In her latest video for “The Keepers,” Santigold dons a platinum blonde wig that sets the stage for a nightmarish, neon vision of mid-century life. It’s clear that nothing is quite normal or idyllic for the singer and her similarly-coiffed family as soon as they sit down at the dinner table, as the past collides with the present. The clip features cameos from GZA, Trouble Andrew, and Kick Kennedy.
“The Keepers” features on Santigold’s second album Master of My Make-Believe, out now on Downtown/Atlantic.
And no, this will not be a set of four chemistry-friendly LPs exploring the states of matter (Liquid Swords, Solid Swords, Gas Swords, Plasma Swords). The rapper and Wu-Tang Clan founding member they call "The Genius" will release an album this fall entitled Dark Matter, developed around his passion for science and with a little help from astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. GZA takes on life, the universe, everything and physics on the new album, for which he not only consulted with Tyson, but MIT environmental science professor Penny Chisholm and other science buffs at MIT and Cornell, as well as producer and violinist Marco Vitali, for what will truly be an intriguing meeting of mind, matter and music.
"I don’t think people have ever really been in touch with science," GZA told Anna Louie Sussman of the Wall Street Journal. "They’re drawn to it, but they don’t know why they’re drawn to it. For example, you may be blown away by the structure of something, like a soccer ball or a geodesic dome, with its hexagonal shapes. Or how you can take a strand of hair and can get someone’s whole drug history."
GZA will also be releasing an upcoming album dedicated to the study of the oceans, and even met with Philippe Cousteau, son of marine biologist and perennial Wes Anderson inspiration Jacques, to consult on it.
In the more immediate future, on July 24th, to be exact, GZA will also be rereleasing his landmark album, Liquid Swords, in a special "Chess Box" edition, featuring the first available incarnation of the album’s instrumentals, as well as releases on black and white vinyl and original artwork. The record will come in an actual chess box, complete with mini set.
In other Wu-Tang news, rumors of the band’s appearance as themselves in Dirty White Boy, the upcoming Ol’ Dirty Bastard biopic starring Michael K. Williams (who we last saw in The Wire! The Musical), have been circulating all over the Internet as Dirt McGirt himself. GZA has reportedly declined to appear in the film, along with Raekwon the Chef, although his fellow crew members RZA, Ghostface Killah and Method Man could all still make appearances. Maybe. We’ll see.
Growing larger every year in scope and scale, this year’s Brooklyn Northside Fesitval lineup expands on with Qu-Tang Clan’s GZA slated to perform his Liquid Swords in full. Also on the eight-day schedule? Of Montreal, Ceremony, Tinariwen, the Felice Brothers, Screaming Females, and, surely, many more up-and-comers tucked into galleries and spaces across the borough. [ArtsBeat]
Surely someone told Edith Wharton she was "The Voice of Her Generation." Or, maybe, at least, "A Voice of Her Generation"? To celebrate Girls‘ "just okay" debut on HBO, The Awl plays a game of, "Is that Edith Wharton? Or a Girls review?" [TheAwl]
Ai Weiwei is suing the Chinese IRS for fining his company Beijing Fake Cultural Development $2.4 million last year without testimony or evidence. “Their actions were illegal and violated regulations," he said, sounding measured considering the circumstances. [AnimalNY]
That Tupac hologram stunt was so winning at Coachella that Dr. Dre and people that made it happen, Digital Domain Media Group Inc., now want to take the show on the road for a virtual Tupac tour. "This is an illusion [and] this is just the beginning," says the company’s chief creative officer. [WSJ]
DIY pioneer and hardcore legend Ian MacKaye turned fifty yesterday. That’s half a century. [D+T]
Do you want to rap on GZA’s new album? You can, provided your Shaolin skills survive the test. To promote the launch of his new website, the Wu-Tang swordsman is starting a contest to find some next great MC to appear with him on a future track. First off: You’ll have to rap the first verse of his famous "Liquids Swords" track, upload it to Vimeo, and post it to GZA’s website. Plenty of other steps (or "chambers") will follow, but you can find out more when the website launches next week. A statement from GZA, in which he discusses his motivations for the contest, follows the click (via Pitchfork).
"This contest was inspired by my countless tours all over the world where I would see my fans, many of them non-English speakers, reciting every lyric of the song back to me," he said. "It’s become clear to me that my music is appealing to a whole new generation: I’ve had a bunch of people tell me that they first heard my album because their parents listened to it. That might make some artists feel old but I’m happy that my music is still relevant today. I am honored that Liquid Swords the song and album have been so widely embraced for so long. This contest is one way of giving back to my fans, of letting them share their take on the record."
If anything, starting off the contest with such open mimicry will help decide which contestants have the requisite amount of flow to keep up, since I imagine GZA will have a helping hand in crafting the winner’s verse. Not too much, of course — that would defeat the point of the contest — but just enough to make sure his reputation won’t be impugned by some lesser MC.
● Kim Kardashian must have figured she would be married at least until the new year when she ordered her holiday cards, all of which feature her and Kris Humphries’ wedding portrait. [NYDN]
● If neither Kim nor Pippa are to your taste, you might try Kristen Stewart’s Breaking Dawn wedding dress on for size. Carolina Herrera is readying the copy-cats, set to retail for $799. [MSNBC]
● Oops! Courtney Love let one slip, a nipple that is, at the premier of Martin Scorsese’s otherwise PG-rated kids film, Hugo. [E!]
● Errol Morris made a short documentary for the New York Times, exploring the story behind the stories of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is the most interesting six minute documentary by an award-winning filmmaker you’ll see today. [NYT]
● Barbs is back! Cash Money CEO Birdman says Nicki Minaj is back in the studio with a new album in the works, from which we can start looking for the first single "maybe this year." [The Fader]
● Wu-Tang’s GZA will be lecturing at Harvard next month, during the school’s Black Men’s forum. He’ll then skip on down the Charles to MIT where, according to a statement, he plans to seek inspiration for his next album amongst MIT’s scientists and thinkers. [RS]
● Michelle Williams says she didn’t feel particularly sexy playing Marilyn Monroe, but maybe these three Marilyn impersonators could giver her a hint or two for the next time. [Radar/Nerve]
Last night at the hotbox that is the Nokia Theater, GZA a.k.a. Genius — founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan — took time out from acting in Jim Jarmusch films (okay, just Coffee and Cigarettes, but his scene with Bill Murray was the best part of the movie) to co-headline the Paid Dues independent hip-hop festival in New York. Alongside established acts Rakim, DJ Scratch (from the Roots), Blackalicious, MC Supernatural, Buckshot of the Boot Camp Clik, and Murs were Yak Ballz, the group with the best name ever, and Ivy League newcomers Kidz in the Hall who hyped the crowd with their hit “Driving Down the Block.” Judging by the dancing hipsters, you know that it’s gonna be the jam blasting out the windows of the VWs this summer.
Even though there was potential for beef after GZA famously dissed 50 Cent last year, the festival was a major love-fest. Kidz in the Hall declared that they “love hip-hop,” Scratch beatboxed an homage to the Beastie Boys, White Stripes, Snoop and Kanye, and almost everyone declared their love for weed and New York, not necessarily in that order. The only downer was poor Murs, who rapped about how sensitive guys never get the girl, but explained his bitterness by saying “I ain’t got laid in New York in about two years, so excuse me.” Ladies?
The show was presenter’s Guerrilla Union preview of their blowout Rock the Bells tour traveling the U.S. this summer. Last year Rage Against the Machine headlined, but this year it’s Pharcyde along with a the second go for A Tribe Called Quest. Rounding out the bill are De La Soul, Nas, Mos Def, Santogold, and more. If last night’s Paid Dues show was any indication, Rock the Bells should be off the hook. Hold on to your roach clips.