Sunday, October 31, 2004

Jay-Z vs. R Kelly

I'm now going to be waiting for the Jay-Z/R Kelly dis raps to start coming out on the DJ mix CD circuit. The Jay-Z vs. Nas beef has nothing on this one! So, I will do my best using various sources to piece this whole drama together:

From All Hip Hop:“I was threatened earlier,” Kelly claimed. “[Somebody said], ‘don’t come to Madison Square Garden.’ I’ve never been scared of anything but God, so I came anyway. It was nobody I knew. It happens. I travel with three kids and a wife of mine. During Jay’s part I saw a dude looking hard at me.”
Kelly revealed that 40 or more police officers searched the area. After a sweep of the area, he attempted to perform with Ja Rule, but was pepper sprayed by an unnamed individual as he approached the stage.

Note: Funniest thing is your at a rap concert, so of course dudes are "looking hard at you". They're looking hard at everybody! R Kelly is starting to sound like Michael Jackson.

From All Hip Hop:According to Kelly’s publicist, Kelly and two bodyguards was pepper sprayed by members of Jay-Z’s entourage, forcing him to go to the hospital.

From The New York Post:"The real story is that [the pepper-spray canister] hit the floor and busted," said Jay-Z's security guard, Crush. No one has been arrested for the incident that sent Kelly to the hospital.

From NME:Jeff Sharp, a contractor with tour promoter Atlanta World Wide Touring, confirmed that Kelly had been removed from the tour, but would not comment on the reason.

From the Chicago Sun Times:Despite being pepper-sprayed by a member of Jay-Z's entourage as he tried to return to the stage in Madison Square Garden last night, Kelly declared he was 'ready, willing, and able' to continue the tour," Kelly's spokesman said. "Jay-Z, however, refused to perform, as a result of which the promoter canceled the tour."
"We had to cancel Milwaukee, then we had to cancel Connecticut; we canceled St. Louis and then we canceled Cincinnati," Jay-Z said. "This is just disrespectful, man. Everybody better grab their 'Best of Both Worlds' albums, because that's it. It's too much. Certain things aren't meant to be."

The funniest bit I found was about how R Kelly was serving McDonalds in St Louis from the Chicago Sun Times:

More problems arose during a concert Oct. 23 at the Savvis Center in St. Louis. That show was about two-thirds through when Kelly jumped off the stage, ran to the back of the arena and exchanged heated words with production technicians. When Kelly returned, he said good night and stormed off, leaving Jay-Z to finish the concert alone. Kelly then drove to a local McDonald's and spent the next few hours serving fast food from the drive-through window, his spokesmen confirmed.

My only thought is, what a way to promote your next album! Actually, picking up a Happy Meal for your daughter and getting it from R Kelly is kinduv a scary thought.

The real victims of all this drama.....

From the New York Times: Mr. Kelly's decision to cut the show short on Friday was not well received by audience members, some of them having paid more than $100 for a ticket. "I went in the bathroom and cried," said Dee Dee Duncan, a single mother of two from Harlem and an R. Kelly fan. "I worked hard for that $102."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Republicans are saying "Who let the crybaby liberals out?"

I found one of those pesky news items on called "Study: Wealth gap widened for blacks, Hispanics"about the inequalities of wealth which will elicit responses of "damn crybaby liberal media!"

Quote:"Wealth is a measure of cumulative advantage or disadvantage," said Roderick Harrison, a researcher at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington think tank that focuses on black issues. "The fact that black and Hispanic wealth is a fraction of white wealth also reflects a history of discrimination"

Maybe that's why Bush and Kerry won't visit the 'hood, which P Diddy has observed.
P Diddy making voting "sexy"

P Diddy is doing a national tour of different states as high-lighted in this article.

Quote: But there's no candidate -- just Sean ''P. Diddy'' Combs in all his hip-hop, hype-loving glory, working for his nonpartisan organization Citizen Change.
The mastermind behind those ''Vote or Die!'' T-shirts is flying from New York to Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Miami on a three-day tour to inform young people and minorities that voting is important and, well, ''sexy.'' being sexy. You know, it'd be really cool if the people doing the polling were 18-24 year old half naked eye candy. I bet if that happened, more men would come to the polls in droves, and I'd be the first in line.

Like Mya, for example. I seen some pictures of her in the Citizen Change website with the tight Vote or Die shirt on. Mya at the polls, I am so there. But has the "Vote or Die" craze caught on? As this quote testifies:

12:55 p.m.: A mob of students is stuffed into the 1,800-seat Cooley Auditorium, many screaming and holding up ''Vote or Die!'' signs while perched atop the theater-style seats. Before Combs appears onstage, college President Darnell E. Cole repeatedly warns the throng: ''Get off the chairs.''

So, I guess that it has more or less gotten to the kids. Diddy has said that there is no political agenda to Citizen Change or his Vote or Die thing, but this quote by Mary J Blige makes me a little doubtful about Diddy's stated agenda:

''I'm gonna get real raw,'' Blige warns. ''I saw 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and I'm about to go there. I'm not afraid because God has taught me one man can change history.''

Blige's emotional anti-war, pro-woman speech elicits a range of emotions from the crowd. Some yell ''Amen!''; others weep.

''I don't think I want to benefit from a robbery of innocent poor people's blood who did not deserve to die the same way you do not deserve to die today,'' Blige says. ''But that's what will happen if we do not vote. We will die.''

Well, the debates about the war continue, and the thing about this remark is that she's basing her stance on Fahrenheit 9/11. I liked the movie, but in my opinion the whole idea was that it was Michael Moore's opinion, and you had to really do your homework.

Interesting was Diddy's statement:

''There will be an opportunity to have a woman president, a black president, a Latino president, a gay president,'' he says. ''Anything's possible if a community flexes its power. That won't happen overnight though. We have to stay focused. We have to grow our power within politics to be able to break down those barriers.''

A gay president? Maybe if he gets Ma$e to run.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Eminem...major impact?

Don't get me wrong, Im not pro-Bush, but if there are people who exist who are actually influenced by Eminem in their choice for president.....

We are in big trouble!

Quote:"In essence, its a call for his audience to mobilize and "set aside our differences, and assemble our own army to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president."

All I can say.....WTF?????????

Monday, October 25, 2004

Tis the season for Howard University Homecoming!

HU Homecoming always reminded me of the movie "School Daze"

This week is Howard Homecoming. Even though Im like years outta Howard University, I always come back every year to go to at least one of the events. I mostly have gone back to the fashion show, I went to the step show once, the other time I tried to go it got sold out. Yesterday, I went to the gospel extravaganza. Now, I always had a certain idea about what it was like. I never went because when I was at Howard, I went mostly to the concerts and the comedy shows. However, they really spiced things up. They had the HU choir, the coolest choir I have ever seen, they had cats doing mime type stuff, they had steppers, the Bisonettes dancing to gospel. It was off the hook.

The main performer was this neo-soul gospel sista named Lisa McClendon. She was just so precious. She gave a very moving performance to that neo-soul type music. This sista poured her heart out! Every song she did just made me just focus to the point where I wanted to find out who this sista was. Even when she was talking, it made you think that this was the type of girl you could have an interesting conversation with. Even if you don't like gospel, you'd love this woman! It took the audiece of younstas a little time to really feel her. After all, most of these kids today only respond to whats on the radio. When you present something new and fresh to an audience, people really have to get into the vibe.

Being at this show made me think, why was I so closed minded when I was at Howard. I guess I thought that it was just going to be some gospel choir and really conservative type stuff. This was quite the opposite. Heck, even the women looking bangin'. Its a trip how Howard year after year brings in the bomb looking females. However, its a scary thought when I start thinking, well, when I was at Howard, this girl was like 14 years old. Scary thought indeed.

Another group of young brothers named God's Image came out looking pretty rough. It's funny, these gospel kids keep on trying to look harder and tougher. I remember back in the day when DC Talk was thought to be controversial! These kids did a powerful harmony routine. They to me were better than some of these folks I hear at the church I go to! But hey, I guess thats why these guys are touring Europe. But they were tight.

For me this year, that's it for homecoming. I was going to go to the game, but I don't think I will bother this year. I got too too much going on now. Plus, every damn activity is sold out. No step show or fashion show this year!

The official website of the Howard University Homecoming 2004, the only homecoming that counts!!

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Latest "Murder Dog"

I picked up the latest "Murder Dog" magazine. More than the Source, XXL, and Vibe, this magazine is pretty much anti-corporate, covering all those grimy, sleazy styles of rap coming from everywhere else but NYC. I didn't buy XXL, I didn't buy Source, and I didn't buy Vibe. I didn't buy any of those obscure backpacker magazines either, with all the focus on Talib Kweli and the Roots; and other artists like that. I like Murder Dog because they will focus on some cat from the Bay Area or Detroit who has a loyal but small following. You get the idea.

This Murder Dog had some funny quotes by Yukmouth. Yukmouth is a good example of this particular type of artist. Back in the late 90's, Bay Area rap was hot, but still largely ignored by the mainstream for the most part. His group, the Luniz, was one of a few that actually got bumped on the radio here in DC, and in DC they bump everything. On the BET messageboard, the new jack rap fans were dissing Yuck because he got beef with The G.A.M.E., and their biggest slight on him was that he flops, meaning his records don't sell.

Thing is, an artist like Yuck is not brought by the audience that will buy mostly Interscope artists. He has a small, loyal fanbase, whereas somebody like Eminem, Nelly or 50 Cent is mostly brought by that crossover audience that doesn't like rap, but will buy them because they are popular. Sure, its good to be popular, but at the same time, artists that are not popular are not necessarily bad.

Granted, most artists like Yukmouth are an acquired taste, since the production of these artists wont be as good as Dr Dre or Kanye West.Anyways, some funny Yukmouth quotes:

On XXL magazine: "A special shot (SIC) out to them dick riding muthaf--kaz XXL. All you do is s--t for G-Unit and Eminem."

F--k XXL with a double f--k!

On the "Eye Candy" section in XXL:"They give these video bi--ches five page spreads and only ask them two questions."

On Dr Dre: He is a gay nigga! Not to be like that but he is a gay ass nigga. Its cool but he is a faggot man.

On Xzibit: "He is gonna bring a back-packing nigga like Xzibit to the table and make him a gangsta rapper. That is what Dre is good at doing."

On Eminem: Pac would be with no fu--in snitches man. Or no White Elvis rapper muthaf--ka like Eminem.Pac was a revolutionary. He would not have been down with no Eminem. That would have been the first muthaf--ka that he went after.

I loved that interview! Yukmouth is the man. I've been listening to some bay area rap I've downloaded off my fav download site Emusic, and some of it is like I said about Yuck and acquired taste. If your main thing is mainstream artists, backpack rap, or hardcore NYC rap, you wont dig the Bay. But I listen to everything, so I could dig Richie Rich as much as I dig any "Dirty South" artist.

Check out United Ghettos of America #2 on Amazon.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Banned Videos

While I am not really worried about the banning of Eminem's video off BET (The same corporate entity, Viacom, will show the video on MTV anyways), since I really don't like the guy and thought his video stunk anyways, less known is the banning of Prince's latest video.

Apparently, the video was about racism against Arabs and the frustration they have and it's resulting anger. What has disturbed the corporate suits who want to keep people's entertainment dumbed down is:

Steve Silberfarb, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota, said he applauds the anti-harassment message but found a dream sequence in which the girl detonates a bomb at an airport disturbing.

I remember when Farehneit 9/11 came out some right wingers were saying that the movie was going to be used by Hizbollah to "recruit suicide bombers". Now, why would the musings and opinions of a fat goofy white guy inspire Muslim movie goers to become suicide bombers? This same kind of perspective is what scares people about Prince's video.

Even the right wing hag blowhard Michelle Malkin injected her two cents. Now, I'm thinking, who the hell cares what she wrote in her web log about anything? Apparently, this passes off as news. Its garbage:

"What it is is a washed-up pop star's crass exploitation of post-9/11 race-card-playing by Arab-American apologists for terror,'' conservative columnist Michelle Malkin wrote in her weblog.

Dumbass, why doesn't she go back to arguing about Kerry's wounds or something? Who the hell cares what she has to say anyways?

I guess the video is too dangerous for the corporate media, so only college kids get to see it at least for now:

MTV spokesman Graham James said the video is currently playing on MTVU, which is available only on college campuses. He said it would enter rotation on the flagship channel next week.

Of course it will probably be edited.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Some of the latest hip hop news

The Cross Movement
"Holy hip-hop" aims for mainstream

Quote:Sudds of Feed Magazine has a different take on the situation. She chooses to look on the positive side of things."I think that we have to ... make an opportunity out of it," Sudds said. "I think what Kanye presents really is reality, and we can't negate the fact that that exists. I mean, do we condemn people for it? Just because Kanye raps about his contradictions on a record doesn't mean that Christians that rap about Christ consistently in their music don't have contradictions themselves."

If you're hip-hop, VH1's "And You Don't Stop" is a must-watch.

Quote: VH1 did an excellent job of following the culture's growth and expansion. I grew up about 45 minutes outside of New York City in Pennsylvania and I remember most of the things they spoke of. They did so well, in fact, I stopped being mad at them for not letting me be the next Danny Partridge.

'Hip-hop bigger than politics'

Quote: "You know, (rap star) 50 Cent has more power than a Kerry or Bush in these communities ... We're bigger than Kerry. We're bigger than Bush," said Combs, who estimates there are more than 40 million hip-hop voters.

Only the hip-hop community could turn its ongoing voter awareness campaigns into a reason for yet another beef.

Qoute:The Source has picked a ridiculous moment to renew its squabble with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. This time, Dave Mays and Ray Benzino, co-owners of the hip-hop magazine, are in a twist over Simmons's decision to withdraw his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) from a voter education rally at this past weekend's Source Music Awards in Miami.

“Some people don’t want politics in their music,” said Nelly. “Some people want their music to be uplifting so they can have fun and dance.”

Universal Music Group is close to a deal to buy out the rapper and producer Jay-Z and his partners from their venture, Roc-A-Fella Records, a published report said Monday.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Talib Kweli, Iraq, and whatever else........

I brought Talib Kweli's "Beautiful Struggle" album, and I listened to it when I first brought it. What I want to do is listen to his last album and then the new one and do my "evaluation" based on the comparison.

As for Iraq, I noticed that one thingthat wasn't reported in the media was this get together of the Muslim nations to talk about what to do in Iraq. I think that it is encouraging and shows that the Muslim nations can handle their own affairs. However, the cynicism factor always creeps up; and with these Muslim nations, if you really look at the history of that part of the world you see how their is just no kind of unity in those nations. This is what one participant said:

The people who were responsible for Iraq's destruction should be the first people to pay for its reconstruction," he said. "Why should countries who were not involved in this exercise, who opposed the war in the first place, be asked to now fork out for the reconstruction of the Iraqi economy?"

I didn't watch the debate last night, but, I'm thinking, why the hell would they have a debate on Friday night? Nobody's thinking of that stuff!Like, my co-worker, she went to the R Kelly/Jay-Z "Best of Both Worlds" concert in Baltimore, Maryland. People are out, and about. The only people in on Friday are people with no lives!

I just watched that movie "The Perfect Score", and it was alright. Two typical white kids, two typical white girls, an Asian stoner(not very typical, I always thought they were brainy, and the kid had hacking skills), and a typical tall black high school basketball jock scheme to get the answers to the SAT. It's what I expect from a 21st century teen flick. Only thing I got out of this was that Erika Christensen, who was also that crazy chick from Swimfan is hot!

Other than that, I want to see that movie "The Motorcycle Diaries". But, I am broke as a joke. Oh well.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Spoiled by success?
Hip-hop has transformed pop culture -- or maybe it's the other way around
Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Hip-hop -- its slang, style, rhythms and influence -- is everywhere. Stars like Fat Joe are selling soda. Rappers like Mos Def and Ice Cube have become Hollywood actors. Hip-hop dominates the music charts -- in October 2003, it filled the entire top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, a first in the 45-year history of the chart.

But that overwhelming success doesn't necessarily mean all is well in the hip-hop nation. In fact, some longtime fans are wondering if hip-hop has transformed our popular culture -- or if instead our consumer culture has transformed hip-hop.

When it first boomed out of New York's South Bronx more than 25 years ago, hip-hop was bare-bones but expressive, made by young men too broke to buy instruments. With turntables, microphones and words, they made music that, at its best, spoke out against poverty and injustice. Early milestones such as Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five's "The Message" and Public Enemy's "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" established rap as a new form of protest art. Public Enemy's Chuck D famously said, "Rap is CNN for black people."

The music's impact was visceral. In one of the most famous examples, gang member-turned-rapper Ice-T ignited debates over free speech with his 1992 track "Cop Killer." Politicians and law enforcement officials condemned the song, and Charlton Heston disapprovingly read the lyrics at a Time Warner annual meeting. Ice-T pulled the track from his "Body Count" album, while insisting the song didn't advocate killing police so much as it protested police brutality against black people.

But now, with a few exceptions, mainstream hip-hop is more party than politics, defined by videos featuring artists rapping about their cars, their jewelry and their booty-shaking women -- the all-American materialism of Madison Avenue.

And it's worked for Madison Avenue. After P. Diddy and Busta Rhymes sang the praises of Courvoisier, for example, sales of the cognac jumped nearly 30 percent. Pete Snyder, CEO for a Washington, D.C., research company called New Media Strategies, said earlier this summer that corporations had woken up to hip-hop now that its "artists can mean serious bling-bling for their bottom lines."

Indeed, even CEOs like Snyder, as well as soccer moms and their kids, are using phrases like "bling-bling" -- hip-hop slang for jewelry that's now casually used to mean flashy consumerism. Portland-based rapper Libretto, whose first album comes out this month, isn't surprised. Once music born in the ghetto started selling in malls, the game changed forever, he says. It had moved onto corporate America's turf.

"You've got (music) labels now deciding on what's dope and what's good hip-hop," the 28-year-old rapper says. "Before, it was somebody on the corner, somebody's sister, somebody around the neighborhood, who was understanding what was going on."

Terrance Scott, who, as Cool Nutz, is a veteran Portland-based hip-hop performer, says hip-hop has followed a familiar path. "It's like anything, from garage rock or grunge," says Scott, 32. "It becomes so lucrative that it gets watered down."

At 31, Matthew Felling remembers when the music was simply called rap, before the more inclusive term of hip-hop -- which refers to rapping, MC-ing, DJ-ing, graffiti and break-dance culture -- took hold. To Felling, the media director for the nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based research group Center for Media and Public Affairs, hip-hop's shift in the past 20 years from hard-edged rap to party-all-the-time dance hits parallels the mainstream news media's shift from serious news to Britney Spears-wedding-style brain candy.

"Rather than talking about racial disparity and economic realities, why not just talk about how cool it is to be a gangsta?" Felling says of both hip-hop and the news media's obsession with entertainment values today. "And while you're at it, pass the Courvoisier."

That doesn't mean political activism has disappeared from hip-hop -- only that it's gone legit. This summer, P. Diddy threw a star-studded party -- Mary J. Blige, Leonardo DiCaprio and Queen Latifah were among the glitterati -- to launch his Citizen Change campaign to promote voting. The message has evolved from the raw street anger of "Cop Killer" to the grown-up values of political participation. As Diddy said at the party, "We have the power to make things cool, hot and sexy -- from the clothes we wear to the cars we drive to the bling we buy. Now we're going to make voting cool."

Also in the mix is the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, co-founded in 2001 by rap entrepreneur Russell Simmons, which sponsors events around the country to engage the "hip-hop generation" in efforts to fight poverty and injustice.

This movement to marry politics and hip-hop culture comes to Salem on Friday, with "The State of the Hip-Hop Nation," a one-day symposium at Willamette University. Conceived by Thabiti Lewis, assistant professor of English at Willamette, the event was inspired in part by the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, held in June in Newark, N.J. The Willamette symposium features guest speakers discussing such topics as building political clout, the global impact of hip-hop and the form's artistic roots. "We need to understand what the culture is about," says Lewis, "and how does it function as an agent of political change?"

One of the guests at the symposium is Hashim Shomari, chief of staff for New Jersey state Sen. Sharpe James. In 1995, Shomari wrote the book "From the Underground: Hip Hop Culture as an Agent of Social Change," and he's still committed to that ideal. He wants to see the hip-hop generation stepping into voting booths and taking responsible leadership positions.

"Just because an artist is conscious, and says all the right things on wax, doesn't mean much," he says. "It's not about 'fight the power' but about taking the power."

Not everyone, however, agrees that enthusiasm for all things hip-hop can be turned into political activism. "People seem to routinely agree that hip-hop was political at one point, then it became gangsta, then it spiraled downward in terms of its significance and importance," says Todd Boyd, professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television. "That is not true."

As Boyd points out, the 1979 single that started it all -- Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" -- wasn't what you'd call deep (not with such lyrics as, "I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, and you don't stop.")

"What is sillier than that?" asks Boyd. "You can't make hip-hop into something it's not. It's not politics. Hip-hop, at the end of the day, is about beats and rhymes."

That said, the rise of hip-hop to its commercial triumph is itself political, Boyd says. "When you see hip-hop in Madison Avenue and Hollywood, what you're seeing is the amazing significance of the culture. I don't think there's anything apolitical about that. As Jay-Z said, we didn't cross over -- we brought the suburbs to the 'hood."

Taken from Oregon Live

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Savior's Day, "Freestyle", Tupac

Elijah Muhammed born October 7

I'm not really a Muslim but I learned about the Honorable Elijah Muhammed at Howard University. I went to one Savior's day celebration, and there was a telecast of Louis Farrakahn speaking. I think he spoke well, I was digging it. One of my peers tried to equate Farrakahn with Hitler, but I don't think that Farrakahn has any ambition of world conquest (even though he did say Hitler was "wickedly great"). I still think I have alot to learn about this mysterious man.

On VH1 they were really killing it with their next installment of the "And You Don't Stop" series. I liked somewhat their breakdown of the Tupac/Biggie conflict. Nothing new, but what I did like was how Nelson George, Ice-T and others broke down the mentality behind what was going on. I agreed with Ice how it was crazy that Tupac was getting involved in Crip-Blood conflicts, and he didn't grow up in the LA gangbanger culture. He ultimately gave into the hype of his records, the whole "Westside Rider" persona. Snoop also made a good point and I don't know if there will be a bunch of hip hop geeks posting how Snoop said Tupac was one of the "negative" people of the time. This is a day and age when Tupac is like a patron saint of gangsta, so in hip hop circles it's almost sacrilege to say anything bad about him.

Supernatural, MC extraordianiare

However, what was really great was the "Freestyle" show that was on VH1 at 11 PM. That was the bomb, and I had always heard about Craig G, Supernatural and Juice but I heard the history through bits and pieces. They laid the whole history down and it was amazing. These cats just exist outside the mainstream of hip hop; they are like on the fringes of especially the commercial side of the culture. I hate to admit it, but VH1 is doing an excellent job in laying out the history of hip hop culture. Even though it's owned by the same company, BET has yet to impress me, because all their programs are for 15-21 year olds. Oh well.

Also, fellas, the "Black Men" magazine today put out an issue which has a gallery of all the video girls! So, if there is a video girl and you don't know her name, she will be in the magazine. Chanya Middelton was the best, I think. KING Magazine was alright, I guess I automatically get it, but it was alright.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Shawnna vs. Ciara and other foolishness

Alright, right now I am digging the two starlets of the moment, Ciara and Shawnna. I haven't heard Ciara sing anything but the song with the video I've watched like ten million times, and I haven't heard Shawnna rap one bar before, and even if she did I probably ignored it. But these are two hot sistas.

Shawnna, she looks rough, kinda hood, but then she shows you she got two sides to her. She got the hat to the back, looking rough, hardcore kinda, but then she shows her six pack. It's not like back in the day when you had BO$$ wearing baggy clothes and looking like she got out of jail. Shawnna is rough, but she hot.

But I really got to give it up to Ciara. She blows Shawnna away looks wise. Shawnna is going for that masculine B-Boy stance type thing, but Ciara is like, heavenly. She is going places. I dig her.

But their music? I don't think unless I get a good hookup on or catch it on sale for like $5.00 each, I wont be checking for either.

I've been digging the hip hop history show. Even though I have seen the history of hip hop laid out numerous times, and it's a story I could tell in my sleep, I'm enjoying the week long series on VH1. I was not really surprised, but I did like how they laid out the response to "Rapper's Delight", and how it was seen by the more hardcore types who were doing the music. I always knew that one of the members stole Caz's rhymes, and even when you listen to the full 14 minute version, you hear them saying rhymes which you can tell they didn't write.

Grandmaster Caz did his own version of "Rapper's Delight", and I heard it, and on the real, if you ever hear it (link from Emusic),I don't know what you will think, but for me, it made me appreciate the original. Caz is cool, but I see why he wasn't a solo rap artist.

As for that Nelly, that "Fabulous Life" special on VH1 had too many price tags and not enough booty. Damn, Nelly, why'd you have to hold out on us? VH1 made his life seem like a series of high priced luxuries, which is cool and all, but when they started getting good, it was like a minute of big "Apple Bottom" butts. Good thing I didn't blink my eyes.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Im starting to question the whole idea of "blackness". You know, the whole idea of brothers being united and bringing about positive change and having pride in who THEY are. I came up in a time when the whole concept of blackness was revived. Remember the late 80's? Reagan, Public Enemy and other pro-Black rappers, crack on the streets, Malcolm X, and black medallions were part of this whole revival.. I went to an HBCU from a predominately white Connecticut town. There, I was around blacks for the very first time, and exposed to the teachings of Louis Farrakahn. So, I came up in a time when the idea of blackness was revived. It had to be; times were tough, drugs plagued the streets, poverty was rampant, and "It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand" was more or less the logo that defined that time. Sure, things were not perfect, but coming from a mostly white background, having lived with mostly whites and acquiring a taste for blonde white bimbos, I guess my parents felt my life had to change.

So, my ideas of blackness were majorly influenced by this new group of people around me, the music I listened to (and I listened to alot of stuff most people never heard of), books I read like Assatta and the Autobiography of Malcolm X. But, along the way, I have been shaking off all those old ideas more or less.

One factor that made me dissillusioned was black women. Why? Well, on the campus I went to, women were making choices in men that didn't work in my favor. You hang around some black women, try to tell them how you feel,but you're a "friend" (yeah right), and they end up with the Mr Wannabe Black Gangsta. Dating was mad hard! And I only dated sistas! I didn't meet my "queen" at the HBCU. I had until I graduated to really meet someone.

Another thing were the black professors at the HBCU. African professors are total a-holes, and the American ones are no better. If they don't like you wont give you a good grade even if by whatever criteria you deserve it. The ones that do like you can be persuaded to change that C to a B, but I wouldn't count on it. I had one black professor who favored females, and one who felt he was above everybody. On the other hand, I had a white professor who helped me in any way he could. None of the other professors really did that without alot of drama.

Another reason I am dissullionsed by blacks has been in my career. I went out of my way to work in a black business, but they didn't give me any chance to grow. For the most part, most black bosses are horrible to work for. The Black bank that I worked for was all ghetto; it was like people didn't know how to conduct themselves or present themselves in a mature, professional manner.

I am also mad about blacks in politics. I made my transition from those extreme black power politics to just analyzing the political mainstream. When I see blacks in politics, I either see fiery minister types (ie Al Sharpton or Jesse) who I did admire and to an extent still do. However, on the other side, you have the irrational Alan Keyes and other blacks who just seem to mindlessly parrot off partisan politics. Some of the black conservatives I see are just such tools. I could be a conservative easy because their ideas and rhetoric are so simplistic. Its not hard being a black Republican. But, I think of the hood, and how the left exploits the black poor, and the right is so busy kissing up to their white peers and being cheerleaders for Bush. Meanwhile, in the hood people are struggling, and through my time of observation I just don't really put my faith in partisan politics, or black people.

For a time, I would look at blacks and think, those are my people, or thats my brother, and if I saw black people, I would speak because it was about "you're my people". However, now, I look at blacks and just about anybody else, and I think of them just like anybody else, as people.

And what of the hood? Well, unlike the mindless black conservatives or grandstanding self righteous idealogues, I will continue doing community service, helping in any way I can. I don't think that Malcolm X's, Huey Newton's, Marcus Garvey's or even Willie Hutch (buy "The Mack" soundtrack) or Chuck D (Public Enemy) idea of brothers getting together and "working it out " will ever happen. Events like the Million Man March gave me hope, but that has been dashed after 8 years and no progress connected to that event. I think that brothers being united is a really great dream. Impossible, but great.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Angela Davis, Mideast Politics, Presidential Debates, and Talib Kweli

For the last weeks I have been taking an interest in Middle East politics. I have decided in October to look over all the Middle East websites. I find naturally looking at some of those sites that there is alot going on that you don't really read about in the Western media.

I know that is the oldest cliche, to say, "Oh, well, I haven't heard them talking about this, I haven't heard them talking about, but I have this special knowledge!" Well, I don't have that attitude, but I do have a genuine concern about what goes down over there.

One site I check is News.Islamm, which draws sources from many other sites and sources, and isn't very inflammatory or jihad oriented, its more about news items. With the middle east becoming a helpless political football for more dominant powers to run rampant and prove different theories on what is good for "those people", I think that most Americans should do their own research to find out what is what in the Middle East. Right about now, it concerns me that these slick politicians can tell people anything, and they will take it hook, line and sinker. As much as I like Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11, which is out this week, I still would insist that people should see something like that, and do their homework. Don't just blindly believe what Bush or Michael Moore say. I think that this is definately a problem in this country today, and this tendency of the American people not to ask questions leads the political parties to assume that if they have slick commercials and fliers like the ones that claimed that "liberals would ban the Bible"
It just makes me mad that the intelligence of the American people is really being insulted by these politicians, and Im talking about both parties are doing it. The Republicans seem to take the whole thing overboard, and to me, the whole message becomes "Follow us, or you will be targeted for a terrorist attack, Jesus won't love you, the Republic will be destroyed, blah, blah, blah."

It's all a bunch of nonsense to me, really. Anyways, too bad today (Sunday 10/3) that the "Battle of the Bands" was cancelled because of a bomb threat. Who was behind this? When I was a Howard University, bomb threats were called in anytime a major exam was being given. It would be easy to lump this in with terrorism, but it most likely has nothing to do with that. I think it was just some kids acting stupid, trying to ruin everybody's fun, they may have had beef with some school or some band, I don't know, but it was too bad that the kids weren't allowed to have their fun.

Angela Davis was on CSPAN today, and I really got some good ideas about the woman, and I understand her alot more. For me, what I got was that this was an activist who intends to just teach and educate. Her image is commodified too much, and she's painted as this "Black Revolutionary", which to an extent she was, but this whole image was blown out of proportion. Not only that, she spoke against those people who wear and sell her face on t-shirts. That's an image given to her by other people. It was a great interview, and she touched on so much. I got it all on tape.

I heard that the new West Coast sensation "The G.A.M.E." is going to push back his album's release date because of Eminem's album which has been so highly anticipated. Of course it is expected that Eminem will go multi platinum and seal his place as hip hop's Elvis. It disappoints me that the details of the Eminem tape where he calls black women bythches and says the n word clearly is not seen as an issue. Most black rap fans defend Eminem more than anything, and they clearly don't care about the allegations. Anyways, the whole deal with the GAME is that unlike Eminem, he's subject to the black rapper threshold. The hype around him has been clear, but he still feels that Eminem's release would drown out his. However, I think that he will have limited sales anyways. Eminem appeals to so many demographics that GAME would never touch. I predict his sales will be strongest in like the South and the West Coast. I don't know if he will appeal to those on the East that much. Will the suburbs go for The GAME? Once they have been so ecstatic over Em's Encore, will they then run after "The GAME"? I don't think so. I think that the same people who brought Jadakiss, Jim Jones, Terror Squad and Young Buck's album will buy the GAME. The GAME seems to think he's more hyped than he really is. He'll come and go, I'll bet.