Friday, February 29, 2008


If you are a Santogold fan, as I am, this new remix of "L.E.S. Artists" by Spank Rock's XXXChange is worth checking out. You can stream it here, as well as a couple tracks by the illustrious Ms. White that you have already heard.

If Prodigy Ruled the World, He'd Free All His Guns...

In honor of Prodigy's recent rant on being hip-hop's greatest innovator, here's a snippet from an interview I did with him recently.

You went to an art school high school. How did that influence you in your rap career?

That’s where me and Hav(oc) met. Basically the only reason I went to that school is cause all my friends from my neighborhood went there. It didn’t really have that much to do with art. I had to take a test to get in there. I used to do some little graffiti type characters, and they accepted me in. I was always interested in drawing, little cartoon characters and graffiti art, but I wasn’t too serious into it. When I met Hav in the school, we was running around getting in trouble, and we found out we both had an interest in rap music. Me and Hav started cutting out of school going to the studio and the first thing we did right away was something special. Our first name was Poetical Prophets. It fit us, but it didn’t really fit how we was living our life. So we wanted to change our name to really describe how we was living.

You’ve been emphatic that you’re a rapper and not a criminal. But you are still rapping about murder on H.N.I.C. 2. How do you explain that?

If I’m rapping about anything like that, I’m talking about a situation of self-defense. Anytime we say something like that, we don’t speak recklessly, we don’t tell anyone to go out there and murder and kill. We’re trying to bring a message to people: what life is like in the hood and what we go through. We came into the game when we was like 14, 15 years old. We said a lot of reckless shit back then. But as we got older, you will hear exactly what Mobb Deep mean and what we talk about.

You speak about spirituality on the new song “My World Is Empty Without You.” Can you elaborate your beliefs?

I mean I’m not a religious person. I’m a spiritual person. I believe I got my own connection with the creator. I don’t believe in a lot of these religions and a lot of these things that the government and the system and the way they raised us and the things that they did to my people in the past. That gives me the right not to believe a lot of the shit they teach us. About my own connection with the creator -- that’s how it’s supposed to be. We didn’t have a bible, we had our own connection with the people.

Are you a conspiracy theorist?

I mean it’s definitely not theory, it’s fact. If you do the homework you’ll see. You’ll start to see on the dot. The more you dig deep, the more you’ll start connecting all the dots. It’s definitely a conspiracy against our freedoms. I just read a lot about history and my people, other cultures. History of religion, about foods and ingredients.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

White People Blog

Why is this the funniest/most on point blog..

also, my apologies if I'm late on this..

Stuff White People Like

#75 Threatening to Move to Canada
February 24, 2008 by clander

Often times, white people get frustrated with the state of their country. They do not like the President, or Congress, or the health care system, or the illegal status of Marijuana. Whenever they are presented with a situation that seems unreasonable to them, their first instinct is to threaten to move to Canada.

For example, if you are watching TV with white people and there is a piece on the news about that they do not agree with, they are likely to declare “ok, that’s it, I’m moving to Canada.”

Though they will never actually move to Canada, the act of declaring that they are willing to undertake the journey is very symbolic in white culture. It shows that their dedication to their lifestyle and beliefs are so strong, that they would consider packing up their entire lives and moving to a country that is only slightly similar to the one they live in now.

Within white culture, it is agreed upon that if Canada had better weather it would be a perfect place.

Being aware that this information can be used quite easily to gain the trust of white people. Whenever they say, “I’m moving to Canada,” you must immediately respond with “I have relatives in Canada.”

They will then expect you to tell them about how Canada has a perfect healthcare system, legalized everything, and no crime. Though not true, it will reassure them that they are making the right choice by saying they want to move there.

But be warned, they will reference you in future conversations and possibly call on you to settle disputes about Canadian tax rates. So use this advice only if you plan to do some basic research.

Note: Canadian white people threaten to move to Europe.

Note: Europeans are unable to threaten to move anywhere.

So You Think You Can Juke?

I wrote a piece on Mr. Factz for The Fader's iissue 51. was forthright about calling Factz a "hipster rapper," which is also a phrase getting tossed out about rappers like SpankRock, Kid Sister and Yo Majesty. It probably makes no difference at all, but for me Factz is a slightly different breed, albeit related. He, Curtains and Kapps are more akin to Cool Kid rappers: They wax endlessly about their rare, collectable gear that you probably never have heard of, and niche cultural trends. It's not so much about partying till the break of dawn and then going home to finish the fucking you started on the dancefloor, as with the aforementioned club rappers, above. Also, the production has some markedly different characteristics. Though Factz does draw from electro, house, and even trance and techno, he applies those genres with a particularly New York sensibility, and in more of an across-the-board sort of way, rather than drawing from just one regional sound, a la Spank from B-more club, Kid Sis from Chicago juke, and Tampa's Yo Majesty, funnily enough, from British electro. Finally, Factz, Kapps, Curtains and even the Cool Kids may, at the end of the day, have production that lends itself to being more palatable in the mainstream: They aren't generally pushing BPMs upwards of 160 -- a tempo that'll clear any dancefloor unfamiliar with more hardcore juking, new rave or footwork styles of dancing.

Anyway, I like Factz, though I don't care much about his Supras. You can download all his mixtapes for free here.

If voting changed anything, it would be illegal.

You don't have to agree with me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The shit you find, or the shit that finds you??

So there I am on the 6 the other night, going home, minding my own business, and I look next to me and see a few folded up scraps of a Newport 100's carton. Like so:

So, pick it up for whatever dumb reason and flip it over to reveal this!!

Holy shit!! What the fuck is this!?? Upon closer inspection I get the feeling that some one who is totally fucking nuts or high or a genius made this.Judge for yourself:

Casa Perez looks like the spot. Jasson, tell us about that? You got guns, knives, roosters, palm trees and rain. It can only be one place....

Dude is talking about a cement forest and how its alive and only the crazy are content there. Fucking amazing. I feel like that everyday.

You don't understand how this made my day.

Thank You, the El Paso Police

It sucks living in the southwest and not being part of a gang. Females don't like you, people yell things out of their car at you, and you have to watch your back always (mostly for people yelling things out of their car at you).

This 1992 PSA from the El Paso Police Department, ment to stear kids away from gang life, using a catchy rap tune and shocking images, did just the opposite for me. It reminded me of just how big of a loser I am. I like rap music alright. But at the same time, I've always secretly wanted to wear Raiders clothing and hang out around trash can fires with my guys like I was in the Wu-Tang Clan. And if that's not enough, there were parts of this video that I felt were speaking directly to me. For instance, they show a close up of a young gentlemans jacket while he's using a payphone. The jacket has the mans name embroided on the back in old english. Now, how could they have possibly known, without knowing me, that a "KOOCH" old english embroiderd jacket (or hat) is in my top 5 things that I want most in this world? They couldnt have. Thats what's so fucked about this whole thing right now..

Monday, February 25, 2008

"It Must Be Said..."

I am not much of a fashion critic, but I do know Tilda Swinton showed up to the Oscars looking like a eunich from the cast of HBO's Rome.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jiggy Era

Inspired by Prince Charles and his love for Bad Boy.

During the mid to late 90's era of jiggyness, I was so wrapped up in keeping hiphop "real" (whatever that means now), that I slept on a few years of some pretty good music. Ok, I wasn't asleep entirely. I was more like napping, I guess you could say, because I did like some stuff (wasn't like I was going to let you know that though).

Nowadays, backpack rap sucks, mostly. Crunk was funny to me for a second. I live in close proximity to Texas, so I went kind of crazy with the whole Houston/Swishahouse thing for a while. Dipset was original and they had bangin' production (Heatmakerz). Mashups were cute when they were ironic still. But really, all and all rap has been pretty uninspiring this decade. Now I'll even go as far as to say that it sucks. I'm not trying to debate that, it's just one mans opinion (not that of the blogs), that not even a Nas/Premier album would be able to change at this point.

The more I became less impressed with the way hiphop was going, the more I was being asked to play out at clubs and parties, the more jiggy music started to appeal to me.

So now I'm on Youtube fucking around. Here are some videos I came across. It's not like I dug way deep in the crate or anything. And it's not like I have a lot of time or the greatest memory either. But you should remember these..

One of my favs..

When I began to lose interest in doing radio, and everyone else around me seemed to as well, I put this instrumental on replay on air, no joke, somewhere between 10 and 15 times before anyone caught on..

Horse and Carriage..

And the rmx with the Night Court sample,

Biggups to Mr. C for this one..

Terror Squad style..

Crush on You..

Not sure if this is "jiggy", but it's from that era and one of my favs also..


And of course..

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Y'all just better hope we gracefully bow out!!!!!!!!!!


Fidel annouced he's done telling the pro libertariert what to do. Today he officially steps down and lets Lil Castro aka Raul Castro hold down the government. This officially makes Hugo Chavez the H.T.W.L.I.C. (Head Third World Leader In Charge). Fidel has a storied history. With as many fans as detractors. If you want to read more check out the guardian.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Half on a Baby

After seeing Jasson's post last week (below) and now reading this, I am intent on seeing Juno this week, as well as the substantially darker 4 Months. This J. Hoberman article is phenomenal. Even if you loved Knocked Up, as I did, you will recognize the inversion of choice (ie. pro life agenda) when it's called out.

Here is the soul of its thesis:

"There can be no female agency in Knocked Up, Waitress, and Juno—not because they are comedies, but because, in each scenario, unwanted pregnancy is the joke played (by God?) on the female lead. As the most successful of the preg protags, she who is Knocked Up is necessarily the most smacked down—the glass ceiling turns out to be Alison's own uterus. Jenna and Juno are less formidable, but unexpected fertility mocks their dreams of autonomy. All three are taught their place by their own bodies—and what's more, they learn to like it."

Failure to Launch

I guess the link was broken to the V-day mix I posted on Thurs. Also, Jasson is bitching that once again I neglected to post a track listing. So this should remedy both situations. A fresh linky-dink and the goods as follows below.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

clever song lyrics here

has anyone ever seen Syriana?? did you feel like you really got it? i know when i first saw it, i was theater hopping with some friends and we went into rent directly after, which made it really seem like that rent/aids part in Team America -- "AIDs AIDs AIDs AIDs AIDs AIDs AIDs AIDs. Everyone has AIDS." i mean, they could have just called it AIDs for sure. it also made being a junkie in the '90s in the lower east side look like being a 9 year old at disney world and that made me think, maybe its not all bologna sandwiches in the bullpen and blow jobs in porta-potties for a hit, and I've been wasting my time in aa for all these years. but i was too overcome with the "what the fuck" sense you get at the end of Syriana after seeing it for the first time to do anything about that.

besides the exemplary cast and acting (an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Clooney), I was thinking about it today and i don't think i've seen another movie that did as good of a job as Syriana at highlighting and actually explaining things like political nuances within a nation-state, cultural pluralism, religion, statecraft and other topics which play huge parts in shaping the global political spectrum that we live in today. It's true you you have to watch the entire thing from start to finish and you cannot let your attention slip for a second in order to understand the movie, but the pay-off is well worth it.

its also true the name is a metaphor for foreign intervention in the middle east, taken from a post-WW2 think tank of strategic studies for the creation of an artificial state, (such as Iraq -- does anyone know how Iraq was made? yup, white guys in britain carving up a map) that would ensure continued Western access to crude oil.

the director himself, stephen gaghan said he saw Syriana as "a great word that could stand for man's perpetual hope of remaking any geographic region to suit his own needs."

today, syria and half of lebanon and the Gaza Strip and Iran and maybe even pakistan and afghanistan, seem to not suit our needs very well. what will we do about that?

this charlie rose interview with stephan gaghan (director of syriana) blew my fucking mind. for real. i know its 54 minutes or whatever, but that shit was amazing and dude is one of those people you just want to listen to, amazingly well spoken and insightful. really a pleasure to hear what he brings to the table. brilliant!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

When I Went To School In Olympia...

Dead Prez was playing a college show (do they play anything else these days?) on Valentine's Day in Olympia, Washington, and their crowd broke into a riot. When a campus police officer arrested one civilian, rioters reportedly surrounded the car and demanded the individual's release. Backup arrived, the detainee was released, and then rioters escalated their antagonisms, flipping a police car and busting out its windows. Oh, and Dead Prez played "Fuck the Police" while this was all going down. You can read the full story here.

Let me take this opportunity to say that white people go fucking crazy at Dead Prez shows. I saw them perform at the Sommerville Ampitheater -- which is not hood -- in Medford, Massachusetts back in 2001, and all these dreadlocked white doods started lighting dollar bills on fire and head banging. I left immediately. When people are burning cash there is no telling what they're likely to do next. And moreover, Dead Prez has never said anything about not liking money itself. Rather, they've complained that some people (crackers in city hall) have too much of it, and that poor righteous rappers don't have enough (you wonder why we feel like fuck the law).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Top 5 Indie Movies You Probably Haven't Seen But Should, Installment 1.

Mail Order Wife

If you like thinking about the complex ethical issues involved in making a documentary, this movie is for you. If you think that last statement was too boring to bear, this movie is also for you. Mail Order Bride is neither a documentary nor an overly thinky movie. It's a movie that tricks you into thinking it's a documentary for the first 30 or 40 minutes or so, until you realize its premise is far too absurd to be real. The result is a feature film that blatantly addresses pretty much every politically and culturally sensitive issue involved in making a documentary film, while managing to wholly avoid ever using a snoozefest of a word like "ethics." I highly recommend it. I'm more naive than most people so I watched the whole thing in an utterly astounded state, then called a friend to rant about how fucked up it was before she could interrupt me to be like, "uh, duh, it's fake." But don't worry. Knowing it's fake from jump should not dispel any of the enjoyment yr likely to garner from it.

Ok it is a good movie.

Finally saw Juno last night, and surprisingly it surpassed the hype that was dumped on it. I mean great soundtrack, great writing, and great characters. It was over the top in the sense that I know very few 16-year-olds who talk with such intellectual dexterity, but it was enchanting nonetheless. Also the mid'90s feel was uplifting, especially if you grew up in that era, even though it just seemed like a small town in America that was stuck in the mid-'90s. Either way the nostalgic value is there. Now I know there has been overall criticisms that it’s an anti abortion film, but folks should give it chance before making those judgments.
I would say more but I don’t want to ruin it. And again the soundtrack is phenomenal. Kimya Dawson has been putting in her work for a while. A friend from D.C. put me on to her about 4 years ago when the documentary Afro- Punk just came out and finding black folks who did rock music was all the rage. That was before TV on the Radio and Bloc Party made it played out. Anywayz enjoy. Holla Back!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ain't Nothin Wrong With a Lil' Bump N' Grind.

Though lately I am listening pretty much 24/7 to Cat Power alone, I took a moment out to throw together this Love Mix for ya, complete with the requisite Boys 2 Men joint. Enjoy, and happy V-Day, hoes. Besos!!

From Da Potomac to Infinity!!!!!!!!

We realize that this primary process is pretty opaque -- particularly to young people outside political professions. So here is the breakdown of where things stand, as simply as we can frame it. Right now the delegates are split as follows.

1096 pledged
157 super delegates
1253 total

977 pledged
234 super delegates
1211 total

Super delegates are an entirely separate conversation, which we'll post later about -- but for now the main thing to focus on is the total number of delegates on the side of each candidate. Barack takes that lead. Of course the tides can sway -- half the U.S. still has to vote -- but Barack is not only leading in total delegates but also in the popular vote and the number of won states.

The video below breaks down the state of the Democaratic primary further, for those who are interested. Considering the lopsidedness of his 8 past wins, Barack is on the verge of finding the straw that will break Hillary's back. Whats most significant about his most recent win in Virginia is that Barack has been able to chip away at Hillary's coalition of white women, latino and working class voters. In Viginia he made significant in-roads with white women and working class voters. Now Hillary needs to win Texas, Ohio and Penslvania by the same margins Barack won these past 8 contests. Which means by 19 percentage points or more -- the smallest margin of Barack's wins (Maine) in the past 8 states since Super Tuesday. Good luck sista!!!!


HAPPY V DAY PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ask a Rat!

This is a link to my friend Jayson Musson's new column. Jayson is one of the funniest people I know, although I'm starting to realize that what strikes people as funny is usually just commentary about stuff they already know about and/or are confused by, thus making them feel relevant.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dont call it a comeback!!!!!!!!!!!

So yeah as Dugan said before you didnt really miss it. It seems Diplo is making a valiant effort to go the way of Hillary Clinton. I joke; I kid. Yeah but RBC has just been in hibernation. Good posts will be coming through soon. Particulary, a weekly update on what to look for in the presidential race for the White House. We will also have a bi-weekly video podcast that covers international and national politics and music. So hopefully u will enjoy and keep on reading.

One Blood ,

You Did NOT Really Miss It.

Admittedly, I'm playing catch-up today after a long weekend of interviews and thrift-store shopping, mutually exclusive. But I'd like to take a moment to reflect on Friday night's Diplo/Blaqstarr show at Smartbar, which made me feel like a dinosaur at age 26. Arguably, I am -- particularly if measured on terms of the "mash-up" scene, to which I am slowly losing any last vestige of loyalty.

First and foremost, I don't know when Diplo shows switched gears from hipster to dooshbag central. Perhaps hipsters have simply moved on to the newer, cheaper shows. I know Pase Rock played somewhere else that night, likely for much less than $15. Diplo's set itself -- though I only stayed the first 45 minutes -- was rife with bad techno. Is bad techno trendy now? One fan showed up with glowsticks in hand -- which I initially took for an ironic (if not played out) hipster joke -- but I guess it's me who didn't get the memo. This was Soundbar at Smartbar night: Diplo channeling Tiesto. I usually don't mind a little jaunt deep into Diplo's mindgarden with obscure Baile Funk or Soca, but techno seems a desperate stretch in the wrong direction. I like pounding bass, elastic drumlines and plaintiff vocals, not atmospheric breakdowns with emphasis on the middies.

Blaqstarr brings no complaints from me. I am not played out on B-more club yet, and especially not his particular brand of it, which lilts with bubblegum R&B vocals sung by the man himself. In Baltimore, B-more club is expectedly huge. It gets big commercial radio play, drawing a fanbase of mostly teenagers -- a parallel to Chicago's own Juke. But the genre is known, like Juke, for being hyper sexualized. So Blaqstarr's uber-positive take on lyrics (he's also known to feature the raps of 16-year-old Baltimorian Rye-Rye, who recently toured with M.I.A.) -- girls aren't hoes just b/c they're down-ass-bitches sort of material -- are refreshing.

Lastly, it's making me wince to mention the show's opener, Hood Radio, who I'm told but haven't been able to verify, is local. We arrived early to check these guys out on the good word of a trusted friend, but were sorely disappointed. Based on the set we witnessed, this is nothing more than yet another bad mash-up duo. To be clear on where I stand: The very idea of a mash-up for me is cringe-inducing. You have to differentiate between making a good cross-genre DJ set, like what Hollertronix or Floss are known for, and stripping the acapella of one song and putting it over the instrumental of another. The latter, the actual technical term for a "mash-up," is not exclusively bad and can sometimes work within the context of a greater set, if well done and well-placed. But Hood Radio seems to be jumping on the band wagon of creating a whole set of mash-up after mash-up, which is actually not an easy thing to dance to, or listen to. It takes a lot of work to catch the new rhythm, structure and organization of a good rap acapella over a good indie rock melody, and often, it ruins both original tracks in the process.

We Enjoyed this Immensely

Courtesy of Prince C.

The Wire, Post Episode 5

We've been oscilating b/w adulation and weariness as the plot of the fifth and final season of HBO's The Wire develops. The almost-husband follows discussion on, which I found to be pretty stimulating in its post-episode 5 wrap-up. Here are a few reactions to and elaborations of things I think they may have skimmed too lightly over.

I especially liked comments about the omar/marlo conflict, which is coming to a head -- I agree that it's some of the best stuff in the show this season. Character-wise, omar is like the gift that keeps on giving. I would like to hear a little more about what peoples' predictions are for the outcome of the conflict, however, as I'm doubtful about how the writers can pull off another Omar victory without being trite and moralistic, but at the same time i think audiences will be very unfulfilled if Marlo wins. It's clear omar is not going to get away squeeky clean this time -- he's already suffered a couple serious losses/blows -- but for him to sacrifice his life for the victory (ie. he wins but dies in the process, another possible outcome), would be sort of cliche too. Would him winning and walking away be too hard to swallow, like him making that leap out of the building and surviving? I'm interested to see how they get themselves out of this bind.

I liked when they talked on about the plot's allusions to the current political climate. To me omar is the conscience of the streets, versus Marlo as unchecked power. I was going to say that makes it very good vs. evil but i think it's less black and white than that, more like Id vs. Superego or something like that. Omar is an unlikely hero with lots of ethical cache. I believe comparisons have been made between him and pirates, or terrorists. But if marlo is a totalitarian regime, Omar is better likened to a particularly American ideology of democracy. He's fighting, ultimately, for a free market in the hood, the right for capitalistic enterprises to battle it out vs. a monopoly on business and power. If you wanna flip that narrative and say that ultimately America, despite what we spout rhetorically, IS the totalitarian regime, I buy that too, but Omar would have to stand for a bit more concrete of a doctrine than the "right to be left alone" for me to fully digest him as a guerilla hero of the people. Omar's profession is essentially parasitic. He needs the free market competition in order to sustain his own modes of production (ie. hijacking stashes, stickups, etc.). Therefore, he isn't a terrorist in the sense of desiring a complete system overthrow, but rather an ethical police in maintaining the system's status quo. In essence, the system needs this x-factor to sustain itself, and he needs the system to sustain himself. It's actually quite a good model for the theory of Rational Choice, or rather, the idea that the market will police itself.

I think at the heart of this season is the idea of necessary evil. That's a theme hitting us over the head in Mcnulty's branch of the plot, obviously, but i think it's also everywhere else to be found. The yellow journalist (I agree, he is an obnoxious character, but perhaps characteristically/intentionally so, b/c so is the portrait of every yellow journalist i can think of in a dramatic plot -- have you seen Shattered Glass?) is generating revenues for a paper otherwise failing, and also helping, inevitably, to bust the clear and present "bad guy" (Marlo), no matter how morally grey the entire process. No one will dispute the idea that Marlo should -- no, HAS TO -- fall. Carcetti is doing the best he can with what he's got, but his pride keeps him from doing better. we are left liking him, while also recognizing the complex systemic obstacles blocking him from doing better, and wondering if he can simply raise the stakes and rise in power, could he do any better? ie. are compromises in Baltimore in the short term worth it for his rise to governor, more power and possibly long term change with greater range? And moreover, do we trust the strength of his character to make it untainted on that journey? I really liked comparisons to Obama on that level.

I like the wire b/c it paints a big picture by collaging minutia, and avoids drawing tidy moral conclusions. I think they're feeling a bit more pressure to do that very thing, however, now that the show is wrapping up for good. Ultimately that's what bugs us: The places where the need for audience fulfillment -- ie. tied up loose ends -- bucks up against the very strength of the show, that they constantly leave loose ends b/c loose ends are endemic to the nature of the story they are telling, and not in some art school ending sort of way just-for-the-sake-of-suspense, ie. the last sopranos episode.