Archive for October, 2011

Sorry i’m late (and a book report)

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Okay first of sorry i’m late, i had a very busy week last week and while i HAD planned a time to write a blog, a slight confrontation (which i don’t now the reason for) basically cut a evening out of my schedule.

So for this blog i’m going to do something i haven’t done since grade school, a book report.

The book in question is Book of Rhymes The Poetics of Hiphop by Adam Bradley. It’s a look at hiphop from a strictly poetic viewpoint, with a few comments toward other aspects of the music.

The books is split in two parts each with 3 chapters. As i see it, the two parts can be view as part 1 being about form in a superficial sense (rhythm rhyme and wordplay) and part 2 about shaping the content creatively (signifying, story and style).

This book is not written as a how to rap or write hiphop lyrics book in any aspect, it is, like i said a poetic view on hiphop written by a Ph. D. in english. Bradley says at one point in the book, that it encourages reading rap on the page. Basically like a poem, not as music. That said he does in the introduction (called Rap Poetry 101) explians that none of the two aspects take away from the other. To quote him:

“There’s no need to disparage one to respect the other. In fact, perhaps more than any other lyrical form, rap demands that we acknowledge its dual identity as word and song”

With that in mind, some might think that it’s more for the literature classes then the music classes. The point certainly got some merit, the book is strictly aimed at hiphops audience, not makers and i do actually know that the book is used in some modern culture and English classes.

The thing is that how to books, especially in terms of creative dealings, are often either very focused on one or two theories, school of thought or methods and completely ignoring any other method, or the complete opposite, giving you some very basic information, but no real means of pursuing anything. While the first one got some merit if you are a complete beginner, it’s actually what i would prefer as a complete beginner, but any sort of guide for people with some experience in the field is hard to make and sadly very hard to find as well.

I think that this book is a great tool for people that are writing lyrics and have been for some time. First and most simply by showing you a way of thinking, that you might not have thought about as well as not generally thought of.  Secondly and perhaps more interesting, they give you tools to analyse your lyrics and reflect on them and how to change and evolve them.

In terms of actually using the book as a tool for lyrics writing, i think that you should read this and look at what of the elements that are in your lyrics as a whole, while some of these elements often varies a lot from song to song (especially in terms of storytelling), experience tells me that often some elements while be more or less persistent in your lyrics. Start by looking at them, what are they. If you see a certain rhyme structure that is coherent in your writings, ask yourself what qualities does it give your lyrics and can it be expanded upon?

The second thing i think you need to do is actually listen to the examples that he gives, now granted that many of these songs will be well known for any true hiphop head, however i don’t think that only rappers can use this book, but anybody writing lyrics. So if you are writing in another genre and wanting to read this book, use it as tool for songwriting, get ready to listen to some hiphop.

That’s it for this time.

Nitten

Hard drive dead

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

So my harddrive died.

It’s not to bad, i got a new one cheap and it was my system drive, not my music drive.

However i was lucky, course if it went totally dead a week ago i would have lost quit a bit of stuff.

This is because while i had all audio on another drive (as you should have), but a lot of photos, lyrics etc. was for a long time on my system drive and not even backed up in ages.

All in all i could probably have lost a good 75 % of my lyrics, all pictures music related and not as well as a couple of old videos i did with the guys that may not have much value, but are fun to watch from time to time.

In short always remember to back up and keep all stuff of your system drive, that way you can access it even if the system screw up (like my did entirely).

Like i said i got a new drive for cheap, a western digital caviar blue 360 GB 7200 RPM. It’s a bit larger and quicker then my old drive, which is nice.

That’s it for this week, i have been very busy, so it’s a bit short i know.

Nitten

Album and Word of mouth

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

So far i’m keeping up with my one a week blogging schedule.

Album

I started my first solo album (and first real album to some extend), second overall counting the EP and actually third counting the horrible demo. I got a certain fondness for the format, in the context of a collection of tracks that have been put together with a consideration for continuity. Album sells may be coming to somewhat of an end (or not, depending on who you listen to), but all stats for my own music shows that this is a very good format for providing your music.

No doubt this is in part due to Bandcamp’s wonderful system, where you can set the focus on albums, not singles. I have nowhere near enough data to actual say anything conclusive in terms of albums on the grander level of things, but in the end my experience shows that the format at least doesn’t damage your chance to cast peoples eyes, more so otherwise.

Enough of me promoting the format, what really interest me is that this is a lot different then how most my music is made. Long story short my DAW is dead right now, so i can’t make the beats for the songs, in stead all time goes into the lyrics for now, it’s how i started before i made my own beats and i have always maintained that i’m a lyricist first and it’s somewhat liberating to get back to just writing rhymes, not having to worry about making the beats.

Aside from lyrics most of the work so far have been administration and organization, i managed to get access to all my stuff by booting Ubuntu for a USB (Ubuntu is BTW great for general purpose pc) so i was able to gather the lyrics and few beats i had, other then i’m discussing concept, no it’s not a concept album as such, but still aiming for a bit of a red thread, so a bit of concept is involved. I have a couple of people lined up in terms of cover art and of course i’m working on promotion as well. It really feels great to work for real again, with an end goal in mind, in the end i think that’s what i really enjoy about the album format, it gives sense of end goal.

Rumors

So this is a bit of a funny story. At Aalborg University almost all work is done in our project groups, which is around 6 people each, also all social science students study together (which this year is a bit over 1000). Depending on what exactly is going on i’m around 200 to 1000 students everyday.

Now of course we are all still meeting new people and of course on of first thing i tell people is that i rap. This has had a crazy effect, a lot more people know me at the university, then i know there, apparently the relative few that i have directed towards my music have really spread the word, so much that doing this mini-intro trip we had, i was actually asked by two very pretty girls, if they could get an autograph, admittedly they where drunk. very drunk, but still the fact that they knew me, without me ever spoken a word to them, tells of this effect, all stats as well show big increases since around the time i started at the university.

Now i don’t tell you this just to brag, although i admit that i’m proud people seem to like my music, why shouldn’t i be? While i always maintain that i don’t create to please “the public”, what i choose to put out is governed by what i want the world to hear and i’m very glad.

What’s however really the point of this is to prove the concept, that three years of studying communication have ingrain as an unsolvable riddle in my head. I know a lot about promoting stuff and can promote stuff pretty good, if i do say so myself, but nothing seems to have a bigger effect then a good amount of word of mouth and while you can try to stimulate word of mouth, in fact i think that should be the main goal of any promotion, it’s never predicable. I seen cases (as part of my study) where almost endless amounts of effort, energy and money have been put into a campaign, only to have it fall flat on it’s ass. Then there are cases like this where little or none promotion have given a ton of publicity, after all it wasn’t my intend to promote my music when i told people that i was a rapper, it’s was pure let’s get to know each other since we are going to spend a lot of time working together during this project. In most cases i didn’t give them any links just the name of my group and my own alias, in some i didn’t even do that.

Anyway that’s that for this week, hopefully i keep up next week as well, i’m really enjoying this.

Nitten