Word The Cat

Word the Cat

swag worth a million: some notes on lil b

Posted by Chris on May 10, 2011 at 11:58 am  

alex macpherson just published a great article on lil b, tyler the creator and sexuality in hip hop. in case you’re unaware, lil b has announced his new record will be called ‘i’m gay’. he’s not gay, but he does play with his sexuality, calling himself that pretty bitch and freestyling “niggas on my dick cos i look like a princess / bitches on my dick because i look better than them” (4:28).

a lot of this comes down to taste, but in terms of swag, lil b kills absolutely everyone. if we are going to draw an artificial comparison, tyler is technically very very strong but in an age of information, technical skill is only one piece of information. a highly prolific, chaotic, public profile is A LOT. think of wiley on Ustream… that’s a lot of information, but in these times, that chaotic information will organise itself (e.g. wiley’s strawberry jam endorsement) with a little help, or with an overarching narrative, like #BASED or #swag. all of a sudden tweeting “Ladies go suck that mans dick that works hard and is trying everyday to find himself work a job and stay positive, suck his dick – Lil B” is #BASED and the people say:

“Being based is being positive and not worrying about other peoples opinions about you. Keep hating, we’ll be here with Basedgod looking at the bigger picture, questioning the secrets of the universe on a based level. You’ll be on the computer insecure, unaware of your own flaws, dissing LiL B because you just don’t understand smh” countchunkula

this also ties together a really varied, experimental approach to producing content. whether it’s a dictionary book, mixtapes, or trying to turn himself into a god:

the point is that in an age of manipulate-able information, you CAN turn yourself into a god. and that’s swag.

musically… there’s a lil b record of spoken word over beatless synth pad productions which is also #RARE called ‘rain in england‘. to re-emphasise, this is a long way from what is expected… and is from a record containing 67 minutes of this. you have to respect how uncompromisingly hard that is… here’s the final track:

Lil B – God Kissed Me

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occult cyberfraud / industry hustle

Posted by Chris on April 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm  

samgeall links to an article on the relationship between occult practices and cyberfraud in ghanaian popular culture…

Sakawa: On Occultic Rituals and Cyberfraud in Ghanaian Popular Culture by Joseph Oduro-Frimpong [pdf]

this may sound obscure but let’s just think of occult practices as means to an end. when riki lake or oprah tells guests they must love themselves before they can love others, that is a form of re-imagining, a means toward an end which is itself a form of magic.

maybe this is a way to achieve success in the music industry, which all things being equal, is becoming a realm of hype (“collective fantasies”), and “emprically unproven relations between phenomena” which require will require “new magic for new situations”. in a world in which concepts, economies and tectonic plates are becoming increasingly unstable we no longer need a “coherent, ordered system”. in fact, ask the israeli army, who use deleuze and guattari to plan urban warfare, using means and ends alone is usually the most direct approach. this is itself an occult approach, bypassing accepted models to visualise a situation and force it into happening. ritual magic usually involves some kind of exchange. redemption/transcendence through sacrifice has been around for as long as there has been people. producers with an occult hustle should probably read the small print and make sure they’re not the ones getting crucified.

“It is in view of conceiving of occult discourses in our contemporary world as “new magic for new situations” (Comaroff and Comaroff 199: 284) that I approach sakawa narratives as ‘collective fantasies’ (Tholden van Velzen and van Wetering 2001: 18). In adopting this notion as a way of understanding these narratives, I am not suggesting that it is a coherent framework shared by all Ghanaians to explain the connection between the enactment of occultic practices and the success of cyberfraud. The concept lies allows for certain flexibility in exploring “new possibilities . . . with empirically unproven relations between phenomena . . . without the necessity of turning them into a coherent, ordered system” (Meyer 1995: 248). Within such system, collective fantasies “often employ the realm ‘realm of darkness’ in order to express and clarify existential questions” (Meyer 1995: 248). From this perspective, I demonstrate how sakawa narratives are popular in Ghana precisely because they express discontent with certain economic and social situations in the country. Such an expression, as couched in sakawa narratives, is a “retooling of culturally familiar technologies” (Comaroff and Comaroff 199: 284) of previously existing narratives involving religious beliefs and (alleged) practices that go with satanic/occultic riches (Meyer 1995).” (4-5)

the article contains analysis of the relationship between popular culture (video films) and the political elites to sakawa. i’m not ghanaian and i’m not an anthropologist so i won’t go too deep into it, but here’s the synopsis of the climax of the film Dons in Sakawa:

“At the Shrine of Calipha, Lord Bokka makes the supplicants aware that each has a “golden rule” to observe that ensures their continued success in the cyberfraud business. Although these ritual rules are not made explicit to the audience, as the film progresses, one becomes aware of them. Thus, for Mike, he had to find and be sexually intimate with a mad woman once a month. Justin had to be faithful to Stacy (his girlfriend for several years), and not have any other sexual affair. Hakeem was not supposed to use his wealth to cater for the health needs of his mother and younger female sibling.

However, all the friends flout these rules. Mike discontinues with his monthly sexual escapades with mad women, which results in his eventual madness. Justin becomes attracted to a young lady and jilts Stacy. One day while Justin and his new-found love were coming out from a fashion boutique, Stacy confronts him about his inconsiderate behavior but Justin snubs her. Stacy pulls out a gun, shoots Mike and then commits suicide. With Hakeem, although he initially refused to pay upfront, the needed funds so that the mother could be attended to, he finally gave in after reflecting on how his single-parent mother had struggled to see him through his university education. Soon after Hakeem’s mother’s was released from the hospital, Hakeem visited her at her home. On his way out, Lord Bokka appeared in the courtyard of Hakeem’s mother to demand Hakeem’s soul. A Christian pastor of the church Hakeem’s mother attends was present and the pastor decided not to allow Lord Bokka to take Hakeem’s soul. This impasse results in a spiritual fight between the representatives of Good and Evil where the latter lost and Hakeem redeems his soul.” (7-8)

like a french ethnographic museum…

Posted by Chris on November 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm  

….context we don’t do

4 year old synth tracks we do

ruff sqwad – forwardish (instrumental)

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low deep – never see me fall

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and up to the time….

metadata left Blazin

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time flies up here

Posted by Chris on November 18, 2008 at 11:43 am  


one of the biggest group (self-)deceptions carried out by people who write and think about music is that there is something called progress that goes hand in hand with something else called innovation. this deception persuades people that a piece of music has some sort of objective value – the same trick is often used to persuade people to go into debt so they can own a plasma screen/blu-ray player/nuclear deterrant.

what this way of thinking conceals is that the only value a musical thing holds that can hope to be objective (by achieving some sort of effect external to the creator’s psychology) is its use value. this value does not lie in the thing itself, but in the use that is made of it.

the only use made of a lot of music is to keep journalists and other industry people in a job.

the imitation of this model by unwaged music writers (like me and possibly you) only serves to uphold it by giving it some sort of naturalised legitimacy.

this model also frequently ignores the idea that music which wasn’t made in the last 5 minutes can also do things to the listener (and be useful in other ways) that new releases reach for and fall short of.

anything you do has probably been done before, but this only matters if you put undue stress on having to do something new.

of course signifiers such as ‘ahead of their time’ and ‘lost genius’ can come into play here, but this only holds up if you think time is a) moving along a graph of increasing novelty b) something you can be lost from.

here is some new music and some old music (not in that order).

M:I:5 – untitled 8 (from ‘Maßstab 1:5′ released in 1997 and found via this useful place)

micoland – deeper than skin (from 2008. full free release here. _space)

repeat again again

Posted by Chris on March 12, 2008 at 2:41 pm  

“listening is a spatial temporal phenomenon” said Pauline Oliveros.

Listening can be a linguistic (structural) phenomenon too. This one bends.

AGF – letters make no meaning 192k 8mb from / buy

language as symbol.

elephant man – fuck u sign (sign riddim) 192k 4.7mb

I’ll race you down.



In a parallel world, a 1st generation of bloggers despairs. Keep yr head up peoples. Let’s form a soviet and enjoy the fall.

binaries deposed (on the bed or on the dresser or even out of doors)

Posted by Chris on January 11, 2008 at 1:44 pm  

140bpm reductionism here.

This idea of the ‘hardcore continuum‘ (post-rave permutations) in uk music has been coming up a lot recently. I wasn’t sure if it even bore comment up til now, but it won’t go to bed so here goes:

I’ve always been suspicious of people who write about music (myself included), and more suspicious of people who write about music professionally (disclaimer: this isn’t meant vindictively). When writers erect enclosures around ‘their’ patch it is for reasons that have more to do with the way they perceive themselves than anything in the object they’re describing. It’s very hard to have a problem with this because all description is a dialogue between object and describer. However, it does grate when these descriptions are presented as gospel and when, by virtue of being taken as gospel, they start to become accurate – in other words when people start thinking in those terms and create objects which match that understanding. A blatant example (which non-UK readers might not be familiar with) is Nathan Barley – a send-up of trendy east London culture which gave unimaginative scenesters the perfect template for their scene. In dubstep this might mean making a tune that references 93 hardcore – which is great and all, but not if it’s exhaustive – that’s just too easy, and boring.

BokBok writes:

“I’m not normally one to be so dismissive, but isn’t the hardcore continuum just a way for older guys to relate to these off-the-wall kids making totally new original stuff that, aesthetically at least, bears little resemblance to the genres that the ‘Nuum designates as their supposed predecessors.”

I suppose the crux of this is – why should we care which other genres dubstep/bassline/grime/funky find themselves sitting next to? For professional writers the answer is simple: ‘because I get paid to tell people this’. and in many ways more power to them if they can persuade someone to pay them to do this – I just wish people didn’t listen so intently.

The best and worst bit in the ‘FACT’ (watch that name) piece linked above is where k-punk writes:

“Much like 2-step before it but in many ways more emphatically, the ‘feminine pressure’ of bassline is reminiscent of feminist theoretician Luce Irigaray’s claim that women have sex organs ‘just about everywhere’. The cartoon body implied by bassline is contour-less and polymorphous, lacking in specific erogenous zones because entirely given over to a diffuse eroticism.”

I like this description a lot – but why make it specifically feminine? Music and music writing as constructive rather than reductive.

music is music, everything is everything (reductive yes, but liberating in its absolute reduction). we don’t need to map our own binaries onto music (screwface/smiley face — masculine/feminine — skunk/MDMA). music takes you past that.


(image: ‘Emergence’ by Ala Ebtekar)

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