RIP To The Real Kony: Biggie Smalls

The King of New York.  Rest in peace to one of the greatest to ever do it.  Ready To Die will be on repeat throughout the day.   A project kid from Brooklyn, with a cassette tape demo without no song structure ended up changed hip-hop forever.  15 years ago today; let this be a lesson that senseless violence only leads to tragedy and heartache.

 

Coachella 2012.

Last year was my first Coachella experience, and needless to say, it was mind blowing.  Regardless of the heat, being able to immerse myself with friends and that much musical talent was incredible.  The result were some of the best memories of my adult life.  Since I left the Polo Grounds in Indio, California last year, I have been anxiously wanting to go back.

 

A few days ago the 2012 Coachella lineup was announced, there are a lot of bands I have never heard of, but one of the great things about this festival is being able to discover new music.  I’m excited to be able to find out who these bands are, and if there are any suggestions any of you have in regards to bands I should check out that are on the bill, I’d love to hear them.

Bands/emcees/dj’s I’m excited to see: The Black Keys (I saw them last year and was disappointed.  Here’s hoping they put on a better show), Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, LA Riots, R3hab, Afrojack, Swedish House Mafia, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, A$AP Rocky, Santigold, Manchester Orchestra, Miike Snow, Bon Iver, Radiohead, Company Flow, araabMUZIK, DJ Shadow, The Hives, Calvin Harris, Florence and the Machine, At the Drive In, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (I’ve seen both years ago at the Up in Smoke Tour, but this will be epic.  Hopefully this will be some sort of prequel to an actual Detox album).

The festival is full of surprises, and with this kind of bill, I’m anticipating a few.

There are a few surprises in regards to people I thought would be on the bill – The Beastie Boys, MIA, Danny Brown, Kid Cudi, Lana Del Ray, Bloc Party, Jay-Z and Kanye (especially with both emcees headlining the festival the last two years), Sleigh Bells, The Killers, Chromeo, Ratatat, Tyler the Creator, Skylar Grey, Major Lazer, Little Dragon, Slaughterhouse and Queens of the Stone Age.

Here’s hoping for another mind blowing experience.

Now Reading: “Root for the Villian:” Rap, Bull$hit, and a Celebration of Failure. By: J-Zone

If you were a fan of the East Coast’s Underground Hip-Hop scene in the late 90’s to early 2000’s then you know who J-Zone is. While growing up he immersed himself in funk records, interned for Large Professor and Greg Nice, while praising the misogyny and overall ridiculousness of rappers like Suga Free and Too $hort. His albums (released independently on his Old Maid Enertainment label)  were chock-full of insults, braggadocios rhymes and stories that encapsulated his over the top persona.

In his prime, J-Zone was a sarcastic curmudgeon/American iconoclast as well as a brilliant sample-based producer and hilariously witty emcee.  His style could never be categorized but J-Zone always stayed true to himself regardless of outsiders opinion. His book Root For the Villain: Rap, Bull$hit, and a Celebration of Failure serves as a memoir of his life and times as a hip-hop obsessed kid growing up in Queens, New York and the tale of a producer/emcee who never achieved the level of fame and fortune he desired.

Having left the rap game for over five years, J-Zone has filled his time by writing stories as a sports journalist, teaching and blogging for Ego Trip (a multimedia website that deals mainly with satire, race and hip-hop).   All of which are equally entertaining and hilarious as his music.  Root for the Villain is equal parts a love letter to hip-hop and angry diatribe of the music industry.  The combination makes for an enthralling and spirited read for any hip-hop fan.  I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Leaders of the New School….

This  is a picture of Lil Wayne sitting court side at the Lakers v Bulls game on Christmas Day.

(MEWN BOOTS!)

First the Jeggings at the VMA’s and now this atrocity.  Rap is about being fly, it always has been.  There is NOTHING fly about what Wayne is doing here.  He’s not a martian, he’s a clown out for attention.  The ONLY dude who could ever pull anything like this off is Andre 3k.  Period.  Lil Wayne deserves to have both his hood and manhood passes revoked.

Between the aforementioned, his face tattoos and a laundry list of other suspect behaviors, Wayne is no longer “misunderstood,” he’s full blown confused with how to live.  I’ve never seen a more eligible candidate for a life coach.  I hope no other rapper calls him out,  b/c it would be a disappointment – the biggest battle Wayne will ever face is with his identity crisis.

Next we have Aubrey.  With a name like that, he’s been doomed since Jump Street.  I will further elaborate my loathing for this individual in an upcoming post.

No self-respecting hip hop artist should be playing tennis.  Play a sport with some credibility; like basketball, or maybe toss the football around a little.

However, if you must play tennis, keep your shirt on and don’t expose your Aaliyah tattoo.   I am a fan of Aaliyah as much as the next guy but that doesn’t excuse inking her face on your body.  Buy a painting or a sticker.

The only men who should be allowed to ink a woman’s face on their body are those who have served prison time.  Drake is the antonym of that.  In the case that he did get locked up, he would be passed around for enough cigarettes to give every inmate in Rikers lung cancer.

The most disturbing thing about these pictures are that these are artists topping the hip-hop charts, winning Grammy’s and are widely excepted as some of the best, most talented people in the industry.  I won’t deny that both Drake and Wayne have talent, I just can’t except their lack of masculinity and shame.  If this is the direction hip hop is headed, I’ll be listening to the Zeppelin for the rest of my days.

At least I can take solace in knowing that some artists can still stick to the code and be men.  Common not only dropped the best hip-hop album of 2011, but elaborated quite well on the point I am trying to bring home in his video for the song “Sweet.”  Thank you Mr. Common Sense.

I will say this, Drake wants no part of Common.