James McNew

100 Wild Styles Issue#1

100 Wild Styles 100WS001
  • Mag: Ltd. to 250 copies, Handmade Mini-Zine (10 x 10 cm)
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James McNew is best known as the longtime bassist for Yo La Tengo, and while the loving couple of that band tend to get a little more attention, McNew is both a freakishly talented instrumentalist and a pop-song assassin. His occasional vocal turn with YLT is often a straight-up hit (see "Mr. Tough," "Stockholm Syndrome," etc.) and his low-key solo project Dump is probably the best indie-pop group you never heard. He is also a massive hip-hop fan (little-known fact: McNew's bass playing is all over the latest Run the Jewels breakout album, as he's a longtime pal and collaborator of El-P), and that passion is put to incredible use in an amazing 'zine we picked up over the holidays. If you know Dump you know James' artwork, usually centered around a childlike cast of characters that bring to mind classic Japanese manga: a bunny, turtle and octopus who tumble through his drawings with abandon. 100 Wild Styles is the first of a three-part series where McNew illustrates 100 of his favorite rap lyrics -- on the masthead he thanks/apologizes to the likes of Eric B. and Rakim, Gravediggaz, Nas, East Flatbush Project, the Nonce, and Run-D.M.C. It's impossible to pick a favorite here, but the cupcake-hurling turtle illustrating Camp Lo's line "Welcome to New York, the illest of all cities" is in a close runoff for me with the mayhem that ensues when KRS-One spits, "When I hear wack rhymes I get fed up." This is straight-up brilliant! [JM]

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