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Messages - Reginald Hudlin

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Hudlin's Huddle / Re: black history music month: the female singer
« on: June 14, 2018, 09:06:40 am »
And yes, I"m a huge Cassandra Wilson fan, but when it comes to female singers are are so many greats I left off the list.  I could do another ten names without breaking a sweat.

I have, over time, been convinced that I have been too hard on Whitney.  Jamie Foxx in particular gave a very persuasive argument one day.  He told me basically every great female singer I love is a fan of Whitney. 

Hudlin's Huddle / Re: black history music month: the female singer
« on: June 14, 2018, 09:03:44 am »
the black female singer/songwriter is a tricky proposition.  I can name many white ones, from Bjork to Carole King to Joni Mitchell.  But I could think of their black equivalents that could be on the same list as Stevie Wonder, Prince and Smokey Robinson.  But there are a lot of artists whose process I don't know.  Please enlighten me! 

Hudlin's Huddle / black history music month: the female singer
« on: June 14, 2018, 07:51:55 am »
different styles, but all jamming.  check out the main page then come back and post here!

Latest Flicks / Re: Greatest movie posters of all time
« on: June 13, 2018, 04:49:15 pm »
I am looking at the 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' poster and thinking to myself ...I have never seen that movie and if I do it will be with the lights on.
I"m really planning on seeing it again this summer.

Can you write a great song?  And can you sing your face off? Then you belong on this list on the main page of the website!  check it out and then come post about it.

Latest Flicks / Re: Avengers: Infinity War
« on: June 09, 2018, 12:29:13 pm »
No way Groot won't be back for the next GotG

Latest Flicks / Re: Greatest movie posters of all time
« on: June 09, 2018, 12:28:01 pm »
thanks so much! 

Lot of classics up here so far!  But I feel like there's still some missing..

Latest Flicks / Re: White Boy Rick: A Detroit Story
« on: June 09, 2018, 12:26:33 pm »
The obvious aside, it does look good.

Feel The Funk / PRINCE - TOP FIVE
« on: June 07, 2018, 09:39:40 pm »
Not the five favorite albums, which is already a tough list.

Five favorite SONGS. 

In celebration of his birthday:

Take Me With You

Forever In My Life

Let's Go Crazy (12 inch mix)

Tick Tick Bang

Adore, Love or $, New Position, When You Were Mine, Staxowax - 5 way tie for fifth (yes I cheated)

Acting / Re: Battle of the Denzel Badasses!
« on: June 06, 2018, 06:54:46 am »
It has been suggested that Malcolm X should be in this list.

Feel The Funk / Re: Ye....Kanye's new album, reviewed
« on: June 05, 2018, 04:36:20 am »
Ye's Album Length

Bob Lefsetz Unsubscribe
5:36 AM (1 hour ago)

to me
It's got seven songs and it's twenty three minutes long. This form factor is more important than the songs contained therein, which have unfortunately gotten mediocre reviews.

Yes, you self-satisfied white rockers, you need to admit it, you're behind the curve. While rappers embraced the internet, giving their music away for FREE I say, HOW COULD THEY?, most famously on Soundcloud, the holier-than-thou white rockers, especially the aged, complained that the internet was ruining music and streaming was the devil.

But now streaming is single-handedly rejuvenating record companies, although most of the spoils are going to hip-hop.

When the future comes, EMBRACE IT!

You're an artist not a startup. You don't need double-digit millions from a VC to play, with your laptop and some skills you can post your music instantly online. Getting attention, that's another thing. But let's say you've already got attention...

Kanye's making a bunch of these twenty minute albums, most famously with Pusha T, who's riding a railroad of success he has not experienced in years. Next comes NAS, Teyana Taylor and a collaboration with Kid Cudi. That's right, Kanye's not worried about maximizing revenue, beating songs to death, touring them to hoover up all possible dollars, he's gonna step on his own solo project by doing one with Cudi, HOW 2018!

Are you living in 2018? Do you know it's about satiating fans, releasing frequently, like Drake, being innovative?

Let's review history.

Albums came from 78s, a collection was called an "album."

33 1/3 LPs contained twenty five to forty minutes of music and were then called "albums."

CDs held 80 minutes of music and by god, the players filled them with execrable crap, justifying robbers on Napster who were sick of overpaying for one good track.

And now we've got streaming and an album can be INFINITE!

Think about that, it allows you to reinvent the format. Do you really want to put out 80 minutes of music in an era where even babies are overscheduled? No, you need to make it bite-sized, digestible.

Now the fascinating thing about "ye" is each track has almost the same number of listens, from 10-16 million on Spotify. Meaning people are not cherry-picking tracks, they're listening to them all.

As opposed to Taylor Swift's "Reputation," whose hits have 100-300 million streams on Spotify, but whose album cuts have maybe 20-odd million streams, meaning most people are not listening to them, they're cherry-picking the hits!

And I bring up Taylor because she actually had hits on her album, and "Reputation" has 15 songs and is 55 minutes long.

Back to Pusha T. His 5 song "Daytona" has from 4.7 to 7.7 million streams of each cut on Spotify, meaning people ARE LISTENING TO THE WHOLE THING!

Shinedown is experiencing a resurgence. Their 14 song 50 minute long 2018 album "Attention Attention" has got attention for the hit, but after that... "Devil" has 8 million streams on Spotify, a bunch of the album cuts don't even break a million.

And it's true, some heritage and niche acts have new albums with a relatively even number of streams, but that number is POSITIVELY ANEMIC! Meaning the hard core fans are streaming the whole thing and everybody else is ignoring it.

You can spend 23 minutes listening to Kanye's new LP and be an expert, express your opinion, weigh in. But to have an opinion on almost anybody else, you've got to spend an hour listening to mostly crappy music. Furthermore, music seeps into your brain with repetition, and the shorter something is, the more times you can play it, and end up loving it.

This is big news. Hip-hop is pushing the envelope when it comes to format, which is another reason why it's winning.

You can get on board now or be permanently left behind.

Feel The Funk / Ye....Kanye's new album, reviewed
« on: June 05, 2018, 04:34:51 am »
Kanye West


by Meaghan Garvey
JUNE 4 2018
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Kanye West’s stint in Wyoming created an album born from chaos for chaos’ sake. Though it can be somewhat fascinating, it is undoubtedly a low point in his career.

There is something about the crumbling of American civilization that makes you want to say “f*ck it” and go full cowboy; cue Kanye West and friends cosplaying Wyoming as a concept, living out a dude-ranch fantasy beneath the Tetons. It was there, in Jackson Hole—the most economically imbalanced city in America—where Kanye threw together his eighth album in the midst of a public unraveling that, in a society where celebrity wasn’t deified, would be the stuff that ends a career.

In the month leading up to ye, during which he and his team of producers and songwriters created the 24-minute album in its entirety, West proudly donned a Trump-autographed MAGA hat, sputtered that slavery seemed like a choice, and offered a steady stream of empty platitudes urging his followers to “stop thinking so much” and “google dopamine.” He was broadly considered “canceled,” a term we use because we at some point collectively decided to project our sociopolitical hopes and fears onto millionaires. And then, in keeping with his tradition of elaborate, immersive rollouts, he chartered private planes for 150 or so influencers to listen by Jackson Hole campfire to seven tracks he farted out to meet his arbitrarily self-imposed deadline. Those who are obsessed with money assume goodwill can be bought. Even “free-thinkers” know nothing really comes for free.

If West has successfully pulled off anything this album cycle, it is managing expectations with all the shameless savvy of his in-laws, the Kardashians. Of course, Kanye West was never really going to get canceled. West knows better than anyone that a few decent beats to remind people of The Old Kanye are usually enough to replenish one’s goodwill, bleak as it may be. And while ye, whose diminutive title feels appropriate, may be vacant of soul and full of punchlines like, “Don’t get your tooth chipped like Frito-Lay,” it is at the very least not West’s alt-right album—that’s where the bar is set now. Nor is it the Performance Art 101 bait-and-switch some fans had hypothesized. Instead, ye reveals that the past month’s flailing attempts at iconoclasm were building up to exactly nothing: It is an album born from chaos for chaos’ sake, an album that can barely be bothered to refer to that chaos with anything more committal than a Kanye shrug.

It would be convenient to say that ye fails because of his persona. It remains unclear exactly when West lost the map: Perhaps it was recently, or perhaps he has always been an ideologue representing nothing more or less than the hyper-individualist dogma of Kanye West. Until this year, the music had always been great enough to ostensibly eclipse the man himself, had we wanted that. But for most of the 2000s, loudly declaring West an asshole was, in itself, a certified asshole move, the party line of drunk uncles and least-favorite cousins. And besides that, the intersection of his art and persona was made clear eight years ago when he toasted to his own douchiness before anybody else could.

If anything, ye compresses the Kanye West character, making everything about the artist feel smaller, blurrier, like you are squinting at an image once larger than life. We have reached the point where West’s once-constant churn of ideas—usually inspired, regularly awkward, but always like nothing else out there—is barely meeting the standard of “Lift Yourself,” the desperate troll banger that preceded ye, corralling every meaning of the word “scat.” The problem with ye is not that it was made by an unrepentant asshole, but that it is thoroughly, exhaustingly boring—a word I never imagined would apply to a generation’s most reliable innovator.

As an art-making ethos, “first thought, best thought” works great for beat poetry and hardcore. For most pop stars, including those deemed geniuses, a few weeks to create an album start to finish is hopeless. To be fair, West has pulled his share of buzzer-beaters: a decent chunk of Yeezus’ vocals were written and recorded in the 48 hours before deadline and for all we know, he’s still fixing “Wolves.” Those last-minute edits registered as the neurosis of a perfectionist—annoying, definitely, but at least a sign of care. But ye feels rickety, almost, as if removing a bassline would send the whole thing toppling. The lyrics riff on events of the past month, sometimes the past week. When West announced the album alongside four other G.O.O.D. Music productions in late April, none of ye’s seven songs existed. You could argue that this isn’t exactly a shocking development. If there’s anything that unites the divergent sounds across West’s catalog, it’s their reactionary nature—antagonistic responses to his previous material (in the case of Yeezus) or the state of rap at large (on his earliest popped-collar mixtapes) or to his public perception (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy).

But ye responds petulantly and exclusively to reactions deliberately provoked by West himself, the kind of thing you’d expect from a YouTube celebrity whose last name is Paul. It’s as if he’d completely forgotten the music was the reason we loved him in the first place. “Yeezy Yeezy trolling OD, ha!/Turn TMZ to Smack DVD, ha!” he scoffs in an anesthetized Juvenile flow on the aptly-named “Yikes.” He is referring to his recent visit to the gossip site’s headquarters, where he was duly humiliated by a newsroom employee after suggesting slaves should have simply emancipated themselves and invoking the right-wing dog whistle of black-on-black crime in his hometown of Chicago. Somehow, still, he sounds proud. “Yikes” offers no further insight into West’s beliefs because there is not much more to say. Instead, he flips Russell Simmons’ rape allegations into a cringey #MeToo punchline; his conclusion is relief that it isn’t him in the hot seat. “Wouldn’t Leave”—a minimalist re-conjuring of The Old Kanye where Young Thug, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Ty Dolla $ign’s voices melt into one—presents a telling glimpse into the Kardashian-Wests’ psyches. “She told you not to do that sh*t/She told you you was gonna f*ck the money up,” West casually reminds himself on the outro, presenting the past month’s careless f*ckery as a quirky tale of how boys will be boys while exposing the foul inner mechanics of brand management.

It is dark, dark, dark, as one might expect of a record that opens with a song called “I Thought About Killing You,” which pretty much does what it says on the tin. “I think about killing myself, and I love myself way more than I love you, so…” West rambles over a queasy, almost negligible beat that builds into a sped-up, uncleared sample from PAN’s 2017 mono no aware ambient compilation. These are not easy statements to hear, no matter how casually West presents them, and they’re contextualized further by the album art: an iPhone photo of Jackson Hole’s horizon, snapped en route to the listening session, on which West has scrawled “I hate being Bi-Polar its awesome” [sic]. As West sells it, ye is an album devoted to the stand-off between visceral self-loathing and baroque levels of narcissism, further complicated by mental illness and a recent opiate addiction. Listening to “Killing You,” it’s unclear whether West’s violent thoughts are directed at his wife or towards himself, or if he even means it at all: maybe a homicidal fantasy is just another badass way to start an album, an inverted “Ultralight Beam.” It is the work of a broken man, whatever the case. But to meet West on his terms here feels impossible. In his world, self-expression justifies itself, and speaking your most twisted thoughts out loud is an act of bravery, one that makes “I Thought About Killing You” not just a fine thing to write and share, but a work made from a place of love. Art, then, is a way of existing beyond reproach, an excuse for everything.

“People say, ‘Don’t say this, don’t say that’—just say it out loud, just to see how it feels,” West encourages further in “Killing You,” still speaking plainly, without much emotion. It is the most coherent distillation of his creative mindset that West has offered all shaky-ass year. Just do whatever, this attitude suggests: All art is good art so long as it feels honest, and anything goes so long as you worship yourself. ye is a record made entirely from this “Just say it out loud” ethos—from the dead-eyed dad jokes (“None of us would be here without cum,” is an immediate contender for worst-ever West punchline, and that’s considering “Swaghili”) to the production, a re-gifted grab-bag that borrows indiscriminately from almost every pre-existing West epoch.

That “Ghost Town” is ye’s clear highlight feels loaded: handled at the front half by John Legend, stolen on the back half by recent G.O.O.D. signee and emo-rap heiress apparent 070 Shake, and held down by a grungy refrain from Kid Cudi, it is the track where West’s contributions are most easily ignored. He gargles a few half-finished thoughts, his tone not so much sad as dazed, re-using the verse melody from “Runaway” over a sample chop that, at one point, sounds a whole lot like his work with JAY-Z on “Otis.” Shake’s performance is unexpectedly magnetic, yelping, “I put my hand on the stove, to see if I still bleed/And nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free.” It’s an ode to total numbness, and somehow it’s also ye’s emotional climax, an irony as apt as it is depressing.

By the time you’ve considered settling in, the album’s basically over, saving its most retrograde sentiment for last. “Violent Crimes” is certainly a spicy title for a song about West’s 4-year-old daughter, North, who he fears will one day become hot, illustrating these fears in disturbingly specific detail. (You can almost picture Nas in the Jackson Hole ski lodge, resting a solemn hand on West’s shoulder: “You’re 40 now, Ye. It’s time for your ‘as a father of daughters’ song.”) Over dull, sappy keys, West speculates about the ways in which North’s teenaged body might one day make his life difficult, warning, “Don’t do no yoga, don’t do pilates,” as though her hypothetical puberty was a personal affront—this from the guy who once defended, in all caps, Bill Cosby’s innocence. Of the many “father guarding their daughter’s virtue” ballads I have heard in my life, “Violent Crimes” is unquestionably the most uncomfortable listen. “How did he think this would go over?!” I wondered incredulously on first listen, but the simplest answer is, he probably didn’t. And just like that: the eighth Kanye West album, out with a whimper.

So to seek answers within ye—answers that do not involve f*cking Stormy Daniels lookalikes while tripping on DMT, at least—feels foolish. And maybe Kanye West doesn’t owe us answers. Maybe we cared way too much, projecting all that genius onto a guy who wore shutter shades and never missed an opportunity for a mayonnaise pun. Maybe it created a dynamic that’s turned out to be actively toxic to both music and politics. Maybe we should abolish the word “genius,” or just find heroes who give a sh*t. But I can admit that after ye ended unceremoniously the third or fourth time, I put on “Family Business,” and I thought about the kid from Chicago who wanted to be the biggest rapper in the world, who now lives in an empty-looking concrete mansion in Calabasas, who has stopped trying.

For Black Music Month, I will be making all kinds of lists of great black music.  The first list is great black movie music.  Since I can't do my Hollywood Bowl Salute this year, here's a list of not-obvious but still awesome black movie music to hold you over. 

Hudlin TV / Collusion
« on: June 03, 2018, 10:34:26 pm »
Adam McKay has a great new show on HBO.  Intense and funny.  Anyone see it?

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