Tag: Tyler The Creator

Carl Jones’ Animated Musical “The Wizard Of Watts” Airs Saturday on Cartoon Network, Takes on Police Brutality

“The Wizard of Watts,” an animated musical coming to Adult Swim on Saturday, tackles police brutality during a charged time. (Credit: Adult Swim) 

LOS ANGELES — “The Wizard of Watts,” a coming animated television musical, was conceived two years ago as a big, fat gob of raucous entertainment wrapped around a nugget of racial commentary.

Then, with the musical’s animation already far underway, Ferguson, Mo., became a flash point, starting a national debate about race, overzealous policing and the need for officers to wear body cameras. Then came the phrase “I Can’t Breathe” and the broader protest against police brutality.

Suddenly, “The Wizard of Watts,” with its devastated black neighborhoods and army of pigs, took on greater weight. How the musical will be received by viewers at a racially charged cultural moment is anyone’s guess. But when it arrives on Cartoon Network’s after-hours Adult Swim block on Saturday, “The Wizard of Watts” will at the very least become one of those eerie instances of art accidentally mirroring life.

The primary villain in the Magical Land of Oz-Watts, where the story takes place, is a vicious pig clad in riot gear. Water does not neutralize this Oz villain; instead this baddie gets melted with a camcorder. “Oh, no! Not an irrefutable visual record of my illegal actions!” the anthropomorphized pig wails as he turns to mush at the musical’s climax.

Even Carl Jones, the director of “The Wizard of Watts” and one of its writers, was surprised at hitting such a cultural bull’s-eye.

“I take pride in tackling things with my gloves off, but animation takes such a long time to produce that you usually don’t end up being all that current,” he said.

Mr. Jones had noticed on social media how African-Americans were increasingly using cellphone cameras as “protection from police, like as a weapon,” he said.

“Nobody was talking about it and so I decided we had to take it on,” he said.

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Pop Debut Shows Off Atlanta Teenager Raury’s Epic Scope

Raury, performing in June in Atlanta on his 18th birthday, his first proper headlining performance. He called it Raurfest. Raury’s debut album, “Indigo Child,” will be released on Monday. (Troy Stains for The New York Times)
Raury, performing in June in Atlanta on his 18th birthday, his first proper headlining performance. He called it Raurfest. Raury’s debut album, “Indigo Child,” was released on Monday. (Troy Stains for The New York Times)

ATLANTA — In June, on the day Raury turned 18, he woke up earlyish and went to the aquarium here with an old friend for a low-key afternoon. He’d just graduated from high school, but this night was the real cause for celebration — a concert he’d been planning for months. He called it Raurfest.

It was an ambitious name for his first proper headlining performance, but Raury’s taste for the epic is among his most appealing characteristics. So that night, in a gallery space/abandoned industrial building near downtown, a dinner was organized in his honor, followed by a show under the stars.

Yesterday, Raury released his first album, “Indigo Child” — free online at indigochildproject.com, though he is signed to Columbia. It is, for the most part, an astonishingly assured debut, full of multipart songs teeming with deeply felt ideas. He has an easy way with melody but also a consistently grand-scaled sense of theater, which makes for music that’s intimate and imposing all at once.

It’s an album, he said, “made from frustrations, made from being looked down upon, made from being an outcast and not like everyone else.” His response to those obstacles is elegant pop that takes in tender soul, muscled rock and flickers of hip-hop attitude.

“I want it to sound like a World War III benefit concert,” he joked.

“God’s Whisper,” his breakthrough song, is like anarchic gospel, with a hollow stomp that could almost be borrowed from Mumford & Sons. “Cigarette Song” owes at least some of its silken attitude to Terence Trent D’Arby. Elsewhere, there are shades of Kid Cudi, Outkast and MGMT.

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