Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Terrible Music Tuesdays

Last month during my trip to Chicago, my audiofile friend and I started a conversation about musical genres we just couldn't stand.

Q: What do you hate more--'80s pop rock or Hi-NRG?
A: Of course, Hi-NRG.

Q: Ok, what's your least favorite Hi-NRG track?
A: Who the f--k knows the name of a Hi-NRG song? I could hum one but I damn sure don't know the name of it.

And I dare you all to name a Hi-NRG song.

See. It's frickin' impossible.

After the futile attempt to name just one song from an entire genre the question changed to a simpler one:

What's one song you just can't stand?

Well, that's easy--

What's it about this sports bar staple that gets to me?


I hate how they enunciate "mamba".

It's irked me since I was a kid and I don't know why.

The isht makes me want to slap the "Jefferson" out of the "Starship", but luckily they've already taken care of that.

So what song makes you want to shake the isht out of somebody?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

THE MESSAGE Summer Vacation

For the next two weeks, posting may be lighter than it has been.

It's Summer Vacation time at the show (i.e. Two weeks off).

Bashir is going to Scandanavia to sample the local culture (baller!), and I'm going to New Mexico to sample life on my in-laws' ranch (rustic baller!).

So you will still see posts fromus and Jacarl, Craig and the other bloggers. Just be aware it may be light.

And we need the break...the show is a monster job. So the two weeks could not have come at a better time.

Be safe and enjoy your summer break, y'all.

Erykah Badu

Ms. Badu came by the show Friday to sing with ?uestlove, in honor of MJ's passing.

One of the cool things about our gig is working with the Roots (we've said it many times),

but one of the cooler things about our job is the Roots dig working with us too.

You can imagine my surprise when, upon meeting Ms. Badu Friday, she was like "I know who you are. Your stuff is funny. ?uest and me talk." ?uest was there nodding, like "I told you so..."

And then we got down to work on that day's music.

But not before discussing music downloading, kids, and more.

When you meet someone big that you already like, and they know of your work, it makes what you do everyday for a living seem real in a whole new way. I feel grateful.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Slow Jamming

Check out our latest opus on HuffPo

Leave comments there, if you have the time.

The MJ Sample Tree

The Cartoon

This was syndicated in Atlanta when I was coming up...

Probably my first exposure to the music of the Jackson 5.

Flashback Friday: RIP MJ Edition

We all grew up on him.

We all have Thriller.

We all Moonwalk(ed) in socks on any linoleum surface we can/could find and played "Moonwalker" at the arcade.

We all cringed reading the headlines involving him over the last two decades.

And admit it, we all probably had a laugh at his expense, from his jheri-curl catching on fire to his pre-H1N1 penchant for surgical masks.

But you can't deny he was an immense talent.

Here are two of my favorite joints based on a Michael sample.

Hopefully he's in a better place.

RIP to Gary, Indiana's greatest son.

P.S.- Here's one of my favorite MJ reworks. Even though the tracks from Thriller get most of the attention, the Michael/Stevie collaborative effort on "I Can't Help It" makes it his best song, IMO.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Open Thread

Michael is gone.

After the dust settles, there'll be an accounting of the man and his work. As time passes, his work, I think, will overshadow his life...particularly the later part of his life. The darker parts he could no longer hide with his celebrity.

Still, I will say that, before our current media saturation...there was a time when a musical event could DOMINATE the planet. It will never happen again. There's too much media and too many sources of entertainment. But there was a time when everyone on the planet was watching the same song.

I remember that time.

I remember that song.

It was Thriller.

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

I attended a private Muslim school until 6th grade. Very conservative...yet Thriller was so HUGE, they gathered the students on a Friday afternoon, and showed it in the auditorium.

I'll never forget that.

Your work is finally done, Mike.

Rest well.

(ed. note: diallo - This was the first song that came to mind when I heard)

Thank God for Positive Youth!

It always amuses me that when it comes to black men, we're either sinners or saints. Hurricane Chris might be a nice guy. But a positive role model in the community, that's taking it a bit far, no? Is he positive just because he "made it"? Believe me, if EVERY black man could "rap" their way out of poverty they'd have already done it by now. Please watch this clip in its entirity, this is laugh out loud hilarity. Particularly the white legislator that calls Chris' godmother "fine" on the microphone. Sometimes I think Katrina could ONLY have happened in Louisiana...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford and FOX News

Fox News is back at it's old tricks again...

Um, pardon me, but WHAT letter is that behind his name? A "D?" Hmmmm.

UPDATE: Howie Kurtz is truly a douchebag. The Washington Post columnist rails on every Democrat in Washington, especially Obama. But when Sanford admits to the ultimate douchebag act (spending Father's Day with his Argentinian mistress a continent away, apart from his wife and kids), Kurtz lays into him...oops, sorry, tells us we should be moved by Sanford's humanity.

Call a spade a spade. Howie Kurtz is a conservative-apologist posing as a "centrist journalist." He should talk to Roger Ailes about getting a show.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not Enough Time

So it seems Obama's poll numbers are declining.

Honestly, have we given Obama enough time?

The previous administration had a full EIGHT years to ruin the surpluses of the 90s.

For some reason, we haven't given Obama even eight months to clean that up.

And seriously, Congressional Democrats, give the man at least a full calendar year before you start calling for progress (I get that politics runs on a two-year cycle, so I know that giving him the proper amount of time is not an option for you).

I think you're being ridiculously hard on Obama, America.

But I never claimed to be unbiased. Am I wrong?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Job Posting: Asst to Tyler Perry

This is for real. Got this from the same person who sends out job listings for all kinds of industry jobs.

"Extremely busy filmaker/ director/ studio executive seeks a Top Level assistant. 3 years minimum experience working for A list producer, writer, director, studio executive, agent or actor a must. Candidates must possess strong multi-tasking skills and ability to handle heavy phones and busy professional and personal calendars. Very fast paced workflow and environment. Position will be based in the Atlanta – candidates must be willing to relocate. Assistant will travel. Candidates must be able to work effectively with little supervision. Ability to plan ahead is a must. Salary based on experience. Please submit resumes to ozziejob@yahoo.com."

If you need a recommendation, let Bashir know.

Flashback Friday

No other blog in the world has covered Questionmark Asylum as heavily over the past two days as this one.

I can't say much about Questionmark other than they're claiming D.C.

The video also features the group Blackgirl, best known for the single "90's Girl". Somewhat ironically, nothing has been heard from them since the 90s.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deep A** Cut

Who knew this even existed?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Slum / New Dilla

I've always found Slum Village in the post-Dilla period a little hit-or-miss. But I dig this one. Found it grew on me the more I listened.

UPDATE: Blast from the recent past. Good call, Bittersweet...but didn't Black Milk make this beat, not Dilla?

Update #2 - Damn, no one told me a new Dilla record had dropped two weeks ago.

"On Stilts" - Off the new Jay Stay Paid LP

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Last Minutes of Analog TV

Glad someone documented this (h/t Franklin Ave)

Lil Wayne Impersonator

H/t to the New Yorker and Idolator. From Craigslist:

Lil Wayne wanted (DC-MD-VA)
Reply to: gigs-w3a3t-1218083689@craigslist.org
Date: 2009-06-12, 12:27PM EDT

My son is turning 16 and really wanted Lil Wayne to perform for his birthday gala.

Unfortunately his schedule will not permit him to make it. I need a Lil Wayne impersonator desperately.

Here is the kicker my son is blind so you do not need to look like the rapper just sound like him. I understand he grunts and mumbles a lot. I don’t care if you are 67 and Jewish if you can sing the songs you’re hired. Money is not an issue. Name your price. Interested individuals please let me know your rap experience, video of you performing as Lil Wayne would be better. If that is not feasible we can arrange for a live audition.

Serious inquiries only, this is very important to my family. Young Money Baby!

Young money baby?! Wow.

The Age of YouTube

JUST...a few years back, if you read about some turmoil in a far off land, like say Iran, you'd have to rely on an AP report and images from some photographer.

Not so in the Youtube era.


Welcome to Your Week

I think we'll be posting a bit more this week.

For now, enjoy this tidbit from one of my favortie, kinda-forgotten singers of the classic soul era.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cleveland Rocks


Quote of the Week

"The responsible white separatist community condemns this. It makes us look bad."

--Responsible white separatist community member John de Nugent commenting in the Washington Post on the actions of James von Brunn, the suspect in this week's shooting/murder at the Holocaust Museum.

I highly encourage you to read the WaPo article. This quote wasn't even the most disturbing part of the piece. See if you can find it (hint: it happens on page 2 and involves someone with the initials R.R.).

I'm hoping that with the incidents of recent weeks in Kansas, Arkansas, and DC, we start to remember that terrorism doesn't just originate overseas.

Flashback Friday

I'm headed to Va. Beach this weekend, so I decided to prepare myself with some music by an artist from the area.

Yeah, Missy and the Neptunes/NERD call Southeast Virginia home but I decided to go with a Harlem transplant, Teddy Riley.

From what I read, Teddy still stays in the vicinity, even though last year there was talk of him losing his house. The locals love him so much that there was a move to declare his old recording studio a historic landmark in order to save it from a wrecking ball. And we all know there's no place more historic in Virginia than the place where "Remember the Time" was conceived. Too bad it burned down due to an electrical fire.

So today's Flashback features Teddy and hook singer extrodinaire (but not quite Vinia Mojica status), Tammy Lucas. You might remember this one (or another version of it) from the Juice soundtrack or when Heavy D did it. Still, a quintessential New Jack track.

Finally, all the respect in the world to whoever can name the dude from Wreckx-n-Effect rapping at the end.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Is The Prom

O'Neal McKnight

I. Love. This.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Boy

I usually try and stay out of this kind of thing, but my good friend wrote this and I thought it was compelling.

And I have blogged in a while so I figured... W T F.


The Myth of the Lonely Black Queen

It's time we put to rest one of the most stubbornly persistent myths in the black community. I call it "The Myth of the Lonely Black Queen". Smart, successful, attractive black women are not lonely—they're just unnecessarily picky. Even worse, this selectivity is far too often based on a foundation of arbitrariness and contradiction.

Lots of upwardly mobile black women will tell you that they don't need a relationship to complete them; that they're not desperate for a man. But desperation is exactly the picture that so many women paint when they describe their supposed inability to find a mate. How many times have you heard the cliché that all the "good" black men are either taken, gay, in prison, or (horror of horrors) with white women? I mean, Tyler Perry is now the richest transvestite in the world because he mastered the art of transmutating this "woe is me" attitude into ticket sales. The problem is that this desperation is about as real as a conversation in a strip club—it's a convenient lie that many black women tell themselves so that they can avoid focusing on the real reason that they're single: They've got plenty of options. Or at least they think they do.

I recently had a little back and forth on Facebook with a wonderful woman who was hit on by the owner of a restaurant that she frequents. As he took her money at the register, without looking up, he calmly asked her for her name. She readily replied with the answer. He then rapidly fired off a second question in the same unassuming tone: "Phone number?" She almost answered him without even processing what was happening. The man's quirky flirting style definitely had an impact. After all, she used her Facebook status message to tell her friends all about how "cute" it was. But guess what? He didn't get the digits.

Why not? She says it was because "it's become second nature" to say no to a guy who knows nothing about her other than how she looks. Elaborating, she went on to explain, "I turn people down left and right for no other reason than it's what I do," and that she needs a "screening process" like a "referral system." Really? That's the kind of behavior I'd expect from someone who feels that she has more suitors than she could possibly know what to do with, and not at all like someone who's cautious, yet aware of her precarious situation in the dating pool and therefore fully open to romantic possibilities. I understand that that particular woman may not self-identify as being unable to find a good black man, but that modus operandi is all too common for many of those who do.

I can certainly draw on personal experience to put flesh on those bones. My friends have heard the story about the woman who decided against a second date with me because I gave her $10 on a $15 cab ride...even though the meter was at $7 when I got out. There was also the woman that cut things off because I canceled a date with her. I told her that I was exhausted, but she assumed that the real reason that I backed out was that I was double-booked. (Of course, I only found out why she gave me the scissor treatment much later—she never even bothered to tell me her doubts at the time.) And then there was the lady with whom I shared so much chemistry that our first date lasted for four days. She eventually returned to her last boyfriend. I could go on, but I'd rather not look like more of a loser. The point is not that these women did anything wrong. The point is that, in economic terms, this is exactly the behavior that we'd expect from consumers with relatively unconstrained options, but not from those facing a supply shortage.

Now, don't get me wrong. Jenée Desmond-Harris' recent article lays out the sobering facts confronting black women looking for a black man. (Check it out here if you've been under a rock.) It is unquestionably harder for you out there in the world of romance than it is for Bob, Amber, or even Tyrone. Consequently, this is no time to be Little Ms. Picky. I'm not saying that you've gotta go bottom feeding. But if a brother is attractive and approaches you like he's got some damn home training, don't refuse his invitation to dance when just 30 seconds earlier you and your girls were poppin' it so hard you almost blew your back out!

Bob Marley said, "In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty." A lot of females are yelling loudly to anyone who'll listen that they're practically dying of cottonmouth. Ladies, recognize and realize that although it may not be raining men, there's plenty to drink. Most of it ain't Bling H2O, but it probably ain't bathwater either.

Post Script: Ms. Desmond-Harris did a superb job of addressing this phenomenon from the inside, but I still felt like a man's perspective was warranted. Plus, I'd already started writing this frackin' thing before I read her article.



Hopefully Not a Sign of Things to Come

Traffic in downtown D.C. is being rerouted due to a shooting at the Holocaust Museum.

If there's anything such as a "regular" shooting, this ain't it. Blogs, MSNBC, and the American Prospect are reporting the gunman is 88 (or 89) year-old James Wenneker von Brunn.

An 80-something shooter is out of the ordinary from what we hear day to day, but my concern piqued when it was revealed dude has a positive profile on Stormfront (I refuse to link directly to it).

I don't like to think I'm paranoid, but when dude with this profile is walking around your town and I've seen YouTube videos shot by well-groomed Klansmen of black folks walking on The Mall that come off as veiled threats, my mind can't help but wander in that direction.

Not to mention, white supremacists predicted an uptick in ranks due to the Obama presidency and the political right went ape isht over the notion that the government was monitoring groups such as those the shooter belonged to (of course they forgot eco terrorists et al. were on the list, too).

Talk me down, people. Please.

UPDATE: Can't talk you down, Jacarl. This is a report from Fox. From FOX!

Let's Hope

With any luck (and no voter intimidation) the man above - Mir Hossein Mousavi - could be elected the new President of Iran. No more Ahmadinejad. And a bit of good news on an otherwise bleak international scene for Barack.

Swamped at Work - Light Posting

A few of you have asked about both the brevity of my posts and the lack of posting from Bashir.

Basically, we're swamped at work, but we'll continue to check in with y'all on what's going on in pop culture.

In the meantime, expect some of the other bloggers to post as well.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Death of Auto-Tune by Jay-Z

It's easy to cheer on Jay's sentiment here, though I would argue that this could amount to either hip hop's version of the "disco sucks" movement, or a generational struggle for hip hop's heart and soul.

Either way, very curious to see how this plays out.

UPDATE: There's a dance called the Dame Dash! The universe is a weird place when it comes to irony. The very thing Jay is going to war with - ringtone, dance-happy hip hop - has, as one of its manifestations, a song baring the same name as one of people Jay has previously gone to war with.

Jay versus Dame Dash indeed...


Whatever's on your mind...

We're swamped today at work, but we'll be checking in...what's going on?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mos Def's new one

First single off the new album...

I like it a lot. Thoughts?

Conan v. Twitter

Very funny.

Flashback Friday

Today's Flashback was born out of Diallo's post from last Saturday.

In it, he mentioned "Native New Yorker".

One of Odyssey's other hits was this "Watching You"-based track.

Regarding the video, it's obvious that the then increasingly popular music medium didn't really work for them. I mean, people diving into clouds is cool but the trio doesn't seem all that comfortable in the format. What's more, they must have hired a choreographer out of the Yellow Pages.

And is it just me or does the final scene give off a creepy ménage à trois-vibe?

Still, though, it's a nice groove.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An Award Tour...For Mohammed Our Man?

I know. That title's a stretch. All the same...

"Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire."

Honestly, does it get any better, any true-er than that? I love how in one simple sentence can both accept responsibility and call for the listener's own self-evaluation.

Barack has hit the campaign trail in the Middle East, and I think it's a mighty good thing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bobby Ray aka B.O.B.

Here are, according to some, the best songs by rapper B.O.B.

You be the judge...

(sorry, almost every version of this song has been removed from YouTube)

And your verdict is....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Poll Results - It's a TIE

Well, our first poll in probably a year and nothing was decided.

We all love "Blazing Saddles" and "Airplane!" Both are great comedies of their day.

But a conversation came up as to whether one's jokes had aged better than another.

Apparently, our readership is evenly divided. You can use the comment section to plead your case.

Monday, June 1, 2009

When a Video Ends It

A lot of people have been talking about Charles Hamilton is over because he got punched by a girl on the street while trying to conduct an interview...

A few things that stand out to me:

1. The girl who punched him clearly got emotional because he ate her alive in the rap battle. She lost her cool. He didn't. To that point...

2. Give Charles his props for not clocking her. What was he supposed to do in this situation? Hit her back? Chris Brown her? Don't be trifling, y'all.

3. I hate to see good MCs be brought down over BS like this. Same thing happened to Freeway back in the day. He got set up in a studio and made to look like a fool by whom?! Cassidy?! Who was spitting nothing but the same tired drug-thug script and hasn't really been heard from outside a few hot singles that owed their appeal to Swizz Beats production?!

Come on, y'all. Choose wisely...a good MC is hard to come by.

UPDATE: A commenter pointed out that there is more to the Charles Hamilton than I was aware of. He's an asshole and a half for what he said. My bad.