Saturday, April 29, 2006

the shuffle. [4/29/06]

Another Saturday night, another edition of rock the dub's the shuffle. I want to start this out by saying, there is an assload of new D&B out there, from a 12" on Eastside that has the Tear (2k6 RMX) as well as the Crazy (2k6 RMX). Intense. And if you haven't heard that Breakage LP, you are insane. Too many candidates for album of the year, and I think that is right up there, along with Cyantific's album, but I've already let the world know how I feel about Ghetto Blaster.

In any case, let's get onto some of the high and low points of this week in entertainment, and some other stuff...

1> Let me get this off my chest: I am an admitted LOST fan. Wifey and I got hooked on this from jump, and have continued to be HUGE fans of the show. I listen to the podcasts, we own Season 1 on DVD, and can't wait for this coming week's new episode. I bring that up to let you guys know that, starting this Wednesday, there will be an "online experience" starting up in connection to LOST. Damon and Carlton (2 of the show's producers) spoke on this a few months back, and it looks like its become a reality. It seems to be a sort of interactive game, where the more you gather clues, the more information you get on some backstory, possibly involving the DHARMA Initiative, as well as the Hanso Foundation. Whatever it is, believe you me I will fill you guys in on the details, and solicit any help I need. Speaking of which, the one site I find the most useful for information, as well as clues, is the 4815162342 website forums. Check it out. On a side note to this, it seems as though Michelle Rodriguez, who plays Ana Lucia on LOST, decided to go to jail for 5 days rather than take the community service they were going to give her. The reasons she gave were kind of vague/odd... I hope she's OK, and not doing this out of some weird call for help.

2> VH1 and the great people over there at ego trip are starting a contest/reality show to find the next great white Hip-Hop MC. This will be my favorite TV show of its nature, aside from Diddy's Making The Band.

3> Maury Povich and other producers of his hit TV show, "Maury", have been sued by an employee for all types of sexual harassment. I will not go into the details of what she should have done, why she was there so long, etc... I just wonder, are we to really be surprised? Maury is Jerry Springer-lite, so you know some ill shit has BOUND to have gone down back there.

4> Marc Ecko filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Mayor Bloomberg and New York City. Big up for that. I'm all about graf and bombing culture, even if I was never good at it. Some see this as a publicity stunt, but I think bombing is art. I also think this is a touchy subject, because while I'm down for freedom of expression, I am not down for destruction of other's property. I do think that it's fucked up for them to bust you for carrying fat caps though, that's ridiculous. Might as well bust people on drug charges for carrying lighters around, you feel me?

5> Britney Spears has another bun in the oven, apparently. I personally don't see her career getting any better after this. I think the backlash she's received ever since she got pregnant with her son will only increase. And K-Fed needs to give it up. Seriously. I really just don't see this ending well at all.

6> Nintendo has named their latest gaming system, previously dubbed "Revolution", with an odd name: Wii. It's supposed to stand for "we". I hope this trick works... it just seems kind of Apple-esque to me. Everything seems simplified and, well, "blah" compared to their other systems and campaigns. Only time will tell.

7> The "bad idea" hub has struck again: Rosie O'Donnell has been tapped to host The View. Don't they already have an annoying female comedian on that show? Why the need for Rosie?

8> Why do I think that this Duke rape case is going to end in acquittal? This nugget of information. How many times will a jury buy her crying rape? Not to say she hasn't been raped, but credibility is a bitch, and if she has been found to have done the same thing 13 years ago, and falsely accuse people of this crime, this will weigh heavily...

9> It took this unknown rapper getting capped in the ass to do it, but Hot 97 is going to be getting evicted. They were kind of gully. I mean at least 3 shootings have occurred in the last few years, right outside that spot. I mean if you want to up your ante, going on the radio and being a jackass should do it 9 times out of 10. Shooting a nig in the ass? That's pure comedy.

I think I'm going to end this right here. End it with a track fitting of how I'm feeling: Breakage's "Losing Track". I lost track of what I was doing... maybe the Mickey's made me do it. I'm off to watch the rest of Kill Bill, vol. 2, then this HBO Boxing After Dark. Holla.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mobb Deep "Blood Money" [review]

Let me get this out the way first: I was surprised at how much I am feeling this new Mobb album, Blood Money. I was surprised when first hearing that Hav & P signed with 50 Cent's G-Unit Records, because they were getting dissed by him on that "Piggy Bank" track. Mobb has always been shitted on, so I think they took it on the chin... but they are really RIDING for 50! I mean they are assuming beefs, getting G-Unit tats on their skin, etc., so it has to be serious. Queens connect.

Don't get it twisted, though: this is a win-win for both sides. The Infamous get a pass to blow their following worldwide, having niggas in Bahrain rockin' to "Put 'Em In Their Place", and they might hit that stardom they were just hoping for. 50 gets some more cred in the street, which, no matter what anyone tries to tell me, that nigga needs. 50 turned into the most hated when he started dominating the game, which is to be expected for anyone in that position. In any case, G-Unit gets a pretty solid crew, and Mobb gets the loot to really make a quality record. The ? Remainz: is Blood Money that quality?

Yes and no. I mean, I never thought I'd hear Havoc reference himself as "Hollywood Hav"... that's not real ghetto, you feel me? And there are times when not only does 50 contribute mad choruses for this album (direct and indirect), but both V.I.P. and Havoc mimic his style (peep how P rocks his verse on "Backstage Pass" -- remedial much?). It's funny though, b/c 50 used to crack on Jadakiss about his choruses, saying that Jada doesn't even have a hit with his own voice on the chorus. Is 50 doing your hooks the way to get to multi-plat status? You betcha. Anyways, there isn't too much G-Unit guest rhymes, aside from a bunch of 50 shots. Yayo and Buck show up for some pretty snooze worthy tracks ("Click Click" and the "Just A Lil' Bit"-sounding "Give It To Me", respectively). Lloyd jumps on the heater "Stole Something", which works a pretty rugged beat: all bass and tight, crisp drums running underneath some ominous organs. Tracks like this and the aforementioned "Put 'Em..." are drive-by music. No metaphor; this is some shit you can put on and live a violent life by. "Creep", which features an odd sounding 50 verse, has a hot sample running over top a heavy kick and clap beat, documenting situations where niggas gotta creep. "Capital P, Capital H" is another favorite: straight futuristic G-funk sounding shit. P and Hav establish their credentials over this smooth track, to perfection. The only Alchemist beat on here is the old school drenched "The Infamous", which has a 50 chorus on it as well. The ALC-Mobb combo has always been perfect, I just wish Alc got more joints on this one. Oh well.

Arguably, the best and most talked about track on this album is "Pearly Gates", which has some darts thrown at, well, God and his son. 50's chorus sets it up, but it's deceiving. 50 is basically speaking on how slick he is; he's so slick that even if he makes it to hell, if you get him to heaven's gate, he will be able to talk his way in, b/c hell, he talked his way out the hood. Hav's verses are throwaway, but P comes with some anti-religious heat. I felt his verse when I heard this on promo months ago, but on this copy, P's verse is reversed when he speaks about God, the Lord, whatever you want to call it. I mean if you check the XXL post on this track, you can peep the full lyrics, but I just have to wonder why they did that. Dr. Dre has smacked women, Eminem has murked his wife and killed his mom, but P can't express his feelings about God and his predicament on Earth? Poor move. That Exile beat is murder though, straight murder.

I do enjoy listening to this record, and at times it's got some serious heat. I do wish however that 50's hand was out of the cookie jar more. The end of the CD also seems like a wash, including the "Outta Control Remix"'s inclusion - the only reason I can see that being necessary is for the TRL head who has to be like, "Oh, THIS IS MOBB DEEP!" And why throw a random Mary J. Blige appearance on it? If you have been a fan of Mobb's from jump, you'll find something to rock to. If you are a G-Unit soldier, you will definitely memorize this one ASAP. Don't pick this up expecting The Infamous, though. And, on a personal level, I don't think I need to hear Havoc rhyme anymore. He speaks to some anonymous old school heads, making comments about not caring "if you pioneered rap"; who's he shooting at?

In any case, this album does what it was manufactured to do: it gives people some rugged ghetto swaggar, hot beats for the spring/summer crowd, and a huge dose of thug muzik. I will not be surprised if Mobb pull some serious loot in for their work here, and I will not be mad at them if they do. They have been doing this shit for a while, and it is much deserved. Would I have rather they gotten to that level by staying true to themselves? Of course. I guess getting new Porsches from 50 will make you do some strange shit, though.

rock the dub rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Mobb Deep's Blood Money is out in stores on May 2nd, 2006. Check out their website for more information.

5th and final.

we haven't been eye to eye or peered face to face
but you have already stolen a place
chased your status into my heart's palace
brave new world has opened up
our family is 4, but now's the time to add a 5th cup
we lift up our glasses, the newest bad ass in the clan
i can see it now, you throwing on a cape like superman
ready to handle whatever vandals channel their energy towards infamy
broken bones, bruised egos and loud shouts will be your duty, see
we look at you like a new beginning
mommy feels your pain, but knows that a 3rd time around is what you're giving
me, i look to impart my intellect into you
show this world what i can do when i have the gift of teaching to imbue
picture us head nodding, riding shotgun, pop and sun
that dreams far off but right now you are #1
well i have 4 number 1s: mommy, kalila, martika and jayden
after that anyone can get slayed when i turn up the decibels and pull out the poison pen
our lion's den is full of fighters and laughter
through you my memory will cherish until the hereafter
this journey seems so hard though
i'm only a lil fucking pawn in this world, dealing with impending sorrow
in life i have to borrow happiness just to get by
but then he came along, and troubles didn't leave, but they took a seat, they hide
they lied when they said you can make it with a smile on face
it's determination that helps a nigga like me stay in the race
replace my place in time with my divine artistry
and sooner or later these smart-dumb cats will start to understand me
never grant me 3 wishes, just give me gifts
knowledge, wisdom and understanding to help guide throgh rifts
and if it looks hard, then believe me the shit's dark
in about 2 seconds i'm ready to pull out bats like joe clark

Friday, April 28th 2006 playlist

This past week has been cool, music wise. I had to make a 3 CD set of tracks for this woman who is leaving my job. She's West Indian, so she eats black cake and likes uptempo music. Things from E-40's "Tell Me When To Go" to Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie". Very interesting mix; one of the CDs was strictly Dance Hall: Sean Paul, Elephant Man, Rupee. Hot material. Also, there's a sick Benny Page Studio Mix up on Drum & Bass Arena. Check it out if you like the ragga-tinged D&B like I do. So dealing with this, as well as some other bits, I have a pretty varied mixture going on here.

1> Goldie "Kemistry" [f.f.r.r.]: First off,
RIP to Kemistry. The 7th Anniversary of her death was this passed Tuesday, and she is sorely missed. With Storm, they were the main female Drum & Bass DJs, and they ripped shit. If you've never heard one of their sets, you are missing out. They hung with the best of the best of the scene. Anyways, this track is from Goldie's Timeless LP, and it randomly came on my Zen this morning. It's such an intense tune, and it bridges the gap between classic Reinforced sound and the emerging Metalheadz flavor. Very beautiful track, from the wails to the ever present bass. The Doc Scott Remix is also essential.
2> Commix "Libra" [subtitles]
3> Gremlinz & Stranjah "Clapback" [crisis recordings]
4> Proof (prod. by Jay Dee) "Da Science" [??]
5> Gregory Isaacs ft. Lady Saw "Night Nurse" [??]

6> Spirit "Siren (Hive Remix)" [inneractive]
7> Mystical Influence "Dub Plate Pressure" [vinyl syndicate]
8> Massive Attack v. Mad Professor "I Spy (Spying Glass)" [virgin?]
9> 2Pac "Ambitions Az A Ridah" [death row]
10> Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon "The Hilton" [epic]
11> Clipse ft. Sandman & Liva "Daytona 500" [mixtape]
12> Rick Ross "Hustlin'" [??] (whip it, whip it)

You guys really need to peep that Massive Attack Greatest Hits collection, called Collected. I have also been on that Blood Money album by Mobb Deep, which should be out next week. I hope this summer is better for Hip-Hop than the spring has been. *sigh* Until next week!

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Sopranos, Season 6: "Luxury Lounge" [recap]

Another week, another step closer to the end… and a healthy look back at some of the qualities that defined great Sopranos television. This episode, “Luxury Lounge”, dealt mainly with Christopher’s Hollywood excursion, as well as with major trouble in Artie Bucco’s life. Both exhibited past traits that trouble their productivity, from drug use to overall frail nerves…

Poor Artie. Poor, poor, poor Artie. How many times is he going to have to get pulled through the meat grinder before he realizes his recipe for disaster is going off without a hitch? We found out this week that American Express suspended their service @ his eatery, due to frequent fraudulent charges. This, on top of the mounting disappointment in the Vesuvio experience (which was not helped by a new restaurant opening to rave reviews), turned Artie into a raging lunatic. He busted a cap into a rabbit he found snooping in his veggie garden (eating priceless treats from the motherland), as well as beating the ever-loving shit out of Benny Fazio, after confronting Benny on his porch about his mistress/Artie’s hostess, Martina, and their AmEx con at Vesuvio. I’d like to note that I predicted this last week, that it was Artie, and not Tone, that Benny was beating up in last week’s preview. Benny wasn’t shook, either. He was upset, and told Tony that he wanted to kill him, kept referencing stabbing Artie’s balls or something to that effect. Tony calmed things down, and even let Benny keep all of his earnings, in exchange for a party to be thrown @ Vesuvio’s, as well as an apology. Benny kept up his end of the deal, but when Artie tried to stick it to Benny on the sly in front of his family (that whole “Martina” drink comment he made), Benny stuck that poor fucker’s hand in a boiling pot, making his skin come off “like a glove”. Tony tried to calm Artie down, and tried to give him some pointers in his operation, but Artie is a stubborn mule. He ended up cooking the rabbit in a pretty delicious-looking sauce. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail, and Artie will see that psychiatrist Tony was mentioning (was he trying to get him to see Melfi? That’s what I took from the comments).

Chrissy on the other hand, he reverted back to his classic, asshole ways. He went to Hollywood with Little Carmine, trying to woo Ben Kingsley (who had a cameo as himself) to their “Godfather meets Saw” script. Ben was polite, even taking them to the Luxury Lounge, where all of the stars are plied with “swag”, aka gifts that big companies give to stars. Chris seemed VERY intrigued, and was quite miffed when he not only was denied even a glance from the swag givers, but was turned down by Ben for swag AND the movie role. Does that mean he should have busted Lauren Bacall in the face for her basket? No, but it made me laugh like crazy. Was Tony right in sticking it to him for the shitty gifts he got (a dog purse? Tickets to Australia?)? Of course! His boy Benny got himself in hot water @ Vesuvio’s on Christopher’s vacation, and although Chrissy tried to throw it back at Tony “letting him go”, it’s not Tony’s boy. Maybe there was too much dope, drink and hookers in Hollywood for Chris to keep his head on straight…

Other points of interest/humor:

Hearing Ben Kingsley use the words 'chaps' and 'bollocks' in an episode of The Sopranos was hilariously out of place... loved it. And what's up with the random Wilmer Valderrama photo op??

The scene at Vesuvio’s where Artie is speaking to his staff about the AmEx situation, and that banter back and forth about the coats and stolen condiments. The reactions from his workers were priceless.

I also like how, in firing Martina, Artie was harping on getting her in trouble, and made that "we lead the world in computerized data collection" comment... pure jokes! What boss DOES THAT?!?

Rusty got got, but it was kind of on the low. We opened and closed with the scenes in Italian, with his killers giving what seemed to be small talk, about our weak dollar and such. Rusty is out of the way, and even though Tony denied being in on the hit when Phil reached out to him in thanks, we know.

Speaking of Phil, that outburst @ the table early on was kind of left field. OK, we know, Vito’s wife is your cousin. We got it. Why keep making abrasive remarks in those calm situation? We know that you were denied your revenge for the death of your family last season, and I don’t doubt that Tony already has his feelers out there, searching for Vito… now, will Phil get his revenge this time? We shall see…

Since we’re on the subject of Vito, let’s dive into the scenes from next week’s show:

Whoa! Looks intense… and looks to be dominated by AJ and Vito stories. We see AJ in what looks like a strip club, or something, getting all kinds of tore up. This is interspersed with scenes between AJ and Tony, heated arguments about not getting money, and AJ saying “you guys are loaded”… Doesn’t AJ work at Blockbuster??? We shall soon see… and WTF is he getting himself into? What happened to bullets in mummy heads?!

The preview made it seem like the end is near for Vito. Looks like he gets found out there in New England. It’s going to be crazy to see what they do to him. Will they kill him right there, or bring his fat ass back? I don’t like him as a man, not even due to the gay stuff, just his personality, it’s always creeped me out.

I don’t recall signs of Carm, Meadow or some of the other heads… we shall see. I need to rewatch the whole episode, my cable box cut out for a few minutes early on, so I missed some stuff.

If anything changes, this post will change, standard.