Red Herring Design

red herring

No, Red Herring Design isn’t the name of new firm you should be dying to get hired at, it’s a method of creative negotiating that I’ve used and think some people could benefit from.

At my old job, when a project I was working on needed to be reviewed, sometimes I would add small details that I intended on losing. Not a lot, but just enough that when my boss came to review my work, he would want me to remove them and I was more than happy to oblige. In fact, I usually had an alternative solution ready so that I would look like I really had my stuff together. That way, when it came to making changes to something I really cared about, I had a much stronger argument as to why I should keep it. I mean, I had already “given up” so much stuff. It’s a new twist on the classic Red Herring.

So why not use this when working with future clients? I’ve never read “The Art of War,” but I know a little bit from watching the movies “Breakin’” and “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” In a war, you have to take as many punches as you give out, or to put it nicely, compromise. No one will win without getting hit at all. (It also helps if you can rock out like Turbo and make the broom sweep the trash itself, that always impresses the client) So why not design in the areas you want to get hit so you know where the damage will be, or at least be aware of your designs weak areas and don’t get married to them. From there, you’ll also be better prepared at how to deal with those blows.

Now, when a client comes in to mark his or her territory like a graffiti artist tagging a wall (because they will), you can just sit back and relax because you knew what they wanted to change. Plus, that way the client has put insight and ownership in the project, making them feel like a bigger part of the process. Check and mate.

Now this device shouldn’t be overused for fear of people thinking that you’re just a horrible designer, however designing in defects can be a useful tool and also help in the iteration process. But whatever the case, try to remember not to get caught up in defending everything you do, because you will never be able to keep the things you really care about, and then you’ll be the one who gets served.

I’m really a nice person, I promise

Dude about to fall

Ok, so I really don’t like seeing people get hurt, I hate when bad things happen to good people and all that, but there are times in life when I think to myself, “It would be cool if something really crazy happened right now, I think it would be pretty awesome.”

Retrofuturism-Watch You’re Back

Alright hard core nerds, you had your calculator watch, your DataLink thing, and even something Microsoft tried to do a couple years ago.  But that shit was played out in the 70’s son.  Check your history.  Go to Watchismo and see what’s up.  Ever heard of “Jump-Hour” watches?  Didn’t think so.  Shit’s for reals.  LED & Logan’s Run styling aren’t just back, they never went away.

All images from


Neck Breakin’

Ok, so I have to have a battle here, and it’s between two of the most important things in my life—I call it:

Drum Brakes

Drum Brakes


Drum Breaks

Drum Breaks

Although both go hand-in-hand when I’m steady laced in my Slab, or as I call it, the “twistedtrees-Shell Petrol-David Sunflower Seeds-Team Ford Taurus”:

On one hand, Drum Brakes save my life every time I stop.

On the other hand, I don’t wanna stop because Drum Breaks have changed my life.  I can’t live without that Boom-Bap shit bumpin from the speakers.

 But to keep this short and simple, I’ll just crown the winner Drum Breaks.  I mean seriously, I need to upgrade my shit and get some ABS and full disc breaks up in my bucket.

El-P (aka MC No-Doz: He Don’t Sleep)


So “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” drops next week, but since I pre-ordered it from Def Jux, they were kind enough to ship it Tuesday so it would get to me by release date, and thanks to DHL, it arrived yesterday-almost a week early.  This ain’t no bootleg, illeagal download, or publicity copy, it’s the real thing with (literally) El’s stamp of approval on the front. (The pre-orders were autographed)

So first impressions, obviously my opinion is biased, but it is a must buy.  Now, compared to FanDam, I really don’t think any listeners should compare it for a couple reasons.  One being that it’s been what, 4 or 5 years since FanDam came out?  That’s too much time to expect an artist to sound like what you’d expect.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s definite El-P sci-fi/futuristic/totalitarian beats and lyrics.  The other fact is that it’s been less than 24 hours since I got the album.  FanDam took a couple weeks to sink in.  It grew on me more & more everytime I listened to it.  It wasn’t what I was expecting at first.  But it was also a lot more “dense” and layered than most hip hop is.  That’s why even years later I was hearing parts of the song or a beat that I hadn’t heard before.

ISWYD is just the same–dense and layered.  There’s so much more than just a simple verse-chorus-verse/2-bar/4-bar loop.  What I love about the music on this album is that the songs almost evolve.  That sounds stupid, but really, the best example is the first track.  After the 30-45 second prelude, the track runs about 6-61/2 minutes.  The “full” beat doesn’t even start until 3 minutes into the track.  And it keeps adding sounds as it goes on, a hi-hat will come in, or the melody will change, or the beat switches up, all while keeping the same sound throughout the track.

Anyway, I could ramble on about how the melodies are light while the drums are as hard as a million talented monkeys pounding on a million MPC’s with a million hammers for a million years, but I don’t wanna sound like every other Fan(Dam)boy.  Plus, you’ll be reading plenty of reviews of this album in the next few months from people who get paid to write reviews.  I’ll let them do their job, they actually get paid for it.  But the point is–buy this album.  It may not be a 10 out of 10, but it’s up there.  Actually, I think this album could be rated a 10 out of 11, just because.

ps-the above image is taken from, so if they want it taken down I will do so upon request.

pps-bonus points to anybody who sees the irony of this post title.  “MC N0-Doz: He Don’t Sleep” was a phrase from the Soundbombing 2 album that, although Company Flow had the track Patriotism on, was a Rawkus release.  I’m sorry I don’t remember who said it, it may have been Prince Paul.

Pole Business

Forget Tupac and Biggie, that shit was like 10 years ago.  All you other rap beefs–Jay Z vs. Mobb Deep, 50 Cent vs. whoever used to be on his label but isn’t anymore, whatever–y’alls got to get with the new shit in hip hop, the next level beef, the South, East-Europeans vs. the North, East-Europeans.  That’s right, Hungary vs. Poland.

Let’s start with Hungary.  Speak, the YouTube star comes on strong with his song about war, or business, I can’t really tell.  I will tell him that in hip hop, you don’t have Kenny G look alikes talkin’ all about, “Sometime, people make a war…”  Here, you take a look

But in response, the Polish rap group Two Guys On Train strike back with their inaudible/unintelligible track, “Rap On Train.”  Dudes are killin’ it with they hot joint.  Check it yourself.

Oh, SNAP!  Did you hear what they just said about Speak?!  Dudes gotta have bricks in his dungarees after hearing their wrath.  I mean, to say what they just said, with such veracity…I’m speachless!

I just want to say though, guys, keep the beef in the studio, we don’t need any more senseless violence over hip hop.  It started as a music form that brought people together.  You don’t need to be gangsta to drop a hot track, do what you do, and you will rise above them all. (I think I just wrote a quote worthy of being on an inspirational hallmark card/business office poster/collectible plate.  If you use it just get my royalty check in the mail)

Check Your Head

I knew I should have taken more advanced math in college, I could maybe understand this:

Check yo’ Self Before Wreck yo’ Self!

“What Now, Bitches?”  Yes…what now?