Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Michael Jackson - Who Is It (IHS mix)

Here's a rare remix that can remind any R&B fan what a talent Michael Jackson was when he was ruling the pop charts.

This song along with other unreleased and rare songs were made available on Michael Jackson's "Ultimate Collection" box set. Amazon has a special where you can get the 4 disc & 1 DVD box set for only $29.99 (w/ free s/h).

Since things are coming full circle and R&B acts are trying to bring that classic MJ sound back (Ne-yo's "Because of You"), it's kinda cool hearing a classic MJ song with a hip hop backdrop.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cormega - "Who Am I?" IN STORES NOW!

Mega has what most other rappers wish they had. Not the street credibility (he's a street legend in Queens NY), ill lyricism, the ability to fight (he was a boxing champion in jail), or money and girls, but the feeling of being comfortable in his own skin.

In a day where most rappers have to put up fronts to sell records, Mega is himself and his fans and hood love him for it.

One thing that you'll always get with any Cormega release is your moneys worth, but this might be the best package yet. You get a 3 hour 50 minute DVD and a soundtrack for the price of a regular cd ($13.99). The soundtrack is a dope collection of songs by Mega and his peoples in the game (many of who you get to see in the DVD), but the jewel is the DVD. This isn't a typical hip hop dvd where the rapper shows off his guns talks tough and then packages it to make a quick buck. This dvd takes you into the life of Mega (what he's been up to, his mentality of the industry and situations that have happened to him).

You get to hear about his legendary rap battles, his situation with Nas, his shoe collection, his Def Jam situation, his time when he rented buses and took his hood to an amusement park, when he visits patients at a hospital, etc. This isn't a side that many street legends would share with you, but that's what makes him different.

On top of that you can't loose the fact that he's one of the best street poets in the game. You get his seldom-seen music videos that he made that didn't get any play on MTV or BET.

What makes Mega's music stand out from others is that he speaks with such sincerity that you can feel what he's saying even if you haven't been through what he's been through. This DVD isn't any different cause you can feel his pain and sincerity in his voice when he describes what's happened in his life.

To give you an idea of his talent here's a clip of a verse that he dropped at a show at BB Kings in NYC:

Monday, November 19, 2007

What If?

Here's an interesting track that gives a number of interesting "what if" situations.

"What if Big L was still rhymin'
and Roc-A-Fella records was the label that signed him
Would I have to remind them
that in a Roc Big L was a diamond"

Anytime someone gives props to one of my favorite all-time rappers I gotta listen...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

When customer service goes wrong!

Here's a couple of clips from Touch Tone Terrorists cds that I listen to when I feel like cracking up. There are too many classic quotes from these clips to list, but you'll probably never be able to hear the name Jim-Bob without cracking a smile ever again after hearing this character.

Here a caller is trying to track her package and a couple of characters Jim-Bob & Junkyard Willie give her a hard time and tell her that she "shoulda sent it sooner."

Here Jim-Bob is the caller looking for Scooter and the auto shop employee gives even more to Jim-Bob then he's able to dish out. Jim-Bob's shining moment was calling him a "turd burgler" and the auto shop employee's shining moment was calling Jim-Bob a "Brother hugger." A pretty even match, but Jim-Bob loses when he's called a "hillbilly barefoot b*stard" before he gets hung up on.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

David Banner's Speech To Congress Over Hip-Hop Lyrics

Here's David Banner's Speech To Congress Over Hip-Hop Lyrics. I was never a fan of his music but the more that I learn about David Banner the more I like him even though I've never really been moved by any of his music. When David Banner stopped promoting his album to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina he hurt his own career because the sales for that album tanked. He went through a depression shortly after. This is a guy that all of us should be pulling for.

You can tell that David Banner is speaking to congress because they're attacking something that he loves. He speaks for those of us that don't have a voice when we try to explain to people that hip hop is unfairly judged:

Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. My name is David Banner. I am an artist for Universal Recordings, a producer, and label executive.

Thank you for inviting my testimony.

This dialogue was sparked by the insulting comments made by Don Imus concerning the Rutgers women's basketball team. Imus lost his job, but later secured a million dollar contract with another station. While he appears to have been rewarded, the hip-hop industry is left under public scrutiny. As this dialogue played out in the media, the voices of the people who create hip-hop and rap music were silenced. We were not invited to participate on any panels, nor given the opportunity to publicly refute any of the accusations hurled at us. While Congress lacks the power to censor, it is of the utmost importance that the people who's livelihood is at stake be made a vital part of this process.

I am from Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson is one of the most violent cities in the United States. Much like Washington, D.C., Jackson stayed in the murder capital run. When I was growing up, it always ranked as one of the top ten cities for the highest number of murders per capital. Being located right below Chicago, a lot of kids got in trouble up there and were sent to Jackson by their grandparents, who were from Jackson.

The by product of this migration was violence. I was blessed to have a very strong man for a father, and a very, very strong woman for a Mother.

Honestly, rap music is what kept me out of trouble.

Statistics will never show the positive side of rap because statistics don't reflect what you do, if you don't commit a murder or a crime. When I would feel angry and would think about getting revenge, I would listen to Tupac.

His anger in a song was a replacement for my anger. I lived vicariously through his music.

Rap music is the voice of the underbelly of America.

In most cases, America wants to hide the negative that it does to its people. Hip-hop is the voice, and how dare America not give us the opportunity to be heard.

I am one of the few artists who went to college. I still see my friends who, as college graduates, are unable to get a job. The truth is that what we do sells. Often artists try to do different types of music and their music doesn't sell. In America, the media only lifts up negativity.

People consider me a philanthropist. I give away close to a quarter of my yearly earnings to send children from impoverished neighborhoods to different cities and to Disney land. This gives them another vision. Rap music has changed my life, and the lives of those around me. It has given us the opportunity to eat. I remember sending 88 kids from the inner city on a trip. I went to the local newspaper and TV station, only to be told that the trip wasn't newsworthy. But if I had shot somebody, it would have been all over the news. I threw the largest urban relief concert in history. That never made the front cover of a magazine. But as soon as I say something negative, rise up against my own, or become sharp at the mouth (no pun intended), I am perceived as being disrespectful to Black leaders. That negativity overshadows all of the positive things that I've done as a rap artist.

Some might argue that the content of our music serves as poison to the minds of our generation. If by some stroke of the pen, hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities. Drugs, violence, and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed. Our consumers come from various socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. While many are underprivileged, a large percentage are educated professionals. The responsibility for their choices does not rest on the shoulders of hip-hop.

Still others raise concerns about the youth having access to our music. Much like the ratings utilized by the Motion picture Association of America, our music is given ratings which are displayed on the packaging.

These serve to inform the public of possible adult content. As such, the probability of shocking the unsuspecting consumers sensibilities is virtually impossible. If the consumer is disinterested or offended by the content of our music, one could simply not purchase our CDs. The music that is played on the radio must comply with FCC guidelines. Again, this provides a safeguard. Ultimately, the burden of monitoring the music that minors listen to rests with their parents.

Some argue that the verbiage used in our music is derogatory. During slavery, those in authority used the word "nigger" as a means to degrade and emasculate. There was no push for censorship of the word back then. The abuse that accompanied the label "nigger" forced us to internalize it. This made the situation easier to digest. Our generation has since assumed ownership of the word. Now that we are capitalizing off the use of the word, why is it so important that it be censored? The intent and spirit of the word "nigga" in rap music does not even remotely carry the same meaning nor historical intent.

Attempting to censor the use of a word that merely depicts deep camaraderie is outrageous. People should focus less on the offensive words in our music, and more on the messages that are being conveyed.

The same respect is often not extended to hip-hop artists as to those in other arenas. Steven King and Steven Spielberg are renowned for their horrific creations. These movies are embraced as art. Why then is our content not merely deemed horror music?

Mark Twain's literary classic, Huckleberry Finn, is still required reading in classrooms across the United States of America. The word "nigger" appears in the book approximately 215 times. While some may find this offensive, the book was not banned by all school districts because of its artistic value. The same consideration should be extended to hip-hop music.

As consumers, we generally gravitate to and have a higher tolerance for things that we can relate to. As such, it is not surprising that the spirit of hip-hop is not easily understood. In the 1971 case of Cohen vs. California, Justice Harlan noted that one man's vulgarity is another man's lyric. The content and verbiage illustrated in our music may be viewed as derogatory or unnecessary, but it is a protected means of artistic expression. In 2005 Al Sharpton, who is a proponent of censorship, stated on CNN that rappers have the right to talk about the violence they come from; if they're going to rap about it and sing about it, they have the First Amendment right. Much like imagery supplied via television, literature, and by other genres of music, we merely provide a product that appeals to our patrons.

Our troops are currently at war under the guise of liberating other countries. While here in America, our rights are being threatened daily. This is illustrated by homeland security, extensive phone tapping and ill placed attempts at censorship. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves getting closer to a dictatorship.

Traditionally multi-billion dollar industries have thrived on the premise of violence, sexuality, and derogatory content. This capitalistic trend was not created nor introduced by hip-hop. It's been here.

It's the American way.

I can admit that there are some problems in hip-hop.

But it is only a reflection of what is taking place in our society. Hip-hop is sick because America is sick.

Thank you,
David Banner

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Jay-Z's VH1 Storytellers performances

People can say what they want about Jay-Z, but it's hard to deny what a great rapper he is. Though it seemed that a lot of his Kingdom Come cd went above people's heads, his American Gangster album is just what the public and hip-hop heads wanted from him.

These performances complete with a live band show that you don't need to dance to put on a great show. Here's Jay-Z performing some strong cuts from his instant-classic American Gangster album.


American Dreamin

I Know

Roc Boys (from Letterman)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Saigon & Jay-Z - Two of the greatest rappers in the world on the same track

The day has finally come that Saigon's "Come On Baby" remix featuring Jay-Z was released to the streets. A couple days before the world premiere of Saigon's "Come On Baby" on Rap City (11/8/07).

"They put the world's most underrated
on a record with the greatest of all-time, can't no-one debate it..."

It looks like punching Prodigy (of Mobb Deep) on stage a couple of times at a Mobb Deep show didn't derail his grind. This song will be off of Saigon's debut cd "Greatest Story Never Told" coming very soon...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Blender has offically lost what little hip-hop credibility it had

In the current issue of Blender (with Nicole Sherizinger on the cover) blender names the "Worst Lyricists In Rock." Now I understand Diddy being on the list, but with the inclusion of Common & KRS-One Blender shows that they have no clue when it comes to hip hop.

Their reason is his lyrics from "Making A Name For Ourselves" which is actually spit by lyrical-beast Canibus:

"I'm you're worst nightmare squared
that's double for nigg*s that ain't mathematically aware"

The writer listening for Blender probably didn't even know the difference between the two rappers. And if they listened to the rest of Common's masterpiece "One Day It'll All Make Sense" they'd see that there's no way anyone can justify Common as one of the worst lyricists.

Really, if someone wanted to make a list of the worst lyricists when it comes to rap do you even need to do much research? Even if you didn't know anything about hip-hop (like this Blender writer) then all you'd have to do to hear some horrible lyricists is tune into your local urban radio station and listen for about twenty minutes. You're guaranteed to hear a song that officially makes you dumber after listening to it. Laffy Taffy anyone? How about Walk It Out? Unfortunately, I could go on...

Even for the writer that doesn't know hip hop, if they take one listen to Common's latest single "Drivin' Me Wild (w/ Lily Allen) they'd see he's one of the few talented poets that gets run on urban radio.

"...Had a drive for a drive from Rodeo
She spent pesos on those labels
Spin class at the gym, strip tease on a pole
She was so obsessed with her body and clothes
To every party she goes, tryin' hard to be chose
They say it's hard for a pimp but extra hard for these (hoes)..."

How is John Gibson still a Fox News anchor?

It's no wonder why so many people think that hip hop is responsible for so much violence in this country when people like this clown can say spew uninformed hate like this.

I hate to tell all of you uninformed parents that are upset that your kids listen to hip hop and want to blame it for all of the bad in the world, but violence was around before hip-hop and will continue to be around after Jay-Z retires (for real). Even after John Gibson is told that the shooter was white and listened to Marilyn Manson he still continued to blame blacks and hip-hop. Amazing...