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December 2004 Archives

December 1, 2004

Under Construction

I'm in the middle of upgrading to MT3.. comments are probably not working right now, and some pages will look funny. I'll finish fixing those tomorrow.

Any objections to making commenters sign in with typekey?

(Your objection will have to be highly persuasive)

Under Construction Part II, featuring Magoo (updated)

Aiite, previous problems fixed (thanks anil and donald).. now it seems to be taking comments, but they are waiting for my approval befire showing up.. I have "Automatically Approve Registered Commenters" checked so I thought those would through automatically.. oh and after I approve them, they come up as anonymous.. i'm sure I can figure it out if I dig back into the code after dinner, but just in case anyone recognizes this..

Okay, I'm gonna use anzidesign's tips to fix the css, I'm sure that won't bee too hard.. but here's my other problem:

When I try post a comment here, it gets through the typekey sign-in process okay, but then it rejects my post because "Name and email address are required." Has anyone else been down this road already? email me.

December 2, 2004

Time to Get Funky Again

Ok, some pages are looking funny but we should be fully functional now. What would you like to talk about?

December 3, 2004

Barry Bonds' Baby Step

There's an old joke where Bob is taking care of Jack's house while Jack is out of town, and Jack's cat dies.

Bob wants to break it to him gently, so the first time Jack calls to check in, Bob just tells him "Oh, your cat is on the roof and I can't get him down.." Then the next time he says "oh boy, you know your cat is still on the roof, and I'm not hearing any noises so I'm getting worried." Then at the end of the week he finally tells Jack the bad news.

Jack is distraught, but tries to keep himself together and asks "how is grandma doing, is she taking it okay?" Bob pauses, and says "Oh, uh, Grandma is on the roof and I can't get her down." [rimshot]

Seems to me this here is Barry Bonds' way of saying "my drugs are on the roof and I can't get them down." At this point he knows he'll have to fess up soon, but he's trying to ease his way into it.

December 7, 2004

Rap / Hip-Hop Grammy Nominations

Is there anyone who didn't know ten months ago that Kanye would be sweeping these? As long as he keeps quiet and doesn't scare voters away with the ego. Odd that he's not in Record of the Year, but maybe they're saving a space to salute Brother Ray, or to make sure Urrsher doesn't get Color Purpled.

Never thought I'd complain about rappers getting too many nominations, but I'm saying, Latifah for "Best Jazz Vocal Album?" At least they didn't balance it out with a nod for Nellie Mckay's rapping. In fact she is nowhere to be seen, which is interesting..

Oh and congrats to Prince for the big 5, hope you take one home..


Press Release of the Day

To the staff of 60 Minutes: When sending out PR about your interview with a hip-hop artist, you might want to find someone under 30 who can proofread it for you:


Evangelical Christianity is flowing into the mainstream now more than ever. Rappers and rockers are making hits and making money while spreading the gospel to national audiences. Christian groups can be heard on secular radio, seen on the “Tonight Show” and, earlier this year, the group Third Day played at the Republican National Convention. But their success doesn’t come without criticisms, and rapper Kanye West, who became a part of this seismic shift in American culture, tells correspondent Bob Simon, why he feels that using the word Jesus in songs offends some people as much as using the n-word would offend others. Simon’s report will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY on Dec. 8 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

West has always been in the secular mainstream, producing hits for stars like Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. He’s considered a genius at creating what he calls a "dope-a-- beat," but he tells Simon that most of his record industry friends warned him about making the single, “Jesus Walks.” West recalls, "People would be like, 'Yo, it's the best song I ever heard, but it'll never make it on radio,' and it frustrated me, so the second verse I wrote about how they say you can't say Jesus on radio... The word Jesus was like saying [the n-word]… It’s gonna offend people for you to say Jesus..."

I guess that's why he works for roc-a-fella?

I'm not convinced his use of the "J Word" was all that courageous, but he is a master of self-promotional spin, I'll give him that.

December 8, 2004

Jay Z and Damon Finally Splitting?

According to the NY Post (is there a more dangerous way to start a sentence?), the oldest rumor in the industry is finally coming to fruition:


Jay-Z and Dash, who have been partners in Roc-A-Fella Records with Universal Music, inked a deal this week with Universal that will allow the two partners to go their separate ways, according to a source close to the negotiations.

Universal agreed to buy the 50 percent of Roc-A-Fella it doesn't already own for less than $10 million, according to the source. In 1997, Roc-A-Fella sold a 50 percent stake to Universal's Island Def Jam for $1.5 million.

Universal had an option to buy the stake, which would have come due in the summer. Roc-A-Fella will be folded into Island Def Jam, and become a small-imprint label, sources said.

...The rapper, who has said he is retired as a recording artist, would still be obliged to make new albums with Universal should he decide to come out of retirement...

...The source of tension between the business partners has been Jay-Z's belief that Dash, who has been CEO of Roc-A-Fella, has been trying to become too much of a star himself, and was beginning to overshadow some of the label's artists, according to sources.

Dash also persisted in pushing Roc-A-Fella into the film industry, something Jay-Z resisted, sources have said.

Those are not exactly the reasons I'd been hearing, but who knows.

EDIT: I've confirmed that the basic premise is true at least, and Roc-A-Fella basically ended last Friday.

December 9, 2004

Dimebag Darrell, Self-Help Guru and Bringer of the Swing

Strange as it may sound, there are not many musicians who've played a bigger role in my life than Pantera.

For at least 10 years now, whenever an intimidating event was on the horizon (like a job interview or a first date), I've always prepared myself with the same ritual. Right before I leave the house I put on my headphones, blast the first three tracks of "Vulgar Display of Power," and then stomp on out there to seize the day.

Yesterday happened to be one of those days, so it certainly sucked to come home and find out my Life Goals Guru had gotten shot down on stage.

I don't know a lot about the space Pantera inhabited, and my impression is that more informed ears deem them mediocre and derivative. I can understand intellectually the arguments for Metallica's superiority, among others, but I've always enjoyed Pantera much more. I like rock best when it has that swing to it, that certain something that makes the head nod and the face scrunch up, and Pantera always gave me more of the swing.

It's the difference between Led Zeppelin and all the bands they begat, most of the younger guys never had the swing. I saw one of the Led Zep guys explaining this once, and he said the reason was simple: John Bonham learned how to play by listening to James Brown and Motown, while these younger guys only learned by listening to Led Zeppelin.

And that's what I'd always thought when I heard Pantera.. I know they're supposed to be closet klansmen, and though I've never seen it substantiated I always figured there was at least a germ of truth there (after all how many of us in America don't have a few of those germs?). But when I listen to them it's hard for me to believe they never had any Black music in their diet. Cuz how else do you explain that swing?

December 14, 2004

Grandmaster Flash: Shut Out of R&R Hall of Fame

Whatever man, not like we need validation from y'all.

But please don't try to tell me you're enforcing a strict definition of "Rock and Roll," when I see names like Bob Marley on this list. This wasn't a technicality, you just don't respect us. Which is fine by me, cuz it will affect your credibility far more than it does ours.

(I'm not even gonna ask what's up with the Sex Pistols)

December 15, 2004

Hip-Hop (Fashion) is Dead!

I don't know anything about fashion, but this reads to me like yet another premature obituary, just like we always see about the music. Particular styles and brands will always ebb and flow, doesn't mean the river is running dry.

Hip-Hop Flops

A shakeout is afoot in the world of urban apparel, as sales of once red-hot labels begin to cool, analysts and industry executives said.
The across-the-board slowdown is alarming some of the major department-store retailers that had allocated a growing amount of space to these brands on the belief that the double-digit sales growth of recent years would continue, sources said.

Federated Department Stores, which operates the Macy's and Bloomingdale's chains, for instance, is seeing recent sales of urban brands decline in the double digits, compared with year-ago levels, said one person, who added: "It has everyone worried..."

With its edgier looks tied to the inner-city streets and often to a rap star's personal image, urban apparel exploded over the last decade, as sales of more traditional men's wear made by Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica went into a prolonged decline.

Women's urban labels soon followed, and before long "anyone who'd ever released an album thought they needed their own line," said Bernt Ullmann, president of Phat Fashions, the clothing company founded in 1992 by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons.

The Thing About Dirty Laundry, It Needs to Get Clean

In the last few weeks/months as I've been sidetracked, our collective dialogue in blogville has been ably driven by J-Shep and Exo (though Exo should leave the blog dis raps to the professionals.)

Their words are such a breath of fresh air to me, because I am sick to death of hearing all these grown folks acting like children, and seeing their childishness codified as our measure of manhood.

But it's a tough walk on the tightrope, trying to speak on this. I yearn for honest discussion of our own flaws, but I am equally passionate about defending us against attacks from those with no understanding of the musical form, nor respect for the people who create it. And they will jump at every chance to take our introspection and throw it back in our faces, as an admittance that hip-hop is the sole cause of everything bad that involves young Black people.

But the discussion needs to happen, and I'm glad somebody is finding a way to open those doors.

More on this later.

December 16, 2004

Speaking of Nas and Misogyny

I need some clarification on his jabs at Kobe in "Coon Picnic (These Are Our Heroes)":

Yo, you can't do better than that?
The hotel clerk who adjusts the bathroom mat?

So uhh, your problem with Kobe is that he aims too low with his sexual assaults? He should have picked a victim of higher social stature?

December 17, 2004

No Roger, No Rerun, No Rent

Byron Crawford's farcical (and I mean that in the most flattering way possible) petition to ban Kanye West from the Grammys is already picking up steam.

Expect to see it on allhiphop by monday, 20 other random sites in news.google on Wednesday, and the NY Post next Friday.

For the record, Rhymefest is credited as a co-writer and nominated along with Kanye, and he speaks here on whether he wrote the entire song:

...you know what, at the end of the day, if I co-wrote it, hell yeah, I’m gonna say I wrote it. It’s like, if you’re a co-owner of Ford, and the average person asks you if you own Ford, you’re gonna say ‘yes’ to ‘em, nahmsayin? I still get my share and my credit, and at the end of the day, even if I say I wrote it, it’s still Kanye’s song, you know what I’m sayin? But I’m grateful because wherever Kanye goes, whenever he talks about the song and the creation of it, he’s give me credit for helpin’ write it.

But why let the facts get in the way of a good scandal? If this blows up enough for Kanye to make a statement on it, Bol should get a special pulitzer for media satire.

December 18, 2004

Transcription Emergency

Anybody out there want to transcribe a 30 minute interview for me by tomorrow night? I'll try and get you a credit in the book it's going into, or else find some other way to pay you back.. let me know at jsmooth@hiphopmusic.com

About December 2004

This page contains all entries posted to hiphopmusic.com: in December 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2004 is the previous archive.

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