Positive K, I Got A Man
And so another Tuesday gently rolls around, meaning that it’s time for us to indulge ourselves in yet more stunning rap music. Hence, we’ve pulled our jeans down to expose our underpants, we’ve decanted apple juice into a milk bottle, and yes, we’re throwing dice against a wall. All because we once saw Menace II Society. Today, one-hit-wonder Positive K explains to a woman that, really, he just wants to do it with her.
Kool G Rap and DJ Polo, Streets of New York
Site regulars will already be well aware that we like to spend Tuesdays listening to hard beats, and mouthing along to street raps in front of a full length mirror. Sometimes naked. Sometimes wearing just a vest and some socks. Today, it’s the turn of the legendary Kool G Rap to put you off ever holidaying in New York. It’s a big rotten apple by the sounds of things.
Gang Starr, Step in the Arena
Another Tuesday comes around, making it high time for another classic rap – this time from DJ Premier and Guru, who together like to be known as Gang Starr. Which, as you can probably see, is a brand new method of spelling “gangster”. Clever. Very clever. Above is one of their finest moments.
Kurtis Blow, The Breaks
With Tuesday Jazz taking a little breather for a few weeks, we’ve turned our attention to great raps from back in “the day”. Back when rapping was just another form of gorgeous beat poetry, and rappers were perfectly at liberty to go shirtless underneath their suits. Great times. Take it away, Mr Blow!
Wham!, Wham! Rap
Some people seem to think that you can’t be glitzy and glam in this cruel financial winter, but as Wham! here prove, even being on the dole/game can be cool and sexy. That’s right, put your most shiny underpants on, it’s Super Disco Wednesday!
Main Source, Looking at the Front Door
Everyone needs a holiday, especially at this time of year when boiling hot rays of sunshine create a nationwide urge to down big icy bottles of brewski, roll one trouser leg up, and listen to some excellent raps. Hence Tuesday Jazz has been given the rest of the Summer off, and from now on we’ll be bumping metaphorical fists with some great hip hop from way back in the olden days. To kick things off, here’s Main Source, our number one Rap Group.
Oh dear, an uncomfortable meal…
It’s always brilliant to hear from an important member of the luxurious Interestment family, so we punched fists, spat on the ground with glee, and mumbled ‘sup? when Hip Hop Sam piled onto the scene brandishing a funny album cover. He had this to say…
Ghostface Killah‘s album cover for Bulletproof Wallets depicts the aftermath of the most embarrassing moment in hip hop history. Raekwon the Chef, fresh from his three mile morning jog has popped over to his best friend, Ghostface Killah’s house for a spot of breakfast, a girly chat and a nice big glass of freshly squeezed OJ. But, sadly, his timing couldn’t have been more appalling. Judging by the awkward look on Raekwon‘s face we can only assume that he’s just caught a glimpse of Ghostface Killah‘s morning penis “popping out” of his loosely tied dressing gown. Gutted. Here’s a track from the album…
Making excellent music for your steri-eri-erio…
It’s always a complete pleasure to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today it’s the turn of Hip Hop Sam – a wise man, with a fine line in enormous trousers and wonderful records. He had this to say about rap’s beat makers…
Only 2 people are required to make a hip hop record: 1. A rapper – an arrogant, boastful, violent drug dealer, with a love of gold and weaponry, yet blessed with the ability to talk in rhyme. And 2. The producer – a man/woman who makes the beat over which the rapper talks aggressively. To do this a DJ samples a section of someone else’s music, and simply replays it in a repetitive, continuous loop over some drums. Hopefully you’ll end up with a track that sounds like gigantic monster-truck-transformers sensually dogging in a late night car park. Here’s the best four producers, like, ever…
1. DJ Premier
Premier is without a doubt the king of hip hop producers. For the entire 1990s you couldn’t attend a hip hop club night without hearing at least fifty DJ Premier tracks before getting mugged at knifepoint.
2. Dr Dre
If you’re a fan of smoking the chronic in bouncy cars, squeaky voiced maniacs who are a little bit kerraazy, or big muscular men with their tops off, then you’re probably a fan of Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent – all of whom are themselves big fans of Dr Dre for turning them into household names.
3. J Dilla
Before James Yancey tragically passed away at the age of 32 from a rare blood disease, he was responsible for classic tracks by Common, The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Slum Village. His production style was original, futuristic and completely peerless. Who knows how good he’d be now if he was still alive. RIP Dilla.
4. Marley Marl
Put “ley” on the end of your first name, and then repeat the first bit. The result – instant cool rap moniker. This works with every name except for Lee. Pioneering producer Marlon Williams did this, and never looked back, going on to make loads of superb tracks for Erik B & Rakim, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Master Ace and LL Cool J.
No room for this gentleman…
In tragic music icon terms, Michael Jackson actually lived a fairly long and prosperous life. He made it to half a century, which isn’t bad at all. Elvis only got as far as 42, John Lennon made it to 40 before taking four bullets in the back, and Michael Hutchence was still a fairly youthful 37. Keith Moon and John Bonham made it fashionable for great drummers to die at 32. Then, of course, you have all of the rock stars who couldn’t make it past 27 – Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison. Gram Parsons was even younger at 26, as was Otis Redding when he died in a plane crash. Tupac was 25, Notorious BIG 24, Ian Curtis 23, and Sid Vicious and Eddie Cochran were barely grown ups at just 21. In fact, the list of tragic early deaths is relatively endless. So with that in mind, we thought it high time to select the four most unfortunate, as decided by us…
1. Jimi Hendrix, 27
It was a very sad day for music in 1970 when Hendrix apparently lay on his back, choking on his own sick, thanks to a few too many red wines. The whole thing still smells a little bit fishy, with rumours floating around that it might not have simply been the innocent death of a drinker. Either way, it robbed the world of a fantastic music man, who managed to mix rock, soul and psychedelic stuff really really well. He keeps the likes of Steve Marriott, Janis Joplin, Marc Bolan and Phil Lynott out of the top four, and, to really put things in perspective, without Hendrix we probably wouldn’t have Prince. What kind of rubbish world would that be?
2. Minnie Riperton, 31
One of the great female soul singers, Riperton died of the damn cancer when she was 31. But what a 31 years. She’ll always be remembered for Lovin’ You, a slightly drippy love song, but we’ll forever love her for the rock/soul numbers she did with Rotary Connection, Les Fleurs, and the rather graphic sex song, Inside My Love. With so many excellent soul singers to choose from, she has achieved the remarkable feat of keeping Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke out of the top four. That’s a very big score for the sisterhood.
3. Keith Moon, 32
There were a few decent dead drummers to choose from, but Keith Moon just beat Dennis Wilson and John Bonham to grab a place in the top four. He edged it for being more of a total maniac. Famous for driving cars into pools, flushing explosives down toilets, and for being a completely brilliant drummer in The Who, he died after taking too many anti-alcohol pills in 1978. He’d just been out for dinner with Paul and Linda McCartney, which presumably had nothing to do with the overdose.
4. Big L, 24
The rap game has seen lots of premature deaths – Easy E, Big Pun, Tupac, Scott La Rock, Jay Dee, Biggie Smalls, Jam Master Jay, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. But the one that really makes us slam our fists and weep up to the heavens screaming “why?” is Big L‘s. We honestly think he could have been the greatest rapper of all time, but instead he took seven bullets to the head and chest one evening in 1999. The murder remains unsolved, which makes it double annoying.
This man did not make the list…
It’s been a while since we heard from Hip Hop Sam – for a while he was presumed dead. But now he’s back, jeans as baggy as ever, his trainers resplendent in the afternoon glare of the sun. He lit up a herbal cigarette and thought he’d turn his eye to the most kind rappers he could think of. He had this to say…
Rappers famously hate pretty much everything except jewellery, women, and a full clip. You’ve seen them – they go around in their baggy jeans, limping, smoking cigs, wearing caps on sideways, bragging about killing people. They’re really not very nice when you sit down and think about it. Hence, I took some time out to figure out whether there are any nice rappers out there. And guess what – there are loads of them after all. These are the four kindest…
Chicago’s best ever rapper is a great guy. He’s the kind of gentleman who’d pluck a sobbing cat out of a tree, or help an old lady with their shopping whilst on his way to the library, where’s he’s probably returning a book about feminist politics. Although his rapping style sounds like a seductive aromatherapist explaining oils to you, he’s highly respected in Hip Hop circles, having worked with hip hop legends like DJ Premier, Jay Dilla, and more recently The Jonas Brothers.
If invited for tea round your house after school, most rappers would allow their dogs to foul on the lawn, whilst they were busily making obscenities out of fridge magnets. But not cutesy voiced little Q-Tip. Oh no, he’d well behaved, and probably even bring a cake with him. And not a shop-bought cake either. He’d make one himself. From scratch. Anyway, an immensely talented individual he’s consistently produced excellent music with A Tribe Called Quest and on his own, and his new album The Renaissance is particularly amazing. “Thanks for the cake Q-Tip” we’d say when his mum picked him up (although secretly we’d have preferred just a plain sponge).
3. Talib Kweli
Have you ever imagined that you were a beautiful woman with huge juicy breasts, going out with a rapper? You’ve been going steady for months, and the time’s finally come to introduce your new man to your parents – EEEEK!!! If you were going out with 99 per cent of MCs this would pose an enormous problem, as the most likely outcome would be the pistol related death of your father (cringe!). Not so with Mr Kweli. He’d charm the pants off your old man, so much so, that they’d probably end up really bonding. Maybe hanging out together. Your Dad might even end up freestyling and breakdancing while Kweli does some simple beats using his mouth. It would be weird, and you’d end the relationship shortly after to go out with Akon.
Once a teacher called me dude by accident. It was a horrendous moment, acutely embarrassing for both of us. I reported him, and he gave up teaching shortly afterwards. There’s just no room in the classroom for hip-hop slang or ebonics. This is probably why J-Live gave up teaching to become a rapper. This mild-mannered, kindly-faced, bespectacled MC is the only rapper EVER that you’d feel safe to leave your children with. In fact, he’d possibly teach them to spit the Periodic Table to a SERIOUSLY funky breakbeat.
Some very sassy ladies didn’t make it…
Regardless that when you break it down, rapping is just poetry recital in front of your friends, there has been a serious shortage in female rappers over the years. The ratio of men to women is probably about fifty to one. Being very serious about our beliefs regarding equality, we would like to see this change. We want to live in a world where Jay Z is a woman, Snoop Doggy Dogg used to be a beautician, and Eminem has the most wonderful bikini body. Even so, choosing the four greatest female rappers was very tricky indeed, with MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill and Lady of Rage all falling at the final hurdle…
1. Roxanne Shante
Not to be confused with The Real Roxanne, Shante was party to one of the original hip hop beefs when she became caught up in the infamous Roxanne Wars of the mid-80s. Thankfully this was before the days when problems were solved with bullets, so she lived to rap another day. Our number one girl, she was famous for being a brilliant freestyle rapper, and as an affiliate of the Juice Crew (with Marley Marl, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap etc…) her legend is set.
2. Queen Latifah
The Will Smith of female rap, Latifah is now a cheerful tubby woman who crops up in films like Chicago, and is more likely to sing from the classic American Songbook than actually rap. But, there was a time when she was a serious MC, from her early days as a beatboxer with Ladies Fresh, to her decade long career as a Tommy Boy rapper. She’s a whole beautiful mountain of woman.
As conscious female rappers go, Bahamadia is the best. Her 1996 album Kollage was produced by the peerless DJ Premier, and she’s got a monotone, fluid flow that drips like syrup into a mixing bowl. If that makes any sense. The thinking man’s choice, she keeps Lauryn Hill off the four.
4. Jean Grae
Named after a character in the X Men, Jean Grae is possibly the best lady MC currently working. That she’s worked with the likes of Talib Kweli, The Roots and the legendary Masta Ace tells you everything you need to know. One heck of a gal.
Aww, who’s that little cutie?
Say what you like about Eminem, but in 8 Mile, he taught us that if you embarrass yourself first, no one will ever be able to embarrass you again. It was a clever move, turning his rap attack on its head, making that other guy look like a chump. That’s why we always do something enormously humiliating first thing in the morning, just to make sure that the day can’t get any worse. We might deliberately trip up at the bus stop, or accidentally (on purpose) walk back from the office toilets completely naked. It works. So good for Eminem. Good for him. But, actually, he wasn’t the first rapper to gently mock himself, back in the early 90s a young rapper called Nasty Nas unlocked a painfully humiliating box of childhood snapshots, and hung them on a washing line for everyone to see. By which we mean he put a picture of himself as a child of the cover of his amazing Illmatic album. Look at him, staring out at you, a seven year old child, he looks lonely and frightened. And yet, when you hear him rapping as an adult he’s street tough. What a glorious juxtaposition! It made for a much better cover than the original idea, which was to have the rapper wrestling Jesus. Here’s a track from the album…
Bra testing at Alton Towers
Wow, it’s one helluva week for rappers and their birthdays – yesterday Ice Cubes, today Pacsie. Better know to you as Tupac, or 2pac, or The Pac Man, or The Pacmeister, or OnePac Tupac ThreePac Four, or Our Sun Pac, or Burt Baccha-Pac, or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Pac, or Dusty SpringPac, or Farrah Faw-Pac, or Charlie and the Chocolate Pac-tory, or Hey Diddle Diddle the Pac and the Fiddle, or What the Pac!, or Crisp Pac, or just plain old Pac. He would have been 38 today, had he not been gunned down after a beef with Biggie Smalls. Also known as Notorious BIG, or Big Man, or Smally Bigs, or The Big Stuff, or Fat Folks, or Double Whopper with Cheese, or 2001 A BIG Space Odyssey, or Mr Big Potatoes, or just plain old Big starring Tom Hanks. Anyway, Pac would have been 38 today, so after much discussion we decided to buy him either a grain of rice with all of his nicknames engraved on it, or a video of semi-naked women on a rollercoaster sent to us by a chap in PR. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Tupac, aka 2pac, aka The Pac Man etc…
G is for Gangsta
For a time, Ice Cube looked set to become the original Will Smith. But no. He might have been a better rapper, but all of his songs were odes to shouting things about bacon at hard working police officers, or calling his girlfriend a bitch. He should have stuck to Smith style ditties about church garden parties and the benefits of a nice early night. Regardless, Cube turns 40 today, we thought we’d get him a nice gift, so we drove slowly around town in one of those bouncy car things, listening to Snoop, smoking the chronic. It boiled down to a toss up between a really lovely porcelain duck, or a clip of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street showcasing some mad rapping skills. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Cube, hope today is a good day!
Say ‘sup to some genuine tough guys
It’s always a total joy to hear from one of the beautiful members of the Interestment family, so when Hip Hop Sam strode up wearing enormous trousers, brandishing an album cover review, we slapped five and took a mighty gulp from his gigantic bottle of lager. He had this to say…
Vincent van Gogh was a poor downtrodden artist, and nobody liked his childish oil paintings until he cut his ear off – probably following a Stella/Fosters binge drinking mix up. This led to instant respect in the art world, with experts referring to his Chair and his Sunflowers as “brilliant” and “very sexy indeed”. In much the same way, the Geto Boys were the outcasts of gangster rap, with their songs about necrophilia, killing people, and wearing Nikes frowned upon by beard twiddling hip hop bureaucrats. That was until one of the band members, a rapping dwarf called Bushwick Bill, drank a bit too much on a date and stupidly shot himself in the eye. Fortunately for Bill, every cloud has a silver lining, as the startling hospital scene made for the beatiful cover of We Can’t Be Stopped. Their ode to not being stopped. Great cover, excellent record. Here’s one of the tracks from it…
Be afraid, hip hoppers…
By the early 1990s, rap album covers went in one of two directions: guns or pastel colours. The guns signified hardcore raps about killing people and then having sex with someone, whereas the pastel colours meant that some social issues were going to be covered. Perhaps using humour as a tool. We prefered the conscious pastel coloured rap, especially as some of the guys with the guns had sparkling jheri curls, which just made them look like violent grandmothers. A silly look. But that all changed in 1993, when the Wu-Tang Clan came along, and suddenly the trannies with uzies looked almost kindly and adorable. These guys – Raekwon, ODB, Method Man, Ghostface, GZA, Scarecrow, The Face Man, BA, Murdock, and Ringo – were terrifying and mysterious, taking their style from obscure martial arts films. It was totally thrilling, and the sleeve found them kitted out like demonic ninjas prowling stealthily in a strange part-dark/part-shiny room with a massive curtain at the end. Was this one of the chambers? The 36 chambers? What are the chambers of death anyway? A fantastic record. Below is one of their classic tracks…
Darling, can I borrow your flick knife?
We bloody love fashion people, with their strange haircuts, and their pink tights worn with completely straight faces. Unfortunately, keeping up with their curious flights of fancy is near impossible, so thank Christ for our Interestment fashion expert, Oliver, who today tells us a little bit about the jackets and trousers that we should be sporting this spring/summer/autumn/winter. He had this to say…
Fashionistas can now stop cutting themselves with rusty stanley knives and re-focus their self loathing onto the nearest pair of denim trousers – or jeans as they’re known in America. Yes, ripped jeans are back, so expect to hear loud tuts coming from befuddled old women as they catch sight of these strange youths with their torn up trousers and silly rap music. A number of gentlemanly testicles flopping from seriously misjudged rips will be reported over the summer. I guarantee it.
In other news, the proliferation of the original pointy shoulder Balmain jackets (below) has caught my attention. This is great for people looking for somewhere to hang their towels, but means sod all to anyone else. In my humble opinion, this will be about as short-lived and costly as a German tennis sex encounter. So avoid this ridiculousness, else spend the rest of your lives weeping into a pool of your own size zero bulimia vomit.
Until next time…
Daddy Freddy Raps on Record Breakers
Rita Coolidge. You know, Rita Coolidge. The one who broke up Crosby, Stills & Nash by servicing both Stills and Nash but totally ignoring Crosby. She was also a backing vocalist for Joe Cocker at one stage. Then she married Kris Kristofferson for a bit. Yeah, her. Now you remember her. Now you know who we’re on about. Her. Anyway, she’s 64 today, so as is the tradition in this country, we thought we’d pick up a present. We stood outside Blockbuster on Clapham High Street, smoking spliffs, knocking back bottle after bottle of orange WKD, trying desperately to figure out what to buy someone who we’d never really heard of. We cried, we talked, we wept. We punched a guy in the face. Then Hip Hop Sam strolled past in his gargantuan trousers and told us that we should either get her a tub of raspberry ripple ice cream or a clip from Record Breakers featuring the fast rapping of Daddy Freddy, and the legendary Wee Papa Girl Rappers. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Coolidge!
Kanye West and the tough guys…
As everyone knows, rap music is about posturing, looking mean, showing the next crew that you’re the best. No one can stop you. It’s also about wearing tight animal print trousers, carrying dinky little suitcases and feeling a bit tearful sometimes. Observe (above).
Some big names missed out…
It is with an enormous dollop of joy that we welcome excellent contributor Hip Hop Sam back into the fold. He’s been away for a while, rifling through his rec-rec-records, trying to figure out who the greatest rapper of all time might be. He had this to say…
Top four rappers? This is a difficult question as rap music, in itself, is terrible, and can barely be described as music – its monotonous beats sound like broken robots having violent sex, and as for those IDIOTS with their so-called hats on backwards talking in childish rhymes about who they’re going to kill, it’s simply… awful. Just kidding, I totally love it, as everyone should. So who is the best of this bad bunch of musicians?
KRS-One is a brilliant rapper. He’s released loads of excellent albums, especially with his posse BDP (every good rapper should have a posse). He’s had plenty of club bangers (songs that are popular in nightclubs). He’s been involved in some pretty exciting beefs (disagreements with other rappers) which he’s then squashed (made friends again). He’s pioneered both gangster, and intelligent conscious rap. He’s thrown PM Dawn off a stage. He’s worn some lovely tracksuits. He’s quite simply Mr Hip Hop – the best rapper ever.
A long time ago, the pinnacle of lyrical brilliance in hip hop involved matching the word hop with stop. Rakim is credited with introducing complex and intelligent rhyming patterns, alongside articulate metaphors. After Will Smith and, of course, Abs from 5ive, he’s every MCs favourite rapper. He’s also the coolest man ever to have walked the earth in a leather tracksuit, whilst simultaneously carrying a ridiculous amount of gold around his butter smooth neck.
3. Kool G Rap
Can you imagine what would happen if you combined the poetry of Keats, Milton, or Roald Dahl with the street savvy and gangster naughtiness of Nick Cotton, Dave Courteney or Danny Dyer? Of course you can’t. You’d have to borrow Jeff Goldblum’s machine from The Fly to achieve such a mix. The result, however, I assume, would be Kool G Rap. A magnificent rapper whose tongue twisting lyrical dexterity and story telling genius made everyone else look rubbish. Completely rubbish.
If you were to ask a posse of hip hop aficionados “hey guys, what’s the best hip hop album ever?”, they’d all shout “Illmatic”, and then take their tops off, start high fiving each other, and do that foot kicking dance that Kid n Play used to do in the House Party films. Despite this strange behaviour, they’ve got the album right. Illmatic is as close to hip hop perfection as you can get, and despite never being able to live up to the greatness of his debut, Nas definitely deserves a place in the top four.
Genod Droog, Dal Ni Lawr
Well, Betty Ford turns 91 today, and she’s certainly climbed some of life’s highest mountains, and navigated some stormy seas. Not to mention battling hurricanes, wrestling with crocodiles, dancing with the devil, and looking many a gift horse right in the face. She is, in short, one heck of a woman, and without her famous rehab centres, we’d all still be on drugs. Hence, we thought it fit to get her a gift. After eating a massive pizza, we all lay on the floor gripping our stomachs, deciding what to get, and eventually it boiled down to a toss up between some lovely stuff for her nails, or a Welsh rap video. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Betsy!
The introduction is always important…
It’s never anything short of a total joy to hear from one of the Interestment family, and today fantastic writer and observer of humans, Debs, has turned her golden magnifying glass onto excellent pop songs. Her quest – to see which ones grab us by the ears the quickest. She had this to say…
An intro is not to be underrated. After all, how would we ever get to the middle bit or the end without it? They inspire us to hurry drunkenly to the dance floor, buy certain brands of mobile phone, watch gritty BBC dramas and scrabble excitedly for the pen during particular pub quiz rounds. And there are some intros so good that arguably they don’t need the rest if the song. Here are the classics that shoot their bolt in those first, epic opening bars…
1. Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Geno
Only the utterly deaf could cease to be roused by the triumphant trumpets calling us to ‘pogo’ maniacally… the downside being that you get all wound up and excited, then have to resort to an aggressive chicken dance when it slows down. Great stuff though.
2. The Who, Baba O’Reily
Crazy-fingered-organ-slapping opening foray that makes you want to stand up and punch the air – even if you are sitting at home quietly watching CSI New York with Mum.
3. Led Zeppelin, Immigrant Song
Is it just us or does this inspire everyone within earshot to want to dress as a Viking, jump on horseback and go out looking for sheep/women to kill?
4. House of Pain, Jump Around
Possibly the joker in this hand of classics but undeniably the most provocative four first notes in pop rap-dom. Even before the squealing brass drags us from the bar we’re turning our caps backwards and throwing gang-signs like billy-oh.
Hark, it’s the original iPod
In this terrifying financial downturn, odd couples are emerging, as once-important businessmen and lowly tea boys morph into best friends, and the notoriously rocky dating scene smooths into an even playing field. Hence, don’t be surprised to find the uber-nerd from IT enjoying some stationary cupboard romance with the fox from accounts. It’s just the way things are now. It’s an unpredictable, exciting time. Which is why we go hysterical with euphoria whenever we hear about bargains. Just this morning we received a call on the communal cell phone from our good friend Joseph. “I found a ghetto blaster in my local charity shop,” he roared, joyfully. “An actual ghetto blaster, like from Do The Right Thing!” Absolutely brilliant news, and great for his local streets, which are probably crying out for some tight hip hop beats. So, come on, Joseph, how much for this beautiful machine? “A tenner.”
Babe Ruth, The Mexican
A rock band from Hertfordshire who were more popular in America than England, their greatness comes down to one track from 1974, The Mexican. A tremendous rock song, a favourite of Kool DJ Herc in the early days of hip hop, it straddles genres. Hence, brilliant.