Photo by Alex Vega Photography
Music - Staff Picks
Published: July 12, 2011
Best rapper turned director
You've heard of rappers turning to film for a second career, but it's usually in front of the camera. Local hip-hop MC X:144 (aka Maged Khalil Ragab) – heretofore known best for his duo work with celebrated turntablist SPS – has once again flipped the script, turning his observational eye, which served him well as a writer of rhymes, toward his digital viewfinder.
The result: Beats.Rhymes.Films, Ragab's quickly rising, no-budget imprint that, although still in its infancy, has already proven X:144 as a director capable of hanging with the big boys. His first outing, a music video for local hip-hop legends Solillaquists of Sound titled "Marvel," managed to establish a narrative similar to SOS' album-wide concept while mining Orlando locales for fresh, unexpected angles. His follow-up video for SOS' "Gotham City Chase Scene" (both videos were produced for mini-major Anti- Records) built on the first and paid off on the title's promise; a razor-sharp action set piece as full-throttle as its accompanying song.
Perhaps Ragab's biggest accomplishment, however, was much more personal. His wide-eyed documentary, Export to Egypt – a 14-minute short film featured the director himself chatting about his experience near Cairo during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution with audience members at a nightclub or, in some scenes, over gunfire through footage he shot with his cell phone – is a festival-worthy display of Ragab's skills as a visual (and, of course, verbal) storyteller.
Anti-Pop Music Festival
Although organizer John Youngman has yet to order its gravestone, the Anti-Pop Music Festival, which ran for five strong years as just about the only alternative in town to the mainstream-minded Florida Music Festival, is most likely gone for good. Between the constant delays of the supposed 2009 follow-up and Youngman's success running the Fly South Music Group (Paramore, Supervillains), it's probably safe to put a fork in a fest that, over the years, brought the likes of Murs, Conor Oberst, Saul Williams and many others. Anti-Pop, you will be missed.
Best new concert Prometheus
Norse Korea Presents
If everyone’s a critic, then every other person’s a promoter – and most are amateurs. But since lifting off in January, forward-thinking concert booking group Norse Korea is already responsible for a white-hot parade of bands including Surf City, KEN Mode, Thee Oh Sees, Davila 666, Young Widows, Capsule, Bare Wires, My Disco, Carnivores and the top of the local indie crop. They’ve been a big shot of electricity and street cred into Orlando’s main line, and we’re totally pissing our pants waiting for NK Recordings to launch.
Best local concert development
> Email Orlando Weekly Staff