What’s good, Bay Area family? You’re probably already up on this, but coming up on Monday, September 1st is the region’s annual Hiero Day, featuring an outstanding lineup of hip-hop including (but not limited to) Seattle’s own Sol and The Bar (well, half of The Bar, anyway). Best of all, it’s FREE! #KeepHieroDayFree
Beatrock Music; 2014
Score (Potholes In My Blog scale): 4 / 5
Prometheus Brown and Bambu are brothers musically, socially and ethnically. Their Barkada is party music with a revolutionary spirit. Check out my review for Potholes In My Blog.
The set-up for this video is not exciting but it don’t need to be because the rapping is fairly bananas. The Bar — and La and Kixxie Siete – are for the children.
Barkada is the answer to the question: “Can Prometheus Brown and Bambu just make an album of slick-ass fuckin’ raps over slappin’ beats?” The title track makes it so. Produced by 206 fixture Bean One and directed by Harry Clean of Detooz Films.
The closest thing Filipino rap has to conjoined twins, Prometheus Brown and Bambu present their latest work as The Bar. Barkada is the duo’s sophomore release on Beatrock Music. Full confession: I haven’t listened to it yet but I can tell by osmosis that it’s at least as good as their entertaining run of promo videos on Instagram. More words about Barkada to come.
The Bar’s new record, auspiciously titled Barkada, is set to drop tomorrow on Beatrock Music. Here’s a little preview then: the video for the duo’s “Coming (To America)”, directed by the always reliable DJ Nphared; the track was produced by The Physics’ in-house beatmaker Justo.
Also, the reference point:
The Bar’s Prometheus Brown and Bambu are featured on Power Struggle’s latest drop, “A Round For My Friends”. Nomi (frontman MC for PS) links fundamentally/organizationally with his Beatrock Music brethren. “Fight music ’til there’s nothing left to fight about,” raps Pro Brown. This is fist up, marching music.
As I sit in front of my WordPress stats page, bewildered at the rapid increase in blog hits as a result of Spekulation’s now gone-viral remix of Marshawn Lynch’s charmingly glib Q&A session with Deion Sanders, two thoughts enter my mind: 1) Why the fuck didn’t I think of that? And 2) What, pray tell, is actually the perfect recipe for a meme to go viral? (It then dawns on me that if I truly knew the answer to #2, I wouldn’t be asking myself #1. So it goes…)
Going viral on the internet is as unpredictable as forecasting the weather. It’s something akin to opening a massive restaurant with a menu containing millions of items, and for some reason the grilled cheese with anchovies sandwich ends up being the most popular one. As the proprietor of said restaurant, all you really know is your customers are coming hungry, but for what exactly is unclear.
Sometimes the viral-ized captures the zeitgeist — like Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” or Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. Other times, it fulfills some sort of emotional need: The internet is so full of horrible news and horrible people commenting on said horrible news, it’s no wonder a tumbling sequence of adorable cat pictures with misspelled captions steals the productivity away from millions. And, yet other times still, going viral is simply a case of the blind squirrel finding the proverbial you-know-what.
My take on Spekulation’s “Bout That Action (Beast Mode Remix)” has nothing to do with dumb luck and everything to do with the Restaurant Corollary (terminology mine) I described above: There is a large community of Seattle sports fans that have no grand tradition(s) to fall back on in the lead-up to this weekend’s Super Bowl*. We — and I’m definitely including myself here — have rushed full-speed, head-on into a pre-Super Bowl state of celebration and agonizing anticipation, clinging only to our bankrupt estimations of what might — what could — possibly come to be. The emotions of a post-Super Bowl XLVIII universe where our favored team is inexplicably crowned the victor, is as unknowable and alien as life is on Mars.
“Bout That Action” is simply our gravity. It is the drum beat keeping regular time for our racing hearts. Hearts that threaten to destroy us by pumping lethal doses of anxiety into our already alcohol- and caffeine-saturated blood streams. Rapper Prometheus Brown seems to understand this. He cut a version of Spekulation’s track called “This Ain’t A Seahawks Anthem”, complete with precise, fastidious raps, and then followed up the song with these tweets:
Glad yall fux w the non anthem. Shout @spekulation for posting the rapper friendly version. This Super Bowl needs to just happen already b
— Prometheus Brown (@prometheusbrown) January 31, 2014
— Prometheus Brown (@prometheusbrown) January 31, 2014
The confluence of professional sports and hip hop in Seattle isn’t new, but the grand tradition of excellence has been fleeting. Until now, it’s existed just this side of a theory (1978-79 Sonics and present-day Macklemore notwithstanding). We are currently in a state of existential angst over these Seahawks. We are hungering at the door of an establishment we don’t truly know the inside of. There is a menu of items at our disposal, yes, but all we can really tell you is that we’re “bout that action”. That is, until the barriers guarding virtue fall on Sunday, and the mysteries of sports deliverance are solved in front of our very eyes.
*Yes, I realize the Seahawks have already played in a Super Bowl, but I contend this year feels different. Seattle fans have been able to stake a claim to having the best team in the NFL all season. The 2013 version of the Seahawks is an intense microcosm of what we’ve desired since the ’80s. It’s a little bit like the 2001 Mariners when they were the best… Until they weren’t.
The Super Bowl story that’s not really a story: Marshawn Lynch and his (now trademarked) understated press conference appearances. Somewhere in here lives a thought piece on Marshawn’s brilliant upending of our country’s expectations of how Black athletes should present themselves to the public — the counterpoint to Richard Sherman’s outspoken cries of excellence. Why in God’s name aren’t we wringing our hands over this?!
Town rapper and producer Spekulation gives us the soundtrack for our rumination: “Bout That Action (Beast Mode Remix)” subverts our complex reactions to Marshawn’s curious behavior by employing a singular telling statement made by the man himself. The simple repetition of his sampled words, “Bout that action, boss”, are matched by the equally rudimentary drum pattern of the song, thereby distilling Lynch’s message to its fundamental constituent elements: He is, simply, ’bout that action, boss. And we should be, too. God bless everyone. And God bless the United States of Super Bowl America.
Update, 1.30.14, 4:45pm PST:
And the inevitable remix to the remix: “This Ain’t A Seahawks Anthem”, featuring Prometheus Brown rapping from what sounds like a busy sports bar lobby or the non-business end of his cell phone.
Ah, Manny Pacquiao… To carry the weight of an entire embattled nation upon your shoulders is a burden I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. On the new track, “Manny”, The Bar (who is Prometheus Brown + Bambu) lament last year’s KO at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, but are now likely celebrating last night’s victory over Brandon Rios. (I smell a follow-up track.) The Bar’s Barkada is out soon.