FY Friday: K’Naan – “America” (Ft. Mos Def, Chali 2 Na)

“Not long ago I don’t spoke English”

That’s one of those lines you have to know English so well to botch so thoroughly.
We see ya waving flag, K’Naan

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Dear America, We Still Cool Right? Yours Sincerely, South African

In case you missed it, October’s our cynical celebration of our favorite death season. Every day, Ben will present one thing that scares him, ranging from the anxious and annoying to the deadly and doomed. This Right Here Is My…SWAG is one of those things that scares me:

On behalf of South Africans everywhere, I’d like to pass my condolences apologies. Ben claims to be American but, I have my doubts. I’ve known Americans to be a fearless bunch INVENTING phones, MOCKING the itsy bitsy spiders with their kids, and hanging out in public bathrooms during football games to warm up during the winter (good call to my freshman year professor for that recommendation) – not FEARing those things or anyone!

Americans are a proud folk who have somehow coined, trademarked, and completely monopolized the indelible “WE’RE NUMBER 1” sports chant… (patent pending). That holds true until some South Africans beat the snot out of the American “Eagles” in the Rugby World Cup as they did this past weekend with a decisive 64-0 Shutout. 64-0.. SIXTY FOUR.  GOOD GAWD… You don’t have to understand the scoring in Rugby to get how terrible that is. America, meet me in the next paragraph, if you would be so kind.

Look, America. You’re good, right? I know your favorite newsman was recently replaced by South African, Trevor Noah – which will get awkward when he comes to talk $hit to Americans, about Americans… I would never do that, America! You know me! Known me more than half my life! I love you, America! I love BASEBALLHOCKEYFOOTBALLBASKETBALL… LEBRON JAMES, and HE’S American! Right? I love the Hawks! Not the Seattle Seahawks. They’re posers, and need to give that “Go Hawks” patent up to the Iowa Hawks of the heartland of farmin, hard-working, bread-basket, plain accent, this-ain’t-heaven-but-it’s-close IOWA! But I’m scared, America.

My fear is that thanks to this recent ass-handing by my Springboks, losing your beloved Jon Stewart, and Donald Trump’s surge in the polls – I will be issued a challenge in the immortal words of Iowa quarterback, Ricky Stanzi:

I love it. I don’t wanna leave it. So, despite that EMBARRASSMENT OF INTERNATIONAL PROPORTIONS America, WE still cool, right?

Yours Sincerely,

-South African

Face It: Democracy Needs Trump To Be Louder…And Successful

Two words: CITIZENS UNITED. The Supreme Court case that decided according to majority opinion:

“…The First Amendment prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech”

In layman’s terms, corporations and associations have the right to exercise free speech… via money. Money you said? Not long after followed the birth of SuperPACS – “non profits”  that can raise unlimited money… which they use to buy the opinions and asinine voting records of your local and national politicians.

So when a ranking member of an environmental committee holds up a snow-ball on the Congress floor as proof that “Climate Change is a myth”:

… or when a Congress spend time voting over 50..FIFTY….FIVE ZERO times to repeal a law signed by Congress and upheld in the Supreme Court to prove a point, it’s because they’re getting their orders of dissent from elsewhere besides you calling into your local congressman’s office.

That’s why when the Koch Brothers held a summit with 450 of their fellow big money contributors, all the major GOP candidates, were happy to go kneel at the thrones line up like a bad episode of The Bachelor to share their respective vision of America for sale. All, except the current highest polled candidate, ofcourse – who sent his best wishes via twitter:

So am I a supporter of Donald Trump? No. Do I agree with his stance on immigration (or really anything he spews out of his mouth)? HELL NO! I’m an immigrant myself. It’s some of the most viscerally vile political rhetoric I’ve heard in my short 26 years of life*.  That said, Trump is like that friend who came by when the rest of the crew did – even though he was not included in the group text.

gtfo

NOW THAT HE’S HERE – we might as well put some use to him… like “go get us some party cups”, or “help us move this furniture, jackhole”.

Every election we get the OPTION to move some political furniture around after completely ignoring it for 4 years. Maybe we won’t completely get rid of rotten corporate furniture, but we can at least rearrange it so it doesn’t affect the decor and layout of our political discourse as much as it has on both sides of the aisle. If not that – with the Koch Brothers and other SuperPac contributors pledging over a BILLION dollars to pick the next leader of the free world – we might as well use our unwelcome, uninvited friend to help us call out the painfully obvious truth: THAT IS BROKEN, ROTTEN FURNITURE WITH MONEY-MAGGOTS LIVING IN IT!

For some reason, we’ve collectively and apathetically elected to sweep that expansively expensive truth under the rug of democracy.  You might have not invited the Donald (hell, I didn’t see anyone shouting “Run-Donald-Run”), but don’t completely dismiss him when he is shining a spotlight on the one thing we ALL agree is as bad for American Democracy as he is, if not worse – Billionaires Buying Elections. Democracy needs Trump to be louder about this, and if he is successful in getting even one news caster to call out this all encompassing virus more than the outgoing news comedian on Comedy Central, isn’t that ONE win we can look forward to going into these first GOP primary debates tonight?

[January 21, 2016UPDATE: 27 years of life, and a hell of a lot more powerful and less of a joke in Donald Trump]

Stephen Colbert Cheated John Oliver, Who Cheated Jon Stewart And The Troops

Remember that “ice bucket challenge” for ALS Awareness or somethin (I just remember the videos, not exactly sure what for anymore).  Well this is like that, except with 20 push-ups, FOR THE TROOPS… of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and Freedom and Peace! Colbert was challenged by former colleague and Brit, John Oliver to take the challenge. Checkout his tricky response:

Oliver himself was challenged by their respective mentor and former boss, Jon Stewart. He seemed to be the only one to honor the challenge displaying unexpected fitness at his retirement age. Checkout both of their push-up sets below:

Continue reading Stephen Colbert Cheated John Oliver, Who Cheated Jon Stewart And The Troops

Open Letter: Dear Bootleggers, MP3 Is Dead. PLEASE BURY IT!

Downloading music was cool – till it was “not so cool” to download music and they arrested people to make examples of them. We started on Napster, when that was a free thing. Then they got busted, and spiderman’s brother – Sean Parker moved along amicably. So did we, to Kazaa (or Bearshare, or whatever P2P sharing system got those viruses on your parents’ computers, but you denied it like the stone-cold vigilante you were).  All along, the bit-rate (basically how good the code makes the music file sound based on how its compressed If I lost ya already, its okay to move along and skip through) was confined to the bit-rate of around 128 kbps governed by the widely accepted “.mp3 standard”.

That was a mistake we made. All of us: the music industry that allowed that to be how music was digitally distributed, the hardware makers of “.mp3 players” (remember those?), and artists for allowing their hours of laborious art-work to go down the digital drain never to be appreciated again. That is bad!

How bad? That is the audio equivalent of watching the 3-D movie Avatar on that black and white T.V. with a big butt that your grandmother refused to let you connect your Nintendo to.  That is like viewing a Picasso painting or Basquiat for you new-age hippies through an Instagram-filtered photo taken from your friend’s iPhone 4 on that Euro-trip they took with their family.
[Sidenote: NOBODY CARES, JANET! YOUR FAMILY MIGHT BE “CULTURED” AND LOADED WITH FREQUENT FLIER MILES, BUT EVER THINK YOU’RE MISSING THE POINT IF YOU’RE INSTATWEETBOOKING EVERY GALLERY AND MONUMENT? IT’S ALMOST 4TH OF JULY, AND YOU’RE NOT HERE! ENJOY BEING “ON FLEEK” IN FOREIGN LANDS AND ABANDONING AMERICA! That’s BASICALLY TREASON. ALSO… get a better camera, OH WAIT YOU CAN’T IT’S AN IPHONE 4, YOUR PARENTS DON’T LOVE YOU, BYE JANET! BURN]
So here we are today. Streaming is the water all levels of listeners and audiophiles sip from.  The convenience of poppin open your Youtube (variable), Spotify (320 kbps), or – as of today – Apple Music app (256kbps) and hearing your jam instantly is unbeatable. That’s fair. However some of us dinosaurs still have the iPod Classic with a click-wheel (its 160 Gigs in the palm of my hand. Stream THAT).  We also load individual files to our iFuns (Pandora, and iTunes haven’t quite kept up with extensive catalogues of Young Thug, and Gucci Mane).  Whether it’s that, or putting together a dj set – the difference is definitely notable when your earphones or speakers puke out an .mp3 version of a mastered instrumentally dynamic album by D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, or Muse.  While streaming is still in its infancy (though growing fast), this is one of the main issues it is supposed to fix – raise music appreciation by fixing the audio quality for listeners.  We ALL LOVE the music. Whether we buy, stream, or steal illegally download it, that love remains steadfast. It’s how we treat and value it that is inexcusable today. So bloggers, new musicians, and online bootleggers – STOP POSTING MP3s for download! DEAD THAT.  Unless it’s the aforementioned thugger-thugger leak that will never land on iTunes or be worthy of higher mastering, consider it like the Zune laid to rest in the image above – DEAD.

Yours Musically,

-Audio African