Posted tagged ‘power rangers’

Halloween Hip-Hop Hits

October 29, 2010

Yes, a company DOES sell a zombie Lil Wayne costume.

It’s the holiday season once again, and with this weekend being home to the bloodiest and sluttiest costumes our repressed society can muster, many DJs are wondering ‘What appropriate rap music can I play?’ Since most suggestions online are rife with horrorcore-jocking Flatlinerz-apologists (yes, such people exists) or suggestions like “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me” which, since ‘it wasn’t even close to Halloween,’ is the equivalent of playing “In da Club” on somebody’s birthday*. Therefore, here’s three tracks you can throw on that’ll not only be a monster mash, but a fullblown graveyard smash!


Esham – “Morty’s Theme”

Unfairly pigeon-holed for his affiliation with the gimmicky horrorcore rappers he inspired, Detroit’s Esham is one of rap’s great unsung heroes. Fiercely independent since the late-80s, he’s made his brand of entirely self-produced “Acid rap” that’s seen him cross the globe several times over and even get dissed on the most successful rap album of the past decade. While I think Esham’s 2001 album Tongues is his masterpiece, I’d like to instead focus on his song from the soundtrack of the 1994 direct-to-video horror film The Fear. Distributed by A-Pix Entertainment (Uncle Sam, the killer snowman movie Jack Frost and just about any horror movie on VHS with a hologram cover) The Fear boasted an entirely-horrorcore lineup, hoping to cash-in on the success other independent films were having with all-Grunge soundtracks. Esham seemingly made the unique choice to do a theme for the antagonist without first watching the film, as the song not only has nothing to do with what happens on-screen but Morty himself is given a shrill voice despite being completely silent for the entire film’s duration.

Gravediggaz – “1-800-SUICIDE”

Every Halloween, every rap blogger worth his weight in wax-candy writes about how great the Gravediggaz are, and for good reason. The side-project collaboration between Wu-Tang’s Rza and Prince Paul (the best De La Soul album, and probably two or three of your favorite rap albums too) joined by Poetic, who possessed one of raps most unique voices, the outfit followed the grizzly grotesque themes and made a great, horrifying album. Originally titled (and released overseas as) Niggamortis, Gravediggaz’s Six Feet Deep makes for essential Halloween listening.

Earl Sweatshirt – Drop

15-year-old Earl Sweatshirt’s debut album EARL and its corresponding video is probably the greatest thing I’ve seen all year that doesn’t involve the word “magnets.” An absolute rhyme virtuoso, he’s not only a child prodigy who understand the basics of rapping, he’s mastered them. Here’s a solo cut off of his crew Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s mixtape Radical where things get dark, but with the smile and comedic timing of Pennywise.

Pumpkin Rapper

Yes, this exists.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*I want to say this thought was a Noz-ism, but I don’t remember so I’mma play safe and say “maybe.”

Who Flopped It Better? – “Go, Go Power Rangers!”

March 10, 2010

Rappers heard that guitar solo and said 'DADDY, BUY ME THAT!'

Oh man, do I love the internet. Among the many wonderful things the computer-telephone hybrid known as the information super-highway can give us are the exciting and always-engaging echo-chambers known as Blogs. One of my favorites for years has been Soul Sides, written and directed by Dr. Oliver Wang. In late 2007, he ran a ridiculously fascinating series called “Who Flipped It Better?” where he posted an original composition and two rap songs that sampled it, asking his readers “who flipped it better?”

Wang grew up on classic soul and has the same passion for it that I have for pop culture. Therefore, I thought I’d sample* his idea for my own entirely original series – ‘Who Flopped it Better?’ Today we’re looking at a song near and dear to my heart, the theme from the Emmy and Nobel Peace Prize winning television show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

The Mighty RAW (Ron Wasserman) – “Go Go Power Rangers” (1993)

Composed by Ron Wasserman and Shuki Levy (who handled the bulk of the music for Saban Entertainment’s programming), the catchy anthem was just infectious enough to spearhead Morphin-Mania to the moon and be heard ad-nauseum throughout the show and outside of it, so no matter where you went, the Power Rangers would be “Go-Going” with you. The song itself is the audio equivalent of what the next decade of children’s entertainment was going to become. The repetitive urgent bass subliminally gave the show’s start an importance. The wonderfully obnoxious guitar solo sounds almost like a caricature of dated early-90s rock, appealing to the young audience as an overabundant pseudo-gateway into their older peers’ world. Finally the call-and-response chorus of “GO GO POWER RANGERS!” giving kids all the fun of the sing-a-longs they’ve outgrown, allowing them to have a rallying cry and instant bonding point with the whole neighborhood. There’s a science to sampling, and with nostalgia being more powerful this decade than ever it was only a matter of time before this immortal piece of music was sampled.

Juvenile – “I Got That Fire” (2000, Produced by Mannie Fresh)

1993 AD, the year “Go Go Power Rangers” hit the airwaves, was also the same year New Orleans rapper Juvenile released his debut single “Powder Bag.” While it would still take another five years for him to break nationally with “Ha,” it was his 2000 single “I Got That Fire” that finally brought the two worlds together. Cash Money Records in-house producer Mannie Fresh interpolated several elements of the original orchestration throughout the beat, but Juvenile’s overabundant charisma made the channeling almost unnoticeable. The fact that Juvenile doesn’t acknowledge the beat’s source material at all aids how well the song has aged. It’s not kitschy or gimmicky, just a case of a producer using a melody to help create something new.

Young Dro – “House on Me” (2008, Produced by Young Sears)

Not unlike the child who doesn’t eat the crust of his pizza, Young Sears just took the part of “Go Go Power Rangers” we love the most (the opening guitars) and made an entire beat out of it. The oddly melodic Dro hook works and acts as a great balance for Grand Hustle’s best rapper** to kick meticulously complex and satisfyingly re-playable verses. Dro’s flow is fantastic, his writing is on point and by also not making a gimmick out of the beat allows the song to have an incredible shelf-life.

OK kids, WHO FLOPPED IT BETTA? Mannie Fresh or Young Sears? Juvenile or Young Dro? Kimberly or Trini? SO WAT’CHA WANT?!?!?!

So until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!

*and by “sample” I mean steal.

**You heard me.

This post is dedicated in loving memory of ‘Ag3nt M.O.E.’ Moses Malloy. 1986-2009 RIP homie.

Know What’s Awesome about Christmas? Presents.

December 4, 2009

Ahh Christmas. The season of giving. And receiving. And watching people give and receive. And to spit and retrieve cause I give and receive because I wanna. Yes, the good will toward men is great, as is the feeling of togetherness with friends and family. Lights are cool, snow hasn’t worn out its welcome and the meals are like a do-over of Thanksgiving, only highly customizable so you can have whatever you want. Know why? Jesus was born. Happy Birthday Christ, thanks for the turkey and garlic cheese bread!

But seriously, presents are awesome. All the “I don’t like to get presents” nonsense is nothing more than the mantra of people who can’t give good gifts. Stop being a self-righteous sadsack and step your game up, Eeyore! As for the rest of us who openly acknowledge that getting presents is fantastic, we get just as great a feeling when we’ve NAILED that perfect gift for someone.

What makes the perfect gift? I believe it’s something thoughtful that shakes someone down to their Christmas core. It’s what melts their icey hearts into Figgy Pudding and makes them feel like they just ran down the stairs in footy-pajamas to get what they’ve worked hard for all month at school by not being mean to the fat smelly kid. It’s something not necessarily nostalgic, but rather momentarily returns someone to their idealistic Christmas sensibilities.

What I’m talking about is making grown folks do this:

I stumbled on that clip a few years back looking for some awful Power Rangers Christmas special and it has delighted me ever since*. Being a product of the 80s and a child of the 90s, I was fortunate to have the Ninja Turtles Christmas, the X-Men Christmas, the Power Ranger Christmas, the Nintendo 64 Christmas etc., so I had the warm glow of Consumerism to help me hang ten on a Yule Tide all year round. Honestly, that’s a good thing. It’s not that I needed such things to feel complete, rather it was the joy of having cool stuff that gave me hours of enjoyment and, years later, realizing that I had been part of a movement. These cultural snapshots representing who I was and what my generation was into at the time.

As disconnected as we all get from childhood interests and the more independent our tastes become, our wishlists vary more and these snapshots become a lot more personal. These gifts we get, whether a movie, a CD**, a hooded sweatshirt, a car etc., all represent extensions of our interests. And it’s those gifts that will always remind us who, at that point in our lives, observed those aspects and cared enough to cater to them to give us that extra “holly jolly” around the holidays.

Yes, we’ve had it ingrained in our heads that liking presents is somehow “selfish” and “bad,” and we should faux-reject every gift with “you shouldn’t have,” but let’s be completely honest with ourselves:

Know What’s Awesome About Christmas? Presents!

Until next time, let’s agree to agree!

*I’m pretty sure I’m the reason the Fellini/Chesty Morgan clip is a “related video” too. Sorry kid, but when my highbrow meets my lowbrow it also makes for some holiday cheer.

**In 2009? HA! See you in Hell!