Nas & Damian Marley’s “Distant Relatives”

Nas & Damian Marley

“Right now, I’ll tell you first, I’m working on an album with Damian Marley, and we tryin’ to build some schools in Africa with this one, and trying to build empowerment” said New York masterful MC Nas at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

“Distant Relatives” is set to be released on may 28th, and I just found out the first single “As We Enter” (and guess what, it’s a bomb)

Frankly speaking, I’m not a huge fan of hip-hop, but I do worship Nas. He’s way beyond the usual US hip-hop crap that easily crosses the ocean through MTV and similar mainstream channels (take 50 cent, this is just pure formated whatev’)

Anyway, this collaboration album’s definitely a big thing coming up. They’re talking about Africa, the album is for Africa (it will finance schools building program in Congo) and they do it sooo well.

Damian Marley, as written, had a great dad and followed his steps quite well. From classic reggae music to more fusion style, plus this really interesting collaboration (mixing reggae and hip-hop isn’t such an easy thing to do) he proved his talent many times (rush on his tune “Welcome to Jamrock”)

Nas & Damian Marley – As We Enter

One more thing, Nas & Damian Marley will be top of the bill of the 2010 Paris Hip-Hop festival, with a gig on June 28th (at the Zénith)

Pierre K.

DJ Shadow goes remix(ed)

Late post on “surely one of the best 2010 musical experience” coming up project. DJ Shadow remixes, by others.

DJ SHADOW REMIX PROJECT

Cold Ears? Try this then

It’s freezing cold in Europe, and global warming might be involved in one of the crappiest winter I’ve ever seen (well yeah, it is global warming, think of it twice before wearing your massive winter coat..) Not to say that winter sucks, but come one, – 12 in Paris can’t be true.

At this point of my message, I do apologize to my fellow writers for who – 12 celsius is a sweet joke.

Anyway, here’s some good stuff for your frozen ears, and a reason to wear some random hippster t-shirt under your Bigfoot gear.

Oh damn, he comes from Russia! It’s Proxy, it’s crazy

03 8000

Gorillaz is back! New album Plastic Beach already available, with tons of crazy featurings and geniously made forthcoming hits. Here’s “Some Kind of Nature” With his Excellency Mr Lou Reed

09 Some Kind of Nature (feat. Lou Reed)

OK Go’s new album “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky”. Its name reflects the stuff: it is OK Go. No big revolution coming up, just some good shoegaze whatev hippster rock. BUT this song’s video’s definitely awesum

02 This Too Shall Pass

4 days left before Bonobo’s new album (CAN’T WAIT). The British genius from Ninja Tune already offered us some teasers with this beautiful track “The Keeper”

03 The Keeper

Pierre K.

Japadog.

There have been line-ups for numerous places and events in Vancouver over the last little while. With the Olympics in town there have been line-ups for everything from the skytrain, to the art gallery, to houses (more like bars) that various countries have set up, and to get into free concerts over the last few weeks for example. This will tie into Japadog in a bit.

Anyways, a japadog is pretty self explanatory. It’s a japanese hot dog. And it is pretty much the best thing ever! So basically it’s your regular hot dog topped with wasabi mayo, terimayo, teriyaki sauce, edamame, or seaweed, for example. Who would have thought a hot dog, with teriyaki sauce, mayo, grilled onion, and seawood could be so amazing?! Check out their menu below…and me with my japadog last week 🙂

This is a popular hot dog stand in downtown Vancouver (they recently opened another hot dog stand down the street and they’re opening their own little shop soon!) and usually there is a line or a 15 minute wait, but with the Olympics in town, the line has been insane! I was there on Tuesday morning and I’m pretty sure there were like 30 people in line behind me by the time I got to the front of the line (which also took me quite awhile to get to the front of). But anyways. Japanese hot dogs. Try it when you come to Vancouver! Or make your own?!

The Future of Hong Kong

Living and working for the past seven months in Hong Kong has been nothing less than dream. Hong Kong is full of all the luxuries of the west, but also has a charm that only the east could provide. I have been treated to fun and exciting things to do on a weekly basis, and although the air pollution is terrible compared to San Diego, it doesn’t hold a candle to the levels in some of the cities in Mainland China.
Yet, things in Hong Kong aren’t all they seem to be. There is an anxiety about the city. The leadership of the CCP in the Mainland has said a number of times that they hope to turn Shanghai into a major financial center by 2020. Obviously this would transfer the center of ‘financial services’ gravity away from Hong Kong, a financial service heavy economy, challenging the city to find new industries to keep it relevant and to maintain its high standard of living. But to be honest, when Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang announced his plan to add new industries to Hong Kong’s repertoire a couple months ago, few seemed to take him serious. Economically speaking, Hong Kong could be looking at a difficult future.
So why am I not scared for Hong Kong?
I regularly read one of Hong Kong’s free newspapers: The Standard. Earlier this week, as I was flipping through the pages on my lunch break, I got to a cluster of articles under the “China” section. The first was an article entitled “Internet fears deepen over ‘white list’ bid”. Apparently Beijing plans to block even more websites from people using websites in the Mainland. They say that this is to block the growing number of porn websites but politically dissenting websites will almost certainly be blocked too.
The next article was about a Father who started a website for parents of children who became ill from drinking tainted milk (tens of thousands of children became sick after executives at a baby formula factory put an industrial chemical into the formula to boost protein levels). The website was designed to provide information and resources to parents. The Father was arrested and jailed for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”.
The last article was of a 53-year old man who was charged with “inciting subversion of state power” for co-authoring a widely circulated petition that called for political reform (what was this guy thinking?). After a year, he is finally going to trial. European and US diplomats have been barred from attending the trial.
The collection of these three articles was too much for me. I started laughing. If I’m a country, I would be doing my best to make my country as enticing as possible to global talent. Yet it seems like the government is doing everything it can to make the prospect of life in China a nightmare. As a foreigner, I’m giving a lot of thought to if I ever want to work in the mainland. Can I get away with living and officing in Hong Kong, and just visiting the Mainland? Would any foreigner in their right mind ever think of setting up a ‘life’ in this country? Currently facebook is blocked there. When you consider the fact that the language barrier in even the most developed cities is still a very big issue, keeping in touch with friends from home (via facebook) is a very important thing.
The top global talent will continue to flock to Hong Kong. The economic opportunities of China combined with the freedoms and luxuries that only a global city like Hong Kong could provide will ensure this. As long as the leadership in China continue to make stupid moves, no foreigner in their right mind would bother to stick around the Mainland after their fortune has been made.

And Btw, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!!

Chicago Blues and Impressionism

“Windy City”, even though the name came from Chicago’s politics, it was freezing like hell living by the Michigan Lake. That’s what I got from Chicago firstly. I was staying in a hostel 10mins walk from Michigan Ave, and the bridge to the Michigan Lake was just right outside the building. It was a really big hostel, clean and comfy. I met a Spanish engineer the second day from the hostel thought, and traveled around downtown Chicago with him. It was like in the movie “Before Sunrise”. It’s always fun to meet new people and talk about everything when traveling together.

Chicago, to me, it’s an elegant, tough (recovered impressively from the Great Fire), mature, and artistic city. It has a huge collection of impressionism art, moreover, it itself is a piece of artwork. From the Sears Tower at night, the whole city was colorful and flat, just like those paintings hanging in the museum. I visited the Art Institute of Chicago the first day, and spent a whole day there. My favorite two paintings are “Girl Looking out the Window” and “Paris Street: Rainy Day”. The former one is by a Norwegian Painter, Edvard Munch. A girl is standing in front of a big window, hiding herself from the curtain. I was wondering what she is hiding from – her secret lover? A murder? Or let’s say, her mother having an affair with her uncle? Haha, kidding. “Paris Street: Rainy Day” is by a French artist, Gustave Caillebotte, in 1877. The buildings and streets in the background are distinctive and edgy, the facial expressions of the the only two characters’ are vivid. I like the reflections of the passers-by in the water. I also like the tone of the painting, which is dim and misty, as the lines are soft and smooth. Impressionism is all about imagination and illusion.

I also went to a blues bar the last second night. It was really good music. I found that young people (at around 40) were sitting in the chairs and lifting their shoulders with the music, whereas old people (around 70yrs old) were dancing like crazy. I always wish I was born in the 30’s, so that I could dance like those in the movie “the Legend of 1900”. Maybe the world forgets about Shirley Temple and Bill Bonjangles Robinson, or Nat King Cole and Ray Charles, we forget how to dance with lovely music already.

Went to the Navy Pier with the Spanish cuttie, and got up to the big ferris wheel in such miserable weather (around 20 degrees). We were like kids on the wheel. It was freezing up in the air. But it gave me the best view with the twinkling lights around us, even better than in the Sears Tower. Ferris wheels are always my childhood artifacts – my personal goal is to get on every famous ferris wheel around the world. Sometimes I think life is like a ferris wheel, no matter how far you go, how high you used to be, everyone gets back to the origin.

Chicago blues and impressionism. I love this city. I love this trip.

Oh MEN, we’re so different

Today in my interpersonal communication class, the professor asked a question, “when do you think a relationship is ‘getting serious’?” He then asked us to jot down our own cues of seriousness.

     I wrote down on the paper – 1, when you start planning your future together; 2, when you meet each other’s friend as a boy/girlfriend; 3, when you make a commitment (no, I don’t mean marriage). The professor then asked the class to express their own opinions. Most of the girls agree what I jot down on the notes. They think when a guy starts doing something for both and wants to plan the future together with her, it means he is getting serious and realistic with the girl and their relationship. Moreover, girls all agree that when a man takes a girl to meet his friends or family, and introduces her as a girlfriend, that means he is serious too. Based on the theory (oh well), love consists of commitment, passion, and intimacy. So when u have the passion and intimacy, and start getting serious with it, you should make a commitment because passion will fade away, and intimacy will change through time. Well, but there is no points to keep the relationship if you’ve already lost two elements 😉

     Since only girls were talking about their opinions, the professor asked some of the guys in the room. Some guys agree with the “meeting friends/family” idea, and expressed that they would want their friends and family to like the girls they like. However, they have some other opinions too. One guy, who was on facebook for the whole class suddenly raised up his hand and said, “Well, I think a guy is serious about the relationship when he finds uncomfortable sleeping with some other girls.” The whole class burned to laugh. I found it funny because – since when, you need to test your seriousness about a relationship by sleeping with someone else?

     We then discussed about unwanted situation. Nowadays, schoolchildren are taught to “say no” when facing with unwanted activities. It’s easy to say no, but the problem is how. Some girls said when they were kissed in a club, they oscillated between obliging the guys’ advances and dodging their faces. Another girl said she couldn’t say no when her boyfriend asked her out in front of friends, and she didn’t want to embarrass or disappoint him by refusing. Well, we are taught to say no, but not how to say it forcefully enough that overconfident boys listen to us. Boys are normally trained to be persistent until they get what they want. However, the society expects females to be docile, compromising, subtle, and passive. Don’t deny it, as you can see from the experience – if a woman is not like what she is expected to be, people call her b*tch. Until one day when girls don’t have to face these pressures, they realize being polite doesn’t mean accepting those unwanted advances. Hey, I’d rather be a b*tch than a whore.

     Oh MEN, we’re so different! How should we communicate with you?