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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kweli beats Swizz!?!

this producer will move units

As reported by SOHH who provides Soundscan for us cella dwellas with no account - Talib Kweli trumped Swizzy by 20,000 copies.

I don't know what's crazier:

1. the fact that with all those marketing dollars spent on One Man Band Man that he lost to Kweli. BET commercials. SOHH and alliphop tags

2. That Kweli beat him with no radio play (that I know of in my ignorance) compared to 'Money In The Bank'

3. and no video play

4. That Swizz only did 40k. Blacksmith and Warner have to be happy with Kweli's 60K

5, The complete inability to parlay Swizz's monster year of outside production into personal success. Wait a minute. Didn't that happen to Skateboad P and Timalam (Timbaland). Maybe these producers are latent human brands with way less visibility outside of industry circles. Maybe those producer advances and publishing checks are so sick they don't care. (Swizz uses a chopper to get back and forth to the city so we know he ain't broke.)

I really thought Swizz was gonna be a sleeper
Well I guess this does prove there is something to these inteligent backpackers (jaded major label A&R drones).
Is the okayplayer/brooklynbodega/sandbox/hiphopsite demo that strong still.
Stronger than the too sexy for my shirt demo of Fader/Pitchfork/whatever 'now' blog
That's Common and Kweli. 1 and 2 respectively albeit in weak weeks.

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Thursday hustle and the godfather Russell Rush

Back on the Thursday daddy day care hustle. This time bonding with the little Savannah Bea.

We set up the crib so we have a little library/den/office/laundry room/recycling area. So I have been finding time to read between feedings. Copped the Russel Simmons 'Do You' book and have been plodding through it.

It's a little hokey but filled with some real nuggets of wisdom.
I have always admired Russell. In fact I believe my entire generation of businessmen are modeled after him in a very distinct way.

Russell posesses a skill that I thnk many of us lack. He can pour his all into a project or at least do a damn good job of appearing to. Then let go of it without remorse. As a businessman he is very smart by selling his businesses when they are at or the near the height of their valuation. Def Jam, that 360 website he sold to BET, and now Phat Farm.

Some look at it as a sign of greed or weakness but as someone who held onto an investment (or two or three) too long I can appreciate that ability.

He does business with no fear. No fear of failure or success. He is not afraid to dump millions of his own money into Phat Farm. And he's not scared to cash out at $140 million.

The temptation is to cut your losses in the beginning and wait for the fantastic payoff on the back end.

How much is too much to invest. How much is a big enough return. Russell has a great sense of this as he develops and sells time and time again. Rarely dilluting the property and constantly strengthening his human brand.

I always tried to remember there is always a time to live and a time to die. Both are envigorating and painful.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival: The Lost Tapes

these cats are hilarious. Thanks for the love

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Battle For Cash" excerpt

After some advice from a talented young woman in publishing who has been fighting the good fight for our boy Brian Coleman I have finally started working on my book ideas with some level of seriousness. At least five minutes a day to start. I was up at 6:00 am working on this for the book "Battle For Cash: Hip-Hop and The Art OF War"
Let me know what y'all think.

...The reason I am drawn to the Wu is same the intellectual magnetic pull that draws me to Master Tzu. No other creative collective has been as consistently organized as the Wu Tang Clan. Only Jay Z has had a better run in the short history of Hip-Hop business. And even that is apples and oranges as Jay has only been able to provide his own success while his proteges have floundered in comparison (SCR note: except Kanye where one could argue was Dame's crowning glory) . That is not a knock as I personally like Memhis Bleek, Beans, and Freeway. However their annual numbers barely compete with the monthly numbers from 'Kingdom Come.'

On the other hand The Wu has delivered their own million sellers. At one time or another their derivatives Method Man, Ghost, ODB, and Raekwon have produced critical and financial hits since 1993.

After reading RZA's 'Wu Tang Manual' I realized that along with luck and talent their success is due to the basic tenets of strategy and execution. Lessons that Master Tzu teaches every day.

...The title 'Battle For Cash' is appropriate because that is what this is. Not a game, the ever so popular euphemism. A multi billion dollar business that is a cultural and social juggernaut. Hip-Hop influences fashion, film, literature, politics, and thanks to Hip-Hop Harry even child programming and elementary education. It employs thousands directly and indirectly. Make no mistake this is a battle. A battle for cash because cash in this world gives you power. The power to make decisions. And I believe harnessing the power of this culture is the single biggest inspiration for the disenfranchised since the Civil Rights. So let's prepare for battle because as Master Tzu would say the best opponent is the one who does not realize there is a conflict.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

tried to post the new Talib Kweli video

I tried to post it from YouTube but there is some issue going on.
The joint was 'Hot Thing'
Is there any buzz on this album. I love Kwel but he killed me on the last joint. I hope he has tightened up the ship.

Let me know

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Super Tuesdays

I am not alking about the political primary season I'm talking about the days when you cut class on Tuesday afternoon to run to Plan 9 Records (Charlottesville in the house) to cop the new release. I remember bombing an exam in first year and drowning my sorrows in the purchase of 'Apocolypse '91'. "Can't Trust It' and 'Shut 'Em Down' - god bless Carl Ridenhour.

Another memorable yet random Super Tuesday was when 'Blowout Comb' dropped. Back at Uva the entire campus was buzzing. Every bad chick you ever saw was waiting on that release. You see Butterfly's pops taught at Uva so we always had an affinity for the bugs. That album is still under-rated.

A great Super Tuesday was the day Black Star came out. It was them, Brand Nubian and 2 others...damn i can't remember. Someone help me out. I saw an interview recently with Kweli where he was speaking on it.

I am not sure if it was on Tuesday but I remember when I bought De La Soul is Dead and Sex Packets by DU on the same day.

We had a heavy recent Tuesday with Kweli and Swizzy although I think that is only heavy in my mind as I think Swizzy's numbers are gonna be crazy while I worry about Kweli.

One of the signs of how bad things are is actually the excitement over the upcoming September 11th Super Tuesday throwdown between Curtis and Senor Tight Jeans. I can't remeber the last time two superstars dropped on the same day and instead of celebrating these fools were fighting. I am glad to read on allhiphop that they 'hugged it out' as it were.
Super Tuesday is too important to fight over you silly egotistical millionaires. Now go buy some $3,000 jeans you crazy kids.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Red eye flights and a little art of war and a little randomness

- red eye flights suck, but this one I am on is the best I've been on

-it is crazy to cruise in above the clouds at dawn

-in the beginning you have to put in your time and run to every party but once you get your operation rolling be efficient with your meetings. Don't waste time with cats who think small

- Put a value on your time but don't be stupid. Be humble.

-You have to a deal for offense as well as defense

-In building your operation you will have to take L's

-I am loving Delta's music player. I built a pretty cool and diverse playlist and zoned out. They have joints on there too. Nice chance to hear some records I am too lazy (or too cheap) to peep

-Speaking of which, what the hell happened to Redman? That album is so weak it's bizarre

-guilty pleasures: T Pain 'Bartender' (greatest lyrics ever - 'she gave us drinks, we drunk 'em, got drunk), Lloyd, and Keisha Cole

-How is the Swizzy album?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Flighty professions

With obvious exceptions these are the professions where being a little flaky seems to be a prerequisite

- Web designer (havent met one who wasn't yet)
-Graphic Designer
-Filmmaker (esp directors)
- MC
-Booking agent
-Party promoter
-Drug dealer
-Airline gate clerk
-West Indian restaurant waiter or cashier

Friday, August 17, 2007

Skils you need

Had an interesting conversation last night about skills a human should have for GP and in case an asteroid hits and we lose all our technological crutches like electricity and toilet paper.

here are some skills I think we should all have. And time willing I will add them all to my repertoire

1. Cooking. Not in an Emeril Lugassi way, more in an Alton Brown way (for all my Food Network nerds)

2. Mixing and laying concrete. A lot of construction work going down in DUMBO. I just admire the skill

3. Appreciating "the art of the putting words together" (copyright and TM 2007). Know how to read and write properly you clods.

4. Use a weapon. I am not a fan of hunting for sport or abject violence but if Pathmark closes you'd better know how to hunt you down some protein. And you'd better be able to defend yourself against marauding Australians like in Mad Max
5. Amateur electrician. need know hot to hotwire the Playstation to the downed power line. This was inspired by that icon McGuyver

6. Learn (Mandarin) Chinese and Spanish. Hey, The US will not be on top forever.

7. Know how to assemble a basic computer. Like Woz and Steve Jobs

8. Play an instrument that doesn't need electricity. Like a Cello, banjo, or mandolin

9. Basic Carpentry skills

10. Cut hair. I always respected amateur barbers like my man Dude back at UVa

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

So maybe I was wrong...

so let me get Lakers on the over, the Knicks on the under and a fin on you doing hard time

...about this whole Michael Vick thing.
Looks like he couldn't keep his boys from rolling over on him.
I don't know what the evidence is but it seems like his only chance to stay out of jail is to go to trial, which is scary as hell.

They must have a stronger case than I thought because the Feds are coming at him HARD. I keeping my eyes on this one.

The dirty NBA ref was right up the block yesterday copping his plea. I walked by the media onslaught on my way in and it was quite the sight.
Anyone who thinks he is the only dirty ref, player, coach, or GM is bugging. David Stern can try and spin this guy as the lone gunman but I don't buy it.

Not everyone is Lebron earning $100 million. Some of these players play one year and bounce around for the rest of their lives. You think they won't try to make the most out of their time in the league?
And the refs? they are not even full time employees.
Asst coaches and asst trainers who spend all day picking up sweaty shorts. You think they are above dipping their beak? Come on.

I took one trip to the Sports Book at the Belagio in Vegas and realized this. Gambling is why ESPN exists. Straight up. Sports nerds, yeah, but ESPN is to gambling what CNBC is to the stock market.

We'll see how it all plays out

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

O.C. - Time's Up

maybe the greatest Hip-Hop song ever

U.M.C.'s Blue Cheese

ah the good old days

Fu-Schnickens - La Schmoove

I remember when I saw them open for KRS in New Rochelle back in the day. best opening act ever

Monday, August 13, 2007


A little hint to future parents invest in a DVR or TiVo type system.

You'll save you a fortune on DVD's and it can buy you that 20 min of peace you need every now and then.

Why does Skip Bayless (ESPN2) hate on Tiger, Lebron, and Vick. It seems like he has a problem with young black phenoms. I see Vick but Tiger?

Quietly Tiger has become my favorite public figure. Family man, paid but humble, professional, loves his pops.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Travel randomness

- New York airports are old and grimy
- but you can't blame them. They are much bigger (except for Atlanta) and were the first mega airorts. Kind of like how you can't blame the NYC subway system. 24 hours/ largest in the world/best value
- speaking of which, what was the deal with the flood...and tornado!?!
- the deep South aint so bad once you get used to the heat. And when the heat index isn't 105
- the woman who choked the rabbid racoon is gangsta
- Radio in the South is just like the radio in New York. Filled with gar-bage
- found the local NPR station though
- Why is 50 so concerned with Kanye. He just netted $100 million from the Glaceau sale. Do first week sales still mean that much? Kind of sad when you think about it.
- anyone heard Kanye's new album? I am a fan but I'm worried
- how many songs have we officially heard from 'Curtis'? 4? and two or three videos? Quite the onslaught
- any other records we should give a sh@t about?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Finding #1

Nice to see Common debuting at #1. I don't think the record is quite that good but as I said before it is better than most.

We must understand that #1 ranking is relative. He did 155k. Up against Kanye, Faith Hill or another heavyweight those numbers would put you at #4 or 5. Geffen did a good job timing this release in a month that is notoriously soft.

Common dominates a weak month and gets on USA Today for having a #1 joint. Gets on SportsCenter. Very smart.
GOOD Music gets Common some sales before the cash cow drops on 9/11. Everybody wins.

and btw I agree with Kanyeezy. A debate with 50 is the most ignorant, crab in a barrell idea I have heard in a while.

Off to the r&r
I'll holla

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wednesday Randomness

- yeah Barry!
- As some bloke in USA Today wrote the other day. "A lot of people take steroids but don't hit 756 home runs. It doesn't matter"
- Family vacations are great
- 90 degrees and 100% humidity at 9:00 pm sucks, however
- favorite show that Miles watches: The Backyardigans
- I do beleive out little operation is about to 'turn the proverbial corner'
- there is so much copy on okayplayer these days
- whatever happened to my Rock The Bells review?
- and shouldn't they tell people that Starks is not on the bill
- is he playing in other cities?
- never really thought David Banner made sense on that bill and I am sure he was ecstactic to be rocking at like 1 in the afternoon
- if corporate dudes rock power suits to big meetings what are we supposed to rock in our world to big meetings?

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This looks funnier than before. Unspoken on the track...aight

Monday, August 06, 2007

Common - The Game

this just in. Common is still nice as shit. "too many slashes in his name"
"the weak hearted become Babylon puppets making it hard for real hustlers"
"give thanks to the Most High, how the day begins" realest Hip-Hop song this year

LL Cool J Performs at Live at the BBQ in BK

I give you permission to...bite it

Swifty, Eb, Boogie and The Bea are out of town. Getting some much deserved and needed R&R. We are chilling with two sets of grandparents, 2 aunts, and three cousins. What does that mean? All my parents know. That means babysitters to my right, playmates to the left. All the amenities you don't get in BK.

Anyway, while I was chilling on Saturday night. Making sausage and peppers and sipping some vino with Grandma I get an email from two of my peoples who shall remain nameless. One asks me how he can get into my event at the Empire Fulton Ferry State Park and the other recommending that Microsoft cut me a royalty check. I am referring of course to the Live At The BBQ event presented by Zune this weekend at the same place the BHF calls home, Empire Fulton Ferry State Park.

I wish I was there but all reports seem to indicate the organizers got some...'inspiration' from our Bodega team. The email I got on the Treo used words like 'carbon copy', 'biter','1/5 the people' and 'better VIP.' LOL

At first I felt pangs of territorial anger. We opened that park up to Hip-Hop, we pitched Zune on BHF sponsorship, I know who got that Zune account and it seems like we just got cut out of deal. After another glass of Yellow Tail (quality, cheap wine from Down Under BTW) I realized I needed to grow up. It's not my park. I may have never seriously been in the running for the Zune account. And if the State is up for doing more Hip-Hop down there then that is good for me, the Festival, and Hip-Hop in general. A courtesy call would have been nice but hey they don't owe me anything.

I peeped a bit on You Tube this morning and it was definitely a good look to get LL. Some of those other acts we have already had (insert person biting apple sound) and their stage was much better. So you know what, I am gonna learn from this and make my event even iller. So to Zune and all those who received inspiration from the BHF I give you permission to bite it just like the song says. It's all good. There is enough out here for all of us.

I am off to the pool with Miles Boogie before this SC sun reaches its zenith and gives my black ass heat stroke.

And for the record my VIP was gonna be the shiznit before Amp'd went belly up and I had to cut my budget. Next year I am gonna have poles all throughout the triangle in the Warehouses and bad chicks giving out lap dances. Nachos and cheese waterfalls with four kinds of cheeses and beer bongs.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Star Wars Lost Intro

mor for my Star Wars nerds

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Finding Forever initial feedback

'that's double extra medium. I'll take the pink one and the green one

-the drumbeat intro to The Game is one of the sickest ever
- not his best work
- a tad uninspired and regurtiated
- still doper than most (as Joey wrote on the Bodega)
- wasn't that D'Angelo beat on Donuts?
- Will.i.am joint grows on you
- "found the new Primo" that's not a nice thing to say
- 'Ye is killing me with the Grey Poupon line. sometimes he goes too far
- I like the length. concise
- Cover sucks (as James wrote)
- 'Start The Show' is dope
- I did the filesharing thing so I don't what Kanye produced and what he did not so I can't speak on his performance
- 'Like Water...', 'Ressurection', 'One Day...' are still the best but this has some joints that will be on the Greatest Hits joint

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Star Wars - Episode IV - Trailer (original 1977)


Generals and Solders - Swifty's Art of War

To be a good general you need to be a good dolder. To give orders you must know how to take them. However good solders do not neccesarily make good generals. Some people are not built to be entrepeneurs. Most entrepeneurs are not built to be executives.

What is unfair is how we forget how symbiotic the two are. A general is nothing without his crew and of course vice versa. The most important thing is realizing which you are. Don't try and be a boss just because that is what you think you are supposed to be. Don't become a boss just because you can. You may be able to do more damage (and make more money) as a truseted right hand man or woman.

I was mentored by several entrepeneurs who taught me the ropes. From my pops to Nick Eisenman at Nervous Records to Claudia Cuseta at Maxi/Max'n (anyone who remembers that is my motherf*cker). I, in turn, have tried to pass on that knowledge to young cats that have passed through our office as well as coleagues and friends who I have worked with over the years. I hate to see talented cats waste their lives afraid to live out their dreams. What I have realized is that this is not the path for everyone.

I am an entrepeneur and I don't think I would do well in a larget system. Working for someone would certainly be a challenge, to say the least. Entrepeneurship is one of my passions. Taking an idea from light bulb to fruition is what lights my fire. But I couldn't do it without my team.

And because you came up with the idea does not make me the smartest cat in the room, nor does it gurantee you will be the richest cat in the room. In fact, with the risk you take you will be poorer than most and appear dumber than everyone.

To all the solders in big systems, rocking it, I salute you. To all the entrepenurs with no savings and two mortgages, but a heart full of desire and brain full of ideas. We are brothers.

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