Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Interview: Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi has been bubbling for a minute now. After releasing one of the best mixtapes of the year (A kid named Cudi), he popped up several surprising cameo's, including Kanye's Paranoid. Here's an interview with the rising star, thanks to Hypetrak

Download: Kid Named Cudi mixtape via 10 Deep

Hustler Watch: Kid Cudi from Eighty81 on Vimeo.

New TV Show - Superstars of Dance (Australia coached by Jason Gilkison)

Maybe I'm biased. And yes, it's not really fair that I shoot down a show that I haven't seen, but c'mon, it's hosted by Michael Flatley, what am I supposed to do? All kidding aside, NBC's new spectacular from Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe (the Think you can dance guys), is a competition that will welcome the world's greatest dancers from Argentina, Australia, China, India, Ireland, Russia, South Africa and The United States.

Here's what Allheadlinenews had to say about the teams competing, Jason Gilkison will be coaching the Aussie contingent

Eight countries will participate in the competition with each team comprised of two soloists, one duo and one larger group. A list of each of the countries, judges, coaches and the genres each act will perform is as follows:

Argentina: Sandar serves as coach for team Argentina. Sandar is a Tony-nominated choreographer and principal dancer in the original cast of "Forever Tango." The judge for team Argentina is Maria Pogee. Pogee attended the world-famous school of the Theater Colon. She has directed, staged and choreographed dance productions throughout the world. Performing for team Argentina is a sensual cabaret artiste soloist, a contemporary Tango dancer soloist, an Argentinian Tango duo and a group performing Gaucho style dance in which the Gaucho's use their bolas' to produce intricate rhythms.

Australia: Jason Gilkison serves as coach for team Australia. Gilkison is an international ballroom champion who currently oversees choreography and artistic direction for the FloorPlay version of "Burn the Floor." The judge for team Australia is Kelley Abbey. Abbey is Australia's most outstanding dancer, actor, singer and choreographer. She has choreographed for Savion Glover and 1,000 animated penguins in the movie "Happy Feet." Performing for team Australia are a tap dance soloist, a contemporary dancer soloist, a Latin ballroom duo and a group performing contemporary dance.

China: Matthew Ahmet of Britain serves as Coach for team China. As a troubled teen, Ahmet went to China and found his way by becoming a Shaolin Monk. The Judge for team China is Master Haiyang Wang. Master Wang is the natural successor to become the next Abbott of the Shaolin Temple and a senior Buddhist in China. Performing for team China are a traditional Chinese ribbon dancer soloist, a double whip soloist, an acrobatic ballet duo and the Shaolin Monks Kung Fu group "Shaolin: Wheel of Life"-known as the greatest performers of Kung Fu for over 15 years who have performed in over 40 countries.

Ireland: Marie Duffy Pask serves as Coach for team Ireland. Pask currently serves as Dance Director, Associate choreographer, for "Lord of the Dance" and "Feet of Flames." The judge for team Ireland is Daire Nolan. Nolan is most famous for his role as "Dark Lord" in Michael Flatley's "Lord Of The Dance." Performing for team Ireland are Irish Step Dancers. This team is assembled from different groups currently performing all over the globe. They will perform for the first time together on "Superstars of Dance" as team Ireland.

India: Nakul Dev Mahajan serves as coach for team India. Mahajan is the founder and artistic director of the premiere Bollywood dance company in the United States. The judge for team India is Shirish Dayal. Dayal has been producing, directing and choreographing stage shows for the past 15 years. Performing for team India are a Bharantanyam dancer soloist, a Kathak soloist, a Bollywood duo and a group performing Bhangra style of dance.

Russia: Stanislav Issaev serves as coach for team Russia. Issaev was a principle dancer for many years with the Moscow Ballet Theater and was named People's artist of Russia, the highest artistic honor anyone can receive in the country. The judge for team Russia is Mikhail Smirnov. Smirnov is director and founder of Barynya, a hugely successful Russian folk dancing company. Performing for team Russia are a ballet dancer soloist from the world famous Bolshoi Ballet, a contemporary dancer soloist from the world famous Bolshoi Ballet, a ballroom duo and a group performing Cossak style of dance.

South Africa: Tandi Bhengu serves as coach for team South Africa. Bhengu has been a dancer and singer her entire life and has founded a program and dance troupe called S.A.G.A. (South African Girls Abroad). The judge for team South Africa is Harold Van Buuren. Van Buuren has won numerous titles as a Ballroom and Latin American championship dancer, representing South Africa internationally on numerous occasions. Performing for team South Africa are a hip/hop dance soloist, an Afrofusion dance soloist, World Champion jive-inspired dance duo and a group performing Gumboot, a style of dance that was born in the gold mines of South Africa.

United States: Marguerite Derricks serves as coach for team USA. Derricks is an Emmy-Award winning choreographer. She choreographed all of the "Austin Powers" movies and is currently choreographing the new version of "Fame." The judge for team USA is Tony Selznick who has danced with greats such as Gene Kelly. He is also the founder and senior agent at McDonald Selznick and Associates where he represents the biggest names in American dance. Performing for team USA are a popping dancer soloist, a tap dancer soloist, World Champion cabaret style ballroom duo and a group performing hip hop.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It ain't Single Ladies, but Beyonce is right, she is a diva, and a damn hot one at that.

Download: Notorious B.I.G. - Microphone Murderer

The Biggie Smalls Biopic Notorious will be out any day soon, so here's a tease for the big (pardon the big pun) screen release.

Download: Notorious B.I.G. - Microphone Murderer (from Kanye's Blog)

Movie Trailer

Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy (official Video)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Video: Jamie Foxx on Sesame Street

I can't say I'm really feeling Foxx's chart-topping new track with T.I. 'Just like me'. It's pretty corny, and the video is too. However, Jamie Foxx on Sesame street is another story. It's not as cool as Bert and Ernie doing M.O.P., but then what is.

Video: Lady Gaga feat Colby O' Donis & Akon - Just Dance (Electro/House)

Now who said I'm elitist? Oh, no-one. Why am I so paranoid?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Don't let post christmas blues get you down (and make you blow dough at Walmart Sales)

So I didn't get a slingbox solo for christmas (and I won't be heading out to the post christmas, december 26 sales either), so I will try to spread the message of music to keep the orgasmic rush of christmas going (and to make you forget that Eartha Kitt just died).
Here are some of my favourite track (with video accompaniment) that you may haved missed (or love and are quite happy to indulge me)

Hot Chip - One Pure Thought

Bert and Ernie - Ante Up

Kanye West - Heartless

Heartless - Kanye West

Lil Wayne - A Milli

Exile "Milli" Video from Jonathan Kim on Vimeo.

Planet B-Boy the movie - World Hip Hop Battles

Finally got round to watching Planet B-Boy, a documentary that follows 4 groups from 4 different countries around the globe right to the finals of the world hip hop battles in Germany. Whilst the documentary was a little formulaic, it didn't really matter, as the characters and their exuberant, original dance styles shone through and kept you on your seat. Here are the two finalists from the movie, Japan's outrageous Ichikegi crew (from one of my fave cities Osaka), and Last for One, a group of do or die Koreans who exemplify the balance needed between technical moves and choreography to win it all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Download: Kanye West - Love Lockdown (Flying Lotus Remix)

Flying Lotus' shuffling, pulsing masterpiece Los Angeles was a highlight in a sparse year for Hip Hop (and you can barely class FlyLo as Hip Hop), and so it was interesting to hear his take on one of the most talked about tracks of the year. It's glitchy, and lets the vocals set the pace, the beat keeping up with and then falling behind them. A little gem for the holidays.

Download: Kanye West - Love Lockdown (Flying Lotus Remix)

Video: Rockafire Explosion take on 'Electric Feel' by MGMT

I was watching one of those Elmo dolls go through several of its at least 50 pre-recorded rants this morning, and I couldn't help but be reminded of the greatness of the Rockafire Explosion and wondered when they would be back with a new track. Well, prayers answered my friends.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

VideoGum Viral Video's: The Year in Review

VideoGum has put together a pastiche of the best in viral vids this year, including our favourite the Rockafire Band, plus many more including Bill O'Reilly, Tom Cruise and Bert and Ernie singing 'Ante Up', bucka bucka!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It was my first trip to Battlegrounds, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Yeah sure, I had watched the youtube video's of wildly talented crews from around the globe, and have sat through more dance movies than I wish to recall (even the excruiatingly bad ones), but seeing it live is another story.
As a passionate observer with the Pure Funk Crew from Adelaide, I was here just to soak up the atmosphere, take a few photo's and see what I could learn from the other teams that had won their way here from around the pacific.
What struck me first was the inclusive nature of the event and friendly atmosphere it created. It took a little time for crews from the different nations to mingle, but soon enough people were sharing experiences and trading moves in a way that almost made you forget you were here to compete.
The organisation of the event was quite professional, appropriately reflecting the high standard of the dancing involved. And oh, the dancing.
The standard was world class. From a local perspective, the Pure Funk crew worked hard on their routine this year, and it showed. They improved in every area, but yet in comparison to the top teams, they come up short in every area. This wasn't looked upon as a negative by the team, in fact I think people's minds where choc full of idea's and inspiration at some of the creativity and athleticism on display. The only disappoinment was the lack of support; but given that they performed near the start of the open competition, and did not have sizable state representation, this was to be expected.
The top teams all had their own original take on the concept of a three-minute set. They crammed as much as they could into this timeframe, mindful of the fact that they were here to dance, as well as provide theatrics and gymnastic movement. There were soundbites from famous movies (Gladiator and the Dark Knight amongst others), hard stepping and krumping breakdowns, and softer r&b moments. Every team incorporated varying amounts of humour, dance music showed up several times, and teams straddled old-school and new-school beats with relative ease of transition.
What people were really hanging out for though were the 'uh-oh' moments, the 'no-he-didn't-just-go-there' moments that made you gasp, cheer and had usually reserved middle-aged men dancing in circles and waving caps. There were plenty of those moments.
The Phillipino's who stable of a dozen young men were somehow choregraphed into doing backflips at exactly the same time were breath-taking, as were the New Zealanders, who threw up some creative, unforgettable cannons. Even the night ending all-in battle raised the bar, as individuals b-boys and b-girls brought their own tricks to the stage, punctuated by one young fella doing a running forward flip into the crowd from the 2 metre high stage. It was all here, one-arm handstand bounces in time the music, physically impossible waves and popping/locking, right down to female athleticism that was comparable to some of the men's.
It was all there, and it was amazing. To have this level of talent in one place was thrilling, and even more so to imagine where this will lead. Just writing this is bringing the goosebumps right back, and I'm sure that goes twice and thrice for anybody that was actually up there performing. Whilst there is a battlegrounds comp out there to bring these crews together, there will always be a strong field of dancers, not just hip-hop, but dancers in the Asia-Pacific region, and that is something to be excited about, and to be proud of.

Kanye West @ Acer Arena, 6th Dec 2008

It was inevitable. Kanye West's perfectionist tendencies have been well-documented, and at the close of Saturday nights two hour plus Sydney concert, we got them in spades. Ending the show with recent hit Love Lockdown, West stopped the song twice, the second time unleashing a verbal scalding on whoever was responsible for his missing wardrobe. Upon re-appearing for a third swing at it, Kanye put in all he could into what eventually became a 15 minute, tribal drum heavy curtain-call.
It was a strangely satisfying (kanye-esque?) ending to an amazing show. West threw himself into the performance all night, whipping the crowd into constant fits with songs both old and new, and also indulging personal faves such as his turns on remixes for Young Jeezy and Estelle. West's back catalogue is becoming fuller, enabling him to draw from a deeper well of emotions and push that to the crowd with success. From the drama of 'Put on' and 'Amazing' to the triumphant bells and whistles of 'Touch the Sky' and 'Good Life', Kanye seemed to have all bases covered. And although the show featured little of the 'Glow in the dark' theatric's of the american shows, The explosive video visuals and West's larger than large persona more than made up for it.
It would be remiss of me to not also mention the 15 minute freestyle that cast a large shadow over the mid-section of the show. West took the opportunity to fire up the auto-tune and croon about everything from the paparazzi to more bizzarely the life and times of Britney Spears. At once both head-shakingly weird and endearingy earnest, it showed West's desire to not only put on a great show, but also an honest one, and you can't doubt that he did that. I feel a bit sheepish now that my cynicism did not allow to believe that the freestyle hadn't been rehearsed, until I saw footage of a completely different freestyle from the following nights show in Melbourne. Should I have doubted the man that 'spits his soul through the wire'? No, and for that, I thank you Mr West.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Video: Jay-Z feat Santogold - Brooklyn go Hard

No that we need to be told, but Brooklyn goes hard. And it's hard to argue when it's Jay-Hova doing the talking. Santo gets a little hook love here too, and even if the beats not hot, Jay invoking his inner Lee 'Scratch' Perry is. That's right, Jay rips some raspy irie over the spare beat, sometimes nearly losing his voice in the process. After the underwhelming Coldplay remix, this plays. The vid helps too, using a new typography application to create a portrait of Hov made from the title of the song. Go hard indeed.

Jay-Z on iLike - Get updates inside iTunes

Video: Wale - Nike Boots

Wale, whose been heralded many times here (for the Mixtape about Nothing & W.AL.E.D.A.N.C.E. to name just two), goes home to Washington DC to give (and receive) some love from the locals. It looks like a triumphant return home, and luckily super video maverick Chris Robinson is on hand to make it look like 'Roc Boys' up in there.