Teach Me How to Startup
Occupy Wall Street
Visitors who search for Harlem rapper Azealia Banks’s breakout hit “212,” on Rap Genius, an online platform that crowdsources explanations of hip-hop lyrics, will find nearly every verse annotated by the site’s users, who clocked more than 2 million monthly uniques in August, according to comScore. Click on the line “Now she wanna lick my plum in the evening/ And fit that ton-tongue d-deep in,” and a pop-up immediately appears explaining that Ms. Banks is employing a metaphor for cunnilingus and that “She stutters the words tongue and deep to mimic the stuttering that occurs when one receives such a gift.” That exegesis received 11 upvotes, earning the contributor jamima-j, a female “slam poetry writer,” a healthy bump in “Rap IQ” points on the site.
Readers might find her analysis either amusing or unnecessary. But the reigning kings of Sand Hill Road, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, view Rap Genius as “one of the most important things we’ve ever funded,” co-founder Ben Horowitz told Betabeat last week. The prominent VC firm, which clawed its way into the Silicon Valley firmament in just three years by aggressively plowing millions into fast-growth tech startups like Facebook, Pinterest, foursquare and Airbnb, often at towering valuations, were the sole investors behind the site’s $15 million Series A.
On His Jacques
God how time flies. Just 365 days ago, we hadn’t even heard of Occupy Wall Street, horizontal democracy, or a Statement of Autonomy. It was a heady time, when we remained blissfully ignorant of what the 99% referred to, and never thought to question who owned Zucotti Park.
This weekend, preparations began in earnest for OWS’s one year anniversary. It’s almost like the party didn’t take a six month sabbatical where it dropped off the face of front page news. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to make the media wax nostalgic for the days before the tents went up, and even though today’s planned activities sound a lot like a peaceful version of that scene in The Dark Knight Rises, there is definitely excitement in the air. Below, we follow the OWS news of the day, as it happens. If you have any tips, photos or footage that you want seen, send them our way.
PITCHFORK [REDACTED] REVIEWS
“I guess that’s kind of my shtick in general is like punk rock gentleman. You can sound-bite that.” The Observer was chatting with talk show host, entrepreneur, and editor Elliot Aronow, who had just released the second issue of his zine, Our Show with Elliot Aronow, and was celebrating with a party in the Yard at the Soho Grand. DJs Cosmo Baker and Prince Language were spinning classic funk and hip hop. The Observer spotted MTV’s Sway, Princeton “punkademic” Samuel Goldman and about half of Das Racist’s Greedhead labelmates.
Our Show takes its name from the variety show Mr. Aronow used to host at Santos Party House with guests like James Murphy and Andrew W.K., what he calls “my weird pothead version of Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party meets Charlie Rose.” For the zine, “My idea for it was to make it a punk GQ, take all the stuff that was supposed to be kind of bourgeois and bring it down from the mountain and say, ‘Ayo, you can do this.’” Both issues contain fashion advice from Brooklyn Tailors, whose Danny Lewis was at the party and told The Observer, “It’s like Elliot’s whole world. He spreads the word. You’ll probably see some of our stuff floating around.” Indeed, Mr. Aronow was sporting bespoke pants from the Williamsburg haberdasher, plus a green-on-white paisley Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers jacket and a white t-shirt from Uniqlo, “’cause I don’t care,” he said.
Bigger Than Hip-Hop
Lana Del Rey is probably a name you are no doubt sick of hearing regardless of whether you understand who or what a Lana Del Rey is. Rest assured, that will soon be over. The singer formerly known at least one lip-injection ago as Lizzy Grant received her proper, full-length Pitchfork Media review today.
Can you guess how she scored?
I'M AT A FASHION PARTY I'M WEARING FASHION CLOTHES
When one thinks of Queens rappers, one does not think of political redistricting, but all of that is about to change.
Himanshu “Heems” Suri, a member of the idiosyncratic rap group Das Racist, is releasing his hotly anticipated solo mixtape Nehru Jackets in conjunction with SEVA NY, a community organization that’s currently focused on raising awareness about the consequences the citywide redistricting scheduled for later this year will have in the Queens neighborhoods where he grew up. Mr. Suri’s mixtape will be accompanied on several songs by young SEVA members who rap and sing in Punjabi.
The Observer made our way out to Queens to watch Mr. Suri record at SEVA co-founder and executive director Gurpal Singh’s bedroom studio. Mr. Suri was accompanied by a pair of young SEVA rappers—Lovedeep Singh, 21, and Jaspreet Singh, 17 (none of the Singhs are related, it turns out). Lovedeep’s parents don’t know about his rap hobby—he simply told them he was at a SEVA event without mentioning the recording studio. Mr. Suri and Mr. Singh told him they would break the news to his parents before the mixtape’s release party.
“He’s got strict parents, but we’re going to have to tell them,” Mr. Singh said. “He’s going to be on stage in front of the whole community.”
Last night at PH-D, the rooftop hotspot atop the Dream Downtown, BlackBook magazine hosted a party to celebrate its 15th year of publication. Cover boy/True Blood vampire Alexander Skarsgård was there, as were flocks of girls stretching their iPhones toward his booth to get a picture of him.
Yet, the other guests of honor—critical darling rap group Das Racist—were not as impressed with the fashion party. Before, during, and after their short performance (part straight-faced performance art, part tag-team rap mayhem; one onlooker noted that they appeared to be texting while on stage), they took to Twitter to air some grievances.
It was hard to miss the twins. Even with the ring of twenty-somethings in face paint manning the door at Mother New York’s 36,000 sq. ft. headquarters and the stuffed grizzly bear standing guard at the entrance, Eboni and Erica Davis were impossible to ignore. Identical silky pigtails, identical spangled tank tops, identical booty shorts, Read More
The red hot Brooklyn rap duo Das Racist was detained and deported from the U.K.’s Gatwick airport yesterday. From their blog,
Yesterday, because of some sticklerism on the part of UK Customs regarding paperwork, we were denied entry, detained for 8+ hours in the airport, and deported back to Switzerland.
We were held Read More
When we last mentioned New York Times scribe Deborah Solomon, her reputation as an interview master was being tested. The staff of the 92nd Street Y decided that her discussion with actor Steve Martin did not touch upon his film career to an appropriate extent, and therefore a refund would be extended to all Read More