Wandering Eye: The sample behind Drake's 'Hotline Bling,' more bad news for the DC poor, and more

On Wednesday, the Stranger posted a fascinating blog titled, "Two Weeks After It Sued the CIA, Data Is Stolen from the University of Washington's Center for Human Rights." In short, the UWCHR filed a lawsuit against the CIA looking for information about war crimes committed in El Salvador (earlier in the month, the Stranger published "The University of Washington Is Taking the CIA to Court: Seeking Justice for Survivors of a Massacre in El Salvador, the Center for Human Rights Is Suing the Agency Over Withholding Public Records," by Ansel Herz) and then last weekend, someone broke into the Center For Human Rights' director's office and stole her desktop and a hard drive containing information pertaining to this case. On top of the whole thing just looking sketchy as hell, UWCHR pointed out that there was no forcible entry and that there were plenty of other computers in the building to steal and that this theft "parallels between this incident and attacks Salvadoran human rights organizations have experienced in recent years." Herz asked the CIA if they had anything to do with the theft, and they denied it. Herz also pointed out that the CIA "is an agency that assassinates people with drones, tortured prisoners, has helped to carry out bloody coup d'etats, and whose analysts were accused of hacking and stealing the data of senators who were investigating the agency just last year." (Brandon Soderberg)

 

If there are two Baltimores, there are certainly two Washington, D.C.s. The biggest difference in D.C. is that the rich side is eating the poor one at a much faster rate. Post columnist Petula Dvorak recently visited one of the last refuges in Northeast for the poor: a storage facility where the homeless live for much of the day until they are forced to leave and find a place to sleep. These people are "a paycheck away from an apartment or a paycheck removed from an eviction," she writes. Among Dvorak's many sources is Tony Brown, 54, a day laborer and construction worker. "This place is a halfway for me," he says. "It's not the street, it’s not a place of my own. But it's where I can come, change my clothes, keep my things. Keep my life together. A little. Because this city is changing. And it's changing without me." Capital Self-Storage is another part of Washington that's changing: It's been sold and will soon become a boutique hotel. (Brandon Weigel)

 

There's been plenty of talk about Drake's 'Hotline Bling' especially now that it's got a snazzy, James Turrell-referencinghighly meme-able music video directed by Director X (whose other videos include Kendrick Lamar's 'King Kunta,' Ciara's 'Body Party,' Nicki Minaj's 'Your Love,' and many more). One conversation has been about how it seems to kind of circle around the sonic template of D.R.A.M's 'Cha Cha,' which is a fairly common thing in mainstream music: A rookie comes up with a cool sound and then one of the big guns jacks it and makes it into a bigger hit. There's been a debate about this, and it is not very interesting, but it did point out the sample source for 'Hotline Bling.' It's Timmy Thomas' 'Why Can't We Live Together,' a strange soul oddity from 1972 anchored by only an organ and a drum machine and Thomas' pained yet optimistic vocals ("Tell me why, tell me why, tell me why, Why can't we live together?"). The track feels more like a demo than a finished song, with its clunky rhythms and stark intimacy. If you've never heard it, check out this live performance or head on over to Spotify and listen to the whole album which is similarly basement soul-like. Listen in particular to the circus funk of 'First Time' and an eerie instrumental version of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.' (Brandon Soderberg)

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