Friday, December 28, 2007

Finally... Best of 2007

So, the majestic left-right-left Patrick beat me to the punch with his own year-end list, with categories to boot. My list has changed since I made it back at the end of November, but not much. I'll see what I can do to complement Patrick's list.

JS's songs of the year:
Peedi Peedi (pka Peedi Crakk)- Brand New Funk 2K7
Pharoahe Monch- Let's Go
Wu-Tang Clan- Take It Back
Jay-Z feat. Nas- Success
Rich Boy- Let's Get This Paper
OutKast- Da Art of Storytellin' (Pt. 4)
Ghostface Killah feat. Method Man & Raekwon- Yolanda's House
UGK feat. OutKast- International Players Anthem
Devin the Dude feat. Snoop Dogg & Andre 3000- What a Job

Blackest records of the year:
Kanye West- Can't Tell me Nothing
Jason Fox- Aunt Jackie

Tank on "E" but all drinks on me:
Foxx, Webbie & Lil Boosie- Wipe Me Down

Mazel Tov, you little yentas:
Jay-Z- Roc Boys (And the Winner Is...)
Camp Lo- Posse from the Bronx

Best Video:
Snoop Dogg- Sexual Eruption

Best Dance (because I am certain I can do it):
Shawty Lo- Dey Know

Bitch, I wish you would:
Plies feat. Pretty Ricky- Get You Wet
Riskay feat. Aviance & Real- Smell Yo Dick
R. Kelly- Real Talk

Monday, December 24, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Top 5 Moments in Rap- 2007

So I came back home last night, but left my laptop at school and had to get it today. Just the way to start a break. Now that I have more time on my hands, I can actually write substantial posts. Whether they're worth reading is your decision. As promised, I will do my top 10 songs for the year, but first let's take a look at what happened in 2007...

5.Superb wrote Supreme Clientele/ "Yayo can eat a fat dick"
Yayo, as always ruffled some feathers, and Starkey Love said nothing. Then, last month, he ended all speculation.

4. T.I. (or Tip?) has Army Gunz
I am sorry, this was hysterical and sad at the same time. I hope with that arsenal, the thing he knows best is where the gun is kept. He knows all about that. He had 11 Mac-11s, 38 .38s, nine 9s, twin Calicos with pearl handles, and a Howitzer. Congratulations, you squandered all that you worked for in one fell swoop. At least you have Wyclef by your side.

3. Fiasco-gate
This guy might be one of the most frustrating rappers in a long time. He's stubborn to the point that it hurts. You messed up the words to "Electric Relaxtion," oh well, just move along. There's no need to say anything. No, Lupe had to show what a real head he is by essentially saying "fuck Tribe, viva 8Ball & MJG y Spice 1!!!" News flash, a)your music sounds just like Tribe, b) if you don't like ATCQ, don't do a tribute to them. Where's your logic? A quick side note: I got into an argument last night with my brother about this fool and his metaphors, and the cheeseburger song came up. My brother made the point (like many Lupe loves have) that it's really about selling drugs. After thinking about it, I've realized that isn't a very sophisticated metaphor at all, in fact, it's painfully obvious. Clipse et al. have been using the "so many O's, Krispy Kreme" lines for years. Cheeseburgers? That isn't any more clever, and actually a bit worse. If he did another song about robots, intergalactic wars and drugs, on the other hand, I may give him some credit.

2. Dick-in-the-booty Russell Simmons
Sadly, Pimp C died a couple weeks ago. But man, what a summer. First, and great album, then he had the gall to say Atlanta is not the South, Russell Simmons is a "sugar sausage," and Lil' Troy is a bitch. The last one multiple times. The only way to experience this is to read the column and hear the interview on some ATL radio station. Truly amazing. He will be missed.

1. Andre comes back to Earth
What a relief this was. After giving us The Love Below, which proved how selfish a rapper can be when he's in a group and only records three songs with his partner, and Idlewild, where he released his inner Gene Kelly, I was all but sure that I did not need to care about this man anymore. The word "chronometrophobia" only sounds cool when rapped, in most other musical contexts you sounds like a whiny, over-sensitive smarty-pants (like person #3 on this list). Thankfully, I was not alone in feeling betrayed by the man who has helped deliver some of the best rap albums ever, and Dre got the message. Back in the days of "Elevators," when people didn't get the headwrap/no drinks or drugs/no bitches attitude, Chamelio Salamander got angry and just rapped his ass off. Now that no one liked the guy who played a studio gangster in "Be Cool," he was forced to do one of the only two things he knows how to do: rap. Personally, I am glad he didn't go into porn, but that's me. Anyway, after the "Walk it Out (Remix)," 3 Stacks is back and still in top form, from helping Rich Boy throw the moster wheelies on to his pledge to never cause a tsunami in the club. Now, if we could just get another album from Daddy Fatsacks and Benjamin Andre.

There's my list. I know I missed something, so please let me know what else happened this year. I would care about Kanye/50, then I realized that has had no effect on the year, quite honestly. And I also have yet to hear one of those albums at all. Next time, I will finally do my top songs of the year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Song of the year contender.

Along with Riskay and "Sensual Seduction," we have quite a few contenders. Check it out here. Thoughts?

At some point, I'll post my best of 2007 list that I made for WSRN, that somehow has not been posted (none of them have, I imagine).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Good Lord.

This little boy is crazy. At some level, I respect his idea that he uses his music as his promotion and he doesn't need a street team, but the fact remains that some of his lines (My drink's still pink like the Easter rabbit) are garbage. Regardless of his hustle, you have to show and prove in your work, and Lil Weezyana has only shown me flashes. Think I'm kidding?
C: Where's the pain coming from these days?
LIL WAYNE: Me. If you blame something else for your pain then you're an asshole. You are your pain, nigga. You can cut yourself right now. That don't hurt because you are your pain. If it hurts you, then you done that, it's a mind thing. You ever notice when you have a very stuffy nose or you have a cold and you eat something, you don't taste nothing, you be like, "I can't eat nothing, I can't taste it, I'm hungry," that's because you don't actually taste nothing, you know what I mean? You are you, you make everything around you. You make water, you make the sky, because it's you, if you don't want that to be water then it ain't water, fuck. It's you, so...ya dig?
I just hope all this meandering in interviews translates to the sort of meandering Noz loves so much.

Also, apparently 8 Diagrams isn't very good for some of the same reasons people didn't like some of the Roots past albums. What's puzzles me is that this album is seen more as RZA doing his thing and not a group effort, from a fan perspective and also from the viewpoint of members like Rae and Ghost. Based on albums like Tical 0: The Prequel and Immobilarity, I can see why. But that does not mean RZA is infallible. Observe:



That came out in 1998. Since then, he's done Ghost Dog, Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2, Afro Samurai, Blade: Trinity, Soul Plane, a couple more solo albums and a book or two. Some of his most critically popular work has been with movie scores, and rightfully so, but that does not change the fact that since the "5-Year Plan," RZA has for the most part only sparingly worked with the core of the Wu, and it has been 10 years since that plan ended. Some of these guys have gotten better, some haven't switched their styles since '97, and some have gotten worse. Just because RZA likes a certain sound right now (as Doc Zeus has pointed out), one size does not fit all. I want an album that Wu-Tang wanted to give the public, not just Robert Diggs. If they can't come to a collective decision about their album, either hold off or stop. Please, no half-stepping. For example, one of the reasons Idlewild flopped in general is because it felt like something Big Boi just tagged onto so that the OutKast brand could continue while in all likelihood it was really 3 Stacks' vanity project as opposed to a project by the two of them. Conversely, that is why "Hollywood Divorce" was such a good song; you got the sense that both had an idea what form the song would take. I imagine 8 Diagrams has some of those same moments, and a flop for the Wu could be helpful for the group in particular and rap as a whole showing that if there are going to be a lot of cooks in the kitchen, you better have the recipe set from the start. Of course, all of this means nothing since Breihan liked it. The title of the post proves my point. I want a cohesion, dammit.

Anyway, enjoy this video of our show's namesake preparing for his birthday. He likes the nasty drinks, like club soda.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jesus gets on TV


Why did I not know about this earlier?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"I sold water last summer, holla!"


It must be your ass.

This is about a week too late, but I have a smidgen of free time, so I'll indulge myself. Last weekend, ABLLE, the black/Latino men's group on campus hosted the CHAS conference for men of the same background from other liberal arts colleges. I didn't register (whoops!), but I did attend their showing of "Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes" by Byron Hurt. You can watch a preview of the movie if you click on the link, but here are some quick things to note:
  • Chuck D thinks every rapper out is a punk.
  • There's a guy who says something to the effect of "money's my bitch, and I'm trying to get my rape on"
  • Another dude, when talking about what kinds of characters record companies want artists to portay, says the title of this post.
  • Mos Def's intelligence shtick is just that, while at least Busta is honest in his homophobia.
Chuck D' presence in the movie is a bit confusing. He does make some good points about who is controlling images and corporate responsibilty, but when he shifts equal blame to rappers is where I have a problem. It's not that rappers should not be held responsible for their lyrics, but if you're going to chastise Clipse for how they portray themselves on record, why do a spoken word into for a guy who made a song called "Rape?" Sure it is a metaphor, but does that make it OK? Most people would say no. Besides, the Clipse aren't really famous, so it's hard to make a case that they in particular are using stereotypes to cash in. Besides, they've been making songs like this since "The Funeral." Also, Chuck D is rumored to be doing a song with Nelly on the Derrty One's new album. Just sit on that for a while.

I saw the movie last semester and liked it, and Black Thought, James Peterson and Marc Lamont Hill were on the panel, so I figured it would be productive. It was, to an extent, though I got the feeling that for some people watching that movie was the first time they had seen those issues discussed in regards to rap. I asked to questions, which Patrick and I talked a little bit about on Sunday:
How trusting should someone like me be of a person like AL Sharpton, who seems like he wants total control of the images of black people that are displayed to the masses? How can I be sure he's going to ensure a diversity of images?

Would rappers get so much heat if they marketed each album as a "concept album?"
According to some, there are plenty concept albums in rap, and the idea of a concept album is really an excercise in self-importance. Discuss.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pinstripes across your windpipe.


The styles of these two are so ill-suited for any sort of battle. I would also like to say I sorely miss the days of throwbacks and doo rags.

I just found my favorite rap video ever. It was missing for a while, but it's back up (for now). I just need to find part two. Hail Mary.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pull your pants down real quick.



If it weren't for the most epic collaboration in the history of modern R&B, I would say this is the song of the year.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Roots play Swarthmore

He is a very large man, trust me.

So for better or for worse, as I predicted, the Legendary Roots crew played a show that catered to the on the fence crowd that is the Swarthmore rap scene. It was an awesome show from the standpoint of musicianship, but the songs they played were not what I was hoping for. This is definitely the case for their medley, which showed flashes of being tremendous. They did little snippets of "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man," "Award Tour," "Da Goodness," which were all awesome, but they confused me (and from my looking around, a couple other rap nerds) with "Throw Some D's," "This is Why I'm Hot" and "SexyBack". Then they did "Masters of War." My issue with the show is not that they only did little pieces of their own songs (though a full version of "The Next Movement" would have satisfied me), it's that they knew the audience didn't know much about rap and would not seek it out and played to please the crowd instead of playing that hot shit and inspiring people to seek those songs out. In the words of the Green Eyed Bandit, "And if you don't like me, and you yellin boo/ There's nothin wrong wit me, it's somethin wrong with you." Just let the funk flow. Before the show started, someone asked Patrick what his favorite Roots album was, to which he responded Things Fall Apart. This person then asked where Phrenology stood on that list ("Number 2?!") and Patrick admitted it isn't too high. How could Patrick not like "The Seed 2.0?" It's rap done right, live instruments, a singer, not misogynistic/materialistic/violent, it's perfect!! Well, read Noz the prophet's issues with that sort of stance. I feel like I am rambling, so I'll stop soon. We'll be talking about the show and some of our problems tonight with a special guest from The Moment I Feared, Matt Thurm (I think). I guarantee an interesting show.

I guess I didn't say this explicitly, but I did enjoy the show. I just wish it had been more rap focused than trying to hit the crowd with random songs that the Roots knew we would move to. I'll stop now, I'm going in circles. Listen tonight.

P.S. There were a lot of women dressed in their freshest gear. Think about this: they are 32-35 years old with a family and a career. You are a little college punk. Stop trying to hit on these men. Please, I beg of you. They are also a bit ugly.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sippin on booze in the House of Blues

I just got back from the Yay Area 2 1/2 hours ago. I barely slept. I was walking around a monstrous school all day. Now I am at work in the library. So is the life. Luckily, in only 6 1/2 hours, I am going to go nuts. Then, I am going to sleep like the dead. Seriously, I was only gone for 45 hours. Get focused.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh, Bork.


Can someone please tell Keenan to practice his lines ahead of time, or to, you know, ad lib? I can't deal with his lack of focus. But all beefs aside, calling Bjork the small white lady version of Dennis Rodman is awesome.

We may or may not get to interview Hezekiah, the dude that's opening for the Roots. He wanted us to interview him over the phone, which would be difficult. We'll keep you updated. He's got a song with Freeway that's pretty intense and hopefully he'll perform that during his set. He also managed to wrangle in Bilal (where has he been?) to sing the hook for his single "Looking Up."

In other news, all these artists owe me for the free promotion I gave them all. Especially Bilal. Do something, doggie.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hip Hop half hour power... hour?

The Off the Yelzebub team will be opening Seven Felony Charges on WSRN tonight at 12. Check that out, and listen to our podcasts when you get a chance. Like, immediately. There are only two thanks to fall break and loads of work, but I guarantee a doozy on Sunday. I've got something for Rev. Sharpton and his crew, even though he won't hear it. But you can. So listen, and call in.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Meth: 1, Al: 0

"Nas knows what he's doing. He's a smart brother. He keeps his name in the game," Tical offered. "Last year, when he put out Hip Hop Is Dead, I was being interviewed, everybody was asking me what I thought about his album. ... I think it's too much emphasis on just the word. I know a word worse than 'nigger': Darfur. Real talk. I'd like to see Reverend Al take a walk out there. Let's stop focusing on the wrong sh--."
That may be one of the best quotes all year. I don't agree totally, given the full history of the word, but I think Tical makes a good point that Al Sharpton is really just looking for attention from the media and not worrying about problems that are affecting people in very tangible ways. Also, Rev. Sharpton saying that Nas is helping out the racists is something I don't understand. At all. And for the record, other groups of people (namely, some in the gay community) do reinterpret slurs and use them as tools of empowerment. Does anyone say they're helping out homophobic people? Sure, but it doesn't stop them. I also love this quote:
People [who use the term in their music] wouldn't put out a record against whites or cops or Jews because they ain't got the guts to do that. They only got the guts to beat up on their own.
Hey Al, ever heard of "Cop Killer," "The Rape Over" or every rap song that speaks out against white people? Shut up, you sound like an uninformed moron who wants to hear their own voice. And why was he at the premiere of American Gangster, does that not also go against his morals? It's about a black drug kingpin. His opinion has rarely mattered to me, but his hypocrisy is too much. Between this and "Read a Book," Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson/Stanley Crouch's generation refuses to understand. Engage and be critical of the music, don't just degrade it. No one will listen, and rightfully so.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What?

A) Common won lyricist of the year. Really, after Finding Forever of all albums? That is appeasement at its worst.

B) Kanye thought someone else deserved an award he was up for? I have heard it all.

Read it here.

Uh-oh.


It is a problem when CNN is faster on rap news than the people who cover rap. I have no idea what Cliff (or any person, for that matter) needs with an "arsenal" of weapons, but I know this is going to be ascribed to all of the hip hop community. Should T.I. take responsibility? Well, yeah, that's a lot of damn guns. But that is just T.I. No one else is responsible. Be very clear about that. Also:
Harris has dubbed himself the "King of the South." His music is built around the drug culture and is known as "trap music," or music to listen to while using drugs.
There are a couple things wrong with that piece of information. First of all, the title he has dubbed himself is not relevant to the discussion. It might be more relevant if the person writing the article had noted that some in the hip hop consider T.I. the "King of the South." As it stands, it is like any other nickname a rapper comes up with, something else a listener can remember him by. They could have also mentioned how many records he's sold (especially with King), the Grammy he won with Justin Timberlake, or the record company he is affiliated with. But, my first point is "outdated" by today's news standards, associating him with JT would put white people (overprotective parents especially) in a tizzy, and the last point is bad business. Heaven forbid a label be accountable for what an employee does. He won't get dropped, he brings in too much money, and Universal knows that. CNN doesn't care about real responsibility in terms of rap's relationship with the outside world (see previously), they only want to appeal to mainstream America's fears.

That brings me to the second part of what is wrong with the above quote: trap music is not primarily made to be listened to while using drugs. Trap music (or muzik), as I understand it anyway, is about detailing the life of a drug dealer and (hopefully) all the things that go along with that. Is it the most wholesome? No. Can it be offensive on many levels? Certainly. But that does not change the fact that for some people (T.I. included) this is or was a way of life. And it can be interesting. See The Wire, Clockers, The Corner, or Traffic for previous examples of the drug world captivating some audience. It's not music that you listen to only after lighting up an 8-ball or playing with heroin. But like I said, CNN and the general public won't be interested in getting their facts right. They want to scare parents so that no one buys rap anymore. It is poor journalism, nothing more. I was reading tonight one of Noz's best posts over at XXL, and I can't help but think how this instance will only fuel Stanley Crouch, John McWhorter, and others who are not interested in having productive discussions about images in the media of rappers/black men. They only seek to demonize so their world view is validated. It has to stop.

Between Twinkletoes and Tip, the hip hop police are really on their job.

In other news, the Rubberband Man's street cred is heavy like the 7 series Beamer right now. That topic will hopefully get addressed sometime soon now that I have a little bit of free time. Here's an idea of what I'll be saying in that authenticity post, if I ever get around to it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nonevent of the year



I've been reading a lot on the web about how my fellow hip hop/internet nerds feel about this flub/fallout. Honestly, he didn't mess up in any significant way. I saw Pharoahe a couple weeks and he did the same thing with his verse from "Oh No." Of course, there's a vast between their skill levels, but that's not pertinent to this discussion. That Lupe messed up is , as I said, a nonevent. His reaction, however, was really unnecessary. If he does not like Tribe because their music did not grab him when he tried to listen to them, that's fine. But to say he has no interest in hearing Midnight Marauders because Hammerman outsold them and he was grooving to Too $hort and Spice-1 is an arrogant move. It's fine if he does not like to focus on the rap "canon" in favor of his own personal taste, but to say that what he chose to listen to (or rather, his father) is superior to music other people have a connection with is ridiculous and not a credible argument. I really don't care if he's never heard a Tribe album, trying to deny their influence is like saying the Beatles don't matter now because they've been broken up for close to 40 years (whoa.). It also does not help that Lupe's musical message of upliftment is (besides a bit lame) indebted to ATCQ in some way. Sorry, we don't believe you, you need more people. All he had to do was ignore what happened and apologize if it ever came up again, which would be doubtful. Instead, he looks like a tempermental child jealous that no one will pay him attention even though he feels he has the hottest product out. Kanye does the same thing. But Tudda's got beats and guests (a lot of the time, anyway). Lupe has "Daydreamin'" and lines like "I think I like her, like a metaphor." I've said enough, I am done with this topic. I hope.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sounds kinda nice, "Pharoahe that's that..."

These are (a couple months) old, but still worth watching, at least to me.




Friday, October 5, 2007

I ain't got no friends/Mr. Gzus



R. Kelly's wise to disable embedding of this video.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It don't feel right

So earlier this week, Tuesday I think, the Daily Gazette announced that the Roots would be the main event of the large scale event this November. Being the rap nerd I am, and considering that rap at Swarthmore gets no love, of course I was geeked. But then, my skepticism set in. This school has close to no rap scene, and when Blackalicious performed two years ago, nobody moved. Yea, lots of kids here are introverted and are too self-conscious about moving and enjoying the music, but you don't go to a concert to just sit there like a comatose. The appeal is interacting with the performer, witnessing firsthand they enjoy the music they make appreciate your love of their work. It is also the case that a few members of the basketball team got fake platinum chains, stood front and center, and essentially mocked all the acts the whole concert. Besides being a dick move, it's offensive since it gives the connotation that unless they're big-time (and by that I mean LaSS plays their songs at their party that week. It's really sad how disposable current black music is to some of my peers), they don't actually care about what you have to say. My question to those players (ha) is why go to the concert in the first place? If you don't want to see the headliners, just hang out in your room and play the songs you want to hear. Get on your Curtis and follow my lead. It also didn't help to see some girls way overdressed with the hope of meeting the rappers. They're fat and mid-30s music nerds, i.e. not your type (or anyone's, really).

But the skepticism goes deeper than the lame rap fans at Swarthmore. The Roots are known for a great live show (I saw them over a fence once), but recently their music panders to the coffee shop chicks and white dudes. By that I mean they're "conscious" rap and "progessive" beats of late are getting on my nerves. That caters to a school that knows nothing about rap but has plenty of people ready to complain about it, to the activist crowd, and people who only like music that sounds like rock/country all the time. Lucky for them, the Roots do a cover of Bob Dylan's "Master of War!!!" And they're jazzy!!! They're different from all those other rappers. Honestly, I just want a good rap show to come through, and for the people in attendance to appreciate it for what it is. If the Roots do come, here's a random list of the songs I'd want to hear:
Pete Rock & CL Smooth- It's Like That
Goodie Mob-Black Ice
Their own Proceed II
Noreaga- SuperThug
If I hear "Mind Sex" or "P.S. *69" or anything that's supposed to "push the music" but fails horribly I will be disappointed because it would mean they are more concerned with their reputation of pleasing the audience than simply rocking the stage. I would be especially hurt if they wasted their time with us, because I'll be in focus mode from the first opener. They are on the VH-1 Hip Hop Honors Tour so hopefully once they get here they'll keep playing songs that move the crowd. And not "The Seed 2.0" In short, if they come (there will be hell to pay if not), they need to do what they do and proceed as if we don't matter. Because given Swarthmore's past "hospitality" towards rap (The Perceptionists, Emanon), trying to please us will only frustrate the artists. If anyone from the LSE committee is reading, take notes. Please. I want the best rap show possible. Even if it starts three hours late.

In other news, podcasts are up. Support that shit. We're just having fun, killing it with the dope beats and lyrics.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

the choice is yours

“It’s just going to be useless,” or “It does make a lot of sense”?

I hate to be a cynic, but this may not work out as well as they think. People might like some jobs, trustworthy police, and a mayor who isn't a jackass. Again, I could be wrong and this event could set Philly on a course back to respectability.

You know what would be appreciated, some call-ins from the listeners.

The show starts tonight at 8. I promise nothing but heat rocks from the both of us. Be sure to turn your shit up to 11 when we come on. And if your shit don't go up to 11, get yourself a new system. You know what time it is.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Video Friday returns.

I got away from this for a while due to being incredibly lazy. But, since there is nothing going on in the world, I have some videos.





That's just the state of mind that I'm in. Oh, and I lied. There is plenty going on in the world. But you already knew that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Anger in the Nation

Blam. If only every hip hop writer/activist could express themselves so clearly. And what makes someone a "hip hop" activist, anyway? Based on what I know, they just seem less effective, and that is not a distinction to be proud of (Vote or Die, anyone?).

Do something with this case, please.

In other news, entertainers are morons.

Thanks to Rock the Dub for the link.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Everybody Rise.


We start next Sunday, so you'll have to wait a bit. Podcast our show, tell your friends and your mom. Thanks to Microsoft for the squiggles underneath the title.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Whoa.

This needs to stop. Now. Dudes have been wearing their clothes like this since at least... uh, '92 or so? Now they want to anyalyze where your life is headed if your pants sag? Next time I'm home, I will try and get fined. What'll they do then. They're just mad 'cuz they're stylin' on 'em. Enjoy the view:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Now let's say you owe...

He didn't have to, but this is awesome. And the shoutout is of course greatly appreciated. And if you scroll down to the Plies video, you'll see one of the most interesting discussions I've seen on a rap blog in a while. Sort of disrupts your idea of what an average rap fan thinks about.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007

lobster and scrimp: a reply to Josh Cohen

To the editor:

First! Nullus.

As a former writer for Phoenix as well as an incredibly amateur blogger, I was very confused by Josh Cohen's article last week. Based on the title, I was hoping to read about the supposedly potential threat many journalists feel from blogging, where people who report on news firsthand are no longer as valued as those who tag articles they feel their readership will enjoy. Instead, what I read was something that felt like the very thing Mr. Cohen was raving against in the first place: blogging to Be Heard. Many of the ideas/problems that he claims blogging to stand upon could also be argued to be prevalent in normal opinion writing for a newspaper. There are many things I have read in the Phoenix in my time here that could be considered intentionally contrary, and I imagine to some I have been the writer of some of those columns. The whole point of opinion writing, in my estimation, is that you want to be heard in some way; that is why you are making your thoughts available to public criticism. The idea that writing for a newspaper is somehow nobler than my cute little blog assumes that the Phoenix is some pillar of excellence in journalism and that people who keep blogs do so because they cannot hang with the big boys who work with paper. Frankly, this is a pretty elitist view.

One of the joys of blogging for me, besides the piles of ducats, is that there is no pressure to always come up with something groundbreaking or profound every two or three weeks. I can post links to articles I have read or old rap videos I used to love. I am not confined to a box of constant "serious" or "mature" commentary that involves politics or social issues. It allows my admittedly small readership to see the full scope of who I am and to have a conversation with me about things I enjoy. Also, Mr. Cohen's complaint of constant commentary struck me as odd because when I wrote for the Phoenix, there were days that were filled with constant, short opinions shared by people after reading my column as well as emails. The difference with blogging is only that these conversations, held in person when I wrote for paper, are now just words underneath a post. I will say my one complaint about blogging is that comments seem very impersonal and stripped of context on the internet(s). However, to say all Swatties left my column thinking, "I agree here... I am skeptical of this point..." is a bit of a stretch. I am surprised Mr. Cohen did not take advantage of the ability to delete offensive or unproductive comments, though this could be seen as a bit of a dick move. I also find it interesting that while Mr. Cohen rails against the form, he seemed to enjoy using footnotes a great deal, though it makes following a column quite difficult. Of course, he could be doing this as a satire, and I am just a dense fruit fly. It just seemed very self-serving.

Kudos to the editor for completely contradicting Mr. Cohen right beneath his column by encouraging people to write for the sake of being heard. And for those interested, peep the manuscript every so often right here.

Keep schemin' and dreamin', snappin' and trappin'.

Well..

“I had seen reform candidates running against incumbents in African-American areas. It’s hard. Reform is not the most compelling issue to people who don’t have a job.”

If this article is any indication, he should be assed out very soon. But the next time should be a doozy. For the record, I told you so.

Friday, September 7, 2007

How can Hip Hop be dead

If Wu-Tang is forever?

I got millions of thugs on salary, bitch

So Kid Wave (or Nazz to some) performed at VA Tech yesterday, much to Bill O'Reilly's disapproval, I am sure. And Noz wrote a very well thought out piece on the whole "Read a Book" controversy, which is the biggest backfire I think BET has suffered in a long time. Oh wait, there was that whole "Hot Ghetto Mess"/"We Got to Do Better" fiasco. But I want to get back to Noz's piece. He makes a very valid point that a lot of this debate centers around destroying something a group of people like by intentionally stripping it of context. I agree with his thoughts on the flexibility of language being restricted, but I can easily see how some people will get uppity about how flexible rappers can be. To add to his point, a lot of these TV hosts (Tony Harris was not being a journalist in the clips below) try to make the story matter to viewers by bringing up the tired idea that the lyrics are so strongly affecting the kids. Now, in some cases, they are right, the lyrics do have an effect on the kids. Except that isn't the kind of news they want to hear. They want to tell adults that kids/grown ass men in Philadelphia kill each other because of something Lil' Wayne said. Doubtful. Maybe it's because Philly is economically assed out and there are no jobs for people. And I can think of a few songs where rappers who are normally called out for degrading their people say uplifting or challenging things, no matter how unorthodox. But that's not really the point. If you don't like what a rapper, or any musician has to say, that's is perfectly fine. But don't just say they should be banned. And don't just complain to the artist. Complain to those you know, those who will care about what you have to say. If you make a legit argument against the artist's choice of topics, then your friend may be inclined not to follow them as closely, and that rapper just lost a fan. And that's bad business, especially in a landscape of "reality-flavored cheeseburgers." Also, one song does not and should not define an artist. So if you hate "Bia Bia," that's one thing. But it's a stretch to say anything he's ever done is terrible and offensive without knowing an artist's catalog, or even a fair amount of songs. If someone who liked the Beatles introduced me to them by playing "I Am the Walrus" (which I hate), it'd be a dick move to write them off as some two-bit English douches people called "artists" because they were hard to understand. It's the same with rap. Things need to be looked at holistically, and in the case of music, this is best done by, get ready, listening to albums. Get a full picture and then reach a decision, and then communicate why you don't like the music being made, don't just yell that things need to stop and expect all bad things that happen to women/minorities/the poor in rap music to stop. Crap isn't that simple. Deal with it. All right, I'm out.

Wear some damn deodorant.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

hmmm...

Thoughts?

Fuck a school lecture, the lies get me vexed-er

Hopefully, you all can read this and realize contrary to what the media has been telling your parents, Hip Hop can actually do something for people. Even "radio" artists. Though I doubt I'll be buying his album, shout out to Kanye for helping kids in his city. For real, you don't wanna be my age and can't read and write, begging women for a different place to sleep at night.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Excellent moderation.





Why is CNN using the same tactics as Fox "News"?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm going to go home and eat pie.

Something for your earholes.

The Midnight Marauder talks to Breihan about his new stuff and music in general. Read it.

Noz has something about Group Home over at XXL. He rocks on the block with the real hip hop… as you start to jock… and clock.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cornball outfits, Vol. 1

I was reading the archives of Noz's blog over at XXLMag. com (I kid you not) and I found this picture, and was inspired to start a series where we post people, famous or not, looking like damn fools. Here's the start, I am sure there will be more, even if the posts are less organized.

Somebody should have slapped some damn sense into you. And Stanley Crouch should not be seen in public. Good lord. I am back at Swat in a couple days, and I'm going to be back on the radio, after some rest/ being really lazy about signing up. The music tastes have expanded, so expect more from my show, as always. And subscribe to the podcast, when in starts. But, I need a name for my show and a partner. I'm iffy about the latter, since it means I may have to share song time. But I really want to talk about rap and not just do stupid PSAs that no one cares about. I've also been told by a few people that they listen to my show (no, not my family), so I need some way to fill in that space in between the stretches of songs. As far as names, I'm thinking "Sock Over the Shoe," or some other kind of random rap lines. Honestly, I am leaning towards simply "Ayo!" It's simple and I'll get no questions about where it came from. Who knows, I may create a catchphrase at school. Right. But that still does not resolve the problem of a partner. If you're reading this (you need a hobby, or my mother) and you're a Swattie, shoot me an email and we'll do business.

But yea, cut out that cornball mess.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

don't tell Minister Farrakahn.


I guess you can at this point, since he hasn't been relevant since Cube vs. Com Sense.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Give my ladies dick, my young hoes pee-pee


The title has nothing to do with this, I just thought it was a stupid Jay-Z line. Noz, I still don't get it, you must explain fully. Carmelo is a moron. "You can't laugh at a fact"? Of course you can. Observe: Jason Kidd has ugly children. Well, maybe you cry at that, but I'm still right.

Oh. Yes.

Oh, here's a funny fact. Sorry, I had to do it.

What is this? I swear, I can never read any good news. 52/54% compared to 23%? Something just does not click.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Baby let me get the keys to the Rover truck


I used to love this song. R/C Tyco vs. Carrera, pick.

I'm goin' way down south, way down south...

I am sure if people read our blog we'd get crap for a) unnecessary posting of flickr pictures just so one of us can download them to our hard drive and b) only caring about rap music. Well, that is not true. We do care about other kinds of music. So read this, and stop whining.

This boy is assed out. Soon in more ways than one.

And sorry about the pictures. Like I said, flickr is a douche.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.

get it?


The pre-battle huddle, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.

i'm so sorry


Break!, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.

it's the only way I can download the photos


ritual suicide, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.

more of flickr being a douche


The rules, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.

I would also like to point out at this juncture I got 4k for the summer to do science.


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.


IMG_5697, originally uploaded by paradefotos.


IMG_5629, originally uploaded by paradefotos.


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.


IMG_5579, originally uploaded by paradefotos.


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.


IMG_5732, originally uploaded by paradefotos.

flickr sucks


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.

IMG_5576


IMG_5576, originally uploaded by paradefotos.


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.

best day ever?


, originally uploaded by Espressobuzz.

maybe so.

News and such

''I do not see this country allowing another Katrina-type event to happen.''
- R. David Paulison, the new head of FEMA

That's good to hear (if not obvious). So does this mean we'll be able to help places like Jamaica, or are they on their own?

There's also this article where a task force leader compares MS-13's spread across the country to a virus, not unlike "The Matrix." Some of these kids sound like aspiring rappers. And a few probably are, for that matter.

That was a dick move, Hebrews.

I've also been reading the blogs a lot, Noz in particular, and he writes well (which says a lot since most hip hop bloggers can't form a complete sentence). He really likes Jay-Z, and makes interesting arguments about him (like Breihan), but I don't get it. So for this reason, I must return to the radio after a 9 month absence to understand why Jay-Z is good (if he is so). For that task, I need a partner. But not just any old fan, someone who actually likes to talk about rap and has open ears. No small task back at the Dungeon. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What?

Don't let the patent leather shoes fool you young'n/ I got the fully in the tux

He represents progress. He represents what hip-hop is about. Hip-hop is about progress, the struggle.
-Common

He also likes Beyonce and the Martha Stewart who's far from Jewish. Call DYFS, this is child abuse for real.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Timeout.

Apparently, colored people are allowed in pools, but those with HIV are not. My mind is blown. Progress in the South is like hot ice. That's not to say I'm offended, but it was probably the worst thing you could say given the question asked. Your case took a big hit, sir.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My crime work, ninja style shit was did

Imus so it seem to be.

Surprise!

What I find even funnier is that Al Sharpton and Co. are still going to attack the "real reason" behind Imus's comments: a type of music. In fact, he did that already across the country. I am more than a bit skeptical about the "lyrics" committee thing, since I've heard plenty of stupid remarks about all types of people who are not black women in recent rap songs. More on this at some point.

Good day in the news for the Chocolate City. And it seems like black people are the leaders in this field. I am sure these two things are the result of too much rap music being distributed to our political leaders and young people. Oliver Thomas must have had his mind submerged in the world of Mobb Deep. Don't laugh, political leaders are always under pressure like fat bitches.

Maybe if kids could get a job after high school without a college degree this wouldn't be so necessary? I hate adults.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

heads must roll


Someone stole our blog name. that's not cool at all. and I know the Mayor of Trenton. He may not be the best (take a drive through the place), but he's a nice enough guy. Although 13 years of the same leadership is a mighty long time.

Obviously, it is not a good year to be in charge of any sports organization. But this issue came up last year right before the start of the World Cup, and they interviewed Thierry Henry about during one of Freedomland's games. The guy does not really say anything constructive, and you can't really expect him to, he's a high level official. But saying Africa isn't diverse or that Eastern Europe is more racist because of the war in the Balkans are a) offensive and b) a stretch for me, to say the least. Hopefully his comments don't make it back to the turbulent nation that is Africa.

Am I a terrible person for thinking the subway may be shut down again this week is funny? If I am, oh well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tornadoes in BK?


This nonsense and this only confirm for the general public what Nickleodeon told me 15 years ago (it's scary how old I'm getting): global warming has been real, and it took people being bothered for us to care. How predictable. Also, what's with the recent failings of our infrastructure lately? And NY should invest in aboveground buses... they rock.

I only skimmed over the first page of this Village Voice piece, but it seems to be an interesting piece on Disco D's life during his come-up. You may recall he had some emotional issues and ended up committing suicide last year.

And if you ever thought about teaching in NYC, think again...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

amazing.

“Governments do not want to pay for maintenance because it is not sexy,” said John Ochsendorf, a structural engineer and an associate professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

check the article here

Something's not clicking with me


Can any explain why the President is rushing to the aid of Minnesotans less than 24 hours after the bridge collapsed, but three months after Katrina this guy was still waiting for a damn FEMA trailer? It's not about race, it's about being unprepared and inept.

NASA can do no right.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I must make you understand...



This is simultaneously the greatest and stupidest song I have ever heard. It's incredibly appropriate nowadays in the age of Facebook and Myspace and whatnot.

I can't believe this took so long to happen.

Normally, I try to stick to our country's idea of "innocent until proven guilty," but since Mike Vick's boy rolled on him, that is hardly a glimmer of hope. The people of Newark know (sadly), Stop Snitching.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The sum of all fears...


No!!!!!!!

I don't even know what to do with myself now. I haven't watched the show in a month because I don't have a TV, but now I can never go back. I am heartbroken.

I need some proper water.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

happy belated birthday to me...

They live by the beat like you live check to check

So what I did last year was post a verse describing the feeling of turning 20 from the flawless "Illmatic" LP. Sadly, there are not any verses I know about turning 21 (possibly because so meany rappers fall off before then), but I will try. OutKast released "ATLiens" when they were 21, and I like those guys, so here are some verses from "13th Floor/ Growing Old":

Dearly beloved we are gathered,
like soap is to lather we come clean
Some issues need to be addressed like envelopes I mean
Oh like Liberty Bells yes them bullets keep on rangin
On fire like the Georgia mass choir we keep on sangin
Bringin our folks closer together
cause they severed us from the get green
Light and we ain't gon' stop until we hit the big screen
Psych because no one is free when others are oppressed
So, we hit the stage and then we fly back to our nest
Growing old

Like some eagles, people don't understand
Just like their parents don't be carin
I'm speakin about you playin with that phony stuff you sharin
in your raps Mercedes Benz and all your riches
Thinkin you got it, but get it get it, but you ain't pimpin no bitches
Cause you flaw, in, fallin like leaves into driveways
Isn't it lovely smokin good and sloppy head on highways
Friday's are tight but Saturday just makes it old
When tonight's are hot warm enough to feed your soul
Growing old


You can figure out for yourself which member wrote which snippet, the point remains the same. Growing old really is not all it was cracked up to be when you were 10 or 12, at least in my estimation. People you know have grown up at a scary rate (marriage, kids ah!), while others refuse to change at all, and very few people are growing at their own pace without interference from society's pressure. I guess because I turned 21 I should be "living it up" and doing what ever I feel all the time, because there are no consequences, right? I don't know if I buy that based on the way things have worked out for people I know. Parents and older adults always tell young people to enjoy the moment, but sitting here writing this, I am reminded of Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back" teaching Luke on planet Dagobah, "You must unlearn what you have learned." He also gives the most useful advice I have learned this summer (before I came out west):

Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.
The idea of living for the moment is nice, though I think it should be reworded to get people to understand that where you are now sort determines your future, Or, to quote Qui-Gon Jinn, "your focus determines your reality." What I mean to say is that just enjoying the moment is not enough, you need to be aware of yourself all the time to do what you want. But of course, I know nothing, and I am quoting a puppet and Aslan. Seeing as how this is my last summer free of any real responsibility, I have planning to do, and the more I think about it, the more daunting it becomes. Sure, I have plenty of help, but what if I want something different for right now than my advisers? Or what if I am wrong, and go down a path that leads me to the exact place I promised myself I would never enter? I apologize for the vagueness, but I like to keep my internet life somewhat private. Looking at Yoda's speech, I am left wondering what I should want, or if I should even go out looking for something. (I'm sorry, this is going to get ridiculous) I think Yoda and Qui-Gon would tell me to listen to my feelings to do what's next, and not go searching for something I crave that may or may not exist. I know there's some quote about the Force and your feelings, but I am too lazy to find it and I've done enough quoting for the night. I'll figure out what's next, somehow. I hope.

So anyway, what did I do for my 21st? I was sick, so I stayed in. But today...

Blam. These suckers are comfy. And incredibly simple. But mine have green soles. Hopefully I'll be here on Saturday, exercising my age to catch up on the many concerts I've missed. There better not be a lot of hipsters there, or heads will roll. All right, one. Oh, and Jason, feel free to contribute any time.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

brush yo' teeth...


looks like someone beat Ahmmad and I to the punch. Shout to Jason for sending me the link. You could contribute to our free internet space, however. Y0u are the one who wanted to resurrect it, and I still do all the posting. Curiouser and curiouser.

"News & Notes" tries to do "Fresh Air" but the interview is A) shorter and B) of worse sound quality. Although, I must say, it is very hard to ask new questions to a guy who was just interviewed a few weeks ago for a half hour. Props to Farai Chideya for being a legitimate journalist. I like Larry Wilmore (a lot), but how did he rise to liberal, middle-age grown-up fame so suddenly? I think a bigger question is why NBC/Fox/Comedy Central/NPR/Keenan Ivory Wayans all caught on, but black America has not. BET could use him, since they just show reruns of shows he used to right for and they don't have a news program, anyway. But whatever, that's sensible to me, an educated person (of any type), and BET cares nothing about my type.

And if there are rumors that you could lose your job during the first of your contracted five years, you are not doing something right.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

where are all the black people?

Check out this article from author Martha Southgate. I cannot say I particularly liked the one book of hers I read (she has 2?), as the idea that women are alone except of that one man (the Man, I will call him) who is always around and will always care for them, does not really strike me as a constructive idea to teach young girls. But that was my interpretation of the book,and is not very relevant to the rest of what I have to say. So, I present to you this article, where Southgate is struggling to figure out why there are not more "literary" African American/ Black writers. As Jason and those of you who have been following me know, I have been struggling with why there are not more black people in the sciences, and this article hints at something that is much more widespread than I thought. Black people are struggling, at least those born after a certain era. I have no idea how to explain why it always appears things are getting worse for black people since the "glory days," though I think it might be useful to take a look at the people who were very young during the Civil Rights Movement, as they are more or less middle-age and have at least one generation under them (like my parents). Now, I don't want to point fingers, but since so many people like to decry young black people/ the gov't/ history/ etc., I think it's fair that the people who were around (but were too young to participate in) the Civil Rights Movement should face some responsibility for not passing on their successes (and there have been quite a few). They reaped the benefits of affirmative action, integrated schools, had access to greater training and jobs than most black people before them, but their kids have, on the whole, royally fucked up. Now, I will concede that black college enrollment is up in the South (or up down in the South?), and black people are making strides. But if these things are the case, then why is there still an achievement gap, and why are public schools like the UC's so low on black students (especially males) when they have what I consider the most inclusive college admissions process around (UT-Austin has it too, according to my neighbor). I just do not understand how a group can proclaim both tremendous success and tremendous setback at the same time. Really, only black people in America could do some silly shit like that.

Anyway, I went paintballing today. It was awesome. Talking to my friend who's from around here and is showing me around a bit, it's really interesting to see what kinds of things people take up as hobbies and why. I didn't get a chance to ask any of the regular players what they love about paintball, but I will admit there is a certain excitement associated with shooting/ being shot at and not having to worry so much about getting really hurt that makes it fun. Maybe I'll find and ask a regular at some point. I also almost got swindled by a Hindu monk last Saturday. I was walking around campus (it's awesome, and huge) and this guy came up to me talking about a debate that's being had on evolution vs. creationism, something I am totally interested in. He then took out a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and said I should read it. For the record, the oldest book known to man is physically one of the densest collections of paper I have ever seen. So he asked for a small donation (I had 42.50), and I took out 2. He wanted more, and I wanted change. He had none and tried to convince me it was OK. No, sorry. He asked a friend of his, and some random guy, and I told him I needed the money for groceries and I would pass, but I would show up to the discussion (which I missed because I was in the lab, oh well). He said it was his last copy, I told him I was sorry, but Bradley must eat (not in those words), and then he left and I sat on a bench. I got a book about meditation as consolation, he got my 2 bones. He then sold the book to some other guy for at least $10, and came back to me trying to give me the book (I thought he was out of them?), to which I had to decline. An interesting experience to say the least.

They get so big so fast, then shrink even more quickly.

Life in the lab is still slow, I am going to try and flesh out this project of mine more this week in terms of design, what it will/could mean, what we already know, why it's important, etc. 2 days until Transformers, suckers.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I am a simpson.


it was pro bono.

it's me, grown up. though my shirt seems to have gotten smaller and my pants tighter. Oh well, nothing matches, which is just my style. The Simpsons Movie is out in a month. Become a character.

I also cooked my first meal today. Spaghetti w/ meat sauce. I am still here, so it must have been good. I can finally cook something. Almost 21 years old and I know one meal. Moving up in the world.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Brad made it to Seattle...

And I will be killing many a Manduca sexta this summer. All in the name of science an dunderstanding evolution. I will take pictures at some point this weekend and oyu can see my humble (seriously) abode and maybe my lab space. I may even make a breakthrough in science, who knows?

Everyone should listen to this, regardless of whether you listen to rap or not. It's a nice, productive conversation and very Soc/Anthy, if you like that sort of thing. Deadlee gets points for using the term "homo-thug." His songs are hysterical, though I think there is a danger in just doing satire, especially in rap because things are so "real."

In other music news, check ou the newest thing from Harlem:


I will leave you with that.