Live: Catalpa Offers A Little Bit Of Everything To The Soggy Masses At Randall's Island

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Rockafor
Snoop Dogg at Catalpa.
PHOTOS: Sunday at Catalpa

Catalpa NYC: Snoop Dogg, Black Keys, Matt & Kim, Matisyahu, A$AP Rocky, Hercules & Love Affair, TV On The Radio, Girl Talk, et al.
Randall's Island
Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29

Better than: Arguing over an iPod's shuffle function.

Music festivals without a historical following or a known brand identity can employ many strategies in their inaugural year, one of which is "Appeal to as many prospective demographics as possible." Catalpa NYC, which debuted this weekend at Randall's Island, decided to combat this problem by throwing together a bunch of popular-ish acts and some quirky attractions—art, fire, a chance to "elope" with a fellow Snoop Dogg fan.

Results were mixed; the lineup succeeded in having a broad appeal, but lacked a coherent musical aesthetic. Many of the non-musical attractions were spoiled by rain on Saturday and, faced with the prospect of surviving on its artists alone, Catalpa became a referendum on its performers' current positions within the musical landscape. Many attendees claimed to like "everything," so Catalpa became a chance to find out what the new "everything" is.

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Six Very Important Interactions Between Rappers And Dogs

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As part of this weekend's Catalpa Festival, Snoop Dogg will slouch around Randall's Island to perform his debut album, Doggystyle, in its entirety. With the Doggfather being somewhat obsessed with all things canine, SOTC decided it was fine time to shed light on hip-hop's infatuation with dogs. But be warned: This ain't exactly the equivalent of watching the cute lil' puppies prance around in the window of that pet store on Sixth Avenue in the West Village.

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A SOTC Flowchart: Should You Get Married In Catalpa's Church Of Sham Marriages This Weekend?

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via Catalpa NYC
We'll leave it up to you to decide whether you want to get married in a sorta-bouncy castle.
"We have the Frisky's Church of Sham Marriages going in, which is a 60 foot inflatable church, and we have a pimp pastor marrying people. We actually have two couples getting legitimately married at the festival - the wedding dress, the whole family coming in. I'm trying to get Snoop Dogg to actually do the marriage. That'd be ridiculous, right? It's elements like that. Of course you had a great time seeing the Black Keys, but you're going to talk for a lot longer about the day you saw the Black Keys and got married to some random person."
Catalpa founder Dave Moran on one of the attractions at this weekend's inaugural Catalpa NYC festival. Should you take the plunge and make The Most Important Day Of Your Life an outing at Randalls Island where you could conceivably get hitched by a fake pimp/Snoop Dogg/Snoop Lion/a member of Umphrey's McGee? With candy rings and everything? A flowchart to walk you through the decision-making process below.


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The Top Six Game Show Appearances By Rappers

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The news of a rapper-packed revamp of Hollywood Squares has been greeted positively, not least because everyone has been able to join in the fun of Googling the demographic term "malennials" to find out if they are going to be allowed to watch the show. It's also allowed some people speculate on which special secret rapper will get to occupy the show's hallowed center square! So before Hip-Hop Squares premieres next month, here's a look back on past instances of pre-fame and established rappers testing their mettle (mental and otherwise) on TV game shows.

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Three Rappers Who Should Be The Center Square For MTV2's Hollywood Squares Reboot (And One Who Definitely Should Not)

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Bring back the home versions of game shows!
Next month MTV2 will debut Hip-Hop Squares, a rap-centric takeoff on the "tic-tac-toe with trivia and celebrities" game show Hollywood Squares. (The non-genre-specific version of the show aired its last episode in 2004.) The show will be hosted by Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg, and MTV has announced a few of the participants already—Nick Cannon, Fat Joe, Biz Markie, and Machine Gun Kelly—but has yet to make public who will be in the center square, which serves as the linchpin of the board and, more importantly, the comedic linchpin of the show. Sure, the reboot is allegedly going to be "more party than game show," and dude-centric-programming perennial Bam Margera is somehow involved. But the tradition of the center square, as established by the ever-acerbic Paul Lynde, is still hallowed, and given its strategic importance in the game it will probably have to be staffed by someone loaded with riffs. (Unless MTV2 goes all crazy on us and turns the "square" into, I don't know, a trapezoid. Hey, it could happen!) Three suggestions for that hallowed spot—and one plea to not use someone who's probably in negotiations with MTV as we speak—below.

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Nine Culinary Ventures By Hip-Hop Artists

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Cookin' With Coolio.
Today, excitable Long Island-raised rap firebrand Flavor Flav will open his House Of Flavor restaurant in Las Vegas. The restaurant—which will have fried chicken and something called a "red velvet waffle" on the menu—is Flav's second attempt to break into the food world, following the disastrous Flav's Fried Chicken experiment in Iowa. (In brief: It bombed, lasting for just four months, and also stoked the ire of his Public Enemy partner Chuck D.) But Flav's far from alone in deciding that sometimes the rap game reminds him that he's, well, just very very hungry. Here's a guide to the new rap food movement.

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Live: Electric Zoo Brings PLUR (And Snoop Dogg's DJ Alter Ego) To New York City


The up-and-coming artist known as DJ Snoopadelic.
Electric Zoo
Randall's Island
Sunday, September 4

Better than: Did someone already reference the Labor Day shootings? Eesh.

Electric Zoo—the dance music festival that's parts techno, house, trance, disco, bass, "electro," and any other somewhat popular genre of music with a beat—is something that you have to mentally prepare for. The crowds make up one of the mental barricades, if only because an island rave called "Electric Zoo" makes real the thought of being sandwiched between thousands of furry boots and glowing fingernails clawing euphorically at the air or, even worse, your hair. But if there's one thing that was made clear from our time there, it's that your pre-festival meditation routines aren't necessary. While it certainly is a spectacle, Electric Zoo was probably the happiest place on earth last weekend.

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Ten Hip-Hop Covers Of Rap Songs

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Last week, the Detroit-based rapper and one-time J Dilla collaborator Elzhi released Elmatic. It's the second time a rapper has re-written and re-made Nas's hallowed Illmatic, with Fashawn attempting a similar feat last year. As a listening experience, Elmatic is less than convincing, leaving you continually pining for Nas's original lyrics (which isn't surprising, as they've been recited like holy hip-hop scriptures by rap fans since 1994). But beyond its artistic merits, Elmatic is more notable for being an addition to the tiny body of hip-hop songs covered by other rap artists.

Cover versions may abound in other genres, but hip-hop has a history of shying away from them. This may be due to the high importance of lyrical originality--as Masta Ace put it on the Juice Crew's "The Symphony," "There's a sign at the door: 'No Biting Allowed.' " Even homaging other artists through invoking short snippets of their lyrics is seen as grounds for a dis (Nas to Jay-Z: "How much of Biggie's rhymes is gonna come out your fat lips?"). So while there's an accepted tradition of freestyling over someone else's beat on a mixtape, and the sub-strain of what are technically answer records like Salt-N-Pepa (as Super Nature) responding to Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick's "The Show" with "The Show Stoppa," whole-hearted rap covers remain the genre's curio. Here then is a tribute to the brave souls who have dared reinvent the raps of others--with varying results.

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Two New Lonely Island Songs Enter, Only One Leaves

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The Lonely Island, they of "Jizz In My Pants" and "I'm On A Boat" (and Saturday Night Live) fame, release Turtleneck and Chain next week. Two guest-star-assisted songs have hit the internet in the past few days: "Turtleneck and Chain" (featuring Snoop Dogg) and "Attracted To Us" (featuring Beck). Both songs are just fine on their own, but we've decided to declare, once and for all, which of the two is the best Lonely Island song to surface this week. (Turtleneck and chain sold separately.)

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2010: The Year In Music Photos

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The year in music, circa 2010, started at the Cake Shop, with a shred-down to the New Year courtesy of Siren Festival MVP-to-be Marissa Paternoster and her band Screaming Females. After a tour through the NYE fetes of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, that night ended amidst a marathon show at Bushwick's Shea Stadium, right around the time the Blastoids' drummer poured paint on his kit and started splattering away.

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