The STD crew has been out of the office for a while. Weâ€™ve been pushing the political pavement for a few months and gathered some interesting data.
1. Barack Obama tivoâ€™s Flavor of Love.
2. CNN host Anderson Cooper previously tried out for Project Runway and never made the show. We hear he makes a â€œfierceâ€ sundress, though.
3. John McCain is actually 108 years old.
4. Donâ€™t let Hilary fool you; sheâ€™s been sippinâ€™ syrup (grape flavor) since she met Bill years ago. Sources say Lil Wayne is her dealer.
5. Democratic strategist Donna Brazile uses â€œDr. Miracleâ€ to get her perm just right.
So, after countless beer tours with the Clintons, sticking â€œBaby On Boardâ€ bumper stickers on Ron Paulâ€™s tour bus and trying to get Rev. Jeremiah Wright a talk show on BET, we decided to call it quits and give this reviewing thing a shot, again. If at first you donâ€™t succeed, try and try again. Well, that is, unless you never pay your taxes. Free Wesley Snipes!
Have you ever noticed how spherical ?uestlove’s afro is? C’mon, we all have. Fortunately, this time around The Roots’ eighth studio album â€“ Rising Down â€“ holds your attention long enough not to give you fro nightmares. With assistance from Saigon, Common and Talib Kweli, the Illadelph crew offers an equally-adept balance between experimental hip hop funk and upbeat go-go music. The Roots new musical route proves that commanding percussion and creativity go a long way, even though Iâ€™m secretly routing for Soulja Boy. Either way, I hope Rising Down does well so ?uestlove can finally afford a haircut.
– Jason Parham
Before it became the norm, Madonna was the standard bearer in terms of pop culture whoredom. Over the years, though, age and the Kabbalah have made her lose her oomph. But, thanks to Timberland, Timberlake, and Pharrell, pop musicâ€™s biggest culture vulture has managed yet again to appropriate â€œurbanâ€ music and use it as a means to regain relevance. If you can get pass her sounding like Ursula the Sea Witch on much of the album, youâ€™ll realize that while she can no longer channel Marilyn Monroe, she just might make it as the new Blanche Devereaux.
– Michael Arceneaux
It must be hard to really a make a name for yourself as an artist when the American media is more obsessed with your awful teeth and your even more awful sense of style. But, British R&B singer Estelle is a fighter, and despite the too-happy for stateside lead single, â€œAmerican Boy,â€ she proves herself to be one tough girl on the rest of her album. Still, if she wants to make it in this country, she might want to holler at a dentist and a stylist. People depicted as tacky yuck mouths donâ€™t sell in America.
– Michael Arceneaux
R.E.M.â€™s trying this whole â€œrock â€™nâ€™ rollâ€ thing on for size. It makes me wonder:
– Has a power trio ever had a bisexual, bald lead singer?
– If this mainstream rock incarnation of R.E.M. sounds like mid-â€™90s Pearl Jam, does moody, jangly Pearl Jam sound like â€œLosing My Religionâ€?
– How does producer Jacknife Lee keep getting work? And when he does, are his checks made out to â€œJacknife Leeâ€? What bank would let him open an account under that name? Do people call him â€œJacknifeâ€ in business discussions?
R.E.M. spent less time on this record than they have in 20 years. Jacknife wastes no time in compressing the shit out of average songs to make them more palatable.
– Kevin Doran
Portishead has made a career on making spy music for pale-skinned English people and American anglophiles who arenâ€™t nearly debonair enough to be spies. Itâ€™s like how AC/DCâ€™s â€œI like drinking and fuckingâ€ music attracted a bunch of fat chicks. Portisheadâ€™s creatively titled third studio album, Third, is still living on that career. Pasty skinny hipsters, put on your shades and rev that Aston Martin. Then go home and pretend your girlfriend is Pussy Galore. This is as good as it gets.
– Kevin Doran
Life is Expensive
Nowadays rappers take rap way too damn serious. Like who wants to listen to rappers rap about rap and rap things? Sometimes you just want something you can sit back and blow a dub to. Am I right or am I right? Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m totally digging East Coast-bred and LA-based group Time Machineâ€™s latest effort, Life is Expensive. Itâ€™s the ill combination of dope beats, care-free party raps you can shake something to (â€œThe Groove That Just Wonâ€™t Stopâ€) and contemplative tracks that make you ponder your existence (â€œSurvival Kitâ€). It takes you from getting head after a cup of OJ to chasing ones dream being the only way to truly live. Life is Expensive is the perfect OST to a chiefed-out Cali summer that could lead you in any direction.
– John Burnett
Small Eyez & Soul Stirrer
Forget about live n***a rap. The 21st century is all about everyday Joe Hip Hop; you know raps us regular folk can relate to. If I wanted to see how much money I didnâ€™t have Iâ€™d go kick it in the financial district. I ainâ€™t trying to hear that shit when Iâ€™m listening to my music. Rapper/blogger hybrid Small Eyez and producer, Soul Stirrer, gives you something to live to on 2Morrow. Itâ€™s a mÃ©lange of inspirational, soulful and thoughtful ditties thatâ€™s presented from a perspective thatâ€™s more shoulder-to-shoulder with the fan then looking down from above. Small Eyez shows his ass (pause) on the mic, lyrically, while Soul Stirrerâ€™s beats do just what his name claims to. All in all Iâ€™d say, 2Morrow is that feel good hip-hopâ€”from the heartâ€”for those of us who donâ€™t want to listen to rap and feel like â€œdamn why ainâ€™t I ballingâ€ like (insert flashy rapperâ€™s name here).
– John Burnett