The Resurrection of Goonew, + Brief Thoughts on Grief

Grief is an inevitable part of life. How we each handle grief is a whole other bag.

Metro area rapper Goonew (given name Markelle Antonio Morrow) died late last month on March 18th at the age of 24. Shot in Prince George’s County, Maryland, he died later that night at an unspecified hospital.

So why is our cruel ‘chew’em’up spit’em’out’ news cycle returning to him a few weeks later?

On Sunday, April 3rd, Goonew’s embalmed body was propped up at Bliss Club in Washington, DC. The headlines ran something like this:

“Body of slain Maryland rapper Goonew propped up on nightclub stage in ‘horrifying’ display for public showing: reports” – Brian Linder, PennLive Patriot News 4/04/2022

Club Responds to Backlash for Goonew’s Deceased Body Standing on Stage” – Trent Fitzgerald, XXL 4/04/2022

“Corpse Propped up In Nightclub … On Display During Funeral” – n/a, TMZ 4/04/2022

You can almost hear the disappointed mumbling on the [relatively] sobering TMZ headline.

Some reports made more clear of the event’s purpose. Billed as The Final Show, some articles make a point to call the event at Bliss Club a memorial or a funeral and not just a general club night or concert. While I haven’t found any promotional materials (flyers, graphics, etc.), how the event was promoted will likely gauge the intended effect of the show, be it anything from a loving final send off to a Barnum-esque promotional stunt.

It’s a tricky situation in which we don’t know all the details. Speculation leads to accusation and justification; the fascination with death, the pursuit of wealth, internal and communal grief collide.

If you’ve ever had a friend that’s been drunk, or just feeling goofy, they’ve probably said something along the lines of ‘when I die, do _____’: some non-traditional funeral process like shooting them into outer space, burying them in a corvette, etc.

We, the speculating public, don’t know what Goonew asked for or would have wanted. And so it’s important to remember as we wait for things to uncover: Markelle Morrow was a person, and in being so lived a life that ought to be considered equally grievable to all others.

Let his family and friends go through what they need to go through, let his community go through what they need to go through. If they want you to party, they’ll come out and say it.

Rest in Peace.

REVIEW: Rahiem Supreme – The Treacherous Charm (2020)

At times jazzy and smooth, at other times speaker-smashing sneaker-squeakin’ Electro, Rahiem Supreme’s 2020 release The Treacherous Charm has a little something for everybody. Part of the Washington DC-based rapper’s prolific pandemic streak of releases, The Treacherous Charm is sometimes humorous, always passionate.

Tracks on The Treacherous Charm are short, sweet, and end abruptly (upon first hearing them, somewhat jarringly). There’s a spontaneity to all of it which makes it feel fresh, a little raw. If you’re daunted by a 17-track album (c’mon now, it’s still only 30-something minutes), some standout tracks I recommend starting with include Shroomstories Freestyle (produced by Twelveam), Mewvsmewtwo (produced by Hvyarms), and the choppy glitch jam Futuristichybridpimp5000 (produced by Al Divino).

There’s a (forgive me) James Joyce quality to Rahiem Supreme’s dense lyrical imagery. Perhaps this is what had me immediately sending links to my Kool Keith loving friends. But Rahiem Supreme- the Grandmaster Splash- is in a surreal rap world of his own.

Pulling a quote from the introduction to The Man Wears Moschino: An Interview with Rahiem Supreme by Pete Tosiello:

”If there’s an element of escapism to Supreme’s verses—the funhouse mirror version of frequent collaborator Ankhlejohn’s dour, crime-infested underworld—they’re grounded by his autobiographical material which captures a rough-and-tumble mid-Atlantic childhood without self-pity or clean resolution.”

– Pete Tosiello, The Man Wears Moschino: An Interview with Rahiem Supreme

If anything written here piqued your interest, you’re in for a good time.

You can read Pete Tosiello’s interview with Rahiem Supreme over at Passion of The Weiss.

For fans of: Kool Keith, Lootpack, WunTwo

Like Rahiem Supreme? Give these a listen: Lunar C, Dr Zygote, Nostalgianoid

REVIEW: Ghösh – Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em / Beelzebub (2020)

Is this America’s answer to the UK’s notorious Grime school? If so, I’m along for the ride.

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em is weird, truly. Ghösh brings the “Rap Rock and the Jungle” in a sort of inverse Pop Will Eat Itself fashion. Sonic aesthetics that seem strange and out of place at first meld together better and better with each listen.

The single’s samples blur your surroundings as they spin by. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em is an Atlantic hurricane of grime and grit, ecstaticized by its EDM elements and delivering Rock and Industrial aggression. You can feel the electricity in the air.

B-side Beelzebub is perhaps the most American song I’ve ever heard (in a good way). It may be difficult to see anything that’s not more overtly political (such as leading track Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em) as encapsulating the current American cultural milieu, but someone may need to show their grandkids this song in about 50 years and lay it out for them. Right now, it’s the Nu School’s world, and we’re just living in it.

For fans of: Machine Girl, M-Beat, The Crystal Method

Like Ghösh? Give these a listen: Wiley aka Eskiboy, Pop Will Eat Itself, this Techno remix of WAP…

REVIEW: King Kashmere – Soul Calibur (2021)

He’s back!

Iguana Man is back with his first solo material since 2010’s Galaktus LP! He hasn’t been sleeping though. With projects like Strange U, Gawd Status, and features galore, Kashmere is seemingly busier than ever.

Work ethic not wasted. Kashmere has refined his sound over the past decade, and it shows on Soul Calibur. His delivery is stronger than ever and displays the calm control only an MC two decades deep could. Soul Calibur is a beautiful work of music and it makes me excited to listen to hip-hop again during a period of my life in which I’m too glum to get into much of anything.

Soul Calibur’s instrumentation was produced by Alecs DeLarge and brings the criminally smooth lounge sound. Vibraphones, flutes, snappy snares and kicks; it’s perfect. Watch the music video, then go cop this bad boy on Bandcamp or stream it on Spotify.

For fans of: Kool Keith, Strange U, Danny Brown

Like Kashmere? Give these a listen: Third Sight, Organized Konfusion, buddy.not.bud

REVIEW: Wun Two – The Fat EP (2012)

If you’re approaching the album for the first time, The Fat EP may not seem as fresh as it did in 2012. Since then, Wun Two’s previously signature lofi style has been copied ad nauseum. The hip-hop meets ambient sound of ‘lofi beats’ has become synonymous with low effort imposters and white guys shopping at Muji, but maybe that’s unfair.

At least lofi beat making had a lot to offer. It’s been accessible, easy listening in our modern age of anxiety. The Fat EP acts less as an album of songs and more as one larger ambient whole. Songs fade in and out, neatly cropping the vocal tracks being accompanied.

It’s 24 minutes of jazzy boom bap hip-hop, drenched in the fuzzy warmth of an old 45. Relatively subdued and nonabrasive in its sonic qualities, The Fat EP‘s hyper-repetitive beats lure the listener into a relaxed state. With nearly all focus on atmosphere and sonic aesthetics (tonal qualities), lofi beats stretch from their hip-hop roots towards ambient meditation.

So why Biggie? While his delivery is notoriously smooth, his lyrics may be the furthest thing from soothing. Biggie Smalls is front and center for the whole ride, yet The Fat EP couldn’t be less about him. We can run through the accreditation of Biggie Smalls, but that would be missing the point. The Fat EP is a delivery system for the sonic aesthetics and emotions Wun Two wishes to get across.

Most tracks on the album work as short interludes or sketches of sonic ideas. Remixes of Machine Gun Funk, Big Poppa, and Dead Wrong are all under 2 minutes. The vocal tracks of Big Poppa, Suicidal Thoughts, and Dead Wrong all appear twice with different backing tracks, yet feel fresh on their second run through.

Suicidal Thoughts is perhaps at its most emotionally potent in its first incarnation on the album, ‘suicidal.thoughts’. Losing all credibility with the hip-hop heads of my youth, I’ll go ahead and say this is my favorite version of Suicidal Thoughts to ever appear. Same goes for Party And Bullshit (party.n.bullshit), which would have made for a more emotionally potent closer than the weaker second incarnation of Suicidal Thoughts.

It’s everything you need from the lofi beat scene in one convenient package, sans boredom.

For fans of: People Under The Stairs, Madvillain, DJ Shadow

Like Wun Two? Give these a listen: Funky DL, Amerigo Gazaway, Jehst

The Best Hip Hop Collab That Hasn’t Happened (Yet)

Forget the Judgement Night soundtrack (I wish I could), what the world needs is collaboration between UK hip-hop greats Strange U and American industrial dub maker skintape (stylized in all lowercase).

Strange U

Strange U is Kashmere (MC) and Doctor Zygote (producer). First coming on the scene with EP #2040 in 2014, Strange U’s ability to take humorous imagery (The Cake is A Lie, Falcon Punch) and incorporate it seamlessly into the dark world they create is incredibly rewarding. Doctor Zygote’s minimal sci-fi beats pull from a wide variety of source material ranging from Dragon Ball Z to Throbbing Gristle. Strange U’s world is completely their own, but you know who would make a great addition?


Often overlooked from other regional scenes, North Carolina’s skintape pulls from industrial metal pioneers Godflesh as well as beat projects like The Bug and Scorn. skintape also took a lead role in creating Cenobites, an instrumental industrial hip-hop album created with electronic musician Badrich in which all sounds on the album are derived from the Hellraiser horror movie franchise.

Strange U and skintape’s fondness for industrial source material, dystopian sci-fi sound design, and their shared disregard for rap game antics would create a killer album. It’s the hip hop collaboration we need.

On second thought, the Sonic Youth / Cypress Hill team-up on Judgement Night wasn’t too bad.

First linked up top, we recommend Darren Paltrowitz’s article for Please Kill Me, JUDGMENT NIGHT: THE SOUNDTRACK THAT BLEW UP POP MUSIC

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