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Sunday, February 05, 2012

'Twas the Month After Negropedia

'twas the month after negropedia, and all through the sphere 

a few people were talking, but not fully three cheers 

the new yorker said yay, the daily beast says a hoot 

but some say "he’s racist, why give him my loot?" 



he’s not lindsey lohan, he’s not herman cain 

more often than not, that TAN just hurts my brain 

posts come without rhythm, no rhyme, little reason 

sometimes he’s long-winded, the blog is practically wheezing 

he’s trying so hard, as he sits and tap-tappers 

about race, about rap, how you might be a rapper

and so if on your roof you hear the sound of a clatter 

don’t call the po-po, get some wine and let’s chatter

let TAN into your homes, your hearts and your minds 

let TAN sing his song for four wings w/ some fries 

le book on the shelves, buy it now before noon 

and then go to steamboat, he’ll be reading there soon

Fin


Saturday, February 04, 2012

WORDEMUP


Born October 4th (a Libra!), weighing in at, uh, a few ounces, (even less if you cop the digi-baby). A bundle of joy, you have your mommy's eyes, and your daddy's, well, CENSORED TOO HOT FOR TV/INTERNET, and as of this moment you're all future potential YAY, SALES:

Why We Need Negropedia [The Daily Beast]
Gawker Book Club: Negropedia [Gawker]
The Exchange: Patrice Evans on "Negropedia" [The New Yorker]
The Clair Huxtable Code [Jezebel]
Talking with Michael Eric Dyson [The Michael Eric Dyson Show]
How to Build the UltimateBlack Comedian [Splitsider]
Most Exciting New Books Coming Your Way This Fall
 + Interview: Patrice Evans Talks Negropedia, Gay Rappers [Flavorwire]
Also: You Might Be A Rapper: Steve Jobs (RIP) [Grantland]

(more coming...)

The Root Recommends [The Root]
Playing 9 Questions w/ Patrice Evans [Examiner]
Talk w/ Shawna Renee [Cocoa Mode]

THANKS FOR SUPPORTING TAN, NEGROPEDIA, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND AMERICA.


FOR THE HOLIDAYS: BOOKS ARE THE NEW CRACK

Friday, February 03, 2012

Esperanza Spalding: Black Gold

Intro's a little long, indulgent, retro with the dad getting tight about his children's lack of lessons w/r/t Africa. Aren't all the teachers on facebook now? you can "like" or "meh" the lesson plans directly. Plus the font in the bible he pulls out is comically small (like, what, 5 point?), so not sure if it's the permanent solution. Since he lives in downtown manhattan with a couple kids he might want to think about springing for a Black History Month iPad. (that would be a funny gift, an ipad set only to open black history month apps...hahaha)

But "Black Gold" is a nice feel-good song, and Esperanza Spalding and her fro look great.

 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rules for Rhyming in Public



On behalf of this dude, and the viral video frenzy he created, I put some tips for rhyming in public up on Grantland. But definitely looking forward to everyone getting more comfortable with intense emotionally fraught karaoke sessions on public transportation

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Wanna Dress Like Mike

I had sort of noticed Michael Jordan seemed to dress not quite like a champion. But only until someone started collecting the case studies on tumblr did I grasp the hilarious weight of the problem. OMG

what can you say about the greatest basketball player to ever live wearing a two-tone chopper suit?


i was expecting the YMCA look before he became the most heavily endorsed athlete ever


he had to lose a bet with Dr. J on this, right? 


I am no fashion plate, or style guru (all the people who know me are nodding their heads right now) but this is bizarro. the only explanation is that same singular focus that led him to being the greatest baller, guides his wardrobe choices. only his closet is full of L's instead of championships, and he accepts no coaching.

and lest you think it's only hanging out with the fellas


WTF is Michael Jordan Wearing? [Tumblr]

Stocking Stuffer: The Soulquarian Box Set

Happy Holidays!

Here is your stocking stuffer for the person who has everything. They won’t have this, cause it didn’t exist until now: The Soulquarian Box Set. Put it in your phone. Put it in the cloud. Put it in your hearts and minds. Put it on Facebook (Please). Santa has decided you were extra good this year.

You probably know The Soulquarians, a dream team crew of singers, rappers, musicians, producers that formed in the late 90s and trumped every crew then and forever more. The Soulquarian Box Set is a four album-run that distinguished this collective from all the rest. The discs are all gems; critically acclaimed, commercially successful, haven’t aged a day. They were a moment — and this is a time capsule.

Before promo for their recent album Questlove reminisced with Pitchfork about this era when Neo-soul was radio-hot; Chappelle’s Show was TV-hot; a guy like Mos Def was Hollywood-hot; and The Soulquarians were the hub of a legit black cultural renaissance. Eventually it ended. And Quest recalls the feeling of handing the baton to a brash up-and-comer named Kanye West, who at the time was “Usher’s opening act” but clearly had a future!

This Box Set is the baton.

CONTINUED ON GRANTLAND 

The Soulquarian Box Set [Grantland]

Monday, December 19, 2011

Be Right Back, Working On My Craig Ferguson



i think this is my favorite flirty late show banter segment ever. make sure you peep the "kiss" towards the end. great finish!

...gotta get me one of them snake cups.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When You Said You Were Getting Your Nails Did I Was Not Expecting The Finger Apocalypse

via The Daily Beast and Hairpin, and I can only presume in cahoots with the curators at the Museum of Modern Barbershop Art, comes THE CRAZIEST EXPERIMENTS IN GETTING YOUR NAILS DID EVER:



These are my favorite. Knives for fingernails! You've got something in your eye, let me get it for you...



and for the sneaker head in your life...



"a new book, Nailed: The History of Nail Culture and Dzine, is a 232-page exploration into the underground world of nail culture." Not for everyone, but ok. cool. Might be a fun gift, or warning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are The Roots 'America's Band'? (Yes)

Pop quiz!

But with a twist: We’ll provide the multiple choice answers (a la Jeopardy) and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out the correct question.

Looks like this:

a. The Beatles 
b. The Beach Boys 
c. Nirvana 
d. Coldplay 
e. The Rolling Stones 
f. Jeez, are our music sensibilities still colonized by the Brits? 
g. The Roots 

The answer is: “g. The Roots.”

WHAT IS OUR QUESTION?

[tune of the Grantland Theme Song plays in background]

Ok. Sorry I forgot to mention the timer, but: Time’s up!

...CONTINUED ON GRANTLAND...

The Roots: America's Band [Grantland]

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Charlize Theron Pickup Lines: Guaranteed to Charm!

I saw Young Adult last week, threw some grades up on Grantland.

One of the things I liked about the film is that it encourages you to dream big. Even if you're a dork stuck in rural small town Minnesota, or "mini-apple" (as Minneapolis is referred to in the movie) it reminds you that even if you’re a dork, any given day might be the day you get off the computer, walk into a bar and bump into a psychotic but-also-awesomely-non-discerning Charlize Theron swilling whiskey by the liter, and you know, maybe have a chance.

So with that dream in mind here are a handful of  wonderful, and by wonderful I mean terrible, pickup lines to use on Charlize Theron should you run into her sometime, in character as Mavis Geary. These lines are guaranteed** to charm:

The cutesy pun move:
“Hey girl, is your name Charlize? Cause I just saw an angel.”

The cutesy pun move 2:
“Hey girl, is your name Charlize? Because you're sweeter than his chocolate factory.”

The sports fan move:
“Hey girl, I think the owners have stepped in and demanded I keep you on my team… for basketball reasons.”

The Drake move:
“Heeeeyyyyyy girl. Unh. In this bitch all the drinks are on the house like Snoopy.”

The neg move:
"Hey, were you in "Monster"? Huh. I never saw that one."

The cutesy pun move 3:
*taps mic motion* "Hey girl, is this thing Theron?"

Congratulations, Charlize Theron loves you!

(**Void where prohibited. Please do not use these lines on Charlize Theron or any Young Adult near you.)

Young Adults Report Card [Grantland]

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Who Will Star in America's Cutest Hip Hop Baby Video?

I have few words for this supernova of adorableness, except to say I may be pregnant with this two-year-old Rap Star



and also, this might be enough to get the "Who Will Be America's Cutest Hip Hop Baby Video?" competition started. I guess you have to set an age limit, and at two years old the homey above might just make the cut for the "Baby Division". (The four-year-olds might be licking their chops for his graduation though.)

On the more truly "baby" end of the field, your likely #1 contender is the Biggie Baby.



Can't front on the charm of "ok, ok, biggie is coming back...", but I think I give more points for actually rapping confidently, on beat, and unintelligibly.

I guess we'll get one more on here to make sure we got a full trend piece:



 solid effort from someone taking a nap at the start of the clip. but we'll have to view the rest of the field in competition to see where it stacks up in the final rankings. stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Mike Tyson Sings the Bossa Nova Classics!

Every time you think Mike "I want to eat your children" Tyson can no longer shock you, the 2008-2011 Renaissance Man of the Year comes up with a new chameleon transformation. And now, drumroll please, here he is singing "The Girl from Ipanema":

 

Whuuuuuut?? Well, that wasn't terrible. Think he had some autotune on it. But man, we've come a long way, baby.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Is Mac Lethal's Pancake Rap Video the Devil?

On Grantland, I dug in a little more on the latest viral sensation. The "devil" reference comes from this  scene in Broadcast News:



In defense of Mac Lethal, who comes off as a cool customer, and can't be faulted for doing 2.5M views in a couple days; I'm not hating the playa, so much as the game. As some point you gotta be like, OK, IT'S PANCAKES! Neither the tastiest or healthiest thing in the world! So there must be some voodoo at work.

I got my eyes *points to both eyes* on you, devil.

The Problem with Mac Lethal's Pancake Rap Video [Grantland]

Also related:
Problems and Non-Problems with Andover Rap Video [Grantland]

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Mac Lethal: Pancake Rap

Mac Lethal raps fast, cooks pancakes, goes viral (over a million views in approx. 24-36 hours or so! UPDATE, now 2.5M in 48 hours)



will he get a record deal? will it be hip hop or ihop? with the label Bisquick or, uh, Atlantick? TIME WILL TELL.

Hopefully there's a crew and I can get some bacon, eggs, and fresh-squeezed OJ with my freestyles too. tired of eating rappers for breakfast anyways. hollerrr

(via Gawk)

Pour Some Liquor: Patrice O'Neal

Well, I know how power works. It has worked on me, and if I didn’t know how power worked, I would be dead.”


I guess it's a little weird to lead off a nod to Patrice O'Neal with a quote from James Baldwin. Two black guys, but not exactly the same profile: Baldwin was petite, gay, a "perfumed" literary type from civil rights era racial politics. Patrice stood like 6'4 300ish (with two hefty James Baldwins for legs), and was a rudeboy standup comic from the modern white-girl-terrorism era of racial politics. Also, very much not gay.

But when he passed away Tuesday morning I found myself re-watching his clips (like everyone else) and thought of this passage on power, and some of Baldwin's essays on race, etc. I think the thing they both shared, that so many minorities who are not "traditionally" beautiful share, is a repressed(ish) inferiority complex about one's looks. Baldwin wrote often about growing up feeling ugly, and I think Patrice clearly uses the same experience, the same hurt to fuel his observational comedy. (I think of Nas retort to Jay-Z in Ether, "you seemed to be only concerned with dissing women, were you abused as a child, scared to smile, they called you ugly?)

What Patrice loved to hold court on is how race and beauty influence power, his funniest sharpest comedy consistently digs in on this relationship. And in honoring his memory, I think this is the genius we've been talking about and celebrating. He's a "comic's comic" not for his joke craftsmanship, or polish on stage, but for insights as smart and penetrating as Baldwin or any other celebrated thinker on race, gendered sexuality, interpersonal relations. He comes off raw, but in his clips and radio spots and interviews we see a savant when it comes to knowing how to use people as a medium, like clay or oils.

Watching the Charlie Sheen Roast where he goes off script, not only do we see a comic seemingly hitting his stride within the zeitgeist, but like Vick on the run, Kobe breaking off triangle, someone who's always at their best winging it on-the-fly. At 1:25 Patrice says to a black guy near the front row, "congratulations to you! look at the white woman you're with!" Ha. Do not try this at home!



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best "Safe Sex" Song Since the Invention of Safe Sex

I do not understand why this song has not won an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). Have they just not cast votes yet? It is amazing.

forever indebted to Noz for getting in internet rotation. And he sums it up best:

"It’s a banger though and a fascinating record, particularly as far as the continued evolution of shock rap values are concerned. Dudes used to advocate late term coat hanger abortions in their raps, now they try and trick them into keeping babies."



a gender battle, dope hook, homey poking holes in the condom, hip-hop wave feminist.... there's no wink to the camera, just flame-on fiiiire...PLAY IT, LEARN IT, LIVE IT

Bo Deal f/ Mello G Bianca - “Safe Sex” (Brick Squad/Mixtape, 2011)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Drake Meme Power Rankings

(On Grantland we couldn't actually post the Top Ten Drake Meme images. So I'll do that here because, well, NEVER FORGET)

Now that Drake’s Take Care has been out for a couple weeks and we’ve all had some time to consider our emoooootions. It’s time to get back to real fix-the-economy business and rank the field of Drake Memes because, I don't know, because I just spent six million dollars on myself and I feel amazing?

Herewith, the top ten Drake Meme power rankings:

10. DRAKE YOU MAD BRO? It breaks my heart to see this flagrant Nicki Minaj character assassination. Just another innocent drive-by meme victim in the hood. Increase the peace! But this one is so smug and hostile and perrrrrfect, girl. Even Nicki’s probably laughing. Sometimes you just got to laugh, sprinkle some crack on the victims, and try to do better the next time.



Drake Stress Level (DSL): Mad, bro. Gonna make someone around him "catch a body like that."

9. Fancy Drake. This one will probably be put to bed soon since it comes from the Thank Me Later days. Then again, I don’t know if there’s anything more catchy on the new album, so maybe the “Oh you fancy, huh?” earworm stays in the mix. This is the one meme that's sort of a legit honor to Drake’s talent: You nailed that hook, Mr Graham. We salute you! (With a big picture of a pink WHAT IS THAT and your brooding visage grafted on a belly pocket. Dreams money can buy.)


DSL: Cool. "They say they miss the old Drake. Girl, don't tempt me."


8. Rhymin’ Drake. Like haikus, sonnets, and villanelles, Drake couplets have become their own form of poetry. And while Drake isn’t the true inventor of hashtag rap, he's the guy who gets all the credit for it, *pause* #ThomasEdison.



DSL: "It's whatever. You know. Feeling good, living better."

7. Elf Drake.

5 Things I Always Tell Daisy Lowe About Donald Glover

ON THOUGHT CATALOG

I have this recurring dream.

In the dream I turn to my model girlfriend Daisy Lowe at a Childish Gambino show and say, “See, he’s like The Throne and Lonely Island in the same dude!”

Her eyes twinkle before she grabs me, plants a kiss on my lips, and yells out like that adorable Debeers Diamond commercial, “I love this man! Yes, that’s brilliant! And it’s so sexy to deconstruct it from afar, over being, like, on stage. Seriously! We should just go home and talk more…” followed by a big slow wink and a smile.

CONTINUED...

5 Things I Always Tell Daisy Lowe About Donald Glover [Thought Catalog]


Monday, November 28, 2011

Beyonce's Sin City



The name of Beyoncé's latest video is called "Dance for You". The style of it is not so much noir, as it is noooooooooooiiiiiiir. I keep typing "Sexy Sexy Chinatown" and then deleting it. (Sorry). But I wrote notes on some of this for Grantland.

We hear about actors immersing themselves in role, but with Beyoncé that dynamic is reversed. Every premise or aesthetic conceit in her videos is subsumed by her Beyoncéness. She's an auteur. The choreography has grammar and syntax. Her hips are articulate, fluent, multilingual. It's all about the dancing.

This is how I imagine Beyoncé's creative pitch meetings going:


Excerpts from Beyoncé's Pitch Meeting:

D(irector): How about you are the President of the United States?

B: And then, what? Do you think I just like maybe in the middle of the speech start dancing and grinding until the song is finished?

*dances*

D: Well, sure…I mean, looking at it, that works. can't argue with it. and you have that song "if women are presidents" or whatever.

B: cool. you are so special to me

NEXT MEETING

D: How about you are an alien, eating the world, stomping men out.

B: And then, I don't know, maybe my tail slowly starts to come alive and...


*starts dancing*

D: hmmm… something like that makes sense. and it's a good song, this one about women being aliens who take over the earth. strong message.

B: yeah, but we have to spice it up a bit.

D: hmm

B: maybe the alien should be real sexy. and almost be like a sexy humanoid who makes the world desire her/him. oooh, it should be a her and a him!

NEXT MEETING

D: How about a recreation of Nightmare on Elm St.?

B: Am I Freddy Kreuger?

D: Yes?

NEXT MEETING

B: guys, this time i want to get back to my roots. just some good ol' fashioned sexy dancing! who's with me???

NEXT MEETING

D: how about it's in a museum and you're one of the dinosaur skeletons?

B: will I only be dressed in sexy bones?

AnyBey, you probably get the idea. Don't quote me on this, it's highly speculative.

But I almost feel self-conscious joking because the video is sooo sexy. It's like that awkward, don't-want-to-have-sex-moment. And with Beyoncé your brain is like, you should be CALLING A FRIEND and SAYING "yo, you see that, yo, OMG, oh snap, yo" high-five. Boredom is not allowed. Makes me think about Jay-Z. His [redacted] must be like "I DIDN'T SIGN UP FOR THIS KIND OF PRESSURE, WTFFFF!!"

Still, the video, and life itself, is worth it just for the melodic "swirlin' in your face." Forever hot and/or hilarious there.

She also explains the whole initiative with "this is for the time,you gave me flowers..." So I guess what I've been trying to say here is... GET YOUR LADIES SOME FLOWERS, FELLAS!

Another One: Beyonce's "Dance For You" Video [Grantland]


BONUS: if the noir thing throws you off. or if you just want to practice, here's some rehearsal footage:

Grab Your Puffies: The NBA's Coming Back


I'll round up some of our Grantland coverage here. Updates to come (I think)

The NBA Is Back, Grantland Staff
Why We Will Forget the Lockout, NBA and Social Media, Jay Caspian Kang
How the Summer Lockout changed the way we watch basketball, Hua Hsu
NBA Winners & Losers, Jonathan Abrams
It Wasn't (Just) About the Money, Charles P. Pierce
Lasting Images from the Lockout, Carles
25 Reasons We'll Miss the Lockout, Rembert Browne
Secrets of the New CBA Revealed, Ben Detrick

Previously: Nuclear Winter Reading List

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy Tyler

Perhaps it’s a bit of a lowest-common-denominator hack move for me to joke that the 99% of Tyler Perry's fans have decided to Occupy his blog in protest of casting Kim Kardashian in his new film “The Marriage Counselor”. I prefer to call it an homage. Alas, the perfectly ironic frosting on what figures to be another cinematic shit sandwich is not as sweet as we’d hoped since the recent divorcée is not slated to play the title role.

Still, Tyler felt compelled to write an 830-word play defending it all. It starts with him acknowledging the comments and emails, then smash-cut to Perry in a Mexican restaurant being accosted by a cute old woman who doesn’t know how to pronounce Kardashian (KAR-DAT- CHA-NEM). She demands an explanation for the atrocity that is Kim Kar-Dat-Cha-Nem. He explains the plot of the movie to her — which, spoiler alert: a young black woman from Virginia who was raised in the church runs into relationship problems en route to fulfilling her dream of being a Marriage Counselor — and then re-reads his script (!) and realizes the youth (“ESPECIALLY THE YOUTH!!”) need to see this film. And so:

(CONTINUED ON GRANTLAND)

Occupy Tyler [Grantland]

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lighters Up: Horses Stay Poppin' on Lil Kim Beats

(via Hairpin, arbroath)

I def know my Lil Kim better than my competitive equestrian sports, but now that I know some of these horses come from bed-stuy, where horses either do or they don't die, I might stay better informed:



A chance to play Lil Kim's original

The Return of Amy Winehouse: Our Day Will Come

On the down side, this new Amy Winehouse video will totally make you miss everything you miss about her. The voice, her style, her cat eyes, her music. On the plus side, so often you get a weak song/video in this type of situation and this one strikes the perfect tone with its soft reggae remix of an old 60s song. Even though it was recorded (Salaam Remi production) in 2002, feels like it would have felt fresh dropping today or in 2012. Nice work.



 a new Amy Winehouse posthumous tribute album Lioness: Hidden Treasures drops 12/5.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Just A Friend" = the New Hip-Hop National Anthem

Everyone knows Biz Markie's classic "Just A Friend. Probably more so than the real national anthem (also a "classic").

And it's useful for commercials:



Or Late Night television where Jimmy Kimmel got it updated it for Facebook




Not to mention my interview w/ Biz a few years ago. Which if you missed it, here's that transcript again:

The Justin Bieber Mixtape Experience

Is Justin Bieber better on old school tracks like "Dwyck:



or new school, like "Otis":




I prefer old school.

Dwyck dropped in 1994, on Gang Starr's "Hard to Earn". Here's 10 more songs from 1994 with dope beats for the Biebmatic('94) Mixtape:

Who Shot Ya (Notorious BIG, Ready To Die - The Remaster)
Come Clean (Jeru, The Sun Rises in the East)
Halftime (Nas, Illmatic)
Resurrection (Common, Resurrection)
Props Over Here (The Beatnuts, The Beatnuts)
Get It Together (Beastie Boys, Ill Communication)
Cosmic Slop (Redman, Dare Iz A Darksize
Distortion to Static (The Roots, Do You Want More?!!!??!)
Let's Organize (Organized Konfusion, Stress: The Extinction Agenda)
Crumblin' Erb (Outkast, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik)
Comin' For Datazz (Gang Starr, Hard To Earn)


The only artwork that could suffice: Bie - Biebmatic
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