Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Takk! Tack!!

Text and linkage and lots of thank yous on the way. Stay tuned.

posted by @ 7:09 pm | 2 Comments

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Guess Who’s Back: Benzino and Mays

After the rumors, it’s finally become official. Benzino and Mays are back in the rap magazing game. Mimi Valdes is in as the editor:

Hip Hop Weekly breaks new ground as the world’s first entertainment news & celebrity lifestyle publication targeting the market of almost 40 million U.S. consumers under the age of 40 who identify with hip-hop culture. Hip Hop Weekly will report on all the news, events and issues surrounding the hip-hop community, right as they happen. The magazine will cover film, TV, music, fashion, sports and celebrity news with an authoritative voice, and will serve a 50/50 male/female readership from 15 to 40 years old.

posted by @ 5:48 am | 0 Comments

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

"The chemistry on this team is unbelievable"-Lew Wolff

posted by @ 9:43 pm | 4 Comments

Monday, September 25th, 2006

I Enjoy Dubstep

And the dog next door does not. Which counts as a big bonus in my book. When I dropped the needle on this, he was yapping like he was offended. I won that battle like Radio Raheem.

I am off to the hospital for some outpatient runnings. When I return this afternoon under much painkillers, I will enjoy dubstep even more.

Anyway, check this and my man.

Updates on the wonders of Sweden when I return to earth.

posted by @ 12:00 pm | 2 Comments

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Words From The General

Please Hurt, Hammer ‘Em!

I return from Sweden not to gloat about the Ded Sux’ long winter or to pop champagne bottles prematurely. Instead I look forward to a wonderful week of baseball and offer this piece of wisdom from the man who has already thrown out that Little Red Book that Joe Morgan never read:

“‘The best generals are newspaper editors. The worst generals are running armies.’ It also applies to baseball teams.”

posted by @ 5:42 am | 0 Comments

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Is Monopoly Radio Dead?

This New York Times article notes that terrestrial radio listening continues to plummet, especially amongst the coveted 18-34 demographic.

In some real ways, this confirms what folks like my friends at the Future of Music Coalition have been talking about for years.

Younger listeners want that mix of surprise and certainty, but monopoly radio has been mistreating them. So they’re heading for the satellite radio, internet radio, and MP3 blogs. If you know what you’re gonna get when you turn on the radio, and you’re not gonna get what you want, why turn it on in the first place? Let a billion programmers bloom.

Slightly older hip-hop gen listeners, meanwhile, are incredibly underserved. There are rock and country and jazz formats that cater to a 35-44 demo, but none in so-called urban music. Contrast this with satellite radio from XM or Sirius, which offers multiple hip-hop formats based on age group. But when we want to hear old-school stuff, we have to deal with listening to our older cousins’ music–lots of Rick James, no Too Short. If you heard me complaining on that new Public Enemy album–yeah, they sampled me! It’s been a good year for me getting sampled, but that’s another post coming soon–this is what I was ranting incoherently about.

So the only terrestrial radio I’m checking for these days are the evening-drive hyphyfied mixshows (itself a concession to local activists and artists that succeeded brilliantly–to no one’s surprise except the Clear Channel execs), new music showcases, and the hip-hop flashback shows on commercial radio, in addition to my longtime community, public, and college radio standbys. I’ve also been loving Pandora ( has lots of cool buttons but is not user-friendly), satellite when I can get it, and belatedly building my monster mp3 collection.

What all this means is that no one is buying (quite literally) the years of b.s. from the conservatives at the FCC about how media consolidation would build more diversity and localism. They’re leaving the media monopoly model of content providing on their own.

And so Emmis’s Jeff Smutley, I think that’s his name, the famed purveyor of urban reactionary radio at Hot 97, has failed to take his company private after a 40% plunge in stock value and all but concedes failure: “As an industry, we’ve lost the hipness battle.” Clear Channel, whose stocks have been battered, considers dismantling its 27% market share. CBS, Disney, Susquehanna are all, to a greater or lesser extent, throwing in the towel.

Is monopoly radio dead? Are localism and audience-friendly programming coming back? We can only hope.

In the meantime, it’s worth considering–for those of us who write about culture and are feeling moody, angry, and under siege–that this could be the future of New Times as well.

posted by @ 9:49 am | 3 Comments

Friday, September 15th, 2006

FCC Buried Study On Effects of Media Consolidation

News reports surfaced yesterday stating that the FCC ordered an important study on localism to be covered up. The report confirmed that greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage.

The report was produced at the request of former FCC Chair Michael Powell, a staunch deregulator under whose watch media consolidation expanded greatly. Powell then buried the report when it produced results that worked against his pro-big business agenda.

In other words, the FCC–a governmental body which is supposed to be working in the interests of the public to expand the information you receive, because it creates things like, oh, better democracy–knows that consolidation suppresses the diversity and local flavor of the news you get. Isn’t it ironic they don’t want you to know that?

posted by @ 8:37 am | 0 Comments

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

New Photos by Glen E. Friedman!

No iconic shots of straight-edge or hardcore hip-hop F–k You Heroes here, these photographs (here in a downloadable 11-minute slide show) are probably his most mystical yet (though more in a Godfrey Reggio materialist way than a hippy-dippy way).

posted by @ 8:32 am | 1 Comment

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Farai Chideya Takes Over

Just an extra-large up to our homie Farai Chideya, who takes over at NPR’s News & Notes this week, the leading African American-targeted show on public radio. Another example of one of the great minds of the hip-hop generation getting their deserved props and responsibility.

Does it make a difference? Hell yes. Just check the moving package Farai and her team pulled together today for the 10th anniversary of Tupac’s death.

Here’s to Farai and more relevant programming for us on NPR!

(While you’re surfing, also be sure to check out Farai’s side project, Pop and Politics, now broadcasting on broadband from USC.)

posted by @ 12:08 pm | 0 Comments

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Deep Bass Therapy

Just returned from Deep Bass Therapy sessions at the Numusic Festival in Stavanger, Norway with Mad Professor, DJ Spooky, and the great, the one and only DJ Kool Herc. Cindy Campbell–original b-girl!–even showed me some steps to try out with my now quickly recovering body. Plus a big up to Afra and the grand Incredible Beatbox Band–who lived up to the billing and more…

Spent the next day with a long list from leading journalist Oyvind Holen, the man who literally wrote the book on the history of Norsk rap, HipHop Holen (which means “hip-hop heads”), trying to pick up the country’s GDP. Thanks especially for the recs on Tommy Tee (sort of like a 1-man Norwegian Neptunes), Gatas Parliament (communist flow, yes!), Tungtvann (a little bit black-metal, a little bit psych-rock, a little bit dancehall). I couldn’t find anything by the compelling Norwegian-Chilean-indigenous crew Dark Side of the Force who turned in a great set Friday night, but I understand they have a new record coming soon.

I missed a lot of the shows I wanted to see either because I got there too late or there was just way too much going on. But I did catch great sets from ridiculously loud and enjoyable Next Life (think Swans plus Nina Hagen minus artyfartiness), neo-post-neopostpunk 120 Days (who are signed to Vice and will be touring the US soon), producer/professor/DJ (yes, professor) Ewan Pearson, and the aging kiddie-punks Stereo Total, and 2 DJs who dressed up as a wolf and a bear.

Two other random non-hip-hop thoughts:

1) Stereo Total > White Stripes

2) Jack Black > Jack White

Chris Porter found us all the cheap food spots (because normally lunch could run you like $25), educated us dumb Americans about Norwegian history, and was generally the kind of person you always want to travel with. Geeta Dayal updated us on the latest depressing news from the Voice, shocked us with info on rental prices in Berlin, and pulled an all-nighter at the club the last night. Seems like she made it home in one piece though! Me and Ed of the best named band in the world Duran Duran Duran braved passport control, airport food, and multiple security checkpoints at Frankfurt.

Much love to all my new friends for the wonderful hospitality, especially the sweet Ms. Human Nature Anita, Hannah In The House, Martyn the Grand Orchestrator, and SuperStein Rockstone. If I ever get around to making another one, I might even name my next child Stavanger.

posted by @ 3:47 pm | 0 Comments

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