Late last week, a few pages of the a comic book originally slated to accompany the Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, and Method Man collaborative album Wu-Massacre leaked online. The short comic book, also titled Wu-Massacre, sees the three Wu-Tang Clan members transformed from hip-hop heavyweights into ultra gritty über-badasses.
That’s the first page to the left. We can’t really show the rest as it’s potentially NSFW. Lots of guts, gore, and viscera is splattered across the following panels as the three Wu-Tangers fight against (and utterly destroy) some unknown adversaries. It’s the kind of stuff that must make up the fever dreams of every young male hip-hop star put to paper. The project had some serious creative backing too, with art direction handled by Alex Haldi and character design by illustrator Chris Bachalo.
And just to avoid any confusion going forward, Ghostface Killah is the guy in the white mask, Method Man is rocking the red jacket, and Raekwon is the commando-looking guy. Alas, whatever story there was is lost along with the dialogue. But does it really matter with artwork this fresh?
After a successful run of his debut “Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not An Option” stand-up tour, “comedian” Charlie Sheen decided to further expand his comedic brand to a whole new market; when contacted by Insane Clown Posse frontman Violent J to “introduce acts and perform his comedy stylings” at the 2011 Gathering of the Juggalos, the actor jumped at the opportunity to finally have his name spread to a mainstream audience. Armed with nothing but the clothes on his back and “courage” (blow) to spare, Sheen headed to the quaint village of Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, where the festivities were to be held.
Well it’s been quite a journey, friends, but here we are”the last chapter of Rapper’s Delight” and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. As the wise and luminous Lupe Fiasco puts it, though, “the show goes on.” On second thought, maybe he’s not really all that wise but he definitely has a way with words. I know you’re probably broken up and thinking “how on earth will I find out about OurStage hip hop, random themed playlists and upcoming album releases now?” Well I’ve got you covered! Here’s the skinny on some things to keep an eye on for the rest of 2011:
Rock The Bells: Headlined by Wu-Tang in its debut year, this West Coast festival has become a hip hop staple. In 2006, fortunately, the festival expanded to include cities outside of So Cal and even hit five international stops in 2008. This year’s lineup has a few names you might recognize: Nas, Common, Raekwon, Ghostface, Black Star, DOOM, Immortal Technique and many, many more. If you live near California, New York City or Boston, find a way to get to this festival.
Watch The Throne: This mysterious collaborative album between Kanye West and Jay-Z was rumored (again) to be released last week through Def Jam, but July 4th came and went. HOV tore himself away from the Yankees on July 8th to play the album in full for a handful of reporters. Initials reviews are in the duos favor. According to MTV, Kanye described it as “very dark and sexy,” “real dirty, fucked up, hardcore stuff'” and also “luxe and definitely high class.” Regardless of your feelings on Kanye and Jay-Z, you have to admit it’s intriguing. Let’s just hope the rest of the album is better than “H.A.M.”
Blackout! 3: Not a lot needs to be said about this one. Given the solid delivery in Blackout! and Blackout! 2, any Meth or Redman fan is going to want to check this out. And if you’re not sold on this legendary duo’s musical collaborations, maybe another viewing of How High is in order instead.
Tha Carter IV: Originally announced to released with Rebirth as a double disc album, Tha Carter IV is getting its own release this August. Unless, of course, it gets pushed back yet again. As Lil Wayne so eloquently puts it, “Tha Carter IV deserves Tha Carter IV.” While Lil Wayne can certainly be hit or miss, we’re just as excited about the guest rappers on the album as we are for Weezy himself: Tech N9ne, Rick Ross, Kanye West and Corey Gunz for example. Plus, the single “6 Foot 7 Foot” is pretty damn good.
Legendary Weapons: This came out of left field, but the Wu-Tang Clan is releasing a new “compilation” album on the 26th. We’re not really sure how it’s a compilation, since all of the tracks are new, but we’re pretty excited anyway. While Chamber Music wasn’t our favorite Wu production, it still delivered that old Wu sound and old Wu mindset. Legendary Weapons looks like it’s of the same vein and is being released through E1 Music as well. Outside of Wu-Tang’s crew, there’ll be some guest appearances from Sean Price, Killa Sin, M.O.P. and more. We’re just bummed that GZA and Masta Killa are still missing from the equation.
Last but not least, we’ve got a couple of recent OurStage releases to help hold you over. Yung Khan’s Mortal Khan-Bat mixtape dropped in May”and you can download it for free here on DatPiff. Also check out E-Dubble’s new single “Changed My Mind” below, as well as Young Duece’s new video for “Impossible.”
Ghostface Killah has garnered a lot of respect in the world of hip hop over the last fifteen or so years, largely because of his role in the Wu-Tang Clan, but also for his illustrious nine album solo career. His sophomore solo album, Supreme Clientele, is often noted as the album that saved the Wu-Tang empire after weak releases from several other Wu-Tang members. Apollo Kids, his most recent release, reinforces his nickname “Ironman” with another solid and consistent delivery. Apollo Kids is a step back from Ghostface’s previous album, Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, which featured an R&B style approach with contagious and borderline easy going beats. Apollo Kids is a return to his raw, in-your-face flow and the aggressive demeanor of his early Wu-Tang sound that we all love. Oh yeah, and it’s chock-full of collaborations with legendary emcees such as GZA, Raekwon, Busta Rhymes, Black Thought, Redman and Method Man, just to name a few.
The album starts off with a track titled “Purified Thoughts”, which is a hard-hitting introspection featuring Killah Priest and GZA. Their verses are broken up by the soulful, albeit eerie, crooning of Them Two as they ask “Am I a good man? Am I a fool?.” You might expect this introductory track to set the tone for the album, but overall Apollo Kids lacks a sense of continuity. Ghostface and Busta Rhymes immediately dive into the funky and bodacious “Superstar” right after and the rest of the album continues down the path of divergence. Two things that hold steady throughout the album, however, are the level of quality and the level of energy. Ghostface goes at it like it’s his last album; his lyricism and drive can really only be described as relentless. Overall, the fire and fury behind his words haven’t faded with time and we can’t wait for his two upcoming releases: Blue & Cream and Supreme Clientele Part II.
In writing last week’s post, Top 5 Trends of 2010 Festivals, it occurred to me that there is, in fact, a festival that tends to shun festival norms and take on a completely different outlook than any other festival. As we’ve discussed before, festivals are now promoting progressive ideals regarding society and environment, “going green” or featuring slews of grassroots campaigners for a plethora of causes in an effort to appeal to a broader audience.
Today, the Camp Bisco festival kicks off its 9th year in Mariaville, New York. The psychedelic spawn of The Disco Biscuits, the festival has grown to feature over 50 bands on 4 stages. And while Camp Bisco has in the past featured a smattering of extra-musical activities aiming attention at assorted social issues, the primary focus of the trance-heavy fest seems to be first and foremost the pursuit of immediate self-satisfaction. No helpful recycling representatives, green-themed concession stands or over enthusiastic speakers preaching the long term goals of our idealistic youth. (Though, let it be known that “This year we’re making a commitment, along with our attendees, to keep our festival grounds beautiful through recycling and waste reduction programs.”)
Camp Bisco places severe emphasis on living in the moment and just having a damn good time, something that seems like it should be the forefront of a festival’s goals. After all, there’s not much you can control in the outside world when you’re camping next to your car for 3 days”cell-less, WiFi-less and shower-less. Focusing on the greater good is important, but Bisco highlights the importance of “here and now,” and recognizes that despite the economic or environmental climate, we have to continue to live our lives to the fullest by embracing the present.
Camp Bisco starts today (July 15th) and goes on through Saturday (July 17th). The festival will feature three shows by founding fathers, The Disco Biscuits, as well as performances from LCD Soundsystem, Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, The New Deal, Big Gigantic, Wu Massacre (Method Man, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon), Ween, Girl Talk and Break Science with special guests Talib Kweli and David Murphy (STS9), among others. For more info check out their site.