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The Meaninglessness Is Accelerating

The pictures of pets dressed as humans.
The musings and rantings online and off.

The actions we celebrate and mourn and pretend to not know happen an infinite number of times over the course of humanity and that we're not important enough to feel shitty about it.  None of us are.

Nor are any of us not.  It isn't that we aren't important enough to feel one way or the other, it is that we're using spoons to describe laughter in terms of biochemistry.

The thing is that our feelings are nothing.  My statement that our feelings are nothing is itself nothing.  And yet this is all we have, this nothing.  And we have an awful lot of it.  It is more of us than we are of ourselves.  Just like those microbes.  Just like that soul and spirit and mind and all that we can't get pin down.

Some say emergent phenomenon.  This is another phrase for elaborate nothingness.

The diamond is not more than the leaf.  They are both more space than they are solid.

It is the structure that is the existence.  It is the pattern that makes the repetitions of the pattern itself possible.

And yet this is all there is.  This is more than there needed to be.  This is all we asked for and more because we never asked for it an never could.  Before it was, we weren't.  Before we were, it wasn't.  Unless there is some other awareness out in existence.  Ohbut wait there are many other awarenesses even on this planet.  There are animals and plants and... who is to know that a rock lacks awareness?  It seems to us to lack agency... but so too does water and water seems to act.

Seems seems seems.  This all seems like so much and yet it is so little.  It is elementary.  Children think this way because this is the way of the world.  The curiouser and curiouser you get, the more and more there is to explore.  The more and more you don't know.  The more you try to grasp the whole, the more you are burdened by the minutiae.  You are sure you don't understand toothpaste, let alone the components.  And if there is toothpaste, how many things that I don't even know exist do I lack the capability to explain?

What sort of things are the sort of things that I can't know?  There must be truths which surpass my current imagination that in mere years will seem like commonplace knowledge.  My failure is the success of humanity.  The failure of humanity is non-existent as humanity is not a monolith.

Except that it is.  It is a monolith which does not self-recognize.  We lack the awareness of what we are because if we ask all humans what all humans are, they will all give different answers.  Even the ones who pledge to have an identical reading of the world through religion or science will not give identical answers. To expect that there is some full-scale meaning or purpose or the like is too much.  But there is no meaning or purpose to lava.  That makes it no less monolithic.  Nor the seas.  Nor the next hantavirusebolachickenofheseafluenza.

That there is no purpose to us does not mean that we will not have some obvious to an outside observer path of least resistance which we will inevitably follow if given a long enough time to hang ourselves.  I mean uplift ourselves.  I mean our whole.  I mean... I do not "mean" well.

I mean, I mean well, but I do not do direct meaning well.  I write to understand, to explore, to challenge.  Not to tell, convince, believe.  I exist to write.  I write to exist.

This is a lot like food.
The above, I am told, could for many people be better understood if I use a different form:

Examining the relationship between writing and existence for me is as instructive as examining the relationship between eating and existence for humans.

Think of all the food you've eaten over your life and all of the food you'll eat in the future.  How do you feel now?
Think of all the steps you've ever taken in your life and all of the steps you'll ever take in the future.  How do you feel now?
Think of the breaths.  How do you feel?
Think of the thoughts.  How do you feel? Think of all the thoughts of all of the people you've ever known.  Think of all of the thoughts that all of the people you know know.  Of the people they've known.  Of all of your ancestors.  Of all of theirs.  Of all humans.  Of the thoughts all humans have thought others were having.  Of all the thoughts that overlapped.

This number is not infinite.
How do you feel?

Remember, the world is spinning, tilting, circling around something which is tilting, spinning, circling, swirling, circling around something spinning, careening, tilting, wobbling, circling around near something else that is rotating, expanding, cooling, ...

If I think of a baseball and then think of a moon orbiting a planet, how many thoughts have a thunk?
If I put it into words is that another discrete thought? If I think it in one language and then another are those separate thoughts?  If I think it is more than one language at once?  If I think it in a symbol and a picture?  What of a framed picture of a baseball orbiting a moon orbiting a planet with rocky rings of debris?

How much is that doggy in the black hole?
Is it even a dog? Has anything actually entered the black hole?
Is there an inside and an out?

What is it we're trying to figure out, as a humanity?  If we can identify meaninglessness... what does that mean?  Is either meaning or meaningless unavoidable?

I "meaning" itself again lacking in meaning?

If meaning can neither have meaning nor lack meaning, what is meaning?

We attribute meaning to so many things.  What has intrinsic meaning?  Is there intrinsic meaning?
I'm sure there's more attempt to express meaning, but then there is likely more failure and thus more meaningless as well.  If there is more meaningless is there less meaning?

If there are more meanings rather than one, doesn't that diminish all meanings?

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Run the Jewels 2

No edits, no takes. So the idea here is that I'll just do a first-through read of Run the Jewels 2.  And attached to it, I'll publish my many-times-listened review of Run the Jewels which I never managed to release, but... was planning to release when RtJ2 was out.  And I was on schedule to do that.  But... then these fat motherfuckers put RtJ2 in my inbox (and released it in general) a bit early.  

That is, fuck it.

To set the scene, I learned of the release this morning in an email from "Jaime and Mike".  Which I thought was cool.  That Jaime can't fucking spell his name right is a different problem.  I have a Jamie as a brother.  You in the wrong, bro.  Er... not-bro.  No, no... not that you ain't my bro... I mean... No... Mike... I'm just a little guy.   We can use words, man.

My point is that I've been all-in on el producto since fantastic damage.  I caught up on his stuff before that right quick and all, but fantastic damage blew my rap face off.  I learned a lot and expected a lot more from emcees and producers and everyone else after that record (And a decent amount of def jux for that matter... take no prisoners.).

As for Mr. Mike aka Mr. Killer.... he showed up on The Whole World.  I kept up with him on an doff from then... but not close-like.  Great voice, stright aggression.

I have just enough time before I need to leave that I can type and listen.

Here we go.

Track 1.

"I'm gonna bang this bitch the fuck out"

Okay... I'll go turn it up.

We're opening Mike-heavy... with a threatening whisper... a beat... with some mess, but definitely some low-end stank and some high end spirally madness...

Let's just say... we're no less threatening than last year.

And now el... with just those... pivots that lie and sleep with the beat without a moment of seduction... That's the same beat that Mike was on.

Not the same beat though.  They bring out different spaces and images...

Track 2.

This is more challenging territory.

That last album was like "FUCK YOU."

This album is like "You want us to prove it?  We can rap to anything.   Jamie can produce a killer track out of fucking lunacy.  And Mike can anchor it without shanking it."

El is still showing growth as an alphabet acrobat.  more fluid when he wants to be.  More variety in his vowels.

Killer is getting more proficient at extending his menace straight out through a double-time consonant onslaught.

Track 3.

oh.  The Drop.

This is the newbanger.  This'll make the kids throw furniture.

Ohlord.  the bang-bragger is a favorite of mine.  And el can do a line for when the beat disapears with the best of them. Mike is one of the best of them.

Track 4.

A quick-temp... hot-takes and phrases... the notes say this is with de la Rocha... does that mean they're gonna do him like they did Big Boi last year?  Is Zack gonna be the walking corpse?

This is another fucking "I'll show you what we can rap and/or make a fucking dope track out of"... Now Killer is slaying this fucking track... the second time through though?  With that jackhammer timing?  and finished by el with a punch?  I'm all Clay Davis on this Shiiiiiiiiiiit.

Zack is up... he battin' cleanup... I'm not familiar enough with his voice (at least not since Bombtrack and that incredible timeless album from RATM) to follow that well... but he does the sonics well enough... only further listens will tell the tale.

Trakc 5.

And now we're listening to a track that asks for storytell... This is the first track that sounds like it would have been at home on RtJ1.

While the transitions are far from jarring on this record, they are nowhere near as smooth at RtJ1... but that's not a shock nor a rip... most of the Beatles catalog pales in comparison w/r/t smooth transitions to that one half of Abbey Road...

Track 6.

I get the feeling we're gonna get into some dark territory here.
No joke... el-p leads off.  And accelerates as the madness deepens.
Oh... and the chorus from Killer?  It makes his name seem tame.

The thing with these two... is that their voices are so contrasting and complimentary...
They come from such identically different worlds.  Such crossover.  Such meandering route-determining sameness in their difference.

Ohhhhhshit mike... with the who the fuck double time stuttertalk... I bet when I go back he's challenging the shit out of someone here.

"Everybody doin' it"

Track 7.

An off-beat-finishing beat... oh with a second piece... a developing-by-verse beat... Mike getting in on the boys in blue with all due respect again.

Fucking... cops man... one abuse rightly paints doubly or triply against any man with the law on his side.  You have to be so right that you are beyond reproach by even those who disagree with your existence let alone title... can you live up to that?

Now el is getting just as thick and multi-leveled as Killer.  The thing about both of them is that they, through whatever process, have become individuals with such complex lenses that their narratives are not linear.  Nor, would I argue, that a linear narrative is even a worthy goal.  But their aggressive layering of thoughts upon thoughts reaching out to thoughts upon thoughts of their partner's totally ... parallel but non-identical experience of America?


Track 8.

Fuck.  Mike.  Leave me alone.  I don't want you to punch me in the shit again.

This is that all-out-assault track.   I dare you to find a duo of emcees who obliterate the aural landscape like these two in unison.  Just... What the fuck the jewels the fuck?  Take it.  Leave me alone.

And please give me some free audio.
I'll prolly buy a show ticket.

Just... put that finger gun down.

Run the Jewels was like the joyous robbery in which both parties are happy to have been there.
Run the Jewels Two is like when those fat jolly motherfuckers turn out to be Olympic sprinters.

Track 9.

Ohno... they gettin dirty again... this is always where they, while they're well within that range of things you know about if you've had sufficient NYC and ultimate and drug experiences, go a step or two past me.

But... that happens in every sports locker room I've been in.

But... that's because there is a verbal world and a thought world.

But... that's what artist reach past.  Or through.  Or with.  Or... is this relevant anymore?  the point is... you talk type write ramble on what you do what you do.

I want these songs on these records.  But that doesn't mean I'm the man to write about them.

And this track ain't shy.

Track 10.

Enter contemplative... this is a side both Jaime and Mike have and have used to worthy effect.  this has a little funk to it also... staying in the background with a vibe to move to.

And Mike starts Jaime's verse... There has not been much of that baton-passing in this album.. this el verse is one of those that just echoes already in my head.  This is... this is the is, man.  This is reaching...

I'll wager there are some Mike verses in there I've missed that reach out like this... he's never shied from it.

There is a space we reach into in others when we art.

Track 11.

And el opens the closer.  With challenging counter-attacks to his own counter-arguments.

Mike steps in to clarify.  We're on a drippy trippy haze.  But we're not ungrounded.

There is danger and menace in both of these men.  That is what we love about them.

That is what rigns true.  Their visions of something greater than themselves.

Their visions of something greater and more cynical than the USA.

Their love of what they have and yet... acknowledgement of what can't be...

Their fearful march toward the future they wish for rather than the dangerous world they ream of in their heads.

This is a distrustful rush of angel dust.  Speak these sounds and build this rush to dangerous.

Rip this scene and torch this house, the roar itself issues from this mouse.


This album is very very good on first listen.  It is challenging.  It is forcefully identifiably of both el&Killer.  I'll wager it comes in a half-note below RtJ1 *Solely because I knew what I was getting*.  That is, this observer is biased.  That shit last year was a revelation.  This is a second book of a promising author.  To mix metaphors.  Which is something I like.

That is... There is no way this was going to be RtJ0.  This is RtJ2.  It will be a staple of my audio world for the foreseeable future.  I'll look to unpack it, ride it, and move on from it.

But I'm not there yet.  This is another dope free record from Jaime and Mike.  Go download and then buy a ticket to a show.  Then we'll all be even and happy.

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Run the Jewels

I didn't edit at this before I posted it. I typed it last year... and never got around to putting it out. I hope it holds up.

Is your slackin'ass looking for a Christmas Gift at the last possible moment?  All hard up and the like waiting on something to occur to you since you don't think about the folks you know aside from at the last minute, just as a birthday or a holiday or a wedding or some anniversary of something sweeps through and makes you reconsider your life in full view of theirs?  A place, a time where you can go back and know all that you need to know about some other poor soul wandering through the world?  Or at least enough to buy some simple damn gift that, even if it falls short of perfection, it still mages to capture something of the person, or the moment or the place?  Let alone the time.  The time the time.

That Christmas Time of Year.
That Christmas time is near.
That "Christmas Fucking Miracle" is here.

"Oh no, what the fuck have we here?"
"Its alive and its hungry as fuck."

Well, sir, what the fuck we have here is Run the Jewels. What is "Run the Jewels"? It is the hardest thing you've heard in years.  And it doesn't just rip your flesh like weasels, it does so via wholly non-similar pathways.

Pathways.  Pathways.
Pastways.  This is the rappity-rap you've been missing.  You've been seeking. You've been hoping might not find you safe in your home so that you and your ugly sweater contest can comfortably finish last in the land of life, liberty and the pursuit of imperfection.

They know it themselves.  Mike tells us.  Jaime tells us.  Just listen.  To the words:  "Run the Jewels, Jewels, Jewels."

While the beat(s) drop(s) to explode(s) like megaton bombs.

They push the envelope, rip it to shreds, douse it in 151, light it on fire and eat it so you'll never be able to bite the style.

This is challenging music.
They are challenging music.
They challenge you. They challenge each other.

They challenge the challenge to push you to the brink and forget the rest.  "We the villains."

One of the fuckers drops the mic, walking off the beat like they know that the look on your face yelps  "HOLY SHIT. THAT GUY DROPPED THE MIC." or
"That boy good." or
"Yessir."  or

Then the other (not-)fat bastard picks it up, keeps the pace, continues the race and spits in your face.

El-p treats the motherfuckin' beats with the same ste-removed disdain.  (Yes, the beats will fuck your mother. And any other "rapper" [Where is Lil' Wayne's attempt to murk Run the Jewels on their own beats?] ill-equipped to deal with the illest hyper-realness.)  I want to put a line here, make an analogy so you'll understand, but Mike already killed that mess:  "Producer gave me a beat, said 'it's the beat of the year' / I said 'El-p didn't do it so get the fuck outta here."

It starts with "36" Chain" -> "DDFH".

For appetizers, you're hit with the first couple of tracks to tntroduce you to the style-at-ear and whet that hip-hop monster appetite you've been hiding from your friends.  "Oh, okay" you think "This sounds pretty dope."

Then Big Boi, all unawares, is invited to lay a verse over this sick twisted techfunk.  He sounded like to midgets in the trunk when he drops a solid verse over some future-alien-invasion beat.  Displays all characteristics of an emcee you should never incite on a whim because that ATLien will leave you bleeding from your face.

Then they #RuntheJewels on that little bitch.
Their verses beat his ass, leave him for dead and steal his pretty-boy custom socks too.

Then the beats afterward kicked that beat's ass.  It all starts with the ascending quick intro hit of "36" Chain".  Wait... didn't we hear the exact counter to that when we started "Banana Clipper"? Yup.  That beat descended on you from a higher pitch to take you to the depths of the dungeon.  This one?  We lift you up only to smash your face on the elevator trip to the glass ceiling.

Then they dropped BIG BEASTIER verses on Bigger Badder beats.

That's a strong verse from a half of OUTKAST that just got laid flat and outlined in chalk.
This is the exact opposite of Andre 3MF000 w/ T.I..

Then, the fat black motherfucker and the angry sci-fi whiteboy were sitting around thinksmoking about "What other rap duos can we rob and steal from?"

Yup: Fuck Those Niggas in Paris.

Watch the Throne?
Watch this, bitch.

Eiffel Tower Motherfucker?
Grassy Knoll Motherfucker.


We got sneers and jeers and not thuggish king or kingish thug or mainstream pusher hiphop.  Not even Trap-set Pusha-T chrak-hop.  Just reallife ripp'emup for the check and the glory.  Not one set of analogies, metaphors and talking points.  We're all over the map. " We got the whole map on lock".

(This is my job this is what I do.
We're not ball-playin' owner types, we're takin' drugs to find out what the world's like types.)

"I never did that and I never did you
But it come in a pack baby, I'm a do two"

Oh you want to know how this could translate to the next generation? "Run the Jewels is not for your children".  That said, it might be for our children.  It might be for the next generations' children.  It might be for the children who grew up destroying beats, destroying friends over beats, wondering how that fantastical unicorn of the powerful group ever got started in this singular world of find-YOUR-voice hip-hop.  Well, what about finding who pushes you to find your bestest voice?  Who stretches your mind to the point of breaking the bank for the future shit.

That's right, the group that accepts you only because they can't beat you.
Your boys who know you've proven yourself because they tired to pull your innards out and hold them infront of your face while your heart beating rampantly to get blood to your severed head hastens your passing.

Not only that, but who'll kill your bitch-ass live, in-concert every night you're on tour?  Only the strongest.  Only he maddest.  Only he biggest killers.

And who has a bigger stage presence in all of hip-hop  muhfuckin Killer Mike?
He makes El look so small and white.

And El steps to the plate and spit some sick shit.  Some slick shit, some outta control shit.  His beats are his property, Mike.  El don't give a fuck what you spit, but he'll make the beat fit himself and we'll see where that leaves you.  You think you know paranoia?  Feel this quicksand shift.

Think about the paranoia of the world collapsing upon itself.  All into blackness in years or moments of more.  I laced our blunts motherfucker, whatchu wanna say now?  Get comfortable with expression of depression, 'cause this is a long ride down.  We're all living forever now.  How much pain can you handle?

Oh, fuck you, El.  I'm Killer Mike.  I'll eat it up, chop it up, bring the pain from above.  I'll drop these lyrics with no compunction, this junction is me driving through like I ain't got a clue.

We're so different.  We're the same.
We see the same from different angles,
What the fuck do you have, leaders?
Listeners? Congress? USA? Other countries?

This is our craft, we'll kill you with it.  We'll hang our hats on it.  This is what we know.  What do you know? What do you do?  Where is your excellence?

So what?
I want to see this double-album.

"Run the Throne,
Watch the Jewels."

For Christmas 2014?
Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey are Black Stars.

Summer 2015?

Bring the Duos Back.

Clipse did it right.
Is there no one else?

Run the Jewels lights the way.  What else does rap have to say?  Rap is the people.  "If the people are smoked out, hip-hop is gonna be smoked out."  (I see you, the Roots.)

What are the people, Hip-Hop?
Tell me WeezyFBaby.
Tell me GiftofGab.
Tell me SnoopLion.
Tell me Kendrick.
Tell me Eminem.
Tell me Redman.
Tell me Kanye.
Tell me Wale.
Tell me Jay.

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"He's just this guy, you know?"