Former Technoccult guest editor and EsoZone co-organizer Nick Pell drops some knowledge on Vice:
Hip-hop and punk were born at about the same time (the late 70s), in the same place (New York City), with the same rebellious and aggressive spirit; however, their fashion aesthetics have always clashed. Although there have been some instances of style cross-pollination—Public Enemy rocking Minor Threat gear, Lil Jon cloaking himself in Bad Brains apparel—rap stars have traditionally liked things loose-fitting, expensive, and flashy, while punks go for tight, ripped, and dirty.
Black Mask Studios, the recently formed transmedia publishing company — founded by comic book writer Steve Niles, entrepreneur and transmedia production shingle Halo-8′s Matt Pizzolo, and Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz — has recruited some of comics’ biggest guns to help create their first wave of comic book titles.
Among the luminaries participating are Watchmen co-creator Alan Moore, V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd, Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus creator Art Spiegelman, The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Mike Allred (Madman), Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night), J.M. DeMatteis (Justice League, Spider-Man), Molly Crabapple (Shell Game), as well as Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah.
With his directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists, less than a month away, RZA is continuing his push into directing.
The former hip-hip producer and frontman for the Wu-Tang Clan is teaming up with comic book author Grant Morrison and producer Reginald Hudlin to adapt Morrison’s latest comic, Happy!, for the big screen.
RZA is attached to direct and would produce with Hudlin, a producer on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Morrison will write the script.
My favorite album of the year thus far is Portland trio Bruxa‘s new album Victimeyez. It’s an occult informed dark hip hop album, with tastes of electro, chopped and screwed, witch-house and dubstep thrown in. They call it witchstep.
The digital version Victimeyez is free to download and was released by Mishka, a streetwear company in New York City that also puts out some Pyschic TV merch. A cassette release will follow from Sweating Tapes, the label that released their debut EP Eye On Everybody last year.
They’re from Portland, but I have no idea who they are. I randomly stumbled across their first EP on Bandcamp and was hooked — it was my second favorite album of 2011 (after Zomby’s Dedication). Discovering Sweating Tapes set me down a rabbit hole of Portland-based dark electronic scene that I had no idea existed.
Flexing (aka “bone breaking”) is a fusion street dance style that incorporates contortion with various other styles. The dance group in the video is the NextLevel Squad, and the music is by B’zwax. It was filmed by Yak Films, who have done hundreds of urban dance videos.
Over $7.2 million in drugs and 161 weapons were confiscated after a year long investigation by the Washington D.C. Police and the Bureau the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which operated as fictional rap label.
According to the Washington Post, D.C. police and ATF agents acted as undercover officers and “music industry insiders” during the year-long sting.
The police created the “Manic Enterprisess” studio in Northeast Washington, for fictional rap artist Richie Valdez in November of 2010.
Agents then told the underground world and black market that they were seeking to purchase weapons and drugs.
Over the course of the year, agents confiscated 161 firearms (including a rocket launcher), 29 assault weapons, 80 pounds of methamphetamine, 21 pounds of cocaine, 1.25 gallons of PCP, 24 pounds of marijuana, heroin and Ecstasy.
This is about underground hip hop, but much of it could apply to almost any scene:
Bars are, for the most part, terrible places to be. Obnoxiously crowded and stupid expensive. The sound system has never been set up right and it’s always too loud. So why do artists keep presenting their blood and guts in these fast food environments? I’ve played shows in beauty salons, backyards and basements and had a great time doing it—there’s not a “tour circuit” for this yet, but there will be soon.
How many shows can you play for a room full of dudes before it’s time to kill yourself in a hotel room? Why don’t more women come to rap shows? That one is easy: because they don’t want to be there. They don’t enjoy themselves, they don’t feel safe and they don’t have fun.
We need more than “Alternative Hip Hop,” and definitely more than another coffee shop for spoken word navel-gazing. We need an alternate Universe, a great & secret show, a Truth & Beauty circuit full of fresh fruit, fine foods and exotic tea from fictional continents. We need daytime shows, midnight gigs on anonymous rooftops, costume concerts and a nationwide revival of Acid Tests from coast to burning coast. We need all four alleged “Elements of Hip Hop” in the same building again—most of all, we need parties worth going to, parties worth putting down your fucking phones for and actually living.