Jeremiah Jae - Bad Jokes

Jeremiah Jae 'Bad Jokes' (.ZIP)

Chicago-bred Flying Lotus protégé Jeremiah Jae dropped one of my favorite albums of 2012 in 'Raw Money Raps' on FlyLo's Brainfeeder Records. He's back, alongside his Black Jungle Squad partners, with 'Bad Jokes', a free mixtape/EP to celebrate his signing to Warp Records.

Jae drops his usual jewel-laced lyrics in a slow, conversational flow not unlike Roc Marciano and KA, smacked with a little Serengeti and Milo. The beats come courtesy of Flying Lotus, Jonwayne, Oliver the 2nd, and Jae himself, and will bang in your jeep or earbuds.

Download it!

Jeremiah Jae
Warp Records
Posted by El Keter
At 12:52 AM on 07/31/13
Filed under Music

Irrational Games and series creator Ken Levine have finally dropped some of that long-awaited, much-ballyhooed 'BioShock: Infinite' DLC. And instead of hitting the PS3, downloading the 'Clash in the Clouds' files to my console, and getting my first person shooter on, I'm here, posting the trailer for you to see.

Yeah, for those of us who paid for the Season Pass back when 'Infinite' dropped this simple non-story level-based content is sort of a head-scratcher. Wasn't Ken Levine on Twitter telling us to stop bitching about waiting because he was putting so much time and effort into giving us something amazing? Not so sure this is it.

That said, there are two more DLC packs coming, and it looks like there's at least a chance of them giving us some amazing things. The additional content will be a two-parter titled 'Burial at Sea' and will take 'Infinite' protagonists Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth back to pre-fall Rapture. Say whaaaaaaat?!?!?

That shot of the Little Sisters is pretty fucking spine-chilling, huh? And the Nat King Cole tune is used to utter perfection. These sounds and images, and word that Levine said it's important that Elizabeth remain a "multi-dimensional" character, give me hope that we will indeed get something amazing out of this Season Pass DLC.

'Bioshock: Infinite'
Irrational Games

Posted by El Keter
At 03:59 PM on 07/30/13
Filed under Technology

RJD2 - Her Majesty's Socialist Request

So RJD2 just dropped "Her Majesty's Socialist Request", the first single from his forthcoming 5th LP 'More Is Than Isn't', via Soundcloud.

It's a banger. Very much in his signature style. But I feel like it subtly nods to the current Trap trend, while still keeping shit Prog-Rock-y.

You can cop "Her Majesty's Socialist Request" now on iTunes. 'More Is Than Isn't hits October 8th on RJ's own RJ's Electrical Connections.


Posted by El Keter
At 04:19 AM on 07/30/13
Filed under Music

I don't know what's more impressive about veteran Brownsville emcee KA's "Off the Record"; that he was able to reference so many groups and records on the track, or the record collection he flips through in the tune's accompanying video?

"Off the Record" is from dude's recently released third solo LP 'The Night's Gambit', which is packed to the gills with conversational street-level raps over minimalistic self-produced beats, and is available on KA's own Iron Works label.

Cop that shit, son!


Posted by El Keter
At 03:31 AM on 07/30/13
Filed under Music

Obey Cthulhu & Forbidden Books are Fun!, from TeeFury.

Got a package in the mail today from TeeFury containing my most recent score; a double purchase of Lovecraftian splendor in the form of their "Obey Cthulhu" and "Forbidden Books are Fun!" tees!

These are far from my only purchases from the purveyor of original pop-culture tees which are not only cheap, and available in extra-comfy 3XL, but limited edition, as they're only on sale for a short 24 hours at a time!

Keep an eye on their website so you don't miss out!


Posted by El Keter
At 02:40 AM on 07/30/13
Filed under Consumerism

Speaking of the dearly departed Ms. Winehouse, the wavering lilt of Hiatus Kaiyote vocalist Nai Palm definitely shares a few thing in common with her druggy croon.

When Giant Step sent me the re-release of the Melbourne, Australia-bred crew's album 'Tawk Tomahawk' I was blown away by the LP exclusive version of standout track "Nakamarra" featuring a guest verse from Q-Tip.

The version in the video doesn't feature the former A Tribe Called Quest leader, but it does give the band's grooves, which could easily be sample fodder for 'The Low End Theory' or 'Midnight Marauders', a chance to shine.

This is some straight laid-back 1970's style chill shit, no doubt, and the rest of the LP keeps the Herbie Hancock, Minnie Riperton, and Lonnie Liston Smith-esque vibe going.

Cop the freshly re-released 'Tawk Tomahawk', out now on the Sony-distributed Flying Buddha label.

Hiatus Kaiyote

Posted by El Keter
At 11:54 PM on 07/29/13
Filed under Music

Shenandoah Valley-bred, New Orleans-based chanteuse Carsie Blanton gets her tough talkin' diva on in a big way in the new video for her tune "Backbone".

Musically the soulful ditty with jazzy overtones strikes a note akin to early Amy Winehouse, Feist, the likes of CocoRosie, or maybe even Regina Spektor.

While the Lauren J. Andrews-directed video clip delivers a sexy-as-sin kick to the nuts of Robin Thicke's recent and sorta controversial "Blurred Lines".

"Backbone" is from Carsie's newly released 'Rude Remarks and Dirty Jokes' EP which is available from her website via the fine folks at Bandcamp.

Carsie Blanton
Lauren J. Andrews

Posted by El Keter
At 11:33 PM on 07/29/13
Filed under Music

Last Monday I walked into my local T-Mobile store and told the girl behind the counter to talk me into upgrading my phone. I'd spent the last few months reviewing phones and at this point was still torn between the Samsung Galaxy 4, the Samsung Note 2, the HTC One, and the newly-released SONY Xperia Z. After some serious mulling the One and Xperia Z were in a dead heat. But with the Xperia in my hand, loving the design, digging the fact that it's water & dust-proof, and trusting its 13 megapixel camera over HTC's "ultrapixels", all it took was for the salesperson to say "the Xperia has a slot for SD cards, which the HTC doesn't" for me to make my decision. I walked out of the store with the Xperia Z still in my hand.

Since then the phone has hardly left that hand! Seriously, I had scoffed a bit when reading about how SONY had engineered the phone to be "perfectly balanced", but there it is sitting perfectly in my hand at any angle, with no part of the phone heavier than the other..."perfectly balanced" indeed. But it doesn't just feel good in my hand; with its super thin profile, rounded edges, and glassy obsidian finish, it looks gorgeous! Bye, bye, phones that all look like the iPhone! From now on phones are actually gonna be "pretty". That prettiness extends to the glorious 5-inch Bravia Mobile-enabled screen, the stripped-down layout of the mostly bloatware-free version of Android Jellybean running on the device, and the design of the UI & its components.

Like I said, one of the main reasons I went with the Xperia over the HTC One is that I just don't buy HTC's whole "ultrapixel" scam. I've seen photos taken with the One in real life, and they look awful! I don't know where the reviewers get their photos from, but I don't believe they were actually taken by a One. The photos I've taken with the Xperia Z since purchasing it on the other hand are pretty much exactly what I'd expect from a 13 megapixel shooter with a bunch of crazy camera-like settings. I can't say much for the One's ultrapixels other than my photos look a lot better than my One-owning friends' do on Facebook and Instagram, which is all that really matters when we're talking about an in-phone camera.

If you couldn't tell, I've absolutely fallen in love with SONY's Xperia Z. I sometimes find myself whispering sweet nothings to it. And the other day I said "I love you..." out loud which a passerby thought was intended for them until I added "...smartphone." They were none-too-pleased. I on the other hand remain nothing but pleased with the Xperia. It's slick-looking, super fast (rocking a 1.5 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor), without a trace of lag-time in button-presses & swipes, mighty in battery power, and with 16GB internal memory plus the SD card from my old phone transplanted it's a storage BEAST! And that's not even touching the waterproofing, which I don't plan on testing out for myself any time soon!

I love you smartphone. I love you Xperia Z.


Posted by El Keter
At 04:46 AM on 07/29/13
Filed under Technology

I've had "Addiction", a tru-skool Electro jam from Manchester-based producer Krystal Klear and vocalist Jenna G, in my Disco folder since March.

For some reason they only just got around to making a video for it, and it appears to have been shot in Niko's neighborhood from 'Grand Theft Auto: IV'!

Rinse Recordings

Posted by El Keter
At 10:56 PM on 07/24/13
Filed under Music

My first reaction to this "Mobb Dizzle" video from 16-year-old upstart Bishop Nehru wasn't "oh, shit more young dude throwback Rap" but "is this motherfucker wearing a pair of Shawn Kemp Reebok Kamikaze's?"

Seriously, I had a pair of those shits back in the day and this video has done nothing but send me to eBay to see how much they're selling for and then running to my closet to see if I still have a pair to auction.

A blogger is unemployed and needs cash!

But I digress, Nehru fits in with those Pro Era cats and other heads who are making True-School Rap, kicking lyrics over a jazzy vibraphone loop and the classic "Skullsnaps" break like a lost Hit Squad member.

He's also on tour this Summer as the opening act for Hip-Hop legends Wu-Tang Clan's reunion tour, which is one hell of a co-sign for some young kid out of nowhere to have under his likely to be low-slung belt!

Check out this kid's 'strictlyFLOWZ' mixtape, which I literally JUST downloaded and haven't listened to yet.

Bishop Nehru

Posted by El Keter
At 09:53 PM on 07/23/13
Filed under Music

I get a distinct "James Bond opening credits theme" vibe from Downtempo duo Goldfrapp's new super-symphonic, super-cinematic single "Drew".

The black & white video, replete with erotic imagery and still-frame style images (which was directed by Lisa Gunning) on the other hand is giving off an eu-de-Anton Corbijn.

"Drew" is from Goldfrapp's forthcoming 'Tales of Us' LP, out September 10th here in the the states on the Mute recording label.


Posted by El Keter
At 09:31 PM on 07/23/13
Filed under Music

Dog Days 2013 Deep House Mix by El Keter Ben Tzadik on Mixcloud

It's been so hot during these dog days of Summer that I threw y'all a bone by way of some bonus tracks on this extra-long-playing Dog Days Deep House Mix! The majority of the tracks this go-round are DEEP, SOULFUL and feature talented vocalists. I drop some hot & sweaty shit, some cool & breezy joints, and even a few old-school Electro-influenced jams. So your dancefloor is covered for ALL types of Summertime fun!

Ben Pearce "What I Might Do (Club Edit)"
DJ Vivona "Surely the One (Main Mix)" feat. Miss D
Timmy Regisford "At the Club (Claude Monnet Remix)" feat. Lynn Lockamy
Big Will Rosario "This Generation (The Deep Dark Mix)"
Soul Revolver "The Key (Original Mix)"
Zona "I am Beautiful (Demarkus Lewis Main Mix)" feat. Valerie Moise
Hypnotic Soul "Dance All Night (Original Mix)" feat. Tumi
Paul Parsons & Time Nice "Something Good (Original Mix)" feat. Elliot Chapman
Alec Troniq "Mind Doodles (Original Mix)"
Frank & Tony "Holding On" feat. Bob Moses
Casbah 73 "Too Cool to Be Careless"
Alton Miller & Rachel Claudio "Rise (Vox Version)"
Timmy Regisford "Thank You (Frankie Feliciano Vocal Mix)" feat. Estelle
Tortured Soul "Can't Keep Rhythm From a Dancer (Miguel Migs Salted Vocal)"
Till Von Sein & Tigerskin "Home Alone (Original Mix)"
Miguel Migs "Heartbeat (Original Vocal Mix)" feat. Lisa Shaw
Timmy Vegas "Don't Stop (Disco Extended Mix)" feat. Jennifer Wallace
Lifelike & Tommi Bravo "Urban Sex (Original Mix)"
Posted by El Keter
At 05:26 PM on 07/21/13
Filed under Podcast

The Last of Us

After waiting unnecessarily long for a copy of the game to arrive in the mail I finally own Naughty Dog's blockbuster title 'The Last of Us' and have been playing it for a week or two. The game may be the most popular of the year, and for good reason; it's highly ambitious, it features some downright beautifully rendered graphics, and it really pushes the limits of not only video game storytelling but voice acting as well.

I've been playing the game slowly and methodically since its arrival, and after a number of days haven't even made it out of the quite incredible digital recreation of Boston. By contrast, I flew through another extremely popular and groundbreaking game, 'Bioshock: Infinite', gunning down enemies and collecting swag like a man possessed. And while the two games offer very different experiences, I think they bare more than a little comparison.

The two titles are running pretty much neck and neck in the race for "Game of the Year" in most gamers' minds. But I fear the one thing holding 'The Last of Us' back when compared to 'Bioshock: Infinite' is the "fun factor". Don't get me wrong, both games are grim in their own way, and 'Bioshock' definitely received it's share of criticism over the amount of carnage and graphic violence it depicted, but 'The Last of Us' can be downright depressing.

Whereas the run & gun style of gameplay in 'Infinite' felt fun, and the exploration of the world built up around it offered wonder and horror in equal doses, 'The Last of Us' feels more like a slog through one horrible event after another on the way to what one must assume is not going to be the happiest of endings, with the only reward being the experience itself. I mean, hooray for breaking the boundaries of video game entertainment and everything, but my life is hard enough already.

In that respect I suppose 'The Last of Us' might have more in common with the original "art deco mutants in an undersea world" iteration of 'Bioshock' than 'Infinite' did. It definitely takes a few notes on creepiness and scares from the earlier game. It could've taken a few on NPC AI from 'Infinite' as well though, as the other characters often get in your way and can even cause you to be discovered by enemies. She's no Elizabeth, but at least Ellie is "cool" and likable as a character, despite being a klutz.

Speaking of character, I've gotten attached to video game characters before, and had all kinds of emotional reactions to the bullshit that happens to them. But I genuinely feel bad for 'The Last of Us' protagonist Joel. Here's this middle aged man who has lost everything being backed into a corner by life yet again, sort of stumbling and wheezing his way through the exertion demanded of him to just stay alive! He's practically the anti-Booker DeWitt who was an unstoppable middle-aged killing machine!

Sure, one is far more realistic than the other. But Joel has about as much business taking off on this mission as I do! About the only thing either of us has going for us is a hidden penchant for brutal nastiness. I'm surprised he hasn't complained about his bad back yet! And granted, I'm not very far into the game, but there have been no barbershop quartet renditions of Beach Boys tunes or "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" interludes to break the apocalyptic mood of this virtually silent game.

That's a bit of a problem when most of us play video games to escape from our day to day realities. The real world is scary enough with monsters like George Zimmerman and Rick Perry, among many others, running around, I don't need to be afraid some fungus-infected asshole is going to eat my video game character's face. It's all enough to make a man give up! But maybe that's the point, with a world like ours, maybe we should just give up and let the fungus take over?

But uhh, I should probably go finish the fucking game.

'The Last of Us'
Naughty Dog
Playstation 3

Posted by El Keter
At 12:03 AM on 07/19/13
Filed under Technology

Detroit native Quelle Chris came east in big way for his recent "mixtape" 'Niggas is Men'. "Addiction Cycles" is one of several joints on the album where he teamed up with Brooklyn emcee Cavalier. It's a languid track told from the point of someone addicted to emceeing over a smooth but dusty horn and electric piano loop.

'Niggas is Men'
is easily one of the better Rap albums released this year. If you claim to like Rap music and you haven't bothered to check it out you need to get on the trolley. It's available both in stores and online on vinyl, CD, and MP3 formats, via Mello Music Group, who will be releasing his forthcoming "proper" debut.

And just because he deserves more shine, check out Cavalier's "Activated" video.

Quelle Chris
Mello Music Group

Posted by El Keter
At 04:26 AM on 07/18/13
Filed under Music

Super-underrated emcee/beatmaker Count Bass D kinda-sorta goes back to his roots on "Up and Down", one of a couple collaborations he's done with Glows in the Dark, a Virginia-based "avant-garde" Jazz group.

The song, with acoustic guitar, walking bass, and percussion backing up Bass D's conversational rhymes, is real chill, as are the visuals, which were shot by group member Scott Burton on a recent trip to Bali, Indonesia.

Both Count Bass D and John Robinson, the artist formerly known as Lil' Sci of Scienz of Life, make appearances alongside Glows in the Dark's jazzy stylings on their album/EP 'Research and Development'.

Glows in the Dark
Count Bass D

Posted by El Keter
At 03:55 AM on 07/18/13
Filed under Music

El-P and Killer Mike approach Beastie Boys "Sabotage" or Action Bronson "The Symbol" levels of awesomeness in the new and extremely funny (and ultra-violent) video for Run the Jewels' "36'' Chain".

Killums, the puppet from El-P's "The Full Retard" video, plays a major role in the clip but keep an eye our for cameos from the likes of Despot, Himanshu of Das Racist, and party dude Andrew WK, amongst others.

El and Mike's performances here confirm their places on my dream list cast as Danny Pricefixer and Otto Waterhouse, respectively, in a hypothetical big screen adaptation of the 'Illuminatus!' trilogy.

Oh, and here are "The Full Retard" and "Big Beast" in case you missed 'em while we weren't around.

Posted by El Keter
At 03:21 AM on 07/18/13
Filed under Music

Thanks to Despot's Twitter feed, here's the new video for "Hive", the third single from Earl Sweatshirt's Columbia Records debut 'Doris'.

'Doris' is one of my most anticipated albums of the Summer thanks in part to Earl's reinvigorated, and some might argue more grown-up, approach to songwriting since returning from a Samoan school for at-risk youth.

It's also refreshing as hell to hear "real Rap" back on a major label like it used to be on the regular back in Hip-Hop's so-called "glory days" of the late eighties and early nineties.

'Doris' drops, both in stores and at digital retailers, on August 20th via the Columbia Records label and Earl's own Tan Cressida imprint.

Here's Earl's "Chum" and "Whoa", featuring his OFWGKTA homie Tyler, the Creator, which both date back to our absence from the blogosphere.

Earl Sweatshirt
Odd Future

Posted by El Keter
At 03:17 AM on 07/16/13
Filed under Music

Run the Jewels - El-P + Killer Mike = Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels 'El-P + Killer Mike = Run the Jewels' (.ZIP)

I don't know what process lead Atlanta's Killer Mike from being Big Boi's side-man to being Brooklynite El-P's partner in rhyme, but whatever it was it's resulted in some of the illest Rap music of the last few years.

First came Killer Mike's entirely El-P-produced masterpiece 'R.A.P. Music', which should go down in the annals of Hip-Hop as an undisputed classic, blending gangsta shit with politics like few before.

Now we've got 'Run the Jewels', an LP from a full-fledged group comprised of the Lyrical Punisher and Killer Mike, which runs the gamut from the usual Def Jux space shit to a song with a guest-verse from Outkast's Big Boi.

The production splits the difference between El's classic futuristic b-boy beats and the cybernetic Crunk style he flexed on 'R.A.P. Music' and sounds kinda like Trent Reznor remixing Rap records from RUN-DMC to Juicy-J.

Unlike most Indie-Rap, which seems made for headphones, and mainstream Hip-Hop, that's so overmastered it gives you a headache, this shit really deserves to be bumped at the loudest volume possible in whatever "ride" you can find.

Oh, and remember to "do dope, fuck hope".

Posted by El Keter
At 06:29 PM on 07/15/13
Filed under Music

Pharoahe Monch - Stand Your Ground

I am not mad at this at all.

I am just one man but I know my power
It's the final call were in the final hour
And we must not divide as we march toward our future
Who are they to decide when they conspire to shoot yah,
Ahh, that could've been my mother, ohh, that could’ve been my brother
As sure as we rotate the sun and the earth revolves, get involved 3x
Stand your ground
They'll say I've lost my mind claim that I'm psychotic
He's a fucking traitor he's unpatriotic
But I learned in life truth it must be slated
And I know my rights they're un-alienated Descendent of the blood of slaves
Used to be the one afraid
Until I learned my souls divine amalgamate lets combine unify get in line and
Stand your ground
Posted by El Keter
At 03:54 PM on 07/15/13
Filed under Music

I feel like the last few years have seen certain sectors of our nation not just take a step backwards, but actually move several decades backwards.

I wish I knew what to do to stem the tide of this seeming regression and bring us all back to "good ol'" 2013.

But I don't.

And that makes me pretty fucking sad.

That's all I got right now.

Posted by El Keter
At 05:45 AM on 07/14/13
Filed under Hearsay

milo - cavalcade

Milo 'Cavalcade' (.ZIP)

Speaking of Open Mike Eagle, his Hellfyre Club protégé Milo has followed his lead and released a free EP, titled 'Cavalcade', of his own.

Milo somehow manages to come off more didactic and nerdy than Mike, but his references, if understood, fit perfectly within Rap's grand tradition of braggadocio.

YC the Cynic, Nocando, and Busdriver make appearances, but Milo holds his own on joints like "Geometry and Theology", the first single "Ecclesiates", "I Am Am", and "Besos".


Posted by El Keter
At 02:30 AM on 07/12/13
Filed under Music

Open Mike Eagle - Sir Rockabye

Open Mike Eagle 'Sir Rockabye.' (.ZIP)

Fresh off his scene-stealing performance on Steel Tipped Dove's recent mixtape, Chicago-by-way-of-LA-based emcee Open Mike Eagle drops 'Sir Rockabye', a free EP project he calls "a thing before other things."

He's dropped several free EP's in addition to his trio of stellar full-length albums, 'Unapologetic Art Rap', 'Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes', and '4NML HSPTL', and has always come off as both fiercely intelligently and intelligently fierce.

Dude is one of my favorite emcees and new tunes like "Mef's Lament", "Middling", "Degrassi Picture Day (Hellfyre Jackets)" featuring Busdriver, and the timely & topical "Password (tiny man raps)" further cement his reputation.

Open Mike Eagle

Posted by El Keter
At 01:51 AM on 07/12/13
Filed under Music

One of my favorite things to watch on Netflix instant is episodes of David Lynch's quirky early-nineties series 'Twin Peaks'. Don't get me wrong, I love the weird humor, and I especially love the obscure occultisms its later episodes are littered with. But I often find myself hungering for cherry pie after watching the denizens of the wacky northwestern town scarf down slice after slice of the stuff for hours on end.


Posted by El Keter
At 03:28 AM on 07/10/13
Filed under Television

By now I think we're all well aware that Rockstar Games will release the landmark fifth installment in it's open-world mayhem series 'Grand Theft Auto' on September 17th.

The latest entry introduces a whole new three-man heist scheme, allowing the player to operate as any of the three main characters instead of just one.

This new trailer finally unveils a little bit of just how that might work in actual gameplay, while showing off a bunch of other in-game goodies we haven't really seen yet.

I've already got my copy pre-ordered, what about you?

'Grand Theft Auto'
'Grand Theft Auto: V'
Rockstar Games

Posted by El Keter
At 03:16 PM on 07/09/13
Filed under Technology

Post-Rap crooner King Krule lends his Johnny Rotten-meets-Chet Baker vocals to "You Took Your Time", the new single from Dubstep-but-not-Dubstep duo Mount Kimbie's LP 'Cold Spring Fault Less Youth'.

Director Marcus Soderlund lenses an accompanying video clip for the tune that's just as haunting visually as Krule's infectious vocal melodies and the Kimbie's resonant basslines are auditorially.

Mount Kimbie
King Krule

Posted by El Keter
At 12:05 AM on 07/09/13
Filed under Music

This video dates back to my disappearance from the blogosphere. I don't care that it's old though. It's Summertime and this is some feelgood Summertime shit if ever there was any.

The clip was directed by Lucas Leyva and won several awards. The tune's a lil' bit of Folky, Ragtime by Miami's "queen of the Indie Rock scene" Rachel Goodrich. It's all a lot of fun.

Rachel Goodrich

Posted by El Keter
At 08:53 PM on 07/08/13
Filed under Music


So, it's settled. Sean "JAY-Z" Carter is an illuminatus. And boy is his coming out somethin'! He sets the record about his personal philosophy straight on "Heaven", one of many Timbaland-and-some-other-dudes-produced tracks from his new record 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'. And while some critics see two-facedness, backsliding, or sarcasm in the lyrics, my reading is very straightforward. Or at least as straightforward as that of anyone hip to the traditions and rituals of illumination could possibly be.

Conspiracy theorists screamin' Illuminati
They can't believe this much skill is in the human body
He's 6'2, how the fuck he fit in the new Bugatti
Awww, fuck it, you got me

A simple admission that the haters in the media have been "right" the whole time. But with a caveat, that his illumination is something personal, experienced by him as an individual and not derived from a group. He has skills that other mere humans cannot even comprehend having—the classic battle between homo-neophobe and homo-neophile—and he got to where he is through the exploitation of those skills, not the patronage of some imaginary fraternal organization comprised of the rich, famous, and powerful. No old-world cronyism masquerading as a "New World Order" here.

He precedes this startlingly straightforward revelation by making reference to the 5% Nation of Gods & Earths-derived teaching that Allah is not some "spook" in the sky, but an acronym standing for "arm, leg, leg, arm, head", meaning the form of the Asiatic Black man. This heretical implication that man is God—a basic tenet of any school of illumination—is the first thing out of his mouth on the record, and is quickly followed up by lines which deftly work in the "12 jewels", another core teaching of the NGE.

This places his philosophy firmly in a school of thought that reaches from the 5%ers—as well as Malachi Z. York's Ansaaru'allah Community, also known as the Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, of which Jay was an affiliate during the late '80s and early '90s—through the Nation of Islam, all the way back to The Prophet Noble Drew Ali's Moorish Science Temple. The latter of which traces it's lineage back through various Black nationalist groups, magical cabals, Masonic orders, Sufism, and Hassan-I-Sabbah's Hashshashin, amongst others; connections he expands on a few short lines later.

Question religion, question it all
Question existence until them questions are solved
Meanwhile this heretic, I be out in Marrakesh
Morocco smoking hashish with my fellowship

The lines about indulging in hashish—a substance with a lengthy history as a component of illuminist rituals, not the least of which being Hassan-I-Sabbah's legendary use of the marijuana derivative to make his followers think they'd "seen" heaven—with his "fellowship" in "Morocco" are plain-faced and self-evident. While the two previous lines describe the journey of the illuminatus, who questions everything and achieves answers through self-enlightenment. Or, as it was so elegantly put by both Aleister Crowley and Robert Anton Wilson, the path of illumination consists of a never-ended and ever-accelerating procession of "hunchbacks" and "soldiers"—or question-marks and exclamation-points—and to interrupt this process of inquiry is to risk stagnation.

Speaking of RAW, it should be noted that in he and Robert Shea's 'ILLUMINATUS!' trilogy protagonist Hagbard Celine and his entourage are depicted arriving in Ingolstadt, Bavaria for the "immenentization of the eschaton" in a Bugatti. Yeah, I know a Bugatti is a consumerist symbol of vast wealth, and that Beyoncé bought Jay one of the rare and expensive autos, but are you kidding me? Dude just happens to name drop the car Hagbard, the illuminatus to end all illuminatus', takes as a veritable wedding present for himself in the aftermath of a massive, public, act of transcendental illumination on his song addressing his own rumored membership in the Illuminati? Da fuck outta here!

But I digress, as the song progresses he directly denigrates organized religion, quoting Michael Stipe's famous lines from R.E.M.'s massive hit "Losing My Religion", and summing it up as a tool used by its adherents—whom he describes as a group of Devil-obsessed "hecklers" and "busters"—to do little but divide. He also compares himself to Jesus, describes himself as "God in the flesh", likens his rhymes to Bible verses, and elevates his own importance above that of a mere "preacher". And again, he makes a not-at-all veiled allusion to the fact that his knowledge may in part stem from the smoking of a psychotropic substance of some kind.

I confess, God in the flesh
Live among the serpents, turned arenas into churches
Uhh, I'm like Michael recycled
These are not sixteens, these is verses from the Bible
Tell that preacher, he's a preacher, I'm a muh-fuckin' prophet
Smoke the tree of knowledge, drink from a gold chalice

The chorus of the song itself utilizes similar sensual imagery, asking the seemingly rhetorical questions "Have you ever been to Heaven? Have you ever seen the gates? Have you bowed unto your highness? And do you know how heaven tastes?" But Jay makes it clear the questions are meant to be taken a bit more literally, and a lot more confrontationally, as he describes the experience of illumination as a literal visit to the gates of Heaven. Yes, he's been to the gates. Yes, he knows what "the tree of knowledge" and the beverage served from the "gold chalice" tastes like. No, he'd never bow down to anyone.

You gotta love it
I arrived at the pearly gates, I had luggage
Meaning I had baggage
Niggas askin' me questions
I don't answer to these busters

Thus he explicates the classic process of personal illumination; where one must separate the logogram—or the "baggage" we're saddled with by society, our parents, so-called authority figures, etc., which fucks us all up—from the biogram—the innate, possibly genetic, knowledge of humanity and its nigh infinite potential—and merely "exist" unburdened by anything, especially the judgements, expectations, and guilt-trips of others still locked into the authoritarian mind-trip as if in a heavenly state. That he does it using the symbol-rich language of the logogram itself is quite beautiful in its own way.
Posted by El Keter
At 03:06 AM on 07/08/13
Filed under Esoterica

I've had Breach's bass-heavy Jackin' House anthem "Jack" in my digital crates for a few months. It gets a major label re-release on July 14th via Claude VonStroke's Dirtybird Records and Atlantic. All that major-label dough probably went towards buying wigs for the extremely luxurious video clip.

Ben Westbeech
Dirtybird Records

Posted by El Keter
At 11:40 PM on 07/05/13
Filed under Music

Steel Tipped Dove - & a whole bunch of crazy motherfuckers

The good homies over at Modern Shark dropped the ambitious '& a whole bunch of crazy motherfuckers', an absolutely massive project from underground beatmaker Steel Tipped Dove earlier this week. Seriously, it's so big (clocking in at a whopping 35 tracks) they had to split the thing into two parts!

It kinda reminds me of Marley Marl's 'In Control' albums from back in the day with the stylistic ground it covers. And while a project of this magnitude is bound to feature it's share of filler, with features from the likes of Imageyenation favorites Tone Tank, Open Mike Eagle, Kool AD, Lakutis, Fat Tony, Big Baby Gandhi, ZachG, and label-owner Baje One himself, it boasts more than it's fair share of bangers as well.

Download Pt. 1 (.ZIP)
Download Pt. 2 (.ZIP)

For my money (not that it cost anything to download this joint) Open Mike Eagle and Tone Tank are vying against each other for best song. I'm gonna make you download this shit to hear Mike's magnificent "A Horrible Realization About Babies", but you can peep Tone at his most MF DOOM-esque on the "wonder"-full "Ellen Degenerates" below.

Modern Shark

Posted by El Keter
At 07:44 PM on 07/03/13
Filed under Music

Joey Bada$$ - Summer Knights

I'm not gonna waste your time with this one.

If you're been feenin' for some raw, dirty, dusty, grimy, filtered bassline and hard beats Rap...Some hoodies, fatigues, Carhart, Timberlands, and army hats Rap...Some pioneered by the likes of Da Bush Babees, Channel Live, Ten Thieves, and especially The Boot Camp Clik and Wu-Tang Clan Rap...You just need to download Joey Bada$$' new "mixtape" 'Summer Knights' right the fuck now!

No questions! Just download it!

Joey Bada$$ 'Summer Knights' (.ZIP)

And while that's downloading make sure you check out the video for "95 Til Infinity", the first "single" from 'Summer Knights'. It's a veritable masterclass in what a real rapper sounds, looks, acts, and eats like, right down to the Kennedy Fried Chicken. Young'n's, pay your ass some attention!


Posted by El Keter
At 12:13 AM on 07/03/13
Filed under Music

Nedelle Torrisi

I just name-dropped Nedelle Torrisi in this morning's post about Rainbow Chan not knowing that I'd find out later in the day that she's got a new record coming out.

After doing time with Cryptacize, some side work with Blood Orange, and a project under the guise of Paradise, Ms. Torrisi has teamed up with Haunted Graffiti sideman Kenny Gilmore for a self-titled LP to be released September 3rd on some DIY shit.

The first single from the album is "Double Horizon", which takes her in a decidedly '80s-influenced direction not dissimilar to her sometime collaborator Dev Hynes' work as Blood Orange.

I gotta say, I'm really looking forward to this LP.


Posted by El Keter
At 04:41 PM on 07/02/13
Filed under Music

Just in time for your 4th of July beach/block/house/pool party, Sydney, Australia-based chanteuse Rainbow Chan serves up some sweet Summertime sounds. "Skinny Dipping", her third single and the first taste of her forthcoming 'Long Vacation EP', seamlessly blends pure 50's-style tropical Pop with the modern production techniques of today.

"Skinny Dipping" is a gorgeous little ditty with a classic vocal that reminds me a whole lot of early Nedelle and Feist, and leaves me fiending to hear more of what this girl has to offer. Luckily, Rainbow Chan's debut EP 'Long Vacation' is due for release July 30th on Silo Arts & Records, so I shouldn't have long to wait before I can check it out.

Rainbow Chan
Silo Arts

Posted by El Keter
At 05:55 AM on 07/02/13
Filed under Music

I've been playing Capcom's stylish, sumptiously designed platformer/fighter 'Remember Me' for the last few weeks. Aside from the innovations in gameplay and the fantastically realized world of Neo-Paris I've been pretty captivated by the game's soundtrack.

The work of composer Olivier Deriviere, it shy's away from recent trends toward punishing Dubstep beats and instead blends traditional cinematic orchestration with little glitchy touches. In keeping with the game's theme of "remixing" memories Capcom and Deriviere have offered ,"Fragments", a track from the soundtrack. for folks to remix, and maybe win some prizes.

'Remember Me' Remix Contest Prizes

Two winners will be eligible to win an exclusive 'Remember Me' vinyl LP with a custom-made sleeve and their winning track, a game console of their choice (Xbox 360 or PS3), the 'Remember Me' artbook, a signed copy of the game, and assorted swag. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

So visit the contest page as soon as possible, download the "Fragments" stems, go to town on them in your DAW of choice, upload your fancy mix, and maybe, just maybe, you'll be a winner. And if not, maybe you can get the game's lead character Nilin to "remix" your memories so at least you think you're the big winner.

Posted by El Keter
At 02:26 PM on 07/01/13
Filed under Technology

Peep a couple of my recent live House mixes via Mixcloud!

Memorial Day Deep House Mix 2013 by El Keter Ben Tzadik on Mixcloud

Jonasclean "Awakenings"
Rescue & DJ Mes "How We Do"
Waze & Odessey "Please Don't Dance (Detroit Swindle's Basement Dub)"
Addex "Heatwave"
Hazzaro "Girls and Boys"
Flight Facilities "I Don't Believe (Extended Version)"
Oscar L "Save My Ass"
Kike Medina "The Girls"
Big Will Rosario "The Spiritual Journey (Boom Clot Mix)"
Rhythm Plate "Dirty"
Nathan Adams "Falling (Full Crate Mix)"

Summer 2013 House Mix by El Keter Ben Tzadik on Mixcloud

Huxley "Dark Bourbon"
Admin "For Junior"
Kendrick Lamar "Swimming Pools (Whitesquare Remix)"
Funky Trunkers "Dose Kicks & Dat Ass" feat. Copha
Santos "They Saw You"
Will Monotone "We Like to Party"
Chube.Ka & The Deepshakerz "Let the Rhythm"
Gramaphonedzie "BOOM!"
Riva Starr & DJ Sneak "In da House Tonight"
David Jack Beatamines "Gheto Fusion"
David Jack Beatamines "Gheto Fusion (Dub Mix)"
Marcos in Dub "Jazzgrade"

I'm hoping to drop a new mix every month.
Posted by El Keter
At 03:28 AM on 07/01/13
Filed under Podcast

We're Baaaaaaack!

It's been a long time, we shouldn't have left you...blah, blah, blah...and all that jazz.

I'm happy to be back, but the question hangs in the air...why the near three year hiatus?

Frankly, I didn't like what was going on around the so-called "blogosphere."

I started this website back in 1999 presenting static content powered by pages hand-coded in Microsoft Notepad.

When "push-button publishing" became a "thing" I got the site's back end straight and jumped onto the then-burgeoning blog bandwagon.

But pretty soon "push-button publishing" turned into "push a button and get your very own blog!"

The Web 2.0 boom which made it possible for everybody to have a voice brought with it some problems.

Namely, it gave everybody a voice...regardless of whether they had any actual expertise on or passion for the subjects they blogged about.

Hosting a website didn't require any effort anymore.

You didn't have to care so much about something that you invested your time and money just to create an outlet for it on the internet.

There was Blogger, then Wordpress, then Twitter, then Tumblr.

Then TIME magazine made all the Web 2.0 assholes their man of the year.

Meanwhile corporations and media entities of every stripe were turning their websites or publications into blogs.

I even worked for one for a few years, helping to mold their brand into something new and different in the process.

Which is pretty much where I decided to get up and leave.

Where'd I go?

To work for one of the biggest banking institutions in the country.

No shit.

My enjoyment of being a member of the Jewish Banking Conspiracy lasted until a massive layoff put everybody in my office on unemployment.

Now more than ever the blogosphere feels disingenuous.

It's like everybody just wants to be "first" with the "hot" new "exclusive" shit and is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.

That, or they're posting as an excuse to spew hate.

Are people posting about shit because they actually like it or care about it?

Or are they just posting whatever the PR companies send them in an effort to ingratiate themselves so they keep getting sent shit?

I don't know, and frankly, I don't care.

I'm not going to let the vagaries of "the blogosphere" influence the direction of my passion project.

So, Imageyenation is back, and won't be going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Expect the same coverage of media that we actually love and care about.

Expect a lot of DJ mixes, because that's another thing that's, rocking the one's & two's.

Expect some editorializing, some metaphysics, and some angry rants.

Just don't expect everything we post to be on some nu-nu next shit.

I've got a lot of lost time to make up for.

Posted by El Keter
At 03:07 AM on 07/01/13
Filed under Curiosities

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