Category Archives: Noir Music

Joey Bada$$ and Capital STEEZ “Survival Tactics” Channels Urban Neo-Noir

Capital Steez Survival Tactics

Capital Steez

Joey Badass Survival Tactics

Joey Bada$$

See I was raised that way, I’m from the place where they raise that K
Like every day in every way and every where you go, just ain’t safe
The only thing I can say, to you is pray

“Survival Tactics” is a raw piece of music– charged with urban anxiety and angry overtones. I haven’t featured enough rap in my noir music category, as much of it taps directly into the most central themes of the genre (loss of innocence, redemption, the anti-hero, etc.). The sample is simple, but the sincerity of the language is potent, wartime poetry. The video styling reminds me of 100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso– powerful imagery, stark contrasts, and the exposed underbelly of a broken system. Musically hypnotic and undeniably gripping, Joey Bada$$’ flow is superb, and pairs like socks with Capital STEEZ (RIP).

*The song is very explicit so consider yourself warned.

[Intro]
It’s either, them or you
It’s sort of like, survival you know. Survival of the fittest you know
You do what you do to stay alive

[Verse 1: Joey]
Niggas don’t want war
I’m a martian with an army of spartans
Sparring with a knife in a missile fight
Get your intel right, your intelligence is irrelevant
But it’s definite I spit more than speech impediments
Brooklyn’s the residence, the best and it’s evident
We got them niggas P-E-Nuts, like they elephants
Throw ‘em in a trunk if they hate though
We don’t give a f*** as long as we collect our pay, so
Ya’ll collect pesos, ya money ain’t right here
I got them girls next to the wood like they lightyear, I’m right chea
Tryna get a buzz, tryna pollinate
STEEZ got that presidential shit out to inaugurate
My P.E conglomerates bout to P-E-E on any wanna B-E, weak MC
Air ‘em out to leave ‘em empty congratulate the semi-auto
Fire flame spitter like komodo
No time for fake people, they be simmin’ like Kimora
I’m the empor-ah in search of the adora, my heart go:
*Ba boom Ba boom Ba boom boom Ba boom*
It’s panic like Dora when shots blast
See I was raised that way, I’m from the place where they raise that K
Like every day in every way and every where you go, just ain’t safe
The only thing I can say, to you is pray
Cause when niggas start equippin’
And throw the clip in
Your blood drippin’
And got you slippin’
Under the victim
Don’t know whats hit them, through his spinal
Just another man who defeated by survival
That’s your biggest rival, in your whole life
These bars you can’t handle you better hold tight
They sayin’ I’m the best, I’m like you’re so right
Still ain’t got enough shine to last the whole night, nigga

[Interlude]
Yo, f*** the police nigga
F*** every ass corrupt politician on Wall Street
P.E, Public Enemy, Assassinate us, bitch
F*** that, f*** everything son
F*** government, F***, listenin’ and shit

You want f****n’ energy? Dickheads

[Verse 2: Steez]
It’s like 6 milli ways to die my nigga choose one
Doomsday comin’ start investin’ in a few guns
New gats, booby traps, and bazooka straps
Better play your cards right, no booster packs
Everybody claim they used to rap
But these ain’t even punchlines no more, I’m abusing tracks
Leaving instrumentals blue and black
I’m in Marty McFly mode, so tell em’ that the future’s back
Riding on hoverboards, wiping out motherboards
Stopped spitting fire cause my motherf****n lung is scorched
King Arthur when he swung his sword
A king author I ain’t even use a pen in like a month or four
I had a hard time writing lyrics
Now I’m way over heads, science fiction
You can try and get it, my man the flyest with it
With a mind of fine of interest for your finest interests
They say hard work pays off
Well tell the Based God don’t quit his day job
Cause P.E’s about to take off
With protons and electrons homie that’s an A-bomb
F****n’ ridiculous
Finger to the president screamin’ “f*** censorship!”
If Obama got that president election
Then them P.E. boys bout to make an intervention
F*** what I once said, I want the blood shed
Cause now-a-days for respect you gotta pump lead
I guess Columbine was listenin’ to Chaka Khan
And Pokémon wasn’t gettin’ recognized at Comic-Con
It’s like we’ve been content with losin’
And half our students fallen victim to the institution
Jobs are scarce since the Scientific Revolution
And little kids are shootin Uzi’s cause its given to ‘em
Little weapon, code name: Smith and Wesson
And you’ll be quick to catch a bullet like an interception
If your man’s tryna disrepect it
Send a message and it’s over in a millisecond
Nigga

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Hothouse Bruiser: Neo-Noir Audio Drama

I’m not going to apologize for being away from noirwhale.com for so long, but I figure I at least owe everyone an explanation. As some of you know, I’m still attending school while maintaining a full-time job. April just happened to be a particularly brutal work-load convergence, finals on one hand, thousands of dollars worth of needy clients on the other. By the end of the month, I was feeling a bit wrung-out and needed a break. I’ve got a few personal noir projects on the back burner and was able to spend a few joyful weeks tinkering with them (someday I’ll share). Additionally, I’ve been reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and his prose is as seductive as everyone promised. But I’m back now, and eager to share some mighty fine noir.

Hothouse Bruiser Noir Radio Drama

“Hothouse Bruiser”

“Hothouse Bruiser” is a particularly intriguing piece of noir media– It’s a homage to the radio dramas of the pre-tv generation, but feels (and sounds) fresh to death. The drama is thick and cold, and the jazzy soundtrack is catchy and intoxicating. Great vocal talents, snappy dialogue, and creative storytelling collide in a work that is not entirely noir, nor entirely sci-fi. It straddles the neon window like Blade Runner or (more recently) Looper. Both rely on the potent noir atmosphere to set the tone in a futuristic story-scape.

Here is the teaser video:

“Hothouse Bruiser” vs. the noir definition:

1) The Seedy Underworld

The setting for the audio drama is a city-within-a-city, the Los Angeles ‘Quarantine’– supposedly the inhabitants within have contracted a ‘binary virus’, and any contact with someone outside the quarantine will result in both individuals’ deaths. Saeger Corp runs the Quarantine like a maximum security prison, and hand out privileges to those who show obedience.

2) The Anti-Hero

Jason Bruiser is the anti-hero of the story (voiced brilliantly by Paul Nobrega). He’s an ex-cop who’s separated from his family, trapped in the Quarantine. But he’s got connections, on the inside and out, and he’s used them to earn a reputation. Bruiser is conflicted by the man he ought to be and the man he’s becoming- with a teenage boy and little girl on the outside (and neighbor who may be inching in on his wife), he’s struggling to remain pure in a world that rewards the wicked.

3) The Femme Fatale

The Quarantine is full of deadly dames, and they all take their shots at Bruiser. He gives as good as he gets, and the dialogue is a tasty tribute to the noir tradition (just enough cheese and sleaze to keep us tuned in). If I had to choose one of the many as THE femme fatale, Vera Grayle  is it (voiced by the famous Traci Lords). She’s the buxom prospector of a local dive, where shots are $100.00 a piece and your secrets are for sale.

4) Misogyny

Enough of the old school machismo floats around in “Hothouse Bruiser” to raise the temperature of the more feminist listeners– but the dames aren’t all body and beauty, they’re cruel and calculating also. The most obvious misogyny is Bruiser piling threats of physical harm on the broads that cross him.

5) Redemption

In the Hothouse redemption is only found beyond the wall, and everyone will do anything to get it. As the plot steeps Bruiser in sin, he begins to lose hope that redemption exists; when his hope evaporates, his morals go with it.

6) Loss of Innocence

Bruiser’s story is framed by the ‘fallen angel’ archetype. Early on, he’s pushing away the lusty ladies, talking about fidelity and refusing to kill no matter the odds. But, as the story winds on… he starts dipping his toes in the gray areas.

7) Smoke

One of my favorite lines was something like this: “I flicked the cigarette out of her mouth, and kissed her so she’d know I was serious.”– SO good.

8 ) Emasculation

Bruiser feels handcuffed inside the quarantine. He can’t defend his family from the incursion of men on the outside, and he’s powerless to free himself. He’s like a bird with clipped wings– and too often he’s at the mercy of the owners of the cage.

I love “Hothouse Bruiser”– we need more radio dramas of this quality on the airwaves. Oh? Did I forget to mention that it’s FREE?

Free iPhone App

Free Android App

Follow on Twitter

YouTube Channel

Podcast on iTunes

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Noir Music | Jazz in the Rain

I cannot take any credit for this. My friend Chase O. in Georgia sent me an email with the following instructions:

Visit www.RainyMood.com and watch this video at the same time:

Changed my life. Enjoy.

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Noir Music | “Le temps de l’amour” by Francoise Hardy

Noir Music Francoise Hardy

Francoise Hardy (via maxkaska.tumblr.com)

“Le temps de l’amour” by Françoise Hardy is a haunting tribute to fleeting love and youth; her lilting vocals ricochet pleasantly off the heavy bass lick and paint shadows across the afternoon. Wickedly noir.

Here are the french lyrics:

Le temps de l’amour

C’est le temps de l’amour,
le temps des copains et de l’aventure.
Quand le temps va et vient,
on ne pense a rien malgre ses blessures.
Car le temps de l’amour
c’est long et c’est court,
ca dure toujours, on s’en souvient.

On se dit qu’ a vingt ans on est le roi du monde,
et qu’ éternellement il y aura dans nos yeux
tout le ciel bleu.

C’est le temps de l’amour,
le temps des copains et de l’aventure.
Quand le temps va et vient,
on ne pense a rien malgre ses blessures.
Car le temps de l’amour
ca vous met au coeur
beaucoup de chaleur et de bonheur.

Un beau jour c’est l’amour et le coeur bat plus vite,
car la vie suit son cours
et l’on est tout heureux d’etre amoureux.

C’est le temps de l’amour,
le temps des copains et de l’aventure.
Quand le temps va et vient,
on ne pense a rien malgre ses blessures.
Car le temps de l’amour
c’est long et c’est court,
ca dure toujours, on s’en souvient.

And here are the lyrics translated into English:

The Time of Love

It is the time of love,
the time of friends and adventure.
As the time comes and goes,
one thinks of nothing in spite of one’s wounds.
Because the time of love
it’s long and it’s short,
it lasts forever, one remembers it.

At twenty, we tell ourselves that we rule the world,
and that all the blue sky will be in our eyes forever.

It is the time of love,
the time of friends and adventure.
As the time comes and goes,
We think of nothing in spite of our wounds.
For the time of love
it fills your heart
with so much warmth and happiness.

One fine day it’s love and the heart beats faster,
for life follows its course
and one is totally happy to be in love.

It is the time of love,
the time of friends and adventure.
When the time comes and goes,
one thinks of nothing in spite of one’s wounds.
For the time of love
it’s long and it’s short,
it lasts forever, one remembers it.

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Noir Music | “Warm Beer and Cold Women” by Tom Waits

Noir Music Tom Waits

Tom Waits (via via lucystardust.tumblr.com)

Tom Waits beautifully crafts a familiar noir setting in “Warm Beer and Cold Women”– The gravel in his throat matched only by his sincerity in this incredibly genuine, incredibly unforgettable song. Each lyric hits exactly the way it should, Waits like a noir poet laureate:

warm beer and cold women, I just don’t fit in
every joint I stumbled into tonight
that’s just how it’s been
all these double knit strangers with
gin and vermouth and recycled stories
in the naugahyde booths

with the platinum blondes
and tobacco brunettes
I’ll be drinkin’ to forget you
lite another cigarette
and the band’s playin’ something
by Tammy Wynette
and the drinks are on me tonight

all my conversations I’ll just be
talkin’ about you baby
borin’ some sailor as I try to get through
I just want him to listen
that’s all you have to do
he said I’m better off without you
till I showed him my tattoo

now the moon’s rising
ain’t got no time to lose
time to get down to drinking
tell the band to play the blues
drink’s are on me, I’ll buy another round
at the last ditch attempt saloon

warm beer and cold women, I just don’t fit in
every joint I stumbled into tonight
that’s just how it’s been
all these double knit strangers with
gin and vermouth and recycled stories
in the naugahyde booths

with the platinum blondes
and tobacco brunettes
I’ll be drinking to forget you
lite another cigarette
and the band’s playing somethin’
by Johnnie Barnett
and the drinks are on me tonight

*Here is an interview with Tom in 1979– I place it here because it’s one of my favorites (I especially love it when Tom puts a match in his pocket around minute 3).

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Noir Music | “Stormy Weather” by Etta James

Noir Music Etta James

Etta James (via musicalcereal.blogspot.com)

This soulful rendition of “Stormy Weather” is a juicy slice of noir music. Softly lilting on the mellifluous vocals of Etta James, this easily breaks into my top ten faves– prepare yourself for chicken-skin when she hits “All I do is pray, the Lord will let me…”

Don’t know why
There’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all of the time

Oh yeah, life is bad
Gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather, stormy weather
And I just can get my poor self together
Oh, I’m weary all of the time
The time, so weary all of the time

When he went away
The blues walked in and met me
Oh yeah, if he stays away
Old rockin’ chair is gonna get me
All I do is pray, the Lord will let me
Walk in the sun once more

Oh, I can’t go on, can’t go on, can’t go on
Everything I have is gone
Stormy weather, stormy weather
Since my man and I
Me and my daddy ain’t together
Keeps raining all of the time

Oh oh, keeps raining all of the time
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, raining all of the time
Stormy, stormy, stormy weather, yeah

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Noir Music | “Mean to Me” by Billie Holiday

Noir Music Billie Holiday

Ms. Billie Holiday (via dayonerap.tumblr.com)

Behold, a vintage noir gem from a lovely crooner.

You’re mean to me
Why must you be mean to me?
Gee, honey, it seems to me
You love to see me cryin’

I don’t know why
I stay home each night
When you say you’ll phone
You don’t and I’m left alone
Singing the blues and sighin’

You treat me coldly
Each day in the year
You always scold me
Whenever somebody is near

Dear, it must
Be great fun to be mean to me
You shouldn’t, for can’t you see
What you mean to me

Billie Holiday Jazz

Billie’s Hands (via blackpoemusic.tumblr.com)

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Noir Music | “The Perfect Crime #2″ by The Decemberists

Colin Meloy The Decemberists

Colin Meloy of The Decemberists

I love the “Parker” feel of this song– It’s fine noir music from one of my all time favorite bands: The Decemberists. Clean rhythm, cool vibe, poppy hooks.

Sing Muse with passion of the pistol
Sing Muse of the warning by the whistle
On a night so dark in the waning
A dawn obscured by slight sky raining, oh oh

Five and twenty burglars by the reservoir
A teenage lookout on the signal tower
The mogul’s daughter in hog-tie
The mogul figures the wrong guy, all right

It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime
It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime

The bagman’s quaking at the fingers
The hand-off glance a little lingers
A well-dressed man in the crosshairs
A shot rings out from somewhere upstairs

It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime
It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime

It was the perfect crime

It was like a ticker-tape parade
When the plastique on the safe was blown away
And we all gaze from eye to eye
As we mouth our silent goodbyes

The valley’s sleeping like a bastard
It stinks of slumber and disaster
Two words are spoken with tap wire
The agent’s ploy finds a surefire backfire

It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime
It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime

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Noir Music | “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse

Noir Music Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse (via amyjadetribute.tumblr.com)

“Back to Black” is a tasty little noir music piece from Amy Winehouse. Has just enough of that vintage sound and bitterness to be sewn perfectly into the genre.

Here are the lyrics:

He left no time to regret, kept his dick wet
With his same old safe bet
Me and my head high and my tears dry
Get on without my guy

You went back to what you knew so far removed
From all that we went through
And I tread a troubled track, my odds are stacked
I’ll go back to black

We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to, I go back to us

I love you much, it’s not enough
You love blow and I love puff
And life is like a pipe
And I’m a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside

We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
When I go back to

We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to

Black, black, black, black
Black, black, black
I go back to
I go back to

We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to

We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to black

 

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Noir Music | Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne – Theme

Max Payne 2 The Fall of Max Payne Soundtrack

No voices, no lyrics. Deeply emotive noir music that pains the heart and stirs the psyche. Too often, music in the noir genre is defined by the tilt of the noir-centric lyrics. This instrumental doesn’t need them, because there’s nothing left to say.

Composed by Kärtsy Hatakka & Kimmo Kajasto.

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