May 2005 Archives

I know Ron Mexico is the music video guy around here, but I must share my reaction to the Ludacris "Pimpin All Over the World" video. Luda has been hyping it as the first American rap video to be shot in Africa (and no, the "Made You Look" "One Mic" video doesn't count. Nas was in a fake African scene.) Some people were happy about this hip-hop media first, until they found out the video was for Luda's "pimping" song.

My verdict after seeing the footage is simple:

Those African models are gorgeous!

hold my gold
Hip-hop is a joke. It's not as ghetto, as menacing, or as dangerous as the PR people who work at the labels want us to believe. Every other rap video pushes that image so hard I feel like I'm watching Chappelle Show skits.

That's why Hold My Gold is such a needed parody of rap music's scary side (Simon and Schuster, send me a copy!).

True story, I bought a collection of Michael Eric Dyson's writing because Nas told me to. On the song "These Are Our Heroes", God's Son spits:

Tavis Smiley, Michael Eric Dyson
Stokely Carmichael, let's try to be like them

When I saw Dyson's book on the shelf at my favorite book store, that line went through my head and I bought the book immediately (hip-hop can sell anything, can't it?).

I just finished the beginning of his life story where he explains he was a teenage father, a hustler, and started college when he was 21. Now he has a PHD from Princeton. Already I'm inspired.

Yesterday Dyson was on Rap City promoting his new book, which challenges Bill Cosby's famous rants against the Black poor. In answering one question Dyson actully quoted 4 bars from Mos Def. now I understand why they call him a "hip-hop intellectual."

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Your boy 50 Cent is not just a rapper anymore- he's a brand name. Have you seen his new video game, 50 Cent: Bulletproof? The trailer for it looks great, though it's hard to figure out just what the game will be about. There are rumors that it will basically be a G-Unit style version of Grand Theft Auto, which is not a bad thing at all (Game, the former member of G-Unit plays "B Dup" in GTA: San Andreas, by the way.

The game also features Eminem, Dr. Dre, and G-Unit, and uses 50 Cent's voice, music, and videos. Sounds like a sure hit to me.

People complain about Hot 97's lack of playlist diversity as if hip-hop radio is supposed to be the only station not driven by hits. Truth is most people only listen to the radio in 45 minute spurts- on their lunch break, during the drive home, or during a workout. So, for that space of time a radio programmer better play the latest and best music, then repeat those songs again in the next hour. This doesn't leave much room for music outside of the Top 40.

Now Hot 97 did something a few years ago that's different than most radio stations, hip-hop or not. They handed over their after midnight time slots to the most popular mixtape DJ's in New York. This was a genius move, I think.

Unlike their regualr programming, Hot 97 let's the mixtape DJ's play whatever they want. DJ Clue and Whoo Kid bump song after song from their crews (Desert Storm and G-Unit), and Kay Slay allows the occasional cuss-word to slide. The mixtape DJ's break future hits that haven't made it on the charts yet, unoffical remixes that you would never hear, and exclusive freestyles from artists underground and mainstream.

For Hot 97 this is the best of both worlds. Funkmaster Flex gets dogged by payola rumors, yet the mixtape DJ's do it all the time and are popular for it. And while the Gray Album had lawyers trying to stop it from getting played, DJ Green Lantern does similiar unauthorized mash-ups every week.

Crash is a Good Movie

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Go see that movie "Crash". It's about race relations in LA, and has a story that made me cry got me choked up twice. Telling you anymore will give away the movie's twists, which there are many.

Nelson George, who wrote the similiar movie Everyday People, doesn't like Crash, but I figure he may just be jealous. Other people give it mostly positive reviews.

Oh yeah, Ludacris is in it, for those of you motivated by things like that.

Boycott Universal Music Group

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Al Sharpton, Cornell West, and others protested in front of Universal Music Group's hq today, and announced a boycott of ALL their signed artists until the label agrees to diversify the type of rap music they put out. Coolfer is crying "censorship!" but I'm co-signing with these brothers.

Read their website, Take Our Music Forward and judge for yourself. This feels different than the usual "frustrated old Black leaders" attacking the "powerless young Black artists."

The Minister pushing up on a young thang at a park party?
I read Jesse Jackson's complaint about radio decency in a creatively title article:

"Jesse wants to heave 'ho' off the airwaves"

But that's not what caught my eye. It's this quote by Minister Jackson:

"I'm distressed when I go to a club and see people dancing to songs that use these words," he said. "We should never dance to degradation. It's diminishing the worth of our life."

Jesse Jackson goes club hopping? The minister is a limelighter?? I'm not mad at that. Ya think that's where he met Karin Stanford?

Now that hip-hop is offically the popular youth music of America, I'm waiting for our live rap shows to catch up. We got the video element mastered, and the magazine photo shoot, and the radio drop. But what about the live show?

Across the country venues that traditional have been for rock or jazz acts, have opened up their doors to rappers. But are emcees doing more shows? Well, not the mainstream cats.

Underground collectives like Blackalicious and Atmosphere having been sopping up that tour gravy for years now. I wonder, why don't mid-level rappers like Juelz Santana do the 75 day, zig-zag across the country tour? When's the last time he rocked the mic in Oklahoma City?

No wonder Davey D is frustrated by wack live shows. Rappers aren't doing enough of them to invest in making it really good.

Eva, the winner of last season's Next Top Model reality show is doing ads for Nelly's Apple Bottoms clothing line. Cool, right? Except for one problem. Peep:

eva-apple-bottoms.JPG

Um, where's her Apple Bottom? No disrespect, but all I see are seeds and stem.

Shouldn't anyone who does an ad for Nelly's clothing look like this?

Felt - a Hip-Hop Comic Book

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Fans of backpacker rap and fans of comic books have plenty in common. Both hide their geeky collector hobby until they know you're cool with it. Then, with that safe opening, they'll talk on and on, trying to convert you into a devoted follower of Brian Bendis or MF Doom.

That's why the comic book Felt- True Tales of Underground Hiphop is such a good move for rapper Slug and Murs, and comic artist Jim Mahfood. The book is full of inside jokes, which is a treat for these guys' diehard fans.

Elliot Wilson Goes Soft?

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The head of XXL, Elliot Wilson (aka Yellow Nig) has the only editorial page in a music magazine worth reading. He's never been afraid to beef and brag in his column, especially when it's aimed at his rival, The Source.

So with all this Source craziness that's been poppin off in the last month, I thought, "Yellow Nig is gonna come with some XXL Ether for Benzino and crew!" But no dice. Instead, this month he yaps on about his cover story on Dame Dash and says some yada-yada about the other features. It was so boring to read, I thought Mimi Valdez ghostwrote it for him or something.

Sleep See for yourself.

Somebody please tap Elliot and tell him- don't let marriage water down your gangsta, my dude. I don't want to see you go soft (no karamo).

Hip-Hop is Pop Culture

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Hip-hop is not just popular, it IS pop culture.

Check it- last week I'm watching HBO's Real Time, and the host Bill Maher says to one of President Bush's aides:

"Hey, I gave your boy props on Iraq!"

Huh? Wha-? He said props? He said your boy? And not as a joke. Not ironically. He said it naturally.

This freaked me out, hearing a middle aged white man use the slang that me and my friends use. But it shouldn't by now. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Mavs, puts it this way:

"Every kid today. Your young sons. Your young daughters. Your nieces. Your nephews. They are all part of the Hip Hop Generation. They don’t have to like all Hip Hop music. They could like Alt rock, punk, R&B, Opera, Musicals, whatever. But somewhere along the line, they sang along with a rap song. That’s just the way it is. Hip hop songs were 4 of the top 5 titles on BillBoards 2004 charts. It’s todays pop music. Talking about kids and talking about the Hip Hop Generation are interchangable."

I didn't believe that before, but I do now. And I would go even further and say that it's not just kids. Hip-hop culture is now American culture, though I hope we regain our outsider status.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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