Archive for January, 2012

An Interview With Wu-Tang’s Killah Priest.


I’ve personally worked with multiple members of the Wu-Tang clan, and by far my most interesting experience was with Killah Priest.  He’s quite a personality, and after working together for the first time at VooDoo in San Jose, I’ve been following his career pretty closely.  Recently I stumbled across an interview conducted by Brian Kayser where Priest discusses touring with Ghostface, his solo album and being independent.   Check the interview below.

You’ve been on the road a lot with R.A. the Rugged Man and Ghostface Killah. How’s the road treating you?

The road is a great experience. It’s therapy for me and it should be for any artist, I think, that’s on the road, man. It’s just therapy.

Have any plans for music developed with R.A. and Ghost?

Yeah, man. Me and Ghost have been brainstorming heavy. We’ve been talking about this and that and just tactics on how to do this album and how to attack the industry and how to get music out that people will appreciate and get it heard to where people who appreciate real hip-hop music, and what I mean by that is unsaturated, unadulterated, not compromised music and how to get it to the people where they can hear it. Ghostface being the artist that he is, he has a name that can help with the movement so I’m grateful fort that and this is a brother that is a spiritual cat also.

I would imagine there’s some good conversations there.

Definitely. Definitely, man. We go all the way from the Bible to the Koran. We just build on all tactics from the galaxy to whatever. He asks that question “why is the water wet?” and “why is the sky blue?” We’ve been building. That’s my brother.

When you talk about the album, the album you’re talking about is your solo album, The Psychic World or Walter Reed, right?

Definitely, man. It’s done. There’s nothing I will add to it. I never rushed this album, even when I had the release date of January 30th. I couldn’t rush the album now. I gave them a date and I don’t want to rush it, even if it means holding it back for a little while more. I can’t rush it out like that. I wasn’t ready and I felt like it wasn’t ready but it’s ready now. It’s ready to come in. It’s got its suit on and everything and I’m very happy with the project.

You were putting out albums at a steady rate since The Offering, and some of them got criticized for the beat selection. Did you ever feel like that criticism was fair?

Nah. All criticism is good. With The Offering, people were talking about how I had them. It’s just that predicament. When you have something like The Offering, which everybody is claiming is a classic, you’re trying to get what’s next because everybody wants to know what’s next. But I went a whole different angle. It was just crazy timing. When I did Behind the Stained Glass, which was next, I felt people might not think of it as dope as The Offering or a real follow-up to The Offering, but it was something. It was a real emotional time. I had just moved out to Cali and it was my first time working with DJ Woool like that. We just knocked tracks out and what was I going to do with tracks? We put them out. Some people liked it. Some people didn’t take it as well because they were expecting The Offering but I got that. The Offering came from a deep part but I got more deep parts. It was just The Offering. Then we went back in and I gave them a free album, The Untold Stories of Walter Reed, and that was all a download for free and it’s still available. And when we did that, DJ Woool had leftover tracks that we had done and he put out The Exorcist. Those were tracks that I didn’t want to use for Untold Stories because I didn’t think they were ready but he liked them. And then there were some tracks I recorded during The Offering, which Ryan (Man Bites Dog) put out. There was a lot of stuff and it was a lot of material. At least everybody knows I haven’t been sitting back, sleeping. But I’ve been having The Psychic World of Walter Reed as my next album and I’ve been working at it for a long time and some of it slipped out but, you know, that’s what it’s for.

It was originally supposed to be a double disc, too.

Exactly. You had “Brillionaire” that leaked out there and “Listen to Me.” I shot a video for all of those joints that leaked out because I never got to shoot any videos for The Offering. I might go back and shoot “Salvation” or “Essential” because people request those. “Uprising” did real good. Somebody put that together and that did real good.

Yeah, originally that was a double album. I don’t know if I’m still going that same route but I got three or four albums that’s ready.

You’re going the independent route here too, right?

Yeah. I gave everybody a chance with my material. That’s what happened with The Offering too. When you’re doing it independently and you have a distributor, sometimes they just get caught up and they don’t look at the passion behind it. I had Nas and Immortal Technique on there and people received it well but there wasn’t enough material there for it to get in everybody’s hands. I feel sorry for cats that missed that. If you missed it, go back and get it in your hands. It’s the same with Black August. Albums that I put my heart into, people don’t understand it but I’m always on the road and with this album, if I’m not there, it’s not coming out. If I don’t have hands on it, it’s not coming out. We had to do Black August: Revisited and with The Offering, there was a lot of complaints that it wasn’t in enough stores. The material was dope but with this one, I would rather do it myself like, “Here, you’re getting this from me.”

That approach takes more time than handing the album over to a company.

Yeah, but I got good help this time. It takes more time and it takes more concentration. It’s not just releasing it. I had another mixtape with Woool that was coming out called Castle Hop that we had to put our brakes on because I can’t just drop that right now. I can’t drop that before dropping The Psychic World.

Are you liking the independence so far?

Yeah. It’s way better. It’s hands-on and you get to really feel what’s going on. You control your own destiny. You have to come up with a certain amount and you know you get to see all the paperwork and you’re controlling it, man. From there, it’s up to the ears of the people and that’s what we work so hard for – to get to the ears of the people and to make sure that you get it to as many people as you can get it to. If you don’t like it, maybe it’s not for you, but there’s blood and sweat in this.

Where does The Psychic World stand in your discography?

Some people that heard it said I might have outdone myself. I heard a lot of different things. For me, I just think it sounds like nothing out there and it sounds like nothing I’ve heard before. There’s different elements and there’s a different mood. There’s things that’s changing and it’s me talking about different subjects. The subject matter and concepts, it sounds different. It sounds different. I would have to put The Psychic World of Walter Reed right up there with the greats.

When can we expect the album?

March. March and I plan on touring and performing those songs and doing some classics, taking it back. I just did the Rock the Bells and that gave me great inspiration for performing Heavy Mental in its entirety and just doing different tours and doing different stuff. That’s what I’m doing. It’s definitely The Psychic World of Walter Reed.

Stupidity… The Movie.


Personally I love finding the meaning of things that people tend to skip over, the primary example being the meaning behind certain words.  Not too many people know that both “f*ck” and “sh*t” are acronyms for things people used to do every day, and over time developed into taboo words that you use excessively starting at the age of 10.  This documentary about “Stupidity”, tells us the history of the word “moron”, the difference between stupid, moron, smart, intelligent, genius and questions the regular practice of classifying peoples intelligence through standardized IQ tests.  Of course also our former president Bush is examined in this report.  A well educated guy who, nevertheless, acts in a completely dumb way.  If you have the time, check out the entire documentary below.

 

 

Young Versace.


Young Versace has unveiled its new advertising campaign with supermodel Cindy Crawford’s 10-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber as the face.  Modeling designs adorned with the label’s iconic Greek key motif, Gerber was shot by acclaimed fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.  According to the fashion house’s creative director Donatella Versace, Gerber proved she has inherited her famous mother’s talent when modeling the collection.  “Like her mother, Kaia has a very special gift,” she explained in a release. “The camera really, really loves her.

Jay Ant & Iamsu ft. Mike Dash E – ‘On My Mind’.


Click the pic to download.

Jay Ant and Iamsu are quickly becoming Bay Area success stories in a land where the most famous artists are pushing 50.  The Bay hasn’t had a crucial, nationwide hit since “Tell Me When To Go” from E-40 in 2006, and in my personal opinion Jay Ant, Iamsu and small handful of others should be the next group to deliver a hit that big.  Iamsu was responsible for the monster Bay Area hit “Beat The P*ssy Up”, along with a library of production credits and other successful projects, he’s getting quite a great deal of recognition.  Jay Ant is also making waves after putting out his most recent project ‘#iammostratchet’ and has a gambit of future projects in the works.  Although both Su and Jay Ant are quite capable of putting out the next banger independently, but have collaborated their efforts of a project titled “Stoopid”.  The first track that was dropped off to my inbox was ‘On My Mind’ by Jay Ant and Iamsu featuring Mike Dash E, click the pic above to download the track.

Chronicle (The Movie).


Click here to watch the trailer.

It was about 3 in the morning yesterday, when I saw the last few seconds of a trailer that intrigued me.  All I heard was “This time it WAS the black guy!” which was proceeded by kids seeming to push things around with their minds.  Although it wasn’t too far from “I Am Number 7” and even “X-Men”, it still seemd like an interesting concept.  Read the official synopsis below, and click the pic above to watch the trailer.

Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. Even as they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control because their darker sides begin to take over.

‘Megaupload’ Get Shut Down.


Video and music download website Megaupload has a just been shut down by the feds.
The federal indictment accuses Megaupload—of over $500 million in lost media revenue from hosting pirated media.  It was revealed this week that Swizz Beats could be the CEO of Megaupload. He wasn’t named in the indictment and Rich Spears, an agent for Swizz Beatz, said he wasn’t sure whether the musician is a MegaUpload executive and declined to comment further.

The indictment says that at one point, Megaupload was the 13th most popular Web site in the world.  No word on Swizz’ situation but Kim “Dotcom” Schlitz, who founded Megaupload, is currently being incarcerated, awaiting prosecution.  Seven people have been charged with online piracy crimes in an indictment unsealed in northern Virginia.  Megaupload has released the following statement: “The fact is that the vast majority of Mega’s Internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch.”

But the indictment calls the company “a worldwide criminal organization whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale.”  Investigators estimate that MegaUpload’s piracy business has earned them more than $175 million, according to the indictment.

A New Tool For The Visually Impaired.


A new dimension of sightless awareness equipment. This is the “VIA” Visually Impaired Assistant, a pair of hand-centric devices to make the day of a visually impaired person a whole lot easier. These devices use VMD Video Motion Detection technologies, 4 mini cameras, and a voice operated GPS receiver, all to act as both a walking stick and a mapping system. All the while looking rather fabulous on the hands as sensually molded pieces of jewelry (or “super heavy-duty metal equipment” if you’re too masculine for that sensual “J” word.)

These devices use 2 different vibration mechanisms to guide the user away from obstacles and toward their final bespoken destination. VIA is charged via a wirelessly functioning mat (that incidentally, I wish I had for every one of my other electronic devices.) Totally too perfect. Now watch the video that shows the devices in action and prepare yourself for a totally “awww, love” ending.

Tokyo 24 On 99.7.


Click the pic to vote, and hear 'Taste Of Love' below.

Tokyo 24 has been one of my favorite groups to work with for quite some time now.  Their unique style, a-typical beats, and non generic lyrics have always kept my interested as a listener.  Recently, their music found its way right up to the top of the ‘Bay Area Sound Check’ contest held by 99.7 Now in the Bay.  As if the musical prowess of Tokyo 24 wasn’t enough to get my vote, NhT’s own A.Mo is also featured on the track.  ‘Taste Of Love’ is fresh off the EP “Aeonian Complex” released in the last quarter of 2011.  You can hear the track above, and click the pic to cast your vote for Tokyo 24.

Why ”High-Functioning” Psychopaths Rule The World.


In general, most people are very complex and can exhibit different personality traits at different times.  But one can also say that there tends to be two distinct groupings in societies’ power structures: Those who can be characterized as “normal,” and those who view the world through a prism heavily influenced by psychopathy and sociopathy.

My take (by trying to understand the world around me) is that the great majority of people operate under the “normal” approach, when it comes to power-plays and relationships.  A very small minority could be characterized as high-functioning sociopaths and/or psychopaths.

And it’s not that the majority is “normal” as in not being afflicted by all kinds of personality, psychological, and psychiatric disorders… If you watch enough TV in the U.S., you’ll be bombarded with advertisement for all kinds of psychotropic drugs.

By “normal,” what I mean is that people tend to say and do things in accordance to their real thoughts, emotions, views, ideas, beliefs.  In other words, in a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” mode.

By contrast, the high-functioning psychopath is “characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness.”  And because of it, they tend to rule the world.  They rise to the highest levels of power in politics, and business.

If you are ambitious and choose to get involved in power-plays, the first thing you need to recognize is that you have to leave your values, emotions, ideals, and most high-minded human traits, “at the door” (as it were), if you want to have a shot to become the “top dog.”

There is an angle to everything you say and do; to every relationship you choose to “nurture.”  Like a chameleon, you adapt your message to your audience, to your environment; you are folksy with folksy folks, and you are high-brow and educated and a little snobbish when you are with the snobs.

You become so good at it, that in every circle people can’t stop pointing out what a “nice guy” you are, and how smart you are, and how you connect with people with such ease.

But to you, it’s all mechanical; a game.  There are no emotions involved at all–God forbid.

In politics, I observe how this phenomena works so perfectly, both on the left and the right.  On the right the useful idiots (the normal people) are the end-of-days religious fundamentalists, and the nativists, and the racists, and the nationalists.  All acting out of their true beliefs and emotions, and being manipulated by the sociopathic ruling class.

On the left, they are those who earnestly go about trying to respond to every absurdity coming out of the loony right-wing.  Refuting every stupid and absurd comment with facts, and studies, and statistics.  And basking in the glory of being right about the issues, about the science, about the empirical evidence.  All done in a mainly ineffective and powerless echo chamber.  But ultimately, also being manipulated by the same sociopathic ruling class.

I’ve been in sales, marketing, consulting, advertising, and technology for years.  I’ve been involved with business associations, chambers of commerce, community organization, non-profits.

I’ve seen one recurring thing in all those environments, when it comes to the naiveté of  well-meaning people who have ambition to get ahead, or get promoted, or get a raise. I’ve had this conversation many times… I ask them “So you want to be promoted?  And you think that because you are really good at what you do, and knowledgeable, and are never late to work, etc., that you should be noticed and that a promotion should be coming your way?”

They look at me perplexed, like saying “Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?”  Obviously, they are a lost cause, but I try my best to leave them with something to think about: “If you want a promotion, and a position of leadership (and more responsibility) and a raise, then you have to play the ‘power-play,’ the ‘political game.’  Everything you do has to have an angle; every conversation; every project you take on; everything you volunteer to.  Who knows about what you’re doing, about your successes, about your contribution?  How are you going to ‘protect’ the organization, and above all, how your boss, your supervisor, the owner of the company, the president of the organization, is going to personally benefit by giving you a promotion?”

I’ve had similar conversations with lots of people, and invariably, sometimes they are appalled that it should come down to those considerations.  They proudly say, “I don’t like to play those games… With me, it’s-what-you-see-is-what-you-get.”  And so it will be.  If you don’t understand the concept of how to acquire power, then you’ll never have it.

It has little to do with how right you are about anything.

Richard Mille RM 56 Felipe Massa Sapphire Watch.


The Richard Mille RM 56 Felipe Massa SAPPHIRE, with manual-wind tourbillon movement, is completely encased in sapphire crystal.  This unreal watch that bears the name of Ferrari F1 Star Felipe Massa will have a limited production of five units.  Mille says it takes 1,000 hours to machine the case — another 430 hours to grind and 350 to finally finish.

Ms. Jillian.


Once again I’m straying away from the typical video girls after coming across another beautiful “girl next door” on ‘Me In My Place’.  Jillian seems to be quite the star on the ‘MIMP’ site, amassing more fan mail than any of the other women combined.  Be it the superior lighting, or the skill of the photographer, there’s just something about Jillian’s pictures that are mesmerizing.  (Although the bio’s on these girls may be somewhat sparse…)  Props to the guys at ‘MIMP’ for finding some of the best women in NY.

Classical Musicians Finally Getting High-Tech.


Ah orchestra. Twas not long ago when I was playing in a band and one of my biggest peeves was carrying butt loads of sheet music. The EMS (E-paper Music Score) solves that mess by using E-paper technology. This single flexible screen can be unrolled and feed sheet music via bluetooth from a computer. Best part is the included foot peddle which virtually turns the pages. Clever clever.

More Digital Art From Alex Varanese.


First and foremost: no pre-existing typefaces were used anywhere in this series.  Like, down to the model numbers on the chips. It’s all either custom lettering or original fonts.  This is just another brilliant example of some work from Alex Varanese.  I already posted up some of his work a few years ago here.

6 Songs You’ve Never Heard Quite Like This.


I’m a firm believer that the word “remix” is thrown around a bit too loosely.  Any person who slaps an extra verse onto the beginning or the end of a song isn’t necessarily creating a remix.  What I personally consider a remix, is more along the lines of a total re-imagining of a song.  An entirely new beat that accents different portions of the lyrics, using parts of a track to reinforce the original message, or construct an entirely new concept is something not everyone can do.  Eminem’s ‘Stan’ is a perfect example of someone taking a song, and truly making it their own, with their own message in a way not too many other could.  That being said, I’ve heard a gambit of tracks since the winter began, but 6 in particular stand out, each in their own unique way from both their originals, and from what anyone else is putting out right now.  (NOT to toot my own horn, but) myself, Rob Scott, Duckworth of Tokyo 24, Lazer Sword, and G-Eazy have all independently produced wildly inventive re-imaginings of songs from the 40’s to 2011.  The list below consists of 6 songs that in their own way, each take a song, and turns it into a new creation, be it the beat, the lyrics, reinforcing, or warping concepts, take a listen to each one.

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Click the pic for more G-Eazy, and below to hear 'Runaround Sue'

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Click the pic for more Lazer Swords, and click below to hear 'Stuntin Like My Daddy'

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Click the pic for more... uhh... Me, and click below to hear '10 Crack Commandments'.

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Click the pic for more Hudson Mohawke, and click below to hear 'Oops, (Oh My)'

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Click the pic for more Rob Scott, and click below to hear 'If I Die Young'.

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Click the pic for more Duckworth, and click below to hear 'Swell Arival'.

Brandon Doran vs. San Francisco.


Brandon Doran is a masterfully skilled photographer who’s photo collections include my current home of San Francisco.  The flicks he’s taken come from all over the great city of SF, and are quite seductive in both color and b/w.  To see more from Doran, you can simply click here.

Lelo Tiani. Get Her Off Without Even Touching Her.


Tiani™ is a landmark creation for couples the world over; a luxurious addition to your love life that can be worn by women during intercourse or for an intimate hands-free experience. Featuring revolutionary SenseMotion™ technology with a wireless remote, a simple flick of the wrist will adjust vibration patterns at any time you choose. More than this, the waterproof silicone design and smooth flexible form brings absolute comfort to both partners – making a great experience even better, while setting a new standard for couples massagers in the world today.

LELO is the world’s leading designer brand for intimate lifestyle products. On launching in 2003, LELO transformed the look, feel and function of how personal massagers were perceived, bringing a new level of luxury to products of this kind. Applying the same commitment to quality, design and innovation across all product lines, LELO’s unique portfolio now extends through bedroom accessories, personal massagers known as Pleasure Objects, massage oils, soy massage candles and a premium line of silk intimate apparel.

LELOi AB is the Swedish company behind LELO and also holds the PicoBong™ and Intimina™ brands under the LELO group. Recording outstanding year-on-year growth since the very beginning, the company manufactures all its products in-house and currently sells in over 35 international markets, with LELO offices extending from Stockholm to San Jose, from Sydney to Shanghai.

 

The Avengers To Battle The X-Men?


As Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and more team up on the big screen in Marvel’s The Avengers next May, the comic book Marvel Universe is planning something just as epic. Announced today, April will see the beginning of a 12-issue superhero showdown that, thanks to studio rights issues, is even bigger than the silver screen can handle (especially since the current Avengers line-up includes Spider-Man as well). Check out the below press release for full details of Avengers vs X-Men:

This April, The Avengers and the X-Men—the two most popular franchises in comics history—go to war! Marvel is proud to announce AVENGERS VS X-MEN, a landmark 12-issue pop culture event bringing together the world’s greatest super heroes—Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Magneto and more—for an unforgettable battle beginning in April 2012.

AVENGERS VS X-MEN is written by a team of the top-selling authors in the comic book industry today: Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. This unprecedented assembly of acclaimed writers is joined by a trio of the industry’s superstar artists: John Romita Jr., Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert. The Avengers and X-Men have learned that the all-powerful embodiment of both death and rebirth known as the Phoenix Force is on a crash course for Earth…and it needs a new host to unleash its immeasurable power. But what is the shocking decision tied to the Phoenix’s return that will pit the Avengers against the X-Men? And when good friends become bitter enemies, what does this mean for the future of the Marvel Universe?

Shipping twice monthly, this epic 12-issue limited series will be available in comic stores and on the Marvel Comics app on the same day—additionally, each print issue of AVENGERS VS X-MEN includes a code for a free digital copy of the issue on the Marvel Comics app at no additional cost to fans or retailers.

“AVENGERS VS X-MEN brings together the most powerful forces in comics for a super hero war like you’ve never seen before and will never see again. We all want to see the best of the best go against each other—Lakers & Celtics; Ali & Frazier; Yankees & Red Sox; and in comics it’s the Avengers fighting the X-Men, ” said Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief, Marvel Entertainment. “We’ve brought together the biggest writers, biggest artists and biggest characters for the biggest story we’ve ever told. This is the kind of high-octane action-packed story that fans demand while also having a profound effect on every character involved—and reshaping the Marvel Universe in its wake.”

Plus, for the first time ever, fans can watch and take part in the groundbreaking AVENGERS VS X-MEN Live Kickoff beginning at 3:00pm ET, Wednesday, December 7, on Marvel.com and http://new.livestream.com/marveluniverse. A unique event produced in collaboration with Livestream.com’s cutting edge streaming services and the Hangout functionality provided by Google+, we’re bringing the writers and editors of AvX directly to the fans. Make sure to follow Marvel on Google+ as five lucky fans will be chosen to join in on the AvX hangout with their favorite writers and editors! Even if you’re not part of the Hangout, your questions can still be answered via Facebook and Twitter. using hashtag #AvX—just make sure to send in your questions before the event ends!

The New Hermès Arceau Marqueterie de Paille Watch.


Hermès honors the ancient art of straw marquetry, a form of expertise that has become extremely rare, with these two beautifully dialed watches.  Marquetry (also spelled as marqueterie) is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures.  Presented for the first time on a watch dial, the Hermès Arceau Marqueterie de Paille watches reflect a highly complex miniaturisation of the marquetry technique.  The blue and black motifs depict two iconic Hermès tie patterns featuring chevrons and tiny squares.  The rye straw used in these models is produced by only one farm in France.  These two collector’s models are presented together in a precious Makassar ebony presentation box, itself adorned with straw marquetry.

Mike Posner & Blackbear – Stay Schemin’ Remix.


The Metro Detroit pop star Mike Posner and his California comrade Blackbear decided recently to add their own flare to the only notable diss song in the past few years, Rick Ross and Drake’s “Stay Schemin.”  Considering this combination from these two crooning Caucasians seems somewhat odd on paper, presumably a few of you will hesitate and opt for French’s original, flat chorus. But, you’d be hard-pressed to hear such rich lyrical content being replicated so flawlessly, as these makers of “Marauder Music” completely knock this out the park and give the irrevocable gangster love some depth beyond just the Kobe call and ginger ale tales.

Common’s Interview Discussing His Fued With Drake.


In the Rap game, there will always be beefs and feuds.  But a very puzzling one came blairing onto the radio and the web about a month ago.  Common and Drake seem to be in full swing on a beef that no one expected.  After some shots directly to Drizzy, Common sat down with Hip Hop Nation to discuss how everything got started.  Listen to the interview below.

Even one of my favorite rappers Grafh said it the best, “I like Common, I like Drake… (wait) I like veggie-patties, and I like steak.  Both them n*ggas different, I don’t wanna see ’em riffin, I’mma fan, I just wanna see ’em spittin.  I just wanna see black people eatin’, I just wanna see the dishes.”  And I totally agree.  I don’t understand why they can’t both just get along?

Maserati Unveils Its First Ever Luxury SUV Kubang.


Maserati revealed its first-ever sport utility Tuesday that targets the lucrative luxury crossover market with Italian styling and part but constructed in Detroit.  The Kubang fills a hole in Maserati’s product line nine years after the company first showed a sport luxury SUV concept car at the 2003 Detroit auto show.  “The Kubang concept creates discontinuity by entering a new segment and continuity by maintaining the integrity of Maserati’s DNA,” the company said.  Maserati, part of the Fiat group that owns the number three US automaker Chrysler, will make the new car alongside Chrysler’s Jeep Cherokee at its Detroit plant.  But Wester insisted that it would be a fully Maserati-designed and equipped car with a Maserati engine built by Ferrari.

Spain’s ‘Youth Factory’.


Youth Factory, Factoría Joven, in Mérida, Spain, is an example of what can be done if a regional government works with the community and local designers to meet the needs of youth that may otherwise be heading down the slippery path of street life.  The structure may not be a permanent monument to architecture, but it is definitely a better place than the back streets of Spanish cities. I’m all for any attempt at all to provide children and youth a place to be kids, to be creative and just have some fun.  Factoría Joven was designed by Madrid-based Selgascano Architects, a partnership between husband and wife, José Selgas and Lucía Cano.

Using recycled furniture, inexpensive building materials and temporary solutions, the designers were definitely not looking to build a monument to architecture; they were much more interested in affordable ordinariness and practical possibilities.  Factoría Joven helps attract the restless, unemployed street youth off the streets and provides them with a place to skateboard, hip-hop dance, climb rocks, create graffiti — whatever they would otherwise do in much more sinister surroundings. There are also a computer lab and a dance studio, both 800-square-meters in size. Meeting rooms and spaces for theatre, video and music are all included.  This is one of several such “youth factories” in the area; recreational centers and places that are inclusive, open and safe.

Hip Hop Portraits By Mark563.


Illustrated portfolios always seem to have some sort of mysticism about them that photo’s don’t always capture.  There’s just something special about someone taking their time to make sure every stroke of the pencil was correct, that every shade was correct, and every subtle nuance of a figure represented them correctly.  The illustrator known as “Mark563” has done all this and then some.  Using some of the strongest names in Hip Hop as his subjects, he proves that both his illustration skills, and his knowledge of the legends of the genre are both impeccable.

The World’s Most Expensive Business Card.


Black Astrum today launch the Signature Card range of bespoke diamond encrusted business cards, targeting ultra high net worth individuals across the world.  A full set of cards can contain in excess of 30 carats. The average selling price per card is around the £1000 mark, sold in sets of 25, 50 and 100 cards.  “The Signature Card allows our members to express themselves in a truly unique way” said Sufian Khawaja, Black Astrum’s concept director.  Using precision cast Swiss made materials and diamonds of the highest quality, the Signature Card is designed to make an immediate statement.  Originally produced as a one-off commission for a wealthy Middle Eastern family, the card elegantly encapsulates the pre-eminence of the individual.

New York’s Inverted Warehouse Townhouse.


Much architectural jargon has been lavished on this Tribeca warehouse loft renovation but I just like the look of the cool, dynamic, elongated space.  This is not exactly a cozy home but its brutalist strength fits an old Manhattan warehouse well.  The Inverted Warehouse Townhouse has received numerous U.S. awards. It is the creation of Dean-Wolf Architects of New York, where architect Charles Wolf and designer Eunjeong Seong were in charge of the project.  I like the visible stairs that create a sense of lift and movement upward. We like the large surfaces of brick, steel and glass. I’m a fan of the visibility between floors and from space to space that solves the potential problem of dark boxy rooms inside a windowless warehouse.

It is an impressive conversion of a loft (of 10,500 square feet) within a vast warehouse that covers the entire lot, leaving no room for outside space, garden or patio.  The main achievements of Dean-Wolf’s work are cutting the roof open to let the natural light in and then using glass panels to let it shine into the dark centre of the expansive structure.  By doing this, they also created “outdoor” space inside, making the residence feel like it has a courtyard. They also created a large garden deck off the main living room.  To open up the key areas of the residence to this natural light, the main entry, via an elevator, is now on the fifth floor where public spaces and the bedrooms, playrooms and study are located. In a more typical townhouse, this “parlor” floor would be accessed through the front steps of the building.