A few months back we did an interview with rapper Quinten (straight outta Portland!). Its an interesting discussion about being an adult in this hip hop game and why do it for the love. Check out his favorite cuts from his mixtape L.I.F.E. after the interview.
If you read the Root on a regular basis you might have checked this one out a few weeks ago. Thomas Chatterton Williams opines that all those gangasta rappers are really Republicans. We all know gangasta just love their guns, it seems most don’t really have positive things to say about homosexuals and as Williams points out.
“Even the hardest, most cartoonish thug-rapper moving kilos of yayo by day before “ménaging” with gold-digging groupies at night seems compelled to profess belief in a personal and interventionist God. (Think of anyone from DMX to Mase to Lil Wayne, who reads the Bible in jail; Kanye West, who came into the game with the hit single “Jesus Walks”; Master P, who has wondered on wax whether “G’s get to go to heaven,” as did Tupac; and the ex-Bad Boy Loon, who recently turned fundamentalist Muslim.) An adamantly atheist rap star is as inconceivable as an openly gay one, and the fact is, that puts hip-hop comfortably in GOP territory.”
Now all this is a nice mental exercise but I doubt most rappers will consider GOP membership. Although Eazy-E was famously invited and actually attended a Grand Ole Party fundraiser out in Callie back in the day. He got the invite based soley on his zip code. The Repubs figured anybody living where Eazy was living HAD to be down with the GOP. But Williams does make a rather valid point near the end
“There is a reason the hip-hop generations have never produced a Huey Newton or a Malcolm X. Hip-hop — when it transcends the gutter and goes beyond the streets — doesn’t want to overthrow the system; on the contrary, it wants desperately and at any cost (“Get Rich or Die Tryin'”) to join it.”
Sad to say, on this count he might be right. Check here for the entire story.
5 Rap Acts Who Belong in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame
GrownHeadz, ever ahead of the curve, created this very special Hot 5 months before Run-DMC’s induction into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Still, out of respect we decided to keep them on the list, as well as fellow honorees Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The rest of the rappers and groups named here haven’t gotten the invite yet, but they damn sure deserve one.
Run-DMC (inducted 2009)
No question, for these guys, the honor was long overdue. Run-DMC has true rock credentials. Three of their biggest hits were rock records: Rock Box, King of Rock, and Walk this Way. In fact, their second album King of Rock featured rock songs almost exclusively. Besides, Run-DMC, more than any other group, was responsible for hip-hop’s dominance of music in the 21st century. But we already discussed this before.
Grandmaster Flash & Furious Five (inducted 2007)
Initially, I was one of many who questioned Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s induction into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Don’t get me wrong, they were innovative, considered at one time the best in the field, and they made history when The Message went platinum in 1982. All that’s good enough for the Hip Hop Hall of Fame; I just didn’t think it was far-reaching enough for the Rock Hall. But the Hall of Fame has been good at picking artists who are the foundations upon which the city is built. Some early inductees into the Rock Hall like Louie Jordan, Smokey Robinson, and James Brown are not considered “rock” acts, but provided a basis for many rock acts who followed. In that case, of all the early innovators of hip-hop, GMF & FF definitely fit the bill. Plus, when they released The Message it put EVERYBODY (including other rappers) on notice that hip-hop was more than just party music.
The Beastie Boys
Beastie Boys do not get a free pass into the Rock Hall of Fame because they are white. They get in because they truly blazed a trail in hip-hop. They have gone from frat boy anthems (Fight For Your to Party) to headlining concerts that highlight China’s human rights abuses in Tibet. Along with rock-oriented rap hits, Beasties went all the way back to their punk rock roots and busted out live instrumentation on a few of their albums, like Check Your Head and Ill Communication. And, lest we forget, Sabotage is basically them singing (bless their hearts).
Why PE? The better question is Why Not? Their first, second and third albums pioneered the “Wall of Sound” technique, and featured straight-up rock songs like Sophisticated Bitch and Channel Zero. With all the screeches, sirens and dozens of samples per song, a PE album demanded to be played at 11. Add in Chuck’s BOOMING flow and you have rap that is most transferable to rock. Bring The Noise lost not an ounce of credibility or funk as a rock remake. Furthermore, PE travels with a full band to supplement their sound on the road. One journalist jokingly wrote that Public Enemy was trying to be the Rolling Stones of hip-hop. Well, with both Chuck and Flav pushing 50, still putting out records and selling out shows, they just might do it.
Sex, Dugs and Rock n Roll. In terms of pure rock attitude, NWA was as hard as it got. When your favorite band scares your parents shitless, is under FBI surveillance and continues performing despite obscenity fines, you know they just don’t give a fuck—and you love them for it. Second only to PE in rebelling against authority, they were the Rolling Stones (bad boys sexing everything in sight) to PE’s Beatles (clean-cut good guys). And if you look at the line up, it’s pretty extraordinary. They had Dr. Dre long before he was hailed as one of the best producers of all time, Ice Cube, one of the top lyricists ever (though MC Ren was no slouch), and Eazy E, one of the first artist/label owners in hip-hop, whose label signed some classic artists (DOC, Bone Thugs n Harmony). If NWA were inducted, it would acknowledge one of music’s greatest beatmakers, rappers, and entrepreneurs all in one swoop.
Once labeled the world’s most dangerous band, NWA (or Niggaz with Attitude) were the seminal gangsta rap act in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Although banned from mainstream radio, they still managed to sell over 9 million records from 1986 to 1991. Their first record set the tone, but it was 1988’s Straight Outta Compton’s portrayal of the violence of gang life in Los Angeles that broke them wide open.
The controversy around the track, “F*ck tha Police,” even generated a direct, personal response from an assistant FBI director to the band’s label, Ruthless Records, and resulted in local police refusing to provide security for NWA shows. Not content with taking on the cops, the establishment and anyone else who got in their way, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella didn’t hesitate to take on each other with equal brutality when NWA started to fall apart.
Read on to see how the carnage and the aftermath impacted the careers of each NWA member.
aka Eric Lynn Wright
Born in Compton, California, Eazy-E allegedly used the money he earned dealing to kick-start Ruthless Records. Originally, he intended to be the man behind the bands, but when he found himself behind the mic rapping Ice Cube’s “Boyz-n-the-Hood,” NWA was born. Soon enough, he also found himself at odds with the band for “borrowing” money from them without actually telling them.
When the band started to fall apart the feud grew ever more bitter, Eazy, Ice Cube and Dre traded insults, threats and innuendo on record, taking increasingly brutal pot shots at each other.
What he did after NWA: Though his first solo record, 1988’s Eazy-Duz-It, went two-times platinum, Eazy’s solo career was short-lived. He died of AIDS in March 1995, but his legacy is lasting: Two of his posthumous solo records released in 1995 did very well, and Eazy has been honored in numerous songs and performances by fellow artists, as well as in a documentary by his son. Compton, California, also commemorates the rapper on Eazy-E Day, which is celebrated annually on April 7th.
Bet you didn’t know: Eazy-E is the inspiration for the character of Lance Ryder Wilson, from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
MC Ren (1986-1991)
aka Lorenzo Jerald Patterson
Born in Compton, California, MC Ren was alternately known as The Ruthless Villain and The Villain in Black. Contributing vocals to Straight Outta Compton, Ren joined NWA right out of high school. When Ice Cube left, Ren found himself playing a bigger role within the group, and hung on until the bitter end when NWA disbanded in 1991.
What he did after NWA: Ren stuck with Eazy after the split and released his first solo record in 1992, Kizz My Black Azz. With little in the way of promotion or radio, the debut went platinum — a true testament to Ren’s underrated skills on the mic. He made a stab at film production with the straight-to-DVD Lost in the Game (2004), and worked on a second record, Shock of the Hour (1993). Two more records followed, but none were as successful as the first. Still Ren is highly respected by other rappers and has appeared on a variety of records by other artists, like Ice Cube, The D.O.C, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, and others.
What he’s doing now: MC Ren is said to have retired, but he appeared on Public Enemy’s Rebirth of a Nation in 2006, and is rumored to be recording with a new group called Concrete Criminals.
Bet you didn’t know: Ren wears a half-moon ring on his right hand to symbolize the changes he’s made in his life.
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