Hailing from the West Coast’s Quannum Projects (home to DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Tommy Guerrero, etc.) Lateef The Truthspeaker is a longtime MC with deep histories that precede him. As half of Latyrx (with Lyrics Born), half of Mighty Underdogs (with Gift Of Gab), and half of The Maroons (with Chief Xcel), there hasn’t been a shortage of work from the Oakland native. What is noteworthy is that, after all these years, all the tours, all the revered tracks, and a Grammy to boot, Lateef finally debuted with a long-awaited solo album, Firewire.
“I’m very happy with it,” he says of the new album. “I always try to keep busy but it was nice to finally focus on just my own songs.” Lateef’s focus has been what’s driven him and his crew since they were college-aged kids in the early ‘90s, known as the Solesides collective. It’s this early work that catapulted their subsequent careers, a body of work that ranks amongst the best the West has ever offered. And while “Lateef” translates as “gentle” in Arabic, Lateef the Truthspeaker is a vicious MC with a catalogue that precedes him. Here, we talk with this son of Black Panthers about work ahead in both political and musical realms, touching on some history, the time he battled Murs, the forming of Latyrx, old recordings and of course anticipated new ones.
Coachella has announced their 2012 line-up, which will take place for the first time over two weekend, Apr 13-15 and 20-22. Radiohead, Dr. Dre & Snoop and The Black Keys all signed on for headline spots, along with Swedish House Mafia, Justice, Kaskade and DJ Shadow. The big reunion for 2012 is So Cal post-emo legends At The Drive-In.
The Boiler Room has become the one stop shop for watching the best is electronic music artists perform their craft in an intimate setting of webcams and audience standing behind them. And what started as a showcase for young new London DJ talent has become a tour stop for veteran superstars like Thom Yorke and Carl Craig. Now add DJ Shadow to the list. The turntable legend performed last week, without his current Shadowsphere set-up, but still wowed the crowd with his one-of-a-kind technique.
DJ Shadow has released the third video off his recent album, The Less You Know The Better. The song features Little Dragon singer Yukimi Nagano, who has become something of the goto vocalist for electronic producers looking to add some human voice to their compositions. The video, directed by Ewan Jones Morris & Casey Raymond, is less literal than Shadow’s previous “Border Crossing” clip, which took literal translation of the song’s pro-immigration subject matter. But the intro clip featuring a guy who can memorize a deck of cards is pretty neat-o.
DJ Shadow has never been afraid to mix a little righteous politics into his pastiche of sample-heavy hip-hop turntablism. And “Border Crossing,” the new video from his latest album, The Less You Know The Better, follows that habit, focusing on the controversial immigration laws currently being practiced in Arizona.
The clip, by director Dean Fernando, utilizes vintage grindhouse footage off desert chases and huddled masses crushed against fences to reinforce the point made by the thrashing guitar track of Shadow’s tune. Maybe someone should do a banjo-diven remix to address the current idiocy happening in Alabama.