J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Month: July 2012

My Best Work, for Free (Momu – Momentum giveaway)

This morning I’m happy to give you some of my best work, for free.

Momentum is the second Momu album. The album was a change from our first album (the self-titled Momu) which featured textural, intense, breakbeats (like our remix of Jamie Stevens “The Night Before” or our epic anthem “Hydergine“). Momentum, on the other hand, is sculpted from slower beats, sonic weirdness, and poptronica.

My favorite track on Momentum (thanks in no small part to Kia Simon’s music video below) is the track Window. It was our first collaboration with Alysoun Quinby since “The Dive” (you may have heard that one in the background of about a hundred different MTV reality shows).

So, enough with the commentary. Click the link below to the Loöq Records site and download Momu’s last album, Momentum, as a free download. Yes, Loöq Records want your email. Why?

So they can tell you about the new Momu album which comes out next week.

Download Momu – Momentum

Hopsin meets Charles Murray

Hopsin (Marcus Hopson) who turns 27 today.

In the eighties I loved hip-hop and rap. Back then it was political (Public Enemy), spiritual/mystical (Eric B. & Rakim), or just plain fun (DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince).

Then NWA came along and things got ugly. Like every other white city kid, I listened to NWA with a mixture of shock and fascination. I even bought into the academic cultural studies line that gangster rap was a “narrative of the streets.”

While my love of hip-hop beats stuck with me (and influenced the Momu production style), the violence, materialism, and misogyny of rap turned me off, and I stopped listening.

But youth culture in America didn’t stop listening, and the “values” of gangster rap (crass materialism, ruthless individualism, objectification and hatred of women, laziness, entitlement, lack of restraint and self-discipline, personal specialness, not giving a fuck, the end justifying the means, and anti-intellectualism) somehow became the values of many young people in both suburban and urban areas (of all races). This lowest-common-denominator “youth stupidity” culture can’t be blamed entirely on gangster rap. Wall Street shares the exact same values, and these values trickle-down to our youth via advertising and reality television. Lax parenting and absentee fathers also play a role.

Independent horrorcore rapper Hopsin (Marcus Hopson) takes on youth stupidity in his latest release/music video. The track is a tight five part essay:

  • intro, where he disassociates himself from rap culture, including his own previous work
  • attack on suburban male youth stupidity culture
  • attack on suburban female youth stupidity culture
  • attack on black gangster culture (“real n*ggas”)
  • outro/call to action (earnest, which makes it a little precious, but also shows huge balls)

It’s as if Hopsin is channeling conservative commentators David Brooks or Charles Murray (The Bell Curve, Coming Apart: The State of White America). The problem, according to Hopsin, is a lack of values, poor personal decisions, and not taking responsibility for your own life. It’s a very conservative message, and doesn’t take into consideration economic injustice and inequality, racism, and the legacies of slavery and colonialism. But it’s also refreshing, especially in the context of attacking all the bullshit that makes up “hip-hop culture” (or faux hip-hop culture). Hopsin attacks the real (street gangsters) and simulated (suburban kids living out the values of street gangsters) as if they were one. It’s all the same bullshit.

Watch for yourself, if you don’t mind profanity and racial slurs. What do you think?

Getting To Know Yourself, Finally (Practices for Active Self Knowledge)

“Self-knowledge” has a pretentious ring to it, but it’s really a down-to-earth concept. Do you know yourself? Do you understand what makes you tick? Do you have some grip on what’s important to you? Your likes and dislikes?

Self knowledge comes to people at different stages in life. Some ten-year-olds know, unwaveringly, exactly who they are and what they want to do in life. Other people die old and regretful, always living other people’s agendas and never grabbing what they wanted out of life for themselves.

It can be disruptive to look inward. When you turn a spotlight on your own values, desires, and sense of purpose, it can create cognitive dissonance with the current reality of your life. You might end up quitting a job, ending a friendship, or moving to a different city. Or you might reaffirm existing aspects of your life and “double down” on what makes you happy.

The process itself can be emotionally exhausting and mentally difficult. It’s hard to “zoom out” and think about your life in the abstract. On the other hand it’s also simple. What’s working? What isn’t? What makes you happy? What makes you crazy?

The dividends of investing in active self-knowledge are enormous. To live your life “on purpose” instead of by inertia means more happiness, more clarity, better health, and better relationships.

It also means a better world. When you encounter social systems and structures that conflict with your values and purpose, and you know what your values and purpose are, there will be heat and friction. You’ll resist. Millions of individuals resisting adds up to social change.

So where do you start?

The Self-Knowledge Blueprint

There are a multitude of practices that might lead to increased self-knowledge, including meditation, cognitive therapy, and journaling. In this post I’ll look at a very direct approach — grappling directly with questions of purpose, values, and ethics.

For myself, trying to answer the following questions, in writing, as concisely as possible, has resulted in some major “a-ha!” moments and life course corrections:

  1. What is my life purpose? I like Steve Pavlina’s method for exploring this question, but there are others that might be just as effective.
  2. What are my personal values? Friendship? Family? Learning? Service?
  3. What are my societal values? What’s most important, to you, on a societal or civic level? Scientific research? Public health? Education? Protecting the environment?
  4. What is my personal code of ethics? Under what conditions would you ever lie, steal, cheat, or kill? Never? To protect your family? To increase your personal wealth?
  5. What are my heart-driven action priorities? What is your heart telling you is most important to do in life?
  6. What daily practices work for me, bringing me energy and happiness? Meditation? Writing? Running? Keeping a clean house?
  7. What situations or activities have I tried enough times to know I should just avoid them? Crowds? Musicals? Martinis? Tennis?

Don’t try to tackle the whole list at once. The questions are difficult, so you should get a full night’s sleep between each exercise so that your subconscious mind can process your answers (several times I’ve gone to bed feeling muddled and confused about one of these questions and then woken up with total clarity).

I revisit each question periodically. Do my answers still ring true? Have I changed? Sometimes I change my responses, and this leads to changes in my behavior. The self fluctuates, and active self knowledge is an iterative process.

I hope this post was helpful to you, so that you can live your life a little more on purpose.

Advice For Broke Young People

Congratulations, young person! You’ve picked a terrible time to enter the job market. You have so many factors stacked against you that your earning potentially will be negatively effected for decades. Here are a few of the conditions you’re up against:

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