Friday, May 28, 2010

Yeezy's Back


Kanye just leaked the first single, "POWER."

LINK IS HERE (h/t Hot 97)


If anyone thought he would come back humble, we now know...nope, just the opposite.

Notably he goes at Saturday Night Live, which allowed Taylor Lautner to behead a cardboard cutout of him back in December.

I don't hear any autotune on the piece.

Thoughts?

Flashback Friday

Memorial Day is here so that means summer is, too.

That said, I had to go with a track that just doesn't seem right unless it's being played in warm weather.

I have to say, though, with no disrespect intended, there's a reason we haven't heard from Ill Al Scratch since the New Jersey Drive soundtrack's "Don't Shut Down On A Player". Just check the video intro. Driving at night with sunglasses on. Not bright.

Also, I'm hoping they're using the CD player option in that dope Benz audio system as opposed to the tape player with track-sensing. Something about these guys just screams, "Yo. We got this car from Alamo and we gotta turn it in in an hour".

And finally, is anyone still miffed Brian McKnight performed at the 2000 Republican Convention (he was announced as "Brian Knight")? I'm not but just checking to see what the commentariat felt.

Regardless, a summer jam is a summer jam and IAS hit the nail on the head with this one time.

Here's to a safe and enjoyable weekend for you and yours.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More Fun With Detroit Politics--The Conclusion (for at least 1.5 years)


Good God. My home state got nailed today.

1. Steve Yzerman is leaving the franchise he helped build after nearly 30 years.
2. The crew from "The First 48" can't follow Detroit police raids after they might have captured the death of a 7 year-old on tape.
3. My alma mater's football program is beginning to look like every fucktard team/school.
4. Kwame.

Everyone's favorite sexting ex-mayor got hit with jail time after not being able to keep up with his restitution payments. He'll likely serve between 1.5 and 5 years and still have to pay what remains of his $1 million restitution.

Full disclosure: If someone worked in in Detroit's mayor's office in 2005, chances are I know or have interacted with them. So, on a personal level, seeing this shit go down has been like a regularly-scheduled dick punch every week for 100 weeks. For all that's been said about Kilpatrick, I maintain he's one of the sharpest people I've ever met.

That said, what the fuck.

For all the foresight some political types purport, I have a hard time comprehending how some folks think they can get away with stretching the truth or flat-out lying in this day and age and not have it bite them in the ass not too far down the road. As U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal found out recently, people got cameras.

And data tapes. And memories (of the human kind).

But I'm not here to play moral police. I just have one question and a thought exercise:

How much was this indiscretion worth?

I'm serious. Line-item this.
Monetize it.

Better yet, what threshold would you cap your booty calls at?

Aaron MacGruder Has Crossed The Line

The Boondocks usually makes me laugh.


This isn't clever like Chappelle doing The Black White Supremacist or even ironic and revelatory like Sasha Baron Cohen singing "throw the Jew down the well" on the Ali G show.

This is a fairly positive portrait of a character who thinks black people complain too much and deserve the scorn of rational people. The most reasonable viewpoint in the episode is that of a racist. He makes racism a norm.

(How come we haven't really seen Huey yet this season? The lone voice of sanity, though radical, in this universe? How come the last two seasons only the over-the-top characters are the ones getting all the lines? I like Riley, I like Ruckus, I like all the rest... but where in the hell is Huey? Where's the objective voice that called societies bullshit out for what it was?)

Aaron has one of the ONLY remaining intelligent platforms for social commentary. The rest of us would KILL to have such a platform.

I don't understand why he's using it, not to call out the absurdity of racism or even to affirm the reaonsableness of a militant mind set, especially when one looks at the milieu of stupidity and weakness in popular culture and black culture.

But lately, his platform has simply been used to re-affirm the worst stereotypes of black people.

It wasn't always that way.

I'm not sure what changed or why.

We are all free to say what we want when we want. Aaron is free to make his art.

But I gotta call him out for this one.

What do you think?


This Is Hollywood

EVERYTHING you need to know about working in Hollywood is well summed up in this Onion article.


So perfect.

Underground Hip Hop Post

So the last post about mainstream hip hop (which I deny is more coon-ish than the music ten years ago), has sparked a debate about underground hip hop.

I think a lot of what is considered "underground" these days is every bit full of pretentious, unimaginative crap as the mainstream.

You don't have to choose one or another. There are good songs in both.

That said, here are a few artists that will probably have limited chances to break out big, but you should definitely get to know.

British rapper Ty. Track is "Emotions."



This artist, Shad, has a lot of buzz but I am not sure I am feeling his flows as much as I am feeling his production. The beat is bananas.



Does Aloe Blacc still count as a rapper? Anyone who knows his music from the early 2000s, the answer would be yes. In the past few years, he's been singing more than rapping (but isn't Mos Def the same way)?

Anyway, happy to see Aloe blowing up, kind of, with the track below.



Who else should we be listening out for?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mel Brooks' "HITLER RAP"

Mel is a genius. And this track, released in 1983, was ahead of its time in terms of rap parody.



And Mel has rhythm to boot. What a cool ass track.

I found a 9:08 version online. It has a hot breakbeat in the middle of the song. Whomever produced this knew what they were doing.

Rand Paul

This video does it right, and its funny too.



Short and sweet. With some Marvin Gaye to boot.

For those who haven't seen it, here's the unbelievable interview with Maddow:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Flashback Friday

Honestly, I had to peruse my memory when I saw this and I came up with nada.

Of course, I knew the "Quinton's on the Way" skit from Pharcyde's debut album but I didn't remember Quinton actually having a track AND a video.

But maybe there's a reason. According to this YouTube clip's caption, Quinton was the 'Cyde's weed man. So it seems like his behind the scenes work helped him get a little shine with the help of his boys.

I have to wonder, though. Yes, Bizzare Ride... was a classic album, but the group basically fell apart shortly thereafter in large part because of their "indulgences" (I recall J Dilla giving an interview about his work on Labcabincalifornia. Basically, drug-induced fights amongst the four members almost nixed the entire project).

So really, how beneficial was Quinton to Pharcyde? Was he worth "putting on" due to his ability to score them the best sticky iky in L.A. when, in effect, he was an accomplice to killing the group?

Even Hammer never let his accountant's album see the light of day. Too bad cuz I hear MC Abacus had skills and the "Fuck GAAP" EP was bananas. Deep down, Hammer knew that dude was screwing him over. Why reward him?

But apparently Imani, Bootie Brown, Slimkid3 and Fatlip didn't see things that way.

Since he's in part responsible for simultaneously blessing and destroying the creative genius of one of hip-hop's most innovative groups, I don't know whether to say, "Thanks, Quinton" or "F- you, Quinton".

As a result, I'll just leave you with the video...


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guy Ritchie Has Excellent Taste In Music

Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels


Snatch

Hubble Gotchu! (E-40 sounding edition)

Eddie Murphy on Leno

Some good stuff in this interview. Redd Foxx, Eddie's relationship with Cosby and more.



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ladysmith Snack Mombazo

This was fun for The Roots and The Message kids. From last night's show:



Tonight's show will be even more insane, with the debut of a new SLOW JAM THE NEWS and the premiere of HUBBLE GOTCHU: THE MUSIC VIDEO.

Tune into LATE NIGHT with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ladysmith

Watch this and then tune into Jimmy Fallon tonight to learn why we posted it:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Old Friend Shows You The Real

Scott Stanford, who was one of our producers at The Message, is also an officer in the Army.

He's in Afghanistan and has taken some cool pics.

To Wit:

In the US you hear about “Taliban” a lot, but most of the time the group being talked about isn’t really Taliban. There are many “insurgent” groups here, and all of them are pure criminal gangs looking to make themselves rich and assert their own dominance. There is no organized, political insurgency in Afghanistan. But that’s what the US decided it was fighting against, so we are going to see a Maoist insurgency under every rock. Well … it doesn’t exist.

Yeah. You don't hear that shit on the news, do you?

Flashback Friday

Happy Belated Birthday, Stevland Morris. He turned 60 yesterday.

This past year, I know I've lost a lot of my musical faves. Whether it was Michael, Guru or Baatin, it felt like a little bit of my younger years flamed out when they passed.

Luckily, though, Stevie is still here. I don't even want to think about a time when he won't be.

So here's what might be my favorite Wonder joint. It makes me want to break into a little two-step at an Elks Lodge or something.

And I didn't know there was a vid for it.

Thank you Interwebs. You made my slide into the weekend that much easier.

Take care, y'all.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Young People Against Hip Hop

I love Tony Brown's Journal. Not always accurate...but always entertaining.

Here he talks to Thomas Chatterton Williams, one of many rising voices from the young that perhaps it's time for us to broaden our definition of what it means to be a "good man" in black culture.

This isn't new. It's as old as hip hop itself.

But, for the first time, young people, not just old outsiders, are starting to question if rabid materialism provides enough spiritual nutrition to create a good person.

(skip past Tony's droning. Thomas starts talking after about 3 minutes)

Part 1:

Part 2:

(Thomas has a far more eloquent and persuasive defense of his position on his website where you can hear his interview on Michael Eric Dyson's show. You REALLY should listen to it. He comes off as the one dude who notices the Emperor has no clothes.)

Even Gawker called out Jay Z recently though moreso for a concern about the purity of the art form, which me and Christian Lander totally disagree with them on. Yet they do touch on his glorification of money as a larger ill. The secret is out. You can listen to his music, he and his peers, all day long and not learn a damn thing.

Fair or not, Jigga has become the poster child for hip hop. And as we see the young blacks in our cities continue on a path of self-destruction, again something that is WAY OLDER than hip hop...one wonders if those with the largest megaphones aimed at the youth could be using them for the glorification of a life well led and fulfilled...even if it meant not being "drug money rich".

An old issue. A complicated issue. But we should never stop trying to figure this one out.

My personal take is that our music suffers from a lack of balance. There's no more yang. Just tons of bling and Ying. Our shit is all Sith no Jedi. We need both. Even though the sith do make better records. The economics make it impossible for the Jedi to even get signed or stay positive. It is what it is.

Hip hip is now run by a bunch of out of touch old dudes. They no longer just want money, they want an empire. They exploit their legitimately tough pasts at the expense of our future.

It's not Jay Z's fault. But he ain't helping either.

The silver lining though is that history repeats itself. When some cultural behemoth gets too big it tends to get shunned. More and more young people are getting off of Facebook. And just like grunge obliterated Hollywood glam rock in the early 90's*...

...so too could some new musical interpretation come along and wipe hip hop off the charts.

It's happened before.

Shit... it might even be a different form of hip hop that does it.
---

*It was so great to see grunge come along. it's one of the few cultural movements I got to actually witness. As soon as Smells Like Teen Spirit hit the streets...it's like you couldn't listen to guns and roses; their music was nauseating compared to that of STP, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and others.

A Whole Generation: No Musicians

I went to see FELA! over last weekend. Amazing show.



Great show, but one thing I couldn't help but notice.

There was a huge band representing Fela's band and only one black face in the band.

And something tells me they wanted to have a band that looked like Fela's band...but I'm giving Jay-Z and Will/Jada Smith (the show's producers) the benefit of the doubt.

Namely, there aren't as many black musicians on that level anymore (and sorry, that cat playing smooth jazz at that earth tone-themed restaurant near your house doesn't count).

"You know, you should try the shrimp, brother..."


Friend of the Message (and recreational blogger) Craig told me three or four years ago. "There are no new black kids aspiring to be drummers."

There are lots of wannabe producers. But few kids set out to play the drums or any instrument at all these days. They want to produce on their laptops or they want to rap or both.

"Yo, let me get on, son!"

The result is a generation where almost no one plays an actual instrument.



Think back on the bands of the past.



Most album covers were about 18 dudes...because it took a lot of humanity to fill out the sound of a James Brown or Ohio Players record.



During the Reagan years, funding for the arts in public schools was dramatically slashed at the federal, state and local levels. I don't think its a coincidence that there was also an uptick in crime among the youth in the same period.



If we give kids the chance to explore their creativity, we not only make the streets safer, we can make music that will last for generations.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We're Moving Backwards

My hometown is officially Los Angeles in 1991 (via WSHH)


Barack needs to get involved. He knows he needs to get involved.

Why the hell isn't he getting involved? If I was his Republican counterpart for the White House in 2012 I'd be hitting him on this every single.

"How can you possibly stand for Law and Order when your own hometown has turned into a nightmarish war zone?"

Monday, May 10, 2010

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

RIP - Lena Horne


Clearly, there just weren't enough gorgeous women in heaven.

But God let us have this one for a while.

My first exposure to Lena Horne probably came via The Cosby Show.



But if anyone is happy today, it's Red Foxx. He loved "The Horne" more than anybody.

Comes in at the 5:01 mark.

RIP, Ms. Horne. Beauty, talent, class act.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Drunk N' Funny

I'm kinda loving the Drunk History over at FOD.

Oney Washington

Edison and Tesla

Happy Mother's Day

Enjoy the song below if you love your Mama.

And if you want to here the song Raphael Saadiq sampled for his Q-Tip collaboration, "Get Involved."



I LOVE the lyrics of this song. Only in the 70s did singers come up with lyrics like "Sometimes I feel so bad/Bout the things I used to do/How Mama used to clean somebody else's house/Just to buy me a new pair o' shoes."

And if you don't laugh out loud at the two straight minutes of "talking" that starts at the 4:01 mark....well, you don't appreciate the old heads enough.

Happy Mothers Day, Moms.

Flashback Friday

I know it's Mother's Day Sunday but I'm out of dope mama salute jams after the past two years. The "Dear Mama's" and Dedicated's" of the world are a little too slow for me.

So in the spirit of the Sade post, I've opted to put up a vid from a woman, and mother, who's still doing it at the age of 51. Yeah. 51.

Plus, since I'm a fan of that NYC/'80s Freestyle sound, I gotta go with this track.

Give it up for Ms. Jody Watley.

Good God, man. Those 'brows were F-I-E-R-C-E, FIERCE.



Make sure to make calls, send cards or do whatever else you do to honor your Earths.

'Til next week...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

18 Years Since the Riots

Remember curfews?









Hard to imagine things getting this out of control nowadays.

SADE: Definitely a Vampire

There is no other way (perhaps "no ordinary way") to explain how a woman who looked so great when I was in elementary school STILL looks this good today.



Come clean, Sade. You're feasting on the blood of the young and nubile.

(Seriously, though...DAMN Sade looks good).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Machete

Legitimately excited to see this movie.

New Music For You: Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa's new mixtape Kush & OJ is out.

Pick it up.

Diallo put me on to him and I love the guy.

Here's a track I'm already diggin'

Spotlight f/Killa Kyleon

Here's my favorite track from his last mixtape Burn After Rolling:

Ode To A Naked Pro

And another one I couldn't stop listening to:

If I Were A Lame

Also, Vulture has a great article featuring Wiz about how MC's are once again changing the game.

"My President is Black, my head coach too...ooh."

Pittsburgh, stand up!

Aight, now go back to work.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hubris?

Or just further proof that it's great to be blissfully unaware?

Either way, Diddy has done a trailer for his new blog.

A trailer for his blog. Think about that.

www.diddyblog.com from Diddy Blog on Vimeo.

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Cee-Lo: "I Want You"

New Music Monday

This one coming out just in time for summer.

Two From The Big Dog

THE SECRET


MAN RAPE


"I'm one of those people that is so smart that I'm uncomfortable in this world."

umm...is it me or is Dave like a solid philosopher? He's moving past just doing comedy and picking up the mantle of modern day Aristotle in the mold of George Carlin.

Aaron's Last Year

Before there was ever a Boondocks show there's was a Boondocks comic strip. A few years after the strip began to make waves Diallo and I met Aaron McGruder through mutual friends in LA.

He was excited about the start of his latest take on this strip. A TV show.

He should have been excited, it went on to be a hit and a pop culture phenomenon.

It's hard to believe sometimes that so many of the folks we knew from our early days in LA, when everyone was getting started or getting even more (as in Aaron's case) have gone on to success. Won't drop any names but more and more Diallo and I are starting to have stories like, "oh I remember a few years ago when INSERT NAME HERE and I were at this club and INSERT STORY I CAN'T REPEAT."

At any rate, Aaron was always interesting, funny and sharp. And while we haven't seen him in a few it's good to see him do his thing.

Here's the final season premiere.

Congrats, Aaron.

Tea With Tyson

"mind-altering"- Tony Riddle

Is Obama Smashing This Like An Idaho Potato? (Open Thread)


Vera Baker

The Enquirer thinks it's true. The way the story was reported is extremely flimsy. I think their hope is that someone, who wants to get PAID, will come forward with more proof.

She's a cutie and I just KNOW one of our readers knows her so ya'll need to spill the beans.

This story leaves me with more questions than answers.

1. Given his frank comments about Tiger Woods, (comments I found kind of annoying since, for the life of me, I don't know why Obama needed to weigh in on that...or call Kanye an "jackass")*...could his Presidency survive a cheating scandal?

2. Even if Ms. Baker is not his mistress, is Obama way too smooth and cool to be faithful to Michelle?

3. Is it THAT cold in the room Vera's in?

For me, the tragedy would be if his successful legislative agenda took a nosedive because of something like this. That would mean that, once again, A Democrat who couldn't control their libido made us all suffer.

I wish our country was mature enough to separate a person's legislative achievement from their bedside manner (see Newsome, Mayor Gavin)...but we're not. And because Obama is so outspoken on the fidelity thing it does have to call his character into question.

If it's true.

If it's not the Enquirer should be sued out of existence. But they broke the Edward's story despite a throng naysayers so their coverage does raise an eyebrow.

Weigh in, my friends, weigh in.

---

* clearly, this President is way more in-tuned to pop culture than he lets on. You think he watches The Jersey Shore? I bet he does.

Chris Brown at the Fight

How does this happen?



Is Boxing wrong for asking me to sing it at a fight (where punches are thrown)? Is Chris Brown crazy for accepting to do it?

Actually, no, I'm sure Chris Brown will show up at the local mall to sing these days if the pay and security is right.

Twitter is Blacker

Not that trending topics like #ahhellnaw didn't give you some hint, but it turns out Twitter is disproportionately African American.



Here's more things about Twitter you may not know
.