Friday, March 20, 2009

Will Oren Yoel Be Asher Roth's Dr. Dre?

I haven't given much (read: any) attention to Asher Roth, the seeming PG-13 Eminem sequel. I think that's changing now after having peeped the second video. White or black, any emcee is going to need beats if he's going to blow, and this one is a banger. Asher always had skills, but now he might have his Dre:

(Asher Roth's album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle is dropping April 20th (4/20) *WINK*
Eminem's Relapse is dropping May 19th.

methinks we'll see these two names linked together again. illroots got to peep Asher's"As I Em" and it's supposed to be nice.)

should be an interesting beat to pick up. and speaking of, said album production is held down mostly by Oren Yoel. so yeah, we're going to see what frat-rap has to offer, but some new blood on the production front would be a most excellent development.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Daily Beast Records, Featuring The Notorious John Forté

So yeah, that mean Tina Brown is Diddy.

You know we had to do a remix, right....

Ti-Na, come out and plaaaay-ayyyy ...

Exeter, Stand Up!!!

But like, for real tho, when I think about my own assimilated resume (Choate's first Obama, book that will shatter earth space time continuum, etc.) I talk to my imaginary Carlton friend -- assimilateds often have an imaginary Carltons, cause we're all Will Smith in our minds -- and I'm like, "yo Carlton, I was thinking about how my facebook profile would be even hotter if I, like, actually went to jail, and if I, like, didn't just rhyme but had real success as an emcee." Exeter, Fugees Credits, plus Jail, that's a perfect storm of hot-like-fire realness. That's like the TAN Trifecta: You want suit-and-tie sensibility, I got you. Oh, I got to rock this crowd in Brooklyn, wordemup. Oh, you want me to teach and talk to these kids on the street, I'm feeling that.

That's being strapped for the war ahead, no matter what happens. And that's Forté right now ...

John and I were in Prep 9 together, we were never ace-ace boom, but we were cool, and there's only like 25-30 of us. And Prep homeys are fairly tight and fraternity-like with ours; I always got a pound for a Prep dude, and vice versa. So I'd be interested in this story regardless, but I think there's probably more here since so many of us Preps have followed the same formula: go to prep school, do the college thing (with hit-or-miss achievement levels) and then step out, at least for a minute, to do some creative shit, most likely hip hop.

I'm getting a feeling with this current leveling-of-all-fields apocalypse going on, something like The Daily Beast Records is not necessarily far off from reality. Maybe this is the jumpoff right here, in which case regardless of your feelings about the song it's kind of hot just to realize how Forte's video on The Daily Beast is a kinda-sorta iconic snapshot of America in 2009 ...

John Forte "Runnin Up That Hill" from The ICU on Vimeo.

image via

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer? Meet KRS-One and P.M. Dawn

I'm doing a dialogue with some hip hop journalists/bloggers and in search of a newspeg with which to pitch the whole package I stumbled on the notion of Jon Stewart pulling a P.M. Dawn on Jim Cramer as an amusing analogy.

So we know the Stewart vs. Cramer hubbub from last week, but do you know about when hip hop legend/scholar KRS threw P.M. Dawn off the stage. You can get a first-hand perspective/recap via unkut's interview with Kenny Parker.

The interesting comparison comes in because KRS compares to Stewart as a sort-of hip hop media watchdog. Obviously there's a whole bunch of different ethnocultural circumstances, but he was one of the few dudes that would call people out, by name, and try and hold them accountable. And in hip hop at the time if you did your calling out on wax, or during a radio show, that was the equivalent of doing it at 11PM on Comedy Central. More to the point: KRS fancied himself, like Stewart, a truth-teller for his people and times. And he saw his task as doing that in the most compelling, entertaining, but also *truthful* way possible.

In the other corner, P.M. Dawn is emblematic of a Cramer Mad Money mentality. A symbol of American values/dreaming gone wrong. Not inherently evil in and of itself -- after all, we all have to make a living and it's not Cramer or Prince Be's fault people buy into schtick -- but wrong for going overboard into manipulating people, presentation, perception for capital gain.

This doesn't all work dot-for-dot. Prince Be was a hippie artist, and Cramer stands accused of crimes much worse than being a chubby bohemian rapper. But still, I give Cramer the benefit of the doubt to think there's an art to his business; I don't think he was born on the dark side of the force, he was lured there by American greed like any of us in the right circumstances.

AnyCramer, as the story goes KRS was performing at the same club as P.M. Dawn one night and long story short he (or as the recap i linked earlier clarifies, it wasn't him but his crew) threw Prince Be off the stage and took over. For most hip hop "heads" it's a moment you remember as old school real vintage hip hop nostalgia. Hip hop was always about settling beef and calling people out and holding people accountability for being wack, shady, or whatever. And that's exactly what Stewart did to Cramer last week. A contemporary, civilized passive-aggressive/pansy-ass version of throwing a rival off the stage.

Which is to say, aside from how politically (and legally) improper it is, it would seem people really just wanted to see Stewart punch Cramer in the face.

In this post that I got abused over, it was this bullyish alpha-dominant behavior that struck me. Not the moralizing of the exchange (i.e. obviously Stewart's right, Cramer's wrong, that wasn't a question going in or leaving), but that Stewart was playing by hip hop rules while Cramer was playing fold your hands in class and don't look at the guy who's gonna beat you up after class in the eye. It's so aggressive, and primal, and Nietzschean, and awesome, and ultimately, as I see it, so hip hop. Or what hip hop should be. Or what media infused with more hip hop values should be. More public beef please.

image via: unkut

Friday, March 13, 2009

Boyz II Men's End of the Road, Remastered Masterfully

Yo, the digital audio technology is so incredible these days. From T-Pain and 'Ye, to Lindsay Lohan and the incomparable Heidi Montag, doesn't it all just make you want to sing!
And now, the coup de motown, an exceptional remastering of an R&B classic, "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men:

via: AlanaG

Is Jon Stewart More Important Than Obama?

The feud between Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer -- the representative jive-talking caucasian for financial news programming -- built up to a head this week (such that spoofing the hype was the lead joke on last night's The Daily Show). The beef kerfuffle stems primarily from everyone riding Jon Stewart's prostate nowadays (he's calling out finance people like the rest of the world, but his writers are funnier), and after seeing this clip I'm a little afraid that homedude is more powerful than Obama right now. This was billed as an "interview", but it was more like Alpha-Jon peeing and then lying all over Cramer in a show of dominance. If Jim Cramer's wife has a child in nine months, the father will be Jon Stewart. You won't even need a DNA test. Just this video:

Sooo, yeah. We know Stewart is fighting the good fight (I think?), but isn't there something too Big Bully-ish about this. Don't you feel a little bad for the pick-pocket when he gets scooped by Superman? It's like, let the little man get his hustle on, y'know? Preacher Jon has been doing this getting in people's asses with more frequency, what with the globe in shambles and all his dopey enemies to blame, but he usually sustains the jokey-satire-facade; TDS always remains a humor show. But around the 7:00 mark when he gets into the "it's not a f-beeping- game", yikes, it gets painful, and feels unnecessarily over the top.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Stewart and/or The Daily Show get a starring role in a future South Park episode soon, the white male Jewish Oprah might could use a little deflating.

(Also: Chocolate News was cancelled. Thinking about the gap between this exchange and it's relevancy vs. what it would have been if Cramer went on Chocolate News... it's sort of amazing.)

David Alan Grier is Respected, But Can He Be Relevant? [Ebony]
Satire: Do Black Folk Get It? [Ebony]

Dear TAN: Is Assimilation Bad or Good?

Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: The moralizing of assimilation!

Dear sir,

I came across your website tonight and decided to send you an email, I understand if you are not able to respond, I am sure you get a lot of them.

I will try to get straight to the point. I am 25 years old, white and from the south. For the past year or so I have been using the internet to probe every aspect of race and racism, from every point of view, and from as many eras as possible. But I have never actually contacted any of the authors of these pages, so you are the first one I have spoken to.

I guess I am looking to open a dialogue of some sort. I have so many questions. I get so disheartened, sometimes sick to my stomach, reading articles and viewing clips, and I just need some answers or closure or a ray of hope. Just something to keep me from throwing my hands up and saying this planet is screwed. But like I said I will try to keep this short for now.

I will start with the title of your blog. I think I understand what you are getting at with it, but I still don't understand everything. I was under the impression that whites for a long time would have rather died than allow blacks to gain access to the promises of this country. I may have answered my own question, but am I on the right track in thinking that there is a huge difference between assimilation and equality? As in assimilation has inherently negative connotations? And if that is the case, could you help me understand how blacks view the word assimilation, or rather, what specific points are objectionable? I am familiar with the idea that there are white and black hairstyles, so I am thinking that for example a black person sporting a typical white hairdo is an example of assimilation? I know there are deeper issues than hairstyles, but then again maybe it is indicative of something below the surface?

Ok, hopefully that wasn't too long, but if you can find the time, I would greatly appreciate to hear from you. Thanks for you time.

Ben G.


Dear Ben G. (like the dog, ruff! ha? uhhhh...),

Thank you for the note. I think your questions get right to the heart of what TAN is about. Let's enumerate for readability and comprehension:

Organic Underwear: Is Ralph Lauren Charging Extra To Make Your Drawers Smell Like Shit?

Seriously, did this n Ralph just introduce the organic cotton underwear "collection"? See what a little money and a marketing team can do for you? Shoot, I got laundry to do, but I wouldn't call what's in my bag a "collection". It's definitely organic though. That's some nice semantic espionage to try and pull next time you show up at work a little ripe:

"boy TAN, you couldn't shower for work today?"

"nah, I showered. I'm just saving the world via my eco-friendly/stank-ass socks. What did you do to help save the planet today?"

"i didn't order anything delivered from"

Ralph, darling, we gotta talk on this one. You know when I choose to waste money on superficial pretentious branding on my clothes, I choose you. You're my baby. You my Hilni**a. But what's next, pre-prepped pit-stains on my tee-shirts? I'm not stupid, Ralph. I went to boarding school, and that's why I'm totally stoked to be all hopped up and strung out on your horses in the first place, dude. Seriously. Love them. Love what they do for me in the "real world". And normally I wouldn't even take offense at the idea that this accessibly attractive guy with some quasi-existential gaze in his khaki-camo army-navy underwear is supposed to persuade me to impulse-buy dirty drawers from you.... it's all in the game, right?

But it's just in this economy, you gotta know people would definitely prefer to save a little money and organic-up their own briefs. At least for this quarter. So, you know, just chill and slow your pimp-roll. You don't want alpha-Jon to take notice and invite you on The Daily Show for an interview or something.

About TAN: 3.3


born in the South Bronx. went to prep school. first Choate, a name you might know if you know such names. then Pomfret, less known, but same deal.

The bronx-to-boarding school transition is the basis for The Assimilated Negro (T.A.N.) thing.

still live in NYC. have a book coming out with Random House/Crown/Three Rivers.

I'm a little crazy, but friendly.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Life Has Three Speeds: Twitter, Google, Facebook

Farhad Manjoo -- who's been on fire the last few months covering the tech beat for Slate; if there's a popular technology or device you don't know about, he's got your primer -- finally gives Twitter a once-over, and instead of transparently making a pitch for followers like Julia Angwin's at the WSJ he decides to examine the comparison to two other pop technology tools, Facebook and Google.

After giving all the need to know info and background on twitter and the other tools there's not much time/space left to ruminate, but his main *idea* goes deeper than the usual here's-why-this-is-cool rhetoric.

See, everyone's in a tizzy over the prospect of twitter developing into a search-engine of immediate real-time response and news -- usually citing twitterers who broke news and pictures of the Hudson plane crash before any real news people got to the scene. But Majoo wonders if this is filling a void that doesn't exist:

That gets to a more fundamental question: How often does anyone need "real time" information on the Web? Yes, in the first few minutes after a plane has landed in the Hudson, Twitter might be the best place to find news. But its advantage is short-lived....

Google had a coherent story within hours; Twitter had a messy story within minutes. News junkies love the messy, fast story, but lots of us aren't news junkies. Lots of us are OK waiting an hour for coherence.

And I wonder the same thing, and the philosophy major in me is a little sad that he has to shortshrift the question born of us stealing fire from the tech gods: that being, how much speed do we really need?

Now cruising on the road of life, or evolution, it appears human beings have three gears: Twitter, Facebook, and Google.

Twitter is the fastest we can do. Something happens you can let the world know in the time it takes to type 140 characters or less. For those who like a moment to reflect, Facebook is fairly immediate but not as streamlined for REAL-TIME REACTION. And finally you have the "lumbering" google as your vast archive of the timely and timeless. These three tools/technologies developed will give us coverage on basically everything within the space-time continuum aside from the thoughts in our head (hmmm).

So now all that's left is to decide your cruising speed?

Friday, March 06, 2009

The McNugget Bailout Plan: This Is An Emergency!

Late last year when this is-it-parody-or-is-it-racism McDonald's commercial came out, I thought the one thing you could say for sure was the ridiculous riff about "stealing someone's ten-piece" McNuggets was patently absurd. No one gets that hopped over McNuggets, right?

But 'gro and behold, just when you think you can't stereotype black folk as McDonald's crack addicts no more a Florida woman goes and calls EMERGENCY 9-1-1 THREE TIMES because they ran out of chicken mcnuggets:

A police report says 27-year-old Fort Pierce resident Latreasa L. Goodman told authorities she paid for a 10-piece last week but was later informed the restaurant had run out.

She says she was refused a refund and told all sales were final. A cashier told police she offered Goodman a larger portion of different food for the same price, but Goodman became irate.

"This is an emergency. If I would have known they didn't have McNuggets, I wouldn’t have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don’t want one," Goodman told police, according to The Stuart News. "This is an emergency."

So I join NY Mag's Vulture blog in declaring that the media should be focused on this woman (her name just HAD to be "Latreasa") instead of another octo-mom story.

Previously Related:
McDonald's: We Feed Black People!
McDonald's: We Advertise To Black People!

image: via

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Would the World Be A Better Place If "Ice Ice Baby" Didn't Exist?

It's definitely an amusing minute of youtube video seeing Vanilla Ice apologize for his hit song and iconic symbol of hip hop selloutdom, "Ice Ice Baby". But while I appreciate the chuckle, at the risk of sounding a little spacey-hippie negroish I also think we sometimes undersell the power and, um, profundity of pop songs; yes, even those most revolting yak-bomb one-hit wonders on the playlist.

And in the case of Mr. Ice, if you go along with the hip-hop-and-obama-have-a-symbiotic-relationship theme that is being explored by most of mainstream media then, like crack, one has to eventually stop giggling and afford the man his proper respects: 1. You go and sell 40 million copies of anything. 2. That Robert Van Winkle can argue himself as hip hop's first pop star, and the song might be the genre's top seller should be worthy of at least a day of discussion in a college classroom. Not to say the class can't start with the obligatory jokes -- there might even be one or two that haven't been made yet -- but remember this Robert Van Winkle fellow is not a sketch character. He's like kinda-sorta important. *swallows lump in throat* And Ice Ice Baby is, like, a kinda-sorta cultural touchstone. Something to consider before we stop, collaborate and listen, knahmean?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Has Anyone Referred Wall Street To The Ten Crack Commandments?

As relayed by the Notorious B.I.G.:

#6: "that goddamn credit, dead it; you think a crackhead payin' you back, shit forget it."

follow these rules you'll have mad bread to break up ....

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Roots Breathe Some Life Into Late Night

A consensus highlight from the debut of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is a bit they called "Slow Jamming the News". Basically The Roots and Jimmy do a nice syrupy parodic R&B version of some of the latest news headlines-- think Barry White meets Weekend Update. (Funny enough it's similar to a pitch I laid on Gawker one time, essentially "Emceeing the news" which might not have worked as well cause slow jams play better for humor than fast-raps, but still affirms my belief that a low-risk way to freshen up any stale typically-white stuff is via the integration of typically-black stuff. As long as the typically-Black stuff is done by actual Blacks and not "urban"-caucasians which i suspect is where McDonald's commercials or folks rapping about Doritos or whathaveyou go wrong.)

In any event it also signals the bringing on of The Roots as an inspired choice for the show's producers; regardless of your feelings on Fallon, the whole Late Night formula is in dire need of an overhaul and a hip hop band with some versatility offers a gateway to newer, different, better. It's also awesome to see Black Thought get to show his lighter side, something those who have seen The Roots in concert may know about but doesn't usually get translated to their albums/songs.

The assimilation will, in fact, be televised! At least late nights ...

image: via

In Search of Pope John Latino (I)

The NY Times does a little exploring of the ins and outs of landing the first Latino Archbishop. In so doing the writer Paul Vitello showcases the changing face of the Roman Catholic community:

By historians’ account, Irish immigrants and their offspring essentially built the Catholic Church in America. Between 1840 and 1880, Irish immigration accounted for most of the sixfold increase in the country’s Catholic population, to 6 million. The influx fueled a boom in church and school construction, much of it with Irish labor, that culminated with the completion of St. Patrick’s in 1878.

But Latinos in New York today are almost the statistical twins of Irish New Yorkers of the late 19th century: They account for 30 percent of the city’s population and, by the archdiocese’s estimate, 40 to 50 percent of its 2.5 million Catholics — an estimate that community advocates say probably misses large numbers of undocumented immigrants.

The article points out that the new archbishop can habla Mass (más!) en español, and the Vatican has appointed Hispanic bishops, so all to say, in the style of our man Obama, we're probably going to have our first ArchPapi appointed sometime soon, or at least in our lifetimes (NPR was looking in 2005). I'm not very religious, or Catholic, but that sure seems to smell like progress.

Love That German Egineering In Advertising

I really just love the Germans and their edgy advertising campaigns. You might remember them for the UNICEF ad that put little aryan kids in black chocolate-face to engender support for African children. Or this one about not kissing/crawling up your boss's ass for work. Or this doggie-eating-coochie cover for Deutsch Magazine. Always edgy and provocative ... and fun!

Well the latest sample, via Copyranter, is for some sort of Play-Dohesque modeling clay. Build the utopian post-racial world of your dreams! Of course you need more than clay, you also need that sophisticated progressive German sensibility/taste for rabble-rousing.

image via: Copy, colribus
Related Posts with Thumbnails