Definitive Swim

Just dropping a quick note to let you guys know that the good peopel over at [adult swim] have linked up with Definitive Jux and Old Spice (???) to put out a new, FREE batch of music: Definitive Swim. Featuring the Def Jux stable, with tracks from Mr. Lif, Aesop Rock, El-P, Camu Tao, Hangar 18 and others. If this is your cup of tea, go drink some. For FREE.
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LOST, Season 3: "Stranger in a Strange Land" [recap]

Nice episode, let me just get that off my chest first. I had been waiting for the producers to give their origin of Jack's tatoo for a while (ever since I heard them mention it on a podcast last year some time), and I wasn't disappointed. He always seemed like a character in search of something, and him going to Thailand and boning some fly chick for months or so doesn't seem that far off. Plus, it reminded me of one of my favorite Tales From The Crypt episodes, which featured Heavy D without his glasses, working in some tatoo parlor where the tatoo artist just puts whatever your skin is telling them on your body. In reading up on this episode, though, I realized something: homegirl was doing a lot of namaste in that episode. Remember when she received the gift from that man when her and Jack were eating lunch? I didn't hear it at the time, but she made the 'namaste' symbol with her hands and said it. Plus, in reading up on LostPedia, her name, Achara, is actually synonymous with the word dharma. So, who else is thinking homegirl is more than just a tatoo artist? I mean, those references can't just be chance, right?

I am just puzzled as to why her brother beat Jack up... is it not right for him to have even gotten that tatoo, or did they see what she wrote and got freaked out, thinking he might bring bad karma or something to their island in Thailand? I am puzzled over that...

...as I am puzzled over the LOST commercial for this episode, saying that "3 Questions Will Be Answered"... the more that I think of it, the more I have more questions as to WHAT WAS ANSWERED. Follow me here, and see if any of these might be what they eluded to:

  • Karl revealing to Kate & Sawyer that "The Others" don't live on the island where the Hydra is located. This makes sense though, as this island seems to be smaller than the others, and there's no way they could have their backyards and homes and such out there. The question is, WHY? He says they conduct "projects", but how does breaking up rocks fit into that? And what is this "better life" that he figures his people give the children? His speaking that "God loves you like he loved Jacob", which was taken directly from Room 23, was creepy...
  • Cindy, the stewardess of Oceanic 815, making her return with what seem to be like a whole other set of Others, on their way "to watch" (I assume they meant watch Juliet die for her murdering Pickett), which is both eerie and I guess telling of how rigid their group dynamic is. We also saw that Zack & Emma, the kids from the tailsection, were straight. I'm guessing this is their way of answering "what happened to Cindy and the kids?"...
  • Ben is still the leader. Duh. I mean, he calls the shots, he has been since towards the end of Season 2. That Isabel lady was a cold bitch though, right? Even she couldn't shake his ruling. Jack's decision to stick with the Others is going to be a true test... it also makes me wonder how many of the Others ended up with them based off of some similar situation...
  • Jack helping Ben because he said he would. That's no real surprise or answer, I don't think. Jack's a pretty stand up guy, and has been one of the only members of the cast to stick to his word, thick and thin. His brewing romance with Juliet is going to be an interesting situation, if it happens... and what's up with the marking they gave Juliet?
In any case, it was a tight episode that makes the real fans out there go "Hmmmm?!?!" with all of the innuendo, and others be like "eh, filler"... the fact that a show like LOST is so vast that you can think that gaining more info on the characters is "filler" is beyond me... And that preview of next week looks like it will be a big one. Don't be surprised if someone gets killed in this one... just a hunch I have over here.

Until then... namaste.

related links:
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NEW TV: Dancing With The Stars Cast Revealed!

I was just watching Good Morning America, and figured I'd drop the dime on the new Dancing With The Stars cast (premieres March 19th), even though I'm not the biggest fan. Here we go:

Do I know who is going to win? Right now, just based on their past, I'd give it to Ohno or Fatone, just because they've had to dance and be light on their feet. I don't know which of the females would be a good fit, I would naively say Laila Ali, but being a boxer doesn't mean you can dance. Her father could float, though, so who knows...

Maybe I will blog about this... maybe not. We'll see.
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Fattie Tuesday

Nice play on words, no?

Just popping in to say what's really really to you guys out there. I first want to apologize if my last shuffle was kind of 'blah'... kind of hard to get jazzed about some of the nonsense stories out there.

In any case, I saw that today is Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, depending on what part of the world you live in. The reason I remembered, though, was because they said it was "Pancake Tuesday". I remember this time last year being down in South Jersey, with my Marines-bound cousin Mike, making sure everything for his father's funeral was straight. It was a rough Feb., with my Uncle Allen passing, and J. Dilla passing, just a surreal time really. Shit, I grew up on Dilla beats and my Uncle's eats. He introduced my to Canadian bacon and the joys of pepper on fried potatoes. He taught me how to be smooth and cool, and how to not take everything so seriously, even if he was a principal at schools for developmentally disabled teens. His desk would have a drawer full of brass knucks, knives, all kinds of things, and he toko it all with a grain of salt. It was hard seeing him in that casket, emotionless, when his face was all salt and pepper beard, puffy cheeks, Winston in hand/on lip, cracking a joke or a sarcastic face.

His life was spent helping others, and it was his own body that couldn't help him. He drank and smoked for years, and his ticker gave out. It was all so mind-blowing until I saw him in that coffin, with hundreds of people in that auditorium. Crying, rejoicing, reconnecting, all over Smitty.

Why am I bringing this up? I dunno, it's Pancake Day. Get fat and reminisce on your loved ones.
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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...
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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.
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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

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just because

controversy @ 320 kbps bitrate:

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

One of many reasons why alcohol and religion don't mix. What the fuck is this all about? Read up on neph on Wikipedia... insane. No real words need to be said, just read up and peep those videos -- and the soundboard (LOL!). This is the same dude at the end of Sean Price's "Like You".

Now, I wonder why I'M not on public access TV...

shouts to my boy SBK for the original link.

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LOST, Season 3: "Not in Portland" [recap]

OK so LOST is back. And you guys thought it was going to be something minute and silly, but we get another great episode, with a slew of new clues and awesome suspense.

Now, before we go over the goodies in this episode, I just want to say that the LOST Survivor Guide that was shown before this episode was choice for old fans and newcomers alike. The fact that Damon and Carlton were speaking openly about the events so far was an added touch, and was probably 75% of the reason I even watched it. I wonder if this will be made available in the future: it was a good way to bring people back, as well as lure in new fans (don't think I didn't notice all of that "if you're into X type of show, you can peep LOST" stuff).

Now, onto the show... and no, we aren't going to be dissecting each piece of the episode, but I want to delve into some of the shit that might have gone unnoticed or what have you:

First off, this was Juliet's episode. From the beginning, I knew it was kind of eerie when we see your boy Ethan walk past her in her sister's building. The initial thing that got me thinking was, why was she injecting her sister's not-pregnant stomach, but when we are on the island, you see Claire, who is obviously pregnant, get her stomach injected? What's the correlation there? OK secondly, the company who was trying to hire her was named Mittelos. I know a lot of people out there have been pondering what that means. I don't think it's as simple as it being an anagram for "LOST TIME", although that's clever. If you guys were up on the LOST Experience ARG from last summer, you know we were introduced to a character named Thomas Mittlewerk. Now, his character was at one time the President of the Hanso Foundation, which financed the DHARMA Initiative we have so fondly obsessed over. My question is this: is it really that hard to assume that this Mittelos Bioscience company, which already employed Ethan and seems to have enough pull to get a man hit by a bus in broad day light, be another one of Mittlewerk's companies, which would further help us understand not only WHY this island has so much experimentation on it, but how an experiment of this capacity could be undertaken on such a remote island for so long? Hell, they've kept Juliet on the island for 3+ years... and now with Ben saying if she got Jack to fix him up, he'd let her go, we now know that there is a way for them to get on and off the island...

Speaking of Ben, you guys do realize that he might have had sex with Rousseau... the question is, when? They kept saying that he was Alex's father, and Alex has long been rumored to be Rousseau's daughter. What's this all about? Lostpedia has Alex being fathered by Rousseau and some cat Robert from Rousseau's team, but then where's the Ben/Alex relationship coming from?

Now I cannot talk about Alex without talking about Room 23 and her boy Karl in there looking like, ironically, Alex in A Clockwork Orange. The whole scene was eerie (check it out here, about 1:48 into it), with the extremely loud DNB-esque music and those random, fast paced images and text - WTF!?!? In my house, I said it was brainwashing, while wifey thinks its more of a mental breaking down. She asked me if there is any difference, and I think there is, but either way, this is insane. I mean, was he put in there because he was being "bad"? Were they trying to break him down and weaken him to then turn on Alex, or someone else? Or is this just how they get their prisoners to succomb to their every request? Very strange, but since he hitched a ride with Sawyer and Kate on a boat back to the main island (which earned Pickett a couple of slugs to the chest, courtesy of Juliet!), we will hopefully find out more about this mysterious scene...

In terms of our core, I was glad that Kate and Jack connected over the telling of that story. I love their chemistry more than Sawyer and Kate's, but what can you do. I also knew from the rip that Kate was going to go back to get Jack, which we saw in the previews for next week. She's a hard head, but she isn't running, which is always a plus. Looks like things will only get thicker come next week... 15 more eps to go!

OK so you can expect my recaps to come more like this, with more talk dealing with the mysteries and whatnot of the island. Trying to retell the story in my own voice gets tiresome, especially if I end up losing the work for some reason. Leave a comment and let me know if you prefer this style over the other style...

If you want some reading about this episode, peep the following links:
*Lostpedia's cultural references about "Not in Portland": the biblical references between Rachel (Juliet's sister) and the Bible's Rachel, esp. in an episode where that Room 23 talked about God and Jacob, is eerie...
*Mittlelos Bioscience website, which has sprung up and caused a stir recently... peep the Juliet Burke and Ethan Rom bios on there...

Until next time...
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[rock the dub Interview]: Joulz Il

This is one interview that has been months in the making. It's here now, and you guys should definitely get familiar with Dallas, Texas' own Joulz Il (formerly known as Joulz Il Duce). Back when I was writing for The Flow, I did an interview an outfit by the name of 5 Starr Entertainment. They rep Texas hard, but are hitting the game on all angles: production, R&B, Hip-Hop, and their crew is talented. At the time of this interview, Entity and Charles hit me with info on their new affiliate, Joulz Il Duce. He has a big personality: a man who is both jovial and dead ass serious at the same time. You can hear his talent in his voice, and feel what he is saying in his rhymes. He spits from the heart, but uses his head. And he is coming for that Number One Spot. He is currently working with 5 Starr to get signed by SOMEONE, so consider this a warning/greeting/promise: either sign Joulz Il or live to regret it.

khal: When I first heard of 5 Starr Entertainment afew years back, you were JOULZ IL DUCE, their latest signing, just starting to get your shine on. Now, I believe the situation has flipped a lil’ bit –from 5 Starr being the label to them sort of managing you it seems? Can you explain your status currently?

Joulz Il: The situation has flipped slightly, but not that much. After a lot of deep rooted re-vamping, the best situation was deemed that instead of going at the game from a label standpoint, it would be better to go at it from the standpoint of each individual entity going about getting the attention of the public. Five Starr is STILL the faculty and that will always be, but right now, the focus is getting out there. Everyone wants to be the next great "indie" breakout, but to do that, takes serious bread and what better way to get that bread than to get yourself linked up with a major and then make major moves. I'm still the same dude, just dropped the "DUCE" off of the name. It was kindo f hard for people to say and its kind of an evolution of sorts. From the last time that we talked until now, A LOT of drama has happened and it signifies a growth. I've been Joulz Il Duce since maybe, 15, so it was time for a renewal. Besides, with a name like Joulz Il (Jewel's ill=Jewel is ill.), you've got to be pretty sick with the flow. LOL!

khal: Seeing as though you are trying to get signed, what would be your ideal label situation and why? Do you think you could function to your fullest capacity on a label like Def Jam?

Joulz Il: The ideal label situation probably DOESN'T exist, IRONICALLY. I would love to maintain the better portion of my creative control, but still be under the advisory of a seasoned veteran as far as new artists are concerned. The main reason is you can never stop learning and even though I've been doing music for a while, there is an edge that someone who has already established themselves in the music business HAS over me and I would like to be in their tutelage. Of course, a good sized signing bonus up front wouldn't hurt the kid, at all. LOL! Honestly, I feel that as an artist, Is hould get something more out of the deal also. Financial stability up front is a major issue. It just seems like some labels have gotten away from really doing that. Def Jam? Honestly, if they could PAY ATTENTION to my project and put the proper push behind it to garner the right attention, then yes, I do feel like they would be adequate. Would I like to go to Def Jam? Well, yes, I'd become a part of a company that is iconic in Hip-Hop if I aligned myself with them and you can't be mad at that. However, this is business. I have to go to what's beneficial for ME and those affected by me.

khal: Speaking of Def Jam, your mixtape, Sign Joulz Il Vol. 1, jacks a few of his cuts (“Song Cry”,“Lost One”). What are your thoughts on him and MCs of his ilk: the guys who see themselves as more of an entity” or a “business” than a straight up spitter?

Joulz Il: As far as my thoughts on that whole ilk of emcees: good for them. It has become commonplace now for everyone to have a clothing line, to have a beverage, to have a particular thing outside of being an emcee and that's great. Marketability is what it is. I honestly hope that my marketability gets to that point one day, but only time will tell. Right now, I'm just focusing on establishing myself as an artist that needs to be paid attention to and put as a brand name in that circle of emcees. As far as the songs from the mixtape, I just did what sounded good. Songs were presented to me and the ones that made the mixtape were the ones that were honestly a good mesh. It just so happened that "Song Cry" and "Lost Ones" made it. However, "Show Me What You Got" did NOT. LOL!

khal: I saw a clip of you busting a three minute freestyle– a true freestyle, by the way, straight off the doink. You made some comments about cats more concerned about making up dances than trying to really say something on their tracks. If you could change, say, 5 things about the current state of Hip-Hop, what would you change and why?

Joulz Il: Five things that I would change: One.The lack of diversity in commercial radio.*Is it just me or does EVERY SONG on the radio prettymuch sound the same now? Two. The lack of creativity.*We all go to the club, but I'm sure thats not the only thing that happens in life and I'd like to hear more about what someone goes through. Three. The stagnation of the scene.*It almost feels like 2001 hit and we just stopped growing. There are a slew of great artists who never see the light of day because they refuse to conform to the formula. I'd like to see more of those artists. Four. LET TUPAC DIE!!!!!!!!!! *I don't want to hear ONE MORE TUPAC album. How in the world can someone who died just about 10 good years ago STILL be putting out records? Let him rest in peace or cremation or in Cuba or wherever he is. STOP! Five. I would let the trappers trap and the rappers rap.*Kind of self explanatory, but why not? Much like your review of the Young Jeezy album, I feel the same way. How many dope dealers are going to try to wash the drug money with a rap career? The Feds are catching on now, maybe it's time to open up a laundromat or a McDonald's or something, but please stop RHYMING!!!! If I see one more "Young Soso and Lil ThisandThat" who swears to The Almighty that he is the greatest rapper of all time and then opens his mouth and sounds like a bad version of a "grammatically challenged" 4 year old, I am going to start personally "murking" all of them. And with that said, moving on the next question.

khal: Most people might want to know what inspires you to write, but I think you’re way past that: what is it that keeps your HUNGER so strong?

Joulz Il: My HUNGER remains strong due to the fact that I LOVE MUSIC! I love new material! I love to record! I love to rhyme! I love to write! I'm a writer by trade and I've always been into literature of all kinds. Being someone who naturally grew up loving attention, Hip-Hop was just another way of expression. I like to challenge myself to see what I can come up with. Sometimes, it's the subtle shock value of things and other times, it's just to try to approach things in a manner that may not have been done already. That HUNGER remains, period. I could do this and never be famous and honestly, I don't think I would care because I would still do it for the LOVE. I can say that because I haven't made it and I still do it NOW! LOL!

khal: To back track a bit, what was your evolution: how long have you been writing, and how did that transition into you grabbing the mic? Have you ever dabbled in any other facets of music making (production, singing, etc.)?

Joulz Il: I have been writing since the age of 8. I know that seems surprising, but my mother always placed in me a need to study and learn new things. Writing was always an expression of my innermost thoughts. At first, it was simply short stories and poetry, but as I began to share my poetry with others, they started noticing the cadence of my delivery. One of these people was my older brother, Chris, who finally coaxed me into doing a rap with him and my cousin and it stuck. I fell in love right then with Hip-Hop and I never broke up with it. I've always dabbled in just about any other facet of music that I could get my hands on. I'm a producer, a songwriter, and I'll sing, but mainly on hooks or to show an artist how to approach the song that I've written for them. I sound funny, as I dont have the stereotypical R&B voice, however, I'm seriously thinking about doing Rock and Roll every now and then, but that's another interview. LOL!

khal: You’re in an awkward spot, you realize this right? I mean, you are reppin’ Texas, but aside from a few Texas MCs like Bun B, Trae and a few others, the majority of the state is not seen to be really lyrical with their darts, but you flip that script and wear your lyricism on your sleeve. Have you ever felt like you need to either dumb down your rhymes or switch things up just to get more shine?

Joulz Il: Lyrical? Me? You know I've been hearing that from quite a few people who have downloaded the mixtape and honestly, I still don't see it. I've always had a vast vocabulary. My mother is a devout Christian and at that point was an English fanatic, so no slang or curse words were allowed in her household. I learned pretty quickly to express myself in a very dynamic way at an early age, so if it's on my sleeve, it's only because it's really WHO I AM. At times, I have honestly felt like I was distancing myself from the core audience of commercial listeners in music because of my choice of words or my style of expression, but with artists like Nas, Andre 3000, Eminem, Busta Rhymes (not Big Bang, but old school L.O.N.S./Flip Mode Squad/"Dungeon Dragon!" BUSTA Rhymes), LL Cool J, KRS-One, Rakim, Scarface, Pun, Biggie, you get the idea....I've learned that it really doesn't matter. You NEED lyrical content. It's what seperates NOISE from REAL MUSIC. I don't think I'm in an awkward spot at all, if anything, I'm in the perfect spot. If people catch wind of said lyricism, then that should at least put me on the list with the people who you named from Texas and hopefully one day, equate me with them.

khal: In listening to your first Sign Joulz mixtape, I notice you rock over a few beats, ranging from Busta to Justin Timberlake’s “My Love”. If you could only choose one acclaimed producer to lace you with a heat rock for your album, who would it be?

Joulz Il: TIMBALAND!!!! NEXT QUESTION!!!! LOL!!! I'm a beatminer! I absolutely love great music! I love quirky drum patterns, orchaestral instrumentation, weird samples of everyday noise, crickets, babies, alligators snarling, motorcycles revving, little kids singing in the background....and pretty much anything that can be added to a beat. Honestly, Tim's got it. I have always had a fixation with Tim's beats since One In A Million/The Bachelor and he has gotten sufficiently more and more out of hand since then. Seriously, this is a biased question: What about DJ Premier, Jermaine Dupri, Alchemist, Dr. Dre, 9th Wonder, Just Blaze, Hi-Tek, Kanye West (every once in a while), ?uestlove? This is crap, you can't tell me to pick just one. There's so many, Play-N-Skillz, Cool & Dre, Chad & Pharrell......man, I can't call it. I know if Ihad the budget, I would probably lose my mind.

khal: Speaking of your album, I know you have to be in the lab working on some hot hot heat right now. Can you leak any finalized details on a solo album from yourself? Anything we should be looking out for interms of concepts, guests, etc.?

Joulz Il: NO LEAKS!!! LOL! What I can tell you is that there is another volume of the Sign Joulz Il series on its way for the second quarter. I'm definitely trying to drop a mixtape every quarter, so pay attention to that. Nothing has really been finalized as far as the"Joulz Il" solo joint. Honestly, I'm playing it by ear, when the time comes for it to happen, it will definitely happen. Right now, Im focusing on getting The Alliance album underway. Doing some of the production, making sure that we get the right singles and just focusing completely on making that a success. Conceptually, the next "Joulz Il" solo album is going to be a well-rounded representation of where I am musically and hopefully, it will be on a major.

khal: What’s the story behind Love, Sensitivity, Anger,Arrogance & Everything In Between? What do you consider that – a debut album, a collection oftracks, a mixtape or what? Why should people go check that CD out?

Joulz Il: You know honestly, I WOULD call it a DEBUT ALBUM. The funny thing is we all just kind of set to record it to see if it could be done and it got done and there you have it. The name itself is something that I came up with right after I finished recording my REAL first album A Boy Named Julian: The Works of Joulz Il Duce Volume 1 (more info on Joulz' SoundClick page). I wanted to take myself in a completely different direction and I had been listening to an extreme amount of Songs About Jane by Maroon 5 and decided I wanted to do something like that. The "Love" album was that foray into an area that a lot of rappers don't explore for a complete CD. It's something that is definitely different in terms of raw human emotion and if nothing else, it's something people should at least listen to 10 times with an open mind. It'll catch you by that 2nd time and then you'll be hooked.

khal: Now I know you are knocking out solo material hard, but you also are in a crew with DENT and Big John called “The Alliance”. What are you guys about? Is there a certain concept behind that group or are you just having fun and vibing with them? What’s the future hold for The Alliance?

Joulz Il: The Alliance is pretty much the 2007 Geto Boys. LOL! Just kidding. We've always done songs together and there has ALWAYS been a push for us to actually be a group. The new year rolled around and we all finally made a definitive stance to be a group and shut up about it. What are we about? Hard to define it. Honestly, anything that's moving forward, anything that is great for the music that we are doing and above all and anything else......SOUTH DALLAS!!!! I normally don't keep a local mentality about things, but the area where we all hail from is an area that could really use some national attention. It's where we all grew up and it holds a special place with each of us for different reasons. This is the part of the city that made us, these are the streets that raised us, and these are the blocks that produced the need for The Alliance. There hasn't been a lyrical effort from a lot of the emcees from Dallas, period. This group is a totally different spectrum. I'm so excited to be in a group with people who take a sincere effort at crafting REAL songs and not just a "we're a group and none of us mesh, but we're still a group mentality". Each person in The Alliance brings something completely different to the table. The future doesn't look bleak, I can tell you that. We are working right now to get The Alliance album out by April. However, right now, there isn't a name that I can't give you. We're still fielding different ideas, but I guarantee you, rock the dub will be the first to know.

khal: OK so we’ve gotten to know you, we know about your old album and the latest mixtape. What does the rest of 2007 hold for Joulz Il? When can we expect a new mixtape, new tracks, album, and tour?

Joulz Il: 2007 for me is pretty much an upgraded version ofeverything thats already been going on. Sign Joulz Il: Volume 2 should be available by the end of March/beginning of April. Totally free and downloadable at: www.myspace.com/signjoulzil. New tracks are being recorded as we speak and there will definitely be more INTERNET EXCLUSIVE music like "The Urge" and "Attention" available at my MySpace page and 5 Starr Entertainment's Music section. The album itself is still a toss up, when the demand for it presents itself, you WILL see it. As far as touring, there are shows that are going on right now locally, but if there is a promoter NATIONALLY thats reading this, get at me: joulzil@yahoo.com. For all show dates, you can check out the 5 Starr Entertainment website for more info. I'm trying to garner as much attention as possible in 2007. I refuse to play a background position when music is one of the EASIEST things for me to do. I'm just looking for more press, more shows, more fans, honestly, MORE, period.

khal: When all of this is over, what would you wish to have accomplished with your gifts?

Joulz Il: I want to be able to look back on my career and say that I helped someone. I look at being an emcee as a catapult to other endeavors. I want to be able to putthe microphone down and help out my neighborhood andother impoverished neighborhoods. Forget building a new recreation center, South Dallas needs a hospital, needs new housing, needs more economy. I want to be able to be a part of the economic resurgence of the place where I'm from as well as be beneficial on a national front. I know it sounds weird for someone who wears baggy jeans and Timbs to care about the economy of an area, but I want to give back. I want to be able to say that I am financially stable and that I made my living off of my orating skills. I want to tell my children that I made my living off of expressing what was on my mind to large amounts of people. I'd like to go visit schools and be a positive influence on a lot of young black brothers who honestly don't believe that there is anything else for them except for RAP, DRUGS, or SPORTS. I'd like to deter them from that thought. I'm a rapper because I CHOSE to be one, not because I lacked the intelligence to do something else and a lot of young brothers need to hear that now. I want to KNOW that I made a difference when it's all said and done, the DJ stops spinning, the crowd stops screaming, the lights go off and the microphones are packed away.

khal: Do you have any shout outs or last words that you’d like to hit the people with?

Joulz Il: I never know what to say when people ask me that question. You can never remember everybody's name that you need to and you end up forgetting people and then they call you and curse you out and say that you're unappreciative. So, no, I dont have any individual shout outs. To all the people who have ever listened to ANY of my music, THANK YOU. To anyone who has ever come to ANY of my shows, THANK YOU. To anyone that I have ever worked with up until this point, THANK YOU. To all the press who ever took the time to even remotely pay attention to me, THANK YOU. It's always cool to be interviewed and be able to speak your mind, so khal, shout out to you for even giving me the chance to grace rock the dub. Good looking out. I look forward to doing more in the coming years.

rock the dub would like to thank Joulz Il, Entity and the entire 5 Starr family for keeping it right in the scene. On Saturday (Feb. 10th,2 007), Joulz Il will be performing LIVE at the Jinx Bar & Grill in Dallas, TX, at their "Second Saturdays" night. DFWhiphop.com members get in free as long as they've been members since Jan 17th of 2007. Check out this flier for more info. If you are in the area, go support Joulz & 5 Starr!

related links:
Joulz Il Duce MySpace Page
'Sign Joulz Il' MySpace Page
'When I Get On...' (Joulz' blog)
Jan. 2007 Interview with Joulz Il at Pegasus News
5 Starr Entertainment website
5 Starr Entertainment on MySpace
Joulz Il on SoundClick
Joulz Il on CDBaby

Finally, here is the video I spoke about earlier, with Joulz freestylin' in the closet @ J. Rhodes. FIRE!:

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LOST, Season 3 returns TONIGHT!

You've been waiting, like me, for the latest LOST episodes, right? Well, tonight, 10PM EST, the 16 episode run starts. Tonight's episode is entitled "Not in Portland" and brings us right back into the thick of Jack's situation. If you remember, we last left him with Ben, on the operating table, in a dire predicament. What will Jack do to Ben? Apparentyl Kate & Sawyer make a new buddy, who just happens to be an "Other"... but is that buddy relationship legit? Finally, the one like Juliet is going to be making some kind of decision that fucks up her standing with her people. This is all from the TV INFO lol, so who knows what kinds of twists and turns this episode will take.

Recap coming tomorrow. No *new* podcast up on ABC.com, for some odd reason. Still, get your fix at two of my favorite LOST forums: 4815162342.com and Dharma Secrets. Nice bunch of peeps on both boards. MSNBC also has a lil 'catch-up' article getting you potheads up to speed.

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Fuck you guys. Peep the dubstepforum post about THUGSTEP, and trying to figure out what to do about Nappy. As if he's trying to a) cake off his refixes or b) "destroy the scene".

Sometimes, DNB and dubstep aficionados can be some ridiculous pricks. I still shout it, you bitches ain't ready for the THUGSTEP. For the ones who get it, peace, you are proper. You other non-believers, go do something else with your life. This open-minded music thing just isn't for you.

And to quote Lil Jon "get drunk in this muthafucka, throw ya dranks up!"
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Job Woes, episode #98948594

So, I had to turn down a job today. It's not that the pay wasn't right, or that the company didn't want me, but I'm just in a situation where I need to a) look out for my best interests and b) look out for my family. I am not in the business of getting put on through a temp. agency for a 2month gig that MAY turn long-term. I'd rather stick unemployment out until I find something that's perm and comfortable.

The main reason, though, is my lack of whippage (and, well, lack of Ls). I'd literally be gone from my house for 12hours - leaving at 7AM on the nose to catch 2 buses, to do it all again and be back home after 7PM that night. I have grinded it out on that route before, but I also didn't have a lil seed that can't fend for himself. The temp. agency got pissed when I let them know I couldn't take the position, but really, would you rather me dip 2 weeks into the position for the exact same reason? The fucked up part is, if I took an earlier set of hours, I'd be bouncing out the house earlier, which doesn't help anyone.

So, I'm still on my grizzly. My dream is to get a Work From Home gig, but none of these "legit" spots are really legit. Or geared for someone like me. I find many "MommyJobs" sites, shit set up for stay at home moms, but what about pops? Where the FUCK do the stay at home fathers work? Are they all well off enough that they don't need that paper? I know, blogging isn't really an answer, there's no money in blogs like mine, but shit, I can write! And eBay hustling is cool, but I don't have hot inventory - I'm more like doing an eGarage Sale.

Back to the drawing board... fucking frustrating, really. In the end, I don't think I'm cut out for the corporate sector. I mean, I'm always looked at as that nigga, the one who can present himself well but is marked for one reason for another. I used to think that it was just me looking at life that way, but those stares aren't a joke. It's hard trying to do right out here. And I'm not even a street dude like that! I just try to live a clean life and support my family. I feel as though I have marketable skills, I just don't know how to present them and turn those gifts into chips.

If anyone can help me, please shoot me a comment or e-mail. 1.
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Real Talk: An Open Letter to Sullee

Dogs, I'm going to keep this short, because I know you are busy picking up your face after looking like a fool on national TV.

How in the FUCK are you going to try and spit that "I ain't snitchin'" nonsense on last night's episode of The (white) Rapper Show? You definitely DO NOT GET IT. I mean, I can see if the reason you guys didn't win was because John Brown was spending too much time selling ganja to some teens out the back of Tha White House. You guys lost because they stepped all over your ego, and forced you to be involved in a bullshit video for an even bigger piece of shit track. Face facts. You guys get this snitchin' shit a lil twisted, no? The whole "Stop Snitchin'" campaign is ignorant to begin with, but in the streets, that's the code. Real niggas doing real fucking things, not some bullshit, televised competition shit. Serch was 100% on the NOSE when he said that you guys are on fucking CAMERA! My God did you forget that shit? You are followed 24/7, cameras all in ya grill piece, that's how we knew you and fake titty Misfit weren't getting freaky, you fake tooth fool.

Sullee, don't try to ally yourself on some street shit when niggas in the street could give a shit about you and your skills. Dude told you in the barbershop, you need more fire. Your writing, that shit is on point. I especially felt your shit about alcohol and your battles with it. Definitely talented, I can't front. The fact of the matter is, you front on yourself when you didn't come prepared. You front on yourself when you put your ego before your talent. And you fronted on yourself when you kicked those shoes off, you lil ho.

Fuck that cupcake nonsense. "I'm not snitchin'". Nah, pussy, you bitchin'. Go grab a maxi and clean up the mess. Good riddance.
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Shouts to Stones Throw for this one. Here are the links:
Shouts to J. Rocc (MySpace). RIP J Dilla (Stones Throw page).

Did you know Feburary is DILLA MONTH? (taken from Stones Throw e-mail):

+ Last night in London: Dilla tribute at Cargo
+ Feb 5: Dilla Tribute with Waajeed at LIV in Washington DC
+ Feb 10: Dilla Tribute with Beat Junkies & House Shoes in Los Angeles
+ Feb 10: Donuts Are Forever - Dilla Tribute with Pharoah Monch in Brooklyn
+ Feb 12: Dilla Tribute at Turntable Club in Baltimore
+ Feb 13: Dilla Tribute at Northern Lights in Detroit
+ Feb 14: Dilla Tribute at Sonotech in Chicago
+ and more to be announced...

+ March: "Turn It Up" T-Shirt packaged with Ruff Draft on cassette.
+ March 9: Listening party in San Diego
+ March 20: Ruff Draft 2/CD, 2/LP release date
+ March 20: "Dirty Crushin" - bonus 45 with Ruff Draft at select locations
+ March 31: Detroit listening party with House Shoes at Magic Stick

Do you still need a DILLA CHANGED MY LIFE t-shirt? While you're at it, grab some of these.

Long live a true don...
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Superbowl Shuffle

With the Colts winning, I can happily say I want them to win. Even if Kanye & Common wrote a pretty hot track showing their Southside Love for the Bears. Decent game, that rain is fucking up some of the plays. I love close football games though, those shits really get your blood pumping.

For those wondering, the shuffle is late, I know. Nappy and Cousin Nick came by last night and we had a few beers and a load of laughs. I am going to work on it tomorrow, though, so expect it by tomorrow night.

That is all. Get ready for Prince!

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Black History Month 2007: Food for Thought

Another year, another Black History Month.

Since this is my first year blogging the shortest month of the year, I figured I'd try to both educate, as well as point out some odd things about the legacy some of our Black Legends have left...

Take Jean-Michel Basquiat, for example: while he should be known for his forrays into neo-expressionism, and just the sheer fact that he went from a cat living in the gutter to hob-knobbing with art heads worldwide, he's randomly name-checked in a Jay-Z freestyle from Thanksgiving-time, and given possibly the UGLIEST Reebok shoe to ever hit the planet.

That shit bothers me. I wish we could do things like Nas does, and resurrect the idols we thought were dead and bring them back to the masses (see the following remixes of his track "Where Are They Now": 80s RMX, 90s RMX, West Coast RMX). Maybe it's my job to do that... we'll see how this goes this month.
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American Idol 6, week 3 [recap]

I can't get into how grandiose and ridiculous some of these contestants are getting in their auditions. I found myself trying to understand why some random cat named "Eccentric" is making panther noises, taking off his stuff and throwing it around, and doing some weird, high pitched fast sounding singing then saying "eccentric!", like that matters.

I don't get why 21 people went through and we actually saw 3 people compete.

Why keep pushing that over-the-top nonsense? It couldn't have been this bad in terms of people trying to throw gimmicks out there in the auditions... or trying to prove points.

I'm almost ready to give up trying to recap this show, for the simple fact that there's a lack of quality singers to critique. Even if that 17 yr old chick from the Birmingham episode was fire.

The two stories that did intrigue me were the "blonde bombshell" hottie who's daddy done shot himself in the neck and is now paralyzed. Hearing her say "daddy" cracked me up. That 64 yr old dude who sang for his dead wife was touching, too. And he wasn't half bad.

Thank God these auditions are almost over.
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