Thursday, August 6, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

'80s teen flick director John Hughes dies in NYC


NEW YORK — Writer-director John Hughes, Hollywood's youth impresario of the 1980s and '90s who captured the teen and preteen market with such favorites as "Home Alone," "The Breakfast Club" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," died Thursday, a spokeswoman said. He was 59.

Hughes died of a heart attack during a morning walk in Manhattan, Michelle Bega said. He was in New York to visit family.

A native of Lansing, Mich., who later moved to suburban Chicago and set much of his work there, Hughes rose from ad writer to comedy writer to silver screen champ with his affectionate and idealized portraits of teens, whether the romantic and sexual insecurity of "Sixteen Candles," or the J.D. Salinger-esque rebellion against conformity in "The Breakfast Club."

Hughes' ensemble comedies helped make stars out of Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy and many other young performers. He also scripted the phenomenally popular "Home Alone," which made little-known Macaulay Culkin a sensation as the 8-year-old accidentally abandoned by his vacationing family, and wrote or directed such hits as "National Lampoon's Vacation," "Pretty in Pink," "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" and "Uncle Buck."

Other actors who got early breaks from Hughes included John Cusack ("Sixteen Candles"), Judd Nelson ("The Breakfast Club"), Steve Carell ("Curly Sue") and Lili Taylor ("She's Having a Baby").

Devin Ratray, best known for playing Buzz McCallister in the "Home Alone" films, said he remained close to Hughes over the years.

"He changed my life forever," Ratray said. "Nineteen years later, people from all over the world contact me telling me how much 'Home Alone' meant to them, their families, and their children."

Actor Matthew Broderick worked with Hughes in 1986 when he played the title character in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

"I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes. He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family," Broderick said.

As Hughes advanced into middle age, his commercial touch faded and, in Salinger style, he increasingly withdrew from public life. His last directing credit was in 1991, for "Curly Sue," and he wrote just a handful of scripts over the past decade. He was rarely interviewed or photographed.

Associated Press writers Amy Westfeldt, Doug Rowe and Mike Kuchwara contributed to this report.

Here is an interesting article on Hughes and his effect on pop culture and modern movie making.

Tools "What's Da Prob?" Single

"What's Da Prob?" is the first single off of emcee Tools' new album "Crushed Ice." Now if there was ever a time to NOT judge a book by it's cover this is it. Tools looks like your standard ice obsessed, gun claiming, female disrespecting, New York Thug rapper (i.e. any diplomat affiliated emcee except for J.R. Writer). It may be the case that Tools discusses materialism, guns, and women but his spin both softens the impact and amplifies the effect. In fact it may be that Tools resembles J.R. Writer more than any other emcee. He has interesting flow, an emotive delivery and his beat selection is leaps and bounds more interesting than many emcees who work in the same style. "What's Da Prob?" rides the old school Beastie Boys beat from "Paul Revere" with a new school approach.
Born in Liberia, West Africa, Tools Beastly started listening to hip hop at an early age. When he was 12 civil war broke out and his family fled to Sierra Lione eventually sacrificing everything they had and moved to the United States. This kind of history obviously influences his approach. Check out the video and take a listen to an underground emcee who you haven't heard of yet but who deserves your attention. "Crushed Ice" drops on HardTimes Records August 25th.

Tools “Changes

DOWNLOAD: "What's Da Prob"

Jern Eye Announces Release of New Album "Vision"

On October 13th, West coast emcee Jern Eye will drop his sophomore solo LP, "Vision." The album, which features production from Jake One, !llmind, and Keelay & Zaire, and collaborations with Guilty Simpson, Mistah F.A.B., Zion I, Cali Agents, and NightClubber Lang, will be available October 13th via MYX Music Label.

At a time when many albums are little more than a collection of randomly pieced together, unrelated songs, the art of crafting an album is often overlooked. For "Vision," a title referencing the concept of stripping down illusions in order to share artistic expression and feeling, creating a cohesive album was the main focus for Jern Eye, and one of the biggest progressions for Jern as an artist since his debut album. Jern says, "In comparison to my previous release "Authentic Vintage," I think "Vision" is more self aware. I just appreciate being a little older, and seeing my music in perspective. I think refusing to compromise what I really love about hip-hop reflects on how I made this album." With three years between albums, that artistic maturity will finally be on display as "Vision" is prepared for release October 13th.

Despite the list of stellar guest emcees, Jern's presence remains dominant throughout "Vision," as witnessed on the album's lead single, "So And So," produced by MYX's own Keelay & Zaire and featuring Guilty Simpson. In creating the album, the music was the driving force, as Jern crafted the album's sound, spending nights with new beats from go to producers Jake One, !llmind, and more, searching for the right sounds to allow Jern's message to hold the foreground of "Vision." Jern says, "With this new record, it was all about beat selection in order to capture certain vibes or backdrops I wanted. So, in essence, each song has intent whether it's obvious or not. Sonically, I think I captured the album I wanted to deliver. I'm not big into doing anything super out there. I made an album that real hip-hop will like."

A Los Angeles native, Jern Eye began crafting his skills early on at freestyle battles in famous L.A. clubs. Forming the west coast staple group, Lunar Heights with friend and fellow emcee Spear Of The Nation shortly after high school, the group eventually migrated north to Oakland to join the Bay Area's flourishing independent hip-hop scene. Once in the Bay, the group was joined by Khai Sharrieff, as they began making a name for themselves, opening for a number of groups, including Crown City Rockers, The Pharcyde, The Procussions, and more. The group subsequently released their solo effort, "Crescent Moon" to high acclaim. Jern followed three years later with his solo debut, "Authentic Vintage" in 2006, touring with Heiroglyphics and Living Legends as a result of the album's success. "Vision" will be available October 13th via MYX Music Label.

DOWNLOAD: "So And So" ft Guilty Simpson

KRS-One & Buckshot Drop "Survival Skills" Single

KRS-One & Buckshot
return with the second single from their highly anticipated Duckdown Records album, "Survival Skills." The album is set to drop September 15th and the second single is the title track to the album, "Survival Skills." This one features DJ Revolution on the cut and follows the much blogged first single "Robots."

Download: "Survival Skills"