Archive for May 15, 2011

Article: 411 Music Ten Deep 4.22.11: Top Ten Comebacks by Andrew Moll

Welcome to the grand return of 411 Music Ten Deep! Life got in the way the past couple weeks, but everything is squared away now and we’re ready to move on to this week’s list on the Top Ten Comebacks, but we’ll first look back to the last column and the feedback to the Top Ten Albums of the 2000s:

do you listen to any heavy/aggressive music? just wondering.

here’s my list

1- glassJAw – Worship and Tribute
2- Deftones – White Poney
3- Portishead – 3rd
4- Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
5- Circa Survive – Juturna
6- Sage Francis – A Healthy Distrust
7- Cold – 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage
8- Death From Above 1979 – You’re a Woman I’m a Machine
9- Kanye West – Late Registration
10- Tegan and Sara – The Con
Posted By: philburttheturtle (Guest) on March 31, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Some, but not a lot to be honest. There are some, like Boris, Dillinger Escape Plan and the Austerity Program that either made or came close to making the lists for each specific year.

Beck’s Sea Change is undoubtedly a brilliant album. Glad to see it on the list.

I don’t really understand the one album per artist rule. The White Stripes released three albums that rank as some of the best of the decade (White Blood Cells, Elephant, and Get Behind Me Satan), and In Rainbows to me is more enjoyable than Kid A.

Some other notable albums from the 2000s:

OutKast: Stankonia
Bruce Springsteen: The Rising
U2: All That You Can’t Leave Behind
Green Day: American Idiot
Posted By: matt (Guest) on March 31, 2011 at 11:52 PM

I’ve been doing the one-per-artist thing since the column started and I realize it’s not always fair or 100 %accurate (with this list it was), but I’d rather not have a list that’s all Beatles songs or something.

I’m sorry but list is highly questionable. I think American Gangster was way better than the Blueprint. And what is your fear of mainstream albums. I mean, what’s wrong with American Idiot, or Common’s Be? I understand music sucked this decade, but I’m sure you can find non-undergroud music.
Posted By: thisisntme (Guest) on April 01, 2011 at 03:05 AM

American Gangster better than The Blueprint? Really? I liked that soundtrack too, but to me they’re not even close. And American Idiot was on the list of the best from 2004, if I remember correctly; remember just because something isn’t there doesn’t mean I hate it, it just means there isn’t enough room to fit everything that I liked.

Personally, I don’t buy Kid A as #1. It really is a highly over-rated work. Considering that statement, had you put Is This It by The Strokes at #1, it’d be a different story. Yes, I understand that that album as well may be considered over-rated and on so many Top 10 lists, but it’s for good reasons. The British copy, which is different than the American copy mind you, is the full rock and roll experience. While one could argue that Radiohead are in a league of their own, which many critics and fans of the band can agree on, The Strokes changed popular music for the decade. Is This It became the standard-bearer for rock in that generation, not just for the garage, indie and New York scenes but globally as well. Had it not been for Is This It, you wouldn’t have bands like Arcade Fire, Spoon, The Arctic Monkeys or Civil Twilight (all bands from different parts on the globe) being played on the radio or making it big. Radiohead may have sold out festivals under Kid A and Ok Computer, but The Strokes did that and started a revolution musically, paving the way for said-acts and many more to do the same. That, and they make rock and roll cool again. Let’s be honest because we all know that Radiohead can’t do that (is it really even considered rock music). So you can put Kid A up there, but Is This It is a far better, far more important album for that decade.
Posted By: Guest#8616 (Guest) on April 01, 2011 at 03:51 AM

As far as personal preference Kid A will win out over Is This It every time, in my opinion. And I would argue The Strokes didn’t have nearly the kind of impact on music that people thought they would have. They were supposed to lead the garage rock revival, but kind of got overshadowed by the White Stripes and never regained their spot. And while there is a thru-line from the Strokes to those bands you mentioned, I think Radiohead did just as much for it over the years with the totality of their work, and probably more. Both great albums, for sure, but I just think Kid A was aesthetically better and over the long term made more a mark.

2 things;

1. I’m sick of everyone proclaiming how good of a diss track Takeover is. Ether MURDERED Jay-Z. There was no comeback from that. In terms of albums, no doubt Blueprint > Stillmatic, but to compare Takeover to Ether is like comparing Takeover to Crank Dat Soulja Boy.

2.) Lack of Demon Days, Illinois (Sufjan), Late Registration (or College Dropout really) and Is This It means that this list is flawed. Completely agree with you on Funeral, Sea Change, and to a degree Kid A, but White Blood Cells is the better White Stripes album, and that pretentious hipster bullshit known as Animal Collective doesn’t belong anywhere near a top 10 list.
Posted By: Blode (Guest) on April 07, 2011 at 03:03 AM

1. But “Takeover” is clearly a better song than “Ether”, which in a sense proves the point that Jay-Z won that feud or whatever. (Of course, he had Kanye as his ace in the hole, but it’s still better.)

2. I hate Sufjan Stevens, I’m sorry. I found Illinois to be insufferable, and I have no idea what people hear in it, which must be what it feels like when someone like yourself listens to Animal Collective, so I guess I feel your pain.

Top Ten Comebacks

I was planning on doing this a couple weeks ago in honor of LCD Soundsystem and in the hopes that James Murphy will prove himself to be liar and get the band back together at some point. But now it has a double meaning since it “honors” my comeback from my brief hiatus, so everybody wins. Before we get to the list, though, we’ll look at the albums that just missed the cut, aka the honorable mentions.

Some Honorable Mentions: Mariah Carey; Dinosaur Jr; Gang of Four; Roy Orbison; U2

10. Elton John

Throughout the 1970s, Elton John was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, with a laundry list of hits to his name that included “Your Song,” “Levon,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Candle in the Wind,” “Benny and the Jets,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and many more. Needlessly to say, whatever he touched at this period turned to gold, becoming as sure a thing on the pop charts as could be. Things changed in the mid-1980s as drug issues took their hold on John and he became less of a sure thing that he had been before.

So it was somewhat surprising when John re-entered the charts and the public consciousness with 1991′s The One, which hit number two on the charts and went double platinum in the US. It also allowed him the opportunity to become the newest hitmaker for Disney films, including the insanely popular soundtrack for The Lion King. Whether or not his work has been as good over the past couple decades as it was during his original heyday is up for debate, but there’s no denying that his comeback on the pop charts was nothing less than impressive.

9. AC/DC

There’s really no precedent for what AC/DC was able to accomplish on the wake of lead singer Bon Scott’s death in 1980. After the release of Highway to Hell the group was poised to fully break through and reach the top of the hard rock heap, but Scott’s death seemingly put a halt to that ascension. But the band decided to soldier on and find themselves a new lead singer, which they did in Brian Johnson, who more than ably stepped into Scott’s position and helped AC/DC create the album that would make them stars.

Back in Black was released in July 1980 and would become one of the cornerstones of hard rock music and sell over 49 million copies worldwide thanks to the strength of classics like “Hell’s Bells,” “You Shook Me All Night Long” and the title track. The gamble had paid off for the band and would continue to over the next three decades, became legends and eventually Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. Considering the tragedy the band suffered, it’s amazing the heights that they would end up reaching.

8. Elvis Presley.

By 1968, Elvis Presley was in a drastically different position than the one he had been in a decade previously. The rock and roll era that he had been so important in ushering in was now led by the likes of The Beatles and Bob Dylan, and Presley was largely forgotten about, making movies in Hollywood and releasing albums that didn’t even crack the Top 80 of the charts. In hindsight, the time was perfect for Elvis to make his presence known again, and that’s exactly what he did with his NBC television special.

What is now commonly referred to as the ’68 Comeback Special became the highest rated television program of that year and was singlehandedly responsible for resurrecting Elvis’ music career. Featuring a mix of big production numbers and more intimate sons with Presley and his band on acoustic guitars with a small audience, the program was a huge hit and reminded people of the kind of dynamic performer Elvis had been and why he became a megastar in the first place.

7. Meat Loaf

There was quite literally no reason for anyone to believe that Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell would become a massive hit in 1993, and yet, it did. The original, released sixteen years earlier, sold over 40 million albums worldwide and should have set Meat Loaf up for a long and fruitful career, but instead he had a career of diminishing returns until he and songwriter Jim Steinman returned the project that had previously given them so much success.

Even then, no one could have predicted that the sequel would go on to sell more than 20 million albums itself and spawn a massive hit in “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” It was an amazing comeback story of the best kind, where a forgotten talent all of a sudden and against all odds comes back like, well, a bat out of hell, and reclaims the spot he had held onto once before. Nothing Meat Loaf has done since has matched that effort, but it doesn’t have to since one such amazing comeback surely is enough.

6. Tina Turner

Ike and Tina Turner were an incredibly successful duo throughout the 1960s with hits like “A Fool in Love” and their cover of “Proud Mary” making them stars. But as time went on, both their group and their marriage began to fall apart in the worst way possible. Eventually in 1978, Tina went out on her own in search of the kind of solo success that a talent like hers deserved.

After some years struggling commercially on her own, Turner broke through in a massive way with “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” which became a huge Number One hit and propelled her album Private Dancer to more than eleven million copies sold, and completing one of rock and roll’s greatest ever comeback stories. Her popularity stayed high throughout the years, with books, movies, albums and some of the most successful tours of recent times. It was a well-deserved comeback, where a talented performer gets their just dues.

5. Eminem.

Eminem was the great hip-hop superstar of the early 20th century, one who reached the zenith of pop music while straddling the line between Total Request Live and his harder-edged side. He was a funny, witty, talented young man who turned everything he touched into gold. From 1999-2004, Eminem sold more than 30 million albums in the United States alone, but eventually fell into problems with prescription drug use and eventually time away from the spotlight that resulted in some speculating his time as a star was over.

He didn’t do himself any favors with the uninspiring Relapse in 2009, which made it appear as if rumors of Eminem’s demise were pretty accurate. Things changed however with Recovery the following year, the multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated smash that saw Eminem reclaim the throne more than a decade after he took it in the first place, which is an eternity in hip-hop. It also shows that from now on, we’d probably be smart not to go and doubt Eminem’s ability to continue selling records.

4. Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma were never stars during their first tenure together, releasing one EP, one album, and playing countless shows around the country to probably very few people. So when the trio broke up in 1983 thanks in part to Roger Miller’s growing problem with tinnitus, the news didn’t exactly make waves among the industry except for those lucky enough to have experienced the band while they were around. The members went off into different projects for the next couple decades, but as time went by the band’s reputation grew, and the time was right for a reunion.

Reunion shows in 2002 went incredibly well, as the band was now much more popular than they had ever been in the 1980s. Three studio albums have followed in the years since, with each of them proving that the band accomplished something much more difficult than just matching or overreaching the popularity for a reuniting band; their newest work was considered to be just as good as the work they had done before, which isn’t an easy task for a group of older punk rockers. The band’s brutal live concerts ensure this new edition of Burma may not last much longer, but their time together this last decade ensure them a place beyond just stories about how great they were, and instead gave some more proof to the argument.

3. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

The success, commercially and creatively, that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band enjoyed for more than a decade is pretty remarkable and also tough to live up to. After Bruce split from the group in 1988, he went solo to varying degrees of success, but even with his triumphs, like an Oscar win for “Streets of Philadelphia” it just seemed like there was something missing. Everything was rectified in 1999 once we got the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band reunion tour.

Playing 133 shows in 62 cities over 15 months, the tour provided the kind of quasi-religious experience that only this group could provide and laid the groundwork for a new studio album. It was an album that arrived at the perfect time, as The Rising reflected the America we were living in after September 11th, and while a Springsteen solo album might have done the trick, having the entire E Street Band just made everything that much better and that much more important. More albums and many more concerts have come in the following years, making it seem as if there was nothing to come back from in the first place.

2. Johnny Cash

This may shock you, but at one point Johnny Cash was not cool. By the late 1980s/early 1990s, saying “The Man in Black” didn’t conjure images of an outlaw and a music legend; it was just some old country star. Enter Rick Rubin, who sought to make Cash relevant again for a new audience and succeeded with 1994′s American Recordings, a collection of modern cover songs done with just a guitar and Cash’s voice; the album presented Cash to a new generation and gave his career another life.

Not even a 1997 diagnosis of Shy-Drager syndrome could stop Cash at this point, as he would go on to record three more American albums with Rubin, and even had himself one last hit with a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” as the song and accompanying video provided a fitting conclusion to Cash’s career and ultimately his life as The Man in Black died in September 2003. But that whole new generation saw him in a different light than they would have without Rubin’s help, and their newfound appreciation for what Cash had done is one reason why this deserves to be considered one of the great comebacks of all-time.

1. Aerosmith

Aerosmith were in some ways the preeminent American rock band of the 1970s, and one of the best and most popular thanks to “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion” and many, many more. But drugs, ego and whatever else eventually got in the way, and things began falling apart in 1979 when guitarist Joe Perry left the group. Things got worse from there, with the Steven Tyler and the remnants of the band releasing the amazingly awful Rock in a Hard Place in 1982, and it looked like the band’s time was done.

Eventually the band got back together and had moderate success with Done With Mirrors, but it took a rap group Queens to really bring Aerosmith back to the top. Their collaboration with Run D.M.C. on “Walk This Way” set the stage for an Aerosmith comeback, and they made the most of their opportunity. Permanent Vacation, Pump, and Get a Grip saw the band find a new home with the MTV audience and they were rewarded with massive success. It helped that they were a refocused and reenergized band releasing some of the best music they had ever created. Where Aerosmith goes from here is anyone’s guess but they’ve earned the right to do whatever they please thanks to what is undoubtedly the greatest comeback story in the history of rock and roll.

That’ll do it for this week folks, thanks for reading. If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to let me know, and make sure to leave your own lists in the comments. I’ll see you all next week. And if you’re out on your bike tonight, do wear white.



Music News: Canibus Goes At Joe Budden, Royce Da 5’9″ On Diss Track by STEVEN J. HOROWITZ

The poet laureate rips into the Slaughterhouse members on the scathing “Lyrical Law vs. Joey Cupcakes.”

Joe Budden recently hinted that he’s got a diss track up his sleeve aimed at Canibus, tweeting “I promise y’all that if I got high, I would smoke Canibus.” The Queens, New York rapper isn’t taking it lightly, teaming up with Born Sun and releasing a harsh response titled “Lyrical Law vs. Joey Cupcakes.”


On the cut, Bus brands Jumpoff Joey as the weakest link in Slaughterhouse. “First things first, man, you fuckin’ with the worst / You betta bring an ice pack when I see you in person / And I’ma bring an arsenal, ask Joe who the fuck he talkin’ to / He the softest nigga in the group!” he raps.

His lyrical assault continues by digging into Budden’s personal life. “Internet snitcher, like a little bitch / Joey low life, living off rice and goat tripe / He boasts on the mic, then he posts on the site / Then exposed his whole life for the dope, for a price / Don’t rep the culture right / Sold his soul for the hype / Got known overnight for niggas fuckin’ his wife / Got bust in the eyesight and still wouldn’t fight!”

While his potshots at Royce Da 5’9” were thinly veiled, he brings his venom to light at the end of his verse. “You a disgrace to Jersey, you suck on the mic / You and 5’9” are like two moist buttwipes / Walkin’ around all uptight,” he continues.

Canibus is currently gearing up for the release of his collaboration LP The Undergods with Keith Murray, and will later release an album as part of the HRSMN super group featuring Kurupt, Ras Kass and Killah Priest. The group collaborated with Slaughterhouse on a track titled “House of Horses.”



Article: Chuck D: Hip Hop Needs to Back Obama and Stomp Trump

*Public Enemy frontman Chuck D shared recently that he’s pretty disappointed for the lack of support for the president from his fellow rappers.

Although President Barack Obama has had a strong week with announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden and proving his American citizenship, the vocal support from the hip hop industry has been scarce as far as speaking out against Donald Trump.

“If rappers are so bold like they used to be there would be like 10 diss records for Donald Trump right now,” Chuck told Vibe magazine. “But the average rapper is afraid because they don’t know if Trump will have money for them one day. Money has brought their fear out. There are supposed to be 20 cats lined up cursing Trump the f— out. This is supposed to be hip-hop, right?”

He also went on to share that he’s basically disgusted with the community’s lack of faith in the Black man. And he also had some words for Donald Trump.

“Someone needs to say, ‘Yo, Donald Trump… you full of s— and I’m going to seriously f– you up.’ That’s what the rap community used to do, but now nobody can make that statement because everybody feels politically in debt.”

In the meantime, Obama is no punk and is more than capable of defending himself. He recently cracked a few jokes of his own against his potential presidential opponent at the recent White House Correspondents Association dinner Saturday night.

“I know that he’s taken some flack recently, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald,” Obama joked. “And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that really matter. Like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”

Note to Chuck D: Keep in mind that while President Obama was putting his proverbial foot in Trump’s arse Saturday night, he was also calling the shots on the raid that nabbed and killed bin Laden. He’s a big boy. He doesn’t exactly need help from any hip hoppers.



Article: Bruno Mars Replies To Tyler, The Creator’s “Yonkers” Diss by STEVEN J. HOROWITZ

B.o.B previously released a diss track at the OFWGKTA leader, but Bruno Mars is taking a cooler approach.
Tyler, The Creator has been stirring up controversy, recently blasting B.o.B and Bruno Mars for their hit “Airplanes” on his single “Yonkers.” After Bobby Ray released the response track “No Future,” the “Grenade” crooner has responded to the young rapper.

On “Yonkers,” Tyler threatens to “stab Bruno Mars in his goddamn esophagus.” Turns out, he isn’t the only one trying to stop Bruno’s movement.

“[Tyler] has to wait in line if he wants to stab me,” he told Spin.com. “[Tyler's] definitely not the first guy that’s said something like that to me and he’s not going to be the last.”

B.o.B didn’t find Tyler as funny. On “Yonkers,” Tyler proclaims, “I’ll crash that fucking airplane that that faggot nigga B.o.B is in,” eliciting a diss track titled “No Future” where he spits, “Keep fucking with me, you ain’t gonna have no future.” Tyler took it in jest, tweeting, “I’ve never heard him spit like that. […] Took me by surprise, cus it’s tight.”



Article: 50 Cent Explains Beefs With Diddy and Jadakiss, Promises New Album by ANDRES VASQUEZ

G-Unit’s General speaks on the state of his relationships with Jadakiss and Diddy and explains why he won’t release an album he’s completed.

50 Cent recently spoke on why he has an album in the vault that he will not release and why he has chosen to reconnect with former rivals. The head of G-Unit recently met with Funk Flex at Funk Flex Full Throttle, a new show on MTV. The inaugural episode featured 50, who also ensured fans that he is nearly finished with a new disc.

When asked about his work to mend relationships with former rivals, 50 said he felt it was necessary at times. He also added that certain beefs were never personal.

“Some of it is Hip Hop. It’s just the competitive nature of the art form. Like with Jadakiss’ situation, that was just Rap. I don’t have a reason [to beef]. When you look back at it, when two years go by, and you say, ‘Why don’t I like them?’ And you can’t remember why, then you know it’s Rap.”

This led to a discussion around Diddy, someone 50 has had words with in the past. Their feud began when he spoke about extorting Diddy on “How to Rob,” saying he’d “snatch Kim from Puff.” Later, their feud escalated when Fif said Diddy was not “biggin’ up his brother,” but added that he was only giving love to the Notorious B.I.G. as a form of “biggin’ up his bank.” He also compared the head of Bad Boy to a “bitch” in a separate interview. Diddy also shared his displeasure with 50 Cent by saying his “breath stinks,” adding that he’s “ashy” and that he’s “a sucker,” before calling him a “hating ass crab.” However, now it seems the two are on good terms.

“I’m not upset with [Diddy] at all,” he said smiling, adding that they speak on the phone from time to time. “He’ll call me like, ‘What’s the next move, playboy? Why I feel like you doing this?’ And I’m like, ‘Nah, nah, it ain’t nothin’.'”

Aside from rehabilitating relationships with Hip Hop peers, 50 has also been working on a lot of music. During his interview, he also added that he is presently working on a brand new album, one that will replace a disc that is already in the can.

“I’m working on a record now. I’m almost done,” he noted. “I recorded a whole album before this one that I kept…Because I want to make sure it’s completely up to my standards. I’m critiquing myself.”



Article: The 10 Best Hip-Hop Album Skits by J. Pablo

This next joint is getting lit for a tradition in hip-hop long since passed–not Iceberg sweaters, but album skits. There’ve been so many awful ones that the handful of good ones weren’t enough to keep them from going to hell in a backpack. But a few were incredibly vivid–and funny. Of course, it helped if the rapper performing them sounded cool saying pretty much anything, a la Ghostface Killah (“It feel hot at night…”). Or they were performed by Dave Chappelle, who Talib Kweli brought on board to imitate Nelson Mandela.
As you read on, you’ll realize that three out of the 10 skits collected here are Wu-Tang related. To anyone tempted to complain about that, I say: Fuck off. I’m from the Wally era.

10. “$20 Sack Pyramid”: Dr. Dre, The Chronic (1993)
This was a lot of people’s introduction to the anything-is-possible world of rap skits. Posing as a contestant on a ‘hood version of The 20,000 Pyramid, The D.O.C. does a pretty good job of acting. He had already gotten into the car accident that turned his voice into little more than a strangled whisper, but somehow it worked anyway. Who could forget the digs at Compton’s biggest hater, Tim Dog, with a few shots thrown at Luke for good measure?

9. “Getting Ass, Getting Ass”: Heltah Skeltah, Nocturnal (1996)
Though far from happy-go-lucky, Ruck and Rock always did a good job of straddling the line between hard-as-a-rock and comedic. This skit is pretty funny throughout; Rock initially chastises Ruck for calling a girl (‘What you think you’re a player now, bitch-ass nigga?”) then horns in on the conversation, trying to convince Ruck to “ask her if she got a friend.” The skit culminates with Ruck whipping out his Wanya Morris impersonation and trying to convince his lady to come over with a bit of Boyz II Men’s “Uhh Ahh.” Laughter ensues. SEAN P!

8. “General Hospital”: Kool Keith, Dr. Octagon (1996)
Posing as an alien gynecologist–one of his many personas–Kool Keith attempts unsuccessfully to be a surgeon in this typically weird skit. It’s all to no avail as he utters, “Fuck it, he’s dead” in regards to one of his patients; “There’s a horse in the hospital” just adds to the confusion. Shout out to White Mike from Pitt Street.

7. “Dating Game”: Handsome Boy Modeling School, White People (2004)
Dan the Automator and Prince Paul need a sketch comedy series, as evidenced by this take on The Dating Game with rappers as contestants. Though Tim Meadows gets a few laughs, the real comedic talent is in the dead-on RZA and Jay-Z impersonations. Most credits list Hines Buchanan and Neelam, respectively, as the actors behind those two voices–although some list the RZA as playing himself, which just goes to show how accurate of a portrayal Buchanan did of Bobby Digital.

6. “Pimps (Freestyle at the Fortune 500 Club)”: The Coup, Genocide & Juice (1994)
This was a dope concept but unfortunately, like most stuff The Coup put out, it was slept on. The skit is technically a segue linking two Genocide & Juice compositions to its overlying theme: the real hustlers wear suits and push legislation. The skit starts with some rich people talking money. One guy is asked to do a rapper impersonation. It continues as a part of the following song, serving as hook of sorts.

As a freshman in high school I had a dub of the still-new Ready to Die in my Walkman. I played “The What” for this cute junior in my Global I class because it was my favorite song on the album. (Still is.) Of course, the intro came on first. At first, she was humming to Jodeci’s ‘Feenin’”–then she stopped, and her eyes slowly widened. “Oh my God,” she said. My Walkman got passed around for the rest of class, everyone rewinding the skit. Some giggled. Others just stared off, retreating into the recesses of their imaginations, mouths slightly agape while Kim moaned and begged and cursed as Biggie put his thing down in the bedroom. My Walkman fell twice while being passed around, and when I finally got it back after 38 minutes, the right headphone didn’t work. Even worse, as I left, four more fully bearded six-footers wanted to hear the skit, and I was so late for my next class I ended up smoking a blunt in the staircase with the aforementioned hooligans.

4. “Packinamac Part 1 and 2″: Big Pun, Capitol Punishment (1998)
Just when you thought that Big Pun was going to be kicking some watered-down Raekwon skit, him and his sidekick Cuban Link turned the entire drama of a shoot out into a hilarious sketch with both rappers singing “PackintheMacintheBackkoftheAc” at fast as they can until it’s little more than fast gibberish. Silly, yes, but refreshing when you consider that most rappers take themselves too seriously to ever just act silly. Miss you, Pun. You were the illest, but also a funny, gregarious dude.

3. “Rude Boy”: Cam’ron, Purple Haze (2004)
When I worked at a hip-hop publication, two of my coworkers used to argue for hours whether this skit was real or not. They both stated good cases. The phone conversation between Cam’ron and the jealous Jamaican boyfriend of a girl Cam is having relations with does seem quite real at times. The best line is when the dread on the proclaims that the “word around town is that ya mingle wit my ting star,” and “The massive no play games.” Cam didn’t have to do much more than chuckle and antagonize the cuckold to make the skit classic.

2. “Killer Tape”: Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
What is there to say about “Killer Tape” that hasn’t been said? There’s a missing John Woo VHS being sought when breaking hood news comes banging on the door in the form of Ghostface Killah. This dialogue changed the way people spoke. Can you in all honesty say you knew what they were talking about the first time you heard it? “Niggas came through in the Land?” “I’m going to get my culture cipher?” RZA was right: People really weren’t figuring it out until the year 2G. (By the way, culture cipher means 40 as in 40 oz. Peace to the Gods.)

1. “Woodrow the Basehead”: Ghostface, Supreme Clientele (2000)
Superb bodied this one as Woodrow, the dollar-short basehead. He could’ve been casted on The Wire and outdone Bubbles without even trying. Funny though it may seem, it’s still serious subject matter, and the initial friendliness is just a façade. Ghost is hustlin’ crack but Woodrow, being a dollar short for two crack rocks, tries to hustle a crack dealer. It gets deep when you think about it. Drug addiction, economics, morals, degradation… and it all centers on a single solitary dollar bill, dollar bill. As Superb so eloquently put it, “One muthafucking dollar?” Superb, where the fuck you at? You should be acting.

Honorable Mentions:
• The little kids on OutKast’s Aquemini skit for “Art of Storytelling 1 and 2″
• Everything Ghost said on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.

(Shout out to Knuckles/Clyde Smith who couldn’t be on the list because he violated parole.)

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2011/05/10_best_hip_hop_skits_ghostface_wu_tang_camron.php5. “Fuck Me”: Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die (1994)

Article: Hip-hop responds to Bin Laden’s death (in tweet form) by Jeff Weiss

With apologies to Bono, Billy Bragg and those outback vagabonds in Midnight Oil, hip-hop has always been one of the most explictly political genres of music. From “The Message” to “Muse-Sick-N-Hour Mess Age,” rappers have used their words to attack inequities and social issues of all stripes.

Even in today’s largely apoliticized rap world, artists such as Kanye West repeatedly address a wide range of topics (some of which end up causing widespread censure).

Understandably, the events of the last 24 hours have sent the rap world into a Twitter frenzy. Here are some opinions expressed by its more prominent members.

Bun B: “November 2012 is a long ways from now. The GOP isn’t even giving him credit. Trust me, this changes nothing politically. Don’t get it twisted. I’m voting for him, but the people celebrating are chanting USA not Obama. The haters are waiting to spin it.”

Chuck D: “USA is at it again. Number one in the rankings of Killing Championships. Stealing the Gold in the Murder Olympics, and the crowd goes wild! New Whirl Odor,… I smell. And with all these whippings of mass distractions , Amerikkkans now can look forward to 95 cent gas and hummers. One..dude in a cave, gimme a break please, would some UFO come down and straighten this human race out, even if you gotta devour us. Of course this was thrown in President Obama’s lap from jump. And most Twidiots will believe that this will be the Prez’s legacy.”

Lupe Fiasco: “Osama Dead!?! Afghan Operation done now??? Now kill poverty, wack schools, and US imperialism.”

MC Hammer: “Evil has an expiration date and it has offspring. We rejoice with our heads up, hearts warm and our eyes open and locked in.”

Styles P: “I ain’t even gonna lie! U will only know what the they want u to know so I don’t even know why we acting like we gonna here the truth!! Gonna be mad osama dead songs and references ! I can hear them allready! And don’t want to! Well dear gov since Bin Laden is dead! Bring the the troops home!!!!!!”

Big Boi: “Buried at sea? That’s the same thang that happened to Megatron in ‘Transformers Part 2.’ “

Soulja Boy: “The US Dollar has decreased 20% in value over the past two years. Wake up America! This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”

Russell Simmons: “I’m not rejoicing at the killing of Khadafy’s son or even the killing of Bin laden. Violence promotes Violence, luv promotes luv. Killing can’t promote luv r destination is God consciousness or pure luv. Islamaphobia is the disease that helps create supporters of Bin Laden’s mindset. Until we are conscious of the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians we kill, (like Iraq) we will always have a new Bin laden waiting.

“We can’t count the 4 thousand U.S soldiers without out counting the 200,000 Iraqi civilians? Their children are the next Bin Ladens. I’m not saying I’m not glad we got Bin Laden. I’m saying the loud celebration outside my apt (World Trade) hurt my spirit.”

Fabolous: “#TwitPicOsamaBinLadenBody… We dont believe you though. When they first told me Osama died, first thing I said was ‘Word, I jus’ seen Osama’…”

?uestlove: “I hope those rejoicing can hear O’s words that to engage in anti-Islam/Muslim rhetoric is missing the point.”

Busta Rhymes: “We are living in the middle of and witnessing very interesting times. Pay close attention to everything but also read between the lines.”

Freddie Gibbs: “US just said they just killed Osama Bin Laden and they got his body….yeah…right.”

Blockhead: “The first rapper to say a variation of ‘I bring the drama like Obama did to Osama’ should be publicly executed live on the Fuse network.”

See also, Heems of Das Racist, who has been cataloging xenophobic sentiments on his Twitter page.



Article: Eight Openly Queer Rappers Worth Your Headphones by Jamilah King

Recently, Berkeley-born rapper Lil’ B made headlines after he announced at Coachella that he plans to title his next album “I’m Gay.” The artist, who steadfastly denies actually being gay, says that he’s trying to prove a point, make a statement about misogyny and hip-hop. Or whatever.

Lost in all the hoopla was the fact that there already exists a crop of openly queer rappers who have been making music for years. They’re talented, proud, but when it comes to mainstream media, they’re often ignored. So I reached out to some of the industry’s best and brightest to get their take on the really gay rappers who should be getting our attention. Writer and activist Kenyon Farrow summed up the bigger picture nicely when he wrote in an email: “I wish we could focus more energy and our money on artists in the community, rather than falling all over ourselves for straight people to validate our existence.”

To wit, here are some folks to fall out over, courtesy of hip-hop heads Invincible, Juba Kalamka and Jeff Chang.

Eight Openly Queer Rappers You Should Know

Invincible is a Detroit-based rapper and activist who’s already got the world’s attention. She founded her own label and media company Emergence and released her debut album “Shapeshifters” in 2008. She contributes these artists to the list:

Miz Korona: A cornerstone of Detroit’s Hip-Hop community and one of the most consistent emcees I know, live or recorded. Miz Korona independently released her debut album, “The Injection,” last year and it’s incredible. She’s also known for her role in the film 8 mile—battling Xzibit at the lunch truck.

Mz Jonz: Also a Detroit representative, but we first met performing in New York at the Peace Out East festival. She performs regularly in the Detroit area, and pride festivals all over the country. This month Mz Jonz is independently releasing her debut album “Here On My Own” (peep the acronym?).

Thee Satisfaction: This Seattle based dynamic duo do it all—produce, sing, emcee, graphic design. In February, I witnessed their stellar performance for “Black Future Month” alongside their brethren Shabazz Palaces. Thee Sat members Cat and Stasia are not only partners in music, but also in love and life. They released a few mixtapes and a EP but i’m looking forward to the official album release via Seattle label Sub Pop.

Las Krudas: This trio was born and raised in Cuba, but is now splits its time between Austin, Texas, and the Bay Area. They are artists, activists, musicians, and theater performers, who have incredible stage presence and skill as emcees. Every time I see them on stage I’m blown away by their breath control and rapid fire flows, not to mention their tireless commitment to a global movement for justice.

Skim: The Queens-raised, L.A.-based emcee/songwriter and activist is a trailblazer in every way. Skim plays guitar, sings, produces, spits, and facilitates workshops like no other. Skim’s album “For Every Tear” dropped in 2006, and has many underground anthems including, “Unfamiliar” featuring Jade and “Long Story.” Ladies love Skim—last time I saw Skim live was at Mondo Homo festival in Atlanta, and someone threw some panties on stage.

Juba Kalamka is a queer artist and activist based in the Bay Area. He’s a founding member of the now disbanded Deep Dickollective. He’s also a former Colorlines music columnist. He adds to the list:

Collin Clay (of Juha): Deep Dickollective (D/DC) was a labelmate (on a 7” single) when Juha was a group in the early 2000s. Their first CD “Polari” (2002) was amazing, and he’s released two more (“The Grooms of God” and the “Stomach” EP) as a solo artist under the Juha banner that are even better. Dense yet accessible conversation on mixed-race identity, colonization, queerness, masculinity and a lot more. (Photo by Sophie Allen)

Wheelchair Sports Camp: I recently became aware of emcee/producer Karlyn Heffernan’s music through my colleague Leroy Moore Jr.(disability activist, artist and producer of the Krip Hop Nation compilations). I’m still listening, but her work is absolutely worth mentioning. Really enjoying the way she tells her stories inside of stories, as well as her lyricism and production work, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.

Big Freedia: Deep Dickollective opened a show for Big Freedia in New Orleans in 2003. It was so hot our feet were burning on the stage and our DJ’s records were warping. Freedia took the stage with what seemed like 27 dancers, the way they were moving. Casual and tight. Her records are amazing, intense and fun and her live show even more so. Her work makes me smile. She’s a fountain of history and love and respect for her communities at home and around the world.

And more love for Big Freedia, from resident hip-hop scholar, author and Colorlines co-founder Jeff Chang:

It’s funny that Big Freedia just got a shout out on “Treme,” so now people outside of hip-hop are curious. But what I love about Big Freedia is that she just crushes all the boxes set up for rap and rappers—just tears that shit up! No one can say she doesn’t rock (around the clock). And if some folks are trying to pretend she doesn’t exist, you know they’re all still listening. Listening hard. Like what Posdnous said, Freedia is complicated.



Article: 5 Solid Samples In Hip-Hop Songs by JT LANGLEY

Before I begin, I’ll put it out now that there’s an infinite amount of sick samples that have been used throughout hip-hop music over the years, so putting together a quick list of five of my favorites has been one of the more difficult things to compile recently. To explain, run back to DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash in The Bronx during hip-hop’s birth in the late 70s, and it’s easy to see that the genre ibegan with samples, the aforementioned father’s looping breakbeats in popular songs in basement parties, high school gymnasiums, and sometimes, on the dreary street corners under the sour glow of a low lamppost, equipment jacked into the nearest power station, so tackling the topic is essentially speaking on the root of hip-hop itself.

Anyway, I’ve snagged the first five (in no particular order) that come to memory just for the sake of keeping it spontaneous, so check out the tracks below and their original samples. More important, throw up some chat on your personal favorites, and help build of the list, because any hip-hop fan’s always glad to hear the source of that loop that’s driving some of the artform’s best beats.

Jay Electronica – “Exhibit C” – Sample: “Cross My Heart” by Billy Stewart

Wiz Khalifa – “Should I Feel Bad” – Sample: “Wheelchair Groupie” by Alquin

Jay Dilla – “E=MC2″ – Sample: “E=mc²” by Giorgio Moroder”

The ILLZ – “Energy In Motion” – Sample: “Giving In” by Saltillo

XV – “Final Fantasy XV” – Sample: “Hey You” by Angela McCluskey feat. Duke B

o, there’s a few favorites that immediately come to mind. Obviously, these are samples used across the panorama of hip-hop, but it’s the general idea of blending genres for the cause that matters. If they’re new to you, give them a listen, and throw up some of your favorites below.



Article: Hip-Hop Rumors: Budden, Chris Brown & Esther Baxter Battle On Twitter by illseed


Boyeeeeee….I’ll tell you! A soap opera, this is! Joe Budden’s private and personal life has come all the way to the front. He’s doing interviews and Esther is doing them too. I can’t possibly care less, but here’s some of it and if you care more, head over to NecoleBitchie.com for the rest.

She said:

“[Joe] kicked the door down, came into the room, grabbed me by my ankles, choked me so that I couldn’t breathe, slammed me against the door…in an attempt to grab the phone from me he wrestled me, grabbed me by my wrist and sat on my stomach while I was pregnant. [..] I went to the hospital and that’s when I found out I lost my daughter.

He said:

“For the record, so we’re totally clear, I never hit Esther. Never, never, never. No, I’ve never, never, never, EVER, EVER hit her. Like I said, that subject matter is very serious, it’s not anything to joke around about and I’ve never hit her. To be honest, you don’t do all the things she said I did and then come right back and f**k the same man. “

Chris Brown got all in the mix too after he made a slick comment regarding Chris’ MJ dedication.

Budden said:

“if i cared about being in any1′s good graces, i’d be working on my Michael Jackson tribute as we speak …..”

Chris Brown said:

“So I’m guessing this person thinks he’s mature by making references to me becuz of his mistakes! #pumppumppumpitup”

Budden said:

“@chrisbrown i’m a fan my n***a … & my sarcasm was more so geared towards ignorant fans, my bad if i offended u.,” Budden tweeted.

When it looked like he’d be redeemed, Breezy Brown performed a Michael Jackson tribute at the BET Awards. And Joe’s neck-tat said:



ARTICLE: Hip hop and B boys Take It To a Highland Loch by EDG

Hip hop and breakdance may have its roots in the city, but a small experiment this past weekend took it into new territory with a performance at a highland loch. Artists from a young music group from Muirhouse in Edinburgh and a touring Ugandan breakdance group, Tabu Flo, combined for a dance workshop at the Loch Leven national nature reserve.

The project is part of “Shared Territories”, an Edinburgh Mela Project supported by Creative Scotland’s Partners Fund, SNH and Forestry Commission Scotland. It has been developed by Edinburgh Mela Artist in Residence, Rocca Gutteridge, who gathered kids in the area from a wide range of backgrounds to form a hip hop break-dance inspired group.

Before the performance started, Craig Nisbet, Scottish Natural Heritage’s reserve officer at Loch Leven, took the singers and dancers on a tour of the reserve. He focussed on the sounds of nature, bird song, water, and wind during his tour.

“Many of the group weren’t familiar with the sounds around them,” he said.

“So the voice of a singing willow warbler fresh from his long journey back from Africa was a real treat, and the sight of shovelers and mute swans was a new and remarkable experience. It was a terrific event to be part of, and the story of the birds’ migration was woven into the dance. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and the groups’ performance was outstanding. I feel really fortunate to have been part of this unique event.”

Rocca recently joined the Mela Festival for a 15-month programme aimed at connecting artists and community groups with Scotland’s natural environments through initiatives such as this workshop.

“This project is just the start of a series of activities that will explore how the Scottish outdoors can influence, contribute to and inspire artistic work,” says Rocca.

Throughout the programme, culturally diverse groups will visit forests, lochs, hills and green areas around central Scotland. The visits will explore responses to natural environments and will be used by the artists to inspire new work with the aim of encouraging a deeper appreciation of Scotland’s natural environment.

Scottish National Heritage has been involved in a number of initiatives to encourage more people from black and minority ethnic community groups “to get involved in learning about and looking after the nature on their doorstep”. These have included Ecofusion at Holyrood Park and the Community Introductions last Summer where a 170 people were introduced to parks and wild spots across Scotland.



Music news: Violator Management’s Chris Lighty Launches Demo Submission Site by SEAN RYON

Violator Records
The man behind 50 Cent and Diddy launches a new website for aspiring artists to share their demos.

Violator Management’s Chris Lighty has had a long career behind the scenes of the Hip Hop industry, managing mega-star artists like Diddy and 50 Cent. Now, the Bronx native is taking his expertise to the Internet with a new music demo submission website.

According to a recent article by the New York Daily News, Lighty and co-founder Michael Dizon recently launched PleaseListentoMyDemo.com. The site that allows up-and-coming artists to upload their music and have it heard by Lighty and his staff made up of A&Rs and other industry heavyweights.

Each song will cost a fee of $10 to upload, and the site will make the best songs available for the public to hear. Lighty says that the website was inspired by the successes of YouTube and television program “American Idol,” as well as the proliferation of free music downloads.

“We are in the Internet age,” said Lighty. “There are so many creative people out there. We are not reaching everybody. Just listen to the radio. It’s the same 15 artists all day everyday…We won’t Simon Cowell you out. We will give you feedback. If we like it or dislike it.”



Music News: Nas Talks Ending Beef With Prodigy [Video] by Randy Roper

Nas Talks Making Peace With Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

In a recent interview with MTV News, NYC rapper Nas talked about putting his differences aside with Prodigy of Mobb Deep.
In the interview, Nas told Sway of MTV about his conversation with Prodigy, saying, “He called me as soon as he got out of jail; he got in touch with me. We talked about some things. I didn’t know he had a book. He didn’t tell me that. I guess he just wanted to clear the air on some past things that don’t mean anything today.”

Prodigy was released from prison in March after serving three years.

Prodigy’s book, “My Infamous Life,” has been controversial throughout hip-hop, talks about the relationship between the two Queens rappers.
Since making amends Nas and Prodigy have worked together on the Mobb Deep record entitled “Dog Sh*t,” which was released online in April.
“I just jumped on the record; put that to the past or whatever ill feelings he had towards me,” Nas said. “I think he was misinformed about things, like I was a negative guy or like I was trying to harm him in any kind of way. I think maybe he just grew up a little bit.”

Nas is currently in the studio working on a new album, but could not say when anymore songs with Prodigy would be in the works.

“At the moment, I just got back into the studio, and my focus right now has been just starting to work on the album, so who knows?” Nas said.



Article: Ology Exclusive: Andreaus 13 Discusses The Decline of Hip-Hop by JT LANGLEY

Read part 1 of this interview:

Andreaus 13 is a hip-hop veteran, having worked with Terminator X in the late 80s and collaborating on his 1991 album Terminator X and The Valley of the Jeep Beats, while also being associated with Public Enemy. Outside of hip-hop, he is the C.E.O. of the African American Media Network, and an Affirmative Action Officer at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department. Wednesday, May 11, 2011, Andreaus 13 released his solo album Judgment Day 20 years after the release of The Valley of the Jeep Beats.

Q: When do you think hip-hop made this turn for the worst that you’re talking about?

A: It happened in 1992-1993, that’s when it changed. Before then, you had different groups—Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Fat Boys, Run DMC, DJ Kool Herc, [Lord] Finesse, De La Soul. You had a variation of music. You had a tapestry. When it got to the level in ’91, ’92, everything had to be gangster, everybody had to be a gangster, and now, everybody’s dead because all the gangsters out there killed them.

Now, when we were little, the gangsters, you didn’t know who they were. Everybody glorifies this gangster lifestyle, but at the end of the day at the corner-store, you don’t really want to meet your maker, you don’t want to die. All the people talking about how they’re ready to die, they’re lying, they don’t really want to die, and they’re just selling it as product. They just do that, immortalizing this music, and the kids are susceptible, they buy into that, they feed into that, and they want to live out that lifestyle, kind of like they say Tupac did when he played [Roland] Bishop in Juice, because, come on, Tupac was with Digital Underground doing “The Humpty Dance.” How’d he turn into “Thug For Life”?

Q: Are there any artists you could name that pushed that lifestyle to come out?

A: There were so many—there’s too many to point one out. If I had to bring up a name right now, I would, but a lot of them are gone now because they were one hit wonders that came out with a mega-hit, and then you never saw them again. But it’s like everybody started doing it. It’s not one person. They all started doing that gangster style of music. Everybody.

Q: With those words and your album in mind, how do you feel when people say that Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. were the greatest rappers to ever live?

A: I think that the greatest rapper that ever lived is Rakim, who came from Amityville Memorial High School in Wyandanch, Long Island. That’s the greatest rapper that is alive right now. I think that every generation is going to have their ‘greatest rapper’ still, but if you look at the five elements of hip-hop, you’ll see that Rakim has all of those elements in his music. Everybody’s going to have their picks, but to me, the greatest rapper alive right now is Rakim.

If you ask anybody, they’ll tell you that Eminem is the greatest rapper to ever live. Now, I don’t know the name of his breakdancers, I’ve never seen Eminem with graffiti artists, I’ve never seen him pumping up his DJ with his own album, I have never heard any knowledge other than him talking about his childhood, that it was so messed up, that nothing ever good happened to him, so I don’t know what knowledge it is that he’s dropping. People will tell you he’s the greatest rapper—he’s not. Eminem is a good rapper, but he’s not the greatest. Biggie was a good rapper, but he’s not the greatest, and Tupac wasn’t the greatest. It was Rakim, and Rakim is still alive, and, you know, I honor him right now, because Rakim is truly the greatest lyricist ever alive. There’s nobody that’s surpassed him yet compared to the knowledge that he drops in his rhymes.

Q: Are there any specific rappers nowadays that you think are hindering hip-hop and negatively affected the American youth?

A: I would say right now that any rappers that don’t have a vocabulary of 50 words, then they fall in that category. If they don’t know how to spell ‘soliloquy’ or ‘sassafras’ or ‘viva voce’—I would say artists that don’t have a vocabulary over 50 words, and you can listen to any of their records and see if they can expand past 50 words. All they’re doing is dumbing down a community. Some of stuff I hear is such a turn off, that I don’t even know their names.

A lot of the ‘Dirty South’ rappers—I don’t know what kind of education that they’re getting down south, because there was one rapper [Waka Flocka Flame] that didn’t know about voting. I think there should be some kind of ‘reason test’ before a person can become a rapper. It’s not the rapper’s fault. It’s the discrimination by these white, institutionalized owners of these record labels who believe in white racism. They don’t care if a person is educated or not. They’ll give a person a record deal who says the worst things, because that’s what they want, an ignorant person. Black people’s leaders are TV personalities, actors, and ‘quote’ athletes and musicians, but white people’s leaders are intellectual philosophers, and scientists who win the Nobel Peace Prize. So my whole point is that it’s not the rapper’s fault. That’s why it doesn’t even matter to name a rapper. It’s the record executives and the radio stations who are playing this music and promoting these types of artists who say that to destroy the black community.

Q: So you think racism from the record label owners is a major factor is shaping this?

A: Of course. I have interns work at my studio all the time. They say ‘I can’t get a record deal because I don’t say this negative stuff,’ so that’s the corporate structure telling these artists that you have to say this crap to get a deal. They tell it to me all the time. They’ll tell you the streets are running the music business, but the streets aren’t running anything. The corporate executives are telling people ‘You’ve got to do a staff inspected minstrel show, say this shuck and jive Negro stuff, and we’ll give you a deal. If you say something that’s eloquent and uplifting, we’re not going to give you a deal,’ and that’s just the facts. Nobody wants to attack the Tommy Mattolas, or any of those guys up there [who contribute to the] destruction of our black community. They’re just as at fault as anybody else. They take the rappers and sign them. They’re just as at fault.

Q: What do you think about white rappers that have adopted the gangster lifestyle? Do you think the labels are a factor in promoting that?

A: I think that they just want to sell records. They’ll do anything novelty to sell records. But you have good rappers that were white, a rapper that’s just not because that he’s white, but when you put racism in there it adds to it. But if look at a rappers like 3rd Bass, 3rd Bass was definitely a great rap group. MC Serch. Those guys were good rappers. You have like Paul Wall, he’s a good artist. So I don’t think people like Paul Wall, because he’s a white rapper, he’s liked because he’s a good rapper. It’s like I said, it’s the things that people are saying to the derogatory situations. So that lifestyle that white, black, Spanish, and anyone could portray is all negative. You don’t have to portray a negative lifestyle to be a musician, because at the end of the day—I work in the Nassau County Correctional Facility where all the bad guys are locked up, and nobody out here I know really wants to come in and visit where I work at. When they get in here, they want to go home. So that’s just a false lifestyle that people are selling.

Q: Are there any artists in the younger generation of hip-hop that you listen to?

A: Man, I have been so turned off, I couldn’t really tell you who I listen to. I’ve just stopped, I gave up, because they’re not in anything, they’re not saying anything good. Lupe Fiasco, I like him, some of the “Kick Push,” I like stuff like that. Lupe Fiasco, and maybe some of the new stuff that Snoop Dogg has done, but there’s nobody, there’s no tapestry out there, everything is one way, so I don’t listen to it. I don’t want to hear ‘ice’ and ‘knife’ and ‘slice’ and ‘jack’ and ‘back’ in rap. Every record has the same thing, under 50 words. There’s a college study that has been done. I don’t want to hear that, it’s a dumbing down; like when my kids play their music, now they’re learning and getting aware about them being ripped off. You know, I told them to go look up De La Soul, and now they’re like ‘Wow, this stuff is better than this crap on the radio.’ So if you were to take all the classic artists and put them up against these new artists, the new artists would get murdered. They would get killed in a battle. I like that thing that Nelly did, that new song that he has, it’s a lot popped out, but he’s staying real to his roots, he’s a positive rapper, he talks about, you know, the party thing and all that, but he’s not coming out like he’s all gangster and is going to murder somebody. He’s being who he is, so I like artists that are being real, and being true to themselves.

Q: Do you think there’s any specific region or city that’s creating the worst image for hip-hop?

A: It’s not really a regional thing. It’s not a regional thing. It’s artists, and like I said, these artists are so bad that I don’t even want to be bothered with listening to them, you know? I didn’t want to listen. It was so bad. But it’s not a regional thing. They’re all over the place. I don’t know this guy’s name, but I think he has an ice cream cone on his face.

Q: Gucci Mane.

A: Yeah, I’ve heard some awful stuff from him. Like, he has no education, like he must have dropped out of school in the 6th grade.

I’m going to tell you, my son is a skateboarder, and I don’t want anybody trying to get initiated [into a gang] by shooting my kid off his skateboard. So any rapper that’s out there that’s big enough in the gang lifestyle, the prostitution, and dealing drugs—any one of them know that that’s kind of cool because the black community—see, they [rappers] go home to a rich community, a gated community after they put out those lines. But guess what, the people who have to listen to it, they live in the hood, they’re the ones that have to live in all of that hell. Who talks about all of that hell, but doesn’t have to live in it? Me, I do. Me and the members of black people who live in these communities of color have got to catch hell from making enemies of the people on the corner, at the deli, the kids in the park. When we want to take our kids out, we don’t know if we’ve got to catch the hell from that music they’re making and these people in the park want to act like that.

When they [rappers] party, they don’t go to the grimy neighborhoods, they go to the best places around with bodyguards and security, but they want to put that crap [music] where people have to go and live that, where it becomes a shootout at a bodega. When I roll out, when I go to speak, I have correctional officers with me who have Glock 19s, so guess what, what can you say to me, or do to me? Nothing. So that’s my point. You can’t be selling this lifestyle. I don’t want my little girl running around saying ‘This bitch is a crazy hoe.’ No, I don’t want her to say that. I don’t want my 4-year-old saying that.

You know, that’s the measure of the music: can you have a 4-year-old in the booth with you when you’re saying all of that stuff? And will you be proud of what you’re saying when you’re standing in church? I just wanted to let people see that you can put out an album, entertain people, educate people, without degrading people, you know? I mean, come on, the guy who killed a girl at Rutgers University, remember that guy? He kicked the door open because she was having a sorority party, he kicked the door open, and shot her and killed her. This was her neighbor. Now what the hell do you think he was listening to? He thought he was a real gangster. He was a punk, and now he’s in jail for the rest of his life. So that’s what these rappers are enticing our kids to do because the make it seem that the negative things are okay. You’re not a man, killing women and children, you know, you’re not a man when you do that. And you’re not a man when you rap about that.

Q: All that being said, do you think hip-hop has any chance for a recovery?

A: Well, the only way that rap is going to make it, hip-hop is going to make it—the redeeming factor for hip-hop is like Chuck D always said, the Internet. He said that people can get on the Internet and bypass all record labels, and put out their own music. That’s the savior here, the Internet. Youtube, Facebook, and all those social networking sites—that’s how the revolutions got going in Egypt. The musical revolution has got to get started, and it’s started already. I’m not the only person that feels this way. I’m just saying that because of my relationship with Terminator X and Pubic Enemy, and doing the TV shows; now remember, Chuck D, myself, and Terminator, we started the African American News company in 1993 to do news. So we’ve been reporting the news on TV for 18 years. So it’s not like—this is a movement that I’m a part of, and I think that I’m glad that I’m a part of the movement, because the Internet is a hope. The thousands of Internet and cable producers on public access who are doing their thing—they are the hope. Independents, the independent groups out there, the indies, they are the hope of hip-hop.

The corporations are bastardizing hip-hop. Ronald Regan used the word ‘Niggardly.’ Niggardly is the way that hip-hop is being used. It’s being bastardized and pimped by corporations, and that’s just the bottom line, and the only way that you do that and undermine it is through the revolution the same way they can take down a government in Egypt. I think that people across the world can start a revolution in music, because it has to start somewhere, and that’s why I said ‘Well, you know what, I’m always used to sacrifices.’ I know I’m sacrificing myself to say all these things. Everybody wants to say what I’m saying. They just don’t to because they want to make money, the record labels won’t saying nothing because they want to continue to rape and pillage music. They’re against the good, positive rappers out there, but they won’t promote that because that’s not in line with what they want our communities to look like.

This is not just me, I’m just more vocal. This is a movement, and all the record executives, they deserve to go to jail. It’s like they want the banks to go to jail for the Wall Street bailouts; me, I would like to see all those record execs doing jail. I’d like to get Tommy Mattola an elevator ride over here to jail. That’s what I’d like to do. All the Tommy Mattolas, all the Silversteins, Sylvia over there where Grandmaster Flash was on, people like that, those are the people that deserve to get elevator rides to go to jail, people who sign artists that talk smack about our community and keep it in disrepair. I wouldn’t go after no rapper; I’m going after the record label. I hope they all, everybody there, get the penalty they have to have. Didn’t Michael Jackson say Tommy Mattola was Satan or the Antichrist or something like that? That’s where it is, and you know, the rappers are powerless—that’s like going out and you’re a slave that’s mad at the plantation owner. You’re not doing nothing when you go after rappers, that’s why I’m not targeting any rappers, but, I mean, if you ask me a question, I’ll give you an educated answer. Some of these rappers need to read some books. They don’t have any words. Rappers have nothing to say to me. They’ve said the same thing over and over, its invictum, and some of them won’t even know what invictum is. But you know, I’m a music lover, and I’m a fan just like anybody else.

I have a song called “Afterbirth,” I got Egyptian priests for this album, so I took it all the way back to Egypt. See, I’m not just going to tell you something, I got some Egyptian priests, these are Egyptian priest, and they’re going to tell you what it is that you’re saying. Remember, they know the Egyptian language, they know how to speak it, they know how to go to a pyramid and read off of a pyramid and tell you what the words mean. In Egyptology, in Egypt, 25,000 years ago, you call it hieroglyphics, but the proper terminology is ‘metu neter,’ and it means ‘holy words,’ so the Egyptians say that everything that comes out of your mouth is holy. Then they also say ‘think seven times before you say something, because what you say out of your mouth is coming into existence,’ so that’s why I say when I think these rappers are bringing all of this plague, pestilence, and famine into existence, I am standing on the Egyptian methodology. They are bringing this destruction. If they say something sweet, then something sweet will happen. If they say something negative, then something negative will happen.

Also, I have Rabbi—I’m a Christian. Another rapper is Muslim, but we’re doing the same thing with my Jewish Rabbi people, so this is a spiritual album that goes back to Egypt before all the major religions. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all came out of ancient Egypt. So we figured ‘Well, you know what, let’s not just go back to Christianity, let’s go back to ancient Egypt too,’ because we’re trying to educate people. And I got this all in London from Professor Griff [S1W]. Professor Griff always tells you to educate yourself and arm yourself with knowledge. You know, he has been a little bit over the top and overboard, but he can always reference you to a book of scholarly content, and that’s my point. We have to have scholars now, like one of my songs says “A living god, Dr. Cornel West.” We are not honoring the literary prose and guidance of our scholars. So, what happens? The dumbing down of a race. And this all goes with the Illuminati and all of that stuff that people talk about. This stuff didn’t just happen for a reason, you think that every record has to have the word ‘sin’ in it, and ‘I hate you’ and ‘I’m going to kill you’ and ‘I’m gonna bust caps on you’ and ‘I’m gonna sell drugs to your kids and rape your women,’ and you think every word is wrong because that just happened?

There is a concerted effort to be a part of the genocide of the black community. And they say ‘Okay, the white kids buy the records,’ but they ain’t walking through the hood. I’ll bet you’ll find 80 percent of the people buy the records, but they won’t go walking through the hood. So they just buy the records, and they can play the records all day long, and they can do all that good stuff that they want to do, but guess what, they’re not in the hood. So when they get out riding bicycles, and when you’re out pushing a kid on a go-kart, and you’re in the park playing Frisbee, they’re not in that ghetto park where ‘Rallo’ and his crew are selling crack and pimping tricks. They’re not going to that park that they’re [rappers] talking about. They’re going to go to some park that looks like a country club. That’s where they take their kids, but where we’ve got to take our kids is in the hood, they’re going to talk all of that stuff, so we’ve got to walk through all that crap that they’re portraying.

I would like to say to the people that are going to the read this interview: I would hope that you would do something for your children that’s got to go into the park this summer, and got to be outside skateboarding, and riding bikes, and at the barbecue. This is the album that you want them to hear. This is the environment that you want for your kids. Boycott the record executives. Continue to boycott those record labels that support negative images to be sold in the community to our kids. Boycott them.

And to all musical artists in this genre: did anything good ever happen to you?



Article: Raphael Saadiq: “I do exactly what Hip-Hop did.” by Selamawit “Sully” Mulugeta

Raphael Saadiq makes the gamble of his career with STONE ROLLIN’, his fourth solo studio album. By charting new musical territory, Saadiq rolls the dice on his R&B icon status. Our conversation revealed, if not his motive, his logic behind the album. STONE ROLLIN’ in its entirety risks being a genre of its own, but with it Saadiq disregards the present, unravels the past and determines the future of music–win or loose. For more on Saadiq, pick up the latest issue of The Source on newsstands now.

How do you hope that your fans will receive this new album?

I hope that they just kinda grow with me, move with me, and come, you know, stone roll with me, and come out and just have a good time, and just welcome the maturity and the longevity of this record. I saw this as another part of a body of work that I can add to everything that I’ve done.

Every type of music you’ve ever been exposed to is somehow incorporated in this album so I was wondering how you decided to put certain sounds together.

I think I’m having fun with the instruments itself. If you have the instruments you supposed to play them. I own a lot of instruments, and I’m like “These kind of instruments deserve to have these type of songs.”Umm, I think I just always knew what kinda music I liked, and what kinda instrumentation goes with what, and what kind of energy you want to put out. I’ve always done the same thing, like whatever moved me, whatever I kinda wanted to travel with.

After the Grammy’s and your performance with Mick Jagger I was feeling like you might’ve been making a statement about where you are musically. Was that intentional? Or was that just me imagining things?

You know what, I think it’s the universe, everything is just falling into place because I already made the album and I already titled my album Stone Rollin’ then I get a call from Mick Jagger. I just think when stars line up you can’t really stop what’s happening. The forces push me in the areas I’m going.

On “Radio”, the Chuck Berry style joint, I think that’s when we first hear what the meaning of Stone Rollin’ is, and you say “I tried to move away, she found me the very next day,” and I was wondering is that song about your relationship with R&B?

Yeah, the roots of Rock ‘n Roll really. Like Chuck Berry was Rock ‘n Roll. Like the Mos Def song, back in the day when he was saying, such and such “Ain’t got no soul, Check Berry was Rock ‘n Roll.” You can’t really run away from it no matter what you do. It’s gonna find me. This kind of music is always gonna find me no matter what I like if it’s Hip-Hop, R&B, you know, funk, this music has always found me. And it’s always on the radio too. No matter what station you listen to you could roll the dial down, this music never went away.

Though it’s not prominent, there’s definitely a Hip-Hop element in the chemistry of this album. What’s the story behind that?

Well, prominently I’m not a Hip-Hop artist. I just work with a lot of Hip-Hop artists but I do feel like Hip-Hop is what held, you know, the music industry up for so long and it’s with old and new sounds and that’s what I do, exactly what Hip-Hop did. It brought old flavor and new flavor at the same time and that’s what I try to do with all my albums. Bring you know, something that you heard before but then there’s something new about it. To me that’s what Hip-Hop brought to the world. And then when you hear songs like “Over You” it’s like sort of my tribute to like Run DMC, and Rick Ruben, and these people and that whole era of Hip-Hop. “99 Problems” with the bum-bum-bum-bum (sings) I was really trying to do my take, a singer’s take, on New York’s Beastie Boys, and Run DMC, and Rick Ruben.

In “Go To Hell”, which was definitely one of my jams on the album, you say “I’m going to be a warrior of everything I say.” And it was just such a powerful statement and I poured over it until I realized that it’s essentially the meaning of your name. Was that intentional?

Yes. It’s just like everything I say everything I play, I’ve been so incorporative of – I don’t wanna say real music – but just music that I feel. You know everybody think they music is real. So, I don’t wanna say real music but just things that I feel – I wanna champion now.

Awesome. So you collaborated with a few folks on this album. You got Robert Randolph on “Day Dreams” and we hear Little Dragon and then Larry Dunn on “Just Don’t”. So, how did you identify these artists to become a part of this specific album?

Well, as I started piecing it together, I started um hearing who could do what. And then I had Larry Dunn on “Just Don’t” and then I figured Yukimi would sound good on this part, from Little Dragon. And then I wrote “Day Dreams” and then I figured out that Robert Randolph would sound good on this record. So I just kinda pieced it as I went along.

The puzzle was already built but they just finished the puzzle for me you know. And, I’m such a fan of what they do, that you know, when I hear a piece of them on something I do it makes the record feel that much more complete.

Are there any other artist in different parts of the world that you’re studying right now?

I might do something with Ayo. I plan on being in New York a lot more so probably a lot more European artists too.

I find it interesting that this album is reflective of – and I hate when people keep saying Motown inspired because it’s more than that – but for the sake of this question, I feel like the album is reflective, at least, of a time period when people were more political. Do you think your album might have that kind of impact on people of today?

I hope it does. It’s as far as I really wanna get into [politics]. Whatever’s happening politically in the world makes you speak a different language, even if you’re not into politics. I feel I’m probably speaking a certain way because of the conditions of the world. So whatever’s in the air is kinda what comes out of you without being preachy. This is something that’s good to come home to – if you’ve had a hard day, this is the kinda record you go home and go, “OK this is also happening in the world.” At this time, when this is happening, when we have a Black president, there’s wars goin on, tsunamis here. When I wrote “Go To Hell,” I said you know, “I can see my name written across the sky. Storms in the mountains, storms in the sea.” And all these things are happening that I sing in the song. It’s kind of confirmation that lets me know just to do what you feel and put it out there, and let people find what you do important.

And to the people who like what we do: buy our music like pop fans buy their music. Don’t be a hypocrite.



Article: Jadakiss Speaks On The State Of Hip-Hop by Boss Lady

Jadakiss dropped by Invasion Radio on Hip-Hop Nation (Sirius/XM 44) with DJ Green Lantern and myself earlier this week to promote his upcoming mixtape I Love You: Dedication To The Fans (due May 24 via Def Jam) and shed serious light on the differences between hip-hop in the late 90s till now. He also touches on the thin line between “grinding” and “annoying” for upcoming rappers, words of advice from Jay-Z and more:



Article: Rakim Says Hip-Hop Needs Some Renovation by JT LANGLEY

A return to the roots has been a topic in hip-hop ever since the 90s Mafioso crossover back when, and though it’s an up-and-down argument as to how the genre needs to reinvent itself with the past in mind, massive renovation has yet to take place in the general mainstream. Artists have talked here and there, and some have listened, but Rakim, the emcee who most will say is the greatest to ever touch bars, from ’87 with Eric B, to The Seventh Seal in 2009, shared some words to the public in a recent interview with The Guardian on the topic.

“It’s hard,” Rakim said. “The conscious level is definitely low and the substance of the music is so much lighter, but you have to understand the game is young in new places. It’s still growing…We really need some of that consciousness, that fly on the wall that watches over us and comments. I like B.o.B. and Lupe Fiasco a lot, they’re both exploring the music, but I don’t see a lot of artistry out there.”

I’m done talking about Odd Future in individual articles, but they’re a major player under Rakim’s words, being that they are the youngest mainstream music makers at the moment, along with [name your favorite gangster rapper of the 2000s], and your Lil Bs, Guccis, and Waka Flockas. And you can stretch it far beyond that.

Hip-hop’s holding some roots and making some major steps forward in style, but they don’t seem to be stretching back to remember The Bronx origin and tradition of the artform, so Rakim’s putting it right. If you’re going to argue against him, it better be a damn good one.

Throw up your thoughts.



Article: Juvenile Reflects On The State Of Hip-Hop by STEVEN J. HOROWITZ

Juvy gives his two cents on the game and how low cash-flow has hurt the rap community.

Juvenile came up as one of the flagship artists for Cash Money Records, but the game ain’t the same for the Louisiana rapper. Juvy recently explained how money doesn’t flow like it used to, and that hip-hop artist aren’t the only ones feeling the sting.

“I wish it was making more money, man. I can’t judge cats out there who doing they thing,” he told Southern Smoke TV. “Of course, I’m a [Lil] Wayne fan first, and everybody else fall behind that. But it’s a whole lot of rap that’s not good rap out there. Probably better music than my era but they not getting paid for it. I wish there was another way we could get some revenue in. The show money ain’t even like it was because street niggas ain’t eating like they used to eat.”

He continued by explaining the trickledown effect that low revenue can have on club owners. “It’s ugly all the way around,” he stated. “I’ll show you where it hurts us now. Of course, a lot of those cats are the cats who spend money on booking us shows and buying music. But when all that’s sold out, it kind of hurts man, especially the club owners saying they ain’t making no money because they ain’t selling no alcohol. All of that is kind of a trickledown effect for what’s going on right now.”

The former Hot Boys member most recently signed to Rap-A-Lot to release his next album.



Article: Hip-hop artist Cassidy arrested in Hackensack by MERRY FIRSCHEIN

ENSACK — City police arrested a hip-hop artist Saturday who is wanted in Philadelphia, authorities said.

The Philadelphia Police warrant squad called the Hackensack Police Department on Saturday morning to tell officers there was an open warrant for Hackensack resident Barry Reese, also known as the rapper Cassidy, Hackensack police Lt. Timothy Lloyd said.

The warrant was for violating probation, but Reese is also a suspect in a murder and two attempted murders in Philadelphia, Lloyd said.

Philadelphia police knew from a prior investigation that the rapper lived in Hackensack, Lloyd said.

Philadelphia police told their Hackensack counterparts “to consider this person armed and dangerous,” and this was a “high-risk warrant,” Lloyd said.

Officers from the Hackensack Police Emergency Response Team and the police department’s juvenile bureau watched Reese’s home Saturday on Reilly Court, Lloyd said.

Reese left his house about 1:30 p.m. and was followed by police to a local convenience store, Lloyd said.

An undercover ERT officer went in the store and positively identified Reese, he said.

When Reese came out of the store, “the ERT units moved in and conducted a felony motor vehicle stop,” Lloyd said.

Reese “was very surprised,” Lloyd said. The officers who arrested the rapper “did an outstanding job,” he said. “Without the proper teamwork going on, this could have spiraled out of control quickly.”

No one was injured in the arrest, Lloyd said.

Reese, 28, will be brought to the Bergen County Jail Annex to await extradition to Philadelphia, Lloyd said.

Cassidy’s most well-known single is 2005’s “I’m a Hustla,” which reached No. 8 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts.



Article: Lost in the Common Controversy: The White House Celebrates Poetry by John Lundberg

f you heard about the White House poetry event this past Wednesday, you probably heard about it for the wrong reasons. The decision to invite hip-hop artist and actor Common to read poetry drew a surprising amount of furor from the right. Former Bush senior advisor Karl Rove and Fox News host Sean Hannity, among others, offered their in-depth analysis of Common’s lyrics, coming off like a couple of flustered freshmen in a poetry workshop. I suppose such strange distractions are to be expected in the weeks after your political enemy kills Osama bin Laden, but the Common silliness was unfortunate, as it tarnished what was otherwise a great day for poetry.

On Wednesday afternoon, Michelle Obama hosted a poetry workshop at the White House for 77 young poets who were flown to Washington for the event. The workshop featured former poets laureate Rita Dove and Billy Collins, and the inaugural poet (and friend of the President and First Lady) Elizabeth Alexander. The First Lady lauded the young poets for taking emotional risks and striving to connect, and she admitted that growing up, she leaned on her writing and was a bit of a poet herself. The professionals offered advice as well, most of it inspiring, and some more realistic, as when the always-entertaining Billy Collins quipped, “You shouldn’t worry about whether you’re good now. You probably aren’t that good, but you’ll get better. There is hope.”

The President hosted a poetry reading that night and owned up to publishing a couple of poems in his college literary magazine (which you can read here). He also spoke well about the power of poetry:

Everybody experiences it differently. There are no rules for what makes a great poem. Understanding it isn’t just about metaphor or meter. Instead, a great poem is one that resonates with us, that challenges us and that teaches us something about ourselves and the world that we live in. As Rita Dove says, ‘If [poetry] doesn’t affect you on some level that cannot be explained in words, then the poem hasn’t done its job.’
The reading (which you can watch here) featured an eclectic collection of poets, including the aforementioned Dove and Collins, singer Aimee Mann and spoken word poet Jill Scott, who was just “really geeked” to be there. In case you’re wondering, Common performed and did not attack America.

As the President put it, “poets have always played an important role in telling our American story.” It’s refreshing that, on Wednesday, he put the art form in the spotlight and let it speak.