COMBAT JACK Runs A Check On TOM BREIHAN’s ‘Hood Status…

soul man

Editor’s note: COMBAT JACK is a good friend to the site and has an unquestionable Hip-Hop pedigree. CJ is always good for a perspective that I may have overlooked when you talk about Hip-Hop music, its art and its direction. I treat COMBAT JACK like E.F. Hutton, when he speaks, I listen. Yoda from Dagobah said that the most intelligent speakers were also good listeners. Y’all should listen up close because I think we may have a faker in out midst. TOM BREIHAN is the main music critic for the Village Voice and a bevy of associated music publications. The power and prestige contained in being the pre-eminent pop culture music sage might be too much for this writer. He was a welcome change from the heavy-handed, and severly dated ROBERT CHRISTGAU who had become such as his namesake, at least in his mind. It seems that BREIHAN’s excessive collection of Clipse mixtapes is making him think that he can have it both ways without being respectful to the real place that Hip-Hop comes from. The soul.

“You little wigsters ain’t deep, you dumb” or why Tom Breihan is Hip-Hop’s Most Dangerous Blog Critic

A couple of years back when I was winding up my law office (2003) in the music biz, a white rapper who wanted me to shop his demo to labels stopped by my office. He had sent me his package(nullus) a week earlier and on the strength of what I heard, I felt his material wasn’t strong enough for me to compromise my rep by peddling his weak shit. Trying to be as diplomatic as possible, but intent on conveying to dude that he had to get his weight up before he was ready to step into the arena, I expressed to him that he needed work. Like one of those lil’ rude, spoiled kids I see in Park Slope who can’t get their way, dude immediately got all aggie and animated, aggressively asking me who were my top five emcees. “B.I.G., Rakim, Jay Z, Nas, Yung Ice Cube, Yung Big Daddy Kane and Yung K.R.S. 1” was my response (I know, that was eight). Dude then asked me who was some of the acts I thought was on fuego at the moment. I answered “Eminem, Jay Z, Nas, Fabolous and The Clipse”. Dude got even got more amped and replied that I didn’t know shit about Hip Hop. He went on and on about how cats like Company Flow, Cage and Ill Bill (who I have appreciated at times) as well as some other mad underground cats were bringing that heat, how labels like Bad Boy were a cancer to Hip Hop and even implied that I wasn’t qualified musically to shop his music.

soul man

I guess seeing a Black man in a suit sitting behind a desk didn’t fit his preconceived (prejudiced?) one-dimensional notion of what a true Black Hip Hop head should look like and I was summarily dismissed as not being down (although I doubt he would recognize me later on that evening in Brooklyn, dressed in a fitted, Air Max and a hoodie). I was pissed the fuck off that this lil’ effin’ wigster (wigger + hipster) had the fucking audacity to interrogate me in my own office about the validity of my “ghetto card”, like I needed one. Although I immediately felt compelled to pull off one of my Gucci loafers and pound the effin’ idjit out and about, I maintained my cool composure. I explained to him that I was on my way to a meeting with Puffy (which I was) and when he backed down and sheepishly asked, no, begged me to pass his CD on to Mr. Combs, I gleefully told dude I’d never want to shit my connections by passing out a sub-par cRap package like his. The broken look of defeat on his face was priceless, however the impact of said encounter never left me. Of late, Tom Breihan’s recent posting’s about today’s current state of Hip-Hop on his Voice Magazine dot com sponsored blog “Status Ain’t Hood” so effin’ takes me back to that encounter.

soul man

I initially liked Status Ain’t Hood when I started peeping it about a year ago cause it seemed like dude had this innocent lil’ wigster appreciation of all things music, especially Hip Hop. Like all bloggers I respect (like Bol, DP, Different Kitchen, Nah’Right, Tribute To Ignorance, and Oh Word to name a few), I didn’t always agree with dude’s opinions, but he always managed to express his views in an unbiased and somewhat reverent manner, especially for a white boy. His posts also helped me further understand a wigster’s point of view about Hip Hop music and Black culture. I was totally amazed and applauded his and his fellow lil’ wigster’s fascination with the ever amusing Dip Set movement as well as his/their unwavering appreciation and support for Ghostface and The Clipse’s underappreciated talent, even crediting them for indirectly influencing the music biz to at least make the gesture of giving these acts the respect and opportunities they deserve. Recently however, I started getting the feeling that Tom was getting a bit too familiar, flagrant even, with his status (I bet he’s a hit at all his lil’ wigster parties).

I noticed a few months ago that Tom appropriated and started experimenting with Byron Crawford’s word du jour “ninja(s)” which is a clever (and somewhat politically correct) play on the word “nigger” on Byron’s part. It’s a different word, but close enough to make the point. I was a little taken aback when I first read it in one of his SAH posts, but felt that dude, being the good writer that he is, didn’t want anything lost in translation. I continued to hear him the next couple of times he used it, but wasn’t really cool with it when he got comfortable with it and using it more often. Like I said, “ninja” is a wholly different word but that shit is too effin’ close boy.

Reminds me of when I interned at Def Jam years ago and the resident wigster at that time MC Serch of Third Bass fame, when building with cats like the homies Bobitto and Curious would drop the “N” word in my effin presence like it was nobody’s business. Had I had some clout then, I would have seriously checked dude, but I let that shit pass several times because, 1) I was green in the game 2) Russell Simmons, my boss, who always seemed to favor the jew cats around him didn’t seem to mind. He actually thought that shit was cool since Serch was his pet white boy of the day, and 3) I didn’t want to play out a scene from Dave Chappelle’s “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”. I’ve since reconciled with Serch because he’s really not a bad guy and he happened to be a young, hungry wigster rapper who didn’t have a full understanding of the context of the word and how if said around the wrong (right) people, he would have gotten his fat jewish ass kicked from here to Albuquerque.

soul man

In addition to his frequent usage of the “N” word, Breihan, like all these lil’ “eighties baby” rappers eager to jump on the bandwagon in an attempt to be first in snatching Jay Z’s crown to prematurely achieve “King Status” has quietly proclaimed himself to be “King Hip Hop Blog Critic” by joining the mob frenzy in his mad subjective and negative posts about Mr. Sean Carter as well as his just plain stupid views about today’s state of Hip Hop. In the past two and half months, Tom has matured from being a young, harmless lil’ wigster with a great sense of wide-eyed respect and appreciation of the arts to a full grown white boy aware of his white privilege and the white man’s burden to have say, control and dominion over all things
regarding ninjas .

Peep his steez…

Jay-Z Is Afraid To Fight
Where he disses Jigga for not participating in the latest edition of that bullshit ass video game “Def Jam: Fight for NY”. Real talk Hip-Hop fans, if you were Hov, the president of Hip-Hop’s defining record company would you lower your self to such idiocy?

Pitbull: Better Than Nas
Where he proclaims in his title that Pitbull (effin’ Pitbull?) is better than Nas but makes no attempt to justify his ignorant and incorrect postion.

Jim Jones Obliterates Jay-Z
In this post he gives a literary handjob to Jim Jones’s Johnson (no Sickamore) for “obliterating” Jay-Z in their skirmish a couple of weeks back.

Jay-Z: Rap’s Joe Lieberman
Breihan credits the 700k + sales of Jay Z’s first week solely to his promotional campaign as well as Jay marketing to cats outside of his core fan base. To quote Breihan, “If Jay had to rely on rap fans and rap fans only to sell records, Kingdom Come might’ve disappeared the way the vast majority of 2006 rap albums have. So he reached outside, and it worked. Good for him, I guess.”

And finally, this most recent rant…

Lil’ Wayne Attacks Jay-Z
Here he figuratively tongue kisses Lil’ Wayne in the mouth all Birdman style by claiming Weezy is now better than Jay Z. Really? Um, no Weezy Eff Baby.

soul man

Don’t get me wrong, Kingdom Come wasn’t the greatest Jigga album, but it wasn’t the shit sandwich like Tom (and Bol) claim it to be. The reason Bol gets away with it is because I (nor any of his readers) wouldn’t expect anything else from him, being the brilliant perpetual hater that he is (no stray shots). Tom however, is no Bol. And contrary to the wigster’s ignorant opinion that cats like Jay no longer matter to young cats in the ‘hood, I’ve had mad engaging conversations with many a young soldier (under 18 years of age) posted up on the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street at the spot where I cop my beef patties. These young dudes proclaim Jay to still be one of the hottest cats to ever do it, even though they felt KC was a bit too grown for their liking they did rant about his recent freestyle “Corporate Takeover”.

NEWSFLASH Tom, in the hood, some young cats respect Weezy and are amused by Jim Jones but would NEVER compare them to Jigga. NEVER!

My father in law, who was a record producer in the 1960’s and won a Grammy in 1990 that now sits on a mantle in his Brooklyn home, used to get pissed the eff off with me whenever I used to tell him that Eminem in his prime was one of the most incredible emcees evar Black, white or green. Because my father in-law came up around the Elvis Pressley era where most cats like me would be hanging upside down from a tree with a fork in my ass (no KKKramer), he’s always going on about how back in his day, when Brothers were deeply rooted and recognized as the inventors of rock and roll (no Mos Def – “New Danger”), once the wigsters who were down decided to use their privileged status, they completely re-wrote the history of the genre, determining who and what was hot and eventually running all things rock and roll (and eventually all the “ninjas” out). He’s always warning me that the same shit will eventually happen with Hip Hop. I used to dismiss him as being an overly political Black man too caught up in the racial injustices of his past. Like that whack white rapper in my office, Tom’s posts of late are eerily convincing me that pops in law might very well be on to something.

soul man

Tom, if you happen to be reading this, trust me, you’re really suspect right about now. Don’t allow your Village Voice and wigster privileges delude you into thinking that you’re like some white cop that can freely walk in and out of this hood unscathed, brazenly shooting your random 50 shots at cats and carelessly dropping kaa kaa just because you’re so kewl. No Sean Bell. Oh yeah, it’s also damned annoying (coincidence?) that whenever I want to respond and post a comment about your continued wigster ignorance, not only do I have to go through some bull shit sign up registration process, but my post won’t appear until about a day later when you’ve most likely moved on to your next post, thus taking away the full sting of harsh and valid criticism unlike most “Hip Hop” bloggers thugging it out on the frontline. Sheet, even XXL doesn’t afford their writers the same level of bullet proof protection that you wigsters get over at the Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not on some X-Clan, Al Sharpton shit, that’s really not my style. I’m all for racial harmony and what not and I’m in no way hating on you dude. Sheet, if I ever run into you at one of those Friday nite wigster events at South Paw I might give you some dap (hood style) and even crack some brews and discuss all things music. However, you might just want to consider slowing your role and start showing some effin’ respect to the “real rap fans” out here as you so aptly put it. Until then, I rebuke you lil’ wigster!

Oh and yeah, the one thing that you’re consistently right about in your posts is that your status definitely ain’t ‘hood.

83 Responses to “COMBAT JACK Runs A Check On TOM BREIHAN’s ‘Hood Status…”

  1. Robbie says:

    I love the smell of ether in the morning….it smells…it smells like…..victory.

  2. Classy 40 Blassie says:

    Wow… SALUTE TO COMBAT JACK… I’m resisting the urge to take your “Wigster” theme even further, but that its the Pandora’s Box that is I’m my return to NYC after a 3 year hiatus in Norf Kackalack, I noticed the overproliferation of these types who have unabashedly run ramshod over neighborhoods, music, fashion, and culture. Your post albeit directed at one specific individual could actually be applied many of those like him. Props on articulating thoughts that have been running around my head. Would it be wrong to admit I prefer the more rank and file white American (or any other culture) who listens to “their music” and lives in “their culture” and doesn’t try to have it both ways? You can appreciate and love it all you want, but don’t try and take it over.

  3. Thorsten says:

    I agree with the man. I am white, German, 32 and listening to Hip Hop since 13. Over here in Europe we may have a bit different upbringing as “whites” regarding Hip-Hop culture, because the social boundaries are easier to cross than perhaps in the USA. And it may not be such a “clear” segregation between inner city social groups as in the USA. I give two flying fucks about the color of someones face and I love Hip Hop to death. It is my musical and subcultural/cultural upbringing. My background. BUT I would never ever call another person “Nigger” or “Nigga” or what the fuck ever someone thinks is “hood” or “Hip Hop”. I avoid racial slurs at all cause I dont feel that way.By the way I never understood why Fat Joe calls himself “Nigger”. But this may be a result of me not living in the Bronx or wherever this may be common. BUT what I always felt is that this Hip Hop Culture is first of all a Black Culture and I could never be the one to judge the “Realness” of a f.e. NYC bred African-American Hip Hop Fan. In Germany you have many -to stay in the totally stupid racial terminology of the US gov.- Caucasian kids who live in very harsh and social disadvantaged communities. They relate to Hip Hop in an original and pure way as it is “Struggle Music” in a global sense. But you also have these guys from suburbs and financially advanced backgrounds who are on some reverse racism shit. They might say Ill Bill or Cage or whoever is better cause they don’t “sell-out”… which in my opinion in most cases just implies their subconscious view that the “Negro” is mostly a stupid , materialistic individual and it needs the white man to direct them to the pureness of their own culture! To make things clear I am not on some self hating shit . I listen to Mobb Deep forever and I give a fuck about the acceptance of anyone. But I dont think I can act like the ones who created this culture and keep it alive. You gotta love it -Hip Hop- for what it is and not for what you want it to be! I grew up in a rather tough environment… BUT I was never challenged being the target of racism! I dont know how it feels and I just can do my best to avoid such bullshit. Perhaps after those many words who no one will read, I have to quote the immortal Curtis Mayfield: If theres hell below, we all gonna go!

  4. Ruimixx says:

    Haha! Get his ass CJ!

  5. S Dot says:


    I too have been reading Tom’s blog for the past year or so. He actually convinced me to check out Lil’ Wayne and since then, I’ve been a fan of Weezy (but not his parental love kisses). I do agree though that Tom is a true outsider to hip hop, and not just because he doesn’t own a Lord Finesse album–he strikes me as a Johny Come Lately that is trying to immese himself in as much hip hop as possible.

    He seems to write about things that amuse him (Pitbull is better than Nas) but doesn’t keep in mind the history behind his statements. Sure, Nas releases some uneven records and is pretty inconsistent. But he’s still one of the top 10 MC’s ever to do it. Pitbull and Nas don’t belong in the same sentence to anyone who KNOWS hip hop. But to someone who doesn’t KNOW hip hop, it’s quite alright to believe that Jim Jones “defeated” Jay-Z with his BALLLIN ad-libs.

    Just because Tom buys mixtapes and loves Ghostface, Clipse and Three Six Mafia, it doesn’t baptise him as residential Village Voice Hip Hop Bloggin’ Expert. But the people who DO read that blog and DON’T know hip hop can’t see that. To them, it’s a reasonable argument that Lil’ Wayne is better than Jay-Z because Lil’ Wayne is the trendier pick than an aging, ubiquitous Sean Carter. But we know the deal. Sadly, wigster won’t and never will.

  6. Amadeo says:

    This is on point…for years I’ve seen the affect that mini-celeb endorsements can bring. Be it a writer or a Radio Station. When I used to ask people about why they liked what they liked alot of their statements would be based on how many times and if they heard something on the radio. Meanwhile a local D.J. put me down with the fact that even during the request hour there’s a list he has to work from. In regards to the father-in-law statement: My two name retort (Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix) to cries of Rock and Roll is white people music is starting to annoy me more and more every time I have to use it.

  7. rafi says:


    Let me just add:

    “Rap shows like this one are always sort of stressful in practice. You’re jammed into an extremely full room with a whole lot of dudes in hoodies, and it’s always somewhere in the back of your mind that you might jostle someone wrong or spill someone’s drink and start a fight; I see that happen constantly at these shows. The enormous BB King’s bouncer staff keeps kicking people out for smoking, and then the performers onstage tell everyone to smoke; you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen with that. And there’s never any place to sit or any vantage point where you’re not in someone else’s way. It takes a truly inspired performance to turn all that free-floating tension into catharsis. We didn’t get any inspired performances last night, but we did get some good ones, so that’s something.”

  8. El A in the D says:

    J z is still “That guy” Like I said before (when ‘Come first came out and got lambasted) for those of us who are growing in hip hop, Jay’s done the growing just like I would have…… IF I had his shine. ZIP 48221

  9. Vik says:

    bo bo bo!

    combat jack! expose the fakin jacks!

    tom is actually a great writer…..unfortunately, the boundary between artistic licence and “national geographic study of the negro rapper phenomena” is a fine line…..especially for a let’s-check-out-this-rap-thing dude.



  10. Vik says:

    one more thing, NICE drop with the pics and the before-after tom b. pic

  11. Bol says:

    LOL at this shit.

  12. Sach says:

    Usually, something like this warrants a comment like “Chill CJ! Don’t hurt em!” but let’s face it, kid has deserved a verbal beat down for a while. And whent it comes to beatdowns, no one can do em better.

    Although to my credit, I’ve been dissing the kid for a minute. That Run DMC review had me boilin.

  13. Tom Breihan says:

    I probably shouldn’t jump in on this, but real quick: I use “ninja” only when I’m quoting from songs or interviews; I started doing it after Kris Ex took me to task for leaving the N-bombs in quotes. I don’t ever use the word when I’m not quoting.

  14. sintalentos says:

    excellent deconstruction of white privilege. and the feather in the cap? soul man stills with some clever p-shop footers. never gets old.

    that said, while it’s easy to get at a writer for their opinions (unsupported, no less), let’s not forget the big picture: who pays breihan’s bills, i.e. who ch-ch-chooses (ralph wiggum intended) breihan’s writing/POV to represent the voice “of the streets.”

  15. rafi says:

    ^ You mean the Jews?

  16. Dave says:

    This is a good and interesting read; the Status Ain’t Hood blog is extremely problematic on a number of levels, like many elitist hipster publications. The element of white privilege is an unacknowledged element in a lot of these kinds of articles (Village Voice, Pitchfork Media) and it’s something that supposedly liberal music fans are completely unwilling to acknowledge or are in denial about. I like the fact that you characterize the Nas/Pitbull comparison as “incorrect” because it is fact, incorrect. A lot of the time people like this think these kind of things are just 100% opinion and that they can go in and freely rewrite reality just to be controversial and opinionated; but in this case, it is a hilarious faux pas, and the fact that it comes from a ‘professional’ writer is completely unacceptable. These people are basically paid to have (often wrong) opinions for hip magazines.

    I did, however, find a huge number of problems with this article. You’re in danger of seeming arrogant and vaguely derisive, if not exactly racist, in insisting on using your “wigster” term. It’s clever, it has a place in New York white writer/hipster/fan culture. At the same time it’s obviously belittling and you doggedly use it, mockingly through the whole article in order to expose how quaint and silly and cute all the white rappers/writers are; the words that make up “wigster,” are mostly terms of derision.

    Another thing, I’m a little shocked so few people talk about the huge amount of tension between blacks and jews in New York; you can see it right here in your article. This isn’t an accusation, it’s not a condmentation. It’s a reality, it’s written right there. The way you casually drop “jew” as a descriptor in the article in several awkward and uncomfortable sentence had me wondering, “what does the ‘Jew’ have to do with it?”

    Finally, you eventually circle back to rock. I know slightly more about rock than rap so I felt obligated to comment.

    It’s become extremely fashionable in the last few decades, especially in rap circles with rappers like Mos Def and Chuck D writing songs about it, to examine rock’s history from it’s (significant and important) black origins. Unfortunately, this examination has often been reduced to distortion.

    Chuck D is a major poltical activist; he knew what was going to get reactions and attention. When he came out against Elvis, he was making a political statement: “he never meant $&% *to me*” (emphasis added). He knew what he was doing; he wasn’t attempted to revise rock history. That wasn’t his political goal, I imagine because he didn’t feel it was important as mocking white symbols of gross Americana and racist excess (Evlis, John Wayne)

    Which bring me to historical revisionism. The fact is that, yes, the majority of the earliest, important rock artists were in fact black, though there were some important white rockers too. Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, countless blues and electric blues artists etc. were all black. Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and many rockabilly and country artists etc. were all white. The fact of the matter is that most of America’s popular music is rooted predominantly in black musical forms.

    But the assertion that white racists “re-wrote” rock history is just not accurate. It’s simply not. Most intelligent, informed rock critics today are entirely aware of rock’s origins, even if the wider public (black and white) is not, and even if the wider public tends to (incorrectly) regard rock as a wholly “white” artform. I’m not convinced that even casual rock fans always think this, but for arguments sake, we’ll assume that they do. Which brings me to my other point: Elvis. Elvis is a controversial figure because he certainly represented a racist culture and a popularisation of less commercial black musical forms; he was not, however, an uninspired theif who smuggled the secrets of black music away from their original sources and got rich off of them without being talented.

    Even if you or I dislike him, he was an important and talented performer (that’s why he was signed) and was EXTREMELY important in the development of the genre of rock, just on an image and performance basis. At least as important for those reasons as more auteur-istic innovators like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

    I say this because I’m getting a little tired of saying this to people who don’t really know much about rock’s origins and who have uninformed, fashionable opinions and who think it’s cool and hip and politically radical to diss Elvis as a completely racist thief. I’m not sure how much you know about the subject, but it didn’t seem like you were that concerned with rock history.

    Letting the racist aspect of Elvis’ music take precedent is not “bad” in and of itself, but doing this while pretending to know something about rock’s origins and development is ignorant. You cannot say that black musicians’ contributions to rock have been completely ignored and say that Elvis is an unoriginal, unimportant figure; you can’t say these two things at the same time. The first says that you do know something about rock history, and the second shows that you do not know anything. The same goes for the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and countless british bands and great rock acts of the 60s who based their music on black (and white) forms. By the time of the 60s era, most rock music being performed was performed by white musicians because black music turned towards soul and R&B and rock was heavily influenced by white musicians from Britain.

    This is rock history, not a conspiracy to ignore black rock legends; all of the first original white rock stars were VERY aware of early black musicians; informed white rock critics today are also very aware of black musicians in rock (if they are informed).

    So there is truth to what you are saying, but I resent the implication that white people have completely obliterated the legacy of black musicians in rock. I, if it’s at all important, am white and I think it’s midly offensive to suggest that white rock and rap fans like myself would do this. If you are a fan of the music, you make an effort to REVERSE these kinds of simplifications. For example, Jimi Hendrix, it’s been reported, is the single most popular rock act from the 60s among teenagers today, other than maybe the Beatles. Certainly he’s much, MUCH more popular among high school kids than Elvis is. So all the righteous political anger about Evlis seems misplaced when Elvis’ legacy and image have already been nearly ruined by tons and tons of embarassing cliches and stories, bad music and movies and gross American excesses and bloated legends.

    Finally, most of the best and most important black rock acts were popular in the 50s and 60s and there have not been many major black rock acts of much visibility since the 60s (only Living Color, Bad Brains come to mind, neither of whom were at the forefront of popularity or influence).

    It’s not so much a conspiracy to ignore black rock as it is just the passage of time and that white rock has become so institutionalized. Please keep in mind that most intelligent white rock fans are aware of the music’s black origins, even if they are severely problematic like Tom Breihan.

    Mos Def’s song about this issue is actually a good example of white I’m talking about. “Rock ‘N Roll” on “Black on Both Sides” was just silly; the message was: “some people don’t know that there used to be lots of black rock musicians, and it’s messed up that people don’t know that and they should; and also, the Rolling Stones and Elvis are untalented in my opinion.” It was supposed to be a shocking, radical political statement, but it came off as silly and inconsequential and opinionated; I mean, Mos Def’s favorite rock band is Black Sabbath. And somehow, the Rolling Stones are a bad band because “they didn’t come up with that sh*t on their own.” No one ever claims that they did. He has no point here. No intelligent or reasonable white person who knows anything about music will EVER try to deny that black people’s contributions to popular music have been unbelievably far reaching and disproportionate to their representation in the population; if 14% of America is black, then about 70% of it’s popular music is mostly influenced by “black” music.

    The fact that stupid white rock critics are trying to say ignorant, uninformed, elitist things about rap does show a sense of white privilige and arrogance, but the comparison with how rock has been “controlled” by white people is simply ridiculous and overblown and has become very fashionable. I don’t think idiotic opinions and writers like Tom Breihan are going to successfully control hip-hop. If anything, hip-hop is already controlled by white people simply through corporatization and media control.

  17. Hong Kong 40 - #1 Super Guy! says:

    ^Be easy Rafi Gibson. Whats next calling a cop “Sugar Tits”?

  18. Sach says:

    ^clearly you are not aware of Ohword’s membership. Our ghetto pass may be dubious but we got that Jew-pass on lock like Beasties at a Barmitzvah.

  19. Dirty Dish Cloth says:

    Just remember this when you’re talking shit about MC Search– he was Nas’ manager and executive producer of Illmatic. Yeah, a white boy.

  20. G Off says:

    Co-sign with most of the things that are said here… although in defense of Tom’s pieces, sometimes people take a Bol-style title to a post to heart when he is obviously being cute- or whatever. There was a post about the best rap videos ever that got everyone’s panties in a bunch, but if you read the first paragraph you would see that he was talking about a specific era of videos and had just slapped that title on there.

    Tom definitely needs to read this piece and take a look at his own work because I think he is talented, but needs Combat Jack to be his editor when he writes about hip-hop. I’ll be curious to see if he responds because he never seems to answer back when people take shots at him in his own comments.

  21. I Fux says:

    Great Post CJ..No RRR………….anyways these hipsters looking they came out of Complex Mag are fucking scumbags independtly wealthy Daddy’s boys that drive up the price of some fucking J’s I want to cop………….Anyways I once slapped the shit of one these in this club in San Diego, he made some remark about Reggeaton tongue in cheek to his whiteboy friends, I think they were Jews I could see the horns (sike) but I stepped to dude and said learn some respect for all cultures because the way you rocking your gear I am assumming you like Hip-Hop and he was like I dont need to do shit and I slapped him Charlie Murphy style……….Security came to calm the shit down kicked me and my boys out took are names just in case these dudes wanted to press charges ……………..Fuck A hipster

  22. Combat Jack says:

    ^clearly you are not aware of Ohword’s membership. Our ghetto pass may be dubious but we got that Jew-pass on lock like Beasties at a Barmitzvah.

    Gotta love the pure honesty of my Jewish brethren. That’s why I respect ya’ll. You stay keeping that shit on lizock!!!

  23. Jesse says:

    CJ beat down Sickamore with the big wooden kitchen spoon reserved for annoying little children.

    I guess this current diatribe would be the equivalent of CJ mushing Breihan down a flight of stairs, walking down the stairs to make sure the dudes neck wasn’t broken, and then slowly walking away while whistleling “Show Me What Ya Got”… lol

    Sach — That Run DMC retort was murder. Nice work.

  24. P-Matik says:

    I thought I was trippin’ until I read this. I really ain’t feeling the boy Breihan. Jack is completely on point here.

    My favorite post he did was that “My favorite videos of all time!!!!1!1!” joint where he put “California Love” at #1. Right there, I could see the weakness in son’s armor.

    It’s because of cats like him that I don’t go to Rocksteady Anniversaries or deejay battles anymore. I was at a DMC regional battle once in DC a few years ago and Red Alert hollered “Ayyyyyooooo” and I was

    I don’t like hating on people just because they don’t share my culture but it’s the corniness factor that kills me. Then these same fools try to rewrite and rewire everything.

    Oh yeah…
    “posted up on the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street at the spot where I cop my beef patties.”

    That Golden Krust joint. The A&A Bakery right up the street has the ill bake and doubles. That’s my spot.

  25. P-Matik says:

    My bad…when I was talking about Red, when he used to yell “Ayyyyoooo”, I yelled back “AIIIIGHT!!!” and all these wigsters turned and looked at me like I interrupted an opera or something.

  26. Combat Jack says:

    A&A is the joint on the corner of New York and Fulton with the green awning? The salmon patties are good as hell, but I think them joints are loaded with trans fats.

  27. T. Reynolds says:

    Ay who fucks with that buffet spot on Fulton where they play Al-Jazeera on the big screen?!

  28. P-Matik says:

    Nah, A&A is the trini spot down from the Nostrand A train stop past Golden Krust, about three doors down from that Subway. Bake and saltfish all day baby.

  29. P-Matik says:

    You mean the one by the Franklin Ave stop? Nah…that spot doesn’t have a TV.

  30. Robbie says:

    “Just remember this when you’re talking shit about MC Search– he was Nas’ manager and executive producer of Illmatic. Yeah, a white boy.”

    ^ Big deal. Jerry Heller “executive produced” “Straight Outta Compton”. What does that prove?

  31. RD says:

    damn. shit. fuck. CJ done blew a hole in the blogosphere. I’m lovin it….


  32. Combat Jack says:

    ^ Dave, thanks for your comment. Really deep and much appreciated. I’m aware that I come off racist at times and although it’s not my intent to offend, I do write with the intention of bringing some shock value to the table. Not trying to shield myself with the cliched “double standards” of calling out races while being Black, but in order to eventually air out and hopefully clear some of the huge amount of tension between Blacks and Jews in New York (I grew up in and recently moved back to Crown Heights) we all must painfully become self aware of our own racist tendencies. I wrote this piece knowing that some of my Jewish brethren (and I mean that sincerely) are regular readers of this page and assumed that the cats I consider fam, are familiar with my work and would understand where I’m coming from. Whaddup Oh Word!!!

    With regard to the term “Wigster”, my intent was definitely bent on being mocking. Because we live in an ever shrinking world where cultures freely mix, mingle and evolve (which I am 100% for) I oftimes encounter a level of ignorance with regard to context as it pertains to the ever present ills of a lopsided racist environment, particularly in New York City, particularly in Brooklyn where it’s all good when we all party and bullshit, but once the party’s over the differences in our lives are worlds apart. My observations as a Black man with regard to race relations in NY has led me to believe that in order for a cool or “down” white person (who is fortunate enough to enjoy the cultural fruits our urban setting bountifully provides), to truly understand the level of racial tensions and the depth of the inequities which exist between not only Black and Jews, but between Blacks and all Whites, they have to be willing to take off the shades that so comfortably blind (protect) them to the harsh realities based on the privileges that they enjoy as Whites. To try to explain that to the casual White “fully” immersed in Hip Hop culture can at times be frustratingly futile, mainly for the fact that they consider themselves “down”. Ignorance is bliss Dave, and my intent to was to shock, to make the comfortable uncomfotable, to figuratively smack (non violently) and shock some sense in some of Tom’s readers not fully conscious of their benefits.

    With regard to your mention of the history of Rock and Roll and my (my pops in law’s) opinion of how the history in context was re-written, you yourself answered my next statement. Most intelligent, informed rock critics know the deal, unfortunately, in today’s hi speed 30 sec MTV world of consume and on the next, partically within the Hip Hop blogosphere where this very conversation is taking place, few of them (us) would qualify as being “intelligent, informed rock critics.” It is what it is. Fyi, another source of beef with my father in-law is that I, unlike he like fully respect Elvis a great deal as an artist. (He hates him) Elvis was truly a magnetic entertainer, but more than that, his voice had an incredibly haunting voice which was out of this world, which in my opionion (and once again, applying full context as to the times in which he emerged) makes him the legend he is (no Weezy F. Baby of course). He was racist, but I can’t with sound mind discredit dude’s talents. I do fully agree that Mos Def rants with re: Rock tend to get redundant and infantile, even though dude is an incredible emcee (at times). Maybe too much weed, too many babies out of wedlock and too much coke being served up on those Hollywood sets.

    You and I agree 100% that the idiotic opinions of writers like Tom Breihan are not going to successfully control hip-hop. Dude, we’d have to be retarded not to see that Whites (or as we call them the “TI’s”) thoroughly run this rap shit simply through corporatization and media control. However, because the media, particurly outlets like the Village Voice (which prides itself on being wholly in the know and fair with it’s coverage of all things counter culture and underground) is incredibly powerful and influential, I believe careless comments made by Tom cause great damage with relation to how his readers view and appreciate or disrespect my culture which I am intent on protecting to the fullest of my ability. Coke rap is cool, but hip hop is not one dimensional. Words and images are power, especially in the White man’s world. I know too well how Black men are perceived in the media and wholly believe that its powerful influence was a STRONG factor that caused Sean Bell to be cruelly butchered on his wedding day. Where he was in reality a groom to be, he was percieved as a Nigga with a gun and he, as we all paid dearly for that shit. Writer’s like Tom are extremely fortunate to be in such powerful positions and like the homie Peter Parker says, “With great power comes great responsibility!”

    Finally, (whew) as to your mention of “my arrogant stance” what the eff did you expect Dave? DP Dot Com is a Hip Hop forum, Hip Hop is and has alway been a sport. This shit is verbal exercise, I live for the battle! I’m the effin’ Combat Jack yo!!!!!

  33. esbee says:

    Great piece. I haven’t read that much of dude’s stuff but I will say this. I think it’s important to either

    a) thoroughly know about a genre of music or
    b) do some fact-finding from those in-the-know before penning articles from your personal opinion and spin them off into broad nonsensical generalizations. I do understand that blogs provide the outlet for self-expression which I’m all for but when speaking on a culture or genre of music it’s important to bring all the perspectives out if possible..

    I’m glad a fellow writer such as yourself is taking him to task. If it were a rapper complaining about his writing style ppl would say he/she was whining and giving too much face-time to an albeit face-less person.

    However, I do think the johnny just come’s in hip hop tend to think a certain way just as Breihan. They latch onto those ‘real hip hop acts’ that they like and tend to dismiss the rest as being ‘not real hip hop.’ Which really explains the hipster fan-dom appreciation for the Clipse, in my mind. The Clipse we knew were always dope and had potential but now with the recent latch-ons and out-of-this-world appraisals it seems they’re the ‘real’ ones and everyone else is well ‘fake.’

  34. Sach says:

    ^I think a lot of the problem recently has been the exact inverse of what you described (not a diss, this is goin somewhere)

    My problem with a lot of indie-turned-rap writers is that they feel the authority to move into Hip-hop and dismiss acts that are considered important, canonical and “the ideal” to the genre while promoting and elevating those that correspond to their tastes, tastes that aren’t necessarily in the best interest of the music or those that have stuck with it for long periods of time. The “Pitbull is better than Nas” argument (assuming he was serious, I ain’t readin it) is the best example. No one who knows and respects their shit would say that, but maybe someone who’s big on Disco-punk or some other dance music would think so because they put no stock in lyrics or rap music as a serious artform and would like to see it solely as a dance-music which should be lauded for rhythmic and party aesthetics rather than meaning.

    “Alternative” readings of the rap canon are all fine and well for shits and giggles, but when they’re done with an expressively destructive and quasi-demeaning agenda from those who should know better, it’s ugly as sin.

  35. thoreauly77 says:

    i am personally glad breihan writes what he does about hiphop. the discerning head knows what is and what is not hiphop. breihan may or may not be a real head; it is insignificant if he is. he writes, we discuss, hiphop shines. all i care about is quality hiphop. isn’t that what every single one of us here cares about, truly?

  36. eauhellzgnaw says:

    This was hilarious.

    I always realized that Breihan was a privileged wigster, but I used to respect him at least. Uninformed as he was, he offered a critical voice with which I was unfamiliar, giving me insight into the hipster rap outsider mindset.

    But then he started to get on my damn nerves. I don’t mind the shock value titles and the ridiculous “greatest ever” superlatives–it’s clear he’s only doing that to get hits.

    I also don’t mind when knowledgeable, experienced critics dismiss stagnant aging rappers and/or “golden age” nostalgia; but I do mind if outsiders/newcomers like Breihan do it. He makes his living reviewing rap, yet he has shown himself to have no respect for rap.

    Moreover, he, like most hipsters (and, honestly, most popular white rap critics) seems to know little about the art of rap vocalism, randomly declaring that such and such rapper can’t rap or stay on beat, while praising vocal black holes like the Streets, MIA, and any number of doo doo minor crack rappers.

    I used to raise these objections in his comments sections, hoping to hear him address them head on; instead, he simply ignores them and responds to them indirectly in future posts by dismissing anyone who critiques his tastes and opinions as either taste-nazi dinosaurs who can’t fathom anything outside of the narrow category of NY boom bap, or “granola-rap” groupies angry that he places gangsta rappers above “real” rappers like (insert golden age legend or Okayplayer artist).

    This is obviously complete bullshit, but his refusal to acknowledge his faults and his cavalier dismissal of his critics is the response of someone who knows he’s been exposed and instead of coming clean decides to become even more defiant in his ignorance.

    Like others have mentioned, Breihan is not even what bothers me the most; the fact that he is allowed to review rap for a major publication is insulting. It reveals what the cultural “tastemakers” really think of rap: it’s disposable darkie trifle. Can you imagine them letting Bol—oops bad example—or someone who was bred on hip hop and R and B to review indie rock without any real knowledge of the history or landscape?

  37. Damlocs says:

    I agree for the most part about the wigster mentality that prevails in hip hop media. That’s why these blogs become more important every day when a Tom Breihan gets to spit his opinions. I wonder if Tom’s pieces are influenced by his social interactions with ninjas on the street. Perhaps he wrote that Def Jam fight article after he got into an altercation with a big black ninja when asking him to “yo keep it down buddy!” during a screening of Borat? Similar to the white boss who fires a black employee after he gets mugged the night before by a few thugs.
    But this ignorant-arrogant stance of the wigsters is not soley their fault but the rappers and the fans. The word nigga is so commonplace in hip hop that many whites can’t understand why KKKramer is wrong for saying it… didn’t ice cube make a living off of it? The best example of the casual acceptance of the word is at a club mixed with blacks n whites. Have you ever been on the dancefloor when a hot song like Jay Z’s “jigga” song comes on and the dj mutes certain catchphrases to get the crowd to sing along. I am deeply disturbed when all the whites in room casually blurt out –“Jigga, MY Nigga”. Don’t front you know some of yall were even dancing with a white girl when that happened and you sang along with her (coon moment). You can bet Tom Breihan was screaming the loudest.

  38. the_dallas says:

    ^somebody read Eauhellzgnaw’s last paragraph and then type in the word ‘supremacy’ in the DP Dot Com search bar.

    Any post listed will answer your question.

  39. Thank god, someone finally did it.

    I hate that fucker with a passion.
    Something burns me about a white boy, who fetishizes all the worst aspects of black culture and hip-hop being taken seriously and taking about the shit like he knows.

  40. Jordan says:

    Criticize Breihan if you will–there’s certainly plenty there to take issue with–but this post gives the distinct impression that you haven’t read him very closely, no matter how on point your readers think you are.

    Take out the narrative padding and this post essentially boils down to three specific criticisms of Breihan:

    1) That he uses the word “ninja”.
    2) That he fails to exhibit sufficient respect for certain eminent rap artists, especially when he compares them unfavorably to more recent artists; it is suggested that this tendency is an exercise of white privilege.
    3) The Village Voice blog comments system is slow and cumbersome, and Breihan or his editors might be conspiring to prevent your posts from appearing in a timely fashion.

    Breihan has already explained his use of the word “ninja”. White rap critics are between a rock and a hard place here–they can either expose themselves to allegations of racism by keeping quotes and song lyrics intact, or they can resort to inevitably awkward substitutes like “ninja”.

    (As for the third point, take it up with the web guys at the Voice. The conspiracy theory is a bit much. )

    The second point effectively takes Breihan to task for voicing opinions–and, in particular, making comparisons–that you personally find disrespectful to rap history. But you’re often missing the point–for instance, consider his post about the Jay-Z/Jim Jones feud. You accuse him of giving a “literary handjob to Jim Jones,” and go on to say that “in the hood, some young cats respect Weezy and are amused by Jim Jones but would NEVER compare them to Jigga.” If Breihan’s post had stated, or even substantively implied, that Jones is a superior rapper to Jay, your criticism might be warranted. But Breihan quite specifically writes that “Jones can’t rap”

    Status Ain’t Hood is unabashedly a blog about new music. It reviews recent concerts and newly-released albums and comments on current events relevant to the music industry, and it generally shies away from indulging in the top-10 all-time listmaking common on other blogs. Breihan’s opinion is that the Jay-Z’s rapping on “Kingdom Come” is a “sad, desiccated husk of his former self.” (I assume you agree that he is within his rights as a critic to take this view, which happens to be shared by plenty of other critics and music fans, black and white.) That he holds this opinion of “Kingdom Come” in no way suggests 1) that he has “no real knowledge of the history or landscape of rap” or 2) that he does not consider Jay-Z’s career, as a whole, worthy of respect. In fact, his disappointment with Kingdom Come is partially a product of his profound respect for Jay’s previous work, and he says so.

    I mean, seriously–do any of you guys really believe that he thinks Nas is better than Pitbull? Or that the careers of Lil’ Wayne or Jim Jones are better than Jay-Z’s? Breihan ALWAYS situates his posts within a specific context. I mean read it, for Christ’s sake:

    “He’s lost edge, and Wayne has gained it. Lil Weezyana has Wayne’s version of “Show Me What You Got,” and it’s scary how much sharper it is than Jay’s fatuous, indolent original. Before Wayne told us he was better than Jay, he showed us. And when Jay descends from his mountain to proclaim his own massive importance, I can’t blame Wayne for getting a little upset.”

    And frankly, he’s right. “Kingdom Come” is schlock, precisely because we are obligated to judge it by Jay’s own lofty standards. (If Jim Jones made “Kingdom Come,” I’d be pretty damn impressed.) The day music writers start excusing present failures because of past successes is the day they stop being critics and start being hagiographers. At least Tom is trying to say something about the zeitgeist; agree or disagree, that’s better than nattering about which artists are critically off-limits.

    Jay once said, “Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?” The same could be said of you and Breihan.

  41. Jigga for president my fault he is the president!

  42. says:

    Jay z’s new album is grown man if your not grown man you wont understand it!

  43. NoMamesBuey says:

    CJ, nice ethering of this guy Breihan (haven’t read him) but Jordan commented some valid pts. Your thoughts?

  44. BubsDepot says:

    Guhhhh… Somebody said Lil Wayne was a better rapper than Jay-Z and you’re gonna haul out that disgusting minstrel picture in response? Holy shit that thing makes me sick. It should take a lot more prompting than anything Tom did to wanna display something as despicably hateful as that picture and all that it represents.

    White co-optation of black culture is a recurring theme in America, and it’s not too hard to show a multitude of different ways that it has negatively impacted the people whose culture has been persistently appropriated and misappropriated. However, the motivation for it can range all the way from out and out greed and racism (the charge you seem to be leveling at Tom), to more benign forms of misguided adulation, to genuine and healthy respect and admiration for art and culture.

    I think most people, in a more sane and thoughtful setting than an internet message board, would agree that Tom’s pretty far removed from trying to hijack the rap industry for his own personal, capitalistic gain, the way, for instance, some exploitative record executives have done in the past. I don’t think Tom’s trying to mock elements of black culture, as the minstrel picture insinuates. And he’s not shamefully and ineptly mimicking certain aspects of the culture for his own personal gain, as the picture of K-Fed suggests. He’s also never claimed to be a rapper himself, so he’s not trying to “whiten” rap music for consumption by a racist white society the way Elvis did the blues.

    What he is doing is commenting on, and thereby exerting his (I’m sure he would admit) limited, and unavoidably white influence on the rap industry, which does carry with it some responsibility. I personally think Tom does everything he can to do his writing from a genuine, personal perspective thats only overt agenda is to convey his thoughts, feelings and reactions to the music as he hears it, not as others hear it. However, he’s also developed an affinity for using exaggerated, incendiary titles for his blog entries, which seems to be a large part of what gets people upset. I think that to Tom, titles like “Pitbull is Better Than Nas”, are harmless and cheeky in their lack of qualifiers. I also think that if you sat down with Tom he would have no problem agreeing that in career-spanning terms, there’s no comparison between the two and that Nas is one of the GOAT. But while it might seem funny to Tom to write titles like that just to get the Nas stans’ blood boiling, I think he needs to realize that the statements aren’t as innocuous as he might hope. Instead, they can come across as an attempt to re-write the established history and landscape of rap music, and, combined with the fact that he is white, can be viewed as an unwelcome outsider saying, in effect, “you’ve got it all wrong”.

    If Tom does somehow, improbably, think that Pitbull is a better rapper than Nas, that’s his prerogative, but the point that people have made, and that I agree with to some degree, is that to assert this opinion without any attempt to explain his view can come off as arrogant and contemptuous of hip hop’s history and canon. In their flippant rejection of views of greatness that have come about through years of discourse and arguments on the subject of greatness in rap, they have the potential to carry “anything you can do I can do better” undertones that, in the context of American history, one has to avoid as a white man commenting on a historically black art form.

    The bottom line, as I see it, is that Tom needs to be more conscious of the context of his writing, while some of you need to cut him more slack when it comes to his race. In your effort to slander him as some kind of bigot, you conveniently ignored the post he made about Papoose’s “50 Shots”, which I thought was a heartfelt reaction to the tragedy / travesty of Sean Bell’s death, as well as a spirited praising of Papoose for his prompt, impassioned and articulate response to the tragedy. He must’ve known he’d create a shitstorm with that Lil Wayne post, but I doubt he could’ve imagined he’d get this kind of treatment. I see very, very little evidence to suggest that Tom is a racist, and I see even less evidence to suggest that he deserved this kind of slander. Disagree with him all you want, like I said, there are grounds for it, but character assassination to this extreme should not be done so recklessly.

  45. the_dallas says:

    ^while CJ isn’t in the building right now I will speak to Jordan and Bubs about the main reason that I felt this post was needed.

    Tom Breihan has the burden of codifying cRap music for thousands and thousands (maybe millions, maybe not) of viewers of his work. When his reviews of Hip-Hop lack the scholarship and examination that his work on other genres contains he gives the appearance of treating rap music like it is simply jig nonsense. As a writer who will admit a certain disconnect to Hip-Hop prior to a certain point he displays a disdain for artists that precede his watershed point of view. Breihan should acknowledge that those artists have been given their places on the mantle of Hip-Hop for the artistry they have created, whether or not they have a current album at Best Buy is irrelevent.

    I will submit to you that there is very little difference in the mindsets of a thirteen year old from Towson that digs on SuperChunk and a 13 yr old from Teaneck that was spellbound by Raekwon. Seeing either of those acts now can rekindle comfortable memories of youth and owning Walkman cassette players. Nostalgia can be a good thing to Breihan, but only for rock bands in his perspective’s wheelhouse.

    We here at DP Dot Com are all for giving the current zeitgeist a smackdown, but in order to tumble the dystopia you have to regard everyone as equals. Tell your boy Breihan to give Hi-Tek the same scholarship as 120 Days and maybe we can all get along.

  46. coqui says:

    i read tom’s blog very regularly, and if your a regular reader you eventually figure out Tom is a fukkin fool when it comes to Hip-Hop, and sometimes it seems he engages in that foolioshness willingly and fully conscious of how he will be percieved. When I first started reading his blog, around six months ago, I thought the man was a disgusting racist, but now i realize he’s just one of those more or less well meaning ‘woods who says dumb shit from time to time without realizing how much bullshit is attached to his words.

    while i agree with some of tom’s opinions from time to time, my problem with him is he takes positions without defending them, which is arrogant. He also actively defends the worst elements of hip hop culture while demeaning our redeeming qualities. on the real, fuck tom, he’s an asshole, but i continue to read and post when i feel appropriate because a lot of the people who post there are obviously yuppies or some other shit who have no hip hop perspective to counter-act tom’s bullshit.

    this post was beautiful, and i’m glad somebody linked to it from the status ain’t hood forum. pics was a bit much, but fukk it, sometimes we have to go a little over board when we pull cards, verdad?

  47. Combat Jack says:

    ^ Thanks.

    Although I rarely agree with Kay Slay’s views on all things life, love and Hip Hop, I agree with what he says on this link re: Weezy-

    Once again, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if Tom is ig’nant or racist, I just get pissed the eff off when one in a position like his makes ig’nant statements about things he’s not qualified to mention, especially when it’s effects can have potentially grave ramifications. I’ve dealt with this sort of shit my entire life but at some point someone’s got to stand up and say BASTA! Imagine pitchfork hiring me to wax poetically about the virtues of their beloved genres of music which I know little about. Man, they’d have me roasted and toasted.

  48. noz says:

    “Breihan has already explained his use of the word “ninja”. White rap critics are between a rock and a hard place here–they can either expose themselves to allegations of racism by keeping quotes and song lyrics intact, or they can resort to inevitably awkward substitutes like “ninja”. ”


  49. jordan says:

    i have to call out RD here for saying “he loves” this post while simultaneously pathetically and shamelessly begging tom to check out his blog in comments on status aint hood.

  50. esbee says:

    @ Sach: If you’re still there..I agree with you….though it doesn’t occur in all cases, as sometimes the current less popular legends are left alone whilst the ones that are still around in the know a la Jay-Z and co. are attacked more often than not.

  51. amedawg00 says:

    damn dawg,
    Why are you wasting your time guest blogging. You need to go ahead and start your own blog. Your writing is fire. Interesting read all the way through. Fiyah!

  52. hobbs says:

    The “Pitbull is Better than Nas” thing is a title specifically designed to piss off would-be gatekeepers who think that by the virtue of their having been in the game for a long time they have automatic authority over the ranking of rappers. Look: just ’cause you knew MC Serch or Russell Simmons or whoever doesn’t mean you get to decide that this rapper is the greatest and this one is the suckiest. IT’S ALL OPINION, ANYWAY; seriously, what objective measures are you gonna come up with to decide? As for crediting Jay’s sales to the promotional campaign, seems like he was right considering the 80% dropoff the following week. I don’t know which “hood” you’re talking about that loves Jay so fucking much, but they’re not buying his record. All he’s saying is that RIGHT NOW, Wayne is better than Jay-Z. RIGHT NOW. Not absolutely, not in the past, not in the future. That’s not a weird thing to be saying at all.

    This kind of conservative gate-keeper “I get to decide the meaning of rap because I’ve been around for a long time” is the kind of shit that sends you right into KRS-One territory as an irritating loon. Not qualified? What the fuck makes you qualified? Is there a school I should be going to or something? What the fuck grave ramifications? That 500 Williamsburg hipsters buy the fucking Clipse album? Why is that a crime? He’s not advising people to kill Jay-Z or soemthing. “Grave ramifications.” Seriously? NO ONE READS THIS FUCKING BLOG BESIDES PEOPLE WHO HAVE BLOGS THEMSELVES.

    And d00d: I’d love to see you write for Pitchfork. They get roasted all the time for the same shit: “these guys aren’t qualified”; “what do they know.” GOD this shit is so ridiculous! We should have left behind the bullshit rap canon and the idea that some rappers are untouchable–it just holds back the discourse surrounding the genre.

  53. juanmiguel says:

    On Wayne naming his album The Carter:

    “This was widely seen as an attempt to endear himself to Jay; he was widely rumored to be moving from Cash Money to Roc-A-Fella, and he might’ve named his album The Carter to remind everyone that he shared a last name with Jay.”

    Let’s all note the irony of a new jack missing the New Jack City reference

  54. This is bogus. Breihan digs the music.

  55. Juks says:

    Get em Coach!

  56. PeteROC says:

    haha let a white boy live.

  57. novarep says:

    A writer can repeat the word, nigga, in the context of a quote. The writer is not responsible for someone elses words if he is quoting them. People should be able to read exactly what was said in an interview, and not some censored bullshit.

  58. DuaneReade says:

    ““Hip Hop” bloggers thugging it out on the frontline.” Keep thugging, hiphop bloggers. Keep thugging. Commenting registration rules, man, that’s a serious issue, up there with racism and poverty. Let’s get Papoose to record an exclusive for hot 97, we’ll call it comment or die or something.

    Dude, the Voice is completely irrelevant at this point, in every sense. Save your energy for something worthwhile.

  59. Funky J says:

    This is all bullshit.

    Only Americans would be so lame as to bring race into hiphop music criticism.

    Anyone can make hiphop, and anyone can comment on it.

    (and if you ask me Australia and the UK are doing hiphop better than America at the moment, anyway… flame away if you will, I don’t care what you say… it’s my opinion!)

    And fuck it, if they say the N-Word in a song or interview, I’m gonna say it in my review/interview.

    If you don’t want to be see it used by a “white boy”, don’t fucking use it…

  60. Billy Sunday says:

    ^It’s always a coward that talks shit on the internets and doesn’t leave an e-mail address to continue the conversation.

    Funky J you are a coward.

  61. the human beeinz says:

    Let me get this straight: You disagree with Tom’s opinions. He writes about rap. And he is white. Therefore, he is wrong. Well, QED, right?

    Unfortunately, opinions aren’t facts. People are supposed to disagree. Writing someone off for his race is ignorant, black or white. (So is discriminating because of gender or sexuality, FYI.)

    …If you didn’t find the Pitbull headline funny, your problem is you.

  62. Thank you Thank you and Thank you Combat Jack. Here’s an excerpt from my recent blog addressing the self-same topic of hip hop hijacking hipster style. My article is called ‘Hip Hop is Not Hip’ and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one fuming over Mr. Breihan and the blog-tough.

    “I don’t claim to know much about the inner workings of a mainstream media outlet, but I know what seems to bind XXL and Village Voice and Times writers alike is the need to keep with their publications’ sanctified opinion. The rub here is that our culture, bound to nothing but its own expressive commercial bravado, suffers greatly when the only people endowed with the skills to comment on it have as much vitriol and hyperbole to spew as those who would censor it.

    Tom Breihan trivializes it. Kelefa Sanneh downplays it competently while describing it. Byron Crawford lashes out at it and everything around it. These three may not have Stanley Crouch’s curmudgeonly, damning tone of our youth culture but they deride it all the same. When will the creators of hip hop and those people entrenched in the art-of-the-streets be able to define what it is? Hats off to anyone who can mine a career in hip hop that is not exploitative. Anyone else…A&Rs, writers, promoters, publicists, managers, fans…generally want to sap as much out of it as possible.”

    read the rest at

  63. plagiarize.... says:

    Drew- you stole the use of curmudgeon while describing Stanley Crouch from gawker. Cheater.

  64. Noah says:

    “I give two flying fucks about the color of someones face and I love Hip Hop to death. It is my musical and subcultural/cultural upbringing.”

    Co-sign. This man’s position is also mine.

    “White people have to be willing to take off the shades that so comfortably blind (protect) them to the harsh realities based on the privileges that they enjoy as Whites.”

    When I have told my Black university professors this, they are terrified and angry that I should ever even think to mention the fact that I am a privileged white person, and then in some sense an Other. I am not remotely proud of my unearned privilege. But in a politically correct world, acknowledging that it exists, and hasn’t gone away since Dr. King, is increasingly dangerous and unfashionable.

    Re: The ‘ninja’ debate:

    I think Black cultural critics need to be straight with white folks as soon as they can about the question of whether using the word “n***a” is appropriate if quoting song lyrics. I’ve never deliberately let the word leave my lips, but sometimes I’ll be rapping along to “New York State of Mind” or “Shame On A N***a” or something and I’ll slip, and I get very angry at myself. I need to know what’s appropriate, and when.

    “NEWSFLASH! Tom, in the hood, some young cats respect Weezy and are amused by Jim Jones but would NEVER compare them to Jigga. NEVER!”

    So the ‘hood party line need necessarily be towed, and only the “authentic cultural representatives” of rap have opinions which matter for shit? It’s my opinion that at the moment, Lil Wayne’s lyrics are much better-written than Jay-Z’s are, by far and away. I actually prefer “Georgia Bush” and Wayne’s take on “Show Me What You Got” to the vast majority of Jay’s output over the course of his entire career. My perspective is that Wayne’s shit is seldom as thoughtful as Jay’s best work (“My First Song”, “Moment of Clarity”, “December 4th”, the opening verse of “Can I Live?”) but it’s almost always SIGNIFICANTLY better-rhymed than anything Jay has ever done. I don’t think Jay is good at rhyming words together, period.

    But by no means does that indicate that I’m a stupid young turk with no knowledge of rap history, as you appear to infer is the truth about any person who doesn’t value the same rappers you do.

    To express that you’ll believe I’m wrong about this (as I imagine you will) is an entirely different thing from implying that if I believe this, I’m an idiot whose involvement in the culture is illegitimate and/or motivated by some kind of bigotry or stupidity. I hope you won’t do the latter, but that if you BELIEVE the latter, you’ll admit it.

    I would have wanted to smack that arrogant Co Flow dickrider too, man, but please don’t allow yourself to be his ideological mirror. If it’s good, abstract Dadaist rap in the style of Aesop Rock or Busdriver often means just as much to me as classicist kings like Ra, Nas, Kane, ‘Face, Ghost, Finesse, and Percee-P. The key words being, “If it’s good“. What ought to matter is the quality of a rapper’s lyrics and the technical prowess with which they’re spit, not the subcultural box one is shoved into based on whether they dig him or not. I’m an eighteen-year-old white kid who’s a serious fan of indie rock and folk music like the Decemberists and the Mountain Goats… but I’ll also love H.E.R. ’til I die, and anyone who denies that those two commitments can coexist deserves my foot up their ass.

    “What does the ‘Jew’ have to do with it?”

    To Combat Jack, nothing. But mistrust of Jews (over and above other white people) is part and parcel of the ideological language of the ‘hood, the same way as condescension toward black people and their culture has been interwoven into the ‘wigster’ thing. Russell Simmons and Jay-Z are filming an anti-Judeophobia TV ad, but I’m worried that because neither is especially hot right now, “the streets” won’t stop for a moment and decide to give two figs. Respect for Jews is, in the rap landscape, deeply, deeply unfashionable. Gangsta rappers and drug-talkers are unlikely to give a shit about that either way, and the problem isn’t quite as pervasive as homophobia is. But for a great many intelligent Black rappers, including lots of conscious types, Jew-hatred is nothing short of a badge of honor.
    You think I’m wrong? Ask Lord Jamar. Or Method Man. Or One Be Lo. Or Masta Ace. Or Black Dante while you’re at it, the bigoted fuck. Exceptions, such as Lupe and Ice-T, exist, and Jewish hip-hoppers like me (I was born Jewish; I’m now a Universalist Sufi, which Wikipedia will tell you what that is) need them badly. Otherwise, we feel like they want to kick us out of our home.

    “With the out-of-this-world appraisals of the Clipse, it seems they’re seen as the ‘real’ ones and everyone else is ‘fake.’”

    The universal praise for The Clipse is, to my mind, exactly analogous to the love for The Wire. It has nothing to do with the fact that they talk about crack, necessarily, but that they are honest, intelligent, poignant, and witty in their discussion of it. By contrast, Tom’s hard-on for Young Jeezy and his hugely objectionable persona is a lot more troublesome.

    CJ: I don’t necessarily expect you to think much of my opinion at all, but please respond. Otherwise, I’m worried you’ll be guilty of dodging meaningful debate in your comments section the same way Breihan does.

  65. Combat Jack says:

    This shit is crazy! I totally DETEST clarifying myself, but for the greater good of peace, love and hair grease, I want to point out to all you “highly intelligent” folks out there that there’s nothing in my post that explicitly calls for any type of effin’ ban against any persons of any effin’ color, sex, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, yadda, yadda, yaddda (nullus of course) commenting on any types of music, particularly any music associated with Black culture. That shit would be plain stupid. Shame on all of you who wanna turn this shit into some effin’ blog race war. Effin’ idjits! My issue is that I (and apparently a whole host of cats) are tired of writers, who so happen to be White (like Breihan) and who come off as the “authority” at some of these “influential” sites like the Village Voice while writing weak shit with no types of repercussion from their peers. Who’s going to argue that in some circles, the Voice is not influential? That’s effin it! There’s no beef about dude getting paid, that would just be hating. Combat Jack don’t hate. There no effin beef against Jews, just a lil sideways jab/ payback at Serch. Combat Jack don’t hate the Jews. Nothing stating that Clipse and Jim Jones stans ain’t Hip Hop. Combat Jack don’t hate Clipse and Dip Set stans. Nothing against people who don’t cop beef patties in the hood. Copping bagels and hazlenut coffee on Flatbush Ave. and Bergen Street in the morning can sometimes get gully as all get out on account of those long ass lines. Hipsters? Ya’ll cool as shit and you throw some mean ass parties. Just don’t step to me questioning my hood status and it’s really good. A lot of you out here seem to be some real excitable types of folk with all this eager talk about race baiting this and race card that. Cut it out, it’s really not that effin deep! One thing I do know for sure though, is that if someone of color were in Breihan’s position (more mainstream than the usual “Hip Hop” blog) and posted some lame shit that could be interpreted as disrespectful of a culture, they’d catch mad flack. Case in point, all you cats trying to Professor Griff me just because I brought the heat to Tom.

  66. the_dallas says:

    ^And on that note, this thread is dead.

    However, if your still in the mood for discourse, OH WORD! has the thread in motion.

  67. Yardmon50 says:

    Yardmon50 Releases “50 Bullets” Following Papoose’s “50 Shots”

    “50 Bullets” About Sean Bell Shooting Recorded At Same Time

    Botaniculture Records says that it planned to release “50 Bullets” about the killing of Sean Bell, one month after his murder. The artist known as “Yardmon50” states : “I started writing the song the day after the shooting and within a week I had the song down.” He says that he performed the song for his brother who said “it was going to be a hit!” The song was recorded first in December of 2006, around the same time as Papoose’s “50 Shots.” Alas, do to problems with production the song was never circulated until recently, according to Danny Pella, an A & R rep for the record company. This song follows last years controversial “50 Shots” by the artist known as “Papoose.” Though Papoose’s song and Yardmon50’s song art similar they are also different. “Yardmon50 is more of a crossover reggae dance music artist while Papoose is a rapper,” say Pella. This issue seems more relevant today since the Judge in the Sean Bell manslaughter trial will give his verdict Friday, the 25. Yardmon50 states: “The only connection is psychic.” Since they were both rapid fire responses to clear cases of injustice. “Intellectually the songs are different, but in spirit they are the same,” he says. Yardmon50 fifty denies any beef with Papoose because of the similarity of the titles, but he plans on proposing a business idea to Papoose based off of this shared theme. “One thing’s for sure” says Danny Pella, “we don’t want nobody to think Sean Bell lived or died in vain.” The public is invited to visit the Myspace page ( and download the song with a portion of the proceeds going to a special fund for the environment set up in Sean Bell’s name.

  68. blackman says:

    you played the race card SOOOO hard in this post. your argument doesn’t have much credibility because A) you give us a story that could have easily been fabricated. B) your racial attacks were not completely thought out. C) your dissing of his articles provides no quotation, only your obviously biased summary.
    I don’t even know who you’re talking about, but I’m sure he’s helped out by white privilege…they all are, but you could polish your rhetoric a bit.

  69. ^ Armageddon done been in effect.

    Go get a late pass.

  70. […] though. Hope he resurfaces somewhere soon (he has a personal blog at the moment).   Sphere: Related Content (Somewhat) Related Posts Inside look at Wax Poetics Magazine.New York Times hooks up collegestudents and professors.New Styles P featuring Swizz Beatz."Drive around the city/with a semi on my lap": Gillie Da Kid ft.Freeway & Peedi Crack-Get Down On Da Ground RMX.New Pete Rock featuring Jim Jones and Max B. […]

  71. Sarama says:

    amazing post

  72. woj says:

    “professor griff” should be used as a verb more often.

  73. Lutz says:

    I came across this post while rereading a review Breihan did for Pitchfork. It was for the band Priestess, a Montréal metal band. Throughout the damn thing he says that if they were more like the hipster-certified band The Sword they would be a better act. Where does this kid get off running around taking pot shots at everything that isn’t wealthy white privileged NYC current? How can he jump from metal critic to hip-hop critic and claim some innate understanding of where each music comes from? He doesn’t. He’s just a snob who figures that his diploma smells better than everyone else’s, and that makes him entitled to yell down from the mountain to those of us who can’t trust fund our way to CMJ every year.

  74. bubbi says:

    fuck a cunt

  75. bubbi says:

    this is bullshit in a pussy!!!!

  76. bubbi says:

    horses dick

  77. […] Voice and had a lot of fun writing what would now be considered hot takes about rap. Ossé wrote a blog post that absolutely excoriated me and everything I was doing, using pictures of Kevin Federline and Al Jolson to help drive the point home. At that point, I […]

  78. Owen Zak says:

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  79. แทงบอลเว็บ

    COMBAT JACK Runs A Check On TOM BREIHAN’s ‘Hood Status… «

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