Thursday, June 25, 2009

"This Is Bad, Real Bad, Michael Jackson"

Betcha when Kanye West rapped those lines he never expected that months later, MJ would be deceased at the age of 50.

Although many folks really have a love/hate relationship with Michael Jackson because of his accusations, trials, and a host of other issues that has plagued his life, there's no taking away the fact that he is an iconic entertainer who in many ways sacrificed his entire life for the entertainment of all. Every soul in our generation has at least one amazing Michael Jackson memory that's as vivid in our minds as if it happened just yesterday. Whether it's opening that gift box on Christmas Day to find out that your auntie bought you a "Beat It" jacket...or watching the Victory tour on TV and reenacting the brothers' performance in your grandmother's backyard as family members and neighbors watched...or trying to perfectly do the moon walk and other signature dances and moves he popularized, we all had some type of connection to Michael. Don't front...I know I'm the only one who did all those!!

My love for music runs DEEP and Jackson's legendary "Thriller" album was the first record I ever bought with my own money. I remember ripping off the plastic on it as if I could play the record in my father's car or something. Realizing that I couldn't of course, I just opted to read the lyrics and the liner notes during the car ride home. Michael's death comes as a "thriller" in it's own right, but at least the memories that we have of him will live on forever. You'll be missed Mike Jack.

Here's one of the GREATEST VIDEOS OF ALL TIME starring Michael Jackson and a slew of others..."Remember The Time".

Thursday, June 18, 2009

40 Acres and a Mule...the 2009 Equivalent or SOMETHING??

Pac really has little to do with this post but since his birthday just passed on June 16th, I didn't see a problem with posting it. This post does have everything to do with the mule, land, and Black family who he shares the photograph with though. As we know, the term "forty acres and a mule" derived from General Sherman's orders after the Cival War declaring that the formerly enslaved Blacks would receive that amount a land and a mule to cultivate it. After Abe Lincoln fell victim to an assassin's bullet, the new President, Andrew Johnson revoked Gen. Sherman's orders. Shyt hasn't been the same since.
I ran across this article on and didn't really know what to think about it:

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for the wrongs of slavery.

The nonbinding resolution sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is similar to a House resolution adopted last year that acknowledged the wrongs of slavery but offered no reparations. The House will have to vote on the issue again because the composition of that chamber changed after last November's elections.

The resolution was approved on a voice vote.

Because it is nonbinding, it does not have to be forwarded to the president for his signature.

Several states have passed similar resolutions, but the House resolution was the first time a branch of the federal government did so.

Harkin's resolution "acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery, and Jim Crow laws," and "apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws."

Jim Crow laws were state and local laws enacted mostly in U.S. Southern and border states between the 1870s and 1965 that denied African-Americans the right to vote and other civil liberties, as well as legally segregated them from whites.

Some members of the African-American community have called on lawmakers to give cash payments or other financial benefits to descendants of slaves as compensation for the suffering caused by slavery."

My understanding is that they're voting on whether or not the federal government should issue an official apology to the descendants of slaves who were essential in building this nation to be the powerful world leader what it is today. Some say that "time heals wounds" and I tend to agree with this statement in many aspects. This isn't one of them. The enslaving of Black people has been legally abolished for a little over a century and the Jim Crow laws that hunted Blacks after that have for the most part been eradicated in the past half century or so. *NOTE: THIS IS NOT A LONG TIME AT ALL* Affirmative action programs which mostly help women and OTHER minorities who are NOT Black were designed to even up the playing field in the realms of education and employment. Welfare and other forms of government assistance are often looked at by some as the government's way of helping out unprivileged Blacks who may not have the same opportunities as whites, however, the great majority of recipients are white. In essence, Blacks have never received their "forty acres and a mule" and have always been at a high disadvantage in the United States of America.

Of course some may point out the election of President Barack Hussein Obama as a sign that Blacks are on equal grounds as whites and can do whatever they want as long as they work hard. After the election, I even heard a plethora of Blacks talking about, "There's no excuse now, we have to step our game up...we got a Black president." I'm calling bullshyt. Of course we have to "step our game up" (in which we have BEEN in many ways...not so much in others), but that has always been the focus of the Black community for the most part. So my problem with this is that Blacks have BEEN working hard and little avail. The majority of wealth in this country is passed down from generation to generation and it has little to do with much else. Of course there are many success stories of people pulling themselves up from their bootstraps and becoming "successful", but that's FAR from the majority when it comes to people who are descendants of slaves and victims of America's racist laws. This is not an excuse. It's fact. It's no doubt that the descendants of the white slave owners are doing a whole lot better than the descendants of slaves a century and a half after they were considered "free". That's common sense and it's inevitable. If you can't respect that, your whole perceptive is wack.

I say all that to say if you think that one group of people who have been discriminated against for over four centuries and is STILL considered second-class citizens in the "free world" is EQUAL to another group who haven't experienced any of that, you're sadly mistaken.

An apology from the federal government is definitely well overdue, but without any action behind the statement, it's bullshyt.

Do you feel like descendants of slaves should be compensated, and if so, how?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

All Sold Out!!

"Writin' rhymes, tryin' ta find our spot off in that light
Light off in that spot, knowin' that we could rock
Doin' the hole in the wall clubs, this shit here must stop
Like freeze, We makin' the crowd move but we not makin' no G's
And that's a no nooo..."

- Andre 3K "Elevators" by Outkast

We've all heard the saying before that the music business is 10% "music", 90% "BUSINESS".

This rings to be true.

Many (if not every) recording artist that is out right now (no matter the genre) is MERELY using music as a stepping stone in creating a BRAND for themselves that includes music, but definitely not limited to it. Movies, television, clothing lines, soft drinks, cologne/perfume, underwear, footwear, real estate, reality shows, internet sites, cell phone companies, record labels, TOYS...not to mention endorsing such products from existing companies have all catapulted many artists to spots on the Forbes most paid entertainers list and other accolades. With little thanks to actual MUSIC, we have seen rappers transform into moguls leading a path (or dream) for EVERY nigga in the hood to become such an entrepreneur.

I'm not opposed at all to people who are capitalizing on their fact, I encourage it. Shiiiddd...that's what you're suppose to do.

However, when you start compromising your own personal integrity to sell a product, that's when I take issue. That's when you're a sell out. Now for the youngins who may only be familiar with terms like "hater" and "swag", a "sell out" was a word that we used to throw around all the time when somone wasn't being true to themselves. In youngster hiphop terms, a "sell out" is the same thing as a "hater"...except they were really only hating on themselves and their culture while taking away from their own character.

It's a real slippery slope though. Many people labeled M.C. Hammer (watch for his new show if you dare) a sell out when he made commercials for KFC, Taco Bell, Pepsi, and even endorsed British Knights. Those endorsements made him millions and also branded him a sell out amongst his peers. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he did have the M.C. Hammer doll complete with a Saturday morning cartoon. Same thing with one of my favorite rap groups Kid 'N Play. ***SideNote: I almost typed "favorite rap duos", but I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize DJ Wiz's position in the group. EndSideNote*** For the most part, they made fun-loving music, yet they were still given the side-eye amongst their peers when the cartoon and "House Party" movies franchise took off. Were they sell outs?? END SIDENOTE***

A lot of the more gangsta rap shyt I used to listen to proved that there was no room for endorsements and shyt like that. Until...

"Told all my friends / Don't drink 8ball (OldEnglish 800) cause St. Ides is givin' ends"
- Ice-Cube "Steady Mobbin'"

All of a sudden, it was the cool thing to endorse these companies.

This was ground-breaking. Cube, Wu-Tang, Biggie, 2Pac and Snoop, Dr. Dre, MC Eiht, King Tee, and others all endorsed the malt liquor. Whether they drunk the shyt or not...I doubt it. But they were making their cheese. Were they sell outs??

Before I knew it, you had emcees who were legions away from being considered commercial such as KRS-ONE and MC Shan in a boxing ring rapping about Sprite. Were they sell outs?

"Forget this rap shit, I need a new hustle / A little bit of everything, a new improved Russell" - "The Prelude" Jay-Z

It was a wrap from there. Jay-Z got a sneaker deal with Reebok...50 Cent followed suit and started selling water in addition. Lil' Jon and crew slung energy drinks...followed by Nelly and Ice-T. Diddy's actually winning awards for his clothing line and setting sales records for his cologne. And thanks to Russell Simmons, everybody and their mama is pushing clothes and accessories. Did they all sell out??


Record sales are slowly diminishing.

Earlier this year, I heard a Keith Sweat commercial advertising chicken McNuggets. That's right...CHICKEN MC-fuckin'-NUGGETS!! I'm not the biggest Keith Sweat fan, but damn, it's funny what a check can do to some people.


Just recently, my favorite producer of all time, the good ol' Dr. Dre has just recorded some television spots for Dr. Pepper. I don't see the connection at all between the beverage company and one of the architects of the gangsta rap music I'm so fond of. Maybe I need to be a "doctor" of psychology to understand this.

***SIDENOTE: I do know that on a short skit on NWA's "EFIL4ZAGGIN" tape, Eazy (Muthaphuckin') E sung, "I'm a nigga, he's a nigga, she's a nigga, we some niggas...wouldn't you like to be a nigga too?" in the melody of the famous Dr. Pepper commercial jingle. Maybe the two Dr.'s (Dre and Pepper) have been planning this since '91. I. Not. Know. Do the pop company even KNOW that Dr. Dre had this on one of his albums? I have lost sleep pondering questions like these. END SIDENOTE***

It's like NOBODY just wants to solely make music nowadays. Even cats that rap and produce such as David Banner acknowledges that Hollywood checks are WAY better than checks from music.

Yet, they STILL wonder why the sales are falling????

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Before, everything was geared towards promoting, marketing, and selling the album. In this day and age, the album is basically the promotional tool for selling the brand. This takes focus out of putting together the best possible album because now the artists and their management are more concerned about endeavors that will bring more income as oppose to quality music.

GOOD music is my life's soundtrack. And although I'm not knocking anybody's hustle, don't expect me (a fan) to purchase subpar music. In the words of a great poet Marshall Mathers, "We're the ones who made you."

I really didn't have a point with this post, just wanted to get the shyt off my chest. Much love and continued success to all the artists out there who continue to give my life a background beat. Hope the rest get a clue.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Worst Drug Known To Man

“10lbs. 197kts. Very very real I don’t know what fake feel like.$410,000. Hola seƱor recession proof. With 32 cars.Oldest child 5 and already got 4 million in her own account.I dont do dumb shit like this till I know the fams good. So don’t judge me frm what I buy.Judge me frm what I do.Cuz it’s so many artists that put themself before their family.but thanx yo" - T-Pain via his Twitter.

Alright. When I first saw this piece of gawdy ass jewlery, all I could ask myself is "why, why, why??" With head down in the palms of my hands, I thought to call T-Pain every synonym I could think of for the word "coon". I mean, really, what's an appropriate time and/or event to wear this type of chain? Weighing in a 10 pounds and costing two fifths of a million dollars, I don't think this is something that you would wear everyday. If he's in the studio working, there's no reason to wear it there. Red carpet event? Nope. Music video shoot? Maybe, but once you wear it in one clip, it's kinda ran its course and it's not fresh anymore. When hanging out with his kids? Ummm, no. While making an appearance at the club? Yes, if you wanna invite dem jackboys to relieve you of that ten pounds around your neck. During the sexing of a groupie (or wife)? I'm quite sure no woman wants a "BIG ASS CHAIN" smacking up against their flesh while making whoopee. Maybe a "BIG ASS..." something else, but definitely not a "CHAIN".

Now, at a time when rappers (most who wear fake and flawed jewels anyway) switch up their "chain game" every 6 to 9 months or so, I suppose he can always create enough photo ops for himself and this "BIG ASS CHAIN" and then just recycle the stones in it for making something else. Then again, if he wants to spend his cheese that way, hey, who am I (read: broke ass) to knock him. Do ya thang...shine on 'dem fools and give your ego an ultra boost if you wanna (read: need to)!!

***SIDENOTE: I think it's cool how most actors and actresses are basically LOANED jewlery, dresses, gowns, and suits by respectable designers and jewelers when it's time to make public appearances, but niggas just go crazy and feel the need to buy shyt up. END SIDENOTE***

The thing that does get me though is the fact that he admits, "I dont do dumb shit like this till I know the fams good. So don’t judge me..." yada yada yada. Whoa!! Ok, you KNOW that it's "dumb shit", yet you STILL take pride in doing it???? Your daughter may have millions in a bank account, but who knows, with a father who does DUMB SHIT, those millions can evaporate by her 21st birthday if she doesn't make the right decisions and do DUMB SHIT herself. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Obviously though, her pops has a good head on his shoulders and she'll be raised to make good, sound choices.

*can you hear the sarcasm echoing up*

Trust, I'm not a fan of telling people what to do with their money 'cause I damn sure don't want nobody telling me what to do with mine. If Oprah wants to build a scandal-ridden school in South Africa while the school system in America struggles to keep up with the rest of the globe, so be it. If a singer (he's more of a singer than rapper folks) wants to spend a half-a-mil on one piece of jewlery, more power to ya. I just ask with all the wisdom and foresight that you apparently have, genius, is that REALLY what you wanna do??

Saturday, June 6, 2009

BANGER ALERT!! - Jay-Z "Death Of Autotune"

This is LONG overdue. I've been telling cats for years that we need to get back to more violence in rap music. And NO, I'm not jokin'. Too many effeminate cats out there making songs for the ladies, the clubs, and/or the radio. Using the same formula and you wonder why the people rather download your material for free instead of purchasing it. As my Summer 2009 Draft Pick, Dom Kennedy, says, "Every trend change and you bite the style / That's why people don't like you now." All the rainbow bright colors, tight ass jeans, and singin' rappers reigns will be ending soon. Poof, vamoose...(you know the rest).

Check out Jay-Z's "Death Of Autotune".

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Sound's Laid Down By The Underground

Digital Underground definitely broke the mold in the late 80's when it comes to hip hop groups. Lead by Shock G, his alter-ego, Humpty Hump, and Money B, (and the "Piano Man"...not sure if he was an official member) the group took the whole fun vibe that existed before them to new heights while encouraging all to "DoWhutChaLike". They also introduced the artist who is arguably hip hop's most relevant cultural icon ever, 2Pac.

About twenty years later, I came across these rare videos of Shock opening up at a Seattle comedy club. I vividly recall the first time I heard "Freaks Of The Industry" and was bugging out off of how he used multiple choice questions in the lyrics. Crazy Creative. The story played out like a Cinemax movie in my mind detailing the kinky thought process with equally imaginative visuals. It instantly was my favorite song on the tape. Thus, this video from a couple of years back gave me a nostalgic sensation and prompted me to post this. Enjoy.

Here's an added bonus with him covering Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"VIXENS" trailor

Here's a trailor for a project I've been working on. "VIXENS" is designed to give a much-needed voice to the lovely ladies who grace the music video screen and magazines that we see on a regular basis. Before passing judgement, we all should take a glimpse into their lives and see what's really going on their world. It's not all about the glitz and the glamour.
Directed by Damon L. Thomas

Find more videos like this on Presidential Television and Film