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

Monday, October 30, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

The Sacrifice Fly

Had an interesting meeting with Greg on Friday. One of those strategy meetings where you discuss big ideas and get all charged.

In the midst of my rambling we started talking about baseball. Specifically how failure is revered in baseball. How earning an out can be just as celebrated as a home run. But according to the rules you are not supposed to get out. The point is to hit the ball and get on base. But at times that can be the worst thing you can do.

This all came from watching the World Series last week and a dude from Detroit was on second base and the next batter hit a sac fly that moved the runner to third. When the cat who hit the sac fly went back to the clubhouse he was high fived like Barry after a dinger. (for non baseball fans or people who hate sports analogies. The sacrifice fly put the runner on 2nd in better scoring position in a 2 run game. They chose to take the out in order to increase the odds of the runner on base scoring.)

That triggered one of my tirades about how baseball was wack because failure was encouraged. But after talking to a real baseball fan, Greg, I got a new perspective.

Sometimes hitting the metaphorical home run in baseball, football, basketball or business is the last thing you want to do. Don't tell your pitcher to swing away because that's not what he's built for. Have him bunt and get on base so when your big hitter gets up he can hot a 2 run shot instead of a glory run just for himself. That's better for the team.

In football, don't score that td and give Peyton Manning 2 minutes on the clock. Sacrifice the points and kick a field goal with 10 seconds left. The margin of victory may be smaller and stats may not be as impressive but it assures a win for the team.

Don't shoot the wide open 3 with 20 seconds on the clock. Sometimes the drive and foul as the shot clock winds down is better even if you miss one free throw.

That hit record out the box is sometimes not as good as the regional hat that escalates into a platinum album 5 years later.
Ask Cisqo if he wants to take the Thong Song back. That song was probably the best and worst thing he ever did for his career. A hit can raise expectations and invite criticism prematurely. Very few can build or repeat that smash record. Outkast, Jay, 50, Tribe. And many have reached initial heights and spent the rest of their career trying to return. Vanilla Ice, Skee-Lo (remember him), MC Shan, Hammer (in a sense), Pharcyde (even though I think they have made many songs better than ‘Passing Me By’ they have never had a hit like that. But then again they probably don’t care. Bad example), Young MC and on and on.

Trying to build three businesses at once even if you have the funding may not be as beneficial as taking a 1/4 of the funding and building one business. Trying to build all three businesses will spread you too thin and cause them all to fail.

Sacrifice and perceived failure may be the best ally you have.
Take the losses when they benefit the greater good.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lupe responds

I actually thinks it's pretty cool Lupe responded.

It is true! more people than my father, the ians, james and my hater read this thing

Friday, October 27, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

The Dilla party is going to be great

As you may have read on the Bodega because of layout issues we had to cut some works from our J Dilla annotation for the jam on November 1st.

So here is the complete annotation as written by myself, Jake, James, and Roni


De La Soul – “Stakes is High”, Stakes Is High
“Stakes” marks the first time Jay Dee worked with a Native Tongue group outside of Tribe, and return of De La post Buhloone Mind State and the first time their production was not handled by Prince Paul. Dilla was not known outside industry circles and it took a close read of the credits to see who crafted this masterpiece. “Stakes” also shows the diversity of the Dilla sound. Gone is the minimalist sound of Slum Village. It is replaced with a truly unique sample and a haunting bass line.

A Tribe Called Quest – “1nce again”, Beats, Rhymes, & Life
The first single off ATCQ’s Beats, Rhymes, & Life, this track defined a summer. The drums thumped but the melody was passive, something only Dilla could pull off. The purposeful slackness to them, the swing in each one seemed to make the beat more efficient, more hitting. And also made the emcees shine. Just ask Q-Tip and Phife.

Tribe Called Quest – “Get A Hold”, Beats, Rhymes, & Life
One day in history when it will be mandatory to study hip-hop in the educational curriculum’s worldwide, the section featuring A Tribe Called Quest will be broken down into two time periods: A Pre-Jay-Dee Period and Post-Jay-Dee Period. “Get A Hold” is from the Tribe album Beats, Rhymes And Life is the beginning of the alliance between Jay-Dee and Ali-Shaheed under the moniker of the Ummah where Jay-Dee led the charge.

Janet Jackson - Got Till It’s Gone, Velvet Rope
The one thing that thing that became consistent with Dilla and his music was the fact that he was consistently changing. His ability to keep it fresh and appealing is exactly why he is revered as one of the all-time greats. Just when you thought his style could be defined, he would totally go left with it. A prime example of this was when he scored Janet Jackson’s “Got Till It’s Gone.” Many thought Q-Tip produced this track, and was a mistake that would happen much throughout Dilla’s career.

A Tribe Called Quest – “4 Moms”, The Love Movement
While this instrumental track was surely a sign of things to come in what would soon be known as “The Neo-Soul Movement”, Dilla’s later work would reveal that this smoothed out pre-soulquarian sound was only one side of his musical inspiration. Still, his rhythmic sensibility is on full display here as always, with a butter guitar solo, and rolling percussion. Much more polished than the raw edge of later works Donuts or The Shining.

The Roots – “DYNAMITE!” Things Fall Apart
A standout from what many consider to be The Roots most fully realized album, DYNAMITE! was the first straight ahead Dilla produced Roots track. Questlove made it a point to gush over Dilla’s unique brand of music, warning “just remember one thing; the creator of this track is from one of the most creative crews to ever enter into the world of hip-hop.” He goes on to detail the painstaking lengths taken to recreate the track live, as it was originally programmed drums over that sweet guitar loop.

Q-Tip - Vivrant Thing, Amplified
“Vivrant Thing” was the Q-Tip’s first solo record post Tribe. There was a lot riding on this record and Jay-Dee delivered. “Vivrant Thing” was one of the biggest crossover records of the year. It solidified Q-tip as a legit solo artist. The single also catapulted Q-Tip from member of a ground breaking hip-hop group, to Q-Tip the performer, one who could be recognized as his own entity.

D’Angelo - Voodoo
Although not specifically credited, Dilla was a huge, huge influence on this album. You can hear it in every lazy rim shot, clean ride, and layered snap. Everyone wanted the sound of this LP after it dropped. It shaped popular music for at least the next three to four years. As big as this album was, it partly was due to Dilla playing the background.

Common – “Heat”, Like Water For Chocolate
Serving as the first track on Common’s seminal Like Water For Chocolate album “Heat” sets a definite tone for the LP. Com goes in hard over Dilla’s thumping track, obviously infused with the African rhythms of Afro-Beat Pioneer, Fela Kuti. This track is a precursor to Dilla’s more Fela influenced beats, more akin to the stuff on D’angelo’s Voodoo than anything from say, his Fantastic Vol. 2 work. Also a glimpse of what would come to be the monumental “F--- The Police”.

Slum Village & Common – “Thelonious”, Like Water For Chocolate

A great track off a great album. The production is flawless: cut piano stabs over drums for the gutter of your mind. Just grimy and perfectly dirty. The track seemed to come at just the right time in the album, just after another set of time traveling, after a Film Called (Pimp). The pace quickened, and intense, sharp lyrics were reintroduced. In short, your attention was captured once again. Plus, Dilla’s verse on this was one of the shining moments on the album (“...look like King Kong shook it…”).

J-88 – “Look of Love Part 1”, Best Kept Secret
J-88 aka Slum Village released the phenomenal Best Kept Secret EP on German label Groove Attack. For many, this was their first taste of Dilla and SV as “Look of Love” was the lead single off of Groove Attack’s groundbreaking Superrapin’ compilation. “Look” was the harbinger of the non-Ummah Jay Dee sound that would define SV, Frank N Dank as well as Dilla’s solo work. Lazy hooks, effortless rhymes, kick drums that shake your eardrum, and simple yet powerful drum patterns. The remix “Pt.2” by Madlib marked the first collaboration between the two producers who would later form Jaylib.

Slum Village – “I Don’t Know”, Fantastic vol.2
Taken from the original, Fantastic Vol.1 and showcases one of Jay-Dee’s strongest attributes as a prolific beat maker - the unique ability to take a sample or loop that has already been used and absolutely flip it and make it his own. In this case he uses James Brown, and separates this joint from all others is Jay-Dee’s presence of mind to take something you heard before, and make it sound brand new. If you want to know what Jay-Dee’s music sounds like, this is it.

Slum Village – “Fall In Love”, Fantastic vol.2
The very instant the drums hit, you know this song is going to be lush. From the classic Fantastic, Vol. 2, “Fall In Love” was my personal favorite Jay Dee track for a very long time. A perfect example of Dilla’s incredible ear for samples, utilizing a soft Gap Mangione song, “Diana In The Autumn Wind”, and a signature drum pattern that is unmistakably Dilla defined. The hook is infectious, and the verses laid down by T3 and Baatin are among my most favorite ever. “F--- this rap sh—I listen to classical” Maybe I’m biased as I’ve always loved SV, but it’s a crime how underrated they were as MC’s, always adding a layer to Jay’s thick rhythms.

Fantastic – Untitled – Slum Village, Fantastic vol.2
Arguably the best SV song taken from their classic album “Fantastic Vol.2.” This is the SV sound. The Dilla sound that so many artists have copied. That overpowering snare that defined the Ummah. The way Dilla pulls the beat out on Baatin’s verse and the beginning of his own is a masterful combination classic DJ technique and innovative production. T3, Baatin, and Dilla spit their rhymes like Mingus played the bass. Completely in the pocket and perfectly mixed within the composition. Simply, a piece of art.

Pharcyde – “Runnin”, Labcabincalifornia
Another Dilla hit before many knew who he was. “Runnin’” helped The Pharcyde transition from eccentric LA skaters to respected MC’s. This was a new mature sound for the quartet when many were looking for “Passing Me By” part 2. This track would not have worked for Tribe, De La, Common or any of Dilla’s usual cast of characters. The horn samples compliment Slim Kid Tre perfectly and the RUN DMC scratches are simply perfect. Instead of hi hats Dilla used shakers to keep the track moving, an innovative use of percussion which would become one of his trademarks.

Jay Dee – “Fuck The Police” 12 inch
Two words: Underground Classic. When this 12” was released in 2001, it was everywhere. The DJ that spun at your local venue while you waited for the main act to grace the stage played it; your friends had it; you bought the vinyl for that first bar of open, Dilla-crispy drums. Released only as a single it received nods from both the streets and the backpacker-ridden basements - something Dilla seemed to achieve with ease. Also, the sampling of the obscure library record for the catchy hook helped turned this single into a quiet hit. A lot of people use and have used library records, and have made great songs, but Dilla made an anthem with this track.

J-Dilla – “Make Em’ NV”, Ruff Draft
“Make Em’ NV” can be found on the 2003 release, Ruff Draft. The LP is one of those rare, obscure, hard to find joints but nevertheless a very significant album. This particular track uses the same lyrics at the end from Madlib’s “Ice.” Ruff Draft marks the first reference to the outside world of Jay and Madlib’s group, Jaylib. “Make Em’ NV” also marks one of the first times Jay-Dee begins to refer to himself as J-Dilla. This is the last album credited as being done by Jay-Dee before switching to J-Dilla.

McNasty Filth – Jaylib, Champion Sound
“We are in this motherfucker!” One thing I regret about Dilla’s passing is that there will not be another Jaylib album. The pairing of Dilla and Madlib produced one of the few albums in the past 5 years that actually pushed independent Hip-Hop forward creatively. When it is all said and done this will be our Coltrane and Monk collaboration. “McNasty” displays not only Dilla as an MC who can translate his style over another composer beats but also long time collaborators Frank N Dank.

Dilla – Donuts
Officially released just three days prior to Jay’s untimely death, Donuts transformed into a sort of impromptu swan song for the prolific artist and producer – his last collection of works completely his own. Reflecting the raw aesthetic of collaborative efforts with fellow producer Madlib, Donuts was much more disjointed and aggressive than Jay’s earlier work with Amp Fiddler, The Ummah, or The Soulquarians. Short, sample heavy tracks with layers of eerie vocal snippets created an over-all effect, revealing a more menacing side to Dilla’s sonic canon. Donuts is a beautiful example of the constantly developing talent that Jay Dee possessed - always changing, and consistently challenging.

J-Dilla – “Won’t Do”
Dilla’s synth work might get swept under the rug in time, but this track refuses to let you sweep away at it. The man had such talent on the keys, enough to produce certified bangers like this one. The drum’s texture and swing are, per usual, amazing and Dilla’s verses are full of his signature-swagger (lines like, “I paid for it like the mics in the Source.”), making this worthy of a Dilla Classic label. Also, unfortunately, it might be one of the last “new” tracks we’ll ever hear him on. And, of course, he shined.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Good TV

Is it me or is TV better these days?

Shows worth watching
The Wire
Friday Night Lights
Around The Horn
The McLaughlin Group
Countdown with Keith Oberman
HBO On Demand
Alton Brown
The Bridge
MSG Vault
ESPN Classic – “10 Reasons you can’t blame Bill Buckner…”
BETJ – for the reruns of Donnie Simpson
Old School Hip-Hop Music Choice channel

TV that needs to go
Flavor Of Love – I love you Flav, but enough already
Michael Irvin on ESPN
Rachel Ray
Lou Dobbs
Cribs – is that even still on?
Spike TV

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

Stetsasonic "In Full Gear"

The Roots have always wallowed in the moniker of being the Hip-Hop band. They have done this with a certain amount of arrogance and condescension as well as superior artistry. The truth is that regardless of the instruments they are a better outfit than most. Particularly because Black Thought is one the nicest MC’s in the game and Questlove is the quintessential Hip-Hop nerd. They are good, even great, but let’s be clear they are not the first Hip-Hop band. That distinction goes to Wise, Daddy-O, Frukwan, Prince Paul, DBC, Bobby Simmons, and Deelite. Stetsasonic.

Stet was formed in 1981 and dropped their first album On Fire in 1986 and the follow up In Full Gear in 1988. The years they decided to release these two albums have a lot to do why Stet is one of the most underappreciated groups in Hip-Hop. ’86 and ’88 were huge years for Hip-Hop. The summer of ’86 was of course the mythical changing of the guard. We moved from Run, Whodini, and Kool Moe Dee to Rakim, Kool G Rap, and Boogie Down Productions. Simple rhyme patterns and coordinated outfits gave way to Dapper Dan suits and lesson from the Nation of Gods and Earths. And during this time is when Tommy Boy introduced Stet to the world.

In many ways Stet was the transition between the Run DMC era and the Rakim era. They had matching outfits and old school rhyme styles, but from the first time you heard ‘Go Stetsa’ you know there was something different about these dudes. It may hard to believe now, but in the 80’s Daddy-O was considered one of the nicest MC’s out and he was. His slightly nasal flow and fluid rhyme style was the envy of all aspiring MC’s. And the drums from the aforementioned and often sampled ‘Go Stetsa’ to the simple DBC beat box on ‘Faye’ were on another level.

On Fire received some attention but it wasn’t until In Full Gear dropped in 1988 that Stetsasonic really claimed their place in Hip-Hop history. While On Fire was cool (no pun intended) and Red Alert played it, In Full Gear had hits. Produced by the DJ and youngest member of Stet, Paul Houston aka Prince Paul, “Sally” and “Talkin All That Jazz” were bona fide smashes. In those songs you can hear the rich sample and layering that has become identified with Prince Paul. Combined with the old school flow of Deelite, Frukwan, and Daddy-O Stet was truly something different. They were a band. Not a band in that they had two percussionists, bongos, and an oboe but because their sound moved as one.

With Daddy-O leading the way, the four MC’s flowed in and out of each other like Cold Crush. Listening now to DBC on the beat box begs the question how come there are no more beat boxers in crews anymore. Bobby Simmons on the drums was the first ?uestlove. And with Paul and Daddy-O directing the music Stet was something you were not.

The timeless hit was “Talkin…” which was inspired by R&B artists Mtume’s tirade against sampling on WBLS in New York. Mtume was a great writer but was most known for his hit ‘Juicy Fruit’ which ironically was sampled by Biggie for ‘Juicy’ several years after his attack. Daddy-O called into the show and engaged Mtume in an ideological debate about sampling. For many, including my pops, this was the first time they had heard a Hip-Hop artists speak intelligently about his art and hold his own with a respected icon. Daddy-O became our spokesman and a star. To follow up this egghead episode with a track that was banging in headphones, the street, and the clubs pushed In Full Gear sales into the six figures.

Unfortunately In Full Gear was overshadowed by another Tommy Boy release. “Plug Tunin” dropped in ’88 to be followed by the classic “3 Feet High and Rising.” In an ill twist of fate De La Soul was developed by Stet’s own Prince Paul out of a sense of frustration. After “On Fire” Paul wanted to stretch his creative legs but was rebuffed by Daddy-O. Rather than become bitter Paul played his part in the band and began to work with the kids from Amityville on the side. The rest as the say est l’histoire.

Regardless of its timing In Full Gear is one of the best Hip-Hop records ever to be released. Outside of the hits there was “DBC Let The Music Play’ which used the sample that made Kid N Play’s “My Way” a novelty hit. My favorite was “Musically for the Stetfully Insane” and “Rollin With Rush” which were the harbingers for some of Paul’s quirkier pieces. On ‘Pen and Paper’ and “Stet Troop” ’88.” Daddy-O shines and shows why he could hang with most MC’s in the late 80’s, even the legends.

Stetsasonic released one more record after “In Full Gear”, the lukewarm “Blood, Sweat, and No Tears.” Then the crew went their separate ways. Some with more success than others, but if nothing they will always take pride in the record they release in 1988.

Monday, October 23, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 20, 2006

"my dog worked at taco bell hooked us up plural / fired a week later / manager count the chirros / I can't believe when I look up in the mirror how we up in Europe spending Euros
 Posted by Picasa

Confucius say...

So I lost my phone this morning and some Good Samaritan turned it into the Sprint store. And renewed my faith in the people of Brooklyn. Thank you, whoever you are.

On the way back from Montague a thought hit me randomly.

Over the years I have seen and had so many ideas stolen. And I have 'borrowed' a few here and there.

A couple of years ago we tried to bite the Cornerstone mixtape. We produced something called 'The Combo Platter' for a while. Then soon after our competition bit our bite. A few years later and the only one standing is the Cornerstone mixtape. Our attempt fizzled out after 4 or 5 mixtapes (that were actually cd's, but whatever).

A mixtape was a great idea and Cornerstone made it look easy. And therein lies the lesson. Making it look easy is the antithesis of being easy.
Those not as skilled are easily seduced by this mirage.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

pics from EPMD show

E Dub and P double with Crazy Drayz in the middle
diggity Das came out

Erick and Parrish Making Dollars
it was sold out so they did make dollars

You can't tell but that is Reggie Noblein the middle

and this is from powerHouse and that is the lovely MC Lyte
what is her real name? anybody know?
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

The Ankh will set you free

Quick and Random Notes Honors from Hip-Hop

Overall, it is a great thing they are doing so I will throw no stones, buuuut…..
Here and there production seemed a little sloppy. Ice T was good at times, but other times he was silly.
Who was the host last year? Maybe they should get a comedian.

But like I said how often do you see Lyte on national TV these days. Don’t hate.
Here are some random observations:


Bloomberg is the man. “You feeling these kicks?” and he gave Ice the ‘pound-hug’

Beastie Boy Section:
Tracie Morgan was pretty fun even though some people didn’t get his jokes
That new show “Totally Awesome” looks good
Q Tip’s haircut was dumb fresh. The “slope” as they used to say in Queens

Lyte Section
Lil Kim sounded pretty good dope and the jumpsuit with one leg up rooftop style was fresh
Is Lyte the best female MC? Good question. A strong case could be made

Rakim Section
What is the deal with Rakim’s leather outfit? A little much for the kid. But he does like that gangster look.
Remember the “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em” video?
Love the Gucci suits on Kweli and Thought. Those were money

Who is Black Ice?

Eazy E
Lil Eazy E sounded good
Slim Jeezy – that should be his new name
Where was Dr. Dre?

Russell Section
Luvbug in the house!!!!!
The set by Capri and Luvbug was ill
Sucks that Russell just sat there while they played Def Jam records
Funny how the Beastie’s were next to Russell. Didn’t they claim he stole ‘Licensed to Ill’ money from them?

Bam’s Section
Is it me or is KRS’s hair not growing, but what a public speaker he is. You have to listen when he speaks
George Clinton begat Bam who begat Andre 3000
The first part of the Bam performance sounded like noise
Fat Joe’s 40 Acres and A Mule jacket was money
That was the best performnce

Wu Tang Section
You heard when RZA saaid “Foundated”. That is not a word. I looked it up
Rae is still the man
Where was Starks?
Lil Jon is an idiot
Dope intro Wu segment where Kweli and them spit a linr
What did Masta Killa have on? He looked like a GQ paperboy
With all their hits I expected the Wu performance to be much better.
Felt like they ran out of time and had to squeeze in the promo for Ice’s wack new show

Final analysis: I am going to start carrying an Ankh staff like Bam. And I missed the Ice Cube section…not sure why?

Monday, October 16, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

David Letterman style

Ten Things that make running a label suck

1. Returns. And the damn reserve against returns. Got a room full of duds. No love for Tower Records going out of business
2. Selfish artists who think it’s everyone in the label’s job to be at their beck and call while they feel they can be late to every appointment with no consequences
3. Marketing budgets – the amount of money you have to spend just to get in the game is ridiculous
4. Distributors – they are the end of the line in terms of the process but wield an inordinate amount of power. And in a contracting business their accounting practices get stranger and stranger and it rarely benefits the label. Then they go bankrupt and hold your money
5. Unqualified staff who think that by watching videos and reading okayplayer make them qualified to execute a campaign. And what is worse is when it takes the boss too long to figure this out
6. Debating Hip-Hop with interlopers in various positions of power who don’t know who Common is
7. Writers who will give bad reviews and then refuse to have a discussion about their rationale
8. Independent promo companies who take your money and then blame you for their failures
9. Net 60 and 90 day terms. I understand why, but damn
10. Salespeople who don’t think sales is their responsibility

Ten Things that make you stay regardless

1. Artists that inspire you. MC’s, producers, engineers, graphic designers, illustrators etc...
2. Found money. Licensing music to TV, Film, and video games. Nothing better than getting a phone call saying, “The Wire is interested…”
3. Helping a young hungry cat go from an intern to a VP
4. Artwork. With all the covers you obsess as a kid it is the best to work on creating your own
5. Writing credits and liner notes
6. Having people around the world recognize your logo
7. Touring. Although I can only last 5 days before I am exhausted
8. Seeing your joints in the store and then seeing a customer bring it to the register
9. The end of the net 60 or 90 and the check finally comes
10. Doing what you love

Saturday, October 14, 2006

An Office Linebacker coming to an office near you

It's my b-day and I got the day to myself. What do I do? YouTube it.

peanut and butter jelly time

Let's start here.

Brian doing the Peanut Butter Jelly Time

I love Brian, the racist talking dog

Family Guy-Peanut Butter Jelly

this is the best for all my Family Guy fans

Thursday, October 12, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

Make Sure You're Game is Tight

I have been wanting to write about Lupe Fiasco’s journey since I saw him at the Ecko ‘Save The Rhino’ jam. And the quote from Ian’s blog finally gave me the motivation. I have also wanted to comment on Little Brother’s Titerniagate. And the final piece of this post is the leak of the new Jigga track.

What ties these together? “Know Thy Audience’
Jay Z knows his audience with unprecedented accuracy.
Little Brother and Lupe better learn…quick.

Let’s start with Lupe. When he showed up to the Ecko jam without a DJ and had my man Neil Nice from Ecko spin for him I saw a big red flag. How do you have a monster record like “Kick, Push” and play one of the biggest venues in NYC without a DJ. Now maybe his DJ missed his flight or just got fired. I honestly don’t know and don’t like to throw stones, but regardless I thought it was a bad look. Then he performed and was underwhelming. I, like many others came to see Lupe more than the god, Rakim and put high expectations on his show. And that is when it first struck me that we may be building Lupe up for a fall.

After the Ecko show we did some interviews with him for the Festival and his interview game was also lacking. One word answers and overall uninspiring. Then he came to the Festival and delivered another ill received performance. After that I knew the underground was about to get him.

My theory on Lupe is that after the MTV debut of the ‘Touch The Sky’ video his project was rushed. Not so much rushed by Atlantic (you know I don’t do record label hating) but rushed by the public. We wanted him. And we wanted him now. We wanted our savior. We wanted Kanye’s heir. Why? Because there hasn’t been a real star in our world since Black Star. There was Little Brother and we will get to them later. We needed a new leader and after one verse and a video we crowned Lupe.

But I am not sure we ever asked Lupe if he wanted the job or asked if he was ready to take it. So what happened was we pushed him into the spotlight too soon. The result was boring interviews and ill prepared stage shows. And just like that the Hip-Hop police tossed him aside and now await their next victim.

And he didn’t help either. I don’t think he ever knew what he was getting into. He never took the time to assess the situation. He should have realized what people expected from him and either deliver or re-position himself. If he didn’t want to be the new prince he should have made that known and then tell us clearly what he did want. And then do it. Instead he let us put him in a box that didn’t fit. So when he says things like, “I don’t know one Tribe song by heart” we look at him like he has three heads. ‘Who is this impostor? Off with his head.’

Is it fair? Absolutely not, but as they say ‘it is what it is.’ Whether you agree or not you must at least understand that axiom. So now I shudder as I see the dream of Lupe silently fall apart. He was on MTV2’s My Block Chicago essentially pissing on all his demographics. To the skaters he looked like an interloper. To the ‘hood he looked like a deserter and to the idealists he looked apathetic. What is he? I am not sure. I know he has skills and brings something different to the game that we can all sense. I hope that he sorts it out before we kill another one of our own.

I get to Jigga and LB another time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

that's like 500 milion Frosty's a piece...
before taxes
 Posted by Picasa

You Tube deal thoughts

As soon as the news broke that Google was working on the purchase of YouTube, a deal that has since been consummated, pundits on MSNBC and CNN began to discuss YouTube’s copyright infringement issues. In taking a page from The Long Tail I must say they just don’t get it. While Universal and Doug Morris may want to go on the offensive against YouTube (a position that has also softened since I started writing this piece) most copyright owners love YouTube.

Maybe not the Top 10 copyright owners in the world, but the remaining 1 billion have no problem with the relatively young website. Just take a look at YouTube’s deck. Much of the content up there is self published. Stupid little clips of the family trip to Niagara Falls, high school football reels, white girls proving they can ‘drop it like it’s hot’ (whatever that means), and montages of expectant mother’s gestation period. [author’s note: the aforementioned pieces are enjoyed by the writer’s son and the writer respectively] But let us also not sugar coat this; the rest is blatant copyright infringement. Whether it be unlicensed postings of Stones Throw videos or unlicensed music for the silly videos. It is infringement in the purest sense of the word.

But what Doug Morris and MSNBC don’t know is what it’s like to be at the end of the Long Tail. When no one cares or knows about your copyright. We say infringe away, please. Take it. Blog it. Whatever you want. Because I need my voice heard by any means. And those entrepreneurs are so use to living on the edge of the marketplace that they have created other hustles that go beyond their copyrights.

To use my favorite label Stones Throw as an example, I don’t think Wolf or Egon care how many times I watched the Oh No “Move Pt.2” video. They know the more times I watch the video the more likely I am to come see Oh No and the rest of the family in November. And the faster they sell out BB King’s the higher the guarantee will be on the next run. The more views of the Lord Quas video means higher merch sales. And so on and so on. The impressions from YouTube stimulate easily controlled and monitored revenue streams.

I equate this argument to a conversation I had with an artist I used to manage regarding his publishing. He was so concerned about ‘keeping his publishing’ as was and is all the rage. He had over 100 published songs and a countless number of joints in various stages of development. And he was dead set on owning his publishing as well as administering it. I told him he was like a mechanic who could build, fix and warehouse a fleet of cars but did not want to open up a garage, a car service, or a car lot. If you can build a car a day why hold onto each car? Let it go. Sell it. And if it’s stolen, no big deal. Build another. As long as you have that skill you will always be in good shape. Now that does mean you don’t lock the cars up at night, but clearly you want people to see your craftsmanship and go on to build your reputation. Then the market will come to you.

This is what YouTube has latched onto. And even the big boys realize that eyeballs on their content is all that really matters. Not attaching a transaction to each impression. Not only is that ultimately ineffective but actually cost prohibitive and damaging to the brand.

Ask NBC if they would rather have 1 million hits on the “Studio 60” trailer or a million dollars. A million dollars is a lot of money but a million YouTube hits in the right hands means 10’s of millions in other revenue, primarily advertising.

You Tube’s copyright issues will be of no consequence. Indie filmmakers and frat boys will gladly sign off on the rights. And with a 5% success rate for new shows the networks will gladly use Google funded and affiliated YouTube to test out a new pilot in hopes of finding the next Lost, 24, Nip/Tuck or Desperate Housewives.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

busy week - sheesh!
Please come out to these events at the end of the month
 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Joe Crack writing for A song on The Game New album

I am not a big Joe Crack fan, but this is dope. Joe is a real hip-hop dude despite the decisions he makes. Anyone who has been around real MC's knows this scene is real

Friday, October 06, 2006

Another hectic day. Check this out on Tuesday
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mos Def ft Talib Kweli & Common - Respiration

part of this joint was shot in front of my old crib in the Stuy.

Randomly, I think Kweli's best verse in years is on The Roots "Roolin With Heat"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

completely un related.
pics from the WIRED Next Fest, which wasn't as good as I had hoped

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

don't miss that 7:40 bus

There are some days when I know why people move out of this damn city. Like my man Q who just bounced to Lawrenceville, NJ.
And today is one of them.
Riding the bus with Miles in the morning is like visiting the nasty underbelly of Brooklyn. Sometimes.
Like when I am late and have to ride the 8 o’clock bus with the people so pissed off that they don’t give up seats to pregnant women or dashing young fathers with their children.

I think these people need to be slapped. And these are young kids who lord knows need the f ***ing exercise.
This morning Miles and I had to squeeze into the middle seat of the first row. You know where the elderly and handicapped are supposed to sit. This wide bodied teenager had to nerve to cut her eyes at us when we sat down. And suck her teeth. Party people it took all my restraint not to cuss her out right there. Lucky for her, Boogie was with me and I held my tongue. I did throw a few verbal jabs before we settled in.

I was always taught that babies, old ladies, and pregnant get the seat. Not with this hood rat. And it didn’t help that she took up a seat and a half in the first place. Now I am no small table and I don’t approve of obesity jokes but come on. Don’t get mad at me.

Luckily she moved her nasty ass two rows back and Miles and I had a nice convo with the grandma to our right.

Brooklyn is still grimy – don’t forget

But it is a good day and my boy is getting smarter each day. These clowns can’t bring me down.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

prince paul the ebony chief at bb king's
don't front

and quietly Stetsasonic was one of the best outfits of all time. That will be the next illy old school review.
 Posted by Picasa

The Holiday on Monday got me off schedule

A couple of albums have dropped recently that have gotten my wheels turning. Not because of the awesomeness of the music, but on the business tip.

The Roots 'Game Theory' and Lupe's 'Food and Liquor'. 2 underground faves on major labels trying to make the jump to the top of the Long Tail graph. And from what I can tell they haven't made it.

I had a big post in mind that will be continued tomorrow. Got to start getting up earlier.

Thanks for the love on the Paid In Full and Mecca reviews. Those and other goodies can be seen on the good www.brooklynbodega.com