25.8.08

FRESH CLASSICS: HEY YOUNG WORLD



Over a decade before Outkast was encouraging cats to Get Up and Get more than temporary weed highs, Ricky D played a similar tune of calling out some of the ill circumstances of the young generation and giving them the needed encouragement to do better. Slick's voice and delivery over this jazzy track was incredible, but the video looked cheap, like many during the 80s. Despite the low video quality and old looking youth, however, the concept in of "The Ruler" shinning a flashlight on the violators, who are shown in a dark blue haze, married well with the concept of the song. This joint was during a period when Hip Hop was really voicing reality. We need more "Hey Young World" messaging...*Classic*

24.8.08

World's Largest Record Collection


The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

In today’s world, everyone downloads and buys music from the internet, making physical record albums obsolete, which is very sad news for Paul Mawhinney. Paul has the world’s largest record collection that he has been accumulated throughout his lifetime. He used to run a record store, and he would always put away the last copy of an album for himself. Due to his declining health and old age, Paul has decided to put the collection on sale for a mere $3 million when it was appraised at a whooping $50 million, yet no one has given a solid offer. Regardless of our technological advances, sometimes holding an album in your hands just feels a little bit different.

23.8.08

TW2AW: The Return of the Magnificent



By Andrea Woo

Perhaps to most, he is known as Jazz, the streetwise best friend of Will Smith who Uncle Phil routinely tossed out of his mansion on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But to those with hip-hop in their blood, the man born Jeff Townes is the magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff, a legend who has been holding it down at the wheels of steel for more than two decades. He is the man, who, along with the Fresh Prince, spawned countless rap careers with the 1988 classic, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper. He is your favourite DJ's favorite DJ.

What began as a hobby in his mother's west Philadelphia basement more than 30 years ago has blossomed into a career of doing what he loves, garnering him unrelenting respect from those who matter and enough awards to collapse a mantle. Jeff's talent at the turntables has also taken him, quite literally, around the world, with a seemingly endless tour schedule that he himself refers to as "grueling." In the past year alone, he estimates that he toured the UK six times, Canada three, Asia twice and Australia once.

"It's grueling and it's hard, but what's really cool is to know that you have friends in Hong Kong, and know that you have friends in Shanghai," says Jeff, on the line from his Philadelphia home. (Just three days prior, he rocked a show in New York with Smith, and in three more days, will be kicking off yet another European tour in Norway.) "That you get off the plane and you can call these guys and they take you to your favorite restaurant over there, and take you shopping…. It's like, 'Wow, I got friends in Hong Kong like I got friends in Philly.' It makes you really understand that as big as the world is, it's not as big as you think."

Throughout the course of a 30-minute interview, this endearing humility permeates almost all of his answers. From speaking with him, one would hardly expect that he became a millionaire at 24, or that he has sold more than 10 million albums, or that he and Will bagged the first rap Grammy ever. He is humble and appreciative, good-natured and patient. He answers questions about his Fresh Prince days as if he has not been asked the same questions 2,500 times before.

It seems that this down-to-earth modesty extends outside of interviews. He is widely credited, for example, for creating the Transformer scratch, and yet he refuses to acknowledge this, insisting instead that he simply popularized it by being the first to put it on wax. His Grammys (for 1989's "Parents Just Don't Understand" and 1991's "Summertime") are in a box tucked away in a closet somewhere, not having been touched since he moved houses a couple of years ago. Several of his other awards—three American Music awards, two NAACP awards, two Soul Train Music awards and one MTV Music award—are at his mother's.

"As much as I appreciate all the awards and accolades, I have never let that get me to a point like I have to keep that on display and things like that," says the bespectacled beatsmith. "It's always kind of been something for me that I felt as soon as you get too wrapped up in what you've done, what you're doing is over. I still have too much more that I want to do to worry about what I've done."

The latest thing that he has done is complete The Return of the Magnificent, the follow-up to 2002's The Magnificent. The 16-track album features an eclectic range of artists that Jeff says he has always wanted to work with: Method Man, CL Smooth, Kardinal Offishall, Jean Grae, Peedi Peedi, Raheem DeVaughn, and more. He began the project last year, and with nine songs completed in a month, was on pace to finish in a month-and-a-half. His "grueling" tour schedule, however, threw a wrench in the plans.

"DO ME A FAVOR," he wrote on his MySpace blog last December at 6 a.m. from Oxford, England. He was on the third of four tours scheduled for as many months. "IF YOU SEE ME…AND THE ALBUM IS NOT OUT…TELL ME TO TAKE MY ASS HOME N FINISH…BUT WAIT TILL I'M DONE ROCKIN THE HOUSE…..HAHAHA."

Caps and all, the message was written in jest, as Jeff is one artist who genuinely seems to love being on tour.

"One of the biggest things recently is putting together [a tour] DVD, and just kind of looking [at it], like, 'Wow, I'm on stage in front of 1,500 people in Hong Kong, and then I'm on stage in front of 1,500 people in South Africa, then 2,000 people in London,'" he says. "I'm playing the same music. We don't speak the same verbal language, but we speak the same musical language."

Last year, a phony press release circulated stating that DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince would be reuniting for the "Boom! Shake the Land" tour in 2007. While Jeff laughs at this, he says that the two have certainly talked about hitting the road again.

"He really, really, really wants to do that, but it's just kind of hard," he says. "Will's one of the biggest movie stars in the world, and it's really hard to juggle two careers. He often [says] that the movies and television really messed his music career up because he couldn't really devote all his time [to it]. His heart is always there."

He adds that every time Will does promotion for a movie, he plans on integrating a concert or tour with Jeff. The show they did together three days prior, in fact, was for the wrap party of Will's upcoming film, I am Legend.

"I look at it like, any time Will calls me, I'm there, because Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince is what started his movie career as well as my music career," he says. "We always kind of take whatever time we need to take out for that. You know, I keep my fingers crossed."

One of his tentative plans for 2007 is to complete three more records. ("Not necessarily my records. I want to do another record that's going to be a little bit different, just with a lot more worldly music, you know? Some Brazilian stuff…some house stuff, and some funk stuff….") Another is to produce about three more records for other people. And, not surprisingly, throw himself head first into another "grueling" year of touring.

"I don't think I'll ever, ever stop DJing," he says.

As the interview draws to a close, Jeff seems reflective, as if evoking the feeling of rocking a faraway club. The Pharcyde, KRS-One, Pharoahe Monch… Coloured lights scan a sea of bodies lost in a blur of sweat and euphoria. Hands are in the air. Nothing else matters.

"I think this may be one of the happiest times in my life," he says slowly, pausing to organize his thoughts. "From traveling around the world and meeting people, I've learned so much stuff from children about the world that they don't even realize that they're teaching [me]…. I've learned to relax a lot more and take life as it comes, instead of trying to dictate it, and get this hit record, and chase this big thing. It's kind of like, 'You know what? It's a taxi ride. Let me just get in, shut up, and enjoy the view.'"

* * * * *

Bonus

Raw interview excerpts that didn't fit into the story, but that I love regardless:

What is it like being on tour with Jazzy Jeff? I imagine it ain't six dudes in a van driving nine hours a day….
You know what? The funny thing, sometimes it is. I mean, I like to experience— like, you know what's funny is, when Will and I were touring back in the day, we didn't care about where we were going, we didn't care about the location, the people. We wanted to do the show and go back home. So it's a lot different to go to these places that you've gone now, where you meet people, you understand the culture, you understand the food, you understand the sights, you're taking pictures, you're taking a lot more in. So a lot of the touring, you know, as well as spreading music to people in different places, is also experiencing different cultures, experiencing different music and the way that people live their lives. It gives you a great appreciation for where you're from. And I try to make it as loose and as fun as I possibly can, because I look at it like, my job on tour is to make people have a good time, and the last thing that I can do is make my job so stressful and my job is to make you have a good time. I gotta have a good time, and hopefully that comes through in my spirit to the people that you're playing for.

When it came time to provide the transforming sound effect for the upcoming Transformers movie, you were overlooked. Why does Michael Bay hate rap music?
[Laughs] You know, I never even thought about that. Never thought about that. It's funny, because I didn't even know Michael Bay hated rap music. It's funny that he hated rap music and did the movies with Will. But different people have different musical tastes. If Michael Bay is only exposing himself to the rap music that's on the radio, sometimes you can understand why he may hate it.

Where did you get your first big paycheck from and what did you do with it?
Ooh. First big paycheck was probably from a collection of shows that we did, and I took the money and I put it in my pocket. [Laughs] Bought a pair of shoes, and I put it in my pocket, because the first big check I was so afraid of putting it in the bank. I didn't trust the bank for at least a year. I just took my money and put it in my pocket, and when it got too much to put in your pocket, I just put it under my bed.

Do you take care of the MySpace page yourself?
You know what? I try. I tried in the beginning, and then I kind of got cool with the people at MySpace and they made me a MySpace DJ. In one day, it went from like 4,000 people, friends and friend requests, to 40,000. It just got to a point that it was like, "Okay, this is way out of my hands now." So I try to answer as many e-mails as I can, you know. It's getting kind of hard, because it's starting to be a whole bunch of spam, people trying to get me to buy something from Victoria's secret. If you check 30 messages and 28 of them are Victoria's Secret ads, you just end up giving up, saying, "Never mind." I know a guy in DC who told me he booked a whole tour through MySpace. I mean, I've bumped into people from Howie T to Mix Master Ice from U.T.F.O.—guys that I haven't been in contact with for 20 years—on MySpace. So it's definitely a community where you get these guys that can put their records and put their music out there and people can listen to it. It's definitely a big change, because now you have the accessibility to get your stuff out there and let people hear it without signing to a big record company. I just think it puts the power back into the artists' hands, or some of it.

Tell me something that no one knows about DJ Jazzy Jeff.
[Laughs] That no one knows? If I wasn't a DJ, or doing music, I'd be a chef.

What's your best dish?
I don't really have a best dish, I just love to cook. And I love to experiment, experimental cook. You know what goes together, just grab a bunch of seasoning, put some stuff in a pan, cook it up and keep your fingers crossed.

If hip-hop was a woman, what would she look like?
Ooh. At its current state? Well, I think if hip-hop was a woman, she'd have to be quadruplets. It couldn't just be one woman. One would have to be very afrocentric and very down to earth, and try to keep everything pure, and the righteous one fighting for equality, fighting for what's good. One would probably have a weave down to the floor and implants and a really tight skirt. One would probably have to be a banker who is very driven, just about being successful, and one of them would probably have on booty shorts and gold fronts.

Is Charlie Mack still first out the limo?
[Laughs] Charlie Mack will always be the first out of the limo. He's just a little bit older and he doesn't go get in too many limos now.

* * *

DJ Jazzy Jeff on Tour, Courtesy of Rapster/BBE Records:
http://www.bbemusic.com/media/jazzy_001.mov
This is the video he was referring to in the story. It is a GREAT video. When "Summertime" comes in at the end? GOOD LORD. It's a wrap.

DJ Jazzy Jeff's Official Site:
http://www.djjazzyjeff.com/


Buy The Return of the Magnificent
http://www.amazon.com/Return-Magnificent-DJ-Jazzy-Jeff/dp/B000NO20UQ/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1200479728&sr=8-1
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Swagger Like Us




T.I. enlists Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne for this modern, hard-hitting boom-bap track. The track samples M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." The other day I stated I was surprised more rappers did not rhyme over M.I.A., well this knocks out four of the biggest rappers on one track. Check for T.I. He killed this track, which was much need for him.
Download Swagger Like Us

22.8.08

Banned Guinness Beer Commercial



This is the craziest commercial, I've seen in a long time. I had to post it

Behind the Scenes: Jay-Z Vibe Cover

20.8.08

America Is F*cked....


America Is F*cked.......(Graphically at least) from Jess Gibson on Vimeo.

Aaron Draplin:

In April 2000, much to the chagrin of his proud “Midwestern Roots,” Aaron Draplin accepted the ill-fated art director position with SNOWBOARDER magazine. He moved it all down to Shithole, Southern California-alongside some hot, caustic beach-and wrangled some 23 issues of the mag. He won “Art Director of the Year” for Primedia 2000, beating out such titles as Gun Dog, Cat Fancy and Teen. No other awards were bestowed in this period, and like he gives a rat’s ass.

Thankfully, in April 2002, the Cinco Design Office of Portland, Oregon called up and offered a Senior Designer gig which he instantly accepted. He moved it all North to the land of rain and gloom and rolled up the sleeves to work on the Gravis, Helly Hansen and Nixon accounts.

The Draplin Design Co. finally stepped out on its own four hairy feet in the fall of 2004.

Now, Aaron Draplin is proud to work on what he likes when he likes as a true to life designer. If you don't believe me, then check out his site.

15.8.08

Vintage Pieces: Members Only Jacket

Members Only is a brand of clothing that became popular in the 1980s for the "Members Only Jacket". The brand was created in 1975 and introduced to American markets in 1979 by Europe Craft Imports (later acquired in 1987 by the Marcade Group). Members Only was renowned for their brand of jackets, which was first introduced in 1981 and manufactured in several colors. The jackets had passants. Their advertising tagline, "when you put it on, something happens", also gained fame, especially in the early 1990s when several condom manufacturers stole the tagline.

The brand is heralded as an original American classic. It bridged the thresholds of the Hip-Hop world and the Light Rock world. It is also inspiration to the memorable Michael Jackson jacket designs of the 80's. As Hip-Hop and trend setters embraced the styles of a more conservative cool America, they would adorn their clothing with personal own flair using buttons, pins, paints, and multiple colorway styles. This jacket was a must have accessory with the Kangols and other specialty hats. It is funny how this awesome classic brand has not made a new footprint in American hipster culture. Again, it is for members only in the Club of Cool. And if, you have to ask if you are a member, then you are not a member. Members Only jackets are for true cool kids and not for the hipsters.

The brand was licensed in 2004 by Kirtie Regan, who resurrected the brand and developed a new line of apparel.

"PINEAPPLE EXPRESS" - The Autopsy

Photobucket


Saw it last night with my Bahamian homie Ahmahl and my white girl connect Ponton out chea in Atlanta. We got properly zooted while the previews played and rushed in to find seats at the beginning of the movie. The plot of Pineapple Express is pretty simple. It's a weed film. The star and co-writer of the film, Seth Rogen, makes a purchase of "Pineapple Express", a rare strain of cannabis which, in all likelyhood, PROBABLY EXISTS IN REAL LIFE as a result of the tropical climate and transcontinental winds that pass through Hawaii and Canada. And you already know that islanders and Canadians get extremely zooted like every day.


Photobucket


Dale, the main character played by Rogen, witnesses a murder, and he and his weed dealer, played by James Franco, are being stalked by the local weed kingpin and his corrupt cop girlfriend. Strange fuckery ensues.

The movie is pretty classic, and the dialogue is hilarious, full of half-baked ideas and half-cocked concepts. A very funny detail is that their marijuana-induced paranoia actually saves them from being killed immediately after the main character sees the murder and flees the scene of the crime. Like Rogen's first runaway hit, Superbad, this movie has some very wild parts (selling weed to high school students?), but actually comes across as a morality tale of sorts. Lots of subject matter, including love, marriage, friendship, responsibility and loyalty are displayed in the two-hour timespan of Pineapple Express, and since my buzz was strong enough to last the whole duration, I was pleasantly happy.


Photobucket


There is a lot of nolo-esque stuff going on towards the end, but besides that I can't really complain. If you have friends, roll up a couple and have a smoker's night out (no cigarettes!). If you don't, look for Pineapple Express on the net, or just wait for On Demand or Netflix or whatever. As a stoner film, it makes more sense to catch this one on DVD, just because you'll have the ability to munch out as much as you want without having to deal with movie theater prices, and the movie is definitely a collector's item. But if you have some friends who are down, it's definitely a good idea to watch it on the big screen after putting a stick or two in the wind. Good times.


14.8.08

SKYLINE RESIDENCE

Project: Skyline Residence
Design Architect: Beizberg Architects
Principal: Hagy Beilzberg

Perched atop a ridgeline in the Hollywood Hills, the presence of the Skyline Residence represents an honest approach to creating an environmentally sensitive building without sacrificing beauty nor budget. The architect's general approach to this project was adopted from "Carbon Neutral Economics," or the purchasing of goods which are manufactured locally and capitalizing on the natural features of the site to save carbon pollution resulting from transporting materials.






12.8.08

TW2AW: Big Boi of Outkast

Big Boi of Outkast
by Andrea Woo

The battle of hip-hop is a bloody affair. Those who have survived this decades-long war have done so with tremendous agility and resilience, dodging and weaving through the crossfire of gimmicks and trends, flexible enough to adapt to uncertain terrain yet headstrong enough to maintain the integrity of the mission.

Amidst a sea of corpses stands Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, a tireless warrior who has survived more than 15 years of active duty. As one-half of Outkast, Big Boi has sold more than 25 million albums and garnered six Grammys and diamond certification by the RIAA (for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below) – one of only four hip-hop albums in the U.S. to do so.

"I need music to live; I thrive on it," says the 33-year-old Savannah, Ga. native. "I thrive on the desire to hear this new sound, vibes, new energy – the desire to hear new subject matter [and make] something funky that's gonna touch people."

Said funkyness has manifested itself through various outlets, such as music, acting and, as of last April, a collaboration with the Atlanta Ballet. The production, entitled "big," ran for four days at Atlanta's historic Fox Theatre and featured Big Boi, artists from his Purple Ribbon label Janelle Monáe and Sleepy Brown, dozens of dancers and other guests in an animated amalgamation of classical ballet and hip-hop.

"It [was] very, very, very exciting," says Big Boi of the shows, which included songs such as "Morris Brown," "Church" and "Bombs Over Baghdad." "My whole band, we [were] up there funkin' around, having fun."

In July, Big Boi is slated to release Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, his second solo album after 2003's Speakerboxxx. Sir Lucious Leftfoot is one of Big Boi's many aliases and Chico Dusty is a nickname his father earned during his time as an Air Force pilot and marine.

"He was a bad man," says Big Boi. "And I am his splitting image, so that makes me even badder – some real Desperado shit."

As of press time, Big Boi confirmed that the album will be 13 tracks long and feature production by Organized Noize, Mr. DJ and Royal Flush, a new production team. Guests include Andre 3000, Raekwon and Mary J. Blige, as well as potentially a few others he's still "trying [his] damndest" to get.

"[Sade] and Prince; I'm looking for them two," he says. "I got the perfect song for them already and I'm just waiting on the response back, but I might have to go hunt Sade down."

Big Boi had originally told media that he would leak the album's first single, "Royal Flush" – named after the production team and song featuring Andre and Raekwon – at midnight on New Years, though it didn't end up dropping until March.

"I couldn't make my mind up for which one I wanted to put out first, so I was like, 'Let me wait,' " he explains. "I waited, then recorded a couple more songs, then I ended up going with the song I was going to put out from the get-go." Another single, "Sir Lucious Leftfoot Saves the Day," debuted as the last song of the night during the "big" ballet performances.

If all goes according to plan, Outkast's long-anticipated next album, 10 the Hard Way, should also see the light of day in early 2009.

"That record was supposed to be out on the Outkast 10-year anniversary, so we done passed that," he says with a laugh. "I'm gonna put this Leftfoot album out, let Dre put his [solo] album out in the winter and we'll put together the Outkast record to come out [at the] top of next year. We don't know what it's gonna be called yet, but it's gonna be hard."

In addition to working on his own album, one of Big Boi's current priorities is pushing his artist Janelle Monáe, for whom he just got a pressing deal. "We're gonna give her the exposure and attention that she needs right now … then I have two other groups that I'm waiting to unleash after [that]," says Big Boi. He says he is also working on a few film projects, though he is hesitant to speak on them "until [I] kind of lock it down."

In the moments that aren't dominated with writing and recording, Big Boi is handling his duties as a family man. His sons Cross and Bamboo play football and soccer and his daughter, Jordan, plays the piano, so he is often at their games and recitals.

"I'm a strong supporter of family," he says, adding that, in addition to music, friends and family are what make him happiest. "Dungeon Family or blood family – we're all the same."

Jocking Jay-Z



Dirty Version. Produced by Kanye West for Blueprint 3!!
Download Dope Boy Fresh (Jocking Jay-Z)

FRESH CLASSICS: TONITE



If you ask me, this is when Quik, with out a doubt, was on top of his game. Strongly influenced by the funk of George Clinton and Troutman talkbox effects, Quik creates a timeless track that oozes "Southern California" in the early 90s. The beat immediately commands your attention and takes you on a funky ride through a day in Quik's shoes, as he get's ready for a night of booze, bud, and "nice young ladies" [substitute your own adj.]....*Classic*

Exclusive: Kanye West Champion Video


Kanye West "Champion Video" Official Directed by NEON from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

8.8.08

Incase You Didn't Know

incasepaulrodriguez.jpg

I'm a backpacker. All my family and friends know that I cannot go anywhere without a backpack filled with stuff. I have to carry my Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, a magazine, a small notebook, my Astroboy pencil case, and a book. Oh, I also have my wallet, Blackberry, and iPod in my backpack. As an urban camper, all those items are necessary in order to survive the mean streets. Well, InCase is creating clever ways to carry and protect our Macs and our Decks, has just announced their latest collaboration: a collection of high-performance skate travel bags with pro skateboarder, Paul Rodriguez.

The four-time X-Games medalist's Signature Collection features three pieces, each with an array of skateboard specific storage options promising to merge practical functionality, non-traditional materials and refinement. Not to mention the ability to withstand the demanding travel environments of both pro skaters and weekend road-trippers alike. Now, I just need to get my feet on a board so I can buy PR's signature collection.

“For more than a year, our design team has worked closely with Paul to develop a collection of bags that reinvent the standards by which the travel needs of skateboarders are met,” says Damon Way, Incase Chief Brand Officer. “Between our strong design sensibility and Paul's eye for style and detail, this signature collection defines a new paradigm in the skate bag category.”

We are gonna translate "a new paradigm" as "a stylin' must-have."

Look for a special Paul Rodriguez section of the InCase Website to launch in September and the Signature Collection to debut in select retailers in October.

Blueprint 3 is on the way


BLUEPRINT 3 from kwest on Vimeo.
Thanks 'Ye for the leaked video

7.8.08

Banging Beats by Dr. Dre

For those that love me, they know how much I love music. I think these would fit quite well under the Christmas tree.

Dr. Dre has finally brought us some banging beats. Nothing for the Detox album, but definitely something for our ears.

Beats high definition headphones are precision-engineered to reveal the full sound of today's digital music including the most sonically demanding Rock, Pop, Hip Hop and R&B.

Here is a review Geek.com.







6.8.08

Battle of the Year - Bout 2: The Cool Kids vs Kidz in the Hall

There have been many duos to hit the rap scene. Most of these two-man tag teams disappear quicker than they come in with only one hit single and a lackluster album. The legendary rap duos consists of Clipse, 8Ball and MJG, Smif-n-Wesson, Mobb Deep, Dogg Pound, UGK, and Outkast. All of these groups have character and more than one good album under their belts. It is difficult for two personalities to meld into a single entity without one of those individuals standing out over the other. Usually, when one rapper is significantly better than the other, the group is marked for destruction.

Well, enter Kidz in the Hall and The Cool Kids. These groups are more mature than any children that I've heard in recent memory. Both groups are comprised of a well-balanced duo. They are trying to avoid the fate that so many rap duos and rap groups meet day in and day out. Kids in the Hall and The Cool Kids want longevity. They want to be relevant. In this week's Battle of the Year, I have compared their relevance to one another. If the general public only allows one dynamic duo to survive the test of time, then which one of these groups live to see another day?

Kidz in the Hall:
The Website.

The KitH are not unknown to studio albums considering that they dropped the unknown School was my Hustle (2006). After coming off a very unseen failure, the Kidz in the Hall rebounded with two stellar mixtapes, Detention (2007) and Geniuses Need Love Too (Valentine's Day 2008). These two albums placed Naledge and Double-0 in the forefront of hipster cool rappers. Detention drifted across subject matter with more ease than a Skyline GTR in the hills of Osaka. The boys addressed women issues, parental issues, lessons from school, life, job security, national security, and crafted a dumbed down party single that isn't that dumb. Lyrically, the Kidz in the Hall are giants. Naledge delivers some of the heaviest lyrical stanzas this side of the Mississsippi. Not to count Double-0 out, he brings a swag to his delivery only reminiscent of Ghostface (without the high pitched whine).

According to their mixtapes, the production isn't original, but their subject matter was fresh enough to hook me. There were a few times that they rapped over the beat versus in the beat. But, isn't that what true lyricists do from time to time? (Side note: Producers just need to make better beats for their artists, and artists need to make better beat selection!) After the two mixtapes hit the circuit, the group rallied enough thought-provoking beats to craft another studio album-- The In Crowd. The album didn't move me like the mixtapes did. Maybe, it was that sense of familiarity I had with the mixtapes' production and the freshness that rolls with it when another rapper crafts a better composition from that production work. The album isn't bad by any means, it is far better than many of the rap albums that are chart toppers. Naledge and Double-0 are skilled lyrically, control the microphone well, and can rap over a beat like butter. They are just missing that differentiator that forces the listening public to see their personalities in verse.

Download Detention




The Cool Kids:

Kidz in the Hall:
The Website.

When I first heard Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish, I was expecting a rollercoaster of difference. It was totally refreshing and exhilirating to hear production that was simply complex and hard hitting. I was actually getting the best of both world with New York's boom-bap and Atlanta's hard bass. It was a marriage only seen in Baltimore House or Chicago house. But, their marriage had slower rpms. I intently listened to Mikey and Chuck spit verse after verse on why they are cool and you are not. Their discography is not reflective of their work as songs go from an EP, Totally Flossed Out, to a mixtape, That's Stupid, to another EP, The Bake Sale. This isn't a bad formula considering these boys are featured all over the place from rappers like Lil' Wayne to DJ Benzi. The production drew me into what they were saying and what they actually said was and is cool. They presented a throwback to a time when rap was a test of wits and fun. Lyrically, they brought wit and swag. Listening to Chuck rap was like watching a sheppard direct his flock. He made the production do what he wanted it to do. Mikey is a spitter. He has the verbal acrobatics to leap from word to word without falling. The Cool Kids actually craft every musical composition for each song. Their music is definitely Hip-Hop.

They bring a balance and commitment to each other like no other group. The Cool Kids support each others verses. It is like the Clipse on some just cool ish to be cool. They compliment one another like Jay-Z and Biggie. They feed off one another. It is like watching Serena and Venus play tennis. The volleys are fierce and you just don't want them to stop. The subject matter isn't brutal and unbelievable. Again, I'll say they are on some cool ish.

They don't even come off as coonish. They rock the 80's wear, but Mikey and Chuck represent Hip-Hop today as it should be versus what it is. They borderline gimmicky.

Download That's Stupid The Mixtape


Verdict:
After listening to both groups, I've decided to run with Kidz In The Hall as the winner. The reason they won was because they reached beyond a gimmick. Not saying the Cool Kids are gimmick rappers, it is just their persona is gimmicky. They are riding the coattails of the 80's craze. What will become of the group once that falls out of style? Are they gonna remain the cool kids or evolve into smooth adults? I appreciate both groups for their contributions to the culture. I love the braggadocio of both groups, but I can relate to the heavy "I'm educated" style of The Kids In The Hall. Time will tell if the Cool Kids will remain cool and the Kidz in the Hall will stay in the halls. I know these two groups are on tour together, so I hope to have a collaboration track called the Cool Kids in the Hall.

5.8.08

TW2AW: Hip-Hop as a Woman

Hip-Hop as a Woman

By Andrea Woo

There is something to be said about a woman whose mere presence can hurtle you to the brink of insanity, yet pull you back before you fall. On good days, you say that you will spend forever with her, and believe it. On bad days, it is as if you don’t know her at all. She is the subject of praise and controversy, the cause of euphoria and rage. You say that you will break free from her, but your history together keeps you bound.

It was in 1994 that Common released “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” arguably the most highly-regarded and seminal song to ever personify hip-hop as a woman. Over a smooth No I.D. beat that is only a step above melancholic, the Chicago emcee waxed poetic about a secular shorty who was once soulful and street-smart, but grew to become a shell of her former self. More than a dozen years later, we ask some of today’s finest: If hip-hop was a woman, what would she look like?

* * * * *

“She’d probably be all fat and beat-up. [Laughs] Nah. If hip-hop was a woman, for real though, she’d be like a real strong grandmother. You know, just taking care of the whole family, just that hard, African look.” – Hi-Tek



“A fucking whore that’s just been ran through. Just— God. A whore that’s past her prime. [Laughs] I’m just being real. A 50-year-old still working in the Red Light district and shit, titties sagging and just been done so wrong. [Laughs].” – Phonte



“Damn. Right now? She would look like Terrance Howard’s girl in Hustle and Flow, because you know she’s supposed to look real bomb but she looks real tired.” – Blu



“At its current state? Well, I think if hip-hop was a woman, she’d have to be quadruplets. It couldn’t just be one woman. One would have to be very afrocentric and very down to earth, and try to keep everything pure, and the righteous one fighting for equality, fighting for what’s good. One would probably have a weave down to the floor and implants and a really tight skirt. One would probably have to be a banker who is very driven, just about being successful, and one of them would probably have on booty shorts and gold fronts.” – DJ Jazzy Jeff




“Probably like she’s on methamphetamine, man. [Laughs] She’d probably look drugged the hell out because she done been so abused. She’d be fly as hell, though, but her facial features and stuff like that would just look worn out. She’d be a fly-ass, abused woman.” – Petey Pablo



“She would have a bangin’ ass body and an ugly ass face…right now, because the face of hip-hop is once you get on mainstream radio…. But the body of hip-hop –– the thing that makes that face be able to walk and hold up, and stand on that head, and make that head stand on that neck, that is keeping hip-hop strong –– is the people who are dope: Outkast, T.I., Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Rhymefest…. You know, the body is bangin’, but the face is a bit ugly. But you know what I’m gonna do, because I care so much about this girl, because I love this girl so much? I’m gonna take her to a plastic surgeon. I’m gonna get her cheeks lifted. I’m gonna show her how to put some ProActive on her face. I’m gonna make her happy, and put a smile on her, make her stop frowning so much. She’s always mad! I’m gonna present to the world a more beautiful woman.” – Rhymefest





“She would probably be a tall, big bitch with big feet or something — a pretty bitch with big feet. I don’t know. Maybe too much cellulite on her ass because of all the bullshit [in hip-hop].” – Raekwon



“She’d look like Halle Berry. Just perfectly put together — when everyone in the game has an opportunity.” – DL Incognito



"I don’t think she could just be one woman. It’d have to be a couple different women. [Laughs] It’s gotta be funky, it’s gotta be freaky. It’s definitely gotta be something stimulating, so it just depends on what’s stimulating to the people.... She definitely – definitely – gotta have that wideness to her, but it’s gotta be shaped up right, and the boom gotta hit right, but she’s also gotta be intelligent. That’s first and foremost; you gotta stimulate that mind, too. [Interviewer: "She gon have on some glasses."] Yeah, that’s all she’ll be wearing. Everything else, she’ll be naked. How you love that?" - Big Boi




“She's that one beautiful girl you'll never get over — your destructive first love. No matter where you are in your life or who you're with, you always end up in bed with her. She makes you feel like the luckiest man on earth when you're together but she flaunts her cheating ways for the world to see, rarely returns your calls and never says thank you when you look out for her best interests or dedicate mixtapes to her. You love her too much for your own good, but those fleeting moments of her direct attention are too much to ever let go of.” – Tonedeff



“She would probably have the features of every culture on the planet, because hip-hop is universal, worldwide. She would definitely have on, you know, a hoodie, a cool-ass hat, maybe some Timbs.” – Masta Ace



“She’d have a strong body and she’d have a pretty face, but it would be one of those male/female faces, you know, but a nice face. She would look good, but she would be strong-looking, like a Black Panther. [Laughs] It would definitely be a strong-looking woman.” – Eve






“I think she would be a beautiful, unique person. I think she’d be like a melting pot of different races, different religions, different cultures. When I think of hip-hop, that’s the thing I think of more than anything, because you got all different types of skin color, cultures, religions involved. Me, I’m a little bit white, a little bit Asian and then I look like a little bit Spanish. That’s my whole thing when I think of hip-hop, so I would say that: Multi-cultural.” – DJ Smallz



“She would be hood — definitely hood. Bourgeois though, you know? She would want the best hand bag, the dopest Gucci boots. She’d probably be mixed…because hip-hop is full of totally different cultures. She’d be eclectic. She’d be a whole collage. She’d be very colorful. I think she’d be dope. She wouldn’t be scared to talk to nobody. Kind of arrogant, but fly. You couldn’t hate. You’d want to be down. That’s the way that hip-hop is: You get in where you fit in.” – Shawnna



She would have the body of a goddess. Very healthy, like Serena Williams type body, and intelligent, and able to understand me, understand my moods. It would be, like, the thickest girl in the world with the nicest body — very attractive, and able to understand me.” – Motion Man



“I think, right now, hip-hop would be a prostitute — beautiful looking, but she will sell herself to get what she wants. She’s lost that intelligence, but sometimes it kicks in. When she’s standing at the corner of the street, that intelligence kicks in sometimes and she doesn’t sell herself cheap. [Laughs]” – Zuluboy (South Africa)

“Right now, it’d be a really classy — Well, no, not classy, but a really dressed-up girl that’s out for the shine. She just wants to shine for the night.” – Classified



“Aw, man. She would be a B-student. You know, not perfect at everything, but good enough at everything. So she would be, like, a B. She would cook good enough, she would clean good enough. She wouldn’t necessarily be perfect, because hip-hop is not perfect, but it does the job.” – Bobby Creekwater



“She’d be beautiful. I think she’d be coloured. And she would have eyes that would make you feel like a complete retard every time she looked at you.” – Moses of Sweatshop Union



“Right now? She’d be a very ugly woman. Hip-hop is ugly right now.... It’s very negative right now, [and] negativity, to me, equals ugliness. [Pause] And a very stupid woman, too.” – Lupe Fiasco



“Well, there’s a lot of bass, so she’d be big on the bottom. She’d be loud; maybe she’d look like she’d be wearing loud colors. She would always be moving — and a member of several 12-step programs.” – Boots Riley of the Coup


“She would have a caramel complexion and long hair. I guess the eyes would be like kaleidoscopes; they can change different colours. The body would be like, that Coke bottle shape –– perfect. The lips would be crazy. The lips would be beautiful –– full lips. And she’d have some headphones on.” – Wordsworth



“Hip-hop would be the flyest chick ever. She’d be mixed and exotic looking and dress with mad style — a down-ass chick who ain’t afraid to break a nail if she gotta handle her biz. And she'd be dope as hell in bed, the type that even when you’re makin’ love, you’re still fuckin. Yeah, I fucks with hip-hop.” – PackFM



“She would look like Beyonce. Nah, no she wouldn’t. If hip-hop was a woman, she’d probably be a video girl that’s in the hip-hop videos because they’re the ladies of hip-hop. They the vision of hip-hop: Video girls.” – Soulja Boy



“Wow. She’d probably be real sexy. She’d be intellectual. She’d like to party, and at the same time be very conscious, aware of social and political issues. She’d just be a well rounded— she’d be the perfect woman! Well, not the perfect woman, because hip-hop is not perfect, so if it was a woman she wouldn’t be. She’d have her flaws, yeah. She’d probably like a lot of jewelry, name-brand clothes, phat cars and stuff. But you’d still have to love her though — have to love her.” – Jin



“Right now, she’d be a hood rat. It’s like what Common said. I used to love her, now they pimpin’ her. Let’s put it that way.” – Method Man

4.8.08

The Wonderful World of Andrea Woo


I was graced with the presence of Andrea Woo about a year and a half ago. It was in IHOP after a Cunninlynguist show in Los Angeles. Andrea, a Vancouver native, is Hip-Hop. Talking with Andrea, I learned that she was as passionate about the culture more than your average fan or fanatic. Andrea lived Hip-Hop. She talked with a natural swagger never mincing her words together. She spoke with the sirens' clarity. Every idea was a complete odyssey through one of her life's experiences. As she would talk about her crush on Kanye to telling you how Ghostface was kicking it with some Chinese cats in Japan (???), Andrea's words gracefully rolled off her tongue with a sting of brutal honesty. I crushed on her. The night at IHOP made me feel like I was having breakfast at Tiffany's. Andrea's world is filled with wondrous adventure.

Andrea is wonderful. She is the personification of Hip-Hop's struggle. She is socially conscious, cosmopolitan, brashly sophisticated, and shyly human. If you read through her words, you will hear her emotions speak about Hip-Hop and how it has changed for the better and for the worse. Common said he used to love her. But, Andrea still loves him. She loves Hip-Hop like a battered wife that remains loyal to her husband's potential to achieve greatness after he falls from God's grace. If Hip-Hop is the savior to us, sinners, then Andrea is its Mary Magdalene.

Andrea has blessed me with the honor of publishing her thoughts and war stories with Hip-Hop. As I crushed on her, you will soon crush on her. She is one of the reasons, I still love Hip-Hop and all the ills that come with it.

Welcome to The Wonderful World of Andrea Woo (TW2AW). If you see the TW2AW abbreviation, prepare your soul for a feast.