too short, but I love songs that demand you to play them again, and that’s exactly what Little Ashes accomplishes here. An absolute gem of a song, and has given me a slight bit more appreciation for musical moments sans drums.


Pretty Sister – Thirsty

In honor of the copious amounts of salt we all ingested over this fine Thanksgiving weekend, Pretty Sister is back with a new funk-filled track called “Thirsty.” Complete with a fantastic Parliament-inspired bridge/break-down, “Thirsty” is another tale of sun-soaked sexcapades in the wonderful life of Pretty Sister. There’s truly nobody out there creating modern funk and disco music with as much panache as “Mr. Come To LA And F*ck Me” and it’s been a damn fun ride thus far.

I’ve always felt that there’s either two types of entertainment – stuff that makes you think about the issues of our time, or stuff that makes you forget about the issues of our time. Music is no different, and I’ve always preferred music that makes you forget about the crap. Music that reminds you of the joys of life. Music that reminds you of old friends, treasured experiences, and lost nights. Music that inspires you to create something new, or look forward to the future with glee rather than dread. Music that turns your attention to pleasures, excitement and happiness.

Obviously there’s equal merit to music that makes you feel opposite ways, but right now, I’m all about indulging in better thoughts. We’re all thirsty for something – whether it’s a better life, more sex or gallons of water to wash down the giant dinner – and Pretty Sister once again delivers the goods right to your door.


Jay-Z – Can I Live II

I blacks out, I pulls the mack out
Scream what's that about? Then I clap out
I get my plot on and my drop on, through the rotten
Don't even hate on those who hate me, I got Pac on
Feeling it, feeling it, chickens are ice grilling it
Cops pulling it over, Jigga react militant
Speed off, officer told me turn the beat off
I turned it a level higher, then return the devil's fire

I'm raised different, react in situations niggas lay stiff in
Rookies blame it on the age difference
My subliminal flows, create criminal odes
Sing along if y'all with me, til the end of the road
I'm cynical, when in the view of the public
And this is because, I'm defensive when I'm in interviews
The percentage who don't understand, is higher than the percentage who do
Check yourself, what percentage is you?