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

Friday, December 29, 2006

Last post before the new year

Randomness for the end of the year.
MOVIES to catch before vacation is over
-'Excalibur'. Great 80's cheesy special effects. Netflix it
-Casino Royale. Best Bond flick I have ever seen. Now I am not a Bond nut so I am sure many will disagree. Netflix 'Layer Cake' to appreciate the new Bond more
- 'Thanks For Smoking'

-The Knicks are on their way back
-The Giants are not. and I will be freezing my butt off on Saturday as they potentially end their sh**ty season
-Coughlin has got to go
-Tiki played the whole retirement thing wrong. I would have hated him in the locker room

- "30 Something" is a great song to pump while working off pecan pie on the eliptical machine
- I see from AOL Sessions Lupe has seen how a Hip-Hop artist can benfit from a DJ. What a revelation
- Videos have regressed and BET sucks
- I see why they retired Uncut. They just intergrated the show into their daily programming
- Battlestar Gallactica
- The Food Network

Parting words - be mindful of what you do.
My brother in law works for AP and was shooting the JB funeral yesterday. What he and his collegues chose to shoot will determine how millions view the Godfather of Soul. What seem like simple decisons can be more powerful than you can imagine.

Please Baby Please JB vs mugshot, bad perm JB
Fat Elvis vs Slim Elvis
Fat bloated Jim Morrison vs leather pants Jim Morrison
Inaguration Gerald Ford vs falling off the plabe Gerry Ford
Chair throwing Bobby Knight vs Isiah loving, chapionship winning Bobby Knight
How will your work be remembered?

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

[They] play to win the game...

Debuting on the Hip-Hop Charts at No. 1 this week is Nas. With the lead single, "Hip-Hop is Dead," regulating the tri-state airwaves and hype for the Hov collabo, "Black Republicans," causing commotion throughout much of the hip-hop community, the Queensbridge legend has topped the competition this week by a long shot.

Tumbling seventeen slots to No. 18 is Young Jeezy. After debuting at No. 1 last week, the Def Jam recording artist has fallen hard but is still helping to keep the legendary record label on top for fourth quarter, bangin' it out with 184,900 discs sold. To date, Jeezy has surpassed the gold, moving 538,400 copies.

Making a come-up on the charts this week is Jay-Z, coming in at No. 27. The Brooklyn MC has made a five-step comeback on the charts, as the total for Kingdom Come sits tight at 1,145,900. Hova has scored 136,000 more discs this week, compared to last week's 86,700

As they say in football, "settle all arguments on the field"

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

the godfather

good night sir


On vacation...hope you had a good holiday

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Read the piece about MC NYOIL on SOHH. Interesting cat. What I liked reading the most were the comments. About 95% in support. There is still hope yet.

Got me thinking about the trapsters and crack music.
We need to be clear here. These guys can't be telling the truth. Just as my man Greg called the Knicks 'studio gangsters' for their testosterone fueled outburst Sat night these guys must be 'studio trapsters.'

Clearly with as much dirt on their name as they claim there is a file open on them. At the federal or local level. And if that is the case why on earth would you chronicle your actual crimes? Or put your government name and face on billboards, videos, and web banners. Maybe if you just a worker, one of the low level kids I saw on Fulton this morning. But if you had real power I would imagine you would want to keep your mouth shut as would your superiors.
So we're most likely dealing in fiction not non fiction as marketing plans would have us believe.

NYOIL also had me thinking about the supporters of this music.
The people on the business side have already leveraged their morals and demonstrated the ability to separate work from life, so I get that. But I wonder where everyone else's head is. Have they experienced the end result of the trapster? Or is the crack game some exotic fantasy where drug dealers are the new quixotic villains.
I can't help but imagine that the hipster supporters of Clipse and Jeezy have rarely seen what crack did and is doing to their newly adopted Urban community.

I've seen it and there is nothing redeeming about it. I've seen my girlfriend’s mom turn tricks on Hunts Point to feed the crack monster. I've seen how it sucked the life out of that young girl.

I wonder if these writers have ever seen the local knucklehead gunned down in the park 100 feet from their mother's apartment.

Ever been playing basketball and had 2 more boneheads sprint by you while being chased by a gun wielding competitor.

Ever seen your idol while growing up transform from Motorcycle Boy (SE Hinton reference, holla!) to a dead junkie in between vacations from boarding school.

Ain’t nothing romantic about it.

So let's be clear on who and what you are supporting.
We are all grown and can support to whoever we want. People are also free to express themselves. That is the beauty of this.

I'm not without blame. I am one of those businessmen who has danced with the devil far too many times. And I like the Clipse (more for Pharell and their style than content). But I also know that is all fiction like Battlestar Galactica.

We see where NYOIL stands. Where do you stand?


Monday, December 18, 2006

Up All Night

This Nas album has had my head spinning all weekend.
I have been thinking about statements made by Hov on Funkmaster Flex in the midst of the Jim Jones attack, Wayne’s comments, as well as Jeezy’s.

The issues this album is putting on the table are of the highest importance.
We must protect Hip-Hop.
Protect it from those who mean it harm and from those who are unwittingly damaging it.

When asked about Jones, Jay asked the simple question. “Who is Jim Jones”, and in essence ‘why do I have to answer to him.’ What has he [Jones] done to earn the right question me and my motives?
I thought the same thing when Wayne attacked Jay. Why should I listen to Wayne’s attacks? Not sarcastically, but seriously shouldn’t we make sure the people hurling accusations and making these proclamations are fundamentally qualified to do so.

Back to the Flex interview, Jay told Flex that we needed a Hip-Hop Board that would keep people like Jim Jones from attacking him. Obviously a self serving suggestion but one whose underlying idea I agree with.

People are running around claiming Hip-Hop and no one questions them. The term is thrown around unchecked. And although I am against censorship or cultural elitism there must be some system of checks and balances. Because without it Hip-Hop will become so diluted and exploited it will lose its power.

I look at it from a marketing standpoint. Hip-Hop is a brand. You must control your brand. You can’t have an open door policy with no policing. That is a recipe for disaster. The trick is to make users feel like producers while excluding interlopers and enemies. That does not exist in Hip-Hop. So you have people with no appreciation or knowledge of the culture’s history talking out of their ass. Spreading misinformation and discontent.

I am not saying you can’t speak your mind but if you are an MC who does not know about NWA, RUN DMC, KRS ONE or Too $hort I am simply not going to take you seriously. Just as I would not take advice from a tax lawyer who has not studied the new tax code. Or fill a prescription from an unlicensed pediatrician. The same way I only let CPA handle my books. There must be some way I can make sure you are qualified to practice and speak on your craft. The qualified have no reason to worry. The blowhards and posers should worry.

I need to make sure I am not giving too much credit to an MC who has no respect for A Tribe Called Quest. Make sure I am not going into business with a bunch of interns turned label owners who have never seen a P& L. Make sure the writer whose review I am reading is not the punk guy at AMG who got assigned to Hip-Hop because of budget cuts.

Which brings me back to the Wayne comments. He made those comments and his supporters never submitted any supporting evidence. His detractors never asked for it. We went immediately into a juvenile ‘he said/she said’ discussion. On some level we, as a community, should have chimed in on whether there were grounds for Wayne’s comments. And if so, what were they? Then moved to counterpoint from Jay.

Jeezy said Nas is not from the streets.
How did he arrive at that conclusion? Based on what facts?
We have to make people think before they talk. Because if we don’t the uninformed will be lead down the wrong path. Jeezy’s statement is a classic example. An 18 year old whose first introduction to Nas was Nas Escobar may agree with Jeezy. They may have no idea about Nas’s years in Queensbridge. And if Jeezy is spreading that misinformation, with the platform he has, that is a big problem. Someone has to check him.

The Hip-Hop Board

Friday, December 15, 2006

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From Nasty to Nas to Esco's Trash...back to Nas

Got a chance to listen to the Nas album this morning. Quality stuff. The word from this office is that it may be his best since Illmatic. Ever since that span where he dropped like 3 albums in two years I can’t really keep track of what song was on what album so I can’t say. Regardless, on first listen I was impressed.

I don’t anticipate a ‘Kingdom Come’ backlash. Hip Hop Is Dead should satisfy the intelligentsia. Nas should succeed where Hov failed in that respect.

The joint with Snoop is crazy
Still Dreaming with the LV Don
Hope (Acapella) shows how nice of a writer Nas is. Something we must never forget
Where are They Now is my sh*t with that classic break. And any record that starts with Redhead Kingpin has got to be a hit

If Jay and Nas are drawing the line in the sand. After listening to Hip-Hop Is Dead I stand firmly with Nasir. As if there was any doubt

Album cover is a little weak though


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jaylib Feat. Frank N Dank: McNasty Filth

is that J Rocc in the strip club? yes!
Stones Throw is gangsta.
This is BET After Dark style.

It's kind of sad you can see the effects of the steroids on Dilla's face. He was sick when this was shot.

Great song.
The bonus beat is sick too

Much too complex

Jim Jones makes it hard for me to give him a chance.
Was working from home yesterday and was able to catch up on my ignorant hip-hop. Thanks BET, you’re the bestest [sic] thing on the idiot box.

After watching The Capo (love that name) and Diddy (hate that name) play catch with money in the 'Ballin' remix video JJ was asked about the recent ban on the N word.
Now while I am of two minds on this issue I could not believe it when Jones answered (and I paraphrase) if you have a problem with the word then you ain't Black. Whether you agree or not with the use of the N word you have to respect the views of the older generation who put their lives on the line to fight the use of the word and its Bull Connor implications. Their ‘Blackness’ whatever that means cannot be questioned.

Then as if this episode of 106 and Park was just created for a debate between me and Ian, Jeezy was the next guest. He back pedaled on the Nas attack but still held firm on his contention that the Hip Hop is Dead campaign was an insult.
Oh to be a fly on the wall in Def Jam right about now

Which lead to my next points:

-Just because you are new doesn't mean your dope. Jeezy talked about the need to pass the torch at some point and I agree. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you get the torch.

-Just because you're from NY doesn't make you dope. There are a ton of NY rappers I cannot stand. Although I should I still can’t throw Juelz under the bus just yet.

-All veterans are not dope. Look at our CMJ event. King Sun needed to stay home as did a host of other over the hillers that were kept at bay. Be grateful we kept them off stage

-All southern rappers are not wack. I like T.I. and looking at sales shouldn’t he be the #1 contender?

-And Lord knows calling yourself ‘underground’ ain’t worth the press release the statement is printed on. Some things are underground because they need to be kept away from good God fearing people who pay their taxes

So everyone needs to stop hiding behind these walls and allows your skills and your music do the talking.


Listening to Slum Village and it occurred to me that critics like to claim SV was all about Jay Dee. Even though their only 2 hits (in a Long Tail sense of the word) were post Jay Dee. 'Tainted' and 'Selfish'. Interesting

And Lil’ Wayne asking ‘Who Is Pharell?’ is just as ridiculous as Nas claiming he hasn’t heard ‘Ballin’
Come on fellas

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Northern State - Girl For All Seasons

Fear The Mask

I was watching Current TV over the weekend.
A really good channel. I hope they can keep the lights on.

Anyhoo, there was a piece about this group Northern State. A rap trio of white girls from Long Island. It was an interesting story about how they submitted an album to Columbia and got shelved and are now indie. You know, the usual sob story. The other part of the story was the “white, suburban angle.” Sort of a ‘can you believe these white girls rap?’ There were the comparisons to the Beasties, how they were working with the King Ad Rock, and footage of them performing in flip-flops, sailor hats, and nurse uniforms.

The music was whatever. It was Hip-Hop in a modern way. Technically it was Hip-Hop with that all too familiar alternative twinge that 80’s babies from Def Jux to Pharell use. Simple rhyme patterns over basic Hip-Hop beats with a guitar thrown in here and there. Hey reminded me of Princess Superstar but not quite as sexual. The ladies made some interesting comments about they understood how peculiar they are. But whatever superficial contradictions that existed they were Hip-Hop because that is what they grew up on.

As much as I believe they were heartfelt I couldn’t get the taste of mockery out of my mouth. With the outfits and rhyme style, part of me felt they were making fun of Hip-Hop. On one hand claiming to be real Hip-Hop heads unfairly pigeon holed, then on the other hand pimping their whiteness, if that makes sense. Not trying too hard because they knew their whiteness would deflect any hardcore criticism that a trio of Black MC’s would receive. They set up an argument that if you dissed them you were caught up in good old American sexism and racism. But for me they had no swing and no fundamental skill. I would have said the same if they were three girls or guys from Bed Stuy or Lynchburg.

The comparisons to the Beasties were obvious and initially the Beasties used the similar shtick until they and we realized they were truly nice. Nice in their production, nice in their art direction, and nice in their simple rhymes that I later viewed as a tribute to the Cold Crush days. But whatever, this is not about the Beasties.

More and more these groups like Northern State and hipsters who love Dip Set, Lupe, Pharell, Jeezy and all that make me uncomfortable. I swear I hear them snickering. Laughing at, not with Jim Jones. And the almost cartoonish depictions in the videos contribute to the joke. Now maybe I am being too sensitive and these cats really connect with the Snowman. And maybe Northern State is just interpreting Hip-Hop in their way. A way that 33 year old from the Bronx can’t understand. But I still wonder if this is just a mask they are wearing.

BTW, the Pharell album is not bad

Monday, December 11, 2006

Brooklyn Bodega Dilla Lives Event

this how we did it

Everyone loves Slum Village

even little white kids...word

Remember -You created this monster

What a nice weekend in the big bad city. So nice we took Boogie out to Prospect Park to see the ducks, swans, and dirty pigeons. After freaking out and running into cycling traffic we took off down 5th Avenue back to the rest.While cruising down 5th in the whip that is quickly becoming a hooptie we saw a Blockbuster Video store. Almost simultaneously the wife and I said to each other, “Are they still in business?”

We hadn’t been inside a Blockbuster in a good three years. We are Netflix customers and have been ever since the office put us on. And with a two year old and two careers those little red envelopes provide what little entertainment we can get. So when we saw Blockbuster it was a back in the day moment. Back when “make it a Blockbuster night” was what you said when you were too tired or too broke to go to the club. Now that big store on the corner looks like a silly money pit from a company who used to gleefully gouge us.

We then got into a discussion about how Netflix outmaneuvered Blockbuster before the blue and yellow guys even realized it. Then, as big lumbering corporations usually do they tried to fire back at Netflix and launched their copycat service. Even though with Blockbuster’s money they should have done some damage most Netflix customers looked at Blockbuster Online and gave it a “oh that’s nice” and re-upped their Queue (“Thanks For Smoking” should be at the crib). Now it appears they are trying a somewhat interesting a combo of offline/online. I didn’t investigate but it looks like you rent online and can pick up at the store. Not sure. But regardless it looks like another doomed attempt to take back Netflix customers.

Before they launch another campaign that results in false advertising and a class action suit (NO LATE FEES) they should realize they made this bed they are lying in. Blockbuster spent years running the local video store out of business and in the process secured a monopoly. While sitting on their ass collecting dividend checks they ignored the disgruntled customers who became Netflix’s life blood.

Netflix flipped the Blockbuster biz model on its head, got some funding and here where are.
Keeping movies for a long time is what Netflix wants. Turning movies over in a day (what Blockbuster forced you to do) is a killer for Netflix. Quite brilliant in its simplicity.

So all the people Blockbuster wants back are the people they ran out the store with late fees, poor inventory, and nasty customer service. Realize, Blockbuster, that you created this monster called Netflix.

And remember you can’t shit on your customers and expect no repercussions.

Friday, December 08, 2006

simply way too cold out there

It is just too cold out today. Jeez

Ayway, busy day working on some end of the year projects.

But I must say I am seeing quite the slpit being percipitated by the re-emergence of Nas and Jay Z. They are old farts like me chastising the young generation. And the young generation (and its supporters) are pushing back...hard.

Now labelmate Jeezy disses Nas in Philly!?
Combine this with Weezy and Dip Set going at J and ot appears the young'uns have lost their place.

You know where I stand on this. Jezzy, JJ, and Weezy need to make some records like Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt before they start yapping. Being an old fart I have seen these young lions come and go while the pillars remain in our collective memory.

My mind begins to think of:

Tim Dog
MC Poet
Above The Law
Infamous Mobb
Ill and Al Scratch
Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz
Da Supafriendz

At some point all these people laid claim to a title. And some were in the running for a few years. But 10-15 years later many of you readers have never heard of these people.

Let's revisit this "battle" in a few years and see if the discussion is still relevant.
See who is in jail, who is still longing for the good old days and who still wields power.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This House is not a home

While perusing the online National Enquirer Hip-Hop tabloid, SOHH I saw a story about Lil Wayne calling Jay Z out. Claiming that the the NO rapper was the best out.

Arguing that point is like arguing if the sun shines. So I will leave that alone.

What was interesting was that was seemingly caused our dreaded, affectionate, young rapper to lash out was my favorite topic - 'Kingdom Come.'

Seems like Weezy felt slighted that Jay felt he needed to come back to save Hip-Hop. Weezy was under the impression he and his father were on top of things. Although this is an obvious fact Wayne's comments crystalized a point for me. Jay's triumphant return indirectly (or maybe directly) pointed out every other contender's inability to replace him.
Another cause of the Kingdom Come push back.

I wonder if this was ever a topic of discussion in the Carter Administration.

Do you think Jay is suprised or even understands why Raekwon would stop his show to attack him?

Does he care?

This post was scheduled for yesterday but due to technical difficulties (wine spilled on laptop) we couldn't do it. Since then a respected blogger has already cited the SOHH story in comments to the Jay Z post. So Ian, I know where you stand on today's topic.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

...but until then my 10 man team be safe / chill on the whips / in 7 months we can all get laced / take a boat cruise, sip daquiris...
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Enough. Time to move on

Ok enough is an enough.

The Jay Z attacks by:

- bloggers with nothing better to do
-disgruntled rappers I love, but are past their prime
-Harlem rappers enjoying their time in the sun
- and Hip-Hop fans who want to wax poetic about the evolution of Jay but have only heard The Black Album

You/We all need to stop.

I bought (guuh!) two ‘Kingdom Come’ tracks on Friday - ‘Lost One' and 'The New 30'
Bottom line. They are excellent songs. I believe the push back on Jay is more to do with what is best described as jealousy.

Artistically, MC's are still jealous of his lyrical skills because rest assured he is still one of the nicest around. Even for an old fart purist like me.

I am sure A&R's are mad that Jay can pull beats out of Just Blaze that never appear on his reel.

Competing labels are definitely pissed at Jay's marketing plan. Not mad at Budweiser, Life, Jimmy Kimmel, or Monday Night Football for not calling them back. Mad that now every artist from Freaky Zeaky to Bow Wow is going to want 'Kingdome Come' type exposure. And those VP’s and Directors will not be able to deliver.

Vets are mad that in 12 years they have gone from prize rookies to kings to indie artist fighting for their piece of the pie. All the while Jay has become filthy rich and is not afraid to let you know.

Relative) Newcomers are mad that despite all their attempts the crown will not be theirs. At least for a while the King wears flip flops and not pink or purple – a fact that seems to grate on them with a degree of severity I do not understand.

But maybe I am being easy on the S Dot. You see I have never been a huge Jay fan. The only albums I have consumed in their entirety are 'Reasonable Doubt' and 'The Black Album.' Outside of those two joints, his albums have only given me 4 or 5 keepers. So I was not expecting 'Kingdome Come' to be a 'Paid In Full' or a '36 Chambers.' Maybe some were. Regardless, everyone should just chill with the attacks and move on.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Raekwon disses Kingdome Come

now Rae that just isn't nice