First things first: In a new video released to TMZ, Lil Wayne shows himself for the first time since his terrible seizure scare, says he's "more than good," and actually seems like he is. I mean this is a person we all thought might actually die a week ago, and now he's eating lollipops and announcing tours and palling around with T.I.? He's also totally indifferent about his new record I Am Not a Human Being 2 coming out ("my bum-ass album coming out March 26 ... it's 26? You're gonna get that shit or you won't. If not, it's whatever"). Is it because it's secretly a contractually mandated, mailed-in release? Is it because, as is necessitated by any brush with death, he's had all his priorities radically transformed and now just wants to live and think and appreciate ladybugs? Or is it because he knows his last album, Tha Carter IV, sold nearly a million copies its first week despite not being very good, meaning our dude is at a point of lifelong, tween-based fame where he could release the pencil-scratch noises from the latest Trukfit zebra-print-hoodie design session and still move major units? Oh, also: above, his new, surprisingly kind of dope new single.
Back in 2006, when Tony Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe as the Cowboy’s starting quarterback mid-season, College Humor’s Amir Blumenfeld started blogging in the first-person as an aggrieved, possibly mentally-impaired caricature of Bledsoe. It was thoroughly brilliant, but I think the reason I remember it so well is that it was the first time I noticed the fake-first-person Internet-comedy template that would later explode via Twitter. The form is deceivingly simple: come up with three (or fewer) defining characteristics for your character, and then riff on those characteristics over and over. Fake Drew Bledsoe hated Tony Romo, loved cheeseburgers, and was deluded about his own abilities to the point of mania. My favorite recent flash of genius in the genre was the GoodEffortKid, who (before apparently deleting his Twitter account) was predicting such things as the Miami Heat’s eventual conquest of “8 hustle trophies.” And the reason I bring this up is that Kitty Pryde — the teen ginger Tumblrwave rap sensation who played her first-ever show at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory on Friday — is sort-of a flesh-and-blood version of this single-serve Internet-character joke.
This Bad-era demo will be seeing release on another posthumous MJ album dropping in September, this one a purposefully unfinished collection of odds and ends. According to Jackson’s recording engineer Matt Forger, “One of the main intentions is to show that these are works in progress. To pull the curtain back. To actually see Michael in his natural work environment, how he directs, his sense of humor, his focus ... His spirit and emotion are totally there. He knew in demos he didn't have to be totally perfect in his execution. So he'd be loose. He'd throw in ad libs and dance or sing or pop his fingers or clap his hands. You just hear him enjoying himself.” Sounds great: Instead of trolling for one more radio hit, as they did with 2009’s Michael — where Akon was pulled in to awkwardly plug in the many holes of maligned lead single “Hold My Hand” — the MJ estate now seems cool with just letting this stuff out, letting it be prodded and poked just as it is. More of that, please.
Maybe it’s because everyone in the music industry has spent their post-SXSW week intermittently napping, or maybe it’s because everyone in the music industry decided to hide all the cool shit from me — but this felt like a real down week for new music. Thank the heavens for Frank Ocean, then, who, to date, still doesn’t know how to take a track off. This one was supposedly slated for the official Nostalgia re-release, which is now not happening. Ah, why nawwwwt, Frank? “Hahaha. What I look like a year later re-releasing my last album? Not icey. Bitch I’m icey.” Also: “ONLY SAYING THAT FOR MY JOURNALIST/BLOGGER FRIENDS. i know my icey-ness is obvious.” Noted.
One of the most intense experiences I’ve had at SXSW so far? The shuttle rides from the hotel into town. The shuttle companies load up these big carrier vans with all matter of random people across multiple demographics and, unexpectedly, many of these folks immediately become carrier van comedians. Banter about classic topics — like European man-purses, hotboxing the car, and labor unions — comes flying fast and heavy, with participants dropping in from as far back as the very last row of these cavernous vehicles. Sometimes, your quip can’t be heard over the din. Sometimes, you really have to shout your quip out. I’ve yet to build up the temerity to join in on these sessions myself, but they are a strange marvel of this “chatty strangers crammed together for short periods of time” situation.
Speaking of people saying things in public — how are our SXSW bands doing with their between-song chatter? (Elegant transition, yes?) I saw what felt like 10,000 bands yesterday in a full day of venue-hopping, and I quickly developed an appreciation for those acts that go the extra mile to entertain their masses. On that note, here’s a quick survey of SXSW: Day 2 stage banter.
As it does every year, XXL has just released its 2012 "Freshman Class" cover, a collection of MCs the magazine has decreed to be ascendant, near-world-conquering types. Considering the basic facts of the exercise — the max number of people that can be represented, the implied attempt at diversity in the selections, the sheer impossibility of getting a bunch of rappers together in the same room at the same time — the omissions and inclusions on this list always piss people off. So, congratulations to: Machine Gun Kelly, Danny Brown, Kid Ink, Future, Roscoe Dash, Hopsin, Macklemore, Don Trip, Iggy Azalea, and French Montana. Now here are the manners and reasons as to why people are mad at you on the Internet right now.
Please, allow this nice gentleman to welcome you to the new Black Keys album. It’s called El Camino, it’s out December 6th, and it is apparently so good it’ll make you want to lease and operate a motel just so you can dance in front of its offices whenever you want.
The artwork for ML's new single is Don Draper outfitted for a futuristic guerilla anime war, but the track — another massive Major Lazer monstrosity, cobbled together from battering-ram bass drums, spare yelps, and good intentions — doesn’t actually have anything to do with Mad Men. Except for that part where Vincent Kartheiser raps in character as Pete Cambell ahhhhhhhh….