Monday, October 05, 2009

Just met "Strong Arm Steady" at lunch

Which will mean absolutely nothing to most of my readers, but I happen to be a Talib Kweli fan, a Blackstar fan, a Dilated Peoples fan, a Jurassic 5 fan, and in general an underground fan; so I thought it was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, the underground thing has been basically dead since around 2003. Talib got dropped from distribution a few years ago, and the artists signed to his Blacksmith records label have been either locked out, or have had to get more commercial to get released.

Sadly, that commercialism includes "Strong Arm Steady"; the worst example of that being their former member Xzibit, who has gone so far as to star in several reality TV shows, and cheezy action movies (actually, he's not THAT bad of an actor. He's got decent personality and presence).

I'd put up an example of their work from youtube, but I'll be honest I can't find anything that I like. Most of their best stuff is freestyling, bootlegs, and underground sample mixes, or collaborations with other underground artists...

...Which kind of encapsulates the problems that underground has with commercial success in a nutshell...

Actually, there IS something put up, but it's not from SAS, it's a solo track from Mitchy called "Dr. Cube".

If you don't like underground, or just don't feel like watching the video, it's about how much of a bitch it is to try and be successful when you're an underground artist who wants to stay independent, and do the kind of work he wants to do, rather than squeeze themselves into the modern pop hip-hop machine and come out the other side looking like Young Jeezy or Lil Wayne

Anyway, the wife and I were eating lunch at the new chicken and waffle place about a half mile away (LoLo's. Decent fried chicken, but not very good waffles), and Krondon, Mitchy Slick, and Phil Da Agony walked in and sat down at the next table over from us.

Krondon is rather recognizable, being one of the very few albino rappers out there (and as far as I know the only black albino rapper. There are a couple of white and Asian albino rappers out there), and a couple of the restaurants staff knew who he was, but it was pretty low key.

Kron and Phil got on the phone with Talib while we were there (we couldn't help but overhear), and I started up a conversation with Mitchy about his watch (at first I thought it was a Lucien Piccard, but it turned out to be a custom Breitling Bentley GT. Beautiful watch).

Mitchy was jazzed about the new headphones he had just picked up (a pair of "beats by Dre"). I mentioned that I was a Sennheiser fan, and that I liked the flat response. He agreed that the beats were not good for mixing, but that for fun listening, the extra bass response was from the "beats" was nice.

I'll say this, from what I overheard, Krondon really knows how to take care of the business side of things; and they all seemed rather nice, for the few minutes that we were talking.