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


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.


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.