"Tumblr user" has an entry in the AD&D Monster Manual.
Jim Guthrie || Under a Tree (feat. Owen Pallett)
Attn nerdfriends: Put on some headphones and take a trip in the wayback machine to early 90s point-and-click adventure games.
Since I no longer work at a music magazine and I can’t rub out a grad school essay (because I’m currently employed to write/edit about sex furniture), I need to flex on something that occurred to me during the morning commute:
Shine Blockers: Exploring the semantics of light in late-2010 hip-hop
The phones are down at work, and this is a more constructive use of my time than reblogging Glenn Beck’s latest bon mot and adding nothing to the discussion other than a breathless “OMG Rethuglicans are so stupid, petty groupthink is the bees knees.”
II. Umbra: Kanye West - “All of the Lights”
Putting aside the fact that Rihanna has been desperately dick-riding Mariah Carey following “Umbrella;” her vocal gymnastics on the chorus implore us to “Turn up the lights in here bay-bee / you know what I mean, want you to see everything.” But a deluge of ugliness rushes in to fill the void illuminated by Kanye’s “cop lights, flashlights, spotlights” — he violently assaulted a woman, Michael Jackson’s dead, and the creeping spectre of his “ghetto university” festers at the edges of his consciousness—his Jesus Piece-as-albatross—which will destroy him in the end.
Rihanna’s enjoinment that she “want[s] you to see everything” isn’t an invitation to bask in their radiance, it’s an invitation to become complicit in this material ugliness, to share this illumination through observation (and therefore tacit consent). The glow of the klieg lights is hideous, and throws our negative features into ever starker relief. The more we chase the illusions of wealth and fame, the uglier we become.
III. Penumbra: Gucci Mane - “Gucci Time (feat. Swizz Beats)”
On the first three lines of the chorus, Gucci deploys three anaphoric lines that seem to dovetail with “All of the Lights,” at least initially: ‘Cut these lights on / cut these fuckin’ lights on.’ Gucci’s presence demands illumination, an urgent call to see and be seen, a forceful demand by a man unafraid to stand within Kanye’s Panopticon.
But then, the reversal: ‘All this ice on / don’t need to cut the lights on.’ Gucci’s jewelry is his armor; his chain isn’t a millstone around his neck, but his Weltanschauung. This avatar’s philosophy can be summed up in two phrases: “Don’t have a cow” and “Eat my shorts.” Whither the Tao of Gucci: “I’m on my grind shawty / don’t block my shine shawty.”
Kanye’s greatest weakness is Gucci’s greatest strength. The true circumference of the man née Radric Davis can never be fully known: Gucci has constructed a performance that answers and negates Kanye’s expression of Foucauldian systems of surveillance.
Kanye, meanwhile, is operating under the only persona he and his audience have ever known him to: Mr. Self-Destruct.