Kalifla’s 5’s and Dimes (A Music Review)

Today I went to the Fair Grounds and had an interesting adventure. Between the usual wares and the people selling pirated music I found a gem, I met Otisha and LB who were both working on a tour to promote their music. I went ahead and picked up a CD, though I’d had to head back to the house because I hadn’t brought enough money with me and I’d bought something already. They weren’t asking a lot but I felt I should give them more than a dollar for their hard work. I wish I could’ve given more than I did.

Before I review the music I want to talk about the people. Not only are they very friendly but when we were talking I enjoyed the intelligence that they both held. We talked about Jazz, despite the CD I am reviewing being Hip Hop and Rap. Some one who is a regular on this blog just burst out laughing as they read that but I actually do listen to a lot of rap, I just tend to move away from Mainstream and especially avoid Gangsta because of the often abusive lyrics.

I am not going to discuss the sociological issues with this CD, but instead I am going to talk about the music. This is because as a mainstream hip hop CD with an attempt at a break out these musicians are going to be singing in ways that are derogatory about women and I expect a lot of internalized racism. I have other posts about that, and I knew going in that there wasn’t likely to be much beyond what I perceive as the norm for this genre.

This is where I was surprised. SHARON’S BOYZ MUSIQ GROUP Presents Kalifla’s Five and Dimes Volumn #2 has some standard beats. The lyrics themselves are given with great talent. The harmonies are solid. I do think the group should invest in a better synthesizer as often the synth defeats them by sounding cheap. Their voices are rich and pleasing. This shows most on the song that for me stood out from the rest. This song is special in that it isn’t about women, it isn’t about sex, it isn’t about money, but it is one of the best love songs I have ever heard. I don’t like most love songs but when your love song is dedicated to your children and is essentially a lullabye that you share with them and the world so that they know you love them even as you travel to try and work? That sort of song is awesome. I wish I could tell you what it is called by the CD doesn’t come up when I hunt for it’s data online and doesn’t have a track listing.

This leads me to the challenge of presentation with a CD such as this. While the music is quality I believe that the producers would benefit from using CD Baby (CDBaby.com) to add more of an internet presence for their artists. This service also includes online sales, and being added to ITunes as well as the general CD Database which is where Media player gets the CD track information from. CD Baby also can provide you with CD production services, though depending on the size of the group this may not be worth it. The CD came in a jewel case with a good cover, though again the cover could benefit from someone like myself who can alter the photo values and make it look on the quality of the bigger groups. This adds to the professionalism.

Would I recommend this CD to my friends? That depends… do you enjoy Hiphop? Yes? Then absolutely. Do I think that there is room for improvement? Yes. Out of five stars here are my ratings:

Music Quality: 3.5, a half is definitely lost to the rough synth sounds.
Music Originality: 3 (This means it’s average with in the industry)
CD Sound Quality: 4.5
CD Presentation: 2

I do think that this group has the potential to succeed in the music industry, and by doing the foot work to build a fan base they adding to their own success. With Books and Music you must reach out and get the word out that you exist.

Their Myspace Page

I was told that they are having a concert on July 3rd, the details SHOULD be present on this page. If they aren’t and you want to attend please let me know and I will find out the exact details for you. I also want to add that when I mentioned I would review the CD the response was “I look forward to reading your review no matter what it is.” So good or bad, the producers and this group are out for people to hear them, another sign for their longevity.

A Response to the Movie and Comic Book Kick Ass (Trigger Warning Based on Material)

Dear readers, this post and the aforementioned movie and comic book should all come with a trigger warning. I felt I should post this down here because I am going to try and write this with as few triggers as I can but Mark Millar seems to be one hell of an abusive person and therefore there is plenty of abuse to talk about.

I am an avid comic book reader. I like pretty much any comic you hand me. I’ve even managed to enjoy Archie comics. I did not enjoy Kick Ass. I read it because of the hype. I also borrowed it because of the hype. Hype usually means patriarchy. In this case it was formulaic patriarchy with racism, tons of homophobia, and of course as much child abuse as possible. That’s pretty much all Kick Ass is.

You see the writer, and I use that term loosely, creates (again a term used loosely) a world where superheroes kill everything as violently as they can. Wait what? It gets better. Super heroes kill everything that moves, and a father shoots his daughter repeatedly so she knows how it feels. Yes she has Kevlar. Does that make it any less triggering? NO. Does that make the training that Hit Girl endures to become someone that can kill with a smile less child abuse? No, it actually adds to it.

You see in reality I have had enough training that I could ostensibly have pulled off running around and killing people ala Hit Girl. Except that I didn’t want to kill people. Except that anyone that can kill with a smile has some serious psychological issues. Except that yeah my body sucks now and a huge component of that disabling pain comes from those same abuses. A child’s body will not handle the effects of being beaten in the same way as an adults. The damage is longer lasting.

So, right off in both the comic book and the film I was triggered. The film was in some ways less homophobic, and in many was more racist and anti woman. I realized as I watched Hit girl slaughtering a bunch of black men that Hit Girl is designed to reenforce the patriarchy. You see, if a woman has the power to kill you she will do it with a smile. She will lose her innocence (a lot of the blood shed metaphores of yore work out for this movie. Hit girl is rarely touched by males and is cold. Hard.) A woman that is capable of violence is instantly a killer. There are also elements of the madonna whore in a school girl outfit given. There were attempts made by Hitgirl to flirt. Yes, an eight year old or whatever she is was trying to flirt her way around.

Healthy imagery. In fact everything in this series is a carefully selected trope of what makes a man a man, what makes a woman great, and all of these are cliches. One of the worse changes between the comics and the movies was the reason that the big evil black man dies introducing Kick Ass to Hit Girl. In the comic book Kick Ass is going to save a stranger from domestic violence. (More triggers, and tons of racism). In the comic book the woman is black, the man is black. There is a part of this that is rare, as usually the black man is the predator after the young white girl. Of course there is also tons of racism since the man is a thug for the mafia and is apparently deserving of a katana through the chest…

Cue the movie. Any gaping void that was there in the isms was filled in. In the movie the high school girl that is with Kickass as his friend because he is supposedly a gay prostitute (she likes to save those poor people who aren’t with in the patriarchial boundaries you see) is now the victim. This is ahuge change of reason for both the characters. Kick Ass loses an element of heroism because he is just taking care of the girl he wants to have sex with. The black villain cliche o’ racism loses an element of being semi-original but still super duper racist because of course Hollywood cannot sell us something that isn’t made to reenforce the patriarchy so fully that I end up almost puking before the end of the film.

Mark Millar fans that see this as an attack, go ahead. It is. I am attacking his racism. I am attacking his homophobia. I am also attacking his comic book writing credentials. I can do better. Know how I know? I have WRITTEN COMIC BOOKS. If the villains kill less people than the heroes how are people supposed to identify with them? My issues with this film were so high I had to talk it out with a friend, and he had a great quote.

“the fight scenes which kind of sound cool…really bored me…there was no emotional reason behind the last hour of the film…yes her father was killed…but it almost didn’t feel like his death was truly acknowledged and rather it just went into super vengeance mode which no superhero should do. Where the hell was morality in all of this?”

You see, what makes a super hero heroic, as the movie Hancock tried to tell us between it’s cliches and tropes o racism and bad acting was that a hero will not be accepted by the world if they act with baseless violence. You may think so Mark Millar but you aren’t the world. I understand a great many people think this movie is great. Those people aren’t looking at this film and aren’t identifying which origins and characters you plagerised. Spiderman without powers, the Punisher, Batman/owlman/bluebeetle, oh and even your movie didn’t have a consistent soundtrack because the soundtrack was a mishmash of all previous heroing movie sound tracks. Could you BE more obvious with your movie,comic.videogame baiting cycle?

No. The answer is no.

There are people who like this film. The majority of people that like this film are stuck in the patriarchy unaware by choice of how baselessly ridiculous this film is. They have to work at it. You see, there isn’t anything original about Kickass. We’ve had better gore from Saw, we’ve had the same origin stories over and over. Except that the difference between Robin and Hit Girl lies in how they were trained. Yes Frank Miller tried to make Batman a violent abuser, but the public panned that and this was undone. Robin was trained carefully, so that he would know how to fight without killing. Hit Girl was trained to be an assassin without morals.

Kickass doesn’t. If anything the fight scenes are full of so many stupid choreographic moves that would get the characters killed, the set physics of that world are destroyed, and wait a rocket pack? Anyone that actually saw the film is probably wondering what Kickass coated his suit in so his butt didn’t catch on fire. This movie is not worth my share of the almighty dollar, the comic book s aren’t. In general, I don’t read or pay for anything with Mark Millar as the writer or creator. This will only continue until he learns how to write past a formulary, past the patriarchy, and with in the boundaries of what makes a Superhero SUPER.

Oh and if you have seizures, they use a strobe light in the film to try and make the fight scenes look cooler after they go video game baiting in one of the “climactic” scenes that felt so anticlimactic for those people I know.

So to recap, Movie bad. Mark Millarr is a hack. He hasn’t written anything I can think of that didn’t scream, “Hollywood, make me a movie because I am a pile of Cliche! Steaming RIGHT HERE!” This is just my opinion of course. An opinion I will back with my money and my mouth. Millar, if you want to ever have a write off let me know. Here’s your Corkscrew of Justice, you know where to shove it.

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