Monday, October 31, 2005

The Scariest Day of The Year

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That's right, it's October 31st, Halloween, a night for ghouls and goblins, when scary stories are told and horror movies watched. This year, no one needs that fake shit, we've got the real thing. What else to say about the nomination of Samuel Alito, a man dubbed "Scalito" and "Scalia-lite"? He is the Right's wet dream, Princeton, Yale Law, white, male, against judicial activism except when it serves the interests of conservatisim. Quite simply, it's a treat for the right wing/religious conservatives, who demanded repayment for bringing Bush victory in 20o4, and a trick for everyone else who just wants the government to serve everyone's interests.

It wasn't hard to see that Bush, beset by scandal and incompetence, would play to his base, those who want to overturn Roe v, Wade, who want the Court uphold states' rights except if the state wants to do something they don't like, who want to return to earlier times before Roe, the Voting Rights Act, Social Security. It's also not shocking that he would rush this decision in order to get the news of his Vice President's involvement in the CIA leak out of the news. While I understand the need to change the subject, he did not consult any Democratic senators on this decison. Are you fucking kidding me?

It is a really sad and pathetic choice by Bush. There is nothing sadder than seeing a man brought to his knees by his patrons, but there is no other way to see this. He talked diversity before, he talked about bringing people together, he talked about a new voice other than a federal court judge, he talked. That will be the gist of the man's presidency. He talked a good game, but his actions were simply the work of an incompetent, a liar and a fraud. A conservative who destroyed the federal budget. A uniter who divided worse than ever before. An ethical man (unlike the previous President) whose second term is marred by scandals everywhere. The 9/11 President who has done nothing to capture the man responsible for it, who lead us into a war that has only benefitted our enemies, and a man under whose administration our government has done nothing to protect our citizens from another attack. He talked about Iraq, but did nothing to plan for the reality on the ground.

Philly's own Atrios has already picked up on my theme here, as he looks at the words of Scott McClellan today at his press briefing, picked up by Think Progress. "Cooperating fully with the Special Counsel"? Scooter Libby was indicted for obstruction of fucking justice! All I can say is: Calgon, TAKE ME AWAY!

-After this kind of day, it only makes sense to go out and dress up, drink too much and have fun, as there is no sense sitting at home worrying, imagining doomsday and reading too much news. That's my job. Everyone else, go to Sway tonight for Roxy's Halloween party. Diplo is spinning, along with Catchdubs and I-Trak. In Brooklyn, Caps and Jones are holding it down at Savalas (second best flier, btw). In Philly, Philebrity celebrates the holiday with Monster Mash-Up (please, G-d, no actual mash-ups, please). Yah Mos Def, DJ Ron Morelli of Reagan Disko Headache and strippers.

-Before you head out, make sure to head over to lemon-red and grab his October mix as this is your last chance. Certified Bananas, it is indeed. More to come on l-r, as big things are going down for bol from what I hear and read.

-Also, a last chance to grab this mix over at Yewknee, a Halloween/spooky themed one that should hold up for the rest of the year, looking ahead to the horror lies in the news. [Via Catchdubs]

-This week at Pound for Pound, we will be getting back to the music, as I promise to upload the two Clipse mixtapes. I will put up some pics and thoughts on the madness that was Child's Play Friday night. More Scooter Libby stuff, Supreme Court, state of the world, blah blah blah. I'm also going to give youse guys and girls a chance to vote on the next mp3 focus here: Three 6 Mafia vs. Miami Bass vs DJ Screw.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What Are You Going To Be For Halloween?

How's it do? I wanted to check in and drop some link-y goodness, as I'm gonna save the two Clipse mixtapes for the weekend. Big news today, as it appears that George W. Bush is going as a weasel this year. He nixed the nomination of his good buddy and the President of the Official W Fan Club, Harriet Miers today. It isn't surprising news, as no one had stepped up to defend her from the constant attacks of the past few weeks. Josh Marshall has a good post looking back at Miers and forward to the next choice. Mark Schmitt does the same.

As for the next choice, be afraid, be very afraid. Bush caved into the radical right wing with Miers, and he will make sure to please his voting base with this next nomination. Maybe Ruth Ginsburg can dress up as a white, male, strict constructionist.

-I would love to see Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby go as criminals this year, dressed in orange jumpsuits or those black and white numbers a la the Hamburgler. No indictments today, but most people seem to think that they will be announced tomorrow. *Late Update: Libby to be indicted tomorrow, Rove not indicted, grand jury will be extended by Fitzgerald, investigation to continue. [Via Talking Points Memo]*

Murray Waas
has the story of the day in The National Journal, writing that Dick Cheney and Libby withheld documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee last year. Rep. Jerry Nadler has asked Congress to expand Fitzgerald's investigation to answer whether the White House deceived Congress in order to get us to war. Tip of the iceberg, he says. Josh Marshall and Laura Rozen are leading the charge to expose more of the iceberg, putting the focus on the reason for Joe Wilson's trip way back when: the forged documents that said Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger.

-It seems safe to say that everyone in the White House is dressing as Ashton Kutcher, punking the citizens of this country. How else to explain this story? (Or this one?) Iraq, Katrina, Wilma, SCOTUS, huge deficits, Iran and Syria? Fuck that, we need to take down The Onion. For real, this is not a joke. (Via TA)

- Do you have plans for Halloween weekend? I will be here in Philly Friday night, that is definite. Great flier, crazy cool event. Halloween party in a funeral home? Yes, yes. I hope to make it to some of the cool events in NYC this weekend too, as The Rub is Saturday, Caps and Jones in Brooklyn and Diplo with Catchdubs in the West Village on Halloween night.

-What's that? What am I going as? Slick Rick, with a possible reprise of my Flavor Flav costume from Hollerween last year at the Ukie. Holler.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Locked Up! I Hope They Don't Let Them Out

This is a special "Indictments Issue" of Pound for Pound, as we take a look at two scandals bringing down awful people in D.C. and Philly.

-I want to scream this news to the world, but instead I am going to write it for my four readers. According to Steve Clemons, indictments in the Valerie Plame leak case are coming out Thursday morning. The target letters have already been sent to the indicted, the court will receive them tomorrow sealed, and the world will find out the next day. Go here and read his post for the specifics, and then take a deep breath. Think Progress updates with a CBS story, which confirms that Patrick Fitzgerald will announce his decision to indict today. Even better, CBS introduces a Mr. X to the story, claiming he is the real source of the leak. All I'mma say is this; if it's Donald Sutherland, I'm going to shit the bed. Anyway, I waited this day out to give you the latest news, and here it is. Grand jury adjourned for the day.

-In more local news, Rick Mariano, Philadelphia City Councilman, was indicted Tuesday afternoon. This warms my heart as much as the White House scandal, as it's another front in the war against corruption in the city. He is accused of taking bribes in return for his political support, as he helped out a few businessmen in his district. Shockingly, he has been one of the people working and voting against ethics reform.

You know what? I had another nice, long rant to put here, but I am going to save it. I'm going to be starting something up soon that will allow me to discuss Philly, NYC, cities in greater detail, as I want to keep the focus on music, art, politics here. The short version of the rant is this: It's time for the people of Philadelphia to stand up and say enough is enough, or forever acknowledge that we don't deserve a better city. Philadelphia: America's Hometown shows the next step that we can all take on November 7.

-More music later today, as I'm going to be putting up music from The Clipse, more specifically both volumes of We Got It For Cheap. The King James/Bun B mixtape should be up in the next hour or so, so go grab it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

King James Presents...Bun B-The King of the Underground

King James Presents...Bun B- The King of the Underground

Okay, as promised, here is another Bun B mixtape that collects his verses. It's an amazing document, another attempt to chronicle the career of one of the greatest. The reason for the upload is the complete lack of info or even availability to buy a copy, as I feel the need to spread the man's music as much as possible. I just feel that this should be heard by everyone, especially those just getting into Bun's music. It is a long one, 3 discs worth of music, 190 MB. It's a similar concept to the Rapid Ric one, King of the Trill (which can still be downloaded at Houston So Real) featuring Bun's guest appearances and mixtape songs.

Of course, you're playing yourself and me if you haven't copped the new album, Trill. Go here and buy it, as it gets better with each listen. It's going to be talked about as the best album of the year, so get in now.

Please leave thanks or complaints in the comments section, as I wasn't sure if posting a whole mixtape made sense.

-Ooowee, I came across this older post over at Government Names while looking for more DJ Screw info. An amazing job by Dylan_K, as he reviews 10 Screw tapes that kill it. This isn't your basic overview (like what I spit out all the time), but instead is an amazing piece that ties criticism, humor and history together. I'll probably come back to this one again. Check out Government Names, the best source on the music coming out from below the Mason-Dixon line, simply the best.

-An even bigger holy shit with this story in today's New York Times. We now learn that Dick Cheney was Scooter Libby's source for the name of Joe Wilson's wife at the CIA. This means that Libby lied in his grand jury testimony, when he told Patrick Fitzgerald that a journalist was his source. Jane Hamsher at firedoglake believes that Cheney committed perjury. Larry Johnson discusses this latest news, wondering about the names lurking in the background. Steve Clemons hammers home the key point: "For now, we can know that the Vice President of the United States was neck-deep in this affair and knew it ALL along."

-Great commercial for Guinness beer, especially in light of this Pennsylvania case. [Via Crooked Timber]

Monday, October 24, 2005

UGK and DJ Screw

Bun B and Pimp C freestyles over UGK's "Fuck My Car"

Bun B freestyle over Mac-10's "Fo Life"

Pimp C and Grace freestyle over MC Lyte's "Keepin' On"

Bun B and Grace freestyle over Ice Cube's "Check Yo Self"

Pimp C freestyle over Lady of Rage's "Afro Puffs"

Again, I must reiterate that UGK sound so perfect slowed down, or at least, they sound perfect to me. [Disclaimer: I actually like music screwed and chopped, and listen to DJ Screw tapes for fun. No, I am not kidding. And yes, this does mean that I am on a special FBI watch list originally formed to keep track of white guys with dreads.] It's just something about Bun and Pimp's drawls that fit perfectly with the slowwwwwed down sound, as these tracks hopefully verify.

These tracks come off of the Ridin' Dirty tape, and should give you a sense of the screwed sound. Slow, woozy, audio molasses. Side A of the tape is mostly Bun B and Pimp C freestyles over other beats (West Coast classics, mainly), all tracks screwed by the master, DJ Screw a.k.a. Robert Davis. These tracks should also give you a great sense of the DJ Screw tapesthat are slowly spreading East and West. This is a good one, one of those amazing documents of the UGK bols in a laid-back environment just dropping verses for the hell of it. It's necessary just for the Pimp free-flow speech at the end of Side A: ""Screw fuck with my..." Bitch, Screw don't fuck with your old busted ass cousin." Go here to grab this tape and all the others, as this is the only official site, the only one that benefits Robert Davis' estate. We will come back to Screw, when I have more material to post up.

-Great Bun B inteview over at The Fader, properly titled "Royalty."

-Speaking of great things in Texas, Tom Delay was booked Friday morning in lieu of his indictment on money laundering and conspiracy charges. Above is his mugshot (via The Smoking Gun), where he attempted his first human gesture with that "natural" smile. We'll see if he is still wearing that smug, shit-eating grin when he heads to prison, and if they let him keep his toupee and dentures so shiny and clean-looking in the slammer.

-I'm going to upload another Bun B mixtape later tonight, King James Presents...Bun B-The Underground King. It's a long one, 3 CDs, and an amazing document of the man. Have you bought his fucking album yet? Go here and buy it now.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Cam'ron Shot In Failed Carjacking

I just saw this one on the wire, although it may be old news to many. Cam'ron was shot early this morning in Washington D.C., as an attempted carjacking turned violent. It sounds like Cam'ron, a.k.a. Cameron Giles, is okay, and in no serious risk, as the bullet hit both his arms. Go here to read a better account at, and here to read MTV's coverage.

Favorite part of the story: his manager is called Big Joe in the Reuters story. Just Big Joe, no last name, no quotes around Big, nothing. We are all living in a Dip Set world now.

-In other breaking news today, it seems likely Patrick Fitzgerald is planning on bringing charges this week in the Valerie Plame leak case. Go here for the story, here for a helpful look at the cast of this story, and here to see the website that the feds set up Friday afternoon. It's going to be an interesting week, as I can barely sleep at the thought of Rove, Libby et al being indicted.

-I am going to put up a special mixtape or two this coming week, finish up the look at UGK and generally kill it. It's just a real big week for the country, people, a real big week.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

UGK Chopped and Screwed

UGK, Diamonds and Wood (chopped and screwed by DJ 007)

UGK, Let Me See It (c+s by DJ 007)

UGK, Pinky Ring (c+s by DJ 007)

Here are some tracks off of the Jive Records Presents: UGK Chopped and Screwed album, a sort of greatest hits album given the slowed down treatment by DJ 007. These are some of the better tracks, which isn't saying much. I cannot recommend this one at all, as DJ 007 does a horrible job. Horrible! Some songs sound terrible (distortion?), as the bass is up too high. He doesn't chop the songs with any skill, instead just sort of randomly repeating a line here and there. Finally, he doesn't really screw most of the songs, as they don't sound noticeably slower. The whole thing just seems sloppy and opportunistic, another chance for Jive to milk a few more bucks out of the group that they screwed over for years.

Our next post will feature the master's take on UGK, as I will post up some of DJ Screw's interpretations of UGK. It really doesn't get any better, and might be the conclusion of our Bun B week.

-More Plame news, as this thing heads to its conclusion. Go here to read the New York Daily News' scoop that Bush has known of Karl Rove's involvement in leaking Valerie Plame's name for TWO years! Go here to read Americablog's speculation about the possible problems for the President in all of this. Josh Marshall raises more great questions at Talking Points Memo.

-The reaction in the blog world has been spot-on with regard to Judith Miller's involvement with the Valerie Plame scandal, calling everyone out on this embarrassment. Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher has the best piece, calling on the New York Times to fire Miller and apologize to its readers for this disgrace. Arianna Huffington continues to put Judith Miller and the Times on blast (all of her posts are fire), and this is one of my favorites along those lines. Matthew Gross has a nice analogy on what this case is for the Times, and offers a nice summary of blog links.

-On a lighter note (mmm, puns are sexy!), it turns out that fatter guys are more trustworthy and less prone to cheating. Before us fat guys get too happy, the reason is that we have less testosterone because of our giant bellies, i.e. we are lesser men. Science has just gotten meaner, hasn't it?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Big Pimpin'

Jay-Z (feat. Bun B and Pimp C), Big Pimpin' (screwed by DJ Screw)

I'm heading back to Philly today, so this is gonna be a quick update. One of my favorite tracks of all-time, Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'," brought the UGK bols to the world. By world, I really mean myself, which should be expected from someone who has a blog. Anyway, Bun and Pimp C kill it on this one, and I imagine it as a watershed moment for Southern rap. Here is the heavyweight of the game, Jigga, thinking highly enough of the duo to put them on a track. To top it off, they don't just hold their own, they go Buster Douglas and win the battle.

Above is the DJ Screw version, slowed down and chopped up like only the master can do it. There's just something so right about this song slowed down, especially when Pimp drops that "What y'all know about dem Texas boys", hearing that drawl slowed to molasses is stunning. Amazing stuff, straight from one of DJ Screw's remastered CDs, Crumbs to Bricks. Go here to buy this Screw CD and all the rest of the remastered tapes at the official site. More screwed UGK tomorrow.

-Lots happened this weekend in the Valerie Plame federal investigation, too much to get to in a single post. First, the New York Times finally got around to write a piece detailing this story that has ensnared "the paper of record." Go here for Judith Miller's account of her testimony to the grand jury, her telling of the story that she is now at the center of.

-Go here for the latest rumor, one that seems too good to be true. Dick Cheney as the focus of the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation? That's what sources are saying.

-R5 Productions has put together an amazing three-day series of psychedelic, free-rock, whatever-you-want-to-call-it at the First Unitarian Church. Boris tonight, Black Dice tomorrow, and the Acid Mothers Temple on Thursday. 22nd and Chestnut. $25 for all three shows.

Monday, October 17, 2005

UGK- Side Hustles

Rob Jackson and Bun B, Breakin' Sketti

Celly Cel and UGK, Pop the Trunk

A quick word on the musical selections. These tracks come from Side Hustles, the UGK CD that Jive put out in 2002, featuring various guest appearances and whatnot. The sad part is that this is the last UGK release (for now), as Pimp C was incarcerated a year before this one even came out. Buy it here, although I would recommend getting their four albums first. Jive put this one out to make some money, and so you get a thrown-together feel on it. While there's nothing amazing on here, definitely nothing to rival the tracks on Ridin' Dirty, this is a nice chance to get some harder-to-find, obscure songs in one package.

-The Sixth Borough Invades! Oxy Cottontail puts together her greatest event yet: What's Rilly Philly?! Low Budget and Cosmo Baker spinning at Sway tonight. Check the amazing flier by Semen for all the info. We run New York.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

UGK- Ridin' Dirty

UGK, One Day

UGK, Diamonds and Wood

UGK, Fuck My Car

It seems like a great time to put up some UGK tracks for your listening pleasure, after hearing how great the Bun B and Pimp C songs are on the new one. Plus, we do talk about Southern rap all the time, so it makes sense to talk about the originators, the group that helped pave the way for all the that has transpired recently.

These first tracks come off their stone cold classic Ridin' Dirty. This album should be talked about in the same breath as other classic hip hop albums (Illmatic, Ready to Die, etc.), but unfortunately it came out before the South ran things, Jive did a terrible job promoting these guys, and people just weren't ready for this sound. If you do not have this album, go here and buy it immediately. There are no excuses, especially if you are reading this fucking blog. It still sounds fresh-- nearly 10 years later, it's still the standard by which all other Southern rap is judged. The slowed down, funk sounds, the down-South slang, and the tales of drugs and women and everyday life all came together perfectly on this album, the duo's best.

Next up, a few tracks from Side Hustles, a compilation of remixes and guest appearances and general miscellany.

-Go here for more UGK talk, as Cocaine Blunts & Hip Hop Tapes is doing his usual scholarly, intelligent take on all things hip hop. I almost hate to delve into the same topic, as I know that he's gonna bring an 'A' game that consists of history lesson/aesthetics/rare songs for download. Imma see what I can do, as I ain't ready to concede defeat yet.

-Serg at So Many Shrimp is also paying respect to Bun B the last few days. It's clear that we did not coordinate our uploading, as we put up most of the same songs. All is not lost, as he put up "The Story" from Trill, a nice intro and history lesson before you listen to what goes up here over the next few days. Bun tells the story of UGK, their dealings with Jive, and his brother Pimp C going to jail. As Serg says, "These might be country rap tunes but this is about as hiphop as it fucking gets. If you want to front on bun well then don't ever bother reading this website ever again because you're a worthless piece of shit." Hit up Serg's blog, Beer and Rap, for some rants, San Fran stuff, hip hop, etc.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Bun B- Trill

Bun B, Bun

Bun B, What I Represent

Pound for Pound has atoned, so it's back on. In fact, having shed my sins and a few pounds, things are going to be real serious in here, as we're feelin' so focused. As promised, here are a few more cuts from the new Bun B album, Trill. These are two of the only cuts that feature only Bun or Bun and Pimp C, which is a shame, as they are too of my favorites.I might put up a full album review in a few days, but who knows? I will post up again later tonight, as that last song seems like the perfect jump-off point for a leap back and highlight some UGK tracks. Not sure how well-known this shit is, but it will help to explain why this man is so important, why a who's who wants to drop a verse on this album (Jigga, Luda, T.I., Scarface, et al) and why he is the Underground King.

Free Pimp C!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

No Food Til Sundown!

Bun B (feat. Lil Keke), Draped Up

Bun B with Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Lil' Flip, Z-ro & Aztek, Draped Up (remix)

Okay, I'm gonna to start to dig a little deeper into the Bun B archive here at Pound for Pound after the High Holidays. That's right, I just wrote that. And what? In the meantime, I figured that I would drop the lead single (at least I think it is) that's been leaked from the new album, The Trill, since that's what it's all about. "Draped Up" is a good one, a classic Bun song with that amazing voice and slow, authoritative flow front and center. I love the synth in the background, as it adds a real menacing feel that I like. The remix is crazy, bringing together everyone who lives in the city of Houston except Tom Delay. It's nice to see all these young guns showing their respect, and doing whatever they can to help the godfather out, but, honestly, I just want to hear Bun right now.

-The great Cuban Links has the remix up as well, and a few other goodies. He has the great idea of someone writing a history of the posse cut, which sounds perfect for Sasha Frere-Jones. Go here now, as he has a ton of great songs and words up right now. It's really great to have him back posting on the regular, for real.

-I have begun my fast, so this is the last post until tomorrow night. I hope that you can survive without me, although it's understood that this is going to be a tough 24 hours for everyone. It could get ugly, like that time Elaine had to fast for 3 days before an X-ray and was seeing like the wall move and talking about "mountains of duck" and asking who "tastes the dog food." Real ugly.

P.S. The title is meant to be read in the same cadence as The Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Til Brooklyn." Just an FYI.

P.P.S. More songs from the new album tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Shame Shame Shame

Juvenile, Gold Mouth (feat. Bun B and Ghetto Life)

Paul Wall, Dat's What Dat Is (feat. Bun B)

Three 6 Mafia, Sippin' On Some Syrup (feat. The Diplomats and Bun B)

Young Jeezy, Trap or Die (feat. Bun B)

No, this post isn't not about me or my inner thoughts. Instead, it's another chance to highlight some political stories that I think slip through the cracks while recommending some great political blogs at the same time.

The title above comes from the shouts of members of the Democratic House of Representatives this past Friday afternoon, as the Republican House leadership broke the rules and extended a vote until they got what they wanted from their membership. What important piece of legislation did they ram through? Surprisingly, another bill that benefits the energy companies, entitled "Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005." It amazes me how much faith they put into gas and oil, as it seems the only thing that rivals G-d in their worldview. Go here to read a study on just how well the energy industry has done under this President and Congress.

It's a minor story in some ways, since Republicans do control a majority and most bills will pass simply because of that fact. However, I think that it highlights one of the most embarrassing stories that has developed over the last decade, that is, the systematic attacks on democratic processes, from late-night votes without debate to limiting public access to the private papers of government, and the leveling of dissent in government, where Party line votes are preordained and demanded. This power has led to nearly no debate on major issues, and what we get is the horrible drug benefit bill, the bankruptcy bill and the gutting of environmental laws. The rules of the Senate and House have existed for decades, yet the Republican majority has ignored them completely over the past 5 years. Their disregard for democratic procedures is telling, as they have never seemed very excited to allow people to become engaged in the process. It's sadly ironic, when one considers their constant talk of spreading democracy to the rest of the world.

Go here to watch the video, as Think Progress has the goods.

-Here are a few more recent Bun B verses; this time I picked out some lesser-known ones. The Juvenile song is phenomenal, one of those songs with claps, minimal drum pattern, piano fills, and the type of experimental, eerie beats that only hip hop producers seem ballsy enough to put out. You will notice that some of these songs are coming from the same mixtape, DJ Keyz's Get Screwed Up. This is a similar take to the Rapid Ric one (available at Houston So Real for download), but you get the entire song, not just Bun's verse. Go here to buy it, as it is highly recommended.

-Here is a great article for all the nerds out there. All my linguistic majors stand the fuck up! This Guardian piece deals with the amazing concept of vocabulary and what it tells us about a particular culture, and includes a great list of some the craziest words out there, with my favorite being karelu in Tulu Indian. Possibly the best thing I have read in weeks. Go here and order the book (out early next year), Adam Jacot de Boinod's The Meaning of Tingo, from which this excerpt was taken. [Thanks to TA, who I miss greatly, for this link]

-Have you ever wanted to email the brilliant mind behind Pound for Pound? I didn't think so. But, if you do get so annoyed at my pretensions, political hackery or general annoyingness, feel free to utilize the new link at the top on the right hand side, which should give you my email address.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bun B Week, Month, Year, Decade...

Slim Thug, I Ain't Heard Of That (feat. Bun B)

Lil' Flip, Game Over (remix) (feat. Bun B and Young Buck)

Webbie, Gimme That Pussy (feat. Bun B)

Slim Thug, Three Kings (feat. Bun B and T.I.)

Before you do anything, click here and download the Bun mixtape, King of the Trill: Bun's Greatest Verses, that Matt Sonzala has put up at Houston So Real. The backstory is that Rapid Ric had worked on this mixtape for months, putting in the time and patience only Bun deserves. But, with Bun's album, Trill, about to drop, his label, Rap-A-Lot, did not want it to come out. (Smart one, guys. G-d forbid you created some hype on the streets and in the press in advance of the album drop.) Lucky for us, Bun and Matt have decided to give it away for free, giving us a chance to hear the greatest verses by one of the true legends of the game, a nice taste before the album (the most anticipated one of the year at Pound for Pound). Download it, as it really is "an amazing work of art" as Matt put it.

In celebration of Bun B month at Houston So Real, I figured that I would do my share to spread the man's music this week. These first ones are just an intro, audio proof of how dominant Bun has been this last year or two. These are probably some of the best known verses of his recent work, although there were a few more that I could have easily chosen. Check back often, as I will be putting up only Bun B and UGK tracks up this week in my posts. I will also try to finally write up my thoughts on the Bun B/Hollertronix/DJ Assault night in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, complete with some goodies from the other two acts that night.

Also, I am sure that you will notice an increase in links to news stories as well as an increased focus on politics. I promise that it won't be preachy, but it seemed a bad look for me to discuss everything but news and politics. Feel free to give your opinion on this development, good or bad.

Al Gore Drops the Hammer

Ivy Queen, Most Wanted Reggaeton exclusive

Divino y Hector El Bambino, Noche de Travesuras

Voltio, Maleante De Carton

Zion y Hector El Bambino, Miradanos

OG Black y Master Joe, Banshee Rabao

Pound for Pound brings the reggaeton heat again. In case you thought I was slipping, check out these tracks from the recent DJ 007 and DJ Outlaw mixtape, Most Wanted Reggaeton. Pretty standard stuff, hot tracks from a few months ago, but that don't mean it's bad. Make sure to peep the Voltio track, as it's my favorite. A crazy beat, with what might be a tuba providing an almost screwed reggaeton feel with its deeper, slower sound in the first half of the song. It sounds real good with the typically fast-paced rap over top, and builds steam for 2+ minutes. Don't know if there is a name to the Ivy Queen track, as it's just listed as an exclusive. I'm really feeling the stutter-step drums that come and go, as reggaeton has mastered that slightly off-kilter In fact, after taking a break from this shit, it all sounds real good. I figured that I would give you some of the newer, less-known artists, as the mixtape has lots of Daddy Yankee and Don Omar, as per usual.

Dedicated to the Lower East Side and North Philly, those wonderful places where you can hear this banging from car stereos at optimal (i.e. loudest) level.

-Okay, I'm sure that no one ever expected to read the heading to this post in print, especially after the disastrous 2000 Election when he ran a terrible campaign and cowardly acceded the presidency to our current head abomination. You know Al Gore, he's the guy who did the robot all the time; unfortunately he was sober and not at a wedding. But, lo and behold, the man has become an impressive public figure in the intervening years. He seems to have shed the influence of all the advisors and Democratic operatives, and has been speaking from his heart and wading into controversial territory.

Last week, he gave a speech on the decline of the media and reasoned public discourse, and the threats to American democracy. Go here and read the entire text of the speech, as it's worth the time. Gore hits on some of my biggest worries, from the decline of newspapers to the growing amount of TV Americans watch daily and the limiting and vilification of dissent. I mean, consider the last few years. We went to war based on lies, yet few journalists were asking any tough questions of the war architects. Hell, there was barely any debate amongst those who made the decision. Under the Bush administration, the federal government has paid journalists to defend certain policies, an act of propaganda unheard of in this country. Four years after the attacks on September 11, between a third and half of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was involved. Frightening.

Gore stresses the value of "the marketplace of ideas," where citizens actively participate in the government and society. So, read the speech, as it will probably hit a nerve with you and give voice to your own thoughts. It's a wonderful speech, looking to the past to expose the bankruptcy of the present and disaster of the future.

-Karl Rove has offered to testify again in front of the grand jury on the leaking of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame's name and identity to the media. This story is a few years old now, but it's come to a boil over the last week. Rumors are flying, including one that has Karl Rove as a target of the investigation. This means that he is a focus, and would likely be indicted. I am trying to calm down, as all of this seems too good to be true, and I recommend that you do the same. Nothing has happened yet, and so it's best not to get ahead of the news. Check this post over at Daily Kos and this one at firedoglake, recapping the developments this weekend, in the wake of NY Times reporter Judith Miller's release from prison and discovery of more notes related to the case.

Making this a fitting follow-up to the Gore speech are the underlying stories here. First, the use of reporters to get out the administration's attack on Joseph Wilson, Plame's husband and critic of the Iraq war. The existence of conservative hacks pretending to be journalists (like Robert Novak, the only person to divulge Plame's name in print), parroting the administration's talking points. The central role of Judith Miller, the writer who wrote untrue story after untrue story on the existence of WMDs in Iraq. The lack of any serious journalism in the lead-up to the war. In other words, this case is a lot bigger than just the outing of a covert CIA operative.

Interested in catching up on this? Want to stay up on the gossip and up-to-the-minute news? Here are a few blogs that are good one-stop shopping, providing both background, news and thinking-aloud. Murray Waas has been on this story from the beginning, breaking quite a few stories. His blog, whatever already!, is an invaluable resource, a must-read for anyone interested in this story. The folks behind firedoglake have been all over this topic, coining the term "Traitorgate" even. Their links, rumors and free-thinking have made it an indispensable site. Think Progress has put together a helpful rundown of the cast involved in the Valerie Plame leak. Arianna Huffington has single-handedly destroyed the notion of Judith Miller as First Amendment warrior.

-What better soundtrack to get through these awful times than a new DJ Ayres mix? Go here and download his To Sweden With Love, another great one from Ayres. It's a lot more varied than his focused genre jawns, covering all the good stuff from Dirty South shit to reggae to soul to rock. I finally copped a few of his official mixes, and really cannot shout out this guy more. Consistent, and consistently focused.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Dylan's Voice

Bob Dylan, Visions of Johanna

Bob Dylan, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

Bob Dylan, Not Dark Yet

No, this is not going to be my PhD thesis on Dylan's lyrics and the third person voice as performative. Actually, it's just an attempt to better explain why I love the man's music so much. It seems like the best way to return to the subject of Bob Dylan, as it's only fair that I try to put into words why I think devoting so many posts and words to this man is legitimate. I am sure that some readers have never heard his music, and I'm also sure that many more just don't like it that much. I hope that these posts can at least provide people with a chance to hear his music, or more importantly, give people a second chance to hear his music, to hear it in a new context and appreciate what amazing music the man has been making for 45 years.

I imagine the biggest factor in people's dislike of Dylan's music stems from his voice, that oft-caricatured instrument that wheezes and whines and cracks on each and every track. Why would I possibly make this a focus when I want people to listen and love the music? Because it is the very thing that made me fall in love with his songs, the very thing that endears me to him. You heard me, I love the sound of Dylan's voice in all of this imperfect glory.

I don't want to make this a long post, as I've felt like enough of a sycophant already. I do want to simply say that Dylan's voice is as beautiful as his lyrics. Its imperfections make it unique, something that has been lost in pop culture over the decades. Too often in music and art, value is only placed on the perfect, the clean, the beautiful. Look at our conceptions of beauty today, where impossibly skinny, perfectly structured women are held up as the ideal precisely because of their perfection. Our pop music is the product of the studio, where digital alterations take out the slightest flaws. Hell, the rise of the suburbs in the 50s and 60s can be seen as extension of this aesthetic, when people wanted to escape the dirt, the anarchy, the grit and grime of the urban scene. They created a world of 'perfection', of manicured lawns, devoid of trash, homelessness, poverty and noise.

Along came Bob Dylan's voice, devoid of artifice or treatment. His voice struggles at times, goes off-key, cracks. There is nothing perfect about it at all, and that is what makes it so important and refreshing. It comes out of that other America, that weird, unruly America that no one seems very proud of. The one that isn't shown by Hollywood or Madison Avenue. For me, it is the cities of this country that I hear in his voice, as well as the voices of the immigrants who find a home here, the radicals who built progressive movements that changed the world, the gangsters, hustlers, outcasts. I am sure that others hear the rural voices of the early part of the century that were featured by Alan Lomax, Smithsonian Folkways and Revenant. It makes sense really that both can be heard in Dylan's voice, as he is a man from both Hibbing, Minnesota and Greenwich Village, a man shaped profoundly by both places.

It is an aesthetic at play here, one that extends across genres and art forms. I don't have a name for it, and assume that someone has already talked about this and described it far better. It is the aesthetic of ugliness or grit or something, which values art that has imperfections, has traces of the unwanted. Whether it's graffiti that fills the Lower East Side, or music that offends the senses and sensibilities, there is something there.

The songs above are meant to showcase Dylan's voice, which seemed easiest to do with his acoustic work. I feel like that naked setting, Dylan with his guitar and harmonica, captures its brilliance, forces the listener to hear it as its own instrument. The first two tracks come from the Bootleg Series Volume 4, The Royal Albert Hall show in 1966. A legendary show, I cannot recommend more highly this 2 CD set. Honestly, if the "Visions of Johanna" doesn't floor you, I don't know what to do. It left me in tears (sensitive thug) the first time I listened to it, and I truly believe that it is one of the greatest moments in music ever. Finally, I took the most powerful track from Time Out of Mind, what many consider to be the greatest product of his resurgence in the last decade. It is a phenomenal album, and this song sums up the sense of loss and hope that runs through the album. His voice is weaker and less able, but it only emphasizes the narrator's long journey and hard life that much better. Unfortunately, I do not have this song ready to go yet, so here is a little something to tide you over.

Listen to the songs above, and see what you think. I know that my meaningless words are not going to make you like something, but I do hope that you can see the beauty in the man's voice, and begin to see the aesthetics of ugliness that I am talking about above, which I hope to come back to again. Let us know, as I am curious to hear what people think on the Dylan tunes I have put up or the man's music in general.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Warriors 25th Anniversary

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The Diplomats, Crunk Muzik

Juelz Santana, Clockwork

That's right, this year is the 25th Anniversary of the release of a classic of modern cinema, The Warriors. You got it, one of the truly great movies of all time is being re-released, in celebration of its birthday and complete with a nice, new transfer. Hopefully, this cult classic will get the attention of thousands and thousands of new fans, as I couldn't ask for much more.

Unfortunately, looking at the release, Paramount has shit the bed. This edition has little different from its original offering, except for the better picture. No specials, no commentaries, no behind the scenes featurettes, nothing. That's a shame, a real disgrace, especially in light of the wonderful packages that Criterion puts together, or the treatment that movies like Scarface, Seven and Memento received. Why not honor this beloved movie with a package that reflects the great movie inside? Perhaps worse, it sounds like the director's cut is a disaster, fixing something that ain't broke. Buy it here and let us know what you think.

I am not trying to say that this movie is Citizen Kane, but it doesn't pretend to be. What it does represent to me is a great urban movie, a NYC classic that must be mentioned with the films of Woody Allen and Martin Scorcese, Laws of Gravity and Pi, Little Odessa and Last Exit To Brooklyn, film noir and gangster films. Director Walter Hill here, more than anyone, takes the city as a site for fantasy, creating a surrealist masterpiece from the urban landscape. It's a film that takes the look and feel of the urban jungle, but is not limited to gritty realism. Instead, we get a highly stylized, fantasy of a movie, one that tries to be both ancient Greek mythology and science fiction. It's that confluence of the past, present and future that is the most urban aspect of all in the movie.

Everyone needs to read this piece by Eric Ducker over at The Fader blog, as he does a far better job of discussing the movie and its importance. I remember reading this piece in the last film issue in The Fader, and am so happy to have it available for everyone. It's amazing that they could put together such an informative piece, while Paramount and Walter Hill could only think of a measly intro for the re-release. It is great reading the thoughts of the people involved, especially Hill's obsession with comic books and their influence over this movie, the stories of real gangs confronting the actors and books read by those putting this movie together. Really great stuff.

-A Silent Flute has fashion-related news on the The Warriors front, as Adidas has put together a Warriors contest for everyone. It's actually connected to the video game coming out on Rockstar Games later this month, and so the contest has trivia related to the game. Nat also lets it be known that Adidas will be bringing out some gear inspired by the movie, which Imma keep an eye out for. FYI, I'm trying to step my fashion game up. A Silent Flute shall be my guide. Plus, MC and MF, who have taken me on as a client.

-R.I.P. August Wilson. Mr. Wilson was one of the great 20th Century American playwrights, a towering figure of drama over the last 3 decades or so. I never had the good fortune of seeing his plays on stage, but have read a few works. He chronicled the impact of race and racism over the entire century, writing a cycle of plays that covered each decade of the 20th Century. It is a monumental work, which put him in the ranks of O'Neill, Stoppard, and Pinter. What struck me about his work was that he set almost all of his plays in the same neighborhood he grew up in (the Hill District in Pittsburgh), taking a forgotten place and forgotten people and creating drama and art. He showed the dignity and grace of those who lived in the cities, who struggled with poverty and bigotry. He will be missed, but not forgotten.

wayne&wax has already discussed this, in a far more eloquent way (more to come on that blog, one of the best, which I've added to the links list on the right). Ben Brantley, New York Times theater critic, has written a wonderul article on Wilson and music, highlighting the importance of blues music for the writer. Go here for a, and here to buy his published work.

-Finally, go to the ubuweb's sound section for the chance to download DJ Food's "Raiding the 20th Century: Words and Music Expansion". It takes a look at the cut-up technique, following its influence on the music of the past century. [via U Mean Competitor]

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

L'shanah Tovah

I wanted to wish those celebrating a Happy New Year, as Rosh Hashanah has begun. The High Holidays (and the Flyers' season) have come upon us, making this a most serious and pious time at Pound for Pound.

I will not be posting again until Thursday, so check in then for some more Dylan thoughts and songs, plus lots of random booty music and links and lots of love for Philly. In other words, the usual. In the meantime, click on the links to the right for info, music and entertainment. They are the cream of the crop, they rise to the top, they never eat a pig because a pig is a cop. Don't get too into them, as I want you back.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Breaking Bonaduce

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Okay, a little more light fare before I do a few overly serious, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual posts on Dylan. I know that everyone can't wait, but I needed to discuss what I saw last night.

I want-- nay, I need-- to discuss a show that I caught for the first time last night, Breaking Bonaduce. It is a reality show on VH-1, following Danny Bonaduce around, including into therapy with his wife as they attempt to save their marriage. The first episode opens with Danny telling his wife that he cheated on her, and that is the least overwhelming moment if you can imagine. All I can say, after nearly 24 hours of deliberation, is holy fucking shit!!! I have never been so entertained, sickened and frightened by a televised incident since the time Nancy Kerrigan hosted Saturday Night Live. While that episode was great for the sheer awkwardness and uncomfortable silences, this is a whole different beast.

Breaking Bonaduce is a train wreck, plain and simple, and I love it. And I hate myself for loving it. I mean, some of the scenes are unbelievable, like when Danny rides the streets of his LA suburb on a motorized scooter, shirtless, with a blank stare, on his way to buy a bottle of vodka for his first drink in months. I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear that he is a recovering alcoholic. There is binge drinking, crazy outburts at the cameras, and even threats directed at his therapist, a muscular version of David Gest. To top it off, he is a steroid user, injecting them into his ass at various points.

I cannot recommend this show more highly, as it is sure to be talked about for years to come. It is helping me to implement my plan to only watch television that makes me feel better about my own life. I am cutting the fat out, and getting my TV diet down to this show, Blind Date reruns and Taradise.

-Want to see more crazies inebriated and actin' in both a hilarious and frightening manner? Well, you're in luck! Head here and watch two clips of Steve-O's appearance on Too Late with Adam Carolla, the new show on Comedy Central. This is great stuff, especially clip 2, when he falls down. Carolla is a deer in headlights, giving us the rare chance to see what TV would be like if the teleprompters didn't work. By the way, where's Party Boy at? [via The Stencil]

-Dear Hollywood, I implore you to put out more televised events where the participants are drunk or binge drinking. It's instant entertainment, and it provides me with sometime to remember on those awful mornings when I wake up after drinking to make me feel better about my own drunken ramblings and stupid actions, like say, running into a tree.

-Speaking of uncomfortable TV, I forgot to mention the premeire last week of my other favorite show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and its new follower, Extras. I will discuss these shows more next week, but wanted to make sure everyone is up on this. Check out this great article by Dana Stevens at Slate, which looks at the comedy of awkward situations. Extras is the work of Ricky Gervais, the creator of one of the great works of art of the last 20 years, The Office. If you have not seen this show, check out the BBC, rent the boxed sets at your local video store or take my word and buy them ASAP. Thanks to BD for putting me up on the show awhile back.

-Must See TV night: Arrested Development at 8 on Fox, the above HBO shows at the same time, Laguna Beach 9-10 reruns, then new episodes of LB and Sweet Sixteen from 10-11 on MTV. Daddy likes, daddy likes.

The End of Friendster Stalking

Okay, I know things were getting pretty serious here over the last few days, as I let my creepy Bob Dylan obsession out of the closet for a bit. I figured that now would be a good time for a break, an intermission of sorts, as I don't want y'all to forget about that fun-lovin', suburb-hatin', booty-music connoisseur you all grew to love.

First, let me just say that a new world dawns for us. When I say 'us', I mean the various hipsters in Philly and Brooklyn, most of the people in the Philipines under the age of 25, ex-sorority members around the nation and a few random souls who have joined the Friendster site. That's right, I dare speak of Friendster, the place that was all the rage in 2003-4, but which is now treated like the friend who goes on tour with a jam band. In other words, never spoken about again. For those who don't know, the site was supposed to be a easy way to stay in touch and aware of your friends, connect to friends of friends and set friends up with potential mates. It quickly became a place to quantify one's friendships and to collect "friends" in a perverse popularity contest, as well as a Big Brother-esque tool to stalk other people without the binoculars and bush.

I personally never gave up on the site, as I owe to it the best thing in my life now. That's between me and Friendster, but let's just say that I still defend it to others, stick up for it when people talk shit about it, and spread rumors about Myspace whenever possible.

Today, thanks to the heads-up of MC, MR and MF, I learned that one of the Holy Grails of Friendsterdom has happened. That's right, you can now see who looks at your profile. No, I don't mean the number of people who have viewed your profile. I mean, you can see their profile and picture and contrived interests, see who has been checking you out. This means the end of Friendster as we knew it, as one's behavior has to change immediately. No more spying on ex-girlfriends or boyfriends, friends you hate now, attractive people, etc. It also means coming face to face with your own personal stalkers, a chance to see what sort of people are intrigued enough by your picture to click the mouse. I recommend that you head over and check things out ASAP, before everyone realizes that you can search anonymously. Friends, I'm not sure what the future holds, but I know that it's going to be a brave (brave=creepy) new world.