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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Knobody
Tha Clean Up
Hiero Imperium

Rating: 7/10 ?


October 19, 2007
Knobody is no better off at trying to save rap than nobody. An upstart on a vet indie imprint well past their moment in the sun (or at least until Del drops a new album), he might as well be Shiner Massive (look 'em up) trying to jumpstart Slash Records from a coma. And his name benefactor, Casual, hasn't been a power in the game since well before Koch ate other indies. Remember Souls of Mischief? '93 til Infinity? Yeah, he rolls with them.


So when this respectable out-of-the-game elder compares his new protégé to none other than Slim Shady, 'Oh, no you didn't' comes to mind. Otherwise Knobody would be (non-Shiner) massive. And yet there is hope. Not that rap needs saving, FYI. But when potentially formidable bomb factories like Lupe Fiasco (to shoot a bit lower) get lumped in with the Little Brother/Talib Kweli crowd when there's so much more thought to "thoughtful" rhyming, it's nice to give the man a little brother. And Tha Clean Up is the best thing Hieroglyphics have dropped in years, so why not call it their shot at Fiascoesque semifame?

There are beats, for one. The shrill cut-up strings of "Supa" is an attention-getting bed for Knobody's flow, a sticky Rubik's cube like Cam'ron that spouts off lines ending in "arguably"/"artistry"/"artery" but hustles minor like a bright disciple of Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star rather than Scarface. "I'm On It" mixes up rock guitars, Neptunes-style drum clicks and squeaky synths, but name-checks hyphy, a scene the music doesn't evoke at all, and none of the modifiers I just ran off are applicable to the old Hieroglyphics production model either, for that matter.

It turns out to be prescient, though, as the second half eschews the Fiasco/strings model for the synth-driven thump of actual hyphy. But Knobody talks about "intelligence" and "self-discipline," which don't go hand in hand with the weed-slugging, car-bouncing glint of the Yay Area scene at all. "Instead of traumatize, I'd rather teach the children/ But I don't got the knowledge myself," answers "Menace," titled as such because presumably Knobody knows he's a pain in the ass of hiphop's class-conscious machinations, where even the lone superstar of backpackers Kanye West started citing clothing labels as inspiration once he hit it big.

So the lyrics are delusional in the way you want good rappers to be, convinced of their success to the very last recoupable. "If it ain't my time to shine, you watchin' the wrong clock," says the man who won't settle for a flash in the pan. That's what we hope.

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss

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