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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why Michael Vick will beat the case

1. He's rich and the justice system tends to bend to the will of the rich. Black or white. Ask The Juice (sorry).

2. All the info we have been getting is from the dude who just copped a plea. Just keep that in mind. Don't rule out sour grapes from a Turtle who got kicked out of the Vick Entourage. Two years ago Vick kicked this snitch out of the crib.

3. They need more than a snitch to connect Vick to criminal activity on his property. More witnesses, photos, something. Just because you own a crib doesn't mean you are responsible or lible for criminal activities on said property.

4. Witnesses can be bought. Indirectly, additional snitches will be bought out. Or they 'will get their stories straight' like Alberto Gonzalez and a DOJ aide.

5.Snitches are easy to discredit. Unless a smoking gun comes out I see reasonable doubt all over this. No matter what public opinion says the burden is on the prosecution.

6. If Ray Ray can beat a homocide charge and Kobe can beat a rape charge Vick can beat a dog fighting charge.

At the end of the day I want Vick to beat it. Because this shit ain't right. I own a dog so I hate the images conjured up. But keep the fake outrage. PETA - ok, that's what you do, but the rest of you be outraged at the Katrina survivors still living in squalor. Be outraged about childhood obesity. Or the diabetes eidemic in the Black community. Be outraged at the lack of gun control. Don't front like dog fighting keeps you up at night. Be honest you want to see Michael go down.

Corn row wearing, middle finger giving, can't stay in the pocket, changing the QB position, protecting your wild younger brother, Hip-Hop generation, filthy rich, unapologetic nigga. Yeah I said it.

Don't front. The system hates Michael Vick. And they are a lot of wicked people who hate him for his swagor. Black and white people who want to see him taken down a notch.

Not me. For all the right reasons and some wrong.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Friday randomness on Monday

- Don't count Michael Vick out. $10 million buys a lot of lawyers (and judges guughhhh!!!)
- I guess his boy didn't heed the words of Killa Cameron
- Stephen A Smith the big mouth actually made good points about this on ESPN2 today

- Rock The Bells review is soon come here is a preview
too many flip flops in the mud
where the f%ck is Starks?
and who was the other dude always on the jumbotron
was Doom lyp syncing
UFC mudfights
Swift Chancellor acapulco style from the man who came up with the name the Chef Raekwon
Sage Francis dry humping
big spliffs
etc, etc.
Large albinos with skills
Baduism banned
no Muggs no Norm aka Terminator X 'it'

Random food establishments to avoid because of horrible service
- the pretentious coffe shop on Front Street
- Sole and Golden Crust on Fulton and Washington

The Bea is melting down. gotta go

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Don't underestimate a comlimentary industry

I have a pet roject. I want to write two different lines of children's books. One about the history of hip-hop, the other based on raising kids in the city. (btw check Eb's new blog, boogieandthebea.blogspot)

I am entering this venture doing more research than I have with anything else. Why? Because I don't know squat about the publishing business and I respect that ignorance.

It would be easy to look at JK Rowling or Curious George or Dora The Explorer and say 'that's easy. I could do that.' The truth is it's not easy and odds are you couldn't do it without training. With training you may be smart and dedicated enough. But even then who knows.

Thankfully I have some good people who are willing to share their knowledge with me. Hopefully I can pull this off. But that is another post.

But my real point is never underestimate a new challenge. The reason why anything looks so easy is because there are really talented people making it happen that you don't see.

Theoretically the juggernaut that is the 50 Cent human brand is easy. Muscle bound former crack dealer from Southside. Gets shot. Creates myth. Signs with Dre. Sells millions. Signs on with Vitamin Water. Cashes out when Coke buys it.

Anyone in the biz knows it ain't that easy. To make that hapen there are producers, lawyers, interns, roadies, publicisists, regional salesmen, distribution hubs, purchase orders, marketing meeting, BDS, agents, MTV, BET, Soundscan manipulation, car services, itineraries, passports, breakout meetings, executive politics, market trends, disposable income rates, market share evaluations and on and on and on.

Think about what you do- whether it's delivering UPS or watching the Fed take stock of the complexities and realize that dude in the business next to you has the same struggles.

Don't take it lightly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The R was on my mind this morning

Maybe it was listening to that sick Funk Flex 4th of July mix.
The R may be Hip-Hop's Coltrane.

From wiki-wiki-wiki-wiki

In 1985 he formed a musical partnership. Eric B. and Rakim subsequently became one of the most well-known and influential groups in hip hop history. Prior to Rakim's arrival on the scene, hip hop rhyming still exhibited strong ties to rapping's roots in improvisatory toasting, in very regular meter and rhyme scheme (Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, and others), with simple lyrics and a steady and heavily prounounced rhythm. Rakim, in contrast, says he tried to model his flow after the saxophone's instrumentation in a jazz song. The All Music Guide's Steve Huey wrote in the early 2000s that "Rakim's flow is smooth and liquid, inflected with jazz rhythms and carried off with an effortless cool that makes it sound as though he's not even breaking a sweat. He raised the bar for MC technique higher than it had ever been".

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Monday, July 23, 2007

"A nice place to visit but I could never live here"

go home then

I am so sick of non-New Yorkers thinly veiled slaps in the face saying 'I could never raise a child in New York' or 'I can't imagine living in New York'

Let's be clear. Your smug pseudo condescending comments are a direct insult to me, my wife, our kids, my parents and in-laws. Your bonehead comment implies there was an inherent deficiency in my upbringing and that I am passing on the same negligence to Boogie and The Bea. How dare you? Who the f**k do you think you are (woman from Dallas with too much make up on who sat at our table Sunday morning)?

My parents busted their ass and raised three fine children in New York. The Bronx and Harlem to be exact. There is nothing wrong growing up in the city. I spent high school and college in sleepy little towns and trust me it ain’t no picnic. Suburban homogenized communities scare me as much as the subway does you. The reality is that there are positives and negatives in this situation as there are everywhere. But somehow my city gets the short end of the stick based on several asinine misconceptions which I shall now debunk.

- Living in the city is expensive.
True, dollar for dollar our prices are high. However, this common attack glosses over some suburban fixed costs and NYC savings.
In the 'burbs you need a car for the most part. A car to get to work, to shop for food, to go to the strip club, etc. So to your rosy suburban budget add a car note, insurance, gas, and maintenance.
In the city a car is nice but far from necessary. The largest public transit system can get you from the beach to Tribeca for $2.

-You get more space out of the city.
And with this space come expenses. Higher property taxes, landscaping, higher utilities in order to heat and cool the square footage. The consolidation in the city does cause crowding but it is more efficient in terms of all of the above.

-It is hard to make ends meet living in the city.
Yes, but you can earn more in the city. Outside of teachers, cops and firefighters you can make more living here. If you are on your hustle this is the only place to be. Want a safe check, keep your head down and work up the corporate ladder you are better off somewhere in Jersey or Dallas.
Want to be the next Russell, Charles Schultz, Tom Brockaw, Leonard Lopate, Bloomberg, Crazy Legs or Ralph Lauren get a crib in BK.

-The city is crowded/there are no trees.
Ok Huck and Tom if you want to ‘nature boy’ it you should leave but if you want green space I ask you to visit the following parks before you pop shit: Fort Greene, Prospect, Central, Battery, Flushing Meadows, Brooklyn Bridge, Pelham Bay and the list goes on. If that is not enough golf, horseback riding, baseballs, kayaking for you get on the LIRR or Metro North and take a 30 minute ride North or East.

-and while you are suffering through the hell that is NYC try and make it to a Yankees, Knicks, or Mets game (transport $2). Or go to a Broadway show, or the Met or MoMa. And if you are broke, no worries go to The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, Siren, SummerStage, or any of the smaller free concerts throughout the summer. Call me crazy but I don’t recall the same level of culture in Podunk, Anywhere, USA

-One thing I can’t front on is the school system. A parent does have to work hard to provide a top flight edumication in the city. Belts have to be tightened, prayers must be answered and more. But don’t trip you are paying too. Via the aforementioned property tax.

This city is dope. It is alive with Orthodox Jews, Rastas, WASP’s, JAP’s, Italians, Jamaicans, Irish, BAP’s, soccer players, cricket players, lacrosse players, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Spaniards, Frenchmen, men, women, and children. I am not knocking the suburban hustle. When the papes come I will have a place out of the city. Stop knocking mine.

I am living and having fun in the city. My son is smart, sweet, and polite. My daughter will be the same. If it’s not for you – fine. But respect me and mine.

I can’t see doing it anywhere else.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pepsi smashed it

In the midst of exploding pipes and stifling humidity your boy Swifty went to the Pepsi DJ Division regional last night at SOB's. Honestly my main motivation was to support my contact at Pepsi who supported us during the Festival. And do some networking, blah, blah.

Well in the midst of a being a good business associate a legendary performance broke out. In hindsight I should have seen it coming. See it was a DJ battle hosted by Enuff to determine who gets to join the elite Pepsi DJ Division. Enuff, Clinton Sparks, etc...those types.

Big up to Jack The Ripper who won with one of the best reggae sets I've heard in a minute.

After a better than expected battle the first surprise was our boy Joell Ortiz. He reminds me of a sucker dude I know from UVa but that is beside the point. After forcing a few songs he settled into 'Brooklyn Bullshit' which was cool. Then he did a few ineffective covers and finished strong with ‘Hip Hop.’
Like I said before it's a shame he played hardball with us. There are several cats I would have cut to make room for him. I like how he edited his commentary on white sunglasses with Kanye in the house.

Kweli was next. A nice short set which included maybe 3 new songs. Nothing to fall out about but quality. The usual black Star hits with Mos, etc. He would shine later.

After Kweli was the C to the O double M-O-N. But before I go into that let me back track. The judges for the DJ contest were Swizz, Just Blaze and Kanye. Enuff was the host and Q Tip was the DJ. I knew none of this going in, but once I found out I should have expected some fireworks.

So Common walks out to 'The Game' and tears it down. Very quietly Kanye and Consequence joins him as hype men. Com did another song then something happened to the DJ set. The freestyles began. First Kanye the Common. The energy started to heat up.

When the set got back up they threw on 'Get Em High' and Kanye called Kweli back. Kweli brought Mos. So you looked up and shoulder to shoulder were the only viable players in the game still trying to spit some quality sh&t.

I thought I was gonna get Respiration and be done but noooooo. They proceeded to start a round robin of hits. ‘Respiration’ led to ‘Get By’ which brought a super grin to Kanye’s face. Then Common did ‘Testify’ then passed it to Kanye who did ‘Heard ‘Em Say’ Mos got some and did one of the few bangers from ‘The New Danger’. Then Kanye took it back and tore it down with ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing.’
I was not really into that song when I first heard it but after my cousin beating me in the head about it and now feeling that energy last night I have flip flopped. That shit bangs.

After that the highlight of the night occurred. While all these whippersnappers were rocking Q-Tip made his way down from the booth and snuck on stage.
Kanye passed the mic to Tip and launched into ‘Award Tour.’ The whole place including the gold and platinum rappers on stage erupted. Classic.

Around this time Swizzy, Saigon and Drag-On (you read it right) walked up. It was quite a sight.
Swizz may have gotten the best reaction of the night when he rocked ‘Money In The Bank’

Anyway, the night ended with Drag-On and Saigon and Hak from Channel Live.

The best part was how happy everyone looked. From Tip down to Drag-On. They knew Hip-Hop was in the house and loved it. Backpack fave Kweli next to short tail hitmaker Swizzy. Loved it. It was real. There is hope. The choice between dissonant, un-authentic indie rap and shallow snap rap is not the only one we have. Those dudes on stage represented it. You can make GOOD music and make money. No need to always be the starving artist. And the “conscious rappers” are real dudes. Not these fake preachers or wannabe hipsters. They are imperfect. They drink and curse just like the rest of us, but they do draw the line. They have kids so they want to educate. And they can rock the party.

And to see Q-Tip standing up there like a proud father was really the best part.
Hip-Hop is alive and it’s still good.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We need a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame

Hall of Famer?

Apologies if there already is one. I remember talk of one in the Vernon years back.

We need a Hip-Hop hall of fame on par to the Rock and Roll Hall in Cleveland. A place where our culture would be documented and celebrated. Fully funded and nationally recognized.

VH1's Hip-Hop Honors is the closest thing we have but that is not their mission. And this year's honorees prove it. I respect them all but clearly Missy is not a Hall Of Famer. To many she is at the edge of the definition of Hip-Hop. I think she will go down as one of the best but not a Hall Of Famer.

I recently had a conversation with Eb about how under appreciated Teddy Riley is. The New Jack Swing dominated Hip-Hop like crunk and snap are now. I think it's great he is being highlighted. TR is a Hall Of Famer but not yet.

Before these cats go in the Hall we need to admit Nas, Too $hort, Geto Boys, Kool G Rap, Biz, Marley, Red Alert and several others.

Wild Style is however a no brainer

I am not sure about Snoop. He is an eventual Hall of Famer but not before the aforementioned.

But Hip-Hop Honors is not the Hall of Fame so I can’t be mad at them.

We need to do it for ourselves

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Morning Musings

Right after I had Miles, Matt Wright from Elemental (um, where did they go?) told me he was excited for me because it seems that after dudes had a kid good things always came.  After some super QT with Boogie and The Bea I have realized why we often see this phenomenon. Here are few theories


  1. People who are normally full of sh*t get the metaphysical kick in the pants. No time for Playstation and blunts with a crying baby in your arms
  2. The inspiration those little rug rats give you is the best motivator in the world
  3. Having a kid means you are a real grown-up. No take-backs
  4. Necessity becomes the mother of invention.  Baby can eat excuses (this is sort of 1a)
  5. People who you never thought would help you out, financially or otherwise, come out of the woodwork and give you the means to move forward
  6. Babies are a blessing that make the world a better place. Plain and simple



In other news, Swifty likes:

    • Flight of the Conchords. Those dudes are mad funny. “Time to get down to Business”
    • Entourage – I hope E gets a chance to serve Walsh properly
    • NCAA ’08 tomorrow. I am such a nerd I put down a deposit
    • Making The Band 4. Outside of the reality show mental junk food I thought it was good that they are making the big dude work out.  Obesity in our community is a full blown epidemic. Physical fitness is one good by product of this programming
    • Knicks Summer League games
    • HBO on Demand. When Boogie had a tummy ache on Sat, Episode V on demand help cure his woes
    • Big Love – got all caught up this weekend
    • Habana Outpost on Fulton. Frozen Mojitos in a kid friendly spot
    • Dune


Swifty doesn’t like:

·         Fort Greene hipsters in costume

·         People who were in your wedding and now front like they don’t see you

·         People still beating you in the head about how busy they are after 10 years of double talk

·         Humidity

·         The Orient Temple and their loud parties

·         Jaded wannabe hipsters who make fun of the crowd they so desperately want to be a part of


Enjoy your week




Hip Hop Das Efx - Mic Checka

how much did we love these guys?

gotta love the babies

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Friday

Some randomness

-I am actually interested in baseball right now
A-Rod hitting dingers, beefing with the Yankees
Barry and the HR chase
Profiles of Hank Aaron

-Joseph Cambell. Simly burilliant. Read it

-not into Harry Potter. Not hating, just can't get into it

- still funny to me how many non New Yorkers are New Yorkers. No one is from here. Especially in Brooklyn. Even Swifty was raised in the BX.
What I hate is the hipsters turning fiction to fact. More on that later

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Don't let your kids watch BET

Somehow Miles turned from the Dora/Diego team up to Rap City.
I came into his room and this is what I saw

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bodymore and the Male Capri

Went down to Baltimore for my cousin's wedding this past weekend (shout to Claudia and Jimmy, NY Times style).

Here is what I learned:

-Bodymore, Murderland is a stupid nickname

-nothing tops the Boogie Down Bronx or Money Makin' Manhattan or the best non NYC nickname, The Money Savin' New Haven (CT)

-especially for those who are far removed from B'more's rough side

-I did see some Wire level sh@t while in B’more:
hand to hands in front of the Foot Locker and local doughboys smacking each other around.
All on the way to the family cookout

-the Summer '07 sees the continued assault on flip flops and open toed footwear in Hip-Hop. As a flip flop advocate I have to say this attack is completely unwarranted. While I and my brethren are attacked I have noticed an astonishing instance of hypocrisy. Yes. I am taking about the Hip-Hop Capri pants.

While sipping on some sizurp on the B’more Bay I noticed an astonishing number of these 'shorts.' Shorts so long they stretch and snap the very definition. Shorts so close to the ankle they must be labeled short pants or…Capri’s

Fellas, either wear full pants or real shorts.
Shorts should be an inch or two below the knee or hit the knee right on. Anything within an inch of the ankle is unacceptable

And as far as footwear. Timbs must be shelved when the Mercury hits 75 degrees.
Don’t front like your feet ain’t smoking. You get a pass if you use your Timbs for work or only have one pair of kicks.
Be comfortable in your masculinity. There is nothing funny style about letting your dogs breathe.
Time to grow up gents.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Enjoy the weekend

I don't know how many people were even at work this week.
Swifty wasn't
this is how me and Boogie are living

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

de la soul stakes is high

truly brillianr Dilla production

Common - Resurrection

this is when we knew we had a winner

Common got joints, sun!

who's up on this
pre Gap homey


try and listen to an EPMD song

KMD - Peachfuzz

for you fake Doom fans who never even heard of Mr Hood

black eyed peas feat. Q-tip, John Legend - Like that

some videos to enjoy on the 'day off'

where did this come from?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Institutional Knowledge

A follow up to the post about the 'things go in cycles' post.

My brother once pointed out that the music business or more particularly the Hip-Hop world does not make institutional knowledge a priority. There is no desire to learn from past mistakes.

Hip-Hop seems to be obsessed with making the same mistakes. Artists seem to love to complain about labels since the same beefs are endlessly regurtitated. I was listening to ATCQ 'The Business' on XM. The one with Jamar, Sadat and Diamond. They are saying the same shit I heard Kweli and others complain about during a recent town hall meeting.

But what is more interesting is how the people who do watch the cycles make money. And there is no better operation doing that than Jive Records.

( I must mention this point has been not so subtly made to your boy Swifty by an inside source at Jive who has a Phd. in tooting horns. )

Putting aside whether you like their records or not we must pay attention to their hustle. And their hustle is working. A trip to Target (like I had yesterday) or a read of the Daily News (wink) will let you know that.

T Pain. Kells, Lil Mama, Huey are everywhere. Who gets the credit? A&R? Yes. Marketing? Yes. But who really gets the credit is the Jive records philosophy. They've been doing this for years.

Since the days of BDP and Too $hort Jive has employed a business model of watching trends. Finding local hits and rolling them out nationally.

In the late 80's and 90's they jumped on the Afrocentric, intellectual vibe of New York which begat ATCQ and KRS ONE. They watched Too $hort in the Bay and then bankrolled him. They also caught the indie Bay wave and signed Casual.
When the worlds of sports and Hip-Hop really converged they caught that and signed Shaq.

There was no greater earner than when Barry Weiss caught the boy band, pubescent fire in the pants wave and signed N Sync, Backstreet, and Britney.

It was my old deadbeat tenant Mr. Dave who pointed out that as long as they are pubescent girls there will be boy bands. There was nothing new about Justin Timberlake. We just forgot. We forgot how much Donny Osmond, The Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, New Edition. Bobby Brown and even Elvis earned. Jive didn't. They jumped on that cycle and earned hundreds of millions.

You may laugh but Kells is Sam Cooke. Down to the scandal and affiliation with sports figures.

And a look at the rack at Target reminds us that they are at it again. They may not be the best records but even a hard head like me loves 'Bartender.'
But most of the industry doesn't care about making classic records. Most of y'all wanna make that dollar. And if you wanna make that dollar you'd better watch those cycles.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Observations from...

Observo, master of the obvious, teller of things we already know or don't care about

- I like that Sean Kingston song. Even though the 'suicidal' hook is a bit morose

-Koch is really working. Where did that kid come from?

- I love that MTV show 'Rob & Big'
Big reminds me of my man Big Rock I think

- You turn around and T Pain is like a legit hit hip-pop maker. Those songs are everywhere

- Because he came to the Festival I now like Fat Joe. Comletely self serving and shallow

- Making The Band has caught me in its damn web. Good to see Mike Bivins on the j-o

- (many) Black people will love Barry Bonds and the Williams sisters...forever

- Tiger Woods has turned into a cool cat right in front of our eyes

- That espn show about the coolest sports star is stupid