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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Notorious BIG - One More Chance (remix)

this video changed the game.
Made a BIG a bona fide star
Brought all types of celebs together. East Coast Hip-Hop has never be the same

Thursday, March 27, 2008

crucial conflict - hay

check www.brooklynbodega.com to see why the hell I posted this video

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Punk Gospel

I was a guest lecturing at York College today and in between classes I took a walk around the Queens neighborhood where York resides. I marveled at all the Kanye/Pharell/Lupe looking Black kids. Skinny jeans, DC shoes and the occasional actual skateboard. Bugged me out a bit. See when I was growing up skateboarding was something all kids did. It was fun exercise. Then I saw it get real uncool in the Black community and it became something only white kids I went to boarding school with did. So to see skateboard fashion come full circle and became not only Black again is interesting. Totally organic but noteworthy nonetheless.

The other side of this revelation is, I was down in North Carolina over Easter weekend for a christening. I am by no means a church guy these days but like many Black people the church was a significant part of our lives growing up so I definitely have an appreciation for it. Particularly how the church provided the glue for a far too often fractured household. What I liked most about my trip to the house of G-O-D was the 1) the words from the pastor and 2) the choir. Soul music, blues, and encouraging inspirational words.

The juxtaposition of skateboard culture in Jamaica, Queens and the significance of the church in Charlotte, NC lead me to this revelation. Hip-Hop is both punk music and gospel music. These two undertones merge and diverge like strands of DNA.

For some Hip-Hop is rebel music. The sound of defiant, arrogant revolution. From the politics of Public Enemy and dead prez to the ignorant swagger of Lil Wayne. Just look at Wayne. Put a white face on that dude holding the lean cup and you have Sid Vicious. Unabashed male sexuality, flaunting of drug use and the overall American nightmare. For the most part the participants are young. Don’t see too many 40 and 50 year old punkers. And by the time Chuck D hit his mid 40’s he had transformed into a liberal pundit complete with a show on Air America.

On the other side of the spectrum you have Hip-Hop as gospel music. The music of positivity and the audacity of hope. Gone is the middle finger of Punk Hop. It is replaced with the gender inclusive, racially inclusive, politically correct talk of A Tribe Called Quest or Common.

On one of my road trips which provide me with the few opportunities I have to zone out to my iPod I became re-mesmerized by Nas’s “New York State Of Mind.”

Thinking of cash flow, buddah and shelter
Whenever frustrated I'm a hijack Delta
In the P.J.'s, my blend tape plays, bullets are strays
Young bitches is grazed
Each block is like a maze
full of black rats trapped, plus the Island is packed
From what I hear in all the stories when my peoples come back, black
I'm living where the nights is jet black

That is gospel music. And the pure blues. A vivid portrait of the life facing Black people in the dungeons of America. And although that song is dark and there are numerous references to drugs and guns I always leave that song feeling inspired. Nas like other blues and gospel griots brings us face to face to the bitter nastiness of it all. By facing and conquering it we come out the other side bereft of fear. That’s gospel music.

These two genres are very similar. Similar in tone, voice and they even share an audience. This leads to cross pollination that creates magnificent hybrids. Jeezy on the Lupe remix (which is super dope, btw). Busta and Jay Z on the Get By Remix. Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Q-Tip and Ice Cube in the Cypress video for ‘How I could Just Kill A Man’ – remember that? And so on.

It also leads to confusion. Sean Price or better yet Fat Joe performing at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Makes sense to the informed, but also poses a severe contradiction that is the elephant in the room. No one better manifests that contradiction than our headliner last year. The great Tony Starks. I can only think of Jay, Nas, and Outkast as able to toe this line between punk and gospel as well as P Tone. That’s why we love him.
Why we love these Chicago MC’s like Kanye, Common, and Lupe despite the embarrassing comments they may make.

But we have to be careful not to let the contradiction bite us. Just because Punk and Gospel can live together doesn’t mean the marriage always works out.

As for me, I cast my vote with the gospel sect with a fierce affinity for those who can toe the line as stated above. I am too old to be a pure punk Hop fan, and even when I was young enough it all seemed silly. To quote Common from “Afrodesiac”:

I rhyme far, away away away
From what you accustomed to hearing everyday,
You know the dope-chopping, gun-popping, homies dying
I'm amongst it,
Save the war stories for Private Ryan



Swifty was out of town and is just now getting his sea legs back

for all my 3 million readers (fake) hold tight

Friday, March 21, 2008

Obama and Richardson sitting in a tree...

You probably don't need me to tell you this but politics, especially this season, is like a mixture of SportsCenter, The Real World and Making The Band. That being said, we have to make sure to take this coverage with a grain of salt.

On Hardball and the new show on MSNBC ‘Race For The White House’ that replaced my man Tucker Carlson, the pundits have been trying to find anyway to attack Obama's speech all week. The chief right wing biased dummy Joe Scarborough took the absurd argument that the speech played well in Manhattan but how did it do in Queens?

Implying that rich folks in the city love Obama but working class people in the outer boroughs don't.
It is divisive politics not based in fact.

First of all I wonder when was the last time Scarborough stepped foot in the Q-Boro. But outside of that let's break it down because I've actually been in Queens lately.
I bet the speech played well in Corona with the Columbians and Mexicans.
Probably did well in Flushing with middle class older Blacks like my groovy in-laws.
Probably did well in Astoria with the hipsters.
Did well Jamaica (The Estates and South side)
Did well in Hollis and St Alban's I guarantee that.

It also did well in Fort Greene, East New York and Cobble Hill. Probably not so well in Bay Ridge and Middle Village, I'll give you that.

The reality is that when you analyze the speech this blowback these fools claim won't happen.

They have never seen an Obama before and they keep trying to use the old tactics to tear him down. But old tactics don’t work on a new paradigm.

Yeah the Rev wilded out.
Yeah the Scarborough argument could work well with white folks just looking to release that inner racist demon. White people who front like they are liberal and progressive but deep down are not comfortable pulling that lever for a Black man, a woman, Jew, Latino, or anyone other than someone who looks like a Founding Father. For those cats this will be their excuse.
For people like Pat Robertson and Lou Dobbs this is the opening in Barack’s armor where they can focus their fear mongering, racism, and xenophobia all for higher ratings and fatter pay checks.

Anyone who actually listened to the speech knows that Obama neither ducked the Wright issue nor bloodied himself up. What he did was drop jewels that will change the world. Believe it.

With today’s endorsement of Bill Richardson I think we are ready to keep marching on.

Hilary, things are getting darker.
Old Man Winter – get your rest. We’re coming for thee.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Fat Joe - The Shit Is Real (DJ Premier Remix)

the real Joey Cridack


we in the Bronx today. I may rep for Brooklyn but I was born in the Bronx

Strictly Roots - Beg No Friends

880 Boynton as we stay in the X.
Big Mark, Ali, Shaip and Dulah...aight!

Diamond D- Best kept secret

One for the B-X

The Fed needs to bail me out too

The music business sucks but take solace in this my fellow entrepreneurs. At least you’re not Bear Sterns.  After trading for $150 per share last year they just sold to JP Morgan for $2 per share.  Let me do the math…carry the 2…divided by pi…plus 3 factorial… That means you sh*t is going down the tubes. 


This is what you bastards get for trying to hustle poor white, Black, and brown people out of the houses.  However, I do like the fact the Federal Reserve bailed them out.  Holla at dude to and tell him to send us 100 stacks for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

Friday, March 14, 2008

De La Soul Break a Dawn

fingers crossed

De La Soul - Ego Trippin

GZA - Liquid Swords

yo RZa flip the track

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shabba Ranks on Shabba Ranks

I think y'all forgot about the Shabba Rankin'

Mr. Loverman by Shabba Ranks

shabba ranks - trailer load of girls

Geraldine is right

The truth is Geraldine Ferraro is right.
It is empirical fact despite the racist undertones you may or may not hear in her statement.
Obama has unified the Black vote in ways that no one ever has. Not Bubba or The Revs (Al and Jesse).

Her statement is acknowledging the elephant in the room. As Clarence Page said last night on Chris Mathews. If Obama were white he would be John Edwards. The fact is that he is what he is. The first Black politician with a chance to win. And Black people are falling in line with what he represents to the tune of 91% in Mississippi.

Geraldine Ferraro’s comment about Obama is like saying the reason why Shaq has four rings is because he is 7’2”. Or the reason why Johan Santana got so much money from the Mets is because he is left handed. These are cold facts about these people that are fundamental aspects of them as a physical human being. Aspects that are using to their advantage. You can’t choose how tall you will be, what race, or what hand you throw a baseball with.

Honestly, the sooner Hilary realizes what Geraldine said the better for her. Obama has locked up the Democratic base and you can’t win without the base. Each time you belittle Obama you piss of more Black voters and push them towards McCain if their candidate were to lose.
It is you, who should be campaigning for VP not the front runner.

What is really pissing people off are the implications of Ferraro’s comment. That the ONLY reason he is winning is because he is Black. Not only is it not true but it is insulting to any Black person, woman, or minority who has been accused of being a quota by an unqualified white applicant. Maybe that is why he is the front runner, maybe that’s why he won the Senate seat, maybe the same for the State Senate. But you know what; there is no quota system at the Harvard Law Review. At the minimum you have to admit that. The dude is smart. A great communicator with great ideas.
Actually the difference on the issues between Obama and Hilary are not nearly as wide as McCain. McCain talks of a hundred year war, never mentions health care, and has no focus on the economy. It is too caught up with war mongering to have a real agenda.

You better start respecting Obama and his constituents or else you are going to destroy the Democratic Party and let the Republicans walk right in.

But that being said the real issue is that the Hilary camp is pissed. Pissed that Barack has positioned himself as the hero of the Black community. The sum total of 400 years of struggle. While Hilary does not resonate nearly the same with women.
Black women have chosen to be Black first. Liberal white women vote for Barack. He gets a healthy portion of what should be your rabid soldiers while you lose more Black people with each primary.

This battle between women and Blacks is her best bet. But it will be Phyric victory, if it is indeed a victory.

Last point, women, Latinos, gays and lesbians, Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, replace your group for Black in Ferraro’s comments and tell me how you would feel.

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Monday, March 10, 2008


Yesterday was a slow sports day.

NBA is still boring

No Lacrosse

March Madness is about to start but I have no idea what’s going on.


I made a New Year’s Resolution to not be so ignorant and that applies to sports.

I had vowed to stop making fun of track and field and went to the Milrose Games at the Garden. And I must say I have newfound respect for men and women, boys and girls running around a rubber track at crazy speeds.


So forgoing the redneck jokes on Sunday I decided to fulfill my promise to try and figure out the appeal of NASCAR.

I think I get it. There is a tremendous amount of strategy that goes into it. ‘Just go fast’ is not enough.

Plus it seems like the trick is to cheat without getting caught. They say football is a game of inches but not like this.

Loose an oil cap and that buys you .00008 seconds. And that’s all you need to win.


So call me Brad Daughtery. I ain’t mad at NASCAR







Wednesday, March 05, 2008

So what's next on the agenda Hil?

From Swifty to Hilary

• Congrats on your wins. It was well deserved. You brought yourself back from the brink again. What’s the plan now?
• How will the mathematics leave you with more pledged delegates at the end of the season?
• Are you prepared to take this to the superdelegates and co-sign it if they vote against the popular or pledge delegate count?
• You went negative to win this; I assume you will continue to do so. If you win what is your plan to keep the African American voters that Barack has energized engaged?
• You brought up experience and even stated that John McCain has more than Barack. If you win how will you win that argument with Old Man Winter?
• A breakdown of Ohio shows that you won in Republican turf while Barack won in Democratic turf. Do you think you will when that in the general? And again how will keep the Black voters on your side in the general?
• Do you really think Barack will lose NY, NJ, CA, and other Dem strongholds in the general as you have been claiming?
• Many Black voters including this writer has said that if you win going negative against Barack we will not support you. Either vote Nader, stay home, or even vote McCain because of pure sour grapes. If that plays out how will you win the general? Especially since Blacks vote Dem 9 to 1 over Republicans. And Barack is polling 80-90% of Black voters.
• Some argue that without that base the Democratic are very vulnerable. How will you survive what very well may be a Phyric victory?
• What new voters are you attracting?
• What Barack supporters are you poaching?
• What is the acceptable level of collateral damage you are comfortable with this along this journey?

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sucker Ducks

Sitting here watching the returns on Super Tuesday Part 2.

First of all, if I ever see Joe Scarborough on the street I may just snuff him like Nate Robinson vs. Carmelo Anthony.

His complete disregard for the role of journalists is shameful. All day he has been pushing Hilary while disparaging Obama with the stated goal that Republicans would rather run against Hilary. And he, a hard core and somewhat disgraced, former Florida Congressmen is to little surprise supporting the candidate who is polling weaker against Old Man Winter.

Second I read the following quotes in the Brooklyn Paper from the Congressmen from where I work and live in Brooklyn:

Congressman Ed Towns has explained that he has no intention of straying from his support of Mrs. Clinton. “The district might have gone for Obama,” Mr. Towns said. “But the state went for Hillary. And no matter what, she is the senator from our state.”

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, in a statement, said she “is a committed superdelegate to Hillary Clinton.” She added that her role as a superdelegate is not simply to follow the lead of her constituents.

“Superdelegates have the unique responsibility to balance the needs of their district, state, party and country,” she said.

I want to point out to these elected officials that your job is to represent the people, not go off the reservation and do your own thing.

From wikipedia - The bicameral Congress came from the desire of the Founders to create a House "of the people" that would represent public opinion.

Hilary won Brooklyn by the slim margin of 52 to 48. Your districts are the ONLY two that Obama won outright. 57 and 56 percent respectively. Your job IS to represent the people.

Go off on your own at your own risk. Ed Towns, my congressman and Yvette Clark the representative of DUMBO, I tell you this if you go against the people in this matter with this blatant disregard, do so at your own peril. For what it’s worth you won’t get my vote.

When push comes to shove this is the cat I will ride with: “State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries is among the Brooklyn legislators demanding that super delegates vote with their districts or with the majority of pledged delegates.”The public should decide who becomes the Democratic nominee and not backroom party insiders," he says.

It is a new day. Wake up.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

It's a Celebration...

Our mission here at Brooklyn Bodega and the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival has always been, through free programming, to shine the light on a side of Hip-Hop culture that many miss. During this journey we have met a lot of good people and organizations with the same mission. We have found that the biggest obstacle to the successful execution of all of these programs is money. We have been able to mitigate that burden through the generosity of our sponsors, but more importantly it has been the people we serve who have consistently supported us. As we move forward with our 2008 programming and beyond we wanted to involve the people in a real way. To that end we are launching SUPPORT, CELEBRATE, REPRESENT.

Support Hip-Hop. Support New School. Support Old School.
Celebrate Graffiti. Celebrate Dance. Celebrate our Youth.
Represent Brooklyn. Represent Positivity. Represent Yourself.

Brooklyn Bodega needs the people’s support from every angle. From their attendance to their input to their energy to their financial support. The financial support from BHF sponsors only gets us so far. The cost of talent, port a potty’s, security, insurance adds up. As opposed to other festivals we do not rely on ticket revenue or public funding to help with these costs.

After one of our sponsors unexpectedly went bankrupt in 2007 it was the people who came to our aid with donations of $5, $10, $20, and $100 gifts.

We need your support again. We have expanded our free programming for 2008 to include a film series, an additional outdoor date and a national tour. And our costs have grown with our vision. Again sponsors will help but it won’t work without you.

For more info on how to donate or for artists and organizations interested in joining the SUPPORT, CELEBRATE, REPRESENT email celebrate@brooklynbodega.com

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