Friday, March 30, 2007

Helping Shaquanda Cotton Is The New Cool

I received news about this in my inbox yesterday (thanks Denva). A few people have already written very effectively on it, so I'll just relay the facts and then include some links.

This is the blog for Shaquanda Cotton. Her "About Me" profile reads:

I am a 14-year-old black freshman who shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. I have no prior arrest record, and the hall monitor--a 58-year-old teacher's aide--was not seriously injured. I was tried in March 2006 in the town's juvenile court, convicted of "assault on a public servant" and sentenced by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville to prison for up to 7 years, until I turn 21. Just three months earlier, Superville sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family's house, to probation.

This blows my mind. I can't even comprehend how a judge could send any child to [youth] prison for seven years over pushing. And it happened over a year ago, without any corrections, or alternative resolutions. I think this blog has an apt response in comparing it to a lynching. The wiki on Paris, Texas notes:

Paris was the site of the lynching of Henry Smith in 1893, the first blatantly public, actively promoted lynching of a southern black by a large crowd of southern whites. 10,000 people gathered around to cheer while he has tortured and then burned to death.

So this small town has big history, and in this Chicago Tribune article, it sounds like the last place you want to visit if you're a black person.

But the injustice here certainly transcends race. The racial aspect makes it that much sadder, but to put any child without a criminal history in jail for SEVEN year is beyond belief. My keyboard doesn't have enough capital letters and exclamation points to properly underscore the caliber of injustice.

Additionally, the author of the Tribune story, Howard Witt, followed up with this piece discussing the overwhelming response to the article (originally published March 12th), and how it reflects on both new media and newspapers.

But Shaquanda is still in prison, and it's been a year, so clearly more voices need to be heard. Why not yours?

Here's the contact page for Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Here's the page (one of two so far) on Shaquanda's blog with info on both the judge and governor.

Comments, notes, letters, contacts ... I'm sure it all helps.



Things That Are Delicious

... the new Whole Foods

... Julia Allison getting a parking ticket

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cracka CrackDown! - Industry Rule #4080 ...

Cracka Crackdown returns on Channel Okay today. Today's subject is Diane Kleiman, the woman trying to get over on 2007 NYC Man of The Year Wesley Autrey with a crappy contract. Excerpt:

So back when Wesley Autrey, the man who jumped on the train tracks in the face of an oncoming subway to save a stranger, was all over the news, I was so impressed I suggested everyone should change their rap name to Wesley Autrey. But who knew Wesley would embrace the independent rapper role so completely, even going so far as to sign a preposterously unfair contract that he's now looking to get out of.

I think Wesley will settle his dispute more easily than your average unknown emcee, because unlike the open-mic wannabe who's just droning on about themselves (haven't you heard? blogging's the new rapping), Wesley Autrey is a legitimate superhero. He's pretty much impervious to criticism, so there's no way you're going to get a judge or jury to agree with continuing to give him the shaft.

The shaft-giver in this case is one Diane Kleiman, who I couldn't actually confirm as a cracka, but I'm feeling confident can safely be placed in that category. If she's black, then I'm going to church on Sunday...

continued on The Big O...

Carlos Mencia: Himself, And Bill Cosby

More fuel for the "I Hate Carlos Mencia" bonfire. Or "I Hate Ned Holness" bonfire, whatever:

via Deadspin

I understand there are only so many jokes and ideas, but this is vintage execution by Cosby. The stuff about raising the kid like a wild dog eating the tree is both insightful and hilariously delivered. The hyped up exaggeration about the school and stadium perfectly sets up the "Hi Mom!" punchline. Mencia goes with a one-note blasé run-through of football jargon. NO! It's a quintessential example of the same joke being done by a lesser comedian. Booooo!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This Day In Interracial Dating History: The Too-Curly Pube

Today on Okay: The Too-Curly Pube

It was after a night full of rompous sex, the kind that really invigorates a relationship. Kate was in the shower and looked at the soap. There was a pube on it. Normally she would wash it away immediately, but somehow this pube struck her. It was soooo curly. Maybe too curly.

She looked around to verify she was alone and then grabbed the pube. "Wow," she thought, "this is definitely curlier than normal." She hadn’t actually spent time really looking at her new boyfriend’s pubes. In the dim lighting they seemed about as curly as the pubes on her previous “relations liaisons.” But now moistened and framed just so on the soap, the extra twang in the curls could not be glossed over. She pulled at its ends straightening out the curls. "Maybe," she wondered, "maybe black people saw the extra curliness as a symbol of their hidden potential, tucked away, but if pulled on both ends capable of stretching itself to glorious lengths."

She put the hair back on the soap, stretched out it now just about encircled the full length of the bar. This straightening of the hair, the assimilation of the pube, seemed, to Kate, as a releasing of the hair’s potential. The follicle was sturdy, almost thick. What was once a little disgusting, was now possibly —

Her boyfriend came in and jolted Kate out of the daydream. She immediately rinsed the pube down the drain and started soaping her body. She was going to be late for work and surely pube examination was not going to be an acceptable excuse...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

David Russell and Lily Tomlin Heart Each Other

These videos were making the rounds last week, apparently David Russell, director of Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees amongst others, has issues. His wiki indicates he has a history of temper-tantrums on the set. All that said, I find these blowups from the set of I Heart Huckabees pretty amusing, and think he should make losing his shite a tradition for his films. Lily Tomlin offers reaction to the tirades hitting the internet here.

And a little more on this one ...

Children Say The Darndest Things, Like, That Janitor Guy Over There Raped Me... Psyche!

these letters and words can be found in the exact same order, today, on The Okay

So how was your week last week?

Were you just doing your job until some 8-year-old girl you never saw before accused you of repeatedly raping her and had you escorted from work in handcuffs and subsequently shipped out to Riker's Island for a few days all before anyone could realize the child was lying?

No? Oh, then your week was probably better than Francis Evelyn, 58, who spoke out over the weekend after having an 8-year-old girl who attends the school he works at put him through her version of Hell Week. After hearing Francis recap the experience, and the Principal tell his side of the story, it all seems to play out like some nightmarish version of Punk'd. So to help you digest the case of The Fake Rapist we present the cast of characters, and the critical Punk'd scenes along with director's notes.

Our two principal characters:

Mr. Evelyn, our mark, is married with a daughter, goes to church regularly, has no criminal record, and has worked at the same Brooklyn school for over 19 years with no questionable reports. In other words, the perfect profile for a child molester.

An 8-year-old girl, who may or may not be Dakota Fanning going undercover to study for her new role. The girl has a history of false sexual abuse allegations, cites the most heavily-trafficked bathroom in the school as the location of the attacks, and would provide multiple conflicting reports on the identity of the attacker(s). In other words, the perfect profile for a credible accuser.

In our cast we have Principal Solomon Long (someone tell him it's fine to rock the maroon "school pride" sweatshirt, but wearing the pants to complete the maroon sweat suit look is against too-cool-for-school policy); the girl's retarded and irresponsibly devoted mother; and of course the police, detectives, and real rapists in Riker's Island.

Scene 1: TroubledGirl complains to her mom about abuse. Says it's a student, then says it's a balding white man, then upon seeing Francis Evelyn, neither a student or white, id's him as the attacker.
Notes: Make sure mother remains inexplicably supportive of daughter's wavering credibility. That's what #1 moms are for. If she drops the ball this prank goes nowhere.

Scene 2: The police immediately handcuff Mr. Evelyn and take him to the station.
Note: Make sure the police don't explain anything to Evelyn. Also, make sure they don't ask one single question. The girl said he did it. Lock him up! Can't wait to see the look on his face, ha!

Scene 3: Detectives act like they're in a movie and treat Evelyn like he's some hardened criminal. They even tell him there's DNA evidence against him to extract a confession, even though the girl would show no signs of physical abuse.
Note: This is brilliant.

Scene 4: Put him in jail for a couple days. Send him to Riker's, where the not-actually-a-raper can become the actually-raped.
Note: Love the raper becomes the raped angle here, we might want to use that in the teaser preview. It's so funny, cause he didn't actually do anything. HA!

Scene 5: After all that Francis will probably be fed up, this is when we'll have Borat, Ashton Kutcher, the prosecuting attorneys come out and say, "Francis Evelyn, you just got PUNK'D!! HAHAHA!!!"

And there you have it kiddies (the kind who don't lie and send people to jail), the greatest practical joke ever!!

(On the real tip though, Francis Evelyn has been splashed all over the media in pics and on tv, but there is no identification or picture of the girl. They probably want to protect the child, but isn't it only fair to give her the same publicity? Pragmatically speaking, people need to know what she looks like just in case a little girl with a police entourage starts randomly accusing them of sex crimes.)

Anyrape, we're sure if Frances thinks about this he'll see the funny. Plus, everyone wants to be on tv. Lucky bastard.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Third Coming

Yes! This had to be done.

If you weren't aware of the Nike commercial they're parodying, here it is:

Quality Of Planet or Quality Of Life?

In this godless city of sin it often seems marriage is a dying institution. But a recent profile-piece in the NY Times offers hope that the new trend of eco-friendly living will not only save the globe, but also the blueprint for our cherished nuclear family unit. Of course this particular impact is not mentioned by Colin Beavan or Michelle Conlin, the couple currently four months into a lifestyle experiment they call “No Impact.” Mr. Beavan, who plays the role of Tony Soprano for his Environmental Crime Family, says the rules are evolving but include, “eating only food (organically) grown within a 250-mile radius of Manhattan; (mostly) no shopping for anything except said food; producing no trash (except compost); using no paper; and, most intriguingly, using no carbon-fueled transportation.”

My friends at Gawker took great joy in digging into the contradiction of a man who is not using toilet paper so he can save trees that will only be destroyed later to print his book. And they allude to No Impact Man most likely having a negative impact on his marriage. But it seems to me this lifestyle is only tolerable through the specter of marital bliss, perhaps our last vestige of lawful slavery. After all what single guy could hold up having to deal with exchanges like this time and time again while riding the non-electric dating carousel:

Her: Hi, what took you so long? And why are you all sweaty?
Eco-Man: Cars, subways, buses etc. all destroy our planet, I walk or scooter everywhere I go.

Her: Do you want to eat at this restaurant?
Eco-Man: Eh, too difficult to find one that doesn't contribute to the earth's destruction in a variety of ways.

Her: Do you want to order out?
Eco-Man: Um, no, can’t order out either, all the plastic and paper for packaging leaves too much of a footprint. But I do have shredded cabbage with fruit-scrap vinegar and some homemade yogurt in a Mason jar. Who needs take-out?

continued over at okayplayer...

But Professor, How Do We Know For Sure That Girls Are Evil?

from the inbox:

Girls require time and money
(Girls= Time x Money)
But we all know time is money
(Time = Money)
(Girls = Money x Money)
(Money x Money = Money squared)
and because money is the root of all evil
( Money = square root of evil)
( Girls = (the square root of evil)
( Girls = (the square root of evil) squared
so we are forced to conclude that
( Girls = Evil)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Worst Responders, Bosses

Gawk has been doing a series on the Worst Boss in NYC, and Richard and I hit the streets to get some feedback from the local SoHites. Here's the video evidence.

First Responders: Worst Bosses [Gawker]

Contemporary TAN Music: Amy Winehouse

Been introduced to Amy Winehouse through okayplayer. I'd say she's like a harder, edgier Norah Jones, perhaps best demonstrated by her willingness to get drunk and puke during performances. Which is a move I would chalk up in the PURE HOTNESS column!!! That's how a lady keeps it real! Come Away With That Norah!

Anydrunk, here's a seemingly sober live performance of the song "Rehab" that will surely make you a fan, or at least want a drink:

Aberzombie & The Bitch

The bitch is on the left ...

oh, and the last two days on okay I've discussed hip hop needing an Andy Warhol, and more specifically, the Andy Warhol "Factory." Today we start digging into the "Friends With Benefits" commandments.

How To Pray To The Booty Gods

straight from the inbox:

From: TAN2
Subject: Friday night

The "booty gods" have conspired against me once again, the [redacted description] just canceled our rendevouz for manana [ed. note - love the tri-lingual email!] *As a solemn tear rolls down my cheek*. So maybe we can get a guys night out popping for tomorrow?



To: TAN2
From: TAN
Subject: Re. Friday Night

oh, that's killer. you should prick your penis (be careful!) and put one drop of blood in a condom, then bury it near a tree somewhere. In three fortnights return to the tree and there will be a girl there ready to give you some booty.

good luck!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

FutureSex/Love Mating Ritual

Hi, my name is sex

Hi, my name is love

Nice to meet you love

Nice to meet you sex

So, love, what do you do for a living?

Oh, I work at this place that helps me get in position to have a loving family. I will have children that propagate our species you know.

Yes, I do know. I personally work at this place that helps me get sex. My having sex helps propagate the species also. But you know this already. Heheh.

Heheh. Yeah.

So I’m incredibly strong. My job only hires the strongest of people.

Oh really? That’s cool. I love strong guys.

I’m also very intelligent. Would you like me to say something very intelligent?

No, no, that’s ok. I can tell from your overall disposition and approach that you are very smart. I love intelligent guys.

Are you sure you don’t want me to prove my intelligence? Here, let me do it anyways. Cause everyone says they’re intelligent, but I want to show I’m really intelligent. Here, what do you think of this: [intelligent statement, preferably humorous since humor demonstrates intelligence, or at least that’s what we think].

Oh wow. That was VERY intelligent. And also kind of funny. Haha. I love intelligent and funny people.

I knew you would. Sex?

No thanks. Love?

Mmmm, not right now. So, um, what do you do when you’re not working?

Oh, I don’t know. I go out to movies and museums. Jog around the park. Go for a drink with my lovely friends. Nothing abnormal.

Huh. That’s funny. I love movies. And I can tolerate a museum with the best of them. Maybe we should have sex?

Well I most enjoy going to the movies or museum with someone I love, you know?

Yeah, me too!! I feel like we may be talking about the same thing. Maybe love and sex mean the same thing, have you considered that?

Indeed, I have considered that! I actually thought about it the last time I talked to a strong, intelligent, and funny person like yourself. Ha. Just letting you know, I know how this game works.

Game? Ha, what game? I’m just trying to talk to someone about love-sex. I keep saying sex, and you keep saying love, but it translates the same for all intents and purposes, right?

NO! Love means love. Sex means sex. That’s why they’re two separate words. Duh.

Haha. Touché love, touché.


So, do you want to do something? What do you think about sex?

Hmmm, I don’t know. Sex is cool, but I prefer love.

Are you sure sex and love are not the same thing?


Hmmm, well maybe we can have sex until love develops?

Hmmm, I’m not positive, but I don’t think that’s how love works. I’m a product of sex, technically, but really I’m a product of love. You know what I mean?

Hmmm, not exactly.

Well, no matter, I have the vagina. You can’t have sex without one, right?

Yes, you are correct love. Ok. It seems you have the upper-hand here. Let me cut to the chase. How could I get you to partake with some of that there vagina?

I don’t know. Obviously I’m all about love, so maybe if you showcased a little of that it might help your cause.

Ok. I’m into that. What do I do?

I don’t know. It’s up to you. Love is personal and subjective, that’s why it’s so special.

Hmmm. But I think love and sex are the same, so how does that work? If I think love is sex, then doesn’t that mean you should have sex?

Hmmm. I’m a little confused, but I know the answer is NO!

Now you’re just being difficult.

Love is difficult.

Sex is not difficult.


I’m confused.

Me too.

Why don’t we just have sex?

Why don’t we just make love?




Pharoahe Monch: Gun Draws

Pharoahe Monch is my #1 hip hop artist who has the tools to crossover in a big way but hasn't yet. Here's a video that was only released on the internet cause it's a little too spicy for mainstream:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Too Many Stupid Smart People

I look at Chris Rock's SNL opener, the Hillary-1984 video, and then decide to cast my vote for smart AND stupid over at the okay-dokay corral.

I'm With Smart & Stupid [okayplayer]

Chris Rock Returns to SNL

I could take or leave most of this, but the line comparing Giuliani to a Pit Bull is why Chris gets the big bucks:

The Now Ubiquitous 'Hillary-1984' Ad Watches Over Us

Set the internet on fire baby:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hottest. Janitor. Ever.

"Naomi, we assumed you knew the rags were for cleaning, not your outfit"

(over at okay, my imagined conversation between Naomi and the security guard who didn't know she was starting a new job yesterday will go up sometime today. Until then enjoy this picture of Naomi wearing her cleaning supplies.)

Naomi & The Aggressive Security Guard [okayplayer]

Monday, March 19, 2007

Negro Law: Can We Still Guilt Trip White Folks On Slavery?

Over on okayplayer today:

I can remember a time when a white person could be getting too big for his britches and a black person could always say, "Hey dude! Slavery!" It would automatically cool things down and give everyone proper perspective: Don't anyone start feeling too high-and-mighty because I could be like any of you, if not for slavery.

But nowadays mentioning the 300 years (or is it 400 now?) of oppression you've endured doesn't carry the same wallop. White people are so damn comfortable now. Everyone's casually dropping the n-word in movies and television. Britney Spears shaved her head during Black History Month like it was nothing. Caucasians are rapping on youtube like their great-great-great grandparents were slaves whose descendants were so disenfranchised all they could do was effuse street staccato poetry over African rhythms to entertain people and empower themselves. It's crazy.


Negro Law: Can We Still Guilt-Trip White Folks Over Slavery? [okayplayer]

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Okay, Okay, Okay ... I Will Write The Word 'Negro' In As Many Contexts As Possible For The Roots & Co. As Well

More details and info to come on this, but going forward I'll also be contributing over at the home of The Roots, Common, Mos Def, Talib, Badu, Pharoahe Monch, Jill Scott and many other creative, intelligent black folk. Also known as Okayplayer.

There was a soft launch of a soft redesign today. And I'm sure there'll be some bugs and kinks to be ironed out. And hopefully there'll be things like, uh, permalinks someday, so I can, like, share ... but yeah. Once a day, everyday ... at least for a little taste. It should be fun.

There's a lot of what the blog kids call "insider baseball" on the "Obligatory Too-Long Hip Hop Introduction," but here's an excerpt:

Fast forward a few hours. I'm talking to ?uesto about what we're trying to do here on okayplayer, and he starts talking about how myspace and youtube made big $ and in my head I'm like, "yo son, you think this is The Prestige or some shit? Do you have video of Badu, Jill Scott, and Beyonce masturbating on ?uest's drum kit or something, cause you gonna need that PLUS Forest Whitaker at the top of his game to amp this shit up. Have you read my ironic T-shirt yet? It says, 'message boards are sexy.' Emphasis on IRONIC. Shit man, I thought y'all just wanted me to rewrite ?uest's liner notes or some shit.

Waddup /uest! (my bad, shift key is dodgy, need more budget)

Anyroots, insufferably long story made just a teensy bit shorter, as luck would have it I invented "blogging for black people” (actually its black people that like white people and white people that like black people, but whatever) and now we're going to see if that's a fit over here (Miscgenation Theory anyone?). I totally think we can get this site so hot that Jill, Erykah and Beyonce are gonna have to masturbate on ?uest's drumkit just to cool down. You know, on some black people who love white people and white people who love black people solidarity shit.

waddup Common! (can I get a fist in the air?)
This Blog is The New N-Word [okayplayer]

SoHo Knows: St. Patrick's Day Preview

Over on Gawker: people on the street say things about St. Patrick's Day.

First Responders [Gawker]

A Reason To Dig Up A Cassette Player

Stones Throw is releasing cassette versions of Dilla's Ruff Draft. I haven't decided if that's retro-cool and creative, or kind of retarded and impractical ... but if it has Dilla music/beats on it you can't go wrong either way.

For The Duke Haters

If you haven't seen this, or even if you have, seems an appropriate reprise after Duke's first round exit last night:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

TAN: Your #3 "Assimilated," #10 "Negro"

I recently realized that if you look up the word "negro" on google, I'm now on the first page. YES!

I come in only two behind The United Negro College Fund. Holla! Who's training the young up-and-coming negro generation now bitches!!! HAHAHAHAHA!

The "assimilated" ranking is nice also — I'm right behind the wiki for assimilation — but "negro" is the prize.

Anygoogle, I won't take up too much of your time, but I did want to thank Lena and Yulia of t.A.T.u., because I keep this picture above my laptop, and when I don't know what to write I just stare at it and think, "what would Lena and Yulia want to read about?" Then BAM! Magical posts about Nice & Smooth/Gang Starr songs come forthwith.

That is all. Thank You.

McArtlove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Paint With Fries

This has been circulating around. Probably a better use for McDonald's than actually ingesting it:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Learn Yourself About The Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University

Helped out on Deadspin's NCAA Pants Party with a little tidbit preview on Virginia Commonwealth.

(shout-out to The Hipster Handbook man himself, for dropping dime on VCU's "medieval club.")

It's been an Assimilated Negro kind of week for TAN, as I met your boy and mine Hugh Macleod, along with a consortium of online/new media/marketing people who have no problem calling themselves "NYC Geeks" (it's a white thing, you wouldn't understand).

Then last night got to party crash backstage with The Roots and Okayplayer...

And it's only Tuesday. Full TAN reports to come later ...

NCAA Pants Party: Duke vs. VCU [Deadspin]

My Gaping Void Biz Cards [TAN]
TAN Will Not Be In The Next Lupe Fiasco Video [TAN]

Monday, March 12, 2007

But Why Do The Russian Squirrels That Prey On Stray Dogs Have To Be Black Though?

I'm so sick of the media portraying negro squirrels in a negative light. You never hear about other squirrels "hiding in branches overhead and suddenly descending and attacking big dogs."

Those Aren't Black Squirrels, Those Are Ni**as [BBC News]

Why You Never Marry A German Mason, Reason #4283

The German man who, while embroiled in an apparently bitter divorce, decided to get his King Solomon on and chainsaw his house was not sloppy about his work:
Police in the eastern town of Sonneberg said on Friday the trained mason measured the single-story summer house -- which was some 8 meters (26 feet) long and 6 meters wide -- before chainsawing through the wooden roof and walls
I love that he dropped off his half of the house at his brother's. I wonder if he even told his brother beforehand.

Some Men Just Have To Prove A Point [Reuters]

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Jews Hold Panel, Key To Hip Hop's Future

So I went to this panel a few weeks ago at the 92nd Street Y. Three authors of hip hop books lecturing on how to define the term, the culture, the music.

I tried to get some company to join me, but I couldn't really argue with my friends when they protested. The little blurb to lure you in read something like this:
Hip Hop: We Can Make It Boring

In the past boring years, hip hop has gotten boring boring boring boring boring. Here's some boring boring boring authors to speak about boring boring at this boring place. Hip Hip is Important, and also boring words about boring culture, boring lifestyle, modern and boring, boring boring boring. Books, talking, no sex etc. Plus, it costs $.
(holla at ya boy 92Y, I'll give your copy that McDonald's "I'm Loving It" Urban McFlavor you need!)

Notwithstanding the lack of Jerry Bruckheimer and CGI FX in the marketing of this lecture, I was still intrigued by the prospect of getting a sense of the conversation on hip hop here in early '07. Plus, free press comps! Yay blogging!

One of the charming aspects of hip hop is its ability to surprise. And this panel was no exception as despite the promise of a boring lecture, all three panelists/authors had a lot of interesting thoughts on hip hop's past, present, and future.

Attention-whore that I am, I managed to cobble together a query for the post-lecture Q&A that would at least get people to look at me, if only in annoyance. Following a series of questions that ultimately raised the issue of a generational gap, where older folks wonder where to find that "real rebel music like they used to make," and young people say it's out there but old folks don't know where to look. I followed that up with this inquiry:

If we posit that hip hop is a youth industry, built around the spirit of independence and counter culture, then what exactly distinguishes it from rock-and roll?

Seems to me that hip hop springs from the same human condition that inspired the revolutionary music before it. The music is a subjective translation of the same impulses and feelings. That is to say Living La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin and C.R.E.A.M. by Wu Tang are the same song with different translators. Rock-and-roll is what happened when you mix the ingredients with white people and the 60s. Hip hop is a product of black people and our current media market.

As a hip hop advocate, if we discover that there are no other significant differences between hip hop and rock-and-roll, then this premise alone gives us the tools to rebrand hip hop. To commodify and commercialize in a broader more significant way. Hip Hop's new formula: Independent(Spirit) x Black + New Media = Hip Hop.

If you're one of those who are "seriously concerned" about hip hop, then this may be a significant first step to solving your problem.

Some other interesting thought bubbles that came from this cypher:

Race = Hip Hop: The interesting dynamics that stem from the racializing of hip hop manifested directly in the lecture itself. Jason Tanz was the Caucasian host seated between two ethnic guys, and he was hyper-self conscious about being a white guy speaking about a black culture. On the flip side, the two "ethnics" were almost aggressive in contrast. Jeff Chang in particular broke protocol and challenged Jason to elaborate on certain issues. It made me acutely aware of the reverse affirmative action that goes on in hip hop. In hip hop we might support white people just on the love sometimes because we know they got a later start, and that a lot of people won't even give them a chance. This also carries a certain concession that there are some aspects of the culture white people will never understand. Of course if you flip this around to apply to broader racial dynamics and affirmative action in America, it could lead to interesting conclusions. Mainly that black people in America are in the same position as white rappers in hip hop. That is to say The White Rapper Show = The Black Person Show.

Hip Hop Is New Media's Baby Daddy: Jeff made a good point about the timing of media consolidation and the need for multicultural demands. Hip hop was able to blow because of synergistic timing, it was a conduit of "culture" at a time when media was going global, multicultural. As a hip hop advocate, we could say Hip Hop is an underrated building block in this New Media movement. Certainly many people have been saying myspace exists as the force it is because of hip hop. Myspace is sort of the "new media" baby. So who's your daddy?

• Someone mentioned the Black Youth Report. I need to research that.

• Of course The White Rapper Show came up. This is the reason I'm not writing on this until now, as I was trying to do a story on TWRS. Jason loves it. But no one was able to attribute a valuation that went deeper than pure entertainment. I think TWRS is a wonderful testament to hip hop's evolving maturity. If you can't poke fun at yourself, then you haven't made it.

• Jason had an interesting note about hip hop being more "forward looking" than other genres of music. He cited that no one has more than two great albums as evidence. Of course a bit subjective, but an interesting theory. Demands more research.

So, the panel was great in what it set out to do. And in leaving I realized I would not be quibbling over what hip hop is anymore, here's your final answer:

Hip Hop is the essence of youth and youth culture contorted by the hands of race/racialization and then disseminated in our new media environment. We may disagree over the subjective affectations of race and the modern media, but the common denominator is energy, independence, survival, these are the the things we all share when we partake in hip hop. We celebrate the individual's ability to overcome himself and his environment. In other words, Nietzsche and his "will to power" is hip hop. And it's no coincidence that Nietzsche famously writing "God Is Dead" is invoked today when we discuss "Hip Hop is dead."

(at this point my brain is forcing me to note that TAN's opinions are his alone, and not necessarily a reflection of the other parts of his body. Namely his brain.)

Therefore hip hop is not dead, far from it. But it might be feeling a little insecure. That's what the contortion of youth culture is about. Yet insecurities properly diagnosed can serve as the means to furthering our empowerment. So while we may be going through a bit of an identity crisis, and feeling our mortality a little (as we all must eventually), hip hop is still in pretty good shape. As long as we have people who care and focus their energies on pushing forward; even if we die, we'll always come back.

Hip Hop: America's Beat [92nd Street Y]

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mommy, What's A Sexorcism?

A sexorcism, honey, is when you rape a racist such that they are no longer racist. For example, I used to be shy around black guys until that sexorcism. Then I met and married your father.

Now go back to bed dear.

Aardvark Monopoly

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to outsmart emotions. You can’t. The same way you’ll never beat an aardvark in Monopoly. Sure, you can set up the board and go through the motions, talk a little trash:

TAN: you want to buy Park Place?

Aaron the Aardvark: ...

TAN: Too late now stupid [quickly grabs the dice and rolls]. Park Place is a no-brainer at this stage of the game.

Aaron the Aardvark: ...

Our brains and our heart re-enact aardvark Monopoly all the time. Our brain sets everything up, explains the rules, and always figures to win. Our hearts seem to oblige, glutton for punishment, but everyone knows it might leave the table at any given moment to go smell for ants.

That's why at the start of the game, I always shoot the aardvark in the head. I mean, either way you're fooling yourself right? And there's NOTHING more frustrating than that casual too-cool-for-monopoly-school aardvark indifference. F*CK YOU AARON! I WIN AGAIN!!

Quirky Prep School Alumni Update Form Letter

From: I'm An A**hole @ [your email here]

Dear Friends,

Hey everyone! [your name here] is living in [your city here] and writing notes about himself in third person.

Wait. Let me start over.

Hey everyone! I'm living in [your city here] now. Haven't been doing much since graduation beside getting [boys/girls] pregnant and selling drugs to little children. I just got a big pack of sugarfree chewing gum for my birthday and recently name-dropped [your school here] in my last job review. Ch-Ching! I'm thinking that will net me a nice little raise sometime come never.

But seriously folks. I am totally loving [your city here]. Been in touch regularly with [school buddy you don't remember #1] and [school buddy you don't remember #2]. I'm trying to convince them to get the band back together for a [your dorm name here] reunion tour. I've also been in touch with [school buddy you don't remember #3] and [school buddy everyone hated #1]. Everyone seems to be successful and making a lot more money than me :-)

But don't cry for me [your school here]-entina. The truth is I've been doing slaving at [latest 9-5 job here], while also trying to [creative hobby-type pursuit here] in and around [your city here]. If interested, you can visit [www.your blog]. Here are some youtube links with me and some other [your school here] alums. Awesome!!

And now that this "class note" is longer than any paper I wrote while attending this esteemed institute of learned learning, (aka Not [your school here]!). I would be remiss in not adding that I recently saw pics of last year's class reunion and felt a pang of regret about missing the festivities. Well maybe not quite a pang, but something. And definitely something in the pang family. Maybe a little sister, or second cousin or something. Regardless, I hope to be in attendance at the next gathering.

Finally, for all you fine [your school here]-acitas who were too young and naive to take full advantage of the good lovin' I was offering in [your dorm here] every night after study hall, you, too, should holla at your [boy/girl]. Let's get this late bloomer action jumping off STAT! My [boyfriend/girlfriend] won't mind, I promise. [insert your jokey exclamation here!]

Well this has been fun. In fact, "holla at your boy's" go out to everyone. We must do this again sometime, no?

Happy holidays all. Stay young, and well wishes for the new year.

Your loving classmate,

[your name here] '[your class here]

Monday, March 05, 2007

How Lithuanian Basketball Players Get Head From Cute Girls

Here in America we actually jump over the "props."

via Deadspin

The Pretty Boy Project

I saw the greatest thing I've seen on television in a long time last night, The Pretty Boy Project. I'd describe it as Adult Swim for Negroes, and it makes my melanin all warm and tingly just thinking about it. They have 11-minute shorts running On Demand on HBO. Watch It Now! I don't think it does the concept justice, but here's a trailer from their myspace page:

The Pretty Boy Project

Add to My Profile | More Videos

The Pretty Boy Project [homepage]
The Pretty Boy Project [myspace]

Map Seat

The map seat sucks for both parties. Anyone sitting there is annoyed at map checkers, any map checker is self-consciously aware of this. Here's a typical NYC exchange:

LOST moves in to look at the map, MAP SEAT doesn't take kindly. It might be helpful to know MAP SEAT is white, LOST is black.

Map Seat – yo son, do you need to get so close?? You blind or something? Why don’t you back it up a little bit.

Lostsorry, but um, I’m just trying to figure out where I’m going.

MS – YO SON!! Your breath is too hot to be talking all close to me like this. Play like Onyx and bacdafucup!!

LOnyx? Look ... ok, I’m backing up. There’s no need to be confrontational here, I just want to figure out directions.

MS - where you trying to go?

L - Uh, well it’s in Brooklyn, but I’d really prefer to jus—

MS – listen, I know Brooklyn. Where you trying to go?

L - [pause] Um, Park Slope I think ... I have to get off at Atlantic.

MS - I should have figured a brother like you to live out in Park Slope.

L - ...

MS - I'll give you a heads up when your stop is coming up.

L - Can I just look at the map? Please. Is it your map?

MS - Is it my map? [looks around at no one in particular] No, it’s not my map, is it your map?

L - No … but I just want to look so I can know where I'm going.

MS - I'm getting off at Union, it's one stop after. I'll let you know. Don't worry.

L - [mood: annoyed] Fine. Whatever. How many stops is it?

MS - [looks at map] I don't know, six or seven stops.

L - What's the stop before mine?

MS - I don't know, but I'll let you know before we get into Brooklyn.

L - Thanks.

MS - No problem.

L - It would have been easier to just let me look, you know.

MS - Maybe. But your breath is really hot.

L - Really?

MS - Yeah.

L - That sucks, I'm going to a party where my ex-girlfriend is going to be.

MS - Here son, use some of my Burt's Peppermint Drops. [takes out drops]

L - Thanks. [takes drops] Wow, these are good.

MS - Yeah. They still only cover up the problem. You have something more serious going on I think. You have health insurance?

L - Uh ... no?

MS - Actually, this is my stop here. It's all yours. Later.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Songs You Should Know: Dwyck

Dwyck - Gang Starr ft. Nice & Smooth

Dwyck is a classic from the hip hop “Golden Era.” It's a track that can separate the real hardcore NYC hip hop fan, from the also-rans. If you don't know at least 60% of the lyrics, then sorry, you're gonna have to move out to the other room. It’s all good. We all try and mingle. But some conversations you can’t participate in. 60% is very generous number with this one.

"Dwyck" was a pop smash for early 90s NYC hip hop. Gang Starr and Nice & Smooth doing a collabo in '92 might be the equivalent of Mos Def and Justin Timberlake doing a record now. (how hasn't that happened by the way? That's a naturally beautiful combination. An Atom Bomb of Assimilated Hotness! If we got Mos, Justin, Timbo and Dre, with the usual assortment of guests that would be a commercial and creative nuclear explosion.) This was a confluence of greatness underrated at the time, even as we celebrated it. "Dwyck" doesn't have a wiki. That's ridiculous. The explicit reason why we call that time a "golden era" is because joints like "Dwyck" were expected and ultimately taken for granted. It's a song you should know.

Four main artists: Primo, Guru, Greg Nice, Smooth B.

Primo – The thing with Premier is his STYLE. Quintessentially distinctive, Primo has always been one of the easiest beatmakers to recognize in the first couple bars. But with "Dwyck," he diversified his portfolio. Throttling back on his patented "Mass Appeal" digital-street ethos, he let the bassline play the lead on this one. I'd submit he was influenced by some of his bottom-heavy contemporaries of the time (Pete Rock, Tribe). Throw in his genius capacity for the perfect cut on full display, and you have a classic hip hop beat despite the low-fi mix leaving the drums a little lacking.

Greg Nice - Greg N-I-C-E drops possibly his best verse. At the least, it's everything you want from him: Energy, echo quotables, some nonsensical whimsy, and hopefully one questionable pronunciation or obviously false statement. No one can f with this sequence:

Oooh la la / Ah oui oui / I say Muhammad Ali / you say Classius clay / I say butter / You say parkay

Hold your head.

Guru - Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal also drops a strong verse. Guru always got into trouble when he stressed letting us know how smart he is instead of just flowing, and in this song, too, he declares his "genius." Nevertheless he basically zones out from "the brother who will make you change opinions" through the end of the song. Classic Guru. Worth noting that Guru would end up with a number of songs about gun control in his catalog, and in live performances he'd show contrition over his final couplet, "clips are inserted into my gun, so I could take the money, never have to run." Funny, cause it's a hot line. In this live performance on In Living Color he goes with, "rhymes I inject straight from my mouth, so I could take the loot, and then I'm out." Not the same.

Smooth B.
- The smooth one is in rare form here. He has the vintage Smooth B. flow going, but totally in a zone to talk about weed throughout his verse. And he does come off like a guy who might be a little too lit while he was writing. But the fact of the matter is if he does a show with Primo, and receives a bag of weed when he says - "yo premiere, please pass me that buddha sack" - the show is over at that point. Nothing better will happen for the rest of the evening. That said, despite the showstopping line, if every posse cut is a battle, on this one Smooth comes in third.

Word. Here's the video. Guaranteed to enhance the entertainment value for any early 90s hip hop song.

UPDATE: Forgot to add most important part:

What the F does "Dwyck" mean?

The answer from Guru himself:

GURU: “It was just a slang that we used to use back then. It was like a slang thing we used to do. Greg Nice used to do it to everybody. Biz Markie started it actually. You used be in a crowd and say someone’s name and go ‘Yo! Son!’ The person would turn around and go ‘What? What?’ and you would say: ‘Dwyck!’. It’s like ‘My dick!’. It means the male genitalia. We switched it up to ‘Dwyck’. It was just some sh*t to psyche each other out.”

Huh. Read that and more in this hip hop elements interview.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Black Guy and An Asian Guy Walk Into A Blog ...

Over on Channel G, SpinachDip and TAN talked about something having to do with Black and Asians getting along, or not...

: Speaking of Asian wars, Vietnamese is easily my most favorite asian cuisine.
Spinach: Pho is cure for whateverthefuck ails you.
TAN: I do think you guys win on the religion tip. I'm totally not down with Christianity.
Spinach: Christianity is too dogmatic for me. People use it too much as a get-in-heaven-free card. Whereas Eastern beliefs tend to be more about philosophy. It's about how to think, rather than what to think.
TAN: Word. Plus, fortune cookies!!!

Gawker Helps Bring Blacks And Asians Together

Hip Hop Pantheon: Nice & Smooth - Part 1, The Greg Nice Homage

hey yo, hillary clinton is the pope-pope
me myself, I always keeps it dope-dope
hip hop writers they like to mope-mope
say it's all dead, and there is no hope-hope

but it's spring again, let the winter thaw-thaw
saw a show with nice & smooth, I was left in awe-awe
Greg Nice had 'em all jumping off the floor-floor
they just killed everyone that came before-fore

I remember coming up, I used to think he sucked-sucked
he would say nonsense, didn't give a f*ck-f*ck
his voice was funny, the echo effect was cool-cool
but he acted like a clown and sounded like a fool-fool

with all the ahh oui-oui
fa so la pee-pee
how his girl had a cello
and lived in a tee-pee

but in one show I realized that's all my bad-bad
cause now all of hip hop has become a fad-fad
people still say nonsense, but the vibe ain't fun
while Greg N-I-C-E
sweeter than a cinnamon bun-bun
hot and sticky
words not picky
if the girl is fine
she gets licky-licky

it ain't really tricky, it's just all he cares-cares
about is getting people's hands up in the airs-airs
so this is part one of an extended review
of how Greg Nice and Smooth B always keep it funky for you

Music Video Codes by VideoCure
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