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the overlook hotel autumn writer’s retreat



This is the part where I write a witty ironic blurb plugging the Overlook Hotel as the perfect writer's retreat, and then I don't because it's not that funny, my tooth hurts and I need a cigarette.  So instead I just run a bunch of links for new joints you should cop.

M.O.A.T. [instrumentaliste division] :: Dday One



I don't remember when I first came across DDay One's stuff; I used to spend hours and hours scouring rap blogs for new shit and just hoover it all up.  See, I came up in the record store days with no pockets.  I'd agonize over which records I could afford to buy, and dream about being in an endless record store where they had everything and you could listen to anything.  Hey presto, papi: internet.

I got really into instrumental hip-hop a couple of years ago, and it seems like the '00s were definitely their peak period.  Problem has always been separating the great from the meh. Partially, we got eighty gazillion Japanese DJs putting out so many instrumental jazz-hop LPs you could have a whole website built around nothing but.  Led by the late Nujabes and Fat Jon--to get opinionamated now--this shit mostly sounds the same, goes for the noodly-sounding bullshit, and when it does get a groove on ruins it with pathetic flute loops or weak-ass female vocal hooks.  And the beats?  The beats are weak as fuck.  Some of it is good, no doubt, but it's not head-nodding.

Remember when illbient and trip-hop were actually a thing?  That made it easier, I guess, because the line's really blurred between 'electronic' and 'instrumental hip-hop.'  If I'm on the fence, I listen closely to the beats.  Do they go dit-dit-dit-dit-dit?  Electronic, get the fuck outta here with that.  Do they go boom-bop-bop-boom-bop-bop-boom?  Hip-hop.

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M.O.A.T. [indie MC division] :: C-Rayz Walz



So in Greek mythology, you had the Titans who ruled over the Golden Age.  Cronos was the king Titan, but because he heard this prophecy his kids would overthrow him, he'd eat them as soon as they were born.  This one time his wife gives him a rock instead and raises the kid in secret.  When Zeus grows up he cuts his pop's stomach open and frees his siblings, who all grew up in there with only that baby-Zeus-sized rock to play with.  (That must've pretty much sucked.)  They establish the Olympic pantheon of the Greeks, Romans and all those paintings and sculptures of swan rape and flying sandal wearing naked muhfuckas from your high school art history class.

Where was I going with this?  Uh...shit.  Oh, right: if we cast El-P as the Zeus of the millenial indie-rap pantheon, the best and most overlooked MC from there is C-Rayz Walz.  He's like the Hephaestus of that click, the blacksmith god: he stays underground steady pounding iron and steel.

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the overlook hotel’s famous breakfast buffet



A roundup of recent(ish) bangers.

I can't embed other players up in here, so deal with it.  Not gonna break the list into cute categories like 'eggs to order' or 'bacon tray' because that's stupid.  Also not gonna put 'em up in one big zip file because I keep it legals.

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happy hour at the overlook bar



Your money's no good here, B.  We got some free shit laid on.

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libyan technique :: ibn thabit



What we're seeing across North Africa and the Middle East is a youth revolution, driven by disenfranchisement and a lack of opportunities.  Hip hop has always been the original soundtrack for that.  It started in the city Ford told to drop dead, and since "The Message" it's been the theme music for angry young people whose rage is against poverty, ghettos and repression--political, racial and economic.  Public Enemy made politics and fist-up rebellion their sound, and the torch's been carried by a handful since then.

Hip hop's been international for years, go get a late pass.  I remember reading about Polish MCs in crumbling Soviet-era projects saying they couldn't understand the words of hip-hop, but the beats and the message still spoke to them.  There are ghettos all over the world, and hip hop is there.  OK, sure, it gets watered down here and over there as party music, gangsta posturing and fake rebellion in fitteds and sagging shorts, but on the real it's what Chuck D (in his Hannah Arendt moment) called 'the CNN of the ghetto,' now more than ever.

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today’s specials at the overlook restaurant



Al'Tarba :: Lullabies for Insomniacs

I kinda stopped paying attention to instrumentals last year, but French beatmaker Al'Tarba has brought a pretty solid LP here.  Bringing in some guest MCs Q-Unique, Qualm and a few other cats I never heard of, the sound here is reminiscent of Kid Koala, Guts, Chinese Man, and DJ Cam and Blue Sky Black Death (before both disappeared up their own assholes of Enya-sounding suck)--some swing-influenced, uptempo beats; some Krush/Muggs type of eerie shit...good stuff.  Give it a whirl. Read the rest of this entry »

more towels for room 237!



Some shit what's been lighting up my earholes lately.  (Yeah, Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang is dope, but you knew that, right?) Read the rest of this entry »