I tell you, oh my brothers and sisters, the times, they are a'changin' around this beeaieyach. So let me begin by saying that I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and I hope that you're not only thankful for that gluttonous meal you ate Thursday afternoon with your fat-ass family, but you're also in the spirit of giving something to those who might be in worse need than you this winter.
Keep in mind that I'm not a fan of baseless charity; I prefer that people find something that they love and want to see bettered through personal investment. Deserving a gift is the ideal. But let's be fair; we're in a recession and there are hungry and cold people out there who may have fallen through the cracks under Georgia Bush's reign of terror on the American government. Prayer helps, but action is necessary in these times. Let's all pitch in.
Speaking of Georgia, since it is one of the states that I represent through my honorary position as Senator to the southern tri-state area of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, and I do most of my business in Atlanta, let me keep it ultra gutter and tell you what's really hood in the city that made me. Here, as food for thought, are the top 30 reasons why the City of Atlanta is pretty much dead. Listen to me now; believe me later on.
THE UNDERWRITER'S TOP 30 REASONS
WHY ATLANTA IS DYING OFF:
1. Shakir Stewart's death (R.I.P.)
2. T.I. going to jail
3. Luda going Hollywood
4. Gucci Mane in jail
5. Young Jeezy cooling off
6. Soulja Boy
7. Jermaine Dupri running a club & destroying Janet's career at once
8. L.A. Reid in the Hamptons
9. 1/2-ass Janelle Monae project management by Bad Boy
10. Lil' Jon M.I.A.
11. Hot 107.9's A-Team fired; replaced by Ricky Smiley
12. Maurice Garland M.I.A. since 11/5
13. Gyant gaining fame
14. No clear cut female rap queen/leading lady
15. Jax death (R.I.P.)
16. DJ Drama still in legal limbo
17. Killer Mike fadeaway
18. Usher in career limbo
19. Dallas Austin on permanent vacation
21. Kaya becomes Club Vision, then torn down for Trump condos
22. The death of Freaknic (R.I.P.)
23. Mike Vick not coming back
25. Price of a$$ & foreclosures ^; local economy & city budget down
26. Continued water (& weed) drought
27. Polow Da Don recent brick marathon
28. Still no Real World Atlanta
29. Chicago's comeuppance
30. No alcohol sales on Sunday except clubs & restaurants
To be certain, there is only one hope...
The Dungeon Family. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Anybody who has been here since the mid-90s can tell you that even moreso than Dallas and Jermaine and only second to LaFace, the DF made Atlanta cool, so only they can reinstitute the groove and save the city. If that fails, expect me to speak to you from New York or Los Angeles in 2010.
Fortunately, there are three OutKast projects and one GOODie MoB. album on the way. Thank God. Shout to the homie Dallas in town for Turkey weekend.
Jesus, I had no idea how zooted I was when they shot this video. That's what two Ls of Sour Diesel and plenty of vodka will do to you. Anyway, here's that video I told you about from the New York post.
Let there be no doubt that I was feeling extra glowy with those blue lights all around me.
Let there be no doubt that I was feeling extra glowy with those blue lights all around me.
Chicago's own Common came to my homestate last weekend, so I stopped by the all-new Club Sky to check it out. To be certain, this guy Common brings the women out in full force, and there were plenty of Lisa Lisas (80's version) in attendance. I wasn't alone, so I had to do the honorable thing and stay by the bar getting OVERTHROWED until dude hit the scene around midnight or so. Wouldn't want to look thirsty like the ladies, and man were they parched...
When I say that the ladies spazzed, I mean it. I knew that Common had fans, but I didn't know that he is, on the low, approaching L.L. Cool J status with the female rap base. Maybe on the high. And when I say that the high majority of these women were sexy, I say it because the shit is true, on the low.
Com came through, sat at the couch with an extra big bodyguard from Birmingham that my homegirl says she dated for a second. This dude was widebody like a walrus, but he had that roscoe/biscuit/heater/toolie/pistola on his hip, and his size alone was suggestive enough that nobody really tried to push up on Chi-Town's Nas like they couldn't control themselves. Yet he still managed to pull off his job without reaching for the burner and keeping an ill mean mug on his grill, just in case a heifer started acting a donkey, if you will. With his fat ass.
I let the ladies get their kicks and giggles before running up on Common, Bamma-style, and saying, "Thanks for coming to Alabama, cousin." He seemed pleased that he was so well received. It's funny, oh my brothers and sisters; most outsiders always seem super-surprised when they visit the state in which I was raised. They have a wide-eyed stare, and a simple smile that suggests that they didn't expect so much deep south love (NOLO). Common definitely enjoyed the crowd's response to his appearance.
From there, Common cut through the crowd with the assistance of the big dude and stood in the stairwell that led to the DJ booth and pool room--pretty much the only place from which he could effectively perform. He commenced to rock. See video below, and please don't bitch and moan about the darkness; just be grateful for the flashing lights of nearby cameras. You want better quality, I suggest you invest.
Here's the Com'z rocking "Go!" from his debut album on G.O.O.D. Music, Be...
Check the crowd response to "Universal Mind Control", the Neptunes-produced lead single...
From there, he dropped "The Light" (which would have come in handy for my camera) and closed up shop to loud applause and cheers. I have to say that I continue to be impressed by Common when it comes to longevity. He's one of the few rap artists that has been around for ten years of which I can still call myself a fan. Really, it shouldn't be much longer before we just stop fronting all together and put him in the Top 5 of all time. Like he said on "Get 'Em High": "Real rappers is hard to find--like a remote... control rap is out of."
Next up: Musiq. That's right; the cross-eyed R&B singer. I caught him doing his thing as well in Alabama, so I figured why not post it up. Check back tomorrow or the next day for that. And hey!! Thanks for giving me your attention for the last two years.
Make sure you cop Universal Mind Control when it drops (hopefully) on December 9.
"Should have my own reality show called, Soul Survivor."
-Common; "Get 'Em High"
If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly suggest adding D.L. Hughley Breaks The News to your weekly schedule of television intake. Jesus knows that we don't need another hour of TV in our lives, but this one actually helps you to dissolve all the other nonsense available on the variable VH-1's, MTV's and BET's of the digital audiovisual world and learn more about what's really good in the world today. In a black comedy way, of course.
The first show I caught in full was the episode on the Sunday after Obama's victory. It was just perfectly timed for relevance, humor and appropriateness; it seems that someone in the higher offices of the CNN building is smart enough to realize that if you want someone to be able to apply comedy to the first black presidency, they'd better be black. Brilliant!
Wow; how the world has changed in the past six months, huh? Looks like change will continue to come well into 2009 and beyond, oh my brothers and sisters, and we've got to learn to live with the difference in order to have any input or effect on the future. Especially when the guy in charge looks more like America than any other candidate in recent history. Now that we've got a leader, we need supporters, workers and buffers. As long as we have intelligence, art and dialogue, we'll have a national discussion that will lead to something positive.
But enough of that. Seriously, D.L. Hughley is funny as hell. To be fair, I have noticed that his show can be somewhat off when it comes to the other characters that are featured. It's like someone took the Dave Chappelle idea and made it more politically astute but more watered down; sometimes the people overplay their posturing and the jokes fall flat, leaving a lot of pickup duty for the host. Luckily, D.L. has a knack for improvisation and delivery, so he always ends up with a good show. Personal opinion: I've always thought that he's best when he moves between politics and picking random people in the audience to roast. Sure, he's heavy on the profanity, but why the eff wouldn't he be? He's a black comic, for God and Pete's sakes, providing people of other persuasions than African-American rhetorical proof that you can get away with anything that comes out of your mouth if it hints at a strong intellect.
Anyway, here are just a few clips from the performance. Check him out when he's in your town, and support D.L.'s TV show so that CNN keeps cutting checks for black folks with creative, activist minds like mine.
Coming up next, Common (yes, that Common) comes to Birmingham this past weekend. But did he kill? Tune in tomorrow to see.
Somebody get Bryan "Baby" Williams from Cash Money Records on the phone and tell him that Governor Sarah Palin would be an excellent choice if there's an opening at Lil' Wayne's recording home for a new "Birdlady." Not only has she proven over the last three months to be completely incompetent and bird-brained on the national stage, but she obviously doesn't mind some "cut-up", and is proud of herself when it comes to being a "chicken-head."
The milfy, intellectually challenged governor, in another unprecedented display of public relations fuckery, has recently conducted a TV interview in Wasilla, Alaska, in which she probably intended to show mercy and goodwill to a lucky turkey in the spirit of Thanksgiving leadership, but ended up looking like a heartless animal slaughterer auditioning for a starring role in Vick II – The Alaskan Turkey Holocaust, which must be coming out soon in a made-for-TV movie on Lifetime.
There's not much else to say about this, except that Palin's publicity team should definitely have engaged in mass suicide weeks ago on some Branch Davidian ish. Don't worry about seeing anything graphic; MSNBC made sure to blur out any jerkish claw movements, splattering turkey plasma, flying gizzard remnants or airborne beak particles so that you can keep on thinking that the Lawd sends us fresh, pre-butchered turkeys from either Heaven or the North Pole right in time for the holiday season. I'm not even mad at this if Palin was intentionally trying to stage a publicity stunt for to make her upcoming book advance go up a few more millies, but she can pretty much kiss politics goodbye after this. The sleeping public is not ready to see this type of thing.
Visiting New York City is a surreal experience for anyone from the deep south. To be honest, I've always been against the idea of living in The Big Apple but happy to visit for a day or two. The feeling I've always taken away is that nobody should have to pay that much just to survive, no matter how cool the people are. But there is the key; the people in New York do make the city, and the environment creates a hardened (nolo) perspective--the NY State of Mind--that exists in even the most anti-social residents of any and every borough.
The first major difference I felt was when I opened up my laptop at the Chili's Too in La Guardia. Nobody tripped. Not that I would have cared; I do it all the time in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, and nobody says shit then either, but the feeling that is displayed on their faces takes body language to a new level of expression, especially when it comes to looking like a hater.
As you see below, I've been riding with Obama since the beginning, and the sticker along with my smile should show you just how I feel if you're looking at me sideways. But again, that's what I'm used to in the south; in New York City I was reminded by the relaxed look on the faces of onlookers that I was among friends, even before I had branched out into the city. As a welcoming sign of acceptance and mutual political thought, it was quite a relief.
Being the third trip I've made to NYC since I've been old enough to drink, this was by far the best time I've had. After an incredibly janky flight, we landed and were towed into the gate as the flight crew threw on "The Sweetest Taboo." Don't
Anyway, I was in town for an interview with a NY-based website that shall remain nameless until the word is official, possibly longer. If you haven't noticed by now, I'm really into anonymity. Fame is an unnecessary side effect to being effective at my craft, and I'd rather sacrifice the spotlight than the joy of loving the job. While I was hanging around SoHo, I visited The Huffington Post before taking the R train to 57th street to get up with the homie White Jesus.
[The homies White Jesus, David and Stella Artois]
Because I was already planning for and expecting a positive trip, I setup my iPod while still in Atlanta Thursday night with NYC-inspired music, to give me a better respect for the subway ride and scenery. While moving through underground Manhattan, I was listening to shit like "Pacifics" by Digable Planets on repeat. That's always been a song that reminds me most of how you NY cats live. Funny how it made much more sense when heard on the subway. You hear, through the headphones, the influences of the train itself in the music, through background noise captured in the track. The sound effect gives it way more clarity than if you were listening through home stereo or car speakers. Experiencing NY Hip-Hop in NY is like drinking Evian directly from a river stream in the French Alps, without the hassle of the plastic bottle. Fresh.
From there, I made the trip to the area (edited) where the homie White Jesus lives and works. Having a best friend who happens to have a good job (edited by request) is a perk in any city, but in NYC it makes a serious difference. The homie lives in an area that is straight out of Seinfeld or Friends. Very urban, but very sociable and lively. And very Jewish. Like the homie says, "It ain't Karate..." Inside joke. Think hard enough and you'll get it.
Back to the story, we got on some Ketel One at his crib, then took a cab to TriBeCa to get up with some other friends who live in town. They had the hookup on the leprechaun delivery, so we stayed put until around 11 p.m., chiefing that great, high-powered Sour Diesel and Apple Jacks. Legalize it!!!
Next, we hit up the apartment of a former co-worker from my bartending days. She had recently moved to Brooklyn, so we were able to visit her and her roommates on the way to the club for a few extra free drinks and our first game of "Thumper." If you've never played it, it's another one of those games that white people play when they're getting OVERTHROWED. And that shit is pretty fun, especially when you have some drunk white women surrounding you in a semi-circle and doing all types of crazy dances and gestures. Here's an example:
Moe finally had enough and steered us towards the party in Brooklyn before we got too juiced up with the party girls, who were headed to their own little shendig around the corner. We took another cab to the club, where all we had to do to get in free was agree to be interviewed on camera about how President-elect Barack Obama has inspired us. Supposedly this video interview will be available tomorrow on their website. If so, I'll post a link. If not, forget that I said that. But I did take a photo of the guys doing the interviewing, just for posterity and so that I'd look like a tourist.
The party was ehhh, but at least there were some other cats that I knew from Atlanta in the building. We spoke to a few ladies, drank more than a few G+Ts and stayed until around 3 a.m. The women were weird; they stared all night but were too timid to respond when we spoke, so I left it alone. Don't you hate a shy chick? Didn't really matter; I wasn't there to try my one-night stand luck; I was there to drink with the homies. Mission accomplished.
We'll leave all the other details out, but the moral is that I had a great time in New York. This was the way I always wanted to experience the city, and just when I've developed the proper mentality to deal with NYC, I see that the city responds to my demands. It gave me the impression that even though people swear up and down that it's an almost impossible lifestyle to lead, which I would have agreed with before this weekend, New York City is still the Mecca of American civilization and the birthplace of Hip-Hop. Because I've always been assumed to have originated in either NY or LA--yet I'm actually from Alabama--it felt like a homecoming of sorts. I can't lie; I pretty much fell in love with the city this past Friday, and I feel like I'm cheating.
The next day, White Jesus had a meeting at his job (edited) and I had a hangover that was not ready to quit before noon, so I woke up, popped a Claritin with a bottle of Pellegrino like the elitist I am and went right back to sleep on the couch. I woke up able to breath and refreshed, ready to hit the Sour Diesel again and grab a slice with the homie before hitching a cab ride back to La Guardia to make my grand exit.
On the way back, I had a great convo with the cabbie, who almost turned me down for a ride from the area (edited for White Jesus's anonymity), but changed his mind because "I talked to him with respect." My man was of Arab descent and a hard-core Democrat. We talked the whole ride about the historic implications of an Obama adminstration and how we've got to work as a world community to keep our differences from becoming rivalries, no matter how far apart we are geographically, ethnically or ideologically. When I arrived at the curbside check-in for Delta flight 925, he wished me good luck on being offered the writing job and thanked me for the conversation.
Jesus. I think I love New York. Don't be mad, Atlanta. Just step your game up before I leave your tired ass.
Anybody who went to an A.U.C. college or university in the mid-90's and remembers the 1995-1996 Morehouse Homecoming concert will understand why I'm writing this blog about the Maxwell + Jasmine Sullivan concert in Birmingham this past Tuesday night. Obviously, nooobody had heard of any Jasmine Sullivans back then, so of course the same went for Maxwell. But he was a new artist at the time, making rounds and paying his dues on the Chitlin' Circuit, and he was the unlucky bastard new guy that was scheduled to open for The Fugees.
If you remember Fall '95, that was the year when 2Pac's All Eyez on Me and The Fugees' The Score put Kanye vs 50 Cent numbers up on the Billboard charts, sparking equally lucrative tours, creative offspring and zealots of every sort trying to jump on either the west coast gangster rap or neo-soul bandwagon and ride that beeyotch to the top. So if you were opening a show for them and you weren't aready a star, you were taking a major gamble with your pride trying to "warm it up" for headliners that were obviously among the biggest names in the business at that time. You can imagine my crew's impatience, having executed a stampede to get past the line at King Chapel's doors for the concert, when the host announced some guy named "Maxwell" that was going to entertain us until Lauryn, Wyclef and Pras were ready to take the stage. Do remember how dude used to look back then, with the hair, glasses and either some dusty jeans or those kung-fu master linen scrubs.
Oh, my brothers and sisters, we booed that young man off the stage with glorious, reckless abandon, and I mean the whole crowd joined the chorus. I'm pretty sure I recall that he came on stage with a bar stool, an accoustic guitar and no shoes, maybe chancletas. Cats weren't having it. We pointed him away from the building with the same steadfast posture as carried by the statue of MLK out in front of the building, waving our arms and shouting for the music to cease. Hearty and magnificent in depth, the ringing and rolling boo went from side to side of the auditorium, with an awesomeness of vocal strength and determination that made it feel like a scene from the colosseum battles in Gladiator.
It was something like this...
Anyway, thirteen years later, though we believed we had killed his career at the time, it has become apparent that Maxwell survived our unrelenting Apollo-styled reception of his performance and progressed. Maybe he just wasn't ready for the stage back then. Maybe we just couldn't dig his "energy" and "swag." Either way, he continues to excel at the job of singing live and making women swoon. He will be around for a while for that reason alone, even if he does put on a weird show. On the low, I bet 80% of dudes hovering around 30 have used Maxwell (nolo) for at least 1 romantic interlude with a special lady in the last 13 years. Maybe on the high. All I know is that he's coming back from a 7-year hiatus, and the comeback looks like it should be a success thus far.
Happening as it was on the first Monday after The Day, the crowd at the BJCC was quite dapper and upbeat, even though most of the people there were probably just coming off a shitty first weekday like myself. You could tell that we were all riding the Obama high for as long as it would last. You did get a sense that people's smiles seemed to be worn naturally on their faces with nothing to hide, as if tonight's ticket price for a well-timed musical performance was an uncharacteristic luxury that we all deserved for showing up at the polls. Oh yeah - don't let me forget about the abundance of black women with jobs, nice dresses and other special qualities that you didn't get to see, because you were commenting on somebody else's blog. You lost.
Oh yes, my brothers and sisters, women love Maxwell, with all his weird "energy" and "swag". He's strange for different reasons than he was in 1995, which may be the key to his career as a performer at a time when nobody's buying albums. Back when we first saw him, this guy was earthier than dirt--even beating out Erykah Badu in a male sort of way. But now he's weird because he does weird dances and says crazy shit on stage about how sorry he is for missing that last show... which, from what I heard, was like six years ago and nobody even remembers.
Then he makes a public plea for free panties,
Say what you will about his "energy" and "swag"; the guy can sing. And he can pack a concert hall in a major city at seat prices starting at $70, which is way more than he used to get when he was onstage chewing an incense stick. Much respect to him and the lovely Jasmine Sullivan, who played "new vocal Whitney" to Maxwell's "R&B Obama", putting a serious dent in the coffin of R&B music, if only for one night. Musical highlights include Sullivan's entire performance--this girl is serious--and Max's "Lifetime", "Til The Cops Come Knockin'", "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" and "This Woman's Work."
(Jasmine Sullivan and her painter's uniform)
The moral of this concert is that if you have true talent you can get away with murder on stage. Jasmine knows that she is wrong for wearing a Dickies suit with the legs rolled up to the knees. And Maxwell is a good enough vocalist that you don't even mind his "energy" and "swag". He's a true musician, and for that he deserves respect.
If he comes to your town anytime soon, go ahead and take out a payday loan so that you can go to the show with some change in your pocket, find a thirsty woman and groove to the rhythm of romance and blues. Maxwell has come a long way from sporting farm attire to wearing a suit and necktie. Now, if we can just keep him away from the "party favors" backstage so he's not getting geeked up before the show, we'll have a new-school Marvin Gaye for years to come.
Is it me or did Maxie steal the infamous "Soy Bomb" dance? You be the judge, dear reader. I'm about to go to bed. If you live in NY, let me know what's good for the weekend. I'll be in town.
I had the unfortunate luck of attending the BET Hip-Hop Awards last month at the Atlanta Civic Center. On the way towards the gate, walking from the parking lot, I saw plenty of friends and even one of my former interns, which still trips me out to this day because it makes me remember that I’ve actually had people work under me for free before I was 25. Wow @ the music business...
Anyway, she and her friend, who I’ve also known for the same amount of years, were headed in the opposite direction of me as I was walking up Piedmont. We saw each other, hugged, and I
Once I got inside, I realized that sometimes the student can teach the teacher. Those girls made much better usage of their time than I did for the next two hours, even if they did nothing more than stare at a piece of chewing gum on the street until 10pm. BET should have let Oreck vacuums sponsor the event and could have given out free FlexiStraws to the audience members, because the show simply sucked.
The three performances that stood out the most were the Salt-N-Pepa/Yo-Yo/Rage/Mc Lyte ladies’ night show with the "Whatta Man" campaign, the Common/N.E.R.D mosh pit which featured Lil’ Wayne, Swizz Beats and T-Pain, and presidential thug Young Jeezy, who performed from a bully pulpit onstage while openly and enthusiastically supporting Obama for president.
Now that the election is over, Obama is in transition between his current job and his future one, naming cabinet members and appointing point persons to assist in building his administration. There is a fervent level of support within the Hip-Hop community for the new leader of the free world, and everyone from listeners to artists are unified with pride. Young Jeezy’s “My President is Black” is blaring from thousands of old school Chevrolets in any and every hood in America, while Will.i.am and John Legend are rocking stadiums with "Yes We Can." Even the moguls are involved with the moment. Everybody won!
Yet it was rumored that someone behind-the-scenes, on behalf of President-Elect Barack Obama, quietly requested to Sean Combs, Sean Carter and Mary J. Blige—among other A-list celebs and entertainers—that they refrain from attending the victory celebration in Grant Park on Election Night. Speculation ensued that this was so that no attention would be diverted away from the man of the moment. But you didn’t have to look too closely to spot the most powerful woman in the world, Oprah Winfrey (in her money green business suit) or the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., who kept a finger to his lips, his arms tightly crossed and his face wet with what appeared to be some form of moisture. Whether or not this was actually salt water in the form of tears is up for question and not confirmed at press time.
Those two celebrity entertainers made sure that they weren’t outside of the view of the video cameras. What I took from their presence was that Obama stood in between the old guard and the current establishment, but that did not include Hip-Hop--at least not yet. Some of us are probably already calling foul and seeing the exclusion of the Hip-Hop power elite as biting the feeding hand of urban culture, which could of course be reasonably included as one of the major factors that resulted in the election of Mr. Obama. I even read somewhere that dead prez, the radical black militant rap group, is already kicking up dust and drawing a line in the cultural sand between themselves and the soon-to-be "44." How this is going to boost their careers, I have no idea, but I do remember that they were open supporters of Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, which was quite the fairy tale if you
The question is, will Obama ever have a concert on the lawn of the White House that looks anything similar to this year's BET Hip-Hop Awards? We know Common is invited automatically, and Michelle will probably use her pull to get Salt-N-Pepa added to the lineup, but will Young Jeezy get to perform at the inauguration? Does Obama need him anymore, if he ever did? Or does Young Jeezy need Obama now, and does he foolishly expect to be embraced as a former “snowman” turned Democratic activist? Should he hold his breath waiting to be named the new national drug czar chosen to be in charge of the ONDCP? Or is this a prime opportunity for people like Young Jeezy and Ludacris to join the national political debate as leaders of the new school of Hip-Hop, not to mention southerners with a listening audience in the millions? That could turn into votes one day, which could turn colors like Georgia Red to Obama Blue.
Or will we see something that nobody expects but everybody knows is possible: President Obama will openly repudiate the culture of gangster rap and promote creative arts without graphic sexual, violent, racially insensitive or just brutally obscene language? Will the first black presidency be the first bullet in the heart of Street-Hop? Or will President-Elect Obama continue to see our Hip-Hop movement as irreverently relevant rebel music?
I’m pretty sure that we should get ready for certain rappers to be avoided full-time by the White House and the Democratic Party now that it's all over, while others will be promoted vigorously. Don’t be surprised if Obama has more White House concerts and public events with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen on the stage than Jay-Z and Puffy; let's just admit that for right now, there’s nothing wrong with that. Let's allow the dust to settle and the emotions to calm for now and let our man Barack tell us his preference of mood music. Just because he might prefer Anita Baker and Maxwell to Keyshia Cole and Lil' Wayne doesn't mean that he will let himself to be used to destroy the force that provided the strongest push for his new position of power.
I think that Obama's true feelings about rap music and Hip-Hop culture will come out in the next four years and we can't expect him to say all positive things, especially if we continue to allow certain artists to keep popping champagne bottles, making money rain from the sky during a savage recession, retelling stale drug war stories and pimping those beautiful black women they adore enough to call "bitches" over mechanical, uninspired beats and melodies. I wouldn't expect it this year, but you know it's coming. And how will we respond?
Time to grow up, Hip-Hop. We’ve got one of our own behind the big microphone now. Let the man lead and don’t bump the turntables while you're trying to get noticed by the cameras doing the Cupid Shuffle at the inauguration. And please don’t shoot up the party if you aren't on the guest list. You already know what they'll say about us the next day on Fox News.
Pardon my decision to stay away from the whole "Yay, Obama!" blog movement since Tuesday night, but just so it's said and out of the way, I am not only thrilled about our new President-Elect Barack Obama, but I'm ready to start working on what must be done. The celebration and shock factor can't last too long; we have this weekend and the inauguration to party. Every other moment will have to be used for progress so that we don't lose this opportunity. So don't get gassed.
But if you do need additional fuel to move with purpose through all the hatred and sodium of our GOP
From title to tempo, this album fits exactly into the groove of today, as if it were taylor made to remind us that artistry doesn't have to change if it's good enough to make the world change on demand. Within The Renaissance, the rhythm, basslines, record scratches and samples all blend together with Tip's signature ageless voice to create the same feeling one remembers from the days when the Native Tongues were the Wu-Tang of the world.
If you're looking for some type of lyrical gymnastics, I'd suggest you go cop some Lupe and an encyclopedia to guide you through whatever the hell he's talking about. With Q-Tip, you get the benefit of a guy who is confident enough in his talent and intelligence that he doesn't have to try to prove it to you; he just displays them and lets you decide whether it's digable or not. Simplicity has always been Q-Tip's most effective tool, and he uses it to sooth the savagery to which rap music has been addicted for the past __ years. And before you
It's hard to be in a bad mood when the beat starts bumping along and the keyboards and the words start dancing along to the drums. Even when you wake up like I did this morning, at 5:00am, because a nerve pushed through and cracked a molar next to an slowly incoming wisdom tooth, causing me to reorganize financial plans for upcoming dental expenses. Teeth suck.
It's a good thing that I can look forward to living under the rule of a black president soon, plus these aspirins are working hard enough so that I don't have to pop the hydrocodone horse pill I keep in case of emergencies like this. When you add The Renaissance to this mix, I am far from complaining. Life is a circus of happiness and pain, and you have to balance the two at all times. Music like this from my man Q-Tip proves that even with the loss of his Ummah partner Jay Dee/J. Dilla and most of his records in a house fire ten years ago, the brother is an unstoppable force.
My, these is motivating times!! Shout to the homie DALLAS PENN.
[Listening to Viva La Hova, the new mash-up of Jay-Z and Coldplay, trying to stay in a positive mood for the greatest day ever. GET LIKE ME.]
Out of all times to pass away, I believe that those who have either lost or will lose their lives before Wednesday of this week are victims of cruel, tragic timing. Appropriately and respectively, I'll begin with my thoughts on the unthinkable Hudson family incident, because the funeral was held this morning and you're probably already tired of hearing about it. I don't know if I'm more afraid of the fact that a human being could do something so ugly, so publicly, or if this is the new normal.
Times like these, when real people die from real bullets--especially when said real people are innocents--make it difficult to listen to some of my favorite gangter rap songs because the lyrics come a little too close to reality for comfort in this case. For what it's worth, I don't blame Hip-Hop or rap, or drugs or guns for what happened to Jennifer Hudson's family. I blame the lack of intelligent minds in abundance. But our world culture has to change quickly if we're going to stop thinking about doing crazy shit like this, much less making rap songs about it. We've got to adjust right now, especially with this first chance in history to truly change the world. While we're at it, there are a few people who deserve recognition and respect, who gave it all they had but somehow did not reach today like you and I.
To begin, I'll be honest and say that I'm completely flattened by the apparent suicide of Shakir Stewart, the Executive Vice President of Def Jam Music Group, who I've known personally for 11 years. I met pretty much everybody who was ever in a position to cut a respectable check in Atlanta back when the music business was really booming, like around the mid-90's, when I started interning for So So Def. I always liked to believe that Shakir was just lucky enough to beat me by three years to Atlanta because he was blessed with perfect timing, but the truth is that he was made for the job he was given, therefore he excelled. He was the deadly combination of an intelligent hustler who was somehow always a few steps ahead. One thing I remember him saying a lot is "Work hard; play hard." My thoughts are now with his family, the rest of his friends, family and co-workers from the LaFace/HITCO days, and especially L.A. Reid--he pretty much hand-picked Shakir to be his successor in the game, and now he's gone before fully reaching his potential, which was still probably two years away. I absolutely believe that Shake would have signed the next artist to sell 10-million albums. Seriously, I don't hate or fear death, but I hate this. And that's all I have to say about that.
And by now, we all have heard about Senator Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Payne Dunham, a.k.a. "Toot", who unfortunately left life behind for a higher existence, just hours before her grandson would be chosen by the people to lead the nation and become the most powerful man in the world. Not much more to say except "I'm sorry," which isn't enough or even appropriate, since I have nothing to do with it.
None of these stories are more tragic than the next, and none are to be forgotten. All serve to show that it is always darkest before the dawn, and things will always worsen before they change for the better. To you and yours, I offer my best hopes for a peaceful day and a glorious Wednesday morning, when we will together see the dawn of a bright new day while remembering to take an extra moment to remember those who we wished could stand with us as we celebrate the arrival of the future.
VIVA LA VIDA.