Author Archives: ryan

Kool A.D. Drops New Album, 51


Das Racist member and Wesleyan alum Victor Vasquez ’06 has been grinding hard out in the Bay. His latest project, a solo album (or mixtape—both descriptors have been used interchangeably) entitled 51, came out yesterday on the Mishka/Greedhead/Veehead conglomerate.

Composed entirely in Oakland, 51 combines Vasquez’s distinctive penchant for esoteric, associative wordplay and racial commentary with the Bay area flavor of producers and rappers such as Amaze 88 and Main Attraktionz. 51 feels like a fulfillment of the experimental (if spare and slightly inaccessible) vision of Kool A.D.’s January mixtape, The Palm Wine Drinkard—it doesn’t upset the Greedhead model that we’ve come to expect over the last few months, but it’s certainly a welcome addition to that rapidly expanding catalogue of fresh hip-hop, which also includes LE1F’s (Khalif Diouf ’11) masterful debut mixtape Dark York. You’d do well to cop both releases while they’re hot n’ free. ‘Tis riiiiight.

Peep a cut after the jump.

Edan & Paten Locke / Bones Complex / The Freestyle Collective @ Psi U

This shit is poppin’ off. You would be remiss to miss it. (Battle of the Bands should be over by the time Edan takes the stage, so bring your prefrosh to both, yo.) From the one and only Bones emcee ZachG ’13:

EDAN is known for his unlikely take on hip-hop culture, where traditional rap songs are often skewed by 60’s rock samples, tape echoes, and foreign language choruses, not to mention the off-beat humor and surrealist imagery incorporated via his lyrics. His latest mega-mix, entitled ‘Echo Party’, is an astounding pastiche of dance, rap, and punk that utilizes everything from turntables to tape echo, glockenspiel to guitar, and moog to kazoo. Edan’s previous effort, Beauty And The Beat, drew worldwide acclaim. Despite being off the beaten track musically Edan blends these influences perfectly into something new. Rock-based psychedelia married with some of the pillars of hip-hop and whatever’s taking his fancy at the time… On stage, his repertoire includes cutting up records such as Thin Lizzy’s ‘Johnny the Fox’ while spitting his verse over it in good time, not to mention simultaneously stepping on a delay pedal for the sake of added texture…

Ghanaian Drumming and Singing

Urban expat wunderkind Alex Ray ’13 thinks you should scope the following:

A festive concert featuring the drumming music of Ghana with master drummer Abraham Adzenyah and his advanced drumming class.

  • Date: November 11th (today, foolz)
  • Time: 7-9:30 P.M.
  • Location: Crowell
  • Cost: no ducats

The spirit possession and court musics of the Ashanti are known to only a few master drummers in the world.  Abraham Adzenyah is one of them.

On Friday, November 11th, Abraham will perform some of these drum-dances – Akom, Kete,  and Adowa – accompanied by guest dancers who will animate the meaning of the dances. In addition, Adzenyah and the ensemble will present more comprehensive versions of some iconic social celebration dances.  These pieces include Gahu  and Patsa from the Anlo Ewe people, Sikyi from the Akan, and Kpanlogo from the streets of Accra, the capitol city of Ghana.

LE1F Does Work

To preemptively answer your question: I am indeed a bit self-conscious about linking to Pitchfork in two successive posts, but it needed to be done. Wesleyan alum Khalif Diouf ’11, aka LE1F, produced a Spank Rock track that was recently BNM’d by the illustrious reviewing site. He’s in remarkable company, too; NoLa bounce luminary Big Freedia (click here to get back to basics) lends her superhype vocals to the energetic raunchfest, and they complement Diouf’s beat to frenzied effect. It’s a raw grind, and y’all would be well advised to check it out:

02 Nasty feat. Big Freedia & Tyette by The FADER

Here’s wishing LE1F all the best.  With any luck, we’ll hear much more of him in the near future.

You Oughta Know By Now…

Live meta-reportage photo credit: A-Batte

…that Wesleying must invariably comment on a Das Racist release; to fail to follow the suit of the NYT, the Wall Street Journal, and P4k, among others, would be sheer negligence on our part. They’ve even gotten another one of those sweet feats from GQ (have you ever really looked at soup dumplings…I mean really looked?!). The fact of the matter is that unless you live under a rock—and that rock happens to be located somewhere far, far away from Middletown or any area with a significant population of “indie” folkz—you’re probably well aware of Relax, the latest project of rap wonder duo Heems (Himanshu Suri ’07) and Kool AD (Victor Vazquez ’06) and hypeman Dapwell (Ashok Kondabolu). If you’re not, check this vid immediately.

NYT Awards Wes Student a Notable Mention in Modern Love Essay Contest

This past February, the New York Times Sunday Styles section held a college essay contest centered on the topic of modern collegiate romance — a phenomenon increasingly characterized by navigations of emotional meaning in the wake ever-advancing digitization of relationships. From over 1400 meditations and reflections on this theme, one winner, four runners-up, and an additional five notable mentions were selected, including a piece by Wes’s own Lindsay Abrams ’12. Considering the volume of submissions, that’s a feat worthy of some big ups indeed.

A list of other distinguished submitters can be found at the link above. The winning entry, written by Caitlin Dewey of Syracuse University, is available for your perusal in the NYT Styles section; a list of participating institutions can be found here. Happy reading, y’all.

Is Muammar Gaddafi Darth Vader?

Gaby Chavez ’13 invites you to attend an unconventionally edifying and refreshing presentation on Middle Eastern politics:

Is Muammar Gaddafi Darth Vader? How Star Wars Explains the Arab World — a talk given by Haroon Moghul. Currently the Executive Director of The Maydan Institute, Moghul served as Director of Public Relations at the Islamic Center at New York University  from 2007 to 2009. He holds an M.A. in Middle East and South Asian Studies from Columbia University, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate. Mr. Moghul graduated from NYU in 2002 with a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and Philosophy, and a minor in Arabic. He has also studied Persian, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu. He was nominated for the 2009 Presidential Award for Best Teaching by a Graduate Student at Columbia University.

Chicken shawarmas will be served!

  • Date:   April 28 – April 28
  • Time:   6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Place:  PAC 002
  • Cost:   $no dollaz

Junger Pays Tribute to Fallen Colleague


Junger (left), and Hetherington (right)

Many of you will know Sebastian Junger ’84 as the author of The Perfect Storm and War, and as half of the directing duo behind the visionary war documentary “Restrepo”. Junger’s partner in that endeavor, the photojournalist Tim Hetherington, boasted an equally decorated and prolific career in conflict journalism until his death this past Wednesday. Hetherington and fellow photographer Chris Hondros were killed in a firefight in Misrata, Libya, after being struck by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade.

Junger recently composed a heartfelt letter to his late friend and collaborator, to be released in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, where he is a contributing editor. You can scope it here (or check out this vid from ABC); under the yawning pressure of final papers and exams, it might behoove us to reflect on the magnitude of the sacrifice required of those who aspire to the realization of something greater than themselves.

Skidmore…Has Sex!

Turns out that the students of yet another institution of higher learning also have sex. In keeping with the efforts of Wesleyan Uncut and those of the Oberlin Sexual Information Center, a group of students at Skidmore College declared their support for Planned Parenthood and Title X with a similar video (check that shoutout at the end):

Additionally, the folks at Dizzy Peoples Comedy lent their own unique brand of advocacy to the cause with the following parody — upon viewing it, you might recall the Ampersand’s take on this shizz.

Vassar Embezzlement Scandal

Vassar has found itself embroiled in quite the legal morass(…er) — now that you’ve been sufficiently nauseated by that, you might be interested to learn of the comparably reproachable actions of former Vassar employee Arthur Fisher and his wife, Jennifer Fisher, who were arrested last Friday in connection with the embezzlement of approximately $1.9 million from Vassar College.

The good people of Mads Vassar have provided excellent coverage of the developing legal situation so far. For those of you not inclined to venture far afield in the blogosphere, here are the central details of the case:

  • Fisher, a construction project manager at Vassar, ostensibly managed to leech the money from the school’s construction capital budget under the pretense of funding a nonexistent project over the course of his five year tenure, which concluded last December.
  • Financial inconsistencies found during an examination of project reports tipped off administrators to Fisher’s withdrawals (no word has yet been issued on the precise methods used by the defendants to accrue the cash money flo’).
  • A search of the Fishers’ Ossining home turned up five vehicles whose total value hovers around half a million dollars, several Rolexes (appraised at around $50k), and perhaps most disturbingly, a staggering cache of unregistered firearms and forged government identification.

Links to further reportage (Washington Post, Huffington Post, Poughkeepsie Journal, Associated Press) can be found here.

[Photos credited to the Poughkeepsie Journal]