Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

Clef Notes: The Seventh!?! Edition

Every Friday, or at least until his spectacular rock star flameout, Giovanny will be dropping a week’s worth of music knowledge on you with Clef Notes, proof positive that he’s a one man music magazine


If you look real close, you can see his heartache.

I Imagine He Lives Within A Monument To Himself: Most normal, God-fearing, people who follow the circadian rhythms of the Zeitgeist assumed Awards season ended a couple of weeks ago, when a bearded Ben Affleck held his Best Picture Oscar for Argo triumphantly on the stage of Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre. When the guy who used to sleep on Kevin Smith’s couch stuck it to the Academy (by winning the industry’s most coveted award while they failed to recognize his integral contributions to that same film) all of us assumed the pop culture scores and arguments of 2012 had been settled. Finally we were all free to move on to the spoil and splendors of 2013’s artistic bounty. Or at least we thought we could... but until yesterday MTV had not yet decided who the 10 Hottest MCs in the game are and, let’s face it, none of us can truly rest easy until those rankings are final.

According to MTV’s illustrious panel of judges (I’m assuming Sway is involved), the Hottest Rapper in the game is none other than Compton’s own Kendrick Lamar. Those of you who follow my digital music ramblings are well aware that I believe Lamar is one of the brightest shining stars in all modern music. In fact, we here at Culture Blues proclaimed his debut album, good kid M.A.A.d City, to be one of the best records of 2012. Lamar’s greatness isn’t just recognized by your favorite tastemakers here at CB; just about every “in touch” media outlet lauded the 25 year old and his record for its exemplary music. Thus his choice as MTV’s top emcee should have sat well with everyone, right?

Enter Kanye West or, as MTV prefers to think of him, the world’s seventh Hottest MC.

I can only imagine how West reacted when he discovered his place on this year’s list. I can also write up what I imagined, so I shall. Please sit back, relax, and enjoy the latest installment of my favorite past-time... fantasizing about Kanye West.


Before the heartache.

The sun rises above earth’s tallest and most opulent structure. As its rays reach the peak of the structure they are reflected via cunning architectural design into a room in the shape of a cartoon heart. In the center of this room is a bed- also in the shape of a cartoon heart- and nestled within sheets of gossamer and love rests Sir Kanye Omari West, along with his expecting squire-bearer, the Lady Kimberly Kardashian.

Sir Kanye is roused from his dream-crafting as the sun’s rays make the room glow a vibrant gold. His lips curl gently in a smile as he once again blesses this world with the gift of his life. He stretches, conducts his ablutions with enviable panache, and begins to replenish himself on his customary breakfast of platinum albums which once belonged to bankrupt emcees. It is here, at his dragon-bone breakfast table, while scrying his unreleased iPad Kanye, where our hero-genius’ temper is flared most spectacularly.

“It appears the foolish imbeciles at Music Television have insulted my honor! “ Sir West declares aloud, allowing his robot servants to hear his displeasure.

“Why your Majestic Holiness, what do you mean?” His most loyal automaton inquires in a voice comprised of auto-tune.

West’s fingers tighten on the diamond casing of his custom future iPad before he tosses it across the room, turning toward his once-curious, now-cowering, robot.

“Well they appear to have compiled their annual audit of the Hottest MC’s who inhabit this plane and, for reasons which I fail to comprehend... they have proclaimed that I am... s-, s-, se-, sev-, seventh!”

“Surely this is some type of data misinterpretation, or perhaps human oversight, my Lord. Perhaps I should send for the Emissaries of Trend!” the robot pleads, desperately seeking his own self-destruct button while edging out of the room.

“To Poor People’s Hades with the Emissaries, HAN!!! I am through indulging their whims! I have danced to their conniving tune more than enough throughout the years. This is a slight beyond reproach, HAN!!!!” West screams, punctuating every fourth word by destroying priceless works of art (which are of course on reserve for this very function).

“Well, whatever shall you do, Master?”

Sir West stops to reflect upon the delicate babblings of his angel-tear fountain, a gift for his last Existence Ceremony from the exalted Lady Elton John. Crestfallen, he whispers to the ground “Perhaps I should just give it up. Perhaps I should deprive the world of my incredibleness. Maybe I should just focus on raising my child, on ensuring they will never be SEVENTH at anything!”

The robot, suddenly relieved, gently places a clawed hand on Kanye’s shoulder. “Truly, Your Majestic Holiness, that sounds like an admirable pursuit indeed. Is that truly what you wish?”

Sir West smiles to himself before answering. There is a moment of absolute silence before laughter begins to well up inside of him. It grows louder and wilder with every second, before he reaches out his gauntlet encased hand, and snatches the robot’s mechanical heart from its chest.

Far too heavenly.

“Of course that’s not what I want, HAN!. Kanye is only gonna come harder than eva before; he’s goan be more focused, more outlandish, more amazing...more Kanye! I’ma make it so they ain’t never goan have to make this list again! Kanye goan show dem all HAN! HAN!! HAN!!!”

At this point the Lady Kimberly was shocked into consciousness by her lover’s outburst. Frightened, she clutched the iridescent sheets to her ample, nude body, in a manner far too heavenly for this humble narrator to adequately describe.

“My Lord and love, you’ve startled me quite profoundly”.

Grinning one final time, Sir West composes himself before attempting to soothe his Lady. “Nothing, my dear. I simply must head into the studio post haste... but before that I’ve got to call my acolytes over at Hot.97”


And so our hero called Hot.97 and, during a conversation which began as an attempt to promote the rapping efforts of his brother-in-arms, Big Sean, he instead let us know how mad he is at being Seventh... and that he, Kanye West, gave Sway his first TV. Listen to his call here, but be forewarned, it's nowhere near as entertaining, or well told, as the tale you just read.


Wondrous Bughouse- Youth Lagoon

Wondrous Bughouse is a broader, denser, and more adventurous record than its predecessor, and is without question among the best releases to have dropped so far this year.... [Full Review]

16th Notes:

In case you were wondering... he's still angry.

The manslaughter trial of Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe reconvened this week in Prague, and within a matter of days acquitted the frontman of all charges. This is extremely good news for Blythe, and I sincerely hope he can spend some stress-free time at home now.. The Hold Steady have reportedly recorded a song written by George R. R. Martin for the sorely-missed HBO TV series Game Of Thrones. The song is called The Bear And The Maiden Fair, and there’s no word as to which episode the track will air during, so until then, you will have to settle for this... MGMT has unveiled some tour dates for this upcoming spring. Tour dates are nice and all, but I think it’s high-time MGMT released the follow-up to Congratulations... In other tour news, Big Boi has announced some American dates with Killer Mike, which will run all the way through the summer. The dates are not all exclusively American, as Big Boi will be taking his talents to Toronto’s NXNE this year, making me look forward to going to Canada even more than usual... Chicago’s Smith Westerns are all set to drop their sophomore effort, Soft Will, next week. It was just the other day when I was listening to Dye It Blonde, and hoping these kids would drop some new music soon. I had no idea I possessed such power over the Universe... Trent Reznor engaged in a Reddit AMA this week, and in doing so gave the world what is possible the greatest AMA answer of all time. When a “fan” dropped this query on Reznor: "As millionaires, why did you sign up with a record label to promote your new album?”, the brooding sound-wizard answered "Sorry, the wifi on our yacht is having issues, we can't get your full question to load. Try sending me an email at gofuckyourself@youcunt.com" Well played, Mr. Reznor, well played...

Top Ten List:

There are a multitude of ways one can embellish and articulate a note played on the Western instrument known as the “guitar”. One of the primary techniques used to provide dramatic tension and release by a player happens to be the art of string-bending, which, like most things in life, is more difficult than it seems. Fretting a note cleanly requires a proper application of force, as the guitarist’s hand must press a string down to the wooden fretboard at a precise point for proper intonation. Pushing said fretted string so that its pitch alters smoothly and accurately, without sounding like a cat dying in an alley, is a talent sought by all who pick up a six-string, though it is truly mastered by few. David Gilmour is the greatest string bender to have ever lived on this planet.

As the second guitarist of Pink Floyd (Gilmour replaced founding member and primary guitarist Syd Barrett after drug abuse caused him to lose his mind, and inspire every Roger Waters song ever- but you should have already known that), David Gilmour wrote some of the most memorable songs of rock’s classic age, and composed some of the GREATEST GUITAR SOLOS OF ALL-TIME. It’s in no way hyperbolic to consider Gilmour one of top ten guitarists ever, and the the man turned 67 years old this week. Below is a list of the top ten David Gilmour-composed Pink Floyd songs of all-time.

*Before you go any further, it should be noted that the legendary acrimony surrounding Pink Floyd has created much confusion when it comes to who wrote what parts of what songs. I tried to research the following list as best I could, but the truth is we will never truly know the exact origins of some of the band’s work.*

10) Learning To Fly
9) Dogs
8) The Show Must Go On
7) A Saucerful Of Secrets
6) Echoes
5) Hey You
4) Time
3) Wish You Were Here
2) Comfortably Numb
1) Shine On You Crazy Diamonds

Clip Of The Week:

Because the man makes sure to stay in the news on a weekly basis, I’m sure you’ve all heard about Dave Grohl’s Sound City documentary, and his ensemble of Sound City Players. So far the film has had numerous premieres, released a much ballyhooed soundtrack, and Grohl himself has conducted enough interviews to have them collected in a three volume set.

Needless to say I, like you, happen to be pretty burnt out on the whole “Sound City” thing, though I admit the project was created for an honorable purpose.

That said, today’s Clip Of The Week actually originates from Sound City’s soundtrack (Real to Reel) recording sessions. I’m highlighting this particular clip because it showcases Grohl, Trent Reznor, and Josh Homme making music in real-time; that my friends is too worthwhile to pass up. Below is an eight minute video which features Grohl behind a drum kit, Homme fingering a bass, and Reznor tickling some synth-ivories as they all lay down the instrumentation for Mantra, one of the songs of Real To Reel. The intensity in the room is completely palpable in this clip, and the focus these three men employ feels like it can cut through a diamond like a laser (can lasers cut diamonds?). Go ahead and watch it for yourself, while dreaming of jamming with these three legends (I guess Homme can be considered a legend by this point).

Track Of The Week:

The man loves his owls.

5AM In Toronto - Drake: Would it surprise you if I told I had several google email alerts setup for my boyfriend Drake? Some of the keywords and phrases I constantly monitor the internet for are: Drake, new, YOLO, dreams, music, leak, topless, beef, collaboration, New York, and of course, sexy. Thus, once Drizzy’s latest track, 5AM in Toronto (a circumstance with which I’m intimately familiar), hit the internets, my phone blew up, just like Guy Fawkes hoped Parliament would (too soon?).

Okay, none of that is true.

What is true, however, is Drake did release a new track this week, and not only is it highly enjoyable, it has also received the incalculable honor of becoming a Clef Notes Track Of The Week. I hope Drake is as pleased by his latest commendation as I am by his release of new music.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.