Sam's Blog
5.15.2006
 
Oprah tries so hard; Master P talks shit about Bow Wow

Oprah's hip-hop tokenism?

Master P Interview

My sister, who visited me this week, told me about an episode of Cribs were Master P led the cameraman to lake was adjacent to his mansion and told duke that he liked to come out here and "think about things."

I instantly imagined him sitting on a pier and grunting "uggghhh....uggghh" to himself as the sun set over the water and world revolved.

All jokes aside, P was a good interview. Here's an excerpt from a Rhapsody interview I did right here.

SC: I've been reading rumors that you stepped to Bow Wow?

MP: Me or Romeo? C'mon man…me stepping to Bow Wow don't even sound right. What happened was him and Romeo used to be friends and Romeo seen him at the Nickalodean awards and asked him what was going on. Bow Wow took off running to his trailer.

Bow Wow's got real cocky right now. He dissed Will Smith. How are you gonna diss Will Smith? Then he comes back and disses Omarion, a guy who put a platinum album out with him. The guy is getting a little older and need to accept responsibility for his actions…he's 22 and Romeo is 16 and he try to hit Romeo up on a song but don't want to take action on it. He called Romeo like six months after the song was out and said that he took a subliminal shot at him. And then he went on a radio station in Houston and dissed him again. Romeo just wanted to figure what was going on.

Bow Wow need someone to guide him. He had a good song. He didn't need to put song in there about R&B rappers and that little diss he put in there to us. He just got bad representation. He dissed Jermaine Dupri and then made back up with him…He's definitely confused and didn't think he'd see Romeo again...Where I'm from, the South and the Bay, 12, 13 and 14 year old kids will kill you. This guy is 22 years old…I like the little dude; it's just sad that his head ain't right.

Did you see that Juve video?
Yeah.

What did you think about him speaking out?
It needed to be said, but it's a timing thing. We're going to need all these people. We don’t want to piss these electrical (!!) people off.

Playing With Fire -- the Immigration Debate

The economic data on the immigration debate is iffy at best. Immigration in general definitely helps our economy, yet I have yet to see anything except anecdotal proof that illegal immigration either helps or hurts our economy. If anyone has these figures, I'd love to see them -- though with such highly political matters such as this, I've found that numbers can be just as subjective as words.

But one thing that I'm certain of is that racism is the underlining issue. I expect hate crimes to increase significantly in the upcoming months, and don't expect the rhetoric to . A lot of liberals seem satisfied to essentially sit this one out, letting the economic and social conservative factions battle it out with themselves. But I think that it's important to speak out for tolerance and moderation. Just as republicans used homophobia to win '04, they could easily parlay people's fears re: Latinos to win '06.

Conservatives are like wounded bears right now -- vicious, frustrated and potentially violent and dangerous. Hopefully, they'll soon be sucked into a political oblivion, but I don't think they'll go out quietly.
 
5.11.2006
 
GHOSTFACE expresses regrets about the Wu

This is an excerpt from the article I wrote for Urb. I thought it was going to be a cover, but I guess that Urb feels that Dipset (sans Cam'ron) would be a more interesting and popular choice.

Among swirling soft purple and yellow lighting, Ghostface lopes around the stage, occasionally breaking into a clumsy dance that bears a closer resemblance to the swiveling steps of a punch-drunk boxer than it does the highly choreographed moves of your usual hip-hop or R&B star.

Unlike the South Florida Wu reunion show two months before – where every song, move and utterance seemed rehearsed to a tee – Ghostface’s San Francisco show is loose and seemingly improvisational. He extols Bay Area legends Mac Dre, E-40 and Too $hort; he invites ten or so ladies onto the stage and dances with them as the DJ spins an unadorned version of the Dawn Penn's classic reggae number, “You Don’t Love Me”; and he frequently stops the music to personally address the crowd. Some of it sounds rehearsed, but much of it is spontaneous.

“I’m a 1970s cat,” Ghost declares to the crowd, his enormous grin chewing up the scenery. “I’m the nigga that used to listen to Marvin Gaye and The Stylistics. My Mother and Father, before they had me, used to fuck to this music. I fuck to this music. This shit is like pussy to me.”

At this point, the DJ drops the first bars of “Holla,” from Ghostface’s 2004 album Pretty Toney. The entire song is a direct lift of the Delfonics' “La La Means I Love You,” and is perhaps the most soulful hip-hop song recorded this millennium. The very term “soulful” is somewhat of a critical cliché, but to watch Ghost move across the stage -- his body hunched over and his right hand held up, seemingly orchestrating the song’s descending harmonies -- it’s difficult to think of any other word to describe the man.

Later, he’ll ask the lighting tech to turn down the lights and the crowd to observe ten seconds of silence for fallen Wu member ODB. Both oblige, and we stand in darkness and silence, remembering the charismatic emcee.

Out of the silence, the DJ drops ODB’s classic, “Shimmy Shimmy Y’all,” and the crowd explodes. Ghost and Trife trade off lines before fading out and letting the crowd handle the rest. It's appropriate; the song is as much the publics as it is theirs.

“What did the world lose when ODB passed?” I’d asked him earlier that evening.

“The world lost a major chess piece in hip-hop. They lost the soul of it. He would do and say things that people have never done before. He had a lot of soul.”

“What did you lose personally?”

“I lost a brother. I lost a loved one. I lost a piece of my heart.”

When I'd first met Ghostface nearly two months before at the Wu Tang reunion show, he'd seemed more upbeat and energetic, more optimistic not only about his own album but about the Wu's future and its past.

"Yo, (being here with the Wu) is like fucking with your crimeys again," he'd exclaimed to me. "You ever seen Usual Suspects? It's like niggas don't be doing those things for a minute, but then it's like you’re back on. Wu will come back in due time. We’re going take it to the next level. Niggas still love each other. It may be outta sight for a second, but it's never out of mind."

Tonight, he reveals a little more complex view of the band’s past and future. His allegiance is unwavering and unquestionable, that much is clear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not bittersweet.

"Do you think that a lot of troubles and turmoil that individual members of the Wu Tang Clan went through hurt you guys from a career perspective?" I ask.

"It did. A lot of the stuff we were doing then did set us back,” he comments. “At Hot 97 's Summer Jam, we fucked around and cursed (the organizers) out. And on the (1997) Rage Against the Machine tour, we didn't stick with that. We made the wrong decisions -- we fucked up."

"I never thought the Wu reached its full commercial potential," I comment.

"Nah, we really didn't."

If anyone wants, I can transcribe the entire interview. You can read the entire article in the May edition of Urb.
 
5.10.2006
 
READER MAIL READER MAIL READER MAIL

Okay...I don't get any reader mail. There's only about 20 of you that come here on any given day and most of you are directed here by google for random hip-hop related searches. I feel kinda bad though, since google only latches onto keywords and my blog rarely answers your inquries. So here's an attempt to address some of recent google searches:

"HIP HOP GROUPIES"

You know that this search term was going to be in all caps.

See www.okayplayer.com, governmentnames.blogspot.com, especially www.allhiphop.com and www.sohh.com, and www.villagevoice.com/blogs/statusainthood and www.pitchforkmedia.com.

sorry, the last two should have the sub-heading "Dipset Groupies."

"David Banner childhood"
David Banner was conceived as the eye of Hurricane Camilla passed over Southern Mississippi. The love-child of Emmit Tell and Rosa Parks, the young Banner was viewed as a grave threat by local authorities and was taken from his home and turned loose in the Mississippi marshlands. It was here that he met a gang of loud alligators. The alligator family took Banner under their care and taught the young rapper how to chomp on raw animal flesh, growl like a hellspawn and mallow in the Mississippi mud, all of which would prove valuable when he later navigated the shark-infested waters of Southern hip-hop.

In 1981, he was rescued by a Jackson, MS family who belonged to a radical Southern Baptist sect that handled snakes and drank strychnine mixed with whisky and moonshine. It was here that Banner became impervious to all poisons. During a subsequent missionary trip to Baton Rogue, the young Banner was exposed to what would be his next obsession: southern girls. His freakish devotions to raw meat, Jesus Christ and rattlesnakes were an obvious turn-on for the backwoods beauties that roved the dangerous swamps of Louisiana. Unfortunately, the strychnine had left the young Banner unable to differentiate between races, and he soon ran into trouble with the local authorities, who chased him out of town after he bedded the Sheriff's lilly-white daughter. He next wandered the wetlands for forty days and forty nights. It was during this time that he would pen his breakout hit, "Cadillac on 22s."

Feeling haggard and poetic, Banner stumbled into New Orleans. It was in the Crescent City that Banner would link up with the Cash Money clique. Mannie Fresh passed on production tips, while Mystikal helped refine Banner's alligator/Southern Preacherman growl into a decipherable rap flow. The rest, as they say, is history.

"hip hop music that malcolm x liked"
I think Malcom was a Def Jux fan.

Famous Hip=Hop artists that attended college
See previous answer.


"Indie Hip-Hop Album Reviews"

Ask and ye shall receive...here are short blurbs on my favorite ones from this year.

Note: These were originally published on Rhapsody.com and can be played via that platform by clicking on the title.

Kool Keith, Project Poloroid
For years, emcee Kool Keith has been spinning in his own orbit, releasing what seems like fifteen albums a years and becoming increasingly oblivious of (and invisible to) the rest of us. For Project Polaroid, Keith delivers his usual blend of sci-fi lunacy, triple-X sex rhymes and B-grade braggadocio that alternates between the surrealist and the nonsensical. Keith is celebrity obsessed -- though his frame of reference is stuck in the '70s. He hangs out with the Bob Hope and Pope, hands out an autograph to Joe Jackson (correctly identified as "Janet's father") and comments on a mysterious character who's "coming in from Budapest looking like Burt Lancaster." It's Hollywood Squares as hosted by Ray Bradbury, directed by Russ Meyer and screened at an empty Midnight cinema. It's a mess -- but thanks to the beautifully warped and lavishly detailed production of Tom C3, it's at least a listenable mess.

Soul Position, Things Go Better With Rj And Al
RJ and Al banks on Blueprint's everyman persona and RJD2's stellar production. RJD2 lurks ("Minutes"), jerks ("I'm Free") and tip-toes ("Keys") through the album, while Blueprint finds meaning in the mundane: using alcohol as an excuse for bad behavior on "Blame it on the Jager," while stressing his cell phone bill on "I Need Minutes." It would be tedious if both weren't so talented.

MAdlib, Beat Kondukta
Though this album is billed as a soundtrack to an unmade film, that conceit seems more like an afterthought, as Beat Konducta is ultimately a Rorschach inkblot of a concept album. Still, Madlib's short, formless soul loops are more appealing than most polished pop-hop songs, and this is another solid entry into an already expansive catalog.


The Coup, Pick a Bigger Weapon
The Coup understand that there are no easy answers in life or politics, so instead of going for the easy route of anti-Bush screeds, the true heirs to Public Enemy's throne of agitprop hip-hop opt for the dicey task negotiating political disillusionment with personal salvation. "I'm a walking contradiction like bullets and love mixin'," is the album's first line, and over the course of Weapon's 17 tracks, frontman Boots declares himself "Kunta Kinte with a Mack 10," reassures his girlfriend that they're "in bed together like Bush and Hussein" and confesses that "I'm here to laugh, love, fuck and drink liquor/and make the revolution come quicker." The album reaches its zenith on the sultry and apocalyptic "BabyLet'sHaveABabyBeforeBushDoSomethin'Crazy." Good luck finding a better hip-hop album this year.

Spank Rock, yoYoYO
Spank Rock, yoYoYO
Rhapsody Emerging from a bed of airy atmospherics, producer Armani XXXchange's jittery drum patterns splatter against pinging synth sounds as Spankrock (Baltimore's foremost avant emcee), raps nonsensical nothings. This is where the strained deconstruction of Antipop Consortium meets Baltimore's messy hedonism, and Yoyo is either the future of hip-hop or another noisy detour.

Dudley Perkins, Expressions
Out-of-tune, warbling and just plain weird, Dudley's voice is great bad singing, and Expressions is soulful and fragile -- infectiously funky and brilliantly warped. Madlib masterfully handles the production, trading the genre-less miasma of recent Quasimoto and Madvillain albums for a Sly-seamed funk. Hip-hop's legion of stony basement cadets will go gah gah

"Dynomite (Going Postal)" - Rhymefest
Rhymefest's lyrics are alternately conceited and universal, sprinkling nuggets of neu-Native Tongues political radicalism alongside surprisingly satisfying blue collar braggadocio. Producer Just Blaze -- who has the loveliest horns in rap -- delivers an earthy anthem in the same vein as his work on Fat Joe's "All of Nothing." A club banger for the classroom.

Eulorhythmics, Extended Play
On Extended Play , Eulorhythmics has the same informal, street-corner vibe as fellow Chi-Town rappers Common. The lyrics describe the minutia of life's emotional rollercoaster in the most unequivocal way possible; while the production, provided by Adad and Kenny Keys, is clean and spare, alternating between blues swagger and jazz swoon. Beautiful and understated.


FREAKALEAK Girls
This has historically been the most searched for keyword on my blog (aside from my name). It kind of pissed me off at first, but since you guys (and I know it's you guys) are so persistent, I'll give ya what you want:





 
5.02.2006
 
Track Review

Lupe Fiasco, Kick/Push
I have to admit, I didn't think much of this when I first heard it. The beat wasn't memorable, the sample was kinda ineffectual and nondescript, and the lyrics rather trite and cliché. In short, it just seemed very insubstantial, juvenile and wispy. If I wanted to listen to some Midwestern boom bap, I'd pop on the new Eulorhythmics. Or better yet, I'd go back to New York artists for it.

But Lupe grown on me. The point of the song is that is does have such an awkward and timid presence. The entire song is about constant displacement and the melancholy and insularity that inevitably results from being perpetually shoved aside. I like how the horns are diffuse, gradually building up to a fizzle and then evaporating mid-chorus. I also really like the fact that Lupe seems so young -- though I know 22 isn't that young in the hip-hop world, he looks and acts like he was 15.
 
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e-mail: samechennault@yahoo.com


Links


Selected Published Features :

  • Quannum Retrospective
  • Fake Hip Hop Beef
  • Immortal Technique
  • DJ Spooky Rebirth of a Nation
  • Balance
  • Merry Christmas Beeeyoth
  • Shock G
  • ATL indie Hip Hop
  • Peanut Butter Wolf
  • Subtle
  • Sage Francis
  • Charizma
  • Andrew Schoultz
  • Crown City Rockers
  • Jin
  • RJD2
  • Perceptionists
  • Dizzee Rascal
  • Brand Nubian
  • JT the Bigga Figga
  • Streets
  • Talib Kweli
  • Awol One
  • Okay Player
  • Madvillain
  • Q-Bert
  • Eyedea and Abilities
  • Stark Reality
  • Mixtape
  • Okayplayer
  • Mr. Lif
  • Atmosphere
  • Atmosphere II
  • Northern State
  • El P
  • Reviews and Concert Notices:

  • Zion I True and Livin'
  • Game West Coast Resurrection
  • 4/20 Celebration
  • The Perceptionists -- Black Dialouge
  • BEANIE SIGEL B. Coming
  • 50 Cent Massacre
  • Hanger 18
  • DJ Spooky Drums of Death
  • Pigeon John
  • Dalek Absence
  • Lyrics Born
  • GEto Boys The Foundation
  • Buck 65, This Right Here is Buck 65
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
  • The Game Documentary
  • Messy Marv Bandannas, Tattoos & Tongue Rings
  • Emanon The Waiting Room
  • MF Doom Live from Planet X
  • 75 Degrees The Last Great Hip Hop Album
  • Snoop R&G
  • Doug E. Fresh
  • J-Live
  • Awol One
  • Aesop Rock Fast Cars
  • Opio Triangulation Station
  • Federation The Album
  • Oh No
  • John Legend - Get Lifted
  • ODB Osirusa
  • Last Poets
  • Jeff Chang
  • FPS Soundsession
  • Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif and Shapeshifters
  • Handsome Boy Modeling School -- White People
  • MF Doom
  • Mos Def - The New Danger
  • Atmosphere Headshots
  • DJ Krush
  • Kool Keith
  • Nas Streets' Disciple
  • Kanye West Concert Notice
  • AlphaZeta
  • Biggie Ready to Die Revisited
  • Lloyd Banks Hunger For More
  • Chromeo Concert Notice
  • The Roots Tipping Point
  • The Big Payback
  • Consequence (please note that my editor added the Dylan reference)
  • X-Men Revolutions
  • Third Unheard: Connecticut Hip Hop 1979-1983
  • Beastie Boys To the 5 Boroughs
  • Ghostface concert notice
  • Plantlife
  • De La Soul concert notice
  • Quannum concert notice
  • Murs/9th Wonder
  • Aceyalone
  • Pete Rock Concert Notice
  • David Banner
  • Ugly Duckling
  • Ty/a>
  • Yukmouth
  • Murs -- End of the Beginning
  • Jaylib -- Champion
  • 50 Cent
  • Caural – Stars on My Ceiling
  • Foreign Legion -- Playtight
  • Wildchild – Secondary Protocol
  • The Coup – Party Music
  • DJ Spinna – Here to There
  • Soul Position -- Unlimited
  • Jean Grae – Attack of the Attacking Things
  • El-P -- Fantastic Damage (first review I ever wrote)
  • Boom Bip – Seed to Sun
  • Boom Box 200 - The Worst CD Ever
  • Nas - God's Son
  • Articles that aren't viewable on the Web

    Too many to mention.


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