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August 2003 Archives

August 5, 2003

Tairrie B's Record Was Better

1. Why isn't Invincible of the Anomolies ever mentioned in these articles?

2. "she actually sounds a bit like one-time Jay-Z protege Amil" ..was that meant to make her sound more credible?

3. Does Princess Superstar mean to suggest, with her comments, that she herself should be considered a serious emcee and not a novelty act?

4. I downloaded Sarai's song this afternoon. It was poor. She might be marginally acceptable given better producers, who didn't burden her with this bubblegum pop sound. But her name ought never be uttered in the same sentence with Mr. Mathers.

Can Sarai become ‘Feminem’?

20-year-old hopes to become 1st white female rap star

Eminem has disproved the notion that white boys can’t rap. White girls, on the other hand, have had almost zero impact on the genre in its 30-year history.

Remember Tairrie B? Probably not. Wait, there’s ... hmmmm. Actually, the most influential white woman in rap history may be punk princess Deborah Harry, whose rhymes in the 1980 hit “Rapture” helped take rap mainstream.

But now a new face, Sarai, is raising hopes that there might be someone new - a Feminem - to go where none have gone before.

"Eminem has definitely opened people’s minds, that there could be a white artist actually mastering the skill," says Sarai (rhymes with "goodbye"), a 20-year-old, blue-eyed blonde from Kingston, N.Y., about two hours north of the city where rap was born...

August 8, 2003

Black August

This Sunday August 10th the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement will hold its 6th annual Black August concert here in NY:

Black August: A celebration of Hip Hop and our Freedom Fighters is a project of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, which strives to support the global development of Hip Hop culture by facilitating exchanges between international communities where Hip Hop is a vital part of youth culture, and by promoting awareness about the social and political issues that affect these youth communities. Our goal is to bring culture and politics together and to allow them to naturally evolve into a unique Hip Hop consciousness that informs our collective struggle for a more just, equitable and human world.

Since August of 1998, Black August has had benefit concerts in (1998) New York City at Tramp's, (1999) the Bowery Ballroom, (2000) the New Age Cabaret, (2001 and 2002) Synod Hall, and three shows at Cuba's National Rap Festival and five shows in South Africa, including a show at the United Nations World Conference on Racism in Durban. All Black August concerts in New York, South Africa and Cuba have been sold out. In New York, Black August has featured artists such as, Common, dead prez, Black Star, Fat Joe, the Roots, Les Nubians and Gil Scott-Heron. In Cuba, Black August artists included Black Star, Common, dead prez and Tony Touch and in South Africa, Black August shows included dead prez, Talib Kweli, Black Thought, Jeru and the Coup. The international shows were electric and, the responses, euphoric. In addition to the shows, MXGM has had political education workshops with the participating artists. The benefit concerts coupled with the political education workshops have made Black August an unforgettable experience for participants, which has increased the political commitment and dedication of Black August artists and activists to radical change.

The 6th Annual Black August Benefit Concert (2003) will be taking on more human rights issues, while continuing to organize cultural activists and artist to bring about global change and solidarity. Black August will highlight political prisoners in the Americas, discussing how activists have been jailed because of their political activities to end racial and economic oppression.

If you tune into WBAI right now, you can hear more info on Black August from Rise Up Radio, our stations weekly program for and by youth activists.

There also may be an artist or two from the concert appearing on our show this week, but one never knows what will happen on a Saturday night.

August 9, 2003

Can We Trust Russell Simmons?

For a while now we've been expressing misgivings about Russell Simmons' efforts to position himself as a leader and political power broker for the black community and the Hip-Hop nation. His assumption of prominent role in the movement to repeal/reform the Rockefeller drug laws has aroused similar concerns for many in the activist community, and Amadi Ajamu's piece at allhiphop.com does the best job yet of summing up why:

Russell Simmons: Def Sham?

The emergence of Hip Hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons as an establishment-endorsed political leader of the new generation of Blacks gives me pause. Being a member of this new generation, I think this should be put on the table for discussion.

Why have mainstream media's political pundits given Russell Simmons an open mic? He's a guest on Charlie Rose; he's become a constant feature in the New York Times, Newsweek Magazine and many other newspapers and magazine across the country. Hailed as among the one hundred most influential African Americans by Crain Magazine, can helicopter to Albany for private meetings with New York Governor George Pataki on the Rockefeller drug laws. He has organized fundraisers for senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, works closely with former HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, teams up with democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton to register new voters, and dines with Shimon Peres, Israel's former Prime Minister discussing a possible Middle East youth summit.

Either the king makers have peeped Simmons' ability to use his influence over urban youth as leverage in his business and political ventures and they want to control him, or the severity of the US economic recession deems it time to send in the clowns...

I thought this bit was particularly interesting:

...Simmons also launched a special "reparations" sneaker brand in his clothing line. Advertisements for it have proclaimed that a percentage of the proceeds from the sneakers would be donated to the reparations efforts. When a youth organization working on reparations issues contacted sales executives at Phat Farm about donations, they were told that a larger percentage of the proceeds were applied to advertising the sneakers so that the idea of reparations is being exposed. This maneuver is the extent of company's contribution to the struggle for slavery reparations...

August 11, 2003

Look, We Finally Found Chemical Weapons!

In, uhh, Alabama.

Army Depot Starts Destroying Chemical Weapons

Aug. 11 - The U.S. Army plans to destroy as many as eight chemical weapons on Monday.

The Army Depot in Anniston has the task of incinerating the Cold War era weapons.

This weekend, the facility destroyed at least two rockets, each containing enough Sarin gas to wipe out an entire city.

Although many protested the chemical destruction, the judge approved the process late last week.

Some Anniston residents didn't argue. They just got ready. Mike Wood said, "It's going to have to happen. It was going to happen sooner or later any way - we're pretty much prepared. We went ahead and got the safety stuff we needed."

In case of a leak, the Army handed out 16,000 free protective kits, which include gas masks.

Not Quite Short Enough?

This year's nominees for the Shortlist Music Prize have been announced, and you can see the complete list here, along with which hipster luminary selected each nominee.

Most of these picks are mighty hip indeed, but there are a few headscratchers in there too. Like, what's up with Source Editor-in-Chief Kim Osorio choosing the Dip Set's emphatically nondescript "Diplomatic Immunity" album? I respect her efforts to buck the more-indie-than-thou vibe of these awards, but surely she could have picked a more interesting record from Hot 97's playlist to foment this rebellion. Although I suppose we should just be glad she didn't throw Benzino in there.

But the real shocker here is ?uestlove's selection of the already much hyped and widely reviled Northern State record. ?uestlove had invited the regulars at his website, okayplayer.com, to help him pick his selections for this year, and got over 500 responses (only one of which suggested Northern State, and did so sarcastically).
Not surprisingly, those regulars are now unanimously aghast at this choice.

Personally I don't hate these Beastie Girls as much as most heads seem to. If it wasn't for the noxious hoopla that surrounds them I might enjoy this gang as harmless lighthearted fun, which is all they probably aspire to. They don't seem to take themselves too seriously as far as I've seen, don't pretend to be anything they're not.

Unfortunately their hype machine is asking us to take them much more seriously than they take themselves, and is presenting them as many things they're not. So although I don't hate the Northern State girls themselves, I am quickly growing to hate the Northern State Phenomenon. And that's why I'm puzzled that ?uestlove would take this award, meant to shed light on groundbreaking artists who haven't yet received the attention and acclaim they deserve, and use it to trumpet such a lightweight act that's already getting far more hype than they need (for their own sake).

I recommend keeping an eye on okayplayer, things should get interesting when ?uestlove surfaces to confront this angry mob.

August 12, 2003

They Also Tried to Copyright "Ignorance is Strength"

Fox News has decided to sue Al Franken, claiming they have exclusive rights to the phrase "Fair and Balanced". I am unable to muster a sufficiently sarcastic remark to accompany that first sentence. It may not be possible in the English language.

But I will join in with Atrios and the many others who are changing their blog's title in honor of this dumbassery.

August 25, 2003

Don't Call it a Comeback

Greetings Earth people. I have recently returned from an splendid vacation in Vancouver, hence the lack of bloggery here. I suppose I should have posted some notice about that beforehand, huh? My bad. But we will get things rolling again shortly.

And speaking of comebacks, you'll never guess who i ran into on the street this weekend: A Butta of NY's legendary underground crew Natural Elements (who got their start on our radio show, back when founding member Mr. Voodoo was our intern). He told me Voodoo (who now goes by his real name Agu), L Swift and himself are each working on solo material these days, as well as working on new tracks together. Hopefully we'll be getting our hands on this stuff soon.. you'll be the first to know.

And speaking of speaking of comebacks, Kim Jong Il just started posting in his blog again!

August 28, 2003

Mississauga's Most Wanted

Speaking of Vancouver, here's a profile of an up-and-coming emcee who originates from there, now based in Toronto. Can any of you Canadian folk give us the scoop on this young lady? I guess if she's down with Eternia she can't be too bad.

Not your usual rapper chick

Masia-One gives western 'burbs a voice

"You know, you're the first reporter who didn't ask `what's it like to be Asian and female' as the first question," says Toronto-based Masia-One. "Because really, I've already got that answer down pat." She should, considering she's been both for the past 24 years, but when you're likely the only small, female Asian rapper freestyling with the boys on one of the many mic nights around town, it's pretty easy to draw attention.

But the independent artist is strictly business and she's ready for her close-up. Her independent debut album, Mississauga, has started to make the rounds of local record shops and she's ferociously gigging, last weekend in Ottawa, at T.O.'s Dundas Square as part of Style In Progress last Thursday and on Saturday night at a female showcase at Clinton's. This Thursday she's the headliner at Reillys, where's she's holding her CD release party.

Although she's really a British Columbia native (née Masia Lim), she decided to name her album after the west 905 suburb because that's where the majority of her collaborators — producers and musicians — were located.

"I think it needs a better transit system, because that's how I was getting around up there," she laughs. But she wants to help shed a light on the several sick beat makers that live in the 'burbs. "With hip-hop kids always wanting to represent their area — so with Scarborough, 'cause it's more hardcore and gangster — but there's so many amazing musicians and producers coming out of Mississauga that have their own home studios and get no recognition because everyone associates some suburbs with nerdy, white picket fences. But a lot of brilliant music is coming out of there."

She has moved from Vancouver to study architecture at University of Toronto, and has been listening to the music since she was 9. She started writing in her teens but kept it to herself. Two and half years ago, she performed at a showcase called I Used To Love H.E.R. (after the Common track) that was put on by her then-roommate (and now co-manager) when someone dropped out. She took the spot to conquer her stage fright. From that single performance she snagged a commercial for MuchVibe and from there she's been rolling...

Northern State and the Schwarzenegger Syndrome

?uestlove has finally resurfaced to explain his baffling nomination of Northern State for the Shortlist Awards.

It seems this was a mixup between Questo and the awards people, and he hadn't intended for the terminally overhyped lite-rap trio to be his final pick, but he never got to send in his real choices because his computer got hit by the virus that was going around a few weeks ago. Fair enough. my faith in the order of the universe is restored.

And I'm still trying really hard not to hate Northen State. I swear if I had never read any of their interviews or seen any of their press coverage I would enjoy their stuff for the harmless fun that it is. It's only how seriously they are being taken that makes me want to throw dead animals at them.

It's like Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was marginally tolerable as a grade b movie actor, but being asked to take him seriously as a candidate for governor renders him insufferable.

About August 2003

This page contains all entries posted to hiphopmusic.com: in August 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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