Friday, July 31, 2009

Hypnotizing

This "movie" is real.



This 1976 French film was shot using a suped up Benz and the driver (director) reaches speeds of 135 mph on the streets of Paris. Enjoy...

Flashback Friday

If there's one thing you can accuse me of it's having a heavy '90s New York hip-hop bias. And given I'll be up in NYC this weekend, I have mad joints from that era playing in my head right now, son.

But I decided to take it to the West Coast today. The Yay Area to be precise.

My respect for E-40 stems mainly from his ability to create his own lexicon and then have us all adapt it into our own.

I didn't really get into "Sprinkle Me" when it came out. I was too much of an East Coast snob. It wasn't until 40 showed up and saved the movie 3 Strikes (don't ask why I saw that in a theater) that I revisited his first big track and gained an appreciation for his slanguage.

I could drop a slick line à la E, but I'll just leave it up to him...


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Genius and Sadness of our Health Care Debate


(seriously, mr. Cartoonist?)

Conservatives have already won a major battle in the health care debate...they've convinced many Americans that health care reform is a bad idea.

That's genius.

Despite hearing countless stories of middle-class people who've died or gotten more sick becuase their insurance company steered them away from proper care...or, worse, gone bankrupt because they got sick and their plans didn't cover what they thought it would...which for me is the nightmare scenario...

...they still think our current system is fine. Or mostly fine. Or that we can wait some more. Or that Obama is going too fast....etc. etc. etc. etc.

I often read Daryl Cagle's MSNBC cartoonist index as a way to see what America is thinking. It's a good source of national zeitgeist.

And...many of the cartoonist are attacking health care reform.





Wow.

Really?

The genius of anti-health care reformists is that they've turned the debate AWAY from a discussion of how to keep Americans from falling into health hell-holes...and made it into a referendum on whether Barack Obama is...(a) on TV too much (b) hates cops (c) is American at all and (d) is a secret communist who wants to destroy the country by bankrupting us.

It's the correct strategy to fight health care reform. And, sadly, it's working a little bit.

But let me ask them all a question...at the core of this whole issue is people getting hurt really badly. And corporate types stopping them from getting adequate care.

Can ANY of the people who are against health care reform point to ONE Swedish/Canadian/English protest by the rank and file citizens in which they demand privatized care for the entire country?

AT THE HEART of this issue is a sad truth. our current system sucks and has for many years.

So...I have a question for those who oppose health care reform. For all those who use the fact that Mr. Obama is trying to get people covered as a political too. For all those who don't give a FUCK about the fact that we're the most advanced nation to have no basic and functional public health protocols...and don't give me that medicare argument either. I'm talking about for working class and middle class people who wanna opt in to the public option. For all of those who think this is a game.

I have a question:

"Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Bill Maher wrote a wonderful piece about this.

But my main man, and co-worker, Questlove put it best...(over the course of six thousand tweets)

(Questlove via Twitter)

"in doing that Barack sketch w/ Puff yesterday...
i got to thinking: ... alot of these poll numbers are based on uninformed people who just see a newsclip of some congressman with his own political agenda, and will use our health as a pawn in a game.
i know its a thin line, & i hate nothing more than "im a celeb so follow what i do!"

but right now IM the hmo in about 6 peoples lives. i love these people so i dont mind. but if there was an opportunity for EVERY american to get universal health care then this country would CHANGE. im just saying at LEAST investigate from the horses mouth his agenda on the plan. if you with it support it (i contributed for commercials) if not? that's cool too. what is NOT cool is being indifferent about it. then you turn the channel and hear a soundbite about how "we gonna stop em" and do NOTHING."

A Reason for a Benevolent Dictatorship?

Some times you don't have to flip to Comedy Central or late night shows for laughs.

Public Access Television can be a great source of entertainment. Who can forget the Cussin' Preacher.



But who needs the Lucas-esque production quality. Why not witness democracy in action...



I wonder a lot how much time gets lost on important business by having to go through motions like this.

Maybe it's all the "Harry and Louise" ads I've been seeing and the counter attacks, but part of me wonders if we got rid of the public input (or, most cases, "special interest" input) in government and went to a system where a kind-hearted figurehead ruled over us with wisdom and virtue, would be better off? Would giving up direct access to our ruler(s) and thus being freed from being weighed down in retarded "birther" talk and asinine discussions about how our rights are being trampled (I've heard folks on the right and left make the oppression claim) be worth it?

Help me out here.

This Week

Been a fun week at the show with Slow Jamming the News with Diddy...

(Shout out to Keisha and all Diddy's peoples, it was great having y'all be down to try this out with zero lead time).

Bashir bouncing the door at Diddy's club (and me inside with all the lovelies!)



And last night, the latest edition of HEAD SWAP.



Your boys are having fun - be sure to catch tonight's show.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday's Show - DIDDY

Sean Combs is on tonight's show, and I suspect your friends at The Message will have cameos.



Plus a new Slow Jam the News with The Roots. Set the TiVo.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sampling J.U.S.T.I.C.E.

Hip hop community - Stop sampling D.A.N.C.E.

Take it from The GAME (via J.R. Rotem) - they did it right.

They sampled "Genesis." Which is a far superior cut. Well played, guys.

Slept On Series: Talib Kweli's "Eardrum"

New series: songs and albums from the last three years that languish in obscurity.

This one is waay up there on my list.



Talib Kweli and Norah Jones. Hot. Slept on.

Leave suggestions for other RECENT (three years) stuff that came and went.

Flashback Friday

Little did I know when I posted last week's Flashback that Boston would be the focus of the past several days' entries and comments.

So in honor of Dr. Gates and everyone else who's had a less than pleasant experience with the po-po, here's a track from one Kevin Madison.



Have a good weekend and if you happen to be a black male, please don't go to Cambridge and knock on anyone's door. Chances are you don't host a PBS special and Charles Ogletree isn't on your speed dial.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

He's Guilty (The Cambridge Cop)

So much for the Health Care debate.

Meet this year's "Joe The Plumber."

It takes very little time watching this video to realize this guy is a serious dick, and he is 100% guilty of harassing Henry Louis Gates.


"I will not apologize..."

POLLS

So we learned few things from the polls this week...

1. Polls are still fun. We're gonna get back to doing them more regularly.
2. A slim majority think Ice Cube will never be better than he was on his debut album.
3. Y'all hate "backpackers".
4. A slim majority is into the Harry Potter series.

There you go.

If there are any polls you want us to do, leave them in the comment section.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We're Breaking Our Rules

We pride ourselves on not trying to make fun of people here.

It's too easy.

But...dammit.

Don't Let A Crackhead Sing At Your Funeral


I'm SORRY!

BlackSnob.com

Here is a site our own reader Blacktain America put me on to.



BLACK SNOB


She's got a really different way of looking at stuff and the entry I linked to above was very well laid out, about as well as any I have ever read on the myth of a "monolithic" black community.

Check it out, and for sure, let us know what other sites in the black blogosphere we might be sleeping on (h/t Blacktain).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Skip Gates Beats His Charges

MSNBC reporting: CAMBRIDGE PD DROPS ALL CHARGES
CAMBRIDGE'S MOST WANTED

Skip "Thug Life" Gates now joins rap moguls like Jay-Z and others who beat their charges.

Skip Gates has as much street cred as Jamal "Shyne" Barrow, except without the decade of jail time.

The cops thought they were arresting the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. In fact, they were arresting a G.

Go chill at the house, Skip, and ask your neighbor why she was snitchin'.

(To new readers of the site, this is said all with tongue firmly in cheek. I am happy for Skip Gates though)

PS - Wasn't Shyne supposed to be released in Spring? And is it true he has converted to Judaism? That's a first....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Well...Thank GOD That's Over.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Chris Brown.



Thoughts?

Personally, I hate to sound cynical, this all sounds like:

"Hey, for the love of God, PLEASE start playing my music on the radio again. Once a person says they're sorry you can't pile on anymore."

(just sayn')

More Of This Crap

And People wonder why I have MAJOR issues with Boston.

Harvard Prof. Arrested for Breaking In To His Own Home


(didn't Chappelle have a great joke about this on Bring The Pain.)

I honestly don't think this would have happened at UNC or UT Austin. This story is VERY Boston for me. Very northern racism. VERY.

VERY.

(did I say "very" yet?)


VERY.


Very.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Asshole of the Week!



Congratulations Representative Tiahrt, you're this week's winner!

Your Time Waster Of The Day

Pick The Perp

Flashback Friday

A few weeks ago I visited Boston for the first time.

I did the typical tourist-y stuff--

Ate in the North End. Walked the Freedom Trail. Visited the alma mater of a few of the people who write on this blog. Etc., etc., etc.

I noticed one thing, though.

The city that produced Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, and Ralph had a noticable lack of people who, well, looked like Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, and Ralph.

I understand that I probably wasn't hanging in the right spots but when it's the 4th of July weekend, you'd think you'd see some black people walking around downtown. Or at least a few more.

Hence this week's Flashback.

Ed O.G. might be the most famous emcee to come out of Boston not associated with the Gangstarr Foundation (sorry Def Jux artist Mr. Lif). And being honest, Guru has always been a bit more about Brooklyn than his hometown.

Part of me wishes I'd been able to check Roxbury. After all, the town Crispus Attucks resided in has to keep its black folks somewhere.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't Hurt That Baby!

An old friend of mine recently sent out the announcement of the birth of their child. The baby is healthy. The family is excited. Then I read the name. Damn! Both parents are college educated, and in the absence of all evidence supporting the contrary, they gave the baby a "black" name. I want to be clear. I'm proud of being black. Wouldn't change it for the world. But it does have some "limitations" that I can freely admit to even though my name is "Craig". So when I read the latest article that seems to surface once a year, about how resume's with "black" names have FAR fewer callbacks than resumes with "white" names, I wonder how in good consciousness can you give your baby a black name? I mean, it's hard enough being black in America but now you're going to intentionally sabotage your child's chances of advancement through employment?

Is it wrong the people discriminate based upon something silly as a name? Yes. Does it happen. Yes. I know that our President's name is "Barack Hussein Obama" and that many white daughter's across the country love them some Soulja Boy, but that's the fantasy! In other words, if these same daughter's brought home "Barack Hussein Obama" the Gap employee, I don't think the tolerance level will be quite the same.

I'd like to live in a world where none of this matters but we don't. So in the interim, I'm not willing to sacrifice my child's shot at a happy future for the sake of an ideal...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No, Kid...NO.

So...we had to produce a bit for the show where we interview people in Times Square. We make them do impressions of their favorite celebrities and it's always a hectic time. Some people do Peter from Family Guy other will do an animal (today featured a guy doing his best Pterodactyl).

At one point this little black boy came up. Couldn't have been older than 11. He wanted to be in it so bad.

HIM: "I can do Oprah"

ME: "Okay, kid, lemme see your Oprah"

And of course he...hesitated...couldn't really do Oprah.

ME: "Well go on and practice, man. And if you can do it in a little I'll put you on camera"

He came back to me about three minutes later, I had seen him off near the street thinking, working on stuff and figuring it all out.

HIM: "I can do a hip hop dancer"

ME: "Look, kid, that's not really an impression, it's a dance. But just keep thinking, maybe you'll come up with something. Just keep coming back to me and when you have something, anything that's an impression, I'll get you on."

So...he went off again, worked on it. During which time (and I know he saw it) another teenager came up and did her impression of her school's mascot: a bulldog. It was cute and funny. Other people did animals as well. It's a crazy furious thing.

Diallo and I usually have to think on our feet and pitch Jimmy ideas of what to do with the people who come up to him as the same time we're doing crowd control and deciding who gets to go next and prepping them to "be big and have fun and if Jimmy asks you to do other stuff just go for it..."

It's a fast environment in a crowded square. Everything seems like it's happening at once. (I love this kind of stuff BTW).

Finally...the black kid comes back up to me.

HIM: "I can do a monkey."

And all of a sudden the environment wasn't fast anymore. Things got slow.

ME: (In my head) HELL FUCKING NO. Don't you understand the cultural significance of that? Don't you understand that centuries black people were mistreated and cursed specifically using that very stereotype. Our intelligence and even our appearance likened to that sad display of non-humanity. To this day some right-wingers use those inferences and comments to liken our poised and intelligent first lady to that horrid bit of association...and there's a reason THIS CARTOON is still offensive, no matter how hard they try and explain it away. Sorry kid...your heart's innocent, but the world is not.

ME: (Out Loud) "Nah, man. Nah."

In a way, as I told Diallo after, I'm a little happy about the fact he wanted to do that impression. To him it was just a funny animal. I love that, in fact.

But I know better.


Fuck. No.

The MOST Addictive Website...

...Holy crap. I can't stop looking.

WHY THE F*CK DO YOU HAVE A KID?

Thousands at Chappelle's Secret Show

Dave Chappelle at Pioneer Square

He expected 200, and thousands showed. Amazing love for Dave in the clip above.

America: The Grandest Experiment


Every day I'm reminded of just how crazy an experiment America actually is. I can't think of a better word than experiment; defined as "an act or operation for the purpose of discovering something unknown". Mid-way through the week, I've been amazed at how much we're CLEARLY making this up as we go along. Vice-President Cheney ordering (with no actual authority) the CIA to not reveal information to Congress even though they were legally obligated to do so: FAIL. White men feigning outrage over comments of a "wise Latina" because as Bill Maher states so succinctly, "We all know that the boots of Puerto Rican woman have been on the necks of white men for centuries.": FAIL.

Closer to home, several weeks ago I was waiting for a meeting at the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard when a huge protest rally of about 2,000 people passed by. That day, the California State Supreme Court had refused to overturn the state's recent ballot initiative prohibiting gay marriage. I've blogged against this initiative (and what I feel is the related hypocrisy of the African-American community at-large) and even gave money to fight the initiative. Which is why I was particularly amused when the protestors upon seeing the small crowd of predominately African-American's sitting in front of the Comedy Store began chanting, "Gay is the new black!": FAIL.

Why go there? I'm against any form of government sanctioned discrimination, can't we just use that as common ground? Gay = Black is an argument that goes nowhere. Most pointedly, a gay-rights march through West Hollywood seemed to fall a little short of the "standard" of a civl-rights march through Selma, Alabama...I'm just saying.

Which is why I was a little amused at the story of the police raid on a gay bar in Fort Worth, TX. Like every incident, there are two sides to every story and the true facts will probably never come to light, but I did find this public testimony of one of the patrons revealing, "[that night] "was the first time that I was really afraid of the police." I guess you're not REALLY that black after all?

Craig's message to gay white people. I get it. I get that your gayness is the first time that you've felt OUTSIDE of the mainstream culture of this country. You now know what it feels like to be hated for something that's really beyond your control. But does your gayness entirely trump your "whiteness"? More importantly, why do you have to trivialize my blackness in the process fighting for your rights? Where is your VOICE on the SCLC's apparent effort to remove the president of its Los Angeles chapter, Rev. Eric P. Lee, in response to his support of gay marriage rights? He's black. He's "straight". He's fighting YOUR fight for YOU.

The fact of the matter is that to many of "us", you really don't look OR sound that different than Hatch, Sessions & Graham. I'd even be willing to wager that on a percentage basis, there are more gay Republicans than African-American Republicans.

While you thinking about that, let the grand experiment continue!

Rock Funk

There was a time when, as a kid in the 80s, the music on the rock channels was on the R&B charts as well.

This is one of them.



Used to love this track.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Game Versus...Everybody

At this point, is there any camp the Game hasn't directly attacked? I think he's a talented rhymer, but dude, come on...at some point it just seems beneath your talent.



He even offers dating advice to Kanye re: Amber Rose.

Not gonna lie though, I love this beat. And sadly, the Game is almost exclusively compelling when he is in attack mode. "300 Bars" is a classic.

So conflicted on this one.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hot Summer Heat

A hot new one from Pharrell (well, technically the Clipse).



Heat, methinks.

Also, check out the inventiveness of this track from Jib Kidder, called "Windowdipper." He and Major Lazer are my "experimental" beat producers du jour.



And lastly Ghostface. He's never had a true crossover hit, but that might change. He's hooked up with Ron Browz for the track below, called "She's A Killer." Not perfect, but enjoyable, and I still really like it anytime your boy rhymes. And third verse is classic Ghost ("Lord, forgive me, I was sippin' that brown.")



Let us know what you're listening to rat 'bout now!

Open Thread...and Return

I'm back.

Gonna start blogging a lot more heavily guys. sorry for the long break. so much I wanna share with the community and ask you about.

did some time in Europe and def wanna talk to you about that too.

but since this is an open thread...

...how you been?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Worst Song...

..ever?



Ron Artest's "Michael Michael" (Michael Jackson Tribute Song)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Flashback Friday

With the damn near 24/7 Michael Jackson coverage over the past week, I've been thinking about family music acts.

Two groups really stick out in my mind. The first is The Sylvers. The Sylvers put out some good records in the '70s and members of the family were responsible for helping Janet Jackson put together her self-titled debut in 1982.

The other clan is British and formed the group Five Star. I don't know much about the Pearsons but this week's Flashback has stayed in my head since the first time I heard it. When I found the 12" for "All Fall Down" during a recent trip to a NYC used vinyl spot, I just had to pick it up. And for all you DJs out there, this track mixes well with another Friday Flashback.

Man, I'm always a sucker for videos following the A-Ha mold...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Review: Maxwell's "BLACKsummers'night"

It is absolutely fitting that on the day of Michael Jackson's memorial service, Maxwell is releasing his 4th solo album, "BLACKsummers'night". It's been EIGHT years since Maxwell's "Now" release and to say that he's overdue would be an understatement...

Which brings me to my point about Maxwell & Michael. Both of these gentlemen are EXTREMELY talented [While I'm not saying that Maxwell is not on Michael's level, I will say that on his WORSE day Maxwell is better than 98% of the artists out there]. And both of these gentlemen had/have been EXTREMELY unproductive as of late. To have that/this much talent and no product is absolutely unconscionable in my opinion [See Aretha, Stevie, Miles, Marvin under definition of "work ethic in their prime"].

My point? After two-and-a-half week's of listening, I am here to tell "Blacksummers'night" is NOT that good of an album. Of Maxwell's four albums, it's a distant fourth. And what makes me even angrier is that it took him 8 years to give the public the worst album of his career. Some of you may be consoled by the fact that next July he'll deliver his 5th album and the July after that his 6th, but I'm not. I'm concerned.

"Blacksummers'night" finds Maxwell eerily in a place that he's NEVER been. It's raw. Mostly un-edited. Stripped-down. The EXACT opposite of what all three prior Maxwell album's have been: meticulously edited, thoughtful, exacting and obsessive. "Blacksummers'night" feels like he got a bunch of extremely talented musicians into the studio at once and ran through the songs in quick succession. No looking back. How those session's went down is what this album sounds like. More instruments collide on this album than any previous Maxwell album. His vocals sound "rough". The song-writing is fairly formulaic. No interesting bridges or breaks. In other words, it's lacking in ALL of the areas where Maxwell used to SHINE. Oh, did I mention it's only 9 tracks long and one of them is an instrumental track?

Maxwell is already touring in support of this album, selling-out theaters nation-wide. It will be hard from him to see that the (assumed) sales success of "Blacksummers'night" and its tour has to do with his PAST success and not THIS album. Maybe I'll be proven wrong and the critics will savage this record and the fans will be lukewarm. But I doubt it. Maxwell has left us waiting for 8 years and most fans will probably be happy to have ANYTHING from him. As I said earlier, Maxwell at his worst is better than 98% of the stuff out there. "Blacksummers'night" is no exception to this rule.

I'm going to buy "Blacksummers'night" today because there are so few "real" artists out there these days. But I will be purchasing this album BEGRUDGINGLY.

If you've got an opinion, would love to read it in the comments.

cmB

Friday, July 3, 2009

Flashback Friday

This past week I've seen and heard a lot about Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing turning 20 years old.

I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that the film's been out 20 years.

Even more so, I can't believe this week's Flashback has been out for the same amount of time (note: The song was not on the movie's soundtrack).

Remember Redhead Kingpin? Are you wondering what he's doing now? Take a listen. Talk about a successful transition from limelight to background player extrodinaire (a.k.a. producer).


Thursday, July 2, 2009

More Fun With Detroit Politics: Conyers' Saga

Actually, this isn't all that fun for me.

Watching politics in Detroit is like seeing the ex you still care for do smack in a Sunoco bathroom.

Disappointment is abound.

I have deep feelings for the city but the leadership there hasn't done much to help its dire situation.

The latest episode involves Monica Conyers. You know, the Detroit councilwoman who threatened to shoot people, called a colleague Shrek, and got in a verbal scuffle with our 2008 Greatest American of the Year?

Well, in a development that you could call both an embarrassment and a blessing, Conyers is a councilwoman no more.


"She's about to do more time than I ever did."

Conyers pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy charges in a scandal that involved, I isht you not, sludge.

Could you please try for less irony next time?

I just wonder, will there ever be a time when folks in office just say, "Hey, I know this is a lot of cash but my ass could go to prison and I'll jeopordize the public trust and cause hardship in my family's, constitutents' and staffers' lives. I shouldn't do this"?

Call me a dreamer but I have to hold out hope.

Does anybody know someone out there (not named Cory Booker) who might be a person I can put stock in (just to be left in tears a few years down the road)?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Diallo's of Houston"

I feel like I should get a cut of this party...



Damn, that looks like one hot party. Houston, represent.