Monday, January 10, 2011

Discovery #20

Curren$y - Pilot Talk (2010)

I wasn't a hip-hop fan growing up. Raised with a certain amount of institutional prejudice, it was difficult for me to open myself up to a broader awareness of the dynamic force of all cultures. Most of the time, the older we get the more we learn to box ourselves in but it wasn't until a decade ago when I realized that there was a diverse brand of beauty that was swishing right past. I had no idea what I was missing but I knew that my life would be better once I started listening. I began to explore the nuanced wonder of many genres of music and partake of the euphoric expanse of astounding sonic beauty that had lay hidden from my view for so long. I learned three basic factors that come into play for my appreciation of hip-hop. First are the beats and Curren$y grooves right along with my style. Another part of my upbringing that I avoided was the devil weed, marijuana. I was afraid of it for so long that when I first tried it, the paranoia almost devoured me but I was always mellow. My friends were astounded that I wasn't a stoner because they just assumed otherwise. Curren$y thrives on the mellow brand of stoner rap, as it's called and as my life reaches toward the end of its fourth decade, that type of rap is right in line with my nature. Second point is the flow. This is the essence of the artist; how he spits or lays it down or shouts it out. You know everything about a hip-hop personality based on their delivery. There are many times that a rapper is quickly dismissed because he just doesn't have that flow. Curren$y has a groove that slides through your veins and gets you moving, makes your voice want to come out in tune right along with them. The third thing that comes into play is the message, the content of the rhyme that is dispensed. For some this just doesn't matter as much as the other two and I can relate to that. There are some bands in other genres whose lyrics I don't necessarily agree with but their music is so amazing that you give them a pass. I tend not to do that as much with hip-hop. The message is so much more profound riding in the hustle and flow of this type of music that a clunky rhyme here and there can bring it down. Curren$y's message isn't too high-brow or low-brow for me. It's about scoring some weed and some chicks and drinking some drink. I can understand that but in the end it doesn't elevate my life all that much. I prefer my rap to roll with some consciousness and humanism but at least they got the first two down tight. That keeps me spinning their records and spreading the word.

Everlasting Moments - Jan Troell (2008)

What a profoundly amazing film from Sweden. Based on a true story, it's the tale of a working class woman named Maria Larsson from the turn of the 20th century who must overcome an assortment of struggles, mostly coming in the form of her overbearing and emotional husband. Told from the perspective of her daughter, the woman wins a camera in the lottery at the fair. It sits in the drawer for a long time until she randomly discovers it years later. That's when her life opens up, as the camera reveals a hidden world all around her that she discovers right through the lens. She finds solace in this world, as well as an intimate friendship with a man at the local photo shop who teaches her a thing or two about the device. But what she finds in her own heart as she begins to express her creativity is the most telling aspect of this film. The perspective of the story, brought to the screen by Troell, gives us a beautiful photograph of a time that seems so lost in the photos that we only ever see in magazines. This film really brings it to life and watching Larsson struggle with so many joys and pains that traverse along with her provides an understanding of life that we seldom get from the silver screen. It's a message that I'm always trying to discover in my own life. How do we bring out our most innate creative potential as the distractions of the world threaten to squash our efforts?

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