Lexicon “Undeniable” music video here
South Raleigh born and raised, UNC-Chapel Hill-based rapper Lexiconmeshes southern-fried beats with boastful and overtly sexual lyrics to create over-the-top songs that are as much confessions of carnal frustration and fantasy as they are aggressive, egotistical declarations of his own virtuosity.
Over the course of the past year he has become one of the most, if not simply the most, controversial musicians on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. With song titles as blatantly suggestive as “F*** Yo Mans” and “Butterscotch,” the controversy surrounding UNC’s most prolific and versatile hip-hop act is certainly warranted. However, Lexicon claims that the content of his songs does not stray from the now-seemingly innocuous R&B and Rock & Roll hits of the 1950s. When defending his explicit works it’s simple: Lex references Howlin’ Wolf and Elvis Presley, proclaiming, “They talked about sex—why can’t I?”
And why can’t he? In the present day, college rappers are unfairly pigeonholed into insincere social consciousness and pseudo-intellectualism, and the artist who doesn’t fit the mold is automatically labeled a “wannabe mainstreamer.” Lexicon vehemently challenges this bias, and his success has been striking.
Having already headlined at Chapel Hill’s renownedLocal 506 (a feat virtually unheard of for a UNC rapper), as well performing Main Stage at UNC’s Fall Fest (an annual event attended by thousands of undergraduates), Lex has built a strong following both inside and outside the University community.
Considering his ever-increasing momentum and popularity, Vinyl Records would like to give you a chance to revisit some of Lexicon’s best work from the past year in VR Presents: “Lexicon: The Classics”. The four songs compiled here first appeared on Lexicon’s mixtapes, Edna, and I Am NC, but have been reworked in a way that truly shows the artist coming into his own: each is tighter and far sexier than it’s original. This man wants your attention, and he more than deserves it.
So download Lexicon: The Classics, here, and check out his next show at 9pm Saturday, October 10th at The Library, featuring South Park affiliateBang Bang Tang. The show is free for ages 21+.
For more Lexicon, be sure to check out his myspace, and be on the lookout for his new album Nwachukwu due out on itunes in the next few weeks.
UNC’s very own hip-hop phenomenon, Lexicon, recently dropped another mixtape that we think you should check out. Vinyl Records is currently working with Lexicon on a special project you’ll be hearing more about soon.
Download the mixtape, Cecil: The Preview, here: ttp://www.zshare.net/download/6526336759e9664a/
Chapel Hill has long been known for its indie rock scene-from Mammoth to Merge Records, to the multitude of noises pulsating within a given hole in the wall, dimly lit alleyway, or down some ominous stairwell on any night of the week. However, a very particular sound floated towards the top of the community’s musical melting pot this year, and it involved deep, rhythmic bass, glistening guitar, emotive keyboards, and some of the most energetic drumming around.
Andrew Rooney’s stage persona “Apollo” and his out-of-this-world “Celestial Starship Band” threw a wrench into the plaid shirts, snap buttons, and tight denim world of Chapel Hill/Carrboro with inventive hip hop backed by funkified, soulful jams that can’t be heard outside of the Triad’s “Solos Unit”, the undisputed local masters fusion hip hop.
From a sold out CD release show at Local 506 with fellow Vinyl Records’ labelmates Lafcadio and Lake Inferior, to nearly every on-campus concert and outdoor festival he could get his hands on, Apollo proved himself a trusted source for socially conscious, local hip hop that kicks out the jams and maintains a party vibe to the nth degree.
Though Apollo can be expected to still make face around Chapel Hill next year, his life leads him a bit east, into the heart of downtown Durham as an up-and-coming high school math teacher. There’s no doubt Apollo and producer Proper-T will continue their musical pursuits, but it does mean he will be parting ways with Chapel Hill-based Vinyl Records UNC, once again finding himself as another face in the vast sea of self-releasing and promoting hip hop artists. What are his distinguishing characteristics? A solid sophomore release, “The Architect,” available at his myspace for only eight bucks, and some incredible familiarity with the local music scene and many of its avid supporters–not to mention he’s a soon-to-be UNC graduate with friends, family, and a university-based swath of supporters to back him up whenever he desires a return to the lime light.
So long, Apollo, and we wish you the best of luck. We can’t wait to stroll down 9th Street and hear “Spittin’ Rhymes” blaring out of Shooters. And for our readers, download these free tunes, including the second single from “The Architect,” “Crusin’” as well as a live version of his anti-Asher Roth “College Life.”
Hello everyone! Amidst the Vinyl Artist updates, the end of year exams, and of course the thunderstorms…make sure you know this dance for your summer ice cream fun!
Looking for a change of scenery? Drop down to Raleigh this weekend, and be sure to check out Vinyl Records’ Apollo at Aurora Nightclub Saturday at 9pm. Located at the heart of Hillsborough Street and following ReDress Raleigh’s eco-fashion show which begins around 5pm, it should be a blast! Its free!
Directions to Aurora here
While your in town, walk it out at the Hillsborough Street Renaissance Festival–what should be Raleigh’s biggest block party since 1792. More info here, and don’t fret about the cold weather and rain, alot will be in doors or under cover. See you there!
Listen to Apollo here
Saul Williams gave a workshop this afternoon on just about everything related to the performing arts–ranging from theater (which he went to graduate school for), to beat-making, to the modern state of hip-hop, to the craft of poetry–leaving no topic untouched in his stream-of-consciousness style discussion. What emerged was a combination of artistic process, spiritual beliefs, and literary critique. Williams began by pointing out that the oral tradition of poetry is much older than the written one, and that the Greek population which Homer wrote his epic poems for was 97% illiterate, making him much more a “spoken word artist” than a widely-read author. Discussing poetry quickly led to Williams’ thoughts on the meditation process, which he was widely known for earlier in his career. Though he claimed to feel silly endorsing meditation “from a platform”, it was clear that meditation, and the ability to “deconstruct all the thoughts and neurons of the mind” has been hugely influential in his work.
Williams also addressed the current state of the spoken word movement, giving credit to both the slam poetry scene and hip-hop world for bringing out artists. In regards to formal education, he admitted that most of his friends now are professors, and that he believes the younger generation of professors will bring the spoken word movement more into the classroom, as it has been a larger part of their lives.
Beginning to write rhymes at age 10, Williams’ father was a Baptist preacher, giving him opportunities to take the stage and perform for audiences from a very young age. In his performance tonight, Williams used his gifts with stage presence to create a tone that was very intimate, and yet entirely controlled. This atmosphere embodies many of Williams’ beliefs of “becoming the poem”, and finding a spirituality that is universal, rather than exclusively embracing one of the organized religions. Williams described acting (in theater) as “Where you go to practice being“, and it’s clear that the sense of “being” he possesses drives his artistic process, and that for him “Poetry is the residue of the work that I’m doing on myself.”
Asked about what is most important to the life of the poet, or becoming a poet, Williams cited the “diet”–not just of food (though he did launch into a heavy pro-veganism speech here), but what you watch, what you read, what you listen to, what you surround yourself with, etc. In short, Williams’ beliefs and artistic inspiration comes from the world he has created for himself, even having created his own cosmology years ago (his 12 year old daughter is named Saturn…perhaps the pinnacle of this period of his life). Even from inside his own universe, however, Williams presence and delivery combined to make an enrapturing, inspiring, and entertaining performance.
Videos of the performance are available at http://meansofliving.blogspot.com/2009/03/saul-williams-workshop-and-performance.html
Spoken word and hip-hop artist Saul Williams will be performing tonight at Chapel Hill, and even if it is the season for mid term exams and papers, this is a performance you really should not miss, and that will likely be unlike any you’ve seen. Saul Williams is the epitome of the modern spoken word artist/rapper. Having worked with countless beat-makers and DJ’s (from Blockhead to DJ Spooky), William’s work is important both musically and culturally. Whether or not you can make it tonight, check out http://www.saulwilliams.com and you’ll see what I mean when I say he’s unlike any other. William’s describes himself and his work by saying “Who I am and what I do seems to vary by mod, mood, and mode of expression. I write. I act. I perform.” In regards to his music, he states that “In music I think of myself as an explorer participating in the construction of the soundscape of the new world hatched out of our dreams, hope and vision of peace and harmony” but adds “that doesn’t necessarily mean this shit is soft though…”
Also, search youtube for Saul William’s “List of Demands”
On that note, I’ll see you at 8:oo.
What are the two most annoying things in the world?
A capella groups and tweens.
Which is why you’d assume Kids Rap’n the Hits Vol. 6 is awful. And it is. It is a complete trainwreck. A horde of 12 year olds sing slightly off key to a midi backing track. There isn’t actually any “rap’n” – just sing talking. In this case, read “rap’n” as “songs by black people.” Give the songs a listen, just so you can have the pleasure/horror of hearing kids going through puberty say, “If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it,” or “I fly like paper, got high like planes.” Quite disturbing.
- Live Your Life
- Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)
- Just Dance
- Paper Planes
- I’m Yours
- American Boy
- Hot N Cold
- Let it Rock
- I Want it All
If you’re in Chapel Hill today, make sure to pick up a copy of the Daily Tar Heel. Jordan Lawrence, the DTH’s Assistant Arts Editor, provides a review of the Vinyl Records CD Release show at Local 506 last week. Lawrence seemed to enjoy things – he says that he’d never seen a crowd have that much fun at Local 506, and the worst thing he writes is that Apollo sounded too much like Jay-Z. At this stage, we’ll take Jay-Z.
If you won’t be able to grab a paper, the review is online here.
The Daily Tar Heel blog also had a recent post about the CD release, complete with photos by Sarah Acuff.
Thanks to Lawrence and everyone at the DTH and Dive for their coverage.