Posts Tagged ‘yaggfu front’

Difficulty Communicating: Yaggfu Front and Open Mike Eagle

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Stream: Open Mike Eagle “Last Night” ((From Art Rap After Party EP.))

Stream: Yaggfu Front “Left Field”

Rap isn’t all machismo and ice-cold macking. Songs like Gang Starr’s “Love Sick” and Main Source’s “Looking At The Front Door” describe co-dependency in frighteningly specific detail. Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By,” and Kurious’s “Nikole” explore the perilous magnetism of unavailable and/or unattainable  women. A Tribe Called Quest’s “Find A Way” captures the frustration that arises when desire is chained to the artifice of social convention. Jay-Z’s “Song Cry” posits romantic regret as a player’s purgatory. Mos Def’s “Ms. Fat Booty” takes us  through the experience of being gasssed up and then unceremoniously dumped.

All of these songs address the difficulties that men face in communicating honestly with their partners (or potential partners), expressing vulnerability and affection, or living up to the responsibilities of monogamy. But these songs also fall short of introspective honesty; their self-deprecation is tongue-in-cheek and consists mostly of decrying shyness as unmanly. (more…)

Yaggfu Front/Tek Specialists – Futureshock (unreleased)

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Stream: Tek Specialists “Microphone Technologies”

Stream: Tek Specialists “What You Need”

Stream: Tek Specialists “Future Shock”

A while back I wrote a piece about ’90s rap songs whose content dealt with the pitfalls of modern life and pre-millenial tension as experienced by minorities and the poor. ((“Tri-Pack Wafer: Abstract Tribe Unique, Leaders Of The New School, and Yaggfu Front.”)) I found that such songs —whose lyrics often verge on dystopian— contrast wildly with mid-Twentieth Century visual art that optimistically depicts the future as a time of unceasing positive advancement.  One such song, “Future Shock” by Yaggfu Front, appears to consciously satirize the discrepancy between such bright forecasts and the realities of persistent economic inequality and racial division at the turn of the century.

The group’s appropriation of the title of Alvin Toffler’s ((Future Shock.)) famously portentous tome suggests that the members of Yaggfu Front felt an ideological kinship with other rappers of the time who viewed accelerated technological and cultural pace with deep suspicion. “Future Shock” seizes upon Toffler’s theory that rapid societal change is often subconsciously interpreted by the human psyche as a profoundly disorienting and traumatic event, splicing it with that peculiar form of anti-establishment paranoia that trickled into mid-late 90s rap by way of conspiratorial rantings like Behold A Pale Horse. The future depicted in the song —really the “present” of 1999 — is a scary milieu replete with glowing gadgets but inhospitable to privacy and freedom.

The implicit question that lurks behind the song’s often hilarious sequences of dubious modern conveniences — whether or not the dazzling luxuries of modernity obscure and thus worsen problems that are rooted in  seemingly unbreakable power relationships — is a serious one. When group member Damage informed me via email that the song was recorded as part of a future-themed project also titled Futureshock which was recorded under the name Tek Specialists and only saw a very limited release on cassette, I was curious as to whether the project as a whole would attempt to answer such a weighty question. (more…)

T.R.O.Y.’s Video Show (January)

Friday, January 14th, 2011

It’s been a minute since we hit you with some classic videos. Our homies @ VintageHiphopSeattle always come through with the dopest videos found on Youtube. So what better way to start off the weekend right by checkin’ out some of classic joints of yesteryear? I know it’s a pessimistic thing to say, but there will never be another time in hip-hop like the 90s. And it’s impossible these videos don’t put you in a better mood –Philaflava


Tri-Pack Wafer: Abstract Tribe Unique, Leaders Of The New School, Yaaggfu Front

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
I hope one of his peoples could hook him up with a tri-pack/ That’s three different flavors/ Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry wafers” — MF Doom, “Kookies”
Abstract Tribe Unique, Leaders Of The New School, and Yaggfu Front Look Towards The Future
When I listen to Yaggu Front‘s “Future Shock,” I am reminded of Bruce McCall‘s irreverent and visually arresting presentation from May 2008 titled “Nostalgia for a future that never happened.” In this talk (embedded below) the sardonic illustrator and author (known primarily for his many well-received New Yorker covers) discusses his revulsion/fascination with commercial art from the mid-twentieth century that forecasts the arrival of a post-WWII high-tech utopia. You know, hilariously innaccurate and vaguely disturbing visions of flying cars, silver jumpsuits, and robot maids by ’87 at the latest. McCall skewers his own source materials by redrawing them in a manner that mocks their naive hubris, implicit jingoism, and subtle creepiness while celebrating their imaginative beauty.

Whether by design or accident, Yaggfu’s “Future Shock” also makes me laugh. The deceptively simple, sarcastic lyrics successfully contrast hokey visions of futuristic bliss with the massively disappointing, increasingly hectic realities of modernity. The emcees pull this off so well in fact that I feel emboldened enough to violate the rules of valid criticism. For this review, I am embracing the fallacious yet attractive notion that in any given rap song, sample usage can be regarded as an ideologically-driven decision that mirrors the messages found in the lyrics.

Yaggfu Front – Future Shock
I want to believe. C’mon, the twinkling pianos, the unusually warm and fuzzy orchestral horns – this has to be an intentional, mock Twilight Zone-ish ironic commentary on white-dominated retro-future aesthetics, right? With a few knowing jabs at mid-’80s rap culture and its distinct brand of robotic groupthink and unapologetic fetishism of the latest cars and couture thrown in for balance? The Puma tracksuit as space attire? The 808 as automaton musician? No?

Ok, maybe I’m reaching. But the one discernible message of “Future Shock” I am certain is not a product of wishful thinking is the idea that the heralded future (actually, the present) is still an uncertain, unkind place for the poor and unlucky. For many, this does not constitute a profound revelation. But if Yaggfu are, on some level, poking fun at the upbeat prognostication of The Jetsons by positing wonders like online billing and laser eye surgery as vicious signifiers of perpetual inequity, the song can be viewed as poignant as well. Even more so when race is considered; the post WWII technocratic wonderlands of magical highways and sprawling, mechanized exurbs were not meant to include minorities. Robert Moses was pretty adamant about that.
Afro-Futurists admire artists like Deltron, Dr. Octagon, and Andre 3000 for their neo Parliament-Funkadelic extravagance. Their spacey, scatalogical vaunts and costumed antics are interpreted as signifiers of a forward-thinking movement in the direction of transcendent liberation. The mind-forged manacles and alienation that are the legacy of slavery are figuratively broken by the embrace of the type of technological ingenuity that fueled the careers of Lee “Scratch” Perry and Afrika Bambataa, among others. These are compelling concepts and we should not dismiss these artists as mere daydreamers, but rap’s exploration of the future is hardly limited to artless garish solo artist indulgence in cosmic tropes with little to no discretion.
Leaders Of The New School – The End Is Near
Like Yaggfu Front, Leaders Of The New School and Abstract Tribe Unique view the future as a mixed bag at best, with most of the spoils going to the same undeserving heirs who seem to maintain an indefinite stranglehold on wealth. On “The End Is Near” the four future-conscious Public Enemy disciples from the rougher side of Robert Moses’ Long Island futureworld impress with a dizzying display of vocal styles. While the normally boisterous Yaggfu Front calmly recite their lines to describe nanotech drudgery, the Leaders are besides themselves with pre-millenial tension. Dinco D spits out non-sequiters just like Uniblab while Charlie Brown is damned near hysterical, carrying on about a coming apocalypse. Busta is surprisingly the voice of reason in this instance. His style on “The End Is Near” (click here for demo version plus other LONS gems) is frenetic even for him but he delivers a sober meditation on the issues of artistic integrity facing the hip hop genre as it morphs into a full-fledged power industry.
Abstract Tribe Unique – Torn
This is also the main topic of Abstract Tribe Unique’s “Torn.” “Torn” sounds like urgent panic; the hi/low-tech, dusty-but-digital organ sample jettisons Abstract Rude’s robust preacherly style towards the firmament. But Abstract Rude’s presentation is ultimately very down-to-earth despite his penchant for mystical medicine show theatrics. “Torn” tackles the subject of the future with skill and gracel Abstract rude examines the arrival of the new generation of rappers reared on information overload and bemoans the glacial pace of progress but retains a sense of hope for the dawn of a new consciousness. Flying cars or not. — Thun

Drop A Gem On ‘Em

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Throughout the recent weeks there have been numerous gems dropped in T.R.O.Y.. Here are a just few to give you a taste.

1. Can’t Stop Rockin’ (Tribute)
2. Brooklyn Kids (Dirty Mix)
3. Scars And Pain
4. Letcho ‘Batyflo
5. Funk Soul Sensation (Dirty)
6. Story Of My Life
7. 50 MC’s In A Cipher

Nice & Smooth feat. Nine, Ill Al Skratch & M.O.P. – Dr. Feelgood

Pudgee The Phat Bastard feat. DMX – Inner City Blues (prod. D.R. Period)

Da King & I feat. Pudgee The Phat Bastard – Kingpin

Yaggfu Front feat. Diamond D – Slappin’ Suckas Silly [Remix]

The Source Fat Tape (Aug ’94)
1. “I Get Physical” – Pete Rock & CL Smooth
2. “I Used To Love H.E.R.” – Common Sense
3. “Distortion To The Static” – The Roots
4. “Hit Me With That” – The Beatnuts
5. “Shook Ones Pt. I” – Mobb Deep
6. “Shit’s Real” – Mic Geronimo
7. “1-800-Suicide” – Gravediggaz
8. “Big Box Of Blunts” – Mad Lion
9. “Stress (Large Pro Remix)” – Organized Konfusion
10. “Mental Stamina” – Jeru The Damaja
11. “The B-Side” – Masta Ace feat. Paula Perry
12. “Do You See” – Warren G
13. “All For The Money” – MC Eiht feat. CMW
14. “Time’s Up (Remix)” – O.C.
15. “Buck Em’ Down (Remix)” – Black Moon
16. “Breakfast @ Denny’s” – Buckshot LeFonque

A1 Best Ones Yet
A2 Checkin Down The Menu (remix)
B1 Make U Go Crazay
B2 Make U Go Crazay 2
Best Ones Yet (Instrumental)
Make U Go Crazay (Instrumental)

1. Fanfare & Previews
2. Where’d You Get Your Bo Bo’s
3. Trooper 101
4. Mr. Hook
5. Busted Loop
6. Fruitless-Moot
7. Black Liquid
8. Slappin’ Suckas Silly [LP Remix]
9. Action Packed Adventure
10. Left Field
11. Hold ‘Em Back (What’s the Meaning?)
12. Uptown Downtown
13. Frontline
14. Sweet Caroline
15. My Dick Is So Large [*]

— Philaflava