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July 2005 Archives

July 2, 2005

So Amazing.

Wow, this one really hits me in the heart. I can't imagine there are many folks around my age, especially black folks, without a bunch of very particular memories and sentimental attachments to this man's music.

I just paid for wifi access at this hotel, so I can download at least a few of his classics and get my cry on.. looking at these search results, man I forgot just how many bangers he had.. Stop to Love, If This World Were Mine, If Only For One Night, Glow of Love... damn I totally forgot this joint with Gregory Hines.. can't believe they are both gone now.

Few of us will ever speak of love as eloquently as Luther, and few will spread as much love as he did. His music was a celebration of life in the truest sense, because he made so many songs that caused sooooo many babies to made.

And it might sound funny to those with a dimwitted concept of masculinity, but in my eyes Luther Vandross was R&B's epitome of a real man, and one of the last ones we had left. A man as in a grown-up, who spoke to us of love in the way a grown man knows how.

So peace be with you, Luther, you will truly be missed. I suspect that every time I turn on BET I will miss you a little more.

July 4, 2005


I've been hearing a lot about this gentleman, anyone familiar with his stuff?

K'naan Looks Back At Africa During Career High

Rapper K'naan was very humbled as he took the podium to talk to media only moments after playing his set at Live 8. He was possibly the least-known artist to perform in front of the 35,000 fans who arrived in Barrie, Ontario and one of the only native African artists asked to perform at the Canadian installment of the show. That cultural split doesn't bother him and he actually congratulates North America for doing this again.

"I don't think of it as an African event," he said. "I don't think of it as an African political rally. I think of it as a job for the West and this is a political change that needs to come from the West. The West has its own stars. Africa has stars. I think it's a great thing that we are rallying here."

Of all of the people you saw on stage during the day, K'naan was one of the few who hasn't just visited Africa to see the devastation, but he lived in that world for a number of years. Although he now calls Toronto home, the rapper was born in Somalia, which his family had to escape in fear of their lives...

Maybe I Just Don't Get British Humor

Speaking of Live 8, what's up with this this review in the Guardian:

For all the fuss about the lack of black faces on Live 8's bill, rapper Snoop Dogg somehow contrives to seem incredibly inappropriate. He never mentions the concert's aims, preferring instead to raise the watching world's awareness of Snoop Dogg. "Wave your motherfucking hands in the air," he yells. "Wave the motherfuckers like you just don't care." Given that caring is rather the point of Live 8, this suggestion seems unsuitable at best...

One Cop Shot, 180 Black Men Arrested


NYPD Arrest 181 Black Men in Queens After Cop Shot in the Leg

We begin today with a case of a police dragnet in New York City. On June 14th, Officer Christopher Wiesneski of Queens was shot in the leg with his own gun while trying to arrest a man smoking marijuana. During the next three days, police mounted a massive dragnet in the community. A total of 181 black men in the Queens neighborhoods of Cambria Heights and Laurelton were arrested on misdemeanor charges and quality of life violations. Some who were were arrested report that they were grabbed by the cops, handcuffed and not given any explanations at the time of their arrests.

The police department and Mayor Bloomberg have remained silent on the matter despite calls from City Councilman Leroy Comrie, Queens Representative Gregory Meeks and Democratic Mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer to give an explanation for the cops behavior...

July 5, 2005

Hip-Hop in Vietnam

A report on the spread of hip-hop from Vietnam's official government-sponsored news service:

Is hip-hop mere fashion or a dangerous trend?

Hip-hop is a new wave which has overflowed from the West and infiltrated many areas of Vietnamese modern society. The phenomenon is attracting a lot of young people, especially youth who were born in the 1980s and 1990s. Hip-hop has penetrated into Viet Nam’s music market, both professional and amateur, and it is now considered the youth’s fashion music.

Currently, most music shows are accompanied by dancers who perform break-dance. In an effort to soar to fame, many young singers have "renewed" themselves, using the hip-hop style. They include singers such as Hong Ngoc, Doan Trang, Ly Hai, Thanh Thao and Quang Vinh...

...Hip-hop has also made an appearance in amateur performance establishments. Most of the universities now have hip-hop groups, even, the Ha Noi Art College has hip-hop as a training programme, in addition to its academic music lessons.

Dang Anh Tuan, a student of the Viet Duc senior high school says a "movement" to learn break-dance – a part of hip-hop – is now popular among students. "We learn hip-hop to have a healthy and quick body," Tuan says.

His friend, Thai Bao, says Vietnamese youths are quickly adapting to hip-hop. "Hip-hop is like a kind of language, which helps us express our personalities," he says.

Some students’ parents also says they agree with the movement. "There’s no reason to protest hip-hop. I’d rather see my children practice hip-hop dance skills than seeing them lured to use heroin or drugs," says Hoang Thanh who lives in District 1 of HCM City.

To meet the rising demand of young people, many training centres for hip-hop dances have emerged and most cultural clubs in Ha Noi and HCM City now have break-dance classes...

Here's where it starts getting funky:

Hip-hop followers often wear their distinctive clothes, including loose trousers, colourful T-shirts, headbands, necklaces and metal chains with monstrous images. It is this side of the cultural phenomenon that can cause discomfort to many people.

Hip-hop spreads out so that we can see hip-hop clothes or breakdance performers everywhere, especially in schools. Many schoolboys perform their skills of hip-hop, such as handstands or head-spins during their breaks in school hours.

This is not so good, I think, because a school is not a club and hip-hop clothes are not suitable to cities with hot weather, such as HCM City.

Hip-hop also penetrates youth language. Many young Vietnamese now prefer to add into their conversation a few words that they learn from the rappers, such as "oh yeah", "come on", or "check it". Unfortunately, these words are not enough to express all their feelings.

By choosing hip-hop style, many young people try to prove that they are sanh Dieu, or stylish, but in the wrong way. They speak in a devil-may-care manner, and they swear as if they are the real street children.

Hip-hop followers in their typical clothes walking around solemn places such as lecture halls or pagodas can cause bad feeling to many others.

Hip-hop was born in America in the early 1980s. Unemployed black youth used hip-hop as a way out of dead-end lives and hard situations.

Hip-hop penetrated into Viet Nam in the early 1990s. Before that, hip-hop came to Japan and China, but in these countries, it is still not considered a part of the culture.

In fact, hip-hop only exists among a part of American youth, who have a couldn’t-care-less lifestyle.

Therefore, as many young local people now rush to follow hip-hop, they may lose their way in orienting their personality, because hip-hop means freedom, and it means a couldn’t-give-a-damn attitude.

I think we should consider hip-hop a new type of entertainment only, and youths should absorb it in moderation.

If the hip-hop movement goes too far, it may cause many young people to forget traditional culture and their origins, and they can become unmindful of others.

July 6, 2005

Black Rage, White Crowds

I'll probably be sitting on WBAI's morning show tomorrow as they discuss Bakari Kitwana's Voice piece. What was yall's take on that story? What should I ask/talk about?

6/7/05 EDIT: This segment won't be happening now, obviously.. hopefully rescheduled in days to come.

July 7, 2005

Terrorist Attacks in London Subway, Buses

Godspeed to everyone out there. Early reports from London bloggers:

and eyewitness photos posted on flickr, (via presetcentral):

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July 8, 2005

LAPD Must Pay Biggie's Mom

Still a long way from justice:

Judge orders L.A. to pay B.I.G. family

A federal judge has ordered the city and police department to pay slain rap star Notorious B.I.G.'s family "fees and costs incurred as a result of defendants' misconduct" in the family's wrongful death lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper declared a mistrial in the case, rejecting the city's argument that LAPD Detective Steven Katz had forgotten about documents in his desk drawer until his office was searched last month.

The documents detail Katz's investigation of a prison informant's claim that corrupt former LAPD officers Rafael Perez and David Mack were involved in the 1997 killing of the chart-topping New York rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace. Cooper said the LAPD still has not turned over other files to the plaintiffs, including about 15 personnel complaint investigations into Mack.

"The detective, acting alone or in concert with others, made a decision to conceal from the plaintiffs in this case information which could have supported their contention that David Mack was responsible for the Wallace murder," Cooper wrote in an order released Thursday affirming the family's request for a mistrial and sanctions.

Attorney Perry Sanders Jr. said the family would refile the suit, but he didn't know when. It is expected to accuse the LAPD of racketeering and to name Perez as a defendant.

Wallace's mother Voletta also spoke publicly about her son's death for the first time in years.

"Eight years, three months and 29 days (ago) today, my son was murdered in this town, in this city. For all that time I've labored with pain and sweat just to find out the truth of what happened," she said, adding that her suit "was not about money."

"It was about honesty. It was about integrity. It was about cover-up," she said, jabbing a finger in the air to emphasize each point. "It had nothing to do with dollars and cents...."

July 11, 2005

Gay Hip-Hop Festival

hopefully I'll have time to head down and check this out, we need a lot more of this.

Homo Hop Flow: Gay Rappers Bring Pride to Hip Hop’s Birthplace

Homo Hop Flow:
Gay Rappers Bring Pride to Hip Hop’s Birthplace

After attracting over 600 fans and artists at its inauguration in July 2004, the Peace Out East LGBT Hip Hop Festival enters its sophomore year with concerts and screenings that showcase the pioneering work of Homo Hop artists in hip-hop's birthplace, New York City. The Festival represents the growing work of a thriving Homo Hop community, whose very presence challenges the notion of hip hop as an anti-gay art form.

LGBT rappers, hip hop artists and fans from localities throughout the East Coast and the country, converge in NYC from Friday, July 15th, through Sunday, July 17th. Peace Out East empowers local artists and fans through increasing viable artistic, professional and networking opportunities for both established and emerging Homo Hop artists.

“Hip-hop itself is not homophobic,” notes Paradigm, B.Q.E. member and co-producer of Peace OUT East. “Music is a tool; it can be used to build or destroy,” she continues, “Some people use hip-hop to be homophobic. We use it to build up our people, affirm our heritage as queers, as people of color, and as artists.”

Peace Out East opens on Friday, July 15th, at the Bowery Poetry Club at 10:00pm.


WORD/LIFE: Emcees and Poets in the Life
Friday, July 15, 2005; 10:00 pm
Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery @ Bleecker
Live music and spoken word featuring Baron, Dewayne Dickerson, Buttaflysoul, Tim’m, Claudia Alick, Yvie E., DJ Daryl Raymond & DJ Rollz Royce; hosted by Exodus

Homo Hop Showcase
Saturday, July 16, 2005; 10:00 pm
Galapagos Art Space
70 N. 6th Street @ Wythe Avenue
Live performances by Soce the Elemental Wizard, El-Don, Da Lyrical, Aggracyst, Shayvonna, Hip-hop dancer Pino; DJ Dutchboy & DJ Fucci.

Screening: "The Straight Black Folks' Guide to Gay Black Folks" and "Incursions in Chunk"
Saturday, July 16, 2005; 1:00 pm
International Action Center, 39 West 14th St. #206

Peace Out East Final Concert
Sunday, July 17, 2005; 9:00 pm
Nuyorican Poets Café
236 E. 3rd Street @ Ave B
Featuring BQE, Shorty Roc, KIN, JB RAP, Brick Citizenz, Ricoshade & God-Des featuring Tina G.

Interviews and photos available upon request.


See also:

July 12, 2005

Mos Def and Black Moon in Tanzania

Right after they hit Black August here in NYC:

Mos Def and Black Moon in Tanzania

Rappers Mos Def and Black Moon are taking their Hiv/aids awareness message global with back-to-back shows in New York and Tanzania.

The acts will perform at the eighth annual Black August Hip-Hop benefit concert on 7 August at New York's BB King's club before jetting off to Tanzania to perform on 18 and 20 August.

Shock G is Out

Shock G's retirement announcement, posted at Thug Life Army:

i'm retiring from all forms of studio work and song writing.

My reasons for retiring are:

1. I get no satisfaction or fullfillment from it anymore. It doesn't make me happy. On the contrary, it depresses me.

Normally I'm not depressed, it's only surrounding the studio. I'm happy when I'm away from the studio.

2. Can't make a living at it. 90% of the studio work I've done in the last 6 years has all been either for free or for peanuts, and hasn't generated any income since.

3. It drives me to do drugs, cause I HATE BEING IN THE STUDIO. To much pressure & expectation for me to make/save/spark someone elses career or project.

4. I quit the studio. Fuck the studio.

5. I can't win in the studio, It's pointless, it's a "catch 22" for me, watch:

If what I do sucks, it tarnishes the legacy, hurts the family, and even lowers the price, and also leaves the artists & involved-companies unhappy;

But if what I do shines, it generates more studio work for the future, and furthur traps me in the music business, a business I have no intention of slaving to the rest of my life. I gave it 20 years. I'm done.

6. Every man has the right to the pursuit of happiness and should first try a job that he might gain happiness & fullfillment from. This doesn't make me happy anymore, it makes me miserable and a drug addict.

7. I'm done widdit. Whew!

YES, it already feels great already just to say it!!!

I most likely will try my hand at some of these:

> writing (Afeni assures me this is my true calling everytime she see's me. Maybe she's right?)

> acting

> stage performing, meaning accepting tours or positions in other bands doing keys & background vocals. (IF it's real and if the moneys good. No amatuer or free stuff anymore.)

> regular jobs in service (like clubs, hotels, TV show bands or staff, resturants, who knows?)

> ..and of course still do digital tours cause it PAYS and people don't expect me & Mon (grown men) to work for free, like all the studio requests. I'm 42 and have wants/needs/bills/responsibilities.

So there it is, spread the word, I quit.

I don't make beats, I don't do vocals, I don't write vocals, NONE OF IT.

Those of you who are friends, will be happy for me. Happy that I shook something that was making me miserable.

Those of you who had plans to "use" or manipulate me at the expense of my own health & happiness, will be upset about this. All I can say to those would be, you're free to do whatever you wish, and so am I.

I choose to QUIT.

there it is.

Thanx everybody, spread the word


Game Means Always Having to Say You're Sorry

Yet another bout of contrition from The Game:

The Game grovels again

In March the rival rappers held a press conference to say their beef with each other was over. But then The Game piped up again while on tour last month.

Now he says he's embarrassed for going back on his word to set a positive example to fans:

"I am very upset with myself, and ashamed, to have participated in the things that have been going on. I'm definitely not the person who started it."

"I had my back against the wall and was forced to defend myself - I'm ashamed and am really apologetic. When I say it I say it with the sincerity of my heart and also with my grandmother who passed right after I graduated from high school."

"She was the only person in my life at that time who ever believed I'd be anything. I'm looking forward to a more positive and productive future."

July 13, 2005

A Day Late and 40 Acres Short

What's up with this sudden rash of apologies for the racism of yesteryear? It's making me nervous.

Too often when people randomly apologize for what happened long ago, they're really feeling guilty about something else they're doing right now, that we didn't find out about yet. So are y'all up to something or what?

S.C. Residents Apologize For Lynching

Eugene Crawford's grandfather was killed by a mob after arguing with a white man over the price of cotton in 1916.

But more was taken from the family than Anthony Crawford, a wealthy black farmer. His children inherited the farm, but the rest of his property went to the white man with whom he had the disagreement.

Tuesday night, hundreds of worshipers gathered at a church in Abbeville, S.C., for a service to atone for Crawford's lynching.

White church leaders confessed the sins of their ancestors and apologized to blacks for that and other racist crimes of the past.

A black minister wept as he offered forgiveness.

"It makes me angry," said Eugene Crawford, now 81. "But I'm glad we're coming together a little bit."

Nah, this actually seems pretty cool. I think. But I'm watching y'all.

Clear Channel's Kim Bryant Defends Racism

Rick Delgado, the producer who was fired from Hot 97 for his role in their infamous anti-Asian/anti-African/anti-human Tsunami Song, is now producer of KYLD's morning show in San Francisco.

In response to complaints, Clear Channel's Regional Vice President Kim Bryant (kimbryant@clearchannel.com) sent out the mind-boggling statement pasted below. It basically translates to "We know Rick Delgado is racist, but that's okay with us because he has 'great contacts.'"

Here is Kim Bryant's defense:

Thank you very much for contacting us with your concerns. I want to personally assure you that the Wild 94.9 Morning Show will in no way be representative of the broadcasting approach Mr. Delgado - who is now an off-air contributor - was previously involved in.
[NOTE: Delgado was an "off-air contributor" at Hot 97 as well, so this means nothing]
Please understand the following:

Official statement from KYLD Program Director Dennis Martinez:
The new Wild 94.9 Morning Show is "Strawberry In The Morning" featuring Strawberry, a long-time personality of Wild 94.9 and Fay Carmona from Miami. These are the only two key personalities of the show. Other members of the morning show off-air team include Rick Delgado, who has is an experienced radio producer, and who has the contacts to book major market guests and talent.

There have been some questions regarding the hiring of Rick Delgado as part of this off-air team, and we'd like to emphasize that Rick brings to the table great connections, and that is the sole function he was hired to fulfill. While Rick Delgado was previously part of a
controversial morning team, and involved in some inappropriate on-air
bits, neither of those two facts are true today, nor are they useful in the San Francisco Bay Area radio market.

[NOTE: Apparently in the world of Kim Bryant a fact is only true on certain days. Perhaps she can send along a calendar.]

Strawberry: "I'm very excited about my new morning show on Wild 94.9. I have worked over a decade on building this station in various jobs, and I personally take a great deal of pride in the light-hearted, community friendly, entertaining and music oriented programming we provide. Fay and I are committed to making mornings fun and interesting. We have an off-air team that will help provide us with great guests to create the market's best morning show. And as long as its my name on the show, it will be respectful and representative of the Wild's tradition of rallying the community together, and never divisive, unkind or unfair."

[NOTE: and he upholds this tradition by working alongside one of the industry's most notorious racists.]

I sincerely appreciate your email, and please know we take your
concerns very seriously.

Kim Bryant,

Thanks to Davey D for passing this along.

July 14, 2005

Obscure Comic Threatens Me on XM Radio

This morning a little-known comedian named Todd Lynn was interviewed on Opie and Anthony's XM radio show, talking for almost an hour about about his involvement with the Hot 97 "Tsunami Song" incident. The entire interview is available for download here.

Not surprisingly the conversation was peppered with numerous racist jokes and anti-asian comments. Also about 20 minutes into the interview he starts discussing this website, beginning with a threat to physically assault me:

"There was a website called hiphopmusic.com, and this a**hole, if I ever see him I will whoop his ass and I will suffer whatever ramification." download mp3

Later he mistakenly identifies me as white, falsely claims that I posted his personal information online, and credits this site with "singlehandly taking Emmis Communications down." I've posted a complete clip of this section here.

July 15, 2005

Bassam Khalaf, the Arabic Assassin

I guess we file this under "when keeping it real goes wrong"?

Houston rapper fired as baggage screener

When Bassam Khalaf raps, he's the Arabic Assassin. His unreleased CD, "Terror Alert," includes rhymes about flying a plane into a building and descriptions of himself as a "crazy, suicidal Arabic ... equipped with bombs."

Until last week, Khalaf also worked as a baggage screener at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

"I've been screening your bags for the past six months, and you don't even know it," said Khalaf, who also said Thursday that he is not really a terrorist and that his rhymes are exaggerations meant to gain publicity.

Andrea McCauley, a spokeswoman for the regional Transportation Security Administration office in Dallas, said the agency checks criminal records before hiring screeners, but it does not investigate what people do in their spare time. "We have eyes and ears in the workplace," McCauley said. "Once we discovered these Web sites, we fired him."

An Internet search of Khalaf's name brings up Web sites that feature his obscene, violent and misogynistic raps that threaten to fly a plane into a building on Sept. 11, 2005.

Khalaf, 21, was hired on Jan. 16 and fired July 7, according to a TSA termination letter that cited his "authorship of songs which applaud the efforts of the terrorists on September 11th, encourage and warn of future acts of terrorism by you, discuss at length and in grave and alarming detail various criminal acts you intend to commit, state your belief that the U.S. government should be overthrown, and finally warn that others will die on September 11, 2005."

Khalaf, who was born in Houston and is of Palestinian descent, said working as a baggage screener was the best paying job he's ever had. He said he hoped to use any extra money he earned to produce his CD.

"I kept my music and my job separate. I told a couple of people who I thought was cool with me at work that I rapped, but I never sat there and told them lyrics or anything," said Khalaf. "I guess somebody probably told them that I had a Web site."

Khalaf said his terrorist-themed rhymes are more about marketing. He called his songs art and pointed to other rappers who have rhymed about terrorism. He specifically cites Eminem's song, "My Dad's Gone Crazy," which discusses blowing everything on the map up except Afghanistan and says: "There's no tower too high, no plane that I can't learn how to fly."

"Controversy sells," Khalaf said. "It brings a lot of attention. Everybody wants to label all Arabics terrorists just because a couple of people messed up. Well, I'm going to play along with that character. I'm going to let you think I'm one."

You can learn all about Bassam Khalaf at his soundclick page, featuring what seems to be a dis record aimed at Matt Sonzala from houstonsoreal (check the second verse). Better raise your alert level, Matt!

July 17, 2005

I'm 20 Pages Into Harry Potter, and I'm Pissed.

When the last Potter book came out I was pleased to find JK Rowling finally adding a Black wizard into the mix, with the introduction of Kingsley Shacklebolt. It was a shining moment for our people.. Halle Berry wept.

While reading along I always imagined Shacklebolt as portrayed by Sam Jackson, hoping he'd evolve into a badass hero a la Mace Windu.

But as I start the latest book what do I find? Shacklebolt has been reassigned as a secretary.


What the hell kind of Spook Who Sat by the Door sh!t is this???

July 18, 2005

Chuck D Interviews Karrine Steffans

Last night on his Air America show Chuck D interviewed Karrine Stephens, author of "Confessions of a Video Vixen." Chuck worked hard to get something positive from the exchange, even refusing throughout the segment to use her infamous nickname "Superhead." The results are worth a listen, rather different from the other interviews you'll hear with her (it's about 40 minutes into the mp3).

Continue reading "Chuck D Interviews Karrine Steffans" »

The Boondocks TV Show, Coming in October

Regina King, John Witherspoon, Mos Def and Charlie Murphy, can't ask for better casting.

'The Boondocks' Adult Swim Debut Scheduled

Cartoon Network has recently announced their plans to air the original animated television series The Boondocks as based on the hit comics strip by Aaron McGruder, on October 2nd, 2005, on the incredibly popular late-night programming block Adult Swim. Certainly the best place on television for animation geared towards a more difficult to reach demographic, Adult Swim welcomes McGruder's work in moving-picture form with open arms.

Wonderfully cynical and outstandingly comedic, The Boondocks will debut along with a unique celebrity cast as well. Aaron McGruder is serving as executive producer of the animated television series, offering fans of the original comic and fans of the animated medium a smooth transition of concept. The television series, produced by Rebel Base and Hudlin Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television, at present has fifteen episodes in production. Cartoon Network has released the following press article:

Based on Aaron McGruder's award winning and politically charged comic strip of the same name, The Boondocks will premiere on October 2nd, 2005 at 11 p.m. (ET, PT) on Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's late-night sister network showcasing animation for adults. Regina King (Miss Congeniality 2, Ray) and John Witherspoon (Friday After Next) are among the actors who have signed on to voice characters on the highly anticipated animated television comedy. King will do double-duty, as the voices of brothers "Huey Freeman" and "Riley Freeman"--the two characters central to the strip and series--while Witherspoon will be voicing "Granddad," the boys' cantankerous grandfather.

In The Boondocks, when Robert "Granddad" Freeman becomes legal guardian of his rambunctious grandkids, he moves from the south side of Chicago to the quiet and safety of "The Boondocks" (in this case, suburban Woodcrest), hoping that he can ignore them altogether and enjoy the fourth quarter of his life in peace.

But Huey, a 10-year-old left wing revolutionary, is determined not to enjoy the affluence of suburbia. This attitude is seconded by his 8-year-old brother, Riley, a proud product of contemporary rap culture. Although they torture each other and provoke the neighborhood, the two aren't any match for Granddad, who is eccentric even by "crazy-ass-old-black-man" standards.

King, who starred in Miss Congeniality 2 opposite Sandra Bullock, has also appeared in the Oscar-winning film Ray, opposite Jamie Foxx; Cinderella Story, opposite Hilary Duff; Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, opposite Reese Witherspoon; and the Oscar-winning movie Jerry Maguire. Witherspoon has earned the reputation of playing one of America's funniest fathers in films such as Friday, Friday After Next and Boomerang. His television credits include The Tracy Morgan Show and The Wayans Brothers. Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911), Gary Anthony Williams (Malcolm in the Middle), Gabby Soleil (Johnson Family Vacation) and Jill Talley (The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie) are also among the show's principal cast.

Meanwhile, hip-hop artist turned actor Mos Def (The Italian Job), Ed Asner (Elf) and Charlie Murphy (Chappelle's Show) are among the eclectic mix of actors who have been enlisted to voice guest characters on the show.

July 19, 2005

Lil' Kim Suing Lil' Cease

Don't you have more important things to do right now, Kim? Such as finding better lawyers?

Rapper Lil' Kim sues trial witness

Rapper Lil' Kim struck back Monday at a trial witness who helped to secure her false-statements conviction and yearlong prison sentence, filing a lawsuit accusing the witness of unlawfully using her name and image to promote a DVD.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, she accuses James "Lil' Cease" Lloyd of preparing to release a DVD entitled, "The Chronicles of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Part II: Reloaded."

She says the DVD, like a predecessor, was unauthorized and improperly uses her name, image and likeness, amounting to false advertising and false endorsement. She's seeking $6 million in damages.

She also says Lloyd has announced publicly that the DVD will include interviews with him and other members of the Junior M.A.F.I.A. group explaining their involvement with her trial...

John G. Roberts Nominated for Supreme Court

  • Endorsement from Operation Rescue.

  • Press release and Detailed report on Roberts on John G Roberts by the Alliance for Justice. (PDF, via Daily Kos)

  • Another extensive PDF from People for the American Way.

  • Backgrounder from law.com (via Majority Report)


  • Too Soon to Bash John G. Roberts Talk Left urges caution.

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  • July 21, 2005

    Returning to the Scene of the Crash

    The newly award-winning Jeff Chang has a great read up on Alternet, discussion with Sylvia Chan about "Crash," the much hyped cinematic exploration of race in America.

    Can White Hollywood Get Race Right?

    Jeff: ...For Haggis, the “crash" is the metaphor that holds everything together. He seems to believe race is only discussed when we collide with each other, and friction starts. It’s a very interesting concept that resonates post-riots, post 9/11. But there's very little character development in the movie, and even less insight into race...

    Sylvia: ...The whole idea that you don’t have to think about race until you “crash” into it is not what most people have the luxury of doing. And that is what white privilege is. White privilege is not having to think about race. Which is why I think many people have the reaction they do of coming out of the movie and bawling, thinking they’ve learned something...

    JC: ...During the 60s, Tom Wolfe portrayed black and Samoan activists in San Francisco and New York City as race hustlers and poverty pimps in "[Radical Chic and] Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers." Anthony is just an update of a kind of 60s white liberal take on radicals of color.

    He is redeemed at the end of the movie, after taking a lesson from the Terence Howard's bourgeoisie, white-identifying black director Cameron, who sheds his Oreo aspirations by confronting the police harder than Anthony ever would. Anthony then goes on to free the Thai slave workers.

    Haggis seems to be saying that the kind of nationalism and separatism Anthony is spouting is not the way forward. What's new in "Crash," if anything, is a recognition that assimilation into whiteness may not be the way to go either. But either way, non-whites need to get over their anger about racism, because they need whites.

    SC: At the same time, I thought the white characters were the most realistic characters in the movie, and I probably wouldn't have had as many problems with this movie if it had been structured more like 1993's "Falling Down," where it was about whiteness under siege. If it was about white people being afraid, suspicious, angry, resentful, and confused by non-white people, then it would be very accurate. White people are afraid of non-white people, even if they can’t vocalize or verbalize it...

    July 22, 2005

    R Kelly, Creativity and (Supposed) Illiteracy

    Joe Schloss on R Kelly:

    Having finally seen/heard R. Kelly’s opus "Trapped in the Closet", I was struck by a weird sensation of familiarity in the way the story is told. There was just something about the way the work is constructed that reminded of something, but I just couldn’t place it. Then it finally struck me: it reminds of one of those stories that kids make up, before they have a sense of beginning, middle and end. One thing happens, then another thing happens, then another thing happens, then another thing, until eventually it just ends. It’s like he was making it up as he went along.

    Then I remembered that R. Kelly cannot read or write. I am not making fun of him: he has publicly admitted this.

    So my question is this: Does the fact that I am apparently the only person who thinks this is a big deal say more about me or the American public?

    You're definitely not the only one, I was just talking about this with Phonte of Little Brother, who does a dead-on parody of Kells on his new album. It's easy to dismiss since he so often uses it in pursuit of the absurd, but be real: there's no denying R is one hell of an inventive and imaginative dude. I've always wondered how his illiteracy has influenced the path his imagination travels, and if/how it would be different if he had different tools to feed that creative mind..

    (BTW Phonte said he and his boys started randomly adding "oh my god a rubber" into every conversation... like "This pizza is almost ready.. OH MY GOD A RUUUBBER!" or "Man, I think Karl Rove is gonna get indicted.. OH MY GOD A RUUUBBER!")

    EDIT: When I read the article Joe linked, I noticed that despite the suggestive headline, R didn't actually say he can't read in the article, only that he's "not the best at reading and writing. I don't have no shame in saying that... Sometimes I don't feel my spelling is correct like everybody else's. I'm a little slower when it comes to things like that."

    So I started to wonder if the idea that R is straight-up illiterate might be an urban myth of sorts, spawned by careless writers and then repeated so often it became "fact" in careless minds like my own.

    And sure enough my friend Mightypen reports below: "Oh please. This is rubbish. I went to grade school and high school with him. He's no genius, that's for sure. But he is not "illiterate." Contrary to popular belief, the Chicago Public School system really WASN'T that bad. *rolls eyes*"

    For Real For Real, We Need Help

    Some of you may have heard that our radio station WBAI is in a severe financial crisis right now, and might have to law some people off.. so tomorrow at midnight we'll be doing a last-minute fundraising edition of The Underground Railroad.. I beseech thee, any amount you call up and donate will go a long way to help us out of this jam..

    Anyone who pledges $100 or more will get the new deluxe DVD reissue of the greatest movie ever made, Rockers.

    We'll also probably need a couple of people to help answer phones, if you'd like to come visit.

    July 25, 2005

    Dressed to Die

    Let me get this straight. In London a Brazilian man is tackled and shot 5 times in the head because ran from undercover cops while wearing the wrong sort of clothes. In NYC a sightseeing tour bus got bumrushed by a SWAT team 100 strong, because a bus dispatcher reported that "five male passengers of Middle Eastern descent were wearing 'backpacks and their pockets [were] stuffed.'" Does anyone notice a pattern here? As I read these headlines my mind jumps to another incident, four decades earlier.

    In 1968 Eldridge Cleaver and a group of his fellow Panthers were about to surrender after a long standoff with police. According to legend, Cleaver knew the cops would be eager for any excuse to shoot the Panthers as they emerged, and he decided there was only one way they could get out of this alive.

    As reported at the time by Ramparts, Cleaver told his crew that "If the eight went out naked, the cops couldn't claim that they thought the Panthers had guns or that they shot in self-defense. The other Panthers agreed that nakedness might be their only chance, and in the besieged basement, their eyes streaming from the tear gas, seven of them took off their clothes."

    But one member, 17 year old Bobby Hutton, was too shy to go through with it.. according to Ramparts: "He was too embarrassed. And as it happened he emerged first, into the floodlights, his hands high over his head, and walked toward the waiting policemen. When he was well out in the open, one of them yelled, 'Run, Boy!' Hutton froze, terrified, obviously knowing what the call meant, then took a few frightened, hesitant steps. They shot him dead. 'We thought he was trying to run,' they said later. And sure enough, the first statement said, "We thought he had a gun."

    37 years later, have we found ourselves in a climate where all people of color need to consider Cleaver's advice, each time they leave the house?

    Spitzer Scores Sony Payola Settlement

    When I started the radio show in 1991, I met many label reps who started our conversation with "so, how much do you charge?" A look of puzzlement then came over their face as I assured them I wasn't charing money for interviewing artists.

    The game may have gotten more subtle since then (I rarely have reason to deal with the majors anymore so can't say firsthand), but you can be sure it hasn't gone anywhere, and won't be going anytime soon. Impressive that Spitzer was even able to make a dent in it, though. If making Sony give up 3 minutes worth of profit counts as a dent.

    Sony Agrees to $10M 'Payola' Settlement

    Recording industry titan Sony BMG Music Entertainment agreed Monday to pay $10 million and stop bribing radio stations to feature its artists in what a state official called a more sophisticated generation of the payola scandals of decades ago.

    The agreement springs from an investigation by New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who called the practice "pervasive" in the industry and suggested other music industry giants could face similar penalties.

    Pay-for-play "is driving the industry, and it is wrong," Spitzer told reporters.

    Sony BMG, whose various labels include hundreds of artists from Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett to Beyonce Knowles and the Dixie Chicks, said in a statement some of its employees had engaged in "wrong and improper" practices.

    The company said it looked forward to "defining a new, higher standard in radio promotion," but did not say whether it had fired or disciplined any of those employees. A spokeswoman did not return a call for further comment...

    ...Spitzer said Sony BMG's efforts to win more airplay took many forms, including outright bribes of cash and electronics to radio stations and paying for contest giveaways for listeners. In other cases, he said, Sony BMG used middlemen known as independent promoters to funnel cash to radio stations.

    The attorney general called the system more sophisticated than the 1950s and '60s payola scandals, most of which involved direct payments of cash to DJs in exchange for airplay.

    "This is a more formalized, more corporatized structure to get the same result," he said. He added, "I feel a little like Bill Murray in the movie 'Groundhog Day,'" a story about a cynical weatherman who is forced to continuously relive the worst day of his life...

    Spitzer said Sony BMG's efforts to win more airplay took many forms, including outright bribes of cash and electronics to radio stations and paying for contest giveaways for listeners. In other cases, he said, Sony BMG used middlemen known as independent promoters to funnel cash to radio stations.

    The attorney general called the system more sophisticated than the 1950s and '60s payola scandals, most of which involved direct payments of cash to DJs in exchange for airplay.

    "This is a more formalized, more corporatized structure to get the same result," he said. He added, "I feel a little like Bill Murray in the movie 'Groundhog Day,'" a story about a cynical weatherman who is forced to continuously relive the worst day of his life.

    ...In the Sony BMG case, Spitzer released to reporters e-mails, most of them dated 2003, 2004 and 2005, that he said showed company executives were well aware of the payola practices.

    In one case, an employee of Sony BMG's Epic label was trying to promote the group Audioslave to a station and asked: "WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AUDIOSLAVE ON WKSS THIS WEEK?!!? Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen."

    In another case in 2004, the promotion department of Sony BMG label Epic Records paid for an extravagant trip to Miami for a Buffalo DJ and three friends in exchange for adding the Franz Ferdinand song "Take Me Out" to the DJ's station's playlist.

    And in another, a program director for Clear Channel radio station WKKF-FM, or KISS-FM, sent an e-mail to a Sony executive saying: "Looking for a laptop for promotion on Bow Wow," a reference to a rapper.

    Spitzer said Sony BMG employees sought to conceal some payments by using fictitious contest winners to document the transactions...

    July 27, 2005

    New Nas "MC Burial" MP3 (50 Cent Diss)

    Here is Nas' new track dissing 50 Cent, "MC Burial" on MP3 and mercifully free of yapping DJs. The pertinent lines are in the third verse:

  • Nas "MC Burial"

    Initial thoughts: I'm sure in a few days the Google hordes will be killing me for this, but I am underwhelmed by the track. Not feeling the weird John Legend pitch-shift. Last verse is cool in a general sense but not hitting hard as a dis. Even if meant metaphorically, dis tracks that rely on threats to shoot somebody are boring me, in 2005.

  • Lay Down Your Wages

    D-Nice remembers his run-in with Larry Davis (more recently known to WBAI listeners as Adam Abdul Hakim, from his correspondence with our legendary host Bob Fass.)
    One day there ought to be a movie about the man, perhaps starring Freddie Foxxx.

    O-Dub breaks down the Anger Management Tour.

    The payola settlement gets Dantrificated. Or is it Dantrified?

    Franklin Bruno and Sasha talk some deep talk.

    And Rev. Run auditions for an upcoming remake of "Scream Blacula Scream," apparently.

    About July 2005

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

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