Again, Make sure your live show is INCREDIBLE!

23 03 2011

I know I keep beating this topic down for emcees, but seriously, if you can move a crowd like this, then you are doing something right.  And No, KRS is not the only that can do it.  I can run down names of emcees you know and may not know that can move a crowd.  Shout out to PackFM, a real emcee.  Go to one of his shows and you will understand.



If your live show is dope, you will keep your fans and make new ones.  Ask Jay Electronica.


Im Happy, and no I wont smile for you…

22 03 2011

Over the years I have come across many people from different backgrounds.  I have had the honor of getting to know many folks and many got to know me.  For those that took the time to get to know me, they understand what kind of person I am.  Blessings to those people.

To those that do not know me yet make snap judgements as to who they think I am, I am here to make this information abundantly clear.  For the most part, I am a man who keeps to himself, from actions to emotions.  Even when you see something of me, it is not so easily read and understood.  I do not smile a lot.  I have a very plain and calm face.  Poker-like in fact.  It does not mean I am angry, annoyed or perturbed.  If you assume this from me, that is your own insecurity talking.  Just because you go around smiling and cooning for everyone does not mean that I will, so do not project your own insecurities on me because you are too weak to ever be real with people.

Anyone that truly knows me, knows that I am a benevolent person who loves to laugh and joke with those I care about.  Even if I look “serious.”  I am 6′-7″ tall, around 300 lbs and Black.  This is intimidating to people.  The most important thing I am is HUMAN.  If you can not see this, then you are not worth talking to, and you don’t deserve to know me.

Stop trying to categorize everyone you see.  Learn about them or don’t.  The more you do this, the more IGNORANT you look.

There will NEVER be another “Golden Era” of Hip Hop. EVER…

3 03 2011

The golden era of hip hop was a time period spanning from approximately 1986 to 1995 where Rap music made huge changes within itself and on a greater social level.  It basically went from an underground movement of park jams to clubs and small venues, to blowing up on a grand scale of sales and marketing due to an exponential growth of the fan base.

Many artist with diverse messages ranging from revolutionary action, to love, to criminal activity came out during this time and left an indelible mark on the consciousness of people across the globe.  Stylistically, this era was, and still is seen as the time when rap music was its most creative in the expression, and the art within music was extended far beyond the boundaries it was previously pigeon-holed to.  When one speaks about this time, most of the emcees/rappers that are deified to be Best of All times created music during this time period.

With such a grand era far behind us, the constant question being asked of fans and musicians is, will there ever be another Golden Era of Hip hop?  As much as most people would like to hear confirmation of such a time repeating itself, I for one have no doubt that this will NEVER happen again.  (Or not in the capacity in which most would want to see, atleast.)  There are several reasons I feel that wishing for such a time of prosperity to return is ill-conceived.

1.Technology is different.

Music, and the way we attain it, is strikingly different from the way it used to be in 8os and 90s.  Even 10 years ago, things were way different than now.  When you wanted to get the latest, greatest music from your favorite artists, you used to have to get dressed, get in your car/bike/subway train/bus and go to the record store.  (Or atleast department store)  Music used to come packaged as vinyl records, audio tapes, or compact disks.  They had covers with artwork and credits written on them.  Some even came with the lyrics printed as an insert.  It was an event!  It was like Christmas, and you couldn’t wait to hear what (insert favorite artist name here) had to say, sing or croon about, and how the music fit.  These things were tangible!  You could touch, smell, taste the item you purchased.  You took this item to your friends house and played it for them with the same amount of anticipation to see their reaction to how dope it is.  If they wanted a copy, you would make a dub for them.  Only on rare occasions would you actually let them borrow the original.  These days, you can literally download hundreds of albums at a time with a few taps on your mobile phone.  There is no tangible product since so few people purchase cds.  Little thought is given into the packaging of the product because of its lack of physical substance.  If a friend wants a copy, you can email the files to them.  Its not special anymore.

2. Internet Killed the Rap Star

Back in the days, if you wanted to rap, the amount of dues you had to pay was ridiculous.  You had to find a good producer/emcee or someone that knew one, and either you had the skills to be automatically picked up and treated as a protege, or you hung out with so and so and had their back in everything they did, until you got the nod to do your thang.  (Big L and Fat Joe are two respective examples of these paths towards stardom.  No more.  With the advent of websites like soundclick, youtube, and social sites like myspace, ANYONE has the tools at hand to create a buzz and following for themselves, whether they deserve it or not.  Many individuals devoid of talent have created enough of a buzz for themselves to build a fanbase that very well may not have ever seen this “artist” perform!  Sad enough, this is also evident with the next point.

3. Most “emcees/rappers” These Days Have Horrible Live Shows

I recently listened to a Live album from a popular “Emcee” that many people consider legendary.  I also listened to a live album from Boogie Down Productions, a group that is universally known as legendary.  IT was shameful that this veteran in the industry had such a poor show.  It sounded like he had 10 hypemen (none of which had an album out) on stage and they were practically saying all his lines.  When I go to a show, I want to hear (insert name here) rap, not 15 of his homeboys.  BDP on the other hand had a show with old, current and new material for the time that was incredible and moved the entire crowd.  It wasn’t just some cats on stage rapping.  It was a party where EVERYONE was on their feet, and he didn’t need 15 hypemen to scream “put your hands up”.  RAPPERS, if you want to make money on your record sales, make sure your live shows are incredible.  Not good…  Not ok… Not great…  INCREDIBLE!

4. Music Quality is Mediocre

Think about Public Enemy, Nas, and Dr. Dre.  Their is a reason why their music can be played today.  Quality.  The beats were created with care.  Rhyme-wise, they had something to say that resonated with the people who heard their music.  They did not follow trends.  They blazed trails that others would follow.  You can not in good conscience say that about most of the people out in the mainstream today.  They follow trends.  They rhetoric mainly revolves around how good they are and what will happen if you test them.  That or drugs.  Oh sure, many ran this route before and did a good job of it.  That is my point.  If you are going to say the same old thing, say it in a way that makes you special.  Innovate!  The music is laughable at times and trendy.  In a year or two, most of the songs will be forgotten.  If you think I am playing, try to remember what the hit songs from 2006 were.  Thought so.

5.  Everyone is Lil or Young

I remember in dancehall music when there were 1800 different artists with the name “Ranks” in their name.  Shabba was the most notable, however there were a slew of others and after a while it became corny.  Lil this and Young that?  Really?  How is anyone outside of the people on your block supposed to take you seriously if you share the same name as 500 other rappers?  This is supposed to be about originality.  We already stated that most of these cats rap the same, have the same shows, and put out similar records.    You are lacking so much in originality that you even have the same name?  C’mon Son!

6.  The Death of the term “Wack”/ Birth of the term “Hater”

“If I got to dead you, know its only cus I love you…” – Talib Kweli

Sometime towards the end of the golden era, the term Hater was born, which was also the death of the term Wack.  Basically, if you saw anything under the sun as lacking in some way, shape or form, and you voiced that opinion, you were labeled a hater.  These people were so arrogant as to think that if anyone alive though they weren’t the best thing since sliced bread, then there was something wrong with that person.

There is a basic unwritten rule in life.  The only way to truly learn and grow is through trial and error.  Whether its your trial and error, or learning from someone’s mistakes, trial and error are a part of our collective growth and learning.  This is why the music within hiphop can not grow.  We are not willing to humble ourselves to listen to the critics to hear why and how we have failed, and thus we continue in our delusional state of self perfection with no reason to ever adapt and grow.  Im not saying listen to EVERYONE’s opinion.   This is your life.  But take criticism with a grain of salt.  You may just become greater for that moment of embarrassment.

7.  The Machine (Music Industry)

Everyone now has a label.  They are often fledgling labels, so they do not have everything figured out yet, and if they do, they do not have the funds to make things happen how they should go.  The majors are just as greedy as ever and due to this recession, and changes in the market, its going to be harder for any artist to put out ORIGINAL FRESH NEW MUSIC.  The labels want you to follow trends since they think that is what sells.  This will mean stagnant music in the main stream indefinitely.

8.  The Fuel for the Machine (The Fans)

If you demanded more out of your artists, they would be forced to comply if they want to stay in the business.  Better quality, more originality, more intelligent socially aware music.  Something special.  You hold the keys to this equation.  Speak up already!

But the reality is that this is how things are and you wont change, so all I can do it reminisce and enjoy my music that I grew up listening to.

Glad I got introduced to Janelle Monae and Esperanza Spalding.  (Thanks Shu!)