I believe the children are our future. I believe that it’s important to meet people where they are when trying to reach them. I believe we should educate young people about real topics like sex, economics, politics, race and health. So it follows that I should like Dr. Clarke’s “Health Hop Music.” Uh, no.
Dr. John D. Clarke has a series of albums he’s written, produced and performed focusing on educating young people about their health. Relying on studies with conclusions like “the average teen listens to 40 hours of music per week and 10,500 hours of music between the 7th and 12th grade,” and “today, Hip-Hop is the music of choice for many teens and is the ideal genre for capturing their attention,” Dr. Clarke hopes to use hip hop to break through to kids and get them to listen up.
While the doctor’s motives are admirable and his attempt to make good songs not too shabby, I have to say that this is a fail. Take a break from reading right now and head over to the Health Hop page on CD Baby and listen to some clips. See what I mean? No? Read on. Continue reading →
I see now that it might be a couple of days before I can really get back into blogging. I started a new job on Monday so I’ve been getting acclimated there, as well as getting back into a 9-5 schedule. Do you know that I haven’t had to be at a 9-5/5 days a week job since last summer? Even that was an internship! My law classes didn’t even have that type of schedule. In Tokyo, we admittedly did more partying than studying or spending time in class so that wasn’t too stressful. This past summer, as the steady readers know, I didn’t have to be anywhere really. When doing the consulting/freelance, that was on my time for the most part. So now here I am trying to get back on track which includes getting up early, riding the subway to work, running errands after 5pm, heading home, attempting to make dinner, then studying for my MPA classes. Which reminds me, I haven’t even started this week’s reading AND my group members want everyone to turn in a draft of our project sections this Friday. Suffice to say that I won’t be doing anything for the remainder of the week besides work and school work. Womp.
I did go out to SOBs last night to see Black Sheep and Tanya Morgan rock with Revive da Live, a jammin’ ass hip hop band. It was awesome. TM already bangs but they definitely should try to hook up with the band more often. Hmm, perhaps they should do a reality show like Diddy. Making TMs Band?
Remember my crazy uncle? He had me put him on the phone with Dres from Black Sheep. Embarrassing but I did it anyway because I knew it’d make him happy. He wanted me to get an autograph too, but I have my limits. Besides, I had already gotten a pic with Dres for my Old Rapper Collection. More on that later for those who don’t know. LOL
Ten years later, my reaction to this video is the same as when I first saw it in my dorm room freshman year (holla 404 E-haus, UNC’s South Campus!) with my roomie and my bestie. We three were jaw jacking about something when the video came on my roomie’s 13in television. All conversation ceased. I was sitting cross-legged on the top bunk, roomie was sitting on her bed, and bestie stood in the middle of the room. All three, mesmerized and silent. All three, breathing in sync with him. We were the ultimate voyeurs, peeking in on an intimate moment with a man we could have built from all of our favorite parts. It wasn’t raunchy. It wasn’t vulgar. It was sexy in the way romance novels try to be with all of that grand, overly-descriptive language.
Not until the video went off were we able to start talking again. There was about a 10 second delay and we all snapped out of our trances and laughed. Real talk, some kind of Lex Luthor, Dr. Doom, Magneto, Boris & Natasha, or Dr. Evil could have put his world domination propaganda into that video and we would have willingly done their bidding. I still really can’t tell you what the lyrics are or what the song’s about because I don’t really *hear* it. SMH.
I’m not going to rehash the whole story here because it’s all over the webz, but when I heard how the feel good/made it out the hood story about former teen rapper, Roxanne Shanté, getting her record company to pay for her education (including an Ivy League Ph.D. in Psychology) turned out to be false, I wasn’t surprised. Not in the least. Oh, not that I thought a rapper from Queens couldn’t have accomplished such things…
That's Dr. Danielle Spencer now... as if she'd let you call her Dr. Dee Thomas!
I BEEN knew something was wrong because the Daily News article on this unique record contract and amazing rapper-turned-doctor referred to her as Doctor Shanté. People were repeating that mess on blogs, message boards, twitter and facebook. Dr. Shanté. Really? Um, wasn’t Roxanne Shanté your RAP name, one you dreamed up after hearing UTFO go in on some stuck up chick named Roxanne? How am I supposed to take you seriously when I’m seeking out a therapist and she’s going by her RAP MONIKER? Sure, we still call Queen Latifah “Queen Latifah” but she hasn’t left show business so it’s allowed. I bet if she were to become a surgeon or an attorney we’d call her Dr. Owens, Dana Owens, Esq.
All types of folks are known to fudge their resume and trump up their credentials and it’s pretty much accepted. Flat out lying about where you went to school and what degrees you’ve earned, however, is a douche move. It makes you look silly in the end and it’s an embarrassment that will stick with you forever. People like myself, working on 2nd and 3rd advanced degrees don’t appreciate it Ms. Shanté! It’s not like people go around telling everyone they’re rappers (oh, wait. nevermind. Anyhood, USA proves me wrong on that front).
It’s just that we would have always thought of little 14 year old Roxanne Shanté in her slicked back ponytail and doorknocker earrings rapping with the big boys and smiled. Now that she got our hopes up by faking the funk, people are let down and a bit peeved. If there’s one thing the hip hop community doesn’t tolerate, it’s a liar.
Hold up now. ALLEGED liar, because maybe she really did get those degrees. Maybe she is a psychiatrist that uses hip hop to heal her patients. Perhaps there was a mix up with the name she used to enroll (clearly, she’s not good at sticking with one name). It’s possible the record company wants to deny paying that money to save face and just maybe a couple of somebodies at Marymount Manhattan and Cornell have it out for the good rappin doctor. Slate could have it wrong just as easily as the Daily News. Even Russell Simmons is cosigning her! Gooden/Shante doesn’t seem to be fazed, though. As of last Thursday, her Twitter page was still posting links to articles like the Daily News piece (@DrShante. Hmph…if it’s her real twitter account). It doesn’t really matter to me how it turns out because either way, she’s still dead wrong running around as Dr. Shanté.
Sorry yall. If you were looking for this week’s recap/commentary of Making His Band you’re out of luck. I watched Monday’s ep and I had started to blog about it. Mid-way through, I lost interest. The show is simply not that interesting anymore. I don’t know if it ever was. Not even Jaila’s fabulosity can save it. I’m completely uninspired to force myself to watch every Monday and even more uninspired to write about it. No worries, plenty of other places on the web to get your Diddy fix. In related news, Diddy’s new MTV show, Starmaker is not work watching. It’s safe to say that all of these reality talent shows (American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and Diddy’s own shows like Making The Band) have already run through America’s wannabe singers. Who else is out there that hasn’t already been to a casting and summarily rejected? Those rejects are on Starmaker. Will not be tuning in anymore.
When Diddy brings back Da Band and Dylan (hot fiyah), THEN there will be something to blog about!
Back on the scene after last week’s back to basics catastrophe. To be honest, I’m not as committed to this show as I am to others but I’m watching it so you don’t have to (or so that you know you’re not the only one!). Anyway, let’s get to this week’s recap.
Where last week was about the individual, the musicians were put into groups tonight to focus on programming, playing as a team and sonically reproducing the feel of Last Train to Paris. While it’s apparent that many of the musicians weren’t formally trained or know the fundamentals, they’re here now because they’ve taught themselves or have a natural ear for music. Broken up into 4 bands, the musicians had three days to three songs (Point of No Return by Expose, Pleasure Principle by Janet Jackson and Take On Me by A-Ha).
Out the gate, Brockett was hype. “Once we get the sounds right… there’s nobody gonna play with the kinda feel I can play on these records. Trust me,” he proclaimed. I liked that kind of confidence and from what we’ve seen so far, Brockett can really back up all the tough talk. He can afford to run the keys all he wants in his group though, because he’s the only keyboardist there.
In the next group, Lynnette was on keys along with Jason aka J-Sweet and they weren’t meshing quite as well as they needed to. Everyone cannot be the leader/music director but at this point, with it being a competition and all, I don’t think that’s an easy concept to swallow. Hence, discord. I really like Lynnette though. I feel as though she’s hella talented and humble which is a rare combination. What I’ve noticed is that J-Sweet has a very negative and defensive attitude. Every time Lynnette says something or asks a question, J-Sweet gets super condescending and patronizing. Ew. It’s not the way to rally a team if you ARE the leader. To be fair, I don’t think Lynnette should react by running away. Continue reading →
Last week’s premier was the massive weeding out of less than stellar talent and our first intro to the musicians who made it into the house. This week, we get a closer look and more Didtastic shenanigans, of course.
The house is not a home. It’s a freaking mansion. That place is huge and fits 30 people, son! Amenities include a pool worthy of ___ and a mini theather with stadium seating.
Lynnette and Brockett (who violated by wearing sunglasses indoors) have a connection to Berklee and a formal music education. Most of the cats in the house seem self-taught though so it’ll be interesting to see how education or lack thereof impacts their sound. The judges apparently feel that music education is important at some level because they stressed technique on the first challenge. FUNDAMENTALS is the name of the game. Brockett made a pretty good analogy likening everyone to new NBA players who gotta go back to basics and shoot free throw drills. Although, I must say that the slam dunk v. free throw comment reminded me of the racist assumption that Black players have natural skill and athleticism whereas white players work hard and dedicate themselves to training. I’m not saying Brockett is racist at all, by the way. I’m just saying. Continue reading →
By now you’ve probably heard about Soulja Boy’s newest indulgence: a black diamond encrusted Lamborghini chain… with a remote control. Yeah. This cat basically has a toy car bedazzled with my undergrad and law school education (times 10).
Folks who hate Soulja Boy are loving this. They can point to this excess and say he’s ignorant, he’s killing hip hop, kids are crazy, etc etc. Blogs are buzzing with the video where he shows just how his shiny piece works. If it’s possible, he’s mad T-Pain’s Big Ass Chain look sort of sensible (no, not really).
1ST OF ALL. I didn’t pay ANYTHING for my black Lamborghini chain I got it FREE as a birthday presentfrom my jeweler when I turned 19 on July 28!
2ND OF ALL. Even if I did pay for it who are you to judge me on what I purchase with MY money?
3RD OF ALL. Why do the media blow up the things that they think will make me look stupid or ignorant. Why not publicize or put me in the spotlight when I do positive things? What about when I was in the hood this past Christmas passing out toys to everybody on the westside of Atlanta where I grew up why not show that on TV? Why not publicize my Little league football team that I sponsor in Batesville, MS or the money I donated to help build the rec center and boyz and girls club!? What about when I donated $25,000 for all those kids to have a good Christmas with the Toyz n da hood foundation? Why not step in when Ice-T was dissing me why not call up and have a sit down to squash that beef. THINK ABOUT IT A 40 YEAR OLD SOMETHING GANGSTA NIGGA VS. A 16 YEAR OLD KID (AT THE TIME). What if he really did have O.G. crip niggaz that had a price on my head to murder me? WHY DIDN’T YOU TRY TO STEP IN AND STOP THAT? HUH?. you worried about a black diamond chain that I received as birthday present??? WTF What about when me and Tigger was in D.C. buying all those can foods for the homeless??? Why not publicize when them niggaz ran in my house and tried to kill me and I had to defend myself and blast they ass. WHY NOT SHOW THAT ON TV???? HUH!???? CUZ U DONT WANT PEOPLE TO SEE THE REAL SHIT THATS GOIN BEHIND THE SCENES U WANT EVERYTHING WATERED DOWNED AND FAKE THATS WHY! FUCK THAT! I’m all the way REAL 100. I know America probably ain’t ready for a young black rich nigga running around doing it how he had it planned since he was little… [Read the rest at SB's site]
I know folks, especially a lot of my friends, really dislike this kid. They can’t get with his music and/or they can’t get with his shenanigans. Me? I like the guy. I like to dance to his songs. I like to see him on shows like The View, keeping up with Barbara Walters and Whoopi. I like to see him talkin back to Ice-T. I even got a kick out of him sitting in that jacuzzi. I didn’t like his twitpic revealing a bit too much boxerbrief tho. Uh uh. Above all though, I like how in between the youth, immaturity and silliness… somewhere between the lines, you can see that the kid more often than not has a valid point. Just because he can’t articulate it as well or because he’s not you favorite rapper’s favorite rapper doesn’t mean he has nothing to say.
… his ego, that is. Nobody loves Sean Combs more than Sean Combs, but you already knew that. I guess he wasn’t sure we knew that because he spent the first 10 minutes of his new reality show Making His Band talking about himself and his rise to musicianship or whatever. I guess Diddy said screw trying to make a band with chicks (Danity Kane), dudes (Day 26) or rappers (Da Band). He’s putting together a team of singers, drummers, guitarists, bassists and keyboardists to back him on his next project, “Last Train to Paris”. While some may scoff at Diddy trying to step grow musically (really?), he might be onto something. Afterall, he is Bad Boy’s top artist and highest priority.Along for the ride are judges Laurie Ann Gibson (why?), Om’Mas Keith (producer/lyricist), Rob Lewis (songwriter), Nisan Stewart (musical director), and Romeo (vocal coach).
So the Didster has a team looking for a “certain butter”, the kind of band that can carry the show without him. The first episode is always a massive weeding out process where they feature a few hopefuls, get the audience attached, then brings down the axe on some of your faves. We’ll see what happens with these guys…
The violin player, Lee, is hot. I get the feeling they won’t know what to do with him because a violinist wasn’t in their original concept of the band. It sounds great in the mix though.
White keyboardist Brockett was given props but told to “put it in context.” Hip Hop isn’t his first genre or what he trained in, but I think he is amazing.
Kristoffer, the big dude drummer. Is. Not. Playing.
Jamareo, on bass, is so sweet. I want him to make it. He’s my pick for the final band!
Couple of the white guys, were pretty sick on the guitar. Blake looks like he knows it too. Uh oh, that won’t be good. After talking about himself, Diddy’s next favorite thing is breaking down anyone who thinks they can come close to his orbit. The other dude Alex up and said his amp was tired when criticized. Diddy’s #3 fave thing… torturing people who make excuses.
In the beginning I was all “I’m pretty sure the big girl singer is a man. Thank goodness it was verified that Jaila was born Michael. It would have surely driven me crazy for episodes to come. Homegirl’s voice DEEP den a mugg! That’s a throwback to LaVerne on I Wanna Work for Diddy, except LV was much more fabtastic!
Oh damn Dina, they basically said you hit (the drums) like a girl. What?! Haven’t they heard of Sheila E? Joy got up right after her and crushed the drums. Score one for the ladies.
Those folks (except Dina), and several other musicians made it into the house. Let the madness that is Diddy + MTV ensue! Continue reading →
Jeh-lie. Juh-lie. Jew-lie. However you say it, it’s July. Usually that just means finding a BBQ to crash and staying cool but right now July means the end of June. June really sucked right? Mad people died in June (Carradine, Fawcett, Jackson, Mays, McMahon…). The weather had NY looking like Seattle for something like 20 days straight! Vibe Magazine shut down. Oh, and of course my situation didn’t change. June came and went and left me still unemployed, still trapped with my crazy family, still trying to figure out what’s next. I like the idea of new beginnings though and with it being July 1st, I feel like this is a good time to be optimistic. Now, if nothing turns out right by the 15th, I’m going to be back on my woe is me shit so don’t be surprised. Until then, however, I’m going to try and keep it above board (unless I’m forced into depression by my family, which is not unlikely).
I’m not a religious person whatsoever, but either in a book or on television, I recently heard someone say somthing to the effect of: If you don’t humble yourself God will do it for you. That resonated with me a bit as I try and figure out what went wrong with my life. If I want to make sense out of this path I’m on, I could say that life is trying to humble me and what better way to do so than to drop me right back in the place where I started, where I least want to be. Or I could just be in a lull like a vast majority of people in the world right now and that’s all the “meaning” there is. *Shrug* I dunno, just thought I’d randomly stick that in there.
Speaking of random, I was on the train back from the city the other day and had the iPizzle on shuffle. This joint came on and I remembered how much I love the beat and the way you can barely understand wtf Rich Boy is saying. I miss the South.
Recently, someone told me that I must never have been in love before. Why? Since I couldn’t definitively say whether I had been or not, along with the fact that I don’t like holding hands, he determined that I had never been in love. Maybe he was right. I feel like when you’re in the moment, you feel like you are in love. You look at that person and what the two of you have seems to dwarf the relationships you’ve had before. Prior loves seem like phonies because you’re in the real thing now, right? But what happens when that relationship falls apart? Were you never in love in the first place or were you in love but just couldn’t make it work? That’s weird. That’s why I can’t say for sure whether I’ve been in love because each love (not that there were that many) felt like the only love until it was over. .. except for one. There’s one person I could say I was in love with above and beyond all others still to this day, but I’m not sure if that lingers as a romantic love or the love of an old friend. As far as that hand-holding shit goes… I dont’ think that has boo to do with love. Sure, I might let you hold my hand if you’re totally into it and I love you, but will I like it? No. I just don’t like having my hand all tethered and occupied while doing something as simple as walking down the street. Chill.
Yeah, that was random too.
I sure hope July is better than June.