Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MF Doom Music Tribute Bag

Technically the first time I really heard MF DOOM (aka Daniel Dumile), it was in conjunction with another NYC group called 3rd Bass. His somewhat playful lyrics in 1989's "Gas Face" were followed up by "Peachfuzz", which was my introduction to the group KMD, consisting of DOOM (then known as Zev Love X), his brother Subroc, and a few revolving third members. After releasing a solid debut album in 1991, KMD was essentially shelved prior to their next release due to controversial cover art that their label would not approve. After a series of lengthy delays, the album was once again in production when in 1993, Subroc was tragically killed by an automobile. This pretty much marked the end of KMD.

To be completely honest, during the time when KMD's first album was released, I really wasn't checking for it. So, when i heard MF DOOM's 1999 debut "Doomsday" album, I was shocked when my friend told me "Yo, that's that dude from KMD". More shocking, however, was how gritty the production was and how crazy the rhyme patterns were. DOOM was taking things to a level I hadn't really heard before; taking chunks of stanza's and rhyming them together in an almost drunken, slurred flow that just sounded....perfect. Taken from from "Greenbacks":

It's funny how significance make a difference
Notice parables of three in every other inference
For instance
who wanna battle? On the real?
Choose your weapon: microphones, beats, or the wheels of steel

The thing is, he had this completely unique flow, which was paired with the most bargain-basement-sounding samples and drums, but the combination was just ridiculous. I mean, my friends and I used to literally make fun of how busted the drums were. But still, they were perfect in conjunction with the rest of the track.He sampled Sade for the album's title track. He sampled SCOOBY DOO (!!!) for "Hey!". He sampled Steely Dan for "Gas Drawls". The production was infectious. He rhymed slow. He rhymed quick. Literally - in a track titled "Tick, Tick...". And he wore a metal Doctor Doom mask while doing it(ok well technically its the mask from "Gladiator", but, you know). He was out of shape, and tended to show up at shows in a dirty wife beater with his wife next to the stage. He was losing his hair. At a time when Diddy seemed to be taking over hip hop, and artists were making huge videos with 80,000 lights and 50 dancers all wearing the same color, here comes this album that sounded like he might have made it in the bathroom. I had "Operation Doomsday" on tape, and I think I actually popped a tape and had to get it re-dubbed from a friend, I played it so much.

So pretty much DOOM became part of a relatively short list of artists where I would buy a new release completely unheard, knowing that it would be good. And he has not disappointed to this very day. Spreading across a series of aliases, he has released work as DOOM, King Gheedorah, Viktor Vaughn (which actually I'm proud to say was partially recorded in Space 1026 in Philly, our first real production studio location and home of King Honey aka Max Lawrence), and one half of Madvillain (along with famed producer Madlib), as well as putting out about ten complete volumes of his own instrumentals and "special blends" (existing songs by other artists remixed over his own tracks). There's a complete re-working of Nas's Nastrodamus album entitled "Nastradoomus" (although as far as i know DOOM has nothing to do with this, it still made an album I had pretty much shelved into a new album worthy of listens).

Probably the best known of his works was his collaboration with the Stones Throw Records mainstay - the prolific Madlib- entitled "Madvillain". This album saw a lyricist at the peak of his craft, coupled with one of the hottest indy hip hop producers around, their resulting LP stayed in rotation worldwide for quite some time. I hadn't originally planned to use the cover as the template for this tribute bag, but as I scoured print and the internet for photos, it became increasingly evident that this would be one of the best representations possible. His mask is the most recognizable thing about him, and the dark, brooding setting (the bottom half of the mask is almost hidden) fits in well with the mood set in much of his music.

Without going too far with this, let me just say that DOOM remains one of my favorite lyricists of all time, and is actually one of the few people I'll still shell out a decent amount of money for to see at a show.Recently Madlib released a reworked version of the "Madvillain" album (aptly titled "Madvillainy 2: the Madlib Remixes) with completely new beats....as a testament to the longevity of DOOM's verses, the thing sounds fresh still. Snippets such as this and the Dilla Ghost Doom "Sniper Elite" single (DOOM completely destroys the late great Dilla's "Anti-American Graffiti" instrumental) have helped quell the anxiety for new material from the masked one, but more is always appreciated.....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

:: Win Our Newest Bag Model !! ::

We're hosting a contest to name the newest model in the R.E.Load family! In response to the most frequently-asked questions we've faced over the past few years: "Can you make my bag with one of those straps with the buckle on 'em like (fill in other messenger bag company)?" and "I love your bags but they're heavy!", we are proud to introduce this sparkling new model.

Featuring pack cloth liners, a streamlined pocket construction, and a new split-strap design, this bag is the lightest thing to come out of R.E.Load since....well, really, since anything other than small accessories. The thing is crazy light. And while it might not necessarily be the end-all for all users*, it is an AWESOME bag for those who don't necessarily need to ride through rain, sleet, and snow and carry copy boxes while they do it. If you like organizational simplicity and tend to duck for cover when the sky turns black, this bag is for you.

Aside from this type of end user, there is a second demographic that this bag is designed for: people who already have a heavy-duty messenger bag that they use for work, commuting, etc., and just want a second, smaller bag for weekend outings, going to the store, whatever. Personally, this is where i think this bag shines. Just because you need a full-on Deluxe to messenger five days a week doesn't necessarily mean you want to be carrying that same Deluxe when you go to meet some friends at a barbeque.

In any case, this is what we've got planed for our new model, and furthermore, we're putting it out in two sizes: a large version that comes in a little bit under the dimensions of the current Civilian, and a small version that's roughly equivalent to the current Small Civilian, but with slight changes to the porportions.

What does this all mean to you? Well, although we have a few names in mind, we realize that we're still not in agreement of a really good name. Maybe you guys and girls out there can come up with something better! So, we're holding a contest - effective immediately - to see who can come up with some names for these brand new models.


- Email all entries to namethatbag@reloadbags.com. You can submit as many names as you want, and this can be done in one email. Don't forget that there are small and large versions! If you are submitting them for one or both, make it clear which version(s) you are submitting for. Be sure to include your full name, daytime phone #, and shipping address (This is strictly for prize distribution purposes and will not be used for any type of spam/mailing lists, we swear!). if you are the type to enjoy seeing your picture on websites, go ahead and attach a pic! If you win, we will run a pic along with your name!
- The contest is running up until 10am EST on Monday, September 8th. All submissions must be received by that time to be considered for contest entry.
- We will be announcing the winner(s) on our website, etc. by Friday, September 12th. If you are a winner, we will be contacting you directly to let you know.
- If your bag name is chosen as a winner, we will send you a version of the bag (color scheme is up to our own discretion, sorry) that you named absolutely free of charge! This applies to international as well as domestic contestants, so lets make this worldwide, shall we?
- R.E.Load employees and their family members are unfortunately exempt from this contest. You can make your own bags, guys......

ok people, lets do this!

*there IS a reason our other models are heavy; in using pack cloth as opposed to vinyl-coated nylon you are getting a "water resistant" bag, NOT a "weatherproof" bag. Water resistant is defined as: "(of a fabric or garment) having a finish that resists the absorption of water." Let me tell you right now: if you get caught in a rainstorm using these new bags, your cargo will get damp. Basically, the water resistance of these - while significantly superior - is closest to that of most "mainstream" knapsacks (think Jansport, EastPak, etc.