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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tell me it ain't so

So Little Brother has called it quits. Well not really. Kind of f'd up that just because 9th is leaving people are assuming the group has disbanded. I think there is a strong chance they could continue on as long as they hook up with the right music and production. I never really saw the Pete Rock-ness in 9th, but losing him will be a blow no doubt. Creatively and in terms of their image.

I was enthralled by the comments from LB I heard on hiphopgame. Very rarely do you hear a group complain that they didn't have an A&R. I thought A&R's were the devil. Ever since Wu Tang people have been wanting to lynch their label reps. But I understand them. When I was managing J-Live and he was on London we had no A&R. And as nice as it was to be able to make the record we wanted creatively it did suck not having an advocate in the office. Our product manager saved our ass but without her we would have been lost.

I was always skeptical about how LB would do in the Atlantic system. Rarely do those deals work out. I also wonder what Beni B has to say about this. They were signed through ABB and he, more than any other indie label owner has done this dance. Flipping indie artists to majors. Defari, Dilated, and LB.

good luck to the guys

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I feel like a Black Republican

G Dub representing Crawford

Now following the trial of Dick Cheney's former right hand man may seem super blogger egghead but I assure you if you take a day and get caught up on the trial you will find it jut as interesting as the Irv Gotti or Supreme trial. You have intimidation, snitches, and solders falling on their swords. Great stuff.

Every day you see how the White House has sold Scooter out.
The Nixonian level of paranoia from Buckshot Chaney as he ordered aides to transcribe the news show 'Hardball' so he could follow the coverage of the liberal media.
Former press secretary Ari Fleisher pleading the 5th then getting an immunity deal. He then proceeded to drop dime on Scooter. Big time snitch. (I can see the official White House 'stop snitching' T's for sale).

The level of gangsterdom (is that a word?) from George Bush is straight out of a trap star fantasy. And even as his approval ratings drop to the 20’s and his party turns against him your man G Dub is focused. He has been focused since he lied in the State of The Union speech in question. Focused as the Republicans caught major L's in the latest election. Focused in the face of death. Why?

The common answer is his legacy. He has to see this war through and dump this on the next President. McCain, Romney, Hagel, Clinton, Giuliani, or Obama.

There’s that answer and also that he is just stupid. Now, he may be stupid but Condy, Rove, Armitage, and Buckshot are not. Let's be clear.

What if there is another answer. What if G Dub is a real life Jack Bauer? A somewhat insane patriot whose ends justify the means. Now I am no Republican (not a Democrat either – they are all hustlers. I am Independent. I support those who speak for me regardless of party affiliation), but we must consider this.

On one hand there have been laws broken, parts of the Constitution have been ignored, men and women gave died in Afghanistan and Iraq but there have been no attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11. Someone has to get credit for that. And if G Dub is going take all the heat for the bad he has to get some credit for the good. The Democrats will have no blood on their hands but also no glory when the history books are written.

The administration has long taken the stand that they know more than us. They have more classified intel than us and therefore have the ability to make more of an informed decision. Now this is an easy out for a bunch of criminals but it may also be the truth. Maybe there is some Russian ex pat getting a bag held over his head, and a cattle prod in the bum giving up the location of some terrorist cell. And we found him by illegal wiretapping, and water boarding his comrade down in Cuba.

There has to be something going on because these dudes are going down in flames clutching this failed policy as they die. Maybe the reasoning is simple ego. Maybe more.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

I still love the Knicks

Was watching my boys last night as they played Phoenix closer than expected. I still love them. I can't help it. One of these days they will get it right, I feel it in my bones.
-Eddy Curry acted like he was an athlete last night
-David Lee and Nate Robinson respect the legacy of the franchise and do their best to honor the tradition of Starky Lovehun, LJ, and The Oak.
-Crawford is still a nut
-Not sure how Starbury will be treated by history
Also got me thinking about the Nets coming to Brooklyn. Now I have a vested interest in this move. 1) property value, 2) being able to walk to games with Miles, 3) when the move happens it will a boom for one of our biggest clients.
But even still I will not be able to switch allegiances that quickly. The Nets are better than the Knicks as a team but as a brand they are simply boring. There is no mystique to the Nets. No mythology that sticks in your mind.
I wonder how many casual fans realize Dr. J was a Net. Remember the promise of Petrovic. The Pearl Washington days. The Derrick Coleman days.
Just because they move to my backyard and potentially put more coins in my pocket does not a Net fan make me. And throwing Jay's name and likeness all over will not be enough. They need some Walt Fraziers, some Earl Monroes, some Pat Ewings, some motherf&&&&*g John Starks, some Trent Tuckers, some Bill Bradleys. Something.
Or else I will be tuned to MSG when I could be on the Yes Network.

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The greatest resource known to man...

...the blog with free music. Don't blow this up too much and pay it forward as it were.

Bust The Facts - make sure to leave a comment

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Things to be happy about

his name is Lovie (#4)

          1. Supposedly Monday was the most depressing day of the year. Historically. The weather. Holidays are over. Bills, etc. And I beleive it. be happy it's over.

          2. Either way you cut it a Black coach is going to win the Super Bowl. That is big. Don't downplay it.

          3. As someone who has to deal with loud mouth pundits who never put their money where their mouth is I was rooting for Peyton Manning. Third rate commentators cum broadcasters sit there and throw stones at these cats all year long. I don't know how they manage it. I love it when players' actions burn through their arguments.

          4. His name is Lovie!

          5. These blogs who are giving me the best records in creation - for free! God bless you.

          6. Did I mention Miles is all about using the potty? Love it.

          7. The possibility that Nas may come to the Festival. Just the hope warms my heart.

          8. Professional lacrosse in New York

          9. Living in New York itself

          10. The Food Network and the ill recipes it gives me so I can cook for my family

          11. The dude who invented the PlayStation.

          12. Rome, Battestar Gallacttica, 24, and Heroes

          13. IODA

          14. Hip-Hop. the good and the bad

          15. the DVR

          16. The time this gig gives me to spend time with Miles and the fam

          17. the dude who saved the guy in the subway. and him getting shouted at during the State of The Union

          18. Barack Obama. Now when I tell Miles he could be president he can believe it.

          Be Happy y'all

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          Tuesday, January 23, 2007

          Industry is shook now

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          Thursday, January 18, 2007

          RICO , smico - boo!

          i'm locked up they won't let me out

          We have all heard how DJ Drama was busted on RICO charges for his mixtape hustle. Even made the Times.

          The Times approached the story from an interesting angle.
          Who really came after Drama? The labels?
          That seems unlikely as Drama's mixtapes are good for record sales and publicity. Hell, people get paid to lobby the dude. Interestingly they referenced my favorite rapper Lil Weezy as being a beneficiary of the 'Gangsta Grillz' series:

          It also seems clear that mixtapes can actually bolster an artist’s sales. The most recent Lil Wayne solo album, “Tha Carter II” (Cash Money/Universal), sold more than a million copies, though none of its singles climbed any higher than No. 32 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. That’s an impressive feat, and it’s hard to imagine how he would have done it without help from a friendly pirate.

          It seems it was the RIAA the supposed label advocacy group that sent the Feds down to the "A. " This obvious conflict reinforces two points I have made time and again:
          1. The record business is a mess.

          Right up there with health care and the airline industry the music industryis one of the most inefficient infrastructures in the US of A. The business model that I was taught is crumbling. And this drama (pun sort of intended) is a prime example of how the business is moving towards cannibalism. Business and Legal affairs versus the Promo dept.

          A&R's want to bail the brother out while the suits believe the end of mixtapes will boost sales. One hand has no idea what the other is doing. And all the while the power suits at the RIAA are on a completely different agenda.

          2. The days of selling recorded music is over

          Let's be honest mixtapes are the definition of copyright infringement and bootlegging. Plain and simple. Drama and his crew were blatantly breaking the law and advertising their crime. In the case of T.I. (Drama's partner) they made stacks of cash off of Atlantic's intellectual property. We all know this. But the reality is that giving the music to Drama is good for sales.

          Having Wayne freestyle over a Just Blaze beat gave fans a larger sampling of Wayne's talent. That larger sampling in turn strengthened Wayne's brand. Universal was then lucky enough to turn that into record sales but even if it didn't Wayne could make a million dollars touring and licensing his music.

          Trying to squeeze every dollar out of recorded music is not going to work. Putting Drama and other mixtape DJ's in jail will have net negative effect. Without Drama fans will not turn to Best Buy in droves. They will not log onto iTunes in tremendous numbers. They will either leave the marketplace or turn to the seemingly infinite number of blogs like hiphopgame or Bust The Facts and download it for free.

          It is time to embrace a new business model or die. Although it will provide immediate relief locking up DJ's is a waste of time and energy.

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          Wednesday, January 17, 2007

          It's the Reunion

          The post about the Artifacts made me think about trying to put together a reunion for this year's Festival.

          Like maybe the Artifacts, The Fat Boys minus Buff the Human Beat Box (RIP), Gangstarr (not likely from what I heard), The Skinny Boys, Oaktown 3-5-7, or Three X Dope.

          But seriously who would y'all like to see?

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          Tuesday, January 16, 2007

          one of the best from NJ

          Miles is sick so I am work 1/2 the day on duty the second half
          but while I am working I have been peeping the 1st Artifacts album.

          For some Golden Era/proto-back pack sh*t this album is one of the best.
          El and Tame were doing it. If you are not up on this record get it here.

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          Friday, January 12, 2007

          The simple things

          for all my parents who know what this is.
          Today was a big day as my boy used it for the first time.

          So while you are happy Jim Jones is sponsoring a poetry contest I am excited about a two year old urinating.

          Have a good weekend

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          Thursday, January 11, 2007

          This year we take back Ebbet's Field

          You see that view?

          That is how we will be doing it this year at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Three days this year playboy! June 21, 22, 23.

          And this year we have the whole park not just the Tobacco Warehouse.

          We are getting our weight up.

          Started thinking about talent and wanted to get you guys' opinion - Old school: De La and MC Lyte's name are on top of list. Was speaking to Ian about The Pack for the new school act. Definitely need some more suggestions on that front. Really need some suggestions on appropriate local acts. Not to start any beef but gun clap Brooklyn MC's are not what we are looking for. I need some cats suitable for young Miles, #2 on the way and my pops.

          Let me know what y'all think

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          Wednesday, January 10, 2007

          whatever, whatever, whatever

          Thank you to the scribes at Brooklyn Bodega for commenting on the "honor" Flash and the Furious Five received this week. It's time for Hip-Hop to stop settling for a place at the kids table.

          We are not Rock N Roll. Let them 'do' them. We need to 'do' us.

          And if it took the committee this long to recognize Grandmaster Flash as legendary then they don't know Hip-Hop and guess what...I don't expect them to. They are the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME.

          When I was in college on the radio (WTJU, The Boom Bip Journey with the Incognito Journeyman #1 DJ Bolex in full effect) they did the same thing to me. Hip-Hop wasn't its own department just the step child of the rock department. Which meant 1/4 the staff, 1/4 the budget while being asked to maintain twice the level of popularity.

          I am happy for Flash as this honor will do wonders for his legacy and his bank account but at the end of the day it is a slap in the face. And a wake up call for all of us carrying the flag.

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          Monday, January 08, 2007

          Mo' Fish

          Someone explain to me why the world is not flipping over 'More Fish'

          Ghost is a genius. I needed some new joints for my train ride to DC this weekend.
          'Josephine', 'Outta Town Sh*t', 'You Know I'm No Good' - word


          Adapt or Die

          First off.
          This is not a gripe blog. The point of this thing is to facilitate an exchange of intelligent ideas. Posts and comments should be respectful. If you want to get some sh*t off your chest go to a Byron Crawford type blog.

          My pops reads this so please keep it somewhat clean and respectful.

          Readers know what has dominated the SCR for the past 2 months.
          I found it interesting that many of the comments were attempting to prove one theory right and the other wrong. In my years I have found that to be a fruitless intellectual effort. The more you try and tell someone they are wrong the more they will resist. And on this issue of Weezy/JJ/Jeezy versus Hova and Nasir the conversation devolved into just that.

          The reality is that both sides are right. What is really Hip-Hop is the freedom to express contrary ideas in the face of adversity. And if you think Jeezy is the next big thing then throw on your snowman T-shirt and get busy. If you believe 30 is the new 20 then hem your pants and go to it. Agree to disagree and wish each other luck. A dog eat dog mentality will have the whole culture in the toilet.

          I think the central point we are debating is adapt or die. Change with the times or get left behind.

          The ‘adapt or die’ is a theory that has proven itself again and again in nature and in business. Trying to hold on to what was is a recipe for disaster. Whether you are IBM or the three toed sloth. In this argument proponents of the young guns are claiming older artists are inhibiting change as their careers' fade. Step aside and make way for change is their claim. This argument has legs, no doubt.

          But what is also clear is that they are some (including myself) who feel that this old MC's are evolving and their current as well as back catalog have something to offer. And that audience must be factored into the equation.

          Not only must the consumer adapt or die but also the market must. For example, the industry's inability to adapt to the digital revolution has already dealt a death blow. We have all seen the numbers and the subsequent bankruptcies (physical sales dropping like a rock, major retailers shutting their doors, major labels closing departments).

          The digital age has brought more than iTunes. As Chris Anderson writes in The Long Tail the digital age has unearthed various niches that were historically ignored. And in our old school/new school debate we have begun to hear more from the 'old fart, purist, old school Hip-Hop’ niche. When the major outlets like MTV and Hot 97 were dominating media it was easy to define the Hip-Hop audience. It was the young people, the same people who historically drive pop culture. But digital technologies like satellite radio, Google, YouTube and Amazon have given a voice to our new niche. We now have outlets where we can purchase, listen and discuss these issues. So while historically Hip-Hop has been led by youth culture an older demographic is entering the marketplace. Not with the same buying power but with significant power nonetheless.

          Other industries have identified this market as well. I know this first hand as we work on the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival 2007. Over the past 2 years we have been able to establish the BHF brand as one that attracts college educated, professional, Black men and women as well as the traditional backpacker and gentrifying New York transplant. Because of our ability to attract the former, major industries like auto and insurance are in talks to join the BHF.

          And what is the demographic that the auto and insurance industry are looking for? African American parents who identify themselves as Hip-Hop fans. And when you think about it, it makes sense.

          This segment has mortgages. Home equity. Savings (some more than others unfortunately). Disposable cash. Budgetary discipline (thanks to our wives). And families. We need SUV's and flood insurance. And we are still Hip-Hop but using Weezy as a spokesperson will not get our business. So where is their point of entry? Through Big Daddy Kane, Brand Nubian, Little Brother and De La Soul.

          Sorry for the rambling but the point is there is room for all of us. There is plenty of money and fans to go around. So let’s stop trying to take each other out.


          Friday, January 05, 2007

          Thanks Bus

          Another great week for Hip-Hop
          Thanks Trevor


          Wednesday, January 03, 2007

          Time to get to work

          now get back to work