Music

Common Sense

Some albums are collections of great songs, with varying degrees of consistency in style, mood, instrumentation and lyrical content, often not without a high degree of cohesion, but nevertheless without demanding to be evaluated as a single, unified work. Aside from these, however, there are those albums which somehow manage to be more than the sum of their parts by a significant margin. The albums that fall into the first category are almost too numerous to warrant examples, but how about The White Album, Who’s Next, The Heart of Saturday Night and every single Merle Haggard album. These aren’t necessarily just patchwork collections of songs, of course, but I want to distinguish albums like these from those such as The Wall, Red Headed Stranger, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back, and The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, as well as Tommy and most of the other various “rock operas,” “concept albums,” and album-length suites that have followed in its wake, that contain songs that cannot be divorced from their context without a certain amount of distortion. These aren’t perfectly lucid categories, largely because there are any number of albums that work both ways, which is to say albums that contain perfectly crafted songs that can make themselves at home on greatest hits collections, compilation tapes, and the radio, but at the same time need to be listened to in their entirety, and often in order, so as to be fully grasped (for some examples, how about Abbey Road, John Wesley Harding, Sticky Fingers, and Kind of Blue, and the list could go on and on). And some artists have so much cohesion that their work could almost be rearranged at will without significant distortion; every song on the first three Ramones albums is basically a hologram, containing a perfect image of the whole in every verse or riff.

Boss Music?

A Review of Rick Ross, Port of Miami – by crudo

I first heard of Rick Ross when I watched Katt Williams’ American Hustle, which features Ross’s hit song, “Hustlin'” as it’s opener. “Any nigga that hustle, that’s our national anthem right there. Even if yo job don’t require no hustlin; even if you a librarian,” he comments after the song is cut off. I forgot about Ross for a bit, but then heard Ross on a Lil’ Boosie track later while in the library while working on the latest issue of Modesto Anarcho. Lil Boosie himself, is a southern rapper who has done some great stuff and is someone that I just recently heard about due to anarchists holding a banner at a Reclaim the Streets party in the south reading ‘Free Lil Wayne! Free Lil Boosie.’ Anyway, after hearing Ross on the Boosie track, I downloaded Ross’s 2006 album, The Port of Miami, largely because it included the ‘Hustlin’ track. About a year ago while in Phoenix, I read an article that Ross wrote in The Source about the Miami drug trade and so the reference to cocaine trafficking was neither lost on me nor surprising. For fans of the film Scarface it’s not a surprise, but for those that don’t know, Miami is one of the major entrance points for cocaine entering the United States, largely from Latin America. Ross’s album deals largely with these themes and the problems that erupt between the state and poor (black) people that sell drugs to make ends meet. However recently, accusations over Ross formerly being a prison guard have lead many people to question whether or not Ross’s gangsta rap persona should be taken literally at all.