Posts tagged “Rap

Get It Done Entertainment Presents: “On Deck” hosted by DJ SUSS ONE of POWER 105.1 is AVAILABLE for DOWNLOAD NOW!!

Track List and Artist:
1- DJ Sussone Intro
2- “Winner Theme”
3- “Never Gonna Quit”
4- DJ Sussone Skit
5- “Clapped’em” Nine Feat. 45 Grizz
6- “Lucky Girl”
7- “There Were Two Of Me”
8- “Test Drive” Skyzoo
9- “Coolin”
10- “Hold It Down” Kid Ink Feat. Jon Connor & Kevin Cossom
11- DJ Sussone Skit
12- “Stop Cryin”
13- “Wateva” M Will Feat. Mac Miller
14- “Movin Out”
15- “The Letter” Emilio Rojas Feat. Tenille
16- “Hero” , Son-Ray,
17- “What To Do” Feat. Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, Trajik
18- “My Homie” Schoolboy Q
19- “No Title” Anastasia
20- “DJ Sussone Outro

Article: The Top 10 Road Rage Songs By: Brad Iger

Road rage is part of human nature. If you spend enough time every day in your car, inevitably some jackass will pull a stunt that just defies all logic and regard for the motorists around them. Once you’ve experienced this enough times, you’re bound to lose it sooner or later. So when you end up going off the deep end, you might as well have a kickass soundtrack to compliment the fury.

10. Metallica “Battery”

The slow and somber acoustic guitar strumming that opens Master of Puppets serves as the perfect red herring for what’s to come. Suddenly the ethereal melodies turn into roaring thunder, and from then on there’s no turning back, dishing out pure, aggressive thrash till the last note of the song. This actually mimics the road rage phenomenon quite well – one minute you’re calmly going about your business, the next minute it’s vehicular mayhem. With the constant, propulsive force of this song, you’ll have an apt refrain to flip out to.

9. N.W.A. “Straight Outta Compton”
If this track doesn’t make you want to take down stupid pricks on the freeway, check your pulse because you’re probably already dead. Right out of the gate you get this constant click track and James Brown guitar riff that matches the pace of the road perfectly. Then suddenly Ice Cube is right in your face telling you to crush every sucka who gets in the way. Word to the mothef**ker.

8. Rage Against the Machine “Bulls on Parade”

If nothing else, the name of this band should tip you off to the intentions of their music. True to form, “Bulls on Parade” immediately grabs you with the kind of vitriol you get when some jerkoff cuts you off and then slams on the brakes just to shave a couple seconds off their otherwise pointless commute. The sinister, lumbering bass line that follows works as a backdrop to the frustration of watching your existence grow ever shorter as you battle just to get back to the package of stale Top Ramen and well-worn Victoria’s Secret catalog that you call home.

7. Pantera “F**kin’ Hostile”
Well, the title is kind of a give away, isn’t it? No high-falutin’ concepts here, just distorted vocals conjured up from hell and down-tuned guitars chugging furiously against your eardrums. For some reason, thrash metal seems to have both the ideal pacing for driving fast and the teeth-grinding anger that effectively gets people pissed off.

6. The Bronx “Heart Attack American”

One of the few punk bands left who seem to be making music as a source of catharsis instead of profit, and the opening track of The Bronx explodes out of the speakers with absolute ferocity. The track is a no-frills anthemic battlecry with a simple message: F**k everything. It truly makes you want to lash out against all the oppressive elements of the world around that keep you complacent and passive. If that happens to be another motorist, well, sooner or later someone’s gotta teach them a lesson.

5. Nine Inch Nails “March of the Pigs”

Is there a way to make a drum kit sound pissed off? Well, Trent found a way. This fine example of industrial rock destruction has this sort of surging effect to it, much like what you might experience when repeatedly smashing into the back end of someone’s car after you’ve finally hit your patience quota for stolen parking spots. And just when you think everything’s cool, it hits you in the face again with even more force than the first time. Vindictive.

4. Iggy and the Stooges “Search and Destroy”
While this track starts out in a relatively tame fashion (for this list anyway), it’s like a locomotive that just keeps gaining momentum. Or, in this case: chaos and fury. Released in 1973, this song became one of the prime templates for what would later be termed “punk rock.”

By end of the song, it’s total mayhem and dissonance as Iggy’s screaming about being “the forgotten boy, the one who’s searching to destroy.” In this case, you’ll be destroying the soul of the guy who pulled into the fast lane going 30 miles an hour. And it all dissolves into distorted cries of anger (or joyous wrath?) as massively overdriven guitars shriek and wail just before it all grinds itself to a halt.

3. Slayer “Angel of Death”
This truly is the soundtrack to hell. I mean, if hell is as awesome I hope it is. This song is relentlessly evil in every respect, be it lyrics about sadist human experiments or the enormity of the malevolent rock being delivered to your ears.

Drummer Dave Lombardo has this style that just makes everything systematically brutal that, even when things go completely apeshit at about the 3:35 mark after the solo kicks in, it’s totally insane and yet completely together simultaneously. Which is much like the mentality of a seasoned road rager: beyond logic yet somehow still functional.

2. Misfits “Bullet”
Unashamedly offensive, pissed off, anthemic, and without an ounce of filler – “Bullet” may be the perfect punk song. The track is an ode to the assassination of President Kennedy and young Danzig’s… uhh… “attraction” to the first lady.

It is the celebration of violence and death. It spews pure hatred in all the right ways, and at just the right tempo. Putting this track on makes your middle finger stronger. It was tough not to make this one #1, because it is an ideal song for road rage as it sets a brilliant tone and speed for vehicular psychosis.

1. Motorhead “Ace of Spades”
Motorhead and automotive mayhem go together like coke and cheap strippers. Could there ever be a better track to accompany Mad Max? The answer is NO. When someone asks you what “Driving Rock” is, you do not respond “Radar Love.” Not unless you want a bitch slap. Instead, you put this track on.

When this song kicks in, it grabs you by your face and screams, “Bury the goddamn throttle and drive like a maniac!” And of course, you do, because Lemmy demands it.



ARTICLE: DMX To Maybach Music Group????

DMX has revealed that Rick Ross reached out to him while behind bars showing interest in signing the gruff MC to his Maybach Music Group imprint. Speaking with VIBE.com, Dark Man X explained that Rawse’s people sent a letter to him in prison with the intention of getting him on the label.

“Rick Ross’ peoples wrote me a letter while I was in here,” he said. “Yeah like ‘Yo we got a home for you. We’ll pick you up in a limo. Just come to Miami. Just come, we got you.’”

X is considering their offer, but is afraid of getting tangled up in Ross’ Illuminati affiliation. “I’m thinking about it. It was a good feeling. I respect him as an artist, and I would like to work with him. But he got the whole Illuminati thing going on. I got fans who write me like ‘I’m glad you’re not a part of that.’ And I don’t know what it’s really about entirely. So it might be like a good thing.”

As of now, he’s up for a collaboration with Ross, but is lukewarm on the MMG deal. “Yeah. I have respect for him and he expressed interest that he wanted to work with me while I was out. So I definitely want do a song with him, but I don’t know about the record label thing. I would have to see what his camp is like and feel people out. I’m not the average artist.” hiphopdx

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.



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: 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.




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