Music, Writings and Art live from the twisted mind of Tokyo Cigar

Archive for September, 2010

Cyclops “Sit back and laugh” Produced by Tokyo Cigar

The homie Cyclops just dropped the first single off the “When inspiration hits” album. I produced the entire project and i gotta tell you it’s a heater. Working with Cyclops is mad easy cause were already in a group so this album came together mad smooth. I gave him some crazy ILL production for it and the kid spazzed out as usual. He really came through with some crazy rhymes. Anybody who liked the Plexiglass Fountain albums will LOVE this album. Overall the album has an emotionally cinematic feel to it. Very visual music. “Sit back and laugh” is pretty much some epic jump out the gate, life manifesto type shit and the b side “Stone Cold” featuring the homie Notion ( whut up fam  ) is a gutter minimalist abrasive banger.

Cyclops took the pic for the cover, sent it to me and i added all the effects and flavor to it.

NJOY


TOKYO CIGAR THOUGHTS: SNATCH

SNATCH

SNATCH

There are certain things I miss about England. Sausage rolls, Notting Hill carnival, Walking around London, the clubs etc. One of the things I miss the most is the people. Not the snooty rude muthafuckas, but the normal working class, everyday people. It was such a diverse mix of individuals that it was crazy. The ravers, cool kids, hip hop heads, football hooligans, pub crawlers, smart kids, FLY chicks (a fit bird with British accent is still the biggest turn on for me), West Indians, Pakistani’s etc It was a fucking crazy melting pot of Neighborhoods and little worlds within itself. When I was over there I would get so caught up in life that I would never sightsee. Running the streets at night with my cousins was fun, dangerous and ALWAYS interesting. The spots and lives there were breeding grounds for crazy stories.

I said all that to say this. Those same people I spoke about were dramatized perfectly for this movie. Guy Ritchie dug up the best of England’s worst and polished them up for the screen in this movie. Although the story spans 3 different countries. The heart of the story is in merry old England. The characters in the story are memorable as hell. I cant say the word “Bonjour” without picturing Bullet tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) slamming some dues head in the car door while some 80’s pop plays in the background. Sol, Brick top, Mickey (man this was the moment I realized the Brad Pitt was a fucking ILL actor) and of course Turkish (Jason Statham). All the characters, apart from their various personality quirks, stuck out for one strong reason: DIALOGUE. Man listen, Everybody in this movie was coming out their face in style. Few movies have had me laughing my ass off as much as this. If you’re a rapper, this is a flick your gonna love cause it makes you wanna step your pen game up. Trust me. The “Desert Eagle POINT five o” speech alone is worth the price of admission.

The other part of the equation is the sequencing. The way certain things are hidden from plain sight adds another layer of humor to the scenes they are used for. Scenes also cut in and out in ways that when pieced together play like a classic episode of “Seinfeld”. The technique of one character setting off a chain of events that affect everybody in the film is used to perfection here (when you see the milk scene you’ll know what I mean). Guy Ritchie really pieced together a well though out gem. Stuff like the “I’m coming to London” section had me like “DAMN!!! Dude wasn’t playing”. I feel it was Tarantino influenced in certain bits but what the hell Tarantino himself was influenced by others so it’s just the natural cycle of creation. Guy Ritchie really put his stamp on this movie and consolidated his own crime flick sub genre style. Previously seen on his other masterpiece, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”.

Even if anyone say’s that the movie didn’t “innovate” the gangster genre, you cant tell me it’s not entertaining. This is one of those movies I’ve watched dozens of times and it never get’s old. Seriously. A couple of months back they showed this “Snatch” every other day on cable. I always caught it when ever I saw it was on. It’s like “The Infamous” by Mobb Deep. You pop it in wanting to hear like 2 songs but you always wind up listening to the whole thing. Truly a classic.

So now, tell me one thing…”Do you know what “nemesis” means?”


TOKYO CIGAR THOUGHTS: Frank Miller ( Batman “The Dark knight returns” and Daredevil “Born Again” )

TOKYO CIGAR THOUGHTS: Batman “The Dark Knight Returns”


The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

The point of no return. Once past, nothing can fit the image/idea/sense of what it used to be any longer. At this point that I read this book. Batman was represented by Adam West, zany plotlines and BAM, POW and BANG!!! flashing on the on the screen during the fight scenes. Before that, It was the Super friends adventures and stuff like that. Batman was a “Good guy” in every sense of the word. I had seen the Tim Burton take on batman before but even the darkness there wasn’t enough to erase the image in my mind of who Batman was. When I turned 11 years old and I came across a copy of this in the local Giant store, I bought and read it. That was the moment I first experienced what a mind fuck was. Nah Nobody had even explained the concept to me at that point I just knew that something in my mind had been altered by this book, never to return to it’s original shape.

Frank Miller ( God bless him ) had deconstructed the Batman mythology so intensely in this book that over 20 years after it’s inception it still informs much of the versions of Batman seen today. ( Including the aforementioned Tim Burton movie ) This was the book that turned Batman into the grim, brooding hero he is today. Matter fact I would say that the wave of grimy superheroes from “Spawn” to the new volumes of “X force” owe their dark overtones to this book. Batman as a character has always been as crazy as the people he hunts. ( Picture CNN running a story about a real life millionaire that dresses up as a giant bat to beat up thugs. Seriously, picture what you would think of such a man if he was flesh and blood like you and me ) This book really showed how tragic, dark and ( most of all ) INSANE he really was. It also crowned the Joker as the Yin to Batman’s Yang. A relationship that showed that despite their Polar opposition of each other they were linked as one.

The artwork is stunning and the cinematic aspects of the drawings make you believe that you are watching a movie that you were not supposed to watch as a kid. The violence and sexual innuendos were intense but not gratuitous. Anything lighter would have lessened the impact of the book. But like I said it is INTENSE. Children get killed, eyes get stabbed, suicide and battered women all pop up in the story.

The plot itself is simple. Batman has a midlife crisis and after 10 years of retirement comes to show a new generation of scum that certain things don’t change. Simple right. Now add in the craziness of Batman’s world and what this turns into is a masterpiece of emotions. He faces off against Two Face, The Joker, The Mutants ( Gotham City’s newest generation of degenerates ) and crazily enough Superman. His gritty disposition is enhanced by the fact he is a much older man. Cranky, irritable but still a viciously skilled fighter and peerless strategist. Alfred is present but Robin is re imagined as a girl named Carrie. Which gives the story a cool twist. It doesn’t take away or enhance the plot as Robin has always been a sidekick but it’s just kinda cool that Frank took that turn.

I cant recommend this book enough. A must read for Batman fans. The line that a cop in the story says to his younger partner when Batman is about to be seen in full costume by the reader for the first time sums it all up “were in for a show kid”

Tokyo Cigar

Tokyo Cigar Thoughts: Daredevil Born Again


DAREDEVIL “BORN AGAIN”

I had a conversation earlier with my boy Danimal ( whut up Playboy ) about the DVD series that DC comics have been releasing. At the end of the convo I stated how despite my tremendous respect for DC comics ( Batman is that DUDE ) , I’m always gonna be a Marvel. I wrote about Frank Miller in my last post for his work on “The dark Knight returns” ( shame on you if you haven’t experienced it yet ) because that is, simply put, the greatest graphic novel of all time to me……..even though I’m still a Marvel. My second favorite is another Frank Miller masterpiece. One he did for the house that Stan Lee built.

Daredevil was never a favorite of mine growing up. The stories just seemed too adult to my still developing young mind. If you told me my second favorite graphic novel would be a Daredevil story when I was a kid I would have looked at you like you were stupid ( I probably would have looked at you that way even if you told me something else, I was a real asshole as a kid ) TDKR had already introduced me to the concept of comics being more than just kid stuff, but Daredevil still didn’t grab me. I owned like one Daredevil comic growing up and I didn’t bother to catch the movie in theaters. About a year and a half ago I was online reading up on Frank Millers work to see what I hadn’t read yet and people kept on bringing up “Born Again” So I grabbed a copy and sat back. As I read it I caught the exact same feeling I had when I heard “Method man” for the first time. Which was “What the FUCK?!? This is incredible”

Maturity is a cool thing because it brings a whole new level of appreciation for certain things you just wouldn’t give too much of a fuck about as a kid. Daredevil seems to have always been intended for more older readers ( the character spends as much time working as a lawyer as he does kicking ass ) but when you mature and read it, it makes you feel like a kid again. The plot for “Born Again” revolves around Daredevil ( Matt Murdock ) being sold out by his ex girl Karen Page. Karen is a drug addicted, adult film star who sells Matt’s identity to a drug dealer for a fix. The info gets back to New York City’s top crime lord The Kingpin who has had beef with Daredevil for a long time. The villain discovering the hero’s identity thing has been done before but it usually turns into the villain fighting the hero at home rather than on the streets. What hit me about this is HOW the Kingpin attacks Murdock. He gets him disbarred, cleans out his bank accounts, strategically drives him mad from paranoia, turns him against his closet friends, THEN blows up his apartment. I’ve seen Superman get beaten to death by Doomsday, I’ve seen the Joker viciously murder Robin and his mother, hell, I’ve seen Magneto rip the skeleton out of Wolverine. None of them compared to what Kingpin put Daredevil through. Reading the story, I was like “DAMN!!!”

The art by David Mazzucchelli is very well done. Serving the story perfectly. I don’t find the artwork as mind blowing as works by Todd McFarlane, Norm Breyfogle or the almighty Jim Lee but it compliments the story better than I think even their fantastic talent could. The same way that the sound of “36 chambers” was nowhere near as polished as “The Chronic” but it was the PERFECT medium for the WU to do their thing on.

The magic in this is in the writing. Frank Miller outdid himself with the dialogue, both internal and between characters. If there ever was a comic that played out like a compelling movie, this is it. In one scene a man is murdered while a reporter listen’s in over the phone and the way the scene is set up and written is THE most nerve wracking moment in my comic reading history. The story is so good that I didn’t even notice that Daredevil was barely in costume for the entire duration. This is not a traditional superhero story. Rather than being amazed at feats of superhuman strength the most amazing thing in this is the triumph of the human spirit in the face of crushing adversity.

I recommend this book to anyone going through a hard time in life as it will make you wanna face your tormentor head on a punch him dead in the teeth, even if you don’t have a costume for fighting crime.


TOKYO CIGAR THOUGHTS: KILL BILL vol 1 & 2

“KILL BILL VOL.1” review by TOKYO CIGAR

KILL BILL VOL.1 & 2

Part 1

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Remember the first time you really bumped your head hard on something? A cupboard, the floor, somebody else’s head, whatever. Remember the slight feeling of being dazed that hit you as your brain tried to soak in all that just happened. That is what the end of this movie left me like.

Quentin Tarantino solidified his spot in cinematic history way before he made this. But yo, this to me was his Livin Proof/Only built 4 Cuban Linx. This was literally ALL the shit a lot of people grew up on compressed into one movie. ( it starts with a Klingon proverb for Pete’s sake ) Simple in plot ( and brilliantly so in dialogue as well ); incredible in execution. I once saw a flick where I literally did not give a shit about the main character or anyone in the movie. That was never the case with this movie. From “The bride” ( as Uma Thurman’s character is referred to since here name is bleeped out anytime anyone mentions it ) to Nikki Bell ( Vivica Fox’s character Vernita Green’s daughter ) the movie is packed with people that stay with you even if they only appear on screen for a short time. Hell, people still speculate that Nikki will grow up and hunt down the Bride for killing her mother in a Kill Bill sequel.

The movie ( for the five people who didn’t see it ) is about Uma playing an assassin who wants to leave the life behind when she get’s pregnant. She gets betrayed by her former crew and wakes up after a bullet induced coma to seek revenge. Like I said, simple in plot. The execution is where it gets crazy. I think the references are where it really shines. Everything from the fact we never see “Bill” ( R.I.P. to the homie David Carradine who played the part remarkably ) to the fact “the bride” has many unknown things about her even though she is the protagonist gives the movie a very 70’s action drama feel. Everything from zooming into the eyes when she’s about to fight, to the deadly viper name flashes on screen give it enough humor to offset how dark the movie actually is. Parents are murdered in front of their children, people get shot up in Church and the INFAMOUS tea house scene let you know this is some seriously ill blood and guts shit going on.

While the story and Dialogue are purposefully simple in homage to the olden days action/Martial arts features that inform a lot of this movie. The acting, pacing and references is where the true power comes through. Uma really makes you feel for her. When she kills Vernita you may not fully realize her quest yet but by the time she kills Buck ( yeah you know Buck ) you already start rooting for her. The randomness of certain things like the Yakuza argument where dude flips out then start’s fanning himself keeps you laughing and the black and white parts, the animated origin of Oren Ishi and such spark memories of that classic movie/anime you know you saw a while back but cant recall in detail.

Another demographic this film will appeal to is the beat making crowd. Brilliantly scored by The Rza ( if you don’t know who that is KILL YOUR DAMN SELF ) the movie is jam packed with ill music that had producers running from the theater to MPC to flip something. From Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang, bang”, to the raw theme song used for the Crazy 88’s entrance to the tea house, to the Zamfir song that had all Killarmy fan’s yelling “Yooooooo that’s the joint 4th disciple flipped”. The music was such a classic element to the movie that the songs still turn up today in commercials.

Intense, funny, graphic, this movie is what good cinema is about to me. I saw it in the movies 4 times and I still watch it on DVD. Totally engrossing. This ain’t the sort of flick you have on in the back ground. Like the aforementioned Group Home and Raekwon albums, you have to fully pay attention to what is going on to realize that this is one of the dopest pieces of art ever. Some may not be able to stomach the gore but if they close their eyes for those parts and watch the rest, I think even they could not deny that Tarrintino knocked another one out the park with this movie.

Peace

“KILL BILL VOL. 2” review by TOKYO CIGAR

Part 2


Immaculate beauty. That is what one scene in this movie captures unlike any other attempt before or after it in my memory.

I’ll get to that moment when I get to it. Like I said in my last review, Quentin Tarantino skillfully crafted an intricate simple movie. Linked by strands of old cinema and guerilla style edge, he touched upon a million classic Kung fu references mixed with anime styled excess. In this part of the movie the eastern influences play a more background role to the western themed final showdown between the Bride and Bill. The Bride still has her Hanzo sword but rather than get the feeling you got when you KNEW Bruce Lee was about to give 20 dudes a beat down, it feels more like Eastwood about to face an enemy at high noon.

The switch in themes is not the only opposite to the first film at play here. The simplistic dialog that gave the first one it’s playful charm is replaced with dialogue that proves why Tarantino is as respected as he is. Pulp Fiction’s “Royale with cheese” exchanged is topped by Bill’s fantastic deconstruction of the classic Superman character’s egotistical view of humanity. ( I swear I never looked at Superman the same way again, What an asshole ) The only place for the type of old school Kung Fu flick talk prevalent in the first part is during The Bride’s training with Pai Mei ( that’s my dude right there. Son don’t play ) and that is mainly done in Chinese with subtitles. This is a movie where insight into the characters is really shown by what they say. Often funny but very deep in certain parts. Seriously there are so many quotable in this movie it’s not even funny.

The tradition of compelling characters is still intact in this movie. From Bill’s surrogate father Esteban, Bill’s brother Budd and Elle ( who to me was the ultimate villain in the movie ) to the random characters that pop in and out. ( Budd’s strip club boss that said he was as useless as an asshole on the elbow was funny as hell ) Out of all of them though, the ultimate addition to the cast is Bill. ( RIP David Carradine ) You know those bad guys that are so cool you actually don’t want to see them die. That’s Bill. Dude is just so damn down to earth it doesn’t make sense. The fact that the daughter he raised requested her bedtime movie be “Shogun Assassin” ( trust me Wu tang fans were foaming at the mouth when the “Liquid Swords” intro started playing ) is a testament to his quirky but seasoned and wise killer vibe. After you saw what he did to the Bride you still expect him to get what’s coming to him but a part of you is like “damn. I wish they could work it out somehow” cause dude brings such a fly element to the movie. Rather than see him as just a cold blooded killer ( Like Elle ) you see him as a father and a man that was hurt by a woman he loved. But don’t get it twisted, he still always let’s you know what he’s capable of.

Now. On to the whole immaculate beauty thing. I gotta keep it real with y’all. I saw this movie on bootleg for the first time. My man hit me off with the DVD and I rocked it out for like 2 weeks straight. Seriously I would literally play this movie everyday. When it ended I would start over. For 2 weeks straight. The reason I bring this up is because there was one scene I kept on rewinding like a dope Big pun verse. It was the part where the Bride was walking through the desert on her way to kill Bud. As the song “sunny road to Selina” ( Check my remix of “My 1st song” on my Jay-Z remix album to see how much I love this song ) played in the background the image mixed with the music just hypnotized me unlike any other movie ever did. Seriously, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I rewound that part a million times just staring at the screen and listening to the music. It’s not a major part in the plot at all but IT JUST WORKS. Any other song in that place would not have had the same effect. The music was as important to the scene as the image was and they combined to make immaculate beauty. This movie is full of things like that. Moments that hit you in the heart more than the funny bone. You saw the Bride cut through the Crazy 88’s in the first one. Here you see her train to get that good. Pai Mei is no picnic so when you see her earn his respect you feel for her even more. Even though this movie is the end piece to the saga in many ways it’s a prequel as you get to really see the inner workings of the characters you caught glimpses of in the first one and fully realize the dynamics of the Brides world.

That’s why “Kill Bill” as a whole is my favorite movie of all time. All the references come together flawlessly and the execution is blessed with that special coat of divinity that mark’s all true artistic genius. Hate it or love it, I don’t really care. To me “Kill Bill” is a masterpiece on all levels and solidified more than ever Tarantino’s place in cinematic history.

Peace


Throwback: The Plexiglass Fountain “Marsha Brady”

It just hit me that we never put this track out on anything so i dusted it off after coming across it and thinking “This shit is still TOUGH”  This was the first song that me and Cyclops did and it let us know that if we formed a group we could drop something crazy on heads.

So here is the OFFICIAL start of The Plexiglass Fountain. Raw, dusted and demo status for all you rap fiends out there

N JOY


Mercy – Thankful ( produced by Tokyo Cigar )

Yeah! Yeah! I laced a joint for the homie Mercy. Straight gutter etheral shit. Check it ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.


Sometimes a producer just has to draw too

These are various things i drew. I was into drawing when i was a kid and music really mushed it out the way. I still rock out here and there. Creativity is creativity. Express yourself like NWA