Answers for questions vol. 150

What’s up everyone? Hope your weekend was good as summer is coming to close. You better milk it for whatever’s left, guy!
I watched the VMA’s last night specifically to make snarky tweets about it (Don’t freak out TV illuminati assholes, I also watch Breaking bad) and, I gotta say, I may have tweeted my greatest tweet ever. I don’t wanna brag but…man…I nailed it.
Screen shot 2013-08-26 at 11.24.25 AM
Was it juvenile and mean? Yes. In fact, it was downright shitty of me. But man, that pun though!!! My apologies to that girl. I meant no harm but I couldn’t resist.
Anyway, this is not about that. this is where I answer your questions. If you’d like to ask me anything, now is your chance. Be creative and try to think outside the question asking box. Send all questions to me at: or leave them in the comment section below.
This week, a lot of these questions read like an in depth interview.So, maybe you’ll like that…or not. I don’t know you , bro.

Ok, loooongtime reader since with a question for you, Block. In your recent “Movies I’ll Never Watch” article you described Sandra Bullock as “a bitch floating around in space for two hours.” This made me laugh, so I ask you: how do you go about disarming comments from the emergent word police on the internet? The people who have nothing to do but scan every blog and facebook post for things to be offended for, even if it doesn’t personally apply to them? It’s the fucking worst and, while I would never use a racially hateful term unless SPECIFICALLY quoting Danny Brown, I need a good, dismissive rejoinder for these assholes. Or do you just ignore that ish and move on? Because, apparently, saying outlandish shit for comedic effect is no longer permissible. Bill Burr would be turning in his grave. If he was, you know, dead.

This a huge problem and I’m afraid there is no easy way to defuse it. People are gonna be offended by what they’re offended by. It goes way beyond just words though. I’ve had just as many people get offended over concepts. Jokingly using the word bitch for effect, in a certain (comedic) context should be okay but there’s just no way to explain to someone who claims to be offended by it. People have gotten way angrier at me for making fun of men who wear open toed shoes than if I were to use a word like “faggot” in a joke. in 2013, it’s all about you and what bothers your delicate sensibilities. in other words, a lot of what bothers people is based entirely on their own insecurities. Words of “hate” are easy pickens but, i’ve found that, people get really dramatic when you strike a nerve with them about something far more pedestrian that just happens to relate to them personally.
I’m convinced the people who do all the policing of words on the internet aren’t actually offended by any of the things they complain about. They’re just jumping on anything they can because they feel it’s their job to save the world one derogatory statement at a time.
The thing is, I get why people are offended by words. Obviously, some words have lots of power behind them. I just wish people on the internet could grasp the idea of context a little better and , also, if they had a slightly more evolved sense of humor. That wouldn’t hurt.
But , hey, I’m a straight white male so what the fuck can I say about anything.

You do some incredible remixes that often trump the original. Of course the rap ones (From Aesop to Despot, Lodeck, Cage and Nacho Picasso, to name a few favorites), but your take on singer/songwriters, on the rare occasion I come across one, are always great. I can’t say I listen to much Fionna Apple otherwise, but your remix of “Hot Knife” gets played on my ipod all the time. Same for the brilliant “Fidelity” remix. So my question – do you have any plans / desires to remix more music that falls outside the category of hip hop? Obviously you could never sell them, but any plans to put more out? Or do you have a treasure-trove of those such remixes stashed away somewhere?

When I do remixes like the Fiona apple one, it was pretty much on a whim. I had been listening to that album a ton and fairly obsessed with it. I tried to remix some other songs but some of the key changes made it difficult. So, I landed on “Hot Knife” as one I could pull off.

Honestly, a large part of being able to remix anything like that is the song instrumentation being minimal. I can only remix that kinda stuff when there isn’t a lot of stuff going on behind the vocals. In the case of the regina Spektor remix, I was given the acapella to work with so that made it easier.

I love doing those type of remixes but it’s rare to both find a song I want to do it to , that also fits the restrictions I needs to even be able to remix it correctly. Here is another one I did cause the original song allowed me to work with it.

Hey Block, when you first started working on music when did you realize that THAT was what you wanted to do and nothing else? Were you 100% confident about it at the time? Before music were you confused or lost on what you wanted to do? I’m 19 barely started community college and I have no clue what I wanna do with my life 😐 you got any ideas/advice on what might help me discover what I wanna do?

I don’t think I really thought of it in that way. It was just something I loved doing so I did it. The fact it worked out for me was just luck. I started doing music in a different time too so seeing the boom of indy hip hop definitely gave me more confidence about my possible place within that universe.
That said, I was/am a college drop out with no discernible skills that can be applied to real life and making money. So, yeah, i was pretty confused about where my life was going. I’d venture to guess that most people without real careers feel that way well into adulthood. I know i still get pangs of it now and then when I think of the prospect of making hip hop at age 50.
You’re young. 19 is nothing. You got time to figure things out. I would never tell anyone to put all your eggs in the “I’m gonna be a musician!” basket, cause that’s simply so unlikely to work out long term but, in general, something will come along that will stick. If not, you can always be homeless. Those dudes answer to no one, bro.

Why don’t you smoke weed anymore? It’s kinda rare for people to just -stop- smoking without some sort of impetus (for instance, no longer spending time with their smoking circle), which makes me curious as to what your reasons were for quitting/never starting/whatever.

I stopped smoking weed cause I stopped enjoying it. It made me anxious and the “fun” aspect of it was little to none. I even had trouble sleeping when I’d be high and the day after smoking I’d just be in a haze. I didn’t like how it made me feel. I think this is more common than you think and has a lot to do with getting older. Some people are built to smoke and their brains are wired to be high in an effective way. Other, like myself, reach an age where it simply stops feeling good.
When i did smoke, I loved eating, watching tv/movies, freestyling and listening to music. That was it. There was nothing else i really got out of it. Once I stopped freestyling regularly, had to watch what i eat more and started finding myself confused while watching tv/movies high, i knew it was a pointless venture for me.
I should also add that I find “weed culture” extremely corny. Being around people who seem to focus their existence around being high and worshipping weed makes me never want to do it ever again. It makes me feel like someones dad , thinking “Jesus, get off the couch and do something with your fucking life!”. Seeing those people around me definitely made me want to be less like that as much as possible.

Do you think you grew up pretty well to do, (upper middle class maybe)? Also, do you think white privilege has ever helped you get a gig or record deal or gave you an edge/leverage, when discussing a project/album with record label execs, then say a 19 year old black kid from the projects would have?

I’d say I come from an upper middle class family. My dad was an artist and my mom was a social worker so it’s not like we were rolling in dough but we were certainly comfortable and my dad made some great financial choices (buying certain stocks and buying property early on) that definitely elevated our lifestyle.
As for the whole white privilege angle in music, that definitely was not the case. It’s different now and there certainly have been cases of white people rising to the top of black art forms but, in my world, being white and making hip hop wasn’t an advantage. If anything, in the 90’s, we were kinda laughed at and proving your worth was an uphill battle. This is probably cause I wasn’t making mainstream music. But the bottom line is that it’s not like your average white kid has more connections to record labels/venues than your average black kid. Sure, there are exceptions but most people , in general, are outside the bubble. regardless of race or economical background.
The advantages of being a well to do white would come later when it’s time to pay lawyer fees and shit like that. But getting noticed? That’s all luck and timing. No matter who you are. Talent is a distant third in that equation.

So you and your peers (like Aesop) careers got it’s start more or less due to the internet. Being a fast moving channel for new information it helped “spread the word” quicker than the traditional route of labels. So since then others have done it too, specifically Macklemore.

So here is my question and potentially offensive part. Let me start out saying I fucking hate Macklemore. Given Macklemore’s success off of the same medium what made him much more successful than others? Is it the accessibility of his music? Or the content? Just wanted your thoughts around that.

He had a hit song. The “thrift store” joint blew up and then everything snowballed from there. I can’t even be mad at the dude as he’s been doing this shit since the early 2000’s. I may not like his music much but the last thing I’m gonna be hate on is a dude who blew up on his level and kept it independent. I was watching the VMA’s last night and thinking “Holy shit…this dude must be so fucking rich right now.” cause he owns hs own music. That’s obviously got nothing to do with quality of his product but I can only take my hat off to what he’s achieved. It’s pretty incredible.
But, back to his success, I see it this way:
He made a catchy/funny song that blew up off of a youtube video. instead of fizzling out, he released more songs. One was a serious social message song about gay rights and the other was a crowd pumping song built to be played at sporting events. All these songs were well produced and had a “now” sound. Basically, he played his cards perfectly and was rewarded for it. A ton of people related to at least one of those songs. Sometimes that’s all it takes. I have a feeling he’s gonna be around for a while, whether you like it or not. On the bright side, if you don’t like his music, you simply don’t have to listen to it so, there’s always that.

8 thoughts on “Answers for questions vol. 150

  1. One of my favorites so far.

    Currently in Austin, TX; the weed culture around is enough to make me feel like a waste of space just for eating a PopTart while completely sober. The pseudo-philosophical existentialist stoner is everywhere here, and it’s the worst.

    “I’m a philosophy major.”
    “I like to get stoned/drop acid and read philosophy, allow me to assist your mind in reaching enlightenment.”

    Shit’s terrible.

  2. Weed Culture is the worst because weed is kiddie shit but no other drug has that type of stigma attached to it. You don’t see coke heads on twitter telling you how crack rocks are much better for you than tobacco.

  3. Take yourself back to a simpler time….Let’s say 3rd to 7th grade. What words do you remember spelling on your calculator, instead of learning math? Do you think kids still do this in math class or has it gone the way of the dinosaur…?

  4. A comment your bit on Macklemore, he released the Same Love single before the album came out. Immediately it was front and center on iTunes with proceeds going to gay-related charity. When I first heard it I really thought it was a lame ass Andy Samburg SNL spoof. But man, my gay friends and the (for lack of a better term) hags I know ate that shit up based on the message. From then on anything that dude released was purchased and disseminated via youtube on facebook and twitter, even though they normally listen to Beyonce, etc. and not “underground hip hop.”

    I still think he’s lame but, like you said, he has been around a while and I think there are much worse jackasses out there making money. If the iTunes buy in was a marketing scheme then it was fucking brilliant.

  5. Adult women who refer to their father as “daddy,” in everyday online/real life interactions: How CREEPY do you find that word within that context on a scale of 1-10? And what do you immediately associate with when you hear/read a female say that…is it the princess syndrome?literal daddy issues? stunted adolescence?porn connotations? etc.? I have no idea.

    I’m just wondering, because I overheard that recently, a 30ishyo saying “I love my daddy, I miss him soo much” and I would one million percent immediately pre-judge any girl who ever said that to me, so I was just wondering if I was the problem or if it’s a truly warranted judgment.

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