Monday, March 31, 2008

Stop-Loss


So last night I saw Stop-Loss, the new movie with Ryan Phillipe about a dude who enlists to fight in Iraq, does his duty (so greatly that he earns a purple heart) and thinks he's getting out. Instead, he's gets "stop-lossed" which basically means the government finds a loophole in his contract and he involuntarily has to go back to Iraq for another round-- or go on the run and move out of the country for the rest of his life.

It was a good movie, even though it seemed a little scattered at times. Kinda like the director, Kimberly Pierce (who also did Boys Don't Cry) didn't really know what she wanted the main point to be-- so she danced around a couple of ideas. Even still, it was a powerful movie-- and I cried not once, but twice in the movie (don't tell no one).

Anyways, there are no spoilers here, I just find it a little funny that movies and television shows about the war are being made while it's still going on-- with no definite end in sight. To my knowledge, they didn't do that during Vietnam...immediately after, but not during.

Now, I read somewhere (can't remember) where the writer suggested that Stop-Loss was kinda like some reverse psychology to get the public to agree that re-instating the draft is the thing to do. The whole concept of stop-loss is that there aren't enough soldiers to send to war, so the good ones (or those who haven't lost limbs) have to recycled. After seeing the movie, and having seen the director's last film, I disagree. I think it's pretty much common knowledge that the majority of Americans see the Iraq invasion as a mistake-- and would be absolutely against any kind of draft - especially after the disgrace of Vietnam. The film was pretty blatantly anti-war.

Sometimes it gets easy to just lump the war into the "things that make me sick about America" category-- without really humanizing the soldiers (kids really) that are sent over there, and killed. Not to mention the psychological issues they come back with. But this movie, reminded me, all to well. At one point, one of the characters who has been brutally maimed by a bomb says that he actually wouldn't mind being stop-lossed because if he went back to Iraq, the government would have to give his family their green cards. I don't know how true that is-- I did a little, quick research and came up with nothing. But I did find out that there are 20,500 non- U.S. citizens serving in the military. They've earned the very clever title of "green-card warriors." This in a country where one of the main debates in our presidential election is about how terrible illegal immigrants are to our society. I don't know about ya'll but I've never read the aforementioned statistic before or heard it fly from Bill O'Reilly's ever-running mouth. Seems like it should've at least came up at some point.

Here's hoping we get the hell out of Iraq, sooner rather than later.

King Kong Lebron


"What if there were no niggaz only Masta Teachas?" --Erykah Badu, 2008.

Bet stuff like this wouldn't still be going on.... in 2008. And to think, Lebron is the first black man ever to "grace" Vogue's cover.

Now, Mizzo over at theStartingFive.net pretty much said it all. I've read a lot of comments suggesting that Lebron's "people" should have caught this. I'm suggesting that Lebron should have caught this. And, if he didn't see the cover before it went to print, he should at least have expressed outrage at the image. I understand that when you're taking pictures and caught up in the moment, the idea that the photographers and editors involved are trying to make you look like a Peter Jackson character may not cross your mind. But upon seeing this, he should have been livid, instead of making the half-ass statement he did, where he muttered somethin about how everything he does is gonna be criticized anyway, so who cares? Really, dude? Grow a pair already.

Again, this is 2008. And people wonder if racism is more persistent in American society than sexism.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boogie Music...Ready or Not

(thanks for the visuals Goldi!)

Ok. Here is my latest song, "Ready or Not" produced by Rico Law of Marshall Law Productions.

American Greed (a familiar tale)


I was skimming CNN.com and came across this story about a single mother of two who went from making $70,000/year to getting food from the Food Bank in a matter of weeks. Can't say I was surprised...it's a common story. The American middle class has been eliminated. Most folks just ain't realized it yet.

Which leads me into the concept of American Greed. Theidea is nothing new- hell, the U.S. was built on it. But this mixtape is-- American Greed (produced by Divided Souls). Basically it's Jay Z's American Gangster remixed. It's dope. If you ask me, their title is far more fitting.

So check it out, and protect your pockets... save that Nintendo Wii and XBox 360 for another, brighter day. As Willie D insightfully said, "F-ck a Playstation, my bills don't vacation." Word.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A3C Wrap Up

So this past weekend was the A3C FESTIVAL. I actually was on a panel for Women in Hip Hop on Saturday, and performed.

For those of you who have been asking about new material, I'll be posting the track at some point this week. I got a lot of love & support after I got off stage-- like, A LOT. It's exciting, really. I think people are hungry for alternatives. Which is why I'm only to happy to bring them The Other Side of the Game.

Anyways, the festival was pretty dope. No pretension (minus the chick outside the door on Friday night who insisted on hoarding "the list"). No sunglasses indoors. No flaming jolly rancher colored hoodies. It was refreshing-- except one thing. There were also no women performing. Unless you want to count the masked strippers who got on stage during the i-standard production event. Note to wack ass producers: having strippers grind the air to your beats doesn't make them sound any less shitty. Ironically, they did that right after the Women's panel-- further illustrating that no one pays attention to what we have to say anyway. Yeah.

As I mentioned, I did 2 songs at the Women in Hip Hop Panel, along with another rapper, Rogue, and Roxanne Shaunte performed on Friday night with Juice Crew. She did about 4 songs. And that, ladies and gents, was it. Oh well, maybe next year.

Anywhoo. Here is a rundown of some of the folk I really enjoyed:

•Little Brother.
Of course, Tay & Pooh always put on a great show. This is the first time I've been able to catch them since Get Back dropped though- and I was only to happy to shout out every word to "Sirens"-- which they wisely opened with. I don't give a damn what anyone says-- No diss to Uncle 9th, but I'm so glad they expanded beyond his sound.

The good thing about LB is that they seem to have a pretty good handle on what their fans like-- and always end up doing everyone's "secret" favorite song. You know, the track that you really like that you don't think anyone else is up on? So when someone says "I really like "Good Clothes" you can wave them off with a superior comment like, "Yeah, that's cool, but (Insert Song) really defines who LB is." My (insert song) is "Ain't Nobody Like Me." Dude, every time that song comes on I'm forced to shout out, "I was blessed with the talent to rhyme muthaf-ckas I'ma die wit it!!!" Got amped just typing that. Anyways, I hollered at them backstage for a sec when they went off and Tay was totally hoarse. That's how you know your favorite rapper was acting a damn fool on stage. Good stuff.



Jeru the Damaja. Now, I ain't gonna lie. I don't know this cat's catalog like that. But I was impressed cuz he's funny as hell. He spent a good portion of his allotted time cracking jokes with the crowd. And dude sees everything. He managed to flirt with three chicks who were sitting in seats, off the main floor---insisting he would meet them after the show. I think he was joking. Maybe. Then, he gave a free CD to one fan who he spotted mouthing all the words to his songs-- apparently adoration impresses the Damaja. And, he jokingly chastised two chicks who were standing right behind me. I gues they were supposed to be outside selling his new CD, not in front of the stage, jamming. All in all, he's a great example of veteran emcee who knows how to rock/entertain a crowd.



Clan Destined. I've seen these guys one other time at tiny ass El Bar. So, yeah, I'm not gonna count that. They just grabbed the mic by the DJ booth and rapped along for the 12 or so people that were crammed into the place. This time they had a lot more room to move around and they needed the space because they were taking turns running back and forth to the turntables while the other rapped. Yeah, multi-talented, these guys are. Buy their music--it jams.




Blu. Again, wasn't too hip to this cat before the show, honestly. Of course, I've heard stuff her eand there, but yeah. He's dope as hell. A little tired looking, but in that cool self-deprecating kind of way...So I guess it was on purpose. Anyways, between him and Pigeon John, I definitely gotta get back on my Cali shit. He didn't do a great deal of jumping around and head bobbing (I don't know if he actually has rhythm), but he rapped his ass off. (Side note: B.O.B. was actually doing jumping jacks on stage...I'm tellin' ya, watch for this little dude.) Back to Blu, he even managed to sell some CDs while he was rapping. Like counting back money and everything. I've never seen that before, made for some fine entertainment. After he went off, the Juice Crew went on and he ended up standing directly behind me for a lot of their show. I gave dude props and he looked very surprised. Don't know what that was about-- I guess maybe that "women don't like me" vibe he's on is true to life? I dunno.

Akrobatik. Man, this dude's new shit is jamming. The production sounds very west coast tinged, which is right up my alley. Anyways, he put on a good show-- basically he just rapped, and did so very well. He has great vocal control, as my boy Encyclopeezia Brown pointed out, you could understand every single word dude uttered. And he was sayin' some shit.


Guilty Simpson. I didn't enjoy his show as much as I did the break dancers who had formed a huge circle in front of the stage while he was performing. Actually, he oughtta be glad his music is dope, cuz I would've been bored stiff otherwise. I think he may have taken like 4 steps the entire time he was on stage-- which was for at least 30-35 minutes. He also had the most Dilla shout outs of the festival I think-- prolly cuz he was the only Detroit native (to my knowledge).
Anyways, he's nice.



Killer Mike & Bonecrusher. Kinda sad when one of the dopest points in show starring the legendary Juice Crew is when two rappers who had nothing to do with the crew or rap in the eighties take the stage. Juice Crew wasn't terrible-- but there was no Big Daddy Kane (Biz mumbled something about him having high blood pressure)...which was a significant blow. I've seen Kane one time before (on my birthday no less) and let's just say, there's a reason why these newbies need to study the old school. Anyways, Biz did his thing and so did Shaunte. The rest? Eh. Like I said, I was happy as hell when Mike and Crusher came out on stage and did "Neva Scared." Damn near pulled a ligament and tore a vocal chord yelling "Bang, Bang, Bang!" Of course, they did the mandatory "Free Tip!" chant at the end. Tip was at home writing his speech for Easter Sunday-- which was circulated first thing on Monday morning as an *Exlusive T.I.!* email. Really? Come on, ya'll.



Now, I missed the Clipse, because shortly after 1 a.m. on Saturday, I took my sleepy self home. I know, I know. But I hear they were dope, as expected. Anyways, here's hoping this festival gets some estrogen and keeps getting bigger and better, as it has for the past 4 years.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cuz I Hustle~Scar


I actually meant to post this last week when I first got the link, but oh well. HERE is a new song from Vawn featuring my homie Scar. Scar is JAMMING on this track (he's makes it really)-- I'm predicting it to be a summertime heater.

Of course, I'm always rooting for Scar. We used to sell CDs and tapes together back in the day at Peppermint Music (now Soundshop) in WestEnd Mall. I could tell you some stories about working at WestEnd for four years during college-- including one particularly colorful tale about my '72 Dodge Polara, Big Dookie, getting shot up in the parking lot. But I'll save that for another day.

^^^^^^^^^^^^
This isn't Big Dookie, he was dookie green/brownish.

Anyways, I caught up with Scar a few weeks ago-- I did a feature on him in the upcoming issue of AUC Magazine and he has a lot going on right now... Not only did he lace the hook on the aforementioned ditty, but he also has the second single on John Legend's upcoming album (my boy is an incredible writer) and is in the studio with Usher as well. Anyhoo- he's been doing a lot of shows around the A—I strongly suggest you catch him while you're still able to see him for $7-$10.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Go 3000!


So, I've been listening to this new Outkast song feat. Raekwon all morning. We all know what happens when they get together-- classic. This song is jammin too... although I wondered for a short second why 3 Stacks had like 12 more bars than Rae and Big Boi (I didn't actually count them). But then, well, it's understandable. I've said it before and I'll say it again. He's the coldest rapper in rap music right now. Period.

Case and point:

"It's cool when the kids call me Sunny, the hood calls me Stacks/the bees call me Honey, hollywood calls be Back/...Crack and I have a lot in common, we both come up in the eighties and we keep the Base pumpin'..."

And I thought I was doing something when I said:
"I'm from the City of the Snow where it's cold and it crack like Petey or the mid-eighties..."
Ha! Anyways.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I simply must go get in the tub and yell, "GO 3000!" at the top of my lungs.

Friday, March 14, 2008

My Adidas

Man, I'm pretty excited about what's going on in the A lately. There's a few fresh musical "movements" that have been popping up over the past 5-6 months and I've found myself out way more than usual. At first I couldn't decide what the exact reason was-- the good music? The cool vibe at most of the places? The fact that I need to be out more to make sure the mag I'm the editor of isn't crappy? All of those are legitimate reasons, but, as I was taking the trash out the other day, the real reason hit me-- my Adidas'.
Dude. Anywhere that I can get away with wearing my shelltoes and not feel un-womanly (like I would at some of the "grown & sexy" venues), broke (like I would at some of the "young, rich & fly" venues) or weird (like at the "hood-make it rain-trapstar" events) is my kinda place.

So, I've been hanging out with the Fuggin Awesome crowd, the Radiant Kids' crowd and the Come Up Kids' stuff. A lot of kid stuff, I know. I don't know what's up with that actually. Bad childhood? Celebrating a rebirth? Eh. Anyways, good shit at these places. Makes me remember why I moved here in the first place-- all black folk ain't clones. Anyways, below is a list of acts you should google or myspace.

^^^^^The LabRatz^^^^^

-Small Eyez (check the piece I did on him in Creative Loafing a while back)
-Yelawolf (check the piece I did on him in this week's CL)
-Kayenne (again, check CL)
-Ms. Leah
-Tendaberry's
-Pigeon John (actually L.A. based was RIPPED it at a show here recently)
-Proton
-Scar (check for him in the upcoming April issue of AUC Magazine)
-Ayanna
-PJ Morton
-DJ Princess Cut
-LabRatz (check for them in the Feb. issue of AUC Magazine)
-Soupy Jones
-Jaspects

Anyways, I'm just hoping this whole new indie/art/hipster/buck-the-establishment scene doesn't get infiltrated by The MAN. Or get overly corny too quick (I'm sure it's coming- that's the nature of the beast). I probably would have to stop wearing my Adidas. And that would indeed be tragic.