Friday, January 30, 2009

Did You Know I Was In A Gang...?

Nope. Not really. But this photo shows some proof that I was sorta involved with people. Yeah...see, it's a family wouldn't understand.

I'm out for the weekend. Think I'll take a break from this here blog. Enjoy my blog if you happend to stumble across here. Have a good one! See you in February...STEELERS, SON!

Me and the hoodlums bein' all mafioso, circa 2000-something...?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Battle For J Dilla's Legacy...

Keeping the spirit and legacy that is Jay Dee. I thought this would be appropriate--and I couldn't wait to post this any longer--since Tuesday, February 10, 2009 marks the 3 year anniversary of Dilla's passing. Also, Saturday, February 7, 2009 would have been Jay Dee's 35th birthday and his release of his major breakthrough album, Donuts. I highly suggest you read this article in which it concerns Dilla's estate, his mother, Ma'Dukes, brother John (aka Illa J) and more...This is more what is happening outside his music and talks about the neglect and ignorance from people that know the Yancey family--and then some. I think we can also learn a lesson from this and help out. Check out the read...Really, REALLY good, yet interesting and insightful. For those who do not know--sadly, alot of people do not know of him or about him, to say the least--or know little about Jay is the time to read this...And maybe, he can be your musician's musician...

Kelley Louise Carter Vibe Magazine January 13, 2009


There's nothing Maureen Yancey wouldn't do for her children. But as she sits in the basement studio of her only surviving son's Los Angeles home, she struggles with the one thing she hasn't done since her firstborn, James Dewitt Yancey known in hip hop circles as Jay Dee or J Dilla - three years ago of complications from lupus. She just can't. She didn't do it when the ambulance arrived at the nearby house Dilla shared with. Common, and she didn't when they failed to revive him from cardiac arrest. She couldn't even bring herself to do it when she picked out which baseball cap she'd place by his coffin.

"When he left, I had an awful void," she says calmly. "I didn't grieve like you always think you'd grieve. I always had a joy and the strength to help others to get through it. But..." her voice trails off, hands smoothing down her jeans. "I haven't cried yet."

Still, the memories came flooding back when she flew from Detroit to visit the city where her son was buried at age 32. "I rejoiced in the fact that he wasn't sick anymore," she says, "and that he'd done what he came here to do. I do believe that. His purpose on earth was to come here and give us the music that he had in his heart and soul."

The equipment that surrounds her is Dilla's, the same gear he used to create the deceptively simple, unspeakably beautiful music that solidified his reputation as one of hip hop's greatest. As Busta Rhymes put it in 2007, "He wasn't just a producer, he was the best producer."

Many of her son's friends - Common, Busta, Erykah Badu - still call regularly, and keep her son's music in rotation. Q-Tip's latest single, "Move" (Universal Motown, 2008), was built around a Dilla beat, and her other son John Yancey, a rapper known as Illa J has released the powerful new album, Yancey Boys (Delicious Vinyl, 2008), which was produced by his big brother.

Meanwhile the 60-year-old woman everybody calls Ma Dukes faces health problems of her own, and financial challenges as well. Although numerous memorials and "benefits" were held in his name, the proceeds didn't change his family's life. Dilla left two daughters - Ja'Mya, 7, and Paige, 9 - to provide for, a sizeable IRS bill, and unresolved legal issues surrounding the use of his beats. Ma Dukes says she has never received money from her son's estate and that her plans to establish a foundation in his name were quashed by the executor of his estate. Somehow, she was not reduced to tears even after Dilla's attorney informed her that she had no legal right to use her own son's name or likeness for commercial purposes. Not even to support his family.

IN HIS NATIVE DETROIT, DILLA WAS THE MAN. The soft-spoken beatmaker was a pioneer of the Motor City hip hop landscape that struggled to gain national recognition before Slim Shady put the D on the map in 1999. Though he remains anonymous to the masses, Dilla is considered a demigod by his hardcore fans. His distinctive drum sounds and grimy, organic sound palette revolutionized hip hop production, and echoes of his innovative use of samples can be heard in the work of Just Blaze and Kanye West. "He can do a Primo beat better than Premier. He can do a Dre beat better than Dre, and he can out-rock Pete Rock," says fellow Detroit producer House Shoes. "But none of them could duplicate a Dilla beat. Much respect to those three. They were pioneers. But that's the fucking truth."

Dilla grew up in the Conant Gardens section of Detroit's Eastside surrounded by music. His dad, Beverly Yancey, played piano and upright bass. "My mom and dad had a jazz a cappella group, and they'd sing in the living room for hours and hours," says Illa J, 22. "It was really laid-back and nonchalant. While that was happening, my brother would be downstairs in the basement doing his thing."

By the mid-1990s, Dilla was getting calls from some of the hottest stars of the day. He produced tracks for The Pharcyde, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, and Q-Tip, with whom he founded the production collective The Ummah. Yet despite these high-profile projects, Dilla shunned the limelight. His love of music eclipsed any concern for dealing with industry politics. "He wasn't antisocial," says Illa J. "He was just quiet. That comes from our dad. A lot of his personality rubbed off on my brother. It was all about the craft for him. He didn't care about all that other stuff."

When Tribe's Beats, Rhymes, and Life (Jive, 1996) was nominated for a Grammy, Tip invited Dilla to the award ceremony. "I was like, 'Yo, this is a good opportunity for you, you should just go.' He was like, 'Hell no, I ain't going. Fuck that!"' recalls Q-Tip, laughing at the memory. "I said, 'You got nominated for a fucking Grammy. You are going to go.' He said, 'I ain't got nothing to wear!' But he went. He was so mad and disgruntled and angry about that. He was much happier doing it his way. That's who he was. He didn't really want to fuck with none of that. And I don't blame him."

DILLA REALIZED SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH HIS HEALTH IN JANUARY OF 2002. He'd just returned from Europe and thought he had a bad flu. Sick to his stomach and complaining of chills, Ma Dukes took him to the emergency room at Bon Secours hospital in suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. His blood platelet count should have been above 150, but it was below 10. Doctors told his mother they were surprised he was still walking around.

He tested positive for lupus, an autoimmune disease that can be fatal. To make matters worse, Detroit doctors diagnosed him with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, aka TTP, a rare disorder that causes blood clots to form in the body's blood vessels.

Despite his degenerating health, Dilla packed up his stuff and moved out to Los Angeles, where he lived with his friend and frequent collaborator Common. He set up a studio and got to work. But very few knew how bad life was for the soft-spoken prodigy. He poured himself into his work, doing his best to forget his health problems. Ma Dukes says there were several close calls. When she left him alone once, Dilla fell down and bumped his head. Because she refused to leave Dilla's side during his last days, she and her husband lost their house. She tried to file for bankruptcy to save the family home but didn't get back to Detroit in time to sign the necessary paperwork. "I wasn't leaving my son," she says."We lost the house. But I wasn't concerned. It didn't bother me at all."

At summer's end, 2005, Dilla found himself in a hospital bed at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, the same hospital where The Notorious B.I.G. and Eazy-E died. He'd lost the ability to walk and could barely talk. His own body was killing him, and there was little to be done about it.

Sensing that death was coming, he told his mother he needed his equipment in the hospital with him. Ma Dukes asked his friends from the L.A.-based label Stones Throw Records to lug his turntables, mixer, crates of records, MPC, and computer into his room. When his hands were too swollen, Ma Dukes would massage his stiffened fingers so Dilla could work on the tracks, letting his doctors listen to the beats through his headphones.

Sometimes he'd wake Ma Dukes up in the middle of the night, asking her to help move him from his bed to a reclining chair so he could work a bit more comfortably. His only focus was finishing the album. Donuts was released on Stones Throw on February 7, 2006, his 32nd birthday. Dilla died three days later.

"It was crazy to hear all that soul," Illa J says of one haunting track called "Don't Cry." "I got to be in the right mode to listen to it. It's emotional for me. I can feel my brother talking to me through the music."

THREE DAYS AFTER DILLA DIED, HIS ELDEST DAUGHTER, PAIGE, TURNED 6. "That was a low blow," says her mother, Monica Whitlow. "To have to tell my baby that before her birthday was the worst. We didn't get to say goodbye." The 29-year-old, who knew Dilla before his career took off, still lives in Detroit. She emphasizes that their relationship was never about money. "To have him back here, breathing and living, that's worth more than money any day," she says. "But it pisses me off, everything that's going on with this estate. It's ridiculous 'cause it's been three years, and my baby has not seen anything from this estate. Nobody has granted James his final wish."

Although Dilla's will stipulates that all assets be divided among his mother, his two daughters, and his brother, the executor of the estate is his accountant Arty Erk, and as back-up, there's his attorney, Micheline Levine and then his mother. Ma Dukes says she grew so frustrated that communications broke down between her and the executor. Erk explains that payments from the estate were delayed because Dilla has an outstanding tax debt in the "healthy six figures." He says he is negotiating a payment plan with the IRS and that a petition has been filed with the probate court in order to get family allowances paid to Dilla's children.

The other major issue facing the estate is that so many people are using Dilla's beats without permission. Dilla would often create beat CDs and hand them out to friends.

"It's been difficult to police," Erk admits, adding that he's at the tail end of litigation with Busta Rhymes. "An album was released by Busta on the Internet called Dillagence without authorization," Levine explains. "And, of course, we're now unable to use those tracks and exploit those downloads. Everybody downloaded it for free." Attempts to reach out to Busta were not returned.

Ma Dukes counters that Busta paid Dilla for those tracks years ago. "He got a raw deal," she says. "Busta didn't take anything from anybody." Ma Dukes says she feels bad that her son's friend had to go through such rough treatment by his estate.

The same scenario has played out several times since Dilla's death. The estate has settled "four or five" similar cases, negotiating what they believe is fair market value for the beats. "A lot of people are coming out of the woodwork with things that he did for them," says Erk, who took out an ad in Billboard magazine in April 2008, notifying people to stop using Dilla's material. The estate also sent out cease-and-desist letters to various entertainers as well as people throwing events in Dilla's name-including his own mother, she says. "Her dream was to open a camp where kids with lupus could have normal lives," says Joy Yoon, an L.A. journalist who interviewed Ma Dukes shortly after her son's death and later offered to help her raise funds for what was to be called the J Dilla Foundation. "But then she said she was put on hold by the lawyers."

Ma Dukes insists she will go on with her plans for the foundation, establishing it in her own name. "It's been over two years, and they're talking the same crap," she says. "I don't have a Ph.D., but I know how to use a phone and talk to somebody and make arrangements. It's just not an excuse. They have no respect for the fact that I had anything to do with bringing him into this world."

Meanwhile, she has voiced concerns about Dilla's will itself, which he signed on September 8, 2005, nearly six months before his death. "I don't even know if he really knew what he was signing," she says. "I don't think he would have signed anything if he'd known it would be like this now." She has hired an attorney who is also representing her son and Paige's mother, Monica Whitlow, who says that legal action is "in the works."

"His estate is fucked up," Q-Tip says. "I know the lawyers are saying that he had certain tax issues and all that stuff. But you were getting paid to represent him when he was alive, so it shouldn't be any of that. Ma Dukes ain't getting nothing, and the kids ain't getting nothing. It's a horrible thing."

During the last year of her son's life, Maureen Yancey tested positive for lupus. She says she's not worried about dying and has accepted the fact that she and her husband must now live in a rental property in a neighborhood she describes as "a war-torn zone." What keeps her up at night is her grand children. "I just want the girls to be taken care of," she says. "That's all."

In response to a petition filed by her mother, Joyleete Hunter, Dilla's youngest daughter, Ja'Mya, has begun receiving money from the estate, and Erk says Paige should start receiving payouts sometime in early 2009. "Oh really?" says Whitlow. "That's new information for me." She has had few conversations with Erk and says that when she informed him she was working with Ma Dukes' lawyer, he warned her, "This is going to get ugly." But she remains undeterred. "I gotta speak up for my baby 'cause I been quiet too long," she says."He hasn't seen ugly. I can show him ugly."

In the meantime, Ma Dukes says please don't cry for her. "It's really rough for everybody out there. But prayers help," she says with a sigh."Pray for my strength."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Inverse - So True EP

I just recently heard about these guys just browsing around blogs...and I happend to stumble upon them. They're both MC's and--I think--producers and after watching their video clips and listening/downloading the "So True" joint, I was hoping they'd come out with somethin' soon. And now...they have. This has been out for a few weeks already. I kept forgetting to post this up, but here it is now. Grabbed this at the Inverse blog...and you should, too! FREE, I might add. Click the album cover for the download/track listing.

***Alternate link (just in case the other doesn't work...)

I'm At The Red Bull Music Academy...

...Nah, I kid. But ?uesto and The Roots are. This is a must-listen to you folks out there who do or don't know about ?uestlove and Black Thought...and the rest of the Roots for the matter...and for those that dig The Legendary. Courtesy of Okayplayer, The RBMA caught up with the Mighty Afro himself to bring you all-things Roots and thangs...This is The RBMA Fireside Chat which The Roots are the latest artist to be highlighted for The RBMA Fireside Chat segment. During this hour long podcast you get to hear how The Roots came to be, listen to ?uesto discuss some career highlights of The Legendary Roots crew, and also enjoy a full playlist of hits from The Roots with commentary from ?uestlove throughout. Right now, I'm in the middle of the podcast and I'm definitely enjoying this...So without further ado, here are the links for your own to enjoy...

RBMA Fireside Chat with ?uestlove

Do you want more?!!!??!

Train Wreck Mix (?uestlove, Roots)
Emerald Steps (?uestlove, Roots)
These Are The Breaks (?uestlove, Roots)

And anotha' one...

RBMA (video) - Seattle 2005 - ?uestlove: Phrenology of Hip-Hop

For more, visit The Red Bull Music Academy site

D.I.T.C. >> Pied Pipers + (Re)Mix-(es) Tape

What...? Nah, not R. Kelly! I'm talkin' about the Platinum Pied Pipers. Their second LP, Abundance (Ubiquity Records), just dropped last Tuesday the 20th. Happend to grab the LP last week on the day after, and this time around the production is more of a Motown feel with a hint of R&B flava'. Waajeed and Saadiq along with other guests really made this album how it was meant to be. Abundant indeed...

Now if you haven't grabbed these is the time. Along with the Abundance LP, here are 2 mixtapes I give to you...FREE. First, the Abundance Mixtape and second, the PPP Remixed mixtape by DJ Topspin & Waajeed courtesy of Rappers I Know and Fresh Selects. Click the covers for the jump with download/track listings.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't Sleep On These...(Vol. 0)

Pharoahe Monch - Desire [2007]

Picked this up 2 years ago. This is definitely slept on...I believe about a little over 17,000 copies were sold as of 2007. This comes after his first solo album, Internal Affairs, which came out in 1999, which did better than Desire--over 200,000 copies. To me, Desire isn't as good as Internal Affairs, but this former Organized Konfusion member still has some dopeness left in him. With help from The Alchemist, Mr. Porter, Black Milk, and Sa-Ra, just to name some, this isn't half-bad. This deserves some airplay from the radio, though...and picking up from you guys out there. Tracks to groove: Welcome To The Terrordome, So Good, Push, Desire.

DJ Mark Farina - Mushroom Jazz Vol. 6 [2008]

I'm still new to this series, let alone the whole OM Records catalog, to be honest. When I picked up Mushroom Jazz 5 and started listening to it...NON-STOP, I was instantly hooked. I JUST HAD TO COLLECT THE WHOLE DAMN SERIES. And yes, I picked up Mushroom Jazz 6--if I didn't I wouldn't be writing this commentary then, right? The Live In Tokyo album is the shit, too! Mark Farina is my new favorite DJ...He's up there on my list. Finding the other Mushroom series are tough...but I'm determined. If you like Electronica, Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop, House, Uptempo/Downtempo-type music, then this is for you. Tracks I like: THE WHOLE ALBUM.

Jackson Conti (Madlib & Mamao Conti) - Sujinho [2008]

2 for the price of 1...How great is that!? Two of my favorite musicians--an all-around musician himself, Madlib and Azymuth drummer (one of my favorite Brazilian Jazz drummers...and drummers altogether) Ivan "Mamao" Conti. I almost want to call this a "live" album because it sounds like it's played live, and played non-stop. The sound is amazing! Arrangement and production is absolutely superb. These two masters are like porn to your ears...EAR-GASM, SON. This is like Brazilian Jazz/Jazz, Funk, mixed with a twist of Hip-Hop. Bass-thumpin' and, at times, bass heavy. Mamao just kills it on the drums! You can just feel like you're in Brazil watching these two in deep concentration. No faves here...I love everything about it. I'm glad I copped it for my collection and listening pleasure. All you drummers out there, this should not be a miss!

Black Spade - To Serve With Love [2008]

Another OM favorite that's slept on. You might remember Black Spade, say...from...Nicolay...? (Does it ring a bell...?) Yup, on the Here album. This is his first solo album and I gotta' tell ya...this is hot! You can hear all the inspirations and influences that Spade put on his album. Mostly produced by him, the soul of his album comes from the production, sound, and lyrics all tied in one. Listening to the album in its entirety has its familiarity, for those who know their music. Heavy beats and samples...this album has. This delivers. (But why is it slept on? I don't know. It shouldn't be.) Get it now! Bomb joints: To Serve With Love, Her Perfume She Wore, The Genius In You, True Friends, Not For The Bullshit.

Madlib The Beat Konducta - WLIB AM King of the Wigflip [2008]

If you are familiar with, and kept up with, The Beat Generation series from BBE, then you know what's up. This is the last in the series--way to go out with a Madlib compilation, huh? Anyways...ah, Madlib. This dude is unstoppable. Pushes album after album after album like he doesn't give a damn. And proof that he makes yet another solid album that you can't miss. Tracks such as: Blow The Horns On 'Em, Yo Yo Affair Pts. 1 & 2, Heat. Shit, who knows what else he'll cook up next...

Blu & Mainframe Are: Johnson & Jonson [2008]

Don't let this red baby album cover fool you. This is one that you really cannot sleep on...I think so at least. Yes...once again it's our pal, Blu. You might know him by now (hopefully) by such acts with Exile, Ta'raach, and Aloe Blacc--just to name a few--and by now you should know the soon-to-be-classic, Below The Heavens, with Exile. Honestly, the J&J album is a lot better than the C.R.A.C. album, The Piece Talks, which he worked with Ta'raach. Though a short-track album, it's still sweet to listen to. Orginally intended to be a mixtape to go along with Below The Heavens, this album is fun and witty, opposed to the manic energy of C.R.A.C. I'm tellin' you, the lyrics, cadence, and flows of Blu are really impressive. I really like his style of flow and usage of words, plus his voice adds that extra dopeness in him that sets it off. Okay...I gotta' get this out...The one track that ya'll should listen to is 'Bout It, 'Bout It. That is a bomb-ass joint! VERY catchy. Check that joint out...My favorite track on J&J..."I know you 'Bout It, 'Bout It but it's how you go about it..."

Look out for Vol. 1 of this segment, soon...

Enjoyed this? Here's more (click for the jump)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

808's & U.M.C. The Kanye-Common Controversy

Referrring back, again, to the blog entry I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Take On Music, I mentioned that music can be loved or hated, dissed or respected...and that music should be more than just for listening or other pleasures...(I said some shit like that...refer back...)

Anyways...I can take account and attest to 2 particular albums that just recently came out last year. Especially, one everyone is hating or loving. These two are 2 of Chicago's forefront MC's in Hip-Hop...Kanye West and Common. Kanye's 808's & Heartrbreak and Common's Universal Mind Control, specifically. I don't really have a problem with these two albums...okay, maybe one of them (like I said...really...I'll tell you why, soon...) but what I hear from other people around me...It doesn't bother me, but I felt like I should give some insight into why you should at least enjoy and appreciate music like these, especially 808's and Universal Mind Control.

We all understand that we don't have to like certain types of music, right? I hope...I know I can be the same at times. But I learned how to get around the whole dislike/hate attitude towards all music. That's why I'm more appreciative and acknowledegable than I was before. I ain't boasting or bragging or anything like don't be actin'-a-fool up on my face. Sure, to some of us, oldies can be as shitty as hell...but as they say, "Oldies, but goodies." I believe the respect, knowledge, and understanding of music altogether should be taken into consideration...which brings me to the two albums I just mentioned a moment ago...808's & Heartbreak and Universal Mind Control. First, I'll give you my take on 808's...

I didn't really like it (see where the really came in...?) nor enjoy Kanye's fourth album, to put it bluntly. Reason? Well, it was totally different...the whole him singing. But that wasn't it, really. The real reason? Annoyance. Annoyance by the fact that his singing was done using that damn Vocoder/Auto-Tune shit! Not even half-way through the album...I could not stand it anymore! It was really getting in my nerves. First Kanye...? Dude, that's overkill! Too much with the autotune man...WAY too much. BUT! After awhile (like...30 more times listening to the album...) I gradually got used to it...and I kinda like it now--I say that loosely, by the way. I never hated it from the beginning...I just didn't like it at first...I wasn't used to it. And we all get that feeling/mood when it comes to don't lie if you haven't felt like that. So what does the album feel like? Sorta-kinda emo...mellow-drama-ISH...dreary/dark. A little rapping here and there...But if you really wanna know what it feels like, pick it up sometime. So, with that, I also did a little researching on 808's, reading other critics reviews and Wikipedia-ing about his album...i.e., the concept and foundation of his whole album. That's the other reason why I fully understand his album and now that I enjoy it. Here's just a snippet of what Wikipedia states about Kanye's album:

Conceived in the wake of multiple events that impacted and distressed West the previous year, the album marks a major musical departure for him lyrically, vocally, and production-wise. Although the initial reaction to the stylistic change was mixed, 808s & Heartbreak received generally positive reviews from critics upon release and was met by commercial success. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and went on to become West's fourth album to reach platinum status.

(Read more about it here after the jump)

Now, this album (in my opinion) isn't something I'd listen to again and again...except me trying to get used to it multiple times, that first time...Maybe one or two tracks in the album...but after, say, two times listening to that album...I'm done. Time to switch to some other shit...

But you gotta give it up to the dude...At least understand where he's coming from...In January's issue of Vibe magazine, there was an interview I read about what he felt making the album...the times, struggles...and what people thought about his album and what they perceived about him...even the whole Auto-Tune usage in his album that he gives an explanation...It's for a reason and feel. Really some in-depth stuff. It's a good read. I don't really hate him...he's doing him. He's himself and there's nothing wrong with him being different and all...Not scared of change...but we people seem to be scared of change. Why is that...? He also talks about finding beauty in imperfection, while people think and believe...and feel, that beauty is all in perfection. Reading this is like reading his whole mind, body, and soul in one sitting. He's doing what he's doing...and that criticism bullcrap...he doesn't give a damn. Respect the work he gives...Good job my man...

Do I love it or hate it? That's the real question. My answer...? It's in between...

Common's Universal Mind Control. Before his eighth studio album came out, his single, Universal Mind Control (U.M.C.), came out in the summer of last year--I think July or somethin'--and at first I didn't really enjoy it--too tacky, poppy; just wasn't feelin' it--but then, when the album dropped on November 11, 2008, I started to groove with it. I like the whole Hip-Hop/Electronica thing...but done right, I might add. Just like I did with Kanye, and other albums I have, I did research about it--Okayplayer, reviews, videos, track commentary etc.--and I gotta say...(no offense to Kanye's album...or to others out there who have Kanye's) it's A WHOLE LOT better than 808's, to be quite honest. This is something that I have on rotation for the past 4 weeks already--by the time you've read this. I can't stop listening to this album, though it's short--10 tracks; almost plays like an EP. Though short and's still somethin' that I'll always bump. So get this album if you haven't already. What does it feel like? Summer time beats...uplifting-type shit. Flows are and production are tight, held down with production from The Neptunes...and several other guests on the album, Chester French and Muhsinah, just to name a couple...

I said something about researching...on Common's album, right? Well, let me tell you this. There was this video I watched and they were interviewing/promoting his album and whatnot...and in it (this is what I enjoyed about it...and other albums. The other reason why I like this album...) they broke down each track--like a track commentary thing--and on each track he explains where, how, and why he came up with all 10 tracks you see in his album. The whole conecept...busted out the whole nine...It was fascinating, yet informative. I like how artists/interviewers go hand-in-hand sometimes going out of there way asking different questions and sharing what's within the album and artists. Yeah, just thought I'd share that with you.

So, with all of this being said...what do I think, overall, for both albums? Simple. Though, I do like one of them more than the other...To be fair and honest...I actually like 'em both. It's just a matter of taste. Can't really argue with that now, right?

See, music fuses. But music serves a purpose in everyone. That's one point, if you guys didn't catch that...

Gyeah. Learn to appreciate, and it'll appreciate you back...
Get a chance to go beyond just listening to the music...experience it by digging deeper. That's a real enthusiast of music...

Do you see my point about music now...? (I don't want to repeat it.)


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Kinda Blues...

What's good, ya'll? How you been? Me...not so well. Caught a cold since Thursday, I think. Started off with a really bad sore throat, then heavy coughing followed by a runny nose...Damn, not a good look. But I'll be good, thanks! This week was really fast...Classes for the first week went well and I'm still enjoying my life, though I wish I was a lot more happier...I mean, I am completely happy, but not as I would want it to be for me. Eh, I'm good, though. Damn shniffles!

As for that...I did go out for a bit, but then my cold got worse, so I went back home...Gyeah. That's it. Man...I need to rest...

Anyways...peace to Shay, my ill soul sista' from anotha' mista'! You rock...You're one of the few who knows what's up. Peace to Ashley (where's the one I talk to?)...April (TALENT NIGHT, SON! WE THE BEST 2 MC'S!) Who else...? Jason (where you at, son!?)...all them other cats I know...John and Cherry, Jennie, Pauline (P.B. & J.!) I see you...Peace and love to you and yours. I'll keep writin' just you wait peeps...

Have a good rest-of-the-Saturday.

to you and yours...


Friday, January 23, 2009

Hungry Hip-Hop Junkie In The City


Common, One Day It’ll All Make Sense

“I walk the night in rhymin armor, bomb a nigga like a winter coat
Have him on Death Row searchin for an Interscope
Yet I sparkle like Irene Cara
Symbolize dope, like sirens do terror
Mariel just had a baby someone else decapitated
Flashbacks of past raps make me so glad I made it
Players is gettin tradedI drop a gem off, them who’s style is jaded
My juice is grated
Shit is so bangin niggaz say it’s gang related
On philosopher’s rink of thought, I’ve skated with precision
Crews is gettin split like decisions
Com will let it ride in collision
Vision like Coleco or tele, I battle stars in stellar...
Regions, my thought scheme was my like my offspring
Now, it’s teethin
My reason of rhyme applies to season and time
Season of mind, body and regions divine
In mom’s cookouts, I’m leavin the swine
Verbal vegeterian, squashed beef with Ice Cube
Came in this rap life nude
Now I’m fully clothed with flows
You tricks can’t hide behind expensive cars and clothes
Old niggaz I expose like Luke does hoes in videos
With classic material, imperial and rugged like
Got mag, but my slugs a mic
You fake like a smile, like a hug, I’m tight
Skip ladies, this is rip a muthafucka night
Oracle arouse, niggaz don’t even run for cover right
Downtown interracial lovers hold hands
I breathe heavy like an old man, with a cold can of Old Style
Hold a Stone Isle profile
Mix between Malcolm X and Sef when I go wild
Hold mics like a second nut until the second comin
Hummin comin towards you with power like forwards do
Hip hop, you my bitch and like a Ford, I’m Explorin you
So, wack niggaz be cool, with them, I stay cordial
Flowin room temperature, cats is presumed miniature
Like golf. Soft like Tiger Woods
And real nigga angles I’ve stood with ways that’s geometric
Don’t need to rob banks with dike broads to Set it
I levitate to the occasion, lounge like a lyricist
Rhyme wise, you a rest haven
You sat by the door spooked like I was Wes Craven
You need to do more deletin and less savin
A praise in hell, raisin heaven
Like the bill on my pager leavens
What you should have known from day one
You will on day seven”

“Hungry hip hop junkie in the city”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

C'mon! Wake Your Asses UP!

I was on to check my e-mail on Yahoo! and I stumbled upon this...

Police: young boy shoots mother

Woman hospitalized after being shot in arm

Last Edited: Thursday, 22 Jan 2009, 9:38 AM EST
Created On: Thursday, 22 Jan 2009, 9:37 AM EST

Amanda Jarrett

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A women was sent to the hospital after being shot by her own child.

Terre Haute Police said a six-year-old boy accidentally shot his mother in the arm, just before 11 a.m. Wednesday. The incident happened at their home on 1st Avenue.

The mother was taken to Union Hospital, and her injuries are not considered life threatening. The older son was at home at the time, but was not hurt.

While it's being considered an accidental shooting, police are still investigating exactly what happened.

"The gun was put up in a kitchen cabinet, and a small child was able to climb up and retrieve the gun. We're not sure if it was loaded or unloaded when he got it," Terre Haute Police Captain Kevin Mayes said.

The boy was taken to the hospital to be mentally and physically evaluated.

...IT'S CALLED COMMON SENSE, DAMNIT! Accident or no accident...This is re-dic. RE-DIC!

Winter Block Party - Chicago Hip-Hop Arts

More info, please visit: Chicago - Metromix & WBP For Chicago's Hip-Hop Arts: Main Event


Step up if you wanna get hurt...!

What more can I say...? TOP BILLIN'!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Labelism (Swiped)

Labels. There are labels for everything. And no, I don't mean labels like on a can of soup. I mean labels like Democrat. Republican. Feminist. Hip-Hopper. Underground. Indie. Hipster. Scenester. Skater. MC. Photographer. DJ. Gamer. Nerd. Sneakerhead. Artist. Vegetarian. Jesus-freak. Black. White. Hispanic. American.

We label people according to how they dress, what they eat, what they listen to, what they watch, what they do, and how they think. The true spirit of a label is to simplify things. You can say you listen to A Tribe Called Quest, Gangstarr, Wu-Tang Clan & Aesop Rock, or you can just say you listen to hip-hop. But the problem is when people begin to associate you only with that label. It gets to the point where you're walking down the street and as you look at people, that's all you see: "He's a hipster". "She's a punk". "That guy has got to be a Republican".

Nowadays, most everyone I know is into lots of different things. I mean really, who is just one thing now? I personally like lots of different music, I'm into all different clothing styles, and enjoy a number of different activities.

What would be so wrong if labels just went away. If you actually had to explain what it is you're into as opposed to just spouting a single word. If you're going to take the time to ask someone what it is they're into, what it is they're about, then don't expect them to sum it up in one simple word for your consumption. And if you can't deal with that, then you must not really want to know.

It's a new year, so instead of all being the multitude of labels that we already know and hate, let's all be one label. Labelists. Labelism is the idea of not ascribing to any labels. The no label era is upon us.**

**Cred to: D.K. of Organology

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Birthday ?uesto! + End Of An Era For The Roots...

?uestlove is my dude...and every else's dude. He's the drummers drummer (no disrespect to all the other drummers out there) but this dude can rock! Listen to any Roots album or any albums that he may have produced on or drummed on...or attend/watch any Roots concerts and there ya go...KILLER, SON, KILLER. He's one of my top favorite drummers out there, let alone we rock the same YO-MA-MA (that's Yamaha for those who don't know Brian) drum kit. What will they roll out with next? Peace to ?uesto and The Roots crew...HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Wish you and The Legendary the best.

Via Okayplayer:

Happy Birthday to the Mighty ?uestlove, thanks for sharing all your gifts with the world, and congrats on getting the gift you most wanted this year, President Obama! Not only is this day historic on those fronts, but ?uesto has shared some sentiments on twitter about the transition (NOT retirement) ahead for The Roots as they get set to play their final show of a tour that began in October 2007 (just one part of 17 years of nearly non-stop touring) this Wednesday January 21st in Seoul, South Korea. Click the "Read More" to get the excerpts.

?uesto on twitter:

" charmed life: first night as a road dog. moers germany mailk, riq, and me arguing who is gonna get the single bed in 1993... and now on the last night of being a road dog: im in a hotel with a friggin six flags sized amusement park INSIDE THE FUCKING LOBBY!!!!!!!!

17 years of madness. perhaps i'll write a book. (when im 90 and everyone is looooooooooooong gone lol)

Seoul Korea. The last stop on a tour that started in Oct 2007. And The closing of a chapter for the last tour by the band (god willing on
fallon /GE/nbc's behalf lol)

thanks all for the bday wishes. amazing day. korean bbq, bootlegbackdoor alley deal$, my president going in office, and a roller coaster : ) "

- qoolquest

D.I.T.C. Radio AM/FM

Yes. It's finally here. Exile's second LP, this time an instrumental album, Radio, on Plug Research. I've purchased the album on iTunes, but I'm going to buy the physical copy...for those that know me, yes, I'm crazy like that. Anyways, what do I say about this...? Let's see, the album is basically an instrumental album, except Stay Tuned (Here), which features...yes...Mushinah (she's all over the damn place, recently). The album is sampled by actual radio programs, broadcasts, commercials, etc., with Exile's signature beats, scratches, coursely chopped, screwed, and flipped. It's the Exile we still live to learn and hear everytime. I honestly love this album so much...ALOT, actually. I just love the production on this one...bass heavy, thumpy, beats. He killed it on Radio. This is definitely going to be in non-stop rotation. Cop the album now!


Reflection Eternal

First day of school for me starts today...Our first African-American president was inaugurated today. I feel good. I feel so good. Yes, I've pretty much watched all of the inauguration ceremony...Yes, I am glad. On the drive to campus and finally here sitting at the LRC writing this blog entry to ya'll, I can finally have relief, that, for me, our future, is now in the hands of our new President, our re-established government, and let's not forget...the eyes and hands of our God. My future is important--our own future...for everyone. In fact, my future is not only important to me, but to everyone around me. My future and your future...our future will no longer be what it was before--hopless, bleek, less confident--for and yours, our future will come. It's here. Hope, progress, and change is here. Let us not look back and retrace what has been done, but to look forward for what has come...What will come. I am proud to have been part of this historic, monumental event in history and in my life. This is what I've wanted...What we all want and deserve. Thank you Mr. President. Godspeed...

Peace, love, and God bless...
To you and yours...


*Inaugural Speech download after the jump

Round 44...FIGHT!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The MISS-Aromas Of An AXE Murdera

Okay, so it's been awhile since I wrote something expressive and productive and, well...something worth reading to get your eyes and brains here on my blog and leaving comments, right? Right. Promise I'll be writing more, don't worry. Funny how people just comment more on my blog on certain entries and not my expressive writing--less comments with those. BOOO. It's okay...I ain't's just how many of you peeps out there actually read my blog? How many of you out there care? ANYBODY...? *Tap, tap, tap, tap...*

Anyways, I'll move on...

You know, there are certain things that just annoy the heck out of me...Like REALLY ANNOY ME. Shit that I think is so pointless and stupid that I keep asking myself...WHY!? WHY DID HE/SHE/THEY DO THIS!? IS THAT REALLY NECCESSARY!? WHERE OR WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OUT OF THAT!?...Of which I'll write about. What is it you may ask? Well...AXE. Naaah...not like the tool axe...but AXE Body Spray (bleh). Yes...AXE, damnit. I really hate that stuff. That shit is STRONG...and it doesn't really smell that great...The scent sucks. Do girls actually fall for guys who use that crap...!? Like, they? Do those commercials actually say what they mean? What do girls think about guys using AXE? I wonder...Anyways, this doesn't cut it for's definitely not me and not for me. I'm more of a classy-cologne-type-of-guy, such as Curve, CK One....just any cologne that doesn't have a really strong, headachey, scent...and not an old-man-musk scent/aroma, ugh. A cologne that's pleasant, soft, non-irritating, and lasting...I think that's more like it for the girls out there...Don't you girls agree? Really...using AXE is like saying, "I didn't really take a shower..." (Guys, I hope you do...If you don't, get away from me, stinky...) AXE is the poor man's cologne, I'd say...It's like desperate cologne for dudes...And teens, nonetheless. How can you stand this stuff? You AXE users out there readin' this (I'll say no names...I think you know who you are...I know who you are...) *shakes head in shame...*

Another thing is those damn AXE commercials. Remember when I asked if those commercials actually say what they mean? Like, when you spray it on you...does it get you girls instantly? Will girls fall for that stuff? If any girls out there reading this, please do answer. Have you experienced guys like that? Vice-versa to guys...ya'll can answer, too. What's this "AXE Effect"? Pssh...I don't want NO EFFECT for me. AXE can suck it. *Sigh*...Ah, advertising and commercials...That's propaganda 101, folks. "Proper-propaganda", FORGET IT. I don't know...I don't think that crap works. How can any dudes spray that on themselves and expect them to smell good? Let alone get girls? This whole entry is not me complaining at's WHY MAKE SUCH A PRODUCT THAT (maybe) DOESN'T WORK? (MONEYMONEYMONEYMONEY....MOONEEYYYY!) You know, I'll stick to the more classy cologne, thank you very much.

It's like those Fruit Roll-Up commercials...Remember those? It's like, "WHAT WILL THEY ROLL OUT WITH NEXT?" SPEAKING OF WHICH...I remember watching some morning show on the tube and they were talking about Burger King (yes, that's correct) coming out with...their own COLOGNE. Really! I bet that's better than AXE...Or maybe not. I'm starting to have second thoughts on that one...Maybe FLAME-BROILED BEEF SCENTED? Eh, who knows...Ha! Have it your way right? Yeah, you know, I'll definitely stick to my own types of cologne, that's for sure. Girls or no's the beauty in us that counts...Having a certain scent helps...right girls?

If I had to, I'd take FEBREEZE anytime than AXE. I'd spray FEBREEZE on least that smells a heck of alot better than AXE, doesn't it? Ah, Fresh Linen scent...Yeah, that'll get girls...

Okay, I left it open for anyone to discuss...Any takers on this one...?


From King To Obama...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Michael Jordan-10 Years, 1999-2009

Great article that I found on reflecting on Jordan's monumental retirement from the Chicago Bulls in 1999...

The best quote of the article: "We no longer bother to ask our athletes to rescue us anymore. The best we can do is kindly request they don't shoot us in the club."

Read more here after the jump...

Kicks That You Could Just Lick!

Jordan True Flight + Nike Air Flight (I'd like the black w/purple, though...)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Talib Kweli + Top Albums I'm Looking Forward To...

Hard KnockTV caught up with Mr. MCEO himself, Talib Kweli to get his feelings on a range of topics including why he made a song about Lauryn Hill ("Ms. Hill") and the impact J Dilla had on him and his peers. Find part 2 after the jump where he speaks on a reunion with Hi-Tek. Hmm, a reunion that I would like to see...Kweli and Mos Def. Let's see what happens...

Top Albums I'm Looking Forward To...

  • MF DOOM - Born Like This (2009)

  • Exile - Radio (Jan. 20)

  • Mos Def - The Ecstatic (Feb. 24)

  • MF DOOM - Operation: Doomsday (out)

  • Afro Samurai: Resurrection (season 2 soundtrack; Jan. 27)

  • Platinum Pied Pipers - Abundance (Jan. 20)

  • Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part 2 (?)

  • Crown City Rockers - 5 Gold Stars (?)

  • Mr. J. Medeiros - Friends Enemies Apples Apples (2009)

  • Om Miami 2009 (coming soon '09)

  • Home & Garden - Domesticated (out)

  • The Bird And The Bee - Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future (Jan. 27)

  • Christian Scott - Anthem (out)

  • John Robinson - I Am Not For Sale (out)

  • Chester Gregory - In Search of High Love (out)

  • The Tones - Dreamtalk (out)

  • Maroon 5 - Call & Response (out)

  • The Mighty Underdogs - Droppin' Science Fiction (out)

  • Azymuth - Butterfly (out)
  • Friday, January 16, 2009

    Hip-Hop & Graffiti Audio Tours

    No, audio tours aren’t just for misguided tourists or bored introverts looking to kill a little time. At least, they aren’t anymore, thanks to Soundwalk Tours, a New York-based company that is putting a little bit (more) fun and (lots) more cultural diversity into the world of audio tours. Two of which take you on tours of the Bronx. In exchange for about an hour of your life and less than $15, Soundwalk will walk you through an abbreviated history of the Bronx, detailing the rise, fall, stagnation, and revitalization of the borough. You’ll be guided to locations significant to . . . (read more after the jump)

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    The Sound Is God

    Okay...maybe I spoke to soon. Here's the latest leak, thanks to Okayplayer, from Exile's LP, The Sound Is God, out Tuesday Jan. 20. You can also get the album here, available now, from iTunes. Okay, I swear this is the last time I'll talk about Exile...Now get the LP!

    The Sound Is God >>>Download after the jump

    Exile On Vimby

    Seems like I can't stop talking about Exile and his upcoming instrumental album, Radio, droppin' on Jan. 20...which is just around the corner, and just in time for this video I present to you via Here, he talks about the concept of his album and how he made that stop-animation music video, "We're All In Power", off his album that I posted last week. If you didn't get to see it, no worries...I'll post it up again...Hopefully, this is the last I talk about him, for now...

    Mos Def

    The Mighty Mos Def is set to release his brand new LP from Downtown Records titled, The Ecstatic, out on Feb. 24th. Surely, this is one album I'm looking forward to. Today, I'm gonna hit you up with 2 singles from his upcoming LP...Shouts to Okayplayer. I failed to post up his very first single (Life In Marvelous Times) since I got this blog. His first single came out last year, October. So, here's Life In Marvelous Times and his latest single, Quiet Dog...


    The Bollywood Cometh

    When East meets West, from Hollywood to's time to bust out some Indian! Forget the popcorn! Let's see...I'm feelin' some curry, rice, lamb, veggies, and some masala...oh, and some samosas...Mmmm...Anyways, Slumdog Millionaire...not bad for an Indian-made film. I'm planning to watch this--theaters or DVD, doesn't matter. So here's the official soundtrack for the movie, provided by my boy John. There's only 5 tracks on there, but I'm sure the actual soundtrack has more.

    Whenever I think of India...I think Madlib. Beat Konducta Vol. 3-4: India...Shit's hot like curry spice...Check that out...

    Traffic Court.

    TODAY. The day has come...
    The verdict...?
    I AM FREE.


    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    MF DOOM, The Return...

    ...And this is what he whipped up. The Villain returns. It's been a minute since he dropped an album. New audio from DOOM, "Ballskin", off his brand new album, Born Like This, droppin' at some point this year via Lex Records.

    MF DOOM "Ballskin" >>>>DOWNLOAD

    Wild Style

    I had to go back to '82 on this one...These are my favorite scenes in the movie. I like the editing...

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    D.I.T.C. (A Look Back...)

    Today, Tuesday, I think I'll make this segment by looking back at two particular artists and one dope ass album, made by two dope ass producers and emcees of the game.

    Today's Digging In The Crates segment, I'll focus on the Madvillainy albums, 1 and 2. What do I say about these 2 albums, other than the fact they are two dope ass classics that have ever came out from geniuses of the game? Well, like I said in my blog entry (Take On Music) I mentioned that digging is just more than looking, picking up, a quick preview/rundown, then buying it...It's the passion of the music, the record gotta look through it...inside, out, in between...studying it. In these 2 albums, it's exactly what I do, not to mention on all the records I dig through. What sets the Madvillainy albums apart from the rest of the crowd, are the sounds, the production/sequencing/arrangements, and lyrics. Both albums, in my opinion, just makes me feel so damn...musically horny. I don't know...there's just something about Doom and Madlib that I love. Two of the illest villains in the game today. What makes it the way I feel is just the dope ass lyrics of Doom, in combination with the production of Doom and Madlib, i.e., samples, thumpy bass, scratches here-and-there, the whole grimy-ness, and sound quality the album just brings from my ears to my whole body...My body and soul are just possessed with the overall illy-ness of it. I don't know how else to describe these albums, other than the fact that these are one of the illest albums that I've ever bought since my early years of record collecting. If you're not convinced about my commentary/review...then I suggest you pick 'em up (if you haven't already) and see for your own damn selves. Obviously these are out now, and Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remixes just recently came out later 2008...Okay, fyi, the first Madvillain album came out 5 years ago, 2004. Both, via Stones Throw Records.

    Madvillainy 2, I just recently purchased and it's just what I expected, again, this time Madlib on the remixes. With 25 joints to deafen your ears, it's another Madvillain album you can't sleep on. It's MADLIB, DARNIT! Kills it like-a-mother every single time! This dude is unstoppable...even when making new how many albums has he pumped out through his musical life...!?

    These two cats are remarkably talented and deserve tons of credit. What will they be concocting next...? I'm not sure...but I'm sure I'll be there to pick up whatever they push out...


    For more on The Box, visit

    Drummer Vs. The Technician 2, Chicago

    A Day With Mochilla...

    I love watching anything documentary...and Mochilla is my favorite. Backed by photography gurus Brian Cross (aka B+) and Eric Coleman, it's these 3 DVD's I present to you that YOU MUST WATCH. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...

    Unfortunately, I haven't purchased the Soundclash DVD yet, but I'm planning to soon. I so want it! For those who don't know who DJ Dusk is...well...I'll leave that up to you to find out. RIP to one of the greats...Just imagine what Dusk and Dilla are doin' up there. Fascinating...

    If anyone that's a drummer or dj...or loves music...or all of the above! It's these next 2 that you can't miss. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO WATCH...HIGHLY ENJOYABLE...

    Keepintime is a still and video documentation of a collaborative effort between the most talented DJ's/producers and most influential break beat drummers including; Paul Humphrey, James Gadson, and Derf Reklaw, and DJ's; Cut Chemist, Babu, J.Rocc, Madlib, Nu-Mark and Shortcut. This is something to watch again and again and AGAIN...! Very inspiring as well...PEEP!

    A documentary film by Coleman and B+, filmed in Sao Paulo, Brasil.

    In September 2002 Coleman and B+ went to Sao Paulo for nine days. They had a week to link with (hip hop) Brasil, enlist three drummers and find enough breaks to make a break record to guarantee commitment from our oversubscribed DJs back home. This is my favorite to watch. I've watch this DVD countless times and each time I watch it I'm always at awe by this documentary...Yeah, I'm speechless. I'm gonna let you guys watch this...GO GET IT!