Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

The Reality of Crack Rap

Joining this to Hua and Oliver’s recent writings about the Pet Rock fetish that is crack rap, here’s a new movie called “1 More Hit” that promises to uncover the reality of crack, hip-hop, and reality TV through the story of Pharcyde producer J-Swift. For me this trailer was particularly difficult to watch. J-Swift was a roomie of one of my best friends about a decade ago. The tragedy, of course, for older hip-hop gen folks, is that his music epitomizes the innocence of the “Golden Age” (a term BTW that I don’t believe in any more than “conscious rap”). Call me corny, but this is beyond sad.

posted by @ 7:35 am | 38 Comments

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

On Generational Change

Generations are fictions. Or so someone said once.

Marketers find them first. That’s basically what Howe and Strauss, with their “Generations” framework and consulting business, do–they make loads of loot drawing lines around populations for companies that sell snowboards and spaghetti-strap tops and yellow plastic wristbands and stuff. So unlock the malls, because here come The Millennials.

Howe and Strauss surveyed 600 students at high schools in upper-middle-class Fairfax County, Virginia, to generate insights into young’ns that they then resell to multinationals. Their big finding? Young’ns prefer being called Millennials to “Generation Y”.

Pssssh. Who wouldn’t?

And who decided on these damn names anyway?

And hold on wait a minute, just what does a survey of seniors in Fairfax County–67% white, by the way–have to say about a generation of kids growing up in Richmond, California? Or Richmond, Virginia, for that matter? Can I vote for “not as much as you think”?

This weekend the NY Times ran an extensive piece on The Millennials, focusing primarily on their use of media (80% of you read blogs), their clique-ishness (“They are very bound to ethics and values. But in a funny sort of way, it prevents some of them from developing as individuals,” says one concerned doctor), and whether or not companies will succeed in attracting them (“Downloading is the poor man’s Tivo”, says one broke Millennial).

Ho hum.

It’s the same thing old folks (the ones now called “The Greatest Generation”) used to say about their Spock-coddled Baby Boomers, minus the hysterical alarm.

It’s too bad the alarm still hasn’t stopped ringing about that old scapegoat, “Generation X”. And by extension, the old straw-men–the ones blamed for conformity and greed in all the old manifestos–are now called “The Greatest”. Amazing how a fat inheritance can change a perception.

According to Howe and Strauss, even the Millennials know the deal: “By a five-to-one margin, they agreed that the elderly G.I. Generation had a “mainly positive” reputation. By the two-to-one margin, they agreed that Generation X has a “mainly negative” reputation.” Oh yeah? Well fuck you!

The thing to point out about all this quackery is that Howe and Strauss are, you guessed it, Baby Boomers. Everything is colored by their kaleidoscope eyes. Indeed, the dominant discourse in American life about generational change is still framed by Boomers.

Interestingly, a lot of Boomers themselves don’t believe the hype anymore.

“The Aging of Aquarius” is a barbed-wire gem by Jamie Malanowski on Boomer navel-gazing. If Brokaw projects all his guilt on his parents, and Howe and Strauss project all their happy feelings onto the Millennials–who just happen to be the age of their children–well, American University professor Leonard Steinhorn only has to look in the mirror to declare all is good.

Before going there with Dr. Steinhorn, Malanowski addresses that uniquely Boomer gumption epitomized in Tom Brokaw, yes, he of the “Greatest Generation” fame:

Readers will recall that it was Tom Brokaw’s great good luck as a journalist, as a reporter of news, to uncover that back in the 1930s and 1940s, a large mass of young Americans had to suffer, a) the trials and deprivations of the Great Depression, then b) fight a terrible war —a “world war” in the parlance of the time—against countries bent on global domination. Not only did Brokaw have the courage to bring to light this virtually hidden chapter of our history, but he or an associate had the marketing savvy to title the book The Greatest Generation, an irresistibly flattering phrase which sustained the book through many printings and multiple sequels.

This article is a must-read, so I really don’t want to spoil Malanowski’s killer close.

But just to say that if generations are created to scapegoat, there have to be generations to honor. The thing is, history doesn’t always help. I found this, what, every single fucking day I was working on this damn book. For like 10+ years! Maybe I still got a chip on my shoulder, hell, a rock. Rather than grouse any more–which I am told I wont to do as a Gen X-er, trapped with a name he never made in a world he never made–I guess I’ll just take a cue from Howe and Strauss and say buy my damn book already.

ADDENDUM 1/24/06: Scratch that last sentence. Buy this book instead: Letters From Young Activists. Now. What are you waiting for?

posted by @ 6:11 pm | 9 Comments

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

Miggy to O’s: That’s Not What I Meant!

Well, the Orioles may not lower their ERA this year, but they did lower the team’s IQ several points by picking up paleocon nudie Anna Benson and her gold-digging little right-hander Kris:

Anna Benson had a lot to say during her stay in the Big Apple:

‘Hell no, I’m not going to change for anybody. (Kris) loves me. I’m very true to myself and to Kris.’
–To reporters, after showing upat a Mets event in a low-cut Mrs. Claus outfit to distributetoys to children.

‘You are a selfish, pathetic excuse for an American, and you can take your big fat ass over to Iraq and get your pig head cut off and stuck on a pig pole. Then, you can have your equally as-fat wife make a documentary about how loudly you squealed while terrorists were cutting through all the blubber and chins to get that 40-pound head off of you.’
–In an open letter to documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.

‘I wear fur. I wear dead rabbits and dead minks and dead anything that will keep me warm. I love it. I don’t like to be cold, and nothing keeps me warmer than my dead animals.’
–In an open letterto People for the EthicalTreatment of Animals.

‘How are they going to sit there and say it’s so controversial when they sign someone like Delgado, who turns his back on our flag?’
–On new Met Carlos Delgado,who in the past has refused to stand for the playingof ‘God Bless America’in protest of U.S. policies.

‘I said, ‘You better put that $5,000 chip away before you get f—.’ The dealer heard me and cast me out. .. It’s bull—-, the whole thing. .. Why are they trying to get moral? I’m mean, we’re gambling. People are drinking. This is Las Vegas. I don’t want to hear this. There are no morals here.’
–Describing her outburst at the World Seriesof Poker in an interview with the Daily News.

‘I told him (Kris) — because that’s the biggest thing in athletics, they cheat all the time — I told him, ‘Cheat on me all you want. If you get caught, I’m going to (have sex with) everybody on your entire team. Coaches, trainers, players.’ I would do everybody on his whole team.’
–During an appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show.

Think she’ll fit well in Baltimore? Money is he gets traded before the year’s out and she divorces him.

posted by @ 6:29 pm | 1 Comment

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

Benzino and Mays Ousted From The Source

It’s finally happened.

This comes after a tumultuous week in which Mays had sought a temporary restraining order against his new board of directors. He had also fired Dasun Allah and installed himself as editor-in-chief, completing the cycle of events begun in September 1994 with the first editorial walkout.

The full article by the NY Post’s Keith Kelly is below:

In the latest tug of war for control of The Source Entertainment Inc., founder David Mays and the longtime president, rapper Ray “Benzino” Scott were ordered out of their jobs by the newly constituted board of directors after a temporary restraining order blocking the move was lifted.

Four of the six board members voted to fire the duo last week and instead install Jeremy Miller, a one-time chief operating officer, as the new chief executive of The Source.

Scott and Mays had gone to court last week to obtain a temporary restraining order in New Jersey, where they reside, to block the axing while they prepared a lawsuit against the new board.

Yesterday, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Gerald Escala lifted the temporary restraining order, effectively clearing the way for the firings.

The Source was once known as the hip-hop bible, but in more recent years has seen its ad pages and circulation tumble.

Last month, it dropped out of the Publishers Information Bureau, which tracks ad page tallies for major consumer magazines.

Mays and Scott remain defiant and are still pursuing another action in New Jersey, claiming the new board illegally seized control of the company.

The attorney for Mays and Scott, David Finkler, did not return a call from The Post yesterday, but earlier said that his clients feel the new board is not valid.

The genesis of the new board goes back about four years ago, when Black Enterprise Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Partners, a private-equity firm controlled by the Graves family, made a $12 million investment in The Source.

When The Source ran into a cash squeeze, the Graves family introduced them to Providence, R.I.-based Textron Financial Corp., which loaned the magazine $18 million.

Textron in October claimed that The Source had defaulted on its loan and sought to have the New York State Supreme Court appoint a receiver to supervise the company, but in late December the bid was rejected.

A State Supreme Court judge ruled that despite Textron’s eight-figure exposure and a litany of mismanagement complaints at the magazine, the lender had no more rights than other creditors.

Yesterday on the Web site allhiphop.com, Mays said he had fired Dasun Allah as editor-in-chief and instead installed himself in the top editorial spot.

Allah, who also goes by the name David Blanks, was indicted on charges of spray painting a Jehovah Witness church in Harlem in November and is due back in Manhattan Criminal Court on Feb. 9.

Mays said on the Web site, “Right now I am taking the role of editor-in-chief. There were just other issues that caused this to happen in this particular way.”

He did not return calls from The Post. Miller, the newly installed CEO, could not be reached for comment.

The new board includes Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., the CEO of Black Enterprise, plus three others: Ivan Hopkins, Jeffrey Scott and Ed Williams, who are part of the investment firm. Charles Simpson, an attorney representing the board, said of Mays latest claim, “He’s terminated, so he is not going to be doing anything.”

As of late yesterday, despite the board action, Mays remained in the company’s new office at 11 Broadway.

posted by @ 12:16 pm | 6 Comments

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

Parliament Funkadelic 1969

This is sick sick sick. Parliament Funkadelic 1969! Nuff said. Thanks to Jarn5000 for the footage, and to Jay Babcock, King Arthur, for the linkage.

posted by @ 3:59 pm | 2 Comments

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

Queens Reigns Supreme On The Small Screen

Ethan Brown’s great book Queens Reigns Supreme has been
picked up by Tommy Mottola’s Mottola Company for production for the small screen. It’s well deserved. Just got deep into it last night and I can say without reservation that it is a classic of hip-hop journalism and a major feat of investigative reporting.

posted by @ 11:00 am | 0 Comments

Monday, January 16th, 2006

Voted, Didn’t Die

Happy MLK Day yall!

Here’s another analysis on hip-hop vote efforts in 2004, including ya boy, from The Bay State Banner.

Looking ahead to 2006, we’ll have the National Hip-Hop Political Convention in Chicago this summer, and the League of Young Voters ready to move in dozens of cities around the country. Stay tuned…

posted by @ 2:12 pm | 1 Comment

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

Tribute to Martha Cooper

Martha Cooper, City Pages Artist of the Year! Plus Jon Caramanica on Sandra Oh, Nate Patrin on Ed Guerrero, Dylan Hicks on William Parker, and Matos on Peel, among many others…

posted by @ 8:14 am | 1 Comment

Monday, January 2nd, 2006

2006 Predictions

“Who broke my leg? Ain’t saying, bitch!”

5) With his movie and videogame on sale at used media stores for less than 2 quarters apiece, and no one left to pick a beef with, 50 Cent shoots himself in the thigh before releasing his new album, “10 Times: How Ya Like Me Now?”

4) Miss Jones leaves Hot 97 to become press secretary of the conservative think-tank, the Heritage Foundation. Asked about her lack of academic credentials, Heritage executives scoff, “We never cared about those. Plus she did more for us in 4 hours every morning than an army of rapid-response publicists working around the clock.”

3) MC Big Bank Hank is executed by the state of New Jersey. Opponents of his execution say that he deserved a commutation of his death sentence because he had redeemed himself. Proponents said he was the co-founder of the notorious Sugar Hill Gang, and he never apologized for “Rapper’s Delight”.

2) Clear Channel, Viacom, Microsoft, the New York Yankees, the New Times, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants merge.

1) Republican Party stalwarts Karl Rove and Scooter Libby feature prominently in a hot new direct-to-the-streets DVD, Stop Snitching: The White House Edition. Their pictures appear on a popular line of t-shirts that say “We’ll never tell!”

posted by @ 12:32 pm | 4 Comments

Sunday, January 1st, 2006

2005 :: The Year Crack Rap Broke (Yet Again)

Will Play UC Davis For Crack!

Yes, the year sucked but music didn’t. And anyone who tells you it sucked is just a jaded ass who likes crack rap, or a point guard named Chris Hernandez. Same difference.

Muy Bueno
Albums (in alpha order)

Amadou & Mariam :: Dimanche A Bamako
Blackalicious :: The Craft
Bloc Party :: Silent Alarm
Curumin :: Achados E Perdidos
Damian Marley :: Welcome To Jamrock
DJ Nuts :: NutsOn2005, Volume 1 & 2 (mixtape)
Edan :: Beauty And The Beat
Fiona Apple :: Extraordinary Machine
J-Rocc :: James Brown and Friends (mixtape)
Keak Da Sneak :: That’s My Word
Konono No.1 :: Congotronics
Lady Sovereign :: Vertically Challenged
DJ Mark Marcelo :: The Ignant Mix (mixtape)
M.I.A. :: Arular
Mistah F.A.B. :: Son Of A Pimp
Perceptionists-Black Dialogue
Various Artists :: Live From Iraq
Various Artists :: Run The Road

Slumper Plus:
Apsci :: Thanks For Asking
Backyard Band :: Live At The Neon
Danger Doom :: The Mouse & The Mask
The Decemberists :: Picaresque
Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim :: Ceasefire
E.S.T. :: Viaticum
The Frontline :: Who R U
General Elektriks :: Cliquety Kliqk
Goapele :: Change It All
Hollertronix :: T5Soul Sessions (mixtape)
LCD Soundsystem :: LCD Soundsystem
Bettye Lavette :: I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise
The Legendary K.O. :: C.I.G.A.C. (mixtape)
Jamie Lidell :: Multiply
Lyrics Born :: Same !@#$ Different Day
Missy Elliott :: The Cookbook
Platinum Pied Pipers :: Triple P
Public Enemy :: New Whirl Odor
Sean Paul :: The Trinity
Sleater-Kinney :: The Woods
Various Artists :: Keepintime: The Remixes (Vinyl Version)
Various Artists :: Greensleeves Rhythm Album #73: World Jam
Various Artists :: Soul Fire The Majestic Collection
Stevie Wonder :: A Time 2 Love
X Plastaz :: Maasai Hip-Hop
Yerba Buena-Island Life
Young Jeezy :: Let’s Get It (Thug Motivation) ***crack rap alert!***
Zion I :: True and Livin’
Z-Trip :: Shifting Gears

(roughly ranked, excluding non-mixtape selections from album lists)
The Legendary K.O. :: “George Bush Doesn’t Like Black People”
Amerie :: “1 Thing”
Michelle Sylvester :: “Sleeping In Your Bed”
Kaiser Chiefs :: “I Predict A Riot”
Common :: “The Corner” (Remix with Scarface & Mos Def)
E-40 feat. Keak Da Sneak :: “Tell Me When To Go”
Arcade Fire :: “Cold Wind”
J. Valentine feat. Bailey :: “Go Dumb”
Ya Boy feat. Jin :: “16’s With Us”
Kanye West (featuring Lupe Fiasco) :: “Touch The Sky”
Cham :: “Ghetto Story”
Keyshia Cole :: “I Just Want It To Be Over”
Scweez feat. Mistah F.A.B. :: “Stupid Dumb and Hyphy”
D4L :: “Laffy Taffy”
Balance :: “Gotta Get It”
Mike Jones with Slim Thug & Paul Wall :: “Still Tippin'”
Three 6 Mafia :: “Stay Fly”
Coldplay :: “Speed of Sound”
Nikka Costa :: “Till I Get To You”
Turbulence :: “Notorious”
Jah Cure :: “Longing For”

Art Ensemble of Chicago :: Certain Blacks
Baby Huey :: Living Legend
Afrika Bambaataa :: Beware (The Funk Is Everywhere)
Glen Brown & Friends :: Rhythm Masters Vol. 2
JC Davis :: A New Day!
Delta 5 :: Singles & Sessions 1979-81
The Legendary Henry Stone Presents Miami Funk Volume 1 & 2
Horace Andy :: Dancehall Style
Horace Andy :: Exclusively
Keith Hudson :: The Hudson Affair
Konk :: The Sound of Konk
Mad Professor :: Method To The Madness
Master P :: Best Of
Maulawi :: Maulawi
Newcleus-Destination Earth: The Definitive Newcleus Recordings
Ossie All-Stars :: Leggo Dub
Peter Tosh :: Talking Revolution
Prince Douglas :: Dub Roots
The Slits :: Cut
Talking Heads :: Brick
Thomas Mapfumo :: Spirits To Bite Our Ears
Watts Prophets :: Things Gonna Get Greater
Wayne Jarrett-Showcase V. 1
Various Artists :: Love’s A Real Thing: The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa
Various Artists: Out On A Funky Trip: Funk Soul & Reggae @ Randy’s 1970-75
Various Artists :: Schoolhouse Funk II

Californians’ Stupidity
Homeland Security
New York Crack Rap
New York Yankees
The Red Cross
Republican Crack Rap
Stanfurd Basketball and Football Teams

posted by @ 5:08 pm | 1 Comment

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