- Filed in Shoeing of the Day at 18.03pm on 10 February 10
Kraft. How Krafty are these people? Well, liars rather than Krafty allegedly. Around 400 workers will lose their jobs after the American food group announced it will shut the Somerdale plant in Somerset. Having assured us all, just a week ago that it wouldn't.
BBC. For making Dennis The Menace PC
Herman Van Rompuy. Crazy name - crazy guy! 'The new President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, is using the financial crisis sweeping the eurozone to launch an audacious grab for power over national budgets, leaked documents reveal.'
My Xbox is broken so I really haven’t had much to write about so far this year. I’m pretty sure if I got in there with a hoover I’d have it up and running again but it would only last a few weeks then it would happen again. It hasn’t ‘Red Ringed’ yet, I kinda wish it would. Put me out of my misery already, please. I will inevitably replace it, whether I do so with a new Xbox or with a PS3 is the question. Until then I will enjoy a game-less existence.
After the initial FIFA shakes which lasted a few weeks and still pop-up every time I see an advert for it or its [now] inferior cousin Pro-Evo, I considered that now would be a fantastic opportunity to invest some time in my dusty, pointless Nintendo Wii. I hit a few game shops to see what they had of interest and was quickly reminded why my Wii hasn’t been turned on in over a year. I am not a 12 year old girl so the hundreds of Pony styling games didn’t interest me. I’m not a middle aged mother of 4 so the cooking hints game had no appeal and everything else just looked shit. I toyed with the idea of picking up FIFA 2010 for a cut-price rate of £19.99 but I thought better of it. I bought the first Wii FIFA and enjoyed the gimmick for 20 minutes before condemning it to the back of my shelf. What did I expect? It was endorsed by Michael Owen! When he played for Newcastle!?!?!
There are always rumours of a Wii game for the adult market that will actually be competitive but as far as I can tell; it’s yet to be released. No More Heroes had a charm but its farming levels were the stuff of nightmares. How such a dull conception makes it out of testing is beyond me. The Mario titles are all exceptional but as I get older I find myself less and less motivated to have every colour under the sun, on screen at the same time jump, spin, explode and scream at me all at the same time, while flashing puppies in giant pink shoes giggle and shout cutesy gibberish that I’m supposed to read off the screen all the while attempting to suppress an epileptic fit that will invariably leave me seeing mushrooms, dinosaurs and monkeys in my sleep for the next six weeks. Funny that.
While entertaining a self-imposed gaming hiatus I find more time for reading and...well. No. That was a lie. I’m watching The Sopranos from start to finish and it’s way better than reading. Everything in The Sopranos is a metaphor pretty much, in series one Anthony Jr plays Nintendo 64. In one scene he loses to Tony at Mario Kart before being to told to turn it off and go to bed. In later episodes he plays darker games, more violent games on the PS2 and Xbox. There are significant moments in which Anthony draws for the video games and they’re generally significant games. The use of the console in culture and media, so perfectly summarised by a TV show which really has nothing in dialogue to suggest so. But it so perfectly captures the escapism afforded by quality gaming every time it’s used. Over analysed? Maybe. It did get me thinking about the tracking of my life through the visuals of video gaming though. I’ve always been excited by the jumps in game technology but a point came in the mid-to-late 90s when I reluctantly accepted the fact that the next few years of development were going to go over my head.
When games entered the third dimension with Sega 3D and later Saturn, I wasn’t particularly excited. The idea of 3D was too far in the future for my mind to comprehend. Hollywood had been animating [poorly] in 3D for a few years but I doubted we’d see properly rendered characters and environments that look like real life any time soon. I believed it would happen, the evolution of 16bit graphics on the Mega Drive assured me the potential was there. As kids the first question about a new console was “What bit is it?” Master System’s 8bit, Mega Drive’s 16bit, Saturn’s 32bit, Nintendo 64’s 64bit, in hindsight, the progression was actually pretty swift. It didn’t feel it at the time though. My point being that between Sega Saturn and Playstation 2 I didn’t consider there to be much development in 3D rendering. I was told “Wait until you see these graphics” about every other game, while enjoying each era’s graphics for their own unique charms [in it’s prime Nintendo 64’s graphics, while blocky, were brilliantly shaded and you were never in any doubt what console you were playing] I lost touch with the level of development I’d been so interested in as a young boy.
The quality of animated visuals being produced today I don’t think I expected to see in the period we have done. I don’t think there can possibly be a media industry that has developed to the extent the gaming industry has done in the time scale it has. More pure than the music business and Hollywood combined I’m pretty sure it’s the media most of us will be measuring our life by in years to come.
I'm rambling. Good to be back. This new website looks pretty fancy.
Cambridge City Council are buying 42 of Apple's latest nonsense iPad at a total cost of £30,000...from the Climate Change budget. Source
London fails to make top 50 'most live-able' cities
But Manchester does...theyre' having a larrfff!! Source.
Conspiracy Theorists. This is what happens when we have Care In The Community. Some people really should be institutionalised Link
In an attempt to rescue the Chinese food place over the road from being deleted from my phone once and for all I decided I’d throw a set of Vegetarian Pancake Rolls into the usual order. If these Pancake rolls impress me I’ll reconsider! I know they won’t, I know I won’t delete the number, only two places deliver down here and one’s a really, really rancid Pizza place that no matter the topping adjustments I make, always tastes fried. Somewhere between order and delivery Dwayne Carter crossed my mind, it may have crossed my mind because I was thinking back on the previous evening’s Super Bowl and the reason I was too tired to cook and therefor ordering food I know I don’t want, New Orleans beat the Indianapolis Colts, which is good because New Orleans is New Orleans and what the hell is Indianapolis? The favourite son of the great city of late has been Dwayne Carter. A hero, a pioneer, a leader and the son of a Birdman, Dwayne has had a rough couple of months and a seriously strange couple of years.
Dwayne aka Lil Wayne saw his last album debut at number 1 with some million records sold in its first week. While his name is Lil and he has the frame to match, ‘Tha Carter III’ was infact Wayne’s sixth solo album and his tenth album overall (three with his original group The Hot Boys and one with his adopted father Baby). The phenom that is Lil Wayne was in fact eleven years in the industry at that point. He was the first person to ever say the immortal words “Bling” and “Bling” on a record. Weirdly, when Wayne’s original group The Hot Boys split, Weezy would have been the last name you’d expect to go on and carve out a successful solo career. Indeed he didn’t, not in comparison to Juvenile, another Hot Boys alum, who sold four million copies of his debut album or B.G who had it not been for a high profile battle with heroin addiction was sure to gain solo stardom.
The Wayne transformation began in 2004 with a heavily Jay-Z influenced album ‘Tha Carter’. Almost entirely produced by Mannie Fresh (Wayne’s producer since his earliest days) the album was very true to the New Orleans sound, Triggaman influences and all. But Wayne impressed outside of his region with vocabulary and wordplay rarely heard outside of New York. His effortless but infinitely focussed assault didn’t have the commercial leanings of his later work but it pricked the ears of many on the East Coast who hadn’t consciously heard anything from the dreadlocked rapper since he recited America’s favourite phrase. Imagine Gary Coleman sneaking up and making Taxi Driver. This is Lil Wayne? The “Bling Bling” guy? Some remained unconvinced and indeed there were people who added fuel to their burning indecision. Former Wayne cohort, Philadelphia's Gillie Da Kid claimed to have written ‘Tha Carter’ and indeed taught Dwayne to flow in a more coherent manner. Makes sense, how did he get so good all of a sudden? It must have been somebody from the East Coast doing all the work. What a con. Bullshit. Those fears slowly dissipated when it became clear that not only could Wayne sustain his momentum without Gillie but the Philly rapper himself had absolutely nothing to offer himself as he began to leak solo material.
Wayne claimed on ‘Tha Carter’ to be the “Best rapper alive! Since the best rapper retired” a clear reference to Jay-Z’s ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’ where the Brooklyn MC repeats “Best rapper alive! Best rapper alive!” Weezy’s bold claim reportedly caught Jay’s attention in 2004 during Hova’s early days as Def Jam president. Jay-Z borrowed from The Hot Boys’ credibility in The South in the early part of the millennium and at the same lent them his credibility in the East Coast market a move that proved invaluable to both parties in the coming years. While rebuilding Rocafella Records after the messy split from Damon Dash it’s reported that Lil Wayne came within days of leaving his childhood home and adopted father Baby to move East and make a full assault on the top of the Billboard charts. A series of well publicised meetings had New York in a frenzy about Wayne joining The Roc. Those who’d not fallen under the spell of ‘Tha Carter’ were about to discover it as the buzz became deafening. For one reason or another, the deal never came to fruition. To hear Wayne tell it Jay passed on the New Orleans rapper. Why? We may never know. But when one Carter turned his back on another, a fire was lit beneath the Southern MC. His hero wouldn’t be passing him the baton.
Before releasing ‘Tha Carter II’ Wayne adopted the New York approach of releasing a constant stream of street tapes, original vocals on borrowed beats, whichever DJ was asking, Wayne had something. His presence was omnipotent and his popularity was soaring. Everybody wanted a piece of the emerging rapper who was a hit away from super-stardom. ‘Tha Carter II’ didn’t deliver the hit he craved, a mesh of Southern and East Coast production, the album was the first in Wayne’s career not to feature the distinct production sounds of veteran Mannie Fresh and while it could be argued the record didn’t suffer for it, it can be argued that the album fell just short of having the consistency of sound and the personality that made ‘Tha Carter’ so popular. Although the sales figures begged to differ.
The gap between ‘Tha Carter II’ and ‘Tha Carter III’ would be three years. In that time Wayne recorded a forgettable collaboration with label boss Baby and continued to make his presence felt on the mixtape circuit. A series of undercover jabs at Jay-Z were responded to in kind and one of the great unconfirmed beefs took shape. Legal troubles were never too far in the future as a series of drug busts took their toll on the rapper’s tour plans. The almost fortnightly Wayne headline did little to help his popularity and as ‘Tha Carter III’ approached it appeared he could do no wrong. Indeed when ‘Lollipop’ (the album’s first single) was leaked to radio many fans of Wayne’s mixtape output were left scratching their heads, autotune singing? Really? That’s how you want to do it? A misstep maybe? Hardly. The single sat at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks and put Wayne in a place his previous two albums had failed to put him. 50 Cent once laughed off the potential of Wayne as the biggest rapper in the world by claiming he had no hits. ‘Lollipop’ was a hit. A pop hit. But a hit. Wayne sustained his pressure on street level with his legendary tirade of metaphors, flow and energy ‘A Milli’, the streets went crazy, the industry went crazy, ‘Tha Carter III’ had gone beyond fever-pitch, it was in a whole new hemisphere, there became a feeling that Wayne was about to do something special with this album. Everybody else in rap trailed, remixes of ‘A Milli’ surfaced hourly, MF Doom, KRS1, Mos Def, LL Cool J, Ne-Yo, Busta Rhymes, Chris Brown, The Game and inevitably Jay-Z took Wayne’s hit for a ride making it one of the all-time hip-hop classics and firmly placing Dwayne Carter on course of a record breaking year.
‘A Milli’ proved right as ‘Tha Carter III’ moved over one-million units in its first week out. In 2008, bootlegging at its absolute peak, one man had the power to push through the worrying trends in sales figures and make his mark. Two hit records and a couple of forgettable radio songs extended the album’s life-span to a year of sales success. The world at his feet, the money in his bank, the industry on his nuts, Wayne set about building his legacy.
The signing and subsequent super-star status of Candadian Jewish rapper Drake put Wayne in the shade somewhat, but that was always the plan. But an album put together with his group of proteges; Young Money was received somewhat passively, despite heavily featuring Lil Wayne, Drake and female rap’s current hot topic Nicki Minaj. Another misstep? Perhaps. ‘Tha Carter III’ needed to be followed-up and following Kanye West’s ‘808s & Heartbreaks’ Wayne decided he wanted to step out of hip-hop too. He wanted to crank his autotune up to eleven and release a “Rock” album. He would call it ‘Rebirth’. I don’t think anybody really explained what “Rock” is and that what Wayne was making, was infact, absolute shite. Die-hard fans embraced his new direction, citing his creativity and rebellious nature for the decision to extend his musical reach into an audience that probably never existed. Horrible autotune college rock leaks were followed by even worse horrible autotune college rock leaks and most of hip-hop waited while Wayne got his “Phase” out of the way and got back to hip-hop. It seemed inevitable from the day announced ‘Rebirth’ that it would happen and that it would be horrible. A series of delays meant the album hung in the air, taunting fans and prolonged the suffering. Amazon received copies of the album in December and actually mailed it out to pre-order fans despite being given a revised release date just days prior. The internet had ‘Rebirth’. The internet gave it back. Last week saw the album’s official release and time will tell how well it’s done commercially but critically it’s received as badly as could possibly be expected. Yet another misstep? He can write it off as his “experimental phase” and pretend it never happened. He will probably survive.
Today though, Lil Wayne aka Dwayne Carter, 13 albums into his career, will being a year’s prison sentence for gun possession. Rumour has it the rapper recorded a new album before going away as well as a series of new videos that will hold him over until his release next year. One has to ponder though, whether he’s turned the autotune off and whether he’s re-found the spark that made him the biggest rapper in the world for a few months in 2008. A lot of work went into project-Wayne, a lot of legend building leaps, perfectly timed and perfectly executed. Can a horrible album and a year out of the lime-light undo that amount of hard work? I don’t think it has to T.I who found himself in a similar position last year. The tentatively titled ‘Tha Carter IV’ is scheduled to drop later this year and will represent the biggest test of Wayne’s career. Like the Chinese restaurant I don’t want to call any more, when the time comes and the fridge is empty will I regress to Weezy? Every time I do I feel like I’m getting closer to never doing so again.
Those vegetarian pancake rolls were fucking shit by the way.
On the cover we have Lambeth Boys Palma Violets who tell us stuff about stuff such as “Look! What are you doing? Bring down some guitars and amplifiers and start a band!”. Same goes for features... featuring Edwyn Collins, Deap Vally give us a mountain hi, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Stranglers (early years) and Dream Syndicate ***** In New Blood you'll find: The 1975, Coves, Childhood, Fat Goth, Little Green Cars, Night Engine, Thought Forms, F.U.R.S. and Filthy Boy ***** We have an embedded Artrocker Radio Player with focus on Wet Nuns ***** Rock The Look of Hypnotic Eye ***** Masses of reviews ***** 'Art' with David Bowie ***** A look back with Black Lips ***** Tim Burgess' column ***** Lovely photos and tons of clever digital thingies
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