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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

List Time

I have mad posts in my head but it would take me the rest of the week to write and edit them. So instead I will do some simple, relatively well thought out lists.

Secondary rappers that I like more than the main rappers (sometimes):

-Malik B
-Keith Murray (do re mi fa so love l.o.d.)
-Afu Ra (not really)
-Phife (the king of the hip-hop wingmen)
-Lloyd Banks
-Flavor Flav (king of the hype men)
-MC Ren
-Nate Dogg
-T-Mo Goodie
-Sadat X
-the 2nd dude in Dem Franchise (just kidding I have no idea who any of those guys are)
-Bushwick Bill (I am assuming we all agree Willie D was the star of that group...)
-D Nice (the MC , not the DJ you hipster)
-Moe Love

Artists who lost favor despite good albums:

-Jeru's second album (was it the 'beef' with the Fugees? Or the fallout with Primo)
- Rhymefest (yes I am still beating that horse. It just ain' fair what y'all did to that boy)

Remember when:

-Scott Storch was in The Roots
-Mos Def wore gold fronts
-LL always wore a hat
-Buckshot was a backpacker
-Virgin didn't want to sign Pharell and NERD?
-Mayhem and Martin Moor
-No ID was the illest producer in Chicago
-Subroc passed away
-when Trouble T-Roy fell off the stage

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Brooklyn Hip-Hop (I thought this went up yesterday, sorry)

Why weren't there more Brooklyn MC's at this year's Festival or last year's?

that is a question that is asked of me and one I ask of myself from time to time. Last year we had Medina Green and a host of Brooklyn DJ's. This year we had Maya, Ralph, Kweli, Kane and Buckshot. Still the question is asked and I know why.

Brooklyn MC's have not been the focus of the Festival.

To be honest though that is not our mission. Our mission is to celebrate Brooklyn and Hip-Hop culture seperately and together. But still I would like to have more local MC's.

Listen, it wasn't for lack of looking. We had some good prospects that didn't work out because of scheduling or budget issues. But for the most part the cats we got submissions from were not in tune with our mission or simply wack.

The reality for me was that the disease spreading through Hip-Hop has infected the biggest crossover artist as well as the grimiest indie artist. Underground Hip-Hop has either become some surburban dissonance or minor league gangsta shit. I am not knocking either genre, they just don't float my boat.

Indie Hip-Hop has lost its edge and is simply falling lock step in with the status quo. Most of the local artists that interest me have either graduated to a different level of the game or simply rehashing their late 90's schtick.

But even as I write this I know the dope artists are out there and next year we are gonna work harder to find them.

to be continued...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Art of Hip-Hop 2

Another great lesson from Master Tsu is 'Know Your Terrain.' You must know where you are doing battle. Is the ground wet, dry, hilly, flat, in a valley or on a hill.

This is true for almost any situation. Sports, business or in a personal relationship. In today's world of Hip-Hop business we must understand the ground we are fighting on.

P&D deals, 12 inches, street teams and other popular ideas from the 90's are dead. The traditional label is dead. The Times had a great quote this week remarking that the CD market is undoubtedly shrinking.

The place of battle has changed.

You can chase the major label deal still, but there are less slots available and competition is high. Majors will take less chances. A tough battle indeed.

Underground artists must be digital. Myspace, YouTube, and a presence on the digital retail landscape is key.

Mobile communication devices are a must. We must be accesible to all our global partners sometines 24 hours a day. Because of Blackberry's, Treos, and Sidekicks battles can take place anywhere at any time.

That battle can be a negotiation, a booking, or a sales pitch.

Spending $20k in retail co op ads for a marginally commercial succesful, cerebral artist is fighting the wrong enemy on disadvataged ground.

We must know where our customers and markets are and engage them there.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Art of Hip-Hop

One of these days I am gonna write a book called 'The Art Of Hip-Hop' Hip-Hop and the Art Of War.

Hopefully I'll get Steph or Joey (real writers) to help me.

One of the most important lessons of The Art Of War is to assess your own strengths and weaknesses. This is a lesson MC's and executives alike should live on the daily.

I was riding the bike this morning (for those familiar I rode from 5 Corners to State Beach and all the way around past the high school back to 5 Corners...whatever who cares Wes, you geek). Anyway was riding listening to the iPod and that Common joint on the new Dilla album came on and I realized there are several rappers who are simply better than most. And I wonder if other rappers make this assesment before they record and/or release their music.

Can you honestly compete with the leaders in your field? The flood of mediocre music and the failure of Tower Records lead me to believe the answer is no. And on the other side executives clearly regulaely miss the mark when they select the music suppposedly the public wants to hear. Have they (we) assessed our own strengths and weaknesses? Speaking from experience -definitely not.

A sample of the 'Sorry but I am better than you list':

De La
Black Thought
Lyor Cohen
Steve Hindy
Steve Jobs
Dwayne Wade
Nelson George
Spike Lee
Scott Storch

some of these are not the best at what they do from a creative standpoint, but you must respect their hustle and lay your hustle next to theirs and asess your strengths and weaknesses.

Then when you arrive at your answer do you move, or remain still.

(sorry for any typos no spell check on the Treo)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Whine and cheese

The title of today's post is attributed to the great urban poet Joell Ortiz. For this week I am in the true land of w(h)ine and cheese for some, Martha's Vineyard. A couple of musings from the SC

- it's not bourgie as you think

-but those annoying WASPs and Buppies are here. Don't trip

-great for Miles Boogie

-and Roxy

-the stress and tension of New York simply don't exist and that's a good thing

-saw Spike Lee...twice

-those who know me know I am just a Hip-Hop nerd. And I get a real kick out of meeting the Uncle Ralph's and Prince Paul's and Ali Shaheed's. Seeing Spike was a moment for me, but for most they were too cool. Whatever

-getting my grill on nightly. Call me the Black Bobby Flay, cuzzo.
Tuna, country ribs, whitefish. I gets bizzy.

Enjoy yourself y'all

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's Yourz/Older Gods

Front on this, if you wish

We Fresh like the Prince and you Jazzy Jeff

This how I am living for the next two weeks

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

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...Now Let's Go!
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What Happened to Philly?

With all the regional Hip-Hop explosions what happened to Philadelphia?

On the ignorant/party side clearly Atlanta holds the crown. TI, the Young J's (Joc, Jeezy, Jesuit, and Jehovah), The 'Kast, Youngbloodz, Bobby Valentino (remember ‘Blackberry Molasses’? the manager of that group Bobby V was in went on to be a big failure as coke dealer, Anyhoo…), and the list goes on.

And I guess Rick Ross, out of Miami, is the next big thing...whatever.

Snoop is bringing back the West...whatever (again).

The Chicago scene is more my speed. Kanye To The and his homonym-al rhymes, Common is coming back in February. Lupe, despite his uninspiring (save 3 or 4 songs) leaked album, and my fav Rhymefest.

But what happened to Freewizzle, Peedi Crack Cocaine (perhaps my favorite ignorant MC name), and Beans.
I was listening to the iPod on the way in and 'Gotta Have It' came on. That song is insane. Better than any street shit I hear on the radio. Better beat than almost any indie joint.

I always loved Freeway. Not sure if it was Just Blaze or Free's frenetic style. Where is he? Waiting on a G-Unit/Roc hybrid release date. Boo creepy foot doctor! 50 can barely get Banks and Olivia off the ground. 50 is probably not even on the schedule.

And what label is P. Crack signed to? The Tax I.D. number known as Damon Dash Music Group or Roc cum Def Jam?

Is Beans in jail...again?

Regardless, the collapse of those artists essentially sank the Philly renaissance. There is The Roots, of course but they don't count. ‘
So instead of these quality ignorant MC's over Just Blaze and Kanye beats I have to swallow this Southern trash.

Boo Roc A Fella, Dame Dash-Shawn Carter break up! This is all your fault. The blood of the airwaves is on your hands, sirs!

Give us us P Crack Cocaine!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

from the Jelly Pool Party on Sun

went to Williamsburg to check out the venue and listen to the pied piper of cool ?uesto. Not sure those indie rock kids knew any of the stuff he was playing besides the Jay Z and Gnarls stuff.

Crowd was interesting. Venue is dope. Nice vibe. Great weather. Good time.

And plus I saw my man G from the Brewery who laced me with Weisses for the short time I was in the house. Kim Trick 'Daddy' was in the house and put me up on Beirut who was actually pretty interesting.

from the vip section. you know how we do ----fake!
no free beer, just some Red Bull syrup.
this woman was happier than she looked

the grand gathering of the Brooklyn intelligentsia.
I think I outweighed all the women in this picture...combined
What do they eat? I mean how do you live?

stage is off the hook. big $ was put into that joint.
the dodgeball galdiator arena is behind the fencing

gotta have port a potty's

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Monday, August 14, 2006

got the baby seat on the back. Look out Prospect Park bike path. Here we come
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Thanks for the responses on Friday’s posts

Had some thoughts over the weekend...

This cycle will be different in that this is the 1st cycle of the information age. The ability to see what 'they' were doing is unprecedented. Search engines, camcorders etc give people access to 1st hand accounts of the past.

Hence it feels more like mimickery rather recycling. But who knows it's all relative. I am sure my pops said the same thing when he heard the 1st JB's sample on 'Paid In Full.'

This the 1st cycle of the long tail


-in other thoughts. Rarely have I witnessed the Hip-Hop intelligentsia turned their back on a good artist like they have to Rhymefest.

He went from Grammy winning unsung hero to highly touted draft pick to 'the goofy version of Kanye' in less than 12 months. And in my opinion it has little to do with his music. While the album is no classic it is far better than the Lupe leak or the last album from 2005's Hip-Hop saviors Little Brother.

Fest is a talented MC, no question. Actually too much talent and not enough fluff for the system he is in. That record should have been on a strong indie (not sure which) or a less big hit driven label. Maybe Geffen?

As it was, Fest will be lost and shunned. No fashionista, skateboard angle like Lupe. No Questlove back story like LB. Only a Kanye connection which seems to be less valuable than one would imagine. No female audience of note (that is really the killer). Just good quality Golden era records. And that is not enough. Even for today’s backpacking hipsters or even worst, the purists.

Well I got you covered homey. “Condi Rice step up and get you a slice…”

Friday, August 11, 2006

Been terrible posting this week

Been a very busy week:

-Miles, nuff said

-recovering from drinks with our college friend took longer than expected

-helping out with the Bodega has tapped 90 percent of my volunteer journalism time

-work, nuff said

Anyhoo, I did want to end the week with a real post.

Last week the good folks at Powerhouse hit us off with a couple of their excellent books. (On a side note, if you are not up on them DO IT! DO IT!) One of these gems was Jamell Shabazz's 'A Time Before Crack,' a wonderful collection of photos from the dawn of the Hip-Hop area. Sheepskins, Bally's velour shirts, candids of Ricky D and Jam Master Jay, etc. While looking at it with Alma she syas 'these pictures could be from today.' And that got the old wheels a-turning...

More and more I am realizing that I am older than I think. Not so much on a boo-hoo my knees ache tip, but more on a 'wow nobody understands the reference I just made because they were 4 when that record came out' tip. And nothing illustrates that more than Alma's fashion comment.

It bugs me out that what is fashionable in '06 is strangely reminiscent of what was cool in '86 and before.

Of course, things go in cycles and fashion and music are on 20 year cycles, but when you are old enough to see things move from one cycle to another it's kind of bugged.

In '86 when the SCizzle was 13 he longed for a sheepskin like the Legendary Chris Washington, but a sensible mother and a budding sense of animal rights killed that.

A lack of funds prevented me from getting a pair of Clydes or Cazals. My father could not understand why I wanted glasses with no lenses.

My brother Rob, the 18 year old, did bag the fresh 'Raising Hell' bomber. The SC was quite jealous.

Miami Vice, four finger rings (Dannity Kane? Wtf?), straight leg jeans (didn't like them then or now), ceasars with designs (fresh), Louis Vuiton, YSL, Gucci and all that was the rage.

I suspect Dapper Dan is somehow lurking in Chicago as Kanye's stylist. (is Dapper Dan on wikipedia? There goes another old man reference). It's really Kanye and Pharell's doing.

So as Kim and Meagan walk in and make me temporarily forget what year it is I am grateful that I made it through one cycle. And I wonder what Boogie will be rocking when he is 13.

wes jackson
the room service group

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Lovebug, Lovebug, Lovebug
proving the SC's point

Rock Co.Kane Flow

MF Doom and Carson Daly
who would have thunk it

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I weear chains that excites the Feds

back when Paris Hilton was not up on fronts

1. smoking is not cool
2. get over the brooding Brit gag. it's wack
3. send me the flick of you with that black girl
4. Don Johnson, you ain't
5. Alexander was better than they claim
6. feel free to take a vacation from making films for a minute
7. apologize for 'New World'
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Hip-Hop Familia

-Just a heads up. I have a Hip-Hop family. I watchedMiles Boogie last night while his mom went to Wingate Park to wait for LL to take his shirt off.

Netflix Winner: "Running Scared"
popped that in once the little big man signed off. Dope.
Paul Walker was not the most believable gangster, but it worked.
Classic example of how good movies get pushed down the Long Tail. I don't remember any significant marketing campaign for this flick. If it weren't for Netflix and its reccomendations I would have never peeped it.

Netflix Dud: "New World"
Don't waste your time.
This just in, Colin Farell is wack. And that movie has the effect of two Jack and Cokes and a perc. Except you get no buzz

News (reprinted courtesy of The Bodega)

-Google Inc. has reached a deal with the owner of MySpace to pay at least $900 million in shared advertising revenue and become the exclusive search provider for the popular online hangout. The deal means News Corp. will have paid off the bulk of what it spent last year to acquire MySpace. The alliance of Rupert and the Google boys have squashed any rumors of News Corp acquiring YouTube. More than likely News Corp will work with Google Video to exploit its deep catalog. The question now is who will be the next suitor for the uber popular You Tube

-Viacom is set to buy social networking site, Bebo. The acquisition would represent the latest attempt by Viacom to regain ground in the social networking and user-generated content realm. Viacom lost out in a bidding war last year for MySpace, now the world's leading social networking site, when News Corp. paid $580 million for the young company. As you can see from recent news items there is a tremendous interest from traditional media giants to link up with more grassroots sites. Apparently the big boys have realized their business model needs a re-tooling and the money being put on the table is staggering. Vaguely reminiscent of the gold rush of the late 90’s.

-Tonight halcyon, "The best f***ing record store in North America" is sponsoring a gallery reception for San Francisco artist Duser and his “Something Missing” show. The former graf artist has developed a cult following for his unique, socially conscious multi media exploration. For more info Duser check www.dusermania.com . Suds provided by our friends at The Brooklyn Brewery. In other halcyon news, the DUMBO record store long known for its eclectic Hip and Soul selection will be producing weekly Friday Hip-Hop Happy Hours at their store starting in September. The events will be executed with the help of your friends at Brooklyn Bodega as well as The Brooklyn brewery.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Melo, far left, "...and that's how you take a team to schoozoool!"

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  • So the US got their revenge on Puerto Rico. Word
  • I am late I just heard about what Mel Gibson said when he got bagged for DUI. I guess people were right when Passion Of The Christ. I didn’t think it was anymore anti-Semitic than the actual story, but evidently Mad Max has a problem with the yarmulke
  • The attacks on Clinton, his annoying demeanor, and his stance on the war have Joe Lieberman on the ropes. I never liked that dude. Always seemed like a phony. The Democratic Party is a mess. That’s why the kid is a registered Independent
  • I am all about the Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Same writer and director of Anchorman. Nuff said
  • Wasn’t this story on the Bodega on Tuesday? What does label guy mean?
    All news stories must wait till allhiphop week is over. If you haven’t noticed

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - Mecca And The Soul Brother

perhaps the greatest Hip-Hop master piece of all time. The original, not this remix.

peep CL with the baldy

Jazz And Buggin Out

look closely and you can see this was shot by the Tobacco Warehouse.

Diamond D - What U Heard

I never saw this before!!

Zhigge - Toss It Up

one of the best groups that never was. Kanye and every preppy rapper owes them a check for their trailblazing. Anyone from uptown feels me

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

janet is still fine
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Locker Room Etiquette

This week’s two cents has to deal with male on male behavior.
Now before you get excited about me outing all the gay rappers I am talking about locker room and men’s room behavior.

There is this guy at the gym I go to who unfortunately is on the same morning schedule as I am. I see him on the cardio machines and the weights and it’s all good. It goes bad when we hit the locker room. After a workout I like a ‘schmutz’ (steam) to get my mind right and sweat out the toxins before I hit the office. A steez I inherited from my pops.

Anyway, as anyone who hits the gym knows there are some people who just don’t know how to act.
People who try to have convos while standing in the buff.
Dudes who take up too much space while they get dressed.
Idiots who talk mad loud on the phone as if we all care about the deal you are about to close, or the color of your wife’s new hat.
There is this one dude who sings in the shower, but he has this crazy opera voice that makes us all laugh.

Then there is this one dude who drives me nuts. He may be the rudest cat I have ever met. He loves to come into the steam room and make these strange animal noises that are quite nauseating. Dude is sitting there (sans towel and avec enormous beer belly. Bigger than mine) blowing his noise on his hand and hocking up lugies. Thankfully he doesn’t drop then in the steam room, but what he does is walk out to the bathroom every 30 seconds to spit and clean up. Lets all the steam out and comes back and does it again.

But what is really nasty is that no matter how many people are in the steam room he loves to sit too damn close to me. And then he puts shampoo and soap all over himself and freaking lathers up. So while I am trying to get my meditation on, this prick is mixing ‘head and shoulders’ with his own nasty sweat. And it makes noises that make me want to stop writing or thinking right now. And he is one of those dudes who rolls like he is the only one in the room. Give him and the gas face and returns with a blank look and hocks a lugie.

One of these days I am just gonna snuff him by the elliptical machine and tell him to hit the gym after work because if I see him again I am gonna lock his nasty ass in the sauna and throw away the key.

Now on less pissed of note I ask what is the protocol in the men’s room.
Can you talk at the urinal?
What do you do when you are in the stall ‘dropping off the kids’ and you come out and your boy was in the stall next to you doing the same.
Do we congratulate each other?
How long should you shoot the shit in the men’s room? 2 minutes? 5?
Is it cool to walk out of the office with a magazine in your pocket because you know you are gonna be a while?
Help a brother out

It seems like women don’t have this problem. The women’s room appears to be some sort of lounge where drinks are served.
Women’s protocol also seems to be clear. They can roll together and groom each other without a second thought.

But you know, what are you gonna do?
That just my two cents

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

took the brooklyn admirals, a youth lacrosse team I help coach to West Point on Saturday

Ant Live, triple A, and Kenny Dope

Miles playing with a cannon

the team in white and green whooped our butts

a sphinx gauarding a mosoleum
her breasts were asked to be reduced by Army brass

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Even harder to post these days as I am writing the News section for the Bodega. So when I get real lazy I will re-post my news tidbits here with some more commentary.


-Fidel Castro has temporarily relinquished power to his brother Raul. The Cuban leader had surgery on his gastro-intestinal tract and is reportedly recovering. Reports from Havana have Cuban ex-pats dancing in the streets. Unconfirmed rumors say the leader of the Cuban Revolution has already passed away. For more info click here

Saying brother Fidel passed away already is kind of fucked. But so is getting kicked out of your country.
Raul looks like he may not have long left either.

-Common’s follow up to the much lauded ‘BE’ is tentatively scheduled for a 4th quarter release. This summer Common was adamant in talking to Bodega reporters that his new record would hit stores in 2006. No word on if Kanye West will return as executive producer although he will be providing several beats.

Way too soon, Lonnie, way too soon. Please stop with these rapid fire albums. Let them marinate. Go on tour. Have a baby. We'll be here when you are ready

-Common’s brother-in-arms Mos Def is also prepping a new opus. September 13th is the street date for Mos’s next album. His most recent solo album, ‘The New Danger’ received a mixed reaction from his fans, yet sold extremely well. Label sources say Mos will do no interviews, no press, release no singles, and shoot no videos for the new album

A marketers dream. Thanks Mos.
But that 'New Danger' joint moved some nice units

-A Tribe Called Quest is reuniting for a short run to support the NBA 2K7 video game. The NBA 2K7/Bounce Tour will hit Vegas, Atlantic, City, New York, D.C. and several other major markets. For more info visit MTV

Dope. We tried to pull this tour off last year. Hats off to Decon