28 LUPE FIASCO BY SPENCER GREENE PHOTO BY AHMAD BARBER
06 Dosa Kim 09 Toussaint 34 Nick Suarez
13 Scout Mobâ€™s Liza Dunn 14 The Fix 15 Strange Rags 16 Guide to a Come-Up 40 Skydiving Roaches 37 Strip Down
18 Japan 21 Osama Bin Laden
22 Dissent & Asscent of Swag 24 Christian Rich 26 Theophilus London 33 Megan Thomas 38 Reviews 4 greedmontpark.com updated daily
Editor’s Letter Hierarchy is one of those animalistic ideas that make people feel good and comfortable like The Simpsons re-runs and porn. Someone has to be lower, someone has to be higher and more often than not; someone has to not fit in. Explicated perfectly in the royal wedding, it was clear who was important and who was least important. However what about the cigarette-smoking lads who didn’t give a fuck, shooting water-guns at all of those silly Philip Treacy-designed hats? Sure, misfits in society. But aren’t they kings and queens in the world they made for themselves? A world made of punk-rock, spikes and cigarettes smoke that is equipped for all eccentricity. An even more personal example, in a certain part of my city, within a certain niche, I know I have power. I create things, I break things and it is all respected. Across the bridge, however, I am misunderstood and if the monglers are really colorful, I’m an abomination. I guess, only a select few individuals can see the king’s new wardrobe and maybe, that’s for the best. Who wants to go around being understood when there’s so much freedom in being misunderstood? So, here at Greedmont Park we decided to celebrate the idea of keeping your natural hair color when everyone else is on a blonde streak. We chatted with celebrated misfit, Lupe Fiasco and bubbling, Brooklyn-raised new comer, Theophilus London. We highlight events that unify us all as humans like the disaster in Japan and the killing of one of the world’s most notorious terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. Blurring the lines of who is Judas and who is Jesus by questioning all and throwing a middle-finger to anyone who dares press pause on radios. Besides, what makes one royal, a crown and scepter? What’s a misfit besides a mismatched pattern and a taste for acid jazz? It’s all perspective. Let’s work harder on making things less clear like a microscope and more varied and fluid like a kaleidoscope because that’s what life is; a confusingly beautiful mesh of the attractive and unattractive. Greedmont Park wanted to highlight those ostracized, tortured (and sometimes killed), and celebrated for being a bit left of center. I say, let them eat cake.
FOUNDERS Corey Davis, Aaron Ware EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Myles E. Johnson ART DIRECTOR Corey Davis MUSIC EDITOR Zimbabwe Kev FASHION EDITOR Destiny Manifest MARKETING + PR Lola Smalls SALES DIRECTOR Kei Henderson COVER PHOTO BY Corey Davis CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brittani Austin, Corey Davis, Gabriel Gomez, Spencer Greene, Myles E. Johnson, Brittany Julious, Fadia Kader, Hadiyah Dache Muhammad, Megan Thomas, Austin Thompson, Naturee Wells, Maria Myraine Yap CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Ahmad Barber, Mike Cooke, Corey Davis, Broderick Harvey, Naturee Wells CONTRIBUTING DESIGNERS AND ILLUSTRATORS James Daniel, Corey Davis, Alicia Ball, Leon Harmon, Joshua Hooper, Dosa Kim, Donielle Roberts COPY EDITORS Nauziela Alexander, Krystal Carter, Marisa Gordon, Meghann St. Clair ADVERTISING + SUBMISSIONS email@example.com
FOLLOW US MYLES E. JOHNSON EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
ART BY DOSA KIM
check out our blog at greedmontpark.com 5
WORDS BY COREY DAVIS ART BY DOSA KIM
Dosa Kim is guided by a belief in the marriage of technology and art, with the hope that digital art will be held with the same integrity as the Mona Lisa one day. With strong sense of community and passion for his hometown, Atlanta, GA, Dosa finds inspiration in the diverse culture and unique people there. Though he believes there a lot of trend-setting locals who go without the proper shine and exposure, he states the reason why he admires them most is because they haven’t been perverted by fame and money, “They do it for the love.” That’s where Dosa came into play with his Apparatus ATL Series. Where he illustrated more than 300 of the Atlanta’s scensters, with one goal in mind “to simply show Atlanta for what it is.” Without a doubt, Dosa Kim can be held as one of the pioneers of Atlanta’s growing art scene. How do you feel about the art scene in Atlanta I’m not really in it at the moment. Right now, I’m really focused on visual effects. Like special effects and 3-D stuff. Everything is on the way of making that digital crossover, the web is the perfect example. Now your ideas can reach so many people in an instance but if you have an artshow, only that crowd of people in attendance can see it. Look at what the web has done to music, its seamless. So my current goal is to bridge that gap. Our style of art should be in video games and movies. Usually, these corporations get hip to what we’re doing way later and they are the one’s to profit off of it. I plan on getting back into the art scene and making an impact on culture but right now I need to be a technician. How does Asian art influence you? It’s kind of funny. I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, I ‘ve been in the States all my life, and I don’t hang out with many Asian people. I don’t know if it’s a genetic thing, it’s just this twitch I have. I think it started with Hello Kitty. It’s just crazy how a vector image, something with no emotion, something so simple, can become a billion dollar empire. So I’m really fascinated with simple things. There’s something very clever, something genius about it. In a country like Ireland, they generally pass information a lot faster, so the culture is super accelerated. Where as if something cool happens, the whole island is hip to it. But in America, the cities are much more isolated, every place has it own little favor. So it’s harder to have universal appeal, if you can make it in America, you can make it anywhere because you have to transcend all these different cultures for everyone to get it. It’s one thing when people in your circle can understand it but it’s another thing when the common man off the street can understand it. That’s where genius happens. It’s like with graffiti, I love what they are doing, it’s bigger than ever but sometimes you can
get so locked in technique that you wind up only making it for the other technicians. There’s some graf writers who will transcend their genre, like Banksy, to have universal appeal. Where some of them who are technically amazing but the only people who understand it, is other graf writers. The heart should always outweigh the mind. That’s how you make masterpieces.
for more on Atlanta’s art scene visit greedmontpark.com 7
How would you define your style. Oh gees, I have no idea. There are a few types of art people are drawn to, really weird and outlandish things, masculism, and the realistic stuff. I like doing it all. I like weird. I like listening to some wierd ass music, some days I like to put on some Gucci and others I like to put on some classical. I think it’s a bad idea to pigeon-hole yourself in this day in age. Thanks to the internet your eyes are open to so many different styles. As a visual artist in today’s world it’s best to be that way, you go onto Google images and you see so much stuff. From some strange nephew to a crazy anime in Japan to some dude who just got blasted in Afghanistan. I think in the past you had to be stuck with one style, because it helped the common person identify you with that style. But now it’s more of a cop out. There can be enough hype around someone where they can see the whole arrangement of your work through all the media outlets. It’s still good to have a signature style to hook them in, but if you educate the people they will understand. Look at Cee-Lo now, he’s bigger than he’s ever been. Go back and listen to the first Goodie Mob album then to his first solo album then to Gnarls Barkley and what’s he’s doing now. What was it like being an Asian in the south? It was weird. I used to get heckled and made fun of, I had my fair share of “Ching Chong” jokes. But I wouldn’t change the experience for the world. Where I grew up there was no other Asians, so I became comfortable being with all different walks of life. I respect a lot of things. The South is a bizarre place, we’re story tellers in the south. That message may be hard hitting but it isn’t always direct, and I think that really comes through in my art. I haven’t met many other Asian people who had the same 8 greedmontpark.com for more art by Dosa Kim
experience I had, it really forced me to go outside my box and see what the world had to offer.
What does your work say about America today? A lot of my past work was racially charged, but today’s stuff is a little different. I’m so disconnected from the world because I’m more focused on technique. There’s still some stories I need to tell back home in Atlanta. There’s some talented folks who never their shot and got locked away because they are in Atlanta. I’d like to go back to the Apparatus ATL series with a multimedia approach, they was just sketchs back then, but I’d like to see them animated. The movement in Atlanta and how we influence the world needs to be documented better, I like what you guys are doing. You work with a variety of mediums, do you have a preference? I love making one-of-a-kind pieces. But to be an artist today, you have to go digital. People are always on some type of device with a screen on it everyday. It’s the different media sites that is propergating culture right now. Eventually, there will be digital art that’s going to be accepted as fine art in a universal way. Shepard work is almost there, but it is still quite physical because he has to wheat paste posters and stuff like that. Murakami is probably the closest, he did an animation, his art is living through Kanye’s videos and Louis Voutton. It did have universal appeal, but ultimately, we have yet to see this person. I am just counting the days.
WORDS BY HADIYAH DACHE PHOTOS FROM THE ARTIST PERSONAL COLLECTION
HOW HIS PHOTOGRAPHY IS BRANDING A REBELLION The images are haunting. These are raw images of teens doing all types of things their parents are more than likely disprove of. Photos of broken and bloodied limbs from skate tricks gone awry, half-naked girls who are grown enough to know how make sexually suggestive poses, but not grown enough to not get you arrested for viewing them in that way, teens experiencing their first drunken moments, the subsequent hangovers from those moments and enough blunts to make Snoop Dogg look like a novice to weed smoking. You find yourself viewing something similar to a Larry Clark film in .jpg format. Your first thought is “Where in the fuck are their parents?” At a second glance, you notice that these teens are lifestyle trendsetters. These are the teens all the corporate marketing dollars are going towards. This is evident in their clothes, the stickers bombed all over their skateboards and the music they hyped up via their blogs. They are the quintessential hypebeasts completely obsessed with Los Angeles streetwear including mainstays such as The Hundreds, Supreme and Freshjive. Then it hits you: these kids are much cooler than you were at 15 and they are also cooler than you are now, at 21. The Billboard covers those same kids are on now, the sold out shows around famed Los Angeles live music venues like the Echoplex and the incredible co-signs of your favorite music publications, rappers, producers, skateboarders and socialites give you a tinge of jealousy. All of a sudden, the misfits are fitting in. 10 greedmontpark.com for more photos by Toussaint
“I was one of the first to blog photographs of Casey Veggies, Odd Future and other kids around Los Angeles that were only known around L.A. as trendsetters or artists. It wasn’t anything special at the time, and not today either. It was just a group of people that knew each other, mostly from the internet, that started to kick it in real life,” 20-year-old photographer Toussaint Maupin explains. He is being humble, downplaying his close friendship with some of Los Angeles’ hottest young music artists and the rap group that is currently the darling of the music industry. In the past few months the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All collective (simply abbreviated to OFWGKTA) has snowballed into a massive movement sweeping the nation. Led by Tyler, The Creator, the group also consists of Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis, Mike G, Left Brain, Syd the Kid, Taco Bennett, The Super 3 and singer/songwriter Frank Ocean. If a picture is worth a thousand words then Toussaint Maupin has written volumes on Los Angeles cool culture youth movements through 100K Gold, his blog. Through his glass eye, a Nikon D3000, he has documented the rise of young, emerging artists like Casey Veggies, Anwar Carrots and Odd Future.
For all of the outsiders looking in, it seemed as if the middle-class youth of color in Los Angeles had collectively lost their minds. And unbeknownst to Maupin, he was capturing history in the making and setting trends amongst the blogosphere while doing so.
“I had a cool group of friends in high school. Hodgy Beats was my road dog, the homie Paul and Tommy. I was lonely as fuck when I transferred high schools (I had no fucking friends for like a year at the school). But I would still chill with Tyler, Hodgy, Anwar [Carrots], Casey [Veggies], etc. When I got a job at Freshjive and During his sophomore year of high school, his mother a car… my fucking life changed!” enrolled him in a black and white photography class at the Armory in Pasadena, CA. This is where he became Maupin met most of the crew the way most teens determined to become a photographer. were meeting people back in 2007: MySpace. He and Hodgy Beats actually went to school together but he “It was the most eye opening shit that happened to was introduced to Left Brain and Tyler through the then me at that age [or], so far. Ever since then, I’ve been popular social networking site. From there, everything perfecting my craft,” says Maupin, “Photography gave just fell into place, he says. me a chance to capture surroundings and freeze frame them. I could also share my surroundings and how I “I would always have a camera with me and always saw my world through my photographs.” capture moments of our culture and of our lifestyle. I am happy [Odd Future] is spreading their art around He shared them via Blogspot at first. Just posting a the world. I’m not apart of Odd Future in any way, but bunch of photographs without providing any com- that is definitely family,” Maupin says. mentary on what was being shown. It’s a style of photoblogging made popular by other indie photographers It seems odd that Maupin would have such close like Maupin, most notably Switch from Everything You friends he considered to be family. He grew up the only Love To Hate and The Arab Parrot. Now 100k Gold has child coming from a very upwardly-mobile, artistic moved to the more popular photoblogging platform, household. His mother, Barbara DuMetz, is a photogTumblr. His most popular photographs now are the rapher who has done commercial work for Coca-Cola ones of his high school chums, quite a few of whom and Delta. In fact, Maupin credits her as the reason he are apart of OFWGKTA. even sparked an interest in the medium. greedmontpark.com 11
“The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. [My mother] was always giving me disposable Kodak cameras to play around with,” says Maupin. His father is Bennie Maupin, the famed jazz bass clarinetist who plays alongside Miles Davis on the “Bitches Brew” album and is a founding member of The Headhunters, a band led by Herbie Hancock. When you ask Maupin about his inspirations he is quick to respond with one word: music. Once you take that into account, it then seems fitting that he’d become this visual historian of a new musical movement. His other inspirations include fashion photography, film and art. “Hype Williams feature film Belly really helped me find my vision of what I want to portray in my photographs and which angles to shoot, effects, etc. I also look to old shit like Egyptian art, Leonardo Da Vinci and other historic artist. History is key to creation,” Maupin says. Photographers that have really caught his attention include Shawn Mortensen, Edward Muybridge and Dave LaChappelle. The seemingly amateur photos of Odd Future, Casey Veggies and the like helped to launch his career as a professional photographer. He shot the cover of rap -per Dom Kennedy’s FutureStreet/ DrugSounds mixtape, and even saw two of his
photographs blogged on Hypebeast.com. Last year, he shot the Summer 2010 look book for Fearless Weirdos, a boutique in Atlanta, GA. As for his blog, he’s getting his fair share of reblogs on Tumblr and becoming a bit of an internet celebrity in his own right. Toussaint Maupin is, without a doubt, upon the heels of success. When asked about seeing his images duplicated across hundreds of websites, he says, “It’s a huge accomplishment for my style but a downfall when it comes to politics. I did a lot of free shit when I was younger because I didn’t know the business side of art. I won’t lie, at first I was a little pissed off about my style being jocked. But I was the first one with it. So fuck those losers that have no style.” Maupin prides himself on originality and values creativity and individualism. He’s different but he’s not blatantly trying to be different. He’s different because he was exposed to different things growing up. He’s different because his interests stray from the mainstream. And he’s different because he is showing us all something different. While the majority looks at the subjects in his photographs as misfits and weirdos, he recognizes their potential as trendsetters and leaders of the new cool. And his perception isn’t off so look closely.
WORDS BY COREY DAVIS PHOTOS BY MIKE COOKE STYLE BY DESTINY MANIFEST
This is Liza Dunn, she is one of those so-called rare Atlanta natives, who grew up in Marietta and as a child thought “Little 5 Points was one of the mosting interesting places I’ve ever seen.” After graduating from UGA with a degree in Journalism /Advertising, she eventually moved to LA to pursue her career, only to realize how much she missed the South. A few years ago she teamed up with some friends to build a new brand, an app called Scoutmob that offers free daily deals and gives editorial coverings of local happenings via mobile devices. Where users can search for deals while they’re out and about on their cellphone, “kind of like a compass for local deals.” Where did the idea come? It was spawned off Dave and Michael’s WiFi platform for local restaurants and bars called Skyblox. They started strategizing new ways to get customers’ attention beyond free internet right around the time this little phenomenon of daily deals was forming. I came on at this point to create the brand, and we realized that if we got people’s attention in the form of deals, we might as well take the time to entertain them and promote the local folks we’re actually excited about. What was the process of building the brand like in the beginning.... It was a lot of days spent at Octane throwing ideas around and a lot of late nights in our underground cave wondering if those ideas would stick after we came down from our caffeine high. What was the biggest obstacle you encountered? The obstacle we knew we’d have to deal with from the start was how to differentiate ourselves from the throngs of daily deal sites that started popping up. Another was how to make sure businesses didn’t look at us as a kind of online clearance aisle for their brand. Great restaurants and proud chefs work extremely hard maintaining their reputation, so we didn’t want them to feel like we were coming in to put a big, ugly discount sticker on their foreheads. Tell us a little bit about the ScoutMob office, whats the workspace like? Luckily, we just outgrew our original space, Dave’s old loft in Castleberry, affectionately referred to as “The Dungeon.” We moved last week into a pretty sweet new office on the Westside, we’ve got a dozen local street artists to put some work up on the walls. Disco balls have been ordered. The ping pong table is on its way and already the shit-talking is pretty rabid. Even with all the new space, we’ve made it a point to make sure most of our desks are really close and we can still be within spitball distance of each other. How many employees do you guys currently have? As of yesterday, 29 in three cities. That’ll probably change by tomorrow. iPhone vs Droid? iPhone fo’ life! I don’t care if the Droid gets the ability to print money and teleport me across the world. I’ll probably be a Mac addict ‘til I die. What is the future for apps? Apps seem to have become a lifeline for just about anything. We already use them to keep up with friends and consume all media. Soon we’ll be paying for everything with ‘em too. I’ll probably never be an Angry Birds or gaming kind of gal, but I’m all for some crazy shit like an app that will drive my car for me or birth some babies. You know, practical stuff. What advice do you have for anyone wishing to develop a new App? Find a network of developers and entrepreneurs and creative thinkers who you respect and trust, and bounce those ideas off everyone. If you’re a developer, find someone that can help you with your brand and give it a personality. If you’re an idea guy, find someone that can help you execute. It’s all about collaboration. The more motley your crew, the better. VEST BY GREEDY VINTAGE $24
WORDS BY BRITTANY JULIOUS ART BY JAMES DANIEL
Explaining HowThe Outsiders Dress
There are still people for which everything is in its place. My sister is one of them. At a company holiday party, she wore a black and gold one-shoulder dress that hugged her fit frame and flattered accordingly. She always looks good and just right. Nothing - including the clothing on her body - is out of place. There are still people like her out there, many in fact. But, if you’re are like me and find yourself with folks who self-identify as left of center, the proportions begin to take on a life of their own, lengthening downwards and expanding outwards. Our clothing is a manifestation of an interiority that aims to grasp, to touch as much of the world around us and experience it first hand. It is an acknowledgement of a hunger for more.
A misfit is something of the wrong size or shape for its purpose. The idea of the misfit has been used, abused, and transformed into a visual and fashionable form of rebellion, a potent symbolism for an increasingly maladjusted and communication-deficient generation. The easiest way someone can show the world that they are rebellious, or at least just a little bit different, is to appropriate anti-choices in clothing. If first impressions are everything, then a misshapen clothing item or accessory is now the quickest way of letting the world know that “something” about you (political views, musical tastes, life goals) is left of center. By wearing high water pants, one is telling the world around them that their interiority, the aspect of the individual that can only be truly communicated from the individual in question, is far A month or two ago, I attended an overstuffed party more nuanced than the average person on the street. consumed with young adults, probably a year or My life as a black woman is an understated rebellion two younger than me, but demonstrably different of stereotypes. What I pursue is a selfhood not readin terms of manner and goals. My sweaters drip ily available based on my physicality. But I am also around my limbs, a lifeless excess of cloth. But these human, a visual creature. Although I aim for indepenpartygoers were dressed to increasingly stardarddence from the rules and rituals of my appearance, I ized extremes: glasses oversized to the point of satstill look at the people and the world around me with ire, t-shirts that skim the ground and collect bundles 23 years of truths, half-truths, and downright lies. I of lint. None of it was practical, but it made for a still see a man in a business suit and assume that he dramatic presentation. is successful and accomplished. I still see a preppy young woman and view her as childish and spoiled. Fashion is boldness, and to wear something specific They don’t need to tell me who they are. I have relied and extreme is an active statement of one’s boldto much on my frequently incorrect beliefs to abanness. At least, this is my interpretation. I often find don them when faced with a world unlike me. it is most difficult to expound at length about any one subject - whether it be art or music or current And it is this practice, of seeing and then knowing, events - with the people I find most experimental, that helps strengthen the connection between the most misfit, in their fashion choices. This is not a misfit and the individual. By wearing mens’ loafers, I criticism of their personal aesthetic but an indict- am participating in the game and following the rules ment of stereotypes and first impressions. of who I want people to think I am. greedmontpark.com 15
Greedmont’s Guide To A Come Up
THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD EVER GET BY FADIA KADER
1 Don’t M a k e Excuses. If something goes wrong, never blame anyone but yourself. Acknowledge your mistake then remedy the situation immediately. When becoming apart of a project always take on full responsibility for it, so you’re less likely to place blame on others and take control of the situation. Excuses never change anything. 2 Never Steal Someone’s Contacts. In any form, especially emails. You can get Alex Gidewon’s email list and Diddy’s assistant’s Rolodex. If you don’t work to build that list, you wont be able to ever be able to work it. It’s only spam in their eyes. Although, I can admit snatching contacts from emails that come without a BCC. Sorry, at least I admit it. 3 Don’t Hoard Good Ideas. Put everthing you got out there. It forces you to grow and replenish more dope ideas. If you don’t, then you can become dependent on this one notion, and once you put it out there your well has run dry. Ideas are universal, if you don’t manifest on it soon someone else will. New ideas will either be seen as ludicrous or strange, but if people can’t put a title on it that means it doesn’t exist and your’e doing something progressive. If you don’t make mistakes, then you probably aren’t making anything at all. Take risks. 4 Always Be Aware Of the 6 Degrees Of Separation. In this day and age its more like one degree of separation. With that being said, be wise on how you use people’s names and what you have done with them, for them and so on. Those you are trying to get in business with always fact check, so if we are in the same field, same lane, the truth will come out about what your background is. Networking with people is like applying for a job. If you come to the table talking all that “I’m on my shit” talk and how you were apart of “that” concert, how you have access to “that” person and how you can get “that” job done. Reminder asshole. If they were smart people thinking of going into business with anyone, they will fact check. Even if you leave one scene and go to another scene or move to another city. This is the entertainment industry. We all know the same people. 5 Focus On The Positive And Ignore The Negative. Find out what you’re doing right and try to exaggerate it. Learn to avoid pessimists, who usually fail to see the brighter side of the picture. Misery is contagious. 6 Be A Proper Opportunist. It’s human nature. We all thrive for the opportunity to get a pinkie toe in the door, be a step closer to success , or simply just be able to sit behind the screen door and breathe the same air as someone that you admire and their accomplishments on the other side where the grass is greener. 7 Be Still. Don’t go for the glory, seek criticism. Some freinds can be the worst people to get honest adivce from, they tend to say what you want to hear instead of being critical. You want everything you put out there to be your best. If a client approaches you with a project you aren’t particularly passionate about, make sure you give it your all. We are always waiting for that perfect opportunity to come and that hard;y ever happens, but you never know who’s watching. 8 Be Passionate. All you can do at the end of the day is be as passionate as you can possibly be in anything that you do for yourself or someone else. It’s okay to aim beyond what you are capable of and push yourself. Nothing is impossible. But remember not to promise anything you can’t deliver. 9 Create a Vision Board. To help collect your ideas and put them in perspective. Build a collage to surround yourself with images of your goals and desires. We all get mental blocks, and need time to to recharge. Be sure to take breaks from technology and appreciate nature and the environment around you to soak in new ideas. Listen to some music and go through a magazine to find images of things that gravitate towards you.
â€œNuclear power plants are, next to nuclear warheads themselves, the most dangerous devices that man has ever created.â€? -Patrick Moore 18 greedmontpark.com
The workers at Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan absorbed dangerous levels of radiation and sacrificed themselves for the good of their country and reminded us what it means to serve. During World War II, two cities in Japan were annihilated by the first atomic bombs ever used in combat by the U.S. military. Over a hundred thousand people were killed and human history was changed forever. Japan was then redeveloped by the United States and transformed from its traditional origins. After the war Japan became a test tube baby for U.S. capitalists who transformed the country from a feudal Empire into both an economic powerhouse and the biggest cluster fuck of greed and hedonism on the planet. Following decades of capitalist development Japan today is an experiment in relentless consumerism, unfettered sexual expression, drugs and underground crime syndicates rivaling the power and influence of many governments in the world. The youth of Japan in large cities have been zombies of mindless materialism, finding their life’s purpose in the accumulation of things. None of this has made Japanese people any happier of course. The country has some of the highest suicide rates in the world. Ironically, after having suffered the worlds first nuclear attack, Japan also started building nuclear reactors of it’s own for energy purposes. The old days of honor, duty and sacrifice were replaced with an unofficial religion of individual self satisfaction. The samurai went from a pillar of traditional Japanese institutions and virtues to fictional expressions of our insatiable appetite for senseless violence as entertainment. From cartoons to video games, the samurai has been transformed from a symbol of all things sacred to just another thrill alongside under the counter prescription pills and porno. In fact, so remote is the traditional samurai from modern Japan, Hollywood had to cast a white American man (Tom Cruise) to play the “Last Samurai”. When a tragic earthquake struck Japan earlier this year suddenly everything, the economy, capitalist way of life, came to a halt. The destruction caused by the initial quake and the resulting tsunami was among the worst ever as thousands lost their lives, homes and other possessions. But perhaps the most freighting aspect of the entire ordeal was the 20 greedmontpark.com for more on Japan
serious damage caused to a nuclear reactor which caught the intention of all of humanity. The potential meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station threatened the whole country with another nuclear disaster after the U.S bombing campaign to end the war. It also forced a return to the traditional values that had been abandoned in better times. As surrounding communities were forced to evacuate, 50 workers fearlessly remained, facing the extreme dangers of nuclear radiation and putting their own lives on the line in order to protect others from an event of catastrophic proportions. For weeks, the workers at Fukushima absorbed high levels of radiation, away from their families or friends. While the attention of the international news focused on the impending disaster, the workers at Fukushima struggled to prevent the worse around the clock. Many saw the moment as the epitome of our worse fears but missed the real story and it’s meaning for the Japanese and us here in America. The heroism of the workers at the Fukushima reactor was a testament to our capacity as human beings to overcome our worst fears in the name of service and self-sacrifice. In a world where greed and ruthless competition seem to have long replaced traditional values of collective responsibility, selflessness, and duty the events at Fukushima suggest that these things are recoverable-although it may take an existential threat like nuclear disaster to do so. It also revived the example of the samurai with their courage and sense of duty in the face of danger which had been forgotten for so long. Together, under the most extreme conditions the workers were able to keep the plant functioning and avoided a meltdown until more people could take their place. Despite propaganda from its exponents, Nuclear power is dangerous and nearly impossible to contain under extreme circumstances. With an international push to wean ourselves from dependence on oil, the construction of nuclear power plants is an ever attractive option for some. However, the lesson from Japan is that the potential risks of nuclear meltdown to society far outweigh the benefits. To stop the construction of nuclear reactors, it will take the selfless and courageous actions of youth around the world to follow in the spirit of the workers at Fukushima.
WORDS BY MYLES E. JOHNSON ART BY JOSHUA HOOPER
Osama Bin Laden
DEAD OR DEAD: HOW OSAMA BIN LADEN MET HIS DEMISE Osama Bin Laden’s death is soaked in cinematic soul beginning with the C.I.A that spent the better part of ten years searching for the villain that’s responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. In true super villain fashion, he sends the heroes threatening videos of his diabolical plan to take over the world. Instead of asking for billions of dollars in trade for the safety of innocent people, our demise is imminent if we left our fate in Osama Vader’s hands. He was the evil mind that makes new-born babies go silent, one that is not driven by life’s vices like sex (despite the porn and whores they found in his home), money, or real-estate. Evil for evils sake, if you will, there was no reasoning with this monster; he had an outrageous thirst for capitalistic, pilgrim blood. Alas, there were the champs fighting the good fight! In came the Spartans! God-fearing, ass-kicking, freedom-peddling marine warriors with a G.I. Joe kung-fu action grip. With a solitary mission in mind: Kill them. Kill them real good and let God sort them out. Like true secret agents, these gentlemen with licenses to kill assembled a mock version of Osama’s evil lair that mimics something out of a MasterP video circa ’98.
With intense ninja-like training, they practiced this beat down for nearly a year on a strict diet of hamburgers, milkshakes, and bald, blonde vaginas. The strenuous plotting eventually turned into the tour de force that climaxed into the great avenger’s invasion. They burst in like a group of Al Capone’s hitmen on steroids, guns blazing, shooting first and asking questions later. One of his henchmen pulls one of their sex-slave seductresses to use her as a human shield, leaving her middle-eastern regalia hole-ridden and dirty with blood. Bin Laden in his final act of terror towards democracy refuses to give up and reaches for who knows what at the time. And KA-BLAM! There’s a hole in his forehead. Instead of falling to his knobby knees, he struggles to keep grasp of his pathetic life. His dingy, white turban turns ruby red with the remainders of his medulla oblongata decorating the fresh carpet.The mansion that was once home of religious zealots and plots of terror has turned into a bullet ridden death zone. The dirty crusaders stick a American flag in the deceased terrorist to exhibit what happens when you fuck with the U.S. of A. Tarantino, eat your heart out. more politics at greedmontpark.com 21
WORDS BY GABRIEL GOMEZ ART BY DONIELLE ROBERTS “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school!”, screams Tyler repeatedly, filling everyone’s already-throbbing ear drums with a line that many would affiliate with some sort of modern age adolescent terrorist movement. This is the second New York show for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, the tight-knit music crew of skate-rat teens from Los Angeles. From a perch, I gape in awe at Santos Party House’s massive moshpit of juveniles, thrashing in violent unison while the adults & reviewers, equipped with peacoats and notepads (who were repeatedly cursed out and threatened by the clan on stage) stand timidly in the back, wide eyed and bushy tailed. “I’m fucking radical, I’m motherfucking radical!” Tyler disappears into the crowd, his fists flailing at any fan, person, or thing that came in contact with them. Terry Richardson had a hard time keeping his jaw from dropping. Dame Dash didn’t know how the fuck to respond. Mos Def compulsively shouts “SWAG! SWAG! FREE EARL!”. And I was terrified. Simultaneously, I was enthralled and inspired. I was witnessing a handful of rebels making history. Rebellion is in our nature and history. Amidst all of our adolescent heydays when mommy told us ‘don’t do that!’ we still in fact did it. Or at least really, really wanted to, if your mom had the ability to petrify you as much as mine did and probably still does. To go against the grain is something that roots back to our most wonderful and honest childish instincts. The most acclaimed and recognized artists are hailed for breaking grounds, as well as rule, exploring fresh, new (and often risqué) territory. The resulting fascination it sparks in the world makes them major players in the propelling of these avant-gardists. This couldn’t be more relevant to the three artists that have broken rules and records this year with their quirk and rebellion. Each could be considered a genre within themselves, a true standout in their respective attempts at creating. Odd Future, Lil B, and Wiz Khalifa, although all falling into the extensive breed of modern hip-hop artists, the three couldn’t be more diverse. When I first heard the Odd Future movement it gave me that disquieting feeling I get whenever I eat a Granny Smith apple too fast. Harmless, but a tad sour and undeniably present. It wasn’t until my third hour of researching and listening to the crew that I was able to sit back from my computer and inquire into the situation for a moment. What was so goddamn intriguing? Then I realized, what wasn’t intriguing? They screamed at me in songs. They playfully threw in lines about Ellen Degeneres’ clitoris and it’s fear of penis. I was on my fifth or sixth round of watching their shocking, stomach-turning homemade music videos that look like amateur skate videos from a Los Angeles Hell and I couldn’t stop. They’re a walking, talking Larry Clark film. It was a breath of fresh air that was ironically ripe with sweet, disgruntle disposition, and graphic lyrics. Finally, a bunch of kids weren’t giving any sort of fuck. They were going for it, being the crazed, manic, trouble-makers that they were. And underneath it all, a true listener could hear the immense amount of talent, skill, and creativity within their form. Exactly a year ago, Odd Future had the faintest YouTube fan-base imaginable. Now with every label selling their first born for a taste of what the Wolf Gang has to offer, we’re witnessing one of the quickest come-ups in music history. And with the crew’s eyes set on nothing short of a Grammy, they’re not stopping. Lil’ B The Based God would probably want to leave this paragraph completely blank because of how based it would be. The guy is the hailed king of hip-hop eccentricity. Hailing from Berkley, Lil B has been indie pendently releasing mixtape after mixtape after mixtape to the bloggersphere, chockfull of bizarre, hilarious, and downright unconventional tracks such as “I’m God”, “Rich Bitch”, “Swag On My Dick”, “Wonton Soup” and the list goes on and on.
Log onto his Youtube account and you’ll find a massive number of self-directed music video components for those songs, all with hundreds of thousands of views. He single-handedly resurrected the term “swag”. When one thinks of the average Hip Hop artist, they’re pretty packed to the brim with testosterone, confidence, and bragging. Based God has all of this, but it’s the way he channels it that really makes him a unique connoisseur of weirdness. He’s a heterosexual male that refers to himself as a “pretty bitch”. His infamous tweets are constantly written in third person, or are just strange and overt personal inquiries (i.e., “Retweet this if you got a hairy butt. Don’t lie.”). His lyrics are overcrowded with guns, violent facial fornication [“cause I look like her husband”], and sheer crudeness, and yet he’s an authority in the promotion of positivity, contentedness, lack of judgment, and acceptance. He’s an iconoclast singlehandedly poking fun at the conspicuous pensiveness of rap. At his Highline Ballroom show I witnessed a kid in the front row literally throw his girlfriend on stage, begging Lil B to “have her”. His shows are less of concerts and more-so religious congregations, the audience filled with spatulawhipping, chef hat-wearing, feet-kissing disciples. What he’s doing is remarkable. Never before has someone flipped the rap game so hard on it’s back, making us all cock our heads more and more with every step of his career. When people tell me they don’t like Lil B, I simply come to the conclusion that they just don’t understand his movement, instead of getting upset. You know, just pity the non-believers. If these rappers were at high school, then Wiz Khalifa is the popular jock unknowingly spreading syphilis on campus. Wiz Khalifa [and his spectacular management and P.R. team] rose to the top by gradually working their way into the hearts of every stoner and hip-hop-hippie under the age of 30. An undeniable pioneer of manipulating college campuses to gain popularity, Wiz not only found his niche in the underground and undergrad teen scene, but he embodied it. Quickly flipping his gun-toting, baggy shirt-wearing image, he became the fresh musical voice of something that needed a new poster boy: weed. Weed, weed, and more weed with a side dish of champagne and bitches (although timeless and untouchable, Snoop Dogg isn’t exactly a spring chicken). Smart, thought-out career choice? Maybe. Representative of his daily life? Definitely. Who could blame the kid? At heart, he’s a whimsical, joyous stoner who acted as a personable periodical; what he saw, he reported. It just so happened to be the day-to-day dream of many, many, youngins across the globe. But now they had a voice, equipped with infectious hooks and an exclusive club (the Taylor Gang) that they could all be apart of. Way of entry? Simply by not being “a lame”. Wiz played the role of their naughty big brother who gets away with everything and still gets the car on his birthday. The self-acclaimed potstar’s fame, money, and every privilege in between started coming in droves. This created an inevitably-successful, massscale hybrid; a hiphop artist with a musical ear, effortlessly rhyming about everything adolescent & parent-unfriendly, all with a pop-y appeal, and the insanely loyal fan base of an underground superstar. He’s rapidly become the voice of the average American rebel-teen hypebeast by doing what he wants, making what he likes, and being himself, no matter how typically “unacceptable” it is. Sounds like a rebel to me. If there’s one thing that Odd Future, Lil B, and Wiz Khalifa advocate through their art it’s that the norm just doesn’t cut it anymore. With the undeniable establishment of the internet’s role in the modern music industry, it allows for every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a computer to obtain any single bit of content that they desire. iTunes is as simple as clapping your hands. Not really feeling this song? Skip it. Uncheck it so it doesn’t mess with the album’s flow. Hell, delete it from the album. People’s attention spans are at an all-time low. New music comes out every single day. Lil B has self-released hundreds upon hundreds of free songs via Myspace, Datpiff, and other assorted blogs. It’s a brand new age. Trying something fresh, unique, and downright different is a grueling necessity to obtaining relevance; maintaining it is even harder. It’s the artists that wake up every morning with the intent to turn heads that will truly have a chance. It’s the songs about drugs, rape, and looking like Jesus. It’s not only shunning the popular normality but grabbing it by the neck and ripping it’s fucking head to shreds. It’s rebellion that makes a difference. “To sit down in a dull room and compose The Anatomy of Melancholy does not make headlines or news flashes.” - Anthony Burgess, 1986. Swag.
WORDS BY BRITTANI AUSTIN ART BY COREY DAVIS
Songs are like music rehearsals for the ears in daily doses of much needed, none-the-less, anticipated medicine. Therapeutic thoughts while listening to good music are pleasing enough to get through long days, and longer nights if you’re lucky! Too many music fans live in black and white with music selection. Not enough dream in color. Those of us here at Greedmont Park live vividly in dramatic, bold colors, as should you. Music heads, correction: people who genuinely love dope music appreciate each and every aspect of a song. From the hardest yet most solid part of music production to the finishing touches of a sweet chorus, music fanatics listen to music because it entails a fairy tale experience for those three minutes and forty-nine seconds of just one song. By ‘color’, I’m suggesting that the listener envisions a loud thought in a creative land of la la that fulfills so much life like an instant high. Listening to a song that makes you feel a certain way allows your energy to paint a pretty, little picture of your imagination. Christian Rich allows your mind to go certain places- anywhere far from visiting nonconforming places too. Good production plus strong djing plus nice vocals equals two great artists, and one dangerous combination. The twin brothers rely on their ingenuity and energy for a successful future. Making music with artists like P. Diddy, Lupe Fiasco, and Mick Boogie puts the duo in a comfortable, proud position within the industry. Shae Haley, N.E.R.D.’s cipher completion, carries Christian Rich under his strong wing of guidance as a mentor and manager. “He’s a great business partner and knows how to kick it,” says Ken from Christian Rich. The twins creativity grows from a stem off of Mr. Haley’s tree of knowledge on freedom of expression, and the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. It’s truly a beautiful sight to envision teacher and student, artist and manager, friend and friend. “The best teacher has money,” continues Ken about his relationship with his manager. As young men and as artists, I have to give respect where credit is due and to be
quite frank- that’s amazing business background experience! There’s something about great producers with an incredible, passionate ear to create hot beats- especially with a hit of drums. Christian Rich, MF DOOM and Kanye West definitely check into their African authenticity to assist with crazy drum patterns in the makings of their songs. Taiwo “Christian” Hassan and Kehinde “Rich” Hassan of Christian Rich, interpret the sound of congos from their Nigeria ancestry to bring drums to life in the studio. Daniel “Metal Face” Dumile is naturally talented with blending different drum sets into an always original sound. He can thank his Zimbabwean father for the skill. As for Kanye, he may not descend directly from African blood but his father, Ray West, holds righteous ownership as a former Black Panther. Instilled with a hard mind, Ye’s knowledge with percussion samples makes him totally tied to the motherland’s roots. It’s a tough world we survive today, especially with so much commercial music but faith continues to guide this inclined ear to nonconformists such as Christian Rich. Waiting to collaborate with artists such as Kings of Leon and the Phoenix, the two brothers just want to learn from the best teachers in the industry. “Patience with creation of music and business moves is something I can improve on,” says Ken of the group. “There’s nothing I can’t have,” continues the artist. Nonconforming (might I add daring) artists continue to do their thing the original way to seek better long-term success, as Christian Rich will continue to pave the way. Strong and positive minds reassure the two brothers’ genuineness of characters-“Put me with mud and I can build a home.” When Greedmont Park inquired what upsets Christian Rich the most, the best possible answer was given-“I don’t like to think about what upsets me,” says Ken. Now, you see why we love Christian Rich. check out Christian Rich’s music at greedmontpark.com 25
This is London
THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND HIS STARDOM 26 greedmontpark.com for performance clips from theophilus london
WORDS BY MYLES E. JOHNSON PHOTOS BY NATUREE WELLS
I’m currently taking a psychology class that is aiding me to learn about the human mind and social interaction. A few things are being learned and plenty of my ideas are just being confirmed. She’s crazy, he’s evil. Basically, psychology is a way for me to have some kind of backings to my harsh judgments about people. The bigger picture with me is always pop culture. I apply everything I learn back into popular culture and that includes psychology. My talk with the hipster sensation, Theophilus London, was expected to be a standard interview with a budding electro-rapper. Instead, it turned into a crashcourse of fame and what it does to some people’s minds.
(and growing brand) centers around the four-letter word. “Love is so complex, that’s why I write about. I’m still trying to figure out what it is exactly. I can’t necessarily tell you what it is.” Fair enough, Theophilus. Theophilus London has a thrifty taste in clothes, specifically centered on early 90’s habits desperate to resurrect themselves. When looking at the tall, dark charmer and his various outfits, you know that he knows exactly what he’s doing. Theophilus obviously cares about style. He even is collaborating on a line with another clothing brand to produce hats. When asked about clothes, he didn’t hesitate reminding anyone of gracing magazines like GQ or Elle. He did try to downplay his obvious love of fashion (maybe, to come off as having more substance and less effort). “I like expressing myself through different fits, different colors [...] they care about clothes which makes me care about clothes.” Interesting, I’m not sure who “they” is, however. Supporters? Management? Stylists? Little elves in his head? It’s painfully honest that like most members of the hipster persuasion, that looking good means a lot to him, even if it appears that it doesn’t. Not even when complimented on his high-energy performances does he open up without seeming quite robotic and bland. “I have a routine. I’ve been performing for a long time. I just want to reach out and talk to the people.”
I don’t know Theophilus London. I do know his music. He emerged with his first mixtape, JAM!, but gained steam with This Charming Mixtape. He was born into a loving Brooklyn, New York family that nurtured his high energy and creative nature. “It was good. [It was] Very interactive, cousins to play with.” Everything began to blow-up after he released the greatly received, “I Want you”. A hybrid of electronic pop and hip-hop soul, it was an exciting introduction to the man. Lover’s Holiday is a finely curated ride through sounds of the woes of love and the fantasies of passion. “It’s a five song album about flying overseas, dreams of going to Paris.” This is London’s first time crafting an effort that is bound to jumpstart him from hipster celebrity to solidified buzzworthy artist. “‘Lover’s Holiday’ is a professionally The responses to the rest of my questions seemed to have recorded studio album. It’s a very serious production.” been lifted from ‘Public Relations 101’. Sure, they were boring and disappointing. But in psychology, one of the When asking about Theophilus’ new music, it was the first things they teach you is that when dealing with any most talkative the artist got through the entire conversa- subject, the majority of the time it isn’t what they say but tion. He was stuck between awkward artist and snotty what they omit. Theophilus London’s calculated responscelebrity, which made everything less fluid. Theophilus’ es might be the sign that he is a ticking time bomb. He’s a reluctant behavior to deep-dive into conversation made wild artist on the verge of saying something world-shifting one re-think his all-welcoming persona. When appear- and career-ending. Theophilus London might be a Kanye ing in Atlanta, he interacted with the crowd and stayed to West put to an electro-beat (oh, wait. That’s still Kanye sign items. A gesture of niceness could now be taken as West). London might be spitfire full of avant-garde views an ego stroke. Does Theophilus love his supporters or is that could bury his career before it’s even properly birthed. he on a mission to seem like the biggest celebrity that he Or maybe he’s just a bore or a jerk. Either way, his music could be seen as. The only time I felt a true sense of sin- does make up for the personality that his conversations cerity from Theophilus London, besides when I referred lacked. This is London, take him or leave him. Something to his music, was when I asked him about love. It was an does tell me, that the world won’t be able to leave him appropriate line of questioning considering that his music alone if he could only charm his way into their hearts first.
THE MANIFESTATION OF A REVOLUTION WORDS BY SPENCER GREENE PHOTOS BY COREY DAVIS
With the release of his third studio album, LASERS, Lupe Fiasco not only adapted a more universal sound, but he set out to transform himself as an artist. His new album came with a bolder message, a new outlook on life, and a slew of different creative goals for Lupe. Greedmont Park had the chance to sit with Lupe and pick his brain on everything ranging from him battling depression, to him picking up the art of DJing, to his stance on politics and community revolution.
different punk rock bands and was inspired by the message of classic punk bands to make his new project more than just another album. Lupe explained the similarities between punk rock and Hip Hop. “They all come from the same place, come from struggle. If you look at punk rock coming out of London in the late 70s, it was decrepit, terrible situations. compare that to the birth of Hip Hop, in the Bronx, at the same time it was the same way.”
Lupe came to Atlanta on what seemed to be a promotional tour, but we discussed much more than his album. After a couple laughs, we jumped right into the message and purpose of his new album LASERS. Before listening to any music, Lupe gave an in depth look into the L.A.S.E.R.S manifesto.
Coming out of depression, he took the Black Panther Party Manifesto and formed his own. Starting with the title of his album, an acronym meaning: Love Always Shines Every time Remember to Smile. It started out as a way for Lupe to cope with his issues, reminding himself to smile. Behind a dark pair of shades sat an artist who had gone through a transformation. I Lupe explained how in between his last album and his listened to the passion in his voice as he recited his new release, he had gone through the normal music Manifesto. industry bullshit, as well as personal problems. He battled with depression, thoughts of suicide, and in- Lupe reads it to me with as much candor as he had sanity. He spent time working with and listening to conviction while sipping a bottled water:
“TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD: WE WANT AN END TO THE GLAMORIZATION OF NEGATIVITY IN THE MEDIA. WE WANT AN END TO STATUS SYMBOLS DICTATING OUR WORTH AS INDIVIDUALS. WE WANT A MEANING AND UNIVERSAL EDUCATION SYSTEM. WE WANT NOT COMPROMISE WHO WE ARE TO BE ACCEPTED BY THE CROWD. WE WANT THE INVISIBLE WALLS THAT SEPARATE BY WEALTH, RACE AND CLASS TO BE TORN DOWN. WE WANT TO THINK OUR OWN THOUGHTS. WE WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT. WE WANT CLARITY AND TRUTH FROM OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS OR THEY SHOULD MOVE ASIDE… WE WILL NOT LOSE BECAUSE WE ARE NOT LOSERS, WE ARE LASERS… LASERS ARE REVOLUTIONARY. LASERS ARE THE FUTURE.” In explaining the points in his manifesto while adjusting his fitted hat over the sounds of his fresh beats for an upcoming project, the first thing he pointed out was the importance of education and knowledge. He started by admitting he barely finished high school and never had intentions on going to college. However, the form of education he spoke about was the same kind Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Dead Prez and Wu Tang Clan spoke about early in their careers. He gave insight into how you can use Hip-Hop intellectually and in a revolutionary way, while taking off his jacket and adjusting himself more comfortably in his seat. “School for some, education for everybody!” was the motto he used to explain why forcing knowledge onto students who don’t function under a particular learning style could be harmful. His words touch the mind of every youth whose nature it is to rebel, which is also the universal, underlying consciousness of Hip-Hop. I sat in awe of Lupe’s new approach. He then broke down lyrics in his single, “Words I Never Said” As the music played, Lupe mouthed the lyrics, closing his eyes and reliving each line. He could’ve cared less about my feedback on the song, he wanted to explain his message, going on about “new media activism,” duality, and politics. Using the events in 30 greedmontpark.com
Egypt to make his point, he said, “Our comfort in this country means death and destruction in other countries. What tipped the scale in the middle-east wasn’t the 30 years of oppression, it was the food prices sky rocketing.” Though it seemed as if Lupe was traveling further away from his album (even as his album was in mid-play), he explained his goal to use this project to spark an intellectual debate between the minds that thirst for answers and the powers that be. From the outside looking in, Lupe has done a great job with subtly spreading positive, revolutionary messages with his last two albums. LASERS posses more of an in-your-face style that would make Public Enemy’s Chuck D proud. Though more political and socially conscious, LASERS is more commercial and pop, sonically, gaining Lupe a bigger audience. “Some of the songs are really controversial, political, social commentary, conceptual; the one song that I think embodies all of that on the record is All Black Everything,” Lupe said. He explains the song as a journey where he goes through the history of the African American experience, distorted in a dream of his. He further explores the possibility of slavery never happening and how that would alter our entire existence.
IF YOU LOOK AT PUNK ROCK COMING OUT OF LONDON IN THE LATE 70S, IT WAS DECREPIT, TERRIBLE SITUATIONS. COMPARE THAT TO THE BIRTH OF HIP HOP, IN THE BRONX, AT THE SAME TIME IT WAS THE SAME WAY. more on Lupe Fiasco at greedmontpark.com 31
With this album, Lupe ventured into different genres and pushed his limits as an artist. Still being further inspired by punk rock bands, he decided to start one of his own. Japanese Cartoon is Lupe’s way of expanding as a musician. “I had to step out of being Lupe Fiasco and just really be the lead singer for Japanese Cartoon. It’s a punk band, but it’s really more for me to do whatever I want,” Lupe said anxiously with a slight glitter of excitement is his eye. He has complete and absolute creative control over the group and the music. A win for someone so hell-bent on freedom of expression. Japanese Cartoon is just the start of start of Lupe pushing his creative envelope. He explained how he started DJing under the alter-ego, Sound Clash. Lupe started DJing professionally about six months ago, still learning the art of scratching and cutting. But he prides himself on having a good ear that helps him become a better D.J. He linked up with his friend Sky who has been DJing professionally for years and decided to form a group.
“Hopefully as we progress we want to do our own music and our own remixes,” Lupe said as he prepares for their upcoming first show as Sound Clash at Brooklyn Bowl in New York. Fiasco explains his plans on playing more shows around the world with Sound Clash, as well as touring and putting out more singles from LASERS. For the future, Lupe is working on another Japanese Cartoon project and his highly anticipated next album, Food & Liquor 2. Every new creative project for Lupe is a result of his new outlook on life. I expected to talk with him about the issues that stood in the way of the album coming out or how he felt about the reaction to the album’s sound. That what bullshit expectations get you, while sitting with the man, I got something better; I got a journey inside the mind and heart of a revolutionary artist, a modern day Gil-Scott Heron with a more accessible sound. LASERS is not only a return to revolutionary Hip Hop, but the evolution of Lupe Fiasco as an artist. Now, that’s futuristic.
WORDS BY MEGAN THOMAS PHOTO BY BRODERICK HARVEY STYLE BY DESTINY MANIFEST
Meganâ€™s Misfit Story
Growing up as an army brat from a rather conservative family, I spent the majority of my youth battling the borders of my cookie cutter. There is nothing extraordinary about my family's background; my mom is a teacher, my dad is a pilot, my brother is a jock obsessed with video games, and my sister is a social butterfly with a straight A record. I guess that would leave room for me to be the wild child. As the first born, I have set some pretty controversial examples for my siblings. My outgoing personality and unpredictable wardrobe has always played a role in my character that has often times made my parents uncomfortable, especially when living in suburbia-hell. My choice of friends was another thing that made my parents and others question my judgment. I have always been drawn to people who seem to be "outcasts" or ditferent from the norm, probably because I feel that I can relate to them. Other than these few things nothing really monumental happened that led me to possess such an extroverted and carefree personality. Growing up I wasn't necessarily bullied or teased, however I do remember times that lwas treated differently because of the way I expressed myself. Whether it was my image or my friends, I began to realize how much my appearance atfected the way that others treated me. This realization was so unattractive to me that I tried to steer as far away from it as possible by befriending anyone and expressing myself however the hell I wanted to. I realize that what I went through does not compare in severity to the bullying or judgment that others may have received, but I want people to know that this is an important part of my story that helped me become the person that I am today. Overtime, I have happily noticed how the unconventional components of my personality can serve as a blessing. lt reassures me to see that my once shy and uncertain lil sis is finally deciding for herself what she wants in life. I'm even more than pleased to see that she is not as scared to try new things. As for my career as an artlst, my individuality has been welcomed for the reason that it separates me from everyone else. The music industry embraces me as a nonconformist, which in turn has provided its perks. lt's been a refreshing experience to work in an atmosphere where people value you for your abnormalities rather than judge them as flaws. I can only hope that those who feel detached from the norm will learn to love their ditferences and see that there are perks to not being a wallflower.
WORDS BY COREY DAVIS PHOTOS BY NICK SUAREZ
When did you fall in love with photography? It was definitely the first time I developed my own film and made prints from the negatives in a darkroom. Going through this process brought me to the decision that I want to take photographs for as long as I possibly can. What role does fashion photography play in art? Fashion photography plays the same role in art as does any other medium. It is a form of creative expression, a social commentary, and can have historical allusions.
Do you prefer to shoot women? I feel kind of gender-blind when I am shooting even though I shoot more women than men. I can appreciate male beauty just as much as female beauty. What’s the craziest experiences you had during a shoot? I shot at a pretty run down motel on the not so nice side of town not too long ago. When we were getting back in the car to leave a guy across the street started sprinting towards us and pulled his hood over his head and was starting to either grab a knife or gun out of his pocket. I jumped into my car and sped off into the road without looking and almost got hit by the oncoming traffic. Definitely did not want to find out what he was trying to do.
Your work seems to capture the promiscuous, carefree spirit of today’s youth. I try to capture the essence of the person I am photographing whether it is a model or one of my friends. I love the whole snapshot style of shooting and adding Sex, drugs or rock and roll? that to my work gives it a realistic edge that captures I’m game for everything but the drugs! the lifestyle of todays youth.
“EYES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT TO ME. IF THE CAN EVOKE SEVERAL EMOTIONS WITHOUT LOOKING FORCED, I AM SOLD”
“I’M WORKING ON A SERIES THAT CAPTURES AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT OF THE YOUTH SUB-CULTURE I’M A PART OF.”
Stripping Away The Misconceptions of The Stripper
WORDS BY NATUREE WELLS ART BY LEON HARMON She is an uneducated, promiscuous, immoral whore. She is a beautiful, glamorous, sensual woman. She is your mother, sister, girlfriend, and daughter. She is neither, yet she is all. She is a figment of your imagination, a taboo in society. She is every man’s fantasy, yet not in touch with reality. She chases the money, looking for a good time and fame. She is a woman, a wet dream, and the embodiment of sex. She is a stripper. What is it about strippers that illicit such raw emotions from both men and women? You love them or you hate them, you are either intimidated or fascinated by them. For men, the thought of a woman constantly being around men of status and their obese bank accounts can spook a man to jealous behavior. As for a woman, the mere confidence of a stripper and the way she enraptures her audience can bring out insecurities she never knew she had or even cared to admit. If life was a high school then strippers are the popular girls that everyone wants to be with, girls envy and hate, and boys do anything to get their attention. Thanks to the media, you constantly hear about athletes, rappers, music moguls and actors all being involved with strippers in some shape or fashion. Whether they’re forfeiting reality to engage in illicit relationships with a stripper or “saving” them from becoming OG’s of the game and turning them into media darlings, (i.e., Kanye’s Amber Rose Project) strippers are the new IT girls. Too many people’s absolute horror, society has fallen in awe of strippers. From music’s many love songs addressed to them, such as T-Pain’s mainstream single, “I’m in Love with A Stripper” to underground, R&B phenomenon, The Weeknd’s “The Morning” and “Wicked Games”, strippers have went from being a man’s dirty secret to a main topic of opinionated conversation. They are the music industry’s muse, athlete’s fun girls, and a normal man’s steamy Utopia. They are also a wife’s worst nightmare, a girlfriend’s biggest insecurity, and the average woman’s secret alter ego. Imagine being called out of your name and expected to do lewd sexual acts for the right amount of money, and when you say no, you are still a whore or slut even though you didn’t do anything. Imagine being touched, grabbed and fondled with dirty dollar bills placed in areas that are sacred to all except those who expose themselves for financial gain. Or that’s what society wants you to
believe, that nothing is scared to a “woman of the night” because she puts it all out there for those to see. You can look baby, but don’t touch; otherwise you might feel the wrath of a stripper’s mighty high heeled stiletto. It seems as if most forget that strippers are in fact women that are doing a job. A job that is considered immoral and taboo, but a job nonetheless. To become a stripper, a woman has to be confident and have extremely tough skin to deal with the ridicule, the judgment, the disrespect and the degradation that she will surely come across. Becoming a stripper is like living with a scarlet letter emblazoned on you everyday for the rest of your life. No matter what you did before or what you do after, once you start taking your clothes off for money you will always be referenced as a woman without morals. In society’s eyes you will be forever a stripper. The biggest misconception people constantly have about stripping is that it’s synonymous with prostitution. In reality, a stripper is not selling sex but the idea of it. She is a man’s fantasy in the flesh, sliding down a pole. It is her job to finesse her way into his mind, so that she can seduce the money out of his pockets and into her Gstring. A stripper’s main objective is money and making as much of it as possible. It’s not like she can’t do anything else, but her job choice gives her the freedom to do as she pleases and make money fast and efficiently. A stripper is a super-human of sorts, able to avoid and manipulate feelings. It takes a lot to repress those personal insecurities, ignore the constant disrespect, and not become a victim to the fast life. A woman that decides to strip is taking on more than just a couple of hours of dancing. She opens herself up to vulnerability, to pain, and to a misrepresentation of herself. Because she is a fantasy, she is also a mystery because her true self is either hidden or forgotten due to her stripper persona. And sometimes, she might even forfeit who she was for whom she has become blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. Money is their drug and stripping is their freedom, their height. It’s a chance to say a loud and clear ‘FUCK YOU’ to society by becoming their own boss and not being chained to someone else’s rules and regulations. You might not agree with what a stripper does or who she is, but at the end of the day she deserves respect. greedmontpark.com 37
WORDS BY ZIMBABWE KEV MARIA MYRAINE YAP
TYLER THE CREATOR - GOBLIN Tyler the Creator transcends the norm to manifest a novel hip-hop sound. Something completely unorthodox, yet still tolerable. The dark direction taken on the majority of the entire album reflect a once depressed and tormented genius searching for an outlet. Goblin is a great introduction of Tyler to the masses, sticking to the script of what Tyler, OFWGKTA and all of his alter-egos are about. The album really managed to capture the “I don’t give a fuck” spirit of the rebellious American youth, but I tend to gravitate towards it for the hardcore production of Goblin. “Don’t do anything I say in this song, it’s fuckin fiction,” he stats in the intro of “Radicals.” So while some might question what impact his lyrics might have to the asborbent youth, it just might be safe to say that he at least has some sort of disclaimer for his young listeners. Rating 4.5 38 greedmontpark.com for more music reviews
Certified Smoke COREY DAVIS – COREY BY COREY DAVIS A lot of emerging artists are on a never ending search for a new sound that defines them, Corey Davis has found his niche with his self solo effort. The self titled project blends mainstream sounds with a raw underground undertone. His wordplay and delivery is to be praised, he has developed greatly since the last Mach Five EP. We look forward to hearing more from the kid as he progressive as an MC. Rating 3.5 THE WEEKND - HOUSE OF BALLONS I’m not ashamed to say it has taken me a while to warm up to House of Balloons. On the other hand the ladies loved this guy immediately! I have to actually credit the young gentleman for increasing my chances of scoring a few nights ago. I had the album lightly playing in the background and the young lady felt right at home. Everything from the production to the subject matter to the flawless transitions between songs is flawless. Rating 3.5 BIG K.R.I.T. - RETURN OF 4EVA It’s been some time since rap had an artist who prides himself in his music, and not just his publicity antics. The level of authenticity he speaks of is to be praised, he keeps his lyrics true and delivery fluid throughout the entire album. Fusing Southern hip-hop with a variety of samples and original beats, the album radiates a very soulful vibe. He just might be the savior of southern the hip-hop, delivering as an MC and a producer. Rating 4.0
WIZ KHALIFA - ROLLING PAPERS I’m was on the fence about Rolling Papers, and two months later I’m still on that same fence. Its safe to say the lyricism didn’t match that of Kush and OJ. Rolling Papers is a bit watered down, but when an artist makes that transition over to mainstream this often happens. They are forced to redefine themselves. Rating 2.5 MAYER HAWTHORNE - IMPRESSIONS EP Got the Mayer project over the weekend, its actually been on repeat as I’m finishing up some work in the office. Impressions is everything I love about EPs, it’s short, sweet and to the point. A compilation of cover songs from vintage soul singer, Mayer Hawthorne, it was like Christmas all over again whenever a project dropped. Rating 4.0
COMING SOON: A.WARE – LADY HEROIN A.ware is that dude! I’ve actually had the pleasure of working on this project with him. The creative spirit is swagged out through practically every song. As I write this, I have no final track list but I compiled the project and have been playing it on random in my iPod and to be honest this music is groundbreaking. The Highlights on are “Jaded” “What You All About” “In The Zone” and “Child’s Play”
AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD 06.07.11 (Submit music to Kev at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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