beat music

THE PHILANTHROPIC POETRY OF NAS
June 30, 2016 1:26 pm

Who’s World is This? (The World is Yours The World is Yours) It’s Mine It’s Mine It’s Mine, Who’s World is This?

This year, the world clearly belongs to Nas. Everyone else is just living in it.

Nasir Jones–better known by his stage name Nas–is consistently ranked among the top rappers of all time. He’s been spitting bricks about social justice for minorities and growing up in the Queensbridge housing projects since he dropped his 1994 Illmatic, an essential hip-hop classic. Since then seven of his records have been certified platinum–he is an undisputed master, an urban poet laureate.

Even Harvard University can’t deny his profound impact on culture.

In 2013, Nas forged a partnership with the Ivy League School, thus establishing the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship with the broad intention of funding scholars and artists who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with Hip Hop. Now I know what your thinking–Harvard?! But hip-hop is less than 50 years old, has introduced sampling to the general collective conscious, and has been a key factor in not only enabling people of all backgrounds to think critically about society, but also acting as a tool for minorities to offer a strong sense of community and an expression of life through the eyes of the silenced. The Hip Hop Archive & Research Institute and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute will utilize the fellowship to bring in hip hop talent, fund projects, and allow the next generation of underprivileged poets to reach the pinnacle of academic achievement. It doesn’t stop there. In addition to helping pave the way for the next generation of hip-hop talent, Nas also wants to shake up the white and male-dominated tech sphere.

Nas isn’t alone in his assertion that Silicon Vally doesn’t have a diverse enough workplace–especially when you factor in that California is also one of the most diverse states in the country. Even Google admitted they needed to work on diversity when they released this report a few years ago. Then in 2014, the Internet services giant, along with Nas and software mainstay Microsoft, began collaboratively funding an initiative by The General Assembly (GA). The New York-based vocational program specializes in providing scholarships to underrepresented African Americans, Latinos and women that want to persuit a career in software engineering and web design. Pretty cool stuff Nas.

If you’re still unimpressed, Nas isn’t done giving back quite yet either. Nas will be hosting a free music festival for you New Yorkers this summer! In collaboration with his own Mass Appeal Magazine, Live At The BBQ will feature Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Shadow, Danny Brown, and Machine Gun Kelly.

THERE’S SUCH A THING AS NOSAJ THING
November 25, 2015 8:28 am

The West Coast’s hip-hop cannon has had an undeniably pervasive imprint on modern underground music. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.  The G-Funk of Dr. Dre’s Death Row counterpoints with the esoteric heady vibes of Madlib’s Stones Throw. ‘Glitch-Hop’ is the latest  flavor of LA’s eclectic beat-driven stew: a cathartic fusion of bop jazz, funk, disco, and sci-fi theatrics converge seamlessly via laptop sampling tools.

LA-native Nosaj Thing is the intergalactic space capsule by which Jason Chung vacuum-sucks you through your earphones and warp drives you into deep space. Nosaj Thing crafts sharp-edged jolts from the conclaves of empty pockets that fill the corners of your room. He has produced tracks for Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, and Chance The Rapper. He’s remixed an even wider bandwidth of artists including: Portishead, Little Boots, and The XX.

However, This dark matter auteur’s best work is found locked within his full-length records. his palate of sounds is highly varied: Drift was released via Alpha Pup Records in 2009—a label that is also closely related to fellow glitch-hop-innovator Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder henchmen. Drift has been described as a domestic standout of the early dubstep wave; a breathing document of disjointed hiss, cracks, snaps, fluctuations, and bass warbles highly reminiscent of Burial’s Untrue. Home via Innovative Leisure/Timetable continued down the same vein but featured a handful of guests: Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino contributed vocals on “Eclipse/Blue” and fellow J Dilla acolyte Toro Y Moi jumped in on “Try“.  Nosaj Thing’s most recent outing, Fated, came out this past May, again on Innovative Leisure / Timetable, and featured slightly softened edges and layers of dark ambient noise and deep throbbing bass that encapsulate you in a black hole of blissful noise–notable tracks include “Cold Stared” (below) which features Chicago up-and-comer Chance the Rapper.

Fair warning: don a pair of decent pair of earphones and there is high risk of being sucked into Chung’s infectious headspace: it’s a deep rabbit hole to jump into on a whim, but this is music that exists for the audiophile junkies and crate-diggers searching for something completely new and out-worldly. Bon Voyage.