The best song on Magna Carta Holy Grail isn’t on Magna Carta Holy Grail, probably due to the track’s lack of Basquiat references, but I digress. Presumably, the D-P in “DP3” stands for dead presidents, as in this is the third installment in a series that began with a 12-inch and was continued on Reasonable Doubt.

But then why not just call it “Dead Presidents 3?” Could it be code? A double meaning, perhaps? Is he poking fun at that Jay-Z/Jamie Foxx/Foxy Brown threesome rumor that came out before Foxy herself labeled it downright slander?

Doubtful, I guess, but wait… I mean, pause: “While others spit that Wonderama shit me and my conglomerate/ Same crime bigger trial your honor suck a dick/ Let me live out my dreams until my heart give out/ Involved with cream you know exactly what this is about” NO, SHAWN, WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS ABOUT?

I’m just kidding, though. This song’s great: Jay-Z bedded Foxy Brown; now he’s touching butts with Beyonce; and in all likelihood I’m going to die alone, having never tapped either songstress or stacked many dead presidents for that matter.

• HOV: http://lifeandtimes.com
• Roc-A-Fella Records: http://www.rocafella.com


“Binary Counter”

Nicola Lucchese’s new tape, performed on a modular synth, has some excellent click settings. I’m serious. There are a lot of clicks clicking on the sample track provided by label Dokuro (which is actually from Italy, not Japan; go figure, right?). And out of all the clicking music that I’ve listened to in the past month, “Binary Counter” got me the most anxious, in the best way possible of course. I’m 30% addicted to coffee, but I didn’t even need to drink any this morning because my brain became hyper-alert after jamming some Mudwise. I felt like I was in tune with the insects outside my window — the ants climbing in the potted plants on the patio below, marching in a staccato rhythm to the track’s clicking, somehow linking us all together. Science could most likely explain it.

Speaking of which, in the latest episode of Adventure Time, Pink Girl is a total dick to these wizards because she believes magic is just complicated science done by people who don’t understand it, and so they end up in wizard prison, which looks a lot like the prison from Bad Boys (the one with Sean Penn). In fact, — and here’s the tie-in — some of the music during the title slides for Adventure Time use modular synthesis in the same expansive, whimsical fashion that Mudwise is doing on his 4017 tape. The music is intense and intricate, but has that feeling of discovery and joyous noise that comes with improvisation. A bass line begins to emit faintly as the sample track “Binary Counter” comes to a close, so you know you gotta immediately cop this pro-dubbed, sweet-and-sour-synthesis to see how it ends.

• Dokuro: http://www.dokuro.it
• Mudwise: http://mudwise.tumblr.com

Beat Detectives

“Picture of a Picture”


• Beat Detectives: https://soundcloud.com/beat-detectives
• Moon Glyph: http://moonglyph.com

Kanye West

“Black Skinhead”

Stop listening to Magna Carta Holy Grail, everyone! It’s finally here: Kanye West has dropped the video for “Black Skinhead” — the second track off his new album Yeezus — and it features a beautiful CGI rendition of the humble little rapper. And guess what? HE’S SUPER FUCKING BUFF. Check out the CGI abs new video here.

Update 1: The video we embedded earlier was an unfinished leak. Out of respect for Kanye’s ego, we’ve taken the video down and are waiting for the final version before posting.

Update 2: Check out the final version of the video right here: http://www.kanyewest.com

• Kanye West: http://www.kanyewest.com

Spaz / Baghdad BrooK / Hagfish / Poet Lounge / Hieroglyph Thesaurus / Sam Hillmer

“Bounce 1”

Scroll to zoom and drag to pan. Double click on the play icon to watch the video. Click here for the full screen experience.

Recently, I Q&A’d Sam Hillmer (ZS, Diamond Terrifier) about his imprint Representing NYC and a video he made with some local Brooklyn fellahs, who are playing some of Sam’s weekly Practice! events at Secret Project Robot (one of which is tonight). Read on:

Who are the fellahs vocalizing in this cipher video?

First is Spaz, a dude who lives down the street from me, whom I met through some friends because he was recording at a studio next door to me: deep cat. Then there is Baghdad BrooK. Some of the other fellas in the cipher put me on to him and just invited him impromptu to the session. Next is Hagfish, who also lives down the way from me, and I met him at the same time that I met Spaz; they are in the same crew, same with the next dude Poet Lounge. Hagfish and Poet Lounge are separate MCs, but also sort of work as a pair and have a lot of really deep music out there, and the shit is fierce. Finally, the last three dudes are from the group Hieroglyph Thesaurus: P-Dot, Riddic.C, and Shasty (a.k.a. King Shas). I’ve been working with these cats for like five years now (they were in Nine 11 Thesaurus).

Who’s making the beats?

All of the beats are by Dutty Artz Producers, a lot by Matt Shadetek. Chief Boima, who runs Dutty Artz now, is spinning and some of the production is his as well. I think one of the tracks is from one of their newer releases by Rafi El, which is really heavy; you can grip it on the Dutty Bandcamp or SoundCloud. Dutty Artz will be helping to push out the new RNYC recordings.

What’s the scoop behind Representing NYC?

I run an imprint called Representing NYC. We push out recordings for MCs and producers who are local here in Bushwick and Bedstuy where I live. We link the MCs we work with up with producers and other musicians from the Brooklyn band scene. It’s a way for them to get totally original beats rather than them going off industry instrumentals. We’ve done two full-length records for the Fly Girlz and Nine 11 Thesaurus and put on countless events, showcases, etc. We’ve done records with True Panther Sounds, The Social Registry, and now we are working with DJ Rupture’s Beyond Digital and Dutty Artz not for profit and label respectively. We will be dropping a new track and a new artist feature once a week. As artists drop more tracks with us, we’ll build toward EP releases. When we’ve built to an EP we’ll push it out and hopefully rock tons of shows and hook up tours etc… but for now, check the blog! HA!

There are a ton of DIY venues in Bushwick and the Stuy, and they are surrounded by projects that are almost exclusively people of color and are largely low income households. Yet the DIY scene is almost exclusively trafficked by upper middle-class white people. This is a reality that is affront to the espoused values of punk and DIY communities, which are all about inclusivity and are by definition anti-racist and anti-classist. Yet here we are in the middle of the hood surrounded by white college graduates. It’s a little creepy, and I want to be part of doing something to change that.

• Representing NYC: http://representingnyc.tumblr.com
• Dutty Artz: http://www.duttyartz.com


Dead Leaves Crumble [album preview]

If the stereo wasn’t turned up so loud right now, you could hear me kinda chucklin’ at the idea of an “album preview” of Hakobune material. At this point, we know what to expect from Takahiro Yorifuji — it’s safe to assume that the upcoming Dead Leaves Crumble tape, despite its ominous title, will contain 32 minutes of pretty much exactly what this preview shows us: hauntingly lovely ambient guitar; the purest embodiment of the word “drift” I can think of. When the preview ends, I’m gonna go upstairs and grab some more Hakobune tapes so this drift session can keep on drifting — I’m not tryna stop now. I’ll also try to scope out an order link for this tape, which stellar Russian label Dronarivm is releasing in a tiny edition of 32. If I’m not one of these 32 lucky humans, there’s no telling what will happen. Or, no, Discogs will happen. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. One sec, lemme check.

No, no order link yet. “July 2013,” they say, and I say, “July when? Like, which day?”

• Hakobune: http://hakobunemusic.jp
• Dronarivm: http://dronarivm.com


CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.