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

Friday, July 28, 2006

Rakim is Miles Davis

At the taping of the Ill Out show on Wednesday I had the honor of speaking with Luvbug Starski.

For those who don't know Luvbug, he is Hip-Hop. Widely recognizely as coining the actual term in the late 70's amongst other accomplishments.

He tells his story better than I so to get it from the horse's mouth listen to the show next week. Either on XM or on the Bodega podcast section.

I got 2 big things from Wed:

1) my post about angry old school rappers is 100% right, at least when it comes to the Luvbug.

2) Rakim is Hip-Hop's Miles Davis.

When asked what happened to stall his career Starski cited 3 things. cocaine, a 5 year bid, and Rakim.

The emergence of Rakim put an end to the light hearted, leather outfit wearing, party based MC. Rakim was the consumate artist. His focus was not entertainment. It was the art. And his face showed it. No smiling. Rakim was simply 'No Joke.'

Were Flash, King Tim III, The Sugarhill Gang, and Starski? Certain outfits and songs say yes.

Ra put the focus on pure lyrics the same way Miles placed the emphasis on his horn and his art. Bebop was a reaction to the showmanship and smiling faces of the Louis Armstrong era. No disrespect, and I actually do not subscribe to the Louis Armstrong as a coon theory. But I do see how the movement represented by Miles was a concious effort to legitimize and empower the art form. No more pandering to the audience and its benefactors. Miles was not afraid to even turn his back to his audience.

The uncomfortable dynamic of grown Black men dancing and constantly smiling in front of sedate white audiences was shaken and ultimately destroyed.

Miles' back turned is sort of like Rakim sitting in a chair to do 'Mahagony.' As much as Rakim is/was about moving the crowd there was always a sense of self absorption to his persona. Annoying at a show, but simply mesmerizing on wax.

It was great hearing Luvbug's first hand account. Would be great to discuss this with an MC who straddles both eras.

Let me know what y'all think.
Have a good weekend. (sorry for the typos. Wrote this on a bus)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Miles Boogie at the sprinkler

oh boy. Now I am taking corny dad stuff to a new level.

Tell your Mom and Dad cuz I'm Strictly Business

I'll take this over a stupid Dirty South video any day!

Ini - Fakin' Jax

Now this is what I should be posting. Thanks to Roni Da Ruffian for sending this link to the office last week

White girl VS Spanish Girl

I claim to be ahead of the curve, but am just getting into YouTube for real. And this is what I blog. Don't ask me how I came upon this. Really. Don't.

Long Tail baby. An audience for everything.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

pics from the Making the band event at the Tobacco warehouse

before the MTV staffer told me to put my phone in my pocket and almost got an eye jammieDiddy hyping up the manufactured crowd. nice backdrop, though


she saw the goon from mtv before I did

the girls, Dannity Kane!?!?!?!
sort of
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Hubert Humphrey was a member of a Black Fraternity?
Not the bruuuuuuhs

I am all about Skateboard P. I don’t care what you say. But I am not sure about the album. Just listened to some previews and I have gone from an iTunes purchase to a ‘let me see if Kim or Ryan have it first.’
Seems like he is stuck between bougie-bling hop of Kanye/Jay Z and new school gangsta shit of Snoop, Slim Thugga, and his own Clipse. Then he throws in some Gwen Stefani 80’s pop, disco, Hip-Hop stuff. I like 1 and 3, but too much of #2 and I’m gone. I can take the Clipse, but putting some paper down for them is tough. That trap is funny in a morose sort of way like a fiend leaning on Court Street while thousands people avoid her. Let me know what y’all think of the album.

I told y’all about the “Long Tail” book last week. Now that I am reading it my head has been spinning. I said it before and I’ll say it again. Those guys at Wired are smarter than you.
Some absolutely amazing points and I am only halfway through.

The next recording of the Ill Out show is tomorrow. If you are not up on it. Get on it.

Stop all the moaning about USA basketball. Dudes practice for 10 days and still come in 3rd. Let these other countries do that and see what happens.
Plus this not their top priority. The NBA is. Comparing them to the the PR, China, or Argentina is apples and oranges. But be clear they will wax that ass this year.

In other news that the Empire is falling USA Lacrosse lost to Canada on Sunday. Waaaahhhh
Oh yeah that and Bush’s foreign policy is about to start World War III (for those living under a rock)

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Images of Summer

Miles Boogie running throuhg the sprinklers

showing off his pecs and his grandfather's hairline as another father sweats my parenting technique

Miles is the only one in the house with faith in Isiah

saw this at the Aquarium and had to post for the UVa crew
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Sorry Marty

Busy Monday = short posts after a nice round of substantial posts.

Thanks to the people who posted comments on last week’s posts. It’s cool to know people actually read this junk.

Went to Coney Island yesterday and I am ashamed to say it was my 2nd trip there…EVER. Yes, I am one of those ignorant New Yorkers who never enjoy their own city.
To my defense growing up in the Bronx trooping to Coney Island was like heading to Maine for the day. The far end of Brooklyn might as well have been the moon. But I was so wack I didn’t even f**K with Orchard Beach. But to my defense again those beaches were a lot rougher in the 70’s and 80’s. Coney Island yesterday was fresh out of a tourist commercial. The Aquarium (dope, although it freaked a feverish, teething Miles Boogie), karaoke on the boardwalk, the peer with kids and their dads fishing. The whole nine.

I am sorry Marty Markowitz for not realizing the work you did down there. I will not make that mistake again.
Next week Marine Park driving range to get my Tiger on…and by the way anyone who has lost a parent had to shed a tear when he was hugging his caddy and his wife yesterday


Sorry Marty

Busy Monday = short posts after a nice round of substantial posts.

Thanks to the people who posted comments on last week’s posts. It’s cool to know people actually read this junk.

Went to Coney Island yesterday and I am ashamed to say it was my 2nd trip there…EVER. Yes, I am one of those ignorant New Yorkers who never enjoy their own city.
To my defense growing up in the Bronx trooping to Coney Island was like heading to Maine for the day. The far end of Brooklyn might as well have been the moon. But I was so wack I didn’t even f**K with Orchard Beach. But to my defense again those beaches were a lot rougher in the 70’s and 80’s. Coney Island yesterday was fresh out of a tourist commercial. The Aquarium (dope, although it freaked a feverish, teething Miles Boogie), karaoke on the boardwalk, the peer with kids and their dads fishing. The whole nine.

I am sorry Marty Markowitz for not realizing the work you did down there. I will not make that mistake again.
Next week Marine Park driving range to get my Tiger on…and by the way anyone who has lost a parent had to shed a tear when he was hugging his caddy and his wife yesterday


Friday, July 21, 2006

check out the PAIRS section on the Bodega
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Looking at the great PAIRS section of The Bodega and it got me thinking about the importance of one’s kicks – both men and women.

Growing up your shoe game had to be tight or you would be teased mercilessly. I remember one time my pops bought me some fake Fox’s (I think that is what they were called – they looked like Asics) from Buster Brown or something. I thought they were fresh to death, but quickly they were exposed for the skips that they were. Backhanded compliments that I took as the truth in my ignorance later resonated as the insult they were intended to be. Broke my little heart. Hudson didn’t take me shoe shopping until I was in high school.

My man Todd was that dude who kept every sneaker he ever had in pristine condition. Lottos with the removable patches, the first Jordans, shell toes, Spot Bilts. The whole shebang. And, no offense, but his family was not paid. There were about 9 people in a 2 bedroom joint on the 17th floor. He may have rocked hand me downs and the same jeans for three days, but his shoe game was the envy of the crew. Now of all things he could have spent the little bit of money he had he spent it on sneakers. Why? Bobbito has a great answer in his book, but we can still discuss here.

And for the ladies. There is no bigger turn off for me than a girl with a corny shoe game or chewed up dogs. You could be a dime in the face, but bunions and corns kill it for me. Conversely you could be a Shirley but if you have a tight pedicure and/or some fly kicks your weight problems are irrelevant.

I have some real egghead theories on why people take their kicks and feet seriously but before we get into that…

I think you can tell a lot about someone from how they handle their business at ground level. My theories:

· A dude with some fresh kicks usually has style. Someone who can appreciate the art of the Air Max ’97 or Mowabb’s has good taste all around
· Someone who is bold enough to rock the rainbow Air Max ‘95’s is confident in himself and not afraid to express himself. Probably a cool dude to build with
· A girl with a tight pedicure and flip flops is laid back enough to not stress the external, but still knows how to treat herself right. And will most likely respond well to a dude who will treat her right
· Chicks who wear 6 inch heels to walk the dog are high post and loves to emit the unapproachable vibe. No thanks
· A cat who rocks a fresh pair of basketball shoes just to chill appreciate the fine art of the shoe and is most likely not a sucker hipster who buys $200 Dunks because he saw Pharell with them
· A dude with Bathing Apes on the train or worse the bus is 1) a sucker rocking fakes to impress people 2) a knucklehead who simply pays too much for sneakers
· A cat who rocks some beat up Chucks or any other beat up classic is a laid back dude who is just happy not to be wearing wingtips. Or who is holding. Either way, a good guy to party with.
· The woman with hammer time in or out of heels has spent way too much time torturing her feet. Either in the club or at work and has a high chance of being wound up
· Now the lady in heels with a fresh pedicure and no hammer time knows when it is time to dress up and when it is not time. These are my favorite. They rock the heels when it’s time to get fresh and when it’s time to chill they take them things off before they scar their feet. This woman has her shit together.
· A girl with a tight sneaker game may be the jackpot. Push up on these fellas. She is cool. Sexy. And can talk about the artistic merits of “Illmatic” over a Brooklyn Lager. Make sure she has some fresh heels as well or else you may have tomboy, which is not bad unless you are on the prowl
· A man or woman in sensible shoes has realized how silly all of this is and spends his money on real estate or his kids. A much better use of the dough. He is out of the game and does not want to be bothered. These people are harder to read and are probably the coolest cats of all

Now why are feet and shoes so important? Because they are the part of your body is in most contact with the Earth. So on a metaphysical level they are what physically connects the spirit to the earthly plane.
That’s all for the egghead theories today

Have a good weekend

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Roots hit the road some more

Roots recently expanded their tour dates in support of their upcoming release, Game Theory, scheduled for August 29th on Def Jam Records. The U.S. Kool Tour (boo big tobacco sponsorship, hooray beer!) now extends to October 1st, wrapping up at the Southern Comfort Festival in St. Louis, Missouri. The group has also announced a world tour including twenty four European dates in November and December.

for all the tour dates check The Bodega

after the Blue Carpet everyone will c-walking
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A few weeks back the Bodega crew was privy to a listening session for Snoop’s next album “Blue Carpet Treatment.” Although nothing he has put out touches the immortal “Doggystyle” we are always interested in news from the Dogfather. The new record features the usual cast of character particularly, Calvin Broadus’ new best friend, Skateboard P. They teamed up with Brandy for ‘Beautiful’ part 2 aka ‘So Special’ which works for what it is.

The underlying theme of ‘Blue Carpet’ is West Coast unity and actually a return to West Side supremacy. To that end Snoop scooped up Yay Area king (for the 2nd time) E-40 Fonzorelli, the scene stealer form Menace II Society – MC Eiht (‘y’all 2 are acting like some little bitches now’), The Dogg Pound and put them over a Ric Roc beat for ‘Candy.’ Nice show of North and South Cali unity.

There is also a Black/Brown unity song with B-Real called ‘Vato.’ It rocks over an ill Neptunes track. Word is it will be the first single. Snoop continues to get his ‘Kofi Anan on’ with a Blood/Crip unity song with The Game. On this one Snoop dons the alias of Niggaraci and gets behind the boards to produce the beat.

Also on the record is R ‘piss on you’ Kells and ‘where have you been?’ milk carton Virginia producer Nottz, the cock diesel Timbaland (who this writer hopes has had relations with Nelly Furtado…rowrrr) and Terrence Martin (I have no idea who that is).

Snoop’s blunted rep from Doggy Style Records (who attempted in vain to get our own Kim Trick ‘or treat’ smacked on some sticky icky) also announced that the album will be dropping in October with an anime companion following in November. The animated DVD, “The Adventures of the Blue Carpet Treatment”, will feature an animated video for every song on ‘Blue Carpet.’ Sort of like 50 did with ‘The Massacre’ re-issue. Never saw that joint, but I like the concept. In February Snoop will be releasing a more mainstream record (‘Blue Carpet’ is for the streets like ODB was for the babies). That record will be the soundtrack to the Snoop film vehicle “A Woman’s Touch.”

On a side note the Doggy Style rep trying to get our guys along with reps from Cornerstone and Think Tank high in front of the Geffen staff was probably the funniest and most uncomfortable moments in professional history. I say Kim should have taken 2 hits and pass like a Gangstarr song to show East and West Coast unity. You know those trees were top notch. Oooooooooooooooooh-weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

it's all your fault
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I'm Mad

This week I have had several conversations about old school Hip-Hop artists. Legends dismissed by hipster writers whose Hip-Hop credentials are questionable at best. Old school artists performing in front of blank faces. The rare legend who gets the respect he actually deserves. And super bitter old schooler who won’t do an interview without some paper.

As annoying and honestly pathetic as the bitter old schooler can be I can understand his/her feelings. Every time they turn on BET or MTV they must be pissed off to the nth degree. Every episode of Cribs or The Fabulous Life… must be a 180 degree turn of the knife. I can only imagine they screaming at the TV “HOW THE F*** DID THESE GUYS BECOME MILLIONAIRES”

The Hip-Hop millionaire mogul/artist/actor/model is ubiquitous these days, but back in the 80’s, the era of Cold Crush, Fantastic 4, and the Treacherous 3, a Hip-Hop millionaire was as far fetched as the cow jumping over the moon. Cats like Kool Moe Dee could barely leave their day job let alone start their own corporation. Except for a few trailblazers, Hip-Hop was not a full time job. For many today that is still the case but the difference there was no role model. Back then - no Jay-Z, no Block, no Puff, no Bobbito, no Steve Stoute, no El-P. Many of these guys were happy to do a show on the weekend and maybe get a royalty check once record labels entered the picture.

So the question I have is when did the paradigm shift?
What was the tipping point that opened the door for Hip-Hop millionaires?

As I said on the Swift Chancellor Report this is a book idea. I am gonna plant the seeds here and sign a 20 figure book deal to flush out the idea.

Here are some ideas as to what was the straw that broke the camel’s collective back:

Kurtis Blow signing to Mercury. First Hip-Hop artist signed to a major

The Beastie Boys – the board room realizes there is a white Hip-Hop audience. A critically respected and good white group puts the machine at ease and opens up new marketing tools and means of distribution. In turn opens up the money.

True Hip-Hop Pop records. ‘Rapper’s Delight’ was the 1st Hip-Pop record but it wasn’t until Vanilla Ice, Young MC, Tone Loc and your man Hammer that Hip-Hop really crossed over and began indoctrinating the casual music consumer.

Post Civil Rights children unafraid to become entrepreneurs. Puff, Jay, Dame and Russell grew up in a post- Civil Rights, integrated world where they were constantly taught to never settle for inequality. When they became professionals they were not satisfied with just a good job. There were the new entrepreneur who wanted more than a local mom and pop, they wanted to run a multinational just like the kid in private school they played dodge ball with. Then they broke through the glass ceiling.

The internet boom. The boom of the 90’s simply put so much disposable money in people’s pockets that the emergence of the Hip-Hop millionaire was a function of economics

MTV. MTV’s embrace of Hip-Hop in the 80’s and specifically YO! MTV Raps opened up the world to Hip-Hop and artists simply collected the money from all the new customers.

It was a function of time. Grandmaster Caz, Bam, Herc, and Charlie Chase were so far ahead of the curve it took time for the rest of the world and the money to catch up. The innovators rarely reap the financial benefits. Who has more money on the digital distribution of music, Shawn Fanning or Steve Jobs?

Till next time…

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

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Have you guys heard about the Long Tail book?
All of you entrepreneurs and part time artists this may be Strange Fruit Project podcast. These guys are the next contenders for the neo Native Tongue crown.

-Still hot in New York in case you were wondering, but NCAA ’07 comes out today so all is well in the galaxy

Monday, July 17, 2006

how cool is that he does appearances?

this all came to me on the set of boogie nights when i was 'fake' boning julianne moore

imagine the second guy from the left black and cock diesel - that would be the SC
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Au Bon Entourage

FYI, it’s stupid hot. Stay by the sprinklers or the a/c (Miles in the sprinklers pic this week!)


So I realized I have not been blogging about my favorite TV show this season. L’Entourage (Entourage for you Anglophiles).
I haven’t missed an episode although I missed the 1st half of last night’s episode due to the ESPY’s. (Lance was pretty funny).

Honestly the writing and story line is not as strong this season. But I still watch.

-So E hooked up the three screw? Word.
-Love the Dominator story line. Lord knows we all have one of those.
-Moms coming out for the Aquaman premiere? Wack.
-The Saigon pendant – too corny for words. That story line is weak. I love Turtle, but Turtle as the other entrepreneur is not believable. Stick to being the real mooch.
-Vince losing Aquaman and Pablo Escobar – interesting, but you know it will all work out for Vince. (Vince does look like a younger Benicio of The Bull)

You know what I love about this show is that I know of someone in my crew who could fit every role. From Lloyd down to the pregnant publicist.
Are you a Sloane, Ari, or a Drama?

I am an ‘E’

Every situation needs an E, a Turtle and an Ari

This week’s posts

“Why Stones Throw, Def Jux and Rhymesayers are the only 90’s indies that still matter”

“Imagine how angry real old school rappers (Cold Crush era) are when they see all this money being made and let’s pinpoint the artist, record, and song that flipped the switch from part time MC to full time millionaire.”
(that could be a good book idea. Steph – haven’t forgotten about you)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

great flick!
kept me up 2 hours past my bedtime last night
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Front of the bus

As usual no time for the post I had in my head this morning. Only time for SCR bullets

-watch ‘Munich’ and look at current beef with Israel and you will be scared right now

-Spielberg can tell a story

-Part of that was shot on Dekalb Ave

-anybody have a good book on the creation of Israel?

-Rode the bus solo with Miles Boogie for the 1st time this morning. I was always afraid of him melting down on me in public. No problems.

-Boo creepy foot doctor, hooray beer

-other dark horse Netflix winners, ‘Hustle and Flow’ Proof that you shouldn’t talk shit about something until you see it. Minus the songs Terence Howard performed, the movie was great. I still can’t bring myself to add the 50 movie to my queue

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"i left this much for the bodega. tell james to holla at me"

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Elliot Spitzer for Gub'ner

This is a case of the machine actually working for us.
NY Attorney General Elliot Spitzer's campaign against the major record labels is actually bearing fruit for the good guys.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Associates will be announcing today the recipients of $13 million in grants awarded by the New York State Music Fund, which is the program set up by Elliot Spitzer and the NY State Attorney General's Office to distribute money collected in the Sony payola settlement.

check it out here

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

cuz I am so cool
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18 and making more than your dad

Ball Players know the ABCD camp is no joke. Is Romeo that nice?

So what did he say? What a soap opera. I really need to know. Biggest sports meltdown ever. Worse than Ron-Ron, fa sho.

What do y’all think about this? Racist?

White Power? (on last night, had me pissing my pants)

We are looking for suggestions for this year’s CMJ and next year’s Festival. Hit us up with your ideas

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hip-Hop Museum and other things on a busy Monday

This is what I am talking about… 

The New York City Council has allocated $1.5 million in funding to construct a Hip-Hop museum in the Bronx, New York. Spearheaded by City Council member Larry Seabrook, the museum will trace Hip-Hop from its origins in the 1970's and be used as a forum to educate future generations about Hip-Hop culture. The new museum is part of a community center and housing development project that is being built by the nonprofit Northeast Bronx Redevelopment Corporation. The project is reportedly to consist of several floors of low-to moderate-income housing with a gymnasium, a small theater, a recording studio, and the museum.


And this and this and this


Thursday, July 06, 2006

no time for written posts? go with the baby pics

"I eat cookies...so what?"

MJ Joy is not happy

first day in the big boy room...I gets busy with my oatmeal

cruising up the Hudson on the 4th
good looking Uncle Bash
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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

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Monday, July 03, 2006

But What Do I Know?

Can't believe the Festival was a week ago. I'm still tired.Maya told me some MC's were mad at us and drinking a litlle hater-ade. Turns out they were cats who didn't make it on the bill. So for those cats I have...

Suggestions for artists from the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival Chair

1. Build Relationships

Not one of the artists on the bill this year was picked via a frontal assault.
Constant and belligerent emails fell on deaf ears quickly.

Every artist and DJ on the bill was vouched for by someone we personally trusted.
Obviously Kane and Ralph were elders and needed no recommendation.

There were many artists who wanted to get on the bill and went about it in the wrong way. People tried using guilt, intimidation, and retribution to get on the bill. None of it worked.

My suggestion to those cats is to use your resources and work your angles. If you are on your hustle most people are no more than 3 phone calls away.

Greg and I have been doing this for so long that our network is pretty deep. Kim and Alma are on the grind so much one of your boys has to know a writer or DJ who knows Alma. Our interns are still young enough to be going out, find Ronnie or someone at the bar at APT and beat him in the head.

Once one of the people we trust fight for you, you’re at least on the Agenda. Then the music has to carry you the rest of the way.

-Maya was recommended by Michelle who used to work here and is still good friends with Alma

-Kane is booked by TAG who we used to work with we managed J-Live, They helped us out based on our relationship over the past 6 years

-We are cool with OM who signed Strange Fruit

-The Procussions and Rawkus are our clients-Sleepy is on Virgin, one of our best clients

-Our homeboy Kyle is in Panacea-Cap, Eclipse, and Sucio have been supporters since the beginning

Like it or not, it is who you know that gets you in the door, but it’s your talent that closes the deal…

2. Make sure you have a Myspace page and that it’s tight

It is bugged how important Myspace has become in such a short span of time. And this year’s Festival drove that point home for me.

Maya Azucena, who the office now loves, was booked on the strength of Michelle’s recommendation and her Myspace page. We didn’t even have her album until we did the XM interview. We went to her Myspace page, read her bio and listened to her tracks. She had a live song on there that we all heard and made our decision.

From her Myspace page we got a sense of her professionalism, dedication as well as her music.

Same thing with Strange Fruit. After the pitch from OM we went to their Myspace page and then went back to OM and said ‘we want them.’

A good Myspace page is just as good if not better than a good manager or booking agent. It’s always open, always available, and always working. More than can I say for many managers.

3. You never know who you are talking to

Once you get to the event remember you never know who is there so be cool to everybody. Don’t just turn on the charm for MTV and the pretty girl with the camera.

That dude who you think is a runner could be the Festival Chair (take note dude from Ultra Magnetic).

That random dude backstage who wishes you luck could be a male groupie or could be a blogger we read every day to keep us in the loop.

There were a few artists there who turned people off and should be concerned about getting future gigs. And there were other cats who people are going to be bending over backwards to support. Obviously you want to be the latter.

Take my advice for whatever it’s worth

Have a good holiday