Thursday, September 06, 2007

iPod Touch: In A Word...Sick

Save up your lunch money. Pick up a second paper route...start negotiating the price of an A with your parents cause this Christmas you're going to need the extra loot. I just came back from a rollout event for the new ipod. See the quicktime link below...

Fiddy v. 'Ye: If I Don't Buy ... the Terrorist Win

I ain't going lie...I have Fiddy discs in my collection. My whole demeanor says 'Ye but my heart is straight thuggin'. I actually was considering buying Fiddy's CD without the manufactured beef with 'Ye. But having heard Ye's Graduation and it represents growth, creativity with a consistent sound. I also have been lucky to hear Fiddy's Curtis, and its not ready for the street. Fiddy's early works were consistent -- the arc of a Fiddy CD has always been an upfront midtempo disc....Curtis seems as if Fiddy is struggling with moving to the next level. Basically there are several tracks that seem like 50 Cent and then there are tracks like She Want It (Ayo Technology) - which should have been left as Ayo Pornography.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Upgrade U: New Fiddy Endorsement Deal

Swedish Vodka-teur Absolut Vodka is marketing it's new product Absolut 100 for 'those who enjoy an intensity with taste'. The semi-opaque black bottle with silver lettering was designed to convey a 'masculinity' and the 'exclusivity' of the product. Wow! When I first read the press release on it I thought this sounds like Fiddy was the muse of Absolute 100 (plus given the 50% alcohol volume on the product I figured he would want 5 on that).

I only had to watch the long jerk-off commercial for the product -- Ayo Technology. That's right if you watch Fiddy's video for She Wants It (Ayo Technology) off of his forthcoming album Curtis you've peeped the 'masculinity' and 'exclusivity' that is Absolut 100. From the exclusive toys rocked by Fiddy/Justin Timbo and the masculine storyline of a cathouse visit you are seeing the product -- dripped in a black and silver treatment (Check out the product placement at the 2:25 mark of the video).

While I ain't mad at Fiddy's branding game, and I can't be mad that Absolut realized their market was eroded by a host of other brands that partnered with Hip Hop/Urban markets (see Jigga's and Dame's entrance into the vodka game), I got to say it is a bad fit for the Fiddy brand. The Glacaeu deal worked because it mapped perfectly over the 50 Cent brand. Vitamin water was an upstart that was and is essentially an adult version of Kool-Aid -- loud on color and short on value. The 50 Cent brand came into the game on some outsize personality ish, similar to Vitamin Water. The Absolut 100 brand is trying to go for a constrained swagger and well 50 Cent can't do that...but hey I guess he had to upgrade that Vitamin water money and Absolut as a global brand can afford the 100 million plus club.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's Not Me ... It's You

Dear New Yorker:

My neighbor’s mentioned they’ve seen you around, just hanging out at the mailbox trying to look inconspicuous. At first I thought that you just needed time to process, and you would go on with your life. I had hoped you would find someone who thought you were wonderful – in the same way I thought you were the cats meow when we first met – but instead you insist on trying to find answers to what was inevitable.

When I first came to the city everyone thought you were swell. I would see you chatting up everyone, and your name came up in every conversation. Folks would comment, “well the New Yorker said…” or “ Did you see the New Yorker? There was this fabulous…”. Eventually, I had to check you out for myself. After a chance meeting on the subway, you remember how you were just sitting next to me – teasing me, I took the leap of faith after a few subway stops and headed into a commitment with you.

We saw some great times New Yorker, through your eyes I saw the cosmopolitan metropolis that is the City. I discovered the Film Forum and a countless number of b’way shows. And as you know New Yorker it was you who gave me solace after September 11th with your beautiful and eloquent prose on the humanity of the City. What started out as a year-long commitment turned into a four year relationship of mutual respect.

Honestly New Yorker, I want you to understand it’s not me…it’s you. I have not changed but you have. You never want to come down town anymore. You often yammer on about the same restaurants, shows, events. Etc. Of late even your editorial performance has been, how do I put this – a little lacking. I respect you too much to lie New Yorker, so yes there is someone else. I didn’t mean for it to happen but your cousin New York and I hung out that week you went missing and I realized we had a lot in common. New York, or NY as I like to call him, showed me the six degrees of separation that is the City. We went Brooklyn to Chinatown to downtown in one night. NY took me to the best eateries and every celeb-reality star knows him and everyone is always dropping by to ‘crash’ with him when they’re in town.

New Yorker you just can’t compete with that and that’s okay, so please stop hanging around hoping we will get back together. Because I do value our time together I thought I would give you the courtesy to write and let you know where I stand…so please remove me from your mailing list, take me out of your address book and most importantly stop hanging around my mailbox.

Your Former Customer,

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Summer is almost over and there hasn't been a summer jam aka street anthem for the people yet. Ever since I can remember being enamored with hip hop there's been a song that dominates the summer. My first hip hop summer it was rock it don't stop it, you oouldn't go nowhere without that being played. house parties, at the public pool, barbershops had it wafting out the male only confines, girls played it while getting ready to go heard it ev'day all day. The same can be said with DMX's Ruff Ryder Anthem and a half a dozen street anthems/bangers that manages to sound better being blasted from a car/truck.

At the top of the summer I thought Swizz Beats infectious it's me snitches would carry hip hop america through the summer. it had a beat that worked in the dark of a club or the light of a block party, but unfortunate for Swizz this was the summer that the n-word (and by proxy the b-word) along with the s-word (snitches) was put on blast. Swizz would watch as the cleaned version of his song would be as problematic as the less-than-clean version would get lost under the din of 60 minute pieces andOprah hoopla.

Sean Kingston tried to capture the summer crown, but beautiful girls is such a hybrid it's not technically a hip hop song --- or a song for that matter. The late summer season leak of it's on (i got my drink and my two step)could have been a contender if it wasn't so --- late --- in it's offering.

Of course I would like to believe fall will reign supreme for the giants of the game but I doubt it. Fiddy sales will be weak (you can only use the same hustle so many times before the base walks), 'ye will get his college crowd to turn out and the white folk who want to be down to buy but his international sales will be weak. The fiddy v. 'ye (evil v. good) set up is beyond ametuerish -- even for hip hop.

of course though i do have my drink and my two step until next summer .... and then you know It's on !!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I Have the Test Results... And Oprah You Are NOT A Kingmaker

There's been talk about Oprah leading Obama to the promised land -- the White House in '08. I am confused why folks are talking so reckless. Don't get me wrong I dig Oprah (I dug her more when she use to have a 'bit' of journalistic integrity -- see her show in Macon Georgia from back in the day) but to bring Oprah's name in the same breath of being a just makes me think what HAS Oprah done lately to warrant such a title.

For Obama to win the presidential election he will need a kingmaker -- Oprah ain't it though. Obama needs someone who is well versed in the electoral map and can give his campaign the air of 'winability'. Democrats will not vote for Obama in the primary if they think he can't win the general election. For him to win the general election he has to do more than talk a good game and show up - he will need to play the electoral numbers game. Honestly he will have to do more than the democrats have done over the last few election cycles. While the 'war' may get people to get up and go to the voting booth it will not get them to vote (what's the saying about leading a jackass to water...). The second term Clinton win left the democratic get-out-the-vote effort seriously in a shambles (it was such a 'cake'walk' the dems didn't need to put together a solid GOTV effort). Gore spent much of the 2000 cycle trying to put the GOTV effort back together but to no avail. The 2004 race saw the 'blue' states shrink to a dismal handful level (in part because the plan was to push blue voters out in large urban pockets to sway red states to go blue -- similar to the way Gore won Pennsylvania despite it being a Regan Democrat state at best). Obama (actually any democrat other than Hillary) will need to pick up a couple of smaller / mid-level electoral states (ie Ohio, Arizona) in addition to the normal 'blue' states of New York California, Michigan, Massachesettes to win the general election. In order for that to happen Obama has to have a true political kingmaker who can identify pockets of dems in overwhelmingly 'red' states. Oprah is not that kingmaker, and arguably she's not even influential in the pop culture world.

There's no arguing that Oprah is rich. But she is not the tastemaker nor the 'early adopter' that is often associated with the pop culture kingmaker status. Oprah hasn't done squat for literature, her 'book club' trademark is barely able to get people to read dead white people much in less any new lit outside of the mainstream. Of course this is due in part to the lack of vetting of books before selection and having authors' who don't want the Oprah badge (Frazen's corrections) or have written memoirs that aren't factual (Frey's a million little pieces). Oprah actually did better in the lit field when she was introducing white women to Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. Her magazine is not profitable as of yet (if you check the circulation numbers of O you will notice a stagnant readership and realize that since the magazine was re-branded as O it has not gained any significantly new readership). The only place Oprah has any sway at is with white women in Georgia (not even Illinois) and those women will vote for Hillary at the end of the day because they believe she will win the general election. Ultimately Hillary will stomp through back Georgia and turn on the Arkansas 'twang' and make them remember she's a 'southern' girl at heart -- and when they go into the voting booth they will decide to go with the southern drawl over the well-spoken first generation American.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Big-Up QN5

'Roid Rage Wrecks Havoc at Interscope

Wow I guess it was only time before the roids got to Fiddy. This is courtesy of Miss Info....and what's up with the stationary bike -- that's pretty gay. Fiddy had a 'moment' about a song leak...wait 'til he finds out they've been watering formula 50 down....

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I did Rock the Bells in NYC (second day) and there were some great performances. It was a little surreal to watch PE perform, since they headlined the first hip-hop concert I ever went too....Rage trumped Wu (sorry to say it -- but it's true), Talib et. crew are consummate professionals, pharaoh oh yeah baby!!, and the only detractions were the inordinate number of white guys singing black nationalist bent lyrics (early PE had a bone or two to pick with the frat boy types who paid 100 bones to see them at Randall's Island). Enjoy the clip below of P.Rosenberg (via Hot 97 the official jump off of hip hop and R & B) speaking with some of those same frat boys....

I'm always amazed by the original content added to youtube...such as this clip (only 30 seconds worth checking out)

and this clip...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Per Yahoo UK ...

Jay Z and Beyonce are about to launch their own label, it has been claimed. The rap hero and pop superstar girlfriend are rumoured to be on the brink of announcing a deal with Apple, to front up a new branch of their digital music division. According to an industry 'source', the deal will see Jay Z, the current CEO of Def Jam, leave his position for a new role. It has also been claimed that not only will former Destiny's Child diva Beyonce be involved in the label, but also her father and manager Matthew. "It's a done deal. (Jay Z) already has Beyonce and (Mathew Knowles) on board", the 'source explained'. "She'll be finishing up her contract (with Sony), and I expect that she'll sign on to the new label shortly afterwards", he revealed. There has been no official confirmation about the reports at this stage.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bros. Before Hoes: Poll Numbers

Bros. Before Hoes: Poll Numbers

The cooler talk at work has turned to politics as is the case during a presidential cycle. Generally these conversations are the purview of men, but I have the distinction of working on a few noteworthy campaigns. Okay...I worked the presidential cycle as a researcher in 2000 and the aftermath known as the recount and I worked the debacle that was September 11th in NYC. I've poured over daily poll numbers, helped with prepping for nationally televised debates and sat in on focus groups. So in the land of cooler talk I am regarded at times like I'm the ragin' cagun himself.

So more or less every morning some senior staffer stops by my desk to ask if I've seen the latest numbers. Of course I haven't because with roughly seven months before the election year, I know numbers mean not much at this point. Also I am acutely aware that if Obama actually leads any poll at this point he's DOA for the election year. But so it goes and I so I go as I quickly look over the poll snapshot and give a quick analysis for the senior staffer in question.

Today two polls gave divergent 'information'....USA Today has Obama besting Hillary and Rueters is reporting a Wall Street Journal poll having Hillary increasing her lead by a few points (but in both polls Dems drop kick Reps in the general election). Coworkers favoring Hillary (she is actually my US Senator)have come to me touting her 'commanding lead', for these coworkers I have an interesting questions 'what's her favorables like -- who likes her according to the poll?' ... this usually results in a shortened conversation because they've only read the first few paragraphs of the article and certainly not the full poll. For coworkers who are leaning towards Obama , I ask what are the key endorsements picked up by Obama...again the conversation is shortened.

As a first generation american Obama does not have a natural base. His base should be naturalized citizens and immigrants, but this base is not strong enough for a national race win -- hell probably not even strong enough for a council seat win in a modest sized city. Rightly so his campaign has tried to sure up his support among African-Americans. Obama at this stage of the game needs to secure key endorsements from his base which will in essence give him the coveted "ghetto pass" he needs to sure up a minority voting block.

Either you like Hillary or you don't. Either you like Bill Clinton or you don't. Unfortunately for Hillary she needs more people to like her then those who don't. If Hillary uses Bill to raise money, she will have to deal with his unfavorables and thus need to skew high on her on personal favorables to counter balance this. If she opts not to use Bill then she will need to eat deeply into Obama's African-American base. Hillary has already shown signs of attempting this with overt pitches to African-American women (African-American women IS the black voting block) and key endorsements by Af-Am women (ie - Maya Angelou).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Remember when you could go and see a nice hip hop its all about the video...
Fairness is fairness this is a clip from November 2006. I hope Kelis has a child-support component in the pre-nup. What I don't understand is why project mentality about your child when you can actually support the child and keep on stepping....
The sign from the Cyclone - a wooden roller coaster in Brooklyn NYC.
As it stands there are so few things that are uniquely geographic specific. Growing up in Philadelphia I watched as many developed a NYC complex. Because Philly is a big city in it own right (pop of 2 mil) it is hard to sell as different from the city 90 miles away. Once I moved to Brooklyn I thought I wouldn't have to deal with that, but of course that is not the case. For whatever reason retailers want in and they want move out what makes the City gritty - makes the city Gotham. Coney Island seems to have been one of those distinctly NYC things that have endured...that is until this spring. A developer purchased the famous Astroland and is looking to build beachfront condos and a 'new' amusement scene that riviles Las Vegas (his words not mine). Of course my thought is who would choose to go to a knock-off of Vegas in Brooklyn as versus going to Vegas --- or Atlantic City. I don't think there is an individual in the US who whould rather go to see the Statue of Liberty replica in Vegas as versus a trip to NYC to see her firsthand. While it maybe an accurate replica it is not the same thing, and as someone who saw the 'twin' statue of liberty while in Paris it is a beyond disappointing experience. The 'charm' of Astroland was that it was a throwback with nods to the modern. Teenagers could be found on dates hanging around the putt putt course while new york rap blasted from the bumper car arena. Muslim girls could be spotted on the beach with headdress intact, while latino's fished from the nearby piers. Unfortunately those who will by the condos, will be doing so with the old notion of Coney Island and will probably find the new experience disappointing....
I found this while looking for something else in Venice 2007. It turns out I stumbled on the entrance way to the Guggenheim Museum. Ironically it was probably one of the most dramatic public art pieces in Venice.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Hip Hop Is Alive - However Gangsta Rap Is Not Doing So Well

I have always had an affinity for gangsta rap. From my first bootleg of NWA's Straight Outta Compton to my current bad boy crush on the Game, I have always appreciated the 'direct' approach of gangsta rap. The imagery is sharp, vivid and concise while the melodies are primal, contemptuous and melodic in their bass undertones. However someone should tell the popular media that gangsta rap is 'dead' and while its existence makes for an excellent 'example' to those who do not heed popular society's warnings its presence within mainstream hip hop has diminished.

Coming from an oral tradition and culture, hip hop is always about the fluidity of transition and as such gangsta rap has morphed and moved on over the last decade plus. Its verbal vestiges can be found in cocaine rap, while its musical imprint can be found in the hyphy and screwed scenes.

But for whatever reason, popular media hasn't realized the big bad wolf - gangsta rap - is no longer around....
Jay Z is found of quipping you can't knock the hustle, but it seems that society is trying to do just that to Hip Hop. It seems that everything wrong in the world is hip hop's fault. Low clearance rates in predominately African-American neighborhoods (60 minutes), the existence of misogyny (Oprah), and the denigration of African-Americans with usage of the n word - all hip hop's fault. I would like to believe that the folly and bluster of hip hop has made it public enemy number one, but I'm not that naive.

Hip hop is powerful in many ways, but not that powerful to be the route of these various issues. These issues existed before hip hop and unfortunately will exist after hip hop. However hip hop is well suited to change the discourse of these issues, as well as other issues, and I believe this is why hip hop is hated on.

Because hip hop has often spoken to issues before the general public bellwether has sounded it has exponentially grown in 'power' over its relatively short life span. Hip hop has always operated on the belief that the internal defines the external not the other way around. I as the hip hopper can give a damn about what the general public thinks of my style of dress, how I speak or how I act - because I like the way I dress, I understand what I mean and I am resolute in my actions. This ethos has served hip hop well for the last few decades, but unfortunately it is time for hip hop to realize it does have a valid voice and that validity only comes in connection with the external it so often rebukes.

Because the external society knows hip hop's position of not defending its action to those outside of the culture it has become the sport of the day to blame hip hop for any and everything. Only once hip hop becomes focused and vocal on how it defines itself can it actually speak to the inconsistencies drawn by the greater society. Hip Hop needs to develop this voice because without it, the benefits of characterization as a culture is at risk of being diluted internally and externally.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

In New York City there are bootleg sneaks, bags, polo shirts, watches, jeans, .... how come there aren't any knockoff new era caps.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mr. Cooper:

Shame on you and your producers, Mr. Court and Mr. Sharman, for the shoddy piece of journalism aired on Sunday, April 22, 2007. After viewing your 13 minute segment titled Stop Snitchin’, I am unsure of the intended message. Mr. Cooper should I believe that hip-hop has created this ‘organic’ campaign to champion the existence of a violent underclass within the low-income communities of predominantly African-American minorities? Or perhaps, I should have left away from your segment thinking that if only hip-hop artist started rapping the virtues of cooperation with local police forces then crime as we know it in low-income communities would end or at the very least lift the clearance rate to the paltry 60 percent national average quoted in your piece. Maybe your piece was tempting to convey how record companies’ are in collusion to profit from violence in low-income communities.

I feel Mr. Cooper your segment was one of comparing oranges to tangerines – there is a common culprit between the silence of a community in investigative efforts and artists championing of this silence but that culprit isn’t hip-hop. Hip-hop artists have preached for years, the ethos of ‘snitches get stitches’ or commonly characterized as a “Stop Snitchin’” campaign. Because hip-hop is a culture, it has a well understood code of ethics among its members which is based in part on its interaction with other cultures. The no talking to the police policy for hip-hop artist is bore out of the reality that the police culture does not have the hip-hop culture’s best interest at heart – in essence the police are not concerned with protecting the community. In New York City, the police department has a task force (aka the hip-hop police) that treats hip-hop artists as if they are members of an organized criminal entity with constant surveillance of artists. Given the level of suspicion given to hip-hop artist, both local and out of state artists, by police even when they are well established artists operating legal business within the city limits it is not odd that Cameron Giles (aka Cam’ron aka Killa Cam), Jacyeon Taylor (aka The Game aka Chuck Taylor), or Trevor Smith (aka Busta Rhymes aka Bus-A-Bus) would hold firm to the concept of not talking to police – no matter what.

Within the low-income communities which must deal with not only suffering at the hands of criminals but also must bare the burden of living within the same community with criminals, the credo of “Stop Snitchin” speaks volumes again to the police department’s ineffectiveness to identify the real threat and to control crime. What would have been nicer than having someone mention 75 percent into the piece about clearance rates in general would have been someone speaking to clearance rates within the African-American low-income community when eyewitnesses step forward and testify in cases or clearance rates within other ethnic specific communities’ (ie Asian-American) with the similar belief in not talking to the police when dealing with select aspects of violent crime. I suspect if you must snitch on your neighbor’s son about a crime and then have to go and live next door to the perpetrator until the trial, odds are you are less inclined to get involved in the first place and are more inclined to work harder to move – similar to Mr. Giles (aka Cam’ron) comment about living next door to a mass murder. Of course this does not bode well for the children of the community, which you attempted to show how they are indoctrinated by way of hip-hop, at an early age too not talk to the police regarding crimes. Again what would have been more revealing then having children parrot what the previous ten minutes of the piece established would have been delving into how they understand their relationship to police and more importantly community policing. Given that all of these children are from NYC you had a recent example of policing not working in the community that they are aware of (the Sean Bell shooting incident) and countless other similar incidents that have happened within their community that would have revealed how these police images work within the framework of ‘Officer Friendly’ community policing for them. I am betting dialog would have revealed parents, community policing or community organizations do not have a plausible narrative for this, but hip-hop does have one. You can’t fault hip-hop for having a narrative that fits, however that means your story should have been barking up a different tree other then hip-hop’s or your story should have focused on how that narrative is drawn within hip-hop.

Mr. Cooper I expect better journalism from you, and more importantly from the brand that is 60 Minutes, and this was simply a shoddily researched effort by you and your producers and mirrored MTV News more then the venerable source that is the home of Mike Wallace and some of the best investigative journalists. Mr. Cooper in the future, try actually asking questions that will lead you closer to the core of an issue instead of taking the target du jour (hip-hop) and trying to build around it. This approach has not served you, and left you committing some bad journalism. For instance you mention Kimberly Jones (aka Lil Kim) and her perjury conviction, but you didn’t mention that fellow rappers from her entourage actually ‘snitched’ on her leading to the trial and her successful conviction. Of course that wouldn’t have worked well with the overall theme of hip-hop artist promoting a hardline ‘stop snitchin’ campaign, also I was confused why Ms. Jones was mentioned at all since she was convicted on perjury which isn’t a violent crime like the ones insinuated throughout your story. Also you alluded to the murders of Tupac Shakur (aka Tupac) and Christopher Wallace (Biggie Smalls aka Notorious B.I.G.) as examples of ‘stop snitchin’ at work despite the cooperation of many within the hip-hop community with various police forces in charge of investigating the murders and those same police forces ineptness with the investigation. While I haven’t gone to a tony school like Dalton or Yale, I know enough about journalism to know your case examples should be valid and your research thoroughly vetted.

Mr. Anderson at the very least you should apologize to the African-American community for using them for such an exploitative story as the one you produced. Your story committed the same fallacy that many local police departments do, the African-American low-income community is judged guilty first and all investigations start at this point for them. This leaves African-Americans working twice as hard to prove the base level of innocence that most Americans can assumed during an investigation. Your story assumed that hip-hop with its bluster has to be guilty for the lack of cooperation between police and the community, despite your story having poor case examples for this you produced a story just the same. No meaningful dialog can come out of a poorly built piece of journalism such as the Stop Snitchin piece, and as an African-American and as someone planted firmly within hip-hop culture, I am deeply offended by this ‘brand’ of journalism you tried pass off on April 22, 2007.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Home sick today and decided to check out Rap City....where are the artists. I have much love for Dre and his ilk, but the video rotation was as follows: Its Me Sn*tches (Siss Beatz), We Takin' Over (DJ Khaled) and a non descript single from Hustler's POME (Jim Jones). I am wondering where are the artists, shouldn't Def Jam et al have something in heavy rotation given summer is around the corner - because we all know summer don't start until Hip Hop pops.

I actually am feeling the Swiss Beatz single, but I just wish I could see more artists less 'utility artist' in the video format.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hip Hop has always claimed to be an equal opportunity exploiter. If your nice we will let you at the table, hey it doesn't matter if you're white or woman or a purple people eater - as long as you're nice. So, Hip Hop where are the women at?

Friday, April 20, 2007

I use to have an addiction, a three times a day or more addiction. I found myself in the morning contemplating whether to go to the bathroom first or to get my first fix of the day. Many times the fix would win. I would go downstairs sitting on the edge and light up - at the sight of the morning talk shows. I started off with something light - Good Morning America - but after while I needed something more potent. I don't know when it happened by I found myself hooked on the Sunday morning talk shows. I would flip between Fox and Meet the Nation and when I started thinking I should get help I would watch Charles Osgood and listen to the 'babbling brook' underscore at the end of the show.

Luckily I finally was able to start the sobriety process. After a lengthy process I got rid of my cable and called myself 'born again'. It's been six years since cable, and I felt I was ready to handle having cable again (okay satellite. I promised myself that it was only to watch the latest season of the Wire and after that - nothing else. Of course that didn't happen, but something else didn't happen - I couldn't stomach the news any longer.

While on the phone with a friend this week she mentioned how she told her class about Seung-hui Cho drank the kool-aid. I had only heard about the shooting through news stories read over the shoulders of fellow straphangers during the monrning commute. I quipped back to my friend that he sounded like someone who couldn't get his prick tickled to save his life. We made bets on how long the circus would last and called it a night.

I started watching the coverage and discovered a few things. Prejudice is a motherhumper, even for Korean nationals. Secondly, I realized how much we are all middle-children trying to reach our famous. So VT Shooter feels he is 'misunderstood', and that he 'gave us a chance' and his 'hand was forced'. The 'us' in his rant is the affluent co-student body of University College of America. I don't doubt he felt like an 'outsider' everywhere he went - because that is the new everyman in American culture. We try desperately to be more than we are -- smarter, hipper, cooler. Because in american culture nobody notices the 'middle-kid'. Some take the 'infamous' route (a la reality tv, and the VT Killer), and some shoot for the fence and take a stab being the best of the best (a la start-up babies of the nineties). The truth of the mater is it is hella easier to be infamous then to be famous. The VT Killer seemed like a kid who wanted to be famous but in the end like most of us he was destined to be the 'middle-child' and so he dug deep and came up with - infamy.

Hip-Hop is full of middle-children shooting for famous but coming up with more infamy then anything else. Tony-Yayo's recent beatdown is a prime example of this. He is a middle of the road skilled lyricist who will never dominate the hip hop game. Whether or not he is aware of this is debateable but he is aware his sales stats aren't stellar. He decides I will be the 'best' enforcer in my crew, and he decides its a smart move to smack up a fourteen year old in mid-town Manhattan. He hasn't reached famous but he's reached a bit of infamy. Jim Jones is another prime example, he wants to be Jigga-Dish (hey if there can be a Beyounce/Jay Z mash up there definetly can be a Jay Z/Damon Dash mash up) aka Mr. CEO Boss. He doesn't have the acumen for the boss position, so instead he tries to become famous through the infamy of beef.

Usually, hip hop can weather the storms of infamy but with no true tribal leader we are stuck with alot of middle-children coming up short and only able to pull out infamy in the bag. Of course the problem with all of this is the depth which is lost with the lack of the uniquely-better-smarter-brighter hip hop artist. Nas hipped us to the fact that hip hop was dead and the only response has been from the middle children of the game....who I would like to hear from is the smarter-brighter artist who is ready to be famous.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A few days ago Marvin "Tony Yayo" Bernard had a run in with the law. The NY Post had a photo of Mr. Bernard posting bail. While this probably sounds 'sexy' in a hip-hop way, the fact is ... he was arrested for smacking up a fourteen year old. This wasn't a fourteen year old built like a man, but rather a fourteen year who is starting to grow into his feet and hands and wears an oversize pinwheel new era cap. It turns out the fourteen year old was heading to an internship when the assault happen, cause he's not even legally old enough to work yet. His father is the Jimmy the Henchman and his son was actually heading to an internship at his dad's company in mid-town.

There's nothing sexy, gangster, honorable about smacking up a kid when you are twice his age....I would argue to not support Mr. Bernard's albums, but he can't move albums even with support. Of course this inability to compete within his chosen industry might explain why he thought it was okay to assault a child.

I guess the Game was correct to call Yayo a punk on his last few mixtapes.

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