During the last Radio Rehab we asked a simple qustion “Which rappers do you think would do good on Jeopardy”. You can get in on the fun too. The next Radio Rehab is Thursday July 19 at the Neighborhood Theater. Check the Radio Rehab Charlotte website here for more info
Hot 5: Rappers with Too Much Posse
Rappers, like any other stars, have to have an entourage. When you roll up all by yourself with no boys, no crew and no security, a rapper just looks…lonely. So having a few people roll with you is not unheard of. But where do you draw the line? We here at GHz are calling out the rappers who went overboard, with 2 DJs, 12 video girls, 2 hype men, a symphony orchestra and 5 square blocks worth of homeboys.
Ah yes, Kwame. The man responsible for making polka dot pants acceptable club attire has yet another crime to answer for. Kwame was hot when he was hot, but for a solo rapper he had far more folks than he needed in the posse department. Besides the DJ and the dancers, there’s the tall girl Tasha who sang a few hooks and REALLY didn’t need to roll to the shows. As for the cute shorty? Far as we know, she never did ANYthing in the videos, on record or otherwise.
Everyday People got a LOT of play back in ’93, and Tennessee might actually be a hip hop classic. But Arrested Development was definitely rolling too deep. It takes a village to raise a child, not cut a record. OK, to break it down: Speech rapped, Dionne Farris sang…sometimes, Headliner was the DJ, thick girl did the whole interpretive dance thang, and about thirty-five various and assorted dreds just bobbed their heads to the beat. The topper was Baba Oje, the old dude who NEVER said anything anywhere. He may have been acting as a chaperone on tour (or he could’ve been first in line for the conscious love trains), but if he demanded a cut of the proceeds it’s easy to see why the group splintered over creative differences.
All right, quick test: Name the rappers in DU. Shock G/Humpty Hump, Money B, and, uhhh…yeah, us too. Before you start yelling about 2Pac, remember he started off as a dancer and only rapped on ‘Same Song’ before going solo. I’m a Dj and even I don’t know who Digital Underground’s DJ was. Much less any dancer (‘cept 2pac), and I actually think there was a third rapper in the group. We just don’t feel like looking it up. Plus we don’t really care, do you?
Boogie Down Productions
Let us be the first to say we luuuv us some BDP. Kris is still putting out quality music right now. But in their heyday, KRS wasn’t exaggerating when he said “My posse from the Bronx is THICK.” At one point, BDP boasted D-Nice, Kenny Parker, ICU, Scotty Morris, Ms. Melody, Harmonie, Mad Lion, DJ Red Alert, et al ad nauseum. Keep in mind that after their debut album, Criminal Minded, NOBODY else ever said anything on record except KRS. Now they were all in the video, and BDP originated the “way too many people on stage with mics for no reason” shtick long before Wu-Tang bit. Thankfully, Kris woke up in ‘93 with his first “solo” album, ‘Return of the Boom Bap.’ He rolls pretty much crewless to this day.
Do we really have to run the details on this? It’s a story everybody knows. Hit records, cross-over fame, more dancers than the queen-to-be scene in Coming to America, bankruptcy. But just to kick a dead horse when it’s down, take a look at the photo . Nuff said.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Public Enemy and X-Clan. X-Clan actually may have rolled with the Blackwatch Movement crew at ALL times, for reasons unknown but fun to speculate.
PE STILLS rolls deep. Besides the S1W’s and Griff, they added a band. While you don’t need much past Chuck, Flav and DJ Lord (Terminator X is allegedly raising ostriches in North Carolina), the S1W’s at least add to the spectacle, and the live band turns the performance up a couple notches, so they get a pass from this list.
Boogie Down Productions
– My Philosophy
Affirmation of the Day:
I am so versatile and have range
So you have your foundation down; what do you do next? Diversify while keeping a core element that allows people to know it’s still you. My example is around what I learned with having a good fit with my clothes. I let that and the fact that the Ambassador Bruny brand is a classic one serve as a base. I added my bow tie as my signature look and we build everything else around those elements (still a work in progress by the way). Maybe fashion is not your thing; that’s okay. It’s just a metaphor for all of life.
You may be asking, “How do I apply this to my work or school life?” Great question and here are a couple of suggestions for you:
Keep your foundation which can act as an anchor for who you really are.
As things change, including yourself, you need to be able to learn new skills in order to adapt Exposure, Exposure, Exposure. Get out there and see and experience new things. It allows you to create things that others with limited exposure cannot fathom
Question of the Day:
How has versatility been an asset to you?
Action of the Day:
None for today.
Run the Point, from where you are, with what you have!
Mike Bruny is a certified professional life coach and author, helping ambitious professionals gain clarity for life/career decisions. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His book “Move the Crowd: 30 Days of Hip Hop Affirmations to Change Your Life.” is availible at www.Amazon.com. http://tinyurl.com/movethecrowd
Female MC Narubi Selah Could Save Hip Hop
First off, I know that’s a big claim. Narubi Selah is a newcomer to the hip hop scene, with only one album under her belt and far more poetry bonafides than tracks.
But she has the same number of hip hop albums as the (in)famous Ms. Hill, who as the most universally lauded female MC she’s bound to draw comparisons to. Like Lauryn, Narubi hails from New Jersey, and has a similarly raspy, lower-register voice. But Narubi is no clone.
On her debut album “I AM Living Math,” she annihilates each and every track with dope delivery, clever wordplay and an intent behind her lyrics as potent as a bullet to your brain. She aims to take you higher.
The girl spits burning embers on tracks like “Birdee” and “Living Math,” unapologetically gutting jokers of both genders with ease, while not compromising the lessons in self reflection and nation-building contained in the songs. It’s really no surprise to learn she maintains her secret identity as a teacher.
Narubi Selah also comes with some pretty impressive names behind her. Prior to her 2008 debut on Def Poetry Jam, she performed with KRS One, Lauryn Hill, Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers, and Styles P.
After hearing her perform at the 2001 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, former Editor in Chief Susan Taylor said “Her words could save our nation.” Narubi’s debut performance in the independent film, “What Goes Around” won the film the Best Urban Feature Film Award at the 2004 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
She’s also written and starred in her own ninety-minute play, “The Classifieds,” which premiered at the Nuyorican Poets Café. And The National Education Dance Institute sponsored her educational play “Free Your Rhyme,” in conjunction with the Trenton Dance Institute.
Hopefully we’ll hear more from Narubi Selah in the coming months. Meanwhile, cop Living Math. I’m already calling it a contender for Album of the Year.
EDITORS NOTE – We usually don’t like to make this into a review but Resident Alien just loooooooved the album so much we didn’t have a choice by the way, 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.
Y’all remember Santa’s Rap from Beatstreet? Well here’s the update courtesy of Nike. We don’t know how we missed this but we still thought it was kinda nice. It’s a 3-parter we’re not sure who they got to do Blitzen, but WE KNOW you’ll know who is doing Santa.
Part 2 (we think the best one)
January is winding down and we here at GrownHeadz realize that everybody else has already published their lists of hopes, dreams and ‘can’t-wait-for’s for 2010. But missing firsties has never stopped us before.
Our Christmas cards routinely arrive around Martin Luther King Day — we buy afrocentric ones to hedge our bets (they’re going out this weekend, mom, promise). So embracing the spirit of procrastination, we proudly present the last post to welcome in the New Year:
Hip Hop Wishlist for 2010
5. Real Death of Auto-Tune
We remember a time, not so long ago, when a rapper would get his boy from the block who can “sang” to do the hook on his song. Think TJ Swann with the Juice Crew, or the man who took it to the next level, spawning multiple hits and an imitator or two, Nate Dogg. No gimmicks, no hook ups, just one man, one mic and usually, only one note but we aren’t getting into that right now.
With the popularization of Auto-Tune, EVERYBODY is unleashing their inner Al B. Sure (not even close to being a compliment). Enough is enough. We’re not saying we want to see T-Pain’s kids in the poor house or anything, but we’ve been checking our clocks and that trend should be hitting the 15-minute mark any time now.
4. Positive Paradigm Shift
Alright let me get my grownhead, grown up rant on for a second. Can some rapper somewhere please, PUH-leeeze have a huge street/radio hit talking about something positive? Better yet, can two or three artists have big street/radio hits on some non-gangsta, non-clubbin, non-materialistic subject matter?
It doesn’t have to be an anthem, just be something we can really feel. Let it blow big enough that the labels and powers that be run out and try to find more rappers like that. And that the artists have good lawyers.
3. Adult Hip Hop Radio Station
All the kids who used to bump Run-DMC, the Fatboys and Whodini and now have kids of their own, stand up.
Alright, sit your big ass down, but I made my point: Us grownheads are all growed up now and in a prime demographic that advertisers like. Once some smart radio jock figures this out and spins hip hop from 1984 to 1996 exclusively, they will rule the adult urban market in their city.
2. Dope Female MC Catches Fire
We’re not asking for much, just for a female emcee to bust above ground who’s so brolic she’s undeniable. You know, like the first time you heard Em and thought, damn, whiteboy can flow. It’s been a long time since a dope female had a hit.
Back in ’92, there were actually enough female emcees to have their own concert festival. You may recall ‘Sisters In The Name of Rap,’ hosted by Dee Barnes and featuring Yo-yo, Lyte, Latifah, Salt N Pepa, Roxanne Shante, and about 20 other lesser-known rappers. Our own Resident Alien won a copy from Black Beat. But now? They can’t get enough ladies together onstage to give away a Grammy. The culture is suffering from the lack of female perspectives, and young girls need lyrical champions, too.
1. Strong MC from the Freshman Class
B.O.B, Kid Cudi, Asher Roth, Wale, Drake, Jay Electronica. Throughout 2009, this was the shortlist circulating on the interwebs for the Next Big Thing: the few, the proud, the fresh who would carry hip hop into a new age.
Several of the gents, like Asher and Cudi, dropped B- projects; the albums were decent, but their success rested mainly on one hot song. Wale and B.O.B. promise more brilliance than they actually deliver, and half of Drake’s appeal is just from being so out of left field. C’mon, ‘Degrassi Jr. High?’ Only Jay Electronica hits that heart, despite no major release.
We understand that it’s hard to live up to the hype, but when talking about game changers, WE think names like Rakim, Snoop Dog, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy. Things weren’t the same once they dropped, and their songs became classics.
The new cats got a few nice songs, but we can’t really picture a 20th anniversary release of “Day and Night.” But I guess we shouldn’t judge too harshly. On the strength of their first releases, we might have misgauged PE, BDP and the Fugees’ skills, too. Keep hope alive.
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.
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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