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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Midnight Madness

As I write this I am catching up on my Hip-Hop ignorance aka watching MTV “Sucker Free.” I saw Jim Jones, Jeezy, Jibbs and Clipse – hooray!

So Jim Jones is running things, huh? Wow.
I can’t believe that video is for real. Why do people count money in videos?
I mean I know why, but really why? What would you do if that ever happened in real life? Even I might rob a dude and go buy some pampers.
And I still can’t get over your man doing push ups with a chick on his back. But hey, who am I to throw stones. We all remember the ‘Don’t Sweat The Technique” video; even the god Rakim had his trifling video.

Regardless of what I think of the Dip Set catalogue I do respect their grassroots appeal. There hasn’t been a New York crew since the Wu to have this type of ground level appeal. Roc A Fella had it but it wasn’t the same and plus Dip Set has 3 stars instead of the sole star of the Roc. One thing is for sure every kid on Fulton Street either looks like Jim Jones, Pharell or Jeezy. That’s got to be worth something

And I just realized that all those NFL players are emulating Jim Jones with the jump shot move. I am as out of touch as Sean Salisbury.

I get it – the Akon video is supposed to be ‘48 Hours’ I see said the blind man

What is the deal with this Rob & Big show on MTV? I kind of like it, but sometimes Rob plays Big like he is his big St Bernard puppy. Is that just me?
They were just doing the Kid N Play which was dope

I was supposed to write about the unwarranted ‘Kingdome Come’ backlash but got distracted. Next time

What’s the verdict on the Common GAP commercials? If it wasn’t Common I would have something very sarcastic to say

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

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Slum Village 'Vol.2'

Slum Village
“Fantastic – Vol.2”

Fox News and bloggers has destroyed one of the major tenets of journalism-objectivity. Reviews and editorials are more opinion pieces than anything else. That being said I shall now throw objectivity under the bus as I review one of my favorite albums Slum Village's 'Fantastic Vol. 2'

Where to begin? Rather than a Dilla fluff piece let's get right into the album.
Producer 88 Keys was the first to sing Slum's praises to me. As a producer for Mos Def, Black Star and later Beanie Siegel 88 was aware of Jay Dee's influence on a post fire Q Tip. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. The real gem as 88 told it was Slum Village.

This was 1999 and cassettes of what would be later known as Volume 1 were circulating around the most informed and connected circles. The neo Native Tongue crowd: Common, Mos, Geology, etc.

So when Barak Records released 'Vol.2' the masses were let in on the secret. And the secret was that this was the record that Tribe and Q Tip had been trying to make ever since 'Midnight Marauders.' This was the record that Common had been trying to make since he left NO ID, Dug Inf and his pre Kanye Chicago producers.
And to this day this is the record that the Little Brother’s are still trying to make.

The masterful soundscapes of James Yancey have been discussed ad nauseum since the brother left this world. So I won't waste ink on the driving bass lines, minimalist production, the boom bap drums, the still unique use of samples on 'I Don't Know'...wait I said I wasn't gonna do that.

Vocally, not since Leaders Of The New School had there been a group of MC's to exhibit Cold Crush like synergy. Jay Dee, Baatin and T3 were often vilified for the lyrical skill (or lack thereof). This was and still is an unfair criticism. No one will ever confuse them with Rakim or Ice Cube but those classic raw MC skills is not where their talent was. The effortless style and their ability to melt into Jay Dee's tracks is a skill that many MC's to this day lack. Dilla, Baatin and T3 were not the overpowering, tweaked out MC like Lil Jon. Nor did they have the awkward flow of a Game. They did not have the distant and dissonant sound of an El P/Def Jux clone. They had the 'in the pocket' flow of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. A flow I feel today from a T.I. or 50 (on a good day).

Listen to 'Tell Me' or ' Conant Gardens' or 'Climax' to get my point.

Their Detroit sensibility connected the coasts in a way even Tribe couldn't pull off. I have never enjoyed Kurrupt like I did on 'Forth and Back.' And on 'Thelonius' Slum connected with Common on some sort of Midwest vibe that ?uestlove could not tap into.

The arrangements on this album were equally brilliant in their simplicity. On 'Players' there is no hook. Just short vignettes connected by Dilla's vocals and that haunting vocal sample.
On the crown jewel, 'Untitled-Fantastic' there again is no hook, no bridge, and no refrain. Just one of the most beautiful compositions I have ever heard and three friends spitting lyrics.

'Get Dis Money' and 'Raise It Up' are tributes to the duality of our generation. The battle between post civil right middle class values and the connection to the underbelly of an urban existence. A friend of mine once dismissed The S as ignorant dudes over conscious beats. And that is it exactly although I resisted that label at first. Vol. 2 leaves you with a sense of enlightenment and progression but a closer examination reveal the same lust for money as a Puffy, the misogyny of a Three Six Mafia, and the gun play of an MOP. But somehow it works. It works because it's real. We agree with Al Gore but still want a Range. We are married but still love the strip club. We were raised in good homes but will still smack the sh&t out of someone.

On many levels this record is a masterpiece. And in my book Vol. 2 is the only addition to the club of undisputed classic since 'Illmatic'
(others in the club - Criminal Minded, Paid In Full, Nation of Millions, Three Feet High, People's Instinctive Travels. Honorable mentions Southernplayalistic, Doggy Style)

But what do I know?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

De La Soul - Stakes Is High

this video did not get enough play

De La Soul - The Magic Number

where did this come from?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Brand Nubian_feels so dood

wow I have never seen this before

God bless You Tube

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

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Michael Richards aka Kramer Apologizes on the Letterman Show

if those coomments don't make you a racist please let me know what does. I think a lynching reference should close that discussion

Kramer flips out

I know this is everwhere, but here it is again. I feel sorry for Kramer. He has some real demons he need to sort out.


- I still love Rhymefest - "dime bags ass n@@@s ain't large / when the Patriot Act come and hit they ass with a terrorist charge."

- Can't see myself watching too much Seinfeld anymore. Kramer - WTF?

- "Roll Bounce" was actually pretty good

-New Freddie Foxxx is off the hook. Primo, Alchemist, and Foxxx himself on the beats

Friday, November 17, 2006

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The Last Starfighter

Anyone with a pulse has borne witness to the ‘Kingdom Come’ marketing blitz. ESPN, TNT, Hot 97, XM and on and on like a Badu song.

As the owner of a marketing company I cannot help but be in awe of the stops they have pulled out. If there was ever a priority in a marketing meeting by gum this was it. But on the other hand I have to wonder why they are going so hard for an established brand like Jay. Does he really need this much of a manufactured push?
He is widely recognized as the best rapper on the planet. His sales history is as good as you could hope. He has gotten as much press in retirement as any current rapper could ever want.

But yet and still the Def Jam is running at full blast. Pourquoi?

Jay Z is the last starfighter. The last of his kind. The last old media superstar.
He is the only one who could pull together Budweiser, Dale Earnhardt, Cingular, and Clear Channel into a multimillion marketing plan.
He represents the last chance the old model can prove it is still relevant and effective.

Jay is the last cat (and the last one standing) to really become a superstar the way we used to do it (maybe Eminem, maybe Fiddy): Vinyl, commercial radio, MTV, payola and the fun stuff that prices out small operations.
Jay is not YouTube, Google or Myspace. And that is not where you feel the brunt of the “Kingdom Come” marketing push.

Regardless of what the bloggers say Jay’s sales numbers will be off the charts. The Hip-Hop intelligentsia and haters like Dip Set have been writing Jay’s death certificate since “Hard Knock Life.” He is impervious. Realize it.

And to ‘push-ups with a bird on my back’ Jim Jones – 100,000 is fantastic but Jay is gonna do a million. You may want to fight another battle. Right now you have a better chance of winning the war.

Jim Jones’ buzz is real. Organic. Not pre-packaged and predigested like Jay’s. And everyone not named S Dot should study Jim Jones, The Pack, and Hiero. That is the way it is gonna work from now on. Hot 97, Life Magazine, and MTV debuts are great but it is only going to work for the top of the Long Tail. For the rest of us the path to salvation is way down the graph. Mix tapes, mp3 leaks, and a deal with Koch.

“Kingdome Come” is the harbinger of the end of the music business. The last gasp of dinosaurs scared to death of the future. But in death there is birth. It will also be the birth of a new industry.
Marketing execs will attempt to duplicate the Kingdome Come campaign like A&R’s tried to duplicate Illmatic (huh? Another post – I promise). And they will fail miserably. And after losing millions of dollars in a contracting market the edict will come down. “FIGURE OUT A BETTER WAY OR YOU’RE FIRED.” These execs will then take a crash course in Web 2.0. Once they get it they will realize you don’t need acts like Jay Z to stay in business. It will always be nice, but not necessary. More niche acts will get deals and before they get a spot on The Budweiser Hot Seat they will have to generate 5 million hits on YouTube and amass 2 million Friends. BDS will matter less. MTV will matter less.

And then my friends it will be brave new world. At least for a while.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

BDP - You Must Learn

KRS One - Return Of The Boom Bap

KRS One - Outta Here

The best MC of all time

real post coming tomorrow

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover Awards

a few things that were better than expected or did not stink as bad as they told you

- Dukes of Hazzard movie. Outside of the embarassing explotation of Jessica Simpson. (Pimping out Daisy was funnier in the 80's) there were some funny scenes with Knoxville and Stifler.

-that movie with LL and Latifah. Saw it on a plane. It was pretty good.

-LL Cool J. He is a much better MC than his lip lickingm GOAT-not, persona would lead you to believe

-Freeway. He is or was not a C level Roc MC. On many levels he is quiye brilliant.

-Beyonce. for some pop R&B shizen she is the best.

-Starbucks. Yeah they are a coporate monster killing you for brown water but... I have a friend in the Rwandan embassy who say they do quite a bit for that region

- NY Subway system. These days it's better than driving

Sunday, November 12, 2006

ReMiX of words from the Lord Of The Rings

i am such a nerd

Thursday, November 09, 2006

RIP Brother Ed Bradley
the coolest and smartest cat in the room
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lo Lo Commercial

The current preppy trend in Hip-Hop can be traced back to the Lo Lifes and Zhigge

Rack - Lo - Strictly For The Eighties & Crazy Ass Lo-Life K

Zhigge - Toss It Up

I think I put this up a while back, but you can never have too much 'Toss It Up'

The Hip Hop Nazi

The recent yet brief back and forth with one Lupe Fiasco on my blog, the swift chancellor report, last week has had my wheels turning.

As much as I realize I am fast becoming an old man in this game. I do not believe it is time to turn the reins over to arrogant youngsters under the guise of getting out of the way and being progressive.

As the saying goes 'those who don't learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat it.' Or something like that. A rapper who does not know who Tribe is one thing. To be aware of them and then decide to ignore them is foolhardy. This was the crux of the point I initially made. But as I get older and today’s Hip-Hop artists were not even born when groups like EPMD, Stetsasonic, Tribe, and De La were in their hey day there sprouts a growing divide between us and them. The new generation rightfully wants to make their own way and the older generation sensing their reign is over tries to hang on to their ownership of the culture. The result is tirades that really help no one. However, I essentially believe taking wild shots at a group like Tribe is dangerous to all on several levels. [for reference see Lupe’s interview with The Village Voice as blogged by Notes From A Different Kitchen]

Outside of the great music ATCQ has produced, as a businessman they are noteworthy for their record sales, tour grosses, the value of their publishing catalog and so on. You may not like them, but you must respect them. It is only in your best interest. And on a cultural and archival level isn’t it our duty to honor our elders lest the interlopers are allowed to write our history. As a fan and Hip-Hop egghead I ask these questions:

What would we think of a graf writer who dismissed TATS CRU?

A b-boy who dismissed Crazy Legs

A trumpeter who ignored Miles Davis

A center who never watched film of Bill Russell or George Mikan

An entrepreneur who never studied Russell Simmons

A sneaker designer who never owned or had a desire to own a pair of Jordans, shelltops, Stan Smiths, chucks or Revolutions

A producer who never bought a Primo or Dr. Dre produced album

A writer who knows nothing of James Baldwin, Herman Melville, Ralph Ellison, Isaac Asimov or Toni Morrison

A Hip-Hop video director who never saw a Hype Williams video

And on and on.

Maybe I am turning into a Hip-Hop Nazi [the evil cousin to the Jazz Nazi]. If that is the label I inherit, then so be it. (Queensbridge Tragedy is already the Arab Nazi, whatever the hell that means). I love Hip-Hop history. I love hearing stories of how it was so I can gain a better appreciation of how it is. So while young hipsters ironically think they are being cutting edge by rocking kicks that came out when I was in high school (don't forget kids Pharell is my age. Skateboarding in hip-hop is nothing new although y'all are making it your own. And The Pack looks like a cool ass 2006 Zhigge or a West Coast Lo Life Crew to me. ) I'll be the old fart capturing Ralph McDaniels’ oral history at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Now me living in a bubble of the 80's and 90's is just as silly as a 17 year old not knowing their history. The only way we move forward is if we dialogue. It's a new world out there today and if we don’t work together it will eat us alive.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

So ghetto

so I googled 'ghetto' to find an image for my ramblings and this came up.
Apparently this is a picture from ghetto night at some sorority at Indiana University.
Looks more like Eminem/let's hit the gym Night.
Love the faces and hand signs - what exactly is that supposed to express.
Peep the girl at the top row, third from the left with her bra on the outside of her shirt
and bottom row, far right with the pink bandana
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Tuesday Randomness

Brooklyn is still ghetto - don't be fooled

on the 25 bus headed to the gig; this little booger was chirping on her phone with a level of rudeness I thought only existed in the most ignorant of Black movies.
Loud, cursing. It was so obnoxious it was comical. But overall it was ridicously embarrising.
Gentrification can sweep her ass out the door as far as I'm concerned

- I never liked 'Hypnotize'
- 2 year olds can run ALL DAY LONG
- what exactly is a backpacker. Is there a definition we can all agree on?
- I love Kanye but how much can we take
- man purse - thoughts?
- ladies, if you could afford that much Louis you wouldn't be on the bus...like me
- what would you do if a meteor was headed for the earth?
- Warren Snapp has a small person stuffed under his jersey
- Had a dream I had super powers like those cats in 'Heroes'
-don't judge a man until you have ridden the A train with his iPod
-teachers should be the hoghest paid people walking around

Monday, November 06, 2006

think of it as a PAIRS textbook

Bobbito's 'Where Did You Get Those' is now in paperback.
This is a defenite must have for the collection.
To scoop it go to www.artbook.com

and there is a party at APT for it on Thursday

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The SC cannot party like he used to...

two long nights (BB King's and Dilla Lives) + no sleep (3 hours per night) + bad meals (2 slices of pizza and a sandwich) + a respectable amount of alcohol= the SC out of commission for 4 days

Just can't do it like I used to. Sorry for the lack of posts.
But after some rest I am back in effect

More ramblings tomorrrow

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

king sun hopped on stage last night - a random old school sighting
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Recap of the 5th Annual

-Freddie Foxxx: likes to curse, not in favor of gay marriage, is a camera enthusiast

- Chen Lo is nice

-Nemiss is nice

-Mojoe is nice

I wish we gave them all more time

-old rappers lying to get backstage is depressing

-I wish the Mash Out Posse got on stage

-Lin Que is cool as shit

-Love seeing old school cats coming out with their kids like Daddy O and Lin Que

-Stet was awesome. They sound the same and still know how to give a dope show

-CL is always welcome

-did I mention how y'all need to support Nemiss, Chen Lo and Mojoe?

-I had a lot of fun with the text messaging

Dilla tonight. Let's have some fun.