Something like that, right? Is that what you want?

“Daddy, what’s stream of consciousness?”

My nine year old daughter was in the back seat of our minivan as we were heading home from summer day camp and laid yet another way beyond her age question on me. For a moment, my thoughts went back to when she was four years old and asked me if George Bush was a Christian. And if he was, why would he send people to kill other people if it was murder and breaking one of the Ten Commandments? I think Jean Piaget, developmental psychologist of the early and middle 20th Century, was rolling in his grave to hear a four year old express a question dripping with formal operational thought.

I actually could’ve used Piaget in answering not only the question from five years ago, but the current one that had piqued her curiosity.

“Why do want to know, hon?” I asked her.

“Well, we were talking about rap music today at camp and one of the counselors said that rap was cool because it was like stream of consciousness. So I want to know what that is.”

So, I spent the next few minutes explaining to her what it meant…how random thoughts can be strung together in a seemingly related way to express a thought or mood. Or both.

“Let’s listen to a song like that.”

I knew she’d make this request and I had the perfect one in mind…the Song of the Summer of 2009.

American Sam Spiegel (aka Squeak Spiegel) and Brazilian Ze Gonzales (aka Zegon) came together in 2007 to create a massively cool indie hip hop band called N.A.S.A. No, it’s not your father’s space agency but actually North America-South America…a sisterhood and brotherhood of unity that, quite frankly, our country could really use right now. All of their music reflects this mood quite wonderfully.

On February 17, 2009, the duo released The Spirit of Apollo. There are several great tracks on this record as well as a collection of guest stars like David Byrne, John Frusciante, Tom Waits, Santogold, George Clinton, and a wide variety of rappers and hip hop artists.

The track that really grabbed me, and officially became OCD (Obssesive Compulsive Disorder) song #1 of 2009 (review of OCD #2 to appear here soon) – and what I played for my daughter to illustrate the beauty of stream of consciousness – was “Strange Enough”, featuring the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Wu Tang Clan), Fatlip, and the seriously stunning on several levels Karen O (lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). What an absolute fucking corker of a song!

I think I have played this track every day at least once since it came out in February and, for whatever reason, it has become synonymous with this summer. Virtually everyone I have played it for has downloaded it. It’s rhythm is tight. The mood is intense and the lyrics are just plain cool. “Freak show pantie lover…but I’m getting too old for this like Danny Glover” or “Wild boy cowboy entertainer…insane…Purple Rainer”(special shout out to our Prince loving host of this site) are just two examples of how much fun this song is.

And Karen O’s bit is mega fucking cool. Towards the end of her rap, which is essentially the chorus of the song, she breaks down and giggles, asking Squeak and Zegon, who were presumably in the control room while she did her part…

“Something like that, right? Is that what you want?”

To which, the reply from Fatlip is:

“Perfect.”

No shit. Track of the Summer. Period. Heck, it might even be the Song of the Year but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We still have five months left of 2009. And there is this track (serendipity!) on the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album…

Hear: Strange Enough (mp3)

Buy: Spirit of Apollo

Visit: N.A.S.A. Official Site | MySpace

Motivation

So I’m in the early stages of getting back in the gym groove. With all this dying in the celebrity world lately, and all this talk about failing hearts, it was time to drag my sorry ass back into some sort of routine. I started last week.

You see, I’ll turn 39 next month…
I eat like a horse.
I love Mexican food.
I love pizza and wings.
I love ginormous plates of spaghetti with garlic bread.
I love Crunch Berries, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Crisp, and many other cereals of the junk variety.
I enjoy an occasional beer or four.
And I haven’t exercised regularly in a good 5 months.

I’m 6’4″, and roughly 270 pounds. 250 is my target, though I guess my optimal weight is less than that.

Point being, I’m scared shitless of dying, and I’d like to stick around for a while with my wife and two daughters. Hence the self-ass-kicking that is the gym. The one highlight of my gym experience – like many of you – is the chance to hear and feel music in a totally different perspective. The pairing of energetic music with exercise is a match made in heaven, and is always something to look forward to.

In my few trips to the gym this go-around, these are some of the tunes that have kept the blood pumping. Wish me luck in this latest endeavor, and may the motivation stick around for good this time. By the way, that corporate logo up there? There’s something to it. It’s such a simple & powerful mantra, and it’s what I tell myself over and over when I even think about blowing it all off…

[Click on the album covers to check ’em out.]

LotusAge of Inexperience (mp3) – The only song I can think of that has a chorus of “I stone teenagers for fun” – at least that’s what I hear. This is a great album. If you like electronica, funk, with a bit of that jam band vibe, you’ll like it too.

Velvet RevolverSucker Train Blues (mp3) – Would you believe I hadn’t heard either of the Velvet Revolver albums until a few days ago? “Sucker Train Blues” has everything I love about the Guns n Roses Use Your Illusion era.

Aceyalone feat. Jah OrahMaster (mp3) – Indie L.A. rapper’s reggae/rap fusion record. Jah love.

Reverend Horton Heat Marijuana (mp3) – I won’t endorse the mary jane before or during the act of exercise. But the song? Absolutely. God Bless the Rev (and Jimbo).

RJD2Sweet Piece (Cadence Weapon Remix) [mp3] – This sweet little groove will make you move schmoove.

Peter Piper / Take Me To The Mardi Gras

Show of hands: who knows the genesis of the bell & percussion groove of Run-DMC’s “Peter Piper”?

I stumbled on it tonight. I was listening to Afrika Bambaata’s radio show on Sirius Backspin on the way home from work today. He was playing short clips of some of his favorites from back in the day. He played a minute or so of “Nautilus” by Bob James. Nice funky, jazzy little groove. I went on to Blip.fm to track it down. Didn’t find it, but I did see “Take Me To The Mardis Gras”.

I clicked it, and – lo & behold – the source of “Peter Piper”! The song itself was written by Paul Simon, released a year earlier (1973) on Simon’s ‘There Goes Rhymin’ Simon‘. Bob James added that memorable percussion and his own flair to the song on 1974’s Two.

Bob James has to be flattered, but I also think he’d be pissed to know that people go their lifetimes not knowing that his creation is the backbone of one of the classics of early hip-hop.

Bob James / “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” (Blip.fm) from 1974’s Two

Ick’s Pick (Week XXIII): Mos Def’s The Ecstatic

Call it the power of television. I tuned into Letterman on Monday night to take in the entertainment that is Howard Stern in the guest chair. I always enjoy the interaction between Howard and Dave. The musical guest that night was Mos Def. He was on promoting his new album, The Ecstatic. I came back to the performance about midway thru, but I was immediately hooked. The song was “Quiet Dog” – a DJ, a drummer, and Mos Def on two large timpani drums. A tribal rhythm, really unique, and another example of how one encounter can hook a new fan.

I bought The Ecstatic the next morning, and it’s pretty much been bumpin’ here all week. Favorites are “Quiet Dog” (intro features some interview audio from the late Fela Kuti), “Twilite Speedball”, and “The Embassy” (another unique intro – a pilot’s in-flight announcement, with some tweaking). Hell, he’s even got a Spanish language rap, “No Hay Nada Mas”. At least I think it’s got something to do with love.

A refreshing album. I haven’t even cracked the surface…

Buy Mos Def’s The Ecstatic on Amazon (still only $3.99).

Hear the whole album on MySpace Music

Visit: Mos Def’s MySpace

Beastie Boys on Fallon

The Beastie Boys appeared on Jimmy Fallon last night. Some thoughts:

  • The Beastie Boys still kick ass.
  • The Beastie Boys are aging right along with the rest of us (except for that poofy haired Mike D. What’s his secret?).
  • I know their schedule is pretty full, but the Roots clearly need to be the Beasties’ full time backing band.
  • I now feel the need to check out the newly released remastered edition of Check Your Head
click on me

Check out “So What’cha Want” from Fallon…

—dead link—

He’s the Izza Kizza

The inbox has been blasted with emails about Izza Kizza. Now, I never took the time to listen to Izza Kizza, or watch Izza Kizza in action.
But based on this track, “I’m the Izza Kizza”, Ickmuzic like-a the Izza Kizza.

Within my hip-hop appreciating being, this is the beat of choice. The preferred dope groove. And anyone who weaves “Bahama Mama Punani” and “Unabomber Punani” into their rhymes is okay with me.

Yesterday morning, I whined on Twitter about the Izza Kizza emails hyping his new mix tape.
Tonight, I’m posting this badass video and guiding you to IzzaKizza.com to download his brand new mix tape for free.
Funny how things work out sometimes.

I’m The Izza Kizza

What the Kids Are Listening To: Asher Roth – “I Love College”

This week is pretty much the perfect storm for the music geek in me. Two new Prince albums on constant rotation (a familiar feeling from the good ol’ days), a Springsteen show on Friday, and Bruce Cockburn in Flagstaff on Saturday night. Yesiree, things are good in the Ickmusic universe this week!

So while I ponder my Ick’s Pick reviews of Lotusflow3r and MPLsound, I’m going to feed you a steaming pile of garbage. Sound good? Good! Blame it on my friend Trevor, who for some reason was hooked on MTV’s Spring Break special over the weekend (dirty old man! psst, did you record it?), and told me about a perfect candidate for this feature – a song called “I Love College”.

Intrigued, I returned to my lair tonight and dialed it up on YouTube. The next 4 minutes (which I will never get back) were spent watching a scrawny white frat-prone lad from Pennsylvania doing his best Eminem impression. With witty and incisive lyrics like: “Time isn’t wasted when you’re getting wasted”.

And you can sing along to the chorus if you choose:

Um, that party last night was awfully crazy I wish we taped it
I danced my ass off and had this one girl completely naked
Drink my drink and smoke my weed but my good friends is all I need
Pass out at 3, wake up at 10, go out to eat then do it again

I can’t rant too hard against young Asher. He’s only appealing to the lowest common denominator, and he has his payday as a result. But I still hate it. I hate it in a LFO “Summer Girls” kind of way.

Trevor, you owe me a drink.

[“I Love College” is currently #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and rising.]

Ickmusic’s Old School Mix

I’ve been itchin’ for a while to put together a nice little collection of my old school favorites. In the mid 80’s, I was in my mid teens when I became obsessed with a. Prince and b. the rap/hip-hop of the day. These are some of the songs I came of age with.

Now, some of my favorites included some not so PG material. In fact, some of it was downright foul. Too Short’s “Freaky Tales” is the biggest offender here, followed closely by that 2 Live Crew classic “We Want Some P***y”. But hey, I gotta keep it real, people!

Enjoy…

Ickmusic’s Old School Mix (mp3 – about 71MB)

Playlist:

Run D.M.C. – “Peter Piper” (from Raising Hell)
LL Cool J – “Rock the Bells” (from Radio)
Whodini – “Funky Beat” (from Back in Black)
Public Enemy – “Public Enemy Number 1” (from Yo! Bum Rush the Show)
Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick – “La Di Da Di” (from The Show / La-Di-Da-Di)
Schoolly D – “Saturday Night” (from The Best of Schoolly D)
Eric B. & Rakim – “I Know You Got Soul” (from Paid in Full)
UTFO – “Roxanne Roxanne” (from UTFO)
Too Short – “Freaky Tales” (from Born to Mack)
Beastie Boys – “Hold It Now, Hit It” (from Licensed to Ill)
2 Live Crew – “We Want Some P***y” (from 2 Live Crew Is What We Are)