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March 2005 Archives

March 3, 2005

AUDIO: A Conversation With Jeff Chang

Here, finally, are some excerpts from my interview with Jeff Chang, also featuring Hashim of hiphop.blogs.com. In the first few minutes of part one you'll also hear an excerpt of Jeff's "Can't Stop Won't Stop" mix cd:

  • Part One - 6mb: The politics of abandonment, containment and assimilation; Letting artists be artists and leaders be leaders.
  • Part Two - 4mb: Hashim and Jeff on the importance of the 1971 gang peace treaty.
  • Part Three - 5mb: How hip-hop died and was reborn in 1979.

Props to Leanne of Rise Up Radio for hooking it up.

March 4, 2005

AUDIO: Hip-Hop Rallies Against Hate in Union Square, 3/4/05

I've posted some audio here of today's rally in Union Square. And here are the photos.. see if you can spot the mighty King Sun in the crowd:

March 5, 2005

PHOTOS: Angelique Kidjo, Imhotep Gary Byrd at WBAI

so what cha sayin

Mel Man Speaks on Game and 50 Cent

Dr. Dre's partner Mel Man posted on the dubcc.com forums with his perspective on Game and 50:

I can only imagine the amount of rumours and posts this topic has produced - I'm sorry for doin another one, but I thought you might want some perspective on the situation. Just as we were moving away from 50's album and really focusing on Busta's new joint this happens. I don't really know 50 or Game outside the studio and working environment so I'm not gonna pretend like I know what's really going on between them. I am not surprised that Game and 50 split from each other. I think we all knew the situation was coming to a head and I know Dre, Em and Jimmy were hoping for a peaceful solution and for Game to move off G-Unit as quietly as possible. However, 50 obviously didn't want a peaceful and quiet solution. It is real unfortunate that it happenned this way, but it did and it has to be handled INTERNALLY from here on out, not over the radio station. I don't really know what 50 was thinking. 50 talks about loyalty but to me one of the most unloyal things one can do is to air out FAMILY BUSINESS in public. 50 put Dre and Em in an unfair and difficult situation. This could have been handled in a positive way. Obviously 50 and Game's relationship had deteriorated to a point beyond repair. But it should have been settled as a family. Game could have been moved off G-Unit through internal discussions and monetary settlements could have been handled fairly. I will not take sides either way. I don't think anyone should take sides and please don't believe all the rumours and media reports. The media is jumping all over this and relying on false information to generate headlines and interest. Please refrain from making judgements too soon, cause you don't really know anything besides what you heard 50 say on the radio and that game is off g-unit. Besides that eveything else is rumours and innuendo.

What has been Dre's reaction to all of this? I won't speak for him but...

Continue reading "Mel Man Speaks on Game and 50 Cent" »

"Federal Probe" of Hip-Hop Violence

Great. I'm sure this will be helpful.

Hip-Hop Probe

The U.S. attorney has launched a quiet probe into the hip-hop music business

As gunplay between two chart-topping gangsta rappers and the trial of a rap diva vie for top headlines this week, federal authorities are pressing a wide-ranging investigation into the $1.5-billion hip-hop music industry, NEWSWEEK has learned.

According to top industry insiders, federal investigators are digging into a playlist of crimes, ranging from extortion and robbery to the industry’s persistent violence and mounting casualties—including the unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG. Investigators are “asking about anyone in hip hop from what I understand,” says a top music lawyer. Another top lawyer and a prominent entertainment business manager also said they were aware of an investigation. In a NEWSWEEK interview, one influential executive who was questioned recently by investigators adds: “It’s a federal investigation of hip hop and the music business and the crimes that have come out of it...”

March 7, 2005

Al Sharpton Calls for Ban on Hip-Hop Violence

It troubles me that instead of joining with the grassroots movement already organized around these issues, Rev. Sharpton is ignoring/bypassing them and potentially drowning them out with a totally different agenda and focus. It also troubles me that his agenda involves asking the government to step in and regulate hip-hop artists?

Rev. Al Sharpton Seeks Gangsta Rap Ban

The Rev. Al Sharpton is calling for a 90-day ban on radio and TV airplay for any performer who uses violence to settle scores or hype albums.
"There has to be a way to step in and regulate what's going on with the airwaves and with violence," Sharpton told the Daily News yesterday. "The airwaves are being used to romanticize urban violence."

The activist minister plans to ask the Federal Communications Commission and the country's major radio broadcasters to back his proposal...

Hip-Hop Activists' Response to Al Sharpton

Davey D has released a letter in response to Al Sharpton, on behalf of all the hip-hop activists already addressing these issues:

Now Sharpton Wants to Jump In - What's the Hustle?
Hip Hop Activists Respond...

by Davey D

Today the NY Daily News ran an article about the Reverend Al Sharpton wanting to write letters to the FCC and call for a 90 day ban on 'gangsta rap' and anything that reeks of violence and has the potential to spill out in the streets.

This sounds good on the surface and considering what took place last week at Hot 97 in New York it sounds damn near practical... But there's always a catch and a behind the scenes story to the one being sold to us...

Continue reading "Hip-Hop Activists' Response to Al Sharpton" »

March 9, 2005

50 and Game Make Peace, Holding Press Conference in Harlem

Not a bad way to commemorate the anniversary of Biggie's passing:

50 Cent And The Game Make Up In Harlem, Hold Press Conference Today

Today, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Jayceon "The Game" Taylor are scheduled to make peace and charitable donations during a press conference at Schomburg Center For Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.

After feuding for the past week, 50 and Game announced that they're making amends. Just when the feud seemed to be escalating, 50 told Angie Martinez, during another Hot 97 interview on Monday, that he would extend an olive branch to his former protégé, Game...

Junior Mafia Address Lil Kim's Trial, Remember Biggie, 8 Years Later

I did a little interview with Junior Mafia last night, that you can check out on sohh.com. They took some time to remember Biggie on today's anniversary of his passing, and responded in depth to those who are calling them "snitches" for testifying in Lil Kim's perjury trial. Here's a snippet:

Banger: ...Everything we said is already known and proven. They have videotapes, phone conversations, pictures, how am I gonna go against that and go with her story, when I don't even know her story? She don't f#@$ with me, I don't f#@$ with her, so I don't even know what she said. I can only go in there and say the truth of what I saw.

Lil Cease: She did that to herself. They subpoenaed her just like they subpoenaed all of us, and they decided she was lying. If 35 people went in there and said one thing, but she said something else, that's on her. You know in federal trial situations only 1% of people ever beat the case? The only one I know who ever beat it was Gotti, and even he died in jail. So I don't know why her people decided to put her in this situation, but I hope they have something up their sleeve for her, cause we don't wish that on her. We don't want to see nobody dead or in jail...

March 11, 2005

AUDIO: German/English Bilingual Freestyle

double j, dynas, doujah raze, shuko, soulstice

Last week the German Producer/Emcee Shuko came through for a visit, and a few of the Americamn artists he's working with joined hi in a cypher. The results have been recorded for the public record:

Download Instructions: Scroll down to the bottom of the first page and click the "free" button, then scroll down on the second page and wait for the timer to count down.

Greg Tate on 50 Cent

I think Greg actually likes this album more than most heads, who find the hooks lacking compared to GRODT from what I see and hear. Beyond that I won't editorialize right now:

Married to the Hook

In The Paranoid Style in Hiphop's SuperSlave Economy: A Study in Beef (Routledge, 2009), Siadya Rose-Hampton Sharise writes, "So this is where we at Black people? Shooting each other down in the streets like mad dogs? Over battle rhymes? Are you flucking kidding me?" Earlier Rose-Hampton Sharise writes, "Hiphop been dead as a folk culture but that's OK. Because while that death by hypercapitalism signifies a loss of masscultural access to the best poetic and political imaginations of the current twentysomething generation, that death also points us to exactly where we want to go: right on top of 50 Cent's ass. I swear Boo, in some of those videos 50 looks like a homo-thug and that's OK too."

Now I'd go a step further and say 50 more resembles a homo-thug dyke. Because generally speaking the girls flip the homo-thug look in public with more flair than their male counterparts. The wifebeater, the Tyrolean hat, the brown Popeye biceps, and the white silk pants? Yall all know yall more likely to see that girl strolling around Bed-Stuy dragging her supermodel than that guy so don't you even try and test me. Now this might all seem rather provocative until you check out The Massacre and 50 has homoerotic musings of his own, as in, "I read somewhere I'm homophobic/S**t, go to the hood/There's mad n*gg*s on my d**k." The Massacre is unlikely to decrease 50's bounty of swarming Y chromosome carriers. It is hands-down the most diabolically sensous collection of baby-making gangsta music since Pac's All Eyez. Like Pac, 50 is a ruffian who knows the value of a good pop hook; he embraces the hook, caresses the hook, is married to the hook. He also respects the ancient pop rule that if you get the women the men will come. Every lyric on The Massacre that's not about violating a nigga is about sexing pimping or mindf**king a babe—or, in the most notable instance, about 50's pique at being sexed pimped and mindf**ked by Viveca.

Be all that as it may, if you need real MC'ing the way 50 needs real love then you got to love 50 no matter what dumb sheet he's going on about now. Mostly for the dry wit of his richly melodious country con-man flow alone. On The Massacre 50 remains the definition of laconic, sardonic, harmonic, and moronic...

March 12, 2005

Squashing Emcee Beef... in Jerusalem

Here's some beef that's a bit harder to dismiss as "pro wrestling":

Jewish, Arab rappers clash in Mideast

For young people in Israel and the territories, one of the clearest measures of just how divided Jews and Arabs are can be seen in the hip-hop scene.

Before the intifada, two of Israel's leading rappers were Kobi Shimoni, a Jew, and Tamer Nafar, an Arab who often performed with Shimoni, the Guardian said Friday.

But as the intifada progressed, their friendship degenerated into a feud, with violent clashes between each man's entourage that resembles the East Coast/West Coast battles in the United States.

Shimoni has evolved into a right-wing supporter of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.Meanwhile, Nafar penned lyrics like, "Who's the terrorist? You're the terrorist! You've taken everything I own while I'm living in my homeland."

A documentary about the two recently won an artistic award and the producer of "Channels of Rage" is postponing the DVD release of the film in hopes Shimoni and Nafar will agree to record a song together for the soundtrack.

After a year of trying, she is cautiously hopeful: "Listen, they are men, they are artists and they are rappers.What do you expect? Hopefully, some good will come out of it one day."

The 2005 Mixtape Awards

In case you missed it, S|FJ has the rundown:

By the relaxed standards of hip-hop events, the cheerfully miasmic Awards went smoothly. Mishaps were few and impermanent, none of them life-threatening. Nominees carrying actual tickets for the event were sequestered behind a barricade in the cold for an hour, while an amoebic crush of "guests" claiming to be "on the list" tried to squeeze into the club. DJ Kay Slay arrived wearing a leather cap and matching jacket both emblazoned with variously colored Louis Vuitton logos. As he walked into the club, unimpeded, someone cried out, “Kay Slay don’t need no ticket!” which was apparently true.

A curious theatergoer headed for “The Lion King” asked what everyone was waiting for.

“The mixtape awards, son!” someone replied, though he was addressing a woman.

“What’s a mixtape?” she asked.

“It’s the truth, mommy, street truth,” his friend added, helpfully...

Join Us On the Radio Tonight

Once again we hit the airwaves tonight at Midnight EST, with our radio show the Underground Railroad. You can hear us online here, or on WBAI 99.5 FM if you live in the tri-state area. And while you check out the sounds you also can talk to us live in the chat room.

March 13, 2005

Bahamadia Came to Get Total Wreck

Freemotionhiphop mp3-blogs BB Queen, with a couple of her lesser-known gems. Philly people: Does she still do her radio show out there?

Elsewhere in blogville, Grandgood has the new Busdriver video, and the scoop on Prince Paul's long awaited project with The Dix.

March 14, 2005

Breaking Down Dr. Dre's Formula

slate.com takes a stab at breaking down Dre's hitmaking formula, though they miss a few basic questions: Why he has such a looong list of projects that dried up like a raisin in the sun (Eve, Last Emp, King Tee, Rakim, Detox, his beats for the Black Album..), and how much of the music that has his name on it was actually made by Dre himself..

Why Dr. Dre's protégés always top the charts.

At the ancient age of 40, the former Andre Young finally has his hitmaking formula down to a science—just plug in a new rapper and clear some wall space for the platinum records. The Documentary is Dre's fourth major triumph since founding Aftermath Entertainment in 1996: Before The Game, it was 50 Cent, and before 50 Cent it was Eminem and Dre's own comeback album, 1999's 2001. How did Dre become hip-hop's most reliable kingmaker?

For starters, credit Dre's exceptional knack for creating catchy pop hooks. The Documentary features one of the most addictive singles of the past year, "How We Do." The lyrics are about as thick-headed as they come—"When beef is on I'll pop that drum/ Come get some"—but the 10-note synthesizer refrain that loops throughout is what listeners really remember when the song ends.

Dre has been perfecting this stripped-down sound since he joined Death Row Records in the early 1990s. Dre's formative work with N.W.A was heavy on sample-driven anthems punctuated by aggressive bass kicks. But on 1992's The Chronic, Dre shifted gears and started pushing the melody to the front. Instead of merely sampling funk hits, he hired session musicians to cover their best parts on synthesizers—usually just the catchiest six to 12 notes, slowed down to stoner speed. It was as if Dre took a magnifying glass to every P-Funk classic and zeroed in on the most addictive three-second segments. The whining 10-note synth line in the chorus of "F--k Wit Dre Day," The Chronic's first single, is unforgettable. And unforgettable singles move albums; how many consumers bought The Chronic simply because they couldn't shake "F--k Wit Dre Day" from their minds?

But this aesthetic genius alone doesn't account for the speed with which Dre productions ascend the charts; plenty of hip-hop producers know how to put together a catchy song. Dre became a mogul, rather than a mere superstar producer, because of his innate grasp of two core business principles: quality control and the law of supply and demand...

Hewlett-Packard's DJammer: The Future of Hip-Hop?

The electric guitar of hip-hop? Or maybe after all this hype it'll be the Segway scooter of hip-hop:

Scra-Scra-Scratching Thin Air

Researchers at Hewlett-Packard are developing a DJ track-mixing and scratching device they believe to be as significant to music as was the first electric guitar.

HP's DJammer is a prototype handheld gadget DJs can use to mimic the sound of scratching vinyl simply by moving the device around. So, if the operator makes a scratching motion in the air, arrays of internal motion sensors translate movement into music, and the DJammer "scratches" the music as though the DJ were manipulating a record.

Linked to a digital music library, the device can also mix tracks. It finds the entry and end points for tracks, and can cycle through a song collection. And it is wireless, so a DJ can control the music from anywhere in a room...

...The DJammer was created by HP research and development scientist Mat Hans, who began the project in 2002 with New York's Scratch DJ Academy, a school for DJs...

via competitive intelligence

David Mays Joins With Sharpton on Banning Rappers

How laughable is this? Yes Dave, rappers should never be rewarded for their acts of violence and intimidation. That is, except for when you make them co-owners of your magazine.

Sharpton Talks To Radio Cos. About Hip Hop

Rev. Al Sharpton has spoken with Radio One, Clear Channel. and Emmis Communications in response to his call for Rhythm & Blues and hip hop stations to ban artists promoting violence for 90 days...

...Last week, hip hop magazine The Source, announced that it would support the efforts of Sharpton and the institution of the 90-day ban.

“It is inspiring to see that Rev. Al Sharpton is speaking out against the crisis of corporate manipulation of violence in the hip-hop industry, which is benefiting the bottom line of a few major conglomerates,” said David Mays, co-founder and CEO of The Source.

Mays also added that The Source doesn’t support the censorship of artists, but is opposed to artists and their backers using incitements of violence over the airwaves to promote record sales.

Sharpton and The Source hope the 90-day ban will incite accountability for violence in the hip hop community.

Blogging While Black at SXSW

Full Circle has a detailed blow-by-blow of SXSW's Blogging While black panel, starring Tiffany Brown, Tony Pierce, Lynne Johnson, Jason of Negro Please and (All About) George:

Jason: I was telling someone about this panel and I said Tony was going to be on the panel and they said, why, he's not black. My personal sight, you see my picture. Negro is the first word. If you google Negro I'm the fourth or fifth page. Everyone who comes on my site knows what they are getting. But as editor for )____ my picture is not there. How does my race affect what I write on LAIST.com The Devon Brown case in LA, our two local papers, wrote about his funeral. I find the Daily News coverage to be culturally insensitive, retarded. I mentioned that and someone commented that you had probably not been to a black funeral. That would not happen on my site because people know who I am. Not on LAist. In the blog world it is easy to assume it is a white man. How does my race affect what I write on a site that is not about race?

(via metalface)

March 15, 2005

Lyn Collins, 1948-2005

Farewell to Mama Feelgood:

Lyn Collins, singer and James Brown Revue member, dead at 56

Lyn Collins, whose funky vocals landed her a spot early in James Brown's stage show and the nickname "Female Preacher," has died. She was 56...

...Born in Dime Box, Texas, Collins took up singing as a teenager. At 14, she married a man who worked as the local promoter for the James Brown Revue. Brown heard Collins sing and in 1970 she was invited to join his traveling show.

Her powerful voice led Brown to nickname her the "Female Preacher," and two years later, she cut her first solo album, "Think (About It)." In 1975, Collins released "Check Me Out If You Don't Know Me By Now."

Over the years, Collins' songs have also appeared in various compilations, but it was hip-hop duo Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock who exposed Collins' work to a new generation when they sampled one of her songs for their 1988 hit "It Takes Two." "She was surprised and elated by how it took off," Jackson recalled. "It really kind of spurred her. It really let younger artists know who she was."

Malt Liquor: Apparently Not the Breakfast of Champions

Obviously, Cristal and other high end drinks long ago replaced malt liquor as the rapper's preferred product placement. But I wonder how much that has affected the drinking habits of their audience, since most of us can't afford $1000 bottles?

Malt Liquor Favored By Homeless, Unemployed Drinkers

Malt-liquor drinkers are more likely to be homeless, unemployed, or receiving public assistance than those who drink other alcoholic beverages, according to researchers who studied drinkers in Los Angeles.

Reuters reported March 14 that researchers from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in California interviewed 329 drinkers and concluded that malt-liquor drinkers also consumed more alcohol than other drinkers, in part because malt liquor has a higher alcohol content than beer and is sold in larger containers.

"We found that the combination of these differences resulted in the average malt liquor drinker in our study consuming 80 percent more alcohol per drink than the average regular beer drinker," said study leader Ricky Blumenthal.

The study authors said that malt liquor is heavily marketed to black and Hispanic youth. University of Minnesota researcher Rhonda Jones-Webb, who reviewed the study, noted, "Rap artists have been popular images in malt-liquor advertising, and 'gangsta' rap performers portray malt liquor as a sign of masculinity. Advertising influences brand choice, and what young people drink in early years influences what they drink as adults."

Jones-Webb added that rappers suggest chugging the 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor. "The combined effects of higher alcohol content, larger serving size, and faster consumption can result in higher blood-alcohol levels, an increased risk of aggressive behavior, and other alcohol-related problems," she said.

March 16, 2005

NY Times Feature on Hot 97 Protests

"We have run into a string of rotten luck here," says Emmis.

An Arbiter of Hip-Hop Finds Itself as the Target

...Hot 97, which is owned by the Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation, is the No. 2 station among listeners in New York City and has been No. 1 in the city's 18-34 demographic for nearly a decade. It earns an estimated $40 million annually in revenue, putting it in the top five of Emmis's 25 radio stations. But in recent months the station has been buried in bad publicity. Critics contend that Hot 97 (WQHT-FM) has tilted from credible arbiter of rap trends to ratings-hungry promoter of violence and racism.

Two weeks ago, gunfire erupted in front of Hot 97's Greenwich Village offices, shortly after 50 Cent announced on the air that he was booting his protégé, the Game, from his G-Unit clique. The incident, coincidentally, occurred on the first day of the rapper Lil' Kim's perjury trial, stemming from her account of a 2001 shoot-out in front of Hot 97. All of this follows the monthlong battering Hot 97 has endured for airing a song mocking victims of the tsunami tragedy.

The effect has pointed up, at the very least, how commerce on the cutting edge of hip-hop culture can go awry. And the recent events may impose another real-world price on the station: the landlord of the building that houses Hot 97 has threatened to oust the station, citing a track record of shootings, fights and "severe verbal abuse of security and building management personnel...."

...Meanwhile, local activists are calling for an overhaul of the station. Rosa Clemente, a leading organizer of an anti-Hot 97 rally held earlier this month, accused the station of promoting music filled with misogynistic and violent content. "They call themselves the place where hip-hop lives," she said, "but hip-hop does not live there. A culture of greed and disrespect lives at Hot 97." The Rev. Al Sharpton and several state and local lawmakers recently asked Federal Communications Commission to turn its attention to the station. And along with every other major radio broadcaster in the area, Emmis has received a subpoena from Eliot Spitzer, New York's attorney general, for information on its promotional practices.

"We have run into a string of rotten luck here," Mr. Cummings said in an interview, "but if you look at us over the last 17 years, I think the record is pretty stellar..."

Chris Rock Crossfire

A lot of talk about Chris Rock lately in blogville, coming from some very different angles.

South London's Soul On Ice blog digs the hip-hop sensibility at the root of Chris' comedy:

...Part of what makes Rock so interesting as a hip hop comedian is his measured perspective of the culture. In an interview with Nelson George on the Bring The Pain DVD, Rock insists that his 'Niggas Vs Black People' calling card merely traverses ground already covered by Ice Cube, Chuck D and KRS-One and cites his exposure to NWA's 'Straight Outta Compton' as a life-changing moment which taught him that "you can say anything... and get paid for it."

Yet despite the reverence for hip hop culture, Rock refuses to deify it or excuse its more questionable moments. In his 1999 follow-up Bigger And Blacker, Rock ridicules the way the deaths of Biggie and Tupac were described as assassinations: "Martin Luther King was assassinated," says Rock, "Malcolm X was assassinated. John F Kennedy was assassinated. Them two niggas got shot!" For some it's a harsh assessment, but then it's kicked with that "say anything" conviction that's well, intrinsically hip hop...

But Danyel Smith, after the Oscars, was somewhat less than enamored:

Continue reading "Chris Rock Crossfire" »

Is the Death of Hip-Hop Dead?

Sinsurr David eulogizes the eulogy. Gotta love any piece that quotes Tuff City's Aaron Fuchs.

The "Death" of Hip-Hop

Everyone loves a story. The problem is that every person’s story is its own truth, omitting and observing the facts as they see fit. Oftentimes hip-hop is forced into this literary structure, a dramatic arc from rise to fall to eventual death—and a shot at redemption. This classicist story is linear, a dialectic approach of dominant ideologies reacting to outdated modes of thought. Old school begot hip-pop begot gangsta begot native tongues begot bling-bling. It is a story of the rise, fall, and eventual death of rap music. (The story often concludes with redemption (i.e. the “underground,” where the old spirit is kept alive.) In actuality, hip-hop is a large and contradictory animal these days, and it defies such generalizations...

March 17, 2005

Lil Kim Convicted of Perjury

Not surprising, given what I knew of the case. But sad, and so unnecessary.

Lil' Kim found guilty of lying to federal grand jury

Rap diva Lil' Kim was convicted Thursday of lying to a federal grand jury to protect friends involved in a shootout outside a radio station.

Lil' Kim and her assistant were both convicted of perjury and conspiracy but acquitted of obstruction of justice. They each face up to 20 years in prison; sentencing was set for June 24.

The 29-year-old former sidekick and mistress of the late Notorious B.I.G., known for her revealing outfits and raunchy raps, testified that she did not notice two close friends at the scene of the 2001 shootout — her manager, Damion Butler, and Suif "Gutta" Jackson. Both men have since pleaded guilty to gun charges.

The jury saw radio station security photos showing Butler opening a door for Lil' Kim. And witnesses Antoine "Banger" Spain and James "Lil' Cease" Lloyd, who once teamed with Lil' Kim in the group Junior M.A.F.I.A, testified that Butler and Jackson were at the station with her.

Both defendants shook their heads as the verdicts were delivered. Lil' Kim's supporters broke out in sobs. After the verdict, when asked whether she had any comment, Lil' Kim shook her head.

The shootout occurred outside WQHT, a.k.a. Hot 97, when Lil' Kim's entourage crossed paths with a rival rap group, Capone-N-Noreaga. One man was injured as more than two dozen rounds were fired on the sidewalk.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cathy Seibel told jurors that the 4-foot-11 rapper, referred to throughout the trial by her real name, Kimberly Jones, had repeatedly lied to them, just as she did to the grand jury. "The testimony was preposterous. It was insulting. It was insulting to your intelligence. It was insulting to the judicial process," Seibel told jurors.

March 18, 2005

A Conversation With C Murder

C Murder spoke to me last week from inside Jefferson Parish prison, for an interview that's up now at SOHH.com. I wanted to dig a lot deeper than I did but we only had 15 minutes before they cut us off.. It's always a trip to hear the different definitions people have for "hip-hop," depending on their point of view.

(despite his confidence here, a few days after we spoke his hopes for a second trial got shot down)

((Further exploration at Government Names))

Phonecheck: C-Murder Calls SOHH, Talks Dirty Judicial System, New Album, and Life In The Inside

SOHH: How has the game changed since the last time you came out?

C-Murder: Well, we don't really get videos here, but when I travel to another parish I get to see the videos, and I occasionally hear the radio over the phone. And I'm seeing a lot of beefing and warring, or it's all about what you got, your diamonds and your Rolexes. So you try to come hardcore but it keeps coming back to that flossing and that beef, and I ain't really with that. We need to get back to what's happening, start spitting that knowledge to the people and stay away from these conflicts.

SOHH: The beef is really heating up now with Game and 50.

C-Murder: Yeah I saw something like that on the news but I really didn't know what was going on. I just try to put my head down from that, really. All this foolishness there, we need to sit down in a room like men. We're either gonna work together or we ain't gonna be together. There's enough money out there for everybody.

SOHH: On the new single you say "I spit that gangsta rap, forget that hip-hop" What's the difference between gangsta rap and hip-hop?

C-Murder: Well hip-hop is more of a party and dance type of thing with a fun attitude, and there ain't nothing wrong with that, I love it. But with what I'm going through right now I don't want to talk about no parties, cuz I ain't having no parties in here. I want to spit straight gangsta sh!t that's real. Let people know what happens on the dark side of life.

The Solesides/Quannum Story

You love to here the story, again and again, of how it all got started, way back when...

March 19, 2005

Join Us on the Radio Tonight

Once again we hit the airwaves tonight at Midnight EST, with our radio show the Underground Railroad. You can hear us online here, or on WBAI 99.5 FM if you live in the tri-state area. And while you check out the sounds you also can talk to us live in the chat room.

March 21, 2005

Essence's "Take Back the Music" Panel

Some have been inclined to scoff at Essence's efforts on this issue, but I'm not mad at them. In the words of the great Dan Charnas, "any raised voice is good."

So I'm aiming to be there tomorrow, although I do have to ask: why, why, why Stanley Crouch?.

Tuesday, March 22 6:30-8:00 PM

Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T)
Katie Murphy Amphitheater
27th Street at 7th Avenue

register on-line

Essence is telling women to “take back the music” as its reporters and editors explore how denigrating lyrics and sex-saturated visuals dominate pop culture and create stereotypes influencing not only how young girls see themselves, but how black women are beginning to be perceived in other countries. Join the conversation.

Co-presented with the Utopia Network

Eddie Murphy, Hip-Hop Detective

Ummm... I still think Eddie's got some good movies left in him, but I'm not sure I trust him to represent hip-hop. "Boogie In Your Butt" notwithstanding.

Eddie Murphy is Johnny Blaze

DreamWorks and Imagine have set Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg to write Johnny Blaze, an action comedy that will be developed as a star vehicle for Eddie Murphy. Variety says Imagine's Brian Grazer will produce.

Murphy would play the title character, an old-school rapper who retires and becomes a private eye who solves crimes within the hip-hop world.

Grazer produced Murphy starring vehicles The Nutty Professor and its sequel as well as Bowfinger, and the two worked together as producers on TV series The PJs and the in-development film The Incredible Shrinking Man.

The PJs was hella slept-on, I'll say that much. Is that on DVD yet?

Shots Fired at Nas Concert in London

Yikes, glad nobody was hurt..

Shots fired during Nas concert

Shots have been fired inside London's Brixton Academy during a performance by the American rapper Nas. The husband of pop star Kelis was performing at the south London venue when shots rang out at about 2200 GMT.

It is believed a man jumped up on stage and fired a weapon towards the crowd during the show, which was the finale of a UK promotional tour. The venue was evacuated by police, but Scotland Yard said officers had not yet found anyone who had been injured...

No confirmation yet of the reports that as everyone fled from the shooting, Nas was heard boasting that he had made everyone look, which he apparently believed would make the audience "slaves" to the pages in his rhyme book.

March 22, 2005

Will Smith's Larry Elder/Wendy Williams Dis Record

Trickology the audio of Will Smith's dis track "Mr. Nice Guy," right here. I think I kind of.. umm.. like it. There, I said it. Check the second verse:

Will's a nice guy
Well he's so nice I'd
Let him date my daughter like he was a white guy
Not like the rest, he's a private flight guy
Well if I were gay on Friday night I'd...
Larry Elder (Uncle Tom)
You lucky I didn't make you the whole damn rhyme
Wendy Williams, you don't know me
I'm not your punching bag, you won't blow me
Up, girl better leave me alone
Before I buy your radio station and send ya home
This a warning show over the bough
Truth be told this ain't my style
You gotta understand some stuff a man can't allow
Better chill before you climb a tree you can't get down
Okay, people dissing Will sat on a wall
People dissing Will had a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put none of their careers together again
Ya get it?

Would it be a faux pas for me to ask who ghost-wrote this?

Dark Days at the Source

This week SOHH.com takes us behind the scenes at The Source, and it's not a pretty picture:

Behind Closed Doors At The Source Magazine

...Nearly a year-and-a-half after submitting an article to The Source, one former writer is still attempting to be compensated for his work. He says the editors he reported to screen their calls and avoid freelancers. After receiving the run-around one to many times, he recently took the publication to small claims court.

Another unpaid writer: "[I'm owed] over $3000 for invoices that are 3 months to a year old. I got a check from them in December 2003 that bounced and it took them months to repay me for the bounced check. I've contacted nearly a dozen people about payment, and most of them have since quit or been laid off. I heard they're down to about 15 employees," the writer told SOHH.com exclusively. "I know of an editor that quit because he didn't get paid," the writer revealed. "It's only a matter of time until they file bankruptcy."

...The mag has seen several of its key personnel depart over the last 6 months. Among them are Chris White (Publisher), Jeremy Miller (COO), Michelle Joyce (VP of Marketing), Tracii McGregor (VP of Content & Communications), Kim Osorio (Editor-in-Chief), Adila Francis (Managing Editor), Jonathan "Gotti" Bonanno (Music Editor/ Unsigned Hype), Boo Rosario (Music Writer), and Tory Fredericks (Asst. Music Editor) to name a few ex-staffers...

The piece also describes an absurd work environment that includes a ban on listening to Eminem in the office, and break down their impending bankrupcy and Sacha Jenkins' new defamation lawsuit against them.

March 23, 2005

Al Sharpton's Newest Plan to Stop Rap Violence

Looks like he's really going all out this time:

Al Sharpton Building Giant Robot to Stop Violence in Hip-Hop

In his boldest move yet to establish himself as a crusader against violent hip-hop, today Rev. Al Sharpton announced he is constructing a 500-foot robot, programmed to stamp out all traces of negativity in the music.

"Somebody needs to stop this nonsense once and for all," Sharpton explained, "and when my Grandstandatron 3000 comes into town, knocking over buildings and blowing up cars with his laser eyes, the industry will be forced to make some real changes."

In a later press conference, The Source's David Mays and Ray Benzino expressed their support for the robot attack. "I've always been committed to promoting peace and togetherness in hip-hop," Benzino explained, "I don't know where anyone got the idea that you should use violence to get ahead in the rap game."

"Yeah, whatever he says" agreed Mays, sporting a black eye that he said came from walking into a door.

Some critics say Sharpton is just jockeying for media attention, by hawking outlandish plans that he knows he can't deliver. But Sharpton is undeterred by the naysayers. "Maybe next week they'll realize how serious I am," he posits, "when I unveil my plan to assemble an army of anti-rap ninjas."

March 24, 2005

Air America Replacing Chuck D with Jerry Springer

I just got some spam from Air America confirming that this story is true.. but I doubt Chuck will lose any sleep over it, since he is rarely heard at all on the show anymore. The show's website has a 39-line bio for Chuck and only two lines for co-host Rachel Maddow, but the actual show is about 97% Maddow..

The original third co-host Lizz Winstead got canned last week, which Air America handled with a real creepy corporate vibe, pretending nothing happened and allowing almost no on-air discussion or explanation of her sudden disappearance.

AAR needs to learn that the key to (talk) radio is its intimacy, the intimate connection you make with those voices.. that's why Howard Stern's approach, letting this type of in-house drama play out openly over the air, is so effective.. it reinforces the audience's feeling that they are part of the family. Air America's silent stonewalling approach just ruins that magic, and they'll have trouble keeping their listeners if they keep that up.

P.S. This documentary could be interesting.

AIDS and Hip-Hop, Ten Years After Eazy

I have a little Eazy E/AIDS piece up at SOHH.com. Somewhat rewritten after I handed it in, but not in a bad way.

...James Earl Hardy believes health organizations also need to step up and "target us with prevention messages that speak directly to us, instead of slapping colored faces on campaigns that worked for white gay men." Hardy explains there are many factors that keep African Americans in the dark like "our distrust of the healthcare system, [it makes] it harder to get folks tested and if they are HIV positive, get them the treatment they need. [And] our having to deal with so many other issues such as poverty, underemployment, a public miseducation system, racial profiling, police brutality; and the Black church's refusal to deal with the crisis, too often because of homophobia."

Hardy also speaks frankly on the taboo topic "down low brothers" -men who spread HIV/AIDS by secretly sleeping with other men while in a heterosexual relationship. Hardy says, "The 'down low' is not a culture; it's a media-hyped phenomenon created by some very lazy, irresponsible journalists, who are also racist and/or homophobic." He says this behavior does exist but it's been blown way out of proportion, and has become a boogeyman that distracts us from the real issues. "Someone's got to be the villain, so it is much easier to place the blame on a group that is invisible and unable to defend itself. As with Eazy-E's death, another opportunity is being missed to arm folks with the knowledge and tools they need to protect themselves. Giving sistas a list of items they can check off to see if their man is on the down-low is not the answer..."

Come to Our Birthday Party!

Your presence is requested at the Underground Railroad's 14th Anniversary party.

This is the first time we've ever had a party for the show, so I hope all my friends can make it down (and that means you!).

Thursday April 7th at the Knitting Factory (in the Tap Bar)
74 Leonard St. Bet. Broadway and Church, at 9PM
DJs Monkone, Emskee and 3D on the wheels (plus special guests?)

March 25, 2005

ESPN Mag on Hip-Hop in the NBA

Some cool people emailed me this very extensive ESPN piece, which is not accessible on the web as far as I can tell.

Walk This Way

The men -- hairy, fat, mostly white, knocking on the door of middle age -- dance without shame (or rhythm) to Snoop's "Drop It Like It's Hot." More than 18,000 Bulls fans roar as "The Matadors" back their thangs up before closing with a B-boy stance. This is what timeouts often look like in the NBA of 2005 -- adults, kids or mascots throwing the latest hip-hop moves to the latest hip-hop tracks.

Shorts, which once covered nothing but jockstraps, cover everything but calves. Samples, not organs, blare -- and not just during game breaks but game action. Headlines of the league publication, Inside Stuff, shout "illest," "chillin'" and "playa." Nelly and Jay-Z own teams. Yes, hip-hop is as much a part of the NBA landscape as early entry. And to some folks, this is not good. They shake their heads at brash teenage rookies who make arrogant stares an essential follow-up to dunks and crossovers. After Ron Artest, who happens to hail from hip-hop's hallowed Queensbridge projects in New York, went buck-wild in Detroit, league honchos winced as the nation connected the brawl to hip-hop. Concerned about their "image problem" -- as if image problems aren't as American as red, white and blue -- they longed for the days of Michael Jordan.

Thing is, while MJ is held up as the NBA's anti-hip-hop icon, the league's ties to the culture are rooted in him...

Continue reading "ESPN Mag on Hip-Hop in the NBA" »

Chuck D Slams Flavor Flav's TV Show

At the NYU PE conference, Chuck said "People keep saying 'Flav is doing TV now" and I tell them naw, we're telling Flav TV is doing you." (yes, yes, I know I never got the rest of my conference reports up)

Chuck D Comments On Flav’s Surreal Life On “Strange Love”

Chuck D, lead rapper of Public Enemy, has issued a statement regarding group member Flavor Flav and his actions on “Strange Love,” a show televised on VH1.

“We'd like to offer an apology for some of the actions that many considered offensive to Black people, and especially Black women and children, by our brother Flavor Flav as portrayed on the VH1 television show "Strange Love," Chuck said in a statement to AllHipHop.com. “Like I said, Flav is our brother but we cannot begin to agree with what the rest of us consider inappropriate behavior and unfair actions towards his family and to himself...

...What is offensive is that his character and private issues are being trashed in front of millions for mere sake of profit and ratings. To showcase the troubling conflict between his kids and ex was uncalled for and we can't stand by it...”

March 29, 2005


Pardon the silence in here, but sometimes the news is so sad I don't know what to say about it. I'll be back in a minute.

Essence's Women in Hip-hop Panel

I've been remiss in not reporting back on that panel from last week, but the thing is: it got so heated and hectic I didn't know how to sum it up effectively, except maybe by quoting the opening lines of Yeats' "Second Coming."

Luckily Julianne pretty much had it covered, and her rundown is supplemented by funkdigi, lynne and clyde. Hashim also posted a chat between himself, Funkdigi and me, though I'm not sure I said anything useful there.

Props once again to the organizers, especially Akiba Solomon.. This event wasn't exactly the smoothest, but you can't clean out a closet without getting your room a little messy. Hopefully we'll keep that door open and continue the dialogue, cuz we obviously need it.

March 30, 2005

GOP Reveals Marketing Alliance with Cam'ron

I think we all knew this was inevitable:

Republican Party Reveals 'No Homo' Alliance With Cam'ron

Days after McDonald's announced they would pay rappers for mentioning Big Macs, the GOP revealed their own efforts to promote the conservative agenda through rap lyrics.

RNC Chair Ken Mehlman said their most successful partnership thus far is with the rapper Cam'ron, who agreed to promote traditional family values by popularizing the GOP-conceived slogan "no homo."

According to Mehlman, "Cam'ron receives $5 whenever the phrase is heard on TV or radio, and in what has proved the most lucrative part of the deal, he gets $1 every time "no homo" appears in an internet weblog."

Without revealing details, the RNC chair confirmed that further alliances are in the works. "When we tried similar deals with certain reporters and columnists, that pesky 'journalistic integrity' thing kept getting in the way. But integrity is clearly not an issue with these rappers, and we plan to take full advantage of that."

In related news, disgraced columnist Armstrong Williams now hopes to pursue a rap career, and has signed with Koch Entertainment to release his debut album entitled "Licensed to Shill."

Dead Prez Wins Lawsuit Against NYPD

This news certainly warms the cockles of my heart:

Dead Prez Member Paid For False Arrest

Dead Prez star Stic.man has received more than $50,000 in settlement fees from the city of New York for false arrest and excessive force, according to his attorney.

The rapper and three associates were arrested during a photo shoot and subsequently sued the New York Police Department for false arrest and excessive force.

A portion of the settlement will be donated to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement to prevent further police misconduct, reports MTV.com.

March 31, 2005

NYC Beatbox Event

I've heard that this Taylor McFerrin (Bobby's son) is quite binoculars. Can anyone confirm? I'm otherwise engaged this evening so hopefully some of y'all can go investigate:

Beatboxer Entertainment Presents:Bands of the 5th Element
Thursday March 31st

Bands of the 5th Element showcases bands made up of human beatboxers
and other musicians. Produced by Beatboxer Entertainment,
human beatbox masters Kid Lucky, Baba Israel, Yako, and
Taylor Mcferrin, will be highlighted with their groups
Renegades of Punk (Kid Lucky), BaYa (Baba Israel and Yako),
and The Cell Theory (Taylor Mcferrin). Afterwards will be an all star NYC jam session with various musicians and beatboxers from the NYC area.

When? Thursday March 31st, 2005
Doors open at 10pm Showtime: 10:30pm sharp
Where? The Bowery Poetry Club 308 Bowery (On the foot of First Street.)
How much? $10.00 + a one drink minimum
Groups of five and more get $3 off admission
For more info contact Terry Lewis at 718-484-7856
Or email kidlucky@beatboxing.com

10:30 Renegades of Punk
Renegades of Punk is an amazing all vocal, political, hardcore band.
Not4Prophet spits conscious, political, messages that make you think.
He is accompanied by volectric bass player Kid Lucky who provides
driving volectric bass lines and hard vocal percussion. I bet you
didn't think you would ever mosh to an all vocal band!

11:00 Taylor Mcferrin and The Cell Theory
Taylor Mcferrin brings this new band to the forefront of live trance
like hip hop grooves. Taylor's beatboxing is smooth and in the pocket
while the band makes the transitions so slick your head will still be
nodding after the fact!

11: 30 Baba and Yako
Baba is a human beatboxer and didgeridoo player and Yako is an
electric bass player and human beatboxer. Together they make music
that is beyond your normal urban, hip hop, dance tracks. This is that
next level!


The After Hours 5th Element Jam Session
After hours, all star jam sessions, with some of today's hottest human
beatboxers joined with some of NYC's hottest musicians. This is for
the late night hang. Come see what happens when the lights go down and
the die hard crowd stays behind. You'll tell your children and your
grandchildren the magic of that night. We guarantee it!

Regular readers/listeners should be familiar with our friends Baba and Yako of Open Thought, who are also active in this activity.

We have free healthcare! Our schools are legitimate!

Kardinal Offishal's defiant hometown pride on this freestyle is so infectious, when I play it I have to pretend I'm from Toronto too, so I can join in and pump my fist like WHAT!

That right there is perfect hip-hop to me, that yearning to feel part of a community, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.. and to have that bigger thing be recognized and respected, to be able to take pride in it.. that's the need that hip-hop literally was born to fulfill (birthed by those who'd been stripped of everything that could provide such a foundation, as Jeff and many others have broken down.) I love this track cuz Kardi's passion in repping T-Dot captures that spirit perfectly.

About March 2005

This page contains all entries posted to hiphopmusic.com: in March 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2005 is the previous archive.

April 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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