Saturday, February 17, 2007

the shuffle. [2/17/07]

I was going to spend my lil section before the shuffle talking about my lacks... lack of new music, lack of job, lack of patience, but who wants to hear about that right now? I'm sure you don't.

I do want to publicly applaud Niecy Nash, who is a cast member in Reno 911!, as well as that black chick who always wears flowers in her hair. Well, the Reno cast (shouts to The Show), have a new film dropping next week entitled Reno 911!: Miami, and I guess their premiere just happened this past week, for Natasha of YBF fame posted up some pics of Niecy straight up assed out. Gotta love it. The thing is, when someone got played out or exposed, I used to say they got "assed out like Prince pants", but I might have to change it to "assed out like Niecy Nash".

Why, you may ask, did I lead off with that? Who knows. Why does most of the nonsense that happens in this world happens? Which takes me into this week's round-up of odd news. Consider yourselves warned...

01/In this week's Black History "What The Fuck Are You Doing, Ma?" department, Foxy Brown recently got arrested in Florida for an incident in a beauty shop where homegirl was told it was closing time. Now, I can see if you are Oprah Winfrey, and someone tells you "look, we have to shut down the store", and you are in some ultra exclusive spot, taking time out of your hectic schedule to pluck down serious cash on shit. Nah, Foxy, who may or may not still be signed to Def Jam, was in the fucking beauty shop sampling the inventory. When she was told that the shop was closing, she threw fucking hair glue at the workers. While they called 911, she spit on the people, then proceeded to leave the spot. 5-0 shows up, and she has to be restrained using a "takedown manuever", over some beauty supplies? And word came out today that she might have more problems on her hands, for the NY probation officers said she wasn't even supposed to be in Florida. It's just sad. You'd think deaf people wouldn't be allowed to express their inner rage on unsuspecting beauty shop employees...

02/Speaking of artists who have had a hard last couple of years, Michael Jackson's name has popped up surprisingly in the last week. First off, he has tapped Simon Fuller, one of the heads behind Pop Idol, American Idol, and the Spice Girls, to help mastermind his pop comeback. If this means that MJ will be walking through Idol moonwalking and laughing with Paula Abdul, count me out. I don't see the attraction for Fuller, who should have enough on his plate to deal with. Is Mike that bankable as an artist these days? In a similar, funnier story, some nigga named DJ Tempamental has a track called "No Friend Of Mine (Gangsta)" up on his MySpace page, featuring both Mike and the Fugees' Pras. I don't get it at all, honestly. Mike calling himself "the new gangsta", but he beat his case. You aren't gangsta for not going to jail, dog. Grow up -- oh wait, you're Peter fucking Pan! Good luck with your career, Michael, but I think you are so disconnected with today's scene, you might be up for a big disappointment. Or maybe I will have to eat my words...

03/Austrian officials finally let the world know about the disgusting misfortune 3 daughters met at the hands of their mother. From the report, this mother, who is a lawyer, got a divorce from her husband, and won custody of the girls, at the time aged 7, 11 and 13. She took them out of school, and left them locked in a room... for 7 years. This situation is awful: they had no exposure to natural light to the point that they can't be in natural light right now. They spent the first few weeks out of their captivity huddling in the darkest spot of the place they were staying. The oldest girl was rendered helpless, only being able to stand on one leg and constantly crying. What's so shocking about this situation is that with the mother's law background, she might be able to manipulate her situation using the law to her advantage. You can't change the law, but you've seen it get reamed time and again. We can only hope that monsters like that get shut down for good. Fucking crying shame... speaking of mistreated kids, check out this CNN article about child soldiers.

04/The Mixtape Wars have a new chapter in the saga, this time Universal Music Group vs. DJ Swindle. Swindle has created mixtapes marrying Mobb Deep and Bob Marley, Nas & Al Green and the one that is currently the focus of debate/legal action, the "80 Cent" project, which took 50 acapellas and classic 80's tracks and mashed them all up. I wasn't a big fan, but it is what it is. UMG has made dude cease his promoting of this mixtape, and have even had his MySpace page deleted/changed. Swindle spoke to HHNLive and gave a good point about the industry putting acapellas on 12" singles and such, but then getting mad when people use them. My thought on this situation? The industry is shooting itself in the foot. Their promotion game is not on point, that's why so many artists are going to mixtape DJs and getting on that grind. They make loot AND get to hype their projects. The industry is willing to sign and rape an MC, but will stop the one circuit that is providing a lot of the heat and word of mouth on these niggas getting signed! We are in an age where niggas get signed based on their following (i.e. this dude sold 50K mixtapes in his hood), yet once they get on, you expect these cats to not get on the mixtape grind? Sounds kind of shady... and before they go into "piracy costing us billions", don't forget that LEGAL DOWNLOADING is on the rise.

05/With the NBA's All Star weekend activities going down this weekend, I thought it was kind of crazy that Tim Hardway decided to come out his mouth about gay NBA players. He actually said "I Hate Gay People", which in turn the interviewer was like "dogs, you're being homophobic", to which Tim then came out his face like "yeah I'm homophobic", bascially saying "so what, I said it". Is Tim high or drunk or something? I mean, I can see you disliking some group of people, that's your own ignorance and hate. The thing is, I looked up to dude. I was a fan of "Run TMC", and even followed him when he went to the Heat. I just don't get how you can be in that spot, as someone that kids and just ballers look up to, and you can be that fucking ridiculous in the media. He must have gotten some serious flack from someone, for he spent the rest of this week apologizing for his remarks, but come on. Just like a white person can't live down calling someone a black ass nigger, ignorant ass basketball players cannot live down saying they hate gay people. Tim probably takes it up the ass anyways.

06/The Japanese have a serious piece of history to fix on their plate right now. Women who were sexually brutalized by the Japanese soldiers during WWII took their horrible memories to Congress this week, part of a committee's plea to make the Japanese government offer up a formal apology to these surviviors. The thing that surprised me about this situation is that they aren't even trying to get paid off of it. Is that a cultural thing? Niggas in the US stay talking reparations for slavery, like they could name the families that enslaved their forefathers. These women lived through this shit, 60 years ago, and just want the Japanese to be like "we're sorry, it happened and it shouldn't have". That's heart. They have such fury over the way they were treated, but only want a sincere apology. Maybe, during Black History Month, us Black folk might want to reevaluate how we are going about reclaiming our dignity for the shit that has happened to us...

07/The media seemed to jump on the news that LOST has plummeted in the ratings since their switch from Wednesdays @ 9PM to 10PM, as to not battle with Idol. My initial reaction is, yo, it's been TWO FUCKING WEEKS, who is to say that more fans are just not really up on the change as of yet? This article up on Yahoo! seems to be piercing, speaking to this cat Marc Berman, who cannot be biased because they admit that he is an upset fan who thinks they mishandled the show. If you are a reporter, having an opinion is one thing, but why would I want to speak to someone who on the one hand represents a news website, but then is a disgruntled fan? He says that ABC has put the nail in the coffin, mainly b/c they take too long exposing pieces of the puzzle, as well as taking too long between parts in this season. While those points might be true, they have also been poured over time and again, from the reasoning why filming a show like LOST in Hawaii takes longer than a normal show and how that relates to the rigid TV schedules set up by the majors. And how are you a fan of LOST and you spend your time being upset about the way they divulge info? That has been a piece of their makeup from day dot, so you are basically pissed at yourself for sticking with it for so long. Cats like THAT put the nail in the coffin prematurely. Long live LOST, I don't see it going anywhere.

08/I have to say that this week was a pretty hectic one for white females in Hollywood. To top things off, Nicole Richie got charged with DUI stemming from the situation in Dec. 2006 when she was high off weed and pharms and sitting in her idling whip. She might end up getting a year in jail along with a $1K fine, but I highly doubt she will see one day in jail. Just a hunch... Kim Mathers, fka Mrs. Marshall Mathers, reportedly went on some Detroit radio show and let this gem slip out of her mouth: "I vomit in my mouth whenever I'm around him or I hear his name." WTF you still talking about him then? I guess your meal ticket in the fame game is hard to let go... Speaking of riding the coattails of success, this Anna Nicole Smith fiasco is ridiculous. The latest news this week is that her will left everything to her deceased son. Why the media is so surprised is anyone's guess - the will is old anyways. The problem is that she made a specific note in there that her son be the only one to get her estate, not allowing any kids born after him to get a piece of it. The fucked up part? Howard K. Stern, her possible-baby daddy and lawyer, is the executor, so I am guessing he will be profiting off the large chunk he will cut for himself. I saw on GMA today that he is going to court on Tuesday about this to try and get it set straight. If he doesnt' cake off, I will be SO surprised... and there's no way I could go on this week without giving my $0.02 on this Britney Spears rehab/baldness situation. From what I've read/seen on TV, the word is that her family thought she was bugging out, and decided to have her go into rehab, but Brit was there for less than a day, said "fuck this shit, this ain't me", and dipped. Here's where it gets odd: she gets back, goes to a tatoo spot, gets a few new markings and shaves her head after the salon worker was like "I won't cut it"? You have to feel for homegirl. Fuck those who say this is some promotional stunt. Homegirl might have fallen off the wagon or gone loco, but the description about the transaction shows me someone who is crying out for help, someone who is going through something serious and is trying to figure out a way to change things. I hope she can find her way, for I think she can get back on top if she wants it. I just want to know: was K-Fed really that good of a man that the divorce/separation started this off, or is it deeper than this?

09/Speaking of the Entertainment Industry, let's shoot some quick links at you muckety mucks: on the interview side, Rizoh broke bread with Fabolous for About: Rap, Prodigy (with The Alchemist on the helpout) chat it up with All Hip-Hop, and Papoose sat down with Prefix to do the same... Beyonce graced the cover (and inside) of the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, which just screams "we've been losing money on our previous issues" loud and clear. Why there are no ass shots is kind of silly to me... Speaking of Beyonce, Idolator speculates on the real reasons why Kelly Rowland's album keeps getting pushed back... Do you think there is enough material to make a Milli Vanilli movie? Someone does; I personally thought their Behind The Music was more than enough... I hope this one isn't true: word is J.Lo and Marc Antony are dipping into the Scientology nonsense, having been spotted at crazy meetings since December of 06. I felt fucked up when I found out Beck was a Scientologist, and then I found out that one of my childhood crushes, Leah Remini, was a Scientologist as well, I almost fell out (word is Leah and J.Lo are buddies now, too)... Chris Cornell split from Audioslave, which makes them reuniting to form Rage Against The Machine all the more special... Why does Juelz Santana and Paul Wall getting beats from former blink182 drummer Travis Barker sound so un-appetizing?... and finally, Al Gore is setting up Live Earth, trying to get over 100 performers to rock out all over the globe for 24 hours in the name of global warming (which is ironic, considering the amount of electricity that will be used up on that one day alone).

10/Now for the buckshot from the rest of the news for this week: here's a few how-to's from my wife - how to French Kiss (I asked her if she was trying to say something, but she assured me I had nothing to worry about), how to create an iPod tarot deck (spooky!) and, from's Red Tape, how to make those telemarketers pay IN CASH... a county in New York is trying to ban the "N-word" for good. Good luck with that one, I don't see it going down at all... MySpace is trying to appease the majors by setting up a video filtering system to help block copyright material, like these kids won't find ways around these great white hopes... Nashville was one veto away from becoming an English-only city... GMail is finally available to the public, and no longer needs an invite... the US Mint has put out new $1 coins, but will that mean that retailers will still look at you like you tried to pay in amusement park tokens?... research is showing that there are more autistic people out there than once thought of, but its mainly due to more people finally speaking out... this 19 y/o male got arrested for agitating a police K-9 -- say whaaa?... as for right now, anyone trying to trademark "Obama bin Laden" is going to get shut down... and say a prayer for Stumpy, the 4 legged duck.

11/And in my last bit of news, I want to highlight two deaths, one that seems to have caused the other: at the age of 93, Robert Adler has passed away. He is the man who invented the remote control, a device that controls the TV viewings of many a family. We learned the longevity of batteries, the different ways lasers and beams work, and all other sorts of neat things through this invention. Essentially, Mr. Adler single handedly invented the couch potato as well... which brings me to the 2nd death: Vinnie Ricardo was found dead this week, having spent a year in front of the TV, deceased. Could his family sue? I mean, he was blind, but enthralled enough in the TV that he died right there. Anyways, the other question is, how was his electricity still on? A live family in my city could get their shit cut after 2 (or 3) unpaid bills... but this dude can sit DEAD in front of his boob tube, and the juice would still be going? Inconceivable...

I leave you guys with Grandmaster Flash from Wild Style, a movie I still haven't watched today. I was going to, but didn't get around to it. In any case:

Until next time...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Big L, Rest In Peace

God Rest The Dead.

Friday, Feb. 16th 2007 playlist

I had a weird dream last night while wishing my 5 month old would stay asleep... for some reason, MF Doom wanted the world to believe that he really was two different entities, and set up two different labels: Metal Face Records and something else, I want to say it was like Hotbox Sneaker Recordings, but the name truly escapes me. In any case, he's set up these press releases, saying things like "oh Metal Face shits all over Hotbox's output", setting up "Vs." mixtapes and what not. I don't even know why, I haven't been jazzed about new MF Doom since before the DangerDoom project.

I need more sleep. Or more hot music... here's some hot trinkets for you:

01/Birdman & Lil' Wayne "Stuntin' Like My Daddy (DJ Nappy Vs. Luke Envoy Thugstep Mix)" [you thugstep haters, you know what you can do (or, you can just join the campaign). and you know how we feel... I love Weezy over these dubstep tracks, the drops in and out of the beat help accent his braggadocio. Makes me actually appreciate his flow. More Weezy this week, later...]
02/J.R. Writer "Get 'Em" [from this Dipset rhymer's new mixtape, this one has that knock. All about that beat, as per usual with the Dipset clan.]
03/Parliament "Flash Light" [who knew that a group who's name became one of the worst cigarettes ever to be smoked could produce such funk. There's James Brown, the backbone of the Funk, then George Clinton and his P-Funk associates. Tracks with lyrics but no theme, just a fucking bomb-ass groove. When it gets to that "SHINING ON THE WALL" shit, that's when I lose my shit and have to pull up and reload.]
04/Cam'ron "Currrtiss" [TWO Dipset joints for one week? I had to include this one. Especially because of that video (peep the United Nations shouting "CURRRTISS!" and you though BALLIN was annoying)... I mean, Cam is not the man on the mic, but in this battle? I think he got it on 50. Even if 50 had the iller beat. Oh and peep Cam's speech towards the end, when he speaks on those G-Unit tank tops. He is on point with that comment.]
05/Fat Joe ft. R. Kelly, Lil' Wayne, Birdman, T.I. & Rick Ross "Make It Rain (Remix)" [why is R Kelly on this speaking about being with models? We don't think JC Penney girls are really on that level, Kells. Wayne murders it, as per usual (even though he shares his 16 with Birdman... who made THAT decision), and T.I. keeps his swagger official.]
06/Erykah Badu ft. Common "Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip-Hop)" [extra cuts left off of my "rock the love" mixtape. Dope, smooth, Grammy award winning banger from Ms. Badu.]
07/Kanye West, Nas, KRS-One & Rakim "Classic (Better Than I Ever Been Remix)" [DJ Premier on the beat. If you guys caught that "One Night Only" event, the one biggin' up the Air Force 1, you saw clips of these 4 performing this on stage LIVE. This is the remix, but there is an original produced by Rick Rubin (couldn't find an mp3, sorry!), and from what Rizoh says, both tracks will be available for purchase on Feb. 20th via iTunes, with proceeds going to a Nike charity. Holla.]
08/Redman "Put It Down" [WHOA, sorry for the un-full version of this, but I had to put this new Redman out there, produced by Timbaland. Friday, club knockin beats. Seriously. What a combo. Word is this might be the lead single to Red Gone Wild? We'll let you know when we get either a full version or more info... the funny thing is, this week OhWord has been bringing some heat in terms of slept on gems (more on that later), and Red's classic "Pick It Up" made one of the lists. Nice contrast, in the titles that is. And one of my favorites. Oh, and for the fuck of it, here's another Redman clip uploaded via eskay @ NahRight: "Get Off My Dick". HOLLA!]
09/Lil' Wayne "Reggae Shit" [Wayne doing his thing over Baby Cham's "Ghetto Story". And you just thought he was done with "Mo Fire", eh? I like his fake patois lol. Does he have Jamaican in him? Shouts to Idolator for leaking this, as well as the "A-Trak RMX of Fireman".]


For those looking for FREE mixtapes, Mick Boogie and the now DUO Little Brother dropped "And Justus For All", which concerns me. Is 9th still part of the Justus Leage? Anyways, enjoy the freeness.


The boy ESB's Detuned Radio brought in none other than Canada's Gremlinz, and they did a pretty dope set on the 9th of Feb. Can't believe I missed it. No tracklisting on this one, but the dload is free (sendspace link).


Shouts to the OhWord crew, Noz, Robbie, and whomever else put together the "50 Incredible Rap Songs You Need To Hear... Right Now" series for (I actually don't think Rafi had anything to do with it, so he was as surprised as we were when this list just came out). The dloads even helped shut OhWord down for a bit yesterday morning. In any case, these are a boatload of slept-on Rap gems from all different eras, compiled by the above mentioned heads, with their short quips about them to boot. Here are the links: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 EDIT: here is parts 1-5 in one file, as well as 20 bonus tracks from the good folks over there. Gotta applaud my peers when they bring excellence.


To put an end to this, my final thought is a special video from the man like Wordsmith. He's the head behind the Nu Revolution Camp, a group of MCs, producers and the like who are currently making some sick music and on the verge of cracking into your mainstream systems, if they haven't already. Dude is even working with Chubb Rock, which is just dope in and of itself. You might also remember that I interviewed his boys Kontakt & SoL last month, and both spots came out right.

IN ANY CASE, this is a self-produced video they did, chronicling their "Mixshow" tour from 2006. You see them doing promo photo shoots, in the lab working on beats AND rhymes, just straight wylin' out and their slick looking live shows. I like the scene where they are on the stage rappin' about drivin', and really mimicing the act of driving, and its like every piece he rhymes about, a prop comes on stage and they act it out. I haven't seen something like that since Special Ed's "I Got It Made" video. Check it out. And peep for the rock the dub shout at the end. You know how we do.

Wordsmith's 2006 Mixshow Wrap-Up

Add to My Profile More Videos

Until next time, take it light, but take it...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

American Idol 6, "Hollywood Week" [recap]

FINALLY, we've got our contestants. Were you surprised at who made it and who got left behind? I sure as hell am a bit pissed... what can you do, though?

I was surprised Sundance Head made it, with his lackluster performances over the entire Hollywood Week. I am also surprised that Antonella chick made it, even if she's a Jersey girl.

My early predictions? Well, I really like that girl Haley - she's very cute, she can dance, and her voice is nice. Not the best, but I think she has the total package. My early pick for the guys is Sanjaya, just because I think his voice is phenomenal. He murked his sister. The backup singers (Melinda and Brandon) also stand out to me, just for the fact that you can tell they are not only great singers, but they love it.

Now for who I wish would just fall out of the competition early: Blake Lewis. I get it, he can beatbox and act like Justin Timberlake-lite. My thing is, dog, you are getting through based on personality, dancing and your beatbox. I have no doubt that he will do great in the votes (as long as he doesn't totally bomb on his songs), but I couldn't help but getting annoyed when he started beatboxing during the group comp. Just cheesy and really not necessary IMHO. I'm also not too into that Gina girl either - just not seeing how long she can keep it up. Especially since she got cut during last year's Hollywood Week. There's a reason you didn't make it, ma. For the same reason, Nicholas Pedro should go - you quit, dog!

The wild card? Chris Sligh. He might be this year's Taylor Hicks: not that much to look at, but with his wit and his damn good vocals, he might stay under the radar longer than many might realize. Don't sleep on Lakisha, either. That girl can BLOW!

Those are my picks! Next week, the guys perform first. We'll see who makes it...

LOST, Season 3: "Flashes Before Your Eyes" [recap]

What a crazy episode. I think this is the first one that frustrated me, because while I understood everything that happened, I do not get why it happened, nor do I understand how Desmond's plight plays into the whole of the island...

Like, at the end of Season 2, when Desmond turned the failsafe key and then we saw that Penelope was tracking him down, I thought "wow, this is going to turn into one of those ultimate love story things", because while Desmond might seem like a minute character to many, his actions have set things in motion. Think about it: not only has he saved the world every 108 minutes for years, but his not hitting the button that one time caused the crash of the Oceanic 815 - we believe. I truly think that his love for Penny will undoubtedly cause Penny and her team to eventually find the island. What happens then, who knows, but isn't that big enough?

Now, about this time travel thing: I am lost (no pun intended). I mean, OK, you have to look at everything that Desmond is going through as a circle (a vicious one at that). So, he turns the failsafe, and ends up in the past, with the paint all over him in his shitty loft. So, deja vu sets in and he realizes he has done all of this before. The thing is, how come no one else knows it? What about HIM is so important that he could relive his life again? Personally, I think that "butterfly effect" thing might be coming into play, or a variation of it. I think Desmond had a chance to make a change, to do things right, for whatever unknown reason, but the weight of his responsiblities to, well, THE WORLD, overpowered his love for Penny. The problem is, when he tries to change things, it disrupts the equilibrium of the world somehow. Follow me on this one: throughout the entire episode, he did what he knew he would do, from the interview to the picture on River Thames, etc. EXCEPT for the very end, when that Jimmy cat comes in to smack the bartender with the cricket bat; Desmond instructs the barkeep to duke (brother), and he ends up getting smacked... back to the island. Was this Desmond's 2nd chance to make things right in his life?

Look, in life, we're all given options, and who knows what could happen if we were to go back and try to recapture something we lost. A love, money, whatever. Was Desmond SUPPOSED to keep the ball of fate (destiny?) rolling, or was his "deja vu" really a 2nd chance to make things right with Penny, with whatever he had going on?

Or was he just knocked out from the anamoly? Who knows. I just can't disregard my thoughts on this, because he knows the future.

And he knows that Charlie is destined to die. That's the creepy part - we spent 50+ minutes dealing with Desmond's deja vu, and we end up seeing him as someone completely different: a man trying to change the future, but ultimately realizing that some things will not be undone, no matter how hard you try. And now Charlie is going to die. Some say it will happen when they try to find Jack... who knows.

Oh, and before I forget to mention it, I think this episode was a treat for nerdy "mystery" bastards like myself, who like seeing things like Widmore Industries mentioned in episodes. The amount of trivia and references to the whole LOST canon was a dope touch: from "I have a delivery for 815" (ref. to the numbers, 4, 8, 15...), to the banners during the football match (Apollo Candy Bars, Oceanic Airlines, Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack, etc.) to the many references to the color red (Desmond's shirt, the guy's shoes, the paint on the floor in the loft, etc.), which may or may not have a thing to do with anything other than keeping me hooked. It was fodder for us to be like "OOO, DID YOU SEE THAT!?!?"... I think.

Did you guys see that promo for next week's episode? Part of it was already seen, in this LOST Moment from Dec. 13th, 2006... check it out. Do you recognize who the lady that Jack is speaking to is?

In any case, I am definitely amped to get the answers to those 3 things that we have questions on... especially after an episode that had me losing sleep.

related links:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

rock the love (V-Day Feb. 2007)

I told you guys yesterday that I had a treat for you...

I wanted to take some of my favorite songs about love and put them into a mix... but figured, what the hey, let's just throw them out in a .rar, unmixed.

So, here you go!

rock the dub presents: rock the love (V-Day Feb 2007) (sendspace link) (more links to come)

Here's the tracklisting:

01-Justin Timberlake ft. T.I. - My Love
02-Portishead - It Could Be Sweet
03-Christina Aguilera - On Our Way
04-Bobby Caldwell - What You Won't Do For Love
05-Teddy Pendergrass - Love TKO
06-Michael Jackson - The Lady In My Life
07-D'Angelo - The Root
08-High Contrast - Global Love
09-Whodini - One Love
10-J Dilla ft. Pharoah Monche - Love
11-The Perceptionists - Love Letters
12-Nas - Getting Married
13-The Notorious B.I.G. - Me And My Bitch
14-Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige - I'll Be There For You-You're All I Need (Razor Sharp Mix)

You like how it goes from R&B and Pop to DNB to Hip-Hop, right? And how we cover all facets, from thinking about ditching love to cautionary tales to straight up Bitchery, right?

I know you do. Share and share alike.

Spend your afternoon/evening rocking the love with your loved ones... and finding out what this Valentine's Day is all about.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's Day Eve 2007

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do for V-Day this year, seeing as this is the first V-Day I'll be blogging ever. I figured, gifts are always a good gesture, and the best gift I can give is the gift of music... there's going to be a SPECIAL rock the dub treat tomorrow, but there are some songs I felt needed to be highlighted, and they ended up focusing on Lauryn Hill, one of the oft-forgotten heroes of R&B and Hip-Hop. I mean, we all know her meteoric rise and surprising fall/disappearance from the limelight, and I don't want to dwell on that, for I'll just get upset for the lack of her voice in the mainstream music scene, but I still love her music. Her words, her soul, she just poured everything into her music, and nothing was as telling as her songs about love. You know she had some deepness going on when it comes to love, in all facets. So, today, I wanted to share with you guys a few of my favorite Lauryn Hill tracks and videos (if I can find them!) that accompany, with some words to go with them...

01/Lauryn Hill "Ex-Factor" [taken from her debut solo CD, she breaks down a relationship all of us have had: one where you hate this person so much, but you love this person so much that you end up hurting yourself just to keep them around. I think The Sopranos called it "Amour Fou", one of those undying loves, all encompassing, and all consuming. Not a healthy thing @ all, but when Lauryn sings it, it's timeless. My wife's favorite track off Miseducation... btw.]

02/Lauryn Hill ft. D'Angelo "Nothing Even Matters" [this is one of MY favorite Lauryn Hill tracks of all time. Very seductive, soulful number featuring the boy D'Angelo, just riffing on all the craziest shit that could go down, but in the end, even if that shit is poppin' off, it doesn't even mean a thing, because you have that one person. Possibly one of the simplest, yet most beautiful displays of that theme I have heard in my life. Just a great song, from two artists who were in my King and Queen spot 8, 9 years ago... and where are they now?]

03/Lauryn Hill "Just Like Water" [this is one of the tracks off of the Unplugged 2.0 set she did, the one everyone dissed her for, because she sat there pouring her heart out with her guitar and her thoughts. I mean, I personally feel a connection when I hear these songs, because they show the creative process in action, which I love seeing, whether it's Jay-Z working on his album or Busta Rhymes being inspired by a random Timbaland beat. The song seems to deal with finding love after being hurt for so long, and the river of emotions that cascade down when you really realize what's going on. That guitar is on point, I wish she did this in the studio with a nice, subtle drum underneath. We can dream, can't we?]

04/Refugee Camp All-Stars ft. Lauryn Hill "Sweetest Thing" [this is my personal fav. Lauryn track of all time. I remember buying Miseducation... and hoping this cut was on it, as a bonus or whatever, but my copy did not contain it. (it wasn't until years later that I realized I had to either cop the Love Jones OST or one of the singles to get it...) It was all over the radio that summer, I remember I was dealing with this female who seemed to be into me but only when no one else was around. She was big on making things feel one way when we were alone, but forgetting me when she got a phone call or when she was out. I got over it, but that shit hurt after a while. In any case, this track helped soothe my soul, from that soft guitar, complete with the noise of the fingers stroking the strings to that laid back beat. When the beat switches up, its MURDA! True Refugee Camp stylee on this one. That video was kind of ill too...]

Finally, I leave you guys with a track Talib Kweli wrote for Lauryn, simply titled "Ms. Hill", which is a letter that he wrote specifically for her, but many of us feel the same way. No more words to describe it, really...

related links:
Lauryn Hill's official website
Lauryn Hill page on Wikipedia

Ah, here are a few extra video pieces of Lauryn performing:

"Motives & Thoughts", performed LIVE on Def Poetry

"Killing Me Softly" video, with The Fugees


Monday, February 12, 2007

just because

controversy @ 320 kbps bitrate:

Birdman & Lil' Wayne "Stuntin' Like My Daddy (Nappy Vs. Luke Envoy Thugstep Mix)"

stylin' on cats

shouts to Perpetuum for finding this, and QN5 Music for creating it.

HBO comin' correct

So this morning I did what I do every Monday morning: check out my HBO On Demand to see what shows have been added/taken away. I always hit the "HBO Series" option first, because I've been waiting for Season 5 of The Sopranos to pop back on (which it did), but I awoke to a surprise: the first episode of Season 6 of Def Poetry is available! I totally forgot that the new season was premiering this month, let alone this Friday (Feb. 16th), so I was pleasantly surprised. They had a few dope shorts on there, too: one entitled "Def on Def" had Mos Def talking about the phenomenon that is Def Poetry, and showed a few highlights of cats who are going to be featured this season, including George Clinton, Carole King, Jill Scott and DMX, among others. The one face I was glad to see was that of the beautiful Suheir Hammad, who has been my favorite poet on Def Poetry, aside from that nigga Black Ice. Her voice, her words, her emotion... I remember the piece she did about her Palestinian brothers, the pain resulting from 9/11 and the Iraqi War situation, and just racial and political stress in America, NY and in our hearts. Once I heard that piece, I was a big fan. Big up to Brooklyn. So, I will be checking out this episode and dropping gem on it later this week...

Now, the boy eskay posted about this a week or so ago, and he reminded me that I Needed to check out this documentary that HBO picked up entitled Bastards of the Party, which goes deep into some info I saw on the "Tookie" episode of BET's American Gangster, which glossed over the idea that the Bloods and Crips evolved from the racial strife and struggle going on in the LA community, tracing back to the 1940s and 1950s. From the Slausons and Gladiators, crew of Black men who set sights on the "Spook Hunters" who were trying to kick the shit out of them, to the Black Panter Party, the US Organization, and the "Black Power" movements of the late 60s and the 1970s. If gang history and just Black History in general intrigues you, definitely check out this doc. The man who made it is a Blood named Bone, and while he wears his set on his sleeve, he's a man who wants to make a change from within the organization. He is a deep cat, has a nice speech at the end about the dehumanization of people via words ("Nigga", "Jap", "Gook", etc), and how that makes it easier for cats to kill each other, whether it's two brothers in gang wars or soldiers fighting international wars.

I saw HBO has scored two for the month of February... with more to come, hopefully. If you haven't gotten a subscription to them yet, do it now! You guys claiming Showtime and these other cable channels, step aside.