Friday, October 31, 2008

Soulja Boy Salutes the Slave Trade

"Shout out to the slave masters! Without them we'd still be in Africa...We wouldn't be here to get this ice and tattoos."
-Soulja Boy

See, this what ya'll get for constantly defending this little dude.

"Oh, he's only 17!"

"Oh, he's only for the kids!"

"Oh, stop hatin! He's smart, he knew how to work YouTube!"

Like I've been saying-- Soulja Boy's age is no excuse for the coonery. How old was Ice Cube when he first emerged and was writing rhymes for Eazy-- like 16? Mac Mall's Illegal Business was made when he was 16. L.L. emerged when was like 16. Hell, even Will Smith was a teenager when he came out. "Parents Just Don't Understand"-- now that's a song "for the kids."

This kinda shit is what happens when you consistently excuse people's coonish behavior, or write it off as not that seriuos. This little dude clearly needs some positive mentors in his life-- someone to knock him upside the head and help him understand the very basics of himself and his culture, before he goes out flashing his ignorance for the world to see. Which one of these rappers is gonna step up to the plate?

It's not enough to keep complaining about it. We all have to actively do something to address stuff like this.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Living Music- Q-Tip, John Mayer, the Foreign Exchange, Duffy

Times is hard. Ya'll don't need me to tell you that. Here's a list of the some of the songs/albums that have been getting me through my days. Happy living.

Psst....(No downloads, google on your own- I'm on the Plantation folks).

Q-Tip-The Renaissance... Dude. This album has got to be one of the best releases of the year. Hell, it just might be favorite, and I've only been listening to it for a couple of days. If every artist that goes on hiatus came back sounding like this, we wouldn't have so many complaining ass bloggers. Oh, and ATTENTION SILLY RAPPERS: This album is a real example of songs "for the ladies." Please take note.

Tell me Raphael ain't the most underrated artist of the 2000s and I'll show you an asshole.

The Foreign Exchange- Leave It All Behind... I'm telling you, don't sleep on Phonte's talents, man. This dude is the truth. Having the ability to go back and forth between writing rhymes and writing full-on love songs takes more ability than you'd think, seriously. Tay gets his John Mayer on (complex simplicity with the writing) and Nicolay's production is so easy to listen to. Man, I listen to this all day on the plantation.

John Mayer-Continuum... I LOVE John Mayer. Seriously, he's the only white boy I know that could get it. I joke. There are a few.

Duffy- I actually don't have this album. And as depressing as it is, I absolutely LOVE "Warrick Ave" (Wale did a good job on his version too) .

John Legend-Evolver- This album has really had to grow on me. But I truly, truly dig John Legend and his cowardly lion-esqe-vocals. Once Again is one of my favorite albums of the 2000s. Anyways.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remember When Rappers Were Smart?

So I was at the anti-gun violence event the other day with T.I., Killer Mike, Shirley Franklin, Richard Pennington (the police chief) and hosted by Andrew Young. They were on the panel talking and anyone who's ever heard Mike or Tip speak know they're both funny, engaging, intelligent and able to articulate their points well.

This older dude standing next to me like whispers to his friend, "man these guys are really smart..." all surprised. And really, why shouldn't he have been surprised that two rappers were intelligent? Listen to the radio and figure it out. Which got me to thinking...

Remember back when rappers were smart?

Back in the day it was just normal for a rapper to be intelligent. It was damn near like, if you weren't smart, you couldn't rap, cuz you'd have nothing relevant to talk about. And by and large, super deliberate mediocrity didn't fly back then. I guess because the genre was just taking flight and attempting to be validated-- so you know, no room for BS.

KRS-1, Chuck D, Latifah, Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, LL... all of these people are intelligent. Even the rappers that the media wanted to present as being "thugs" and "gangsters" were smart-- Eazy E, Ice Cube... Like even if you weren't on no political, smart-guy thing, you still weren't looked at as being just stupid. Even the Fat Boys weren't looked at as dumb-- they were just silly--- characters to be taken lightly.

I think rappers started getting dumb around '97, '98-- you know, the dreaded two years that all hip-hop heads believe were the beginning of the downfall of this matrix we now call rap. Even in the 90s, artists like Eightball & MJG, DJ Quik, Common, Tribe, E-40, etc. were obviously intelligent in their own ways. Then... rap music started slipping from a musical standpoint and with it went the lyrics. Next went the thoughtfulness and finally, the intelligence.

I think we're starting to move back to the days of smarter rappers. Everything moves in cycles as we all know. I just can't wait until the day these happy-to-be-dumb rappers get the boot completly.

T.I. Votes (and he's a felon): Jacinta Still Ain't Yet

T.I. voted today and I still haven't. Dude, I'm worried as hell about getting caught in the voting traffic. Last election it was about a 2 1/2 hour process. This year... shied. Gotta get up early tomorrow and make it happen.

Oh, and if you're in Georgia and voted early, make sure you click the link below and make sure it doesn't say that your vote is still pending.

Asher Roth is from the Burbs

Asher Roth is from the suburbs, in case you ain't know. This is footage from the opening of Sk8tique... Still not overly convinced dude is that different from Slim-- not cuz he's white, but cuz he sounds like him... You think?

(Gavin Godfrey on the interview, Andy Dufranse on the chopping, Brian and Steve on the cameras)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NEW MUSIC-Food Chain Letter #1 by Food Chain (Denver Stand Up!)

Alright, so in case you didn't know it, everyone in Denver doesn't ski.

And yes, there are black people that live(d) there.

Matter of fact, Denver was one of the strongest markets for the Black Panther party and later the Black militants that were born out of the group, believe it or not. A lot of Cali transplants are there.

Anyways, this is a dope ass song- "Food Chain Letter #1" by Food Chain, produced by Mic Coats. Whaddup, Jae!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama is the new Elmo

So, a few weeks ago I was in Dallas interviewing Ludacris. A lot of my family lives there, so I got a chance to get up with my aunts and some of cousins. One of my cousins, Khalil is 2 years old.

The debate is on, and we're half-watching it, but mostly still just talking amongst ourselves when all of a sudden Khalil busts out "Obama!" and points. I'm a little surprised, but his mom tells me that he knows both presidential candidates. To prove it, she points to John McCain and asks Khalil to identify him. "McCain," he answered easily, practically shrugging.

Then, yesterday, my mom calls me all excited. "Guess what Seraiah just said!?" Now, no doubt, I get one of these phone calls at least twice a week. I'm the oldest in my family and I have no children. So you can imagine how long my mom had been waiting for one of her three children to pop out a grandseed. Now that said Grand-Seed is here, most of our family discussions now circle around one of her many cute 1-year antics. Kinda lame, but eh. What are you gonna do?

So, my mom proceeds to tell me that my niece was sitting on the couch playing, when all of sudden she looked up and busted out "Obama!" Mind you, she's 1 year-old. Apparently Obama was actually on the TV screen.

Dude, I know this is a historical election, but since when did BABIES start getting involved and knowing the candidates?? Really. Forget Malcolm or Martin, Obama is the new Elmo. He's ALWAYS on TV. Anyways, I just found that funny. I'm gonna hate to see what happens if God forbid, dude loses....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New "For Whom the Bell Tolls"- Evidence feat. Phonte, Blu and Will.I.Am

Whoo. This is a BANGER. Can't wait to hear this whole Evidence CD, dude.

Sk8tique, the Cool Kids, Asher Roth, E-40 and Fabby Davis

I'm hella late with this, but oh well. Got some cool pictures from the opening of Sk8tique in Little 5 this past Friday. It was hella hot, but cool. I ran into my boys Spree and later A.Leon outside and shared the feeling that I was in for an evening of semi-pretensiousness based on the line outside of the store. I mean, it was the opening of a skateboard shop, not the return of Visions. But once inside, it was pretty cool.

Speaking of cool... the Cool Kids (yes, that was a corny ass transition) were freestyling with Em, er, Asher Roth. I'm joking about Asher. He's a cool little dude, but damn if he don't sound like Eminem circa 1999... Or now based on Em's latest ditty. Should be interesting.

Chuck Inglish beat-boxed while Asher and Mikey freestyled when the sound malfunctioned

Then, I ran into one of my favoritest rappers, Mistah FAB (mostly because dude is just smart as hell) and my other favorite rapper of all time (aside from Face), E-40 and his big ass Sic' Wid It Chain. Which reminds me...

I was having a discussion with my boy, Bay Area Ali and Encyclopeezia Brown the other week about 40 being recognized at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors next year. Of course, we all thought that it only made sense that 40 be next up to represent for the west coast. No diss, but if they can honor Cypress Hill, surely 40 Wata is worthy, right? Then, I got to thinking. If they're only doing one west coast artist, maybe 40 should be skipped next year in favor of Digital Underground. Dude, Shock G is clearly one of the most underrated artists in hip-hop EVER. Think about all of the things he spawned.... As an old bio of his reportedly said, "he was Andre 3000 before Andre 3000."

Anyways, that was me off on a tangent. Check out some more pics.

Jay Rock and Fab. His eyes may be closed but he knows how to throw up the dub!

Why is Sol Messiah lookin so mean?
Kaos and Sean Faylon

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Big Rube and Big Yo- "We Saying the Same Shh"

"We Saying the Same Shhh"- BigYo featuring Big Rube

This is for all the people who miss the quality and creativity of mid-90s southern rap music. You know, all of you folks who came up listening to Big Mike, Mr. Mike, Face, Geto Boyz, Ball & G, UGK, Tela, Skinny Pimp, Outkast, Devin the Dude, Goodie MOB... the cornerstone artists of southern rap music.

It's sad that now, when you think of southern rap, those artists are not the first folks that come to mind. You think more Joc than Cunninlynguist. More V.I.C. than Killer Mike. More (insert random 1-song rapper) than Nappy Roots or Big Floaty.

Anyways, BigYo is from Memphis, and it comes through musically. Plus, any song where Big Rube is rapping is good enough for at least a listen from me.

Proton: Fade Away video


I don't think I've seen Larry's hair since we were in college together (I think we were the most vocal folks in our Humanities class), but this is a cool video and a dope song. Download the mixtape.

Jazzanova feat. Phonte- "Look What You're Doin To Me"

New Jazzanova feat. Phonte- "Look What You're Doin To Me"
(From the forthcoming LP, 'Of All the Things' coming 10/24 on Sonar Kollektiv/Verve Records)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Religulous: Dude, You're Really Not That Smart

So, I saw Religulous last night. I dig Bill Maher. Always have. Still do, even though I sometimes don't agree with him. Let me first say that I'm a "Christian" (note the quotations), and I already knew what type of movie this was going to be. Again, I watch Bill Maher whenever I can (since I ain't got HBO) and am familiar with his feelings about religion. Basically, the movie was about how religion essentially has destroyed the world because people only use it to promote their own selfish, destructive, evil agendas.

Now, there, I agree 100 percent. I can't even list all of the atrocities that have been committed under the guise of being religious or adhering to some bogus, make-believe religious standards. The European Slave Trade in the name of Christianity is the first that comes to mind.

But beyond that, Bill ranted and raved about how the stories of the bible sound like fairy tales, calling on instances like Adam and Eve in the garden being tempted by the snake (the devil), Jonas in the whale (or "big fish"), Jesus' virgin birth to exemplify his point. He did the same with Muslims and touched a little on Mormonism and Scientology.

The few people that were scattered in theater I was at clapped and hooted at what they believed to be clever sarcasm from Bill about his overwhelming doubt and disbelief in such "bullshit." I think a lot of the people will leave the theater believing that they are somehow more intelligent, aware and analytical than the average believer because they have the wherewithal to question faith. *Note, I said "faith" not "religion." There is a critical difference between faith and religion. Faith is more about your spiritual walk with the Father, religion is simply a bunch of acts put together to make you feel like you're really doing something important. It's much more selfish and vain.

My thing is, not having faith or having extreme doubts about the legitimacy of any particular religion doesn't make you smarter. It does not make you any more intelligent than the average bear, it doesn't even make you different. In fact, it makes you very, very average.

Since the beginning of time, man has doubted God, defied God and tried to humanize God. Here in America, we've westernized God and Jesus. "Jesus doesn't care about ( insert random thing) He's too busy..." We say that because here in America, we're too busy to do simple things like care about societal ills or whatever else. But God ain't human, and that's precisely the point. We've also adapted to visualizing a white Jesus and applying European characteristics, tendencies and ideologies to Him, which is, well tragic, especially when you consider the extended behavior of Europeans.

I can only speak from a Christian perspective, but I can't tell you how many folks I know who claim to be Christians and never read the bible. How on earth can you really serve a God that you know nothing about? Or better yet, how can you love a God that you don't really even know?? um, no wonder you spend your time wallowing in doubt.

I think people look at religion, or Christianity in particular as something mystifying and all super deep, when really it's simple. The same way you don't just love your boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse just because your mama or daddy told you to, or because you heard they did something nice for you, you can't really love God just because you heard it was the thing to do. You love your girl or your man because you know them. You know their ways. They make you feel loved. They bring out your better qualities.

Even worse than the non-readers are the folks who take something another man (their preacher) says at face value, without question. Uh, last time I checked, that was in direct disobedience to what the bible says. You think I'm gonna listen to Eddie Long or Creflo Dollar or anyone else for that matter without double checking to see if they're feeding me self-congratulating lies? (Which too many of these prosperity preachers are, but that's another topic) Dude, seriously. We got to get a collective clue.

Anyways, after the film was over, I was mostly just left feeling the same way I feel whenever I leave the Velvet Room or some snooty industry event that I've chosen to wear my Adidas' to-- Like everyone around me believes themselves to be super cool, but really they're just dumb.

The bottom line is: I just don't think it's that intelligent to question the legitmacy of God and religion-- heck, everyone does. If you've never done so, you're lying to me and yourself. It should be natural. The real question is, what was your conclusion? Faith in what is unseen, but what you know is right? Or following the crowd and lingering in your very average doubt?

Scarface on McCain, Racism Part 2

Interviewed by Jacinta
Shot by Ivory Jones

Yelawolf, DJ Artime and Ashanti

My Yelawolf interview... dude is silly.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Small Eyez & Nicolay...

My dude Emman "Small Eyez" Twe just recorded this banger of a track with Nicolay, featuring Antonio Dye-- "Soul Incredible."

I've been saying Eyez is destined for stardom for sometime now, and looks like things are coming full-circle for him. '09 should be something serious for him.

And speaking of Nicolay... Foreign Exchange Leave It All Behind became available on i-tunes on Oct. 7. I personally haven't been able to download it yet... but from the sampler it sounds great. Tay says that they are even going on a mini-tour in support of the project, which is great, especially since him and Zo didn't make any rounds with the summer release Tigallo and Zo Love the 80s. Anyways, I pleaded with him to come to Atlanta (well, mostly just suggested) so we'll see.

Scarface Bashes McCain (But not really)

So, I was in NY last week, covering the Hip Hip Honors and I got some Face time with Face. As anyone who reads me already knows-- he's may favorite emcee ever. I think this latest interview I did with him helps to demonstrate why. Now, we talked for a good 30 minutes or so, but of course, editing got it down to 4.

Don't think dude was just randomly bashing McCain. We talked about recent experiences he had in small town TX where racism was not only alive and kicking, but part of the everyday fabric of life there. (Much like in small town Kansas, where my dad still for whatever God forsake reason, still lives). I asked him about his survival tips for the Recession/Depression-- his answer was simple... "stop spending money on bullshit..." That's actually what prefaced his comment about not caring about shoes, cars, etc. The cool thing about Face is, he means it.

Can you name me one song where he brags about how much more he has than his fans/listeners? I can't even think of song where he just mentions his jewels, etc. Why? Simple: There's better shit to talk about. And he does.

Anyways, it was cool to see him playing the guitar too. He's left handed (like all smart people are *wink) and he was playing it backwards. Actually, he was supposed to play the guitar during the Isaac Hayes tribute, but for whatever reason, they never got him a proper guitar to play ("they" being label folk).

Anyhoo, Scarface is the man.