"this record is fresh, but hip hop is not dead, dying, or whatever. it's popular right now for people spoiled by easy-access to good hip hop videos and music to say it is.
so, as usual, it takes a couple years for some mainstream cat to say what underground niggas have been sayin' all along... and now that nas and jay-z are saying hip hop is dead, i'm gonna hafta have this conversation (again...) with late comers... this is really all just proof that hip hop isn't dead...
on the other hand, some things are dead that make you FEEL like hip hop is dead:
YO! MTV RAPS IS DEAD: and with it, the movement for fair, balanced, varied representation of what's happening in hip hop. now with multimillion dollar videos, payola, and other assorted CORPORATE crap influencing rap shows, the possibility of a show like it (and the once-great competitor, Rap City) that really programs based on a love for hip hop, not the mighty dollar, is dead.
RADIO IS DEAD: but that's like saying "concrete is dead"... if you are depending on CORPORATE- controlled radio to tell you what's going on in hip hop, not only are you stupid, you're also lazy, and hopelessly out of touch. if you are one of the lucky few that live in a city where your radio stations are run by people who truly love the culture and care about promoting good music, you probably KNOW hip hop isn't dead. the rest of us just need to stop listening to the radio. now, i hear there is some hope in the form of satellite radio, but i refuse to pay for radio... the internet does the job just fine for me...
BIGGIE AND TUPAC ARE DEAD: so stop trying to crown somebody "king of hip hop", "the south" "new york" or anything else... while it's fun to argue over who the greatest rappers are, it actually is kind of stupid to believe in these titles.
case in point, LL Cool J (a rapper with more staying power than any emcee i've ever seen, and just as much right to the title...) was on Letterman promoting his album G.O.A.T. (which stands for "greatest of all time") a few years back, and chuckled when Dave asked him if he really thought he was the greatest rapper ever. "Naw man... rappers don't take this stuff that serious..." seems we can all learn a lesson from the original todd...
hip hop fans need to stop trying to be on the bandwagon of whatever/whoever is hot and just support the rappers they like. if we spent time looking for and supporting good music instead of crying because the radio/video shows don't do hip hop right (i grew up on hip hop with very little support from the radio, crybabies!), no one would even think to blog on this topic.
maybe Nas should have called his album Hip Hop Is Corporate, or Hip Hop Is Vulgar,or Hip Hop Is Producing Crap or Hip Hop Is Not A Valid Career Path, So Some Of You Need To Stop Rapping or some other such title... but it's a pretty good record, either way.
"First, as soon as this trade happens, Iverson will play out of his mind coming out of the gate, followed by a series of stories and features from his new teammates saying things like "I can't believe how good this guy is" and "He's completely transformed this team, we think we have a chance to win every night now," followed by the Sixers fans flipping out and demanding King's departure. I wish there was a way to wager on this scenario in Vegas. I can't believe softer contenders like the Magic, Nets or even the Mavs have underestimated the undeniable force of his personality, the potential of his crunch-time scoring if there were other scoring threats on the court, or even the fury he'll unleash on a new team. He will practically KILL HIMSELF trying to haunt the Sixers over the next three seasons. Mark my words..."
that's what's up...there is not another player like him, he's got an almost evil killer instinct and he will destroy himself to win. a smart franchise will get him, and if they are ANY good... they will make everyone who ignores him sorry they passed up on him...
I mean, i get excited just thinking about a really great run of it. alas, Marvel seems determined to not let it happen. the writing is very good (by hollywood director and BET Exec Reggie Hudlin), but the art is struggling, since veteran artist John Romita Jr (Eternals, Wolverine, The Gray Area, Spiderman) left the book for whatever reason after one story arc (collected in Trade Paperback form, cover art by Romita shown here). i mean, the marriage of the Panther and Storm of the X-men (arguably the two most important black characters in all of comics) was drawn by... Scott Eaton? wouldn't it have rocked if it was drawn by rising (black) star Olivier Coipel (Avengers, House of M... cover art seen below), Chrisscross, Carlos Pacheco, or Chris Bachalo (droool...)
anyways, the latest issue of Black Panther is OFF THE CHAIN (and that's a good thing...). the Royal Couple (did i mention that the Black Panther is Warrior/King/Priest of the african hereditary meritocracy of Wakanda, the most technologically advanced nation on Earth? oh... well he is. peep this blog for more background) is visiting other countries since their recent wedding. after visiting Latveria, Atlantis, Attilan and Great Britain, Storm and T'challa's goodwill tour comes to Washington, DC. they aren't in the White House for very long before the president disrespects Storm... (oh no he didn't) and T'challa has to pull his card. now it's REALLY ON!
in this issue, T'challa punks the president, iron man and captain britain. all in a day's work for the greatest man alive!
Next on the menu was the new Denzel Washington joint: Deja Vu. in addition to starring one of the best actors in America (just TRY to watch Glory without getting choked up, Tough Guy... I F^&$KING DARE YOU!!!), this puppy was directed by Tony Scott (Man On Fire, Crimson Tide, Last Boy Scout, Top Gun), so my watching it was a done deal! like any Jerry Bruckheimer flick, there's madd skills, madd drama, and madd explosions. oh. and a hot chick... like every good movie, this joint swings on the hemline of a fly honey. in this case, relative newcomer Paula Patton (Idlewild) gets the nod as the racially ambigous damsel in serious distress (as in, by the time we first see her, she's already dead)... but i've already said too much... go watch it ASAP!!!
next, i snuck into Casino Royale. i only watched about 60% of the movie, yet i can easily say this is now my favorite James Bond movie. without having much in common with the other Bonds, Daniel Craig (Road To Perdition, Munich) OWNED this role from the jump off!!! he is so believable as the lady killin'est, martini-drinkin'est, gun-clappin'est british bastard alive. Besides which, Casino Royale has the kind of nervous suspense the last few joints sorely lacked, driving me nuts throughout the time i was in it. i didn't see the very end, but i could tell it would end well, and i'll definitely go watch it again!
the reason i had to miss the end of Casino Royale, of course, was to go wander into Stranger Than Fiction, a movie i've wanted to see since i first saw the trailer months ago. i'm a big fan of the film's star, comedic genius and SNL alum Will Ferrell (Elf, Talladega Nights, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), but what excited me most was that the quality of rest of the cast (which includes Queen Latifah, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson, and Dustin Hoffman!) suggested i would get more than the usual comedian-driven string of gags... and boy, did i!!! like Punch Drunk Love (the 2002 Adam Sandler/Paul Thomas Anderson collabo/absurd romantic comedy), this is a drama that you laugh at, about a likeable, yet truly pathetic human being trying to have the defining moment of his life... and in the case of Stranger Than Fiction's Harold Crick, that moment may be his last!
see, Crick is an IRS auditor that starts hearing a woman's voice in his head. but he isn't crazy! that voice is the narrator of a novel in which Harold is the main character. Crick is already getting sick of it when the voice lets him know that his death is imminent! Though pretty clueless, he's at least smart enough to find a literary expert to help him sort out what's happening and what he can do about it: a college Literature professor brought to life by veteran actor Dustin Hoffman (Runaway Jury, Outbreak, Kramer vs. Kramer), who acts as his counsel throughout the film. after at first concluding he was nuts, he becomes at least intrigued enough by his situation to help him along. without giving away the whole movie, i will say that this is the best film i've seen in a long time. the cast is brilliant and the story never overworks. it touches on so many subjects (writing and the creative process, life, love, death, and our fear of them) that could have been very heavy and sentimental , but treads them all lightly and avoids all the right trap doors. Ferrell submits to the understated process of acting, being funny without winking at the camera... and is BRILLIANT!!! i would recommend this movie to just about anybody, even though many people will be unable to enjoy it fully (like little kids eating food that's for adults), it will still be good, and good for you!
"There was an audience here waiting, girls that watched 'Sailor Moon' and loved it," said Svetlana Chmakova, an artist who draws Japanese-style manga comics, for Cosmo Girl Magazine and publisher TokyoPop.
Manga has exploded in popularity here in the United States, and most of the fans are female.
North American manga sales have tripled in the last three years, from $50 million in 2002 to $155 million in 2005.
Sales of graphic novels — comics in book form that include manga — have tripled in the last five years... (more)
i mean, with crews spitting material like this, i cram to understand how hipHop can be dying... unless maybe it just dies periodically and comes back a few months later on some Jean Grey/Phoenix ish.
anyways, Beyond Comp (comprised of Stepp Savage, Subliminal, Sanjeev the SunChief, and whoever else they can put on...) makes rediculous noise on tracks like "Vibrant Health and Energy" (currently This Weeks Cut... click the link for a quick listen!), "Energize" and "Avalanche Rap" that sounds weird at first, but after about 30 seconds of it, it'll have you on involuntary head knod... their music is pure indie-rap genius!
i believe Sanjeev said it best on "Energize" :
"legend has it/
was a beat by Stepp Savage/
that'll have us breakin' bread and splittin' cabbage on the sabbath./
tap into my Chi, one of many forms of magic/
in a gauge, i'm a target like a semiautomatic (BLOW!)..."
you can't argue wit' that! so, go check out Beyond Comp on their myspace. while you're at it, Cop the Solar Diamonds Bootleg while yer at it! and tell 'em i sentcha!
Goldi and the j45 squad are the real deal... you'll most definitely hear more from these cats in the future, so be smart like me and get in on the ground floor while the gettin' is good, fam'ly!
anyways, for those who can't make it (don't hate!), check out K.D.'s website: http://www.prodigalnine.com/...
the reason that sucks so bad is it came right after the release of a really cool New Warriors mini (now collected in the extra fresh trade paperback: New Warriors: Reality Check) by Zeb Wells (Spiderman/Doc Ock: Year One), with art by LedHeavy's Skottie Young (Human Torch). This book (like many books i've watched get cancelled over the years) was awesome. thanks to Wells' funny, fresh, and authentic dialogue and the hip bouncy art of Skottie Young, reading this comic is a lot like watching a cartoon. but unlike most cartoons, this one dips freely into the rich, wacky history of the Marvel Universe: The Warriors tangle with the Red Ghost's super-intelligent, super-powered Super Apes, Tiger Shark and the Armadillo... heck, they even square off with a Herald of Galactus (well... sorta).
That would sell it for me, but as an added bonus, this book really makes full use of the up-and-coming future super star Skottie Young! his grafiti and manga mash-up style is perfect for the youthful exuberence of this team. his characters are so animated that even simple conversations are enfused with energy, and of course, slacker-videogame-vanguard Speedball is especially fresh under Skottie's frenetic pencil. In addition to nice redesigns for Night Thrasher, Namorita, and Nova, Reality Check introduces two new characters to the team: a fat dude who talks to bacteria and germs, and my fave, a hot sista named Debrii. Young's design for Debrii incorporates all the stuff i dig: Black female with big attitude and a bigger afro, super-hero costume crossed with hiphop plain clothes steez, etc. NICE!
the premise is that the team is brought back together to do a reality show where the team roams around America helping small towns (who have no super heroes) with their SuperVillain problems, and as you might expect, hyjinks ensue!
the series was looking pretty fresh, and while i understand cancelling it... i sure wish they'da let the characters survive for new adventures. this book has that ingrediant that too many Marvel books lack: Fun!
what have i been thinking? i got a blog called ghettoManga, a stated purpose to hip the unsuspecting masses to fly hipHop flavored comics with anime-worthy pinache, and have yet to mention a book of MASSIVE proportions?
forgive me friends... today, i give you Jason Pearson's Body Bags. i first saw J.Pearson's work on covers (i bought Catalyst: Agents of Change primarily for his next-level cover art...), and was blown away by his impeccable sense of movement, flash and incredibly polished anime-ish style. in a field of Graph and Anime inspired artists of the mid-nineties (and there were A. LOT of 'em), Pearson's work stood far and away the best of the bunch.
anyways, Body Bags was part of Dark Horse's "Blanc Noir" imprint (with such notable label-mates as Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner and Adam Hughes [if you don't recognize those names... i got a TON o' work ta do...]) . the house eventually folded, but not before j.p. wrote, drew and dropped the opus-worthy miniseries, Father's Day, which introduced us to Mack (aka "Clownface"), ruthless Body Bagger (high stakes bounty hunter) his elderly partner Pops, and his long-lost daughter (and wanna-be baby bagger) the bodacious Panda.
the book is PURE. F^&*^IN' GENIOUS!!! it's a violent, irreverant, blood-spraying masterpiece!!! Jason's new stompin' grounds, the aptly named 12-gauge Comics, has re-released Father's Day, so please do yourself a favor and go COP IT!!! for those too paranoid to trust me, go preview Father's Day for self.
the story below is called "Spontaneous" because i made it up as i went. i created this story as part of 24 hour Comicbook Day. i prefer to call it a "Freestyle Comic" for two reasons, though:
1) a true 24 hour Comic is not allowed to be incomplete
2) "Freestyle" is a hip hop word, and evokes all kinds of good feelings that i want to connect to this kind of project.
"whaddaya mean, PROJECT?" you may ask... since i made this, i decided to keep adding to it periodically, so keep your eyes open for more, as i will be adding to the story (as well as publishing the results in a quarterly artbook/sketchbook called ... Spontaneous).
lemme know what you think...
so many of the people i run into think hipHop is just the stuff they see on teevee or hear on local radio stations... and of course, they don't like it! so sad. so, as normal, i gotcha back, homey!
Each week i will have a new song featured on this blog, lettin' you know what's what on some REAL hip hop ish! just look for the link on the sidebar "This Week's Cut" for quality rhymin'...
anyways, this week's joint is "Say Yes" by freestyle legend C-Rayz Walz (with friends, including Canibal Ox's Vordul Mega, and Wordsworth from lyricist's lounge).
well, i tried to do a 24 hour comic and failed... but in a GOOD way!
a 24 hour comic is basicly what it sounds like: a complete 24 page comic, written drawn and lettered all in one day. it's not unusual to spend a day drawing one page, so trying to do a whole comic in one day is pretty crazy.
thank comic book intellectual (no, that's not an oxymoron!) Scott McCloud for popularizing the idea...
anyways, i tried it, and got 10 pages drawn, which i will get posted this week (they still need to be lettered...). my friend mike did a good job of it last year using a stream of consciousness drawing technique, but that didn't work for me.
i wound up doing a spontaneous story that was basicly a grudge match between me and my roommate and top friend Corance... it's the BOMB!
i'll post the pages in the next few days. and i will be finishing that story maaadd soon. so stay tuned...
Wise Intelligent of PRT gets live on the micro. perhaps by watching this 10 min clip, you'll get an understanding of what i REALLY expect from my hipHop...
maybe not. i love you anyways...
More by Mars Ill f/Ahmad
i've been a fan of mars ILL for so long, it doesn't even seem right that all my people aren't gonzo for them... this joint is from the latest record, Pro Pain... this track is especially fresh 'cause that dude Ahmad (yeah, THAT Ahmad) comes in with a little of that Wes' Coast to make the cypher complete.
bragging rights for thug rappers in Big D, aka Dirty D...
tuck your chains, fam...
the completion of the book is still far off, but for now you can cop merch featuring the book's first completed image. follow this link to merch with the purple pachyderm...
"I can flex my elbow and open and close my hand with the mere thought of doing it," she said. cool, huh?
just thought this was interesting...
Teen Titans Go bandwagon!
it's funny, irreverant, and in the tradition of Batman the Animated Series, Robin beats the crap outta any bad guy he comes across. i'm sayin' maaaaad fisticuffs!
that's all for now...
check out the interview, his website, or (if you're really smart) both.
didn't think so. i mean, SOME people might see a few stereotypical depictions in the first episode, but those people are just jaded and evil...
anyways, have fun, and keep hope alive!!!
in an interview that's gotta be seen to be believed, KRS breaks down his personal history with hipHop, as well as outlining where it's going. my boy Khalid posted the interview on blogSteelo, so by all means, take a minute to check it out and comment here, or on khalid's blog...
I WANT MY MBQ!!!
what's the hold up?
click the pic and find out...
"Most of my iPod is just a random 9000 song trip and occasionally I have to walk up to it/pull it out of pocket and see who it is. The artist I did that the most to was Strange Fruit Project..."
-Ahmir ?uestLove Thompson of The Roots
the hard-working/hard-touring Trio of s-1, myth and myone ("my own") are kicking out some imaginative, sexy, soulful music... and these days they're getting a little help from their friends. s1's excellent beats recieve support from Jake One, illMind, nicolay, Vitamin D, and the aforementioned 9th Wonder. on the mic they get love from Thesis, Darrien Brockington, Little Brother, and the REAL Queen of Texas hipHop, Erykah muthaF%^$in' Badu (reckanize!)
anyways, props to my girl Syma, who hipped me to the SFP myspace profile. go peep some fresh music, pictures, videos, an' alladat... or just cop some music! all three platters (From Devine, Soul Travellin', The Healing) get the thumbs up from ya boy, so you can't go wrong fam!