Sunday, May 15, 2005

Mixtape Challenge II (2005)

This year's mixtape challenge, Mixtape Challenge II (2005) - Curse of the Pirate Booty, included 28 submissions. By contrast, last year's mixtape challenge, Mixtape Challenge I (2004) - Songs in the Key of CSE, received 14 submissions (though I should note that only 15 people were solicited for mixes, so a very good turnout). Not sure how many people Ferris contacted about the 2nd mixtape challenge as he, for whatever reason, took measures to protect potential participants (e. g. bcc on e-mails).

I have yet to listen to any of the submissions for Mixtape Challenge II, but here's a quick breakdown.

Our Lady Peace - 4am (2 submissions: Milind and Rachel)
Zero 7 - Destiny (2 submissions: Adrien and Rachel)
Chicane - Saltwater (2 submissions: Martin and Melanie)

The Decemberists (5 submissions)
Mike Doughty (5 submissions)
Black Eyed Peas (4 submissions)
Nickel Creek (4 submissions)
Old Crow Medicine Show (4 submissions)
Carla Bruni (3 submissions)
Interpol (3 submissions)
Kruger Brothers (3 submissions)
Modest Mouse (3 submissions)
The Postal Service (3 submissions)
Regina Spektor (3 submissions)
Tori Amos (3 submissions)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs (3 submissions)

And a crap load (14+) of artists w/2 submissions each.

This year's mixtape challenge also includes yet another hip-hop evangelist campaigning to "give hip-hop a chance." Here is an excerpt from his text file description:

I just thought I would take it upon myself to expose you people to more forms of hip-hop. The trash you hear on MTV just doesn't cut it for anyone, myself included, but too many people use this as an excuse to not listen to hip-hop at all. I've attempted (though, more than likely, failed miserably) to represent a wide range of underground hip-hop (many fused with other genres such as jazz and electronica) in an effort to deliver this fine form of art in a palatable manner.

I am sort of neutral on hip-hop. I don't dislike it as a genre but find that most of the music just doesn't jive with me. There are plenty of exceptions to this (e.g. Jay-Z, Kanye West, etc) yet these artists are arguably pop artists first and hip-hop artists second. The hip-hop music i like the most is strongly melodic filled with catchy hooks that underemphasize bass beats. I usually dislike the very organic, stripped down hip-hop sound -- that where the focus is simply the rhyme or the flow of voice -- i would just rather listen to something more compellingly musical (sounding).

Hip-hop evangelists are great though because (1) they see it as their duty to expose people to new music (not a bad objective and certainly one music snobs subscribe to in one form or another for their favorite genre of music) and (2) they either don't care or don't realize that hip-hop is the number one genre of music in America (overtaking Country on the billboard and sales charts a few years ago) - not necessarily a music form in the need of gospel. I realize in this particular case we are speaking of "underground" hip-hop and typically underground music is less accessible (almost experiemental by nature) than its pop counterparts so more power to him. I will indeed give this mix a chance and report back soon. In the meantime...

As the Perceptionists put it in Black Dialogue:

Yeah, it was written in the books of Europeans
we were savage
That our history was insignificant and minds below average
But how can one diminish the work
Of the most imitated culture on this earth
Fast foward to 2000 and now
You see it everywhere you look, speech, music, fasion and style
It's black dialogue

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