THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BAND-A Degradation Theory

"...my music is perfect, you could go back to Beethoven and s***, but as far as this lifetime, though, this is all you got." -Kanye West Since the Second Industrial Age began in the late 19th century, human civilization has been continuously shaped and reshaped by notable advancements in technology. With every relevant invention or improved method of production, merchants scurried for the latest competitive edge while their customers rushed the market in search of Read more

ROOM TO BREATHE (Chase The Sample Super-Mix)

Wooooooooo, this is fun!  When it comes to music, I love taking a concept as far as it can go, so the 'Room To Breathe (Chase the Sample Super-Mix)' is a perfect example of my arguably unhealthy obsession with developing a good theme to its full conclusion.  In the past, it was 'Meatshake' or 'Einstein Buys a Monkey' but in 2016, I came up with the idea of singling out an element from my Read more

ROOM TO BREATHE-The Free LP

I am very pleased to announce that Unique Records will be releasing my first ever solo album 'ROOM TO BREATHE-The Free LP'.  This record contains ten, high-velocity, Hip-Hop tracks for listeners who enjoy intricate, action-packed rhyming skill showcased over fresh loops and funky drums.  Lyrically, I pushed myself as far as I could go with regard to style, pace and feel and the result, in my untrustworthy opinion, is a seriously cool collection of Read more

“BLOWIN’ UP LIKE YOU THOUGHT I WOULD”: Hip-Hop and Jihad

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, RAP RELATED | Leave a comment
JIHAD CARTOON

My attempt at political cartooning after the Charlie Hebdo massacre

Since the stunning events of September 11, 2001, there has been a passionate and ongoing, political debate with regard to radical Islam and terrorism.  Despite Western attempts to combat and subdue the efforts of Islamic terror factions, these groups appear to be growing stronger and more resolute in their ambitions.  As the battle lines in this war are being drawn and redrawn, observers in Europe and America have been surprised by the large number of Western youths who’ve decided to abandon their home countries to fight on the side of groups like ‘The Taliban’, ‘Hamas’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘Hezbollah’ and, moving up the charts on their way to number one, ‘ISIS’.  Interestingly, many of these highly motivated mujahedeen have emerged from Hip-Hop-influenced backgrounds and some were actually pursuing careers in Rap Music.  After the attacks on the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ offices in Paris, I learned that one of the suspected gunmen (Cherif Kouachi) was once an aspiring Hip-Hop vocalist until he, at some point, quit rapping to begin his war on cartoons.  With this in mind, I’d like to shine the spotlight on a handful of young men who have put down their microphones and picked up balaclavas; I’m calling them ‘THE FURIOUS FIVE’…

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A CRITIQUE OF THE CRITICAL

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, CLASSIC POP, THE UGLY (DUCKLING) TRUTH | 2 Comments
Michael_Jackson_-_Thriller

I shudder to think what’s on his mind

I once saw a horribly negative album review of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ by a music writer with a forgettable name.  I can still recall that the reviewer was incredibly disappointed by what he felt was a lack of innovation and imagination from an artist with such great potential.  I remember the words “Predictable” and “Cliched” being thrown about and an expressed hope that Michael Jackson would return to the style of his previous LP ‘Off the Wall’.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dig out this particular article anywhere on the internet (I’m almost certain its author did a hi-tech, CIA-style wipe to remove all traces of his shocking misjudgment of the world’s biggest selling record) but during my search, I found some other doozies that got me thinking about the role of critics… Read more

DO WE WRITE OUR OWN SCRIPT? A Legends Self-fulfilling Prophecies of Doom

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, CLASSIC POP | 2 Comments
I can't see a thing

I can’t see a thing

Not long ago, I read ‘Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives’, a collection of teachings from a deceased, Serbian Orthodox monk called Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica.  One of the philosophical concepts Elder Thaddeus put forward was his belief that the very way we think about ourselves, the people we know and the circumstances we face generally directs the outcomes of these relationships and situations. Elder Thaddeus communicated that “Our (lives) depend on the kinds of thoughts we nurture.  If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like”.  If I correctly understand his concept, negative thinking is, somehow, picked up by others even when we try our best to suppress it and, thus, sabotages any opportunity for a good result so, from his point of view, positive mental attitudes are an essential part of healthy and successful living. This brings me to my subject…

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TOP FIVE RAP PERFORMANCES BY NON-RAPPING WHITE PEOPLE

Posted on by andycooper in RAP RELATED | Leave a comment

Recently, I’ve read more than a few opinions about the legitimacy and integrity of White, Hip-Hop artists like Iggy Azalea and Macklemore.  In all honesty, I find the subject tiresome and ridiculous; its music, either you make good songs or you don’t.  What I do find interesting is non-rapping White artists who, for whatever reason, stumbled into a pseudo-rap verse and made history.  Why do I find this interesting? I’m not sure… Read more

THE ELVIS FILES (#006): Suspicious minds think alike

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Tricky Dick' and 'Mister Hips'

Tricky Dick’ and ‘Mister Hips’

The year was 1970.  Vietnam War protesters paraded through the streets with tie-dyed clothing, unwashed hair and scraggly beards.  College students gathered on campus lawns to shout rebellious slogans, play acoustic guitars and overuse the word “Man”.  Policemen were the bad guys, bad guys were the heroes and, all of a sudden, women had opinions; Elvis decided he needed to save AmericaRead more

THE ELVIS FILES (#005): Badges

Posted on by andycooper in THE E FILES | Leave a comment

Elvis Presley began his career as a handsome, Mississippi boy singing ‘Rockabilly’ and ‘Rhythm andElvis_Badge2cx Blues’ but, at some point, he became the biggest star in the world.  His mere photograph provoked emotional reactions from millions of fans and his actual presence set off chaotic frenzies.  With that in mind, it is, in my opinion, understandable that an individual who had such a powerful impact on the public would come to think that he or she was quite “Special” but Elvis Presley, as with most things, took egomania to a whole ‘nother level, mama.  In fact, Elvis actually became convinced that he was a high-powered, black belt (see file #002), government super-agent who was assigned to fight crime and save America; that’s not an exaggeration… 

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THE ELVIS FILES (#004): You ain’t no friend of mine

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JohnLennon-Beatles-Elvis

Me against England

When ‘Beatlemania’ erupted in 1964, Elvis Presley was, outwardly, supportive of ‘The Fab Four’.  Presley sent the newly famous lads a congratulatory telegram which was read aloud by Ed Sullivan during the Beatles famous appearance on Sullivan’s weekly show and, a few years later, Presley invited John, Paul, George and Ringo to visit him in his Los Angeles home.  During this historic hang-out, Elvis became annoyed with his guests when, at some point during the afternoon, John Lennon made negative remarks about Presley’s pro-Lyndon Johnson table-lamps.  Lennon was emphatically opposed to LBJ’s Vietnam war policy and Elvis, an ex-serviceman and relatively patriotic American, thought Lennon, a foreigner, was wrong in criticizing the President of the United States…  Read more

THE ELVIS FILES (#003): A little more action

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elvis rifle

Elvis needed to defend himself from all the ladies constantly surrounding him

Elvis Presley was a singer, a celebrity and a certified gun nut.  When he died at Graceland in 1977, authorities discovered 37 handguns, one machine gun and an unspecified number of shotguns on the property.  In addition to his own stash Presley outfitted most of his seedy friends (‘The Memphis Mafia’) with personalized .22mm’s and gave President Richard Nixon an engraved, colt 45 as a gift.  Elvis enjoyed busting off a couple shots now and again like the time he famously shot a television set when it had the nerve to broadcast a performance by Robert Goulet which we can all agree is somewhat understandable… Read more

THE ELVIS FILES (#002): Kung Fu, Kung Fu very much

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elvis karate

The emperor’s new clothes

Elvis Presley was introduced to martial arts in the late 1950’s during his 2-year Army stint but, years later, he began taking a real interest in Karate.  While ‘The King’ was an enthusiastic student, he never had the discipline or dedication to officially move up the ranks but, because he was Elvis Presley, no one, not even a sensei, dared to seriously scrutinize his skill and, before long, Elvis became convinced that he was an authentic, black-belt Karate master.  So enthusiastic was Presley about his ability, He even began to incorporate, somewhat comically, kicks and chops into his live performances.  But his greatest Karate exhibition came after a show…

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THE ELVIS FILES (#001): Monkey Chauffeur

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elvis and scatter

Elvis and his designated driver Scatter

Long before Michael Jackson posed for pictures with ‘Bubbles’, Elvis Presley shared his life with a wily chimpanzee named ‘Scatter’.  ‘The King’ deeply loved the antics of his monkey and constantly employed him for practical joking, often releasing him into a room full of gorgeous and well-groomed young ladies for the simple enjoyment of watching them try not to panic.  But the gag that took the banana is when Presley customized one of his limousines so that it could be driven from the backseat, outfitted Scatter in a limo driver’s suit and cap and placed the chimp at the wheel while Elvis and the ‘Memphis Mafia’ (his sordid group of sycophantic “friends”) sat in the rear behind tinted glass.  The boys drove around for hours at a time, laughing in hysterics at local motorists who stared in shocked disbelief at the sight of a monkey chauffeur.

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