Archive for April, 2007

20/20Proof Podcast Episode 2

April 24, 2007

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For the second episode of 20/20Proof podcast, I chose to give a commentary on the top 25 albums I recently submitted as part of the Passion Of The Weiss/Straight Bangin’ assignment. A selection from each of my favorite 25 hip-hop albums is played.

Poor Righteous Teachers-Rich Mon Time
Sean Price-I Love You (Bitch)
KRS One-Stop Frontin’
Redman-Can’t Wait
Brand Nubian-Allah U Akbar
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth-In The Flesh
Camp Lo-Coolie High
Mobb Deep-Temperature’s Rising
Common Sense-I Used To Love Her
Artifacts-Wassup Now Muthafucka?
LONS-Case of The PTA
Diamond & Psychoctic Neurotics-Sally Got A One Track Mind
Outkast-Aquemini
The Roots-No Great Pretender
Goodie Mob-Dirty South
De La Soul-Ego Trippin Pt. 2
Wu Tang Clan-Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin To Fuck Wit
A Tribe Called Quest-Oh My God
The Pharcyde- On The DL
Nas-Memory Lane
Raekwon-Ice Water
Public Enemy-Welcome To The Terrordome
Ice Cube-I Wanna Kill Sam
De La Soul-Keepin The Faith
Organized Konfusion-Stress

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(Note: I made some corrections so I believe the feed should be working correctly now. If it is not then please feel free to email me. You can also check it out at WGHH radio.)

My Favorite 25 Hip-Hop Albums

April 21, 2007

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Yo, all I do is make lists. I am OCD like Nic Cage in Matchstick Men. The whole concept of the 20/20Proof Magazine was making top 20 lists. Passion Of The Weiss contacted me and other bloggers about a project he and Joey from Straight Bangin’ were putting together that was about gathering top 25 hip-hop album lists. What I thought was cool was that Jeff emphasized that this was about our individual favorites and that there was no pressure to please the hip-hop Gods by recycling the same albums you see on every list out there.

Here are my 25 favorite hip-hop albums (at the moment)-

1. Organized Konfusion-Sress:The Extinction Agenda
This is an album I have listened to more times than I can count, and which never gets old. Has been criminally slept on and influenced various artists (Nas)without getting the credit it deserves.

2. De La Soul- De La Soul Is Dead
I can’t find anything bad to say about this album. Ever.

3. Ice Cube-Death Certificate
If Cube weren’t from the west coast this album would be given the props it deserves. I will put this up against Ready To Die any day of the week. It had amazing storytelling, dope lyrics, sick gangsta beats and vicious political commentary.Not to mention the greatest dis track of all time.

4. Public Enemy-Fear Of A Black Planet
I used to pump this album a la Radio Rahim but without all the D Energizer batteries. That paper route money wasn’t really enough to pump it like that.

5. Raekwon-Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
I lost my mind when I heard this shit. Immediately picked up the phone and began dialing every number to let people know that Raekwon had managed to create the dopest Wu Tang album.

6. Nas-Illmatic
While I recognized that this album was brilliant, it took me a few years to recognize it as a classic. As I have gotten older, this album has continued to grow on me.

7. The Pharcyde-Bizarre Ryde II The Pharcyde
Contains more fun and energy than any hip-hop album ever created. Made me forget about the bullshit growing up.

8. A Tribe Called Quest-Midnight Marauders
I faked sick and ran up the street to the store, copped the disc and spent all day in bed listening to it. Somedays I consider calling off work just to lay around and listen to it.

9. Wu Tang Clan-Enter The Wu Tang
I don’t think anything needs to be said about this album.

10. De La Soul-Buhloone Mindstate
Recently listened to this album on cassette 2 times back to back while playing poker with friends. Nobody ever asked to hit the fast forward button. Love the jazzy flavor and what Shorty No Mas added to the album.

11. Goodie Mob-Soul Food
Fronted on due to its region of origin. It has the Organized Noize production, lyrics, and no moments that make you wince. Perfect from beginning to end. Everybody talks about how hot or awful Southern hip-hop is, but Goodie Mob and OutKast could stand their ground with two groups from any coast.

12. The Roots-Illadelph Halflife
The Roots grabbed me right off the bat with this effort and it never got dull for me. I can’t even think of a word to describe the vibes on this album.

13. OutKast-Aquemini
I never thought that OutKast could do better than their previous efforts and they continued to step their game up. Aquemini was the plateau.

14. Diamond & Psychotic Neurotics- Stunts,Blunts & Hip-Hop
Classic material.

15. LONS- A Future Without A Past
Ahhh the days when you didn’t have to rap about cocaine and killing people.

16. Artifacts-Between A Rock and A Hard Place
The Artifacts could have said “we are hip-hop” and I would have believed them.

17. Common-Resurrection
Common came into his prime like an athlete in a contract year.

18. Mobb Deep-The Infamous
This album was the ish back in the day but perhaps I have dropped it due to a subconscious reaction to all the grief that P has taken from various writers and rappers.

19. Camp Lo-Uptown Saturday Night
Fun, fun, and more fun.

20. Pete Rock & CL Smooth-The Main Ingredient
Once the weather starts to get warm this album has to be on constant rotation. I should start praying for a reunion.

21. Brand Nubian-In God We Trust
Punks jump up to get beat down.

22. Redman-Dare Iz A Darkside
Wore this shit to death walking to high school in the winter.

23. KRS One-Return of The Boom Bap
Premier+KRS One=DOPE.

24. Sean Price-Monkey Barz
Brought back my faith in hip-hop.

25. Poor Righteous Teachers-Black Business
PRT never stopped bringing that killer ish when they were recording. They didn’t stop bringing it until, well, they stopped recording.

20/20Proof Podcast Episode 1

April 20, 2007

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20/20Proof Podcast Episode 1- I make my first splash into the world of podcasting and don’t make too many mistakes. Ok, I make a bunch of mistakes. Peep it at WGHH radio soon. 20/20Proof discusses 2007 material, a recent Lupe Fiasco concert, Cam’ron’s upcoming appearance on 60 minutes and more.

Chubb Rock-I Will Survive
Sean Price-Stop
Rob-O-Magnificent Remix
Aceyalone-Makebalillia (Live)
KRS One- Hip-Hop Lives
Legion- Legion Groove
Boss Hog Barbarians-Hog Luv
Cam’ron-Weekend Girl
Kool G Rap-What’s More Realer Than That
3 Steps From Nowhere-Pass It On Remix

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“It’s a completely different scenario”

April 12, 2007

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So says Snoop Dogg when he was asked if the recent Don Imus comments has anything in common with the lyrics of many rappers. Dallas wrote up a nice post that accurately points out Imus was kicked out the house because of the dollar signs involved and not his poor choice of words. Whose comments are really more dangerous, Snoop or Imus? I would have to say that Snoop’s words are not just as degarding, but also are more influential. Believe it or not, Snoop doesn’t agree…

[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We’re talking about ho’s that’s in the ‘hood that ain’t doing sh–, that’s trying to get a n—a for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain’t no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them mutha—-as say we in the same league as him.

If it weren’t for Snoop clearing up the confusion I still would have the false belief that Doggy Dog is an old-ass white man. Thanks, Snoop! In my opinion, Imus’ comments while extremely ridiculous and moronic are not much more than that. Who listens to Imus and suddenly changes their behavior or view of black women? I doubt anyone heard Imus refer to those girls as”nappy headed hoes” and suddenly have their mind, body, and soul become entagled in hatred and ignorance like Venom does to Tobey in that Spiderman 3 trailer. Is Imus an influence in America? I will say no. Snoop on the other hand has been going hard on black girls for years with the corny excuse that he is only talking about the ladies that are after his money. Can we get some new excuses? I think that Snoop has been watching Fear Of A Black Hat before he gives out interviews.

I get the privilege of working with America’s youth on a daily basis and when we recently discussed Imus’ comments, every single last one of them recognized his speech as idiotic and hateful. I didn’t witness them begin to adopt Imus’ “nappy headed hoes” line or glorify what he was doing. Like Snoop said, he is an old- ass white man and has little to no influence over the views or opinions of young people or adults for that matter. Adults who listen to his show have already formed their views and ideas on topics such as race, politics, and religion and won’t suddenly switch up their style. Snoop and other rappers have the ability and power to mold the young listeners, but would rather point the finger and avoid taking responsibility for their lyrics or behavior. Imus should do a country cover version of 2Pac’s “Point The Finga,” with Snoop on the hook.

In honor Snoop’s quote is the classic video “Scenario” :

50 Is The Hip-Hop Andy Kaufman

April 11, 2007

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Can’t you see the resemblance?

GET BANNED

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While I can’t claim to be the biggest fan of Mr. Curtis Jackson, I do have to laugh at his recent efforts to increase his publicity. What is 50’s motto? If you can’t beat them, join them. After the recent Tony Yayo smacking a 1st grader incident, you had the usual spotlight vultures calling for 50 to be banished to Siberia while they throw Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and The Massacre into a pile, douse it with gasoline and cook some smores. Does 50 get upset? Hell no! He registers the website ban50cent.com.

There is no such thing as bad publicity. One of my heroes,Mr. Andy Kaufman, knew this. He wrestled women, tested peoples’ patience, and created a character, Tony Clifton, whose sole purpose was to instigate and get a negative reaction. Kaufman himself was actually banned from the show SNL after viewers were allowed to call in and vote on his fate. According to the website The Life and Times of Andy Kaufman, the real story is such:

During the previous week Andy had been cut from the show. He and Dick Ebersol engaged in a loud, nasty argument in the hallway outside of Studio 8H. At the beginning of the next show (November 20, 1982), Ebersol personally came on stage to announce that viewers would be able to vote to decide if Andy Kaufman should be forever banned from SNL. Many of the cast and crew were divided over whether Kaufman was being treated terribly or just getting what he deserved. The phone-in vote and Kaufman’s lifetime ban were all conceived by Andy who pitched the idea to Ebersol weeks prior to the hoax. Andy spent the week worrying over how the vote would go, but when he lost, kept his word and never returned to SNL again.

50 needs to take it a step further and follow Kaufman’s lead. Pitch a special to a network where viewers call in a number which charges 1 dollar a text and vote on 50 being banned from hip-hop forever. If he wins, he continues rapping. If he loses, he leaves hip-hop be and continues to pitch vitamin water, sneakers and movies. If 50 can get as many voters as Kaufman then perhaps he can put some of that money back in his wallet that he lost on Mobb Deep and the rest of his G-Unit crew.

INSANE INFLUENCES
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Many fans were and perhaps still are oblivious to the fact that Curtis Jackson was not the first to carry the moniker 50 Cent and pretty much pulled a MC Gusto. Curtis took his name from the infamous nutcase Kelvin Martin aka 50 Cent from Brooklyn, who would have stuck up his own grandmother if she had more than a pocket full of silver. Curtis liked the fact that 50 Cent ran around putting fear into everyone’s hearts until he got his ass killed. 50 stated, ” I took the name 50 Cent because it says everything I want it to say. I’m the same kind of person 50 Cent was. I provide for myself by any means.”

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According to Bob Zmuda, the main inspiration for the character of Tony Clifton came from another loon who was simply referred to as Mr. X in Zmuda’s book “Andy Kaufman Revealed.” Mr. X was later revealed to be the famous screenwriter Norman Wexler who penned Saturday Night Fever and one of my all time faves, Serpico. Zmuda described working as an assistant for the psychotic Mr. X who despite not sticking up drug dealers a la Kelvin Martin, did randomly harass people on the street and subject them to humiliating situations. One excerpt from the book described Wexler as being so gone that he took a dump in clear view of others in an airport. When cats would get upset Mr. X would simply tell Zmuda to break out the briefcase of cash that they rolled with. According to Zmuda, Mr. X played a large part in the formation of the Tony Clifton character and his obnoxious personality.

KINGS OF BEEF

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Andy Kaufman was the king of beef in his day. He was so gully that he had beef with himself! Tony Clifton constantly would rave that Kaufman was a thief and threaten to sue Andy for living off his fame. Andy twisted the ladies into pretzels, dissed the South before Ghostface made it trendy, got into the ring with Jerry Lawler and even created a fake beef that resulted in him getting bitchslapped on the David Letterman show. Talk about dedication! Rather than make audiences laugh at predictable BS he chose to antagonize them and push them to the limit. There was no “keeping it real” with Kaufman because reality was lost on the audience during his elaborate displays and maybe even lost on Kaufman himself.

50 Cent has had beef with everyone and their mother. Nas, Ja Rule The Game, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, AZ, and Cam’ron can all say they have felt the wrath of 50’s disses, which he tends to throw out without any real reason. Does 50 really have an issue with everyone he talks about or is it simply an elaborate hoax designed to sell more records and create a buzz amongst fans. Curtis has yet to get piledrived by Jerry Lawler, but this is simply because he is a bit more image focused than Kaufman. The Ban50Cent movement has me hoping that 50’s sense of humor will continue to emerge and he will hone it like a Jedi. In the recent video “Hold On” 50 dissed Cam’ron in a monologue that rivaled some of Kaufman’s videos which demeaned and poked fun at Lawler. In my opinion, 50 doesn’t even really need to rap anymore because his rant at the end of Young Buck’s video is some funny shit and shows that he could have a future in stand up comedy. I can see Curtis on stage now talking about your favorite rapper and their girl.

Pacman Jones + Chris Henry= DH from Playmakers

April 10, 2007

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In honor of Pacman Jones’ year long suspension for “Indian giving” (despite what the NFL wants you to believe it wasn’t the whole smacking a stripper/shooting bouncers incident) and Chris Henry’s 8 game suspension for committing every illegal act under the sun, I have been delving into the first and only season DVD of the classic ESPN show, Playmakers.

While everyone likes to talk about “keepin’ it real,” Playmakers kept it just a little bit too real. A quarterback who popped pills, a linebacker dealing with post tramautic stress (def not Romanowski), and a battle between an old and young running back. The older running back juiced in an attempt to get an edge as he smacked his wife around while the younger back (DH) loved crack more than DMX and happened to be portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr.’s brother.

At the time ESPN cried foul and tried to portray Playmakers as not being representative of the league and the conduct of its players. Call me crazy, but this morning I swear I saw mad players’ mugs on the front page of USA Today’s sports section. They weren’t gracing the cover because they were doing community service voluntarily, but because they had been involved in illegal activities. What are some of the ridiculous events that Playmakers sensationalized? Let’s see- DH was at a club his boy did a shooting at, had a coke jones , and participated in Steve Smith on field theatrics. Were the similarities just a bit too much?

Had the NFL realized that ESPN’s soap opera drama for men wasn’t that far from the truth when it came to its depiction and cracked down on the bad boys they might not seeing half of the Bengals getting drunk and pulled over. Will this crackdown by the new commish send a message to the thugs of the NFL? Criminals are nothing new to the NFL (see Lawrence Phillips) but these sort of suspensions are.

I have to say I like the year long suspension of Pacman and 8 game suspension of Chris Henry because it hits them where it hurts most- their wallets. If homeboy is beating bitches down and turning bouncers into future Murderball stars over 81 grand then he is really going to flip his lid over missing out on his $1 million plus salary. Chris Henry, however, is so gully he may just drop his career altogether and attempt to earn his way into the NFL Criminal HOF.

Judgment Night 2 Part 1

April 5, 2007

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A long time ago, someone thought it would be a good idea to mix up rap and rock a la Run DMC & Aerosmith. The result was the extremely lackluster soundtrack to the film Judgment Night, which I have been fortunate enough to never witness. While I enjoyed the Dinosaur Jr & Del combo as well as the De La Soul and Teenage Fanclub contribution, the rest was hell on my ears. While I am not asking for a sequel to Judgment Night, I do think there needs to be another shot at combining rappers with groups outside of the genre. This time, the heavy metal and grunge bs should be bypassed. Get some real talented cats on the indie tip in the studio with some rappers who would mesh with their style and create some gumbo type ish.

Several rap acts have been utilizing singers outside of the hip-hop nation to throw down on their tracks- Ghostface, Jedi Mind Tricks, The Roots. When out the other night the group Grayskul noted that Andrea Zollo, singer from the group Pretty Girls Make Graves was on the hook. Crossing over into other genres and pulling outsiders in is exactly what hip-hop needs to boost sales and create a brand new spark. Would this effort get fans who would have no interest in hip-hop music in the past to maybe download a single with one of their fave singers and perhaps delve deeper into an artist’s catalogue?

Here is part one of my proposal for a possible Judgement Night 2 (Insert Title Here) Soundtrack. At the end of part two I will have a link to a mix which will contain a track from all the artists that would be included.

Common & Chocolate Genius
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Chocolate Genius (Marc Anthony Thompson) has been in the game for a minute and I am surprised he has not made an appearance on a hip-hop track a la Cody Chestnutt, because is a better writer than Chestnutt and has a more impressive resume. His track “My Mom” from his debut album is some deep stuff about his childhood home and his mother, who is struggling with illness and can’t remember his name. Common’s flow would not overwhelm Chocolate’s musical creation and the two would be able to throw down some serious lyrics. Could they create another “I Used To Love H.E.R.”?

Arcade Fire & Pharoahe Monch
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Pharoahe Monch has one of the tightest lyricists in hip-hop, and could even be described as the Scorsese of the hip-hop world thanks to his cinematic flow. Remember “Stray Bullet” and “Invetro”? Pharoahe’s biggest hit, “Simon Says,” had an apocalyptic, winter feel that Arcade Fire could provide. Don’t have to worry about pesky samples, just have the guys in AF get busy. Their debut Funeral was some ahead of its time ish that will be fresh 10-15 years from now much like Organized Konfusion’s trilogy. Witnessing Arcade Fire live for the first time when they were opening for the Unicorns is still one of the best live show experiences I ever had. Quite simply,they are a force to be reckoned with. I was lucky enough to play some midnight b-ball after the show with The Unicorns and Win Butler of Arcade Fire. The dude is like 8 ft tall and slam dunked on me. Well, not on me cause I got the fuck out of the way. 2 powerhouses=money in the bank and a vast improvement from Biohazard and Onyx.

Xiu Xiu & RA The Rugged Man
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RA The Rugged Man has dropped some seriously fucked up stuff in the past. Xiu Xiu has dropped some seriously fucked up stuff in the past. Jamie Stewart is a master of crafting pop songs that hark back to the 80’s, but can also manifest grim and startling tracks such as “Support Our Troops Oh!”. Could Xiu Xiu provide a backdrop for RA to provide an expansion of the best verse from 2006 that he dropped on “Uncommon Valor” ? I would like to say the answer is yes. Dude told me he created “Clowne Towne” in like 15 minutes.

Joseph Arthur & MF Grimm
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Joseph Arthur is one of the dopest singer/songwriters in the game today if not the dopest. I have been following his career for years and have rarely been disappointed. He has gotten more well deserved attention as of late. In the past his albums would be critically acclaimed but would receive little recognition sales wise. I drove up to see him in Detroit at The Shelter a few years ago and there were most likely 30 people there that night, who were all thrown out early for hip-hop night. Joseph is capable of forming a one man band when performing live and is able to create songs on the spot by looping whatever he plays, be it a beat off his guitar or a hook. MF Grimm dropped my fave album of 2006 and his simple, yet poetic rhyme style would go quite nicely with Arthur. Peep some of the production styles that Grimm chose for his triple CD,American Hunger. Some of it sounded raw, some sounded like 50’s pop, some sounded like an orchestra (“Master Builders”), and some sounded like Kate Bush was planning on dropping in the studio.

Eels & Sean Price
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Eels can rock the fuck out. When I saw them a long time back E came to the stage being carried on his boy’s shoulders as he ventured through the crowd. Talk about an entrance. When I worked as a counselor in a group home on the Northside of Pittsburgh I used to bump Eels’ album Souljacker right along with some 90’s era hip-hop. Believe it or not, the reaction it got was pretty damn positive. Eels have covered Missy’s “Get Ur Freak On” as part of their live show and I imagine they would dig actually getting to craft a track for a hip-hop artist as wild as Sean P. Both artists display a sense of humor and energy that is unmatched and could probably drop a track that would make you grin and flip the fuck out at the same time. Picture “Boom Bye Yeah” with more of a rock twist.