Tag Archives: tupac

Hot 5: 5 Rappers with TOO, TOO, TOO Much Posse

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.

Kwame and
the New Beginning

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. 

Arrested Development

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.

Digital Underground

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.

MC Hammer

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.


Honorable Mentions: 
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. 


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IMO: 19 Again

EDITOR’ S NOTE – This post is actually a comment we got about Gods’Illa’s single, You Don’t Have To Be A Star.  The comment was so insightful that we wanted to make sure everybody had a chance to read it.  BIG shout out to seanzbrother; glad to have brought you some music that reminds you why you STILL love hip hop.

From seanzbrother:

Not too long ago, I was watching ‘Tupac Resurrection’ with my 16-year-old son. I pointed out, when they showed clips of Black Panther and SNCC activities, that young people were always catalysts for change in our communities.

Although my generation benefited from the struggles of the 60′s and 70′s, we were children of the 80′s. Our revolution was televised. We expressed our activism, our culture, our frustrations, and our dreams through the music and art of hip-hop culture.

Those who were there know what crack did to the Black communities of NYC during the 1980′s. Hip-hop’s heroes like Tupac, and Sister Souljah, broadcast the daily triumphs and struggle of a youth that felt voiceless. For that reason, we loved ‘Pac as we loved Hip-Hop.

As an adult now, I miss Hip-Hop. I miss Hip-Hop that truthfully conveys the beauty of the Black community; a beauty that shines through, despite the best efforts of those who foolishly presume to wield power. I want to thank Gods’ Illa for ‘You Don’t Have To Be A Star’. I mean, I’m definitely gettin’ my grown man on. But that true love has a way of making you feel nineteen again. Peace.

Check the song below.

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Quik Hits: Random Stuff

Just some things we found while cruising this vast vast super-info highway.

That right! I Did it! A prisoner serving life admits to shooting Tupac. No not the time in Las Vegas the OTHER time in New York.

Worth the weight? Since Fat Joe lost all that weight some other artist who saw their fortunes change due to their waistlines

Tired of Best buy? Check this list of indie record stores to get your listen on.

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Searching for the Next Tupac

The producers of the Tupac bio-pic, headed up by director Antoine Fuqua, David and James Robinson, LT Hutton and Afeni Shakur (Pac’s mom), are looking for a new actor to play the title role. The casting call, held on the website InSearchofTupac.com, asks hopefuls to upload a five-minute audition tape. So shave your head, pick up some Thorazine (or not), tie on a bandanna and show us what you got….

"Please, don't pick Anthony Mackie..."

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He Ain’t a Gangsta, He’s a Republican

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.

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Hip Hop, We Have A Problem?

from live cypha.com

I have concerns… And my concerns are for the culture in which I was raised. I’m not speaking about the state of black America nor am I speaking of the state of the black union; it’s bigger than that. You see, I have had concerns for a long time, and have never voiced them, assuming things would get better, but they didn’t. My concerns are now becoming worries because I’m now hearing reports that the culture that once raised me is either dead or dying, so this is my state of the hip hop union address.concerns

Hip hop, as I once knew it, was an urban style of music and culture that was birthed with intentions of getting the urban voice heard creatively. It was similar to an artistic protest. The theme of most songs concentrated on social issues, and discussed the harsh realities of inner-city living. Hip hop gave us an innovative way to poetically vent, protest, and express ourselves. It was also the voice that provided other cultures and social classes with an understanding, to some extent, of what inner-city living was like. Songs like Grand Master Flash’s “The Message,” KRS-1’s “Love’s Gonna Get’cha,” or Tupac’s “Brenda’s got a Baby” took us on a journey through some interesting stories that were either true or not far from it. These were issues emcees dealt with and they earned the respect and praise of fans world-wide for sharing their lives and experiences.

 This is the culture that raised me…


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HOT 5: Movies and Rappers

Top 5 Performances By a Rapper in a Movie
Though awards season is behind us, we’re still thinking about the movies, albeit in a hip-hop state of mind. We don’t have to run down the list of rappers who’ve done horrible stiff turns in movies. And we’re getting more skilled acting from rappers like Mos Def, Luda and Common. But what about the OGs who paved the way? The game would’ve been different without this countdown.

eva5. LL Cool J: Deliver Us From Eva
Raymond Ray Adams was a smooth talking playboy who picked up a little change while falling for Gabrielle Union. This bet-gone-wrong plot was completely predictable; the real surprise was that LL didn’t rely on his lip-licking skills to carry the role. He showed regret and desperation without sacrificing the character’s personality, and if the image of LL riding through a downtown office on a white horse doesn’t do it for you… Well, it didn’t do it for me either, but there you go. The brother ain’t perfect, but he tried.


4. DMX: Exit Wounds
DMX plays what looks to be a hard-knock drug dealer, and Steven Segal (in his last hit movie) plays a cop on his case. Despite the cliché set-up, the movie isn’t half bad. More than any other rapper, DMX was best at channeling the pain and regret Tupac had tried to infuse in his music. And like Pac, he wasn’t a bad actor either. If not for the crack and theft issues, the X man might have built a pretty solid post-rap career in Hollywood, or at the very least in straight-to-DVD black Hollywood.


3. Run: Krush Groove
Of all the rap movies that came out in the 80’s, Krush Groove was by far the best. Although Breakin’ and Beat Street had bigger budgets, they were really just trying to ride the break dancing fad while it was still hot, so rappers were in the background. In Krush Groove, Run’s turn as the character “Run” showed a range of ethos. Now before you say it ought be easy playing yourself, ask DMC how easy it was! For each of Run’s scene-stealing turns, DMC was right beside him, offering up another line worthy of the Worst Performance by a Rapper in a Movie award. DMC’s role as “DMC” is only surpassed by Nas’s satanically bad acting in Belly.


2. Queen Latifah: Set It Off
Before you say ‘I told you so,’ Queen didn’t make the list because of her astonishingly natural talent for sucking another girl’s face—it was the empathy she inspired that had audience members more shook up over her death than any of Set It Off’s other stars. Cleo is more than a SuperDyke; she’s that ride-or-die, crazy-ass homegirl that, no matter how far you go apart, will have your back to the end.

1. Tupac: Juice
The sunny dancer from Digital Underground had already made waves with Tupacalypse Now, but it took a brilliant turn as Juice’s vulnerable maniac to cement his reputation. Politics aside, Bishop made Pac gangsta. I mean, Nobody in Digital Underground was exactly sending chills up the spine. But after Juice, Pac was more credible as the Wrong N****to mess with.

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HOT 5: Five Rappers Smarter Than Their Lyrics

5 Rappers Smarter Than Their Lyrics

DJ A-See and me had just finished dinner at a friend’s house over the weekend when she pulled out the hip-hop karaoke. Now, if you’ve never had the unfortunate indigestion that comes of seeing the lyrics to This Is Why I’m Hot in print, you want to thank your stars and keep the brain space. It got us to thinking, no way these rappers are really that dim. They’re just lazy: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Or they don’t want to complicate things for the listeners. We took the 5 biggest offenders to task for their sins. They’ve gotta be dumbing it down. They’ve just gotta be—don’t they?

5. 50 Cent
Back in 2007 when it was rumored that Fiddy made $400 million dollars off his investment in Vitamin Water (even though it was more like $100 mill), everybody had to say Whoa.

50cent1Mr. 50 Cent is one of the reasons we had to start Grownheadz. His songs, monotone tales of guns, drugs and death, made hip hop a little less interesting and a whole lot more immature. But on the business side, Fiddy is a grown-ass man.

Curtis was doing the usual rapper business model: Start your own label and sign your boys. Check. Start a clothing line. Check. But while other rappers were making Pimp Juice and Crunk Juice, 50 invested in a company he believed in because he drank it when he worked out. Unlike his predecessors, he kept the venture low-key and initially didn’t promote his connection to the firm, quietly banking shares and making bank.
In interviews, 50’s been heard quoting The 48 Rules of Power by Robert Greene—he even inspired me to pick up the book, and it’s thick, y’all—so he’s got more than coloring books in his library. But if he truly wants to impress, he needs to stop rapping about shooting up the block and talk about his investment strategy.

4. David Banner
What does a former president of the Student Government Association do with an undergrad degree in business from Southern University (HBCU’s in da house) and a master’s degree in education from the University of Maryland? Why, become a rapper, of course!

Levell Crump, a.k.a David Banner, is by all accounts is an educated man, with the proper bourgie credentials to makebanner1 him eligible for all sorts of mature blackman stuff. You know, Grown and Sexy Sundays, good credit, hell, he could be a principal at somebody’s school. Instead, we get lyrics like:

Bend it on over, lemme see it from the back/Work your thumb in it girl, I love it like that/
Freaky ass hoes, lil’ freaky ass men/Lemme work ya slow, lemme see it going in

Hold up, big cat! I thought you was edu-MU-cated. In his defense, David Banner told Vibe the public had a choice . He gave the world Cadillac on 22’s heartfelt lines:

Lord, they hung Andre Jones/Lord, they hung Reynold Johnson /Lord, I wanna fight back but I’m just so sick of bouncing /Lord, I’m sick of jumping, Lord, just please tell me something

And also Like a Pimp. And the winner is? You guessed it, and David’s been dumbing it down ever since. But come on, Dave. You’ve been in a few movies, you get good money for producing, and you have by now established your street bonifieds enough. Give the public one mo’ chance, please! We promise, we’ll do right this time.

3. Jay-Z

When you go from street hustler to being president of one of the most storied record labels in the industry, you gotta know something. When you and your partners build a multi-millon dollar independent label AND fashion company, you gotta know something. When one of those partners goes broke and files for bankruptcy (cough *Dame* cough) and you still got yours and a whole lot more, you GOTS to know something.

In 2008, Hovah was #7 on the Forbes Celebrity List. Keep in mind, this was not the rappers list, not music list, but thejay01 Celebrity List, which put him in the ranks of Will Smith, Oprah, and Tom Cruise. I repeat, YOU HAVE GOT to know something. Hov even admitted on record that he dumbs it down on purpose:

I dumb down for my audience/And double my dollars/They criticize me for it/Yet they all yell “Holla”/
If skills sold/Truth be told/I’d probably be/Lyrically/Talib Kweli/Truthfully/I wanna rhyme like Common Sense/
But I did five Mil/I ain’t been rhymin like Common since

Sean, now that you got the money, do that artsy, lyrically dense, deep, mature hip-hop album you’ve been running from for the last ten years. You made your dough. You can just do it for the fun.

2. Tupac
Not to offend all the Thug Lifers, but Tupac is one of the worst offenders of dumbing it down—he might even be the poster child. Resident Alien just calls it treason.

We all know the story. Pac’s momma was an elite Black Panther; she even did time for the cause. With Geronimo Pratt as his godfather and Assatta Shakur as his aunt, Pac was revolutionary royalty. Granted, revolutions don’t pay, so hepac1 grew up poor and his childhood had more than its share of challenges. But he was conscious, attended a performing arts high school, and you know he knew better.

He launched his solo career during the last vestiges of hip-hop’s Black Power movement, so Tupacalypse Now’s songs about revolution, empowerment, and social ills made, if not hits, at least impact. But after Strictly 4 My Niggaz, somebody started believing his own rhymes.

Pac truly seemed a case of mo’ money, mo’ problems, but instead of a therapist and valium, he got into frontin’ and self medicating with indo and Henny. He went to jail for some dumb, brutal mess that SHOULD NOT have happened (you know the story) and even in that situation, he knew better.

Enter Suge Knight and DeathRow Records. He sprang ‘Pac and just like that, Mr. Shakur was back to poppin’ glocks and hittin’ switches out west. He knew better. He became a rapping Mitt Romney, refuting everything he used to stand for. Killing, beefing (the first, I believe, to truly make it personal) and a whole lot of weed. In the verbal battle for his soul, Pac threw all his weight on the devil’s side. Three words: he knew better.

1. Master P

That’s the first thing I think when you say M
Of all the names on this list, he is hands-down the worst rapper in the bunch. When you saw his videos or heard the records, it was hard to believe that THAT guy was the owner of a label that had over 20 gold and platinum plaques. Like a lot of cats, I couldn’t stand Master P, but couldn’t hate on the hustle.

masterp1According to Wikipedia, P’s empire included No Limit Records, Bout It Inc. (a record management company), No Limit Clothing, No Limit Films, No Limit Sports Management, PM. Properties and Advantage Travel—not to mention the restaurant and gas station. No Limit Sports Management made a big splash when P signed Ricky Williams right after he won the Heisman Trophy.

Adding insult to injury, No Limit Films shocked Hollywood when Bout It, Bout It made millions. P was doing the Tyler Perry thing, only with gangster tales and guns. Even though No Limit filed for bankruptcy, P ain’t missing no meals. In fact, he’s been giving seminars on how to build generational wealth and wrote a book called Guaranteed Success: When You Never Give Up. Now, if only he had put some of those smarts into writing rhymes.

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