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December 04, 2007 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-12-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 5

ALB', RVIEW
the flow
Dine Jason!

Christmas film
as it should be

ow that it's December,
it's officially OK to talk
about Christmas. Stores
began putting up lighted trees and
garlands on Halloween, and "Fred
Claus" came out in early November,
but now Thanksgiving is over and
it's time to get festive.
For me, and it seems nearly every
network on television, it's time to
start watching the endless parade
of Christmas-movie marathons
that air until the
fat man slides
his way down
the chimney. 4
Everyone's seen
"A Christmas
Story" because
the TBSnetwork}
plays the clas- PAUL
sic as if it's the TASSI
only movie ever
made about this
COURTESY OF DEF JAM holiday; and as charming as it is, we
really don't need to watch "A Char-
lie Brown Christmas" for 4,000th
licate piano keys. time. And don't get me started on
ance, Ghost could "It's a Wonderful Life."
Lil Wayne whose There are the obvious staples of
off the Drought Christmas movie viewing, and then
utilizes the same there are those that are much less
matic ingredients obvious. Often overlooked in a genre
a more authentic flooded with classics like "Miracle
derness. on 34th Street" and disasters like
se sub-par second "Deck the Halls," these films will
o is salvaged by a make even the most sour Scrooge
ngly solid bonus smile.

Ghostface like Denzel's intro in American
Gangster - he's both violent and
at his most compassionate. But it's not really
compassion. You know Ghost is
lyrically playful just going to keep the girls and
add interest to their debts before
By GABRIEL BAKER ultimately smoking them.
DailyArts Writer As soon as the motorcycle rev
of second track "Tony Sigel" sinks
Ghostface Killah is ridicu- in, you can tell Ghostface is more
lously consistent. Each one of his than ready. And once he gets
individual albums plays out like a started, it seems like he can't be
stunner, some stopped. There's something abso-
even garnering lutely captivating about his flow
essential status *7NN as it weaves from topical refer-
(Supreme Clien- ence to anecdote in an abstract,
tele). TheBigDoe GhostfaCe almost poetic way. Even when
Rehab follows Killah his verses seem consumed by ten-
adequately in sion or violence, Ghost is capable
this vein, even The Big Doe of delivering an unexpected gem
if it's not quite Rehab to lighten the mood. On "We Cel-
the revolution- Def Jam ebrate," Ghost raps, "Now I'm in
ary sound that the middle / Watch is all chiseled
a Ghostface / I can holla at the bird like Doc-
releasehastendedtobe.The album tor Doolittle / 'What's that in ya
finds plenty ofsupport from Theo- pocket, Ghost?' / A dill pickle /
dore Unit and Wu-Tang members 'Not that!' / Oh that's just the 45
but, as is almost always the case, stainless nickel."
it's Ghost's stream-of-conscious- On "White Linen Affair," Ghost
ness flow and impeccable delivery blurs the distinctions between
that dictates the record. skit, song and concept. Playing
Think of the first minute of host to an awards show for hip
The Big Doe Rehab as Ghostface hop's biggest names, Ghostface is
Killah's don-like portrait. He the MC, the coordinator and the
strolls into the cabana with his facilitator. He introduces celebri-
entourage surroundingsome poor ties, announces special perform-
fools who thought they could skip ers, and even seats his guests.
out on their promissory note, but The song shifts between Ghost's
instead of blasting them he shows gratuitous namedropping and
a little mercy by taking their girl- a quasi chorus that works as a
friends as a down payment. It's lead-in from commercial breaks.

The song or skit, whatever you
want to call it, is feather-light
humor with one-liners like, "And
for my ladieeees, we got Ne-Yo
and Usher." There's something
hilarious about Ghostface excit-
edly introducing Ne-Yo. I know
they put out a single together, but
I can't really picture the two of
them ever hanging out.
"Supa GFK" recalls The Pretty
Toney Album on which Ghost
classically raps over the Delfonics
track "La La Means I Love You."
Here he adds slight production to
Johnny "Guitar" Watson's often
sampled funk swell beat, and then
delivers the best rap-over it's ever
produced. It's yet anotherexample
of how flawlessly self-assured he
is as a wordsmith - all you have
to do is put on a funk-soul record
and he'll become its proprietor.
To balance out the violent,
playful first half of the record,
Ghostface hastily attempts to
add some biblical, soul-search-
ing depth toward its end. After an
R&B a cappella interlude that runs
a minute too long, Ghost tackles
self-sacrifice and personal ascen-
dancy on the hard ballad, "I'll Die
for You." The song is introspec-
tion extended outward. Ghost
questions his role in his family, his
community and even in biblical
history. But despite his solid lyri-
cism, the track is just plain bor-
ing. Its passion seems perfunctory
- Ghost references his love for his
mother, his kids, Brother Malcolm

and so on over de
In this rare inst;
take a tip fromI
track "Trouble"
Is Over mixtape
musical and the;
while generating
and resonant ten
Thankfully, th
half of the albur
pair of surprisi

tling his mail-carrying nemesis and
making his son proud. on a related
note, is Sinbad still alive?
"Love Actually" - I will defend
this movie until death. I've already
earned a number of feminine and
homophobic nicknames for my love
of this movie, but really it is one of
the best Christmas films out there.
Featuring every British person who
has ever been in a movie during the
past 30 years, the movie features
about 20 different love stories hap-
pening simultaneously - so many
that one is bound to apply to your
life. It's terribly cheesy at times, but
you'll only hate it if your heart is
three sizes too small.
"Ernest Saves Christmas"
- There are an infinite number of
screwball Christmas comedies, the
most notable being of the National
Lampoon variety, but as part lov-
able goofball, part mental patient,
Ernest (played by the underappre-
ciated Jim Varney) must help Santa
find his replacement. Ernest movies
are amazing; I don't know why more
people don't know this.
"Die Hard" - Yes, "Die Hard"
is a Christmas movie. Think back:
Remember all the snow, the Christ-
mas trees, the festive references?
Don't you dare
mention 'A
Christmas Story'
"Die Hard" is arguably the best
Christmas movie not really about
Christmas. (Among others in con-
tention: the "Home Alone" series
and "Ghostbusters II.") And it gives
you a chance to watch a violent
action movie during Christmas-
time that isn't a bastard offspring of
the horrifyingly bad "Silent Night,
Deadly Night"'80s slasher series.
Look, I take back what I said
about "It's a Wonderful Life." I'll be
damned if I don't tear up every time
they start singing at the end. And
the made-for-TVversion of"Miracle
on 34th Street" with that girl who
played Matilda did make me want
to hugkittens afterward, but it's just
that I like less cuddly alternatives
every once in a while. But no more
"A Christmas Story," I really can't
hear "You'll shoot your eye out... "
one more time.
- E-mail Tassi at tassi@umich.edu
and watch "Love, Actually" with him.

tracks. "Killa Lipstick" is bol-
steredby some sexual reminiscing
from Method Man and Mastah
Killah and the album closer "Slow
Down" drifts and flutters with the
help of Def Jam songstress Chri-
sette Michele's sultry refrain that
Ghost keeps attempting to speed
up.
This album sees Ghostface
Killah at his most lyrically play-
ful. He's not afraid to set aside his
mob-boss image to make irrev-
erent jokes, even occasionally
poking fun at himself. But this is
what has made Ghostface stand
out from the rest of the Wu-Tang
unit and the majority of hip hop
for years. He's a confident, brazen
storyteller capable of stringing
together intricate plotlines that
occupy the streets and the ethe-
real. But all the while he remains
achingly human. Few rappers are
in the same vicinity as Ghostface.
You don't have to turn to this
album to find out - just look at
his production over the past seven
years. of course, listening to this
won't hurt.

"The Muppet Christmas Carol"
-SpeakingofScrooge, "AChristmas
Carol" has been remade, let's say, 47
times since the original was writ-
ten by some English guy, let's say,
300 years ago. The best adaptation,
however, stars one Michael Caine
and one Kermit the Frog and has the
freshest and funniest take on the
old classic. Featuring every Muppet
ever sculpted out of foam, the film
follows Caine's Ebenezer as he's
visited by the surprisingly creepy
Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present
and Future in order to understand
the true spirit of the season.
"Jingle All the Way" - Arnold
Schwarzenegger and Sinbad. In a
movie. Together. Amazing. In an
exploration of the materialistic
side of Christmas, good dad Arnold
battles shopping crowds, a postal
postal worker and an underground
army of ninja Santas in the quest
for one "Turbo Man" action figure.
But the film goes above and beyond
as Arnold transforms into the hero
himself by the end as he flies around
the Macy's parade in a jet pack bat-

No more socks, Ma. All
I want is a little tech

Will the real Drama please stand up?

By ANDREW SARGUS KLEIN
Managing Arts Editor
Buying gifts is generally an
annoying process. In terms of cost,
effort and effect, you figure an
envelope of cash is usually the way
to go.
The following is a list of sorts.
These aren't gifts for Mom and
Dad (though maybe that's because
my own mother goes to pieces
if I buy her a picture frame and
my father is content with a "hip"
album). They're weird and geeky.
Forget what you think you know
of technogeek Web culture. There
are blogs and blogs listing the most
out-there inventions and products,
so even if nothing on this list makes
it next to your menorah (or under
your Christmas tree), perhaps at
the least you'll appreciate the geeks
out there blogging about even
weirder people building replicas
of Halo weaponry and steampunk-
style CPU towers. Enjoy.
Lifestyle designer Charlie and
Marie puts a new spin on a gift idea
as painfully banal as the necktie:
the coffee mug. Their $25 version
is all black with "OFF" written in
white letters. Pour in some hot java,
though, and the pigment reacts,
changing to a white background
with "ON" in black letters. Revo.
Lutionary.
Nigel's Eco Store has a couple
of so-geeky-it's-lovable (sort of)
Christmas ornaments. A CD is
carved into the likeness of a Christ-
mas tree, circuit boards into stars
(no Davidian ones, though) and
bells. They're about six bucks, and
while not necessarily something
to wrap up, they'll give your tree a
little kick.

Gobaz goes for broke with its
Orgasmo Clock. No more NPR or
blaring alarms. No siree, now you
can wake to a female orgasm every
day. (Unfortunately for fairmind-
edness, there's no male equivalent.)
The amount of jokes this product
presents is endless: "Here you go,
Uncle, a nostalgia trip to the '60s";
"Hey bud, this is actually for your
girlfriend. She was complaining
that it was getting harder to con-
vince you ... "; and, of course, "This
is for you, best friend in the world.
I wanted to get you something no
one else could give you." It's all
yours for $25.
The scent of spirituality? Yes.
Go to www.thepopescologne.com
and see for yourself. Pope Pius IX
(1792-1878), the man who formal-
Sorry. We get
uncomfortable
when we don't
write these.
ized papal infallibility (thank you,
Wikipedia), had his own fragrance.
According to the product site,
they "obtained this formula from
descendants of the commander
of his Papal Guard and lifelong
friend, General Charles Charette.
We have followed this complex,
exclusive formula meticulously,
using the same essential oils that
his perfumers used 150 years ago."
There you have it. Eat your heart
out, Armani.
Sally forth, techie wannabes. A
brave new world awaits you.

By ANTHONY BABER
Daily Arts Writer
It's been a troublesome year for
DJ Drama. Drama (a.k.a. The iPod
King, a.k.a. Barrack O. Drama),
who has become renowned for
showcasing mainstream and less-
er-known artists on the mixtape
rap circuit through his Gangsta

Grillz mixtapes,
had a surprise
run-in with the
Fulton Coun-
ty, Ga., SWAT
team.
The Record-
ing Industry
Association of
America sent

**i,-
DJ Drama
Grangsta Grillz:
The Alubm
Grand Hustle

the team into the Atlanta offices of
Drama's Aphilliates Music Group
and confiscated 81,000 mixtapes,
four vehicles and anything else
they could get their hands on.
Drama and fellow DJ and pro-
ducer, Don Cannon, were arrest-
ed on racketeering charges and
spent the night in jail, released on
$100,000 bonds the next day.
And if that wasn't enough,
earlier this fall he faced more
legal issues when a (much) lesser
known Chicago DJ sued him over
rights to the name "DJ Drama,"
claiming he had it first and
prompting the Atlanta DJ to alter
his moniker.
"You can Google for 400 pages
and you wouldn't see anything
about this guy," the Grand Hustle
DJ said. "It's all good, though. I've
been through so much already
- this is not a big deal."
So when DJ Drama's long-
awaited full-length debut Gang-
sta Grillz: The Album was finally
released, the name on the cover
simply read "Drama."
The album starts with a skit

called "Setup," Drama's take on
the investigation and raid of the
Aphilliates's building back in Jan-
uary. The satirical sketch pokes
fun at the fed's action: "The first
officer/officers on the scene to
apprehend Mr. Don Cannon and a
Mr. DJ Drama will receive a bot-
tle of Scotch on the house." The
skit is reinforced through "Takin'
Pictures" with a massive collabo-
ration of Young Jeezy, Willie the
Kid, Jim Jones, Rick Ross, Young
Buck and T.I. all contributing to
the discussion of the legal scru-
tiny of hip hop. Buck sheds light
on the fed's excessive interest in
rappers, saying, "They snappin
while we trappin' / Tryin' to find
out what happened / They wanna
lock me up before my album go
platinum."
The album is essentially a hip-
hop version of "The A-Team,"
assembling a crack team of pro-
ducers, rappers and singers to
solidify the mainstream mixtape.
The immense list of producers
ranges from Lil' Jon and Cannon
to the well-known heavy hitters
like Mannie Fresh and Hi-Tek. He
doesn't discriminate on featured
artists either, including East
Coast rappers like Jadakiss, Free-
way and Lloyd Banks in the pool
of Southern lyricists.
The thing that sets Drama's
albumapartfromothercontempo-
raryDJdiscsarehisextraordinary
collaborations. In a true Memphis,
Tenn., arrangement,Dramateams
Three 6 Mafia consort Project
Pat with the Dirty South legends
8Ball & MJG on "187," produced
by Memphis native Drumma Boy.
The standout track is the followup
on OutKast's song series "The Art
of Storytellin', Pt. 4," adding Mar-
sha Ambrosius from Floetry on
the hook. The Atlanta natives are

The owner of the car is going to be pissed if there are any smudges on it.

in regular form on the track and
Andre 3000 addresses the crit-
ics saying, "I started out starvin'
/ Now they got me out here Brett
Favre'in / Tryin' to see if I still got
it."
Drama doesn't have much of a
voice in the album but uses hip-
hop vet Lil' Jon and comedian
Katt Williams to promote Gang-
sta Grillz in respective interludes.
Diddy (a.k.a. "the Grand Impe-
rial King Combs") makes his own
contribution to Drama's street
cred, explaining the necessity of
the mixtape circuit and the mean-
ing of Drama's nickname, Mr.
Thanksgiving. He exclaims, "Ain't
nobody doin the shit that he does
/ Everybody's eatin!" But Drama
does take a moment to assert his

authority himself, saying, "I've
realized recently that I was born
for this position / I took the fall
for hip hop / And I stand before
you stronger than ever / Watch
what comes next."
Though it's a masterful compi-
lation, it's still a compilation, and
the artists aren't always consis-
tent. Meager contributions from
Drama's fellow Grand Hustle
artists Young Dro and Big Kun-
try King on "Aye" and the unpal-
atable loop on the beat of "Grillz
Gleamin'" are just a couple of the
shortcomings.
But a few sloppy verses from
sloppy rappers can't ruin the
album. It's a solid piece of street
music and is just notch in Drama's
belt.

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