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Friday, January 30, 2004

Energy Drinks: the essential new hip hop accessory and is Dr Dre's Detox going to be 'The Most Advanced Rap Album Ever?'  

Image courtesy:

You gotta support a newspaper that clearly has b-boys writing their news stories plus it's free! From today's AM-New York paper cover story "We''ll catch him: U.S. Military says it will get bin Laden by the end of the year":
"Bin Laden's ability to continually elude capture and issue videotapes faster than underground rappers put out mixtapes, more than two years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, has frustrated the military."
How gangsta is that?

And how many times is MTV gonna pimp the Candid Camera premise after they won with that corny-ass Punk'd Show?: MTV's Boiling Points.

Via Pop Life:

Limbo Rap: will any of these long-awaited urban releases reach your ears this year? (Cleveland New Times)

But I don't mind album release delays when I read stuff like this: Dr. Dre's Detox 'The Most Advanced Rap Album Ever,' Co-Producer Says. (MTV News)

OK I finally figured out who's behind the R&B track sampling Camp Lo's "Luchini (AKA This Is It)" and featuring Sheek & Jada I mentioned a couple weeks back that I had been hearing on Sunny's Hot 97 midday show. Apparently it's by some dude named Rashad (who he?), it's called "Sweet Misery" and it's on the Brooklyn record store Beat Street's record label. (mp3 link courtesy: Piccadilly Records Manchester)

Anyone heard this Challah Twins mixtape by Samantha & Mark Ronson done for Rocafella? Apparently the tracklisting runs through everything from freestyles by the Young Gunz to a "Threat (Ronson remix)" credited to Jay-Z featuring The Darkness, which
then segues into the Darkness's "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" the "Jetsettermusicletter"
by Morningwood. There are also supposedly songs by Til Tuesday, Thompson Twins, The Smiths, and a song credited to Dead Prez feat. Coldplay on the tape too. Sounds more like Rhino compilation than a mixtape to me.

How comes there's no outcry when K-Rock NY plays Jet's "Cold Hearted B----" unedited at 12:30 in the afternoon?

Are energy drinks the news clothing lines for rappers and hiphopreneurs? First Nelly's Pimp Juice, Russell Simmons' Def Con 3 and now Liquid Ice from Ice-T.
Related reading:
- The Rap on Energy Drinks. (NACS online)
- Energy drinks get their hip-hop on. (USA Today)

And don't forget the non-hip hop energy drinks Bawls and Sumpoosie.

Or for the status seekers with no brains: $30 a litre diet water. (New Zealand Herald)

And finally, anyone seen that Audi A4 Quattro TV ad with the fake Strokes "12:51" track as the music bed? WTF?

PS: looks like my PC woes are finally over. Another couple hours on the phone with Dell's Tech support last night got me back my audio and left me with more knowledge on how to install and uninstall modem and sound cards that I would have ever cared to have. Thanks to all those who offered words of support or advice on how to sort out my problems.

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Special Police Blotter edition 

Image courtesy: Reuters via The Telegraph UK)

Them Dirty South ridaz sure know how to keep it extra gulley. First Mystikal, Drama, C-Muder, Pimp C of UGK and now Young Turk of the Hot Boyz. (SOHH)

And James Brown again. (Augusta Chronicle)

Or is it just something in the air down south that also got to Faith Evans since she moved down to the ATL to live. (MTV News)

Of course, I say all that the recent news about Spigg Nice of the Lost Boyz wilin' out in New Jerz notwithstanding.

Def Jam jumps on the St. Louis bandwagon (Nelly, Chingy, J-Kwon) with First Draft's "Too Many People" single.

But will they still be able to fix their soundscan sales as alleged in a recently filed lawsuit? Looks like Lyor's jetted just in time leaving everyone else holding the baby. (Los Angeles Times)

So after I dogged Franz Ferdinand (not really, but they kind of caught it during my tirade against the increasingly useless NME yesterday) it turns out Metro Area's Morgan Geist has remixed their new single "Take Me Out" into a supposedly hot punk-funk anthem. Of course the soundcard on my PC is still (amongst other problems) not working so I can't tell you if this is any good myself or not, but, assuming you're into this kind of thing, drop a comment below and let me know if I'm missing anything here. (mp3 sample courtesy: Piccadilly Records Manchester)

Also spotted while I was on the Piccadilly Records site: I mentioned this single way back in September of last year and put it on my 2003 wrap-up list of singles so check out Nina Nixon & Patric C's "Nixxxon Flash" from the Lost Treasures compilation on Make Some Noise. (mp3 sample courtesy: Piccadilly Records Manchester)

And yet even more mp3 action:

Tired of the new Air album already? Download the new Zero 7 track "Home" (also remixed by Stereolab) here (NB: download is not free but 30 second clip is available here).

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

What happened to the NME and has Royce Da 5'9 finally come correct? 

James Ridgeway re-examines the issue of whether Bush was a deserter in "Operation Desert Guard: Bush's War Record: Missing, Inaction." (Village Voice)

I used to love reading the UK music weekly the New Musical Express for it's great journalism and scoops on acts that wouldn't hit the US for months, but the magazine has slowly devolved into a pale shadow of its former self in the last couple years. The most recent issue I received (Jan. 10) confirmed why I'm probably right to let my subscription lapse once the last issue has been mailed this time around:

- current buzz indie band and magazine cover stars Franz Ferdinand are described as the "band [that] will change your life!" I've gotten used to the NME hype over the years but come on!

- Nelly's cornball cash-in remix album Da Derrty Version: The Reinvention is rated a 9/10 and described as "brrilliant (sic)." If there's been a worse hip hop album this past year, somebody please comment below and let me know so I can avoid it at all costs.

On the the other hand, they do rate Lil Jon #3 on their Hot List for 2004 (I guess the crunk sound is only just now making it to the UK) and I'm also curious to hear some stuff on two new female garage MC's they tout: MC Shystie and Lady Sovereign. Next to blow after Dizzee and Dynamite, who knows?

I'm hoping this will lay to rest any need for me to continue posting on the Em vs. Source beef: "Eminem A Racist? Source's Source Chaos Kid Says No Way." (MTV News)

And I'm loving the new Primo-produced track "Hip Hop" by former Slim Shady affiliate Royce Da 5'9". Hip Hop for real, indeed. (mp3 sample courtesy:

But why should consumers care about music when the music industry obviously doesn't: Own a Piece of Elvis® History.
Related reading: All Shook Up Over Cutting and Selling of Elvis Tape. (New York Times)

Douglas Wolk asks the question: "How Bad a Year? Music biz recovery means suing and firing more people" in his Voice "The Sound of The Industry" column. (Village Voice)

And LA Reid is labeled "A Casualty of a Roiling Music Industry" (New York Times via Whatevs)

Coming soon: N*E*R*D's Billionaire Boys Club clothing line and Ice Cream sneaker line via Reebok. (Star Trak Press Release)

Female football comes to NY and I didn't even know there was a Women’s Professional Football League to begin with. (Crain's)

But while we're on the topic of women's sports, Track & Field great Fanny Blankers-Koen R.I.P. (

My PC is still buggin' out, I'm getting no sound, the monitor goes into "power save" mode all the time and it's crashing and/or not booting up so the Dell Tech Support Center (in Austin TX supposedly, I asked. Yeah right!) offered me the brillliant suggestion of reinstalling the Windows OS. Bottom line, depending on how long this takes to get right (I'm not tech adept at all), this might be my last post for a while. I guess this might be an excuse to upgrade to Windows XP?

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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Visit The Tofu Hut and get to know the Scissor Sisters 

A new "The Hot Ish" list is up in the sidebar at left. As always, some links are active so mouse over and click to hear mp3's or to buy music. (NB: Old lists are moved to the bottom of the sidebar.)

The rise of "permission culture" and the "Copy Left" movement's efforts to thwart the growth of the passive "broadcast model" of cultural consumption are explored in Robert S. Boynton's article "The Tyranny of Copyright?" (NY Times)

Clay Shirky examines the question of whether Howard Dean's pioneering use of social software and new media platforms like blogging may have actually hurt rather than helped his campaign in "Is Social Software Bad for the Dean Camapign?" (Corante)

F-cks with John's blog The Tofu Hut. It's unclassifiable which makes it that much more worth reading. He loves Style Wars too but then again, who with any taste doesn't?

Clyde at Hip Hop Logic is back to posting regularly and is dropping some quality jewels on regional and national hip hop ish. Peep it.

And here's a reasoned and thoughtful assessment of the music industry's stance vis-a-vis the P2P, file trading issue. (via Enraged Baboon Industries.)

The new Air album Talkie Walkie is fantastic. More later if I can be bothered to put some coherent thoughts together about it.

Get ready for the Scissor Sisters, an NYC electro-glam-disco female duo breaking out of the UK first (just like The Strokes!) and making the kind of music that, like Kelis, is helping to restore pop music's good name. Their first single, a cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb", really doesn't even really do them justice if other tracks I've heard online are any indication. (UPDATE: turns out this group is, contrary to their name, actually a co-ed duo which I would have known had I been at their Jan. 10 show at the Bowery Ballroom. I only just found out about this from reading the Jan. 24 issue of NME that arrived in the mail this afternoon. Shows you how plugged in I am that I have to find out about events in my hometown from a British magazine! WTF?)

Is LA Reid heading to Def Jam? The NY Daily News hints at it while others are saying it's already a done deal just waiting to be formally announced. I'm a Reid admirer but this just seems like a bad fit to me, he's way too flossy for a label that became successful by perfectly combining the grimey with the corporate. LA's a badly underestimated creative force in the game though, so I won't write him off completely if he makes a move there.

Liked Mulholland Drive? Check out David Cronenberg's Spider, a well-directed psychological drama featuring two incredible performances by Ralph Fiennes and Miranda Richardson.

Music video director Joesph Kahn on his feature directorial debut Torque in Spin magazine: "I hate those movies like The Fast and the Furious, they look like shit. They have crappy lighting and cheesy dialogue." Based on this trailer, it looks like Joseph's talking out the side of his mouth because, to my eyes, it looks like he's been hawking F&F pretty hard before shooting his own movie.

Looks like our Minority Report future has arrived: Philips to Launch A Roll-Up E-Newspaper. (NY Post)

And finally, Walmart is coming to NYC. Sam Walton's empire has finally done it, they have managed to Wal-Martize the entire country. (Daily News)

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Monday, January 26, 2004

"At this point, there appears to be no justification for this shooting." 

I've been having hella problems with my computer over the past couple of days so postings might be infrequent this week.

Finally, good news in the presidential race: new poll shows Kerry leading Bush in race for presidency. (AP via Houston News 24)

And not so good news here in NYC: cop kills unarmed teen. "At this point, based on the facts we have gathered, there appears to be no justification for this shooting. This is a tragic incident that compels us to take an in-depth look at the tactics and training for new and veteran officers."--NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly (NY Daily News)

Sour grapes? "Dean: Caucuses should change" Negative attacks at meetings must be halted, he says. (Chicago Tribune)

On the Iraq War front: The CIA's chief weapons hunter resigned Friday, saying he did not believe the stockpiles of deadly weapons used by the White House as a major justification to invade Iraq existed before the war. (Chicago Tribune)

I stand by my comments that the Eminem-Source battle is getting tedious but it's hard to ignore the recent developments. Slim Shady strikes back in the XXL magazine that hit stands last week. Read Elliot Wilson's editorial on it here.

And on the other side of the beef, last Thursday's edition of NYC free paper AM-New York quotes a Source mag "insider" in the article "Is Eminem The Source's Moby Dick" as speculating that the magazine is on the verge of closing as employee pay checks bounce, key execs quit and big accounts like Phat Farm pull their ads. I've also heard their major Em cover issue with the CD of racist rhyme snippets is not really selling that well either.

Clarification on a rumor I posted last week: according to my peoples on staff at the Roc, it's apparently not the Diplomats jetting to Koch Records, only Jim Jones. I'd say that qualifies as a double "Who cares?" now. I think anyone still over there in the Def Jam building has bigger problems to worry about though now that it's public news that Lyor is bouncing to head up the newly-independent WMG. Supposedly Kevin Liles is going over there with him also. (Crains)

Hot 97's "Renegade Radio" morning show reports today that mediocre R&B singer and brother of Brandy, Ray J is set to join B2K replacing Omarion. Best line from the listener call-in response: "Ray-J can't join B2K, he's mad old." Damn, now that makes me feel old.

Blogged about ad nauseum in advance of it's actual release: do White Album samples plus Black Album acapellas=Grey Album post-modern music genius? Sample it here and decide for yourself. (via Sandbox Automatic)

I was a little sheepish admitting that I actually like the new Courtney Love single "Mono" last week, but I was happy to see that Sasha over at S/FJ agrees with me. Glad to be in such esteemed company.

And finally, is this wishful thinking on the part of the music industry?: Sony Says Music Sales Are Recovering. (Reuters)

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Friday, January 23, 2004

Blair & Bush's Endless Love and the story behind "emo-rap." 

Slug of emo-rap titans Atmosphere
Image courtesy: © 2004 The MSU Reporter

OK this is my last word on the Howard Dean "Goes Nuts" remix fad (probably):
- MTV's coverage here.
- Howard Dean "Through the lo-wire" (via Jay, thanks for the link love over at Okayplayer too.)

Genuine advice or diversionary tactic by the opposition? Conservative commentator David Brooks grades the Democratic presidential candidates in three categories in "My Crossover Vote." (New York Times)

Russell Simmons, former housing secretary Andrew Cuomo and Benjamin Chavis of Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit Action Network have been ordered to appear in court February 9 to prove they have complied with subpoenas issued by the state Lobbying Commission. (Newsday)

Some things to think about:

- Must we dismantle democracy at home in order to export it overseas?

- When did the fake news become more important than the real news?

- Why does the state care whom you marry?

My question: why are these issues being discussed in a subway ad camapign for the New School University rather than in any serious way by the mass media?

Meanwhile in Canada:

RCMP officers raid the home and office of an Ottawa Citizen reporter yesterday--the same day a Canadian judge enshrined protection of sources in another case--over information leaked to her about a U.S. decision to a ship terror suspect to Syria. The media denounce the police action. (Toronto Star; National Post)

OK, now it's becoming clearer. And this Is Canada! They don't even have the Patriot Act there (yet).

Maybe, Art Garfunkel should move to Canada though: Ontario, A place to live and a place to grow... (via Rick Mercer's Monday Report/CBC Television, thanks Nadine.)

George Bush and Tony Blair: it really is "Endless Love." (via note: requires Apple Quicktime player and could take a while to load)

Irony overload: 20 teens, sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for unauthorized music downloading, will appear in a Pepsi-Cola ad that kicks off a two-month offer of up to 100 million free — and legal — downloads from Apple's iTunes. The band Green Day cut a special version of the Bobby Fuller Four's 1966 hit "I Fought the Law" for the ad. (USA Today)

Evidence that they are meaningless: how did R. Kelly get nominated for an NAACP Image award?!? (EURWeb)

The story behind how Puma came back from the dead to became a hipster fashion must-have by Abigail Townsend. (Independent UK)

Jon Caramanica examines the, mostly-white, phenomenon of emo-hip hop in this month's edition of Spin magazine but, like he even states in the article: aren't uber street and "gangsta" rappers like 2pac, Scarface and Ghostface the real pioneers of this so-called new genre?

More mp3 action via

A super-backpack confab as Dilated Peoples collab with Kanye West on "This Way"

I guess that new Redman joint is actually called "The Saga Continues", not "The Countdown" like I originally thought.

Forget "Gangster Girl" by The R and the #1 Stunna, get ready for The Best of Both Hoods, a full-length collabo in the works between Cam'ron and Jaheim.

I've already said I'm feeling "Yeah" by the LCD Soundsystem (mp3 courtesy: TurntableLab) but I think The Trammps have strong grounds to sue for the pretty hefty bite James Murphy took out of their classic "Disco Inferno" (mp3 courtesy: Trammp's Official website).

No links for these one but here's more stuff that I'm feeling: Petey Pablo "Freek-a-Leek", Akon feat. Styles P "Locked Up (remix)" and new jumpoff's I don't even know the names of by Knoc'turnal w/ Snoop Dogg ("Way I Am" maybe?)and Tweet w/ Ghostface.

Pharrell tells Tim Westwood he's produced a heater for Jadakiss's new album called "Hot Sauce to Go." Speaking of Pharell, has N*E*R*D jetted from Arista to Interscope in advance of the release of their Fly or Die sophomore album? Is their Star Track label going with them?

Beatport: the download site "by DJs for DJs."

Blog Alert:

Tech types, check blog, run by former staffers of The Industry Standard magazine.

Gawker goes to Washington with Wonkette, an online roundup of gossip from Washington, DC and the US political arena.

And how good (or evil) is your blog or website? Use the The Gematriculator to find out (via Skrufff-E).

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Thursday, January 22, 2004

Is Master P broke? 

Images courtesy: Popfeed

Not sure if this is breaking news or not but Popfeed reports that "Master P files for bankruptcy" (although it looks more like the corporate bankruptcy of his No Limit label rather than a personal bankruptcy). Is this the official beginning of the end of the bling era?

And more unconfirmed rumors also swirling around:

Kedar out at Motown/Universal.

Sylvia out at Elektra.

For my indie rock folkers: Sub Pop spoofs Pitchfork (spotted via Mishpucha).

More if I hear about it.

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Will Stat Quo be the next superstar from Shady/Aftermath? 

Image courtesy: Stephen Jaffe / AFP-Getty Images & MSNBC/Newsweek

Contrary to the rosy outlook presented by George W. Bush during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, there's a "A Serious Jobs Crisis." (Newsweek)
Related reading/listening: NOFX's take on our Commader-in-Chief

Similar to the Political Compass mentioned a while back: the 2004 American Presidential Candidate Selector (via

Forget all the various Black Album remix albums flooding the market currently, it's all about the Howard Dean Iowa speech remixes now as all the bottom-trawlers googling "Howard Dean Goes Nuts" well know. Best of the bunch: Howard Dean w/ Lil Jon "Dean Throws it up for America."
Related viewing: Dean attempts to set the record straight by sitting, with his wife, for an interview with Diane Sawyer tonight on ABC.

CBS f-cking up again?: CBS Cuts MoveOn, Allows White House Ads During Super Bowl. (
Related reading: Turn the Screws on CBS by signing up here to boycott the network on Superbowl Day.

Get well soon, to the G.O.D. MC (MTV News)

Stat Quo: the next superstar out of the Shady/Aftermath camp? (HITS Daily Double)
Related listening (courtesy
Dr. Dre introduces Stat Quo "Freestyle"
Stat Quo "The Future"
Stat Quo "Problems"

Eric at Stinkzone bucks the trend of Dizzee Rascal mania overtaking the US music press currently and is not impressed by the UK's finest.

Rumors and more rumors via

It's a wrap for Outkast as a group for real but they just ain't confirming it until y'all stop buying the album and putting it back up to the top of the charts. (Billboard)

The Diplomats exit the Roc for Koch Records. Like, who really cares?

But Mos Def & Talib Kweli are signing to the Roc? Not that crazy a notion when you consider that Kanye West is currently carrying the label on his back while Hov is in "retirement."

And Nas is droppping three joints this year? I'll believe it when I see it plus Nas is someone who seems to fare a lot better when he exerts some severe quality control over his commerical output.

Knoc'turnal says it's a wrap for Westside Connection on Hot 97 this morning due to beef betwen Mack 10 and Ice Cube over Cube's desire to begin focusing on the N.W.A. reunion project and reviving Da Lench Mob.

Inside sources tell me that the first single from the upcoming N*E*R*D project is a hooklesss non-hit. As a major fan of In Search Of... though, I'll reserve judgement until I hear it for myself. (UPDATE: this track, "She Wants to Move," is available at the N*E*R*D website and is hot for those into the space-age funk-soul the Neptunes have been doing for Justin Timberlake or on tracks like "Frontin'." I might be on drugs but its got a bit of an Adam and the Ants vibe to my ears.)

I was also a fan of Groove Theory and the Infinite Possibilities album, but is Amel Larrieux's new Bravebird album any good?

More mp3 heat:

The Game feat. Lil Flip and Young Zee "Stunt 187" (the "Stunt 101" remix courtesy

Grafh "I Don't Care": look out for this cos it's a sleeper club banger from the "NFL Street" video game album soundtrack. (courtesy: sony music)

Courtney Love "Mono": I know she's a f-cking idiot 95+% of the time but I can't front, when she gets focused, Courtney Love can make some good-ass music. Not sure how the rest of the world feels about it, but "Mono" is a helluva single to me plus it's apparently co-produced or written by ex-4 Non-Blondes member and Pink & Christina Aguilera collaborator Linda Perry if you can believe it (courtesy: Virgin Records).

Hank Stuever mourns the end of the analog era (what, like there's not still vinyl being sold?) with the death of the audio cassette in "Unspooled." (Washington Post)

And speaking of the black gold, for all you vinyl junkies out there:

Jonny Sender is trimming down his vinyl collection this Saturday and Sunday and is will be selling at least 10-15 crates of wax (12”s, LP’s, 7”s) including Hip Hop - House - R&B LPs - Reggae 7"s - Disco Classics, promos - And other weird esoterica.

Records are priced to move.... The vast majority for $1 to $5

SATURDAY: 2 till 6 PM
SUNDAY: 3 till 6 PM

Location: 536 State Street (between Flatbush and 3rd Avenue) in Brooklyn.

(Directions: this is 1/2 a block from the Atlantic Ave. Subway stop about half way down the block from Radioshack that’s on Flatbush across from the Williamsburg Savings bank clocktower Building, which is now HSBC)

RSVP to Jonny by email and call 718.246.4091 for more details.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Howard Dean's Iowa rant remixed & the story behind The Game  

Image courtesy: NewYork Post

Dean "sounded like a Muppet being strangled": that now infamous rant in Iowa examined. (NY Post)
And remixed. (via Barlow Farms or Stereogum)
Related reading: Dean TV Performance Eviscerated On Air: ‘Worst Since Quayle’ (NY Observer)

Via Newsweek:
American policymakers made two grave mistakes after the war. The first was to occupy the country with too few troops, creating a security vacuum. This image of weakness was reinforced when Washington caved in to Sistani's objections last June, junked its original transition plan and sped things up to coincide with the American elections. The second mistake was to dismiss from the start the need for allies and international institutions. As a result, Washington is now governing Iraq with neither power nor legitimacy.
From "Bowing to the Mighty Ayatollah" by Fareed Zakaria.

Are we even in the right country? (Part III): The Syrian Connection.


Nukes: is the Intel on North Korea as Bad as It Was on Iraq? (read full article here)

Via MTV News:

Basement Elevation or B-boy Evolution? Either way it looks like Common is finally coming home.

And Eminem gets back at The Source in an ongoing battle that is rapidly becoming tedious.

But hopefully this news signals the end of it. (EURWeb via American Black)
Related reading: The Real History of The Source - Part One (

The music industry plays itself yet again: FBI Logo to Grace Music CDs. (Los Angeles Times)

Which is why stuff like this is happening: Warner Music Task Forces Seek Cost Cuts (Reuters)
A copy of the Warner Music Group layoff memo here. (via InternalMemos)

The real story on The Game from a friend of mine with an insider's view:

Contrary to published reports (San Jose Mercury News), he wasn't discovered by Sean T, he was discovered by JT The Bigga Figga, who flew him out to the Bay Area to record an album for his label Get Low Records. JT decided to have Sean T produce the entire album which is why people assume Sean discovered him.

Get Low eventually elected not to drop the album thinking it sounded too "East Coast" (Kanye West style sped-up soul samples etc.) and considered plans to drop a mixtape instead. Then Game got signed to Aftermath (after a bidding war including Death Row/Tha Row and Murder Inc) and Interscope stepped to Get Low about buying the unreleased masters for a high 5 figures amount with no success.

Jeff Chang on Dizzee Rascal in his article "Future Shock" (Village Voice)

Bounce: the Playground Magazine launches new website while the next print issue will hit newstands in June. To purchase the magazine, visit

Wanna buy Cam'ron's 2003 Pink Range Rover? (eBay motors via Mishpucha)

And I'll have you know I have several black Friendsters. (via The Onion)

Li'l GN'R: the first ever Guns N Roses kids tribute band.

While finally, disco-punk fans check out volume 4 in my man Jerome Sydenham's Space Lab Yellow compilation series which collects nine rare 80s disco synth-flavored joints including jumpoffs by The Clash, Modern Romance, Klein & MBO, Alexander Robotnick ("Dance Boy Dance"), Soft Cell, (ahem) Bronski Beat and more.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Post-Iowa thoughts and other stuff 

I have to admit I haven't followed the Democratic nomination race in any great detail thus far. Amongst the mainstream contenders there didn't seem to be much differentiation policy-wise based on the little I had read or seen. However, I tuned into MSNBC last night to watch the results of the Iowa caucus and formulated a few thoughts/comments as the candidates gave their post-caucus speeches:

- Momentum trumped Organziation as Kerry and Edwards bounced back from being way down to #1 and 2 in the caucus while Dean flamed out with a disappointing and distant 18% third place showing and Gephardt, who has years of campaign experience in Iowa and was counting on a first place showing in the caucus, came in fourth.

- Kerry looks polished but still a bit canned and stiff as a candidate. He's not quite as bad, but I got Al Gore 2000 flashbacks watching him speak.

- Dean will probably come out of Iowa hurt the most, not just by his unexpectedly poor showing, but also his attrocious post-caucus speech which had me questioning whether he's really built for this. His policy & substance-free wrestling match-style bravado and repeated state-by-state run-downs epitomized the largely issue-less camapaign he seems to have run so far. Dean's argument that he shoud be the Dem's nominee seems to have been based mostly on the fact that he was leading in the polls. He may have captured the imagination of many with his internet fundraising acumen and MeetUp-fueled organization building, but I think he's gonna need to really show and prove from here on out if he wants to stay in this race and be competitive.

- While I'm sure it was basically just a variation on the stump speech he's been giving throughout his campaign, John Edwards really caught my attention and ended up impressing me the most with his speech. He's been pilloried in the media for his sunny optimism (like this is a bad thing?), but as I heard him speak last night, he really struck me as the kind of guy that 1) could really go toe-to-toe with Bush in the election race and be both competitive and electable 2) was saying the kind of things that would resonate with both the Democratic core and undecided swing voters and 3) was the kind of figure who could help heal and bring this country, which has been sharply polarised on a variety of issues but in particular any issues relating to the Iraq War/War on terror, together.

I'm not sure where Lieberman stands in this polls, given that he (and Clark) both sat out the Iowa caucus, but this is now looking like at least a 4-way race now between Kerrry, Edwards, Clark and, an increasingly weak, Dean. Like many, I have a whole lot more research to do before I feel I can make a decision as to which candidate to support, but now that I've take my first look, I at least have the beginnings of some context within which to make a final decision.

Of course, Bush has now stolen the spotlight and any political media coverage from the Dems by scheduling his State of the Union address for tonight. Expect more empty words disguised in the rhetoric of his "compassionate conservativism."

Worth considering: History shows the stock market does better under Democrats. (CNN Money via David James Group)

Sharpton falters on campaign trail: D.C. voters, local black politicians not impressed; he may be happy with hype. (Crain's)

Download classic tracks from the Warp records catalog via their Bleep Music download service.

Jadakiss "Kiss of Death" mp3 for you (courtesy

Is Beezel's "See About Ya" feat. Bone Crusher and David Banner on Def Jam South going to be this year's "Never Scared"?

The return of the 45th generation Roman: "You're Fit and You Know It" is the first single from The Streets sophomore album as reported in the Jan. 3rd NME.

Janet Jackson produced by Dallas Austin (most recently of Kelis Tasty fame)? This could be GREAT look for her. (MTV News)

Sorority/Fraternity Life meets Bad Boy's Making the Band? The new Black college reality show College Hill begins airing on BET starting January 28.

The anti-Newlyweds? Dave Navarro and Carmen Elektra in 'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave starting tomorrow on MTV.

And Puma has teamed with designer/architect Philippe Starck to create a new minimalist/modern sneaker line to debut this Fall. (via trendcentral™)

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Monday, January 19, 2004

Was that Lenin's doppelganger on the Fox NFL pre-game show last night? 

Help Build the Dream: the Martin Luther King memorial.

Events for Martin Luther King Jr. Day (via The King Center)

The Iowa caucuses explained. (via C-Span)

Bush sidesteps congress and installs federal judge Charles Pickering. (Boston Globe)

Microsoft vs. Mikerowesoft. (Ananova)

Marc Weiss: the DJ Chef.

Am I out of mind or did Terry Bradshaw look like the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin on the Fox pre-game show last night?

Image courtesy: Time

WTF is the deal with this picture? I don't even know how they have the nerve to try and connect American Idol to the Beatles in any way, even with rumors of Paul McCartney appearing as a guest judge at some point during the new season which begins tonight. (USA Today)

And finally: was I missing anything positive about the movie The Four Feathers? I just watched it yesterday and was really offended by its portrayls of the Sudanese and the (not even-that) back-handed celebration of Britain's white supremacy-fueled imperialism at the turn-of-the-last-century. And this was not off-set in any way by a focus on the "friendship" between characters played by Heath Ledger and Djimon Hounsou however well-intended. I'd be interested to hear other views on this movie though.

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Sunday, January 18, 2004

Hot whips and "No President has ever done more for human rights than I have." 

I'm not trying to encroach on the turf of my man Gabe's hip hop 'n' cars blog Almost Phamous but with the Detroit Auto show having just passed, I have to mention some of the new whips that caught my attention.

Pontiac has a hot looking sportscar?: the Pontiac Solstice.

And has Chevy figured out how to make station wagons looks cool again?: the Chevy Nomad.

If Saturn puts this into production, they might finally have produced a model people aren't embarassed to drive: the Saturn Curve.

Range Rover tries to bring it to the Porsche Cayenne: the Land Rover Range Stormer.

Do people with money really want to drive a Mercedes minivan (especially when the flop Chrsyler Pacifica can probably be bought for 30-grand less)?: the Mercedes-Benz Vision Grand Sports Tourer.

And is this the next truck for rappers with too much money to buy?: the 2004 Infiniti QX56.

Or is this?: the Lincoln Mark LT.

But for all y'all ballin'-on-a-budget like me:

Kia's fake Merecedes: the Amanti.

And Chrysler's fake Bentley: the 300C.

And, finally, a guy can dream: the 2004 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti.

Now everybody's writing articles on the marketing of hip hop culture: Say yes to logos -- Unlike rock, hip-hop has never been hung up on the idea of 'selling out.' (

The De La AOI action figures are now on sale at

The Alicia Keys bootleg reggae remix of "You Don't Know My Name" is finally available to buy on wax.

And also spotted at the Lab: O-Dub has a mixtape called Deep Covers.

Teenagers are taking over sports:

Michelle Wie just misses the cuts at the Hawaiian Open by one stroke but makes history by becoming the first woman to shoot a sub-par round in a PGA Tour event. (Reuters UK)

14 year old scccer phenom Freddy Adu goes as the number 1 pick in the MLS super draft signing with DC United. (CNN/Sports Illustrated)

Blogged about on many sites already but worth noting again, this has got to be best idea for a conceptual hip hop album since Prince Paul was hot: DJ Danjer Mouse's Grey Album.

How I missed this article when it came out the same day I wrote a whole post on the new Air album Talkie Walkie I don't know, but here ya go: Pause for a deep breath. (Guardian UK)

And finally, this really encapsulates why I don't like George W. Bush: George W. Bush tells the New Yorker writer Ken Auletta: "No President has ever done more for human rights than I have." (New York Daily News)

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Saturday, January 17, 2004

Real Poetry in Motion, some new mixtapes and Superfly RIP 

Iraqis agitate for quicker elections; U.S. stands firm. (Seattle Times)

Now they want to include the U.N. in Iraq? U.S. Wants U.N. to Send Team to Iraq to Determine if Elections Feasible. (Washington Post)

By the way, I can't even believe I missed posting about this when the story first broke a few days back: a scathing new report published by the Army War College broadly criticizes the Bush administration's handling of the war on terrorism, accusing it of taking a detour into an "unnecessary" war in Iraq and pursuing an "unrealistic" quest against terrorism that may lead to U.S. wars with states that pose no serious threat. (Washington Post)

Also: the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says Bush "systematically misrepresent[ed]" the threat posed by "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction" in a comprehensive report on post-war findings. (Guardian UK)

And here's the Center for American Progress on Bush's recently-announced Mars exploration plans:
New polls show that at a time of record deficits, the public is against spending billions on a Mars mission while cutting domestic priorities. Nonetheless, there is one company that has supported a Mars mission for years: Halliburton. The company, which was headed by Vice President Dick Cheney and is a major financial backer of the Administration, has long supported funding a Mars plan because it is good for its drilling technology business (it was also Cheney who spearheaded the Mars plan inside the White House).
Read the full article here.
Related reading: Halliburton unit may be subject of criminal probe. (Toronto Star)

Images courtesy:

Copped some new mixtapes this week. The best of the bunch was DJ Whoo Kid's SWAT: Global Mixtape Strike Team tape. Pimping his G-Unit/Aftermath affiliation for all it's worth, the tape is packed with exclusives and freestyles from hip hop's A-list (Hov, Snoop, 50 etc.) and the hottest newcomers like my new favorite MC The Game. This is pretty much a must-buy for fans of this style of hip hop.

DJ Clue's latest tape When Animals Attack is, with a few exceptions, pretty unmemorable stuff and kind of an unnecessary purchase if you're a regular listener of his "Monday Night Mixtape" show on Hot 97 where he's been playing many of the joints from this tape recently. The last track, a multi-artist freestyle session over Capone 'N Noreaga's "Banned from TV" beat, is some hot-ass thugged-out hip hop for those into that style though.

DJ Wat's Boss of the Bosses is recommended only for those Cam'ron fans who haven't bought any mixtapes in the past 6 months since it's basically a "Best of Cam" collection of his hottest unreleased tracks and freestyles. Kay Slay may have won the Best Commercial Mixtape DJ prize at this past week's Mixtape Awards, but he's gonna need to seriously step his game back up if he wants to maintain his rep on the streets. Like many of his recent tapes, The Drama Hour Part 9: Long Live the King is pretty lackluster sounding and real sloppy, even by street mixtape standards, production quality-wise with wildly varying sound levels throughout the tape and tracks inexplicably cutting off. Most of the unsigned artists cuts at the end are kind of wack too.

The one tape I need to check out that I keep hearing about though is the Kanye West promo mixtape Kon The Louis Vuitton Don.
Related reading: Lloyd Banks, Whoo Kid, Big Mike Win At Mixtape Awards. (MTV News)

Image courtesy: Just Bookz

BK/Queens MTA subway riders: look out for Blue "The A Train Poet" hawking his Corner Stores in the Middle of the Block collection of poems. You can also email him or click the Just Books link above to buy a copy.
Related reading: Why Wait for Def Poetry Jam? Spoken Word Artist, Blue, Makes Name For Himself on the NYC Transit System. (NY Poets)

Image courtesy:

Coming March 9th: Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G by my good friend and respected journalist Cheo Hodari Coker.

Just finished watching the gangster flicks Knockaround Guys and 1991's Billy Bathgate earlier this week. Briefly touching on the theme of the faded glory of the modern Mafia, Knockaround Guys seemed to be aspiring to a Sopranos/Goodfellas level of introspection about this well-documented world but it ended up basically being Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels with Brooklyn accents. That being said, John Malkovich was incredible as OG mafiosi Teddy. Billy Bathgate featured a star-packed cast headed by Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Willis and Nicole Kidman but the story wasn't quite epic enough to rank with the gangster greats and the film will probably end up being best-remembered for Kidman's full-on but pretty gratuitous two nude scenes.

Finally though, on the topic of movie gangsters, Ron "Superfly" O'Neal RIP. (

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Friday, January 16, 2004

Iraqis demand direct elections: tens of thousands of Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims have marched to chants of "No to America" as an aide to their spiritual leader warned of bigger protests if Washington rejects the majority group's call for elections. (Reuters UK)

Bush May Alter Iraq Handover Plan But Not Timeline. (Reuters)

Hundreds Protest, President Bush Puts Wreath on the Tomb of Martin Luther King Jr. (ABC News)

It's getting real tight in Iowa, is Dean blowing it? (Toronto Star)

New music quiz: Do You Know Your Music (Sorry MTV Generation I Doubt You Can Handle This One) My test result follows below, no idea which questions I may have gotten right or wrong though because there were a couple I wasn't too sure on. (Quizilla via Mindspray)

Good. You know your music. You should be able to work at Championship Vinyl with Rob, Dick and Barry.

Oliver "O-Dub" Wang acknowledges the 10th anniversary of Nas's classic Illmatic album at Pop Life. Ten tracks of VSOP-quality hip hop. New artists, please take note: quality, not quantity.

Here's a review of a new album by Ramm:Ell:Zee (of "Beat Bop" fame). I didn't even know he was still making records. (via Tufluv)

Beenie Man, get well soon. I only just figured out that dude was responsible, with Ms. Thing, for the track "Dude" that's been smashing clubs and radio for a minute now. (MTV News; mp3 link courtesy: TurntableLab)

I think that new Redman jumpoff is called "Countdown."

More heat for your stereo:

Ying Yang Twinz "Salt Shaker": yet another crunk anthem. The Dirty South keeps killin' it. (mp3 link courtesy: Sandbox Automatic)

Mentioned a while back, finally here's an mp3 link to "Never Let U Down" by Kanye West feat. Jay-Z & Saul Wiliams (courtesy: Listening to this along with "Jesus Walks," it looks like Kanye is bringing some real human emotion back to commercial hip hop.

Not sure why, but Slate reviews the new LeBron sneaker ad.

F-ck bashing Slim Shady, here's definitive proof that hip hop has gone too mainstream: You Got Served.

What is The Meatrix?

Still bored? Try the "Michael Jackson Head" online game.

And here's something to do after the long weekend:

BIG CED, GFC Entertainment and Direct Impulse invite you to the Grand Opening of....

"Happy Ending" Tuesdays

@ BSix Lounge
97 Bowery @ Hester Street

Tuesday, January 20th & every Tuesday thereafter

Music by Rob Flow
Doors open @ 6pm
2-for-1 drinks until 8pm
Dinner menu available

Hosted by:
BIG CED | LaMarr Jones | Brandon Howard | Kenny Mac | Bobby Jones | Tony Fair | Kirk Taylor | Eric Anderson

To join the BIG CED update list, send an email to BIG CED by clicking here.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend to all.

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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Cut the Losses, get the votes?  

Cut the Losses, get the votes? Bush's self-serving Iraq war exit strategy is examined by Rick Perlstein in "Last Copter out of Baghdad." (Village Voice)

U.S. Soldiers' Suicide Rate Is Up in Iraq (ABC News)
Related reading: "21 Suicides: U.S. Soldiers in Iraq are killing themselves at a high rate" by Chuck Bennett on the cover of today's amNewYork free paper (no weblink available).

Word is Carole Moseley Braun has dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president and is throwing her support to Howard Dean (at least according to the news on, ahem, The Howard Stern Show) but I can't find any articles online confirming this.

Image courtesy:

The Eminem-cover Source w/ the infamous 20 second snippet of his racist teen raps is on stands now? Do I need to really cop that? (UPDATE: I guess not, The Source article is now available, via, by clicking here)

Buy the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal record label via auction for $10,000. Damn, I think copies of issue 1 of Grand Royal magazine might be worth more than that on eBay. Related reading: The Beastie Boys' label up for grabs online. (Ananova)
Related reading: Radio Sees Nirvana of the 90's in Its Future. (New York Times)

I never thought there would be any reason ever that I would go to a Britney Spears show. Until now. (EURWeb)

Feargal Sharkey, lead singer for legendary teen pop-punk band The Undertones, has become a suit (and for the government, no less)? (Guardian UK)

Teenage girl's x-ray vision baffles scientists. (Ananova)

Media news:

'USA Weekend' Prints Unintended Racial Slur: A racial epithet was inadvertently embedded into the background text of an illustration in the upcoming edition of USA Weekend, according to the publication. (Editor & Publisher)

From the No-Surprise dept.: Did CBS News Buy Another Story? Jilted ABC Says Yes, They Did. (New York Observer)

Roger Ames also catches a bad one over at the Warner Music Group. (New York Post)

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

2003 YEAR END WRAP-UP: Special Mixtape Awards edition 

Images courtesy:

In honor of Justo's Mixtape Awards tonight, I finally decided to post my favorite mixtapes of 2003. Truthfully, this is a far from comprehensive list as I don't buy every tape that comes out and, more than likely, missed some heaters that dropped last year. I just hit my spot in Fulton Mall about once a month and I cop the 2-3 tapes that look the hottest without duplicating joints I already have. I also may have forgotten to chart some tapes from the first half of 2003 that merited it because I either lost them or they fell out of mind when I stopped playing them.

The mixtape market has become flooded with Clue-wannabe's all yelling over their tapes and the days where any real DJ skills are displayed on tapes seems to have long since passed (although I don't really peep the underground tapes so I can't say if it's still applicable in that world). Cats like Vlad and Green Lantern have stepped up the game though from merely dick ridin' artists for exCLUEsives or freestyles to actually creating their own by remixing classic and current tracks with new/different beats or rhymes from other artists. I agree with Madison from Diesel Nation that 2004 will see mixtapes continue to grow in popularity with more label-sanctioned mixtapes a la Fab's More Street Dreams and mixtape-style DVD's probably seeing release because of their low cost to produce relative to recording albums of all-new material.

Here's a few of the tapes that warranted repeat play in my stereo:

Big Mike/Kay Slay Go Hard or Go Home
Best track: Beanie Sigel feat. Young Chris – Beans to the Rhyme

Cutmaster CKeep Talkin’ Part 1
Best track: Busta Rhymes & Spliff Starr – Top Billin’ 2003

DJ ClueOperation Desert Storm (Vol. 2)
Best track: Jadakiss – Holla At Me; Jay-Z – Pump It Up freestyle

DJ CluePlease Don’t Throw Rocks at the Throne
Best track: Fabolous feat. The Game – Brooklyn to Compton freestyle

DJ Green LanternInvasion Part II: Conspiracy Theory
Best track: Eminem feat. 50 Cent & Busta Rhymes – Hail Mary

DJ Vlad & Dirty HarryRap Phenomenon (Part One & Two)
Best tracks: too hard to pick

DJ VladVlad the Butcher
Best tracks: Eminem freestyle; Diplomats & Eazy E – Certified Gangstas (Remix); G-Unit – Grind

HollertronixNever Scared

DJ Whoo Kid/ShadyvilleRewind the DVD mixtape

DJ Whoo KidWestside Reloaded
Best track: The Game – Ice Cream 2003

DJ Whoo Kid More Money in the Bank
Best track: Lloyd Banks, Brandy & Fabolous – Fallback. Why wasn't this on the G-Unit album?

Related reading:
Tales of the Tape: Mix CDs Radically Transform the Business and Culture of Hip-Hop by O-Dub (Village Voice)

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Game Over for Lil Flip and LA Reid, DFA strikes again and the story behind the Black Iraqi's 

Black Iraqi Sabeeh Youssef with his five-year old daughter Dua'a Sabeeh Youssef. (courtesy Washington Post)

Not that either of them are the first music video to use the backwards storyline gimmick, but is the new Beyonce video ripping off Coldplay's "The Scientist"?

It's a wrap for LA Reid at Arista. (HITS Daily Double)

This article (From Rap News Direct via Aeki Tuesday) says Rawkus will be done by end of this month, but my peoples say the doors already closed for good last Friday.

The details behind Tony Yayo's return home. Plus my new favorite rapper The Game is rumored to be joining the G-Unit? Shady/Aftermath are really trying to put this rap game in a permanent chokehold. (
Related: look for 50 and G-Unit on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

Recent audio heat:

Lil Flip "Game Over": a brand new southern crunk banger flipping some old school Pacman sound effects.

Jadakiss "Kiss of Death": a gully club anthem in the making, this year's "Made You Look" (or, at least, "2 Guns Up")?

Erick Sermon "Relentless" (via

Junior Senior "Shake Your Coconuts (DFA Remix)": once again I'm swinging on DFA's (coco-)nuts but these guys keep delivering. Bit of a Happy Mondays vibe on this one to my ears. (via:

Flex just dropped a new Redman joint in which he disses his own label (Def Jam) as having lost their soul.

Always good to see other blogs covering politics and hip hop in one go even if this one is a little heavy on the Slim Shady coverage: Gavin's Blog.

Art house/indie film lovers: own films on DVD before they open in theaters with Film Movement, the first DVD Club for truly first-run films.

Comical Ali: TV Pundit? How did this guy escape arrest? (Guardian UK)

I don't know these cats from Adam, but I like their design style: Swash Creative.

Salim Muwakkil assesses the impact of Al Sharpton's presidential candidacy. (In These Times)

Wanna bet this one gets cleared up before they even come close to finding the White House source of the CIA covert spy-leak?: Treasury Seeks Probe Into Papers Taken by O'Neill (Reuters UK)

I didn't even know we were over there: The Black Iraqi's (Washington Post via American Black. Y'all need to really peep this site, it's a must-read.)

Find out which presidential candidate you should vote for based on your social and political beliefs by taking the Political Compass Test. (via

And finally, this story is developing so fast there may have already been an update from this, but still worth noting: Powell withdraws al-Qa'ida claim as hunt for Saddam's WMD flags (Independent)

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Monday, January 12, 2004

The New York Times goes very hip-hop 

Image courtesy:

I can't believe I missed what looked like an incredible Eagles-Packers playoff game while out watching The United States of Leland, a well-acted, although unlrelentingly downbeat, film. The movie calls to mind American Beauty with its examination of what lies beneath the seemingly-happy veneer of upper-middle class subarban life and Kevin Spacey in the cast, but without the glossy, heavily art-directed feel of Sam Mendes' film.

XXL mag lights a fire under Vibe's feet with their new Hip-Hop Soul magazine on stands now.

Emily Nussbaum explores the world of teen blogging in "My So-Called Blog." (New York Times)

Like you really need this, but here's even more on Russell Simmons, P. Diddy & Dame Dash: Hip-hop power trio drives new beat for New York. The article is pretty on the money except, what the f-ck is "acid rap?" (Crains NY)

And even more Diddy as hip hop invades the New York Times "Arts" section today. Lola Oggunaike looks at how hip hop is going philanthropic in "Sweeten the Image, Hold the Bling-Bling."

And now even The Times is reviewing street mixtapes? Kelefa Sanneh's "Hip-Hop's Grab Bags Get a Moment of Glory" in today's Critic's Choice column reviews recent discs by DJ Whoo Kid, DJ Vlad and the Action Pac (note: link may be dead).

Via Devin at NorthernStarMedia: The Smacks Records nationwide tour will be coming to a city near you starting Thursday, January 15th featuring Mr. Lens Class-X set (a tribute to Company Flow) along with Roosevelt Franklin and Kice of Course and, on certain dates, Prince Paul. For more details, click here.

Might be worth checking out this new book. Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979 by Tim Lawrence. Opening with David Mancuso's seminal "Love Saves the Day" Valentine's party, Tim Lawrence tells the definitive story of American dance music culture in the 1970s-from its subterranean roots in NoHo and Hell's Kitchen to its gaudy blossoming in midtown Manhattan to its wildfire transmission through America's suburbs and urban hotspots. For more details click here.

And finally, coming this Wednesday: Justo's 8th Annual Mixtape Awards.

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Sunday, January 11, 2004

Anything but Anything Else and WMD finally found in Iraq? 

WMD finally found in Iraq? Apparently even the US admits the weapons found by Danish & Icelandic weapons inspectors are probably left over from the Iran-Iraq war fought during the Eighties (when the US was aiding the Iraq coincidentally). (Guardian UK)

War on Terror: are we even in the right country part II. CNN explores The Seeds of Terror in this show which examines the links between extremist/fundamentalist Islam in Southeast Asia and Al-Qaeda terror attacks in recent years at 8pm ET tonight.

Human rights group Occupation Watch, an international group of peace and justice organizations set up to monitor the conduct of occupying forces in Iraq, accuses the U.S. military of being negligent and callous in dealing with Iraqis seeking compensation for relatives accidentally killed or maimed by U.S. troops. (Reuters UK)

British coalition troops shoot and kill several Iraqis after coming under stoning attack by groups, disgruntled, protesting what they perceive as broken promises to bring them new jobs. (Guardian UK)

Meet the Press discusses the influence of blogs in the 2004 Presidential campaign this morning.

Check out the current edition of HBO's Real Sports with stories on Kareem Abdul Jabbar's efforts to become an NBA coach and the ongoing (?) throwback jersey craze.

And tonight's 60 Minutes for an interview with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil where he alleges plans to invade Iraq were actually hatched, not after 9/11, but within days of Bush taking office (Boston Globe). Nothing new really but O'Neil is probably the first high-level Bush staffer to go public with these allegations. Disgruntled ex-employee or true American patriot? Watch and judge for yourself.

Bad luck, then good luck, now his luck finally runs out: after travelling to Bam for medical treatment a day before the devastating earthquake that has killed more than 30,000 and surviving 13 days under the rubble before being rescued, 57 year old Jalal Shahiki Chahmaleki died earlier today in a field hospital in Bam. (Globe and Mail)

Finally, avoid the movie Anything Else at all costs. Woody Allen is responsible for writing, directing and starring in some classic comedic social satires but this movie is pretty much a loser all around mostly because of Jason Biggs. He was funny in American Pie but he's way out of his element here playing a tortured intellectual young comedy writer who yearns to become a novelist. There's no chemistry between him and Allen who becomes his mentor or with Christina Ricci who plays his cheating girlfriend. Another actor might have turned this into a good, possibly, great movie but as is, this is pretty much a must-miss.

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Saturday, January 10, 2004

Outkast, Air, Saddam, Gamefly & Turducken? 

Image courtesy: Astralwerks Music

On my "Best of 2003" singles list but actually officially out this month is "Cherry Blossom Girl", the first single from Talkie Walkie, the new album by Air. Talkie Walkie will be available as a limited edition CD/DVD package featuring a 35 minute film of Air in concert with behind-the-scenes footage and live versions of "La Femme d'Argent" and "Talisman." Question though: why is the limited edition DVD package $4 cheaper than buying just the CD on, what sense does that make?

Bonus: the good folks at Astralwerks are offering a free download of another track from the album called "Alpha Beta Gaga" although, in typical record company style, the download will time out on the release date of the album, Jan. 27.

Related reading & listening:
Click for the official Air website here.
Astralwerks' Air website here.
Listen to an mp3 snippet of Air sound-alike's Zero 7's cover of reggae artists Johnny Osbourne's classic "Truth And Rights" here. (courtesy: TurntableLab)

If, unlike me, you've already digested the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album and are ready for more music from Outkast, look out for "I Can't Wait" by "The Way You Move" featured vocalist Sleepy Brown with Big Boi and some sly references to Rosa Parks by Andre 3000 which should avoid getting the group in legal trouble this time around. (VH-1 News)

Speaking of Outkast though, here's a question prompted from reading a discussion on Anil Dash: in 2004, major "urban" radio station WBLS in NYC can't play a vocal version of "The Way You Move" on air and instead opts to put, what basically sounds like, an instrumental without Big Boi's rhymes into rotation? Why?

Besides Outkast being just about biggest hip hop act out right now, NYC being the birthplace of hip hop (and still the #1 market for the music, I believe), and "The Way You Move" sounding about as radio-friendly as you can get without veering in cornball P-Diddy c. 1996 territory, urban music is pretty much in the dead-center of mainstream culture right now. So what is it BLS is scared of by not playing the version with Big Boi's rhymes intact?

Granted 'BLS's demo is a much older than over at either of rival stations Hot 97 or Power 105, but their listeners are probabaly the same people who grew up listening to Marley Marl and Mr. Magic spinning on the station back in the day. The average 'BLS listener isn't likely to be turned off by hearing a radio-friendly crossover hip hop track on the playlist. Most of them would probably actually enjoy hearing "The Way You Move" the way it was recorded rather than as a ridiculous disembowelled music bed. It's unbelievable that nearly 25 years on from "Rapper's Delight," the battle for full respect is still being fought by hip hop.

Outkast-related discussion part III: plenty of buzz on Kanye West but why none about the upcoming album from Cee-Lo (ex of Goodie Mob) Cee-Lo Green Is the Soul Machine? I'm definitely looking forward to hearing it after diggin' his last album and the current Timbaland-produced single "I'll Be Around" from his new set. Cee-Lo Green Is the Soul Machine is scheduled to drop February 3.

Also spotted via Anil Dash: Worst Hypothetical Rapper Names. I'm not sure if that is actually funny or just mad corny.

The new Erick Sermon jumpoff "Relentless"? In a word: blazing. Find this now (and email me a copy if you get a hold of it)

Rawkus Records R.I.P.? So says DJ Enuff via his afternoon drive mixshow yesterday.

Image courtesy:

From the action figure world: these might have been around for a while but my question is what does it say about the world that Give Me Toys can charge $20 more for their Saddam figure than for the Donald Rumsfeld figure or the two George Bush figures available through their site. If you order Saddam as a package with the Osama Most Wanted figure though, you can save $10! (Give Me Toys)

Blog alert: check out Taj's beautifully-designed Ascensions, a personal chronicle of an aspiring young beat-maker enarmoured of 9th Wonder, Ghostface, Pete Rock and the Native Tongues. Can't argue with taste like that.

Via the Skrufff-E newsletter:

- A Ninja fighting game

- I didn't even know Muzik magazine was dead, along with dance music in the UK apparently (Independent). Can Disco-punk save the day?

Image courtesy:

Someone please get the RIAA some competent media relations advice quick because they're really looking like they don't know what the f-ck they're doing: Music Industry Puts Troops in the Streets -- Quasi-legal squads raid street vendors. (LA Weekly)

This is just embarrassing, for real: New Private Social Club Wants You... If You're "Pretty" -- Women must be eye candy and childless. (EURWeb)
Related reading: the official website for the Harlem Club here (via American Black)

There's only 320 days until Thanksgiving 2004 (give or take) but it's never too early to get prepared so why not try some Turducken at this year's family gathering?

This shows how out of it I am, I didn't know Time Warner and MGM were even in talks about a merger in the first place: TW, MGM Call Off Talks On Merger (NY Post)

I'm diggin' the TV ad for the new BMW X3 but no linkage to give you so look for it on air wherever you can (I saw it on M2).

Not sure if this is new or not but check out GameFly, it's like Netflix for video gamers.

And finally the oystermen, waiters, cooks, dishwashers, and bussers of the Grand Central Oyster Bar are still on strike. Click here for more details and/or to show your support.
Related reading: For an independent, critical look at Oyster Bar franchising, click here.

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Friday, January 09, 2004

Charlie Hustle in the Big Apple, how to play the "Howard Dean for Iowa" game and Tony Yayo comes home 

Image courtesy:

Pete Rose will be signing copies of his new book My Prison Without Bars at the downtown Borders bookstore today at 12 noon, you can bet on that.

Tony Yayo comes home as reported by Sway on the Hot 97 New York "Renegade Radio" morning show.

Eminem, 50 and Lloyd Banks are rumored to be spittin' on a new version of Biggie's "Victory" for an upcoming (March 9) Bad Boy 10th anniversary CD/DVD release. (MTV News)

I can't believe this B2K breakup story is getting as much run as it has. (MTV News and Billboard via aekituesday)

Play the "Howard Dean for Iowa" game here.

Words of wisdom from Coach Finstock from the movie Teen Wolf caught playing on HBO while I was channel surfing one morning last week: "There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese."

Image courtesy:

At the risk of exposing myself to public ridicule, I have to admit I'm loving these Kellogg's Blueberry flavor Special K Bars since my sister put me up on them this week.

And finally, for highbrow art types, check out the New York Times Arts & Leisure weekend jumping off this weekend (Jan. 9-11). I'm catching The United States of Leland starring Ryan Gosling and Don Cheadle which is part of the movie marathon with all screenings this Sunday (January 11) at the Loews 34th Street Theatre in New York City.

Screenings are supposed to be open only to Arts & Leisure Weekend pass holders and their guest, but they didn't seemed that pressed about whether I had a pass or not when I bought my tckets. At $2 a ticket and proceeds from these screenings being donated to the Children's Charity Variety, this is really too good a deal to pass up.

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