IMO: I Just Gotta Say – Where We Been?

Where have we been? What’s up on the posts all last week, you ask?
Were we sick?
Death in the fam?
Real world problems?
Nope. None of the above.
Well the truth is, I have finally succumbed. I have been incorporated into the collective.
I finally got a big mega giga-byte Mp3 player. I’ve still got a few rebel stripes though: I got a Zune instead of an iPod.

It was inevitable. I had already made one concession to the matrix a few months ago, when I—GASP!zune1—discovered a favorite drink at Starbucks. I used to snicker at all those zombies rattling off directions for the perfect double-dipped triple-flavored slow-roasted latte they craved like brains. But one day I was in line and asked the guy to suggest something that wasn’t coffee. Three words: vanilla bean frappachino. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s basically a vanilla milkshake, but oh I love them so. One day I noticed chunks of ice were impairing my enjoyment of my frappachino. From that day forth MY FRAP MUST BE DOUBLE BLENDED. I even watch to make sure they push the button twice (I’ve heard rumor of a special doubled-blending button that means they only have to push once, but that might be just a cover-up from the time I saw a guy just push the button once. I mean, when I ask for double-blended THAT’S what I mean… I mean really, this is a-MUR-ICA. I HAVE A RIGHT TO… sorry. The story got away from me for a minute.).

Anyway, back to the whole point of the post, Mrs. Hip-Hop and I have a road trip coming up. We’ve known for a while that we can’t keep hauling around hundreds of CDs every time we hit the road, especially when said CDs get jacked in the so-called City of Brotherly Love circa 2002. I still get DJ phantom pain. That’s when you’re searching for a beat and realize some West Philly punk is bouncing your import. Take it from me, it breaks your heart.

So I have been prepping for the upcoming trip with an incredible upload schedule for the Zune. All the PE albums, all the RUN DMC albums, the wife has all the Outkast albums, plus her punk tunes. So rather than posting like I SHOULD be doing I’ve been getting my upload on.
But fear not: I’ve finally hit the wall and gotten most of my favorites in the pocket, so we can finally get back to y’all.
Did you miss us?

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Come Together…Right Now

Why the Conscious Hip-Hop community needs a DJ Khaled

By Jasiri X fo Davey D’s Hip-Hop News

By now we all know DJ Khaled, and his incessant yelling out of whatever is his new catch phrase of the year, which also of course just happens to be the name of his latest album (marketing majors pay attention). But what has made DJ Khaled truly successful is his ability to bring together many of the top artists in the game, on song after song, throughout his entire projects.khaled1

This rap unity has enabled not only DJ Khaled to become rich and famous (or infamous if you will), but has also propelled lesser known artists from his region IE: Plies and Rick Ross into Hip-Hop stardom.

This made me wonder, how come the conscious Hip-Hop community, which always talks unity, community, and cooperation, doesn’t have a DJ Khaled? Rarely do you see conscious artists coming together on high profile collaborations. The last one I can remember off top was the Hip-Hop for Respect project which was in 2000!

Imagine how dope a project would be that had KRS-ONE, Chuck D, Lupe, Mos Def, Kanye, Dead Prez and NYOIL with Erika Badu on one song and the very next track featuring Immortal Technique, Black Thought, Brother J, Common, Wise Intelligent, Pharaoh Monch and Lyfe Jennings on the hook. This would be a real Hip-Hop fans dream come true!


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HOT 5: Movies and Rappers

Top 5 Performances By a Rapper in a Movie
Though awards season is behind us, we’re still thinking about the movies, albeit in a hip-hop state of mind. We don’t have to run down the list of rappers who’ve done horrible stiff turns in movies. And we’re getting more skilled acting from rappers like Mos Def, Luda and Common. But what about the OGs who paved the way? The game would’ve been different without this countdown.

eva5. LL Cool J: Deliver Us From Eva
Raymond Ray Adams was a smooth talking playboy who picked up a little change while falling for Gabrielle Union. This bet-gone-wrong plot was completely predictable; the real surprise was that LL didn’t rely on his lip-licking skills to carry the role. He showed regret and desperation without sacrificing the character’s personality, and if the image of LL riding through a downtown office on a white horse doesn’t do it for you… Well, it didn’t do it for me either, but there you go. The brother ain’t perfect, but he tried.


4. DMX: Exit Wounds
DMX plays what looks to be a hard-knock drug dealer, and Steven Segal (in his last hit movie) plays a cop on his case. Despite the cliché set-up, the movie isn’t half bad. More than any other rapper, DMX was best at channeling the pain and regret Tupac had tried to infuse in his music. And like Pac, he wasn’t a bad actor either. If not for the crack and theft issues, the X man might have built a pretty solid post-rap career in Hollywood, or at the very least in straight-to-DVD black Hollywood.


3. Run: Krush Groove
Of all the rap movies that came out in the 80’s, Krush Groove was by far the best. Although Breakin’ and Beat Street had bigger budgets, they were really just trying to ride the break dancing fad while it was still hot, so rappers were in the background. In Krush Groove, Run’s turn as the character “Run” showed a range of ethos. Now before you say it ought be easy playing yourself, ask DMC how easy it was! For each of Run’s scene-stealing turns, DMC was right beside him, offering up another line worthy of the Worst Performance by a Rapper in a Movie award. DMC’s role as “DMC” is only surpassed by Nas’s satanically bad acting in Belly.


2. Queen Latifah: Set It Off
Before you say ‘I told you so,’ Queen didn’t make the list because of her astonishingly natural talent for sucking another girl’s face—it was the empathy she inspired that had audience members more shook up over her death than any of Set It Off’s other stars. Cleo is more than a SuperDyke; she’s that ride-or-die, crazy-ass homegirl that, no matter how far you go apart, will have your back to the end.

1. Tupac: Juice
The sunny dancer from Digital Underground had already made waves with Tupacalypse Now, but it took a brilliant turn as Juice’s vulnerable maniac to cement his reputation. Politics aside, Bishop made Pac gangsta. I mean, Nobody in Digital Underground was exactly sending chills up the spine. But after Juice, Pac was more credible as the Wrong N****to mess with.

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ALBUM of the WEEK: The Mighty Underdogs – Droppin Science Fiction

The Mighty Underdogs is a super group consisting of Gift of Gab, from Blackalicious, Headnodic, from Crown City Rockers, and Lateef the Truthspeaker, all of them hail from the bay area. There’s not much to really say. Just check it out. Don’t forget, these are not the complete songs—just 90-second clips so you can get a feel for the music. If you like what you hear, go out and buy the CD. Quality hip hop grows when we support the artists.


Music Playlist at

The Mighty Underdogs

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Interview With The Mighty Underdogs

by Hazard for Planet

Droppin’ Science Fiction on Hip Hop fans around the world, the Mighty Underdogs chat about taking Hip Hop in a different direction with their new album, the role of technology in the music industry, advice for upcoming artists and loads more.

“You’re checking out Planet Urban, this is Hazard, and right now I’m joined by two veterans of the Hip Hop scene from the Bay Area, they are part of the new super-group the Mighty Underdogs, I’m speaking with Gift of Gab and underdog-picHeadnodic, how’s it goin guys?”

Gift of Gab: Things are going dope.

First of all, what is the origin of the name the Mighty Underdogs and what does it mean to you guys?

G: The Mighty Underdogs, the origin came for us a long time ago. Myself and Headnodic were talking about doing a record a long time ago. Also, me and Lateef were talking about doing a record a long time ago and we started working on something. So we decided to form one group, called the Mighty Underdogs. Originally it (the project) was titled the Underdogs, but there was already a group called that.

Headnodic: Lateef and Gab came up with it. To me it kind of depicts the state of music and people who take pride and love in making music. It’s been washed over with so many groups that it kind of turned, not just underground Hip Hop but all kinds of Hip Hop, that are slightly different from the norm into the underdogs. Then we threw the ‘mighty’ on top to give a ray of hope to the whole thing and hopefully unite a whole bunch of groups that can make quality music and try and take over the radio.

G: Also, an underdog is always hungry. You know the underdog always has his back up against the wall, so he will come out like he’s got something to prove. For us as artists it’s about staying hungry and continually pushing ourselves. Once you get comfortable with where you’re at and you think you’ve done everything you have to do that’s when you start falling off. Just the whole concept of the underdog, the mighty underdog, is the dude that with his back against the wall, that believes in what he’s doing, will come out swinging hard.


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BOUGIE – Bespoke Budget

Bespoke Budget

“Make a list of your income. Make a list of your expenditures. Track your spending. Save a portion of everything you bring in. Spend less than you make. Take your lunch to work. Stop eating out as often.”

I’m sorry, but if I read any more of this dry, white-bread financial advice, I’m going to slit my wrists AND my neck. Pretty gruesome, but you get the idea. If advice like this really resonated with people, there would be an army of brown-bagging cubicle warriors taking public transportation to work every morning—and they’d look just like you and me.

But you and I are still out at the clubs. Still at the liquor store buying top-shelf. Still using our online bank statement as our spending record. Still thinking that the money in the account IS equivalent to our budget. Hey, once it’s gone, it’s gone!

I like my budgets like I like my Pumas and Nikes customized just for me. I can’t be the only person who’s looked at one of those budget worksheets and felt my head start swimming with all the line items I need to account for: Professional dues. Property taxes. Car registration. Replacement tile grout.
I know that we have to take into account those things that don’t occur on a regular basis so we won’t be blindsided. But when you’re trying to make ends meet, association dues can seem so irrelevant and far away that the mere thought can get you to hyperventilating.

From Basic to Magnums

So, to help with your breathing, I’ve created 5 types of budgets that you can use depending on where you are in life. These budgets reflect what’s REALLY good in your life and allow you to focus on where you are. They also help define the next level in your financial life. So one day, you’ll have a line item for Cayman Island tax shelter, and it’ll be all good!

The Bare Bones Budget:
Food. Lights. Gas. Pretty much this is the budget for when you’re in survival mode. I don’t advocate riding dirty, but car insurance and registration don’t make the cut on this
budget. This is the on-your-knuckles version of maintaining. Think ramen noodles and dollar store. Your bills might not be current, but your services are working and not cut off.

The Breathing Room Budget:
You can upgrade from bologna to turkey ham. This budget includes the necessities of life, plus one of two little extras, like a bottle of wine to split if friends drop by with a bucket of chicken. Your bills are caught up, nothing’s past due.

The Cruising Altitude Budget:cruising1
This budget is when you can kick off your shoes, if not kick your feet up. You might be able to afford a mini-vacation, someplace domestic. You can do little extras, dinner at a nice restaurant, getting the hair done more often, gifts for more than the kids in your family. This budget is probably where most people without financial problems find themselves.

The Life is Good Budget:
Affluence. This budget is when you truly begin to invest and start adopting a tax strategy. The wine is nicer, the vacations more exotic, the toys are shinier. Let’s call it hood-rich, but this budget is where you’re not hurting for anything.

wildout2The Wildin’ Out Budget:
This is the Oprah/Puffy budget. This is where you start having libraries named after you and establishing rec centers in your neighborhood. This is where you have the Gulf Stream and work really IS a four letter word in your vocabulary. Your money duplicates while you dream and your kid’s kids will be trust fund babies.

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IMO: I Just Gotta Say – Is Obama Mayor Carcetti?

Here at Grownheadz HQ, we have been going back and looking at past seasons of The Wire. I’m not getting into a big post about how great the show was, either you saw and loved it, or watched it and got bored. LadyT had a few choice words about her love for the program.

The point of our discussion today is this: . Is Obama just Mayor Carcetti and the US just a big coast-to-coast Baltimore?

obama1Tom Carcetti is a white guy who runs for mayor of Baltimore, and because it’s a TV show he actually wins in the majority black city. Throughout his campaign, he calls out the incumbent mayor on all sorts of misdeeds, broken promises, and ethical lapses.

Carcetti is not just your typical politician; massive ego aside, he really wants to make things better for the citizens of Baltimore. He has all these big plans, makes a lot of promises, and gets everybody in the city (well, at least the police department) believing that change has finally come. They even start proclaiming that’s it’s a “New Day” (sound familiar?).

Once in office, Carcetti learns the enormity of the city’s problems and has to make harsh decisions, some more for his political career than in the best interests of the city. As the season proceeds we see how the system rebels against change. Carcetti makes deals that are the political thing to do (all part of the game, ya know) but not the RIGHT thing to do.

Furthermore, all those pledges he made have to be reprioritized because of the circumstances at hand. The next thing you know, people are talking about broken promises and his own ethical lapses. If you didn’t know, everything comes full circle in world of The Wire.

When he started his run for president, even his lawyer’s cynicism couldn’t have prepared President Obama for just how utterly F***D things would be right now. Remember coming up, how your moms told you that you’d have to be twice as smart to becarcetti1 considered half as good? Obama will have to be the best president ever just to be considered a success.

A friend and I joked that once Obama started getting the really real lowdown on what was going on, his opinion on things might change. He might be sitting with Michele right now saying, “Damn! If this report is right, we really might have to bomb Iran.”

There was a telling scene on the Wire when Carcetti’s main right hand man is chatting at the bar with his counterpart from the prior administration. He relates how he watched his boss, a man he believed in, refuse needed funds for city schools in order to avoid looking weak in a future gubernatorial bid. His counterpoint, with the wisdom that only comes from experience, replied “Sooner or later, they all disappoint.”

The fact is, at some point in the next four years this moment will come for Obama. It’s inevitable: the day will come that a hard choice will have to be made which will pit the fortunes of many black folks against those of a larger number of whites, and our living black and shining prince will turn his face from us.

I just hope when that day comes, he and we can hang on to some thread of the hope we all felt on his journey to the White House. I hope the end for once does justify the means. I hope he proves to be a better man than Carcetti.

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GrownHead Check: 36 – 42


It’s cool to kick it about PE and Mantronix, but if you’re going to claim the title of grownhead, we’ve gotta make sure you’re really down. Therefore, you truly are a grownhead IF….

36)…the dirtiest song you knew was Darling Nikki by Prince (it ain’t hip-hop but it was dirty)
37)…remember when Michael Jackson was actually a sex symbol
38)…you couldn’t believe that Filas were GASP… $100!!!
39)…you thought Mr.T was the wrong brotha to mess with
40)…before Wii, before xBox…there was only Atari
42)…you had or wanted a Swatch Watch
42)…you remember Carlos DeJesus hosting New York Hot Traxx

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Mr. Chuck and the Ladies

by Ishmael Abdusalaam for All

Legendary Public Enemy front man and activist Chuck D has set a 2009 resolution to rectify the marginalizedchuck2 representation of females in Hip-Hop culture.

A swept aside issue in recent years, Chuck D argues that the lack of prominent women in Hip-Hop is causing the culture to move backward and devalue many of the progressive strides made by female pioneers in the 80s and 90s.

“In ‘09, my fighting the power is for women in Hip-Hop, especially groups, producers, songwriters, and label heads,” Chuck D explained


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