Archive for the ‘Biz Markee’ Category


2012 saw the release of this very strange collaborative album.  Whether The Flaming Lips had entered the mainstream or if people who’d always liked them were now big stars or maybe they all just liked doing acid.  Whatever the case, The Lips worked with a vast array of famous (and less famous) people for this bizarre album.  Here it is 8 years later. Time to check in.

The first song is I believe made by Kesha (who wanted to collaborate with Wayne Coyne).  I understand it is a kind of update of The Stooges’ “1969.”  I’ll have to assume that’s true.

It starts with Kesha saying, “Coz I want my ass.  Shit.  Sorry.”  And then the stomping electronic dancey but chaotic beat starts up.  “2012 (You Must Be Upgraded)” features Kesha, Biz Markie & Hour of the Time Majesty 12.

It runs along with Kesha singing (incoherently) and Biz Markee chiming in (also incoherently).  I don’t really know what they’re saying, but it’s oddly catchy.

The middle has some psychedelic flutes and a relatively clean vocal line from Kesha.  She sings nicely and It feels like the end of the song–like its just going to fade out–but no, after a beat, the noisy dance part starts up again.  At four minutes, it’s a relatively short song on this album.  And it certainly sets the tone for what follows (which means who the hell knows what’s going to come next).

This song is so unlike The Flaming Lips, I’m not even sure what they contributed to it.  Lyrics? Music? Anything?  Who knows.  The unknown contributors are Hour of the Time Majesty 12 who are Spooki Tavi and Ashi Dala an experimental pop group who “create cartoon-like psychedelic fantasy in the dusty shimmer of east Hollywood.”  They have two albums out which I may have to investigate.

[READ: August 1, 2019] Strangers in Paradise XXV #1

I loved the Strangers in Paradise series.  Terry Moore’s art is amazing and the story was incredibly affecting.  I was really saddened when it ended in 2012.

Then in 2018 he announced that he was restarting the story–a 25th anniversary update!  Hence the XXV in the title.

I subscribed to the monthly publication issues but wanted to wait until the ten issue arc was completed before I started reading it.

Issue 1 begins with a man on a subway looking at his phone.  When he doors open, a kid grabs his phone, and takes off.  The phone gets tossed around until a woman who looks a lot like Katchoo takes out the sim card and throws the phone down.

The man calls his wife from work to say what happened.  His wife, Laura, asks about the woman who took out the sim card.  He describes Katchoo and Laura freaks out.  She kicks a hole in a wall, takes out a bug-out-bag and flees.  Shortly, Katchoo goes into the house and sees that Laura has left already. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE PERCEPTIONISTS-Tiny Desk Concert #661 (October 20, 2017).

The Perceptionists are Mr. Lif [Jeffery Haynes] and Akrobatik [Jared Bridgeman] two emcees whose names rock bells among true hip-hop heads. The duo of Boston natives first teamed up as The Perceptionists in the early aughts to release Black Dialogue on El-P’s Def Jux label in 2005. Their side project went into indefinite hiatus soon afterward, but now LLif and Akrobatik are reunited on their new LP, Resolution.

In a world that often appears to be spiraling out of control, their Tiny Desk set provides a much-needed breather.

With sharp, heartfelt lyricism, The Perceptionists critique the current political climate on “Out Of Control.”  There’s some great lyrics in this song.  I especially like

Man, I’m right there with them
Keeping it funky
If I’m African American, tell me which country
Our differences shouldn’t make you wanna hunt me
When in reality every fruit came from one tree

The song has a groovy funky bass from the really animated (H)Ashish Vyas.

On “Lemme Find Out” they rhyme about the symbiotic human relationship with technology.  They say our lives are just so dominated by technology…  Mr Lif wonders “if I am living in the real reality or just a predetermined reality that I’ve been programmed with.”  Akrobatik says, “50 years from know humans are going to have craned necks from [cell phones].”  The track opens with a cool echoing somewhat sinister guitar riff from Van Gordon Martin [“Not known for shit startin’ but his name is Van Martin”]

Once again, I love Akrobatik’s rhymes:

Microchip implanted in my hip
Got me feeling like an alien that landed in a ship
Probed my frontal lobe now I’m standing here equipped
With abilities to flip
But I can’t get a grip on regular shit
I’m about to dodge my competitor’s wit
Hit them with something that they’ll never forget
Deprogram, roll up a hell of a spliff
And smoke Master Kush at the edge of a cliff

I really like the little growls that Mr Lif does at the end of the verses.

The next song is “A Different Light.”  This chorus is great:

Want to crucify me for toughest era in my life?
That’s all right…
Thought the world of you but now I see you in a different light
That’s all right…

The duo’s

conscious ethos is perfectly encapsulated by Ak’s lyrical run.  He raps: “But I’m above all of the melodrama / When they go low / We go high / Michelle Obama.”

Mr. Lif says, “Everyone enters a relationship with different levels of expectations.”  Sometimes we are looking too closely at our expectations and not looking at the other person and being present with the situations right in front of us.   The song is mellow with some gentle synths from “Chop” Lean Thomas. The end of the song has a retro flute sound.  There’s also a mellow guitar line that runs through the song.

The song tells the story of Ak’s near-death experience with a pernicious aortic dissection, as well as the betrayal of a close friend during his convalescence.

About that incident, Acrobatik raps:

I don’t need to call your name out – I ain’t trying to embarrass ya
This is not about revenge, it’s more about your character
Or lack thereof, step back there brov
How can you call someone a friend and then attack their love?

The final song is “Early Morning.”  It’s got some great funky bass and some great funky drums from “Tommy B” Benedetti.  They say they hope this resonates with us all.

As the song ends, there’s some great riffs on the guitar and then Ak says, “we can’t  make a crazy exit… don’t wanna knock shit over.”

[READ: February 13, 2017] Hip Hop Family Tree 3

Book three continues the rise of Hip-Hop and bands who really start selling big.

Interestingly, it starts with Rick Rubin setting the tone for hip hop: “Sorry but girls don’t sound good rapping” (said to Kate Schellenbach of Beastie Boys.  And then getting the Boys all dressed in matching tracksuits (Puma).  Kate gets two rather unflattering drawings of her as the Boys tell her that the three boys will be the first white rap group (with Rubin as DJ).

Two art critics also get involved with tagging and graffiti at this time. Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant take photos of the art but find time and again that “legitimate” businesses want nothing to do with this illegal work.  This also accompanies the rise of break dancing–there’s a funny page in which people think that a group of kids break dancing is actually fighting with each other.

But this book really tracks the rise of Run D.M.C., with the promise by DJ Run that he wouldn’t leave Jay behind.  He was good to his word. (more…)

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ransomSOUNDTRACK: BIZ MARKEE-“Pancakes and Syrup” (2012).

awesome4Never really sure what to make of Biz Markee, it is nevertheless very hard to resist this anthem to a delicious breakfast.

Biz has one verse (the last two lines rhyme tummy with yum yum yum yum yum yum yummy) with some actual lyrics (I like that he rhymed syrup with Europe).  And another verse which is basically him saying “eat em up” and “yummy” over and over.

But the real sell (as if that wasn’t enough) is the super catchy, utterly fun-to-sing-along-to chorus “Pancakes and Syrup…It’s breakfast time!”

You have to be pretty curmudgeonly to dislike this son , especially since it is only a minute and 16 seconds long.  Although I’m not sure why he seems so mad at the end….

[READ: May 6, 2014] A King’s Ransom

As I said, I was totally hooked by Book 1 of this new series and I started book two before the first one was even cold. I had to know what was going on!

Because the new task for Dan and Amy Cahill is to steal an ancient map that no one has seen for generations.  And there’s no clue as to where it might even be.  And if they don’t find it ion four days one of their kidnapped relatives will be killed.  Not to mention, they are being followed by Interpol and they have alienated Dan’s only friend.  And as the story starts, they learn that one of the new enemies that they knew about (Caspar Wyoming) has a twin sister, Cheyenne.  And she spends the first few chapters of the book spying on them.

It turns out that Cheyenne has been promoted to V-6 in the Vesper hierarchy (her brother was V-6 but he was dropped down and he is super angry that she overtook him).  And with Caspar angry at the Cahills and at V-1, who know just what he’ll do.

So Dan and Amy are on their way to Lucerne, Switzerland to find the de Virga World map which was created in 1411.  Their lead is an auction house where it was last seen–over fifty years ago.  This search leads to a history of Nazis and a woman (who turns out to be related to someone on their team) who fought the Nazis in her own way.  The auction house is a funny, chaotic scene–especially when a fax from Interpol comes in and shows their passport pictures. (more…)

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