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

Friday, February 29, 2008

The death of Queens

Today in stories from the old school we shall discuss the death of Queens Hip-Hop from 1986-1993.
As you all know I hail from the BX but call Brooklyn home. Being from the X (as my man G calls it) and being a 70’s baby I was brought up during the legendary Queensbridge/South Bronx, BDP/Juice Crew, KRS-ONE/MC Shan, Red Alert/Marley Marl battle. Now kids this was a real battle not a silly or deadly beef like Biggie/2Pac or Fiddy vs. Joey Cridack. This beef was legitimate.
A war waged over the fact that Mr. Magic refused to play ‘South Bronx’ on his radio show.

Back in the days, I wrote ‘south bronx’
The juice crew got stomped, lick two shots
really it was Magic's fault
Always wanna diss somebody, he got put to a halt
It's wack, when a sucker dj babbles on
Soupin up mc's to battle on song
‘Ruff, Ruff’ from Sex and Violence

Ok, this is as trifling as the 50 Beef or old Nas/Jay Z beef but indulge me.

The reality is that the whooping that KRS put on the juice Crew and vis a vis Queens essentially shit Queens Hip-Hop down until Nas resurrected it in 1993 with the 1st single from Illmatic.
The beef was waged on wax and radio before MTV, before Blogger, before the internets, before camera phones. It allowed the conflict to be played in a pure somewhat objective arena. And the victory was as decisive as you can get. Shan lost on all cards and essentially limped away in shame until he bounced back with Snow (for those who don’t remember Snow was essentially a Toronto white cat who hung around a lot of West Indians and became the dancehall version of Robert Winkle aka Vanilla Ice. Not much of a creative bounce back but the checks were probably thick).

Moreover, in that seven year span Queens which had produced Salt N Pepa, Kid N Play and the Herbie Azor era. As well RUN DMC and LL Cool J went quiet. No significant cultural contribution, no one hit wonders, not much of anything. Meanwhile KRS cemented his legendary status and rose to the top of the Hip-Hop pantheon.
It was not until Nas and Mobb Deep resurrected Queensbridge specifically was Shan allowed to remove the mark of shame from his and his borough’s chest.

Unfortunately for the Bronx after KRS the only other Hip-Hop superhero we produced was Bug Pun.
The Bronx is in a slump that has far outlasted the Queens dry period.
In the interim Long Island along with Queens established itself as the creative fountain of New York
Jay, Mos, and Kweli rejuvenated what Kane started – we all know that story
Via the Wu even the forgotten borough of Staten Island held the crown

The moral of the story is … be glad you didn’t rep for Queens in the early 90’s.

Swift Rock…out

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Drug dealing MC's

Sitting in jury duty which is not as bad as people think.

Wi Fi access. MSNBC. A court clerk that sounds like Prop Joe from The Wire. And we get an hour long lunch break which is longer than I take at my own damn office.

Anyhoo, it is a good timeto catch up with the old iPod.
Was listening to the Busta/Dilla album and the joint 'Taking What's Mine.' Can someone explain to me when Busta did all this drug dealing? Listening to the track there seems to have been a long period of time where he was up and down I-95 cooking coke, taking over cribs like Nino Brown and all that foolishness. Was that between 'Case Of The PTA' and 'Woo-Hah'?

Begs the question of what exactly is this link between selling coke and rhyming. There are so many drug dealers who decide to rhyme (Jay, Jeezy, Rick Ross, Freway, and on and on) and so many MC's (like Busta Rhyme) who seem to have had to sell drugs to make ends meet like an actor has to bus tables at the Coffee Shop in Union Square. What is the sociological connection here, folks?

You can schedule studio sessions around re-ups?

For those 24 hour sessions it is good to have your energineer bouncing off the walls high on the devil's dandruff? So why not sell it to him?

Most of America claims to hate it but secretly is completely addicted to both?

The uniform for both jobs are the same so I don't have to change wardrobes when I switch careers?

Or is it both rerpresent the folk hero in our society?

who knows?

-Swift Rock Ski

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The GOAT series Part 1

So I am going to start this quasi series where I shout out the various GOAT’S (Greatest Of All Time’s) in Hip-Hop.

Not just MC’s but producers, dancers, studios, restaurants, sneakers, hats, jewelry styles, haircuts – the whole 10 yards.

And this will be not some pretentious list written by a crew of pretty boy journalists. 


It will be a list written by one super cool, ruggedly handsome, loud mouth blogger.  Six on one hand, half a dozen on the other as they say, I guess


So to start our series we will start with the best MC name of all time.  And the winner is…Kool Rock Ski.  That’s right, Kool Rock Ski from the Fat Boys. 

Things were much better when everyone’s name just had a ‘Ski’ at the end.  You young’uns may not recall. But it is very similar to the Young or Lil’ phase we are in now.  What’s your name? Wayne? I pronounce you Lil Wayne.  And you over there. Joc, and your friends Dro and Jeezy. You shall now be henceforth known as Young Joc, Dro, and Jeezy.  Go forth and do the Queen proud.


Well back in the day all you needed to add was a Ski and you were in business.  Wes Ski, Rob Ski, and the ever dominant Kool Rock Ski.  Not everyone could put a Kool in front of it. Actually only Red Alert could pull that off.


So endeth today’s lesson. If you are feeling down don’t call yourself Young or Lil, just throw a Ski at the end and turn that frown upside down.

And take this time to familiarize yourself with three fat brothers from Krush Groove








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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LL Cool J - Jingling Baby

LL. the most under rated of all time. And I am guilty of it

Monday, February 25, 2008

Take that bass out your voice

After looking like she was offering our guy Barack the olive branch in the CNN debate last week, Hilary let the claws out this weekend. Did anybody see the clip of her challenging Barack "to come see her in Ohio and let's debate." Then I saw a clip this morning of her mocking Barack and his message of hope. Not so humorously telling people that there is no magic wand that will make the special interests go away and the skies will not open up with a celestial light and solve all our problems. As if Obama ever said there would be. This clearly the tactic of a woman on her last leg.

News flash to Hilary, the last time you went negative it was the pill that killed you. The last time you mocked and degraded Obama you lost the last bastion of Black votes you were gonna get. And Barack is winning White males. If you think that display is gonna do anything to stop your bleeding you are bugging. Bigoted white males who have already decided an uppity Black man is better than an uppity white woman will run away from you now. Even faster.

I guess this will help you with white women but won't that be like preaching to the choir.

After the last debate I kind of liked you. I Liked the high road you took.
While I was mad at the shots you took at my guy in SC now I just feel sorry for you. You look desperate and flustered. Maybe this would have worked a few months ago but now you just look stupid. In the words of the great American poets Erick and Parrish "What a way to go out. Out like a sucker."

And before you address my man again take that bass out your voice

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Friday, February 22, 2008

MC Lyte - Stop, Look, Listen (Video Version)

MC Lyte - Paper Thin

Peace to Big Ced and Story Ave!

MC Lyte - Lyte As A Rock (Video Version)

All City --- true

When you have 2 kids you don't get out as much. Time, energy, blah, blah.

To compensate you find ways to insert a little fun, a little glimpse of the old days in your life. I did that yesterday as I purposefully scheduled a lunch meeting in Union Square.

It was centrally located for all but to be honest I wanted to get out of Brooklyn for a minute. I love The Planet but sometimes it feels like my life revolves around 2or 3 square miles from Clinton Hill to Dumbo.

Anyway while riding on the 4 train I realized something I had forgot. I'm all city!

I love Brooklyn but growing up I was never all about my neighborhood. It was about being all city.

Getting a cut on 124th. Trooping to the 8th street on Saturday. Parkchester for a flick. Upper West Side for The Shark Bar.

Central Park to blow trees. Dekalb for Spike's Joint. Queens for Mets games and fly Catholic school honeys named Ebonie.

So party people don’t get locked into your neighborhood no matter how fly it is

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wild Like Larry Davis

The most important news of the day outside of Old Man Winter canoodling with a lobbyist was the death of Larry Davis. For those who only know of Larry Davis via Kid Hood or Jeru the Damaja you should look it up. I was only 13 when the Larry Davis manhunt was on but it was the closest thing to a Robin Hood type folk hero that I know of in my life timeline. Well that’s not true. Living in the Bronx Alpo was certainly the crack era version of Nicky Barnes (shout out to Killa).

Although the reality was that Larry Davis was a low level thug enforcer he represented the collective middle finger to the corrupt NYPD. There were stories that he was bouncing from apartment to apartment in the projects protected by the people. It was sort of funny to see how frustrated the cops were getting trying to catch him.

The picture of him coming out of the project in the fresh black leather bomber is an iconic image of the 80’s.

Larry found Islam in jail and changed his name to Adam Abdul-Hakeem. But despite his newfound path to righteousness couldn’t avoid an Oz-esque ending. Sorry to see you go out like that Larry but know that when things get hectic we are apt to go “wild Like Larry Davis.” Say what up to Kid Hood when you see him.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Michelle is a hater

Ok so last night I fell asleep watching the returns from the Wisconsin primary. I woke up to the victory speech by our candidate Barack “tell yo mama” Obama.

One of his best speeches so far if you ask me. He directly addressed old man Winter’s claim that Obama is all rhetoric and no action. What Obama didn’t address was his wife’s controversial comments earlier that day. In case you are not a political nerd like me here it is, “Let me tell you something. For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” Immediately right wing pundits like my man Pat Robertson on MSNBC jumped on Michelle for her seemingly unpatriotic comment.

You know what? Pat is not wrong. If you are a flag waving, botoxed up heiress like Cindy McCain that does sound unpatriotic. And you have a right to be upset.

But I feel what Michelle is saying. As a Black person and in her case a Black woman she can say that she is not pleased with this country. The country that left black and poor people to die a watery death in New Orleans. The country that spends trillions on Iraq while cutting health care for under served kids in inner cities and rural areas across the country. The country that wants to build a fence across the border to keep out brown people just coming to make a living. And this is the country who turned a blind eye while Michelle’s elders were hung from trees for not falling in line.

And again as a Black woman she realizes that she gets it from other angle. Sexism and racism from white, brown, black, Muslim, Catholic, and Baptist alike. And through it all her man is about to become president. Yeah, I can see why after all the shit she has had to eat she can finally say I am proud of this country. Proud that after decades and centuries of pathological persecution of Black folk we can still put that sickness to the side, close that curtain and pull the lever for Barack.

Yeah I feel you Mom.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oh Mammy!

Melissa Harris-Lacewell is is associate professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University. This piece was forwarded to me and is being published without permission. If Ms. Harris-Lacewell has a problem with that please let me know and I will take it down. I thought it was a great piece that puts my thoughts into better words than I could muster.

There's been a lot of talk about women and their choices since Super Tuesday, when African American women overwhelmingly voted for Sen. Barack Obama, while white women picked Sen. Hillary Clinton. Some pundits automatically concluded that "race trumped gender" among black women. I hate this analysis because it relegates black women to junior-partner status in political struggles. It is not that simple. A lot of people have tried to gently explain the divide, so I'm just going to put this out there: Sister voters have a beef with white women like Clinton that is both racial and gendered. It is not about choosing race; it is about rejecting Hillary's Scarlett O'Hara act.

Black women voters are rejecting Hillary Clinton because her ascendance is not a liberating symbol. Her tears are not moving. Her voice does not resonate. Throughout history, privileged white women, attached at the hip to their husband's power and influence, have been complicit in black women's oppression. Many African American women are simply refusing to play Mammy to Hillary.

The loyal Mammy figure, who toiled in the homes of white people, nursing their babies and cleaning and cooking their food, is the most enduring and dishonest representation of black women. She is a uniquely American icon who first emerged as our young country was trying to put itself back together after the Civil War. The romanticism about this period is a bizarre historical anomaly that underscores America's deep racism: The defeated traitors of the Confederacy have been allowed to reinterpret the war's battles, fly the flag of secession over state houses, and raise monuments to those who fought to tear down the country. Southern white secessionists were given the power to rewrite history even as America's newest citizens were relegated to forced agricultural peonage, grinding urban poverty and new forms segregation and racial terr or.

Mammy was a central figure in this mythmaking and she was perfect for the role. The Mammy myth allowed Americans in the North and South to ignore the brutality of slavery by claiming that black women were tied to white families through genuine bonds of affection. Mammy justified past enslavement and continuing oppression.

In the face of the Mammy myth, real black women spoke for themselves against the monument. It was substantial, sustained, opposition from organized African American women and the black press that killed the Mammy monument proposal.

Black feminist politics is not simple identity politics. It is not about letting brothers handle the race stuff or about letting white women dominate the gender stuff. The black women's fight is on all fronts. Sisters resist the ways that black male leaders try to silence women's issues and squash women's leadership. At the same time, black women challenge white women who want to claim black women's allegiance without acknowledging the realities of racism. They will not be drawn into any simple allegiance that refuses to account their full humanity and citizenship.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Mos Def - Umi Says

Eb just found our wedding CD and this was on it. This and "If You Can Huh?"
Two best Mos songs

Friday, February 15, 2008

10 things that I like today

1. Organized Konfusion
2. Diet Coke
3. Alton Brown, Tyler Florence, Food Network
4. Chris Matthews and MSNBC
5. The steam room at the Dodge Y
6. NCAA Football on PS2
7. the B25 bus and B41
8. the SP-1200
9. Wallabee Clark’s
10. J. Crew


Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Empire gets its ass kicked

Frack Roger Clemens I want to talk about The NFL Commish Roger Goodall.
While Roger was lying his a** off in front of the House Committee The Commish was across the way cooking up stories for Sen. Arlen Specter of PA.
As you may or may not now Specter was very curious about the Pats Spygate scandal.

Now some claimed Specter was still salty about the Pats beating his beloved Eagles a few years back. After listening to Specter’s press conference yesterday I have no doubt that that is the case. But what is also apparent is that Specter is also very sensitive about the NFL’s anti-trust exemption and their contrary behavior.

The Sports Broadcasting Act was passed in response to a court decision which ruled that the NFL's method of negotiating television broadcasting rights violated antitrust laws. The court ruled that the "pooling" of rights by all the teams to conclude an exclusive contract between the league and CBS was illegal.
The Act overrules that decision, and permits certain joint broadcasting agreements among the major professional sports. It permits the sale of a television "package" to the network or networks, a procedure which is common today.
The law has been interpreted to include the so-called "blackout rules" which protect a home team from competing games broadcast into its home territory on a day when it is playing a game at home.

This may seem like a trivial Act but virtually no other US business gets this kind of pass. Specter seems to be a football fan but no fan of the NFL. He has long been trying to repeal this Act and it seems that Spygate has given him the reason to stir it up like Bob Marley. I am with Specter on this as I think Goodall shares some of David Stern’s latent pathology toward young, Black, millionaires. The NBA and the NFL are more than happy to build their brands on the backs of young black men, one of the most targeted groups in the USA. However, when those men don’t fall in line Stern and Goodall are more than happy to lay the smack down. The fact that Goodall snatched Pacman Jones paycheck for a year and counting while destroying evidence of Darth Belichick makes me uneasy.

According to Specter the Pats were caught spying on Sunday, punished on Thursday, evidence arrived on Friday and then was destroyed the following Wednesday (my days might be wrong but the chronology is essentially right). I don’t see how that can not be shady.
How is the punishment fair when you don’t have any evidence? And why on God’s green earth would you destroy the evidence?
Goodall is up to something. My theory is that this is the NFL’s version of the MLB’s steroid scandal. Taping of singles was illegal yet still ran rampant throughout the League. Goodall would rather sweep this under the rug than admit to a wide spread violation.

Pats, whether you like it or not that asterisk is coming. For you and Roger.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

President Obama

I understand why my man Chris Matthews and the gang at MSNBC want to temper their praise for President Obama.

I mean Chris admitted that Barack gave him a woody last night

I have been saying it for a while that:
-Obama has the momentum
-He has the dollars
-He has the Democratic base - Black folk. 80% and rising
-Hilary is a mess
-Bill blew it for her

Now Obama has the popular vote, the delgate count, the media in his pocket, the Democratic machine behind him and Oprah

McCain vs Obama is a joke. Well not a joke but did you hear McCain's speech? That dude will be smoked in a YouTube generation election.
He can't even unite his own party.
His situation will play out like Mark Green in the Bloomberg I election. For those outside of New York look it up.

Obama will pick a white male VP with foreign policy and/or finance experience, McCain will pick some backwards ass conservative and the rout will be on.

President Obama - beleive it!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Special Ed - The Mission

All praise due to Special Ed

Happy Video Tuesday

Special Ed - I'm The Magnificent

Special Ed, 'I got it made

Monday, February 11, 2008

I alwayd did love 'Rocking It'

I was caught up on The Wire so the Grammy’s got all my attention last nightHere are the thought from the Swift Chance

• I love Herbie Hancock but him winning shows why the Grammy’s are simply not the standard anymore. Do you know 5 people who even knew that album was out? Let alone heard it. Not just your Hip-Hop friends but your whole network. The Grammy’s are more than a celebration of the Short Tail but a celebration of the elite. Herbie winning was a statement by the old guard, don’t trip
• However, I do like the archival stance they take. They make sure our industry’s short institutional memory is kept in check
• Oohh you know Kanye was pissed
• But his stance on these awards is becoming a bit of a joke. As evidenced by Usher’s comment
• I feel Kanye about getting pissed when they played the music but dude; this is not your personal platform. Don’t be a dick. You can show some good taste as well
• It was great they let him do a tribute to moms
• The light up jacket? I don’t know – good performance though
• Winehouse performance was dope
• Made me think we are making too much of her drama. Kind of like Britney
• Those dancers were serious
• However, at the same time I felt like they celebrated her drug use in an indirect way
• Two words, well five. MORRIS DAY AND THE TIME! Best thing all night
• Beyonce is built for this. Everyone else fall back
• ‘Proud Mary’ was dope buy where was the Ike shout out?
• Sure were a lot of Black folk on stage
• And a random country dude
• Carrie Underwood has a strong ass voice
• What the hell was the look Mark Ronson was going for? Jack White on a diet?
• Glad Alicia Keys stylist got the memo from the Super Bowl. Although the 1st outfit made her boobies look crazy, she looked banging in that second outfit
• Akon looked like a vampire
• Rhianna did much better than I (and those watching with me) thought
• I wonder how Common felt when Kanye told him to stop competing with him. I am sure he’s used to it
• Aretha, you are the queen and you can do whatever you want but spaghetti straps need to be reconsidered
• Prince is still the man

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Friday, February 08, 2008

It's Omar!

I spent last night catching up on The Wire. After what I perceived to be an over hyped season launch I have reached the same conclusion as last year. From a writing and overall story perspective this may be the best TV show of all time.

Ok, that souping it and I am no TV critic but damn this show is good. As a wannabee amateur writer I am amazed at the quality of writing. The story is so well thought out. Captivating like a car crash but as insightful as a Ralph Ellison short story.

-This is gonna badly for Macnulty and Lester. So bad
-I think Bunk is gonna do them in
– Still not sure if Marlo is gonna make it. He seems to be exhibiting a fatalistic streak
-'It's Omar!'
- Such an interesting to make the Omar character a homosexual. I would love to talk to the writers about that choice
-Chris is straight shook. Be wary of what he may do to Marlo
-picture messages. Is that really happening on the streets?
-so Michael is catching bodies? Going to the frontlines against Omar? He got his weight up quick
-Snoop, Chris, Omar, Stringer –- some of the best characters of all time

In news of what I hate about my Hip-Hop. Here is Cuuuuuuuuuurtis from SOHH today: "I think she could do a good job," 50 said. "There's nothing bad about Obama in my eyes either, but I think Hillary would be my choice. I don't think America is ready to have a black president. I think they might kill him."
You know I am an Obama guy so I’m biased but seriously if this is going to be your comment. Keep it to yourself.
This is way too complicated for you Curtis. Stay in your lane and let the adults speak.
Hasn’t Fat Joe or Jada or Ja or whoever need a mixtape dedicated to them?

In Pol news
- The Republican nominee is the most moderate, leftist cat in the party and hated by Rush Limbaugh
- My guy has more delegates and more money than Bilary
- The worst case scenario is my guy re-ups in 2012

This is not a bad year

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Post Super Tues Randomness

Real quick as we have a busy day and I was up until 1:30 last night watching the Super Tuesday returns. I will take the easy way out today and hit y’all with some bullet points of random yet connected thoughts

• Barack has momentum
• Hilary does not
• Momentum is defined as “when an object or body is moving, it possesses a quality called momentum, which means the object tends to keep moving”
• Ever played football or ran track? Barack is “walking Hilary down” His victory is a function of time. Hilary’s lead is evaporating with every day. She is not growing or raising money at Barack’s pace. You DO NOT have momentum when your lead in Georgia goes from 13 points to a loss in two weeks.
• Barack is gonna win this thing. He is the only one gaining steam
• The Republicans are a mess. Poor Romney, he is just getting hated on. Huckabee is scary and McCain is the last Republican the establishment wanted
• They are gonna tear each other apart while my guy continues to gain steam
• Saw the Giants parade. The funniest thing was that the Giants are not really a NY team. Not like the Knicks, Mets, Yankees, or Rangers. Why? BEACUASE THEY PLAY IN NEW JERSEY. So having all these NY politicians shake their hands just looked silly. Sheldon Silver!?!?!?
• I doubt half of those dudes like Eli had been to the City in a year

Be good

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Yes We Can -

Friday, February 01, 2008

Like Terminator X I speak with my hands

peace to Matt Doo (RIP) and Geology

Just put together a playlist “For Office Listening”
And I after watching ‘Transformers’ the other night I have decided to talk through other people’s lyrics like Bumblebee. Below are some lyrics from my funky fresh playlist to explain your boy Swifty

“I'm trying to rule the world while you talk about your silly glasses”
Da Bush Babbees, “The Ruler”

“I thought I was hard in high school fighting. Now I'm the hardest working man in show business. Handle your business and shut the fuck up”
Common, “1,2 Many”

“Brother why don’t you explain
How did hip hop got caught up in this ill rap game

Yo, I got a question
In Hip-Hop Who they following
The niggas with skills
Or them niggas who be hollering

Them niggas that be hollering
is substitute modeling
Niggas with skills
Always and forever keeps a following

Swallowing pride
Never we be imperialistic
Who rips shit
Without being materialistic
Statistics show

Ask sis she know

Just cause the niggas got doe
Don’t mean they got that flow”
Organized Konfusion, “Questions”

“Keep my workers under pressure. Got 'em saying Fuck Lester but that's aight Kico”
The Beatnuts, ‘Off The Books’

‘Never had a basement, never had an attic. Only an apartment where I forever had static’
“I am about to set it on society. Watch me while I do it”
The Large Professor, “Mad Scientist”

“I keep it ghetto with the plastic cups”
Dilla, ‘Ruff Draft’

“I'd rather be born, shine as the true and livin'
Spawned to live this gift to the fullest, shit is on
Still rethinkin' my position until I'm gone
Mission is to elevate mind
Glisten, destined forever, weather the storm”
Prince Po (one of the greatest MC’s who doesn’t get his) “Invetro”

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