At the last Radio Rehab we asked folks to take a a moment and think back. What was the worst tape you ever bought. Keep in mind you GOTTA be grown if you remember buying tapes. They stopped putting albums on tapes around 2001-2002.
Yeaaaaaaaah Boyeeeeeee. Back cause you’re looking for the same thing. This is the first single off PE’s brand new album “Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp”. I tell folks all the time when they wanna say that hip hop is dead that more than a few off your heros (like PE) are still dropping albums. When they say Hip Hop doesn’t speak to them anymore I tell them that Chuck is still talking…ya just gotta listen.
Check the promo for the album “Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp”.
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.
“Mad technician / that loves to go fishing” – City Morgue, YZ’s Acid Rain, 1993
I like to fish. I think I’m pretty decent for a person who has no boat.
In every body of water I cast on, I try to read what the fish are doing, to understand the type of fish I am targeting. Where are they most likely located? What are they feeding on? Do I have a lure that mimics their prey? Can I cast where I need to?
All of this is not something you can just pick up on. It takes years of trial and error to become seasoned. It’s fitting, then, that my seasoning came from Louisiana.
I spent alotta time honing my skills in areas surrounding Jefferson Parish. I remember me and a bunch of kids from the neighborhood using thread, a broomstick, safety pins and bacon to catch gar out of the canals.
As we got older and our allowances started to increase, we started to save up and buy actual rods, reels and hooks. I was in middle school when I got my first Zebco 202 combo. I felt invincible. But as my skill and finesse increased, so did my need for better gear.
The better my gear, the better success I had on any body of water. By the time I hit High School, I was basically a pro (with no boat, sponsorship or notoriety). I had my gear, my lures and my bike.
I lived in Kenner my freshman year at East Jefferson. A canal was the border of the district between East Jefferson and Bonnabel High. My sophomore year, we moved across the canal but I continued attending EJ. Even though I had outgrown the canal, I would still sneak a peek looking for gar every time I crossed it.
The weekdays belonged to school and chores. The weekends were mine.
Depending on the weather and my ambition, I would spend time fishing in one of 3 places: Lafreneire Park, The Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain. Lafreneire Park was cool but it was small. It was a nice place to test yourself though.
The river has a serious current and all you are really promised out of there are catfish. I knew every carcinogen known to man was in there but I heard rumors of catfish the size of Volkswagen.
Pontchartrain was my best bet. The brackish water has the most potential. You could catch bass, but there are also redfish and specks. And everyone wants a big redfish at the end of their line. Although I mostly caught the dreaded hard head cat while there, the potential was the real draw to the location.
As I made that ride on my bike, I would start reciting rap songs to make my trip go by faster. I noticed that one song’s duration always seemed to be perfectly in sync with my riding time. And people wonder how I could like Todd Shaw.
I saw Too $hort open up for Public Enemy in the U.N.O. Lakefront Arena. It was him, a mic and his dancer. When he performed “Cuss Words”, he let the crowd participate in reciting the lyrics. I remember seeing a security guard falling out on the floor laughing when Mr. Shaw pointed the mic to the audience prompting them to finish the “corn on the cob” line.
I lived off of 25th and Illinois.
According to Google Maps, I was 2.8 miles away from the lake. That song is 7 minutes and 47 seconds long. That is about 2.78 miles per minute or 21.6 miles an hour. That’s a pretty decent pace on a bike.
Of course the land was flat. The only real obstacles were Veterans Blvd and W. Esplanade. Google says it will take 15 minutes by bike. I am not too sure about that. I know people that can run close to that pace. I am on my bike and I am on a mission and I am a non-smoking high school student with decent cardio.
By the time I was saying “Cuss words, just let em roll…,” I was near my destination.
But ain’t a “cussword” just a word?
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a darn,” would have left theater goers in a state of blah when they went to see Gone with the Wind. Instead, the good Christian people left the theater offended in many cases, because the word was so taboo.
That won’t happen today. The word has lost it’s bite. Some say Richard Pryor did the same thing with the ‘N’ word. Of course, Todd Shaw popularized the ‘B’ word (even stringing out the vowel sound to emphasize his point).
Bad words just don’t have that edge anymore because they are so commonplace. So are they still bad?
Language evolves just like my fishing equipment. In recent history, I bet many people would rather be called a female dog, Too $hort-style, than be called “Anti-American.”
In some parts of the country, being called an “atheist” or a “socialist” is almost like being called the N word during the ’60s. In a few years, things will change.
Hopefully, I will see a time when people being called “Christian” or “Republican” will urge them to be embarrassed or offended enough to want to trade blows.
Crew Grrl Order opened up for Public Enemy’s Charlotte appearance this Sunday, to a receptive crowd of about four hundred at Amos’s South End. The trio had pounds of energy and stage presence, kicking off the set with “She Don’t Play That.” They kept the energy going despite sometimes muted mics and dense rhymes that were hard for the crowd to appreciate live.
For my first experience seeing them in concert, I plan to follow them and buy the download. I really hope to see them flourish, especially after this national tour promoting their newest album, “All Bets Off.”
And I pray they avoid 3 classic follies of b-girl groups.
1) Static styles. Andre was always the more reflective, off-beat foil to Big Boi’s bouncing, persona-driven rhymes. Busta had the element of surprise down to a science. It’s good for rap partners to be distinguishable from each other on a track. But when the roles are super clearly defined (“You’re the streets. You’re the scholar,”), it can hurt the group’s creativity and make everything sound too scripted.
2) Where’s the beats? Fiery lyrics and political challenges aside, a song has to bump to get fans on board. Or immediately convey a mood. Cut corners everywhere else, but production. That’s the holy grail, y’all, and one place girl groups — with the exception of Salt N Pepa — have traditionally been lacking.
3) Frank and Earnest. The genius of TLC is that they weren’t scared to get goofy. They defied both the super sexy and the queen mother wisdom pigeon holes of ’90s female performers. This openness looked fearless and free. It was more powerful than an army of dour ladies in African garb rapping about the Middle Passage, or spandex-clad pimpstresses talking about whose man they could take. A little bit of humor and play go further toward establishing an honest connection with fans than all the messaging in the world.
Here’s hoping Crew Grrl Order continues the positive trend and encourages more women to get on the mic. Keep an eye out for the upcoming GrownHeadz exclusive interview. Peace!
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.
5 Things You Don’t Hear on Hip Hop Albums Any More
As grownheads, we always seem to be whining about the good ole days: How everything was just golden in the Golden Era of hip hop. According to our own Hip Hop Purist, NOTHING is better in these modern times. Well, We won’t go that far, but a few things have changed. These are just some things you never hear on rap records anymore. Hot or not, they get us a little sentimental…
5. Rock Songs
In ’83, Run-DMC hit with ‘Rock Box’ and got some MTV play, back when NO black artist could get ANY light on MTV. Then the Beastie Boys blew up all over the place with ‘Fight For Your Right To Party.’ After that, every rapper (or their A&R) made it their business to drop a rock song on the album. LL had ‘You’ll Rock’ and ‘Cut Creator Go’ (a remake of ‘Johnny B. Goode’ by Chuck Berry). Boogie Down Productions had ‘Ya Slippin.’ And Public Enemy always had rock songs on their albums, even going so far to remake ‘Bring the Noise’ with Anthrax. We could go on and on; there are just too many to name. What’s tripped out is that lots of these songs were such straight-up rock records that if they lost the verse, they’d have been right at home on any metalhead’s playlist.
4. House Songs
First there was Jack, and Jack had a groove… Once upon a time, house music was played outside of just Detroit, Chicago, New York and Miami. At one time, house was loved by the masses, and not just those who lived near big cities or were gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that—we’re not homophobic in the least, in fact we love what the gays have done with design and brunch). Heads were no different. We got our house on, and when the Jungle Brothers put out ‘Girl I’ll House You,’ it was like somebody got chocolate in the peanut butter. Everybody followed suit. Chicago even developed a sub-genre called Hip-House with stars like Fast Eddie and Mr. Lee (and I used to rock THE HELL out of them at parties), and hip hop artists made “one for the club” on the regular. Queen Latifah had ‘Come Into My House’ and Craig G did ‘Turn This House Into a Home,’ but my personal favorite was 2 Live Crew’s “Get the F*#CK out of My House.”
3. Love Songs
Nowadays, love in hip hop is relegated to songs about your momma or dead homie, but back in the day before we got so ‘hard,’ the narrative used to go a little something like this: Rapper meets girl. Rapper lays down his rap. Girl can’t resist. They fall in love. Rapper then makes a song about said loving feelings. LL dropped ‘I Can Give You More’ and the classic ‘I Need Love,’ Heavy D did ‘Somebody For Me,’ Whodini had ‘One Love’ and Pete Rock and CL Smooth gave us ‘Lots of Lovin.’ There are lots more, but you get it. Most of these songs had an element of sensuality but managed to keep the focus on the emotional connection—something even R&B seems to have lost touch with.
2. Give the DJ Some
As the Lyricist gradually took the lead among hip-hop’s Four Pillars, b-boys and graf artists—always on the second tier—lost some prominence. But the DJ, as keeper of the wax, used to have a more equal standing. In earlier times, every rap album had a song shouting out the man behind the wheels of steel. Starting with Grandmaster Flash, some of rap’s hottest hits were about the DJ, and Jam Master Jay, Eric B, Jazzy Jeff and DJ Premier were some of the biggest stars. With the advent of multi-producer albums, many modern performers don’t even have a regular DJ to big up.
1. No Collabos
Remember when the only person on an album was the guy or gal whose picture was on the front? It was such a quaint idea: expecting a rapper to show and prove, solely on their own skill. Now NOBODY does a record alone. With all the cross-promotion and trying to put the crew on, there’s barely any room for the actual artist on his or her own record. I mean, it was a big deal when the Sugar Hill Gang and the Furious 5 appeared on the same record, but today it would barely make a bleep. The first time this phenomenon really annoyed me was on ‘Doggy Style.’ It just irked the hell out of me that I had to listen to the substandard Dogg Pound take up Snoop’s valuable mic time.
Hey ain’t nuthin wrong with some PE. I can appreciate Joel’s love of Public Enemy and Luke Cage, Powerman but if your gonna cover Public Enemy call some friends, turn up the amps, kick up the volume and let it rock. Check out his cover of PE’s You’re Gonna Get Yours from their first album Yo! Bum Rush The Show (3:47)
By the way here’s the original YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAH BOYEEEEEEEEE
VH1 Pays Homage to 25 Years of Def Jam Records in Its Sixth Year Celebration of ‘VH1 Hip Hop Honors 2009’
VH1’s Hip Hop Honors 2009 celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Def Jam in a show filled with the stars of this venerable label, as well as funny, painful and inspiring stories from its most renowned creators. Hosting for the third time is “’30 Rock’s” Tracy Morgan. This year, the music, the influence and the artists from Def Jam’s history past and present will be recognized through performances in collaboration with some of today’s hottest talent. Generations of hip hop will bridge the gap for one exceptional night to set it off with the original style and flavor that sparked and inspired the evolution of this now global music phenomenon. Previous celebrations have honored hip hop luminaries who broke new ground and propelled the genre into the true cultural phenomenon that it has become. Last year’s honorees included Cypress Hill, De La Soul, Naughty by Nature, Slick Rick and Too $hort. Additional talent will be announced as it is confirmed.
VH1’s Hip Hop Honors 2009 is the first time that the show has honored a record label. For 25 years, Def Jam created the stars that pushed hip hop culture forward, including LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Kanye West, Slick Rick, Rick Ross and Rihanna. The men behind the scenes are as legendary as its artists, including Rick Rubin, Russell Simmons, LA Reid and Jay Z. The Def Jam brand didn’t just innovate in music, it also launched a breakthrough comedy show (Def Comedy Jam), a dynamic spoken-word showcase (Def Poetry Jam), and set trends in fashion, film and advertising. Def Jam led a cultural movement that changed the world.
“It is impossible to pay tribute to the best in hip hop without recognizing Def Jam Records. Throughout the years VH1 has honored numerous artists from the Def Jam label, but due to the magnificent impact that Def Jam as a company has made on not only hip hop culture but pop culture as a whole, we thought they definitely deserved the opportunity to be honored,” says Lee Rolontz, EVP of Music Production.
The music event will tape from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York, and air on VH1 on Tuesday, October 13 at 9 PM ET/PT.
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.