Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Everybody Loves Ghost

you wanna know why?

Cause he's got all the bases covered.

He's more thuged out than your favorite thug rapper.

He's more abstract than the most obscure underground Nerd-Rap weirdo. (See: that song about walking through the forest saying hello to different cartoon characters.)

He's old-school enough for the bitter old-school heads plus he's current enough for the kids.

He's great at picking beats that even the illest beat snob can't front on.

He's the only rapper that can consistently make songs about girls with dudes singing on some slo-jam shit and never come off corny.

I love when Ghost just raps over a whole song like this:

Ghostface:No No No

Also Check my post on Ghost's cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps over at Metal Lungies

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nina Simone Sundays

I knew all week this was going to be the joint for today's Nina Simone Sunday.

I've been reflecting on how delicious forbidden fruit can taste. Go on and eat it's mighty sweet.

The song reminds me of this little Dujeous diddy; the way the drummer is clickity clacking on the rim.

Dujeous is New York City's resident live hip hop band. They've been rocking for quite awhile and toured the globe. "Cinematics" is off their very first 12" back in the day.

Nina Simone: Forbidden Fruit

Dujeous: Cinematics

"Y'all went and did it and now yer gonna get it"

Friday, February 23, 2007

You ain't artsier than me

This one goes out to the new residents of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Long Island City, et. all. This goes out to people who call Bushwick "East Williamsburg" because that's what the realtor called it when they signed the lease.

Chill. You are all my sons and daughters.
New York is the cultural Mecca of the universe.
We were born and raised in this city soaking up culture since birth. The Bohemian traditions of the city run through our veins.

How you gonna move here from Des Moines, then suddenly turn around and act like some high-brow culture snob? I can still smell the farm on you! Chill. You are not fly.

You can't look down on a New York Accent. That's a badge of honor right there. Respect it.


The Grouch: Artsy

"'cause you pluck a guitar. That ain't fucking bizarre"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Spring Training

I'm the Lastings Milledge of this Blog Shit. I'm that cocky rookie. I'm ruffling some feathers with the older cats but they all know I'm nice with it.

Lastings walked back to the clubhouse after one of his last games last year to find a note taped to his locker that read "Know Your Place Rook!"

Willie Randolph started his first press conference with something like "OK lets get the Lastings Milledge shit-talk session out the way first."

In honor of Spring Training I offer these tidings:

Natural Resource: Negro League
This is Jean Grae's first group (They used to call her "What? What?"). To me she never really lived up to the potential heard in these early recordings. This three song 12" is one of the true gems of that mid-90's new york indie-wave.

Main Source: Just A Friendly Game of Baseball
Fuck The Police (RIP Sean Bell)

De La Soul (feat. Dres): Fanatic of The B Word
Come on everybody do the Baseball.

Ahmad, Ras Kass, & Safir: Come Widdit (The Fredwreck Remix)
They went all around the planet pitching and no-one hit it. The original joint was off the Streetfigher movie soundtrack. This version is off the 12" (they also had a video that was hype)

check out my post on Junk Science over at Metal Lungies

Old School Wednesday

This is a song about fronting. Fronting is still a very prevalent disease in our culture today.

I mean:

It's always been around. People been fronting since they came down from the trees it seems.

Jay-Z can't see a tear coming down his eye so instead he turns around and makes the song cry.

I was watching a documentary on PBS last night about manhood and Masculinity in Hip Hop called: Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (It was actually pretty dope)

At one point, the director is interviewing Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli, De La, And Mos Def and he asks Busta about homophobia and gays in Hip Hop. Busta told him he wasn't even gonna go there and left the room! Mos Def left the room too! Too Taboo to even be discussed!

Oscar Brown Jr.: But I Was Cool
from sin & soul (1960)

In New york the Documentary will be replayed next Sunday night (technically Monday since its after 12 numsain):

Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes
Monday, February 26, 12:30am
CHANNEL 13 (Thirteen/WNET New York)

Everyone else gots to check they local listings!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Live From The Clubhouse
(post game wrap up) Pt. II

This post is the 2nd installment of my special reportage on NYC HIP HOP outfit, The Dugout.

As you'll recall last week's episode focused on Dugout member Cavalier (Here)

Today we're getting post-game, post hip-hop-being-dead analysis from Dugout Power Hitter StarPower

When contacting StarPower for this post he included in his response, this explanation of the reason why he makes songs like "ClockWork.":

"I purposely sample white artists who I feel have gained great privilege on the backs of minority artists. I'll jack white artists of any era - I've jacked Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Elton John, The Raconteurs, The Beatles, etc. Mad legends. I'll jack 'em for a freestyle or a whole song. For me, it's a new way of making conscious music. Instead of the consciousness being in the words, I'm always making a statement with the tracks I choose to sample, and usually they're very noticeable samples. So the consciousness is in the method of making the songs. It's my own little movement called "Taking It Back." Meaning taking it back to the past, and taking back what's ours. It's why I rarely sample soul records. I'm feelin' your posts b/c it's a way of just tellin' muthafuckas that you're someone who feels a certain way about hip-hop, and they can like it or not. I fux with that.

Excuse the length of this,

I just wanted to let you know that. Peace.

btw, I know the sample for Bachelor's Party is by a black act, but I did it for the sheer spectacle of it, lol."

StarPower: The Batchelor's Party
StarPower: Clockwork
StarPower: The Way I Die

and you should all watch This Video for ClockWork to get the full effect

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nina Simone Sundays

Quote of the night (from last night 2/17/07):

"B-More is so hot right now"
-Some random weirdo hipster DJ dude

You should have heard the way way he said "Beee-More".

Like......We live busy lives. Who has time to pronounce all those syllables? That's why I stay slanging it up and getting my coffee to go.

Peace to all the non-cornballs out there, still repping. Keep your heads up!

Happy Nina Simone Day!

Nina Simone: Baltimore
from Baltimore (CTI 1978)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Grass On The Other Side Is Such A Better Shade Of Green

We live in a culture obsessed with exteriors. A culture that takes appearances as truth and hides interior lives with guilt and shame. The frivolous surface is taken with such seriousness that it then manifests itself into real-life consequences. Our shallow first impressions can turn around and impress themselves into the depths of our inner lives.

This is why Race is at once completely irrelevant and, at the same time, the most important thing in the world.

Skin color is as meaningless a trait as hair color or height but Racism is as real as oxygen and can cause bodily harm, emotional and psychological distress, and at times death.

You may want to ignore Race because you know it doesn't matter. You know that assholes come in every shade, gender, and sexual orientation, and when you meet somebody you can actually stand, you better not let something as stupid as race come between you.

But you can't.

Because to ignore it is to ignore the very fabric of America. To ignore it is to ignore truth.

Then there are cultural differences that form in segregated groups. When a group of people who look the same, all act the same as well, it fosters the impression that they share some genetic pre-disposition to act that way.

This is a comforting idea to Americans it seems. People become walking color-coded name tags. It keeps things organised and helps to maintain the status quo. And those who step outside of the normal operating parameters assigned to their race run the risk of ridicule, humiliation, and possible punishment.

In this song MURS writes a love song to race-traitors. Telling these women that it's OK to be whom-ever they want to be. It is a beautiful sentiment and a touching song.

Peace to MURS and all the human race.

MURS: D.S.W.G. (Dark Skinned White Girls)
from Murray's Revenge (Record Collection 2006)

Friday, February 16, 2007

OOOOh SNAP! That's Foul Son.

This is the illustration that graced the cover of the Village Voice last week. It was intended to "celebrate?" the 34th annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll in which Bob Dylan apparently got more votes than TV On The Radio.

First of all I hate these polls. 98% of working music critics are white people from Ohio ("originally, but I consider myself a New Yorker now"). All their year end polls are a bunch of white-people indie rock with a Clipse and a Coup record thrown in for balance.

I'm just trying to imagine how they came up with the idea for this cover. Like how did the discussion in their office go? It's such a dumb idea for a cartoon in the first place. And then you'd think, among the office-full of hands it had to pass through, somebody would have been like: "Um.."

I can't front, I glanced at the cover last week and didn't think nothing of it. But home-boy makes nothing but excellent, valid points and now I'm like "yeah, fuck them".

Also: They made Bob Dylan look mad "Jewy" on some Gargamel shit. Don't you think?

Here's the Letter to the editor written by friend and contributor to TV on the Radio, Martin Perna:

Looking at this week's cover of the Voice, I see a caricature of Bob Dylan in an electric mobility scooter, running over Kyp Malone, guitarist/vocalist of the band TV on the Radio. The drawing, I imagine, was supposed to comically illustrate Dylan's new record edging out TVOTR's "Return to Cookie Mountain," in the paper's 34th Annual Pazz & Jop poll [February 7–13]. This drawing is racist, unfunny, mean-spirited, and inaccurate.

Even in the post-Chappelle era of it being hip and edgy to discuss and portray ideas about race, there are still wrong, tasteless ways and this was one of them. Nowhere in the consciousness of Voice editors or illustrator David O'Keefe can we find memories of James Byrd, a black man who was dragged behind a truck to his death by white racists in Jasper, Texas, in 1998, or Arthur "J.R." Warren, who was run over four times and killed for being black and gay in West Virginia in 2000, and all the other lynchings that happened in the U.S. before and since. These events are still fresh in the minds of black people, as well as in the hearts and minds of the rest of us who may not be directly victimized by these particular lynchings but who are nonetheless endangered by racism and committed to social justice and healing America of its sick racist condition.

O'Keefe and his colleagues may not have meant to intentionally be racist. They probably meant to be funny, like the University of Texas law students, Clemson University undergrads, or white college students nationwide who plan and publicize their blackface or "ghetto parties," then act surprised that people find their actions offensive and unacceptable. That this picture could be drawn and not questioned or vetoed by any of the people who saw it prior to publication shows the level of ignorance and racism that persists in leftist institutions like the Voice that continue to posture as hip and progressive. It reveals that among decision-makers at the paper there is not one single person with any sort of racial consciousness or sensitivity who had the power or courage to send that picture back to the drawing board.

Racism aside, the drawing is snarky and simpleminded. Where is the love? Why such a nasty way to portray two fantastic musical entities who made award-winning records last year? Why only portray Kyp, when TV on the Radio is composed of four other equally talented core members plus a small army of extended family (including myself) who have contributed to the indescribably ecstatic sound of TVOTR onstage and on record. We struggle defiantly to collaborate and work in non-hierarchical, positive environments and this portrayal of one of our people strikes a blow against our collective dignity.

Every time our likenesses are used outside of our control—especially in stupid ways like this—it fosters false perceptions of who we are. We struggle on a daily basis (those of us with high media exposure much more than others) to be our true selves and not what the media creates of us. Inevitably, Kyp will have to respond to an endless stream of questions about this cover from scores of journalists over the next week when he'd probably rather be doing something else.

Intentionally or not, this cover sends the all-too-familiar message to people of color: Make something too unique, make something outside of your assigned place-role, and get run over by a white man. I could go on about it, about how wrong it is to create false competition between musicians; the headline "Blood on the Tracks!" gives the very false impression that there is serious beef with Dylan and TVOTR. I could complain about how you drew Kyp outfitted like the Nutty Professor rather than his true fly stylish self. All other criticism, however, would draw attention away from the more serious and sinister latent racism present that makes this cover possible to begin with. I pray that you will wise up and check yourself and get some people with some sense and sensitivity among your editorial staff.
Martín Perna
Baritone saxophone, flutes
Antibalas/TV on the Radio
Austin, Texas, and Brooklyn

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Old School Wednesday

Old School Wednesday comes a little late this week because yesterday was Valentines day and I was busy wining and dining a fine dime. I'm sure you all understand.

After MC Search got gassed (GassFaced?) and left 3rd Bass for his huge solo career the other 2 basses were a little upset. In the video for Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich's "Rat Bastard", Pete Nice, playing Robert Deniro's Role in The Untouchables, bashes a Search look-alike in the skull with a baseball bat. Gangster.

That album Flopped. And Search's next Def Jam project got shelved

As Nasty Nas would say: Where are they Now?

Pete Nice is now a baseball historian, author, and runs a memorialbilia store in Cooperstown, NY. And MC Search is a Judge on America's next top model or something I think.

1. Kickin' the BoBo is something I still do on the regular.

2. I was gonna post the video for "Here it Comes" after I seen it on YouTube a couple of weeks ago. But when I went there today it said it had been removed "due to terms of use violation". Which is really too bad because the video is on some "Honey, I Blew Up A Bespecticled Jewish Rapper" shit. What I mean is he's all godzilla-sized, stepping over buildings and doing ILL dance moves.

3. Search Is re-releasing his shelved Def Jam Project from 1994 under the name "M.any Y.oung L.ives A.go" This track has made its rounds on the intraweb already but, whatever, it's dope. Check it:

Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich: Kick The Bobo
from Dust to Dust (Def Jam 1993)

MC Search: Here It Comes
from Return Of The product (Def Jam 1992)

MC Search: Handle it
from M.any Y.oung L.ives A.go (Shelved by Def Jam 1994 - Released 2007)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Stretching You Out

It's two thousand and seven, we're not only supposed to have electric cars, we're supposed have electric FLYING CARS. I've seen "Back to the Future II". Hoverboards too! I mean, that was set in 2015. But I'm sayin' though....

This is a movie poster from a documentary about how all Dick Cheney had to do was make one phone call and they came in the middle of the night and repo'd all your electric cars.

They BEEN having electric cars for years. And they worked too! (not even hybrid jump-offs but true-blue plug-that-shit-in-overnight-like-a-cell-phone type Electric Cars)

The reason why OIL is so Cot-Damnned profitable is 'cause it can be controlled. Any fuck-toy of a country can build a dam or a couple of windmills but OIL can only be found in a handful of places. To control those places is to have influence over the entire world economy (hence The War in IRAQ).

The topic today is "ENERGY".
Our guest speaker is Mr. Biz Markie

Biz does a cover of one of those School-House Rock Cartoons. It's the most informative song "That Ol' New York Rap" has posted so far. Check it.

Biz Markie: Energy


Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Kind of Heat That Irons Out the Wrinkles

The way people talk about HIP HOP nowadays weirds me out.
People recite statistics of albums-sold like they discuss runs batted in or points per game.
They talk about record label deals and mergers like they read it out of The Wall Street Journal.

You will never hear a so-called "music journalist" discussing Beck's "numbers". Or comparing the new RadioHead album to the first-week sales of Coldplay's last one.

It doesn't apply to other genres. But the same "journalist" will write a review of Bob Dylan's new album and speak purely about the CONTENT of the record, the ARTISTRY of the MUSIC, and then turn around and include sales figures when discussing The Roots or Lupe Fiasco. Is this because they believe this is the way one is supposed to speak about HIP HOP?
Why is this?

The language of HIP HOP has become the language of business. This has become an accepted part of "the Game." The game has rules. Who created these rules is not exactly clear. The journalists will turn to the artists and say they set the tone of the conversation and they (the critics) are just doing their Journalistic best to report the world as it is.

What I think is this:

When HIP HOP became the dominant form of popular music it adopted the language of the dominant culture. It now speaks from the throne of power and is encouraged to espouse the glorious benefits of American Capitalism.

Maybe it's because as HIP HOP grew into middle age it became corny and boring the way most people in their thirties do. It started worrying about paying taxes and mutual funds and shit. It sold out the struggle for imagined middle class security. It forgot what it was like to be young. It celebrated as it conquered the mainstream only to find that it had, in fact, simply been absorbed by it. Becoming part of a far lager whole. Like the BLOB.

so, uh, anyway. HIP HOP is DEAD. (R.I.P.)

Donnan Linkz is an Emcee/Producer. He did some beats on Loer Veocity's record.
I've been listening a lot to this dope little mixtape "Hood Times". Its a collection of his songs and songs he produced for other artists and strung together with interludes of him rocking over Dilla Beats.

I really like him as a Rapper. He's got a real compelling presence on the mic. His beats are hot too. The first song "GhettoBlaster" is his production and is Fresh to Death. The second two tracks are him over Dilla beats and, they too, are Fresh to Death. Check it.

Donnan Linkz: GhettoBlaster

Donnan Linkz: 1984

Donnan Linkz: DayzLike This
all selections from "Hood Times"

Nina Simone Sundays

I'm establishing yet another tradition today. From now on Sundays will be "Nina Simone Sundays"

I've heard it said that Sunday is the Lord's day.

Well He's gonna have to share it with Nina from now on.

This little clip is just gorgeous.

Nina Simone was Gangsta. Talking about getting guns and shit. Oh you didn't know? check it.

My favorite part of this is when she says "my boobies". Does that make me juvenile?

Friday, February 9, 2007

Two For One

Jemini The Gifted One had two videos that used to rock on video music box. The record label released a bunch of 12"s and Promo wax of his EP Scars & Pain But for some reason the album never dropped. He recorded a nice little record with DangerMouse a couple of years ago before Gnarls Barkley blew the fuck up called Ghetto Pop Life (Lex. 2004) He's also in a new movie called Memoirs of an MC.

For those who don't know: He had this style where he had a high voice and a low voice and would go back and forth with himself on some multiple personality disorder meets Run DMC type shit. It sounds really gimmicky but, believe it or not, it wasn't.

First of all, he didn't use it all the time. Most of his songs were solo songs with one of his personalities (see: "Brooklyn Kids"). And when he did it - it sounded Fresh to Death as you can hear for yourself in "Funk Soul Sensation" and it's rare 12" sequal "The Return of the Funk Soul Sensation"

Jemini and DangerMouse are currently (supposedly) readying their followup LP "Kill Your Heroes"

The Songs:

Jemini The Gifted One: Brooklyn Kids
from Scars & Pain EP
(talking about the days when BK was ILL and "the restrooms were off limits to the herbs")

Jemini The Gifted One: Funk Soul Sensation
from Scars & Pain EP

Jemini The Gifted One:The Return of the Funk Soul Sensation
from 12"

DM & Jemini: Knuckle Sandwich
from Ghetto Pop Life (Lex 2004)

DangerMouse & Jemini:Knuckle Sandwich 2
from Kill Your Heroes (Lex 2007?maybe)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

If you can't beat 'em, BEAT HIM

These rappers today really have to stop punching each other in the face. First the "oh you mad cause I'm stylin' on you" guy and now this!

This kind of reminded me of when I was little and I'd go to kiss a girl and have my cap on and the brim would hit her forehead. Not smooth. Did that ever happen to you?

Thugs don't make good rappers. But good rappers can invent great thugs. Think about that one.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Old School Wednesday

This is a song about a bunch of downtown junkies waiting for some dope from uptown. In that way, this song is still relevant today, because right now somewhere lower than ludlow there's a bunch of downtown kids with the shakes waiting on the great-grandson of the Man from Harlem.

Cab Calloway: The Man From Harlem

Two Scoops

I always remember C-Rayz Walz back in the day was at every hip hop event in New York City. And he would always be wearing some crazy hat/head wear.

So It made sense to me when he turned up on MTV's "Made" last year wearing a decapitated teddy bear on his head.

He's a true blue New York Character.

This is a good morning post.

Take a breath of the cold air. Everything is going to be alright.

C-Rayz Walz: The Rising
from "The Dropping" (2006)

Nina Simone: Here Comes the Sun
from "Here Comes The Sun" (1971)

Post Script:
How come nobody told me about this video? Every single one of you, who didn't put me on to this, should be ashamed. This video is GREAT:

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Channel Seven Getting Snow

Back when Hip Hop was first diagnosed with the disease that would eventually take her life, it was easy, if you listened to the right records, went to the right shows, ran in the right circles, avoided the television, to forget she was sick at all.

If I wanted to forget about her ailments I could escape with my discman and ride the subways dreaming of undiscovered drum breaks and poetry.

I'd wake up, having missed my stop, with my face pressed up against the hard plastic window and that little spot of cold drool on the side of my mouth.

The first time I heard the song "Ink" it instantly brought me back to those groggy, late-night, blunted, train rides of my youth. I woke up three days later in my arm chair in my small ass apartment with the TV on static and that familiar drool on my collar.

This kid Cavalier spits a torrent stream of the illest poem-speak I've heard in a long time. I've seen him perform a couple of times with his crew The Dugout and they smash.

It's beautiful poetry. And it's not the type of poetry that makes you "hush, hush", sit up straight, and not cough. It's the type of poetry that makes you wanna punch a cop in the face or travel to a foreign country and fall in love without the use of the English language.

I also included this Freestyle cause I think it's ill and it sounds like if his boys wouldn't have stopped him he could of kept rhyming all night.

Cavalier: Ink
Cavalier: Cavalier Freestyle
both selections from "The Death-Circus EP"

Also: Here's a video for his song DIONNE:

Monday, February 5, 2007

Breath Control to Major Tom

I only been on the interweb for two weeks and I'm already making friends.

I have been invited to contribute to METAL LUNGIES.

Check it:

Bookmark that and Bookmark this and let's all get rich.


Thursday, February 1, 2007

The world of middle class poverty

A tiny group of really rich people are getting even richer while the vast majority of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages. And everyone thinks they are part of the middle class. But the "middle class" is shrinking to extinction. Most people work hard their whole lives and leave nothing to their young but credit card debt.

I like the french revolution. That bitch was like; "They don't have bread? Why don't they just have some cake?" and her loyal subject had to be like: "ah-hem, your majesty, I don't think you understand. They are STARVING". She was like: "whatever".

Then one day they showed up at her gates. An Army of peasants. They had come for her head.

Like Guru said: It's mostly the voice. Loer Velocity has a GREAT voice. He sounds like he smokes gravel blunts. Mad laid-back. This is what I call Cool-Out music. He sounds like he's sitting on the couch next to you watching the knicks trying to pass you the gravel blunt. And you gotta be like: "Nah, I'm good homie."

Check it.

Loer Velocity: World of Poverty
from "Ready for a Renaissance" (Embedded 2006)

The Big American Rap Star

Artist on Aritst: Al Gore and Mos Def

Add to My Profile | More Videos

The first thing that struck me when I watched this video was pride. I was proud of Hip Hop for becoming the HUGE global force that it did. I had to reflect on how amazing it really is that a true MC, a real Brooklyn boy, is holding his own next to the man who was elected president. It shows, in a way, how legitimately Hip Hop is respected in American Culture. What was dismissed as a fad that would fizzle out, later a scourge to be banned and censored, would persevere and end up changing the world (and then die. Hip Hop Is Dead.) A culture invented by children raised in poverty grows up to stand toe to toe with great power. It almost made me proud of America.

Then I had a second thought and wanted to contrast it with this video:

For those who don't know
Mos Def, on the night of the VMA's, pulls up outside Radio City Music Hall with a giant rented truck and starts performing for the crowds of star-gazers, autograph hounds and weirdos waiting outside of the venue.

He performs his song about Hurricane Katrina for about 12 bars before the cops bum rush the stage and rip the mic out of his hand.

First of all - can we give it up for Mos Def. He is a fucking Movie Star. He's INVITED to stuff like the VMA's. He could be inside with a tux on sipping cognac with David Bowie. Instead he's outside, bandito style handkerchief on, singing protest songs. Coming out of his pocket to rent this huge mobile stage and knowing he might spend the night in jail (or get manhandled and hassled until he can post bail). He doesn't HAVE to do stuff like that. In fact it would be EASY not to. That's why I love Mos Def.

My thoughts:

1. Would they treat Beck or Timberlake the same way if they pulled a stunt like that? No. Of course not.

2. The disconnect between what Mos was doing (singing a song) and the reaction of the cops (violently pushing him and ripping the mic out of his hand) is crazy! Watching him being hand-cuffed all up against the car like a fucking drug dealer or something - It made me think of that song "Mr. n***a" where he says: "no evidence, no apology, and no regard, even for the big American Rap Star"....and he wasn't even that famous when he wrote that.

3. That's the contradiction of America. It's virtues and it's festering rotten underbelly all at the same time. In one situation a man can be honored as a great artist known the world over and in another instance he can be just another N***er.

Mos Def: Dollar Day For New Orleans

Mos Def: Crime & Medicine
Mos Def:Sun, Moon, Stars
From: True Magic (Geffen: 2007)

Mos Def:Umi Says (Zero 7 Mix)