Monday, February 28, 2005
The displaced children of Darfur
While the Tsunami was a horrendous natural disaster that dominated the news headlines during the holidays and beyond and Iraq continues to be a disasterous mistake of man's own doing, I and many others' attention was distracted away from the tremednous human suffering that continues largely unabated in the Sudan and other parts of Africa. I'm embarrassed to admit that it wasn't until I read the editorial "Thousands Died in Africa Yesterday" in Sunday's New York Times that I was motivated to return to this tragedy on the site.
Here's one line from the editorial to consider: "In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is anything but, some 1,000 people die every day of preventable diseases like malaria and diarrhea. That's the equivalent of a tsunami every five months, in that one country alone." Will Bush join his stalwart Iraq ally Tony Blair in his call of pushing for more help for troubled African states?
More information and charity links:
“If We Return, We Will Be Killed” - Consolidation of Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur, Sudan
Darfur: A Genocide We Can Stop
The Darfur Information Center
The Best Way to help provide relief in Western Sudan and Chad
Crisis in Sudan: How You Can Help Those in Need
Previous Different Kitchen posts on the Darfur tragedy:
Darfur 101 and Bush's not-so-secret voting bloc
What will the world do this time?
"Democracy Is Like Sex...."
The continuing tragedy in Sudan
Rangel stands up over the Sudan tragedy.
But let's not forget what some have also termed a genocide in Northern Uganda or the atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where an estimated 2.5 million people have been killed in a bloody civil war since 1998.
I just blog about it but how we do get others to shine some light on the places beyond Iraq, Iran, Syria and North Korea in desperate need of help or reform?
Not a commentary or analysis, just a few choice quotes and observations I managed to catch and write down from the two panels I went to on Saturday. Jay Smooth also has an excellent, far more detailed round up of Friday night than the cursory one I posted Saturday that you definitely need to check out.
"PRODUCING THE ALBUM"
Featuring the original engineers, Greene Street studio owners and members of the famous Bomb Squad production team with Dave Harrington, Rod Hui, Steve Loeb, NickSansano, Chris Shaw, Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee moderated by Chairman Mao.
Hank Shocklee talked about how during the recording of "Black Steel in the Hour Of Chaos" they had accidentally left one effects lead half-unplugged and in the process discovered the "filtering" production technique which went on to become popularized by Large Professor, used on many early-mid 90's hip hop records and later a standard pre-set on modern outboard gear. He also recalled how Chuck had a cold and didn't want to cut his vocal but that in the end the effect it had on his voice really captured the emotion they needed on the song.
Engineer Chris Shaw recalled how they set up a phone in a separate room to record Flavor's phone call parts on "Black Steel" but that he went on so long that Hank Shocklee ran into the room to try and cut him off and he shouted, "Hank, don't stop me" which ended up on the record.
The It Takes a Nation of Millions album cost only $40,000 to record (while, by comparison, Yo! Bum Rush the Show cost an even more modest $12,000), while Lyor & Russell had gotten a $225,000 advance from Columbia for it, which meant the album was already way in the black by time the 50,000 retail pre-orders came in.
"Bring the Noise" was 109bpm in tempo at a time when most hip hop was around 95bpm and making a record with a 100bpm tempo was considered pushing it and anything over that was "damn near disco." They were nervous about being so out of step with the sound of the time but when the record dropped, reaction at the storied hip hop club the LQ was "ridiculous." (Hank and Chuck also made an interesting observation at one point during one of the panels about how the sound and fast tempos on PE's records were in sync with the physical reactions cats smoking woolies and crack at the time would have.)
When Hank and the Bomb Squad were comissioned to do a remix for a Vanessa William single and Chris Shaw tried to tell Hank, who was trying to make two clashing samples meld, that it wasn't musical, he responded "Fuck music."
When it came to the rules of music, The Bomb Squad knew what to mess with and what could not be screwed up - that the vocals still had to be clear and the low end, crisp.
A clip of Mr. Magic saying "No more music by the suckers" after he smashed one of their singles into pieces live on air was sampled and used in the "Terminator X to the Edge of Panic" track.
"Nobody got it. So nobody not directly involved in making the music would be allowed in the studio. Russell didn't like it, he didn't believe artists should be political." -- Hank on PE's music.
"Bill Stepheney was the liason between the group in the studio & the label. Damn right he was a producer on the record. We all did everything. Anyone can make a beat - the job of a producer is to make a record happen. Glen Friedman [the photographer] was important...." -- Hank on the issue of who "produced" PE's records.
"Back then the record cover was our video - PE lived off impulse buyers, not off buyers who hear sh-t on commercial daytime radio." -- Hank on not getting radio play and how important their artwork thus became.
The bassline sample on one of the album's songs is "from an English band with 4 guys, a couple of whom are dead." --Chris Shaw cryptically talking about one of the tracks on the album when disussing the samples used on the album and whether they were all cleared or acknowledged.
"Other groups were lifting the talent. The Bomb Squad were making musical statements using samples. There are thieves and there are artists." -- Nick on the art of the Bomb Squad's sampling technique.
"Sometimes Chuck & I would sample a record that sampled the record we really wanted to use just to fcck everyone up." -- Hank on their sampling philosophy and technique.
"Chuck wanted to keep the A and B sides equal for cats who played the tape in their cars so there wouldn't be a long gap while the tape hit the end of one side and auto-reversed. " -- Chris on why the "Security of the First World instrumental track is the shortest one on the album.
"Pre-production is a lost art. We mapped out everything we wanted to do before we got to the studio. There was no writing songs in the studio." -- Hank Shocklee
"The [album] title was already conceived while we were recording Bum Rush" -- Hank Shocklee
"Sequencing is important [because it establishes] the emotional relationship between the songs and the ideas and emotions you want to get across." -- Hank Shocklee
"We always had two rooms [studios] going at the same time." -- Hank Shocklee
"[Producer] Eric [Sadler] hated those sessions. We always had a tape going...." -- Hank Shocklee on the "jam" sessions they held at the Bomb Squad studio at 510 Franklin Street.
"Vamps are another lost art. I'm not interested in linear songs, I'm into songs that have movement but feel linear which is why I always included so many parts." -- Hank Shocklee on song arranging.
Group members , Chuck D and the original S1W's, and panelists Hank Shocklee, Daddy O, Fab 5 Freddy and Living Colour's Vernon Reid & Will Calhoun reflect on their experiences. (This panel was supposed to be moderated by Harry Allen but he was AWOL so was moderated by symposium chairperson Jason King)
"It's not about what you get out but what you put into hip hop as a genre." -- Chuck D
"It ain't this big I, little You. Music is to be shared. Music is not a hustle. [Hip hop's become] cultural stripmining [by the major labels]. Some people get into this music to make a killing but music is a way to make a living." -- Chuck D
"PE could never have existed at any other label because Russell was a black entrepreneur and responsible for or connected to the entire black music industry post-1982." -- Hank Shocklee
"We looked at signing to Def Jam as the great surrender." - Chuck D on why he was reluctant to give up their lucrative hustle as hip hop show promoters in Long Island to sign a record deal
"We played off Rick & Russell [like a child does two parents]" -- Chuck D
"We identified more musically with Rick [Rubin] than with Russell [Simmons]" -- Hank Shocklee
"This man was one of the best programmers DJ-wise. If he was programming a radio station in New York, he would change the whole soundscape of radio like he did with music." -- Chuck D on Hank Shocklee
"PE is the sound of naked defiance." -- Vernon Reid
"If you don't understand what Vernon was playing, ask Sammy 'cos he's a real musician." -- Will Calhoun to Alex Van Halen in response to a question about Vernon Reid's guitar playing [I think] when they met backstage one night. (NB: Vernon had played on PE's "Sophisticated B-tch" from their first album and Chuck (and maybe Flav?) guested on a Living Colour track.
"We switched the [album] sides to show America that the rest of the world was already up on it." -- Hank Shocklee on how the album was supposed to actually being with the sequence of tracks that start with "Show 'em Watcha Got" but was switched last minute.
"The best American is one who considers themselves as a citizen of the world." -- Chuck D
"We looked at succeeding in the rest of the world as vital to our survival." -- Chuck D on PE being one of the first hip hop groups to extensively tour internationally at a time when labels didn't really focus on foreign income because of the reduced royalty rates.
"Just like there's a hole in the ozone layer, there's a hole in the musical ecological layer [wrt lack of successful "conscious" music]... 'Traditional' music was brand new at one time... When you hear R&B today, do you believe it?" -- Vernon Reid
"One of things we have to think about is the about the capital of what we do [as musicians] and not just the dividends." -- Will Calhoun
"They took the head [Tavis Smiley] and legs [Teen Summit] off of BET like a 2 person tackle when they sold it to Viacom." -- Chuck D on what went wrong with BET and how it affected the kind of hip hop being made in the mainstream music industry.
"We need to replenish the cultural ecosystem. This music is an important [but] understated rigging of this society." -- Chuck D
"When the silence goes on too long, ignorance becomes the rule." -- Chuck D
"Once you think bigger than yourself then the cause becomes the issue if you think on a higher plain you can come together to work on our problems." -- Chuck D
"When did hip hop culture replace black culture?" -- Hank Shocklee
"The title of the album was taken from a [pull quote in a] Toronto magazine article." -- Chuck D. (T-Dot, stand up!)
Anyone who was also there this weekend and has feedback or additional good quotes or points to include that I missed, holla in the comments sections below.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
The Good Foot
At the Knitting Factory’s Tap Bar
1st Thursdays of the Month starting March 3rd
DJ sets from the likes of DJs Language, Amir, and Rich Medina
$3 Brooklyn Lagers all night long
Giveaways from your pals at Room Service, Seven Heads and Brooklyn Brewery
Get On It!
You could spend tonight keeping tab on how you're doing in your office oscar pool, playing amateur Joan Rivers and debating the relative merits of the nominees or you could do the right thing and support real hip hop and grassroots activism:
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Big up to Jon for holding it down on the critics' panel moderation at the PE symposium yesterday evening. It was cool - I finally got why people respect Christgau so much (because frankly I've always found his writing kind of incomprehensible) and Tate (filling in for Nelson George who had to cancel last minute) and Armand White had some interesting things to say too.
Pleasant surprise: the room was full of great looking women - did someone say Pharrell or 50 were gonna show up or something? I'm joking of course but best of all? I ran through this adidas Superstar 35th anniversary/JMJ foundation after party later that night where, unannounced and a complete surprise (at least to me), I saw Chuck, Flav, Griff & co. do it up live and on stage. They were already on stage when we got there but I caught them doing "911 is a Joke," "Public Enemy #1," Fight the Power," "Cold Lampin with Flavor" (over Busta's "Put Your Hands..." beat) and the immortal "Rebel without a Pause." Fantastic. I'ma try and run through some more of the panels today.
Just like I said with the Grammys, fcck the Oscars. This is what you should be watching. And, no disrespect to Jamie Foxx but why watch him play acting (even if he is supposed to be amazing) when you can watch the real deal?
If you're even just a couple years younger than me and not a deep reggae fanatic this will be almost meaningless to you, but this is a pretty big deal - Ari-Up, formerly of the seminal all-girl punky-reggae band The Slits but now fronting the group The True Warriors, makes her only US appearance on her Spring 2005 tour TONIGHT at Club Seho in NYC. (Click here for additional details)
I haven't been able to go even once this season but here's some really fly-ass snowboards made by Arbor.
The backlash begins? Stone of Article Online says "I don't get M.I.A." Then my homegirl Anousheh sends me this email last night:
I finally got a copy of the Piracy Funds Terrorism CD she did with Diplo. It's terrible - best thing on it is UK toaster Lil Vicious (she's on the Diplo LP) [Ed note: I think that's NYC based male toaster of "Freaks" fame, n'est-ce pas?]. Please give me your address and I'll drop it in the mail for you.
Unless she has another friend who wants it and if she's cool with it, I'll use the CD as a contest giveaway prize since I already have a copy of it. Stay tuned.
YO! Dream Chimney RAPS - 1980's Hip Hop Videos.
Lot of hotness over at Spine mag as usual including a new Amerie/Nas joint called "Man Up", the video for Common's "The Corner," an mp3 of the (apparently much-sought after) Neptunes/Timbaland collabo "'Big White Spaceship" under the name SBI (Surrounded by Idiots), a tour of Questlove's sick (despite what he thinks) record room (had to link that one directly) and plenty more besides.
Pharrell in the lab. (via Dork mag)
Fat Joe on Kay Slay's Hot 97 "Drama Hour" radio show speaking on 50 saying "Candy Shop" was one of his reject beats that he co-produced with Scott Storch and equating him with CB4. Whoa! Now it's really on. (via Cuban Link)
Mayfield Remixed - not killer top to bottom but a few gems out of the clips I peeped.
Shhh... Fat Beats has a stash of official Sony "1 thing" 12" promos. They don't have them out on the racks so ask them nicely and you might be able to cop one although this was as of Wednesday so they might already be out of 'em by now. Sorry for not posting this earlier.
Big up to Tom and the Grind Mode magazine crew who have a Bathgate review running in this month's issue.
Ah man, is LogoYes™ trying to put my peoples Kev, Taj, Nick and Dave out of business? (spotted via Happyscrappy). Now that ain't right.
BTW, a belated happy birthday to the Alma G., new poppa Andy M. and my man from college Vestie who all celebrated birthdays yesterday. Vestie's been over in Iraq but I'm not even gonna get into that 'cos he's one cat who's actually happy to be over there. Just stay safe and I hope you had a chance to enjoy your born day, fam.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Good bloggers give you the now news fresh off the PR newswire as soon as it hits their favorite websites or the inbox of their RSS newsreader. Great bloggers break stories like De La, Hiero and MF Doom on the road this July headlining the "Turn It Up!" tour. I'm claiming the world premiere on this one (**in Drudge Report style**: "WORLD EXCLUSIVE - MUST CREDIT DIFFERENT KITCHEN"). You'll hear about it elsewhere soon enough I'm sure, but you heard it here first.
Tomorrow The Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music Tisch School of the Arts at NYU hosts a two-day symposium on Public Enemy's landmark album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Almost two decades later, this is still my favorite hip hop album of all time and I can't think of another album that's more worthy of this kind of treatment.
Production-wise no hip hop album has even come close to doing things musically, with production, beats, rhythms and samples that this one did and I'm talking none in the canon of classic albums - not The Chronic, Enter the Wu-Tang, Stankonia, Low End Theory nor 3 Feet High and Rising. If this album came out today it would still flip wigs. From Chuck D's voice and masterful socio-political call-to-(mental)arms in his rhymes to the Bomb Squad's redonkolous studio-wizardry that definitively laid to rest the question whether hip hop could really hit as hard as rock n roll and still be hood, this album did it all. It was a concept album that was best experienced listened to as a whole but which still had singles that banged in the clubs and which made you think, made you laugh ("Cold Lampin' with Flavor"), made you angry and just made you feel, period.
I always hate coming off like the old guy who thinks everything was better back in the day but seriously, very few artists are making albums today that are even close to being on the same level as this one and can rock the block, dorm rooms, suburbs and lecture halls alike. Heads in the NYC, this event is a must-attend whether you grew up on this album or (especially) if you have no sense of why it's such a cultural milestone, not just in hip hop but, in popular music period. I'll be down there for at least a couple of events. I suggest those of you who are able, do the same.
Jonah Weiner has a pretty good overview of the inexplicable fixation hip hop's commercial elite have with John Mayer.
I can't read yet another article on M.I.A. (just put the album out already) and how her world music future-pop is the next sh-t especially when ""remixed" '60s-'70s Cambodian-pop," "'70s West African psychedelic-rock" and "smooth-jazzed state-of-the-onion Mexican American new wave" sounds so much more interesting right about now.
Stephen Metcalf on what The Clash meant to rock 'n' roll. (link via Andy M.)
When sneaker pimps and hipsters attack!
Vince Karma (via Metro)
Tonight - D-Nice at Table 50
Sunday - Rap 4 Reparations (more details here).
Next week - The Goodfoot at Knitting Factory
Coming soon from Supreme Clientele - Mos Def & Medina Green.
And over the next month or so - lots of cool sh-t at The Tribeca Grand.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Out of the Mouth of Babes?
Hate the sin, hate the sinner.
Meet your new National Intelligence Czar.
The real Hot Kizzle.
Bush Administration is warned about its "News" videos. (thanks Les C.)
Which will hopefully help curb this kind of redonkolous thinking by the American public.
Although it would help if the MSM actually did their job rather than leaving it up to bloggers. You know that they hate that they have to take us seriously now (well, maybe not me per se, but you get the idea...)
Speakers at the national meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science last Sunday expressed concern that some scientists in key federal agencies are being ignored or even pressured to change study conclusions that don’t support policy positions. (MSNBC.com)
Say, how's Afghanistan doing? (Metro)
Most heads prolly linked this weeks ago but here's Michael Kinsley's Proof That Social Security Privatization Won't Work for those who missed it.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
The Dix "The Art of Picking Up Women" - the world's rarest 45?
A real quick one today...
Interview with Ron Browz, the man behind one of my favorite hip hop records right now - Jae Millz's "Who" (#1 on my "Hot Ish list in the sidebar at left)
For all my modernists out there - Ben Sherman, the book.
And the Ian Brown (of Stone Roses) edition adidas (spotted via The Trip Wire reg. req'd)
While for all my old school, crate-digger types who trawl sites like Soul Strut and read Wax Poetics, are you up on The Dix?
But finally, I know there's a "Rap 4 Relief" Tusnami Benefit tonight at BB King's with Pete Rock and Rahzel as well as the Dead Prez joint I mentioned yesterday and a show down at NYU featuring Jean Grae and that dude who stole my future wife, but I'm trying to get up out of here real quick and catch fellow bloggers like Jay, Metalface and Hashim at the reading for Jeff's book up in Harlem. See ya there?
Monday, February 21, 2005
Images courtesy: Capitola Book cafe & The New York Times
The Times on The Godfather of Everything.
New mp3 heat via hiphopgame.com:
50 Cent "Piggy Back" - "this is chess, not checkers..." - let the beefin' begin. Prolly the best joint I've heard from his upcoming album so far. I'm a little bit more excited now than I was especially after seeing that type-wack artwork.(related: Newsweek on The Flip Side of 50 Cent)
The Game feat. G-Unit "Love it or Hate It (remix)"
Dumb hot rare, vintage Ultramag via the Broke B-Boys (yet again). Tell me hip hop wasn't hotter back in the days. C'mon....
Least surprising news so far this year.
And finally, Hunter S. Thompson and Arthur Miller - R.I.P.
Malcolm X is important for so many reasons I really couldn't get into it in a single blog post if I tried. It's a cliche to say it nowadays but, like many others, reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X changed my life and crystalized in print for me many things about being a black man living in a white society that I had always felt (and don't get it twisted, sh-t ain't that different in Canada or the UK despite what well-meaning liberals in both of those countries like to think). Not only that, the book also gave me the real and complete story on a much maligned and misunderstood man who, even today, is still a polarizing figure in American history despite the reappraisal of his politics and the relative rehabilitation of his reputation. Brother Malcolm, you are not forgotten and the struggle goes on.
For more info:
The official Malcolm X site
The Malcolm X research site
The book that EVERY person who comes to this site should read (if they haven't already) - The Autobiography of Malcolm X
And for those who just can't do it (shame on you) - the Malcolm X (Two-Disc Special Edition) just dropped last week.
Remembering Malcolm X in the Place Where He Fell.
Tomorrow night - for the rich rebels, Dead Prez at SOB's.
Next Sunday - Rap 4 Reparations fundraiser for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement at the Delancey Lounge starting 9pm. (back of the flyer)
BTW, on a semi-related note, since this is yet another in a seemingly growing number of memorial posts I have done recently, I hope this post on Hashim's site wasn't a sideshot at your man (?). Whether it is or isn't is largely irrelevant to me but let me say this: I get sick of cats endlessly d-ck ridin' the memory of Biggie and Pac and I'm a fan of both of those artists so, if I can give a little shine on artists like Big L and Big Pun on this site, I'ma do it no matter what others may feel. And f-ck whether Fat Joe says it or not, Pun was nice, period and, I'll say it, pure MC skills-wise he would lay Biggie out. As for L, on some witty, pure B-boy MC-ing, sh-t, duke was bananas. In both cases, me giving them props wasn't about them being dead but, using the anniversary of their deaths to remember these two talented artists who get far less shine than their talent deserved. Anyone who has a problem with that, holla directly.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Image courtesy The New York Times
You knew I had to link this - The New York Times on how hip hop is the soundtrack of the Iraq war. (related: Gunner Palace - "some stories [about the Iraq war] will never make the nightly news." | Gunner Palace trailers.)
And while I was at Halcyon yesterday afternoon:
- The LCD Soundsystem album, which was released this past week, sounds pretty f-ckin' great (even if arrived like 18 months passed the peak of their hype), but I'm not paying $30 for a single disc vinyl version with only 9 tracks no matter how good they might be! (related: hear LCDS's "Daft Punk is Playing in My House" on the Liquid Generation Music Mix Player #24. Liquid Gen. also has a pretty good, though very britpop-centric, new music blog)
- All things Diplo and Brazilian are painfully trendy right but Steve at Halcyon passed me a copy of the Funk Carioca album (which Sasha mentioned last week) to check out and it is actually pretty f-cking hot. Classic electro and Miami bass rhythms and breaks flipped Brazilian style by a bunch of artists saying who knows what in Portugese. Trust me, if I had a spare $25 to spend I might've been tempted to cop this on the spot.
As Sasha noted, M.I.A.'s "Bucky Done Gone" is a pretty flagrant jack of the Deise Tigrona "Injeção" track but her and Diplo did it justice so I can't hate. I might not have remembered this exactly right but one of the other bangers was "Rap da Felicidade" by Kátia & Julinho Rasta and there was another one whose title I can't recall that I was feeling a lot too, but pretty much the whole thing was solid. Worth checkin' out if that whole Hollertronix/Diplo "hipster-dirty south" x-over steez is your thing. Check out some snippets here. (courtesy Tunes | related: Seduced by Rio)
- Also check out Halcyon's Hard Times Art Show for Tusnami Relief.
Taj was so on it when he talked about pod-casting a couple weeks back - "Beyond Blogs? Podcasts Are Here." Frankly, I can't keep up, I'm still trying to figure out how cats are doing those RadioBlogs.
Q'boro = New Jack City 2005?
Goodfoot - coming soon.
Ear Fuzz (have rubbed O-deezy the wrong way but I got love for 'em)
I'm not even sure this is for real - a Pulp Fiction toy figure set (spotted via Bloggystyle)
I'm pretty sure I was one of the first bloggers talking about Bloc Party over here but I'm still not gonna check them out tonight at the Roxy unless someone wants to flip me a free ticket or guest list hookup.
More jokes on "The Gates" art installation. (spotted via The New York Times | related: links to more parodies of "The Gates")
And let's end with some bad puns: the puck stops here and nobody gives a puck?
Friday, February 18, 2005
The next sh-t? Image courtesy Ubiquity Records
Two weeks ago, in the spirit of trying to not just blog about the same sh-t everyone else did like I had complained about, I decided I wanted to give a little shine to a group, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, that I was surprised hadn't gotten as much blog love (like this group or this artist) as I would have predicted.
Literally the day I was set to do it, my man Taj threw something up on them on his site. Then a few days later Trouble Crunk did something on them too. Now I was paralyzed, if I did a post on them too, would I just look like a bandwagon jumper? At least I had already charted one of their joints on my "Hot Ish" list in advance of Taj's post but what was the point if I chimed in now?
Well f-ck it, I still think cats need to get up on them and, while the hippest of the hip hop bloggerati is already knowing (or starting to know), maybe some other readers who look to this site for the advance word on what's next might discover these cats.
So if you've seen these cats' name around and were wondering what all the fuss was about, let me put it like this: if you're the type who f-cks with Jay Dilla, Love Below era Outkast, Amp Fiddler and (at a stretch) N*E*R*D, you need to investigate the future-funk of this group. Here's a few links to help you get started:
- Read their biography.
- Peep their EP for ABB Soul featuring "Glorious"
- And the "Double Dutch" EP for Ubiquity.
- Roots Manuva "Too Cold (Sa-Ra Remix)" (via Spine mag)
(And for the record, I really was on this before the bandwagon hit my block.)
Ah man, Amerie's album is not dropping until May 3rd according to her interview on Power 105 this morning. Good news though, despite the rumors, there will be 12"s of "1 Thing" at retail which I got direct from folks who would know at Sony. The video looks redonkolous, who has a link to the full thing yet? (Here's a link to an mp3 of the audio 'cos I know folks are still looking for that too.)
Artists who read this site: do you want to have your next album mixed by a platinum and gold-selling mix enegineer? F-ck with my man Troy Hightower who even makes it easy for you with his Mix by Mail™ service. Check his credits (Redman, Ginuwine, De La Soul, Janet Jackson, Lil Kim, LL Cool J, D'Angelo, Common, Big Pun and more), do you need to know any more?! He even has a blog so get at him. Just cos you got a Pro-Tools rig doesn't mean you know how to make records sound hot. (related: other links for aspiring artists here)
Also industry-related: Vote 4 DJ Chela - she's been supporting my Bathgate record so show her some love.
My Caribbean peoples, stand up. Soca music finally gets respect from the music industry? (related from The Voice: is dancehall being muzzled by the gay activist movement?)
Funkdigital has been on fire recently, go check it.
Travesty - part one
Travesty - part two
Will Smith and his peoples should have been smart enough to know that if they tried to get hip hop blog love, he was gonna get clowned. I still got love for duke as a Black man doing him (no homo) and you gotta respect his gangsta but his new single "Switch" is a waste of a (pretty) good (B-more breaks inspired?) beat. The concept for his album cover is not bad though.
Finally: it's Dre Day and everybody's celebratin' (well, maybe not everyone). Either way, happy birthday Dre. Take the day off and then get back to bangin' out them classics for Detox 'cos we need that. (mp3 of the forever-classic "Dre Day" courtesy cdzlimited.org | related: peep the snippet, that may or may not be on Detox, in the Hot Ish list at #3 in the sidebar menu)
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Is Balance the Northern Cali T.I.? You decide...:
- Welcome To Cali
- Go Hard ft Game, Lloyd Banks, and 50 Cent
- Palm Trees, OG's, and Gangstas
[Be kind, right click and save]
More info on son via Triple Beam Tilt. Quietly, he might be better than Game and the real savior of the West.(Thanks, Rawj)
Great minds think alike?
The best line from the Diplo quote in the Sasha post linked above: "I [represent funk (ball?) music] cause I love it, not because its cool or making me rich. Remember: I bought a ticket to Rio just to buy mix CDs over a year ago because I didnt (sic) know how else to get them...." Dude, if you're buying tickets to Rio, period, you're already rich or at least very comfortably well off!
Mos Def in the film version of the classic cult book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (click the Amazon.com link for the real trailer)
Nas "Talk of New York" - why was this not on Streets Disciple? Absolute sickness!
I'm posting this a couple days late but Jeff Chang's promo tour for his book Can't Stop, Won't Stop hits NYC and is tighter than for some major label artists with albums about to drop. I haven't copped it yet cos my paper's mad short right now and I'm way behind on my reading anyway, but I checked it out at the bookstore last weekend and it looks crazy.
"You really described my life, like, I really used to be in the mall when other rappers were in the streets: trying on stuff, putting stuff on layaway, looking for girls." Kanye and John Mayer in the lab - be very afraid. (spotted via Young Rome)
Throwback culture for indie kids? Classic Sports Logos (spotted via world champion)
"We see this game as a sort of education" - a Monopoly-style weed growing board game has been pulled from the New York Toy Fair
mp3's from Big Pooh's Sleepers album (via Freemotion)
The future? Mixtape.com presents "the first ever Digital Hip-Hop Record Pool." (heads up on the link from Kim, thanks)
The past... lots of buttery old school Common goodness via The Broke BBoys. (related: here's the official links to the new Common single "The Corner" - real | windows)
And speaking of the past, it gets no better - amazing old school polaroids via D-Nice.
My lame attempt at biting Low Culture's steez. More seriously though, my sympathies go out to the people of Lebanon.
"It may only be a matter of time...."
"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists"
Another $82 billion. I hear we're up around $300 billion committed or spent now with no meaningful progress having been made in Iraq or on tipping the balance in the war on terror.
Is this what we paid for? Iraqi Election Winners Allied With Iran Are the Opposite of U.S. Vision
While seriously, what's going on in Iran anyway?
As testing on Bush’s "wannabe-missile defense system" fails again.
“Extraordinary Rendition” - like everything else during the Bush administration even America’s secret program of torture is being outsourced. Why is this not the lead story in every paper in America?
This article probably helps explains why. Sad.... Is the US proud of itself yet?
How about now? "The conspicuous absence of the United States at celebrations [Wednesday] marking the beginning of a broad international effort to curb global warming should be cause for shame in this country...." (full story from The Winston-Salem Journal)
Why is Google News carrying Power Line and not Daily Kos? (update: apparently this is more benign than it initially looked.)
After Bush Leaves Office, His Budget's Costs Balloon.
Face it folks, we are entering scary new times. Is it time to dust off those Germany 1933 comparisons yet?
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
How did we get to the point where this is what they think of when they think of hip hop? (link via Metro New York newspaper)
Ciara's new joint "Roll Wit You" is sounding very Missy "Hot Boyz"-esque but it's a banger, no doubt. I smell a smash. (NOTE: since new mp3 service DigiWaxx, who've been sending me these fly mp3 links by email, said not to hot link the zip files containing them, fix that URL above once you click through or cut-n-paste it into your mp3 player)
The new Fader mag is out with a Dave Banner feature - and in case you're wondering why your favorite, and possibly the hippest-of-the-hipster, blogs has been kind of thin on content over the past few weeks, it looks like Nick's new double-duties as the "blog editor" of the mag and it's website's newly-rejigged and very Catchdubs-feeling transformation to a blog format might be the answer why.
Pŏp’ ä’ dŏp’ ä’ lĭs - a nice mp3 blog co-authored by Sean of Hardly Art... (and Complex mag) that's recently covered the cornball Game-Hova "beef" and the new Kels "Sex in the Kitchen" joint.
Hip Hop Church (via DJ Jab's Place | vaguely related: the much-blogged already Church Sign Generator)
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Truth be told, I was never the biggest Big L fan around back in the day dismissing him as a mere freestyle/battle MC who couldn't quite cut it in the commerical big leagues. I was more into street poets like Nas but can't front, dude used to rip it regularly on Stretch N Bob's legendary "89-Tech Nine" show back in the early 90's and is responsible for what I belatedly realized might be one of the greatest double-sided 12"s in modern hip hop history "Ebonics" b/w "Size Em Up" (mp3 links via Sandbox)
Like Pun he shared a crew affiliation with Fat Joe (in D.I.T.C. though, not the Terror Squad) and, once again, with his untimely death 6 years ago today just as he was negotiating a deal to join Rocafella, we'll never know whether or not L's raw but fast-developing talent would carry him to superstardom.
Either way, Lamont "Big L" Coleman should be remembered for kicking that true NYC, 1-2, b-boy sh-t that commercial, thugged out and backpack hip hop fans could all appreciate even if some only came to the party late with the posthumous release of the gold-selling album, The Big Picture. What L had is in sort supply nowadays and desperately needed to keep "real hip hop" (as I understand it) alive.
Big L - Harlem's Finest tribute website
The D.I.T.C. Big L memorial concert at SOB's tomorrow night. Those with the paper to do so, go support.
Better coverage than mine from some other blogs:
- Cocaine Blunts...
- Hardly Art...
- Steady Bootleggin'
He's back! Image courtesy New York Times
Some sites you should f-ck with (note: the links below don't deal with limited edition sneakers, mp3's of mixtapes-only joints or retro/old school/vintage pop culture minutiae but you should read on anyway):
Think Progress - the new blog by the Center for American Progress.
Nobody Could Have Predicted...
My Stolen Nation
Just Another Soldier
BTW, Condi lied when she wrote in a Washington Post Op-Ed piece in march of last year that "No al-Qaeda threat was turned over to the new administration."
Meanwhile, Clarke now points out the obvious flaw in Bush's new credo that spreading freeedom and democracy will help defeat terrorism by blunting its appeal. If that's true how do you explain the ongoing presence of terrorism in fully-developed, long-running democracies like The Irish Republican Army, the Baader-Meinhof gang of Germany, the ETA Basque Separatists in Spain and the Red Brigades of Italy?
Iraqi Insurgents Step Up Attacks After Elections
Getting ready for the next one?
Torture, American Style
And good grief, this jackass is back?
Finally, don't ask, don't discharge - the military says yes, homo.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Much of the social security debate is far too arcane and boring for me to get into but frankly heads do need to pay attention to this because once again Bush is trying to pull a fast one. He has resorted to his favorite tactic used repeatedly over the past four years to advance many of his questionable policies - fearmongering - arguing this time that private accounts are needed because, if no changes are made to the system, it will go bust without massive benefit cutbacks, tax increases and/or borrowing to keep it solvent. But take a look at some of the ideas he's been floating that underpin his privatization solution to this "crisis"?
First off, setting up the giant private account system that he's been heavily touting will suck mad money out of the current pay-as-you-go system used to pay the benefits of today's retirees, possibly to the tune of a 1-2 trillion dollar shortfall, if not more. Secondly, recalculating benefits so they are pegged to inflation rather growth in wages (which grow faster than the CPI), which Bush has also mentioned several times, is essentially cutting future retirees' expected benefits without explicitly admitting to doing so.
Either way, it looks like Bush's plan would mean borrowing (to cover the shortfall) and benefit cuts anyway which is bananas when even the government's own actuaries have said such a radical overhaul is probably unnecessary.
Here's a few links, for those who get turned on by this stuff, to help you decide for yourself if Bush is really on the right track with this whole privatization campaign. I think y'all know where I fall on the matter though especially if you read this site regularly.
Bush faces major political battle over Social Security
Paul Krugman says Bush is Gambling With Your Retirement.
In his State of the Union, the president never said, although it has always been implicit, that workers' retirement benefits from the government would be lowered if they chose to put tax money into personal accounts.
When it comes to President Bush's proposal to set up personal investment accounts as part of the Social Security program: As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and the details are woefully lacking thus far. (full story from "Questioning Bush's plan on Social Security" Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Allan Sloan's reasonably-balanced look at the issue.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has warned the White House that voters are not yet ready to accept fundamental changes to Social Security as wary Republicans are cautioning the president to be as vague as possible about his plan. (full story from Washington Post)
1115.org on Bush's Trust Fund f-ckery.
Stan Getz "My Funny Valentine (Live)" from The Artistry of Stan Getz, Vol. 1 (mp3 link from weiv.co.kr)
Outkast give you "Roses" to wish you a "Happy Valentine's Day" (mp3 links courtesy Arista Records and FNAC )
And I shudder to think who's Valantine's Day song this would be, but I know they're out there and loving this song:
Lil Jon & the Eastside Boys "Lovers & Friends" feat. Usher & Ludacris
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Pro basketball doesn't have a drug problem or a thug problem. It has a basketball problem.
Spotted at Kim's Video & Music where I went to cop a new (Region-Free) DVD player this afternoon after checking out The Gates installation in Central Park:
- Import DVD copies (from Taiwan, I believe) of the fly-looking sci-fi movie Casshern that Catchdubs mentioned last week for sale at $32 even though I think it's about to be theatrically released in the US soon. This one might be best viewed in a movie theater first though unless you've got a 50+ inch LCD flat screen or hollywood film exec-style home theater in your crib.
- M.I.A./Diplo Piracy Funds Terrorism mixtapes for $8.99. They had tons of them front-racked like it was the new U2 album or something.
The Torontoist site is a go (since when?) but my folkers up there, how on point is it?
The Onion interview with Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz. I'm hearing that the show might be on the verge of being cancelled (although Fox is denying it) which would be a damn shame as it's one of the funnier shows on TV right now. HBO, are you paying attention?
I saw The Wu-Tang Manual mentioned on
But, while I would give the book a passing grade, it really only scratches the surface of what it promises particularly falling short in the exploration of RZA's production philosphy and technique and the lyrical styles of the Wu crew which is particularly disappointing given his personal input on the book. I await a better and more in-depth treatment by someone like Jon, O-deezy, Jeff or Cheo in the future.
Grammy night is the the time when the mainstream music industry takes the time to pat itself on the back with awards for all the generic sounds they've managed to shove down our collective throats during the previous year but f-ck joining in on the circle jerk. The rest of today's post is all about supporting independent music (even if it looks like the major labels have already killed any shot of indie labels and artists being able, as was the hope of many, to compete on a level playing field with them in the still-nascent digital music marketplace):
Wordsmiths - Hashim's hip hop group. Still active, fam?
Shout to my man Carlos Mena (formerly of Bay Area jazz-rap act 10 Bass T) whose solo album hip-hop meditations, a sweet blend of mellow, jazzy hip hop and coffee-house spoken word & poetry, is on sale now from Bomb Hip Hop records (this has to be run by dude who did the classic early 90's Bay area hip hop 'zine of the same name, right?). Featuring Speech from Arrested Development, this might be a little too heavy on the dorm room, bong hits 'n' bongos vibe for some but is recommended for any folks into the "Umi Says" side of Mos Def or those monologues that homeboy, whose name I forget, from Society of Soul used to to do on the early Outkast and Goodie Mob albums.
And while you're mellowing out, throw on the Necks Move album by the Deep Thinkers on Datura Records when that drops early next month (the 8th I believe). Jazzy hip hop in a mid-90's, post-Native Tongues mold (think the hip hop on the Seven Heads label) that can also be compared to current hip hop and electronica acts like Dead Prez, Zion I, Shadow Huntaz, Anti Pop Consortium, Prefuse 73, Amon Tobin, Diplo and, Dabrye with it's use of drum n bass-style production, the breaks and samples instrumental track "Kiss the Sky" was one of my favorites on the album. Worth investigating.
I've started seeing ads for major label releases using the technology recently but producer Josh One's Narrow Path album was one of the first independent albums released (last December) in the DualDisc format where one side is a traditional CD and the other side is a DVD-Audio disc complete with 5.1 surround sound mixes of the entire album along with other multimedia content.
You can also put the disc in your computer's DVD-ROM drive and, using the DVDLauncher (accessible at DVDLauncher.com), access even more bonus features including portable music files of the entire album in surround sound that you can upload to your iPod or other mp3 players as well as other renewable bonus content like photos, bonus tracks, lyrics, web links, artist & album info and new release schedules, all of which will apparently be continuously updated. The album itself is a nice mix of dubby and soulful downtempo type tracks with some hip hop thrown in the mix including a collab with Mikah 9 (of Freestyle Fellowship).
Listen to tracks from Narrow Path:
- "Miss Me" real | windows
- "Midnight Samba" real | windows
- "Endless" real | windows
Buy Narrow Path
itunes users (of which I am not one since I don't own an iPod or have a new enough OS on my PC to support the software), cop the first four volumes of the Another Cup compilation series from my man Greg Z's Stickman Records electronica music label.
Heavyelectromagneticsoularpoeticjunglehop is not only the name of Jennifer John's album but a reasonably apt description of its contents without stretching the title to a two line long one-word title to acknowledge all the styles she incorporates into her music. Homegirl's been compared to Jill Scott and Goapele but she's got her own flavor although, if I was her, I would have stayed away from trying to cover Sade's "Cherish the Day" rather than include the tepid remake she has on the album. For more details though, click here and also download the exclusive promo-only track "Ghetto Stories" (flippin' the East Flatbush Project's classic "Tried By 12" beat to good effect) for a preview of her steez. She should have put that one on the album instead of the Sade cover though.
And finally, please don't forget my man Bathgate whose single is out and on sale now (BTW: thanks, EJ).
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Better than yours? MTA, fall back.
Like Skillz said in his "2004 Rap Up":
"Hottest show on TV? Hands down that would have to be The Wire
Can't believe Stringer got killed
I been to B-More trust me, The Wire is real"
But on a more positive note: a brother on the serious come-up.
"It's not hip hop, it's electro" - one of many great lines from this funny movie.
I shouldn't even link this since his label fronted on my peoples, but here's a 3-track preview of the upcoming Z-trip album. Catchdubs is stoopid for tagging this "scion-hop." I'd never heard that term before but I knew exactly what he meant when I read it.
Gorillaz "Dirty Harry" (prod. by Danger Mouse? Link spotted via Spine mag)
A chance to win an iPod Shuffle loaded with music picked by M.I.A. courtesy of her and XL recordings by listening to the track "Pull up the People" from her soon-come album Arular.
I don't really have anything to say about the Voice's Pazz & Jop critic's poll since it's so predictable in its results except, why so low for "Lean Back" while "99 Problems" (which I do like) is #2? Rockism rears it's ugly head again?
T-dotter's and those who love that great city - subway station buttons (spotted via Boing Boing)
The world's smallest Pac-man game?
Reality X - the porno American Idol?
Nike id Dunks? Suh-weet!
Embarrassing - a Saskatchewan, Canada town wants its $10,000 tsunami donation back.
Cole Marcus - "the amazing 4 year old drummer."
Finally, you've probably seen this before but what kind of blogger are you?
Contests are back. Here's you chance to win two of the best underground hip hop CD's released in 2004, by RA the Rugged Man and Vordul Mega, by just answering both of the following simple questions:
1. Name one of the producers on The Revolution of Yung Havoks.
2. What was the name of the first record label RA was signed to?
Not knowing about Mega and RA and why these CD's are worth trying to win? Here's a little info on both artists.
Banned from performing live in most of the United States from 1995 to 1998, banned from recording studios and damn near every rap label that ever existed, R.A. the Rugged Man is finally back for revenge. While most rappers live in a world of fantasy, R.A. is one of the few MC's that you can guarantee his rhymes are real life - as sick as it might sound. When asked about R.A., Biggie Smalls was once quoted as saying "I thought I was the illest."
With the release of the album Die, Rugged Man, Die featuring tracks with Killah Priest and Wu-Tang Clan's Masta Killa, fans will finally get to see R.A.'s real-life struggles through his notoriously demented world view. It's a long overdue chance to prove himself, not only for his outrageous antics, but also for a musical and lyrical genius that until now has been overshadowed by controversy and fear in the industry.
- Listen to RA The Rugged Man "Lessons" from Die, Rugged Man, Die
- Buy Die, Rugged Man, Die here.
Vordul Mega 101
Best known for being one half of the incredible group Cannibal Ox and a member of the Atoms Family, Vordul Mega is far from an ordinary MC. Vordul is the epitome of the new breed of street mic specialist with his smooth flow and vivid descriptions of urban life. Heads that heard Ox's critically acclaimed debut in 2001, Cold Vein, could grasp what Vordul is fully capable of. However, he was only getting warmed up.
In early November of 2004, Vordul's The Revolution of Young Havoks LP, his first solo project on Nature Sounds, was released. Vordul's influences vary from rock and roll to old school hip-hop of the eighties but, most of all, he was influenced by what he saw on a daily basis living in Harlem, NY. "It's like dropping bombs from spaceships" Vordul explains of his approach to music. "The spaceship is unknown, it's some sh-t you don't know, but the bomb is some sh-t you know and understand."
- Listen to Vordul Mega "Spitamatic" feat. C. Rayz Walz from The Revolution of Yung Havoks
- Buy The Revolution of Yung Havoks here.
For more info on either RA or Vordul Mega (and the answers to the questions if you don't know them), click here to access the Nature Sounds record label official website.
Email contest answers here (Subject Line: "Nature Sounds contest"). Contest will close 11:59:59pm on Sunday, February 20th. Don't be shy about entering. Your odds of winning, like the soft drink sweepstakes rules say, depends on the number of entries received but, trust me, they are a lot better than you think.
The worst NSA ever set to now best Henry Kissinger as the worst ever Secretary of State
From here on out, I might not have as much time to really digest, comment and post regularly on news and current events in a timely fashion as I have in the past. For those who check this site for the news links (and I urge you do so because man cannot live on Common mp3's alone), in the case of a lack of posts on my part, I recommend you keep up by reading some of the fine sites I have bookmarked here and here. Short of that, these sites here, here and here are always recommended for a quick but insightful take on the most relevant stories in play.
In any case, here's a rundown of the most important stuff I missed from the past week or so:
52 warnings before 9/11. Fifty-two - let that sink in for a minute....
and then consider also that... a January 2001 Memo to Rice Warned of US Al Qaeda Threat and Offered Plan to Eliminate Them. [emphasis added]
Worse than Rathergate - where's the outrage on the Right now? Or is it OK for the reporters to be admitted to the White House press corps. under assumed names because of insufficent, or wilful lack of, vetting? (related: Democrats Want Investigation of Reporter Using Fake Name)
You knew Gonzales was gonna get confirmed regardless but f-ck Joe Lieberman for rolling over for the GOP anyway.
After lying about it to begin with, the Bush administration now admits the new estimate of the cost of the Medicare drug benefit over the next 10 years would be nearly double intial figures jumping to $720 million. (update: make that $1.2 trillion?)
FBI urged to scrap or overhaul their $170 million terrorism computer system. Even their "secure" email system was hacked. God help us when Al-Qaeda gets their cyberterror game tight.
"Freedom and democracy" at work right here in the US - some barred from Bush's North Dakota speech.
Officials Back Away from Early Estimates of High Iraqi Voter Turnout.
Election Time: Americans 'liberated' Iraq, but it's hard to find anyone who is grateful. (full story "Free To Be Angry" from Newsweek)
A senior US Marine general on commanding forces in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars - "It's fun to shoot some people."
The Return of the Draft - with the army desperate for recruits, should college students be packing their bags for Canada? (Rolling Stone)
Many Iraqi Troops Not Fully Trained, U.S. Officials Say.
Senator Kennedy says vehicle armoring program in Iraq still lagging.
Rumsfeld Says He Offered to Quit Twice - after everything that's happened, i'd say it's a telling indictment of Bush's "leadership" skills that he didn't take him up on the offers.
And while the US tries to clean up their mess in Iraq, the real WMD crises in Iran and North Korea only gets worse.
But Halliburton's Been Doing Business With the 'Axis of Evil' (again).
Newly discovered tapes have revealed how the energy corporation Enron shut down at least one power plant on false pretences, deliberately aggravating California's crippling 2001 blackouts with the aim of raising prices. (full story from The Guardian)
Wal-Mart set to close the only store in North America where workers were able to unionize. (related: Wal-Mart Chief Defends Closing Unionized Store)
I'll save all the social security drama for a separate post some time soon but in advance of that, does anyone have an mp3 link to the bumbling response Bush gave to a question in one of his Social Security "Town Hall" meetings on Thursday 'cos I need that?