Brian: The man behind the electronic curtain


Sometimes I forget how things work. Not my microwave or my sampler but how , in 2012, we as people get shit done. Every now and then I get a shining reminder. The other day, this popped up in my email:

Hello,
My name is Brian Valenti. I worked at Sony Records for three years, and I am now working in the Marketing Department at Atlantic. I had the chance to do some research on you and I would like to offer my services to you. I maintain Social Media Networks and Brand identity for the likes of (Tyrese, Bobby Valentino, Tyga, etc. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested, I would love to help Maintain Your Social Media. I can provide anything you would need as far as Facebook Likes, Twitter followers, YouTube views (up to Millions of real views for cheap) i can work with any budget. Let me know if it would be ok to send you my most recent Package Deals. Thank you so much for your time.

Take Care,
Brian

Whenever I read shit like this, I feel betrayed. even though I know this is real and that’s how some people get things done, there’s still a little part of me that wants to believe that people actually are able to achieve things without needing help from dickholes like Brian.
Granted, this could easily just be spam. Very focused spam but spam nonetheless. But things like this do explain some things I never really have answers for. Like “How does this random un-famous person on twitter have 10,000 followers when all they tweet is links to mixtapes?” or “Why does this horrific youtube video of no value whatsoever have a million views?”
Or what about that shitty group who makes terrible music yet somehow has this huge following? I have literally asked myself before “Who the fuck actually listens to Bobby Valentino (nice name, bro)?”. I’m convinced there is “popular” music out there that no one is actually a fan of but it gets through all the channels via bullshit like facebook likes and twitter followers. Using these kind of tools as a basis of following trends, then those artists get played on the radio and video shows…all of sudden, this music that is painfully dull and average , and could be interchanged with really any other music on the planet, is a “success”. Next thing you know, Bobby Valentino is selling out shows cause people who listen to the radio will like whatever you play them. It’s a crazy cycle that’s roots begin in internet marketing…the least organic fanbase creator ever known to man.

I mean, jesus, this dude Brian is basically selling facebook likes! Is this where we are? We’ve reached a point where someone “Liking” something on Facebook carries so much weight that it has now become something a person can sell? I’m far from a political man. Shit, I care very little about most things on a deep level. But things like this make me wanna go “Falling down” meets Dead Prez on motherfuckers and run up on these crackers in their city halls.

The whole concept behind “appearance versus reality” is basically what the internet has become. It stretches from Facebook profile pics taken from angles to make an obese girls look skinny to press photos of unknown artists in front expensive cars, flexing like they don’t take the bus and live in their grandma’s attic. There was a time when “keeping up appearances” was just something miserable couples did so no one would ask them about their shitty relationship. Mom was sad and lonely, Dad was secretly gay and hates mom and their kid was a cutter who took butthole pics on isanyoneup.com. But the family photos on the wall depicted a family of great security and love.

With this kind of media manipulation were basically just told “Oh, you didn’t know? This person is famous!” and everything else follows suit. It reminds me of a season of The Real World a few years ago where the group LMFAO were on it. They were performing and hung out with the cast. They weren’t really friends and the cast wasn’t really fans of their music. That was product placement at work. Two years later, those two complete talentless retards are richer than Berry Gordy…oh wait…that’s one of their dads…but you get what I’m saying. The merits of doing work, creating something of value and reaping the benefits of that work and talent are gone. Unless you’re Adele or some other freak of nature talent, all that shit doesn’t matter. It’s all based on who’s pushing you, who’s co-signing you and how much money they’re willing to spend to do that. And all that starts from things like that email.
Now, you might be thinking “Blockhead, if that’s true, why don’t you spend your money on getting this cock gobbler Brian to help you out?”
First off, watch your tone. Secondly, I wouldn’t do that because I know emails like that are not sent to me specifically because I’m me. “Brian” has never heard of me. Brian is just throwing out his bait and seeing who bites. Brian, is also a low life amateur who sends emails to dudes like me…which speaks volumes about what kind of power he has (assuming he’s a real person at a desk and not an Iphone app).

I’d like to meet Brian. I’d like to pick his brain. See where it all went wrong for him. It’s not like he sold his soul to the devil or anything. I mean, I would hope he didn’t cause that would be a depressing trade off. But, how did brian become the man he is today? I’m sure , as a child, when he was playing on the jungle gym, he was playing just like the other kids. He wasn’t making connections and getting peoples card while soulessly promising the he can hook them up with unlimited apple juice during nap time. Nope…At some point, Brian became that guy. The guy who rubs the balls of the guy who rubs the balls of the guy who blows the guy who gets fucked in the ass by the guy who eats the shit of the guy get triple teamed by those guys who all blow that one main guy. I can’t be sure but It’s probably due to his bitter mom, angry gay dad and slutty cutter sister.

Answers for questions Vol. 74


Good day everyone. Yet another installment of the no holds barred inquisitive wonderland that is “Answers for questions”.
Listen, I’m not gonna lie…I’m running low on questions. So, go nuts. You can ask more than one at a time..they can be extremely silly. Whatever you want. So, if you got more questions for me, send them to phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave them in the comments below. Get on that yo!

I really enjoyed your post on common a few weeks back. It pretty much summed up the career of common perfectly. Krs has taken some knocks here. I was interested in hearing your take on Krs one.

Oh man. This might hurt me a little. There was a time when KRS was my #1 rapper. BDP was some life changing shit to me in my youth. Pretty much every album they made was great to me. I’d say my first worries came when he went solo (not that BDP wasn’t completely his group but, you know, officially solo). I feel like most people look at his debut album “Return of the boom bap” as a classsic…but I do not. It’s good. There are definitely good songs but much like Common’s “One day…” album , it was the first time I felt i noticed some chinks in KRS’ armor. He could still rap. The beats were still good, but he began to get a little too self aware and , most of all, it was the first time I felt he was beginning to become corny. That song about being a blunt was the tip off. After that album, while he still made some good music in to the mid-late 90’s, I just never felt like listening to him. It was like he was a characterization of his former self. Both albums “KRS-ONE” and “I Got Next” had a few decent songs and a lot of KRS just blabbering about himself and the spirituality of being himself in a way I found unappealing. I suppose it didn’t help that , in interviews, he was the worst. Just listening to him talk made my skin crawl. He was a ego maniacal corn ball and , in my eyes, the ship had sailed.
The whole church of hip hop thing was fucking creepy (they were like branch davidians who could break dance). He basically become one of those annoying old dudes you meet that only talk about “The four elements!” like that shit still matters anymore. I love hip hop, but the way people get so protective of the four elements is insane. I love rap music. I love beats. I love rhymes. I really could give less of a shit about the rest of it. Graf is cool. Breakdancing is cool. Djing is cool…but I don’t do any of those things and really never wanted to. KRS , to me, represents the kinda person I’d never wanna get stuck in an elevator with.
It’s sad…cause I genuinely love a lot of his material…but he’s tainted his legacy with how crazy and boring he’s become (Being both those things simultaneously is no east task) that I can barely even listen to his old shit any more. Bummer.

Who is your favorite NBA commentator, now or all time. Color or play by play guy. Maybe you could care less, but anyways, for me it would Huby Brown & Mark Jackson. I swear a good commentator makes my game watching all the more enjoyable, especially when i say something about the game then they say the exact same thing on t.v. and i look like a basketball genius to whoever is watching the game with me, but yeah i digress.

To me Huby brown you can tell he knows his stuff, he doesn’t get annoying or overy arrogant about anything, he just knows his shit. And Mark Jackson because i always agree with pretty much everything he says. But yeah, couple commentator questions for you. Maybe it is a total moot point because you watch ball with beats pumping and no volume on the t.v. but if you have a preference, who would it be?

Marv will always be my dude but that’s cause I grew up watching him. Lately, I get a big kick out of Jeff Van Gundy. Mostly cause , even though he’s not always right, he doesn’t pull punches.
However, if it were up to me, I’d like Charles, chris webber, and Kenny smith to do all the games. I don’t really need play by play. The banter is way more interesting to me and those dudes are a hilarious crew. Throw in shaq too…shit, even reggie miller and steve kerr are entertaining.

To fully appreciate the greatness of your beats I like to jam your music using my Sony MDR7506 headphones when I can so I was wondering…..what headphones do you use when you are making beats? Are they different from the headphones you use when you are not at home?

I don’t generally use head phones when I make beats. I prefer speakers. When I’m on the road or something, I’ll use whatever’s around though…Often that’s earbuds.
The thing about that is that, when making beats, as long as you can hear how everything falls into place, most sonic issues can be worked on in mixing. I don’t sit a tinker with kick drums for 5 hours when I’m putting a beat together cause, at that time, there are more pressing issues. That’s all mixing. When starting out on a beat, getting the mood of the beat and feel of the drums is far more important than ironing out mixing details. So whether I use $500 studio pro head phones, ear buds, or the speakers from my laptop (that I would never do) , it’s all the same until you take it into where it’s gonna be mixed.

how do you tell a rapper (or any musician for that matter) that you don’t want to collaborate with them / give them a beat without sounding (or feeling) like a dick? i imagine if its a no name mc its pretty easy to just ignore them or tell them to fuck off but what if its someone who’s sort on the same level (so to speak) of notoriety or success as you?

That’s tough. I would just say you’re really busy. That’s, of course, if you’re being a nice guy. If you’re more of a straight up kinda dude, then you can just flat out tell them you’re not into it. Although saying that kinda thing is never personal , it’s still a slap in the face…but at least you’re not pussy footing around the issue.

What I know: You don’t really go out of your way to listen to DJ Shadow’s music.
What I’d like to know: How do you react to the critical backlash against the instrumental hip/hop, layered/ sample esthetic? Shadow’s “The Less You Know the Better” was sort of panned and not a lot of people are talking about it. Does this show up on your radar as you get closer to releasing your next album? Did you ever peep Shadow’s newest one? I know you guys make really different sounds, but you would show up in the same bin at record store (if they existed), so I think it’s a fair question. (Also, Shadow has turned into a bit of a grump about the music scene and you’ve kept your head a little more. Kudos on that, yo.)

I honestly don’t think about any of this ever. I just make my music and keep it moving. I haven’t heard a shadow album in it’s entirety since “Entroducing”. Not cause I dislike his music but cause I just don’t really check for instrumental hip hop records.The dude is obviously an immense talent but it’s just not what I listen to in my own spare time. So, really, what he does, how his albums are received and what fans of his music think of his albums really has nothing to do with me. Like you said, at this point, we’re making extremely different music. So, yeah…It doesn’t show up on my radar at all.

Hey Block I love the blog. Are you the type of artist who can write a book? I ask because I think you have a great gift of gab. And also what other art medium do you excell at that no one else knows or sees.

First off, I swear I didn’t write this question to myself.
I love writing. It’s a fun thing to do to just blow off steam and be able to voice thoughts that would otherwise go unheard. Could I write a book? Eh…I mean, I could compile a book made up of stuff I’ve written on this blog but , beyond that, I don’t know. I can’t imagine writing anything cohesive that’s longer than a few pages. My attention span is like that of a newt , so the prospect of doing something beyond just random musings, is pretty daunting. That said, if someone wanted me to and had some money behind it, I’d certainly try!
As for other art mediums, I got nothing. I’m a terrible drawer/painter. I certainly did not inherit my fathers gifts in that respect. I think I coulda been a decent actor had I tried but, you know, acting is kinda bullshit anyway so that’s not saying much.

Just read the trending topics on the Grammy Awards….and I can’t agree more that it is a massive circle jerk of people that have been accepted by the masses that have mediocre talent….which leads to my question….if you were ever nominated for a Grammy would you go to the Award show?….would you accept the Grammy if you won?

Fuck yeah! I don’t have morals about things like that. First off, it would be fun to go to just to see the spectacle. Can you imagine the amount of hot ass at the grammies? jesus. I’m sure the parties are epic too. I’d most likely get too drunk and mouth off to the wrong person but it would be worth it. I mean, even having the chance to tell someone like LMFAO to go fuck themselves would be an honor in itself. I could probably masturbate to the idea of telling madonna she sucks. That’s how awesome it would be. Granted, I’m a pussy and would never do that but a dreamer cna dream, right?
As for winning a grammy, the idea of me winning a grammy is hilarious but, I’ll play along. I’d go up there and accept it like a bawce. One things for sure, I would not thank god.

Song(s) of the day 2/24/12


Poor Wayfaring stranger by Cliff Gober
Poor Wayfaring stranger by The Anita Kerr quartet
http://www.mediafire.com/?0680705a2in01bj

About two years ago, when I started this blog, one of the first song’s of the day I did was “Poor wayfaring stranger” by The Anita Kerr Quartet. This song was extremely out of the ordinary for me to choose for many reasons. FOr one, it wasn’t a rap song or an old soul song. Secondly, It was a religious song I found on a record while digging for samples. As a very non-religious person, I’ve sometimes had issues even really getting past that when listening to music where it’s the focus. I mean, i can zone out lyrics pretty well but sometimes all that jeebus talk will seep in and annoy the shit out of me. But that song was undeniably beautiful. Amazing harmonies for an just an overall great song. A little later down the line I discovered the Cliff Gober version on some compilation of Christian soul music. Gober’s version was completely different but equally awesome. I figure, since the link for the original post is dead, I’d do a good old 2 for 1 here and give you both.
On a side note, I ripped the Anita Kerr version right of vinyl and there was a little skip in the record. Nothing I can do about that but, hey, it adds a little authenticity, right? RIGHT?!?!?!?!

Throwaway files the return! Vol. 2


Here’s another installment of free music. I know you guys like free things. In case you don’t know what these tracks are, let me briefly explain. These are all beats i made between 2004-2010 that , for some reason or another, never go used. Don’t ask why, just accept that their time has passed and now they belong to you. You may freestyle to them, dance to them, cry to them, yell at them or just listen to them. whatever you want…just don’t put them on your album cause you will get sued. Not by me…but by the people I sampled. Trust me, you want no part of that.
Anyway, enjoy!
http://www.mediafire.com/?omvbvm1mg09i2wh

If you like stuff like this, enter the terms “Throwaway files” into the search option on this page. There are over 13 more volumes of shit like this download from this site. Go nuts.

The Mighty Jones: An in studio video


The Mighty Jones is a group made up of myself, Singer Joanna Erdos, guitarist/bassist Damien Paris and guitarist/bassist Jeremy Gibson. A while back I posted some demo’s we made for download.
https://phatfriend.com/2010/07/22/introducing-the-mighty-jones/

We recently did a little video of us recording at Wreckroom records Studios.


The song “The spell” is one of the newer joints we’ve been working on and hope to release in the near future. Figured I’d throw it up here cause , you know, you motherfuckers should hear it, right?

Wreckroom records is the brainchild of actor Adrian Grenier. It’s basically a studio in his crib where he let’s all his friends record. So far he’s recorded all sorts of acts…to peep those, check out the website for more performance videos like the one above:
http://www.wreckroomrecords.com/#991/custom_plain