« April 2006 | Main | June 2006 »

May 2006 Archives

May 1, 2006

PHOTOS: Standing Tall for Sudan

We can't all stand this tall, but 100,000 people gave it their best effort in DC yesterday.




click here for the complete set

May 2, 2006

A Few Other Notes


1. I don't think my photos did this justice, but Sunday's rally in DC was also historic for featuring the most photogenic and all-around flyest protestors ever. More knowledgeable sources report that most of these sharply dressed brothers (and it seemed like there hundreds of them, all up near the front) were Manute Bol's fellow Dinka, from the southern part of Sudan, who came out in force to support their brethren up north.

2. I've met a ton of celebrities, but randomly bumping into an actual true-life hero is a whole nother thing.. I shook his hand but couldn't muster any words on such short notice.

3. I was all protested out today (after getting back to NY at 3:30 AM, chinatown bus style) and didn't get to witness the Great American Boycott in action, but it looks like y'all made them feel it.

May 3, 2006

New Outkast Song: "The Mighty O"

And when I say "new Outkast Song" I mean an actual song with both Andre and Big Boi on it, together, emceeing. A major event.

So far there's only a low quality recording from ATL radio.. Okayplayer has it posted here, and Nahright has it here.

My relative in jail... stay engaged
To whatever make money now he married to that cage
Divorce is not an option and prenuptial is void..


Elsewhere, Jeff links to a different sort of critique aimed at the current immigration protests..

Phonte on Mobb Deep's "Blood Money" Album

I mean uhh, Phonte talking about Mobb Deep's "Blood Money" album, in case you missed it:

Mobb Deep is gone.

Club Mobb is what you have now. And you can either take it or leave it.

...For longtime Mobb Deep fans, "Blood Money" pretty much confirmed our worst fears of what we thought a G-Unit/Mobb Deep partnership would bring forth:

Our boys done got rich and stopped trying...

Haven't listened to it yet, but I guess the growing consensus is Havoc and P will catch the proverbial brick on this one?

Myspace Find of the Day: Snaggapuss from the Bounce Squad

Remember that guy Snaggapuss, who rhymed on the classic mixtapes with Doowop and Lord Tariq (and that extra-super-gully female emcee whose name I forget)? As usual, Myspace has the answers to all your "where are they now" questions: "Back from the land of the dead and reincarnated 'Snaggapuss' has changed his name to 'Snaggdadon' and gotten very serious with his music, he's come to reclaim the throne."

(passed along by miss info)

May 7, 2006

Bad Boy Presents: Opal Mehta

Although I hear what Jeff Chang is saying, I have trouble feeling sorry for Kaavya Viswanathan. Or that is, I do feel bad for her, but I can't see anything unjust about her current plight. Nik Cohn didn't have to deal with all this, but Nik Cohn also wasn't a teenager with a $500,000 book deal.. if you put yourself out there to reap extraordinary rewards, you better be ready for extraordinary scrutiny.

But one of her schoomates cooked up a novel defense strategy: Kaavya's plagiarism is really in the finest tradition of hip-hop sampling:

Kaavya Viswanathan—Master Sampler?

he amount of regional and national press over what insiders are calling “Opalgate” is bordering on the absurd. Kaavya Viswanathan ’08, author of “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,” borrowed liberally from another author’s work. So what? In the hip-hop world, this goes down all the time. The main question for all the chick-lit fans, and possibly the courts, is whether Viswanathan is a “biter,” or just standing on the shoulders of giants (if it’s fair to put author Megan McCafferty in the company of Hemingway and Proust).

Word on the street is that Kaavya is somewhat of a hip-hop aficionado, so it’s possible she was merely adding her name to a long list of “samplers” in rap history. From its roots in Jamaican reggae and dub, hip-hop has always relied on the creative reuse of prerecorded material. Starting from simple looped beats of disco and funk tracks (think “Rapper’s Delight” and their shameless use of Chic’s “Good Times”), sampling quickly evolved into montage masterworks by artists like EPMD, the Beastie Boys, and De La Soul...

...[But the distinction] between creative reuse in a recognizably new composition, and tired theft, was eventually erased by the courts. The real “zero hour” of sampling occurred in the notorious “three notes” case of 2005, Bridgeport Music Inc. v. Dimension Films, in which the 6th Circuit Court ruled that the use of even three notes of a song constituted illegal sampling. Even the RIAA was opposed to this ruling, and these guys eat aborted fetuses for breakfast.

Looking at it from this perspective, almost every creative work could be found “derivative” by clever lawyers. Didn’t I hear that Franz Ferdinand chord progression somewhere before? I certainly did, and not just because I’m a disillusioned Gang of Four fan. By definition, culture is collaborative. Some of the richest masterpieces of the Western literary canon are thoroughly infused with Biblical and mythological language. If Homer had better legal representation, would James Joyce’s Ulysses have ever been published? Intertextuality isn’t just a word that literature majors throw around at their swank cocktail parties—it’s a fundamental attribute of creative expression.

Even in an age when copyright terms have been extended to absurd lengths in order to keep Mickey Mouse locked up and proprietary, there is a viable movement of people who question the balkanization of artistic expression. Lawrence Lessig and his “Free Culture” peers (including Cory Doctorow, interviewed in the Crimson earlier this year) started Creative Commons, a “some rights reserved” licensing scheme in which artists, not blood-sucking lawyers, can specify the level of control they want over their work.

Last Thursday, the Harvard Free Culture Society celebrated the opening of “Sharing is Daring,” Boston’s first Creative Commons art show. The work wasn’t all derivative itself, but all of it is covered by non-restrictive licenses, allowing for reuse in future works by other artists. Maybe Viswanathan should look into this license for her next novel, to keep future generations of literary borrowers from running into the legal and publicity problems she now faces. Or just pull a Diddy and give Ms. McCafferty a fat stack of Benjamins.

He is wrong, of course, cuz keeping your samples recognizable as found sounds is basically the foundation of the aesthetic. We may not want you to know exactly where they came from, but you're supposed to know they came from somewhere. Also the Grey Album wasn't exactly a mashup, and Rapper's Delight had no sampling on it. But nice try, and interesting take on the general ethics of borrowing.

May 8, 2006

Whatever Happened to Lily Allen?

The music-blog hype machine works so quick nowadays, it should only be another week before they take Lily Allen through the entire cycle of hype to backlash to back-backlash to exhaustion. Too bad cuz her stuff is kinda cool, and she deserves a chance to at least, like, put one record out before the blogstorm makes everybody sick of her.

But it's too late for that.. by mid-may we'll be reminiscing about her glory days and wondering "who's the next Lily Allen?" So I'm gonna jump ahead and nominate Zarif, another UK rookie who's due for some shine (check the first track, "let me back"). She's only got 1,000 myspace friends right now, so you might have as much as two months before she becomes a blogville has-been. Get in on this one while you can!

Who Are the People That Think Hillary Clinton Should Run for President?

Are any of you here right now, reading this blog? Because I find it difficult to believe that you actually exist.

Hillary Clinton leads her Democratic rivals in the polls and in fundraising. Unfortunately, however, the New York senator is part of a failed Democratic Party establishment -- led by her husband -- that enabled the George W. Bush presidency and the Republican majorities, and all the havoc they have wreaked at home and abroad...

...She doesn't have a single memorable policy or legislative accomplishment to her name. Meanwhile, she remains behind the curve or downright incoherent on pressing issues such as the war in Iraq...

...In person, Clinton is one of the warmest politicians I've ever met, but her advisers have stripped what personality she has, hiding it from the public. Some of that may be a product of her team's legendary paranoia, somewhat understandable given the knives out for her. But what remains is a heartless, passionless machine, surrounded by the very people who ground down the activist base in the 1990s and have continued to hold the party's grassroots in utter contempt..

Kos' op-ed is being too kind. I always liked Hillary, and defended her against the strange and fervent hatred she received as first lady. But running her for President is a laughably horrible idea.

Bill Withers on Hip-Hop

From the latest Wax Poetics, typed up by Kate404 on OKP:

When did you first learn of artists sampling your work?

Well, it's hard to remember. The earliest stuff (that I knew of) was Blackstreet, and then my wife started making me aware. People would request stuff. If it wasn't too foul-mouthed, then I would usually okay it.

A range of artists have sampled you. On one side, there is Will Smith and on the other there's Dr. Dre.

And Kayne West (for "Roses") on his new album.

Have you spoken with anyone who's sampled you?

I met Kanye West briefly. He was unveiling a painting he had commissioned from a friend of mine, Ernie Barnes (who painted the famous "Sugar Shack" that was used for the cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You"). So, I spoke with him briefly, but he was surrounded, and everyone was trying to talk with him. I've never really sat down and had much contact (with these artists).

What would you say or ask them?

You have to give them a lot of credit. I judge things by how difficult it would be to do. And when they are able to sample snippets of music and put it into their whole thing, it's an interesting art form. If you can get past the sociological differences in some of the stuff that is kind of angry and hedonistic and just look at the art form and how difficult it is (to do), I would probably enjoy having a conversation with some people. Especially the people you mentioned, like Dr. Dre and Kanye or Teddy Riley. People like that are very creative and would seem to be very interesting people. Probably the reason that I haven't had that kind of contact is, you know, sixty-seven-year-olds, as a rule, don't hang out with twenty to thirty-year olds!...

I would really like to understand, because it is just as creative and inventive an art form as jazz was. It doesn't require (schooled) musical virtuosity, but jazz didn't require as much (schooled) virtuosity. Especially (with) sampling, there is an art form. If it were so easy, how come you're not doin it? I couldn't do it! I don't have that forsight. I couldn't take little snippets of things and put it together. Most are forms we see, there's a more complex story behind it. Wouldn't it be interesting for a seventy-year old owner of a television repair shop to have an open-minded discussion with 50 Cent?

May 9, 2006

The Passion of the Blaine

I'm sorry but this David Blaine business had to be the most hollow, self-indulgent nonsense I've ever seen.

All this weeping and carrying on about how humbled he is that the masses came out to support him, as he faced these hardships for the noble cause of.. uhh.. wait, what cause was he doing this for again? Raising money for AIDS prevention in Africa? Protesting the persecution of the Falun Gong? Saving that rabbit from getting killed on that website?

Oh yeah that's right.. unless I missed something, David Blaine is doing all this in the name of... drumroll please... making everybody stare at David Blaine while he tortures himself! Wow, what a triumph of the human spirit.

Not to belabor the obvious, but there are thousands of people in this very same city who are drowning in poverty all day every day, and damn sure can't jump out of a bubble to escape it. So as I walk by the half-dozen homeless people I'll see on the upper west side tonight, forgive me if I don't make time to cheer for the courage of that millionaire down the block, as he makes a vapid spectacle of his neurosis.

May 10, 2006

The Best Nigga Who Ever Spit

Even when gets a bunch of stuff wrong, which is almost every time, I always love seeing Robert Christgau write about hip-hop. This foray into the world of mixtapes is no exception (on either count.. it's get familiar, Bob!)

Explorations in Mixtape Nation

"far more than indie-rock collectibles, mixtapes tap the world's endless musical reserves—and render hip-hop-is-dead rhetoric ridiculous."

It gets me every time, and there's barely any music to it. Mainly it's a naked voice—mellow, soft-edged, playfully playground, flowing liquid over bass drum and down-low "Gold Digger" hook, which now signifies not "Ray Charles" but "classic Kanye you're always happy to hear again (so far)." It's a Q-Tip freestyle, and though it follows the Busta-meets-Pharrell expostulation "Followers"—"Shinin' brighter on niggas just like a f**kin' halogen/Spit clearer than water 'cause I'm lactose intolerant"—please believe that it stops the show.

He "ain't really sayin' nothin' exactly." So try to imagine Q-Tip's simple words not just scanning but lilting: "Bite my style yo they bite my style/Turn up the music little bit more now/There's the knob turn it up more Joe/And then we gonna spit this next verse and then we gon' go/Because there's radio shows by the dozen/But none is fuckin' with this one cousin/It's the Clinton the Sparks . . ." It's lovely, infectious, virtuosic. When you obey Kardinal Offishall on the next track and Google "the best nigga who ever spit," you get nothing, which seems just...

...Someone should write a book about the mixtape world, which encapsulates hip-hop's complexity. It's dangerous, creative, materialistic, and uncontrollable, up from slavery and on both sides of the law. But as a music critic in for a quick look around, all I can say is that the eight or nine examples I've been sampling are mind-boggling...

MLB Giving Medical Coverage to Negro Leaguers, White Players Suing to Stop It

Worst lawsuit ever?

Negro Leagues players' payments upheld

Major League Baseball is entitled to pay former Negro Leagues players $10,000 a year and provide medical coverage as compensation for their exclusion from the big leagues, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, rejecting a reverse-discrimination suit from a group of white ex-players.

The medical program was established in 1993 and the income program in 1997 for players who were in the Negro Leagues in 1947 or earlier, before Jackie Robinson broke the major league color line.

It covered players who had spent at least part of four seasons in professional baseball, including the Negro Leagues, but had not played long enough in the major leagues to qualify for medical or pension benefits. Before 1980, players needed four or five years in the majors.

About two dozen former Negro Leagues players are collecting benefits under the two programs, said Richard Levin, a spokesman for the major leagues.

The programs were challenged in 2003 by Mike Colbern, a Chicago White Sox catcher in 1978-79, on behalf of a group of white retirees who had played too briefly to qualify for pre-1980 medical or pension benefits. Claiming racial discrimination, they sought equal benefits for themselves.

Upholding a federal judge's dismissal of the suit, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said baseball had legitimate reasons to limit the program to those who had been barred because of their race...

Star Suspended Fired at Power 105, After Attacking DJ Envy's Family

I never listen to the show, but I've heard that Star has recently been making some amazingly (even by his standards) low-class attacks on Hot 97's DJ Envy. Star's focus has been aiming anti-asian slurs and personal attacks at Envy's wife, plus gruesome threats towards Envy's young kids.

A bit of a weird situation given that Envy himself was one of the singers on Hot 97's own anti-asian and generally anti-human Tsunami Song. But that doesn't make Star's nonsense any less despicable, and it looks like his hate-mongering has finally caught up with him, as Power 105 reportedly just put him on suspension. EDIT: Power 105 has now confirmed that Star is fired.

This comes just as NY City Councilman John Liu, who prominently joined in the protests against Hot 97 that began on this site, held a press conference today calling for Star's termination.. here's the press release from this morning:

EDIT: I just added a transcript detailing some of Star's on-air comments, under the press release

5/11/06 EDIT: I just posted Star's apology here, issued through his lawyer.

Continue reading "Star Suspended Fired at Power 105, After Attacking DJ Envy's Family" »

VIDEO: Lauryn Hill Secret Show in New Orleans, 5/3/06

"I said if you ain't up on thaaangs / tuberaider's the name youtube's the game..."

If y'all were staying up on tuberaider you would have been seen that Sly Stone clip. Here's some other stuff you've been missing:

  • Lauryn Hill live in New Orleans last week
  • Frank Zappa live with John Belushi on saxophone
  • Meshell, Frank Zappa, and NWA on Arsenio
  • The Dark Secrets of Walt Disney's Vault - did Stephin Merritt know about this version of "Zip-A-De-Doo-Da"?

  • May 11, 2006

    Because I Can't Believe Y'all Have the Nerve to Defend David Blaine

    I have sought to restore my faith in America by looking for people who understand what I'm talking about:

    Here we go, the NY Times gets it:

    "the absurd seriousness with which Mr. Blaine approaches his public stunts leaves you with a certain glee at his failure... In dreamy montages last night, Mr. Blaine explained that these exercises are all part of his "journey," that they "make people think." Magic, he said, "brings people together who might not come together." Well, so does the airport. The beauty of old-school thrill seekers like Evel Knievel, whose interview with Mr. Blaine ran during the show, is that they did not seek to intellectualize their gamesmanship..."

    Time Magazine gets it:

    Continue reading "Because I Can't Believe Y'all Have the Nerve to Defend David Blaine" »

    Ghost Writer Needed for Black Fiction

    On philly's craigslist, any guesses who this is for?

    Serious Ghost Writer Needed

    Ghost Writer needed to do a Black Middle Class novel. Frankly stated, the writer must be able to write in the voice of an African American female. Your race dosen't matter, but your skill sets do! You must be a reader of Black Fiction.

    Writer must have a degree in Creative Writing or a degree of equal concentration. Black Middle Class novel chapters 1-16 must be rewritten ( this is not copy editing) and the last 8 chapters need to be written. GW will have an outline for the last 8 chapters. The GW will also have to rewrite the 1st 1-12 chapters of Black Middle Class Drama. Writer must understand what it means to be a GW and have a good attitude. GW Must be able to do task quickly and efficiently. Turn around time for this project is 2 months! Writer must be able to meet one day out of 7-9 days with author to go over what has been done and to talk about what needs to be added or changed...

    ...Ghost Writer must sign a confidentiality agreement, complete a W-9 form, produce a valid driver license, social security card (which will be copied), and their references and educational experience will be checked.

    * Compensation: $4,000.00-8,500.00

    If Skills Sold, Truth Be Told..

    Ian's Lady Sov story, if accurate, wouldn't surprise me. But I also don't think it'd tell us much about her prospects as a commercial entity. You could challenge many of today's successful emcees and likely get the same result..

    I saw The Game challenged to kick a freestyle in Rucker Park and his failure was quite miserable. Needless to say, this deficiency had no impact whatsoever on his commercial success, because those are not the skills that matter in this marketplace. What matters is having the right look, charisma, backstory, ability to deliver whatever is ghostwritten for you (unless you really want to write for yourself, but this is not necessary), and to fit into whatever sound the producers mold for you.

    So when he was sizing up Lady Sov, maybe Jay was just was just being mindful that he's in the business of creating celebrities now, not discovering emcees.. that artists never go platinum, only stars go platinum. And being able to spit a hot 16 off the dome, for better or worse, is not what makes anyone a star.

    (Not saying I think Lady Sov will hit. I like her, but I'm pretty sure she won't.)

    Ghostface Analyzing the Fall of the Wu Empire

    From Sam's interview in URB:

    ...When I'd first met Ghostface nearly two months before at the Wu Tang reunion show, he'd seemed more upbeat and energetic, more optimistic not only about his own album but about the Wu's future and its past.

    "Yo, (being here with the Wu) is like fucking with your crimeys again," he'd exclaimed to me. "You ever seen Usual Suspects? It's like niggas don't be doing those things for a minute, but then it's like you’re back on. Wu will come back in due time. We’re going take it to the next level. Niggas still love each other. It may be outta sight for a second, but it's never out of mind."

    Tonight, he reveals a little more complex view of the band’s past and future. His allegiance is unwavering and unquestionable, that much is clear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not bittersweet.

    "Do you think that a lot of troubles and turmoil that individual members of the Wu Tang Clan went through hurt you guys from a career perspective?" I ask.

    "It did. A lot of the stuff we were doing then did set us back,” he comments. “At Hot 97 's Summer Jam, we fucked around and cursed (the organizers) out. And on the (1997) Rage Against the Machine tour, we didn't stick with that. We made the wrong decisions -- we fucked up."

    "I never thought the Wu reached its full commercial potential," I comment.

    "Nah, we really didn't..."

    Star's Apology

    For what it's worth, via his attorney:


    New York, NY (Thursday, May 11, 2006) - "Mr. Torain offers his sincere apologies to DJ Envy's wife and child for the comments he made which were unsuitable and inappropriate. He reacted after being threatened repeatedly on air by her husband DJ Envy and Miss Jones of Hot 97 to the effect that Star would be harmed upon leaving his place of employment.

    Although he responded on air to these threats in an inappropriate manner, Star would like to assure DJ Envy's wife and family that they have no reason to feel threatened or insecure as Star never intended to do them any harm.

    The statements Star made in response, while inappropriate, were however made under great duress and at a time when he was fearful for his safety and the safety of members of his staff."

    May 12, 2006

    AUDIO: 58 Minutes of Funk/Soul Breaks from DJ 3D

    As usual when the DJs pull out the old stuff, 3D didn't provide a playlist.. anyone want to show off their beatdigging acumen and see how many of these you can identify?

    May 15, 2006

    Making Money for A Living, Cuz This Is What We Do

    Probably won't have time to post today, so in the meantime please listen to my drummer y'all, and his drums of steel.

    Remembering Skeeter Rabbit

    Joe remembers him well:
    As one of the pioneers of Boogaloo Style - the foundational style of Popping - Skeeter Rabbit was a master of one of the most subtle and refined forms of hip-hop dance.

    I know most people don’t associate subtlety and refinement with hip-hop, but that’s precisely why it’s important to remember his contribution. As Skeeter Rabbit’s friend and disciple Fabel taught me, Boogaloo Style uses sharp, rhythmic muscle contractions to punctuate large, sweeping, circular motions. The beauty is in the interplay between these two almost contradictory kinds of movement, which is emphasized in a variety of ways, from its choreography to the clothes the dancers wear (loosely draped, the better to show off both aspects, the sharp and the flowing).

    We mourn Skeeter Rabbit as a great dancer, a great pioneer, and – by all accounts – a great person, but we also celebrate the aspects of hip-hop he represented, aspects which are too often forced to the background: subtlety, refinement, creativity, discipline, making a better life than the one you were handed, respect for one’s teachers and peers, and respect for one’s students


    And so does Davey D:

    May 16, 2006

    DJ Besho - Hip-Hop in Afghanistan

    in the Wash Post.. I wish every piece about international hip-hop didn't have to start with the same "unlike American rappers who are all gangstas" premise.. but then again, maybe it would help if we stopped shooting each other in the ass.

    Afghan rapper wins fans with message of peace

    Rap may have been born on the gritty, violent streets of American cities, but Afghan rapper DJ Besho says he wants to send a message of peace to the new generation of war-torn Afghanistan.

    Besho, 28, looks the part with his baseball cap, dark glasses and combat trousers, but he's no gangster...

    ...Besho first got hooked on rap as a boy while living in China. He heard a hit by Nigerian star Dr Alban and started singing along. His friends laughed and told him he couldn't do Afghan rap.

    "I said, 'It is easy and I will show you in 10 years'," he said...

    ...In Kabul at least, Besho is winning legions of enthusiastic if at times bemused fans.

    "Kids love this kind of music he's introduced to our country. But in my opinion, it would be more interesting if he wore our own national dress," said 21-year-old student, Farhad. "His songs express our national unity and we like the kind of music he makes. He is young and talented and it's very interesting to listen to his songs," said another man, Nasratullah.

    Even President Hamid Karzai wanted to meet the rapper but Besho was an hour late for their appointment. "It was really not good. I thought maybe he was waiting for me but no," said Besho, who's a big fan of the president...

    while Besho said he's encountered no negative reaction to his music, not everyone in deeply conservative Afghanistan is a fan.

    "I don't like music at all but this, in my opinion, is the worst," said a prominent Kabul Islamic cleric, Abdul Raouf.

    How are you an hour late for a meeting with the President of your country?

    May 17, 2006

    AUDIO: More Funk-Soul Basics from DJ 3D

    Turns out you guys are good at naming that tune! Let's see if you can get them all this time.. a lot of them shouldn't be too tough on this one:

    powered by ODEO

    May 20, 2006

    Halle Berry Calls Out BBC DJ for "Racist Moment"

    As Mixed Media Watch said, this is one of those borderline situations that come up constantly, where you might not want to straight-up say "this guy is Racist," but there's clearly some Race Weirdness going on. All the Stephin Merritt business is another good example of Race Weirdness, maybe I'll come back to that thought later.

    Halle Berry Questions "Racist Moment" From BBC DJ
    Halle Berry questions BBC host about his ‘big, fat, black guy’ voice

    What was meant to be a friendly chat to promote the new “X-Men” movie turned into a frosty discussion about race on a popular morning radio program, but the British Broadcasting Corp. defended its disc jockey. Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry appeared on Chris Moyles’ Radio One breakfast show Thursday and clashed with her host after he impersonated what he described as a “big, fat, black guy.”

    “Are we having a racist moment here?” Berry, the first black actress to win an Academy Award for a lead role, asked Moyles after she took exception to his impersonation. Moyles, who is white, said he just couldn’t do American accents.

    “There was nothing racist in what Chris said, and he made that clear on air,” a BBC spokesman said Friday on condition of anonymity, in line with the corporation’s policy.

    The exchange began when Hugh Jackman, Berry’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” co-star, jokingly suggested that Moyles might take the role of his body double if he ever landed the part of James Bond.

    “I could definitely do that,” Moyles said before adding, “Put your hands in the air!” A somewhat puzzled Jackman replied, “Are you some kind of Brooklyn Bond?”

    Moyles replied: “I’m a black American guy. A big, fat, black guy. Put your hands up in the air.” The interview continued, though the DJ later said Berry was “ratty” — British slang for grouchy...

    Tyra Banks Race Weirdness?

    Another look into racial pop politics from Slate, but a good deal sharper than their Merritt piece. I've only watched ANTM once and I didn't notice these issues, although Tyra was irking me a bit with the slightly exaggerated code-switching.. trotting out this "girl you trippin!" voice that reads to me like a clumsy affectation.. (something Oprah does too, but she's more convincing with it)

    Is Tyra Banks Racist?

    ...Since UPN's programming caters to a black audience, it makes sense that Tyra, the first black woman to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, is at the helm. But lately, the supermodel has seemed disapproving of the trappings of black American culture. Though she illustrates her allegiance to the sisterhood by making loving references to her booty, for the past few cycles Tyra has been discouraging any behavior that could be considered "too black..."

    May 21, 2006

    Quintessential New York: Wedding Pizza

    On my way into the legendary Joe's Pizza yesterday, I encountered these newlyweds who are truly on that New York sh*t:

    wedding pizza

    They must have come straight from the church, and popped right back in the limo afterwards..

    May 22, 2006

    Subway Series: Spitting on Trains, Flowing On Water

    Subway Series: Baba Israel Subway Series: Outside the Ferry Subway Series: Spitting on the Train Subway Series: Spitting on the Train Subway Series: Call and Response on the Ferry

    Last night I caught the latest Subway Series, where emcees, singers, dancers and beatboxers meet up to stage a travelling concert on a NY subway train. This was their last event for a while, so they went out in style by starting on the train then moving up to the Staten Island Ferry and treating commuters to "the world's first floating cypher" (as one freestyler put it).

    I thought it was a very cool event that showcased the best of what hip-hop can be, just like Joe described it. Hopefully my pics get a little of that energy across:

    Subway Series: Click the Supah Latin Spits for a Packed Train Subway Series: Outside the Ferry

    Subway Series: Dancing on the Train Subway Series: Dancing on the Train

    Subway Series: Outside the Ferry Subway Series: Click the Supah Latin

    Subway Series: Outside the Ferry Subway Series: Baba Outside the Ferry

    May 25, 2006

    Beanie Sigel Shot in Arm, During Robbery Attempt

    You gotta be kidding me. Glad to hear Beans is in one piece. But seriously people.. my fellow people of planet Earth.. you gotta be kidding me. How many times is this going to happen?

    And please spare me the "this has been going on forever, it's not a hip-hop issue" copouts.. this particular case might be totally random, and every particular case has its particulars.. but there have been way too many of these particulars in hip-hop lately, for us to keep rationalizing it all away with our age-old "America has always been violent" platitudes. I don't pretend to know a better answer, but I know these old answers (or more precisely, reasons to avoid the question) ain't cutting it.

    Beanie Sigel Shot in Arm, During Robbery Attempt, Leaves Hospital

    Beanie Sigel, the popular rapper who has been shadowed by his violent past, was wounded by gunfire during an attempted robbery early Thursday. The holdup was attempted around 7 a.m. by five males traveling in two cars, but there was some confusion about where the shooting took place, police said.

    Sigel's attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., said the shooting appeared to be "a random act of violence."

    The 32-year-old rapper spent a few hours at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania before leaving around 11:40 a.m. Thursday in a wheelchair, wearing a hospital gown, blue jeans and a blanket over his head. He also had a bloodstained towel on his right shoulder.

    After getting into a black Mercedes, Sigel lowered the car window and said, "I got shot. I'm cool."

    Moments later, he pulled his hospital gown aside and showed a bandage on his left shoulder to reporters. His left arm was in a sling and his left hand was bloody, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on its Web site.

    May 26, 2006

    Kanye Raps in Court, Makes Judge Blush

    "I was in the studio making music to help the world and I had to deal with something like this" ..gotta love Kanye's cockiness.

    Copyright infringement trial features brief rap by Kanye West

    Kanye West gave an impromptu performance of the 2003 hit "Stand Up" at a copyright infringement trial, causing a judge to blush and drawing a laugh from jurors. During West's testimony on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel asked him to say the first two lines of "Stand Up," the song for which he created the beat and opening two lines before top-selling rapper Ludacris finished it.

    West hesitated but finally blurted out a line laced with a harsh profanity that struck the judge as out of place in the dignified Manhattan courtroom. "I'm sorry I asked," the blushing judge said with a chuckle as nearly everyone in the courtroom, including the jurors, laughed out loud. "I think I'm going to withdraw my question..."

    West, who has won six Grammy Awards for his two multiplatinum albums, "The College Dropout" and "Late Registration," attracted a steady stream of young spectators to the courtroom to hear his denials of knowledge of the song "Straight Like That," by an East Orange, N.J., group, I.O.F., or It's Only Family...

    West said he was in a studio making music when he was told he was a defendant in the lawsuit. "When you played it, it was kind of funny to me," he testified. "I couldn't believe I was in the studio making music to help the world and I had to deal with something like this..."

    I kept thinking the title "Straight Like That" was familiar to me, and finally remembered it's also the name of Shabaam Sahdeeq's track dissing all his former Rawkus family, including the swipe at certain "fake-ass bookstore revolutionaries."

    AUDIO: Malcolm X Birthday Funk, 5/20/06

    Here's another funk/soul set from DJ 3D, with yours truly mixing in Malcolm's voice over the tracks in honor of his birthday last week. Once again, please step up and help the world by ID'ing all these old records if you can.

    powered by ODEO

    Muchas gracias to Odeo.com for making us a featured "staff pick" podcast of the moment..

    May 30, 2006

    Lloyd Banks G-Unit Barbeque Shooting

    The Post sure seems to get a kick out of this stuff:


    The correction-officer mom of a G-Unit rapper whipped out her pistol and started shooting during a wild gunfight at a Queens barbecue that left an innocent bystander paralyzed, law-enforcement sources said yesterday.
    The officer wasn't charged in the frenzied fracas early Sunday outside a St. Albans home. Officials said she was using a licensed weapon to return fire at people who shot at guests at the party, among them G-Unit rapper Lloyd Banks...

    His father, Jesse Brown Sr., suspects that Sunday's shooting was related to the violence-plagued G-Unit. "People do a lot of things out of jealousy. There are a lot of people that used to be part of G-Unit and no longer are ... It may have been a retaliation," Brown Sr. said...

    ...The bash, being thrown in honor of Brown Jr.'s 22nd birthday, was originally supposed to be limited to relatives.
    But "Lloyd Banks showed up . . . [and] as soon as people heard about that, the crowd started coming," said a woman who attended the party, which gradually grew to about 150 people. At one point, a group of bikini-clad women also showed up outside, followed by a group of men on motorcycles. Shortly after that, police said, someone fired a shot over the fence into the back yard, setting off a flurry of gunfire lasting several minutes...

    Prosecutor Decides Proof Shooting Was Self-Defense

    Not actually self-defense, but you know what I mean. He'll only be facing weapons charges from here on in:

    Prosecutor says Proof shooter within law
    Shooting was in defense of another according to prosecutor

    The man who police say shot and killed rapper Proof in a nightclub shootout acted lawfully in defense of another man, the county prosecutor said Tuesday. But Mario Etheridge still will have to face weapons charges in the April 11 incident in which Etheridge's 35-year-old cousin Keith Bender also was killed.

    Etheridge's lawyer has said his client fired a gun while trying to defend Bender during the April 11 fight at the CCC, an after-hours club on Detroit's Eight Mile Road... [The prosecutor] said Etheridge shot twice at the ceiling to stop Proof -- who was a member of D12 and Eminem's best friend -- before aiming the gun at him...

    ...A message seeking comment was left Tuesday for Etheridge's lawyer, Randall Upshaw. Upshaw has maintained that the 32-year-old Proof — who died with a blood alcohol level of 0.32 percent (four times the level considered drunk under Michigan law) — became belligerent during a game of pool. The man he argued with stopped to speak to him on his way out, Upshaw said, and Proof then argued with Bender and later returned with a gun, pistol-whipped Bender and shot him in the face.

    M.O.P. Raising Money for Charles Barron Tonight

    Ante up! The Mash Out Posse are turning out to be quite the civic-minded crew, between this and their Tsunami benefit last year.. the details of how the event benefits the Charles Barron campaign are not clear on the flyer, But it's linked from Barron's site so presumably it's legit. Appearing long with M.O.P. are Royal Flush, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Termanalogy and Sav Killz.

    About May 2006

    This page contains all entries posted to hiphopmusic.com: in May 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

    April 2006 is the previous archive.

    June 2006 is the next archive.

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

    Powered by
    Movable Type 3.34