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

Friday, March 30, 2007

mad skillz

oh yeah, the Festival is rolling

Consequence - Callin' Me

see you on une 23rd

Consequence- Grammy Family

Consequence - Scarred

never saw this

Stressed Out - A Tribe Called Quest


Stressed Out

a tribute to our boy, Cons

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I ain't no Spaulding Forsythe but...

perhaps my single favorite

...a sneaker list

My favorite sneakers that I have purchased for me-self
Lottos with the multicolor patches (greatest idea ever)
Stan Smiths
Revolutions (I wore a pair in '89 every day for 365 days)
Rod Lavers
Air Max 95
Lava Dome
ACG Boot
Spot Bilt hi tops
Bo Jacksons

Popular sneakers that I have never purchased but kind of always wanted
Shell toes
Low top dunks
AF1's (even Miles had some but not pops)
Jordans (never owned a pair. My pops was not authorizing that purchase when I was a shorty and I could never bring myself to do it when is started making dough. Now I don't care)

Popular kicks that I never really liked
Ice Creams
Jordans (gasp!)
Air Force 3’s
Nike Cortez

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cold Rocking in Uzbhekistan

I had the pleasure of sotting on a panel this past weekend for the The Rhythm Road - American Music Abroad Panel at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The program sends Hip-Hop groups to places around the world that are not exposed to American culture. This is the second year Hip-Hop has been featured. I was one of three judges who picked 4 groups who are going tp travel to Siberia, Mongolia, Uzbhekastan and some other places that will blow your mind.

It was a great two days where we saw some talented cats. Even the ones I didn't like I had to give props for ingenuity and creative fearlessness. At least two of them I want to get for the Festival..

When we were deliberating on Sunday it really hit me. I am partly responsible for what many people around the world will become to know as Hip-Hop. Heavy, heavy, heavy. With a responsibility like that you have to be fair, balanced, and open minded.

One of the judges said early on Hip- Hop is lost so we have to work here and now to save it. Some disagree that it's lost. Many disagree on how to save it but we did our best.

Makes me say again be careful what you say or do in this game. Do not underestimate the power of your words oe actions. They do matter.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Battlestar Galactica: A New Crew In Town

For all my BSG nerds.
Busy day. taking the easy way out today.

Friday, March 23, 2007

At Some Point you just have to chill fellas...

So when did three Six Mafia move from quasi-disturbing morose Southern rapper to the new Meth and Red.
After the Oscar, you say?
Oh, I must have missed that memo.
They appear to have leapfrogged over Meth and Red comedy to straight up Steppin Fetchit/Mantan Lupan material. I was watching some MTV Spring Break show the other night where 3-6 took three USC cheerleaders to Mexico for a little fun. Whatever - typical MTV extra, extra soft porn.

There was one scene that was particularly disturbing. While judging a bikini contest an eager contestant gave DJ Paul a little ‘back that ass up’ dance. Homeboy proceeded to bug his eyes out and go into some sort of convulsion. Looked like homey was having an epileptic fit.
The image of a Black man going into some sort of trance in the presence of a sexually charged young white woman is too much. These cats looked like straight bufoons while the USC girls begrudgingly indulged their sophomoric antics.

At some point people there has t be a line drawn in the sand. Some sh*t is not right.

In other randomness:

-Why is Brad Daugherty ding NASCAR for ESPN. How did that happen?
- Muhammad Ali’s daughter looked good on Dancing With the Stars
-Look for your boy at the Vandy/G’Twn game tonight!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gang Starr-Just To Get A Rep


Gang Starr-Step In The Arena

for those really up on the Starr

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Gang Starr ft Jadakiss-Rite Where U Stand

an underated Gngstarr joint
I usually don't like Kiss but he kills it here


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Gang Starr - Mass Appeal

bring the g-a-n-g to the starr back


Still a nerd

Had a couple of run-ins with some real jaded industry slime balls this month. If you're not careful these bitter cats will break your spirit.

As I was fighting back my anger I realized that the reason why I do this is that there is more good than bad. I deal with more people that inspire me than not.That keeps me going.

Made me think about some moments that remind that I am a just a Hip-Hop nerd living the dream. And at the end of the day I never want to lose that and become that which I hate.

1. Vibe listing The Best Part by my man J-Live as one of the best underground albums. I was fortunate enough to executive produce the album with J while 7H managed him. If this all ends tomorrow I am happy I can say I contributed to the game in some small way rather than being a cog in the machine my whole career.

2. As a 10th grader I was a home sick kid from the Bronx at boarding school. Didn't know which way was up. De La Soul's '3 Feet High...' straight up kept my sanity. I remember saying to myself 'that's who I want to be.' De La were Black kids with middle class sensibilities and fundamental NYC sense. Not ashamed of their intelligence or their exposure to culture outside of the 'hood. Today I work with Prince Paul and if I see Pos or Mase they actually know this punk kid from Lawrenceville.

3. The time Primo left a message on my answering machine back in '98 when we working on The Best Part. The fact that DJ Premier told me to call his crib 'as soon as I could' blew me away. I think I left that message on the machine for 6 months.
Then later I remember Primo asking me to take a meeting with him as he tried to get Prince Paul installed as head of A&R at London Records. Primo is still my hero.

4. The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Did a walk through at the Park yesterday and I got a real sense of what this year's event will be. How many people we will be affecting. The young kids whose first taste of Hip-Hop will be via us. Most people run their mouth for years. We make it happpen.

5. KRS conference call. A little while ago Greg and I had a call with the Blastmaster that turned into a good old Kris Parker dissertation. Now to many I know KRS is irrelevant but I remember the whole BX 54 bus rolling down Story Ave in '86 with every kid from I.S. 139 screaming 'SOUTH BRONX, SOUTH, SOUTH BRONX!' Fast forward and my ass is building with The Teacher. Pretty f***ing cool.

Keep the fire warm y'all. Don't let them get you down..
Dreams are real.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Stop snitching on yo damn self

Can you blame a snitch when you get knocked if you base your career on chronicling your past and current crimes?

I am sure Cam’ron is gonna blame Curtis for the probe into Cam's tie to an uptown Blood leader. But it wouldn't seem fair.

I am no big Dipset fan but I know of at least 2 records 'Curtis' part 2 and the joint Kanye produced where Killa references his criminal activity. Does he think there are no young cops and DT's who listen to the radio and read sohh?

With these big mouth rappers there is no need for snitches. The criminals (if you believe their tales) will give you locations, amounts and quasi confessions.

This reinforces my point that they are either lying or stupid or both.


-Rome has me on the edge f my seat my nerd ass is n wikipedia researching the real story
-Battlestar Galactica, ditto

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Monday, March 19, 2007

now I get it

I fell off last week. I am sure no one lost any sleep but I missed it. The SCR is like cheapo therapy.
When I don’t write every day I can definitely notice the difference.

Anyway, it’s a new week and a new day.

-My bracket is busted, sort of. The Florida region is a wrap. Trying to be a smart ass I had the 16/1 upset and Winthrop as the George Mason…in the same region.
Still looking good with Memphis.
UVa let me down, but I least we beat J-Live’s Great Danes
Ebonie is leading the office pool. Go figure

Heard the great sound bites from W’s South America trip and I no longer hate the prez. I feel sorry for him. I have figured out what his problem is. Unfortunately for W, he is the first president of the Information age. He is the 1st prez who has had to manage Jon Stewart, Google, Yu Tube, Reality TV and The New York Times, Tim Russert and Dan Rather. And the people calling the shots are old farts who probably just learned how to use email in ’04. This has t be the reason because if W had some tech savvy handlers there is no way they would let him say what he says. For all the talk abut Uruguayan beef and tortillas he should cut a check to the Daily Show and get some writer’s credit because he just fed them a couple of week’s worth of material. He makes it too easy.

But to his credit, this is uncharted turf. Clinton, Bush 41, Regan, and the rest did just as much dirt as W, but they knew how to hide it better. They didn’t have to deal with whistleblowers with access to email, cell phones and text messages. Alberto Gonzales is just now realizing they may arrest his ass for perjury based on frakking email. Poor babies. They know not what they do.
Cut them some slack

Now get to work

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Saturday, March 17, 2007


pure geniuses...nuff said


Friday, March 16, 2007

the 80/20 rule

The old 80/20 rule is today's topic.

A few years back a cat named James DL Ellison used to run our college radio department. Good guy. James used to produce the illest underground mixtapes back when the underground was as fertile as volcano soil. Anyway, one day while we were working the phones back at 194 Hancock he turned to me and said “80% of all the people that call are bullshit people who waste our time.”

Truer words were never said. The number of clueless people we have to deal with on a daily basis can be staggering. From artists with an inflated sense of self worth and a loose grip on reality to executives who can't tell their ass from their elbow.

In looking at this I realized our operation actually suffers by striving for excellence. In our society and economy innovation are not valued. At most companies you go further by keeping your head down and staying quiet in meetings, especially when the boss is speaking. The ones who do step up take the ultimate risk. You are either silenced or in rare cases rewarded for not being a monkey.

We run this operation by rewarding those who try to add on. Keeping your head down will get you axed for not earning. This difference in philosophy causes more problems than I ever realized:

Our pitches come off as convoluted to those searching for the lowest common denominator.

We cut into our own margins by trying ‘to do more.’

We lose business to competitors who wisely focus on their profile rather than their service.

It is quite frustrating but I can't roll any other way. I can't do it and I can't run a shop where mediocrity is celebrated. Where maintaining the status quo is revered over enlightenment.

Where that will leave us is anybody's guess, but I think the 20% will prevail over the 80 when the story is written.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Where you been?

wh0 us that d00fus in the middle? next t GLC

The 'o' n my c0mputer is busted s0 I have t0 use zer0s. Quite ann0ying.

Busy week as well

Day care cl0sed 0n Wed. "Meetings, blah, blah wh0 cares blah."

Saw 'The Departed' last night - underwhelming. I didn't see the 0ther n0minees but I think that was a mercy win fr Marty. He d0esn't have t00 many 0scar pr0jects left in him.

But really it's all ab0ut March Madness. Brackets are in. I just have t0 wait f0r the vict0ries.

Be 0n the l00k0ut f0r that Jacks0n State bracket buster vs Fl0rida. 0u heard it here 1st. Remember that.

L0ve that UVa 4 seed. Pe0ple still sleep 0n my Wah00s. They tied f0r the ACC cr0wn while Duke faded.

L0ve the new C0nsequence rec0rd. "D0n'tF0rget 'Em" is my sh*t.

I h0pe he can catch 0n just a lil bit.

Y0u'll be seeing him 0n June 23rd...aiiiiiight


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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Great Brand Names

A random list for Thursday.
Some good and bad names for Hip-Hop operations:

Has nothing to do with the music, this is just about the name:

museum music (A label Q-Tip was doing through Elektra I think)
groove attack productions (had a great slogan "mind the gap")
soul jazz records
thugged out militainment (NORE's label the BEST NAME, ever)
cold chillin (tied with 'Thugged Out')
def jam (best brand in the biz)
rap a lot (corny, but dope when you think about it)
corporate thugz
Suave House
Eastern Conference

death row
grand hustleraptivism
Hypnotized Myndz
Desert Storm
the ummah
Pay Jay (One of Dilla's companies. Love the guy, hate the name)
Star Trak

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Best Producer?

the king of the golden era
Thanks for all the responses to the curry GOAT post.
But what abou the producer, composer, beatmaker - whatever we want to call them.
A lot of these MC's wouldn't be what they are without the right producer behind them.
Chuck without the Bomb Squad
Paid In Full w/o Marley
Kane w/o Marley
De La w/o Prince Paul
So who are the greatest and what are your criteria.
Here are mine:
Originality and Influence
The best always have a style that is their own. You have to have put beatmaking on a new plane.
Dilla was probably the most copied (non mainstream) producer. He made everyone change their style.
Same with Skateboard P and the Neptunes
A Students: Dilla, Kanye, Primo, Pete Rock, kay Gee, Neptunes, Timbaland

Can your beats stand the test of time? Will it bump the same way in 2007 that it did in '87.
Primo gets an A+ here. I can listen to the 2nd and 3rd Gangstarr albums with strictly the instrumentals.
A Students: Primo, Pete Rock, Marley Marl

Can your beats stand on their own. Do you lean on great MC's to make your name.
I think Erick Sermon is guilty of this. He was blessed with MC's like Parrish, himself, and Redman. They always made him look good. A beat tape from him may have been suspect.
A Students: Primo

Do you make beats or songs? Can you humble yourself for the sake of the song. Let the MC breathe and enhance the song.
As great as Pete Rock is some of his beats simply overwhelm the MC's he owrks with. ADOR, anyone? They are great songs at first then you look back and say that was really a great beat.
A Students: Dr. Dre, Bomb Squad

My vote goes to Primo based on the numbers.
But I do think Pete at his best (TROY, Mecca and The Soul Brother - the song) is more epic than Primo.

What do y'all think? This list is very East Coast.
Help me balance it out


Sunday, March 04, 2007

G.O.A.T. part 2

There was one category I forgot.


Can your music stand the test of time? Can you as an artist stand the test of time.

G Rap scores low on this.

And BIG's two albums give us a limited body of work compared to other legends. I think you have to get out at least 4 albums of original material


Friday, March 02, 2007

BHF is coming!!

First round of confirmations coming homies


(curry) GOAT

So I have been out of pocket for a minute. I missed y’all.
I love the mythical names post. I still want to write a book about that. Been reading Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With a Thousand Faces” and watching Star Wars so that probably explains it.

Anyway today’s topic is THE BEST MC OF ALL TIME.
No, this is not one of those lists that do little but stimulate juvenile attacks.
I am going to list my criteria. Let’s define some terms.

One of the reasons why I think there is so much argument is that people define the best in disparate ways. And as any lawyer or anyone who has negotiated a contract can tell you if you don’t define the terms there is no way to agree or debate. So here are mine. I encourage you to add on and tell me what are your criteria? If you think it’s Rakim, why? Tupac, Biggie, Rich Boy, whoever.

What is your rhyme book like? If I were to read your rhymes outside of the composition am I wowed?
Looking for: Use of rhyme patterns, vocabulary, use of metaphors and similes.
This where I always thought Nas and Rakim shined above many

The yin to #1’s yang. Can you write a song complete with hooks, bridges and overall song structure?
And does the entire composition reflect and enhance the strength of your words.
Rakim and Nas’s Achilles Heel

Live Show
Can you survive in the real world? Can you get on stage and rock the mic or rock the party?
Can you interact with your fans on a one on one basis and still convey the strength of your music?
I used to put battling in here as well but I just don’t think MC’s even think about it anymore. The mano a mano aspect of Hip-Hop is gone. Now people battle with videos and mixtapes. Thanks to Biggie and Tupac MC’s are understandably hesitant to beef face to face.
When you have beef will you go to your rival’s show and throw his ass off stage?

Are you saying anything that sticks to my ribs? Whether you are dropping knowledge or telling gritty tales I am looking for substance.
If you are talking about money running down a laundry list of your assets does not suffice. And empty calls to rally against the system are equally disposable.
This is where I think groups like Mobb Deep shined. And the reason why New Yorkers couldn’t front on may West Coast pioneers. You felt what they were saying even if it sounded strange

You are in the business of selling music and as much as we hate it you must perform in that arena. If sales are not important why did you sign a deal and take that advance? You are adding commerce to your life whether you like it or not. A lot of wack MC’s lean on this as a way to compensate for other deficiencies. Unacceptable.
But underground MC’s don’t blame your label or your marketing plan. At some point the rubber must meet the road. If you can’t move units in the major system I can dig it. Then you better work on that live show and make that money on the road.
I always loved that J5 made a very good living with or without support from their label. J5 and The Roots simply do not a record label to live. I’ve seen their offers. Definite plus.

That’s my take and why I think the greatest MC is …KRS ONE
What’s yours?

Have a good weekend

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

busy week folks.
filling in at the bodega and trying to run a business. Plus a bambino

hang in there with me. Hopefully I'll have a post you'll like tomorrow