Thursday, April 30, 2009

MURS

(Via Yeezy)

This reminds me of Old School BDP.

MURS - The Science



Love it. It's not that new or unique but it does bring back good memories.

and please don't post a link to your favorite backpack rappers MySpace page.

In the words of Phonte, "preeshiate that". (hah.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First 100 Days

Yeah, the concept is overhyped and I highly doubt I'd post something like this if President Obama hadn't been elected but I might as well ride the presiding wave.



No, BET doesn't own me but they did occupy 3 hours of my life last Sunday during a roundtable discussion taping on the President's first 100 days in office (it's scheduled to air today at 8 p.m EST on BET J and 11 p.m. EST on regular ole BET). Hosted by Jeff Johnson, the show featured Tatiyana Ali and Gregory Meeks, among others (Why Tatiyana Ali was there I still don't know but, then again, I'm not complaining). For the most part, it will be standard television for the audience. But there was one segment I found intriguing that some panelist had a problem answering: What have been some of the President's biggest slip-ups in these first 100? We know there have been some, but are we gonna point them out?

For me, it's more of a concern than a slip-up. What I really want to know is who's going to be checking on the stimulus money headed out to states and local jurisdictions? If folks in Chicago thought the Hired Truck Program was bad, I don't want to think about some of the brilliant schemes someone's cooking up now to get ahold of the dollars.

Anyone else have any low points they'd like to put out there? Remember, you really can't love someone unless you're willing to be critical of them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

America's #1 Flick



Wow.

Obsessed is America's #1 film.

Did anyone see it?

I'll admit. I was a paying customer and didn't think it was as bad as I thought it could have been.

But then again, my expectations started in a deficit.

For me, I couldn't help but feel as though the film was trying to be a warning from black women to black men who like white women or vice versa:
"Look at her and I'll take you for everything your worth. Look at him and your ass is grass."

Can anyone think of, or did you discover, any life lessons to be learned from Obsessed?

Good Politics Day

Well, it's been ages since I followed the daily political events with that sense of excitement and breathless enthusiasm that was common during the election of '08.

But today is a day two damn good news stories...

http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Welcome to the Club, Arlen.


MR. 81%

All in all, a very good day. Jacarl? You out there? Would love to get your DC read on things.

Open Diary

Open Diary for your Tuesday. LNJF is on Hiatus this week so Diallo and I are maxing and relaxing.

Where are people reading this blog from? What city and state?

(I've been traveling a ton lately so I'm curious)

Also, I'll be in DC this weekend...what spots should I hit? I'd like to go places with a good vibe, great music and no door drama...

..thoughts?

Friday, April 24, 2009

One Eskimo Redux

I wrote a blog about One Eskimo's great song and video for Hometime (which I stole off Kanye West's blog) a LONG time ago.

For some reason, despite the fact that blog entry was written over six months ago it still gets the occasional comment.

I couldn't figure out why...then all of a sudden I did. I won't give it away.

But here's their home page.

One Eskimo.

I'm gonna buy some of their stuff and give you a review.

A Man To Admire

You should read this article about Tony Dungy's new prison ministry in USA Today.

I have always admired him. When they pushed him out of Tampa Bay and Jon Gruden took the team he built to the Superbowl the next year.... I admired his grace in dealing with the slight.

When his son committed suicide and his family came together and quietly mourned...I respected his discretion.

When he coached a game he never got loud or yelled and screamed. He was the king of the "Dungy Frown" which was usually followed by the "Dungy I don't believe this bull" laugh...but NEVER the "Dungy grown ass man acting like a damn baby tantrum"...not this one...and every time I watched him...I couldn't help but be impressed.

And when he spoke of his joy at a victory as big as the Superbowl as a good thing but not the greatest thing ever...because he got his highest joy from his family and his beliefs...I knew he was cut from a rare cloth. Hell, I can't lie, I love the Bears...but a part of me was rooting for Tony.

(He and Obama both have that "emotion check" thing down. I know they're Christians but it's also a very Zen Bhuddist sensibility: they don't let the dark days get them too down and they don't let their victories get them too happy. Though, unlike Tony, I have a sneaking suspicion Obama holds a grudge.)

He was the first black coach to win the Superbowl. But you wouldn't know this achievement by his subdued demeanor. OR...maybe his temperament is exactly what allowed him to endure so much change and still keep in mind what he needed to get done.

And now, it seems, he's walked away from millions of dollars per year to go minister in prisons.

Think about that: Prison. A place you would never be faulted for avoiding. And he dove right in.

To Wit:

At a place where there are seven formal head counts each day — and as nearly two dozen armed guards kept close watch — Dungy did not merely lecture from an arm's length. After a 20-minute speech, he was swarmed by prisoners and spent a half-hour in face-to-face conversations.

I am not religious, but Tony Dungy to me, is what a man who puts his faith in God acts like. He is not loud about his faith, but gives it its due when asked. He followed his passion for a time...then moved on to serve his family, his community and his faith.

We need more like him.


They don't make 'em like this anymore.

---

ps - okay, quick comedy note: there's got to be something about spending all your free time hand-holding, cajoling, pampering and waiting on spoiled-ass NFL players that you go..."Fuck it. I'm gonna go be Jesus-like in a prison". Just sayin'

Best Name and Song

This is a great song that I used to watch back in the day on The Box whenever I visited my cousins in Miami.

This group also has the greatest name in music.

2 Hype Brothers and a Dog: Doo Doo Brown



Crank this at work.

A Song For Hoda

(A Song For Hoda Kotb)

Hoda, I see you every now and again
In the NBC Commissary
And I think to myself, Damn girl,
I really hope you ain't married

I know I'm just a lowly writer
on a silly comedy show
But Hoda!
you're so much finer in person
than when you're on TV next to Kathie, Yo.

HODA!

We should go to the movies

HODA!

I'll even buy you popcorn

HODA!

And maybe Raisinettes

HODA!

Okay this song is over...

...yeah

(basically, I just wanted to point out that I see Hoda in the NBC commissary from time to time and she's on fire.)


This Picture Does NOT Do Justice

On The Fence About This



Thoughts? Funny? Just okay?

Flashback Friday

This is straight from the "Some Things/People Get Better With Age" file.

Zev Luv X was the lead MC for KMD. He showed up in videos for 3rd Bass and other folks. But like a lot of folks from early '90s hip-hop, he and his KMD cohort hit typical industry snags that were topped off with tragedy, thus shelving their Black Bastards album.

In 1990, though, everything was good. So good that Grand Puba came and fake played the vibes.

And what happened to the group's star? Backpacker love galore.



P.S.--Has anyone heard anything from the Five Percenters recently? Are they still around?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Diversity and Distinction

(based on a link sent by Blacktain America)

NBC hires a diversity exec.

I have to comment on this.

1.

I was in LA for almost a decade. In that time I saw COUNTLESS amazing and talented people of color. I can't name ONE who has ever benefited from these "so-called" diversity initiatives.

I am not saying it doesn't happen. I am saying I don't know any. In fact, it became a running joke between Diallo and me whenever we went to a NBC/CBS/ABC diversity thingy and saw who they were promoting and what the results were. Every year we would go to the "talent showcases" and see the same ol same.

It was as if the diversity person's only job was to get the showcase off the ground and get the acting/writing talent "seen" by the right people. But the problem is that tons and tons of talented people are "seen" every day by executives. One viewing doesn't make or break. It can. It usually doesn't.

There was a pro-found and exaggerated disconnect between the acting/writing talent and the people who were in charge of the diversity programs. You can't "judge" talent base on some executive criteria and yet the people picked to run these programs all had executive backgrounds.

Toward the end of THE MESSAGE Chris Rock moved into offices adjacent to us: (at HBO while he was working on Good Hair) and I overhead him say once that "a network can't create a good TV show. there's no formula. just give funny people the budget and stand back"

I agree completely (see: Show, Chappelle). The idea that an executive can come into a situation and ferret out good talent of color is sort of a bad joke and a bad idea.

The idea is to get more people of color into the industry. I understand that but WHY should we do that? We need a more compelling reason than "fairness".

The reason to do it is that TV suffers when only one type of story is told over and over and over no matter how good or when one point of view is represented even if it's a point of view we're familiar with. So if we can diversify the types of stories being told, we can expand the number of people who find TV worthwhile. With that in mind, let's continue...

2.

(quick detour and acknowledgement)

There are impediments to talented people of color in this industry. But they're less obvious than they seem.

If I came to any of you and said, "write me a TV show about your life". Who would you hire to help you write it? You'd hire your friends who knew you best.

TV works the same way. People like to hire people they trust, who get them and who know their work. They like to hire their friends. It's the old boys network to some degree. But it's also just common sense.

So if I have a TV show and you tell me, "hey you need a black writer". I'd be like "why? Just to have one?" That has NOTHING to do with the story I'm working on. "you need to add a black character?" Why? For what?

People hire their friends. They like hiring their friends. I will do the same when I'm in a position to do so. Not ALL my friends, but enough to feel like I have a good support network around me.

I know it's not acceptable to say this. But it's the truth. A staff and cast should be based on talent. Not skin color. So we just have to find ways to get the REAL talented people in front of the public.

However, this leads to a conundrum: How can a person of color get more experience and hone their talent if they can't get hired because people are hiring their friends? How can a talented actor be seen if they can't get hired.

Good question, let's answer it below.

3.

(the solution in my view)

The solution is my view is NOT to force people of color onto shows just to have them there.

It's not to have a show of "looking for talent of color" which makes it stigmatic and trite. The solution is especially not to force shows to diversify their staffs.

(even though i am now certain that it's always good to have a diverse staff, just as it's always good to have a diverse student body).

The solution is to discover stories by and about TALENTED people of color so good and compelling that the world will clamor for their work.

And you have to have TALENTED people looking for these stories.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING...is to have a quality TV Show/Movie. To give talent the access it needs...So when America gets a taste of that talent, they'll respond with their eyes and wallets.

Everything else flows from this.

So here's how you do it:

(a) The ranks of TV execs needs to be WAYYY more diverse.
Period. They're the ones who decide what material the public gets to JUDGE and SEE.

SUPER IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: If you wanna be in the industry and you're a person of color and you wanna have a REAL impact, consider becoming an executive.

Most people of color wanna be in FRONT of the camera...and we all suffer because of it. I just can NOT stress this enough. Imagine if the ranks of TV or Film execs had someone like a Russell Simmons or Dr. Dre, just a super talented person who created opportunities for good talent to shine. That is not the case.


(b) Along with that, ALL TV executives need to read lots and lots of books and scripts by and take pitches from people of color.
They need to commit themselves to discovering great new material.

In fact, that's what the diversity exec should be doing. Not casting, not taking meetings, not setting up showcases. The person should be reading all day and all night, going to plays and championing good material. Period.

There. That solves it.

Talented people make their own way to the top. Super talented people don't really need to be found. They'll make themselves heard. But we can help them get their voices heard and give them a chance to compete.

By doing "a" and "b" above we do just that.

Here's how it works practically:

i. If the material is great, people will watch and ratings will sustain it. (The Wire)

ii. if the material is great people will hire the people who were responsible for it even if the ratings are bad (Everyone on Law and Order seems to come from some other great TV show or theatre background see: Epetha Merkerson, S. or Braugher, Andre*)

iii. if the material is great, it'll "raise the bar" so other writers of color will resond with their own "A" game. (Every black sitcom on TV when Cosby was on, while not as good as Cosby, was WAYYY better than EVERY black sitcom that came after the Cosby era)

So we have to make sure that when real talent rears its head, someone has to be there to listen.

So, I said it before and I'll say it again. We need more TV executives of color and more executives looking for good material by people of color.

EVEN IF the show isn't a black show. If a black person wrote it and it's good...chances are it'll have a diverse cast (see: Anatomy, Grey's).

(damn, didn't mean to write this much, but it's something I think about every day)

---

ps - where the fuck is Andre Braugher? he needs to get back on TV like yesterday. I bet he's doing theatre or something. keeping it pure. so wack...let's write a show and make him the star of it. I was never a big watcher of HOMICIDE, but I hear his work on that show as breathtaking and I always enjoy him.

More Fun In The Yay Area

Scraper Bike



What as the first year that the Yay just stopped caring wht the rest of the country thinks?

Seriously, I feel like Oakland is just on a whole 'nother plane in terms of culture. t's not like anything or anywhere else in the country.

My instinct is that the Bay Area is so unique because it was the home of the only semi-successful black nationalist/militant movement. Then the leadership was killed so all that aggressive and unique energy had to go somewhere.

any readers from there wanna explain how it came to be so unique.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Have A Good Weekend

Flashback Friday

I was going to post something else, but then I stumbled onto this video.

For those of you who haven't ever been to/lived in D.C. (or read previous posts), go-go is all the rage here.

A lot of the older heads lament go-go music's current state. It's been associated with violence after some high profile events involving the music were marred by murders. Thus, in a city where supposed tomfoolery isn't taken lightly, go-go performances are less frequent than in years past. Couple that with the fact newer tracks tend to be rehashes of hip-hop songs, you could say go-go has had better days.

And that leads us to E.U.. Most people recognize Experience Unlimited for this song (Get down, Delegate Elanor Holmes Norton!). But they had a few others including this clip--




This just seems like a good spring song. And with the weather being sunny and 70 degrees today in the Chocolate City, it's a perfect time to play it.

Enjoy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My New 20s?

Today I celebrate a sunset, of sorts.

Goodbye 20s. Hello 30s.

Damn. I can just feel my joints creaking.

But really, I've been slowly but surely making my transition into middle-aged-dom.

The biggest change has probably been on my car radio preset. 95.5 no longer holds the #1 spot (although I do check it out every once in awhile to hear what "the kids" are listening to).

What's my new fix, you might ask?



Yeah, I never thought I'd turn into my parents, but it looks like it's happening.

After years of listening to people yell asinine nonsense to each other about the latest Pleasure P song (or whoever else is deemed "hot") and advertise wack ass parties with pseudo-celebs at bad clubs, I had to give it up. It just wasn't working for me anymore.

There's something enjoyable and relaxing about listening to a station where people speak at normal, conversational volume levels. Plus, substance-wise, the content is hard to beat. Thank you NPR. The check is in the mail.

Now I'm left wondering how I could let myself consume the audio equivalent of deep-fried bullshit. Well, I guess there's a time and place for everything. But part of me can't help but get a little whimsical for the more free-wheeling days of my past.

Is there anyone else who's found themselves having to make a similar transition? Any tips for staying hip while getting grown? I'm looking for pointers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh He's THAT Good

I always forget how good Jamie Foxx is...



...and he's got an Oscar too.

(when he's not terrorizing Hannah Montana, hah.)

The Beach Boys

Been getting into Pet Sounds lately.

Yes...I take my time getting into something when I know music will be good.

The whole album is an astounding bit of melancholy. This track is the crown jewel.

Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)



----

speaking of music. I asked Diallo what his favorite Underworld track was

this one:

Moaner



admit, it kind of makes you wanna go to the gym.

Which Is More Brutal

Just in the real of musical beef response...which was the greater smackdown?

(a) Tupac assaulting his old friend Biggie



Money Line: "That's why I fucked yo' bitch you fat motherfucker".

Yikes.

OR

(b) John Lennon assaulting his old friend Paul McCartney



Money Line: "Tell me, how do you sleep, ya cunt".

Double Yikes.

Ahhh...Beef: It's What's For Dinner.

When Rappers Get Old

When rappers get old, I will still go see them in Vegas, performing all their old hits.



If you watch the end of this video, you will see what Vegas is going to look like in thirty years.

Serious h/t to El Diablo Negro and Philaeaglesfan.

(ps - this song almost makes me miss g-funk...!)

(pps - probably still the only rap video with SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING! YO!)

Odd's And Ends 11

1.

Lately I can't get enough of this. I've been watching it once a day.

Don't Let Me Down



I'm not a Beatles person by any stretch. But I love that this performance looks like four guys who know each others playing so well they don't have to look at each other. It's perfect synergy. And they look cool too.

Anyone wanna meet me on the roof of Virgin Records to perform some Shai?

2.

I hate digital photography.

I don't know at what point humans needed so much proof of our own existence. But I can't go to a bar anymore without someone whipping out a little silver box and lighting up the night. I had two friends I know, both ivy league educated with multiple degrees, almost come to blows over ones insistence on taking "one last photo" when the other one was like "enough with the fucking camera".

I was actually gonna make this post a lot more profanity laden. But if you were friends with me on Facebook you'd see a lot of pics (most of which untagged) in which I have my middle finger held high.

Seriously people, enough with the fucking pictures already.

People in history used to take one photo a lifetime...


If it's good enough for Butch and Sundance why isn't it god enough for you?

Then when I or someone else has the audacity to say, "nah, I'm good, no thanks" you get drowned out by a chorus of "you're being an asshole, it's just a photo".

Don't Indians or someone believe that photography steals a piece of your soul? Well they're right. I don't wanna take anymore. I just wanna listen to music or have a drink. I certainly don't wanna have to stop walking through a building just so you can take the 4, 567, 332 picture of some damn statue that I can get a better picture of online.


here. damn.

And no. I won't take a picture of you and your girlfriends smiling around a booth. Or holdup up drinks. Or pretending to be lesbians (well... let's talk more about that one later).

But seriously. And I mean this in the best way possible.

ENOUGH WITH THE FUCKING PICTURES ALREADY!

3.

Am I sleeping on The Dream?

This is the best song I've heard in the past 3 months.

Fancy



I even spun it at the place Diallo and I DJ.

Then Diallo came on a played this gem.

Put It Down



Fire.

Who woulda thunk it?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Most Dangerous Cities

I'm not surprised to see Los Angeles and New York once again, NOT making the list.

1 New Orleans, LA
2 Camden, NJ
3 Detroit, MI
4 St. Louis, MO
5 Oakland, CA
6 Flint, MI
7 Gary, IN
8 Birmingham, AL
9 Richmond, CA
10 North Charleston, SC
11 Cleveland, OH
12 Baltimore, MD
13 Miami Gardens, FL
14 Memphis, TN
15 Youngstown, OH
16 Atlanta, GA
17 Compton, CA
18 Orlando, FL
19 Little Rock, AR
20 Minneapolis, MN
21 Washington, DC
22 Philadelphia, PA
23 Jackson, MS
24 Newark, NJ
25 Milwaukee, WI

Did your city make the list?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Song To Inspire Your Weekend

Sorry. This song is everything wrong with hip hop right now, and yet everything I love about the current crop of "epic" songs ("Go Hard" being another example).

Sometimes, you just gotta BLAST that sh*t.



And the more I hear of Ron Browz, the more I think he will never take T-Pain's position. Say what you want, T-Pain sings those choruses like no one else. Nate Dogg of the 00's???

Flashback Friday

Rene & Angela had all the makings of another great couple, Ashford and Simpson.

They were writers, producers, performers, and married.

Too bad they couldn't keep that last part together. Who knows. They might've been the A&S's second coming.

Regardless, it's a nice little joint Foxxy and Jay-Z helped revive.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Music!!!

So sloppy, it's infectious...



That beat is insane. Literally.

(h/t to Ahmir)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Best Commercial Ever

Ever since I saw this ad on super late one night on VH1, it has been the stuff of retold lore among my friends and I.



Mega-hat tip to Craig Bowers for telling me to watch out for it the first time, and Ant Demby for finding it again today...

Though shot to look old, this commerical is from LAST YEAR.

What happened to Witchdoctor?! This dude was down with the first family of the south (The Dungeon Family). Our site alone has posted about "Holiday," a freakin' DF classic when it dropped back in '99, many times.

And yet this commercial looks like it was shot on a recoupable budget of $5, and there is one part in there where WD literally is NOT speaking English anymore.

If anyone has the backstory, please tell. This thing makes me think something must have caused a falling out along the way.

Blacks Without Borders

If you haven't seen it, you must. Part of me found this documentary pure comedy. The other part found it absolutely engrossing.

Website is here -
http://www.blackswithoutborders.net/home.html


And here's a clip:


I watched it on ShowtimeFamily. Where will you watch it? Because you will. You have to.

"I ain't going to move to Africa and live in the projects..."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Open Thread

Barack's abroad. Bashir too (though I think he makes it back today).

I just got back to NYC from the West Coast (the reason for a paucity of posts). Please check in.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Flashback Friday

I'll admit it. I'm a little salty.

You see, the DPs were supposed to play D.C. next week.

Yeah!

Then they broke up the for umpteenth time several days ago.

Boo!

There goes my chance to ask them whether or not the movie "Pacifics" was slated to be on the soundtrack for, N.Y. Is Red Hot, ever got released.

So now I'm left with this Flashback Friday.

During my undergrad days, my friends and I would play a game called, "Guess How Many Joints It Took To Make That Joint".

The tracks on Blowout Comb rated off the charts.

By just picking up the Digable Planets' second album, you automatically got a contact high.

Regardless, I enjoyed it and still do. It's one of the few albums I can listen to today and not have it feel dated, for some reason.

But what the hell were they talking about?



P.S.-- Picking a number from 1 to 100, how many joints did it take to make this joint? I have a figure in my head. The closest guesser gains my highest level of admiration.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Honeymoon Continues

I still love Barack Obama.



And his time at the G-20 Summit this week only solidified it.

From Politico (!):

"When Obama arrived, dozens of the print reporters in the audience stood to take their own keepsake photographs on camera phones and BlackBerrys behind the news photographers thronging the entire width of the vast stage."



"Obama’s news conference itself demonstrated just how large Obama’s footprint was here. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown may have been the host, but his afternoon briefing was dwarfed by the new American president."



Here in 30 Rock, all the television monitors by the elevators have MSNBC running 24 hours a day. And no matter how engulfed I got in this show this week, every single time I looked up there and saw Barack representing the United States on the world stage, I felt ten times better than whatever I felt at that moment.

I understand what Republicans have been saying all my life; that they support the guy they support because he shares their values. I always thought that was political doublespeak, with no grounding in the real world.

But I see Obama and I see someone who would, in all likelihood, act in a manner I would were I privy to his set of facts.

Barack is me on my best days. I still love the guy.

The honeymoon continues.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Lane of His Own

No one does this kind of humor better than Colbert.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The 10/31 Project
comedycentral.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest


"The 9/12 Project is not for families directly affected by 9/11. Just people building their careers on it..."

F*cking OUCH. Bravo, Colbert. Kudos and "encore!"