In 1994, a young rapper named Nasir Jones almost single-handedly resuscitated hip-hop lyricism with his debut album Illmatic. Here was a rapper who told stories. Nas has never strayed far from his reputation as hip-hop’s lyricist, and his 10th studio album, Life Is Good, is being universally hailed as a mature masterpiece which keeps the immediacy of his ghetto imagery and leavens it with a decent dose of wisdom. (“Daughters” finds the rapper worrying about his daughter’s dating life.) It’s a hopeful record, which is why the man himself joins us today with a “Life is Good” playlist.
This indie band is still developing, but for a young band, MS MR have a seriously strong video aesthetic, as their own work demonstrates. Today they unload an epic playlist of their inspirations, and it’s a doozy -- every video is worth your undivided attention, if you can give it.
In the past few weeks, Beirut has been quietly (okay, not SO quietly) releasing a trove of music videos for their latest album The Rip Tide. To date, two of them have been directed by Sunset Television, a directors collective based in, of course, Williamsburg in Brooklyn. While what they do looks like found footage (think found footage pioneers like Everything Is Terrible), it’s actually not: these folks make their own videos and do their best to make them seem like garage-sale VHS finds. It’s a fascinating project, and it’s led to a regular comedy series with Pitchfork. Now, we had a hard time picking our favorite, but “Santa Fe,” with its Italian cinema mouth-feel, came out on top.