False Dichotomies

LITERATURE HIP-HOP ISRAEL INDIA LOVE MISCELLANY

Archive for December, 2012

Fall 2012

Whatcha Gonna Do – Shyne

Cheesesteaks – Vinnie Paz

All Time Greats feat Party Arty – Showbiz/AG

Maad City feat MC Eiht – Kendrick Lamar

Choices – Apollo Brown

Looking for Astronauts – The National

Starting Over feat Ben Bridgewell – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

What a Day – Josephine

From the Woods!! – James Vincent McMorrow

Bridge Through Time – Apollo Brown

I Forgot To Be Your Lover – The Revelations

The Chorus in the Underground – Great Lake Swimmers

Octopus – Bloc Party

Only Love – Ben Howard

Guest of the Government – Admiral Fallow

Make the Sound feat Rhymefest – M.A.S.K.

Get Together feat Rapsody – MURS/9th Wonder

What I Do – Jon Connor

BFK – Freddie Gibbs

Cold feat Kanye West – DJ Khaled

Truth Be Told – Apollo Brown/Guilty Simpson

The 11th Hour – Apollo Brown

Pulling On A Line – Great Lake Swimmers

Everything – Ben Howard

How To Make It Through Hysteria – Skyzoo

HVN4AGNGSTA feat Master P – Game

The Red Carpet feat Raekwon & Ras Kass – Evidence

Hip Hop feat Scarface, Nas & DJ Premier – DJ Khaled

I Want You – Cee Lo Green

Work Everyday – Brother Ali

Need a Knot feat Bun B – Brother Ali

My God – Bombay Bicycle Club

The Wolves – Ben Howard

Lose You – Apollo Brown/Guilty Simpson

Never In A Million Years – Apollo Brown

Dudu – Haim Hefer

Ink Blotches – Apollo Brown/Guilty Simpson

All I Really Want feat The Dream – Rick Ross

Diamonds – Ben Howard

Wildflower – Cee Lo Green

Lit Up – The National

Can’t Hold Us feat Ray Dalton – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

They Ready feat J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T. & Kendrick Lamar – DJ Khaled

Still – Great Lake Swimmers

Moscow Evenings – Sunset – The Alchemist

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The Best Hip-Hop of 2012

THE BEST HIP-HOP ALBUMS OF 2012
1.    R.A.P. Music – Killer Mike/El-P – For being the most unexpected and fruitful collaboration of the year.

2.    Kolexxion – DJ Premier/Bumpy Knuckles – For demonstrating that Preemo’s rejected beats are better than most producers’ efforts, and for showing that – without Guru – Bumpy Knuckles knows how to handle them best.

3.    Dice Game – Guilty Simpson/Apollo Brown – For knowing it would be dope just from the press release.

4.    A Dream Deferred – Skyzoo – For Skyzoo’s voice and maturing vision.

5.    Ill Manors – Plan B – For being a UK rap album with true soul and depth.

6.    Baby Face Killa – Freddie Gibbs – For its sonic cohesion and Gibbs’ Tupac-like presence.

7.    Good Kid Mad City – Kendrick Lamar – For being the past, the present, and the future of West Coast hip-hop.

8.    Control Systems – Ab-Soul – For being the brightest young star in the new West Coast firmament.

9.    Mourning in America and Dreaming in Colour – Brother Ali – For proving that I should have listened to Brother Ali earlier.

10.    Trophies – O.C./Apollo Brown – For Apollo Brown being the new A-list producer in the underground.

11.    The Heist – Macklemore/Ryan Lewis – For being pop, real, and epic.

12.    God Forgives, I Don’t – Rick Ross – For Ross’s unique flow and his epic, cinematic beats.

13.    Ohnomite – Oh No – For being yet another solid Stones Throw release.

14.    Jesus Piece – Game – For marking Game’s graduation to OG.

15.    Interludes after Midnight – Blockhead – For being an inheritor to DJ Shadow’s tradition.

16.    Reloaded – Roc Marciano – For its grimy beats and gruff flow.

17.    Napalm – Xzibit – For surprising us by not falling off.

18.    Professor@Large – Large Professor – For its old-skool/nu-skool balance.

19.    Mugshot Music – Showbiz/AG – For reppin’ the Bronx section.

20.    Life is Good – Nas – For showing how rappers might manage the transition to adulthood.

THE BEST HIP-HOP JOINTS OF 2012

1.    They Ready – J.Cole/Big K.R.I.T./Kendrick Lamar
2.    M.A.A.D City feat MC Eiht – Kendrick Lamar
3.    Hip Hop – Nas/Scarface
4.    What I Do – Jon Connor
5.    South Bronx Shit – Showbiz/AG
6.    Ink Blotches – Guilty Simpson/Apollo Brown
7.    Pirates – Rick Ross
8.    Can’t Hold Us feat Ray Dalton – Macklemore/Ryan Lewis
9.    Need a Knot feat Bun B – Brother Ali
10.  Cold feat DJ Khaled – Kanye West
11.    Deepest Shame – Plan B
12.    Cheesesteaks – Vinnie Pax
13.    Make the Sound feat Rhymefest – M.A.S.K.
14.    Big Beast feat Bun B, T.I. & Trouble – Killer Mike/El-P
15.    The Don – Nas
16.    I Know This Game – Sadat X
17.    Blasphemy (Blast 4 Me) – M.O.P.
18.    HVN 4 A Gangsta feat Master P
19.    B.A.P. – DJ Premier/Bumpy Knuckles
20.    MARS – Large Professor
21.    Anotha One – O.C./Apollo Brown
22.    BFK – Freddie Gibbs
23.    Give it Up – Skyzoo
24.    Jingalin – Ludacris
25.    Food – Masta Killer

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Movement to Nowhere: Tzipi Livni vs the National Interest

In response to the claim that, in forming ‘The Movement’, Tzipi Livni had put her ego above the national interest, a friend wrote the following: “I think you are wrong about Livni – she isn’t about ego but issues. She looks around the centre-left and sees Lapid who will rush to join the next government and refuses to consider dividing Jerusalem and Shelly who essentially has no qualms with Bibi’s diplomatic policies. If nobody wants to talk about the Palestinians then she should go alone. Finally someone worthy to vote for.”

First, I think this is unfair on both Lapid and Yachimovich. The latter has almost single-handedly resurrected Labour from the dead – this has undoubtedly been an impressive achievement. Nevertheless, she faces a similar problem that Livni once faced; namely, that she is a woman with no security experience (this is the result of chauvinism and an over-reliance on ‘security’ types, but it remains a reality to be contended with). And when the electorate looks at the Labour list they don’t see many candidates with strong security credentials. As a result, taking a dovish stance or putting the Palestinian issue to the forefront would be suicidal. This is why she has done everything in her power to ensure that Labour isn’t seen as a left-wing party (thus losing my vote in the process) and why she seemed to be trying to out-right the right-wing in her vitriol during Pillar of Cloud. But this doesn’t mean that her Palestinian policy would be the same as Bibi’s, or that she would be less likely to join the coalition than Livni.

Lapid seems more likely than Labour to join the coalition, which is another reason why I won’t vote for him, but that’s another consequence of Israel’s absurd system, where a party with 10 seats can emerge from an election with more power than a party with 20. My main issue with Lapid is that he’s vapid, and there is little to distinguish him from an already crowded field. But I don’t see why he’s any more likely to join the coalition than Livni.

Even if my friend’s claims were true, however, I still don’t think ‘The Movement’ would be justified. And it’s partly because I agree with my friend that the Palestinian issue is so pressing that I think this way. We are on the verge of a situation where the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history will be replaced by an even more right-wing coalition, and where Yisrael Beitenu’s list may turn out to be more moderate than the Likud one. Far from confronting Israel’s existential problems, a Bieberman government will only make them worse. All that matters is beating Likud Beitenu. And, although the polling has been consistently discouraging, there remains one way in which the tide might be turned: a grand centre-left coalition led by the most popular centre-left politician. Currently that person seems to be Shelly Yachimovich.

If this wasn’t a possibility, Bibi wouldn’t have needed to team up with Lieberman. The only positive to come out of that decision was that it offered the possibility to simplify Israel’s bloated political arena. There may be differences between Yesh Atid and Labour and Meretz and The Movement, but are they any more significant than, say, the differences between the left and right of the Labour party in the UK? It’s easy to forget that Israel’s system rewards extremism; the only solution to this problem is the formation of two blocks, one left and one right, to slug it out for supremacy. If Livni had accepted Yachimovich’s offer and had become her number two, and if Lapid had followed suit, this would have been a possibility. As things stand, all she has done is take votes from Labour and Yesh Atid, while the right-wing majority remains unthreatened. Given the circumstances Israel currently finds itself, circumstances which have been made significantly worse by the government’s inept response to the Palestinians’ statehood bid in the UN, this is inexcusable.

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