Monthly Archives: June 2014

Friday 06/20 2014
We Were Gods: Notes on an Xbox Stanley Cup

“Oh! to hold those powerful sticks in hand; to know that a flick of the scepter could bring about crushing victory and moderate, if unimpressive, life (could this be how God feels while masturbating?), that the simple depression of one’s index finger could trigger the subtle action, set forth the proper variables to unleash, firstly and finally, the merciless tide.”

Read the rest at The Classical

Tuesday 06/17 2014
The Masculine Mystique

“Most striking are the verbose, highly complex, and difficult-to-unpack lines that are dependent on educated language and informed by a poet’s perspective, darting between the beats like bats in a backlit woods and taking liberties with rhythm most MCs wouldn’t dare touch.

Deep Dickollective made no bones about reappropriating disses. As far as the group members were concerned, Common‘s infamous “In a circle of faggots, your name is mentioned” was proof of their own skill and relevance. West recalls silencing battle rappers whose main shut-down line was the quick-strike attack on a rapper’s masculinity: the accusation of homosexuality. “They go ‘Yo, go suck a dick.’ I say, ‘Which one and how quick?’” West laughs. “It disarms them.”

Read the rest of my cover story profile of pioneering queer rapper Tim’m West at The Chicago Reader

Friday 06/13 2014
Death & Sportswriting in the Digital Age

“A girl died in southeastern Pennsylvania. A mere 16 years of age, she was driving a 2004 Honda Civic on Bethel Church Road. She lost control of the vehicle, skittering across the median into the southbound lane before striking a tree, slamming metal and plastic and bark and bone. Rescued from the crash, she was driven to the hospital, where she would pass away shortly after the accident.

The typical types of descriptors were bandied about; bright, music loving and much missed by family and friends. A varsity soccer player at one of the high schools on my beat, her team was to take the field for the first time without her on my assignment. Purple headbands and wristbands were there–purple had been her favorite color–and the emotion was palpable. I made the requisite mention of her in the piece, then moved on to the game. The local paper’s coverage was different.”

Read the rest of my essay for the Loyola University (Chicago) Center for Digital Ethics and Policy.

Friday 06/13 2014
On Depravity and Desperation

“Brown has often referred to himself as ‘The Hybrid’, a nom de guerre whose aptitude extends beyond the Motor City allusions (a Detroit product, of fresh heart and mind, who is also most assuredly of the city) and strikes at the heart of Brown’s appeal, namely his existence as a creature of both hedonism and intelligence. Brown’s dyadic obsession with depravity and desperation is, at its most potent, a locus for the larger implications inherent when one examines getting fucked up not in the sybaritic context but the escapist, perhaps even the therapeutic; this blending of penis and genius serves to not only make his more wanton lyrics palatable – and this is a loose thing to pin down, anyway, the palatability of graphic imagery, which we are constantly assured, in equal measures, is both upsetting and damaging and liberating and existentially critical, unpopular yet ubituitous – but pushes them past avant garde pornography and something closer to art; he is the rap game Sasha Grey, wielder of vice as vessel for social criticism or, at the very last, extremely well done songs about his preternatural talent for pleasuring women.”

Read the rest of my review of Danny Brown’s Old at The Line of Best Fit

Monday 06/9 2014
Blood Flowers and VHS Tape: The Charli XCX Interview

“Xanax tastes terrible when chewed — like a rice cake dipped in cyanide — and it crumples quickly and benignly at first, enough to fool you into thinking, Maybe it isn’t so bad, before exploding into a mouth-coating malaise, which I fight through and chase down with great gulps of water — which now taste bitter and coppery as well. I imagine the whole thing is what the statue of Bobby Hull outside the United Center, the one I am standing right next to, might taste like if I decided to give it a lick.”

Read my interview with Charli XCX–pre “Fancy,” before everyone loved it and cared, at Verbicide.

 

Friday 06/6 2014
William J. O’Brien/MCA

“This, these 120-plus works, organized into stanzas and spanning four dimensions, is exhibition as Legion, as Leviathan, as Lil B mixtape; color, form and shape in biblical proportions, driving amphibian rains and sloughed scales and torn shrouds … “

Read the rest of my review of William J. O’Brien’s Museum of Contemporary Art retrospective at Newcity

Friday 06/6 2014
Twenty-Four Straight Hours of College Basketball Destroyed My Mind

“To understand how I came to be here, a jangled bundle of nerves and mania, French-inhaling sickly sweet smoke from the end of a cigarette holder I named Holly Golightly while staring at the bathroom mirror, it is first important to understand that there exists, on the outer fringes of the sport world, a bustling society of junkies and fiends that extends beyond the ordinary realm of gamblers and unexceptional fanatics.”

Read the rest at VICE

Wednesday 06/4 2014
Beneath the Metal Wave

“Aluminum foil with the crystalized texture found along the rim of a tub of vanilla ice cream, the cheery teal of a vintage Charlotte Hornets Starter jacket, the Cimmerian crimson of a Giant Pacific Octopus at depth, Pepto-Bismol pink and forest green and spiced rum brown and navy blue and Jovian orange and onyx black and white, off-white and cream: the shoes come in almost as many colors as they do styles, all manner of Pantone shades finding life as sneakers, trainers, heels, work boots, rain boots, rock boots, pillared fashion boots, slides, slip-ons, moccasins, shell toes, open toes, high-tops, low-cuts, rendered in leather, nubuck, suede, canvas, rubber, in boxes, on display, on tables and racks and shelves lighted from below so that the severely linear heel and every delicate, titillating strap is put on display, accentuated, positioned just right so that the shoe’s je ne sais quoi could so easily be yours, its sex appeal yours… Presiding over all this dizzying assortment is manager Kaitlin Buckley.” 

Read the rest at Newcity