Friday, January 30, 2009

Joi- Missing You

I've been on this song hard for the past week or so. Man, this jammed. Joi is so underrated-- and not in the generic way that people try to apply the term to their favorite artist who is not really underrated, but actually is just not that good. I remember when this song came out, everyone thought she was bi because of that "I'll keep my legs together cuz you do it betta!...betta than them other girls and boys..." Anyways.

Joi was way ahead of her time. Like seriously. It really sucks, because she's so phenomenally talented. If you've never seen her live, you really should make an effort to do so. I remember my early years in Atlanta, back when Funk Jazz was all the rage. There was this chick on stage (who was a little weird, but super fly nonetheless) meowing, literally. For years that was the opening to her show, she'd, "meow! meow! meow!" all sing-songy. and then tell women to get their own steez and stop jocking hers. It sounds retarded the way I've just rehashed it, but it really was dope as hell. Anyways. That's when I got hip to Joi. I was new to Atlanta and she really emboddied what the city's culture was at the time for me. Or what it could be.

Then I remember when Tennessee Slim is the Bomb came out. I still have my burned CD, which was hand-written on by Joi, because we were doing an early review for Upscale. All the women out there who get all inspired and start feeling all pseudo-sassy while listening to Beyonce need to see how it is really done.


Anyways, Joi is great. I can't wait for another album.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

8Ball & MJG's "Jury Duty" Listening Session

So 8Ball & MJG had their "Jury Duty" listening session at ECHO Studios last night. I saw Alfamega in the parking lot, though he disappeared during the session (I think). Yung LA and Dro were there as well... although strangely, MJG was MIA. From the little bit that I've been around dude, I get the distinct feeling he's not overly into what the "industry" thinks about him. But I could be wrong.

Anyways, they were asking all of the cool industry folks that showed up to rate the 17 tracks they debuted-- Hung Jury (so so), Acquitted (dope), Guilty (wack). For the most part, everything was pretty so-so. I was conflicted-- mostly because I was so excited to hear Ball actually rapping for real again that it almost overpowered my decision-mkaing skills and overshadowed so-so hooks and mediocre production.

Boy, I sure do miss T-Mixx era Ball & J. Not saying that folks can't progress. I mean, In Our Lifetime is one of my favorite records from them, and Organized Noize did most of that. And really, Living Legends was not a bad album. I just feel like lately, they must've been hanging around the wrong folks-- you know, people who know that they are a pioneering southern rap group, but don't really know their history and the sound that made them. I dunno. I'm interested to see what the final Grand Hustle product is going to sound like. It seems as though the folks over there are at least remotely familiar with their history.

Anyways, it was nice to see Ball looking a lot healthier and with it. Looks like he may've lost some weight too.

What's Going On?- Army Suicides at an All-time High

Man, what is going on out here?

People killing themselves and their families, jobs being lost by the hundreds of thousands--per WEEK-- and now Army suicides are at an all time high. If you haven't seen Stop Loss yet, it's a good depiction of a soldier's battle with constantly having to go back for numerous tours of duty. Anyways, check a snippet of the story from the AP.

From the Associated Press:
Suicides among Army troops soared again last year and are at a nearly three-decade high, senior defense officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.

At least 128 soldiers killed themselves in 2008, said two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the data has not been formally released.

The final count likely will be considerably higher because more than a dozen other suspicious deaths are still being investigated and could also turn out to be self-inflicted.....

Officials have said repeatedly that troops are under tremendous and unprecedented stress because of repeated and long tours of duty due to the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Atlanta's B-Girl Fest

Speaking of women in hip-hop.....

Can the Women Get a Turn Now?

So now that all the dudes seem to be tired of rapping, does that mean that the lane is open for women?

I mean, everyday there's some new rapper claiming that rap is over and they are going to be doing something "new" and "creative." Mostly, that just means that they are going to abuse auto-tunes really badly over a generic alternative rock track.

You have Weezy and his rock album, the Rebirth.

You have Kanye and the Revolution.

You have Face saying he's ain't rapping no more.

So, since they are tired, I think it's only fitting that they pass the reins over to the women. After all, female rappers haven't even really had the opportunity to become overexposed and bored with their music. Remember the early-mid 90s? Remember what hip-hop sounded like then? When some rappers had some mainstream success, but by and large most cats were still flying under Viacom the radar? That's where women are now. So by those standards, the bulk of the women who will emerge should be pretty dope, right?

With that said, as sad as I am about Scarface supposedly leaving the game and as much as my ears hurt listening to Weezie's "Prom Queen," they can stay where they are. Let the ladies get a little shine, is all I'm sayin.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why is Biggie's Son On "One More Chance"?

Question... why is Biggie's pubescent son rapping on "One More Chance"? Dude, could you be any more inappropriate? I was listening to this Notorious soundtrack last week and one of the "remixes" on there (code for: ain't new shit on the album except a couple of very raw demos that helped get him signed) featured Christopher Wallace, Jr. Cute concept. Dumb song to put the little guy on. "Juicy" anyone? "Sky is the Limit"?

I know Big didn't really have a plethora of wholesome, uplifting or even appropriate songs for kids to rap along to. In fact, if you ask me Biggie should be getting thrown into the new 15 years later (insert person) is overrated-- like Pac now is. At least Pac usually had some kind of underlying point to his rants. Yeah, he may not have been as good of a lyricist as Big, but so what? I find myself enjoying artists who have something relevant to say that makes me think about things in a new way, or just think about things period than someone who can just put words together nicely. Now, should you have the ability to merge two together, then you're probably really phenomenal (Ras Kass pre-jail time, Andre Benjamin...).

Anyways, the bottom line is, it was dumb to put the little kid on "One More Chance." And well, a little disturbing.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oscar Grant III: Guess There's Some Things Even Obama Can't Change

This, in a nutshell is the story of the murder of 22 year-old, Oscar Grant III:

1. Oscar Grant III is detained by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) cops
2. Oscar Grant III is physically abused by BART cops, while he is still handcuffed
3. Out of nowhere, one cop pulls out a gun, and shoots Oscar Grant III (a 22 year-old father) in the back
4. Oscar Grant III was in handcuffs and unarmed when he was shot. He later died.
5. Said cop says he meant to use his taser gun, not his real gun.

Here is the video:

It took me a minute to post on this one. Ya'll know how sensitive I am when it comes to trigger happy, fascist cops. But this shit takes the cake. And well, I think it's time we all burn some shit down. I mean, the cop meant to use his taser gun? The hell? Are we really that stupid? And further more, what were you doing tasing an unarmed, handcuffed man in the first place?

I repeat. We need to burn some shit down. That's what seems to get people's attention.

Now, I know that sounds "ignorant." I know it doesn't sound progressive and I know that we have to be careful now that we have a black man in the white house and everything we say and do will somehow, in a roundabout way, end up being applied to him. But honestly, I don't give a hot damn. We need a revolt.

I mean, really. This Oscar Grant III case didn't even really make national headlines like that until the people started rioting and setting Honda Accords on fire in the streets of Oakland. Now, do I endorse vandalism? No. But in this case, yes. Hell, if it means that the police--- freakin TRANSIT COPS at that, will stop shooting innocent, unarmed black men in front of a mass amount of people then BURN MY NEON UP! I'll give you the damn lighter, matter of fact.

I don't know ya'll. Revolutions never come without violence. Ain't that what Malcolm said? Ain't that the truth?

Back in the 70s, when we were heavy in the streets fighting for our civil rights and what not, black business owners used to hang signs in their windows that said "Black Owned Business" so that the protesters would skip their spot. And guess what ya'll? They did.

Again, I'm not endorsing senseless violence. I dig the hopeful, happy, smart-reaction Obama vibe we've been on for the past few months. But even with the inauguration days away, young black men are still being murdered by the law. I don't anticipate that changing anytime soon... no matter how much magical "change" is in the air these days. We gotta do something. Jerry McGuire said... who's coming with me?

(P.S. I was trying to be sort of light and humorous in this posting to keep from crying. I literally had to walk out of the plantation earlier today after interviewing Mistah Fab about this. I keep thinking, that could've been either one of my brothers. Any of my cousins. One of my friends. It's sick. It has to