Wednesday, January 19, 2011

He's Anxious, Baby!

Although I consider myself a fan of all music, I will be the first to tell you I am a neophyte when it comes to dissecting and analyzing the nuances and intricacies of rap. I find much of mainstream rap to be trite and overprocessed much like their counterparts, the cheesy pop songs that frequently top the iTunes charts. It's a sad state of affairs in the music business these days, that's for sure. As someone who prides herself on gravitating towards music that is a little left of center (to borrow a phrase from Suzanne Vega), I find myself turning more and more to indie and small label bands as I find the end product tends to be more organic and entertaining.

Anxious first tumbled onto my radar screen after seeing him in a few youtube videos where he appeared with his buddy, Jonny 5 from the Flobots. I was immediately taken in by his effervescent personality and infectious grin. With a smile that creeps up to his eyes and out the top of his head, he came across as genuinely exultant. I couldn’t help wondering what he was about. Clearly a talented rapper from the short clips I viewed, I was excited when I discovered he had released a new EP, Spittin Fire.

I've often said that indie musicians are modern day orators to be revered for their talent and bravery in putting forth their voice in such a static filled, auto-tuned world. Indie and small-label rap artists are no exception. Anxious is a powerful example of the tenacity required to be successful as an artist.

I decided to listen to the album while at the gym as a) I needed the distraction from watching the machine tick away the seconds painfully slow, while I was busting my ass in preparation to climb 1,311 steps and b) although not "mellow", I had listened to the iTunes preview and knew this album didn’t scream "get your ass moving, you have 1,311 steps to climb!". As it turned out it made for a good workout mix without giving me a heart attack in the process.

Some thoughts on each of the tracks:

"Chandelier" - Balls-to-the-Wall personal mission statement, exclaiming his presence on the scene w/ obligatory shout-outs to his hometown of Denver, CO. This is a strong opening track that makes you want to keep listening.

"When It All Comes Down" - Beautiful example of 21st Century rap which could very well be a future Top 10 hit that will set the standard for others. I love this track so much, that I keep coming back to it again and again. This is an introspective declaration of never-ending drive and bravado, which again are necessary qualities to be a successful artist in any genre. The female vocals are powerfully exquisite, and complement the gruff richness of his spoken word. "Can you see what I found in you?"

"Rooftop" - Clearly, this is a dude who's taken his licks...and is now putting the world on notice. The track has a mellow flow, in spite of hard hitting vocals that belie Anxious' youthful appearance. Left me wondering - how old is this guy, anyway?

"Beautiful Day" - Good composition that tells the tale of why he loves what he is doing...and it shows. Reminiscent of Ice Cube's "Today Was a Good Day".

"Beverly Hills Cop" - samples the title track from the movie of the same name. Fun song that calls to mind long summer days driving down the beach, with the volume up, pissing off all the old people.

"The Return" - "My name is Anxious, and I love makin' music" Ummm, yeh!...that's obvious. If I had one problem with this album it would be the one metaphor used in this song comparing his skintone to cocaine. But that's just me. Otherwise this was a cool track.

Overall, this was an amazing effort! Anxious seems to be one of those really fun, happy guys who has found his passion in life and who drives forward to achieve the riches he has coming to him. I recommend this album without reservation, even for the most neophyte of rap devotees.

Stay strong, Anxious!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


This morning, I learned of the shooting in Arizona where 14 were wounded and 6 killed by a man believed to be mentally compromised. Of particular note to me was the 9-year old girl who was shot dead in this seemingly random act of senseless violence. The article I read stated the girl was born on 9/11/01. It immediately struck me that on the most violent day in U.S. history a child was born who, a short time later, would be killed in another act of senseless violence. To me, this was the very definition of irony.

After coming in from a walk with Miss D, I happened to glance down at the Sunday paper that had been left in the lobby for one of my neighbors. The bold headline stated: Arizona Congresswoman Shot in Rampage. My first thought was that that woman was still alive; the article I read this morning had stated that fact. Then I thought of the little girl. She was not alive. She was dead. And yet, she was not worthy of a big headline in a major market newspaper simply by virtue of the fact that, in the mind of the editor who created the headline, the Congresswoman trumped her in terms of status.


Why is it that we assign priority and importance to our fellow humans, simply based on class, profession and economic standing? What makes the Congresswoman’s life more valuable than the lost life of a 9-year old girl? Is the fact that I am an educated professional making a six-figure income make me more important than the homeless guy seeking shelter in the rain in my entryway? Why, when I am at work, I often feel invisible when in a room of attorneys? Does the fact that I cannot claim Juris Doctorate make my opinions less valuable?

Logic says no; it should not matter where you come from and what you do. What should be important is how you live your life. If you are a good, kind person then that should be the only status indicator. Unfortunately, reality dictates otherwise. Superficial factors of class and money often command how you are viewed in the world. It is human nature to categorize individuals…put them in easy-to-understand compartments in order to comprehend who we are dealing with, and in turn, use that information as a means to gauge goodness and success in life.

I don’t want to pretend that I myself do not engage in this behavior. Of course I do. I am only human, as flawed as that is. But I think I would be doing a disservice to myself if I didn’t question these things.

Life is a valuable commodity, no matter who you are or what you do. If more people remembered that, then perhaps we would not have such senseless acts of violence.