There’s something special about socially conscious rapper Stose. Beyond the tattoos, studs, and leather, lies a man who is thoughtful, kind, smart as hell, and all about bringing social injustices to light through his music. He’s also pretty damn funny.
Stose just dropped a collection of songs that is so eclectic, compelling, and edgy, that regardless of whether or not you agree with his charged political messages, you’re definitely going to want more.
You can hear old school, new school, and every school of hip hop in between on Stose’s debut EP “Civil Disobedience”. And with a healthy helping of power chords, courtesy of his veteran status in the punk world, there’s something for you rock fans as well.
“Civil Disobedience” is definitely the first step in a long, successful journey for Stose. He’s already gotten props from MTV and Paper Magazine (no big deal), and “Civil Disobedience” will for sure push things to the next level.
You’re fresh off a show at NYC’s famous club Westway. How did it feel to perform the new songs live?
It felt great! That was the first club I performed at after moving back to NYC in 2012, so that place will always have a special place in my heart. Frankie Sharp has always been very gracious to let me perform at his party “Westgay”, whenever I had a new release of some sort. It’s a shame that the gentrification of this city is responsible for this club being torn down in a few months, all so they can build more condos. But with that said, I am very glad I got to play there one more time before it closes its doors. It felt great to play the new songs live for the first time, especially in front of that crowd.
You’ve said you’re fully aware that the political content of “Civil Disobedience” might alienate you from people. What compelled you to take that risk?
I think the current state of mainstream music is mostly disheartening. Music is getting more and more whitewashed, ignorant and dumbed down. It’s losing its sense of creative awareness and turning into an easily-digestible package that can be served to consumers on a silver platter. The issue there is when you have producers and label executives telling you what to say, how to dress and what your image has to be, you lose authenticity. The things I say may alienate me, but to not say them would be to sacrifice my authenticity and that is something I never plan on doing.
Do you ever feel there’s a burden that goes along with being a socially conscious rapper?
I sometimes feel like there may be, but I try not to focus on it. From my perspective the burden lies more so within being a human and trying to do your part to make the world a better place. But personally, I experience more of an internal burden that comes with being an artist, always feeling the need to create something better than before.
You recently moved to the Bronx. Has living in what is debated to be the birthplace of hip hop had any effect on your music or the EP?
Well the EP was basically done by the time I moved to the Bronx, but I am sure it will have influence on whatever I do next. Since moving up here I have constantly been working on new songs and writing more frequently, there is definitely something magical and inspiring about this borough. Your influences include Dr. Dre and Black Flag, what do you think is the common ground between hip hop and punk rock?
It can actually be traced all the way back to the birth of the hip hop movement in the Bronx. In the late 70s early 80s, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash would perform at clubs in the Lower East Side and East Village, which were frequented by punk and new wave kids. The two disenfranchised cultures of Punk and Hip Hop were formed out of a need for music of substance, so naturally they bonded on that. From then on the two cultures clearly influenced each other yielding music such as Blondie’s “Rapture”, Afrika Bambaataa and Johnny Rotten’s group called Time Zone, and the Beastie Boys. The interesting part of my personal story is that growing up I gravitated towards both of these genres of music, before even knowing the history. I was drawn to the attitude and ideology of the two groups, and obviously I wasn’t the only one.
Fun fact… You play saxophone on the record… If you could jam with Bill Clinton, Lisa Simpson, or Kenny G, who would you pick and why?
Hahaha yeah, I did! Although Lisa Simpson is pretty socially conscious, I think I am going to have to go with Bill Clinton. He seems like a pretty real dude and I bet he’s got some crazy stories. I think I now have a new life goal, so thank you for that. Download “Civil Disobedience” here, and for more on Stose, hit up his Website, Twitter, or Insta.
Photo Credit: Jahn Hall
Happy 18th birthday to the song that put Spice Girls on the map!
I remember camping with friends and unfortunately for our neighbors, we stayed up all night singing “Wannabe” at the top of our lungs. In the morning the head of the camp grounds rolled by our site in his pickup truck and said this line that I’ll never forget:
“You gotta keep it down at night. We didn’t just get one complaint… We got many.”
Ed Sheeran talks about his first time at Wembley back in 2002. Who knew he was a closet Green Day fan?!
Taken from MTV’s “Nine Days and Nine Nights of Ed Sheeran”. Here’s another funny bit that came along with that special:
Hey there, fellow conquerors! Here are some things that will surely spice up your summer. They’re already doing a number on mine.
170 ELIZABETH STREET
DEL’S SHANDY / ALLAGASH GINGER
LUCKY PEACH MAGAZINE
“CHEF” THE FILM
“SILICON VALLEY” ON HBO
DRESS AVAILABLE AT ANN TAYLOR LOFT
THE BLACK KEYS “TURN BLUE” / YOUNG THE GIANT “MIND OVER MATTER”
A few things to make the best time of year even better…
The Meadow – 532 Hudson Street
The Meadow came into my life on a recent post-Sixteen Handles walk. Thankfully my frequent froyo partner in crime Emmy knew it was the kind of place I would be pretty into. The Meadow sells three things: salt, chocolate, and bitters. Shoppers can taste test different varieties of all three, while navigating the tiny shop, and every inch of the store is filled to the brim with gourmet goodness. Emmy suggested we try the truffle salt and black salt, and both were great. Fun fact: salt has flavors… I didn’t know that before. Prices at The Meadow are pretty reasonable, especially when it comes to the wall of chocolate bars. I got this treat for $4. And before you judge, think salty/crunchy/sweet to inform your opinion.
Before you judge Ed Sheeran for being 22 and the opening act on Taylor Swift’s tour, listen to his album “Plus.” Good music doesn’t always have to be loud and in your face, and Plus is a subtle, almost hypnotic record that gracefully weaves together rock, folk, R&B, and hip hop influences. Since Ed is lumped into the “teen pop” world, it’s easy to overlook him, but after his performance at the recent Billboard Music Awards, that’s no longer the case. Following over-produced, vocal track-heavy acts like Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Will-I-Am, Ed took the stage with a guitar, an amp, and his voice, and blew them all out of the water. I was lucky enough to see him perform at a small Fuse-hosted event, and his raw talent is something that doesn’t come along often. Also, “Kiss Me” might be the most romantic song ever written, and I’d argue that with any music aficionado out there.
Saturday Window Shop – Various
Combine the fashions of Kate Spade with those crazy touch screens in Minority Report, and you have the genius that is the Saturday Window Shop. Use the touch screen to literally window shop through Kate Spade’s more affordable Saturday offerings, and whatever you choose to purchase will be delivered to you an hour later. Just like that. The only thing left to be desired is a brick and mortar Saturday shop. Though, my bank account would probably disagree with me on that.
Faux-Cro-Nut – Gregory’s Coffee – 874 6th Avenue
Last summer you couldn’t read a food blog without reading the words “Mission Chinese Food,” but these days it’s talk of the Cronut that’s crowding the blogosphere. The donut/croissant hybrid created by Dominique Ansel Bakery is the most desired sweet treat out there, resulting in Disney World-type lines, and Craigslist schemes inflating the pastry’s price upwards of $40. If all that sounds like crazy talk, then do what I did, and buy the Cro-Dough from Gregory’s Coffee. Same results, without the extraordinary measures. Maybe once the hoopla dies down, I’ll head over to Dominique Ansel’s, but in the meantime, the flaky and sweet faux-cro is just fine.
I know I’m not breaking any new ground by calling out the Beatles as one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll. George, John, Paul, and Ringo laid the musical groundwork for many bands to come, writing one of my favorite songs of all time, and creating a trademark sound that undoubtedly inspired some of my other top tunes.
After going on a shuffle marathon through my iTunes library, it occurred to me that a good number of the songs could have come straight off any of the Fab Four’s albums. Here are some of my fav faux-Beatles tracks. Feel free to leave yours in the comments section!
Nirvana – About a Girl
Green Day – The Static Age
Garbage – Special
Foo Fighters – Back and Forth
I now present to you the best 31 seconds of film I’ve ever put together:
Last night brought me one step closer to renaming this website “Little Sound City Conqueror.” I was lucky enough to be in the fourth row at Hammerstein Ballroom for the Sound City Players concert, and part of me is still there standing googly-brained at what I just saw. As Rick Springfield, John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, and more performed live right in front of my eyeballs, the power of good rock and roll was made clearer than ever.
The show was a fusion between film and music, using clips from Dave’s Sound City doc to introduce each guest musician. Things started on a melodic note with Alain Johannes from Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures. At one point, Alain joked that he could play all night, prompting Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins to answer, “Well you are.” And he did… Switching seamlessly between guitar and bass and that weird cigar box instrument thing that I misread as an indication that Paul McCartney would be a surprise guest. And just so we’re clear, Paul McCartney is the only thing that could have made this night better… Other than Dave deciding to give me his trademark Trini guitar.
The banter between Alain and Taylor was just one candid moment of many that made this show super special. At all points the seams were very visible. Everyone stayed on stage while the movie clips were being shown and playing songs other than their own gave the Foos a chance to let loose a little bit and be more present in their performance. So many glances were shared between band mates that ran the gamut from unbridled joy to sheer terror at the complexity of playing some of the more involved songs. I heard in an interview that in order to prepare for this concert Dave and Co. learned 40 some songs in a week, and while they delivered at an insane level, it was cool to see that even the most accomplished musicians face challenges. Not just us newbies. The most sweat was shed throughout the Foos set with Lee Ving, a man who claims to fit an equal amount of notes into a minute long song as a four minute one. A couple different times Taylor and Dave exchanged a quick “fast enough for you?” and Taylor deserves a thousand Gatorades for holding down that crazy drum beat so well.
The music nerdiness wasn’t reserved to the audience and was equally matched by everyone playing on stage. Dave was thrilled to play with Rick Springfield, Taylor lost his cool over Rick Nielsen, and Chris Shiflett, who plays in a country-ish band on the side, took a break from his usual stoicism and grinned like a little boy while playing with John Fogerty. And speaking of John Fogerty, he might be my new Tom Petty. I need to get my Fogerty on in a big way, as he was probably my favorite part of the show. And that says a lot considering Rick “Fucking” Springfield and the Foo Fighters joined forces for “Jesse’s Girl.” I mean never thought that when I was actually “Little” Conqueror and rocking out to the Kidsongs version of Centerfield, I’d be seeing the it performed by the man who wrote it 3 feet away from me over 20 years later on a guitar made out of a baseball bat.
Other performers that caught me off guard included Brad Wilk from Rage Against the Machine. Who knew there was someone out there who hit harder than Dave? I couldn’t take my eyes off of Mister Wilk and wanted to curl up in a ball inside his giant drummer biceps. And while we’re talking about fantasies, if Rick Springfield makes another album, I’m definitely going to that concert. Finally, Rick Nielsen put on the show of the night. His performance was a little bit Catskills/a little bit Vegas and campy in all the right ways. You could tell he was having a ton of fun as he showered the crowd with guitar pics and played the Cheap Trick standards with utmost enthusiasm.
Oh. And Stevie Nicks was there. She’s kind of magical. Stevie might have been the only lady in the lineup, but it was far more than that that set her apart. After bopping, bouncing, and head banging all night, swaying to the Fleetwood standards was a lovely break. And seeing Foo Fighters slow down to gently backup Stevie for Dreams was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Imagine Boyz II Men singing an Insane Clown Posse song and you can start to get what I’m talking about.
The show ended in the only way it could. Dave and Stevie playing an acoustic version of Landslide, followed by every performer joining forces for a sonically assaulting version of Gold Dust Woman. Excuse my language, but that was some goooooooood shit. Nothing could come after that… Except Paul McCartney. I left Hammerstein in a daze that I’m still coming down from. Dreams came true in that room for everyone onstage and off, and the only thing that’s bringing me back to reality is all the music homework that I now have to do. Any and all album donations are welcome.