February Music Challenge 2020

Week 5

Quintorigo – Rospo

When I was younger someone turned me on to a band called Rasputina, which was an all women group of cello players who did lots of really sorrowful music. I liked it enough, and I learned that I lean towards music with exceptional sounds. I tend to find that bands with unique instruments (as opposed to the standard guitar bass guitar drums combo) interest me more – be that adding a sax, an upright bass, or Mark Sandman’s modified 2-string sliding bass. I could go on, but that’s not the point here.

Quintorigo really creates an interesting sound. I think the band is mostly cello and violin, but the standout is the singer’s voice, and listening to him go from falsetto to gravely growl. The combination works really well, and most of the songs are rather interesting. There were at least one or two on the album, that I would give a hard pass.

I don’t know. Let’s keep this album for a bit and see how I feel.


Week 6

ProKid – Dankie San

I haven’t the faintest idea how I came about ProKid.  Well, I know I first came upon him via YouTube, but this was way back when the recommendation algorithms were even dumber than they currently are. Somehow, I found a series of music videos by ProKid, and each one was a fucking banger. I recall that that was around the time that this album came out (because I looked it up), and I recall fruitlessly looking for this album everywhere.

For a decade.

I really want to hammer home that I looked everywhere. I scoured pirate bay in all its iterations, went to record stores (every time I was in my hometown I would make a point of checking out a record store owned by  some African immigrants to see if they had it), and even looked for torrents on the Russian internet1 once I learned that it was a thing. And I did all this recurringly for a damn decade.

I still haven’t found the fucking album. I am reduced to listening to it (as we speak) on YouTube like a fucking pleb. The downside is of course that it could be taken down at any minute.

This album is pretty dope. Normally I would say something along the lines of “I’ll keep this album on my phone,” but I can’t exactly say that. I guess I’ll listen to it on YouTube every now and again (?).

This might just be about how I bias things. I may just like this because if I am anything, I am a fucking linguist. I like the mix of languages in it, even if I have absolutely no idea even what languages are being used. “Dankie” seems like it is Afrikaans, but for the rest of it? I’m not to sure. But I love to what extent it is intertwined in this album. Consider:

Nkulunkulu wathi gim’ pokotela mtanami
Ngiyak’tshela mganam’ basanok’ delela la kwam’
Ngiy’gintsa le rap abanak’ kokotela la kwam’
As’bhekeni isghubu samanzi izinja zisasonyela la kwam’
I always had a funny feeling that this rap will bubble for me
You thought I was gonna do house I came with a double story
This is trouble homie, I hope that you don’t fumble on me
Nisazama uk’sika lekhekhe fuck it ncono nibhambe uChommie
But some things are classic ezinye zi-lasta for six months
Too many emotions as a result of a big stunt
I keep going on and on and rappers try to diss us
Indaba nihlala ni-on and off nje nges’hlahla se-Christmas
Go ahead and discuss every chick that he fucks
Ngifuna uk’fuyi inyamazana till I see the big bucks
Pimped up in big trucks your chick might get picked up
Ngiyenza ni-hide i-competition so push your big luck


Just as a last point, I never liked poetry until I went to a multilingual poetry reading during grad school. Hearing people read poetry in various languages turned something on in my brain. That’s just who I am.


Week 7

Citizen Cope -The Clarence Greenwood Recordings

I think a lot of what people like in music is mostly emotional. Music links us to a certain past place in time, and the emotions people were experiencing at those times. This is why my father pretty much stopped liking music after the mid 70’s – his life at that point became a little more challenging. It’s also why every time he listens to music he brings up a story about what Joe Blow did 40 years ago.

I’ve got that here, to some extent. I first heard this album while working at a bar back in 2010. One of the other bartenders was obsessed with this album – well, at least three songs from it “Nite becomes Day”, “Pablo Picasso” and “Bullet and a Target”. Those songs wormed their way into my mind, partially from the fanatical obsession with which the other bartender repeated them. The whole album ended up on my phone, and I promptly ignored it for years.

And so I finally gave myself a reason to listen to the whole thing. It wasn’t bad. Some songs were kind of boring, and a few new ones turned out to be pretty memorable. There is a pretty interesting style here, and the singer has a pretty notable voice. But all things considered, I don’t think I am interested in exploring more of this artist.


Week 8

2pac – All Eyez on me

I never got into 2pac as a kid. I have no idea why. He was around, and he was ubiquitous. I feel like I may have been the only person who wasn’t.

There is something to say about how distinct 2pac’s voice is. I don’t think you could ever mistake him for someone else.

But all things considered I can’t really remember any of the songs from this that weren’t song I already knew from before. That in my mind makes this album a clear fail.

I think I am on team Biggie.


1 There is internet, and then there is Russian internet. And if you thought the regular internet was fucking lawless, buddy I got news for you.

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