Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's Your New Year's Resolution

A lot of people have high hopes for '09... mostly because, outside of Obama and the Celtics, '08 represented a bottom of the barrel moment for most Americans. We're a ridiculously resilient peoples...

So what's your New Year's Resolution?

NYE and Diallo's Apologies (Black Milk Edition)

It's been a momentous year, and I personally want to thank the regular readers and commenters on this site for making it such.

For real.

You've definitely changed the movies, music, TV, and websites that I am exposed to just by leaving your thoughts.

And on that note, as we close out 2008, I just want to say that I slept. Yep. I really slept on that Black Milk record until your comments made me check it out during this holiday season

(been traveling a lot, so I'm catching up on a lot of stuff, including a lot of music and the show LOST).

I had heard his "Losing Out" on Shade 45 ages ago, but didn't know at the time who was responsible for that hot track.



Now I know. Gracias. The album is hot. Like someone said, it's "percussive."

So thanks. And a Happy New Year 2009 to you all.

- Diallo

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

RIP - Freddie Hubbard



One of the first jazz pieces I ever played on the trumpet was composed and popularized by Freddie Hubbard ("Little Sunflower"). So when I heard he passed yesterday, it was a downer.

But the great thing about musicians is that they typically leave something behind that you can remember them by, and Freddie has his share of material.

Props to the first person to name the track that sampled this song...

I Have My New Year's Resolution

I'm stepping up my dressing game in '09

Being in LA I basically wore a t-shirt, jeans and flip flops every day. There was no incentive to do anything differently...

...but being in NYC. Holy shit people know how to dress here.

So that's it, I'm gonna get a budget together to allow me to look like someone who belongs on the streets of Manhattan.

STEP ONE: Read THE SARTORIALIST every day.

This blog is the absolute dopeness. Just every day people on the streets on their a game.


Welcome to the east coast, Mr. S...lose the flip flops.

STEP TWO: See, step one.

I remember being in Paris and London last year and thanking God I didn't live in those cities because the people dressed so well... I did my best:


Not. Too. Shabby.

But was glad I didn't have to keep it up.

That's over now, it's time to wear some big boy clothes.

Is dressing important where you live?

Monday, December 29, 2008

MURS

Should I become a fan?



---

ps - Craig, he's from your hometown (I assume)...defend ya boy.

I Used To Love It (P. 1)

Loved this cartoon even tho it was on when I was in high school...no shame in my game.

EEK THE CAT

Look Closely

(via Bossip)

This THUNDERCATS trailer is homemade.



It shows two things:

(a) how creative people are with technology

(b) how terribly predictable Hollywood has become ... you could almost see the "Directed By Michael Bay" come up at the end.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jacarl's Tops for 2008

I've heard a lot of good music this year and, for the most part, I'm on board with every year-end music wrap-up that's appeared on this site. But I wanted to highlight who's been prominent in my ear this year.

Single of the Year
Jimmy Abney's "Hello"
Here's a little secret: A little over half the music I buy isn't straight hip-hop. In all likelihood, it's house. I first heard this at a party a few months back and had to do some recon to find out who did it. Jimmy's from Grand Rapids, Michigan, thus making him the greatest artist from Grand Rapids not named "DeBarge" (sorry, Adina Howard). As it turns out, though, he's a first cousin to the DeBarge clan. Regardless, this is the track I've probably enjoyed the most in 2008 and the backing of Osunlade's label doesn't hurt.

video

Album of the Year
Black Milk's Tronic
Honestly, Black could've been my Artist of the Year given the quality of his output in '08, but Tronic was the culmination of those efforts. Heavily percussive, just the way I like it.



Favorite Artist of the Year
Muhsinah
I admit I'm biased on this one. I've interviewed her on a few occasions and promoted a show she headlined (You can find it on YouTube. I'll spare myself the embarassment). She's injected her style into what we've all concluded is a superb album, Leave It All Behind, as well as Common's new release (an album that, IMO, suggests Com's just about done with music). Plus, she had her own music that is some of the most unique material out, I think. If you have the chance, check her site for the remix of "Buy You A Drank". It made the song tolerable, if not enjoyable. Her 2009 is shaping up to be big so get on the train before it leaves the station. To give you a taste of the Muhsinah goodness, here's an oldie but goodie from the Golden Girl:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flashback Friday

This video was mentioned in the comments section a few "Flashbacks" ago.
A great song with a nice visual in the vein of a lot of music that came out at the time.

And according to Wikipedia, Chuckii had a birthday last Friday. Happy belated, Chuck.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

RIP - Eartha Kitt

In the worst of all ironies, Eartha Kitt died today.
I tell you, Black entertainment has taken a hit this year.
RIP...

Christmas Flashback

Courtesy of Kurtis Blow...

More Dipset Xmas Hotness...

To be honest, I think the newest Jim Jones' Christmas joint has a good premise, or at least a good intro. Still, like everything Dipset, the execution is horrible, IMO.

But here's an oldie but goodie from Jimmy. I dare you to bump this for your fam today.




And for more commentary on the ridiculousness of the Dipset Xmas albums...



ARGH...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas...

From the Champ himself:



Happy Hannukah, Season's Greetings, Merry Christmas...



and, of course, a Joyous Kwanzaa to you all...


heh heh.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Diallo's 2008 Singles of the Year, Part 2

And here are a few more songs that made the year special.

BEST DUB

Santogold - "L.E.S. Artistes (Xxxchange Remix)"

Treading the ground between hip hop and indie music is something Santi White's camp does well. But this song reminded us that there would be no Santogold without the reggae and dub influences of Brooklyn's Jamaican community.

Even when you got tired of hearing her songs, someone comes along and makes the music "top ranking." Best part of the song at the end.




BEST INDIE ROCK SINGLE

Black Kids - "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend"

Yep. I'm racist. Totally racist enough to say the best indie rock song was sung by a fellow black guy. Hate on this song, which is definitely played out by now, but how can you deny it deserves to win?



Another un-embeddable video you should check out if you never did.

I personally loved it when I heard it at the top of the year. It summed up so much of the black experience in mixed company - his unseen angst, her assumption that he can dance, her assumption that he will just give that knowledge away (and gladly), his wounded defiance in response to an unrequited crush. Nope. Not making this up. It's all in there. That being said, I loved David Byrne and Brian Eno's "Strange Overtones" as well as the synthpop of Cut Copy. Guilty pleasure: Dandy Warhol's "World Come On."


BEST CROSSOVER INDIE ROCK SINGLE

MGMT - "Electric Feel"

This unofficial video, by incorporating the best element of the un-embeddable official one, could actually be my favorite...




BEST UNDERGROUND HIP HOP

I would have loved to put Jay Electronica's "Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)" here, but y'all would laugh at me and say it dropped in 2007.

I would have put 88 Keys here, but I don't think he is going to stay underground for long. I'd put Kidz In The Hall's "Paper Trail," or Tanya Morgan's "Be You" but we've praised and raved (and posted) both of those tracks on this site before.

So among the overlooked in this genre, for me it's a tie...

Blu & Exile - "Simply Amazing (Steel Blazin')"

Blu & Exile had a great little album called Below The Heavens. My personal favorite on it "My World Is," but the single had the video...



and

Jneiro Jarel - "Doinis!"



I can't forget Jneiro Jarel. Yes, he sounds JUST like Dilla. But is that a bad thing? If you like that sound like I do? Another track of his, "Big Bounce Theory," can break your neck if you have both a love of old school Pete Rock...and a soul.


BEST SOUL

Erykah Badu - "Honey"

This was a close call. I liked Dwele's Sketches of a Man and obviously everyone loved Foreign Exchange. But Phonte and Nicolay might have the album of the year in ANY genre, so let's give this one to Erykah's early 2008 album. And one of the best videos in recent memory.




BEST BLUE-EYED SOUL

Duffy - "Stepping Stone"

The song is impeccable. Melancholy and beautiful. There are so many Winehouse-wannabes, but Duffy beat back all the other heirs to Amy's throne. To Amy: Put away the Diggums and get off the smack!



Have I forgotten any categories of music? Let us know. If we listen to the genre, we will comfortably go there...

Diallo's 2008 Singles of the Year

I promised you the definitive list. Let's do tha damn thing...

CLUB BANGER

Lil Wayne - "A Milli"

No question. You can't write the history of this year in music without mentioning it.


POP SONG OF THE YEAR

Estelle - "American Boy"

Great pop song. And they don't come any cuter than Estelle. The song was part Jamiroquai, part disco Daft Punk, and made any party more fun.



REMIX OF THE YEAR

N.E.R.D. - "Everyone Nose (Remix)"

The single was revolutionary. The remix, revelation-ary...




ALTERNATIVE HIP HOP

Kid Cudi - "Day N Nite"

Loved this song. Saw him perform it live just before it dropped at nightclub LAX, with Steve Aoki and DJ AM. As much as I don't go in for hipster pretense, those guys called this dude early. Now he's down with Kanye. Way to go, boy-yo. Hard to believe there is still no official video for this song.




BEST ELECTRO REMIX TO A HIP HOP TRACK

Usher (feat. Young Jeezy) - "Love In This Club (MSTRKRFT Remix)"

Electro and dance versions of Hip Hop songs are usually absolute garbage. But every year, a few people get it right. MSTRKRFT always gets it right (and not to brag, but I booked them at the Standard with Ladytron and Justice on Halloween 2006 - they're great DJs).


(I'm not ignoring the Crookers Remix of Kid Cudi. But this track was more epic, IMHO).


BEST ELECTRO REMIX TO ANY TRACK

The Rakes - "We Danced Together (SebastiAn Remix)"

Just listen to it. And then play it to your friends who have never listened to electronic music. Might be the song that gives them an excuse to start.



BONUS: OUT OF NOWHERE HEAT

Sam Sparro - "Black & Gold"

A great album that a lot of people are STILL not up on. Check it out if you get a chance. Another great track by Sparro? "Too Many Questions". The real video not available for embed. It's worth watching.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Original YOU GOT SERVED

Surfing Wikipedia, I stumbled across an entry that might blow your mind as much as it blew mine.

As you know, me and Bashir are looking at apartments, and I have been researching the history of various parts of Manhattan. Which inevitably led me to the history of the area that used to be known as The Five Points.

Which led me to the story of this guy:



His name is Master Juba. He was a competitive dancer in the 1840 slums of old New York City. He competed against flashy Irish-American dancers with names like "John Diamond."

And along the way, he just may have invented tap dancing, by taking the Irish jigs of his competitors and incorporating African rhythms and a fast, eccentric style.

Authors like Charles Dickens took note of him, and like Michael Jackson, Master Juba gained his notoriety in his teens and eventually toured both America and Europe.

Do yourself the favor of reading his Wikipedia entry. There's so much in there that's blatantly offensive, and yet so much that, for me, is interesting stuff in there. I leave you with this teaser:

"At the height of his American career, Juba's act featured a sequence in which he imitated a series of famous dancers of the day and closed by performing in his own style...."

and this one:

This advertisement from the July 8, 1844, New York Herald is typical of the publicity the matches generated:

GREAT PUBLIC CONTEST


~~Between the two most renowned dancers in the world, the Original JOHN DIAMOND and the colored boy JUBA, for a Wager of $200, on MONDAY EVENING July 8th at the BOWERY AMPHITHEATRE, which building has been expressly hired from the Proprietor, Mr. Smith, for this night only, as its accommodations will afford all a fair view of each step of these wonderful Dancers. The fame of these two Celebrated Breakdown Dancers has already spread over the Union, and the numerous friends of each claim the Championship for their favorite, and who have anxiously wished for a Public Trial between them and thus known which is to bear the Title of the Champion Dancer of the World. The time to decide that has come, as the friends of Juba have challenged the world to produce his superior in the art for $100. That Challenge has been accepted by the friends of Diamond, and on Monday Evening they meet and Dance three Jigs, Two Reels, and the Camptown Hornpipe. Five Judges have been selected for their ability and knowledge of the Art, so that a fair decision will be made.~~

Sounds like Juba was the original Chris Brown/Omarion/Jabberwockees/etc...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flashback Friday

If you hadn't noticed already, there are two new New Yorkers now writing on this blog.

In honor of that and to close the Brand Nubian affiliate loop started last week with Positive K, here's a cut from Grand Puba's 1995 album, 2000.

I've always liked this melodic head nodder. But I have to say, the pre-9/11 NYC skyline shots do dappen the mood a little in 2008. Regardless, it's yet another memorable mid-'90s track.

An Album I'm Not Copping In '09

If the idea of a video vixen turned rapper wasn't bad enough, there's this new track, and soon to be released album, from hip-hop model Angel Lola Luv:



I don't know where to start other than I guess I have to give partial props for repping DC but that's about all I can muster.

Didn't she get the memo about the recession? Flossin' just for the sake of flossin' is so 2005. To paraphrase a recent Youtube clip put out by Saigon, there's soon to be a President who happens to be Black. Let's use this as a catalyst for bigger and better things. Step your game up or don't do it at all.

Angel-- Find yourself a better ghost writer or just stick to the day job you do (oh so) well. Actually, just go with the latter. It would be a better situation for all of us.

New Dipset Xmas Joint!

It's not the holidays until Dipset puts out another Xmas banger.
And if Juelz Santana doesn't put you in the spirit, I don't know who will.



Mark my words, in 15 to 20 years when your yet-to-be conceived children are performing and their school's winter recital, Juelz and Jim Jones will have replaced anything sung by Nat Cole or Bing Crosby.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Diallo and Bashir with Fallon

Here's your boys...



And check out more videos on the website for the show - LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bashir's End Of Year Awards: Best Album

(Let's keep the train rolling shall we.)

2nd Runner Up

MGMT: Oracular Spectacular



Electric Feel was a great song...but THE HANDSHAKE is my shit.



...this album was stunning. I blogged about it.

1st Runner Up

RADIOHEAD: In Rainbows



Thought they're my ALL TIME favorite band, I saw them for the first time in 2008.

House Of Cards...is simply a perfect song.



And the album has a dozen others just as perfect.

Winner

THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE: Leave It All Behind, featuring Phonte and Nicolay



I can't say enough about this album. It simply rules the universe and has restored my faith in good R&B.

Daykeeper - admit it, you this song is devastatingly gorgeous...and every song is just as good. Who the hell would have known that.




NEXT UP: Black Guy Of The Year (Hint: it's probably the President-elect)

Bashir's End Of Year Awards: Best Actress

Again...these are all my opinion with no input from the other bloggers.

2nd Runner Up

JESSICA LUCAS...who made a star turn in Cloverfield.



I thought she was a hot Indian chic. Turns out she's probably black.

She won based on sheer hot-itude.

1st Runner Up

Viola Davis...who we last saw playing Fantasia's mother in a terrible film that inspired my favorite sketch we ever did.



something in my gut told me she had dopeness within and she proved it...going from that monstrosity...to going toe to toe with Meryl freakin Streep in DOUBT.

we bow to you, Viola.

Winner

is there any doubt.

Tina Fey.



Who helped the country realize that the Emperor had no clothes.

NEXT UP: Album of the Year (hint...it's probably Radiohead)

Where Should I Live In New York?

I'm tired. All the time. Not complaining at all...but damn, this city don't stop.

Where should I live?

Choosing between:

HARLEM: Tons of flavor, not too much gentrification and great prices for the places...



...but far from the job so it kind of hurts the night life.


BROOKLYN: Tons of flavor but tons of gentrification, beautiful neighborhood, high-ish prices...



...but lots of stuff to do on the weekends.

HELL'S KITCHEN: Dirty and pricey...



...VERY close to work.

Thoughts?

Any where else I should consider. We work LONG hours so even though something is VERY nice...if it's too far north or east, it makes it harder to commit.

The Greatest American of the Year Award

Bashir made his year-end declaration a few posts back, so now it's time to make mine.

I know the title of my concocted award sounds a little absurd and a tad bit ballsy, but I think the person deserves it.

And, no. I'm not going to play the Captain Obvious role like Ebony.

The winner is...




If you need a reminder of who she is or what she did, please take a look at the video:



The Message detailed a lot of the shenanigans that went down in Detroit this year, but if anything has been proven over these last 12 months, shitty politicians come from all corners of the country and across the political spectrum (although Alaska Republicans REALLY showed up everyone else this year).

Kierra held an elected official accountable for her (juvenile) actions and didn't back down when an attempt to intimidate her was made. It was beautiful and refreshing. She delivered the backhand slap a lot of us had wanted to deliver to certain politicos over the past few years and, in a way, asserted the power of the electorate.

I'd like to think Kierra-esque acts would turn the tide of politics in this country, but I'm not that Pollyanna-ish. There will always be the likes of William Jefferson, Rod Blagojevich, and Ted Stevens. But hopefully there will be more Kierras to keep them in line.

Are there any other great Americans out there to honor (other than, well, you know who)?

=====================
P.S.--My Anti-Greatest American of the Year Award goes to this dude.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Workin'

We'll be needing Craig and Crescent and Jacarl to pick up some of our slack in the coming days. That's because we are swamped in work at our new place.

Can I just add, the craziest thing about today was the amount of snow piling high in NYC. Haven't seen this much snow since Cambridge.

Sorry for the delay, but we'll be back to blogging shortly.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The New Gig

We start work first thing this morning.

Can't front, I miss LA really bad already. I especially miss all the friends and family we have their. Everyone one says "LA is fake" etc., but Diallo and I did a good job of keeping a tight circle of great people...most of whom you've seen in our web vids. Frankly, I'm not too sad, cuz I plan on working with those people until I don't work anymore...but this is a big change.

That said...



...love it.

You can watch Jimmy's Vlog in which he'll document the beginning of the series HERE. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday

Last weekend I had the chance to catch Jean Grae live and she proved to me that she's one of the best MCs out.

And if you want to get gender specific, yes, she is the best female in the game, IMHO.

The following video serves as a tip of the hat to one of Jean's predecessors to the title of Queen Emcee. Part of me has always felt bad for Pos K. He gets completely crapped on, but that was kind of his M.O. even if he tried to downplay it.

Still, this back-and-forth episode between the male and female is as good as it's ever been in hip-hop.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More To Come

Guys

I know blogging on the site has been slow, but D & I have been in a period of transition so just bear with us...soon enough we'll be back to blogging more frequently.

But there is a conundrum that's become more and more relevant: how do we handle the fact that the people we wanna blog about are increasingly colleagues?


We promise this blog is gonna stay fun and informative and opinionated but the whole idea of celebrity news and how we deal with it on this blog...still under construction.

thoughts?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Black Hollywood Execs

A few weeks back, readers of this site know we were complaining about the antics of a certain black Hollywood exec who was hatin' on your boys.

However, taking a look around the landscape, there is a lot of refreshing, new blood in the boardroom. There is a generation of young, hungry cats that will one day change the landscape of what we see on TV and at the movies.

Call it the Obama effect, but it seems more and more cats are popping up on the Studio side. Props to the young Black cats with the hot hands who both made news this week...

Franklin Leonard (Universal)


In 2005, Leonard's list championed Diablo Cody's script for Juno and Nancy Oliver's for Lars and the Real Girl. Last year, both were nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

and Terence Carter (NBC)


NBC Ups Terence Carter to VP
Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood: Carter New Head of Drama

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pass The Mic

Damn. If you blew up the stage, I'd have no one in hip hop left to want to kick it with...


SEMTEX TV: DELA SOUL, MOS DEF, NAS, WILL I AM, KANYE WEST, DAMON ALBARN ROC THE MIC @ THE G.O.O.D. MUSIC AFTER PARTY, LONDON, UK from DJ SEMTEX on Vimeo.

Seriously, I love the fact all these guys get on stage and do their thing. Damn.

Who killed it the most?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Bashir and I are moving to New York to work for NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (article here).

We'll be right there in 30 Rockefeller Center, working with much of the brain trust behind SNL.



As Drudge would say, developing...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Big Announcement on the Way

Keep checking this blog. Once we get the word, we will let y'all in on some very good news...

Flashback Friday (The "Serato" Debate)

Earlier this week I was confronted with a minor dilemma involving whether or not to purchase the pricey yet useful software package known as Serato. The long and short of it is that this song helped convince me to not go all digital quite yet. Thanks, World's Famous Supreme Team!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Isht That's Gotta Stop: Obama Gear Edition

Don't get me wrong, I'm a supporter of President-elect Obama, but this is one Chrismakwanzakah gift I won't be getting anybody:


More change, please.

Election paraphernalia was all the rage this year, to the point that if you didn't have that MLK/Obama tee, you almost felt out of place.

But I think my threshold has officially been crossed.

The item in the above photo is being billed as a "holiday" fleece, but essentially the same thing that was on sale during the campaign.

Holiday fleece?

Really?

Is it just me or is anyone else slightly uneasy with the commodification of the soon-to-be president?

Bashir's End Of The Year Awards: Club Music

(Nobody asked me but I'm doing it anyway.)

I'm giving out awards for the year!!!

I haven't consulted Diallo, Craig, Jacarl, Crescent or Tam. I'm going rogue. And I'm putting the categories in any random order I want. In fact, I'll even be making up categories you never heard of.

CATERGORY ONE: CLUB BANGER OF THE YEAR.

Diallo DJ's at a few big spots so I'm in a unique position to judge music from a discreet vantage point. Without further ado, and based solely on my observation of how they moved the crowd (and with corny Award Show style description)...

2nd Runner Up -

A late entrant for the year that still had enough "bling" to make people go nutz.



1st Runner Up -

These guys didn't just "pop" off at the mouth.



WINNER -

The South owns the radio right about now. And this remix was the perfect collabo featuring Luda, some dude no one ever heard of and an anthemic chorus that kept kids going crazy.



---(NEXT UP, Best Actress)

Tyrone Gotta Know

Tyrone Willingham called me. He only had one question.


HOW IN THE FU*K DOES CHARLIE WEIS STILL HAVE A JOB!!??!

I was like: "calm down, Ty. It's complicated.

Charlie Weis is a great coach. Despite his record...


Raise up off my considerable nut sack, Mr. Willingham.

...I mean, furrealz, Ty. You're sounding a little jealous just cuz you got fired from there for basically doing the same thing. Great season (1 and a half) followed by some BS seasons.

Stop hating Ty!"

That was my message to him. He calmed down and then we went to go see Slumdog Millionaire together since he got some free time on his hands again and I told him I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

---

CRESCENT...DEFEND YOUR HOMETOWN!!!

Open Thread: You Got Served

Turkey hang-over. Enjoy one of my favorite South Parks...