Black American Dad Story

E-mail: dalatudalatu@gmail.com

Pitchfork: Why I Feel Alienated By Record Store Day

Here is a little op-ed I did for Pitchfork’s "The Pitch" blog. Thanks for the kind words people have sent my way about the piece; they’ve have been very much appreciated. 

I have more thoughts on the topic, but that the last two weeks I’ve been listening to full CD rips of Paul Van Dyk albums on Youtube kind of says it all. 

I got a new pair shoes, Vans 59 Era (Navy), and after half a day of wearing them, I replaced them with an old pair of New Balances. The Vans were hurting my feet; I couldn’t stand it, so I put them to the side for another day to be broken-in. It was another day; I tied the shoes a bit tighter and they felt fine. Not great or good, but shoes were on my feet. After a bit my toes started to hurt again. To deal, I curled them up against the shoe’s sole. It made each step more considered than I’d like, but my feet were feeling fine.

At the end of the day when I removed my shoes and I saw my toe was slightly cut, I wasn’t too surprised. I knew about it all day, but earlier I decided already it deserved little of my time. I put a band-aid on it, so I could walk without continuing to huddle my toes together.

—-

I never feel a need to be more in-tune with my thoughts. I have spent enough of time with them that they know me, and I know them without the need for either us to check up with each other. But, that familiarity would explain why I so quickly fall back into them.

Clothes make me hyperaware of my body. I never notice the hair on my legs till spring forces shorts on my body. I quickly forget where my biceps separates between two shades of brown once I start putting on long-sleeves. I also miss the force my feet wield in a size too big high-top during the winter, crushing dead leaves and sloshing through the snow. I love that physical awareness. What I wear lets me get to be me, without being caught up in being me. 

A Quick Editorial Update

So Many Shrimp (the dalatu era) has come to an end. lol. I’m really really proud/amazed that anything has gone on the site and that it was finally starting to get into a groove about three months into it. But, unfortunately due to my impeding college graduation, I’m right now pulling the strings on the site to buckle down these last weeks of school. I haven’t  done anything like “”“”run”“”” a website, but it was fun and don’t be surprised if I try something similar again. 

And thank you to anyone who has contributed over these last few months. I’ve really enjoyed doing this little project. 
— 
Related but unrelated. I’ve noticed that whenever I tell people I’m looking forward to graduation (41 days), they assume that I have some laid out post-collegiate plans. Then I tell them, that I have some vague ideas, but in reality have no solid job, internship or anything concrete going for me as I leave. More and more, I’ve just been excited by the prospect of having the free time to devote to things I am passionate about even if it’s just for a couple months before I really try and focus my life. Anyway if this blog becomes a dry well for a bit, sorry! 

Singles and Jukes Vol. 11

“Know” is a perfect word. Not for its meaning, but that it is easily repeatable and makes for excellent fonder for a potential song hook. Rico Love, a been-around the-block-many-times songwriter, got success with this ode to late night creeping and breaking the rules of monogyny. Whether it’s the details of the secret vacas, the intimate bedroom details or the late song rap verse that I swore could’ve been Mase; it’s been a small jewel on rap/R&B radio for late evening drives back home. 

[8]

Rico Love - “They Know”

Passively Aggressive Inspirational Music. All of these empty musical gestures — that ending guitar solo — and a whole lotta words about how things will eventually get better. I guess it’s true, but I also guess the song doesn’t have to be painfully boring. 

[3]

Hunter Hayes - “Invisible” 

Regional rap dances are one of the few national treasures we still have in the United States. “Nae Nae” isn’t as good as Soulja Boy’s “Crank That,” but can anything ever be that good? Probably not. And though I doubt retroism was at the forefront of We Are Toonz crew’s minds when making this song, that it sounds like a throwback to all of those “Crank That ______” songs from Atlanta rappers who were closer to Crime Mob than Soulja Boy on the ’07 ATL Rap Spectrum only makes this stick even close to my heart. 

[8]

We Are Toonz - “Drop That Nae Nae”

*throws hands up in the air* *begins fist pumping* *rips off my American Apparel tee* *never looks back*  

[8]

Armin Van Buuren (feat. Lauren Evans) - “Alone”

“Did y’all boys not get the memo?” “Did y’all nigga not hear the horns?” Drizzy did call this a “poppin’ champagne in the tub song?” He told ya’ll mafuckers. This ain’t what you want. Y’all need this Drizzy anthem. Knock the dirt off. This isn’t aspiration. Success, whatever it means, is the inspiration.

[9]

Young Money (feat. Drake) - “Trophies” 

Idols don’t breathe, don’t exhaust and don’t fall down; they never leave the DJ booth. Andy Butler’s Hercules and Love Affair project exists to raise up people from the lush history of Dance music to these heights, but it’d be hard to imagine the group’s existence without Frankie Knuckles. “Blind” with Antony Hegarty was the single that brought Andy’s little group nearly unmatched critical acclaim. That Frankie Knuckles provided such a soft-touched remix of “Blind” couldn’t have been a greater compliment to Butler. All Frankie had to do was rethread the song’s seams — a bit more piano here, a splash of cosmic swirl there — only patching the work, to exemplify the skills of his progeny. People don’t need to be made into myths. Ones who receive those accolades just force humanity to widen its limited scope of itself. Frankie Knuckles found the space, allowed in the people, spun records and eventually recorded the tracks that let there be House. Thankfully for Andy and all of us, Frankie never thought so small.

Hercules and Love Affair - “Blind (Frankie Knuckles Remix)

Sooooooo behind on updates these. Sorry! 

The Freshest Shrimp Catch Vol. 8

Again, I hate being late with these updates but been really busy with school the last week. Anyway, some great posts here and many thanks to SMS crew of Crystal, Daniel and Maxwell. 

The Talent Was Rapping: Dreezy’s “Schizo”  - Crystal wrote about Chicago rapper Dreezy’s latest tape Schizo and what strength exist from continuing to have all of these young voices emerge from Chicago. 

A Reverse Cross-over Hit: Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” - I may or may not come back to this idea, but this was a little piece about how “Dark Horse” has found it’s way onto rap stations. 

Suge Knight’s Long Shadow: Max Minelli’s “Dope Boy Chad” - Daniel wrote a bit about Max Minelli’s Dope Boy Chad, but spent more time focusing on where Suge Knight’s legacy stands in 2014. 

The Lure of Potential: Lil Mouse’s “Michael Mouse Myers” - Maxwell, who is I think one of two Lil Mouse fans I know, tried to find the good in his debut album Michael Mouse Myers. He felt the album didn’t come together, but there might be something in this young rapper. 

The Frozen World of Vince Staples’ “Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2” - Maxwell again leading the disappointment train with some thoughts on Vince Staples’ latest nihilistic mixtape Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2

Who Is Que? - I just did a little thing on Que’s unfortunately middling, but excellently named, EP Who Is Que? 

Follow Me on Instagram

I’m not even sure how I feel about Instagram yet, but I think it’d be nice if I followed more people. So, if you have it let me know/recommend some cool accounts to follow. 

And you can follow me, if you want to see my clothes, face or my laptop screen. 

So Many Shrimp: 9 Songs to Slow Down on a Ratchet Weekend

I joked earlier this year about me writing a DJ Mustard biography, but that feels less distant with each passing day and he keeps collecting hits. Either way I wrote about a group of songs that are one part R&B and one part Ratchet minimalism. I’m only making this an individual post, so people will hopefully listen to some of these tracks, because Rap/R&B hasn’t been this exciting in a good while. 

I think I’m good with explaining my own life. To be immodest, I probably just assume that to be the case because so few people really look inward and keep on staring at the void. Another more likely probably is that I’m wrong about how people view their own lives, and I’m just finding my self-worth in a hopeless place. Either way, I sit here on this morning neck deep in my Art History Senior Seminar research paper, figuring out the logistics to my undergrad research presentation, still figuring out what track I need to be on for freelancing to start clicking again, regretting the increasing jealousy I have for people that know what they’re gonna do post-graduation, continuing to work on So Many Shrimp, scheming on the low with other internet content and crossing my fingers, toes, eyes and forehead that I get some kind of summer internship. 

Last week, my mom asked me for my favorite year of school so far, I said last spring semester. I was in a relationship, I was writing regularly and by time the sun was staying out longer and I could finally enjoy seeing my hairy legs again, each distance part of my life seemed to make too sense. As I think of my outlook last summer for senior year and post-grad life and I wish that kid could explain it to me all over again. The details of the upcoming summer, the place where my ex and I were gonna live, all of it. I would believe every eventual lie he’d tell me, so as not to ruin the moment for him. It’s better it’s a lie.  

Today is my birthday. I don’t think I’ve ever thought so much about the future in my life. I wish I didn’t. It stresses me, it has been concerned over things outside of my control that I have no idea how they’ll play out. Yet on the rare moments I can catch a full mental breathe, I feel I’ll accomplish whatever dream I set in-front of myself. Otherwise those passionate predications on my life won’t be fun to keep sharing.

Petty Crimes on a Major Label’s Dime

My Krazy Life enjoys pre-robbery banter, the way Snoop Doggy Dogg’s debut Doggystyle relished sordid tales of niggas screwing hoes and hoes screwing niggas. Here home invasions are schemed, ratchet parties are attended and of course YG gotta find time to ride with the crew. These innocuous moments lead to a couple break-ins and all of a sudden the consequences have caught up to Keenon “YG” Jackson. But, Keenon doesn’t languish in those repercussions, instead he enjoys every illegal second spent on minor thefts and eating out his side chick.

My nigga, my nigga, welcome back to the block. 

YG ‘s rap career dates back to late 2000s when kids in L.A. were still jerkin in neon colored skinny jeans and “Ratchet” was still Boosie’s dance. Having grown up on a mic this last half decade, YG finally found a non-Ty$ or DJ Mustard indebted voice, which wasn’t fully formed in his “Toot It and Boot It” days. This post-N.W.A. gangster rapper wasn’t even formed as “My Nigga” moved from a viral to Top 40 hit. My Krazy Life shows gangsterism that YG hinted at before, but never with this level of detail.  ”Meet the Flockers,” for example, is a step-by-step home invasion record that’d make one think he and Tee Cee recorded the track when L.A. was stilling rioting.

Though YG and DJ Mustard have been paired most of their professional careers, My Krazy Life has some of the best producer and rapper chemistry since Waka Flocka Flame’s Flockaveli, where he and Lex Luger laid and perfected a Neo-Crunk style. The traditional minimalism of DJ Mustard is still here, but as the album’s primary producer Mustard leans on 90s G-Funk flourishes to accent his usual paired down tracks. “Do It To Ya” exemplifies this as a slinky sample of The Dogg Pound’s “Let’s Play House” lingers with YG and TeeFlii trying their best to keep up with the original track’s raunch.

The prototypical gangster rap form YG assumes for this album almost feels like a welcome retrograde stylistic return into the rap landscape. Where the little gangster rap that does get play on the radio right now creates unrealistic stakes, YG doesn’t have an eight digital bank account, he has six figures at Bank of America. Despite what the narrative arc might imply, this album isn’t showy with its ambitious: there aren’t multi-part songs, major and minor character or even any names given beyond his own of Keenon Jackson. My Krazy Life instead of folding under narrative bloat; it keeps most songs under three minutes before rushing to the next skit. But once “Sorry Momma” appears at the end, YG lingers on the phone: confessing, regretting and seeking out the one he should’ve heeded.

"You gonna end up in jail like your motherfuckin daddy" - Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson’s mother. 

But a stupid street scrap doesn’t result in a life sentence. Fresh from jail the Deluxe Edition of My Krazy Life gives Keenon Jackson a chance to get some shit off his chest. “When I Was Gone” places our narrator and his longtime bros (R.J., Tee Cee, Charlie Hood, Reem Riches and Slim 400) complaining about the girls that left their dumb asses as they sat behind bars. It’s all very petty, but when YG dismisses his mother’s advice to forgive a former lover, the wounds that were fresh on “Sorry Momma” have clearly scabbed over. “Bompton” puts YG back on his chest-pumping bullshit with one of the harshest beats in Mustard’s catalogue;  then the album’s true closer: “My Nigga (Remix)” lets it be known, for better or probably just worse, YG ain’t changed and is fine with blooding his hands to prove it. Time is a flat circle. 

The Freshest Shrimp Catch Vol. 7

Very much apologize that I haven’t updated what’s been happening at So Many Shrimp the last couple of weeks. Just been busy with life! Anyway, a lot of posts from Me and Max the last couple of weeks, which doesn’t mean other aren’t writing, but just that means I was behind on editing and sent a dozen apologizes to those whose piece have been in editing purgatory. 

Finding Migos’ Passion: Migos’ “No Label II” - I didn’t find much to really like about Migos’ No Label II"Fight Night" is good, but the hook as goes "I beat the pussy up like Fight Night,” so ummmm, yeah. 

Only the Highs: Shy Glizzy’s “Young Jefe” - I’ll admit this isn’t my best piece. Just a lot of working through some ideas, while aslo praising Shy Glizzy. 

Yiken in the Bay - Maxwell took a look at the Bay Area dance called “Yiken” and highlighted some of the more notable songs and artists that again prove every zipcode has their own strain of rap-related dance. 

Passion of the Weiss & So Many Shrimp Present: Krazy (A YG Primer Mix) - Maxwell linked-up with Son Raw to put together a tour through YG’s discography in-case one’s only knew him from “Toot It and Boot” and “My Nigga.” 

Rap’s Physical Being: Schoolboy Q’s “Oxymoron” - Matthew returns to So Many Shrimp with a piece on body image and the way that Schoolboy Q fully embraces his physical frame. I obviously like all of these pieces, but this one hasn’t been able to leave my mind yet. 

Ratchet King: YG’s “My Krazy Life” - Jerkin and YG Historian Maxwell got to do something that’d had been unimaginable in 2009. Reviewing a YG major label album, but I’m happy the album is out and that Max got to do this piece.

Kool and Kass’ “Coke Boys 5” - In case the title didn’t give away the joke, Daniel spends time going through Kool A.D.’s tape, which continued in the tradition of other Das Racist music in a laughing but serious take on rap tropes.