Yo, so, I'm Negashi Armada. MERRY JANE asked me to write a weekly column about all the stuff I’m fucking with because, in short, I know "what's up.” But to start, let me tell you a little about myself.
Since birth, I've been a major influencer of reality from beyond the shadows. I show art (mainly paintings and some innovative drawing work) and I usually — typically once a year — release some sort of mixtape or album, independently or otherwise. I've worked as a writer and co-host with comedian Zack Fox for Super Deluxe (RIP), and as a musical artist, I’ve collaborated with Slug Christ, Sadaf, Fat Tony, Show Me the Body, B L A C K I E, Surf Gang, and the white hot rising indie label Harsh Riddims — to name a few.
If none of this impresses you or rings any bells, that's fine. How about this, then?
I am a crazy sativa smoker who likes to get the electronic cloud around my brain POPPIN AF so I can mine the subconscious for spiritual gold and power through serfdom and existence.
You feel me?
Anyway… I was born and reared in God's Country (Atlanta, GA) and have worked as a painter in New York (the Devil's Motor) and am now a writer in Los Angeles (God and the Devil's Shared Fantasy).
My favorite rappers of all time is Prodigy of Mobb Deep/Cam'ron/Nas. My favorite director is Claude Chabrol, but my favorite movie is Ganja & Hess. Comic books and mythology are both really enriching, too. I am not a Western Civilization free speech zealot, BUT I am a member of the cult of art/music/beauty — so I DO separate the art from the artist. As Jon Caramanica wrote about “Purple Haze” in 2005: THE AVANT-GARDE NEED NOT BE MORAL.
That said, I also try to be economically non-existent when it comes to supporting questionable artists and most digital music platforms. Unless I really, really fuck with someone on a personal level, I’m not going to give those streaming dollars to Daniel Ek or whoever owns Burzum’s publishing rights. Instead, catch me clicking the rare SoundCloud remix or saving a YouTube video uploaded by some music nerd / culture pirate of righteousness.
Below are songs that have recently been on my mind. As a person who studies emotion through sound and as fanboy/media junkie, I want to clarify something: THIS WILL NOT BE A "NEWEST HOTTEST IN THE GAME LIST" where I attempt to create some kind of new emerging hierarchy as I display how standardized my views/thoughts are to a mob rule media presented norm. Nope!
This is just the shit I’m interested in this week, and maybe it will interest you, too. At the very least, maybe you’ll get a lil cultural history. Maybe I’ll blow your mind all over your face. Whatever’s clever. Throat clearing done. Let’s get into it.
"You're Not the Only One I Know”
by The Sundays
I don't know if it's the movie Higher Learning, or Boys on the Side, or all the Chasing Amy ads that were on the back of all the comic books when I first started reading a lot on my own… but I always have had an almost soggy soft spot for this type of stereotypical ‘90s white lesbian music. Give me The Cranberries, give me The Cocteau Twins. I love all that shit. I was jamming out to this tune by The Sundays last Monday, shaving my head balder than ever, having a White Girl teen angst moment to myself. Then I started zoning out and thinking about Tupac and the Egyptian God Ptah — the master of craftsmen and architects — and then I accidentally shaved the shit out my widow’s peak really bad. The Lilith Fair never ends, but thankfully my pain has. And my widow’s peak ended healing up just fine. The track above, and “Here’s Where the Story Ends” might be The Sundays’ only good songs, though!
“25i Evil Serpent Swag” (prod. hi-c)
by Reptilian Cashapp Boyz
Yeah I said this wouldn't be a "let me tell you: this the hottest new nigga in the game!" type of column… but here we are. Hi-C is a rapper/producer from Nashville, TN. He's one half of RCB (Reptilian Club Boyz or Reptilian Cashapp Boyz) alongside Diamondsonmydick. Some of the most exciting and sincere music from the past three years has come from RCB. Genre-wise, it's what I guess people call trap or Southern rap, I guess? I'm not sure what any of that means in this period of globalization and late capitalism. Their music is very lyrical, but not in a way where if you're not paying attention to everything being said, you won't feel left out. You can still embrace the simple turn up joy of some actual fie (or “fire” for the uninitiated).
RCB broke up for a split second amidst what seemed — based on some social media digging — like a spiritual awakening on Hi-C's part, as well as him feeling a need to reject their previously-demonic vibes and get right with God (I feel that!). But now they seem to be back and united, as well as full of resolve. They seem to have an awareness of balanced forces and what true evil and good are. Or maybe not. I don't know. Just spitballing here.
One time, my bros and I were having our own personal Sengoku Jidai, and we purchased a half zip of 25i thinking it was molly. We wanted to come up $$$, but instead it was a 30-hour nightmare experienced across the city. I luckily didn’t try it, but based on what my friends said, it seems to make you disassociate heavily. Could explain why the track is titled “25i Evil Serpent Swag.” Be warned — research chemicals can make you lose your marbles and lose that awareness of balanced forces.
“Frantic (End Theme)”
by Ennio Morricone
My grandmother — Mommy Joyce, B.B.U.H — loathes white people. Can you blame her? She isn't from the South or anything, but I'm sure in her time she understood the temperature very clearly. That said, she still loves Harrison Ford. I love Roman Polanski as a director, and Frantic is a great marriage of the two. Don't just listen to the song — you gotta play it with Harrison Ford's character crying to his wife as he repeats, “I love you… I love you.” I love DRAMA in music, in film, and in women. This is that all day — like a Francoise Hardy instrumental or something.
by Beanie Sigel
Wow, y’all. Don't get it misconstrued. It's D Block all day here in Armadastan. Styles P and Jadakiss are perfect rappers. Sheek Louch is the solid, consistent, strong AF homie in the cartoon who ain't the main character but we all love him anyway. I ain't one of those lames who wanna denigrate TakeOff as a Pras — that ain't my vibe. These dudes are legends who played their position and still continue to. The Third Child is Shinji in Neongenesis Evangelion, remember?
Now, Beanie was a cornerstone of Jay-Z & Dame Dash's Roc-A-Fella empire with his consistent bars, unique flow inversions, and unquestionable street pedigree. Many say this song ended the D Block Roc-A-Fella beef because this man Beans bully bar'd his way through Jadakiss' "Put Your Hands Up" single instrumental.
Though the stakes were different for Jay-Z, for D Block, and State Property (a vassal state of the early Roc empire), death was never far off and actual street mayhem was occuring in circumference to the art. So boys — or men, rather — had to chill.
I am overjoyed that we still have Beanie Sigel and Jadakiss cuz they go hard and have written so much bone-chilling shit with urgency.
Stay tuned for more Negashi's Nugs — coming every week, hot & loud for ya...