Land of a Thousand Rappers
Land of a Thousand Rappers
Ships in wooden, hand-crafted maple wood boxset with Zero Seed book ($49) beginning of October, 2013.
Book also sold separately ($15).
Hip-hop is time travel. A kaleidoscopic-collage adventure for the ear and the mind via the craft of cutting up, arranging, and layering audio and words. Each slice is a fully-loaded time-capsule of its respective milieu, a series of sonic snapshots capturing the cultural culminations of all that preceded these moments in music. Histories become simultaneous, and new histories emerge by way of juxtaposition and collision. It is the invention of the future, and future (as we know it) is always our next now.
And, sometimes, hip-hop knows exactly what it is doing. The multi-volume Land of a Thousand Rappers knows.
Seven being a magic number, it took that many years to build this particular time-machine. Michael Kaufmann, Wayne Feldman, Ero Gray, and friends channel a cast of characters, projected archetypes, to transmit tales, myths, jokes, rants, lists, codes, spells, and formulas that both pull and propel the listener through something that is much more than a narrative to a fantastic sci-fi soundscape; it is a means to understanding who we are, have been, and can be.
The magical number seven, minus two: five volumes make up this adventure so far.
Volume One: Future Rapper and the Battle for Zero
The stark black and white image adorning the album you see is Mount Meru, the mystical center, approached by our star, the oft-tentacled Future Rapper, a time-hopping Aztec warrior, seeking to preserve the sanctity of the eternal.
Volume Two: Warhol Buck$ (Courtesy of First World International-Inc.)
A Koonsian balloon-dog with an assault rifle emerging from either end, surrounded by a ring of chain, emblemizes the villain Warhol Buck$. Slick pimp, art and arms dealer, celebrator of the sordid, who under the control of the spectral StaggerLee seeks to end time itself.
Volume Three: Holy Fool and the Dawn of Distant Moons
An ancient anchor, tilted slightly, capped with a sunlike anemone is the icon of the Holy Fool, sailor and saint, water-warring monk covered in living, prophetic tattoos. He is anchored to no time.
Volume Four: Queen of Soft in the Den of Whispers
A two-ended flower, the lower half blooming petals under a waning star, the upper end blooming skulls: this is the sign of the Queen of Soft, a sweet-voiced diva, the daughter of a burlesque dancer who came of age in an alternate WWI Italy, and fell in with the futurists. As lovely as she is deadly.
Volume Five: Papa Alabaster and His Conjuring Jars
A piece of ancient pottery centered under a sliver of moon, adorned in ornate, musical notation, represents one of Papa Alabaster’s two conjuring jars. Each capture and release the sounds of ages, sampling the many moments of mankind. Also sent with StaggerLee by demigods to contain humanity in the finite, but since StaggerLee’s time-murdering madness took hold, Papa Alabaster is assembling an army with the Future Rapper in the lead.
Others include Dr. Kipp Normand, Whiney Snivels, The Alchemist, Ghostbase, Mr. Self-Help Himself, and Zero Kelvin. All are portrayed and conveyed by Michael Kaufmann, Wayne Feldman, and Ero Gray, with the help of Liz Janes, Jeff Stern, Roberto Lange (of Helado Negro), Samuel Bing (of Fol Chen), Glen Galaxy (of Octa#grape, and Soul-Junk), Lord of the Yum Yum, Rafter Roberts, Nick Hennies, Tucker Dulin, Dan Jackson, William Ryan Fritch, and Raymond Raposa, with visuals by Jonathan Dueck.
A genuine epic, as well as an epic undertaking*, Land of a Thousand Rappers draws upon and synthesizes from every age of jazz: early New Orleans/Chicago, boogie-woogie, stride, on through swing, bop, hard bop, free, even into lounge and fusion, with no end of pop elements from around the world, psych, blues, soul, metal, kraut-rock, post-punk, nodding to and evoking far-thinking and far-feeling musical figures such as Harry Partch, Sun Ra, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Moondog, Sun City Girls, The Residents, and Ennio Morricone, as well as visionary writers such as Philip K. Dick, William Blake, Ray Bradbury, Thomas Pynchon, and William S. Burroughs.
Fans of Mike Ladd, Deltron, Madlib, Prince Paul, “FanDam” era EL-P, MF Doom, Dr. Oktagon, and even farther outside/inside artists such as Sensational and Subtitle, will be thrilled and rewarded by the grand, labyrinthine scope and generosity of this unique contribution to the future history of hip-hop.
The time is always now. This is for everyone. This is for you.
* An accompanying novella/prose-poem by Michael Kaufmann entitled Zero Seed is forthcoming. Portions have already been published in New Dead Families, and Specter Magazine.