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 out...you 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 kingmaker....it 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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwRKC_JQ6dA (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).

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