Supporting Locals - Flashback

I published this piece a while ago but it's definitely still relevant. Young Missouri based directors Randy Prywitch and Jason Goldstein of the Be The Shoe Productions recently won 'Best of Arts' for The Maneater Student Newspaper and it was certainly well deserved. I highly recommend checking out their most recent film, Salad Daze. It'll be showing for the last time on the big screen on May 27 at the Parkway Central Theatre. If you're interested in buying the DVD or viewing some of their shorts, please visit Be The Shoe on the web.

Here's the article, published in The Maneater on April 9th:

" As they strode into Kaldi's coffee shop, students Jason Goldstein and Randy Prywitch appeared to be calm, collected college juniors. They swapped small talk -- journalism school, weather patterns. But the minute their upcoming film, "Salad Daze," came up, they feverishly raved about the production -- and a little bit of spit was sprayed in the rush.

Then again, they're passionate about their craft.

Goldstein, a former Maneater staff member, and Prywitch have been friends since fourth grade and filmmaking has always been a mutual dream.

"When we were in middle school and in high school, we started making short films together," Prywitch said. "We were just messing around a lot and then 'boom.'"

The pair caught the movie-making bug, and they've continued with the art form together ever since. Since the release of their first feature length film, last November's "American Gothic," the dream has become an even larger part of their lives.

"Salad Daze," the duo's second feature length film was written during last year's spring semester and filmed throughout this summer.

The term salad days, Prywitch said, is an old Shakespearean idiom, which defines the days between adolescence and adulthood. Playing off this, the film chronicles the life of a young boy who has just graduated from high school and is struggling through his own salad days. Just dumped by his girlfriend and spending the summer trapped with his older sister, the story revolves around the quirky interactions within his family. The story comes to its climax when their grandfather dies and the family is forced to reunite at his funeral.

"There's a lot of latent tension in the family," Goldstein said. "They have their conflicts and they have their issues, this brings them out and then they start to resolve them."

Prywitch elaborated, explaining the comedy in the film.

"It's a serious comedy because it's about things that aren't necessarily funny," he said. "But the characters are very interesting and you like to see how they interact."

Prywitch said they worked with the same actors they used for "American Gothic," making writing roles much easier for him.

"Everybody who had a part in the last film is playing a completely different character this time because I know what their strengths are and I tried to write a role that they could fit," Prywitch said. "Every single one of the major characters is spot on."

Prywitch said this film was a serious expansion on the last.

"We wanted to make another feature length film while we were home, really up the ante," Prywitch said. "We got new cameras, we got lighting equipment and our actors are more refined."

One of the biggest difficulties the duo faced, though, was making a soundtrack. They initially selected over 40 songs from big-name bands, but didn't want to pay the royalties.

Thinking on his feet, Goldstein invented a creative solution to this problem.

"Jason created this thing called 'Be the Shoe music' where he reached out to local musicians and bands," Prywitch said. "They hear that we want to put their music in our movie and they're thrilled. They're supporting us and we're supporting them."

Not only are they supporting local music with the release of their film, but Goldstein and Prywitch also wanted to ensure Columbia was the location for the premiere of their movie.

"Columbia is one of those towns that just accepts art, especially recently with the emerging independent filmmakers at the True/False Film (Fest)," Prywitch said. "This is the perfect time. We're not amateurs anymore, we want to show this off." 

Sugar & Gold - A Sweet, Infectious Throwback

When Sugar & Gold waltzed onto the stage at The Blue Note last Friday evening, as the opening for Of Montreal, some in the crowd were unsure how to react.

The lead singer, Fati Beloved, clad in a hairnet and oversized red heart-shaped glasses began excitedly belting out songs reminiscent of the Scissor Sisters thrown over the top of a KC and the Sunshine Band track and mixed around a bit by someone who has done a wee bit too much LSD. He strummed guitar like an old funk professional, as backup singer Fatima Fleming waltzed around like she owned the stage. The stage was writhing with activity at all times. In short, watching this band perform was a trip.

Sugar & Gold made it seem impolite for members of the audience not to dance. Their electronic beats with a heavy bottom groove make rump-shaking feel like a natural impulse. Background vocalist Fleming stripped down to nothing but a beaded gold bikini and began to dance around the stage, shaking along with the heavy backbeat. Fleming, a part-time fashion designer, adds a feminine element to the otherwise all-male band that helps the music feel both complex and layered.

As things really started to heat up, there was a pause as the band stopped briefly to catch their breath.

After Beloved asked the crowd "Do you like psychedelic music?" he was met with a cavalcade of cheers. The band promptly erupted into a 10-minute jam session, leading into their hooky heavy, song "Workout." A riotous dance romp ensued as the crowd worked themselves into a sweat. The stage presence of the group demonstrated extreme interest in keeping the crowd enthralled as they waggled all over the place, dancing and singing at the top of their lungs.

Sugar & Gold, though relatively new to the music scene, have been making a big impression with their live performances. Their harmonious lyrics combine with a new wave of retro dance music and a funky visual platform to make a lasting impression. San Francisco based, the band has spent much of the past few years recording everywhere from New York to Los Angeles, building a fan base in between. They have already been acclaimed as San Francisco Magazine's "Best Local Dance Band," but it was their performance at South by Southwest of tracks off their latest album Crème that really made them known. While "Workout" -- their first single -- was successful, this album received rave reviews because of its capabilities to connect with the entire country. Recorded between live shows, each individual track is reminiscent of a different live experience the band had.

The band is known for its do-it-yourself approach to song writing, and this is conveyed in the overall sound of their first studio album. Sugar & Gold has developed a style all their own, using repetitive, circa 1970 lyrics, electronic and soul elements to create one of the most rhythmically pleasing albums heard in a while. This band does not make irony its goal, which sets it apart from similar sounding bands, such as Gravy Train. Sugar & Gold is first and foremost concerned with producing quality music and as evidenced by their performance, they have certainly succeeded.

The group is slated to begin work on their second live album with Antenna Farm this spring.

Flashback - Interview with Fake Problems

(This is one of the first band interviews I ever did. With the recent release of "It's Great to Be Alive", I thought it was relevant again.)

Fake Problems’ bassist Derek Perry and drummer, Sean Stevenson pulled up three black leather stools to the bar at the Creepy Crawl in St Louis, MO. Passing a single Budweiser and cigarette between them, the pair cracked jokes as they reflected on the evening’s events. Sweaty and slightly intoxicated, the pair recalled the very beginning of Fake Problems.

“We all played in bands in high school, that’s how we know each other,” he said, pausing to take a puff of his cigarette, “We came together as a super group from high school bands. Everyone was going to college and we decided to keep going in the music direction,” Perry said.

Joining Perry and Stevenson in this Naples, Florida based band was front man Chris Farren and guitarist Casey Lee. Formed in 2005, the band began touring only two months after they formed. “We all moved into a house and recorded a CD that summer and then went on tour,” said Stevenson “We view ourselves as a summer camp band, that’s sort of how we view our lives”. Smirking, he added “Imagine us as the ‘Heavyweights’. That’s how we live”.  

The show opened with a track off the band’s latest CD, “How Far Our Bodies Will Go”. As Farren strummed the opening chords of the title track, the crowd whipped itself into frenzy, echoing his vocals as the song increased in tempo. Perry and Farren hung out into the crowd, thrusting their microphones into the faces of eager crowd members. A boy in an Operation Ivy t-shirt threw himself forcefully into the stage, reaching toward Farren, singing the chorus at the very top of his lungs. Fake Problems has a very active and interesting stage presence, never resting in one spot for longer than five seconds. Lead singer Farren sprinted back and forth between the drum set during vocal rest periods as Perry holds his bass above his head, carefully plucking at the strings. Stevenson pounded away at his silver glittered drum set, smiling to himself.

At one point Lee rushed back to the drum set, helping Stevenson add a heavy tom beat to the song. The two play away laughing amongst themselves as the song goes on. It seemed that this band was indifferent to the audience’s perception of them and wanted nothing more than to have a good time playing music they love. They tried to have fun with the audience and the show was all the better for it. When the band announced that the show would conclude, the audience remained, chanting and pleading for more. Finally, the band emerged, half of them shirtless, to play the telling opening chords to their song “To Repel Ghosts”, a song seemingly designed to sing along with. A mass of young men mounted the stage and link arms to sing the chorus along with the entire band, concluding a night that was far from dull.

Fake Problems is reminiscent of Andrew Jackson Jihad meets Bob Dylan and CCR, all tossed into a blender and then electrocuted. They have taken the traditional “Florida punk sound” and turned it on its head, infusing it with call and response lyrics and indie rock elements. Add in a little alternative country and folk rock and you have Fake Problems. Perry claims that his favorite album is “More Adventurous by Rilo Kiley” which is evident in the musical styling of this band, particularly in songs like “Oh Maria” and “Oh, Your Silver Heart” off of “Spurs and Spokes”.

“The only reason we play music is so we can keep playing music.” mused Stevenson. “It’s very personal. We want to be big enough to make money but not doing stupid things. Everything we do we want to believe in”.

“We’re always dodging major labels and we’re highly sought after.” continued Perry. “For our next record, we decided to go with an indie label because it’s real”.  

The band worked with AJ Mogus, the producer of the new Cursive record to record their latest album, "It's Great to Be Alive" which dropped in February to rave reviews.

Interview - RATATAT

Thanks to MOVE magazine, I recently had the pleasure of a thirty minute telephone call with Evan from electronic group extraordinaire, RATATAT. 

Here is the interview, republished with absolutely everything.

Be it the catchy name or the infectious electronic music, Ratatat is a band that is hard to forget about. Quirky Skidmore college students Mike Stroud and Evan Mast began working together as musicians in 2001, pushing the boundaries for musicians everywhere. Known for their live shows and raw musical talent, the band quickly worked their way into the electronic scene.

 With the 2008 release of their third studio album, LP, (the band has released two remix albums where they rework rap songs), the electronic duo showcased its ability to create some of the most complex beats and multilayered pieces of music currently being produced. This pair of instrumental musicians turned electronic makes it clear that no instrument is out of their realm, no technique too complex. MOVE checked in with Evan Mast of RATATAT to talk about the band’s musical progression, hip-hop and the ups and downs of the road to stardom. 

Andrea Kszystyniak : You’re about to start a new tour in mid-March?

Evan Mast: March 21st I think for sure.

AK: How are you feeling about the whole thing?

EM: I’m looking forward to it, it’s gonna be good. We’re playing like a lot of cities that we haven’t played and a lot we haven’t played in a long time. It should be fun.

AK: Have you guys played in Columbia, MO before?

EM: Yeah, a long time ago, probably right after our first record came out. We were touring with the band Clinic and we played at the Blue Note.

AK:How do you feel this tour is going to be different than the last few that you’ve been on?

EM: The last tour we did was probably six months ago or something. It’s kind of different. We switched up the way we’re playing the songs. We’re switching instruments a lot more than we used to. We got a lot more instruments on stage and we’re kind of running around doing different things. We’re a lot busier than we used to be during shows. The last tour we did was in Europe and we did it that way as well and it ended up working really well so we’re going with that again.

AK: Are you going to pursue playing with a live band ever?

EM:  It is a live band, even if it’s just the two of us. There’s different levels of live too I guess. I mean, um. Because of the way that we write songs, there’s so much layering and there’s so many different things happening in the arrangement and the interpretation changes so much from song to song like I feel like if we ever fully did it with just the four or five dudes playing in a live band, it would probably sound pretty horrible. It’d be hard to capture all the details. We talked about in the future maybe rearranging the songs for strings or something. I don’t know. I hope to keep it kind of open ended so we can approach it from different angles.

AK: Your songs are definitely really layered. What is usually your strategy when laying down new tracks? Do you lay down drums first; do you start off with just a basic concept? How do you go about it?

EM: A lot of the time we start with drums. . For the last record, I had been making a lot of the drum beat stuff while we were on tour so I just kind of made a stockpile of beats and then when we went to the studio we just start like listening through and if we heard something that kind of inspired an idea or something we just started playing over it and um, a lot of the songs happened that wa. A few of the songs started with just piano parts or guitar parts or whatever we had around. It tends to be like yunno starting with a melody or a chord progression or a beat. We kinds just start playing over the top and we just improvise things and kind of just put on another layer and then respond to that and then put on another layer and just keep going until it seems kind of finished.

AK: That’s really cool. What program do you use to mix the whole thing?

EM: Logic. Pretty much everything. WE record everything in Logic and then last time when we ended up going to the studio to mix it we ended up mixing the tape on like an analog mixer too.

AK : I just downloaded your latest remix CD. It’s really really good. Is the remix and artform that you’d like to mess around with a little more, kind of expand on?
I’m not sure. We haven’t been doing much remixes. We’ve kind of been taking a break from it. WE did so many for a couple of years that I kind. I think we’re just kind of more inspired to do our own stuff…I don’t know. Not right now. I’m not that inspired to change the form much right now but maybe eventually. 

AK: How were your remixes received by the hip hop community? What is your relationship with the hip-hop community?

EM: Uh, we don’t have much of one I don’t think. We never really got much feedback. I think rappers are kind of closed off from other forms of music but maybe not anymore, I don’t know. I guess now you have like M.I.A. and Santigold showing up on Jay-Z tracks so maybe they’re starting to take credit. They have like little things here and there. It would be like John Doe has a friend that works at Def Jam yet again and whatever. I feel like there’s been a million little connections like that that were supposed to happen but nothing ever amounted to anything. I don’t know. We might have to give up our dreams of being hip-hop producers. (laughs)

AK: Would you ever consider laying down any sort of vocals yourselves on your tracks or no?

EM: We’ve done a little bit of stuff just using vocals as sounds, kind of in the same way, using vocals the same way we would use another instrument or something but I don’t think we’ll ever get into writing lyrics and any kind of that weird vocal stuff. I can see like possibly a thing producing tracks for other people or doing like side projects with other things but I think for Ratatat we’ll probably stay pretty much instrumental.

AK: What is the origin of your name?

EM: Not really much there. We just kind of had to come up with a name. We used to be called Cherry. 

AK: Wait, what?

EM: Cherry, like the fruit. This was before we had a record out or anything and we got off the first tour and our lawyer was saying that there was a bunch of other bands using the name already so we had to come up with something new. We had this tour starting in a couple weeks or something so we were just kind of scrambling to come up with a new name and it we were just brainstorming a little.

AK: How do you feel that you have progressed as a band from that time when you were Cherry to now with the release of LP3?

EM: We’ve come a really long way. In the early stages we didn’t really know what we were doing. I don’t know, maybe we still don’t know what we’re doing. But I don’t know. I think we still approach song writing in the same way. It’s still just about trying to keep us entertained and keep doing what keeps filling up the house. I guess we’ve just sort of defined our sound a lot then and expanded on it. I don’t know. It’s a weird thing. We just make the songs and the project just sort of grows and expands. It’s a lot of work and you guide it but I feel like it ends up I don’t know, it’s become this massive thing that we never expected.

AK : Who are your influences? 

EM : I have a brother that is five years older than me. When I was in junior high, he was getting into punk rock and he would talk about music to me. That was a definitely a huge influence because I kind of avoided a lot of the bad music that a lot of kids get into at that age. He’s also been in bands and stuff to. That kind of inspired me to get into playing music when I was little. He proved that it could be done. 

AK: What do you consider your best moment since you started playing music?

EM: I think I remember when we played at Coachella about two years ago. It was a pretty huge moment. That was like after our second record came out, a couple months after that record came out. That record was super difficult for us to make. It was a really long process A lot of work went into it, we were struggling with writing and many different things for a couple years. It was a good feeling to be touring. It felt like the reward for all the work. That kinda peaked at Coachella. That was the biggest audience by far that we played to at that point. That was a really good moment. Also, recording the last record LP3 was pretty amazing. It was more than a moment though, I guess it was like six weeks but we were just having a good time throughout the whole recording process. 

AK: Okay, sweet. What are you into right now musically? 

EM: I don’t know a lot of up and coming stuff. I’ve been on a big Bach kick lately. Harpsichord music and organ music. A whole lot of French, a lot of African stuff. Like African guitar music. I tend to go through phases. I don’t know. I tend to go through phases. I’ll get into one style of music for a couple weeks and then move on to something else. 

The band has embarked on a national tour and should be visiting a city near you very soon. For dates, check their website. Though I have yet to see them live (I seem to be out of town every time they come around), I've heard that they are absolutely phenomenal  live. Definitely don't miss your opportunity.

Check it out:

Back from Recess

Truth be told, I have yet to make blogging a habit of my daily life. Things have been incredibly hectic over the past couple months and I've been focusing more on passing Economics at the University of Missouri than any sort of heartfelt discussion about what's been impressing me, musically or otherwise.

Musically, 2009 has been absolutely stunning:
Bulleted and compressed raving.

- Okay, "Merriweather Post Pavillion" by Animal Collective. I'm so far behind on this one but all I can say is that I literally did not move the entirety of my first listen to this album. By the close of the first track, my friend Hannah and I had secluded ourselves in her dorm room and were laying on the floor with the lights off, simply absorbing the dynamics of this work of art. Although the first five tracks are much stronger than the conclusion, this album is probably going to end up on my top ten of the year.

- Remember that absurd animated video with the lizard, talking about sea horses and drinking out of cups? Well, if not, here it is:

This was my first introduction to electronic musician, Dan Deacon, followed by this, a video for his song, "Crystal Cat":

While I absolutely adore this song, I wouldn't consider it musically complex, nor technically worthwhile. Ear candy for certain. I sort of discounted Dan Deacon as a legitimate musician.  Then I heard his latest album, "Bromst" for the first time. My senses were bombarded by every sort of stimulus imaginable, be it catchy hooks, strange ambient noises or electronic rhythms. My favorite track, "Snookered", opens with the simple rhythmic pounding of bells and rapidly moves into an experimental romp as Deacon toys with everything imaginable, expanding the song into a piece of ritualistic beauty. 

- I now have a radio show, broadcasting live from the University of Missouri station, KCOU, every Tuesday morning, 2 - 4AM CENTRAL. Be sure to check it out. Entitled "Snack Time", it's an opportunity for you to get reacquainted with bands you may have forgotten about and have a blast listening to those on the up and up. My cohost Hannah and I will make staying up into the wee hours of the morning entirely worth your while.
Don't delay.

I leave you with a promise to update more. Be sure to check out backdated posts.
And for goodness sake, listen to the new Wavves album.

What's Good 08?!

Ah, 2008. As gas prices rose and the nation squabbled over who would be our next president, artists like Wolf Parade and Land of Talk worked to both entertain and inspire the weary  masses. TV on the Radio expressed the sentiments of a people, tired and economically desperate while MGMT just tried to make them dance. 
While it is difficult to define this past year musically, I believe that these selections serve as the best examples of talent and downright ingenuity. 
In no particular order, I give you the albums, tracks and videos that I consider the best of 2008.

Best Albums

Some are Lakes – Land of Talk

Oh, Canada. Home of hockey, maple syrup and really, really, rocking female vocalists. Lead singer Elizabeth Powell carries this album places nobody ever expected.  While Land of Talk lead singer is not quite as vocally talented as Canadian singers Alanis Morissette and Leslie Feist, with a bit of practice, the young singer will be running circles around these aging vocalists. The band’s sophomore album, “Some are Lakes” grabs you from the very first track, with the pounding drums of “Yuppy Flu” and doesn’t drop you till the closing, half-French, ballad, “Troubled”. Reminiscent of Cat Power’s “You Are Free”, Rilo Kiley’s “Execution of All Things”, and a little bit of Aimee Mann, Land of Talk has developed a unique sound despite a variety of widely popular influences.

Oracular Spectacular – MGMT

The duo experiments with psychedelic hooks and lyrics that pound more energy into one verse than most bands can fit into an entire song. MGMT is simply delicious, making this album impossible to turn off until the very last chord stops reverberating.

Feed the Animals – Girl Talk

Pittsburgh DJ Greg Gillis showed that he was able to make a series of samples sound like an altogether original art form. His intricate layering allowed songs to take on all new forms, exposing emotions never visible in the original form. This album is both fun and functional, artistic and downright amazing.

Pershing – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

This album is technically simple but downright perfect in it’s simplicity. These songs cement themselves into your brain, a perfect combination of catchy pop lyrics and great hooks. While not exactly the most memorable collection, it’s a prime example of what an indie rock record should look like.

The Bake Sale – The Cool Kids

Reminiscent of 1980’s rap, this duos beats are complex without smacking you in the face. It’s quite easy to miss the perfectly timed drum machine but when you pay careful attention, it becomes evident that the Cool Kids understand the formula to construct catchy yet laid back beats, giving them plenty of time to spit genuinely individual lyrics. Their lyrics deviate from most modern day rap and focus on how “hip” they are as opposed to how tough they are. Never has 80’s revival, hipster friendly rap been so good.

Something for Everyone – E-603

 E-603’s mash ups have more variety and flow together better than those of Greg Gillis. With samples from Wolf Parade, The Strokes and the Postal Service, this album was like a big Easter egg hunt. The first time I heard it, I was sitting in the back of a friends car, freaking out as the mix got more and more intricate. It seemed to combine absolutely every song I enjoy into one big, danceable track. Sweet deal.

In Rainbows – Radiohead

 Dec 27, 2007 is close enough! 

 Full of up tempo guitar solos, uniquely Radiohead sound effects and acoustic ballads that exhibit all of Thom Yorke’s vocal capabilities, this album might be my second favorite of all time.

At Mount Zoomer – Wolf Parade

 Mostly unintelligible and chock full of catchy, danceable rhythms, this album is the poster child for downright musical chaos. Thrilling breakdowns and frenetic guitar parts will make any listener stop dead in their tracks.

Tha Carter III – Lil Wayne

 A collection of grade-A beats intermixed with a variety of moods, prove that this album is chock full of imagination. The “best rapper alive” proves that there is indeed, no way that you can “get on his level”.

Dear Science – TV on the Radio

Honestly, this album is too good for words. Every explanation I could dish out would not suffice. I consider this album the beginning of a musical revolution. It defined 2008 in a way that no other artist could even begin to try. A chronicle of hopelessness, this album is simply thrilling, boiling all of the horrors currently facing humanity into eleven rock solid tracks.

Top Tracks 

Boring Fountain – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

 One of the happiest songs I have ever heard.

Bassment Party – The Cool Kids


Electric Feel – MGMT

This song is musical ecstasy.

In Step – Girl Talk

Beach Boys + Nirvana + Salt N’ Peppa = Sheer Genius

Single Ladies – Beyonce

The change in time signature in this song = amazing. (As a side note, I am absolutely enamored with the video)

Bangers and Mash – Radiohead

Perhaps one of my favorite Radiohead songs. That’s saying a lot.

Halfway Home – TV on the Radio

Perfect intro to a near perfect album. Sets the tone better than most opening tracks. Downright catchy. Can TV on the Radio do wrong?

Some are Lakes – Land of Talk

Vocalist Elizabeth Powell’s talent carries this relatively simple track to new heights.

L.E.S. Artistes – Santogold

 I can’t explain. I just can’t. The sing along song of the year.

A Milli – Lil Wayne

 The day I can accurately rap along with this song will be the very best day of my life.

American Boy – Estelle feat. Kanye West

Damn catchy. Estelle certainly didn’t need Kanye to spice this up but his vocal styling doesn’t hurt.

Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? – She & Him

So. Damn. Cute.

Skinny Love – Bon Iver

 Heartbreakingly beautiful.

Mutha’uckas – Flight of the Conchords

 Falsetto and fake swear words = Hysterical!

Enter the Wu Tang

Last night, I, Andrea Kszystyniak, a white girl, born and raised in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island, saw Wu Tang Clan live and in concert.

Despite the absence of RZA and GZA, the whole family was there, putting on a spellbinding performance with hits like “Bring Da’ Ruckus”, “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Reunited”. It was just perfect.

Except for one thing.

Never in my life have I felt so out of place. I have moshed with 300 pound men at Dropkick Murphys shows, been embarrassed by drunken friends during an interview with Fake Problems and been rendered utterly speechless by Rhett Miller from the Old 97’s. None of the above compared to how awkward the initial fifteen minutes at Wu Tang was for me.  I love the group but for some reason, I felt it was inappropriate for me to be present and try to become a part of a culture that I admittedly and quite unfortunately, know very little about.

I squirmed, unsure if it was appropriate for me to dance. I awkwardly tossed my “W” in the air, putting it down anytime someone else in the crowd gave me a sideways glance. I outright refused all responsives.  I hid the fact that yeah, I know most of the lyrics to most of the songs performed. I spent half the time trying to decode what the people in front of me were talking about, using slang that I have never, ever run across previously.

However, as time went on, I became accustomed to the thickest layer of cannabis smoke I have ever seen, coating Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel. I ignored the two couples getting really really really really really physical in front of me. I stopped focusing on my own inadequacies and just let go. 

I must say, I am a damn good Wu Tang fan. I bopped. I danced. I rapped. I chanted "WUUUUUUU TANNNNGGG" at the top of my lungs. I pounded my fist, screaming along with everything I could. 

And I had the time of my life.

This leads me to my next point:

Wu Tang Clan should take me on as their tenth member.

Reason 1Wu Tang needs new perspective.  – Now, of course, I know nothing about the streets of Staten Island. I have never shot a gun. I am not a member of an affluent, underground and sometimes brutal society. But, I do know a great deal about the Midwestern corridor, Shakespearean plays and the 1960’s. I feel that this would allow Wu Tang to not only expand their lyrical allegories but also, add a new layer to their lyrical possibilities.

Reason 2I am a halfway decent freestyle rapper. – I could definitely hold my own in a rap battle. Granted, the raps I produced would be ridiculous and rhyme things like “kumquat” and “dog squat”, I think a bit of humor would certainly help the Wu.

Reason 3I can write beats – I have been drumming on and off for about seven years. Wu Tang needs ill beats? I’m on it like... Timbaland.

Reason 4 - I’m enthusiastic and a fast learner. – Zealous and eager to achieve stardom in the rap world, I would give every performance everything I had. You need to make act tough? I’ve got the meanest, grizzly bear, ‘I’ll cut your throat’ face this side of the Atlantic Ocean. If I’m doing something wrong, just spend about 30 seconds explaining how to fix it and I’ll be just grand. I know how to rile up a crowd. I also have public speaking skills. I mean, c’mon, I was captain of my high school debate team…

Reason 5Diversity? – Look at me. Look at Wu Tang. ‘Nough said.  

Reason 6Money. Money. Money. - As a poor college student, I have 70 dollars in my bank account and have yet to buy books. A budding career in rap will certainly help me out on my quest to become a “cash money millionaire”. At least, more than this degree in journalism…

There you have it.

Wu Tang, feel free to email me at

What I've Been Listening to Lately: