Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies

Cadence Weapon – Afterparty Babies
Anti, 2008
Acquired: Love Garden Blowout Location, New, 2009
Price: $1 (originally $17)

It's Friday night and I'm in need of some bangers. So why not throw on the latest Cadence Weapon record I just picked up today for a buck at the Love Garden Blowout Location. This is the first time I've heard this, but I had a love affair with his first record Breaking Kayfabe after seeing him open for Islands years ago. That show was actually weird. Busdriver opened too, and Nick Diamonds ended up having a huff-and-puff fit during the show. They were terrible that night. I ended up writing it up for the site I wrote for at the time and Cadence Weapon commented on it, saying that Nick had undergone some stress the night before, that stress eventually being the drummer announcing he was leaving the band the night before. I found this out in an interview at Pitchfork, where Diamonds mentioned what had happened and how someone had said he was a total asshole in a review of the show. Anyway, Cadence Weapon opened and stole the show that night. I want to think that there's something wrong with this being the only hip-hop record in my collection. I used to feel guilty about stuff like that. At KJHK, especially as music director, I felt guilt tripped into liking hip-hop. It's not that I don't like hip-hop...well, actually, that's most of it. When I listen to music, 98% of the time I would rather not listen to hip-hop. I completely understand the merits of the genre and how it is incredibly important, it just doesn't really click with me. Probably because I'm white and from the suburbs and have no interest in drugs and guns and money and bitches, etc, although that makes no sense because I do really like Straight Outta Compton, but I probably only listened to that because I wanted to be ironic in high school. Or I wanted to pretend I knew stuff about old hip hop so I could trash on the new stuff. Old hip hop is definitely unfuckwithable, but nowadays the only hip-hop I can listen to without getting bored is stuff like Cadence Weapon. Essentially, I need my emcee to be a songwriter. I need lyrics that aren't run of the mill guns bitches and money, I need someone that is clever. I need someone who's gonna drop a line like “I only run rumors like Fleetwood Mac.” Sense of humor is important, too. Plus homeboy's a music writer AND he's the poet laureate of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Did I not mention that he's Canadian? Afterparty Babies isn't as awesome as Breaking Kayfabe, but it's pretty good. It's got the same electro-heavy beats and he's still pretty funny and carries over the critical eye from his pre-music journalism. It's full of references that geeks will like (“The Wire,” Mega Man 4, etc). My favorite track here is “Your Hair's Not Clothes,” and not just because it knocks Modest Mouse letting their songs be used for Kidz Bop. Actually, it's the least coherent track on the record, a string of random ideas and somehow it completely works. It's full of references, which I'm a sucker for, and has my favorite rhyme on the record “He hears my songs and later wants to see the verses/ So I hang with the idiot like I was Ian Curtis.” Great. This record is actually great, I've decided. I mean, there's a whole song about the way language is being ruined by text messaging (“Messages Matter”) and “Do I Miss My Friends?” feels like the most appropriate song for myself at the moment, closing with the line “This goes out to all the accidents out there/ Keep on making mistakes,” in reference to the afterparty babies of the album's title. Anyway, I do not want to pretend like I know shit about hip-hop, but I find myself analyzing hip-hop-via-society a lot, especially at KJ where there are at least three Djs who back announce the hip-hop they play with that whiteboy-who-wants-to-be-black-so-bad accent. Come to think of it, there were a lot of people there who liked hip-hop not for the music, but because it was something exotic. I remember Derek Z. being announced as hip-hop director and I laughed because he is easily the whitest person I've ever met. His reviews were always terrible and recycled what other, smarter people had already said, and he always seemed to be into hip-hop because it was the opposite of who he was. I remember his review for Straight Outta Compton which said something like “This album got NWA a lot of suburban white teenagers listening to them then they might have wanted.” He did the same thing with Japanese music (and thus, made me hate Japanese music). It wasn't about whether or not it was good. It was about whether or not it was something he could know enough about a music scene or genre to be a part of it by proxy. And when he talked about hip-hop, he talked like he was black. And most people around here seem to treat hip-hop the same way. It's more about style and looking cool than actually figuring out why they like something. Gah, rant done. Basically, it's been very hard for me to find an opinion about hip-hop that I trust because there's never really been one around. The album cover features Rollie Pemberton (aka Cadence Weapon) sitting on a stool in front of a bunch of white hipsters on risers a la a class photo. I like to think that it's a comment on something, but it's probably not.

Now, check out this video of Cadence Weapon and Final Fantasy doing Destroyer's "An Actor's Revenge." And other reasons why I want to move to Canada.

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