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October 2003 Archives

October 1, 2003

Chuck vs. LL, on Capitol Hill

Another conservative stance from LL, who made a public endorsement of republican George Pataki for governor over democrat Carl McCall (who if elected would have been NY's first Black governor).

If the RIAA ever wants to get public support for their agenda they might want to consider putting smaller, struggling artists out there as their representatives, instead of the big names they've brought forth so far. This endless parade of millionaires claiming to be economically oppressed by college students just looks absurd.

Dueling Rappers Debate Downloading Music

Rapper LL Cool J Tells Congress He Backs Moves Against Music Downloaders; Chuck D Disagrees

Rapper LL Cool J joined entertainment executives Tuesday in defending the music industry's lawsuits against hundreds of Internet users who illegally distribute music online.

"My question is, if a contractor builds a building, should people be allowed to move into the building for free?" the rapper, dressed in a black suit with an earring glistening in his right lobe, asked senators. "That's how I feel if I record a song or make a movie, and it zooms around the world for free."

Another rapper, Chuck D, founder of Public Enemy, testified at the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing that people ought to be able to distribute the songs they want to hear on peer-to-peer Internet services, known as P2P.

"P2P to me means power to the people," said Chuck D. "I trust the consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these (record) companies."

"LL's a staunch American," Chuck D added in a brief interview. "He's my man and all, man, but when you solely have an American state of mind, you're increasingly becoming a smaller part of the world."

The music industry's trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America, has filed 261 lawsuits against people it accuses of illegally distributing music online. The RIAA blames lagging CD sales on the downloading of music.

The subcommittee chairman, Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman, called the hearing to look into whether the recording industry's tactics were too heavy-handed.

"As a former prosecutor, I am troubled by a strategy that uses the law to threaten people into submission," said Coleman, a former roadie for the '60s rock group Ten Years After. Coleman referred to the rappers as "Mr. Cool J" and "Mr. D..."

October 6, 2003

California, Please Vote Yes! And Vote Arnold!

So all us New Yorkers can laugh at your dumb asses!

October 7, 2003

Another Angry Rant from Grandpa Simpson

I started writing this as a reply in an earlier post, but it's gotten long enough to require a space of its own. In response to a rather, uhh, colorful denouncement of the anticon scene, 1200th Hobo wrote:

The simple fact that you said "art-fag shit" shows simple-mindedness and the sad state of this bullshit hip hop culture. As long as Nelly is selling albums to third grade girls, hip hop is dead. EL-P is only underground because he saw the direction the movement was taking. He could easily be signed with Rawkus and making a video on an mtv special.

How can any of you deny the talent of anticon? Sage francis anybody? Buck65, Sixtoo? Anyone of average intelligence can see the rhyming skill of these artists, and beatsmiths like Nosdam, Jel, and controller7 know how to complement the styles. So all of you shut your loudass internet mouths.

Although I don't support "art-fag" epithets, I must say the noxious elitism emanating from above is exactly what has alienated so many people from anticon and the subculture they have come to represent.

"As long as Nelly is selling albums to third grade girls, hip hop is dead..."

"Anyone of average intelligence can see the rhyming skill of these artists..."

The only thing that should be obvious to "anyone of average intelligence" is that musical taste is entirely subjective, and by definition nobody's taste can be more or less intelligent than anyone else's. A preference for Anticon doesn't make you any smarter than a preference for Nelly.

Personally I am not a big fan of either, and I'd say each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Anticon places much more emphasis on lyrical exploration, to be sure, but to my ears Nelly is more rhythmically and musically compelling (though compared to lots of other hip-hop he may be sub-par on these levels as well). I find most anticon material lacking in musicality and richness of rhythm, missing the vibrant sonic texture that is usually hip-hop's greatest strength. It generally appeals to me more if I think of it as "spoken word" rather than Hip-Hop.

But that is just my opinion. No more or less valid than anyone else's. I don't believe I am right about this music and other people are wrong. The only time anyone can be wrong about their musical taste is in the belief that they are right, in any objective sense.

Just to be clear, I'm certainly not saying that everyone associated with anticon exhibits these traits, nor do all or even most of their fans. That scene has no monopoly on this brand of delusional arrogance, you can find it in every corner of the Hip-Hop nation. And this vibe always saddens me, because I can remember when the lite comedy rap of the Fat Boys, the smooth R&B rap of Whodini, and the straight-up hardcore sound of Run-DMC could all share the same stage and rock the same crowd without anybody worrying about which style was "true" or "real". We were proud of this incredible music we had created, in all its forms, and celebrated its diversity instead of being frightened by it.

Since then Hip-Hop has grown so much, and expanded to embrace so many different styles and sounds, and this is a beautiful thing. But instead of taking pride in this growth we react with fear and segregate ourselves, retreating into separate camps and proclaiming that only those in our little tent represent "real hip-hop", and anyone else is a traitor helping to kill the culture. Perhaps this is an inevitable consequence of Hip-Hop's (d)evolution into a billion dollar industry, and its incorporation into the American mainstream. But it really depresses me.

October 9, 2003

Insert Phoenix-related Wordplay Here

Our friend(ster) Jean Grae has risen again, bearing a brand new CD. Thou shalt purchase it. It hath been decreed. Here is a review:

The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP

Jean Grae will smack the average rapper with a lyrical two-piece and a biscuit (that’s slang for a smack down for all you squares reading this). The femme fatale has the rhyme chops to hang with the big boys like Jay and Nas. Word. Her debut full length, Attack of the Attacking Things was heralded by pencil pushing, keyboard tapping music critics and underground rap fans. Her new effort, The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP, (what is it with these double word titles?) is more of the same thought provoking and technically precise lyricism with even stronger beats. Thank you Jean.

Before Jean was out of her teens she was a member of the heralded but now defunct underground group Natural Resource. No disrespect to the other members, Meat Pie and Ocean, but Jean, then known as What? What?, was the star of the trifecta. The same way Lauryn Hill initially stood out from her Fugees partners, Jean was the lyricist heads were checking for. On top of her skills with words, her production credits (as producer alias Run Run Shaw) were top shelf beat spirits as well.

The album is kicked off by its lead single, the incendiary “Haters Anthem” where she spits one liners like, “I’m more necessary than violence on the Amistad,” over an intense four-note key loop that has it’s tension released by the chorus’ refrain, “You f**k, you f**k, you f**k!” On “Chapter One: Destiny” she molds her lyrical clay is into a vivid Bonnie minus the Clyde tale that would make Ghostface. Meanwhile, relationships and friendships are expounded on over airy vocal snippets and sharp snares on “My Crew.” Nice collaborative assists are accepted from Cannibal Ox on “Swing Blade” and from Block McCloud and Pumpkinhead on “Code Red.”

The problem with this disc is that being an EP, and only six songs deep at that, you can’t help but asking, “That’s it, that’s all?” Grae tries to make amends by tagging a “megamix” of freestyles and older material at the end of the album. Beginning the bonus cuts with a blistering freestyle over Jay-Z’s own hidden gem “Breathe Easy” is a nice touch. She hold her own over a few Jigga instrumentals including the “You Don’t Know Remix” where she sums up the reason for her relative obscurity: “Not a thug, not a drug seller, not a gun shooter, not a stripper sex symbol…or anything your used ta/Marketing nightmare, I don’t fit into categories/I just rap, make beats and shit and sleep a;; these stories/All I want is the voice, all the people need is a choice, if there’s no competition, then what is the f**king point?!” Two tracks from her neophyte emcee days with Natural Resource, “Negro League Baseball” and “Bum Deal,” will make rap historians grin.

Maybe it’s the general public’s snail pace in checking for her that has frustrated Grae; and perhaps that frustration is why her lyrics are so venomous. It’s just a theory but if it makes her keep making superior hip-hop music (no need to addendum her being a chick, please refer to KRS, “A dope emcee is a emcee.”), then let’s hope she can keep finding shit to piss her off. Though, more overdue recognition will be welcomed and is sure to come.

October 11, 2003

NEW AUDIO: Highlights of EOW on the Underground Railroad

For those who don't know End of the Weak is a collective of emcees who also run New York's hottest and longest running open mic. We've been working with them to bring their breeding ground for local talent to the radio, and tonight we will have them on again with another hour of live emceeing at it's finest. Here are some highlights fom their last appearance:

  • Clip One - The EOW crew rocks the mic.

  • Clip Two - The radio debut of Chocolate Thai, winner of EOW's emcee challenge, and star of Showtime's upcoming hip-hop series "The Next Episode".

  • Clip Three - Underground vet and Stronghold representative Poison Pen returns to the Railroad. Check out his last appearance back in 1998 at the Freestyle Archive.

October 16, 2003

NY Faces a British DJ Invasion

DJ Qool Marv (Underground Railroad Alumnus) has put together a really cool event here in NY, here is the info he passed along about it. Marv will also be on our radio show this Saturday at midnight, with a few of these Manchester luminaries.

Qool DJ Marv with DJ Misbehaviour & Madison present: Bring It V.1 - The Manchester Invasion

October 20th - 11pm
@ Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street
No Cover

Featuring artists from Mark Rae's Grand Central Records:

Fingathing LIVE (Turntablist Peter Parker, Double Bass Player Sneaky, with interactive visuals by Chris Drury)

and DJ sets from Grand Central artists Funky Fresh Few, Only Child, & Jon Kennedy

Plus DJ sets from Fat City Records Darren Laws & Matt Triggs

And DJ sets from Twisted Nerve (Badly Drawn Boy) label head Andy Votel, Martin Brew (1/2 of East/West recording artists
J-Walk), and Subtub Players Records label head Tim Gilles (whose label featured one of the UK's biggest feel good tunes of
the summer "Wesley Music" which was featured on Giles Peterson's latest Worldwide compilation.

Even more details and information can be found at these websites

October 17, 2003

Why Red Sox Fans Should Be Happy

Although I am not a Yankee fan or even a baseball fan really, I am a New yorker, so on general principle I always have to root against Boston. But daaamn.

In the entirety of human existence, is there any pain that can compare to that of the Red Sox fan? 85 Years? Coming sooo close so many times, only to have it pulled out of your grasp yet again by the one team you hate the most? The team from the city you all secretly wish your city could be like? The team that already has 26 titles so how much can yet another possibly mean to them by comparison? The team that is arguably the Microsoft of baseball, dominating the league by wielding their economic might, and thus embodying everything that is wrong with the sport?

It's brutal. It reads like an opera or Shakespearean tragedy. And you know what, Sox fans? You should be thankful for that! Because the length of your ordeal is the only thing that makes you special.

I am a lifelong Knicks fan, and my team has not won a championship since 1973, when I was an infant. When I watch my team fail year after year nobody gives a moment's thought to my anguish. I am just another loser. Another sucker that you step over on your way to work the next day, as I lay crying in the gutter.

But when you watch your boys go down in flames the world looks up to you as a tragic hero. They all weep for your noble suffering, and shower you with more attention than they give the boys who beat you (fair and square).

Think about that, if you won the world series this year you'd be throwing that all away. Chances are you wouldn't win another one for years and years, but now you'd find yourself without all the fringe benefits it brought you before. You'd no longer have any right to the saintly aura your current victimhood affords you. You'd be in the same boat as us Knicks fans, all of the suffering with none of the nobility.

So take pride in what you've got! Lots of people are losers, but only you can say you are the best at it!

October 18, 2003

FUNDRAISING SPECIAL: Exclusive Hip-Hop Rarities On Sale This Saturday

Much to our surprise, we have discovered that we will be doing our fundraising special this Saturday night from 12-to-2 AM on WBAI 99.5 FM in NY, and also heard around the world right here. That's right, for those who like to hear a grown man beg, this is the show for you!

Regular listeners will know I always have some special giveaways for those who pledge $75 or more, and this one is no exception. I've been digging into my vaults and found a tape with some incredible highlights from 1995, including Jay-Z's appearance on our show back then, in which he rhymed with Natural Elements(!!), and extended freestyles from AZ, the Cella Dwellaz, and Madd Skillz with Lonnie B. Ive put this all together on a CD for anyone who makes a $75 pledge, and also thrown in an exclusive Emskee mix as a bonus CD.

Of course it's not about the giveaways, it's about keeping this alternative media outlet alive, which is more precious now than ever as the Clear Channel types gobble up more and more of the airwaves. But yeah, you will be getting something nice, in addition to doing something nice.

So please tune in, and give if you can! $50 will get you regular one-year membership and $25 gets a low-income membership, for students or other broke people.

We will also be having DJ Qool Marv and some special guests from overseas, as mentioned below.

October 20, 2003

Dead Prez Take the Cops to Court

Here is a press release that just came to the inbox:


dead prez files civil suit in response to unlawful physical assault and arrest by police officers.

Hip Hop artist Stic of the acclaimed group dead prez and members of A-Alikes are filing suit against the City of New York as a result of the New York Police Department’s unlawful assault, arrest and detainment of the artists on September 27th, 2003.

While asserting their right to congregate in a public place, dead prez and members of the A-Alikes were taking pictures when approached by two police officers and asked for identification. Refusing to provide a coherent reason when asked by the artists why id was necessary, witnesses say the officers requested back-up and upon it’s arrival, physically attacked the men in broad daylight.

“I was harassed and attacked by the police in my neighborhood,” says Stic of Dead Prez. “There were no complaints and I wasn’t violating any laws,” he explained.

To date, there are no state or federal laws that deem it unlawful for one to question or deny the demand for identification by a law enforcement officer. Attorney Kamau Karl Franklin who will represent the artists in the suit states that “Even if we walk away with monetary compensation…which we’re almost guaranteed given the illegal detention, it’s important to be an example to other victims of police brutality, be they recording artists or everyday people.”

dead prez, along with A-Alikes, the People’s Army and other fellow Hip Hop artists is organizing a call for action amongst New York attorneys, community leaders, political activists, musicians and supporters to help them fight back. “We can’t allow the daily occupation and brutality by the police against our community to go unchecked,” says dead prez artist M1.

On October 29, 2003 at 9:00 am, dead prez will hold a press conference before entering court that day to address the case.

October 29, 2003

Benzino Still Yapping, Some People Inexplicably Still Listening

Coming from a paragon of journalistic integrity like Benzino, i'm sure this "evidence" will be totally unimpeachable.. Eminem must be shaking in his Air Force Ones.

Benzino's Evidence Says Eminem's A Racist

Source Magazine's president and Rapper, Ray Benzino stunned the media by releasing this statement last night.

Benzino said that he has damning evidence against his nemesis Eminem that will seal his fate in hiphop, he acquired an original cassette recording of a Detroit basement tape which features a series of raps by the Slim Shady himself that contain blatant racist and derogatory statements about black women and black people in general.

The songs from that tape are dated back from 1995, the alleged tape will be revealed in the January issue of The Source magazine, which hits the newstand in December.

(note: original article had many spelling errors I could not bear to reproduce here)

October 30, 2003

Donald Luskin is a Stalker

In fact, in honor of the National Review blogger's idiotic threat to sue Atrios, I will not only call Luskin a stalker, I will now call everyone a stalker in the header of all my posts. Maybe some other idiot will try to sue me too! I'd love some free publicity from people who hate free speech.

P Diddy Is A Stalker*

Labor activist Charles Kernaghan, who proudly lists "making Kathie Lee cry" on his resume, has uncovered evidence that noted marathon runner Sean Combs' clothing line is yet another product of sweatshoppery:

P Diddy in sweatshop row

The US rap performer, P Diddy, has promised to investigate claims his clothing company uses a sweatshop factory in Honduras.

P Diddy, otherwise known as Sean Combs, said he was "shocked" at the allegation by an American organisation campaigning for workers' rights, which said conditions at the factory were wholly unacceptable.

The National Labor Committee (NLC) claimed workers were paid less than a dollar an hour, forced to work overtime, subjected to body searches and dismissed if they got pregnant.

But Combs said at a news conference there would be a "zero tolerance" investigation by his company, Sean John.

He said he grew up among working people and empathised with their struggle.

Combs told journalists: "I'm as pro-worker as they get.

"We are shocked at this information. We are launching an investigation into this matter, and if there is any proof of wrongdoing, we will terminate our relationship with this factory immediately."

Combs said his company, Sean John, had employed a compliance officer to make five inspections of the plant this year...

Fox News Is A Stalker*

Charles Reina, who worked there as a producer for six years, tells the real story about Fox News and how "fair and balanced" they are:

"The Memo" is the bible at Fox News

...The fact is, daily life at FNC is all about management politics. I say this having served six years there - as producer of the media criticism show, News Watch, as a writer/producer of specials and (for the last year of my stay) as a newsroom copy editor. Not once in the 20+ years I had worked in broadcast journalism prior to Fox - including lengthy stays at The Associated Press, CBS Radio and ABC/Good Morning America - did I feel any pressure to toe a management line. But at Fox, if my boss wasn't warning me to "be careful" how I handled the writing of a special about Ronald Reagan ("You know how Roger [Fox News Chairman Ailes] feels about him."), he was telling me how the environmental special I was to produce should lean ("You can give both sides, but make sure the pro-environmentalists don't get the last word.")

Editorially, the FNC newsroom is under the constant control and vigilance of management. The pressure ranges from subtle to direct. First of all, it's a news network run by one of the most high-profile political operatives of recent times. Everyone there understands that FNC is, to a large extent, "Roger's Revenge" - against what he considers a liberal, pro-Democrat media establishment that has shunned him for decades. For the staffers, many of whom are too young to have come up through the ranks of objective journalism, and all of whom are non-union, with no protections regarding what they can be made to do, there is undue motivation to please the big boss.

Sometimes, this eagerness to serve Fox's ideological interests goes even beyond what management expects. For example, in June of last year, when a California judge ruled the Pledge of Allegiance's "Under God" wording unconstitutional, FNC's newsroom chief ordered the judge's mailing address and phone number put on the screen. The anchor, reading from the Teleprompter, found himself explaining that Fox was taking this unusual step so viewers could go directly to the judge and get "as much information as possible" about his decision. To their credit, the big bosses recognized that their underling's transparent attempt to serve their political interests might well threaten the judge's physical safety and ordered the offending information removed from the screen as soon as they saw it. A few months later, this same eager-to-please newsroom chief ordered the removal of a graphic quoting UN weapons inspector Hans Blix as saying his team had not yet found WMDs in Iraq. Fortunately, the electronic equipment was quicker on the uptake (and less susceptible to office politics) than the toady and displayed the graphic before his order could be obeyed.

But the roots of FNC's day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning, addressing what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how they should be covered. To the newsroom personnel responsible for the channel's daytime programming, The Memo is the bible. If, on any given day, you notice that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind it...

About October 2003

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

September 2003 is the previous archive.

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