July 31, 2006
and the lack of proper education for those who do attend, more stars of color have turned their attention to social issues than ever before. Even rap artists have come out in favor of political candidates and have begun investing in companies other than ones for clothing and making records.
I applaud the efforts of athletes and artists who focus on community and place focus on doing more with their cash than flashing it, but in order for minorities, entertainers in particular, to have a meaningful say in this country the next step in the capitalist process must be taken: ownership. For the first time ever, a new basketball team is entering the NBA with a Black owner. The new Charlotte franchise is owned by none other than Bob Johnson, former owner of Black Entertainment Television. Media types and players alike have been clamoring for some minority control in what is considered a "Black" sport. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Isaiah Thomas have all had positions as minority owners, but never owned enough stock to truly own the team. I have always felt Black ownership is necessary at least in this sport where the hopes of a majority of Black youth are pinned. Though salaries are considered ridiculously high, they still do not equate with the amounts raked in by owners, advertisers, and merchandisers. Basketball hoops on every corner of every hood and roughly 350 roster slots in the league make for poor odds and desperate hopes.
Desperate hopes to sweat and perform on an open stage for the amusement of the masses in a manner akin to Jazz musicians playing in bordellos. You know, "just to get by." Fortunately that's all about to change now that we have a Black owner.
But wait, isn't Bob Johnson the same man who owned BET and sold it off to Viacom, leaving the only Black owned television station to be turned into an MTV for the urban market share? The same Bob Johnson who allowed, and even encouraged Black women to be presented as little more than sex objects while their male counterparts were either pimps or drug dealers who settle disputes with guns and cling to slabs of concrete they don't even own like it was their only child? Even before the sale, BET was never intended to be entertainment for Black people, despite the rare appearance of a show like Teen Summit. The purpose of BET was to be a channel for Blacks to entertain. Whether the entertainment was "shuckin' and jivin'" is a matter of opinion, but it is clear that the interests of the Black community as a whole were never in mind. Now Bob Johnson has been selected by the NBA at large to be the first minority to own a team, to bridge a gap that has existed since professional sports became proliferated by minority players. Seems to me more an effort to squelch the argument of the lack of minority owners than anything else. I don't expect Bob Johnson to make a dent in the way the NBA conducts business any more than I expected BET to contain intriguing and thought provoking programming. Hell, I think it's more likely we'll see fried chickenand watermelon night in Charlotte.
Song I'm promoting this week: Basketball Jones by S. Carson
July 25, 2006
Download full length album zip.
July 23, 2006
Hailing from Spanish Harlem, Gif has some very interesting perspectives not oftentimes seen in today’s Hip-Hop world. A lot of rappers will tell you all about their personal wealth. Gif, on the other hand, would rather speak about personal responsibility. Gif’s life in Hip-Hop started at the age of 13 when his friends urged him to rhyme at a talent show. A buzz grew among his classmates and Gif started rhyming all around his neighborhood. He battled everyone and openly admits there were times when he “got destroyed,” but those losses only inspired him to work harder at his skills. Once all the battling got old Gif went to work writing songs and making music. On Gif’s full length debut, View Of A Loser From On Top Of The World, listeners are hit with a combination of lyrical skills and fresh ideas regarding life, and as this week’s Artist Of The Week Gif is hitting readers with some of those ideas, too. Read more...
July 17, 2006
It's rare that I post an article that was not written by me... So you'd better believe this one is worth reading, and the links I've provided to spice things up are worth clicking on, as well... This piece by Wiliam Blase may be a bit dated (it's 10 years old) but it chronicles a very very deep and dangerous conspiracy (not a theory, mind you, but an actual conspiracy) that all Americans should really be wary of. Here is a history of the New World Order free from talk about aliens, illuminati, the anti-christ, etc... Just the facts. Cold, hard, documented, facts... Read it...
Hailing from Long Island, specifically Brentwood, NY, Reign has not led the easiest of lives. From being homeless to being a single parent while bouncing from shelter to shelter, the deck did not look stacked in his favor. Some people feel adversity builds character and if that’s the case Reign had to be wondering how much character he really needed. His music career started a decade ago and in 1997 he formed The Puerto Rox with Lou Diggz. The group disbanded in 2001 after Reign’s close friend and hype man, Blast, was killed. After reevaluating his life Reign was ready to go solo and hit people with his music again. He’s performed at nearly 100 clubs, showcases and benefits and this week he’s being featured here as my Artist Of The Week. Read More...
July 14, 2006
July 13, 2006
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July 10, 2006
Can you remember the first time that you heard a Hip Hop track? Do you remember hearing the treble and bass resonating in your ear drum, creating an auditory intoxication that left you in a euphoric state of mind? I remember when I first met Hip Hop. It was an unseasonably cool day in September and my mother and father had just recently purchased me an A. M. /F.M. Cassette Radio. They allowed me to listen to it regularly, as long as it was played at a reasonable tone. The first cassette that I purchased was Eric B. and Rakim’s, "Paid in Full.” I remember listening to “Clap to this,” and being enraptured by his complex rhyme schemes and his ability to balance both style and substance without comprising.
Hip Hop and I dated for a few years and finally when I heard Nas’s classic LP “Illmatic,” I decided that it was time for me to marry her. The year was 1994 and I was a 16 year old bridge groom without enough money to adequately commandeer the necessities of life. But, back then she didn’t care how much bling I had, or the type of car I drove, she only wanted my heart. Although we had an open relationship, I became jealous when I saw her out with other fellow’s, and enraged when wack emcee’s would defile her name by creating Dr. Seuss rhymes, that can only be described as unimaginative. They were unauthentic, misogynistic, soulless cretins who invariably wanted my wife for selfish reasons. Even though I knew that she was a polygamist, I didn’t care because I loved her.
Nowadays, in order to get next to here, all you need is a gimmick or street credibility. It has gotten to the point were her suitors no longer care about sounding coherent or even rhyming when they talk to her and with the hooks that I have been hearing lately, it is easy to ascertain why hip hop is in a state of decay. Although Hip Hop purists like Saul, Nas, Talib Kweli, have been bold enough to call a spade a spade and address this issue in their perspective mediums, what have us Hip Hop heads done to combat the poisoning of our bride? Iconoclastic emcee’s like Nas, Mos Def, Common, etc have been forced to play the back for a number of years, being tormented with the decision to stay authentic or crossover into the mainstream. A number of these emcees have resisted this temptation and have become multi-platinum artists on their sheer talent alone. The zeitgeist of the hip hop arena has been marked by fads, bi-coastal rivalries, etc. Hopefully she has learned from her mistakes, and matured now that she is in her early 30’s.
Hip Hop and I have been married for 12 years and although I do not approve of her choice of friends, I still love her. Over the years she has become quite materialistic, living rather luxuriously in her fancy mansions and custom Bentley’s. I know were she is getting the money from, but when I confront her she gets mad and starts on one her infamous tirades. I try to leave her but she has a hold on me. I have invested 12 years into this relationship, but I feel as though were growing apart, and any attempts to hold on will only make things worse. You may say that we need to seek out a marriage counselor, but we have been seeing Dr. Dre since 1990. Even though he is a gifted psychologist, he believes that we should do what is in our hearts. We tried to get Oprah to let us come on her show to talk about our problems but Hip Hop has managed to alienate even her.
Even though I would like to work things out, she seems to think that things are just fine the way that they are. To this day she will not tell me how old she is. Even though her mother was pregnant with her for centuries, I think she was born in 1973. I remember hearing stories of her father’s first gig at
- Matthew Lynch
What the heck is a square egg? I know a lot of you may be thinking that right now and the answer is: one of the hottest up and coming musical groups in the country. The Square Egg is a 10 piece band that was formed in Miami in 1999 and now resides in New York City. Loosely defined as a Hip-Hop band, they’ve opened for Boyz II Men, Luther Vandross and Jahiem and have made not one but TWO appearances on Mun2’s The Roof. The Square Egg has performed everywhere from The Blue Note and The Knitting Factory in NYC to American Airlines Arena and Dolphin Stadium in Miami. They’ve earned a reputation for tearing the house down with their intricate mixture of musical stylings and have a way of making instant fans out of everyone who sees them. Three albums, and one greatest hits album, deep, The Square Egg is a group people need to stop sleeping on which is why I sat down with LEE, the lead vocalist of the group (pictured with hat), for this week’s Artist Of The Week feature. Read more...
This weekend I lost something that wasn’t even mine. After six months of enjoying the benefits of an unsecured wi-fi connection the people who had it moved out of my building, leaving me back on dial up. After only a few days I’ve already noticed something fairly major, my time spent online has gone down drastically. Many would assume that with everything taking longer I’d actually be spending more time online, but the fact of the matter is I’m now skipping all the frivolous online things that aren’t really necessary and going straight to the meat of what I’m looking to do. In realizing this I was made to ask myself the question, how well have I been spending my time online? Read It...
As I stood at SOB’s on Wednesday night with my friend Dyalekt at Hot97’s Who’s Next live music series we both realized something, almost everyone in the place had been brainwashed. We were among a crowd of music consumer zombies that couldn’t handle the idea of seeing and hearing artists that they didn’t already know and hadn’t been told they like yet. Commercial radio and MTV have become so prevalent in our lives that the vast majority of the country is tuning out anything they don’t know or haven’t been told is hot. Read more...
I caused more than a bit of controversy last week when I wrote about my thoughts on Jay-Z’s boycott of Cristal and his accusation that because Frédéric Rouzaud, their CEO, implied he didn’t want to be associated with Hip-Hop he was a racist. The fact of the matter is Jay made a very poor choice of words. Rouzaud not wanting to be associated with Hip-Hop, or at least being hesitant about it, was not racism, it was, potentially (and please note I am saying potentially as this is not an indictment of Rouzaud), bigotry. Read more...
July 8, 2006
July 3, 2006
A hired gun. A third party. Both ideas go against the norms of American society. Maybe that’s what makes them so appropriate for this week’s Artist Of The Week. Hired Gun formed his first band at the age of 15 and been making music ever since. The list of artists he’s worked with includes Breez Evahflowin, Fatlip, The Demigodz and Wordsworth and right now he’s making noise with his current group, 3rd Party. 3rd Party has released two albums, Pressed for Time, and their 2006 release Separation of Powers. Hired Gun is an educated Hip-Hop head who's never gone about things in the traditional way. Read More...