The MaxFun Blog

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PBS on iTunes?

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Damn. You know what this means, right? I can hate those blond twins from The Antiques Roadshow WHENEVER I WANT. It'll only cost me $1.99.

Plus we can watch that episode of Scientific America Frontiers where Alan Alda learns how to live forever. I love that one.

Bi-Coastal Action

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Cool event LA... plus our pals at Mortified are roaming the country, and don't forget about all of the Sound of Young America Presents events coming up in the next couple of weeks. Speaking of which: if you live in the Southland and you don't come to Prank the Dean's HBO Comedy Festival showcase on Tuesday the 17th, you're out of the Maximum Fun Club. Sorry, have to draw a line in the sand on that one.

Anyhoo, I'm in the Yay Area for a day or two, after spending yesterday in Santa Cruz celebrating our first pledge drive on KUSP. God bless 'em. My plan for this San Francisco visit: 1) Eat Burrito 2) Eat Burrito 3) Eat Super Burrito.

(note: AWK event in NYC got cancelled, sadly)

"Evan Almighty" cost overruns, Studio exec soul underruns.

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This LA Times article profiles the $160 million plus that Universal Pictures is spending on the Steve Carrel vehicle "Evan Almighty." Studios seem to believe that the more money you spend, the funnier it gets.

The article is full of distressing comments from studio officials, but this one, from co-Chairman David Linde, takes the cake.

"It's based on two story sources: 'Bruce Almighty' and the Bible, both of which were incredibly successful," Linde said.

And Hollywood wonders why America hates them.

(thanks Nick)

Pharaohe Monch - Push

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For hip-hop fans, this record has been a long time coming. When did Pharaohe's first solo, "Internal Affairs," come out? 1999? It's almost 2007.

Pharaohe produced this one himself, with the nice Impressions sample. No one can flow like Monch. Reccomended listening, by the way: Nate Dogg f. Pharohe Monch "I Pledge Allegiance."

The Dynasty Continues

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Jay-Z - Show Me What You Got (prod. Just Blaze)

Jigga's flow gets a bit tripped up in the middle, but the beat is undeniable. Just takes the "grown & sexy" vibe to the next level on this one. Great drums, too.

"Give the drummer some / I already gave the summer some / it's the winter's turn!"

The Sound: Now with Web 2.0 Social Network Mobisodes.

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Yeah yeah yeah, I signed up for Facebook. Make friends with me. Also, join Ryan's Fans of The Sound of Young America group!

Jesse Thorn's Facebook profile

And if you're not on Facebook, there's always Myspace.

Feeling down? Energy flagging?

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There's an easy solution.

Andrew W.K. - You Will Remember Tonight (taken from his new LP, "Close Calls with Brick Walls")

Congratulations to The Human Giant

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Hurray! I saw the news on another website, so I presume I'm allowed to talk about it publicly: The Human Giant have been picked up for a series on MTV.

If you've never heard of the group, it's four folks from the New York comedy community -- standup Aziz Ansari, UCB-NY fixtures Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer, and film-maker / TSOYA pal Jason Woliner -- who make wonderful short films and now, I suppose, a TV series.

If you've never seen their work, allow me to reccomend HIGHLY their Channel 102 series Shutterbugs, which is the greatest thing ever.

Message to the Messengers

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Earlier today, one of my favorite hip-hop blogs, Oh Word, linked to this post I wrote appreciating The Coup's classic "Me & Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Grenada Last Night." The self-same post included a link to a very interesting piece on Big Daddy Kane's use of lyrical irony, and that reminded me that I once wrote a piece that argued for Boots as a Gramscian "organic intellectual," as well as a self-aware pracitioner of the griot tradition. It also related Boots to two folks who had come up in the class, Nikki Giovanni and Gil Scott-Heron.

Anyway, I thought some folks who read this blog might enjoy it. Keep in mind I wrote it when I was 19, and I still don't have any advanced degrees or anything, so... you know... be gentle. Also, like everything I wrote when I was 19 (and shoot, even today), I'm pretty sure I only made one draft :). I must admit that I was too chicken to re-read it all these years later.

Heeding the Message to the Messengers: Boots Riley & the Griot Tradition

The Coup - "Me & Jesus the Pimp"

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There's beauty in the cracks of the cement
When I was five I hopped over them wherever we went to prevent
whatever it was that could break my momma's back
Little did I know that it would roll up in a Cadillac

Why didn't I know that TSOYA listener / king of the rap nerds Noz started a new hip-hop video blog? It's as good as his long-running MP3 blog Cocaine Blunts & Hip-Hop Tapes, which is pretty much the place to be to hear some Hobo Junction single from 1992 and read some trenchant commentary about the little kid who's inexplicably rapping on it.

Anyway, one of the first videos that caught my eye in the collection was for The Coup's "Me & Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Grenada Last Night." I'm pretty sure I think this is the most emotionally powerful hip-hop track ever recorded. The first time I heard it, I cried.

The song, built around a live band and a sample from live Funkadelic 45, is a tragic one. A young man goes for a ride with his father -- a pimp who was recently released from prison. As they ride, the young man considers the values he learned from his father's prison letters, and re-evaluates where he stands in the world.

If you're familiar with the song, check out the video above. If you're not, and you're not experienced enough in the hip-hop world to follow lyrics closely, maybe you should hit play, and open the lyrics of the song in a new window (usually it's right click on the link - then "open in new window") so you can follow along.

The first few times I heard the song, I thought of it as a stirring personal story. The more I thought about it, though, the more I was convinced that Boots intended it as a socialist/feminist allegory -- a commentary on how capitalism mistreats women, and how men are so often complicit in that mistreatment. You might consider that the second or third time through.

Boots' gift as an MC isn't so much his politics, or his somewhat pedestrian Too Short meets Ice Cube flow. Instead, it's the masterful way he can wrap his Big Ideas in relatable terms. His rhetoric is touching... inspiring... even funny. Most "political rappers" traffic in big talk, The Coup traffic in little touches.

PS: if you run into the Coup, let Boots know their Marxist asses still owe KZSC $500. Long story.

PPS: Here's a paper I wrote about the Coup in college. It was quite some time ago, and I was 19, please be gentle.

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