Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Divos* of the Top 100

The Notorious B.I.G.
4" x 4", oil on wood, 2012
Bob Dylan
4" x 4", oil on wood, 2012

After all this talk about the divas in the top 100 it is due time to pay some attention the male superstars in this year's top 100. Not as plentiful as their female counterparts but not to be ignored either. How much bigger do they get than Bob Dylan and The Notorious B.I.G.? The paintings are actually little, miniatures really. A friend gave me a stack of 4x4 art boards that were left behind at his work. "Do you paint that small?", he asked, and I said I would paint on anything, especially in these last days before the opening of the top 100 2011, when I have to average more than one a day, "Yes, I paint that small". I never had done them that small though, calling the paintings little wasn't an understatement, they are L.I.T.T.L.E. Bob Dylan and The Notorious B.I.G. are the next two picks from my list of top tens from last year in order to finalize a list of 100 songs.
  • I got the Notorious B.I.G. CD Ready to Die for free at a yard sale. At first listening I liked a few tracks. My initial favorite was One More Chance hence the inclusion of it in the Top 100. But after repeated listening I realized that One More Chance is only the most accessible song on the disc and that I'd liked other parts better. I ended up really liking the CD and playing it multiple times. I don't find B.I.G. that offensive at all (as I had expected from his reputation according to some news media) but rather compassionate. And the disc acts like a modern sound play or radio drama with a score of contemporary issues tackled in it. Quite intriguing! My main exposure to hip-hop this year is from within bypassing cars on our street. The music is rather distorted with the bass turned up so loud that the whole house shakes up, and words become disfigured. It seems like the only words I can make out coming from those cars is either pussy, motherfucker, or bitch. Still it can't make me hate the style of music.
  • With Bob Dylan I had several 9 point songs options to pick from. I chose Jokerman from the LP Infidels because of the vivid memory when I heard it last year. The same friend who gave me the 4x4s played the song in his car during a small road trip. Dylan needs no further Top 100 list introduction as he has been in that list for the last 25 years or so.
*Divo is the masculine version of the Italian word diva. Not generally used the same way as diva but still was the great Enrico Caruso  awarded the title in his day. If Beyoncé proclaims that a diva is a female hustler, I can award the divo title at least to Notorious.

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