observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

My 24th homies! Peep the Corners remix Posted by Hello

Monday Marketing QB's

Before I start today’s rambling peep the
‘Corners’ remix
Common feat Mos Def and Scarface
Same beat but particularly nice verse from Scarface

Occupational Hazards

There is nothing worse than the Monday morning quarterback. The cat who doesn’t put in the work, but is more than willing to add his two cents after the fact. In running a label there are more Monday Morning quarterbacks than rats on the subway system.

You know them. The people who said ‘I told you Outkast would blow up if they released ‘Hey Ya’ as a single.’ Like a southern rap group dong a Beatles-esque song was a no brainer. I mainly hear them when it comes to the A&R process. They are the ones who lambaste Monica Lynch for not signing or dropping Wu-Tang. With the explosion of Kanye came the attacks on all the A&R’s who passed on him. Most of those attacks were launched by Kanye himself, but that is besides the point.

What really inspired this post I was watching Cold Pizza on ESPN2 the other day and they were talking about Phil Jackson (I want you in New York, but if I were you I would go to Cleveland). The cat that looks like Jack LaLaine was going on about how Phil was not that great a coach, but lucky to have strong talent. An argument often launched by our own Doug Nyce. It drives me crazy. To say that anyone could have coached Shaq and Kobe to a championship or that anyone could have made Ghostface a star is not only false but insulting. It completely devalues the work and expertise of those front and back office people who put in the 60 hour weeks. It also places an inordinate value on the talent as if they are some magic wand that anyone can wield.

We (7H) have been out in that position only a couple of times over the years. There is no better example than when we were pitched and passed on Little Brother. One day one of our college radio DJ’s who I am not sure was managing them, I am actually not even sure what he had to do with them. Basically this cat played the demo, pushed me to sign them on the spot and that was the last of it. I am not sure if that even counts as a pitch meeting since it only lasted under 20 minutes and we never got any music. A few months later they did the deal with Beni and you know the rest. Once ‘The Listening’ picked up steam the quarterbacks came out to let me know the mistake I made. Not only were those comments misinformed but I felt they minimized the talent, knowledge and experience of Beni B and ABB. As if Beni was just some faceless vessel. It also speaks nothing of the work and dedication of the group.

When I listened to their demo in that brief session I can say in all honesty that I did not hear the product that has intimately connected with so many people. With that being said you must give credit for those who did hear the potential. And with the success that they have experienced Little Brother must have some level of satisfaction with their decisions. Could the same have happened if I had signed them? Potentially, but probably not. I think ABB was better equipped to get that record out that quickly and better equipped to get them that deal on Atlantic.

In my opinion that would not have happened with us, Quannum, Def Jux, babygrande, or a Stones Throw. All of those operations are run by smart cookies who would (or could) achieve great success with Little Brother but picking a label is not like picking numbers for Lotto. If there was goal was to get signed by a major like Atlantic that did not fit my business model and from what I know El P is not too keen on re-selling his artists to the majors. And I doubt that is a part of Wolf and Egon’s plan. If nothing else that wrinkle in the label’s business model makes the dealings with ABB unique.

So to the fake Jack LaLaine and Doug Nyce give Phil Jackson his props. It does matter what team you are on, who your coach is, who your GM is, who your A&R is, and what label is. Naughty made better records when they were on Tommy Boy, Shaq had no rings in Orlando, Kweli made better records with Rawkus, The Pistons are better with Larry Brown, Apple is better with Steve Jobs at the helm, Murs always had skills but his profile got bigger with Def Jux.

And to you Monday morning quarterbacks, stop cherry picking, put a uniform on this Sunday and get your hands dirty. Then come holla at me

Thursday, April 28, 2005

what does this have to do with the post? Nothing. i just don't think you pay attention wothout a picture. FIX THAT BACK BUMPER! Posted by Hello

you're such a nerd

I was watching Matrix Revolutions for the umpteenth time last night trying to get Miles to sleep. And as some of you many know I am one of those Matrix nerds. It is embarrassing how many times Eb and I have watched those flicks. But the latest viewing inspired today’s blog:

“Symbolism in the Matrix”

As Greg can tell you I can go on for hours about this, but here is the abridged version.

The prevailing opinion among Matrix fans is that it is a Christ story. Neo as Jesus, Orpheus as John the Baptist, Trinity as Mary Magdalene, etc. I believe that closer examination proves that to be false. If anything it is a Satanic story. Now I don’t mean Satanic in a Devil with horns, Evil Magic sort of way, but Satanic in a Dan Brown kind of way. Neo is not Jesus as at all. In fact he is on the other side.

Look at the imagery. The Wachowski brothers are not too subtle with it. There are two sides fighting here. The machine world versus the human world. I believe the machine world represents organized Christina religion and the real world is analogous to Hell.

The machine world
The Architect designed the Matrix – if that character is not a stereotypical image of God I don’t know what it is. An old white man with a beard. Check the Sistine Chapel brother.

The Merovingian works for the Architect. The Merovingian line of kings, legend has it, is descended from Jesus himself. Whether you believe that is another issue.

The mainframe where Neo meets the Architect looks like a classic image heaven. All white, celestial, pristine. The architects is omniscient via all his closed circuit TV screens

The three power lines (the real Trinity) lead to the real power, the machine that runs the Machine City

The Real World

Zion is deep below the earth where it is warm. In Christian mythology Heaven is above Hell is below.

And the party after Morpheus’s speech in Zion is some real primal s*&t. Something a good Christian would never be a part of.

Seraph is referred to as ‘wingless’ when he, Trinity and Orpheus enter the Merovingian’s techno club. In the battle of heaven wasn’t the Devil and his solders fallen angels. Angels who could not fly or wingless angels.

The word Seraph or rather Seraphim itself is the name of the protecting and avenging angel. Who does Seraph protect…?

The Oracle. An entity almost as powerful as The Architect but more powerful than all the agents and renegade programs. The Oracle is Lucifer. The opposite power constantly vying for power over humankind.

What does one choose when about to be freed from the Matrix? A red or blue pill. You either eat from the Tree of Knowledge and see how bad the world really is or stay in the Garden of Eden (the Matrix) where all is taken care of as long as you play by the rules.
Orpheus is the serpent who tempts mankind as represented by Neo.

In the final battle between Smith and Neo, Smith asks why neo continues to fight. His response because ‘I choose to.’ Sounds like the argument of free will to me. Humans have it Angels (Agents) do not.

I don’t think The Matrix is Satanic text necessarily mainly because of the ending. The nice happy ending tries to tell the story that war is not the answer. We can only win by working together.

What is interesting is that the Architect (God in my argument) is portrayed as a short sided tyrant and The Oracle (The Devil) is the nurturing force. Devil’s Apocrypha, anyone?

For all those that think this is overanalyzing, you’re right. I’m a nerd. All my fellow nerds – Holla Back

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Stop fronting, get on the digital train Posted by Hello

I an't afraid of No Ghost!

Our own Kim “I ain’t turning no” Trick(s) got the tables turned on her and was interviewed by SOHH.

SOHH is a great site but those pop-ups over the words ‘hip-hop’ and ‘rap’ are kind of weird and annoying.

I was smack dab in the underside of running a record label all day yesterday. Alma, James and I moved three pallets of records and CD’s from the Fat Beats warehouse to our store room. We are moving our distribution to Studio and had to clear out our goodies from Fat Beats. The worst part of this business is manufacturing, shipping warehousing and returns. That is why I am all for digital distribution. The business has to move in that direction.

Most people I know under the age of 40 only use CD’s to burn and put them on their mp3 player, usually the ubiquitous iPod. I myself have an iRiver (snickering laugh). A few hardcore heads use vinyl, but honestly the number of those cats is dropping. And after what I saw 3D do at the last Good Foot I think the days of the vinyl head is dying. Now I know Mahoney and Amir, if they ever read this stupid blog, are out of the chairs in disgust.

Once we move to a fully digital model there will be no more returns, no shipping charges, no manufacturing charges, easier accounting and best of all more good music. Artists will be able to get their music in the marketplace literally the day after it’s mastered.

To that end (shameless plug) we have just a done a deal wit IODA Distribution to get our entire catalog into all the major online distributors. iTunes, Napster, Real, etc. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 25, 2005

No Gas Face for Prfessor Prince Paul, but Alma Geddy-Romero gets a big gas face Posted by Hello

Elephants under the stove

Check my man Mark Cilantro's review of the new Mike Jones album.

He als just did a Common interview that hopefully he will share with the Chancellor.

What do you think of this girl who got handcuffed at school. If I was the teacher it would have been hard for me to restrain myself with a little kid wilding out like that on me. I think calling the cops was probably the safest bet for the teacher and the kid. If that teacher had popped that kid her ass would have been in jail.

The cops certainly seemed to have calmed her ass down.

I love that Donald Trump Dominoe's commercial.

I wish I could round up every step above an intern, fake ass industry know it all, want to tell me how to run my business clown put them in a bag and beat them with a wiffle bat. In the future don't say s*&%t to me until you have your own company and have had the feeling trying to meet Friday payroll on a Thursday night. Now that I got that off my chest.

Peep the flyer for the next Good Foot with Professor Prince Paul.

and we should have som crazy announcements for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival this week. Stay tuned

The cousins and you may recognize the gentleman from a certain record label logo. He is someone's Uncle and now someone's grandfather Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Diamonds are forever

So my man Mark Cilantro who edits the sevenheads site came by this weekend while the family was in town to see little Miles Boogie and his cousin, Malaika Joy. He told he had to write a review of the new Mike Jones album for allhiphop. I haven’t heard the album yet although I think a copy is at the office. I wonder how it is. I love ‘Still Tippin’ but I wonder if I could handle a whole album from him.

I hope I don’t drive y’all nuts with all the baby pics I post but if you do you are not gonna be happy today. My niece Malaika was in town and I was a point and click fool. For those that don’t know is the daughter of Blue Black of The Unspoken Heard, who for those who got a 210 on the SAT is my brother. The whole fam from the aunts to the Son of Hud to cousins and uncles were eating, drinking and laughing in Clinton Hill this weekend. It was a good time.

Rob, Uncle James, Jazz and I basically watched basketball all day. The 1st round is always the best. It’s like the 1st two rounds of the NCAA. Mad basketball.

Ever notice there seems to be a Duke connection with the Bulls. Jay Williams, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon. As I write they are trying to take out the Bullets.

There were more blow outs yesterday than I would have predicted. I think the smart money has to be on the Pistons. Thy hold the belt and the LB devised a plan to stop the Diesel last year. He can do it again. The Suns will win the West but when that circus act meets Motown they are gonna get pounded.

New Kanyeezy, ‘Diamonds’. I am not mad at it at all. Kanye will never be the best MC but he is certainly a good songwriter.

Heard that Digable is reuniting for Lollapalooza, which is no longer a tour but a festival. I remember when they came to Charlottesville when the 1st record was out. They were a lot of good looking women in the audience, I remember this one second year girl…. (I digress)…They did a great show; they rocked the whole album from beginning to end in the same sequence. I thought and still think that was brilliant concept. They recorded the album in a way that synced perfectly with the stage performance. So many MC’s these days have no appreciation for the live show and it plays no role in their creative process.

They got a bum deal on that second album. It was a beautiful piece of work that broached Mumia, Geronimo Pratt and US political prisoners way before it became in vogue. They were on the cusp of the G-Funk era and I think their vibe was forced to acquiesce to the changing of the guard. Remember that when ‘Blowout Comb’ dropped it was followed by ‘The Chronic’, ‘Doggystyle’ and ‘The Infamous’. Hip-Hop decided to get a little ignorant and violent. The finger snapping jazz-hip hop cats had to be shown the exit.

I myself bristled with all their Brooklyn and general New York references. I thought they laid it on a bit thick. Regardless I will be there if/when that gig comes to town.

The Chancellor will be broadcasting from the road this week. So I may miss a day.

Prince Paul at The Good Foot on Cinquo de Mayo

Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival June 18th. Let’s than 2 months away!!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Perhaps this is an aswer to my question

I see the NY Times has something to say about my question regarding the good Pontiff.

The election of an unstintingly conservative pope could inject a powerful new force into the intense conflicts in American politics over abortion and other social issues, which put many Catholic elected officials at odds with their church.
Pope Benedict XVI ascends to power at a tumultuous time for his church in American politics: Catholic voters, long overwhelmingly Democratic, have become a critical swing vote. Republicans have become increasingly successful at winning the support of more traditional Catholics by appealing to what President Bush calls the "culture of life" issues, including abortion, euthanasia and research on embryonic stem cells. Mr. Bush carried 56 percent of the white Catholic vote in 2004, up from 51 percent in 2000 - a formidable part of his conservative coalition.
At the same time, some American bishops have become more assertive in urging their congregations to vote in accord with Catholic teachings on those issues - and in moving to chastise Catholic officials who disagree, in a few cases by threatening to deny them Communion. The bishops acted with the support and encouragement of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the new pope, who at the time headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

let the playoffs begin...where are the Knicks? Posted by Hello

The Pope of Greenwich Village

Reflections from the K-OS/Handsome Boy Modeling School show last night at Irving Plaza

Give me a few hours to get my review of the show together. In the meantime here are some ramblings I came up with waiting for the show to start.

I will say this k-OS did his mother funking thing last night. I was really impressed. I quietly believe he stole the show.
But more on that later today.

Our generation has an intense need to stay connected. At the show
everybody had a cell, sidekick, Treo and was checking it constantly. Myself included. And we were watching a breakdancing film all the while. Our senses must be stimulated at all times. On the train over to the gig I needed my iRiver or a book. Without it I felt naked. The sensory overload in this city and our culture have given rise to full blown ADD on every level.

Thus was birthed the blog. There is so much on our collective mind that
we must have an avenue to publish our every thought at every inkling. And with the web granting us such an opportunity we flock to it like a moth to a flame.

And what to make of pope who was in Hitler youth?

Had a nice debate with Ian at the show about the true power of the pope. Now I am not one of the faithful so maybe my question is born of ignorance, but I asked the very basic question of how can the pope wield influence in today’s world.

I get the sense that at least here in the States the pope, as an individual, wields little power. He seems akin to the Queen of England. He/she is the living breating embodiment of age old tradition and mythology. But on a practical level does very little. That is not to say that mythical figureheads cannot be extremely powerful, they absolutely can. But if the pope rains down a particularly conservative, regressive, non-modern edict how much weight will it carry with people who wield power themselves. How many Catholics have pre marital sex, masturbate, eat meat on Friday, don’t go to Mass or confession, or get divorced?

They say this new cat is mad conservative. I wonder what that means and how it will play out/affect our daily lives. We have seen how dogmatic ideologies can change your daily life. For reference see Iraq, George Walker Bush, Tom Delay

Can someone explain to me why Communism is the biggest evil in this
Country? I mean I think I get it, but I would like a good poly sci major out there to really school me.

When the pope died I must have heard a million times how his
legacy was linked to the fall of Communism. On Meet the Press, The McLaughlin Group and all my favorite Sunday shows that was picked as his biggest achievement. I thought visiting a mosque and synagogue was pretty impressive.
What exactly did he do? I remember Lech Walesa and the Solidarity Movement in Poland, but maybe I was too young to truly appreciate it. Somebody please kick some knowledge to me.

And by the way the Common album is better than I thought (will I ever stop posting about this?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

And they been bothering him for the last 10 years

Michael Jackson and O.J.

Got into an interesting argument about Michael Jackson last night. It is amazing to me how the feelings of innocence or guilt about Michael, like OJ, are split right down racial lines. Black people (not all, but bear with me for the sake of argument) smell a conspiracy theory. White people (or better yet non ‘minorities’) see a reckless and dangerous celebrity taking advantage of minors. The sad thing is that neither side is particularly interested in the facts of the case. I think that the argument is a manifestation of the long simmering race debate that is as old as this country.

I also think Michael Jackson is two different people to these two groups. To an African American he is that cute kid that embodied the music of Motown. A living breathing post civil rights baby. A musical genius that has entertained 3-4 generations from ‘ABC’ with his brothers to the disco tinged ‘P.Y.T.’ all the way to the Floetry written ‘Butterflies.’ And he is a Black man who has become filthy rich in a country seemingly designed to regulate colored people to poverty.

When we see him on trial many of us are able to look past the lightened skin, the fake nose, and the straightened hair and see a Black man potentially getting railroaded by a judicial system that has made it standard practice to f&*^k us.

On the other side, I think ‘white’ people (what does that really mean) see a truly bizarre celebrity that as my friend said ‘should be sent to jail for the rest of his life.’ As we can look past Michael’s obvious flaws and questionable behavior he was able to look past a welfare cheating mother who sent her child over to this crazy dude’s for a sleepover. The idea that Michael may be getting hustled was not a possibility. He is getting what he deserves. He can look past the inadequacies of this judicial system. Look past the conspiracy theory. I suspect never having been the victim of an unseen hand the concept of a conspiracy theory seems like science fiction.

But what really tripped me out was that in the midst of this heated argument, the question was raised ‘Well, do you think OJ did it?’ I asked myself why the hell are you asking me about a double homicide case 9 years when we are talking about a child molestation case. Was it about celebrities? If that was the case why didn’t he ask me about Robert Blake or Martha Stewart, Mathew Broderick (anyone remember his drunk driving case) or Kid Rock? Or was it about Black (more specifically male) celebrities implicated in crimes of, or stemming from a sexual relationship. I don’t know and we had to end our convo before we could get to it. I would be fascinated to see from his perspective the link between the two.

As Frederick Douglass (I hope I have that right) said, and I paraphrase, over a 100 years ago race relations will be the number one issue facing this country. Latent or obvious racial issues cut through this siciety like a hot knife through butter.

Even with the pope there was hope that he would be of Hispanic or African descent. When a German was picked there was celebration of course, but I bet you there would have been more jubilation from Flatbush to Rio of that Chilean brother had been picked. And if an African or Latino had been picked I also bet that there would have been some grumblings in the old country. Even when it comes to God there seemed to be racial undertones.

I will say this that for my part I defend Michael and OJ for every person of color that has been wrongfully put through the system. For Diallo who can somehow be shot 41 times and not be a victim of excessive force. For Rodney King. For Geronimo Ji-Jagga Pratt. For Mumia Abu Jamal. For all the ‘enemy combatants’ who get shipped to Guantanamo and Jordan without legal representation. For every cat that has been followed in Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s for no particular reason. This system is flawed and I have felt its inefficiencies so don’t be surprised when I give the benefit of the doubt to the accused. (isn’t that a law or something?)

Monday, April 18, 2005

i'm watching you. watch yo step, homey. I got my eye on you Posted by Hello

'Be' Real?

Could it ‘Be’ that we don’t have the whole picture?

So I was talking to Kim in the office today and it came out that the Common ‘Be’ album that so many smarty pants (present company included) have may not be the whole album. In his online media day Kim asked how Common felt about the leak and he responded that what we have is not the whole shebang.

I always thought this would be a good deterrent from bootlegging. Leak out a little bit, make people feel like they got one over on the label and the bootleggers will look no more. Think about it. Ever since that leak the one thing all us bloggers and hip-hop fiends have not done is look for the Common album. We think we have it and if we don’t, no problem. We’ll get the real one when it drops officially.

There has been talk that there are 4 or 5 Jay Dilla tracks that are on the real album. That would be hot as I could do it without some of the love songs in the middle. And in my original post I already said I wish Comm had some more Dilla Dog on there.

Greg, Ian and I went to a conference on video game advertising on Thursday and I think I saw the future. I gotta get all the numbers together but the amount of money spent on advertising video games and the number of hours played is sick. For what I spent on an XXL ad for ‘Soon Come.. .’ in ’01 I could have 100x as many eyeballs on ‘Splinter Cell.’ (are people role playing as undercover agent while banging ‘Elevator Music’ I don’t know, but you get my point, damnit.) This is the new hustle, boys. New Media.

Especially for independents to survive we have to keep Guerilla (Unit- fake). Stay on the cutting edge and make sure we are stretching that penny as far as it can go. This video game marketing is goes much farther than a video or a BDS spin can think of.

Peep the article in Entertainment Weekly about Stat Quo dieing to get into the new Madden. (is there no stopping EA?)

By the way I got my Cavaliers killing them in ESPN College Hoops. I am one of those 18-34 year old males that spend more time on the PS2 than watching Survivor or some bullshit.

Trying to make out to LA for E3. Holla at Me.

Word has it DJ Muggs started a new label call Angeles Records and has signed Self Scientific and The GZA

Whatever happened to Monche signing to Shady?

The Boondocks cartoon on Adult Swim is gonna be crazy. Had a chance to catch up with my man Aaron McGruder tonight. By the way, you are not really ballin’ until you have an assistant call your people and then put you on the phone. I still take out the garbage at 55 Washington. The stars he has lined up is nuts, Regina King, Sam Jackson, Charlie Murphy, Quincy Jones. This thing is gonna be a monster. Hopefully you will hear some of our crew on there. Fingers and toes crossed.

On 'Growing Up Gotti' where did Victoria get her money? Family Bidness?
Why does Lil Kim do the intro and start it off by saying ‘I’m Little Kim Gotti’? Black people’s fascination with the American mob is silly. As my hypocritical ass sits here watching this stupid show.

Gotta love Brooklyn on sunny Sunday! Posted by Hello


I was listening to my man PMD on XM radio Sunday night and he made an interesting point about Flavor Flav and the mess that is VH1’s ‘Strange Love.’ He touched on a few interesting points, two in particular that caught my ear while I was working on my late afternoon nap.

The first was that a large portion of the public has a problem with interracial relationships. It certainly doesn’t help that this couple closely resembles a Lower East Side crackhead relationship. I, myself think that the couple itself interracial or not, is bizarre to the point of disgust. Flav is funny as he always has been, but his behavior can be downright disturbing. He is like that drunk uncle or cousin who doesn’t know the line between being cool and being an asshole. And Bridgette seems to be the woman who refuses to acknowledge her age. It ain’t the 80’s honey and you are not the latest blonde bombshell. Both had their 15 minutes of fame and want to extend it to about hour and half. But to be fair Flav will go down in history as an integral member of one of the most important outfits in recorded history.

The second issue was that we should be happy that Flav is getting a check for being…well Flavor. PMD went on to make that point that many of the artists that we grew up on are far from wealthy. I would guess the vast majority of our Hip-Hop elders are barely scraping out a decent living. The millionaire Hip-Hop artist is rare occurrence. For one, many of the classic albums are more critically acclaimed than sales monsters. The fact that ‘Country Grammar’ has sold more than ‘It Takes A Nations Of Millions’ is a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions.

Outside of the rare publishing and royalty check I would imagine that these artists, like most, depend on live performances. And if you are 40 plus, like PE, the ability and demand to perform is not what it used to be. So maybe we should cut Flav a break and chalk it up to the Great American paper chase. People have done a lot worse for a check.

In other news it was such a nice day on Sunday that I took Miles Boogie and Roxy on a walk to Fort Greene Park. Gonna post some my digital point and click photos.

Aight, time to make the donuts.

Friday, April 15, 2005

the swift chacellor is the army, better yet the navy...shout to www.jamesblagden.com Posted by Hello

Another List?

Everyone is talking about The Source and Zino so I am gonna ramble about something of real importance.

Hip-Hop Contributors who don’t get enough credit.

Here is one of my ‘in no particular order’ lists:

Slick Rick

He has influenced everyone from Snoop to Ghost to Black Thought. I remember back at UVa there was much debate about how Snoop was just a West Coast Slick Rick although Rick is definitely a better writer. The suits and mega chains that we ubiquitously see – Rick (and Kane). And all you ‘indie as fuck’ cats needs o pay respect to the Rickster. Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh were on the 12 inch hustle before most of us had hair on our johnsons with ‘La Di Da Di’ and ‘The Show.’

Big Daddy Kane
Was listening to “Warm It Up Kane” on XM the other day. Whooooooo. I don’t know if there have been a half a dozen rappers since who could go head up with he late 80’s early 90’s Kane.

Just Blaze
I know he gets his props, but I have finally come to the conclusion that he is the nicest producer out. He is the only one carrying the torch of Pete Rock, Primo and The Bomb Squad. I mean he is making me consider, consider buying the new Fat Joe joint. He made this East Coast hard head warm to The Game. Plus the songs he has done with Jay will go down in the Hip-Hop annals as Jay’s best work outside of Primo. I know a lot of you will scream Kanye or Jazze Pha or Madlib or even El-P but noooooot me.

Barry Weiss
My Hip-Hop literary idol, Nelson George put it in Hip Hop America I believe that Jive Records does not get its props for contributions to Hip-Hop culture. When you look at the roster and catalogue Jive must be mentioned a few sentences after Def Jam as far as consistent brands. Now you can’t really look at them now because similar to Def Jam they have become much more bottom line oriented. But you must remember KRS and BDP, ATCQ, Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff were signed when Hip-Hop was not as strong as it is today. And Jive turned these guys into legends.

Nelson George
My favorite Hip Hop scholar. If it wasn’t for him adding true, mature insight into the culture I wonder if I and other big mouths would even exist. Nelson George, Greg Tate and that crew were birthing this new Hip-Hop intelligentsia at the Village Voice before Hip-Hop intelligentsia existed.

I’m out of here like a soccer hooligan.
Tiger Woods y’all

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

the two people messing with my siderial cycle..but you gotta love them Posted by Hello

Gangster Marketing

I had a Roc A Fella onslaught last night.
Saw the making of State Property II and ‘Fade to Black’ in 3 hours of Hip-Hop cinematic fun. For some reason I love to analyze this business organization. Maybe it’s because like me Damon Dash is a boarding school vet or more likely because their entrepreneurial story is of strong personal interest to the kid.

I see the Dame Dash sans Jay world has begun. The Beanie album and Dash Film seem to be the first signs of the new era. I must admit that I really liked ‘State Property’ (sorry Bonz) even though you would be hard pressed to find one trained actor in the whole cast. But if Ja Rule and Ludacris can do it I see no reason why the Broad Street Bully can’t.

And that Philly crew would go on my list of favorite ignorant rappers. And the greatest ignorant trapper of our time is in SP2, N-O-R aka D.A.N. aka dead arm Nore.

This Source thing looks like it’s falling apart. I wonder if the timing of the lawsuit and the departure of Zino are linked (hmmm). I wonder what it took to finally get him out of there (hmmm). I know they have been trying to get rid of him for years, but Mays was always scared. As my man Ian said I find it hard that the Source business model can be as strong as it was. With the proliferation of websites and blogs I don’t see how a magazine with 2-3 month lead time can be the dominant form of media over an online destination that can change several times a day. I suppose there is the tangible aspect. The glossy pictures, the fashion spreads. That is not quote the same online…yet. [light bulb pops above my head]

Thanks for the comments on the Common post. Looks like everyone thinks the cover is a bite of a Thelonius Monk album. And speaking of Common I know Kim ran his 1st online media day on Monday. 3-4 hours of straight interviews. Here is a post of one of them on MVremix.

Word has it XXL gave him their highest ranking, (an xxl I would imagine) and are calling BE a classic. You heard my impromptu ramblings. I will holla back after a few more listens.

As for those online interviews I can’t believe Kim set up a whole day of interviews for Common and ne’er one of those writers had been sent an album. That, my friends, is some gangster marketing. Interviewing an artist about an album you ain’t even heard. That’s either very gangster or a whole lot of love.

You must pardon my infrequent postings. I got a dog with the runs, shitting all over the house and a 9 week old that lives his life in 2-3 hour bursts.

Monday, April 11, 2005

I am trying to remember what album cover this is based on Posted by Hello

BE all you can

So I got a copy of Common’s ‘BE’ on Friday from a source that will remain nameless. But rest assured Geffen Records the album will remain on my hard drive only. I know how you big boys hate this digital world we live in. Although I wonder if these leaks weren’t around would the buzz be so huge on Comm.

I am not gonna bore you with a standard review, you are going to get bombarded with them thanks to Kim :_0
Instead I am gonna give you my initial reaction from a listen and a half.

The Electric Circus has left the building.
The progressive, experimental Common is no more. So you all got your wish. Common may say he is not trying to go back to ’94, but he sure is trying to get away from the last album. What is really unfortunate is that there was some heat on EC that got buried by the Andre 3000 / Cody Chestnutt (I thought he was the next big thing – oh well) version of Lonnie Lynn. What is unfortunate is that this work is so predictable whereas ever since his masterpiece, ‘Resurrection’ Common has always moved the art up a step a two. This is a fastball right down the middle or rather a T-Ball. There is no way you are gonna be able to miss this one. It is packaged perfectly for the Kanye, Native Tongue fan. Unfortunately almost too much so. I wouldn’t have minded Common bugging out a little bit.

Common no longer resides in the 11238 zip code
For the past couple of albums Common has been splitting his time between Brooklyn and the Chi. His music had taken on a much more bohemian NY vibe (thanks to the contribution of a Philly drummer and Detroit beatsmith – go figure). But ‘BE’ has many more verbal references to the Chi than I can remember. I am not mad, just an observation, but it probably has a lot to do with…

The student has become the teacher
I was always under the impression that the story went that Common begat No ID who begat Kanye. So there would be no Kanyeezy without Common. On ‘BE’ the power dynamic has clearly switched. Kanye is the executive producer and Common follows his lead. If my protégé was 2X platinum I would probably listen very closely to his direction. What we get is Common filtered through another artist very differently that when Questlove was at the wheels. I always thought Kanye was a more materialistic, arrogant Common who was not in the same league lyrically. So ‘BE’ should have reached heights ‘College Dropout’ couldn’t see. As a whole it doesn’t and I don’t know why exactly. They are however brilliant collabs like “Go” and “Food” but over all it misses my expectations, I also wish my favorite J-Dilla was a little more involved.

Common will be one of the best no matter what.
Don’t get me wrong the album is hot because Common is one of the best MC’s in the post Rakim era along with Black Thought, Ghost, Doom and Kweli. I think he needs to fully realize that. I know he hates when people compare his albums but the last time I believe he truly believed that was on ‘Resurrection.’ On ‘Be’ like Kweli on ‘Struggle’ Common tries too hard to live up to the accolades of Jay Z. He clearly wants to cash in creatively on all his hard work, but I think he just needs to relax and do his thing,

We are thirsty and with all the bellyaching it will satisfy
The scene is so bereft of quality music that ‘BE’ will benefit from some great timing. It is the only record of the short year that will satisfy the post Native Tongue, purist crowd. It is extremely musical and rich unlike the weak synthesizer crap out now. So go out and buy it. It will be your best purchase of the yet.

As always this is only my opinion and welcome to debate. I am just a Hip-Hop fan like J-Smoov

In other news

The George Foreman Grill is the move. Believe the hype. Made some trout tonight that would blow your socks off.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Get the month off on the Good Foot, homeboy Posted by Hello

Life is pretty good

Anyone who told you that blogging was easy was lying. Nuff respect to all those who keep their joint fresh and updated on the daily. Like Hashim and Joey and of course the good Different Kitchen. Keep checking them every day for the latest scoops. I will do my best to keep the Report fresh.

The Good Foot was off the hook last night (can I still use that term? sorry). Alma must get her props for quarterbacking the joint. And thanks to Kim and Ian for helping spread the word. Thanks to the Underground Railroad crew for murdering it. The music was outstanding all night. It is quite ill to have so many dope cats in one crew. From Emskee to Monk to 3D.

Can you believe it took them 14 years to have a party to celebrate their achievements? Was talking to Jay Smoov and G-Man about it. They are humble dudes who are not into patting themselves on the back and that is probably why they get so much love. I am proud that we could be the ones to do the patting.

Please check out Jay’s blog. He summed the night better than I. And I second that emotion. (Is that 3D in the corner? He looks just like Djinji Brown).

Like last month, thanks to the old and new friends who made it out. Dawn Kinard repping the old days in Charlottesville, Big Drew the defenseman, Guillermo E. Brown aka the Genius, the lovely ladies from The African Services Committee, Ian’s sister Nadine, OP from Studio, Amir Abdullah, Pack FM.

Princeton vs. Rutgers tomorrow. I got the day off for male bonding.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I will be reminding you all week, Good Foot, sun! Posted by Hello

see what too much of that hip hop music does to the youth Posted by Hello

Rocking with the best

You are now rocking with the best. The best damn bracketologist in 55 Washington Street. I picked UNC going all the way and lo and behold. There it is!

My man Greg who was the March Madness custodian informed I picked with 75% accuracy. Beating his 73% accuracy by the hairs of my chinny chin chin.

Sean May is a monster and those moving screens from Illinois were illegal. Plain and simple. Play ball instead of settling for jump shots.

Just got ‘She Hate Me’ from the good Netflix. I wonder what lesbians have to say about that flick. Spike seems to like to live out his fantasies through his movies. The e-Lamp becomes a bruh (School Daze), the violent revolutionary (Do The Right Thing), the repressed jazz musician (Mo Better), the swaggering pimp (Malcolm X), figurative killer of the sellout (Bamboozled). I wonder of She Hate Me is the embodiment of the heterosexual male fantasy.

The dude who played the lead was great. And his ex-girl who played Ray Charles’ wife is bad. She had much more sex appeal in this flick than in anything else I have seen her in. When she came out in the thong even Eb didn’t mind when I rewound. She does have a weird grill piece. Looks like she sucked her thumb too long when she was yout’. That white ball player was kind of sexy too. The cock diesel one was…scary.

What was the point of Q-Tip’s character? I love Tip, but he has yet to prove to be the best actor. Prison Song was real dope, though.

This is funny.

I still love Spike for his dedication to the craft. He still makes films you suckers are scared too make. I won’t join that Soul Plane, Bringing Down the House debate mainly because I haven’t seen those films, but I do concur with the broad reasoning.

UVa in the house! Alum and NY Times writer LOLA OGUNNAIKE was peeped on CNN Showbiz Tonight by the Swift Chancellor. Don’t really care about Britney’s reality show but good for Lola. (I must note that it was also UVa alum Chuck Wilson who wrote ‘Soul Plane’ and UVa alum rambling right now)

Look forward to seeing all at the Good Foot this Thursday to celebrate WBAI’s Underground Railroad.

(I bit the following blurb from Ian at Different Kitchen who bit it from Alma so it’s all good)

And in case y'all don't know, this is Jay Smooth's radio show we're talking about below:
"Independent Hip Hop radio show, "The Underground Railroad" celebrates its 14th anniversary which marks a landmark in New York radio history for being the longest running show of its kind.The show is best known for their high standards in delivering the best in Hip Hop music and culture. The UR has teamed up with the Good Foot monthly party, hosted by promotions company Room Service, Brooklyn label 7Heads, and Brooklyn Brewery to commemorate the anniversary at the April 7th event.Established in 1991, "The Underground Railroad show", hosted by Jay Smooth, has boasted an all-star line up of resident DJs, including DJ Spinna, Avee, Qool Marv, Monk-1, Emskee, and 3D. A true voice of Hip Hop, over the years the show has included appearances from artists such as Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli, Das Efx, Jungle Brothers, King T, Xzibit, Naughty by Nature, Mister Voodoo, Organized Konfusion, Eminem, Mad Skillz, Mr. Complex, Freestyle Fellowship, The Roots, and more.This FREE event is sure to be a historic night in New York radio history and numerous guest appearances from artists, listeners, fans, and the like who have all benefited from the presence of the Underground Railroad are anticipated.Taking place on April 7th, at The Knitting Factory’s Tap Bar starting at 9pm, the event will feature music from WBAI’s own 3D, Emskee, and Monk-1.Giveaways have been graciously provided by Halcyon, Prefix Magazine, Elemental Magazine as well as 7Heads and Room Service. (Ed note: trust me I've seen the goodie bags and there's some real nice sh-t in them including CD's from Stones Throw, Nature Sounds and a fly DVD from Sonny Chiba in some of the bags. All free, what!)$3 Brooklyn Lagers all night long provided by The Brooklyn Brewery.And stay tuned for more information about the May 5th Good Foot Event that will be produced in conjunction with the REACHipHop coalition (the folks behind the Hot 97 "Tsunami Song" protest campaign for those not knowing)"
DIRECTIONS:Knitting Factory’s Tap Bar74 Leonard Street, between Broadway and ChurchNew York CityClick here for additional info

Monday, April 04, 2005


Friday, April 01, 2005


In continuing with my last ‘Favorite Things’ post I have a new theory I want to share with you.

[trumpets blaring]

The Most Important Hip-Hop Artists.

Not the best or wealthiest. The most important in a cultural sense. In my piece on allhiphop I alluded to how silly I thought those lists were. Your favorite rapper is your favorite rapper. A cat from Nostrand and Hancock arguing with a cat from Crenshaw about Biggie vs. Pac will get you nowhere. All opinions are relative.

I do think that in a cultural, musical evolutionary sense you can make an argument about the most important MC’s. These cats are important because they changed the game and opened up a new chamber, to use a Wu-reference.

These are outside The Trinity – Herc, Bam, and Flash who are the foundation

As usual, this is my opinion and by no means definitive and/or is always open to an intellectual debate

Grandmaster Caz
Caz actually represents Cold Crush and the revolution that he and his contemporaries ushered in. What Cold Crush, et al. brought was the original party vibe to Hip-Hop. Organized vocal arrangements, coordinated wardrobe, choreography. If you want to mark ‘Rapper’s Delight’ as the record that broke hip-hop into the mainstream then we must acknowledge Caz’s global importance as many of those rhymes we know and love were stolen from Caz.
Influenced: Nelly, Lil Jon, The Roots, Leaders Of The New School, J5

Grandmaster Melle Mel
Leader of the Furious Five and the voice for Grandmaster Flash. It’s all about “The Message.” In ’82 that song exposed Hip-Hop’s socio-political voice. I remember being asked to transcribe the lyrics for a North African woman who was just so blown away by the power of the song. Although The Furious 5 shared the showmanship of Cold Crush and the Soulsonic Force, Mel and this song inspired a new generation of activists.
Influenced: Kweli, KRS-1, Public Enemy, Dead Prez, J-Live

Kool Keith
I believe a strong argument can be made that Ultra Mag is the most important group in all of hip-hop and that is why Keith is on my list. What Keith did was introduce ‘non-linear’ writing. Keith was a Hip-Hop artist for artist’s sake. The primary goal was not social empowerment or partying. It was about the art of it all. Keith allowed his mind to float in a way that is probably today’s most copied style. He pioneered the ‘written freestyle.’ To understand the significance look at all the records prior to Ultra Mag – completely different. Combining Keith’s artistry with Ced Gee’s wizardry strengthens my case. Ced, Pete, Large Pro, Bomb Squad were the 1st to elevate drum machines and samplers to proper instruments, but that is another story. And on the business side, the MF Doom onslaught is a mirror of what Keith did in the late 90’s – aliases, different labels and all.
Posdnous once told me that after listening to Ultra Mag they knew it was ok to be bugged out.
Influenced – Black Thought, Andre 3000, De La Soul, Jay-Z, EL-P, Wu-Tang, Freestyle Fellowship, Ghostface

Of course the original god MC. Rakim is the leader of the Hip-Hop writers. Cats with volumes of rhyme books. Epic storytellers. Gone was the wardrobe of Cold Crush. In the vein if RUN DMC the outfit was the latest from Dapper Dan and a rope. If this was Rock, Ra would be the prototypical singer/songwriter. He was a rawer, more complex Melle Mel. ‘Follow The Leader’, ‘Move The Crowd’, ‘I Ain’t No Joke’ were sermons. And Ra commanded the podium (literally in the ‘Move The Crowd’ video) like a warrior. Rakim’s seriousness in his artistry as opposed to Keith’s perceived light-heartedness also elevated the stature of the culture.
Influenced: Nas, OC, Common, Dilated

This is definitely my most controversial pick. Outkast opened up Hip-Hop. They smashed the NY bubble that housed Hip-Hop. Some will say that NWA, Scarface, Ice-T already did that and I would not argue. Again this is just my two cents from my perspective. I give them the nod over the rest because they opened the door in ’94 and ten years later continue to innovate. NWA is no more (although Dre is still a monster), and I never had a taste for Face or Ice-T. The southern fried soul aesthetic, unashamed country-ness, fashion sense. It was Big Boi that put throwbacks on the map, Dre made it cool to wear a suit. Pimping and Cadilacs were things of my pops generation before Outkast. Like Keith made it cool to be bugged out. Kast made it cool, if not better, to not be from NY which when viewing history of Hip-Hop is a major accomplishment.
Influenced: Cash Money, No Limit, TI, Puffy, Biggie, Swisha House, Kanye, Mos Def

I must mention that besides leaving out the Trinity in this discussion I also left out Run DMC because of their overwhelming cultural, musical and professional significance.

Also people that could put on this list: Snoop, The Geto Boys, Wu Tang, Tupac, Biggie, KRS-1, etc.

Good night, Gracie