Archive for March, 2005

LIL’ KIM gets pinched by the FEDS

Monday, March 21st, 2005

baby girl's mugshot
The news that LIL’KIM was convicted on several of the Federal charges put on her had the ‘hood all abuzz. She would have been better off taking steroids or trading classified stock information than committing perjury. Who knew perjury could leave you open for twenty years in the slammer?

The upside that I see to KIM’s probable prison stint is that her cosmetic surgery fetish will be temporarily derailed. She was on the path to overtake M.J. in the number of total facial alterations performed in an 18 month timespan.

The other upside to this quagmire she’s stuck in will be all the ‘QUEEN BEE’ time she will have on her hands. People are using Federal prison stints as personal makeover spa vacations. Did you see how good MARTHA STEWART looked when she came home? I expect KIM to at least write a goddamn book!

KARINNE ‘SUPERHEAD’ STEFFANS wrote one. NAS’ baby mama did too.


Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

I will admit to you now that I am completely hypnotized by rap music videos. They are slick and colorful four minute commercials that place all kinds of products from footwear to luxury accessories to “lifestyle choices”. I see Black men my age driving cars with manufacturers names that I cant even begin to pronounce. and diamond and platinum encrusted objects unworthy of such adornment. And the women… I see women presented as rare and elite because their proportions mimic those of racehorses.

And then I get depressed, not to mention frustrated as I see what my simple job provides for me as luxury is barely enough money to pay this goddamn cable bill to watch these godforsaken videos. If I wanted to be a rapper at this late stage in my life my name would most surely be BROKEY DEE. But I can’t rap. I just like to listen to it. Actually nowadays, I watch it more than I hear it. If an artist doesn’t have a music video aired incessantly on the VIACOM controlled MTV/BET networks(that’s right kids, the same company owns both
outlets) then I don’t even know they are alive.

Such was the case with DE LA SOUL. This trio of rappers from Long Island are the fathers of what some rap critics have labeled as ‘backpacker’ rap music. Their debut album ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ remains a classic milestone in rap music due to their avant garde rhyme flow and witty, inventive production. The group has managed to remain intact and in the studio despite the whims of fickle fans like myself. After their performance at Central Park’s Summstage in 2003 they seemed to fall off the map again. I have only myself to blame
since the only points I drew on that map were NAS, JAY-Z and 50CENT. It turns out that the PLUGS were still busy doing what they do best. Making real Hip-Hop music. Late last year they released their 16th album(first under the Sanctuary Urban imprint) called ‘The Grind Date’. This album is the perfect antidote for those of us who are sick of the poison pen lyrics from the DIPSETTERs, G-UNITs and STATE PROPERTYs that dominate rap music. The beats are hard, yet still mellifluous, with the familiar DE LA sound without becoming redundant. Rarely do I tell you to buy an album because I would much rather that you spent your money coming to one of my parties, but in this case I suggest that you buy the latest DE LA SOUL album. That is, as soon as you can tear yourself away from watching the latest 50CENT video…
‘P.I.M.P.’ or is it ‘CANDY SHOP’?!?

It Still takes a Nation of Millions…

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

The PUBLIC ENEMY conference at N.Y.U. was definetly one for the books(literally and figuratively). To be inside an institution like NEW YORK UNIVERSITY and to witness actual academic discourse on this album made my month. The conference examined everything that contributed to the formulation of the music. From a technical standpoint, PUBLIC ENEMY revolutionized the music industry in 1998 the way NAPSTER did in 2000.

P.E.’s production team, THE BOMB SQUAD, might sample more than fifty(50) different records to produce just one P.E. track. They culled bits and pieces of music from everywhere imaginable. JAMES BROWN, JOHN DENVER, FUNKADELIC, STEELY DAN were just a few artists, but the discography and musicology of HANK SHOCKLEE is far too complex and diverse to be limited to just that. PUBLIC ENEMY music production techniques forced record companies to hire ‘spies’. These ‘spies’ would act as snitches and would listen to rap music just to detect the records that were being sampled. The recording technology was pushed forward as well because samplers were required to layer complex quilts of music. Eight tracks would no longer suffice to hold all the song being added. Twenty-four track recording devices were developed.

From a social standpoint, PUBLIC ENEMY gave the young black teenagers a powerful voice. We were not to be considered as simply consumers or commodities for the prison industrial complex. PUBLIC ENEMY was the promise and the potential that we might finally get our forty acres(in the era of Reaganomics too!). Crack and the DeCeptiCons had New York City on lock. The overall anxiety and tension in the streets put NYC into the top 5 urban centers for murder, crime and decay. The dark side of the Force that is corporate America had to finally take notice of rap music because the themes of partying and bullshit had changed to education and self-empowerment. P.E. never compromised their politics or apologized for their blackness. PUBLIC ENEMY was like LARRY DAVIS with a bangin’ azz soundtrack.

Instead of getting caught up in a reminiscent mood and stuck in some place 17 years ago I was reminded of why I love Hip-Hop music. The sound of the drum is first a call to listen and then a call to action. At it’s best, Hip-Hop music uses the drum to wake people up and inform them with ideas that are relevant to progress. At it’s worst, Hip-Hop music abuses the drum like an evil pied piper leading the children away from their communities into the belly of the beast which is the prison industrial complex.

As I listened to the radio lastnite, I heard 50 CENT and his partner-in-crime, TONY YAYO boast and brag about their acheivements in the music industry. They spoke openly about how they would crush and dismantle any opposing rap crews that attempted to remove them from their positions as industry sales leaders. Never once did they speak of any social leaders that they had created with all of their record sales. Maybe that part was coming, but before they could get to say it they were forced to exit the radio station abruptly to avoid confrontation and gunfire. Like I said earlier, PUBLIC ENEMY never had to compromise themselves and they never ran from anyone.

It’s unfortunate that the vehicle that so many can use to make a living is being driven by those that only wish to make a killing.

There is still some great Hip-Hop music being made and the drummer is super-nice with his shit too!

SLY as a FOXX…

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

JAMIE and his trophy
JAMIE got the Oscar, although DON CHEADLE prah’lee deserved it more, and nothing made me happier than seeing MORGAN FREEMAN get his just due. The academy always plays catch-up with Black actors like when they gave POITIER his award for ‘Lilies in the Field’ when he should have received it for ‘A Raisin in the Sun’. I can honestly say that MORGAN FREEMAN helped me learn to read shit during his stint on THE ELECTRIC COMPANY. As an accomplished actor/director/producer, MORGAN FREEMAN has always been dignified, even when he plays the role of a grimy villain.

JAMIE FOXX’s academy awards acceptance speech had a sidebar biggup to OPRAH WINFREY. He is one smart brother too because OPRAH is the most powerful woman on this planet second only to Queen Elizabeth. She has almost as much cash as Q.E. too. And have you seen pictures of ol’ girl lately? I’m sorry, but at the awards OPRAH looked better than BeYONCE!

As fine as OPRAH is and with all that paper she has I don’t know why nobody hasn’t stepped to that. Even if she and her girl, GAYLE KING are lesbians you are bound to get at least a RANGE ROVER out of that sweet coochie. The rumor mill has said that her relationship with GAYLE is more about witchcraft and masonry than about sapphic pleasures. OPRAH is rumored to have completed 32 degrees of the legendary Masonic regimen. I am convinced for sure that her episode about Black Men on the D.L. was created to put the blame for HIV/AIDS squarely on the Black community, and not in a military testing labratory as an agent of biological warfare.

Keep an eye on OPRAH and GAYLE KING and remember that the Sith warriors(dark side of the Force – Star Wars, duhhhhh) always travel in pairs.