Wednesday, September 21, 2005

just a little sample

nice little photo op

Although Wayne had waxed on the genius of Shocklee, many of us will be waxing on Wayne’s genius. I have also been enraptured by the articulation and breadth of Hank Shocklee but can only stumble through a summary of what I heard. But now, because Wayne has led us to the recordings of the Clinton / Shocklee interview and the panel that followed (scroll down to September 12th for the 4:30 and 5 o’clock audio and video) you can hear for yourself.

A few things to note that may make more sense after you’ve heard it all:
- All respect to moderator Rick Karr but heads should get a laugh at some of the pronunciations… Jeru the DamaJAH, Eric B and RakEEM, DELLA Soul.
- Karr also lets loose a snicker at Shocklee’s mention of Phil Collins’ drum sounds. Phil’s drum sounds are no joke in hip-hop.
- Karr looks for a connection to 'sampling as parody and critique' by asking Shocklee what his intentions were when sampling Anthrax for PE. Shocklee cut the query short... "I NEVER sampled Anthrax on a Public Enemy record."
- The copyright lawyer is not very familiar with Jimi Hendrix’ music and not familiar AT ALL with Public Enemy.
- ‘Statutory licensing’ could implement rules for sampling (similar to those that handle song covers) that could balance the expense and profit for all parties involved in sample based music. Sounds reasonable to me.
- One of the hypothetical situations brought up on the panel, that sample costs would have prohibited the creation of albums like Public Enemy’s ‘…Nation of Millions…’, can be a bit too sentimental for my taste. I wouldn’t want to romanticize the economic conditions that surely contributed to the creation of hip-hop (then and now) but I’m sure that total freedom and access to musical instruments, proper performance venues and afterschool programs would have more than likely changed the creative production of the hip-hop generation. The tension between art and the costs associated with it’s production and distribution seem to lead as much to creative thinking as to stifled opportunity. Obviously this should not be read as an argument for the constraints of poverty as creative impetus… but as an admiration of the art arising IN SPITE OF limited resources.
- Hank Shocklee touches on the idea that the notes and sounds from traditional musical instruments can be seen as ‘samples of the instrument creators.’ If you look at his compositions as ‘dependent’ on samples without appreciating what he does with the elements he has chosen to work with, the concept of a guitar note being a Fender sample will make no sense to you.
- Shocklee slows Clinton down after their interview for ‘a nice little photo op’ still understanding ‘the media’ as one of his instruments.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


you gotta have paper in this land of milk and honey

I always say the best 20 minutes of hip-hop I ever saw was presented by Big Daddy Kane packed with hot verse after hot verse (even throwing in some perfectly timed slapstick humor). I’m not even sure what I mean by ‘best 20 minutes’ but it seems to capture the density and flawless presentation that Kane brought to the stage. The only problem with the show was that it was after his heyday in a retrospective Las Vegas greatest-hits context and the cocktail tables and velvety venue Joe’s Pub only added to the Vegasy vibe. But, thank hip-hop, the great Skrewball came on after Kane to scare the martini sippers out the door…
But there’s a new contender for the title ‘best 25 minutes of hip-hop.’ And as much as it was a retrospective of hits, ‘Draped Up’ is only the beginning of Bun B’s overground future. Early Sunday morning at Southpaw the Underground King ran through verses from his ever increasing portfolio of hot guest 16s. The UGK verses were there but emphasis was definitely on ‘popular’ appearances with Jay-Z, 3-6 Mafia, Slim Thug, Webbie and the like. Bun performed his verse from ‘Pocket Full of Stones’ so I wasn’t mad at anybody. His call to ‘Fuck FEMA!’ joined the more predictable but at least equally impassioned ‘Free Pimp C!’ and the surprise shout-out ‘Caramanica, Rep Your Hood!’ Flanked onstage by BK reppers Manhood I almost expected Cashmere to join Bun for their ‘Whole Hood’ freestyle… but I’m sure that would have gone over the time limit.

Also got to chill with some fools in front of the king. The Canary-Burgundy boy, Young Feezibility and Jon ‘Fly Pelican Fly’ Metalmanica tortured me with tales of ESG sightings and Catchdiesel broke the news that I missed a Peedi Peedi showcase (both possible nominees for the best 20 minutes of hip-hop I didn’t see…?) .
And, most importantly, I did the nerdy t-shirt joust with Jon Caramanica (no promo!). I felt the ubiqui-tee of the Snowman diminished it’s glittery shine especially next to the double-edged hip-shank called the Dipset/Ramones mash-up tee. JC blessed me with props because the Jeezy-tee WAS so gully in it’s bootleg glory (Chris, I was rocking it ‘officially’ but, belee dat, Korean-run Yonkers hood-wear shops are not getting ‘official’ Def Jam product… at least not the one I frequent). Hey I’ll gladly take the prize if only because MY t-shirt has those inexplicable ellipsis… (“Snow…Man”) ya know...?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

k.o. punch

Most folk are going to get this from Houston's Musical Ambassadorsoreal, Matt Sonzola, but if you haven't heard it yet...

Once upon a time Kanye West improvised a statement critiquing the president's attention to a portion of the country's citizens. Houston artists, K-Otix flipped said phrase AND the hot track of the current single from the guy who said it to create a MAJOR freestyle that should not only get play on every hip-hop station but on every station that wants people to tune in.

Mr. West, please take the K.O. on tour.

K-Otix - George Bush Doesn't Like Black People

(If I mis-transcribed the lyrics please correct me in the comments...)

I ain’t sayin he’s a gold digger but he ain’t messin with no broke niggas…
George Bush don’t like black people…
Hurricane came through fucked us up ’round here
Governement actin’ like it’s bad luck down here
All I know is that you better bring some trucks down here
Wonder why I got my middle finger up round here?
People’s lives on the line, you declined in the help
Since you takin’ so much time we survivin’ ourself
Just me and my pets and my kids and my spouse
Trapped in my own house, lookin’ for a way out
Five days in this motherfuckin’ attic
Can’t use the cellphone, I keep gettin’ static
Dyin’ cause they lyin’ ‘stead o’ tellin’ us the truth
Other day this helicopter got my neighbors off the roof
That’s cool cause they said they was comin’ back for us too
That was three days ago. I don’t see no rescue
See a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do
Since God made the path then I’m tryna walk through
Swam to the store tryna look for food
Corner store’s kinda flooded so I broke my way through
I got what I could but before I got through
The news said police shot a black man tryna loot?
George Bush don’t like black people…

Five damn days, five long days
And at the end of the fifth you walkin’ in like “Heeey!”
Chillin’ on his vacation sittin’ patiently
'Them black folks gotta hope, gotta wait and see
If FEMA really comes through in an emergency'
But nobody seems to have a sense of urgency
Now the mayor’s been reduced to cryin’
Guess Bush said ‘Niggas is used to dyin’
He said “I know it looks bad, just hafta wait…”
Forgettin’ folks are too broke to evacuate
Niggas starvin’ and they dyin’ of thirst
I bet he had to go check on them refineries first
Makin’ a killin off the price of gas
He woulda been up in Connecticut twice as fast
After all that we been through nothing’s changed
You could call Red Cross but the fact remains
George Bush ain’t a gold digger but he ain’t fuckin’ with no broke niggas
Come down, Bush, come on, come down…

game recognize game

sun sets for nyc skyline at the us open

My second trip to the US Open was not via ‘practice, practice, practice’ (like the Sco) but via the 7 train. And although the 7 usually reps the multitudes well it was great to see the ethnic and cultural (if not economic) diversity of New York… all blocking my view of the new blue tennis court. The vibe even inspired me to try out the New-York-patented “Hey, Lady… sit down!!!” on a tennis-fan seemingly lost in the stands. Her WASPy early-Fall shoulder-sweater-sleeves just grazed the plastic cups of ‘oh-honey-why-not’ beers. The Brit-colony-accented trio behind me joined the NY spirit with their calls for “Up or daahn! Up or daahn!” giving her an option for moving through the aisle and clearing the precious nose-bleed view. As she stepped up the aisle she didn’t mutter so much as snap under her breath “Lighten UP…”

Although I hoped it was going to be on some “there are seven acknowledged wonders of the world… you are about to witness the eighth…” the chants of “The JB! The JB! The JB!” never really happened at the AA meeting last night. The match seemed to be scored by our favorite Memphis crew in the first 4 sets (3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3), but it refused to stay fly for those of us caught up in the James Blake story. Oh, hell yes, you CAN call it a comeback but the dude who heeded mama’s instructions of ‘Knock you out!’ was AA Cools J (Andre Agassi Cools James). Eyebrows down, Dre and J-Bleezy stayed focused taking the tie-breaker to 8. After Blake finally stopped going in the final moments of his Double-A battery, the two embraced at the net in an acknowledgement not only of skills but of character. Dre, the one-time rebel without applause (blame crowd fave Pete Sampras) had finally grown up, earned a spot in the ‘establishment’ and savored the increasingly fleeting moments of the late-bracket racket. The stadium held a decent crowd until after 1 AM in the morning applauding two great players at different points in their careers with dramatic off-court stories that faded against the shine of their game.

brackets updated immediately after match (agassi defeats blake)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

the tamale champ

quien es?

This was the Daily News caption for the above photo...
"Rapper Paul Wall is sinking his teeth into his work."

Spread the word!!!! Chingo Bling IS Paul Wall!

Suddenly the text takes on a whole new meaning...

Wall claims his race has neither been a help nor a hindrance. "People just respect me for who I am," he says.

In fact, the rap press hasn't made a big deal of his whiteness. But Wall admits that coming from a city like Houston helped blind people to his ethnicity.

"Down in Texas we're the least racial, because we're so multicultural," he says. "I feel like in New York there are huge divisions between races. In Houston it's not a big deal if you're white or black or Asian or Hispanic. You're an American."

- Jim Farber

No surprise... to the Daily News THEY all look the same...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

CD burning

may get as popular as the Jeezy Snow Man tees!!!

Let this be the first t-shirt of a series...
"George Bush Doesn't Care About _______ People"

Yeah, Ye set it off like a champ. That little moment when Mike Meyers reads from the teleprompter gives the LV Don 'nuff time to gather his thoughts and provide a straight forward explanation of the frustration simmering in the heartfelt paragraph previous... but, damn, did I ever think Celine Dion would not only step up with even more gangsta... with Larry King trying to get a word in edgewise... but actually bring tears when she lets the prayer/song cry?
Right now, she really is the greatest singer in zee whorll..

(special thanks to Jay Smooth / for collecting the pieces)

welcome to the superdome

Haven’t heard it yet but the single-line internal rhymes of Chuck D are so clearly in line with PE’s best that you can just hear the vocal rise in the first part and the bass bass bass in the second (cares / stares, quiz em / terrorism…)

Straight from

Hell No We Ain’t Alright

New Orleans in the morning, afternoon, and night
Hell No We Ain’t Alright

Now all these press conferences breaking news alerts

This just in while your government looks for a war to win
Flames from the blame game, names? Where do I begin?
Walls closing in get some help to my kin
Who cares? While the rest of the Bushnation stares

As the drama unfolds as we the people under the stairs
50% of this Son of a Bush nation
Is like hatin’ on Haiti

And setting up assassinations
Ask Pat Robertson- quiz him.... smells like terrorism.

Racism in the news/ still one-sided news
Saying whites find food/
prey for the national guard ready to shoot
’Cause them blacks loot

New Orleans in the morning, afternoon, and night
Hell No We Ain’t Alright

Fires, earthquakes, tsunamis
I don’t mean to scare/ Wasn’t this written somewhere?
Disgraces all I see is black faces moved out to all these places
Emergency state, corpses, alligators and snakes
Big difference between this haze and them diamonds on the VMA’s

We better look/ what’s really important
Under this sun especially if you over 21

This ain’t no TV show/ this ain’ no video
This is really real/ beyond them same ole keep it real’

Quotes from them TV stars drivin’ big rim cars
'Streets be floodin’, B/ no matter where you at, no gas
Driving is a luxury
State of emergency
Shows somebody’s government
Is far from reality....

New Orleans in the morning, afternoon, and night
Hell No We Ain’t Alright

I see here we be the new faces of refugees
Who ain’t even overseas but here on our knees

Forget the plasma TV-ain’t no electricity
New worlds upside down-and out of order
Shelter? Food? Wasssup, wheres the water?

No answers from disaster/ them masses hurtin’
So who the f**k we call?--Halliburton?

Son of a Bush, how you gonna trust that cat?
To fix s**t when help is stuck in Iraq?

Making war plans takin’ more stands
In Afghanistan 2000 soldiers dyin’ in the sand

But that’s over there, right?
Now what's over here is a noise so loud
That some can’t hear but on TV I can see
Bunches of people lookin’ just like me

Thursday, September 01, 2005

just say N.O.

An armed policeman guards a truck loaded with fuel from potential looters in New Orleans (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Once again it’s NO...
Prez pushes and praises ‘poacher poppin’ but what about those that ‘found’ the goodies?

As the sci-fi scenario escalates so do the speculations on what will happen to the city and it’s people…
Outside of the obvious hip-hop-related superficial thoughts (How will the various N.O. based groups respond? Will there be another classic Lil’ Weezy lament?) I was glad to receive messages from two good dudes from my generation of hip-hop with very distinct “calls for help.”

The first was from my old friend, David Goldberg, from the Bay Area…
And the second was from Billy “Upski” Wimsatt of the League of Pissed Off Voters…

Dave sent:


you are hereby invited to participate in a grassrootsdigital, dirtyfast, hip-hop gutbucket distributed project in afrofuturist JES' GREW.

new orleans has been abandoned.

the coastline is destroyed.

hundreds of thousands are now refugees, and if we measure Reality in terms of the images presented to us on the news, most of them are Black. even if we don't, most of them are Black.

what will they return to?

let us imagine the possibilities.

"... elevated for sure... but would it be naked pre-cast concrete? or would it be decorated? what would the interiors be like? would the structures be solar powered? would they have some of those new condensers that can produce drinkable water from the surrounding air? would there be individual units? village formations? would they have hydroponics facilities?" -- David Goldberg (08/31/05)

"...a Baptism of the City? A Yemeyah/Oshun reclamation ritual? Egyptian celestial boats? Shoplifting barges? A pattern/shape made up of floating hurricane
lamps?" -- Charles H. Nelson (08/31/05)

"...being constructed of a much more angry/violent cityscape that will be an amalgam of some well intended 'artful' ideas and straight nigger-rigging of existing stuff that people are unwilling to rid themselves of for emotional reasons..." -- Amanda Williams (08/31/05)

this is just the beginning.

take some time to imagine an alternate future for the gulf coast's cities. make use of but do not let your self be limited by propaganda, materials science, architecture, sociology or history.

please digitize and send your thoughts, fleeting, fragmented or fully-developed, be they words (rants, shards of fiction, poems, rhymes, manifestoes, dreams, prayers,) back-of-the-envelope architectural sketches, inspired CAD renderings, photoshop hacks, paintings, images of maquettes, etc. to

the goal is for them to be collected on a website and hopefully printed in a portable booklet that will find its way into the flow of materials on its way into the hands of gulf coast refugees.

Work fast, as every CLOSURE is an OPENING for only so long.

thank you for your attention.

And Billy sent:

Shana is safe.
The League family sends thanks to all who have inquired…
For those who don’t know, Shana Sassoon is a waitress in New Orleans who created our first League voter guide back in 2003. She is also the President of our Board. We were in the middle of planning our upcoming Board meeting when… yeah.
Shana was lucky enough to escape. She has spent the past five days at her mom’s in Houston, with a house full of New Orleans refugees.
We love Shana. We want to stand with her and her neighbors and community during this most devastating time.
When I spoke with Shana a few days ago, she and her friends were yelling at the TV, enraged to hear their neighbors who are trying to survive labeled as ‘looters’ on CNN, watching their beloved homes and neighborhoods drown…
Emergency relief is critical right now. AND it is not enough. We need to support advocacy and organizing around the crisis as well.
As in all other crises, aid agencies are going to mismanage funds, politicians are going to cut deals, poor people are going to keep getting screwed. And George Bush is going to use New Orleans as a photo op… for what? His new campaign against global warming?
We need a team of media, organizing and advocacy-savvy Nawleans refugees who are ready to write op-eds, fight, advocate, support their displaced neighbors during this crisis, and work for New Orleans to be restored in a way that includes the input of ordinary people!
There is no better group to do this than the grassroots organizers of New Orleans.
If you’d like to donate, please click here:
Thank you for standing with Shana!
With prayers from Billy and the entire League family

Or send a check to:

Memo Line: Shana’s New Orleans Advocacy Fund
c/o League of Independent Voters
226 W. 135th St. 4th Fl
New York, NY 10030
Contributions to the League of Independent Voters are NOT tax deductible.

Memo line: Shana’s New Orleans Relief Fund
c/o League of Young Voter Education Fund
226 W. 135th St. 4th Fl
New York, NY 10030
Contributions to the League of Young Voters Education Fund ARE tax-deductible.