Monday, 19 March 2012

Retrospectivism - Talib Kweli

It's been a while since I've done one of these Retrospectivism Blogs. but I've got good reason to bring it back today... Tomorrow... after nearly 15 years of following his work and his words... I am seeing Talib Kweli in concert.

First up, the first track I ever heard of Kweli's "The Manifesto"

I heard this track on the Rawkus records 'Lyricist Lounge' compilation back in... at a guess, 1998? I had just landed a job in an indie record store, and I was allowed to listen to whatever music I wanted to ALL DAY. It was, Yes, my dream job and I used the time to really explore music and find out everything it had to offer me.

During this time I became enamoured with conscious (and experimental) Hip Hop. Blackalicious, Talib, Mos Def were at the forefront of the thinking man's Hip-Hop and they had something to teach us all.... plus they really fucking made your head nod. Here's a track from Mos & Kweli's side project Black Star - The track is "Definition":

This next track is another example of Talib challenging the ideas of his listeners. It looks at the way America, and humans look at the media, and morality. The start of the track specifically deals with something relevant to myself, the bombing in Oklahoma City which happening in the 90's, (For which US native terrorist Timothy McVeigh was convicted and executed.).

Well I was IN Oklahoma at the time of that bombing in a town called Yukon, a suburb on the Western edge of Oklahoma city. I remember the morning the bombing happened, because while we sat in our school meeting area for assembly, we felt the ground shudder ripples from the blast. I was there and saw the way it affected people as they searched for the culprit, eager to have someone to blame... and someone to pay. Tragedy can bring out the best and the worst in humans, and it's important to remember that.

The next track was Talib's first real "hit' song. the beat was made by Kanye West, a huge supporter of Kweli, and was originally intended to be a Kanye West song. But after hearing the beat Kweli convinced Kanye to donate it to him. Obviously this was a very good move on Talib's part. The track bangs like a motherfucker whilst always keeping true to Kweli's message:

This next video is from Def Poetry Jam, and is a short but worthwhile listen. It's a spoken word piece by Talib about Religion and Spirituality:

To close out this Retrospectivism I'll leave you with 2 of his tracks from his new record "Gutter Rainbows". His first album which is released TOTALLY INDEPENDENTLY. The first track features one of my favourite rappers, a female emcee called Jean Grae, the second track is just a sick album track.

Actually fuck that, here's another track. This one is off of a Jean Grae mixtape. Talib rocks the hook and verse 3. Slams like a tree trunk swung by the Hulk.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cara's Cakery continued...

Today is the day Cara will be running a stall promoting her cake-making business. So I've created her some business cards, and this poster for her stall. I thought it would be a good idea to tempt people's imagination, as well as their taste buds, but putting up loads of examples of her previous work as a border.

My inspiration was taken from those vintage tea-towel designs you often see in gift shops.

(My girlfriend has been ordering tons of them off ebay and they are all around the house.)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

New Workblog - Cara's Cakery

Just finished doing some designs for a friend of mine who is starting her own cake-making business.

I wanted to give her business cards and posters the personal touch, so I did this illustration of her. It's a fairly good likeness, and I am most pleased with the colours.

I HIGHLY recommend getting in contact with her if you need any cakes making, (for parties, or a special occasion) as she is the BOMB. Here is a cake she made me for my last birthday:
If you'd like to get in touch with her regarding her awesome baking skills, her email is:

Monday, 5 March 2012

Rufus Wainwright & the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Last night I was treated to an incredible concert at the Barbican Theatre, (the tickets of which were bought for me as a gift by my lovely mother).

The performance featured Rufus Wainwright singing the words of Shakespeare over the BBC Symphony Orchestra's masterful playing.

Below is a picture I took with my blackberry, just to give you an idea of the setup:

The concert was broadcast live on BBC 3, and is already available to listen to on iPlayer HERE.

The first hour of the concert featured the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the energetic Rory McDonald, showcasing the grand size of their sound with some beautiful classical pieces.

Rufus's part of the concert begins at 1:27.

All the pieces were composed by Rufus using the words of 6 of William Shakespeare's sonnets (each read, in turn, before the song's performance.)

I have never seen Classical music performed on this scale, and while I may have been the only person in the audience nodding along and moving with the music, I still didn't feel at all out of place. The sound produced by an Orchestra is unbelievable... So huge, but clear and dynamic. It was extremely moving to witness, and I would recommend it to any music lover out there.

If you are unaware of Rufus Wainwright's body of work, I wrote a blog about him in 2009 with songs and videos on it. You can read that HERE.