lizsuburbia asked: Happy early birthday Darryl! I'm glad you were born :-D My question: what makes you laugh every time? Comic, joke, ironic occurrence, whatevs.
It’s pretty funny when rappers tell each other off. I especially find it hilarious when a rapper implies that somebody is lying about something. They’re always so smug and condescending about it.
In comics, humor is kind of different. Kind of difficult. I can’t predict what’ll work. Tonal shifts, usually. Such as your ads in your comic. They’re really abrupt ideas that just jar me and make me laugh!
11:55 pm |
November 24 2013
| 2 notes
Anonymous asked: What is more important to you: Story or craft?
I assume you mean “visual craft of the drawings” or something to that effect. I just read Towerkind by Katherine Verhoeven and I’m positive in my assertion that in a Truly Gold comic, the two are inseparable. See also Operation: Margarine by Katie Skelly.
Most of the time, you’re focusing on good drawings in a comic or focusing on good writing or focusing on compelling characters. Most of the time, you focus on one aspect of a comic because the whole comic as a cohesive unit is not at a consistent level. When you read something like Brandon Graham’s King City or especially his Multiple Warheads, you realize that in high-level cartooning, it’s all one seamless entity.
It’s never about good stories or good art or good panel progressions or good characters or good themes. It’s ultimately about all of that blended together where you don’t find yourself acutely aware of a gap between these things.
Another good comic if you can get your hands on it: Flesh and Bone by Julia Gfrörer that came out in 2010 on Sparkplug. The art is the story and the story is the art there is no point at which one aspect “begins” or “ends.”
See also: Michael DeForge’s work in general, I’m fond of “All About the Spotting Deer.”
11:23 am |
November 24 2013
| 8 notes
Anonymous asked: Seems like you've brought up rappers not understanding how to put together a whole album well a few times on twitter. I was wondering if you could share some of your favorite albums that are good as whole albums? I love listening to an album all the way through, but it does seem like lots of artists focus on singles and not the cohesiveness or story of the album. Sorry if you've done this before, newer follower.
No, I like this question.
For me it comes down to the producer. Rappers mean nothing. If an album is made by a single producer or a cluster of producers who are aesthetically on the same page, you’ve got a shot at structuring a good record (sonically).
Take one of my personal favorites, 1994’s Dah Shinin’ by Smif-N-Wessun (produced by Beatminerz). Beatminerz are a pair of brothers, Mister Walt and DJ Evil Dee. The differences between Walt and Dee are mild. Evil Dee tends to favor melodic samples to overlay the beat while Walt prefers an more spare, open drum sound. The two of them are of the same school of production and their sounds meld together well. As a result, the entire album is like a single moment in time.
General rap warning: Darryl Ayo doesn’t endorse any words said on a rap record.
In terms of sequence, the songs on Dah Shinin’ could be slightly shuffled around to no ill effect due to their sonic similarity but the major structural notes are the bedrock of this excellent record.
"Timz n Hood Check" is the best possible opening for this pounding, relentlessly hard album. "PNC" is a closing that veers into the personal, the sentimental. But that moment is earned due to the tightly controlled variations on theme.
Darryl Ayo endorses no lyrics spoken by other people on a rap record.
On the other hand, Snoop Doggy Dogg’s album Doggystyle is good…produced by Dr. Dre and Daz. Sonically, the album is wider than Dah Shinin but it does have some unifying underlying tones. Mostly it is the interstitial skits that hold the record together. As one song fades out, we listen to some chatter and thus the sonic spell is dispelled and the next song can start fresh. This is the same theory which holds together The Score by The Fugees and Wu-Tang Clan’s early records Enter the Wu-Tang, Tical, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Liquid Swords. The latter most (Liquid Swords) would likely hold together without the interstitial movie samples and such but that record is just about perfect.
The Infamous…Mobb Deep (produced by Mobb Deep, Q-Tip, etc) holds together by being both sonically limited in range (relatively) and lyrically limited in range. A far stronger album than Nasir Jones’s Illmatic (though illmatic is widely considered the best record of all time).
Public Enemy’s first four albums are solid from front to back. NWA’s albums are always a grab-bag. No reason why except that PE’s Bomb Squad is just better at being consistent than NWA’s Dr. Dre. In individual moments, Dr Dre made better songs but also some junk. As albums, Bomb Squad made more cohesive records but you wouldn’t really want to listen to the songs in isolation. Or at least I don’t.
Earl Sweatshirt has an album this year called Doris and it is very good but not great because of a terrible back-and-forth tonal shift every other song. Adrenaline, mellow, adrenaline, mellow, adrenaline, mellow. If I were structuring that record, I’d just shuffle the song order (and drop a couple of tracks) to make the album consist of two tonally sound hemispheres.
Kanye West fares better with Yeezus but it is much more limited in sonic/tonal scope. It’s a more focused album. Kanye has made plenty of records before and thus he understands that he doesn’t need to fit EVERY emotion into a single album. Rather, an album can capture a mood, a tone, a spirit. Earl Sweatshirt tries to have it all and thus, complicates the listening experience. Earl’s a better rapper by far but Kanye knows how to make a satisfying album experience.
But don’t get me wrong, Kanye West’s first albums were more scatterbrained. Even though he had a particular aesthetic, his experimentation and especially his album skits made for a jumpy, jangly experience.
Mostly, rap albums are just too long.
Rap has a lyrical density and a beat-repetition which are both built-in aspects to hip hop music. So even very good rap albums can trigger fatigue in a listener because rap records are just SO MUCH to digest.
Edan had an album “Beauty and the Beat” which was only 39 minutes, tonally sound and the song progressions flowed together well. In addition, Edan is fond of internal sonic shift which makes even his short songs feel lively, changing and active.
The year prior, Madvillain (MF DOOM + Madlib) made Madvillainy which worked in a similar fashion. Using a combination of short songs and sample collages, Madvillainy felt like so much miscellany but selected by a particularly careful mind. Even though that record is 45 minutes, it doesn’t feel like a drag or a slog.
It helps when a producer samples the same TYPE of stuff.
Madlib with his jazz samples
Pete Rock with his horns
El-P with his…screaming electronics
Kanye West with his soul records
If a producer wants to expand, that’s good but I would say that it is better to divide those ideas into different albums so that each one feels whole and special and internally consistent.
Oh one more note about the perceived length of rap music due to lyrical density: Atmosphere (Slug + Ant) released several EPs (short albums) each with a seasonal theme. They were only five songs each and I found that these struck a balance (“trying to find a balance”) between the group’s fondness for the long-end of average songs and the listener’s diminishing attention span. “Sad Clown, Bad Dub” series.
"We got more if you want more, dig it/ but you got to be hardcore to get with it."
11:09 am |
November 24 2013
| 15 notes