Dick Gregory passed last night according to his family he was 84. I saw Dick Gregory in concert about 2 years ago in Charlotte. He was on TOP of his game. Funny and insightful. In this time of Trump he will be missed.
Maaaaan I watched live as Trump went off the rails today. I was just gonna tune into MSNBC when I realized my regularly scheduled program had been interrupted by “You Know Who”. I just wish I had some popcorn. I don’t work in politics but DAMN SON! Even I know not to say THAT. I assume you’ve seen it. ANYway I was on twitter watching the “shock and awe” when I came across this tweet from Joy Reid, its a quote from Octavia Butler. After watching 45 last week and this week I think it”s so appropriate.
“Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.”
Once again back it’s the incredible- -Public Enemy
November 8, 2008, a truly historic date in the United States. The first African American President was elected. Ghettos cheered, impromptu parades broke out, block parties sprung up and a whole bunch of us just cried. Aww yes, it was a truly glorious time to be alive, If you were black.
Fast forward. Exactly 8 years later BAM! Wake up fools! The good ole U, S of A that you were used to has made a comeback. No need to replay the events. We all woke up and Barack Obama had been replaced with Donald Trump. If Barack was a New Hope we can see this time around The Empire Strikes Back.
After 8 blissful years of a man who is destined to be on every black person’s wall next to MLK, we have hit the sunken place. Because of this, we here at GHz HQ have decided it’s time to dust off the keyboards, hook up the DJ equipment, and reactivate all agents that had gone dark. With the Obama years behind us and at least 4 more years of YOU KNOW WHO Grownheadz is getting the band back together …sorta.
Folks have gotten older and time is a little harder to come by. Some of the band ain’t down for playing gigs anymore and some members well, let’s just say it’s complicated. ANYway we are going to start slow and build. All are old stuff is still sitting here in the archives for your perusal. In fact, we’ll probably pull some things out ourselves. There will be less written content and more of an emphasis on music for the adult hip hop fan. K-Rocka aka DJ Rock Major has a whole crew of DJ’s ready to post their mixes for your listening pleasure. And the rest of us are already scouring the interwebs for new music to post. So join us if you will as we do it one mo gin for the culture. Welcome (back) to Grownheadz.com
You know when you’re watching some really extra crime on the news, and you have that split-second hope that it’s not a black guy?
Well, all too often for the last couple years, DJ A-See and I will be nodding along to a dope new lyricist and find ourselves hoping it is a black guy.
Somebody’s got to say it: white rappers are really bringing their A-game, and black rappers… well, I’m not saying we’re pulling a Custer, but we need to get our weight up. (Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of History Channel lately.)
Over half the new rappers that make me lean forward and say, “that’s kinda nice” are white dudes now. There are still incredible black rappers, but they get shouted over by locust swarms of video-lifestyle rappers. How many ways can you talk about partying, drinking and making paper? Fuck it, it’s BORING.
Whereas, white rappers like Yelawolf, Invincible, Surreal, Atmosphere, Eternia, Brother Ali, even MGK, are bringing a diversified flow set, nice lines, strong concepts. And why?
Vanilla Ice. To The Extreme is the soundtrack of their nightmares. Vanilla’s pale, dreadlocked face wakes them up in the middle of the night, driving them to the pen and pad. It’s a legacy of whackness that has been motivating white rappers to do better for the last 20 years. As successful as he was, no one wants to be the next Vanilla Ice.
Among black rappers, on the other hand, about a jillion wannabes are praying through gold grills to be the next Waka. They don’t care about the effect all this bad music is having on hip hop culture, because they don’t care about the culture as a whole. They just care about peddling the most inane, unchallenging, hookiest trash lyrics to as many people as possible.
So the ghost of Vanilla Ice is fueling a lifeline of good hip hop: independent, creative and insightful, that may keep us going until we make it to the next Golden Era. Unless—God Forbid—we’re already there
Well after an extended stay in the land of triflin and procrastination we here at GHz are back on the grind. Just when you thought the adults had left the buildng. BOOM guess who steps in the room. We have made a vow to be moe on it in 2012. Please hold us to it. Let us begin…..
Far from Krypton: Would You Look Up to Yourself As a Kid?
“Contrast Bohemia to my workplace” – Busdriver
A long time ago, when we were in our late 20s, me and my potna Neil were on one of our many walking excursions around town. He mentioned that he was not living up to his own expectations. I asked him what he meant. He told me that when he was a kid, he knew he would be a superhero by now, and he just did not see THAT happening any time in the near future.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? Being the adult that the child we use to be wanted us to be?
Maybe this is why I spend so much time thinking about my younger years. Back then, I was Playdoh slowly taking the shape of who I am via the experiences I chose to live. Now that I sit behind a computer in some nameless corporate office eight hours a day, I think I owe it to myself to reminisce from time to time.
Back in college, I use to hang around the hip hoppers. Humans have a way of grouping themselves. Like-minded people tend to create enemies of people who think differently. Many times this brings about group cohesion. But as the group grows, splinter groups form. So even amongst the hip hoppers, there were subgroups. I found myself hanging with the bummy, nerdy, argumentative, artsy fartsy subgroup. We would debate for the sake of the debate. We would poke fun at the pretty boy hip hoppers (as I am sure they made fun of us). Our hip hop standards were extremely high. We tolerated no bs music in any form.
So one day, the homie Cosmo got a shipment of tapes from one of his homies on the West Coast. I remember seeing the trademark Eligh rendition of the Eye of Horus, HAND DRAWN (!!) on one of those tapes. But the tape that made the most noise in my subgroup was coMURShal.
The quality was horrible, but it was still dubbed and redubbed to the point where the hiss and static were louder than the beats and lyrics on some parts. Eligh and Scarub had the style, MURS had the content. We even found time to argue about different aspects of the songs we liked so much.
Then, the homie Thomas got a hold of an online tape catalog (http://www.truehiphop.com/atak/) advertising a new MURS tape. He promptly ordered it and soon after, F’REAL came in the mail. The quality was still terrible, but it was the original terrible. Plus, we got the liner notes, which had been hand-cut at Kinko’s, and the blue cassette alluding to a certain gang affiliation. The name of the work rang true on so many levels.
Thomas gave it a listen in his dorm room. He then gave it to me to listen to one fateful weekend in my apartment. I was all too familiar with the sophomore slump, so I did not really take it seriously. I put it in the cassette player and let it be the ambient music for hanging out with the first woman I ever loved that weekend.
As the sun peeked through the blinds of the large, energy wasting, plexiglass windows of my apartment, F’REAL was still playing as we woke up. As fate would have it, we both actually started listening to his words when “The Jerry Maguire Song” came on. Our eyes widened as the lyrics of that first verse sunk in. Our first words of that day had something to do with rewinding that song.
“Now most of us could waste a whole lifetime doin shit we don’t believe in/ So I’m retrievin words of gold to expose my soul/ On the sheets, combined with the beat, a song, complete, to compete/ Nah, cause most of y’all won’t understand it/ Takin this existence for granted/ Never goin after what you really want cause you ain’t got the heart/ So your life never starts to have meaning/ Fiending for somethin to fill that void, annoyed/ With the surroundings you picked ‘cause they don’t seem to fit your person/ Rehearsin what they said would make you happy/ Until you realized one day, ‘Damn they trapped me’/ But who are they anyway? To tell you how to live/ A college degree, then a career, the only decent way to raise kids/ But I disagree, see I wasn’t put here to make a living/ My living makes me, so even if it takes me a lifetime/ I’ma write rhymes that I feel/ Some shit for when I’m fired, that shit for when I’m chilled/ And even if I never make that ticket to a meal/ I’ll still be a success cause my purpose will have been filled.”
Moments like that leave an impact. Songs like that leave an impact. Even as I sit in my nameless corporate office, feeling the Playdoh I am composed of harden into the shape of something far from a super hero…
Finally RIAA is growing up–not acting like complete and utter jerks that hinder the growth and innovation of music distribution–and working with music services to get people the music they want to hear when and how they want to hear it, without having to resort to, ahem, other methods.
Here are three music services that you should be checking out that are legal and free:
Pandora How It Works:
This online music service has been around for awhile. You plug in a musician or a song that you like and, through some scientific computer algorithm hocus pocus, the service finds similar music and sets up a playlist, called a station. You can “thumbs up” the music you like so that the results are even more refined to your tastes, or give it a “thumbs down” and never hear that song again. You can (theoretically) set up an infinite number of stations, for all your music moods.
Why Use It:
It’s a great way to discover new music and you don’t have to worry about queuing up songs. It can just play with no interaction from you.
Turntable.fm How It Works:
You enter a room (think chat rooms, like back in the day) which usually has a theme and either listen or step up and DJ. There are up to 5 DJs per room. You can upload your own music or grab stuff to stream from the library. As a listener you can “awesome” music which gives the current DJ points and access to more goodies. You can also “lame” music, and if enough people lame a song, it’s skipped. If a DJ gets too many skips, they’re booted off the stage.
Why Use It:
Turntable allows you to interact with other people in the room, giving it the best real-time social experience of all three music services.
Spotify How It Works:
It’s almost like iTunes, except everything is streamed. On the free version, you can pretty much listen to whatever you want when you want to.
Why Use It:
It’s been in Europe for a while, and was just introduced here in the US. People have been salivating over this thing like nobody’s business. So sign up to be one of the cool kids. It’s the closest you can get to a subscription service, and the paid version is available on a bunch of different devices. You can also share and listen to other people’s playlists.
We’re not taking a whole lotta time off, just a few days. But we’ll be back on it by Monday. BTW for all the Charlotte Grownheadz, we’ll see y’all at Late Movie Friday. This week we’re showing Slam. Peace (for now).