Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gorilla Zoe- Don't Feed the Animals Listening Party

Gorilla Zoe had his listening party for his new project, Don't Feed the Animals last night at the Atlanta Zoo-- literally. It was in the Gorilla Consortium. Pretty cool idea if you ask me. It's funny, because it seems that there is literally no part of Atlanta that has been untouched by the industry. Even the animals enjoy rappers these days. At any rate, Block Entertainment (hi, Rico and Angie!) came up with an experience for folks with this one.

Zoe's album doesn't sound too bad either. Actually, his single, "Lost" jams hard. I dig the songs where he's rap-sing (rapping and singing) the best. It seems like when he let's himself go and really get into creative mode he comes up w/ the best stuff (i.e. "Echo"). Thing is, since he's Gorilla Zoe, it may be harder for his core fans to digest when he gets all international-pop sounding on folks. I think it works though, and if he continues in that direction, he could be a bigger star.

Anyhoo. Here are a few pics I got before I got lazy and stopped taking them :-).

I interviewed Zoe last week, and when the videographer suggested that he go get his jewelry to show it off for the cameras, he tiredly waved him off like, "Man, f-ck that sh-t. That sh-t don't mean nothin'." But he brought it out for this event.

The Gorilla picture on the wall....

'That Retail Chick' Desiree Williams (holler at her at SoundShop/Westend) and Senor Kaos. (Bem Joiner and writer, DeMarco Williams' wife, Zena, make cameos in the background. )

Friday, February 20, 2009

Royal Flush Get Ready for the Grammys (Video)

So, I was in LA for Grammy weekend. It was fun mostly... even though I pulled a Tribe Called Quest and Left (read "lost") my Wallet in El Segundo. Really. It was tragic. Luckily, I travel with my SS card and my birth certificate (yes, I'm prone for identity theft) so my lost ID didn't stop me from getting on a plane back to the A. It did, however, cause one of the gay security guards to frisk me and touch me in appropriate places. Like really. What's the point in not allowing men to frisk women if you allow gay women to frisk other women? Isn't that the same principle?

Anyways. While I was in LA, I hooked up with my folks, Jeron and Rick of Royal Flush. They are the producers behind what was my absolute favorite song last year-- "Royal Flush" by Big Boi featuring Andre 3000 and Raekwon. This is a cute/cool little video we did of them getting ready for their big night. I actually caught some flack from the job because people don't know who they are. Forget that. Ya'll will.

Anyways, hope you dig as much as I enjoyed hanging with them. Pass it on and prove my job wrong.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chris Brown & Rihanna- Addressing Domestic Violence

I was going to stay away from this one, at least until more details were revealed. But after this picture leaked, I have to say something.

It doesn't matter if she hit him first, if she said something way out of pocket--whatever. This is just not okay. Now even if it later comes out that he somehow didn't do all of this (which is doubtful)-- it still is a good opportunity to talk about domestic violence.

I come from a family that was marred by domestic violence. My mom was abused, her mom was severely abused-- and so the cycle was. Statistically speaking, I too, will be physically abused by a man. But, let me just say, the cycle ends with me.

As a kid, I can remember being deathly afraid of my father. It's strange to think of the man that he would turn into when he would fight my mom. My dad is mellow, laid-back and genuinely a nice guy. He really is. But, he too comes from a home where there was violence, and that seeped its way into his and mom's relationship. I have a lot of dramatic stories that I could share here-- the sad thing is, even when my mom divorced my dad, she ended right back in an abusive relationship. And it was 10 times worse than before. I remember one time she was beaten badly in the parking lot of our apartment complex. Her face was so distorted after that beating, so swollen and bruised, she couldn't return to work for over a week.

Sadly, my stories (too many to share) are not all that uncommon. As a society, we have a tendency to downplay domestic violence (much in the same way they do sexual abuse)-- though it happens way more often than most realize. If you come from a home like the one I grew up in, just know that you can stop the cycle. You don't have to become a victim. I've never been hit, thank God. But over the years, I've sort of developed some tell-tale signs that women should aware of. Of course, these aren't surefire and I'm no expert, but they could act as some red flags:

1- He gets angry very easily. Now some folks are just quick-tempered. But if he's always quick to get really angry at you over very small things, that could be a sign that he has emotional issues and won't be able to control his temper.

2-He calls you out of your name. My mom always said that if a man will disrespect you by routinely-- calling you a "bitch," "whore" (fill in the rest of the blanks)-- he probably wouldn't have a problem taking it to the next level and hitting you. Blatant disrespect like that is always a red flag.

3- He's hit another woman. This is always, always one of the first questions that I ask a man when I first start dating him. It may seem like it's out of left field, particularly in the beginning of a relationship- but if he's hit another woman, for any reason other than his life being threatened, chances are he may hit you as well. Abusive men obviously have psychological issues that don't end or begin with just one woman. Not to say folks can't change. But I'd steer clear. And also, don't be fooled. Professional, educated, "nice" men can be abusive too. Ask.

Now, there are also a few things that you can do to establish some sort of protection in your relationship.

1- Make sure he knows you have strong men in your life who will protect you. Never bad mouth the men in your life... ever, in the beginning of any relationship. If your brother is a deadbeat-- your new man doesn't need to know it. He just needs to be aware that you have a brother who is there for you.Whether it's your brother, your dad, an uncle, a cousin, or even a friend-- abusive men are usually less likely to get stupid when they know they may end up dead for hitting you. (Either that, or they will attempt to separate you from your family and your loved ones so that they don't know what's going on.) Now that doesn't mean that every time you get into an argument you mention how your brother will whup his ass. Not at all. You should never make direct, dumb threats like that. You can establish that there is a strong male presence in your life simply by talking about them positively.

2- If you come from an abusive background, don't bring it up early on. I don't really have much of a theory on this one-- except that I've noticed abusive men have a tendency to be drawn to women who have already been abused. Of course, it's probably the other way around-- abused women are drawn to abusive men... but either way, the attraction is lethal. I think it's best to keep quiet about it until you've discovered that you can truly trust the man.

3-Establish respect for yourself early on. I've been called sensitive and everything else under the sun, but when men yell angrily at me in person- it scares me. Period. I don't like it and have never tolerated it. There are ways to express dislike without yelling or getting in my face. Some women don't mind loud, passionate arguments. Me, I do. So I make it a point to establish those boundaries early on. If he respects you, he'll respect that.

Now, if you're already in an abusive relationship-- please, please get out. Once you've started being abused, the chances of it ending are very, very slim.

At any rate, didn't mean for this to turn into a Dr. Phil special, but domestic violence is serious-- and this particular case is yet another sad example of it. I hope CB gets some counseling. He's very young and still has time to get himself together. And I hope Rihanna takes this, learns from it, and ends her cycle before it starts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For Whom the Bell Tolls Video- Evidence feat. Blu, Phonte,

I loved this song from the moment I first heard it. A little late seeing the video, but three things:

1. I love it when videos actually match the damn song. Though I do wonder if the guys (especially Tay) got freaked out about being in an actual coffin and traipsing around graveyards and whatnot.

2. This is the first time I've seen Blu with his hair cut. I think it makes him look a little gangster. He's still hot to trot though. Is that gay to say a man is "hot to trot"? Okay, I retract my statement. He's just hot.

3. This is the epitome of what hip-hop should be. You have a "mega-star" ( doing music, and actually appearing in videos with foundation-establishing vets (Evidence), your favorite rapper's favorite rapper that still doesn't get his proper due (Phonte), and your favorite rapper's favorite emerging rapper (Blu). It's refreshingly authentic.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Everybody Knows- John Legend (written by Scar)

My good friend Scar wrote this song. And I love it, even though it's pretty depressing.

Anywhoo, see him with Janelle Monae in this pic (before she turned all neo-equestrian?). I think this is from a shoot they did with GRIP (RIP) back in the day. Remember back when Purple Ribbon was poised to be what Grand Hustle now is? They had Killer Mike, Scar and Janelle Monae. Great ensemble. Now, the torch has been passed to GH. Let's hope they have the wherewithall to make the label what it should be-- the most exciting indie imprint in music.