Right or wrong, many people believe that the overwhelming presence of war, hurricanes, floods, fires and diseases is a signal that the end of days has finally come. If civilization as we know it is crumbling into extinction, then doesn't it follow that hip-hop may also be in danger? My inner optimist tells me that the art form will prosper as long as humanity still has a voice, but my pessimistic personality is quick to point out these signs of impending doom:
**People are seriously calling Kevin Federline a rapper. For anyone fortunate enough to not recognize the name, he's the insignificant other of the equally annoying Britney Spears. Lots of blogs have been linking people to sites where you can stream some of his "music", but I don't really see the point. Sample lyric: "Back then they called me K-Fed/but you can call me Daddy instead." Whatever you say, retarded one...
**Hip-hop karaoke is apparently the thing to do in NYC. This sucks for rap music because once something gets played on a karaoke machine, it automatically loses it's aesthetic value and/or it's street credibility. Notice how there isn't any opera or crunk karaoke available at a dive bar near you. Maybe this shit's fun---I don't know. I can't imagine anything dope about dorky white guys murdering Black Star tracks, but maybe I'm just bitter after having seen a dozen or more drunken biker chicks do terrible Pat Benetar impersonations:
**MCs (at least those who get a lot of press) have been caught saying some dumb-ass shit lately. I'm just gonna talk about one recent example, but believe me, there are plenty more. By now, everyone has heard about Cam'ron's recent carjacking incident. Killa Cam got shot and lived to tell about it, which further proved his gulliness to the legions of internet thugs who already worshipped his ass (as they would say, no homo). Please don't get your pink underwear in a knot if you're a fan, because anyone who's been reading this blog for a while knows that everyone gets clowned at some point. Anyway, in the aftermath,Cam has said that he's still reserving judgment about who's responsible, but he seems to be alluding to the fact that "the man" might have something to do with it. As he is quoted in this article, he appears to have drawn a comparison between his own situation, and that of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.: http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.3644. Let's hope that shit's a misprint, because that analogy may work on one level, but overall, it completely fails to ring true. As long as the majority of his rhymes revolve around whips, jewelry, and fat asses, the Feds aren't gonna worry that his message to the youth will shake up the status quo. Not to say that he's never written anything of importance, but if I was the government, I'd be more worried about silencing people like Mos Def, Chuck D, dead prez and Saul Williams, who are actively encouraging people to think along revolutionary lines. I would never--ever--even think about wasting a bullet on Cam. Jesus---even Kanye has more fire for the Bush administration.
**The Black Eyed Peas are the final example that I offer as a sign of rap's imminent demise. While Behind the Front (1998) was a great hip-hop joint, Monkey Business(2005) doesn't even qualify as decent pop music. "D-E-F, that's right we def"...
So hip-hop sucks and all, but since my love is pretty much unconditional, my admiration continues...
Less appreciative of hip-hop culture is the mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman. Dude was recently quoted as saying that graffiti artists should have their thumbs cut off. Yeah, and while we're in the process of eliminating offensive body parts, can we also remove Dubya's head and Rush Limbaugh's tongue? : http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5390726,00.html.
The city of Denver has decided that it's cool to possess marijuana. Should we expect any less from the "Mile High City"?: http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/11/02/denvermarijuana.ap/.
In Japan, almost everything is available for purchase in a vending machine. The list includes, but is not limited to, porn, dumplings, beer, hot dogs, and toilet paper. Truly creative citizens may find a way to use all of these items simultaneously:
Freemotion has been extremely generous this past week, offering new mp3s every fuckin' day, whether we deserve it or not. I'm not going to spoil you by telling you everything that's available. Check it out for yourself---permanent link to your right.
"Grandpa's Bag" by Otis Goodnight can be downloaded at MP3 4U:
Stylus Magazine posted a feature on three MCs of the female persuasion this week. Download mp3s by Ladybug Mecca, Psalm One and Yarah Bravo:
Xanax Taxi is offering several versions of "Summertime"---this includes the efforts of Miles Davis, Marcus Miller, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn, and more...
If you've never heard "It's Good To Be Careful (But It's Better To Be Loved) by Shack, it's currently available at Moistworks---along with some other classic soul singles on Stax:
Finally, get some free mp3s by L.A.Ment. On a couple of these tracks, they received a little help from guests DJ Babu and Evidence :