Lateef the Truthspeaker
The Oakland, California-based rapper released a mixtape earlier this month, and he now returns with a new album, FireWire, that stretches the boundaries of rap so far they may actually snap. As one-half of the influential duo Latryx, Lateef has been an integral part of the region’s hip-hop scene for years, co-founding the underground hip-hop label SoleSides, which launched the likes of DJ Shadow and Blackalicious, and which would later become the equally prestigious Quannum. As Oakland garners national press for its contentious Occupy protests, this son of two Black Panthers shares a musical guide to the sounds of his native city.
Creativity knows no boundaries -- if you’re somebody who needs to create, you’ll find a way, never mind the medium. Today we take a look at what happens when musicians get on the other side of the cameras and start directing their own videos. Froth-pop star Enrique Iglesias delivers a surprisingly funny, off-the-cuff video for “I Like How It Feels” which features a lot of celebrity cameos (because who else does Enrique hang out with, right?), while more under-the-radar artists like Oakland rapper Casual, indie’s darling tUnE-yArDs and beatmaker Raleigh Moncrief deliver videos that are by turns jumpy, dreamy, and charming -- and always original.
Jonathan Coulton: Nemeses
If you don’t know Jonathan Coulton, think tech. The guy was a computer programmer before he became a musician, and his jokey songs have explored the pain of being a “code monkey” and other sci-fi/geek concerns. But after an extended hiatus from music, he was coaxed back in by John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants, who convinced him to up the musicality quotient and try new things -- like duets and recording with a full band. (Flansburgh also produced the new album, Artificial Heart.) Check out the debut single, which hides a snarky heart inside its congenial pop-rock clothes.