All posts by Resident Alien

I'm in my early 30s, Nigerian-born and Southern-raised, and I hate lazy writing but I adore lazy Sundays. Anything contradictory or subversive draws me like a magnet. I don't mind if others disagree with me, but debate is a sport, so bring your A-game. I'm on the hunt for strong women MCs, cause I know they're out there grinding in an uptight, sexist industry and culture. I got your back!

GH Exclusive: Ice Cube, Bun B., Big K.R.I.T. and DJ Drama on learning Industry Rule #4080

Ice Cube and DJ Drama live at The Fillmore
Charlotte (June 30, 2012) – Ice Cube and DJ Drama host Coors Light Search for the Coldest semifinals at The Fillmore. (MillerCoors/Jamar Caldwell)

Coors Light’s Search For The Coldest emcee contest rolled into Charlotte’s Fillmore Saturday night with free beers and a panel of celebrity judges. Ice Cube, Bun B., Big K.R.I.T. and DJ Drama sat down for an exclusive with GrownHeadz before the show.

Cube, who seemed to be reserving the main of his energy for emceeing the competition, kept his responses short but pointed, while Bun B.’s guest lectures at Rice University(!) really seem to be paying off. Homey’s thoughtful, measured answers were just short of brilliant. K.R.I.T., too, was impressive as the panel’s youngest member and the newest to fame. And Drama? Well, we at GrownHeadz have high expectations for deejays, and he didn’t disappoint. Check it out below.

What Makes for a Cold MC?

Ice Cube: The coldest MC is someone who knows they’re a star before anybody discovers them. Lyrics, confidence onstage, mic control and different flows.

DJ Drama: I think it takes creativity, confidence, someone who understands beats and hooks, but definitely the bars. The lyrics are most important of all, the ability to put a good song together. I’m sitting here with Ice Cube and Bun B and Big K.R.I.T., so definitely someone who can stand onstage next to such great talent.

Bun B: They have to have command of the English language. Some people assume rappers all speak broken English, but the best MCs are masters of vocabulary. Also, depending on the crowd in various cities, [performing] can be intimidating. Some people start off with boos. You gotta have heart and confidence. I’ve seen dudes lose battles before the first word is spoken because they let the crowd break them. You have to have the will and the confidence to turn those boos into cheers.

Big K.R.I.T.: The coldest MC has to be able to get the crowd hype, no matter what.

How Do You Stay Sharp?

Bun B: Just because we’ve made it to a certain level because of our status, we can’t rest. I get challenged by young cats everyday. They try anyway (laughs). I love it. I don’t want to sit around eating off a rhyme from 2003. You gotta stay on your toes in this world, and not just as an MC but period.

K.R.I.T.: You’ve got to invest time; run your business, but sharpen your weapon at the end of the day.

Cube: I always got something to prove. You never know what people will hear from you, either a radio cut or a deep album track, so you never know where your next “audition” will be coming from. Whoever thinks you fell off next, you gotta change their mind. I was a B-boy so I had something to prove on every record, every album, to the general audience and to myself.

Hip-hop the art form is so different from the business of hip-hop. When did you learn, far as the music industry, that there’s no Santa Claus?

Cube: The day I met Jerry Heller.

DJ Drama: I can speak to that, though I’m not an MC. I can talk some really good shit, but I can’t make it rhyme. Spending a lot of time trying to get to the top takes dedication. Even after the great moments, even LeBron has to say OK, I made it, but what about next year. When I was coming up, it felt like rappers were superheroes. I don’t know if it’s because Meth is tall, but they were like 10 feet tall to me. Now, not to say the industry is tainted, but it’s still a business. You need passion day in and day out to love what you do and put in the work. Just remember Industry Rule #4080.

Bun B: The day I got signed. We saw KRS-One in the hallway and were like, yo, whattup, we just signed to your label! And he asked us, ‘Did you sign the paperwork yet?’ ‘Yeah, we just signed it five minutes ago!’ And Kris was like, ‘Damn, I wish I could’ve talked to you before you signed!’ I went from my highest high to thinking, ‘We just made the biggest mistake of our lives.’

K.R.I.T.: When I realized there is about a 3-month rollout period between finishing an album and releasing it, and that sample clearances change everything as far as retail value is concerned. “Can I use that? No. How bout that? No.” I just want to give my music away for free! But I had to be smarter.

What kind of background and output are you looking for in new rappers who approach you? How much of a catalogue?

Bun B.: For me looking at new rappers, it’s quality, not quantity. Plus a work ethic. Some cats have talent but drama. Always on the phone with the baby mama. That has nothing to do with getting in the studio. I’m not saying don’t look after your child, but you gotta decide who you are willing to offend, and who are you going to look after, in the course of making your dreams come true.

DJ Drama: For me, it depends on what the person in general is looking for. The way the game is going now, the Internet and social media give artists more leverage to come to the table and show what they’re worth. 50 destroyed what a demo tape was; it went from the ‘90s ‘Please listen to my demo’ to independent artists now being able to really make a living on their own mixtapes. It depends on the level you are coming to. With Coors [the competition], I could tell which people were in different positions, just by listening to them. I could feel who could be the coldest MC.

Cube: I don’t care about the catalogue, or how many songs they made. You gotta excite me. If I’m not excited listening to you, then I don’t feel like it’s ready. Plus, you never know if you’re building a star or a mess. Most artists, when they blow up, feel like they don’t need you anymore. On the flip, if they don’t blow up, it’s [my] fault for not supporting enough. ‘How come you did the first video, but not the second?’ Gotta find someone with their head on straight. It’s easy when the crowd is packed. It’s when it’s empty and the sound ain’t right that you ask what are you in it for, the music? The money?

K.R.I.T.: [Independents] have to go out and compete with the majors before you land a deal. You’ve got to be able to promote and brand yourself, keep that independent mindframe so when the label’s not acting right, you can go out there and create your own buzz. Promote who you are as an artist, or you’ll make songs you don’t believe in. Spend as much time on your craft as you can mentally, then get out there and put your all on the line.

Did your age change how you approach your subject matter?

Bun B.: I have children, and I have a grandchild. I take care of my family, speak the truth as I see it and go to sleep peaceful at night. All my music is reflective of me at the time. If it’s still relevant, I speak to it. People want to give us a bad rap. But I don’t consider it Cube’s or Drama’s responsibility to raise my kids. Too much is put on us that way.
Cube: Age ain’t nothing but a number.

DJ Drama: As a DJ, it’s a little different; I believe our main focus is to be the median between music and people. Sometimes, what I personally listen to may not be what’s hot at the time. I like to break what I believe will be hot. Back with the explosion of crunk, I felt there was a lack of attention to the lyrical skills of Southern artists. So on Gangsta Grill, I got Killa Mike, T.I., Big Boi. People asked why I didn’t use White Tee or Knuck If You Buck, just to pick those songs at random. Because they’ll be on every other mixtape. I promote what I think will be important to the culture.

K.R.I.T.: The way I approach my subject matter is by writing about my life experiences. The album I just dropped won’t be like the next album. I’m going to see different things: personal things, relationships, financial and spiritual changes. I write about the journey.

Following the Q&A (and a wooden endorsement from Cube: “Coors Light. The world’s most refreshing…beer?”), DJ Trauma got on the wheels to warm things up before the competition began. They had the models in silver leggings walking around, an ice bar (which is still news in N.C.) and were plying everyone with free Coors Light, but it was so damn cold inside the building I had to keep going outside to warm up in the hundred-degree heat.

To my surprise, the contest featured only two competitors, Felony Fame and Eddie Blaze, neither of whom I’d heard of. They seemed chosen more for their contrasting styles than any great skill. Felony is a stereotypical crunk rapper, clichéd than a motherfucker (“shining like diamonds,” whoo!) with the requisite piss-poor enunciation. Though his lines were more thoughtful and generally more positive, Blaze lacked stage presence and couldn’t seem to connect with the crowd. His “Where my college kids at?” drew a chorus of boos.

They went four rounds and I wasn’t moved by a single line. Charlotte’s real lyrical talent was NOT on display—anybody at Monday Night Mic Fights could’ve Antoinetted those suckers. I don’t know what label paid to push these dudes, but their skills were a joke. For what little it’s worth, Felony Fame took the prize.

Lackluster amateurs aside, we actually got to see some real emceeing when the panelists performed. Special Ed came through for a surprise appearance, and Big K.R.I.T. warmed the crowd up with “Forever and a Day,” “Cool 2 Be Southern,” Me and My Old School” and “Money on the Floor.” Bun B. gave a 12-song set of favorites including “Gimme Dat,” “Big Pimpin” and “International Player.” He also did “Sippin on Some Sizzurp,” but it was a bit off-putting, given Pimp C.’s demise just 2 years ago—I felt like he should at least put a disclaimer on it, out of respect.

Cube wasn’t bouncing all over the place like Big K.R.I.T., nor was he on Bun B.’s mellowed-out molasses vibe—he was just…Cube. Rock-solid confident and in complete command of the crowd. I’ve never seen a performer spark that kind of energy with just a “Yay-yay.” His ‘fro was like a black halo. The crowd, which had been mostly civil (poor Blaze) all night, just seemed to wake the fuck up. At the first signs of “Check Yourself,” hands were up, and “You Can Do It (Put Your Back Into It)” probably got its best reception in years. He finished off the night with “Today Was a Good Day.”

Coors Lights’ SFTC contest heads to NY for the grand finale July 26th.

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Dark Time Sunshine’s B-Side is a ‘Walk in the Park’

Today, duo Dark Time Sunshine released the official lead B-side (no single yet) to their upcoming album ANX, which hits the streets July 24th on the Fake Four, Inc. label.

Onry Ozzborn, the Grayskul (Rhymesayers) rapper who along with producer Zavala makes up DST, is excited about the album, which includes features from Aesop Rock, P.O.S., and Busdriver, among others.

Today’s B-Side, A Walk In The Park, is all about figuring out how to prioritize what’s most important. “Between raising your kids, dealing with long distance relationships, and maintaining music,” says Ozzborn, “it can drive you mad at times.”

“The beat just put me in a storytelling mood and has me thinking about what’s really important in my life,” says Ozzborn. “From worry about my folks to having concerns about my daughter growing up.”

Park breaks down the subject matter: “I never wanna get that call about mommy/ Daddy neither (I think I need a breather)/ Sister watch over them/ They not retired; they rewired and work again.”

Download “A Walk In The Park” here.

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GH Event: Radio Rehab Brings the Noize, Funk and DRAMAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Radio Rehab Charlotte FlierRADIO REHAB CHARLOTTE is back for another edition THURSDAY, JUNE 21ST.

This month, HIP HOP MEETS THEATER with live excerpts from the play RHYME DEFERRED, produced by your boy Quentin Talley of OnQ Productions! Special musical performances and poems by THE CONCRETE GENERATION.

As always, we will be partying to the sounds of DJ DR and DJ SKILLZ! Plus, GrownHeadz will again be in the house with Q & A’s and live GrownHead Checks, som come prepared. Did we mention it’s also a birthday celebration for your favorite trouble man BLUZ?

Y’all ain’t ready. Leave work, take a disco nap, get fresh and come out to the dopest hip hop party for adults in the QC area!! Then take yo’ grown ass home and go to work in the morning! 

  • WHEN: Thursday, June 21st at 9 PM
  • WHERE: Neighborhood Theater, 511 E. 36th St, Charlotte, NC
  • HOW DAMN MUCH: $10, ladies 2 for $10

See you in the building!

Want more? Follow @grownheadz and @radiorehab1 on Twitter! 

 

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A Tribe Called Quest Tribute feat. Sadat X, Charlie Brown, Dinco D, Dres, Buckshot

Buckshot, Sadat X, Charlie Brown, Dinco D and Dres got together with Revive Da Live Big Band to pay tribute to A Tribe Called Quest at Harlem Stage in New York. They performed some of Tribe’s classic cuts.
By the looks of things, it’s been a long time. Who ever thought Charlie Brown would be anything besides a beanpole? He could paraphrase Q-Tip’s line on Bonita Applebum: “I gained 20 pounds, 6 inches wider…”

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Charlotte hosts Hip Hop Fallen Heroes Jam

Radio Rehab and GrownHeadz are back together for another classic night this Thursday!! This time, we’re lifting up hip hop’s fallen heroes:
B.I.G., Guru, Pac, Big L, Big Pun, Eazy E, Pimp C, Heavy D, Freaky Tah, MC Trouble, and more. $10 for guys, ladies 2 for $10.

Radio Rehab takes you back to the foundations…
RADIO REHAB CHARLOTTE is a cultural event that celebrates life, love, and music! Two nationally renowned DJs — The Mighty DJ D.R. and DJ Skillz — combine forces to bring positive substance to the N.C. community.
 
RADIO REHAB creates an outlet of hip-hop culture through music, dance and the visual arts, by showcasing an international, national and local artist every month. 
 
Anyone craving a different flavor than what’s popularized in mainstream media is welcome at RADIO REHAB, where we’ve got something for your mind, body, and your soul!!!!

Join us every third Thursday of each month at the Neighborhood Theatre,
511 East 36th Street, in the Historic North Davidson area (NODA) of Charlotte, N.C. for priceless entertainment.

 

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Somebody Needs to Tell…Antonio Cromartie

GrownHeadz isn’t into stereotypes about athletes. Our publisher is a former football player and Resident Alien has a mean volleyball serve. But these last couple weeks, our professional brethren have been dumb-jocking it to an exceptional level. We love them, but today’s picks need an open-hand smack to the face and a good long talk on taking precautions. They’re not completely lost. Somebody just needs to tell ‘em.

Somebody needs to tell…
Antonio Cromartie about an awesome invention called condoms, so you don’t knock up every single footballer-balling groupie that sneaks into your hotel room.

If only Antonio ran the math: a $9 box of condoms (one for each kid) would’ve saved him $250,000 annually in child support.  
A quarter of 

a mill a year is fine (well, no, it REALLY isn’t) when you’re 26, but it’s not going to be pretty when you’re 40, retired, and all four of your current crop of 3-year-olds hit college.

Check out the clip of him struggling to get all their names right. He missed one altogether! Get it together and stop fucking up innocent kids’ lives.

Somebody Needs to Tell…

Ozzie Guillen that Miami doesn’t play by the rules (i.e. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendments, Free Speech, etc.) when it comes to Cuban Americans and Castro. They will set that ass on fire.

Ozzie Guillen pres conference
"Ooohhhh, shit."

The Miami Marlins manager told Time MAgazine, “I love Fidel Castro. A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that motherfucker is still here.”

Guillen caught himself and tried to dial it back from love to “respect,” but Miami wasn’t having it. He’s on a five-game suspension, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s beefed up his personal security either.

Only one thing can repair his career in Miami: starting every sentence from now on with “Fidel Castro is a son-of-a-bitch.”

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Charlotte Heads Name Their Top Female MCs

We polled heads at Radio Rehab, Charlotte’s monthly adult hip hop party, for their favorite female emcees of all time. Heavy weights MC Lyte, Latifah and Lauryn Hill topped the list, but we got a few curveballs thrown in that made us say, Oh yeah!

 

Competition was tight, with a number of 3- and 4-way ties, but the closer we got to No. 1, a single lady’s name came up again and again.

5. Monie Love / Lil’ Kim / Heather B / Ladybug
4. Mia X / Roxanne Shante / Rah Digga / Da Brat : Everyone needs to let off steam once in a while, and this category clearly fills that requirement. Whether at a party or about to get at somebody, these were the chicks to bump.
3. Bahamadia / Yo-Yo : Epic clash between East v. West, Conscious v. Gangster, Natural v. Extensions!!
2. Queen Latifah / Lauryn Hill : We like guidance and teachers for the No. 2 spot.
1. MC Lyte : You really thought it would be anyone else?

Agree or disagree? Who do you think should have made the cut?

 

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22 Female MCs You Need to Hear NOW

Artist: Dubelyoo society6.com

In no particular order, a round-up of hot bars that you need in rotation. Some are new, some older, all dope–and all ladies.

  1. Ra the MC – Victory Lap
  2. Jean Grae – Don’t Rush Me
  3. Narubi Selah – U Already Know
  4. Invincible – Sledgehammer
  5. Boog Brown – Friction
  6. Rapsody – Imagination
  7. Nikki Lynnette – The Strong Survive
  8. Psalm One- A Girl Named You
  9. Lady Luck / Remy Ma – Battle
  10. Nitti Scott – Tell Somebody
  11. Miki Vale – Black
  12. Eternia – Evidence
  13. AzItIz – Industry Influence
  14. Brianna – Rack City
  15. Rocky Rivera – Swagger Jackn
  16. Rogue Venom – Afterlife
  17. Master Mimz – Back down Mubarack
  18. Marz Lovejoy – Sticky
  19. Rita J- No Regrets
  20. Miz Korona – Pete Rock
  21. Queen Pen – Ghetto Divorce
  22. Apani B- A Million Eyes

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GrownHeadz + Radio Rehab Charlotte!!

Recognize the mothers and lovers of hip hop Thursday, March 15, when GrownHeadz and Radio Rehab partner to bring Charlotte a Tribute to Women’s History Month! Thursday, March 15 at Neighborhood Theater.

GrownHeadz will be in the building, with

  • Limited Edition GH T-Shirt contest
  • Video Q&A
  • Free GrownHeadz Mix CDs (Femcee Edition)

 

Come get some!!!

And if you don’t already, Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @GrownHeadz!

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