Year-end countdown, part two 


OK, I'll admit it: I'm having trouble letting go of 2007. Before Christmas, we ran a countdown of the top 10 local albums of the year. Below, I've included all the musical and cultural tidbits that didn't fit that format, developments I couldn't leave alone even as we've entered the New Year, a time I'd usually suggest should be free of year-end countdowns. But, lest we wallow too much in last year, I've run down local pop-cultural things to look out for in 2008, too.

Five welcome developments in local music (in no particular order):

1. Local rap's continued obsession with Arkansas love. With fitted LR hats tipped high and No. 5 Razorback jerseys worn with pride, local rappers, in what's becoming a firm tradition, couldn't keep Arkansas out of their mouths in 2007. Rap has long been a provincial genre, with MCs and crews always ready to represent where they come from. But Arkansas rap's propensity to show state pride must, in some ways, be born out of a feeling of being overlooked — a kind of righteous waving of the flag. No one captured that sentiment better in 2007 than Arkansas Bo's “Arkansas Sound.” The song opens with a lyrical hook, which starts out, “They want to know what the Arkansas sound is, I tell them, shit, I don't know, but it sounds like this…” The rest is unprintable herein; just imagine Bo raising his middle finger in defiance of anyone ready to dismiss Arkansas as a backwater or lump its talent into one catch-all category. Meanwhile, the 4X4 Crew went the sample route on its infectious single “Tell Yo Mama,” grabbing the “Arkansas” lyric from Ray Charles' “What'd I Say,” and Grim Muzik released “Ridin' in the A State,” a song as effervescent as anything in rap, a feel-good Southernized g-funk anthem for the summer. Concerts even got into the act. Over Thanksgiving weekend, rapper and producer Rockst*r hosted “Little Rock Luv,” a showcase of local talent that resurrected Razormack's “Little Rock Luv” as its theme song (the event even merited a YouTube commercial). The show was a success. Jermain Taylor, who might be the most passionate A-state representer, even showed up.

2. Local music videos. Anyone can make a homemade music video. See, for example, the dozens of bedroom YouTube shorts of folks doing “Da Jumprope,” the local club hit of the year. Increasingly, though, more experts are jumping into the mix. Though they'd never be mistaken for something on BET or MTV, the best local videos lent an extra air of credibility to featured acts, even if it just demonstrated that those featured cared enough about their careers to spend a couple days and, often, a couple hundred bucks to make the video. Plus, most of what came out was pretty fun. The dudes with Deluxe36 made folks into corporate zombies for, appropriately enough, the Moving Front's “Zombies.” Jordan Atwater and H.A.P.S. productions used about a dozen locations and all kinds of rap video cliches (most awesomely and hilariously, the girl sucking, lustfully, on a lollipop). Wood of Woodtainment Ent. had the hardcore rap clientele on lock, notably with “Booty Clap,” a posse cut that, as you might guess, mostly featured booties, shaking.

3. Online show posters. For years, musicians handy with Photoshop have been whipping up show posters to dot their Facebook and Myspace accounts. But last year, Paul Dellostritto stepped the game up in a major way. A web designer by trade, Dellostritto initially started making his lavish posters to support local music he liked. He's since signed on with White Water Tavern to do all the venue's shows, which often amounts to several a week. The web is the main gallery for his art (at www.myspace.com/whitewatertavern and www.dellostritto.com), but you'll also find his posters hung around town. But not for long. Lately, folks have been snatching them for mementos.




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