Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Problem with Urban Media 2: Your camera phone is not a camera

Check here for part 1....

A little over a month ago, I was covering a listening event with L.L. Cool J. The publicist had set up a little time for media to do some quick, shoot from the hip interviews. So, I'm waiting for my turn-- when a certain blogger kinda D-Bo's his way in front of me. My homeboy, who was also waiting for his interview after me, is like "dude, she was here first, then me..." The publicist slides up and clarifies that he actually had promised dude to be next, and apologizes. Everyone was cool with it.

So dude slides up into the booth to interview L and.... whips out a damn camera phone. Read that again. A camera phone... to do a video interview with L.L. Cool J. As surprised as I was by this, I was later told it really isn't that uncommon for cats to interview folks with camera phones these days. After all, everyone has a website or a blog--and who has the professionalism to invest in their craft?

Remember back when blogs were for folks who were writers or editors and needed a platform to express things that weren't necessarily fit for the publication or site that they worked for? Remember when blogs were folks who, even if they weren't writers by trade, still had insight into a particular field/business/subject that made them qualified to speak on it? Remember when blogs weren't for folks who think interviewing stars on freakin' camera phones is acceptable?

See, this is the problem with the scene in Atlanta. Everyone thinks they are the scene. These days there's as much media around as there are lame ass rappers. Unqualified "media" I might add- clogging up events, parties, shoots, etc. with their camera phones, getting "content" for make-believe, fledging sites and publications. It's terrible, really. Pathetic at best. Who are the pr folks who are legitimizing/accomodating these confused people? Like really?

And since when did it become cool for bloggers to provide no legitimate information about any particular subject? Since when did it become cool to simply hate for the sake of hating? That's all these celebrity bloggers do-- hate on artists. Yet, artists and publicists still clamor to be acknowledged by them. It's the sheep theory in full effect if you ask me.

Now, I'm not suggesting that every genre doesn't have its fair share of throw-away, lame, wack, sensationlistic publications/sites. But with hip-hop or "urban" music in particular, we don't have enough legitimate ones to balance or completely overshadow the rest. Our "big" publications are mediocre at best (with few exceptions). Now, with the market flooded with an influx of camera-phone bloggers/writers, things just aren't looking good. And I don't expect nothin to change any time soon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Blind Leadin the Blind

Saturday I got a chance to check out a cool exhibit at Atlantic Station- Dialogue in the Dark. Basically, it's an exhibit that tries to give you a sense of what it would be like to be blind. You get maneuvered through various rooms-- which recreate real life situations that you might face, like grocery shopping and walking across a busy street-- all in complete and utter darkness. There was a guide in the room, telling our group where to go-- what to feel for etc., but you pretty much had to completely trust that the knew what the heck they were doing-- because they couldn't see either (actually, most of the group leaders were blind themselves). Anyways, it was very cool, a little irritating/disturbing but overall a great experience.

Of course you know my analytical self couldn't help but draw some life comparisons. I mean, a lot of times these days I kinda feel like I'm navigating my way through the dark, just trying to feel my to the right direction. Not that I'm a lost soul or still stuck in an early 20s "finding myself" phase, I'm just sayin. There's a lot going on right now. My bank just got bought out. My job has been firing longtime employees left and right without any explanation. My Neon is thirsty for some 4.39 cent gas--- you get the picture.

Funny thing is, I've discovered that most folks enjoy walking around in the dark- or with their eyes closed. In some warped way, it makes them feel safe not knowing what is out there, or seeing reality. That way they don't have acknowledge and deal with the truth-- they can keep blindly following illusions. Meanwhile, they let our self-imposed "leaders" guide them-- even though they really can't see either. Dig? Not trying to be on anything deep- I'm just sayin, the great Willie D said it best-- "it's the blind leadin' the blind."

Anyways, if you get the chance- go see the exhibit.

FYI.... Johnson & Jonson is jelly jammin.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Killer Mike & Yelawolf show

So I was at Killer Mike and Yelawolf's show last night- and realized just a few minutes ago that me and Yela have the same boxers. Cool, right?

Anywhoo, the show was good, even though the crowd was kinda thin- probably because Gripplyz and Supreme's show and Broke & Boujee were all going on at the same time. Nevertheless, Ashanti was ferocious on the violin (that they call a fiddle) and DJ Artime was still spectacular on the drums and the tables. That's why we voted Yela Best Live Hip Hop Act in Atlanta.

Mike's show was great too-- especially his spontaneous commentary. Although I was kinda mad he didn't do my current favorite song on the album- "Gotcha" ("just wakin up like a grown ass man, clutchin my nuts, the world ain't holdin my hand/standin at the window with a rifle in hand, getting my Malcolm X on lookin at this van..."--dope ass opening bars). I was also mad he only did the first verse to my other favorite song, "God In the Building" where he has one of my favorite lines on the album-- "the wages of sin is death, not the chain gang." That's why we voted him Best Local Lyricist.

But anyways it was cool-- great recession music.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DJ Jamad Afromentals Show 9-23

Here's the new DJ Jamad Afromentals Show. It's jamming. Good work tunes.

LINK- DJ JAMAD on Sirius Radio

Clemency for Troy Davis

I'm against the death penalty. I never understood how a system that is so intrinsically flawed could be trusted with the ability to decide whether a person should live or die. Actually, I've never understood how humans, who are so intrinsically flawed could be trusted with the decision to decide whether a person should live or die. Vigilantes-- I get. Trying someone with a jury in a courtroom that can never be impartial-- not so much.

Anyways, Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed tonight. Please call 404.656.5712, the Georgia Board of Pardons, and simply say "I'm calling to ask for clemency for Troy Davis." It only takes like 15 seconds once you get through, like literally.

Read more about his case HERE.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gospel Artists and Lame Rappers vs. Posers and Agents

So, the other night I had to cover this gospel event. It was a competition for best choir in Atlanta. Yes, apparently we Christians like to give away prizes for who sings the best for Jesus.

Anyways, I had some encounters with some big gospel stars who were in attendance. Let me just say that they were very stand-offish and self-important. T.I. is far more personable. Killer Mike is far more personable. Big Kuntry, Alfamega and even Bun B (who spends a lot of his time looking like he doesn't want to be bothered- and hell, who can blame him?) are all far more personable. So much for being Christ like.

After that encounter, the next day I was semi-harassed by a popular Houston rap artist not named Bun B, Scarface, Lil Flip, Z-Ro, Paul Wall or Mike Jones. He was upset because of an audio interview the plantation did with another rapper regarding some of his recent activities. Mind you, this was an audio interview-- meaning just the audio was posted, meaning there was no manipulation or sensationalism added on the part of the writer. Why on earth would you call a publication tripping on something someone else said in an interview? Like, really.

I'm so beyond being sick of rappers not named Killer Mike, Phonte, Bun, Scarface, Andre 3000 or Devin. Like seriously dude. The hell is wrong with ya'll? People are so wrapped up in their make-believe, Rapperville world that they've completely isolated themselves from actual reality. They've become the character that they are on wax, and think that everyone should relate to them as such. They've forgotten that for the rest of the free world, hip-hop is just that... hip-hop. Not life.

Needless to say, both of these events had me very irritated. I'm tired of posers. Tired of fakers. Tired of sheep. Then, this morning I came across this video.

Now I have a new word for them. Agents. I'm tired of agents. Wake up or get ran over.

The Foreign Exchange- Leave it All Behind (SAMPLER)


This sounds like taking a bubble bath while it's raining outside, the room dimly lit by candles. It sounds like driving down the interstate with the sky overcast, your belly full and nothing but your thoughts to keep you company. It sounds like cleaning up your living room with incense burning and the football game on mute.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Girls Rock Too- Senor Kaos

I dig this video and Kaos. Can't help but wish a chick woulda made the song... but then again, maybe it has more impact for a man to acknowledge this epidemic. Like it's validating or something.

Anyhoo, Nicole aka Severe does the damn thing breakdancing... I honestly don't remember it being this jammin the first time I heard at the Women in Hip Hop panel I was on at the A3C Festival. But yeah... cool song.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Swagger Futuristic! My pockets is on Cheesecake!

It never fails to crack me up how artists turn themselves "on" whenever a camera is around. This is hee-larity courtesy of ya boy, Young LA. Also, PLEASE stop saying "swag." Like, seriously. It's dead.

Monday, September 8, 2008

NEW Foreign Exchange "Daykeeper" feat. Muhsinah

So "Daykeeper" feat. Muhsinah is the new lead single from Foreign Exchange's (Phonte & Nicolay) upcoming album, Leave It All Behind. As I mentioned before, it drops in early October.

LYRICS: Phonte
MUSIC: Nicolay

Is Phonte not the hardest working dude in rap music? Seriously, he just dropped Zo & Tigallo Love the 80s, now he has this project-- and the coolest thing about it all is that he's not only doing hip-hop. He's like, dipping in and out of genres. Ain't too many cats doing that right now. 50 million lame ass freestyle verses on lame ass mixtapes, yes. Making credible music that shows the depth of your talent, no.

Anyways, this JAMS. Can't wait til the album drops. If you wanna read about Muhsinah, click here. She's dope.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Do White Americans Have Sooooul?

Is it me, or does it seem like the best white artists are all from places other than America? I'm talking white artists that dabble heavily in, or just make soul/R&B/funk music.

Think about it. The Average White Band (one of my favorites) is Scottish.

George Michael (arguably one of the greatest writers of our time) is from England.

Simply Red is from England. Even Phil Collins is from London.

Then, even new school you have Adele, Duffy, Amy Winehouse-- all from the UK. Remy Shand is from Canada. Makes you wonder if America's music scene is just so limited and categorized that it impedes on the creative process. I dunno. I mean, I know we got Wild Cherry, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake and Michael McDonald, and Teena Marie, but after that I'm drawing a blank.

Anyways. There really wasn't much of a point to this. Just somethin' I thought about.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

VH1 in the Middle of the Night

I can't sleep. So, like most sane people, I got up at like 4:30 a.m. and turned on VH1. Dude, don't watch that channel in the middle of the night, especially if you're feeling any type of way.

First, Duffy's "Warrick Avenue" came on. I've decided that I officially love this song, but the entire video consists of her riding on a bus, crying over her lost love and the inevitable realizations that such a thing carries. Sad.

The actual video doesn't have the embed code.

Next, Adele's "Chasing Pavements" came on. This video has always been a little strange to me, and when I first saw her, I was inclined to believe she was an Amy Winehouse knock off. But in the middle of the night, I finally came to appreciate her sound-which, really, isn't much like Amy's after all. Anyways, her eyes are sad in the video and I felt my mood sinking even further.

Then, Leona Lewis' "Better in Time" came on. She's really pretty but the song is very pop-balladish and pretty sappy, which I'm not really a fan of at all. But, I found myself paying attention to the words anyhow, which are sadly optimistic, if that makes sense. It's hard to be optimistic when you're really sad.

Anyways. The point is, don't turn on VH1 in the middle of the night. You'll end up feeling like Roberta Flack, and I'm not sure that's such a good thing.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My cameo with Lloyd (but not really)

You can briefly see my head in this video. Lloyd is a cool little dude. As much as I wanted to lump him into the soft-voiced, birdchested R&B singer category when he first came out, I just couldn't do it. His shit JAMS. I once drove the last 4 hours of a 12 hour ride to Dallas bumpin the hell outta "g-g-g-g-et it shawty!" and "You."

Anyways. Here's a video the gig did on him, with me cameoing in the background. JJJJYEAH!

Cowboy Troy and the Republican National Convention

The hell is wrong with this nigga? Dude, he joined Gretchen Wilson and some other country cat on stage at the RNC for the weirdest rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" EVER.

As my boy pointed out, it's like dude- don't you know that 200 years ago they woulda been SELLING your ass on that stage? What did his mama and daddy think, seeing him up there?

It's not that I'm even against black republicans like that. I mean, it's all politics and bullshit and I'm not overly convinced that Bill Clinton and the rest are truly concerned about my plight as a black woman in America either. But come on, man.

We have the first legitimate opportunity to have a black man take control of the white house and your dumb ass supports white ass John McCain? Really? Go lynch yourself.

Which brings me to another video I came across on CNN last week. It features two young black republicans (one guy and one woman) waxing poetic about why they are republicans and how they are not uncle toms, well-dressed coons, or sellouts for supporting the republican party. The dude then went on to attempt to validate his coonery by insisting that he listened to Hip Hop-- Nas in particular. At the end of the segment, they gave a shout out to their buddy, John McCain, and insisted that everyone go vote for him.

So you listen to Nas, eh? I mean, don't get it twisted. I'm no huge Nas fan. I really don't think dude is as deep as he believes he is. And after I saw him wheeze his way through his show here about a month ago, I'm inclined to believe he should be retiring sometime soon. But for dude to insist that he listens to Nas is, well, a damn lie.

"Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?" -Jay-Z, "Renegade"

I know you don't have to share the political/social views of the artists that you enjoy listening to-- believe it or not, there was a time when I sometimes bumped Brotha Lynch Hung and I definitely do not enjoy eating children-- but come on, man. I'm not buyin.

But back to the RNC thing. It looked like one big ass Klan rally (except for Cowboy Troy). Or, should I say, the depths of middle America. I don't know how many of you have been through western Kansas, but that's really what it looks like. Sad. Oh, and Sarah Palin- stop with the beauty pageant wave already. I can't wait until the Manchurian Candidate's mom aka Hillary Clinton pounces on your ass.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mike Vick Pits

"...I'm the voice of Mike Vick sayin suck my d-ck/treat me like an animal but love them Pits..." -Killer Mike, "I Gotcha"

So, National Geographic is airing a special episode of their show, Dogstown (I'd never heard of it before either), called: Saving the Michael Vick Dogs.

Like, really, dude? How about saving Michael Vick, who last I heard, was holed up somewhere in a Leavenworth, KS prison cell? Personally, pitbulls scare the hell outta me. Even the smaller ones. I just know that at some point they will flip out, chomp down on one of my extremities and not let go.

^^^^^And how much do you want to bet that none of the dogs look like this? ^^^^

Football season is getting ready to start, and of course, there was no better time to pull this very special episode out of the vault. It's sad, dude. I wonder if dude will ever be able to play in the league again. If he is allowed to, he'll definitely have to play for the Oakland Raiders. They're like the Bad News Bears of the NFL.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Foreign Exchange- Leave it All Behind

Phonte and Nicolay have just finished recording their second album, Leave it All Behind. They've been doing cool little webisodes over the past few weeks as a prelude to the project on their website. Anyways, a track listing is below. The album will be available digitally on Oct. 7 and available physically on Oct. 14 in the US, Oct. 10 in Europe.


01. Daykeeper

02. Take Off The Blues

03. All Or Nothing/Coming Home To You

04. I Wanna Know

05. House Of Cards

06. Sweeter Than You

07. Valediction

08. If She Breaks Your Heart

09. If This Is Love

10. Something To Behold

11. Leave It All Behind