Tag Archives: Pitchfork


Classic, 2011

Pitchfork opened their review by calling M.E.D. “the rap equivalent of a middle-relief pitcher asked to go eight innings,” and while I get the sentiment I think it underestimates both the artist and the hunger fans feel for music like his. It’s true: there’s nothing surprising or cutting-edge about this record, but in an era where Iggy Azalea and Meghan Trainor are afforded commercial and sometimes even critical cred for high-flash cultural appropriation, the M.E.D.s of the world matter all the more. Somehow along the way it became cool for white journalists to dismiss hip-hop traditionalists, but in 10 years I’m still gonna be listening to this shit and blog monsters will forget they ever pretended to find “Fancy” amusing. Suum clique pulchrum est maybe, but I question the allegiance of any hip-hop fan who can’t find something of value here. Medaphoar will never be major and your mom will never know his name, but the Stones Throw MC puts in the work and he does it with real skill. Classic was aided and abetted by none other than the legendary Madlib, and for my money (and hopefully yours), the material edges close enough to its title to earn more than grudging respect.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/01%20Int’l.m4a]


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“Progressive Three”

Vince Staples
Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, 2014

What impresses me most about Vince Staples’ music is Vince Staples himself. The 21-year-old L.A. rapper isn’t just fierce on the mic; he demonstrates wisdom and substance that put most of his elders to shame. I was particularly affected by a recent Pitchfork profile where he went on record against the glorification of violence and commercialism in hip-hop culture: “A lot of music comes from a selfish place, but there’s no sense of self within it.” That same sophistication is evident not only on quote-unquote conscious material like recent single “Hands Up.” It’s just as obvious on low-profile mixtape cuts like “Progressive 3.” As a blog-buzzed, much-hyped Odd Future associate, Staples could be spending his moment trying to shock or stun the audience into submission. That he’s chosen to spend his capital building something more is inspiring.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/01%20Progressive%203.mp3]

Get it free

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fka twigs
FKA twigs
LP1, 2014

Hype is a weird beast. In the modern hipster-music economy, ruled over by sites more prominent than this one, it almost passes for currency. It certainly has the power to create careers, though it no longer seems able to sustain them. Soundcloud is littered with the bodies of buzz artists come and gone, MP3s strewn about like bleached bones. Hype can’t even guarantee quality per se; it can only tell you when other people are talking about something you haven’t heard yet. English R&B songstress FKA twigs is in the throes of the phenomenon now. The noise has been so deafening, I was reluctant to listen when friends first started talking about her last year. Precious, Pitchfork-ready images like the one you see above didn’t help. But I’m glad I pushed play. Put simply, her music strikes me as the logical next step in female-vocal R&B, the quantum leap we’ve been anticipating for some time. Remember Volta? If Bjork and Timbaland had hit it off, that collaboration might’ve sounded like this. Or if Aaliyah were still alive today … you know the drill. If this, if that. The point is, this is what’s in front of us now, and it’s deserving. I’ve chosen “Pendulum” for its beauty and for the way it makes me feel. For the way it connects the dots between Homogenic and One in a Million. For now, the future belongs to twigs.


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