Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Statik Selektah "I'm Wit It" featuring Cory Mo & Talib Kweli



I was listening to some old Warren G last night, and I've decided that's kind of what Cory reminds me of. Random, yes. Anyhoo. Dope track.


Statik Selektah featuring Talib Kweli & Cory Mo- "I'm Wit It"

Tha Bizness Present: Downtown ATL Nightlife

I thought this was pretty cool video shot by the homie Henny-- one half of the uber-dope production duo, Tha Bizness (alongside Dow Jones, who makes an appearance, holding the camera at one point in the video).

You never know what you'll find out when you talk to people on the street. The scenes with the brother breaking down everything from the gospel to crack was especially cool to me.

Downtown ATL Nightlife from HENDERWORKS on Vimeo.

Independents Rising: The Foreign Exchange on Their "Daykeeper" Grammy Nomination



When I first heard that Foreign Exchange had been nominated for a Grammy for one of my favorite songs of the decade (seriously) "Daykeeper" featuring Musinah, I was excited.

Of course, I was glad that a great song was recognized- but more importantly, that an independent group snagged a Grammy nomination. Hell, their nomination sort of hails a new day. Independent groups/artists have a chance, without compromising their art and integrity.

FE had no Interscope or Def Jam machine behind them. No Viacom. No Radio One. No DJ-rubber-stamped mixtapes. What FE did have, however, was beautiful music, a few great videos and an engaging stage show (that did not, I might add, include any piro-technics or back-up dancers).

Now, they're not the first indie group/artist to be recognized by the Grammys. Last year, I interviewed DC-based singer, Wayna. She was nominated in the same catagory. Nevertheless, FE's nomination, in my mind, speaks of a new day.

Independents can make music, not compromise their art and be recognized by the most presigious awards show in the business. Grant it, the Grammys miss the mark routinely (how on earth did Beyonce's paper thin Sasha Fierce earn 10 nods?) but as an artist you'd be lying if you said a Grammy nom/win wouldn't be one of the pinnacles of your career.

At any rate, congrats to Phonte & Nicolay. Check out their Grammy-inspired video below (directed by Matt Koza).

Foreign Exchange- "Daykeeper" feat. Musinah

DOWNLOAD "DAYKEEPER"


The Foreign Exchange's Grammy nomination video from The Foreign Exchange on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NEW Small Eyez- From the Sol EP




Yay! Small Eyez's new EP, From the Sol, is here! Check the EPK. Be back shortly with an actual review, although, I'm admitedly not the most objective person.

Small Eyez- From the Sol from Black Static Films on Vimeo.



DOWNLOAD: From the Sol

Small Eyez- "Give Me the Light" (produced by Supa Dave West)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Sammy Sam feat. Big YO "Concret Jungle" (Sammy Sam and the Case of the Ashy Robbers)


Anyone been wondering where Sammy Sam is? Well, here's a new song from him, "Concrete Jungle" featuring and produced by Memphis/Atlanta rapper/producer, Big Yo.

I met Sam in the early 2000s through the late great Bill Davis of Fi Records. He was a character then and is a character now. Word is, he's dropping some new material with Oomp Records next year.

Anyways, it's funny because a couple of days before this song was recorded, Sam was robbed and shot in the arm. That's not really the funny part, obviously.
It's funny, because Sam, who has no issues with holding his tongue, told the robbers that they were "ashy" and looked like some pimps in their wore out gators. He was clowning them as they told him to get on the ground and was so funny that one of the robbers couldn't help but burst out laughing. This angered his burglar friend, so he shot Sam in the arm. Good thing it was just the arm. As I said, Sam is doing swell now. Damn recession.

Anyhoo. "Concrete Jungle" is below. He even mentions the Case of the Ashy Robbers in his verse.


"Concrete Jungle" Sammy Sam feat. Big Yo (produced by Big Yo)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bobby Creekwater in Creative Loafing


I interviewed Creek about two months ago at his studio. It was a great interview. Then I lost it, and had to interview him again. He was really swell about it.

Of course, I've been waxing poetic about the brilliance that is Bobby Creekwater for many moons now. Here's my little blurb on him that I did for Creative Loafing.

LINK


"Ms. Atlanta" feat. Mykel

Cunninlynguists "Yellow lines" Feat. Phonte & Witchdoctor

I'm about to interview Kno from Cunninlynguists (again) and in honor of the occassion, decided to post one of my favorite songs from them, "Yellow Lines" off of Dirty Acres. Phonte + Witchdoctor = Strangely Jamming.

Love these guys. Speaking of Kentucky... I need more Nappy Roots.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Cory Mo, Troublesum, Pill & Mike Flow- "Beats & Lyrics"



Here's a new ditty, courtesy of my homeboy, Cory Mo. Does pressing the record button a couple of times qualify as engineering? Yeah, I didn't think so. Anyways, I was around while Cory was dropping his verse (hit the record button a couple of times) and was supposed to hop on it. Unfortunately, I was bullshitting that day and promptly got bumped.

Anyhoo, Pill, Mike Flow and Troublesum also show up on this track. I think Troublesum might have the best verse too. Girls rule.


Formidable Female Emcees

Per your requests, here is a quickie list of formidable female emcees. Notice how I did not say, "femcees"? I hate that word, even though I've used in a few articles myself, admittedly. For one, an emcee is an emcee... period. If you say femcee, why not say mancee? Because "mancee" sounds retarded. And so does "femcee."

Anyhoo. This is a quickie list (emphasis on quick). Everyone on here isn't super polished, some have indie deals, others are doing it solo-dolo. Also, please note that all of these women are not under 25. Guess what industry people? You don't have to be under 25 to rap and be a female. Hell, if dudes can get on at 36 (Plies, Rick Ross) and still be rapping at like, 53 (Jay-Z, Young Jeezy) then why can't women?

But yeah, please feel free to add to this short list if you sponosor a dope ass female rapper....



Eternia- She's super dope. Dope flow, good storytelling... just dope.
Check out: "Nowhere No More," "Bang"



Boog Brown- I first really heard her go on "Midwest Kidz" after my homie Small Eyez (also featured on the song) sent it to me. She killed it. Been diggin her ever since. She's a really, really great, introspective writer, and flow is ill. She may be my favorite listed.
Check Out: "The Mirror," "Midwest Kidz Rmx"




Miki Vale- Found her on Myspace back in the day and have been following her ever since. Has a good following, especially out in Cali. Nice flow, great writer...
Check Out: "Bringitback"




Brittany Street- Back when I was music editor at Rolling Out it seemed like she was featured at least once a month, mostly because our Chicago editor (Gavin Godfrey) at the time was in love with her. She's diverse, ain't afraid to be a girl and still spits.
Check Out: "Gone"



Toni Hickman- A little biased here maybe, because I've worked with her a few times. But Toni is dope, formerly signed to Suave House. Very point blank style, street intelligent music.
Check Out: "Obstacles"




Jboogie aka Lois Lane- Yes, that's me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Plight of the Female Emcee: 3 Kinds of Rappers That Annoy Everyone


I've often contemplated why female emcees have gone the way of the wholly mammoth. I've also wondered why to be honest, I don't really like most female emcees.

Most of my musings have focused on industry politics and insider's refusal to take chances and reinvent the wheel. You don't know how many executives I've spoken to who claim that female emcees won't sell, have no real audience, and require too much effort to market. Um, excuse me, but isn't that your job? These executives are so spoiled by these "ready-made" emcees that they no longer even understand the concept of real marketing, artist development and grooming a project to make audiences understand why they need the music in their lives.

Anyhow, this time, I've decided to focus on the actual female emcees, not the system. These are the emcees that need to re-evaluate themselves and get focused on making good music. They are the types of female rappers that annoy everyone (even if they won't admit it).

The Mood Ring Emcee.
If I wanted to hear about solar eclipses, how the moon has affected my life and mood and the galaxy, I would google "astrology" or buy a damn telescope. Seriously, the hell ya'll be talking about? And yes, this applies to men as well. I think because so many female emcees got their start writing poetry (another annoying cliche) they tend to be all Mother Earth-ish in their rhymes. Rapping about the Milky Way and linear equations does not make you deep. Spare me. Please.


The Butch Emcee.
This is a complex issue. This category is probably the most cliche as well. You damn near have to be gay to rhyme these days if you're not being a whore. And before you get your draws in a bunch, no, I'm not anti-gay. I'm just sayin. Somebody needs too.

The truth of the matter is, I've never understood overtly gay female emcees. In fact, if you're a female emcee and are overtly gay, you're probably wack. At the end of the day, I don't want your sexual orientation/presentation to override your music, and for too many Butchy emcee's, it does. When you hit the stage, the first thing that pops into my head should NOT be "wow, she's extra gay." It should be "wow, she's dope" or "this song is jammin." Agreed? The same would apply to dudes, if any of them ever publicly came out of the closet. Nothing wrong with being proud about who you are, but your sexual orientation shouldn't define who you are as an artist, your music should.


Not only that, but too many of these newer Butch Emcees spend so much time trying to prove how dude-like they are, they forget their female audience and lose themselves and their message in the process. I mean, at the end of the day, I don't need you trying to prove to me how hard you are to overcompensate for your feminine qualities. I could just go listen to Chingy or Lloyd Banks if that's the case.

I understand that hip-hop culture damn near breeds gay women. Hell, hip-hop hates women (as it's repeatedly proven) and over the years has insisted that we deny any real femininity in favor of overtly perverted sexuality. I also understand that there are a plethora of gay emcees who have rocked long before the 2000s... I don't need to name them, since many are still semi-in the closet. But even with those emcees, their sexuality wasn't flamboyant. They were just women who rocked, pure and simple. If they happened to be gay, in addition to being a dope emcee, cool. Again, the focus was on making good music... Let's get back to that.


The Rapping Whore.
Out of all of my little categories, this is probably the one that pisses me off the most, for a number of reasons. I think the main reason is because the majority of these women don't even write their own lyrics and do not have any real control over their packaging. Therefore, they become the real-life projected image of what some warped, chauvinistic, controlling man thinks and wants a "woman" to be. Sick shit when you think about it.

I once wrote a piece for a book (that to my knowledge has yet to be published) about how Lil Kim's Hard Core change female emcees forever. Now, I'm not going to blame Kim for killing female rappers, the same way that I won't blame Master P for killing "real hip-hop" when he got on wax and proclaimed that he wasn't a rapper, but a hustler and proceeded to sell millions of records worldwide. I will say that both P and Kim are probably the most tangible examples of the inevitable change that took place.

After Kim dropped and experienced so much success, the blueprint was set. Take a cute female with low self-esteem, get a popular rapper to write her rhymes and make sure she is dressed like a hooker at all times. The female emcee became the physical manifestation of many men's most warped fantasies about what a woman should look like. She became the physical manifestation of what some men believed women secretly coveted-- their money (using sex as weapon to achieve their goals).

Basically, the female emcee quickly lost any traces of real femininity. She lost her voice. And she hasn't really gotten it back since.

The Rapping Whore is probably the most dangerous out there, because she's the only one who has experienced a great deal of commercial success. We all know how imaging can affect and influence people, damage their perceptions of what's real and kill self-esteem. This is a prime example.

I said all of this to say female emcees, for too long, have not represented real women...average women, like me. And that's why we're losing. Again, I understand that the industry machine is like, 97 percent of the problem. You can't even get attention unless you're endorsed by a click of men. I understand that. But for a second, let's forget about men and what they want. Hell, they've totally forgotten about us on the mic, with few exceptions. Just be honest and don't be afraid. It's hard, but it's necessary for women to ever be properly represented in hip-hop again.


***On the bright side, there is a small movement of female rappers across the country starting to sprout up again. They're focused, they're perceptive and they're making good music. If you know one, please, please sponsor her before she makes a break for Europe or Japan.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Freddie Gibbs featuring Pill "Womb 2 the Tomb" VIDEO



Okay, here's the video for my favorite ditty of the summer, "Womb 2 the Tomb" by Freddie Gibbs feat. Pill (produced by the Super Incredible Mr. Lee). I dig it. I never actually like, for real looked at Freddie Gibbs either... um, cute anyone?

I think this new breed of rappers that can for real rhyme are actually good looking: Blu, Freddie, Pill, Mikkey Halsted, J. Cole... makes you actually want to watch videos again. Hee.

Anywhoo. If I ever shoot a video, I will officially have a scene where I get my hair done under a bridge, or next to a grafitti wall. If the guys can get their hair cut in abandoned warehouses, why can't we do the same? I'm just sayin.

"Wonderful Life" Sean Falyon feat Playboy Tre & Scar


Wee! Excited about this ditty. Playboy Tre is quickly becoming my favorite rapper (if you still haven't downloaded Goodbye America or Liquor Store Mascot your speakers are probably mad at you).

Of course, ya'll know how I feel about my longtime buddy, Scar... he's poised to be "next" and is a phenomenal writer (John Legend, Mario, Jamie Foxx, etc).

Kudos to Sean Falyon for a jamming song-- Sean Falyon BE Everywhere coming soon.
"Wonderful Life" produced by the Weathermen:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Foreign Exchange "I Wanna Know" video

Check out the new video "I Wanna Know" by Foreign Exchange. This is one of my favorite songs off of Leave It All Behind... or at least, one of the most well-written songs. It's so hopeful. And I know my cynical ass needs reminders that there are still some people who believe in the concept of wanting to have unconditional love, or at least, trying your best to obtain and live up to the concept. Anyways. Nice video.

The Foreign Exchange - ''I Wanna Know'' from The Foreign Exchange on Vimeo.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A3C Festival Wrap-Up: Killer Mike, J.Cole, Rakim, Spree Wilson, Tanya Morgan & More

The A3C Festival returned to Atlanta last weekend. Let's just say, I'm totally hip-hopped out. I mean, I dig rap and all, but rubbing elbows for three days with dudes who actively try to out "hip-hop" each other has been exhausting. There were a lot of cool acts though, namely, Spree Wilson, J. Cole, Killer Mike, Mikkey Halsted, Tanya Morgan and Diamond District.

Anyways, I covered the festival for Creative Loafing. If you missed anything, catch up.



A3C Day #1




A3C Day #2



A3C Day #3

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why More Women Should Attend "Real" Hip-Hop Shows


With the A3C Festival kicking off today, I thought it would be a good time to give the ladies 5 Reasons to Attend a "Real Hip Hop Show."

For people who dig hip-hop that's not necessarily co-signed by urban radio, this is a cool festival, with tons of artists (most of which are actually good) and a generally good vibe. At least it was last year (check my wrap-up from last year). For the 2008 Festival, I was actually on the Women in Hip Hop panel alongside Roxanne Shante. Super cool. But honestly, aside from that panel (where I actually performed), the women were SCARCE. In fact, the only real female performer was Roxanne Shante who came out during the Juice Crew reunion. And of course, there weren't many women in attendance throughout the festival. I get tired of being one of only a handful of women at these kinds of shindigs. With that said, here's my list of women should attend more "real" hip-hop shows.

5 Reasons Women Should Attend "Real" Hip-Hop Shows


1. Wearing flats and sneakers make you sexier. Now, I've never been one of those women who need the 9 inch "Carrie" stilettos to make me feel complete. Hell, they hurt. I actually rarely wear heels period. But for my female counterparts, I know that heel-wearing is a big deal. Some of ya'll won't even leave the house without a pair on... nevertheless, you consistently complain about how they hurt your feet. Ah, the joys of womanhood. Well, at "real" hip-hop shows, sneakers and flats are not only accepted but encouraged. It's sexy. You'll be regarded as a "down chick who genuinely digs the music" even if you couldn't tell Blu from Stat Quo.

2. You'll get noticed without any effort. You know the incessant giggling girls do to get noticed? Or the chicks who talk to their friends extra loudly to get attention? or the women who deny themselves bra-power to let it all hang out? Well, at a "real" hip-hop show, such things are not necessary. There just aren't that many of us, which by default automatically demands attention. Men expect you to go see Lil Wayne or Drake. But if you show up at a Slaughterhouse show, you'll be dubbed the coolest. Now, if you're not really into hip-hop and are overwhelmed by the idea of a room full of wild neck-bobbing men, there are still a couple of acts you can check out: Little Brother (more women tend to check for them and the actually have danceable music), Blu (draws a laid-back crowd), Slum Village (laid back crowd, danceable music).


Little Brother fans

3. You'll only be referred to as a "ho" if the rapper is telling a really intricate, witty story. There will be no demands for you to drop it like it's hot, take off your panties and there will be no blow job requests (unless of course the request is followed with a self-deprecating laugh indicating seriousness only if you're down). See, "real" rappers are all about respecting the ladies and rejecting the status quo on the radio. Yes, Murs, Talib Kweli and whoever else probably want to shag you just the same as OJ the Juiceman and Yung Ralph. But the difference is that the aforementioned want to bone you with RESPECT. Get it? Eh.

4. Free weed. I'm not inclined to smoke these days, but if you delight yourself in greenery, "real" hip-hop heads will share.

5. Cool points. If you're a woman and you are spotted at a "real" hip-hop show, you will forever be considered cool by any man who spots you there-- well, as long as you're wearing your sneakers of course.

Random Tips on Nabbing a Cutie in the Crowd at a "Real" Hip-Hop Show:

**Even if you don't like the music, understand the music, or know who the hell the dude on stage rapping so sincerely into the mic is, just bob your head whenever the crowd does. When your neck gets tired, do your best not to look bored. Instead just stare contemplatively at the rapper or DJ on stage as if you are truly trying to decipher his lyrics. You'll look deep and concerned and most of all, as if you truly enjoy "real" hip-hop.


Kool G Rap



**If you spot a cutie in the crowd you'd like the specific attention of, there's something that you can do that will immediately spark his interest. If the rapper on stage looks a little grimy and you hear the words "hustle," "corner," "street," or "grind" used, lean over to said cutie and say that most rappers these days are totally influenced by Kool G Rap, and that Kool G is so underrated. If the rapper on stage has messy hair, looks kind of sleepy and you hear the words "self," "knowledge," "earth," or "higher power," lean over to said cutie and say that most rappers these days are totally influenced by Tribe Called Quest and Q-Tip is really an innovator. Let me know if works.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slaughterhouse at the Loft in Atlanta


Slaughterhouse at the Loft in Atlanta (plus Killer Mike/Mike Bigga)

My first thought when I walked into the Slaughterhouse show at the Loft in Atlanta, was 'damn, where is everyone'? I came late, (and actually missed my boy, Small Eyez) and the crowd was still pretty thin. For a city full of so-called hip-hop heads who yearn for the days of yesteryear when rappers put aside their ice dreams for bonefide lyricism, the place sure was empty.

"See, Atlanta people are full of shit," one of my boys told me, frowning. "This is a "real" hip-hop show and ain't nobody here. I don't see none of them Apache niggaz here... where they at? I don't want to hear anyone talking shit about Gucci Mane and OJ. They don't even support when they have real hip-hop here."

Dude clearly had a point. Although the room got a little thicker by the time Slaughterhouse went on, I still was disappointed in the lack of support. I don't know. Maybe people were all "concert-ed" out after seeing Goodie Mob rock last week. Eh. On to my thoughts on about the show...

Things I learned at the SH show:

1. Joey is amusing. Granted, most folks have a hard time this guy seriously, and hell, we all know why. But damned if he ain't funny. His first act of amusement came unintentionally, when he took off his shirt. Now, I'm all for dudes taking off their shirts and whatnot, but not dudes with birdchests. About 10 minutes into his set, Joey decided it was "hot than a muthafucka" and stripped. Um, hee. But seriously, his sarcastic comments and banter with Crooked and Royce was pretty amusing.



2. Killer Mike was called to preach. "They ask me why I'm rapping, tell me I'm called to preach/I smile, and kiss them on they honey brown cheek..."-"God In the Building"

Anyone who has ever seen Killer Mike, er, Mike Bigga, perform knows he has the ability to make you reassess your life. And not in a preachy, naggy, generic-Creflo Dolla kind of way. The dude really cares about your existence and progress, which is why he chooses to forgo the bullshit and get straight to the point. As he told the audience at one point, "fuck that backpack shit, this is real music..." He later informed them that he is really rapping about their life... fuck a Benz. Word, Mike. Word.

Now some people have suggested that Mike should've been part of Slaughterhouse, so that the south could be properly represented. While he certainly has the lyrical capability to join the group and the south should have been represented properly--honestly, I think his message is too hardcore for the group. He's too gritty-political, honestly. While SH isn't on bullshit either, to be honest, they're not as deep as Mike. Before you think I'm just illogically on dude's jock, think about it. There's a difference between reigning lyrically and having a powerful message that just happens to be lyrical as well. Dig? At any rate, my super group would be something like: Killer Mike (Mike Bigga), Bobby Creekwater, Pharoahe Monch and like Ras Kass (if he can stay out of jail).

3. Crooked I doesn't remember his raps. While under ordinary circumstances this would've annoyed me, it was actually hella funny. Apparently he never remembers his rhymes. In fact, when they did their little solo sets, he couldn't remember the words. I guess he may have felt bad about it, because when they closed the show with "One" he jumped down into the crowd and rapped his way back on stage. Dude rocks. Also, lest we forget, Crooked was one of the first dudes to really properly utilize the Internet to boost his career w/ his weekly rhyme series. That was random, but I'm just saying.

4. Women are scarce. I was talking about this on Twitter, wondering if there were going to be any women at the show. Of course, I knew there wouldn't be, but I kept my fingers crossed anyway. It's not like chicks don't dig hip-hop. Before Drake became the annoying-rapper-that-bloggers-incessantly-name-drop-for-hits they packed the Loft and screamed their little hearts out for him. (They also offered him sex after hearing him "croon" "Best I Ever Had" and apparently believing he was somehow talking directly to them, but that's another story.) Anyhoo, the point is, where are the ladies? I mean, SH is full of relatively attractive guys. Aside from Joey's bird-chest, he's cute. So is Royce, Crooked and Joell. I mean, even if you don't like hip-hop, you can just go to watch the action-- sorta like chicks who couldn't tell a lay-up from a jumper, but enjoy seeing Dwayne, CP3 and Lebron sweat.

Aaaaaand ladies, guess what? The dudes at "real" hip-hop shows won't make you feel uncomfortable. They won't be a nuisance because "real" hip-hop heads respect ladies. Or at least they like to pretend as if they do. Example: They'll look intently at your ass, but won't grab it unless you make a request. So don't be afraid. Hip Hop desperately needs us, trust me.

Bottom line: All in all, this was a good show that's worth seeing if it comes to a town near you.
Jacinta's Grade: B

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pill- "Glass" video directed by Zach Wolfe

This the real next generation of Atlanta rap.Watching this video made me remember why I fell in love with the A in the first place, circa 1998.

Monday, September 14, 2009

2009 VMAs: What in Sam's (or Viacom's) Hell?




Okay, so, the VMAs were last night. Those that read me know that's not the kind of thing I typically talk about here, seeing as how the VMAs have sucked for the past... what? Like 8 years? Also, I'm over 16 and MTV just doesn't do much for me any more.

But since there was so much drama attached to last night's show (maybe moreso than even Jay Cutler's atrocious performance for Chicago), I felt inclined to comment on a few things.

First... the hell is going on? Is it me, or did that entire show (well, what I caught of it between flipping back and forth between the game) seem... off? Strange? Forced? Weird? Creepy? I mean, it opened great, with a moving speech from Madonna and an angry, dope ass performance from Janet Jackson. Then... all hell (literally) broke loose.

1. Kanye's "Disruption". Um, first off, I'm inclined to side with Davey D on this one. Shit looked staged. From the randomness of the "outburst" to the fact that Taylor was conveniently backstage when Beyonce so graciously gave her an opportunity to re-do her lame ass speech for the lame ass award she won. Shit, they were even dressed alike. I thought the artists weren't supposed to know who's going to win. If that's the case, why would Taylor have even still been backstage, seeing as how Bey shouldn't have even known that she was going to win?

Even if it wasn't planned, like seriously, it's not that damn deep. Taylor Swift's 25 year-old self (I don't care what ya'll say, 19 my ass) is not a martyr people. Hell, people are still talking about her corny win today-- all because of Kanye.

Not only that, but why are people all surprised and disappointed at Kanye if the stunt was legit? He's been inappropriate for years. Doing inappropriate, gay shit is hardly out of character for dude. I'm just sayin.

2. Lady Gaga's blood. The hell? I dig her music. But what in the hell is she doing? And more importantly, why the hell are ya'll buying into the whole crazed, "artistic" thing she's trying to pull off? She's like a horrible mixture of Grace Jones and Madonna. Difference is, Grace Jones and Madonna earned their weird creativity stripes with more than one song and one strange ass, borderline demonic performance. And before you get all sensitive, like, I get what she was doing. I understand the point she was making. The shit was still creepy and weird as shit. Sorry. Media vultures? I could dig the blood in the eye and dying and wheelchairs if were for an actual cause. But being bullied by the media? Um, unless your name is Michael Jackson, get over yourself already.

3. Pink's trapeze act. She must've practiced the hell out of that. I'll give her that. But seriously, sometimes just plain ole singing does the trick. I do not need to see your ass flipping and swinging through the air to enjoy your performance. See: Alicia Keys.

4. Jack Black prays to Satan. Perhaps the most disturbing thing of all was the fact that Jack Black jokingly prayed to the devil. Okay, read that again. The dude literally prayed.to.the.devil. Is that funny to ya'll? Seriously? Did you snicker? Did you LOL? Too far, ya'll. Too far.
Bottom line: MTV has gone straight to hell.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Royce the 5'9 & Bun B - Hood Love (produced by DJ Premier)


Yet another installment in the: The Return of Good Music series. I so love DJ Premier. So versatile.

Plus Bun and Royce on a track together? Exciting times.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spree Wilson- Evil Angel EP

Spree Wilson's new EP, Evil Angel. I've had some of these songs for a minute, and posted one of my favs, "I Believe She's Lying" below. Download Evil Angel.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Freddie Gibbs featuring Pill "Womb to the Tomb"


Alright, got hip to Freddie Gibbs a little late, but he hasn't come out of rotation since I caught wind of him (plus, he hails from the Midwest). I was telling a friend he's like a perfect blend of dope rappers-- Z-RO, Scarface with Rass Kass sensibilities.

Anyways, here he teams up with the homie Pill (check the story I did on him), and with great results. They both go HARD on this track. I've been saying this for the past few months, but real music is coming back.

From Rick Ross' phenomenally produced album (even cats who can't really rap like that are getting back to putting out good stuff), to J.Cole, Freddie Gibbs, Pill, Bobby Creekwater, Spree Wilson, Novel, Slaughterhouse... there's a lot of great stuff out right now, rap wise. Cue the hallelujah chorus.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Goodie Mob Reunion- Still Standing (Sept. 19th, 2009)


Everyone is going ape over this reunion-- as well they should. I promise Still Standing is the definitive album of my Atlanta experience.

I started a debate on Twitter the other week, when I said that Still Standing is a better album that Soul Food. Some folk called me crazy, others called me "genius" (Killer Mike, whose co-sign trumps everyone else's.) Still Standing, is the album where all four members evolved. It's more complete. The album is consistent and flows along perfectly. It embraces the happenings of life, and explains the realities of why things are the way they are.

Anyhoo. Excited about this show.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Statik Selektah, Cory Mo & Bun B- "Get Out the Way"



This video came out a while ago (around Jan.), but I just saw it the other day, so I posted it. I also posted it because it's pretty jamming. Oh, yeah, and Cory Mo says that because of the great response they've gotten to "Let the Pimpin Commence," he, Mistah Fab and GLC are going to be dropping a mixtape really, really soon. In fact, it's damn near finished already. Let be the first (or fourth) to tell ya'll, Cory has some heat, so it's pretty much guaranteed to jam.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Leaders of the New Cool... Or Not.


So, I went to check out the Leaders of the New Cool show at Lenny's last night. I was actually excited to get a chance to check out some people that I haven't had a chance to see yet, namely the Justice League's new artist, Laws and of course, Bobby Creekwater, who is arguably the most underrated emcee this side of the Mason Dixon. I also wanted to see how some groups had grown since I hadn't seen them in a while-- namely Hollyweerd. In my mind, this show was going to be somewhat similar to the This is the A show that went down a couple of years ago. Actually, in retrospect, that show was pretty terrible too... Yelawolf and Sean Falyon saved the day. Anywhoo...

Dude, this was seriously the worst show I've been to in a minute. It seemed like the DJ couldn't get handle on the crowd (really, neither could I) and ended being kind of all over the place. The show started super hella late for some unfathomable reason, and the opening acts--who were all pretty terrible had like 5-6 song sets, while the supposed "headliner"--Bobby Creekwater-- performed only a handful of songs.

Needless to say, I drove home (around 3 a.m.) mad, got up mad and am still a little mad about it. Really, I guess I shouldn't just blast this show. Really, the things that made this event unenjoyable are reoccuring in a lot of events I go to. Here are a few tips for the future.

1. Start the how before 12 a.m. No one wants to be standing around in a club waiting for acts to go on well into the middle of the night. A 8 or 9 p.m. start time would be ideal, people. The sad thing is, there were a few A&Rs and the like at the show. Warner and Jive were both represented and even Yung Joc fell through for a second. (If the unsigned acts were even interested in being signed- but that's another story for another day). Anyways, they ended up leaving before the good people even went on because it was so damn late. Now granted, most of the industry folk that were there really wanted to check out the dude Laws, (who can rap but needs to improve his stage show). But they would've stayed for the others too had it not been retardedly late.

2. Stop putting so many acts on the bill. I don't need to see 15 artists perform before the "headliner." That shit starts sounding the same around act #3 anyway. Also, the opening acts (I can't put any of them people on blast because I don't even remember who the hell they were) should at least be relatively entertaining and should not be doing 7-song sets.

3. Put good acts on the bill. If I didn't live here, and didn't know what was going on, and had just came to this show to see what was what in Atlanta, I would've left thinking it sucked. Sad, because there's actually some talent here (Fiona Simone, Boog Brown, Nesby Phipps, Small Eyez...).

I don't know. I may not be going to any more outings like this for a while.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nicolay featuring Carlitta Durand- "Lose Your Way"


http://www.nicolaymusic.com/media/downloads/nicolay_feat_carlitta_durand-lose_your_way.mp3

This is from Nicolay's upcoming project, City Lights Vol. 2: Sibuya. It's a warm, airy jam. Nic and Phonte have taken their musical collaborations as the Foreign Exchange to the next level, and formed a "label." Both of them are pretty anti-industry from what I've gathered (hence the use of quotations) so this label endeavor should be interesting, and really, a breath of fresh air. I'm excited to see what their going to do. So far, Carlitta and Zo! are both signed, and I'm especially anxious to hear what Carlitta does. I really dig her mixtape, Carlitta's Way, and I think with more focused production, she could really be a force.

Only one request for FE-- please don't sign any rappers.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Spree Wilson "Word" produced by No I.D.



Ok, so this my lil homie, Spree Wilson's new video, "Word." Oh yeah, No ID on the track. Kinda weird, because like I said, Spree really is the homie, and this guy is soooo outta here. Give him a year, tops. Seriously.

Actually, Spree gave me a copy of his "demo" almost 2 months ago. Because we're cool beyond music, it honestly took me about 2 weeks to listen to it thoroughly. I was driving to Destin, FL from Atlanta with my mom, two year old neice and reltaively musically un-hip sister in law in tow. After about an hour of listening to XM radio, which seriously SUCKS, I remembered I had Spree's "demo." I popped it in...

Everyone loved it.

And trust me, I'm not just saying that because we're cool. He produced most of it and the production is big and wide open. He's rapping, but he's also singing, on some alternative sounding vibe that doesn't sound forced. Think Bobby Ray if he were more developed. (Spree also plays guitar). Anyways, his work really is pretty damn incredible. I'm just glad other folk are starting to get hip.

Go to http://www.mtvu.com/music/the-freshmen/nominees-072009/#more-17647 to vote for his video on MTVU. He's nominated as a cool Freshman (or something).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Krizz Kaliko "Misunderstood" (Strange Music)



Been a fan of TechN9ne for ages--he too hails from KS (the birthplace of yours truly). Something "strange" in the water there apparently-- Janelle Monae is from there as well. I have to say, though, I've been a generic fan. You know, the fan that KNOWS a rapper can really rhyme, but doesn't like actually like, regularly bump any said rapper's music?

But yeah, Krizz Kaliko is Tech's rhyming partner a la Red & Meth or David Banner and Kamikaze (back when David Banner was actually good.) He's a very strange looking character. But, damn if this song, "Misunderstood" ain't jelly jamming. Feel like I'm about to purchase his Genius album and give it a whirl.

Anyhoo, spotted this video over at MauriceGarland.com and suffice to say, this hits way too close to home. Let me stop before I get to baring my soul and whatnot.

At any rate, go 'head and marinate on this for a minute.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Who Is Matthew Johnson- "This Woman's Work" Shot by Hannibal Matthews



I first saw this video maybe a month ago over at Hannibal Matthew's studio. The guy featured, Matthew Johnson, was practicing the song to sing it in a wedding. They did a couple takes of him rehearsing (I actually dug the other version where he semi-sings to his girl and she's totally not paying attention) better. But this dude is incredible. Be on the look out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bobby Ray (B.o.B)- "Put Me On" for Reebok Classic



Had a chance to check Bobby Ray doing this live at South Dekalb Mall's Footlocker in conjunction w/ his new advertising campaign for Reebok classics. Reeboks are honestly pretty ugly, although I did get a pretty dope pair in the mail the other day-- some hightops that are pretty hip and fresh. Perhaps I will take a picture?

Anywhoo, I thought this was super-hella dope then (my new word) and still do. I dig the whole Raphael Saadiq-inspired boombox for a head thing too...The story is that Reebok gave the artists involved w/ the campaign an old-school rap song to remix. Bob's was obviously Tribe's "Bonita Applebum." Bobby told me they were so impressed w/ the way the song came out that they were going to do a real push behind it. So I guess this is the start of it?

We all know this kid is so outta here. I just hope he's able to maintain his sanity in the midst of what is surely about to be a media storm in the next year or so. He already seems almost too self-aware and perceptive (dunno if you can be too much of those things, but hopefully you get what I'm trying to say).

Anyways, Bobby Ray is jelly jammin.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson's Unfair Treatment in the Media (We Miss You)


It's been a minute since I lasted blogged. For one, I'm going to be revamping the site totally, and have been uninspired to use this one period. But, too much has gone on for me to remain quiet-- namely, the death of Michael Jackson.

My heart still hurts even typing this, to be honest. I've done a lot of writing about his death for Rolling Out-- and was kind of detached and numb while I was getting my work done. But whenever I hear his music, my heart continues to ache. He died too soon. Whenever I see the people who were working closely with him as he prepared for his tour saying that he was back to form, and looking better than ever, my heart aches. He died too soon.

But mostly, my heart aches because he was never able to revitalize his image the way he should have been able to. Even now, for every two minutes the mainstream media spends waxing poetic about the greatest entertainer ever, they spend another 10 questioning his "strange lifestyle" bringing up old, unfounded allegations about his molestation cases-- cases that I've never believed and the courts didn't either.

When they're not harping on those two things, they're discrediting his finances-- wildly throwing around the $400 million debt he had. What they fail to say, is what I read in the LA Times on my way back from LA--- he was worth well over $1 billion (Beatles catalog anyone?). We all know that in this materialistic country, the best way to defile someone's legacy is to suggest that they are financially irresponsible and broke. In MJ's case that simply wasn't true.

At any rate, I was in LA for BET Weekend (which I will discuss later), and stopped by a few record stores, as well as UCLA Medical Center. People were still out there, snapping pictures, and I guess just soaking up the reality that Mike is gone.

I was planning on writing a more in-depth piece about the treatment of MJ by the media, but Phonte beat me to the punch, and wrote it so eloquently, I've decided to post his blog in its entirety instead. He didn't touch on the financial aspect of MJ's life (said it's a whole other piece). But he did talk about his blackness, his humanitarian spirit and the bitch ass kids (or parents) who basically took away his life with their molestation lies. Check it out:



I haven't been compelled to blog in a long time.

In an era where everybody is twittering and text-messaging their lives away, a well-thought out essay that extends past 140 characters is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

But when our universe lost its brightest star on June 25, 2009, I felt a deep, overwhelming sadness that I haven't experienced in many years and I felt moved to say....something.

My hero, Michael Joseph Jackson, is dead.

Honestly I'm still trying to process it, almost like the loss of a much-loved family member. I mean, hell, to many of us Michael WAS family. Much like Nike, or Coca-Cola, or McDonalds, Michael Jackson wasn't so much a person as he was a living, breathing, American institution; a ubiquitous force that has seemingly existed forever and one that we couldn't imagine a world without. Seeing Michael onstage was less like watching a musician perform and more akin to witnessing a magician at work.

But contrary to his otherworldly stage presence and magical aura, the man we called The King of Pop proved to be a mere mortal. And now my hero, Michael Joseph Jackson, is dead.

What isn't dead, unfortunately, is the cloud of false accusations, unsubstantiated rumors, myths, slander, and outright lies that surround his life and his legacy. The greatest myth regarding Michael Jackson is that he was a pedophile who preyed on young children.

It is my belief now, just as it was 16 years ago, that the charges brought against Michael during his 1993 sexual abuse case were false. The allegations made by Jordan Chandler (the accuser) and his father Evan Chandler always seemed suspect to me for a few reasons:

1. Ask the average parent whether they'd want justice or money for their abused child and more than likely they'd say justice, if for no other reason than to protect their child (and other children) from a future attack. The fact that Evan Chandler was willing to essentially let Michael off the hook for a few million (reportedly 2-3), made their case seem like a well-orchestrated extortion attempt. In regards to the case, Evan was later caught on tape saying, "If I go through with this, I win big time. There's no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever...Michael's career will be over." Notice that homeboy ain't mention jack shit about his son. So much for being a concerned father...

2. Generally when victims of abuse come out with allegations against someone, other victims come forward to corroborate their story (i.e. the Catholic Church scandal, where a few parties came forward and it later led to thousands).

Very rarely do child molesters stop at just one kid, or even two for that matter. An alleged pedophile with only two accusers is kinda like an alleged serial killer with only one body. Or an alleged sneaker addict with only two pairs of Jordans in his closet. It just doesn't make any logical sense, nor does it coincide with the recurring psychological characteristics of most people who fall into those categories.

In the case of Michael Jackson vs. the Chandler family, not a single corroborating witness could be found to help prosecute the case and after raids were conducted on several of Jackson's homes, no hard evidence of sexual abuse was gathered.

Michael later settled the Chandler case out of court, not as an admission of guilt, but at the behest of his lawyers and financial advisors who warned him that a criminal trial could cost him millions of dollars in legal fees, as well as the loss of hundreds of millions in touring and endorsement revenue. With the Chandler case finally over, Michael continued to tour and released his greatest hits package “HIStory” in 1995. Ten years later though, he would face another trial that, in my opinion, would be the one to literally and figuratively, kill him.

Martin Bashir’s heinous, Machiavellian documentary “Living With Michael Jackson” aired in 2003. It was in this documentary that Mike (albeit foolishly) talked about his fondness for sharing his bed with children, and was seen holding hands with a young boy. Shortly afterwards the young boy from the documentary, 13 year-old Gavin Arvizo (a cancer survivor who had all his medical bills paid for by Michael), accused him of sexual abuse.

When Mike’s case against Arvizo hit airwaves in 2005, I must admit that I had my doubts. Much like the Chris Rock joke, I too shook my head in disbelief and said “ANOTHER kid!?! Mike, what the fuck?!! How could you be THAT stupid?!?!” As the case unraveled though, the financial motivations of the accuser’s family became much more apparent.

Similar to the Chandler case from ‘93, the prosecution couldn’t produce any credible witnesses to corroborate Arvizo’s testimony against Michael. Many of the prosecution’s witnesses were either former employees of Michael who had financial disputes with him, or had criminal convictions themselves. Arvizo’s testimony contradicted previous statements he’d made to officials saying that nothing ever took place between him and Michael, and Arvizo’s mother Janet Arvizo, an eccentric woman with a prior conviction for welfare fraud, single-handedly killed the case with her flippant remarks on the witness stand and overall bizarre courtroom behavior.

Actor Macaulay Culkin came forward in Michael’s defense and testified that no inappropriate behavior ever took place during their many times together, as did many other associates who had spent time at Neverland. Ultimately, Michael emerged from the Arvizo case with a Not Guilty verdict on all counts, but it proved to be a pyrrhic victory. The damage was already done. In the court of popular opinion, The King of Pop was an unrepentant child molestor.

When defending Michael Jackson against his detractors, I am often asked if I would let one of my sons sleep over at his house. The answer is no. Shit, I wouldn't let my sons sleep over at YOUR house. But that doesn't make you a pedophile, it just makes me a concerned and protective dad who doesn’t leave his kids around people I personally don’t know well enough to trust.

When it came to children, the only thing Michael was guilty of in my opinion, was naivete. While cuddling in the bed with children isn't technically illegal, it does violate several social norms; norms that a man who dresses funny, lives at an amusement park and refers to himself as “Peter Pan” would certainly pay a higher price for breaking. When I hear the tales of Michael laying in bed with those children, watching movies, tickling, and engaging in general horseplay, it sounds less like the work of a pedophile and more like the actions of a man trying to experience a childhood he never had.

During his investigation for the Arvizo trial, Michael was examined by Dr. Stan Katz, a clinical psychologist who concluded that Michael didn’t fit the profile of a pedophile but instead that of a regressed 10 year old, an analysis which I agree with wholeheartedly. I mean after all, only a person with the simple, unsuspecting mind of a child could truly believe they could sleep in the same bed as their pre-pubescent buddies and not pay a price for it.

Still, the most saddening myth surrounding Michael’s life is that he was ashamed to be Black. During the mid 80’s, in the midst of his ever-changing skin complexion and facial features, popular opinion in the Black community was that Mike was a sellout. This was an opinion that would unfortunately haunt him for the rest of his life, but a closer look reveals quite the opposite.

As echoed by my man Scorpeze of the house music duo Windimoto in his excellent blog, Michael Jackson never tried to disown or separate himself from his Blackness at any point in his career. In fact, he was probably the most openly pro-Black pop entertainer of his time. Michael Jackson ashamed to be Black? I mean, this was the same guy who:

-portrayed Black people as kings and queens in ancient Egypt ("Remember the Time" video)
-called Tommy Mottola (his then label boss) a devil and a racist
-sang "white man's gotta make a change" live on the Grammies in '88
-sang about a beautiful African woman in "Liberian Girl"
-featured an African chant at the end of "Wanna Be Startin Somethin"
-donated over $25 million to the United Negro College Fund
-sang "I ain't scared of no sheets" in "Black or White" and upped the ante by morphing into a BLACK PANTHER at the video's end
-wrote a song called "They Don't Really Care About Us," with a Spike Lee-directed video that featured prisoners raising the Black power fist
-uhhh “We Are The World” and USA for Africa, anyone?

What about this man wasn’t Black enough? Was it his battle with vitiligo and how it caused skin discoloration? Was it his excessive facial surgeries, due I’m sure in no small part to the teasing and ridicule he faced about his looks as a teenager?

Why did we turn our collective backs on a man who always reminded us that he never forgot who he was, or more importantly, whose he was?

This essay is my plea to all people who consider themselves a fan of Michael Jackson, but especially to Black people: Don't let them talk about our Brother. Don’t let his naysayers convict him of crimes that were never proven. Don't let people reduce the memory of one of our greatest heroes to that of a weird guy who wore a shiny glove and molested little boys.

When Elvis Presley died, did the media remember him as an overweight, drug-abusing racist who dated a 14 year-old, or was he eulogized as The King of Rock and Roll?

When Woody Allen dies, do you think the media will focus on the controversy behind him marrying his own stepdaughter, or on the films "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan" and how great they were? (Ditto for Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock and roll pioneer who married his 13-year old cousin.)

When people accuse Michael of being a pedophile or a child molester, ask them to provide hard evidence. Ask them to provide an opinion rooted in fact, rather than one based on gossip, hearsay, and conjecture. Chances are, they won't be able to. The Black community has done a great disservice in not reciprocating the love that Michael Jackson showed us when he was alive. The least we can do in honoring his death is ensure that his legacy is remembered properly for future generations.

Was Michael Jackson a weirdo? Of course he was a weirdo.

But maybe if you had been in the public eye since you were 7, had grown ass women throwing themselves at you since you were 13, suffered physical abuse at the hands of your father, watched your father and older brothers engage in sex with groupies on tour as a child, were called "Big Nose" and "ugly" by both family members AND fans, developed a skin disease that took away the one thing you repeatedly expressed your pride for, and spent the last half of your life as the most famous person on Earth, you'd probably be a bit of a weirdo too.

I am not attempting to paint Michael Jackson as a saint, as no man ever lives up to such a lofty title. But to me, the phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” seems to sum up Michael Jackson’s life more than ever.

Why would people try to tear down a man who constantly used his power, money, and influence to help others?

Why would people express such disgust and contempt for a man who constantly sang of love and peace, and used his talent to entertain, uplift, and inspire millions?

Tell em that its human nature, I suppose...

Rest in Peace, Brother Michael. I love and miss you dearly.

Phonte

Friday, May 22, 2009

RoddyRod featuring Carlitta Durand & Phonte- "This Time Around"


Here is a new jamming ditty---producer RoddyRod featuring Carlitta Durand and Phonte. This beat is delightful-- love the way it moves. And of course, I really dig any time Tay & Carlitta collab. Carlitta is probably one of my favorite voices in music right now. I've had the pleasure of "interviewing" her once upon a time back in the day. We did it via AIM and she told me some interesting stuff over the course of our convo. I'll have to dig it up and post it someday. In the meantime...she told me:

1- Her daddy played basketball w/ Prince in high school. Yes, the Dave Chappelle skits are based on reality. Hilarity.

2- The old industry "beauty" standards are still prevalent. Which is, well...retarded.

3- She hates school. I think she graduated this year though, so congrats. Hopefully this means we'll be getting a lot more music.

Tay relationship quotable: "Just cuz you exercise don't mean that we gonna work out..."
Word.

RoddyRod feat Carlitta Durand and Phonte - "This Time Around" from Humble Monarch on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sugar Hill's Last Jam


Sugar Hill had it's Last Jam (in it's current location anyway) last night. Some of the people who really define Atlanta's music scene hit the stage-- from Phillipia, Anthony David and Malachi to members of Jaspects and Avery Sunshine. And of course, the ever-fly, Joi.

Joi

Phenomenal writer/tastemaker/cool guy, Maurice Garland of Mauricegarland.com, singer/songwriter (and all around homie), Scar was also in the building, along with Bem Joiner, Jabari Graham, Jason Orr, DJ Rasta Root and DJ Salahananse, Dres the Beatnik, Ronda Penrice, Branden J. Peters, Henny of Tha Bizness, Tuki, Dreamer and Luv Crusader from Hollyweerd, James E. King and Dwayne Duggers from Jaspects, Senor Kaos, Marco and Marvell from Marcos Pita/Marcos After Dark and way more.

I didn't get there until late-- I think around 12 or so. But the energy there was electric. Really fun times. I'll miss Sugar Hill at Underground. But I sure as hell won't miss that $2 entry fee to enter the complex or trekking for 5 miles because there's no legit parking. I think that's part of the reason why they're moving. Anyhow, much future success to J. Carter, Freddy Luster and Richard Dunn-- three of the coolest dudes in the business, seriously.

Anyhoo. I'll be posting more pictures very soon. In the meantime....


Phillipia

Phillipia and Joi
Scar and J. Carter
Keisha Jackson
Malachi
Anthony David

Freddy Luster

*****MORE PICTURES*******